Yesterday I was reading Nectar of Devotion the following passage (from Ch 10) about remembering Krsna:
Some way or other, if someone establishes in his mind his continuous relationship with Krsna, this relationship is called remembrance. About this remembrance there is a nice statement in the Visnu Purana, where it is said, “Simply by remembering the Supreme Personality of Godhead all living entities become eligible for all kinds of auspiciousness. Therefore let me always remember the Lord, who is unborn and eternal.” In the Padma Purana the same remembrance is explained as follows: “Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Lord Krsna, because if someone remembers Him, either at the time of death or during his span of life, he becomes freed from all sinful reactions.”
I understood that to remember Krsna one has to develop a relationship with Him. If we think about it, of all the people we meet day after day—who do we remember? We remember those people with whom we have relationships, and the deeper the relationship the more we remember them.
We identify ourselves as devotees and we think, “I have to do this or that,” because these are the rules, and not because we want to please Krsna. Then our identification of ourselves as devotees becomes more or less just another material designation and because we find it dry to have this relationship with rules and regulations we gradually give them up and lose site of the goal of a loving relationship with Krsna. As a result of this thought, I concluded that I have to seriously work on developing a relationship with Krsna.
Should we, when performing our devotional service, make the effort to see everything connected to Krsna—chanting our japa for His pleasure, taking our bath for Him—in this way not just seeing our life as I must do this, I must do that, but that I am doing this service for Krsna? Otherwise, would we not be simply developing our relationship with the rules and regulations of Krishna consciousness?
Rules and regulations in Krishna consciousness are helpful for those of us who are not spontaneously attracted by love to serving Krishna. When one is on the spontaneous platform, he doesn’t need to be reminded about rising for mangala aratrika. Some people demean these “rules and regulations” but actually since they are all in relationship with Krishna and are all meant to bring us to Krishna, they are transcendental and favorable.
Sadhana bhakti is not dry like karma kanda or jnana kanda processes. It is joyful because it includes sravanam, kirtanam, vandanam, arcanam, dasya, smaranam, etc. One who applies himself well to vidhi bhakti will, in due course, become qualified to rise to a higher level of service. However, one who neglects the guidelines of vaidhi bhakti with the excuse of wanting to act on the higher platforms of real love for Krsna, does not make progress in either process.
A devotee should recognize his position and be satisfied there; working towards improvement. Not that a devotee should be lamenting that he does not have love and seeks a quick route to love, like moving to Radha Kunda and putting on a short lungi. We are supposed to be thinking about how to please Krishna through pleasing the spiritual master. That means practical devotional service.
I will conclude with some words spoken by Lord Krishna to a brahmana in the Srimad Bhagavatam:
dharmas te vrddha-sammatah
santusto yarhi varteta
brahmano yena kenacit
ahiyamanah svad dharmat
sa hy asyakhila-kama-dhuk
asantusto ‘sakrl lokan
apnoty api suresvarah
akincano ‘pi santustah
[The Supreme Lord said:] O best of exalted brahmanas, are your religious practices, sanctioned by senior authorities, proceeding without great difficulty? Is your mind always fully satisfied?
When a brahmana is satisfied with whatever comes his way and does not fall away from his religious duties, those very religious principles become his desire cow, fulfilling all his wishes.
An unsatisfied brahmana wanders restlessly from one planet to another, even if he becomes King of heaven. But a satisfied brahmana, though he may possess nothing, rests peacefully, all his limbs free of distress.
I repeatedly bow My head in respect to those brahmanas who are satisfied with their lot. Saintly, prideless and peaceful, they are the best well-wishers of all living beings. (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.52.29-33)