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Thursday, June 7, 2007

Spirituality is not Escapism

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Nityananda! Gauranga! Hare Krishna! It is important to note in this connection that when we say that we should remember God and chant His Holy Names, it doesn't mean that we should become lazy and give up all our responsibilities. The ideal approach to work is: be balanced; don't be irresponsible, but don't purchase trouble either. Sometimes, one tends to think, "I am get­ting this much salary, and he is also getting the same amount. But he is doing very little work and is mostly escaping from his work. So why should I work so hard? Let me also escape."

But by escaping from one's respon­sibilities, one gets a feeling of guilt, which in­creases one's anxieties manifold. The safest and the best course of action is to just do your job honestly and responsibly, while at the same time living a God centered life.While doing our duties responsibly, we should be intelligent enough not to add on to our responsibilities by taking additional loads due to our egoistic initiative; otherwise we are simply purchasing trouble. Such an egois­tic person thinks, "He is doing so much work. I must show the world that I am greater than him." And so one takes on so much load on oneself that one has no time for God; no time for one's own family, no time for even the basic activities of life. In this way, one becomes practically crazy working 14 or 16 hours a day. And there is no end to such work. How can such a person who, in order to satisfy his in­flated ego, is caught up in unending material­istic activities and the concomitant immeasur­able anxieties, ever attain peace of mind?

So one should do one's job properly and, at the same time, set aside sufficient time for cultivating one's inward life by chanting, read­ing scriptures and coming together with one's family to worship the Supreme Lord Gauranga Krishna. There is a wise saying: "The family that prays together stays together". So if one comes together every morning with his wife, children and family, and worships God by chanting Nityananda, Gauranga and Hare Krishna, offers bhoga to the Lord and accepts the Lord's prasadam, then one's life will be­come peaceful. One can lead a happy life while one is in this world and, at the time of death, one will return to the kingdom of God. On the other hand, one who increases his material responsibilities more and more due to his egoistic initiative, will find himself dis­turbed in the mind by countless anxieties. And such a person   who is disturbed within will natu­rally cause disturbances for everyone around him. He will quarrel with his wife, shout at his children and be harsh and unreasonable with his subordinates. Such  a person cannot do any good, either for himself or for others.

And all this is because he did not give time for his inner spiritual growth. Just as when one keeps writing with a pencil, but does not sharpen it, it eventually becomes blunt and incapable of writing, similarly if one keeps on working, but does not spare time for mantra meditation and prayer, then one's efficiency goes down drastically and one becomes inca­pable of doing any worthwhile work; one's work becomes meaningless Now-a-days, such workaholics are very proud of the saying "Karma hi pooja hai" or "I am a Karma Yogi". But if one tries to live like that, working like a donkey, one will be totally frustrated in life and will never get any peace of mind. On the other hand, if everyday one sets aside some time for God and chants Nityananda, Gauranga and Hare Krishna, it is like sharpening the pencil. By such regular spiritual practice, one can manage both one's material duty as well as one's duty to God nicely. This is the way to living with peace of mind, both in this world and the next. (Adapted from an article compiled by Radheshyam Dasa, Jaigopala Dasa, Chaitanya Charana Dasa, Sundara Vara Dasa, etc.)