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More On Autonomy And Thankfulness

Also we find in the Gita that on the brahman platform cravings are non-existent, and one is qualified to transcend this world and perform pure devotional service. Also one experiences true happiness of the self. I personally experienced this with my diet. I was thinking that life without cheese would be miserable, a life-a life not worth living!

But, for sake of serving Srila Prabhupada for a longer period of time in this body, I gave it up. In the beginning it was difficult as the body was hankering for this, but ultimately the bodily cravings disappeared. Now the experience I have is that of relief.

It is like breathing fresh air or being let out of prison to no longer be controlled by that craving. Freedom is much more blissful than being controlled by the forces of nature. I sometimes feel like running outside and jumping for joy! In the spiritual world we get to experience and fulfill our need for autonomy to the fullest extent.

One may object to this statement and say that the soul is never independent and in the spiritual world we are also controlled (under daiva prakriti or Yoga Maya), but the experience of the spiritual realm is of voluntarily-ecstatically serving. There is no force.

We can see how Krishna explains Krishna consciousness to Arjuna in the Gita. He doesn’t threaten ie. “listen to me or I will send you to hell” He doesn’t use guilt trips- i.e.: “you have been my friend for my whole life.

I have given everything to you Arjuna. How could you do this to me? You are killing me Arjuna.” Krishna is simply explaining the facts of life to Arjuna and leaving it up Arjuna to utilize his free will in whichever way Arjuna wishes.

This is also how we should present Krishna consciousness to others: Here are the facts. Don’t you want to be free? Don’t you want to enjoy? Here is how you do it. It’s your choice.

So, what I do to stay enthusiastic is before I do something for Krishna (like the morning program, rounds, service, etc) I first of all think of how fortunate I am to have the mercy of Krishna and Srila Prabhupada. How kind they are to “let” me do those things in spite of my not deserving them. I mentally thank Krishna and Prabhupada for allowing me to do those things.

Then I think, “Boy oh Boy, I am really going to have good time doing (Mongal Aroti, Deity worship, etc”.). I am really looking forward to it. I can hardly wait”. So, in this way I build up the expectation of happiness and enthusiasm. It is not artificial though because these activities are kevala ananda Kanda (simply blissful).

The reason we don’t feel blissful is that we have mentality of being forced, not because the activities are lacking in some way. Then when I am performing the activities I endeavor to cultivate the mood of joyfulness, thankfulness and full awareness of what I am doing and whom I am doing it for.

For example when I chant some prayer in Sanskrit, I mentally and sometimes even verbally (under my breath) say the translation. If you try this during the arotis, Tulasi worship, Guru Puja, etc, the activity takes on a new dimension and you will always feel like jumping in ecstacy.

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