Today is Janmashtami. I was thinking of Shri Krishna. One can think of Shri Krishna in many forms; in his baby form, in his cowherd form, with Radhaji, or Shri Krishna of Bhagavad Gita driving Arjun’s chariot and guiding him in the right direction.
All forms are important. According to devotee’s moods or likings one can think of Shri Krishna in various forms. Our likings are different and our moods change. So, Rishis taught us to think God in various forms according to our mind-set. Of course, initially, in order to learn to focus our mind on God, we have to select one form which suits our mind-set. Then, loving this form, learn to focus our mind on God in that form. But, once we know what God is and realize that the Infinite, Imperishable, formless God can take various forms, then we can appreciate and enjoy various forms of God.
Saints say that Shri Krishna was born to teach us how to love God. A relationship with God has to be established. One can think God as our child, or a friend, or father, or mother, or guide, or master. Shri Ramakrishna says that the best relationship is ‘God is my master and I am His servant.’ But, when love for God deepens then one can appreciate and enjoy other relationships.
To love God, means one is committed to develop spiritually. Generally, our thinking, planning, and actions are based on the pleasures of our body and mind. To love God means now I will think from the point of view that ‘My true existence is not in my body and mind, but it is in the Spirit, the Soul. Body and mind are mere instruments of the Soul.’ The form of God is the representation of the Soul or Atman or Brahman.
What happens when we love God? A transformation comes in our lives for good. All the characteristics of a devotee described in the Bhagavad Gita will manifest in our lives. Our lives become blessings to us and to all. We get all the fulfillments of life: we get satisfaction, inner peace, knowledge, fearlessness, and our hearts get filled with unselfish love for all.
Let us think of the Characteristics of a devotee (Gita Chapter 12, shlokas 13-19):
“He who hates none, who is friend of all, who is merciful to all, who has nothing of his own, who is free from egotism, who is even-minded in pain and pleasure, who is forbearing, who is always satisfied, who is ever devoted to Yoga, whose self has become controlled, whose will is firm, whose mind and intellect are given unto Me – such a one is My beloved bhakti.
He from whom comes no disturbance, who cannot be disturbed by others, who is free from joy, fear and anxiety – such a one is My beloved.
He who does not depend on anything, who is pure and active, who does not care whether good comes or evil, and never becomes miserable, who has given up all efforts for himself, who is the same in praise or blame, silent and thoughtful, pleased with what little comes his way, homeless, having the whole world for his home, and steady in his mind – such a one is My beloved bhakta.” (Translated by Swami Vivekananda)
It is not easy to bring such positive transformation in life. We have to work for it. Simple practices are regular prayer, reading inspiring books, reflect upon the teachings of scriptures, think of the ultimate goal of life, practice values, seek holy company and do self-less service as much as possible. This will make our lives worth living. Happy Janmashtami to all. May Shri Krishna showers His blessings on all of us and help us grow spiritually.