Obtaining God’s Mercy

“All of Me, namely my actual eternal form and My transcendental existence, color, qualities and activities—let all be awakened within you by factual realization, out of My causeless mercy.” Sb. 2.9.31 (p 44)

This is really the only way to attain God realization—through God’s causeless mercy. God’s mercy is given through the guru, through the scriptures, through holy persons and directly within our heart. All of our strivings, all of our practices lead to nothing without the mercy of God.

Of course they are also the means of grace. They open us up to God’s mercy. God’s mercy is there equally for all. It is causeless. However, some persons are more anxious to receive God’s mercy than others. They actively seek it out. Thus, they receive a larger share. It is our yearning, our longing, our strongest innermost desire that brings God’s mercy upon us. When we become surrendered souls and desire nothing more than the loving service of Sri Sri Radha Krishna, how can they not respond when we are completely dependent upon them?

God is unknowable in this conditioned state of material existence unless God reveals her/his divine self to us within the heart. Our cries and calls of love will not go unanswered.

“The main characteristics of sadhana-bhakti are chanting, hearing and remembering Krishna’s name, forms, qualities and pastimes. By performing this sadhana, gradually prema (pure love) appears in a marginal form, like a hidden fire. When the jivas (living entities) finally cast off their subtle body and attain spiritual bodies, prema appears in its pure swarupa (form). This, Krishna prema is a perfect object, which is not born from practice, but rather it appears in the pure heart by hearing and other devotional activities. Please note that sadhana (practice) is very necessary for this prema to manifest.” (p48)

These are the means of grace. By chanting, hearing and remembering, we are able to open our heart to love Radha Krishna and receive their love in return. Love is the answer. The more we love, the more we are open to love. If love does not flow from our heart spontaneously, we need to practice loving Radha Krishna. The more we practice, the more we become love, the more Radha Krishna are able to reveal themselves to us.

Unless we are extremely blessed, it is very difficult to fully experience prema in this conditioned state. We may manifest it to a degree, but its full realization will occur when we give up this material body and enter the spiritual realm in our perfect spiritual body. It may take many lifetimes to attain, but once we begin the process seriously, it is possible to attain at the end of this life by the causeless mercy of Radha Krishna.

“The practitioners realize that Krishna alone is the object of remembrance, and that He should never be forgotten. They understand that all rules—positive or negative—follow this principle of always remembering and never forgetting the Lord. Thus, at this stage, the devotees reject a rigid, fanatical adherence to the injunctions and prohibitions and according to their individual qualification give up some of the injunctions and begin to practice some items of devotional activity that were prohibitions previously.” (p 49)

My initiator guru, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, was a very strong advocate of following regulative principles, rules and regulations. I led a very strict, austere life under his guidance for eight years. This regulative devotional service gradually opened my heart and developed my love of Radha Krishna. Living in Vrindaban, associating with more advanced devotees there, I realized there was a lot more, a whole other level of devotional service that Swamiji was not teaching.

Through the grace of devotees, I was able to find my siddha pranali guru, Lalita Prasad Thakur, who initiated me into the path of spontaneous love. This was a big infusion of grace. Within the year (1974), I stopped following Swamiji, his rules and regulations. I am free. I live freely. I follow my heart which has led me down a wonderful path, ever closer to Radha Krishna.

I don’t do all the spiritual practices I used to do. I follow the ones that work best for me—hearing, chanting, remembering. I do things that were previously prohibited. I see them as gifts of God and am able to live more fully on both the material and spiritual planes without impediments to the development of pure love.

I help persons discover what works for them. I help them become free of guilt, shame, driven-ness, never feeling good enough, etc., because they are not able to follow all the rules and regulations some think it is necessary to follow. If this path of love is to become indigenous to the West, its followers must be able to lead a more normal Western lifestyle. I am paving the way for that to happen. God’s grace can even flow through a person such as me.

“The Lord has said, ‘When one is firmly fixed in devotional service, whether one executes just one or many of the processes of devotional service, the waves of love of Godhead will awaken.’ Chaitanya-charitamrita, Madhya 22.134” (p 52)

It is not necessary to do everything. It is necessary to do something. Find a way to remember Radha Krishna and remember them constantly. Chant, read, write, preach, paint, do whatever you have a passion for. It is our passionate desire that opens us to grace and helps us progress. Paths without heart lead us nowhere.

“’Therefore, for a devotee engaged in my loving service, with mind fixed on Me, the cultivation of knowledge and renunciation is generally not the means of achieving the highest perfection within this world.’ Sb. 11.20.31” (p 53)

Swamiji placed a high premium on knowledge and renunciation. He wrote many books and strongly encouraged his disciples to publish and distribute them as widely as possible. He also encouraged his disciples to practice renunciation so that they could fully devote themselves to spreading his mission.

Many of his disciples became very austere only to find out that such a lifestyle was not sustainable. Some openly adopted healthier, holistic, sustainable lifestyles of moderation. This is not an obstacle to devotion. Others expressed themselves in unhealthy ways which destroyed their devotion and hurt others. If we do not make friends with our shadow, the body, the senses, and see them as God given gifts for our enjoyment and God’s, they become our enemy and seek to undermine our true self good. False renunciation is never desirable.

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