How can we internalize the mood and mission of our teachers?
Time: 4 minutes
Transcribed by: Sudeep Naik
Question: How can we internalize the mood and mission of our teachers?
There are two distinct things: (i) what we learned from our teachers and (ii) what we learned about ourselves.
Each one of us is an individual and we have to practice bhakti honoring our individuality. Individuality does not mean whimsicality. It also does not mean that we reject the teachings of previous acharyas. Individuality here means that we have to practice bhakti according to who we are.
We try to learn as much we can, through hearing and studying. While practicing we observe ourselves, which aspect of bhakti we can connect our faith. Krishna talks about guna-karma vibhagasha, i.e. varnashram is by qualities (guna) and activities (karma).
Varnashram is not about dividing people into categories like brahmana, kshatriya, vaishya, and shudra, but it is about engaging people according to their nature. We can understand our nature by analyzing our guna (which refers to our comfort level) and our karma (which refers to our competence level). There are some things which we feel comfortable doing or we feel good doing. There are some things which we do well. If we observe ourselves and find that for a particular service, we like doing it and we do it well also then that can give a broad indication of which area we are meant to serve.
With that understanding I can try to answer this question. We get inspiration from others, but it is us who need to understand ourselves. In the traditional culture it was much easier because social structure was there and people would serve according to their position in the social structure. Services in those times were much more structured. There were disadvantages that it would become very specialized due lack of freedom. However, if lack of freedom is a limitation, excessive freedom is also a limitation. If hundred options are there, making a choice becomes difficult.
Since in the modern setting social structure is not there, we have to find for ourselves how can we best serve Krishna. In the past people would use their nature to move towards Krishna. Now days we want to move towards Krishna but get crashed against our natures. What this means is that we want to do whatever is glamorized but then later we find we cannot do it as it is against our nature. For identifying our nature, we need to cultivate self-observation. Once we know our nature and then with some service attitude we will learn how best we can serve Krishna.
End of Transcription.