Everyday Bhagavad-Gita: Being Conscious of Consciousness.
Verse 2.17: That which pervades the entire body you should know to be indestructible. No one is able to destroy that imperishable soul.
Today I want to share a realization I’ve had surrounding a very deep phrase by Srila Prabhupada, one of the greatest bhakti yogis in modern times, regarding the practice of bhakti yoga. He once said, “First be conscious. Then be Krishna (God) conscious.”
Until today, I think I only understood this idea on a superficial level.
In the times we live in, we are required to do at least ten things at once. Multi-tasking is the “must-have” quality for anyone to succeed. The sad thing is we forget about what we lose in the exchange.
Sure, it’s great to be able to do a lot of things simultaneously, but ultimately this means we are not actually focused on anything at all. Our attention and energy is divided and scattered which means, in the end, so is our consciousness.
We are not aware of any one thing that is going on because we get so easily directed by all the other things that are on our to-do list.
So, that was my understanding of the phrase, “First be conscious. Then be Krishna (God) conscious.” By becoming more aware, and present, with what was going on in front of me in the here and now, this would mean that I would have a greater chance of seeing Krishna in those very things.
I see now that although this is true, it’s really only the tip of the iceberg.
In this verse, we hear once again about that which pervades the entire body—the soul. And what is the symptom of the soul? Consciousness. In this light, “First be conscious” takes on a whole new and deeper meaning. It means: first, realize that you are the soul and from here you will naturally find your way to Krishna (God) consciousness.
Of course, I know what you’re thinking. “Easier said than done.” And that’s true, but this is where the practice of becoming aware and being present in everything we do, or say, comes in handy.
This is the practical application that we can engage in so that we can ultimately realize the truth: We are not the body. We are the soul. What happens when we realize that we are the soul?
All the petty things that used to bother us won’t anymore and we can focus on what’s most important: becoming conscious of God.
Vrindavan Rao was born into the bhakti tradition and grew up enveloped in it. However, her personal discovery of the bhakti path began in 2004 when she had the opportunity to go to a Vedic College in Belgium and since that time she has embraced it completely. Her love for travel has given her the opportunity to study Vedic texts, such as the Bhagavad-gita, in places such as India, Canada, Belgium, Ukraine and the United States under the guidance of several advanced practitioners.
She especially loves the Gita and refers to it as her “Guidebook for Life” since it contains practical answers for complicated questions and is currently writing a daily blog on every verse of the Gita. In addition, you can keep track of all the happenings of Everyday Bhagavad-Gita on Facebook and viaTwitter.
Her background is in science and she not only has a Bacherlor’s degree in Biochemistry, but also a Masters in Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology. In her free time she loves to write, read, give presentations, sing and work out.
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Editor: Thaddeus Haas