“Because we are Krishna’s children, we have a very intimate relationship with Krishna and since we have given Him up and we have forgotten Him, therefore we are suffering.”
– Srila Prabhupada (December 11, 1974, Bombay, lecture on Shrimad Bhagavatam 3.25.43)
As you manage your busy schedules and fulfil your various responsibilities, you also remember Krishna. You offer your heart to the Lord and continue to put in more determined efforts. You are active and find happiness in your spiritual practices – because you’ve added the critical element of remembrance of Krishna.
If Bhakta das lived in quadrant 3, he’d remember Krishna by offering a prayer, and simultaneously call for help. He’d do both, and thus maintain spiritual consciousness even amidst a sudden reversal to his plans.
He has begun a relationship with God now. He is connecting to Krishna with his mind and heart. This favourable remembrance of God makes our hearts grow with positive emotions and our relationship is now active.
Spiritual practices for most of us mean changing gears and moving from quadrant 1 or 2 to quadrant 3. While the first two quadrants are the space of sense gratification and struggle respectively, the space of quadrant 3 is struggle plus shelter – we have touched Krishna with our mind and intelligence.
In quadrant 3, you still hold on to the reins of your life’s chariot, but you are also calling out to the Lord for help.
A friend shared an interesting realization:
In my new job, I saw my boss had a large framed photograph of Shaun, his Doberman, on his desk. Intrigued, I asked him about his pet and he got emotional. He explained how they were really close and one day he died. Now, his memory nourishes him and the photograph on his table reminds him of Shaun. I was then a new member of ISKCON and had begun associating with devotees and was trying to figure out how I could experience God more tangibly in my day-to-day life. Shaun inspired me. I brought my favourite deities’ photographs and kept them on my table. In the midst of the day-long office work, I would take short breaks – for a couple of minutes- and connect to the Lord on the framed photograph on my desk, and get back to work again.
This is quadrant 3 living – we struggle and we also remember the Lord.
A life centered on quadrant 3 drags us seamlessly to quadrant 4. Sooner or later situations and challenges fall upon every spiritual practitioner. Bhakti Yoga practices lead us to depend on God totally. Surrender is a natural culmination of a life centered on sincere devotional service.
Quadrant – 4: Relationship with God – Sweet Surrender
Quadrant 4 is an impeccable journey for those firmly established in quadrant 3. Krishna personally orchestrates the life of a sincere devotee who seeks to remember the Lord favourably. He will guide us and take charge of our lives if we simply increase and improve the quality of our remembrance of the Lord – that is live more often in quadrant 3.
A sincere spiritual practitioner realizes at some point in time that he is helpless, and Krishna’s mercy alone can save him. He’d let go of his struggle and depend fully on Krishna. The horses in his chariot are going wild and he gives up control to rein them in. He surrenders to Krishna and allows the Lord to take over his chariot.
Externally, a person in quadrant 4 appears similar to one in quadrant 1 – both let go of the reins of their life’s chariot. The critical difference, however, is that a quadrant 1 passenger has allowed his mind to take charge, whereas a quadrant 4 rider depends on God/Krishna (known in different traditions as ‘the force’ or ‘universe’ or cosmic intelligence). He surrenders to this person/energy and places his life in the command of a force bigger than his own mind and intelligence.
“Even though we now seem neglected by the Lord, He is actually always alert to our activities.
To be continued…