These days we hear words like ashram, kirtan, bhakti, and yoga used very easily and freely. To discern what is what may not be so easy since everything sounds like a mystic drop of far away India, yet a part of us can feel we are lacking some substance. Once Maurice Sendak, the author of Where The Wild Things Are, said “There must be more to life than having everything.” Yes, and so we are searching for where to find something more, some nectar or small glimpse of transcendence. This search is probably what brings readers like you to this introduction to Krishna consciousness.
In a recent class Sripad Jai Balai Prabhu was saying that the devotees are the perfect examples of Krishna Consciousness. Therefore if you wonder what the nature of faith is or if some part of you is searching for something deep and substantial, the best way to proceed is really simple–come meet the vaishnavas, the devotees of Krishna, and see what faith is really all about. In the Bhagavad-gita, Krishna says that it is very rare to find one of His devotees among thousands of people:
manusyanam sahasreru, kaschid yatati siddhaye
yatatam api siddhanam, kaschin mam vetti tattvatah
(Srimad Bhagavad-gita: 7.3)
“Of countless souls, few reach the human form; of thousands of human beings, very few may try to realize the soul and the Supersoul; and of thousands who have attained such realization, hardly one can actually know Me, Syamasundara.”
From devotees we learn how fully realized souls behave, what they eat, how they speak and how they interact with the environment. Since the beauty of Krishna consciousness is best transmitted heart to heart, the best way to learn what Krishna Consciousness practice is all about is to meet devotees in person.
What can you expect when you come meet us?
The Seva Ashram was founded by the desire of our Spiritual Master, Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj. He comes from a bona fide line of Gurus, and under his auspicious guidance many temples were opened all around the world, like branches from a tree that springs from Nabadwip, India, to offer shelter to sincere seekers.
Our devotional practice at the ashram has many expressions. There is a program consisting of Kirtan, the chanting of devotional songs, classes on Chaitanya Charitamrita and Bhagavad Gita, and then prasadam, which is the foodstuff that has been cooked and offered to Their Lordships Sri Sri Guru Gauranga Gandharvika Giridhari, and then distributed to the devotees.
As practitioners of Krishna consciousness we try to participate in all the devotional processes. This means that when you come visit, what you will find is people that live at the ashram and people that come and practice there, all engaged in many different types of seva, or service. There are devotees engaged in cleaning, cooking, stringing flowers into garlands, and general maintenance of the property. In this way whatever is our inclination, or our capacity, everybody can maintain some service connection, even by giving donations which help maintain the ashram.
Service is our Life
In the Sri Sri Prapanna Jivanamritam Srila Sridhar Maharaj states “The normal, wholesome, and happy plane is in the life of dedication. Without exploiting or borrowing anything from the environment, and without attempting to artificially renounce it, one who is sincere to dedicate himself naturally comes into contact with a more subtle plane of life.”
Thus we can understand that the finest point of our practice is service, it’s what
maintains and develops our faith, and its how we keep connected to the Center. We have heard from our spiritual guardians that when we come in contact with something beautiful we cannot but try to serve it. In this manner all our philosophy can practically be translated into service.
Please come meet us and see for yourself what our Seva Ashram is all about!