I hope that - by God's grace - this finds you and all your loved ones in the best of health and happiness at this holy time of Janmasthami, the celebration of the day that Bhagwan Krishna came on the Earth in human form.
It is said that whenever there is darkness in the world, whenever strife and ignorance prevail, the Lord incarnates to shine His divine light on the darkness. He grabs hold of the faltering world, preventing it from drifting too far astray and gently, lovingly guides us back toward the Light.
However, the Lord does not simply incarnate, give wisdom and depart. No. His divine light, His divine message and His divine grace continue to shine, on and on, guiding all future generations. His wisdom is such that, once given, it is timeless and eternal, infinite and universal. Lord Krishna's message in the Bhagavad Gita, and the message of His entire life are not meant merely for those who lived 5000 years ago, in the lands of Mathura, Vrindavan, Kurukshetra and Dwarka Rather, the messages are as timeless as His presence and grace.
As we celebrate the divine occasion of Lord Krishna's incarnation, let us also remember to take to heart one of the most beautiful messages of His life: never lose yourself due to external circumstances, never lose your smile, never lose your song Bhagwan Krishna's life was full of trials and tribulations, beginning on the day when He took birth in a locked jail cell and ending in the jungle shot by a hunter's arrow. However, throughout it all - through the innumerable challenges wrought upon Him - He always maintained His divine smile. He always played His divine flute. He never once said, "I'm in a bad mood today so I will not play my flute." No. Regardless of what the external world brought and wrought, the Song was on. This is a beautiful message for our own lives.
So frequently we let small, small things upset us and ruin our day. However, to truly be Krishna devotees means that we should try, as much as possible, to follow His divine example. After all, it is for us that He incarnated on Earth and gave His beautiful, divine messages.
Therefore, whenever failure, frustration or fury stares us in the face and we are tempted to let it ruin our mood and our day, let us always remember the sound of Lord Krishna's ever-present flute. Let us try to emulate His divine example and let our own song and our smile also be ever-present.
Further, the teachings of Lord Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita are not applicable merely to life on a battlefield, when war is imminent. Rather the true battlefield is within us constantly, and war is being waged every day. Through His teaching to Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, Bhagwan Shri Krishna gives us lessons for our lives. The Gita is a divine "Map of Life" for it shows us clearly both the destination and also the clearest and best path to reach there. Just as the GPS system in our cars is always there to show us the path and to quickly tell us if we've gone astray, so the Bhagavad Gita is like the GPS system for our lives. Wherever we want to go, whatever we want to achieve, we simply need to turn to the Gita for the instructions of how to reach our goal.
However, in order for the GPS system in the car to start working, after we have entered the destination address, we must push the "accept" button. This button activates the guided instructions; without it the instructions will not begin and we will not be guided to our destination. Similarly in our lives, we must accept His message and surrender, constantly, over and over again, to His Divine Will. It is surrender and only surrender that allows divine grace to work in our lives. It is surrender, and only surrender, that brings Lord Krishna's presence into our lives.
But, how to surrender?
There is a beautiful mantra we chant which is wonderful for cultivating a spirit of surrender." It is as follows:
Kaayena vaachaa manasendriyairvaa
buddhyaatmanaavaa prakriteh svabhaavaat
Karomi yadyat sakalam parasmai
This means, "Oh Lord.whatever I have done, whatever actions I have performed through my speech, through my mind (anything I've thought), through my intellect (anything I've planned, achieved or understood), through my hands or body or through any of my senses, therefore anything at all I have performed, perceived or thought, it is all due to Your divine grace and I lay it all humbly at Your holy feet."
By chanting this mantra, sincerely, deeply and devotionally every night, we remove any vestiges of ego or attachment which may still be lingering, clinging and preventing us from truly surrendering and therefore finding peace and divine connection.
On this beautiful and divine day of Janmasthami let us offer to Him not only our prayers, our puja and our aarti, but let us offer our lives at His holy feet. Let us surrender completely to His Divine Will. This will bring great peace, purity and divinity into our own lives.
With love and blessings to you and all your loved ones at this holy time,
In the service of God and humanity,
Swami Chidanand Saraswati