I am proud of myself! I finally managed to care for my body. For the past couple of weeks I have been doing regular exercises to strengthen my back in order to get relief from back pain. Living too much in my head I have often neglected my body in the past. Most probably a typical Hare Krishna syndrome, after all `We are not these bodies!`. And of course that's true, but our body is actually a great gift, a great chance to overcome the cycle of birth and death. Especially the rarely attained human form of life. The body is also referred to as a temple of the Lord, since Krishna, in His aspect as the localized Supersoul, is present in everyone's heart. I found this a quite interesting concept. What are the consequences of realizing that the body is a temple of the Lord? Not only will we be more inclined to take better care of our body but we also would want to engage our body in the Lord's service.
In order to remember this, we apply tilak on our forehead. In Sanskrit this is called hari-mandir-citra. This body is not my grha, not my house to live in for my own enjoyment. This body is just like a mandira, a temple. Understanding that the Lord of my life, Krishna, is residing in my heart, I, therefore, apply tilak as a sign of being His servant.
In what mood do we generally enter in a temple? In a prayerful mood, in a mood of service attitude, in a mood of devotion and surrender. Similarly, our body is also called bhajana-grha, a place for worship. It is the human form of life that gives a soul the chance to worship God, to reestablish a relationship with God. That`s only possible in a human form. Generally, we don`t see animals performing religious activities. If I, as a spiritual soul, reside in the body that is compared to a temple, I will have to behave accordingly. If someone stays at the temple he has to render some loving devotional service unto the Lord. That's why he has joined the temple. Similarly, if our body is a temple, we also need to render service to God in order to stay in the mandira. If we stay in the temple but do not render service, we don`t have any adhikara, any qualification to stay inside the temple.
A temple is usually made of bricks, cement, wood and steel, and the bhakti-mandira (our body) consists of skin, blood, bones and so on. However, this body becomes a temple through Radharani's mercy. As soon as a soul serves Krishna and wants to please Him, Bhakti devi appears in his heart. Then his bhakti mandira is built by hladini shakti, the inner, pleasure-giving potency of Krishna. This pleasure-giving potency is Radharani, She is the raja rani, the queen of the bhakti kingdom. Even Krishna follows Her will. Therefore, we need Srimati Radharani's mercy to please Krishna. Radharani's mercy is Bhakti-devi. If Bhakti, devotion, is not there, how are we going to please Krishna? But when Bhakti is present, this body can become a wonderful temple. Unless we make our body a temple, we can never experience true joy in life.
How can we obtain Radharani's mercy so that Bhakti-devi appears in our hearts? She is a rani, a queen. It is not so easy to approach a queen. For this we need help. From whom? From radha-priya-sakhi. Help from a confidential companion of Radharani, who appears in this world as Sri Guru. In other words; only through the mercy of the spiritual master will we be able to realize that this body is not just a body, but actually a temple. Only through the mercy of sadhus can we truly enter the bhakti-mandira, the temple of devotion, and bring our life to perfection through service to Sri Krishna. 1
Completing my twenty minutes of physio-therapy exercises I get up from my yoga mat and get ready for my day in the Lord's service. Slowly I learn to appreciate my body. It feels good to take care of this great gift I have received. How fortunate we are that we are able to live in a temple - in a temple of devotion, our own body!
1 - This Blog is compiled from the teachings of H.H. Srila Gour Govinda Swami, based on a Lecture given on 21.July 2006 in Goloka Dhama, Germany by H.G. Caitanya Candra Prabhu from ISKCON Gadaigiri. From the Book `Premakarsita Krishna - Krishna is Attracted by Love` www.rgpbooks.com