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The following is an excerpt from the book “Science of Self Realization” by His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

If one protects the tender creeper of devotional service nicely, then gradually it will produce the fruit of unalloyed love for God. Unalloyed love for God means love that is not tinged by desire for material benefit, for mere philosophical understanding, nor for fruitive results. Unalloyed love is to know, “God is great, I am His part and parcel, and therefore He is my supreme lovable object.” This consciousness is the highest perfection of human life and the ultimate aim of all methods of self-realization.

If one reaches this point—God is my only beloved, Krishna is the only lovable object—then one’s life is perfect. And when one tastes that transcendental relationship with Krishna, then one feels real happiness. The devotional creeper will then be so strongly protected that just by catching it, one will be able to reach the supreme destination. If one climbs steadily up a tree, one eventually comes to the very top. Similarly, if one can achieve love of Godhead by catching that devotional creeper, there is no doubt that one will reach the transcendental abode of Krishna and will associate with Him personally, just as we are associating here, face to face.

God is not fictional or imaginary. He is as real as we are. (Actually, we are under illusion; we are living as if this body were our factual self, although this body is not at all reality, but only a temporary manifestation.) We dare to presume that there is no God or that He has no form. This mental speculation is due to a poor fund of knowledge. Lord Krishna and His abode exist, and one can go there, reach Him and associate with Him. That is a fact. Spiritual life means to be in association with the Supreme Lord and to exist in bliss and knowledge eternally. Such eternal association means to play with Krishna, to dance with and love Krishna. Or Krishna can become your child—whatever you like.

How to Love Krishna?

There are five primary relationships with Krishna: as a passive devotee, as a servant, as a friend, as a parent, and as a lover. The cows in Krishna’s abode are also liberated souls. They are called surabhi cows. There are many popular pictures showing how Krishna loves the cows, how He embraces and kisses them. That passive relationship with Krishna is called santha. Their perfect happiness is achieved when Krishna comes and simply touches them.
Other devotees are inclined to actually give service. They think, “Krishna wants to sit down. I will arrange a place for Him. Krishna wants to eat. I will get Him some nice food.” And they actually make these arrangements. Other devotees play with Krishna as friends on equal terms. They do not know that Krishna is God; to them, Krishna is their lovable friend, and they cannot forget Him for a moment. All day and all night, they think of Krishna. At night, when they are sleeping they think, “Oh, in the morning I shall go and play with Krishna.” And in the morning they go to Krishna’s house and stand by while Krishna is decorated by His mother before going out to play with His friends in the fields. There is no other activity in Krishna-loka (Krishna’s abode). There is no industry, no rushing to the office or any such nonsense. There is sufficient milk and butter, and everyone eats plentifully.

Krishna is very fond of His friends, and sometimes He enjoys stealing butter for them. One can actually live this way, and that is the perfection of existence. We should hanker for that perfectional stage of life. Krishna consciousness is the process to attain it. But as long as one has even a slight attachment for this material world, one has to remain here. Krishna is very strict. He does not allow anyone to enter into His association who has any tinge of the material conception of life. Bhakti must be free from material contamination. Do not think, “I am a very learned scholar. I shall find out what is the Absolute Truth by mental speculation.” That is nonsense; one can go on and on speculating and will never find the source of all sources. It is said in Brahma-samhita, “One can go on speculating about the Absolute Truth for millions and millions of years, and still it will not be revealed.” One can rot in this material world as he is and can go on speculating, but that is not the right process. Here is the process—bhakti-yoga.

Lord Chaitanya says that to render devotional service to Krishna is the highest perfectional stage of life, and compared to this, other things for which people are hankering in this material world are like bubbles in the ocean. Generally, people are after rewards, and therefore they become religious. They say, “I am a Hindu,” “I am a Christian,” “I am Jew,” “I am Mohammedan,” “I am this, I am that, and therefore I cannot change my religion. I cannot accept Krishna.” This is called religiosity, dharma. With such a materialistic, sectarian idea of religion, they will rot in this material world, stuck to rituals and faith. They are under the impression that if they follow their religious principles, they will get material prosperity. Of course, if one sticks to any kind of religious faith, he will get facilities for material life.

Why do people want this material prosperity? For sense gratification. They are thinking, “I shall have a very nice wife. I shall have very good children. I shall have a very good post. I shall become president. I shall become prime minister.” This is sense gratification. And when one is frustrated and has seen that to be rich or to attain the presidency cannot give him happiness, after squeezing out all the taste of sex life, when he is completely frustrated, then perhaps he takes to LSD and tries to become one with the void. But this nonsense cannot give happiness. Here is happiness: one must approach Krishna. Otherwise, it will end in LSD—confusion and roaming in impersonal void concepts. People are frustrated. They must be frustrated if they do not have genuine spiritual life because a person is spiritual by nature.

How can anyone be happy without Krishna? Suppose one is thrown into the ocean. How can he be happy there? That is not for us. One may be a very good swimmer, but how long will he be able to swim? He eventually becomes tired and drowns. Similarly, we are spiritual by nature. How can we be happy in this material world? It is not possible. But men are trying to remain here, making so many temporary adjustments for survival. This patchwork is not happiness. If one really wants happiness, here is the process: one must attain love of Godhead: Unless one can love Krishna, unless one finishes with love for cats, dogs, country, nation and society and instead concentrates his love on Krishna, there is no question of happiness. Rupa Gosvami has given a very nice example in this regard: There are many drugs which saturate one with ideas or hallucinations. But Rupa Gosvami says that unless one tastes that final drug of love of Godhead, Krishna-prema, he will have to be captivated by meditation, impersonal monism, and so many other distractions.

This love of Godhead, the highest love, can be achieved  just by chanting Hare Krishna.

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