The practical teaching of the Bhagavad-Gita is that we should do our duty and at the same time think of Krishna by engaging in some service unto Him or anything that makes us think of Him.
“Therefore, Arjuna, you should always think of Me in the form of Kṛṣṇa and at the same time carry out your prescribed duty of fighting. With your activities dedicated to Me and your mind and intelligence fixed on Me, you will attain Me without doubt.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-Gita 8.7)
For Arjuna, his prescribed duty was fighting, because he was an authorized soldier in the military. For us, our prescribed duties are based on our situation.
A top level look at the prescribed duties:
A father’s prescribed duty is to protect and provide for his children and wife.
A wife’s prescribed duty is to maintain the family.
A son/daughter has the prescribed duty of studying (material and spiritual subject matters).
Ways to think of Lord Krishna
There are many ways to think of Lord Krishna. It is unfortunate that there are some narrow minded devotees who think there is only one way to think of Krishna. The truth will be seen only by those whose eyes are open (be open minded). The beauty of following Lord Krishna is that He is not narrow minded. He is open minded and He understands that there is a variety of abilities, situations, and mentalities among people, and thus they will be a variety of ways they will think of Him and serve Him.
- Chanting of Krishna’s names is thinking of Him, provided the mind is on Him and not on other subject matters. A chanter will think of Krishna for the duration of the chanting.
- A regular distributor of the Bhagavad-Gita (Book/CDs/DVDs) is purely thinking of Krishna for many hours daily and millions of people can benefit from his/her distribution work.
- Writing about Krishna and His teachings like the Bhagavad-Gita is purely thinking of Him. A regular writer on the Bhagavad-Gita teachings, thinks of Krishna, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Millions of people can benefit from a regular writers work.
- A regular preacher will think of Krishna 24 hours a day, 7 days per week.
- Serving cows is purely thinking of Krishna. Lord Krishna Himself serves cows daily on His abode and He thinks of everyone who serves His cows.
- Listening to Krishna Katha is thinking of Him for at least the time spent in Katha.
- Having Krishna Katha programs is thinking of Krishna.
- Cleaning in the Temple is thinking of Krishna for at least the time spent cleaning.
- During Deity service is thinking of Krishna.
- Cooking and offering food to Krishna is thinking of Him.
- Eating and distributing parsadam is thinking of Krishna.
- Serving devotees is thinking of Krishna.
- Listening to Bhajans on Krishna is thinking of Him.
- Reading the Bhagavad-Gita or other scriptures which mentions Him, is thinking of Krishna.
- Donating money to Temples or devotees engaged in the service of Krishna is thinking of Krishna
- Arjuna, the first person to hear the Bhagavad-Gita on this planet in the current day of Brahma (5,000 years ago), was not doing any of the above. But still he was thinking of Krishna by fighting for Him.
There are so many other ways to think of Krishna.
“Always think of Me and become My devotee. Worship Me and offer your homage unto Me. Thus you will come to Me without fail. I promise you this because you are My very dear friend.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-Gita 18.65)
In addition to thinking of Krishna, we must also develop the following divine qualities:
“The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Fearlessness; purification of one’s existence; cultivation of spiritual knowledge; charity; self-control; performance of sacrifice; study of the Vedas; austerity; simplicity; nonviolence; truthfulness; freedom from anger; renunciation; tranquillity; aversion to faultfinding; compassion for all living entities; freedom from covetousness; gentleness; modesty; steady determination; vigor; forgiveness; fortitude; cleanliness; and freedom from envy and from the passion for honor – these transcendental qualities, O son of Bharata, belong to godly men endowed with divine nature.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-Gita 16.1-3)
In addition to thinking of Krishna, we must also minimize the demonic qualities:
“Pride, arrogance, conceit, anger, harshness and ignorance – these qualities belong to those of demoniac nature, O son of Pṛthā.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-Gita 16.4))
In addition to thinking of Krishna, we must also increase our knowledge and understanding:
“Humility; pridelessness; nonviolence; tolerance; simplicity; approaching a bona fide spiritual master; cleanliness; steadiness; self-control; renunciation of the objects of sense gratification; absence of false ego; the perception of the evil of birth, death, old age and disease; detachment; freedom from entanglement with children, wife, home and the rest; even-mindedness amid pleasant and unpleasant events; constant and unalloyed devotion to Me; aspiring to live in a solitary place; detachment from the general mass of people; accepting the importance of self-realization; and philosophical search for the Absolute Truth – all these I declare to be knowledge, and besides this whatever there may be is ignorance.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-Gita 13.8-12)