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Vaishnava Philosophy
The ultimate goal of life
Aren't we all looking for it?

The Vedas present to us knowledge of the four principles to be followed by every human being: religiosity, economic development, sense gratification, and liberation. Religiosity enables one to accumulate the piety to develop economically, by which one becomes rich enough to enjoy sense gratification. When one has fully enjoyed one's senses and realized the futility of material life, one can then attain liberation from the material world.

But such principles are not the ultimate goal of life. Lord Caitanya describes a fifth goal, prema, or pure love of the Supreme Lord, which is the ultimate goal of religiosity. As Krishna concludes in the Bhagavad-gita, "Just give up all varieties of religiosity and surrender unto Me alone. I shall protect you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear." Materially motivated religious principles cannot bring one to the highest perfection of life. One must transcend material desires and attain pure love of God. This love is the goal of all religions throughout the world, irrespective of their material differences.

Such love of God is attained only through devotional service. Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita, "One can know Me as I am only through bhakti, or devotional service." Devotional service is the means to know Krishna and is the eternal occupational duty of the living entity. Out of the nine processes of devotional service, the first three are hearing, chanting, and remembering about the Lord. Conditioned souls accept these processes as a means to become free from material bondage and attain love of Godhead.

But when one has attained love of Godhead, one will continue to hear, chant, and remember the Lord in pure transcendental love. Therefore in bhakti-yoga the means and the end are the same. One does not give up the means when one attains the perfectional state. One performs the same activity, but without any material motivation or desire. Material desire is completely replaced by the spiritual desire to satisfy the Lord with one's every action.

Therefore the goal of all religiosity and spiritual practice is to become the eternal, pure, and loving servant of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, in one's original, spiritual form. Although we are now spiritual sparks, no bigger than 1/10,000th the tip of a hair in size, in our original position we are pure spiritual forms engaged in eternal service to the Lord.

There are five eternal relationships with the Lord based on pure love. They are neutrality, servitorship, friendship, parenthood, and conjugal love. In neutrality, one serves the Lord by supporting His pastimes, as a tree offering Him its fruits or as a cow (Krishna loves His devoted cows). In servitorship, one renders personal service to the Lord for His satisfaction in awe and reverence. In friendship, one thinks that he and the Lord are friends on an equal level and plays with the Lord, who is the best friend of His many playmates. In parenthood, the parents of the Lord think of Him as their son and often worry that the Lord has not yet taken His meal and must be hungry. In conjugal love, the devotee offers everything to the Lord as a lover to his beloved.

Engaging in the pure devotional service of the Lord in one's original, spiritual position is the perfection of life. One who attains that position never returns to this material world to suffer again repeated birth and death.

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Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare / Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare