What happens when we get comfortable in realization that Krishna is closer to us than our body and that we need to seek His blessings to indulge in any bodily activities?
We drop the notion that it is *our* body, of course.
Interestingly, it’s impossible to see it as not ours if we still engage in sense gratification but it becomes quite clear if the body is engaged in Krishna’s service. First part is easy – it is impossible to enjoy sensual interactions of the body with sensory objects unless we are under the influence of false ego, hence it’s impossible to enjoy and NOT think that it’s our body. Second part is trickier.
On one hand it’s the correct vision or the correct application of the body, on the other hand it’s not how we see it everyday. It’s possible to see it as Krishna’s property only in the case of absolute surrender, which is available to sankirtana devotees but usually hidden from everybody else. Theoretically, of course, there are no such restrictions but in practice surrender for us means surrender to sankirtana mission and we can’t have it any other way.
Alternatively, surrendering to sankirtana brings about self-realization and total clarity (and no interest in typing up these things on the internet). Those of us who are not on the streets with the books there’s still theory, of course, but it’s not as satisfying as the real thing and the impression doesn’t last very long.
I guess next best thing is service to the Deities and it opens up its own advantages. Sankirtana devotees see their bodies as completely out of their control but pujaris see their bodies as Vishnu’s paraphernalia. It’s easy to understand why – paraphernalia needed for the puja doesn’t stop at the handle of the ghee lamp, there’d be no puja if that lamp wasn’t attached to a hand, and if that hand wasn’t waved in the air by an arm, and if that arm didn’t have its other end attached to a body, and if that body didn’t have legs to stand on or brains to control it.
Those observing the puja can easily see that the pujari is Lord’s intimate servant. Those prescribing rules of performing puja also treat pujari as Lord’s accessory – he has to be clean externally and ritually, his mind has to be clean of all material thoughts, too. He must be properly dressed and properly decorated with tulasi necklace, shikha, and tilakas.
Once you put someone in pujari service his body ceases to be his in all practical respects, it has to live by strict rules and regulations established by the Lord.
If you ARE the pujari you also realize that you have no freedom to live your life as you want. You cannot pollute neither your body nor your mind, you cannot partake in any pleasures outside those provided as Lord’s prasadam, you cannot freely choose your life partner, your place of residence, you are stripped of all your other rights, too. Your body exists only for the pleasure of the Deity, no one else.
This certainly helps to convince our mind and intelligence that this body is NOT ours and that it should be treated with respect awarded to Lord’s intimate servants or Lord’s paraphernalia. If we are sincere in our chanting we would also see that none of this we deserved ourselves and that it is all arranged by Krishna Himself, following our prayers to be engaged in His service.
If we are sincere it would be easy for us to see that we are not, indeed, our body and that bodily engagements in material interactions are solely for the pleasure of the Lord, not our own. With this mindset we can also learn that the source of our sustenance is not our body but its engagement in service. Body serves Krishna, Krishna is happy, and this makes us satisfied, too.
When we have a clear vision like this bodily aches don’t bother us anymore. If the lamp is too heavy and the arm loses power to waive it it’s not OUR arm we are talking about, it’s Krishna’s, so we do not take this pain personally, even though we can sense that it’s there.
It’s not pain all around, of course, but if we decide to participate in experiencing bodily pleasures for ourselves the vision will be gone in an instant, only a memory would remain and even that not for a long time, so we better cherish these rare moments of clarity. It’s in these moments that we can easily understand such lines from the scriptures as na yatra dambhīty abhayā virājitā – there exists a supreme reality, in which the illusory energy cannot fearlessly dominate, thinking, “I can control this person because he is deceitful.” (SB 12.6.30)
Maya can easily overcome us because she “can freely exert her influence over those who are hypocritical, deceitful and disobedient to the laws of God”, as explained in the purport. Disobedience is easy to observe, considering standards of renunciation expected from real devotees, but hypocrisy and deceit is not something we notice in our lives very often. Maybe we should, considering dictionary definition of a hypocrite: a person who feigns some desirable or publicly approved attitude, especially one whose private life, opinions, or statements belie his or her public statements.
Every time we decide to enjoy activities of our bodies, be it eating, sleeping, or even breathing, we belie our pledge of surrendering all our lives to Krishna and no one else. We know that this body is meant to be pleasing to Krishna at all times but we quietly decide to take it for a nap or for a snack, or to even simply put it down in a comfortable chair.
The instruction that we should be asking permission before commencing any of those activities can come very useful here. We might get our permissions fairly easily but the thought that it’s not our body to take for a joy ride would eventually etch into our very beings. Therefore it’s much better to remember to ask than just take the body our for a spin, or we might get the wrong idea that it’s actually ours.