This post is titled thusly because given the subject-matter, one may label me as such. For you see, even though I have recently begun identifying as “Smarta with Vaisnav leanings” or some such madness, as opposed to strictly “Vaisnav”, I have come to recognize something which surprises and amuses me:
Now that I am not identifying as a Vaisnav, I have found that I feel much more at ease with devotion toward Bhagavan Krishna than I did before.
I have a few theories about what that is all about. Above all, I obviously came to Hinduism because I was averse to any spiritual program that was so insistent on one way being the only way. And that was what I clearly found with mainstream Vaisnavism which is more often than not devoted to Krishna alone. As a Vaisnav, I would have been concerned that devotion toward Krishna would be a path toward the same dogmatism that I once despised. But now “Kraisnavism” only adds color to the spiritual pallet I paint in my spiritual life.
Being a Smarta, I have become less concerned about focus on “one path” and sticking to it, as I can see that, multiple as they are, all ishtadevatas are the same Brahman, from different angles. To wit, I woke up this morning with the words “I think I love Lord Ganesha” dancing through my mind.
Unfortunately Smarta Hinduism, amongst American “converts” to Hinduism is seen a very generic, starter-kit Hinduism. Unfocused. General. But I would point out that most of the Hindus I have gotten to know happen to be Shaivite, and yet the Gita, the main teaching of Krishna, is the book which directs the spiritual compass of the masses in Hinduity.
Sathya Narayana remains, as always, my ideal. But all that means is I see Vishnu in Ganesha. I see Vishnu in Suryadev. Obviously I see Vishnu in Krishna, and though I do not really know anything about Skanda (who is usually part of five main devas to Smartas), I see Vishnu in Hanuman as the divine devotee, and in all forms of Shakti.
I have recently moved my murti of Krishna to a more prominent position on my home mandir. But who knows. Maybe it is because I am currently reading “The Life Of Krishna” by Vanamali, and because Krishna Janmashtami is coming up. So I am a bit wary of my current state of devotion toward Krishna.
Nevertheless, wherever you are, there you are. Live it. Love it. Take it for what it is. Enjoy the ride, and by thankful for every twist and turn.
Jai Hari Aum.