How can this book about marriage, "Heart and Soul Connection," assist us in obtaining the ultimate goal of life-spiritual obtainment or God realization, which for Gaudiya Vaishnavas (devotees of Krishna in the Hindu tradition of Shri Chaitanya and his followers) means eternal loving service to Radha-Krishna? We could start by speaking about its important and relevant content, the years in preparation before its publication, or the experience and expertise of the contributors. While all these are essential in answering that question, we'd first like you to consider that this book about marriage is more than just a book. It appears that it is simply an object of a particular size and shape, made of paper with pages on which there is ink shaped in the form of words-words that may be educational, interesting, or inspiring. However, beyond the words, what you are holding in your hands is a physical manifestation of-simply put-love.
Why do we say love? Because the existence of each word on each page is due to the dedication, determination, and sacrifice of a group of devotees of whom we are honored to have association-called the North American Grihastha Vision Team (GVT). This book exists because this grass-roots team of mature Krishna devotees has dedicated their lives to ensure that the grihastha (household stage of life) ashrama (stage of spiritual development) develops in a way that is favorable to the practice of pure devotional service (bhakti-yoga) among any sect of Gaudiya Vaishnavas, and specifically as Shrila Prabhupada, the founder of ISKCON, intended it to be. This team of devotees is determined that devotees entering marriage are properly prepared, those already married have additional knowledge and skills, and that Vaishnava leaders and members serve as educated supporters. This team of devotees is committed to offer time, energy and resources to make these goals a reality.
The dedication of this team was such that each word was given careful consideration. Each topic and concept was carefully weighed in terms of how it may or may not benefit the devotees. Great thought was given on how to ensure that the presentation was clear, that the information was relevant and meaningful, and that it would meet the needs of a broad range of devotees.
Consideration was also given on how to be respectful of devotees' sensibilities-as some topics might be considered sensitive. Devotees of varied ages, ashramas and stages of life read versions of the book before publication to ensure that it would be a useful and inspiring offering. The goal of these efforts was to make sure that this book would prove to be an important gift to our society. When an offering is made from the heart with Krishna's love as its guiding force, then the offering is empowered.
Heart and Soul Connection has the power to transform the way you look at household life in Krishna consciousness. This transformative power is due to the love and dedication that went into it. Receive it in that spirit. In this way, even if there is something that does not resonate with you, stay open to the spirit of the work. It can create opportunities for greater dialogue and exchange that can contribute even more to the growth of the grihastha ashrama and Shri Chaitanya's mission of spreading congregational kirtan of the holy names of Krishna.
The content of the book gives scripturally-based (from the bhakti scriptures) and practical strategies to help devotees utilize the grihastha ashrama for both its highest purpose: going home, back to Godhead, as well as having a balanced and happy family life centered on spiritual practice-and making sure our children do as well.
The broad range of topics is critical for successfully negotiating the challenges that come with household life and for deeply appreciating the blessings and joys that come with it as well. adapted from the Introduction of the book]