Our Attitude towards Devotional Standards - Part 1

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my humble obeisances! All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev!

In Srimad Bhagavad Gita 3.30 Lord Krishna demands,

mayi sarvāṇi karmāṇi sannyasyādhyātma-cetasā
nirāśīr nirmamo bhūtvā yudhyasva vigata-jvaraḥ

Therefore, O Arjuna, surrendering all your works unto Me, with full knowledge of Me, without desires for profit, with no claims to proprietorship, and free from lethargy, fight.
Here Krishna talks of three kinds of renunciation or tyaga:

1. Kartrtva buddhi tyaga - Giving up of the idea that, 'I am the doer': Here Krishna says, 'mayi sarvāṇi karmāṇi sannyasyādhyātma-cetasā' - 'Surrender all your works unto Me, with full knowledge of Me.' Srila Prabhupada writes in the purport that the Supreme Lord is the soul of all souls; therefore, one should depend solely and wholly on the Supreme Soul without personal consideration.

2. Phala tyaga – Renunciation of the fruits of activities: nirāśīr – Srila Prabhupada writes that nirāśīr means that one has to act on the order of the master but should not expect fruitive results. The cashier may count millions of dollars for his employer, but he does not claim a cent for himself.

3. Mamata tyaga – Renunciation of the attitude that, 'everything is mine': nirmamo - Prabhupada writes that one has to realize that nothing in the world belongs to any individual person, but that everything belongs to the Supreme Lord. That is the real purport of mayi, or "Unto Me." And when one acts in such Krishna consciousness, certainly he does not claim proprietorship over anything. This consciousness is called nirmamo, or "Nothing is mine."

The Lord says that all the above three renunciation has to be executed throwing off all reluctance, feverish mentality and lethargy (vigata-jvaraḥ). The moment we hear this, we are overwhelmed by the lofty standards placed by Lord Krishna before us. Srila Prabhupda writes in the purport that, "This verse clearly indicates the purpose of the Bhagavad-Gita. The Lord instructs that one has to become fully Krishna conscious to discharge duties, as if in military discipline. Such an injunction may make things a little difficult; nevertheless duties must be carried out, with dependence on Krishna, because that is the constitutional position of the living entity."

When the standards are too lofty and unrealistic according to our estimation, then we react in either of the two ways as mentioned below:

1. We become resentful: One is that we become resentful or we reject the injunction feeling that it is highly impractical and impossible. This is basically because of our envious nature (asuya). We are not accepting our constitutionally subordinate position and we start questioning why should Krishna only enjoy? Why not me? This is because the sense of enjoyment spirit has been current a very long, long time, owing to material association. This leads to resentment and rejection of the standards of devotional service. Here we remember the story of the fox rejecting the grapes as sour just because it could not reach them.

2. We feel helpless, hopeless and depressed: Another kind of reaction when we find the standards unattainable is, we develop a deep sense of helplessness, hopelessness and defeat. We become too depressed that we give up the enthusiasm to serve Krishna. We say, "I am too fallen. I cannot follow all this." We become too morose or discouraged in devotional service. We may drift into an impersonal consciousness or give up devotional service to the Lord. This is basically because of the lack of faith in devotional service (ashraddha). Our idea is that, 'my conditioning by these tendencies is more powerful than the redeeming mercy of Krishna and His devotional service.' Thus we become self centered and 'I' conscious instead of Krishna conscious. Both the above tendencies cheat us of spiritual advancement.

The way to overcome these two tendencies is very wonderfully described by the Lord in Srimad Bhagavad Gita 3.31 and we shall see the same in the ensuing mail, Krishna willing.

Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev,
Vaijayantimala devi dasi
Abu Dhabi.