Our Attitude towards Devotional Standards - Part 2

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

In the last offering we saw that when the spiritual standards are unattainable by us,
1. We become resentful and reject the standards or
2. We feel helpless, hopeless, defeated and depressed and lose our enthusiasm to serve the Lord.

In order to overcome resentment and hopelessness as described above, Lord Krishna speaks in BG 3.31,

ye me matam idaṁ nityam anutiṣṭhanti mānavāḥ
śraddhāvanto ’nasūyanto mucyante te ’pi karmabhiḥ

Those persons who execute their duties according to My injunctions and who follow this teaching faithfully, without envy, become free from the bondage of fruitive actions.

Here the two important words are 'śraddhāvanto' - 'with faith and devotion' and 'nasūyanto' - 'without envy'. We saw that we are not following the standards because we are envious leading to resentment and because we are faithless leading to hopelessness and defeat. Therefore Srila Prabhupada very compassionately writes in his purport to BG 3.31 that, "In the beginning of Krishna consciousness, one may not fully discharge the injunctions of the Lord, but because one is not resentful of this principle and works sincerely without consideration of defeat and hopelessness, he will surely be promoted to the stage of pure Krishna consciousness." The Lord Himself encourages the living entities in Srimad Bhagavatam 11.20.27-28,

jāta-śraddho mat-kathāsu nirviṇṇaḥ sarva-karmasu
veda duḥkhātmakān kāmān parityāge ’py anīśvaraḥ

tato bhajeta māṁ prītaḥ śraddhālur dṛḍha-niścayaḥ
juṣamāṇaś ca tān kāmān duḥkhodarkāṁś ca garhayan

Having awakened faith in the narrations of My glories, being disgusted with all material activities, knowing that all sense gratification leads to misery, but still being unable to renounce all sense enjoyment, My devotee should remain happy and worship Me with great faith and conviction. Even though he is sometimes engaged in sense enjoyment, My devotee knows that all sense gratification leads to a miserable result, and he sincerely repents such activities.

It is very nicely mentioned in the purport on what should be our feeling when we are unable to attain the spiritual standards.

The word dṛḍha-niścayaḥ ("Steadfast conviction") indicates that in any circumstance a devotee is completely determined to go on with his prescribed duties for Krishna. Thus he thinks, "By my previous shameful life my heart is polluted with many illusory attachments. Personally I have no power to stop them. Only Lord Krishna within my heart can remove such inauspicious contamination. But whether the Lord removes such attachments immediately or lets me go on being afflicted by them, I will never give up my devotional service to Him. Even if the Lord places millions of obstacles in my path, and even if because of my offenses I go to hell, I will never for a moment stop serving Lord Krishna. I am not interested in mental speculation and fruitive activities; even if Lord Brahma personally comes before me offering such engagements, I will not be even slightly interested. Although I am attached to material things I can see very clearly that they lead to no good because they simply give me trouble and disturb my devotional service to the Lord. Therefore, I sincerely repent my foolish attachments to so many material things, and I am patiently awaiting Lord Krishna's mercy."

In an athletic hurdle race, to overcome the hurdle, sometimes we step back and increase the momentum so that we may cross over the hurdle. In the same way, in our devotional life also, instead of feeling resentment and hopelessness, we should try to take a step back in the sense that we should sometimes try to contemplate within ourselves internally and try to find out the anarthas within us and make efforts to get rid of them by improving and increasing the momentum of our saadhana. The Lord again assures in SB 11.20.29,

proktena bhakti-yogena bhajato māsakṛn muneḥ
kāmā hṛdayyā naśyanti sarve mayi hṛdi sthite

When an intelligent person engages constantly in worshiping Me through loving devotional service as described by Me, his heart becomes firmly situated in Me. Thus all material desires within the heart are destroyed.

Thus by engaging in the process of loving devotional service two things are assured.

1. Non envious nature which rids us of being resentful: By serving the Lord, one becomes strengthened in the conviction that Sri Krishna is the only actual enjoyer and all others are meant to share the Lord's pleasure through devotional service.

2. Faith which rids us of hopelessness: When one is constantly engaged in the devotional service of the Lord by hearing and chanting the Lord's transcendental glories with firm faith, he gets relief from the harassment of material desires. Instead of becoming discouraged we faithfully wait for the process of devotional service to naturally purify the heart of all contamination. By faithful hearing of the mercy and glories of the Lord one will gradually be freed from all material desire and clearly see at every moment the utter frustration of sense gratification. Chanting the glories of the Lord with firm faith and conviction is a tremendously powerful spiritual process that enables one to give up all material association.

Let us always try to remember the following lines from the purport to SB 11.20.29, "There is actually nothing inauspicious in the devotional service of the Lord. Occasional difficulties experienced by a devotee are due to his previous material activities. On the other hand, the endeavor for sense gratification is completely inauspicious. Thus sense gratification and devotional service are directly opposed to each other. In all circumstances one should therefore remain the Lord's sincere servant, always believing in His mercy. Then one will certainly go back home, back to Godhead."

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