The Standard of Determination - Part 4

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

This is in the conclusion of the previous offerings sharing a few of the points spoken by HG Svayam Sphurathy Prabhuji in the Janmashtami class in Abu Dhabi. In the previous mails, we saw the following. 

1. The meaning of determination 
2. Krishna’s determination is absolute 
3. The importance of the quality of determination 
4. Our determination never goes in vain 
5. Determination in different modes 
6. The reasons we are not determined 
7. How to become determined in devotional service 

Under the head of how to become determined in devotional service, we saw the following points. 

a) We have to first realize that we are very much insignificant as compared to Krishna. 
b) We have to realize that Krishna is very merciful and He has so mercifully given us the opportunity to perform devotional service. 

In this offering, we shall see the other three points. 

c) We must pray to the Lord to remain fixed:- In Srimad Bhagavatam verse 6.2.35 Ajamila says, "I am such a sinful person, but since I have now gotten this opportunity, I must completely control my mind, life and senses and always engage in devotional service so that I may not fall again into the deep darkness and ignorance of material life." Srila Prabhupada writes in the purport, "Every one of us should have this determination. We have been elevated to an exalted position by the mercy of Krishna and the spiritual master, and if we remember that this is a great opportunity and pray to Krishna that we will not fall again, our lives will be successful." Not only should we execute our devotional service and keep our vows but at the same time we should keep praying to Krishna, "Krishna I do not want to fall again into the material world. I want to be engaged in devotional service." That is what we do when we chant the holy names. 

d) We should take up the vows to please Krishna:-We should not keep meditating on the point that, 'I am sinful. I am not eligible and I am unqualified.' From Ajamila we see that he is taking the vow that, 'Now I must completely control my mind, life and senses and always engage in devotional service.' Ajamila had the faith that Krishna will protect him in his devotional service. The moment we take the vow with faith and confidence, Krishna reveals Himself. As Krishna destroys the darkness of ignorance in the heart, Ajamila speaks the following wonderful verse in Srimad Bhagavatam verse 6.2.36-37. "Because of identifying oneself with the body, one is subjected to desires for sense gratification, and thus one engages in many different types of pious and impious action. This is what constitutes material bondage. Now I shall disentangle myself from my material bondage, which has been caused by the Supreme Personality of Godhead's illusory energy in the form of a woman. Being a most fallen soul, I was victimized by the illusory energy and have become like a dancing dog led around by a woman's hand. Now I shall give up all lusty desires and free myself from this illusion. I shall become a merciful, well-wishing friend to all living entities and always absorb myself in Krishna consciousness." 

By saying that, 'I shall become a merciful well-wishing friend to all the living entities', he means that 'I will preach the message'. This is the only way we can be a well-wishing friend. Srila Prabhupada says that we should be determined to spread Krishna consciousness and deliver everyone. If we have that vow, certainly we are going to be delivered. For example, if I desire to lift the book, as I lift the book, my hand is also getting lifted. I do not have to do any extra endeavor to lift the hand. If we endeavor to preach rigorously, unconsciously we are also getting elevated. So Ajamila has not taken a vow to simply execute devotional service. He is taking another important vow that I will preach. Srila Prabhupada writes in the wonderful and meaningful purport, "This should be the standard of determination for all Krishna conscious persons. A Krishna conscious person should free himself from the clutches of maya, and he should also be compassionate to all others suffering in those clutches. The activities of the Krishna consciousness movement are meant not only for oneself but for others also. This is the perfection of Krishna consciousness. One who is interested in his own salvation is not as advanced in Krishna consciousness as one who feels compassion for others and who therefore propagates the Krishna consciousness movement. Such an advanced devotee will never fall down, for Krishna will give him special protection. That is the sum and substance of the Krishna consciousness movement. Everyone is like a play toy in the hands of the illusory energy and is acting as she moves him. One should come to Krishna consciousness to release oneself and also to release others."

e) We have to associate with the devotees:- In Srimad Bhagavatam verse 6.2.38, Ajamila says, "Simply because I chanted the holy name of the Lord in the association of devotees, my heart is now becoming purified. Therefore I shall not fall victim again to the false lures of material sense gratification. Now that I have become fixed in the Absolute Truth, henceforward I shall not identify myself with the body. I shall give up false conceptions of 'I' and 'mine' and fix my mind on the lotus feet of Krishna." Krishna while describing the Mahatmas describes in Bhagavad Gita 9.14:

satataṁ kīrtayanto māṁ yatantaś ca dṛḍha-vratāḥ
namasyantaś ca māṁ bhaktyā nitya-yuktā upāsate

Always chanting My glories, endeavoring with great determination, bowing down before Me, these great souls perpetually worship Me with devotion.

The potency of associating with such devotees is that we become determined to follow the principles of devotional service. 

8. Our determination must be to follow the authority: Although we discussed about keeping our vows, we should be determined to follow guru, sadhu, and shastra. It is not important to just keep our vows. The important point is to follow guru, sadhu, and sastra. We have the example of Prthu maharaja who took a vow to complete 100 horse sacrifices. He is the empowered incarnation of the Lord and he has the ability to keep his vows also. But to show an example, when persuaded by Lord Brahma, He broke His vow to complete the 100 sacrifices and thus He followed the authority. Another example is that of King Priyavrata. He wanted to remain a brahmacari. When Brahmaji came to persuade him to take up householder life, he followed the authority and gave up his vow. Srila Prabhupada points out that our mood should be to follow the authority and not to keep up our vows. We are secure as long as we follow authority even if we are not able to keep up our vows at times. 

We thank HG Svayam Sphurathy prabhuji for enlightening us on these gem-like verses spoken by Ajamila and it would be in our best interest if we can try to memorize these verses with translation and try to chant them and contemplate on their meaning before we start chanting the Holy names because then we would realize the great opportunity bestowed on us by the Lord and we would be able to chant with attention, reverence, and love. 

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