Procrastinate and Perish

19th Jan 2009
Vaijayantimala devi dasi

Dear Prabhujis and Matajis,
Hare Krishna! Please accept my humble obeisances! All Glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva!

In one of the lectures, our beloved Guru Maharaj was insisting the urgency and importance of studying Srila Prabhupada books and I am transcribing a few points from his speech for our benefit. He was telling that we are devotees, and this means that we have to put our heads into these books and read and understand them. If we are not going to study these books, who is going to do it? Srila Prabhupada was waking up at 1.00 a.m. and writing these books. For whom was he doing such hard labour? Supposing it takes a minimum of one month to understand one verse of Srimad Bhagavatam, then there are 18000 verses which means it will take around 1500 years to read and understand only Bhagavatam. Where are 1500 years and what about the other literatures? Unless we use our time very nicely, it is very difficult to go through. Actually, we have the time, but our laziness stops us. This is called as 'Dhirga sutri' attitude.

In Srimad Bhagavad Gita, while describing the worker in the mode of ignorance, Lord Shri Krishna says in 18.28

ayuktaḥ prākṛtaḥ stabdhaḥ śaṭho naiṣkṛtiko ’lasaḥ
viṣādī dīrgha-sūtrī ca kartā tāmasa ucyate

The worker who is always engaged in work against the injunctions of the scripture, who is materialistic, obstinate, cheating and expert in insulting others, and who is lazy, always morose and procrastinating is said to be a worker in the mode of ignorance.

Maharaj explained 'Dirgha-sutri' as meaning a long thread. Supposing the newspapers are lying here, within few minutes we can clear them. But we do not clear it and then every time we see the newspapers, we keep saying, ‘it is to be done. Tomorrow I will do it’. Or otherwise we ask so many people to do it. What can be done in three minutes, we keep on postponing to tomorrow and tomorrow never comes. Tomorrow will be today again. This is the long thread and this attitude has to be avoided. That which is to be done, should be done immediately. Procrastination is the thief of time. As soon as we postpone, so much breath is wasted ordering others. It really steals our time.

Srimad Bhagavad Gita gives us the direction. At the moment we are without direction. Then how can we go to the destination? Suppose a steamer is there, there will be a sail. If we open the sail, we will be dragged in the direction of the wind. If the sail is not opened, the boat will go hither and thither. Our sails are completely closed. So, again and again we are in birth, death, old age and disease. There is no sail and we don’t have the time to spread the sail. And we do not have time to take advantage of the direction of the wind when it is favourable. At the moment, the wind is favourable to us. There is a guru like Srila Prabhupada and there is incomparable literature with us. The cupboards are full, but we are lamenting. Why? Because our sails are closed. We keep on saying, I will open the sail tomorrow. But who knows, tomorrow, the direction of the wind may change and as soon as the direction of the wind changes, we start blaming the wind. ‘Ah! I wanted to open the sail. But the wind is not favourable.’ But when it was favourable, why did you not do it? This is procrastination.

Every one of us is a dirga sutri. Unless we are forced, we will not do the material activity and unless we are extremely forced, we will not do the spiritual activities. In the beginning force is required. Srila Prabhupada was very strong and forceful with his disciples. His was a very unique way. He was forceful also and kind also. The urgency is that we should utilise the time when the winds are favourable. Now prasadam is there, bathing facilities are there, bed is there, tables are there, light is there, everything is there but we are procrastinating. Then in miserable conditions we blame the whole world, except us. This tendency has got to be stopped.

Any work has to be done immediately and finished off never to be left for the next second. When you are getting out of the house, if there is any impediment on the pathway, we immediately clear it. We don’t step over it and go. If we do that, then again, the next time we get out, the same impediment is there. So better clear it off for once and all. Then we become completely free to be with Srimad Bhagavatam and Bhagavad gita.

Material activities cannot be ignored because in kaliyuga we require to perform them for our maintenance and so many other things. Expertise in material activity is the spiritualization of material activity. Whatever activity we do, that activity has to be performed so very nicely, that the employer or customer whoever it is, should be completely pleased with us. This pleasing effect is Krishna. Bliss is flowing from Him. As soon as we are pleased with the dealings between us, that is Krishna. If we perform the activities very clearly, thinking that we are dealing with Krishna, seeing Krishna everywhere, then the activity becomes relishable. You are happy and the persons who come in contact with you, they are dancing. That is the spiritualization of activities.

In the spiritual activities, because the results are not tangible, we postpone the activity for the whole of our life and the whole lifetime passes away. Procrastination is a thief of our time and a thief has got to be imprisoned so that it doesn’t come into our life again. Lord Brahma’s life time is only a blink in the eternal time and our lifetime is not even a blink and hence we have to be very serious about these things. Srila Prabhupada has chewed the highly complicated philosophical points and has presented them in a language we can easily comprehend. If we do not go to him, we lose our humanity.

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