Dear Prabhujis and Matajis,
Hare Krishna. Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva.
We all have loads of sinful activities which we have commited in our past lives. But unfortunately or fortunately we do not remember any of them due to our forgetfulness. Somehow by Krishna's mercy or by some vaishnava's mercy we have landed up in this path of devotional service. In the beginning, everything looks rosy in devotional service because of the new environment, new people, prasadam, appreciations etc. But we often get misled by this token "joy" that Krishna offers us free of charge and start believing that "we are pure" (and that we were pure in our previous births as well). We forget that the very reason for our loitering in this material world is because of the loads of sins we have accumulated for several lives.
Later when we get miseries (while being engaged in Krishna consciousness), we either start doubting the potency of the process of bhakti and subsequently lose faith and attraction for it or go the other way quoting from scriptures that "Krishna gives distress only to His dearmost devotees, and hence I am one of them." Both these are absolutely wrong. When something is not working alright for us in Krishna consciousness, it has nothing to do with the potency of the process but the lack of purity on our part. Also, Krishna tests only His dearmost and sincere devotees, not the one's with weak faith.
All the stalwart devotees from the past have exhibited pure devotional service not by showing off themselves as pure devotees but by accepting themselves as the most sinful personalities deserving more sufferings for all their past sinful activities (eventhough they hardly had any). One of the famous examples Kulashekara Alwar, prays to Lord Krishna that he has not come to Him to ask for relief from his sinful reactions. He says, yat yat bhavyam bhavatu bhagavan purva karmaanu rupam -
"Whatever has to happen to me O my Lord, let it happen as a result of my past sinful activities. I do not want you to relieve me from that". He says that his only desire is to develop unflinching devotion unto the lotus feet of the Lord birth after birth. This is the real sample of genuine devotion and we can get several examples of the same from so many acaryas in bhakti marga.
Now if we analyze our own lives, we have commited millions of sinful activities in our past lives, innumerable sins in our present life (upto the point of taking to Krishna consciousness). And then, we also commit so many sins after taking to Krishna consciousness as well like Offense to the holy name, Offending other vaishnavas, Offending the deities and acaryas, Performing illicit actions and so on. Who will account for all these sins?
Hence if we truly look into our own 'sin' account balance, there is a lot of debt still to be cleared for which we have to take many more lives. If we understand this reality, we will actually appreciate the mercy of the Lord and not complain that He is not reciprocating to our bhakti. It is only because He is extremely merciful, does the sufferings for the loads of our sins is reduced to a very minimum. We can remember the beautiful sloka from Srimad Bhagavatam 6.1.15 in this connection in which Srila Sukadeva Goswami reveals who can actually get rid of the weeds of sinful actions completely.
kecid kevalayaa bhaktyaa / vaasudeva paraayanaah
agham dhunvanti kaartsnyena / neehaaram iva bhaskarah
"Only a rare person who has adopted complete, unalloyed devotional service to Krsna can uproot the weeds of sinful actions with no possibility that they will revive. He can do this simply by discharging devotional service, just as the sun can immediately dissipate fog by its rays."
The keywords for us to note here is 'kevalayaa bhaktyaa' - only by complete, unalloyed devotional service unto Lord Vaasudeva can the weeds of sins be uprooted once and for all. So until that time, we have only one thing to do - keep increasing our intensity of devotional service. The day we stop seeing 'sufferings' as sufferings and begin to seeing them as opportunities to serve the Supreme Lord is the day we have actually developed taste for Krishna consciousness.
I am sincerely praying to the Lord and my spiritual master for that day in my life when I see sufferings as an opportunity to serve them.
Thank you very much
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Kalacakra Krsna das
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