Devotion without Deviation - Part 3

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

This is in continuation of the previous offering titled, "Devotion without Deviation" wherein we were discussing the life of Bharata Maharaja through the pages of Srimad Bhagavatam. In the previous offering we saw the below points.

1. Simple and intense bhakti brings bliss in any condition of life. 
2. Compassion for others should not push us to mode of passion.

Now let us see further.

3. Attachment leads to Agitation: In Srimad Bhagavatam Sukadeva Goswami explains how Bharata Maharaj started developing more and more attachment for the deer. After saving it from drowning, he brought it to his ashram and began to feed it. When he had to go and collect paraphernalia for worship from the forest, he thought that deer might be harmed by any wild animals. So he began to carry it along with him wherever he went. He began to eat and sleep with the deer. In Srimad Bhagavatam verse 5.8.14 Sukadeva Goswami says,

kriyāyāṁ nirvartyamānāyām antarāle ’py utthāyotthāya yadainam abhicakṣīta tarhi vāva sa varṣa-patiḥ prakṛti-sthena manasā tasmā āśiṣa āśāste svasti stād vatsa te sarvata iti.

When Maharaja Bharata was actually worshiping the Lord or was engaged in some ritualistic ceremony,  although his activities were unfinished, he would still, at intervals, get up and see where the deer was. In this way he would look for it, and when he could see that the deer was comfortably situated, his mind and heart would be very satisfied, and he would bestow his blessings upon the deer, saying, 'My dear calf, may you be happy in all respects.'

This verse shows how material attachments are great stumbling blocks in the path of devotional service. These attachments make us so restless and agitated that we start paying more attention to them, even while trying to do devotional service. Srila Prabhupada in his wonderful purport to the above verse says, "In other words, if one's mind is distracted from worship, a mere show of worship will not be of any benefit. The fact that Bharata Maharaja had to get up at intervals to look for the deer was simply a sign that he had fallen down from the spiritual platform."

In case of Bharata Maharaja the attachment appeared in the form of a baby deer. Now-a-days the distractions are of many forms for us through mobiles, laptops and ipads, tablets etc, varying from messages to beeps in Whatsapp or Facebook and other social media. We are very attached to these gadgets and carry them everywhere and anywhere. But none of these are going to accompany us in final journey. So we should be alert not to be deviated by these gadgets while performing our sadhana. In one of the initiation lectures in Dwaraka our beloved spiritual master HH Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj tells us a powerful mantra to chant before starting our Hare Krishna mantra, "main sub kuch chodkar jānewāla hun" - "I have to go leaving everything behind."

Since none of these material things to which we are attached, are going to accompany us, what is the point in brooding over them or holding on to them? In fact these things are going to entangle us not only in this birth, but will push us to hellish life for millions of births. So for our own welfare, it is better we turn our attachment towards Krishna and attentively do our sadhana.

Srila Prabhupada beautifully mentions in purport to verse 5.8.13, "One who is serious in advancing his spiritual life should be very cautious not to become attached to anything but Krishna. Sometimes, in order to preach, we have to accept many material activities, but we should remember that everything is for Krishna. If we remember this, there is no chance of our being victimized by material activities." Whether we are using these gadgets in service of Krishna or whether our attachments to these gadgets is distracting our attention towards Lord and agitating us is a honest check which we would have to do for our own selves.

Krishna willing we shall continue to meditate more on this topic in the subsequent offering.

Hare Krishna.

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