Paralysis through Analysis

20th Jun 2005
Vaijayantimala devi dasi

Dear Prabhujis and matajis,
Hare Krishna! Please accept my humble pranams! All Glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev!

In the course of my preaching, there is a tendency on my part to give a lot of scriptural quotes using a lot of religious terminology just to earn the respect of the people. I also tend to do a lot of analysis on the subject matter to show my expertise but the real fact is that whatever I preach touches the heart of the audience only to the extent of my personal realization. In Srimad Bhagavatam 1.3.44, we find that Saunaka muni , the learned leader of all the sages congratulated Sri Suta Goswami, when he humbly stated, 

tatra kīrtayato viprā viprarṣer bhūri-tejasaḥ
ahaṁ cādhyagamaṁ tatra niviṣṭas tad-anugrahāt
so ’haṁ vaḥ śrāvayiṣyāmi yathādhītaṁ yathā-mati

O learned brahmanas, when Sukhadeva Goswami recited Bhagavatam there(in the presence of Emperor Pariksit), I heard him with rapt attention, and thus, by his mercy, I learned the Bhagavatam from that great and powerful sage. Now I shall try to make you hear the very same thing as I learned it from him and as I have realized it.

Our spiritual master H H Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj made it very clear when he said that when the verses are chanted lovingly understanding that they are the transcendental sound representations of the Lord, then our classes can be considered successful and there is no necessity of too much intellectual analysis which goes over the head. If we humbly and scrutinizingly study Srila Prabhupada's purport and surrender ourselves to the verse, then the verse reveals itself to us and we can present it in a simple manner suitable to the circumstances and appealing to the listeners. Srila Prabhupada in his purport to Srimad Bhagavatam 1.4.1, states that the original purpose of the text must be maintained and no obscure meaning should be screwed out of it. Too much of thinking, analysis and mental gymnastics stand as an impediment in the performance of devotional service with love. The following story illustrates this:

In a forest, a millipede could dance wonderfully. A toad that was observing his dancing became envious and decided to stop the millipede. However, she did not want to just come along and clumsily trample him down; so she conceived a devious plan. 

The toad wrote a letter to the millipede. "My dear millipede, you are certainly the best dancer in the entire forest. I have however, a question: when you are dancing, do you lift first the 52nd foot and then shift to the other side with the 56th foot. Or do you begin by softly rolling your 200th foot and then go back to the 150th foot? How exactly do you perform your dance? That is my question. Yours sincerely, the toad."

The millipede read the letter carefully, and the next time when he came to the dancing place where all the forest animals had already gathered, he became embarrassed. Instead of just dancing as usual, he thought, "Do I start with the 52nd foot, or do I roll slowly from the 200th foot ahead? How do I exactly perform my dancing?"

As he was fully entangled in his thoughts, he could not dance anymore. He began to stagger and stumble. "What is the matter?" asked the forest animals in amazement. The toad had attained her objective.

This is called "paralysis through analysis"- being paralyzed by thinking too much. In the same way when we are too much absorbed in various thoughts and start analyzing things on the mental platform, then the mind which is material becomes the ruler and it becomes very difficult to follow the path of Krishna consciousness. Instead we should have full confidence in the previous acharya and try to realize the subject matter. In this way I should be first preaching to myself and thus improve my own behaviour instead of becoming paralyzed by analysis. 

I pray at the lotus feet of my spiritual master that I come out of this entanglement of the mind and that I realize the subject matter for progressing spiritually.

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