Enthusiasm

10th Feb 2004
Kalacakra Krsna das

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

One of the important words in HG Girivaradhari Prabhu's mail engaged my thoughts for the day. It is the word 'Enthusiasm'. His mail revolved around the main point that we should perform our devotional service enthusiastically. We use the word Enthusiasm frequently in our daily lives too. My humble experience with many English words is that, since most of them originated from other  ancient, well-structured languages, they carry a definite meaning that is held together by the root of that word. But over years, with the modern usage, many of those words lost their actual meanings  and they are being used  under slightly (or sometimes largely) deviated meanings. I looked into the dictionary for the meaning of the word 'Enthusiasm'. Here is what it said in essence: 

Enthusiasm first appeared in English in 1603 with the meaning possession by God. The source of the word is the Greek enthousiasmos, which ultimately comes from the adjective entheos, having the God within, formed from en,(in, within) and theos, (God.). Nowadays one can have an enthusiasm for almost anything, from water skiing to fast food, without religion entering into it at all.] 

Additionally, the dictionary also recommends a reference into Indo-European roots which means there is sufficient reason to believe that all these words must have ultimately originated from older Indian languages like Sanskrit. 

Now the root of this word is very interesting to note. 'Enthuse' comes from the root theos ("God"). As we all know words like 'theism', 'theology' etc also come from this same root. No wonder we have been told time and again to perform our devotional service enthusiastically, or in other words, having the God within (our hearts). This is quite simple and logical to understand, because, Krsna is the source of all pleasure. So if we have Krsna in our hearts and perform our service, naturally we are ought to be joyful and enthusiastic!. Krsna also says in Gita 9.2 - susukhaṁ kartum avyayam - devotional service is joyfully performed! 

HH Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj conveys this same point in a very hilarious and thought-provoking words thus: "See, our Krsna has a water-melon like face! He is always cheerful and smiling. Have you ever seen a deity or picture of Krsna being morose? A rogue may come in front of Him, still He smiles! An old man comes or anybody comes.., He is always smiling, whereas look at our faces...! they are long and morose like a rotten-banana. So please come to Krsna and you will also have a cheerful watermelon face like Krsna!" 

Now getting into the shastras, we find that Srila Rupa Goswami lists utsāhā, enthusiasm as the first and foremost in the list of six items required for success in our devotional service. This we can find in the 3rd verse of Nectar of Instruction. 

NOI 3
utsāhān niścayād dhairyāt tat-tat-karma-pravartanāt
saṅga-tyāgāt sato vṛtteḥ ṣaḍbhir bhaktiḥ prasidhyati

There are six principles favorable to the execution of pure devotional service: (1) being enthusiastic, (2) endeavoring with confidence, (3) being patient, (4) acting according to regulative principles [such as śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ smaraṇam [SB 7.5.23] – hearing, chanting and remembering Kṛṣṇa], (5) abandoning the association of nondevotees, and (6) following in the footsteps of the previous ācāryas. These six principles undoubtedly assure the complete success of pure devotional service.

We are not done yet. Nothing is complete without a Prabhupada 's punch in the purport:

Endeavor executed with intelligence in Kṛṣṇa consciousness is called utsāha, or enthusiasm. The devotees find the correct means by which everything can be utilized in the service of the Lord (nirbandhaḥ kṛṣṇa-sambandhe yuktaṁ vairāgyam ucyate). The execution of devotional service is not a matter of idle meditation but practical action in the foreground of spiritual life.

Prabhupada 's Formula for Enthusiasm:

Endeavor + Intelligence (in KC)  = Enthusiasm.
where,
Endeavor = Practical action in the foreground of spiritual life.
Intelligence = Knack of utilizing everything in the service of Krsna. 
I sincerely apologize for the long posting....probably I became too enthusiastic..!

Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev,
Kalacakra Krsna das.