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Choosing to Fall Down

Wednesday, 11 July 2018 / Published in Articles, Mahatma das / 8,311 views

By Mahatma das

What is falldown? Breaking the four regulative principles or giving up devotional service is generally referred to as falldown. Although this is the main focus of this article, the principles I discuss relate to positively dealing with any kind of setback in spiritual life.

Falldown happens to many devotees and it can be discouraging. It can even cause one to give up.

“Women and wealth are very difficult problems for the devotee making progress on the path back to Godhead. Many stalwarts in the devotional line fell victim to these allurements and thus retreated from the path of liberation.” (SB 1.2.17)

Despite the fact that “many stalwarts fell victim,” Srila Prabhupada made very strong statements against breaking initiation vows. He once said that only an animal cannot keep a promise. He also said that one is not even a gentleman, what to speak of a devotee, if he doesn’t keep his promise. And he added that love means to follow one’s initiation vows. (Of course, he did make a distinction between an occasional accidental falldown and repeated falldowns).

Many devotees find these words sobering and purifying, just the medicine they need to keep them committed to their vows. Yet if we do not regularly follow all our vows, these statements can be upsetting. They can cause guilt, shame or even depression.

“Because if I’m fallen, then I’m a divided person. I’ve got an internalized set of ideals—the voice of the spiritual master, the voice of the community, the voice of Krsna saying to me, “This is the way you ought to be.” And my own perception is, “I’m not that way.”So one develops an acute sense of being ill at ease.”

(Ravindra Svarupa quoted in BTG 25-06, “Falldown From Spiritual Life”).

Choosing to Fall

Fortunately, being fallen is not our constitutional position. It is a position we choose, albeit it doesn’t always feel like we are choosing it. Yet, we are responsible for our actions. If someone screams at you and you become angry and fight back, you are choosing to act in that way. You could also choose to forgive them, apologize to them hug them, or touch their feet.

“Wait a minute. Doesn’t Krsna say in the Gita that activities are carried out by the modes of nature and that I only think I am doing them? And doesn’t He say that we are forced to act helplessly due the nature we have acquired? How can you say I always have choices? Prabhu, I am a ksatriya. If someone screams at me I’ll punch him right in the nose. I ain’t no brahmana. I don’t go around hugging people that scream at me.”

If the modes are responsible for our actions, there would be no meaning to karma. If we are all forced to act helplessly, how can we be held accountable for our actions? And why would Krsna even bother telling us what to do and what not to do if we have no control over our choices? The Vedanta sutra says:

“The jiva soul must be a performer of actions because the injunctions of scripture must have some purpose.”

Baladeva Vidyabhusana says that sastric injuctions that state that one gets different results from different actions would be meaningless if the modes of nature were the actual cause of one’s actions.

So if we ever have difficulty following our principles or vows, it’s best to honestly admit our shortcomings. This means to admit that we chose to fall down. Something very powerful happens by admitting we personally chose to not follow certain practices: we realize that right now we can choose to follow them. And even if you are not having difficulty following the four regulative principles, you can apply this principle by choosing to improve yourself or overcome bad habits.

Lamentation Means Purification

Prabhupada advises that we should feel regret and remorse for our past sinful activities. This will then motivate us to rectify ourselves. The following prayer from the Srimad Bhagavatm exemplifies such regret:

“I am such a sinful person, but since I have now gotten this opportunity, I must completely control my mind, life and senses and always engage in devotional service so that I may not fall again into the deep darkness and ignorance of material life.”

Note that a dangerous alternative to regret is extreme guilt (Prabhupada did say a little guilt is helpful). Generally, excessive guilt throws us on a downward spiral by making it more difficult to follow the principles that we feel guilty we are not following. In other words, the more guilty we feel about not following, the more we don’t follow. And the more we don’t follow, the more guilty we feel that we are not following. In this way we get caught in a vicious cycle.

The good news is that we don’t have to stay down if we don’t want to. No matter how many times we have fallen, no matter how hard we have fallen, we still can do something about it; we can choose to stop falling. But we will only do this when we decide that we want to be Krsna conscious more than anything else. When we chant and follow the principles because we “want to” rather than because we “have to,” we will be standing on firm ground. We only deceive ourselves when we remain fallen and blame it on something other than ourselves. By doing this we virtually give away the power we possess to rectify ourselves.

So the greatest problem solver we have at our disposal is our desire to be Krsna conscious.

Enthusiasm After the Fall

It can seem contradictory to be enthusiastic to continue in Krsna conscious after a fall. I know this well because I have become discouraged just by having a dream about a falldown or a persisting thought about doing something sinful. So how can we be enthusiastic after we break a vow or commit a sinful act?

The reality is that if we don’t become enthusiastic about improving ourselves, we are going to have trouble moving forward. We can lament and feel remorseful about our fallen condition, yet we can be enthusiastic for bhakti at the same time. We see this mood in many of the prayers of our acaryas. On one hand they are lamenting their fallen nature and on the other hand they are expressing a strong hankering to achieve Krsna’s lotus feet. These “negative emotions” can be the very impetus to move us forward. How? They can make us disgusted with being fallen. Like the saying goes, “I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

When we become ill we don’t think, “Well, I am sick and weak, so what’s the use of taking care of myself? Rather, we take better care of ourselves. So if we fall down in our spiritual practices doesn’t it make sense to do the same thing – to take more care of our spiritual life?

“Okay,” you say, “that makes sense. But the fact is that when I am not following all my spiritual practices and vows I am not enthusiastic. So it really does seem to be a contradiction. Isn’t enthusiasm a by-product of strictly following?”

Yes, that true. But it’s also true that we need to be enthusiastic to become Krsna conscious.

In the Nectar of Instruction Rupa Goswami advises that first we must be enthusiastic. If enthusiasm naturally comes when we do bhakti, why would Rupa Goswami need to recommend it? He recommends it because we are not always enthusiastic for devotional service. So he is saying, “Be enthusiastic even if you are not enthusiastic.”

“That enthusiasm must be maintained under all circumstance. That is our price for entering into Krsna’s kingdom. And maya is always trying to take away our enthusiasm to serve Krsna, because without enthusiasm everything else is finished.”(Letter from Srila Prabhupada)

It’s Your Choice

You might think it’s artificial to be enthusiastic when it’s not real. But if you wait to be enthusiastic until you feel like being enthusiastic, you might be waiting for lifetimes, especially if you are not following your devotional principles strictly. What if I say I don’t feel like being humble? Should I just not treat others with respect now? Should I indulge my ego at every opportunity simply because I don’t feel like being humble? Should I only think of myself as an insignificant servant of Krsna if it comes naturally? If I think like that it will never come naturally. The reality is that to advance in Krsna consciousness we have to do what is favorable for our spiritual advancement, even if we don’t feel like it. And being enthusiastic is first on the list. As Prabhupada said: “Without enthusiasm everything is finished.”

When I’ve had difficulty I’ve always understood that this was the optimum time for maya to discourage me. So I would react by becoming twice as enthusiastic as normal. You might wonder how I could become twice as enthusiastic after messing up. I just figured that if I don’t become twice as enthusiastic I’ll probably become twice as discouraged.

The truth is that you can become twice as enthusiastic anytime you want. What happened a minute ago doesn’t matter – and I can prove it to you. Stand up while you keep reading (go ahead and stand up for me). Now put your arms in the air and yell out GAURANGA three times as enthusiastically as you can. See. It didn’t matter what else was going on in your life; you just enthusiastically did it (and if you didn’t do it, please do it so I can prove my point).

So, you can choose to be enthusiastic even if you don’t feel enthusiastic. And there is a big side benefit to this: when you choose to be enthusiastic you’ll start to feel enthusiastic. And if you are feeling more enthusiastic right now as a result of yelling out GAURANGA, you can yell out GAURANGA as much as you like.

Remember, if you don’t choose to be enthusiastic you are choosing to be unenthusiastic.

Fall-down is Not Failure

Fall down is only a failure if we stay down. Since maya’s job is to keep us down, she’ll tell us we are weak, we can’t follow strictly, we will never be a good devotee, etc. If we listen to her enough, we’ll start to believe her (and we want to believe her when we are looking for good excuses). So our glory is that if we do fall, we rise every time we fall. Remember, there’s a big difference between failing and being a failure.

What’s Good About This?

When a devotee who has fallen down comes to me, I ask them, “What’s good about your fall?” Since they are usually discouraged, the normal response I get is: “Nothing is good about this.” But I keep asking and usually the devotee lists all the mistakes he or she made that led to the fall. Then I ask, “So what did you learn from this?” And we review the lessons in a way that insures, as far as possible, it won’t happen again (part of the lesson they learn is they are not as Krsna conscious as they thought they were.) Then I ask, “If the result of this fall is that you now understand enough about yourself and falling down that it’s unlikely to happen again, do you think this falldown can actually be your pillar to success? All of a sudden the lights go off in their head and they go from being discouraged and distressed to being optimistic about their future in Krsna consciousness.

So if you have ever fall down, ask yourself, “What’s good about this? What can I learn that will prevent this from ever happening again?” “One who does good, will never be overcome by evil” (at least not for long).

The reality is that if you think you can play with maya then you will probably have to get burnt a little to learn your lesson. Fortunately, we learn a lot from our failures. Thus the saying goes: “sometimes you win and sometimes you learn.”

Keeping Moving Up

Sometimes, especially if one has fallen hard or has not been able to keep one’s vows for a long time, it’s difficult to get back to chanting 16 rounds daily and following the four regulative principles. Still, in whatever situation we find ourselves, we should at least be standing and moving upwards by being committed to maintaining a certain level of Krsna consciousness daily. We are not finished when we are defeated; we are finished when we surrender (unless it’s to Krsna, of course). Failure doesn’t mean you’ll never succeed; it just might mean it will take a little longer.

There’s a story about a person who went to a guru and asked to be directed to the road to success. The guru didn’t say a word; he just pointed to a place in the distance. The excited man ran off and soon a loud “SPLAT” was heard. The man limped back to the guru, bruised and stunned. Thinking he had gone to the wrong place, he again asked where to find success and the guru again pointed to the same place in the distance. He faithfully walked off and soon an even louder SPLAT was heard. When the man returned, he was bloody and broken. Obviously upset, he said to his guru, “I followed your directions and all I got was splattered. So this time could you please just tell me exactly where I’ll find success.” The guru finally spoke and said, “Success is where I pointed. It’s just a little past SPLAT.”

It’s a Glorious Struggle

Is it difficult to always follow one’s vows? Sometimes it can be a piece of cake and other times it can be the greatest challenge. One thought that has helped me during times of struggle is this: it’s a glorious struggle. Every one in the material world is struggling to achieve happiness, sense gratification and a myriad of goals they set for themselves. Even lazy people are struggling to avoid work – and then struggling to pay their bills. But there is no glory in these struggles because the ultimate result is death and rebirth. But in Krsna consciousness the stakes are very high – the opportunity to play and dance with Krsna. So if I am going to have struggle anyway, why not struggle to get Krsna’s special mercy so I can go back to Him? Why not struggle for something glorious?

The following story perfectly illustrates “the glorious struggle.” In India, disciples often do madhukari for their gurus (collecting food from different homes). In the summer in Vrndavana, disciples would go out early in the morning to avoid the heat. However, there was one disciple who went out every day at noon. Because it was extremely hot at that time the people that he was begging from became concerned about him. So they all went to his guru pleading that this disciple be allowed to beg early in the morning. The guru told them that it’s better he goes out at noon. They couldn’t believe he was so insensitive to his disciple’s suffering. He then added, “Because Krsna is giving him more mercy because of the suffering he is undergoing.”

So during difficult times, times when you might feel like “what’s the use,” think of it as a wonderful opportunity to receive an abundance of Krsna’s mercy by showing Him that despite the difficulties or falldowns you had in the past, you are willing tolerate the pushing and pulling of your senses in order to come closer to Him. Take this wonderful opportunity to show Krsna that you want Him more than you want anything else.

And then what do you think will happen? Guru and Krsna will show you special mercy. And what will that mercy look like? It will come in the form of all the strength, intelligence, and determination you need to get back on your feet and stay there.

Exercise

Brainstorm three ways to get around, over, through or totally blow up obstacles or roadblocks that are making it difficult for to strictly following your vows and devotional practices. For every obstacle you regularly face, come up with three different strategies for handling it.

There are any number of ways that will work, but you will only find them if you spend time looking for them. It all starts with asking how I can solve this problem. Seek and ye shall find. Ask and the door will be opened. Krsna is in your heart. He’ll help you.

Here a suggestion for dealing with some of your more overpowering weaknesses. Have a game plan. Make a list of five right things you could do when you are driven to do something wrong (by wrong it could just mean wasting time doing something you don’t need to be doing). Have your list handy and when you are feeling the urge to do the wrong thing, pull out your list and choose one or more things to do.

Those five things could include calling a friend who knows and understands your situation, someone who can give you “first refusal.” The list might include taking a japa walk, writing in a journal, jumping in a cold shower, eating a sweet ball – anything that puts some time and energy between the impulse to act and the actual choice to action.

_____________________

This article was from the latest Illumination Newsletter. To read more newsletters by Mahatma Das or to receive a monthly e-newsletter, go to www.tstrain.com

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19 Responses to “Choosing to Fall Down”

  1. Akruranatha says :

    What a practical, positive, topical, down to earth and clear article.

    Bravo Mahatma Prabhu! I am going to www.tstrain.com right away.

  2. Tamoharadasa says :

    “The world goes on in its own perfect way. No person can deflect it by the breadth of a hair from the course chalked out for it by providence. . . . What is necessary is to change our outlook to this very world” — His Divine Grace Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Goswami Maharajah Thakura.

    Herein Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Maharaja describes what is the actual situation. Karma cannot be changed by one hair’s breadth. The only person with free will is the pure devotee, and the disciples of such a pure devortee also enjoy special dispensation, otherwise, as described above. By the Grace of advanced devotees we realize what is the position. We are not the doer or the enjoyer. However, the enlightened devotee now has a choice to be Krsna conscious or not, and to perform devotional service , but not the “karmis”. By acting in Krsna consicousness by the instructions of the spiritual master, we are acting on the platfom of liberated souls under Yoga-may, otherwise, it is all Maya, with not even a hair’s breadth of so-called free will. for the nondevotee, it is all the modes of material nature acting, and we are watching in the illusion that we are the enjoyers.

    The only way to control the senses and maintain celibacy etc. is to not allow the mind to venture from the initial thought to the realm of feeling. Thinking, feeling, willing, and acting is the flow; so if we catch our deviance at the realm of thought, before our emotions and desires are inflamed, by immdiately thinking of Krsna and chanting etc. it is possible to be fully self-controlled, or rather, controlled by Yogamaya. Once the devotee is a little advanced, she will be spontaneously attracted to devotional service without deviation. This is the higher path to be reached asap.

  3. anwar says :

    Thank you so much Mahatma prabhu for taking the time to enlighten us.

  4. asprng_vaishnav says :

    Hari Bol
    PAMHO. AGTSP.
    Very nice article, practical advice. I am going to save this article in my personal archives. I wish iskcon temple distribute this article to their congregations.
    Hari Bol
    your servant

  5. varahanarasimha says :

    Falling down is a cheating propensity , and is a willfull neglect of the lotusfeet of Krsna and Srila Prabhupada, accidental falldowns accour if one is not cent percent absorbed in Krsna’s lotusfeet. Just like one kind of this cheating propensity is manifested when devotees get married 2-3-4 times, or goes from brahmacari to sannyasi tp grhastha and again takes sannyasa this is bhogus mentality , and for those who don’t respect the varna asrama system they are offeding Sri Krsna Himself , also for those who choose to get married again after they are 45 or something are making very poor judgements- life is after all meant to become free from the clutches of sex life.Yes will I choose to be right or be kind on this subject- I believe speaking the truth is kindness in these matters
    ys
    Payonidhi das

  6. raviraj says :

    Hare Krishna Prabhu,
    PAMHO, AGTSP
    Sometimes we are left alone with no association. Even in this situation, if we try to follow strictly, that is a sign of enthusiasm, determination. But we also know that we cannot follow alone, and ultimately thats what happens, we cannot follow everything required in bhakti with full sincerity and determination.Chanting itself might seem immpossible. So questions come like- “What is Krishna trying to see by testing us alone? Or why Krishna put me out of association?” In this case its very hard to be hopeful, one ends up thinking that I might have committed done something very bad, so I am being kept out. This becomes even more intolerable if I just cannot pinpoint the reason for this condition. Was it offense, or lust, or attitude or what. Its very hard to be enthu, determined or hopeful. Mind keeps putting additional pressure by saying that “trying to be determined is like trying to prove that bhakti is possible alone, which is not possible, so you better give up”. After trying a # of times and still failing, somehow the determination is just not coming back. Its very confusing. Please throw some light on this. What to do when one is alone?
    ys
    raviraj

  7. Chintamani says :

    Our only hope of maintaining spiritual life is to associate with pure devotees, bhagavata sanga. Devotees need to be trained in how to do this, specifically take shelter of Srila Prabhupada’s teachings, systematically and regularly, deeply studying his books and hearing from him as much as possible. Sadly it seems this is all too often neglected, with disastrous consequences. We work hard for some years, neglect our hearing and chanting, and reap the inevitable consequences. Especially we who have come from duskritina backgrounds are always poised on the precipice of our past life, liable to quickly forget even the most basic spiritual points and go back to what we were — unless we constantly recharge our spiritual batteries with serious amounts of sravanam kirtanam.

    “ Sat-sanga means assembly, discussion. Bodhayantah parasparam, tusyanti ca ramanti ca. If you are not interested in association, discussion, then you are finished. So… karmis, they are fools and rascals. When you have got this center, it is not that you should be engaged from morning till you go to bed for sense gratification. That is not life. That is karmi’s life. You have no time for sat-sanga, for association. You cannot make any progress by this sort of karmi’s life. We have to work for organization, but not that whole day and night engaged and no sat-sanga. That is a misguided policy, and it will spoil the whole structure.” SPC.New Delhi, Nov 3, 1973

  8. varahanarasimha says :

    In answer Rajivraja’s question : I also live outside the temple now after I lived for almost 20 years in ISKCON temples, you have to become strong in your KC, first you must understand you are never alone Krsna, Srila Prabhupada and the Holy name is there- I do two things I might suggest- I chant a lot of extra rounds- often 64 or more daily, I read never less than 2-3 hours daily, you must use all your time ( that you are not working) for hearing and chanting, it is helpful to listen to Srila Prabhupadas lectures daily , and watch DVS with His Divine Grace, get as much devotee association as you can, be strict and determined- don’t let the mind become a slave of the lower modes of nature go to sleep early, get up early, don’t watch TV and Karmi radio as much as possible, learn slokas
    and take shelter of Lord Narasimha constantly, there is a webside with many nice Narasimha prayers on line http://www.stephen-knapp.com/prayers_to_lord_narasimhadeva.htm if possible worship Lord Narasimha
    at home and pray for His protection from maya-stay in touch with devotee friends daily and avoid non devotional friendships as they entangle you in bodily conception of life- remember you are an eternal servant of Krsna- not the doer and enjoyer-try to regularly hear Srimad Bhagavatam from devotee that are advanced in KC- and make chanting Hare Krsna your life and soul- be strong in KC- don’t be weak-Srila Prabhupada has recommended to have KC programs with one’s family daily-
    I hope this is of some help ,if you don’t have all Prabhupadas books they are at vedabase.net- life is short and we must become more and more sincere in our KC

    I found this interesting letter by Srila Prabhupada:
    March 23, 1969

    Oahu, Hawaii

    My Dear Himavati,

    Please accept my blessings. I am in due receipt of your nice letter of March 17, 1969, and I thank you very much for it.

    Your feelings of appreciation are too much kind, and I can see you are making good advancement with your humble attitude of service to the Lord and His devotees. This is very nice. Yes that is the way–Krishna wants to be approached through His devotee. Just like the prayers we sing–yasya prasadat bhagavata prasada.

    Keep Narottama das very nicely. He is a very good boy, sometimes he is attracted by maya but this is not very usual thing. So kindly try to protect this boy as much as possible, and when you come to N.Y. he may also come so that I may see him again.

    Yes I received the package of clothing, and they are too much beautiful, but still must be a little longer. The first set which you made for Them was the perfect fit. So I am sending them to you, so that you can measure from this first set of clothes and make more in the same size. I think this will solve the fitting problem.

    Regarding your question about Lord Siva and Thakura Haridasa, and their different response to sex agitation: This does not mean that Lord Siva has become degraded from the devotional platform. A devotee even if he is sometimes found that he is attracted by sex life, that does not mean he is degraded. That is by chance.

    Because Lord Siva is Grhastha, so by his past habits if he appeared to have been attracted by sex life, that does not mean he has been degraded from his position. You should never think of any devotee like that. There are many other stories also, but such apparent falling is without any influence to very very advanced devotees.

    A neophyte should always be careful. One should not discuss about such great devotees’ apparent fall-down. Just like one should not discuss about the sun who evaporates urine from the earth; it is possible for the sun to do it, and still remain the sun, but for ordinary man if he lives in a filthy place he will be infected.

    So Lord Siva or Lord Brahma, they are highly elevated devotees, and we should not try to criticize about their behavior even though it appears against the rules. These things are very nicely explained in Srimad-Bhagavatam in course of discussion between Maharaja Pariksit and Sukadeva Goswami, in the 10th canto.

    Your next question: In regard to Kardama Muni, how can a pure devotee become passionate for any amount of agitation?

    That is not passion. One should not be impotent also. One should have full potency, to beget children, but such sex life should be under his full control. Passion is a different thing. Passion makes one blind. And a devotee is full controller; that is the difference. The example is given of the tortoise; as soon as he likes he discloses his senses, and when he likes he pulls them within.

    That is the position of a pure devotee. He can wind up the senses, whenever he likes and he can exhibit the senses whenever he likes. On the whole, the senses are under his control. He is not under the control of the senses as are the ordinary persons. That is the meaning of Goswami. A Goswami does not mean he is to become impotent; and can have no children; but he can use it when he likes. They are never the victim of passion.

    Sense gratification means unlawful sex life. Sex life is not sense gratification . . . unlawful sex life is sense gratification. If there is no need of sex life and one uses sex life anyway, that is sense gratification. But when there is need of sex life, that is not sense gratification.

    Never think that the devotee is impotent and is obliged to become free from sex life. If required they can take to sex life 1000 times. Otherwise, if there is no need for it, they have no use for it. Kardama Muni married a wife. Why he shall not give her children?

    The wife begged that she must have some children. So he must satisfy the wife and give her some children, that is the duty of husband. But he left his wife as soon as the son was grown up. Not that he used to live with the wife for all the days.

    So far Lord Brahma and his attraction for his daughter; this illustration should be taken by conditioned souls, that even a person like Brahma is sometimes victimized, how much careful we should be. Not that even Brahma was enticed, so we shall become enticed more and more. This is an example set for us by great devotees.

    To become agitated is not very unusual thing, but to control it, that is the real thing.

    I hope this meets you in very good health, and I shall be anxiously awaiting our meeting together with your husband and yourself in New York.

    Your ever well-wisher,
    A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

    Srila Prabhupada said it all in this letter
    ys
    Payonidhi das

  9. Chintamani says :

    In the Gita, where Arjuna raises the question of falldown, there are some wonderful instructions. Here’s one purport that I have found helpful. Simply hear about Krishna and take prasad. I’ve the second part of that one nicely together, just working on the first part now :)

    TRANSLATION
    Lord Sri Krsna said: O mighty-armed son of Kunti, it is undoubtedly very difficult to curb the restless mind, but it is possible by suitable practice and by detachment.
    PURPORT
    The difficulty of controlling the obstinate mind, as expressed by Arjuna, is accepted by the Personality of Godhead. But at the same time He suggests that by practice and detachment it is possible. What is that practice? In the present age no one can observe the strict rules and regulations of placing oneself in a sacred place, focusing the mind on the Supersoul, restraining the senses and mind, observing celibacy, remaining alone, etc. By the practice of Krsna consciousness, however, one engages in nine types of devotional service to the Lord. The first and foremost of such devotional engagements is hearing about Krsna. This is a very powerful transcendental method for purging the mind of all misgivings. The more one hears about Krsna, the more one becomes enlightened and detached from everything that draws the mind away from Krsna. By detaching the mind from activities not devoted to the Lord, one can very easily learn vairagya. Vairagya means detachment from matter and engagement of the mind in spirit. Impersonal spiritual detachment is more difficult than attaching the mind to the activities of Krsna. This is practical because by hearing about Krsna one becomes automatically attached to the Supreme Spirit. This attachment is called paresanubhava, spiritual satisfaction. It is just like the feeling of satisfaction a hungry man has for every morsel of food he eats. The more one eats while hungry, the more one feels satisfaction and strength. Similarly, by discharge of devotional service one feels transcendental satisfaction as the mind becomes detached from material objectives. It is something like curing a disease by expert treatment and appropriate diet. Hearing of the transcendental activities of Lord Krsna is therefore expert treatment for the mad mind, and eating the foodstuff offered to Krsna is the appropriate diet for the suffering patient. This treatment is the process of Krsna consciousness. Bg 6.35

  10. varahanarasimha says :

    Bhagavad-gītā As It Is 2.62
    dhyāyato viṣayān puḿsaḥ

    sańgas teṣūpajāyate

    sańgāt sañjāyate kāmaḥ

    kāmāt krodho ‘bhijāyate

    SYNONYMS

    dhyāyataḥ — while contemplating; viṣayān — sense objects; puḿsaḥ — of a person; sańgaḥ — attachment; teṣu — in the sense objects; upajāyate — develops; sańgāt — from attachment; sañjāyate — develops; kāmaḥ — desire; kāmāt — from desire; krodhaḥ — anger; abhijāyate — becomes manifest.

    TRANSLATION

    While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person develops attachment for them, and from such attachment lust develops, and from lust anger arises.

    PURPORT

    One who is not Kṛṣṇa conscious is subjected to material desires while contemplating the objects of the senses. The senses require real engagements, and if they are not engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, they will certainly seek engagement in the service of materialism. In the material world everyone, including Lord Śiva and Lord Brahmā — to say nothing of other demigods in the heavenly planets — is subjected to the influence of sense objects, and the only method to get out of this puzzle of material existence is to become Kṛṣṇa conscious. Lord Śiva was deep in meditation, but when Pārvatī agitated him for sense pleasure, he agreed to the proposal, and as a result Kārtikeya was born. When Haridāsa Ṭhākura was a young devotee of the Lord, he was similarly allured by the incarnation of Māyā-devī, but Haridāsa easily passed the test because of his unalloyed devotion to Lord Kṛṣṇa. As illustrated in the above-mentioned verse of Śrī Yāmunācārya, a sincere devotee of the Lord shuns all material sense enjoyment due to his higher taste for spiritual enjoyment in the association of the Lord. That is the secret of success. One who is not, therefore, in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, however powerful he may be in controlling the senses by artificial repression, is sure ultimately to fail, for the slightest thought of sense pleasure will agitate him to gratify his desires.

    Sridhara Swami’s Commentary

    Having pointed out the defect of not having the external physical senses under control, the defect in not having the mind under control is now being given in these two verses. For one who is given to dreaming about sensual pursuits considering them worthy of indulgence a strong attachment develops for them. From this strong attachment arises addicting desires for them, from these addicting desires flares up anger when these addicting desires are not satisfied.

    Kesava Kasmiri’s Commentary

    Lord Krishna states that one who contemplates sensual objects like form and touch develops in the mind attachment for them in the form of lust deluded into believing such objects to be the root cause of apparent happiness. From this attachment springs desire which is but a modification of attachment. Sometimes one is able to gratify ones senses by enjoying these sense objects. At that time a particular state of mind arises where one becomes enslaved and controlled by the desire of the very same object one is seeking so desperately to exploit. Other times ones desires are thwarted and obstructed and unfulfilled in satisfying ones desire to experience sense objects leads to frustration which is also a modification of the mind. At this time anger is directed in fury towards whatever it was that became the obstacle that blocked ones gratification.

  11. Akruranatha says :

    In the Bhaktivedant Purport to B.G. 6.35 quoted above by Chintamani, Srila Prabhupada refers to a wonderful verse that Kavi Muni (the first of the nine sons of Rsabhadeva known as the Yogendras) spoke to Maharaja Nimi in the 11th Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam (11.2.42):

    bhaktih paresanubhavo viraktir
    anyatra caisa trika eka kalah
    prapadyamanasya yatasnatah syus
    tustih pusti ksud-apayo ‘nu-ghasam

    The meaning is that, just as when a hungry man eats he experiences three things at once, increasing with each bite — namely, pleasure, nourishment, and relief from hunger — in the same way one who takes shelter of Lord Krishna (the “prapadyamana”) experiences three things: (1) bhakti, (2) paresanubhava, and (3) viraktir anyatra.

    That is, by taking shelter of Krishna we experience (1) bhakti, or devotional service, which is compared to the pleasure of eating, (2) para-isa-anubhava, or direct perception of the Lord, which Srila Prabhupada explains in the B.G. 6.35 purport as attachment to the supreme spirit, and which is compared to nourishment one gets while eating, and (3) detachment from other things (i.e., from anything not connected with devotional service), which is compared to relief from hunger.

    Srila Prabhupada often referred to this verse (S.B. 11.2.42) without directly quoting the whole thing, as in the famous “On Chanting” recording where he says that you will experience satisfaction from chanting just like a hungry man knows he is satisfied when he eats. (The proof of the pudding is in the eating.)

    So, by engaging in taking shelter of Krishna through hearing and chanting and serving, we will get “paresanubhava,” or direct experience of attachment to Krishna, which will also have the effect of making us happy, satisfying us, and making us detached from other engagements (such as engagements in forbidden activities we still may have some lingering attachment for).

    The process of accepting the regulative principles in the very beginning and thus curbing the senses through “niyamya”, or regulation, is recommended by Krishna in the end of the 3rd Chapter, especially when accompanied with knowledge of how the intelligence is higher than the mind and senses and sense objects.

    We need to have other engagements for our senses rather than the habitual ones which are against the principles of bhakti.

    My own experience was that I started smoking cigarettes very young in life and I used to smoke over two packs a day. I tried very many times to quit, but felt very uncomfortable without smoking. However, by joining the temple I was able to quit very easily, without any discomfort.

    When a child is learning to walk there is a lot of “falling down”, but eventually the legs and motor skills become more coordinated and walking becomes easy and natural. Similarly, I expect constant, unmotivated, favorable devotional service will eventually become very easy and natural as we follow Mahatma’s advice and keep practicing with enthusiasm, patience and determination.

  12. raviraj says :

    Hare Krishna Prabhus,
    Please accept my dandavats.
    Thanks you all very much for the helpful advice you all are giving.
    Thanks a lot for encouraging me and guiding me, and for giving references from Prabhupad’s writings.
    I will certainly try my best to follow in the best possible manner.
    YS raviraj

  13. asprng_vaishnav says :

    Hare Krsna
    PAMHO. AGSTP.
    Regarding comment #5:
    With due respect Payonidhi prabhu, i like to present following and then ask you a question:
    There were 3 men devotees. All were sincere devotees, following 4 regs, chanting rounds, doing devotional services. Let us call them A, B, and C. All three were married and equally attached to sex life. All got divorced from their respective wives at age 45.
    Case 1. Devotee A recognized his limitations and got married again after divorce in a short period of time. He continued to follow 4 regs, chanting rounds and devotional service. He was happily married in his second marriage and content in his sex life.
    Case 2. Devotee B refused to marry again. He continued his devotional service, followed 4 regs, chanted rounds, did devotional service. Only problem was he could not wipe out hankering for sex life. When he came in contact with young females, he looked at them with sex desire. He would not act on the desire, but his mind kept thinking about it.
    Case 3: Devotee C refused to marry again. He continued his devotional service, followed 3 regs, chanted rounds, did devotional service. Only problem was he could not wipe out hankering for sex life.
    He acted on that desire. He would date one girl and after breakup find another one. He would indulge in pornography.
    My question is which devotee amongst these 3 will have maximum spiritual advancement at the end of their lives?
    Hari Bol
    Your servant
    ps
    Please note devotee woman case is not considered as according to Srila Prabhupad, a woman should be married or protected by her sons or father. For a mother at age 45, a son might not be old enough to take care of her and her father might be too old.

  14. Mithuna Das says :

    Hare Krishna Prabhus

    I have read Mahatma Prabhu’s article , and I find it to be filled with very sound practical advice. As a peer in the practicing devotional community I would like to share my perspective on this topic ,especially about why we fall down in the first place. Falldown is intimately related to our FAILURE TO FIRMLY GRASP the fundamental knowledge of the nature of our being. This ontological knowledge or ” sambhanda tattva” unequivocally states that ( despite what appear to the senses in the phenomenal world) we are really eternal fragmental parts of Krishna, and we are related to Him by servitude. Because this is our constitutional position, it is INCONTOVERTIBLE, and we can never be made alien to it. Upon learning this about ourselves we should immediately try to move this ontological knowledge from our “head” to our “heart”. If our practice of devotional service lingers on one or more of the platforms of distress, desire for benediction, or curiosity, there is every chance that these external motives can become spent, and devotional service can become a mere nominal activity in our life; we thus literally open the door to falldown. On the other hand if we perform our devotional service with the understanding that we are ( nothing but) Krishna’s eternal servant ,then it becomes much easier to be motivated to remain in Krishna’s service. As we serve from this latter platform, this knowledge of our constitutional position moves from “our head” to “our heart”, and to the extent that we do so, to that extent we also leave the plane of scholarship( the mental platform), and enter the domain of Bhakti. This entry into Bhakti is not mechanical , and is therefore not solely governed by our” devotional push”. Grace plays an inestimable part of our entry into Bhakti, and we should earnestly supplicate the Lord( and His Associates) to IRREVOCABLY plant in the DEEPEST recesses of our hearts , full acceptance of the FACT that we are spirit souls , eternal servants of Krishna. If we practice devotional service with this understanding we will observe many encouraging results. Afterall, aren’t we scientists conducting an experiment with the body as the apparatus and acts of devotion as the procedure? Our intrinsic motivation will increase since we are beginning to understand that our identity cannot be changed by anything or circumstance , nor does it depend on the presence or absence of others. The continuous streaming of intrinsic motivation makes steadiness in Krishna Consciousness both accessible and realistic. As we acquire some steadiness ( and purity of intent) a deepening satisfaction arises in our heart. To the extent that we are steady and possessed of pure intent , to that extent taste also becomes steady and deep. As we become satisfied in devotional service , our senses ( including the mind, and genetalia) become quiet, and IT BECOMES EASIER TO FOLLOW THE REGULATIVE PRINCIPLES AND TO CHANT THE HOLY NAME . If we approach our Krishna Consciousness with a firm understanding about who we really are , we give ourselves the BEST GUARANTEE against falldown. Falldown is an effect, and if we understand and engineer the causation we can control the effect( and not be victimized by it).
    Prior to joining the Krishna Consciousness Movement, I was searching for ontology in theoretical physics. This so called ” King of the Physical Sciences said that we are ” the most probabilistic fluctuation in a quantum mechanical field”. If we were infact that, then self realization must mean realizing our self as that entity. I gave up the the search for self in physics when none of my peers could tell me “how to become a most probabilistic fluctuation in a quantum mechanical field”. Further, physics could not explain why the construct “I am seeing” arises at the end of a chain of electromechanical events , beginning with massless photons of light falling on the retina of the eye. By the grace of Srila Prabhupada’s indomitable efforts, I have found the answers to both inquires in Bhagavad Gita As It Is.

  15. varahanarasimha says :

    in answer to PS das questions about divorce Srila Prabhupada was against divorce:

    Create Ideal Men”
    A conversation with His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
    Srila Prabhupada: The defect of the Western countries is that practically there is no social structure. The father and mother divorce, and the children become aimless. In most cases this is the defect.

    Director: That happens. Yes.

    Srila Prabhupada: I have seen this pattern with many of my students. Their whole family becomes disrupted, because the father and mother—even in old age—divorce. I have seen the mother of one of my students. His father was a very good businessman. Very nice family, with a good income. All of a sudden, the father and mother disagreed about something and got a divorce. The sons were thrown into confusion; the daughters were thrown into confusion.

    Director: That’s the kind of cases we deal with.

    Srila Prabhupada: The father married again, and the mother married again. They were not happy, and also, the business closed. So by this one instance I can understand how, in the Western countries, people have broken away from the traditional social structure. Of course, the root cause is godlessness. That is the root cause.

    Director: And now divorce is getting easier, too. Isn’t it?

    Srila Prabhupada: That is a very dangerous law—to allow divorce. Divorce should not be allowed. Even if there is some disagreement between husband and wife, it should be ignored. The great political strategist Canakya Pandita says, dampatye kalahe caiva bahvarambhe laghu kriya: “The husband and wife’s quarrel should not be taken very seriously.” Further, aja yuddhe: “A marital fight is just like a fight between two goats.” The goats may be fighting very spiritedly, but if you say “Hut!” they will go away. Similarly, the fight between husband and wife should not be taken very seriously. Let them fight for some time; they will stop automatically. But now when the husband and wife fight, each goes to a lawyer, and the lawyers give encouragement. “Yes, let us go to the divorce court.” This is going on.

    So the first defect of modern society is the law allowing divorce. Another defect: there is no method for training a man to become first-class. That method is there in the Vedic civilization. Now, of course, that method is also abolished, due to the degradation of this modern age.

    Formerly, though, society was divided into four classes—brahmanas, kshatriyas, vaishyas, shudras: advisors, administrators, merchants, and workers. The brahmanas were first-class men—ideal. But in today’s society there is no ideal man. Society should have some living example, so that people can see, “Oh, here is an ideal man.” And the ideal man is described here in our Bhagavad-gita. Any man can be trained. And if even just one percent of the people become ideal, the remaining ninety-nine percent will see and follow. But now there are no ideal men. That is the defect.

    So we are training people to become ideal men. That is the purpose of this movement. And in practical terms, you can see what our students were in their previous life and what they are now. Therefore, the government should establish an institution to create ideal men. We can help.

    Director: But becoming an ideal man would be very difficult for the grown men who come to us, although it would be possible for the kids who come.

    Srila Prabhupada: No, even the grown men can live according to these spiritual principles, just as my disciples are living. My disciples have not been with me since childhood; when they met me, they were already grown men. They are coming from the same group. But they are now saintly. It is simply a matter of training them.

    The thing is, at present I have no facility. Whatever I have done has been by personal endeavor and their cooperation. None of your Western governments has helped me, nor did my government help me, although we are struggling to make a class of men ideal. Of course, they appreciate, but they do not give us any practical support.

    For instance, we have purchased this house by our endeavor, with great difficulty, because we have no income. I write my books; then we sell and get some income. So somehow or other, we expand, but no government is helping us. Rather, they are facilitating brothels and liquor shops.

    At least, formerly in India there was no drinking propaganda. Now the government is even making that. They are opening wine shops. In India, even in the British period, drinking was very, very restricted. Very, very restricted. First of all, in Indian society if anyone drank, he was rejected; he was not regarded as a gentleman. A drunkard was never respected.

    Similarly, meat-eaters. A meat-eater was considered a third- class man. In our childhood we saw that when people learned to eat meat, they did it very secretly, not within their own home. Instead, they ate meat far away from home, with someone else doing the cooking. It was considered very abominable to eat meat or to drink.

    As for illicit sex, that also was very rare. Young women were kept strictly under the supervision of parents. The father would see that his daughter did not mix with any boy. If a girl were to go out at night and not come back, then her life would be finished—nobody would marry her. So the father had to keep his daughter with great care. And he was very, very anxious to find a suitable boy to whom he could hand his daughter over for marriage. We saw all this in our childhood. But now these nice social customs are slackened. Jawaharlal Nehru, our late prime minister, introduced the divorce law, and now Indian society is in a chaotic condition.

    Director: What can you do if society wants divorce? Society wants it that way.

    Srila Prabhupada: “Society wants it.” That’s like your child wants to go to hell—but it is not your duty as his father to allow him to go to hell.

    “Society wants it.” Society does not know the proper standard of spiritual behavior, nor does the government know how to uplift people. The government does not know. For all the government knows, the animals and we human beings are the same. Simply, the animals loiter naked, and we are nicely dressed—that’s all. Civilization finished. I remain an animal, but my advancement is that I am very nicely dressed. That is the standard now.

    But our Vedic civilization is not like that. The two-legged animal must change his consciousness. He must be trained up as a human being.

    [To a disciple:] Bhagavad-gita lists the qualities of the first-class man. You can read them.

    Disciple: Samo damas tapah shaucam kshantir arjavam eva ca / jnanam vijnanam astikyam brahma-karma svabhava-jam: “Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, knowledge, wisdom, and religiousness—these are the natural qualities by which the brahmanas work.”

    Srila Prabhupada: So people should be trained according to these spiritual principles. The way to immediately solve all society’s problems is to start an institution for training the four natural classes of men. Begin it. If there is no training, how can you expect nice citizens? If you allow a child to smoke from the very beginning and to commit all kinds of other sinful activities, how can you expect him to be a nice gentleman when he is grown up? It is not possible.

    Creating ideal men is possible through this Krishna consciousness movement. As you have said, older men may not be so much inclined to come and join. But if we train men from their childhood, then everything is possible. It is not that all men can be trained up spiritually. But if even a small percentage of ideal men are in society, at least people will think, “Oh, here is the ideal.”

    But now there is no such facility. We are training our students, but sometimes people laugh: “What is this nonsense?” They criticize. These leaders of society do not encourage us. Yesterday I was talking with a priest, and about illicit sex he said, “What is the wrong there? It is a great pleasure.”

    We are training our students according to actual spiritual principles, and so we are proclaiming that illicit sex is sinful. In fact, our first condition is that one must give up these four things: illicit sex, meat-eating, intoxication, and gambling. This is my first condition before accepting people as my students. So they agree and they follow.

    Director: But not all the people we encounter will do that.

    Srila Prabhupada: Yes, they will do that, if a regular institution runs on in this way—with all facility.

  16. varahanarasimha says :

    IN MIDDLE AGE ONE HAS TO VOLUNTARILY RETIRE FROM FAMILY LIFE

    According to the varnasrama institution, one has to retire from family life in middle age: pancasordhvam vanam vrajet. One should voluntarily retire from family life at the age of fifty
    and go to Vrndavana or a forest. …There is no benefit in transferring from one forest to another. One must go to the Vrndavana forest and take shelter of Govinda. That will make one happy. The International Society for Krishna Consciousness is therefore constructing a Krsna-Balarama temple to invite its members as well as outsiders to come and live peacefully in a spiritual atmosphere. That will help one become elevated to the transcendental world and return home, back to Godhead. …Being disgusted with family life, one separates from the family by divorce or some other means. If one has to separate, why not separate willingly? Systematic separation is better than forced separation. Forced separation cannot make anyone happy, but by mutual consent or by the Vedic arrangement one must separate from his family affairs at a certain age and fully depend on Krsna. This makes one’s life successful.
    (Bhag. 5.13.8, purp.)

    from commentary to Mahabarat Adi Parva:

    Chapter Commentary

    The marriages of beautiful princesses were always full of pomp and excitement. There are eight kinds of marriage ceremonies mentioned in the vedas. They are brahma, arsha, prajapatya, daiva, Gandharva, asura and Rakshasa. Draupadi was married to Arjuna in the Gandharva style which means that the suitor had to exhibit his prowess before the would be bride. The word svayamvara means placing the garland on the neck of the future husband. Before Arjuna could receive the garland of Draupadi, he had to pass the test of piercing the eye of the fish. Krishna married the beautiful Satya, the daughter of King Nagnajit, in the same style when He had to wrestle with seven bulls and defeat them. Similarly Lord Ramachandra obtained Sita by stringing a bow that was impossible for an ordinary mortal.
    There are other types of marriages such as Rakshasa where the proposed husband steals the beautiful maiden and fights with competitors to show his prowess. Krishna married Rukmini in this type of ceremony. There are other types of marriages where the father gives the daughter to some young prince for a certain price, or when a man of good qualities and good family is asked to come and take the bride. All these marriages were rich in culture and full of chivalry and pomp.
    A majority of the marriages that take place presently are based simply on physical attraction and sexual compatibility, and therefore, when there is some disturbance to the physical beauty, like aging, or sexual incompatibility, there is divorce. Unrestricted sex life will cause one to lose respect for the partner. Therefore, in Vedic culture sex was allowed for the purpose of procreation. If a man could not control his sex drive, he was allowed to take more than one wife, but unrestricted sex was not allowed even in marriage.
    In present times, degradation of the marriage institution has come about because of too much free mingling between men and women. The animals do not have a marriage institution. The male monkey will go from female to female whenever the urge arises, which is quite often. If a human being ignores marriage vows and simply goes from one woman to another, then he is no better than a monkey in mentality. In his next life he becomes an animal and fulfills his desires for unrestricted sex.
    In Vedic times men and women were not allowed to mingle freely. The boys and girls were restricted in their association. When the British conquered India, they highly criticized the marriage of women at an early age before their puberty. They called it child marriage. The actual fact is that a youthful marriage is very good for chastity. The husband is usually ten years older than the female. If the girl is ten or twelve, then the male is twenty or twenty-two. The girl does not live with her husband immediately, but her mind is fixed on one man. By service and association she develops an attraction only for her husband, and her husband develops an attraction only for his young wife. In this way the girl will never have sex with any other male. So many problems in society are solved by chasity between husband and wife.
    From the grand arrangements of the marriage ceremony of Draupadi, one can glimpse the richness of Vedic culture. Marriage at that time was something magnificent. In Vedic age there was no divorce. Before the marriage the partners were chosen on the basis of like personalities. A man who was brahminically (priestly) inclined was married to a woman who had a similar attraction. A man with kingly qualities was married to a woman of a similar nature. The same was true for the merchants and worker class. An astrological reading was taken to see if the marriage was compatible and would last through the whole life. This type of marriage was more stable than the present system where it is left up to the girl and boy to search out their partners. Not taking into consideration like mentalities, they marry on the basis of physical attraction. The divorce rate in the western world is over fifty percent, showing us that this type of marriage is not working. In fact no one is objecting, because men and women are liking the animal consciousness of unrestricted sex. Many of our troubles in society stem from this one problem.
    One may question why none of the Kings except Lord Krishna and Balarama could recognize the Pandavas in the dress of brahmanas. The answer is that brahmanas were generally thin due to not eating often. In fact B hima had become slender due to not living the lavish style of kingly life. Generally, brahmanas also kept their heads shaved with a sikha or tuft of hair on the head. Along with the simple dress of a brahmana, they were not to be recognized by the other kings present.

  17. varahanarasimha says :

    In Bhagavad Gita Krsna warns us about passion and raja Guna

    BG 3.36: Arjuna said: O descendant of Vṛṣṇi, by what is one impelled to sinful acts, even unwillingly, as if engaged by force?

    BG 3.37: The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: It is lust only, Arjuna, which is born of contact with the material mode of passion and later transformed into wrath, and which is the all-devouring sinful enemy of this world.

    BG 3.38: As fire is covered by smoke, as a mirror is covered by dust, or as the embryo is covered by the womb, the living entity is similarly covered by different degrees of this lust.

    BG 3.39: Thus the wise living entity’s pure consciousness becomes covered by his eternal enemy in the form of lust, which is never satisfied and which burns like fire.

    BG 3.40: The senses, the mind and the intelligence are the sitting places of this lust. Through them lust covers the real knowledge of the living entity and bewilders him.

    BG 3.41: Therefore, O Arjuna, best of the Bhāratas, in the very beginning curb this great symbol of sin [lust] by regulating the senses, and slay this destroyer of knowledge and self-realization.

    BG 3.42: The working senses are superior to dull matter; mind is higher than the senses; intelligence is still higher than the mind; and he [the soul] is even higher than the intelligence.

    BG 3.43: Thus knowing oneself to be transcendental to the material senses, mind and intelligence, O mighty-armed Arjuna, one should steady the mind by deliberate spiritual intelligence [Kṛṣṇa consciousness] and thus — by spiritual strength — conquer this insatiable enemy known as lust.

    It is essential reading on regular basis, as lust is the number one enemy of spiritual life, and Srila Prabhupadas purports to these verses is a must read secttion for all sincere devotees, along with vers 1 from Nectar of instruction

  18. Pusta Krishna das says :

    Absolutely fantastic article and discussion as well. I particularly liked the humorous description of Srila Prabhupad (in one of Varahanarasimha’s entries) that husband and wife arguments are like disagreements between two goats, not to be taken too seriously.
    The topics and discussion themselves are very purifying…and it cannot be emphasized enough that association with bhaktas is vital. It is true enough that for whatever reason, so many of us have a paucity of association physically with other devotees, limiting the hearing and chanting opportunities.
    Nonetheless, Srila Rupa Goswami gives the simple formula: utsahan niscayad dhairyat…enthusiasm, determination, and patience. It is true that Krishna is not cheap, and He desires 100% surrender from us ultimately. The spiritual world is likened to fire, and we must become like fire, spiritualized, to enter into the fire of Krishna’s world. It is our Home, full of love and bliss never-ending. Lord Chaitanya declares “anandam buddhi vardanam”, an ocean of ever-increasing ecstasy. So, who would trade that for a world of suffering, ignorance, and death? The conditioned souls are in a diseased state of life.
    By the grace of the devotees like Mahatma Prabhu and the many good hearted seekers and contributors to Dandavats, it helps to keep many of us in the fire of devotional service to a greater and lesser extent. I would say greater!
    Philosophically, toward the very end of Srila Prabhupad’s time with us, as he was doing one of his last commentaries on the Srimad Bhagavatam, virtually on his death bed, he said that hearing the Srimad Bhagavatam elevates one to the mode of goodness which enables further taste for spiritual process of hearing and chanting.
    If one becomes attached to the mode of ignorance, charaacterized by inertia and lethargy, etc., the soul can be covered in a “fog” that is difficult to break out of. The reality is that the modes of nature are constantly changing, and we are being challenged by them. The ART of Bhakti Yoga is to tolerate and be able to discriminate between what is favorable for devotional service and what is not favorable for devotional service. Such “chastity” requires the enthusiasm and determination that Mahatma Prabhu has alluded to. Patience is also needed, as we hope against hope for Krishna’s mercy.
    Thank you again for the article, and the wonderful, deeply thoughtful comments by the contributors. A great ‘morning lecture’ in my opinion.
    Pusta Krishna das

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