The role of faith in devotional service
The role of faith in devotional service.
Faith is the unflinching confidence that upon attaining one thing — Krsna-bhakti — one is provided with all other desirable achievements. Absolute faith, unflinching faith, rests in Krsna-bhakti only. Faith in any other result or any other process will be unavoidably transient and ultimately disappointing. Attaining this faith rests upon guru-kripa, which includes very careful guidance and training. Similarly, one cannot move forward on this path while holding tightly to a bodily or a material conception of life — and thus of guru, the process of bhakti, the goal of bhakti, the rewards of bhakti, the subjective experience of bhakti, etc. These misconceptions will result in offenses, which will obfuscate one’s vision and seriously inhibit progress on the path. Faith brings intelligence and realization, which fix the mind in undeviating determination. The medium of cultivation of faith is service – humble and devoted service. This is KC'ness!
“When a person develops sraddha (faith), he can think about a subject and understand it, wheareas one cannot do so without sraddha. Indeed only a person with sraddha can reflect on anything.” -Chandogya Upanishad (7.19.1)
b) Bhagavad Gita 2.41
bahu-sakha hy anantas ca
TRANSLATION: Those who are on this path are resolute in purpose, and their aim is one. O beloved child of the Kurus, the intelligence of those who are irresolute is many-branched.
PURPORT: A strong faith that by Krsna consciousness one will be elevated to the highest perfection of life is called vyavasayatmika intelligence. The Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya 22.62) states:
'sraddha’-sabde—visvasa kahe sudrdha niscaya krsne bhakti kaile sarva-karma krta haya
Faith means unflinching trust in something sublime. When one is engaged in the duties of Krsna consciousness, he need not act in relationship to the material world with obligations to family traditions, humanity, or nationality. Fruitive activities are the engagements of one’s reactions from past good or bad deeds. When one is awake in Krsna consciousness, he need no longer endeavor for good results in his activities. When one is situated in Krsna consciousness, all activities are on the absolute plane, for they are no longer subject to dualities like good and bad. The highest perfection of Krsna consciousness is renunciation of the material conception of life. This state is automatically achieved by progressive Krsna consciousness. The resolute purpose of a person in Krsna consciousness is based on knowledge.
Vasudevah sarvam iti sa mahatma su-durlabhah:
a person in Krsna consciousness is the rare good soul who knows perfectly that Vasudeva, or Krsna, is the root of all manifested causes. As by watering the root of a tree one automatically distributes water to the leaves and branches, so by acting in Krsna consciousness one can render the highest service to everyone—namely self, family, society, country, humanity, etc. If Krsna is satisfied by one’s actions, then everyone will be satisfied. Service in Krsna consciousness is, however, best practiced under the able guidance of a spiritual master who is a bona fide representative of Krsna, who knows the nature of the student and who can guide him to act in Krsna consciousness. As such, to be well versed in Krsna consciousness one has to act firmly and obey the representative of Krsna, and one should accept the instruction of the bona fide spiritual master as one’s mission in life. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura instructs us, in his famous prayers for the spiritual master, as follows:
yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasado yasyaprasadan na gatih kuto 'pi dhyayan stuvams tasya yasas tri-sandhyam vande guroh sri-caranaravindam
“By satisfaction of the spiritual master, the Supreme Personality of Godhead becomes satisfied. And by not satisfying the spiritual master, there is no chance of being promoted to the plane of Krsna consciousness. I should, therefore, meditate and pray for his mercy three times a day, and offer my respectful obeisances unto him, my spiritual master.” The whole process, however, depends on perfect knowledge of the soul beyond the conception of the body—not theoretically but practically, when there is no longer a chance for sense gratification manifested in fruitive activities. One who is not firmly fixed in mind is diverted by various types of fruitive acts.
c) Caitanya caritamrta Madhya 22.62
TRANSLATION: Sraddha is confident, firm faith that by rendering transcendental loving service to Krsna one automatically performs all subsidiary activities. Such faith is favorable to the discharge of devotional service.
PURPORT: Firm faith and confidence are called sraddha. When one engages in the Lord’s devotional service, he is to be understood to have performed all his responsibilities in the material world. He has satisfied his forefathers, ordinary living entities, and demigods and is free from all responsibility. Such a person does not need to meet his responsibilities separately. It is automatically done. Fruitive activity (karma) is meant to satisfy the senses of the conditioned soul. However, when one awakens to Krsna consciousness, he does not have to work separately for pious activity. The best achievement of all fruitive activity is detachment from material life, and this detachment is spontaneously enjoyed by the devotee firmly engaged in the Lord’s service.