By Kesava Krsna Dasa
Once, the late Madhudvisa Prabhu asked Srila Prabhupada, “What pleases you the most? Book distribution pleases you. Deity worship pleases you. What really pleases you?”
Srila Prabhupada replied, “By struggling for Krishna…,” that was pleasing. This was related to us by HH Giriraja Maharaja.
Many things pleased Srila Prabhupada, like doing book distribution, looking after our children, doing deity worship and so on, but to “struggle” for Krishna has a wider concern, because it affects each and every one of us. We all have our own personal Kurukshetra battles to contend with as we practice Krishna consciousness.
This is noteworthy, because if anyone thinks he or she is serious and fixed-up, might frown upon, or look down at other devotees who are struggling in their Krishna consciousness. Within a community of devotees, almost everyone knows this. This is why devotees are generally afraid to reveal their minds to discuss their internal battles.
In other words, we create an atmosphere that is hostile for truthful revelation of internal struggles. We make these struggles into symbols of avoidable weaknesses. We think we should avoid associating with those who do have struggles. Sometimes we can be so self-righteous that even if devotees struggle to complete the[r rounds, we write them off as no-hopers and should not be given very important services to do.
Devotees can sometimes be very patronising towards those who have the courage to reveal their struggles, as if they have failed the final exams in life. Many of us forget that these struggles are healthy and glorious. They are there to help us make spiritual progress. They arise to give other devotees a chance to gain experience in how to lend help and advice.
When we see another devotee struggling, be it with some of the four regulative principles, we should realise that Krishna is putting them through such tests. Who are we to judge another devotees’ struggle in a self-righteous way when Krishna is in charge? Srila Prabhupada meant this in a broad Mahatma way.
If we are proud of our self-control or celibacy ‘saffron’ status, thinking that our struggles are over, and we look down upon the strugglers, then we are fallen. Our subtle sex addiction has made these judgemental thoughts possible, not realising that bigger struggles lie ahead – we have been exposed.
A devotee who struggles with anarthas and completing sixteen rounds a day, makes more progress than someone chanting sixty four rounds a day, who looks down at the struggler. Alternatively, devotees may be the most Krishna conscious and yet struggle with opposing elements, bent on thwarting the preaching mission.
We have to see such struggles as being glorious and purifying. Let us help our fellow devotees in need of confidential assistance. Let us see our own struggles in the struggles of others. The fact remains, that so long as we fall short of Nama-ruchi, and do not feel any pangs of separation from the Lord at present, then we are strugglers in need.
Ys Kesava Krsna Dasa – GRS.