Just A Sesame Seed Of Doubt
By Kesava Krsna Dasa
Have we ever considered how many outstanding ‘harmless’ little doubts remain with us as we endeavour for perfection in Krishna consciousness? Some spiritual practitioners feel quite comfortable harbouring certain philosophical question marks that challenge our rationality, thinking them to be docile reasoning tools. Is there room for quaint musings that can be put aside until perhaps we get a boost of faith?
“For the doubting soul there is happiness neither in this world nor in the next.” (BG 4.40)
Most of us are, or were conditioned by universally accepted ‘rational’ observations presented as fact. They cement into such a strong belief that one has to reject or suspend them when pondering matters other worldly or spiritual. Such divisive objective and subjective issues as – creationism versus big bang and evolution theories – can tear apart communities, which in the absence of decent law and order, will erupt into enmity and loss of life.
The ‘rational’ mind cannot accept that for Christians, the world was created within seven days some 5 to 6,000 years ago, because it defies geological evidence, among other things. I am sure the vaisnavas would agree. The Vedic description of creation and the cosmos also confounds the empiricists due to the fantastic ‘mythological tales’ that describe things beyond our purview. Yet sometimes, we find that after some years of practicing Krishna consciousness, some ‘rational’ leftovers still cause some devotees to half ‘doubt’ certain facts or fiction.
“Therefore the doubts which have arisen in your heart out of ignorance should be slashed by the weapon of knowledge.” (BG 4.42)
The fantasy that earth men travelled to a heavenly planet called the moon still elicits thoughts of, “They could have gone you know…Srila Prabhupada was such a staunch believer, he could never yield to something opposing his way of thinking…but, but just maybe, they did go, or not.” Will such ambiguous uncertainties help us in devotional service?
Recently it was reported that the furthest ever object in space was detected, and that its distance away from earth is a staggering ’14 billion’ light years away from us. This would make the Vedic measurement of our universe appear as a sesame seed in comparison. Would such thoughts as, “Well, this is interesting…so vastly different from what I read in the Srimad Bhagavatam…but I’ll keep an open mind on it…I can’t be too fanatical about these things.”
Could we be accused of myopic inflexibility if we reject these findings as hell bound demoniac influences? Or perhaps, we simply brush them off as sincere but ignorant attempts to search for answers with faulty senses and instruments? In either case, would these delusions impinge on our happiness in spiritual life if we retain them as, “Yet to be sorted out?”
Can a devotee ever be in a state of delusion? According to (Bhagavad-Gita 10.4) the word – asammohah – means delusion, but Srila Prabhupada has translated it as “doubt and delusion.” They are both obviously synonymous in terms of understanding things from a wider perspective. It indicates then that anyone harbouring comfortable doubts is in fact keeping “Yet to be sorted out” delusions. So clearly they are not good for our Krishna consciousness, however reasonable we are.
These limitless attempts to cause doubt and delusion will continue unabated. They need not be confined to scientific knowledge. We will be tested even more on the devotional level as waves of gross and subtle interactions with other devotees, and the way they live and react in different circumstances can test our resolve. Above all, any doubt however big or small will put a dampener on our happiness. In the Chaitanya Bhagavata Lord Chaitanya told His dear devotee Sri Murari Gupta, that even a sesame seed of doubt will stop ones progress in Krishna consciousness.
Our faith in our respective spiritual masters and in every word and deed of Srila Prabhupada has to be complete. Anything less, even by a measurement of a comfortable sesame seed results in partial happiness without which we cannot be truly peaceful at heart. And who is the original guru preceptor we must take full shelter of? It is the great Avadhuta, Sri Nityananda Prabhu.
“The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Now hear, O son of Prtha, how by practicing yoga in full consciousness of Me, with mind attached to Me, you will know Me in full, free from doubt.” (BG 7.1)
In order for us to seek His mercy we literally have to reject and suspend all rationality, all notions of normal human behaviour, all social norms and high brahminical principles, and even ‘normal’ vaisnava cultural expectations, to not doubt in the least, the Avadhuta nature of Lord Nityananda. Only the privileged who have relinquished all forms of niggling doubts can get His mercy, and, as the often heard expression goes; “Dive in” to the ocean of Bhakti.
Realizing this, we will find that this realm of delusion and doubt inhabited by animated blobs of doubt – the material bodies – are somehow hovering about waiting for this opportune moment to become free from all doubts. We have to again suspend all empirical lucidity in order to read and understand the Srimad Bhagavatam, which was compiled from above normal time and space. If we retain them, the facts and figures found in this scripture will cause more doubt. Our full faith in the spiritual master helps to enlighten us.
Yet, whilst rejecting conventional thought while practicing devotional service, we have to retain it to make this knowledge suitable for doubt riddled persons to accept. A preacher who has doubts will not be very convincing.
Through Lord Nityananda and His extensions – the spiritual masters – a doubt-free mood will present no limits to our progress or acquirement of knowledge. “Whoever knows Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead without doubting, is the knower of everything. He therefore engages himself in full devotional service to Me, O son of Bharata.” (BG 15.19)
Your servant Kesava Krsna Dasa – GRS.