04.38 – Patience is not apathy, but humility
Our culture infatuates us with instant things: instant tea, instant food, instant messaging, to name a few. This infatuation often makes us impatient about things that work at their own pace. This impatience can be detrimental, even lethal, for our spiritual life, which centers on redirecting our love from matter to Krishna. The misdirection of our desires has perpetuated and aggravated over many lifetimes, so their redirection is unlikely to happen overnight.
The Bhagavad-gita (4.38) prepares us for the long haul by declaring kalenatmani vindati: we will relish inner happiness in due course of time. To illustrate this long haul, Gita wisdom often compares the expansion of our love from matter to Krishna with the blossoming of a flower.
- Just as a bud is constricted in size, our love is presently constricted to the limited arena of matter.
- Just as a bud blossoms gradually and actualizes its potential beauty, our love gradually expands by devotional service till it reaches and embraces Krishna and thereby actualizes our potential spiritual beauty.
- Just as we can’t accelerate the blossoming of a flower beyond the rate decided by nature, we can’t accelerate the expansion of our love beyond the rate decided by Krishna.
No wonder spiritual life requires patience. Being patient doesn’t mean being apathetic about our spiritual practices, but being humble in not expecting instant spiritual happiness prematurely or unrealistically. We can surely desire to love Krishna purely and fully, but instead of presumptuously demanding that love and its concomitant ecstasy from Krishna, we can modestly express that desire through our diligence in devotional service. The more we render expectation-free service, the more we will relish satisfaction in that service itself – and will also advance towards love and happiness that exceeds all our expectations.