02.41: The first thing, the main thing, the only thing
Every worthwhile achievement requires intense, immense desire. Nothing glorious can be achieved without single-pointed, sustained determination. The Bhagavad-gita (2.41) indicates that determination (drdha-vratah) is essential for the most glorious achievement of life: reviving our love for Krishna and thereby relishing eternal happiness. In fact, while attaining love for Krishna, our determination is the first thing, the main thing and the only thing:
The first thing: Our spiritual journey begins with our determined desire. Devotees can come in our life and invite, even prod, us along, but our journey actually starts only when we desire determinedly to go closer to Krishna.
The main thing: When we start practicing devotional service regularly, the external performance of spiritual activities does not automatically lead to our advancement; it adds to our spiritual credits and thereby sets a platform for eventual devotional takeoff. We actually take off only when our external engagement is accompanied, even motivated, by our internal desire to love and serve Krishna – which is a function of our determination.
The only thing: On the devotional path, our advancement ultimately depends on Krishna’s mercy. But this doesn’t imply that nothing is in our hands. And it certainly doesn’t justify our laziness in fighting our conditionings. We sometimes passively cave in to our conditionings, and lackadaisically wait for that Krishna’s mercy to empower us in future through some inner flash of lightning-like illumination. However, Krishna usually gives us his mercy by offering us opportunities to practice devotional service. We need to become determined to utilize those opportunities. If we don’t become determined, even Krishna can’t help us, for he doesn’t infringe on our free will.
Therefore, Krishna’s mercy is never missing; what is missing is our determination to benefit from it.