06.21 – When attention seems like detention…
Attention is crucial for enjoying anything. When a reputed sports player is in action, fans enjoy by attentively watching all the action and even the replays.
We need attention to relish devotional life too. We may perform devotional activities externally, but we experience devotional happiness only when we become internally attentive to the presence of Krishna.
Otherwise, if we are inattentive in, say, our daily chanting, we soon find chanting uninspiring and uninteresting. At such times, attention seems like detention. The scriptural injunction to be attentive seems like a deprivation of our mental freedom to think of more enjoyable things.
Why do we feel deprived while doing spiritual activities like chanting when the Bhagavad-gita (6.21) declares that the spiritual platform offers the ultimate happiness (sukham atyantikam)?
Because of misdirection of desires caused by deficient conviction.
Krishna being the all-attractive Supreme Person is the reservoir of all happiness. When we concentrate on him, we relish spiritual happiness far greater and deeper than any material pleasure. But when we are not convinced that he is the source of the supreme happiness, but instead believe that worldly objects are the sources of real happiness, we start desiring those objects instead of Krishna even while doing devotional activities externally. Consequently, our situation becomes like that of sports fans forced to watch one sports when they desire to watch another sports on a different TV channel. Just as they would feel confined, we too feel detained.
Such negative feelings are signs that we need to restrengthen our intellectual convictions by scriptural study and contemplation. When we thus boost our conviction, we will feel inspired to redirect our desires to Krishna. Once we become desirous of Krishna, attention will no longer seem like detention; it will be seen as the gateway to supreme satisfaction.