04.11 – When strengths make us weak and weaknesses make us strong
To survive and thrive in our hyper-competitive culture, we usually hide our weaknesses and hype our strengths.
Such a strategy may be necessary in material life, but it is unnecessary and even undesirable in spiritual life. Why? Because it takes away the primary impetus for developing our relationship with Krishna: the feeling that we need him.
Let’s understand how.
In spiritual life, when we dwell only on our strengths and deny our weaknesses, we don’t feel that we need Krishna. So, we don’t cultivate his inner remembrance diligently. We do well only those spiritual practices that are visible to the devotee-community, thereby preserving our status as a ‘good devotee.’ Such superficial performance of spiritual activities starves our heart of the fulfillment that comes by the sincere remembrance of Krishna. This makes us fall prey to worldly temptations. Thus do our strengths make us weak.
How can we feel the need for Krishna? When we love him, we naturally long for him, just as a lover naturally longs for the beloved. But what can we do when don’t yet have such love for Krishna?
Acknowledge our weaknesses before him.
Such honest admission forces us to realize that we cannot do without Krishna. We feel urgently, fervently, desperately: “Krishna, I need you.” This need impels us to seek his grace, to call out to him in chanting, to reach out for his helping hand through humble service. The Bhagavad-gita (04.11) indicates that Krishna bestows his mercy in proportion to the intensity of our plea. When we feel the need for him and seek him sincerely, he reciprocates by manifesting his fulfilling presence in our heart. The resulting inner strength empowers us to resist and reject worldly temptations. Thus do our weaknesses make us strong.