04.11 – Might we be protecting our heart from Krishna instead of for Krishna?

by April 29, 2013

As aspiring devotees, we long to relish the spiritual emotions that the bhakti scriptures extol.

Such devotional longing is natural and desirable. However, it comes for a price – the price of letting go of material emotions, especially immoral and anti-devotional emotions. Why? Because just as a wet log cannot catch fire, a heart wet with mundane emotions cannot light with divine emotions.

We experience emotions for the things that we strongly care about. To relish spiritual emotions, we need to start caring about our relationship with Krishna and the commitments we make in that relationship. Both positive commitments of what we are ready to do for his sake and regulative commitments of what we are ready to give up for his sake. The Bhagavad-gita (04.11) reminds us that Krishna reciprocates according to our endeavors.

Sadly however, we somehow flinch and falter when it comes to making and sticking to our devotional commitments. When we take these commitments lightly, we lose the chance to invest our emotions in Krishna. Thereby we deprive ourselves of the resulting reciprocal experience of spiritual emotions.

By thus keeping an emotional distance from Krishna, we unwittingly protect our heart from him. We don’t allow him to enter our heart and enact his divine magic there.

If we wish to relish the magic that awakens our heart to hitherto unexperienced spiritual joys, we need to protect our heart for Krishna, not from Krishna. This means that firstly we need to avoid the sensual anti-devotional emotions that numb our heart to devotional stimulations. And secondly we need to consciously and intensely invest whatever small emotions we presently feel in our devotional commitments.

When we thus invest ourselves emotionally in Krishna, he rewards us by filling with our heart enriching and elevating devotional emotions.


As all surrender unto Me, I reward them accordingly. Everyone follows My path in all respects, O son of Pritha.

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