What does the sentence “From your place at your pace join the race” mean?
From: Pancha Pandava P
Transcription By: Geetanjali Nath Mataji
Edited By: Shyam Venkateswaran P
Question: In one of your classes you mentioned the phrase “from your place at your pace join the race” and base it on BG 4.11. Can you explain what the phrase actually means?
Answer: There, in BG 4.11, Krishna says mama vartmānu vartante manuṣyāḥ pārtha sarvaśaḥ- All people follow my path. It means everybody is attracted to some manifestation of Krishna, and all these manifestations, they are all based on Krishna’s beauty as stated in BG 10.41. Even the beauty of a good looking person or even the beauty of nature. Even, Prabhupada says, the intoxicating taste of alcohol, all these come from Krishna ultimately. However they are manifested within the different modes. So the beauty of nature may be in goodness, the beauty of the form of the opposite sex may be in passion, and the taste of alcohol will be in ignorance. But basically everyone, whatever they are attracted to, are attracted to a manifestation of Krishna. But because those manifestations are manifested in different modes, so attraction to them does not necessarily take us back to Krishna. Only when we see their connection with Krishna and redirect our attraction from those things to Krishna, then we go back to Krishna. So the Vedic scriptures give us a vision by which we can see the connection of everything attractive with Krishna. So there are the puranas, within which there is worship of the devatas mentioned according to the peoples’ propensity within the three modes. Some people can worship in goodness, some in passion, and some in ignorance. So accordingly, particular devatas are presented and people can worship. So that means, people can start worshiping from wherever they are situated in the three modes, and thus, they can begin the journey. So from your place, that means whereever one is situated in three modes, one is provided a facility by which one can start practicing spiritual life and begin the journey back to God. Then ‘at your pace’, at your pace means, in the Vedic culture there is the householder’s life, and there is the renounced order; and within the householders also, there are karma yogis and there are karma-kandis. Even the Karma-kandis are on an upward journey, but they are on a very slow, gradual journey. Bahunam janmanam ante, they do punya, they’ll go up to heaven, they will enjoy for a long time in heaven, and then come back to earth, and like this keep going up and down again and again, till eventually they realize that the ultimate goal of life is not just heaven, it is beyond material existence. So those who want to practice spiritual life slowly, they can practice. Others can renounce the world and focus exclusively on the practice of spiritual life, Of course, in bhakti yoga, because we depend on the mercy of the Lord, a person, whether they are a householder or a renunciant, both can make rapid spiritual advancement if they devote themselves to Krishna. But there is flexibility for the pace also- “at your pace.” And then, beyond that is, “join the race.”We all have limited time, although we can go through many, many life times, in this lifetime we have limited time and in that sense practicing spiritual life is a race. So from where ever we are situated in the modes and depending on whether we want to focus partially or entirely on our spiritual advancement, we can start practicing spiritual life. So from your place, at your pace, join the race.