We often feel like doing different things in bhakti at different times – how can we steadily maintain interest in one thing?
Transcribed by: Ashwini Kamath Mataji
Question: So how can we maintain our enthusiasm steadily in all services or in different services? When we do something new in enthusiastic but after some time enthusiasm goes away.
Answer: That is not necessarily bad or wrong, because Prabhupad said variety is the mother of enjoyment and in that sense we do need variety. So, in the Spiritual level, we experience variety in the unlimited glory of Krishna. So although we may be doing the same activity but because Krishna is unlimitedly attractive, so we can relish Krishna’s variety within the same activity.so, a devotee when seeing Krishna or hears Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s glories and past times again and again, it is going to be deeper and deeper and understanding more and more philosophy and relishing that. So when we are not at that level right now, there is no need to artificially impose ourselves that I should be at that level but we are not.so, having variety is itself is not wrong that is why there is flexibility , we can do different services and although we say harernama hari nama is the most important but then there are 9 different limbs of devotional service and Rupa Gosvami has given 64 items of devotional service and Prabhupad also given many different projects of how devotees can share Krishna consciousness. So, one doesn’t have to be in that sense, afraid of variety personally, or that need for variety.one thing is that there is need for variety, that is natural human need, not just I would say human need, it is a spiritual need, it is full filled at spiritual level by going deeper into same thing, but at conditioned level you can’t go deeper into same thing, so, the only problem is if you make that need for variety as you make our bhakti conditional on that need for variety, then it will become a problem .But if we understand that there are certain activities which are part of sadhana bhakti which I need to continue on whether I feel like it or not, but beyond our specific prescribed duties which we have, which we do regularly we do have freedom. So and we can use this freedom to our good effect. For example, if I feel inspired to study Bhagvatam, I study for 1month, 2 months,3 months and then I feel Bhagvatam is so bigger, I’m not able to complete it.Then I feel I may like to know little more about gaudiya sampradaya so let me know about Bhakti Siddhanta Sarswati, then I read nectar of devotion, then I feel for our preaching we need Bhagavad-Gita,then I study Bhagavad-Gita., these variety of kind in itself is not wrong but when we take a firm activity we should do something tangible in that, if it is like every week or 2-3days I am changing the books then I’m not going to gain anything, but if we have a plan and that is oriented variegated is in that plan.so, okay I decide that now for the next one month I will be studying this book and after studying for 1 month then I will take track, if I still feel inspired, I will continue studying this book. If not then I will change to some other book. so what we should do is rather than relating our need for variety we cater to by the mind ‘s indexicality, I like this, I don’t like this, we can cater to the mind’s needs our variety by the plan of intelligence.so, that way, so for example if we have some books to be studied as primary but then often for preaching and for our understanding we may find some other books or some BTG(Back to godhead) article helpful or some other devotees have written some books specifically on one topic we understand, we get more understanding. So, then if I say I will only read this will not get much proper nourishment ,if I say I read these much of which material which could be useful may be I will not get that for this so we can go for this maybe 60-70% of time I read sastra, 20-30% of time I keep for doing other things.so, ultimately I write this article on Bhagvad gita every day and so I wrote one article, we have to live with ourselves and we have to live our lives ourselves, so we have to live with ourselves that means if I m a person who cannot do one thing continuously because that is the way I am just regretting it or wanting it to go with it, is not going to work because this is the way I am then I have to practice within these limitations.So,then I can understand I can do activity for 1month ,then I will decide okay that I will have 4things that I will do say, I will read Lilamrita, I will read Bhagvatam, I will read Bhagavad-Gita, I will read Nectar of Devotion and whatever. After 4 months I will keep a cycle. So, in that way, within variety also there is some study purpose going on. So, only problem is that if that need for variety is catered to the mind alone, then we will never move forward, just keep hoping there and there.so ,we can’t deny the need for variety and at that same time we cannot just given to that need for variety at least will not have any plan because what happens is there are originally the 4 varnas ,and yudhistira also says in Mahabharata that when there is intermixing ,then determining the Varna becomes very difficult.so,in our case we may think that I have brahmanical nature, but when we get time to study sastras, we realize that I don’t have much brahmanical nature(devotees and Chaitanya charan das prabhuji laughs) and sometimes we see that devotee is doing management and taking so much responsibility , I want to do that, we take that and say ‘ Ye toha bahut jyada hogaya akanda akanda’(it’s too much)(devotees and Chaitanya charan das prabhuji laughs)so, these lot of things come up. That’s why it is best that we recognize these are the things I can do, and I will do this little and little. If there are many things, some devotees they find this is what I wanted to do, I will do lifelong. Others may not find like that.so, just basically there is no need to sort of feel insecure or uncertain or guilty because we are not able to do one thing steadily, no, in that we may do different things but within that have some plan of studying this and then you can move forward, over a period of time they do get a lot of things to do. I know some people, they may say, unless I am doing ten things, I feel like I cannot do anything, I am not doing anything. Some people they toss balls, where they will catch balls ,one ball coming and one ball coming, some people will say I want to do one thing, if ten things are there in front of me, I will not be able to do it.now it is not that one is wrong and the other is right. You see different people are different natures.so, over a period of time, we observe ourselves, what is our nature and then engage in service accordingly and even actually our authorities will also see this, that okay this is how these devotee is doing productively. Only if a person becomes very lazy or irresponsible, or in some way doing something instructive one‘s spiritual life of others then it becomes a problem. Within a variety we can study by having a plan. Thank you.