While using a talent such as music for Krishna how can we transfer our attachment from that talent to Krishna?
Transcription by- Keshav Gopal Das & Ambuj Gupta
Question: When we are working with the principle of yukta vairagya using some talent in Krishna’s service then we may well feel that we are connected with Krishna but actually our connection is with that talent only say music or singing. If music or singing were taken away then we would have nothing in devotional service left? So then how can we slowly transfer our attachment from the thing which we like to do to Krishna?
Answer: The first principle of bhakti is somehow or the other fix the mind in Krishna.
yena kena prakarena manah krishna niveshayet
Once we do that then after words we gradually move towards Krishna purely. So the Bhagvatam also gives the example not necessarily of gross things but of subtle things.
Some of the gopis who were eternal associate of Krishna but some of the gopis were deva kanyas (they come from the heavens). They were attracted to Krishna because He looked very attractive. There actually kama is there. Similarly we know Kamsa was fearful and Shishupal was envious. But even they became attracted to Krishna and they became purified. Why? Because although their approach was negative but the focus was on Krishna. So the Bhagvatam does declare very clearly that even subtle emotions even if they are negatively motivated but if they are directed towards Krishna they can lead to purification, what to speak of gross things. It’s definitely possible. In the eighteenth chapter verses 45 to 48 Krishna describes daiva varnashram system. There He says
That by doing one’s work one can attain perfection.
Therefore do your prescribed work for Krishna. Worship Him with your work.
If a brahmana is studying scripture and teaching scripture and if the brahmana is told from tomorrow no more study on scripture. Will this be possible for brahmana to do that? Very difficult. Now as a matter of devotional surrender, one will try to do that.
First of all, in most of the cases our varna is not clearly defined but we have certain things which we like to do. Normally we do that. But if in certain situation we are told to do something else we will do also as a matter of surrender. That’s not what we can do lifelong and that’s not what authority should ask us to do that. The surrender against our nature as a proof of our devotion is something which should be resorted to only occasionally. The primary surrender is expressed through our nature. It’s not necessarily wrong if somebody is attracted to say playing guitar in kirtan. He may look forward to that only when coming for a program. This is the real show for him. He may think, that is where I am going to take part. One may look forward to that. That’s not necessarily wrong because that’s where one is practically contributing to Krishna’s service or Krishna’s glorification.
Specially in kaliyuga where people have no knowledge about God. To have something through which we are connected to Krishna is in itself extremely auspicious. So we should be happy about that. Even if that is our only connection to Krishna at least that is our connection to Krishna. If somebody has found that connection that itself is a matter of great fortune. A person can practically do that life long. I like to participate in kirtans and play instrument and I can do this.
Now off course we just don’t want to serve Krishna lifelong. We want to also go closer to Krishna through our service too. Say if I am a writer and my primary connection to Krishna is writing. Somebody tells tomorrow stop writing. What will I do, writing is my life in Krishna’s service? If somebody tells me to write about politics or write about cricket, now as a writer I may have a talent to write on those subjects also but I will find that I won’t get that same taste in doing that activity. So even a professional musician who some time perform commercial music also. But when they are doing something in a religious setting for the pleasure of God they get a different kind of fulfillment over there. That is for all modes of devotees. We will over a period of time observe that when we do something for Krishna that gives a higher richer fulfillment then doing that just for earning livelihood or establishing a career for ourselves or for other such purposes. That introspective insight will help us to realize that the taste is not coming just from the music. The taste is coming from the person about whom the music is. The taste in writing is not just coming because of writing, it is coming from the person about whom the writing is done. That way we will understand that this taste is coming from Krishna. It’s coming from Krishna that can come not just from the activity I like to do, it can come from other things also.
Before a person wants to swim, he just put a hand or leg inside the water and say how cold the water is. If it’s not cold then the person will jump. Like that we can also start exploring some other activities which we can do. Off course the whole gamut of devotional service involves us to do other activity also. Over a period of time we will find that our taste in that will also increase. The taste will overall spread to Krishna. Now we should not get so caught up in our particular passion that we have in devotional service to do a particular activity that we neglect our basic sadhna because our sadhna is our stable connection with Krishna. So if you are doing sadhna then we are getting purified and by that the taste will develop in other activities also because through sadhna relatively speaking a pure connection with Krishna is established.
What material pleasure can one get by chanting? Very difficult. By kirtan there might be some material pleasure. Chanting is required to focus on Krishna primarily. That way three things if we do, first is that we at least be grateful that we have one connection with Krishna and cherish that and deepen that very strongly. Then introspectively we realize the taste is coming not just from that activity but from Krishna and then probe where from other activities also I get that. We start branching out to that little bit, not necessarily at the expense of this but just little bit. Most importantly keep our sadhna steady then our connection with Krishna will be established. Specially when one is talking about yukta vairagya in terms of talents, actually that is relatively not so harmful. Although pride can come when we use our talents. But still the talents are something which we have innate within us. Where as we use technology and things like that, say if one uses wealth and with wealth one can misuse it for many other things. That possibility is always there but if we are in sadhna then our overall moral and spiritual compass stay on track. Then we also come to know this is what I should not do. This is what we should do. If sometimes if we are feeling that this danger is very much there, it’s very true that when we are doing something which we are good at then the karta feeling comes along. Now it’s not necessary that we have to cure the karta feeling because Krishna tells Arjuna at the end of Bhagavad Gita, karishya vachnam tava. I will do your words. 18.73 He says that in one sense I’ll be the karta but the problem is not that we think we are the karta. atmanam kevalam tuhya, one think I am the only doer. That is the problem.
So you understand that these talents are coming from Krishna and by His mercy we will use it. Then we will not get caught in the prakrate kriyamanani track. Material nature is doing everything that we are the doers. If we can have one or two senior devotee guides who keep a watch on us and if they find we are looking too proud or we are becoming too unidimensional in our devotional service, that is the only activity we do and don’t anything else at all or we are becoming insensitive and disrespectful to others just because we have become so proud with ourselves and what we can do. They can warn us and then we may take the corrective steps to avoid those kind of behaviors. But overall at our stage it is best to be grateful that we have connection with Krishna and develop that more and more because ultimately as our movement expands all of us will have to become self motivated to go on life long in our devotional service. Even if you stay on a community then there are other devotees who can encourage us, who can guide us but ultimately wherever we are, it is for us to keep our Krishna connection going. If we have something which we can do for Krishna which keeps us going in our Krishna connection that is the matter of fortune. With that itself we going on and gradually we expand our relationship from that particular activity to other activity. Thank you.