How can we strengthen our resolve to correct our wrongs?
Transcription by– Keshavgopal Das & Ambuj Gupta
Question: We know that we have done something wrong or even others have done something wrong and that wrong doing can cause a lot of harm to others. Although the resolve is not to do it again but still the resolve doesn’t last. We see acharyas their resolve last. They are so strong like lines on stone like Raghunath Das Goswami. How can we strengthen our resolve?
Answer: Actually in spiritual life there are the stars and there are the stairs. The stairs are the small-small steps that we take to rise in our spiritual life and the stars are the example of the acharyas which are way-way up in the sky. Every standard that is there in scripture is there for inspiration. It is not for condemnation. It is not for deprecation. It is not for discouragement. anukulasya sankalpa pratikulasya varjanam, whatever is favorable we accept and whatever is unfavorable we put a side. If the example of the acharyas of their extra ordinary determination for reformation when that dishearten us making us think oh I am so far away then we should look not just at that, we should look also at practical steps that we can take. It is not that just because we are not like those acharyas that doesn’t mean that Krishna doesn’t love us. In spiritual life we may fall down but we shouldn’t fall away. What is the difference between falling down and falling away? I write articles on Bhagavad Gita every day on another of my web sites called “Gita Daily.com”. There is article on that topic, the same title. We may fall down but we don’t have to fall away. Fall down means that we are trying to live according certain standards but we fail living according to those standards but fall away means that we give up the practice of bhakti. We think of I am never going to change, I am never going to improve, so what is the use of practicing those bhakti. Just let me give it up. We have our past conditionings because of which we are vulnerable to weaknesses and lapses and falls also. We cannot expect that to go away over night. It will be a slow and sometimes a very gradual or even painful process of purification. But whatever it is, even if we fall down we should make at least a resolution that we will never fall away. Never fall away means no matter what happens I will not give up Krishna’s lotus feet. That is the message of the Bhagavad Gita in 9.30-31
Krishna says that a person may do extremely bad activity but then bhajate mām ananya–bhāk, that person doesn’t think oh I was doing bhakti and I did something so wrong. What is use of doing bhakti? Let us give up bhakti. Stop worshiping Krishna and become materialistic. Let me worship some other devta who fulfill my material desires. Let me give up Krishna’s worship. That is something we shouldn’t do. If we are continuing to practice devotion even if we are doing wrong then we are sadhu. Off course if a person is doing something wrong which is going to have serious social consequences then there are appropriate measures that have to be taken to protect others. But the point is, when we talking about the individual whether it is we or whether it is others, the greatest enemy on the path of bhakti is discouragement. In the path of bhakti we never lose till we lose hope. One of the easiest way to lose hope is by comparing ourselves with extremely lofty standards and condemning ourselves for not following those standards. If we do that and that makes us discourage then we should know that even discouragement can be a form of maya. Generally feeling that I am so fallen, I am so worthless. We see this in the songs of Bhakti Vinod Thakur and Narottam Das Thakur. But what is the end result of that? The end result is that they take more shelter of Krishna. Not that they give the shelter of Krishna. Our feeling of being fallen should come between us and the wrong doing. Our feeling of being fallen should not come between us and Krishna. It’s not that because I am so fallen then what is the use of practicing Krishna bhakti. This sort of feeling is coming between us and Krishna. That is happening that even the feeling of being fallen is maya, is illusion, is temptation. What is temptation? What is maya? Anything that takes us away from Krishna or anything that keeps us away from Krishna is maya. Even a feeling that seems like humility, oh! I am so fallen, I am so fallen, that feeling can be maya if that makes us discourage in our bhakti and that makes us give up bhakti. No matter what happens. We should never give up the practice of bhakti. We may fall down but we should never fall away. We should remember that there is nothing that we can do that can ever stop Krishna from loving us. There is no activity, however sinful it may be, however wrong it may be. It is not that Krishna will think these soul done such terrible wrong doing I will not love him. This soul is so sinful that I will leave his/her heart and go away. Krishna will always be there in our heart. We should know that nothing can stop Krishna from loving us. Krishna will always love us and the least we can do is keep practicing bhakti even if we cannot follow high standard, we keep practicing bhakti and gradually by the practice of bhakti we will become stronger and stronger and stronger and eventually we will come to high standards. Rather than worrying about the standards that we can’t follow, the all we should worry about what standards we can follow and stick to that and take one step forward till we will come to high standards also. So always in our bhakti we should be positive and humility is always meant to increase our positivity. How? By making us more focused on Krishna’s love, by making us more focused on Krishna’s mercy. Humility should not increase our negativity by making us think oh I am so worthless, I am so fallen, I can never change therefore let me just stay the way I am and let me give up bhakti. That sort of negativity is not humility, it is illusion, it is temptation, it is maya and that should be rejected. Thank you.
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