Thanks for an elaborate reply to my question. The point which I was trying to make was that for a conditioned soul the material tidings are so strong that he always searches for an excuse as to how to avoid bhakti for the sake of carrying out his material desires and thereby try to enjoy and lord over his situation. If that comes from a revered personality like you, he would all the more take that as an excuse and would even sham out on his sadhna bhakti vows postponing that for tomorrow, next day and so on. If we encourage people that even working for 14 hours is OK, where would he have any time and energy left to even chant his rounds. That’s why Srila Prabhupada in his purports always mentions that human life is not meant for working like an ass.
Srila Prabhupada mercifully knew of our degraded mentalities thats why in his books, lectures, conversations, letters had never encouraged people to take on highly time consuming and long distance travelling jobs and do bhakti later on because he knew that later on never comes. That’s why his famous quote of an old man and wife where wife is saying Chant, Chant, Chant and the man is saying can’t, can’t, can’t. I have personally seen that when students come to Maharaj asking for career advice, he always advises them to make Govt. jobs their first preference even though they may be less paying, so that one has ample time and energy left for spirituality.
In my own 23 years of experience of having been associated with the Hare Krishna movement, hardly I have come across anyone who’s chased power, position, money and then given it up or come back for practising spiritual life. If at all there are very few people like that, they are exceptions and exceptions don’t make rules. My own personal experience of having been a Commander in the Navy and also worked at senior positions at Corporates is that to even maintain ones initiation vows in Corporate lives at any position, is herculean.
If in such a situation we tell someone that chase your dreams now and come back later that too from a position of authority, probably we are giving license to that soul’s desire to turn away from Krishna and follow some cursory rituals for name sake only. Of course Isopinashad talks of taking material and spiritual education together but material education only for maintaining oneself in the world so as to whole heartedly pursue spiritual life and not for chasing power, position, money and thereby enjoying ones senses. Also Srila Prabhupada says that spiritual education should be taken from 5 years of age. Of course Varna ashram gives us a progression but people today are not able to follow Grihastha ashram because they haven’t been trained as brahamcharis. I remember Guru Maharaja once telling someone who was aged 30 and claiming to be a Grihastha, that you have come to spiritual life and training now, so ideally your Grihastha life should start only at 30 + 25= 55 years of age.
In my humble view it is better to tell of the highest and encourage everyone from whichever level they are at to aspire for the highest and achieve that highest. Yes, we have to be accommodating as was Srila Prabhupada, but like him we should say of the highest and encourage everyone to come up to that. Thats what Srila Prabhupada did and we should follow in his footsteps.
Rest I am too insignificant and for me to completely understand a pure devotee of Srila Prabhupada’s stature is like showing a lamp to the Sun.
Stoka Krsna Das
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