How can we overcome inconsistency in deity worship caused by our wavering feelings?
Transcribed by: Suresh Gupta
Question: How can we overcome inconsistency in deity worship caused by our wavering feelings?
Answer: Feelings will always go up and down. You can find out your standard for deity worship by observing yourself over a period. When you feel high you would want to do many things, however when you feel low you may not want to do even the basic things. So, decide your standard that lies somewhere between your high and low. Such an approach will make sure that you will easily be able to follow standard when you are high, but when you are at your low, you will not have to stretch yourself to the top most level.
In general, at home deity worship standards are adjustable. However, the adjustment should be done by plan, not by whim. Whim means – “If I feel like doing it today I will do it, but tomorrow if I do not feel like doing it I will not do it.” Instead, we should plan. For example, you can decide that for fifteen days I will make three offerings daily. If you find that standard is not manageable, you then adjust to two offerings daily. Standards themselves are adjustable, so plan and observe whatever you feel like doing on a regular basis and then follow it.
In bhakti, we get inspiration or push in three ways: (i) intellectual (ii) relational (iii) emotional.
Intellectual push comes from understanding the philosophy. For example, you can get intellectual push by hearing classes or reading books on importance of deity worship, make notes about deity worship, read those notes before sleeping or after waking up, try to remember some shlokas about deity worship etc.
Relational push comes by associating with devotees who are engaged in deity worship. Try to have a conversation with a devotee friend of yours who is engaged in deity worship. Discuss with them how they are doing deity worship, how they feel doing it, what inspired them for deity worship etc. You may also like to share with them about your struggles, check if they also went through the same challenges, and what did they do to overcome those challenges.
Emotional push means that you see deity worship as a part of your relationship with Krishna. In other relationships also, we go through ups and downs but we maintain some basic commitments. Similarly, in deity worship, we can maintain some basic commitment. The level of commitment can have some flexibility but should not vary on our day today moods. Instead there can be a long-term plan which can be adjusted over a period.