If our mistakes have got us into trouble, how can we overcome the guilt that disheartens us while taking shelter of Krishna?

by Chaitanya Charan dasMarch 14, 2017

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Duration: 4 min

Transcribed by: Sundarinath Das

Question: When we feel broken, although we can take shelter of Krishna, sometimes we ourselves feel guilty that it is my mistake because of which I am in this mess. So, we don’t feel as if we can take shelter of Krishna

Answer (short):
• Guilt that keeps us away from Krishna is not guilt, it is pseudo-guilt.
• To think “I am so fallen that I cannot take shelter of Krishna” is a negative form of self-centeredness.
• Actual humility means to think not about ourselves, but to think of Krishna and how we can serve him.
• No matter what mess we may be in, Krishna doesn’t hate us. Rather he always loves us and will help us reform.

Answer (long):
All things that keep us away from Krishna are a form of temptation. Some temptations such as lust, anger and greed tempt us with pleasure while others such as guilt also tempt us but in a perverse way. Both kind of temptations keep us away from Krishna.

Guilt can be categorized in two types: (i) guilt (ii) pseudo-guilt. Guilt is like a psychological defense mechanism against sin. It is meant to come between us and sin. Just like, when we take our hand close to fire we immediately pull it back due to sensation of heat. Such sensation is meant to defend us from fire. As there is a physical defense mechanism which protects us from physical harm, similarly guilt is like a psychological defense mechanism which prevents us from harms of wrong-doing. However, maya, the illusory energy of the Lord, is so insidious that it fools us by making us feel pseudo-guilt instead of true guilt. Pseudo-guilt is that which comes not between us and the wrong-doing, but between us and Krishna. Self-pity is not guilt but pseudo-guilt.

To think “I am so fallen that I cannot take shelter of Krishna” is not actually humility but a negative form of self-centeredness. The other extreme of self-centeredness is to think “How wonderful I am.” Self-centeredness keeps us away from Krishna. Humility essentially means – “I am not such a big person. There are things bigger than me. Ultimately, Krishna is far bigger and matters the most. Therefore, I will not think about myself but serve Krishna.” Humility helps us to come out of self-centeredness and move towards Krishna.

Krishna says in Bhagavad-gita (09.30):
api cet su-duracharo
bhajate mam ananya-bhak
sadhur eva sa mantavyah
samyag vyavasito hi sah
“Even if somebody commits most sinful activity, if they are practicing bhakti they are to be considered saintly.”

Krishna does not give much importance to sinful activity. Instead he sees continued practice of bhakti to be more important. We can take lot of inspiration from this verse. In this verse, Krishna is emphatically declaring to us that we do not have the power to do anything that can make Krishna stop loving us! When we understand this, then we can always stay encouraged in bhakti. Even if the mess that we are in is because of us, Krishna can still remove the mess. Krishna doesn’t hate us because of the mess we are in. Krishna loves us and will help us reform. With such understanding, we can always take shelter of Krishna.

About The Author
Chaitanya Charan das

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