If our service is not giving results, is that due to some deficiency in us?
Time: 7 minutes
Transcription (edited) by: Vishvaroopa Das
Question: If our service is not giving results, is that due to some deficiency in us?
Answer: The answer is ‘yes’. It is always good to have thoughts that breed humility within us. However, there are both undesirable and desirable outcomes from such thinking. If not getting some results makes us angry or frustrated so much that we start finding fault with others or criticise them then it is undesirable. That is not bringing humility within us, but it is simply our frustrated controllership coming out. However, if we think that there is something lacking in us and we need to become purer and more purposeful, that is very favourable to our devotion.
At the same time, we should also understand that we cannot read Krishna’s mind. It would be quite speculative and distractive to think why Krishna is not giving us the results. Sometimes it might not be Krishna’s doing. For example, in some countries the government is opposed to practice of bhakti publicly or even privately. Is Krishna doing that? It is not so. It is simply people’s misuse of freedom and power. Krishna is only sanctioning that. Krishna can bring good out of that situation but how he will bring out we may not know.
At the same time, we should also know that some devotees are bhajananandis, devotees who do not preach but only engage in devotional activities. Results of devotional activities of such devotees may not appear to be big. For example, Gaurakishore Das Babaji was a bhajananandi. He had very few disciples. However, his disciple Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur had many disciples. Also need need to mention Srila Prabhupada here who had even more disciples than his spiritual master, Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati. Such observations do not mean that the subsequent acharyas are greater than the previous acharyas. One devotee asked Srila Prabhupada that Bhaktivinode Thakur preached in Bengal and Orissa whereas Bhakti Siddhant Saraswati preached all over India and that Srila Prabhupada preached all over the world, will that mean that Srila Prabhupada was greater than both of them? Srila Prabhupada can never think like that. In fact, Srila Prabhupada always thought that it was because of his Gurudeva’s mercy only he could do whatever he did. Parents are always happy when their children become greater than them.
If we feel there is some deficiency in us and we try to work on that deficiency to intensify our devotion, then such an attitude is favourable. However, if it makes us feel guilty, impure, insecure, unworthy and disheartened in our practice of bhakti then it is unfavourable. If we have some conditioning which we are battling for a long time and it is not going away. Then some people may think, “Since our conditioning is not going to go away for years to come hence no results and therefore no use of practicing bhakti.” Such thinking is unfavourable for our bhakti. Instead we should pray to Krishna that whatever situation we are in we want to connect to him and that if he wants he can give us the results. If there is something he wants us to change that he should guide us on what and how to do it.
Basically, we should analyse why something is happening, but we should not let the analysis make us feel disheartened in Krishna’s bhakti. Some people may think, “People today are so materialistic” or “This is kaliyuga and people are not going to become devotees so what is the use of preaching” and get frustrated. If such analysis is making us disheartened, we should turn away from such analysis or reanalyse the situation and look at the positive side. For example, a positive way of thinking can be, “There are some people who are still becoming spiritual”, “Vegetarianism, yoga, environmental consciousness, holistic medicines are on the rise which is broadly indicative of a rise in sattva in today’s world”, “Although the mode of passion and ignorance are increasing but mode of goodness is also increasing, therefore let us target people in this category” etc.
Sometimes the result might not be coming, and it could be because of some deficiency in us but it could also be because of external circumstances not being right. For such situations, we also need to work at the material level to make sure that we are working effectively.
We can also learn from Srila Prabhupada’s example. Prabhupada could have thought that Indians are not becoming devotees because there is some deficiency in my devotion, but he did not think that way. Prabhupada in his song Markine Bhagvata-Dharma mentions bhakti nai beda nai name khub daro (I have neither devotion nor knowledge, but I have faith in the holy name), this is humility at one level. Prabhupada was not satisfied with only the internal analysis. He did an external analysis also and saw that Indians are enamoured by Westerners. He thought that if Western people become devotees then Indians would follow them. He then decided to go to the West.
To summarize, when our services are not producing results we need to do internal analysis and try to improve our devotion. We also need to do external analysis and evaluate whether there is something that needs to be changed externally to get results.
End of transcription.