When we are far away from the standards needed to attain the spiritual world, what is our hope?
Transcriber: Sharan Shetty
Question: When we are far away from the standards needed to attain the spiritual world, what is our hope?
Answer: There is a digital and an analogue conception of bhakti. Digital concept is zero or one. This means either we are a devotee or a non-devotee, either we are meeting the standard or not meeting the standard. Whereas analogue conception is that of a progression.
Bhagavad Gita is largely an analogue conception where Krishna gives multiple alternatives. If you cannot practice bhakti, then practice yoga. If you cannot practice yoga, then practice jnana. If you cannot practice jnana, then practice karma. And if you cannot worship Me then worship devatas (demigods).
Even within bhakti, from BG 12.08 to BG 12.12, Krishna gives a progression. At first, he says, spontaneously fix your mind on Me. If you cannot do that, then conscientiously strive to fix your mind on Me. If you cannot do that, then work for Me. If you cannot do that then work for a selfless cause. Thus, Krishna is giving us multiple levels to connect with him. We do not have to necessarily think that just because we are not at a particular standard of bhakti then we are not practicing bhakti. If we just keep doing what we can, Krishna promises in the Bhagavad Gita 09.22 – yogakshemam vahamyaham (I carry what you lack, and I preserve what you have). This applies not just to our material assets but also to our spiritual assets. Krishna says, if you strive to be devoted to me then I will protect whatever spiritual advancement you have made, and I will provide whatever spiritual advancement you are lacking.
We do not have to bother for coming up to a particular standard. We just dedicate ourselves doing the best we can right now. Either Krishna will make up for all that we are lacking and take us directly to him or will take us to some place where we are closer to him.
It is true that we all want to grow spiritually but it is important to note that wherever there are standards, the mind will try to rebel because the mind has tremendous potential in making even the most positive things negative. The purpose of standards is to inspire us, not to discourage us. If we hear how ecstatic the saints, Lord Chaitanya, the Six Goswamis were in their absorption and in their love for Krishna, then we may either become discouraged thinking that we are nowhere near them or we may feel inspired that such an advanced stage can be attained by following the process I am practicing right now. That is why, depending on our consciousness, we need to adjust our vision.
If we feel very proud thinking that we have advanced so much spiritually then we should look how far we have to go. When we become disheartened, we should see how far we have come. All of us have come a significant way in our spiritual journey. If we look at the many years that have past, we have made significant progress where our values have changed positively. If we are honest with ourselves, we will see, that we have progressed not because of us but in-spite of us. We are so distracted, so impure, so conditioned and in-spite of ourselves, we have made so much progress. Before leaving for India, a devotee friend wished me a safe trip. I replied that as long as I am with me, no trip is safe because we are often our worst enemies. Still we have covered significant distance and that too in-spite of us. This means despite of our half-hearted, distracted efforts, Krishna has got us this far. Therefore, if Krishna has got us this far, Krishna will take us all the way also.
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