Did God help Gajendra only when he stopped helping himself?
Transcriber: Suresh Gupta
Question: Did God help Gajendra only when he stopped helping himself?
Answer: It is important to note that even surrender requires trying. Gajendra did not give up sinking in self-pity but instead looked up to call out to the Lord which also requires endeavour. In bhakti, there is a dual dynamic, there is dependence on Krishna and there is also diligence for Krishna, and both are integral to devotion. For things that are in our control, we need to have diligence to do them as nicely as we can. Arjuna practised archery painstakingly where he learnt the art all day and practised all night and that is how he became a champion archer and got the name Gudakesha. He did not think that he will depend on Krishna and shoot the arrow and Krishna will make it hit the target. Instead, Arjuna was practising painstakingly and that diligence was also his devotion. Therefore, for the things which are in our control, we need to be diligent and for the things which are not in our control, we need to be dependent. However, in some situations, we may think that it is in our control and we keep trying again and again but eventually realise that it is not in our control and then we surrender to Krishna.
Draupadi was also in a similar situation. She was trying to protect herself but when her endeavours failed, she finally surrendered to Krishna by raising her hands. But there is a big difference between Draupadi’s and Gajendra’s consciousness. Gajendra was completely in an enjoying mentality when he was out there in the lake for a picnic but Draupadi throughout her life was in a dharmic consciousness and at the time of disrobing she tried to persuade everyone to see dharma by questioning the stand of the elder members of the Kuru family. Hence, it is not that Draupadi was not surrendered before, it was out of surrender itself that she was trying to stay out of that calamity. Similarly, it is not that Arjuna was not surrendered when he was fighting. However, Gajendra was in materialistic consciousness and the emergency in his life put him in spiritual consciousness.
Both Arjuna and Draupadi were throughout their life in devotional consciousness and did their best in the mood of devotion to Krishna but at a particular point when they found that all the diligence was not enough then they shifted to depend on Krishna. In that sense, Gajendra’s evolution is from material to spiritual consciousness whereas for Draupadi and Arjuna, it is always spiritual consciousness, but from diligence in spiritual consciousness to dependence in spiritual consciousness. Both situations are not similar.
Sometimes we get caught in doership mentality thinking ourselves to be the cause and might also not remember Krishna but when things do not work out, we become humble and pray to Krishna. This is how we go from material to spiritual consciousness like Gajendra. At the same time, we should not think that in the name of dependence of Krishna, we do not do our part well. About 20 years ago, when I started giving spiritual classes for the first time, I received ten guidelines on “How to speak in public for Krishna” and the last guideline was – depend on Krishna (only after you have prepared).
Hence, if I do not prepare for a class and say that I am dependent on Krishna, then it is not dependence, it is irresponsibility. That is why, we should not think that dependence on Krishna is same as irresponsibility, we have to be extremely responsible in doing what we can but we should also try to have a consciousness of service where instead of doers we think ourselves as instruments, doing our duties for the pleasure of Krishna and knowing that it is he who will enable me to do it. In Bhagavad Gita 7.8, Krishna says paurusham nrsu: I am ability in man. Without ability, we cannot do anything and at the same time, our abilities are not our entitlements, they are endowments. They have been given to us or gifted to us by Krishna.
Thus, if we are in material consciousness like Gajendra where helplessness in individual situations take us towards spiritual consciousness then that is good but in normal when we are doing service, we should not think ourselves to be in material consciousness. We try to remain in devotional consciousness by being diligent towards Krishna and even after working diligently if sometimes things do not work out then we shift towards dependence.
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