Should one take saffron only when one is convinced that Krishna is God?
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Transcribed by: Anupama Kulkarni Mataji
Question: Should one take saffron only when one is convinced that Krishna is God?
Answer: Different devotees may have different personal convictions which inspire them in their spiritual lives, and they may emphasize more on their convictions when they present Krishna consciousness to others. Those convictions may not disagree with the philosophy, but they may not be universal convictions for everyone. We need to ask ourselves, are we convinced that Krishna is the supreme personality of Godhead.
Once, Srila Prabhupada asked some of his GBC (the Governing Body Commission) disciples that if you are convinced that Krishna is God, you will be able to make the whole world Krishna conscious just in eighteen days. However, none of his disciples could say that they were convinced. Does that mean that they were not convinced? No, if they had not been convinced, at least to some extent, they would not have been able to dedicate their lives and do so much for Srila Prabhupada. So, rather than seeing conviction as a digital one or zero progression, we need to see conviction as an analog progression. If we are reasonably convinced about Krishna’s divinity and supremacy, then we can surely take steps forward in our spiritual life – be it becoming a brahmachari or taking saffron – and that conviction will gradually deepen.
However, if one has serious reservations, like one may cite other purana and not accept Lord Krishna’s divinity and supremacy and says something else, then that is a different issue. But for somebody who has already become a brahmachari and has been serving in the movement for a good amount of time, there should not be any major doubt about their accepting Krishna’s supremacy. One may be at a level where if somebody very learned in scriptures brings up some contrary quotes about Lord Shiva being supreme or Goddess Devi being supreme, one may not know how to answer it, though this is unlikely to disturb one’s personal convictions. The Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu says madhyama-adhikari platform is where one is convinced; one’s faith is not disturbed but one may not know how to respond to arguments. The uttama-adhikari platform is where one knows how to respond to arguments as well as inspire people to come closer towards Krishna.
We should have some basic conviction that the person to whom we are dedicating our life is the ultimate lord of our heart and we are not just rejecting the world and its love but we are directing our love to the original and the best object of love. With that conviction, one can say no to the worldly temptations with a greater firmness and not with reluctance or half-heartedness.
Therefore, we do need some basic conviction. However, instead of making that conviction as a digital one-zero thing, we should give it a proper philosophical context. We should understand the principle that we are to redirect our love, especially even more intensely in the renounced order compared to other ashrams. For doing the effort of sadhana bhakti, we need commitment and for that commitment, we need the conviction that Krishna is the supreme Lord. He is the lord of our heart. However, not having this conviction cent-percent, should not deter us to dedicate our life to Krishna.
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