In the Nectar of Devotion it is said too much austerity makes one hard hearted. That is an important point to keep in mind. But you know how it is, you go to the South Coast and you just do it to yourself- you allow them to do it to you- with enthusiasm, you reciprocate fully with whatever is brought and you just pack it in! After the pizza, comes the wafers with the ice creams and surrounded by fresh cream and lots of syrup on top and you go for the seconds then the third and even a forth one- you woof it down- and the next day …you are in comatose condition- if you are not on a drip! Suddenly, suddenly, unexpectedly such and such fell ill! “Just see fate! Just see the nature of karma! The devotee is on a drip now! It’s amazing! We never thought this could…” anyway, even if it doesn’t get to such extreme on both ends- even if it doesn’t get to four wafers and even if it doesn’t get to the drip the next day, then there is something in-between called totally spaced out. It’s called the zombie stage of chanting japa! It’s like where from the first mantra till the very last, not one, not one has properly registered! But somehow or other as if you’re waning through waves of spaghetti that have been soaked in sugar syrup and very sticky, somehow or other you have to wane through that and chant the holy name, “Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna…(dramatic)” you’ve made it through the sixteenth mark round! “Thank God! Let’s have some breakfast and get rid of the hang over of yesterday!”

So at times there are advantages to go for the simple, steamies with a mild chaunce and a few lettuce leaves, not to have all the cream on top in the dressing- “You want some dressing on your salad?” you throw the dressing immediately- the weight of that bowl increases ten-fold! The amount of calories that have entered…for one leaf of salad it was 20 and with the dressing- 4000calories! In this way, “would you like a little dressing?” No dressing! Just a little oil and lemon juice. That’s all, thank you. At one point one actually realizes one can do more preaching if you just take it simple. And that preaching is of course very valuable because that preaching is the one thing that is described as the life of transcendental knowledge. That is one thing that makes this spiritual life adventurous. When we see the mercy going to others, spiritual life becomes an adventure. If there’s no mercy going out, spiritual life can be a little dry at times. But when we actually see people becoming Krsna conscious, to us suddenly we become so Krsna conscious, we surprise ourselves. We think, “Is that me?” That’s what happens when we give out mercy. So this is the one thing we have to do, the one thing we have to do. And if we go too much for all the authorized sense gratification- you know what I mean, all the stuff that’s not outside the four regs- “Is this in the four regs?” yes it is! “Alright, let’s have it!” “Yes, let’s have it too…”

“And yes some exercise is needed, so sooner or later in this modern society we have to do some exercise- we sit too much. So, some do yoga and others play cricket! I mean what’s wrong with it? I mean, it’s for the cholesterol! So it’s our duty to preserve our health so that we can prolong our service to the Lord! Hare Krsna! ‘Out! Out! Out! (cricket match)’” So these things are all part of spiritual life. It’s a matter of being balanced you see, one has to find balance. All right, that’s very good. When I speak about balance, I present it like three balls that we are juggling around. And these three balls- one is the ball of personal well-being. So personal well-being is if you never have that pizza and you never have the ice cream, then the mind becomes sour- more sour than a lemon! What is more sour than a lemon? “The mind of a devotee who never has pizza!” Well done, good answer! So that must be there- personal well-being. We spoke about the “aerobics” required for the cholesterol! So something must be part of the whole personal well-being. If you’re mentally fried- difficult to apply yourself with love in serving Krsna. “Love Krsna…” it’s difficult. So, okay the first ball- personal well-being. Second ball- good sadana, really being absorbed in it, bhajan, being absorbed in hearing, chanting, remembering Krsna, and nice. And then the third ball- do something for the mission, something, something. So I like to compare it to balls that are being juggled because that means that when you have the balls, sometimes you have one ball in the hand, other times you have another ball in the hand. Sometimes one ball is in the air and then it is in the hand. So sometimes the ball of personal well-being is in the air. It means like, “To hell with all that. Let’s just push beyond the limits because we have the ball of preaching and bhajan in the hand and ecstasy is there and it’s all going on! And personal well-being and mind and body- nah, who cares about that! That ball is in the air!” But then we catch that ball and crash on our bed and realize, “Well maybe, a little bit of personal well being is appropriate at the moment; let’s invest a little bit in this ball…”

So the three balls of preaching, personal well-being and sadana must be given attention- all of them, some attention and all the time. We always have our eyes on them but some might get a little more attention than the other, depending on the situation. This is balance…

(H.H Kadamba Kanana Maharaja, 2 July ’08, Durban, South Africa)

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