Devotee : What happens is as you said about eating habits, we have our past conditioning, we were attached to some eating habits and foods – this attachment is haunting us.
Maharaja : Maybe we become a mouse in the next life then!
Devotee : We know we should not do it. Yet after some point it really haunts us and sometimes we get carried away also with those habits and temptations, at that time we then feel that we made a blunder in our Krishna consciousness.
So what must a devotee to do come back to the same level of consciousness and not repeat it?
Maharaja : First of all, it is not just that we are practicing our spiritual life on the path back to Godhead with the hand book of the sastra walking on the path and looking in the book. No. Krishna is also there, Krishna is also present, and sometimes He arranges that there is a pit on the road and just as we are too preoccupied with all the other things, then Krishna arranges that we fall on our face! That’s also there, so what do we do? …
It is said in the purport of Bhagavata Gita, Srila Prabhupada writes that sometimes if a devotees is not serious to follow the instructions of the Spiritual Master then Krishna makes arrangements for his purification, so that is also there. But in spite of getting the good instructions of the spiritual master, of the vaisnavas and in spite of getting many signals of Krishna -the car rode over seven times, you nearly lost your life, but you are still not serious… Then what?!
Well once we have come to Krishna, Krishna will not easily let us go, so Krishna will continue to make arrangements to bring us back, but if we are determined to turn away from Krishna, then at one point we can forget… forgetfulness and remembrance both come from Krishna.
So, finally we are so determined to forget, Krishna will let us forget. So, therefore we cannot play around like this and say:
“ Well!!! Prabhu I am trying to become serious. I am really trying but because old habits die hard…. “
If old habits die hard, then we will also die many times and get caught in the cycle of birth and death. We are playing with fire. It reminds me of a verse from Vedanta Sutra where it says:
“ Just like a man who’s head is caught on fire runs for water, that is how we should run for the spiritual master.”
We should be more eager. So, this discussion is basically trying to pierce through complacency, pointing out that complacency is dangerous. One can always make excuses like old habits die hard. When one is a bramachari there is an advantage, because he makes a big change:
Bald head, bright saffron and he looks clearly different from the world.
But as a ghrhasta there is a danger because Dr.Jekyl and Mr.Hyde is down town and he just looks like everybody else, no tilak, and then it becomes easy for Mr.Hyde to shuffle some stuff to the mouth that is actually not so desirable – better get a tiffin from the home. Why not? That’s the best – we do it also.
The stewardess comes also hundreds of times:
“Are you sure you not hungry”
as if she is my mother!
“But you’re not eating?”
I am eating, I have got a huge bag of prasadam from the temple, too much as usual and I am eating on the plane but she didn’t see!
“But you’re not eating anything, please eat something”
Forget it I am not eating anything from the plane,
“But it is pure veg”
..even if it is veg, which I am not sure about, -it is not pure!
So, in other words, there is no way to become relieved from the responsibility of making the choice for Krishna or for maya.
That choice we have to make, we are not relieved from that choice – that minute independence we have and that responsibility – it is the responsibility of the human form of life, we must choose for Krishna, so just as your favourite prep, ‘pani puri’ is there, forget it!
Make your own pani puri at home, but no pani puri at the side of the road, forget it!
Just take a vow, no more pani puri, no matter how attractive they look, finished!
Like that. Because we are playing with fire, it’s our head that’s on fire!
You see, there is no easy way out, that’s not a question that’s looking for an easy way out. There is no easy way out, we are responsible.
Devotee : How to get this conviction in our life and how to maintain this for the whole life?
Maharaja : How do we get this conviction? By hearing from those who have conviction and little by little it sinks in, the drop wears a stone – by hearing and by taking risk in the service for Prabhupada and for his mission. Because if we take a risk in service, we do something difficult, then we gain strength in these things.
Devotee : In household life we have this practical problem that we are called for marriage of devotees and ours is a preaching movement and so we have to attend the marriage, but the prasadam over there is not being cooked by the devotees, its cooked by outsiders and we are pressurised to eat.
Maharaja: Because it is the devotees’ marriage it is such an auspicious occasion that simply these devotees get married they must invite all the guest, they are just busy making one million arrangements, they cannot go into the kitchen, their mothers are too old to cook for so many people. So they really don’t have any practical alternative other than to give it out to the outside people – because these devotees are so special that instead of playing Bollywood style relationships they are going for the Dharmic relationship in the age of adharma in this age of kali, Lord Chaitanya is so pleased that he just blesses the whole marriage arrangement and therefore although it is cooked by non-devotees, don’t worry….
Transcribed by Madhumati Devi Dasi
(Kadamba Kanana Swami)