(Kadamaba Kanana Swami, February 2011)

Sometimes we join a spiritual movement with the idea of:

‘Now I will be relieved from all this struggle!”

But that is not a fact since the struggle continues just as hard. Some people really come with that motive:
“It’s too heavy….the struggle for existence. I want relief…..let me take shelter in the spiritual movement”.

They will be confronted with the hard reality that in devotional service we are also dealing with the material energy. In fact, sometimes even to a greater extent, because in devotional service we have a principle known as ‘just surrender!’ I experienced this on several occasions:

One year I came to New York, and had just arrived, and Romapada Swami from the GBC came out of the office. He looked around and asked:

“Is there anyone who can drive?”

Then he looks at me and asks:

“Can you Drive?”

Well what do you say? Those are the moments where you want to say ‘No!’ I said:

“Well yes”.

“Great…great! We’ve got a driver….phew!”

They had a driver. They took me and there was no such thing as saying:

“But I had hardly slept last night because I was flying throughout the night”.

I was now the driver. We were walking they gave me the key to the car, and when we we were coming around the two blocks, I then saw that the vehicle which was a big yellow truck with a flat back…I didn’t even have a licence for that, but everyone was so eager:

“You’re the driver!”

Somehow or other I just became overpowered. In the next moment I was driving a big yellow truck with the kirtan party in the back, through New York and my guide was a non driver! Non drivers they tell you:

“Turn right here!”

Instead of saying:

“Pull up towards the right, and then we turn right”.

I cut the traffic in New York. It was intense and suddenly police cars came from all sides and I saw myself in jail!

They didn’t come after me but they went after a shoplifter, who did put his hands against the wall, and several police cars were there. The craziest situation and I thought:

“If I would have just listened to my father, and just stayed nicely in the material life, then this would never have happened to me!”

I would have just got a job according to my education and my whole life would be lived nicely – a decent life. Instead the madman that I was, I joined the Hare Krishna movement, and see what came of it! I went through a moment like this.

So it is certainly not the case that in spiritual life automatically our life will become easier! No, not at all!

‘But shouldn’t we experience some relief from the pains of the material existence?’

Yes but this comes exactly by maybe even more difficulties. We are taking on so many difficulties in the service of Krishna. By taking on all these difficulties in the service of Krishna is our saving grace, because that will not leave us and it will create absorption. If everything was just only very sweet, then the mind would still think:

“Maybe the grass is greener on the other side?”

When there is overwhelming problems in Krishna Consciousness to deal with – then that is our saving grace because it totally absorbs the mind and then after serving Krishna…. and doing that for Krishna, then one day we will find that our material desires are diminished! They have just automatically diminished simply by engaging in this devotional service and that is how it works!

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