(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 04 March 2012, New York, USA, Caitanya Caritamrta Adi-lila 9.37)
Question: Maharaj, you spoke about associating with the mode of goodness and being natural also. Do we do it step-by-step, little-by-little?
I am regularly in Germany and in Germany they have the autobahn (highway) with no speed limit. Some years back, they had a big sign at the side of the highway which said, ‘Turtles to the right!’ Similarly, in spiritual life, there is also a turtle lane. So as this German autobahn has different lanes, you can stay in the turtle lane forever, thinking, ‘Well, step-by-step; better safe than sorry!’ Or you can take a bit of a risk and go drive in the middle lane, and in Germany when you drive in a middle lane sometimes you see these lights flashing behind you and then some Porsche comes flying and that’s Rupa Gosvami or someone like that! So, think about that also. If we just stay in the turtle lane forever, I am not sure…
Is it under the guidance of devotees that we shift?
Yes, to some extent. You got to have some faith that Krsna is going to protect you. You cannot always be under the guidance of devotees, every step of the way. You cannot always be on the hand of your mother as a kid also – you have to venture out, to take some risk, fall on your face even! Nowadays, we have the counselor system and I am the first one to say, “Very good, very nice!” But of course as with every system, it also has a flip side. That is, we also don’t want to create overly dependent people. We want self-reliant people who are able to take care of themselves spiritually, to intelligently follow. It has to come to that – that is maturity. Certainly, we are always eager for association of devotees, we don’t want to live without that but we have to become spiritually self-reliant. That is important. Therefore step-by-step is okay but big steps! It’s a short life! (snapping fingers)
I mean, I am old fashioned – I still am. In 1999, I gave a seminar which was called, From 1966 till 1999. In ’66 the mood was, ‘We all are going to go back to Godhead in this lifetime!’ And in ’99, the mood was, ‘If your guru is a parama-prestha-priya sakhi, then maybe theoretically it would be possible to go back to Godhead but we are not going to make it, it’s gonna take many, many lifetimes.’ That kind of things. I am old fashioned, I still sort of believe that maybe it is going to be done in this lifetime, if I try hard. So the turtle lane, nah… I want to get out of this place.