Transcribed by Kristin
(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 09 May 2014, Bhaktivedanta Manor, England, Srimad Bhagavatam 8.23.3-6)
I always used to think of myself as a bit more spiritual than other people. What to do! I had a little more spiritual interest than the average person, in fact I thought I was very spiritual. But when I saw so many different groups practicing this yoga and that yoga, I saw that most were doing it for status.
I was in the Himalayas, in the place of the Tibetans. I met all the people at the Tibetan tea stall, where in the morning you were having tea and little hot breads with butter which in those days, I thought was not bad but then people were saying, “Are you going to the library, Tibetan library? Are you already studying the Tibetan? Are you doing the mediation courses? Which one are you doing the first grade or the second one?” (British accent) Then someone said the first grade. So someone else said, “Oh yeah, it is kind of difficult, isn’t it. I remember when I used to…” And I thought, “Oh my God, we are keeping up with the Joneses here.” I want to get out of here. “Mirror, mirror on the wall who is the most spiritual of all!” But was I any different?
Anyway, when I finally came to the devotees, they were too spiritual, too serious! I mean, it was just too much these Hare Krsnas; they were totally dedicated. Shocking! I really, I felt like exposed – exposed for a lack of surrender. I didn’t surrender when I saw that but I lived with that feeling of guilt. I lived with that feeling that I am not up to the mark. I could do better.
Then I picked up the Bhagavad-gita by Srila Prabhupada, while smoking my cigarettes and blowing smoke rings through smoke rings. What can you do, this is the sort of thing you do in the material world. I read the Bhagavad-gita and I thought, “Yes, yes, yes… I know all this,” in my arrogance but then, every time, the words of Srila Prabhupada were hammering my heart.
These words were hammering my heart because they were sort of calling for surrender and I used to think of myself as sincere. Then I thought that if I am not going to do it now then how can I call myself as sincere!? And still, I didn’t surrender. And it was difficult then to live with myself after that… trying to look on myself as sincere, because it is hard to when you are not being sincere. Everyone likes to think of themselves, “I am totally sincere.” So it was tough and eventually it ate at my heart. One day, I had to do it, at one point I was like, “Alright then, okay I WILL DO IT!”