(Kadamba Kanana Swami, July 2009, Serbian Summer Camp, Lecture)
Question: I was thinking if I should ask this question. A confession goes along with it. I started Krsna consciousness twenty-one years ago and in spite of all my deficiencies, devotees have been very nice to me. After many years, finally I think that I am getting some taste and for hearing and chanting also. But, I feel that I have hit a wall or a ceiling. Upon analysing, I have discovered that I still have doubts which are preventing me form getting the real nectar in Krsna consciousness. Upon further analysis, to my horror, I have discovered that apparently I am not so happy with the idea that Krsna is controlling everything in my life. Even though I have begun to enjoy very much the association of devotees and the whole process of Krsna consciousness, I am constantly, no matter how hard I try, I am hitting this wall which prevents me from going further. I would very much like to know why this is so. So Maharaj, please tell me, what is wrong?
It is a fact that we have to give up all sense of proprietorship. At one point, we just have to accept that nothing is ours. In the Caitanya Caritamrta, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu tells to Sanatana Goswami that even his own body was not his. Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, “You have surrendered unto me. Therefore, your body is my property!”
We have to gradually come to this point when we say, “All right, all Your property!” We have to let go of the tendency to control our own destiny, to really say, “Okay Krsna, whatever You want!” Because, whether we have that mood or not, it is anyway going to be like that. Krsna will do what he wants. So, we are all struggling like that.
Yesterday, I used the analogy of Krsna being in the inner-chamber in our heart. We can think of our heart as a palace with many rooms. Slowly, we open more rooms and we have to turn all these rooms into temples. But as long as we have any ideas of wanting material things, that means that we still lock out some rooms from Krsna – that is where our obstacles are. Everyone has some barriers otherwise we will all be ecstatic prema bhaktas, rolling on the ground in ecstasy. So, we may be struggling with these limits, we may bump into the walls that you described but, if step-by-step, we try to surrender more, if we try to accept whatever Krsna wants, still in subtle ways we may have some personal agenda but we minimize it more and more.
Like in my case, I was a grhasta but I did not have kids, it did not happen. Then at one stage, I began to wonder what are we going to do – grow old together… hand-in- hand, bone-in-bone. I thought what would the point be? So, I began to develop the desire to take sannyasa. I remember the ceremony at the Bhaktivedanta Manor and as I was sitting at the fire sacrifice, I had a moment of doubt. (Audience: Ohhhh!) No, doubt is a sign of intelligence, Kapiladeva says. I had a moment of doubt! I was thinking, “Why am I doing this to myself? I am forty-four years old. This is relatively young. I could have waited ten more years. Why do I want to do this now? Is it personal ambition or is it really the desire to serve Krsna?”
Anyway, since I was sitting in the sacrifice, I just carried on with it. What do you do? Then after I took sannyasa, some television crew came and they immediately put the microphone under my nose and said, “Do you feel any different?”
And I said, “If you would ask that question to a man who just got married, what would he say? He would say yes. I feel different now because I feel the weight of the responsibility.” So, I felt the weight of the responsibility there and then. So, this is the way that we gradually try to increase our commitment. First, we make an external commitment and then in order to survive that commitment, you have to fill it in. A sannyasi has to walk around with these heavy vows, such heavy vows – not to enjoy in this world, no sense gratification at all. It is quite strict! So, then I could see, “I will never survive this unless I really fill it in with some genuine attraction to Krsna.”
If we want to break out of a stagnated situation then we must make a commitment that is greater than where we are now. It does not have to be sannyasa but the commitment in service to Krsna must increase. That commitment in service to Krsna will force us to also make a greater internal commitment. And if again we find a wall then again, we must make a fresh commitment which is even greater which will force us to grow internally. It is in this way that we increase our surrender to Krsna and not so much by mental or intellectual adjustment. We cannot do it that way, we are just not strong enough but if we make a commitment, that will force us. If we take responsibility, responsibility will force us.
So, when there is stagnation, make more commitment in the service of Krsna. It can be in different directions – it can be in sadhana, in practical service; it can be in ashram; it depends on our individual situation. Then in the end, if at the end of our life, if there are still such walls and we still have not fully become perfect then there is this hope, it is called asa bandha, it is translated as “hope against hope”!
It basically means that even if there is no reason to have hope, you still have hope. We may have no reason to think that we will be successful, that we will go back to Godhead, and that we will get Krsna prema because we have not surrendered enough. You know it and I know it; we know it about ourselves. But we “hope against hope” that we may still get the mercy of Lord Caitanya because if he sees that we are really trying then he is very generous. So, this is the crux, we have to really try and if Lord Caitanya sees that we are really trying, then he will give us mercy, if he wants to…
So that is my meditation, that is why I took sannyasa. It is a risky business. Still, I hope that Lord Caitanya, at the end of my life, will say, “Well, he tried!” Everyone else will say, “He did not do very well. It was not very impressive. Maybe it will be better for him to do it one more time.” But someone will also say, “This is one of Prabhupada’s men.” So I also want to be a Prabhupada man. Prabhupada has prayed to Krsna that we can go back to Godhead. So I try to serve Prabhupada, I hope that he will also help.
Do you know that story about the horse race? The horse race is getting ready to start. Ladies and gentlemen, all the horses are lined up! Start sign and they are all are running. And it is material desire that takes the lead! Envy and greed are close behind. And they are storming down the tracks, storming down the tracks… and it really looks like material desire is going to win the race. Number one, material desire, is in the lead… in the lead! But then… look, look, look! From behind, from the left field, there it is – Prabhupada’s mercy, Prabhupada’s mercy coming down the side! And yes, yes, yes! Prabhupada’s mercy is moving on. Prabhupada’s mercy is, I tell you ladies and gentlemen, Prabhupada’s mercy is going to finish the race!!!
Somehow or other, hang in there!