(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 29 October 2014, Vrindavan, India, Srimad Bhagavatam 5.13.22)
In the beginning of our spiritual life, we come with lots of enthusiasm. Then, after some time, we lose that initial fire and we come into a realm of struggling with all the high standards of Krsna consciousness. We do not feel the same inspiration that we had in the beginning. Then, what do we do? At that point, what can we do?
Srila Prabhupada explains that one must chant in a mood of a helpless child. So, when we become helpless, when we realize, ‘Actually, I am not a great devotee, I am struggling, it is not easy! It is very challenging, maybe too challenging!’ Then, all we have left is to look for mercy, as much mercy as possible, because it is mercy that can change us. On our own strength, we are lacking, we do not have the determination and conviction to just act on the level of pure devotion even after hearing all the good instructions. Then, all that is left for us to do is to look for as much mercy as possible. Because, through that mercy, we will change and we will get a desire!
It is not difficult to be a pure devotee if we would want to be, the problem is that we do not want to be. We are holding onto our material conditioning and therefore we do not get nourishment from devotional service. But, by mercy, we can go beyond! Therefore, with time, as we are realizing more and more how much we are falling short in being pure devotees, more and more, we become eager for mercy. That mercy is available in so many ways: in service, in hearing from the vaisnavas, in prasadam, in giving donations – in so many opportunities and so many forms. One has to be eager to look for it, to take it and to look for opportunities.
In the Caitanya Caritamrta, there is a famous story of Gundica marjana, the cleansing of the temple, where all the devotees were cleansing and competing with each other. Some did very well and others did little less well, and Lord Caitanya would chastise those. But there was this one Brahmana, who suddenly saw the lotus feet of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in front of him, and he took the pot of water which was meant to wash the temple and instead, he washed the lotus feet of Lord Caitanya and drank that water!
Lord Caitanya complained to Svarup Damodar, ‘Look what your Bengali vaisnava has done!’ Svarup Damodar, being the senior most of Bengali devotees, took him and threw him out of the temple, but that devotee danced the whole way because he drank the water from Mahaprabhu’s feet. No one else saw that opportunity! So we have to be awake to see the opportunities – ample opportunities – here and everywhere in the world created by Srila Prabhupada. Let us take advantage!