(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 24 April 2014, Radhadesh, Belgium, Caitanya Caritamrta Lecture)
Focus of purpose is what I was thinking about and that is what I would like you to think about. What is your purpose? I am not going to carry people and sort of micromanage their life. Of course, if you want to ask about material life, how to deal with it, I will try to answer. But whatever advice I give about material things, it is not necessarily absolute. When I give advice about scripture, Krsna’s or Prabhupad’s teachings, that is absolute. But for questions like, ‘Should I stay in this country? Should I stay in this ashram? Should I do this service or should I do that service?’
Then, ‘You told me to do this and it all went wrong!’
Yes, that could happen (laughter). I am telling you. If I give any material advice, it may all go wrong because, the material energy is a crocodile and I cannot control it either; it bites me also from time to time. It does! As much as you do, I also get beaten around by the material energy. Okay, when you are sixty-one years old, you surely got a few tricks up your sleeve and surely, I would be willing to share it with you…
To some people, I would say, ‘Why don’t you do this?’ But most of the time, people do not do what I say anyway! (laughter) That is my experience, you know. Most of the time when I tell them, ‘Why don’t you do this?’
‘Errr, well, I can’t!’
‘Ok, then what do you want to do?’
‘Well, this and that… Is that ok?’
‘Yes, it is ok…’
Most of the time, it becomes like that, that is the reality – most of us have strong desires of our own. In the beginning of spiritual life, we can do it. We can be strict and dedicate ourselves to following the process, authorities, the mission and so on. Some can do it for a whole life. But many, on the way, will find a desire to fill it in a more individual way and it is okay with me. Give individual shape to your life but with that you are responsible for the purity. As we create more space for an individual way of life, more responsibility is there. Someone in the ashram can be told, ‘Okay, time to get up, time to go out, time to eat…’ Ashram life means someone telling you what you should do with your time.
If we need more space – have all the space you want but, everything has a price tag attached to it. The more we interact with the material energy, the more that material energy will take over our consciousness. I am talking about the mind; the mind will start worrying about it when having to deal with it.
On the other hand, if you are in the renounced position, then you have to make sure that you are happy. When a renunciate is not happy in his renunciation, then he is in total danger. Because, what is there otherwise? In grhasta ashram, there is some material enjoyment but for the renunciate, there is not much. You can eat but how much can you eat?
So in conclusion, I think it is very important to have a focus, to have an idea what we are going to do and to not just let it happen.