(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 23 September 2014, Durban, South Africa, Srimad Bhagavatam 1.10.4)
Spiritual life has been challenging in every age, even in the satya yuga! Although in the satya yuga, conditions were very easy and very nice. There was no need to work; grains were growing naturally, fruits were everywhere. All that needed to be done was meditation but it needed to be done for a very long time – that was the problem. Now everything has to be done for a short time and quick results are there but in satya yuga, everything had to be practiced for an extremely long time. So then again, the opportunity was there to get deviated – the mind; that also happened.
So, spiritual life in all times has been, is and will be a challenge. There always will be that personal element of fight in spiritual life. Srila Prabhupada called it a ‘war with maya’ and it always will be a war with maya because maya will always test us, not only in this yuga where life is difficult but in all yugas. Therefore we cannot think that especially now, it is very difficult! Now it is very difficult to practice spiritual life and at other times, it was much more easy. That is false reasoning because that is overlooking the fundamental nature of spiritual life which is that spiritual life involves surrender. Surrender is required! That is Krsna’s requirement:
naham prakasah sarvasya
mudho ‘yam nabhijanati
loko mam ajam avyayam (Bhagavad-gita 7.25)
I keep myself covered to those who are not surrendering unto me. That is a principle which not only applies now but always applies – Krsna covers himself.
This is not a lecture where I am sort of whipping the audience. Some may misunderstand my presentation and think that I am trying to beat my audience and telling them, “Fight… come on, do it!”
No, that is not it. I am saying that it is up to you. It is entirely up to you. If you want to do it, do it! If you don’t want to do it, then don’t do it. If you want to chant Hare Krsna, chant! If you don’t want to chant Hare Krsna, then sleep or try to enjoy the senses – as you like, because ultimately, it is a choice. Krsna consciousness is a choice. We have a choice, it is up to us. No one can be forced. We cannot force people, it is not possible…
For a little while we can do a very strict program and be very strict – check that everybody gets up, make sure that everyone is chanting, make sure that everyone does everything right and then… they will anyway do what they want because sooner or later, everyone will follow what he desires. So it is a choice. Therefore, I say, no push from my side but opportunity, yes! The opportunity is there.
It is the same for me because who is pushing me!? I don’t know. All I can say is that I have to also chant sixteen rounds every day. It may not be a big number but some days it is. Today, only four done, so late. That is bad. Sometimes, I am on this nice program of chanting sixteen rounds before mangal aartik – those are the good times. I always say that sixteen rounds before mangal aartik are the best. Sixteen rounds before darshan are second best. Sixteen rounds before darkness are third best. Sixteen rounds after dark… heavy (sigh)! Late night rounds are those that you have to chant. Those are the rounds that you don’t want to chant… Today, I will try to finish before dark or better, before noon!