(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 20 December 2010, Cape Town, South Africa, Srimad Bhagavatam 7.8.34)
Let us be devotees but let us not punish ourselves, “I am a failure, I am not humble! I can’t chant properly, I am a failure…”
When we punish ourselves and then our Krsna consciousness becomes black and gloomy because we have a standard and day-by-day we are failing that standard. Therefore, “I am so sinful… loser! My whole spiritual life is just stress.”
We need not bring this type of mentality into Krsna consciousness. It is not required. We just pick up from we left off and go back to the standard. That is the system of spiritual life.
I often stress the point of rising early because it gives us so much time for spiritual activity because the day is full of so much activity and passion, therefore it is nice to read and chant in the morning. I am recommending that one is strict in trying to rise early but what does it mean to be strict with oneself?
Strictness means that when sometimes our health is really bad or exhaustion goes into the red, at that stage it may be wise to take rest. Strictness means that we should take shelter of the standard of rising early and no matter what happens, we will always go back to it. Then at one stage it becomes a culture, a habit. Like for me, these days rising at 4am I consider sleeping in but there are different cultures. My point is that in spiritual life there is STRICTNESS but not FANATISM. Strictness in the mode of goodness. Spiritual life is joyful!