(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 18 October 2017, Melbourne, Australia, Srimad Bhagavatam 4.3.17)

I have a disciple who always signs their letters with ‘your mercy case’ instead of the usual ‘your servant’. It has been consistent over many years and it is nice. It sounds good to think with that mentality, ‘I am your mercy case!’

Whatever reminds us of our humble position, that is an asset! When we are seeing ourselves as fallen, then we feel a need for shelter. As soon as we think, “Well I know it all. I have been around for a long time,” then the difficulty begins. We immediately start to derive some status from our position but by taking birth in this age of Kali, we are actually all inherently weak. So we deal with such weaknesses by chanting, taking shelter, adopting Vaishnava etiquette and ‘beating our mind’.

Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura advised that we must always ‘beat the mind’. He did not just say that; he actually did it. Krsna consciousness is not just about reading the books, understanding them and getting some glories – “I have now thoroughly understood Srila Prabhupada’s books in a way that they are very rarely understood.” No, rather we have to reform ourselves again and again, except that is still not the main thing; it is only a catalyst. That conscious endeavour is only the catalyst. It is one of the factors that support the real purification that comes from devotional service because ultimately, mercy is more important than our endeavour.

It is good when a child is trying to do something independently. However, when an adult interferes and provides assistance, that is obviously more powerful than the child trying to do it all alone. Sometimes, we may also need a little help from someone who knows more. So in spiritual life, we need help. We should never think, “Now I have come to the point that I do not really need help from my spiritual master. He has helped me a lot, but now I am a teacher myself! So I do not need him anymore.” Absolutely not. We always need the mercy of the spiritual master. We always need to have him to help with our attitude. We must always be at the feet of our spiritual master, talk to him, be open to him, consult him, share our lives with him and ask him for directions!

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