(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 3 May 2021, Simhachalam, Germany, Srimad Bhagavatam 3.19.27)
Sometimes we see that on the ocean there is a big disaster. There is an oil tank that has had a big spill, and then the whole water surface becomes covered by oil. What happens then is that all the animals that are on the surface of the water, like birds, are getting a very bad reaction. But the animals that are deep in the water remain largely unaffected. It is on the surface that the reaction from the oil spill is happening. Similarly, in the process of bhakti, the kanistha adhikari (the neophyte devotee) stays only on the surface of bhakti and does not go very deep. It is mostly external whereby he is not deeply involved with the process. He chants Hare Krsna but more mechanically for the sake of just fulfilling a quota. And he is reading the books but falling asleep and if at all remembering more in the sense of learning but not in the sense of life changing experience. But for the madhyam-adhikari, reading the books is a life changing experience. At each moment there, his faith is growing. Each moment, he reflects how wonderful this is!