“If one is fortunate enough to beg from the Lord this Hare Krishna Maha Mantra, his life is successful.” – Srila Prabhupada (Chaitanya Charitamrita, Adi 9.36, Purport)
He fights harder, struggles to perform more austerities, takes up more responsibilities, busies with day long services – hoping that he’d get so busy that he’d have no time for Maya. But Maya secretly smiles at our fighter’s foolhardy attempts – she has unlimited tricks up her sleeve. Her arsenal of temptations and distractions to take a spiritual practitioner away from Krishna is endless. Her ubiquitous presence in this material world and her quiver of unending arrows makes her the most overwhelming archer – and our tiny soldier is no match for her.
This is the time for thinking out of the box – our weak fighter needs to give up the soldier robes, and adorn a beggar’s mood.
You may have looked at a beggar with an ‘up-down’ approach – with compassion and benevolence. But have you ever seen a beggar with a ‘down-up’ approach – where you see from his point of view, and relate to him at his level. Have you desperately sought someone’s generosity? Since many of us have not beseeched favours frantically in this world, we aren’t effective ‘beggars.’ We have pride in our abilities and our false ego would rebel at the prospect of seeking clemency.
A sincere Hare Krishna practitioner takes on the mood of a ‘beggar’ – he begs Krishna to allow him to serve the Lord. He is eager to please Krishna and feels personally weak and helpless. While fighting Maya bravely, he knows he is simply a beggar. This dual role –soldier and a beggar- is a paradox that an intelligent devotee learns to accept as part of his devotional lifestyle.
The ‘soldier’ devotee now reads the same Haridas Thakur pastime and realizes that Haridas Thakur begged the Lord for mercy – he considered himself as a fallen and an insignificant insect, compared to all other devotees who are stalwarts, worthy of his worship. Now the fighter who relished the jokes and anecdotes in a Shrimad Bhagavatam class, finds the mood of a ‘beggar’ more appealing. He listens carefully to the prayers of exalted devotees mentioned in the pages of Shrimad Bhagavatam and Chaitanya Charitamrita.
This is the time we move from the ‘head’ to the ‘heart’ space in our spiritual practises. For long we devised strategies to counter Maya’s nefarious designs. We had faith in our abilities and determination. But over time we realize that time is more powerful than our most well intentioned efforts. It’s our sincere aspirations that alone can attract Krishna’s mercy. Krishna, if pleased by our desire to reconnect with Him, would empower us to face Maya’s attacks with grace and fortitude. As our heart bathes in the sweet yearning for Krishna’s love, we learn to see Maya for who she is – an agent of Krishna, entrusted with the thankless task of testing us.
Srila Prabhupada explains in the Teachings of Queen Kunti, “Maya will test us to see how firmly we are fixed in Krishna consciousness. Because she is also an agent of Krishna, she does not allow anyone the freedom to disturb Krishna. Therefore she tests very rigidly to see whether we have taken to Krishna consciousness to disturb Krishna or are actually serious. That is Maya’s business.”
History has witnessed one famous test of a devotee.
To be continued….