Monday Morning Greetings 2022 #29 – Flipping the Switch to Prema

July 18th, 2022

Faith means our goal. It’s where we feel our sublimity rests. I have some faith. Too often, however, I forget the memorable experiences of devotion driving that faith forward. The strength of my practice with the aim of bhāva then wanes. Today, I remember my faith. With renewed vigor I intensify my effort to attain that goal. I start within, but I wallow in complacency. What to do? Can I turn on a switch to at once light my heart with love and devotion? Yes! But first I must walk through the door—the entrance—to true bhakti. I must fully surrender. No! Not that dirty word again!


Bad word? To surrender is to take full refuge of a worthy object of love and truth and to serve that fully as one’s purpose. What can be a more beautiful! It is the child who takes full shelter in the mother’s arms. It is the person of character who fearlessly takes full refuge of the highest principles, no matter what the consequences. And most important, it is the devotee who makes himself fully available for the service of God, who, by the power of his own devotion, has the strength to resist the selfish demands of ego.


The story of an ancient wedding party comes to mind. The party left at night by boat to reach their destination eight hours down the shore. When they awoke in the morning, they were shocked to find themselves in the same place as where they began. When they berated the boatman, he fiercely defended himself. “You must be mistaken,” he argued, “I rowed all night!” The argument continued until one of the passengers looked over the side of the boat. The foolish boatman had forgotten to lift the anchor!


Are my efforts also for naught? Am I hopelessly impeded in my quest for the divine by my failure to fully surrender and to pull up the anchor of my anarthas—those petty attachments that have no (an) value (artha) to my advancement in devotional service? In my pursuit of prema has Krishna still not left me enough joys in life, even attachments, to keep my mind peaceful? So, then what is the difficulty? Enjoy life and just give this one life to Krishna!


It is, however, easier said than done. Although any honest soul can surrender at once by committing themself to what they know deep in their heart is the will of God, surrender is ultimately a qualification of heart. One must want to do it. The simple act of renouncing selfishness and giving oneself to Krishna thus often seem insurmountable, and we are left hopelessly begging for mercy.


Remembering the goal today and therefore hankering to walk through the door of “surrender”, but seeing my own weakness of heart, I felt despondent. But hope suddenly arose. Does not Krishna come when His devotees are in distress? Then let my distress be the voice of my chanting as I call on His name. Will not then Śrī Caitanya, the deliverer of the fallen, hear my angst and help me flip the switch to enter the path of prema?



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