“It is stated that he whose mind is not fixed in Krishna consciousness must hover between acceptance and rejection. However advanced a man is in academic qualifications, as long as he is not fixed in Krishna consciousness he will simply accept and reject and will never be able to fix his mind on a particular subject matter.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 3.26.27 Purport)
Bhoga and tyaga. These two Sanskrit words go together when discussing a life devoid of devotion to the author of all great things. In fact, without dedication to service to the Divine, there can only be acceptance and rejection. Rejection comes after getting that which was desired. This means that the decision to go for the desired object was a mistake, at least temporarily. And then there is renewed desire after rejection because the rejection was not permanent. Thus the cycle continues, that is until one reaches the stage of Krishna consciousness.
Consider the passing fad. Go back to a particular decade and you’ll notice that the people have similar hairstyles. The clothes are also notably different from today. If you hold a party with a theme of a particular decade, the people attending will have to dress up. They can’t go as they are dressed in the present time. From this we see how bhoga and tyaga work. At one time, bell-bottoms were the preferred style of jeans. At one time, women liked to have puffy hair. Today the styles are different, but in the future the same trends from the past might reemerge.
Think of the person who tries so hard to win the “love of their life.” They go through so much trouble to secure the relationship. They say things like, “I can’t live without this person. They are my reason for living.” Love songs are written along these lines. And yet several years after the fact, the same person can feel differently. “I want to get as far away from them as possible. I can’t stand them. I don’t understand why anyone gets married. You’re better off finding someone you hate and buying them a house. This way you’ll save many years of pain and suffering.”
Bhakti-yoga, when practiced correctly, is not a passing fad. This is because the desired object is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who has the best qualities imaginable in every single category of importance. Do you prefer strength? Know that God is the strongest. Do you like beauty? You can gaze at a portrait of the Supreme Lord day after day and continuously derive new inspiration.
And what exactly are you inspired to do? Serve, of course. That is what makes the soul happiest. And how do you serve? You can chant, you can hear, and you can even cook. To help you find the right kind of service, you hear more and more about God. You understand where He lives, how He creates, and what He desires from all those who come from Him.
bhoktāraṁ yajña-tapasāṁsarva-loka-maheśvaramsuhṛdaṁ sarva-bhūtānāṁjñātvā māṁ śāntim ṛcchati
“The sages, knowing Me as the ultimate purpose of all sacrifices and austerities, the Supreme Lord of all planets and demigods and the benefactor and well-wisher of all living entities, attain peace from the pangs of material miseries.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 5.29)
In the Bhagavad-gita, the all-attractive Krishna says that He is the enjoyer of all sacrifice, the ultimate proprietor, and the best friend of every living entity. From the ant all the way up to the denizens of heaven, Krishna is a friend to each. As such, He is there to be enjoyed in a loving relationship. Service to Him goes by the name of bhakti-yoga, and it is anything but a fad.
And how could it be? When you have the best person in your life, why would you want to give them up in favor of something else? When you have someone whose association makes you appreciate all other associations, why would you change your mind later on? When you get so much joy from chanting the holy names, why would you adopt another process?
Just like Krishna Himself, bhakti-yoga is always increasing. If there is a depression of any sort, it is due to lack of full sincerity in the process. And yet Krishna always comes back; He’s ready to return into the life of the devoted soul. Whatever took His place will ultimately get rejected anyway. The seesaw of material existence stops when the wise soul exits and runs towards the welcoming arms of devotional service.
“But what if I desired something, got it, and then later didn’t reject it?”
Eventually everything has to be rejected. The thing we are most attached to is the body. At the time of death, it leaves us. Yet even within the journey of that body, we reject so many things. What I want changes, which means that I don’t know what it is I really want. The Bhagavad-gita and Vedic philosophy in general tell us that what the soul really wants is love, the eternal variety. Pure love is prema, and it can only be offered to God. This is because He is the only entity which can accept it unconditionally for lifetime after lifetime. He is the only person who can properly reciprocate, and since He is the root of the material existence, satisfying Him means automatically serving all others properly. It is no wonder then that the chanting of the maha-mantra benefits so many: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Want that very badly on this day,
But tomorrow away from it to stay.
Acceptance and rejection on swinging,
Pendulum real happiness not bringing.
When fixed in bhakti-yoga’s way,
Mind finally on cherished object to stay.
Better than Krishna no person can be,
Then no desire for any other to see.
Categories: devotional service