Repeat Opportunities

[Radharani holding flower garland]“By the grace of the Lord the transcendentalist gets repeated opportunities for complete perfection in Krishna consciousness.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, 6.43 Purport)

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Is the door to the spiritual world ever permanently closed? If you’ve been against the Supreme Personality of Godhead for a long time, longer than you can remember, does it mean that the path towards transcendence is permanently hidden from your view? Indeed, with the truth of reincarnation, we know that we have spent countless lifetimes forgetting our eternal engagement of devotional service, the true route to happiness. Yet as promised in the Bhagavad-gita, even with the slate seemingly wiped clean at the time of rebirth, any effort made previously doesn’t go to waste.

tatra taṁ buddhi-saṁyogaṁ

labhate paurva-dehikam

yatate ca tato bhūyaḥ

saṁsiddhau kuru-nandana

“On taking such a birth, he again revives the divine consciousness of his previous life, and he tries to make further progress in order to achieve complete success, O son of Kuru.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 6.43)

Imagine this situation. You’re in high school. It is your senior year; you’re on the verge of graduating. On the morning announcements one day the principal gives details about a scholarship program available from local benefactors and groups. All that’s required of the students is to fill out a form. He puts emphasis on the fact that the form must be submitted by a certain date, which is a few weeks in the future.

You seem interested enough, as your grades are pretty high. You figure it’s at least worth a shot. For this example, we’ll say that the setting is a time when smartphones haven’t been invented yet. You can’t put a reminder in your calendar app to help you remember when to submit the form.

A week goes by and you still haven’t done anything. You figure the form is simple enough to fill out. But then you get sick. So you miss school for a few days recovering. When you get back to school at the end of the week, you find out that you missed the deadline for the scholarship entry by a day. You scramble to fill out the form and bring it to the main office. They tell you, “Sorry, but the deadline has passed. There is nothing we can do.”

[olympic medals podium]In the material world there are no second chances in so many areas. Though the world is described as temporary and miserable, pursuits for temporary rewards bring finite ends. Only one person can win the gold medal in an individual event at the Olympics. As soon as the competition is over, so is the chance for winning. That chance will never come again. There may be another Olympics, but the event in that particular year is gone forever.

With the example of the scholarships, there is no leniency offered by the school. The same goes for failing a class, messing up at work, breaking the law, and forgetting to do important things. Yet the Supreme Lord is so compassionate that no matter how much you mess up, He keeps the door to the spiritual world open.

Likely the greatest misfortune is to take up spiritual life in earnest and not complete everything by the time of death. After death there is birth. This is how the soul travels within the time continuum. The soul always exists. To be a soul means to remain in existence eternally. If eternality, knowledge and bliss are missing, the object can’t be a soul.

Yet we know from our own life that at the time of birth there is hardly anything there. The infant can’t even feed itself. How is it going to take up spiritual life again? If it previously found the shelter of the lotus feet of the all-attractive Krishna, how is it going to search out for it again?

The answer is that Krishna revives the divine consciousness, bringing the individual to the same point from which they left off. No one else is this kind. This shows that Krishna stays connected to us through lifetime after lifetime. When our dear ones depart this world, we have no way of connecting with them anymore. At least this is how it seems, but there is a way. The Supreme Lord is connected to every person, and He is capable of doing anything. Only with Krishna is there connection through different bodies and different times.

The reawakening of the divine consciousness is facilitated through the expansion of the Supersoul. This is God’s feature of the all-pervading witness. Time and space limit our abilities and achievements, but God is above both of them. He connects us to the past by remembering our previous efforts in devotional service. He travels through space by remaining with us in past, present and future.

nehābhikrama-nāśo ‘sti

pratyavāyo na vidyate

sv-alpam apy asya dharmasya

trāyate mahato bhayāt

“In this endeavor there is no loss or diminution, and a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.40)

[Lord Krishna]This kindness is all the more reason to take up bhakti-yoga. There is always a chance to reconnect with the Divine, but in this valuable human species the opportunity is never better. Even a little effort made along this path can save one from the greatest danger.

In Closing:

Scholarship program with deadline announced,

But missed due to illness pronounced.

A second chance not to get,

Hopes of award better forget.

Material world with this problem so,

But different with Supreme Krishna know.

Always remaining open that door,

Bhakti’s progress never reversed for sure.

Categories: devotional service

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