Four Things I Didn’t Think I Could Do Before Bhakti

[Krishna lifting hill]“A person who has extraordinary bodily strength is called baliyan. When Krishna killed Arishtasura, some of the gopis said, “My dear friends, just see how Krishna has killed Arishtasura! Although he was stronger than a mountain, Krishna plucked him up just like a piece of cotton and threw him away without any difficulty!”” (The Nectar of Devotion, Ch 21)

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To err is human. Man is fallible, described as chyuta in Sanskrit. Sometimes he falls down. He may fall down repeatedly, failing in one endeavor after another. Seeing what others have, wanting the same, the attempt is made. But the living entity is not the doer, though he makes the choice for action. Nature must give its cooperation.

“The bewildered spirit soul, under the influence of the three modes of material nature, thinks himself to be the doer of activities, which are in actuality carried out by nature.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 3.27)

The Supreme Lord, on the other hand, is known as baliyan. He has tremendous strength. It is actually at a level impossible to understand. As a small child, Krishna lifts a massive hill and holds it aloft for seven straight days. He picks up a giant bull by the horns and throws it to the ground.

[Lord Krishna]These are miracles to the conditioned living entity, who has limited strength. From Krishna’s perspective, these are ordinary tasks. Mere child’s play. He can do much more, if desired or needed.

Those who connect with Him in a mood of love get some of these abilities. It is like the miracle-capability is sent on loan. Things which were almost impossible before become easy.

1. Getting up early in the morning

In the cold of winter, nothing is worse than having to wake up early and see everyone else in the house enjoying sleep. If only that were you. It was difficult to arise out of bed. Every year the moving of the clocks back one hour helps in this regard.

After taking up bhakti-yoga, the same practice becomes easier. There is an eagerness to start the day, especially with the process of chanting the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. I am following a routine, passed on by the spiritual master. It is best to get the most important work out of the way at the earliest possible time; hence the need to wake up early.

2. Cooking

What was the need? The parents made food at home. If no one was around, just go to one of many restaurants. Have your pick at what to eat. Smartphone technology has made the process easier. Pull up an app and a few swipes later you are done. The food is on its way.

After following bhakti in earnest, there may be a desire to offer foodstuff to Shri Krishna. He accepts pretty much anything, provided there is love and devotion. He gives more details in works like the Bhagavad-gita and Shrimad Bhagavatam. Fruits, flowers, water, milk products – He can eat through the deity or picture form.

Well, why not take advantage? Suddenly, what was very difficult before becomes easy. I make a routine out of cooking something from scratch every single day. I offer it nicely and hope that Krishna eats. The resultant food becomes spiritualized and I share it with others. Can life get any better than this?

3. Writing

Probably the toughest class in school, creative writing was dreaded. Ideas are fine. Conversation is no problem. But putting thoughts together, onto paper? That is not so easy. Now that school is finished, no reason to revisit that difficult discipline.

With bhakti the mindset is different. It doesn’t matter what is written, as long as there is some glorification. That is easy, in fact, since Krishna’s glories are endless. He has kindly descended to earth many times, so there is plenty of reference material. In fact, it seems like I could write endlessly about God and devotion to Him. If I got the chance to continue for many lifetimes even, I wouldn’t finish. And there is no problem with that.

4. Singing congregationally

Singing in the car is no problem. In the shower while getting ready for work – that’s easy, too. But in front of other people? Leading a call and response type format, where everybody is paying attention? No way. I would never be able to do that.

After following bhakti it’s not so difficult anymore. There are nerves, no doubt, but there is this feeling of complete helplessness, as well. Total surrender, where the power of the Divine lifts you up and provides the needed help. Singing in a heartfelt way, there is a tremendous rush of blissful feelings. It is like I could continue in this all day, every day.

[Hanuman chanting]These are just a few examples. The wise souls always remember from where their power comes, even after extraordinary successes. Shri Hanuman is the best example in this regard. He has done the most amazing things, and yet he is not overly proud at all. He is simply awaiting the next assignment, ready to again please the Supreme Lord Rama.

In Closing:

In early morning difficult to awake,

Initiative not easy to take.

For cooking why the need?

From app and delivery to feed.

But something different now,

Through bhakti transformation how.

Helpless feeling, but work without tiring,

Krishna’s mercy and activities inspiring.

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