“Expert religionists know perfectly well how to adjust religious principles in terms of time and place. All the great acharyas or religious preachers or reformers of the world executed their mission by adjustment of religious principles in terms of time and place. There are different climates and situations in different parts of the world, and if one has to discharge his duties to preach the message of the Lord, he must be expert in adjusting things in terms of the time and place.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 1.9.9 Purport)
Things are not going my way. It’s not that I am totally depressed, but there has been little room for happiness. It’s like hope is gone or something. Too much to do, not enough time to do it. Even sleeping for lengthy periods of time doesn’t relieve the burden.
In the face of so much adversity, how can I even think about spiritual life, let alone succeed in it? Shrimad Bhagavatam says that bhakti-yoga is unmotivated and uninterrupted. This means that reciprocation is not even considered, which is anathema to demigod worshipers, fruitive workers, mental speculators, and mystics alike.
There also is nothing which can stop the outpouring of affection, provided the sentiment is genuine. Specifically, there are three factors which are otherwise critical to success, but which are not strict requirements in earning the favor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Bhagavan Himself has given the example to not act hastily. If important work is to be carried out, wait for the appropriate time. In the Ramayana, the incarnation of God known as Rama is ready to travel to Lanka and reclaim His wife Sita. She was stolen away from Him in secret, by the coward named Ravana.
At one point Rama waits many months. This was during the rainy season, and so traveling with a retinue consisting of devoted monkeys and bears would not have been proper. Rama waited until the time was right to strike, and strike He did. The ferocity was enough to destroy Ravana and his entire kingdom.
When planning a wedding, is the living room in the home the best place to host it? Will people be able to fit inside and pay attention to the ceremony? What about at a night club? Outside in the park, during the winter months?
Place plays an important role, too. Pick the wrong one and the effort might be doomed from the beginning. With regards to spiritual life, the temple is considered a great place to practice. The mood is conducive to the purification of consciousness.
Another great option is to visit a sacred place. Known as a dhama or tirtha, saintly people tend to congregate there. It is like attending a large convention, where every person in attendance is discussing spiritual topics.
The time and place might be right, but not the circumstance. There is an argument ensuing. There is a struggle between different parties. There has been a tragedy in the family. Better to wait until the circumstances are favorable before proceeding.
These three factors certainly have an impact in the success of bhakti-yoga, but ultimately every unfavorable condition can be overcome. If that weren’t the case, bhakti-yoga would be a product of the material world. That is to say a person born at a specific time, place and circumstance would automatically be excluded from receiving the Divine mercy. They would have no way of succeeding, at least not in that particular lifetime.
We know that success can happen anywhere. The best example is Prahlada Maharaja. He was born at a time when the entire world was under the control of a powerful atheist. The place was a royal palace, where no one gave a thought to devotional service. The circumstance was one lethal attack after another, perpetrated by the father against the son.
Yet Prahlada succeeded, and magnificently so. Certainly a special case, the instance is instructional nevertheless. The holy names penetrate through inauspicious conditions to create a spiritual atmosphere. Shri Krishna Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has blessed the process of chanting the holy names in a way that they can be chanted at any time and place. There are no hard and fast rules, and so any person has the potential for success through honoring and staying close to the maha-mantra: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
The right conditions to find,
Like proper place and time.
Also the circumstance consider,
For endeavor’s success to deliver.
Shri Rama example showing the same,
Only after rainy season came.
But Prahlada with devotion exceptional,
Rare, but his case instructional.
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