“The many past births you spoiled can be rectified right now, today, if you start chanting Shri Rama’s holy name and renounce bad association, says Tulsi.” (Dohavali, 22)
बिगरी जनम अनेक की सुधरै अबहीं आजु |
होहि राम को नाम जपु तुलसी तजि कुसमाजु ||
bigarī janama aneka kī sudharai abahīṃ āju |
hohi rāma ko nāma japu tulasī taji kusamāju ||
Friend1: Let me take you through a scenario here. Say that I have just completed college.
Friend2: Four years?
Friend1: Sure. I earned my degree. Everything went well.
Friend2: You have a job lined up?
Friend1: I’m getting to that. Someone I know arranged for me to start at this position which is basically perfect.
Friend2: Because of the money?
Friend1: Yes, but as a young professional just starting out money is not so important to me. It’s at a good company. There is room for growth. The responsibilities match well with what I have studied.
Friend1: Here’s the thing. I can start the job six months from now.
Friend2: Why is that?
Friend1: We don’t need a reason in order to conduct the analysis. Let’s just say there is a cause. As Shri Krishna is the cause of all causes, sarva-karana-karanam, for this result there is some karana.
Friend1: As a young person, I take this to be the best news.
Friend2: Why is that?
Friend1: Because I can enjoy without limitation until the starting date. If I want to sleep in, no problem. Binge watch my favorite television show, I can go for it. Travel the world, see new places, and not tied down – who wouldn’t want that?
Friend2: How are you going to pay for stuff?
Friend1: It doesn’t matter. I can wrack up credit card debt. The present doesn’t matter so much. Everything will be made right in the future.
Friend2: I guess it will if you want to think that way.
Friend1: I’m using this situation to transition to a concept in spiritual life, particularly a promise made.
Friend2: Let me guess. You want to be able to do whatever you want because you know that someone “died for your sins.” Go ahead and be the biggest sinner in the world. Everything will be alright because this person is there to take away the negative consequences.
Friend1: Not quite. I know that if I abandon all varieties of religion, dharma, Shri Krishna will protect. This is because He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The surrender has to be genuine, i.e. not merely a signed statement or mandatory attendance at a house of worship.
Friend2: The consciousness itself has to be different. Think of Him constantly, and especially at the time of death. Dedicate every activity for His satisfaction. Know the proper course of action based on the authority of parampara, the disciplic succession which has God the person at the origin. Krishna must be the founder of the institution, so to speak, from which the principles are learned.
Friend1: There is a similar promise offered by Goswami Tulsidas. He says that the many past births that were spoiled can by rectified through chanting the holy name of Rama. Yes, I know that Rama and Krishna are the same.
Friend2: The personal God. Not some abstract concept which you mold and shape to suit your material desires.
Friend1: The idea is that there are certainly mistakes from the past. Not only in this life, but past ones, as well. I can’t remember them, but since the soul never ceases to exist, as an individual I had to be somewhere at every previous point in the time continuum.
Friend2: No one can accurately trace out the history of the conditioned soul, starting from its fall to the material world, but then such information is not necessary to correct the situation at present.
Friend1: Do you see the similarity to the guaranteed job situation?
Friend2: Umm, not really.
Friend1: I have the assurance that everything will be alright in the future. This is license for enjoying right now. Similarly, what is the urgency for starting bhakti-yoga today?
Friend2: Are you serious with this?
Friend1: Someone might raise this objection. Let me enjoy first. Everything will be alright in the end. I have the promise from Shri Krishna. The saints have reformed the greatest sinners in the world. It shouldn’t be a problem with me.
Friend2: That is interesting logic, for sure. One thing you are overlooking in the job situation is that by living a life of indulgence, for however long, you might negatively impact your ability to perform at work. Whatever guarantees you have received, there is still the expectation that you complete the assigned tasks. Am I right?
Friend2: Don’t think that it will be easy to turn on the switch, so to speak, going from irresponsible to responsible. You and I have already spoiled so many past lives. We have many regrettable situations from this life, where we cringe at the thought of what occurred.
Friend1: Embarrassing moments, wishing we had acted differently.
Friend2: And you know there is nothing that can be done now. Yet the promise of bhakti is so amazing that even the past mistakes turn into auspicious occasions. That is because they are connected to the redemption process, bringing you to where you need to be. Don’t waste time. You have the jewel of devotional service. Don’t leave it unprotected. Keep it with you as the most valuable possession. Make every day one to remember by chanting the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
From employer a guarantee,
That in six months a job for me.
Excuse for enjoyment to make,
Why life so seriously to take?
Promise from Krishna coming the same,
That in surrender the highest gain.
Issue that time rather not deferring,
Auspicious this body type conferring.