“The highest perfection of human life, achieved either by complete knowledge of matter and spirit, by practice of mystic powers, or by perfect discharge of occupational duty, is to remember the Personality of Godhead at the end of life.” (Shrimad Bhagavatam, 2.1.6)
जन्म-लाभः परः पुंसाम्
janma-lābhaḥ paraḥ puṁsām
Friend1: Would you agree that a person takes pride in their work?
Friend2: At what stage of life? What kind of work?
Friend1: In adulthood. Their occupation.
Friend2: Okay, that is an important distinction. Pride as in they are not ashamed to tell other people what they do for a living?
Friend2: It would be more accurate to say that a person wants to take pride in their occupation.
Friend1: Alright, fine. Extend that principle out to spiritual life. A person wants to have some pride in the manner in which they worship.
Friend2: That’s mostly true. That pride, ahankara, could also be the reason they avoid worship altogether.
Friend1: Great. That is exactly what I wanted to cover today. What if a person thinks that bhakti life, in particular, is not sophisticated? They are embarrassed at the concept of worshiping in front of a deity.
Friend2: Why would they be embarrassed?
Friend1: I don’t know. The “false god” accusation. Being lumped in with idol worshipers. It doesn’t fit in with the surrounding society.
Friend2: His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada says that loving God purely, without motivation and without interruption, is the highest occupation. At the moment that the service is in pure love, we will be free of all sophistication.
Friend1: Interesting. What does that mean, exactly?
Friend2: It means I won’t care what others think about me. The feeling will be more than pride. I will not necessarily think that I am superior to others. Rather, I know that there are no blemishes in the manner of worship. I am doing what I was born to do, so to speak.
Friend1: You think we can reach that platform of understanding? It would be pretty cool not to care what others thought about us.
Friend2: Think about it. Have you ever seen those sadhus living in remote areas? Have you seen the way they dress, the way they look? You think they care at all about outside opinion?
Friend1: Definitely not. Some may be diminutive in stature, with barely any muscles showing, but they have this inner strength which is incomparable.
Friend2: That inner-strength is the devotion. The Supreme Personality of Godhead supports their efforts directly.
अनन्याश् चिन्तयन्तो मां
ये जनाः पर्युपासते
योग-क्षेमं वहाम्य् अहम्
ananyāś cintayanto māṁ
ye janāḥ paryupāsate
yoga-kṣemaṁ vahāmy aham
“But those who worship Me with devotion, meditating on My transcendental form – to them I carry what they lack and preserve what they have.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 9.22)
Be confident in the path. Take support from the acharyas and other sadhus dedicated in that occupation. Chant the holy names and be free of temporary designations: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Sophistication holding me back,
Afraid of how others to attack.
Since before deity standing,
And sometimes on floor landing.
Where worship to idol resembling,
Easy for criticism assembling.
Eventually the concern lost,
Since to love Krishna at any cost.