“Endeavor executed with intelligence in Krishna consciousness is called utsaha, or enthusiasm. The devotees find the correct means by which everything can be utilized in the service of the Lord (nirbandhah krishna-sambandhe yuktam vairagyam uchyate).” (Shrila Prabhupada, Nectar of Instruction, Verse 3 Purport)
1. The destruction of childhood
“For years we heard about the dangers of isolating. There were many derogatory accusations. The various spiritual societies are raising their children in a cult. The homeschool parents are inflicting child abuse by keeping their children from socializing with others. Unless you followed the ways of everyone else, you were somehow depriving the youngsters of a proper upbringing.
“Just see the situation now! What they are doing to children is the worst thing I have ever seen. The kids are lucky if they are allowed to breathe. They have been forced to stay at home, locked inside, with the only outlet for play and interaction the screen on their tablet, computer or television.
“Such a sad situation. Those years will never return. The trauma will stay with these children for a long time. They were robbed of everything by people I have no hesitancy describing as demons. These are their teachers and caretakers, supposedly. Just imagine how awful the world will be in the future.”
2. The total lack of religious principles
“It is now a crime in many places to congregate together. At a time when we need a connection to God more than ever, the outward expressions of devotion are prohibited. The rulers know better, you see. They are keeping people safe. It is too dangerous to meet with other human beings, since apparently the leaders have just discovered that there are such things as contagious respiratory illnesses, spread by human contact.
“The state replaces the Almighty, and this is the worst kind of god you can imagine. Changing rules, duplicity, secrecy, blatant lying – Lord help any person who has to rely on these authority figures for their wellbeing. I don’t see the situation turning around anytime soon, either.”
3. The passing of loved ones
“One by one they are leaving. It’s gotten to the point that I am afraid of speaking with loved ones and asking how they are doing. I know the answer will not be good. More bad news. Another person departing this world, and way too soon. They leave behind young children. What is the family to do?
“We cannot even meet with them to provide comfort. We cannot discuss our daily affairs precisely because there is nothing going on. Everyone is locked inside, afraid to interact. It has gotten ridiculous. This must be what people felt like enduring the world wars of the previous century.”
4. Falling behind in the race
“It always feels as if other people are doing better. If they are peers in the sense of raising a family, with young children in the home, they seem to be advancing further. That neighbor’s child can talk to adults with full comprehension, relaying past stories and understanding new concepts. My child still speaks like a baby. That neighbor is on their third child, while my wife and I struggle to raise one.
“Another child knows how to use the restroom on their own, while we still have to purchase diapers. The friends have a close-knit community, with a good school nearby. What are we going to do, especially considering the degradation of the local school system highlighted by recent events? I would love for my child to make friends and interact with others, but I will never let them wear a bacteria-collecting cloth on their face for hours a day.”
5. Cheaters rising to the top
“There is the saying that cheaters never win, but I’m not so sure about that. The worst of the worst seem to be leading society right now. The leader of the nation is known for sniffing young children, and their son has done unspeakable things with children in their own family, all captured on digital images and video.
“The worst part is no one seems to care. It is like they are covering up for one another. One deviant after another, in a vast network, lecturing the rest of society on principles of morality. Everything is completely upside down, and you can’t voice your objection without facing severe consequences.”
The acharyas of the Vaishnava tradition recommend utsaha in devotional service. This is enthusiasm, and it is one of the glorious decorations on the person who is fully connected with the Almighty, in the link known as yoga.
With so many reasons to feel morose, utsaha appears to be antithetical. How can we be enthusiastic about any endeavor with so much going wrong in the world and our personal sphere? Why be happy in worshiping the Almighty, when the world He created has descended into chaos?
The explanation is that every aspect of life can be utilized for further increasing consciousness of God the person. Every challenge is another opportunity to praise God and be thankful for His blessings. It requires some intelligence to make the connection, to see things in the proper light, but when such vision becomes clear then there is full enthusiasm to the endeavor.
We have the inspiration of past leaders and great personalities, such as Shri Hanuman. Everything was going wrong for Shri Rama, the prince of Ayodhya, and Sugriva, the leader of Vanaras in Kishkindha. Though there was the opportunity to complete the great mission of finding Sita Devi, Hanuman only ran into one obstacle after another.
He remained enthusiastic, though sometimes the lack of success temporarily brought him down. He continued enthusiastically, supported by Rama the entire time. Even after completing the mission and reuniting the Divine couple, Hanuman did not stop in his service. He remains in this world for as long as Rama’s glories continue to be told, and this is one reason to enthusiastically recite the holy names on a daily basis: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
The list of problems long,
With today so much wrong.
That children locked in their home,
Feeling isolated and alone,
To worship together now a crime,
Lectures from villains to find.
But still reason for enthusiasm so,
Since everything as God’s will to go.
Categories: the five