“Becoming fully Krishna conscious, one is freed from all dualities and thus is free from the contaminations of the material modes. He can become liberated because he knows his constitutional position in relationship with Krishna; and thus his mind cannot be drawn from Krishna consciousness. Consequently, whatever he does, he does for Krishna, who is the primeval Vishnu. Therefore, all his works are technically sacrifices because sacrifice involves satisfying the Supreme Person, Krishna. The resultant reactions to all such work certainly merge into transcendence, and one does not suffer material effects.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Bhagavad-gita, 4.23 Purport)
1. New car
“I have had this car forever. The brake lights don’t work. The brakes themselves make this screeching sound. Everyone tells me to take care of it, but I would rather wait until the situation becomes truly dire.
“At the same time, it would be nice to upgrade. Get a newer model. One that has the rearview camera. I would love to have native integration with the smartphone, too. Everyone else is ahead of the game; I am behind.”
2. Upgraded bathroom
“We really could use another shower. The kids are getting older, and having to share a single bathroom is becoming something of a burden. As you know, a bathroom remodel is not cheap. Should I go ahead and invest in this, only for the sake of convenience?”
3. State of the art home-office setup
“I could work off of a laptop with a small screen, on a plain folding desk, with one of those steel chairs. I don’t even need an external mouse; the laptop’s built-in pointer suffices. I am rather proud of this home-office setup, which I have had for years.
“At the same time, these new external monitors are really nice. It makes it much easier to read. The images are bright and appealing. The laptops can connect without opening; you get power and peripherals through a single cable. Should I make the leap forward, into the modern day?”
4. New shoes
“I hate how expensive shoes are. I am rather proud of wearing the same pair for almost a decade now. People make fun of me. They say that I should change things up, that the holes on the bottom are not good. I don’t know; perhaps they are on to something.”
5. New house
“If we go for one down the road, we would have more space in the backyard. It would be easier to entertain guests. But is that really important? Why should we go through so much trouble just to have a feature which we won’t even use? Do we really care what other people think?”
For a person practicing Krishna consciousness, for making an intentional decision to attempt connecting with the Almighty through the link known as yoga, the path forward may not always be clear or straightforward.
The many paths, the winding roads, present difficult decisions. Am I choosing in favor of sense gratification or pleasing Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead? Am I acting to boost my ego in the extent of renunciation or am I actually removing something that is unwanted in achieving my goals in spiritual life?
As Krishna explains in Bhagavad-gita, for the person who is unattached to the material world, who is in knowledge, their work automatically merges into transcendence. While series of Sanskrit words may make for an interesting think piece, for a sort of theoretical discussion, the practical application is not difficult to understand.
Taking a case study that is quite common, there is the family man actively engaged in maintaining the household. They have no interests precisely because of lack of time. Every waking moment is spent in support of the spouse and children, in paying the bills for the house, in conducting timely repairs, and in ensuring the dependents are on the right track moving forward, towards self-sufficiency.
Every component to this lifestyle merges into the singular goal. The sleeping on time at night. The comfortable cushion in the bedroom. The kitchen appliances to cook meals. The safe and reliable automobile. The garage to protect against the elements.
If we took the same situation, but changed the underlying purpose, then there would be a different nature to the work. That is to say, the family man would be working only for their personal sense interests. The pursuit would have different accompanying results.
If we work only to support our life in devotion to Krishna, then everything essentially becomes purified. We will be able to tell on our own whether a specific desire or interest is rooted in transcendence or not. The more we advance along the path, under the expert guidance of the bona fide spiritual master, the decisions will become second-nature. There won’t be any doubt; only an intense longing to continue and do more for the pleasure of the all-attractive one.
Despite so much sacrifice for,
Concerned only how to do more.
For the all-attractive one,
For whose pleasure done.
The work and many hours tired,
After many years transpired.
But feeling fresh and revived again,
That His smile to see when.
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