Cultivating faith while working hard

The Hare Krishna yoga yields immense benefits when performed with faith. The process is not a mechanical exercise of moving the beads or chanting in kirtana while the mind wanders on other issues. Our mind and heart has to be right there in the chanting. This absorption is possible if we cultivate faith in the Holy Names; faith that the Holy Names are the real panacea for all suffering.

There are many practitioners of Hare Krishna meditation who while professing to be Bhakti Yogis exhibit tremendous confidence in their own abilities and yogic efforts. However a genuine practitioner of Bhakti Yoga places more faith in the mercy of Krishna than his own yogic discipline. This is the vital difference between other yoga paths and Hare Krishna yoga; in the former one’s advancement depends on one’s own endeavour whereas in the latter one’s progress is dependent on Krishna’s causeless mercy. If our progress is in Krishna’s hands, does the Bhakti Yogi need to endeavour at all and can he afford to be complacent in the comforting thoughts of Krishna’s care?

A Hare Krishna chanter works hard to progress in his spiritual quest. However this hard work is an attempt to show to the Lord that he or she is sincere. Our hard work is simply to attract Krishna’s attention towards us. Then if the Lord is pleased by our endeavours, by His sweet independent will, He may bestow His mercy upon us. This mood keeps the devotee always humble and dependent on God. In the Hare Krishna path, as a spiritualist progresses, his dependence on God and the faith in Lord’s protection increases. It is this faith that helps a devotee overcome all external barriers for progress. One’s material situation is then irrelevant in one’s spiritual journey.

One of the stalwart devotees of Krishna and a staunch practitioner of Hare Krishna meditation was Gaurakisora Dasa Babaji whose devout spiritual practises shaped the Bhakti movement of Eastern India in the 19th century. The Babaji never went to school his whole life; materially he was illiterate and couldn’t even write his own name. However whoever came in contact with him was astounded by his erudition on Vedic scriptures. The Babaji would answer anyone’s questions perfectly according to the authority of scriptures. He attributed this to the grace of God, and thereby revealed his complete faith in the grace of God and his spiritual master.

This faith is a priceless treasure of a devotee’s heart. It’s beyond all logic. Radhanath Swami explains, “For one who has faith in God, there is only one type of logic in his life: that Krishna can do anything, and He never abandons his devotee. That is the only logic we know. Everything else is full of the perilous inadequacies of the illusory energy.”

Radhanath Swami cautions that it’s not that because we depend completely on Krishna, we do nothing. He gives the example of Arjuna, a warrior devotee who worked hard in the war, but depended on Krishna for the result. Lord Krishna advised him, “You’re a fighter, fight with faith in Me. Do not be attached to victory or defeat, loss or gain, attainment or loss. Just do your duty for My pleasure, for My service, and have faith that whatever is best will be done.” Radhanath Swami says this is the mood of a Hare Krishna chanter. He works hard like getting up early in the morning, chanting seriously, focussed in his spiritual pursuits, yet detached and waiting for Krishna to give His mercy in terms of spiritual taste and transcendental happiness.

 

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