Krishna yoga – a hobby or a serious commitment?


A friend told me that his wife’s hobby is cooking. I thought he must be very happy to have such a wife for he may get good Prasadam, spiritualized food at home. However he revealed to me that when they are hungry they often go out for lunch and dinner. This is because she doesn’t cook the staple diet at home but constantly experiments and learns the intricacies of cooking at different cooking classes.
Similarly someone’s hobby may be Krishna yoga. This means he loves the process but when it really matters, he may not practise it seriously. Also having a hobby implies that when I am materially comfortable and things are going nice in my life, I may chant and visit the temple. Since Krishna consciousness is only a hobby, I can compromise on the standards when other ‘important’ things confront my existence. Krishna consciousness is then one of the many interests and pursuits that I have; therefore I may practise the process without serious commitment or ritualistically and even abandon the spiritual principles during testing times.
Even a seriously committed practitioner may over a period of time fall into this trap of ritualistic Bhakti. Initially we find it an exciting challenge to give up our material pursuits and are enthusiastic in kirtans and japa. But as the pressure of increasing services mounts, we may become so absorbed in our responsibilities that we have hardly any time to ask if our sadhana is being executed in proper consciousness or not. In fact we may even justify our lower standards in the name of so many important things to do. Our Bhakti is then a ritualistic affair. If we aren’t investing our consciousness in remembering Krishna, we are trapped in the cycle of mechanical life, non-different from the materialistic people’s lives. Of course the devotional services that we are rendering will fetch us rich spiritual benefits. However as long as we are not reconfirming to Krishna our will to serve Him and are not restating our desire to love Him, our activities continue to be devoid of spiritual substance.
Radhanath Swami’s humble appeal ring in my ears,
“Please take this Krishna consciousness very seriously. Seriousness means without ulterior motives, doing it with a very genuine intention. Gradually as we are hearing, as we are chanting and as we are following the path of Bhakti, we are supposed to be developing deeper, pure intention. Otherwise, we could chant 16 rounds or 64 rounds for hundreds and thousands of births and never see Krishna. Although we are making some progress, but eventually we have to come to that platform of really reciprocating with what Krishna is giving us, by following sincerely, seriously and without ulterior motive.”
These instructions are as clear as the noon day sun; we’ve to get deeper to get the real benefits, or else we may hover on the superficial platform of Krishna yoga and not even realize it.

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