“Those who are on this path are resolute in purpose, and their aim is one. O beloved child of the Kurus, the intelligence of those who are irresolute is many-branched.” (Bhagavad Gita 2.41)
Determination is very critical to our spiritual life. Most spiritualists, especially in modern times, allow the practitioner to flow with the desires. This means they encourage you not to subdue your lower passions. In fact they deny that any desire could be lower or higher.
However for any tangible advancement in spiritual consciousness we need to connect to Krishna. And the formula for this is to accept those activities that are favourable for Krishna consciousness and reject those that are unfavourable. Many times we know what is good for us and what is not, yet because we lack the proper determination we succumb to the desires that take us away from Krishna.
At such times, rather than get discouraged or accept a deviant, pseudo spiritual process, we need to invoke all the determination that we can gather, to show Krishna that we are serious to love Him.
And what does this mean? Do what is necessary for Krishna consciousness, even if the mind and senses rebel. This isn’t so simple. Yes, spiritual life is difficult, but the rewards are rich and deeply satisfying.
When we practise determination to say ‘No’ to unfavourable activities and ‘Yes’ to positive things, we access a higher pleasure. The result is immediate. Of course, initially we need to have faith. And with faith when we chant even as our mind protests, or reject sensual pursuits even as the mind demands it vehemently, we stay fixed on the goal. The turbulence of the mind will soon quieten, and a deeper experience of happiness, emanating from the spiritual realm permeates our consciousness. That’s when you feel it is worth saying ‘No’ to the mind.
How do we muster the strength to practise determination? By focussing on the lotus feet of Krishna. Remembering the Lord’s form or pastimes is a positive, spiritual experience that cushions us against the repeated onslaught of the mind that demands fulfilling crass, material desires. And constant reminding of the scriptural wisdom that warns us of the dangers of sense gratification and reveals the rewards of spiritual activities would help us ward of these temptations. The Bhagavad Gita clearly says that the material pleasures appear satisfying in the beginning, but they only give pain and misery in the end. On the other hand spiritual activities are ‘kevala ananda kanda’, blissful all the way.
To make spiritual life a happy experience, we need to be ‘present’ in our activities. This means with all our mind and senses, we need to take in the experience of chanting, hearing, taking darshan of deities, and be absorbed in the various services. If we are not ‘present’, our huge amount of devotional service only appears a burden.
If we are present, and also aware of the purpose of our activities, which is to please and love Krishna, and if we also persevere with determination, spiritual life is a joyful experience.
These three P’s –Purpose, Present and Persevere- would surely help us practise Krishna consciousness happily.