I struggled to remain awake during the morning Srimad Bhagavatam class. As Radha Gopinath Prabhu spoke from the beautiful love letter of Rukmini to Lord Krishna, I was sitting, standing, dozing, swinging sideways, and really battling to keep my eyes open.
I was tempted many times during the class to go to my room and take rest. But I remembered what Sri Vishwa Priya Tirtha swamiji of Adamar Mutt said to me a few days ago; “If your body is paining or head or stomach is aching, then you are excused for laxity in sadhana, but if you give up sadhana because the mind is troubling you, then Krishna considers that as laziness”
The moment he said it I knew he had hit the nail on the head; I had indeed been lethargic for a long time, especially with respect to the morning programme from 5.00 am to 9.30 am. Krishna consciousness is a joyful process, yet the mind rebels and often refuses to cooperate with a programme that’s actually in the best interests of the mind and the soul. But today despite my mind’s vehement protests I made it through the whole five hour programme and at the end felt nourished and happy by the morning’s spiritual activities.
When I reflect on what helped me win this battle against the mind today, I realize it’s because I ate my breakfast in a regulated manner; I ate slowly and took only a small quantity of prasadam. I also spoke little to anyone and was focussed on the kirtans and japa, and other spiritual activities in the temple hall.
If I can regulate the activities of my tongue with respect to speaking and eating, then I am sure I can easily follow the morning programme. All laziness can be checked by controlling the tongue. I remember whenever I would overeat or talk too much I’d invariably get tired and would be unable to perform the basic spiritual activities of hearing and chanting. Whenever I am a little careful in the activities related to the tongue, I become healthy and enthusiastic to perform more devotional service. It’s a small and harmless looking sense, the tongue, yet it possesses immense power to make or break our spiritual lives.
The urge to talk and eat is very strong. We aren’t supposed to starve or become the mauni or silent babas who talk nothing. No! That isn’t our philosophy, yet there is sense in what these spiritualists do. We can learn from them and restrain ourselves from activities that aren’t going to help us in our Krishna consciousness. Rupa Goswami has said that accepting things favourable for Krishna consciousness and rejecting that which is unfavourable for our spiritual lives is a sign of surrender to Krishna. If eating heavy breakfast- although it’s sanctified prasadam- and laughing and talking with devotees- who are actually advanced vaishnavas- is done during the early morning hours it’s undoubtedly unfavourable for my Krishna consciousness, and therefore I must reject it. Instead I need to make my spiritual activities as my number one priority during the morning hours. That’s when absorption in Krishna consciousness is easier, and also more effective.
Today I learnt this lesson well, and also passed the test posed by my wayward mind. Tomorrow will be another exciting day. And how I behave, eat and talk today will determine the result of tomorrow’s battle against the mind.