When One Feels Hopeless
By His Divine Grace
Question: What will be your message for those devotees who feel hopeless in their practice? They feel they have some connection with the service of the Mission, but at the same time they feel somewhat hopeless because Maya is so strong and they feel they cannot give more energy...
Yes, devotees sometimes may feel that, but Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur said that you think you have practised for so many years, but in a devotee's life there is no retirement—we must do service until death.
What is there to be hopeless about? Gurudev himself said, "If those who take initiation from me can until their death practise Krishna consciousness properly, they will get real home: they will stay with me, where I am." A few days before Gurudev left his body, he said, "Krishna sent me here and my service is finished, and very soon He will take me to another place for service." But you do not have to wait for death—in this life, in this human body, you have got a good, bona fide Guru.
After Gurudev expired, Kali and Maya have become much more powerful and stronger. I can see that. Still, Gurudev told me, "You must finish the service I was not able to finish," and I am trying to do it: so many obstacles are coming, but I am trying to do that and trying to attend to the devotees.
Sometimes devotees feel hopeless, they think Maya, the illusory environment, is very strong, even though they do so much service... Krishna is supreme, all universe is for Him, but we do some service here and we think we have done so many things, but actually one jiva soul's service is nothing—what can we do for Him? Because of our ego we think we have done so many things and we are doing so many things—that is why we become tired, we become hopeless.
The Lord Himself maintains this whole universe, and the whole universe exists for Him. What service can we do? We can do nothing. But why should we be hopeless because of that?
Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur said that in this world many people would not follow pure Krishna consciousness, but do not become hopeless. If you try until death and if you practise properly the main process for a practitioner's life—what Mahaprabhu taught to Sanatan Goswami (abhidheya-tattva); what Prahlad Maharaj, who was only five years old at that time, advised his father (kirtanam, smaranam, vandanam, dasyam, sakhyam, atma-nivedanam—hearing, chanting, remembering, offering obeisance, rendering service as a servitor, as a friend, and self-submission); if you follow
আদৌ শ্রদ্ধা ততঃ সাধুসঙ্গোঽথ ভজনক্রিয়া ।
adau sraddha tatah sadhu-
First comes faith, then take good association, practise, and your offences will go away.
Sri Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu, 4.8
and also jive daya, Name ruchi, Vaishnava seva (জীবে দয়া, নামে রুচি, বৈষ্ণব সেবা), if you chant the Holy Name without offence and serve Vaishnavs—then even if you are a householder you have nothing to worry about.
Why does maya attack you? There is some cause—when you are weak, a disease can attack you. You must think that when maya attacks you it is not maya's fault, it is your own fault. Why does maya attack you? Because you are not following properly: you are not practising properly what is favourable to devotion, and you are not rejecting properly what is unfavourable to devotion. That is why slowly, slowly, maya is attacking us.
A tree can be blooming nicely, giving good flowers, but if some insect attacks it, the tree will slowly, slowly die. The same is true about us. Maya attacks us, our mind disturbs us, takes us in a bad way, but we must follow the proper things—we must follow Gurudev's advice, read Gurudev's books.
What is the main problem, the main obstacles to devotion? Atyahara, eating too much outside food, not having attachment to prasadam. Prayascha, collecting and keeping too much for your own enjoyment. Prajalpa, taking too much gramya-katha, talking nonsense and mixing with nondevotees (people who do not practise properly). Chanchalya, the mind always disturbs and goes everywhere. These are the chaya-dos, the six faults. We must try to avoid this, but if you do not try to avoid it, then you will not be able to.
The problem is that we do not try to follow, we think, "Oh, what will happen if I do not follow?" and we forget everything immediately—it goes into one ear and comes out of the other. We do not follow properly, this is the main cause of all problems.
So, if you practise properly what Mahaprabhu told Raghunath Das Goswami, what Mahaprabhu told Sanatan Goswami, what Mahaprabhu told Rupa Goswami; if you read every day, if you sing every day, remember every day, then I think, I believe that maya will not attack you—maya will run away from you. If you read Chaitanya-charitamrita, the chapter about abhidheya-tattva, about Raghunath Das Goswami's teachings, and Sanatan Goswami's teachings, if you practise singing songs in the morning and in the evening, I think maya will not come and you will not be hopeless—you will actually get pleasure, pleasure, and more pleasure.
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