There are two contradictory views on enjoying happiness in Krishna consciousness. One says that we shouldn’t accept Krishna’s service and so we shouldn’t pray for it and enjoy the results. The other view says that Krishna wants us to be happy so we should enjoy our happiness without any second thoughts. I am torn somewhere in between.
On one hand we are Krishna’s servants, not the other way around. He can serve us, if He wants to, and that would certainly make us feel good, but that is not our goal. We cannot accept any service from our gurus, for example, and guru is Krishna’s direct representative.
On the other hand we are beings constitutionally wired to search for happiness. If we don’t enjoy it in Krishna consciousness we will surely start looking for it elsewhere. Our relationships with Krishna are based on eternal bliss, how can we deny it?
On the third hand, if we are on the material platform and perceive happiness with our material senses, we don’t really need Krishna for that. He made an entire universe for us to engage in sense gratification. Even on the spiritual platform – He is the supreme enjoyer, we can try His enjoying shoes only to a small degree. It would surely be blissful but it’s nothing comparing to the bliss derived from serving Him.
But then the question is – what if our happiness comes from Krishna’s enjoyment, not from ours? Shouldn’t it be totally legitimate then?
The counterargument is – how do we know if our happiness is legit, and even if it is, what should we do about it? Should we enjoy it? Can we get attached to it? What happens if we get it wrong?
One just have to remember about sahajiya class of devotees – they are the supreme enjoyers of spiritual bliss among us but they are also branded as deviants by our acharyas.
We know of some symptoms of spiritual ecstasy – romancha kampashru etc. Are they legitimate? If one ever experience them, should he get attached to them, seeking them everywhere?
Personally I think that one doesn’t have to cultivate attachment to spiritual bliss artificially, if it’s a legitimate thing than one will be drawn to it naturally and irresistibly. Symptoms like tears or goosebumps, however, are not intrinsically spiritual, one can experience them in many other ways. Even the word ecstasy doesn’t have any spiritual meaning for the vast majority of the population, everyone knows what it is without ever thinking of Krishna or God.
We can develop attachment to the feelings and we can seek those feelings, trying to recreate situations that provoke them. There’s a reason some movies are called “tearjerkers”, they work very well on your average Joe.
So there’s a danger in misdirecting our efforts to material enjoyment, but what about purely spiritual rewards for our service? What should we do about them?
One important thing is that we should accept them with deep respect and gratitude, they are not meant to be enjoyed cheaply, and we shouldn’t accept them as something we totally deserved – they are causeless mercy of the Lord. We can humbly wait for it and, perhaps, the litmus test should be the degree of our patience. Like faithful dogs we should be prepared to sit and wait in total concentration, never letting our minds to wonder off anywhere else.
On that level the question “Can we enjoy happiness or not?” should totally disappear, it should be considered as something frivolous and distracting, it shouldn’t enter the mind of a devotee patiently and in deep concentration waiting for Lord’s mercy.
So I guess this is my answer. All my present concerns are, well, just noise. Eventually they will go away by themselves, assuming I will ever make progress.