Vanity thought #442. Renouncing liberation

Usually we have no problem with renouncing liberation and praying only for devotion to the Lord. We know very well that liberation is not worth bothering, that it is automatically included in the “welcome” bag for every devotee already.

We also know that liberation is the greatest enemy of bhakti (I mean impersonal kinds of liberation here). Why would anyone pray for liberation? Why would anyone desire liberation? Why would anyone pay any attention to liberation?

Well, this is in theory, in practice, however, we might seriously underestimate our core motivations. We might not acknowledge them but Krishna, or Paramatma within our hearts, can see them very clearly.

One could easily test his desire for liberation by remembering or even imagining himself in a difficult situation. We don’t feel we need liberation when life is comfortable, bellies are full of food and internet is fast, but what if we get struck by a terrible, painful disease?

If we are lucky we might go into a shock and lose consciousness, but what if pain is never strong enough for automatic body shutdown and we get to vividly experience every shade of torture? Can anyone say that he would be completely uninterested in the offered painkillers? Because that what liberation would look like to a sick person.

What if we were stranded in a desert and run out of water? We can survive a day or two, maybe less if it gets very very hot, and just when we are about to give up struggle to survive someone offers us cool shade and a bottle of water – will we be in a position to have absolutely no interest in taking it?

Most likely we will grab at this offer of liberation with both hands and will never let go.

To fully renounce liberation we have to develop extraordinary levels of tolerance, taror iva sahishnuna, like a withering tree about to be cut down but still offering shade and whatever remaining fruit is there to its own murderer.

Actually, we might need to be a lot more tolerant than a tree because we don’t know how the tree feels, we can only observe how it acts. Maybe the tree is agonizing beyond relief inside but has no power to protest externally. That consciousness won’t get us anywhere, we should fully embrace our fate if we are to request the gift of devotion and chanting of the Holy Name.

We should be really indifferent to whatever levels of pain and pleasure material nature throws at us. On that note – I believe there’s no limit of pain the material illusion can inflict on us. Which leads me to the next step – it’s impossible to achieve this stage by our own efforts.

We might learn to tolerate moderate amounts of pain, we might learn to tolerate occasional insults thrown at us in the comment section on some Apple-Android article, we might tolerate people forgetting our birthdays and anniversaries, we might tolerate mild headaches, but that is all only relative – what we have to learn to tolerate is infinity, and by that measure all our mundane achievements in tolerance are utterly insignificant.

Basically, we should try our best but remember that our best will never be good enough to earn devotional service to Krishna. We can’t afford to show any slack either.

As for liberation – yes, we should reject it, but remember that our inner motives will not withstand any real tests and most of what we are saying now is just talk. Luckily, Lord Chaitanya only talked about dhanam, janam, and sundarim kavitam – things we can easily relate to. If He included mukti in His Siksashtaka we might have to gloss over it as we gloss over yugaitam nimishena verse because we can’t fully grasp its meaning yet.

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