In the previous posts in this series I tried to argue that chanting of the Holy Name is the only intelligent solution to our long term perspectives, years and decades ahead, as well as short term problems and obsessions.
That last part wasn’t very clear, I’m afraid, so I’ll look at it again and then zoom in onto even smaller time scale.
Yesterday I talked about avoiding temptations with women. Unlike planning for our future the time scale here is mere days. You meet someone, feel the attraction, do something about it, and it’s all over in less than a week. It will be all over regardless of what you decide to do. If you bite the bait and seek further association your mind will be hopelessly hooked, and if you ignore the bait and manage your mind properly you’ll forget about it in less than a week, too.
Just don’t allow yourself to be smitten, “unsmiting” is a tough job and would probably require a total crash of your hopes and expectations, which might take years and longer if you get seriously involved.
It shouldn’t be confused with having flings that are over in a month or so, on the surface it would appear that you have developed a thicker skin and control your heart better but actually you don’t. You’ll just become insensitive like people who watch porn. There’s a principal difference between controlling your mind and senses and your senses not making a commitment to one particular object but rather seeking gratification from all available sources.
It’s a whole different topic, not what I wanted to discuss today.
So, if you find yourself agitated by something, be it a woman or a new gadget that you absolutely must have, like the upcoming iPhone 6, or maybe a new car or a new house, it is not immediately clear why chanting would be the best response. There are two ways to react here – fanning the fire of your new attachment or trying to forget it. Chanting helps both ways.
If you want something and chant at the same time it’s very likely that Kṛṣṇa will help you to fulfill your desire. Personally, it’s not something He’d like you to achieve but rules are rules – chanting needs to be rewarded and so you must enjoy the fruits of your labor. Of course it’s not like you want a million dollars, chant a few rounds, and voila, you are rich beyond expectations.
It will start slowly, the seed of material desire needs to grow, it needs to be watered, more thinking should go into it, then planning, then actions, some serious work needs to be done, sacrifices need to be made, the whole thing will take a very long time, depending on your ambitions. You might need huge detours on your way – if you want a house your probably should start with getting a girl as a catalyst to your desire, desires can’t grow without strī-force being involved, and strī is best represented by women.
With smaller things time frames will be smaller, too. Saving for a new phone might take only a month or two, depending on your resources. Either way, chanting helps. If you really want things, chant about them. It’s not true that Kṛṣṇa always wants to see His devotees poor and renounced. He’d do whatever you want Him to do for you, except in cases where you specifically ask Him to save you from your material desires.
You just have to be honest with yourself. If, in your heart of hearts, you want nothing of this world, He’d take this commitment seriously and He will strip you of all your possessions no matter what might pop up into your mind on the way. Don’t cry for those things then, let them go with a sigh of relief and hope for spiritual returns instead.
If, however, you know that your heart is week and you still haven’t gotten over the taste for sense enjoyment, be honest about it and let Kṛṣṇa manage it for you. There’s no shame in building a relationship with Him where you ask for things and He delivers. Everybody has to go through this phase on their path to pure devotion. It builds one’s faith and naturally leads to a proper anartha-nivṛtti. We should not act against our nature and pretend to be holier than we really are. Also, it builds humility in the face of proper devotees who we might otherwise not appreciate very much.
So, when you feel desires in your heart – chant. Chant like crazy. Either you get them fulfilled and out of your system or they will go away. There’s no loss either way, only gains.
What would be really dangerous is seeking sense gratification outside of Kṛṣṇa, putting our trust into our job, family, or society, hoping that they will provide us better than the Lord. Māyā will probably confirm our choice and make us comfortable for a while but it will be a spiritual suicide. We’ll be doomed to life without Kṛṣṇa for god knows how long, until He reminds us about Himself again.
Don’t do that. If you want something, do not seek it outside of Kṛṣṇa. Chant, chant, and chant. Do not try to leverage your achievements in devotional service with māyā, she’ll give you some substantial advance on your future service to your senses but with it comes permanent captivity, too. It’s not worth it.
I admit, it seems like a nice offer but that’s why chanting requires intelligence – su-medhasah, exceptional intelligence. Not so smart people will take the deal that looks better on the surface but we should be smarter than that and look at the bigger picture instead.
I had a vegetarian friend who eventually turned to eating meat. He said he immediately felt an increase in energy and stamina, he won’t go back to veggies because he remembers how dull they made him feel. What could I say? He was vegetarian for many years, he knows all about it, including proper diet and everything.
With meat eating came tradeoffs, however. Increased energy levels have led to permanent insomnia, for example. I’m not a doctor to make a direct connection here but, several months into meat eating, he just couldn’t sleep anymore. To me the chain looks simple – he started eating meat, had more energy, with more energy he started a new business and took bigger risks, with bigger risks came bigger stress. With stress came insomnia. His face also lost its luster.
So, from this example I saw that initial māyā’s offer might be very sweet and hard to refuse but this advance payment we get from her is just that – an advance, it needs to be paid in full later on, and no one will help us anymore.
Same thing happens to people who decide to marry outside of ISKCON or take jobs outside of ISKCON or build relationships outside ISKCON – anything outside of Kṛṣṇa, really. Sometimes it’s a necessary lesson but once you’ve learned it, don’t do it again. Be a little more intelligent and do not seek sense gratification from anyone else but the Lord.
To sum it up – whatever desires come, chant, chant, and chant. They either get fulfilled or extinguished but in any case it will be done by Kṛṣṇa Himself and the whole experience will become part of your relationship with Him, which will come very handy when we seriously decide to become pure devotees.