Don’t let the quest for perfection become the tomb of progression

When we try to grow spiritually, we may seek perfect self-control. But just as a child falls before learning to walk, so too do we slip before attaining self-control.

Rather than becoming discouraged by such inevitable lapses, we need to accept that improvement in any path is usually incremental. The Bhagavad-gita (09.32) assures that even if past negative karma has made us somehow deficient, the process of bhakti-yoga is still potent enough to elevate and liberate us. The preceding verses (09.30-31) similarly stresses bhakti’s accommodating nature with regards to our vulnerability to wrongdoings.

On the devotional path, our purpose is not self-mastery per se – our purpose is connecting with Krishna. As this connection is impeded and interrupted by our uncontrolled senses, we do need self-control. But even while we haven’t yet attained self-control, we can still connect with Krishna by practicing bhakti-yoga whenever we do have self-control. After all, our senses don’t agitate us wildly round-the-clock.

By thus using our present capacity for self-control to connect with Krishna, we gain access, by his mercy, to higher wisdom and taste, thereby purifying us and increasing our capacity for self-control. Thus, self-control develops progressively through our Krishna-connection. If we expect perfect self-control in the beginning, that expectation of perfection becomes the tomb for our progression; we deem ourselves too hopeless or label devotional standards of purity too impractical, and just give up.

We need to instead see our imperfections as impetuses for developing humility, as reminders of our need for Krishna’s purifying grace in our quest for perfection. With such humility, we can practice bhakti-yoga purposefully, connecting with Krishna wholeheartedly when we can and, weathering gracefully the times when we can’t.

By being thus both resolute and realistic, we can progress towards perfect, perennial and pleasurable absorption in Krishna.

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1 Comment

  1. the quest of perfection has manyimpediments

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