Choose to be holy now – don’t wait for a holy cloud to form around your head
“Surely, but not now.” This is often our default response when saintly people urge us to make our relationship with Krishna a priority. We rationalize: “At present I don’t always feel happy while serving Krishna; people around me don’t appreciate what I am doing. Let me wait till things improve – internally and externally.”
We can call this expectation “waiting for a holy cloud to form around our heads.” We have probably seen pictures of smiling seers with a halo, giving discourses to respectful masses; their radiant smile reflects their inner joy, and their reverent audience reflects their outer influence.
Might we be procrastinating because we are expecting grace to bestow a similar inner joy and outer influence in our spiritual life? If yes, then we are overlooking the fact that spiritual advancement is a matter of not just divine grace, but also human choice. The Bhagavad-gita (18.58) outlines the process of spiritual advancement succinctly: when we become conscious of Krishna, he mercifully removes all obstacles. Let’s analyze this verse into three stages:
Stage 1 Grace: Krishna gives us the opportunity to practice devotional service.
Stage 2 Choice: We accept the opportunity gratefully and practice devotional service wholeheartedly.
Stage 3 Grace: Krishna removes our inner and outer obstacles, and we start relishing constant inner happiness.
If we expect stage 3 to precede stage 2, aren’t we shirking our responsibility in our relationship with Krishna? Waiting for the beloved to do everything in the relationship and not doing anything oneself – is that love?
Only when we persevere in devotional service amidst internal and external obstacles do we tangibly show Krishna our love for him. Therefore, the time to make our relationship with Krishna reciprocal and substantial is now.
“If you become conscious of Me, you will pass over all the obstacles of conditioned life by My grace. If, however, you do not work in such consciousness but act through false ego, not hearing Me, you will be lost.”