By seeing God as a competitor, we devalue ourselves
Some people ask: “Why should I serve God? Why can’t I enjoy independently, as he does?”
We can seek enjoyment independent of God, for he has given us free will. In fact, he has provided the whole material existence as the arena for those who want to be gods themselves.
But, as the Bhagavad-gita (15.07) states, we are parts of Krishna – eternally. The finite part can never become the infinite whole.
Yet this ontological limitation doesn’t have to become an experiential limitation. That is, though we are finite, we can still experience infinite happiness by loving the infinite. When we fill our heart with the loving remembrance of Krishna, he reveals his infinite sweetness, thereby granting us unending happiness.
However, when, instead of loving God, we set our heart on becoming God, then we cut ourselves off from that infinite happiness.
To facilitate our desire for independent enjoyment, Krishna enables us to forget our true identity as souls and to misidentify ourselves with our material bodies. In these bodies, we seek pleasure through the senses. This pursuit sentences us to severe struggle, as the same Gita verse (15.07: karshati) indicates.
Because the sense objects are elusive, the senses are finite and the pleasure that comes from their contact is temporary, thereby triggering an insatiable craving and interminable slaving for more.
By choosing to struggle so much for a pleasure that is unavoidably finite, we stunt our potential for infinite happiness. Thus, by seeing God as a competitor, we devalue ourselves.
In the material world, serving someone else is considered demeaning. But in complete contrast, serving Krishna is elevating. It raises us to experiences of ever-increasing happiness till finally it catapults us to where we belong – the arena of infinite happiness, Krishna’s world of eternal love.