Even if our attachments hold on to us, we can still hold on to Krishna

Suppose a person has fallen in a well and is held there by someone malevolent. When some benevolent person throws a rope down to help them come out, they catch hold of the rope. But the trapper from below holds them tightly. If they become disheartened, they may let go of the rope, thereby ruining their chances of being rescued. But if they just hold on, the trapper will get tired and the rescuer will pull them out.

Material existence is like a deep dark well into which we eternal souls have fallen. Our bhakti practice is like a rescuing rope. And our rescuer is our eternal Lord: the all-attractive, all-loving, all-merciful Krishna.

But we are held in the well by our attachments. When they pull us down from our standards of moral integrity, we may lose heart and give up our bhakti practices. Our falling morally is not as damaging as our quitting devotionally. Because when we give up bhakti, we disconnect ourselves from our rescuer.

Thankfully however, we don’t have to give up our bhakti practices – we can persevere, irrespective of what happens during intermittent phases of passion. Merciful Krishna doesn’t hold those phases against us. In the Bhagavad-gita (09.30), he appreciates those who stay devotionally determined, even if they succumb to grievous misdemeanors. And, in the next verse, he assures that they will soon become virtuous and will never meet with destruction.

Steady bhakti practice gives glimpses of higher spiritual happiness – glimpses that increase our resolve to resist the lures of our attachments. Over time, bhakti purifies us; that is, it makes us disinclined towards worldly indulgences, thus weakening the hold of our attachments on us. And eventually Krishna pulls us out of material existence to eternal safety, purity and liberty.

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