Even if we can’t succeed in Krishna consciousness, we can fail in Krishna consciousness – not fail out of Krishna consciousness
When we practice bhakti and strive to become Krishna conscious, we are expected to follow some standards. If we fail to follow those standards, we may become so discouraged as to give up our bhakti practice.
How can we avoid becoming so discouraged? By understanding that Krishna consciousness is not just adherence to certain standards; it is also intense connection with Krishna, a connection that can happen through both success and failure in adhering to standards. The Bhagavad-gita (09.30-31) assures that failure doesn’t debar us from Krishna consciousness. Even wrongdoers are well-situated if they are determined to serve Krishna (09.30). They will soon become purified, for Krishna himself guarantees them protection from destruction (09.31).
How can we apply this principle to our struggle? Even if we find some standards almost impossible to follow, we can still choose to fail in Krishna consciousness, not fail out of Krishna consciousness. Failing in Krishna consciousness means that despite our failure, we remain determined to re-connect with Krishna. Failing out of Krishna consciousness means that we let that failure rob us of our will to connect with Krishna.
Suppose on a holy day, we resolve to fast without water. If somehow we fail in that resolve, we can eat what we need and, without becoming too disheartened, still turn to Krishna with humility and dependence: “O Krishna, I am so conditioned and attached. Please accept whatever little service I am able to do and purify me so that I can serve you better.”
By thus failing in Krishna consciousness, we stay connected with Krishna and gain strength through that connection. By that strength, we can resume the practices that foster purity. In due course, we will become sufficiently purified to succeed in Krishna consciousness.
Think it over:
- How is Krishna consciousness not limited to adherence to standards?
- What is the difference between failing in Krishna consciousness and failing out of Krishna consciousness?
- How does failing in Krishna consciousness prepare us for succeeding in Krishna consciousness?
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