Information puffs us up; application builds us up
Devotion requires not the rejection of our material side, but its harmonization with our spiritual purpose. We can use our material abilities and resources in Krishna’s service. But these very assets that can help us move closer to him can also slow us down if we become proud of them.
Humble acknowledgement of our dependence on him ends the ego’s blockage of the door of our heart, opening it for him to enter and enchant
When such pride comes from our intellectual ability, it can be especially detrimental and deceptive. We can and should use our intelligence to study scripture so that we can apply it better and share it more effectively with others. But because spiritual culture naturally respects scriptural learning, we may often be praised for our scriptural study. And we may also intentionally or unintentionally seek such praise by memorizing and quoting bits of esoteric information from various scriptures. Such praise often puffs up our ego, which may subconsciously mislead us into believing that because we know so much, we are spiritually advanced.
However, what builds us up spiritually is not information, but application. To apply the scriptural teachings, especially the fundamental teaching to turn our heart away from the world to Krishna, we have to exert our spiritual muscles. But the recalcitrant mind keeps going away from him towards worldly objects, including especially that most tempting worldly object, the ego. Our helplessness impels us to apply another fundamental scriptural teaching: we can’t discipline the mind on our own – we need Krishna’s help. When we beg urgently and fervently for his mercy, that humble acknowledgement of our dependence on him ends the ego’s blockage of the door of our heart, opening it for him to enter and enchant. Thus, information of Krishna’s glory matures into realization of his beauty, and our heart finds contentment, as the Bhagavad-gita (06.08) indicates. Our worldly attachments subside and our devotional attraction increases, thereby building us up spiritually.
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