Those who take a strong stand internally stand strong externally
Two buildings may look equally firm, yet when a devastating storm comes, one crumbles, while the other stands strong.
Why the difference?
Because their foundations were not equally strong.
The same principle holds true for our spiritual life. Two seekers may appear equally steady, yet when the storms of anti-devotional temptation come, some of us give up our devotional practices, whereas others stay firm.
Why the difference?
Because not all seekers have equally strong foundations.
What is our foundation in spiritual life?
It’s our inner connection with Krishna and our conviction to continue that connection, come what may. The connection gives us an experience of higher, devotional happiness and the conviction enables us to persevere in our devotional practices even when that happiness sometimes seems inaccessible due to the mind’s ever-chanting moods. The Bhagavad-gita (06.25) urges us to use our intelligence sustained with conviction (buddhya-dhriti grihitaya) to keep ourselves fixed on the inner spiritual reality. This conviction comes by regular scriptural study sharpened by diligent application. When we are thus convinced, we can take a strong stand internally against the mind’s propositions of worldly pleasure: “Nothing doing; I am a soul meant for far better things than such fleeting unfulfilling pleasures. Krishna will offer me everlasting ever-fulfilling happiness if I just stay faithful to him.”
This strong inner stand empowers us to stand strong externally, no matter how alluring the temptation or how extenuating the circumstance. Temptations can afflict us only through the mind. When we say no to the mind, we render the temptations powerless and harmless because we cut off their channel of attack, thereby creating a safe inner haven for ourselves. A haven that enables us to practice devotional service steadily till we are transferred to the ultimate heaven, Krishna’s eternal world of love.
"Gradually, step by step, one should become situated in trance by means of intelligence sustained by full conviction, and thus the mind should be fixed on the self alone and should think of nothing else."