We may fall down, but we don’t have to fall away
Falling down means that due to our past conditionings or present circumstances, we succumb to temptation.
In contrast, falling away means that we give up devotional service and go away from Krishna.
Falling down is something akin to a child’s falling while learning to walk. It’s undesirable, but it’s often unavoidable – that’s just the way learning usually happens.
Nothing can make us fall away except ourselves. Temptations can make us fall down but not fall away. Why not? Because temptations don’t keep us in their grip all the time. They come, they make us fall, and then their madness subsides.
What we do at this point is critical. If we keep contemplating on the temptation, we may become agitated for another round of indulgence. Or we may become discouraged and not even try to take shelter of Krishna, thereby making ourselves vulnerable to future temptations and the resulting falls. Either way, contemplation on the temptation causes falling down to degenerate into falling away.
That’s why no matter how badly we fall, as soon as we regain our spiritual senses, we need to contemplate on Krishna. He is not a wrathful God who will despise us for our fall. That conception of Krishna comes from our misinformed imagination, not from scripture. The Bhagavad-gita (09.30) reveals his enduring love: he considers as saintly even those devotees who act abominably if they persevere in devotional service.
If we give up devotional service, Krishna won’t consider us saintly, but he will still love us. We can never do anything that can make Krishna stop loving us.
By meditating on Krishna’s unfailing love, we can gain strength to rise quickly whenever we fall. Gradually we will learn to march on without falling. And finally we will attain his abode, beyond all falls.
"Even if one commits the most abominable action, if he is engaged in devotional service he is to be considered saintly because he is properly situated in his determination."