What are we focusing on: connection or contribution?
While practicing bhakti, we may sometimes become discouraged, thinking, “I can’t make any worthwhile contribution.”
To avoid such discouragement, we need to get our priorities straight. Devotion has two broad components: connection and contribution. We strive to connect internally with Krishna through remembrance and contribute externally to Krishna’s mission through service (Bhagavad-gita 08.07).
Ideally, both connection and contribution grow in synergy. The more we become connected to Krishna through our committed spiritual practices, the more we feel enriched with divine satisfaction and love. Being thus enriched, we often become more enthusiastic to share that enrichment with others, thereby maximizing our contribution. And when we see how we can assist others in becoming devotionally enriched, we feel more energized to deepen our connection with Krishna.
But when we can’t make much significant contribution, we can introspect to see how we can increase our endeavor. Beyond that, we need to know that whatever Krishna wants to be done in the world, he can do it through anyone by empowering them. In fact, he doesn’t even need anyone; he can just do it himself by using his omnipotence to intervene miraculously in the world’s course.
What he wants from us foremost is our heart. Whenever he offers us opportunities to do any service, his central purpose is to give us ways to offer our heart to him. Remembering this, we can stay enthusiastic in connecting with him, whether our outer contribution manifests or not. If and when Krishna wants, he will empower us to make a bigger contribution. Even if he doesn’t, he will keep drawing us closer to him through the connection we have strived to establish him.
On the path of devotion, contribution is meant to deepen connection, not discourage us from connection.
Think it over:
- How can the two components of devotion grow synergistically?
- What does Krishna want primarily from us?
- When our contributions don’t manifest, how can we stay enthusiastic?
08.07: Therefore, Arjuna, you should always think of Me in the form of Kṛṣṇa and at the same time carry out your prescribed duty of fighting. With your activities dedicated to Me and your mind and intelligence fixed on Me, you will attain Me without doubt.