What defines us as devotees is not how we fall, but how we rise
When we fail and fall while practicing the moral standards expected of us as devotees, we often feel discouraged, “I will never be able to do this; maybe it’s better that I just give up this whole struggle and accept that I can never be a good devotee.”
For such times, Gita wisdom offers us precious encouragement: our failures don’t define us. We are souls who in our essence are pure and loving and selfless. Whatever moral weaknesses and blemishes we have are due to our periphery: our body and mind that distract us with shortsighted temptations.
Thankfully, Krishna focuses on our pristine potential ours. To bring out that potential, he offers us the purificatory process of devotional service. Even when we falter and fall while practicing devotional service, his focus never falters or falls. It remains steadfast on what we can be and how he can help us become that through the merciful process of devotional service.
That’s why he declares in the Bhagavad-gita (09.31) that even if his devotees do something wrong, they are still to be considered saintly. Why? Because their heart is in the right place; they are fixed in their determination to practice devotional service.
This verse reveals the nature of Krishna’s love: unfailing and unflinching and unfaltering. When we fail and lose heart, that’s because we are letting ourselves becoming too self-absorbed in our problems, our failures, our hopelessness. If we can just shift our thoughts to Krishna’s love, we can gain the strength to rise and try again. Rise and try not just once or twice, but for as long as it takes to reunite with Krishna. Because all that struggle is a small price for gaining an eternity of relishing the greatest love that there is.
“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.”