When Krishna feels far away, don’t doubt Krishna – doubt your feelings

When we practice bhakti-yoga, our practice may at times seem tasteless and lifeless, prompting the doubt: “Why does Krishna feel so far away?”

Actually, Krishna never moves away from his proximate, intimate position in our heart. He always loves us and never gives up on us. When he didn’t abandon us for the many past lifetimes when we paid him little heed, why would he abandon us now when we are striving to devote ourselves to him? He certainly won’t.

The right question, then, is not why Krishna is far away, but why we feel that he is far away. Gita wisdom explains that our present feelings are shaped by the three modes. The lower modes distort our perception with temporary feelings that don’t reflect our deeper values or more enduring realities. We don’t let our feelings alone determine our actions even in our material life, especially for important things. For example, we don’t quit school or job just because it doesn’t feel good. Why, then, should we let our emotions become sole arbiters in our devotional life?

Instead, during devotionally dry phases, we can question our feelings: “Do they reflect the real me? Or are they the final gasps of a baser side of me, a side shaped by the lower modes, a side weakened and threatened by bhakti’s potency?” Such critical scripturally guided questioning will reveal that the present emotional emptiness is an opportunity for us to show Krishna the selflessness of our devotion by persevering even when it doesn’t immediately feel good.

Boosted by such guided introspection, we will be able to practice bhakti without being deviated by the modes and thereby, as the Bhagavad-gita (14.26) assures, attain transcendental existence – existence free from the distortion of transient emotions, existence where we relish Krishna’s love eternally.

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