When the good seems better than the best
When we strive to practice devotional service, the power of illusion is ever-waiting to thwart our efforts. If we are casual about our practice, this power straightforwardly drags us down to anti-devotional temptations. But if we are somewhat serious, then this power subtly distracts us by messing up our priorities, by making us mistake our worldly obligations to be more important than core-devotional activities. When we fall for this ruse, then our devotional determination gets starved. Over time what began as a semi-devotional distraction ends as an anti-devotional destruction.
It’s best to nip such misfortunes in the bud. Whenever the good starts seeming better than the best, we need to see this confusion as a reminder that our intelligence needs a reality check. We can conduct this reality check by comparing our thoughts with scriptural teachings. Pertinently the Bhagavad-gita (02.41) indicates that those on the spiritual path are resolute and one-pointed (vyavasaayatmika-buddhi ekeha). Being one-pointed doesn’t mean that we abandon all our familial, social and professional obligations, but that we intelligently integrate them with the devotional purpose of our life: learning to love Krishna.
This integration is not just a matter of sentiment but also a matter of clear prioritization. The first step towards such integration is to make time for regularly and adequately engaging in exclusively devotional activities: chanting the holy names, studying the scriptures and hearing about Krishna in the association of single-pointed devotees. These activities express the authenticity of our devotional intent to Krishna and grant us inspiring experiences of the reality of spiritual fulfillment. Thereby, we get the determination and the intelligence to harmonize all our activities with our ultimate purpose.
When we thus offer our best endeavors for the best goal, we get life’s best result: eternal love.
“Those who are on this path are resolute in purpose, and their aim is one. O beloved child of the Kurus, the intelligence of those who are irresolute is many-branched.”