Worry more about inconsequential intentions than about unintended consequences
“What will happen if I practice spiritual life too seriously, neglect my material life and then things go wrong?” Such worry may trouble us when we practice spiritual life.
To face this worry, we can remember that life inevitably requires us to make trade-offs, giving up one thing for another, or settling for less of one thing to get more of another. Every trade-off intrinsically has an element of risk. But those who let fear of unintended consequences act as a deterrent hardly ever realize their potential. And that – living a life of unfulfilled potential due to inconsequential intentions – is certainly a risk, often a bigger risk than always playing it safe and achieving nothing substantial.
Inconsequential intentions in spiritual life sentence us to stay spiritually underdeveloped: we never relish the immense joy available in our loving relationship with Krishna. Instead, we perpetuate our stay in miserable material existence.
On a positive note, consequential intentions in spiritual life don’t encroach on the necessary commitments of our material life. When we commit ourselves to serious spiritual practice, we realize the frivolity and futility of many of our material infatuations – and voluntarily give them up. Losing such infatuations is a gain, not a loss, for it decreases our time wastage.
Further, devotional spirituality subsumes our essential material responsibilities, redefining them as a form of service to Krishna. This spiritualization of the material inspires us to perform our duties with greater, not lesser, responsibility.
Most importantly, whereas material life comes with no guarantees except the guarantee of final frustration at death, devotional life comes with Krishna’s infallible guarantee, given in the Bhagavad-gita (06.40), of auspiciousness both in this life and the next.
Given all these pluses and guarantees in spiritual life, we need to worry not about unintended consequences but about inconsequential intentions.