Śrīla Bhakti Rakṣak Śrīdhar Dev-Goswāmī Mahārāj explains how to adjust to our present environment.
Student: Should we pay much attention to circumstances presented to us by the material energy? Are they at any time an indication of a higher purpose, of the spiritual energy?
Śrīla Śrīdhar Mahārāj: To certain extent, as much as it will help us make progress towards the spiritual, we may take help from our paraphernalia. Our present paraphernalia should be utilised for higher realisation everywhere. We should take advantage of our present position wholesale. Yukta-vairāgya: even food, rest, sleep—we shall take advantage of all these things in the midst of which we find ourselves at present in such a way that they may help us the most to go up. Such utilisation of them we shall accept (yukta-vairāgyam). Everything may be utilised, even what may seem to be dangerous or undesirable.
na hi kalyāṇa-kṛt kaśchid durgatiṁ tāta gachchhati
(Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā: 6.40)
If we are sincere, then we will see that so many dangers and difficulties come to us to help us, to test us, and we can utilise them for realisation of our higher purpose. Not only favourable things, but unfavourable things also may be utilised for our progress.
tat te ’nukampāṁ susamīkṣamāṇaḥ
bhuñjāna evātma-kṛtaṁ vipākam
hṛd-vāg-vapurbhir vidadhan namas te
jīveta yo mukti-pade sa dāya-bhāk
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 10.14.8)
My own karma, a bitter experience, will teach me a good lesson that my connection with all these things has a reaction. So, I must not stay here in the land of reaction any longer. Unfavourable things will help us from the negative side.
Progress means elimination, to give up the present, and acceptance, to welcome the bright future.
adhaḥ-kṛtam indriyajaṁ jñānaṁ yena saḥ adhokṣaja
The substance, the truth, is such that He has kept you and all your senses below Him. He has transcended your world of experience. So, He is adhokṣaja, undistinguishable at your present position. He is only distinguishable by the scripture. There, we can get some hint, and from the saints, some hint. Otherwise, He is undistinguishable.
yam evaiṣa vṛṇute tena labhyaḥ
Only when He will come to us will we be able to understand Him, and that also only partially. For now, we are making a sacrifice for the unseen, we are surrendering to the unseen, because we are disgusted with the present.
tad viddhi praṇipātena paripraśnena sevayā
(Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā: 4.34)
Praṇipāt: I surrender to that truth. Why? I am disgusted with the present. Praṇipāt means wholesale concentration, exclusive concentration: I come here to get relief, to work for my relief. I am disgusted. Then, paripraśna, honest enquiry. And sevā, what do I want from Him? Only that He will utilise me for His purpose. It is not that I shall get some valuable things there, take them back, and utilise them here to fulfil my lower purpose. Not that. Sevā means I am seeking only my master, that I can be a slave to him. With this spirit, we must approach. Sevā: I want higher company only to be utilised by Him. I want to serve, not to enjoy, to exploit. Praṇipāt, paripraśna, and sevā: with this attitude, we should be a seeker of the truth.
Spoken 3 July 1982.