“Give me my daily bread”
If you cannot take care of what you have now, you cannot receive more. Your Father would give you so much if he knew you would take care of it. Everyone, whatever you have, take care of it as if it were precious, because it is precious, given to you by God. If you learn this one thing, He will give you the whole world. But if you do not take care and use it in His service, why should He give more? That would make God a fool.
Everything comes from God, and everything is taken by God.
Try to understand spiritual life. It’s not some hocus pocus. Take care. Everything is coming from God, given by God, and therefore everything is as good as God. In this way, if you use what God has given you to serve God, you will understand Him.
God knows what you need. He is not ignorant. He doesn’t have to be told what you need. You may tell Him what you want, but He knows what you need. Therefore, don’t ask God for anything. Just ask how to use what you have been given for Him—”I’ve been given this body… what should I do with it?” People are always praying to God: “Give me, give me, give me….” But they don’t know what to do with what they’ve got.
If you could just learn to use what you have for Krishna, you will see that you don’t need anything any more. If you have nothing, you have nothing to lose and nothing to do, except chant Hare Krishna. If you know Krishna, you will have nothing to worry about. Then you can ignore everything else, just as a small child trusts that his father will take care of everything.
Christians are praying for their daily bread. Do they think that God their Father is so stupid that He does not know what to provide for them? Krishna is not stupid. He is looking after every living creature, what to speak of His devotees.
Why should you ask God for anything? Haven’t you got your hands full with this body? Do you want another body? Better to have nothing. Very fortunate is the man who has nothing. All he has is God.
The whole world is full of beggars—”Give me, give me, give me….” When they don’t get, they shriek, “There’s no God!” Until they’re in trouble—then they cry, “Oh God, please save me.”
One should pray, “What do you want of me?” not “What can I get from You?” One should pray, “O Krishna, what do you want of me? Please give me some understanding what I should do for You.”
What will you do for Krishna? God has done everything, yet we’re still grumbling, “What can God do for me?” This is the height of arrogance. The conditioned soul thinks not of God, but of himself first and foremost: “Oh God, what can you do for me next?” This is not proper at all. God has done everything. Now you do something.
The nature of desire is “I want this,” and then when we get it, “Oh no, I don’t want this; I want something else.” Thus the conditioned soul labors hard on the constant treadmill of desire and hate.
Whatever you have in this life, just be satisfied and use it to serve Krishna. If you do this, He will give you everything you need. Of course the master gives the servant whatever he needs to serve the master, and he takes away whatever is not required. Or else the servant would be the master. Sometimes the servant needs something for his service, but that is different from hankering for something so that he can enjoy it himself. The enjoying attitude and serving attitude may appear to be the same, externally, but internally they are different. One is material; the other is spiritual.
Gradual Process of Practice and Purification
How to make the transition from material motivation to spiritual motivation? It’s not that by becoming Krishna conscious we become inactive and stop all work. But there is a period in between waking and sleeping, when a person feels groggy or sleepy. He is neither active, nor asleep—just coming to his senses. The neophyte devotee is in that condition. He’s not fixed up, not yet fully awake. In that stage, if he is left alone, he may go back to sleep.
The most thankless task is to have to wake people up. In preaching to the neophyte, it is not enough to just say one time: “Chant Hare Krishna.” We have to go back again and again. Just as we don’t just have a baby and then walk away from it. We have to take care of it, nurture it, or it may die. If we neglect it or act carelessly, we may kill it. Similarly, spiritual life means great responsibility. If we’re not careful, we will fall down, and what will happen to the persons who have placed themselves in our charge? It is a very rare person who immediately understands Krishna consciousness when he first comes in touch with Krishna. Most persons need constant attention. How long does it take for a devotee to actually go out and stand on his own? It takes a long time. Day after day, year after year, we have to encourage everyone, give inspiration and attention. We have to learn to take care of each other in Krishna consciousness. It takes so much trouble and time to bring up a child. After twenty years or so, the child awakens to manhood or womanhood, but even then is not fully awake. How much more trouble and time we have to take to arouse the soul from its sleep!
Spiritual life is gradual and realistic; not instantaneous or sensational. Material consciousness is sensational, constantly seeking to dazzle the senses.
When a man first comes to know about Krishna, he wonders what his next step should be, whether he should just throw every material thing away or give it all to charity, maybe quit his job, leave his family… yet he worries that he’s not quite ready to take that plunge, and his sense of obligation disturbs him very much. But all these things are okay, if you don’t forget Krishna. On the other hand, if you forget Krishna, material life is crazy. Human beings have so many requirements—they have to have comfortable clothing, shoes, hat, blanket and pillow… so much paraphernalia just to insulate them from the harsh realities in nature.
Everything in Krishna
Begin with the principle of humility. A devotee is always humble—”Everyone is more than I am; I am nothing.” People find it hard to understand exactly what Vaishnavas believe, because they seem to worship everything—the holy name, the spiritual master, the Ganges, the river Yamuna, the Tulasi plant, brahmanas, cows, books (Krishna conscious literature), the picture of Krishna, the deity form of Krishna, the mridanga (clay drum used to accompany singing of the holy name) and so on. Everything is worshipable. Ultimately, the devotees worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna. But devotees see everything in Krishna. Christ said, “Whatever you do unto the least of my creatures, you do unto me.” Srila Prabhupada used to tell us, “Don’t walk on the grass, if you don’t have to.” Don’t hurt any creature, big or small.
Unless we have a humble attitude, we cannot chant Hare Krishna.
One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw in the street; one should be more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige and should be ready to offer all respect to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly. (Sri Krishna Chaitanya, Shikshastaka)
Humility means knowing that everything belongs to Krishna. If you cut down a tree, then you must use it in Krishna’s service, or you will be punished. Even if you’re walking someplace, if you’re not going there to serve Krishna in some way or if you’re not thinking of Krishna, then you will be punished for every step you take which crushes the grass, the dust and so many minute living entities. Everyday you violate the Earth, urinating, passing stool, spitting, walking and throwing rubbish and waste. This is punishable. Only if you are Krishna’s servant will you be excused.
The nature of this world is that we invariably commit so many offenses. Therefore it is most important to always remain humble. If we offend a devotee, what to speak of the spiritual master, then our progress will be halted. We will fall down from the spiritual platform. Never take association with devotees for granted. The big problem in this movement is that devotees commit offenses against each other. This is very dangerous. Naturally we cannot always avoid making some offense, but we should not leave it at that. Immediately we must go to that person and submit ourselves with sincere remorse, asking for forgiveness. If we beg forgiveness and offer our humble obeisances, the sin falls away. We will be excused. This is how a devotee practices humility.
Surrender, Submission and Service
So be humble, surrender your life to Krishna, and be patient. Ask Him to guide you, step by step. Gradually, as you become enlightened in Krishna consciousness, your impetus for material enjoyment stops, just as the flame vanishes when the lamp oil is exhausted. The karma of this body will wind itself down, and the devotee, situated in love of Krishna, has just to tolerate it.
When we adopt this mood of submissiveness, it does not matter what condition we are put in. We may be living in a palace or in a pig sty—it’s all the same to us. We become transcendental, actually blissful. A surrendered devotee does not require anything for himself, but only cares for Krishna’s pleasure, how to serve Krishna nicely. When one becomes Krishna conscious, he becomes oblivious to his material condition, and the joyfulness he experiences surpasses our imagination a millionfold.
People artificially try to reach this plane of enjoyment without Krishna by taking drugs. But they only succeed in destroying their senses and their brains. This they mistake for bliss. But in fact it is deplorable ignorance. Material satisfaction is immediate, but after a couple of years, they have nothing left. The only thing left is to blow their brains out. Material existence is devastating.
We shall take Krishna. We shall chant Hare Krishna. We shall take shelter in serving Krishna, so much so that we become finally indifferent to all else. In this way we are practicing, thinking constantly of Krishna.