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Excerpt from a lecture by H.H. Radhanath Swami


Question: Maharaj, you mentioned in the lecture about how we take things, which we have been doing for several years, for granted. You gave the example of television. The same thing happens to us even in spiritual life because some things we have been doing for years together. (It's like) You just switch on the 'television' in the morning, and start chanting and get on with it. It becomes very mechanical. We tend to take it for granted after some time. So how do we avoid this?




Radhanath Maharaj: It is very important that we keep our intelligence tuned in to the good fortune that we have received and never take it for granted. That is why it is important to associate with people who truly understand the value of the gift that we have received and hearing from them.




When we read Srila Prabhupada's books, when we come to the classes of the devotees, when we listen to tapes, we should actually have this intent, not just to hear as an entertainment, but to understand that I desperately need to hear, to keep my consciousness aware of the good fortune I am receiving as well as the dangers of maya.




One of the greatest of all maya's arsenals to overcome us is the danger of complacency. Krishna tells us in the Gita, "We must give up egoism and lethargy - two terrible enemies." Lethargy can be both on the gross and subtle platform. On the gross platform, we are just lazy, we just want to sleep. We don't want to do work. We rather just not exert our senses, because it is difficult. This is a physical type of lethargy. But, the more subtle form of lethargy is to take the unlimited value of the fortune of Krishna Consciousness as something ordinary. Or as they say, "You take it for granted."




When we are new devotees, we are struck with wonder at our great fortune to be able to hear Srimad Bhagavatam. 'It is answering all my questions! The holy name is giving me relief from material existence. It is giving me a taste for Krishna', is our initial reaction. When we first come to the temple and eat prasadam and see the Deities, we can feel how it is liberating our soul. And the fact is that it is liberating our soul. But as we become familiar, we we take it to be ordinary. As we take it to be ordinary, we are not really accessing the benefits. So we must maintain great enthusiasm, and gratitude towards all the various subtleties of devotional service. It is very important. Because, if we become complacent in our devotional activities, then it is just a matter of time till maya again attracts us to perform her activities. We have to have determination. Therefore, when we come to class, when we read the books, we should really be trying to reconfirm the intense awareness of the great mercy we are receiving and reciprocate with that mercy. Every time we chant japa, we should really be praying and struggling to really be grateful and reciprocate with this great mercy we have received through Krishna's holy name.




It is a miracle. It is a wonder. But yes, we just turn on the station, "Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare." Then, when it is time for the next show, we (unfortunately) turn it off. We should be very conscious not to fall into that trap. Because if we do, we lose interest in that station and soon we will just start turning on other stations at that time. Maya will seduce us.



So we have to struggle against this complacency. We have to pray. We have to endeavour and especially, we must very attentively hear those messages that will reconfirm our awareness of the dangers of material life, the beauty and sweetness of Krishna, the glories of devotional service and how fortunate we are that by the causeless mercy of Guru and Krishna we have received this chance.


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