Mahanidhi Madan Gopal Das
Sri Krishna concludes His teaching on dhyana-yoga, which means, “divine communion through self-control and meditation”, by saying that the bhakti-yogi or Krishna bhakta is the yuktatamo yogi, the greatest yogi. (Bhagavat Gita 6.47)
Before reaching this conclusion, however, Krishna gives important instructions on yoga that apply to all classes of transcendentalists. Of course, as Krishna bhaktas our dhyana yoga is mainly chanting the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra along with meditation upon its meaning, and the divine forms and pastimes of Radha and Krishna fully present within the mantra.
To improve our understanding and practices of devotion, we will examine Krishna’s universal teachings on yoga presented in chapter six of Bhagavad Gita.
Why does a devotee fall down? Sri Krishna answers, “A devotee falls down from the path of bhakti-yoga because of being negligent in his practices, calita manash yogat.”
Srila Prabhupada explains, “Despite constant endeavor [in sadhana bhakti], one may fail for many reasons. First of all, one may not be following the process [rules of vaidhi-sadhana]. Or due to the attraction of Maya, one may deviate from the true path [of bhakti yoga].”
The message is clear here: Insincerity in bhakti bhajana, and succumbing to the allurements of illusion will certainly deviate one’s mind from the path of pure bhakti, calita manasah.
So how to keep from falling down? Earlier in verse 35, Sri Krishna answers, “You can prevent mental and practical deviation by controlling the mind through abhyasa and vairagya, constant practice and renunciation or austerities.”
Here Sri Krishna describes the destination of the fallen devotee. “One who walks the path of virtue is never overcome by evil.” The word never is an absolute adverb which means never at any time now or in the future will a Krishna bhakta become degraded, durgatim gacchati.
Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura: “Krishna is saying here that the devotee, treading the path leading to eternal good, can never be subject to an evil future.”
Srila Prabhupada: “In this verse, Sri Krishna is telling that the unsuccessful transcendentalist need not worry, because the auspicious practices of Krishna consciousness (kalyana-krt) are never forgotten. And one will continue to practice devotional service even if he is lowborn in the next life.”
Here Sri Krishna is speaking like a fatherly guru to all of us, His devotee sons and daughters. By using the word tata, meaning “son”, the all-benevolent, Supreme Father Sri Krishna is showing His love for us. Krishna is assuring us that the future will always be bright—full of the light and hope of good fortune, kalyana.
Verses 41 -42:
In verses 41-42, Sri Krishna assures that in his future births the unsuccessful devotee will attain material happiness and eventually liberation in Krishna prema.
What happens to a devotee who falls down after a short time of practicing Krishna consciousness? Krishna answers, “He will enjoy happiness in heaven, and then take birth in a religious or wealthy family, shucinam shrimatam gehe, yoga brashta abhijayate.
Srila Prabhupada: “Devotees who do not achieve the highest perfection of Krishna consciousness due to material allurements are allowed, by the grace of Lord Sri Krishna, to make full utilization of their material propensities. And after that, they are given opportunities to live prosperous lives, so that they may take advantage of the facilities and elevate themselves to full Krishna consciousness.”
Srila Prabhupada mentioned this exact point in a letter he wrote to a disciple named Jayananda Dasa just after he left his body. “I hope at the time of your death you were remembering Krishna and as such, you have been promoted to the eternal association of Krishna. If not, if you had any tinge of material desire, you have gone to the celestial kingdom to live with the demigods for many thousands of years and enjoy the most opulent life of material existence.
“From there you can promote yourself to the spiritual world. But even if one fails to promote himself to the spiritual world, at that time he comes down again on the surface of this globe and takes birth in a big family like a yogis, brahmanas, or an aristocratic family, where there is again chance of reviving Krishna Consciousness.” (May 5, 1977)
Destiny or divine will sometimes manifests desires to enjoy within a devotee. Krishna says he will get that in his next life in heaven. Eventually exhausting his enjoying propensity, he will be reborn in a favorable situation to continue the practice of Krishna consciousness.
Here Krishna describes the destiny of a devotee who does not attain perfection, even after practicing for a long time. “He will take birth in a family of wise transcendentalists, kule bhavati dhimatam.” Srila Prabhupada says, “By taking birth in a family of wise men, the devotee will receive spiritual impetus from the very beginning of his life.”
Thus the advanced devotee, who fails to attain Krishna prema in this life, will not stopover in heaven. He will be reborn directly in an intelligent, faithful family practicing bhakti yoga or Krishna consciousness. O how merciful is Shyama!
Srila Prabhupada comments, “By the grace of Lord Sri Krishna the devotee gets repeated opportunities to perfect his Krishna consciousness.”
Here, Srila Prabhupada very nicely summarizes the whole discussion about the destiny of the unsuccessful bhakta yogi, the devotee of Sri Krishna:
“A person born in a particularly righteous, aristocratic or sacred family becomes conscious of his favorable condition for executing [bhakti] yoga practice. With determination, therefore, he begins his unfinished task, and thus he completely cleanses himself of all material contaminations. When he is finally free from all contaminations, he attains the supreme perfection—Krishna consciousness.”
The path of devotion to perfection in prema is indeed difficult, yet blissful at the same time. Perseverance in practice, strict following of Guru’s guidance, and a humble heart softened by compassion for others will surely move us quickly down the road to Krishna.
Anything and everything is possible by the mercy of Sri Krishna and Sri Guru. Yes, in this very life we can attain Krishna prema, and live forever in Vrindavana lovingly serving Radha-Govinda in the bowers of Vraja. But even if we don’t make it in this one, the merciful Lord Sri Krishna guarantees in these verses that success is sure in a future life or two.
Sri Krishna krpa ki jai ho!!
Krishna bhakti yogi ki jai! Pure devotional service ki jai!
Jai Jai Sri Radhe!