Faith is the only capital

By Srila Bhakti Rakshak Sridhar Goswami Maharaj

Om Vishnupad 108 Tridandi Swami Sri Srimat Bhakti Sravan Tirtha Goswami Maharaj ki Jai !!

We must be conscious of our real position when we are searching for Krsna. It is not easy, and also, it is very easy - both simultaneously. Faith is the only capital by which we can make our journey towards the Infinite. Bhakti, devotion, has no beginning and no end (ahaituky apratihata).

There is no beginning - it is there already. Before we came to know about it, it was there. It was always there, it is there, it will be there. No one can resist it - that bhakti, that faith, is irresistible. It is part of the eternal substance. Its very nature is eternity - none can oppose it. We only have to make contact and associate with it, and the wave will carry us towards our goal. And if we can have the company of the devotees, the journey becomes very easy and pleasant, whereas to go alone is very difficult.

In the progress of our contact with faith, when we come to take benefit from devotees and have faith in them, we are more safe and our progress is also tangible - it comes to fruition. From a vague, abstract concept, faith becomes deeper within us. We can then recognize many others with the same objective in life, and the journey becomes easier.

Thus, the association of devotees is very important in our journey, especially in the middle stage. In the primary stage, not much importance is given to the devotees. With only a vague conception from the scriptures and with the help of previous accumulated merits (sukrti), the journey is begun. But gradually, the beginners find that to journey onwards in the infinite is not an easy thing: "We thought that with a little progress we could attain the desired end, but now we find that it is not so."

When we come to consider the real position of devotion, of what is God - He is universal, He is the ultimate goal - we may gradually become discouraged. But if along the way we take help from the devotees of similar objective, we shall feel much relief by their company, even though the destination may be far away. The difficulties of the journey are more prominent in the second stage. In the primary stage, we have the beginner’s enthusiasm. Real difficulties begin when we enter into the journey exclusively, with no other objective than to engage our whole energy towards that high and elevated path. And if we actually achieve a touch of the highest stage, the maha-bhagavata stage, the journey again becomes easier.

But the middle portion is difficult, and at that stage the devotees are very important to save us. This is the period of both tangible acquisition and difficulty; our failings on the path to realization are to be rectified in this middle stage. The association of devotees is of ultimate importance

When we enter into war, in the beginning we have much hope. We feel confident. But the real test is when the fighting begins. And when we finally conquer, we again become very pleased. But the middle - when the war is actually going on - that is the difficult period. At that time, our co-workers, our comrades who fight along-side us, are very, very important to us. "I am not alone, but there are many others battling alongside me in that middle fighting period of war.“ Those companions are important. Some may disappear from the field but there will be others to encourage me.

Similarly, on this journey, we may see that many stalwarts are falling. It may discourage us to see such respected persons -going away - falling in the middle path. Nonetheless, in the midst of those unfavorable circumstances there are others who are bravely making progress with unflinching faith, and they will help us. To stick it out to the end is difficult - but important and valuable.

The test comes and shows how much faith we have. Nothing comes in vain, and we must take everything that happens in that way. There may be so many stalwarts, like Bhisma and Drona, who fall flat in the battlefield, but still we must go on (karmany vadhikaras te, ma phalesu kadacana, Bg. 2.47). We are out to fight to the end. We must achieve our end of life, and we can imbibe such firmness from the character of the devotees. The sastra will also offer helpful advice, but the association of the devotees is nonetheless of ultimate importance.

How to persevere on this journey?

We need lasting faith, not flickering faith: "Oh, I attempted for some time but I did not find any tangible fruit from bhakti, so I left"; or, "To me, it seemed very, very vague. When I began, I thought this to be something tangible that I would quickly attain, but it is not so. It is uncertain. I am giving so much energy for the cause, but still the desired result is not achieved." Previous tendencies also draw from the negative side, and so we find that many stalwarts are falling.

Still, we have to persevere in this journey, and we shall have to take courage from those who are still on the path and who are deeply engaged.

Jai Guru !

Jai Sri Radhey !!