Navadwip, West Bengal, India — Tuesday, March 7th

Making progress

Everything that Srila Gurudeva says or does is meant to make us more conscious of Krishna, to make us more conscious of Reality. If we are paying attention — What does Srila Gurudeva mean? Why is he doing that? What is the lesson, if any, to be learned from this? — we can quickly make progress in our spiritual lives.

Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur says, "Progress means going further or rising higher." To make progress we must use our minds to elevate our consciousness (uddhared atmanatmanam) not absorb ourselves in the filthy, nasty things that inextricably bind us to this gross material world (natmanam avasadayet). Depending on how we use it, the mind can be our best friend (atmaiva hy atmano bandhur) or our worst enemy (atmaiva ripur atmanah).

Srila Sridhar Maharaj used to often say, "Progress means elimination and new acceptance." This is the dynamic nature of progress: every step that propels us forward on our journey must itself be given up once our other foot is firmly planted in front of us. Progress presupposes the elimination of our old beliefs (that brought us to a particular stage) and the acceptance of new ideas (that advance us to the next level).

Srila Gurudeva lives (his consciousness is always absorbed) in the pure conscious plane of reality (jnaninas tattva-darsinah) and he constantly draws our consciousness up into that super-subjective conscious plane (upadeksyanti te jnanam) according to the intensity of our surrender (pranipatena), the depth of our inquiry (pariprasnena), and the sincerity of our devotional service mood (sevaya).

All our previous conceptions about Krishna consciousness (that were so helpful at a particular stage of our development) must be given up when they become obsolete, when we are exposed to newer, higher conceptions of devotional service in the association of Srila Gurudeva.

Our consciousness is going to be revolutionized in Srila Gurudeva's association. In other words, not only will our consciousness be radically altered, but it will also be repeatedly refined and adjusted as we are exposed to newer and deeper angles of His Divine Grace's vision.

This is the natural result of genuine association with Srila Gurudeva. Real association takes place on the plane of consciousness: physical proximity is not association! If we do not come under the influence of the conception of the pure Vaishnava — if our consciousness is not revolutionized — then our so-called association is a useless waste of time and space.

We must never be satisfied with our progress: satisfaction is the enemy of progress. How can we progress when we are content to cling to our old convictions and assumptions, when we are satisfied with whatever advancement we have made? We make progress only when we are eager for the next installment:

"God gives us truth when we earnestly seek for it... The soul receives a revelation when it is anxious for it" — Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur.

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