from weakness to strength
by Sacinandana Swami
Question: I know I should choose bhakti, but often I simply can’t. I don’t have the strength to do it. What then?
Answer: Yes, sometimes we feel weak and overwhelmed by the circumstances and it becomes clear to us, “I’m not like that advanced devotee, who just goes for bhakti all the time.” At that time it is important to recognize something that is yet unknown to many devotees: you can turn your weakness into strength. This is not a cheap coaching advice. In bhakti, you can actually turn your weakness into your greatest strength.
You may say: “Oh well, when I’m weak, I’m in maya, I’m totally gone.” However, my dear devotees, the moment you really, honestly acknowledge ‘I’m very weak’, something different will happen: you will change your mind-set and you will become genuinely humble. There is a difference between being ‘chic’-humble and being real. In our society it is chic, and everyone will like you if you use the humble-vocabulary like “Oh, please forgive my offenses.” and so on.
However, if you are genuinely humble, you will really feel sorry for what you do, and you won’t make excuses any longer. You take responsibility for what you did or do, and you feel “Oh, what a fool I am!” At that moment, you attract powerful mercy – provided you then continue to act in devotional service. Bhakti Tirtha Maharaja beautifully expressed this in his book The Spiritual Warrior, “When your desire to serve is beyond your capacity, yet you act without hesitation that is the moment empowerment occurs.”
So, when you feel weak and overwhelmed by the material energy, the problem may be that you don’t feel it enough. When, however, you really feel and recognize you are incapable to serve, and then you still give a little of whatever you can do, such as a prayer before you go to bed – something like “Oh Krsna, please help me, I couldn’t chant more than 2 rounds today” or “Again, I ate that cheese with animal rennet” or “Oh no, I can’t forgive myself for what I watched in the internet today”, and so on, and: “Oh Krsna, please help me!” – then you will attract Krsna’s mercy. Our problem is that we remain proud, or we don’t turn to Krsna properly, we don’t take advantage of our weakness and understand that we are not as great as we thought. But if we do it, Krsna sees it. You know, when our acaryas say, “Krsna, please give me Your mercy, I’m the most fallen, and You said You would give Your mercy to the most fallen, so my claim is first.” – they don’t say that in a chic way. They mean it! This is when mercy comes, when you are humble. This is when real kirtan happens.
From a lecture by Sacinandana Swami, on July 23, 2021, in Kiental, Switzerland.