pratyavāyo na vidyate
sv-alpam apy asya dharmasya
trāyate mahato bhayāt
In this endeavor there is no loss or diminution, and a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear. Bhagavad Gita, verse 2.40
On the path of genuine devotion to Krishna losses don’t occur. Krishna announces this in the beginning itself. Any project that we take up in the world of matter has its pros and cons and profit and loss. The path of bhakti the fence of spiritual advancement protects us from fears. Krishna says, “a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear.” Which fears is He referring to? Can bhakti protect me and mine? Can bhakti protect my material possessions and mental ventures? It may or may not. One may wonder then why Krishna is making such a tall claim. Krishna protects all that which is favorable to our, the souls, advancement. He protects us by taking away all that which may hinder our spiritual growth. In the purport of this verse, Srila Prabhupada says, “Activity in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, or acting for the beneﬁt of Kṛṣṇa without expectation of sense gratiﬁcation, is the highest transcendental quality of work.” So, serving Krishna lovingly without any expectation is bhakti. Krishna knows what to provide us with and what to deprive us of. An airport officer at the Heathrow airport recently remarked to a bhakti preacher what a dry life he was living. To this the preacher amusingly said that his life was so dry without the material problems that spice up the lives of worldly people. A sincere devotee’s life is colored with Krishna prem. The colors of this world fade anyway.
Whatever progress we make on the path of Krishna bhakti yields eternal benefits. A material project, if left half way, leads to losses, but in bhakti there are no real reversals. Krishna protects us, the souls, from all the dangers – those that we can see and those that we can perceive due to our limited senses. Ajamila, whose case study is discussed in Srimad Bhagavatam, was a fallen Brahmin. In his youth he practiced brahmanic activities but due to lack of inner strength he fell for a prostitute and ended up marrying her. He had many children from her. One of them he named Narayana. Ajamila was quite attached to Narayana and thought of him often. When it was time for Ajamila to leave the body, he cried for Narayana as soon as he saw Yamadutas. Hearing the sound “Narayana”, the Vishnudutas came to his death bed and demanded that Yamaduta leave at once. Vishnudutas saved the soul and brought him to Vaikuthna, the planet of lord Narayana. This case study is very assuring for those who leave the bhakti practice and become absorbed in material pleasures. Ajamila although remembered his son and not the Lord, he was still protected by Vishnudutas. Were Vishnudutas fools to have not understood that Ajamila was not remembering God but his own son? On the contrary, Vishnudutas are quite learned and fully realized souls. They know the potency of holy names! Srimad Bhagavatam canto 6, chapter 2, verse 14 powerfully establishes the power of chanting the lord’s name: “One who chants the holy name of the Lord is immediately freed from the reactions of unlimited sins, even if he chants indirectly [to indicate something else], jokingly, for musical entertainment, or even neglectfully. This is accepted by all the learned scholars of the scriptures.”
A so-called liberal and intellectual class has been mushrooming in our country for better or for worse. This class endorses the “truth” of the word “myth”. These people believe that the case studies in the Puranas are mythology. Instead of acknowledging our inability to see through the past, they label eternal truth as mythology. Those who follow the path sincerely experience the truth of Vedas and the Puranas. In the recent times the devotee community in ISKCON witnessed the power of this truth. Srila Prabhupada used to say whoever will preach in China, he’ll come personally to take them back to Godhead at the time death. A preacher made it his goal to spread Krishna Consciousness in China. He did very well, but after some years he fell prey to maya. He went back to doing what he used to do before he started walking the path of bhakti. In the last couple of years cancer caught him in its grip. He wanted to return to his mother for help. The mother reminded him how he left her when she tried to stop him. She refused. As a last resort, he called up a Hare Krishna temple in the close vicinity and explained his background and his physical condition. The devotees gave him shelter and nursed him. During his stay at the temple, an old man visited his mother in her dream. This man asked the lady to visit his son at the Hare Krishna temple. The old man gave her the temple address. The next morning she left to meet her son. As soon as she entered the temple she saw the idol of the old man in the temple hall. She was amazed, but without reacting to it she ran to find her son, and she did find him there. She related the dream to her son and told him about the old man whose idol she saw in the temple hall. The son got up from his bed and uttered loudly Srila Prabhupada you have come! These were the last words of the devotee who preached in China. Srila Prabhupada kept his promise. He did come to take him back to Godhead. The old man was no one but Srila Prabhupada. The type of life this devotee lived before coming to bhakti and after leaving it could’ve made him suffer from severe karmic reactions. But Krishna says, “a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear.” He followed the instructions of his guru sincerely and spread Krishna Consciousness in China with all his might and soul. That little advancement protected him.
Bhakti insulates the souls from the unthinkable dangers that stalk us in the cycle of death and rebirth. On the path of bhakti, we don’t compete to become the best and get the most. Our sincere surrender and the spirit of sacrifice attract Krishna. Krishna doesn’t wait for us to become an “expert devotee” before showering His mercy. He starts showering His grace as soon as He see us taking the baby steps. For each step we take on this path, Krishna take 1000 steps toward us. A little advancement saves us from the most dangerous types of fears.