My Dear Lord Krishna,
I am writing to You. I became lost to You, but I am finding You again. “For one who sees Me everywhere and sees everything in Me, I am never lost, nor is he ever lost to Me” (Bg. 6.30). A devotee sees You everywhere and sees everything in You. He appears to see the different manifestations of the material nature, but in each and every instance, he is conscious of Krishna, knowing that everything is a manifestation of Krishna’s energy. Nothing can exist without Krishna, and Krishna is the Lord of everything. Krishna consciousness is the development of love of Krishna.
It seems to be a hard thing to achieve, because You are so great and I am so small. How can I know You? How can I love You? But it is possible because love of Krishna is our constitutional position. We get bent out of shape and forget You. We think things like, “He’s abstract, infinite. He’s the unknown.” That’s not true. You are close to us, a dearmost person. We just have to become clean to know You again. You are great and yet friendly. We just have to surrender in faith. If we have met the bona fide spiritual master, then we are very fortunate. He has submitted himself to Krishna, and he can reintroduce us. We have a confidential, personal relationship with the All Great.
I learned how to engage myself in Your service but failed to do it wholeheartedly. So You reciprocate with me accordingly. Petty things like laziness prevent me, and selfishness, greed. They are transgressions.
I want to believe that God is my friend and live in that consciousness. Why is it so hard? Please show me the way. Bhakti is supposed to be easy, just chanting Hare Krishna and hearing about You, Lord. I have created so many obstacles, but my spiritual master can knock them all aside. I pray to go to him and ask him to do it. I pray to serve him so he will find me worthy. I don’t like being outside the intimate circle of service to my guru. I used to be close, and I want to be close again. Without intimate service to you, Srila Prabhupada, there is no spiritual life, there is no happiness. Please show me the way back to your intimate service. This is my request.
I still have a headache, so it is not easy to write to You. Jesus Christ prayed to God the Father when he was in extreme pain, but he only spoke a few words. I wish to speak at length to You.
You are my closest friend. You diagnose me accurately, you know my number. Despite my failure as a devotee, You still love me and wish the best for me. You would like me to become a pure devotee and join You in the spiritual sky, but I have to show my greed to be with You and Your beloveds. I have to demonstrate complete detachment from material happiness and sadness. There is a test one has to pass before You grant him krishna-prema. I’m aware of that, but I am not performing at my topmost capability. When I was a child in elementary school, the teacher would always write on my report card, “Could do better,” and I think I am still getting that grade.
You are not a severe judge. As Lord Caitanya, You are the most lenient (audarya) manifestation of God. You just want us to perform harinama sankirtana and behave like a gentleman and a preacher. “Tell everyone you meet about Krishna, and you will meet with Me in this place.” I pray to become a better devotee. I don’t have a great many years left in which to improve, and my rate of performance seems to be slowing down rather than speeding up at the finish. I can only hope that You will credit my quiet activities as genuine service to You.
I love to hear of Your pastimes. I gain faith when I do so. I want to read in my spiritual master’s books and the books of the previous acaryas. I want to meditate on Srila Prabhupada and not grow distant from him or forgetful of his desires and kindness. You are the Supreme Brahman, the Supreme Truth. You are to be worshiped, not the demigods. But You enjoy it even more when we relate to You in spontaneous ways, accepting You in your nara-lila as master, friend, child or lover. Please instill in me the inspiration to know You as the best of persons, the God who came and acted as a friend to the residents of Vraja.
I will have to end this letter now. I feel confident that I am sincere in my speaking to You, and that makes me feel good.
I believe You listen to me and like me to write to you. In humbleness, I accept my lowly position but rejoice that I at least have a position at Your lotus feet. I beg You to please always give me service, even if it means I have to return to this world life after life. The most important thing is conscious, loving service to You, through the spiritual master and the Vaisnavas.
We were just reading that for the Gaudiya Vaisnavas, worship of Srimati Radharani is even higher than worship of You. But Srila Prabhupada said that Krishna allows Radha to control Him “out of love.” You desire that Your Radhika be in the supreme position. And She desires to love You as Her all-in-all. There is no mean competition between Deities, but it’s an all-loving, dynamic exchange. Sometimes You seem to neglect Radha and go to another gopi, like Candravali. And sometimes Radha becomes angry with You, and You have to beg entry into Her kunja. You Two reign together in the kingdom of supreme love.
One time You begged forgiveness from Radharani, and while bowing to Her, Your crown fell from Your head to the ground. When You are away from Her, Srimati Radharani burns in a fire of separation. This state of separation seems to put Radharani into the greatest pain and misery, but actually She is experiencing the highest happiness of vipralambha bhava, mahabhava. You go away from Radharani and the gopis just to increase their love for You.
I hear these pastimes with caution because I don’t want to misunderstand them. They are not the love affairs of an ordinary man and woman. The topmost goal of the Gaudiya Vaisnava is to be a maidservant of Radhika, but to do so, one has to be free of all material desires and conceptions. One has to worship Radha and Krishna by chanting the Hare Krishna mantra and by understanding Krishna as the Supreme Bhagavan, as He teaches in Bhagavad-gita. One has to perform intense devotional service to the spiritual master until he is pleased and awards one knowledge of his siddha-deha, or eternal spiritual form. Then one can start to follow the example of a likeminded nitya-siddha (eternally liberated) associate of Radha-Krishna in Goloka Vrndavana. When one is perfectly trained, he can take up direct service to the gopi-manjaris in their intimate pastimes with Srimati Radharani.
It is all right to hear of these exalted positions, provided one is steadfastly fixed in following the rules and regulations of vaidhi- bhakti and developing a greed to elevate oneself to the stage of raganuga, spontaneous love for God.
From the beginning, sraddha, to the end, prema, faith is the essential ingredient. A doubting person cannot make progress. Acting on our original faith, we can progress to associate with devotees, take vows of initiation, become steady, attached, and develop taste. Then the first bud of love of God begins to open. Faith is cultivated by good association and by chanting and hearing. Please, Lord, keep my faith protected and always growing, so that I may not stagnate at the neophyte stage of doubting. I shall practice faith and attain devotion to Radha-Krishna without disruption or delay. That is my earnest request.
I am writing to You in the late morning. You are locked up in all the scriptures. Devotees who know the sastras have unlocked the books. They are familiar with Your pastimes and teachings. They can see You in their mind’s eye, and they relish hearing about you anew. I like the examples given in The Nectar of Devotion. An example of ecstasy by perspiration was present when Garuda, situated above the clouds, saw Indra throwing torrential rains upon the residents of Vrndavana. Garuda became so angry that he began to perspire. A gopi addressed Radharani thus: “My dear Radharani, You are rebuking the sunshine unnecessarily, but I can understand that You are perspiring only because of Your becoming too lusty at seeing Krishna” (NOD, p. 225). That is an example of perspiration caused by jubilation. The Nectar of Devotion is chock-full of such nectarean examples.
My Lord, You perform so many pastimes that Ananta Sesa could not recite them with His thousands of hoods if He tried for millions of years. I want to hear those pastimes and one day live in them. Is it possible? I would have to show such greed that You would allow me. I would have to qualify by showing compassion for other living beings and try to bring them to You. Thus I have to partake in the sankirtana mission.
You want me to preach on Your behalf. Helping fellow souls by reviving their Krishna consciousness is the most potent welfare activity that a person can do in this universe. It pleases You to see devotees attempt it, and You bring them to You. Let me not cast my eyes down in shame before You but look in Your eyes and cry that I have tried to bring people to Krishna consciousness.
I ask You to let me take up this work again. Let me be part of the ongoing devotional service movement that will never stop. I cannot act in a helpful spirit unless You give me the power to do it. I can ask for Your mercy, but I must really be sincere. I must not ask for it and yet never act, claiming, “I guess I wasn’t a devotee.” We must work for it together. As the commercial for Home Depot says, “You can do it. We can help.” You can help if I come forward.
Please give me daring, please give me faith. Make me Your bhakta. I don’t want to fail. See some good in me and push me to the sticking point. These words are strong, and my will is not really up to it. But I must speak boldly, despite my timid nature. It is not hypocritical. It is begging. Even a beggar can be rewarded and become something he is not. Do I dare to speak the words I long for? “Please make this Satsvarupa dasa a strong devotee.”