This issue of the audio Illuminations newsletter is about connecting with your dharma and mission in Srila Prabhupada’s service. Connecting to your personal mission is one of the best ways to remain enthused and inspired in Krsna consciousness.
How do you know you have connected with your dharma and mission? You look forward to your service. You gain energy just by thinking about it. You are happy and satisfied because you are working according to your nature.
In the absence of activities that drive your enthusiasm, you are more prone to fall victim to maya. In this audio newsletter with Akrura, we discuss the importance of identifying your dharma and pursuing it.
Below I outline some of the principles you will be hearing about.
May you always think of Krsna,
The Audio Illuminations Newsletter 49
The lecture is available here
What is my dharma?
In the context of this newsletter, I use the word dharma to refer to a service that inspires you; something exciting that brings out increased energy for serving Krsna.
Since every one of us has a specific psycho-physical nature, we are naturally attracted to certain activities. The problem is that some devotees have not discovered their dharma. So they will need to do some introspection or take guidance from senior devotees to discover where their greatest strength and inspiration lies.
Guilt Surrounding Your Dharma
Many devotees shy away from looking for an inspiring service they like because they think it is selfish or personally motivated. After all, we are taught that devotional service must be devoid of any material desires. However, doing what comes naturally, or doing what inspires you, is not necessarily a selfish act.
It is reasonable to fear that we may be indulging in sense gratification in the name of service. Still, Krsna has given us gifts and talents to use in his service. We can ask ourselves, “How can I use them favorably?” You can see your devotional desires as gifts to heed rather than longings to suppress.
Srila Prabhupada encouraged devotees in their service even when their motivations were not 100% pure. He wanted devotees to be happily engaged in Krsna’s service. It’s better to be happily engaged in Krsna’s service doing something that enthuses you rather than being miserable or begrudgingly doing something that goes entirely against your nature.
Story of My Own Search
When I was living at the Los Angeles temple, my sister invited me to spend a few days with her. I had the entire morning for myself and I discovered a natural pattern emerging in my routine. I would read for hours, chant my rounds and then compose music.
My psycho-physical nature was becoming more apparent to me. I love to study and chant, and I love to write songs. My body machine just naturally did this. Consider your body. What activities does your body machine naturally do (or what would it do provided there was no pressure to do anything in particular?). Don’t tell me I would just eat, sleep, mate and defend. What I mean is that, if you could do anything at all, what would you naturally be inclined to do? If you haven’t got a clue, start thinking about it. What did you like to do as a kid? What are you good at? What is easy for you to do? What gives you energy? What inspires you? What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?
Protection from Maya
There was a time when I was happily engaged in teaching in Vrindavan six months a year. However, I did not have a good source of income when I returned to America so I decided to start a business. The problem is that business is against my nature. So, at the end of the day, I always felt drained.
In this condition I was a very good target for maya. Then an interesting thing happened. I attended a seminar and while watching the facilitators all I could think was, “I want to do this”. I started busying myself in the evenings studying, writing, and preparing content for my seminars. The result was renewed energy and enthusiasm. I was now too busy (and excited) for maya to distract me.
Do you waste time? Are you easily allured by maya? It may be because you are not adequately engaged in doing something that inspires you.
Having a Vision
Start dreaming about services you would love to dedicate to Krsna. For now, even just a vision or a dream about such services will help you stay more inspired.