A Krsna Conscious Lightbulb
by Subhadra Mayi devi dasi
Posted November 24 2002

This morning a lightbulb went on in my head. For years I've been in a knot with myself on what devotional service and surrender mean to me. I spent eight years living in temples and performing service, but it was only for maybe a year and a half that I felt useful and derived satisfaction from what I was doing. I know that every service is seen by Krishna equally. And that He especially looks at one's attitude -- that's the one thing which truly matters to Him. But I'm not at the stage that I don't consider my own feelings while performing devotional service. Somehow or other I can't see myself being satisfied with the idea that simply by serving Krishna everyone and everything else is served too, because Krishna is the root of everything anyway. I know that I should strive to achieve that platform, because it would be unmotivated and unconditional devotional service. I always wished that I could be happy and strive for that while living inside the temple.

Now that I've been living outside for a few years, I finally understand why I hardly ever felt that I was doing something useful. It was because I couldn't see the result that 'by watering the root, one serves all the leaves'. I could never see the benefit that my service gave to humanity, and I was striving for a devotional mood towards Krishna by making garlands, or cooking, or cleaning the temple, or anything else that I've done over the years. It served those who come to see the Deities -- and Krishna, of course -- but they have already a feeling, a connection in their hearts, anyway. Outside... who cared how much love and devotion I tried to put into something?

For years and years I fought against these feelings. They were my 'maya' or whatever one may call it. But the fact is, it's my life, and there's no point in denying myself a way which will make me feel better in my relationship with Krishna. I stopped fighting against it, stopped telling myself the whole time, "Krishna is the root, serve Him and His devotees." I finally let it all go, really let go, and told Krishna I was letting go, sobbing my eyes out, and finally I found peace within myself.

In the past few days, I finally feel good about what I'm doing. I end my day truly satisfied, and amazingly, for the first time ever, I actually feel like what I did may have pleased Krishna. And it's not a service recognized by ISKCON as 'service,' and some may not even see it as service to Krishna, but I know I have touched some peoples' hearts today, and made people who needed it feel a bit better. And I happen to feel good. Way better then when I felt like I was knocking against brick walls because I would never feel good by observing the relationships, or lack thereof, in ISKCON that I can't do much about anyway. There will always be senior/junior, men/women, advanced/'fallen', etc. So I let it all go, surrendered to the fact that maybe what I'm doing with my life isn't up to a movement's standards, but for the first time my life, it is up to my standards, and I came to terms with myself. The most surprising thing is, I feel closer to doing something for God than I have ever done before. I even got some enthusiasm in my rounds. How's that? :-)

Subhadra-mayi dd