by Sanatana Goswami Das
In this age of Kali-yuga, the uncommon sights similar to the Srimad-Bhagavatam’s description of the Ajamila’s episode have become a commonplace. The incident took place in an earlier millennium when the Vedic culture was prominent and people in general, adhered to the injunctions of the Vedas while being dutiful in their prescribed duties. Ajamila himself, for that matter, was a strict brahmana, consistent in his daily practices and rituals. Thus, it is apprehensible that such a sight to be visible was uncommon and a strict brahmana’s being lured into it was even more uncommon.
What hope then do we – the Kali-yuga contemporaries – have when every nook and cranny is inundated with such obscenity? What to speak of when we ought to spread this sublime message of God and rescue those similarly entangled?
Considering objectively, in the first place, one principle which is doubtlessly to be executed is: save yourself before saving others. This is easily understood by an example. While soaring through the stratosphere, the flight attendants request – in case of an emergency or in the likelihood of a lack of oxygen supply – the guardians to first put on the oxygen masks themselves and then do everything necessary to save their young ones. This may seem like an expression of extreme selfishness in the beginning but anyone with a common sense can figure out the reason behind it.
Similarly, unless one is himself rigidly fixed in one’s sadhana practices of attentively chanting the holy name, studying Srimad Bhagavatam in the association of devotees, serving under a spiritual master or his delegated representative, etc., what hope could he have that he will be protected on venturing out into the world of allurements and temptations? Of course, this is not to promulgate an idea of hopelessness but to present a realistic picture so that one can be armed appropriately. If the enemy is formidable enough, the ammunitions have to be accordingly loaded (and not that one escapes the battlefield into a safe underground bunker!!). The safest place for a ship to be in is the dockyard. But that is not what it is designed for. . .
Therefore, not just as a matter of duty or responsibility towards the mission that we all should go out and preach, but, to say the least, it should be to express our gratitude to Srila Prabhupada for saving us that we should strive to share this message with others. Had it not been for Srila Prabhupada, it is likely that many of us would potentially be in one such deep embrace of the agents of illusory energy.
Of course, if one is dangerously susceptible to such sights, one should take sufficient time to purify oneself else his own spiritual life be jeopardized. What would a wounded soldier accomplish in a battlefield? This should be properly worked out with a calm mind under the guidance of experts. The seasoned preachers should take care and have a systematic action plan for empowering and launching the younger ones based on their natures and inclinations, in order to avoid any such probable mishap by all means.
Lastly, to get a bird’s eye view, the preparation part (before stepping into the material energy’s battlefield) is the most important. When at our home or temple, we should be consciously performing our spiritual practices while constantly praying for protection from the Lord. As the saying goes, “the more one sweats in practice, the lesser he bleeds in war.”
To do our homework properly is in our hands but to handle the impending temptation is not. The stronger devotees see it as an opportunity to depend on Krsna in proportion to their faith. Another practical suggestion is to never be alone but always be accompanied by at least one companion. If only could Ajamila had a confidential partner along with him, the course of history would be different.
Therefore, let us be rugged second and third generation soldiers in the army lead by Lord Caitanya and Srila Prabhupada by proactively taking responsibilities for our own lives and arming ourselves suitably enough to counteract the evil effects of Kali and rescue as many entrapped living entities as possible from the quagmire of the material world.
But whatever the case may be, just because one is in the battlefield, there ought to be injuries and wounds. The intelligent wouldn’t continue to fight till all his blood drains out but retreat towards the encampment to let his wounds heal and he be revitalized, ready for the challenge again.
Therefore, the essential idea is to be honest with ourselves, reinstate our principles moment to moment and report to our preceptors whenever one feels himself vulnerable. Ajamila’s history is presented for us so that we don’t repeat it!
The above article is an answer to the Open Book Exam , by Sanatana Goswami Das , to the question: “Write about the need for the devotees to be well on guard while on the march in their rescue operations of the conditioned souls.”