Major delivery impact. A critical program, well tested, right before delivery started failing due to a sudden unexpected change in the data feed. It was a pathetic situation for the entire team. 22 hours passed by with a max 20 mins break in between, foodless and waterless, I along with my colleagues had no clue of the feed pattern.
As we crossed 2 AM, we could feel the negative influence of the mode of ignorance engulfing the ambiance with the feeling of hopelessness, frustration, irritation, anxiety. The veins of our eyes were so strained that they seemed to tear apart in some time. We decided to take a break.
During the time when my colleagues went to toxify themselves with coffee and cigarettes, I was sitting on my chair. In the silent office with no one around, I got a perplexing thought - What am I doing here?
Srila Viswanath Chakraborty Thakur calls karmi a donkey because just like a donkey they also work day and night just to get few grains of food, and as a result, do not invest time for self-realization. Am I too becoming a donkey? Working for hours in this pathetic work culture and ruining my human life? How nice would it have been to lead a humble life in a temple with my family, serve there, spend hours in the devotee association, attend Bhagavatam class, study scriptures? Why am I wasting my life?
Feeling dejected, I was starring blank into the screen when suddenly a lecture of His Grace Govind Prabhu flashed in my mind. He was discussing the great character Vidura.
This personality was a devotee of Krishna but was staying in the most horrible association of the demonic Kauravas. It is a normal symptom of Krishna Conscious devotee to feel dejected of materialistic people and materialistic lifestyle. So we must understand how much internal struggle he must be going through. Then Prabhuji went on to glorify his fearless character. Vidura never even for once stopped himself from speaking the truth right up front. So this was his service to Krishna, preaching to demoniac people amidst all odds. So he was there in the association of demons serving Krishna. Kauravas thought they were exploiting Vidura for their benefit, but Vidura was actually using this pathetic situation for the pleasure of Krishna. This is why when Krishna, after finishing His pastimes, was leaving for Goloka Vrindavan, He specifically remembered Vidura.
Today's material world is filled with people worse than Kauravas. Exploitation is the basic ingredient of everyone's consciousness.
Then Prabhuji made a very significant statement. Every householder who is a devotee or an aspiring devotee, who has to work outside, must meditate on Vidura. Their lifestyle must be based upon this personality. They must understand the only reason why they are in this Kauravas den (non-devotee association) is that they need to maintain their family. Devotee's aspiration is not to become a millionaire and settle in a lavish bungalow. But they struggle in the non-devotee association and yet remain steady in Krishna Consciousness, maintain their family, serve the Vaishnava, serve the temple, is their only service to Krishna.
The difference between a donkey (karmi) and a devotee is that a devotee utilizes office to sustain his Krishna Consciousness.
I remember the words of His Grace Abhimanyu Prabhu (now known as HG Chaitanya Madhav Prabhu), as he was guiding me, "in this world, we have got nothing to offer to Krishna, as everything actually belongs to Him. We in Kaliyuga are so fallen that we can't even do much austerity to please Lord. The only thing that we can offer, is our heart and little austerity. So when we do Aarti of Lord, we must try to keep our arms straight as an offering. The momentary pain is a part of our austerity we offer to Krishna. (He was teaching me the mental and physical posture in aarti)"
There is a difference in the mood of a husband who gifts his wife a rose from a nearby flower pot and another husband takes the pain of going to the market and buys a rose.
That is why love is when emotion makes someone do something out of their comfort zone for pleasing someone he loves.
As I am digitally scribbling this, I am trying to make myself realize the essence of spirituality that Gurudev teaches. He says "every moment and every situation can be an offering to Krishna and an opportunity to get closer to Krishna."
We the householders are so much entangled every day to maintain our basic sustainability that we hardly find time to make spiritual progress. This is why it is even more important for us, householders, to grab every little opportunity that we get for spiritual advancement.
When we realize and are conscious every moment about pleasing Krishna, when we are alert every moment not to displease Krishna, we become 100% Krishna Conscious.