Dive Into The Ocean

What can be done about strong material desires? Are we going to have to take birth again if they remain unfulfilled? Do we just pray to Krishna to be able to tolerate the pain of our unfulfilled desires?

These questions are asked a lot. Recently, two devotees here on connect requested that I answer these questions for them.

What can be done about strong material desires? Are we going to have to take birth again if they remain unfulfilled? Do we just pray to Krishna to be able to tolerate the pain of our unfulfilled desires?

These questions are asked a lot. Recently, two devotees here on connect requested that I answer these questions for them.

Everyone has to do something about material desires, we would not be in the material world if we did not have material desires. As far as “unfulfilled” material desires, well…. we understand that material desires are never fulfilled. We get some one desire fulfilled, then we desire some new thing, something more, some other thing. That’s the nature of material desire. Never fulfilled.

The question is “what can be done”…. “do we just tolerate them”… ???

While a certain amount of tolerating is important, and essential, really, that’s a more minor issue. Yes, we tolerate, like tolerating disturbances from the material nature, the threefold miseries, etc.. We all have to learn tolerance.

The best thing that can be done though, is to Dive Into The Ocean.

Diving into the Ocean means:

Diving into the ocean of devotional service. Immerse yourself. Dive, and dive deep. Stay there, submerged. If you surface for air, dive deep again, and again, and again.

That means finding something larger than yourself, and your desires, to give your energy to. We all know that we need to engage in devotional service. What does that mean? Well, of course it means our sadhana, our activities we have to do to maintain body and soul together so we can perform our sadhana, and service we do for preaching, or at the temple, etc.

Beyond that though, I have found personally that the very most effective way to deal with strong material desires is to find something bigger than myself, bigger than my own desires, and “dive into it”.

When we are fully engaged, using all of our energy in some kind of service for Krishna that requires us to “expend” ourselves, keep our minds and bodies totally absorbed, there is very little left over to worry about material desires.

The way to do this is by “getting a dream” so to speak. Come up with something, anything, any way, that you can to serve Krishna more, invest more of yourself in that service. If it’s not sitting in front of you asking to be done, find it yourself, create it. There are so many thousands of things that need to be done for Krishna, could be done for Krishna, could be done to preach and spread Krishna consciousness to others. Find something and invest all of yourself in it. All of yourself. Use everything you have.

That takes creativity, it takes an investment of effort and energy. Even the “getting” of the dream will engage you more fully. Find something you can do.

For example:
If you love children and wish you had a child of your own, but don’t, then do something for children. Make Krishna conscious toys for them, record songs of Krishna’s pastimes, start a group of women who will send personal letters to all the devotee children, encouraging them spiritually. Anything. These are just basic suggestions. Yes, some of these things are already being done, so do it a little differently. Or, just think of something different to do.

If you can’t directly engage in a way that relates to what you are desiring, then do something that has nothing to do with your desire.

When we get “outside” of ourselves, and invest our energy in trying to help others (and we know the way to do that is by helping spiritually) then we grow beyond our material desires. We start to desire other things, bigger things, things for Srila Prabhupad, things for Krishna.

As far as material desires remaining unfulfilled, well, if you get involved diving into the ocean, you just may transcend them. Even if you don’t, and you have to come back, you will have elevated your desires so much by being engaged in some kind of greater welfare work for humanity (spiritual welfare work) that your next birth will be in the body of a devotee who is spreading Krishna consciousness to others.

There is no greater ocean to keep diving in, or take birth again to dive in.

* Navasi’s blog
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Mon, 12/08/2008 – 13:45 โ€” Faith108
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I got this from Krishna.com Thought of the Week and it made me think of this blog:

The desert of material existence has exhausted me. But today I will cast aside all troubles by diving into the lake of Lord Hari and drinking freely of the abundant waters of His splendor. The lotuses in that lake are His hands and feet, and the fish are His brilliant shining eyes. That lake’s water relieves all fatigue and is agitated by the waves His arms create. Its current flows deep beyond fathoming.

Mukund Mala Stotra 8


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Mon, 11/24/2008 – 17:45 โ€” shikha
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well it was really very soothing even reading all these posts . fantastic message that dive deep in . thankful to all of u . really it has again filled me with zeal that i have to be constant on this path . have to dive deep deep . i reapeatedly come in air ha ha but real nectar unlimited happiness lies deep very deep .KRISHNA IS very attractive HIS NAME HIS MERCY IS UNLIMITED EVEN CHANTING FOR FEW MOMENTS MAKE PERSON FORGET ALL COMPLICATIONS OF LIFE IF WE WILL SPENT EACH AND EVERY MOMENT WITH HIM DEFINITELY SUCH DEEP DIVING WILL BE SITUATION OF PARAMANANDA . AGN VERY THANKFUL TO ALL OF U . HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA KRISHNA KRISHNA HARE HARE HARE RAM HARE RAM RAM RAM HARE HARE .

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Mon, 11/24/2008 – 05:31 โ€” Snehal
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An example

Hare Krishna!
I have been thinking over this and I feel example of Druva Maharaj is suitable in this regards. Druva enaged in devotional austerities day and night with the material desire in his heart. But as he realized the truth (due to his devotional activities), he had become free from his material desire to have his father’s kingdom. Of course, Druva turned to Lord for the material benediction, but his example shows that immersing into devotion one can overcome material desire, by the mercy of Krishna.


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Sat, 11/22/2008 – 21:58 โ€” tekisui
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Dive into the ocean … of devotional service …?

Is this a scriptoral metaphor? Can someone please provide a reference for it?

I seem to be the only one having a problem with this metaphor.
For all practical purposes, I cannot but identify with this body. I may tell myself that I am not this body, and I may intellectually think that I am not this body, and I may even have some small realization that I am not this body – but for all practical purposes, my predominant first reaction is that I am this body.

So when I hear metaphors that imply some hardship for the body, I am put off by them.
“Dive into the ocean” – that implies I would be struggling for air, holding my breath, choking, in danger of drowning?
Personally, I find this to be an extremely unpleasant metaphor, an invitation to self-torture.

Thinking about practice as a “dive into the ocean”, I am not inspired to engage in practice.
I used to swim and dive a lot, and I have vivid memories of diving and what shortage of breath underwater is like. That choking feeling, starting to get dizzy, and then the panic. And then what it is like to breathe in water. A horrible feeling, like your lungs are scorched with fire or acid.
This same feeling of lungs being scorched, of choking, of wanting to get out, a complete agony of body and mind has come up later in my spiritual practice.

I don’t know … perhaps you all are so vastly realized, advanced and have had such experiences of bliss in your devotional service that your identification with your body, concern for the body’s welfare and your desire for your own sense gratification are minimized to zero, so that metaphors like “dive into the ocean of devotional service” don’t trigger anything negative in you …


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Sun, 11/23/2008 – 00:36 โ€” Navasi
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Ah, there you are, Tekisui! (you’re back ๐Ÿ™‚

Very good.

Well, hmmmm…. I do believe there have been times when Srila Prabhupad used this example, but really, I wasn’t quoting scripture or anything.

I was just using words that to me, best described what I was trying to express.

I was trying to express being involved to the degree of total immersion. Deep absorption.

I’m glad you pointed out that this could have a negative connotation for others, and in fact, that it does for you.

I’m sure you have experienced something in your life that you have been very, very involved in, a positive experience. Like perhaps when you are taking a photograph of a very amazing flower and you want to capture it just right.

Maybe that absorption only lasted for a moment, maybe more, but you must have something positive somewhere like that in your experience.

If you take that and expand on it, to where it lasts longer, and becomes your life, that’s what I meant.

I would really appreciate it if you would find out what experience you have had like this, and write about it here, so that we can all see what would be another way to present this concept that anyone who had negative reactions to my example, would be able to find meaning in your example.

If you don’t want to do that, it’s okay, I just think it would be helpful for others like you who might have reacted this way. (if one person does, there are sure to be others ๐Ÿ˜‰

So, please… if you feel inclined, it would be very helpful ๐Ÿ™‚

Hare Krishna,
Navasi : )

*oh, also… I can only speak for myself, but my relating to this has nothing to do with being advanced, realized, or not identifying with my body… it was just something I could relate to ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Sun, 11/23/2008 – 08:26 โ€” tekisui
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Metaphors …


I was wondering if the source of the metaphor was scriptural or not because if it’s scriptural, then we’re obligated to accept it, if it isn’t, we probably aren’t.
Perhaps in “ocean of devotional service”, the “ocean” means ‘a vast expanse or quantity’, since the opportunities for devotional service are so many – ?

Using metaphors that contain descriptions of material phenomena so that we could via metaphor explain something spiritual has its shortcomings. Metaphors that contain descriptions of material phenomena can always be extended in ways that are not adequate for the spiritual phenomenon we are trying to explain via the material metaphor.

Metaphors surely have their uses, there is no doubt about that. But over time, or in specific circumstances, some metaphors might become dysfunctional.

As another example – http://connect.krishna.com/node/3967 – where lust is likened to a pet dog with rabies.
If nowadays, you’d have a dog and found out it has rabies, and shoo the dog away, then in some countries, you might be legally responsible for endangering public health and safety.
And besides, if the veterinarian would establish that the dog has rabies, the dog would be put down right there, the owner wouldn’t be left with it.
So the metaphor with shooing away a rabid pet dog doesn’t really work anymore, at least not for those people who have knowledge and experience with the threat of rabies. Of course, we can employ common sense and intellectually understand what that metaphor was originally intended to mean, yet for some people, it will be difficult or impossible to find it valuable or accept it as a principle upon which to act.

Anyway, I don’t mean to be nitpicky for the sake of it. I just wanted to point out how metaphors sometimes don’t work as they were intended.
I wonder how much we need to keep in line with scriptural metaphors, given that some of them might be dysfunctional due to environmental, cultural, personal or other reasons.

And I understand that you were just using words that to you, best described what you were trying to express. ๐Ÿ™‚

You asked for another metaphor for devotional service. I am sure there are many, but they will all have the sort of shortcoming noted above.
“Plow the field and chant the Maha-mantra” – but then those who had their toes cut off while plowing or sustained other injuries won’t be able to relate all that well.
“Pick flowers and offer them to Krishna” – and those with allergies to pollen will have troubles.
And so on …

Myself, I wouldn’t use metaphors, but would go directly to scripture where Krishna says:

BG 18.58: If you become conscious of Me, you will pass over all the obstacles of conditioned life by My grace. If, however, you do not work in such consciousness but act through false ego, not hearing Me, you will be lost.

BG 14.26: One who engages in full devotional service, unfailing in all circumstances, at once transcends the modes of material nature and thus comes to the level of Brahman.

BG 9.27: Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer or give away, and whatever austerities you perform โ€” do that, O son of Kuntฤซ, as an offering to Me.

I find that the key points from these verses for the topic at hand are:
– in BG 18.58: the If-then stipulation,
– in BG 14.26: full / devotional / service – ie. not only should it be service, but it should be devotional, and it should be full; unfailing / in all circumstances – ie. not only should it be unfailing here and there, but it should be unfailing in all circumstances;
– in BG 9.27: whatever you do etc. – in other words, all one’s activities should be performed as an offering to Krishna (which also implies that whatever one does has to be such that it is appropriate to offer to Krishna).

Hare Krishna.

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Mon, 11/24/2008 – 00:32 โ€” Navasi
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Finding Meaning

Dear Tekisui,

I think that metaphors can lose their value and meaning when the person creating them does not have any actual understanding of what they are saying.

When the are “only words”. (even then, there is still the possibility that someone else who does have understanding, will find meaning anyway).

The most meaningless would be in a case where the person doesn’t have actual experience of either part of the metaphor.

Let’s take the example of the rabid dog.

If the person using that metaphor has never experienced lust, and has never come into contact with a rabid dog, then it’s a pretty meaningless metaphor.

(unless they in fact got it from scripture, as you said)

If the person has experienced lust, but never met a rabid dog, then it has a little value, because they “know” lust, and can “comprehend” what a rabid dog might be like.

If the person has experienced lust, and also come into contact with a rabid dog, and then uses that metaphor, then I would say they have ever reason to use that expression if that is how it seems to them.

Sometimes, when dealing with devotees who use metaphors, depending on who that devotee is, because they comprehend spiritual truth, they can also comprehend what the appropriate metaphor for it would be, without having to experience it directly.

For me, I understand and have directly experienced both things I was using in my metaphor.

About the ocean:

I was very, very ill for quite a number of years. Many doctors, and much medical attention did not solve this problem. It was only getting worse.

In a desperate attempt to heal myself, I went and lived by myself on the gulf coast of Florida. (the ocean, for all intents and purposes).

Day and night, I immersed myself in that ocean, swimming, diving, floating. Hours and hours and hours, I would stay in the water, way out, by myself, where there was nothing (physically) but me and that ocean.

I did a lot of deep praying, and spiritual introspection during this time also (much more deeply than I recall doing before then). It was truly total immersion from a physical, emotional and spiritual perspective.

I lived there alone for 6 months doing this.

Yes, I was healed, cured completely. So completely that the Doctors themselves were astounded and could not even comprehend this.

So, that’s the ocean I’m using in my metaphor. Total immersion, where there is nothing but you and that ocean. You live with it, you breathe it, you taste it, you feel it, you move with the pull of it’s tides, you become a part of it in a sense. Not only physically, but emotionally and spiritually also.

Krishna says “of bodies of water I am the ocean” ( I AM)

The devotional service:

I have experienced many times in my life being engaged fully this same exact way in some kind of devotional service. An engagement that fully occupies my intelligence, my mind, my energy, my body, my self. So fully, that it to me very closely resembles the same total absorption I felt in that ocean.

At those times, as long as I stayed “immersed” in whatever that service was, I found that even though I still “felt” my material desires, was “aware” of them, they did not have so much control over me. They did not occupy so much of my thoughts, or my energy.

So, when trying to think how to describe this type of involvement in devotional service, it occurred to me to use the example of “diving into the ocean, and staying immersed in it”.

Now if I had said “get involved in the vast expanse or quantity of devotional service because there are so many opportunities” it would have very little to do with what I was trying to express.

A blog is not scripture, it is only my own personal experience of my life as a devotee. All the experiences, both negative and positive, times when I was more seriously engaged, times when I wasn’t, things I understand, things I don’t, things I have realization of and things I don’t.

It’s just me, expressing (or attempting to express) what I understand, for better or worse ๐Ÿ˜‰

Of course, it will not always be relevant to anyone at all, what to speak of everyone. How far in the future what I say will continue to be relevant is also in question.

Definitely, I am not writing scripture here, and certainly no one is “obligated to accept it”. : )

I agree with your point that metaphors can be over-used, and under-felt. Used without knowing the subject matter at hand, and then sometimes, they are repeated by others who have read someone else saying them also, making them even more “trite”……

In those cases, I agree it’s best to stick to scripture.

Hare Krishna,
: )

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Fri, 11/21/2008 – 18:53 โ€” Snehal
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Thank you

Hare Krishna!

Thank you so much for this blog. It has not only solved all my queries but given me a new enthusiasm and determination to “dive in”.



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Thu, 11/20/2008 – 01:05 โ€” Navasi
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Here’s a comment from Bhaktin Narushni from my guest book. I explained to her that it helps others if we put these comments and responses here, instead of guest books, and so she gave me permission to recopy this here, and my comment to in her guest book, I’m going to put here too.

“Hare Krsna mataji…thank u for that wonderful blog…yes, it does answer the question beautifully….to find a higher taste….
To immerse oneself in Krsna consciousness and to dive in, makes a lot of sense, and is actually the intelligent thing to do, but let me tell u, my monkey mind, wants to come up for air(material sense gratification) too much! i dont know y it is so hard to let go… i think im actually wasting time, debating….i should just immerse myself in Krsna conscious activity, and see what happens…its hard to “let go”…dont know if u know wat i mean…? the ideas about service to the children is nice…there is nothing like this going on in our temple…very good ideas.
thank u again for ur time and genuine care for other devotees…this is the community of devotees that we need….i do not feel alone anymore, now that I’ve joined this website…nobody judges…everyone is friendly…and im learning so much! u take care. i will keep in touch…Hare Krsna!”

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Thu, 11/20/2008 – 01:08 โ€” Navasi
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Getting Involved

Here’s my reply to her, copied from my guest book:

“Yes, I know exactly what you mean.

Really, it is not so hard to get involved in something that gives us a higher taste, what is hard is desiring to “let go” ….

Just as you said.

We are “attached to our desires” ….. attachment. That’s what it’s all about. We don’t WANT to give up our material desires.

We talk about it, we say “what can I do?” but really, we are not willing or ready for the “doing”.

You have it right when you said you should just “get involved” and see what happens.

The reason your mind wants to “come up for air” is because you have not found something you can fully immerse yourself in. It has to be something you really love, something you care about, something that challenges you, and takes all your creativity and energy. Something that you can truly be invested in.”

* Or, as Faith said in her comment below…. forget the problems, just dive in!

Hare Krishna, Hare Rama!

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Wed, 11/19/2008 – 12:33 โ€” Faith108
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dive in!

I swear this was written for me!

“Diving into the Ocean means:
Diving into the ocean of devotional service. Immerse yourself. Dive, and dive deep. Stay there, submerged. If you surface for air, dive deep again, and again, and again.”

16 daily rounds, books, visiting at the Temple, taking/sharing prasadam and so on….C’mon, Faith, you’ve *wasted* all those years being miserable! Dive into that ocean and enjoy Krishna!
“Just do it!”
What have ya got to lose??
Remember all the FUN you had before with KC!
Have fun again!!
*#@* the problems!


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Thu, 11/20/2008 – 00:50 โ€” Navasi
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How Deep Is The Sea….

Hare Krishna, Faith mataji prabhu ๐Ÿ™‚

Yes, yes, yes!

You’ve got it now for sure!

The Ocean of Devotion


not only very, very deep, it’s actually:


Yes, who cares about the problems? Krishna is much bigger and much more powerful than all of them!

Faith 108!

Now you’ve got faith in chanting! That’s the Faith!

Hare Krishna!!!
: )

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Thu, 11/20/2008 – 11:59 โ€” Faith108
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the Ocean of Devotion

I’m scared to death of deep water, but for some reason the *deep, unlimited* “Ocean of Devotion” doesn’t scare me at all! The thought of it is sooo inviting!
Off the top of my head I chose “Faith108” as my username. Subliminal message to myself, perhaps?

Let us all swim happily in the Ocean of Devotion!!


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Thu, 11/20/2008 – 23:23 โ€” Navasi
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In Krishna’s Hands

Well, Faith….

As long as we’re in the hands of Krishna, then that takes the fear out of the equation.


That’s a very good subliminal message. Yes, I think your Supersoul in your heart told you what you needed. 108. Chanting your 16 rounds of japa.

That is really just so excellent. Excellent

I love this:

“Let us all swim happily in the Ocean of Devotion!!”

I keep smiling every time I read it!!! : )

Devotional Ocean, Ki Jai!

Chant and Be Happy!

Hare Krishna,