Normally, practice, detachment or hard labor is not associated with spirituality or faith. It is associated with climbing the corporate ladder or winning a race. We expect spirituality to be more esoteric and other worldly at least that is what we want it to look like. There is a sub-conscious tendency to approach spirituality/faith in a metaphysical manner, meaning, we expect “signs” or "higher realizations". In this higher esoteric umbrella, we take shelter and feel a sense of belonging to the extent of pride. Therefore, the aspect of “practice” seems counter-intuitive to the spiritual domain. It brings it down to the mundane day-to-day practices. Most adherents of faith are in it for some esoteric fruit versus hard labor or practice for change. We want to change but without practice. Many people change faith or leave a spiritual path because they cannot channel a higher calling anymore.
From a spiritual Krishna Conscious perspective, Krishna says quite the opposite. He says by constant “practice” and “detachment”, one climbs the spiritual ladder. He uses words such as “determination” and “single mindedness”. All this indicate the required mental state of a spiritual practitioner. This requirement rarely reflects an esoteric phenomenon but rather reflects a laborious way of life. Krishna says people with such practice and detachment only can constantly praise my glories and ultimately become Mahatmas.
So the fruit is sweet indeed but it cannot be derived by “signs” from above but can only be achieved through hard labor characterized by practice, detachment, determination and single-mindedness. These qualities seem more to match one who wants to compete in the Olympics. Of course…Krishna Consciousness is much more than a gold medal in an international competition. It may not be a race or competition but it is about winning the heart of the Supreme Person and we need to show some determination and detachment and for that one seriously requires to cultivate the mood of a beaver – that is – practice. By constant practice and by standing up every time we fall without quitting or losing hope, always treading the path laid by great saints in front of us, slowly but surely we can attain the Supreme abode.
This destination cannot be achieved through mentally speculated “higher signs” or “gifts” or “one who thinks he is special in the eyes of God thus pretending to be one up from the commoners” but achieved only through constant practice, unflinching faith, resilience and hard labor of offering in a mood of humility and full surrender to the Supreme Person.
I would like to finish by copying this beautiful verse from Krishna
satataḿ kīrtayanto māḿ
yatantaś ca dṛḍha-vratāḥ
namasyantaś ca māḿ bhaktyā
Always chanting My glories, endeavoring with great determination, bowing down before Me, these great souls perpetually worship Me with devotion. – BG9.14