Srila Prabhupada's answer in this regard was instant: "Yes, we are always surrendered. The question is to whom or to what. But surrender, we must."
As the marginal energy of the Lord, we have the choice to be dominated by the internal or external energy of the Lord. Choice, which is a clear sign of our eternal individuality, and so we can decide to what or to whom we want to render our service. Serving, surrendering, loving, gifts receiving and gifts giving, these are eternal symptoms of the soul.
Unfortunately, directed to this temporary body, our eternal needs are compromised by time and circumstances, ending without exception in manifold frustrations. These needs are so powerful that when failing towards humans, they find their way to be shared with animals or even trees and plants.
The description of the ways we are victimized by our own foolishness and the consequent results, these were essential ingredients of Srila Prabhupada's preaching.
Once understanding the essence of Krsna Consciousness, the pious soul makes its way to Krsna's Lotus Feet by dint of being guided by a pure devotee. Krsna states in Bhagavad Gita that regardless if such desperado approaches Him when in pain, in need of money, need to satisfy his curiosity, or in need of acquiring knowledge (surely the best intention), he is still dear to Him.
However, initiation into the process of surrendering, bhakti yoga, is just the beginning. What the real motivation of a candidate may be will be uncompromisingly revealed on the way. Herewith it is explained why even originally seemingly materially unmotivated devotee, even after many years of practice, manifests material symptoms, turning back to the places of misery where he came from.
As Srila Prabhupada experienced in His relatively short preaching period, some of His disciples were already returning to the places they came from or even lower. Even being surely highly disappointed and sad, He took it in a scientific way, describing how the results of devotional service being done will never go in vain, even the candidate has to continue his path in various material bodies again.
Here is a short summary of most crude manifestation of material desires, which every initiate should be aware of. Lord Caitanya clearly states His aversion to:
women (or men for those who have a woman's body),
number of followers, disciples.
While some may join simply because of distress and pain, others may join because of:
* Social prestige
Being nobody prior to joining, very quickly one becomes socially prominent. Comparatively spoken devotees were and will be always very few and the ways to practice Krsna Consciousness are simple. To learn how to chant, to learn the basic facts of Krsna conscious philosophy and repeat it in a parrot-like fashion is easy.
Karmis are many, devotees few and so some name, some fame and some glory come to a devotee quickly. If not addressed by spiritual intelligence, his progress will be blocked by pride and arrogance fast.
Amongst my godbrothers there are those who joined, two years later they found themselves carrying a danda, or still totally inexperienced managing a vast number of new devotees; and after only few years more they found themselves sitting on Vyasasanas celebrating their Vyasa Puja, being glorified as intimate associates of the gopis by their disciples.
What a ride! Only those who have won in the lottery huge sum of money can report such quick change in their lives :-) But Krsna Consciousness is not a lottery.
I still remember some of my godbrothers vividly marveling at such a quick change of their status. Those who forgot, that all this is happening simply because of Srila Prabhupada's credit being given to them, fell down. Those who still consider themselves a striving devotee, a candidate for the most elevated post of a Vaisnava, still praying for that day to come, bathing daily in the constant flow of Srila Prabhupada's mercy, they are the inspiration for similarly motivated ones.
* Finding a partner
There may be men who join Srila Prabhupada's movement in search after women.
But there are surely and naturally women joining who are drawn to this movement because they hope to find here men of character, able to provide mental stability they so desperately need. Amongst them there are those, who out of their frustration discovering that there are not many pure devotees to be found (but plenty of kama-misra bhaktas), turn back to feminist ideals, which are purely on bodily platform and by nature demoniac.
To gain real faith is a gradual and demanding process. To lose faith is a rather quick affair in these Kali yuga days. False hopes and expectations are followed by real frustrations which then again, if not dealt according to sastra, lead to deviations in the form of search of material solution for material problems. There are no material solutions to material problems. The solution can come only from the spiritual platform, which in a practical sense means for us hearing from Srila Prabhupada and from those who try to follow His instructions to the best of their abilities, in an introspective way.
And so finding a suitable partner may be a risky enterprise. One is well advised to define the word „suitable“ in Krsna conscious terms. Srila Prabhupada's comment on suitability of man and women getting married was simple: „If they are devotees it will be OK“. And so the question remains: Who is a real devotee?
* Breaking out of one's karmically destined national boundaries
It was and it is experienced that devotees once getting a chance to leave the in their view miserable place of birth by dint of initiation take advantage of it. After all, the grass seems to be always greener on the other side of the fence.
Where else one can find such a place where one can reach so fast other destinations and meet so many similarly minded ones! Surely, many religious institutions can report in the same way how their members take advantage of the immense social contacts available to them once they became members and can meet other
„sect members“ all over the world.There even those who seek greater business opportunities and interesting business partners in name of Krsna Consciousness.
And then there are those, the lowest of all, who realize a naive bhakta or bhaktin to be in name of devotional service a free laborer and source of quick income.
However, Srila Prabhupada approved such intense travels for preachers only, everybody else was advised to cultivate his or her Krsna Consciousness based on varnasrama dharma in their domestic areas. We can see that devotee-immigrants residing in foreign places are drawn to each other again on the basis of their nationality. But just to get a visa and change the place of residence is surely not the meaning of getting initiated into Krsna Consciousness, as there is no place on this Earth Kali doesn't welcome his victims to be allured into the same maya served out in various packaging.
* False designation
How easy it is to DESIGNATE oneself once being informed about the nature and symptoms of a Vaisnava. Reading may give us some academic experience, but such jnana is far from vijnana, realized knowledge, which was defined by Srila Prabhupada as the final knowledge. As one of my godbrothers wisely commented before he was forced to give up his designated status and assume the position more appropriate to his conditioning, „We know where we came from. We know where we have to go to. But we don't know where we are NOW!" And so academic studies alone do not provide the ultimate realization. Practice and simultaneous hearing process from sastra does.
And so external symptoms in form of dress, haircut, designated institutional position, and one's ways to control others are far from what the real status of a particular devotee may be. Once exposed to the temptation in the form of money, followers and some fame, it will be revealed what kind of motivation this devotee carries in his heart.
If he ruthlessly insists to be accepted along his designation and not according to his nature or level of conditioning, material nature, the ultimate bodyguard of Krsna, will „sort him out“ and dispose into her backyard, where all those who came to believe to be what they are not, reside.
Sincerity is the keyword for safe progress. To what extent we can be sincere will certainly be tested in times when we seek material solutions and abandon surrendering to Krsna's Lotus Feet. How many difficulties we may face due to our long term residence in this material world is not important. Srila Prabhupada wasn't even interested to discuss how we came here. Important is how we address these problems in the form of UNCONDITIONAL surrender, opening our hearts explicitly to Srila Prabhupada's words in mood of absolute chastity.
Then, as Srila Prabhupada once wrote to one of His disciples, „You always write me how many problems you have. But with a kick of my left foot I can kick all these problems away.“
What is the price to be paid? UNCONDITIONAL surrender. Those who do so may receive full benefit by getting the assistance they need. Those who still remain to be „opiniated“, as Srila Prabhupada defined such fools, may keep on struggling while living under the dictate of their minds, perverted intelligence and above all, false egos.
The choice is entirely on our side, Krsna is merely observing and waiting, ready to set the scene according to our desires and the credit we have.
The Krsna Conscious train station is open 24 hours a day. It is up to us to get on the right train and not to change on the way to a train which seems to be momentarily more comfortable and faster but ends in a dead end station with no way to progress further.
The switch button is in our hands, the possibility to rebook the train and end in the wilderness is always there, as much the mercy of the conductor who may inform us any time in which compartment of the train we are seated best and when we may safely arrive to our final destination.