~from an online lecture on May 3, 2020
Similar to what we are experiencing today with the internet, everything you do in this world is being ‘recorded’ and it stays there for as long as this manifestation of the world exists. It creates an impression, a samskara, which then informs your future actions and reactions. This is how by your choices, by your activities, you develop a certain pattern of action, choices and response – it is based on deep samskaras. Sometimes we call it habit or conditioning. This can affect your relationship with the Holy Name, because all our perceptions and experiences are affected by the ‘spectacles’ through which we look at the world.
For this reason, devotees follow a few rules that help them to avoid those impressions which can distract you in a harmful way. On the other hand, we do things like for instance associating with devotees and reading sacred scriptures that affect us in a positive way, which cause positive samskaras that in turn affect our relationship with the Holy Name.
There is second way as to how our decisions can affect our relationship with Krsna: sometimes even negative things can cause a sensitive person, who is aware, to surrender to Krsna. For instance if you become angry, but you are sensitive and aware and you realise “Oh why did I become angry at that person and say something I didn’t want to say…” That regret about a harmful activity can, so to say, set you onto the right path.
Of course, I’m not proposing here to intentionally engage in activities that are harmful so that you will then turn away from them and then go to Krsna. What I am saying is, don’t get all panic-stricken when you happen to act in way that is not up to spiritual standards. You can always return and go back to bhakti. This is clearly shown by the life of Vrtrasura and others as well.
Sometimes, when we make a mistake and we regret it, that very feeling improves our relationship with the Holy Name.