Understanding the Concept of “Dovetailing”

What does the term “to dovetail” mean in a Krishna conscious context?

Prabhupada:

“This world is not permanent. So even though it is not permanent, it can be utilized for the service of the Lord. Nirbandhe kṛṣṇa-sambandhe yukta-vairāgyam ucyate. That is our philosophy. We don’t take the jagat as mithyā; we take it as fact, because it is emanation from the supreme fact. So just like gold earring is also gold—that is not iron—similarly, the, this material world is made of the external energy of Kṛṣṇa. Therefore we do not find anything here wrong. We try to dovetail everything in the service of Kṛṣṇa, because it is Kṛṣṇa’s. Just like one’s property must be enjoyed by the proprietor. Kṛṣṇa says that bhoktāraṁ yajña-tapasāṁ sarva-loka-maheśvaram [Bg.5.29]. He’s the proprietor of this world. Therefore everything dovetailed in His service for His satisfaction, that is devotional service.”

“The devotees think of Kṛṣṇa, act for Kṛṣṇa, eat for Kṛṣṇa, sleep for Kṛṣṇa and work for Kṛṣṇa. Thus everything is engaged in the service of Kṛṣṇa. A total life in Kṛṣṇa consciousness saves one from material contamination. As stated by Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Mahārāja:

kṛṣṇa-bhajane yāhā haya anukūla
viaya baliyā tyāge tāhā haya bhūla

If one is so expert that he can engage everything or dovetail everything in the service of the Lord, to give up the material world would be a great blunder. One should learn how to dovetail everything in the service of the Lord, for everything is connected to Kṛṣṇa.”

“…material qualification, that is not bad, provided they are engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Otherwise it has no value. Material qualification, if they are engaged… Nirbandhe kṛṣṇa-sambandhe yukta-vairāgyam ucyate. If one is able to dovetail his material qualities in the service of the Lord, then that becomes a great qualification.”

“Dovetail” Defined

From the Marriam Webster Dictionary:

1dove·tail
Pronunciation:
ˈdəv-ˌtāl
Function:
noun
Date:
1573
: something resembling a dove’s tail ; especially : a flaring tenon and a mortise into which it fits tightly making an interlocking joint between two pieces (as of wood)

2dovetail
Function:
verb
Date:
circa 1656
transitive verb
1 a: to join by means of dovetails b: to cut to a dovetail
2 a: to fit skillfully to form a whole b: to fit together with
intransitive verb
: to fit together into a whole

A few other ways of saying the same thing:

American Heritage Dictionary:

To connect or combine precisely or harmoniously.

To combine or interlock into a unified whole.

Dovetail Illustrations

dovetail8

Dovetail: 1) Mortises, 2) tenons and 3) joint.

Sometimes a “dovetail bar” is used to dovetail:

dovetail2

Here is a variety of “dovetail pictures”:

dovetail7

Summing up

Instead of  renouncing this world we ought to “dovetail” the material energy, our material qualifications and desires in Krishna’s service. This means that we must “skillfully” “connect” them with Krishna’s desire so that they “fit” “tightly“, “precisely” and “harmoniously” to form a “unified whole“. Hence they will also become spiritual.

Beautiful, right?

2 thoughts on “Understanding the Concept of “Dovetailing”

  1. In a simple way, dovetailing implies God-centric. When I dovetail for my own satisfaction, it is a much less perfect form of relationship. Gradually, the God-centric ideal replaces self-centric endeavours. For example, if I like to eat a particular food, I might offer it to Krishna with the understanding that I will eat it after the ‘ritual’ of offering is completed. Gradually, when a higher taste, ie desiring to please Krishna, is paramount, then God-centric, Krishna consciousness manifests. We may joyfully prepare an offering of a meal to the Supreme Person with love. We can give many philosophical arguments for this in order to arouse curiosity in this alternative mode of thinking, feeling, and willing. Then, what will come to be by Krishna’s grace, will transcend petty self-interests. So, dovetailing, utilizing and purifying the senses in the service of Sri Guru Vaishnava and Krishna can help elevate one from the lower mixed position where self-centric may predominate, to the higher clean position where Krishna consciousness predominates. Pusta Krishna das

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  2. Dear Prabhu,

    Yes, in the conditioned state that we dovetail our material desires and in the liberated state we dovetail the material energy only to please Krishna. It is of course a gradual process from one to the other.

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