CHAPTER 12: DEVOTIONAL SERVICE: TEXT 15
Yasmān nodvijate loko
lokān nodvijate ca yaḥ
mukto yaḥ sa ca me priyaḥ
Translation: He by whom no one is put into difficulty and who is not disturbed by anyone, who is equipoised in happiness and distress, fear and anxiety, is very dear to me.
This verse mentions about a quality which is very dear to Krishna which is, a devotee is a one who does not put others in to difficulty and who is not disturbed by anyone and who is equipoised in happiness, distress, fear and anxiety. So generally we all come to Krishna consciousness when there is too much problem outside and always our expectations are high. Whether we are in Krishna consciousness, or in temple or in our home doesn’t matter we always have high expectation and many times we get disturbed due to this, because not everything that we expect happens, and things don’t go the way we want, and these difficulties keep happening and we fail to recognize that this material world is designed like that and the root cause of our problems are our expectations. That is why Krishna is advising us to be determined and be fixed in our services and in our goals and then we should be able to learn to deal with these things happening in this material world and stay focused in Krishna consciousness.
When we study our scriptures like Srimad Bhagavatam and Bhagavad Gita we learn that there are other ways to deal with our life problems. Sometimes when we cannot execute something we often fell dejected. So one of the reason Srila Prabhupad teaching us is instead of complaining about the problems, situations or people around us, with the help and power of scriptures like Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam we can look at the same situation is a different perspective and become completely peaceful by bringing things under our control by not allowing the situation to have some negative effects on us. Once we learn this we can be happy in any situations and do the right things even if things don’t go in our own way. This verse mentioned above is a wonderful tool which Krishna is giving us by learning it we will become transcendental to these disturbances.
There is a wonderful letter Srila Prabupad has written to one of his discipline when he wrote to him that he wanted to divorce his wife who was too much bothering him. So Srila Prabupad writes to him that life always come with responsibilities. Any decisions we make we have to be responsible for it, no use of complaining about it. This applies to everybody whether it is a student, a wife, a husband, co-workers etc. that is what the Dharma is all about. The whole purpose of Bhagavat Gita is to establish the concept of Dharma which is no matter what situations I am in I have to fulfill my responsibilities and by actually trying to do that we actually become Krishna consciousness. Krishna consciousness is not a set of procedures or achievement that we have to do to please Krishna but it is how to think of Krishna and be reminded of him in any situations. These situations are the best opportunity to prove ourselves that how determined we are to serve Krishna no matter what .Instead of changing the situation according to our whims and fancies we will consider our present situation as Krishna’s special mercy on to us and utilize this opportunity to the best possible way. Instead of finding an easy way to get over our frustrations, we should learn from our mistakes, take responsibility for our actions , tolerate all these problems for achieving higher principle, higher commitment obligations or occupational duties or whatever duties. In this way we will be advanced in our Krishna Consciousness and we will able to spread the Krishna conscious movement and help in our spiritual master’s mission.
One mistake of judgement made by the neophyte devotees is that if there is any disturbance or some difficulty they are considering under which the difficulty took place are the cause of difficulty itself. That is not the fact. In this material world there is always some difficulty, therefore simply by changing the status of occupation or status of life that will not help anything. Srila Prabupad says that the real fact is that if there is any difficulty with others that is due to our lack of Krishna consciousness not theirs. This can be explained with some examples. When we go for Book distribution some people are interested to take books, some are not. They are not willing to hear what we try to preach them. Instead of blaming them it is better to think that we are not preaching them in the right way. It is always easy to judge others, but we fail to think that once upon a time we were also like them but we were fortunate that someone picked us up and we got this knowledge. Exhibiting that consciousness is what pleases Krishna not that the number of books we distribute. The whole purpose of book distribution, and in any situation Krishna target is that we become a devotee. The whole goal of life is to please Krishna. . We will be able to do more books when we are advanced in our Krishna Consciousness, then even if we speak one word, or by our action or our presence we are actually radiating that spiritual energy and people are attracted to it. There are so many Sankirtan story where when someone says just Hari Bol!!! and don’t expect anything but sell so many books because it is the consciousness of the person that touches that soul. Krishna consciousness is so deep.
Other example to think about it many times we get angry with another person and react in a bad way, often if we take a step back and understand that this person is also part and parcel of Krishna then we will be able to control over our emotions and the situation properly. Another example is whole Bhagavad Gita talks about what we should do and how we should live and if any point of time if we are blaming someone is because we are not following what Krishna telling. If we follow exactly what he want us to do then we will never face any difficulties. Every time we hear some complaints from others or if we feel like complaining about others to someone please think that are we actually listening to Krishna. When we are not listening, then how can we expect others to listen to us? This is why Krishna consciousness is so deep.
Generally we hear about self- help books, or motivational speakers they may touch upon the points of how to solve our life problems and become successful. But the level at which they touch these points and dealing the problem, solving the problem or framing the problem is very shallow. At the behavioral level or at the mental level they may tell us how to do bridge things, how to adjust things so that we become successful but there is some deeper spiritual meaning why we need to adapt this path of Krishna consciousness. So when we solve it at the root level or the fundamental level then it will solve all other levels, we don’t have to read a particular book for every issue or crisis we have in our life. Because once you become Krishna consciousness at the core, then everything will be revealed by Krishna how to act, how to work, how to live and everything. That is what Srila Prabupad teaches us that we can solve all the problems in one stroke. That is the benefit of Krishna consciousness. Otherwise we will try things at the superficial level and sometimes it works and sometimes we cannot because the modes of material nature overcome our determination to act in a certain way and again we get in to same problem. So it is not permanently solving it but temporarily avoiding the situation by some adjustments and Krishna says that won’t work. He gives many examples. Just like a boat carried away in the ocean by the wind our determination also can be carried away by the senses and other things. So when we get really in to the foundation then we own the problem, we apply the right consciousness to solve the problem and see the problems in a different perceptive. Then we will acquire all the good qualities of a demigod, like becoming more patient, more tolerant, more respectful, compassionate .Once we develop the broken relationship of Krishna then everything will manifest as part of development of Krishna Consciousness. That is why Krishna consciousness is so powerful and is a panacea for all the problems. So if someone does not listen to us we should ask ourselves first am I listening to Krishna or to my guru then how can I expect others to listen to us. That is purification of our consciousness.
Krishna put us in tough situations for our growth only, he wants us to learn something that is for sure. Unless Krishna puts us in that situation we will never learn that we have those anarthas, and we should get rid of them and that is when we have too much to pray for when we chant our Japa, otherwise chanting our japa will be for the sake of chanting only. Every day we forget that principle, what are we chanting, and for what purpose we are chanting and we will take our Japa as a process or a ritual. When we realize that we are not always doing our Japa in right conscious we will pray for the mercy of the Lord to help us to chant properly, develop the qualities mentioned above so that we become a better instruments in the hands of our guru and Krishna.
Every situation that comes to our life is not by accident, it is custom made for us Krishna talks about various miseries in this material world like Adyatmik, Adibautik and Adidaivic. These miseries are caused by other living beings or natural disturbances or by one’s body and mind. Different level of disturbances are created. But one thing we can be completely assure of is that we have something to do with it. Sometimes some situation is due to other person fault then why we should be we affected by it and be in his orbit. That means we have done something to experience that. We may not know all the details and one point instead of becoming a victim we take it to the heart that we might have done something to deserve this then we will see the situation in a different perceptive and will be able to tolerate it, as Krishna said and thinks ways to amend it by doing the right thing instead of blaming another person. And of course we will be taking the guidance from Guru, Vaishnava etc. it is like even though you know what to do but always good to take a second opinion from person who is not affected by any material defects so that they can guide us to take right decisions and analyze the situation in a different perceptive. Thus by giving a benefit of doubt will protect us from acting in a wrong way or incorrect way. In Bhagavad Gita Arjuna did not want to want to fight for himself but he did the fighting for Krishna’s purpose to establish Dharma and religious principles that is why Bhagavad Gita is not about the war but the dharma . Krishna is always give more importance to establish these principle that everybody should take responsibility for their actions, situations in life so that they can advance in performing the dharma and go to higher level of Krishna consciousness. Instead if we consider ourselves to be a victim to these tough situations, thinking that it should not happen in our life then we are said to be in the mode of ignorance but devotees won’t succumb like that. The Spiritual master’s always says that we see one with good eye and other with bad eye. We see from both perceptive. That’s what we should do. Even Srila Prabupad spiritual master Sri Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati Thakur, he was such a great preacher sometimes in his class one person would randomly come and shout, criticize and blaspheme him. It happened again and again several times. Then his disciple tried to throw the person but Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati Thakur stopped him and said he might have done something in the past so let me not react to it. He showed the example of how to tolerate things. So the convention should be Krishna created a perfect system, it is not something random or chances or something. It is something that Krishna want us to learn from the situation. Once we learn that Krishna does not have to put us in the same situation again. Of course he can put us in a higher situation where there is a deeper learning that is how we make advancement by able to deal with the situations in a proper way.
There are many verse in Srimad Bhagavatam that give indication of how the consciousness work. In chapter 17 of 1st canto here the kali is harassing the cow and the bull and the bull is standing on one leg and then Parikshit Maharaja is asking the bull tell me who is the person who is causing you this harm and I will take care of it. But the bull is not naming the person causing him the suffering because he understands the deeper principal that people are around us act against us but we cannot blame them for what they do to us they are like postman delivering our bad karma.Even the 4th canto of Srimad Bhagavatam chapter 13 is a good read about the story of King Anga who is a very good king but he gets a rogue son Vena due to his past karmas. And the 11th Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam also is a good read, here the lessons taught by Srila Prabupad is our mind alone is the cause of happiness and distress. And don’t let your past karma to ruin your life. In whatever situations we are in whether favorable or unfavorable accept it, take it in a spiritual way it is like best uses of a bad bargain. Whether we are in hell or in heaven both are opportunities to serve Krishna. Our quality of service and our determination to serve Krishna should never change, and gradually we won’t be affected by these disturbances and we will advance in our Krishna consciousness.