In the Srimad Bhagavatam it is said; “When misery comes to visit you, you should know it is the grace of the Lord, not only the negative side – to tolerate the misery that I am experiencing, the results of my past bad actions; not only that but with some positive tinge of nectar – it is the grace of the Lord. His sanction is connected with this particular incident and He is the All-good, the Unquestionable-good, so there must be some good object in this.”
tat te ‘nukampam susamiksamanoIt is His grace. He wants me to be purified as soon as possible, to release me as quickly as possible from the results of my own actions. This is His grace. If you can feel this to be so then you can get out of the misery which comes from within us.
bhunjana evatma-krtam vipakam
hrd-vag-vapurbhir vidadhan namas te
jivta yo mukti-pade sa daya-bhak
(Srimad Bhagavatam 10.14.8)
Nothing can come without His sanction and when His sanction is there then he is connected there, and His connection means His grace. He is all gracious and we are to look for that.
We are to invite that element from the great world above and thereby promote our fortune, our fate to be connected with that wave of daya (kindness). No chaos; everything is cosmos, and the cosmos is connected with the All-good. We are to see like that. Kuntidevi invited adversity, “Always keep me within adverse circumstances so that my heart can dive deep for a prayer to You for my welfare. If I am amused by the apparent pleasing environment then I will lose my memory of You and that will be my greatest loss.”
These are the sweet instructions of the Bhagavat, and in the Gita we find the outward advice;
manapamanayos tulyasBoth sides, loss and gain, both are transient so receive them with equal spirit. Stand erect and meet both sides, success or failure, both are equal because the very plane in which they appear is a concoction like a dream. To become a king in a dream or to become a beggar in the street, in a dream, both are equally false. So loss or gain in this plane is all false, don’t allow yourself to be disturbed by loss or gain, by victory or by failure. Prepare yourself to receive grace by neglecting the adverse, apparently injurious environment. Prepare yourself to be a student of this higher standard, neglecting all the junk that comes to you.
gunatitah sa ucyate
This will be better and more ambitious than to confine your ambition to this mortal world. When the reins are removed everything goes freely to Krsna, just as a horse will run freely when it is unreined. So cure yourself quickly for a place is waiting for you.
Krsna is the Absolute but He says, aham bhakta paradhino, “I am controlled by My devotees, what can I do? I am not independent, I have my partiality. I cannot avoid the request of my devotees, that is my weakness. These who have left everything and have come to depend on me, how can I discourage them? How is it possible for me? Who have left everything for me and want nothing in return, if anyhow, some request comes from their side, then how can I deny that? It is possible?
hy asvatantra iva dvija
(Srimad Bhagavatam 9.4.63)
“Though I am the Absolute, still of my own accord I have come to a relative position; a father, a husband, a son. All these relative positions I observe of my own accord although I am the Absolute. My devotees are all depending on me and so I shall have to look after them. The Absolute does not mean He is all cruel but rather He must be sympathetic, what can I do?”We see the Lord’s favour to His devotees in the case of Ambarisa and Durvasa. Durvasa wa a great sage and Ambarisa Maharaj was a king. While waiting for Durvasa and his followers to return from bathing so that he might honour them by giving them prasada, Ambarisa took a drop of water to observe the end of the Ekadasi fast. Durvasa became enraged considering that Ambarisa had insulted him by breaking his fast before serving him.
Durvasa summoned yogic fire to consume Ambarisa, but Ambarisa remained unharmed. Suddenly the Lord’s Sudarshan Chakra (disc weapon) appeared to punish Durvasa for persecuting the innocent Ambarisa, and Durvasa fled for fear of his life. Finally finding no escape, Durvasa entered Vaikuntha and pleaded with Narayana to withdraw His weapon. Lord Narayan addressed Durvasa thus. “You demand that you are a Brahmin and demand that you are a sannyasi, but you fled for fear of your life while Ambarisa, he did not even step back when you summoned fire with the intention of burning him. He did not even take one step back no, he stood firm and with humility, thinking “If I am a culprit then let the punishment come to me.”
He did not falter, but you – when my Sudarshan came to charge you – you were flying from this place to that, to all corners of the world, running for fear of your life. Then who holds the more dignified position, you or Ambarisa? You are a brahmin and he is a ksatriya, but you observed the Ekadasi vrata and on Dwadasi at the time of paran (break-fast) you showed respect to the Ekadasi vrata for me and he also only did that. He showed respect to me by properly observing the Ekadasi vrata but you thought he had dishonoured you. You are his guest and before feeding you he has taken a drop of water to observe the end of the Ekadasi day and he did it with conscience to me.
You yourself did that vrata and he also did that and only for me, not for self-gratification. But you could not tolerate, you thought that he had dishonoured you. So you say that you are a brahmin, very near to me and that he is a ksatriya, he is far off. He is a grihasta, and you are a sannyasi, you are nearer to me; but this is only fashion because practically Ambarisa is nearer to me. He is not afraid of receiving any punishment and even as we speak he is waiting for you. He is fasting, thinking, “My guest I have not fed. While Durvasa is running hither and thither, still unfed then how can I feed myself?” He is still standing, waiting and when you return he will feed you and only then will he take Prasad. What do you say? When my devotees have left everything and have surrendered fully to me then should I not protect them?
A little gratitude I must have? Or am I a slave to your formality? What do you think Durvasa? Go to him. You will have to go to him and see how magnanimous he is. Still unfed, standing waiting for you. Go and see?” After hearing this, Durvasa returned to Ambarisa and was able to appreciate his position. Ambarisa came to him with folded hands and like a criminal he began, “Oh what have I done? All these trouble have come to you brahmin, my guest, and only for my fault. I am the culprit, I am offender, please be propitiated by me.” And Durvasa fell flat at his feet, “Yes, you are so magnanimous. This is only possible for the devotees of Narayan. You are so great. We boast of our brahminic birth and our yogic attempt, but you, you are really the most magnanimous of all people we are far below.” And in this way Durvasa began,
aho ananta-dasanam“I have seen the greatness of the servitors of the Anantadev, Sri Narayan. You are so magnanimous that although I am an offender you have prayed for me. You hold an unparalleled position in the whole universe.” In this way Durvasa began to preach. Durvasa whose very nature is to always find fault in others and give them punishment by his yogic power. That is his nature, but he began to sing the song in praise of the devotees like Ambarisa.
mahattvam drstam adya me
krtagaso ‘pi yad rajan
(Srimad Bhagavatam 9.5.14)
So we will have to become cent percent optimistic and leave no room for pessimism. Our only apprehension will be that I may not commit any offence, especially towards a Vaishnava. We shall have to become very alert to this. So precious, so valuable is the fortune for which we are aspiring. Se we must be very, very careful to guard against jealousy, envy from arising in us from any place. We are connected with some great force, so as much as possible we must remain cautious, careful that no disturbance will come out from us to do away with our pure aspiration. So Mahaprabhu has told us,
trnad api sunicenaIn one word – conscious. You must be conscious. Conscious that you are living in a plane that is ultimately worthless, no value, Trnad api sunicena – don’t go to oppose anyone. There is no meaning to any opposition. It is all fictitious so why should I givhe opposition to something that is all fictitious. Taror api sahisnuna – and if any opposition should come to you don’t care for that either. That is also unreal. Their motivation is superficial. That should not affect your inner train of thought.
taror api sahisnuna
kirttaniya sada harih
So don’t care about any opposition coming to you. Don’t create any opposition to others, and still if any opposition will come to you try not care for that. It is all futile. Amanina – and don’t hanker after any appreciation from the ordinary public, for name and fame. They do not know what is what, and therefore their appreciation has got no value, don’t hanker after that. Manadena – still you must be alert to give them due respect, otherwise they will come to disturb you. Like a bribe, offer some respect to them and go on with you own company. Without being disturbed, as much as possible, try to make progress as rapidly as you can. You do not know, your future circumstance may cut off your opportunity, your connection. So as much as you are able to utilise your present circumstance, try to do that.
“Trust no future however pleasant, let the dead past bury its dead, act, act in the living present, with heart within and God overhead.”
With this policy to guide us, go on towards the Absolute, the sweet fulfilment of you life.