Our life is in Krishna's hands

I wrote an early blog which was titled "Your life is in your hands: a story", so am I contradicting myself here? Not at all. I am just making the point that in our progressive Krishna consciousness, we have be able to entertain ideas that may appear contradictory, yet are actually complimentary.

The two ideas that our life is in our hands, and in Krishna's hands, go with the idea of yesterdays blog, that in order to be successful in any activity we require both our effort and Krishna's mercy.

As the saying goes, "We have to work (or serve) as if everything depends on us, while we know that actually everything depends on Krishna." In his purport to BG 7.23 Prabhupada says, "The Supreme Lord is unlimited; His favor is unlimited; His mercy is unlimited. Therefore the mercy of the Supreme Lord upon His pure devotee is unlimited." Though we may not be pure devotees, if we are under the shelter of his pure devotees, engaged in devotional service to our best capacity, we can expect Krishna's mercy to be there. Furthermore Prabhupada profoundly shares with us (BG 7.19 pp), "Realizing this, he becomes attached to the Supreme Personality of Godhead and surrenders to Him. At such a time one can understand that Lord Shri Krishna's mercy is everything, that He is the cause of all causes, and that this material manifestation is not independent from Him."

So we can't even breathe without Krishna's mercy, yet as I said yesterday, we don't sit around waiting to win the lottery, or waiting for that honorary Ph.D. We work our hardest, and depend on Krishna for the results.

Today's topic, that our life is in Krishna's hands, is an outgrowth of yesterday's blog about our being expendable before other more qualified persons, or death. Those things all indicate that we are dependent on more than our efforts alone. Our life is in Krishna's hands.

Another way our life is in Krishna's hands is in regard to disease and illness. We are meant to be sober by reflecting on the miseries of janma (birth) mrityu (death) jara (old age) and vyadhi (disease). Those four things demonstrate how we are very small in the face of the material laws. Specially in my life, while in my aging body staring at death (who is smiling and waving at me while looking at his watch), I am also dealing with disease and wearing out bodily machines parts.

The doctors say I need a knee replacement, and for the last few days my kidneys have been paining me (see the discussion of Vidura with King Dhritarastha in the later part of the first Canto of Shrimad Bhagavatam). When our bodily systems are diseased or worn out they get our attention. We must attend to them or else. Often we try to ignore our pain, but pain can be a friend to direct us to the part of our body that needs attention.

One of the difficult things to accept as we age is (surprise) we aren't kids any more. We would like to run around as before, and eat like there is no tomorrow, but we can't. I spoke of sleep when commenting on yesterdays blog. Most people were able to "burn the candle at both ends" in their youth, but no more.

There is a saying I have quoted before that I think every devotee should learn and apply:
"Every adversity, every failure, and every heart ache, carries the seed of an equivalent or greater gain."

This is also referred to by Emerson, as the "Law of Compensation". More swanning here, but this idea is Krishna conscious, and can be helpful whenever we meet we our unavoidable life challenges.

So personally with my bodily problems, I may have to change my lifestyle, habits, service, so many thing are possible. This can be a reminder to all of us that we have to be open in all circumstances, not being attached to our conception of what is good or bad. Everything and person can be a kind of shiksa guru for us (see 11th Canto of the Bhagavatam). So my body is instructing me about the laws of material nature. At the same time, I am (and all of us have to know we are) in the loving arms of Guru and Krishna, and must do the needful.

Life can be a wild ride, so let's hang on, and follow Krishna's lead. My life is in Krishna's hands, and what mercy that is!!

Combined comments from old site

Knowledge Filters

Dear Karnamrita Prahbu,

I really like all of this, but especially the part about devotees sometimes having "knowledge filters", and
Finding evidence in the scriptures to support the particular view that they would like to support....

I recall in particular a devotee I knew who went through Prabhupad's books, and found all the quotes that were relevant to the particular view they wanted to take, see, etc... and created their own personal study book on this topic.
While there is of course not a thing wrong with creating your own book of quotes about things you personally want to study,it does tend to encourage a "knowledge filter" when you create one of quotes that are only on one particular subject.

Since you're only looking at those quotes themselves, on that one subject, and not in relation to the other sections of scripture surrounding them,
it can lead to a slightly "filtered" perspective of what Prahbupad was trying to say about that topic itself.

Which of course would lead to a lack of genuine understanding about the subject as it truly is in relation to actually becoming Krishna Conscious about it.

That's my opinion anyway, and my response to what you've said here...

I really like this, thank you!


Fri, 10/26/2007 - 22:28 — Karnamrita.das
Seeing the whole teaching

Hari Bol Nivasi! Thanks for sharing your experience.

We can never take just one or even a few quotes from Prabhupada or the scriptures as authoritative without looking at everything we can find on the subject.

Prabhupada often gave opposite instructions to different disciples, as he was preaching according to that particular disciples question or circumstance. And even in back to back purports he sometimes says what appear to be contractory statements. This means we have to really make a study of his words and the scripture in order to harmonize his different statements, or when he seems to differ from the previous acharyas.

We have to not only look at what Prabhupada said, but how he acted in real life. As he would say, our actions are more important than our words, or in merely quoting something. We have to keep a level head, and be truth seekers, not just peddling our views to show we are right.

Everyone will become convinced of particular perspectives. The crucial test for me is HOW WE HOLD THEM. Are on a campaign to make everyone else wrong, and putting others down for holding such views? That is very immature, and shows a lack of depth.

The problem is not that devotees differ, but that often we don't know how to differ with dignity, instead of fanaticism. Sometimes devotees don't know how to have a respectful discussion and they post it on the Internet. That is a real disservice to our great tradition, which is so broad and accommodating.

Your friend in Krishna,