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Section 1 - Handling difficulties in life!

posted Oct 30, 2019, 7:38 PM by Sudhir Babu   [ updated Dec 7, 2019, 5:37 AM ]

Lord Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita 8.15 that this world is called ‘dukhalayam asasvatam’. We want to live in this world happily and eternally, but Bhagavad Gita reminds us that this life is temporary (asasvatam) and laden with so many miseries (dukhalayam). Why is there a constant struggle in this world? Lord Krishna says in Bhagavad Gita 15.7:

mamaivāṁśo jīva-loke

jīva-bhūtaḥ sanātanaḥ


prakṛti-sthāni karṣati

The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal, fragmental parts. Due to conditioned life, they are struggling very hard with the six senses, which include the mind. 

We are all originally parts and parcels of Krishna, and as such blissful and eternal, but having desired material enjoyment with our mundane senses and mind, we are trying to exploit this material nature and as a result get entangled in the nature's complexities. Just like a prisoner can’t expect to be happy in a jail, we can’t expect to be happy in this material world. The purpose of this creation is to give the conditioned souls a chance to reform our polluted consciousness, reawaken our original relation with Krishna and go back to Him. Only then can we find true, eternal happiness. We can’t find eternal happiness in this world. 

When we realize this and surrender to Krishna, Krishna assures us protection from all reactions to our past sinful activities (BG 18.66 - sarva-dharmān parityajya, mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja, ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo, mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ). It is like a patient realizing his disease and suffering and going to a doctor for remedy. The doctor gives assurance to the patient that if he takes the medicine and proper diet, he will be alright. Just like a deadly disease requires surgery sometimes, in order to get us out of the conditioning of this world, Krishna also gives ‘medicinal' treatments, which appear like difficulties and tribulations. So for those who surrender to Krishna, the difficulties are not actually difficulties, but ways by which Krishna purifies us.

Even when we take shelter of Krishna, following are some of the concepts we should remember from the Bhagavad Gita which will help us handle and sail through difficult times:

  1. Practice tolerance

The very first quality Krishna asked Arjuna to practice in the Bhagavad Gita is tolerance (BG 2.14). As for increasing our tolerance, the most important thing is to remember that nothing can happen without Krishna’s sanction. We are coming in contact with the results of our past activities. We have no choice in that, but how we RESPOND to it NOW creates our future situation. So to lessen your future difficulties, we need to be tolerant in our present situation. We should not make a bad choice and not resort to a “victim mentality”. Just like the summer and winter seasons keep coming and going, so are our distress and happiness. 

  1. Treat the adversity as an opportunity!

Remember, Krishna is in control. Krishna assures firm protection for those who take shelter of Him (BG 18.66). Be grateful for the lessons He is teaching you. Even if you find those lessons difficult to take, have faith, be patient, develop an attitude of gratitude, and you will find yourself much more peaceful and appreciative of His intervention in your life (BG 9.22). Treat difficulties as stepping stones for success (treat adversities as opportunities for learning and improving life).

  1. Matter is temporary, spirit is eternal 

The world around us is subject to constant change, change that is often unstoppable, uncontrollable and unpredictable. Such change makes us stressed and worried; we naturally look for something unchanging for security. The Bhagavad-gita explains that such an unchanging reality lies within us. We ourselves are at our core souls, spiritual beings who are indestructible (BG 2.13). We are eternally parts and parcels of the ever blissful Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna (BG 15.7). None of the things that can destroy our body and other material things can even scratch the spiritual soul (BG 2.23). No external change, however threatening or devastating it may seem, can harm our essence. Understanding this fills us with a profound peace that equips us to respond maturely to external changes. That’s why the Bhagavad Gita (2.15) recommends that we avoid becoming disproportionately delighted by pleasure or dejected by pain, and work on improving our Krishna consciousness.

  1. The obstacle verse!

In BG 18.58, Krishna says: 

mac-cittaḥ sarva-durgāṇi

mat-prasādāt tariṣyasi

atha cet tvam ahaṅkārān

na śroṣyasi vinaṅkṣyasi

“If you become conscious of Me, you will pass over all the obstacles of conditional life by My grace. If, however, you do not work in such consciousness but act through false ego, not hearing Me, you will be lost.”

For one who acts in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, Lord Kṛṣṇa becomes the most intimate friend. He always looks after His friend's comfort, and He gives Himself to His friend, who is so devotedly engaged working twenty-four hours a day to please the Lord. Therefore, no one should be carried away by the false ego of the bodily concept of life. One should not falsely think himself independent of the laws of material nature or free to act. He is already under strict material laws. But, as soon as he acts in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he is liberated, free from the material perplexities. 

  1. Krishna minimizes our suffering

A fully Kṛṣṇa conscious person is not at all disturbed by the onslaughts of the threefold miseries, for he accepts all miseries as the mercy of the Lord, thinking himself only worthy of more trouble due to his past misdeeds; he accepts that the miseries are because of his own past karma and he sees that his miseries, by the grace of the Lord, are minimized to the lowest. Similarly, when he is happy he gives credit to the Lord, thinking himself unworthy of happiness; he realizes that it is due only to the Lord's grace that he is in such a comfortable condition and able to render better service to the Lord (BG 2.56).

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