Bhakti Yoga-Devotional Service to the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna

Bhakti Yoga-Devotional Service to the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna
Gopis performing Devotional Service to the Lordships Sri Sri Radha Krishna

When something happens to us, is it karma or Kṛṣṇa?


When something happens to us, is it karma or Krsna?

By KKSBlog on Jan 10, 2018 08:34 am

(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 04 June 2012, Leicester, England, Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.7)

When something happens to a devotee, is it karma or is it Krsna acting? This is a big question. Sometimes, we hear, "It's your karma, Prabhu?" Then at other times, you are told, "Isn't it Krsna who is behind this?"

Srila Prabhupada explained about how karma works for a devotee in the Nectar of Devotion – the fan (analogous to karma) is spinning and at the time you take up devotional service, the electricity is turned off but the fan continues turning, therefore we are getting diminished reactions.

So are we under the influence of karma or are we directly under Krsna's influence? Is the pure devotee under the influence of Krsna and is everyone else under the influence of diminished karma? Giriraj Swami has shed some light on this matter:

As Prabhupada said, there is that diminished reaction but Krsna is behind it and Krsna is sort of watching that karma – that diminished karma. Sometimes he interferes and at other times he just lets it act and he watches, anumantā upadrasta(the permitter and the overseer, Bhagavad-gita 13.23). He just witnesses it and oversees everything. As anumantā, he gives ājñā diba – permission. So, in this way Krsna permits it or sometimes Krsna says, "No, scrape off the bill. That is okay, there is no need for that."

At other times, Krsna puts in an extra test. According to our karma, something was not supposed to happen but Krsna put it in there! So it's interesting how we, as devotees, are simultaneously under the influence of Krsna's direction and karma. Krsna is the ultimate cause and therefore we always see Krsna behind it. Whenever something happens to us, we see Krsna as pūruṣa, our maintainer, who is with us at every step of the way. He is caring for us; there is no doubt! He does not leave us alone. Although he puts us through things that we really do not want to go through it, still it is good for us. He is prodding us, activating us like a buffalo because after all, we have become like buffalos!

In India you see the buffalos walking in the street and when cars come from behind, 'Honk! Honk!' as Indian cars do, the buffalo does not move an inch and just keeps on walking. Even when a car touches the buffalo a bit, it does not move but with anyone else, they would have moved, So we have a bit of that buffalo consciousness. By being under the influence of the three modes of material nature, we have become dull; we have lost our sensitivity.

When things are happening in our life, it is Krsna prodding us. Gradually, we awaken and we rise above. Sometimes you see a little boy or a little girl walking next to the buffalo with a stick – they are not shy and 'whack' with a stick and that's what gets the buffalo going. Sometimes Krsna also does it to us!





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Krsna’s protection


(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 19 February 2013, London, England, Srimad Bhagavatam 8.5.13)
Krsna personally takes charge of the life of his devotee. Srila Madhvacarya mentioned that when a devotee says, “Krsna, I’m yours!” then from that day on, Krsna will fully accept that devotee under his personal care. So in this way, Krsna is directly involved in our lives. Krsna is also present within the heart as caitya-guru, the guru that resides within the heart.
 It is mentioned in the Bhagavad-gita (10.11), in the purport to the verse teṣām evānukampārtham, Srila Prabhupada explains that the spiritual master gives directions to the disciple on how to become free from the influence of the material energy, how to make advancement and how to eventually go back to Godhead. However, if sometimes, even in spite of getting good instructions, the disciple does not actually follow these instructions – does not take proper advantage of these instructions – then Krsna will make arrangements from within. Krsna will make arrangements! Krsna will either give us transcendental knowledge from within or he pulls the carpet from under us and our whole life tumbles upside down – then what can we do!? Then suddenly only Krsna is left.
 There was a congregational devotee in Amsterdam who was thinking, “Shall I move into the temple or shall I not? Shall I or shall I not?” He was just going on and on and never came to a conclusion, so he never moved into the temple. Then he went to Vrindavan and while he was in Vrindavan, he got news that his house had burnt down – the whole house – and when your house burns down, it is not only your house that burns down but irreplaceable things go as well! So all irreplaceable things just turned to ashes. His whole life had turned to ashes and he was homeless so he had no other option but to move into the temple! 
Krsna protects us from maya and sometimes even against our will. Oh yes, even when we would not have it then still, Krsna makes some arrangements for us. Krsna is very merciful and he is very kind!


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Lessons on life


(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 03 September 2016, Cape Town, South Africa, Srimad Bhagavatam 1.9.25)
In this chapter, the passing away of Bhismadev, in the purport to this verse there is a list of challenges for society at large to improve their quality of life. The first challenge is, “Not to become angry!” We remember Upadesamrta, the Nectar of Instruction Verse 1, vaco vegam manasa krodha vegam, one must control the pushings of anger. So even when anger is pushing, one must somehow or other subdue it. Bhismadev also said that in order to conquer anger, one must learn to forgive because it is very difficult to judge with two types of measurements – measurement for others and different measurements for ourselves. For ourselves, there are so many explanations for our mistakes, “It wasn’t really my fault. It was just circumstances. I didn’t intend it that way…” whereas for others, “How could they do that! This is outrageous.” We judge them different and the same extenuating circumstances are not being considered so Bhismadev points out that we must learn to forgive. We have to see that others make mistakes because then we can overcome anger.  
Forgiving is not necessarily the same as forgetting. If someone has committed an abominable activity, we may forgive but it does not mean that we forget. We will remember but we will also keep a special eye – if someone puts his fingers in the money box then after that we keep him at a distance from the money box obviously. So forgiving and forgetting is not necessarily the same. Also, there may be a point when we forget, it depends on the seriousness of the offence.

Sometimes though, anger is required. Sometimes, it is necessary to send out a signal that from now it is too much. This has to stop. BANG, fist on the table! Everyone needs that also. It is not that anger per se is bad. Those who are envious sometimes deserve anger. Those who are envious of devotees, we need to sometimes check it with anger. That is also there. But Bhismadev is referring to uncontrolled anger. Controlled anger has a place. Srila Prabhupada would also get angry at times but his anger was always related to Krsna and to whatever was favourable to Krsna. When there was neglect, Prabhupada was not tolerating that. He would point it out!

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Death at any moment



(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 09 October 2017, Canberra, Australia, Evening Lecture, Srimad Bhagavatam 4.27.27)
In many ways, old age is a blessing. For a vaisnava, it is a great blessing. Why is it so? Because then, there is no more distraction. When we are young, we have so much fight. “Oh, I want to enjoy… but I have to be Krsna conscious! I should be Krsna conscious. I really want to be but I want to enjoy also.” When you are old, “Yeah, I want to enjoy but let’s be real. Can I? Can I really?” You can try to squeeze a few more drops out of the old broken machine but it is not very convincing. You may want to eat many things but you cannot, not like before. You just cannot. If you do, you have pay for it. Whatever you do, you have to pay for it – more and more and one day, it might just kill you!
In this way, one can see how people can eat themselves to death or people that are like so addicted to sex. People like the cardinal in France who died in the home of a prostitute. The same cardinal who spoke to Prabhupada, (French accent) “But you know, why can we not take the flesh of the cow to feed the hungry children? It is for the children. There is so much hunger in the world. So what can we do? Let the children starve and not eat the flesh of the cow?” Some logic… but he was found dead in the bed of the prostitute – the cardinal! This is an interesting detail that Krsna exposed. So with time, all facades are broken down. With time, it all becomes real. With time, we can no longer fake it. With time, it will become clear who we really are!
The famous German poet writer, Goethe, who is like the German Shakespeare, wrote many wise things, many interesting wise things. However, his doctor testified that in the last three days before his death, he was suddenly overwhelmed by extreme fear. So it is like that! At the end, whatever is not real will collapse. It all becomes real. It is like you can no longer play. You can no longer ACT like a pure devotee. You have to BE IT. You have to have FAITH in Krsna otherwise, it is over, you will become exposed. Old age is a reminder to us: Krsna is our only shelter and we had better start practicing now.
Prabhupada asked the question, “Who is an old man?” and everyone was looking around the room. You can do this exercise – ask one of the kids at a Sunday feast, “Who is an old man?” Sometimes they point at me and something in me goes, “Me? I don’t look that old, do I?”but Prabhupada pointed at a five year old child and said, “He is an old man because he can die at any moment.” Anybody can die at any moment!

We were at a funeral yesterday. Anybody can die at any moment. That is what I learned when my father took me to the cemetery for the first time to visit the grave of his father. I was four but I could read a little and I was reading the tombstones. I was not so shocked by the grave of my grandfather because I did not really have much of a relationship with him but when I saw a tombstone of someone who died that was born after me, then I was shocked. Then I realised, “Oh my god, I can die also. Even now, I can die. It is not only old people that die. Anybody can die.” Therefore, we had better be ready and let go of this life.

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Attraction, Attraction

(Kadamba Kanana Swami, 22 December 2011, Cape Town, South Africa, Srimad Bhagavatam 7.14.3-4)
Affection and relationships should be there in our life but of course, they should not lead to illicit sex. This is the bottom line. As you know, accidents do happen. This is the nature of the senses and the mind, that where there is an attachment to such sense gratification, somehow or other, when men and women come together… you just do not know how it happened! Somehow, it happened… and everybody could see it coming and could understand it’s going to happen if you go on like this… because that natural attraction is there.
Srimad Bhagavatam has the ‘butter and fire’ analogy where men are butter and women are fire. And when the butter comes near the fire, it melts… it always melts! Brahmacaris are trying to keep the butter in the fridge so that it doesn’t melt quickly so they have a whole cooling system there within their saffron cloth and brahmacari practices.
Ladies, in spiritual life, are covering the fire. That is why they cover their heads and wear sarees which cover the body more than modern clothing.
We are not trying to blame anybody, like throw the blame on the women that they are mayadevis. The poor men are the victims and the women are nothing but troublemakers. That is a somewhat biased and wrong understanding of what the Vedic literatures are saying. However, the illusory power of the female body is very strong undoubtedly. They have this power of attraction more than males. Although males may be attractive still the male body is not as charming as the female body.
In spiritual life, we recognise that the beauty of a female body has a danger connected to it. A danger to entangle spirit souls, both men and women. The women themselves are also falling victim to their own beauty… it gives a certain power and it is kind of addictive and difficult to stop it. So devotees realise this and therefore keep a certain amount of reservation.
Source: https://www.kksblog.com/2017/10/attraction-attraction/

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