I WILL TRY TO PACIFY my friend by saying a few consolation words: “I understand you are undergoing a difficult time. The situation is going from bad to worse, and it seems this is never going to end. Know for certain that this is Krishna’s special mercy, and through these situations, the Lord wants to purify you by removing all the unwanted things from within you. The situations you are undergoing are like cleaning, brushing and sweeping of your heart, and that is definitely painful.
Be patient, tolerant and humble. Associate with devotees, chant Krishna’s holy names sincerely, and I am sure you will get the strength to face the problems. Lord Krishna will give you the intelligence to tackle the situation, and eventually He will overflow your whole life with unlimited love.”
DURING HARD TIMES, a person feels that such times are going to last forever, and one loses all faith in God. I would try to encourage such a person by instilling within faith in God. God never leaves His devotees to suffer. He actually takes extra care of His devotees. I would tell my friend that if things are not working out the way he wants, he should not fret. Instead, he should be calm and believe in God. Whatever is the situation, God will always rescue His devotees. However, my friend should play his part. He should try his level best to resolve the situation. He should do whatever he can in his capacity. But in the entire process he should remember that God is there with him. Devotees are God’s most beloved! He should simply trust God and everything will be in place.
FOR A DEVOTEE undergoing difficult times, I will assume the role of Jambavan, who in Ramayana had reminded Hanuman of his innate strength and capabilities. I will remind my devotee friend that he need not worry as our father is the Supreme Lord Sridhara who has the potency to take care of us in all dire circumstances. Lord Krishna himself declares in the Bhagavad-gita that His devotee never perishes. Our limited job is to remember Krishna in every walk of life, which will protect us from all accidental downfalls. As the popular saying goes, “When God closes all doors and windows, don’t think your bad days have come. It is just that there may be a storm on its way, and He wants you to be safe.”
I WILL TRY TO PACIFY my friend with the following words: “If life’s a bed of roses then something is seriously wrong. Sri Krishna has declared this material world as full of miseries. If life sways like a seesaw then it’s a good sign of normal life. We see that the lives of all great devotees consisted of many ups and downs. But because they were too absorbed in their beloved Lord, these troubles seemed trivial to them. Their life histories are living proofs of the power of devotion that worked beyond all material laws. Though the whole world was against them, they sailed through safely, for they had Krishna by their side. Troubles are like stepping stones to success in devotion because they teach us great lessons. Rest assured that Krishna as jagad-guru certainly guides us to become better humans. Catch hold of Krishna as tightly as possible. You need Him more and more than any time before.”
ENCOURAGING A DEVOTEE is easy because a devotee is aware of the basic Krishna consciousness philosophy. I will encourage my friend by explaining to her that hard times are put forth by the Lord to those whom He feels are capable of handling them. Life was not a bed of roses for the Pandavas, Krishna’s ardent followers, and they could successfully cross all hurdles by holding firmly to the shawl of the Lord. She too can get over her hard times by becoming more strong and firm in Krishna consciousness.
I give her prasada because by eating it, her mind will think less of the problem that she is undergoing. I will show her the Lord’s wonderful creation, all around destruction and the hard time He must be having maintaining everything he has so lovingly created.
BHAGAVAD-GITA (2.14) SAYS, “The non-permanent appearance of happiness or distresses and their disappearance in due course of time, are like appearance and disappearance of winter and summer.” I will tell my friend that he must learn to tolerate such ups and downs in life, without being unduly disturbed. The hard times are but a passing phase, just like low or high tide on the sea shore. The Lord is testing your firm faith in Him and also your ability to overcome such adverse situations. You must have complete faith and must surrender at the lotus feet of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu and Radha-Krishna. Find solace in the association of Vaisnavas, honor Krishna-prasada, chant Hare Krishna and be happy! It is said: “Tough times do not last, tough people do! Just do not give up!”
(Colonel Ashok Sayanakar (Retd.), Pune)