Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupad and Srila Gurudev.
This is in continuation of the previous offering titled, "Graceful Degradation" wherein we were discussing below points.
1. Insurmountable and imperceptible nature of time
2. Let Krishna graciously overtake us
Now we shall continue further.
3. Graceful Degradation: We also know of another amazing "graceful bow out" in Srimad Bhagavatam, from the story of Bali Maharaj. Bali Maharaj was controlling the heavenly planets and then Lord Vamana came to him and he was tossed into troubled waters due to his promise to Lord Vamana. He finally offered his own head for the Supreme Lord to take His gigantic third step. He gracefully surrendered all he had to Lord Vamana despite warnings from Sukracharya of the hazard of losing his position and wealth.
In both these cases, we see that the Kings did some form of a "self-degradation" from a material perspective. By relinquishing their possessions and power, it seems as though they took a misstep in troubling times from a material perspective. However, the process of "graceful degradation" allowed them to persuade the Supreme Lord to "graciously overtake" them.
In our lives, too, due to the effect of the agent of time, we might come across difficult situations. In that situation, if we keep trying to draw strength from our material positions and attachments, and hope that we will be able to avoid the overtake of time and handle it materially, we may not be successful. If we keep throwing material solutions at our problems, there is risk of either failure or the attempted solution creating a chain reaction which would lead us to wonder if the solution itself is worse than the problem (as explained by Prahlad Maharaj who says that "though there are many remedies by which to get out of miserable life, any such remedies in the material world are more miserable than the miseries themselves" - SB 7.9.17). If a situation comes to us where we are left attacked by the insurmountable time, we must remember that the best weapon we have is to "gracefully degrade" ourselves materially and instead of time overtaking us, let the Lord graciously overtake us, by fully surrendering to the Lord like Bali Maharaj and focus on the glories of the Lord like Pariksit Maharaj. Just like a tortoise withdraws its limbs into the shell when it senses danger, we should withdraw our energies from material solutions and try to go into the shell of spiritual protection which the Lord, His instructions, and guidance from Guru and Vaishnavas can offer us.
In software engineering design, there is an interesting design concept called "graceful degradation" which I read about during my undergrad. The idea of this concept is that a system is designed such that it will operate at a level of highly reduced functionality in case of a major threatening attack or error that paralyzed the system. This is done so that catastrophic and complete failure of the system can be avoided. Similarly, in our lives, in the event of a very unfavorable time in our lives, we must not shy away from the idea of focusing on spiritual solutions to our problems by being cognizant of the fact that a voluntary self-made attempt at "graceful degradation" will actually help us. This will save us from a complete and catastrophic failure that could be characterized as a merciless overtake by the agent of time.
Thank you very much.
Your humble servant,
Krpana Vatsala Krishna das
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