Don't Give Up, but Get Up!

Don't Give Up, but Get Up!

30th Mar 2011
Kalacakra Krsna das

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva.

Failures are stepping stones to success. But in reality, it becomes very difficult for us to face repeated failures. We may face one or two failures, but when there are setbacks in every walk of life, then we tend to become morose and our morale goes down. We start losing hope and faith in the Lord as well. What are we supposed to do when there are repeated setbacks in life? While describing the rainy season in Vrindavan, Sukadev Goswami says in Srimad Bhagavatam verse 10.20.15

girayo varṣa-dhārābhir hanyamānā na vivyathuḥ
abhibhūyamānā vyasanair yathādhokṣaja-cetasaḥ

Just as devotees whose minds are absorbed in the Personality of Godhead remain peaceful even when attacked by all sorts of dangers, the mountains in the rainy season were not at all disturbed by the repeated striking of the rain-bearing clouds.

The purport to above verse very nicely brings out the lesson we need to learn from the mountains. "When splashed by torrents of rain, the mountains are not shaken; rather, they are cleansed of dirt and become resplendent and beautiful. Similarly, an advanced devotee of the Supreme Lord is not shaken from his devotional program by disturbing conditions, which instead cleanse his heart of the dust of attachment to this world. Thus the devotee becomes beautiful and resplendent by tolerating difficult conditions. In fact, a devotee accepts all reverses in life as the mercy of Lord Krsna, realizing that all suffering is due to the sufferer's own previous misdeeds."

Recently we came across a very interesting article about giraffes. Baby giraffes never go to a business school or office. But they learn a very important lesson much early in life. A lesson that all of us would do well to remember. The birth of a baby giraffe is quite an earth-shaking event. The baby falls from its mother’s womb, some eight feet above the ground. It shrivels up and lies still, too weak to move. The mother giraffe lovingly lowers her neck to kiss the baby giraffe. And then something incredible happens. She lifts her long leg and kicks the baby giraffe, sending it flying up in the air and tumbling down on the ground. As the baby lies curled up, the mother kicks the baby again and again Until the baby giraffe, still trembling and tired, pushes its limbs and for the first time learns to stand on its feet. Happy to see the baby standing on its own feet, the mother giraffe comes over and gives it yet another kick. The baby giraffe falls one more time, but now quickly recovers and stands up. Mama giraffe is delighted. She knows that her baby has learnt an important lesson: "Never mind how hard you fall, always remember to pick yourself up and get back on your feet."

Why does the mother giraffe do this? She knows that lions and leopards love giraffe meat. So unless the baby giraffe quickly learns to stand and run with the pack – it will have no chance of survival. When we fail, when we are down, when people around us kick us, we just give up. We feel lost. But these kicks are the real impetus for us to get out of our comfort zone and to remind us that to progress in our life, we need to learn to get back on our feet. If we study the lives of successful people, we will see a recurring pattern. Were they always successful in all they did? No. Did success come to them quick and easy? No, We will find that the common streak running through their lives is their ability to stand up every time they fall. The ability of the baby giraffe! The road to success is never an easy one. But success lies in being able to get up every time we fall. That is a critical life skill.

Be it material or spiritual life, it is required that we don't get daunted by so-called roadblocks or failures in our path of progress. In the above example, we find that the baby giraffe is getting kicks from its mother. But sometimes it so happens that in our life that we will be kicked from all sides. Our body might not co-operate with us, or our own mind will be tossing us around in all directions, or the people around us will kick us down. Unable to withstand these kicks, if we become morose and fall down, then we are not doing proper justice to this invaluable human birth. Whenever we are getting this kicks and pushed down, we should remember the lives of great acharyas and on the strength of prayers unto their lotus feet, we should endeavour to stand up and continue with devotional service.

When we study the life history of His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada, we see how much he has struggled during the early days. Before he left for the US, he has single-handedly written, edited the "Back to Godhead" magazines, got the books printed from the printer, then had personally distributed the magazines as well in Delhi, walking door to door. Also, he had to struggle a lot to start the "League of Devotees" in Jhansi.  Apparently, when things were not favourable to him in Jhansi, everything had to be closed down there, but His Divine Grace did not give up. He realised that Krishna had some other better plans for him and continued with his sadhana and efforts to preach the message of Lord. As the saying goes, When God closes one door, He definitely opens another. Seeing his determination and sadhana, Lord reciprocated to Him in the most unimaginable manner, by empowering him to start this great society, "International Society of Krishna Consciousness" and spread the Holy Names in all the countries of the world and build 108 temples all over the world. To build a small home seems to be a herculean task for us. But Srila Prabhupada was able to do such wonders simply because of his undeterred and unalloyed devotional service to his spiritual master and Krishna, irrespective of the set-backs and circumstances.

A few days ago we heard from our god-brother HG Devakinandan Prabhu about how our beloved spiritual master, H H Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj had a paralytic attack in 2000 and even in that paralysed condition, Maharaj was determined to do Mangala arati at 4 am and chanting Lord's names. Not only that, completely dependent on Srila Prabhupada and Lord Krishna, even after that incident he travelled around the world for 10 glorious years preaching Srimad Bhagavatam, building temples, schools, inspiring and helping the suffering souls, above all remained cheerful and never showed any discomfort of his pains to others.  Had we been in that position, we would have said a good-bye to devotional service and would have never dared to even get up from the bed. We would have asked others to chant for us and take care of us for the rest of our life. But Srila Gurudev has shown how even in failing health conditions, we can get up and serve Their Lordships, if we have the true, sincere desire to serve.

It is definitely not possible to imitate the behaviour of such great acharyas like Srila Gurudeva and Srila Prabhupada. But praying for their mercy, let us at least make a humble effort not to become morose whenever we are kicked down, but to stand up and continue with sadhana to the best of our ability.

Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Kalacakra Krsna das and Sudarshana devi dasi.