Just Tolerate

19th Feb 2007
Sajjana Priya Krishna das

Dear Prabhujis and Matajis,
Hare Krishna! Please accept my humble pranams! All Glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev!

Once Narada met Krishna and spoke to Him. "My dear Krishna, by becoming Your devotee, the Pandavas are very happy. They have lost their Kingdom. Their wife is insulted. And now they are banished for 12 years. So it is a very good thing. But the wonderful thing I see, now, in spite of all these inconveniences, they have increased their love for You. What kind of hypnotism You do, I do not know. Inspite of being placed in so much inconvenience, their love for You has increased."

There is so much to be understood from the above statement. This describes the position of a real devotee of the Lord, who accepts both a slap and a rasagulla as the mercy of the Lord. If I see my position, I am very quick to take the credit for all the good things that happened and I am also equally quick to put the blame on the Lord for all the reverses in my life. Srimad Bhagavatam 10.14.8, teaches how the devotee should receive the dangers, reverses or calamities in life.

tat te ’nukampāṁ su-samīkṣamāṇo
bhuñjāna evātma-kṛtaṁ vipākam
hṛd-vāg-vapurbhir vidadhan namas te
jīveta yo mukti-pade sa dāya-bhāk

The Translation and purport for this very important and instructive verse is given by Srila Prabhupada in the book 'Nectar of devotion'.

My dear Lord, any person who is constantly awaiting Your causeless mercy to be bestowed upon him, and who goes on suffering the resultant actions of his past misdeeds, offering You respectful obeisances from the core of his heart, is surely eligible to become liberated, for it has become his rightful claim.

When faced with sufferings, we are supposed to be doing the following three things:

1. Expect the causeless mercy of the Lord to be bestowed on us.
2. Accept the responsibility for the suffering and patiently undergo that.
3. Offer our respectful obeisances to the Lord from the core of our hearts for giving us lesser punishment than we deserve.

If we do the above three things, then we become lawfully qualified to enter into the transcendental abode. This makes it clear that we should act in such a way that our Krishna consciousness can under no circumstances be disturbed, even if there is heavy suffering.

Srila Prabhupada states that this statement of Srimad Bhagavatam should be the guide of all devotees. Our immediate thinking is that once I have taken up Krishna consciousness, I am a devotee and hence there should not be any danger or suffering. Srila Prabhupada explains in his purport that "A devotee should not expect immediate relief from the reactions of his past misdeeds. No conditioned soul is free from such reactionary experiences, because material existence means continued suffering or enjoying of past activities....Hence our aim should be to attain perfection in Krishna Consciousness and not immediate relief from past misdeeds. That will be a natural consequence."

As we were going to discuss the above verse in Our Rukmini Sabha class, I found that this verse is really far out for me as I did not have any realization on this. So I started questioning myself as to what I should be really doing when faced with sufferings. I called up our spiritual master HH Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj and asked him for guidance and Maharaj summed up the whole verse in just two words, JUST TOLERATE. After hearing this instruction, I immediately happened to read the following conversation and I was simply stunned. On the Battlefield of Kurukhsetra when Arjuna refused to fight, Sri Krishna started explaining the concept of the soul and about the transmigration of the soul. Then Arjuna said, "Whatever You are saying is all right. I am not this body. I am a soul, and this is also true of everyone else. But when I see my son is dying or my grandfather is dying, how can I be solaced simply by knowing that they are not dying but that only their bodies are changing? I am accustomed to thinking of them with affection in terms of the body and so there must be grief and suffering." Krishna did not deny what Arjuna said "Yes", He replied. "That is a fact. Because You are in the bodily concept of life, there must be suffering. So you must tolerate It., that's all. There is no other remedy (tāṁs titikṣasva bhārata)"

Srila Prabhupada writes, "When such impediments arise he should simply think of Krishna and expect His mercy. That is the only solace." He further explains the viewpoint of a devotee when faced with danger. The devotee thinks, "Krishna, I was to suffer hundred times more than this due to my bad activities in my past life, but you are giving only a little out of it - a token punishment only. So it is Your mercy."

A token is usually a present or a gift given out of affection and it is very carefully selected. So Lord Krishna gives a much minimized punishment in the form of a curative treatment to purify us out of our unwanted tendencies. 

The real benefit of this important verse will come to me when I realize it and I am able to tolerate the sufferings and try to understand the lesson the Lord is trying to teach me through those sufferings. This realization is impossible to get without the mercy and blessings of the vaishnavas, which I seek through this forum.

Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev,
Sajjana Priya Krishna das & Vaijayantimala devi dasi
Abu Dhabi.