Formula for Peace and Fearlessness

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

I would like to relate a personal experience that occurred couple of months back, which on recent introspection gave me some realization.

Our son, Arjun, who is a little over 2 years old, was playing with one of the kitchen equipments, a metal steamer plate with holes each just big enough to insert his finger. He got so involved in his play that before long one of the fingers had gone deep into the plate hole. My wife tried different tactics to pull the finger out but it just wouldn't come out. We immediately rushed to the hospital. The situation in the hospital for the first few hours was so dramatic that we started feeling tremendous turmoil and seeing our son crying loudly with pain only added more fuel to the fire. Finally, after a long drawn affair, the doctors decided that surgery was the only option. As usual, the doctors gave a caveat in the most inhuman fashion that there is a risk that the finger might be damaged beyond repair. We could only hope for the best and leave it in the "good hands" of the doctors to do the job.

Eventually the surgery was over and the relatively good news arrived that the cuts on the finger were only superficial and would only take a few weeks to heal.

It took a dull headed make-show devotional practitioner like me more than two months to see through the incident and draw some conclusions that I can hopefully learn from and put into practice in my spiritual life.

The following significant things happened before, during and after the incident:

1. On that day, for some reason I put aside the reading of Srimad Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam, something that I and my wife had been practicing regularly for the past 6 months. In fact, such was my audacity that I walked away in the middle of our reading on the pretext that I was getting late to work.

2. My rascaldom did not stop there; I even decided not to honor the prasadam that my wife had painstakingly prepared. I did not even pay heed to my wife's request that I should at least honor the prasadam since it is the mercy of the Lord that we are getting everyday.

3. Sure enough, shortly after I arrived in the office, I got a call from my wife that my son had his finger stuck in the steamer plate. For all the foolishness that I possess, I immediately started to think of different options purely based on personal endeavor without for a moment thinking about and praying to Krishna to help us out of this predicament, even though I didn't deserve one bit of His mercy.

4. All the while in the hospital, in the name of mental concoctions, I was only engaged in talking to doctors and nurses about different solutions. Here again, I missed an important point that no matter how much endeavor I put, ultimately everything is in the control of the Supreme Lord, so the only thing we need to do is just be submissive and surrender unto Him.

5. The only time I really thought of Krishna and prayed to Him was when the doctors said that surgery was the only option and they couldn't guarantee the condition of the finger. Looking back, I consider myself very fortunate that at least then I could remember the Lord and pray for His mercy.

6. It was only by the mercy of the Lord that despite my demoniac behavior, He reduced the impact of the injury to the bare minimum. The surgeon himself was quite surprised by the result considering that this was the first such surgery he had performed without knowing what the outcome would look like.

Despite ample evidence from the scriptures, I had to go through this experience to realize the glories of hearing Srimad Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam and remembering the Lord in all circumstances. In particular, I was moved by a verse that HG Devakinandan Prabhuji pointed out in his recent lecture (SB 1.5.14) in which Narada Muni instructs Vyasadeva as follows:

tato ’nyathā kiñcana yad vivakṣataḥ
pṛthag dṛśas tat-kṛta-rūpa-nāmabhiḥ
na karhicit kvāpi ca duḥsthitā matir
labheta vātāhata-naur ivāspadam

Whatever you desire to describe that is separate in vision from the Lord simply reacts, with different forms, names and results, to agitate the mind as the wind agitates a boat which has no resting place.

Because I had completely forgotten the Lord, even to the extent of dishonoring the scriptures which are non-different from Him, I had to spend the whole day in complete agitation experiencing a total loss of peace. In Srimad Bhagavad Gita (5.12), Srila Prabhupada beautifully sums up in his purport - "Realization that there is no existence besides Krishna is the platform of peace and fearlessness." Because I had forgotten to put this important learning into practice, I was on the platform of fear and agitation.

I sincerely pray to our Guru Maharaj, Srila Prabhupada, Lord Krishna and all other Vaishnava devotees of the Lord, that by their mercy, I can put the scriptural injunctions, instructions of Guru Maharaj and Srila Prabhupada into honest practice.

Your servant,
Svayam Prakash Krishna das