Can a Devotee Suffer?

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Post Can a Devotee Suffer?

Post by Akindra on Tue May 13, 2008 1:01 pm

I thought this was an interesting Q&A article about the suffering we experience in our lives.

It is an email I got from http://harikatha.com/ - a hare krishna (based on the Vaishnava Hindu teachings)


Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Gosvami Maharaja
Can A Devotee Suffer?
Hong Kong: April 15, 2008


[Kamala Kanta dasa:] Some people think, “I am doing so much. I am chanting and following the process, but I am suffering.”

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:]: This means that they are not really devotees. A pure devotee cannot think like this.

[Kamala Kanta Das:] What about the madhyama (intermediate devotee), or the kanistha (neophyte devotee)?

[Srila Narayanaa Maharaja:] A kanistha may think like this, but a pure Vaisnava will not think like this.

[Kamala Kanta dasa:] In his commentary of the 10th Canto Srimad-Bhagavatam Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura gives three reasons why devotees suffer: to maintain the confidentiality of devotional service, and to not uproot the opinions of atheists. [Bhakti destroys prarabdha-karma, so the devotee never actually suffers or even grows old. To protect the confidentiality of bhakti and not disturb atheists, yogamaya gives the impression that Vaisnavas grow old and die like everyone else.] And the third, to increase the hankering of the devotee. Is this correct?

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] This is okay. Devotees who are chanting Sri Krsna’s name and practicing pure devotion to Krsna have no karma. For them, suffering and problems that come to them means that Krsna wants them to be humble and tolerant. Such devotees should think, “Oh, I am very wretched.” This humility will come. So, Krsna personally gives them this suffering. It is not the fruit of their karma.

[Sripad Giri Maharaja:] A devotee thinks that karma is not punishment; it is Krsna’s mercy?

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] Yes, he thinks in this way. He thinks it is coming by the mercy of Krsna.

tat te 'nukampam su-samiksamano
bhunjana evatma-krtam vipakam
hrd-vag-vapurbhir vidadhan namas te
jiveta yo mukti-pade sa daya-bhak

[My dear Lord, one who earnestly waits for You to bestow Your causeless mercy upon him, all the while patiently suffering the reactions of his past misdeeds and offering You respectful obeisances with his heart, words and body, is surely eligible for liberation, for it has become his rightful claim. (Srimad-Bhagavatam, 10.14.Cool]

He thinks it is both karma and Krsna’s mercy. He should tolerate all his sufferings, thinking, ‘Krsna has given me these sufferings for me to learn tolerance. One who is always offering obeisances to Krsna, by body, mind, and words, is happy and becomes an inheritor of bhakti.

[Sripad Madhava Mahara:] If some senior devotees are speaking with each other, and junior devotees, without any consideration, start speaking, is this good or not?

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:]: This is not right.

[Sripad Madhava Maharaja:] It is an offence?

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] It is not an offence – it is ignorance. He should wait. It means he was not raised in a good family. He has not learned proper etiquette.

[Uttama-krsna dasa:] Gurudeva, about the quality of karma: if I have a chance to beat somebody, does that mean that person previously beat me? For example, if he owed me $10 dollars, but didn’t pay me back. Is it like this?

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] No, we should tolerate, as Srila Haridasa Thakura was tolerant. He was beaten in twenty-two marketplaces, but he never said, “Don’t beat me.” Prahlada Maharaja was given poison, he was put in fire, and he was tortured in so many other ways. But he never thought, “I will take revenge against my father.” This is not Vaisnava etiquette.

[Sripad Padmanabha Maharaja:] What if that devotee is thinking, “Somebody is coming to kill me.” After all, this body belongs to Gurudeva.

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] You are not Prahlada or Sita-devi. You should try to escape, to save your life.

[Sripad Damodara Maharaja:] Sri Nityananda prabhu ran away when Jagai and Madhai went to beat him. Srila Haridasa Thakura also ran away.

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] Maha-bhagavatas never run away. *[See endnote 1] They know that Krsna is present with them. They know that the Lord’s Sudarsana-cakra (His disc weapon) will come and finish that person.

[Yadunatha dasa:] The Pandavas were insulted, and it seemed that they fought back. Does this mean that they are not maha-bhagavatas?

[Madhava Maharaja:] Krsna made them instruments to remove the burden of the world.

[Srila Narayana Gosvami Maharaja:] Seeing all his relatives, Arjuna was thinking, “I cannot kill them. Begging is better than fighting for a kingdom and opulence. Why should I fight just for this kingdom?” Sri Krsna told him, “You should fight.” He inspired Arjuna to fight, but He never inspired Duryodhana.

Sri Krsna was the only cause of Arjuna’s fighting. Moreover, Arjuna did not fight to fulfill His own desire. He did not fight for the Pandavas. Whatever we do, it should be to please Krsna. There should be no other reason.

[*Endnote –

Nityananda Prabhu and Srila Haridasa Thakura were not really afraid. It is stated in Srila Vrndavana dasa Thakura’s Sri Caitanya-Bhagavata (Madhya-kanda chapter 13):

“The two rogues were now chasing the two saints and although they cried out, "Catch them! Catch them!" they were still not near them. Nityananda said, "My dear Vaisnava, Haridasa, we have got ourselves into a fine mess, we can call ourselves lucky if we come out of this alive!" Thakura Haridasa replied, "O Lord, what is the use of talking, acting on Your advice we now face unnatural or violent death. On account of You, we have given instructions on the Holy Name of Krsna to these two faithless drunkards and now we are earning our due reaction and punishment: death!"

“Speaking in this manner, Lord Nityananda and Haridasa continued to run laughing gleefully, while the two rogues chased after them, hurling loud abuse. The drunks' bodies were ugly and fat, so movement was difficult; yet, they continued to run after Haridasa and Nityananda shouting, "O brothers, where do you think you can go? How will you escape Jagai and Madhai today? You seem to not know that Jagai and Madhai move about in this area, so stay a while and get acquainted with this place nicely." These words further spurred on Haridasa and Nityananda and they kept chanting, "Save us Krsna! Save us Krsna! O Govinda!"

“Haridasa said to Nityananda, "Lord Krsna saved me sometime back from the cruel hands of my Muslim tormentors, but today due to my companion's restless nature and lack of mature intelligence I am about to face my final end."

“Lord Nityananda replied, "You are incorrect, this restlessness is not My real nature, it is manifesting in this manner due to the spiritual ecstasies of your master, Sri Caitanya. Although He is a brahmana, He is relaying orders like some king! By His orders, we go from door to door, although I have never heard of anyone else giving such kind of orders. In the process of executing His order, our only remuneration is harsh abusive words and false accusations by the people. If we do not carry out His orders then we are finished and if we do then this present dilemma is our answer. As for blaming someone for all this, you single Me out, but in fact your master has also a share in this!"

“The two carried on their verbal mock fight with each other with great pleasure whilst still being chased by the two drunken rogues. Running, they went in the direction of Srivasa Pandita's house and the two rogues were left behind to run around in circles confused by intoxication. The two rogues were confounded looking in all directions. They had no idea where the two saints had gone; they just gave up the chase and went about shuffling.

“Nityananda and Haridasa after a little rest turned back to check if the rogues were still chasing them. They got up, embraced each other in laughter, and went to see Sri Caitanya.”]

Editorial Advisors: Pujyapad Madhava Maharaja, Sripad Brajanath dasa, and Sri Prema-prayojana dasa
Assistant Editors: Hariballabha dasi and Ratna dasi
Transcriber: Vasanti dasi
Typist: Lalit Kishori dasi
Editor: Syamarani dasi
[/size]


Last edited by mixsy on Tue May 13, 2008 1:03 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : picture didn't work)

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Post Of course devotees can suffer, but they need not...

Post by Light Mystic on Tue May 13, 2008 7:09 pm

I feel compelled to respond to this article. This seems to have the idea that if you just suffer and accept the suffering as a victim then one day there will be magical liberation. What could be further from the truth? The victimhood IS the suffering. We are empowered to create our own destiny, our own life. That is what is happening all the time anyway. We are not victims, we are the author of our own creation.

Every desire we have seeks fulfillment, and Life comes to our aid to help us have that. Life, being the truly loving partent, is looking to fulfill our goals in the most complete way, which means that life can employ tough love sometimes. Life is providing what we need to truly get what we want, in a way that is not temporary and is not dependant upon any outside circumstances. It's just that we may need to let go of what we think we want in order to have that.

If a child wants to feel good, he/she may go for more and more candy. The truly loving parent will discourage this behavior ultimately so that the child can fill up on healthier food. The child may resist this, cry, and throw a tantrum (being a victim) but will ultimately remain healthy and revitalized with the eating of good food. In the long run, the child feels much healthier and much better than if the parent just let him/her indulge the candy, even though that was the child's perceived way to happiness and feeling good.

Nature/God/Life is our perfect parent, always guiding us to see that we can have it all, and only our ideas about "how things work," prevents us from surrendering and allowing ourselves to be truly nourished to the fullest.

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Post Re: Can a Devotee Suffer?

Post by Akindra on Wed May 14, 2008 12:30 pm

Hi Light Mystic

Wow - you saw this article in a completely different light to me. It's interesting to hear different takes on things. Growing up Christian I came across this all the time - people had so many different ideas about what scriptures in the bible meant.

I took this basically as that if we are devoted to God, then we realise that any suffering we receive is God sending us a lesson or for karmic reasons etc. As a spiritual person we accept this and do what we need to do but do not let it change our good actions, do bad things, send us into depression or lose our faith.

On the other hand I don't think it means that we just sit back and not do anything about bad things. If we can be active in making our lives better then we should - as long as it is not against what we think is Gods will - like being too materialistic or sinning (for want of a better word)

Glenda

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Post Re: Can a Devotee Suffer?

Post by Light Mystic on Wed May 14, 2008 10:19 pm

Hi Glenda,

I certainly do appreciate your interpretation. I suppose that in my experience there are no bad things as such. God created this world and everything in it. If it wasn't supposed to be part of it God wouldn't have it in there. My experience of God is gentle unconditional loving acceptance of all things. I find that greater depth is more enjoyable for me, and that kindness and allowing hurts less, but I would not say there are things that are "good" or "bad" per se. It just depends what people need. And life brings people what they need as an opportunity to be free. It's not that there's this horrible event and that's just karma so try and "be good" anyway. I don't see any reason to be good except that I suffer less and enjoy more. It's a less painful way of living. Every "bad thing" is a life trying to help us realize how we are hurting ourselves so that we can gendly, but firmly, move ourselves out of pain and deeper into God's loving embrace. We turned away from Him, not the other way around.

I almost feel like there is no need for faith when there is understanding about the mechanics of this, as you can see life is taking care of you at every moment, and the only pain is the fighting with that reality.

Anyway, thank you for listening to my experience, maybe you'll find that in your experience too.

Best Regards,

LM

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Post Re: Can a Devotee Suffer?

Post by Akindra on Wed May 14, 2008 11:56 pm

Yes I agree. Exactly. I guess the word "bad" is just a label and not an actual state .....once you understand the concept.

Glenda

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Post Re: Can a Devotee Suffer?

Post by Sarveswara on Thu May 15, 2008 2:45 am

Great article Glenda, and interesting views from light mystic and yourself. All views are correct according to what your truth is, as I see it.

I believe God is the doer of All and is the All ... therefore I suggest here that the suffering is a process for each individual as interpreted by their own truth. No matter how any of us see the suffering, within our own minds according to our own Truth, we see the benefit of the suffering as something to work through as a spiritual lesson, and karma is completed on the matter once the lesson is understood.

Suffering is indeed part of the divine plan to reach the souls inner God, no matter how one views this concept of suffering , I believe the action of suffering is a process to deliver oneself to the God within that can and Will bring peace and joy to the recipient.

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