The Coronavirus pandemic is affecting people all over the world including the devotees of ISKCON.
In UK many Iskcon devotees have got infected with Coronavirus and some have even passed away.
So, a natural question may come in the minds of the devotees, “Why is Krishna not saving his devotees from COVID – 19?”
To find answer to this question we need to dig deep into philosophy of Krishna consciousness.
Scriptures tell that all the living entity in this world suffer from four-fold miseries of birth, old age disease and death.
Just like a person who is not a devotee of Krishna grows old, get affected by disease and eventually die similarly a devotee of Krishna also grows old, may get affected by disease and will one day have to leave his body.
When Arjuna at the battlefield of Kurushetra got bewildered then the first lesson which Krishna taught to Arjuna was about the nature of the soul. Krishna explained that our body is temporary, and the soul is eternal.
Just like a person gives up its old and torn clothes similarly the soul gives up old and invalid bodies.
This world is temporary. None of us are going to live here forever.
An intelligent man should not get bewildered seeing death in this world.
With this understanding a devotee practices devotion to Krishna sincerely and as long as he lives in this world he lives as per the guidelines of the scriptures. And scriptures say that when we are living in this world then we should follow the laws of the material world.
Devotees do have to follow the material law
Srila Prabhupada in his book, Perfect Questions, Perfect Answers (PQPA) explains, that “As long as you are in the material world, you cannot neglect physical laws.”
Even the Supreme Lord Krishna who is the creator and controller of this material world and who is above all the material laws and even spiritual laws follows the laws of this world to teach us that we should also respect the material laws.
- If a devotes goes out in the rain, then just because he is a devotee does not mean that he will not get wet.
- If a devotee jumps from a high-rise building, then he will also break his bones.
- Similarly, during this COVID – 19 crisis if devotees do not take precaution then he will surely get affected.
It is true that if Krishna wants, he can intervene and protect a devotee from COVID – 19. And in many cases, he might be protecting the devotees, its just that we do not know about it.
Lord Narasimhadev saves a little girl
One small girl with his father had gone to the farmland. The father got busy with his work and the little girl ran away from there and came on the road. When the father started looking for her, he saw her on the middle of the road. At that very moment a big truck was coming and the girl who was so small to understand the situation did not know what to do.
It was a highway. The truck was in full speed. The father was helpless. He prepared himself for the eventuality. He closed his eyes. How could he see his daughter being crushed by the truck?
He frantically started praying to Lord Narasimhadev.
He was shivering. After a few moments, he opened his eyes. He was so fearful. He was in great distress, deep agony.
But to his surprise he saw the little girl on the other side of the road. She was safe. He could not control his tears.
He ran to embrace her. He lifted her up and asked her what had happened to her? How did she come to the other side of the road? The girl said one person who looked like a lion, had big teeth and long hair came and lifted her and put her beside the road. The girl could recognize lion because she had seen the picture of a lion in her schoolbook.
The father was surprised but not convinced. Then he saw her shoulders. There were some marks. He immediately went to a doctor. The doctor was surprised, he said that this mark is not of any human being but is of a lion. Now the father understood that it was Lord Narasimhadev who came to save her daughter.
There are many such incidents which happen in devotees’ life. When Krishna wants to protect devotes then Krishna surely protects.
But the way Krishna protects a devotee may be different.
Passing away of devotee is also glorious
Even if a devotee meets with death then his death is also glorious. Srimad Bhagavatam narrates the passing away of great devotee of the Lord like Bhisma Dev, Parikshit Maharaj and Dhruv Maharaj. Their passing away from this mortal world was glorious and after leaving this world they went back home back to godhead. Even today there are many instances when devotees have left their body in a glorious way.
Lord Chaitanya comes for his devotee at his last moment
Once one devotee was on his death bed. He was in Mayapur. He was not from India. Srila Prabhupada had given him the service of distributing his books and had said that if you distribute these books then Lord Chaitanya will personally come to deliver you.
Now when he was sick then his desire was to come to India and leave his body in India. So, he was brought to Mayapur. During his last days, he was completely bed ridden.
For several weeks he was not able to get up from his bed. One day the doctor said that he may pass away at any moment.
So, all the devotees came together, they began doing kirtan in the room where the devotee was lying bed ridden. One devotee placed saligram sila in one of his hands.
When the kirtan was going on, the devotee who was bed ridden for several weeks and could not even move slightly, got up and looked towards the door and said Lord Chaitanya is here, he has come to take me back.
After saying these few words, he again lied down on the bed. And immediately left his body. Even the saligram sila which he was holding in one of his hands had also disappeared.
My husband’s life is successful
Once one devotee was on his death bed in Mayapur and his wife was holding a picture of Krishna and showing him. While seeing the picture of the Supreme Lord the person left his body. The wife with tears in his eyes said, “My husband’s life is now successful.”
Chanting at the last moment
In Bhaktivedanta hospital, Mumbai, doctors tell about many heart touching stories of the patients who leave their body and how Krishna at the last moment bestows his mercy upon them. I still remember one picture of a husband and wife which I saw there. That picture was taken moments before the person’s death. The doctors at the hospital informed his family members that the person has only few minutes to live. Now what could have been done. So, the wife took beads in her hand and was helping her husband to chant the name of Krishna. And the man who had just few minutes left, left his body chanting the names of Krishna.
Miseries will come. Death will come. But devotion to Krishna gives us solution by which we can free ourselves from this four-fold miseries of birth, old age, disease and death forever.
When we chant the holy names of Krishna and read literatures like Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam then it cleanses our hearts of all the impurities of lust, greed, pride, anger, envy, illusion and false ego. Once our hearts start getting purified the knowledge of the scriptures start getting revealed in our hearts. And in that state, we start understanding the true nature of this material world, we start understanding that this world can never give us any joy, we start experiencing Krishna in our hearts which fills our hearts with unlimited bliss.
And while living in this world even if some suffering comes, a pure devotee is not bewildered because he knows that in this world suffering is inevitable and Krishna is always there to protect.
In the Light of the Bhāgavata, Text Twelve, Srila Prabhupada writes, “Even though a person takes to the devotional service of the Supreme Lord, he may sometimes become diseased, impoverished, or disappointed by life’s events. A true devotee of the Lord always considers these sufferings to be due to past sinful activities, and thus without becoming disturbed he patiently awaits the mercy of the Supreme Lord. Such devotees are compared to high mountains, which are never agitated in any way, even when struck by powerful torrents of rain in the rainy season. Rather, such devotees remain humble in spiritual enlightenment. Free from pride and envy, they easily gain the mercy of the Lord and go back home, back to Godhead.”
Lord Krishna is protecting his devotees from deadly COVID – 19 by giving him/her a proper understanding that in this world suffering is inevitable and he also gives us a process by which we can free ourselves from all the miseries and live happily forever by returning back to the spiritual world where there is no disease, no epidemic, no pandemic, no calamity, no death,
Knowing the nature of this world, a devotee continues practicing devotion to Krishna in all situations and circumstances. So even if a devotee may be physically ill, he is not much disturbed by it. He remains always blissful by chanting Krishna’s holy names and by engaging himself in the service of Krishna.
In the present day we can learn a great lesson from the life of HH Jayapataka Swami Maharaj. From material point of view, he is physically not well, he has undergone many operations but with extraordinary enthusiasm he is not just practicing devotional life but is inspiring thousands of devotees all over the world to practice devotional life.
So those who are practicing devotional life live happily as long as they live in this world, and he gets so purified that he starts understanding that death is not the end of everything. He understands that as a soul he is eternal and never going to die. He even understands that his practice of devotional life will even liberate his family members. So, in a sense a devotee knows that if he becomes pure and his family members are also devotee of Krishna then they all will remain united in the kingdom of Krishna.
And even if the devotee has not completely perfected his life then in next life, he takes birth in the family of a pure devotee where he has great opportunity to practice devotional life. As Krishna explains in Bhagavad Gita 2.40, in practicing devotional life there is no loss.
We need to remember that as long as we are in this material world suffering is inevitable. So suffering may come in the form of COVID – 19 or some other calamity but if we take shelter of Krishna with proper understanding then we will be able to fearlessly face all the difficulties in life.
Once we establish Krishna in our hearts, we will remain happy in this world and after leaving this world we will reunite with Krishna and live blissfully in the kingdom of Krishna.