When I am suffering, I always ask myself again and again, why is Krishna not freeing me from my sufferings?
“I have been trying to chant Hare Krishna Mahamantra and am trying to dovetail all my activities in Krishna’s service but why suffering comes to me.”
It is easy to say to others to take shelter of Krishna when in misery but when misery befalls upon us, we question, why me Krishna? It is easy to preach but difficult to practice.
And many times, we fail to find anything wrong we did. We wanted happiness but what comes is suffering. We wanted peace but what comes is mental agony. We wanted good relationship but what comes is terrible reciprocation. We want good for others, but the other person wants bad for us.
So, we ask again and again, why its happening to me?
The answer given is, “You are suffering because of your karma.”
But I do not recollect doing anything terrible this life.
“Then you must have done something bad in your previous lives.”
But I do not remember my earlier lives.
“So what? This is how karma works.”
But what about me at least trying to practice devotion to Krishna.
“It means Krishna has reduced your karma else you would have suffered even more.”
Most of the devotees who have basic understanding of Krishna Conscious philosophy knows this answer. In fact, when any other person will approach us with their set of problems you and I will give the same answer.
But when similar situation arises in our life we are terribly shaken.
How should a devotee of Krishna handle suffering?
So, what is the solution? How should a devotee of Krishna handle suffering? And in suffering how to practice devotional life?
We get so overwhelmed with suffering that while chanting instead of focussing on Krishna’s holy names our mind forces us to think only about the pain. Deity worship becomes a ritual because our mind is filled with agony. Future looks bleak. We are told to have faith in Krishna. But we develop faith that Krishna will not resolve our problem. It is not that Krishna cannot resolve our problem. But we think we are too insignificant for Krishna and so Krishna does not care for us and so he does not free us from our sufferings.
But scriptures say something else. Anyone who takes shelter of Krishna gets freedom from all the miseries. In Bhagavad Gita Krishna himself says, “Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.” Bhagavad Gita 18.66
So why our suffering is not taken care. Is it because Krishna has some different plan? Is it because through our suffering Krishna wants to teach us an important lesson? Or is it that Krishna wants to make it clear to us that no matter how hard we try we cannot become happy in this world.
No matter how hard a prisoner tries he cannot remain peaceful and happy in the prison cell. He may do all the things right. But his other inmates will be ruffians and hardcore criminals who will make his life hell. Similarly, in this material world which is compared to a prison house we are surrounded with people who are filled with envy, arrogance, pride, greed, lust, anger and tons of false ego. And these people are never going to allow us to live in peace and allow us to be happy.
Return back to kingdom of Krishna
People living in this world are rebellious souls. You and I are also rebellious souls. But at least because of the mercy of Srila Prabhupada we now understand that we have to give up our envy towards Krishna and we should try our best to reunite with Krishna. We are at least trying.
But there are people who do not even think so. They think they are too great. These people can be hardcore materialists or can be even donning a devotee dress. So, such people will continue creating trouble for us.
So, what is the solution? If a prisoner wants to save himself from the wrath of the fellow prisoners, then what is the best solution? To come out of the jail.
Similarly, if we want to save ourselves from terrible people of this world then we should get out from the material prison house. Just like a prisoner cannot run away from the prison cell. Similarly, we cannot simply run away from this world.
A prisoner instead of making plans to improve his life in prison should focus on how to get out of the prison. By good conduct and behaviour, he can please the jail authorities and can get his jail term reduced.
Similarly, instead of focussing on how to become happy in this world we should focus on how to run away from this material world and go back to the spiritual world. No matter how hard we try this world will continue to give us suffering, duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam, Bhagavad Gita 8.15. Either we will suffer physically or emotionally. This is why Srila Prabhupada focussed too much on returning back to godhead. This is the only solution to get freedom from all the sufferings. So, we should put in our best efforts to return back to the kingdom of Krishna.
Always take shelter of Krishna in suffering, he is the only hope
We may be suffering because of our past karma or this life’s karma or it could be Krishna’s plan, we may never come to know. So why Krishna is not freeing you and me from suffering? Because he wants to show us that this world is filled with suffering. So we should make plans to get out of it.
But no matter whatever may be the reason for our suffering and whatever may be the intensity of our suffering we always have an opportunity to be Krishna Conscious. In fact, suffering helps us to go deeper in our life and reflect upon the blunder we committed in our life. Some of the blunder may be too severe and too late to rectify. But it teaches us an incredible lesson. But in such a situation too we should take shelter of Krishna. Because he is our only hope. He is our only saviour. We cannot leave him.
ashlishya va pada-ratam pinashtu mam
adarshanan marma-hatam karotu va
yatha tatha va vidadhatu lampato
mat-prana-nathas tu sa eva naparah
“I know no one but Krishna as my Lord, and He shall remain so even if He handles me roughly by His embrace or makes me broken-hearted by not being present before me. He is completely free to do anything and everything, for He is always my worshipful Lord unconditionally.” Siksastakam, Text 8
So, in spite of all our sufferings, we should always try our best to take shelter of Krishna. A doctor knows what is best for the patient. The medicine he gives may be bitter, but it will cure the suffering.
Similarly, Krishna knows what is best for us. The suffering(medicine) which we are getting may be too bitter for us. But it will ultimately cure us from all the material diseases and will help us to attain Krishna.