Sunday, August 28, 2016

Five Reasons To Be Confident In Devotional Service

[Lord Vishnu with Dhruva]“To those who are constantly devoted and worship Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 10.10)

Download this episode (right click and save)

Lord Brahma is so exalted. He lives for millions and millions of years. At the beginning of time, there was no one else. He emerged from the lotus-stem coming from the naval of Lord Vishnu, who is thus also known as Padmanabha. Vishnu is the father to Brahma, and also the mother in a sense. There is Lakshmi Devi, who is the wife of Vishnu.

Brahma creates through the potency invested in him by Vishnu. He must be someone very special. At the end of Brahma’s night, there is a partial dissolution of the creation. At the end of Brahma’s life, one hundred of his years, there is complete devastation. Brahma is the founder of a sampradaya of devotion to Vishnu. He is a spiritual master, which means that he has to be a pure devotee.

And yet Brahma falls into illusion sometimes. He did so when Vishnu was on earth as Shri Krishna, playing with the cows and cowherd boys in the fields of Vrindavana. He had an incident with his own daughter. Lord Shiva, who is superior to even Brahma, at times looked like he was in illusion. What hope is there for us mere mortals, then? We are not celestials who live for a long time with heightened enjoyment. How can we be confident that devotional service, bhakti-yoga, will pay off in the end?

1. The Pandavas survived attacks against them.

These five brothers had done nothing wrong. They lost their father Pandu. They lived with their mother, Kunti Devi. They should have inherited the kingdom from Pandu, but it instead went to the Kauravas, who were sons to Pandu’s brother Dhritarashtra. Even that wasn’t a big deal. The problem was that the leader of the Kauravas, Duryodhana, tried so many times to kill the Pandavas.

The one thing the five brothers had going for them was devotion to Krishna. He was their lone support. That was all they needed. They survived the attacks, and with Krishna’s help in guiding the physical chariot of Arjuna and also the chariot of his mind, manoratha, the Pandavas eventually regained their kingdom.

2. Arjuna succeeded

Either retreat to the forest, giving up your kingdom, or fight on the side of righteousness. The latter will cost the lives of people who are dear to you. Has anyone in history faced a bigger dilemma than Arjuna? He didn’t know what to do, so He put the matter to Krishna. The Supreme Lord acted as Arjuna’s charioteer, but when the questions came He transitioned into the role of guru. He is the adi-guru, after all. He is the original spiritual master. He advised Arjuna in such a way that future generations would learn the lessons as well. Arjuna succeeded in his devotion since he was a surrendered soul.

3. Hanuman succeeded

Everyone was counting on Hanuman, but especially Shri Rama. Rama is another descent of Vishnu to the material world, an avatara. Hanuman’s task was to find Sita Devi, Rama’s missing wife. There was a large army of monkeys sent by Sugriva to search for her, but ultimately success rested in the hands of Hanuman. He faced amazing obstacles, both physical and mental. He persevered due to the love he has for Rama.

4. Dhruva succeeded

[Lord Vishnu and Dhruva]Dhruva Maharaja felt insulted that his own father would not place him on his lap. The step-mother basically told the boy that he was a second-class citizen in the home. Dhruva then went to the forest to meditate. He wanted vengeance, but in meeting Lord Vishnu face to face, his desires changed. Dhruva succeeded even though he had material desires at the outset. This is why those who are akama, moksha-kama or even sarva-kama should worship God the person. Approaching Him directly has a purifying effect, giving success in what matters most.

5. Krishna says to not fear

The conclusion of the Bhagavad-gita is the instruction to Arjuna to abandon all varieties of religion and simply surrender unto Krishna. There is no reason to fear, since Krishna will protect against all sinful reaction, should there be any.

“Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 18.66)

Even if a person tries their best to be nonviolent and kind, there is always a trace of sin. The only way to be free from the material effects of karma, which lead to rebirth, is to be surrendered to Krishna. He protects the surrendered souls. Those who want to go to Him get help from within. He gives the understanding by which the devotees can find Him.

In Closing:

Shiva angry, Brahma after daughter chased,

How us mortals to prevent efforts erased?

 

How in devotional service to succeed,

When illusion of steady assault to proceed?

 

Examples from Pandavas and Arjuna see,

And Dhruva, even of material desires was he.

 

Hanuman, for Rama to ends of earth going,

Lord from within knowledge lamp glowing.