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A Blessing In Disguise

Out of many famous prayers, the prayer of Kunti (mother of Pandavas) is very special. The substance of her prayer to Lord Krishna was: To bless her with perpetual suffering so that the thought of God may remain constantly alive in her heart!

A seed disintegrates and sprouts as a tender plant with the help of life energy from water, air, and soil. Similarly, the seed-ego of a sadhaka -spiritual aspirant- gets destroyed by the holy association of saints -sadhu-sang, and the sapling of spirituality springs up in his heart. This is achieved through great hardships and austerities.

Once a householder devotee of Sri Ramakrishna was depressed because the tax-authorities had threatened to forfeit his household belongings as a penalty for tax evasion. To this, Sri Ramakrishna said, 'let them take away everything. He (the person in question) might actually be benefited and freed from the bondage of samsara -worldliness!'

The real life event, of a magnitude of a "disaster", occurred in the early age of Swami Vivekananda (Narendranath). His father suddenly passed away leaving his family in debt and disarray. His relatives and friends, instead of helping him, took away their dues leaving the family almost pauper. Moreover, Narendranath could not even get a job to support his family. The agony of not able to support the family made a deep impression on the tender mind of Swami Vivekananda (He was just 21 years of age).

Was that Divine disposition or play? One cannot say. All the same in later life Narendranath evolved into Swami Vivekananda, and preached the world the blissful gospel of renunciation and service. The agony, as if, later turned into ecstasy; bliss borne out of discrimination and renunciation!

The above resume glaringly brings out a fact that at a particular stage in the life of a sincere and gifted sadhaka, Divinity Itself teaches him/her an important lesson: that renunciation and hardship are welcome. The bonds of family, money, name and fame, or power, etc. are the products of mind alone, and as such are temporary and illusive. While they tie down the person to relative realities of mundane life, breaking these bonds, in fact, frees the aspirant to pursue higher goal in life.

This idea or concept 'to welcome suffering and hardship' may appear a bit harsh and crude; and, although, it is applicable to all, only a few selected and sincere sadhakas can take it as a boon in disguise. The aspirant may be consciously involved in his spiritual quest, or he may be unaware of the potentialities inherent in him. All the same, a path of discrimination (viveka), renunciation (vairagya), and love for God (anuraga) opens up for that lucky person. It is the will of God that is responsible for all this, albeit, to ordinary persons like us, it appears to be a circumstantial misfortune!

If, however, we deliberately remember God (in our higher consciousness) not only in our difficulty but also in happiness, then there is no fear of 'injustice or partiality in the kingdom of God'. If we surrender the fruits (the results) of all our actions to Him, and if we become conduits for His will, then we are not bound by the result of karma (actions) anymore. Naturally the idea of failure (or for that matter success also) cannot come to our mind once we accept ourselves as non-doers. We become sort of Karma-Yogis. This lesson we learn from the sufferings and hardships inflicted on us, or others as well. The predicaments and sufferings in the world can be seen from this standpoint so that we learn from them and become contemplative. The qualities of renunciation, discrimination and love for God can develop in us in due course of time as a reaction to all this.
c s shah

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