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Difficulties in Devotion : A Blessing in Disguise?

By Bhaktisiddhanta Swami.

We can study the example of a topmost Vaishnavi, Queen Kunti-, who prayed for calamity to remember her Lord again and again. Of course, she is the personified zenith of devotional dependence, but we can greatly benefit by trying to at least get a glimpse of her mood.

SB 1.8.25

vipadah. santu ta-h. s’as’vat tatra tatra jagad-guro
bhavato dars’anam. yat sya-d apunar bhava-dars’anam

I wish that all those calamities would happen again and again so that we could see You again and again, for seeing You means that we will no longer see repeated births and deaths.

Firstly, obstacles and impediments are an ongoing agenda on this plain, whether in personal relation, management, or the communication field.

Srila Prabhupada, our most noteworthy example, established an international society amidst overwhelming physical handicaps or apparent setbacks that became a precursor to a worldwide society. Then there are his sincere followers, whose tests and trials amidst obstacles, have realization, trying their best to fulfill his will.

Apart from what should be a ‘main concern’ of positives; victories, satsanga, kirtans and good times, let us examine the difficulties that we may individually/collectively undergo as we traverse the path of devotion in this present field.

We may have an ax to grind with regard to an individual, guru, management, or society. Possibly, we may feel taken advantage of, manipulated, abused, and used within arenas that proclaim spiritual values, where material agendas have sadly arisen.

Has politics pushed us into the background? Has our response to various scenarios been accommodating or reactionary? Do we focus on the grains of sand of ‘an event’ rather than the instructing panorama of the Lord’s arrangement with regard to an individual or collective?

Sometimes, due to infatuation with the comic strip of temporal incidents, we forget the larger picture, the mind and plan of the presiding ‘Overseer’. Amidst our sincere attempts, within changing governments or administrations, have we supported various phases of assumed spiritual backing, representing the Supreme?

Whatever it may be, by appreciating Queen Kunti-, her mood and appeal, we can at least understand what has come our way is perfect and complete. For her, the tests are a barometer of the Lord’s love, and an opportunity to live more selflessly for others.

In our case, as we operate from a platform of mixed sam.ska-ras, the difficulties in devotion may force us to digest a painful ‘blessing in disguise’, a correction, a direction, and hindsight bringing us together, closer to the mark. The question is, “Are the struggles part of a learning curve in devotion or ignored historical repeats?” Surely, we are also being tested in ‘our response’ to these unforeseen events, a foundation to our future.

How to move closer to this transcendental mood of Kunti-, to become immune to happiness or distress, fearlessly relishing the ‘God sends’ within the roller coaster of time?

As the various forms of blessings come our way, may we always be ‘mindful’ to be ‘seen by Him’, then ‘we can truly see’, reflect, and remember, as we have become dependent on the Lord in all circumstances.

Best Wishes,

Your Servant,

Bhaktisiddhanta Swami.