Vraja Bihari Das

‘Why God has done this to me?’ or ‘Why did I have to go through this?’
are common questions that arise in the mind when we go through

And if we hear the ‘Law of Karma’ as the answer, further questions
arise: ‘What did I do to get this reaction?’ or ‘When did I commit a
mistake that’s giving me this reaction?’ Almost always, we assume that
we get a reaction disproportionate to our mistakes- we imagine we are
wronged by the universe and its people, beyond what we deserve.

The answers to karma questions are never easy. Krishna says in the
Bhagavad Gita: ‘gahana karmano gatih’ – the intricacies of Karma are
mysterious and unsolvable to a human mind.

In one lecture by Chaitanya Charan Prabhu, I found lot of clarity. He
explained beautifully how we simplistically assume that an action
leads to a reaction. But between an action and its reaction, there are
two more factors- ‘daiva’ and ‘kala’ or ‘destiny’ and ‘time’.

Both destiny and time play their part as an action fructifies into reaction.

For example, a farmer performs the action of planting a seed. The
reaction is the yield he gets. However there is the ‘destiny’ of rain
that’s beyond his control, and he also has no jurisdiction on what
‘time’ the nature gives reaction. While the action is important, one
cannot undermine the power of destiny and time.

The great saints teach us how to understand what we don’t understand.
When situations baffle us, we could change the question from ‘why’ to
‘how’. Instead of asking ‘why this has happened to me’, we could ask,
‘how can I serve now?’ We could try to find answers but when our mind
and intelligence can’t fathom the answer, it’s best to give up the
futile attempt to rack our brains. When the fan above our head moves
at a great speed it cools the room but when our cerebral cells move
rapidly, it creates a bigger heat of confusion.

When answers aren’t coming, it’s best to trust ‘daiva’ and ‘kala’ in
play; we could then seek the ‘HOW’- how can I serve best now?

This is called humility. Often we confuse humility to mean a
particular posture in the body or a tone in the voice or a certain
look in the eyes. But there’s more to humility; it’s how we respond
internally to situations that confuse us and baffle us repeatedly.
When we admit within that I can’t get the answer to this problem or ‘I
don’t know’, we are giving up our control tendency and surrendering to
the divine. The admission of our smallness in the face of this
gigantic cosmos and its intricate plans, keeps us humble and happy
even as life treats us harshly.

And ‘I don’t know’ mind set is accompanied by a desire to know what I
could do to serve God or cooperate with His plan at this moment. This
is an act of humility- to relinquish the control freak within us and
accept our insignificant position in this world. Our worries have no
end. Even if we get all our desires fulfilled, new ones will emerge
from our mind that would keep us busy and dissatisfied. And we can’t
live in our circle of concern; instead we could operate on our area of
influence- what can I do now to please God and how can I do it well?
This will shift our focus from our worries and help us live
productively in our circle of influence and as that area expands, our
worries would eventually reduce significantly.

I once read a powerful quote that rings loud in my ears: ‘When you
find no solution to a problem, it’s probably not a problem to be
solved; rather it could be a truth to be accepted.’

–          By Vraja Bihari dasa

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