18.58 – The blows that break the shell of our isolation from Krishna
When life moves along smoothly, when we successfully use our talents and our plans to achieve our goals, we frequently build a shell of complacency around us. This comfortable shell becomes our fortress wherein we rule as monarchs. We forcefully resent any unscheduled intrusions in the shell of our routines. Even if we practice devotional service, our practices remain largely superficial because we don’t feel the need for Krishna.
And then life hurls a shattering blow on our shell; a layoff, an accident, a heart attack or some other reversal reduces our plans to shambles. Disoriented and distraught, we struggle to gather our bearings. Our protest sears up from the earth to the sky: “Krishna, why are you doing this to me?”
Gita wisdom provides meaningful and empowering answers. Firstly, it underscores that life’s reversals are not Krishna’s doing; they are our own doings, or more precisely, karmic consequences of our own past doings. Secondly, it intimates that when we begin practicing devotional service, Krishna orchestrates everything that happens to us to aid us in moving closer to him. This helps us understand that the blows which break our cherished shell can serve as invaluable opportunities to end our isolation from Krishna. When life’s reversals buffet us, we can no longer maintain our emotional distance from Krishna; we feel urgently and desperately the need for his help, his counsel, his grace. The Bhagavad-gita (18.58) indicates that when we thus become conscious of him, he mercifully enables us to cross over those obstacles in his own inconceivable ways.
By remembering that life’s blows are meant not to break us down, but to break the shell that isolates us from Krishna, we can march through those reversals calmly, devotedly and intelligently.