18.58 – Krishna offers us shelter, not a hiding place
“If I pray to Krishna, he will make all my problems disappear.” We may sometimes hope thus when we practice spiritual life.
Of course, we may not express this hope so bluntly. Still, we do entertain it in our heart. That’s why we feel disappointed, even threatened, in our faith when life’s problems continue despite our practice of spiritual life.
Such challenges to faith arise because we don’t clearly understand how Krishna helps us when we try to connect with him through devotional service. Krishna offers us shelter, not a hiding place. In the Bhagavad-gita (18.58), he assures that those who become conscious of him pass over all obstacles by his grace. It is critical to understand precisely what Krishna’s grace does – it doesn’t make the obstacles disappear, but enables the devotees to pass over the obstacles.
Thus, Krishna doesn’t promise a utopia, a make-believe life free from problems. He doesn’t offer a hiding place, where we can run away from life’s problems.
Instead, Krishna promises shelter, a place of relief and rejuvenation. When we become conscious of him, the shelter of his remembrance restores and reinforces our philosophical insight. This insight reminds us of our indestructible spiritual core and of the infallible nature of Krishna’s spiritual love. When we thus center ourselves spiritually on Krishna, we feel relieved and reassured and rejuvenated. Thereby we discover a profound emotional maturity that enables us to remain unshaken amidst life’s problems.
The more we seek the shelter of Krishna, the more unflappable calmness becomes our living emotional reality – not just an occasional experience, but a perennial experience.
When we stop seeking a hiding place and start seeking a shelter, then we can march confidently through life’s inevitable problems, relishing Krishna’s shelter in this world and marching towards it in the next.