If the suffering of great devotees is for their glorification why does Bhishma say Pandavas’ suffering is due to time?
Transcribed by: Argha Maji
Question: If the suffering of great devotees is for their glorification why does Bhishma say Pandavas’ suffering is due to time?
Answer: Now actually there when he is giving different verses, Visvanath Chakravarti Thakura analyses the verses, and explains each of those verses is referring to the opinions of different philosophies. So, some philosophers say that the suffering is because of kala , some philosophers say it is because of the plan of the Lord. Some philosophers say that it is because of nature of the world. So there is an elaborate analysis which he gives.
So sometimes we can analyse, the way Srila Prabhupada analyses is that it’s one flow of thought continuing through all the verses. So that is one way of analysing.
Scripture is so wisdom-laden that it can be understood in different ways. So if we see there is one flow of thought moving forward, we understand that its not just kala. But then what does he say ultimately, it is His plan we cannot understand. So the conclusion of Bhishma in that particular analysis is that the Lord’s plan is inconceivable and the best thing we can do is to do our part in his plan.
So, Don’t figure it out, Get out. If we try to figure out what is going on, it is not possible for us. Abhimanyu was so unfairly, brutally slaughtered, Yudisthira was devastated after that. And Yudisthira thinks, “Actually I am the cause of his death.” Because the chakravyuha was made to arrest him, Drona had made that plan and to stop that chakravyuha, Abhimanyu was sent. So he is devastated. He thinks, “How will I face Arjuna, what will I tell Subhadra”. So he is mortified. And at that time, Vyasadeva comes over there and says, “The inscrutable will of the Lord is for the good of everyone. If you follow that will then you will eventually understand how it is good.”
There are two distinct aspects. One is the Lord’s will is inscrutable. On faith we understand Lord is well wisher of everyone, but at our present level, it is inscrutable.But then what can we do, we follow his will and eventually we will understand. The conclusion of Bhishma is also that. Ultimately what is kala, kala is manye tvam kalam isanam ( SB 1.8.28). Just in previous chapter, 1.9 is Bhishma’s prayers and 1.8 is Kunti’s prayers and Kunti in 1.8.28 says that I consider you are kala.
manye tvam kalam isanam
samaà carantaà sarvatra
bhutanam yan mithah kalih (SB 1.8.28)
So it is Krishna who is time. So the conclusion of Bhishma’s instructions is that we should act according to his plan, no matter how inconceivable that plan is and that’s why he gives his own example afterwards. He says,
yan me ‘sums tyajatah saksat
krsno darsanam agatah (SB 1.9.22)
Just see how merciful is that Lord that when I stuck to his plan “ekanta-bhaktesu” , I remained devoted to him throughout and what is the result of that. He has now come when I am about to die, he has “saksat krsno darsanam” , he has himself come to give darshan to me. The point he is telling, “His plan was difficult for me to follow also, fight against him, to stay silent when Draupadi was being dishonored, to stay silent when Pandavas were exiled.” All this was difficult to follow for Bhishma, “But understanding will of the Lord, I did that, I remained his ekanta bhakta, just see the reward, he is giving me. Similarly he will reward you also. Remain his ekanta bhakta and for you, Yudisthira remaining his ekanta bhakta means that you should take up the kingdom. You should take the responsibility of becoming the natha for those who become anatha because of this war. So the conclusion is not just that time is cause of suffering. The conclusion is not just that Lord’s plan is inconceivable. Conclusion is that even if Lord’s plan is inconceivable, even if cause of suffering is unexplainable, still we should continue doing our part in service to the Lord.