When we dont get results due to our karma, does service get affected by our karma?

by Chaitanya CharanAugust 5, 2012

From Kiran P

According to my karma, I get results of activities. Suppose I am in crucial service, my karma does not allow me to get good results. So does service gets affected because of my karma?

Trancription By: Swati Jain Mataji

Question:  According to my karma, I get results of activities. Suppose I am in crucial service, my karma does not allow me to get good results. So does service gets affected because of my karma?

Answer: How the law of Karma will act in and of itself is difficult to understand. Because there are so many complex and subtle parameters involved that only the super soul can know the best. When the law of Karma interacts with devotional service then what will happen is even more difficult to predict. Because bhakti herself is interdependent and is guided by Krishna’s grace in ultimately sense.

Hence, the only guiding criterion is that Krishna will do which is best for everyone involved. Suppose I have to give a class, it’s a big programme and many people are coming. Also no other speaker is available. And I develop a throat infection. The program has to be cancelled because of it, what does it mean? As far as we are concerned, we try to see every situation in a way that helps us advance in devotional service. If I am as a speaker I should think that actually my body is meant to be used for Krishna’s service and I have to do everything possible to take care of it. I have to check that if I have done anything carelessly that have spoilt my throat.

So at that level I can learn the lesson. At another level I can learn the lesson, if I considered myself as a great speaker and I deliver great lessons while giving classes then that situation is like spiritually egoistic fantasy. Then I see this situation as an opportunity to realize how powerless I am. I think I am the speaker, but I can’t even move my throat and speak if Krishna doesn’t give me the ability to. So ultimately I have a body which is not independent and it is not under my full control. It is not independent of Krishna. I am dependent on Krishna.

Now should I blame Krishna for having spoiled the preaching program? Obviously not! It is probably my own misdeed or because I have become too proud thinking that I am the karta (the doer) and Krishna wanted to purify me of that feeling. So that is Krishna’s arrangement to teach me as far as my level of learning is concerned. Same principal applies to the services also.

As far as other people and their inconveniences are concerned, say people who have organized the program, those who are attending the program, at that time how do I see it? We understand and see that the devotee who have organized have to work so hard to arrange for this program. Now we have to show Krishna our strong desire for the program to happen, rather than pointing out our finger to anyone in particular. We understand that if we have more intense desire then Krishna will arrange for his own service to expand.

Krishna wants everybody to come back to Godhead. But Krishna also wants us to develop an intense enough desire by which we will go back to him and then we will become instruments to help others come back to him. Then when some devotional service doesn’t work properly we see it as lacking of our devotional desire. But most often, Srila Prabhupada would look at practical situations in such circumstances.

Once the devotees tried hard to organize a Rath Yatra in London, and the rath cart collapsed. They asked Prabhupada that is it because of our poor devotion? Prabhupada was practical; he said it was because of poor engineering. He said the cart was too big and the wheels were not strong enough to maintain it. So we don’t have to go into the self demeaning zone that we start mentally flagellating or putting ourselves for our own inadequacies. Srila Prabhupada would see the consciousness of the person, and guides him/her accordingly.

In general, if we find that some results are not coming out, we should see whether something that I am doing is wrong right now, maybe I am not preparing properly. Maybe I am not taking adequate care which is required. Hence try to rectify the situation. If beyond the rectification of the situation, things go inadvertently wrong, then we see it as Krishna’s orchestration for the ultimate benefit for everyone including me.

Still we may say how it can be? I can’t understand that. Srila Prabhupada writes in 1st Canto that “when things go wrong beyond human control then there is nothing to lament over there” and of course we have to be realistic. If we are stretching ourselves beyond our capacities and are likely to not be able to do certain things properly then it is best that be realistic and prepare for that eventuality “OK, if I am not able to do this then how should this go on.“

So as far as the service dynamics are concerned, as a manager if we are managing a project, we don’t go too much into probing the past karma and karmic cons entrainments over there. We as managers should consider. If a king, a Kshatriya is supposed to judge a person who has committed a crime, at the immediate level he has to take a remedial action. This person has committed a crime and he has to be punished. But why he has committed the crime? Because my law enforcement agencies were weak. I have to strengthen them. I have to enheighten their alertness. These are practical things a Kshatriya has to do.

From a Brahmin’s point of view, a Kshatriya will also be aware of the karmic perspectives. But if a man steals from another man, a Kshatriya cannot stay aloof and say it was your karma that you lost the money. No, a Kshatriya has to do whatever is required to deal with the situation. The karmic perspective is there in the background of the Kshatriya’s mind and the Kshatriya focuses that.

Now when inspite of his best efforts nothing happens then he says okay, probably it was the past life karma that things have to work in this way. When we are acting as managers we need to be of Kshatriya spirit. Although Srila Prabhupada ultimately says we have to be like Brahmins, he wanted isckon devotees to be Brahmins, but Brahmins in Kshatriya spirit. That means we have to be pragmatic in our day to day endeavors in Krishna’s Service.

If we look at Srila Prabhupada’s example: he did not get success in his service for long, almost 40 years within India he preached and he did not get any success. Was it because of his Karma? Srila Prabhupada, we know, is a pure devotee and for him there is no karmic involvement at all. But if we look at how Srila Prabhupada acted, from the historical or objective perspective, Srila Prabhupada always kept looking on for new opportunities where success would come. So he accepted it as the arrangement by Krishna as a result of his karmic reactions. But Srila Prabhupada did not let himself discouraged; rather he kept searching for new avenues to do his service properly. As far as we are concerned if we look at the way Srila Prabhupada did his own services and he started ISKCON. He always focused more on taking initiatives and finding out opportunities for serving Krishna; rather than resigning himself to the perspective that “Oh! Because of my past life karma, this is not going to work.”

Yes, Srila Prabhupada had that attitude that if something didn’t work out then he would say, “It was fine, just leave it.” Prabhupada started dealing with his devotees in Jhansi and it didn’t work out then he started something else. Now, there is no description in the Lilamrit (Prabhupada’s Biography) or any of the biographical works of Srila Prabhupada that he went into the deep post mortem analysis of whether that Jhansi fiasco was unsuccessful attempt. Ultimately any service to Krishna was not a fiasco.

But from the material point of view Prabhupada started on a grandeurs note on a grand note and somehow it just went down quiet tragically. So from material point of view some people might think it as a fiasco. But every attempt to serve Krishna is glorious. Srila Prabhupada did not go into the big post mortem analysis of what caused it. He focused on what should I do now? Now let me look for some other opportunity to serve Krishna.

Hence, in general if we are giving ourselves in Krishna’s service we also have to be practical and see, what is the best way to serve Krishna in this situation? If I am suspecting that I may have a bad throat then maybe I have to plan in advance so that I must cut down other engagements so that I will be available to prepare for that program or I make sure that I arrange some other speaker. We need to do something practical to make sure that things move on and if inspite of practical work, things don’t work out, we understand somehow it is Krishna’s plan for the ultimate good of everyone and we take whatever lessons we can learn at our level and move forward for the future opportunities to serve Krishna as wished by Srila Prabhupada.

Thank You

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Chaitanya Charan

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