“Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 18.66)
Shri Krishna makes the promise at the conclusion of the Bhagavad-gita, the famous talk with Arjuna, the bow-warrior. Surrender unto Him and be delivered from all sinful reaction. Basically, whatever you are afraid of doing wrong, where you skip this type of religion or that, know that being fully conscious of Krishna, who is Bhagavan, will give the greatest protection.
There are many dharmas, and connected are corresponding reactions to not following. The neglect is what defines sin, and the objective is what defines the specific dharma. Even a thief can have right and wrong. For them, respecting the property of others is sinful. The reaction for such behavior is a missed opportunity to take what doesn’t belong to them.
Krishna consciousness is the topmost dharma because it meets the needs of the individual completely. That individual is spirit soul, and from the protection other threats are covered.
1. Eternal damnation
You better make the list. Something like Christmas with Santa Claus, but more important, this is the final word on who gets salvation and who doesn’t. You better believe in the savior. Belief here is determined by attendance at a regular gathering at a specific institution. If you’re not on the list, you’re out of luck. You will forever be condemned. No turning back; no second chances.
These sorts of threats may help to increase the number of followers, but they are not based in logic and reasoning. If there is a God, why should He be feared? Even so many leaders around the world don’t condemn people for criticizing the government. There is freedom to follow or to neglect.
Moreover, what happens to those who never reach the point of conscious thought? What if a child passes on before they can make the choice to accept the designated savior? Are they condemned? Do they not get another chance? And what exactly is salvation? How will the person live? Is there a future?
Shri Krishna protects against such threats because for the devotee He always remains close by. Whether the devotee goes to heaven or hell is of no concern, because they are guaranteed to be able to practice devotion. For that reason they can be liberated even before quitting the body. Such souls are known as jivan-mukta.
2. Punishment for skipping a ritual
“Okay, bhakti-yoga is a kind of dharma. Bhagavata-dharma to be precise. Still, there are rituals and traditions in the Vedas. People should follow them. Otherwise, watch out. Bad things could happen.”
The perfect example is the one time the residents of Vrindavana skipped the annual Indra-yajna. The change was at Krishna’s insistence. The nearby Govardhana Hill was worshiped instead. Everyone was pleased, and so was the hill, who spoke to the residents through the potency of Shri Krishna.
The immediate result was devastating rain. This was the punishment. The threat became real. Indra, the king of heaven, was not happy about being neglected. The umbrella of protection from Krishna took on a literal meaning, as the just worshiped hill was lifted into the air and then proceeded to serve as protection from the rain for seven straight days.
3. Aggressive friends and family
The fall from the spiritual world took place so long ago that it is difficult to turn the mentality. The envy of God is the core of material life. Without it, everyone would be liberated. That envy is found even in close associates, like friends and family.
Prahlada Maharaja faced a severe threat from the father, King Hiranyakashipu. Prahlada practiced bhakti-yoga peacefully. He wasn’t bothering anyone. The real crime was not hiding his sentiments. Prahlada told the father exactly what he valued in life, that becoming materially opulent was not important to him.
The death sentence was the result. First there was the threat, but that didn’t change Prahlada. Hiranyakashipu then resorted to lethal punishment. Strangely, it didn’t work. Just as Govardhana protected the people of Vrindavana, the seemingly invisible, but inconceivably powerful protecting hand of the Supreme Lord was there to ensure that Prahlada’s devotion continued to flourish. In the end it was Hiranyakashipu who perished, through the lethal weapons that were the fingernails of Narasimhadeva.
Enjoying in position as king of terror,
But with peaceful son a fatal error.
Narasimha Bhagavan, for Prahlada arriving,
Whose bhakti against opposition even thriving.
For Vrindavana from king of heaven a threat,
Thwarted by Govardhana umbrella on finger set.
Even eternal damnation not to fear,
Since Krishna always remaining near.
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