How To Practice Bhakti When In Difficulty

[Krishna's lotus feet]“You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of action. Never consider yourself to be the cause of the results of your activities, and never be attached to not doing your duty.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.47)

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कर्मण्य् एवाधिकारस् ते
मा फलेषु कदाचन
मा कर्म-फल-हेतुर् भूर्
मा ते सङ्गो ऽस्त्व् अकर्मणि

karmaṇy evādhikāras te
mā phaleṣu kadācana
mā karma-phala-hetur bhūr
mā te saṅgo ‘stv akarmaṇi

Friend1: Alright, I know we’ve discussed this many times. It is likely the most common question posed to the speaker after a Hari-katha lecture.

Friend2: A discourse on the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Shri Hari, who takes away the distresses of His devotees.

Friend1: By sometimes removing objects to which they are attached.

Friend2: Might be people to. What is this common question to which you refer? How to find a spiritual master?

Friend1: I think that is a little more advanced, further down the line. At the programs I have attended, people always ask how they can be spiritual while maintaining a job and family. They seem scared at the prospect of having to renounce everything.

Friend2: Oh, for sure. Then you get the verse from the Bhagavad-gita about renouncing attachment to the fruits of work.

[Krishna's lotus feet]Friend1: Which a person may not properly understand at the beginning.

Friend2: Yeah. They think it means just keep doing what you’re doing and try to be detached. Keep a level head, but specifics as to a direction in life are lacking.

Friend1: Let’s take a more specific instance extracted from that question. Let’s say that a person is in the hospital. They have just undergone grueling surgery.

Friend2: Okay.

Friend1: They are in recovery, but right now they can’t do much. There is barely any movement, tubes in so many parts of the body.

Friend2: Can they watch television?

Friend1: There is one in the hospital room, but it takes too much effort to look up.

Friend2: Okay.

Friend1: How does someone practice bhakti in that situation? Do they have to wait until being fully healed?

Friend2: No.

Friend1: Then?

Friend2: That is the beauty of the holy name. In this situation a book would do wonders. Just read Bhagavad-gita, Shrimad Bhagavatam, or Ramayana. Yet since that is not an option, there is still the ability to chant the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

Friend1: Okay, but this person can barely speak.

Friend2: Doesn’t matter. Repeat the mantra in your mind. That is why consciousness is everything. There is still vitality, which means that consciousness can be influenced. Chant the holy names. If that is too much, then just remember, vishno-smaranam.

Friend1: Go back and review what you’ve heard previously, shravanam?

[Hanuman]Friend2: There you go. Remember how great Shri Hanuman is, how he overcame fear, doubt, foreign enemies, physical barriers, the race against time, and a large body of water. Remember how he stayed dedicated to Sita and Rama, the Divine couple who kindly descends to this earth now and then. Remember how he had no one helping him while in Lanka. Remember how he stayed in yoga despite inauspicious conditions surrounding him. Remember the servants who travel the three worlds helping to awaken people from their slumber, to bring them back into the eternal engagement that is devotional service.

Friend1: Nice.

Friend2: All of this can be done anywhere, under any circumstances. You could turn the lack of mobility into a positive. It means there are less options available to distract the mind. Now is your chance to focus. Athato-brahma-jijnasa, now is the time for inquiring into spiritual matters. If you have already made inquiries and are ready for implementation, know that remembering is sufficient.

In Closing:

After operation on cart to wheel,

From medications numb to feel.

Can speak or even move barely,

Know that such chance to come rarely.

Since easier to focus on Bhagavan now,

Chanting and remembering through how.

Meaning that at any time opportunity there,

Renewed chance from medical scare.

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