Three People Who Had To Wait A Long Time For Bhagavan’s Mercy

[Krishna with sons of Kuvera]“Sage Narada therefore contemplated that the two demigods should remain for one hundred years, in the time of the demigods, in the form of trees, and after that they would be fortunate enough to see the Supreme Personality of Godhead, face to face, by His causeless mercy. And thus they would be again promoted to the life of the demigods and great devotees of the Lord.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 10)

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You don’t know if you can continue much longer. The only problem is that there aren’t many alternatives. The rent doesn’t pay itself. Groceries don’t magically arrive in the kitchen. Transportation is expensive, especially if owning the primary means.

The daily grind. Day after day. Sitting in the same office setting, where no one talks to each other. Not so much as a, “Hello, how was your weekend?” Everyone to themselves. They are just as miserable as you are. They are enduring due to the allure of a high salary. It’s as if this place is subtly persuading you:

“Just keep working here. We will provide everything you need. Don’t mind the lack of natural light. It’s okay to stay seated for eight hours a day. Just think of the good food you will get to eat. Think of the steadily increasing bank balance, with sufficient funds for retirement.”

You wonder how you will make it through another week, but from Vedic literature we see that people in the past often had to wait a long time before the greatest reward manifested. In every case the wait was worth the outcome.

1. Ahalya

She was cursed by her husband, Gautama Rishi. An indiscretion that wasn’t really her fault, the word of a qualified brahmana is final. Shri Krishna explains in the Bhagavad-gita that the four divisions, varnas, are tied directly to qualities and work, guna and karma.

चातुर्-वर्ण्यं मया सृष्टं
गुण-कर्म-विभागशः
तस्य कर्तारम् अपि मां
विद्ध्य् अकर्तारम् अव्ययम्

cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ
guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ
tasya kartāram api māṁ
viddhy akartāram avyayam

“According to the three modes of material nature and the work ascribed to them, the four divisions of human society were created by Me. And, although I am the creator of this system, you should know that I am yet the non-doer, being unchangeable.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 4.13)

The issue with giving a curse is that the recipient isn’t the only one to suffer. The source has some of their pious credits deplete. It is like making a withdrawal from a bank account. Fortunately for Ahalya, there was a silver lining.

[Rama liberating Ahalya]She would be freed from the curse through direct contact with the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord. He arrived at her location through the favor of Vishvamitra Muni. As Shri Rama, Bhagavan gave liberation instantly. The effect became so well-known that sometime later a boatman was afraid to have Rama set foot on his boat, lest it turn into a lady who travels back to the heavenly realm.

2. Nalakuvara and Manigriva

Reaching heaven does not bring automatic immunity from transgressions. The two sons of the demigod Kuvera one time received a curse from Narada Muni after behaving in an offensive manner. They were to live as trees in the land of Vrindavana. In that body type they would get to remain naked for many years, as they previously showed fondness for wandering without clothes due to intoxication.

[Krishna with sons of Kuvera]The two brothers gained release from the curse after they were knocked down by a mortar. A small child brought that mortar in between the two trees. He had enough strength to bring them down. This was no ordinary child. It was the same Shri Rama, but on earth in the beautiful two-handed form of Shri Krishna.

3. Lord Brahma

Another incident in Krishna-lila involved Lord Brahma, the creator. He stole Krishna’s cows and cowherd friends in secret. He thought he would get the best of the darling of Vrindavana, but Krishna outsmarted him. The Supreme Lord simply expanded Himself to account for the missing cows and children. No one knew anything had happened, except Krishna and Brahma.

The play went on for an entire year. Though very short in terms of Brahma’s duration of life, a year in human calculation is still a long time. The mercy finally arrived after a meaningful and heartfelt apology. For a year the creator thought he was superior to the one who first guided him on how to create. One definition for God is the person who was around before anything existed. The other side to the same definition is that Krishna will remain after everything has been annihilated.

Therefore, in whatever difficult position a person may find themselves, there is always hope. While the struggle seems lengthy and without end, if purity is the guiding force then ultimately the mercy of the Divine will arrive. A way to speed up the process is to constantly chant the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

In Closing:

Worst ever this job of mine,

When to feel mercy of Divine?

In past others longer to wait,

Like demigods in tree-form state.

Or Ahalya stone curse to meet,

Liberated at touch of Rama’s feet.

Such meeting for worth waiting,

From Bhagavan miseries abating.

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