Three Times When Hari-Katha Is The Right Medicine

[Shri Krishna]“Though engaged in all kinds of activities, My devotee, under My protection, reaches the eternal and imperishable abode by My grace.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 18.56)

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सर्व-कर्माण्य् अपि सदा
कुर्वाणो मद्-व्यपाश्रयः
मत्-प्रसादाद् अवाप्नोति
शाश्वतं पदम् अव्ययम्

sarva-karmāṇy api sadā
kurvāṇo mad-vyapāśrayaḥ
mat-prasādād avāpnoti
śāśvataṁ padam avyayam

1. Things are going well

No issues. Everything moving along smoothly. Home, family, job, career path, government intrusion, overall world economy, the health of the people around you – no outstanding problems. You can’t remember things ever being so good.

Hari-katha is ideal in this situation because there are fewer distractions. Not as much to worry over, so the entire focus can be placed on the speaker or presenter. Shri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is so kind that He sends empowered representatives to speak on His behalf.

Someone like Vyasadeva assists the fallen souls by making the original Veda, the ultimate source of knowledge, easier to understand. He divides the one into four and then explains the same concepts through historical accounts known as Puranas.

[Maharishi Valmiki]Other poets such as Valmiki add to the anthology. The idea is that no one should be left in the dark. Whoever wishes to hear something to uplift their spirits, news from a different world, one which never undergoes dissolution, has that opportunity.

The Sanskrit word is avyayam. We can be engaged in all sorts of activities, but simply through hearing we can change the nature of our space. Though surrounded by that which is temporary and perishable, we get transported to the imperishable realm even prior to quitting the body.

2. Things are in a holding pattern

This might be one of the more difficult situations in life to deal with. It could go either way. You are not sure. Maybe you get hired for that new job and the economic problem at home is solved. There is also the chance that you get passed over, that someone else fills the single vacant position in the company.

There could be surgery for a loved one. It is necessary and safe most of the time, but there is always the chance that something goes wrong. The future is in limbo. Who wouldn’t worry at such a time?

This is another ideal opportunity for Hari-katha. Put your mind at ease. From studying history related to Shri Krishna, we get a reminder that events eventually do play out. One way or another, the existence continues. Nothing can destroy the imperishable soul.

अविनाशि तु तद् विद्धि
येन सर्वम् इदं ततम्
विनाशम् अव्ययस्यास्य
न कश्चित् कर्तुम् अर्हति

avināśi tu tad viddhi
yena sarvam idaṁ tatam
vināśam avyayasyāsya
na kaścit kartum arhati

“Know that which pervades the entire body is indestructible. No one is able to destroy the imperishable soul.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.17)

3. Things are not going well

The entire country is in lockdown. You can’t go to work. The restaurants are closed. The news media is warning of the risk of infection from a new disease, one that has the health experts baffled. You are okay for the moment, but who knows what the future holds? You might run out of supplies and have nowhere to turn.

This is another wonderful opportunity to connect with the Divine through hearing, shravanam. Queen Kunti prays that so many past calamities repeat, since during those stressful moments she always thinks of Krishna, and He is there to rescue her and her family.

विपदः सन्तु ताः शश्वत्
तत्र तत्र जगद्-गुरो
भवतो दर्शनं यत् स्याद्
अपुनर् भव-दर्शनम्

vipadaḥ santu tāḥ śaśvat
tatra tatra jagad-guro
bhavato darśanaṁ yat syād
apunar bhava-darśanam

“I wish that all those calamities would happen again and again so that we could see You again and again, for seeing You means that we will no longer see repeated births and deaths.” (Queen Kunti speaking to Lord Krishna, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 1.8.25)

The destruction started right at the time of birth. This is daivam at work. Destiny. As soon as there is birth, there must be death. Nothing can be done to stop it. If not today, then tomorrow. If not this year, then several years later.

[Shri Krishna]Better to take the shelter of the Supreme Lord and His servants. They can carry us across this ocean of suffering, and through Hari-katha they rescue immediately.

In Closing:

In great pleasure to feel,
The situation ideal.

Even when holding for hope,
Or with painful ordeal to cope.

Hari-katha blessing for the soul,
Ways to immediate the goal.

That the ocean of misery surpassing,
And time in between blissfully passing.

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