“Whenever a devotee wants something from Lord Vishnu, Lord Vishnu first of all considers whether such a benediction will ultimately be good for the devotee. Lord Vishnu never bestows any benediction which will ultimately prove disastrous to the devotee, He is, by His transcendental nature, always merciful; therefore, before giving any benediction, He considers whether it will prove beneficial for the devotee.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 2, Ch 33)
1. How can a benediction go wrong?
“I have heard it said that the asuras will not approach Vishnu for benedictions. This is confirmed in the vast and expansive history of the universes passed forward in Vedic literature. The events are not always chronologically consistent, and they may even refer to places beyond our current scope of perception.
“I am thankful for the information, nonetheless. I find it interesting to see how people lived in the past, when there were fewer distractions. Information today is filtered through the people in power. The special interests control the narratives. They have bought off the politicians, the doctors, the schools, the scientists, and the judges.
“They wield so much influence that they can make a sane person think they are crazy. I see an apple in front of me, and everyone else says that it is a strawberry. If I press the issue too strongly, they will accuse me of being a conspiracy theorist, that what I believe has been widely debunked.
“The asuras generally approach other demigods for favors. The intentions are bad. The asuras want to rise to power in order to crush the influence of the devoted. Stamp out dharma by force, so that adharma will be the only way.
“It is said that Vishnu-worship is different. He will not agree to a request that will cause harm to the devotee. In what ways can that worship go wrong? If I receive a benediction from God Himself, isn’t that something to be cherished? How can anything directly associated with Vishnu be negative?”
2. Why doesn’t He give the intelligence to know what to ask for?
“Vishnu is supposed to be like the loving caretaker. He doesn’t agree to just anything. He will not allow the children to eat pizza and ice cream for every meal, if using that analogy. If what we want will cause harm, He is not obligated to agree.
“I am wondering why He doesn’t just give us the intelligence to begin with. Instead of asking for this thing or that, it would be great if I knew what to say and what to request when approaching the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That would eliminate the risk for future harm.”
3. Why can’t He just make sure everything will go right, without asking?
“This whole thing is confusing. Rather than try to figure out what to ask for when worshiping, worrying about vulnerability to future harm and the like, just make everything better. This way I don’t have to worry about what to ask for. Just keep it so that I will always be on the proper track.”
This is the primary benefit of practicing devotional service, bhakti-yoga. The principal prayer implicit in the chanting of the holy names is a request to always be engaged in service: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
The idea is that wherever I go, to whichever place I land, in whatever body type I inhabit, may I always have the benediction of serving the Supreme Lord and those devoted to Him. Allow me to remain engaged in that service, whether up or down, high or low, healthy or sick, vibrant in youth or diminishing in old age.
Otherwise, there is always vulnerability. Any benediction has the potential to cause harm. If I am fasting in order to heal from an illness, by praying for food I am asking for punishment. This prayer seems harmless, but Vishnu will still apply discrimination. The duality of the material world dictates that no condition is absolute in its effect, either positive or negative.
In devotional service, the Supreme Lord does provide the intelligence from within. He guides the servant in such a way that they will never be lost to Him. It is like a bright, shining light on the inside, dissipating the darkness.
ददामि बुद्धि-योगं तं
येन माम् उपयान्ति ते
dadāmi buddhi-yogaṁ taṁ
yena mām upayānti te
“To those who are constantly devoted and worship Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 10.10)
Every other path of spiritual life has the aforementioned vulnerabilities and more. There is constant doubt, uncertainty in how to proceed, and concern that the future will bring conditions inauspicious for the further development of the consciousness.
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada refers to bhakti-yoga as Krishna consciousness for a reason. That service has a direct connection to the Almighty, and the link in consciousness is everything. Yoga of that kind is fully capable of rescuing any person, irrespective of their status in life.
When maha-mantra to hear,
Associated prayer coming clear.
That asking for service’s way,
In whatever land or birth to stay.
Such that for benedictions not a need,
Since always in righteousness to proceed.
By Supreme Lord protected,
And proper outcome expected.
Categories: the three