Nov 062019

“O son of Kunti, the nonpermanent appearance of happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception, O scion of Bharata, and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed.” —Bhagavad-gita 2.14

In Los Angeles, on November 29, 1968, speaking on this verse, Srila Prabhupada said, “Now the question is that ‘Yes, I understand that my grandfather is spirit soul and this body is material. Still, by nature I’ll be unhappy if my grandfather is killed and my teacher is killed. I’ll be unhappy.’ So, Krishna is instructing Arjuna that this kind of distress, in this world, you cannot avoid. These are necessary distresses.

“In India and other parts of the Eastern countries, just like Arabia, during summertime, the temperature is 135. You cannot imagine 135. In India we have experienced such temperature. I have experienced up to 118 degrees. Not always—unusually. But 110 degrees is usual during summertime . . . The scorching heat, you cannot go out on the street. But still, one has to go to office, one has to go to work. There are some cases of heat stroke. Still, nobody can stop his duty.

“ ‘Similarly, even if you think that by discharging your duty as a warrior, as a kshatriya, your grandfather will be killed . . . Of course, there is no cause of lamentation; he’ll get another, new body. But even if you think, if your bodily concept is so strong, if you are sorry, you have to tolerate, just like one has to tolerate extreme heat and extreme cold.’ There is no cause of crying, ‘Oh, there is extreme heat, extreme heat.’ What you’ll do? That is nature’s law. Extreme heat—everyone is cooking. Nobody says, ‘Oh, today is extreme heat. I cannot cook.’ No. Everybody is cooking, although there is suffering. Similarly, there is extreme cold, but everyone is taking bath in the Ganges. Nobody says, ‘Oh, I’ll not take bath.’

“So duty has to be done. There may be some suffering, temporary. . . .

“You have to do your own duty—but [for the] result, depend on Krishna. This is Krishna conscious. You don’t be sorry if there is failure; you don’t be too much jubilant if there is success. Everything is done by Krishna. This is the attitude of Krishna consciousness. They have to do their own duty, never mind whether it is suffering or happiness. It doesn’t matter.”

Thus, as Lord Krishna says later in the Bhagavad-gita (2.27), “In the unavoidable discharge of your duty, you should not lament.”

I pray for such determination.

Hare Krishna.

Yours in service,
Giriraj Swami

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