Introduction why-do-bad-things-happen-to-good-people-blog-post

Published on February 5th, 2014 | by Madhudvisa dasa | Full size image

17

Why do Bad Things Happen to Us?

From your views Why do ‘bad’ things befall us? How does all that come into play? Is everything karma or can anything just happen? How would a KC devotee deal with let’s say he’s on the road preaching and someone stabs him badly, how would you view that? Or would you say that while in KC it would not be possible to be stabbed because Krishna is watching over us, especially

Hare Krishna! All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

Nice question.

You have brought in two points. (1) generally speaking “Why do bad things happen” and (2) “do bad things happen to devotees.”

We know the soul is eternal. We are on a journey. And this life is but one small step in that journey. You could think of a motion picture which is on big, big reels of film made up of millions of frames. So our journey is like the entire motion picture and this life is but one frame out of the total movie. So what happens in this frame is a continuation of what happened in the previous frame and what we do in this frame will effect what happens in the next frame. So bad things do not happen to good people. They may have been good in this life but if bad things are happening we can see it is the result of some bad action they have performed in the past; in this life or in previous lives.

There is no such thing as “chance.” In Sanskrit there is not even a word that means “chance.” The concept does not even exist. The closest thing they have is “adrsti” which means “the cause is unknown.” So if something bad and unexpected happens they will not say it happened “by chance” they will say “the cause is unknown.” Which means it happened for some reason but we do not know what that reason is…

As far as a devotee is concerned Krishna is looking after him, that is sure, but how much of a devotee are we really? It is a question of surrender. We may be “a devotee” but we many not be completely surrendered to Krishna. But a devotee is in Krishna’s hands. He does not mind what is Krishna’s plan. If it is Krishna’s plan that he should be stabbed then that is all right. But he will think I am being stabbed because of my sinful actions in the past and it is Krishna’s mercy. I really deserve a lot worse. Krishna has minimized my suffering so much… Somehow a devotee always thinks it is Krishna’s mercy…

But that does not mean that if we are devotees and we see someone coming to stab us we will just put our arms up in the air and say: “It’s Krishna’s mercy” and let him stab us. No. A devotee can fight also. If someone is coming to attack him then he can protect himself of course. After all this body belongs to Krishna and we are using it to serve Krishna so if someone is trying to damage it if they succeed that will make it more difficult for us to serve Krishna. So we have to try and stop them. Also if they are attacking the other devotees we have to stop them.

So we are not, like the Buddhists, non-violent. Sometimes violence is necessary. Actually in the Vedic system there is a whole class of men called ksatryias. That means “to protect from hurt.” So these ksatryias are meant for using violence to protect the other members of the society when it is necessary. Non-violence is not a practical philosophy.

So on to your second point of “do bad things happen to devotees.” The answer is that “bad things” certainly do happen to devotees sometimes. Look at Lord Jesus Christ. His followers nailed him onto a cross. Or at least his followers did not protest while he was being nailed onto a cross. That is quite bad. And in the history of Krishna consciousness some very great souls have had to undergo some very difficult situations. But Krishna does protect his devotees, that is for sure. There is one case of Haridas Thakura. He was a great devotee and follower of Lord Caitanya who is Krishna himself and who appeared in India five hundred years ago. Because Haridas was a great devotee many people were attracted to him and he became very famous and highly respected. He became even more famous than the King of that time. So the King became very envious of Haridas. He did many things. But one thing is he had Haridas arrested and taken to 22 different market places and had him severely whipped in every market place. Such a punishment would ordinarily be a death sentence as no ordinary man could survive such a whipping. But Haridas said after it that he felt no pain. And later on the devotees saw on the back of Lord Caitanya all the whip marks. So Lord Caitanya had protected his devotee Haridas…

There is also Prahlada Maharaja, the son of a great demon, Hiranyakasipu. Hiranyakasipu was trying to train Prahlada to be a big demon and sent him to the school with all the other demon’s children to be taught politics and diplomacy. But Prahlada was a devotee of Krishna from birth and as soon as the teachers went out of the classroom he would jump up and preach Krishna consciousness to all the other boys in the school. So gradually the whole school, all sons of demons, started to become devotees of Krishna…. So it is a long story but Hiranyakasipu became very angry at Prahlada because he had become a devotee of Krishna and he tried to kill Prahlada in so many ways. He threw Prahlada off a big high cliff but the rocks at the bottom turned into feathers and cushioned Prahlada’s fall. He threw Prahlada into a pit full of deadly snakes and scorpions. But they did not bite Prahlada. He had a huge elephant trample on Prahlada. But he was not hurt. He put Prahlada in a big pot of boiling oil. But Prahlada did not die… So he was completely frustrated. And back in his palace he asked Prahlada: “Where do you get your strength from?” And Prahlada replied “The same place you get your strength from, Krishna…” Hiranyakasapu could see Prahlada was not at all afraid of him and he knew it was because of Prahlada’s faith in Krishna. So he asked Prahlada: “Is your God everywhere?” Prahlada said: “Yes” So looking at a huge pillar in the palace Hiranyakasipu said: “Is your God in this pillar?” Prahlada said: “Yes.” So Hiranyakasapu took a big hammer and smashed the pillar and Lord Krishna, in the form of half-man, half-lion appeared out of the pillar. And Krishna as Lord Narasimhadeva killed the demon Hiranyakasapu and saved His pure devotee Prahlada Maharaja…

But Haridas and Prahlada are very special and we can not expect Krishna to do like that for us. But it is true that Krishna protects his devotees and for devotees things no longer simply work on karma. We may have done so many bad things in the past that we should be suffering for now, but because we are trying to be Krishna conscious and are trying to serve Krishna, Krishna changes our karma. So a devotee is not like an ordinary person in this regard. But still we have this material body and it will get old, it will get sick and it will die. There is no getting around that. But a devotee has a different consciousness. He knows he is not the body and even though the body may be going through some troubles, he is not troubled, because he has realized he is not the body…

Still even pure devotees like Jesus can die “horrible deaths.” But in that case there is some plan of Krishna involved. Pure devotees are sometimes killed as was Jesus. He was killed by the Jews who were envious of his popularity and because he preached against the existing religious men. He went to the Jewish churches and told the people “the only way to God is through me…” So he was telling them that these Scribes and Pharisees could not help them get to God at all. If they wanted God they had to listen to him. So it did not make him very popular with the religious leaders of the Jews. So they had him killed. And this is a pattern that repeats. If one becomes a truly spiritual person and preaches so many people will become his enemy. There is even a good chance that Srila Prabhupada was poisoned by some of his “followers” and it seems his spiritual master was also poisoned by some of his “followers.” Both Prabhupada and his spiritual master Srila Bhaktsiddhanta were very powerful preachers who upset a lot of the “caste Brahmins” who are the priestly class in India. They claim one can only become a Brahman [spiritually advanced] by being born in a Brahmin’s family. But this is not what the Vedas says. And both Srila Prabhupada and his spiritual master made this widely known. So even though a pure devotee is the friend of everyone by his preaching naturally demoniac people become envious of him.

But everything in connection with a pure devotee is an arrangement of Krishna. There is one verse that if Krishna wants someone to live no one can kill him and if Krishna wants someone to die no one can save him.”

So I hope it is of some help. Basically there is no chance. Nothing happens by chance. There is a cause for everything, “Innocent” people do not die horrible deaths. The cause is generally our bad karma, bad things happen to us because of the bad things we have done in the past in this life and in previous lives. There is nothing an ordinary person can do about this. The analogy is given of a seed. You plant a seed and after some time it will germinate and grow. So it is with our sinful activities. It is like planting a seed in our heart. In due course of time that seed will germinate and grow and we will have to then suffer the reaction to that sinful activity. Like seeds these sinful reactions take different amounts of time to germinate. Some, like a big tree, may take many many years, others, like wheat, may germinate quite quickly.

And if, at the time of death, we still have these seeds within our hearts waiting to germinate we have to take another birth in the material world so they can germinate and we will enjoy or suffer the results… And when we take another birth we will again do so may sinful and pious activities which will sow more seeds in our heart and we will have to come back to the material world again and again and again… practically forever.

The way out of course is chanting Hare Krishna. This chanting destroys the seeds of our sinful activities in our hearts so they will not germinate in the future and if we can keep ourselves engaged in Krishna conscious activities we will not sow more seeds in our hearts so at the time of death there will be no seeds in our hears waiting to germinate so we do not have to take another birth in the material world–we can go back home back to Godhead and get our original eternally youthful spiritual body full of knowledge and bliss…

And all just by chanting Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna Hare Hare/ Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama Hare Hare…

So why not chant Hare Krishna and be happy?

Madhudvisa dasa

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17 Responses to Why do Bad Things Happen to Us?

  1. Girish says:

    Hare Krishna,

    this article is very nice….

  2. Tanya says:

    Hare Krishna, this reminds me of some verses in the Gita Saar.And believing in that has helped me let go of many things including a loss of a certain person in my life. Of course, that happened only gradually. My question is- what is the origin of the Gita Saar? I have been looking for it in the Bhagavad Gita but I could not find it. Was the Gita Saar spoken by Lord Krishna as well? The version of Gita Saar that I am used to reading:

    Whatever has happened, has happened for good.
    Whatever is happening, is happening for good.
    Whatever is going to happen, it will be for good.
    What have you lost for which you cry?
    What did you bring with you, which you have lost?
    What did you produce, which has destroyed?
    You did not bring anything when you were born.
    Whatever you have, you have received from Him.
    Whatever you will give, you will give to Him.
    You came empty handed and you will go the same way.

    Whatever is yours today was somebody else’s yesterday and will be somebody else’s tomorrow.

    SO WHY WORRY UNNECESSARILY?

    Change is the law of the universe.

    Also, are some things just meant to happen? As in,are there things that would still happen no matter how much and how hard you try to prevent them-ie certain things like death, accidents, other things we wouldn’t want for them to happen because they have undesirable outcomes? Are they all in Lord Krishna’s power and not ours?

    Hare Krishna. Thanks.

  3. Deokie says:

    The trut is that i was always worrying about everything that happen to esp the type of family i was born of,and the friends i always have, but luckly i have found this page to guide me throughout my life. By reading this article of krsna which is so sweet i feel relieve of my mind and place everything into the hands of the lord who will guide me through this material world.
    i am so thankful for this opportunity i have. everything about krishna is so spontanious great and sweet.(melody)

  4. bala says:

    Dear Madhudvisa dasaji

    bhagadvad gita says do your prescribed duty and has divided it under four categories viz. brahmin, kshtrya, visya and sudra..gita also tells janmana jayate sudra

    how can one perform his prescribed duty in this material world?

    please clarify and enlighten.

    thanks

    bala

  5. govinda says:

    Hare krsna jay ma krsnaji
    what is the best way to erase past negative moments from poisining the mind

    • govinda says:

      HARE KRSNA JAY MA KRSNAJI
      A lady told me krsna was killed in the forest, have any ever heard of this

  6. harish says:

    hare krishna
    then if you say those things happened to a devotee due to past sins then why didnot krishna protect him from them? if he is all powerful cant he do that much? im a neophyte so i got many questions? going by your answer if we keep thinking bad things happen because of karma then what is the difference between a devotee and a non devotee since both are affected by it? and where does krishna come into picture because by this theory a persons life is controlled by karma and not krishna

    you said “But a devotee has a different consciousness. He knows he is not the body and even though the body may be going through some troubles, he is not troubled, because he has realized he is not the body… ”

    but my question is what is the difference between an optimistic atheist and a devotee then?? even an optimistic atheist thinks something bad should have happpened but luckily some thing lesser happened!! and a devotee calls that “luck” as krishna

    i heard so many things about neophyte devotees getting stabbed by nonbelievers and insulted and what not!! well they are neophytes.. dont they deserve encouragement from t he lord? if the lord wont protect them then who will? when a neophyte decides to clean dishes,clean floors, sell books all for krishna dont they have a right to expect a little fortune from the husband of fortune?? i agree a devotee should not ask for any material benefits?? but forget material benefits why are they getting material discomforts!! if krishna wont give them encouragement why should he give discouragement?? for a neophyte all this is too much to take isnt it?? if things happen to haridas thakura then i agree!!yes he is enlightened enough to feel krishnas presence and he already reached to that position! but what about neophytes?? dont you think their faith wavers>?? i heard a story of a female devotee getting stabbed on her face by a non believer! her fault?? she went to sell some kc books!! such things scare me! please clear my doubts!! does taking krishna consciousness means taking msifortune? does it mean il have to suffer throughout my life like prahlad or haridas thakur?? or like that lady with scars on her face??

    • Hare Krishna Harish Prabhu

      It is a very good question, thank you.

      At least personally I can tell you I have experienced so many very practical examples of protection by Krishna both of myself and of other devotees I have been around. There are many dangers also. And it is not that if we take to Krishna consciousness there will be no suffering. The reality is that if we seriously take to Krishna consciousness maya will test us very strongly. She wants to see that we are really serious. So if we want to take to Krishna consciousness we have to be prepared for the tests that maya will give us. We have to surrender to Krishna. Give up the bodily concept of life. And have the faith that Krishna will protect us actually. “Kuntea pratijanihi na me bhakta pranasyati,” “Declare it boldy O son of Kunti [Arjuna] that my devotee will never perish!”

      So we know that if we are preaching, serving Krishna, Krishna will protect us. You have to be actually serving Krishna under the direction of Krishna’s pure devotee. Otherwise it is just a mundane activity and Krishna may not protect. These days there are so many bogus “spiritual” organizations, and if you take shelter of bogus organizations you can not expect to be protected by Krishna. But if you surrender to Srila Prabhuapda and dedicate your life to serving him Krishna will protect you for sure. Why not? If you are doing the publicity work for Krishna Krishna will look after you. No one will be able to touch you.

      But there will be so many tests. Maya will try so hard to distract you. And even if we do get some scars on our face, so what, we’re not the body. It does not really matter. Krishna will protect us. It is not that Haridas Thakur or Prahada Maharaja ever suffered. Prahlada was in great spiritual bliss and had complete fath in Krishna and spent his time glorifying Krishna and his demoniac father Hiranyakasipu, the most powerful man in the universe, tried in so many ways to kill the apparently helpless, small, defenceless Prahlada Maharaja, but he could not harm Prahlada at all because Krishna was protecting him. Similarly Haridas Thakur was cained in 21 market places, but he did not feel the caning at all. Rather actually Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was lying on his back to protect Haridas from the caning. Later the devotees saw the cane marks on the back of Lord Caitanya. So Haridas was in spiritual ecstasy, so was Prahlada, they were not suffering.

      It is hopeless to remain a neophyte. Neophyte is useless. Why remain a neophyte? The process is simple. Follow it and get off the neophyte platform.

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

      • mamta waldia says:

        Hare Krishna………
        I have a similar question to ask about the life of Sudama Krishna’s Gurukul friend .I have come to know that Sudama wa in Krishna Coscious since many many births but still, he did suffered the results of his bad karmas so if By chanting God ‘s glorifying names one get rid of results of all bad karmas due to chanting of god names then why didn’t those results exausted with his chanting God names do many times during many of his Births ?why he still faced those results?

        waitnig for your reply
        Hare Krishna.

  7. KDS says:

    Jai Shree Krishna!

    I have always believed in Krishna and always chanted his name as much as I can. I want to try and find an answer to what has just happened to me in my career.

    I had an agreement to work 3 years at a place where i get experience in my field. I got on very well with everyone, was like family and my boss was very happy with me. I accepted all pay rises, all type of work in the three years and took on more responsibility without asking for extra money. My qualifications were not considered in payrises and i manged to pass a number of exams in my field, but even then i continued working cause i liked the people and the environment. there was no benefits for working hard or any bonuses and others with similar qualification to mines were doing much better in terms of pay and benefits. Everthing was fine until when me and my boss sat down after three years. He offered a package which I felt was unfair and i decided to leave the job. My brain didnt acecept it nor did my heart, i felt it wasnt rite after giving the three years of hard work, my heart broke and i left.

    so tell me please, why did this happen this year? was it suppose to happen? has krishna decided its time for me to move on? why did i not accept the rise when in the previous years i have been working on a lower wage? is this fate? did krishna make me do this? am i suppose to be somewhere else now? has he got other plans for me?

    i am confused and in shock, my boss and people working are also confused as to what has happened.

    now that i am not working, i realise it was a mistake, i wasnt thinking right and feel guilty to have not accepted. but what happened to my mind? why did this happen in the final year? what changed the way i felt?

    Please help me to find an answer to this? I m searching for reasons in bhagvad gita to try and find out whether what has happened is suppose to happen or was it my fault?

    Please email me.

    Thanks

  8. Arvind Joshi says:

    I would like to know what is beyond Shri Krishna and what is the origin of the Shree Krishna, who created him??

  9. p says:

    hi all

    reading all your comments very intresting .

    Tanya i am defo going to use that it so true what is happened has happened . really good going to put that on my wall .

    To tell you all the truth i feel really angry with Lord Krishna . I can’t understand why he has made me suffer so much . I am not going to stand here and say i am a saint but everytime i try it feels like krishna make my pain more why . I feel like krishna is an abusive partner in this realtionship. i don’t ask him for money just to feel peaceful and clear minded . To gain strength and love .

    Another thing the article says that we are suffering for our past sins in life . But i don’t remember that do i . How can i be responsible for something that someone has done in a past life . For example in this life if you steal something and you are caught then you must take the punishment . That you cann accept as it is you full well knowing that you have stole but why should i suffer for something that someone else did in a past life and not even remeber or know about it . Don’t make sense .

    Devotion to lord krishna sometimes does not fell real in this world . I want to love krishna , i want to accpet all that is given but i can’t . We have jobs , family pressures stresses , money woriies , relationships how can we just surreneder and forget about all of that it’s not real . We will be homeless and a burden to society .

    i’l be honest with god i don’t know what to do . I can understand what Krishna is saying that you should pray to me with love and devotion and not be attached to the results . Devotee with love beacuse we should all love god but when you suffer intolerable pain what can you do put pray for the thing that is hurting you so much . To me dancing and singing hare krishna does not seem like we are in the real world . Shouldn’t we enjoy the world we in but enjoy it with Krishna .

    Some one give me some answers i am confussed ?

  10. n.s.nair says:

    I am interested to read your publications/teachings at my e-mail

  11. Shubham says:

    Nityananda Gauranga!
    HARI BOL!
    In First Canto of Srimad Bhagavatam, Lord Krishna’s disappearance is mentioned. He says in Bhagavad Gita that non devotees can neither see nor understand him as he is covered by curtain of yogamaya and Brahmanjyoti. He is revealed only to devotees. I have got experience. Once I saw ghosts in my dream trying to bind my body with rope, I chanted Krishna and they vanished. Actually Bhakti is very confidential and a Shuddha Bhakta is very very rare. It is only due to mercy of Lord Nityananda Gauranga that path of Bhakti is made so easy by Kirtanam. Krishna is not much merciful. He told Bhagavad Gita and taught Bhakti, Karma yoga, Jnana yoga. But still people in general think he preached just Karma yoga. Unless one gets mercy of Lord Gaurachandra and Gaura Bhaktas in Kali yuga, none can get pure devotional service. Krishna deluded demons by appearing to be killed by hunter. Gaurahari is the only hope for we fallen souls, then everyone can get Krishna Bhakti. Lord Krishna’s mercy is available to devotees only but Lord Gauranga do not discriminate and distributes love of God freely.
    NOTE: THIS IS NOT MEANT FOR CRITICISING KRISHNA BUT TO SHOW HOW MAGNAMIOUS IS CHAITANYA MAHAPRABHU. Lord Krishna is sweet and Lord Gaurahari is munificient. No one can understand Vrindavan pastimes without mercy of Vaishnavas and Nitai Gaurasundar.
    JAI NITAI GAURASUNDAR
    JAI VAISHNAVAS AND LORD
    GLORIES TO Devotees, Lord and Madhudvisa Dasa Prabhu ji

  12. rob says:

    why did krishna make pain? y did he even give us an ability & option to do sin? y dint he just make a peaceful & happy world? y?

    • Hare Krishna Rob

      Krishna did not make pain. We made pain. Krishna made a perfect world where everyone is peaceful and happy. That is the spiritual world. And everyone is peaceful and happy there because they all accept the Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and we are all His servants. Even now still most of the living entities are living there in the spiritual world with Krishna and they are all completely peaceful and happy. That is because it is our natural and eternal position to be servants of Krishna.

      We have come to this material world because we envy the position of Krishna. Instead of surrendering to Krishna and serving Him we want to become the main person, we want others to surrender to us and serve us. We want to be Krishna… Of course we are not Krishna. So there is a bit of a problem here. We want to play the part of the enjoyer but the only enjoyer is Krishna, we are all meant to be enjoyed by Krishna. So it is actually Krishna’s great mercy that He has created this material world for us and His illusory energy maya, so we come here to the material world and forget all about Krishna and try to become Krishna ourselves.

      Now if you think about it for a moment a world full of people all trying to be the enjoyer, trying to be the master, trying to be god, is going to be a very painful place. There is no way to avoid massive pain for everyone in that situation. So Krishna did not make this situation. Krishna gives us all a little independence. We can either choose to serve Krishna or to not serve Krishna. So the living entities who are in the spiritual world have chosen to serve Krishna and they are completely peaceful and happy. But we, the living entities in the material world, have chosen not to serve Krishna, so because of that choice we have made we are suffering from unlimited anxiety and pain in the material world.

      This material world is pain and suffering only. There is no actual pleasure or enjoyment here. All there is here is a reflection of the real pleasure and enjoyment that is actually in the spiritual world. But there is no reality in a reflection. So ‘pleasure’ here in the material world is illusory. It is an idea, a concept, but something that is, in reality, unobtainable.

      For the world you are looking for that is peaceful and happy you need to become Krishna conscious and go back home back to Godhead. That is what you are looking for, the spiritual world.

      Krishna did not make sin either, He does not want us to sin. But Krishna has given us a little independence so we can choose to sin. Our eternal relationship with Krishna is as loving servants. So you can not love someone if you are forced to love them. That is not love. So for there to be real true love between us and Krishna then we have to have the independence to chose to reject Krishna and to sin, and as a result of misusing our little independence in this way it is us who have created all the pain and sin and suffering in this world, Krishna has not created any of this. We have done it…

      Chant Hare Krishna and be happy!

      Madhudvisa dasa

  13. Aditya says:

    Hare krishna hare krishna krishna krishna hare hare, hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare….
    All my sin’s and karma of this life,and all sin’s and karma from all my previous life’s , ‘krishna arpan mast tu’


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About the Author

My first contact with a Hare Krishna was a most merciful Mataji in Oxford Street, London who sold me a "Higher Taste" cook book in 1984 while I was on holidays there. I started seriously reading Srila Prabhupada's books in Australia 1985 and by 1986 Srila Prabhupada had convinced me "Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead" and "we should surrender to Krishna." I joined the Hare Krishnas in Perth, Western Australia in 1986. Since then I have been chanting Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, reading and distributing Srila Prabhupada's books and preaching as much as I can. That's my life and full-time occupation now really. I like it more than anything I've ever experienced before. Srila Prabhupada's books are so amazing... Even after reading them all many times they're still fresh and new. They are truly transcendental! That's it really. Now I'm just hankering to once again see the world chant Hare Krishna, dance and feast and float away in the ecstasy of Lord Caitanya's Sankirtana movement as it did in Srila Prabhupada's physical presence. Let the whole world drown in the ecstatic flood of love of Krishna!


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