15th December, 2014, Gurgaon.
I heard about someone not being well today and it made me think how I used to behave, when ill, before coming into Krishna consciousness.
Basically, not unlike a spoiled brat, I would raise a big hue and cry and ensure that the whole house would know how much I am suffering. And this would be for anything from a mild fever to a bad throat. My family would dread my ever falling ill. Priti, my wife, used to say that she prays to God that I should be the last person in the family to fall ill as I can’t tolerate even a small inconvenience and make everybody else life also miserable by my constant demands, while on the bed, and description about my suffering to any and every one who was ready to listen ! I would spend my sick time, when not complaining, either watching TV, reading novels or sleeping, in other words I would be plain bored and would be a irritated patient. I would rush to take the antiboitics the very moment so that I don’t have to go through any more cough and it used to work very well. I used to hate being sick.
Now to the present status. I fell ill for few days in the beginning of this month. It was nothing serious, I caught cold, which got worse and instead of taking antibiotic medicine I thought let me bear the whole discomfort and infection will pass in few days. I had to spend 3-4 days at home due to fever and cough. Eventually I was back in shape after a week. The whole house was quite as I found that by the grace of God I have suddenly got a lot of time to catch up with my hearing and reading. I was in a bliss. Of course there was some uncomfortableness due to fever and constant cough for few days, but it was just a small irritant or rather a very small price to pay for being able to hear and read so much. I was so happy that I can now hear and read without any comments from anyone in the family and I am sure they too were happy thinking that I was so quiet. It was too quite for their comfort ! Priti pushed me to go to office on third day as I seemed to be in no discomfort at all. I had to show her the thermometer and remind her of my constant cough that I am still sick ! She then questioned `why am I not seeing a Doctor?’ She commented that I seem to be enjoying it. How true it was. I politely told her that Doctor will just give me some antibiotics to relieve me of constant cough and fever and I am taking neem capsules to build stamina in my body and let’s just watch for one day more and if not recovered then I promise to go and see a doctor. With this excuse four days passed and I was back in action.
As I write and look back, I realise that not only my general health has improved after coming into Krishna consciousness, mostly due to regulated eating habits, but the time during the sickness too has improved tremendously. Now sickness means more reading, more hearing and no disturbance from anyone. It gives me a chance to come more closer to Krishna. Now, I look forward to being sick as well.
I searched for a relevant quote from Srila Prabhupada I came across this gem from HH Mahanidhi Maharaj.
Pride is so deep, that even when we are sick, we are proud of it. We tell others about our sickness, to get their sympathy and attention.
How very true, this was indeed me !
Maharaj then adds the below lines to his above quote
But Krishna’s devotees are humble. They never want any attention from others. They keep everyone’s attention on Krishna.
I haven’t reached this stage yet but atleast I know that I am moving a little away from the other extreme of trying to gain everyone’s sympathy and attention.
Krishna says in BG 9.2
rāja-vidyā rāja-guhyaṁ pavitram idam uttamam
pratyakṣāvagamaṁ dharmyaṁ su-sukhaṁ kartum avyayam
This knowledge is the king of education, the most secret of all secrets. It is the purest knowledge, and because it gives direct perception of the self by realization, it is the perfection of religion. It is everlasting, and it is joyfully performed.
Prabhupada writes in his purport to the above verse ‘The process of devotional service is a very happy one (su-sukham). Why? Devotional service consists of śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ, so one can simply hear the chanting of the glories of the Lord or can attend philosophical lectures on transcendental knowledge given by authorized ācāryas. Simply by sitting, one can learn; then one can eat the remnants of the food offered to God, nice palatable dishes. In every state devotional service is joyful.’
Sometimes looking for that big transformation within us we fail to take notice of so many small positive changes that have entered our consciousness and we miss the chance, every time, to pay our gratitude to our spiritual master, our Acharya and our dear most Lord.
All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.
All glories to being in Krishna consciousness.