Devotees left with nothing are right with Krishna
Some people believe that material prosperity is a sign of God’s pleasure and material adversity, a sign of his displeasure.
Such beliefs are typical of material religiosity – a preliminary level in approaching God. Gita wisdom takes us much higher to the level of selfless love for Krishna. At that level, devotees focus simply on his pleasure, not on their material status.
Of course, we don’t have to divorce material things from Krishna, for they can be used in his service. But as devotee-seekers, we need to be aware that those things can distract us from him if they beguile us into believing that they in themselves can make us happy.
So, if circumstances deprive us of those things, we can see the situation not as an adversity but as an opportunity to be freed from potential distractions and focus on Krishna single-mindedly. Substantiating this, the Srimad Bhagavatam (10.88.08) urges us to see such losses not as signs of Krishna’s displeasure or anger, but as expressions of his special favor. Adopting this vision can inspire us to take greater shelter of Krishna. Then, even if we are left with nothing, we are right with Krishna – during the deprivation, we will feel his presence more intensely and will go even closer to him.
However, we don’t have to intentionally court material poverty to go close to Krishna. Neither do we have to assume that material prosperity signifies his blessings. Our nearness to him depends primarily on the steadiness and seriousness of our practice of bhakti-yoga. The Bhagavad-gita (12.16) indicates that those who stay steadfast in their devotion, not craving (anapekshah), slaving (sarvarambha-parityagi) or worrying (gata-vyatha) about material things, are dear to Krishna.
By aspiring to live thus, we will eventually live with Krishna in this life as well as the next.
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