To endure karma, embrace dharma
To endure karma refers to dealing gracefully with the adversities that come in our life as karmic reactions to our past misdeeds. When such miseries come, different people respond differently. Some seek drink; some, the blame game; and some, the pity party. Overall, many people seek shelter in some thing other than dharma.
No matter how many things go wrong, Krishna is still there to shelter us – and will always be there.
However, the best way to endure karma is by embracing dharma. Dharma refers not to a set of rigid religious rules, but essentially to the process that helps us find shelter in God. While different dharmic processes take us incrementally towards this shelter, the topmost dharmic process, bhakti-yoga, centers on directly seeking that shelter. This progression in conceptions of dharma is evident in the Bhagavad-gita’s flow. Initially, it (04.08) declares that Krishna descends to establish dharma. And it climaxes (18.66) with a call and an assurance: a call to turn away from all dharmas for turning towards the supreme dharma of surrendering to Krishna; and an assurance that he will protect us from all karmic reactions.
We can surrender to Krishna by absorbing ourselves internally in his remembrance and externally in his service. When we thus gain his shelter, our consciousness becomes absorbed in him. Just as a person on a hot day feels relief after entering an air-conditioned room, so does our consciousness experience relief by coming within the shelter of Krishna. We realize that, no matter how many things go wrong, Krishna is still there to shelter us – and will always be there. This reassuring realization gives us the solace, security and strength to face the problem with confidence and courage. When we pray sincerely to Krishna, “How can I serve you now?” he guides us from within (10.10). Being thus emboldened and guided, we can dispassionately explore and determinedly execute the best means to deal with the problem.
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