Let adversity pave the way to the discovery of real prosperity

When we practice devotional service, we often expect that we will automatically get protection from worldly adversity. So we become baffled on discovering that devotees are not exempt from material adversities. We naturally get the question: Why?

Many millennia ago, this same question was asked by the virtuous king Yudhishthira to Krishna.  The gist of Krishna’s answer in Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.88.8) is that material adversities pave the way for devotees’ spiritual prosperity. Let’s see how.

The eternal, unchangeable reality is that our relationship with Krishna is our only real prosperity. Everything in this world is material and temporary, whereas we as souls are spiritual and eternal. So nothing of this world can give us actual happiness; none of it is our real wealth. Still, we sometimes get allured by worldly things, imagining that they will make us prosperous. Such imagination can divert us from Krishna or even drag us away from him.

That’s why Krishna occasionally allows adversities to take away our pseudo-prosperities so that we are left with no alternative except to turn to him for shelter – and thereby realize how our relationship with him constitutes our only true prosperity. Of course, what causes those adversities is our own past karma, not Krisna. But he orchestrates those adversities so that they become opportunities for us to realize our actual prosperity.

When material adversities strike us, if we prayerfully seek shelter of Krishna, he will give us the intelligence, as the Bhagavad-gita (10.10) promises, to understand and utilize those adversities as opportunities for realizing that our relationship with him is our supreme treasure – connectedness with him comprises real prosperity. Being reassured by the presence of that inner treasure, we can with restored fortitude find the best way to deal with the outer adversity.

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 10 Text 10

“To those who are constantly devoted to serving Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me.”


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