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Srimad-Bhagavatam: 6 Examples To Accept Reversals As Blessings

After going through these examples of great Vaiṣṇavas from Srimad-Bhagavatam, you will surely be able to see God’s hands in every reversals you face.

As Lord Sri Caitanya Mahāprabhu says in The Caitanya Caritamrita~

tarko ’pratiṣṭhaḥ śrutayo vibhinnā

nāsāv ṛṣir yasya mataṁ na bhinnam

dharmasya tattvaṁ nihitaṁ guhāyāṁ

mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ

(CC. Madhya 17.186)

–” ‘Dry arguments are inconclusive. A great personality whose opinion does not differ from others is not considered a great sage. Simply by studying the Vedas, which are variegated, one cannot come to the right path by which religious principles are understood. The solid truth of religious principles is hidden in the heart of an unadulterated self-realized person. Consequently, as the śāstras confirm, one should accept whatever progressive path the mahājanas advocate.’

So we should also follow the footsteps of great Vaiṣṇavas in every step of our life. So when reversals come we should remember the examples of great Vaiṣṇavas, how they dealt with them.

The Srimad-Bhagavatam is filled with the prayers of the great Vaiṣṇavas to the lord, in their great reversals. Here are examples of some of those Mahabhagavat Vaiṣṇavas ~

Vritrasura

The divine demon Sri Vritrasura. The story of Sri Vritrasura is often called “The story of Reversals without Rehearsal.”

In His previous life, He was the great king Maharaj Citraketu who possessed everything we may desire in this material world. Fame, beauty, opulence, wealth, power, etc. But in this life, He faced so much lamentation.

Then by the mercy of the great sages like Sri Narada Muni and Angira Muni, He crossed all the reversals and bondage. And finally by doing great devotional service He became eligible for liberation.

Now He was going back home back to Godhead. In his way, because of some misunderstanding, Devi Parvati cursed him to get a demoniac body. Maharaj Citraketu accepted this great reversal as Krishna’s merciful plan. Then Lord Shiva said ~

nārāyaṇa-parāḥ sarve

na kutaścana bibhyati

svargāpavarga-narakeṣv

api tulyārtha-darśinaḥ (SB. 6.17.28)

—–Devotees solely engaged in the devotional service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Nārāyaṇa, never fear any condition of life. For them the heavenly planets, liberation and the hellish planets are all the same, for such devotees are interested only in the service of the Lord.
Vritrasura’s Appearance

On the other hand, because of the series of aparadhas done by the heavenly king Indra, Citraketu Maharaj appeared as Vritrasura from a sacrificial fire. We can find the demonic horrible description of His appearance in Canto 6 Chapter 9 of Srimad-Bhagavatam.

He went on smashing all the administration of the three worlds and conquering them all. He was so powerful that nobody could even make a scratch on His body.

We find the glorious death of Sri Vritrasura in Srimad-Bhagavatam
Sri Vritrasura’s glorious death

Then after praying to Lord Sri Visnu the demigods got an unconquerable weapon. And after so much struggle King Indra killed Vritrasura by striking on His head with the weapon. At that time of great reversal, Sri Vritrasura remembered the Supreme Lord and chanted a prayer of which four verses(SB. 6.11.24-27) ar the essence of the sixth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam.

At that time of great reversal, Sri Vritrasura remembered the Supreme Lord and chanted a prayer of which four verses(SB. 6.11.24-27) ar the essence of the sixth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam.

Srila Prahlada Maharaj

Prahlada Maharaja, one of the twelve great devotees (mahajanas), is a shining example of one who constantly remembered the Lord with unwavering devotion even facing the greatest reversals.

Despite his father’s hatred towards Vishnu, Prahlada maintained his faith, causing Hiranyakasipu to condemn him to die angrily.

Hiranyakasipu was the most powerful person in the three worlds (except LORD SHIVA, LORD BRAHMA, AND LORD SRI VISHNU), so much so that the demigods were ready to do anything just by the movement of his eyebrows.

Though Prahlada was thrown off a mountain, fed poison, hurled into a blazing fire, and tortured in a variety of other ways; he never became doubtful or weak but continued expounding the glories of Krishna with increased enthusiasm and conviction. Prahlada Maharaj could see the Lord in everything and everywhere, moving or non-moving. When Hiranyakasipu asked Prahlada Maharaj, “is there your LORD in the piller”. Prahlada Maharaj could see the Lord even there also.

We fin in Srimad-Bhagavatam Hiranyakasipu tried to kill Prahlada Maharaj in so many ways
Hiranyakasipu tried to kill Prahlada Maharaj in so many ways

To protect the devoted Prahlada, Nrsinghadeva made an enraged entrance from the pillar. And ripped apart Hiranyakasipu with His nails, bringing his demoniac oppression to an abrupt end.

satyaṁ vidhātuṁ nija-bhṛtya-bhāṣitaṁ

vyāptiṁ ca bhūteṣv akhileṣu cātmanaḥ

adṛśyatātyadbhuta-rūpam udvahan

stambhe sabhāyāṁ na mṛgaṁ na mānuṣam (SB. 7.8.17)

—–To prove that the statement of His servant Prahlāda Mahārāja was substantial—in other words, to prove that the Supreme Lord is present everywhere, even within the pillar of an assembly hall—the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, exhibited a wonderful form never before seen. The form was neither that of a man nor that of a lion. Thus the Lord appeared in His wonderful form in the assembly hall.

The demigods, terrified by the Lord’s raging anger ushered Prahlada forward to pacify the half-man half-lion incarnation. Nrsinghadeva lovingly blessed Prahlada with a variety of benedictions as per his desire, and Prahlada was thus coronated as King.

A great Vaiṣṇava says ~ WE SHOULD LEARN FROM PRAHLADA MAHARAJ TO ALWAYS LOOK FORWARD AND TRUST KRISHNA

Sri Gajendra

Gajendra, in his previous birth, had been a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. His name was Maharaj Indradyumna, and he was the King of the Tamila country. Following the Vedic principles, this King retired from family life and constructed a small cottage in the Malayacala Hills, where he always worshipped the Supreme Personality of Godhead in silence.

Agastya Rishi, along with many disciples, once approached King Indradyumna’s Asrama. ut because the King was meditating on the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he could not receive Agastya Rishi properly. Thus the rishi became very angry and cursed the King to become a dull elephant.

Gajendra’s Call

In accordance with this curse, the King was born as an elephant. And he forgot all about his previous activities in devotional service. Nonetheless, in his birth as an elephant, he was the most powerful amongst the heavenly elephants and had everything in his possession.

Gajendra calling The Supreme Lord in Canto 8 Srimad-Bhagavatam
Gajendra calling The Supreme Lord

But when a crocodile dangerously attacked him, he remembered his past life in devotional service and remembered a prayer he had learned in that life. Because of this prayer, he again received the mercy of the Lord. Thus he was immediately delivered, and he became one of the Lord’s four-handed associates.

Now a crocodile catching an elephant is not so much a great story that it has to be included in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. So what made it so special? It is The devotion and remembrance of the Supreme Lord that Gajendra showed, made the story of Sri Gajendra imperishable in the pages of Srimad-Bhagavatam.

nehābhikrama-nāśo ’sti

pratyavāyo na vidyate

sv-alpam apy asya dharmasya

trāyate mahato bhayāt

(BG. 2.40)

—-In this endeavor there is no loss or diminution, and a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear.

In the body of an elephant, Sri Gajendra may not remember the Sanskrit prayers, but the Lord whom Gajendra worshiped in his previous life was sitting in his heart, even in an animal body. That Supreme Lord sparked that remembrance, as Krishna says in Bhagavad-gita 

“…..mattah smrtir jnanam apohanam ca…..” ‘

from Lord Krishna comes remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness…’

Queen Kunti

Coming to the pages of Mahabharata we find the heart-melting story of Queen Kunti and five Pandavas. Kauravas deprived them of the kingdom they really inherited and thrown them into the forest for 12 years and after that, they had to be in disguise.

Throughout these years and before also they faced immeasurable reversals but they never forgot to call them The Supreme Lord.

Having witnessed a series of exhibitions of Krishna’s love, compassion, and unrelenting protection, Queen Kunti offered a garland of celebrated prayers. Which are called “The Prayers of Queen Kunti” in the pages of Srimad-Bhagavatam.

She glorified the wonderful guardianship that Krishna offers His devotees who simultaneously prayed for further calamities, which help the sincere devotee to remember Him.

Queen Kunti’s prayers to Lord Sri Krishna

The exalted Queen expressed how true devotion rises in the hearts of those who becomes materially exhausted and prayed that her affectionate family ties should not hinder her spiritual progress.

She praised the Lord’s divine appearance, which creates a spiritual resurgence, but lamented the impending separation from Krishna. That Queen Kunti never lost faith in Krishna, despite so many catastrophic reversals indicating the incomparable degree of love and devotion that she exuded.

A great Vaiṣṇava says ~WE SHOULD LEARN FROM QUEEN KUNTI TO ALWAYS LOOK BACKWARDS AND THANK KRISHNA

Maharaja Pariksit The

Maharaja Pariksit the grandson of Mother Queen, was such a great devotee that in the pages of Srimad-Bhagavatam when we read his stories we find more glorification of Krishna than his own. Because of him, Srila Sukadeva Goswam sung the best among the Puranas, the Srimad-Bhagavatam.

kathaṁ vā pāṇḍaveyasya

rājarṣer muninā saha

saṁvādaḥ samabhūt tāta

yatraiṣā sātvatī śrutiḥ

—–How did it so happen that King Parīkṣit met this great sage, making it possible for this great transcendental essence of the Vedas [Bhāgavatam] to be sung to him?
Srimad-Bhagavatam was thus sung to Maharaj Pariksit by Srila Sukadeva Goswami
Srimad-Bhagavatam was thus sung to Maharaj Pariksit by Srila Sukadeva Goswami

When The brahmana boy, Srngi, cursed maharaja Pariksit, it was a transcendental ‘slap’, and the will of providence orchestrated it.

Maharaja Pariksit was nevertheless in a situation where his surrender and devotion became shiningly evident to all.

In Maharaja Pariksit’s case, the Lord arranged for his death in seven days by a curse. The illustrious King wholeheartedly embraced the unexpected news, severed all material attachments, sat on the banks of Ganges fasting until death and received the wisdom of Srimad-Bhagavatam from Sukadeva Goswami.

Although Maharaja Pariksit got the notice of seven days to live, but our time maybe even shorter.

HDG AC BHAKTIVEDANTA SWAMI SRILA PRABHUPADA

And at last there can’t be any better example of reversals happening in one’s life than the example of Srila Prabhupada’s life.

In this age of darkness Srila Prabhupada as “The Senapati Bhakta”, came and went through an ocean of struggles to reestablish the true Dharma (literally meaning the Property) of every living being, ‘THE Krishna consciousness’

yadi papi chadi dharma dure dese yaya mora senapati-bhakta yaibe tathaya

—–“If some sinful people escape and giving up religious principles go to far off countries, then my senapati-bhakta (military commander) will come at that time to give them Krishna consciousness.”

Following His Gurudeva’s order Srila Prabhupada, at the age of 70, went to the western world in a goods-carrier vessel without any money and any help.

He faced two heart attacks on the ship. Srila Prabhupada in that condition prayed to Krishna that,

—— “You have brought me here, but I don’t have any power to do anything in this unknown world. So if You really want me to serve You then controll me as one controll a wooden doll.”

Then in that unknown western world, that old man did something which may seem to be impossible to anyone…

Without any support making the hippies the happiest, making 108 big temples all over the world by traveling the whole world 14 times, giving us the priceless transcendental books like Srimad-Bhagavatam, Bhagavad-gita, Caitanya Caritamrita, Krishna book, etc. and so many other books in so many languages and so on and on…..

Following the prophecy of Sri Caitanya Mahāprabhu, He gave the unfortunate conditioned souls of this dark age a chance to get their real consciousness back.

pṛthivīte āche yata nagarādi grāma

sarvatra pracāra haibe mora nāma

(Caitanya-bhāgavata, Antya 4.126)

—–“In every town and village, the chanting of My name will be heard.”

We can not even start the glorification of Srila Prabhupada, what to say about finishing it in one life .

》》》The “Śrīla Prabhupāda-līlāmṛta” by HH. Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami explains in detail the life of Srila Prabhupada.

The Srila Prabhupada Lilamrta
The Srila Prabhupada Lilamrta