Question: I have understood that bhakti leads to release from the three sources of miseries. This should also include physical pain. How does this work? Is Krsna going to appear like a kind of anesthesic? Fear of pain is even more fearful than fear of death (for a devotee will get either a new fresh body or go to Krsna’s abode). In a pratical way, how to manage physical pain?
Answer: Interesting question. Actually at present I myself am going thru hellish pain. So I will speak from my own experience. At least for me, Krsna does not appear as any kind of anaesthesia. [Editor’s note: This was written several months ago]. My understanding is that bhakti has these qualities but does not manifest for every devotee. It manifests for some special cases, as is seen in the example of Prahlada Maharaja. In case of great devotees like the Pandavas, even their suffering is a manifestation of bhakti. It is not coming from the three gunas of nature.
Sri Visvanatah Cakravarti says that bhakti does not always manifest her qualities so that unscrupulous people do not take to bhakti. Thus bhakti is protected from unqualified people. This also keeps the other paths alive which are necessary for people not qualified for bhakti.
Theoretically I can understand that if the mind is completely fixed on Krishna, then one will not feel pain or anything else. The mind can only experience one thing at a time. But I do not know any examples of this.
So my practical experience is that a devotee feels pain like anyone else. But he tolerates it if it is inevitable. This is Krishna’s advice in Gita – tans-titiksasva bharata. If it is not inevitable, then find a solution for it.
So how to manage pain? If it is possible to remove the cause of pain, then remove it. Modern medicine prescribes pain killers for physical pain. One can take them.
Mentally one should try to fix the mind on Krishna and know that one is not the body. Pain is a temporary phase.
Question: Why did the Pandavas not go to the spiritual world after death? Are they in Goloka Vrindavana or any other Vaikuntha planets?
Answer: The Pandavas are in Vaikuntha. In Mahabharata it is described that they went to heaven. Mahabharata is written from the varnashrama point of view. From heaven they moved up to Vaikuntha.
Question: As per Bhagavatam, many gods prayed during Lord Krishna’s birth in Mathura. At that time they knew that Bhagavan had incarnated. Sri Brahma and Indra must have been present there. Even afterwards, why did Brahma forget that Sri Krishna is Bhagavan and tried to test Him, which is known as Brahma Mohan Lila, and why did Indra cast doubt on Him during the Govardhan-lila?
Answer: This is because of the influence of Krishna’s yogamaya shakti. Krishna wanted to do this lila, so He put them in ignorance. Lila means play. You know what play means. Bhagavan performs lila to teach us, otherwise He would come and go and no one in posterity would know that He was Bhagavan.
Balarama and Duryodhana
Question: What is the reason that in many ways Balarama favored Duryodhana, the enemy of the Pandavas?
Answer: Balarama was the guru of Duryodhana. Duryodhana learned club fighting from Balarama when the Pandavas were in exile. Duryodhana served Balarama well as a good student. So it is not surprising that Balarama favors Duryodhana.
A criminal is not seen as criminal by everyone. He may also have friends towards whom he behaves like a good friend. We see in our own life that a person is seen by some as a gentleman and by some as rogue. Balarama is simple hearted, so he did not see the hidden agenda of Duryodhana who was preparing to fight against Bhima who is an expert club-fighter.
Although Krishna is the Truth behind all reality, (satyasya satyam), and Absolute Truth (param satyam) yet He manifests according to the devotion of His devotee (SB 3.9.11). This is quite amazing.
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