If 90 % of the causes of disease come from our mind, what is the source of the other 10%?
Physical overwork in Krishna’s service and resultant deprivation of sleep due to Tapasya definitely fall into that 10%!
I am experiencing the first case right now. Book distribution, Hari Nam, farm work, and maintenance all those require a good deal of physical strength, which becomes weakened in old age. So, in old age, one must not overestimate oneself and one must carefully prioritize the choice of Krishna services one absolutely needs to perform, those services that are absolutely essential for one’s own benefit as well as those services that are absolutely essential for the benefit of others, and delegate the rest to whomever. We are definitely not bhajanandis, we are ghosthy-anandis, that is preachers. Practically speaking, the preacher lives for the benefit of Krishna and “others.”
“For all practical purposes, the whole world is full of nondevotees, and so one kind of very advanced devotee avoids them by appearing before them as deaf and dumb. Such an advanced devotee is called a bhajananandi. Those who are gosthy-anandis, however, preach to increase the number of devotees. But even such preachers also avoid opposing elements who are unfavorably disposed towards spiritual life.”
Ref. VedaBase => SB 4.13.10
The alternative is as follows: Just two days ago my local and excellent, first class, mechanic informed me that the Italian gentleman who personally built the property now owned by The Australian Society for Krishna Culture died of a heart attack in the main street of the village, in view of everyone. He was obviously a workaholic. But this is all Krishna’s long-term plan. This property is fabulous for Krishna’s purposes and the Italian gentleman will certainly be Krishna benefitted for his contribution. There is absolutely no doubt about it. Of course, whether we die now or live doesnt really matter. Death is assured for everyone. And as the story of the butcher, brahmacari, prince and sage goes, for the pure better die now.
“Raja-putra ciram jiva. “Oh, the prince, son of a king, you live forever; and you are a brahmacari, muni-putra, a son of a saintly person, so you die immediately.” Then there was a saintly person, and he said to the saintly… He offered his blessings to the saintly person, jiva va mara va sadhoh. Sadhoh means saintly person, sadhu. “My dear saintly person, either you live or you die, as you like.” And there was a butcher. He told for the butcher, ma jiva ma mara iti: “You neither live nor die.”
So what is the significance of these four kinds of blessings? The significance is that he blessed the raja-putra, royal prince, to live forever because whatever enjoyment he’s having, this is for this life. Next life is very horrible for him, next life. Just like generally in the opulent countries like America and other European countries — they are materially very opulent — they do not care for anything.
They do anything, whatever they like, because they are very much proud of their material opulence. But they do not care what they are going to be next life, you see. Therefore so long they live, that is good for them. As soon as they die, they are going to the darkest region of the hell. Therefore the prince, the king’s son, was blessed, “You live forever.”
And so far the brahmacari, brahmacari or the son of a muni, he is undergoing penance, austerities, fasting, not very comfortable life. So he was blessed that “You die immediately.” Because by his pious activities he has elevated himself so high that as soon as he dies, he goes to Vaikuntha, kingdom of God. Therefore the sooner he dies is better. So muni-putra, ma jiva muni-putraka.
And so far saintly person, sadhu, he said, jiva va mara va. A saintly person, “Either you live or die, the same thing. Because you are serving Krsna in this life, and as soon as you die, you will serve Krsna directly. So it is all the same.” And so far the butcher is concerned, he said, ma jiva ma mara: “You don’t die, don’t live.” “Don’t live” means “You are living in such a wretched condition, killing every day.
Horrible life. Your living is horrible, and if you die, you are going to the darkest region of the hellish condition. So both life, living or dying, it is very horrible for you. So you don’t live, don’t die.” [laughs] So that is the blessing to the butcher, “Don’t live, don’t die.” Living condition is also horrible, and after death it is also horrible.
But unfortunately, every one of us is committing butchery without understanding self-realization, what is self, “What I am.” Therefore Vedanta-sutra says that “Try to understand yourself.” Athato brahma jijnasa. This human form of life is meant for searching out, understanding, inquiring about Brahman. We are all Brahmans. Because we are part and parcel of the Supreme Brahman, therefore we are all Brahman.
So if we do not inquire what is Brahman, then that is suicide.
Ref. VedaBase => Lecture on Sri Sri Sad-gosvamy-astaka – November 18, 1968, Los Angeles
What really matter is Krishna’s plan and our willingness to surrender unto Him. We should always have full confidence that Krishna’s plan is for our very best interest. And as He says in BGAII 18.66: “ma sucah” “Do not fear.”
We remember that Srila Prabhupada Himself suffered two heart attacks due to intense stress. Sometimes, Krishna just puts us in intense situations, with the expectation that we shall just handle it. Krishna certainly is a nice boss, and sometimes He also practices the policy of tough love. What can be done, but surrender to Him always? In that way our future is 100% garanteed.
As we learn from Srila Prabhupada’s own travelling, sometimes there are also dietary hazards that may cause dis-ease as follows:
“That evening, when the devotees of ISKCON Nairobi gathered in the temple to hear Prabhupada speak from Bhagavad-gita, Prabhupada saw the different items of stolen clothing on the African boys; one boy wore the kurta, another the top piece, and another the dhoti. Prabhupada pointed this out to Brahmananda Swami, who immediately took the boys out and retrieved the clothing from them. When Brahmananda Swami returned the clothes, Prabhupada didn’t seem to take the offense seriously, but only laughed.
Prabhupada did not laugh, however, at the Nairobi devotees’ bad cooking. When they served him white maize mush, he called it pig food, and the hard, white chickpeas, he said, were suitable only for horses. Then Harikrpa, a black devotee from America, went to the kitchen, boiled some vegetables, and served them to Prabhupada without any spicing. Prabhupada called it dog food. “You are still an uneducated African,” he told Harikrpa. And he went into the kitchen to cook for himself. Almost a dozen devotees joined him, watching him cook a complete meal of dal, rice, capatis, and sabji. He cooked enough for all the devotees, and everyone was satisfied. Bad cooking and stolen clothing, however, continued to be problems during Prabhupada’s week-long stay in Nairobi.”
Ref. VedaBase => SPL 38: No One Listens to a Poor ManAND AND AND
- “Why Haven’t You Brought Me What I Want?”
Srila Prabhupada always accepted food cooked by his sister Pisima, even though he knew that the oil and spices she used made him sick. Because she was very devoted to Srila Prabhupada, he ate her cooked offerings of food as if it were ordained by Krsna.
But sometimes he would confide to others that he shouldn’t eat what Pisima cooked. One time in Mayapur when Prabhupada told his disciple Palika that he did not want to eat Pisima’s cooking, Palika tried to satisfy Prabhupada by bringing him what he wanted.
When Palika brought in Prabhupada’s lunch and he saw that it was made up exclusively of offerings by Pisima, he became angry.
“Why haven’t you brought me what I want?”
“Pisima was there,” said Palika. “What could I do? She hid the dal.”
“All right,” said Prabhupada, “try tomorrow. I’ll tell you what I want and you cook it.”
But the next day it was the same thing. Pisima was using chilies and spices, and Prabhupada was actually beginning to get sick from them. Palika tried hiding the chilies, and Pisima hid Palika’s vegetables. Soon there was no communication at all between the two women.
Prabhupada’s Bengali disciples Bhakti-caru and Nitaicand were brought in to make peace between Pisima and Palika, but Pisima wouldn’t discuss a thing. She said that whatever she cooked was what Prabhupada wanted. She had been cooking for him for seventy years and she knew what he wanted. There was no way in the world she was going to cook anything else.
The devotees told Prabhupada what Pisima said and he replied, “All right, let her cook something, but Palika should also cook some things that I can eat.”
After that the two women cooked in separate places. Pisima would make some preparations and put them on the plate, and Palika would also put her preparations on the plate. Then one day, Pisima decided that Palika shouldn’t cook at all. So Pisima cooked everything. When Palika tried to enter the kitchen, Pisima raised her spoon and shouted in Bengali until Palika retreated from the door.
That day when Palika took the plate up to Prabhupada and he saw that everything had been cooked by Pisima, he said, “What is this? I cannot eat this!” Prabhupada then smashed his fist on the desk and repeated, “I cannot eat this! She knows I cannot eat this! I will become sick if I eat this!” Prabhupada sat staring at his food for a few moments, while Palika stood fearfully in the corner. Then Prabhupada said, “But it is Krsna’s mercy. Therefore I will eat it.” Of course, Prabhupada knew that all he had to do was ask, and twenty devotees would have rushed down to the kitchen and cooked him whatever he wanted. Yet he declared that Krsna had given him Pisima’s prasadam, and so he should eat it. That night, however, after eating a full lunch, Prabhupada became sick. For the next two days he did not take anything except hot milk and medicine.
Nandarani-devi dasi, interview.
Ref. VedaBase => SPN 3-29: “Why Haven’t You Brought Me What I Want?”
Thank you Sivananda Prabhu, whom I met in person in Berlin, Germany, in 1974. Shivananda Prabhu always came across as a “humble sage” as per Bhagavad-gita As It Is 5.18, new version 3:
“On account of his true knowledge and humble nature, one who is thus situated in Krishna consciousness sees with equal vision a learned and gentle Brahmin, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater (outcaste).”
Jai Srila Prabhupada!