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How to Deal with Setbacks

When something upsets us, we can remind ourselves: “Yes, this is the material world, and this is bound to happen. When a stone drops into water, it will get wet. When a soul drops into the material world, it will experience miseries. That is just the way it is; there is no way around it.”

At that time you need some spiritual orientation. You see, most of us act on the social level and add a little Krishna consciousness. “Oh yes, I have my friends, colleagues, projects, and so on. To these I add Krishna.” But when you experience a setback you need turn it around the other way. Take full shelter of Krishna because you are dysfunctional at that moment – you are highly disturbed.

I know of no better way of consciously taking shelter of Krishna and entering opening the sacred space where I feel His presence than reciting the Saranagati-prayers of Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura. You must do this, everyone! It will immediately act as a soothing balm for your misery, pain and insecurity: “Do I have a future? Does this make sense?” Pray to Krishna in the mood of a servant to a great soul like Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura and you will see… Krishna has been waiting for you the whole time. He is there immediately.

Srila Prabhupada also gave another solution: sit before the deities, look at them and chant. This is what he told some of his disciples who were disenchanted and suffering. Therefore, my dear devotees, just sit there alone, don’t interact, don’t smile at everyone who enters, just let it be you and Krishna and chanting, and the Lord will receive you immediately. Please understand that the only relationship where you can expect no disturbance is your relationship with Krishna. Should I say it again? The only relationship without disturbance, without misunderstandings, where you will always be accepted, is with Krishna. Really! We all have a God-shaped hole in our heart because we have left Krishna. We have torn ourselves away from Him, so a hole has appeared in our heart. And now we try to move heaven and hell through this hole to find completion and to heal it but only when we put Krishna there, will it be closed. We are missing Him; and nothing and no one else.

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