Surrender to Krishna destroys karma

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    Sri Vasudeva Das

    Hare Krishna prabhuji

    Thank you for all the recent articles on your blog.

    I was revisiting an article on Prayer and Suffering.

    Here you mention “When material duties are neglected to perform this higher dharma, there is no adverse karma. This is not a blanket freedom from all karma created by the person in the past. It is rather freedom from karma after you have surrendered to God.”

    You do mention how in our experience of spiritual life our suffering does not end. However Srila Vishwanath Chakravarti Thakur in his commentary to 18.66(…”I will free you from all sinful reactions, from whichever reactions exist from the far past and recent past, and whichever ones arise from acts I will make you perform in the future….”) amongst many other places does say that Krishna ends all karma, including the past. He says something similar to an elaborate commentary on SB 6.2.9 which Srila Prabhupad puts in a different way here

    “….Indeed, even his first utterance of the holy name was sufficient to nullify all the sinful reactions of his life. To cite a logical example, a fig tree does not immediately yield fruits, but in time the fruits are available. Similarly, Ajāmila’s devotional service grew little by little, and therefore although he committed very sinful acts, the reactions did not affect him. In the śāstras it is said that if one chants the holy name of the Lord even once, the reactions of past, present or future sinful life do not affect him. To give another example, if one extracts the poison fangs of a serpent, this saves the serpent’s future victims from poisonous effects, even if the serpent bites repeatedly. Similarly, if a devotee chants the holy name even once inoffensively, this protects him eternally. He need only wait for the results of the chanting to mature in due course of time….” But as you rightly mention that we do experience miseries after we surrender also. Srila Vishvanath Chakravarti reconciles it in a way in 6.2.9 that Holy Name does not shock all others (who may not have faith in bhakti) by showing its miraculous effects and it may take some time for those effects to be shown. But the reason is not karma. (He also attributes the suffering to the offences that we might commit. But that is something different altogether).

    Can you help reconcile this.

    Ashish Dalela

    What is your definition of surrender? It is joining an institution and doing some service? Or is it something more/different?

    Sri Vasudeva Das

    Surrender to Krishna in terms of the 6 limbs of sharanagati, anukulasya sankalpa..also not just surrender VCT mentions about Namabhas potency to end all past karma.

    Ashish Dalela

    The criteria for destruction of karma is given clearly in SB 1.2.21 by the words kṣīyante cāsya karmāṇi. This is the last stage of the process described from SB 1.2.17 to SB 1.2.21. The same sentence comes in SB 11.20.30. These are identical verses except for the last sentence. The difference is discussed in The Knot in the Heart.

    Material difficulties may come even after that, to accelerate the advancement, but it is not due to karma. There is alternative process of suffering due to svarabdha. I have explained the difference between prarabdha and svarabdha earlier. Even birth and death may occur after that due to the will of the Lord, but it is not due to karma.

    Spiritual happiness is so perfect that material difficulties are nothing in comparison. Liberation is itself so perfect that material difficulties are nothing in comparison. One transcends these things. They are at most like mosquito bites or irritating flies.

    There are misconceptions at present that those who have joined some organization have “surrendered” to God. The fact is that people who have taken the renounced order are deeply attached to worldly adulation. They have become gurus but they cannot tolerate hunger. Their speech is not in their control. We can forget about the mind. Prabhupada clearly warned his disciples that they were not ready at the time of his departure. And yet, time and again we keep seeing people citing statements that even if you have chanted once then all the sins are destroyed. It is true if you chant purely. But it takes a long time to get to pure chanting. Gajendra chanted purely. Ajamila chanted purely. It comes very naturally when you see the face of death. It is that situation in which urine and stool come out automatically due to fear. Otherwise sincerity is very rare. All that we call chanting is just uttering.

    Ashish Dalela

    I have earlier explained the first verse of Shikshastakam. I’ll repeat that explanation.

    The first step is that the forest fire of material existence comes to an end. It means that you are in the forest fire, but it doesn’t affect you. You will be walking cooly as if you are walking in a garden. The fire is burning all around you and it doesn’t affect you.

    The second step is that you will acquire all types of knowledge. Both matter and spirit will be understood theoretically. There will be many practical realizations about both matter and spirit, which means duality and non-duality. In a flash you can understand who is a materialist and who is a spiritualist. All pretentious people will be detected because there is real knowledge and understanding of both spirit and matter.

    The third step is that you will develop ever-increasing attraction to the chanting of the names. Every day you will see a ever-growing happiness. Every day there will be more attraction to chanting. Every day will be better than the previous day. No reversal. This is when we realize that the process of bhakti is non-reducing. na iha abhikrama naso asti pratyavayo na vidyate. There is no reduction. There is no going backwards.

    The fourth step is that you will be fully satisfied simply by chanting. Nothing more is required. No more desire for adulation, success, appreciation. Always happy, always excited and enthusiastic. Just by the happiness of chanting, all desires are destroyed.

    These four steps constitute the first leg of Sikshastakam. This is the purification of the chitta. The first step is that you don’t feel the heat of the forest fire. Then knowledge will come, then some taste will come, then you will be fully satisifed simply by chanting.

    After that comes the second verse of Sikshastakam. It also has four steps.

    In the first step, there is a realization that the name has all the powers of God. Being with the name is being with God. There is no difference between hearing the name and seeing God. The moment the name is uttered, God appears in front of the eyes.

    In the second step, a regret will develop about not remembering Krishna enough. There will be a regret that I have not done anything for Krishna and I have simply wasted my life. Whatever is done is not enough. There will be no satisfaction or contentment with what has been done so far. Everything will seem like inadequte and imperfect.

    In the third step, we will understand the greatness of the Lord and our smallness. Kindness of Krishna is understood when the greatness of Krishna is understood. The heart will be full of gratitude. A great eagerness will arise to constantly serve Krishna.

    In the fourth step, all the entitlements will disappear. Instead of thinking that I deserve something in return for what I have done, one will think that I am most unfortuate that despite a great opportunity, I have simply wasted my life. The discontenment about the work will become dicontentment with the self. It is a kind of self-reproachment.

    After that comes the third verse of Sikshastakam. Under this verse, genuine humility develops. The name will be chanted 24×7 in the mind and one cannot live even one moment without chanting. Whichever moment one doesn’t chant is considered a wasted moment. Due to that regret, one will chant continuously even during sleeping. All the dreams will transform into dreams about Krishna and His devotees.

    Once this stage is attained then in the fourth verse of Sikshastakam one attains liberation and rejects that liberation. Liberation is attained when it is no longer desired.

    In this way progress goes through 8 stages of Sikshastakam. Practically everyone is stuck at the first step of the first verse, which means that at every problem our mind is disturbed. When will karma end? When will I get out of problems? When will my life become better? The answer is never. We have to stop asking the question. End of that question is progress.

    This is called dhira; dhiras tatra na muhyati. The sober is not bewildered. No anxiety about karma. What can happen at most? Death? Well the soul will not die. So what is the anxiety all about? It is just mental speculation. We have to become dhira to begin with. Otherwise, the subsequent steps are not possible. We have to realize the first important verse of Bhagavad-Gita that life never ends and we have had millions of lives before. By this one realization one becomes dhira and stops worrying about karma. The karma may continue. But there is no worry about that karma.

    Sri Vasudeva Das

    Thank you for the wonderful explanation prabhuji, my point was primarily to understand the import of the statements in your article correctly and not so much about ‘karma’ per se. Your comments have clarified it.

    Thank you very much, specially for elaborating the Sikshashtakam.

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