Hello and welcome to episode 157 of The Ask Sri Vishwanath Show. Today is part 4 of why bad things happen to good people.

If you haven’t read and watched episodes 154, 155 and 156 I highly suggest you do so. That way you will really benefit from this episode. I will give a quick re-cap but there is great information in those episodes that I don’t want you to miss out on.

The king and the minister

In 154 we spoke about the story of the king and the minister. The minister told the king that everything happens for a reason. The king was so angry that he threw the minister in a well. The king was injured in the forest and taken away by tribe’s people. In the end they let him go because of his injury which really proved the ministers point.

We said that there are no bad things, only bad scenes and to get through these bad scenes we must fall back to the consciousness. The easiest way to do this we learned, was to fall back during the good times too so it becomes second nature.

We talked about expectations and how the more we expect from others, the more let down we will be. The less expectation we have the happier we will be. We also talked about the importance of gratitude and we need to be grateful for the things we already have. I great tip was to spend 5 minutes each day writing about what you are truly grateful for. If you’d like to know more you can read episode 154 in full.

In episode 155 we shared the story of Garuda and how Prarabdha Karma means that if something is destined to happen then it will happen no matter what you do. We spoke about fear and how all these emotions are caused by tamas coming to the surface. We learned that instead of asking lay people for help we should first ask the consciousness and then we should ask experts who are high in sattvic gunas. We know that the consciousness is a friend who will always keep us safe.

We also mentioned that you need to figure out what you are good at and focus on that. We need to keep doing that instead of focus on others because we have no right to try and teach anyone else a lesson. I told a personal story that really proved that point. You can read it in full in episode 155.

Finally we told a story from the Mahabharat about the blind king. It showed that when we do take revenge we will always regret it so instead we should focus on ourselves and withdraw our tamas gunas.


In episode 156 we told the story of Tulsidas and how his lust for a terrible woman led him to enlightenment. His need for her completely deluded him and she was the one who made him realise that he should offer his love to God. It is a really wonderful story which you can read in full in episode 156.

This story really showed us the power of God’s grace but it also showed us how the gunas can cloud the consciousness. This is why it is so important to fall back on the consciousness and withdraw the gunas. We can do this by meditating so we can distinguish between the real and the unreal and become detached from the script. It is only then that we will learn that the consciousness will always keep us safe.

I want to share more of my story with you. I moved from Bombay to the US about 15 years ago. I was single at the time and I didn’t know how to cook. I was very well looked after at home and my mother would always prepare the most wonderful food for breakfast lunch and dinner.

The first morning it hit me. How was I going to have breakfast? I was hungry but most of the restaurants didn’t open until 11am. I would have been at work at that stage and to go there for lunch would have meant driving for 30 minutes in my car.  I called my mother and she told me I would have to start cooking and that she would help me out by sending me some of her recipes.

She told me how to cook okara and I excitedly ran out and bought all the ingredients. I started the fire and heated the pan. I put in some oil followed by the okara. It was getting late and I was hungry so I put the flame on high. Then went away to do something else. When I came back it was burned. Totally ruined.

At that point I cried and thought what nonsense. This recipe she had given me was terrible! I picked up the phone and I let her have it. She knew that I had put the fire on too high. She had told me this a hundred times before; to keep the heat low when cooking vegetables. I was not stupid, I knew I had done wrong but I had this tamas attitude towards food. I wanted it and I wanted it now. I couldn’t get rid of that attitude from my mind towards cooking.

I can cook fine now but then I couldn’t understand it and I would blame everyone else but myself. It was the recipes fault or it was my mother’s fault. I had to bring that food to work. It was horrible but I had nothing else to eat. Another colleague of mine had a wife that made him wonderful food and when he saw my food he would offer to share with me. He would then take some of my food and say it was delicious. How I don’t know. Maybe it was God’s work!?

I thought it was wonderful. I cooked horrible food and someone else thought it was great and offered me some of their delicious food. That won’t work all the time but it worked for me back then.

God provides

The reason why I’m sharing this is to show that God provides all the ingredients. I had money, I could buy the vegetables, and I had heat to cook it on along with my mother’s recipes to follow. I had all I needed but the moment I started to cook my own personality went into the food. That’s what makes the food delicious or in my case, horrible.

The same applies to life. We are provided with a brain in our heads and God willing a healthy functioning body but as we go through life our personality comes into play just like it did with my cooking. If you bring a lot of tamas trouble will not be far behind. My experience was only bad because of my tamas gunas. It was the tamas which made me impatient and spurred me into turning the heat up. That attitude messed everything up. Not anything else.

Ask why

This is why we need to stop and ask ourselves why we are feeling angry, frustrated or upset. Is it really someone else’s fault or is it something we ourselves have done? If you think about it honestly you will realise that more than likely it was something that you said or did that made it bad.

When you realise that God has given you everything you need then you will start to feel the anger and frustration rising and you will be able to cut it off before it rises to the top. Things will only be horrible when you let it rise to the top like I did when I turned up that heat.

Now I am at the stage where I can feel these emotions rising very early on. We cannot stop them because they are in our nature but I have learned to feel them when they just start to bubble up. I stop and tell myself that I do not want this because this gunas does not represent me. It is not who I am. I am the consciousness. When I notice it and do not act on it, it goes away.

Handle the gunas

Knowing this will allow you to realise that bad times are nothing more than you not being able to handle your gunas. Especially your tamas gunas. That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less. If I had kept my tamas in check, like I did during the good times I would never have burned that food. Remember the tamas gunas is always there but when times are bad it is exposed. When we keep it in check we experience good times. This is why we need to have the power to withdraw and dissolve the gunas.

In the last ten years I’ve been doing my spiritual work and once my father told me that all this is fine, all this talk of God but if we really want it we are not able to apply it. I really took that to heart. He wasn’t referring to me, he meant it in general terms but that didn’t mean it wasn’t true. We study this and know it inside out but we still fail to apply what we learned when times are bad.

Go back to the shore

We need to destroy tamas gunas by going back to the shore and I promised myself I would do that. Now the majority of the time I can feel this tamas in me and I can control my reactions. I can keep the gas on low. Yes things may still go bad and at least if they do go bad I can know for sure that it was not because of anything I added. It’s only when we add ourselves that suffering really comes. When we are detached and bring up sattvic gunas we will not suffer.

I highly encourage you to write down and meditate on these two verses:

Him the weapons cannot cut, fire cannot burn, water cannot wet, wind cannot dry. The self cannot be cut, dried, burned or wetted…Eternal, all pervasive, stable, immovable, everlasting the Self Reigns”
“Surrendering all works to me. Knowing me Krishna to be of all. With a concentrated mind fox your mind on me. Fixing your mind on me you will overcome all obstacles due to my divine grace. But if ego is tickling your purses you will perish.”

If you meditate on these two verses it will really help you to dissolve your tamas gunas along with your ego and you will find that your sattvic gunas will rise. It will help you to see that the only thing that is real is the consciousness and that everything is a maya illusion.

No education on earth can teach you to do this. No professor and no millionaire can teach you. You do it by getting in touch with consciousness just like the great men and women did.

Give up attitude

I will leave you with this, during the war Rama could have easily killed Ravan who was his enemy at the time. He had kidnapped his wife Sita. People asked why he was waiting. Why not just go and kill him? Ram said “Ravan’s bad time has not yet come. No matter what I do destruction will not come to him. We must wait for bad times to come to him.”  When bad times descended on him Rama took action and killed him with one arrow.

This is so important. We think we should try to teach someone a lesson but if they are harvesting good times we cannot harm them. We can do whatever we want but it will not affect them. This is why we must give this attitude up and focus on doing what we are good at and bringing sattvic gunas to the table.

I hope I answered your questions. Remember you keep asking questions and I’ll keep answering them.

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Sri Vishwanath

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