Hello and welcome to episode 158 of The Ask Sri Vishwanath Show. Today is part 5 of why bad things happen to good people.

If you haven’t read and watched episodes 154, 155, 156 and 157 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. One 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.

I 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.

In episode 157 I shared another personal story of mine and how my tamas personality was affecting my new life in the US. You can read the whole story in yesterday’s episode. I promise it will put a smile on your face.

I shared the story to show that God provides us with all the ingredients but the gunas gets in the way. We need to ask for God’s grace so we can get back to shore. This will allow us to connect with the consciousness and dissolve the gunas.

Today I want to share another story. I like to share things through stories as I feel it’s the best way to learn and the most effective way to get a point across.


We learned that we need to give up ego and attitude. We should focus on what we are good at and aim to bring sattvic gunas to the table. Today’s story is about Kalidasa who was a fool who was transformed into a world famous poet and dramatist. He is known as the Shakespeare of India even though he was born 1000 years before. In fact Vivekananda says Shakespeare should be called the Kalidasa of Europe.

There was a kingdom ruled by a king who had a wise and beautiful daughter. She told her father that she would only marry someone who could beat her in a spiritual debate. Her father called on a lot of spiritual people but she would easily defeat then and not only that, she would humiliate them in public and make them feel so bad. She had an abundance of wonderful sattvic gunas but she also had this tamas quality that made her need to publicly shame those whom she had defeated.

The men decided they wanted to teach this girl a lesson. They wanted her married her off to a complete idiot so she would suffer for the rest of her life. So the went in search of the right person. They came across Kalidasa sitting in a tree sawing the branch. He was on the wrong side of the branch so when he cut the branch he fell down. The people saw this and thought he was perfect.

They explained the plan to him but he was unsure about it. They told him he would not have to say much. They only wanted him to say that he was a wise man and everything else would be done through action. He finally agreed and he followed them back to the kingdom.

They presented him as a very wise person who does not speak but who does everything through action. So the debate began. The daughter made the sign of one, meaning God is one. Kalidasa was a total fool so he put up two fingers. He thought that she just meant the number one so he followed with 2. She interpreted that to mean that he meant there was a god with form and a god without form. The manifest and the un-manifest. She was impressed with this.

She then showed five fingers and her palm which meant the five elements of earth, air, fire space and water. Kalidasa thought she was raising her hand to slap him. He got very angry and put up his fist towards her in a defensive manner. She thought that he was saying that these 5 elements came from the un-manifest. She was so impressed that she fell at his feet. She decided he was the man for her.

A fool revealed

On the first night his foolishness was revealed because he didn’t know anything. The king’s daughter was so unhappy. She had prayed to the god of learning and this is what she ended up with. That night she humiliated him completely. Kalidasa was so upset that he left the room and felt like he just wanted to die.

He travelled all night and the next morning he came across washer women cleaning clothes on the banks of a river. They were cleaning them by pounding them against the stone. Where they were washing the stones were rounded and smooth while the others were ragged where the women were not working. A thought came to him then, if these stones that were so ragged and hard could become smooth and rounded by pounding why couldn’t he become smooth by a wave of knowledge.

Kali’s grace

He went to the nearest temple and knelt below the goddess Kali and it is said that the goddess herself appeared before him and told him to open his mouth. When he did this she wrote the word AUM on his tongue. From that day on he became Kalidasa meaning one who is blessed by the goddess Kali. From that day he wrote the most amazing poems and plays. He became famous worldwide due to the grace of Kali.

The tipping point for him was seeing those hard stones being made smooth but what really pushed him was the insults thrown at him by the king’s daughter. He was so insulted that he wanted to die but through awareness he was able to raise his sattvic gunas so high and become this famous poet.


Kalidasi was not a fool. He only appeared to be one. During bad times we only appear to be sad and frustrated. Just like he had that moment of awareness we should know that we have this ability within us. The goddess would not have blessed him if she had not seen this great potential in him. There is potential in every one of us we just need to be aware of it.

We just need to know that in bad times our tamas has risen to the surface. Whatever has risen to the surface is what appears real at the time. Whatever feelings you have now, you take that to be what you are but the wise ones know that is just a maya illusion. This is why the great ones say our actions should never be based on tamas gunas. It only leads to trouble. These women brought him back to the shore and that is what we also need to do.

Like the mango tree works on sweetening its fruit for the harvest months we need to work on sweetening our consciousness during good times and during bad times. We all have the ability to do this by going back to the shore.
Wherever the great ones go they add a little of their sweetness and by doing this they make themselves happy but they also make other people happy. They create good scenes. We can do this too, it just requires practice. It might take a lifetime but who cares because this is all that matters. This is how you form the gold image.

Internal and external

I want to give you another simple exercise. I want you to take a notepad and divide the page into two. On the top of the right hand side write why am I getting angry? On the second day you can write why am I feeling dejected or whatever low feeling is there.

On the right hand column you write about why you are feeling low. You could write that you are feeling low because of an event that happened or because of something someone said to you. Talk about what exactly made you feel this way, external reasons.


On the left look at these emotions as a negative force and write that you want to flush out these forces. Look at them as if they are coming from inside of you as an internal event.
If you do this for 30 days you will see a real difference. You will become really good at getting rid of all this emotional baggage inside of you because it will make you very aware of the emotions brewing inside of you and you will be able to dissolve them before they come to the surface.

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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