Hello and welcome to episode 159 of The Ask Sri Vishwanath Show. Today is part six of why bad things happen to good people.
If you haven’t read and watched episodes 154, 155, 156 &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. We 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.
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.
In episode 158 we told the story of Kalidasa and how he was transformed from a fool to one of the most famous poets and playwrights in India due to the grace of the goddess Kali. We learned that we all have the ability to receive this grace, we just need to be aware of it and we need to ask for it.
I shared a great exercise about how to handle internal and external emotions. It’s a very powerful technique and you can learn how to do it by reading and watching episode 159.
Today I want to share another story, this time about Lord Ram. In his kingdom Ram was the eldest of four sons so he was going to be crowned as king. The kingdom was so happy as everyone loved Ram. He had no enemies.
One of the maids Manthara felt that Ram was not a suitable king. She wanted the other son Barat to take the throne. One day she entered the queens during the most evil time of the day. In Hinduism there is a particular time of day called Rahu Kalam as where it is not advised to start good thing. It is the time of day where bad things are more likely to prevail. All the great ones will never start good works during this time.
She knew this and entered the Queen Kaikeyi’s chamber during this time. I should also note that the queen was a good person. She loved Ram as much as her own son and was happy to see him become king.
The maid sat beside the queen and spoke of how her son should be king instead of Ram. How his qualities were so much more suitable for the kingdom. The queen told her to stop speaking nonsense that Ram would make an excellent king. The maid kept at it, she kept hammering those tamas thoughts into the queen to try and convince her. She kept at it and at it, planting that tamas seed that would grow inside her and rise to the top.
The maid could see it was working and she reminded the queen that she had two boons that would allow her to ask anything of the king. She had saved the king before and in return he granted her two boons that she could claim at any time. Back then it was law that any boons that were offered must be given when asked.
Queen Kaikeyi finally gave in to the barrage of tamas thoughts overflowing into her and lost her mental balance.
The queen went to the king and said that she wanted her two boons fulfilled. She said she wanted Ram exiled for 14 years and the second was that she wanted her son Barat to take the throne. The king begged her to reconsider but her tamas prevented her from seeing clearly. It had taken over her.
The king had no choice but to send for Ram. When Ram heard what had happened he did not react in anger. He simply removed his royal robes and wore a simple dress suitable for life in the forest. Before leaving he did something incredible. He prostrated at the queen Kaikeyi’s feet. Everyone was in awe. They could not believe how Ram could be so gracious in this situation.
Ram knew that the tamas had overtaken her. He did not beg and plead or try to reason with her because he knew it would not work. He just had to move with the timeline because, for now, things were in her favour and her boons had to be honored.
At this point the king was distraught. He did not want to see his beloved son exiled for so many years. Ram told him not to worry. The king had done his duty and now it was up to Ram to do his. He told his father that in 14 years’ time he would return. This is where the great Ramayan begins.
Ram was god incarnate so why did he go through all of this? He did it to show that even when gods come to earth they deal with the exact same things as we do. They come to show us the way, to set an example for the rest of us. These stories do the same thing. They remind us that we can be like the great ones by walking in their footsteps.
Ram left his kingdom, palaces and riches behind so easily because he knew that they mean nothing. He knew he could never take them with him so he remained detached from them by keeping the flame of tamas low and bringing up his sattvic gunas.
Let it go
Like Ram we need to learn to let things go. If there is a possibility that something could be taken from us then we should let them go. Our money, properties and jobs. They could be taken overnight in certain circumstances so why worry about them so much. Just let them go and be detached from them.
Ram knew in her heart the queen was not bad and neither was the king for granting those boons. They were not bad, the scene was bad and he knew that just because a scene is bad does not mean the person in that scene is. The same happens to us. We associate ourselves with the scene but we should not because it is only a tamas illusion. It does not represent who we truly are.
The great ones accept both good and bad. They don’t run away from situations which is what a lot of us will do when the scene is bad. Ram did not run. He just accepted that this was what had to happen at that point in time and this allowed him to be fearless. We too must aim to be fearless. Krishna says “from him the world does not shrink. Nor does he shrink into the world. He is free from elation, intolerance, fear and agitation.”
Take business today. Failure is deemed just as important as success because failure is seen as an integral part of success. This is what all the great entrepreneurs say and know. They know failure is another form of success. When it is happening failure does not seem so great but it’s only when you get to the top and look back you see how important it is. Those events which we initially dismiss sometimes end up being the most important ones.
We must look at bad times in the same way. We must know that we can learn from bad times just the same as we can learn from good times. Sometimes we learn more in the bad times and they make us really appreciate the good times. They encourage us to go back to the shore and dissolve the tamas gunas.
I read something interesting not long ago. It said that men run away from snakes but they move closer to the opposite sex because of the possibility of enjoyment but they are indifferent to the grass by the wayside. The person was trying to show how we shun bad things and accept the good but we should try and have the same reaction to everything. We should treat the snake, the attraction towards opposite sex and the grass in the same way.
We should aim to react the same to everything and only focus on bringing sweetness sattvic gunas to every event we find ourselves in. By practicing this constantly we will be able to do it easier when times are bad. We do this by falling back on the consciousness and dissolving the gunas. When we are detached from the gunas it will become so much easier and we will experience immense sweetness and serenity. It is only then that we should take action.
I hope I answered your questions. Remember you keep asking questions and I’ll keep answering them.
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