01/18/98 - 1514
Cause Of "Devotee" Illness
USA (VNN) - by Agrahya das
We've always known that it seems part of Krishna consciousness
is that one's body gets sick. Sometimes disease is easily attributed
to poor hygiene, mental distress or overeating. Generally we understand
these as the root causes.
A recent article suggested that a devotee's disease was caused
by committing offenses. However, reading Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakur's
commentary on Verse One of Siksastakam reveals a different possible
cause for devotees suffering physically:
"Vidya-vadhu-jivanam: Sri Krishna sankirtana is the life of all
A question may be raised here: when will those who have already
attained pure bhakti obtain their spiritual forms or svarupa?
In reply to this question, Sri Sacinandana Gauracandra says, "vidya-vadhu-jivanam."
In reality Bhagavan has but one sakti. Its two functions are vidya
(knowledge) and avidya (ignorance). The Lord's internal potency
known as yogamaya svarupa sakti is called vidya. The external
potency (mahamaya), which is responsible for the creation of the
material world and which covers the original spiritual form of
the living entities and the qualities associated with that form,
is called avidya.
When pure bhakti arises in the heart of the sadhaka jiva by continual
practice of hearing and chanting, Bhakti-devi, who dispels all
desires other than that for service of the Lord, removes the above
mentioned ignorance (avidya). By the function of the knowledge
potency (vidya-vritti), Bhakti-devi destroys the gross and subtle
body of the jiva. Simultaneously, Bhakti-devi manifests the original
pure spiritual form of the jiva."
There is no precedent for suggesting that a sadhaka (devotee practicing
sadhana-bhakti) gets ill as a result of offenses. Offenses may
result in a wide variety of reactions, including bhrama-tattva
(becoming bewildered about various truths) and ultimately in losing
one's taste for devotional service.
Gopala Capala was afflicted with leprosy due to having offended
the great devotee Haridas Thakur, but the brahmana Gopala Capala
was neither a devotee nor a practitioner of bhakti.
The conclusion is that offenses, especially against Vaishnavas,
regardless of their standing and character, are to be strictly
avoided. But it is incorrect to think that good health is a sign
of spiritual advancement, or that sickness is a sign of offenses.
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