How Do We Pray?
(Click to enlarge painting of Queen Kunti offering prayers to Lord Krishna)

"We should be very much careful not to be diverted from Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Even if there is danger or suffering in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, we should tolerate it. We should even welcome such danger, and we should pray in appreciation to Kṛṣṇa.

How should we pray? Tat te ’nukampāṁ susamīkṣamāṇaḥ: 'My dear Lord, it is Your great mercy that I have been put into this dangerous position.' That is the viewpoint of a devotee. He doesn’t regard danger as danger. Rather, he thinks, 'It is Kṛṣṇa’s mercy.' What kind of mercy? Bhuñjāna evātma-kṛtaṁ vipākam: 'Because of my past activities, I was meant to suffer very much. But You are mitigating that suffering and giving me only a little.' In other words, by the grace of Kṛṣṇa a devotee may receive only token punishment.

In court an important man is sometimes found to be a culprit, and the judge may be able to fine him a hundred thousand dollars and know that the man can pay it. But he may tell the man, 'You just give one cent.' That is also punishment, but it is greatly minimized. Similarly, we have to suffer for our past deeds. That is a fact, and we cannot avoid it. But karmāṇi nirdahati kintu ca bhakti-bhājām (Brahma-saṁhitā 5.54): the sufferings of those who engage in devotional service in Kṛṣṇa consciousness are minimized. For example, one may have been destined to be killed, but instead of being killed with a knife, he may instead get some little cut on his finger. In this way, for those who engage in devotional service, the reactions of past activities are minimized. Lord Kṛṣṇa assures His devotees, ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi: 'I shall give you protection from the reactions of sinful life.' So even if a devotee has a history of very grievous criminal activities behind him, instead of being killed he may only get a little cut on his finger. Why then should a devotee fear danger?

We should simply depend on Kṛṣṇa consciousness, because if we live Kṛṣṇa consciously under all circumstances, we shall not return to this material world (apunar bhava-darśanam). If we repeatedly think of Kṛṣṇa, see Kṛṣṇa, read of Kṛṣṇa, work for Kṛṣṇa, and somehow or other remain in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, we benefit in such a way that we shall be saved from taking birth again in the material world. That is true benefit. But if we become a little comfortable because of other, materialistic engagements and we forget Kṛṣṇa and have to take birth again, then what is our benefit? We should be very careful about this. We should act in such a way that our Kṛṣṇa consciousness can under no circumstances be disturbed, even if there is heavy suffering. That is the instruction of Kuntīdevī."

(Teachings of Queen Kunti, Chapter 8)

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