Protection is a need for everyone in every walk of life. We seek protection through wealth, doctors, military, insurance and many other sources. The protection offered through them is limited by time, space and ability. They cannot protect us completely and forever. One who has control over everything, one who is eternal and one who is conscious of us completely alone can offer us complete protection. Only the Supreme and All-Attractive God Krishna can only offer us such protection.
We can access Krishna’s protection through devotional service. Often as a devotee pursuing Bhakti-yoga, we may get a question – “I am practicing devotional service. Why is Krishna not protecting me like how he protected Prahlad? I am still facing many problems”. Krishna’s protection is reciprocal. Just like the government offers various levels and degrees of protection to various citizens. For a prime minister who is offering most valuable and committed service to the nation, the security offered is high and for a normal citizen who is just paying his taxes, the security offered is minimal. Similarly, Krishna’s protection is reciprocal. It varies according to the degree of surrender. Let us study the various levels and types of protection Krishna offers.
Devotional service initially helps us to understand that the world around us is beset with dualities (BG 15.10). Our life in this world is destined to be a combination of both pleasures and pains. This is a reality that is common for everyone with pain varying in form and nature from person to person, place to place and time to time. Therefore, problems in life will no more be surprises that inflict frustration. The trials and tribulations also act as reminders of the actual reality of the world and our actual purpose in this world. Devotional service gradually takes the practitioner to the mode of goodness. The habits, behavior and attitude of the practitioner will be gradually get more and more immuned from sin (BG 14.6). The practitioners creates relatively lesser problems for himself in the present and future.
With taking up devotional service, our focus moves from externals to internals. We will prioritize mental, intellectual and spiritual problems in preference to gross and tiny discomforts and injustices. The more we identify ourselves spiritually, we will not seriously consider the bodily and social discomforts and challenges as problems (BG 5.22). Eventually, when the devotional absorption intensifies, we become oblivious to the external happenings and circumstances (BG 6.22). Then when devotional consciousness reaches its crescendo, all happenings and eventualities are seen as loving orchestrations of God (BG 6.30). Prahlad is able to see Krishna in poison and in the hearts of elephants and serpents.
God protects us from problems in form of distresses and difficulties. More important, God protects us from problems in form of deviations and distractions especially sensual and material pleasures. Devotional service initially enlightens us about the futility of material pleasures by exposing their transitory and dualistic nature (BG 2.14). Devotional service also offers means to spiritualize few of the material pleasures like food, music and dance by helping the practitioners to dovetail these propensities in Krishna’s service (BG 3.13). Ultimately, devotional service provides us with the highest pleasure of loving and serving Krishna that pulls us away from the fleeting material pleasures and purifies us of the desires for material pleasures (BG 9.27).
Krishna’s eagerness to protect us is far more greater than our eagerness to be protected. Understanding this if we seek protection from Krishna through his worship, service and remembrance, we will be always protected as promised by Krishna in BG 18.58.