I am sitting in front of my laptop booking a flight to India in order to continue my studies. Should I take the trouble of taking a longer but slightly cheaper journey? I chose for the direct flight, it’s anyways sponsored by Swiss! While confirming the payment I remember what happened to me on my way back to Switzerland last April:
While leaving Vrindavana I was singing Narashima prayers and requested the Lord for a safe and smooth journey. As soon as I pronounced the prayer, I had some doubts and so I added `if you so desire. A smooth journey - who knows, maybe you have some other plans.’ And indeed, Krishna had other plans!
About four hours later. „No, please!! This can`t be true..!“ But it was. I missed my flight! How did that happen? Many reasons flashed through my mind: while heading to the airport the taxi driver was falling asleep every ten minutes, we were driving only 50km/h on a 100km/h speed limit highway. We lost another twenty minutes on the petrol-station. Still we managed to arrive in time. Sharp at midnight I entered the airport, fifteen minutes left for check in, standing in line, at the Swiss Economy check-in for flight LX 1:15am to Zurich. But then all of a sudden the screen changed and now announced an Emirate flight. I approached a staff member who then told me that the Swiss flight was closed and fully booked. The flight was overbooked, which means that more seats were sold than available. This all seemed to be like a nightmare. I started to argue with the guy from the Airline, and just before I became angry I remembered that I am a monk dressed in a saffron cloth and should therefore also behave accordingly. So I took a deep breath and tried to cool down.
How did this all end? The Swiss team booked me in for a flight with Alitalia via Rome to Zurich just three hours later, with luggage allowance of twice 23kg with no extra charges and the best: a reimbursement of 600.- Euros for the troubles I faced. The guy from Swiss smiled and said „Krishna has chosen you to get this!“ This is what I love in India, even the guy at the airport had a sense of spirituality. And of course my next flight to India is already paid!
So what can we learn from this? Swiss is a nice Airline! But even more important: We never know what Krishna plans for us! In a particular situation it may seem that we really are the loser, that we are doomed, that we are in trouble, but then it may turn out as a blessing in disguise. That which looks very unfortunate might turn into the source of great fortune. I had prayed for a smooth journey but got a very stressful taxi ride. But that same taxi ride was the source of a blessing that I happily accepted. I had to remember the story of the farmer boy who broke his leg while falling from a wild horse. Everyone expressed to the farmer how unfortunate it was that his only son was now unable to help him. But the next day the king’s soldiers called all the young men of the village to join the army in order to enter war. Only that farmer boy who remained home survived due to his broken leg, which indeed became the source of his good fortune.
Therefore it is better to always depend on Krishna and to not prematurely lament about so called bad luck. One should try to understand that everything that happens to us has some reason and only the Lord knows. Especially in difficult situations we need to learn to tolerate the circumstances and maintain our faith in Krishna. Therefore, Srila Prabhupada pointed out that the following sloka should be a guidance for all devotees:
„My dear Lord, one who earnestly waits for You to bestow Your causeless mercy upon him, all the while patiently suffering the reactions of his past misdeeds and offering You respectful obeisances with his heart, words and body, is surely eligible for liberation, for it has become his rightful claim.“ (SB 10.4.8 - Lord Brahmas prayers to Lord Krishna)
I am looking forward to my Swiss flight in mid-September and the continuation of my Bhagavatam Studies. ;-)