Body is an important medium to serve Lord krsna in the material world, so it’s necessary to take care of the body and keep it healthy. But however natural, pure and healthy lifestyle and diet you may be having there will be circumstances in life when you will have to get admitted to hospital or you will be asked to give rest to the body. Because it’s a nature of the world that one who is born he has to go through other 3 stages(miseries) of life that is old age, disease and death. One can skip the old age but not the disease and death. And sometimes diseases are so serious and severe that tremendous amount of pain is involved in it(although sufferings may be optional which depends upon the level of consciousness).
In my personal case I always tried eating pure hygienic food, did exercises regularly but still diagnosed with pleural effusion which means watery fluid accumulation in chest. Thus got admitted in hospital and undergoing strict bed rest for minimum 2 weeks. Yes, of course it’s certainly painful to miss your service to krsna due to physical inabilities but that can’t stop our remembrance of krsna which is as powerful as service to krsna. We can turn this sickness into blessing by reflecting on following few points.
To know our consciousness-
During sickness most of the time one is advised to rest. And during resting it’s our observation that although body is resting mind keeps roaming. And because we don’t have particular work to be done or we are not focused on something it flickers wildly. This is the best time to know our consciousness level by seeing our thoughts. If the thoughts and feelings of sense enjoyment are prevailing then we need to seriously work on consciousness.
Also we must have heard and even convinced others that how we are not this body but soul but when some bitter medicine is kept on tongue or when needle is injected in body we sometime yell due to pain thus we understand that I myself is not convinced or realised about my identity as soul. Still long way to go.
To know our foolishness-
Every jivatma till he is conditioned feels himself to be doer and controller. Thus he tries to enjoy indiscriminately But when such situation arises he realises that I am an insignificant part of the vast creation. I can’t control any my part of body what to say of others or something else. We can’t do anything by ourselves and if we think that I am the doer then we are simply fooling ourselves.
To know our helplessness and to develop meekness-
Alone we can’t do anything this realisation perfectly comes when one is sick. We are utterly dependent on someone even when it comes for attending natural urges. Depending upon others for small small things means one has to be humble and it’s one of the important quality to become God conscious.
To validate trueness of scriptures and falseness of material pleasures-
Although we accept teachings of scriptures on the basis of faith but it’s most important to have realisations of some by undergoing real life experiences. Again and again scripture tells us about futility of material sense enjoyment but still we keep hoping for some pleasures. But when situations like sickness or diseased conditions comes we understand that body is simply going to give me trouble. Same thing was actually spoken by Avadhuta brahmana in 11th canto of SB, “The material body is also my spiritual master because it teaches me detachment. Being subject to creation and destruction, it always comes to a painful end. Thus, although using my body to acquire knowledge, I always remember that it will ultimately be consumed by others, and remaining detached, I move about this world.”
To know greatness of krsna-
Krsna is great he is controlling everyone from microscopic(bacterias in body) level till macroscopic level. It’s simply a mystery that how he has created this body which is much more complicated than any modern complex machine. So many verities of things are involved in it and if function of any small part stops body tends to become weak or diseased. But again krsna has provided medications too to get it cured.
Krsna is so kind that although we have done tremendous amount of sinful activities in this life what to say of past, he is giving us minimal reactions to it.
To develop closeness to krsna-
This is the time when we have nothing to do, lots and lots of time is available. We can utilise this time to read, chant and study more about krsna, his pastimes, his instructions. We have to time to pray, meditate, contemplate, reflect and introspect in our own heart.
To develop gratefulness to devotees-
In my case whenever I was sick or bedridden due to some disease I was helped by devotees. Their encouraging and hope giving words are some of the things which always helping me to get cured early. We can utilise this time to meditate on their good qualities.
We can remember not only the current existing devotees but also past devotees who have tried hard to push the movement accepting difficulties.
To understand greatness of devotees-
It’s painful When a syringe’s needle goes inside a body. Just imagine the condition of those devotees who sacrificed their physical comforts and even body for spreading krsna consciousness. Kuresh disciple of Ramanujacharya, his eyes were taken out while he was alive, Hladini Devi who took bullets of revolver on chest, so much pain. We can’t imagine the pain Prabhupad had suffered when he had 2 massive heart attacks on Jaladuta and there was no doctor.
To cultivate seriousness-
During sickness we have understood that being in this body is simply inviting more miseries better perfect our life by becoming serious in our devotional service. That’s the only hope, if we miss this chance then again material bodies with varieties of pains…enough is enough.
Also during sickness we can appreciate the value of healthy body and we can actually vow to utilise future’s every healthy moment in service of krsna. So that during sickness again we can remember happy healthy serving moments.