(Kadamba Kanana Swami, April 2011, Durban, South Africa, Lecture)
In the association of vaisnavas, especially advanced vaisnavas, we become uplifted beyond our normal limitations of holding onto material security. We hesitate about jumping forward in spiritual life, that Krsna will catch us, that Krsna will provide, that Krsna always protects his devotee.
But some devotees die and not in good ways. Where was Krsna then? Was he not protecting? Does he protect some devotees and not others? Does it depend on the degree of one’s Krsna consciousness? Does Krsna only protect only the very advanced devotees?
In Bhagavad-gita 9.31, Krsna says, “Na me bhaktah pranasyati.” That my devotee will never perish! But what does it mean? It means exactly what Krsna says, “My devotee will never perish!” There is no doubt about it as long as we understand in the broader sense what it means. It means that the body, Krsna may or may not protect but the destination of the soul, Krsna will surely protect. Without a doubt! That is very certain!
If somehow or other, our time or our mission in this world is not yet fulfilled, Krsna may protect our body. I myself have slipped out of extremely dangerous situations many times and there was no doubt that Krsna had interfered. It is not possible that by any other means I would have survived.
But that is not ultimately the meaning of na me bhaktah pranasyati. It means that a devotee will come closer and closer to Krsna, and once we have made steps in Krsna’s direction, Krsna will surely protect our devotional service. Krsna will protect our devotional service! Therefore, there is no fear. We just take shelter of devotional service and other things will come and go. Some hardships may come and may go but it will not really faze us. Our devotional service will continue and continue and in the association of devotees, we become uplifted again and again.