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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Satsvarupa Dasa Goswami > Obstacles on the Path of Devotional Service > Physical Illness > Introduction

4.Physical Illness


Some devotees, especially those who are young, may consider physical illness to be a specialized topic, of interest only to a few. Not so many de­votees may have had prolonged illness. But in fact, illness is one of the main problems of material life, along with birth, death, and old age. Sooner or later these four miseries come to everyone.During the last days of his illness in 1977, Srila Prabhupada said to a sannyasi at his beside, "Don't think this won't happen to you." If at present we are healthy, there will come a time when we  will be ill. We are sometimes rich, sometimes poor; some­times happy, sometimes sad; sometimes a human being, and sometimes in the species of birds or beasts. And so we will have our turn to become ill. One who laughs at the physically ill may be re­minded of the parable of the wet and dry pieces of dung. A piece of wet stool laughed to see a piece of dry dung hurled into the fire. (In India, when cow dung dries it is used in fire as fuel). The wet stool could not comprehend that as soon as he dried off, he also would be thrown into the fire.


A temporary illness may be merely bothersome, or it can turn into a crisis in spiritual life whereby one loses his desire to perform devotional service. But even the most severe physical disease, when accepted in a Krsna conscious way, can bring many benefits.