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Pray for Health?
Another consideration is whether you should pray to Lord Krsna for health. The desire to pray for Prabhupada's health was shared by all devotees during his last year. We all wanted him to become well. He was not traveling, and he could not work full-time on his books. We heard that maybe he would leave this world, and so we wanted to pray to Krsna and make Prabhupada better. Prabhupada's secretary remarked to Prabhupada, "Lord Balarama is so powerful, it wouldn't be a difficult thing for him to make you well." Prabhupada agreed that if Krsna desired he could get better. Devotees wrote to Prabhupada asking if they could exchange their youth and health for Prabhupada's old age. Hearing their strong sentiments, Prabhupada permitted the devotees to pray to Krsna for his health. The prayer he gave us was, "My dear Lord Krsna, if You desire, please cure Srila Prabhupada." (We may note the phrase, "If You desire".)
Should we use the full force of our faith to ask for physical health? Some religionists take it as a sign of their potency or faith in Cod that when they pray to Him in illness, He cures their physical disease. But Krsna conscious devotees are not faith healers.
A devotee knows that he has become ill due to karma, or at least he is getting token reaction of karma. He wants to accept gladly whatever Krsna sends, and he tries to understand everything as Krsna's plan. This is expressed ii\the Bhagavatam verse, tat te 'nukampam su samlksa-mano . . .
My dear Lord, one who constantly waits tor Your causeless mercy to be bestowed upon him and who goes on suffering the reactions of his past misdeeds, offering You respectful obeisances from the core of his heart, is surely eligible for liberation, for it has become his rightful claim. —Bhag. 10.14.8
One of Prabhupada's senior disciples, Gobhatta dasa of Santo Domingo, told me the realization he gained about karma after a car accident left him crippled for life. After the accident, Gobhatta entered a hospital ward which he shared with other patients who also had life-crippling injuries. Gobhatta was told by the psychologist there that the main problem for patients like him was to face the agonizing question, "Why did this happen to me?" But Gobhatta Prabhu said, "That thought never passed my mind, not even for a moment." He realized that his suffering must have been due to some reaction of past activities, and so he did not need to figure out a "why." Although he experienced the same physical difficulties as the other patients, he did so in the spirit of tat te 'nukampam and was able to avoid extreme depression.