Past Karma and Devotional service

Q. 1. Does past karma affect us after accepting devotional service? We find people engaged in devotional service are also suffering for their past karma (proof is their astrological charts). In krishna book, it is wriiten clearly, person engaged in devotinal service will not get affected by karma.

2. People read S.B’s different chapters for material gain but still don’t
acheive those result’s. eg. Any one reading forest of enjoyment can acheive whatever he desires (no need to do any other karma -kand) or remembering fight of banasur will make a person sucessful in all struggles of life.etc. How to understand this?

A. 1. Karmani nirdahati kintu cabhakti bhajan. Brahma samhita says that devotional service is the process by which the seeds of Karma are burnt up never to fructify again. (B.S 15.170)

Even in the fourteenth chapter entitled the “Three modes of material nature”, the mam ca you vyabhicarena ….B.G 14.26 says that one who engages in unbroken devotional service verily transcend the modes of nature.

You may see that some devotees are also suffering. But no one can prove that it is because of their past karma. The only way to find out is sastra. It is explained that even after surrendering Krsna may personally give some difficulties to his devotees so that he may be purified of his final traces of his shortcomings. Just as fire purifies gold, so also difficulties work to purify the devotee.

2. Material gains are assured but when no one can say when and how. Dhruva got the opulence greater than Brahma. He got the Dhruva Loka. He performed the tapasya for only six months. Krsna rewarded him thus. The results are upto Krsna to give. He waits for the right time. Krsna is completely independent personality. He knows best when to reward his devotees so that he may not become artificially puffed up with material opulences.

He also rewarded Bali Maharaja with Sutala Loka. It is more opulent than the heavenly planets. But, before he awarded him, he first tested him by taking away everything.

The Pandavas were with Krsna personally. Still, they had to fight a huge battle before they ruled over for 36 years. Why did they have to suffer so much and wait for so long. Well, Krsna is the Master mind. He will first purify us and then award us.

Who knows, He has already awarded us with life. According to our past Karma, we could have been dead by now. The fact that we are living is the benediction of the Lord. Everything that we have is already the benediction of the Lord. We fail to recognise it due to past bad habits and a lack of gratitude and relentless greed. The day we become purified we will realise that our life has always been a life full of benedictions.

The real benediction is however not a material one but spiritual. Material opulences will be taken away at death in any case. So  one must only aspire for devotional service to the Lord. Only this will completely make us happy.