How are we to see Krishna’s hand amidst tragic, premature death of devotees?

By Chaitanya Charan das

Death can seem cruel when it takes away a dear one. The Bhagavad-gita may seem to add to the bewilderment when it asserts (10.34) that the death which steals away everything is a manifestation of Krishna. Why would Krishna, who is the well wisher of everyone, want to steal anything from anyone? The Gita prepares us for this discomforting assertion by first broadening our philosophical perspective of life. Many people see life as having only one dimension: the material. Within this unidimensional materialist perspective of life, death seems to be the ultimate disaster: the total irrevocable termination of our identity and destiny. Gita wisdom expands our horizons by informing us that our existence is two-dimensional: material and spiritual. We are spiritual souls residing temporarily in material bodies. In fact, Gita wisdom goes further to inform us that our real life is only spiritual: a life of eternal love and joy in relationship with Krishna. We actually have nothing to do with the material sphere where we presently reside. When contrasted with our ecstatic eternal life in the spiritual realm, the material sphere is seen as a mere distraction – and a miserable distraction at that. Gita wisdom exhorts us to enthrone the ambition of returning back to Krishna in the spiritual realm as the supreme goal of our life.