Blessing or Curse?

A devotee of Krishna and his companion lost their way in a forest. The companion despaired, but the devotee said maybe some good will come of this. They came upon a stranger who needed the devotee's help. The stranger turned out to be a prince who gave the devotee a beautiful horse.

His neighbors praised his good luck and said, "How blessed you are to have such a magnificent animal." The devotee said, "Who’s to say whether this is a blessing or a curse?" The next day the horse ran away, and the neighbors said, "How horrible that you were cursed with the loss of your horse." The devotee replied, "Who’s to say whether this is a curse or a blessing? Perhaps some good will come of it."

The next day the horse returned, leading five wild horses. "You were right!" his neighbors exclaimed. "The curse was a blessing in disguise. Now you’re blessed with six horses." The devotee replied, "Perhaps, but who’s to say whether this is a blessing or a curse?" The next day his only son tried to ride one of the wild horses. He was thrown to the ground and broke his leg. The neighbors said, "How wise you were. Your blessing was really a curse."

The devotee replied, "There may be good yet. Who’s to say whether this is a curse or a blessing?" The next day soldiers came through the village and took every able-bodied boy to fight in a war where it was almost certain all would be killed. Because the devotee’s son was injured, he was the only one not taken. "How blessed are you to have your son!" the neighbors said. The devotee replied, "Who’s to say?"

The moral of the story from Bhagavad-gita 2.56:

duḥkheṣv anudvigna-manāḥ
sukheṣu vigata-spṛhaḥ
vīta-rāga-bhaya-krodhaḥ
sthita-dhīr munir ucyate

One who is not disturbed in mind even amidst the threefold miseries or elated when there is happiness, and who is free from attachment, fear and anger, is called a sage of steady mind.

PURPORT

The word muni means one who can agitate his mind in various ways for mental speculation without coming to a factual conclusion. It is said that every muni has a different angle of vision, and unless a muni differs from other munis, he cannot be called a muni in the strict sense of the term. Nāsāv ṛṣir yasya mataṁ na bhinnam (Mahābhārata, Vana-parva 313.117). But a sthita-dhīr muni, as mentioned herein by the Lord, is different from an ordinary muni. The sthita-dhīr muni is always in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, for he has exhausted all his business of creative speculation. He is called praśānta-niḥśeṣa-mano-rathāntara (Stotra-ratna 43), or one who has surpassed the stage of mental speculations and has come to the conclusion that Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, or Vāsudeva, is everything (vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti sa mahātmā su-durlabhaḥ). He is called a muni fixed in mind.

Such a fully Kṛṣṇa conscious person is not at all disturbed by the onslaughts of the threefold miseries, for he accepts all miseries as the mercy of the Lord, thinking himself only worthy of more trouble due to his past misdeeds; and he sees that his miseries, by the grace of the Lord, are minimized to the lowest. Similarly, when he is happy he gives credit to the Lord, thinking himself unworthy of the happiness; he realizes that it is due only to the Lord's grace that he is in such a comfortable condition and able to render better service to the Lord. And, for the service of the Lord, he is always daring and active and is not influenced by attachment or aversion.

Attachment means accepting things for one's own sense gratification, and detachment is the absence of such sensual attachment. But one fixed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness has neither attachment nor detachment because his life is dedicated in the service of the Lord. Consequently he is not at all angry even when his attempts are unsuccessful. Success or no success, a Kṛṣṇa conscious person is always steady in his determination.