In March 2016 while Swami was in Dubai a devotee asked Him how one can rectify the bad deeds carried out in one’s previous births. Here is Swami’s response:
“I often give this example to the students in our college, to explain that what you are experiencing now is the result of what you have done in the past. If you have not worked hard and studied in your lower grades, you will obviously find it difficult to understand the subjects in the higher classes. If you have not learnt numbers properly, it will be difficult to perform addition and subtraction when you go to the higher classes. If you are finding it difficult to do things in the higher classes, it means you haven’t worked hard on your basics in the lower ones. Just because you are in a higher class does not mean you have really worked hard and learnt everything. After all, passing marks are only 35, 40 or 45. It means that there is a possibility that you did not actually learn 65 marks worth of the material. Therefore, you are still in a higher class, but you do not know all that needs to be known.
What you experience now is definitely the result of what had happened in the past. How you experience this is under a great mechanism of the Law of Karma, which knows how to deliver it to you at the right and most appropriate time. Now what can you do about it, having already done that, as a result of which you are suffering? First, know that you are suffering because you have done something in the past, whether you remember or not. Therefore, the first lesson to be learnt from these experiences is: do not do anything now, which will cause any more suffering in the future. Keep your ways Divine and selfless. Do not harm anyone. Help all. Do not cause any pain or hurt to anyone. Be kind and compassionate. This is the first thing. Perhaps God is trying to teach you to accept the suffering when it comes.
Secondly, every suffering, every difficulty, every disadvantage that you are experiencing is a blessing in disguise, because it makes you remember God. The entire purpose of your life is to remember God. If you can remember God, then all your suffering will disappear. The Lord does not interfere with the Law of Karma, just as a principal would not interfere with the rules of the school, once they are set. However, just like the principal, the Lord can make exceptions. A sincere or selfless prayer can definitely remove the suffering.
Markandeya was born with a lifespan of 16 years, but his devotion to Shiva was strong. Death could not touch him, and Shiva came to his rescue on the day he was supposed to give up his body. His curse turned out to be a blessing, because the little boy became a rishi in due course, and still remains an example of devotion. God wants you to be more devoted. That is why there is suffering or difficulties in your path. You must think, “This is an opportunity for me to become better than what I was; more devoted than what I was.” This is how you can look at your suffering.
So, what you can do now is to accept it with humility, to say, “Yes, there must be a reason for all this. I accept it, Lord, with humility that, in Your best judgment and understanding, You have given it to me. Please reduce it to the extent that I can bear it, and not more. You have already done Your work, my Lord; however, give me the strength to undergo this consequence of my actions with fortitude and please guide me so that in the future, never again should we suffer as a result of our deeds. If possible, if You think it is right and best for us, please relieve us of this suffering.” With this humble and sincere prayer, if you work, the suffering may also disappear, you will be far closer to God and you will never commit anything that would cause such suffering again. It is just a reminder that you need to be far closer to God than what you were earlier.”