Srimad Bhagavatam 3.20.26
pāhi māṁ paramātmaṁs te preṣaṇenāsṛjaṁ prajāḥ
tā imā yabhituṁ pāpā upākrāmanti māṁ prabho
Context: Lord Brahma, the first living entity in this Universe, appeared in a lotus flower that sprouted from the navel of Garbhodakashayi Vishnu. The Lord entered the heart of Brahma and invoked his intelligence to create the universe as it was before the annihilation. Brahma created the five types of ignorance (tāmisra, andha-tāmisra, tamas, moha and mahā-moha), the rakshasas, yakshas and the devatas. After that, he created the demons that were too lustful and very fond of sex. They started attacking Brahma. Out of fear, Lord Brahma ran in great haste and approached the Lord for protection.
Brahma prayed to the Personality of Godhead:
My Lord, please protect me from these sinful demons, who were created by me under Your order. They are infuriated by an appetite for sex and have come to attack me. [SB 3.20.26]
It is interesting to note that Brahma created them under the order of the Lord, but still he had to suffer the consequence.
When there is some danger, the general tendency is to think that it is due to our own action, or our past karma. bhuñjāna evātma-kṛtaṁ vipākam. But here Brahma started the creation as ordered by the Supreme Lord, under His directions. But still he was distressed by the attack of sinful demons.
Many times we see that the devotees, who are very dear to the Lord, are also put into distressful situations.
The Pāṇḍavas were virtuous in nature and fortunate to have Supreme Lord Krishna as their friend. The Lord personally became the charioteer of Arjuna; He went to the assembly of Kauravas as a messenger of the Pāṇḍavas. But still the Pandavas had to suffer a lot.
Bhīma was administered poison; they were put in a house made of inflammable materials which was set afire; their wife Draupadī was insulted in the vicious assembly of Kauravas; they were defeated in the gambling match and were exiled to the forest; they had to fight the man-eating demons, Hiḍimba and Bakāsura; they had to live incognito for a year; and then there was a great battle – the battle of Kurukṣetra.
Even after the war, Aśvattāmā, the son of Droṇācārya, released the brahmāstra to kill the child in the womb of Uttarā, the only surviving descendent of the Kurus. When the Pāṇḍavas visited Bhīṣma who was on the death bed, Bhīṣma cried thinking of all the tribulations that the Pāṇḍavas had to undergo in spite of having Lord Krishna as their friend.
But, however, at the end, the victory is always with the sons of Pāṇḍu because Lord Krishna was associated with them: jayas tu pāṇḍu-putrāṇāṁ yeṣāṁ pakṣe janārdanaḥ.
yatra yogeśvaraḥ kṛṣṇo yatra pārtho dhanur-dharaḥ
tatra śrīr vijayo bhūtir dhruvā nītir matir mama
Wherever there is Krishna, the master of all mystics, and wherever there is Arjuna, the supreme archer, there will also certainly be opulence, victory, extraordinary power, and morality.
Devakī, the mother of Krishna, was the sister of Kaṁsa. She and her husband Vasudeva were persecuted by Kaṁsa, who was fearful of the eighth child of Devakī, who was destined to kill him.
Prahlāda was tormented by his own father, the demon Hiraṇyakaśipu, who tried to kill him in different ways: by throwing him in a fire, by hurling him from the top of a hill, by administering poison, by employing destructive spells, by putting him in a pit of poisonous snakes, by crushing him under heavy stones, by throwing him beneath the feet of huge elephants; and every time the Lord protected him.
And at last, when Hiraṇyakaśipu took out his sword to kill Prahlāda, the Lord appeared in a half-man, half-lion form and killed the demon to protect His dear devotee. Prahlāda was completely sinless, but still he had to undergo various troubles; but he always took shelter of the Lord and the Lord protected him.
Devotees are always in the mood of seeking protection from the Lord. When there are difficulties, which may not be always due to one’s own sinful activities, devotees depend on the Lord. They understand that the nature of material world is like that and no one is spared here; and that they are fortunate to relish the protection of the Lord.
Kuntī Mahārāni, the mother of the Pāṇḍavas, prayed to Lord Krishna:
vipadaḥ santu tāḥ śaśvat tatra tatra jagad-guro
bhavato darśanaṁ yat syād apunar bhava-darśanam
I wish that all those calamities would happen again and again so that we could see You again and again, for seeing You means that we will no longer see repeated births and deaths.
Because for devotees, the calamities are opportunities to see the Lord; to enjoy His protection.
In this material world, there are dangers at every step: padaṁ padaṁ yad vipadāṁ and this is not the place meant for devotees. But the devotees appear in this material world to execute the mission of the Lord.
Srila Prabhupada appeared on this planet to spread the Krishna Consciousness Movement all over the world. When he tried to preach to Indians, no one listened to him. He went to New York, a place where most of the population were covered in the modes of ignorance and passion and were absorbed in the materialistic way of life. But they were open minded and receptive to the teachings of Srila Prabhupada. He travelled around the globe and preached to everyone.
Srila Prabhupada went to Russia only once, and he had a conversation with Professor Kotovsky, who was not very receptive. But one Russian youth (Ananta Śānti Dāsa) became a disciple of Srila Prabhupada and tried to propagate the mission.
In Russia the situation was not favorable. The devotees who tried to accept the philosophy of Krishna consciousness and practice the principles of Bhagavad-gita were tortured. But they did not give up. It was not due to their fault that they had to undergo severe punishments. They were just trying to push the mission under the order of their spiritual master.
And soon the situation changed and with the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the environment became more favorable and the number of devotees began to multiply by leaps and bounds.
When devotees are put in such an unfavorable situation, they should accept it as an opportunity to serve the Lord in His mission. Yes, the Lord is giving us an opportunity to become glorious.
Arjuna had the opportunity to fight on behalf of the Lord. The Lord informed him: nimitta-mātraṁ bhava: Prepare to fight and win glory. Your enemies are already put to death by My arrangement, and you can be an instrument in the fight and enjoy an unrivaled kingdom.
The Supreme Lord is always there to protect His devotees from all dangers; and the devotees take shelter of the Supreme Lord and surrender to Him when they face difficulties in their life.
The demoniac forces are always there. They do not know what to do and what not to do. They are always whimsical in their actions and do whatever they want under the influence of the modes of passion and ignorance (rajo guṇa and tamo guṇa) and with such an arrogant attitude the demons try to trouble the devotees.
But devotees in the mission of preaching should not get deterred in their determination to serve the Lord. They should never get discouraged by the activities of the demons. They must take shelter of the Supreme Lord in His form as Narasimha and pray to Him for protection.
In Kali yuga, these demoniac forces are there in every one of us. When demoniac tendencies take over, we commit sinful activities. But we need not get discouraged.
The only cure is to chant the Hare Krishna maha-mantra and keep ourselves in transcendental association by worshiping the Lord, offering food, honoring prasādam, reading the scriptures, and serving the Lord. The demoniac tendencies will get weaker and weaker, and at last it will vanish.