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If a person is a complete bhakt of god: he always remembers god, always thinks about god in any situation.

Can bad things happen to such a person? (Obviously due to bad karma committed by him in the past)

Or is he always protected?

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Yes, bad things do happen even to devotees of Ishwara/God.

Here are some examples -

  1. Arjuna lost his son Abhimanyu in war.

  2. Bhishma had to endure the bed of arrows.

  3. Pandavas faced exile, humiliations.

Moreover, Bhagavan Krishna says this in Srimad Bhagavatam

  1. I gradually relieve a person of his wealth on whom I wish to bestow my grace. Then his own relatives, finding him penniless and hard-pressed with adversity and sorrow- stricken, forsake him (of their own accord).
  1. When (he finds that) all his efforts with the desire of acquiring wealth have been futile, he becomes despondent and forms friendship with persons who are devoted to me. Then only I shower my grace on him.
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  • Arjun was exception. Krishna liked him a lot. Also Arjun was Nara, who always accompanies Narayan. Many people say Arjun was Shiva or avatar of Vishnu himself. But I don't think Bhisma or Pandavs were devotees of god. Bhishma. Bhisma didn't even know Krishna was god.
    – river
    Mar 10 at 13:32
  • @river Bhishma was the person who gave us Vishnu Sahasranama! In multiple places in Mahabharata, he praises Krishna as Supreme God!
    – estimator
    Mar 10 at 13:34

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