Lecture by His Grace Jagat Caksur Prabhu (download mp3), at the 2007 Gaura Purnima Festival, Sri Mayapur Candrodaya Mandir, Mayapur, India.
yada ca partha-prahitah sabhayam
jagad-gurur yani jagada krsnah
na tani pumsam amrtayanani
rajoru mene ksata-punya-lesah
TRANSLATION: Lord Krsna was sent by Arjuna into the assembly as the spiritual master of the whole world, and although His words were heard by some [like Bhisma] as pure nectar, it was not so for the others, who were completely bereft of the last farthing of past pious works. The King [Dhrtarastra or Duryodhana] did not take the words of Lord Krsna very seriously.
PURPORT: Lord Krsna, who is the spiritual master of the entire universe, accepted the duty of a messenger, and, deputed by Arjuna, went to the assembly of King Dhrtarastra on a peace mission. Krsna is everyone's Lord, yet because He was the transcendental friend of Arjuna, He gladly accepted the role of messenger, exactly like an ordinary friend. That is the beauty of the Lord's behavior with His pure devotees. He reached the assembly and spoke about peace, and the message was relished by Bhisma and other great leaders because it was spoken by the Lord Himself. But due to the exhaustion of the pious results of their past deeds, Duryodhana, or his father, Dhrtarastra, did not take the message very seriously. That is the way of persons who have no credit of pious deeds. By past pious deeds, one may become the king of a country, but because the results of the pious acts of Duryodhana and company were dwindling, it became evident from their actions that they were sure to lose the kingdom to the Pandavas. The message of Godhead is always like nectar to the devotees, but it is just the opposite to the nondevotees. Sugar candy is always sweet to a healthy man, but it tastes very bitter to persons suffering from jaundice. [end]
So actually there are three types of pious activities. Here it is mentioned that Duryodhana's pious activities were diminishing and that is why he was going to lose his kingdom and everything. The three pious activities are bhogonmukhi-sukrti, moksonmukhi-sukrti, and bhakty-unmukhi sukrti. Bhogonmukhi-sukrti means pious activities that bring material enjoyment. Moksonmukhi-sukrti means pious activities that can give us impersonal liberation. And bhakty-unmukhi sukrti means pious activities that can awaken devotion, devotional service.
And what are those pious activities? For example, if somebody gives charity to the poor, opens a hospital, mundane school, makes some road somewhere, things like that, those types of material, pious activities bring material happiness in the next life, or this life. Moksonmukhi-sukrti, pious activities that bring impersonal liberation are meditation on the impersonal Brahman, fasting, meditation, controlling the mind, the senses with that purpose, that brings impersonal liberation.
And bhakty-unmukhi sukrti means pious activity that brings devotional service. What are those pious activities? Not any ordinary pious activities, they are related directly to bhakti. For example, somebody just comes to the temple and puts some little water on the Tulasi plant, so that is spiritual or devotional pious activity. Or he meets a devotee in the street and buys a book. That is devotional pious activity, like that.
There are some stories in relation to that also. Once a thief, in the middle of the night, he was looking for a place to sleep. He saw a temple in the middle of the night and went there, but the door was locked, so he just took his cadar, cleansed the dust from the entrance to the temple, and laid down there. But the Lord took that as a service: "This man cleaned the entrance to my temple," though that wasn't his intention. The Lord is so eager that all conditional souls come back to him that he doesn't lose any opportunity to engage anyone in his service, even unknowingly. That is called ajnata-sukrti. This man, next life, became the pujari of that temple and became a devotee of the Lord, went back home, back to Godhead.
There is another similar story with a pigeon. The pigeon was flying around the temple and one hunter pierced her with an arrow. Before she died, she walked around the temple one time. She did parikrama around the temple and then died. Next life, she became a devotee. Due to that devotional service, she became a human being, became a devotee, went back home, back to Godhead. There are so many instances like that.
But here, Duryodhana's pious activities are definitely material, not spiritual, and those were diminishing. Unless somebody has pious activity, he cannot become a king or a prime minister or any high post like that. He has to have some pious activities from the past to achieve some high post. But if it is misused, then next life, who knows what will happen? We lose everything. That is what was going to happen to Duryodhana.
But the interesting thing here, the very important thing here is that Lord Krsna, who is the spiritual master of the whole universe, was acting as a messenger to his devotees, the Pandavas. Specifically Arjuna is mentioned here. Arjuna, due to his loving friendship with the Lord, he asked the Lord, "Please be our messenger." Out of love, the Lord accepted to do like that. He didn't have to do it. He is the Lord of everything, the master of everything.
And why would Arjuna ask Krsna to do like that? He was aware that Krsna is the Supreme Lord. How can you ask the Lord, "Do some service for me"?
The thing is, when there is a very strong intimate, loving affection, you forget that the Lord is the Supreme. You just fix your mind on the friendship relationship. Like the Brijabasis, they don't think Krsna as God, they think Krsna as our hero, or village boy. "We have so many friends but that is our best friend," like that.
So the purpose of this Krsna consciousness movement is that we have to understand very clearly, we have to be truly convinced that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Then, when we achieve perfection in devotional service, we have to forget that forever. That is the perfection. Prabhupada once said that in the spiritual world, the devotees who think Krsna is the Supreme Lord, they are not first class devotees, only those who think that he is not the Supreme are the first class devotees in the spiritual world.
So when Krsna accepted that peace mission, he went on peace mission. Of course he knew the outcome. He knew everything. He knows past, present, future. Still, to show the whole world how his devotees, the Pandavas, were not greedy like Duryodhana and company, they were detached. They were prepared to accept only five small villages and avoid war. They were willing to do that. So to show the whole world that the cause of this Kuruksetra war was not the Pandavas but Duryodhana, Dhrtarastra, Krsna went there.
Of course, Duryodhana tried to invite Krsna to have nice food with him at the nice palace of his brother, Duhsasana, the best palace was there, but Krsna declined the invitation. He said, "Somebody accepts somebody's invitation for food if there is love or affection between the two persons or if somebody is in distress. So I am neither in distress, nor do you please me, so why should I accept your invitation? I would rather stay at Vidura's home. He is my dear devotee."
So Krsna stayed at Vidura's home. Vidura's wife was cooking for Krsna, and Vidura, out of fatherly affection, was feeding the Lord with his own hand. Krsna was accepting these loving dealings. After the meal finished, the sweet was just a banana. Vidura peeled the banana and was going to give it to Krsna, but he was so overwhelmed with loving affection for the Lord that instead of giving the banana, he was giving the peel to Krsna to eat. And because it was offered with so much love from his devotee, Krsna ate the banana peel. That is the most important thing here, that Krsna is conquered by the love of his devotees. That is the only thing that can conquer Krsna, nothing else.
So destiny has its way. Actually, when Krsna spoke in the assembly of the Kurus, even Dhrtarastra was moved. He agreed that Krsna's words were for the benefit of his sons and everyone, but he lamented that, "Please convince my sinful, greedy son to stop this war." Of course, Krsna tried to do that, but Duryodhana was fixed in his determination not to give even a pinch of land to the Pandavas. They had to fight for it. He was so proud and greedy. We know pride brings downfall.
There is one story in the Mahabharata of a king who took the position of Indradeva named Nahusa. So Nahusa was a great pious king, a very religious king, but Indra was having some problem because he killed Vrtrasura. He had to hide somewhere from the sinful reaction personified, so Nahusa took his position. But as soon as he took his position and gained so much power and opulence, all mystic powers of the demigods were granted to him, he became proud. He started to look at Indra's wife, Saci, with lusty eyes, saying, "I am now Indra, she must become my wife."
He proposed to her, but of course, she was a chaste lady, she declined, but he was insisting everyday for her to accept him. She went to take advice from one brahmana. He advised her, do like this. So next time he proposed to her, she told him, "Yes, yes, you can come to my home, but on one condition: you must come on a palanquin carried by pure brahmanas. That is the only way I can accept."
"Oh that is no problem. I am Indra. All brahmanas are under my command, they will definitely accept."
He went to her home carried by all the sages and brahmanas on the palanquin. Being very lusty, he was hurrying them up and he kicked with his foot one of the sages. That was it for him. The sages immediately cursed him, "You are envious like a snake, then you become a snake." Immediately he fell down, immediately. He fell to this earth planet and become a big, powerful snake.
But before he fell, he asked mercy, forgiveness from the sages. So the sages said, "OK, two things you will have. One thing is you will very easily find your food, you will overcome anybody's strength and you will capture and eat every day. You will have no problem with that. And next thing, you will be free only when you hear discourses on the Absolute Truth from a sadhu, or a saintly person. That is the only way you can be free from this curse."
In the Mahabharata it is explained that once, when the Pandavas were in exile, Bhima was looking around for roots to eat and fruits, whatever he could find. There was a yellow snake with black spots on his body. That was Nahusa. So as soon as he saw Bhima, he said, "Oh, this is a very big man, I will have a good lunch today." So he captured Bhima. Bhima is very strong. He tried to free himself, but he could not because of the blessings of the sages that Nahusa could overpower anyone he captured. Bhima could not release himself.
So he surrendered to Krsna. Bhima said, "Whatever my destiny is, if my destiny is to die today, let it be so. Let me just fix my mind on Krsna."
Then Yudhisthira started to see bad omens everywhere. "Where is Bhima?" He went to search for Bhima and found him encircled by this big, huge snake. Yudhisthira asked the snake to release his brother.
The snake told him, "Only if you can answer my questions about the Absolute Truth." In this way, he asked all the questions and received the best answers. After the discourse was finished, he gained his celestial body as Nahusa and went back to the celestial world. So it was a good ending for him after all, but see the danger of pride.
If somebody is a humble devotee, he will never fall down. He will offer respect to everyone. He will not try to find faults in anyone, only himself. So with that humble mentality, he will never commit offense and he will never fall down if he keeps himself like that. But as soon as pride comes due high position or power or whatever, then there is danger there. Immediately there is danger that I start to look down on everyone and find fault with this and that. Then, fall down can happen. We have to be very careful. It is a very important lesson here.
Anyway, Duryodhana actually was planning to capture Krsna. He told his friend Karna, "If we capture Krsna, the Pandavas will have no more power. And we can just overcome Krsna, he didn't come with soldiers, he just came by himself. It's no problem." So he tried to do that. Everybody chastised Duryodhana--Bhisma, his mother, Gandhari, Drona, even Dronacarya also, Dhrtarastra, his own father, chastised him.
Actually it was suggested, "Since you cannot control Duryodhana by ordering him not to do this, then just arrest him and put him in prison." But Dhrtarastra could not do that. He was too attached to his son.
He remembered that when he was born, all the sages told him, "Get rid of this son, he will cause the destruction of the Kuru dynasty. All the omens indicate that. Accept our word. Just give him in charity to someone else. Throw him away." But he was too attached.
Try to understand Dhrtarastra's mentality. He was frustrated because although he was the elder son of the Kurus, because of incapacity, being blind, he had to give the post to his younger brother, Pandu. So that frustration was always there with him.
So he thought, "My son is not blind like me, so why he cannot be king?" But the problem is, Yudhisthira Maharaja was born first. When Gandhari heard about it, she was pregnant. She was so frustrated that Kunti had a son before her, that she struck her womb forcibly out of frustration. Then you know what happened, Vyasadeva came, there were a hundred pieces and one more piece.
But anyway, this frustration that Dhrtarastra had and his attachment, his affection for his son, could not help him to make the right decision. Right up to the end, he could not do it. So see how material attachments make people, although they know it is wrong, they cannot help it but to do the wrong thing, like Dhrtarastra.
He was actually, when Duryodhana tried to capture Krsna, Krsna was laughing and he showed his universal form right there in the assembly of the Kurus. All the great sages there, actually many sages came, Narada Muni, all great sages also came. They were all in ecstasy seeing the virata-rupa of the Lord manifest there. Even Dhrtarastra, he prayed, "Please give me the eyes to see your form," and Krsna granted him. Dhrtarastra could see the universal form of the Lord just for that moment, then he became blind again.
Anyway, things were settled and Krsna had to leave and the war was unavoidable and what happened? We know what happened. Dhrtarastra lost all of his sons. Bhima killed all of them.
After the Kuruksetra war, all the Pandavas came to speak to their uncle, Dhrtarastra, and tried to pacify him. He lost all his sons. Dhrtarastra said, "O Bhima, are you here? Yes, come, I want to embrace you."
Krsna made a sign to Bhima: "Don't go." Rather, they brought a statue of Bhima made of iron that Duryodhana used to practice mace fighting, striking this statue. They brought it in front of Dhrtarastra, and behind was Bhima. He said, "Here I am, uncle. So Dhrtarastra embraced the statue, thinking it was Bhima, with such strength that he broke the statue in half. He was so angry at Bhima.
Then he cried and started to lament, "Oh, I lost all my sons and now I lost my nephew, Bhima. Oh, so sad"
Bhima said, "No uncle, I am here. [laughter] I know you were very angry at me, so I did like that." Then he really embraced him with affection. The anger was gone.
Still, Dhrtarastra was very, very sorry. He was suffering because of the loss of his sons. Srila Vyasadeva came. Dhrtarastra asked the question to Vyasadeva, "Please tell me, you gave me the blessing to have a hundred sons and now I lost all of them, why this happened to me? Please tell me why this happened to me. Why I had to suffer like that?"
Vyasadeva told him, "Well, this happened to you because in your past life you were a great king, but due to some bad karma, you contracted some very strange disease on your skin and that was very, very hurting, very miserable for you. You were trying to find a cure for that, consulting different kavirajas and doctors, but nobody could find a cure for it. But one very expert doctor, he told you that he knew the remedy for this. He told you that to make the medicine, he needed the body of a hundred swans.
"But he asked you, 'Are you ready to take the reaction for killing a hundred swans because I am not going to accept the reaction. I am only going to prepare the medicine, but you are going to accept the reaction. If you are willing, then we can make it.'
"You said, 'Yes, I am so desperate, I am suffering so much. Do it.' Because you didn't suffer by ordering somebody to kill these hundred swans, now these hundred swans became your sons and now you are suffering because of their death. See how the law of karma works? In your past life, you didn't care to kill a hundred swans. Now they became your sons and you are suffering because of their death."
He was enlightened by this knowledge. We suffer only due to ignorance, nothing else. Once ignorance is removed by the mercy of the spiritual master and the Vaisnavas, then suffering may be there, but it will not affect us as if we were completely in ignorance.
Once one knows the reason for suffering, then he knows the remedy too. The remedy is to take to devotional service. In the Brahma-samhita it is said: karmani nirdahati kintu ca bhakti-bhajam. Only through devotional service karma can be diminished or annihilated. There is no other way to do it.
And of course, in this age of Kali, the best way to perform devotional service is chanting the holy name as inaugurated by Sri Krsna Caitanya Mahaprabhu. In the sastra it is said:
naham tisthami vaikunthe yoginam hrdayesu va yatra gayanti mad-bhaktah tatra tisthami narada
"O Narada, I am not there in Vaikuntha, nor I am in the heart of the yogis."
Then Narada says, "Then where are you, O Lord?"
yatra gayanti mad-bhaktah tatra tisthami narada
"I am there, Narada, where my devotees are singing my glories."
Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
Of course this is nectar for the devotees, to hear and chant and remember the holy name and pastimes of the Lord. But for the non-devotees it is bitter like neem leaf. Although neem leaf is good for your health, it helps your digestion. It is advised by Rupa Goswami, even if you have no taste for chanting the holy name, accept it as a medicine to be cured from the disease of material attachments, material entanglement, material consciousness that keeps us bound to this material existence.
The only way to bring this rope of material entanglement is to take shelter wholeheartedly in the chanting of the Holy Name. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu emphasizes three things as most important: jiver daya, nama ruci, and vaisnava seva. Jiver daya means to show compassion for the jivas. Real compassion means to give them the chance to engage in devotional service, to give them Krsna consciousness. that is real compassion--jiver daya. Nama ruci, to develop a taste for chanting the Holy Name. And vaisnava seva, the attitude of serving the Vaisnavas.
And the Vaisnava has all good qualities:
titiksavah karunikah suhrdah sarva-bhutanam ajata-satravah santa sadavah sadhu-bhusanah
He is tolerant and compassionate, titiksavah karunikah. He is friend to everyone, suhrdah sarva-dhutanam. Ajata-satravah, he has no enemies.
That's also a name given to Yudhisthira Maharaja. We read in previous verses, ajata-satru. One may say, "Duryodhana was his enemy." Yes, Duryodhana had Yudhisthira as an enemy, but Yudhisthira did not see him as an enemy. That is the difference. Someone may treat us as an enemy, but we don't have to respond in the same way. And these are the ornaments of a sadhu.
Once, a great devotee called Govinda, he was the nephew and disciple of Ramanujacarya, he was very nice sadhu, very nice devotee. Once, all his godbrothers were praising him, "O Govinda, you have such good qualities. You are very humble. You are very tolerant. You are merciful. You control your senses. You are religious." Like that, they were praising him.
To their amazement, Govinda said, "Yes, you are right. I actually have all those good qualities."
They became completely confused. They went to Ramanujacarya to tell him, "Govinda became proud. We were praising him and he said, 'Yes, it is true.'"
I mean, when somebody praise us, we try to be humble: "No, no, Prabhu, this is not true. Don't speak like that." Although internally we may say, "Finally someone recognizes." [laughter] But at least externally we try to say, "No, no, Prabhu, don't say like that. I am a fallen soul."
Then Ramanujacarya called Govinda and asked him, "What is this pride, Govinda? A Vaisnava should not be proud. Why you are saying like that?"
Govinda answered, "My dear Gurudeva, of course I have no good qualities at all. If I do have any good qualities in me, it is only due to your mercy alone. And how can I deny that you gave me your mercy? So how can I say no? These good qualities came to me only by your mercy. By accepting them, I am accepting that you gave me your mercy."
We have to understand a Vaisnava's mind is sometimes difficult to understand. We should not judge externally. We should try to understand.
So, do not have much time. If anybody has one question, maybe.
Jagad Caksu Prabhu: Yes, of course. He also was an instrument in Krsna-lila. The demons are also instruments in Krsna-lila. They also bring out Krsna's anger to protect his devotees. They are also helping the Lord's lila in some way or another. Same with Duryodhana, but he is an individual living entity, he has free will and he is misusing it. Of course he is under the influence of maha-maya, not yoga-maya. Only pure devotees are under the influence of yoga-maya, nobody else.
A: What is the other person doing?
I mean, the sun rises for everyone. If somebody wants to keep himself in the shade, the sun is not guilty. Krsna is giving his mercy to everyone, but those who accept or don't accept. Of course, if this happens without the desire of the person, just accidentally, that is his good fortune. Things happen, otherwise, free will is not there. There is free will. Everyone can move, do whatever they want. Freedom is given. If somebody, by chance it happens to him, that is his good fortune. It is not Krsna controlling everybody's desire. Krsna is giving freedom for everyone to do as they like. It is up to them if they want to get the mercy or not.
Yes, by chance, so chance is there. It is possible. And chance happens because there is free will, free movement. So, it depends on us finally. Krsna is eager that everyone comes to him, but he is not going to force anyone to do it because what is the use? But if he sees a little spark in somebody, he will take advantage of it. It said in sastra, if one gives one step towards Krsna, Krsna will give ten steps towards us. Krsna is more eager than us, but he is not going to force us. Krsna will find some way or other. He will do it through his devotees also. We have to go out and give the mercy.
No, it wasn't forced. That is the nature of ajnata-sukrti. Ajnata-sukrti means you do something devotional without knowing. That is the good fortune of the person.
I will tell you one real story that happened in the beginning of the movement in South America. One man, he was driving his car to the university and there was one devotee, Hanuman Goswami. He was preaching to the students there, but he didn't know most of them were Marxist, Communist. He was preaching against atheism, Marxism, so they became angry and a big argument went on between them, so much so that the devotee had to flee for his life. They wanted to hang him!
He was running like crazy and a hundred people shouting, "Hang him! Kill him!"
This man, this lawyer, his name was Bolivar, he saw that scene and immediately reacted: "This man is in danger!" He stopped the car, opened the door, and waved to the devotee to come.
The devotee jumped in the car. He saved his life. This is ajnata-sukriti. He didn't know this is a devotee or what he was doing. But because he did that, then he met Prabhupada later, he started to chant Hare Krsna on japa, Prabhupada liked him, he asked nice questions to Prabhupada, like that.
So things happen, we don't know why. It's not under our control. It is not that everything we have to understand in a square way, why it happened. Free will is there and things happen. That is the nature of ajnata-sukrti. We have to accept like that. There is no other explanation.
OK, thank you very much. Srila Prabhupada ki jai!