tāḿ cāpaviddhāḿ jagṛhur
TRANSLATION: O sons of King Pracinabarhisat, the heavenly society girl named Pramloca kept the lotus-eyed daughter of Kandu in the care of the forest trees. Then she went back to the heavenly planet. This daughter was born by the coupling of the Apsara named Pramloca with the sage Kandu.
PURPORT: Whenever a great sage undergoes severe austerities for material power, the King of heaven, Indra, becomes very envious. All the demigods have responsible posts for the management of universal affairs and are very highly qualified with pious activities. Although they are ordinary living entities, they are able to attain responsible posts, like Lord Brahma, Indra, Candra and Varuna. As is the nature of this material world, the King of heaven, Indra, is very anxious if a great sage undergoes severe austerities. The whole material world is filled with such envy that everyone becomes afraid of his neighbors. Every businessman is afraid of his associates because this material world is the field of activities for all kinds of envious people who have come here to compete with the opulence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus Indra was very much afraid of the severe austerities performed by the great sage Kandu, and he sent Pramloca to break his vows and austerities. A similar incident took place in the case of Visvamitra. From other incidents in the sastras, it appears that Indra has always been envious. When King Prthu was celebrating various sacrifices, outdoing Indra, Indra became very envious, and he disturbed King Prthu’s sacrifice. This has already been discussed in previous chapters. King Indra became successful in breaking the vow of the great sage Kandu, who became attracted by the beauty of the heavenly society girl Pramloca and begot a female child. This child is described herein as lotus-eyed and very beautiful. Being thus successful in her mission, Pramloca returned to the heavenly planets, leaving the newborn child to the care of the trees. Fortunately, the trees accepted the child and agreed to raise her. (End of purport)
HG Badrinarayan Das: So we have a planet, a kingdom of trees, we have someone in the heavenly planets, Lord Indra, we have a heavenly society girl— only in the pages of the Srimad Bhagavatam. We believe, we Vaishnavas, we believe amazing stories. We should not run away from it. We believe some very amazing, mind-blowing things. When I was a kid, when I was in school, (to a young boy in the front row) Yes, I was young one time. You are what I once was, I am what you will become. It’s a scary thought, son.
In school I made a model of the universe, you get little sytrofoam balls, you painted them, you hung them on a string, it’s a mobile. I was maybe ten years old. Now do you think that a ten year old child should understand the secrets of the universe? We have to recognize that we arei Suppose Christopher Columbus ant goes out on an expedition, sent out by the queen, carrying the flag, not Espana this time, but carrying the flag of the ant kingdom. Now he’s crawling on me. I’m droning on and he’s crawling, crawling, crawling. And he reports back to the queen, vast lands, hills, forest, all uninhabited. Now he’s crawling on me, but he has no idea that I’m a person.
I grow fragrant flowers for the Deities, it’s my therapy. They never say that I want to be a rose, or something, they just do their duty. And we offer them to Radha Giridhari in San Diego. I had been gone for some time and I had been watering this one plant, a mogra, and a colony of ants had invaded and moved into that pot. And they freaked, surely they were screaming, “Women and children first!” And I’m sure in the annals of ant history it will be reported The Flood of 2012. But they don’t know that behind the flood there was a hose, behind the hose there was a faucet, behind the faucet is my hand. And there’s a person.
Why, someone please explain to me the arrogance of the modern materialist, why everything is subordinate to my perception. If I can’t see it, if I can’t smell it, if I can’t chop it into tiny pieces, if I cannot control and manipulate it, then it doesn’t exist. Why? Please tell me why there can’t be higher beings.
In India they have sufficient dogs, but if you blow a dog whistle, it’s a frequency that we can’t hear, but the dogs hear it, so if you blow it, they freak. There’s a sound frequency that I can’t hear, a spectrum of light, so many colors that I can’t see. My band of perception is very, very limited, what to speak of the tendency to cheat, tendency of illusion, all the other faults. And yet we claim, a priori, if it’s not subordinate to my perception, it doesn’t exist. Only in Kali Yuga do we find this profound arrogance and ignorance. But that’s not what I wanted to talk about, we’ll move on.
When I was a child, we had a long driveway. I was very fond of my father, he was a good man. You know, materially, he was a good man. I would see my father’s car go down the long highway, and he would beep, and I would wave. And if I was home from my sporting activities, my father would come home at 6 o’clock, and I would be at the top of the driveway and wave and he would drive up the driveway and I would wave and he’d come home. I had my little world, I’d walk to school, I had my best friend. My whole world extended eight to ten blocks, that was my reality. One day it was Take Your Child to Work day, and my father took me to his office. We went down the driveway, passed the school, we got on the freeway and suddenly the whole world opened up. We went to Los Angeles, to the top of a skyscraper, blew my mind. I had no idea that that such a whole world existed. So the idea that everything is subordinate to my experience is patently bogus.
This serves as a cautionary tale. The Srimad Bhagavatam is full of many success stories, and dos and do nots. Cautionary tale; Indra is always in anxiety. Prabhupad was in Japan. Srila Prabhupad set up Tamal Krishna Maharaj as the middle man. As pre Srila Prabhupada’s plan, Tamal argued with them, offered them a super low price. The Japanese actually had to step out of the room, get some oxygen, come back. Prabhupad set himself up as the middleman, “Oh obviously, that price is too low,” which Prabhupad had told Tamal to offer. “And your price is too high, let’s settle somewhere in the middle.” They settled for something super low, but it was higher than what he had told Tamal to give. So the Japanese were out of the room adjusting their life airs. So there was one minor, junior executive left in the room. He didn’t speak English very well, but Prabhupad asked him what his goal in life was. And all the businessmen of Dinnippon executives had put their cards on the table. The junior executive didn’t speak much English. So he gathered all the cards of everyone and put them in a stack and out of his pocket he took his own card and put it on top. That was his goal in life.
So the materialists, they’re always trying to get more in life. But they can’t even conceive of the opulence of Lord Indra who gets such a post, what to speak of Varuna, and yet they’re always in anxiety, who’s going to take my place, why would we want such a thing? Everyone is chasing after happiness. Do they have this saying in India, like a dog chasing his tail?or So we’re chasing like that.
The farmer is working out in the hot sun. He takes his grains to the mill, and he goes in, and the mill-owner’s sitting in a nice seat, he has an abacus saying buy sell, buy sell, and the farmer is thinking, if only I could become a mill owner, I’d be so happy, it’s so easy sitting there in the AC. Then the tax-collector comes and takes a big chunk of the mill-owner’s income. The mill-owner’s thinking, Oh, I work so hard, I can’t sleep at night, buy sell, buy sell, and this king comes and takes a big bite out of everything I sell. If only I could become the king. The king is sitting in a nice palace, people sitting on this side and that side, people feeding him peeled grapes. But he’s there thinking about running the kingdom, who’s trying to usurp his throne, the citizens.. He’s completely in anxiety, he’s looking out his window and he sees the farmer and thinks, “oh what a simple life, just farming in the field, if only I could be a farmer.”
So this is our factual situation, the Srimad Bhagavatam gives a nice example, it describes a crane, he’s sitting in the stream, looking for something to eat, the rocks are causing pain to his feet, it’s cold, and he’s waiting, but he’s thinking Oh maybe I’ll find a fish. We’re like that. Prabhupad was in Boston, and it was wintertime, and a bird hadn’t gotten the memo, he hadn’t migrated. The bird is there in the snow. Prabhupad saw this bird out of the window and he said that this bird is so miserable, he would kill himself, but he finds a little grain, a little bug, the sun comes out for a few moments, so he thinks, “not so bad.”
A man falls into a well, and as he’s falling, he grabs for some shelter, and he’s holding onto something, he hasn’t fallen down. And as his eyes adjust to the light and he sees a big king cobra coiled at the bottom of the well. The man says, oh, can’t go down. He looks up and he sees a tiger, saying come on up. And he sees that what he’s holding on to are two roots coming out of the two sides. And there is black and white rat and they’re eating away at the the roots. Then something drops on his head. He looks up and sees a beehive dropping a little bit of honey. So he opens his mouth catching the drops and thinks, “not so bad”.
The cobra at the bottom is our life airs, time and tide wait for no one. Above is the tiger, the three modes of nature, adibhautic, adidevic, and adiatmic, ready to devour us at any moment. The black and white rats are daytime and night time, eating way at the roots. With the rising and setting of the sun a day passes and is lost. Then we have a little honey of sense gratification and we think “not so bad”. This is the Srimad Bhagavatam’s honest analysis of our position.
Do you know Prince Philip of England? Do you know that he has his shoelaces ironed? That he has someone tie his shoes. Did you know that Queen Elizabeth, she has her newspaper ironed every day, Times of London, so that the ink sets in, and then someone puts on a white glove to test so that the queen doesn’t have any ink on her hand when reads the paper. So you can imagine the attempt to erase all the miseries in life. She has hundreds of people. And she has 100s of people, and guaranteed she’s in anxiety. She has her dimwit son who may go new age on her, so she has to stay on the throne. Whatever arrangement you make, the material natural will outdo us.
The materialists spend their whole time fixing petty problems. We should appreciate the scope, the depth, the value of Vedic wisdom. It goes to the heart of the matter. What is the first thing that’s essential for a good doctor? What is the first thing to get cured? Medical, good insurance? No. You have to have a good diagnosis, you have to know the cause of the disease is, and otherwise you might as well be taking colored water for medicine.
Or air conditioning– it’s too hot, now it’s cold, oh, very nice. When they were bombing, in 1971, in the Bangladesh war, there was a blackout in Delhi, and Prabhupad’s talking with a newspaper reporter. And she says “Swamiji, Swamiji, can you give us some words of wisdom in this time of distress?” Prabhupad says that, when the bombing stops you’re not in distress? You’re in distress at every moment. It’s too hot, get AC. It’s too cold, get a heater. All that you’ve done is address the symptoms but not the real issues of birth, death, disease, old age.
Sadaputa’s joke. A man comes home at night. He sees his neighbor on all fours, searching the ground, under the streetlight, so picture this he’s up by the street, on all fours, searching the ground searching for something. The neighbor is naturally curious, so he goes up, and the man is drunk as a skunk. And he says, “What are you doing?” The man says that “I’m looking for my house keys,” I was trying to open the door and I dropped my keys. The neighbor says “But the door is over there, why are you over here by the street?” The drunk man says, “Oh, this is where the light is”. Here’s the purport.
Because they assume that these questions cannot be answered, how to solve permanently birth, death, disease, and old age, let’s look at this little world that we can deal with, the AC, but all they’re doing is dressing the wound, they’re not solving anything of real substance.
Here is the point I wanted to get to. Prabhupad was riding on a train in the evening. And he was in his compartment and there were some Indian businessmen in the neighboring compartment. So they were pious enough to understand, Here’s a sadhu, let’s get blessings.
Sometimes Prabhupad didn’t want to be disturbed, he has important work to do. So these disciples, they were like linebackers blocking the door. But a moment’s inattention, and they slipped in. So Swamiji, Swamiji, give us your blessings. Like a swami is an ATM machine. Prabhupad said, “So what are those blessings?” They were caught by surprise. So this man said, “I have this arthritis in my knee, and when it gets cold…” And Prabhupad said, no, wrong thing to ask for. So his friend came back, so he said, let my family be happy. Like a concentric circle, their area of concern was expanding. Again, Prabhkupada sais “No, wrong answer”. The third man said, Let there be peace and happiness in the world. Prabhupad again, wrong answer. Prabhupad then pointed at Satsvarupa Maharaj, skinny, austere. He said, “This saffron cloth, this is my blessing, will you take it?” And whoosh– they were out the door. Thus, Srila Prabhpada dealt with them expertly. They would nowo leave him in peace and quiet. But also he taught them a point, the blessing to become detached from this world.
When we understand, there’s a story, Guru Nanak story, why not? So this man, his friend says that there’s a very nice sadhu in our village, he’s giving katha please come. This rich man said, “Oh, I know these sadhus, he’s going to go on and on, gets me unattached, then when I’m unattached he takes everything I’ve got.” He’s going to at least ask for some shoes, an umbrella, some land. But the friend prevailed, he’s nice, please come. So he came. Sure enough, after the katha, the sadhu says I’d like to speak with you. So the rich man came over. The sadhu says, “I want to ask you for something.” Oh there it is, here we go. The sadhu said I have this needle for sewing up my clothing; I’m losing it all the time. He said, can you just take this needle, here’s the needle, please give it to me in my next life.
Does anyone know what is the price of a needle? In India you can probably buy a single needle. But in America you can’t even by a singe needle, you have to buy a pack. So the rich man could understand, “I can’t even keep track of this needle in my next life. I can’t take a needle in my next life.” So everything I have, what is the use? Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, he could understand what the sadhu was saying. We understand that I’m taking body after body and I should not be disturbed by this. And if I’m not disturbed, I learn to tolerate. Does anyone know what Prabhupad says is the measure of a man’s strength? If you go to Ripley’s Believe It or Not, you’ll find a man pulls a train with his teeth, there are so many things, it’s true. So who knows, Prabhupad gives us from the Srimad Bhagavatam, the measure of a person’s strength? Devotee: Ability to tolerate provoking situations. Badrinarayan Prabhu: Yes, a man’s ability to tolerate.
Dhiras tatra na muhyate Tams titiksava bharata
I was at the Los Angeles Rathayatra, I serve in the free prasadam booth, thousands of people come. Full, nice opulent Krishna prasadam. We even have Christians who have signs, “turn or burn” this and that. But the point is, I’ve seen that they go the whole festival, they get to the end, they’re hungry, they put down the signs, and they come and take prasadam. P So I was in the free prasadam booth. I like to slip out and hear the question and answer booth. We had one of the best, Jayadwaita Swami, as far as succinct, powerful sutras, he’s just the best. Now the thing is, I was behind two very large ladies. They were big, I’m not picking on ladies but these were land whales. So I was trying to see Maharaj behind these large moving objects. He says, “The essence of spiritual understanding, the beginning point of all true spiritual teachings is that that we are not this body.” And one of these large ladies turns to her friend and said, “Boy is that a relief.She said it with such feeling, she was just carrying this thing around. So to understand that we are not this body, it’s actually an incredible relief, it actually begins there. In Miami, they have some skyscrapers, Prabhupad said about these skyscrapers we were in a walk in Chicago, if you look down Lake Michigan, a beautiful scene, it’s designed to be a beautiful scene, beautiful park, lakei There is Chicago in the distance, this huge stack of skyscrapers, bustling with energy, bravado. Prabhupad looked down the lake and said, they are simply stacking stones and maya will come with her boots and kick it all down.
There is American history, and I apologize, I was born in America, and I’m steeped in it. There’s Manhattan Island, it was originally obtained by the Dutch in the 1600s, and they traded the local Indians, some shiny beads and some trinkets. Anyone know how big? I don’t know how big Manhattan Island is? They liked it, it had the river, harbor; they liked it for the trade and commerce. They gave the dimwit American Indians, we have trinkets and beads, and they gave us an entire island, ha ha ha. And the American Indians were thinking, this is a swamp with mosquitoes, and we’ve got a whole continent to the west of us, ha, we’re getting these things we’ve never seen before, shiny, nice beautiful things. Let these dimwit Dutch have this swamp.
My point is, same thing, same event, but according to one’s value system, they saw differently. Each thought that the other was foolish. And in their experience, they were completely correct. We see this world, simply stacking stones, what is this body. You think the body is troublesome, what about the mind?