S .B. 6.4.12: tokanam pitarau bandhu drsah paksma striyah patih patih prajanam bhiksunam grhy ajnanam budhah suhrt
As the father and mother are the friends and maintainers of their children, as the eyelid is the protector of the eye, as the husband is the maintainer and protector of a woman, as the householder is the maintainer and protector of beggars, and as the learned is the friend of the ignorant, so the king is the protector and giver of life to all his subjects. The trees are also subjects of the king. Therefore they should be given protection.
I am very grateful to be given this opportunity to serve you today. I’ll try to speak something from Srila Prabhupada’s purport in Srimad Bhagavatam. We are reading from the fourth chapter of the sixth canto of Srimad Bhagavatam. We have heard from previous speakers what brings us to the verse today. The King Pracinabarhi was a descendent of Dhruva Maharaj. He was a very religious man, but was attached to the materialistic aspects of religion. Still, he had the intelligence to know that in order for his children to be proper leaders, they had to perform tapasya and get the mercy and blessings of the Lord.
He sent his ten sons, the Pracetas, into the wilderness. Eventually, they performed tapasya to Lord Vishnu under the guidance of Shiva. They did this under the water of the ocean. They were powerful yogis. Meanwhile, Narada muni came and gave really extraordinary instructions according to time, place, and circumstance, to their father, the King.
Narada Muni knew that if he came right out and told the King, “You are in maya. You are wasting your life,” that the King was very cultured and would have respectfully listened, but would not have heard a word that he said. As a genuinely compassionate preacher, Narada Muni started talking about another king, and how he was in maya. King Pracinabarhi was very enthusiastic to listen to this. It was a very elaborate story about King Puranjana.
Eventually, King Pracinabarhi realized that they were talking about him. By the time he understood that, his heart was completely transformed. That’s called preaching according to time, place, and circumstance. He gave the most powerful medicine of the siddhanta of renunciation with the anesthesia of apparently talking about somebody else. It was a successful surgery, and the king left home to give his one hundred percent total attention to pure bhakti, worshipping the Supreme Personality of Godhead, knowing that Krishna will take care of everything else.
Lord Vishnu appeared to the Pracetas and personally gave the sons of King Pracinabarhi His blessings. He told them that, “I am very pleased with your affectionate, friendly, relationships that you have with each other.” When the Pracetas came out and it was their time to rule the world, they saw what happened when there was no king at all.
The natural quality of material existence, like the laws of gravity, is that everything is pushed down. If I’m not holding this item, it falls. We are now looking at the TOVP. Those who are the architects and builders, structurally their main meditation is how to counteract the laws of gravity. The tendency of everything is to collapse. Therefore they have to organize a structure to keep the building up. Unless, over the generations, people keep restoring it and renovating it, it will definitely fall down. Especially in this age of Kali, the natural energy of this world is to get to a lower and lower state of consciousness of passion and ignorance and to get us to speak and act in useless ways.
Therefore it’s important that every day we hear from Srimad Bhagavatam. Srila Prabhupada wrote in one purport that maya is very strong. Unless one is carefully and attentively chanted ones sixteen rounds every day, one can fall victim to maya at any moment. Only by the shelter of the Lord can we maintain our spiritual integrity.
daivi hy esha guna-mayi
mama maya duratyaya
Material nature is very strong. Only if we take shelter of Krishna, can we make progress. Otherwise, if we are not making progress, we will be smashed down. So when the Pracetas came out, because there was no king organizing the world, trees and weeds grew everywhere. Because there was an absence of any organizational development, what happened is that there were no agricultural fields for food to grow. When the Pracetas saw this, out of duty and compassion on behalf of Krishna to all of the citizens, they became very angry. They reacted. By their yogic powers the caused very high wind and fire to blaze from their mouths. They were burning every tree in the world.
At that time Soma, the great deva, came to try to give them some deeper wisdom. It’s interesting to understand this principle. Even though the Pracetas are very highly realized souls, still, they were living according to natural human tendencies. It’s natural to be an extremist. We like black and white. Either all trees or no trees. Sometimes in situations where things are not right, we react in a very extreme way. Prahlada Maharaj describes how without sober Krishna Consciousness, the solutions to our problems are often creating bigger problems than the original problem.
So Soma taught them a balanced approach. There should be forests and there should be agricultural paths. He based this balanced approach on the spirit of compassion. That if we are Krishna Consciousness, if we understand our own eternal soul and our relationship with Krishna:
brahmane gavi hastini
suni caiva sva-pake ca
We will recognize that every living being is part of Krishna and everything that exists is Krishna’s property. That consciousness is the only state of mind that can bring true and complete compassion. When one is Krishna Consciousness in this way, compassion becomes so natural. Some examples: as a mother or father protects their child. When a little baby is in danger, the mother will instinctively do anything to protect the child. She doesn’t have to start looking in the scriptures to find out if she should help her child or not. There is a sense of love, a feeling of identity with that child in that love.
This next example is very interesting. As the eyelid protects the eye, unless the eyelid moistens the eye, the eye dries up. When was the last time you had to intellectually make a plan that, “My eyelid is feeling a little dry. I should blink it at least twenty-eight times every thirty seconds.” Suddenly a wind comes and do you think that you have to close your eyes? No, it closes instinctively. When we are Krishna Consciousness our compassion for others has that same spontaneous nature.
Srila Prabhupada is explaining here how the King’s duty is by his example and by the decisions that he makes to actually make sure that everyone is protected. That those who are supposed to protect others are performing their service. What is the result? Srimad Bhagavatam tells the story of Rantideva. He was fasting for so many days until he and his whole family were on the verge of death. He was in some distant forest and somebody brought a big plate of prasadam and some water to save their lives. Then a brahman came and said, “Give me food. I’m hungry.” So many people started coming. One man came with a pack of dogs and said, “I’m hungry and all of my dogs are hungry. Feed us.” He fed them all. And he fed his family, too. But he didn’t take anything himself. All that was left was a single cup of water to keep him alive. And a chandala came, a most sinful type of person. He said, “King, I’m thirsty. Give me water.”
If he gave that water, he would die. He offered a prayer to Krishna. Rantideva prayed, “My dear Supreme Personality of Godhead, I do not ask from you the benediction for great material wealth, or mystic siddhis, or even liberation from this world. I only ask one benediction. In every birth I take, let me give up my life in compassion for others. By giving this chandala my water, I will never find hunger, thirst, moroseness, or lamentation ever again. And he gave the water. Then all of these different personalities who came to him reappeared as demigods. They gave him nice prasad. We just wanted to show the world what a real King, a real leader is. Sukadeva Goswami says that because of King Ranti’s compassion and great devotion to the Supreme Lord, everyone in the kingdom was a great devotee.
Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura told our Srila Prabhupada on their first meeting that without Krishna Consciousness, the problems of the world cannot be solved. If we water the root of the tree, we solve the problems of water for all parts of the tree. So a devotee sees this whole picture in every situation. This is the single message of Srimad Bhagavatam
sa vai pumsam paro dharmo
yato bhaktir adhoksaje
The supreme purpose of life is loving devotional service to the Supreme Lord. Such loving devotion to Krishna must be unmotivated by selfishness or egoism and uninterrupted by ever changing circumstances to actually satisfy the self. We heard from HH Badrinarayan Maharaj that we cannot control circumstances all of the time. But we have the free will to control how we respond. We heard from HG Vaisesika Prabhu that we should be humble and forgiving. He gave us that mantra that, “I live to be corrected.” I felt a little corrected by listening to your class.
Krishna, in Srimad Bhagavatam, teaches through so many examples this principle – Prahlad, Ambarish, the Pracetas, Pariksit Maharaj. Even in the most difficult circumstances, they maintained this vision, because of their deep remembrance of Krishna.
The perfection of whatever we do is that it please Krishna. The only way to know what pleases Krishna is to hear from Krishna. Parampara is where Krishna reveals to those loving devotees what pleases him. Sri Caitanya Mahaprahu is Krishna himself in the mood of Sri Radha to teach the world how to please Krishna. Srimad Bhagavatam is the incarnation of Krishna. Lord Caitanya is the Srimad Bhagavatam personified, teaching us how to understand the Srimad Bhagavatam.
syan mahat-sevaya viprah
While we serve great souls, those who love Krishna, great service is done.And then by Krishna’s being pleased by being servant of the servant, He awakens within us the taste for hearing about Him. When Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was living in Navadvip Dhama, Lord Gauranga, He taught us this lesson very profoundly in the lila I’m going to narrate.
Lord Gauranga was walking with some of His devotees. They were in the area of Kuliya near Vidyanagar. They heard the most famous speaker of Srimad Bhagavatam giving his narration. His name was Devananda Pandita. Devananda Pandita was completely pious. All his life he controlled his mind and senses. He was a very staunch brahmacari. He was a learned scholar. When he spoke from Srimad Bhagavatam he mesmerized people. They came to learn from him.
When Lord Caitanya heard it, He became angry. You see, anger has its great purpose when it’s used in Krishna’s service. He screamed out quite loudly, “This rascal has no right to speak from Srimad Bhagavatam. He has no devotion. He’s not speaking of devotion to Krishna. Simply karma and jnana.”
Srimad Bhagavatam is the essence of all the vedas. Lord Gauranga said that the four vedas are like yogurt. Srimad Bhagavatam is butter, the essence. Sukadeva Goswami is the one who churned that butter. And Pariksit Maharaj relished it and was nourished by it. The essence of all vedas is pure unalloyed devotional service to Sri Krishna. He is not giving this to anyone. Therefore he has no right to read this Srimad Bhagavatam. I will tear up his book. He ran to do it. But devotees stopped him.
Devananda Pandita heard this but he couldn’t understand because he had years before created an aparadha to a devotee, Srivas. Because he had offended a devotee he had displeased Krishna, even though he was reading the same verses we read. He couldn’t understand what it meant. One time, Lord Caitanya was walking with His devotees in that area. They came by a tavern where people were drinking and getting drunk. Lord Caitanya smelled the alcohol and he entered the mood of Balarama and said, “Varuni! I will go in!” Srivasa said, “No, no you can’t go in there.” Lord Caitanya said, “I’m going in!” Srivasa said, “If you go in, nobody will understand this.” Lord Caitanya said, “I’m going in!” Srivasa said, “If you go in, I will drown myself in the Ganga.” Lord Gauranga gave up His Balarama mood and said, “I will not go in.”
Actually, He was going in to deliver the people inside. But just by His desire, someone looked outside and saw Him. As soon as they saw Lord Caitanya they said, “Hari Hari. You dance so nice, and you chant so nice.” That person started to chant, “Hari.” He became so intoxicated with Hari. All of the other drunken people in that bar thought that they want to be drunk like this. They all left the bar and started having sankirtan. Following Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu they became completely sober from all material attachments and were intoxicated with chanting Krishna’s holy names. Lord Caitanya smiled. Srivasa Thakura, seeing the nature of His compassion, cried.
The next moment, they saw Devananda Pandita walking down the road. Lord Caitanya just gave such mercy to these rascal, immoral, drunkards. Now here was this learned, pious, brahman, brahmacari. Lord Caitanya chastised him. “You have offended Srivasa. You don’t understand anything about the Srimad Bhagavatam. You are useless. You are cheating.” Devananda was confused, but embarrassed.
Soon after that, Lord Caitanya took sannyasa. In order to reach the whole world in Krishna Consciousness. After many years of traveling around South India and living at Jagannatha Puri, he decided to go to Navadvipa. It is described by Vrindavan Das Thakura that when Lord Caitanya left Navadvipa to go to Puri, the river Ganga was flowing very enthusiastically in separation to merge into the ocean so that she could serve Him in Puri. Lord Caitanya was longing to go to Navadvipa to see the Ganga. This is the love between the Lord and His devotees. He came to Vidyanagara to Vidya Vachaspati’s home. He is the brother of Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya. It’s a long story, but I’m going to have to go really fast and make it short.
When He came there Vidya Vachaspati was so happy. He said, “My Lord, my home, this whole life, everything belongs to you.” Lord Caitanya said, “Just keep me here secretly.” But when the sun rises, it’s hard to keep it secret. So all of the people of Navadvipa heard that Lord Caitanya has returned. He had made so many people devotees, but still there were so many people who were offensive or indifferent to Him. But after He took sannyasa, all of the people realized, “What have we done? We lost the opportunity of the lifetime.” Millions of people were rushing to beg forgiveness and receive the mercy of Lord Caitanya.
It is described that the roads were filled with hundreds of hundreds of hundreds of thousands of people. But nobody else could fit on the roads so they started going through the forests. Then the forests were totally filled with people. Ultimately they came to the river Ganga. They were so enthusiastic to see Lord Caitanya that even though thorns were ripping them, they didn’t even feel it. They had no wounds.
Now my experience, even today, is that there are very few people in India who know how to swim. Sometimes we take people on yatras and there will be a big river that’s flowing. I say, “How many people know how to swim?” Out of thousands of devotees, there’s usually not more than about twenty who know how to swim.
When they came to the Ganga and they had to cross it to get to Vidyanagara, they were so enthusiastic. There were big boats and small boats. Within seconds, thousands of people were on each boat. The boat man was saying, “No, no! It’s already full! No more people!” They just kept coming and coming and coming and the boat just fell apart. They were so enthusiastic that in this laulyam, this eagerness some of them were just grabbing a clay pot to hold between their arms and float across the Ganga. Others took a trunk of a banana tree and started using that to cross the river. People were so enthusiastic to serve the Lord that they forgot that they didn’t know how to swim. So they swam across the whole Ganga.
Now there were millions of people around Vidya Vachaspati’s house. According to our sastra, thousands were going on a single tree to be able to see the Lord. None of the trees fell. Hundreds of people were crowded on a little straw roof of a hut, and the hut remained. Everyone was so eager to see the Lord that they were loudly chanting the holy names Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare! Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu came out of the house. Everyone was offering their dandavat obeisances from the trees. Lord Caitanya smiled upon them. They were all crying out from their hearts, “Please forgive us. We offended your devotees. We offended you. We offended so many people. We want to surrender.” Lord Caitanya said, krsneti o matih,
Always keep your mind fixed on Krishna. Chant Krishna’s names. Worship Krishna. Hear about Krishna’s qualities and holy names. Krishna is your life. Krishna is your wealth. Krishna is your very soul.” In this way, there was a beautiful kirtan. Then Lord Caitanya disappeared. Even Vidya Vachaspati didn’t know what happened. He was looking everywhere. Lord Caitanya was gone. Vidya Vachaspati was in total separation looking at the sky crying. Everyone was in the same condition. There were people coming to him saying, “I’m all alone. Just bring me to see the Lord. We know He’s hiding in your house.”
Others were saying, “I’m so sinful. I’m so fallen. I must have His mercy. I won’t tell anyone. Just let me in.” He kept saying, “I don’t know where He is.” People were so eager. The word started spreading. Soon all of these millions of people were thinking “Vidya Vachaspati is deceiving us! He’s keeping the Lord for himself only. A devotee is supposed to be compassionate and merciful to others! Even an ordinary man, if he has a whole pile of sweets, he doesn’t eat them all himself. He shares them. But this Vidya Vachaspati is lying to us. He’s deceiving us just so he can have Lord Caitanya for himself.”
Vidya Vachaspati was confused. Then a brahman whispered in his ear, “Lord Gauranga has gone to Kulia.” Vidya Vachaspati said, “Our Lord has gone to Kulia! Everyone, let us go to Kulia!” But they had to cross the Ganga again. By this time the crowd was thousands of times bigger because the word was spreading. It was mad, you couldn’t even see the Ganga. All you could see were humans. Some were with boats. Some were with pots. Some were with trunks. Some were swimming. The scripture tells us that not a single person drowned.
Now they are in Kulia. But Vidya Vachaspati didn’t know where Lord Caitanya was. Lord Caitanya knows the heart of his devotees. He sent a messenger to Vidya Vachaspati. Vidya Vachaspati offered beautiful prayers to Lord Caitanya. He said, “Now everyone is against me. They think I’m a liar. They don’t believe I’m a brahman anymore. Please, at least for one second show Yourself so that they know I was not hiding You.”
The Lord was in someone’s house. He heard literally millions of people crying out the holy names. Along with Lord Nityananda, He appeared before all of them. He raised His long, golden arms. In seeing these countless people all with such eager and humble hearts crying out Krishna’s names, He became so happy. Simultaneously there were thousands of kirtan parties. Lord Gauranga was going to different kirtan parties and dancing with the common people. By His all attractive, inconceivable potency, everyone could see Him dancing. Everyone could see tears of love and compassion like the Ganga flowing from His lotus-like eyes. In this way, the entire universe was trembling with the joy of nama sankirtana.
After this kirtan, Lord Caitanya sat down. So many people came who had offended Lord Caitanya in the past, and who had offended the devotees, came to beg for His mercy. Among them was Devananda Pandita. He offered his obeisances, and from a distance he just stood there. Now, I’m going to briefly tell what happened in the life of this person. Because he had offended Srivasa, neither faith in Lord Caitanya or the path of bhakti could awaken in his heart, even though Srimad Bhagavatam was the only scripture that he read or spoke from. But after Lord Caitanya took sannyasa, he was shaken.
One day, he met a great devotee, Vakresvara Pandita. He was so attracted by the compassion and devotion of Vakresvara Pandita that he wanted to serve him. He invited Vakresvara Pandita to live in his ashram. When Vakresvara Pandita would perform kirtan, he would stand with a stick to make sure that nobody crashed into him or disturbed his dancing. When Vakresvara Pandita in ecstasy would fall, he would catch him. He would clean his body with his own hands.
Because he was deeply appreciating the qualities of a Vaisnava, his heart was transformed. Lord Caitanya saw him standing and said, “Devananda, come. Sit beside Me. Because you have appreciated and served Vakresvara Pandita, I forgive you for all of your offenses and I give you all of My blessings. Krishna always lives in the heart of Vakresvara Pandita. Wherever he chants and dances, Krishna is dancing. Wherever he goes, all of the holy places are present. Because you have served My beloved servant, I forgive you of all of your offenses. I accept you.” Devananda Pandita offered prayers and said, “Please instruct me. How should I speak from the Srimad Bhagavatam?”
Lord Caitanya told him, “From the beginning to the middle to the end of Srimad Bhagavatam only speaks of one essential subject. Prema bhakti. Pure, unalloyed, loving, devotional service to Sri Krishna. It is the culmination of all dharmas. It is the very essence of life. Therefore, whenever you speak Srimad Bhagavatam, in every sentence you should glorify the path of pure, loving, devotional service to Sri Krishna.” Devananda Pandita became such a great devotee that we even celebrate every year on the Vaisnava calendar his relationship with Lord Caitanya.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu taught us this. What the essence of Srimad Bhagavatam is and how to actually realize it. He is Krishna who has come to taste the sweetness of Radha’s love and to give that love freely without discrimination of who is fit or unfit. Simply live a life in the mood of the servant of the servant of the servant without envy. Live with this character, please the Vaisnavas and chant the holy names, and Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu has promised to give us this crest jewel of all treasures, prema bhakti.
Srila Prabhupada had total faith in His mercy. Fifty years on this year, 2015, we are celebrating Srila Prabhupada boarding Jaladuta in Calcutta. On Friday, the 13th of August 1965, Srila Prabhupada boarded the Jaladuta to sail across the world with the message of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. There will be a glorious festival on that day and before and after in Calcutta.
We invite you to please come if possible.
He came with this message. In his prayers he was quoting Srimad Bhagavatam. He wrote that by loving devotional service, by Krishna’s grace, one can rise above the passion and ignorance of this world. Only through pure devotion can one actually be happy. Srila Prabhupada personified the very essence of what Lord Caitanya exemplified as the essence of Srimad Bhagavatam, which we are reading about in today’s verse. He was compassionate to every living being. Even to the trees. He gave us all a chance to be a part of that great mission of Mahaprabhu’s by coming together in Mayapur and inspiring one another in the true essence of the gift of Lord Caitanya. By reading these beautiful books of Srila Prabhupada together, by chanting the holy names together, and by sharing this message, we can attract the unlimited monsoon rainstorm of Krishna and Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s blessings.
Srila Prabhupada ki jaya! Gaura Premanande Haibol!