Saturday, January 14, 2017

Why Is Working Superior To Both Knowledge And Renunciation

[Krishna worship]“If you cannot take to this practice, then engage yourself in the cultivation of knowledge. Better than knowledge, however, is meditation, and better than meditation is renunciation of the fruits of action, for by such renunciation one can attain peace of mind.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 12.12)

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Friend1: I got three words for you.

Friend2: And you’re going to spell them out?

Friend1: Umm do you want me to? I think you’ll know how to spell them.

Friend2: What are the words?

Friend1: Jnana, dhyana and karma.

Friend2: In this context, they mean knowledge, meditation and work?

Friend1: Correct.

Friend2: Okay.

Friend1: What I want to know is why the work in this case is superior to both knowledge and renunciation.

Friend2: Where are you getting that?

Friend1: There is a verse in the Bhagavad-gita.

Friend2: You are remembering a verse, but also remember the word “averse.”

Friend1: Can you get serious here?

Friend2: I am being serious. The context of the verse you’re talking about is in relation to being averse to something. But I’ll get to that in a minute. Why do you have a question on this? Do you think the three should be ranked differently?

Friend1: Karma is fruitive work. It leads to reactions to the temporary body. Karma is action and reaction.

Friend2: Correct.

Friend1: Jnana is knowledge. I would think it is automatically superior to work. With jnana I come to know the difference between matter and spirit.

Friend2: What about meditation?

Friend1: That is concentrating on something. I would think that is the fruit of knowledge. When you know things as they are, you meditate instead of work.

Friend2: Of course you omitted a key term in your original premise.

Friend1: What’s that?

Friend2: It’s working without attachment to the results. That is superior to knowledge and meditation. Phala-tyaga. When there is such renunciation, a person attains peace.

Friend1: Okay, but the question remains. Why is the ranking that way?

[maha-mantra]Friend2: It’s pretty simple to understand. First off, the premise is that you can’t take up devotional service, bhakti-yoga. For some reason it is too difficult for you. You don’t understand the importance of things like chanting the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

Friend1: Understood.

Friend2: What are you left with? How do you advance anyway? Shri Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is so merciful that He doesn’t shut anyone out from making progress, from getting closer to Him. If they are struggling, then He gives them a path where they can reach Him eventually. The three things you mentioned are progressive.

Friend1: How so?

Friend2: You start out with knowledge. You sort of mentioned that already. Then you get to dhyana. Meditation is obviously better since knowledge is only theoretical. Meditation is actually doing something. Then working is superior to that since you are doing something but not attached to the results.

Friend1: But in meditation you are concentrating. Isn’t that better than working?

Friend2: Here’s the secret. By staying detached from the results you are still concentrating. You are working at the same time, which means that others are benefitted. The ranking system is perfect to the situation. Arjuna was contemplating casting aside his weapons and retreating to the forest. Krishna said that He Himself works, to set the example for society.

“O son of Pritha, there is no work prescribed for Me within all the three planetary systems. Nor am I in want of anything, nor have I need to obtain anything - and yet I am engaged in work.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 3.22)

Friend1: Is that in the section where Krishna mentions great kings like Janaka?

[Krishna worship]Friend2: Yes. The idea is that what great men do, others follow. Work with a renounced spirit is superior because the benefit of meditation is there and others get an example to follow. Remember, this is all in the case where the principles of devotional service can’t be followed. If you are in bhakti, then basically everything is equal. Meditation is the same as knowledge. The person who thinks of Krishna’s feet all day is the same as someone who reads about Him and studies His transcendental features. The karma is even transformed into bhakti; so there is automatic renunciation.

In Closing:

Superior with detachment work to do,

Better than knowledge and meditation too.


But how this ranking accurate to be?

When while working forgotten is He?


The Supreme Lord, objective’s end,

Why not always in contemplation to spend?


Fruits to the work renounced when,

Meditation and example for others then.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Five Things I Continue To Underestimate

[Lord Krishna]“The living entities in this conditioned world are My eternal, fragmental parts. Due to conditioned life, they are struggling very hard with the six senses, which include the mind.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 15.7)

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Everything is spelled out. There is no mystery, provided one consults a translation and commentary that is authorized and in the tradition giving the teacher the same respect that the original disciple did. There is no need to speculate, as the vision of the universal form removed all doubts pertaining to the divine nature of the speaker.

Though sentimental attachment and dogmatic insistence aren’t harmful when directed towards this person, there is plenty of information given so that the conclusion of service can be reached through rational understanding. The Bhagavad-gita, the Song of God, sung by Shri Krishna to Arjuna, gives a clear picture of the world in which we live, the experience that we have, what has happened to us in the past, what we can expect going forward, what are the most common mistakes made, and how we can avoid pain and misery forever. Despite the gift of this wisdom somehow making its way to me, I still underestimate so many things.

1. The dedication to pleasing the senses

The living entities in this world are fragmental parts of Krishna. The Sanskrit word is amsha. Krishna uses the word mam,, which means “mine.” Since they come from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, those fragments are Divine in nature, but due to conditioned life they are struggling. The cause of the struggle is the six senses, which include the mind.

The statement is quite clear, but I forget how strong the dedication to pleasing the senses is. Indulgence in intoxication is the clearest indication. Though the individual knows how much pain came about in the past, they continue along the same path, time and time again. It’s as if something else is controlling them from within.

2. The power of maya, illusion

I think I am so advanced because of the kind of house I live in, the car I drive, and what I am able to watch on television. The truth is that I am just as much in illusion as generations past. After all, I still make so many mistakes. If it’s possible to think that a rope is a snake, how smart am I really?

I underestimate the influence of maya. I think that I am above illusion, but in a moment I can go from peace to raging anger. Frustration gets the better of me on the commute to work in the morning. Worry over the upcoming election causes me to check the national polls every day. I have no power to change the outcome, but my interest is still intense.

“The Blessed Lord said: It is lust only, Arjuna, which is born of contact with the material modes of passion and later transformed into wrath, and which is the all-devouring, sinful enemy of this world.” (Bhagavad-gita, 3.37)

That invisible source that drives man towards improper behavior, even against better judgment, is known as kama. Shri Krishna declares it to be the all-devouring enemy in this world, since it easily turns into krodha, or wrath. Maya helps to keep kama very strong.

3. The effect of time on the body

I see sick people everywhere. Just making a routine visit to the doctor, I come across others with serious illnesses. I see the effect time has had on their body. Some have a difficult time walking. Others are slow in speech.

Still, I don’t consider how the same things will happen to me. I think that I will remain as vibrant as I am today. I give so much attention to the daily routine, with the many responsibilities, that I don’t realize what time is doing to my opportunities for establishing a firm connection with the Divine, yoga.

4. How strongly people are against God

Krishna says that He casts the truly sinful into lower species, lifetime after lifetime. From that we can infer the cause of our descent into the material world. We turned our back on God. No use trying to figure out exactly when. Indeed, the desperate search for this knowledge itself represents a challenge to the Divine, who is the lone entity with full knowledge at all times.

Evidence of the truth is seen in the continued antipathy in the general population towards real religion. A popular athlete can talk about how many cars he owns. He can discuss how many children he has, through many different partners. The one thing he can’t discuss is religion. The mere mention gets him in trouble.

Even in established religion, the followers are against God. The different regulations they blindly accept keep them from establishing a relationship in love with the original person. They are prohibited from crafting a form of the Divine and worshiping. They are told it is okay to live off killing innocent creatures. They are advised against chanting the holy names, which are mere sound vibration representations of the Almighty. The acceptance is actually not blind; it is intentional since there is the continued desire to forget God and enjoy without Him.

5. The power of the holy names

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.” This set of words is sufficient for delivering the mind; hence it is known as the maha-mantra. The name of Krishna is identical to the person Krishna. Saying Rama is like having Rama. The words are of Sanskrit origin, but the effect is universal. The names are acoustic proof of the existence of God.

[Lord Krishna]I continue to underestimate the power of the holy names. I think that teaching the philosophy of the Bhagavad-gita and Vedanta is more important. I put more stress on trying to convince others of the folly of their ways. I forget that simply hearing the holy names will do so much, causing a change from within. I forget that the highway robber turned into the sage Valmiki through the sound of Rama alone. I forget that the fallen Ajamila was spared punishment in the afterlife through accidentally saying the name of Narayana at the time of death. I forget how countless souls have been rescued from depression and despair through the maha-mantra alone.

In Closing:

So much wisdom from Gita to see,

Shri Krishna, wisest person is He.


Having such knowledge in mind to fill,

Continue to underestimate things still.


Like power of illusion’s grip,

How easily from peace to anger to slip.


Potency of the holy names most of all,

How everything fixed through sincerity call.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

What Kinds Of People Can Be Reformed By Bhakti

[Valmiki]“Persons who have acted piously in previous lives and in this life, whose sinful actions are completely eradicated and who are freed from the duality of delusion, engage themselves in My service with determination.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.28)

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Friend1: Is there an ideal candidate for taking up devotional service?

Friend2: What do you mean?

Friend1: Speaking about the glories of God the person and devotion to Him is important. I know it’s what turned my life around. I am desirous of spreading the message. Is there an ideal group I should target?

Friend2: You mean like trying to find people who will be more open to chanting of the holy names, reading the Bhagavad-gita, and attending kirtana?

Friend1: Yes. Exactly.

Friend2: I’ve been tempted to think that way too, but the premise is flawed.

Friend1: Really? But hasn’t it been shown that the sankirtana movement is more popular in certain areas of the world than others? And I’m not just talking about India. These are places that wouldn’t have it today were it not for saintly characters travelling and teaching.

[Sankirtana]Friend2: This is the magic question advertisers have been trying to figure out ever since there were products to sell. What demographics do we need to hit? What regions will be the most interested? Even in that area the science is not exact. I’m telling you, anyone can take up bhakti-yoga.

Friend1: Obviously. It’s in the nature of the soul. But you don’t think that certain people are more prone to take it up than others?

Friend2: Shri Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita that only those who have exhausted all their sinful reactions, papa, take up service to Him. That is the lone qualification.

Friend1: What about people who were accustomed to eating meat and drinking alcohol when they first heard and became attracted to the maha-mantra?

Friend2: I was getting to that. You can still be heavily involved in sin but qualify. It depends on your meritorious credits, sukriti. You may have gotten those from a previous life. They may have come in this life when you weren’t looking.

Friend1: I see. I’ve heard of that before. Ajnata-sukriti.

[Valmiki]Friend2: Unknown; exactly. Anyway, just look to history. There was a highway robber who would kill people also. He was transformed into the sage Valmiki, who authored the famous Ramayana. There is the question of what kinds of people can be reformed by bhakti. The answer is that anyone, as high as the king of heaven and as low as the murderer.

Friend1: Why would the king of heaven need to be reformed? Isn’t he a demigod, or sura? They are mostly in the mode of goodness.

Friend2: That is a great question. Any person associating with the three modes of material nature needs some level of reform. Goodness, passion and ignorance. You are in a better situation, further along the path, by associating with the mode of goodness, but there is still a chance to slip up. Remember, Indra instigated a devastating rainstorm on innocent people without justification. They would have died were it not for Krishna’s help, His lifting of Govardhana Hill. You could say that Indra on that occasion became an attempted mass murderer. Devotion can reform anyone, and that is why the maha-mantra should always be chanted and shared with as many people as possible: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

In Closing:

Since disgusted with material life so,

To the hippies should I first go?


Or to those of Indian family line,

More prone for in bhakti to shine?


Actually devotees anywhere to be found,

From pious family or even sinful background.


Like Valmiki who into murdering way fell,

Now the story of Shri Rama to world to tell.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Five Faces Of Shri Rama

[Shri Rama]“Neither the demigods nor any exalted personalities were there helping Rama, for He acted alone. You should not entertain any doubt on this matter. Indeed, Rama shot feathered arrows, plated with gold, which turned into five-headed serpents that devoured all the Rakshasas. The Rakshasas were oppressed with fear, and wherever they went and wherever they turned, they saw Rama in front of them. In this way, O spotless one, have your Rakshasas been destroyed in the forest of Janasthana by Rama.” (Akampana speaking to Ravana, Valmiki Ramayana, Aranya Kand, 31.18-19)

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There is the famous Rorschach test in psychology. There is the abstract painting in art. Even with children newly born – not everyone sees the same thing. The viewpoint is different. The consciousness is shaped by past experience. Not only is there variety in response, but none of the people are absolutely wrong. Just because I see something that no one else does, I am not necessarily flawed because of it.

The Supreme Lord is one and He is for everyone. He is kind enough to give an idea of His transcendental attributes through His avataras, personal forms who descend to this world every now and then. Great souls are witness to the activities and events, preserve what they see either in the mind or written word, and then enable the passage of that information through the chain of future generations by the system of parampara, or disciplic succession.

With the avatara of Shri Rama, not everyone gets the same picture. There are different moods with which people interact with God. Even the atheists get a glance, and what they see might surprise you.

1. Adorable son

King Dasharatha was without an heir to the throne for a long time. He had three wives, but thus far no male child. At the insistence of a sage, the king performed a yajna, or sacrifice, the remnants of which the queens partook. Soon after there were four beautiful boys giving delight to everyone in the kingdom.

Rama was the eldest, and the face He showed to the mother and father was one of an adorable son. Kausalya took care of Rama. She acted as if He would not survive without her love and attention. Dasharatha had so much attachment to that beautiful face that later he would prove to be unable to survive without seeing it on a regular basis.

2. Affectionate brother

The three younger brothers all loved Rama. They each lived up to the name Ramanuja, or faithful follower of the eldest brother named Rama. They got a different vision of Him. There were essentially pairs determined soon after birth. This was as far as association went. Lakshmana was with Rama, and Bharata and Shatrughna were together.

Lakshmana always saw the face of an affectionate brother. When one time Dasharatha decided that the day had come for Rama to take over the throne, Rama immediately went to Lakshmana and asked the younger brother to share in the honor. Years later Lakshmana was one time unconscious on the battlefield from a wound. Rama affectionately held the brother until the needed help arrived from Hanuman.

3. Appreciative friend

Hanuman was the chief minister to the forest-dwelling king named Sugriva. He was not directly related to Rama, yet Hanuman was considered such a good friend. The face he saw from Rama was one of appreciation and gratefulness. Hanuman did so much in service of Rama, and all without payment. Rama embraced Hanuman for finding the wife Sita and for saving Lakshmana.

4. Fearless warrior

On the battlefield, there was no mercy given to the enemies. At least that was from their perspective. On a higher level of understanding, God’s punishment is just as merciful as His rewards. The bad characters of the world earned liberation by seeing Him at the time of death. Though they were sinful, by seeing the angry and determined face of Rama, they no longer had to see the cycle of reincarnation.

5. Serpent-head rushing at them

Rama was trained to fight with the bow and arrow. Whenever He raised His weapons, the mood was protection. He never attacked unnecessarily. The arrows were amazing; they were like dedicated servants. When they would fly towards the enemy, there was no chance for escape.

Ravana’s brother Akampana once attested to this fact. Ravana sent fourteen thousand of his men to attack Rama in the area known as Janasthana. The men were Rakshasas, ogre-like creatures who used black magic and illusion in addition to conventional weapons of warfare.

These bad characters saw the warrior face of Rama, but when they tried to run away in fear they saw another face. Rama’s arrows turned into five-headed serpents. They were like heat-seeking missiles. Wherever the Rakshasas turned, they saw Rama in front of them. In this way they were soundly defeated.

[Shri Rama]So even the atheists of the world get a glimpse of God. They don’t recognize Him for who He is. If they don’t see Rama directly in His avatara forms, they see Him indirectly as all-devouring death. At that moment they are forced to pay the honor that they refused to for so long.

In Closing:

To parents most adorable son,

Three younger brothers with envy none.


Friendly face to Hanuman displayed,

Appreciative of great sacrifice made.


Demons on battlefield another face seeing,

Fierce warrior when arrows from bow freeing.


Five-headed serpents staying on the chase,

Supreme Lord for everyone a face.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Five Ways Shishupala Inadvertently Praised Krishna

[Krishna and Shishupala]“I cannot understand how you could have selected this cowherd boy, Krishna, and have left aside all these other great personalities. I think Krishna to be no better than a crow - how can He be fit to accept the first worship in this great sacrifice? We cannot even ascertain as yet to which caste this Krishna belongs or what His actual occupational duty is.” (Shishupala, Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 2, Ch 19)

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Poor Shishupala. Everything was already arranged. The son of King Bhishmaka wanted Shishupala to wed Rukmini Devi, who is the goddess of fortune herself. Rukmi arranged everything, except Rukmini had other ideas. Her heart was given to the Supreme Lord, Shri Krishna. She made this decision without seeing Him. Just from hearing alone her mind was made up.

Proving that pure devotion satisfies all requirements for renunciation and knowledge, Rukmini came up with a plan. Through a letter, she advised Krishna to come and kidnap her on the day of the marriage to Shishupala. The Supreme Lord is the deliverer of the surrendered souls, and so He kindly obliged.

Years later, the scorned Shishupala stood in an assembly hosted by King Yudhishthira. It was a Rajasuya sacrifice, which made it a heavily attended event. So many respectable personalities were there. Sahadeva recommended that Krishna be the beneficiary of the Agrapuja, or the first worship. Pretty much everyone agreed.

Shishupala was the lone exception who made his objections known. In giving the arguments against Krishna, he actually praised the Supreme Lord. Every negative was actually a positive, if understood properly.

1. Acknowledged the will of time

Shishupala started his speech by giving credit to the power of time. Known as kala in Sanskrit, it is the great devourer. I can take precaution in an endeavor, but there is no guarantee of a successful outcome. Whatever time has destined to happen will occur. Shishupala figured that it was destiny that caused the otherwise intelligent attendees to choose Krishna over others.

“The Blessed Lord said: Time I am, destroyer of the worlds, and I have come to engage all people. With the exception of you [the Pandavas], all the soldiers here on both sides will be slain.” (Bhagavad-gita, 11.32)

In the Bhagavad-gita the same Krishna reveals that He is time. By praising kala, Shishupala was actually paying honor to Krishna. The Supreme Lord was ultimately responsible for the honor, and there was nothing Shishupala could do about it.

2. Knowledge and renunciation defeated

Another argument Shishupala made was that there were so many people in attendance who were known for their knowledge and renunciation. Jnana and vairagya are two important opulences that are available in a material existence. They are also unique to the human birth. The monkey may live in the forest, but they are not renounced. They live according to their nature; there is no decision to voluntarily live without certain things.

The fact that Krishna still received the honor proves that jnana and vairagya are not everything. The Supreme Lord is above material qualities. He has knowledge and renunciation in full, even when He apparently doesn’t put them on display.

3. Unknown caste

Here Shishupala references the somewhat confusing circumstances surrounding Krishna’s birth. Indeed, there is no birth for God. He is the birth-less and death-less one. When He comes to this world, it is more an appearance. In the Bhagavad-gita He says that a person who knows the divine, divyam, nature of His birth and activities does not go through the cycle of birth and death anymore.

“One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 4.9)

Krishna first appeared from the womb of mother Devaki in the prison cell in Mathura. Since He was transferred so soon thereafter to Gokula, Yashoda was also considered His mother. So to which caste did He belong? Devaki’s husband was of kshatriya origin. This is a warrior/administrator. Yashoda’s husband Nanda was of vaishya origin. He was essentially a dairy farmer.

This criticism of Krishna is actually high praise, since it shows that God never belongs to any caste. Ancestry makes absolutely no impact on His qualities, which are transcendental.

4. Unknown occupation

It’s only natural for a person to be judged by their occupation. The candidates running for President of the United States are assessed on their past experience. If a candidate ran a business, it is studied whether or not the business was successful. A lawyer has other factors on which they are judged.

Since Krishna grew up in Vrindavana, part of His childhood duties was tending to the calves. He was a cowherd. In adulthood He moved back to Mathura, eventually shifting to Dvaraka. There He was the king. Thus His actual occupation wasn’t clear. Again this criticism from Shishupala is really praise. The Supreme Lord is never to be judged on occupation. He can do the work of the entire world without effort.

5. Acts outside of Vedic injunctions

Krishna became known as Ranchor when He and Balarama fled the battlefield against Jarasandha. This is easy to criticize, but in the larger picture we see that Krishna had already defeated the aggressor Jarasandha so many times.

As a child Krishna stole butter from the homes of the neighbors. He danced in the forest under the bright, full moon with the gopis, the cowherd women. Krishna urged the people of the town to skip the annual worship in honor of Indra, the king of heaven. Worship was directed to Govardhana Hill instead.

Shishupala was indeed accurate when he said that Krishna acted outside of Vedic injunctions. Again, this is high praise, as it proves that the Supreme Lord is always above the rules. The rules are there to help the souls in illusion find their way out, to return again to the shelter of devotional service.

[Krishna and Shishupala]Krishna did not mind these insults, but others in the assembly were ready to fight Shishupala over them. The Supreme Lord quelled the tension by releasing His sudarshana-chakra. That beautiful disc severed the head of the jealous Shishupala, who got the benediction of liberation since he died directly at the hands of God.

In Closing:

Idea of Krishna for Agrapuja made,
Highest honor in Rajasuya sacrifice paid.


Well with Shishupala didn’t sit,

Hurled insult after insult not to quit.


That Lord of caste and occupation not known,

Against Vedic injunctions, acting in ways His own.


Inadvertently that criticism stringing,

Garland of glories of Krishna singing.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Five Times The Opposition Underestimated Krishna

[Yashoda and Krishna]“As Yashoda was given liberation from the material world, so Putana was also given liberation. When the baby Krishna closed His eyes, Putana took Him on her lap. She did not know that she was holding death personified. If a person mistakes a snake for a rope, he dies. Similarly, Putana killed so many babies before meeting Krishna, but now she was accepting the snake that would kill her immediately.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 1, Ch 6)

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I have my car and you have your car. Mine has a certain horsepower. It has a specific type of engine. It’s got room for a certain number of people to sit. Yours has more horsepower. The engine is different; it even requires a specific type of fuel. Your car fits less people. We can compare the two cars in so many different ways.

For the Supreme Lord, every opulence He possesses is in full. Since none of His features can be measured by blunt instruments, one name for Him is Adhokshaja. Since He actually possesses every opulence in this way, another name for Him is Bhagavan.

In the ancient history recorded in Vedic literature, we see instances of where it looked like aggressors had much more strength. Based on outside opinion, using standardized measurements, the Supreme Lord, in His transcendental body visible to the eyes of conditioned souls, should have been no match. In the end, it was the other side who realized that they really had no strength at all.

1. An infant against an adult witch

An infant is helpless, after all. They need others to do basic things for them. In Vrindavana, baby Krishna was taken care of by the foster mother, Yashoda. She did not know that Krishna actually appeared from the womb of Devaki in Mathura. She loved Krishna like He was her own son.

[Yashoda and Krishna]An adult witch one time disguised herself and entered the room where Krishna was lying down. Named Putana, she had ill intentions. She had smeared poison on her breasts and was ready to deal the lethal blow to the child through breastfeeding. An infant placed in that situation would have practically no chance of surviving. Putana was in for a deadly surprise, though, as not only was Krishna immune to the poison, but He sucked the very life out of the witch through her breast.

2. One man against fourteen thousand

In professional wrestling, two against one is referred to as a handicap match. The results are fixed beforehand, but the show is put on to display the difficulty for the person fighting alone. Imagine, then, one person against fourteen thousand. Using just a bow and arrow, going against others firing arrows and using black magic.

Of course that one was not ordinary. He is the same Krishna, appearing on earth in His incarnation of Rama. He wasn’t bothering anyone. He was living in the forest of Dandaka with His wife and His younger brother. The king of Lanka sent fourteen thousand men to fight against Rama, but the Supreme Lord easily defeated them.

3. One man’s ear against a woman’s disappearing act

In another confrontation, Rama was asked to go against a female Yaksha. She was a terror to the sages residing in the forest. Like other Rakshasa figures, she would kill her enemies and then eat their flesh. Rama went against her, aided by His younger brother Lakshmana.

Tataka could appear and disappear from sight at will. How do you fight against someone you can’t see? The monster-like lady was defeated by Rama, who used sound to locate her. Even God’s ear is incredibly powerful, more so than a gigantic terrorizing animal-like person.

4. One illusion against another

This occurred during Krishna’s adulthood on earth. He was the king of Dvaraka. We need kings because of bad people in society. You can be living peacefully in your community, but what is typically unseen is the aggression of others. Only strong force can deter others gathering together to come and steal your land and property.

Krishna had to go against several such aggressors. One of them was Shalva. In the battle between the two, Shalva showed an illusion, something like an apparition. It was Krishna’s father Vasudeva being caught and having his head cut off. The Rakshasas during Rama’s time used similar illusions, with the intent of dispiriting the opposition. That is the real objective in a military conflict; defeat the will to fight of the opposing side.

The problem for Shalva is that Krishna’s illusory energy is much stronger. Maya works at His direction. Shalva was heavily under the influence of that maya, thinking that he could defeat the person who is unconquerable, Ajita. There was no question that Krishna would emerge victorious in that conflict. Sometimes He doesn’t even need to act Himself; sometimes He acts through a proxy who later gets so much credit as a result. They become famous for their devotion to God.

5. A pinky finger against devastating rain

How are you going to save yourself from devastating rain? Imagine you are in an emergency situation. A flash flood. You don’t have a boat. There is no shelter around. What are you going to do? This was the predicament for the residents of Vrindavana a long time ago. They had just completed the inaugural Govardhana Puja; worship of a sacred hill done at the insistence of child Krishna.

The king of heaven was so upset the people skipped his worship that he retaliated with a devastating rainstorm. The quickest way to lose intelligence is anger. Indra’s anger was so great that he did not consider the impact of killing so many innocent people through the resulting flood.

Krishna saved the people using just His pinky finger. He lifted up the massive Govardhana Hill and used it as an umbrella. The people took shelter underneath, and the pinky finger on the typically non-dominant hand of a child held that hill up for seven consecutive days.

It is easy to be fooled by the beautiful image of the all-attractive one. Every aspect of Him carries tremendous strength. Audible proof is in the potency of the sound that represents Him. Those who regularly chant the holy names understand the power of Divine sound: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.

In Closing:

An adult witch and innocent child to see,

A contest between two shouldn’t be.


Or fourteen thousand against one,

Powerful illusion opposition to stun.


Besides of amazing attractiveness to treasure,

Supreme Lord of strength beyond measure.


Against powerful foes of might and sin,

Shri Krishna with little effort to win.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Five Pastimes Related For The Bewilderment Of The Asuras

[Krishna and Jara]“Some of Lord Krishna's pastimes are mentioned in the Mahabharata as maushala-lila. These include the stories of the destruction of the Yadu dynasty, Krishna's disappearance, His being pierced by a hunter's arrow, the story of Krishna's being an incarnation of a piece of hair (kesha-avatara) as well as mahishi-harana, the kidnapping of Krishna's queens. Actually these are not factual but are related for the bewilderment of the asuras who want to prove that Krishna is an ordinary human being. They are false in the sense that these pastimes are not eternal, nor are they transcendental or spiritual.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Chaitanya Charitamrita, Madhya 23.117-118)

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Remembrance and forgetfulness. Two important factors in religion. Remembrance brings a person towards their original occupation, their dharma. Once that dharma is established, remembrance helps to keep a person in that mindset.

“I am seated in everyone's heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness. By all the Vedas am I to be known; indeed I am the compiler of Vedanta, and I am the knower of the Vedas.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 15.15)

Forgetfulness leads towards darkness, ignorance of one’s true identity. Interestingly, both come from the Supreme Lord, Shri Krishna. He rests within the heart as the Supersoul, and He sanctions all decisions. This means that He allows forgetfulness of Him; such is His kindness. Everyone follows Him in all respects.

He maintains this kindness even when He appears personally. After all, just because a person asks to see God does not mean they are qualified to understand who He is. So many people from the past saw Him right in front of their eyes and failed to recognize Him. Though shastra is there specifically for the benefit of the devotees, to increase their remembrance of Him, Krishna also includes pastimes that are for the bewilderment of the asuras.

1. Incarnating from a piece of hair

Krishna is all-attractive. That is the meaning to His name. Another meaning is “blackish.” Some enemies of God like to point to statements in the Mahabharata that describe Krishna to be an incarnation from the black hair of Narayana, who is Vishnu. Never mind that Narayana is God Himself, just a different manifestation from Him. Never mind that if Vishnu is God that He could surely incarnate in any way He chooses.

The asuras, those who are in favor of continued forgetfulness of both God and their own nature as eternal spiritual beings, try to exploit this description as a way to diminish Krishna. Their argument is, “How can Krishna be God if He comes from a black hair? Black is an inauspicious color.” Indeed, the Supreme puts these words in the Mahabharata intentionally, to give the asuras what they want.

2. Being pierced in the foot by a hunter

Krishna’s appearance in the world is still celebrated to this day on the occasion known as Janmashtami. The original Personality of Godhead appeared from the womb of mother Devaki. The incident is described in English as an appearance instead of a birth, since by definition God has no birth. There is no death for Him, either.

The disappearance of Krishna took place through the shot fired in the foot by a hunter. This was many years later. Krishna was resting underneath a tree. The incident fulfilled the curse of Gandhari and made true the words of Durvasa Muni. Also, in some circles the incident is believed to be the arrival of bad karma. In His previous appearance as Shri Rama, the Supreme Lord shot a combatant in the back, which goes against the standard rules of warfare. Now that combatant came back and returned the favor.

[Krishna and Jara]Krishna is above karma. He is not beholden to any curse. He does not need to apply a paste of payasam on His feet to keep Him safe. There is no difference between body and spirit for Him. Still, the incident helps to reinforce the idea of karma for those who cannot move beyond it. It gives strength to the atheists, supporting their denials of the Divinity of the speaker of the Bhagavad-gita.

3. The destruction of the Yadu dynasty

Another name for Krishna is Yadunandana. He is the delight of the Yadu dynasty. He was their leader in the city of gates known as Dvaraka. The place had unimaginable opulence. Krishna Himself lived with over sixteen thousand wives, each in a separate palace.

Yet today that city is underwater. The entire dynasty was destroyed through infighting. The events were foretold, and the less intelligent are left wondering how it could have happened. After all, it was God’s community. Isn’t that heaven on earth? How did it descend into madness and chaos? Again, the incident was to teach many lessons, including the temporary nature of things in the material world. It also gives further strength to the belief of the atheists in their way of life.

4. The kidnapping of Krishna’s queens

After the destruction of the Yadu dynasty and the return of Krishna to the spiritual world, the bow-warrior Arjuna was in charge of Krishna’s queens. An interesting thing happened. He lost in a battle against people who weren’t very skilled in fighting. The incident taught several lessons, the most important of which is that without Krishna’s sanction nothing can take place. He is the strength of the strong.

Arjuna was previously victorious, in the Bharata War, because Krishna was there to give Him strength. Now the Lord was in Vaikuntha, so Arjuna no longer had the same ability. The acharyas explain that Krishna Himself was fighting for the other side, reclaiming His queens and bringing them back to the spiritual world. The asuras use the incident to show that Krishna’s great devotees aren’t so great. Neither are His queens, since they were handed over to rogues. The devotees know the truth of the matter.

5. Krishna’s disappearance

“Those who are envious and mischievous, who are the lowest among men, are cast by Me into the ocean of material existence, into various demoniac species of life.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 16.19)

As mentioned before, the end to the pastimes took place through a shot fired by a hunter into Krishna’s sole. From reading the Mahabharata we see that Krishna immediately returned to the spiritual world. This is the evidence of the disappearance, that there was no death. Still, the atheists will hang onto the incident to show that Krishna is nothing special. He is mortal, after all. In this way they are cast repeatedly into lower species, where they get to act out on their ignorance, lifetime after lifetime.

In Closing:

Krishna not only for devotees came,

Mercy given to atheists the same.


From hair of Narayana in Mahabharata told,

Leaving from hunter’s shot piercing sole.


Against lesser rogues Arjuna suffering defeat,

From infighting Yadus destruction to meet.


So that in ignorance always to stay,

Lord’s powerful illusion at play.