rāsasim āsurim caiva
prakritim mohinim sritāh
Those who are thus bewildered are attracted by demoniac and atheistic views. In that deluded condition; their hopes for liberation, their fruitive activities, and their culture of knowledge are all defeated.
Purport by His Divine Grace A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
There are many devotees who assume themselves to be in Krishna consciousness and devotional service but at heart do not accept the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, as the Absolute Truth. For them, the fruit of devotional service—going back to Godhead—will never be tasted. Similarly, those who are engaged in fruitive pious activities and who are ultimately hoping to be liberated from this material entanglement will never be successful either, because they deride the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna. In other words, persons who mock Krishna are to be understood to be atheistic.
It is a great offense, therefore, to consider Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, to be an ordinary man. Those who do so are certainly deluded because they cannot understand the eternal form of Krishna. In Brhad-visnu-smrti it is clearly stated that:
“One who considers the body of Krishna to be material should be driven out from all rituals and activities of the sruti. And if one by chance sees his face, he should at once take bath in the Ganges to rid himself of infection.” People jeer at Krishna because they are envious of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Their destiny is certainly to take birth after birth in the species of atheistic and demoniac life. Perpetually, their real knowledge will remain under delusion, and gradually they will regress to the darkest region of creation.
Those who are thus bewildered are attracted by demoniac and atheistic views. In that deluded condition, their hopes for liberation, their furtive activities, and their culture of knowledge are all defeated.
It’s very sweet verse spoken by Lord Sri Krishna is from ninth chapter which is entitled “the most confidential knowledge”. Krishna is here making a very striking comparison. In the previous verse he describes that fools deride me when I descend in the human form. They do not know my transcendental nature and my supreme dominion over all that be. And in the next verse in which we have read from today Krishna says
mahātmanas tu mām pārtha
daivim prakritim āsritāh
jnātvā bhūtādim avyayam
O son of Prthā, those who are not deluded, the great souls, are under the protection of the divine nature. They are fully engaged in devotional service because they know Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, original and inexhaustible.
And in the next verse
satatam kirtayanto mām
yatantas ca drdha-vratāh
namasyantas ca mām bhaktyā
Always chanting My glories, endeavoring with great determination, bowing down before Me, these great souls perpetually worship Me with devotion.
Atheism is created by God
We have read two verses which describe the qualities of the unfortunate persons who are not willing to submit themselves as a humble servant of the Lord. Persons, who do not want to humble themselves before the service of the Lord, justify within their own minds and within the minds of the others; the reason why they should not. They deride the Lord.
If you accept Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then you have no other alternative but to surrender to him. So atheism is not something created by men. Atheism is created by God, because Krishna is fulfilling everyone’s desire. If a person doesn’t want to surrender to Krishna, and wants to justify his position, in that case Krishna kindly creates the atheism philosophy just to give that person the perfect excuse not to surrender.
And just after describing the qualities of those unfortunate, sorrowful souls Krishna immediately explains the nature of the greatest souls, who are always chanting his glories, who are always under his divine protection and who are māhātmas.
It is very significant that he describes the lowest of the demons and the greatest of the māhātmas right one after another because he is making it strikingly clear that this is the choice of each and everyone of us. These are the two extremes. And each and every one of us fall somewhere in between these two extremes.
Some time the atheists they say that why should I believe in God if I cannot see Him? Show me God and I’ll believe.
God is revealing Himself at every moment everywhere. We cannot see Him.
naham prakāsh sarvashaya yogamāyā samāvritah
This happens because we do not want to see Him. Only a surrendered soul truly wants to see God. We may say that I want to see God, but factually are you ready to surrender? That is the question.
When Krishna appeared in Vrindavana on this earth five thousand years ago, so many person who saw him wanted to destroy Him because they were threatened by his existence. If they were to accept Him they would have to submit themselves before Him.
Vicious Demon Vatsasurā.
In Vrindavana there is a story of a very vicious demon. His name was Vatsasurā. He was a part of the company of Kamsa. Vatsasurā was sent by Kamsa to kill Krishna and His brother Balarama. They were seeing Him but they wanted to kill Him. Vatsasurā was very clever. He knew that Krishna is very fond of taking care of calves. At this time Krishna was only about four years old, He was very young. He was not yet put incharge of the cows but Nanda Maharaja gave him the care of these small calves. So as Krishna was taking care of the small calves. Vatsasurā disguised himself, by his great mystic powers, to look like a very beautiful, charming ,loving little calf. You have seen how adorable a little calf could be. You just want to hold them, and look at them and love them. They are so innocent, they are so pure. He looked just like that. In the English language it is said “You cannot judge a book by looking at its cover”. This statement is not really talking about books, it’s talking about people. That’s just the example given. So this pure, innocent little calf who is dancing about with all the other cows and calves of the Krishna’s herd. His internal desire was to brutally assassinate Krishna and Balarama. This was his motive. But Krishna, He knows the past, present and future. This calf didn’t understand that Krishna was residing within his own heart. Hare Krishna… So Krishna told Balaramaji, “you see this beautiful little baby calf. He has come to assassinate us. We should teach him a good lesson “. Balarama said,” yes, so be it.” Krishna and Balarama, in a very playful spirit, quietly crept behind this calf. Very quickly Krishna took the calf by its hind leg, whirled it around and threw him to the ground with such force that he was dead.
Celebrations by Vrajvasis
Cowherd boys understood that Krishna has just killed a demon in disguise. He was appearing as a friend. And they began to celebrate, “Well done Krishna well done.” Even the demigods in the heavenly planets were so pleased that this very vicious rakshasa was killed that they began to shower flowers upon Krishna and beat kettledrums to celebrate His victory.
Everyone was very happy except the Gopis. When Krishna came to them, the Gopi said,” My Lord from this day on we’ll have nothing to do with you ever again. This is because you are practicing the policy of hypocrisy, you are a Gopa, you call yourself Govinda which means you give pleasure to cows and today you took the pleasure of killing a cow. It is such a sin to kill a cow that unless you go all the holy places of pilgrimage and take your bath in all the holy rivers, you are contaminated by this sin.”
Krishna said, “But this calf was a demon.” And the Gopis said,” Aha! You see you admitted that it was a calf. Demon or not demon it was a calf.” So Krishna said ,” Alright!” He took his celebrated flute, put it on the ground and dug a hole in the ground. Then he called out to all the holy rivers and all the holy places to come and they all appeared before him. And He said,” Now please enter into this little well that I’ve dug with my flute.” All the holy rivers filled hole with the sacred waters from throughout the universe, and then Krishna took His bath in the holy waters.The Gopis were very satisfied by seeing this transcendental pastime of Him bathing in the holy waters. Krishna too was very happy.
After this pastime He decided that there should be a big celebration or festival for three reasons .Firstly because Vatsasurā ,the great enemy of the theists have been killed, secondly because all the holy rivers throughout the universe had come to Vrajadhama and entered into this well, and thirdly because just in case if there is some sinful reaction due to Krishna’s killing the demon who had appeared as a calf,and if He feeds all the Brahmins and the Vrajvasis , He will be purified. So He decided to feed all the Vrajvasis.
Thus Krishna and Balarama organized the feast. They got a lot of nice vegetables, grains and fruits.They organized a big kitchen and all the Gopas the cowherd boys assisted them. They called all the Brahmins, Gopas and Gopis and many thousands of Vrajvasis came. They fed them sumptuous Prasad cooked by their own hand.
What is it called when one feeds a congregation of people with nice Prasad? It is called Bhandar. But in Vrajvasi language it is called Bhandir. Because of this wonderful event which took place, even today one of the most celebrated and holy of the twelve forest of Vrindavana is called Bhandir Vana, which means the place where the Bhandir had taken place. It is a very a sacred place. Today if you go there, that well is still there in the ground. And of the entire holy places throughout the universe, the favorite place of the Sukadeva Gosvami is right beside that well. And he is about to tell you about it.
Sukadeva Maharaja: Before digging the well Krishna took down his crown and kept it aside. So there is a temple in memory of Krishna keeping the crown there it is called the Crown Temple in Bhandir Vana.
Sukadeva Maharaja was in ecstatic love when he was sitting beside the crown of Lord Krishna. We were there five days ago.
Another thing that took place in Bhandir Vana is Kamsa that sent a whole army of soldiers to kill Krishna and Balarama. They came to Bhandir Vana forest, where Krishna was taking care of the calves and they lit the whole forest on fire. Krishna by his Yogamaya potency made it so difficult for Kamsa’s army that they couldn’t escape the fire. The whole army of Kamsa burnt within the fire that they made. After the fire was extinguished the cows and the cowherd boys got very scared. They told Krishna that now the fire was going to burn them. Krishna asked them to close their eyes. They all closed their eyes, and Krishna swallowed the fire.
Right approach towards Krishna
We learnt from this wonderful historical pastime, that here were the cowherd boys and Gopis and here was the congregation of soldiers of Kamsa, they were both seeing the same Krishna. One wanted to kill Him and one wanted to love him and serve Him. Krishna is everywhere and He is in everything. Even when the pure devotee of the Krishna comes to this world one should not be surprised because the pure devotee is representing Krishna. Why did Kamsa and all the demons like Vatsa, Pralambha, Agha, Putana, want to kill Krishna? They wanted to kill Him because they wanted to continue enjoying separate from Him. They didn’t want to submit to Him. Krishna was coming to this world to tell everyone that surrender to Me. And if everyone would have followed what He said, it would ruin all their plans for sense enjoyment. So they tried to kill Him when He came. Similarly Ravana wanted to kill Rama, So did Maricha, Subahu, Indrajeet and all of these great incarnations .We find multitude of atheistic persons who are standing right before the Lord want to destroy Him. And at the same time we find those persons who are in the same position, in the same location, seeing the same Godhead they simply want to please Him and serve him and love him. Krishna says in Gita
yadā yadā hi dharmasya
glānir bhavati bhārata
tadātmānaà srjāmy aham
vināsāya ca duskrtām
sambhavāmi yuge yuge
That I come to protect the pious, I come to attract the love of my devotees but those who approach me with negative feelings I come to destroy them. And I come to re-establish the principles of the religion.
Krishna’s representative comes on the same mission on behalf of the Lord. Therefore it is no surprise that when the spiritual master or when the great sadhus come to this earth those who are sincere and who have pious heart, they want to serve, they want to love, and they want to glorify such great souls. Those who are demoniac, they want to kill; they want to destroy the great devotees of the Lord. That is why Lord Jesus was crucified; Mohammed was persecuted for many years. Many people have paid good money to see him killed. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, his devotees were highly persecuted and threatened in imprisonment, exploitation and death. Some of his devotees were even sentenced to death, such as Haridas Thakur.
Krishna always protects His pure devotees
Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur the great acharya we read about, once a police superintendent came to him and said,” You know some people approach me and offer me tens and thousands of rupees to kill you. And usually I always do this. How do you think police superintendent make their money. But because you are a great sadhu and I have heard you preaching I cannot do it to you. But I’m warning you that people want to kill you in this world.”
But Krishna always protects his devotees, so it’s not surprising. Krishna says in Bhagvad-Gita that His pure devotees have no enemies. He is the friend of everyone and everyone is friend to him. If this is true then why is it that whenever someone gets very advanced in preaching the message of the Lord he makes so many enemies? Krishna says such a person is the friend of everyone and everyone is his friend. But Krishna also says in Bhagavad-gita “I’m also the friend of everyone and everyone is a friend to me.” He says this in the battlefield of Kurukshetra. and right before him is Duryodhana ,who just a few days before, tried to put Him in prison, tried to beat Him with clubs and sticks. So what does this mean? Krishna has already demisted this mist in the Bhagavad-gita, the bodily conception of life. He is speaking on the spiritual platform. Krishna and His devotees, are the friend of the soul; they are not only the friend of the body.
Sanatana Gosvami was the dear most disciple of Lord Caitanya and yet for over one full year, was plagued with the horrible, painful disease of itching sores all over his body with pus and blood flowing constantly. When Krishna says He is the friend, he is not simply talking about this temporary body, he is the friend of the soul. Through that suffering, Sanatana Goswami, showed by his example ,the glory of the great soul, just for his purification. He was too deep in his love and his devotion. So therefore, truly, he was the friend of the soul. When Krishna destroyed the demon Vatsasurā, the body was slayed. Sisupal was a demon who hated Krishna. He was Krishna’s enemy, it appeared. Krishna sliced off his head with the Sudarsana chakra. Krishna was not the friend of the body. He decapitated the body. Everyone saw before their eyes, the soul entered into the body of Krishna to attain liberation. When Krishna kills it is an act of pure love. When Krishna protects, it is an act of pure love. Krishna is always eternally the friend of the soul, and the soul always loves Krishna. But sometime that love is covered by the illusion of the bodily concept. Similarly the great devotees of the Lord are the well wishers, lovers and the friends of everyone. They accept the thankless task of trying to give people the greatest gift of Love of God. People would hate them for it, try to destroy them. When Krishna appeared, the demons were coming to kill him every day. Do not be bewildered when the devotees of the Lord are persecuted by the same mentality class of men. Do not be bewildered. It is sentimental to think that when you take to spiritual life everything is very pleasing in all regards. When you take to spiritual life you declare a war against maya and all of her forces. Do not think she will not fight back. There will be a constant struggle. But this is this labor of love; it is through this struggle that we are purified.
There is another internal reason why Krishna allows the asuras to be asuras. If they were not around the devotees would become very complacent. They would not see the urgency and the need to surrender to Krishna. So when things go against us, we should welcome it gracefully. We should think,”Yes Krishna this is your kind mercy upon us. Without these opportunities how would we ever really take Krishna consciousness seriously?” Krishna wants more from us than just being a pious person. Krishna wants us to always think of Him, to depend exclusively on His mercy. And the great devotees of the Lord show us by their example how this is to be done. So this is our choice – do we want to become like the Vatsasurās or do we want to become like the cowherd boys. At every moment we are given this option to please Krishna, to remember Krishna or to forget Krishna in our own selfish endeavors. These holy places like Bhandir Vana, give us a very clear visual understanding. When we say visual understanding, we mean that a devotee doesn’t see with his eyes, he sees with his ears. When we describe this holy place of Bhandir Vana, we are seeing the place through our ears, with our heart. These holy places and the holy lila of the lord are all meant to intensify our devotion.
Sridama is still waiting..
There is another story that took place at Bhandir Vana. I would like to conclude the class by narrating this. When Krishna was being invited by Akrura to go to Mathura,all the residents of Vrindavana were begging Krishna not to go. “That will mean the very death of all of us. To be in the absence of your divine presence for even a moment is more painful than we can endure.”they said. So one of Krishna’s best friend, the younger brother of Srimati Radharani, named Sridama told Krishna, that if He goes to Mathura, he will jump in the river Yamuna and commit suicide because he could not tolerate a moment without Krishna’s friendship.
Sunayayitam jagat sarvam govind virhen mein
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has explained that being bereft of Krishna’s divine vision this entire universe is nothing but a dreary horrible void.
It is one big zero. There is no value. There is nothing attractive. It’s dead. There is no reason to live. This is the feeling of a devotee. Without Krishna this whole universe is sunyayitam, it is one big zero. It has no pleasing qualities. It is a dead mass of nothing. It is the presence of Krishna that gives love when attracted to everything within this universe. It is the remembrance of Krishna that gives a purpose to everything we do. Sridama says that if Krishna leaves he will have no reason to live. Krishna said that you should not leave your body in this way, and that He will be back within one or two days. Sridama said,”Alright, I’ll be staying near this Vamsi Vat tree here at Bhandir Vana which is our favorite place for herding the cows and calves, where we have engaged in many wonderful pastimes. Please know my Lord that and I’ll not leave until you come back. And know while I’m sitting under this tree my heart will simply be grieving in separation from you.” Krishna said,”Alright I’ll be back.” One day went by, two days went by, three days went by, one week passed, two weeks, three weeks passed, one month, two months, three months, one year, two years, three years, one century, two centuries, three centuries, one millennium, two millenniums, three millenniums.. Sridama is still waiting there. A moment is like twelve years or more. And for thousands of years he is simply standing under that Vamsi Vat tree, with tears constantly flowing from the core of his heart waiting for Krishna to return. In honor of His divine presence there, long ago the Gosvamis and the great devotees of the Lord installed the Murti of Sridama standing under this tree. Five hundred years ago the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna incarnated in this world as the golden avatara, Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. And Sri Gauranga Mahaprabhu came to Vrindavana. And during his travels through the twelve forests He came to this place of Bahndir Vana, . As He was approaching the Vamsi Vata tree Lord Caitanya in his original divine mood of Lord Sri Krishna he began to cry out Sridama, Sridama I have come after all this time I have finally returned to Vrndavana, to fulfill all of your desires. As Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu filled with the ecstasy of love for His devotees began to cry throngs of tears. He ran to the Murti of Sridama and began to embrace with great love. This is the loving exchange between Krishna and his devotees. For those who have no other desire but the loving aspiration for the service of Krishna, for those who are aspiring to constantly think of Krishna, Krishna may keep you waiting, he may keep you waiting for one day, two days, three days perhaps one week, two weeks, three weeks, perhaps months, perhaps years, perhaps centuries, perhaps millennium. Caitanya Mahaprabhu prayed Himself in the mood of a devotee
aslisya va padratam pinastu mam adarsanam marm hatam karotu va
yatha tatha va vid dhatu lampato mam prana nathastu gatir anyatha
My Lord, I’m your servant. You are free to deal with me in anyway you please. If you like you can be present before me, if like you make me brokenhearted by not being visible before me. If you like you can embrace me or if you like you can kick me away.
man-manā bhava mad-bhakto
mad-yāji mām namaskuru
mām evaisyasi satyam te
pratijāne priyo ‘si me
Krishna says, “Always think of Me, become My devotee, worship Me and offer your homage unto Me. In this way you will come to Me without fail. This is my promise My dear friend.”
But in truth when Krishna says you’ll come to me without fail but he really means I’ll come to you without fail, because we can never come to Krishna. We have no power but he is attracted by our sincere endeavor to love Him and serve Him and remember Him, and He reveals Himself to us.
Sridama waited 4,500 years, but in that waiting he was constantly engrossed in separation from Krishna. Therefore he was seeing Krishna at every moment in those ecstatic feeling. And in the end absence makes the heart go fonder, the ecstatic reunion between Lord Caitanya and Sridama is something that we can never understand. The ecstasy of the love when they met again.
This is how Krishna reciprocates with his devotees. How should one always be engrossed in the thought of Krishna? How should one always cultivate these natural sentiments of love for Krishna? Lord Caitanya taught us…
ceto darpana marjanam
bhava maha davagni nirvapanam
By very sincerely, under the guidance of great devotees of the Lord we should chant the holy name.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
Krishna is non different than His name
And by this divine sound of Krishna’s name, the presence of Krishna awakens in our life , because Krishna is non-different than his name. But just as sometimes the demons would disguise themselves as the cowherd boys, they would disguise themselves as devotees, they would look like devotees but their hearts were not sincere. Similarly our chanting will not get the proper results if we simply externally chant like a devotee. Chanting has to come from the sincere heart. We have to call out in a humble state of mind, Krishna’s name in the spirit my Lord “I have seen and consider the whole world and without you there is no one who can save me.” Whoever we are, whatever positions we may take in this world, we have seen in the recent news here in India that a person of such a stature, perhaps the most powerful person in all over India. There are eight nine hundred million people in this country. And here is the person with the most influence in the country. The most powerful man in the country. Such rare soul too is dying at the least expected moment, and everything is finished. Not only here,but throughout the world. Whether you are a street sweeper, a man or a woman, whether you are educated or non-educated, whether you are old or young, whether you are the prime minister, king, or a sannyasi. Even if you are the chairman of the board of the biggest corporation in the world, any moment everything will be finished. That is why Bhakti Vinod Thakura prayed, “My Lord I have seen and considered the whole world and my conclusion is without your holy name there is nothing that can save me.”
So let us take this very seriously. Let us stand up, put our folded palms together, and let the name of Krishna vibrate from our hearts and fill the atmosphere with His divine form.