Radhanath Swami explains How a great devotee sees every living entity equally and ensures their well being.
Dharma in the form of a bull asked: Madam, are you not hale and hearty? Why are you covered with the shadow of grief? It appears by your face that you have become black. Are you suffering from some internal disease, or are you thinking of some relative who is away in a distant place? Maharaj Parikshit as the true vaishnava is the very conscious servant of every living entity. The Natural quality of a devotee is that, that soul sees the presence of Krishna’s devotee within the heart of every living being.
brähmaëe gavi hastini
çuni caiva çva-päke ca
He sees the presence of the and part and parcel of spirit soul within the heart of Brahman, the cow, an elephant, a dog, or even the dog eaters, those who are in the most unfortunate sinful conditions of life. So therefore such a soul is always seeking the welfare of every living being, and the varnashram system is arranged that such personalities who are kind hearted, lover of God in any particular varna or ashram worked together for the welfare of society, especially the spiritual welfare of the society.
How Mere association of devotees qualifies us for Lord’s mercy by Radhanath Swami.
yad yad äcarati çreñöhas
tat tad evetaro janaù
It is explained in Bhagavad Gita that especially the leaders of the society must understand the goal of life, and must be compassionate to their subjects; now compassion means upholding spiritual principles. Maharaj Parikshit was an unalloyed devotee of the Lord from the very time he was residing in the womb of his mother; his mother and father- Abhimanyu, Uttarä were very very great pure devotees of the Lord. His grandfather Arjuna was a dear friend of the Lord. In this way because of this atmosphere of devotion all around naturally the child became very dear to the Lord. Çré Caitanya-caritämåta explains in very wonderful narration, how anyone who is dear to the devotee is very very dear to the Lord. An example of Amogha, who is the son in law of Särvabhauma Bhattacharya; he was a rascal, he was an envious fool, his pleasure was to simply blaspheme devotees and especially he liked to blaspheme Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Because of this blaspheming he contracted Cholera, but that Cholera was actually Lord’s mercy upon him; it made him realised the extent of suffering that offences create in one’s life. But then Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu personally appeared there, and gave him pure love of God. And he explained to Särvabhauma Bhattacharya, “because of his relationship with you… because you have surrendered your life in my loving service, therefore anyone connected to you or related to you will get special favour”. His special favour immediately appeared as Cholera, a terrible deadly disease, but in the end it culminated into pure devotional service.
Radhanath Swami explains How lord is pouring His mercy to everyone;
Similarly, Shivananda Sen somehow he became very friendly with the dog and because of this friendship he was merciful to the dog; he wasn’t even a pedigree dog; it was just a stray abandoned street dog, no master; but somehow or other he made his master, Shivananda Sen and because of that relationship Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu sent that dog back to Vaikuntha by feeding him prasädam with His own hand and personally inducing him to chant the holy names of Krishna. So anyone who is dear to devotees becomes dear to the Lord; and this is the very substance of our Gaudiya Vaishnava system;
A devotee is always dependent on other devotees
If we somehow or other become dear to the Lord’s dear servant, his devotee; then we naturally get the special favour of the Lord. So Maharaj Parikshit, because his parents, his grandparents, everyone was very intimate loving devotee…. When Ashvatthama threw his brahmästra to destroy the child naturally Uttarä called out to Krishna to protect her helpless child, as a compassionate mother. And Krishna always hears the prayers of his devotees; that you can be sure. Krishna was within the heart and he hears the every word of every living entity. And when a devotee sincerely prays for the welfare of another, definitely Krishna will respond. So Krishna appeared and with His transcendental opulence He destroyed the Brahmästra and protected Parikshit.
Always be grateful to God for whatever you are by Radhanath Swami.
And from that very time of living within the womb of her mother; Parikshit was always surrendered to the Lord with the most grateful heart, knowing that, “it was Krishna who saved my life, it is Krishna who has given me my existence and it is that beauty, that charm of Krishna that is the only goal of my life”. So Parikshit Maharaj later became king; but he was first devotee, and then he accepted his role. So part of the role of the king is to protect; and part of protecting means to punish. To protect the innocents it is mandatory to punish the intruders upon their rights. So as he is travelling to the various countries of the world, he comes upon this most wonderful seen in the pages of Srimad Bhagvatam; Dharma, religious principles is taken the form of a bull and Amba, mother earth is taken the form of a cow. And the cow is in great distress, and Dharma, the bull is inquiring from her: what is that distress? She is being inflicted by the wicked Kali.
Radhanath Swami explains How prosperity of society depends on service to cows.
Srila Prabhupada explains this word Amba or mother; there are seven mothers and the cow is considered one of those mothers. And when the cow is mistreated this is the symptom of irreligion; in fact Srila Prabhupada explains that, there is a barometer which the Shastra apply to understand to what extent there was religiosity or religiosity, and that is how happy or how distressed the cow is, that all. You go to any place; you see the condition of cows; that is the condition of religious life. If the cows are unprotected, unguarded, mistreated and insecure, that means to that extent there is irreligion and sinful activities taking place. And to the degree the cows are happy, secure, well protected to that degree we can understand religion is being followed; piety, spirituality.
Krishna Himself, He descends to this world and His eternal function which He reveals is Gopal, to protect cows.
How Cows being mistreated in modern society by Radhanath Swami.
And today in this age of Kali Yuga, Srila Prabhupada explains that, you cannot even mention the type of treatment that is inflicted upon the cows and the bulls. And today even the political leaders, they are engaged in conspiracy of this. In fact recently in 1960’s the President of United States, the most powerful political person in the entire planet earth… how did he make all of his money to run for the presidency? How did he get power and prestige before he came into politics? He had a big ranch where he simply raised cows to kill. Millions of cows were being killed for him to make money. And that same president, that same person when he came into the presidential office, he sent millions of young people to the battle field of Vietnam to be killed; there isn’t much difference. For political and selfish reasons, whether he is sending cows to the slaughter house or the children of the nation to the slaughter house it is all bloodshed, which due to the influence of this age of Kali. But Maharaj Parikshit, he is a real president, he is a real king. If he even saw an innocent cow even just being mistreated in the slightest way, he was ready to draw his sword and kill the offender. Because the cow is the Mother, Amba.
The story of “Bombay” and “Hindu”
Srila Prabhupada explains this Amba is also another name of Durgä. Durgä means mother, the mother of this material nature and Srila Prabhupada says in the city of Bombay actually there is a big temple and a famous deity of Amba, Mother Nature Durgä. And when the Britishers came; they did not know how to speak Sanskrit very good, so instead of saying Amba, they said Bamba. And from Bamba came Bombay, so this city is actually named after Amba. There is deity Mumba, but actually Mumba is also just a colloquial way of saying Amba. And Prabhupada explains, just like the word Hindu… Sindhu river is there between the Muslim countries and followers of Sanatan dharma, so the Muslims, Prabhupada said, they would pronounce ‘S’ as ‘H’; so instead of Sindhu, they said Hindu. So the British instead of Amba they said Bamba. But actually this city is named after mother, mother Durgä, who is actually an expansion of Shrimati Radharani who appears within this material creation as the Goddess in control of all material existences.
Cow demonstrates the love of a mother by Radhanath Swami.
So to respect and to treat properly one’s mother is the most basic principle of civilization. And therefore civilization is calculated simply on the bases of how the cow is being treated. Where there is compassion, the cow is protected. Srila Prabhupada when he came to New Vrindavan once there was a new cow that was purchased and the farmer sold the cow to New Vrindavan but would not sell the calf. And because of this the cow was always in anxiety, day and night she was crying in separation from her calf. Because she loved her calf; just as a mother loves her child,there is no difference. If the mother gives birth to a baby, if she is good mother, if she is a human being mother then if the child is taken away, she will only be thinking of the separation from child. So this cow is simply crying and weeping and weeping day and night; and Srila Prabhupada felt such compassion, she is in separation from her calf and Prabhupada explained, these rascals they are making this nonsense, demoniac propaganda that the cow has no soul; let us kill, let us eat there is no soul. Even in the name of religion, the perverted conception of Christianity, Islam not in its true sense but in its perverted exploited sense, they say that the cow has no soul. Then why is the cow weeping and crying out for its child with such tender motherly love? and why are we so cruel? How they will fight for their life? How they will respond to love? We have seen with our eyes, if you show a cow love, that cow becomes jubilant, if you neglect the cow the cow becomes so despondent. In fact when Srila Prabhupada came to New Vrindavan, that was his greatest joy to see that, the cows are being nicely protected. And when we go to other places, he would so often discuss the cows of New Vrindavan. One time he was in India I think Hyderabad and he was saying when the devotees at New Vrindavan call the cows, they come running jubilantly when they hear their names. Just to show how important it is to make cows happy. It was very very vital part of Srila Prabhupada’s mission and why… because without this understanding of properly respecting and protecting cows there is no question of spirituality rising within society. But in this age of Kali Yuga, this is one of the great symptoms that a cow is abused.
Radhanath Swami explains How the whole world is suffering and in distress.
The bull, Dharma is asking bhumi, Amba; “it appears that your face has become black”. And Prabhupada explains here in the purport that, the face is the index of the mind and in this age just by looking at people’s faces you can see, what sort of distress and anxiety a person is in. Why? Some of the symptoms of Kali are being described here, there are so many diseases; Srila Prabhupada explains in this age everyone is diseased with some kind of ailment. You see somebody is complaining about their back, somebody has problems with their lungs, somebody has a problem with their eyes, everybody in some sort of physical distress and another symptom of the age of Kali that Prabhupada is explaining here is that, families cannot live together. Therefore there is great distress. Just like Giriraj Maharaj…. we have all heard the wonderful story of, when he joined the Hare Krishna movement, his mother and father they came all the way to India, they travelled ten thousand miles just to try to somehow or other get their son back, and they were in tremendous distress. But what to do? He had a higher mission in life. But they are distressed because they are in separation from a devotee; every time they think of him in separation, they become purified and they come closer and closer to the spiritual world. I remember when I came to India in 1970, cannot even express the distress my father when he found out I was in India, he went to the Indian ambassador of America and pleaded with him to put out some search warrants and find me and force me to come home, because there was some one little letter; I said I am in Himalayas. So the ambassador said it’s hard to find someone in the Himalayas, we will try our best. That’s how desperate he was. Of course these are for higher purposes, but in this age of Kali people are always separated from their loved ones; it is just the natural trend of the influence of this age and therefore people are in such great great distress. And to earn their livelihood, Prabhupada explains people will have to go such long distances.
Learning to love Krishna from Vrajavasis.
This age of Kali according to Bhagvatam is an ocean of faults, ocean of reasons to become miserable; but there is one benediction, that simply by chanting Krishna’s name; like a vaccination if we keep Krishna’s name always prominent in our heart then we can be immune to the miseries and the suffering of this age of Kali. But Srila Prabhupada wanted to create a culture in which we can properly chant the holy name of the Lord. And like Maharaj Parikshit he wanted to establish real dharma, Sanatan dharma. And very vital part of this is protecting the cows; in fact Vrindavan means basically two things, chanting Krishna’s name and protecting Krishna’s cows. What else goes on there? Everything is interrelated to that; everyone in Vrindavan is Gopa or Gopi. That means either ladies protecting the cows or men protecting the cows. Nobody in Vrindavan is anything but Gopa or Gopi. And everyone is very much happy when the cows are happy, in fact the gopis said like this; that Govardhana hill is the best servant of Krishna, better than us because Govardhana hill is giving nice fresh grasses and nice clear water for the pleasure of cows and anyone who pleases the cows becomes most dear to Krishna. The cow milk is considered the highest of all food, the purest of all foods.
Radhanath Swami explains How Cows are the real wealth of the society.
In fact Srila Prabhupada told us in New Vrindavan that, if you are not drinking milk everyday you will not have brain substance to understand this philosophy, but he said not too much or you will get jaundice. But he said we should all have some milk everyday; it nourishes the brain and makes it fit to understand the higher principles of spiritual life. So this was the wealth, the opulence of Vrindavan. Nanda Maharaj had nine hundred thousand cows, this was their wealth. So we should understand so nicely what Krishna and his representatives have given us. They have given us life of simple living and high thinking; whether we are living in the city of Bombay or anywhere, we should understand these values, we should price these values; chanting the holy name of Krishna as a yuga dharma and respecting Krishna’s devotees and in this way there is no impediment to our spiritual progress and we can be immune to the influences of this age of Kali. Is there any question?
- Someone who is living in city away from cows, farms… they have no association with cow or cow protection; how they can help?
Ans: You can send money to New Vrindavan.
- Amogha was a very envious personality and he actually blasphemed the devotees. But still we see Mahaprabhu’s past time; He favoured Amogha and actually gave him pure love of God. So how to understand this, why did He do it, because actually he was very envious person.
Lord is so merciful that, he liberates even the beloved one of his devotees.
Ans: Because Särvabhauma Bhattacharya surrendered his life and soul in the service of the Lord. Särvabhauma was not an ordinary devotee, he had completely surrendered everything and one who does that, anyone related to them gets the special mercy of the Lord however demoniac they may be. Prahlad was also a very good devotee and Hiranyakashipu was a terrible demon; why did he get liberated? Only because of the relationship with Prahlad because Prahlad surrendered everything. So if you love parents, if you love your brothers and sisters, if you love your grandfathers and grandmothers, if you love your aunties and uncles; surrender to Krishna; they will all get the special mercy of the Lord. Even if they hate you for surrendering, if you love them; you will surrender. Hiranyakashipu did not appreciate Prahlad’s devotion, but Prahlad showed the ultimate love for his father by totally disobeying everything his father wanted. So Amogha had no qualifications, but because he was related to Särvabhauma Bhattacharya he received the special mercy of the Lord, because Krishna always wants to please his pure devotees.
- In the last chapter of first canto Prabhupada is explaining the personality of Kali within the world that Maharaj Parikshit strongly resisted the domination of personality of Kali in this world, that influence of age Kali came at an opportune moment and even a strong king like Parikshit Maharaj was induced to disregard brahmanical culture due to the slight provocation of hunger and thirst. We know that pure devotee is never influenced by the age of Kali so how it is that Maharaj Parikshit was induced by the age of Kali to this slight provocation?
Krishna makes his pure devotees an instrument to help the society.
Ans: It was by Krishna’s arrangement, in order to bring in the age of Kali which is a necessary part of progression of the Yuga cycle. King like Parikshit could not be there, because where there was Parikshit Kali had no entrance because he was so pure and so empowered. So in order to allow Kali to come in, Parikshit Maharaj had to be moved aside. And therefore by the yoga-mäyä potency Krishna allowed, he actually arranged Maharaj Parikshit; because Krishna is the source of remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness. Why is it a devotee immune from Kali? Why is it devotee on such a level? It is only because he is surrendered to Krishna and Krishna protects him. So Krishna never stopped protecting Parikshit, but he allowed him to do something he would have never done on his own; in fact he induced him to do that. Simply so that the age of Kali cold begin, but also so that Maharaj Parikshit could set the highest example of total renunciation by giving up his kingdom and surrendering to the lotus feet of Srila Sukadev Goswami. If Maharaj Parikshit did not do that, put the dead snake as a garland around Shamika Rishi, there would be no Srimad Bhagvatam, and according to the Bhagvatam itself; it says after Krishna leaves the planet Srimad Bhagvatam, the literary incarnation is that literature which gives light in this age of Kali. It is the highest, purest most important of all scriptures. So it was Krishna arrangement to bring about the narration of Srimad Bhagvatam at the same time to allow Kali to come. And actually to allow Kali to come is a great benediction; great sages worshiped Kali yuga is the best of all ages, because in this age of Kali yuga the Lord comes as Shri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and shows the supreme mercy, the supreme compassion and gives everyone the chance of going back to the spiritual world through the chanting of holy names, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare. So Krishna inducing Maharaj Parikshit to engage in this activity; from that Srimad Bhagvatam is brought to the world, from that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu the most merciful yuga avatar came to the world, from that the yuga dharma of the chanting of the holy name of the Lord would be brought to the world. So Maharaj Parikshit was simply being used in the most intimate loving way by Krishna to show mercy to the fallen souls.
- In Islam dharma it is usually considered that pigs should not be killed and in Vedic culture it is said that cows should not killed, so what is the Islam have to say about cows.
Radhanath Swami explains how compassion is the bases of non violence.
Ans: According to Sanatan dharma no animal should be killed, no one should be killed; in fact Maharaj Shibi was willing to give his life to help one pigeon. So this is the high degree of compassion talked within the Vedas that no harm or bloodshed should be caused to anyone. But of all the lowest species cow is considered the most important. Practically because she is the mother, she gives us milk; pigs do not give us milk. Cows give milk and that milk is the miracle food. When we accept the milk, we are accepting her as Amba, as mother. We must respect her, honour her and protect her as mother if you are taking the service of mother from her. So yes we should honour and respect every species of life and try to protect, but especially the mother, who is giving us the greatest service and the greatest benediction; she is nourishing us and by drinking her milk she is actually giving us strength as children and she is giving us proper nourishment for our spirituality throughout our life. So therefore the mother is most important, the cow. And Srila Prabhupada said, there is sin in killing even an insect. We read about Vasudev leper he would not even cause harm to the worms that were eating his body out, because he saw the presence of soul even in the worms. So that is the compassion of a devotee, he doesn’t want any living being to be harmed. He wants to uplift everyone by somehow giving them prasädam or giving them Hari naam. As far as why Muslims do not eat pigs; because their conception has nothing to do with compassion, it has do with cleanliness. You are asking, I will tell you because I have studied Islam. What do pigs eat? You heard the same you are what you eat, Because when you eat that food through the power of digestion and various others forms of assimilations; that food nourishes the cells and what you eat becomes your body. You are eating prasädam your body is actually made up of prasädam, if you eat stool… the whole body of the pig is just transformed stool. So when you eat a pig, you are actually eating nothing but stool in a transformed state. So it is not very clean to eat stool, so therefore they do not eat pigs because they consider it very unclean meat, because it is nourished by stool and garbage. So there is nothing to do with compassion there, it is simply cleanliness, but the Vedic scriptures teach not to kill animals on the basis of compassion, on the basis of keeping the heart clean of cruelty. The reason Muslims do not eat pigs is just to keep the body clean; although it is a common animal in Vrindavan these days. Of course we do not read about them in Srimad Bhagvatam, so we keep it as it is. But we should be very respectful to every living entity; that is Krishna consciousness.