“na hy asya karhicid räjan

pumän veda vidhitsitam

yad vijijïäsayä yuktä

muhyanti kavayo ‘pi hi”

Srimad Bhagavatam 1.9.16



na—never; hi—certainly; asya—His; karhicit—whatsoever; räjan—O King; pumän—anyone; veda—knows; vidhitsitam—plan; yat—which; vijijïäsayä—with exhaustive inquiries; yuktäù—being engaged; muhyanti—bewildered; kavayaù—great philosophers; api—even; hi—certainly.



O King, no one can know the plan of the Lord [Çré Kåñëa]. Even though great philosophers inquire exhaustively, they are bewildered.



The bewilderment of Mahäräja Yudhiñöhira over his past sinful acts and the resultant sufferings, etc., is completely negated by the great authority Bhéñma (one of the twelve authorized persons). Bhéñma wanted to impress upon Mahäräja Yudhiñöhira that since time immemorial no one, including such demigods as Çiva and Brahmä, could ascertain the real plan of the Lord. So what can we understand about it? It is useless also to inquire about it. Even the exhaustive philosophical inquiries of sages cannot ascertain the plan of the Lord. The best policy is simply to abide by the orders of the Lord without argument. The sufferings of the Päëòavas were never due to their past deeds. The Lord had to execute the plan of establishing the kingdom of virtue, and therefore His own devotees suffered temporarily in order to establish the conquest of virtue. Bhéñmadeva was certainly satisfied by seeing the triumph of virtue, and he was glad to see King Yudhiñöhira on the throne, although he himself fought against him. Even a great fighter like Bhéñma could not win the Battle of Kurukñetra because the Lord wanted to show that vice cannot conquer virtue, regardless of who tries to execute it. Bhéñmadeva was a great devotee of the Lord, but he chose to fight against the Päëòavas by the will of the Lord because the Lord wanted to show that a fighter like Bhéñma cannot win on the wrong side.


Lecture by His Holiness Radhanath Swami Maharaja:

The battle of Kurukestra is often seen to be a great mystery. Bhisma is one of the twelve mahajans, one of the supreme authorities of devotion to Krishna. Why is he fighting on the side of adharma? Why he did not chose to fight on the side of Maharaja Yudhisthira? Yudhisthira Maharaja and his four brothers were pure devotees who surrendered their body, mind, words and lives in the service of the lord. Duryodhana: although he a very great politician and a very formidable warier, all his good qualities were utterly exhausted by the presence of envy in his heart: envy of great souls and greed for that which is not meant for himself. Time and time again you find in the scriptures that anyone who envies a great soul, eventually all his good qualities and all his fortunes are vanquished. In fact there is no offence that the Lord takes so seriously as envy toward His pure devotees. If you fall down to illicit sex, if you take intoxication, if you eat meat, if you begin to gamble, if you do all abominable things, you will have to suffer the consequences, there is no doubt. But all of these things combined are not as unpalatable in the eyes of god as someone who is envious and discourteous towards His devotees. The lord can forgive any offense one commits, but He will not forgive offence to His devotees. The only possible rescue to save yourself from such an offence is you must gain the forgiveness from that devotee. At that time the lord will agree to be kind upon you. Maharaja Bhisma is the greatest devotee, whose heart is filled with unmotivated, uninterrupted love for Lord Sri Krishna, who is one of the twelve Mahajanas everyone must follow to understand how to perform devotion to Krishna. Why does such a great celebrated personality like take the side of Duryodhana, who was not only envious of the Pandavas, but also constantly committing offences and being discourteous to the Pandavas? Not only did he greedily usurp what belong to the Pandavas, but also on several occasions he even tried to kill the Pandavas. Krishna had to supersede on several occasions to save them from the greed and wrath of Duryodhan and Bhisma, more than any other man on earth, knew exactly the mentality of Duryodhan and Dhritarashtra. Time and time again he tried to give them good instructions: “Do you know that your envy against the Pandava brothers is like kindling the fire within your heart, which is about to burn to ashes all of your good qualities, all your fortune and even your duration of life?” But despite so much good counseling by great souls like Vidura and Bhisma, even Lord Sri Krishna Himself begged and pleaded with the Kurus, “Be reasonable, be humane, give them a little land or something just as a gesture that you have some affection and some respect for them. Duryodhana replied, “I wont give them enough to stick head of the pin through.” He tried to burn them to death in the house of Varnataka. He fed Bhima poison and after Bhima was apparently killed, Duryodhan threw him in the Ganges, thinking he was dead, poisoned and drowned. Why in the world would Bhisma want to take the side of, fight and give his life for irreligion? Since time immemorial, this has been a very perplexing and bewildering question. Many people say he was obliged to do so. Because after all he was the servant of the Kuru dynasty and he was accepting his room, his abode, and everything he had from Dhritarashtra and Duryodhana. So socially he was obliged. Just like it is said in English, ‘Do not bite the hand that feeds you.’ So some people have that explanation. But it is not polite for him to bite the hand that was feeding him for so many long years. But you think such a great soul, as Bhisma was afraid of going against such superficial principles of social morality at the cost of shooting arrows into the pure devotees of the lord? So on a very external superficial level that is true. He fought on the side of the Kurus, because he was obliged to them socially. But internally the reason was that Bhisma was a completely surrendered soul. He had no ambition other than the pleasure of Krishna. He had no false ego. He was completely pure. His only motivation was to execute the will of god. Therefore although Bhisma knew that for all the time to come he would be criticized and misunderstood for taking the wrong side, he did not care at all for his own reputation. He knew that Krishna had a plan. And Krishna revealed this plan to him from within his heart. Krishna wanted to show that anyone who is not in the side of God would be vanquished. And this is the most important instruction for all humanity. Why? -Because on this earth, as well as in the heavens and hells, everyone is attached to being the doer of their activities. Krishna says in Gita,


“prakåteù kriyamäëäni

guëaiù karmäëi sarvaçaù


kartäham iti manyate”

Bhagavad-Gita 3.27

“The bewildered soul considers himself to be the doer of his activities. But in actuality they are carried out by nature.”

You see we are completely dependent on mercy of godhead all times. If you think that you can be successful in life by your endeavors then you are fool number one. And 99.9999% of this world’s population is fool number one. How many people in this congregation today admit that they are fool number one? Raise your hand. Raise your hand high if you really believe it. As a matter of fact, raise both hands if you truly believe it. Goura premanande Hari Hari Bol. How many people do not think that they are fool number one? I’ll even give you a little… How many think you are fool number two? It is a fact we are all fools. When we examine our hearts, we are all thinking that by my expertise I will accomplish things in this world. And more expertise you have, the more you are prone to thinking in this illusion. Queen Kunti has prayed,

“Janma aiswarya shruta shrivih edhamana madah puman

Na eva arhati abhidhatum bai twam akinchanagocharam”

Srimad Bhagavatam 1.8.26

“That those who have material opulence, those who have good education who had good wealth, who have bodily and strength and who have high birth, they are the most disqualified for spiritual life.”

Because their tendency is they are thinking, ‘by my opulence I am accomlishing things in this world. I’ll over come the problems of this world.’ And they become proud and in the state of pride they cannot helplessly cry out for the mercy of Krishna. When we have a good education, Phd. MA, we think, “Oh! Now I am very learned, I am more learned than practically anyone else around. Now I can deal with this world. I can solve problems of life. I can provide for my self. I am a self made man. I started with nothing and now look at me, I have a Mercedes Benz and I live in a nice flat that cost so many crores of rupees. I am very much respected by everyone. I have done it myself.” You say that to a devotee and what will he say to you? He will say, “Excuse me my dear sir, you may be very great in the estimation of fools and rascals. But in Maya you are fool number one.” Sometimes we are not blunt, that’s what we think in our heart. It is a fact. Therefore, Bhisma was the most highly qualified man in the entire universe: not only in this earth, but also in the universe. There was no person alive more learned than Bhisma. When he was a young boy, his mother Ganga had him educated by Brihaspati himself, the spiritual master of devatas. Brishaspati awarded him the title of his most learned student. As far his skill, people are very proud when they can perform from their occupation very expertly. Just like a doctor who is a very excellent surgeon, thinks, ‘I am a very good surgeon, see my credentials’. Businessman is very shrewd and very careful to be able to defeat all of his competitors. He has very proud. If a politician is able to, through all types of political manipulation, destroy his opponents he is considered as very great. Even athlete who can somehow or other conquer all his opponents is considered very very important within society. Bhisma, in his field of occupation as a warrior, was trained by Parsuram, the incarnation of Lord Himself. We can never estimate the glory of Bhisma. In fact at one time when Parsuram ordered Bhisma to marry, he refused. So Parsuram said, “You cannot disrespect the order of your guru. Either you marry her or you fight with me.” Bhisma said without humility, “Guru Maharaja I’ll fight with you.” So there was a fight. It lasted for many many days and they were both fighting with all their strength. Understand this is the Parsuram that destroyed 21 generation of all the kshetriyas on the earth effortlessly. There was not a single contestant. When He would go against the King’s and armies, it is explained that with axe in his hand, He was fighting with speed of the mind. And there were literally millions and millions of dead mutilated bodies a moment being devoured by His informidable axe. And it is said when He got tired He slowed down to the speed of the wind. This was the power of Parsurama and He had impounded 19:41 all of His secrets and all of His mercy upon Bhisma to the extent that when they had fight, they are both fighting as hard as they could and neither one could defeat the other. Finally Bhisma, simply out of respect said, “All right Guru Maharaja you have won.” And Parsuram was so proud that He was the greatest most powerful warrior in all of the universe, that He embraced Bhisma with tears in his eyes. He said, “I am most proud of you today. There is no one so glorious than you.” He was the most learned, he was the most powerful, he was the most virtuous, pious in every respect. He was the most glorious man on earth. Therefore because he has such a uniquely elevated possession, Krishna wanted to show the extreme example. And therefore he had to choose Bhisma to be the one to set this example. What was the example? -That however you great are, if you are not devoted in the service of God, if you are against the will of God you will be vanquished. Therefore the Lord wanted Bhisma who had all the material skills, he could have personally single handedly destroy the whole Pandava army. In one day he destroyed half of the army. One time Duryodhana said, “Bhisma deva you are not fighting very hard. You have a soft corner for the pandavas, therefore you are not really fighting. What kind of nonsense Kshetriya are you? A kshetriya supposed to be chivalrous and heroic and fight and give his life. He can’t be political in the battle field.” And Bhisma was insulted. He said, “Alright. Tomorrow I’ll fight hard.” The next day he destroyed, devastated half the army single handedly and Pandavas just to had to stand there watching. There was no use even trying to fight him. He was like trying to stop a cyclone with a bow and arrow. This is the power and strength of Bhisma. And the next day the Pandavas knew the rest of the army would be defeated. Therefore, along with Krishna they had to approach Bhisma and beg humbly, “Please tell us how to kill you, otherwise there is no way we can possibly win this war.” And Bhisma had to tell them how he could be killed with great happiness. So try to understand that however great you may be think you are, if you are not living according to the will of God, you will be destroyed. All your fortune will be vanquished. Who are you compared to Bhisma? Therefore this is Krishna’s example and Bhisma is such a surrendered and pure hearted soul, that just so Krishna can teach this lesson to all humanity, he agreed to be on the side of this wicked hearted envious Duryodhana. He was willing to accept all the criticism infamy and all the misunderstanding that practically 99% of the population cannot understand, why Bhisma did it? He was willing to be completely misunderstood and criticized to fulfill the will of god. That is the quality of the surrender. Therefore when a devotee hears how Bhisma took the side of Duryodhan, he was not bewildered, he was not thinking why is Bhisma doing like that. Tears come to his eyes and he is thinking, ‘what a glory!’ How much he is willing to sacrifice his own prestige simply to show compassion to humanity! It was the topmost compassionate offering to all humankind. He was willing to be the sacrificial lamb and even be killed, to give us the most important instruction of our life that however great you are, whoever you are, if you are against God, you are destroyed. Therefore it is said in Srimad Bhagavatam,

“ataù pumbhir dvija-çreñöhä


svanuñöhitasya dharmasya

saàsiddhir hari-toñaëam”

Srimad Bhagavatam 1.2.13

That what ever your occupation, it should be executed for one purpose and one purpose alone – to please Krishna.

If Krishna wants you on the wrong side and if that pleases Him, that is my life and soul. Here Bhisma is explaining that no one can understand the plan of Lord Sri Krishna. Even the greatest philosophers enquire exhaustibly and are bewildered. Try to understand how much Lord Krishna is misunderstood because factually unless to hear the knowledge of the Sastra from a bona fide spiritual master you cannot understand what’s taking place? Unless you understand from the lips of a great soul or those who are representing the great soul, why Bhisma is taking the side of Duryodhan, you will be bewildered.

“Tad vijnana …”

If you try to understand any of the scripture, without purport of the great souls, without the guidance and training of the great devotees, you will be bewildered. You will never understand.

How many people have such a perverted and misinterpreted understanding of Krishna, who is God Himself, Bhagavan, Paramatma! Especially here in India, which is the place of Krishna. It is Bharata Bhumi and even here Krishna is so highly misunderstood. Oh, Krishna – Why He is so political? And why He was dancing with Gopies, other men’s wives? They do not understand that actually Krishna never really danced with anybody else’s wife. But the same time He did. Can you understand that? Srimati Radharani was simultaneously His wife and not His wife. How many people here simultaneously have a wife and not a wife? Is it possible? And all the Gopies were simultaneously Sri Krishna’s wives and not His wives. How is that possible? People criticize Krishna because they do not understand what is going on in the middle of the night with Gopies. There is a story, which explains this very nicely. We sing “Jai Radah bara”. What does that mean? Means the husband or consort of Radha. Yet they were experiencing what is called ‘parakiya’ rasa. Parakiya rasa mans they were not married and yet called her sometimes His wife. Do you know the story? It is described that when Lord Sri Krishna was very small, only about four years old, He was walking through the pasturing ground with His father Nanda Maharaja.

Is everybody awake?

He was going to get the cows and clouds formed in the sky and it began to rain. So Nanda Maharaja was thinking, ‘Oh! My little child Krishna may get sick.’ Nanda Maharaja was thinking Krishna was his a little boy, not knowing that out of fear of Him the clouds are coming and out of fear of Him the rain falls, out of fear of Him the sun shines. But he is thinking, ‘my helpless little boy will get sick, if I do not somehow or other get Him out of this rain.’ It was about to rain, at the same time there was so many cows, and Nanda Maharaja had to bring all the cows. At that time he did not want Krishna to be Krishna to be alone. So He saw Srimati Radharani. She was also this the time was a little girl. She was walking. So Nanda maharaja called for Sri Radhika. He said, “Sri Radha, please go with Krishna and go home with Him. Keep each other company.” She said, “Yes, yes.” So two little children they took each other by their hands and they began to walk. This took place in a place in Vrindavana called Bandiravan. And they walked to the bank of Yamuna. And there was a beautiful tree there, which is called Bandira bat. There Sri Sri Radha and Krishna looked at each other and as They looked at each other they began to smile, and just at that time some of the Sakhies (the intimate maid servants of Srimati Radharani) they appeared in the scene. And then Radha and Krishna both inconceivably grew to 16 years old. Can you do like that? In this world everyone young wants to be old and everyone old wants to be young and there’s nothing you can do about it. Children are thinking, ‘Why do I have to go to school? I want to grow up so that I don’t have to go to the school.’ But they can’t do it, they have to wait for time to take it’s course. And after you’re out of school and they you starting to get old and your limbs are starting to deteriorate and you have so many responsibilities and bills and crazy children all around you, they’re thinking, ‘why can’t I be young again and go back to the school? But I can’t. There’s nothing I can do.’ But Krishna is Svarat, He is completely independent. So Radha and Krishna simple by Their desire became 16 years old. At that time, Lord Brahma appeared on the scene, as did Lord Siva, as did Narada Muni and many other sages and Demigods. There was a beautiful wedding ceremony performed. The head priest was Lord Brahma himself. He chanted all the sacred mantras. He performed the agnihotra, and then Sri Sri Radha and Govindaji exchange garlands and They were officially and formally married. It is called the ‘Gandharvasthya’ marriage. Then after the wedding was performed the demigods are offered their obeisance to Radha and Krishna and then everyone left. Radha and Krishna was standing there looking at each other smiling and then once again They transformed into 4-year-old little children. They said, “Please do not tell anyone about this.” And then They both went back home and nobody ever knew. Now you tell me this – if Lord Brahma comes to perform your wedding ceremony and Lord Shiva and Narada Muni are the witnesses, do you consider that marriage is authorized? Of course. But because it was not with their parents’ permission and because no one knew, socially they were not married. But at the same time they were. So therefore when Krishna was dancing with Sri Radharani there was that feeling of parakiya rasa. But at the same time within Their hearts They understood something different. How sacred and sanctified is that parakiya rasa? Do you know Radha and Krishna almost married socially too? All arrangements were being made. There was a story about this also. One time there was a festival in Nandagram and mother Yasoda invited Radharani to cook for Lord Krishna because She had attained the benediction of Durbasa Muni that anything she cooked would be sweeter than nectar and any one who would eat it would never get diseased. So it was on the banks of Pavan Sarovara that Srimati Radharani would cook for Krishna and mother Yasoda would assist her. One day Mother Yasoda was looking at Sri Radharani thinking, ‘just the beauty of this little child, her eyes like fully blossomed lotus flowers and her every limb is like a lotus flower and she has such magnanimous virtuous effulgent good qualities. There was no one else in the entire creation that has beauty and glory of Sri Radhika. She should marry my Krishna. There is no one else thats possibly qualified for Krishna. I wanted her to marry. But they so young, they’re not of a marriageable age.’ Then the next time Srimati Radha Rani came to assist her in cooking, mother Yasoda was so overwhelmed, with love for this child and love for Krishna, she wanted to bring Them together, that she just took Radharani’s hand and took the turmeric paste and started painting all these designs on her hand. Radharani was looking like, ‘what she is doing?’ -Because in the original traditional culture, this turmeric paste is never put on hands of girl unless she has been told to be married. When the father and mother of both the boy and girl agree, and officially formally set a date for marriage, at that time the girl has this turmeric paste has put on her hands. So Srimati Radharani was looking at mother Yasoda with amazement like what she was doing. But She could not say anything, because She was very shy. Then that was time to go for her home. She was thinking, ‘My God! What are my parents going to think? What about all the people on Barsana, all the residents? What are they going to think? My parents do not know anything about this. Nobody knows about this. This is a scandal.’ So on the way to Barsana, she went to a little kunda, which was very famous place today, it is called Pillipokhari and there she decided I have to get all this yellow of my hands. And she began to scrub and scrub and scrub and wash in the piliphokhari until all the yellow went into the water. And the water turned into yellow. And to this day the water is yellow commemorating this glorious lila of Sri Radharani. So then after her hands were nice and golden again instead of yellow, she went home to the house of King Brushabhanu and Kirtida Rani. Meanwhile the town’s people they saw all the water turned yellow. You know everyone in Barsana was only thinking about how to bring Radha to Krishna and everyone in Nanda gram were always thinking about how to bring Krishna to Sri Radha. So immediately they could understand what had taken place – that mother Yasoda had painted her hands with turmeric paste and she washed them off and then they were all celebrating “Jaya ho! Radha rani is going to marry Krishna.” And then they went to mother Kirtida and King Brushabhanu told them the good news, “Do you know Radharani’s palms are painted with turmeric paste; the evidence is this Pillipokhari, the yellow water. She is to be married to Lord Krishna.” King Brushabhanu and Kirtida they were so much in ecstasy, they began to chant, “Hari, Hari! Radheshyam! Radheshyam.” It is the fulfillment of all their desires and a big festival came about. They said, “Let us send some gifts to Nanda maharaja and Yasoda Mai to show that we are conforming their desire.” So they got the best jewels and pearls in their house and put them on a beautiful golden plate and sent a royal courier to Nanda gram. So the royal courier came – beautiful pearls and jewels. When Nanda Maharaja and Yasoda heard about this that, ‘this is to confirm our willingness to marry Sri Radhika to Lord Sri Krishna’ they were in too much ecstasy. They raise their arms and began to chant, “Radheshyam! Radheshyam! Jay jay Sri Radhe……….…Shyam!” And when all the Vrajavasis in Nanda gram heard that the marriage was to take place they were all overwhelmed with happiness. They all raised all their arms and began to chant, “Jai jai Sri Radhe……………..Shyam!” But then mother Yasoda and Nanda Maharaja began to think, ‘My God! Look at these beautiful pearls. We also have to send them something as a gift. But what can we give them? These pearls and jewels are so valuable; we hav
e nothing with our entire Vraja community that compares to this. This is an embarrassment. We should send them something equal to or better.’ So they were feeling very bad. They were embarrassed. At that time so many guests coming to offer their best wishes and their congratulations so they had to go out to greet the guest. At that time Lord Krishna took the pearls and Jewels and went out the pasture grounds. And then He went into the agricultural fields. And he was thinking, ‘My parents want nice jewels, better than these. So I have seen my father take the grains and rice and put them in the ground and so many grains come.’ So he began to dig holes deep into the ground and started burying all the jewels and pearls thinking they will grow. ‘What is the problem? We are Vrajavasis, we know how to deal with these matters.’ So then after some time Yasoda and Nanda Maharaja come back into the room, “Where are the pearls? Where are the Jewels? My god!” They began to look everywhere in all directions. They could not find it. Then they realize somebody must be taken it. And in all of Nanda gram there is only person who would do such a thing as stealing jewels and pearls and that happena to our son Gopal. He is infamous as makhan chora. He’ll steal anything. Now because these were so valuable, this was a very delicate situation. They brought Gopal and said,
“Come. Come here and have some nice sandesh, pera, and some rabiri, and some nice foodstuff. Now did you happen to take these jewels and pearls?” He said, “Yes, of course I did.” “Can you please kindly tell us where they are?” He said, “I buried them in the ground.” “You buried in the ground? Why?” “Because I know you want to give a gift to Brishabhanu Maharaja. ———. Little tiny sprouts started coming out of the ground. Then they began to grow into a little plant and then it grew into little sibling of tree and then it became a full tree and before their eyes, the tree began to fructify thousands and thousands of most beautiful pearls and jewels. Nanda Maharaja was struck with wonder. Then they said, “Now we can send a nice gift to Sri Radharani’s parents.” They began to collect jewels and they began to get nice gold ornaments and they began to make with gold – bangles and crowns, and bracelets, and necklaces. And they began to place these fine, fine jewels and pearls throughout these gold ornaments. Thy put them in a beautiful silver-plate and sent as a royal courier this nice gift to Barsana Dham. And they got oxcarts and filled them with all the other pearls and jewels and also sent them to Barsana. So these jewels came to the Barsana and in this way everything was perfectly auspicious for this wedding to take place. And everyone was very happy. But there was one personality who took it as her mission to stop the marriage. Purnamausi. Purnamausi is the Yoga Maya personified, who appears in Vrindavana. She was the topmost well wisher, to always preserve this sanctity and the beauty of Sri Sri Radha Govindaji’s etermal Lila. Now Purnamausi is considered as the sikshya guru of all the Vraja Vasis. Nothing important is done without getting her permission and blessings. She is very senior, senior most of all the Vraja vasis. So when all the arrangements were being made, naturally Nanda Maharaja and Yasoda Mai came to Purnamausi and said, “We want to marry Radha and Krishna and we are coming for blessings.” She said, “Ah!” She began to think, ‘if Radha and Krishna get formally married, then the sweetness of Vrindavana will be spoiled. Krishna has 16108 wives in Dwaraka. (This is called swakiya rasa.) But the sweetness of conjugal love without marriage, the excitement and adventure of having another husband and still marrying – that is the real beauty of Vrindavana. So somehow or other this marriage has to be stopped, in order to preserve the mood of Vraja.’ So she responded, “You want to marry Radha and Krishna? According to their astrological horoscope it is not the right time. If they get married now, they would have a lot of trouble and may not last. So therefore I think you should wait. They’re still young; let them grow older. And at that then we can go to Mathura and we can present this idea to Gargacarya and then we can get all their blessings.” So of course, no one can do anything without blessings from Purnamausi. So they put the marriage on hold. And in this way Purnamausi saved the day. Now how could Radharani marry anybody accept Krishna? You know the story of how she was married to Abhimanyu? I won’t go into too many details in this matter. But Abhimanyu was Krishna.

Nectar from Brahma vimohana lila.

You know the story when Lord Brahma stole all the cows and cowherd boys and at that time Krishna expanded Himself as all the cowherd boys. You remember that? Then for one year Krishna played the role of all the cowherd boys. During that year Nanda Maharaja was approached by Krishna saying, “You know Nanda maharaja, I think, all these Gopis in Vraja should be married to the cowherd boys before they get too old.” So in this way all the Gopis get married to Krishna, directly to Krishna. Then it is explained that after the year when all the original cowherd boys came back, they all understood what was happening. And out of respect they would never even touch their wives. They knew that they are actually for Krishna. But still they had their mood that she’s my wife. Just in order to enhance Krishna’s lila, to make their loving pastimes more exciting, more adventurous and more sweet.

Story contd

Now at that time Krishna expanded Himself as a cowherd boy, who is the son of Jotila, his name was Abhimanyu. Abhimanyu was the incarnation of Krishna’s shadow. And it was this Abhimanyu that married Sri Radharani. There are so many pastimes in Vrindavan about how Krishna would do so many tricks to some how or other steal Radharani away and it would just add that nectar of sweet excitement to their pastimes. But actually it is said that although Abhimanyu  played the role, He was Krishna Himself. But in the form of shadow, He never even touched Radharani’s hand because he knew it was meant for Krishna alone. So all the Vraja vasis are simply consciously endeavoring to make Radha and Krishna’s pastime more pleasing. So with this platform information, how can anyone say that Krishna did anything immoral? First of all they were married by Brahma. Second of all He expanded Himself to be her husband and third of all Purnamausi protected anything from their getting too officiallised just to keep this special unique rasa of Vrindavana (parakiya rasa). There’s no other abode of God that has the parakiya rasa except Vrindavana. You will not find in Vaikuntha or any where else. So Krishna’s lila is very inconceivable and great philosophers can study the sasthras birth after birth after birth but they’ll never understand who is Krishna. It is only when we hear from the devotees that we can understand the inconceivable lila of Krishna. And even then we can only get a trace of a comprehension of this divine Lila. Bhisma himself was the greatest of the Mahajanas and he is saying,“I cannot understand Krishna’s lila. I can only accept that it is supremely glorious and I can only relish it with my heart and soul.” How can the infinitesimal ever understand the infinite? It is beyond our power constitutionally. At the most we can have an infinitesimal comprehension of Krishna. But the glories of Krishna are only known to Him. No one has the capacity to understand them in full except He Himself. This is the glory of God. Therefore Bhisma is describing here that how is it that the Pandavas – who are such wonderful devotees who had no enemies on the earth and their own hearts; they were seeing Krishna everyone’s heart, there was so compassion and so kind, Maharaja Yudhisthira, even Duroydhana was trying to cheat Him in so many ways, Maharaja Yudhisthira was still His loving well-wisher. There was story in Mahabharata where Duryodhana was about to be killed and kidnapped, while he was trying to insult the Pandavas. He ran into a tribe. One time he was defeated by Ganharva another time the tribe of other warriors. They completely defeated him, they tied up and captured him and Yudhisthir Maharaja came to fight to save him. This is how forgiving and magnanimous he was. Why is the such a person like Maharaja Yudhisthira can be banished to the forest for fourteen years with nothing – losing everything, all his prestige, his wife, and his wealth, everything. How is it possible? Why did Krishna let it happen? Bhisma says, “I cannot understand Krishna’s in full. All I can understand, whatever He does to His devotees is perfect and complete. Everything he does as His mercy.” How is it mercy? May be you can get some understanding, may be you cannot. Do not worry about it. Do not try to intellectualize, how Krishna’s mercy is coming down. The one who is surrendering to Krishna for one who is endeavoring sincerely to be his devotee, that devotee is under his internal energy

“mahätmänas tu mäà pärtha

daivéà prakåtim äçritäù

bhajanty ananya-manaso

jïätvä bhütädim avyayam”

Caitanya-caritamrita Madhya 15.270

The great souls – anyone who endeavoring to serve a bona fide spiritual master is under the internal energy of the lord.

Every activity, every incident of his life is personally being orchestrated by Krishna. Why is Krishna doing this to me? What I have done? Why I am losing everything? Why I am suffering? Why do people not understand me? You may or may not be able to understand with your rational intelligence. You will never really understand but if you have true devotion then you will accept, beyond my rational power. I can only accept it each for the good. It is perfect and complete. It is my purification. It is the Lord’s love and mercy upon me. And there is no question about it. Because it is the word of God and it is the word of all the great souls.

“tat te ‘nukampäà su-samékñamäëo

bhuïjäna evätma-kåtaà vipäkam

håd-väg-vapurbhir vidadhan namas te

jéveta yo mukti-pade sa däya-bhäk”

Caitanya-caritamrita antya 9.77

One who is in the most miserable suffering conditions of life and while facing the tribulation very humble with folded palms, he says thank you my dear Krishna you are very merciful. I deserve so much worse, but you are kindly give me this much because I need to be purified in this way. You know what is best to purify me. How can we question the authority of God’s will? Krishna Loves you and Krishna will do anything to send you back to godhead. He will do anything to purify our heart and allow to be His blissful unlimitedly ecstatic servant again. Therefore happiness and distress, pressure and pain, honor and dishonor, a devotee simply sees the loving hand of God, like a doctor administrating this medicine. Therefore Bhakti Vinoda Thakur prays

“märobi räkhobi-jo icchä tohärä

nitya-däsa prati tuwä adhikärä”


My dear Lord! Oh divine son of Nanda maharaja, if you want you can protect me, if you want to kill me. You have every right to deal with me in any way you please because I am your servant.

“mänasa, deho, geho, jo kichu mor

arpilü tuwä pade, nanda-kiçor!”


O divine son of Nanda Maharaja, my life, my body, my home, my family and everything belongs to you. I am offering everything to you my lord. Now you do what as you please because I have faith, I have complete trust that whatever you do is all good, whatever you do is for the good of everyone, especially your devotee. I may understand or may not understand.  But with this faith I’ll accept your mercy and I’ll be gracious and grateful in every second of my life however you want to deal with me. Caitanya Mahaprabhu said my dear lord Krishna, if you want to can embrace me, if you want you can make me broken hearted and you can trample upon me. You have every right to do with me anyway you like because you are my servant. Bhisma was laying in the bed of arrows. Bhisma was laying on the battle field for months. And from his neck to the soles of his feet, there were so many thousands of arrows that you could not even put your finger between any two of them. Can you imagine what a painful condition that was? Was he thinking why me? I am a Mahajana? What the use being a Mahajana if this is what you get? Now he was thinking, ‘Oh Krishna, You are so kind. You are giving me just what I need. Every arrow just like a kiss of love in my body. I am so pleased to feel this.’ This was his faith. Whatever tests that god may put you through, compare that to laying in a bed of arrow and Bhisma was grateful. He was feeling great happiness because he had faith. And it is that faith that opens the doors to the spiritual world. The spiritual world is within your own heart. So by associating with saintly persons and hearing from them submissively that door of faith will open our heart and then we become most fortunate, because the lord and the entire spiritual world will be revealed to you from within. So let us take very seriously the gravity of the importance how much we need desperately to hear in the association of sadhus. There is no greater priority in our life; because through hearing from them we can learn how to be very simple. Simple, means without ego. As soon as your ahankar or false ego, your whole life become so complex and so complicated and so disturbing. But when you have no false ego your life is very simple and happy. What is that simplicity? -That you are simply willing to accept every situation of life with every kind loving mercy of Lord Hari.  Thank you very much. Hare Krishna.

Q. Devotee: Maharaja you said that he is a fool man he thinks proud about himself that he has attained one of the material prosperity like self development or he has attain all this bunglows or Mercedes car. He is a fool man. Because whatever that comes us from Krishna wish. It is not that – we are doing it. Outside ways it looks very nice, okay. – very much possibility, I just want to tell my own example, exactly when we get success in our life, at that point of time, we do not think that point that Krishna has come. That time we become very proud of ourselves that we have achieved. After due to association of somewhere or other that we feel it Okay, everything is of Krishna. During that point of time we feel we have done it. So how to see to that exact point of time we feel that Krishna has done it we have done it. Because at that time ego comes to our mind. But after sometime okay by association might be in a proper level. How to see to that we come, at that time when get the success you feel it that is the Krishna who has done it and not we?

A. Maharaj: That comes through conditioning. The reason why our tendency is to immediately become proud when we are successful is due to conditioning to think I am the doer. You have been thinking like this for many births. Even though with your intelligence you know better, the condition is strong and deeply rooted in our heart. So therefore through the association of saintly persons, we have a higher intelligence. Through chanting the holy name and following spiritual discipline to recondition ourselves to seeing Krishna as the doer. And gradually it is not all of sudden that this takes place. First of all you have to, as an austerity, as soon as you understand that you are fool number one, you have to admit it. And you have to combat it, as soon as you understand. Therefore you have to have regular association with saintly persons otherwise you’ll never understand it. So you have to take shelter of that association. And you have to constantly be battling your mind against this false ego. And gradually through this process of chanting the holy names and associating with saintly persons we recondition ourselves. And then by reconditioning our selves, it becomes our natural… It is the nature of the soul to see Krishna behind everything. It is the nature of the soul to more humble than blade of grass. We should have to purify through the process of devotional service this deadly enemy of pride from our heart.


Q. Devotee: Sometimes, Maharaja, we received then we require the association of devotees, when we require the most at that time the circumstances are there we do not get that association. How to see that when we require the most we get the best association?

A. Maharaj: If you are sincere Krishna will arrange. You have the books. You have the holy name. This is also association. If you are sincere you can also remember the words of great souls. Whenever the opportunity comes, you should also sit at their feet. But through their instructions, they are always present.


Q. Devotee: Maharaja it is mentioned in the scripture that guru – ordinary person, or may be all the devotees are his students, in the same place. So the guru like Dronacarya asked a thumb of Ekalavya as a guru dakhsina. But guru did not ask to the students like Pandavas also. For several reasons.

A. Maharaj: For several reasons.

1.  Because Drona knew that Krishna wanted Arjuna to be glorified as the greatest warier. Because Arjuna was not only the best pupil of Drona but also the best friend of Krishna. And Krishna wanted Arjuna to be celebrated the greatest. So Drona was also a very great devotee. So in order to make this possible, he had to preserve Arjuna’s supreme position by taking the power away from the Arjuna’s greatest competitor.

2. Because Ekalavya was low born. He was not a kshetriya. Even though he was the greatest archer, his name and fame would never have been great because of his particular birth. Therefore Drona understood that Ekalvaya was such a dear and devoted servant that he wanted Ekalavya to be famous and loved throughout the history. He would not have been famous and love throughout history just because he was the greatest archer. Arjuna was famous throughout history not because he was the greatest archer, because he was the greatest devotee. In so many other times in history there were great archers. How many do you remember? Nobody remember great archer. But people remember great devotees. So therefore Drona wanted Ekalavya to be famous for his devotion and therefore by telling him to cut off his thumb as guru dakshina to him, what was the sacrifice of love he was offering to his guru! His whole life practically 24 hours a day, he gave up eating and sleeping simply to learn how to be an archer? And he was worshiping his guru maharaja in so many ways for that purpose alone. He practiced more than anybody else. His life was dedicated only for that and by his great endeavor and by the mercy of Drona he became the greatest archer on earth. Now can you imagine you work your whole life for something and then to please your guru he tells you give it up forever. That’s what he did. Drona told him, “You worked your whole life to be the greatest archer. Now you want to give me dakshina? Cut off your thumb, which means you will never be able to use your bone arrow again ever. Everything you given your life for sacrifice it for my pleasure.” Can an ordinary man do that? Only one who is purely surrendered on the highest platform to his spiritual master, only such a person can do that. And Ekalavya without even questioning practically cut off his thumb.  He sacrificed the only thing he had on earth – his ability as an archer. And he placed that thumb on the feet of Drona. And because of that story Ekalavya to this day as known to all and loved and people cry when they hear this story. How much love, how much surrender, how much sacrifice this great soul had for his spiritual master! Is not that far deeper than being a great archer? So because Ekalavya was such a dear disciple to Drona who surrendered everything, Drona wanted to make him famous throughout the world. He wanted him to preach a high standard of devotion. He wanted him to preach for all humanity the real meaning of a disciple. And therefore he put him in the most exalted position. This was Dronacarya’s love for Ekalavya.


Q. Devotee: Maharaja can we consider Dronacarya as a spiritual master?

A. Maharaj: He was accepted by Arjuna as a spiritual master but for fighting. He was a martial of spiritual master. He was martial master. But in those days, the Pandavas would treat their guru for the fighting the same way they treat their spiritual master, with great devotion, respect. They would enquire submissively, they would render service.


Q. Devotee: Dronacarya never gave them spiritual knowledge.

A. Maharaj: What I am saying, technically he was not a spiritual master. He was their martial master. But they would approach him in the same way as a master.


Q. Devotee: In other words Maharaja Ekalavya did he…?

A. Maharaj: Did not the Pandavas offer dakshina to Drona? After Drona trained them he said I want you to kidnap king Drupada and now I want to take over his kingdom as dakshina and they did it. So the relationship in those days for a kshetriya to learn martial arts from a guru in that line was as the same as they guru approaches spiritual masters. They would enquire submissively, they would render service. He was their master. So this is the example of how a disciple should surrender to the master in relationship between Drona and Ekalavya.


Q. Devotee: Did Ekalavya achieve the perfection in the spiritual sense?

A. Maharaj: You have to understand that these are not ordinary living beings in the Mahabharata. He attained a unique position in the history of scripture of Mahabharata. None of these personalities that we’re reading about Mahabharata are ordinary souls. They are special empowered servants of the Lord. It does not describe that he attained prema bhakti (pure devotion) through this act. But he did attain the perfection of sacrificing his life to his master. And therefore that same sentiment of sacrifice should be understood in our relationship with our spiritual master. The Mahabharata staged by Krishna. He purposely staged this great personality to be in the position to teach us lesson of the amount of surrendering sacrifice. A disciple should be willing to offer to his guru maharaja. But Mahabharata is not dealing generally pure devotional service. Try to understand our spiritual master did tell Mahabharata to be that important for us to read. Because it mostly deals with artha, kama, dharma, and mokshya. It mostly deals with economic development, sense gratification, liberation and religiosity. There’s only few places in Mahabharata which really stresses pure devotion to God. Srimad Bhagavatam is the most important which is exclusively with that alone. So many of the stories are based on sub-religious principles. Therefore if you hear them from a bona fide spiritual master even the stories, which is based on the sub-religious principles, you can understand the essence of it and apply it to pure devotional service.


Written by

Radhanath Swami

H.H Radhanath Swami is one of today’s most beloved and respected spiritual teachers. A Bhakti Yoga practitioner for 40 years, he is a guide, community builder, philanthropist, and acclaimed author.Born and raised in Chicago,at the age of 19 he discovered India's Mystical devotional tradition and now spread his message of compassion and love around the world.

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About Me

Radhanath Swami

H.H Radhanath Swami is one of today’s most beloved and respected spiritual teachers. A Bhakti Yoga practitioner for 40 years, he is a guide, community builder, philanthropist, and acclaimed author.Born and raised in Chicago,at the age of 19 he discovered India's Mystical devotional tradition and now spread his message of compassion and love around the world.