“vilokya taà deva-varaà tri-lokyä
bhaväya devyäbhimataà munénäm
äsénam adräv apavarga-hetos
tapo juñäëaà stutibhiù praëemuù”
The demigods observed Lord Çiva sitting on the summit of Kailäsa Hill with his wife, Bhaväné, for the auspicious development of the three worlds. He was being worshiped by great saintly persons desiring liberation. The demigods offered him their obeisances and prayers with great respect.
trähi naù çaraëäpannäàs
The prajäpatis said: O greatest of all demigods, Mahädeva, Supersoul of all living entities and cause of their happiness and prosperity, we have come to the shelter of your lotus feet. Now please save us from this fiery poison, which is spreading all over the three worlds.
Since Lord Çiva is in charge of annihilation, why should he be approached for protection, which is given by Lord Viñëu? Lord Brahmä creates, and Lord Çiva annihilates, but both Lord Brahmä and Lord Çiva are incarnations of Lord Viñëu and are known as çaktyäveça-avatäras. They are endowed with a special power like that of Lord Viñëu, who is actually all-pervading in their activities. Therefore whenever prayers for protection are offered to Lord Çiva, actually Lord Viñëu is indicated, for otherwise Lord Çiva is meant for destruction. Lord Çiva is one of the éçvaras, or the controllers known as çaktyäveça-avatäras. Therefore he can be addressed as having the qualities of Lord Viñëu.
It is the natural tendency of the living entities when they enter into this material world that they like to take the credit for the good things that they have done. They like to consider that they are the doer of those activities which people recognize as something which is good or something which is great. So here we have the demigods, who are very pious & highly enlightened beings. But nevertheless in that condition their tendency is to become so cut off in their practical activities and so cut off in the fame and glory of what they do that they see no need to turn to GOD for protection. And with regards to the demons, of course, they are very expert in forgetting GOD. They are very expert even in creating propaganda to distract others away from GOD. But even when they are in a very helpless crisis of life; there is a natural tendency to go somewhere where there is protection. Just like it is said there is no atheist in the foxhole. You see in the front lines of the battle field, you are shooting at the enemy and the enemy is shooting at you, death could come at any second. A foxhole means that you dig a whole in the ground and you lay in that hole and you get up to shoot and then come down for protection. Otherwise without that hole everyone can just shoot at you freely. You have no protection. So in that situation, you cannot get out of your hole as long as they are shooting and you know that death is so close and you have the power to try your best but you know that there are so many ways & means by which the enemies can destroy you. You can no longer be dependent on your own endeavors.
So even the greatest atheist, when he is put in such a situation where death is so imminent beyond his own ability to protect himself, such a person cannot cry for his friends, mother or father (for help). He cannot cry out for anyone except GOD for help. In such a position everyone calls out for GOD. We have no rush to turn. Generally this is the unfortunate situation for everyone. Even the aspiring devotees, although we sit in Srimad Bhagavatam class and hear the transcendental narration of best of these great purified souls, how they perfected their lives in Krishna Consciousness, nevertheless do we actually cry out for the Lord? Do we actually turn to Him with the heart full of great dependence like a helpless child? Generally, it is only in a situation when we are put in a crisis where we have no control to get ourselves away from it that we turn to Krishna. That is why Krishna has said to Maharaja Yudhisthira, “yasyäham anugåhëämi hariñye tad-dhanaà çanaiù” that when I want to show My kindness upon My devotee, I give My devotee whatever he wants. And when I want to show My supreme kindness to My devotee, I take everything away from him so that my devotee has no one else to turn to except Me. This is very difficult situation to understand why GOD gives the material benediction that the atheist or demons want (while He takes away everything from His devotees).
If you go into the cities you will see that He has giving big sky scraper buildings, beautiful cars and great wealth to people who hardly believe in Him, to those who are addicted to sense gratification and to those who are outwardly against Him. But to someone who is hardly against Him and His devotees & who has given his life to GOD, GOD sometimes takes away everything. That is only because that situation is often required so that the devotee can realize that I have no one else and I have no where else to go and no one else to turn to except Krishna. He is my only protector. He is the Lord of my life. He becomes utterly humbled from his position. He realizes that whatever I know, whatever I can do is all useless. It is all zero. All that is left is my prayer to GOD.
Of courseKrishnatakes with one hand to give something much greater with the other. Because this realization is the greatest of all treasures it is the purusartha siromani. It is the supreme jewel of all truths because everything is within Krishna and Krishna is within everything. Krishna is Shreenathji which means He is the Lord of Goddess of Fortune, Shreeji or Lakshmidevi. Therefore wherever Krishna is, all fortune is present within Him. By remembering Krishna with the heart filled with devotion, by remembering Krishna with no one else and no where else to turn to, with that intense unity with Krishna through our consciousness, means Krishna is ours and with Him all of His wealth, all power, all friends, all beauty, all knowledge and all renunciation.Krishnais full with all six opulence’s. Therefore what have we lost? Krishna takes everything away from us sometimes but what is that everything, it is something very small. But when we turn to Him, we get everything, who will literally give everything, we get Krishna, who is the source of everything and in whom everything rests.
Therefore Krishna’s ways in relationship to His devotees are always good. All things work for the good for those who love GOD; that is the faith of the devotee. A devotee has complete conviction that whatever Krishna does to me is good. It is for my benefit. It is for my purification. It is perfect and complete. I may not be able to understand, why exactly He is acting in this way at this time. In fact it may be utterly inconceivable. It may seem very unfair by all standards of material reasoning. But the devotee is never disturbed by these things because he knows thatKrishnais the supreme controller and not a blade of grass can possibly move without His sanction. And because the devotee is under the protection of the Lord’s divine energy, he knows that the situation is good. The situation is perfect.
Krishna simply wants us to come to Him. So here we find the demigods and the demons who are such great personalities by all material considerations. On many occasions, when they were churning the ocean of milk, we have discussed many times, how impossible a task it actually was. They were striving. They were trying so hard. But often times especially on the side of the demons, they were helpless. They knew that this feat was very very difficult. But at the same time, it never actually explains that they turn to GOD. GOD would come and help them. But it is not that they are helplessly crying out for Him. But when the fiery poison started pouring out of the ocean of milk, it was so dangerous, it was death personified for all of them. At this time they (demons) were all saying that they all would be finished (including their family members & loved ones), everything would be finished. Our empires are finished. Nothing can survive with this poison. In this condition even the demons had to approach with their folded hands to the Lord, “Please save me, otherwise we are vanquished”?
So the demons and the demigods naturally approaches Lord Vishnu, who is the protector. All the triguna avatars, Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheswar. Lord Vishnu is the protector, Brahma the creator, and Lord Shiva is the destroyer. But naturally in that situation Lord Vishnu is the appropriate of the guanvatars to approach. But Lord Vishnu here extraordinarily is not willing to take the task upon Himself but rather He is redirecting them to Shankar, Lord Shiva. Because “vaiñëavänäà yathä çambhuù” meaning Lord Shiva is the greatest of the devotees. He is a shaktvesa avatar. Which means, because of his great devotion, because his heart is pure and open vessel which is constantly offering loving devotional service to the lord therefore he is fully empowered by the mercy of the Lord. And we find that lord Shiva has a very special unique position within the world of vaisnavas.
Lord Sri Ramchandraji, when He was in Rameshwaram, personally with His own hands, worshipped Lord Shiva as His ishtadeva or His worshipable deity. And to these days the great temple in Rameshwaram is thetempleofMahavir Mahadeva Shankar. Recently I was at the Harward University and while there we are speaking with one very very great professor. Her name was Dianaac and she is the chairman of the Asian religious department in Harward University. Those who are familiar of studies of India or Hinduism on an international scale of academics, they most know the name of Dianaac because Her text books are the regular text books in many many classes throughout the world on India, Hinduism, the places of India and the religion of India. She is a great Sanskrit scholar and she is also very devoted lady and very pious. Her specialty is on the holy places ofIndia. She is considered the greatest authority on this matter.
So she was telling me just a few a weeks back, when we were there meeting with her that she is now in the process of writing a book and the subject matter of the book is something that she found to be very extraordinary. Although especially inSouth Indiasince time of memorial there is always been a competition, sometimes even fighting between the devotees of Lord Shiva and the devotees of Lord Vishnu. And yet in practically every holy place of Lord Sri Ramachandra’s divine lila the main temple is thetempleofShiva. So why is it that the Rama Bhaktas give so such importance to worshiping Lord Shiva? Often times even more than they give emphasis to worship their own Lord Sri Rama.
If you go to Rameshwaram, (Rameshwaram is the name of Shankar) the primary deity there is Shiva Linga. She was explaining to me how in so many places like Chitrakut & Ayodhya there are such prominent Shiva temples, even more prominent than most other Rama temples and everyone goes. You see, Lord Ramachandra has said that Shiva is my greatest devotee and those who want to approach Me, first must satisfy him who is most loved by me. It is often said, that Hanumanji the param bhakt of Sri Ramji’s Lila, is the incarnations of the 11th Rudra. He is an incarnation of Shiva, one of His divine expansions. Therefore we know how much love, how much devotion Hanumanji has for Rama. And according to most of the Rama bhaktas, there is no difference between Hanuman and Shiva. They are the same person. And how can we possibly approach Rama without getting the blessings of that person who is most dear to His life, Hanumanji? We see in the Srimad Bhagavatam, how Krishna Himself, worshiped His own devotee Sudhama, the brahmana, who was very poor. Sudhama came to Dwaraka upon the request of his wife to beg Krishna for some small assistance on their material life. Sudhama was so humble and so gracious to the mercy of the Lord that he was too shy to ask Krishna for anything. When he came to the house, although he was sitting in the palace with torn and ragged cloths, Krishna Himself put Sudhama upon His own bedstead and washed his feet with His own divine lotus hands and Lakshmidevi the Goddess of fortune was fanning him with the chaamar.
So we find thatKrishnafinds the greatest pleasure in worshiping His devotees. If Krishna worships His devotees what is our position? Therefore Krishna says, “mad-bhakta-püjäbhyadhikä”. That worshipers of my devotee are more dear to Me than those worshiping Me. In fact Sri Krishna has said, in many occasions, “If you call yourself my devotee, I do not consider that you are My devotee. It is only if you consider yourself to be the devotee of My devotee, the servant of My servant then do I consider you to be My dear devotee”.
Of course, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has prayed, “gopé-bhartuù pada-kamalayor däsa-däsänudäsaù” meaning “The position Sri Krishna that I aspire for is to simply be the servant of the servant of the servant of the servant of the insignificant servants of your servant”. Why does he pray like this? He prayed like this because he wants to please the Lord. Because His life and soul is dedicated simply giving happiness to the Lord and He knows that there is no greater way of giving happiness to the lord and satisfying those whom He loves. This is the nature of love. The nature of love is you sacrifice all sense of your own welfare in your great concern for the welfare of beloved. Krishna Himself, is the supreme and this is the nature His love for His devotees. How much Srila Prabhupada endured for the sake of helping others? In the Christian world Jesus and his followers they violently accept tortures and painful death to help others. This is the natural quality of love. Because such souls they love us. They were willing to do anything for us and one who loves GOD, he is able to love the very essence of our soul. He is able to see that we are all part of GOD and that love of GOD naturally extends to each one of us in a special and perfect way. So Lord Shiva being such a great vaisnava and the proof that he is such a vaisnava as we will read in the future slokas of this chapter, is willing to accept (out of compassion) the very very difficult inconvenience of drinking this burning, fiery poison himself just so that we would not have face it.
So therefore when they approached Vishnu, He directed them all to Lord Shiva. He wanted Himself to worship Shiva and He wanted all of His devotees to worship Shiva. In another words He wanted to establish the fact that “worship of My devotee is My greatest joy”. If you love Me, you must love what I love. But we should not misunderstand to think that Shiva is greater than Vishnu. That is not the case. That is not what is being explained Srimad Bhagavatam but what is the case is that Lord Shiva’s love, his devotion or bhakti is so great and Krishna’s natural tendency is He become subordinate to the love of His devotees. To the extent thatKrishnaexplains in Bhagavad-Gita
“api cet su-duräcäro
bhajate mäm ananya-bhäk
sädhur eva sa mantavyaù
samyag vyavasito hi saù”
Even if My devotee commits the most abominable of all activities,Krishnasays, “I consider that devotee to be saintly. He is a saddhu. If he is rightly situated in my devotional service”.
So Krishnaconsiders such a devotee or saddhu, even he has committed the most abominable activity then what is our position to be judging. This only shows the extent of the love of Krishna to His devotees. He is bhakt vatsala. He is the property of those who give their lives in devotion to Him. Therefore Sri Krishna is leading the demigods by showing them by showing His own example, how to respect, adore and worship His devotees and how to approach the Lord through the mercy of His devotees.
Of course Lord Shiva, here is explained in the purport to be “shaktyavesh-avatar”. Because of his great devotion and his great compassion he has been chosen to be an instrument in the hands of GOD. Sometimes we think, who are we to preach? Who are we to try to help others? What is our position? We ourselves are struggling, just to remain above the complexities of this world and faithful to our guru’s order. Is not this the way we all think? We are here in Radha Gopinath temple. We are being asked to assist our Guru Maharaja in his preaching mission. What is our position? We are all considering ourselves fallen souls. But we should know that if simply give our lives to assisting Guru Maharaja then Krishna will empower us. Guru kripa (Guru will empower us).
There was one devotee whom Srila Prabhupada asked him to raise money, to build the Vrindavan temple, the Mayapur temple and the Bombay Temple. This devotee was not expert with the money matters. He went toJapanwith the party of the devotees and over a few years he raised millions and millions of dollars, it was unbelievable. Money was just rolling constantly from his sankirtan devotees. They were just out in the streets. They were not doing big business. They were doing professional trade. He just had a few devotees out in the street. What they called, “doing the pick – just going out and asking for donation”. And he would be making more money than anyone worldwide in all Hare Krishna movement. And he was sending every penny or every paisa to Srila Prabhupada to build the temple. He was just going like this for several years. Srila Prabhupada was very happy. But many devotees were very upset with him because in many other ways he was not completely strict in his sadhana. But he was just completely dedicated in another sense to trying to help Srila Prabhupada in this way. After he did what was required, Srila Prabhupada was so happy and so pleased that he gave him so many blessings & so much mercy.
Then he told this devotee, “You are a sannyasi, you should not be involved with so many of these money matters. So now I do not care for you to be collecting money”. After that no matter how, hard he tried he could not make any money. Later on he was in one temple and he would send his devotees out and they could not do anything. It was not possible. Then he realized that all those years he was collecting so much, “why I cannot do anything now”? Literally he could not do anything. He was doing the same thing with the same man. He realized that Srila Prabhupada had a mission & a purpose for him and to fulfill that Krishna empowered him. But now that there is no more need Krishna has withdrawn his empowerment in this particular category and now he could do nothing. Similarly Arjuna, he was able to kill the greatest maharathis on the battle field of Kurukshetra, when Krishna no longer needed his fighting strength when Krishna withdrew His own empowerment, Arjuna was defeated by a band of infidel cowherd men. Arjuna was thinking, “This is my same Gandiva bow, this is my same chariot, these are my same strong arms, but now why nothing works?” It is because Krishna is the doer.
Krishna empowers those souls whom He chooses. He empowers those souls who have given their lives as the servant of the servant of the servant of the Lord. So the divine empowerment is what is most required to fulfill the order of our spiritual master in this world. And how merciful the Lord is? Here He is bringing all the devotees to Lord Shiva just to show the world, how He has divinely empowered Lord Shankar. He (Lord Shiva) was famous as being the destroyer of everything. Destroying is very much the opposite of protecting. His particular function is to destroy but by the will of Vishnu, Lord Shankar can also be the supreme protector. He can do anything. The surrendered soul can do anything. The Lord so desires to empower him to do. And of course Krishna takes the greatest pleasure in glorifying His devotees. He takes the greatest pleasure and showing the world that His devotee is even greater than Him. Krishnacould have done it Himself. He could fight the battle field, the battle of Kurukshetra Himself but He wanted Arjuna to be famous throughout history. He could have dissipated this poison Himself but it was His divine arrangement just to show the supreme compassion and love of His devotee (Lord Shiva) to the whole world to see. This is the nature of love and this is the divine lila of the supreme Lord’s love for His devotees.
Is there any questions?
Answer: Krishnanever leaves the heart of the devotee who remembers Him. Just the remembrance of Krishna is the presence of Krishna. But He did physically leave Arjuna. And in that physical absence Arjuna was feeling the immense pains of separation. And we read in the Srimad Bhagavatam that as Arjuna was explaining this incidence to Maharaja Yudhisthira, he was feeling very much alone and deprived of the loving association of his dear most friend. But then in that condition he began to remember the instructions which Krishna spoke, the Bhagavad-Gita. And remembering His instructions and remembering the love which Krishna presented through these instructions, Arjuna began to feel the divine presence of Krishna and he again regained composure and attained that great strength.
So this is the separation that Arjuna was enacting by the arrangement of the Lord. But please know that in separation the presence of the Lord is very much prominent. So in that sense Arjuna can never be withoutKrishna. But in order for that separation to take place within his mind, he has to feel that he is withoutKrishna. It is not that Arjuna lost his strength because he was without Krishna. He lost his strength because Krishna although sitting right in his heart and fully manifesting Himself in his mind in the form of feelings of separations, Krishna withdrew the strength just to show the world that even the greatest is depending upon Him. We can do nothing without the blessings of the Lord. Essentially we are all nothing. Essentially even the greatest athlete cannot breathe one breath without the help of GOD. Even the greatest conqueror of the world cannot take one step without the help of GOD. We are nothing.Krishnais everything.Krishnawanted to make that very clear. Therefore He enacted this pastime for the benefit for all.
Any other questions?
Answer : He does not take. He takes pleasure in the humility in which services are offered. He does not take pleasure in pride. But He gives you a chance to become attached to the service because that is the beginning to become attached to devotional service in any way. Even if he gives you feeling of pride if that’s what you need as you reward. He may give you reward at the beginning just to put you on the path. Later on if you are actually sincere He will make very nice arrangements to give you the opportunity to give up your pride. He will put you in situations or the opportunities that is right there and then it is test of whether we are sincere, whether we take that opportunity or reject that opportunity. Krishna only takes pleasure in humility of the devotion in which something is offered.
Thank you, very much.