Ravana.. Personlification of Lust..

One who follows the path of Ravana is condemned in two ways: his body is fit to be eaten by dogs and vultures, and the soul goes to hell. As stated by the Lord Himself in Bhagavad-Gita (16.19):

tän ahaà dviñataù krürän

saàsäreñu narädhamän

kñipämy ajasram açubhän

äsuréñv eva yoniñu


“Those who are envious and mischievous, who are the lowest among men, are cast by me into the ocean of material existence, into various demoniac species of life.” Thus the destination of godless atheists such as Ravana, Hiranyakashipu, Kamsa and Dantavakra is a hellish condition of life. Mandodhari, the wife of Ravana, could understand all this because she was a chaste woman. Although lamenting for the death of her husband, she knew what would happen to his body and soul, for although one cannot see directly with one’s material eyes, one can see with eyes of knowledge (pasyanti jnana cakshusah). In Vedic history there are many instances of how one becomes godless and is condemned by the laws of nature. As it is said “O pleasure of the Räkñasa dynasty, because of you the state of Laìkä and also we ourselves now have no protector. By your deeds you have made your body fit to be eaten by vultures and your soul fit to go to hell.”


Chaste Wife Of Ravana – Mandodari..

We are reading the beautiful narration of the words of Mandodhari, the wife of Ravana as she is speaking to the soul of Ravana. His body laying dead on the battle field, his heart having been pierced by the invincible arrow of Lord Sri Ramachandra. Mandodhari is speaking words of great wisdom. Being the wife of Ravana and thus one as his most intimate associates, she knew his heart within and without. Mandodhari was always the well wisher or Ravana. Although by the will of destiny, by her karma, ultimately by the arrangement of superior powers, she has accepted the most cruel hearted and demoniac rakshasa Ravana as her husband and as her protector. What we find by her devoted words that she herself was a very pious and a God conscious woman. How is that possible?

Throughout the episode of Ravana kidnapping Sita, Mandodhari not as an envious wife but as a sincere well wisher was continuously at every opportune moment telling Ravana to return Sita and surrender to Ram. But of course you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink water. So similarly Mandodhari, her devoted and sacred words were like as they say throwing pearls before the swine.

We find a very similar situation in the life of Prahlad Maharaj. He was also in a family of asuras, he also had a very personal and intimate relationship with the king of asuras Hiranyakashipu and like Mandodhari he was also always giving good advice. He was always explaining to his father that if you really want to be happy in this world, you have to give up all your pursuit of material pleasures, you should go to a holy place, you should surrender to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, be His humble servant and always chant His holy names.


Glorious Pralhada.. & Glorious Vibhishana..

Hiranyakashipu was outraged by the insulting words of his son. So here we find amongst the family members of the greatest demons that they had no power to influence even their own dependents although they did have the power to conquer the entire world. We find here Hiranyakashipu, he literally conquered the entire universe and brought everyone under his control including great sage. But because his son Prahlad who was at that time 5 years, a devotee of the Lord and was protected by the Lord, he could not influence his mind and his own son was fearlessly preaching to him the message of Supreme Personality of Godhead. And similarly in the life of Ravana it is very similar, his own younger brother Vibhishan and his own wife Mandodhari were completely against his mission and his demoniac activities. Vibhishan, because he was a man, ultimately he rejected his brother and went to the side of Ram to fight for him and Vibhishan was one of the greatest assets to the army of Ram because he was like the intelligence agency of the army of Sri Ram in the sense that he knew inside and outside everything about the entire rakshasa army everything about the tactics that they were trained to use in warfare and he knew the strengths and weakness’ of all their greatest most powerful soldiers and he was constantly giving advice to Ram on how they should be killed. It was Vibhishan that gave the information of how the strengths of the great Kumbhkarna.

Similarly it was Vibhishan who gave the information of how that great mystique brother of Ravana – Ahiravana – It was he that gave all the information about how he must be killed and what his powers were and it was also he that explained to Lakshman and Ram about the great sacrifice that Indrajit was about to perform to become invincible and explained how Lakshman could intervene between he and that sacrifice and slay him. So Vibhishan, the blood relative of the rakshasa Ravana, became his greatest enemy because he was fearless due to his being blessed by the mercy of Ram. So Mandodhari here she is weeping here over the death of her husband but behind her tears she is speaking great wisdom, that my husband what you have done in your life I’m not at all proud of you. In fact if you want to know my opinion because of the way you lived – your body is simply meant to be eaten by dogs and vultures and your soul will go to hell. Ravana due to lust and pride acted in so many ways but even the nearest and dearest to him were not at all impressed rather they were disgusted with his life. And of course Ram Himself, He knew that Ravana was not an ordinary rakshasa but he was born in the family of brahmans, he was a Brahman rakshasa and therefore he had Vibhishan perform the funeral ceremony which was appropriate for the occasion.


Vaishnava Is Known By His Qualities, Not By his Birth..

Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu very strictly condemned any vaishnav to consider a persons spiritual quality’s on the basis of one’s birth. In fact throughout the scriptures this is repeated:

ñaö-karma-nipuëo vipro


avaiñëava guru na sa syäd

sad vaiñëava çva-pacaù guru

(Padma Puräëa)


This means: If one is born in a brahman family but he is not a sincere devotee of the Lord, he can not even deliver himself what to speak of anyone else. But if one is born in the lowest caste, the most condemned family of meat eaters and dog eaters if he is a vaishnava a devotee of the Lord he can not only deliver himself but such a person is fit to deliver the entire world. Also Lord Kapiladev has said that if one is even born in a family of meat eating of dog eaters, if he sincerely chants the holy name of the Lord he should be given the same respect and more, than one who is born as highest brahman and he is fit to perform all the ceremonies of the brahmans, all the rituals, all the pujas, he is qualified. And of course arcye viñëau çilä-dhér guruñu nara-matir vaiñëave jäti-buddhiù. That one who considers – arcye viñëau çilä-dhér guruñu- one who considers the deity of the Lord the archa murti as made of stone or wood, one who considers the spiritual master to be an ordinary man and one who considers a vaishnava to belong to any particular caste or any particular material classification such a person – his intelligence and his mind is in hell. This is the word of the shastras. Therefore Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who came especially to propagate the glories of the holy name, he made the acharya of the holy name Haridas Thakur. Why Haridas Thakur ? It is described in Chaitanya Charitamrita that he was actually Lord Brahma. He was purest devotee in the universe from the highest planet. But by the will of the Supreme he was born in a family of mlecchas and yavanas that means who are utterly averse to vedic civilization and those who are addicted to all abominable activities. According to the vedic traditions of India at that time that if somebody of such a family walks by your house you are supposed to wash your entire house with water, you have to pour out any water that’s already there, you must take bath and chant the names of the God just to neutralize the sins that had been transmitted by that persons prescence and just recently and perhaps even today amongst the orthodox hindu families they follow this principle.


Various Examples indicating Birth is Not a Criteria for Bhakti..

I remember when I was living in Vrindavan, one of the great spiritual masters of Gaudiya Vaishnav sampradaya was telling me that his father was just like this. They were from the east Bengal, they were Gaudiya vaishnavas, he was Gaudiya vaishnav, his father was a very orthodox brahman hindu. But Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has taken someone from the lowest of the low families and put him in the highest position and Advaita acharya who was none other than Mahavishnu – the leader of all the brahmans of Shantipur at the time of their Shraddha ceremony were meant to select the highest the purest of all the brahmans and give him the first portion of Vishnu’s Prasad, he chose Haridas Thakur. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu wanted to prove a very very emphatic point by doing this that if one takes to the chanting of the holy names sincerely and surrenders to the Supreme personality of Godhead; it is a greatest offense to consider such a person according to any materialistic designation. And to emphasize this in such a way the greatest of all the bhaktas of Srimad Bhagavatam which is the mahapurana – one of the 12 mahajans is Prahlad Maharaj. Narada muni, he himself in his previous birth he was son of a maid servant a shudra but by his association with other vaishnavas he came to the highest platform of pure love of God and became Narada muni and he explains to Maharaj Yudhistir that wherever there is an assembly of great souls, it becomes auspicious when the name of Prahlad is remembered and this would be the rule that would go on for the rest of eternity. So what is the greatness of the position of Prahlad but what was the family that he was born in, that was the family of rakshasa’s. He was a full blooded rakshasa by birth, full blood. Rakshasa means those persons not only are they below brahmans but they eat brahmans. Not just somebody who eats dogs but who eats humans and practically anything else and everything else.


Comparison of Modern Demons with Vedic Demons..

Recently after one of our programs downstairs in the patio one man was talking to one of our devotees who was going to Hong Kong to give some lecture and he said Ah you are going to Hong Kong such a horrible place, you know what I have seen in Hong Kong, when I was there I saw in the market place people growing and cultivating insects and I asked what do you do with these insects, he said we eat them, what an abominable culture that they eat insects. I said such an abominable culture right here in Bombay, at night if we go on roads you will find a herding of thousands of cows, they are eating them right here, eating goats and eating sheep. Meat eating is becoming prominent throughout India that is million times more abominable than eating insects.

What to speak of Prahlad maharaja’s whole family – they would eat humans and anything below. In fact Prabhupad said that for those who have discovered human flesh is the most tasteful and the most tender. Yeah. So if you are simply interested in satisfying senses, human flesh is very good and therefore the rakshasa’s would feast on human flesh. That means they cared nothing for murdering another man if they like the taste of his body. Such an abominable birth, such an horrible atmosphere that Prahlad was brought up in but yet he is celebrated as the guru for every one of us, we read his words and even the greatest and purest acharyas they worship his lotus feet


Srila Prabhupada.. A soldier of Lord Rama..like Hanumana..

We find in some of the greatest temples in all of India, in the world we find the murthi of Prahlad installed. And here we have in Ramayana the same theme very strongly emphasized. Who were Ram’s most confidential devotees – Sugriva, Hanuman – They were not even human, they were born in the family of animals, and yet throughout all of India they installed the beautiful murthi of Hanuman as the param bhakta, so who are the greatest param bhaktas Prahlad and Hanuman. They were both out caste by all social designations, one was in born in the family of sub-humans and animals and other was in a family of rakshasas, the most, the most ferocious abominable criminals. And who else helped Ram, there were Rama Lakshman who was Krishna and Balaram and all of His associates were either monkeys or rakshasas. His entire army, there was the monkey army and there was Vibhishan. And He conquered the ignorance of Ravana’s domain with the help of them.

Similarly Srila Prabhupad when he came to the west, he compared himself to Lord Ram in the sense that he was His representative and he said – and similarly we have this same mission of Ram, to bring Sita, to win back Sita, the Goddess of fortune and he said, and who has He given me to help me, he said all of these monkey like disciples were coming from low births, and he brought them to India, and he told us that India is now completely under the influence of Ravana, materialistic civilization. He said let us, you have to become like the monkey soldiers, you have to bring Sita back to Ram. Bring the spirit souls back to the lotus feet of Ram.


Teachings of Goswami’s,”Lord can pleased only by Humility & humble Service”

This is the mission of all of us, we should not be proud that I’m brahman or I’m of this caste or I’m of that caste or I’m born in bharat varsha. We should be proud of only one thing, that by the mercy of our spiritual master we are given the opportunity to render humble service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is our only qualification whoever we are our only qualification is the mercy of the spritiual master. Here we find people like Hanuman and Vibhishan and Prahlad, they were very humble, they admitted they were the lowest of the low. But then you also have the greatest of the brahmans such as Rupa Goswami, Sanatan Goswami and but they had the same feeling, that we are the lowest of the low. So we were born in these high families but what is our qualification. If anything, our high birth is a disqualification because the tendency of this birth is to make me proud. The Lord is more pleased by humility than any sort of gross or subtle blood that’s flowing in our body due to our birth, due to our training. A real high birth is a birth that trains one to be a humble servant of the Lord, A real high birth is one that teaches you how to respect and honor the God in the heart of every living being.

Therefore Rupa Goswami, Sanatan Goswami, Gopal Bhatt Goswami, Jiva Goswami, they were born in saraswat brahman families of the highest order and they had best training but they considered themselves the lowest of the low, they considered that we only have one qualification and that is the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the mercy of our spiritual master and in whatever situation we are in, high or low, educated or uneducated, we should not consider that these things at all are qualification for spiritual life, they may be qualifications for particular types of service but they are not qualifications for service itself. They are not qualifications in any ways performed for pleasing the Lord, the only qualification for pleasing the Lord is humility and willing to engage in devotional service by humbling oneself between the guru and the sadhus, by trying to please the guru, yasya prasädäd bhagavat-prasädo yasyäprasädän na gatiù kuto ‘pi – when Krishna’s representative is pleased then Krishna is pleased and if His representative is not pleased you can not please Krishna no matter what you do. And the representative, the authorized representative of Krishna is only pleased by the spirit of humility and devotion, how much you are willing to enthusiastically serve him, without expectation of profit or honor or any of these other materialistic things but simply to serve.


Birth of Jaya-Vijaya as Demons..

Of course Ravana is being told by his wife two apparently contradictory statements which is very interesting to study. In the previous verse she says mahabhaga, she addresses her husband as – o greatly fortunate one and in the next verse she addresses her husband as atmanarakhetave, that your soul go to hell. so how is he fortunate if his soul is going to hell, who can say, I would like to ask you this question, in two consecutive verses one she says that he are fortunate and in the next she says that  your soul will go to hell and your body will be eaten by dogs and vultures. You see his soul was fit to be go to hell because of what he had done, that was what he earned in his karma in life but he was greatly fortunate because he was killed by the hands of Ram therefore he naturally was in the presence of Krishna or Ram at the time of leaving his body but at the same time he wasn’t liberated and he did not go back to Godhead because as you know Jay and Vijay were cursed for three births as demons – Hiranyakashipu, Hiranyaksha; Ravana, Kumbhakarna; so he had one more birth as demon, Dantavakra and Sishupal, and to become a demon is like to go to hell, right, the body is like the heart of a devotee, that heart is actually the kingdom of God because God is always worshipped there, it is we say that kingdom of God is within, do we not ?

The heart of a great devotee, that heart is non different than Vrindavan, Vaikuntha, the kingdom of God, so similarly the heart of a demon is non different than hell because it is a place where hellish desires or hellish ambitions are surrounding you in all directions. So because Ravana had to take another birth, in the heart of a demon and a demoniac heart, therefore his soul had to go to hell, but he was greatly fortunate because he was killed by Ram and therefore he was on his way back to Godhead, he was on his way for his return trip to Vaikuntha.


Krishna’s shows mercy to Demons by killing them..

See when he was cursed to come to the material world, Jay and Vijay they were given a round trip ticket, so therefore he is most fortunate and we consider him very very fortunate, in fact Narada muni was considering Sishupal, the next birth of Ravana was Sishupal was killed by Krishna and just as Mandodhari was saying that her husband is most fortunate after being killed by the Lord, so similarly Narada muni was explaining that Sishupal was also most fortunate because by always remembering the Lord and having killed by the hands of the Lord, his destination was all auspicious. So this is the glory of the mercy of Krishna and just as the holy name or just as Ram killed Ravana with the arrows from his mighty bow and delivered him of all his hellish consciousness and just as Krishna killed that same being in his form of Sishupal and killed his hellish condition of life, so similarly Lord Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has come in this age of Kali to kill the demoniac qualities within all of our hearts with the sound of His holy name, so if someone is born in a very very pious brahman family but does not take shelter of the holy name, great sages like Narada muni would not consider him very fortunate, he considered Ravana and Sishupal very fortunate because they were vanquished by the weapon of the Lord.

So similarly whoever we are, even if we are Rakshasas don’t worry about it, if you are willing to be conquered by the name of Krishna, if you allow the spiritual master to shoot the flaming arrow of holy name into your heart, take that name into your life and you are most fortunate, all of your Ravana qualities will be vanquished, you will go back to Godhead.


Question & Answers :

A: They were liberated, they went back to Godhead, but they came back, they made a humble request to Vishnu that let us go back one more time because if you are appearing as Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu that is the sweetest most wonderful past time, we want to be killed again but this time by the holy name and once and for all we can go back we can remain in the Godhead.


Any other questions? Yes


Question: It is been observed………….devotees by their example and action many people get converted and become devotees but we see that their own family members are not convinced and they are opposite, opposing. Why is it that devotees cannot convince their own family members but they are convincing the whole society? What is wrong with family members because we see very great devotees like Prahlad maharaj could not convince their own family members? [question paraphrased as it’s not very clear in the recording]

Answer : Advaita Acharya had six sons, three were great devotees and three mayavadis, Prabhupad had several sons also, today one of them is still trying to sue the moment to try to get the property for his sense gratification, Prabhupad tried for years to get his wife and his children to help him in his Guru’s mission, they just simply were not interested, they were devotees, they were pious but they just were not interested in surrendering. So Prabhupad left them and in a matter of months he made thousands of people Krishna Conscious (Maharaj laughs) when he came to the west.

Because everyone has their freedom, everyone has their independence but another thing is this that Krishna is obviously also trying to show us through this example that we should not be so attached to the bodily conception of life of family. Prabhupad said that I left a wife and a few children thinking what I will do without a family and now He has given me such a better family.

Obviously Krishna has arranged throughout history this, just to show the world that you should, you should be attached to Krishna and you should be attached to devotees of Krishna as your supreme real family, and even the greatest souls they were always the well wishers, but you cannot, familiarity breeds contempt as well, it is not a matter of physical proximity, but it is a matter of a receptive heart. In the same sense Prabhupad had so many personal servants and many of his personal servants are not even in the moment, the Krishna Consciousness movement anymore and there are other people who only saw him once are twice, never even talked to him directly and they are some of the most powerful, inspiring preachers whose lives are completely sold at his lotus feet, so it is not a question of physical proximity that qualifies us, it is not a, to the extent that even if you are a family member , it is a question of receptivity of the heart and the desire to serve.

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.