tértha-bhütäù svayaà vibho
bhavat—your good self; vidhäù—like; bhägavatäù—devotees; tértha—the holy places of pilgrimage; bhütäù—converted into; svayam—personally; vibho—O powerful one; térthé-kurvanti—make into a holy place of pilgrimage; térthäni—the holy places; sva-antaù-sthena—having been situated in the heart; gadä-bhåtä—the Personality of Godhead.
My Lord, devotees like your good self are verily holy places personified. Because you carry the Personality of Godhead within your heart, you turn all places into places of pilgrimage.
The Personality of Godhead is omnipresent by His diverse potencies everywhere, just as the power of electricity is distributed everywhere within space. Similarly, the Lord’s omnipresence is perceived and manifested by His unalloyed devotees like Vidura, just as electricity is manifested in an electric bulb. A pure devotee like Vidura always feels the presence of the Lord everywhere. He sees everything in the potency of the Lord and the Lord in everything. The holy places all over the earth are meant for purifying the polluted consciousness of the human being by an atmosphere surcharged with the presence of the Lord’s unalloyed devotees. If anyone visits a holy place, he must search out the pure devotees residing in such holy places, take lessons from them, try to apply such instructions in practical life and thus gradually prepare oneself for the ultimate salvation, going back to Godhead. To go to some holy place of pilgrimage does not mean only to take a bath in the Ganges or Yamunä or to visit the temples situated in those places. One should also find representatives of Vidura who have no desire in life save and except to serve the Personality of Godhead. The Personality of Godhead is always with such pure devotees because of their unalloyed service, which is without any tinge of fruitive action or utopian speculation. They are in the actual service of the Lord, specifically by the process of hearing and chanting. The pure devotees hear from the authorities and chant, sing and write of the glories of the Lord. Mahämuni Vyäsadeva heard from Närada, and then he chanted in writing; Çukadeva Gosvämé studied from his father, and he described it to Parékñit; that is the way of Çrémad-Bhägavatam. So by their actions the pure devotees of the Lord can render any place into a place of pilgrimage, and the holy places are worth the name only on their account. Such pure devotees are able to rectify the polluted atmosphere of any place, and what to speak of a holy place rendered unholy by the questionable actions of interested persons who try to adopt a professional life at the cost of the reputation of a holy place.
This evening, we are reading from the Srimad Bhagvatam, first canto. This verse has been spoken by great king Yudhishtir Maharaj to his beloved and devoted uncle Vidura. Shrila Prabhupada explains in the purport that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is always with His pure devotees because of unalloyed devotional service which is without any tinge of fruitive desire and any material speculation. They are always in the service of the Lord specifically by the process of hearing and chanting. In the Bhagavatam, there are beautiful descriptions of real compassion and kindness of pure devotees like Vidura and how much we can learn by hearing the qualities of these great Parmahansas.
Hearing Glories of Lord’s devotees-door for perfection
Nama-Sankirtan is the yugdharma of this age. These children were very well behaved during kirtan which proves this. People are not very much philosophically inclined in this age but towards chanting and dancing everyone is inclined. Do you like to chant? , do you like to dance? Do you like to hear philosophy? Do you like to eat Prasad? Chanting, dancing and feasting are conclusions of all philosophy but hearing the glories of these great devotees of the Lord is the door that opens wide for perfection of human form of this life, which is self realization.
Miseries are bound to come- Ordeals of Pandavas
In Mahabharat, we find how Pandavas were put in so many embarrassing and disgraceful situations. Although, factually they did not do anything to deserve it. Yudhishtir Maharaj was the embodiment of dharma and never deviated from truth. It is said that even in his mind he never thought of mala volition and never spoke a single word of lie in his entire life. And yet, he and his noble brothers were prosecuted in so many ways because that is the way of politics. Throughout history, throughout all lands, whenever people are greedy for power and control, for wealth, they will do anything.
We find, although Dhrtarastra was actually a very noble king and his son Duryodhana was the embodiment of all the good qualities. They had one anartha or unwanted quality within their hearts and that was greed for power and to control; and this one quality practically burnt all of them to ashes. Therefore in so many ways they defied Pandavas; they said evil things about them; they spread terrible rumours and propaganda against them. Even when they were children they were poisoned; they tried to burn them in the house of lakh; they cheated them in dice game; they banished them to the forest & took away all of their belongings ;and that was not enough ,even in the forest time and time again they tried to ridicule and humiliate them.
Vidura – A noble man
And, through all of this Vidura took care of Kunti, the mother of Pandavas. She suffered hundred times more than the Pandavas themselves, why is this? Because devotees are willing to accept any inconvenience upon his own life and accept it as grace of the Lord but the devotees cannot tolerate seeing another devotee mishandled, mistreated, and therefore queen Kunti who was such soft hearted mother and loving devotees, she had to witness all of these terrible atrocities upon her own beloved children. You can imagine that she was not feeling this just for one night but for fourteen years! While they were banished in jungles, she did not know where they were? Who they were with? She did not even know whether they were dead or alive. And all along this Vidura was the one who took care of queen Kunti. She remained in his home; he was always the well wisher of Pandavas. Vidura was such a noble and gentle soul that time and time again he was the one who saved the life of the Pandavas. It was by his arrangement that the Pandavas were escaped from house of lakh.
Though Duryodhan and company conspired in so many ways and tried to kill Panadavas, Vidura was so soft hearted and loving that even for the evil minded Dhrtarastra and Duryodhana, he was their well wisher. He was, time and time again, giving Dhrtarastra good advice, giving him the chance to rectify his sinful offences and to live according to the truth. It is described that Vidura also tried to correct incorrigible Duryodhana and instructed him accordingly but he could understand that Duryodhana was so intoxicated that he was completely empowered by his greed, his thrust for controlling others that he could not hear.
Bad Association- cause of degradation
Although Dhrtarastra was actually the great gentleman, because of his attachment to Duryodhana, because of that association, he was acting in the most abominable and sinful way and all of the spiritual principles were compromised. No matter how great you are, if you choose bad association you will become abominable in the eyes of God. Who are we to compare with Dhrtarastra? Sometimes we think that oh! Dhrtarastra is such an evil man but actually he was the great descendant of the Kuru dynasty, he was the eldest of the three brothers, he was factually the son of Vedvyas which means he was directly the son of literary incarnation of God, and what type of high birth we have? And he was spoon fed and trained by Bhishma himself. He had the best birth from the best family; he was trained by the best war man and actually he was a great loving soul. He had only one defect, he was attached to the association of somebody who was very lusty for power and could not control his mind and senses. In Bhagvatam it is said:
It means that associating with great souls and rendering service to them opens the doors to liberation wide open but by associating with those persons who are too much attached to the wealth of this world and the enjoyment of this world, the doors to the hell ,the doors to the lowest ignorance are opened wide. Whoever we are, we should know that our destiny is according to our association.
Vidura- As a spiritual master
Vidura was the man of great wisdom and he understood the truth of Dhrtarastra’s heart. He understood if he could simply give up the attachment and association of his son Duroydhana, he would be a great person and his name would be glorified through out history and in scriptures. But everything was spoiled due to Dhritrstra’s this one weak point, Duryodhana. Therefore Vidura spoke to Dhrtarastra, “you are attached to offence personified in the form of your son, give up listening to him, do what you know and what is right within your heart, and do what all noble and great souls are advising you to do”. And on so many occasions Dhrtarastra had tears in his eyes. He pleaded Duryodhana to give Pandavas what they wanted. They are right and we are wrong. But Duryodhana knew that his father was very much attached to him and he was very clever. He told Dhritrashtra,” My dear father, if you give anything to Yudhishtir I will commit suicide and you will be the cause of my death”.
This is how maya works. If you try to do anything good in life you should know that there will be opposition. Maya will strike at your weakest point and would try to keep you away from the truth and also away from the God (14.07). So Vidura was like spiritual master. He was alerting Dhrtarastra of being manipulated and exploited by the sentiments of his son and always telling to do right things and take right decisions. Krishna is on the side of Pandavas and whatever he would do against them, he would be directly doing against God Himself.
Vidura leaves Hastinapur
When Duryodhana heard Vidura preaching to his father in this way, he became angry like a serpent, his eyes became red like hot coal and he began to hiss like a serpent. In very harsh and rude words he screamed to his uncle, “If you do not leave this palace and kingdom at this very moment, you will not have even breath to live. You will die. And Vidura knew that Duryodhana was about to beat him, to punish him and perhaps kill him. Vidura was very pleased one hand and also very sad on the other. He was very sad to see that Dhrtarastra was supporting his son and was blind through the material attachment and bad association. How pitiable? But at the same time he was happy that he could get away from such an offensive condition and leave that place to go to the holy places of world to worship the Lord in complete freedom. So at that time Vidura left the palace and for many years he travelled to various holy places simply in hearing and chanting the glories of the Lord.
In fact he went to the holy dham of Haridwar on the bank of the holy river Ganges there he lived with Maitrey Muni. He fell at the feet of Maitreya Muni and begged him for enlightenment.
You see even the greatest devotees of the Lord; even such paramhansas like Vidura are always seeking out the association of other saints. They are always eager to hear from them submissively. Sometimes we find people thinking themselves spiritually advanced and they need not to listen to anyone anymore and everyone should listen to them. But we find here that truly the more advanced we become spiritually the more we should aspire to humble ourselves to hear from the great souls. So here we find Vidura after the battle of Kurusketra was fought and over. He did not have to take part in that. He was aloof. He was in holy places.
Opposition for devotees- God’s Arrangement
After, Krishna and the Yadus left this world back for spiritual world, Vidura was returning to Hastinapur and he was returning for one purpose alone to preach Dhritrastra and save him from wasting his human from of life. This is the compassion of the great devotees of the Lord and we find in this story that anyone who tries to do anything good for spreading holly name of God will meet opposition. This is history throughout all the great religions of the world. If there is no opposition that means we are necessarily doing something wrong. People think if I become devotee of God then I am striving to do His work in this world and then why should there be any opposition. God is the supreme controller. But the fact is He is the supreme controller means He will arrange opposition because it is required.
In this age of Kaliyuga people are madly running towards material sense enjoyment. Do you think if you actually preach the word of God or try to do something to put forward the mission of the Lord people will not be afraid, people will not be threatening? Our Guru Maharaja A.C.Bhaktivedant Swami Prabhupada, he came to America when he was seventy years old; he had no money; he had no friends; He came and appeared to be very very harmless. But Srila Prabhupada told us that if they knew why he came into their country and what he was going to do they would have killed him right then. Why? Because he had come with transcendental vibration of Gods name and message, which is completely contrary to the direction of the life of practically everyone, in the world.
Lord Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, how much opposition he and his devotees had by Chand Kazi and by orthodox Brahmans. He was preaching there everyone to simply chant the holly names of God irrespective of caste and creed and they would be able to attain the highest level of consciousness and should be respected as such. The Brahmans hated Him for this. They wanted to destroy Him. And there were many Muslims; they also hated Him because He appeared to be threatening many of their political positions. At that time India was under Mughal rule.
We find in the life of Prahlad Maharaj, how much opposition came upon him although he was innocent five year old child simply because he spoke the word of God. He had no other problem, he was a perfectly well behaved son, he was a good student, and he was pleasing to his father in every aspect except one that he was preaching God’s words. And therefore in so many ways, his life was threatened.
All Merciful God – Provides eternal peace
So taking to spiritual life is not to make nice position for you in this world. People worships many demigods because they want wealth, they want so called peace on the material platform. But if you worship the Supreme God you will get the Supreme peace but not on the material platform. Why? Because God is all merciful. If He gives you all peace on the material platform, you will be satisfied with the material platform and the nature of the material platform is that its devastation is inevitable. There is no peace in this world. It is all an illusion. At any moment there can be cyclone, at any moment hurricane, at any moment flood, at any moment terrible accident, disease and death.
samäçritä ye pada-pallava-plavaà
mahat-padaà puëya-yaço muräreù
bhavämbudhir vatsa-padaà paraà padaà
padaà padaà yad vipadäà na teñäm
To the degree you are attached to peace in this world to the degree you are going to suffer when there are changes. When it will change? It is just a matter of time. Change is must and that is guaranteed. Therefore those religious people who are trying to promise you peace in this world they are cheating you, they are giving you something cheap. Ultimately it would be taken away and you are going to suffer. That you want? Therefore Srimad Bhagvatam & Bhagvad Gita, the great scriptures and sadhus like Vidura who are presenting these scriptures they are not promising you peace in this world, they are promising you peace within your own heart which is transcendental to this world of conflict. Such are the embarrassing political situations in this world that the God only knows what tomorrow will bring. The example of how the goats are in line to slaughter house and they are kept pacified by giving them nice fresh green grasses but meanwhile they are in line coming closer and closer to their death. But they don’t see that everyone head of them is getting their head cut. They only see nice green grass. So this material civilization is like a line of foolish goats.
Material energy, maya, and all of her representatives are just feeding you nice green grasses and making you think oh! How nice life really I have. How much I am enjoying. But at every step you are coming closer to your death. Can anyone deny that? If anyone here, even these little children they don’t know what we are talking about (27.22). At one time we were like that and soon we are going to be like something else. Can anyone change the course of time? Can you change the course of time? Or would you like to stay a little girl forever or do you want to become like your grandmother? Doesn’t matter what you want? Therefore what the scriptures are teaching and what the true representatives of the teachers of the scripture are teaching, there is no peace in this world but peace is within and in self realization. Arjuna wanted peace; Krishna said if you want peace you have to fight this war because there is real peace in surrendering to My will and not in trying to make your separate endeavors. And Arjuna found the supreme peace in loving service to Krsna.
Holly names of God- Source of supreme peace
sreyah-kairava candrika-vitaranam vidyavadhu-jivanam
anandambudhi-vardhanam prati-padam purnamrtasvadanam
sarvatma-snapanam param vijayate sri-krsna-sankirtanam
Lord Sri Krsna Chaitnya Mahaprabhu has come with a formula by which all beings for all ages of all caste and from all nations can find the Supreme peace within their hearts. And, that formula is learning to take shelter of holly names of God, to stop taking shelter of the sources of misery which are giving us pleasure in this world and to take shelter of Krsna, Who is so benevolently and magnificently making Himself available through His holy names.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
When we chant the name of Krishna we are invoking divine presence of God, Who is the source of all bliss, sat-cit-anand .By associating with all blissful we would become blissful.
ishvarh param krsna satcitanand vigrah
anadhir adhir govindam sarva karana karanam
Krishna is eternal, full of knowledge, full of bliss. We become like what we associate with. Dhritrastra became a fallen fool because he associated with the fallen fool. But later on when he associated with, after Duryodhana was gone, with Vidura, he became a saint. What we associate with we become like. Krishna is sat-cit-anand, namcintamani krsna caitanya rasvigraha. He is no different than His name. When we associate with name of God, when we associate with the eternal, we become eternal. When we associate with the source of all knowledge we are filled with pure knowledge and when we associate with embodiment of all bliss, we become supremely blissful. And how do we associate with Krsna, through His name, through His words and especially through His devotees.
Vidura – a genuine sadhu
Therefore in this verse we are reading today.
tértha-bhütäù svayaà vibho
It is explained by Maharaj Yudhishtira to Vidura, “your presence is holy places personified because Krsna is always within your heart. Therefore whatever you say whatever you do reveals Krsna to the hearts of the persons in contact with. So what do we want in life? Vidura came to preach to Dhrtarastra in this particular chapter today to give up his crazy desire and stop trying to find peace in this world and take shelter of Krsna. And that’s what all great saints teach. This is the meaning of bonafide sadhu. A sadhu who does not preach the message of God is sadhu in name only but not in quality. And if we want the true fortune and the treasure of this human life, we should be seeking those persons, those places which are giving this rare and most treasure of all gifts, “the information about the God, how to find true peace not in this world but in the kingdom of God and within our own heart” .
Glory of India
Are there any questions? Mahaprabhu would you like to translate? Hare Krishna. To come together, to hear and to chant the glories of the Lord, to help one another to come closer to God; are the greatest acts of love in this world. And these types of programs, these types of arrangements are perhaps the greatest need within our human society. After all when we come home from our business, perform our work everyday, what do we do? Just fifty years ago, in India especially ,practically all over the country, our Guru Maharaj used to tell us that after sunset everyone would come together to hear and chant the glories of the Lord. They organised the kirtan of the Lord. Entire village would come together, families would come together and what they did? They would hear Mahabharat, Srimad Bhagvatam, Bhagvad Gita & Ramayana. In this way India had shown the world the greatest civilization.
But now unfortunately, we have our televisions, our cinemas, our newspapers and we are engrossed in these things. We are leaving behind the two purpose of life which are coming together to hear and chant the glories of the Lord. So we would like to thank for all of you for coming, and the especially to our host this evening for such beautiful arrangement. And of course this program has been arranged in honor of the birth day of son of Mr.Daga, Gaurav.So I would like to offer him best wishes that Krishna may always be with him to guide him, protect him for His loving service and I request all of you, also, offer your good wishes and prayers for his auspicious future in Krishna Consciousness. Hare Krishna. Is Gaurav here? Please come. This is the day; you have to accept humiliation and embarrassment. But we love you very much. May Krishna always be with you! After this auspicious gathering to night, we will all honour Krishna’s Prasadam. Thank you very much. Hare Krishna.