“Whatever Krishna Says, Do It”

“Whatever Krishna Says, Do It”


(Click on the pictures to discover the Treasure House Of India’s Spiritual Wisdom as presented by ISKCON Founder Acharya A.C Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada.)

Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya
Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya
Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya

Srimad Bhagavatam, third Canto, chapter one, text eight. ‘Questions by Vidura.’

Text seven doesn’t have a purport, so although yesterday we did up to six but today the text that has been written on the board is verse eight. So, I’ll just read through text seven.

yada sabhayam kuru-deva-devyah
kesabhimarsam suta-karma garhyam
na varayam asa nrpah snusayah
svasrair harantyah kuca-kunkumani

The King did not forbid his son Duhsasana’s abominable action of grabbing the hair of Draupadi, the wife of the godly King Yudhisthira, even though her tears washed the red dust on her breast.

Text eight:
dyute tv adharmena jitasya sadhoh
satyavalambasya vanam gatasya
na yacato ‘dat samayena dayam
tamo-jusano yad ajata-satroh

dyute — by means of gambling; tu — but; adharmena — by unfair tricks; jitasya — of the vanquished; sadhoh? — a saintly person; satya-avalambasya — one who embraced truth as shelter; vanam — forest; gatasya — of the goer; na — never; yacatah — when asked for; adat — delivered; samayena — in due course; dayam — right share; tamah-jusanah — overwhelmed by illusion; yat — as much as; ajata-satroh — of one who had no enemy.

Yudhisthira, who was born without any enemy, was unfairly defeated in gambling. But because he had taken the vow of truthfulness, he went off to the forest. When he came back in due course and begged the return of his rightful share of the kingdom, he was refused by Dhrtarastra, who was overwhelmed by illusion.

Maharaja Yudhisthira was the rightful heir to his father’s kingdom. But just to favor his own sons, headed by Duryodhana, Dhrtarastra, Maharaja Yudhisthira’s uncle, adopted various unfair means to cheat his nephews of their rightful share of the kingdom. At last the Pandavas demanded only five villages, one for each of the five brothers, but that was also refused by the usurpers. This incident led to the War of Kuruksetra. The Battle of Kuruks?etra, therefore, was induced by the Kurus, and not the Pandavas.
As ksatriyas, the proper livelihood of the Pandavas was only to rule, and not to accept any other occupation. A brahmana, ksatriya or vaisya will not accept employment for his livelihood under any circumstances.
[End of Purport]

dyute tv adharmena jitasya sadhoh
satyavalambasya vanam gatasya
na yacato ‘dat samayena dayam
tamo-jusano yad ajata-satroh

Yudhisthira, who was born without any enemy, was unfairly defeated in gambling. But because he had taken the vow of truthfulness, he went off to the forest. When he came back in due course and begged the return of his rightful share of the kingdom, he was refused by Dhrtarastra, who was overwhelmed by illusion.

So, King Parikshit is about to leave his body and he is asking questions to Sukadeva Gosvami, who very mercifully arrived there at that time to benefit the king. We hear the expression ‘guru-krsna-prasade paya bhakti lata bija.’ [CC Madhya 19.151] When one becomes qualified Krishna actually sends the spiritual master. Parikshit Maharaja was about to leave his body, so to prepare him for his death it’s Krishna actually who made this arrangement. Time and time again in Srimad Bhagavatam and other Vedic scriptures and other Puranas we see that happen. In some strange circumstances we see that the spiritual master arrives.

Like, Mrigari was a hunter and Narada Muni appeared to him. He was not only a hunter, he was a very cruel hunter. He used to derive pleasure by inflicting pain to the animals. He wouldn’t just kill the animals, he would make the animals suffer. He would leave them half dead so that they would ride in pain, ride in agony. But Narada Muni just appeared to him and he instructed Mrigari and Mrigari became a wonderful devotee of Krishna. A similar situation also we see with the dacoit Ratnakara Dasu. Ratnakara was a bandit. He was a dacoit. He used to loot people, kill people, travellers. But again Narada Muni appeared to him and we see due to Narada Muni’s association Ratnakara became a devotee. He became Valmiki. In this way we see so many people. Another such example is King Pracinabarhi. His sons, the Pracetas, were performing great austerities. They became great devotees of the Lord. They received the mercy of Lord Shiva and became great devotees. And Narada Muni felt that these boys are so advanced spiritually but look at their father! He is still a miserable enjoyer of sense gratification. So Narada Muni went to him and advised, and he became a devotee. So, one after another, we can think of so many such wonderful examples. Another example is King Citraketu. He was a king. He was the ruler of the entire earth planet but he didn’t have a son and as a result of that, although he had everything, it all amounted to nothing. So then by the grace of Angira Rishi he had a son, but that son died untimely. And then again, Narada Muni came and instructed him, and Citraketu became a great devotee. So, in this way we can see that how by guru-krsna-prasade paya bhakti lata bija, by the mercy of Krishna one gets the guru and by the mercy of the guru one receives the seed of devotional service.

So here Sukadeva Gosvami is the spiritual master of Parikshit Maharaja. And he came. Krishna sent him. Krishna who is the Supersoul, residing in the hearts of everybody, He knows the right time and He sends the right person to guide the conditioned souls to the ultimate destination. Parikshit Maharaja also is a qualified disciple. What is the qualification of a disciple, qualification of a sincere seeker of spiritual life? He is a sincere seeker! He has his heart set in becoming free from the material bondage and achieving his spiritual destination.

[Altar curtains open] Jaya Sri Sri Krishna Balarama ki jaya! Jaya Sri Sri Radha Madana Mohana ki jaya! Jaya Sri Sri Gaura Nitai ki jaya!

So here Parikshit Maharaja is asking Sukadeva Gosvami what happened after Vidura left home? Vidura left home just before the battle of Kurukshetra began. When Vidura saw that all the endeavors failed then Vidura just left home after being insulted by Duryodhana. When he saw that all the endeavors to avert the war failed, he just tried to give the last advice to Dhrtarashtra, the blind king. But Duryodhana became very insulting so he just left. But when he left, he was just travelling to the places of pilgrimage and there he came across sage Maitreya, and a wonderful conversation took place between Vidura and Maitreya. And that has been recorded here in Srimad Bhagavatam.

These questions, these discussions are just a prelude to ‘Vidura-Maitreya Samvada’, the discussion between Vidura and Maitreya. So when he asked, “What did Vidura do? “, Sukadeva Gosvami is just relating to some incident that happened before that. And that incident was that, although Yudhisthira Maharaja was ajatashatru, here two qualities of Maharaja have been established: ajatashatru and satyavalambya, or rather satyavalambi. One who doesn’t have any friend, ajatashatru, whose friend is not born, or who was born without any enemy. It can be taken either way. One who is born without any enemy, or one whose enemy is not born. He never considered anyone to be his enemy. Of course, even though Yudhisthira Maharaja did not want to have any enemy, he didn’t see anyone as his enemy, but Duryodhana could not resist the temptation of becoming his enemy. Yudhisthira, although he was so pious, so compassionate, so merciful, so forgiving, he is endowed with all the good qualities, but still Duryodhana became his enemy. There are some people, they are like that. In this way we can see that in this world there are two types of people. One who is ajatashatru, who doesn’t have any enemy, and the other is who thinks that the most wonderful people in this world are his enemy. There are always people like Yudhisthira Maharaja and also there are people like Duryodhana. This is the material nature.

There is an incident when Dronacarya sent Yudhisthira Maharaja to bring the most sinful, the most evil person, and he sent Duryodhana also to find the most pious person, the best of the people. At the end of the day both of them came back. Yudhisthira Maharaja couldn’t find any bad person and Duryodhana couldn’t find any good person. So in this way we can see that ultimately it is a matter of our perception how we see things. Some people see that in this world everything is bad and some people see that in this world everything is good. This is the reality. It is not a fiction. It is not some story. Mahabharata is not just a story. Mahabharata is history, it happened. It happened. Duryodhana is Duryodhana. Yudhisthira is Yudhisthira. Dhrtarashtra is Dhrtarashtra. These are real personalities.

And the other thing that has been mentioned in this verse about Yudhisthira Maharaja, another quality, is that he is satyavalambi. He has taken the vow of sticking, adhering to truthfulness. It is very significant actually. This happened in, it was the end of Dvapara Yuga when Kali Yuga was about to begin, and at that time Dharma was standing on two legs. Dharma stands on four pillars. What are the pillars of Dharma? Austerity, mercy, cleanliness and truthfulness. So in Satya Yuga Dharma is intact, because all the four pillars of Dharma are intact. The people at that time followed these four activities, four qualities. They are austere, they are merciful, they are clean and they are truthful. But in Treta Yuga one leg, one pillar of Dharma breaks. The pillar of austerity breaks. Dharma is standing only on three legs: mercy, cleanliness and truthfulness. In Dvapara Yuga another leg of Dharma is broken, the mercy is broken. Dharma is standing on cleanliness and truthfulness. But in Kali Yuga Dharma stands only on one leg, truthfulness. All other three legs are broken. Austerity, mercy, cleanliness are broken. And the fourth leg is also dwindling. So in this way Dharma will be lost in this age and adharma will be established. And we can see that Yudhisthira Maharaja, knowing what is going to happen in the age of Kali, he was adhering to this one principle of Dharma, the leg of truthfulness. Dharma is just standing on one leg, because Dharma in the age of Kali is standing on one leg. And if that leg is also broken then everything will be lost.
But there is another principle. The other principle is that, [some people enter the temple room], Haribol, Hare Krishna! Welcome to Ujjain! Haribol. Because Dharma is actually the foundation of devotion to Krishna. So if devotion to Krishna is performed then Dharma is intact. That point also has been very wonderfully established through Mahabharata, or through the Vedic instructions. Yudhisthira Maharaja was adhering to Dharma by just sticking to, adhering to truthfulness. But at one point when Krishna instructed him to do something, in order not to break that principle of telling a lie or deviating from truthfulness, Yudhisthira Maharaja did not abide by the instruction of Krishna. And that was the only mistake Yudhisthira Maharaja ever performed in his entire life. That becomes very clear through the Srimad Bhagavatam or the teachings of the pure devotees. It was described in Mahabharata that Yudhisthira Maharaja had to go to hell, just he had to see hell. And the understanding is that because Yudhisthira Maharaja told a lie, that’s why he had to go to hell. But an in-depth analysis proves Yudhisthira Maharaja didn’t lie! Krishna told Yudhisthira Maharaja to tell that Ashvatthama is dead, and Yudhisthira Maharaja refused to say that because it was a lie. Then Krishna told Bhima that, “Bhima, okay, there is an elephant called Ashvatthama, so you kill that elephant. You kill that elephant, then probably our truthful brother will be able to tell the truth, to speak the truth.” So Bhima immediately went and killed that elephant. That was a ferocious, terrible elephant, but Bhima was so powerful that in a moment he just killed that elephant.  And then Krishna said, “Now you can tell that Ashvatthama is dead.” And Yudhisthira Maharaja then declared, “Ashvatthama is dead, the elephant.” So he didn’t lie. What is the lie? So that was not the mistake on Yudhisthira Maharaja’s part. He didn’t lie. The mistake was that Krishna told him something and he did not follow that. So the ultimate consideration is, whatever Krishna says, do it! To follow the instructions of Krishna is Dharma. Dharmam tu sakshad bhagavat-pranitam. [SB 6.3.19] Dharma is to follow the instructions given by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is what real dharma is. Following these principles is the foundation of dharma, but they are not Dharma itself. The Dharma is to follow the instructions of Krishna.

The bottom line is, the clear understanding is that if one is following these principles but does not accept the instructions of Krishna, they are not on the path of Dharma. The real Dharma is to follow the instructions of Krishna and that we find in Bhagavad Gita. Arjuna was being a very nice person. He was trying to adhere to all the principles, be nice to the superiors and respectful to the seniors, be compassionate, be concerned for the welfare of mankind and so and so forth. But just in one word Krishna wiped out all the reasons that Arjuna came with. Asocayan anvasocas tvam prajna-vadams ca bhasase. [Bg 2.11] “You are lamenting over something that one should not lament about but you are speaking like a wise man.” So, just in one word. What is the real understanding? The real understanding is to become situated on the spiritual platform. And what is the spiritual platform? Spiritual platform is to abide by the instructions of Krishna. Krishna is telling, “Fight”, fight! And at the end of Bhagavad Gita we find that’s what Arjuna is saying. Krishna now left it up to Arjuna; “So now you tell Me what you want to do.”  And Arjuna’s reply was very clear: “Now that You have instructed Me, nasto mohah smrtir labdha, my illusion has been dispelled. I have regained my spiritual memory.” [Bg 18.73] And tvat-prasadan mayacyuta, “By Your mercy, Krishna. And now I am ready to karisye vacanam tava, I’ll just abide by Your instructions. Whatever You will tell me, I will do that. Just tell me what I need to do and I will do that.” So that is the very, very clear instruction, that is the bottom line of Bhagavad Gita. Just surrender unto Krishna. Whatever Krishna says, do that! And Krishna also is reiterating that, just surrender unto Me.

Surrender means what? Surrender means to abide by the instructions. Surrender doesn’t mean just bowing down, offering obeisances. Surrender is not just an external, artificial gesture. Surrender is a state of the consciousness, state of the spirit soul. Surrender means I will do whatever you ask me to do, irrespective of any other consideration. I don’t care what will happen as a result of that, but I will do it, and when we do that, to the Lord and His devotees, then our life becomes perfect. Life becomes perfect means? No more misery. There is only joy. That is the perfection of life. Imperfected life is full of misery. Perfected life means no suffering, only enjoyment, only joy. Perfection of life means no more death, eternal life. Perfection of life means pure Krishna consciousness. That’s what the perfection of life means.

So here we are seeing there are two sides. Two sides: good side and bad side. Duryodhana is representing the bad side. Yudhisthira Maharaja and the Pandavas are representing the good side. In Mahabharata this has been described very wonderfully that Duryodhana, how he was actually supported by the demons. At one point Duryodhana was prepared, Duryodhana was determined to give up his life. When the Gandharvas arrested Duryodhana along with his entourage, with his soldiers, with his wives, with his supporters, then Arjuna along with Bhima and Nakula and Sahadeva defeated the Gandharvas and rescued them. It was such an insult to Duryodhana that he decided to give up his life. He told Karna that, “I am going to give up my life. It is pointless now being alive. It’s such an infamy.” They were going to actually harass the Pandavas. Duryodhana went with his soldiers to harass the Pandavas in the forest when they were in exile, but on the way they were attacked by these Gandharvas. Actually Karna was such a great warrior, Karna ran away. He was defeated by the Gandharvas. He ran away and the Gandharvas arrested Duryodhana along with his associates and the soldiers, along with his army. And they were taking them in captive, and while they were taking them some of the soldiers who escaped, they went and reported to Yudhisthira Maharaja. And at that time Bhima didn’t want to, he said that, “It’s good that they have been defeated and arrested by the Gandharvas.”

[altar curtains close] Jaya Sri Sri Krishna Balarama ki jaya! Jaya Sri Sri Radha Madana Mohana, Lalita Vishakha Devi ki jaya! Jaya Sri Sri Gaura Nitai ki jaya! Srila Prabhupada ki jaya!

So those soldiers, those who escaped, they came and reported to Yudhisthira Maharaja. And Yudhisthira Maharaja decided to, told Arjuna and Bhima, “Go! Rescue your brothers.” Then Bhima was completely against that idea. At that time Yudhisthira Maharaja said a very wonderful thing. He said, “Bhima, when it is between us, then it is we are five and they are hundred. But when it is with outsiders then we are hundred and five and them. Then we are hundred and five. When we are dealing with others, outsiders, then we are one family.” And Duryodhana was rescued by Arjuna. And the Gandharva king, Citrasena, was a friend of Arjuna so he told Arjuna what happened. He said that, “You know, these rascals, what they are doing, they are just going to harass you, going to attack you and torment you. So don’t show any mercy on them.” Arjuna said, “No, after all, they are my family members. Any disgrace to them will reflect on the family. If their women are insulted it is a disgrace to our family.” And that shows the greatness of Arjuna, and meanness of Duryodhana. But Duryodhana also had some nobility, that he was so insulted, he felt so bad and insulted, that he decided to give up his life.

So those soldiers, those who escaped, they came and reported to Yudhisthira Maharaja. And Yudhisthira Maharaja decided to, told Arjuna and Bhima, “Go! Rescue your brothers.” Then Bhima was completely against that idea. At that time Yudhisthira Maharaja said a very wonderful thing. He said, “Bhima, when it is between us, then it is we are five and they are hundred. But when it is with outsiders then we are hundred and five and them. Then we are hundred and five. When we are dealing with others, outsiders, then we are one family.” And Duryodhana was rescued by Arjuna. And the Gandharva king, Citrasena, was a friend of Arjuna so he told Arjuna what happened. He said that, “You know, these rascals, what they are doing, they are just going to harass you, going to attack you and torment you. So don’t show any mercy on them.” Arjuna said, “No, after all, they are my family members. Any disgrace to them will reflect on the family. If their women are insulted it is a disgrace to our family.” And that shows the greatness of Arjuna, and meanness of Duryodhana. But Duryodhana also had some nobility, that he was so insulted, he felt so bad and insulted, that he decided to give up his life and in prayopavesan [meaning: fasting to death] sat down. He told Dushasana that, “You become the prince now, successor to the throne, and I am giving up my body.” That means he would just fast till death. And Karna persuaded, Dushasana persuaded, they didn’t succeed.
But then the demons actually came, the demons headed by Sukracarya, because they said, they admitted that, “You are our only hope.” So this way we can see that the bad people are ultimately provoked by the demons. They are there. Demons are not just some characters from the fairy tales. Demons, they are there. They live in the lower region of the universe. And they admitted that, “The shelter of the demigods are the Pandavas, but you are our shelter. You are our only shelter. So, please, don’t give up your life.” And they assured him that there will be a battle and in that battle Arjuna will die, the Pandavas will die and you will become the king and so forth. Maybe astrologically that was the case, but then again astrology is wiped out when Krishna comes in the picture. Things may happen, things may be destined to happen in a certain way but when Krishna comes into the picture, Krishna comes into the scene then everything changes because Krishna is the Supreme Controller. Although the demons were definite, and that’s why Duryodhana was so determined to get into the fight because he has heard the prediction, and he also saw that materially they are so much more powerful than the Pandavas. There was no way the Pandavas could win. So they were determined to fight. There was so much persuasion but they were determined to fight. That brings us back to Mahabharata again. Okay, should we go into Mahabharata?
So the other day we read up to some part. This is Udyoga Parva, chapter fourteen. It is describing Duryodhana’s anger. You all remember what happened? Krishna came as the messenger to bring peace among these two dissenting parties but Duryodhana would not listen. Krishna gave so many good advices but…
“Duryodhana had listened to all these speeches. At last he turned his eyes towards Krishna. He said, “Krishna, You have been talking all this while to me. You talk as though all the blame is to be placed on my shoulders. I have been watching Your gracious self, my father, my grandfather, my acarya and Vidura. All of you seem to think that I am to blame for everything that has happened. I do not see what I have done to deserve so much censure. I really have tried to see but I cannot find that I am in the wrong. Let me tell You what happened.
Yudhisthira played the game of dice willingly enough with my uncle. He lost his kingdom to Shakuni. How is it that I am blamed for that? It is not my fault that he played a bad game. You must have heard that I returned the kingdom and everything else to Yudhisthira immediately. Is it my fault that he lost it all again in the second game that was played? They lost and went to the forest according to the conditions. They are now thinking of many reasons to blame me for their foolishness. Now they have joined the Pancalas and collected an army. They are trying to pick a quarrel with me. We have not hurt them in any way. There is no reason for this war which they have declared on us. As for us, we cannot be frightened. Even if Indra comes to fight with us we are not scared of him. We will not bow down to him in fear. I cannot see anyone strong enough to defeat us in battle. Bhishma, Drona, Kripa and Radheya are on my side. No one can face them in battle. I am only following the dharma of a kshatriya in preparing to fight with those who are quarreling with us for no reason at all.
If I have to I will die on the battlefield hurt by arrows or we will make them sleep on a bed of arrows. The dharma of a man who is a kshatriya is just that. If we are killed in the battle we will reach heaven. If death embraces us in the battle, if we are able to die without bowing our head down in front of the enemies, why, that is more than enough. We will not be sorry to die! Which man born of a kshatriya woman will give place of fear in his heart? Who will be frightened by the enemy and accept that he is afraid? Who will be false in his noble birth and bringing up by bowing in front of the enemy with the hope of saving his life? The rule set down for a prince is this: he should always be upright. He should stand erect. He is a man only if he acts. A kshatriya should never bend. He should prefer to break rather to bend. I have always lived like a king. I have bowed my head down but that is only to my elders who deserve respect. I have never bent my head down to anyone, never. This is a rule for a kshatriya and this is the rule I have followed for myself always. I’ll never swerve from my dharma.
As for this kingdom called Indraprastha, my father gave it to them in the olden days. I know it. I admit it. But that will never be restored to them, not as long as I am alive. So long as my father, this king Dhrtarashtra is alive the Pandavas and ourselves must leave our weapons in their sieves and live as his dependants. When Khandavaprastha was given to Yudhisthira I was a dependant, I was a child and I was not old enough to be consulted. It was given away to them either in ignorance or in fear, I do not know. But now that kingdom will never, never be returned to them. Not as long as I am alive. Krishna, remember these words of mine, note them carefully: not even land which can be covered by the tip of a sharp needle will be surrendered to the Pandavas by us.”
Krishna laughed a strange laugh. It expressed contempt and a great pity for Duryodhana. It was tinged with anger and sorrow. It made the entire assembly tremble with an unknown fear. They had not heard this laughter of Krishna. They had seen His smile. They had seen Him frown. They had seen His face grave and serious. They had seen so many different expressions in the mobile features of Krishna but this strange laughter struck terror in the hearts of everyone. Krishna got up suddenly from His jeweled seat. His eyes were crimson with fury. Still He smiled that strange smile and said, “Duryodhana, you seem to desire a bed on the field of battle. So be it. You will get what you want. You have always got what you wanted. Be firm. In a few days you will see a great slaughter. You will meet your death which you seem to love so much. You and your dear advisers will all get what they desire.
You say that you have not in the least offended the Pandavas. You dare to say that in the assembly of wise people who have been familiar with every scene of yours? Let the wise one’s hear and decide for themselves whether your words are true or false. Burning with jealousy at the prosperity of the Pandavas you and your uncle Shakuni played a game of dice with the noble minded Yudhisthira. How can that good man win in this treacherous and infamous game played by your evil minded uncle? This game is known to rob men of clear thinking. It is the cause of dissension between those who are fond of each other. Such a game you played to deprive them of their belongings, yet you say that you did them no wrong? Which good man will insult the wife of his brother with the words you spoke? These men here, these I say who are sitting here, were sitting in that assembly too. They have also heard the words you spoke. You had Draupadi dragged to your sinful court by this brother of yours. She is dearer to the Pandavas than their lives. All of them were silent then. They did not speak a word then since Yudhisthira would not let it be known that the Pandavas overstepped the path of dharma. All these elders were present when you spoke insulting words to the Pandavas when they were setting out to the forest to the exile. Which good man will behave towards his own people as you have done? You, your brother Dushasana and your friend Radheya spoke words which cannot be forgotten in a hurry. They were such terrible words.
When the Pandavas were children you attempted to have them burned with their mother in Varnavata. This attempt of yours was not successful but that does not mean that no one knows about it. The whole world knows about it. The Pandavas had to live in hiding for a year in the city called Ekacakra in the house of a brahmana. They had to beg for a living. You have often tried to kill Bhima with poison, with serpents and in a thousand different ways. Your attempts have all failed. You have done all this and yet you say that you have not offended the Pandavas? You refuse to give them their birth right. You will do it only when you are forced to do it. You will fall from this secure position and you will be parted from your wealth and your kingdom. You have behaved most heartlessly towards my friends and you have the audacity to tell Me that you have not done anything? You have taken leave of your discerning power, or else how is it you have chosen war when the advantages of peace are so many? I find that you are the most sinful man on the face of this earth. You disgust Me!”
Dushasana said, “My dear brother, it looks as though these Kuru elders will bind you up hand and foot and hand you over to Krishna. They are forcing you to make peace with Yudhisthira. This grandfather of ours, Drona, your father and, of course Vidura, are sure to bind you up and me and Radheya and are sure to give us up to Yudhisthira.” Duryodhana heard these words of his brother. Angry like a serpent Duryodhana sighed in fury and stood up suddenly. He paused for a moment and he walked out of the great hall. He did not care for any of the great men who had assembled there. He passed them all by without even bothering to look at them. He passed Krishna with his head held high. He strode away from the hall like a lion walking past the lesser animals of the forest. His pride was great. His arrogance was even greater. His ego was incurable. He could not submit to anyone. He would not listen to anyone. He would not sit anymore in the court which had dared to pass the judgment on him, the great Kaurava monarch. With him walked out all his brothers, all his counselors and all the kings too. The hall was emptying itself rapidly.
Bhishma was watching the exit of Duryodhana and all his followers. He was sorry for this unfortunate grandson of his. He was angry too. He said, “Krishna, I can see that their hour has come. I tried to avert it but it is not possible. This man is doomed. The kshatriya clan is doomed. The time is ripe. They will all have to die.” Krishna looked at all of them and said, “I blame all of you for this. All of you are guilty. You should have bound up this sinner long ago and kept him in captivity. The time has come when you should do it. I am saying this for your own good. When My uncle Kamsa was harassing everyone I killed him. I wanted to save the name of the family. I do not think I did wrong in killing My uncle. Please, bind up these four men: Duryodhana, Dushasana, Radheya and Shakuni. Give them up to the noble Pandavas. The wise say that for the sake of the family one can be abandoned. For the sake of the village the family is to be abandoned, the village for the sake of the community. For the sake of saving one’s own soul everything should be abandoned. This is the only way to save the kshatriyas from death. I hope you will all listen to Me and do what I suggest.”
Dhrtarashtra heard the angry words of Krishna. He spoke to the wise and gentle Vidura. He said, “Go, my child, and bring Gandhari to the court. With her I will try to coax my son. She may be able to point out the right path to him. If she can do it, we may be able to avert the great danger that is threatening us. Vidura went at once and brought the noble queen to the court which was almost empty. Gandhari was wise and farseeing. She knew the difference between right and wrong. She was a great woman. Dhrtarashtra spoke to her. He said, “Gandhari, your son has gone too far in the path of sin. He does not pay heed to the words of anyone. He has left the court without any regard for anyone here.” Gandhari heard the words of her husband. She said, “Vidura, bring my son to the court.” She thus spoke to her husband: “This kingdom does not deserve to be ruled by a man who is full of avarice. My son, Duryodhana, is full of avarice but, my Lord, you, more than my son, have to be censured for this unfortunate happening. In the extreme love you have for your son you have been unheeding to the rules of conduct. Knowingly and willingly you have accompanied him in the path of sin. He has been possessed by greed and pride. You cannot control him now. It is now too late. In spite of my warning words you made him the ruler of my kingdom. You are now reaping the fruits of your own foolishness. You have not shared the affection towards your kinsmen. Which great king so far has shown differential treatment between two dear relatives? Only you.”
Duryodhana entered the court since he had been summoned by his mother. His eyes were still red and blazing with wrath. Gandhari spoke to him. She said, “My dear son, listen to my words. I want you to be happy. It is not easy to be the king of a great land like the Kuru land. You must be fit for it. A man who has these qualities, avarice and pride, cannot rule a kingdom. A man should have all his senses under control if he is to rule a kingdom. You are ill fitted to be a king. You have not conquered the self, how can you conquer your enemies? You must consider your weaknesses as your foremost enemies. It is only after subduing them that you can think of subduing others. Come to me and sit by my side. I am your greatest friend. A friend is one who is really interested in the welfare of his friend. I am fond of you. I brought you into this world. When you were born there were several ill omens but I thought that all that was of no importance since I could not dream that a son born of me would ever think of sin. Evidently I was wrong. You seem to be the cause of a great calamity. Please stop it. Listen to the words of all of us. You think that Bhishma, Drona and your Radheya will be able to defeat the Pandavas? Do not be foolish. Think of Krishna and Arjuna. They are Nara and Narayana. They have dharma on their side. Where there is dharma, there will be victory. They are here to kill all of you. Listen to my words and be happy.”
Dhrtarashtra once again tried to join his wife’s plea. Duryodhana was standing with a frown on his face. He was listening and at the same time not listening to his mother. Now, without even a word, he turned his face away from all of them and walked out of the court.”
[HH BCS:] The greatest drama!
Thank you. Hare Krishna! All glories to Srila Prabhupada!

Gaura premanande Hari Haribol!
Does anybody have any question?

Devotee: [inaudible]
BCS: I have to check that. But it is said that sometimes in the scriptures there are some contradictions. But we have to understand that these contradictions are due to ‘kalpa bheda.’ You see, it is not happening only this time. It didn’t happen only once. Time moves in cycle. And in each day of Brahma Krishna comes. Krishna performs His pastimes with the Pandavas and the same thing happens, but there are certain changes here and there. In some kalpa it happened in a certain way that has been recorded, and in some other kalpa it happened in some other way. That is written in some other scriptures. So there are some, you know, this has been described like, every day your day practically goes on in the same way. You get up in the morning, brush your teeth, take your bath, come to mangala arotika, chant your rounds, come to Bhagavatam class, then go to office, right? And then come home. So, although it seems that every day goes like that, but is every day the same? No, every day is different. Although the routine looks like the same, but, so Krishna’s pastimes also, different pastimes in different kalpas, you know, there are some little changes here and there. So we have to understand that these contradictions are due to kalpa bheda.
Devotee: Guru Maharaja, the Mahabharata that you have read today and what you read the day before yesterday [inaudible]
BCS: Yeah, right, right. Well, the other day I was reading Krishna Dharma prabhu’s Mahabharata and I didn’t realize that I, only when I started to read I realized that I was actually going through the same anecdote. Yeah, there is some difference. I mean, some translation, but I decided to read this one because it is more easily flowing. This Mahabharata I find to be, that language is stilted. So that’s why, anyway, the language is not important. I mean what really matters is whether your understand the happening. Which one sounded more…? You heard, this same chapter I read the other day also.

Devotee: This one.
BCS: Right. Yeah, that’s what I felt also.
Devotee: Maharaja!
BCS: Give him the mike.

Devotee: About Bhishma, he was sitting there when Draupadi was insulted, why he didn’t oppose?
BCS: He didn’t oppose? You see, in the royal court there is a certain code of conduct, certain principles, that no one in the kingdom can go against the king. Whatever the king decides to do everybody has to follow. That’s why although Bhishma is such a noble personality, we find that he is not protesting, even he is joining the battle against the Pandavas and so forth. Because he is a part of the kingdom, and as a part of the kingdom he could not go against the king. Then it will become a great treachery, revolting. Then it would mean revolting against the king and to be a rebel against the king is the most heinous crime.

Devotee: [inaudible]
BCS: Yeah. You see, there are great devotees of Krishna, but the greatness also has different levels. There is karma misra bhakta, there is jyana misra bhakta and there is suddha bhakta, or pure devotee. Bhishma was a karma misra bhakta. Bhishma was not suddha bhakta. I am sorry, Bhishma was a jnana misra bhakta. He is a jnana misra bhakta. He was not a pure devotee.

Devotee: [inaudible]
BCS: Uttarayana. Yeah, he was considering because he is a jnana misra bhakta he is considering the different aspects of the Vedic astrology and so forth, whereas a pure devotee would not consider that. He would just surrender to Krishna and he’ll consider that just dependence upon Krishna is the most important consideration. Thank you.
Okay, Hare Krishna. Okay.

Devotee: Maharaja, you said that Bhishma is one of the Mahajanas. So should we understand these Mahajanas know the certain [inaudible]
BCS: Yeah. You see, also we have to consider that a devotee is constantly changing, improving. It is not like a pure devotee is born and right from his birth he is a pure devotee. There are pure devotees who are from their birth pure devotees, like Sukadeva Gosvami. But there are other considerations that, you know, from imperfect platform they are coming to the platform of perfection. Now, these acts of Bhishma, not standing up in protest when Draupadi was being insulted is not the act of a pure devotee. A pure devotee would have done that. So these aspects of Bhishma, also siding the war with the Kauravas against the Pandavas when Krishna is siding with the Pandavas, is not the act of a pure devotee. These acts of Bhishma were not the acts of a pure devotee, but then, you know, he became pure.

In this aspect there is one anecdote. When Bhishma was lying on the bed of arrows and instructing Yudhisthira Maharaja on dharma, then Draupadi, there was a smile on her face. She was smiling. So Bhishma noticed it and asked Draupadi, “Draupadi, why are you smiling?” So Draupadi asked, “Where was your wisdom when I was being insulted right in front of you in that assembly. Where was your wisdom?” Then Bhishma said, “Yes, at that time because I was eating the food of Duryodhana my consciousness became affected by that. The impure food affected my consciousness and made it impure, but now all that bad blood has been drained out of my body. All the bad blood created by the food of Duryodhana has been drained out of my body. Therefore now my consciousness is clear.”So, we can see that how a great devotee also can be affected by impure food. And that’s why we have to be so careful about what we eat. But, of course, ultimately chanting the Holy Name is all purifying.

Devotee: So these Mahajanas, they can also make mistakes.
BCS: We have to see that the ultimate stage is what matters. Like, there is also a consideration that a Vaishnava should not be judged by his past deeds. That’s one of the aspects of Vaishnava aparadha: to judge a Vaishnava according to his past deed.
Okay, last question.

Devotee: Guru Maharaja, we know that Radharani has great friends that are Lalitadevi and Vishakhadevi. What was the name of the other six of them?
BCS: What was the name?
Devotee: Of the other six friends, of the Asta Maha Sakhis.
BCS: Oh, Asta Maha Sakhis. Yeah, they is Lalita, Visakha, there is Citra, Campakalata, Tungavidya, Rangadevi and Sudevi.

Devotee: And Indulekha.
BCS: And Indulekha, yeah.

Hare Krishna! Gaura Premanande Hari Haribol! Srila Prabhupada ki jaya!


Transcription : Her Grace Ranga Radhika Dasi
Editing : Ramananda Raya Dasa
Audio reference :   click here