Pride And Envy: The Path To Self Destruction

Pride And Envy: The Path To Self Destruction

THE FOLLOWING LECTURE ON THE SRIMAD BHAGAVATAM CANTO 4, CHAPTER 3, TALKS BETWEEN LORD SHIVA AND SATI, TEXT 17, WAS GIVEN BY HIS HOLINESS BHAKTI CHARU SWAMI IN ISKCON Hillsborough,  US, ON 17 MAY 2009.

oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya
oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya
oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya

Srimad Bhagavatam, Canto four, chapter three ‘Talks between Lord Siva and Sati’, text seventeen.

vidya-tapo-vitta-vapur-vayah-kulaih
satam gunaih shadbhir asattametaraih
smritau hatayam bhrita-mana-durdrisah
stabdha na pasyanti hi dhama bhuyasam

Translation:
Although the six qualities education, austerity, wealth, beauty, youth and heritage are for the highly elevated, one who is proud of possessing them becomes blind, and thus he loses his good sense and cannot appreciate the glories of great personalities.

Purport:
It may be argued that since Daksha was very learned, wealthy and austere and had descended from a very exalted heritage, how could he be unnecessarily angry towards another? The answer is that when the qualities of good education, good parentage, beauty and sufficient wealth are misplaced in a person who is puffed up by all these possessions, they produce a very bad result. Milk is a very nice food, but when milk is touched by an envious serpent it becomes poisonous. Similarly, material assets such as education, wealth, beauty and good parentage are undoubtedly nice, but when they decorate persons of a malicious nature, then they act adversely. Another example, given by Chanakya Pandita, is that a serpent that has a jewel on its head is still fearful because it is a serpent. A serpent, by nature, is envious of other living entities, even though they be faultless. When a serpent bites another creature, it is not necessarily because the other creature is at fault; it is the habit of the serpent to bite innocent creatures. Similarly, although Daksha was qualified by many material assets, because he was proud of his possessions and because he was envious, all those qualities were polluted. It is sometimes, therefore, detrimental for a person advancing in spiritual consciousness, or Krishna consciousness, to possess such material assets. Kuntidevi, while offering prayers to Krishna, addressed Him as akincana-gocara, one who is easily approached by those who are bereft of all material acquisitions. Material exhaustion is an advantage for advancement in Krishna consciousness, although if one is conscious of his eternal relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one can utilize one’s material assets, such as great learning and beauty and exalted ancestry, for the service of the Lord; then such assets become glorious. In other words, unless one is Krishna conscious, all his material possessions are zero, but when this zero is by the side of the Supreme One, it at once increases in value to ten. Unless situated by the side of the Supreme One, zero is always zero; one may add one hundred zeros, but the value will still remain zero. Unless one’s material assets are used in Krishna consciousness, they may play havoc and degrade the possessor.
[End of Purport]

vidya-tapo-vitta-vapur-vayah-kulaih
satam gunaih shadbhir asattametaraih
smritau hatayam bhrita-mana-durdrisah
stabdha na pasyanti hi dhama bhuyasam

Although the six qualities education, austerity, wealth, beauty, youth and heritage are for the highly elevated, one who is proud of possessing them becomes blind, and thus he loses his good sense and cannot appreciate the glories of great personalities.

So Lord Siva is responding to Sati’s request. Sati, when she got to know that her father was performing a very great sacrifice where all the demigods, all the sages, all the exalted personalities were going to attend, she also wanted to go there, although not invited. And Sati was not invited because Daksha got into a conflict with Lord Siva. It was not the fault of Lord Siva, he was completely absorbed in Krishna consciousness and as a result of that he could not properly respond to Daksha when he entered into the assembly. As a result of that Daksha became very, very upset. He felt that Lord Siva deliberately insulted him by not standing up to greet him. And that’s why Daksha developed a great animosity towards Lord Siva and as a result of that, although in that sacrifice everyone practically was invited, all the exalted personalities were invited, Lord Siva and Sati were not invited. Although Sati was Daksha’s daughter and a very dear daughter at that. Of all the daughter’s of Daksha at that time Sati was his dearmost. But on Brahma’s request or suggestion he offered Sati to Lord Siva. And now he developed the animosity and he did not invite Sati and Lord Siva. But still Sati wanted to go, she was pleading to Lord Siva, “Please let me go. After all, he is my father and I am his daughter. And a daughter doesn’t need any invitation to go to a father’s house.” That was her main point that, “I don’t need any invitation. I will just go there.”

But Lord Siva is reminding her or advising her not to go by giving proper reasons and these are the verses that Lord Siva was giving the reasons. That even though a person may be endowed with all the six great qualities, vidya – learning, tapo- austerity, then vithya – wealth, vapu – beauty, vayah – youth, urayi and great heritage, birth in a very, very exalted family. Actually Daksha had all of them. He was very learned naturally. He was very opulent. He had great, he performed great austerities. He was very expert in performing austerities. He was very handsome. He had a powerful body full of vitality and he was born in a very exalted family. He was the son of Brahma. Daksha is one of the ten sons of Brahma so in this way he was very exalted in all respects, but Lord Siva is pointing out that even though one may have all these six qualities but if one is proud, proud means, if one is in material consciousness, if one is in material consciousness then these qualities act in a detrimental way. Instead of becoming assets, instead of becoming ornaments they actually become hindrance to their character. They become blemishes to the character, because they become proud, they become puffed up, they become arrogant. As a result of that he loses all the good qualities. Prabhupada is pointing out, they all become zeroes. So the proper utilization of one’s qualities and wealth and opulence and beauty and strength, fame, power, all that must be utilized in the service of Krishna. Unless they are utilized in the service of Krishna they are simply useless, they are simply meaningless. Prabhupada is pointing out all these qualities become zero. But when they are placed after the Supreme One, that is, when they are used in the service of Krishna, then each zero multiplies by ten. Addition of each zero will lead to multiplication by ten, of the preceding one.

And also Lord Siva knew what would be the consequence of Sati’s going there. A personality like Lord Siva knows the time in all three aspects, but besides that another thing is that such an exalted personality or a personality who is endowed with Vedic wisdom, spiritual wisdom, can foresee things from its sequence. He could see what was the problem with Daksha: Daksha was in the bodily consciousness of life, he was in material consciousness. Unfortunately, Daksha could not become a devotee of the Lord. Although the word Daksha means expert, he was expert in everything. He even wanted to create something other than Brahma’s creation. He wanted to become Brahma’s competitor. He was so expert, but all his expertise culminated into nothing. It all became a big zero and not only that, he got a head of a goat. Because a goat is a goat, it’s stupid! Although his body is very qualified, very expert, but his head is that of a goat. And that will come later on, but we can see how Daksha developed his animosity unnecessarily with Lord Siva and it’s all because he considered, “I am the greatest.”

Actually, he was performing this sacrifice because Brahma appointed him as the head of the Prajapatis. The Prajapatis are the progenitors, all those exalted personalities who are going to assist Brahma in filling the universe with Prajas, living entities. Daksha became the head of them, Brahma appointed Daksha as the head of them. There were others Pulastya , Pulaha, Kratu, Angira, the great sages, there was Kasyapa, all these personalities, but Daksha became the head of all the Prajapatis and prior to that when he was…he appeared in the assembly of the demigods. Everyone, all the demigods, all the great personalities were present there, great rishis – also sons of Brahma – and as soon as Daksha entered, they all stood up to show him respect and only two persons did not stand up: one was Brahma and other other was Lord Siva. Brahma’s not standing up was understandable because Brahma is his father, he is greater than him, but Daksha noticed that Lord Siva did not offer his obeisances and his mood was, “Why did not you offer me obeisances?” And also Brahma, afterwards when Daksha entered Brahma started to glorify Daksha for his wonderful abilities and qualities. Lord Siva just kept on sitting there and Daksha… we can see how materialistic a personality he was that he became furious and he started to insult Lord Siva. He started to insult Lord Siva but Lord Siva did not say anything he just sat there, but Nandishvara, Lord Siva’s associate couldn’t bear it. He couldn’t tolerate, he became upset and he cursed the brahmanas – those actually who approved that act of Daksha without protesting. Because no one protested, he took it as an offence, that such a great personality has been insulted.

Actually, in reality Lord Siva’s position is even greater than Brahma’s position. Brahma is jiva-tattva, whereas Lord Siva is Siva-tattva, which is greater than jiva-tattva, which is between Vishnu-tattva and jiva-tattva, not quite Vishnu-tattva but it is almost Vishnu-tattva. Just as it has been described, kshiram yatha dadhi vikara-vishesha-yogat [Brahma Samhita  5.19], just as milk turns into yogurt with the contact of acid, similarly the Supreme Personality of Godhead Krishna became Siva. So He has been transformed, the difference is Vishnu can become Siva but Siva cannot become Vishnu. Milk can become yogurt but yogurt cannot become milk. That is the only difference. Why he did that? In order to achieve/accomplish a very special mission. One of that is to destroy this material creation and another more important consideration is to transfer, transmit the living entity from the spiritual sky and bring them to material nature. It is through the agency of Lord Siva that the living entities come down to the material nature. Why through the agency of Lord Siva? Because He cannot, Vishnu, Krishna cannot directly deal with the material nature because material nature is His external potency. He cannot possibly deal with external potency directly, since this external energy will become His internal energy if He deals with it directly. So He cannot deal with its external potency, so through the agency of Lord Siva He deals with material nature. Therefore material nature is Maha Maya or Durga and Lord Siva is her husband. So in that sense Lord Siva’s position is far superior to Brahma’s. Brahma knew that. Although in this context, in the material context, in the universal context Lord Siva seems to be Brahma’s son because he appeared from the body of Brahma, from between the eyebrows of Brahma. In that sense he is Brahma’s son. He came from Lord Brahma. He came through Lord Brahma in this material nature, but Daksha did not understand that. He was so puffed up, and that’s what actually happens with the materialistic person.

What is the meaning of a materialistic person? Materialistic person is a person who is entangled by the influence or affected by the influence of the material nature or the illusory energy of the Lord. And what does the illusory energy do? The illusory makes him think that he is the greatest and that is the meaning of material conditioning. He thinks everyone in this material nature thinks that he is the greatest. Why? Because his consciousness is projected towards the material nature, which is the external energy of the Lord, inferior energy of the Lord whereas he is coming from the superior energy of the Lord. Jiva is coming from the superior nature and material nature is inferior. Now although a living entity is minute but because he comes from the superior nature of the Lord, he thinks that this material nature is meant to lord over. Because whatever he sees is material, even the living entities, even the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he sees in a material way. The deity of the Lord he sees as stone or wood or metal. Just a statue, but I am greater, I am conscious, I am capable of doing so many things. But this statue, what can he do? It’s just standing there. Some fools have installed him and worship him. That is the materialistic people’s understanding. They see the greatest person, he thinks, “Oh, I am greater than him.” It’s only matter of time. Bill Gates, just give me a few years. I will become bigger than Bill Gates. He thinks he is the most handsome, most beautiful. He thinks that, he may be the most ugly personality, but he thinks he is the most handsome and he thinks that everything in this world is meant for his enjoyment. That is the meaning of the illusory energy of the Lord. On the other hand, when one takes to Krishna consciousness he begins to see that Krishna is the greatest and in the light of that he recognizes his position to be absolutely insignificant. And the more he comes closer to Krishna or the more he becomes Krishna conscious, the more humble he becomes.

So, as I was mentioning, Nandishvara became extremely upset because these people…Okay, fine Daksha had insulted Lord Siva but why these exalted personalities who are present in the assembly didn’t protest? They are brahmanas, they are supposed to be situated in knowledge. They are supposed to know what is what, after all they are well conversant with the Vedic wisdom. They are brahmanas, they should know. So therefore Nandishvara actually cursed them. Nandishvara cursed them, “Although you are learned, although you are conversant with Vedic wisdom but you did not understand the purports of the real meaning of the Vedic wisdom, therefore you will never understand the Vedic wisdom. You will never understand that the goal of Vedic wisdom is to recognize the Supreme Personality of Godhead Krishna.” He cursed them, “You won’t understand. You brahmanas you won’t understand that the goal of Vedas is to recognize Krishna as Supreme Personality of Godhead.” And he said, “Because you are in such bodily consciousness you will be concerned only about the ritualistic and Karma Kanda section of the Vedas.” And then he cursed them that, “Because you are in the bodily concept of life, you are seeing everything from the material perspective, you will remain bound in the cycle of birth and death.” Then he told them that, “Because you are in such bodily concept of life, in order to maintain yourself you have to go begging from door to door, your occupation will be begging. Because Daksha acted like such a stupid fool, his head will fall off and he will get a goat’s head.” It was actually Nandishvara’s curse. And we can see although it happened long, long time ago in Satya Yuga, we can see what the brahmanas, the so-called brahmanas are like even today. We can see that, it’s not just some fairy tale it’s all factual. It happened because of his curse.

And then Bhrigu counter-cursed Nandi that the associates of Lord Siva will become atheist. They will become atheist. They will live in an abominable way, in all kinds of dirty places, their activities will be unclean and they will be uncivilized. They will partake in meat eating and drinking alcohol. That also we see not only alcohol, they take ganja, charas, LSD, we notice so many people became the… I remember in the mid 60’s – early 70’s – the hippies they were all mostly Siva’s devotees. Before they came in contact with Srila Prabhupada, mostly they were Siva devotees. They used to go to Benares which is the place of Lord Siva. They did not go to Vrindavana, they used to go to Benares. They lived in a very, very unclean life. So in that way you can see…and what to speak of those recognized Siva devotees in India. They are all extremely unclean in their activities and nature. Some of them act like ghosts. And that’s another thing that ghosts are actually associates of Lord Siva. Because Lord Siva is so merciful that he gives shelter to even those creatures- bhoot, preta, pisachas- they are all Lord Siva’s associates but at the same time Lord Siva is the greatest of all devotees, vaisnavanam yatha sambuh. And there are others who are also devotees of Lord Siva but they are actually devotees of Krishna, they are Vaishnavas.

And so in this way the animosity developed between Daksha and Lord Siva. This brings up another point: it’s actually very difficult to understand Lord Siva.  Similarly, it’s very difficult to recognize a devotee. A devotee cannot be recognized from materialistic point of view. We cannot judge a devotee by his appearance, by his wealth, by his fame, because all these are external, material considerations. In order to recognize a devotee we have to go within the heart and we have to recognize the love that he has for Krishna. That is the only consideration, the only recognizable factor in a devotee: how much love he has for Krishna. Sometimes in ISKCON we fail to recognize very exalted devotees. Even in a Vaishnava community we see that we fail to recognize very exalted devotees, because we tend to judge people. We judge even the devotees from materialistic point of view – how big a position he has. We try to judge him according to position, we try to judge him according to his material assets, wealth. Therefore Srila Prabhupada used to say, “Don’t try to see a devotee with your eyes. The only way you can recognize a devotee, the only way you can see a devotee is through your ears. Try to see a devotee through your ears and if at all you have to see a devotee through your eyes, then try to see how attached he is to Krishna. How selflessly he is rendering his service to Krishna that is the main consideration for a devotee. How much he is doing for Krishna.”
Sometimes less intelligent people, we notice that…people get a lot of followers, especially in countries like India for persons those who are very handsome, they are sadhus but they say, “Oh, he looks so handsome.”  I have seen many sadhus in India, they got big recognition because they are so handsome. Or they can act very well, they speak Ramayana, Mahabharata. They speak nowadays, by Srila Prabhupada mercy it has become very …Bhagavata Katha has become very popular. I remember in Vrindavana I hardly saw anyone doing Bhagavata Kartha before and now you go to Vrindavana everywhere you see posters, such and such person giving Bhagavata Katha and so forth. But before ISKCON came and popularized Krishna consciousness nobody was interested in Bhagavata Katha – they were doing Ram Katha, Mahabharata Katha – but Bhagavata Katha, Krishna Katha was not so popular. Anyway, these people are very good actors, they sing well, they can make a big show of their so-called devotion. And thousands of people come to listen to them but not a single one becomes a devotee. They go to their… to participate in those programs, thousands sometimes they get 25,000-30,000 people come but not a single one changes his lifestyle. They listen to Bhagavata Katha, as soon as they go out they light their cigarette and start smoking or they will go to restaurant with their family and friends and eat all kinds of garbage and before eating that garbage they will have drink of alcohol. So what’s the use? This is a kind of entertainment for them. And these people are not devotees, they are entertainers like actors and actresses. Therefore Srila Prabhupada was very emphatic try to see a sadhu try to see a devotee through your ears. How much he is changing your life. How much he is changing your consciousness. That should be the most important consideration.

Thank you very much! All glories to Srila Prabhupada! Gaura Premanande Hari Haribol!

Before the conch shell blows are there any questions? Or they are waiting for me to stop the class and then they will blow the conch shell. Any questions?

Question: [inaudible]

BCS: Yeah, because they didn’t recognize Lord Siva’s position, exalted position. They felt in one way, well Lord Siva should have offered respect to Daksha because he is his son-in-law and Daksha is his father-in-law. To respect the superior is a custom. But that was a bodily concept. That was a bodily consideration; son-in-law, father-in-law. The real relationship should be with Krishna in the centre.

Srila Prabhupada ki Jai!

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Transcription : Her Grace Shyama Mohini Dasi

Editing : Their Graces Ranga Radhika Dasi & Hemavati Radhika Dasi

Audio-reference : click here