07 Aug Mahābhārata – The Story Of Karṇa.
INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY FOR KRISHNA CONSCIOUSNESS
Founder-Ācārya: His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
The following lecture on Mahābhārata, The Story Of Karna, was given by His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami in ISKCON Radhadesh, Belgium, on 7 August 2011.
Devotees: Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya jīve doyā kori, kīrtana
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Hare Kṛṣṇa. Thank you. Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda ki
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Gaur premānande
Devotees: Hari Hari bol.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Hare Kṛṣṇa kīrtana.
Prema dhvani prayers.
namo oṁ vishnu paḍaya krishna preṣṭhāya bhūtale
śrīmate bhaktivedanta swami iti nāmine
namaste sārasvate deve gaura vāṇī pracāriṇe
nirviśeṣa śūnyavādi pāścātya deśa tāriṇe
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Hare Kṛṣṇa.
Devotees: Hare Kṛṣṇa.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: So the last day of our seminar. As I mentioned earlier in this four five days I won’t be able to cover the entire Mahābhārata or I won’t be able to do justice to Mahābhārata but the idea is to give you an overview of Mahābhārata so that you develop your interest to read it. Ultimately you have to read it. Another reason is that Mahābhārata is the basis of Kṛṣṇa Conscious culture. Remember that Bhagavad-gītā is a part of Mahābhārata. So in order to properly understand Bhagavad-gītā, we need to know Mahābhārata. Through Mahābhārata we get a general understanding of Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the benefit of surrender to Kṛṣṇa. That is what Mahābhārata is depicting throughout. Those who surrender unto Kṛṣṇa they are saved. Those who don’t surrender unto Kṛṣṇa they will succumb to death. But those who take shelter of Kṛṣṇa they conquer death. In Bhagavad-gītā this point has been very clearly established. Although Mahābhārata, through the happenings we do not really understand the benefit of surrender… Especially as I mentioning during the question and answer session the day before yesterday that Mahābhārata specially deals with the karma–kāṇḍa section of the Veda, especially Vaiśampāyana’s Mahābhārata.
There are two Mahābhārata’s: one is Vaiśampāyana’s and the other is Janmajaye’s. Janmajaya’s Mahābhārata is more akin to devotional service and Vaiśampāyana’s Mahābhārata is basically dealing with the karma–kāṇḍa section of the Vedas. Why so much karma–kāṇḍa section of the Vedas? Why the main purpose of the secret teachings of Bhagavad-gītā haven’t been so clearly established or displayed in Mahābhārata? Why? Because Kṛṣṇa Consciousness as the most precious gem is kept hidden from this. Sri Caitanya Mahāprabhu has exposed it, made it available to everyone, not exposed, distributed it. And then Śrīla Prabhupāda took it and distributed it throughout the world. So this is what we have to ultimately understand that Prabhupāda has given us, a treasure that was kept as a secret in the Vedic literatures. It was.. even in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam although Bhāgavatam is profusely describing and abundantly Kṛṣṇa’s position as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but even in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, we don’t really understand it unless and until it is revealed by a spiritual master, a pure devotee of Kṛṣṇa.
Therefore it is very important that we approach Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam through Śrīla Prabhupāda’s teachings. Then only it becomes clear. Yes. Otherwise there are lots of misconceptions about Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam or Kṛṣṇa’s Vraja līlā. One misconception is that Kṛṣṇa is not the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Kṛṣṇa is an incarnation. All kinds of misconceptions are floating in the Vedic culture, in the genuine Vedic culture. Kṛṣṇa is an incarnation of Viṣṇu and Brahmā, Viṣṇu, Mahesh are in the same category. Therefore Kṛṣṇa is subordinate to them. All kinds of misconceptions, but when it comes to Śrīla Prabhupāda’s teachings everything becomes crystal clear. What is so unique about Prabhupāda’s teachings? The uniqueness about Prabhupāda’s teachings is: Prabhupāda has given the final instruction of the Bhagavad-gītā as the preliminary introduction of Bhagavad-gītā [laughter].
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: What is the final instruction of Bhagavad-gītā?
Devotees: sarva dharmān parityajya.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: sarva dharmān parityajya. And Prabhupāda through his purports and even through his introduction makes it clear that if you want to understand about Bhagavad-gīt ’s teachings, accept Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead and surrender unto Him. And when you do that, when you accept Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead and surrender unto Him and approach Bhagavad-gītā with a submissive attitude, then Bhagavad-gītā becomes crystal clear. Otherwise Bhagavad-gītā is a confusing mystery. So many translations of Bhagavad-gītā are there. So many commentaries of Bhagavad-gītā are there. But all those translations, all those commentaries put together did not make a single devotee of Kṛṣṇa. Whereas Prabhupāda’s one Bhagavad-gītā As It Is already made a few million devotees all over the world. And what to speak of 10,000 years that is to come!
So when we read Mahābhārata, when we read Bhagavad-gītā, when we read Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, whatever we read, one understanding we should have clear that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. So if that understanding is clear, if that conviction is established, then everything will become easily, very, very easily revealed. So yesterday there was a request, no not yesterday, the day before yesterday that I speak about Karṇa. And I thought that it is actually important to speak about Karṇa because Karṇa is one of the most important antagonists, one of the most… Antagonist… In a drama there are antagonists and protagonists. Protagonists are commonly known as heroes and the antagonist is known as the villain. So Karṇa is a villain. Although he is such a noble character, such a high birth but deprived of all good fortune. That is the unfortunate thing about Karṇa. It’s a very pathetic life actually.
So Karṇa is actually the eldest of the Pāṇḍavas. These five brothers, Karṇa is their elder brother, although Karṇa had become their arch enemy. Karṇa was the son of Kuntī before Kuntī got married to King Pāṇḍu Karṇa was born and he was born also in a very unusual way. Once Durvāsā Muni… so how many of you don’t know about Durvāsā Muni? Okay, everyone knows [laughter]. Durvāsā is a very exalted sage. He was an incarnation of Rudra, an incarnation of Lord Śiva. That means he is a personality full of anger. Of course we have to understand that these sages are actually situated in the mode of goodness. But they are trikālajñā. They know three aspects of time. Therefore they forecast what would happen in the future and that forecast at times appears to be a curse. So Durvāsā would flare up and give curse. That was Durvāsā’s… He was known for.
He used to travel with 64 thousands disciples. He is known for his very, very short temper. If anything went wrong… like to give you an example: Once Durvāsā was travelling through the space and at that time he had an encounter with Indra. He met Indra. So Durvāsā gave his garland to Indra and Indra then placed the garland on his elephant, Airāvata. And the elephant took the garland and after a little he threw it away. Durvāsā became so upset that he cursed Indra that Laxmī will leave you. And when Laxmī leaves, opulence and good fortune also leave. And as a result of that total misfortune befell and Indra lost his kingdom. At that time Vṛtra, actually Vṛtrāsura took away Indra’s kingdom.
So this is how we can see that these sages are so powerful that they can even curse the demigods. But as I mentioned, things, certain things are about to happen in course of time. Nothing happens by curse. Things don’t actually happen by curse. Curse can happen at times but they actually act as an agent of time and they make things happen in course of time. Anyway while Durvāsā is known for his short temper and quick cursing, Durvāsā also had another side when he is pleased then he would give inconceivable blessings. So one day Durvāsā came to king Kuntibhoja’s kingdom, he came into his palace. Kuntibhoja greeted him but at the same time whenever Durvāsā came everyone got into anxiety. Like, probably you remember in Mahābhārata there is also one episode which I could not describe because there was not enough time. In Mahābhārata also there is one with the Pāṇḍavas, there is one very interesting episode of Durvāsā. May be I can just tell you that, just to establish Durvāsā’s character, Durvāsā’s personality.
Durvāsā came to Duryodhana, came to Hastināpura. And Duryodhana treated him very nicely, treated him very nicely. So Durvāsā was pleased and he asked Duryodhana what he could do for him. What benediction he would like to have. So Duryodhana who always wanted the misfortune of the Pāṇḍavas… That was Duryodhana’s whole life, he simply wanted the misfortune of the Pāṇḍavas. He wanted dangers and difficulties for the Pāṇḍavas. But he, remember I told you like, Duryodhana had the… his words were like nectar but his heart was like poison. So Duryodhana told Durvāsā that you can see my cousins the Pāṇḍavas they are in the forest, so you please visit them and they will be so happy to [laughter] receive you. And please go there at a time in the afternoon at such and such time. He knew that Draupadī, he knew that Yuddhistiraa Mahārāja had a pot, Draupadī had a pot and she supplies endless amount of food to the brāhmaṇas and all the guests. So he kind of made an arrangement and Durvāsā arrived there when Draupadī would take her lunch and the pot will not produce any food. And Durvāsā would arrive there with the 64 disciples and if the Pāṇḍavas fail to feed them properly then he would curse the Pāṇḍavas so that would be a way to destroy the Pāṇḍavas. So Durvāsā said, “Sure, I will go”. So he went according to Duryodhana’s desire because he asked Duryodhana what he wanted to do and he said, “Please go and meet the Pāṇḍavas at such and such hour.” So Durvāsā went and Yuddhistira Mahārāja greeted him very nicely and told please take care of him very nicely. But when Yuddhistira Mahārāja conveyed the message to Draupadī, Draupadī said, “Look I already took my lunch. This pot will not produce any more food. So what to do?” And they were all worried that Durvāsā would curse. So Draupadī started to pray to Kṛṣṇa and Kṛṣṇa came to Draupadī, “Draupadī why are you calling me?” And Draupadī said, Draupadī told Him what actually happened. Kṛṣṇa said, “Is there any more food left?” Draupadī said nothing is left. He said, “Okay just go and look at the pot if there is anything left.” Draupadī went and saw just a grain of rice sticking to a corner of the pot. So Kṛṣṇa said, “Give it to me.” So He took that. And He felt completely satisfied and so when Kṛṣṇa was satisfied the whole universe became satisfied including Durvāsā and his disciples and they felt all of a sudden they just finished taking their bath and all of a sudden they felt that their stomach is completely full and they are completely satisfied and they started to belch [laughter].
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: And then Durvāsā felt that Yuddhistira Mahārāja must have made such elaborate arrangement and if he goes there and cannot eat anything, then Yuddhistira Mahārāja will get upset and he will curse us [laughter].
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: So Durvāsā decided to leave that place right away along with his disciples. Long time went by… Durvāsā didn’t come back after taking his bath. So Kṛṣṇa and Yuddhistira Mahārāja they all started to wonder what happened. Yuddhistira Mahārāja wondered what happened. Then Kṛṣṇa said, “Why don’t you go and see what happened. Maybe they are taking their bath still now.” So when Yuddhistira Mahārāja and the Pāṇḍavas came there, they heard, those who were present there they said, “Yes Durvāsā with his disciples came to take bath in the Ganges but then don’t know what happened. Right after taking their bath, they all very quickly left this place [laughter] in the other direction.” And so this is how Kṛṣṇa time and time again protected the Pāṇḍavas. No matter how much Duryodhana wanted to harm them but the Pāṇḍavas were always protected by Kṛṣṇa. So what do you learn from this? If we take shelter of Kṛṣṇa then what will happen?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Are you sure?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Are you going to take shelter of Kṛṣṇa?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Going to surrender to Kṛṣṇa whole heartedly?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: I am hearing only one or two voices.
Devotees: Yes [loud]
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: [laughter] Thank you. So Durvāsā came to the palace of Kuntibhoja. So Kuntibhoja got worried that Durvāsā. But Kuntibhoja had full confidence in Kuntī, his foster daughter. Kuntī is so gentle, so caring that Kuntī who was the best person to take care of Durvāsā and Durvāsā muni stayed there for fourteen months and Kuntī took care. So while going Durvāsā Muni knew, as I say these sages are trikāladarśī. Are you familiar with the expression trikālajña or trikāladarśī?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Trikāla means?
Devotees: Three phases of time.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Three phases of time. What are the three phases?
Devotees: Past, present, future.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Past, present, future. So these personalities can see the time in these three phases. They can see the past; they can see the present and they can see the future. So Durvāsā knew that Kuntī would have difficulty giving birth to children. Therefore Durvāsā gave her the benediction that in order to have children she can call any demigod and the idea was that she can call any demigod to have children. Kuntī was just a little girl. Actually in the Vedic culture the girls got married very early. You know at what age they would generally get married?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Latest twelve. I heard that my grandmother got married when she was 6 years old [laughter].
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: And my grandfather was twelve years old. They got married but the girl remained in her father’s house until she reached her youth at the age of twelve or thirteen. She came to her house, grandfather’s house. So that was the Vedic culture. Why was that? Because this relationship, when it grows from the childhood, from an early age, the bond between the husband and wife will be so strong that the wife will not want any other man besides her husband. In the heart of the wife there is no room for any other man. So it’s just… her whole life would revolve around her husband. In this way we can see that the Vedic culture is so scientific. Anyway today’s world is completely different. Let’s not talk about it because…
So, Kuntī did not know what was the meaning of that benediction. So out of… she came to know that a demigod would come to her if she chanted the mantra after the wishing any of the demigods to come to her. She looked out of the window and she looked to the morning sun. And there is another thing: in the Vedic culture everybody grows up with the understanding that there are different demigods who are actually controlling different affairs of the universe. So through the sunrise she saw the Sungod, Sūryadeva and she thought, “Okay let me see if Sūryadeva comes to me.” So Sungod came and as a result of his coming a son was born. The son was- actually this birth was a celestial birth, divine birth and that son was born with natural armor and earings, kavaca and kuṇḍala. These were the protective measures: as long as he had this armor and earings no one and nothing could actually harm him meaning defeat him.
So he was born with natural armor. But although the child was born not out of pregnancy as such and Kuntī’s chastity was not affected by any chance but it was- she felt very concerned, very embarrassed that now she as a maiden she is going to tell everybody that she has got a son. So with a maid, with the help of a maid servant Dhātrī she actually put the baby, the new born baby in a basket and she floated him across the river Yamunā which was just away next to the palace. And this boy, this new boy baby was retrieved by one charioteer, chariot driver of Dhṛtarāṣṭra. His name was Adhirath and Adhirath found the baby and took the baby… He took it to his wife. Her name was also Rādhā. So Karṇa, although the son of Kuntī and Sūryadeva, although he was the most genuine kṣatriya but he grew up like a śūdra. Because a charioteer doesn’t have the status of a kṣatriya, he is a chariot driver. So he is a servant. So he is a śūdra and he is called sūta–putra, Adiratha’s sūta–putra, son, sūta–putra. And although he was brilliant as the sun in all respects, handsome, extremely handsome, extremely powerful, extremely noble yet he is deprived of all good fortune.
From his childhood he is deprived of his natural good fortune of being the son of the Sungod, being the son of one of the most celebrated queens of that time, Kuntī. Rather he grew up in the house hold of a śūdra, a servant. And of course there was lot of affection from his mother. And sūta’s son generally would have been attracted to driving the chariot because that’s his occupation to drive the chariot. But Karṇa was more interested in using weapons. He was a natural kṣatriya; he wanted to – and those days the most celebrated teacher for military science was Droṇācārya who was teaching the Pāṇḍavas and Kauravas. Karṇa approached him but when Droṇācārya found out that he was a suta-putra he decided to not to teach him.
So then he decided to go to Droṇācārya’s spiritual master, Paraśurāma, Droṇācārya’s teacher. But this time he learnt something that if he disclosed his actual identity then probably Paraśurāma will not accept him. And on the other hand Paraśurāma was very favourably disposed to the brāhmaṇas. And he was opposed to the kṣatriyas, averse to the kṣatriyas. You remember how many times he annihilated the kṣatriyas?
Devotees: Twenty one times.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Twenty one times. Because the kṣatriya’s caused a lot of damage to him, killed his father. Therefore to take revenge when he saw that the kṣatriyas have become so arrogant, so tyrannical, so puffed up, he took up his axe and started to wipe out the kṣatriyas. Single handedly he would face the army and he would wipe them out. Anyway so this is the Vedic history, Mahābhārata [laughter].
So Karṇa approached Paraśurāma and told him that he is a brāhmaṇa. And he became Paraśurāma’s most favourite student; he was so expert, he was so good. Paraśurāma was naturally very, very favourably to this person. So one day Paraśurāma wanted to lie down and he asked for a pillow. So there was no pillow readily available and the Guru is feeling like taking rest; so Karṇa offered his thigh, his lap as the pillow to his spiritual master. So Paraśurāma, he fell quickly asleep to take rest. In the mean time Indra who knew that this personality would become the arch enemy of his son Arjuna, Indra wanted to hinder his education of archery or his ability. So Indra in the guise of a terrible insect, he stung him, bit him. It was a terrible pain but Karṇa didn’t waiver. Like he was so – his dedication to his spiritual master was so intense that his spiritual master’s comfort was his only concern. So he felt that if he moved then his spiritual master would wake up. So he decided to tolerate this unbelievable pain. And then the insect – mind you it is not an insect; it’s not a bee or hornet. Can you imagine if a hornet stings you what happens? But this insect is Indra in the guise of an insect, what kind of power? How powerful this insect must have been. And not only that, he just kept on probing onto his flesh. And as a result of that his thigh started to bleed. And with the touch of that bleeding Paraśurāma woke up and then he saw what happened. So although his disciple was bleeding like that but he would just not move, waiver, he would not move. So then Paraśurāma said, “You are not a brāhmaṇa because brāhmaṇas cannot, they do not have tolerance of this. You must be a kṣatriya. You hid your identity.” So then Paraśurāma told him that as a result of that lie whatever you learnt at the most critical time, whatever I taught you of using weapons and mantras and all that you will forget. So this is how Karṇa was cursed by Paraśurāma.
Then during… There was a time when Karṇa used to hear, ask and hear about the Pāṇḍavas, from different people he used to hear because he was close by… because he was a chariot driver of Dhṛtarāṣṭra. So one day Karṇa heard that the incident that was depicted by our child drama’s group- The bird, shooting the eye of the bird. So Karṇa heard about that incident… Droṇācārya asked the students to aim at… They have to hit the bird, a bird’s eye. So he questioned, “What are you seeing?” And their answer was: “Yes we are seeing the bird.” “What more you are seeing?” “We are seeing the tree.” “What more you are seeing?” “We are seeing the forest.” “What more you are seeing?” “We are seeing you.” “What more you are seeing?” “We are seeing our brothers.” Droṇācārya said, “Okay [laughter] forget it.”
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: But when it came to Arjuna, he asked, “Arjuna what are you seeing?” “I am seeing the bird.” “What are you seeing? What more you are seeing?” “I am seeing only the bird’s head.” “What more you are seeing?” “I am seeing only the bird’s eye.” “Okay release your arrow.” So Karṇa heard that Arjuna hit one eye of the bird. So he decided to hit two eyes of the bird in one go. So he got his brother to place a bird on a tree, that also at night… and hold the light underneath and Karṇa took two arrows on a bow and he released those arrows and those arrows struck both the eyes of the bird. So this way we can see… Yes Arjuna was great archer but Karṇa was even greater. As an archer Karṇa was even greater. But Arjuna’s credit was… What was Arjuna’s biggest credit?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: That he was the devotee of Kṛṣṇa. So a devotee of Kṛṣṇa may not be the best but they become better than the best because they are devotees of Kṛṣṇa. So this is one thing and then he heard that Droṇācārya is going to display the ability of his students in an exhibition. So Karṇa also went to that. And different Kaurava and Pāṇḍava princesses, they displayed their different abilities and finally Arjuna, he showed all kinds of amazing feats. But Karṇa came into that arena and Karṇa also said that “I could duplicate all that. Whatever he has done I can do that.” And Karṇa started to do that. And seeing that Duryodhana became very excited. He felt here is somebody who is at least as good as Arjuna and finally when Karṇa challenged Arjuna to dual fight so then Kṛpācārya asked him, “So what is your identity. Who are you?” So at that time Karṇa’s head dropped down because now he will have to reveal his identity as a śūdra. So this is how it became known that Karṇa is not a warrior. Karṇa is not a kṣatriya. And Kṛpācārya told that a prince will fight only with a prince, not with anybody else.
So Duryodhana took this opportunity and offered him the kingdom of Aṅga. Right there he coroneted him as the king of Aṅga and this is how Duryodhana established his friendship with Karṇa. So through this incident Karṇa’s friendship with Duryodhana had been established. And then another incident increased his animosity actually towards the Pāṇḍavas, especially towards Arjuna.
When Draupadī was in her svayaṁvara, Draupadī was to elect her husband, Karṇa very much wanted to marry Draupadī because Draupadī’s condition was that somebody has to hit the target. You remember what was the condition? There was a moving disc with a hole and there was a fish placed above that, above the disc. And looking at the pot of water, one plate of water one had to hit the target. And although everyone failed, when Karṇa went and he was quite confident like he would be able to do it and probably he would have been able to do it because he was as good as Arjuna, if not better. But at that time Draupadī. This also on Kṛṣṇa’s condition, Draupadī refused. She said that, “I am not going to accept a sūta’s son as my husband.” So Karṇa once again not only he became disappointed but later on when he found out that Arjuna actually was, it was Arjuna who won Draupadī, Arjuna became his arch enemy.
Then when Draupadī was won in that game, Karṇa was an accomplice in that treacherous game of dice played by Śakuni. And not only that; when Draupadī was brought into the assembly hall, into that arena, then Karṇa proposed to Draupadī that she select another husband. He insulted Draupadī in various ways. He told that if a woman has more than one husband she is a prostitute. And he pointed out that the Pāṇḍavas are totally insignificant therefore it is better that she selects another husband from one of the Kauravas, one of the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra. It was Karṇa who actually indicated that Draupadī should be stripped. Like in one hand we can see such a noble personality. Like, his nobility was like, if anybody went and asked for anything to Karṇa, Karṇa would give it no matter what. Therefore in Indian culture there is an expression Data–Karṇa, a giver as Karṇa, a donor as Karṇa…
So once Indra came and asked Karṇa to give the natural armor that he was born with. As long as he had the armor on his body is invincible. So Indra in the disguise of a brāhmaṇa came and begged his armor which was actually stuck in his flesh. Karṇa actually cut his flesh and gave it to him. He was so generous in that way. But at the same time we see this evil side of Karṇa. And it was mainly due to the bad association. Duryodhana’s evil association turned a noble personality like Karṇa into an evil person. And Indra got the thing and got the armor. Now Karṇa is vulnerable but in return Indra actually gave him the weapon that is bound to kill a person to whom it has been directed. It is absolutely effective to hit the target. And Karṇa felt confident that he would use this weapon against Arjuna. But also, every day in the morning during the battle of Kurksetra, Karṇa would think that he would use that weapon against Arjuna but during the battle he would forget. This is also Kṛṣṇa’s arrangement. For fourteen days of battle he didn’t remember that and on the fourteenth day of the battle when Ghatotkachaha was fighting in such a devastating way that there was nothing that could stop him – I mean he was wiping out and Droṇācārya felt that Ghatotkachaha is wiping out the army and they are going to lose. Finally he told Karṇa, “Karṇa use that Vasava–astra, the weapon of Indra against him.” So although Karṇa actually … reserved it for Arjuna he released it to kill Ghatotkacha. So when Ghatotkacha died on the fourteenth day of the battle, on the fourteenth night actually the battle was continuing at night and that’s why Ghatotkacha became so powerful because Ghatotkacha was a half rākṣasa and the rākṣasas became more powerful at night. And so in- everyone was submerged in an ocean of sorrow but Kṛṣṇa was smiling. Kṛṣṇa was smiling and then when He was asked then He was the one who actually Who told that this was the weapon Karṇa reserved to kill Arjuna and this weapon is avyartha, infallible. This weapon is bound to destroy the target.
Good that now Ghatotkacha died but Arjuna is alive and Arjuna is now free from this very, very disastrous danger. That reminds of another incident where Kṛṣṇa saved Arjuna. Bhagadatta is the son of Narakāsura. Narakāsura is the son of Varahadeva and mother earth. When Varadeva rescued mother earth, a son was born, that is Narakāsura. Unfortunately the son was a demon. So Bhūmi wanted the Lord to give him something that would always protect him. So He gave him a weapon and so that weapon was handed over to his son, Bhagadatta. And Bhagadatta during the battle of Kurukṣetra used that weapon to kill Arjuna and that weapon also was infallible. Infallible is not the right expression. It was unfailing probably. It would never fail.. struck…. So at that time Kṛṣṇa actually stood in front of Arjuna and led that weapon hit him on the chest. And then what happened? That weapon actually became a garland [laughter] and hung onto Kṛṣṇa’s neck. Arjuna was actually very upset. He said, “Kṛṣṇa, You took a vow that You would not take part in this battle. So why did You that? Why are You breaking Your promise?” Then Kṛṣṇa actually revealed that fact to him, “That Arjuna just to save you, I did this”.
Karṇa died on the seventeenth day of the battle. Karṇa was fighting. On the seventeenth day there was a terrible encounter between Karṇa and Arjuna. It was so exciting; it was such a site that the demigods were queuing up in the sky to watch that battle. They were watching the battle, you know, in intense excitement because both of them were so, so talented and so chivalrous in the battle, in that art of warfare. Then at one point, Karṇa’s chariot got stuck on the ground. Generally a warrior when the opponent is in difficulty he doesn’t attack; gives him a time to overcome that difficulty. And at that time Karṇa was trying to lift that wheel of the chariot but it got stuck with all his might. But it seemed that mother earth is just holding on to it without any intention of releasing it. So at that time Arjuna actually desisted from fighting, stop fighting but Kṛṣṇa said, “Arjuna kill him.” Karṇa appealed that Arjuna it is against the law of warfare. Then Kṛṣṇa reminded Arjuna, when this person killed Abhimanyu, fighting with Abhimanyu where was this consideration of law. “Kill him.” Then Arjuna released an arrow that severed Karṇa’s head from his body. Karṇa’s soul went back to Sungod, Sun planet. So this is how this is the character, the personality of Karṇa. Who actually asked?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Vijayadhvaja. You asked me, right, to speak about Karṇa.
Vijayadhvaja prabhu: I am so happy. I came to know the whole story. Thank you very much.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Still it is not enough [laughter].
Vijayadhvaja prabhu: Just one clarification. You said he was given by Duryodhana kingdom given to him was Aṅga. I heard slightly different. He was given the Aṅgladesh, Angla not Aṅga something like that which is present day England.
Vijayadhvaja prabhu: [inaudible]
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Those days no civilized person wanted to come to England.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: The description I got is Aṅga is presently in Bhagalpur area Bihar, part of Bihar. Like Magadh is part of Bihar. Aṅga Baṅga and Kaliṅga, you can say Bihar state. Baṅga is Bengal and Kaliṅga is Orissa. These are the three neighbouring states: Aṅga, Baṅga and Kaliṅga. Okay, so now should I go to Mahābhārata, last part of Mahābhārata. Let’s just…
So the battle is about to start. Kaurava’s side had eleven akṣauhiṇī soldiers and Pāṇḍava’s side had seven akṣauhiṇī. So the Kaurava side is practically almost double the Pāṇḍavas. You know what is an akṣauhiṇī regiment? Akṣauhiṇī is – it’s a regiment consisting of chariots, elephants, cavalry and foot soldiers, infantry. So one akṣauhiṇī generally consists of 65,780 chariots and the same number of elephants and these are not ordinary elephants. These are fully trained war elephants with warriors on them. Also 65,780, I am sorry, this is elephants and chariots are 21,780, the same number of elephants and same number of chariots. Then that number multiplied by three is the number of … multiplied by three 65000 and something. And that number 21780 multiplied by 5 is the infantry, foot soldiers. So that comes to about 109,000. So that is what akṣauhiṇī as it has been described in Mahābhārata. Now multiply it by eleven, that was the Kaurava’s soldier, Kaurava’s strength. And multiplied by seven is the Pāṇḍava’s strength. It’s not equal much stronger. And besides that they had warriors like Bhīṣma, invincible, immortal practically, Droṇācārya, Kṛpācārya, Karṇa, Asvathama. These are all mahārathīs. And when the battle started, Bhīṣma was appointed as the General of the Army. And you know that, that as the battle was about to begin, Arjuna became overwhelmed with emotions and he said that he could not fight the battle. And at that time Kṛṣṇa told Bhagavad-gītā, spoke Bhagavad-gītā. And then when Arjuna was ready to fight then a strange thing happened. That everyone saw that Yuddhistira Mahārāja took off his armor, dropped his weapons, got down from his chariot and he was moving towards the enemy line, without weapons, without armors and everyone became so worried, Pāṇḍavas side, what happened. And the Kauravas were thinking that Yuddhistira Mahārāja now seeing the enemy strength, he became afraid and he came to surrender. So seeing Yuddhistira Mahārāja going like that, so all four Pāṇḍavas also got down from the chariot to follow to find out what’s happening and Kṛṣṇa also got down from His chariot. So Kṛṣṇa and the four Pāṇḍavas followed Yuddhistira Mahārāja. Now Yuddhistira Mahārāja came to Bhīṣma, offered his obeisances, circumambulated his chariot and told him to bless him and told him to give him the permission to fight. Bhīṣma was very pleased. He said, “Yuddhistira I am very happy with you, otherwise if you didn’t do that I would have cursed you. So, now that you have done that and I am so pleased with you, so tell me what you want.” Then Yuddhistira Mahārāja asked him, “Please tell me how can I kill you?”
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: [laughter] “How can I kill you?” Bhīṣma said, “Not now but in course of time I will tell you.” Then Yuddhistira Mahārāja said the same thing to Droṇācārya. Droṇācārya also said the same thing that he would have cursed him because it is a custom that a junior cannot fight with a senior. So Yuddhistira Mahārāja therefore took permission before getting into fight with him. And after that he went to Kṛpācārya, and then he went to Śalya. Śalya was his uncle. Kuntī was one wife of Pāṇḍu and another wife of Pāṇḍu was Mādrī. And Mādrī’s brother is Śalya. Śalya was Mādrī’s elder brother. So in that way he was their uncle. And he was coming to side with the Pāṇḍavas in the battle but Duryodhana tricked him because Śalya was an expert chariot driver. So when they were talking, Karṇa told him that Arjuna I can match, but Kṛṣṇa is the chariot driver of Arjuna, if I don’t get a competent chariot driver then I won’t be able to match Arjuna. And in chariot driving only other person was equal to Kṛṣṇa or could be considered to be equal to Kṛṣṇa; it was Śalya. So that’s why an arrangement was made to somehow or other get Śalya to side with him. And what actually happened? See this is another indication of the nobility of these people. Duryodhana, on the way Śalya to Hastināpura or that place where the Pāṇḍavas were, they were not actually in Hastināpura, they were in Virāṭa’s kingdom at that time, Matsya kingdom. So he was coming there and on the way Duryodhana made the arrangements for Śalya to be greeted and treated. So he treated him so well and Śalya thought that this was the arrangement of the Pāṇḍavas. Because Duryodhana was not present, the Kauravas were not present. It was just an arrangement. And being so pleased with that arrangement, he said that he said well I am going to side with… “Well I am pleased with you and I am going to side with you and don’t worry and take care of the enemy and then only it was disclosed that it was Duryodhana’s arrangement. So because he already gave his words, because he said that I will side with you and deal with the enemy so he stuck to that.
So here we can see that for these kṣatriyas there is no room for emotion, they just stuck to their righteousness, the code of conduct and the honour of themselves. So that way Śalya was on the Kauravas side but he was superior to the Pāṇḍavas. And so after that Yuddhistira Mahārāja came back and he made an announcement that if anyone from that side wants to join me and make side me he can still come and make side with me. He made the announcement that if anyone wants can come and side with me. Duryodhana’s step brother, Dhṛtarāṣṭra had another son called Yuyutsu, not from Gāndhārī but from another woman, so Yuyutsu left that side, he came and joined Yuddhistira Mahārāja’s side. So this battle was a terrible battle. It lasted for eighteen days. The first ten days were governed by Bhīṣma. He was the general, commander in chief. And on the tenth day, tenth night, actually tenth day, they went and ask Bhīṣma, Bhīṣma was slaughtering their army in such a way that they felt that there is no way we can win this battle. So then Kṛṣṇa suggested why not go and ask Bhīṣma how he could be killed because nobody could kill Bhīṣma. So they went and asked Bhīṣma. So Bhīṣma disclosed that when he kidnapped these three princesses of Kāśīrāja, the eldest one Amba already gave her heart to Śālva. This is not the Śalya, the uncle of the Pāṇḍavas. But this is Śālva, spelt as S, palatal S A L V A, Śālva. The other one is Śalya. The uncle is Śalya and he is Śālva. So Amba gave her heart to Śālva and when she was about to give her garland then Bhīṣma forcibly picked her up on to the chariot. I think I told you this episode the other day, right? That she went to Paraśurāma and Paraśurāma fought with Bhīṣma. So then finally she entered to fire and gave her life and she then took birth again as a daughter of Drupada and her name was Śikhaṇḍī and then later on her sex was changed and she became a male again. She became male. And she was actually the cause, she was destined to kill Bhīṣma. So Bhīṣma told that if Arjuna fights with Śikhaṇḍī in front then he won’t release any arrow, Bhīṣma won’t release any arrow, Bhīṣma won’t fight because he has a vow not to hurt any woman. So there is a possibility if he fought and because Śikhaṇḍī was a woman so he decided not to fight. So Bhīṣma was now unarmed and both Śikhaṇḍī and Arjuna started to shoot arrows at Bhīṣma. They shoot so many arrows that all these arrows penetrated through his body and finally Bhīṣma fell and when he fell, he didn’t touch the ground, he was lying on a bed of arrows. So with Bhīṣma gone Droṇācārya became the commander in chief. Droṇācārya was the commander in chief until the fifteenth day. Sixteenth and Seventeenth day after Droṇācārya was killed, then sixteenth and seventeenth day, Karṇa became the general. Then on the seventeenth day Karṇa fell; then on the eighteenth day Śalya became the general and Yuddhistira Mahārāja killed Śalya, his uncle.
Now Kaurava’s side was practically annihilated but Duryodhana is missing. Duryodhana ran away. His chariot was gone; his chariot driver was killed; his horses were killed. So on foot with his mace in hand, he walked to lake called Dvaipāyana lake and there with his mystic power he went under the water and he was just resting, hiding there to take some rest. There were some hunters who used to supply meat to Bhīma, they saw Duryodhana and they reported to Bhīma. That they saw Duryodhana going under that lake. So getting that news they were wondering where is Duryodhana because as long as Duryodhana is alive or not defeated or taken to captivity, the battle will not be concluded. So looking for Duryodhana they came and gave the report that they saw Duryodhana. So the Pāṇḍavas went to the lake, Dvaipāyana lake and from the side of the lake they could see that something is unusual because the lake was completely placid, no waves. And so they started to insult Duryodhana, addressing him that all these days you were bragging, so why now you are hiding? If you are man enough then come out of the water. Don’t hide. So then finally Duryodhana came out. Then Yuddhistira Mahārāja told Duryodhana, Duryodhana actually asked them, “Please don’t attack me all together.” So Yuddhistira Mahārāja agreed and Yuddhistira Mahārāja gave him a choice. He said, “Duryodhana, you can select anyone from five of us. And you can select any weapon and if you can defeat him, then the victory will be yours.” Kṛṣṇa was upset [laughter].
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Because once again the elder brother..
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: [laughter] But Duryodhana also was noble. He selected Bhīma and he selected mace, gadā that is his favourite weapon. He learnt mace fight from Balarāma and not only that, Kṛṣṇa actually told Bhīma, Bhīma by strength you are superior but in skill Duryodhana is better than you. So be careful. Bhīma said, “I don’t care [laughter].”
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: And he said that for these thirteen years that he was away, every day Duryodhana used to fight with an iron Bhīma, a replica made out of iron and he would practice mace fight because he knew that some day he will have to confront him. So anyway and in that battle like it was both of them were undefeatable and as Kṛṣṇa said that Duryodhana was lot more skillful in that game of in that battle of mace fight. Then finally Kṛṣṇa actually indicated to Bhīma that hit him on his thigh. So Bhīma made a move that made Duryodhana jump up and when Duryodhana jumped up Bhīma just broke his thigh. Now according to that warfare, law of warfare, hitting below the belt was not acceptable. It was not applicable to the law. So at that time Balarāma came. Balarāma was away during the entire battle of Kurukṣetra on a pilgrimage but that time he just showed up and in his presence the fight actually took place and Balarāma was specially inclined to Duryodhana. And because he is a patita–pavana, true patita–pavana, savior of fallen [laughter].
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: So Balarāma became furious. He actually took his plough and was about to attack Bhīma and at that time Kṛṣṇa came, prevented Balarāma, stopped Balarāma. He said that, “Look! Bhīma took a vow to kill Duryodhana by breaking his thigh because very vulgarly displayed his thighs to Draupadī when she was being insulted in the assembly. For a kṣatriya to fulfill his vow, he can break any law and besides that Jaimini ṛṣi cursed Duryodhana that he would be killed by Bhīma by a broken thigh. Bhīma would attack, hit him on his thigh. Because it was his curse that is another reason, so in this way he finally pacified Balarāma. Then Kṛṣṇa told them that the battle is not won until the enemy camp is taken over. So then they decided to go to the enemy camp and take over the enemy camp. So when they arrived in the enemy camp they found no one is there, either dead or left. Like all the women and the servants who support, they all left. So at that time Kṛṣṇa told Arjuna to climb down his chariot. He said that, “Arjuna get out of the chariot.” So Arjuna just did that. He stepped out of the chariot. At that time Hanumana was on the flag post of the chariot, so Hanumana also left. As soon as Kṛṣṇa stepped down the chariot, immediately the chariot without any visible fire turned into ash. So everyone was surprised, what happened. There was no fire, there was nothing just the chariot turned into ash. So at that time Kṛṣṇa told that the celestial weapons which Bhīṣma and Karṇa and Droṇa used, this chariot was burnt to ashes many, many times before but because He was on the chariot, the chariot was intact. So now that the battle is over, so as He stepped out of the chariot, the chariot turned into ashes. So then Kṛṣṇa told, “Let us go to meet Dhṛtarāṣṭra because Dhṛtarāṣṭra was in great agony. All of his hundred sons were killed by Bhīma alone.”
Bhīma had taken a vow that he would kill all the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra and the last one killed was Duryodhana. And so Bhīma and others went. Dhṛtarāṣṭra wanted to meet Bhīma. Kṛṣṇa [Unclear] that iron Bhīma that Duryodhana made to practice club fight with… Kṛṣṇa arranged to bring that iron Bhīma to Dhṛtarāṣṭra because he knew what was happening. And Dhṛtarāṣṭra as if with great affection he embraced Bhīma, that iron Bhīma and in turn that entire iron statue fragmented due to his, crushed into fragments. He was so powerful. But right after that he was lamenting why he did that. Why did he do that? So Kṛṣṇa said, “Don’t worry Bhīma is still alive [laughter].” So this was another occasion where Kṛṣṇa saved them.
Now in the mean time, the four personalities who were still alive, three of them actually, they were alive, they were Kṛpācārya, Asvathama, Kṛtavarmā. They saw Duryodhana in that condition. So they felt very, very sad to see the ruler of the earth, now lying down unattended writhing in pain. So that night when they were lying under a tree… Aśvatthāmā could not sleep and he saw that an owl attacked the nest of a crow and killed all the baby crows. From that he got an idea to attack the Pāṇḍava camp when they were all asleep at night and he was empowered by Lord Śiva especially at night. He received a sword from Lord Śiva and he became invincible. So he entered into the camp and he started to slaughter the Pāṇḍava army, Pāṇḍava soldiers. The first one to be killed was Drstadyumna, the killer of his father. Then Śikhaṇḍī. In this way he just kept on killing one after another and those who were trying to escape from outside the camp at the.. gate, Kṛtavarmā and Kṛpācārya started to shoot them unarmed. So in this way the battle ended. Not only the Kauravas side was extinct, the Pāṇḍavas side was also extinct except for these five brothers. Anyway this is how the battle of Kurukṣetra took place. Thank you all very much. Does anybody have any question? Yes. Pass the mike.
Devotee: Hare Kṛṣṇa Guru Mahārāja… broken thigh how did Duryodhana eventually die?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Haan.
Devotees: Having broken the thigh how did Duryodhana eventually die?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Just with a broken thigh ultimately he left his body. Yes Rajyadharma.
Devotee: Mahārāja you said that a devotee is happy in whatever condition he is. When the Pāṇḍavas were staying in the forest various demons like Duryodhana although they were in the palace they were in anxiety, so I speak of myself so called devotee and conscious in life and great anxiety and distress, it indicates a demon or….
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: [laughter]. You see physical difficulties are there. Physical difficulties will come and go because that is the law of nature. But because a devotee doesn’t identify himself with the body, but he is situated in his spiritual identity he first of all tolerates his difficulties and then eventually overcomes his difficulties because his consciousness is not in the body. Just like a doctor, a surgeon, an expert surgeon is operating upon somebody, a patient. He is cutting his body. Does the patient feel anything?
Devotee: His consciousness is withdrawn from the body
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: With…
Devotee: His consciousness is withdrawn from the body
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Yeah. Okay due to the anesthetics, his consciousness is withdrawn from the body. So the point is when the consciousness is withdrawn from the body do you feel anything about the body? So when the consciousness is with Kṛṣṇa where is the consciousness?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Away from the body. So that is how a devotee doesn’t really feel the physical difficulties.
Devotee: Prabhupāda used to say, I … in one class, even if you …. If you chant Hare Kṛṣṇa, your pain will diminish.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Yeah. Right. And what’s your second question?
Devotee: So according to the calculation of the akṣauhiṇīs in the two camps, if you calculate the number of people it is far, far less than… eight hundred thousand million …eight hundred how you say…
Devotee: eight hundred million.. …mentioned in Bhagavad-gītā Śrīla Prabhupāda said…
Devotees: 54 crores, …. …That actually doesn’t tally..
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Yes. Anyway that’s the thing I got from Mahābhārata. Eight million, anyway I have to check it then. Yes Madhavendra what’s your..
Madhvendra prabhu: [indistinct]
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Okay. Yes.
Devotee: My question was that because when Karṇa went to study martial arts with Paraśurāma, he quickly gave him a chance to study but later on he understood that he is not a brāhmaṇa he is a kṣatriya by his …severe pain but at the same time when he came to Hastināpura and showed his skills of martial arts, then why Kṛpācārya stopped him? Why he was so because he was a..
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Because you see birth is a consideration in the Vedic culture and that is because, you see, one naturally develops the qualities of his surroundings or his parents. Say for example a potter’s son; from his childhood he learns to make pots. So he will grow up with that skill. Similarly a brāhmaṇa’s son from his childhood he will learn how to chant mantras and so on, perform rituals. So that’s why in the Vedic culture birth did have major consideration but in the age of Kali there is varṇa–śaṅkara. There is no pure Brahmin, there is no pure kṣatriya and so forth. Because it is varṇa–śaṅkara there is no consideration of birth, it is only a qualification. But in the… that was Dvāpara–yuga before Kali-yuga began. Therefore the birth was a consideration. Yes Gaura Hari. Oh you have a question. Yes.
Devotee: Yes. Mahārāja. What struck me was most of the people or most of the characters were very principled, it is described throughout the descriptions and if you look at most of the killings which happened on both sides like Kaurava side, the Pāṇḍavas side and the other side they happened due to by different people breaking the principles. So in our lives how… what should we take away that we follow principles most of the time when we deserve to break them when we need to …
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Good, Very good point. You see when the battle began, two generals faced each other and they conducted the laws of warfare. But at that time at the end also it was said that if one side breaks that law then the other side is not liable to follow the laws. Once you break the law, okay no more laws, right? So, on the ninth, I am sorry on the thirteenth day, when Abhimanyu was killed, he was killed in a very, very unfortunate way. Karṇa, you see, Duryodhana asked Karṇa, Duryodhana asked Droṇācārya, I mean Abhimanyu was alone fighting in such a way that collectively they couldn’t deal with him. So he asked Droṇācārya that how to deal with him. He said that as long as he has a weapon in his hand, no one can do anything to him, any weapon, as long as he has it. So, then Duryodhana told Karṇa, “Karṇa cut his weapons.” Now Karṇa could not cut his weapons from the front, so from behind he cut the bow. And seven mahārathīs jointly attacked him and when he was unarmed, when he didn’t have any weapon. Lastly he was fighting with just the wheel of a broken chariot, just with the wheel of a broken chariot he was fighting and they were and he wiped out so many people. Actually that was also one of the conditions why he was allowed to come. Abhimanyu was actually the son of Somadeva, Moongod. And he was so attached to his son, Varjat, that he didn’t want to separate, be away from him, wanting to go away from him. But, you see, Kṛṣṇa actually told different demigods to take birth, when Brahmā went, maybe in the beginning of the Kṛṣṇa book you remember, when Brahmā went and told Kṛṣṇa, Ksirodakasyi Viṣṇu on the bank of the milk ocean about the situation of the earth planet then He instructed Brahmā, assured Brahmā that he would come soon and He also suggested that let different demigods take birth in Yadu and Vṛṣṇi and other families. So when the demigods approached Somadeva for his son, Somadeva said, “He can’t be separated from him.” Then finally after lot of persuasion he agreed and he told that… He agreed on a condition that he will be away only for sixteen years and after that he will come back. Now sixteen years for the demigod are sixteen days. So he was away and that was the day of his birth also, just reached sixteen and Somadeva made a few conditions also. That one thing is that he will be renowned for his valour and heroism for all time throughout the world. In half a day he will wipe out one fourth of the Kaurava army. So that’s what he did; he single handedly. When they were completely baffled and even didn’t know how to deal with him then they devised this method that Karṇa would… And who all Karṇa, Droṇa, Aśvatthāmā, and all these warriors. And so that wheel with which he was fighting, that wheel was also cut and when he was completely unarmed, then Dusasana’s son came in with a mace, he smashed his head. So the point is that once this was broken the law was broken, now there was no law. That was the understanding. Droṇācārya was killed. Anyway…. Duryodhana was another. Yes Gaura Hari.
Gaura Hari prabhu: Hare Kṛṣṇa Guru Mahārāja. Can you say something about how Gāndhārī try to save Duryodhana by using her bandage and how the.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Okay. Yeah that’s another very nice incident. Gāndhārī was so pure, so chaste that even her vision, the sight would make the body of the person invincible. So this is another. Okay. So Gāndhārī told Duryodhana to come, to come in front of her naked, so that she would look at his body and his whole body would become. But Duryodhana felt that he is grown up, so he was wearing his underwear…. So Gāndhārī was upset. She said that, “I told you to come naked in front of me, so that your whole body could be invincible.” But that was the only… That’s why that part of the body that was covered became susceptible.
Devotee: That’s why he was told to attack his thigh
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: That’s why Bhīma had to hit him there also. Kṛṣṇa knew that. So you see these are- this way we can see that by karmic arrangement, by the nature’s arrangement, you know, everything fits in such a way that we can see that nothing happens by chance, everything actually is, you know, the divine arrangement either the three modes of the material nature, the karma of the living entity and on top of everything Kṛṣṇa’s divine arrangement. Yes Chandrashekar, take the mike.
Chandrashekhar Dasa : Thank you. Thank you Guru Mahārāja. In the light of the Pāṇḍavas being the ideal examples of righteousness and dharmic behavior how we are to rationalize or understand Dharmarāja Yuddhistira’s act of gambling his own wife?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Yes, in other ages for kṣatriyas gambling was alright. It was a part of their lives. See kṣatriyas, rather kṣatriyas could not even refuse when they were challenged in two things: in a war (in a battle) or in a game of dice. They couldn’t refuse because it’s a part of their life. You know kastriyas are meant to do. So that’s why it is forbidden in this age of Kali because it was the end of. You see otherwise what would happen, there would not be any treachery or unfair means, but even before Kali–yuga started, towards the end of Dvāpara–yuga, this unfair means entered into these sports. That’s why in Kali–yuga it is forbidden. In Dvāpara–yuga for the kṣatriyas gambling was okay or rather it was a part of their lives.
Chandrashekar prabhu: gambling their own… their own riches that we could understand, but the implications of gambling their wives imply all sorts of horrible things were heard
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Yes, yes what to do [laughter]?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: It happened? Yes Stoka Kṛṣṇa. Take the mike.
Devotee: Which edition of Mahābhārata we could read, which is recommend to by the devotees?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: You see among the Iskcon’s Mahābhārata I like the one by Pūrṇaprajña prabhu. He is a Godbrother of ours. His Mahābhārata is not very popular because he is not so much, so well promoted. But personally in terms of language and authenticity I find it very nice.
Devotee: Thank you Guru Mahārāja. There is a point in the Mahābhārata where Gāndhārī curses Kṛṣṇa?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Gāndhārī..
Devotee: Gāndhārī curses Kṛṣṇa.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Okay
Devotee: So, is that true? Or….
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Yes, yes it’s …it happened but it’s a pastime. Yes.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: What was the first part of the question?
Devotee: First part of the question is that Rūpa Gosvāmī explains that the highest point of love is the Gopīs’ love for Kṛṣṇa but do not the queens’ have the higher form of love because they actually had a chance to be with Kṛṣṇa. They [Unclear] …they had chance of children with Kṛṣṇa?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: You see higher from the love point of view. Like this has been analyzed in this way that the loving… Okay the way it has been analyzed in this way. The servant loves the master but even greater love is a friend’s love for his friend. Servant loves the master, that’s true but more intimate is the relationship that one has with his friends. He has relationships with his servants but even deeper relationship is with his friends; even deeper is his relationship with his parents; even deeper relationship is with his wife and even deeper relationship is with his girlfriend [laughter]
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: But you know, in human society in the material nature that relationship is not accepted, it’s considered to be… But in the spiritual sky that is the highest relationship. That is the highest relationship in the spiritual sky when reflected in the material nature that is the most degraded relationship: to have a relationship with somebody else’s wife. Yes, Mukesh.
Mukesh prabhu: Hare Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja. ….but you mentioned that Bhagadatta was the son of Narakāsura, Bhagadatta
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Bhagadatta, yes.
Devotee: Bhagadatta, so he was the son of Narakāsura, so he was an asura fathered by an asura. Now there is one devotee whose name is Bhagadatta prabhu, why would somebody give the initiated name the name of asura?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Which name?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Bhagadatta. Whose name is it?
Devotee: Here is a devotee at the Manor whose name is Bhagadatta prabhu.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Oh I see.
Devotees: [laughter]. It’s a good observation.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: You have to ask whoever gave the name.
Devotee: Hare Kṛṣṇa Mahārāja. Hare Kṛṣṇa.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Yes.
Devotee: I have three questions. One from Māyāpur tv and two my own. The one from Māyāpur tv is: Dhṛtarāṣṭra lost hundred sons what was his past karma with that lose, so why did he…?.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Bad karma [laughter].
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: There must be a reason but I don’t really remember. I don’t remember reading that. There must be a reason but I don’t remember that and somewhere it must have been mentioned.
Devotee: I have two questions as well. When did Karṇa find out that he was a Pāṇḍava?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: When did Karṇa was…
Devotee: When did Karṇa find out that actually he was a Pāṇḍava?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Well two occasions, it can be seen as three occasions. One occasion is when Kṛṣṇa went to Duryodhana as a messenger before the battle of Kurukṣetra, Kṛṣṇa actually told him that he is actually the son of Kuntī. He is the elder brother of the Pāṇḍavas and He suggested that the Pāṇḍavas will make him the king. Yuddhistira will give up the kingdom, so he should leave Duryodhana, but he did not accept that. Then after Bhīma… at one point Kuntīdevī went and told Karṇa that Karṇa would refuse to side with the Pāṇḍavas or give up the side of Duryodhana. He said that… again you see the word of honor, he offered his friendship, Duryodhana also gave him friendship, now he can’t leave at the critical moment. And the third one Bhīṣma also told when Bhīṣma was lying on the bed of arrows, Bhīṣma also told Karṇa that you are the son of Kuntī but Karṇa did not change his mind.
Devotee: When did the Pāṇḍavas find out?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Oh! The Pāṇḍavas found out after Karṇa was dead. When they were cremating Karṇa’s body, Karṇa’s wish actually was that Kṛṣṇa would perform his last rites and Kṛṣṇa did that. At that time Kuntī admitted that Karṇa was her son and at that time Yuddhistira Mahārāja became very, very upset with her and Yuddhistira Mahārāja actually cursed her because of that act, saying that “From now on women will not be able to keep any secret.” [laughter].
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Yes Sarasvatī.
Sarasvatī mātājī: Mahārāja before …..I was ….according to class… curse but today you told us, you told us that Bhīṣma and Droṇācārya also were ready to curse Mahārāja Yuddhistira, so my question is how do… When does some person become qualified to curse and how does it actually take place?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: The point actually is a superior; a person in a superior situation can curse, right? Or if there is a proper reason he can curse. Like who said that only the brāhmaṇas can curse?
Sarasvatī mātājī: I don’t know where I got this.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Right.
Sarasvatī mātājī: I thought because normally …
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Like in Purāṇas there are incidences where animals also curse.
Sarasvatī mātājī: animals?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Animals also curse.
Sarasvatī mātājī: [inaudible]
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: That was a sage actually. Anyway if there is a reason, it can be, one can curse. Like for example Yuddhistira Mahārāja he had a reason like why didn’t Kuntī tell them that Karṇa was their brother then the whole attitude would have changed. Anyway…
Sarasvatī mātājī: But if anyone just gives a curse, I suppose
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: You see the purpose of cursing… okay, another way to look at it when you curse you lose your piety. So if you have so much piety that you can lose some here and there then you can go ahead [laughter] and curse but otherwise it will come back to you. So be careful before you curse. Yes
Sarasvatī mātājī: Thank you.
Devotee: Hare Kṛṣṇa Guru Mahārāja. How long did it take for Kṛṣṇa to speak Bhagavad-gītā for Arjuna?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Bhagavad-gītā?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Flash of a moment. Kṛṣṇa the supreme controller can expand time, although it probably seven hundred verses would have taken a couple of hours at least but can Kṛṣṇa expand time?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Can Kṛṣṇa contract time?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: So these two hours are contracted into a second.
Devotee: Takes us many weeks to read it.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Yes.
Devotee: Hare Kṛṣṇa Guru Mahārāja. I was asked one question last….during Janamastami in back to Godhead tent. One of the person came up to me and asked well I am chanting sixteen rounds, I am reading Śrīla Prabhupāda’s books but I am not initiated. Will I be delivered to the spiritual sky? I couldn’t really answer that question.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: You see ultimately the deliverance is the matter of Kṛṣṇa’s mercy. Kṛṣṇa is completely independent but the chances are there that when one is following Śrīla Prabhupāda’s instructions so nicely, so sincerely, yes Prabhupāda will deliver him. Initiation is just a formality. We mean initiation of…. going through the process of initiation. The actual initiation is accepting the instructions in the heart. What if somebody goes through the formality of initiation but doesn’t really surrender? On the other hand if somebody is not formally initiated but follows the instructions of Śrīla Prabhupāda, yes Śrīla Prabhupāda is present and he will bestow his mercy. But then again the consideration is you know, the process of surrender is to surrender dāsa anudāsa dāsa. So when devotees are around, Prabhupāda’s representatives are around, can’t you find at least one representative who can be your via medium to Śrīla Prabhupāda? So that also indicates faith in Śrīla Prabhupāda is not established. Prabhupāda said, like if somebody went with a complain to Śrīla Prabhupāda directly even when Prabhupāda was present on the planet, Prabhupāda would say that why are you coming to me, why don’t you go to your temple president, why don’t you go to your GBC. So Prabhupāda wanted devotees to approach him through the via medium that he has arranged. And you need a via medium; like you may be following Śrīla Prabhupāda’s instructions but there are many other situations when you need somebody to have a direct encounter with. Like what if you have questions, whom do you ask, right? Now you know if I have questions and if I don’t ask anybody, that means I am not able to, I am not willing to accept anybody’s authority. Spiritual life means surrender, so where is the surrender actually. And ultimately it will all depend on the individual. There is no hard and fast rule. You can’t say that if somebody without taking initiation chanting sixteen rounds, reading Prabhupāda’s books, you know, he will be delivered. Then another question here is: in his books he is saying Prabhupāda is telling the importance of accepting a guru. So if you are reading Prabhupāda’s books, then why he is not accepting the instructions of Śrīla Prabhupāda. I mean you can’t miss it. When you read Prabhupāda’s books it makes it so clear, time and time again you need a guru; you need a guru to guide you.
Devotee: Śrīla Prabhupāda is a guru himself
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: But can you communicate with Prabhupāda? And then if we open up the gate that way, then why should we stop only at Prabhupāda what about Rūpa Gosvāmī? What about Caitanya Mahāprabhu Himself? No, one needs a guru who is present on the earth.
Devotee: Thank you Guru Mahārāja.
Devotee: One more question … what is the importance of having a śikhā?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Śikhā [laughter].
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: I have one [laughter]. I just wanted to make sure that I..
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Śikhā, the word literally means ‘flame’. The light of knowledge and indication of receiving that light of knowledge is through the flame that is there through which you are actually receiving the light of knowledge. That’s one understanding and another understanding is that śikhā means ‘surrender’. Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Thakur said that śikhā indicates that one is accepting the teachings, śikṣā of Caitanya Mahāprabhu. The recipient of Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s śikṣā or the Vedic śikṣā wears a śikhā. Now anatomically also you can consider. The hairs are like aerials and these aerials are to receive thought waves [laughter] so more the aerials you have, the more you are receiving the thoughts, right? Therefore it is better to just have one. So that is why we have only one thought instead of diverted thoughts, diverting in too many directions, our thoughts are focused into one person, the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His teachings.
Devotee: Thank you Mahārāja.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Yes.
Devotee: Guru Mahārāja, When Dusasana was killed by Bhīma, did he really suck blood and brought some for…
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Who was killed by Bhīma?
Devotee: Bhīma killed Dusasana…
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Dusasana, Yes.
Devotee: Did he really suck the blood and brought for Draupadī to wipe her hairs?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: I think Jayadharma answered the question the other day. He pretended as if he was drinking the blood but he didn’t swallow it.
Devotee: And another question is : in the material body we are suffering because of our past karma, what was the reason for the Pāṇḍavas because they were the children of the demigods?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Yes. They were playing the role in Kṛṣṇa’s drama, right?
They were acting. Okay should I stop the question and answer now. It is already 12 past 2. Thank you all very much. We will have another session this evening, that will be the concluding session. And how did you all like this retreat? Should I break a good news?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Next year we will have the retreat in an ocean liner.
Devotees: Haribol [clapping and rejoicing].
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: And Radhanath Mahārāja and Śacīnandana Mahārāja will also join us.
Devotees: Haribol [clapping and rejoicing]
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: And we haven’t decided the exact date but it’s going to be between Janmāṣṭamī and Rādhāṣṭamī. What happened?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: I see.
Devotee: School. Nobody is going to come.
HIs Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Nobody
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: You think you are everybody.
Devotee: Many people. Many people have school going children.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: You see the problem with having it before Janmāṣṭamī is: in the Manor the devotees are so much involved and mind you more than hundred devotees came from the Manor and if they get to know about the cruise then the entire Manor will want to come. So that is the consideration. School… when does the school open?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: When is Janmāṣṭamī?
Devotee: This year 22nd August.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: No next year?
Devotee: I don’t about next year.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: will find out. That’s the problem before Janamastami or what if we… When does the school vacation start?
Devotees: I thought because normally …
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: End of July.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: and in Europe?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Same time, just one month.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami:Beginning of July till 15th of August. Then let us see then probably will try to do it before, I mean early July but early July I hold it in America. Let me see. How many of you want it to be during the vacation? [laughter]. And how many of you think between Janmastami and Rādhāṣṭamī will be better time?
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: What about early July? Okay early July how many of you will be in favour of early July?
Devotee:… Pāṇḍava sena retreat.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Has the date been fixed? Where is the Pāṇḍava Sena chairman? Where is Sohail? Let us see, may be they can change the date because Pāṇḍava Senas are not so much involved in Manor campaigning, Manor Janamastami. They have a tent but they don’t go every day. They don’t have service. Most of them don’t go and so then it is easier for them because many of the other devotees, they have their service for one month for a month long service before Janamastami. Let me see. How many of you won’t be able to come if it is after August 15th? Just a few of you.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Anyway let us see.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Seven days.
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: No but if the school is open then many of …
Devotees: Friday… 15th of August..
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: Friday. So what if we start from the 15th of August?
Devotees: Yes, Haribol [clapping and rejoicing]
His Holiness Bhakti Charu Swami: They can go to school. You can come.
Guru Mahārāja chants the prasādam prayers and devotees repeat.
viśvāso naiva jāyate
śarīra abidyā-jāl, joḍendriya tāhe kāl,
jīve phele viṣaya-sāgore
tā’ra madhye jihwā ati, lobhamoy sudurmati,
tā’ke jetā kaṭhina saḿsāre
kṛṣṇa baro doyāmoy, koribāre jihwā jay,
swa-prasād-anna dilo bhāi
sei annāmṛta pāo, rādhā-kṛṣṇa-guṇa gāo,
preme ḍāko caitanya-nitāi
preme ḍāko caitanya-nitāi
Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Hare Hare. Hare Rāma Hare Rāma Rāma Rāma Hare Hare.
Jaya Radhagopinath Mahāprasāda ki jaya. Jaya Śrī Śrī Jagannātha Baladeva Subhadrā Mahārāṇī ki jaya. Jaya Śrī Śrī Gaur Nitāi ki jaya. Jagāda guru Śrīla Prabhupāda ki jaya. Samavetā bhakta vṛndā ki jaya. Gaur premānande Hari Hari bol.
Announcer: brief announcement prabhus.Brief reminder on the Bhaktivedanta college open house event today. People can come over any time today between 4 and 5.30 in the afternoon, finishes at 6 pm. open house: in the glass house between the college residential building where Guru Mahārāja is staying and the office library block. Refreshments.. to give your inputs. Children are welcome also. Looking forward to see you there. Another announcement is that all the devotees are asking me when Guru Mahārāja is leaving tomorrow morning? He is leaving at 7’O clock tomorrow morning. And last announcement is that devotees who have the keys of the houses holding the houses please give them to me tomorrow morning. Thank you very much. Hare Kṛṣṇa.
Devotees: Hare Kṛṣṇa.