|NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Unsorted > Demons in Krishna Lila|
Introduction ....................................................................................Page 3
The Anatomy of the Cloud of An€rtha ...........................................Page 5
A Brief Summary of the Demons in Vﾍnd€vana-L…l€ .....................Page 7
P™tan€ .............................................................................................Page 9
®akat€sura .......................................................................................Page 15
Tﾍnavarta ........................................................................................Page 16
The Deliverance of Nalak™vara and MaŠigr…va ..............................Page 17
Vats€sura ........................................................................................Page 21
Bak€sura .........................................................................................Page 26
Agh€sura ........................................................................................Page 27
Brahm€-vimohana-l…l€ ....................................................................Page 29
Dhenuk€sura ..................................................................................Page 33
K€liya .............................................................................................Page 35
Extinguishing the First Forest Fire ................................................. Page 40
Pralamb€sura ..................................................................................Page 41
The Second Forest Fire ..................................................................Page 43
Correcting the Br€hmaŠas Performing Sacrifice ............................Page 44
Overcoming the Pride of Lord Indra ..............................................Page 47
Nanda Mah€r€ja Stolen by VaruŠa ................................................Page 50
Nanda Mah€r€ja Delivered from the Snake ...................................Page 51
®aŠk€sura .......................................................................................Page 52
Ariﾐt€sura .......................................................................................Page 53
Keﾏi ................................................................................................Page 54
Vyom€sura .....................................................................................Page 55
®r…la Bhaktivinoda Th€kura explains in his ®r… Chaitanya ®ikﾐ€mﾍta: "®r… KﾍﾐŠa's activities are of two distinct types; namely nitya (eternal), and naimittika (occasional). In Goloka Vﾍnd€vana, KﾍﾐŠa's nitya-l…l€ or eternal pastimes are conducted throughout eight periods of the day, and they are constantly in motion. But in Bhauma Vﾍnd€vana this aﾐta-k€l…ya-l…l€ is mixed with the naimittika-l…l€ or occasional pastimes. Some occasional pastimes include KﾍﾐŠa's leaving Vﾍnd€vana to live in Mathur€ and Dv€rak€, His returning to Vraja, His killing of various demons and so forth. These pastimes are very useful for an aspiring devotee who is bound within the material world. The naimittika-l…l€ or occasional pastimes of leaving Vraja actually exist in Goloka Vﾍnd€vana, but only in a conspicuously absent manner; they are truly manifest only in the material world. Practicing devotees (s€dhakas) understand these occasional pastimes to be like negatively-tinted reflections of the eternal pastimes. And such sincere devotees hope that by the influence of understanding the purpose of KﾍﾐŠa's performance of different occasional pastimes, their own various an€rthas or unwanted material contaminations will be destroyed."
In the above-mentioned book ®r…la Bhaktivinoda Th€kura has explained how the demons Lord KﾍﾐŠa killed in Vﾍnd€vana represent the main obstacles facing the aspiring devotee. If, by the Lord's grace, these demons can be killed in the various ways they may manifest themselves in our lives, then our progress in devotional service is guaranteed. That is the theme of this course.
®r…la R™pa Gosw€mi has explained in Bhakti-ras€mﾍta-sindhu that there are nine stages devotees pass through as they advance in KﾍﾐŠa consciousness:
adau ﾏraddha tataƒ s€dhu-
tato'n€rtha nivﾍttiƒ sy€t
tato niﾐtha rucis tataƒ
ath€saktis tato bh€vas
s€dhak€nam ayam premnaƒ
pradhurbh€ve bhavet kramaƒ
®r…la Prabhup€da translates these verses as follows: "In the beginning one must have a preliminary desire for self-realization. This will bring one to the stage of trying to associate with persons who are spiritually elevated. In the next stage one becomes initiated by an elevated spiritual master, and under his instruction the neophyte devotee begins the process of devotional service. By execution of devotional service under the guidance of the spiritual master, one becomes free from all material attachment, attains steadiness in self-realization, and acquires a taste for hearing about the Absolute Personality of Godhead, ®r… KﾍﾐŠa. This taste leads one further forward to attachment for KﾍﾐŠa consciousness, which is matured in bh€va, or the preliminary stage of transcendental love of God. Real love for God is called prema, the highest perfectional stage of life."
The specific stages are:
1. ®raddha — faith
2. S€dhu-sanga — association with devotees
3. Bhajana-kriya — trying to seriously take up the process of devotional service
4. An€rtha-nivﾍtti — becoming free of all unwanted things
5. Niﾐtha — steadiness in KﾍﾐŠa consciousness
6. R™ci — a deep taste for KﾍﾐŠa consciousness
7. šsakti — attachment for KﾍﾐŠa
8. Bh€va — ecstasy, the first rays of the sun of love for KﾍﾐŠa
9. Prema — pure love for KﾍﾐŠa
To attain Vraja-bhakti, pure devotional service in ®r… Vﾍnd€vana Dh€ma is no cheap thing. In one purport ®r…la Prabhup€da writes: "®r…la Bhaktivinoda Th€ura summarizes this growth of love of Godhead as a gradual process. A person becomes interested in devotional service by some good fortune. Eventually he becomes interested in pure devotional service without material contamination. At that point, a person wants to associate with devotees. As a result of this association, he becomes more and more interested in discharging devotional service and hearing and chanting. The more one is interested in hearing and chanting, the more he is purified of material contamination. Liberation from material contamination is called anartha-nivrtti, indicating a diminishing of all unwanted things. This is the test of development in devotional service. If one actually develops the devotional attitude, he must be freed from the material contamination of illicit sex, intoxication, gambling and meat-eating. These are the prelim nary symptoms. When one is freed from all material contamination, his firm faith awakens in devotional service. When firm faith develops, a taste arises, and by that taste, one becomes attached to devotional service. When this attachment intensifies, the seed of love of KﾍﾐŠa fructifies. This position is called pr…ti or rati (affection) or bh€va (emotion). When rati intensifies, it is called love of Godhead. This love of Godhead is actually life's highest perfection and the reservoir of all pleasure."
Once one has passed through the stage of an€rtha-nivﾍtti one is able to advance more quickly, seeing that one's obstacles are largely overcome. While lecturing on Bhagavad G…t€ in 1971 ®r…la Prabhup€da explained: "In this way, when an€rtha-nivﾍttiƒ is finished, perfect, then he becomes firmly stuck up in KﾍﾐŠa consciousness. Tato niﾐtha tato r™ciƒ. Then taste. The taste is so nice that one cannot give up KﾍﾐŠa consciousness. One cannot give up chanting of Hare KﾍﾐŠa. It increases the transcendental taste. And after taste, there is €sakti. KﾍﾐŠa is speaking from that stage here. Mayy €sakta-manaƒ, €sakti, attachment. When there is attachment of KﾍﾐŠa, that is the almost final stage of your perfectional life."
OF THE CLOUD OF ANšRTHA
As Described in Madhurya Kadambini
By ®r…la Viﾏvan€th Cakravarti Th€kura
®r…la Viﾏvan€th Cakravarti Th€kura explains that there are four types of an€rthas, recognized according to their origins:
1. An€rthas arising from previous sin
2. An€rthas arising from previous pious activities
3. An€rthas arising from imperfectly performed bhakti
4. An€rthas arising from offenses in devotional service
An€rthas Arising From Previous Sinful Activities:
An€rthas arising from previous sin are the five types of kleﾐas, or material sufferings:
1. Avidya — ignorance (mistaking impermanent to be permanent etc.)
2. Asm…ta — false ego (bodily identification and the tendency to only accept sense perception)
3. R€ga — attachment (the desire for material happiness and the means to achieve it)
4. Dveﾐa — hatred (of unhappiness and the causes of it)
5. Abhiniveﾐa — acquired nature (absorption in bodily existence, including fear of death)
An€rthas Arising From Previous Pious Activities:
An€rthas arising from previous pious activities are attachments to sattva g™na sense enjoyment, and mukti.
An€rthas Arising From The Improper Performance Of Bhakti:
An€rthas arising from improper performance of devotional service are a little more subtle ®r…la Viﾏvan€th Cakravarti Th€kura says that, just as, along with the main plant, many weeds grow, similarly, by the cultivation of bhakti there appears acquisition of material wealth and other facilities, worship and respect by others, a comfortable position, fame etc. By their very nature, they have the power to influence the heart of the devotee, grow in size,and cover up the main plant intended for cultivation, bhakti.
NB: One should note carefully that these do not include seva apar€dhas.
An€rthas Arising From Offenses:
An€rthas arising from offenses in devotional service are the ten offenses against the chanting of the holy names:
1. To blaspheme devotees
2. To consider the demigods equal to or independent of Viﾐnu
3. To disobey one's spiritual master
4. To blaspheme the Vedic (or related) scriptures
5. To consider the glories of chanting the holy name to be imagination
6. To give some mundane interpretation on the holy name
7. To commit sin on the strength of the holy name
8. To consider the chanting of Hare KﾍﾐŠa to be a karma kandiya activity
9. To preach the glories of the holy name to the faithless
10. To not have complete faith in the chanting of the holy names, and to maintain
material attachments, even after hearing many instructions on the matter
It is also an offense to be inattentive while chanting
· Seva apar€dhas do not fit into this category, because they are normally overcome in the course of the performance of one's devotional service, due to the potency of the devotional activities, or through some activity specifically performed for their nullification.
· However, if one commits seva apar€dhas knowingly, that becomes the seventh offense against the chanting of the holy names.
· A person who commits n€ma apar€dha loses the mercy of the Lord in the form of His name, and therefore suffers in many ways, but if such a person humbly takes the appropriate remedial methods for his offenses (there are recommended remedies for each of the ten types) then he is able to gradually get the mercy of the name again, and his diseased condition is relieved.
The Removal of An€rthas
According to ®r…la Viﾏvan€th Cakravarti Th€kura there are five grades of eradication of an€rthas: limited (to one an€rtha), pervasive (affecting many an€rthas), general, complete and absolute.
In the case of an€rthas arising from n€ma apar€dha the rate of nullification is as follows: On the level of bhajana kriya the eradication is limited. On niﾐtha the eradication is pervasive. On the level of bh€va the eradication is general. At prema the eradication is complete, and with the attainment of the Lord's lotus feet the eradication is absolute.
An€rthas arising from previous sin or piety are eradicated as follows: On the level of bhajana kriya it is general, at niﾐtha complete, and on asakti absolute.
An€rthas arising from improperly performed devotional service are eradicated as follows: With the performance of bhajana kriya, eradication is limited. With the appearance of niﾐtha it is complete, and with the appearance of r™ci it is absolute.
A BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE DEMONS
AND THE ANšRTHAS THEY REPRESENT
In his ®r… Chaitanya ®ikﾐ€mﾍta ®r…la Bhaktivinoda Th€kura gives the following summary of the demons KﾍﾐŠa killed in His Vﾍnd€vana pastimes and the an€rthas they represent. (Of course we should note that not in all cases is Lord KﾍﾐŠa dealing with demons as such, like in the pastime of the Brahm€-vimohana-l…l€, and the lifting of Govardhana Hill, although He is always dealing with people who have antagonistic mentalities.)
1. P™tana. The pseudo-guru.
3. ®akat€s™ra (the cart demon). Carrying the burden of the cart-load of old and new bad habits, lethargy and vanity.
2. Tﾍn€varta (the whirlwind demon). The false pride arising from material scholarship, which gives rise to bogus philosophies.
4. Deliverance of Nalak™vara and MaŠigr…va (breaking the twin arjuna trees). Arrogant pride from puffed-up aristocracy, rooted in madness for wealth.
5. Vats€s™ra (the calf-demon). A childish type of mentality which gives rise to a type of greediness which results in a wicked type of mischievousness.
6. Bak€s™ra (the duck/stork demon). Cunning duplicity, deceptiveness and false types of behaviour.
7. Agh€s™ra (the snake demon). Cruelty and violence.
8. Brahm€-v…mohana l…la (Lord Brahm€ steals the cowherd boys and calves). Mundane activities and speculative scholasticism.
9. Dhenuk€s™ra (the ass demon). Gross materialistic intelligence, ignorance of spiritual knowledge.
10. K€liya (chastising the K€liya serpent). Brutality and treachery.
11. Extinguishing the First Forest Fire. Inter-communal discord among Vaiﾐnavas.
12. Pralamb€s™ra (killing the Pralamba demon). Lusty inclinations desire for personal gain or honour.
13. The Second Forest Fire. Disruption of religious principles and interference with religious people by atheism.
14. Correcting the Br€hmaŠas Performing Sacrifice. Callousness towards KﾍﾐŠa due to pride because of one's position in varn€ﾏr€ma.
15. Overcoming the Pride of Lord Indra. Demigod worship, and the tendency to think "I am Supreme."
16. Nanda Mah€r€ja Stolen by Varuna. Thinking that spiritual life can be enhanced by intoxication.
17. Nanda Mah€r€ja Delivered from the Snake. Rescuing the truth of eternal KﾍﾐŠa consciousness which has been swallowed by impersonalists.
18. ±ankhac™ﾁ€ (killing the conch-shell demon and retrieving the jewel stolen by him). Proneness towards acquiring name and fame, and desire for sensuous enjoyment, under the plea of devotion.
19. Ariﾐt€s™ra (the bull demon).Pride arising from indulging in false religions invented by cheaters which causes neglect of bhakti.
20. Keﾏi (the horse demon). The feeling that "I am a great devotee and spiritual master"
21. Vyom€s™ra (the sky demon). Associating with thieves and other rascals, and with people who put themselves forward as avataras.
Bhaktivinoda Th€kura says: "The devotee who worships the holy name should first petition the Lord for the strength to cast out all these unfavourable tendencies — and should pray thus before Lord Hari on a daily basis. By doing this regularly, the devotee's heart will eventually become purified. ®r… KﾍﾐŠa has killed a number of demons which may arise in the kingdom of the heart — so in order to destroy these problems, a devotee must cry very humbly before the Lord and admit defeat — then the Lord will nullify all contaminations."
P™tan€ represents the pseudo-guru. The pseudo-guru may appear in one or both of two forms:
1. A deceitful, so-called guru who preaches sense gratification or liberation or both. In some cases this may be a person who is engaged in some KﾍﾐŠa conscious activity but has not realized the course of pure devotional service and tries to give instructions to his disciples beyond his own understanding, or without regard for their situations
2. The inwardly manifest "spiritual" guide, in the form of the mundane empiric reasoning faculty (the material mind), is also like P™tan€.
In order to show mercy to His devotees KﾍﾐŠa sucks the life out of P™tan€'s breast to protect His own innocent ecstasy, which has arisen within the young devotees' hearts.
According to the Brahm€-vaivarta Pur€na, in her last life P™tan€ was Ratnam€la, the younger sister of Bali Mah€r€ja, although the Garga Saˆh…ta says she was his daughter.
The Story of P™tan€
(from ®r…la Prabhup€da's KﾍﾐŠa Books)
After consulting with his demoniac ministers, Kaˆsa instructed a witch named P™tan€, who knew the black art of killing small children by ghastly sinful methods, to kill all kinds of children in the cities, villages and pasturing grounds. Such witches can play their black art only where there is no chanting or hearing of the holy name of KﾍﾐŠa. It is said that wherever the chanting of the holy name of KﾍﾐŠa is done, even negligently, all bad elements — witches, ghosts, and dangerous calamities — immediately disappear. And this is certainly true of the place where the chanting of the holy name of KﾍﾐŠa is done seriously — especially in Vﾍnd€vana when the Supreme Lord was personally present. Therefore, the doubts of Nanda Mah€r€ja were certainly based on affection for KﾍﾐŠa. Actually there was no danger from the activities of P™tan€, despite her powers. Such witches are called khecari, which means they can fly in the sky. This black art of witchcraft is still practiced by some women in the remote northwestern side of India. They can transfer themselves from one place to another on the branch of an uprooted tree. P™tan€ knew this witchcraft, and therefore she is described in the ®r…mad Bh€gavatam as khecari.
P™tan€ entered the county of Gokula, the residential quarter of Nanda Mah€r€ja, without permission. Dressing herself just like a beautiful woman, she entered the house of mother Yaﾏoda. She appeared very beautiful, with raised hips, nicely swollen breasts, earrings, and flowers in her hair. She looked especially beautiful on account of her thin waist. She was glancing at everyone with very attractive looks and smiling face, and all the residents of Vﾍnd€vana were captivated. The innocent cowherd women thought that she was a goddess of fortune appearing in Vﾍnd€vana with a lotus flower in her hand. It seemed to them that she had personally come to see KﾍﾐŠa, who is her husband. Because of her exquisite beauty, no one checked her movement, and therefore she freely entered the house of Nanda Mah€r€ja. P™tan€, the killer of many, many children, found baby KﾍﾐŠa lying on a small bed, and she could at once perceive that the baby was hiding His unparalleled potencies. P™tan€ thought, "This child is so powerful that He can destroy the whole universe immediately."
P™tan€'s understanding is very significant. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, KﾍﾐŠa, is situated in everyone's heart. It is stated in the Bhagavad G…t€ that He gives one necessary intelligence, and He also causes one to forget. P™tan€ was immediately aware that the child whom she was observing in the house of Nanda Mah€r€ja was the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. He was lying there as a small baby, but that does not mean that He was less powerful. The materialistic theory that God-worship is anthropomorphic is not correct. No living being can become God by undergoing meditation or austerities. God is always God. KﾍﾐŠa as the child-baby is as complete as He is as a full-fledged youth. The M€y€v€da theory holds that the living entity was formerly God but has now become overwhelmed by the influence of m€y€. Therefore they say that presently he is not God, but when the influence of m€y€ is taken away, then he again becomes God. This theory cannot be applied to the minute living entities. The living entities are minute parts and parcels of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; they are minute particles or sparks of the supreme fire, but are not the original fire, or KﾍﾐŠa. KﾍﾐŠa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, even from the beginning of His appearance in the house of Vasudeva and Devaki.
KﾍﾐŠa showed the nature of a small baby and closed His eyes, as if to avoid the face of P™tan€. This closing of the eyes is interpreted and studied in different ways by the devotees. Some say that KﾍﾐŠa closed His eyes because He did not like to see the face of P™tan€, who had killed so many children and who had now come to kill Him. Others say that something extraordinary was being dictated to her, and in order to give her assurance, KﾍﾐŠa closed His eyes so that she would not be frightened. And yet others interpret in this way: KﾍﾐŠa appeared to kill the demons and give protection to the devotees, as stated in the Bhagavad G…t€: paritr€n€ya s€dhun€m vin€ﾏaya ca duﾐkﾍtam. The first demon to be killed was a woman. According to Vedic rules, the killing of a woman, a br€hmaŠa, cows or a child is forbidden. KﾍﾐŠa was obliged to kill the demon P™tan€, and because the killing of a woman is forbidden according to Vedic ﾏ€stra, He could not help but close His eyes. Another interpretation is that KﾍﾐŠa closed His eyes because He simply took P™tan€ to be His nurse. P™tan€ came to KﾍﾐŠa just to offer her breast for the Lord to suck. KﾍﾐŠa is so merciful that even though He knew P™tan€ was there to kill Him, He took her as His nurse or mother.
There are seven kinds of mothers according to Vedic injunction: the real mother, the wife of a teacher or spiritual master, the wife of a king, the wife of a br€hmaŠa, the cow, the nurse, and the mother earth. Because P™tan€ came to take KﾍﾐŠa on her lap and offer her breast's milk to be sucked by Him, she was accepted by KﾍﾐŠa as one of His mothers. That is considered to be another reason He closed His eyes: He had to kill a nurse or mother. But His killing of His mother or nurse was no different from His love for His real mother or foster mother Yaﾏoda. We further understand from Vedic information that P™tan€ was also treated as a mother and given the same facility as Yaﾏoda. As Yaﾏoda was given liberation from the material world, P™tan€ was also given liberation. When the baby KﾍﾐŠa closed His eyes, P™tan€ took Him on her lap. She did not know that she was holding death personified. If a person mistakes a snake for a rope, he dies. Similarly, P™tan€ killed so many babies before meeting KﾍﾐŠa, but now she was accepting the snake that would kill her immediately.
When P™tan€ was taking baby KﾍﾐŠa on her lap, both Yaﾏoda and Rohini were present, but they did not forbid her because she was so beautifully dressed and because she showed motherly affection towards KﾍﾐŠa. They could not understand that she was a sword within a decorated case. P™tan€ had smeared a very powerful poison on her breasts, and immediately after taking the baby on her lap, she pushed her breastly nipple within His mouth. She was hoping that as soon as He would suck her breast, He would die. But baby KﾍﾐŠa very quickly took the nipple in anger. He sucked the milk-poison along with the life air of the demon. In other words, KﾍﾐŠa simultaneously sucked the milk from her breast and killed her by sucking out her life. KﾍﾐŠa is so merciful that because the demon P™tan€ came to offer her breast milk to Him, He fulfilled her desire and accepted her activity as motherly. But to stop her from further nefarious activities, He immediately killed her. And because the demon was killed by KﾍﾐŠa, she got liberation. When KﾍﾐŠa sucked out her very breath, P™tan€ fell down on the ground, spread her arms and legs and began to cry, "Oh, child, leave me, leave me!" She was crying loudly and perspiring, and her whole body became wet.
As she died, screaming, there was a tremendous vibration both on the earth and in the sky, in all directions, and people thought that thunderbolts were falling. Thus the nightmare of the P™tan€ witch was over, and she assumed her real feature as a great demon. She opened her fierce mouth and spread her arms and legs all over. She fell exactly as Vﾍtr€sura when struck by the thunderbolt of Indra. The long hair on her head was scattered all over her body. Her fallen body extended up to twelve miles and smashed all the trees to pieces, and everyone was struck with wonder upon seeing this gigantic body. Her teeth appeared just like plowed roads, and her nostrils appeared just like mountain caves. Her breasts appeared like small hills, and her hair was a vast reddish bush. Her eye sockets appeared like blind wells, and her two thighs appeared like two banks of a river; her two hands appeared like two strongly constructed bridges, and her abdomen seemed like a dried-up lake. All the cowherd men and women became struck with awe and wonder upon seeing this. And the tumultuous sound of her falling shocked their brains and ears and made their hearts beat strongly.
®r…la Bhaktisiddh€nta Sarasvat… Th€kura
In one issue of the Harmonist ®r…la Bhaktisiddh€nta Sarasvat… Th€kura wrote extensively on the subject of P™tan€, as follows:
(Point 1) (Points extracted by the teacher of this course, not by ®r…la Bhaktisiddh€nta)
®r… KﾍﾐŠa manifest His eternal birth in the pure cognitive essence of the serving soul who is located above all mundane limitations. King Kaˆsa is the typical aggressive empiricist, ever on the lookout for the appearance of the truth for the purpose of suppressing Him before He has time to develop. This is no exaggeration of the real connotation of the consistent empiric position. The materialist has a natural repugnance for the transcendental. He is disposed to think that faith in the incomprehensible is the parent of dogmatism and hypocrisy in the guise of religion. He is also equally under the delusion that there is no really dividing line between the material and the spiritual. He is strengthened in his delusion by the interpretation of scriptures by persons who are like-minded with himself. This includes all the lexicographic interpreters. (Lexicographical means a strict dictionary meaning)
The lexicographical interpretation is upheld by Kaˆsa as the real scientific explanation of the scriptures, and is perfectly in keeping with his dread of and aversion for the transcendental. These lexicographical interpreters are employed by Kaˆsa in putting down the first suspected appearance of any genuine faith in the transcendental. King Kaˆsa knows very well that if the faith in the transcendental is once allowed to grow it is sure to upset all his empiric prospects.
There is historical ground for such misgivings. Accordingly if the empiric domination is to be preserved intact it would be necessary not to lose a moment to put down the transcendental heresy the instant it threatens to make its appearance in earnest. King Kaˆsa, acting on this traditional fear is never slow to take the scientific precaution of deputing empiric teachers of the scriptures, backed by the resources of dictionary and grammar and all empiric subtleties to put down, by the show of specious arguments based on hypothetical principles, the true interpretation of the eternal religion revealed by the scriptures.
Kaˆsa is strongly persuaded that faith in the transcendental can be effectively put down by empiricism if prompt and decisive measures are adopted at the very outset. He attributes the failure of atheism in the past to the neglect of the adoption of such measures before the theistic fallacy has had time to spread among the fanatical masses.
But Kamsa is found to count without his host. When KﾍﾐŠa is born He is found to be able to upset all sinister designs against those who are apprised by Himself of His advent. The apparently causeless faith displayed by persons irrespective of age, sex, and condition may confound all rabid empiricists who are on principle averse to the Absolute Truth Whose appearance is utterly incompatible with the domination of empiricism.
But no adverse efforts of the empiricists, whose rule seems till then to be perfectly well-established over the minds of the deluded souls of this world can dissuade any person from exclusively following the Truth when He actually manifest His birth in the pure cognitive essence of the soul.
P™tan€ is the slayer of all infants. The baby, when he or she comes out of the mother's womb, falls at once into the hands of the pseudo teachers of religion. These teachers are successful in forestalling the attempts of the good preceptor whose help is never sought by the atheists of this world at the baptisms of their babies. This is ensured by the arrangements of all established churches of the world. They have been successful only in supplying watchful P™tan€s for effecting the spiritual destruction of persons from the moment of their birth with the co-operation of their worldly parents. No human contrivance can prevent these P™tan€s from obtaining possession of the pulpits. This is due to the general prevalence of atheistic disposition in the people of this world.
The church that has the best chance of survival in this damned world is that of atheism under the convenient guise of theism. The churches have always proved the staunchest upholders of the grossest form of worldliness from which even the worst of non-ecclesiastical criminals are found to recoil.
It is not from any deliberate opposition to the ordained clergy that these observations are made. The original purpose of the established churches of the world may not always be objectionable. But no stable religious arrangement for instructing the masses has yet been successful. The Supreme Lord ®r… Chaitanya Mah€prabhu, in pursuance of the teachings of the scriptures enjoins all absence of conventionalism for the teachers of the eternal religion. It does not follow that the mechanical adoption of the unconventional life by any person will make him a fit teacher of religion. Regulation is necessary for controlling the inherent worldliness of conditioned souls.
But no mechanical regulation has any value, even for such a purpose. The bonafide teacher of religion is neither any product of nor the favourer of any mechanical system. In his hands no system has likewise the chance of degenerating into a lifeless arrangement. The mere pursuit of fixed doctrines and fixed liturgies cannot hold a person to the true spirit of doctrine or liturgy.
The idea of an organized church in an intelligible form, indeed, marks the close of the living spiritual movement. The great ecclesiastical establishments are the dykes and the dams to retain the current that cannot be held by any such contrivances. They, indeed, indicate a desire on the part of the masses to exploit a spiritual movement for their own purpose. They also unmistakably indicate the end of the absolute and unconventional guidance of the bona fide spiritual teacher. The people of this world understand preventive systems, they have no idea at all of the unprevented positive eternal life. Neither can there be any earthly contrivance for the permanent preservation of the life eternal on this mundane plane on the popular scale.
Those are, therefore, greatly mistaken who are disposed to look forward to the amelioration of the worldly state in any worldly sense from the worldly success of any really spiritual movement. It is these worldly expectants who become the patrons of the mischievous race of the pseudo-teachers of religion, the P™tan€s, whose congenial function is to stifle the theistic disposition at the very moment of its suspected appearance. But the real theistic disposition can never be stifled by the efforts of those P™tan€s. The P™tan€s have power only over the atheists. It is a thankless but salutary task which they perform for the benefit of their unwilling victims.
But as soon as theistic disposition proper makes its appearance in the pure cognitive essence of the awakened soul, the P™tanas are decisively silenced at the very earliest stage of their encounter with new-born KﾍﾐŠa. The would-be slayer is herself slain. This is the reward of the negative services that the P™tan€s unwittingly render to the cause of theism by strangling all hypocritical demonstrations against their own hypocrisy.
But P™tan€ does not at all like to receive her reward in the only form which involves the total destruction of her wrong personality. King Kaˆsa also does not like to lose the services of the most trusted of his agents. The effective silencing of the whole race of pseudo-teachers of religion is the first clear indication of the appearance of the Absolute on the mundane plane. The bonafide teacher of the Absolute heralds the Advent of KﾍﾐŠa by his uncompromising campaign against the pseudo-teachers of religion.
Points from ®r…la Bhaktisiddh€nta' article:
1. Kaˆsa (the chief materialist, in the form of "aggressive empiricism") likes to suppress the truth before it has time to develop. He has an innate dislike for anything spiritual.
2. He is associated with like-minded people, including lexicographers (those who uphold dictionary definitions of subjects that are transcendental to dictionaries), and he engages these lexicographers to put down KﾍﾐŠa consciousness at its earliest stage.
3. As soon as the transcendental child is born he falls into the hands of P™tan€ — the pseudo teachers of religion.
4. The attempted success of P™tan€ over the genuine spiritual teachers is aided by the efforts of organized religion, which is "atheism in the garb of theism."
5. "Organized" religion is an attempt to force the people in general to follow certain religious principles, without effecting any spiritual advancement in them, so is doomed to failure.
6. They would like to improve materialism through their "religion," and so enlist the aid of the P™tan€s.
7. But P™tan€ cannot be successful once real religion has actually appeared, in fact she is destroyed at the earliest point in its development. "The would-be slayer is herself slain. This is the reward of the negative services that the P™tanas unwittingly render to the cause of theism by strangling all hypocritical demonstrations against their own hypocrisy."
9. ®r…la Bhaktisiddhanta concludes by saying: "The effective silencing of the whole race of pseudo-teachers of religion is the first clear indication of the appearance of the Absolute on the mundane plane. The bonafide teacher of the Absolute heralds the Advent of KﾍﾐŠa by his uncompromising campaign against the pseudo-teachers of religion."
®akat€s™ra represents a load-carrying mentality arising out of old and new bad habits, from this life and previous lives. He also represents lethargy, dullness and false pride. KﾍﾐŠa removes this contamination by kicking it aside.
According to Garga Saˆh…ta he had a body made of air. He tried to make the cart fall on Lord KﾍﾐŠa's head. In his previous life he was a demon, a son of Hiranyakﾐa named Utkaca. He went to the hermitage of Lomaﾐa Muni and broke some trees there and was cursed to become bodiless. (He had a huge body). He then fell at the Muni's feet and begged for mercy. The Muni told him that in the next manvantara he would be touched by the foot of the Lord and would be liberated.
The Story of ®akat€s™ra
(from ®r…la Prabhup€da's KﾍﾐŠa Books)
While listening to the chanting of the Vedic hymns, the child appeared to be falling asleep, and therefore mother Yaﾏoda very silently laid Him down on the bed. Being engaged in receiving all the friends, relatives and residents of Vﾍnd€vana on that holy occasion, she forgot to feed the child milk. He was crying, being hungry, but mother Yaﾏoda could not hear Him cry because of the various noises. The child, however, became angry because He was hungry and His mother was not paying attention to Him. So He lifted His legs and began to kick His lotus feet just like an ordinary child.
Baby KﾍﾐŠa had been placed underneath a hand-driven cart, and while He was kicking His legs, He accidentally touched the wheel of the cart, and it collapsed. Various kinds of utensils and brass and metal dishes had been piled up in the handcart, and they all fell down with a great noise. The wheel of the cart separated from the axle, and the spokes of the wheel were all broken and scattered hither and thither.
Mother Yaﾏoda and all the gopis, as well as Mah€r€ja Nanda and the cowherd men, were astonished as to how the cart could have collapsed by itself. All the men and women who were assembled for the holy function crowded around and began to suggest how the cart might have collapsed. No one could ascertain the cause, but some small children who were entrusted to play with baby KﾍﾐŠa informed the crowd that it was due to KﾍﾐŠa's striking His feet against the wheel. They assured the crowd that they had seen how it happened with their own eyes, and they strongly asserted the point. Some were listening to the statement of the small children, but others said, "How can you believe the statements of these children?" The cowherd men and women could not understand that the all-powerful Personality of Godhead was lying there as a baby and that He could do anything. Both the possible and impossible were in His power.
Tﾍn€varta represents the false pride produced by useless scholarship, which gives rise to wrangling debates and arguments, dry reasoning and dry logical indulgences in the association of people who are attached to such things. It produces controversy which is disloyal to the path of pure bhakti, such as M€y€v€da and Buddhism. It is the breeding place of demoniac, sinful philosophies.
Lord KﾍﾐŠa becomes moved by the humility of His devotees, who carefully avoid this fault, and He strangles the demon and removes the thorn from His devotees' endeavours in devotional service.
According to the Brahm€-vaivarta Pur€na, in his last life he was a king of Pandy€deﾐa, named Sahasr€kﾐa who was cursed by Durv€s€ Muni for appearing naked before him while the king was enjoying with his 1000 wives. He was cursed to live on earth for 100,000 years and then be killed by Lord KﾍﾐŠa.
The Story of Tﾍn€varta
(from ®r…la Prabhup€da's KﾍﾐŠa Books)
One day, shortly after the ceremony, when mother Yaﾏoda was patting her baby on her lap, the baby felt too heavy, and being unable to carry Him, she unwillingly placed Him on the ground. After a while, she became engaged in household affairs. At that time, one of the servants of Kaˆsa, known as Tﾍn€varta, as instructed by Kaˆsa, appeared there in the shape of a whirlwind. He picked the child up on his shoulders and raised a great dust storm all over Vﾍnd€vana. Because of this, everyone's eyes became covered within a few moments, and the whole area of Vﾍnd€vana became densely dark so that no one could see himself or anyone else. During this great catastrophe, mother Yaﾏoda could not see her baby, who was taken away by the whirlwind, and she began to cry very piteously. She fell down on the ground exactly like a cow who has just lost her calf. When mother Yaﾏoda was so piteously crying, all the cowherd women immediately came and began to look for the baby, but they were disappointed and could not find Him.
The Tﾍn€varta demon who took baby KﾍﾐŠa on his shoulder went high in the sky, but the baby assumed such a weight that suddenly he could not go any further, and he had to stop his whirlwind activities. Baby KﾍﾐŠa made Himself heavy and began to weigh down the demon. The Lord caught hold of his neck. Tﾍn€varta felt the baby to be as heavy as a big mountain, and he tried to get out of His clutches, but he was unable to do so, and his eyes popped out from their sockets. Crying very fiercely, he fell down to the ground of Vﾍnd€vana and died. The demon fell exactly like Trip™r€s™ra, who was pierced by the arrow of Lord ®iva. He hit the stone ground, and his limbs were smashed. His body became visible to all the inhabitants of Vﾍnd€vana.
THE DELIVERANCE OF
NALAK¶VARA AND MA¦IGRŸVA
This pastime represents the pride and arrogance coming from the feeling that one has an aristocratic birth and is wealthy. It gives rise to cruelty to animals, lust for women, and indulgence in alcohol. These further give rise to debauchery of the tongue — uncontrolled eating habits and loose talking. Then come general hard-heartedness, shamelessness and all sorts of disgraceful activities.
KﾍﾐŠa very mercifully breaks down the twin Arjuna trees while tied to the grinding mortar in order to destroy all these faults.
· It is very interesting to note that this pastime of KﾍﾐŠa's is very directly illustrating the predicament of people who are wealthy and aristocratic, but who become involved in licentiousness.
· It is also interesting to note the remedy applied by N€rada Muni — poverty, or in terms which are particularly relevant to ourselves as aspiring devotees, simple living and high thinking.
The Story of
Nalak™vara and MaŠigr…va
(from ®r…la Prabhup€da's KﾍﾐŠa Books)
The two great demigods Nalak™vara and MaŠigr…va were sons of the treasurer of the demigods, Kuvera, who was a great devotee of Lord ®iva. By the grace of Lord ®iva, Kuvera's material opulences had no limit. As a rich man's sons often become addicted to wine and women, so these two sons of Kuvera were also addicted to wine and sex. Once, these two demigods, desiring to enjoy, entered the garden of Lord ®iva in the province of Kail€sa on the bank of Mandakini Ganges. There they drank much and engaged in hearing the sweet singing of beautiful women who accompanied them in that garden of fragrant flowers. In an intoxicated condition, they both entered the water of the Ganges, which was full with lotus flowers, and there they began to enjoy the company of the young girls exactly as the male elephant enjoys the female elephants within the water.
While they were thus enjoying themselves in the water, all of a sudden N€rada, the great sage, happened to pass that way. He could understand that the demigods Nalak™vara and MaŠigr…va were too intoxicated and could not even see that he was passing. The young girls, however, were not so intoxicated as the demigods, and they at once became ashamed at being naked before the great sage N€rada. They began to cover themselves with all haste. The two demigod sons of Kuvera were so intoxicated that they could not appreciate the presence of the sage N€rada and therefore did not cover their bodies. On seeing the two demigods so degraded by intoxication, N€rada desired their welfare, and therefore he exhibited his causeless mercy upon them by cursing them.
Because the great sage was compassionate upon them, he wanted to finish their false enjoyment of intoxication and association with young girls and wanted them to see Lord KﾍﾐŠa face to face. He conceived of cursing them as follows. He said that the attraction for material enjoyment is due to an increase of the mode of passion. A person in the material world, when favored by the material opulence of riches, generally becomes addicted to three things — intoxication, sex and gambling. Materially opulent men, being puffed up with the accumulation of wealth, also become so merciless that they indulge in killing animals by opening slaughterhouses. And they think that they themselves will never die. Such foolish persons, forgetting the laws of nature, become overly infatuated with the body. They forget that the material body, even though very much advanced in civilization, up to the position of the demigods, will finally be burned to ashes. And while one is living, whatever the external condition of the body may be, within there is only stool, urine and various kinds of worms. Thus being engaged in jealousy and violence to other bodies, materialists cannot understand the ultimate goal of life, and without knowing this goal of life, they generally glide down to a hellish condition in their next life. Such foolish persons commit all kinds of sinful activities on account of this temporary body, and they are even unable to consider whether this body actually belongs to them. Generally it is said that the body belongs to the persons who feed the body. One might therefore consider whether this body belongs to one personally or to the master to whom one renders service. The master of slaves claims full right to the bodies of the slaves because the master feeds the slaves. It may be questioned then whether the body belongs to the father, who is the seed-giving master of this body, or to the mother, who develops the child's body in her womb.
Foolish persons are engaged in committing all sorts of sins due to the misconception of identifying the material body with the self. But one should be intelligent enough to understand to whom this body belongs. A foolish person indulges in killing other animals to maintain the body, but he does not consider whether this body belongs to him or to his father or mother or maternal grandfather. Sometimes a father gives his daughter in charity to a person with a view of getting back the daughter's child as a son. The body may also belong to a stronger man who forces it to work for him. Sometimes the slave's body is sold to the master on the basis that the body will belong to the master. And at the end of life, the body belongs to the fire, because the body is given to the fire and burned to ashes. Or the body is thrown into the street to be eaten by the dogs and vultures.
Before committing all kinds of sins to maintain the body, one should understand to whom the body belongs. Ultimately it is concluded that the body is a product of material nature, and at the end it merges into material nature; therefore, the conclusion should be that the body belongs to material nature. One should not wrongly think that the body belongs to him. To maintain a false possession, why should one indulge in killing? Why should one kill innocent animals to maintain the body?
When a man is infatuated with the false prestige of opulence, he does not care for any moral instruction, but indulges in wine, women and animal killing. In such circumstances, a poverty-stricken man is often better situated because a poor man thinks of himself in relation to other bodies. A poor man often does not wish to inflict injuries upon other bodies because he can understand more readily that when he himself is injured he feels pain. As such, the great sage N€rada considered that because the demigods Nalak™vara and MaŠigr…va were so infatuated by false prestige, they should be put into a condition of life devoid of opulence.
A person who has a pinprick in his body does not wish others to be pricked by pins; a considerate man in the life of poverty does not wish others to be also put into that condition. Generally it is seen that one who has risen from a poverty-stricken life and becomes wealthy creates some charitable institution at the end of his life so that other poverty-stricken men might be benefited. In short, a compassionate poor man may consider other's pains and pleasures with empathy. A poor man may be seldom puffed up with false pride, and he may be freed from all kinds of infatuation. He may remain satisfied by whatever he gets for his maintenance by the grace of the Lord.
To remain in the poverty-stricken condition is a kind of austerity. According to Vedic culture, therefore, the br€hmaŠas, as a matter of routine, keep themselves in a poverty-stricken condition to save themselves from the false prestige of material opulence. False prestige due to advancement of material prosperity is a great impediment for spiritual emancipation. A poverty-stricken man cannot become unnaturally fat by eating more and more. And on account of not being able to eat more that he requires, his senses are not very turbulent. When the senses are not very turbulent, he cannot become violent.
Another advantage of poverty is that a saintly person can easily enter a poor man's house, and thus the poor man can take advantage of the saintly person's association. A very opulent man does not allow anyone to enter his house; therefore, the saintly person cannot enter. According to the Vedic system, a saintly person takes the position of a mendicant so that on the plea of begging something from the householder, he can enter any house. The householder, who has usually forgotten everything about spiritual advancement because he is busy maintaining family affairs, can be benefited by the association of a saintly person. There is a great chance for the poor man to become liberated through association with a saint. Of what use are persons who are puffed up with material opulence and prestige if they are bereft of the association of saintly persons and devotees of the Supreme Personality of Godhead?
The great sage N€rada thereafter thought that it was his duty to put those demigods into a condition where they could not be falsely proud of their material opulence and prestige. N€rada was compassionate and wanted to save them from their fallen life. They were in the mode of darkness, and being therefore unable to control their senses, they were addicted to sex life. It was the duty of a saintly person like N€rada to save them from their abominable condition. In animal life, the animal has no sense to understand that he is naked. But Kuvera was the treasurer of the demigods, a very responsible man, and Nalak™vara and MaŠigr…va were two of his sons. And yet they became so animalistic and irresponsible that they could not understand, due to intoxication, that they were naked. To cover the lower part of the body is a principle of human civilization, and when men or women forget this principle, they become degraded. N€rada therefore thought that the best punishment for them was to make them immovable living entities, or trees. Trees are, by nature's laws, immovable. Although trees are covered by the mode of ignorance, they cannot do harm. The great sage N€rada thought it fitting that, although the brothers, by his mercy, would be punished to become trees, they continue to keep their memory to be able to know why they were being punished. After changing the body, a living entity generally forgets his previous life, but in special cases, by the grace of the Lord, as with Nalak™vara and MaŠigr…va, one can remember.
Sage N€rada therefore contemplated that the two demigods should remain for one hundred years, in the time of the demigods, in the form of trees, and after that they would be fortunate enough to see the Supreme Personality of Godhead, face to face, by His causeless mercy. And thus they would be again promoted to the life of the demigods and great devotees of the Lord.
After this, the great sage N€rada returned to his abode known as N€r€yan€ﾏr€ma, and the two demigods turned into trees, known as twin arjuna trees. The two demigods were favored by the causeless mercy of N€rada and given a chance to grow in Nanda's courtyard and see Lord KﾍﾐŠa face to face.
Although the child KﾍﾐŠa was bound up to the wooden mortar, He began to proceed towards the twin trees in order to fulfill the prophecy of His great devotee N€rada. Lord KﾍﾐŠa knew that N€rada was His great devotee and that the trees standing before Him as twin arjuna trees were actually the sons of Kuvera. "I must now fulfill the words of My great devotee N€rada," He thought. Then He began to proceed through the passage between the two trees. Although He was able to pass through the passage, the large wooden mortar stuck horizontally between the trees. Taking advantage of this, Lord KﾍﾐŠa began to pull the rope which was tied to the mortar. As soon as He pulled, with great strength, the two trees, with all branches and limbs, fell down immediately with a great sound. Out of the broken, fallen trees came two great personalities, shining like blazing fire. All sides became illuminated and beautiful by their presence. The two purified bodies immediately came before child KﾍﾐŠa and bowed down to offer their respects and prayers.
Vats€s™ra (the calf demon) represents a childish mentality, mischievous and too easily influenced by bad association. It gives rise to a type of greediness for sense gratification through which one becomes absorbed in materialism.
According to the Garga Saˆh…ta in his last birth he had been a demon, Pramila, the son of Muru. He conquered the demigods in battle and then entered the sage Vas…ﾐtha's €ﾏrama, and saw Vas…ﾐtha'a cow named Nandini. Pramila wanted that cow so he disguised himself as a br€hmaŠa and tried to beg her. The cow spoke and said "You are a demon in disguise. For this offense you will have to appear as a calf." Pramila then surrendered to Vas…ﾐtha and begged for mercy, and Vasiﾐtha said that after taking birth as a calf he would be liberated by the Lord.
The Story of Vats€s™ra
(from ®r…la Prabhup€da's KﾍﾐŠa Books)
Once, when KﾍﾐŠa and Balar€ma were playing on the bank of the Yamun€, a demon of the name Vats€s™ra assumed the shape of a calf and came there intending to kill the brothers. By taking the shape of a calf, the demon could mingle with other calves. KﾍﾐŠa, however, specifically noticed this, and He immediately told Balar€ma about the entrance of the demon. Both brothers then followed him and sneaked up upon him. KﾍﾐŠa caught hold of the demon-calf by the two hind legs and tail, whipped him around very forcibly and threw him up into a tree. The demon lost his life and fell down from the top of the tree to the ground. When the demon lay dead on the ground, all the playmates of KﾍﾐŠa congratulated Him, "Well done, well done," and the demigods in the sky began to shower flowers with great satisfaction. In this way, the maintainers of the complete creation, KﾍﾐŠa and Balar€ma, used to take care of the calves in the morning every day, and thus They enjoyed Their childhood pastimes as cowherd boys in Vﾍnd€vana.
®r…la Bhaktisiddh€nta Sarasvat… Th€kura
(from The Harmonist)
He represents evils that are peculiar to boyhood. The neophyte is extremely susceptible to such evils. They can only be eliminated by the mercy of KﾍﾐŠa. If one engages in KﾍﾐŠa's service they will be completely eradicated at an early stage.
There is an English proverb that sowing of wild oats is inevitable at a young age. The term Puritanism was originally coined to express the protest of boys and young men against any undue curtailment of the scope of enjoyment that should be regarded as permissible to them. Boys and young men claim the right to be merry and frolicsome. There is nothing objectionable and much that is of positive value in the display of these juvenile qualities. If the attempt be made to stifle this innocent play of the boyish nature under the impression that it is an exhibition of sensuousness and for that reason is as harmful as similar conduct on the part of grown-up persons, the result is not assurance but discouragement of juvenile innocence.
There are indeed black sheep and these should not be allowed to taint the whole flock, and for this purpose caretakers with full sense of their delicate responsibility are required to keep watch over them for ensuring the innocence of boyhood and youth without killing their joys. But with every precaution it has been found impossible to attain this double purpose. The scriptures say that it is not in the power of man to ensure the immunity of boys and girls from the blight of sensuousness except by means of the service of KﾍﾐŠa.
This is declared to be the only effective and natural method. Let the boys be exposed to the attraction of the Cowherd Boy of Vraja. They will soon learn to pick up His company. They will easily realize that KﾍﾐŠa can alone save them from every form of danger to which they are exposed by the 'right' of their juvenile nature.
Why should this be so? There is a very simple reason. KﾍﾐŠa does not limit His service only to the middle-aged and old people. The Puritanic idea of Godhead is a conception which owes its origin to persons who are elderly although honestly enough anxious to establish the Kingdom of God on this earth. But if you scratch the thin coating on the surface of their sage and sober scheme as befitting their age you only detect the rotten arrangement for securing the maximum of sensuous enjoyment for those very children who are to be brought up in this virtuous way. If the child is allowed to spoil his health in boyhood, think these righteous people, he will not be in a position later to enjoy the legitimate pleasures of the grown-up man. Unless the young man husbands his resources of sense gratification he will also be a victim of premature old age. It is a policy of expediency of postponing a small present measure of enjoyment for reaping a much larger measure of it through the long tracts of the years to come.
The spurious brahmacarya ideal as misconceived by its worldly supporters embodies this Puritanic outlook. The scriptures indeed, enjoin that everyone should serve Godhead from the womb. This is the real meaning of brahmacarya. The ascetic practices that have come to attach themselves to the conception were interpolated into the scriptures in order to ensure worldly values by this form of the empiric method. The scheme requires that the laws of the growth of the physical and mental bodies should be observed and followed. Nature is regarded as the kind mother who favours only those of her children who cultivate the filial habit of prying into her secrets. Nature is supposed to be unable to avoid divulging her secrets to her inquisitive children although she is well aware that her children will exploit this knowledge for troubling her by harnessing her to their service. In other words it is also assumed to be the duty of the kind mother to consent to put herself in chains in order to minister to the sensuous appetites of her worthier children. Nature is assumed to be able to do good to her children only by submitting to be the victim of their lust.
The practices of asceticism are really conceived in the epicurian spirit. The ascetic dreams of obtaining the mastery over nature by the method of controlling the senses. If the senses grown callous to the temptations of the world the ascetic thinks that he will have less chance of falling into the power of nature. He has an idea that when he will have perfected these defensive arrangements he will have become the real master of the situation. The brahmacary, according to the ascetic point of view, is to pass through a period of training in sever abstinence with his guru in order to be fitted to discharge the duties of citizenship, which will make a great demand on his nerves and muscles with greater thoroughness. There is no reference to the service of God or to any spiritual issue.
We have had many occasions to explain that the spiritual is transcendental. No mundane consideration can form any part of spiritual training or conduct. It is not a spiritual affair to be even able to control one's carnal desires. Such self-control is indeed automatically produced by the awakening of the soul. But self-control is not therefore a function of the soul. The soul has nothing to do with the senses. The soul desires neither sensuality or sexual purity. The soul is not a mere mortal being. If brahmacarya means a method of gaining moral power it is wholly a mundane affair and is as such not only of no concern to the soul but is positively obstructive to spiritual well-being.
This is bound to be so because the point of view of the soul is all-embracing. The soul rejects nothing. He regards nothing as redundant or useless. The soul has a use for everything. But the soul sees everything as it is really related to himself and to other entities. Everything is absolutely good on the platform of the soul. The scriptural brahmacary institution accordingly means service of the Brahman i.e., the Reality Who is always the Great and always the Help. The servant of the Absolute is always free from delusion.
Morality is a valued commodity only on the plane of delusion. But it has no locus standi on the plane where the conditions of existence are perfect.
Till the service of Godhead is realized it is impossible to be really moral in the sense of being needlessly and perfectly virtuous. If a person is causelessly virtuous in the worldly sense he or she will be an easy subject of exploitation for all the cunning rascals of this world. This is so because morality as conceived by the empiricist has a reference to the physical body and the changeable mind and is therefore liable to change so long as the conditions are not radically altered.
The empiric contriver of juvenile welfare strives to produce conditions that will favour the growth and continuance of the empiric moral aptitude. These artificial conditions are confidently enough expected to be likely to prove of permanent benefit to those young persons who are brought up under these improvised conditions. But the brand of morality that has to be produced by the artificial manipulation of the natural environment is likely to prove of little value when the props are withdrawn. The analogy of needed protection for the growth of delicate plants does not apply as such plants are always exoterics. Hot-house morality is thus a misnomer and a delusion in relation to the soul.
Brahmacarya fully embodies the substantive ideal of spiritual purity distortedly reflected in the empirical ethical conception. Brahmacarya means service of the absolute. Juvenile innocence is not the monopoly of juvenile persons, any more than juvenile naughtiness. They are animal entities corresponding to analagous spiritual qualities. The spiritual activities are perfectly wholesome. They include all value and harmonize all disruptive conflict both of which are so utterly wanting in their mundane perverted reflections to be found in this world.
It is not to be supposed that everything is done by KﾍﾐŠa and there is nothing to be done by ourselves in any matter. As a matter of fact there is a division of parts to be played in functions that relate even to ourselves as between us an KﾍﾐŠa. Certain duties are allotted to us. Certain other functions are reserved to KﾍﾐŠa. Vats€sura cannot be killed by us. He is too strong for us. This is in keeping with the experience of most educationists. Juvenile innocence is a necessity for both young and old. One cannot acquire it by any artificial process. No person can also ordinarily retain it after boyhood and youth. This is the real tragedy of human life.
Juvenile innocence is desired on account of its enjoyability. But it should properly be desired only for the service of KﾍﾐŠa. The parent can have no higher duty than to employ his boy in the service of KﾍﾐŠa by putting him under the proper teacher, the pure devotee of KﾍﾐŠa. No parent is entitled to undertake the charge of spiritual training of his own boy. He is unfitted for the task by his mundane relationship. Once such relationship is grasped to be an obstacle in the way of juvenile training the necessity of sending the boy at the earliest opportunity to the proper teacher becomes self-evident. If the parent continues to retain his parental interest in the boy after he has been put into school for the above purpose he will only be standing in the way of the boy's progress. The training is not for the boy only, but it is a training for his parents as well.
Boyish naughtiness is apt to be overlooked, nay encouraged, under the impression that it is nature to be naughty. This opinion overlooks the all-important factor that the training is intended for the welfare of the soul of the boy and not for the juvenile body or mind. The soul does not require to be treated with indulgence. He is neither young nor old in the worldly sense. The body and mind of the boy have to be employed in the interest of the soul. Boyish naughtiness and boyish virtue are alike unnecessary for the soul. It is necessary for the soul to be freed from either form of worldliness. The mundane nature of the boy is no less a clog to the wheel of spiritual progress than the adult nature of the grown-up worldling. The process of training is identical in the two cases as the soul is neither young nor old.
Much irrational pity is wasted on boys who are employed from early infancy in the full-time service of KﾍﾐŠa, on exactly the same terms as grown up persons. Persons who affect much kindness of disposition towards juvenile frailties profess to be unable to understand why juvenile offenses are taken as seriously in spiritual training as those of adult persons.
But the teacher in charge of the spiritual training of boys can perform his duty by them only as the special agent of KﾍﾐŠa. If such a teacher chooses to confide in his own devices he is bound to be undeceived at every step. What he has really to do is to use the boy constantly in the service of KﾍﾐŠa. For this purpose it is necessary for the teacher himself to be a full-time servant of KﾍﾐŠa. It is only by abstaining from anything that is not distinctively commanded by KﾍﾐŠa or His real agent, the guru, that the spiritual teacher of the boys can hope to be of any help to his pupils.
The so-called science of pedagogies requires to be thoroughly overhauled in order to afford a free hand to the bonafide devotee of KﾍﾐŠa in managing young persons. The present arrangements based on the experience of this world and on the hypotheses of an absolute causal relationship connecting each phenomenon with the rest, by leaving out the reference to KﾍﾐŠa can only realize the tragic part of a quack lightly adminstering all the wrong drugs to a parent smitten with a mortal illness.
The King of atheists, Kaˆsa, is always setting the demon Vats€sura to corrupt and destroy the boys. The teacher of the young employed by the atheistic society is verily the agent of Kaˆsa. The atheist is afraid lest the boys are employed in the service of KﾍﾐŠa. He is naturally anxious to prevent any acquaintance of the boys with KﾍﾐŠa. But if a boy has really found KﾍﾐŠa the nefarious activities of the empiric teacher are powerless to destroy his innocence. If such a teacher perseveres in the fruitless attempt he will thereby quickly bring about his own utter moral degradation and his sorry trick will also be fully exposed. Because in this case it is KﾍﾐŠa Himself who opposes his wicked activities on behalf of his protigi.
As a matter of fact the concern of empiric educationists for ensuring immunity of boys from the blighting effects of precocity is altogether hypocritical. The empiric pedant only wants the boy to grow a body and mind that will ensure greater and longer scope for their worldly use. He does not want that the worldly use of his body and mind should be curtailed in any way. In other words he is on principle opposed to the employment of the healthy body and sound mind for any spiritual purpose. But why does he want a healthy body for his nasty purpose? Is it only in order to be able to have the pleasure of a more prolonged wastage and the rake's progress in downright earnest? A sickly body is not really harmful to a person who has no higher object in view than undiluted sense gratification.
Points from ®r…la Bhaktisiddh€nta's article:
1. Children are by nature playful, and this should not be stifled.
2. The only effective way to protect children from becoming contaminated by sensuality is to engage them in KﾍﾐŠa conscious activities, not just restrict them.
3. The object of the Puritanic idea is to stop children engaging in sinful activities so they can enjoy those same activities more when they are adults.
4. There is also a spurious idea that young boy's should be trained as morally upright brahmacaris so that in the future they will have the strength to carry out worldly duties very nicely — but "morality is a valued commodity only on the plane of delusion."
5. Parents must hand their sons over to properly qualified spiritual teachers. This is also a type of training for the parents.
6. "The mundane nature of the boy is no less a clog to the wheel of spiritual progress than the adult nature of the grown-up worldling. The process of training is identical in the two cases as the soul is neither young nor old."
Bak€s™ra represents cunning duplicity, deceptive behaviour and hypocrisy, the outward manifestations of a false lifestyle of cheating activities.
According to the Brahm€-vaivarta Pur€na, in his last life he was Suhotra, a Gandharva disciple of Durv€s€ ¤uni. Along with his three brothers (who became Pralamba and Keﾐi) he performed austerities at Puﾐkara-t…rtha. Once, the three of them were picking lotuses at the celestial lake Citra-sarovara for offering to Lord KﾍﾐŠa, when they were arrested by servants of Lord ®iva. Lord ®iva received them very nicely, but told them that he had promised Parvati that he would curse anyone who took lotuses from that lake, as she had vowed to offer a thousand lotuses a day to Lord KﾍﾐŠa for 100 days, and there were exactly 100,000 lotuses there, some of which they had now picked. So they had to appear as these demons, but they were then killed by KﾍﾐŠa and liberated.
The Story of Bak€s™ra
(from ®r…la Prabhup€da's KﾍﾐŠa Books)
All the cowherd boys would daily go to the bank of the River Yamun€ to water their calves. Usually, when the calves drank water from the Yamun€, the boys also drank. One day, after drinking, when they were sitting on the bank of the river, they saw a huge animal which looked something like a duck and was as big as a hill. Its top was as strong as a thunderbolt. When they saw that unusual animal, they became afraid of it. The name of this beast was Bak€s™ra, and he was a friend of Kaˆsa's. He appeared on the scene suddenly and immediately attacked KﾍﾐŠa with his pointed, sharp beaks and quickly swallowed Him up. When KﾍﾐŠa was thus swallowed, all the boys, headed by Balar€ma, became almost breathless, as if they had died.
But when the Bak€s™ra demon was swallowing up KﾍﾐŠa, he felt a burning fiery sensation in his throat. This was due to the glowing effulgence of KﾍﾐŠa. The demon quickly threw KﾍﾐŠa up and tried to kill Him by pinching Him in his beaks. Bak€s™ra did not know that although KﾍﾐŠa was playing the part of a child of Nanda Mah€r€ja, He was still the original father of Lord Brahm€, the creator of the universe. The child of mother Yaﾏoda, who is the reservoir of pleasure for the demigods and who is the maintainer of saintly persons, caught hold of the beaks of the great gigantic duck and, before His cowherd boyfriends, bifurcated his mouth, just as a child very easily splits a blade of grass. From the sky, the denizens of the heavenly planets showered flowers like the cameli, the most fragrant of all flowers, as a token of their congratulations. Accompanying the showers of flowers was a vibration of bugles, drums and conchshells.
Agh€s™ra represents the mentality of cruelty to others, and violence and causing trouble to others out of envy. This attitude is an offense against the chanting of the holy names. It may also manifest in the form of an unwillingness to help other living beings by giving them KﾍﾐŠa consciousness.
According to the Garga Saˆh…ta in his previous life he was Agha, a son of ®a‰kh€sura. He had a very attractive body, of which he was very proud. One time he saw the muni Aﾐ˜avakra, whose body is disfigured, and he laughed and said "Who is this ugly person?" The sage cursed him to become the ugliest snake on earth. Agha then fell at his feet and begged for mercy, so the sage blessed him that he would be delivered by Lord KﾍﾐŠa.
The Story of Agh€s™ra
(from ®r…la Prabhup€da's KﾍﾐŠa Books)
The demon Agh€s™ra appeared before KﾍﾐŠa and His friends. Agh€s™ra happened to be the younger brother of P™tan€ and Bak€s™ra, and he thought, "KﾍﾐŠa has killed my brother and sister. Now I shall kill Him along with all His friends and calves." Agh€s™ra was instigated by Kaˆsa, so he had come with determination. Agh€s™ra also began to think that when he would offer grains and water in memory of his brother and sister and kill KﾍﾐŠa and all the cowherd boys, then automatically all the inhabitants of Vﾍnd€vana would die. Generally, for the householders, the children are the life and breath force. When all the children die, then naturally the parents also die on account of strong affection for them.
Agh€s™ra, thus deciding to kill all the inhabitants of Vﾍnd€vana, expanded himself by the yogic siddhi called mahim€. The demons are generally expert in achieving almost all kinds of mystic powers. In the yoga system, by the perfection called mahim€-siddhi, one can expand himself as he desires. The demon Agh€s™ra expanded himself up to eight miles and assumed the shape of a very fat serpent. Having attained this wonderful body, he stretched his mouth open just like a mountain cave. Desiring to swallow all the boys at once, including KﾍﾐŠa and Balar€ma, he sat on the path.
The demon in the shape of a big fat serpent expanded his lips from land to sky; his lower lip was touching the ground, and his upper lip was touching the clouds. His jaws appeared like a big mountain cave, without limitation, and his teeth appeared just like mountain summits. His tongue appeared to be a broad traffic way, and he was breathing just like a hurricane. The fire of his eyes was blazing. At first the boys thought that the demon was a statue, but after examining it, they saw that it was more like a big serpent lying down on the road and widening his mouth. The boys began to talk among themselves: "This figure appears to be a great animal, and he is sitting in such a posture just to swallow us all. Just see--is it not a big snake that has widened his mouth to eat all of us?"
One of them said, "Yes, what you say is true. This animal's upper lip appears to be just like the sunshine, and its lower lip is just like the reflection of red sunshine on the ground. Dear friends, just look to the right- and left-hand side of the mouth of the animal. Its mouth appears to be like a big mountain cave, and its height cannot be estimated. The chin is also raised just like a mountain summit. That long highway appears to be its tongue, and inside the mouth it is as dark as in a mountain cave. The hot wind that is blowing like a hurricane is his breathing, and the fishy bad smell coming out from his mouth is the smell of his intestines. "Then they further consulted among themselves: "If we all at one time entered into the mouth of this great serpent, how could it possibly swallow all of us? And even if it were to swallow all of us at once, it could not swallow KﾍﾐŠa. KﾍﾐŠa will immediately kill him, as He did Bak€s™ra." Talking in this way, all the boys looked at the beautiful lotuslike face of KﾍﾐŠa, and they began to clap and smile. And so they marched forward and entered the mouth of the gigantic serpent.
Meanwhile, KﾍﾐŠa, who is the Supersoul within everyone's heart, could understand that the big statuesque figure was a demon. While He was planning how to stop the destruction of His intimate friends, all the boys along with their cows and calves entered the mouth of the serpent. But KﾍﾐŠa did not enter. The demon was awaiting KﾍﾐŠa's entrance, and he was thinking, "Everyone has entered except KﾍﾐŠa, who has killed my brother and sister. "K a is the assurance of safety to everyone. But when He saw that His friends were already out of His hands and were lying within the belly of a great serpent, He became, momentarily, aggrieved. He was also struck with wonder how the external energy works so wonderfully. He then began to consider how the demon should be killed and how He could save the boys and calves. Although there was no factual concern on KﾍﾐŠa's part, He was thinking like that. Finally, after some deliberation, He also entered the mouth of the demon. When KﾍﾐŠa entered, all the demigods, who had gathered to see the fun and who were hiding within the clouds, began to express their feelings with the words "Alas! Alas!" At the same time, all the friends of Agh€s™ra, especially Kaˆsa, who were all accustomed to eating flesh and blood, began to express their jubilation, understanding that KﾍﾐŠa had also entered the mouth of the demon.
While the demon was trying to smash KﾍﾐŠa and His companions, KﾍﾐŠa heard the demigods crying, "Alas, alas," and He immediately began to expand Himself within the throat of the demon. Although he had a gigantic body, the demon choked by the expanding of KﾍﾐŠa. His big eyes moved violently, and he quickly suffocated. His life-air could not come out from any source, and ultimately it burst out of a hole in the upper part of his skull. Thus his life-air passed off. After the demon dropped dead, KﾍﾐŠa, with His transcendental glance alone, brought all the boys and calves back to consciousness and came with them out of the mouth of the demon. While KﾍﾐŠa was within the mouth of Agh€s™ra, the demon's spirit soul came out like a dazzling light, illuminating all directions, and waited in the sky. As soon as KﾍﾐŠa with His calves and friends came out of the mouth of the demon, that glittering effulgent light immediately merged into the body of KﾍﾐŠa within the vision of all the demigods.
The pastime of the bewilderment of Lord Brahm€ and his subsequent purification frees us from the cultivation of fruitive activities (karma) and speculative knowledge (jsh€na). It also rectifies the offense of disrespecting the Lord's m€dhurya feature in favour of His aiﾏvarya feature.
The Story of
(from ®r…la Prabhup€da's KﾍﾐŠa Books)
After saving His friends from the mouth of Agh€s™ra and after killing the demon, Lord KﾍﾐŠa brought His friends to the bank of Yamuna and addressed them as follows: "My dear friends, just see how this spot is very nice for taking lunch and playing on the soft, sandy Yamun€ bank. You can see how the lotus flowers in the water are beautifully blown and how they distribute their flavor all around. The chirping of the birds along with cooing of the peacocks, surrounded by the whispering of the leaves in the trees, combine and present sound vibrations that echo one another. And this just enriches the beautiful scenery created by the trees here. Let us have our lunch in this spot because it is already late and we are feeling hungry. Let the calves remain near us, and let them drink water from the Yamun€. While we engage in our lunch-taking, the calves may engage in eating the soft grasses that are in this spot.' "
On hearing this proposal from KﾍﾐŠa, all the boys became very glad and said, "Certainly, let us all sit down here to take our lunch." They then let loose the calves to eat the soft grass. Sitting down on the ground and keeping KﾍﾐŠa in the center, they began to open their different boxes brought from home. Lord ®r… KﾍﾐŠa was seated in the center of the circle, and all the boys kept their faces toward Him. They ate and constantly enjoyed seeing the Lord face to face. KﾍﾐŠa appeared to be the whorl of a lotus flower, and the boys surrounding Him appeared to be its different petals. The boys collected flowers, leaves of flowers and the bark of trees and placed them under their different boxes, and thus they began to eat their lunch, keeping company with KﾍﾐŠa. While taking lunch, each boy began to manifest different kinds of relations with KﾍﾐŠa, and they enjoyed each other's company with joking words. While Lord KﾍﾐŠa was thus enjoying lunch with His friends, His flute was pushed within the belt of His cloth, and His bugle and cane were pushed in on the left-hand side of His cloth. He was holding a lump of foodstuff prepared with yogurt, butter, rice and pieces of fruit salad in His left palm, which could be seen through His petallike finger-joints. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who accepts the results of all great sacrifices, was laughing and joking, enjoying lunch with His friends in Vﾍnd€vana. And thus the scene was being observed by the demigods from heaven. As for the boys, they were simply enjoying transcendental bliss in the company of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
At that time, the calves that were pasturing nearby entered into the deep forest, allured by new grasses, and gradually went out of sight. When the boys saw that the calves were not nearby, they became afraid for their safety, and they immediately cried out, "KﾍﾐŠa!" KﾍﾐŠa is the killer of fear personified. Everyone is afraid of fear personified, but fear personified is afraid of KﾍﾐŠa. By crying out the word "KﾍﾐŠa," the boys at once transcended the fearful situation. Out of His great affection, KﾍﾐŠa did not want His friends to give up their pleasing lunch engagement and go searching for the calves. He therefore said, "My dear friends, you need not interrupt your lunch. Go on enjoying. I am going personally where the calves are." Thus Lord KﾍﾐŠa immediately started to search out the calves in the caves and bushes. He searched in the mountain holes and in the forests, but nowhere could He find them.
At the time when Agh€s™ra was killed and the demigods were looking on the incident with great surprise, Brahm€, who was born of the lotus flower growing out of the navel of Viﾐnu, also came to see. He was surprised how a little boy like KﾍﾐŠa could act so wonderfully. Although he was informed that the little cowherd boy was the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he wanted to see more glorified pastimes of the Lord, and thus he stole all the calves and cowherd boys and took them to a different place. Lord KﾍﾐŠa, therefore, in spite of searching for the calves, could not find them, and He even lost His boyfriends on the bank of the Yamun€ where they had been taking their lunch. In the form of a cowherd boy, Lord KﾍﾐŠa was very little in comparison to Brahm€, but because He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He could immediately understand that all the calves and boys had been stolen by Brahm€. KﾍﾐŠa thought, "Brahm€ has taken away all the boys and calves. How can I alone return to Vﾍnd€vana? The mothers will be aggrieved!"
Therefore in order to satisfy the mothers of His friends as well as to convince Brahm€ of the supremacy of the Personality of Godhead, He immediately expanded Himself as the cowherd boys and calves. In the Vedas it is said that the Supreme Personality of Godhead expands Himself in so many living entities by His energy. Therefore it was not very difficult for Him to expand Himself again into so many boys and calves. He expanded Himself to become exactly like the boys, who were of all different features, facial and bodily construction, and who were different in their clothing and ornaments and in their behavior and personal activities. In other words, everyone has different tastes; being an individual soul, each person has entirely different activities and behavior. Yet KﾍﾐŠa exactly expanded Himself into all the different positions of the individual boys. He also became the calves, who were also of different sizes, colors, activities, etc. This was possible because everything is an expansion of KﾍﾐŠa's energy. In the Viﾐnu Pur€na it is said, par€sya br€hmaŠaƒ ﾏaktiƒ. Whatever we actually see in the cosmic manifestation--be it matter or the activities of the living entities--is simply an expansion of the energies of the Lord, as heat and light are the different expansions of fire.
Thus expanding Himself as the boys and calves in their individual capacities, and surrounded by such expansions of Himself, KﾍﾐŠa entered the village of Vﾍnd€vana. The residents had no knowledge of what had happened. After entering the village, Vﾍnd€vana, all the calves entered their respective cowsheds, and the boys also went to their respective mothers and homes.
The mothers of the boys heard the vibration of their flutes before their entrance, and to receive them, they came out of their homes and embraced them. And out of maternal affection, milk was flowing from their breasts, and they allowed the boys to drink it. However, their offering was not exactly to their boys but to the Supreme Personality of Godhead who had expanded Himself into such boys. This was another chance for all the mothers of Vﾍnd€vana to feed the Supreme Personality of Godhead with their own milk. Therefore not only did Lord KﾍﾐŠa give Yaﾏoda the chance to feed Him, but this time He gave the chance to all the elderly gopis.
All the boys began to deal with their mothers as usual, and the mothers also, on the approach of evening, began to bathe their respective children, decorate them with tilaka and ornaments and give them necessary food after the day's labor. The cows also, who were away in the pasturing ground, returned in the evening and began to call their respective calves. The calves immediately came to their mothers, and the mothers began to lick the bodies of the calves. These relations between the cows and the gopis with their calves and boys remained unchanged, although actually the original calves and boys were not there. Actually the cows' affection for their calves and the elderly gopis' affection for the boys causelessly increased. Their affection increased naturally, even though the calves and boys were not their offspring. Although the cows and elderly gopis of Vﾍnd€vana had greater affection for KﾍﾐŠa than for their own offspring, after this incident their affection for their offspring increased exactly as it did for KﾍﾐŠa. For one year continually, KﾍﾐŠa Himself expanded as the calves and cowherd boys and was present in the pasturing ground.
As it is stated in the Bhagavad G…t€, KﾍﾐŠa's expansion is situated in everyone's heart as the Supersoul. Similarly, instead of expanding Himself as the Supersoul, He expanded Himself as a portion of calves and cowherd boys for one continuous year.
One day, when KﾍﾐŠa, along with Balar€ma, was maintaining the calves in the forest, They saw some cows grazing on the top of Govardhana Hill. The cows could see down into the valley where the calves were being taken care of by the boys. Suddenly, on sighting their calves, the cows began to run towards them. They leaped downhill with joined front and rear legs. The cows were so melted with affection for their calves that they did not care about the rough path from the top of Govardhana Hill down to the pasturing ground. They began to approach the calves with their milk bags full of milk, and they raised their tails upwards. When they were coming down the hill, their milk bags were pouring milk on the ground out of intense maternal affection for the calves, although they were not their own calves. These cows had their own calves, and the calves that were grazing beneath Govardhana Hill were larger; they were not expected to drink milk directly from the milk bag but were satisfied with the grass. Yet all the cows came immediately and began to lick their bodies, and the calves also began to suck milk from the milk bags. There appeared to be a great bondage of affection between the cows and calves.
When the cows were running down from the top of Govardhana Hill, the men who were taking care of them tried to stop them. Elderly cows are taken care of by the men, and the calves are taken care of by the boys; and as far as possible, the calves are kept separate from the cows, so that the calves do not drink all the available milk. Therefore the men who were taking care of the cows on the top of Govardhana Hill tried to stop them, but they failed. Baffled by their failure, they were feeling ashamed and angry. They were very unhappy, but when they came down and saw their children taking care of the calves, they all of a sudden became very affectionate toward the children. It was very astonishing. Although the men came down disappointed, baffled and angry, as soon as they saw their own children, their hearts melted with great affection. At once their anger, dissatisfaction and unhappiness disappeared. They began to show paternal love for the children, and with great affection they lifted them in their arms and embraced them. They began to smell their children's heads and enjoy their company with great happiness. After embracing their children, the men again took the cows back to the top of Govardhana Hill. Along the way they began to think of their children, and affectionate tears fell from their eyes.
When Balar€ma saw this extraordinary exchange of affection between the cows and their calves and between the fathers and their children — when neither the calves nor the children needed so much care — He began to wonder why this extraordinary thing happened. He was astonished to see all the residents of Vﾍnd€vana so affectionate for their own children, exactly as they had been for KﾍﾐŠa. Similarly, the cows had grown affectionate for their calves--as much as for KﾍﾐŠa. Balar€ma therefore concluded that the extraordinary show of affection was something mystical, either performed by the demigods or by some powerful man. Otherwise, how could this wonderful change take place? He concluded that this mystical change must have been caused by KﾍﾐŠa, whom Balar€ma considered His worshipable Personality of Godhead. He thought, "It was arranged by KﾍﾐŠa, and even I could not check its mystic power." Thus Balar€ma understood that all those boys and calves were only expansions of KﾍﾐŠa.
Balar€ma inquired from KﾍﾐŠa about the actual situation. He said, "My dear KﾍﾐŠa, in the beginning I thought that all these cows, calves and cowherd boys were either great sages and saintly persons or demigods, but at the present it appears that they are actually Your expansions. They are all You; You Yourself are playing as the calves and cows and boys. What is the mystery of this situation? Where have those other calves and cows and boys gone? And why are You expanding Yourself as the cows, calves and boys? Will You kindly tell Me what is the cause?" At the request of Balar€ma, KﾍﾐŠa briefly explained the whole situation: how the calves and boys were stolen by Brahm€ and how He was concealing the incident by expanding Himself so people would not know that the original cows, calves, and boys were missing.
While KﾍﾐŠa and Balar€ma were talking, Brahm€ returned after a moment's interval (according to the duration of his life). We have information of Lord Brahm€'s duration of life from the Bhagavad G…t€: 1,000 times the duration of the four ages, or 1,000 x 4,300,000, comprise Brahm€'s twelve hours. Similarly, one moment of Brahm€ is equal to one year of our solar calculation. After one moment of Brahm€'s calculation, Brahm€ came back to see the fun caused by his stealing the boys and calves. But he was also afraid that he was playing with fire. KﾍﾐŠa was his master, and he had played mischief for fun by taking away His calves and boys. He was really anxious, so he did not stay away very long; he came back after a moment (of his calculation). He saw that all the boys, calves and cows were playing with KﾍﾐŠa in the same way as when he had come upon them, although he was confident that he had taken them and made them lie down asleep under the spell of his mystic power. Brahm€ began to think, "All the boys, calves and cows were taken away by me, and I know they are still sleeping. How is it that a similar batch of cows, boys and calves is playing with KﾍﾐŠa? Is it that they are not influenced by my mystic power? Have they been playing continually for one year with KﾍﾐŠa?" Brahm€ tried to understand who they were and how they were uninfluenced by his mystic power, but he could not ascertain it. In other words, he himself came under the spell of his own mystic power.
Dhenuk€s™ra represents ignorance of knowledge of the soul through gross materialistic intelligence, or jackass-like foolishness.
According to the Garga Saˆh…ta, in his previous life he was a son of Bali Mah€r€ja named S€hasika. He offended Durv€s€ Muni by disturbing him when the muni was meditating, by making a lot of noise while he was enjoying with 10,000 women on Mt Gandham€dana. Durv€s€ cursed him to become an ass, saying: "Fool! Ass-like person! Become an ass! O demon, after 400,000 years, in transcendental circle of Math™ra, in the sacred forest of Talav€na, you will attain liberation by Lord Balar€ma's hand." He could not be killed by KﾍﾐŠa because He had given His word to Prahl€da Mah€r€ja that He would not kill any of his family members.
Some Special Considerations Regarding the Demons Killed by Lord Balar€ma
®r…la Bhaktivinoda Th€kura explains in ®r… Chaitanya ®ikﾐ€mﾍta: "There are two demons killed by ®r… Baladeva — but the contaminations they represent will have to be removed by dint of the devotee's own endeavours. This is one of the secret mysteries of Vraja-bhakti.
"The jack-ass demon Dhenuk€s™ra represents the bad mentality of overburdened load-carrying, and the Pralamb€s™ra demon represents lust for the company of the opposite sex, as well as the desire for profit, adoration and distinction. When a devotee endeavours with enthusiasm to remove these contaminations, then, by Lord Balar€ma's mercy they will be cast far away. Dhenuk€s™ra causes complete and total ignorance of one's eternal identity; it also stimulates foolish misconceptions about the eternal nature of the holy name of the Lord, plus it misdirects one with delusions about what is actually worshipable. These contaminations must be cast out through great endeavour on the part of the devotee.
"The methods of the process of purification are very deep and mysterious; therefore it is necessary to learn about them directly from a bonafide spiritual master."
Teacher's note: Lord Balar€ma is the original guru, and those who are bonafide spiritual masters are empowered by Him. When the aspiring devotee takes shelter of the spiritual master he or she receives some of that transcendental ﾏakti and is thereby able to overcome the influence of Dhenuk€s™ra.
The Story of Dhenuk€s™ra
(from ®r…la Prabhup€da's KﾍﾐŠa Books)
While KﾍﾐŠa was thus engaged in exhibiting His internal potency along with the supermost fortunate friends, there occurred another chance for Him to exhibit the superhuman powers of Godhead. His most intimate friends ®r…d€ma, Sub€la and StokakﾍﾐŠa began to address KﾍﾐŠa and Balar€ma with great love and affection thus: "Dear Balar€ma, You are very powerful; Your arms are very strong. Dear KﾍﾐŠa, You are very expert in killing all kinds of disturbing demons. Will You kindly note that just near this place there is a big forest of the name Talav€na. This forest is full of palm trees, and all the trees are filled with fruits. Some are falling down, and some of them are very ripe even in the trees. It is a very nice place, but because of a great demon, Dhenuk€s™ra, it is very difficult to go there. No one can reach the trees to collect the fruits. Dear KﾍﾐŠa and Balar€ma, this demon is present there in the form of an ass, and he is surrounded by similar demon friends who assume the same shape. All of them are very strong, so it is very difficult to approach this place. Dear brothers, You are the only persons who can kill such demons. Other than You, no one can go there for fear of being killed. Not even animals go there, and no birds are sleeping there; they have all left. One can only appreciate the sweet aroma that is coming from that place. It appears that up until now, no one has tasted the sweet fruits there, either on the tree or on the ground. Dear KﾍﾐŠa, to tell You frankly, we are very attracted by this sweet aroma. Dear Balar€ma, let us all go there and enjoy these fruits. The aroma of the fruits is now spread everywhere. Don't You smell it from here?"
When Balar€ma and KﾍﾐŠa were thus petitioned by Their smiling, intimate friends, They were inclined to please them, and They began to proceed towards the forest, surrounded by all Their friends. Immediately upon entering the Talav€na, Balar€ma began to yank the trees with His arms, exhibiting the strength of an elephant. Because of this jerking, all the ripe fruits fell down on the ground. Upon hearing the sound of the falling fruits, the demon Dhenuk€s™ra, who was living there in the form of an ass, began to approach with great force, shaking the whole field so that all the trees began to move as if there were an earthquake. The demon appeared first before Balar€ma and began to kick His chest with his hind legs. At first, Balarama did not say anything, but the demon with great anger began to kick Him again more vehemently. This time Balar€ma immediately caught hold of the legs of the ass with one hand and, wheeling him around, threw him into the treetops. While he was being wheeled around by Balar€ma, the demon lost his life. Balar€ma threw the demon into the biggest palm tree about, and the demon's body was so heavy that the palm tree fell upon other trees, and several fell down. It appeared as if a great hurricane had passed through the forest, and all the trees were falling down, one after another. This exhibition of extraordinary strength is not astonishing because Balar€ma is the Personality of Godhead known as šn€nta ®eﾐan€ga, who is holding all the planets on the hoods of His millions of heads. He maintains the whole cosmic manifestation exactly as two threads hold the weaving of a cloth.
After the demon was thrown into the trees, all the friends and associates of Dhenuk€s™ra immediately assembled and attacked Balar€ma and KﾍﾐŠa with great force. They were determined to retaliate and avenge the death of their friend. But KﾍﾐŠa and Balar€ma began to catch each of the asses by the hind legs and, exactly in the same way, wheel them around. Thus They killed all of them by throwing them into the palm trees. Because of the dead bodies of the asses, there was a panoramic scene. It appeared as if clouds of various colors were assembled in the trees. Hearing of this great incident, the demigods from the higher planets began to shower flowers on KﾍﾐŠa and Balar€ma and began to beat their drums and offer devotional prayers.
K€liya represents brutal cruelty, maliciousness, pride, envy and a snake-like crookedness. He particularly tries to pour his poison into the hearts of innocent Vaiﾐnavas, which KﾍﾐŠa cannot tolerate, so then the Lord kills him.
According to the Garga Saˆh…ta in his last life, during the manvantara of Sv€yambh™va Manu, at the beginning of the creation, he was a sage named Vedaﾏir€ who was cursed for not allowing the sage Aﾏvaﾏir€ to meditate in his €ﾏrama. "You are angry for no reason! You hiss just like a snake! Become a snake!" Then Lord Viﾐnu appeared and told him that He would place His lotus feet on his head in that lifetime. Then Vedaﾏir€ took birth with the first generation of great snakes to appear in the universe, from Dakﾐa's daughter Kadr™.
The Story of K€liya
(from ®r…la Prabhup€da's KﾍﾐŠa Books)
Sometimes KﾍﾐŠa used to go with His boyfriends and with Balar€ma, and sometimes He used to go alone with His friends to the bank of the Yamun€ and tend the cows. Gradually, the summer season arrived, and one day, while in the field, the boys and cows became very thirsty and began to drink the water of the Yamun€. The river, however, was made poisonous by the venom of the great serpent known as K€liya.
Because the water was so poisonous, the boys and cows became visibly affected immediately after drinking. They suddenly fell down on the ground, apparently dead. Then KﾍﾐŠa, who is the life of all lives, simply cast His merciful glance over them, and all the boys and cows regained consciousness and began to look at one another with great astonishment. They could understand that by drinking the water of Yamun€ they had died and that the merciful glance of KﾍﾐŠa restored their life. Thus they appreciated the mystic power of KﾍﾐŠa, who is known as Yogeﾏvara, the master of all mystic yogis.
When He understood that the water of the Yamun€ was being polluted by the black serpent K€liya, Lord KﾍﾐŠa took action against him and made him leave the Yamun€ and go elsewhere, and thus the water became purified.
When this story was being narrated by ®ukadeva Gosv€mi, Mah€r€ja Par…kﾐit became eager to hear more about KﾍﾐŠa's childhood pastimes. He inquired from ®ukadeva Gosv€mi how KﾍﾐŠa chastised K€liya, who was living in the water for many years. Actually, Mah€r€ja Par…kﾐit was becoming more and more enthusiastic to hear the transcendental pastimes of KﾍﾐŠa, and his inquiry was made with great interest.
®ukadeva Gosvami narrated the story as follows. Within the River Yamun€ there was a great lake, and in that lake the black serpent K€liya used to live. Because of his poison, the whole area was so contaminated that it emanated a poisonous vapor twenty-four hours a day. If a bird happened to even pass over the spot, he would immediately fall down in the water and die.
Due to the poisonous effect of the Yamun€'s vapors, the trees and grass near the bank of the Yamun€ had all dried up. Lord KﾍﾐŠa saw the effect of the great serpent's poison; the whole river that ran before Vﾍnd€vana was now deadly.
KﾍﾐŠa, who advented Himself just to kill all undesirable elements in the world, immediately climbed up in a big kadamba tree on the bank of the Yamun€. The kadamba is a round yellow flower, generally seen only in the Vﾍnd€vana area. After climbing to the top of the tree, He tightened His belt cloth and, flapping His arms just like a wrestler, jumped in the midst of the poisonous lake. The kadamba tree from which KﾍﾐŠa had jumped was the only tree there which was not dead. Some commentators say that due to touching the lotus feet of KﾍﾐŠa, the tree became immediately alive. In some other Pur€nas it is stated that Garuda, the eternal carrier of Viﾐnu, knew that KﾍﾐŠa would take this action in the future, so he put some nectar on this tree to preserve it. When Lord KﾍﾐŠa jumped into the water, the river overflooded its banks, as if something very large had fallen into it. This exhibition of KﾍﾐŠa's strength is not at all uncommon because He is the reservoir of all strength.
When KﾍﾐŠa was swimming about, just like a great strong elephant, He made a tumultuous sound which the great black serpent K€liya could hear. The tumult was intolerable for him, and he could understand that this was an attempt to attack his home. Therefore he immediately came before KﾍﾐŠa. K€liya saw that KﾍﾐŠa was indeed worth seeing because His body was so beautiful and delicate; its color resembled that of a cloud, and His legs resembled a lotus flower. He was decorated with ®r…vatsa, jewels and yellow garments. He was smiling with a beautiful face and was playing in the River Yamun€ with great strength. But in spite of KﾍﾐŠa's beautiful features, K€liya felt great anger within his heart, and thus he grabbed KﾍﾐŠa with his mighty coils. Seeing the incredible way in which KﾍﾐŠa was enveloped in the coils of the serpent, the affectionate cowherd boys and inhabitants of Vﾍnd€vana immediately became stunned out of fear. They had dedicated everything to KﾍﾐŠa, their lives, property, affection, activities — everything was for KﾍﾐŠa — and when they saw Him in that condition, they became overwhelmed with fear and fell down on the ground. All the cows, bulls and small calves became overwhelmed with grief, and they began to look at Him with great anxiety. Out of fear they could only cry in agony and stand erect on the bank, unable to help their beloved KﾍﾐŠa.
While this scene was taking place on the bank of the Yamun€, there were ill omens manifest. The earth trembled, meteors fell from the sky, and the left side of men's bodies shivered. All these are indications of great immediate danger. Observing the inauspicious signs, the cowherd men, including Mah€r€ja Nanda, became very anxious out of fear. At the same time they were informed that KﾍﾐŠa had gone to the pasturing ground without His elder brother, Balar€ma. As soon as Nanda and Yaﾏoda and the cowherd men heard this news, they became even more anxious. Out of their great affection for KﾍﾐŠa, unaware of the extent of KﾍﾐŠa's potencies, they became overwhelmed with grief and anxiety because they had nothing dearer than KﾍﾐŠa and because they dedicated their everything — life, property, affection, mind and activities — to KﾍﾐŠa. Because of their great attachment for KﾍﾐŠa, they thought, "Today KﾍﾐŠa is surely going to be vanquished!
All the inhabitants of Vﾍnd€vana came out of the village to see KﾍﾐŠa. The assembly consisted of children, young and old men, women, animals and all living entities; they knew that KﾍﾐŠa was their only means of sustenance. While this was happening, Balar€ma, who is the master of all knowledge, stood there simply smiling. He knew how powerful His younger brother KﾍﾐŠa was and that there was no cause for anxiety when KﾍﾐŠa was fighting with an ordinary serpent of the material world. He did not, therefore, personally take any part in their concern. On the other hand, all the inhabitants of Vﾍnd€vana, being disturbed, began to search out KﾍﾐŠa by following the impression of His footprints on the ground, and thus they moved towards the bank of the Yamun€. Finally, by following the footprints marked with flag, bow and conchshell, the inhabitants of Vﾍnd€vana arrived at the riverbank and saw that all the cows and boys were weeping to behold KﾍﾐŠa enwrapped in the coils of the black serpent. Then they became still more overwhelmed with grief. While Balar€ma was smiling to see their lamentation, all the inhabitants of Vrajabh™mi merged into the ocean of grief because they thought that KﾍﾐŠa was finished. Although the residents of Vﾍnd€vana did not know much about KﾍﾐŠa, their love for Him was beyond comparison. As soon as they saw that KﾍﾐŠa was in the River Yamun€ enveloped by the serpent K€liya and that all the boys and cows were lamenting, they simply began to think of KﾍﾐŠa's friendship, His smiling face, His sweet words and His dealings with them. Thinking of all these and believing that their KﾍﾐŠa was now within the clutches of K€liya, they at once felt that the three worlds had become vacant. Lord Chaitanya also said that He was seeing the three worlds as vacant for want of KﾍﾐŠa. This is the highest stage of KﾍﾐŠa consciousness. Almost all of the inhabitants of Vﾍnd€vana had the highest ecstatic love for KﾍﾐŠa.
When mother Yaﾏoda arrived, she wanted to enter the River Yamun€, and being checked, she fainted. Other friends who were equally aggrieved were shedding tears like torrents of rain or waves of the river, but in order to bring mother Yaﾏoda to consciousness, they began to speak loudly about the transcendental pastimes of KﾍﾐŠa. Mother Yaﾏoda remained still, as if dead, because her consciousness was concentrated on the face of KﾍﾐŠa. Nanda and all others who dedicated everything, including their lives, to KﾍﾐŠa were ready to enter the waters of the Yamun€, but Lord Balar€ma checked them because He was in perfect knowledge that there was no danger.
For two hours KﾍﾐŠa remained like an ordinary child gripped in the coils of K€liya, but when He saw that all the inhabitants of Gokula — including His mother and father, the gopis, the boys and the cows — were just on the point of death and that they had no shelter for salvation from imminent death, KﾍﾐŠa immediately freed Himself. He began to expand His body, and when the serpent tried to hold Him, he felt a great strain. On account of the strain, his coils slackened, and he had no alternative but to let loose the Personality of Godhead, KﾍﾐŠa, from his grasp. K€liya then became very angry, and his great hoods expanded. He exhaled poisonous fumes from his nostrils, his eyes blazed like fire, and flames issued from his mouth. The great serpent remained still for some time, looking at KﾍﾐŠa. Licking his lips with bifurcated tongues, the serpent looked at KﾍﾐŠa with double hoods, and his eyesight was full of poison. KﾍﾐŠa immediately pounced upon him, just as Garuda swoops upon a snake. Thus attacked, K€liya looked for an opportunity to bite Him, but KﾍﾐŠa moved around him. As KﾍﾐŠa and K€liya moved in a circle, the serpent gradually became fatigued, and his strength seemed to diminish considerably. KﾍﾐŠa immediately pressed down the serpent's hoods and jumped up on them. The Lord's lotus feet became tinged with red from the rays of the jewels on the snake's hoods. Then He who is the original artist of all fine arts, such as dancing, began to dance upon the hoods of the serpent, although they were moving to and fro. Upon seeing this, denizens from the upper planets began to shower flowers, beat drums, play different types of flutes and sing various prayers and songs. In this way, all the denizens of heaven, such as the Gandharvas, Siddhas and demigods, became very pleased.
While KﾍﾐŠa was dancing on his hoods, K€liya tried to push Him down with some of his other hoods. K€liya had about a hundred hoods, but KﾍﾐŠa took control of them. He began to dash K€liya with His lotus feet, and this was more than the serpent could bear. Gradually, K€liya was reduced to struggling for his very life. He vomited all kinds of refuse and exhaled fire. While throwing up poisonous material from within, K€liya became reduced in his sinful situation. Out of great anger, he began to struggle for existence and tried to raise one of his hoods to kill the Lord. The Lord immediately captured that hood and subdued it by kicking it and dancing on it. It actually appeared as if the Supreme Personality of Godhead Viﾐnu was being worshipped; the poisons emanating from the mouth of the serpent appeared to be like flower offerings. K€liya then began to vomit blood instead of poison; he was completely fatigued. His whole body appeared to be broken by the kicks of the Lord. Within his mind, however, he finally began to understand that KﾍﾐŠa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and he began to surrender unto Him. He realized that KﾍﾐŠa is the Supreme Lord, the master of everything.
®r…la Bhaktisiddh€nta Sarasvat…
(from The Harmonist)
K€liya is the type of cunning and malice. He is the embodiment of unrelenting cruelty. There is no place for K€liya in the happy realm of Vraja. Deceit and cruelty are as poison to the artless loving nature of the denizens of Vraja. It is quite conceivable for the confidential friends of KﾍﾐŠa not to entertain any suspicion regarding the malicious intention of cruel and deceitful persons whose purpose is to poison them against KﾍﾐŠa. They may even unwittingly fall into the counsel of such evil persons. But KﾍﾐŠa is sure to rescue His own from the wiles of His enemies.
Nay KﾍﾐŠa has also a plan for curing the evil propensity of K€liya himself. The process consists in making him feel the touches of His dancing feet. But K€liya attempts to bear up against all curative chastisement. Instead of feeling the joy of supporting the feet of KﾍﾐŠa on his nasty hoods the monster finds it impossible to bear his good fortune without undergoing the pangs of actual death. Even the loyal wives of K€liya who desire the reformation of the monster and whose good wishes for his well-being are the cause of KﾍﾐŠa's mercy towards him are at last forced to intercede by a prayer for his banishment from the realm of Vraja. But the pride of K€liya had received a mortal check.
The banishment of K€liya from the lake of the Yamun€ has a most important spiritual significance. Those who have a purpose to create trouble against the pure devotees of KﾍﾐŠa by infecting the devotees with their own malicious disposition meet with a certain degree of initial success in their nefarious undertaking. This emboldens them to make a direct attack upon KﾍﾐŠa Himself when He appears on the scene of their depraved activities in order to restore the living faith of His own bonafide associates.
Those who are not exceedingly clever can never be servants of ®r… KﾍﾐŠa. But the service of KﾍﾐŠa is also never available to those whose cunning is employed for depriving KﾍﾐŠa of the fullness of His enjoyment. K€liya and those who are actuated by a naturally malicious disposition are also styled clever in the ordinary phraseology of this damned world. Such rascals my also have the impudence of taking their stand upon the texts of the scriptures and using their cunningness in the graceless attempt of depriving KﾍﾐŠa of the service of His own. This kind of conduct may also pass undetected and may even be regarded as possessing the perfect skill of confidential service. But KﾍﾐŠa is sure to expose the real nature of the villain just at the moment when it has been successful in misleading His best loved ones.
It is indeed very difficult to understand the ways of KﾍﾐŠa. KﾍﾐŠa apparently permits almost every form of offense to be perpetrated with impunity against His own beloved ones. This has the effect of providing an opportunity to His own for proving their incomparable love for Him and by the means of this unique exhibition of their love to defeat in the most fruitful manner the machinations of His worst enemies. The friends of KﾍﾐŠa are offered to the malice of cunning and relentless brutes in order to bring out the difference between the two and thereby enable the latter to desist from troubling the devotees of their own accord.
But these brutes are never allowed to associate with the servants of KﾍﾐŠa even after they forego all their malice towards them. They are eternally debarred from the service of KﾍﾐŠa in Vraja. But the touch of KﾍﾐŠa's feet makes a real difference between the recipient of His mercy and the other brutes. K€liya is no longer regarded by Garuda as the enemy of KﾍﾐŠa. K€liya is, therefore, allowed a place among those who are protected by KﾍﾐŠa.
It does not follow that it is a paying business to poison the hearts of His servants against KﾍﾐŠa which is sure to be granted with the reward of His protection. Yes, this is so after the pride of the miscreant is thoroughly broken by being trod upon by KﾍﾐŠa Himself. He is thereby inspired with a most wholesome dread which effectively prevents him from trying to breed mischief among the bonafide devotees by owning an unwilling allegiance to KﾍﾐŠa and assuming the badge of His servitude by wearing on his head the print of His lotus feet.
The mercy shown to K€liya is so obviously and disproportionately great in its magnitude in face of the extreme gravity of his offense that no rationalistic explanation can do justice to its full beneficient significance.
THE FIRST FOREST FIRE
The first forest fire represents hatred and arguments between Vaiﾐnavas or different religions, and disrespecting each other's Deities. It can also represent any type of clash or conflict.
®r…la San€tana Gosw€mi makes the point that some people say that the fire was a friend of K€liya's who assumed this form, and others say that he was a demon who was a follower of Kaˆsa.
The Story of
The First Forest Fire
(from ®r…la Prabhup€da's KﾍﾐŠa Books)
Since it was almost night, and all the inhabitants of Vﾍnd€vana, including the cows and calves, were very tired, they decided to take their rest on the riverbank. In the middle of the night, while they were taking rest, there was suddenly a great forest fire, and it quickly appeared that the fire would soon devour all the inhabitants of Vﾍnd€vana. As soon as they felt the warmth of the fire, they immediately took shelter of KﾍﾐŠa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, although He was playing just like their child. They began to say, "Our dear KﾍﾐŠa! O Supreme Personality of Godhead! Our dear Balar€ma, the reservoir of all strength! Please try to save us from this all-devouring and devastating fire. We have no other shelter than You. This devastating fire will swallow us all!" Thus they prayed to KﾍﾐŠa, saying that they could not take any shelter other than His lotus feet. Lord KﾍﾐŠa, being compassionate upon His own townspeople, immediately swallowed up the whole forest fire and saved them. This was not impossible for KﾍﾐŠa because He is unlimited. He has unlimited power to do anything He desires.
Pralamb€s™ra represents lust for the opposite sex, and the desire for profit, adoration and distinction.
According to the Brahm€-vaivarta Pur€na in his previous life he was Sudarﾏana, one of the brothers of Suhotra, who became Bak€s™ra. According to the Garga Saˆh…ta he was Vijaya, the son of a Gandharva king named H™h™. He was cursed by Kuvera to become a demon for stealing some flowers from one of his gardens.
Some Special Considerations Regarding Pralamb€s™ra
Bhaktivinoda Th€kura writes: "Lusty attractions for the opposite sex, greed for money, the desire for sense gratification, inclinations for increasing one's honour and false prestige, the desire for being worshipped — these are all certainly very strong obstacles, and are very difficult to overcome. But if one understands that they are very detrimental for one's development in KﾍﾐŠa consciousness one will try very enthusiastically to cast them out.
"If one endeavours in a very humble mood KﾍﾐŠa will certainly show His mercy. Then upon the awakening of the mood of ®r… Baladeva in the devotee's heart, these contaminations will instantly be removed.
"The methods of the process of purification are very deep and mysterious; therefore it is necessary to learn about them directly from a bonafide spiritual master."
The Story of Pralamb€s™ra
(from ®r…la Prabhup€da's KﾍﾐŠa Books)
Once while they were engaged in their transcendental pastimes, a great demon of the name Pralamb€s™ra entered their company, desiring to kidnap both Balar€ma and KﾍﾐŠa. Although KﾍﾐŠa was playing the part of a cowherd boy, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead He could understand everything — past, present and future. So when Pralamb€s™ra entered their company, KﾍﾐŠa began to think how to kill the demon, but externally He received him as a friend. "O My dear friend," He said. "It is very good that you have come to take part in our pastimes." KﾍﾐŠa then called all His friends and ordered them: "Now we shall play in pairs. We shall challenge one another in pairs." With this proposal, all the boys assembled together. Some of them took the side of KﾍﾐŠa, and some of them took the side of Balar€ma, and they arranged to play in duel. The defeated members in duel fighting had to carry the victorious members on their backs. They began playing, and at the same time tended the cows as they proceeded through the Bhand…ravana forest. The party of Balar€ma, accompanied by ®r…d€ma and Vﾍﾐabha, came out victorious, and KﾍﾐŠa's party had to carry them on their backs through the Bhand…ravana forest. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, KﾍﾐŠa, being defeated, had to carry ®r…d€ma on His back, and Bhadrasena carried Vﾍﾐabha. Imitating their play, Pralamb€s™ra, who appeared there as a cowherd boy, carried Balar€ma on his back. Pralamb€s™ra was the greatest of the demons, and he had calculated that KﾍﾐŠa was the most powerful of the cowherd boys.
In order to avoid the company of KﾍﾐŠa, Pralamb€s™ra carried Balar€ma far away. The demon was undoubtedly very strong and powerful, but he was carrying Balar€ma, who is compared to a mountain; therefore he began to feel the burden, and thus he assumed his real form. When he appeared in his real feature, he was decorated with a golden helmet and earrings and looked just like a cloud with lightning carrying the moon. Balar€ma observed the demon's body expanding up to the limits of the clouds, his eyes dazzling like blazing fire and his mouth flashing with sharpened teeth. At first, Balar€ma was surprised by the demon's appearance, and He began to wonder, "How is it that all of a sudden this carrier has changed in every way?" But with a clear mind He could quickly understand that He was being carried away from His friends by a demon who intended to kill Him. Immediately He struck the head of the demon with His strong fist, just as the king of the heavenly planets strikes a mountain with his thunderbolt. Being stricken by the fist of Balar€ma, the demon fell down dead, just like a snake with a smashed head, and blood poured from his mouth. When the demon fell, he made a tremendous sound, and it sounded as if a great hill were falling upon being struck by the thunderbolt of King Indra. All the boys then rushed to the spot. Being astonished by the ghastly scene, they began to praise Balar€ma with the words "Well done, well done." All of them then began to embrace Balar€ma with great affection, thinking that He had returned from death, and they offered their blessings and congratulations. All the demigods in the heavenly planets became very satisfied and showered flowers on the transcendental body of Balar€ma, and they also offered their blessings and congratulations for His having killed the great demon Pralamb€s™ra.
THE SECOND FOREST FIRE
The second forest fire represents the attack of atheism and other antagonistic philosophies on KﾍﾐŠa consciousness.
®r…la San€tana Gosw€mi says that some people say that the forest fire was a friend of Pralamb€s™ra's.
The Story of
The Second Forest Fire
(from ®r…la Prabhup€da's KﾍﾐŠa Books)
While KﾍﾐŠa and Balar€ma and Their friends were engaged in the pastimes described above, the cows, being unobserved, began to wander off on their own, entering farther and farther into the deepest part of the forest, allured by fresh grasses. The goats, cows and buffalo traveled from one forest to another and entered the forest known as Iﾐik€˜avi. This forest was full of green grass, and therefore they were allured; but when they entered, they saw that there was a forest fire, and they began to cry. On the other side Balar€ma and KﾍﾐŠa, along with Their friends, could not find their animals, and they became very aggrieved. They began to trace the cows by following their footprints, as well as the path of eaten grass. All of the boys were fearing that their very means of livelihood, the cows, were now lost. When searching out the cows in the forest, they themselves were very much tired and thirsty. Soon, however, they heard the crying of their cows. KﾍﾐŠa began to call the cows by their respective names, with great noise. Upon hearing KﾍﾐŠa calling, the cows immediately replied with joy. But by this time the forest fire surrounded all of them, and the situation appeared to be very fearful.
The flames increased as the wind blew very quickly, and it appeared that everything movable and immovable would be devoured. All the cows and the boys became very frightened, and they looked towards Balar€ma the way a dying man looks at the picture of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They said, "Dear KﾍﾐŠa and Balar€ma, we are now burning from the heat of this blazing fire. Let us take shelter of Your lotus feet. We know You can protect us from this great danger. Our dear friend KﾍﾐŠa, we are Your intimate friends. It is not right that we should suffer in this way. We are all completely dependent on You, and You are the knower of all religious life. We do not know anyone except You. The Personality of Godhead heard the appealing voices of His friends, and casting a pleasing glance over them, He began to answer. By speaking through His eyes, He impressed upon His friends that there was no cause for fear. Then KﾍﾐŠa, the supreme mystic, the powerful Personality of Godhead, immediately swallowed up all the flames of the fire. The cows and boys were thus saved from imminent danger. Out of fear, the boys were almost unconscious, but when they regained their consciousness and opened their eyes, they saw that they were again in the forest with KﾍﾐŠa, Balar€ma and the cows. They were astonished to see that they were completely free from the attack of the blazing fire and that the cows were saved.
CORRECTING THE BRšHMA¦AS
This pastime illustrates the fault of indifference towards KﾍﾐŠa arising out of pride due to high birth in the varn€ﾏr€ma system.
The Story of
KﾍﾐŠa Correcting The Br€hmaŠas
(from ®r…la Prabhup€da's KﾍﾐŠa Books)
The morning passed, and the cowherd boys were very hungry because they had not eaten breakfast. They immediately approached KﾍﾐŠa and Balar€ma and said, "Dear KﾍﾐŠa and Balar€ma, You are both all-powerful; You can kill many, many demons, but today we are much afflicted with hunger, and this is disturbing us. Please arrange for something that will mitigate our hunger."
Requested in this way by Their friends, Lord KﾍﾐŠa and Balar€ma immediately showed compassion on certain wives of br€hmaŠas who were performing sacrifices. These wives were great devotees of the Lord, and KﾍﾐŠa took this opportunity to bless them. He said, "My dear friends, please go to the house of the br€hmaŠas nearby. They are now engaged in performing Vedic sacrifices known as angirasa, for they desire elevation to heavenly planets. All of you please go to them." Then Lord KﾍﾐŠa warned His friends, "These brahmanas are not Vaiﾐnavas. They cannot even chant Our names, KﾍﾐŠa and Balar€ma. They are very busy in chanting the Vedic hymns, although the purpose of Vedic knowledge is to find Me. But because they are not attracted by the names of KﾍﾐŠa and Balar€ma, you had better not ask them for anything in My name. Better ask for some charity in the name of Balar€ma."
Charity is generally given to high-class br€hmaŠas, but KﾍﾐŠa and Balar€ma did not appear in a br€hmaŠa family. Balar€ma was known as the son of Vasudeva, a ksatriya, and KﾍﾐŠa was known in Vﾍnd€vana as the son of Nanda Mah€r€ja, who was a vaisya. Neither belonged to the br€hmaŠa community. Therefore, KﾍﾐŠa considered that the br€hmaŠas engaged in performing sacrifices might not be induced to give charity to a kﾐatriya and vaisya. "But at least if you utter the name of Balar€ma, they may prefer to give in charity to a kﾐatriya, rather than to Me, because I am only a vaiﾐya."
Being thus ordered by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, all the boys went to the br€hmaŠas and began to ask for some charity. They approached them with folded hands and fell down on the ground to offer respect. "O earthly gods, kindly hear us who are ordered by Lord KﾍﾐŠa and Balar€ma. We hope you know Them both very well, and we wish you all good fortune. KﾍﾐŠa and Balar€ma are tending cows nearby, and we have accompanied Them. We have come to ask for some food from you. You are all br€hmaŠas and knowers of religious principles, and if you think that you should give us charity, then give us some food, and we all shall eat along with KﾍﾐŠa and Balar€ma. You are the most respectable br€hmaŠas within the human society, and you are expected to know all the principles of religious procedure."
Although the boys were village boys and were not expected to be learned in all the Vedic principles of religious ritual, they hinted that because of their association with KﾍﾐŠa and Balar€ma, they knew all those principles. By addressing the br€hmaŠas as "knowers of all religious principles," the boys expressed the point of view that when the Supreme Personality of Godhead, KﾍﾐŠa and Balar€ma, were asking for food, the br€hmaŠas should immediately deliver some without hesitation, because, as stated in the Bhagavad G…t€, one should perform yajsha (sacrifices) only for the satisfaction of Viﾐnu.
The boys continued, "Lord Viﾐnu as KﾍﾐŠa and Balar€ma is standing waiting, and you should immediately deliver whatever food you have in your stock." They also explained to the br€hmaŠas how foodstuffs are to be accepted. Generally, the Vaiﾐnavas, or pure devotees of the Lord, do not take part in ordinary sacrificial performances. But they know very well the ceremonials called dikﾐa, paﾏu-saˆsth€ and ﾏautram€ni. One is permitted to take food after the procedure of dikﾐa and before the animal sacrificial ceremony and the ﾏautram€ni, or ceremony in which liquors are also offered. The boys said, "We can take your food at the present stage of your ceremony, for now it will not be prohibited. So you can deliver us the foodstuff."
Although the companions of Lord KﾍﾐŠa and Balar€ma were simple cowherd boys, they were in a position to dictate even to the high-class br€hmaŠas engaged in the Vedic rituals of sacrifices. But the smarta-br€hmaŠas, who were simply sacrificial-minded, could not understand the dictation of the transcendental devotees of the Lord. They could not even appreciate the begging of the Supreme Lord, KﾍﾐŠa and Balar€ma. Although they heard all the arguments on behalf of KﾍﾐŠa and Balar€ma, they did not care for them, and they refused to speak to the boys. Despite being highly elevated in the knowledge of Vedic sacrificial rites, all such nondevotee br€hmaŠas, although they think of themselves as very highly elevated, are ignorant, foolish persons. All their activities are useless because they do not know the purpose of the Vedas, as it is explained in the Bhagavad G…t€: to understand KﾍﾐŠa. In spite of their advancement in Vedic knowledge and rituals, they do not understand KﾍﾐŠa; therefore their knowledge of the Vedas is superficial. Lord Chaitanya, therefore, gave His valuable opinion that a person does not have to be born in a br€hmaŠa family; if he knows KﾍﾐŠa or the science of KﾍﾐŠa consciousness, he is more than a br€hmaŠa, and he is quite fit to become a spiritual master.
There are various details to be observed in the performance of sacrifices. They are known as deﾏa, place; k€la, time; pﾍthag-dravya, the different detailed paraphernalia; mantra, hymns; tantra, scriptural evidences; agni, fire; ﾍtvij, learned performers of sacrifices; devat€, the demigods; yajam€na, the performer of the sacrifices; kratu, the sacrifice itself; and dharma, the procedures. All these are for satisfying KﾍﾐŠa. It is confirmed that He is the actual enjoyer of all sacrifices because He is directly the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the Supreme Absolute Truth, beyond the conception or speculation of material senses. He is present just like an ordinary human boy. But for persons who identify themselves with the body, it is very difficult to understand Him. The br€hmaŠas were very interested in the comforts of this material body and in elevation to the higher planetary residences called svarga-v€sa. They were therefore completely unable to understand the position of KﾍﾐŠa.
When the boys saw that the br€hmaŠas would not speak to them, they became very disappointed. They then returned to Lord KﾍﾐŠa and Balar€ma and explained everything that had happened. After hearing their statements, the Supreme Personality began to smile. He told them that they should not be sorry for being refused by the br€hmaŠas, because that is the way of begging. He convinced them that while one is engaged in collecting or begging, one should not think that he will be successful everywhere. He may be unsuccessful in some places, but that should not be cause for disappointment. Lord KﾍﾐŠa then asked all the boys to go again, but this time to the wives of those br€hmaŠas engaged in sacrifices. He also informed them that these wives were great devotees. "They are always absorbed in thinking of Us. Go there and ask for some food in My name and the name of Balar€ma, and I am sure that they will deliver you as much food as you desire."
Carrying out KﾍﾐŠa's order, the boys immediately went to the wives of the br€hmaŠas. They found the wives sitting inside their house. They were very beautifully decorated with ornaments. After offering them all respectful obeisances, the boys said, "Dear mothers, please accept our humble obeisances and hear our statement. May we inform you that Lord KﾍﾐŠa and Balar€ma are nearby. They have come here with the cows, and you may know also that we have come here under Their instructions. All of us are very hungry; therefore, we have come to you for some food. Please give us something to eat for KﾍﾐŠa, Balar€ma and ourselves."
Immediately upon hearing this, the wives of the br€hmaŠas became anxious for KﾍﾐŠa and Balar€ma. These reactions were spontaneous. They did not have to be convinced of the importance of KﾍﾐŠa and Balar€ma; immediately upon hearing Their names, they became very anxious to see Them. Being advanced by thinking of KﾍﾐŠa constantly, they were performing the greatest form of mystic meditation. All the wives then became very busily engaged in filling up different pots with nice foodstuff. Due to the performance of the sacrifice, the various food was all very palatable. After collecting a feast, they prepared to go to KﾍﾐŠa, their most lovable object, exactly in the way rivers flow to the sea.
OVERCOMING THE PRIDE
OF LORD INDRA
This pastime illustrates the mistake of thinking that it is good to perform demigod worship. Also the fault of thinking that "I am Supreme. I am worshipable."
The Story of Lord KﾍﾐŠa
Overcoming Indra's Pride
(from ®r…la Prabhup€da's KﾍﾐŠa Books)
When Indra understood that the sacrifice offered by the cowherd men in Vﾍnd€vana was stopped by KﾍﾐŠa, he became angry, and he vented his anger upon the inhabitants of Vﾍnd€vana, who were headed by Nanda Mah€r€ja, although Indra knew perfectly well that KﾍﾐŠa was personally protecting them. As the director of different kinds of clouds, Indra called for the samvartaka. This cloud is invited when there is a need to devastate the whole cosmic manifestation. The samvartaka was ordered by Indra to go over Vﾍnd€vana and inundate the whole area with an extensive flood. Demonically, Indra thought himself to be the all-powerful supreme personality. When demons become very powerful, they defy the supreme controller, the Personality of Godhead. Indra, though not a demon, was puffed up by his material position, and he wanted to challenge the supreme controller. He thought himself, at least for the time being, as powerful as KﾍﾐŠa. Indra said, "Just see the impudence of the inhabitants of Vﾍnd€vana! They are simply inhabitants of the forest, but being infatuated with their friend KﾍﾐŠa, who is nothing but an ordinary human being, they have dared to defy the demigods."
KﾍﾐŠa has declared in the Bhagavad G…t€ that the worshipers of the demigods are not very intelligent. He has also declared that one has to give up all kinds of worship and simply concentrate on KﾍﾐŠa consciousness. KﾍﾐŠa's invoking the anger of Indra and later on chastising him is a clear indication to His devotee that those who are engaged in KﾍﾐŠa consciousness have no need to worship any demigod, even if it is found that the demigod has become angry. KﾍﾐŠa gives His devotees all protection, and they should completely depend on His mercy.
Indra cursed the action of the inhabitants of Vﾍnd€vana and said, "By defying the authority of the demigods, the inhabitants of Vﾍnd€vana will suffer in material existence. Having neglected the sacrifice to the demigods, they cannot cross over the impediments of the ocean of material misery." Indra further declared, "These cowherd men in Vﾍnd€vana have neglected my authority on the advice of this talkative boy who is known as KﾍﾐŠa. He is nothing but a child, and by believing this child, they have enraged me." Thus he ordered the samvartaka cloud to go and destroy the prosperity of Vﾍnd€vana. "The men of Vﾍnd€vana," said Indra, "have become too puffed up over their material opulence and their confidence in the presence of their tiny friend, KﾍﾐŠa. He is simply talkative, childish, and unaware of the complete cosmic situation, although He is thinking Himself very advanced in knowledge. Because they have taken KﾍﾐŠa so seriously, they must be punished, and so I have ordered the samvartaka cloud to go there and inundate the place. They should be destroyed with their cows."
It is indicated here that in the villages or outside the towns, the inhabitants must depend on the cows for their prosperity. When the cows are destroyed, the people are destitute of all kinds of opulences. When King Indra ordered the samvartaka and companion clouds to go to Vﾍnd€vana, the clouds were afraid of the assignment. But King Indra assured them, "You go ahead, and I will also go, riding on my elephant, accompanied by great storms. And I shall apply all my strength to punish the inhabitants of Vﾍnd€vana.
Ordered by King Indra, all the dangerous clouds appeared above Vﾍnd€vana and began to pour water incessantly, with all their strength and power. There was constant lightning and thunder, blowing of severe wind and incessant falling of rain. The rainfall seemed to fall like piercing sharp arrows. By pouring water as thick as pillars, without cessation, the clouds gradually filled all the lands in Vﾍnd€vana with water, and there was no visible distinction between higher and lower land. The situation was very dangerous, especially for the animals. The rainfall was accompanied by great winds, and every living creature in Vﾍnd€vana began to tremble from the severe cold. Unable to find any other source of deliverance, they all approached Govinda to take shelter at His lotus feet. The cows especially, being much aggrieved from the heavy rain, bowed down their heads, and taking their calves underneath their bodies, they approached the Supreme Personality of Godhead to take shelter of His lotus feet. At that time all the inhabitants of Vﾍnd€vana began to pray to Lord KﾍﾐŠa. "Dear KﾍﾐŠa," they prayed, "You are all-powerful, and You are very affectionate to Your devotees. Now please protect us, who have been much harassed by angry Indra."
Upon hearing their prayer, KﾍﾐŠa could also understand that Indra, being bereft of his sacrificial honor, was pouring down rain that was accompanied by heavy pieces of ice and strong winds, although all this was out of season. KﾍﾐŠa understood that this was a deliberate exhibition of anger by Indra. He therefore concluded, "This demigod who thinks himself supreme has shown his great power, but I shall answer him according to My position, and I shall teach him that he is not autonomous in managing universal affairs. I am the Supreme Lord over all, and I shall thus take away his false prestige, which has risen from his power. The demigods are My devotees, and therefore it is not possible for them to forget My supremacy, but somehow or other he has become puffed up with material power and thus is now maddened. I shall act in such a way to relieve him of this false prestige. I shall give protection to My pure devotees in Vﾍnd€vana, who are at present completely at My mercy and whom I have taken completely under My protection. I will save them by My mystic power."
Thinking in this way, Lord KﾍﾐŠa immediately picked up Govardhana Hill with one hand, exactly as a child picks up a mushroom from the ground. Thus He exhibited His transcendental pastime of lifting Govardhana Hill. Lord KﾍﾐŠa then began to address His devotees, "My dear brothers, My dear father, My dear inhabitants of Vﾍnd€vana, you can now safely enter under the umbrella of Govardhana Hill, which I have just lifted. Do not be afraid of the hill and think that it will fall from My hand. You have been too much afflicted from the heavy rain and strong wind; therefore I have lifted this hill, which will protect you exactly like a huge umbrella. I think this is a proper arrangement to relieve you of your immediate distress. Be happy along with your animals underneath this great umbrella." Being assured by Lord KﾍﾐŠa, all the inhabitants of Vﾍnd€vana entered beneath the great hill and appeared to be safe along with their property and animals.
The inhabitants of Vﾍnd€vana and their animals remained there for one week without being disturbed by hunger, thirst or any other discomforts. They were simply astonished to see how KﾍﾐŠa was holding up the mountain with the little finger of His left hand. Seeing the extraordinary mystic power of KﾍﾐŠa, Indra, the King of heaven, was thunderstruck and baffled in his determination. He immediately called for all the clouds and asked them to desist. When the sky became completely cleared of all clouds and there was sunrise again, the strong wind stopped. At that time KﾍﾐŠa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, known now as the lifter of Govardhana Hill, said, "My dear cowherd men, now you can leave and take your wives, children, cows and valuables, because everything is ended. The inundation has gone down, along with the swelling waters of the river."
When KﾍﾐŠa saved the inhabitants of Vﾍnd€vana from the wrath of Indra by lifting Govardhana Hill, a surabhi cow from Goloka Vﾍnd€vana, as well as King Indra from the heavenly planet, appeared before Him. Indra, the King of heaven, was conscious of his offense before KﾍﾐŠa; therefore he stealthily appeared before Him from a secluded place. He immediately fell down at the lotus feet of KﾍﾐŠa, although his own crown was dazzling like sunshine. Indra knew about the exalted position of KﾍﾐŠa because KﾍﾐŠa is the master of Indra, but he could not believe that KﾍﾐŠa could come down and live in Vﾍnd€vana among the cowherd men. When KﾍﾐŠa defied the authority of Indra, Indra became angry because he thought that he was all in all within this universe and that no one was as powerful as he. But after this incident, his false puffed-up prestige was destroyed. Being conscious of his subordinate position, he appeared before KﾍﾐŠa with folded hands and began to offer the following prayers.
STOLEN BY VARU¦A
This pastime represents the misconception that the bliss of devotional service can be enhanced by indulging in wine and other intoxicants.
The Story of Nanda Mah€r€ja
Being Stolen by VaruŠa
(from ®r…la Prabhup€da's KﾍﾐŠa Books)
Mah€r€ja Nanda observed fasting for the whole day, and just early in the morning of the Dv€daﾏ…, the day after Ekadaﾏ…, he went to take bath in the River Yamun€. He entered deep into the water of the river, but he was arrested immediately by one of the servants of VaruŠadeva. These servants brought Nanda Mah€r€ja before the demigod Varun€ and accused him of taking a bath in the river at the wrong time. According to astronomical calculations, the time in which he took bath was considered demoniac. The fact was that Nanda Mah€r€ja wanted to take a bath in the River Yamun€ early in the morning before the sunrise, but somehow or other he was a little too early, and he bathed at an inauspicious time. Consequently he was arrested.
When Nanda Mah€r€ja was taken away by VaruŠa's servants, his companions began to call loudly for KﾍﾐŠa and Balar€ma. Immediately KﾍﾐŠa and Balar€ma could understand that Nanda Mah€r€ja had been taken by VaruŠa, and thus They went to the abode of VaruŠa, for They were pledged to give protection. The inhabitants of Vﾍnd€vana, the unalloyed devotees of the Lord, having no shelter other than the Supreme Personality of Godhead, naturally cried to Him for help, exactly like children who do not know anything but the protection of their parents. Demigod VaruŠa received Lord KﾍﾐŠa and Balar€ma with great respect and said, "My dear Lord, actually at this very moment, because of Your presence, my life as the demigod VaruŠa has become successful. Although I am the proprietor of all the treasures in the water, I know that such possessions do not make for a successful life. But this moment, as I look at You, my life is made completely successful because by seeing You I no longer have to accept a material body. Therefore, O Lord, Supreme Personality of Godhead, Supreme Brahman and Supersoul of everything, let me offer my respectful obeisances unto You. You are the supreme transcendental personality; there is no possibility of imposing the influence of material nature upon You. I am very sorry that my men, being foolish, by not knowing what to do or what not to do, have mistakenly arrested Your father, Nanda Mah€r€ja. So I beg Your pardon for the offense of my servants. I think that it was Your plan to show me Your mercy by Your personal presence here. My dear Lord KﾍﾐŠa, Govinda, be merciful upon me — here is Your father. You can take him back immediately."
DELIVERED FROM THE SNAKE
This pastime represents how KﾍﾐŠa saves the truth of devotional service from being swallowed by the M€y€v€dis and other atheists. It illustrates how devotees must avoid the company of such snake-like people.
In his previous life (as described in the KﾍﾐŠa Books), he was the demigod Vidy€dhara.
The Story of Nanda Mah€r€ja's
Deliverance from the Snake
(from ®r…la Prabhup€da's KﾍﾐŠa Books)
The cowherd men, headed by Nanda Mah€r€ja, spent that night on the bank of the Sarasvat…. They fasted all day and drank a little water at night. But while they were taking rest, a great serpent from the nearby forest appeared before them and hungrily began to swallow up Nanda Mah€r€ja, Nanda began to cry helplessly, "My dear son, KﾍﾐŠa, please come and save me from this danger! This serpent is swallowing me!" When Nanda Mah€r€ja cried for help, all the cowherd men got up and saw what was happening. They immediately took up burning logs and began to beat the snake to kill it. But in spite of being beaten with burning logs, the serpent was not about to give up swallowing Nanda Mah€r€ja.
At that time KﾍﾐŠa appeared on the scene and touched the serpent with His lotus feet. Immediately upon being touched by the lotus feet of KﾍﾐŠa, the serpent shed its reptilian body and appeared as a very beautiful demigod named Vidy€dhara. His bodily features were so beautiful that he appeared to be worshipable. There was a luster and effulgence emanating from his body, and he was garlanded with a gold necklace. He offered obeisances to Lord KﾍﾐŠa and stood before Him with great humility. KﾍﾐŠa then asked the demigod, "You appear to be a very nice demigod and to be favored by the goddess of fortune. How is it that you performed such abominable activities, and how did you get the body of a serpent?" The demigod then began to narrate the story of his previous life.
"My dear Lord," he said, "in my previous life I was named Vidy€dhara and was known all over the world for my beauty. Because I was a celebrated personality, I used to travel all over in my airplane. While traveling, I saw a great sage named š‰gir€. He was very ugly, and because I was very proud of my beauty, I laughed at him. Due to this sinful action, I was condemned by the great sage to assume the form of a serpent."
The killing of this demon represents KﾍﾐŠa's killing the desire for name and fame and the association of the opposite sex.
The Story of ®a‰k€sura
(from ®r…la Prabhup€da's KﾍﾐŠa Books)
After this incident, on a very pleasant night, both KﾍﾐŠa and His elder brother Balar€ma, who are inconceivably powerful, went into the forest of Vﾍnd€vana. They were accompanied by the damsels of Vrajabhumi, and they began to enjoy each other's company. The young damsels of Vraja were very nicely dressed and anointed with pulp of sandalwood and decorated with flowers. The moon was shining in the sky, surrounded by glittering stars. The breeze was blowing, bearing the aroma of mallika flowers, and the bumblebees were mad after the aroma. Taking advantage of the pleasing atmosphere, both KﾍﾐŠa and Balar€ma began to sing very melodiously. The damsels became so absorbed in Their rhythmical song that they almost forgot themselves; their hair loosened, their dresses slackened, and their garlands began to fall to the ground.
At that time, while they were so much absorbed, almost in madness, a demon associate of Kuvera (the treasurer of the heavenly planets) appeared on the scene. The demon's name was ®a‰kh€sura because on his head there was a valuable jewel resembling a conchshell. Just as the two sons of Kuvera were puffed up over their wealth and opulence and did not care for N€rada Muni's presence, this ®a‰kh€sura was also puffed up over material opulence. He thought that KﾍﾐŠa and Balar€ma were two ordinary cowherd boys enjoying the company of many beautiful girls. Generally, in the material world, a person with riches thinks that all beautiful women should be enjoyed by him. ®a‰kh€sura also thought that since he belonged to the rich community of Kuvera, he, not KﾍﾐŠa and Balar€ma, should enjoy the company of so many beautiful girls. He therefore decided to take charge of them.
He appeared before KﾍﾐŠa and Balar€ma and the damsels of Vraja and began to lead the girls away to the north. He commanded them as if he were their proprietor and husband, despite the presence of KﾍﾐŠa and Balar€ma. Being forcibly taken away by ®a‰kh€sura, the damsels of Vraja began to call the names of KﾍﾐŠa and Balar€ma for protection. The two brothers immediately began to follow them, taking up big logs in Their hands. "Don't be afraid, don't be afraid," They called to the gopis. "We are coming at once to chastise this demon." Very quickly They reached ®a‰kh€sura. Thinking the brothers too powerful, ®a‰kh€sura left the company of the gopis and ran for fear of his life. But KﾍﾐŠa would not let him go. He entrusted the gopis to the care of Balar€ma and followed ®a‰kh€sura wherever he fled. KﾍﾐŠa wanted to take the valuable jewel resembling a conchshell from the head of the demon. After following him a very short distance, KﾍﾐŠa caught him, struck his head with His fist and killed him. He then took the valuable jewel and returned. In the presence of all the damsels of Vraja, He presented the valuable jewel to His elder brother Balar€ma.
Ariﾐt€sura represents the pride of fraudulent religionists whose practices have been concocted by cheaters. Due to their contaminated condition they show disrespect to the process of pure devotional service to KﾍﾐŠa.
According to the Garga Saˆh…ta in his past life he had been a br€hmaŠa named Varatantu, who was a disciple of Bﾍhaspati. One day he sat facing his guru with his feet extended toward him. Bﾍhaspati told him "You sit as a bull sits! Fool, you now become a bull!" He then took birth as a bull in East Bengal, and by the association of demoniac bulls he also became a demon.
The Story of Ariﾐt€sura
(from ®r…la Prabhup€da's KﾍﾐŠa Books)
One demon named Ariﾐt€sura entered the village like a great bull with a gigantic body and horns, digging up the earth with his hooves. When the demon entered Vﾍnd€vana, the whole land appeared to tremble, as if there were an earthquake. He roared fiercely, and after digging up the earth on the riverside, he entered the village proper. The fearful roaring of the bull was so piercing that some of the pregnant cows and women had miscarriages. Its body was so big, stout and strong that a cloud hovered over its body just as clouds hover over mountains. Ariﾐt€sura entered Vﾍnd€vana with such a fearful appearance that just on seeing this great demon, all the men and women were afflicted with great fear, and the cows and other animals fled the village.
The situation became very terrible, and all the inhabitants of Vﾍnd€vana began to cry, "KﾍﾐŠa! KﾍﾐŠa, please save us!" KﾍﾐŠa also saw that the cows were running away, and He immediately replied, "Don't be afraid. Don't be afraid." He then appeared before Ariﾐt€sura and said, "You are the lowest of living entities. Why are you frightening the inhabitants of Gokula? What will you gain by this action? If you have come to challenge My authority, then I am prepared to fight you." In this way, KﾍﾐŠa challenged the demon, and the demon became very angry by the words of KﾍﾐŠa. KﾍﾐŠa stood before the bull, resting His hand on the shoulder of a friend. The bull began to proceed towards KﾍﾐŠa in anger. Digging the earth with his hooves, Ariﾐt€sura lifted his tail, and it appeared that clouds were hovering about the tail. His eyes were reddish and moving in anger. Pointing his horns at KﾍﾐŠa, he began to charge Him, just like the thunderbolt of Indra. But KﾍﾐŠa immediately caught his horns and tossed him away, just as a gigantic elephant repels a small inimical elephant. Although the demon appeared very tired and although he was perspiring, he took courage and got up. Again he charged KﾍﾐŠa with great force and anger. While rushing towards KﾍﾐŠa, he breathed very heavily. KﾍﾐŠa again caught his horns and immediately threw him on the ground, breaking his horns. KﾍﾐŠa then began to kick his body, just as one squeezes a wet cloth on the ground. Being thus kicked by KﾍﾐŠa, Ariﾐtasura rolled over and began to move his legs violently. Bleeding and passing stool and urine, his eyes starting from their sockets, he passed to the kingdom of death.
Keﾐi represents the vanity of thinking "I am a great devotee and guru." Also the false ego arising from attachment from wealth and material accomplishments.
According to the Brahm€-vaivarta Pur€na in his last life he was Suparﾏvaka, one of the brothers of the Gandharvas who became Pralamba and Bak€sura.
The Story of Keﾏi
(from ®r…la Prabhup€da's KﾍﾐŠa Books)
After being instructed by Kaˆsa, the demon Keﾏi assumed the form of a terrible horse. He entered the area of Vﾍnd€vana, his great mane flying and his hooves digging up the earth. He began to whinny and terrify the whole world. KﾍﾐŠa saw that the demon was terrifying all the residents of Vﾍnd€vana with his whinnying and his tail wheeling in the sky like a big cloud. KﾍﾐŠa could understand that the horse was challenging Him to fight. The Lord accepted his challenge and stood before the Keﾐi demon. As He called him to fight, the horse began to proceed towards KﾍﾐŠa, making a horrible sound like a roaring lion. Keﾏi rushed toward the Lord with great speed and tried to trample Him with his legs, which were strong, forceful, and as hard as stone. KﾍﾐŠa, however, immediately caught hold of his legs and thus baffled him.
Being somewhat angry, KﾍﾐŠa began to move around the horse dexterously. After a few rounds, He threw him a hundred yards away, just as Garuda throws a big snake. Thrown by KﾍﾐŠa, the horse immediately passed out, but after a little while he regained consciousness and with great anger and force rushed toward KﾍﾐŠa again, this time with his mouth open. As soon as Keﾏi reached Him, KﾍﾐŠa pushed His left hand within the horse's mouth. The horse felt great pain because the hand of KﾍﾐŠa felt to him like a hot iron rod. Immediately his teeth fell out. KﾍﾐŠa's hand within the mouth of the horse at once began to inflate, and Keﾐi's throat choked up. As the great horse began to suffocate, perspiration appeared on his body, and he began to throw his legs hither and thither. As his last breath came, his eyeballs bulged in their sockets, and he passed stool and urine simultaneously. Thus the vital force of his life expired. When the horse was dead, his mouth became loose, and KﾍﾐŠa could extract His hand without difficulty. He did not feel any surprise that the Keﾏi demon was killed so easily, but the demigods were amazed, and out of their great appreciation they offered KﾍﾐŠa greetings by showering flowers.
The killing of Vyom€sura illustrates the need to give up the company of thieves and other rascals, as well as cheating impostors who disguise themselves as devotees.
According to the Garga Saˆh…ta in his previous life he was a great devotee king named Bh…maratha from V€r€Šasi. After some time he renounced his kingdom and went to the Malaya Hills to perform austerities. One day the sage Pulastya came to his hermitage with many disciples, but Bh…maratha neglected to welcome them properly, so Pulastya cursed him to become a demon. But he then blessed him that he would be liberated by KﾍﾐŠa. Bh…maratha then took birth as Vyom€sura, the son of M€y€sura.
The Story of Vyom€sura
(from ®r…la Prabhup€da's KﾍﾐŠa Books)
Later that morning, KﾍﾐŠa went to play with His cowherd boyfriends on the top of the Govardhana Hill. They were imitating the play of thieves and police. Some of the boys became police constables, and some became thieves, and some took the role of lambs. While they were thus enjoying their childhood pastimes, a demon known by the name of Vyom€sura, "the demon who flies in the sky," appeared on the scene. He was the son of another great demon, named M€y€. These demons can perform wonderful magic. Vyom€sura took the part of a cowherd boy playing as thief and stole many boys who were playing the parts of lambs. One after another he took away almost all the boys and put them in the caves of the mountain and sealed the mouths of the caves with stones. KﾍﾐŠa could understand the trick the demon was playing; therefore He caught hold of him exactly as a lion catches hold of a lamb. The demon tried to expand himself like a hill to escape arrest, but KﾍﾐŠa did not allow him to get out of His clutches. He was immediately thrown on the ground with great force and killed, just as an animal is killed in the slaughterhouse. After killing the Vyoma demon, Lord KﾍﾐŠa released all His friends from the caves of the mountain. He was then praised by His friends and by the demigods for these wonderful acts. He again returned to Vﾍnd€vana with His cows and friends.