The Political Scene of Kali Yuga (Plus, Reconciling Dualism, Non-Dualism, and the Vedas)

SB 1.17.25

Morality now limps around only on the leg of truthfulness. In Kali Yuga, immorality tries to destroy that leg by instigating deceits.

26

The All Attractive erased this great burden from the earth while his beautiful footprints spread happiness everywhere.

27

This saintly woman weeps and sheds tears, forsaken and unfortunate, thinking “Now low-class small-minded men masquerading as kings will exploit me.”

“This saintly woman” refers to the Earth goddess, present there in the form of a cow. In texts 26 & 27 Parīkṣit guesses her mind as thinking, “Now that my husband Krishna is gone I am forsaken and alone. Detestable creatures masquerading as real men will soon pounce upon and rape me.”

28

Having thus soothed Dharma and the Earth, the great chariot-warrior drew his sharp sword against Kali, the agent of immorality.

The “great charior-warrior” is King Parīkṣit.

29

Seeing his intention to kill, Kali very fearfully abandoned his king-costume and bowed his head to the king’s feet.

30

The heroic show mercy and kindness to the wretched who fall at their feet. So the praiseworthy giver of shelter did not kill him. With a bit of a smile, he spoke.

31

The King Said:

I must uphold the reputation of Arjuna, so since you put your hands together in supplication to me nothing fearful shall befall you. But by no means can you roam free in my lands, because you are a friend to immorality.

32

Wherever you impersonate a ruler the masses will become full of immoralities: greed, falsehood, thievery, unkindness, violence, decay, delusion, bickering and vanity.

33

A friend of immorality cannot remain where there is truth and morality: a spiritual place where sacrifice is done for the master of sacrifice with a full abundance of deep realization.

34

Such sacrifices worship the All-Attractive Hari – who is the soul of all worshipable forms, and who expands the happiness of the worshipers. His desires are unfailing. He is the soul that is inside and outside of everything that moves and does not move; like the sky.

Parīkṣit uses Sanskrit words here that fell out of fashion after the four Veda evolved into Upanishads and Puranas. It is because he is discussing the performance of sacrifice, and the four Veda are the basis of sacrificial culture in ancient India.

The sacrifices of the Veda seem rarely if ever directed to the All-Attractive Godhead. Instead they serve very practical, materialistic purposes and are directed to various material powers and demigods who can award practical success and happiness. Parīkṣit declares in texts 33 & 34 that when truly realized people perform these sacrifices it is All-Attractive Hari (hari bhagavān) whom they worship (iyjamāna), not the various demigods with whom the four Veda seem preoccupied. Those demigods are actually the forms (murti) in which the realized sacrificer sees All-Attractive Hari as the soul (ijyātma-murtiḥ). The demigods themselves are under the control of fate, therefore what power do they truly have to bless their worshipper? It is only Hari whose will cannot be thwarted in any circumstance, who has “unfailing desires” (kāmān amoghān). Therefore it is only Hari who can bless anyone with happiness and success. In Vedic sacrifices he uses the demigods as a vehicle to bestow those blessings. This is not a sectarian or ecclesiastic opinion. It is a self-evident philosophical truism.

One may then wonder, Are the demigods are equivalent to Hari? Parīkṣit says that Hari is not just the soul within the demigods, he is the soul within everything, even things which do not seem to be alive! Then is Hari contained within the demigods and souls of the world? No. Parīkṣit says that he is not only within everything, he is also beyond everything (sthira-jangamānām antar bahir ātmā). In this half of the verse Parīkṣit switches is word choice from a Vedic to an Upanishadic tone; because the Upanishads were written to explain the philosophical truths hidden within the apparently superficial symbols and rituals of the Veda, and that is exactly what Parīkṣit is doing.

One may ask, How can something be inside and outside at the same time? Parīkṣit therefore names a prominent Vedic deity: Vāyu, god of the sky. Everything in our world is within the sky, but that does not mean that the sky is limited and contained within everything. The sky is distinct from and greater than everything within it! Similarly All-Attractive Hari is the soul within everyone and everything, yet is an individual person as well, greater than and distinct from everyone else.

This is a perfect synthesis of dualism and non-dualism. The great teacher Śrī Caitanya picked up on this philosophy held by Parīkṣit and enunciated by Sūta in the Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. He developed it into a school of thought known as acintya-bhedābheda-tattva (“the truth of wondrous unity and difference”).

About Vraja Kishor


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