Category Archives: 1.17 Pariksit and Kali

Noble Fury

When Parīkṣit came upon them, they appeared like an abandoned cow and bull being beaten with a club by a wicked man dressed like a king.

The bull, white as lotus-root, was urinating out of fear, trembling and terrified as his one remaining leg was beaten by the rogue.

The cow, whose milk is morality, became helpless and afraid as the rogue smashed her legs. Bereft of her calves, tears streamed down her face. She looked emaciated and in dire need of grass.

The king picked up his bow and spoke to the culprit in a voice that resounded from his completely golden chariot like deep thunder from the sky:

Who are you?! What are you doing in my kingdom?! What kind of ‘strong man’ attacks the weak??? Your kingly clothes are nothing but a costume, for such deeds are not those of a noble person!

Do you think you can get away with this because Krishna and Arjuna[1] are no longer among us? That will not happen! You are guilty of attacking the innocent when you think no one is looking. You deserve to die!

Then the king turned to the bull in a different tone of voice:

Here is a bull as white as lotus-root, moving on one leg with the others broken; are you a god taking this shape to show us the miserable future?

Moving his glance towards the cow, his voice became full of compassion:

Never before has anyone come to such lamentable grief in any land protected by the arms of Kuru Kings. O child of Surabhi,[2]no one in my kingdom should fear harm from wicked men. Mother, do not cry! Be blessed! I shall curb this rogue!

Oh saintly woman, destruction comes to the fame, longevity, fortune and afterlife of a king who allows anyone to be terrorized by the wicked. A king’s first duty is to remove the suffering of those who suffer. Therefore I shall kill this most worthless hater of creatures!

Turning again to the bull, the King asked for a testimony:

Who broke your three legs, O four-legged Surabhi’s-son? I have never seen such a thing in a country ruled by kings who follow Krishna.

But the bull said nothing.

The king continued:

Please speak, for the sake of those who are saintly and do no wrong. And for my sake, tell me who is disfiguring and destroying the fame of Pṛthā’s sons?

Those who harm the harmless must fear me wherever they go! Certainly the saintly prosper when the sinful are curbed. If any wildman harms the harmless I will unleash my arms without restraint, even if he is an armored immortal.

The foremost duty of a dutiful king is to protect the innocent and curb those who needlessly disregard the moral path.


[1] Arjuna is named here as the wielder of the powerful Gaṇḍīva bow.

[2] Surabhi is the divine cow.


Conversation Between The Dharma Bull & The Earth Goddess Cow

Sūta began to tell the story of Parīkṣit arresting Kali:

While surveying the Kuru Jungle, Parīkṣit heard undesirable news: Kali had spread through the kingdom. Seeing this as an excellent opportunity for a fight, he took up his weapons and set out on a beautiful chariot, flying a lion-flag and yoked to brilliantly black horses, along with soldiers, horsemen, elephanteers and charioteers.

As he traveled, he brought order and strength to his lands.[1] Everywhere he went he always heard bards singing about his great ancestors, because their fame was involved with the glories of Kṛṣṇa. These songs often involved him, too: especially how Krishna rescued him from the powerful weapon of Aśvatthāma. He heard songs about the great affection between his family and Krishna’s family, due to their mutual love for Krishna.

Extremely satisfied by these songs his eyes opened wide with delighted love. In a very magnanimous mood, he gave the bards a great deal of money, clothing and jewelry.

Hearing how the universally obeyed Viṣṇu became a driver, ally, assistant, friend, messenger, guard, follower, and respecter of the beloved Pāṇḍavas made the king choked up with devotion for Viṣṇu’s lotus-like feet .

He thus passed many days enrapt in thoughts of his ancestors. But soon something very astonishing happened, which is what you wanted to know about:

The god of morality had taken the form of a bull, and was walking the only leg he still. He came upon the goddess of the earth, who had taken the form of a cow and was darkened under the shadow of grief, with tears covering her cheeks like a mother who has lost her child.

Dharma asked her:

Good lady, are you alright? Why has the shadow of grief darkened the face of your soul? Are you ill, Mother? Are you remembering of a long-lost friend?

Do you lament for my broken legs? Do you weep because wicked people will soon eat you? Are you depressed over the drought that will soon strike you when sacrifices to the gods cease?

Do you cry for the unsheltered women and children of the earth, who will be left for monsters to devour? Or because priests will speak only words, while their fraudulent behavior abandons spirituality in search of political power? Or because the politicians will bewilder themselves with bickering, while civilization declines into a mob mindlessly and randomly eating, drinking, living, bathing, and having sex?

O Mother, Hari descended to lighten your heaven burden. Take heart; remember all the deeds he did to save you! Or has this situation changed? O Mother, please tell me what is at the very root of your tears. Has fate, more powerful than any power, dissolved your treasure and good fortune, which the gods themselves desired?

Dharaṇī[2] replied:

Dear Dharma, whose four legs spread happiness throughout the worlds, I will enlighten you about all that you have asked.

Truthfulness, cleanliness, compassion, calmness, detachment, satisfaction, sincerity, introspection, restraint, austerity, fairness, learning…

Knowledge, dispassion, power, chivalry, influence, strength, morality, independence, expertise, beauty, steadfastness, and certainly kindness…

Ingenuity, gentility, good manners, willpower, vigor, fortune, depth, dedication, faithfulness, fame, honor, modesty…

…The All-Attractive always has all these and many other great qualities. No one else can ever hope to possess such greatness. He is the flag of good qualities and the palace of beauty herself.

You ask why I lament? I have just been robbed of his company; and in his absence I suddenly find the ills of Kali entering the world.

I lament not only for myself. This is also a disaster for you, and for the highest immortals, the gods, the forefathers, the sages, the saintly… it is a disaster for everyone.

You know that there is a goddess named Śrī; and that everyone including the creator, Brahmā, always struggles to obtain her carefree glance. But she has given herself wholly to the All-Attractive. Abandoning her home in the forests of lotuses she dedicates herself to lovingly caring for his blessed feet.

The soles of those same feet recently decorated my body with their prints – marked with a flag, spur, thunderbolt and lotus. Ah, with these ornaments my beauty and opulence excelled paradise itself! But now… he has left me… I suppose I must have been too proud of my good fortune?

He manifested his delightful body in the Yadu family to easily and independently rescue me from the extreme burden of hundreds of demonic armies. He empowered you to be free from the misery of your broken legs. Oh, who can bear to be without that supreme man!? His glances, pleasant smile and sweet words dispel the composure and pride of proud sweethearts. My hairs stood up to celebrate the touch of his feet!!!

While Pṛthivī[3] and Dharma were discussing Krishna in this way, the Philosopher-King Parīkṣit arrived at the eastward Sarasvatī river.


[1]  The text notes the following regions that Parīkṣit visited: eastward to Bhadrāśva, westward to Ketumāla, southward into Bhārata, and northward into Uttarakuru and the wild mountainous regions beyond, like Kimpuruṣa.

[2] Dharaṇī refers to the earth as the thing that holds everything and everyone up.

[3] Pṛthivī refers to the Earth as the great expanse which spreads from horizon to horizon and splits the vast sky.


Cheating Kali

SB 1.17.42

The world prospers when we encourage well rounded and thoughtful restoration of the Bull’s three broken legs: simplicity, purity, and kindness.

In contrast to the previous verse, anyone who wishes to prosper should strive for simplicity, purity and kindness by all ways and means.

Parīkṣit gave Kali a few domains to control, but then encouraged his citizens to shy away from such places – thus cheating Kali of the opportunity to gain power.

43

He nobly rules from the throne passed to him by his grandfather when that king wanted to retire to the forests.

44

The fame of that glorious ruler of the world, the philosopher-king, the foremost of the Kuru family, spreads through the opulent capitol city.

45

You can initiate this sacrifice because of the expert administration and protection of that King, Abhimanyu’s son.

“Abhimanyu’s son” is Parīkṣit. In one sense, the sages were able to perform a Vedic sacrifice only because the king’s administration provided materials and sponsorship to the hundreds of sages involved, and kept the forests free of persons and creatures of ill intent. In another sense, the sages gathered here are in the initial stages of participating in a spiritual function that represents the culmination of all knowledge and religion: they are about to engage in a deep and detailed discussion of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam. If it were not for Parīkṣit this would not be possible, because without him the Bhāgavatam in the wonderful form they will hear it would never have been spoken by Śuka.


Wretched Hives of Scum and Villany

SB 1.17.35

Sūta said:

Thus commanded by Parīkṣit, whose sword was raised like the god of death, Kali trembled as he answered.

36

Kali said:

On this entire earth, anywhere you may send me I will see your powerful bow and arrow and remember your orders.

37

O best of those who protect morality, might you assign me some place to confine myself within, under your rule?

Parīkṣit threatened to kill Kali, but Kali took refuge of his mercy. The king agreed not to kill him, but still refused to allow him full freedom. Kali assured the king that fear would always keep him on good behavior. If the King would give Kali a limited jurisdiction Kali would stay put there and not spread anywhere else.

38

Sūta said:

Petitioned thus, Parīkṣit gave Kali: places of gambling and contest, places of drinking, places of sexual promiscuity, and slaughterhouses.

Through sports and gambling Kali encourages untruth. Through drinking he encourages a loss of sobriety and simplicity, because alcohol sets free our “repressed” desires. Where there is sexual promiscuity Kali destroys purity and cleanliness, causing loss of self-esteem and venereal disease. Where there is meat eating Kali destroys compassion.

Parīkṣit limited Kali’s power to certain domains. Unfortunately Kali has spread the influence of these domains to every nook and cranny of the earth. Where can you go to escape sports, beer, cleavage and hamburgers? Stadiums, bars, pornography hard and soft, and slaughterhouses now dominate our entire “culture” of sports, alcohol, blatant sexuality, and hamburgers.

Kali has taken over the earth.

39

Begging for a little more, the Master gave him a fifth place: wherever money accumulates. In such places there is always cheating, maddening desire, passion, and enmity.

40

The Son of Uttarā gave Kali to the order to live only in those five places, through which Kali could certainly encourage immorality.  

41

Therefore a person who desires his own well-being must never, ever go to such places. Especially not those who protect morality: kings, leaders, and teachers.

No one who wishes to truly improve their lives should become a fan of making money, competing with others, getting drunk, trying to have sex, and eating meat. Do not become intimate or close with anyone who seriously values any of these things!


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”).


Moral Principles

21

Sūta said:

O best among twice-born, when the Sovereign heard these words from Dharma he replied without doubt or hesitation.

22

The King said:

Your words are full of dharma. You understand dharma. You are Dharma in the form of a bull. One who criticizes the wrongdoings of others also becomes a wrongdoer.

By hearing the bull speak, and speak so eloquently and knowledgeably, Parīkṣit confirmed his initial suspicion that it was not an ordinary bull, but a god, Dharma – the god of religion / morality.

If one understands morality as deeply as the god of morality does, one becomes extremely averse to criticizing others. If we criticize someone, invariably our mind becomes enrapt in the qualities we criticize. Those qualities then seep into our own behavior. Parīkṣit himself will explain in the next verse that to criticize another person is to assume that the universe is flawed.

There are many different levels of dharma, morality. Parīkṣit previously pointed out that it is a moral duty to identify wrongdoers so they may be punished. Now, on a deeper level, he acknowledges that it is ignorant to consider anything a “wrong.” In practice, I suggest that we may point out the wrongdoings perpetrated on other people when there is something productive to be gained by so doing.

23

He thinks, “The minute movements of divine magic are beyond the boundaries of the mind or words of any living being.”

Parīkṣit explains why a very moral person does not criticize the wrongdoer. When a wrong is done, he thinks, “Who can say if this is truly ‘wrong’ since the minutia of fate is so far beyond my capacity to understand.”

24

Properly established, your legs are simplicity, purity, compassion and truthfulness. They are broken by the triplicate immoralities: arrogance, copulation, and intoxication.

Among the scriptural statements I have yet studied this is one of the closest to the somewhat famous “four regulative principles” of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness. There they have a stature reminiscent of the 10 Commandments. I believe they were originally enunciated by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī for his organization, the Gauḍiya Maṭh.

The common expression of the “Four Regs” is: (1) no meat eating, (2) no intoxication, (3) no illicit sex, and (4) no gambling. I would like to explain these rules more deeply and thoroughly than is common.

These four prohibitions are said to break the four legs of morality. So we should first understand the four legs of morality a little more clearly.

  1. 1.       Tapaḥ – This means to be simple, spartan, minimalist, austere, and self-sacrificing.
  2. 2.       Śaucaṁ – This means to be pure. Purity means to be emotionally, mentally, and physically clean, free from contamination.
  3. 3.       Dayā – This means to be kind, compassionate, merciful, forgiving, generous, etc.
  4. 4.       Satyaṁ – This means to be truthful. It also means to be “real” and not concerned with irrelevant and meaningless gossips and diversions.

In this verse and the next, Parīkṣit identifies four aspects of immorality which break the four legs of morality:

  1. 1.       Smaya – This means arrogance and conceit.
  2. 2.       Sanga – This means “coming together” and can have a social or physical context. In a social context it means gathering in a close and emotionally intimate group. In a physical context it means physical intimacy, sex.
  3. 3.       Madaiḥ – This means excitement, passion, lust, and the intoxication and insanity which tends to result.
  4. 4.       Anṛta – This means falsehood, lying, cheating and being out of touch with reality.

Smaya (arrogance) breaks the leg of dayā (compassion).  Compassion means to feel empathy for the needs and wants of others. When we are self-absorbed and self-important we overlook the needs and wants of other people. We will even kill them if it suits our whims, just as millions of people kill animals and destroy nature every day because it suits their tastes.

Not eating meat is one way to counteract arrogance because it forces us to value the lives of animals more than we value our own fancies. It is not the only way. And it should be clear that a vegetarian who remains arrogant, conceited, and insensitive to the human beings he or she lives with hardly makes much progress towards dayā (compassion). We should be compassionate in all ways, not just in our diet.

Sanga (copulation) breaks the leg of śaucaṁ (purity). It is not that sex is evil. In fact, all acts which unify express a godly principle, “aditi.” But intimacy, especially sexual intimacy, with anyone and everyone is immoral because it violates our ideological and emotional purity. It also threatens our physical purity and cleanliness and creates needless disease.

Some form of abstinence is therefore an important principle of morality. Total celibacy is an extreme application, but the same principle also positively operates whenever sexual intercourse is held within reasonable limits such as marriage or even in long-term relationships. Sexual restraint alone does not itself make us pure. We must also seek to be free from emotionally intimate relationships with unsavory persons.

Madaiḥ (the intoxication of lust) breaks the leg of tapaḥ (simplicity). Simplicity means to be content with whatever you have. It means to be free from the complications that arise by always desiring more, bigger and better. Simplicity and sobriety have something important in common, as a sober person doesn’t chase whims and desires here and there.

Literally drinking alcohol or taking other sorts of drugs is certainly an important part of madai (lustful intoxication), but it is not really the essence of it. To restore the leg of tapaḥ we must be “sober” in much more than merely a literal sense of the word. Surely a person who is literally sober has a head start, but it is not that intoxicants themselves are evil. A person who does not drink alcohol is not necessarily a simple, austere person. Nor is a person who occasionally and moderately drinks incapable of being minimalist, simple and austere. We must strive to be sober in all ways, so that we have more time and energy to dedicate to the service of others.

The fourth leg, satya (truthfulness) is broken by anṛta (deceit). Playing poker or gambling is not the essence of untruthfulness! Still, gambling is based on bluffing, cheating, tricking, or just risking what is comparatively real (money) on something comparatively unreal (dice). Thus to restore the principle of truthfulness we would do well to avoid such behavior, but a game of cards, or a bluff at stealing second base in a game of baseball does not make one a “sinner.” Simply put, we must not tell lies, must keep promises, fulfill responsibilities, disclose the truth plainly but with good manners and sensitivity, and not risk what is real for the sake of what is unreal.

The fourth leg (sat-ya) still has significant potency in the fourth age, the age of Kali. It endures even in adverse conditions because it is the principle, most durable, powerful leg of morality. This is why sat-sanga and sat-kathā are such essential aspects of religion and spirituality. These prevent us from sacrificing the truly real for the truly unreal: and that is actual morality.

What is truly unreal? Our ego.

What is truly real? The All-Attractive Divine Identity (“Śrī Krishna”). The Śrīmad Bhāgavatam describes Śrī Krishna as satyam-param: the paramount truth. Thus krsna-sanga (emotionally intimate association with Krishna, via those who are deeply absorbed in contemplation of Krishna) and krsna-kathā (discussion and broadcast of Krishna’s name, qualities, beauty and activities) can restore all the legs of morality fully and deliver happiness, satisfaction and enlightenment to anyone and everyone.

The four principles of morality are four “legs” that hold up the “bull” of dharma. What is the bull itself? What are the principles actually supporting? Divine Love for the All-Attractive. Without divine love, all behavior – moral or not – is pretentious and ugly. When one focuses on cultivating divine love through krsna-sanga and krsna-kathā the four principles of morality automatically become firm, strong and whole.

Hare Krishna.


Why Do We Suffer?

SB 1.17.17

Dharma said:

“Such words which remove the fear of those who suffer are very befitting of a Pāṇḍava. These good qualities made All-Attractive Krishna become submissive to you.

18-20

“We don’t really know what the real cause of our suffering is, O great man. There are many confusing opinions about it.

 “The competent who are free from doubt declare that the self is responsible for the self. Others think the responsibility lies with the gods. Someone else thinks it is a cause and effect of nature. And still others think this is beyond our mental and intellectual capability to understand. O philosopher-king, form your own opinion of which of these is best.

Parīkṣit asked Dharma, “Who broke your legs?”

Dharma replies, “There are many different opinions.”

Who is responsible for our suffering? Some say no one is responsible; it is merely a chance event – a random cause and effect of nature. Others say it is a result of divine, celestial powers toying with our destiny. Others are simply confused and say there is no way of knowing for sure.

But competent thinkers who are free from doubt declare simply, “You are responsible for yourself!”

Our own freewill creates our own destiny. Dharma says, “You are responsible for your own destiny, because the self-of-the-self holds you responsible.”

Who holds us responsible for our choices? The “self-of-the-self,” Godhead, the Supersoul does. God is good. So know it clearly and without doubt that nothing in your destiny is harmful, even if it is painful. As Parīkṣit said, that which is good should be rewarded and that which is otherwise should be punished to curb it down. A leader should follow this principle. The ultimate king and leader of all living beings, Godhead does. The self-of-the-self rewards what is selfless in our free choices, and punishes what is selfish, to curb it down.

We create our destiny and the divine soul within enforces it.

Dharma’s answer to the question, “Who broke your legs?” is extremely interesting. “It is just destiny which has broken my legs,” he answers. “This evil man is not the true cause.”

Although the evil man is not the ultimate cause of Dharma’s pain, he is still instrumental in it. Therefore he is not absolved from punishment, and Parīkṣit is about to raise his sword to slay him! Any good leader must punish and curb down all those who are instrumental in causing harm to the harmless. This is more for the benefit of the offender than the offended, for it dissuades the lawless from behaving in a manner which creates their own dismal destiny.


A Lesson for Leaders

SB 1.17.12

“Who broke your three legs, O four-legged Surabhi’s-son? I have never seen such a thing in the country ruled by kings who follow Krishna.

13

“Tell me, Bull. It will be good for those who are saintly and who do not do wrong. Who is disfiguring and destroying the fame of Pṛthā’s sons?

14

“Those who harm the harmless must fear me wherever they go! Certainly the saintly would prosper when the sinful are curbed.

15

“If any wild man harms a harmless being I will unleash my arms without restraint, even if he is an armored immortal.

16

“The foremost duty of a dutiful king is to protect the innocent and curb others who needlessly disregard the moral path.”

King Parīkṣit gives us an excellent lesson in leadership. He says, “I have never seen a person suffer so much in a society governed by Krishna’s followers.” One who gives his blood, sweat and tears to see that no one under his protection suffers is truly an image of Krishna reflected into humanity. Anyone who allows those in their charge to suffer is the antithesis. However, in the Age of Kali even a philosopher-king and saintly spiritualist as great as Parīkṣit could not perfectly keep his country free from suffering and problems. In the modern age, we must try our best to protect those in our care but should not feel crippled by our inevitable shortcomings.

To protect the innocent it is necessary to fend off and curb down the guilty. Thus a king must be powerful and courageous, and most importantly must be able to tell the difference between the innocent and guilty. For this the king requires the guidance of experienced, learned and most importantly, impartial sages.

 


A Real Leader Would Never…

SB 1.17.1

Sūta said:

Then the king saw an abandoned cow and bull, being beaten by a wicked man holding a club and dressed like a king.

2

The bull, who was white like lotus-root, was urinating out of fear, trembling and terrified as his one remaining leg was beaten by the low-class man.

3

The cow, who gives the milk of morality, became helpless and afraid as the low-class man smashed her legs. Bereft of her calves, tears streamed down her face. She looked emaciated and in dire need of grass.

Sadly, this scene can be seen almost everywhere nowadays. The mistreatment of animals, especially the gentle cow and bull, is a great disgrace and dishonor to the modern human race. Governments who allow such depravity are sub-human.

4-6

Upon his completely golden chariot, holding a bow, with words that sounded like the deep rumbling of clouds, the King inquired:

“Who are you!? What are you doing in this land that I protect!? You are strong yet you violently attack the weak!? The kingly clothes you wear are nothing but a costume, for such deeds are not those of a king!

“Are you here because Kṛṣṇa has gone far away, along with the wielder of Gāṇḍīva? You are guilty of attacking the innocent when you think no one is looking. You deserve to die!

Arjuna is the wielder of the powerful Gāṇḍīva bow.

7-8

“And you, a bull white like the roots of a lotus, moving on one leg with the others broken; are you a god taking this shape to show us the miserable future?

“Never before has anyone besides you come to such grief and tears in any part of the world protected by the arms of the Kings in the Kuru family.

9-11

“O child of Surabhi, here you should not have to fear harm from this wicked man! Mother, do not cry! Be blessed! I shall curb down all rogues!

“If anyone in his kingdom is terrorized by the sinful, oh saintly woman, his fame, longevity, fortune and final destination are bewildered and destroyed. This is the prime duty of a king: to remove the suffering of those who suffer. Therefore I shall kill this most worthless hater of creatures!”

In a poster condemning the consumption of beef...


The Love Affair Between Krishna and Mother Earth

SB 1.16.25

Dharaṇī said:

Dear Dharma, the four legs on which you stand spread happiness throughout the worlds. I will enlighten you about all that you have asked.

Dharaṇī refers to the earth as the thing that holds everything and everyone up.

The opulence and happiness we experience in life is equal to the amount of purity, simplicity, kindness and truthfulness we create. Previous ages have a higher standard of life because these four pillars of dharma are incrementally stronger during those ages.

26-30

Truthfulness, cleanliness, compassion, calmness, detachment, satisfaction, sincerity, introspection, restraint, austerity, fairness, learning…

Knowledge, dispassion, power, chivalry, influence, strength, principles, independence, expertise, beauty, steadfastness, and certainly kindness…

Ingenuity, gentility, good manners, willpower, vigor, strength, fortune, depth, dedication, faithfulness, fame, honor, modesty…

…The All-Attractive always has all these and many others great qualities. No one else can ever hope to possess such greatness. He is the flag of good qualities and the palace of beauty herself. I lament because I have just been robed of him; Now I see the ills of Kali in the world.

The world is full of so many serious problems, as Dharma summarized in his questions. But these problems only show themselves when Śrī Krishna is not seen. Therefore to most lamentable problem of all is to be without the company of Śrī Krishna.

31

I lament for myself, and for you too, and for the highest immortals, for the gods, for the forefathers, for the sages, for the saintly, and for people of all types and situations.

Mother Earth says here that without All-Attractive Krishna everything else that was once good becomes lamentable and pathetic. Morality is fruitless without the All-Attractive center. The higher and lower gods and ancestors are not worthy of worship nor have they any real power to bestow benedictions without the All-Attractive center. The sciences of sages become tangential, blurred and misled; the pursuit of saintliness is meaningless; the responsibilities of the stages of material and spiritual development (varnāśrama) are hollow without the All-Attractive center, Śrī Kṛṣṇa.

32

Everyone including even Brahmā spends many days struggling in hopes of obtaining her carefree glance. But she, Goddess Śrī, gives herself to the All-Attractive. Abandoning her home in the forests of lotuses she dedicates herself to lovingly caring for his blessed feet!

33

The soles of those beautiful feet decorated my body with their prints – marked with a flag, spur, thunderbolt and lotus – and so decorated my beauty excelled anything within the three worlds and granted me opulences seen nowhere else! Now he has left me… In the end I must have become too proud of my good fortune.

It seems to me that the earth possesses the highest parakīya-madhurya-rāsa relationship with Krishna. We who mistreat the earth – from careless litter to global pollution – seem to be committing a serious transgression towards such an elevated being. We should tend to the earth with affection, knowing the intimacy of her love for Krishna and the pain that she must now feel in separation from him.

34

He manifested his delightful body in the Yadu family to easily and independently rescue me from the extreme burden of hundreds of armies of demoniac. He empowered you to be free from the misery of your broken legs.

In the presence of Krishna, the earth became more beautiful, opulent and fertile than paradise. All things sought by the gods in heaven became easily available on earth. All faults disappeared. Even the broken legs of morality were restored and there was full abundance of purity, simplicity, kindness, and truthfulness.

Mother Earth reveals that when All-Attractive Krishna is present, everything blossoms even beyond its own fullest inherent potential, but in the absence of Śrī Krishna, everything withers – despite whatever potential might be weeping within it.

35

Oh, who can bear to be without that supreme man!? His glances, pleasant smile and sweet words dispel the composure and pride of proud sweethearts. My hairs stood up to celebrate the touch of his feet!!!

The foremost “proud sweetheart” is Krishna’s beloved queen Satyabhāmā. Mother Earth, however, harbored some special pride because although Krishna sometimes had to leave the company of women like Satyabhāmā his feet would almost never leave the bosom of the earth. Perhaps she rationalizes that it is this pride which made Krishna less attracted to her, and capable of leaving her company?

36

While Pṛthivī and Dharma were discussing Krishna in this way, the Philosopher-King named Parīkṣit arrived at the eastward Sarasvatī river.

Pṛthivī refers to the Earth as the great expanse which spreads from horizon to horizon and splits the vast sky.