Tag Archives: Human

Death is Howling Near

Vidura went to Dhṛtarāṣṭra and shouted:

“O King! Flee! Flee immediately! Look! Your worst fear is upon the threshold! Never has anyone escaped from it; so do not reach for a useless weapon! The doom of the all-powerful is upon you!

“It is rushing toward you to steal from your clinging grasp the thing you most adore: your very life! It will also devour all your wealth and everything else you value.

“Your father is dead. Your brother is dead. Your protectors are dead. Your sons are all dead. Your own life is spent, and you are in the grip of old age. What are you doing!? Why are you dragging out your miserable life in someone else’s home?

“What are you clinging to? You were always blind, now your hearing and memory are crippled, too. Your teeth rattle and your stomach limps. Cacophonously you cough up phlegm. Aho! How fools desperately cling to irrational hopes for life!!!

“Like a groveling dog you now eat the scraps left to you by Bhīma. Once, not long ago, you set fire to their home! You gave them poison. You tried to degrade their wife! You stole their lands and wealth! …Now look at you: living on their pity!

“Like a pitiful miser your body clings to life; yet still life dwindles against your will, like old clothing falling apart.

“If you really want what is good for you, free yourself entirely from all these bonds! Go someplace unknown and cast off your body. Such a man is called wise.

“The best human beings – by their own inspiration or being inspired by someone else – detach themselves from this world and give up possessions and life, fixing their very selves wholeheartedly upon Hari.

“Therefore go northward! Tell no one where. Even if you could live on and on, there would be nothing good to experience, for very soon the time is coming when humanity will diminish.”

Thus his younger brother, Vidura, helped the king’s mind awake to a vision of wisdom. The King steadfastly cut through the ropes of selfishness and set out on the path of liberation that his brother showed him.

When his saintly wife saw what her husband was doing she followed him towards the Himalayas. The couple accepted the rod of renunciation with pleasure, like a great warrior accepts a beating.


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.


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...


Incarnations of Godhead – Creators

Suta says [1.2.34]:

I’ve spoken of how Vishnu pervades everything in the universe out of compassion to help all living beings fulfill their desires. Now I will speak of another way that the spiritual Godhead manifests his pure existence within this material realm: he performs pastimes in the role of incarnations among the gods, animals, and humans.

[1.3.1]

The All-Attractive first takes the form of Purusha, at the very beginning of the universe, with the intention to manifest all that is required for creation. This begins with manifesting the great conglomeration of energies from which sixteen primary ingredients emerge.

“Purusha” means the man. This first incarnation of Godhead, Purusha, is basically “the man of the house” where “the house” is the entirety of all material creation. The role of the male is to supply the seeds and necessary ingredients. The female role is to develop the seeds and ingredients. So the original man, Purusha, gives the seed of all ingredients required in the universe.

The sixteen primary ingredients of creation manifest from “the great conglomeration of energies” (mahat) which the Purusha produces. In due course Suta will explain all these details fully. At present, suffice to say that the sixteen ingredients are the five elements, five gathering senses, five expressing senses, and the mind.

Eighteenth century Vaishnava painting deciptin... [2]

He lies down upon the water and enters a mystic sleep. In the lake of his naval grows a lotus, from which is manifested Brahmā, the master engineer of the universe.

He does this in a second form. The Purusha has three forms. The first was described in the previous text. It is Vishnu Lying on the Ocean of Causality (kāraṇodakaśayī viṣṇu). From this first Purusha comes all the globs (mahat) in which are stored all the ingredients required to create a universe.

The current text now describes the second form of the Purusha, Vishnu Lying on the Womb-Ocean (garbhodakaśayī viṣṇu). This Purusha enters each proto-universal glob to empower its creation.

[3]

We imagine that all the many worlds are grounded within the Purusha’s expansive body. But really, the body of the All-Attractive Godhead is super-excellently pure existence.

In other words, the idea that material things exist within God is a conception only. The truth is that nothing material exists in super-excellently pure nature of God. Thus material existence itself is a conception only.

Now the sages ask, “What does this conceptual form of Godhead that contains all the various worlds look like?

[4]

Only perfect eyes can see this form; Thousands of amazing legs, thighs, hands and faces; Thousands of heads, ears, eyes, and noses; Thousands of effulgent garlands, clothes, and earrings.

Having answered their question, Suta returns to his original train of thought:

[5]

He gives the inexhaustible seed of the multitudes of incarnations. The portions of his portion create gods, animals, humans and so forth.

The second form of the Purusha creates the third form of the Purusha, Vishnu Lying on the Milk-Ocean (kṣīrodakaśayī viṣṇu). This third Purusha enters into the globule of each subatomic quantum within his universe. He is the origin of all the incarnations. His fragments and the fragments of his fragments become the gods, animals, humans, and so forth.

In the next section, Suta will describe many of the innumerable incarnations of Godhead that spring forth from this third Purusha.