Tag Archives: Krishna

Srimad Bhagavatam as an Expansion of Rg Veda

Veda pathashala students doing sandhya vandana...

The conversation between Brahmā and Nārada presented in the Second Canto (especially the part of that conversation described in the Sixth Chapter) is directly connected to a very important section of Ṛg Veda – 10.90, the puruṣa sūkta. You can say that the Bhāgavatam’s version of this conversation is a commentary or elaboration upon puruṣa sūkta, or that the Ṛg Veda contains a poetic summary of the conversation. In either case, the direct link between the two is important for demonstrating that (a) The bhakti approach presented in Bhāgavata Purāṇa is grounded firmly in the most ancient Ṛg Veda, and (b) The Ṛg Veda is not devoid of the fundamental principles of Vaiṣṇava-bhakti.

Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 2.5.27 explains the puruṣa sūkta line that begins with, “sahasra-śīrṣā” and its three verses that start with, “brāhmaṇi ‘sya mukham asit.” (Describing the Original Person as having infinite, omnipresent heads, arms, legs, etc. and being the original source of all the elements of the universe)

SB 2.6.13-16 explain the line, “puruṣa evedaṁ sarvam” (The Original Person is certainly everything that exists), and the line, “sa bhūmiṁ sarvataḥ spṛṣṭvā atyatiṣṭhad daśāṅgulam” (pervating everything in the world, he exists ten widths beyond it).

SB 2.6.18 explains the line, “utāmṛtatvasyeśāno uad annenāti-rohati” (He enjoys the greatest nectar, far surpassing mundane pleasures), and the line, “etāvān asya mahimāto jyāyāṁś ca pūruṣaḥ” (The greatness of the original person is extreme).

SB 2.6.19 explains the line, “pādo ‘sya viśva-bhūtāni tri-pādasy āmṛtaṁ divi” (All living entities exist within this one-fourth. Those in the three-fourths are divine and eternally joyful).

SB 2.6.20 explains the line, “tripād-ūrdhva udait puruṣaḥ pādo ‘syehābhavat punaḥ” (The three-fourths is above and beyond the one-fourth, which is repeatedly manifest and unmanifest).

SB 2.6.21 explains the line, “tato viṣvaṅ vyakrāmat sāśanāśanaśane ubhe” (They wander everywhere, in two directions, towards the real and unreal).

SB 2.6.28 explains the line, “yajñena yajñam ayajanta” (They worshipped by using Sacrifice to perform sacrifice).

SB 2.6.29 explains the line, “puruṣaṁ jātam agrataḥ tena deva ayajanta” (the gods came in front of the Original Person and worshipped him).

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Within & Beyond this World

Srimad Bhagavatam 2.6.17

Nārada: It seems unusual that an entity so essential and fundamental to this world should have its true, original position beyond it.

Brahmā: It is not unusual. Take life-air (prāṇa) for example. It has its own energy, but it also lends its energy to other things. Another example is the Sun, it shines by its own power, but lends its radiance to all things. In a similar way, the Supreme Person is situated apart, within his own power, but lends his power to all things. Thus he is both within and beyond everything.

18-20

Nārada: I really want to know how the Supreme Person exists beyond this world. Please explain this to me!

Brahmā: He is the perfection of fearless nectar, far exceeding any mortal happiness! My dear spiritually inspired child, we cannot find any limit on his excellence!

Please understand that the place in which we all dwell reflects merely one-fourth of the Supreme Person. His true abode is beyond even what is beyond the three worlds – a place of nectar, security, and fearlessness.

That place beyond our world represents three-fourths of the Supreme Person. It is the abode of those who are not forced into rebirth. Those who instead take birth within our three worlds do so because they have a selfish bent, being without very strong convictions toward that Supreme Person.

21

Nārada: What happens to those souls?

Brahmā: They roam far and wide within our worlds.

Nārada: In what directions?

Brahmā: Those with some knowledge move towards emancipation. Those without knowledge move towards accumulation. In truth, the Supreme Person is the shelter for both of them.

22

Nārada: I can see why he would be the shelter of those striving towards enlightenment, but how is he also the shelter of those striving to accumulate material objects?

Brahmā: What are they searching for except him!? The egg of the universe comes from him. It produces elements, senses, and powers that allow the two to interact – everything they desire.

Nārada: Then, since they both seek the Supreme Person, are the those who strive for material objects on an equal footing with those who strive for emancipation?

Brahmā: No. Those who seek enlightenment are more evolved.

Nārada: Why?

Brahmā: Their outlook is more like the divine outlook of the Supreme Person.

Nārada: How so?

Brahmā: The Supreme Person is uninterested in the material objects he manifests in this world.

Nārada: Why?

Brahmā: All these things are simply like sunshine, but he is the brilliant sun!


Ensnaring The Eternally Free Soul

I am currently working on Chapter Five of Beautiful Tales of the All Attractive, Volume 2. The 19th śloka is too mind-blowing not to share immediately.

Srimad Bhagavatam 2.5.19

Ensnaring the Eternally Free Soul

[kārya-kāraṇa-kartṛtve dravya-jñāna-kriyāśrayāḥ | badhnanti nityadā muktaḿ māyinaḿ puruṣaḿ guṇāḥ ]

Nārada: Earlier you said that the universe is composed of five things, the root of which is “projected consciousness.” Now you are saying that the universe begins from three qualities of Nārāyaṇa’s energy. Are these two statements compatible?

Brahmā: Yes. These three qualities attract beings to project their consciousness into the universe. Thus consciousness, which has the capacity for eternal transcendence, binds itself to an illusory world.

Nārada: How do the three qualities attract the attention of conscious away from its potential eternal freedom?

Brahmā: By manifesting the five things I previously mentioned: objects of pleasure and the means for enjoying those objects.

Nārada: What are those means?

Brahmā: Senses, the ability to use the senses, and the intellectual inclination to do so.


Enlightened by Krishna’s Kiss

I have finished the first draft of Chapter Four of Beautiful Tales of the All Attractive, Volume 2. I will celebrate by explaining a little bit about this chapter, and quoting you one of my favorite ślokas from it.

radha_and_krishna_love_and_longing_be53The Fourth Chapter of Śrīmad Bhāgavatam’s Second “Canto” is mainly about this:

King Parīkṣit asked Śukadeva Goswāmī to answer a question, “What is the most important thing to do, especially since I am about to die?” Śuka answered that in the first three chapters in such a complete and thorough manner that Parīkṣit and all who were listening were astonished. Parīkṣit did not want the discussion to end, even though his question had been completely satisfied, so he asked more questions.

Since Śuka had told him that he had enough time left in his life to be systematic and sequential in his approach to hearing about Krishna, Parīkṣit began by asking questions that are not inherently “intimate” or “advanced” yet nonetheless are fascinating, delightful, and essential for properly understanding the essential nature of Krishna. He asked several specific questions about how the universe exists, and admitted that it is basically impossible for anyone to answer such questions.

Śuka would then ask how he could be expected to reply properly, so Parikṣit explained that those who are intimately connected with the All-Attractive by the link of heartfelt devotion can comprehend the incomprehensible due to their direct proximity to the Divine.

Accepting this, Śuka set out to answer Parikṣit’s questions. He began by evoking his proximity to the Divine by glorifying Krishna and confirming that divine knowledge comes from his favor alone. One śloka he spoke towards the very end of the chapter (śloka 24) is a particular favorite of mine. I would like to share it with you.

My respects to the All-Attractive Son of Vasudeva. The affectionate souls who drink the delicate taste emanating from his lotus-like lips become full of knowledge and can create the Veda.

Śrīla Prabhupāda quotes Viśvanātha Cakravartī when explaining this śloka: On one level it refers to Vyāsa, Śuka’s father. On another level it can refer to Brahmā. On still another level it refers to the Gopīs, who become full of all artistic excellence and knowledge simply by receiving the kiss of Krishna.

Knowledge comes from the divine. It emanates from the mouth of the All-Attractive. Generally we think of words emanating from the mouth – and this is how Brahmā and Vyāsa received comprehension of the incomprehensible: by hearing the words spoken from the mouth of the All-Attractive. They then became capable of creating books of true knowledge: the Veda. But words are not all that emanates from the mouth. Kisses also come from there. The gopīs enjoy Krishna’s kisses, and thus they become infinitely surcharged with extremely powerful and abundant knowledge and expertise in all subjects – from philosophy to sciences to arts such as dance, music, cooking, poetry, cosmetics, fashion, etc.

We who are very low and ordinary souls also have the chance to taste Krishna’s kisses and become thus surcharged. But, in our thick stupidity we tend to ignore this opportunity or not pay much attention to it. How can we fools taste Krishna’s kisses? It is very simple – chant Krishna’s names, and Krishna then comes in contact with your lips. You are kissing Krishna!

Be aware of this intimatcy and you will become fully enlightened, like Vyāsa, Brahmā and the Gopīs.

“Hare Krishna”


Krishna-less = The Walking Dead

To celebrate completing the first draft of chapter 3, Beautiful Tales of the All Attractive, Vol. 2, I am posting an excerpt spoken by Śaunaka Ṛṣi.

20-24

“O Sūta, when we do not hear about the heroism of the Hero, our ear canals are just like snake holes. When we do not sing about the One Worth Singing About, we might as well have the tongues of frogs. When our head does not bow to the Liberator, it is nothing but a heavy burden, even if it is decorated with a silken crown. When our hands do not serve Hari, they are the hands of a corpse – even if decorated with glittering golden bracelets. When we do not look upon the forms of Viṣṇu our eyes are like the eyes of a peacock feather. When our legs do not move us to Hari’s sacred places, how are they any better than the legs of trees? If we mortals never touch the dust from the feet of the blessed devotees, we are like the walking dead. When we do not smell the scent of Tulasī from the beautiful feet of Viṣṇu we are nothing but a breathing corpse.

“Worst of all is an iron-clad heart that cannot be melted by all this. Even when it takes firm hold of Hari’s name, nothing happens. It does not melt and send forth emotions like tears in the eyes or hairs standing on end.”


Second Canto Begins

I have, today, started work on Volume 2 of the Beautiful Tales of the All-Attractive series (on Śrīmad Bhāgavatam). To celebrate I will share with you the very first draft of the first five verses of Bhāgavatam’s Second Canto.

Śrī Śuka said, “O King, the question you’ve asked is the very best question. Asking it benefits everyone. All the people here who are well versed in spiritual knowledge approve of your question, because it is the brings up the very best topics of discussion.”

King Parīkṣit inquired, “Is it really such a rare question?”

Śuka explained, “Yes, very few people ask such a deep question. Their humanoid minds are completely absorbed in ordinary household affairs, blind to spiritual realities – and they have thousands of mundane topics to discuss. They have no time for anything else! Their nights are wasted in sleep, or for wasting their energy like teenagers. Their days are consumed by the pursuit of financial security, or in bearing the endless burdens of their clans.”

Parīkṣit asked, “Aren’t they concerned about inevitable death?”

Śuka replied, “They believe their unreal body, children and spouse are something like soldiers protecting them from harm. In this insanity, they cannot see the constant destruction visible all around them. So, if you want to be free of fear, avoid their topics of discussion! Instead hear about and speak about Hari: the soul of all, the All-Attractive, the master.”


Canto 1 Second Draft Complete!!!

Today the blessings and shakti of Sri Guru Parampara enabled an unqualified soul to complete the second draft of Srimad Bhagavatam Canto One in a novel-like format. I will now make a third draft, but I am hopeful that it will not take long. I think the book may be in print before the end of 2012, if that is what Mahaprabhu’s followers desire. Here are the closing notes:

Our efforts to describe and comprehend Krishna are like the effort of a bird to fly in the sky. It is natural for the bird, and delightful – but still it is impossible for a bird to reach the limit of the sky.

The Beautiful Tales of the All-Attractive are sublime. They are the intimate realized visions of the most highly elevated souls. Although it is impossible to fully define the Unlimited, these tales will point our attention directly towards Krishna. With our hearts thus turned, we will absorb an eternal downpour of blissful, enlightened energy radiating from Śrī Krishna and thus become empowered to directly and impossibly comprehend the tangible divine reality.

As a lightning rod attracts lightning without creating or containing it, these tales attract our consciousness to the All-Attractive. May we dive into them with unabashed joy and abandon.


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.


How to Befriend the God of Death

In the absence of the Pāṇḍavas, Parīkṣit governed the earth as a great devotee, guided by the best philosophers. Indeed, he developed all the great qualities foreseen by the astrologers when he was born.

He married Irāvatī and they had four children, the oldest of whom was Janamejaya.

With Kṛpā as the supervising priest, he held three horse sacrifices on the bank of the Ganges, at which he gave abundant charity. There, the gods came within the range of the human vision.

Once, while travelling through his new kingdom, he heroically used his power to arrest Kali, who appeared as a low class man disguised as a king destroying the legs of a cow and bull.

Śaunaka asked:

Why did he merely arrestKali and not kill him? O blessed Sūta, if this story has something to do with Krishna, please tell us about it. Those who enjoy the real nectar of Krishna have no hunger for wasting their life on unreal jabbering.

My boy, humans are short-lived mortals. But we can attain immortality if we befriend the god of death. If the god of death hears devotional discussion of Krishna, he stops his duties to listen, and while that happens no one dies. We have invited him here, so let us humans now drink the immortal nectar of discussing Hari! Let us not be like the fools of our age: Small, small-minded, and very short lived; sleeping away their nights and working away their days for nothing.