Tag Archives: Pāṇḍava

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.


Greetings, Citizens of Dvaraka

1.11.6

Oh topmost master, we are at your lotus-like feet!
Brahmā, his offspring, and the king of gods worship these feet,
Desiring the utmost protection
Into which destiny has no power.

7

For our sake, you, the creator of everything
Have become our mother, protective husband, and father.
You are the eternal guru and topmost divinity.
Everything we do is for your sake.

8

O yes, you are our focal point!
It is very difficult for even the masters of the three worlds to see
Your smiling, affectionate, love-laden glance.
But we freely look upon your all-auspicious beauty.

9

O Infallible, whenever your lotus-eyes go elsewhere,
Looking with care towards the people of Kuru and Madhu,
Each moment becomes a million years
And we feel like eyes without sunlight.

10

Oh husband, how can we go on living if you remain away from us
Unable to see your satisfied glance vanquishing all troubles,
And your mind-enchanting face
Ornamented with a beautiful smile?

11

Hearing these words spoken by the citizens, the Nourisher of Lovers expanded his affectionate glances upon all of them as he entered the city.

~ ~ ~

Human beings turn to the gods for help in facing the trials and tribulations of daily lives. And certainly these powerful beings can help somehow or another. But since they too are under the sway of all powerful destiny, they are limited in how they can protect one from fate. The All-Attractive Original Person who existed before destiny began, and who controls its impartial enforcement, is the only being who can grant the topmost perfection.

Kṛṣṇa is the singular undifferentiated being, but for our sake he manifests multiplicity. It is only out of a desire to share the pure bliss of existence with others that the One becomes Many. Towards those many he takes personal roles which seem to be far less than his natural station as the supreme authority and divinity – becoming the mother, father and protector of many. In truth, however, these stations are superior to the hierarchical station of the All-Powerful, because they exhibit the most important essence of Godhead: loving, personal blissful affection.

The citizens express “Aho! You have become our focal point.” The key word here is sanātha. Everyone requires a nātha, a focal point. Thus men and women walk about the world in the peculiar manner in which we do, as if involved in some sort of parade or exhibition – searching for an attractive person to make our focal point. Those without focal points, or with blurry, boring and old ones, envy those focused newly paired couples walking down the sidewalk exuding their good fortune. To be without a nātha, without a focal point, is universally pitiful. The residents of Dvārakā how found the ultimate focal point, the All-Attractive personality whom everyone in the tree worlds, including the gods themselves, desires.

The citizens consider their most valuable treasure to be the loving glances of Kṛṣṇa. So when Kṛṣṇa looks away from them, it is as calamitous as being robbed blind. Kṛṣṇa’s mind is always full of concern for the people of Kuru (the Pāṇḍava) and the people of Madhu (Mathurā and Vṛṇdāvana). He makes great efforts to keep his glances upon the people of Dvārakā but from time to time cannot help but allow his eyes to move away from them and towards Kuru and Mathurā. When this happens, the people of Dvārakā become very, very anxious. Each moment that Kṛṣṇa’s glance is not upon them drags out for millions of years. Not seeing Kṛṣṇa’s satisfied glance, they think their eyes have become blind – like eyes in the absence of light. This addiction for the satisfied recognition of Kṛṣṇa is a trademark shared by all self-realized personalists, and which becomes more and more intense the more intimate the realization becomes. Śrī Caitanya expressed this same sentiment very poignantly in his eight-verse poem: “Moments become like ages… Floods pour from my eyes… The world becomes empty… without Govinda.”

If even the anticipation of Kṛṣṇa’s departure causes such anxiety, how could the residents of Dvārakā survived the long months he was away during the war? They simply could not have. Therefore Kṛṣṇa never leaves his devotee. He is within and without everything. Once one has tangibly and directly established a relationship with him, that relationship is never lost. If he is not present physically, he is even more present emotionally.

Kṛṣṇa fulfilled everyone’s desires by abundantly showering each and every one with sweet glances of heartfelt affection as they all moved towards the edge of the city itself. This sort of attentiveness is why Kṛṣṇa is called the “Nourisher of Lovers” (bhakta-vatsala).

 


Royal Assassination Attempt

1.8.8

O brahmana, as soon as Kṛṣṇa sat upon his chariot and was about to start towards Dvārakā he saw panic stricken Uttarā coming towards him.

Uttarā is the wife of Abhimanyu (son of Arjuna & Kṛṣṇa’s sister, Subhadra), future mother of Parīkṣit.

Dvārakā is Kṛṣṇa’s own city.

9-10

Uttarā said:

Protect me! Protect me great mystic; god of gods, and protector of the universe! I see no one but you who can drive away my fear in this world of repeated death! My powerful lord, a blazing metallic ray advances upon me! It can burn me, master, but don’t let it harm the baby in my womb!

11

Sūta said:

The All-Attractive, ever affectionate towards the devoted, heard her words and understood that Droṇa’s son had sent forth this weapon to finish the Pāṇḍava dynasty.

12

O best of scholars, seeing a blaze coming their way the five Pāṇḍava brothers took up their five weapons.

13-16

Seeing that he was their only hope of being saved from this danger, the Great One took up his own weapon, the Sudarśan Disc, which protects his people. He is the soul within the soul of all living beings, so Hari, the master of all mysticism, used his own mystical power to shield the womb of the daughter of Virāṭ and save the Kuru dynasty. Even though the ultimate weapon is unstoppable and inescapable, when confronted by the power of Viṣṇu it was neutralized. Don’t think this is impossible! All impossibilities reside within the Infallible! By his divine mysticism everything is created, maintained and destroyed.

Aśvatthāmā, Droṇa’s son, is the same vile man who decapitated the five sleeping sons of the Pāṇḍavas and then recklessly let loose an uncontrolled nuclear-like explosion in a last-ditch attempt to save his own skin. The Pāṇḍava’s spared his life and let him go with a mere reprimand. His contemptible spirit did not reform, however. He brooded constantly on how to destroy the royal family who had defeated and humiliated him.

He knew it would be impossible while Kṛṣṇa remained nearby, so he waited and waited for Hari to depart. He saw an ideal opportunity the moment Kṛṣṇa began to leave – for all the Pāṇḍava men and their unborn child were together in the same place. In a passionate haste this despicable wretch again sent forth the ultimate weapon in an uncontrolled blast.

Uttarā saw the approaching weapon first and turned, panic-stricken, to Kṛṣṇa for help. The Pāṇḍava’s instinctively reached for their own weapons, but Kṛṣṇa knew that such weapons were useless now, and there was no time for any other approach. So he took up his own weapon, the great discus of Viṣṇu which drew the perilous blast into its vortex and neutralized it. This saved the Pāṇḍavas, but an unborn child is very sensitive and easily injured. To give special protection to this child in Uttarā’s womb, Kṛṣṇa used his mystical power – which is within every atom as the soul of every soul – to form a shield around the womb and absorb the radiation from the blast.

To us, the entire story is fantastic. But to the sages hearing this story from Sūta, many of the details were contemporary and immediately real. The powerful weapons of ancient warriors, for example, were practical realities to them. So gestures of disbelief showed on some of their faces. “That weapon is unstoppable except by another instance of itself! How could it have suddenly been dispelled, and even a fetus was not injured in the blast!?”

Sūta politely reprimanded their disbelief by reminding them that Kṛṣṇa is Viṣṇu, not another ordinary warrior. Nothing is impossible for Viṣṇu’s magic to destroy, because by this magic the entire universe (what to speak of a comparatively miniscule explosion within it) is destroyed, and created and maintained as well.

Now we have been introduced for the first time to Parīkṣit, the person to whom and for whom this book Śrīmad Bhāgavatam was spoken. We are introduced to a person who was protected and embraced by Kṛṣṇa while he was still in the womb.

English: "Uttara and Abhimanyu," as ...

Uttara and Abhimanyu, as Abhumanyu leaves for the war

Krishna holding the weapon of Visnu in his right hand.


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