Tag Archives: Parīkṣit

We Want to Hear About All-Attractive Krishna!

SB 1.18.11

The sages said:

Sūta, may your life be smooth, gracious, unending and brilliantly famous! Your glorification of Krishna is just like the nectar of immortality for us mortals.

12

Smoke permeated us, body and mind, and confused our duties. But you are giving us the delicious honey made from the nectar of the lotus flower of Govinda’s feet.

13

What to speak of any mortal desire, not even paradise or enlightenment can compare to a moment’s intimacy with those who are intimate with the All-Attractive.

14

How could anyone who truly understands pleasure ever get enough of discussing he who is the singular haven of the greatest among the great souls? Even the masters of yoga, headed by Śiva and lotus-born Brahmā, cannot comprehend the endless qualities of he who is beyond quality.

15

You are among the greatest of the great souls whose singular haven is the foremost All-Attractive. You possess the knowledge to explain the completely pure and exalted activities of Hari. We are very eager to hear this!

16

Tell us the knowledge spoken by Vyāsa’s son, by which the great devotee Parīkṣit fixed his intellect upon liberation and was carried to the soles of the feet that are adored by the king of birds, Garuḍa.

17

Tell us every meaning of those utterly purifying words, wondrously establishing divine union, brimming with the activities of the Infinite, which magnify the bliss of devotees like Parīkṣit.

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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.

 


The Astrology of Emperor Pariksit

12

When the planets became favorable for all good fortune, they produced the heir of the dynasty – as powerful as Pāṇdu.

13

Out of affection, the king had the most learned scholars, headed by Dhaumya & Kṛpa, read the auspicious astrological nativity of this newborn.

Learned souls know how to foretell the future in various ways, chiefly by astrology. What we are about the hear is a collection of learned astrologers headed by Dhaumya and Kṛpa informing the king of the future of his newborn grand-nephew.

14

Knowing what should be done on the birth of a child, the King gave gifts of the highest quality gold, cows, land, villages, elephants and horses. He sumptuously fed the intellectuals.

Intellectuals are most important in society, but they do not earn much money. Thus it is a very important social custom to feed them and give them gifts on every occasion.

15-17

Very satisfied, those intellectuals spoke:

“This spotless child will certainly be the foremost in the family of Puru. Unstoppable destiny intended to destroy him, but the all-powerful and all-pervading Viṣṇu, rescued him – because of his affection for you. Thus the boy will be famous throughout the world by the name Viṣṇu Rāta (Viṣṇu-Rescued). Undoubtedly he is a great soul, extremely blessed, the pinnacle of divine love.”

The intellectuals described Parīkṣit as mahān, mahā-bhāga, and mahā-bhāgavata – a great soul, greatly blessed, and the greatest devotee.

18

The blessed King asked:

Oh best of truthful souls, will this boy have glory and fame following the footsteps of his forbearers: great souls famous as pious philosopher-kings?

19-26

The intellectuals replied:

O Pārtha,
In maintaining the citizens he will be exactly like Ikṣvaku, Manu’s son.
In truthfulness and obedience to teachers he will be exactly like Rāma, Dāśaratha’s son.
In giving charity and giving shelter he will be like Śibi of Uśīnara.
In expanding the renown of his kin by performing sacrifices he will be like Duṣyanta’s son.
In bowmanship he will equal the Arjunas.

He will be unstoppable as an inferno, insurmountable as an ocean.
He will be powerful as a lion, unwavering as the Himalaya,
He will be forbearing as the earth, as patient as parents.
In being merciful and generous he will be like grandparents.

In giving shelter to all living beings he will be like Śiva
and the god who is the shelter of the goddess of fortune [Viṣṇu].
In having all glorious spiritual qualities he will be like Kṛṣṇa,
to whom he is devoted.
In altruism he will be like Rantideva.
In following rules he will be like Yayāti.
In patience he will be like Bali.
In saintly devotion he will be like Prahlāda.

He will conduct many horse sacrifices.
He will be a follower of the experienced.
He will father many philosopher-kings.
For the sake of world peace
he will curb the insubordinate and extinguish the cantankerous.

Ikṣvaku, the son of the personality from whom the Human race descends, was the first king to prohibit meat eating.

Śibi was so charitable and protective that he wanted to give away to others his own right to enter heaven, and was ready to give his own life to protect a bird.

Duṣyanta’s son is Bhārata, after whom the great Mahābhārata is named.

The other Arjuna besides the Pāṇḍava is Kārttavīrya-Arjuna: a powerful thousand-armed warrior who was the impetus for Parśurāma killing 21 generations of warriors.

Rantideva is famous as the most magnanimous king who was virtually obsessed with giving everything he had to others.

Yayāti, like Rantideva is a famous and very ancient king. He performed thousands of different Vedic sacrifices.

Bali is an exemplar of patience because he kept his cool resolve to fulfill his promise to Viṣṇu, even when his guru was warning him not to. His grandfather was the famous Prahlāda, son of Hiraṇyakaśipu.

As far as horse sacrifices, even a cursory study of Vedic culture will show that they did not conceive of animal rights with the same sensitivities as we have today. This is not to insinuate that they had any less concern for the well-being of all living entities, just that they implemented this concern in a different manner than would make sense to a modern activist.

27-28

His own death will come from the dragon Takṣa, as a result of a curse from the child of a twice-born. When he hears of this he will cast off all attachments, take full shelter in Hari, and inquire about the true goal of the soul from the learned son of Vyāsa. He will then leave his body beside the Ganges and go directly to the abode of fearlessness.

Most of the astrological reading given by the intellectuals, in texts 19-26, pertained to the newborn king’s character, but here they make an extremely concrete prediction regarding the boy’s death. They did not hesitate to pronounce the nature of the newborn’s death. Perhaps because the family was so elevated and did not consider death an unnatural and awful thing, like most of us do.

29

Thus those learned experts of natal astrology advised the king. Wondrously paid, they returned to their own homes.

30

The boy would become famous as “The Examiner” (Parīkṣit) because he examined everyone he saw, in search of that person he saw before, whom he constantly contemplated.

The “person he saw before” refers to the person he saw before his birth, Viṣṇu.

31

The prince grew quickly and luxuriantly like the waxing moon day after day, under the care of his many parents.