Tag Archives: Philosopher-King

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.

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

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

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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.


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.

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“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.

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“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?

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

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

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“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 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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.