understand the nature of God requires eligibility.
Bhaagavatah Idam Bhâgavatam -
Bhâgavatam speaks of God and His divine sports. It
is also said, Bhaagavataanaam Idam Bhagavatam -
Bhâgavatam describes the lives of devotees.
Scholars have interpreted this scripture based on their
individual outlooks. Truly, the Bhâgavatam
illustrates the intimate relation between God and His
devotees. It is the bridge between the Lord and devotees.
Four requisites are absolutely essential to understand
and practice the message of the Bhâgavatam.
Tyaja Durjana Samsargam -
First, give up bad
company. Bad company is not just bad people. Bad thoughts
must also be abandoned. Feelings acquire form as actions.
There should be no hesitation in renouncing bad company.
Why? Bad company can cause even a devotee to become an
atheist and a renunciant to become attached. Tell me your
company and I shall tell you what you are.î The
Bhâgavatam states that a poisonous snake is
much more desirable than bad company! Why? A snake bites
once and leaves; but a wicked person bites repeatedly,
day and night. The joy of malicious people lies in
violence, in making others cry. They cannot even sleep
peacefully without criticizing or harming someone! The
human mind is impressionable and assumes the attitudes of
oneís associates. In the Mahâbhârata,
the characters Duryodhana (eldest of Dhritarâstra's
sons), Dushashana (Duryodhana's eldest brother), Shakuni
(son of king Suvala and brother of Gandhari), and Karna
(firstborn son of the Pândavas mother Kuntî,
best friend of Duryodhana) are called dushta
chatushtayam - four wicked ones. Karna was inherently
noble but was corrupted by the other three. Hence, the
sooner we distance ourselves from negative people, the
sooner we will perceive divinity within our hearts.
Bhaja Sadhu Samaagamam -
It is not enough to
merely leave bad company. The company of the wise and
pious is necessary. We must cultivate friendship with
people of compassion and integrity and follow their
example to realize the value of human life. But even
these two are not enough.
Kuru Punyam Ahoraatram -
Third, perform sacred
deeds day and night, ceaselessly. Vyâsa said,
Paropakaarah Punyaaya Paapaaya Parapeedanam -
Helping others is merit, harming others is sin. What
is paropakaaram? People take it to mean para
(others) + upakaaram (favor) = helping others.
But this limited, worldly meaning is not what Vyâsa
had in mind. Para (principle beyond the world) +
upa (near) + kara (to go) =
Paropakaara. Therefore, true merit is to be in
proximity to the Atma. To develop nearness to the
Bhâgavatam, to devotees, and to the Lord is the
highest merit. This must be followed day and
Smara Nityam Anityataam -
Discriminate between the
ephemeral and the eternal. Discrimination is essential in
every action. "Is it good or bad, right or wrong?" Such
inquiry must be exercised to the limit of our
intellectual capacity. First discriminate, then follow
what is good. What is meant by "good"? Good means
eternal. Give up the transient.
It is only when we
cultivate these four attributes that we can understand
the significance and secrets of the Bhâgavatam.
Devakî & Vasudeva -
S'ûra was the Lord
of the Yadava dynasty. The term "Yâdava" is derived
from "Yadu", the (eldest) son of King Yayâti, who
was S'ûra's ancestor. "Yâdava" means
"descendant of Yadu". S'ûra divided his kingdom
into two parts: Mathura and S'ûrasena. His older
son, Ugrasena, ruled Mathura. Kamsa was Ugrasena's son.
S'ûra's second son, Devaka, ruled S'ûrasena.
Devakî was his daughter. [S.B.
9:24, v 21-31]
Kamsa did not have any
siblings and so, he considered Devakî as his own
little sister. Kamsa's affection for Devakî was
truly boundless. To him, she was his second life. In due
course the marriage of Devakî was finalised with
Vasudeva, the son of S'ûra. Kamsa took active part
in the marriage arrangements and offered many ornaments,
horses and elephants to the couple with love.
This affectionate Kamsa
later turned into a cruel hater. Why? Only due to
selfishness. There are such demons even today who would
harm their own mother, father, brother or friend for the
fulfilment of their desires! If possible, we should teach
wisdom to such people. We should dissociate from such
sinners who hold self-interest highest.
Kamsa placed the couple
in a chariot and started guiding it towards the village
of Vasudeva. It was a long and joyous procession.
Suddenly they heard a voice from the sky: "Kamsa, you
fool! The woman in your chariot will cause your death!
Her eighth son will be your destroyer." Kamsa immediately
jumped down, caught hold of Devakî's hair and
dragged her down. He lifted his sword with his right
hand. Everyone was terrified. Vasudeva intervened,
"Kamsa, you have taken birth in a great dynasty. You will
stain its glory by this ignoble act. You will incur the
heinous sin of killing a woman. How can you do this to
your dearest sister who you loved more than yourself?
Calm down. Enquire. Death follows birth like night
follows day. Everyone is bound to die one day or the
other. Not even an hour has passed since our marriage!
Why kill this pure lady for what is inevitable?"
Kamsa was harsh, "My life
is in danger due to her. She cannot go free!" Vasudeva
quickly thought of a strategy to save Devakî till
the birth of her children. He said, "Devakî herself
poses no danger to you, it is only her eighth child. I
will deliver every child to you as it is born. Leave her
alone." Kamsa considered the proposal and was satisfied.
He let go of Decvakî and walked back to his palace.
The newly-weds, who were
supposed to reach home in joy, were drowned in tears.
From the very first day of their marriage they were
immersed in grief! Why? It 'was the direct result of
associating with bad company in the form of Kamsa. Evil
in a person is not always visible. It is seen only when
it manifests in actions.
Kamsa's Cruelty -
In due course the first
child, a girl, was born. Noble and virtuous souls never
break their promises, no matter what the price. They
alone qualify to be called true humans. Kamsa was a
demon. People of his category must be avoided. And true
men like Vasudeva should be befriended. Only vile people
make promises in time of need and conveniently forget
them later. There is no sin greater than reneging on your
word. This is what Emperor
Bali also told
his guru S'ukrâchârya. The one who forgets
promises is a great sinner.
Vasudeva was definitely
not such a person.To him truth was the highest penance.
He carried his child to Kamsa. He upheld his word. Kamsa
was struck by Vasudeva's nobility. He thought, "My
brother-in-law kept his word even in such an extreme
situation. Such purity and adherence to truth are absent
in me." Vasudeva's integrity changed the cruel mind of
Kamsa. He told Vasudeva, "Your truthfulness will always
protect you" and returned the baby. Why?Kamsa knew that
his enemy was the eighth child, not the first. Vasudeva
retraced his steps with the child in his arms.
Then sage Nârada,
the son of Brahmâ, arrived at Kamsa's palace. He
asked Kamsa, "How are you, your subjects and kingdom?",
as per formality. Then he began talking about the issue
at hand. "Kamsa! Don't you know the reality of the
Yâdavas? They are divine beings born on earth to
herald the avatâra.
The Lord is destined to be your killer. You returned the
first child to Vasudeva without grasping the situation in
its entirety. No one can fathom the intentions of God.
What is meant by the eighth child? The first
becomes the eighth. If you count backward starting at
eight! If counting begins with two, the second becomes
the eighth. In this manner, all eight births can qualify
as the eighth! This is a divine mystery".
After sowing this doubt
in Kamsa's mind, Nârada calmly departed. The spark
ignited by Nârada grew into a raging fire in
Kamsa's heart. His eyes crimson with fury, ran Kamsa to
Vasudeva's house: Devakî was feeding her child.
Kamsa wrenched the baby away by its leg and beheaded it
with his sword.
There is no limit to the
wretchedness of demonic people! They have no trace of
compassion! They cultivate all inhuman traits and display
them in cruelty. Six children were done away in this
manner. Devakî and Vasudeva witnessed these
horrific crimes and suffered terribly. But so did Kamsa.
Ever since Kamsa paid heed to Nârada's words, he
lost interest in food and sleep. He became weaker and
In this situation,
Jarâsandha, the King of Mâgadha, came to
Mathura .and gave his daughters in marriage to Kamsa.
After his marriage Kamsa grew stronger owing to the
support of Jarâsandha and his allies. He used his
new-found strength in acts of greater cruelty.
Nârada had said that the Yâdavas were
heavenly beings in human form. Kamsa began harassing the
Yâdavas. Not able to bear his crimes, people fled
to neighboring kingdoms as refugees. Some people
continued to stay and act as per Kamsa's wishes, having
no other option.
We must try to understand
the nature of divinity. God always assumes human forms.
Why? Only for the upliftment of mankind. Only then men
can feel intimate kinship with Him. Therefore, an
avatâra has both divine and human traits. When in
human form, the divine sometimes behaves like an ordinary
man and acts like He knows nothing. Devotees get misled
by His acting and think, "He seems quite plain. How can
He be God?" People concentrate on His human qualities and
forget His Divinity. "He eats with us, walks with us,
talks with us. What is special about Him?", they say.
That is why they are surprised by miracles. This happens
in the case of every avâtar.
Many sages of the forest
worshipped Râma as Lord Nârâyana and
welcomed him to their hermitages. But Râma always
feigned ignorance by saying, "Am I Nârâyana?
I did not know that. I'm only Râma, the son of
Dasharatha. I'm an ordinary man. Please don't embarrass
me." Even great sages were deceived by His pretense! No
one can comprehend God's nature. [Ramakatha
S'rî Krishna Avatâra -
As time passed, God
Devakî had conceived her seventh child. God ensured
that everything was progressing according to His master
plan. Vasudeva had a wife, Rohinî, prior to
Devakî. She was at Nanda's place temporarily, for
fear of Kamsa. The Lord instructed Mâyâ to
transfer Devakî's seventh child into the womb of
Rohinî. And Mâyâ Herself entered into
the womb of Yas'odâ, the wife of Nanda. This
seventh child, the incarnation of
was named Balarâma. That is why Balarâma is
also called Sankarshana, meaning "transferred".
The Lord told Mâyâ, "I will Myself enter
Devakî's womb as her eighth child".
Whenever cruelty and
unrighteousness reach intolerable proportions, God
incarnates on earth and destroys wrong-doers. God Himself
steps into the world. [B.G.
Why? Couldn't He send His deputies to complete the task?
If two people are quarelling on the road, a constable is
enough to separate them. When the crowd builds, the
sub-inspector arrives. But if a major riot begins, the
inspector-general himself is required to control it. The
remedy must suit the severity of the situation. Today the
world is boiling in gross unrighteousness. People
suffered likewise under Kamsa's policies. Everyone felt.
like he was in the midst of a fire. "What will happen
next? Will I live to see tomorrow?" Such were the
constant fears in people's minds.
God decided to incarnate
to destroy the cruel and selfish Kamsa. Every
avatâra has two causes: prayers of devotees and
atrocities of wicked people. The unity of these two is
essential for an avatâra. An example.
Prahlâda remembered the name of Hari without
interruption. But Hiranyakas'ipu, his father, was
a hater of Hari. Prahlâda's love and
Hiranyakas'ipu's hatred combined to result in
Narasimha Avatâra. As long as Prahlâda
chanted 'Om Namo Nârâyanaya ' -'Our
obeisances unto Lord Nârâyana, the Lord
protected him. In what situations was he protected? When
he could not endure the atrocities of his father. Thus,
Hiranya's crimes became Prahlâda's protection!
Hiranya's hatred made it possible for Prahlâda to
acquire proximity to the Lord. These two factors must be
present for every avatâr's advent: wickedness and
devotion. In this way, divine plans conceal subtle
Canto 7, the first chapters for the story of
avatâr manifested. The divine effulgence of
the child illuminated the surroundings. Vasudeva and
Devakî bowed to the child. How did they know? They
were told earlier that God would incarnate as their son.
The Lord had appeared to them in a dream the previous
night and said, "I will take birth from your womb at
dawn." They knew He was God. Yet they worried for His
safety if Kamsa stormed in! This is
mâyâ, delusion! If the baby was God,
does His protection lie in their hands? They were God's
parents and yet, full of fear. See, the games which
mâyâ plays on people's minds!
They were in a jail.
Their hands and feet were shackled with chains. The doors
to the jail were made of heavy iron. The guards were
ferocious demons. The Lord had instructed Vasudeva to
take Him out. How was this to be done? Vasudeva placed
the Lord in a small basket and wondered how to fulfil the
command. In a trice, the chains came loose. The doors
flew open. It was three o'clock in the morning. The
gatekeepers were fast asleep. No one else was around.
Vasudeva quietly walked out of the dungeon. As he
proceeded, there was a tremendous downpour of rain - a
sign of the intense joy and purity of the occasion. Even
the clouds were ecstatic at the Divine Advent.
Balancing the basket on
his head, Vasudeva walked in the direction of Gokula (cow
village). But river Yamunâ flowed across his path.
When God Himself walks, what can obstruct Him?
Adis'esha also came there and the river parted for
them to proceed. At that moment Mâyâ was born
to Yas'odâ. Everyone was asleep at Gokula also.
Vasudeva switched the babies and returned. It was all
done according to divine instructions. But nobody
believes this today. Nobody can understand God's plans.
The sports of God are beyond all comprehension.
Even the gopikas
(cow-girls and -boys) tried to fathom Krishna
in various ways, only to meet with failure. Then they
told Him, "Krishna! You are smaller than an atom, vaster
than the universe. You are present as the witness in all
8.400.000 species of living beings. How then can it be
possible to know You?" There is nothing God's Will cannot
accomplish. He can turn mud into diamonds and diamonds
into mud, earth into sky and sky into earth. 'We must
place full trust in divine power. To those with such
faith, God reveals the truth about Himself.
In keeping with God's
command, Vasudeva placed the Lord next to Yas'odâ's
sleeping form and returned to Mathura with the girl.
God's ways are so mysterious! Only after Vasudeva
returned and placed the girl in Devakî's arms did
the jail guards wake up. The baby girl cried out loudly.
Kamsa was informed of the Eight Birth!
Kamsa was not sleeping, anyway. He was in constant
torment, eager for news from the jail. Sinners always
suffer for their actions in this manner. Kamsa stormed in
and, as usual, attempted to behead the baby girl. But the
baby slipped out of his grasp and flew upward,
transformed and shone in Her full glory as
Yogamâyâ. She exclaimed, "Fool! You don't
know God's Will! Your Vanquisher survives elsewhere. It
is impossible to harm Him. Recognize this truth.
Vinaasha Kaale Vipareeta Buddhi - A contorted
intellect is a sign of approaching doom. You cannot
escape your destiny. God is an embodiment or
kaarya-kaarana, cause and effect. You
haven't understood the laws of cause and effect". So
saying, Yogamâyâ disappeared.
Thence began Kamsa's
obsessive search for the divine child. Unable to limit
his feelings of "I" and "Mine", Kamsa initiated a
massacre of all infants in his kingdom. Thousands of
people were treated with immeasurable cruelty. You may
ask, why should innocent children be slaughtered? What
sins have these babies done? Why should God treat them so
heartlessly? Such doubts may arise. Firstly, it was the
basis for the destruction of demonic persons. Secondly,
it is only the body that dies, not the âtmâ.
You cannot escape death. Thirdly, the Lord created them
and destroyed them, both as acts of His will. It is not
easy to comprehend God's will.
S'rî Krishna's Childhood -
Kamsa trained his eyes on Gokula. He sent many demons
there, all of whom were destroyed by the child Krishna.
Not even one miscreant returned alive. At this time,
Yas'odâ worried intensely about Krishna's safety,
although she perceived divine signs in Him. Then came
Pûtanâ, an ogress. She took the form of a
beautiful lady and approached Yas'odâ, "Sister, l
heard that you gave birth to a son after many years. I am
surprised and delighted. May I see him?" There was
nothing untoward in this request. In fact, people often
came in this manner. Yas'odâ took
Pûtanâ inside unsuspectingly, since
Pûtanâ had assumed the form of one of her
friends. Then Pûtanâ insisted that she be
allowed to nurse the baby. An argument ensued between the
two of them, at which time Krishna began drinking
Pûtanâ's milk. Not just her milk, but her
life-force was also sucked out. Pûtanâ fell
down dead. Everyone in Gokula was astounded at the
infant's superhuman powers.
Krishna showed many
lîlâs in this manner. In every
avatâr's life the first sixteen years are
lîlâs, sports. From sixteen to
thirtyfive years of age are mahatmyas, miracles.
From thirtyfive to seventyfive years is the period of
teaching. Every avatâr passes through these three
stages. Till His sixteenth year, Krishna showed many
lîlâs to the world. It is impossible
to limit these lîlâs. He displayed
innumerable lîlâs to the gopikas
(cow-girls) and gopalas (cow-boys). But they
could not grasp them.
Once, Balarâma and
Krishna were playing. Krishna started eating mud.
Balârama complained to Yas'odâ, who came
running. People in Gokula were in constant dread of
Kamsa. Yas'odâ imagined that the mud may also be
poisoned by Kamsa! She asked, "So, you ate mud, did you?"
By His replies Krishna gave her glimpses into His
reality. "Mother! Am I a small boy to eat mud? Am I mad?
No, no. It is not even hunger. I am not a boy." What did
Krishna mean? By denying what He wasn't, Krishna meant "I
am God". But bound in the feelings of motherly affection
related to the body, Yas'odâ could not recognize
Krishna's divinity. She said sternly: "Open your mouth! I
want to look inside." Krishna complied. Yas'odâ saw
the entire universe inside His mouth! "Is it a dream, an
illusion... what is happening? Am I Yas'odâ?", she
thought. She was totally confused. In this way Krishna
gave glimpses of His divinity to His parents and friends.
was very mischievous. He used to ridicule Krishna or
rather, make a pretense of it, so that Krishna's miracles
may be known to all. He told Krishna, "Hey Krishna! You
are not the son of mother Yas'odâ! Mother and
father are fair in complexion but you are dark! How can
you explain that?" This was the truth - Krishna wasn't
their son! Krishna ran to Yas'odâ and asked most
innocently, "Mother! They say I'm not your son because
I'm dark. Please tell me the truth". He insisted and did
not let go. Yas'odâ didn't know the truth and said,
"My dear son! You are really my son, my own son" and
hugged Him tightly. Then Krishna ate his food and went
away. Krishna lived as an ordinary boy, behaved like He
knew nothing, displayed endless powers and gave hints
about His Divinity constantly.
The name Krishna is much
sweeter than names like Hari, Nârâyana and
Vishnu. Similarly, Râdhâ is sweeter
than Lakshmî, Durgâ,
Sarasvatî, Satyabhama and Rukminî.
What words are easiest to say and sweetest as well?
Krishna-Râdhâ! Who are Krishna and
Râdhâ? Krishna is Purusha, God.
Râdhâ is Prakriti, Nature. Everyone
loves nature and worships it. Nature is God's base or
dhara, which is the same as Râdhâ.
Bhâgavatam was written to reveal these divine
A stalk of sugarcane is
sweet, no doubt, but it also has hard joints in between.
Can you demand that a sugarcane be sweet through and
through? Similarly, when speaking of God we experience
unpleasantness also. You find bad inside good. The
actions of God are the combination of good and bad.
Happiness has no value without sorrow. For this reason,
the advent of an avatâra is preceded by loss,
misery and hardship in the world. These apply not just to
God but to humans also. Every person has good and bad in
their life. Even a millionaire has some woes stealing his
peace of mind.
Mystery of Avatâras -
Why, even renunciants
have worries! Vasishthha was a divine sage. He was the
epitome of greatness, master of all divine powers. Even
this divine sage sometimes failed to recognize divinity.
He knew that Râma was the incarnation of Lord
Nârâyana. Once upon a time he told
Dasharatha, "King Dasharatha! I do not desire anything
from you. I really have no need to come to your kingdom
and stay here as your royal priest. But I know that Lord
Nârâyana will incarnate in your house. I want
to see Him, serve Him. That is the only desire which
makes me stay here. I have not come for fame, respect,
wealth or comfort." Vasishthha himself was competent to
acquire all worldly prosperity by mere willing. Such a
great sage later taught S'rî Râma the
collection of teachings known as Yoga Vasishthham!
Why did Vasishthha fall into delusion? It was because
Râma behaved like a normal man, showing His
divinity only occasionally.
The outer form donned by
avatâras misleads everyone. Another example.
Scholars determine muhûrtas (period of
fourty-eight minutes), or auspicious moments, for
important occasions such as marriages and inaugurations
of projects. Vasishthha made a muhûrta for
S'rî Râma's coronation. After much study and
meditation, Vasishthha decided that seven am on a
particular day would be most appropriate to install
Râma as king. This muhûrta was meant for
coronation but resulted in exile! So what was its
efficacy? Remember, this was no ordinary muhûrta
set by some ordinary brahmin. Vasishthha was a
A muhûrta set by him cannot be invalid. Yet, did
the coronation take place? No. Not just that, but
Râma was exiled to the forest! How did this happen?
The reason is that nothing can stop Divine
will, not even the will of a
Brahmarishi. Râma planned these events to
show His Divinity to the world. [Ramakatha
Remember: Only God's will
succeeds, no one else's. God is sarva sanga
parityagi - One who has renounced all
attachment. But there is one bond which God cannot
renounce - the bond of pure love between Him and His
devotee. God changes His own will such that the will of
His devotee may be upheld. Mârkandeya
Rishi was born by Lord S'iva's blessing and was
allotted only sixteen years of life. He told himself, "I
have only sixteen years. These years should not be
wasted. I will offer every moment to God. Let me acquire
a good reputation for myself and my parents." He
contemplated on the Lord incessantly. Pleased by
Mârkandeya's purity and love, the Lord mollified
His own condition by blessing him to stay sixteen years
old forever! [S.B.
12 : 8, 9 & 10].
God is bhakta paraadheena - One who submits to His
devotees. Such is the mighty efficacy of devotion!
None can limit the power of devotees.
But modem devotees are
part-time devotees. One moment they are devotees
(bhaktas) and the next moment, seekers of worldly
pleasures (bhuktas). They are devious and cunning.
They display piety and humility in Swami's physical
presence but become different persons when they are away.
This cannot be called devotion. It is hypocrisy. You are
cheating only yourself, no one else, much less, God! Who
can cheat Me? Yat Bhavam Tat Bhavati - As you act, so
is the reflection and resound. I am not harmed by
anyone. I do not hate anyone. Devotees might imagine that
I dislike certain persons. That is your hatred, not
There is no blemish of
any sort in divinity. It is immaculate, sacred and
supremely pure. Your hearts must become that pure also.
But that is not the case with devotees today. Devotees
should concentrate on the avatâr's divinity. Do not
be misled by His vesture. You think "He is human" one
moment and "He. is God" the next moment. This humanness
of the avatâra is false. This is
mâyâ? To see what is not real is
mâyâ. To forget what really exists is
mâyâ. You forget what you see and understand
and instead, harbor unknown doubts! Concentrate on the
true essence of the avatâra, which is present in
you also. That is what Sanjay Sahni said earlier: When
you question, "Swami, are you God?", the answer is, "Yes,
I am God, and you are too". Everybody is a form of God.
However, there is a difference. Here [in Swami]
the Divinity appears without obstruction but in you, it
Mahâbhârata war ('the great war'),
Krishna questioned Arjuna, "Why are you so dejected?"
Arjuna replied, "Lord! A colossal war is imminent. Scores
of my friends and relatives may perish." Krishna said,
"Foolish fellow! These people are not here for the first
time. They have undergone countless births and deaths
like us, since time immemorial. You are not the killer
and they cannot be killed. Your attachment is veiling the
truth from you. You can neither kill them nor grant them
life." Arjuna asked, "Lord, why is it that. You know this
truth and I do not? I know only the present but not the
distant past You speak of. What is the reason?"
Then Krishna said,
"Listen carefully to Me.
How old are you?"
"Eightyfour years", Arjuna said.
Krishna continued, "You were alive ten years ago, weren't
"Obviously, my Lord, because I am alive now!"
"Fine. And when did you get married?"
Arjuna gave the exact date, which was sixty years
"When were you born?" was the next question.
Eightyfour years ago on such-and-such day, replied
"Fine. Now tell Me, what you were doing three years ago
on the full moon day of Karthika?"
"I cannot recollect".
"But were you not alive then?"
"Of course I was alive, Lord. But I cannot remember the
"Take note, Arjuna! You remember your marriage from sixty
years ago. But you have forgotten what happened only
three years ago. Why? Because the former is important to
In the same way, people
forget divinity because it is not important to them. You
remember worldly details of your life because that is
important to you. Your goal is the world and hence, you
build worldly bonds. You do not aim for divinity and so,
you cannot recognize it, although it is your true nature.
It is confusing to understand the avatâr's Divinity
which is clouded by His humanness. Is His humanness true
or His superhuman power? Both are false! Ignore the
covering and focus on the divinity - that is
Another example. King
was resting after supper one day. His queen was by his
side. Janaka felt sleepy. The queen dismissed the
attendants. Janaka had a vivid dream in which neighboring
kings had invaded his kingdom and driven him into the
forest. He was wandering as a destitute in the forest. He
was overwhelmed with dejection and hunger. He began
shouting, "I am hungry! I am hungry!" Some tribals were
nearby, eating rice. He ran to them. The tribals gave him
a leaf as a plate and shared their rice with him. All of
a sudden an eagle swooped down upon the leaf and
scattered the rice on the ground. Janaka screamed in
At this point Janaka
really started screaming in his sleep. His queen shook
him, "Lord, why are you shouting?" Janaka woke up and saw
his queen, his soft bed and the opulent surroundings. But
in his dream, he was exhausted, hungry and forlorn. He
saw this, he saw that. Which was true - this or that?
Janaka started questioning aloud, "Is this true or that
true?" The queen was baffled, "My Lord, what strange
words are these?" But Janaka repeated the question many
times - "Is this true or that true?"
The queen panicked,
fearing Janaka had gone insane. She sent for Sage
Vasishthha. Janaka was oblivious to Vasishthha's entry
and continued to ask, "Is this true or that true?"
Vasishthha grasped the situation with his divine vision.
He told Janaka, "O King, neither this is true nor that.
You alone are true. You are present in the waking state
and in the dream state. This is day-dream, and that is
night-dream. Neither of them is present in the other, but
you are present in both. You are the truth."
perceive the avatâr's divinity and humanness and
then doubt, "Is divinity true or that humanness true?"
The divinity that you think you see is not true; neither
is the humanness. Underlying both is the sanctity of the
avatâra. When your vision is pure, you perceive the
avatâr's sanctity. Divinity attracts
Body-Consciousness Causes Attachment -
All the gopikas
came to Yas'odâ and complained. "Mother! Your
son Krishna comes stealthily into our houses, breaks our
pots and steals butter and milk." This was a daily
occurrence! Yas'odâ caught Krishna and scolded,
"You don't eat what I serve. You go to other houses and
steal. You are ruining our reputation. Why don't you eat
the butter I give? Is the butter in our house not tasty?"
What is the inner
significance of this incident? The mother serves with
motherly affection. But the gopikas served the same food
with pure love, divine feelings! It was not the butter
that attracted Krishna, but the purity of their hearts.
Butter symbolizes the hearts of the gopikas which were
filled with purity, one-pointedness and selflessness.
Yas'odâ's butter was attachment, while the gopikas'
was prema. This is the difference between love and
Attachment is born of
body-consciousness. That which is related to the heart is
love. Gopikas were full of love. Whether their
mother-in-laws screamed or their husbands shouted, they
wouldn't answer back or fight. They never had any fear.
The form of Krishna was imprinted in their hearts like
words on paper. It is not possible to separate letters
from the paper, is it? This is the principle of divine
love which we must make a sincere attempt to recognize.
True love only gives and gives, never receives. Worldly
love involves giving and receiving. This is the
difference between worldly and divine love. God never
desires or receives anything, only gives, like one-way
traffic. But you give and receive, come and go. That is
Punarapi Janani Jathare Shayanam
You are born again, you die again,
And you lie in the mother's womb, yet again.
Bhaja Govindam, Bhaja Govindam
Govindam Bhaja, Moodha Mate.
Sampraapte Sannihite Kaale
Nahi Nahi Rakshati Dukrunkarane.
Sing the glory of Govinda,
Sing His glory, o fool!
When your death approaches,
The rules of grammar will not save you.
Listen to refrain - mp3
complete - 31 verses
Sing the glory of God
without interruption. Don't limit yourself to "rules of
grammar", meaning, identification with the body. That is
true worship, true faith. If the body is your goal but
you merely repeat "God, God" like a parrot, you will
achieve only the body, not divinity. There are many
"confusions" of this sort in the avatâra principle.
In no avatâr's time were there persons who had
unbroken vision of His reality. Even the sapta
no exception! They recognized Râma, but fell into
doubts from time to time. Why? After all, they had some
traces of body-identification also.
Identification with the
body is the root cause of delusion. Forget the body and
look inward. Why did our ancient sages shun cities and
choose to live alone in forests? Because they followed
Tyaja Durjana Samsargam - the first qualification for
understanding Bhâgavatam. They went away from
people who were steeped in identification with the body.
Devotion is the same whether living in your house or in
the forest. But bad company is definitely avoidable in
the forest. With this pure objective our sages went away
To reach divinity,
renounce bad company. Then cultivate good company.
Perform good acts day and night. Lastly, discriminate
between the evanescent and the eternal. If students keep
these four injunctions in mind, they can accomplish
whatever they want!
Bhâgavatam is not
just an account of the Krishna Avatâr. The deeds of
sacred devotees such as Dhruva and Prahlâda stand
out as glorious examples in this scripture. If we pay
attention to these devotees, we will come to know
everything there is to know. These devotees had absolute
faith in God. In those ancient times, their unwavering
fait earned them glorious experiences with God. We don't
have such fait today, and if we do, it is not steadfast.
We should quell the wavering of the mind and remain
steady under all circumstances.
Vasudeva is a shining
example of steadfastness. He surrendered his first child
to Kamsa, just to uphold his word! Will any father do
that today? Never! Harishchandra worked in a cremation
ground and even sold his wife just to uphold truth. His
son died and he lost his kingdom. Still he did not yield
to untruth. Satyam Naasti Paro Dharmah - There is
no dharma higher than truth. Never go back
on your word. All worship, meditation and sacrifice are a
waste if you renege on your word. God does not go by your
external actions but only by your heart. God is Bhaava
Priya - He delights in the internal feeling. You are
Baahya Priya - You crave for the external.
Origin of Bhâgavatam
Students! Youth is a
period characterized by unsteadiness. Youth can become
prey to various kinds of confusion. But it is also the
golden period of life. It is a sacred stage of life. You
must achieve steadiness right now. Develop unwavering
faith in God and remove the restlessness of your mind.
Then life will have been well-spent. There is nothing
permanent in this world. This world is called
Ja (going) + Gat (coming) is the nature of the world -
birth and rebirth, creation and destruction, joy and
sorrow. But divinity neither comes nor goes. This divine
principle was given a written form by Vyâsa
in this scripture,
composed both the Mahâbhârata and the
Bhâgavatam. For his greatness he is called
sloka daata - Giver of divine verses. God is
Loka Daata - Giver of the world itself. In spite of
writing so many slokas, Vyâsa's soka
(sorrow) did not come to an end. Why? When he wrote the
Mahâbhârata, he described the fight between
good and bad forces. As you think, so you become. In
visualising Duryodhana and Dushashana (Duryodhana
eldest brother), Vyâsa himself became tainted.
Whatever "actor" you contemplate on, his action enters
your mind. That is why Nârada advised Vyâsa,
"Till now you wrote the Mahâbhârata. You
composed this epic but sullied your heart in the process.
You thought about both good and bad characters. Now write
only good." [S.B.
The Vedas say - Tat
Tvam Asi - You are That. Yat bhavam tat bhavati -
You become whatever your think. When you constantly
think of others' faults, that bad enters you. How? When
you have a camera in your hand, whichever direction you
turn and click, that is the picture you will capture.
Your body is like a camera. Your vision is the lens, your
heart is the film and your thoughts form the scene. Your
intellect is the shutter. With your intellect, absorb
only those impressions into your heart which are
spiritual. If you think bad, it imprints on your heart.
So do not encourage bad thoughts.
"So long you talked of the Kauravas' bad deeds, how they
troubled and cheated the Pândavas. Let go of the
Kauravas' sin. Let go of the Pândavas' virtue as
well. Brahmavid Brahmaiva Bhavati - Thmk of the Lord and
you wIll become HIm. When you wrote Mahabharata, you
thought of Prakriti (Nature, Creation) and not Purusha
(God). So the restlessness of God's creation entered you.
From tomorrow, describe only the Lord, His sports and His
qualities. You will achieve tranquility without a doubt."
Thus, Bhâgavatam came to be written.
We must experience
at least a fraction of Vyâsa's pure feelings.
Purification of the mind must come first. A pure mind
results in God's vision easily. Bhâgavatam is an
account of devotees' experiences, their bliss and the
close relations they had with the Lord - all of which we
What relation should we
desire with God? What attitude results in what relation?
What spiritual effort yields what goal? Enquire into
these issues. You will repent later if such questions are
not answered now. Make an effort to know everything.
Awareness is life. You must know what is good and what is
bad. Then take the good to heart and renounce the
concluded with the Bhajan
"Govinda Krishna Jai, Gopala Krishna Jai, Gopala Bala
Bala Râdhâ Krishna Jai"
Listen - mp3
epic relating the
history of Bharatavarsa, the empire of India that
controlled the world five thousand years ago.
deals with the struggle of the nobles of the vedic
culture at the time of Krishna from which is taken the
Gîtâ. (see Vyâsadeva)
Lord took the Vâmana (dwarf)
avatâra to destroy Bali, the king of
demons. Bali was doing mass charity as part of a vedic
ritual. Vâmana approached him and asked for
land measuring 3 lengths of His Feet. Bali laughed at
this request and told Vâmana that He could
have a whole continent if He wanted. But when
Vâmana stuck to His strange demand, Bali
promised to grant it. Meanwhile Bali's guru
(S'ukrâchârya) recognized Vâmana
to be Lord Vishnu and advised Bali to save himself
by retracting the promise. Bali refused to go back on his
word. Vâmana grew to gargantuan proportions
and with His Feet, enveloped all of creation, thereby
ridding Bali of his kingdom as welI as his ego. For his
truthfulness, the Lord blessed the now-reformed Bali with
future kingship of heaven as well as proximity to
The Lord's power of delusion, also
known as Yogamâyâ or simply,
thousand-hooded serpent on which Lord Vishnu
Avatâra: descend of the
Brahmarishi: Title meaning
'wise amongst the brahmins' (priest, wise, intellectual,
the highest class in the vedic society).
Karthika: Eighth month of the
Janaka: ruler of the kingdom of
Mithila, a great selfrealized sovereign; a jivan-mukta
(liberated while alive by performing his royal duties
with detachement); the father in law of Lord
Râmacandra. Father of Janakî or
an incarnation of Lord S'iva, who appeared in the
eight century to propagate an impersonal philosophy, by
which he wanted to wipe buddhism out of India so that the
authority of the Vedas could be restored.
Bâgavatam (Bhagavata Purâna): The most
beautiful about Him, the Fortunate one. The Krishna -
'Bible', spoken by S'ukadeva Gosvâmi, the son
of Vyâsadeva who wrote down the story of Krishna.
In this book, a collection of classical stories, of about
18000 verses is each and everything described of
bhakti-yoga as also the entire life of Lord Krishna and
other avatâra's of Vishnu; it is a compendium of
vedic wisdom that contains the creme of the vedic
Krishna: (written in Sanskrit
as Krsna with dots under the r, the s and the n) the
All-attractive One. Cowherd, warlord, lover, father,
husband, friend and vedic sovereign.
Vishnu-avatâra. His Life: He took birth in
the Yadu-dynasty from Devakî with Vasudeva as His
father. According many authorities was that in 3182 B.C.
at the eighth day in the dark half of the month
Bhâdra or S'râvana (August-September). He was
born in the prison where his uncle Kamsa had incarcerated
His parents after he heard a voice from the sky predict
that their eighth son would kill him. Kamsa persecuted
Him for that reason so that already in his childhood many
demons were killed by Him as He grew up hidden from the
enemy with the cowherds first in Gokula and later in
Vraja near Mathûra where he stayed in the forest of
Vrindâvana with His foster-parents Nanda and
Yas'odâ. A village with the same name is to the day
of today with Him the place of pilgrimage and the center
of Krishna-bhakti in the world. The girlfriend He had
there so one says (not directly with her name mentioned
in the Bhâgavatam though) is known as
Râdhâ or S'rîmate
Râdhârânî and the love of
those two stands for the purest love of Godhead or
personal love for God possible for a human being. The
emotionality of that relation is called rasa and offers
for each a wide range of human possibilities to relate to
Him spiritually. His relation with also the other cowherd
girls, the gopis, figures for the relation between Him
and His devotees in the form of the different rasas. He
fought all false rulers on earth and had as His life's
mission to take the burden away from the earth. Next to
Kamsa whom He defeated first, were later especially
Jarâsandha and S'is'upâla and their
associates His archenemies. He fought them always
together with His half-brother Balarâma also called
Râma, who was begotten by Vasudeva in another wife
of his named Rohini. Balarâma is considered His
first plenary portion with the same divine status as Him
and seen as an incarnation of Sankarshana. For the sake
of His mission, had He build a separate city in the ocean
named Dvârakâ and developed He, married to
Rukminî and the 16107 other wives He mostly
liberated from being controlled by the scoundrels that He
defeated, an enormous family of over a million members,
the Yadus who, when all enemies were defeated, according
His will at last fought against each other though, so
that also they wouldn't burden the earth. He assisted His
nephew Arjuna as his charioteer during the great battle
of Kurukshetra when the entire Kuru-dynasty found its
demise as a consequence of the injustice caused by
family-attachments and favoritism. After the war
disappeared Krishna to His heavenly abode after being hit
in His foot by an arrow fired by a hunter named
Jarâ shortly after the battle at Prabhâsa
where as good as all the Yadus found their end. His life
is described in the tenth Canto and His teaching He
expounds in especially the eleventh Canto. The
Bhagavad-Gîtâ He spoke to His friend and
nephew Arjuna on the battlefield is very similar to the y
o g a-teachings explained by Him in the eleventh Canto to
His nephew Uddhava. For the former He did so to inspire
to fight injustice, for the latter He did so to clarify
how one should live on this earth with Him physically not
He is recognized as the
purusha, the original personality of Godhead from whom
Brahmâ, the Creator originated. He is considered
the most important, most complete and Supreme Personality
of Godhead to descend on earth, who during His lifetime
already was celebrated as such by His own family because
of His great heroism and favorable influence. Literally
His name means: dark, because of His dark blue-gray skin.
He is, among other names, called Hrishîkesha as the
master of the senses; Bhagavân as the Fortunate One
of all opulences; as Mâdhava, as a scion of Madhu,
as the blooming one and as our Sweet Lord; as
Madhusûdana, being the one who defeated the demon
Madhu; S'auri as the son of the mighty one, - knowing His
father Vasudev a - and as the scion of an ancestor called
S'ûra; Acyuta as the infallible one; Jagannatha as
the Lord of the universe, the living being;
S'yâmasundara as the beautiful one with the dark
complexion; Kes'ava as the Lord who defeated Kes'i or
else the lord with the beautiful locks of hair; Govinda
and Gopala al s the protector and pleaser of the cows;
Mukunda as the Lord of liberation, Murâri as the
enemy of the demon Mura, Vâsudeva as the son of
Vasudeva and Lord of consciousness, Yogishvâra as
the lord of Yoga; Yajña or Yajñes'vara as
the Lord of sacrifice and Hari as the Supreme
Personality, the Lord in person. And thus are many more
names known of Him.
Vahini - The story of God and His
of names, essential terms and Sanskrit words,
to the S'rîmad Bhâgavatam and the Bhagavad