Tathaiva sātyakiḥ pārthaiḥ
niṣasādāsane ’nye ca
Sātyaki also accepted a seat of honour after receiving worship and welcome from the Pandavas, and the Lord’s other companions, being duly honoured, sat down in various places.
pṛthām samāgatya kṛtābhivādanas
āpṛṣṭavāṁs tāṁ kuśalaṁ saha-snuṣāṁ
The Lord then went to see His aunt, Queen Kunti. He bowed down to her and she embraced Him, her eyes moist with great affection. Lord Karna inquired from her and her daughter-in-law, Draupadi, about their welfare, and they in turn questioned Him at length about His relatives [in Dvārakā].
Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura envisions that as Lord Kṛṣṇa was sitting on His seat, He saw His aunt Kuntī approaching in great eagerness to see Him. He then rose at once, quickly went up to her and offered His obeisances. Her eyes moistened with extreme love, she embraced Him and smelled His head.
We are reading today from the Srimad Bhagvatam Canto 10 chapter 58 entitled Krishna Marries Five Princesses, Text six and seven.
Radhanath Swami narrates the story of Queen Kunti and birth of 5 Pandavas
The Pandavas were great devotees of Krishna. The eldest brother Yudhishtir was truly a well-wishers for everyone, but yet so many injustices were committed to them. This is explained in great detail in Mahabharata. Kunti was the sister of Vasudev, who became the father of Krishna and Balaram. Surasena, their father, promised Kuntibhoja, who was his relative who have no children that if he ever had a daughter he would place her under his care. Vasudev’s sister, whose name was Pritha was there by given in the care of Kuntibhoja, and thus she was called by the name Kunti. Here we know the story how she was so beautiful in her character, in her actions, in her words and her physical appearance in every way.
Durvasa Muni came to visit King Kuntibhoja, and as we were speaking last night, Durvasa Muni, son of Anasuya and Atri Muni was an expansion of Rudra and he was easily pleased and easily angered. When he was angry, it was devastating, and when he was pleased, it was very nice. So generally when he came to a place, it was a very fearful situation. It’s like when important guest comes, there is usually some fear because you don’t want to displease them. And when there is Durvasa Muni, it’s a very serious subject matter.
So Kuntibhoja had his lovely daughter Kunti take care of him, and by her graciousness, her kindness, and her absolute genuineness – she just had nothing but good inside and out. Sometimes great sages like Durvasa, if they detect any anartha or unwanted quality in you, they know exactly how to make it explode. But Kunti had no qualities except her goodness. So she served him so pleasingly with so much effort and care that he gave her this benediction, a mantra with which she could call any demigod, any of the Devas, she just meditates and chants the mantra they will immediately appear. She was just a young girl, very small.
After Durvasa muni left with this blessing, she was just curious, as a young girl to be given a mantra like this naturally you want to try it. So, one morning she saw the sun rising, such a beautiful sun rise, and she meditated on Surya and chanted the mantra and Surya came. She didn’t know what to do actually because Surya is a very powerful deva. She is a little girl, so she served him nicely and offered prayers to him, and he said, “If I come I must give you a child that is my rule.” She said, “How can you give a child, I am just a little girl?” He said, “By my deva like powers you will remain a virgin!” And then a child was put in her womb and was born really quickly, because devas don’t have to go through all these months of labour like earthly people. The child was born from ear and therefore the child was given the name Karna. But she did know how to explain this to her relatives.
Now think of yourself being a little girl and all of a suddenly there is this little baby, who has golden earrings and a chest plate. So she was confused. She made a little basket and very lovingly put the baby in the basket and prayed to Surya, “Please protect your child,” and she put him in Ganga, and he flowed away. And the charioteer named Adiratha discovered little baby floating in the river, and he and his wife, Radha, were childless. They considered this to be a great blessing and they loved this child as their own child and raised him with such affection.
Meanwhile later on, the great King Pandu was born of the Vyasadev with his two brothers Dhritarashtra and Vidura. But of the three, Pandu was the most heroic and powerful. Vidura was the most saintly and but he was disqualified from the throne. Dhritarashtra was the eldest but because he was blind, he was not qualified. Meanwhile Pandu was so powerful and he literally took his armies and conquered the entire earth, but he was fair, he was a man of dharma, he didn’t exploit, he didn’t unnecessarily plunder, he actually brought real justice in places where there was so much injustice, and he came to the swayamvara and their kunti gave her heart to him. They were married.
He also married another lady name Madri. You know the story, but somehow or other Pandu made a serious mistake. After he conquered the world he went with his two wives into a forest just to live peacefully.
The way this world works is whoever we are, we sometimes make mistakes, and sometimes those mistakes can create such reversals. – Radhanath Swami
Somehow or other he was cursed that if he ever touches a woman, he would die. So they wanted children and Kunti Devi explained the blessings she had. Now it could can actually be used for really good purpose and Pandu said, “Call Dharmaraj, he is the most pure sinless Mahajan, the upholder of the highest religious principles.” And from Yamaraj, Yudhishtir was born. “Most powerful of the Devas is Vayu, the lord of the wind!” So on Pandu’s recommendation Kunti called Vayu and Bhīma was born, and from Indra, Arjuna. Kunti gave the mantra to Madri and she meditated on the Aashwini-kumars two brothers and from them Nakula Sahadev. And Pandu made another mistake and he died. This is the Mahabharata.
Radhanath Swami describes the birth and character of Duryodhana
So, Madri went with her husband. Kunti also wanted to but the rishis and sages in the forest told her that somebody has to take care of his five children, so she brought them back to Hastinapur. But during that time Duryodhana, the son of Dhritarashtra was the centre of everyone’s attention. Gandhari was pregnant – Gandhari was the wife of Dhritarashtra – at the same time that Kunti was pregnant. What happened was, Kunti gave birth to Yudhishtir first, and Gandhari later became disturbed and out of anger, she hit her womb and her hard lump came out. She didn’t know what to do; she was about to throw it away and then Vyasadev said, “I already gave you a benediction ‘You will have hundred sons,’” so he made hundred pots and puts ghee in it and then by his mystical powers that lump was divided into 100 parts, and each one was put in pot.
The firstborn was Duryodhana and as soon as he was born, everything possible inauspicious start happening everywhere around. This little child, the baby, you know how babies cry, when Duryodhana was born he didn’t cry, he shrieked, it was horrible. He was evil, just total evil coming out of him, people were shocked and all these terrible things were happening everywhere around. Vidura and others told Dhritarashtra, “You should get rid of this son, you already have 99 others, but get rid of this; because he is going to do nothing but cause horrible horrible consequences to his life.” Dhritarashtra was attached to his firstborn. And soon from the other pots children started getting borned and they were the hundred sons of Dhritarashtra.
Now while Panda was in the forest with Kunti and his five children, they were there for many years. Pandu actually was the very much loved by Dhritarashtra, because after all he is the one who created the Kuru kingdom in the way it was, and he entrusted it all to Dhritarashtra until his eldest son Yudhishtir was old enough to take the throne. So that was the agreement, Dhritarashtra would rule the kingdom until the rightful king was of the age. While the Pandu was gone Duryodhana was so wicked, even as a little boy, and so envious, but at the same time he was incredibly skilful, he had brilliant intelligence, he was great at fighting weapons, he was very very managerially inclined, he could get almost anything done. So it was very impressive and because he was like the eldest of the Princess, in the absence of the Pandavas he was getting so much attention.
In this world, its human nature that the more we get, the more we become attached what we have. – Radhanath Swami
gunaih karmani sarvasah
kartaham iti manyate
That detachment is to understand, whatever I have is God’s property: whatever intelligence, whatever abilities, whatever influence that I have over others, this all is given to me by a higher power of God’s grace. Nothing is mine.
jnatva mam santim rcchati
Krishna tells in Gita what the acharyas declared to be the peace formula, because people in this world want peace, there is so much war, there is so much conflict, so much unhealthy descriptive envious competition in this world, and there so many organizations and campaigns to bring about peace, and many of them are very helpful. But, according to the Bhagavad-Gita they are only dealing with the symptoms of the problem. However much you treat symptoms, if the core disease is still present, then another symptom will come, and then another and another, and sometimes there are just so many symptoms that you cannot even deal with them anymore.
So, Krishna tells the peace formula. He goes right to the very core of the heart of the diseased that disturbs people’s peace. And he explains, one can attain true everlasting peace if they just lived by three principles that
- Bhagavan Sri Krishna is the proprietor of everything that exists: sarva-loka-maheshwaram, sarva-loka means every planet in every creation is the property of God. He is the creator, He is the maintainer and ultimately he withdraws it according to his will. Nothing is mine.
- And ultimately the Lord is the supreme enjoyer of everything: samsiddhir hari toshanam, that means if everything is God’s property, everything should be used in harmony with God’s will and surrendered
- suhradam sarvabhutanam: that one supreme Lord who was the father and the mother of every living being is the most intimate ever well-wishing best friend of all beings. This is very important. We can be happy in any situation if we just have realization of this, that Krishna is our ever well-wishing friend, not only to us but to everyone. Krishna loves everyone infinitely forever. He is not partial to anyone, but he reciprocates according to how we live.
So Krishna has revealed this secret to us. So simple! But Duryodhana was so much intoxicated and infatuated by the respect and the power he was getting because he had no rival – his father was blinded old and disqualified in so many ways and there he was, the next ruler. Among all the children he was the greatest in everything. And after Pandu passed away, Kunti couldn’t take care of those children in the forest anymore without her husband, so she brought them back to the kingdom.
Radhanath Swami elaborates on envious plans of Duryodhana
When Dhritarashtra heard his brother Pandu had died, he was actually very grief stricken. But now Yudhishtir was completely different than Duryodhana, he had brilliant intelligence, like Duryodhana he was expert in everything what he did, but he was humble, and he was respectful to everyone, and he was everyone’s well-wisher. He was never thinking about himself, he was always thinking of everyone else and so everyone in Hastinapur fell in love with Yudhishtir.
And Bhima, who was actually born the same day as Duryodhana; they were equals. Yudhishtir was older. Bhima so strong. He used to play with the Kurus and he would say, “All hundreds of you, lets wrestle!” And these Kurus were really arrogant little kids, they were spoiled like anything, they were expecting to be the kings, the rulers, and the everything. Bhima would just throw them around like toys and this really insulted them, ‘Not only just everyone loves Yudhishtir, but Bhima always defeats us.’ Bhima would defeat them and he had no animosity, he had no envy, for him it was just play, he would just beat them up; that’s what little Kshatriya kids do. But it was just play for him, there was no ill feelings.
But for Duryodhana and his brothers it was intolerable. Duryodhana was completely conquered by envy, because he wanted to be in the centre, and for a while he was in this centre and he was enjoying it, and now someone else was coming and taking his position. And not only that, but Yudhishtir was the rightful heir to the throne that Duryodhana craved to have. He couldn’t tolerate being anyone’s servant; He wanted to be the master, the controller, the enjoyer.
Usually in this world you are not envious of somebody could do something that you don’t know how to do. You are usually envious of somebody who does the same thing you do, but better. Just like, if you are very proud of being a good dancer and somebody else is a good scientist, you are not envious of that, you can tolerate them being good scientist. But if somebody dances better than you and gets louder applause, and more people looking and affectionate, it is like fire going in your heart, can’t tolerate it. And similarly, if you are really good scientist and getting all kinds of grants and people are praising you and everything like that, you can easily tolerate could dancer. But not with another scientist, that’s human tendency. Where we are getting our enjoyment of certain types of adoration distinction profit, it is very very difficult to tolerate somebody who is actually getting more attention and getting more profit and being more successful. – Radhanath Swami
I read a couple years ago one musician he got an award of the number one best song that he wrote and sang to of all time for a particular form of music, and there were hundreds of thousands of songs by some of the greatest artists, but his was voted to be number one song, the greatest song of all time. So he was interviewed. This is the most prestigious award a musician can get in one sense. He wrote in song, greatest song of all time. They asked him, “What is your feeling for getting this award?” He said, “Nothing! In a couple years some other song will be voted better than mine. It’s true; records are broken.
Krishna tells us in the Gita, that our real happiness should not be in the results of what we do, but in the quality of the consciousness in which we to it. Krishna tells Arjuna, “Do not be attached to victory or defeat, success or failure, pleasure or pain, honour and dishonour; be attached to do Dharma. The highest dharma is bhakti.”
yat karosi yad asnasi
yaj juhosi dadasi yat
yat tapasyasi kaunteya
tat kurusva mad-arpanam
“Whatever you to, do it for my pleasure!” Krishna says. It is our devotion that pleases Krishna. There are so many examples of this, Duryodhana himself. I’m skipping way ahead and from the story, but when the Pandavas and the Kurus, when it was inevitable that there was going to be a war, Duryodhana wanted to get Krishna on his side; he was so expert, he was really brilliant. Sometimes we just think of Duryodhana as being just of a mad crazy envious person, he was but he was also in order to get his way, he could be the most refined charitable and intelligent person. He knew how to win people over, he would treat them with such respect, and give them so many gifts that they were obliged to be on his side. So he invited Krishna to his palace, and he had the best dancers, and the best cooks, and the best interior decorators, and he had the most wonderful gifts, everything just to show Krishna, how much he is going so far, out of his way to give Krishna happiness so that when he asked Krishna favour, after doing all Krishna is to be obliged to be on his side.
But Krishna doesn’t care anything for the things. He is concerned with love and devotion. All the preparations were made. Krishna knows just how to teach good lessons. He walked right by Duryodhana’s house; all receptions were waiting and he just walked by, he didn’t even look. Now that’s an insult. And then he went to Vidura’s house. Vidura wasn’t even expecting him. Kunti Devi was living with Vidura while the Pandavas were in exile and Vidura didn’t have anything prepared for him. And according to the story, they just gave Krishna a banana. And according to how some people tell that story, Vidura and his wife were so nervous that Krishna just showed up at their house, they peeled the banana and threw the banana out and gave Krishna the peel, and Krishna ate it. He was completely satisfied! He was happier with this little offering of love than all of the things, the crowns, the jewels, and the sumptuous food that Duryodhana had prepared for him, because Krishna sees the intent.
The only thing that satisfies the heart is to love and be loved. And value of any gift is only in the love in which it is given and received. That’s the only value to the heart. The material worth of something can give some fleeting attachment to the mind and senses, but it can’t touch the heart. – Radhanath Swami
So Duryodhana and his brothers were so envious that they wanted everything: they wanted the affection, they wanted the respect, they wanted the attention of everyone in any way from all the citizens, and they were getting it. They loved it and they were attached to it, and here comes the Pandavas, and they didn’t even want it, it just came to them anyway because they were so good. Even though the Pandavas were there well-wishers, Duryodhana started making plots to murder them, their brothers. In those days cousins were called brothers. So they took help of Shakuni. Shakuni was the brother of Gandhari and he was really angry person too, because Bhishma brought Gandhari and Shakuni wanted her to marry Pandu, but instead she got married to Dhritarashtra and so he was really angry. He was really intelligent, but he used it all and the wrong ways. So Shakuni and Duryodhana were always making these plots of how to destroy the Pandavas. And they were intelligent.
Usually what you are most attached to, becomes either strength or weakness. That’s how Maya works. If Maya sees that you have a weakness of a particular type of attachment, she will try to exploit that and use that to destroy you. – Radhanath Swami
param drstva nivartate
Bhakti is to experience a higher taste so we can actually tolerate and overcome these weaknesses. So Bhima was really strong, he didn’t have any physical weaknesses at all, but he would love to eat. Srila Prabhupada explains one name of Bhima is Vrikodhara. Vrikodhara means one who can eat like a hungry wolf, he can eat massive sums of food. But the difference between Bhima and us is, he can eat so much and then with the power and strength he gets from that food, he could do supernatural activities. If we tried to eat like Bhima, we will get sick and fall asleep. So Bhima likes to eat a lot.
So they took him on an excursion to play in the banks of the Ganga and they made these delicious cakes and filled them with poison, poison that could kill hundreds of grown men. Bhima was just a boy and he ate it all, and he still played all day. And then at the end of the day he kind of felt sleepy because of the poison and laid down. They thought he was dead and they threw them in the Ganga. Krishna says –
kaunteya pratijanihi na me bhaktah pranasyati
Krishna is always there for his devotees and whatever happens to a devotee it is always for the good, whether they live or whether they die, because ultimately there’s no death. Sometimes people get confused, how is it that a devotee can die in a way that appears to be before their time; sometimes even suffering. From our perspective, we can calculate in terms of years, in terms of pleasure and pain, but if Krishna wants to protect us, nothing can harm us. And even if something does harm us, if we have taken shelter of Krishna then he will give the soul the highest rewards. Everyone has to die. What is history? History is just always narrations about people who are now dead, 100 years may be. In England if you get to be 100 years the Queen personally gives you a gift, something to live for. It is a good thing but how long you will be able to enjoy that gift?
Srimad Bhagvatam tells us better one moment of full consciousness than long long life wasted in material consciousness. Some of the greatest people throughout history live very short lives, but they changed the whole world by the qualities of their life. – Radhanath Swami
So Krishna had a purpose for Bhima. So all while he was underwater, the snake started biting him. Now for most of us we don’t want to get bitten by snakes, but the snakes neutralized the poison that was in Bhima and he was empowered. He came out of the water more powerful than ever before. So Duryodhana kept secret what they tried to do. It made them even more determined.
Radhanath Swami speaks on the Lakshagraha pastime which happened at Varnavrata
Duryodhana was telling his father Dhritarashtra, “They must be killed! They have to be killed otherwise they are going to be kings, what about me?” Dhritarashtra said, “So what about you, Yudhishtir is a good older brother!” “No! No! I’ll commit suicide if he becomes King and you will be responsible!” Dhritarashtra was in Maya, he was under the influence of his son and he was attached to his son, and by associating with his son he was becoming like that. Meanwhile Bhishma and Vidura were watching this whole thing happening and they were broken-hearted by it.
Vidura was always giving Dhritarashtra good advice; Vidura was the younger brother. He was the most qualified, but just because of some technicality in his birth he was he was not given certain rights, but he was the most qualified. He was completely the well-wishers of everyone. He had no animosity, no enmity in his heart. He loved Krishna. Krishna was his nephew kind of. He loved everyone. He was always giving Dhritarashtra good advice, and Dhritarashtra would hear it and Dhritarashtra new that, ‘Vidura is my best friend, he is my well-wisher and everything he says is right,’ but then he would hear from Duryodhana and due to his attachment to Duryodhana he would always go along with him; what a troubled life he had.
Even though he was sitting on the throne, he was the king, Dhritarashtra was nothing but miserable; Duryodhana was nothing but miserable. So they made another plot. Varnavrata, a beautiful place and there was a big festival to celebrate Lord Shiva that was coming up. It was like a vacation place. I guess, what is that place, Mahabaleshwaram where wealthy people from Mumbai like to go there and they have their homes there to kind of go on holidays. Varnavrata was like that, was a very very nice place. ‘So let’s send the Pandavas there and promise them a nice vacation and they can celebrate this beautiful festival for Lord Shiva and everyone will be so happy that they are there. Dhritarashtra was inviting them there, it was all a plot.
Yudhishtir Maharaj was so respectful to his uncle, but in his mind he was thinking ‘Why Dhritarashtra is sending us but not his own children? And why is he all of a sudden so nice to me, and he is offering us so beautiful vacation and holiday? And he says his going to build a brand-new palace for us to live there, just for a vacation for some time?’ He was mysteriously nice. So Yudhishtir respectfully understood that something is going happen.
What happened was Duryodhana and Shakuni called a man named Purochana, he was like an architect and a builder. And they told him to build a beautiful palace out of totally flammable materials, the types of materials that if you put a single little flame, just a tiny little flame and it will immediately going to fire within seconds.
So Purochana went Varnavrata and he started building this palace; he built it really fast. And every particle that was being put in this building was soaked in flammable oils like lak; it was called the house of lak. He soaked the bricks in lak, they were just saturated and he built the house like that and he painted over it. And he put lak in the paint too, whatever type of paint they used. It was probably organic, was definitely organic because they did not use chemicals in those days, it was organic paint but the lak was organic too. That house was just built to burn, and then he puts pots of ghee all over the place to make it look auspicious. And then he got some sort of natural fragrance to cover and to make it really sweet smelling. And it was built.
Meanwhile as Yudhishtir and the Pandavas with Kunti were leaving Hastinapur to go on their vacation, Dhritarashtra said, “Please enjoy!” And Duryodhana said, “You will have so much fun there and it is such a nice place!” Vidura spoke in a language that nobody could understand. He spoke a very simple tribal language, but Yudhishtir understood so many languages, but more than that Yudhishtir could understand people’s hearts. Vidura said some little poetic line that was really confusing to people who heard it. He said something like, “Beware of weapons that are meant for your distraction that are not made out of steel or any hard material.” What is that mean? “And beware of that which can consume and even a straw and wood, but cannot harm a person who is in the hole in the ground!” Something like that. Then he said, “One who controls the mind and senses can never be conquered!” And Kunti asked Yudhishtir, “What does that mean?” Yudhishtir later told that Vidura has told us that, “They are going to try to burn us live.” And Vidura sent some of his messengers to the Pandavas. Should I continue the story? Hari Bol!
Meanwhile as they were leaving the house was being completed. When they arrived at Varnavrata all the people there were celebrating because everyone loves the Pandavas, and this is what was really embroiling the envy of Duryodhana that everybody loves them. Wherever Duryodhana would go people would say, “Yes master!” “Yes master!” But wherever Yudhishtir would go, “We will do anything for you!” “We will give anything to you!” Duryodhana wanted what Yudhishtir had, he had the love of the people, he wasn’t just respected he was loved. Duryodhana was feared and by his manipulations, by his incredibly intelligent organization and engineering he had control, he had fear of the people, they couldn’t get their love and the respect of their hearts.
That’s what greatness is, to actually beloved and not feared. And if we fear somebody with love that’s all right too. But when our love goes beyond fear, that goes higher, that goes deeper. – Radhanath Swami
So when Yudhishtir was leaving Hastinapur everyone was saying good bye with such love and Duryodhana was burnt alive by envy. And when Yudhishtir Maharaj came to Varnavrata, all the citizens, every single citizen came and celebrated his arrival. Eventually the house was built. Yudhishtir Maharaj told the Pandavas, “What happened?” Bhima said, “Why should we go there, they want to burn is alive.” And Yudhishtir Maharaj said, “No No, we should live there. We will escape! Let them think we are dead.” Vidura kept sending them messages and help, and they dung an underground tunnel. And on amavasya, on new moon night, that was the time destined for the house to be put on fire and they got that message and they escape from the fire and the house blazed. Everyone thought that Kunti and her sons were dead. When the news came, Dhritarashtra started crying and Duryodhana started crying and everyone was crying and they were giving all these tributes of honour to the Pandavas, just to make it sound like they were compassionate, well-wishing, loving.
They were grieving but actually in their hearts they were really really celebrating, ‘They are dead! Now everything is ours!’ How is that such envy? And it’s interesting because Duryodhana is the grandson of Vyasadev, who is the literary incarnation of Bhagawan Sri Krishna. How could he be in such a state? Duryodhana was being brought up in the presence of Bhishma (a Mahajan), and Vidura (a paramhamsa), but still he made these choices. He was so duplicitous! But Vidura could see it all and Bhishma could see it all, but Vidura was happy that and the Pandavas were safe and they went into hiding for some time. And because times up, I can’t say too much more, but many incredible things happen at that time. They went to Ekachakra, and there they were living incognito. All the Kurus thought they were dead but Vidura knew what was going on, ‘They were safe.’ There was funerals and everything for them at Hastinapur.
Radhanath Swami shares the story at Ekachakra and Pandavas returning to Hastinapur
In Ekachakra is the story of Bakasura. Baka was a really powerful person. Baka was such a demon that he demanded on a regular basis, that the people of Ekachakra brought him a huge wagon load of food. And as the desert, he would eat the charioteer who drove it. So he would eat entire wagon load food and then eat the driver. He was like one of these Mafia kind of people, “Either you give me this or I’m going to terrorize your entire village!” So it was like they were paying him off. So rather than every one of the children being subjected to be killed by him, they would just send one on intervals with the wagon.
So, the place where the Pandavas were staying with Kunti, the mother was crying and Kunti said, “Was happening?” They said, “It’s chosen that our son has to drive the wagon to Bakasura so that means that he can be eaten alive.” And Kunti said, “No problem. I’ll send my son instead. I have Bhima.” And the lady said, “No! No! No! I can’t let you to sacrifice your son for my son. I only have one son!” Kunti said, “I have five, no problem!” So Kunti convinced her and Bhima drove the whole chariot, big giant huge amount of food. Bhima was really really expert, and he went right up to where Bakasura waiting and right in front of Bakasura Bhima ate everything. This really made him angry and Bakasura attacked Bhima while he was eating. Bhima couldn’t care less about this Bakasura and with his right hand he was eating with his left hand he was pushing him away, until he finished everything. Then after he finished everything he washed his hands and he finished baka. Kunti understood her son. And it was in the same Ekachakra that Lord Nityananda prabhu, about 4500 years later took his birth there, the place where the Pandavas resided.
And soon after that there was the wonderful pastime where Draupadi chose Arjuna to be her husband at swayamvara. Arjuna came back and told Kunti Devi, “I brought a wonderful gift!” And Kunti Devi said, “Whatever valuable thing you have you must always share with your brothers.” Arjuna said, “It’s a wife.” Whatever Kunti said couldn’t go in vain. So under these extraordinary circumstances Draupadi married all the five Pandavas, and there was no envy among them, because they loved each other so much, they loved her so much, and she love them so much even though they were in exile, they were under persecution, they were being dishonoured, they were being blasphemed. For the Pandavas it was painful, especially when it is your own family doing this to you in your own house. It’s one thing when enemies from the outside camp are attacking you but from your own family is very painful. And out of everyone Kunti suffered the most.
And later on in this great tournament, when Arjuna was winning everything Dronacharya had the special tournament like the graduation ceremony from his school with the Kurus and Pandavas, and Arjuna was just mesmerizing everyone with the skills, and suddenly an unknown person enters the arena and he excels Arjuna in everything. Who is this person? Nobody knew who he was except Kunti. She saw the earrings and the chest plate of gold that he had; she understood this was her firstborn son Karna, and instantly he became worst enemies with Arjuna. Instantly Duryodhana saw that here somebody more powerful than my rival and he won over Karna, and started giving him gifts and made him the king of a province; everything Karna could possibly want Duryodhana was giving him. He lavished him so much that Karna was totally obliged to him. And Kunti couldn’t tell anyone but as soon as she saw him she fainted, and Vidura immediately understood this must be her son. He was so intelligent!
So after the Pandavas and Kunti Devi returned to Hastinapur, the word got out that they were actually still alive. The Kurus headed by Duryodhana, Dhritarashtra grieved when they were performing the last rites, the funeral for the Pandavas; at least they pretended to although in their hearts they were jubilant. When the Pandavas came back, externally they were celebrating, “The Pandavas are still live! They are all alive!” but in their hearts they were grieving, they were immediately thinking of other methods to destroy them. When they returned, Krishna, who was in Dwarka heard about the Pandavas return and he came there to meet them.
Radhanath Swami portrays how Krishna reciprocates with his devotees
In this particular verse were reading today, Satyaki comes with Krishna – he is a very senior elder person – and the Pandavas are receiving them with such honour and respect. Krishna is reciprocating with each person according to their particular relationship with them because Krishna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and higher than the infinite peace of brahman realization is the infinite intimacy of love of prema. Krishna is conquered by the love of his devotees. Yudhishtir is older than Krishna and so is Bhima, so Krishna is bowing down to Yudhishtir and touching his feet. Yudhishtir Maharaj knows that Krishna is his beloved Lord, the cause of all causes, the absolute truth, the controller of all controllers, the king of kings, the father of Brahma, the source of mahavishnu. Yudhishtir knows all this, but Krishna wants to exchange love with him in this way, so Yudhishtir Maharaj is blessing Krishna and Krishna is touching his feet; but it’s all with such intimate love. Then Arjuna who was of Krishna’s same age, out of etiquette they are embracing as friends. And Nakula and Sahadev were younger and so touching Krishna’s feet, and Krishna is blessing them. And Krishna is bowing down to the Vidura and the elders, and they are blessing him, in this way there’s this intimate exchange of love that Krishna was facilitating according to a particular person’s relationship with him.
As Krishna was sitting on a beautiful seat, he sees queen Kunti coming –
sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe arjuna tiṣṭhati
‘The Lord is within the heart of everyone and he knows our every thought, he knows our every feeling, intimately he hears our every word, he sees our every action.’ So Krishna knows Kunti’s heart, what she has been going through. She is Krishna’s aunt, Krishna touches her feet and Kunti embraces him as her own nephew. Kunti is asking Krishna about all the people of the yadu dynasty in Dwarka. This is Kunti’s nature, what she’s going through but she so concerned with Krishna, and so concerned with others.
It is described in this beautiful verse today, the Lord then went to see his aunt Queen Kunti and he bowed down to her and she embraced him, her eyes were moist with great affection. Lord Krishna inquired from her and her daughter-in-law Draupadi about their welfare, and they in turn questioned him at length about his relatives in Dwarka. Kunti worshiped Krishna and Krishna worshiped Kunti. Krishna knows past, present and future. In the First Canto of the Srimad Bhagvatam we read ‘The Prayers of Queen Kunti,’ and we will end our class today with a reflection on her state of consciousness.
It is said, Srila Prabhupada explained a proverb from Bengal that the mother-in-law will teach the daughter-in-law through instructing the daughter. Does that make sense to you? Because the daughter-in-law is kind of strange in the house, because in India traditionally there are joint families. So the mother-in-law does want to disturb the daughter-in-law, because the daughter-in-law doesn’t know how to do anything in that house. So she just correcting her, the daughter-in-law can feel really depressed, thinking she is doing everything wrong. A loving mother-in-law will never do that to the daughter-in-law. I’m instructing you mother-in-laws in this. There is sensitivity there is affection. So the mother-in-law will affectionately instruct the daughter, and the daughter is used to living in the house, she knows, ‘My mother loves me,’ by instructing the daughter the daughter-in-law learns everything, without hurting her, without making her feel inferior. This is a science of respect and affection within the household.
So in the same way Krishna teaches the world through his loving devotees; and Kunti was his loving devotee. Krishna would touch her feet and bowed down to her. Yet Kunti went through so many tragedies in her life: what happened to Karna, what happened to her children, what happened to her beloved daughter-in-law Draupadi when she was being stripped by Dushasana, all these situations Kunti had to bear and tolerate. But in the end she prayed to Krishna –
vipadah santu tah sasvat tatra tatra jagad guro
“Let these calamities come again and again, because when they come I remember you. I have no one else to turn to except you. And in remembering you I am beyond birth and death.”
tatenu kampam susumikshu manu,
bhunjana evatma krtan vibhagam
Lord Brahma offer this prayer to Krishna that when to that devotee, who even in the most difficult trying situations returns to you with a humble and grateful heart, that person alone is fit for the highest liberation. It’s not a matter of how little we can eat or how little we can sleep, although we shouldn’t waste our time eating too much or sleeping too much.
The reason we don’t eat a lot or sleep a lot is not because we want to show everybody how renounced we are, it’s because we want to extend our gratitude to Krishna by utilizing every moment of our time in serving him and remembering him and loving him. It’s for that purpose. – Radhanath Swami
Brahmacharis living in ashram don’t renounce the opportunity for families and everything and property, so that people will see that the great ascetics. They come here so that they can utilize their full energy and their full minds in the loving devotional service. Grihasthas don’t give in great charity to help elevate people’s consciousness so that they will be honoured and esteemed. They are doing it because they understand everything they have belongs to God and let me use it for that purpose. This is bhakti. But if in the end whatever spiritual activities we do, what actually makes us fit for the highest liberation is through our association, through our sadhana, through our seva; we come to the state of consciousness where even when great challenges and setbacks come in our lives – and they wheel whoever we are – we can turn to God with gratitude and give our hearts to him. That was Kunti Devi’s example, and that is why Krishna is touching her feet, not just because of the formality that she’s his aunt, but Krishna wants to show the world how he worships those devotees who always remember him in love in any situation. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu taught us this. Kunti herself she prayed to Krishna in her prayers –
naivārhaty abhidhātuṁ vai
That a person who is too much attached to wealth, high birth, and physical beauty or very high education cannot feelingly call out your holy name because they become proud. Akinchana Gocaram that means even if you have high wealth, even if you have high birth, wealth education and all of this, if we understand nothing is mine, then we can call out Krishna’s names with feelings. So God has appeared within his name –
namnam akari bahudha nijsarva shakti
Krishna has appeared in his name and he has many names, and within these divine names he has invested all of his powers, all of this potencies.
If you have a humble heart and we call out these names in any situation with gratitude, Krishna will reciprocate and give us himself. Krishna is showing us here, he worships the devotee who worships him with such a humble and grateful heart. Lord Chaitanya, Lord Nityananda gave great scholars and simple simple uneducated people the holy names of the Lord; it didn’t matter whoever they were. And if they saw that they were chanting with humble hearts Lord Chaitanya and Lord Nityananda would touch their feet, embrace them, give them garlands and say, “I am your property!”
In this spirit Srimad Bhagvatam is teaching us to chant the holy –
HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA KRISHNA KRISHNA HARE HARE
HARE RAM HARE RAM RAM RAM HARE HARE
I would like to introduce two very dear friends who have come from long distance of Woodstock, New York. They are two of the most empowered yoga teachers in the world and they have found the yoga studio which has teachers and branches all over the world. And they are wonderful devotees and beautiful people who really try to give something with very deep substance. They are very powerful animal rights activists and human rights activists also. Sometimes people are animal-rights activists but they are not nice to human people. When we actually understand animals are people and humans are also people, then we actually extend as instruments of God’s grace or compassion to all, and this is the very heart of their mission. Their mission is to teach these values of devotion along with very incredible system of yoga as well. And they were very dear friends of our dear brother Shyam dasji, who you remember stayed with us a few years ago at Radha Gopinath Temple. They regularly would visit him at Govardhan and in Vrindavan, Gokul, Nathdwara, and at this time about 80 students will visit Govardhan eco-village for a teachers training, they are here for one month. And Mahatma Devi and David Life are the leaders of this wonderful Jiva mukti society and very very dear friends. And it was always my dream that they would be here with us in Mumbai; I am so grateful that both of you are here. Please be part of our family here forever and everyone would like them to be a part of our family forever very lovingly and loudly chant Hari Bol! Hari Bol! Hari Bol! 10 million times louder please, Hari Bol! Hari Bol! Hari Bol!
So any questions? As sure as the sun rises every morning, and the sun sets every evening Aananda Vrindavan will always have a question left.
Question – Maharaj taking about the Pandavas, we know that they are pure devotees and they have gone through so many difficulties and hardships in their life. But when the difficulties came to Yudhishtir Maharaj, a stage came in Yudhishtir Maharaj’s life also when he complained to Krishna, “Why you are putting so much difficultly only on us?” yashaha manighrinani he spoke that thing, so that thing we feel as conditioned souls we take shelter of that thing in our life; that when Yudhishtir Maharaj also complains to Krishna, when difficulty comes in our life is very natural that we will also complain to Krishna. And in that circumstance our commitment and our dedication goes down in Krishna consciousness because we are taking shelter of that thing. So what to do when these difficulties come in our life, we don’t take that shelter and we just take it as Krishna’s mercy and don’t do complain but take this as a Krishna’s mercy and go ahead? It is always that we take shelter of that thing we go away. How to give our 100% commitment to Krishna consciousness and not taking shelter of that thing in our life?
Answer: Thank you. Thank You. That’s a problem when we take one little piece and we don’t see the whole picture. So we want to do what Yudhishtir did as far as asking a serious question to Krishna, which sounds like complaining; but what about the rest of it, “Yes Krishna, why is all this happening?” yasyaham anughrina mi harishet tadanam shanay – Krishna said to Yudhishtir Maharaj, “When I show my favor to my devotee, I give whatever he wants. But when I give my complete favour, I take away everything so that that devotee has nowhere else to turn to except me.” Now what does that mean, take away everything? It doesn’t. It may mean that Krishna takes away everything materially or may mean he doesn’t take away anything material, eventually time does, Krishna says, “Time I am!”
What Krishna is explaining is, “When there is impediments in the heart of my devotee, I’m actually offering myself.” And as long as we are dependent on material conditions we never really take shelter of Krishna. Just like if you are in an airplane and all of a sudden alarms, I have been in airplanes like this where they say, “We are about to crash! Emergency landing!” What are you going to do? You are in the aeroplane, and the engines and the control system of the aeroplane breaks down, and you are about 30,000 feet above sea level, it is not that you can call your fire department or your Police Department or your life coach or teacher. Plane is going down, there is nothing and your totally helpless. In such a state, what you do. The first thing you may do is say, “Krishna why are you doing this to me?” It is natural, that is what Yudhishtir did, “Why you are doing this to me?” But then, they realize if Krishna is doing it to me that means Krishna must be there for me, and then with all your heart all, all your life, all your soul, you just give your body, mind, heart and soul to Krishna in that state and you cry, it is not that your chanting while following asleep. Usually in airplanes everyone is falling asleep. In that helpless state you are actually take shelter –
HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA KRISHNA KRISHNA
HARE RAM HARE RAM RAM RAM HARE HARE
And if the plane crashes, you attain life’s perfection and you go back to Krishna’s eternal abode, HARI BOL! That is ‘Journey Home’ in the fast lane, and if somehow or other the plane lands safely, you will never forget it; you will definitely think for the rest of your life, ‘That was the most spiritual I’ve ever been in the aeroplane. This is best flight of my life. I never want it to happen ever again, but it was the best. Never felt so close to God!”
So Yudhishtir took shelter. So he is asking the question to be like us, but then he is also responding to show us what we are supposed to do. So it is not a problem when we say, “God why are you doing this.” Even Jesus, when he was on the cross he cried, “Why have you forsaken me my father?” But that was in the ecstasy of separation, it wasn’t in bewilderment. Similarly Yudhishtir Maharaj had complete faith in Krishna, it was just his human nature speaking that; but the lessons he is giving us is how he spoke it and how he lived when he received Krishna’s message. Similarly with Arjuna, in the battle of Kurukshetra Arjuna was bewildered. He was instructing Krishna, “Krishna I’m not going to fight!” and then he was giving all the reasons. And then he became so completely overcome by the circumstance that he started crying, he dropped his bow Gandiva and said –
“Krishna, I don’t know anything; please instruct me!” So Arjuna is playing the role of us and in certain cases, Duryodhana playing the role of us. The dark parts within our own life are envy and everything, we can see them, we can picture what they are in Duryodhana, and when we read about Duryodhana we are disgusted with him. And at the same time way we see what the end result is, and those same qualities are within us, we can see that Duryodhana propensity, and therefore we don’t trust them, we don’t give into them. We take shelter of our Yudhishtir propensities. Does that answer your question?
Question: Maharaj sometimes that phase is little bit more extended, and that extension phase is making our spiritual life more disturbing and not getting that full commitment to take shelter of Krishna. So when that phase which is getting to much prolonged, we have a fear that we might reduce that attachment to Krishna, we might lose this charm of Krishna consciousness. So what to do in that phase so that it should not be so big in our life, we get it and we immediately take shelter of Krishna that is not coming?
Answer: It is not such a long time, what is a lifetime, two lifetime, ten lifetimes, the soul is eternal. But, at the same time what is important is we know what we want to do, ‘We want to take shelter!” and if it is taking more time, which it usually does, that’s the way the world works, it means that we need that much purification and we were aware of that. It humbles us. It is like a little child. Parents gives the child medicine which is good for them, but the children don’t like it. If the parent gives you medicine due to a disease which is for several weeks, ‘when will it end when?’ but the important thing is you take the medicine. Satsang-Sadhana-Seva, that is the medicine, really doesn’t matter how long. If we have faith which comes by hearing in the association of people with faith, then we will continue to take that medicine, we will continue to take shelter. However long it takes. That is our sincerity. Krishna knows just what we need.
Thank You Very Much