Badger, USA, May 6, 2001
Tridandisvami Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja
[Today is the appearance day of Lord Nrsimhadeva.
What class of person was Hiranyakasipu? Was he a theist or an atheist?
He was a theist. From sastra it appears that he believed in God, but
he was against Him, he wanted to kill Him, and he had no honor for
any of His devotees. He wanted to conquer Him and defeat Him - because
it was natural for him. How was it natural? It was natural because
he was Jaya or Vijaya, the associate of Narayana.
Why did he fall down from Narayana-loka? Vaikuntha and Goloka are
both beyond the influence of Maya. They are beyond Viraja-nadi, the
river that is situated between the material and spiritual worlds.
There is no chance of falling down from there. Even so, we see that
he fell down. Why?
Syamarani dasi: Yudhisthira Maharaja asked Narada Muni, "You
say that the sages cursed him, but I don't believe that any associate
of the Lord in Vaikuntha could fall down. They all have spiritual
bodies, not material bodies, and matter can never touch them."
Srila Narayana Maharaja: There was no possibility of a curse there,
and yet we see that he fell down. Why?
Syamarani dasi: Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura explains that
Krsna's iccha-sakti, desire potency, Yogamaya, was actually responsible
for their coming to this world, not Mahamaya. All the propensities
that we have in this world are present in their original, perfect
form in the Lord Himself. He also has vira-rasa, the chivalrous propensity.
He likes to mock-fight, just as boys like to mock-fight in this world.
However, as everyone in Vaikuntha worships Him in awe and reverence,
who would fight with Him there?
Seeing the Lord's desire, and seeing the desire of Jaya and Vijaya
to always please Him, Yogamaya personally inspired them to become
angry when the four Kumaras tried to enter. In their travels the four
Kumaras had come to Vaikuntha, but the gatekeepers blocked their path.
The four Kumaras therefore told them, "Oh, you have a materialistic
mentality, and you are affected by the modes of nature. You are not
qualified to be in Vaikuntha." This was all by the arrangement
of Yogamaya so that the Lord could come to this world as Nrsimhadeva
and fulfill His fighting propensity. He would never fight with a demon
or atheist. Only His devotee is qualified to fight with Him, and therefore
His devotee had to come to this world with Him to fight with Him and
fulfill that desire.
Srila Narayana Maharaja: Very good, but some correction is needed.
First you should know the nature of bhakti. It is to always please
and satisfy the Lord - nothing else. Jaya and Vijaya are eternally
liberated. They saw that, "There is something in my Prabhu's
heart. He wants to taste and enjoy vira-rasa." They knew this,
and they started to worry, "How can we fulfill His desire? We
cannot fight in this body, but we want to satisfy Him." At once
Narayana knew, "They want to fulfill My desire!" He remembered
Yogamaya and told them, "Wait a little, and I will give you a
good chance to fight with Me and satisfy Me." By the influence
of Yogamaya, the four Kumaras were then attracted to come to Vaikuntha.
There is no possibility of being angry in Vaikuntha. That place is
not like the material world. Rather, it was by the influence of Yogamaya
that Jaya and Vijaya became angry and wanted to stop the four Kumaras
from entering. There was also no chance that Jaya and Vijaya could
check them. No one can stop anyone there. Therefore, it was done by
Immediately Jaya and Vijaya challenged these four Kumaras, who had
come there naked. They said, "O, you must be properly dressed
to go before our Prabhu." Having been stopped, the four Kumaras
became angry and cursed the doorkeepers.
In the meantime, Narayana Himself came and told the Kumaras, "Please
forgive My two boys. They are always serving Me, so you should forgive
Then Narayana removed His Yogamaya. Now free from the influence of
Yogamaya, they began lamenting and weeping. They realized, "What
have we done?! We have made an offence!" Narayana assured them,
"I have done this. I wanted to play in the material world and
to enjoy vira-rasa, and thus I am fulfilling the desire of my two
eternal servants. Now they will go to the material world and there,
in three births, they will satisfy My desire. I will taste vira-rasa
with them, because no one else is qualified to enjoy that rasa with
Jaya and Vijaya were not at all deviated from Vaikuntha. In one form
they were always in Vaikuntha, and in another form, as Hiranyakasipu
and Hiranyaksa, Ravana and Kumbhakarna, and Sisupala and Dantavakra,
they came to the material world in three births. Krsna killed them
and, being thus purified, they returned to Narayana-loka. No one can
ever fall or deviate from Goloka Vrndavana or from Narayana-loka.
Citraketu Maharaja also was cursed (by Parvati devi), and he took
his next birth as the demon Vrtrasura, but he was not actually a demon.
Bharata Maharaja is another example. He had attained bhava-bhakti,
and from that platform no one can deviate. For siksa, for teaching
us, they have performed pastimes like these. We should try to learn
what they are trying to teach us, and we should never make offenses
at the lotus feet of any high-class devotees.
In this way, to teach us, Jaya and Vijaya were Hiranyakasipu and Hiranyaksa.
Hiranyakasipu had faith in God, but because He had killed his brother,
he was against Him and wanted to take revenge by killing Him. It was
for this reason that he was also against Prahlada Maharaja. He demanded,
"Why are you on the side of Visnu? I don't want that. I have
given you birth, and I have given you everything. I have supported
and nourished you, and I am sending you to school to become educated.
Why you are on the side of that Visnu? I don't like this at all. You
are like the handle of an axe. Alone, the head of the axe cannot do
any thing. However, as soon as there is a handle, that axe can cut
down a tree. You are like that handle, and you are cutting me."
The story begins thus. In the council of Yudhisthira Maharaja, when
a fire sacrifice was being performed, Krsna took His cakra and cut
off the head of Sisupala. A light came from Sisupala's body and merged
into the lotus feet of Krsna. Yudhisthira Maharaja thought, "Oh,
how wonderful this is! How did he merge into Krsna? So many rsis are
performing severe austerities, day and night, not sleeping, standing
on their toes, sometimes even standing upside down on their thumbs,
not taking any water, and not even breathing air. Still, doing this
for a very long time, they cannot attain liberation. But in a moment
Sisupala achieved this. How wonderful this is!"
Krsna is neutral. God is neutral to all. All are His parts and parcels.
Then why does He take the side of the demigods and become the enemy
of the demons? He helps the demigods and kills the demons. Why? For
Him both are the same. The answer to this question is that although
Krsna is always neutral. His specialty is that He is not impartial
or neutral in regard to His devotees. Where devotees are concerned,
He cannot be neutral. For general persons He is neutral, otherwise
He would not be God.
God is love and love is God. Krsna is love. Where does love live?
In the abode of love. Who is the abode of love? The devotees. Therefore
Krsna must be partial to them.
Narada replied to Yudhisthira Maharaja's questions by narrating the
history of Hiranyakasipu and Prahlada Maharaja:
Hiranyakasipu sent Prahlada Maharaja went to school, and after four
or five months he returned home. After his mother decorated him, Hiranyakasipu
came and took him in his lap, smiling and caressing him. He said,
"O my dear son, what have you learned in school from your Gurudeva?"
Prahlada replied boldly. What did he reply?
Aranya Maharaja: Prahlada Maharaja sat on the lap of his father, and
his father's heart was melting with parental affection with tears
in his eyes. He was so proud, thinking, "My son is so qualified."
Srila Narayana Maharaja: This is a very interesting subject. You may
read Srimad Bhagavatam, but the deep meaning will not come to you.
You cannot read Srimad Bhagavatam on your own. Even if you are hearing
from others, if they are not high-class devotees they cannot give
the meanings. Only Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, Srila Jiva
Gosvami, Srila Sanatana Gosvamipada, and Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura
can give the meanings. If anyone is not in their line, they cannot
give such meanings. We are speaking from the commentaries of Visvanatha
Cakravarti Thakura, Jiva Gosvami, and Sanatana Gosvami.
Aranya Maharaja: His father wanted to know, "My dear son, what
is the best thing you have learned?" Prahlada Maharaja very politely,
and without any fear at all, replied:
tat sadhu manye 'sura-varya dehinam
sada samudvigna-dhiyam asad-grahat
hitvatma-patam grham andha-kupam
vanam gato yad dharim asrayeta
"O my dear father - asura-varya dehinam! O best among all of
Srila Narayana Maharaja: Hearing this, Hiranyakasipu became very happy!
He was thinking, "I am emperor of all the demons!" Demons
are very proud that, "We are demons" and the demigods are
also thinking, "We are very proud that we are demigods."
They are also full of pride.
Aranya Maharaja: Tat sadhu manye 'sura-varya dehinam. "O best
of the demons! In this world, those who have accepted this temporary
body to be the self and to be the source and basis of happiness, who
accept this body to be real, become constantly afflicted by one problem
after another, one anxiety after another, like endless waves in an
ocean. They are always embarrassed. The best thing that I have learned
is that such persons have fallen into a deep, dark well. Household
life in which one identifies with the body, considering one's family
members, household goods, property and wealth to be one's own, is
like a deep, dark, dangerous well.
Hitvatma-patam. This path of life is a path that completely checks
the progress of the soul towards the goal of life ? the service of
the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Therefore, the best thing I have learned is that such persons should
get out of that dark well. Vanam gato yad dharim asrayeta. They should
go to the forest, especially Vrndavana forest. This means they should
go to that holy place which is sacred because of the presence of pure
devotees and, being in good association, they should unconditionally
take shelter and surrender at the lotus feet of Hari, the Supreme
Personality of Godhead.
Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura explains, in his commentary of
this verse, the meaning of grham andha-kupam - the dark well of this
world: Once upon a time a man was in the forest. He heard the sound
of a tiger. Being afraid, he tried to run away because there was a
chance that the tiger would eat him. He was looking here and there
for some shelter, but he could not find shelter anywhere. Finally,
he came across a blind well. This was a well that was no longer being
used, and some grass and trees had grown over the top. Taking the
help of two branches of a tree, he lowered himself down into the well,
thinking, "The tiger cannot come down here to get me." As
he was going down, he saw that the bottom of the well was dry and
there were many snakes living there. They raised their hoods, hissing,
and they were ready to bite him.
Now he was really in a predicament, hanging from two branches, halfway
down a well. At the bottom, there are so many poisonous snakes waiting
to bite him, and at the top there is a ferocious tiger just waiting
to eat him. At that time he was suffering in great anxiety.
On the top of the well there were two rats - one black and one white,
and they were nibbling away at the very same branches onto which he
was holding. Now it was only a question of time. Either he had to
climb out and be eaten by the tiger, or he would have to go down and
be bitten by the snakes. He could not stay where he was for long,
because the rats would gradually, gradually, eat away the branches
and he would fall down. Whatever he would do, he would suffer and
come to a very gruesome end.
At that time, when he was in this very precarious situation, he noticed
a honeycomb on the branch of the tree. Because the tree was shaking,
some honey was dripping, and it just happened to be dripping very
close to his face. Taking this golden opportunity, he stuck out his
tongue and a drop of honey came on the tip of his tongue. He took
that honey into his mouth and began to relish the flavor, thinking,
"How sweet! How sweet!" And thus he felt some happiness.
This is the example of all the conditioned souls, like you and me,
here in this world. We are in a very dangerous situation.
Srila Narayana Maharaja: Especially lusty people, those who are engaged
in sense gratification, are in this position. They are going to die
at any moment. There is no way for them to be saved from death. There
is only one person who can be saved, but we will tell you afterwards
who that is.
Aranya Maharaja: It seems that this person is now experiencing some
happiness. It seems that in this world there are so many people who
are well situated, who are content and satisfied with their situation.
But what is their happiness? It is just like the happiness of this
man when he is tasting a drop of honey. Why? All the components of
this analogy represent the conditions in our lives. The snakes are
hissing, and they represent so many problems. . .
Srila Narayana Maharaja: These problems come one after another, like
an ocean of waves. We think, "Oh, this is the last problem. After
that, we will be happy." But then even bigger waves come. Those
who are surfers know this better than I do.
Aranya Maharaja: This world is made of problems and nothing else.
There are only problems and problems, and yet the conditioned soul
in this world is very surprised when he meets a problem. He thinks,
"Where did this problem come from?" He later overcomes the
problem with a great hope and aspiration that, "When this problem
is gone, all of my problems will be gone." And then, what a surprise!
Another problem comes.
Srila Narayana Maharaja: Not only one. So many come.
Aranya Maharaja: Not one at time, but five at a time, six at a time,
and these are like so many poisonous snakes in the bottom of the well.
At the top of the well there is a tiger. He represents death. Death
is waiting for everyone in this world. It must come and devour them
and take away everything.
Srila Narayana Maharaja: There is no fixed time. It can come at any
moment. Death will not give even one minute's notice, allowing that
I may speak with others and then die." At once it will come!
What are the two trees?
Aranya Maharaja: This person was hanging from two trees. These two
trees represent our karma, fruitive activities, good and bad, pious
and impious. We are living our life in the experience of the reactions
of our pious and impious activities. This is the duration of our life,
and it is being taken away moment by moment. Regarding the rats, the
black rat represents nighttime and the white rat means daytime. We
are very happy when another day comes and goes, but actually each
day and night will never come back. In this way, the duration of our
life is being gnawed away.
Srila Narayana Maharaja: All around are problems and dangers, and
in the midst of this one drop of honey comes. What is that one drop?
Aranya Maharaja: Even though we are in this very dangerous predicament,
we may feel some happiness, and that is like the drop of honey. This
drop of honey represents the affection of our friends and family members
in this world. After suffering so much, being repeatedly abused and
treated badly in the course of doing one's work, a man returns to
his home and his wife meets him with very sweet words: "O honey,
you're back. I have been waiting to see you." He takes this honey.
His children jump in his lap and say, "O daddy, daddy, can you
give us a hundred dollars?" In this way, even though there is
danger and suffering everywhere, when he takes this one drop of honey
in the form of the affection of so many people in this world with
whom he has a temporary relationship, the man feels, "My life
is successful." This is the purport of the verse spoken by Prahlada
Srila Narayana Maharaja: We are all in this position. How can anyone
be happy in this situation?
Another example has been given, as a supplement. A deer was grazing
in a lush, green forest, and all of a sudden he saw that he was surrounded
by so many problems. On one side there was a hunter with two Alsatian
dogs. On another side there was a forest fire. On the third side there
was a very big and deep river, and on the fourth side was a big net.
Seeing that he was completely surrounded, the deer became very frightened
and thought, "What should I do?" At once, he closed his
eyes and prayed, "O Krsna! I am Yours. I am surrendering to you.
Save me, save me!"
When the deer took shelter, what did Krsna do? A big gust of wind
came with many pebbles and dust which got into the eyes of that hunter
as he was drawing his bow. Taken by surprise and unable to see, he
let loose an arrow that pierced the eyes and mouths of the dogs, who
were killed at once. It began raining, thus completely extinguishing
the fire, and the net got caught in the wind and blew away. Three
sides were now open, and the deer jumped and ran away.
Therefore, if anyone is in that well and chanting, it may be that
by the mercy of Krsna a hunter will come and kill that tiger. He will
lower a rope into the well, saying, "Oh, you should take hold
of this rope and come out." He will save you. Krsna is so merciful.
We are surrounded by these death traps. Guru realizes this and he
wants to help us all. On one side there is death, on another side
there are so many problems, on a third side some madhu (honey) is
dripping, and the rats are gnawing at the branches. You are all in
this situation, and you do not understand this. Don't think that this
is our first life, our first birth. You have enjoyed so much sex life,
and you are very lusty like pigs and hogs. Day and night you are not
resting. You are having sex and you are creating so many children.
Previously, in past lives, all of you were even demigods. You have
also come in a human form before, but you lost that time. Again, after
lakhs and lakhs of births you are now here in good association, with
a very good body. This is likened to a strong boat with favorable
winds. Krsna has arranged for you to have such high-class association.
Krsna has given all of you this auspicious opportunity, and still
you think, "I want a nice teen-aged girl, one who is very beautiful.
I want to marry and taste sense gratification." Those who think
in this way are foolish, mad persons. I cannot give any appropriate
name for them. Don't be angry with me for saying so, but they are
rascals - worse than hogs or pigs. O my dear rascals, don't go there.
At once come out, and be with me. Come back to God, and back to home!
Even you old persons - why do you want to marry again? Perhaps you
are very lusty. My dear friends, don't be angry with me. I am your
well-wisher, your eternal well-wisher, so come and follow me. By the
order of Srila Bhaktivedanta Svami Maharaja, my Gurudeva, and my guru
parampara, I have come here to save you from this vast ocean of lust.
Don't go there! Otherwise, a big Mahabharata battle will come and
you will be killed. Try to realize this. Be free from all these worldly
things, from the andha kupa that has been described in Prahlada Caritra.
Be very careful. Gaura premanande!