Date: March 21, 2005
Verse: Srimad Bhagavatam 1.13.24
Speaker: HH Bhaktivikasa Swami
tasyapi tava deho ‘yam
paraity anicchato jirno
jaraya vasasi iva
TRANSLATION: Despite your unwillingness to die and your desire to live even at the cost of honor and prestige, your miserly body will certainly dwindle and deteriorate like an old garment.
PURPORT: The words krpanasya jijivisoh are significant. There are two classes of men. One is called the krpana, and the other is called the brahmana. The krpana, or the miserly man, has no estimation of his material body, but the brahmana has a true estimation of himself and the material body. The krpana, having a wrong estimation of his material body, wants to enjoy sense gratification with his utmost strength, and even in old age he wants to become a young man by medical treatment or otherwise. Dhrtarastra is addressed herein as a krpana because without any estimation of his material body he wants to live at any cost. Vidura is trying to open his eyes to see that he cannot live more than his term and that he must prepare for death. Since death is inevitable, why should he accept such a humiliating position for living? It is better to take the right path, even at the risk of death. Human life is meant for finishing all kinds of miseries of material existence, and life should be so regulated that one can achieve the desired goal. Dhrtarastra, due to his wrong conception of life, had already spoiled eighty percent of his achieved energy, so it behooved him to utilize the remaining days of his miserly life for the ultimate good.
Such a life is called miserly because one cannot properly utilize the assets of the human form of life. Only by good luck does such a miserly man meet a self-realized soul like Vidura and by his instruction gets rid of the nescience of material existence.
Vedic culture is based on learning, sastra, especically these three major
literatures: Srimad Bhagavatam, Mahabharata and Ramayana. And a common pastime within the Vedic culture is to discuss topics of sastra, discuss about the different characters depicted in sastra. . . not who are depicted in sastra, whose actual activities are recorded in sastra. So the most wonderful prominent person in sastra is Krsna Himself, who takes many forms, displays His pastimes. Discussing them, “srnu sukhadam subhadam bhavasaram” discussing the activities of Krsna in His various incarnations is very pleasing and auspicious within this displeasing and inauspicious material world.
And discussing all these personalities. . . Dhrtarastra is also a great personality. His greatness may not be fully in the right direction; he’s definitely a great personality. He’s intimately connected with Krsna’s pastimes. So discussing about the character of these different persons, especially Dhrtarastra, Karna also, it’s very interesting. It’s difficult to actually place them, Dhrtarastra, is he a good guy or a bad guy, in modern parlance. Is he on the right side or the wrong side? Karna had so many good qualities but then he was avowedly on the wrong side, even when he came to know just before the battle, that actually you should be with the Pandavas, you should be the head of them. But was it a good quality? He said, “No, my friendship is already there with Duryodhana.” So it’s a good quality placed in the wrong person. So is it good or bad that he supported Duryodhana? All these intricate questions come up.
Is Dhrtarastra good or bad? He knows Krsna is the Supreme Lord, he accepts, he has great respect for Krsna, he doesn’t have any bad feelings towards Krsna. But at the same time his full attachment is not for Krsna. He’s more attached to Duryodhana which is his great misfortune because Duryodhana, the first part of his name is “dur” which means difficult or bad, which is good for a ksatriya, he’s difficult to fight with. Sometimes he’s called Suyodhana, which means he’s a good fighter. But he’s a difficult personality.
So by attachment to Duryodhana, Dhrtarastra, even though advised by Krsna, not only by Krsna, so many from the very beginning. Vidura’s coming at the end of Dhrtarastra’s life saying now “I gave you good advice all throughout your life, you avoided it, you didn’t take it. You accepted it was right but due to “hrdaya daurbalyam” weakness of heart”. . . he himself admitted “I know what you are saying is right, but due to weakness of heart, attachment, I know it’s wrong but I cannot follow your advice.” He got good advice from Vidura, all the greatest advisors in the universe, Vidura, one mahajana; Bhismadeva, another mahajana; constantly advising him. And he would agree, “Yes, yes, what you are saying is right, I will do as you say.” And then Duryodhana would come with Sakuni and Karna and Duhsasana and all the gang and turn him around and he would do the wrong thing. Again and again knowing what was right, he did the wrong thing. But still his inclination was towards dharma, towards doing that which is correct. In his heart that inclination was there but due to bad association he did the wrong thing.
So by discussing all these activities, especially in Mahabharat–it’s very complex and intricate–and life is like that, life is complex and intricate.
We find that even those who are dedicated to the right cause, their life becomes very complex and intricate just due to the nature of this material world. The Pandavas were dedicated to doing the right thing; even they wouldn’t adopt foul means to achieve the right goal, unless Krsna told them to. Even at the time of the gambling match, they were, especially Bhima, immediately ready to crush the Kauravas. Bhima said “Just give me permission and I’ll immediately smash this Duryodhana and turn him into powder right on the spot.” But Yudhisthira restrained him, “No, no, we have to do what is right, we have given our word.” Even though they were being cheated, but still we have given our word. They were fully dedicated to dharma, which is often translated as righteousness.
The ksatriyas were dedicated to dharma. They could remain ksatriyas as long as they were dedicated to dharma, to righteousness. When the ksatriyas simply became bhoga-vilasis, taking up their position just to exploit the citizens, then the ksatriya race came to an end all over the world. But as long as they acted, “naranam ca naradhipam”, “We are here in our post by the grace of God and we shall execute it in His service.” As long as they thought like that they remained strong. Because they knew that our strength.
… . .
Of course in Niti Sastra it also advises that the kings should keep spies and. . . raja-niti, it’s not so straightforward like a brahmana, they have to adopt different means, politics. But the basic understanding is that we have to act not for our own self-aggrandizement, not for our own sense gratification, but we’re here as servants, to serve the people and serve the Supreme Lord by helping them to execute their activities in the service of the Lord. Helping by force, if necessary. If you’re not executing your duty, then the ksatriyas duty is to enforce: “Perform your duty.”
So they understood that “dharmo raksati raksitah”, those who protect dharma will be protected by dharma. They were very much aware of this principle and would hear constanty from the brahmanas. They had to hear from the brahmanas because life is so complex, in any situation what to do, because dharma gives, rules of sastra “You should do this, you should do that”. Often rules of dharma conflict with each other and therefore they have to approach the brahmanas and the brahmanas will give direction: “In this situation, you should do this.” They understand what is the ultimate principle so, in any situation if there are two conflicting dharmas, they can give what is the highest dharma, what should one actually do in this situation.
In Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s lila we find Vallabha Bhatta, he was always trying to find some fault in Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His devotees. So he came one day to Caitanya Mahaprabhu and said that “Actually you are all chanting Hare Krsna, this is very wrong, you shouldn’t do this. It’s against dharma.
Because Krsna, He is the Supreme Lord, He’s Purusa, and all the jivas are like prakrti so it’s just like wife and husband. And the rule of dharma is that one should never say the husband’s name. So you’re doing very wrong, always chanting Hare Krsna.”
So Caitanya Mahaprabhu said “That’s true what you’re saying, but there’s a higher rule of dharma also, that the wife has to follow the order of the husband. . .” it’s not very popular to say these things these days, but it is what’s stated in sastra. . . “Krsna’s own injunction in sastra is that we should always chant His name. We have to follow, this is dharma, we have to chant His name.”
So always like this, there is some conflicting. . . the whole Mahabharat is full of conflicting dharma, what is the right thing to do in any circumstance. What is right and what is wrong. So this can be ultimately understood in terms of what is satisfying to Krsna, one of whose names is Dharma. He’s Dharma-setu, He is the bridge of Dharma. He is the upholder of Dharma, and all these worldly dharmas are meant ultimately to help us live in this world so that we can come to the actual standard of dharma which is to satisfy Krsna.
dharmah svanusthitah pumsam visvaksena-kathasu yah notpadayed yadi ratim srama eva hi kevalam
One may be following dharma very nicely, but if one doesn’t have a taste for hearing about Krsna, if one is not interested in serving Krsna, then at best his activities are a waste of time. Usually it’s worse than that. Just like Jarasandha was strictly following all the rules of dharma, except one, which was he didn’t like Krsna. Even he was serving Visnu in the form of salagrama-sila, but when Lord Visnu personally came in front of he thought “I don’t like you.” So he followed all the rules except the main rule.
The ksatriyas upheld dharma. Dhrtarastra was also from a great lineage, the same lineage as Pandu. But there was rift because of Dhrtarastra’s improper partiality to his own sons. He knew what is right and what is wrong, he knew it wasn’t right to be partial to his own sons, but he gave the excuse again and again when he was advised, especially by Vidura. . . Vidura was his great well-wisher because throughout his life Vidura spoke the truth to him.
Mostly people do not like to hear the truth, the bitter truth. In this material world the truth is bitter. Actually the truth is very sweet. The truth is Krsna, Krsna is very sweet, but the facts of this world are very bitter because we want to enjoy this material world and the fact is there is no enjoyment here, and as much as we try to enjoy, that much we have to suffer.
Generally people don’t like to hear this. They like to hear the tidings of happiness in this material world. Vidura was a real sadhu because he advised his brother, his half-brother Dhrtarastra, in such a manner that he could actually be benefitted. He didn’t advise him in a manner in which he could be superficially benefitted. That’s why Duryodhana never liked Vidura. He was always very insulting to Vidura. He said “He’s always acting against our interest. Why do you listen, Father, why do you listen to the advice of Vidura, he’s on the side of the enemy.” Actually Vidura wasn’t on the side of the enemy because Vidura didn’t see any enemies. He didn’t even think of Duryodhana as an enemy. But he was dedicated to the welfare of all. He saw that the welfare of all lies in following dharma. And the Pandavas are the very embodiments of dharma, whereas Duryodhana is the embodiment of vidharma, anti-dharma, or adharma, non-dharma. Duryodhana is a manifestation of the personality of Kali. He’s a pretty nasty kind of fellow.
Vidura wasn’t against anyone, even Duryodhana, but Duryodhana saw it like that, because he saw “My self-interest is in dominating and enjoying the kingdom. Sakuni, Karna, these are my friends, they also don’t like the Pandavas, they’re with me, we’re all allies.” Even among the demons, there is friendship, self-serving friendship. Kamsa also did the same thing, he made friendship, allies. “We’re all allied together and together we shall kill all the supporters of the demigods and enjoy the planet.”
But of course if they had succeeded in their endeavour then they would have fought among themselves. Because a demon, he may make friends with others, but it’s self-serving friendship, that we are good friends because we have a common enemy. And when there’s no common enemy then we ourselves become enemies. Because a demon is never satisfied, he always wants to see I’m on top, “isvaro ham” I shall be the ruler, “aham bhogi” You don’t enjoy, I shall enjoy. This is the attitude of the demons.
Duryodhana was thinking that Vidura is acting against our interest, he’s an enemy, he’s partial. Vidura wasn’t partial. Superficially he was partial towards the Pandavas, but we can see from his instructions here that he is actually the true well-wisher of Dhrtarastra by giving him this advice. Now there’s no Duryodhana to give bad advice. At this point Duryodhana has perished, struck by the club of Bhima. As Vidura was pointing out to Dhrtarastra “You’re living in this palace at the mercy of Bhima, who has killed all your sons, except one. All of your sons by Gandhari are killed and you’re living at his mercy. This is not proper, this is humiliating.
Dhrtarastra, throughout his life, was in a humiliating situation for a ksatriya. He was phsyically very strong, so strong that he wanted to crush Bhima who had the strength of hundreds of thousands of elephants. But Dhrtarastra, even in his old age, had the strength to crush him. Krsna saved Bhima, as usual. Very physically strong, mentally not strong, spiritually not strong, but ksatriya body.
But he’s in a humiliating situation because he’s blind. A blind person always has to be led here and there by the hand. He couldn’t be the king.
The desire was there to be the king, but he couldn’t so throughout his whole life he was in a humiliating situation. Noone exacerbated that, they didn’t insulted him. Everyone gave him respect and called him King. But actually he couldn’t be the king. It is the law of sastra a blind man cannot be the king, because how can he fight? He has to fight, he has to protect. How can he fight if he’s blind?
Throughout life he was in a humiliating situation, but Vidura is pointing that “You are in a more humiliating situation. You are sitting here eating, just like a dog.” He was so kind to Dhrtarastra that he called him like a dog. So this is not very complimentary. In any country of the world, if you someone calls you a dog, it’s considered an insult. “Just like a dog you are eating the scraps of food left over by Bhimasena.” He specifically mentions Bhimasena. “And even if you weren’t, then just to remain at home all these days attached to home comforts, then you can’t. . . anyway you’re blind from birth, you can’t digest properly, your teeth are falling out and you can’t hear properly and you are still attached to home. This is pathetic. You come in a good dynasty, you’re supposed to dedicate your life for the highest cause, but you are still trying to enjoy sense gratification. You couldn’t properly enjoy sense gratification all your life. Now you have no strength.
You couldn’t see properly at any time, you can’t taste properly, you can’t digest properly, you can’t hear properly, what are you trying to enjoy? You are such a fool.” He told him directly.
This time his words had effect. Throughout his life Dhrtarastra was hearing these words, with an intermission of 36 years while Vidura was out. And he came back and the same thing he said that he had been saying all his life.
“You’re simply a fool, you’re a krpana, you’re a rascal. Why don’t you accept what is the proper advice?” But he couldn’t due to “karpanya-doso”, due to being a miser. He had the karpanya-dosa, the fault of miserliness.
Miserliness means very narrow way of seeing, not seeing the broad picture, not seeing that I am eternal spirit soul, I’m meant for serving Krsna, I’m meant for acting in a manner that is beneficial to myself and others in terms of eternality. But due to miserliness, narrow vision, he could only think what is beneficial to me now in terms of this body.
But Vidura is pointing out. . . this body. Imagine. Poking him in his ribs.
“You’re attached to this body, it’s going to die soon. You are not going to be in that body. Why are you attached to that body, smelly body. Don’t be a fool.” He is telling him straightforwardly very mercifully. People don’t like to hear. We should hear. It’s going to drop down dead soon.
What was the cause of all of the battle, so much distress again and again?
Sanjaya also told Dhrtarastra every day of the battle. Sanjaya was narrating it to Dhrtarastra. Dhrtarasta was saying “Oh, now Bhisma has fallen, Drona has fallen, Karna has fallen, Salya has fallen”, one after another and he would be lamenting “Oh, Abhimanyu has fallen, I’m so sorry to hear, this young boy.” And again and again Sanjaya would say “That’s your fault, why you are lamenting now? This is caused because you allowed this gambling match to take place, because you allowed your son to insult the Pandavas, to plot against them. It’s all your fault, Don’t be sorry now.” Again and again and again, “It’s your fault.” Very harsh but true.
Dhrarastra, at the end of life, what did he have to do but lament, but still he’s trying to enjoy. He himself was the cause of so much distress and still he’s thinking “Anyway, what to do? I will sit here and eat something and listen to some music and live here.” Still trying to enjoy, so much attached to enjoyment, trying to enjoy this material situation. Just see how strong is maya. There’s nothing left for him to enjoy physically, socially, he’s humiliated. Still he is thinking “Let me try to enjoy this world”.
Prabhupada explained that everyone is so much attached to his material situation that if you take the worm out of stool, he won’t think “Thank you very much.” He’ll think “Why are you doing? It’s my stool, I live here. It is my home, it’s my right. I can live here all my life, it’s very nice stool, tastes very nice, the best stool. What are you doing?” Organise a protest immediately. He’s attached. Everyone is attached. We are all attached to our own stool. We are all attached to our body, a bag of stool.
“Today is my birthday!” (laughter) I told to my Temple President when I was 20 years old. “Oh, How many years old is your bag of stool?” he said. Very kindly cut my illusion. But still we are attached to our bags of stool. Very nice bag. But even the bag, at age 20, it might look a little bit nice, but as it gets older it doesn’t even look nice. But still we try, put some colour in the hair, or if there’s no hair, go to some quack who will tell you that you can rub this oil on and get some new hair. And then put on lipstick and makeup and so many different things. Do yoga, stay young.
Vitaman E tablets. Stay young, enjoy.
It’s all going to be finished soon. Dhrtarastra is being advised, we are all being advised. It’s not going to last long. Whatever we think we have got is not going to last long, whatever we’re attached to. Prabhupada writes that even a sannyasi can be attached to his waterpot. Material attachments, we can be attached to our dhotis, our underwear. That story is there, Ramanujacarya. All his big renounced sannyasis, and Ramanuja arranged for all their kaupinas to be stolen. They were all upset, “Who stole our kaupinas?” It’s only a piece of cloth. They were all upset.
We all have our attachments. When are we going to give them up? We are all ageing Dhrtarastras. Dhrtarastra knew Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He knew what is right. But he had no strength to do. He was so weak he couldn’t even think what is the right thing to do. He was just simply living in the palace and he didn’t think that I should get out of here, this is the place of my attachment, I should go away, cut my attachments. He didn’t even think till Vidura came. And Vidura knew that it’s not just a matter of telling Dhrtarastra, “Well, why don’t you just go to the forest?”
He had to cut, cut, his attachments with strong words.
kota nidra yao maya-pisacira kole
How long are we going to go on maintaining and nourishing our attachments, pouring water on the material attachments? We do it all the time, nourishing the plant of attachment that strangles the bhakti-lata, the creeper of devotion, that cannot grow properly if we have material attachments. We cannot be attached to Krsna if we are attached to “krsnetara”, everything that’s conceived of, of not having a relationship with Krsna. There’s nothing but Krsna, but we think of something separate from Krsna. “I’ll just have a little enjoyment on the side, we are thinking. But that little enjoyment, Prabhupada said, if we are attached to even eating one sweetball, then we have to come back to this material world to eat it.
How is it possible to get rid of all these attachments. . . ? For most people, it’s advised that to give up our attachments we should also cultivate them. That sounds contradictory, but if one is prematurely trying to cut all attachments, then it may be that he will become more attached. If one prematurely tries to renounce everything, “Now I’ll give up all my attachments,” then usually what happens is they try for a short time and then again fall into more degradation. So generally it’s advised that one should recognize the attachments and live with them in a manner that the attachments can gradually be cut.
That means to adopt grhastha-asrama in which recognizing attachments are there but at the same time cultivating detachment, especially this means following the rules and regulations of devotional life and especially hear from sadhus, whose only duty, as Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarsavati Thakur said, the only duty of sadhus is to cut the attachments by their sharp words, unpleasant words. Actually it should be pleasant, but because we are thinking this material world is pleasant, when we hear it’s not pleasant, it seems unpleasant to us. It actually should be very pleasant to hear, but we are taking pleasure in that which is unpleasant, not having information of or attachment to that which is our self-interest. We are apasvartha-parayana, attached to that which is contradictory to our real self-interest. We should go on hearing, hear Bhagavatam. In Bhagavatam there are so many unpleasant informations. It should be pleasant, but if we consider, it’s very unpleasant to hear:
janasya moho ‘yam aham mameti
We are tied up in this material world, the hard knot in the heart, hrdaya-granthi. Tied up by the concept of I me and mine considered in terms of home, family, wife, children, friends. Dhrtarastra is an example. So many examples. Prabhupada said there was only one Dhrtarastra, now in every home there are at least a few of them, so many Dhrtarastras in the sense of being materially attached, but they’re not so fortunate as Dhrtarastra that they know who is Krsna. They didn’t have association with Krsna, they’re not interested in Krsna. They are not fortunate that they have Vidura to come and tell them why are you so attached, give it up, come to Krsna. So devotees’ duty is to be Vidura, not Dhrtarastra. Duty of devotees is to take the role of Vidura. He’s also grhastha, but he wasn’t bewildered as a Dhrtarastra. The devotees have the duty to go door to door, house to house and tell people “Why are you so attached, get out of this home, surrender to Krsna.” Not a very easy task. You might even get arrested for trying.
Of course, we can give these books door to door. Extraordinary books, not ordinary books. Prabhupada wanted that in these books the Sanskrit will be inside, devanagari script. Why? To show this is original sastra, it’s not an ordinary book. We tell people this is a nice book and they’ll open up the book and find I am Dhrtarastra, I’m attached to this material world.
Every devotee should follow in the footsteps of Vidura. . . time up, please finish. All right. Let us all finish our material attachments, it’s easy to say. It’s easy to sit here and say give up material attachments. But unless I say it how am I going to give up my own material attachments? So let us at least cultivate giving up material attachments. Cultivate means some practical activity has to be there, not, for instance in indulging in “apasvartha”: watching TV, listening to karmi music, even dovetailing our Krsna consciousness with material things. There are so many things, that’s another subject. Anyway, time is up. Time is up for Dhrtarastra, it’s now or never. It’s up for us to. We don’t have much time. So Hare Krsna. (Haribols, applause).
I’m looking for YSHSD, asking him if I can take a question or two. He signed this YSHSD, means Hari Sauri Prabhu. Well, if he’s gone then he can’t tell me off for going overtime. So if there’s any question I can take, if anyone wants. All right, can we get the mike to the lady in the back.
Mataji: Maharaja, I would like to express my feelings when I hear you talking that we are all attached to our bag of stool. I just feel like going to the Ganga and drowning, committing suicide. I’m sorry but I wanted to express this. Every morning when I take a shower and prepare myself to come here to the temple, I put tilaka on my body and what I’m thinking is I’m decorating my body because it is a temple. Because I heard, it is not my own concoction, I heard from my Guru Maharaja or Srila Prabhupada. So I just want to express that for me it’s such a contradiction, my body. . . .
Maharaja: Your body is fully engaged in Krsna service, so it’s fully spiritual. It’s not a bag of stool. (cheers, applause) I’m speaking for my own self-purification. Sorry if I offended anyone. My body is simply full of stool. When I said we I should have said I. Sorry.
Mataji 2: Maharaja, what is the source of hrdaya-daurbalyam, and how to overcome it.
Maharaja: The source of hrdaya-daurbalyam–the source of everything inauspicious–is forgetfulness of Krsna. Actually we should have hrdaya-sabalyam, full of strength. So to overcome it, well, that Krsna tells in Bhagavad Gita that by getting knowledge we get strength:
jahi satrum maha-baho
We can get strength by understanding what is our actual situation. By knowledge we get strength. By sat-sanga, and by. . . . sat-sanga means the sadhus will give the knowledge what is correct and by their personal example you’ll get the inspiration to overcome weakness of heart.
Hare Krsna. Srimad Bhagavatam ki jai! His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada ki jai! Hare Krsna.