Madhu Pandit - Krishna voice 2009 11(nov)


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Madhu Pandit Dasa the president of ISKCON Bangalore | Madhu Pandit the chairman of The Akshaya Patra Foundation.

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Madhu Pandit - Krishna voice 2009 11(nov)

  1. 1. Vol 10, No. 11 Nov 2009 Rs.15
  2. 2. DEEPOTSAVA - Karthik 2009
  3. 3. Vol 10, No.11 Nov 2009 CONTENTS Bhakti is only for Krishna 4 Srila Prabhupada Speaks Out 8 How free are we? 14 Waking from the dream 18 Krishna's Kind Solution: Train Calves, Don't Eat Them! 21 His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Maharaja Prataparudra: Swami Prabhupada, Founder- Humble Servant in Kingly Dress 23 Acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, came to Please chant... America in 1965, at age 69, to fulfill Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare his spiritual master’s request that he ...and be happy! teach the science of Krishna consciousness throughout the English- Published and owned by Sankirtana Seva Trust, speaking world. In a dozen years he editing by Chamari Devi Dasi. published some seventy volumes of Layout, design and graphics by ISKCON Design translation and commentary on India’s Group, Bangalore. Vedic literature, and these are now For all information contact: Editor, Krishna standard in universities worldwide. Voice, SST, Hare Krishna Hill, Chord Road, Bangalore - 560 010 INDIA Phone: 91-80-2347 Meanwhile, travelling almost nonstop, 1956, 91-80-2357 8346 Fax: 91-80-2357 8625. Srila Prabhupada moulded his © 2009 Sankirtana Seva Trust, Bangalore. All international society into a world wide Krishna art and the works of Srila Prabhupada confederation of ashramas, schools, are © BBT International. temples and farm communities. He All rights reserved throughout the world. passed away in 1977, in Vrindavana, Reproduction in any manner is strictly prohibited. the place most sacred to Lord Krishna. Printed for ISKCON, Bangalore, at Manipal His disciples and followers are carrying Printers (P) Ltd., Manipal. forward the movement he started. Cover pages-4 Text pages-24 Krishna Voice, Nov 2009 3
  4. 4. Bhakti Is Only For Krishna Real devotees are not after rewards A lecture given in Bombay, April 1, 1974 by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada Founder-Acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness kanksantah karmanam siddhim yajanta iha devatah ksipram hi manuse loke siddhir bhavati karma-ja "Men in this world desire success in fruitive activities, and therefore they worship the demigods. Quickly, of course, men get results from fruitive work in this world."—Bhagavad-gita 4.12 Last night we were discussing the previous verse: ye yatha mam prapadyante tams tathaiva bhajamy aham mama vartmanuvartante manusyah partha sarvasah "As all surrender unto Me, I reward them accordingly. Everyone follows My path in all respects, O son of Prtha." Everyone is seeking the Absolute Truth in different ways. Worship of the demigods is one way of searching after the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore demigod worship is recommended in the Vedas, in the upasana-kanda. The Vedas are divided into three kandas, or divisions: karma-kanda, for fruitive work; jnana-kanda, for philosophical speculation; and upasana-kanda, for demigod worship. Therefore one name for the Vedas is trayi, "three." The Srimad-Bhagavatam states, stri-sudra-dvijabandhunam trayi na sruti-gocara: "Women, the laboring class, and friends of the twice-born cannot understand the Vedas." Dvija-bandhu—"friends of the twiceborn"—refers to those who are born in families of brahmanas [intellectuals], kshatriyas [administrators], or vaishyas [farmers and merchants] but who do not possess the qualities of these higher classes. A brahmana's qualifications are given in the Bhagavad-gita (18.41): samo damas tapah saucam ksantir arjavam eva ca jnanam vijnanam astikyam brahma-karma svabhava-jam "Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, knowledge, wisdom, and religiousness—these are the natural qualities by which the brahmanas work." The kshatriyas' qualities are also given (18.42): sauryam tejo dhrtir daksyam yuddhe capy apalayanam danam isvara-bhavas ca ksatram karma svabhava-jam "Heroism, power, determination, resourcefulness, courage in battle, generosity, and leadership are the natural qualities of work for the kshatriyas." The duties of the vaishyas are given (18.44): krsi-go-raksya-vanijyam vaisya-karma svabhava-jam "Farming, cow protection, and business are the natural work for the vaishyas." And, finally, the duties of the shudras are given (18.44): Krishna Voice, Nov 2009 5
  5. 5. paricaryatmakam karma sudrasyapi svabhava-jam "For shudras there is labor and service to others." A shudra is satisfied by serving somebody, just as a dog is satisfied to have a nice master. To get success in a particular type of occupational duty, people sometimes worship the demigods. That is described here. Like us, demigods are also living entities, and all living entities are part and parcel of Krishna. Mamaivamso jiva-loke jiva-bhutah sanatanah. There is no difference between the demigods and us, but they are more fortunate to have gotten the post of Chandra [the moon-god], Surya [the sun-god], Indra [the king of the heavenly planets], Brahma [the chief demigod], and so on. To get success in material activities, people sometimes worship demigods. But in the Bhagavad-gita Lord Krishna explains that although in one sense demigod worship is worship of Him—because the demigods are part of Him— demigod worship is avidhi-purvakam, done "in a wrong way." The vidhi, or "rule," is to worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Demigod worship is something like bribing a doorman to enter the room of a great officer. By demigod worship one can get results very quickly. But the results are antavat, "limited." Bhakti, however, is unlimited. The less intelligent worship the demigods instead of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In India especially we will find many devotees of the demigods. These devotees are not actually devotees. Devotion can only be in connection with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Those who worship the demigods are not devotees, because they want to get a reward from the demigods. But bhakti is not like that. The bhaktas, devotees, are not after any reward from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is the difference between bhakti and demigod worship. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu teaches us bhakti. He says, na dhanam na janam na sundarim kavitam va jagad-isa kamaye: "My Lord, I do not wish to ask from You opulence, riches, a nice wife, or many followers." These are material opulences. So Chaitanya Mahaprabhu says, "I do not want all these things." Mama janmani janmanisvare bhavatad bhaktir ahaituki tvayi: "I only want Your causeless devotional service birth after birth." That is the desire of a devotee. He doesn't want liberation. He wants to serve the lotus feet of the Lord birth after birth—janmani janmani. That is his aspiration. The karma-kandiya, those on the platform of fruitive activities, are generally attracted by demigod worship. But those detached from material happiness become attached to Krishna. We have to choose whether for temporary benefit we shall worship demigods or for permanent benefit we shall worship Krishna. That is our choice. But people generally choose the immediate result (ksipram hi manuse loke siddhir bhavati). That immediate result may be palatable in the beginning, but it will produce bitter results at the end. But that we do not consider. The immediate result and the remote result are described by the Sanskrit words sreyas and preyas. Preyas means "immediate benefit," and sreyas means "ultimate benefit." Those interested in the ultimate benefit go back home, back to Godhead. For them, worshiping the Supreme Lord is most beneficial. And those interested in temporary benefit worship demigods. They may pray to goddess Durga, dhanam dehi, rupam dehi, yaso dehi: "Give me wealth. Give me beauty. Give me fame." They forget that whatever material benefit they get will be lost with the end of the material body, when everything is lost. In the Bhagavad-gita Lord Krishna says, mrtyuh sarva-haras caham: "At the end, I, as death, take away all your material possessions." So to desire temporary benefits is not good. Because we are eternal—nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam—we should be after eternal happiness, eternal benefit. That should be our business. Therefore we should not be karmis, fruitive workers. Neither should we become jnanis, mental speculators. We should become yogis. And what kind of yogi? Bhakti-yogi. There are different types of yoga practice. Out of them, bhakti-yoga is the topmost. Krishna says, bhaktya mam abhijanati yavan yas casmi tattvatah: "I can be understood only through bhakti." Without being in bhakti-yoga one cannot be happy or understand Krishna or one's relationship with Krishna. Evam prasanna-manaso bhagavad- bhakti-yogatah. We hold this class for the benefit of human society. The Krishna consciousness movement is meant to allow us to constantly hear about Krishna, talk about Krishna, chant about Krishna, eat about Krishna, work for Krishna, sleep for Krishna, walk for Krishna. Anything we do in relationship to Krishna is pious. Punya-sravana-kirtanah. Srila Rupa Gosvami recommends, nirbandhah Krishna-sambandhe yuktam vairagyam ucyate: dovetail everything with Krishna activities, Krishna consciousness. Then our life will be successful. 6 Krishna Voice, Nov 2009
  6. 6. Krishna is sitting within your heart. When He sees that you are very serious about Him, then He helps you. We have many dirty things within our heart, but as soon as we begin to hear about Krishna they become washed away. Now we are hearing from Krishna in the Bhagavad-gita. Krishna is speaking about Himself. Krishna is speaking about the situation of the material world. He'll speak about the spiritual world. Everything is there in the Bhagavad- gita. So if you regularly hear, that is the beginning of your success in life. The Vedas are called shruti, "hearing." One has to hear the Vedas from the right person. That is the recommendation of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Sthane sthitah sruti-gatam tanu-van-manobhih. To achieve success in self-realization or God realization, Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu recommends, sthane sthitah: "Just stay in your present position, as a grhastha [householder] or as a brahmana or as a sannyasi [renunciant] or as a businessman or professional man—it doesn't matter." But, sruti-gatam tanu-van-manobhih: "Just try to hear about Krishna." Sruti-gatam means "aural reception." Tanu-van-manobhih: "And try to employ your body, words, and mind in Krishna's service." Ye prayaso 'jita jito 'py asi. One of Krishna's names is Ajita, "He who is never conquered." But anyone who, without speculation, humbly and meekly hears about Krishna from the realized soul will one day will be able to conquer the unconquerable. The Krishna consciousness movement is meant to give everyone the chance to hear about Krishna. That hearing is the first process—sravanam. And when one has heard very nicely about Krishna, then one can speak about Krishna. And one must speak. One who has heard nicely about Krishna cannot remain without speaking about Krishna. He must speak or preach. Hear and preach about whom? Vishnu, or Krishna. sravanam kirtanam visnoh smaranam pada-sevanam arcanam vandanam dasyam sakhyam atma-nivedanam "Hearing and chanting about Vishnu, remembering Him, serving His lotus feet, worshiping Him, offering Him prayers, becoming His servant, becoming His friend, and offering everything to Him." These nine processes of Krishna consciousness are being pushed forward by the members of the Krishna consciousness movement all over the world. We have opened a center here in Bombay, the most important city of India. So we request you all to come every day and try to understand the philosophy of Krishna consciousness, based on Bhagavad-gita, Srimad-Bhagavatam, Vedanta-sutra, Ramayana, Mahabharata—all authentic scriptures. We are not concocting or giving false interpretations. We are presenting Bhagavad-gita as it is, without any deviation. So if we take advantage of this process of understanding—srnvatam sva-kathah Krishnah punya-sravana-kirtanah— then gradually we shall be free from the results of all our past sinful activities. Hrdy antah-stho hy abhadrani. Abhadrani means "inauspicious things accumulated within our heart." By Krishna-kirtana—chanting about Krishna— our heart will be cleansed. Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu recommends ceto-darpana-marjanam: The heart is like a mirror, and it can be cleansed by the chanting of Hare Krishna. As soon as the heart is cleansed we can understand what is Krishna, what I am, what my relationship is with Krishna, and how I should act in relation to Krishna. Understanding these things is the perfection of life. Thank you very much. Krishna Voice, Nov 2009 7
  7. 7. SRILA PRABHUPADA SPEAKS OUT Jesus and Christ Are Perfect—But You Follow Darwin Here we conclude an exchange that took place in Perth, Australia, on May 9, 1975, between His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada and Carol Cameron, then a doctoral candidate in anthropology. Srila Prabhupada: We live for seventy or eighty years, knowledge—or simply vague, indefinite knowledge— but the followers of Darwin's theory are calculating a then why should you try to give knowledge to others? span of millions or even billions of years. They are Carol: Your Divine Grace, can you have perfect calculating a span of millions, even billions, of years— knowledge? Can knowledge be truly perfect? and yet they will live for just seventy or eighty years. So how are they making such an incredibly vast calculation? Srila Prabhupada: Yes. Simply mental speculation. Simply misleading the people. Carol: I mean, as far as I understand, ultimately I might An honest man should not mislead others. He should be able to have perfect knowledge, but somehow it all understand that his knowledge is limited. How can I put seems a bit doubtful. How could you ever be sure your forward something that is merely my theorizing? That knowledge is perfect? is not very good business. Srila Prabhupada: Perfect knowledge you can have These scientists, these so-called cultural leaders—they immediately—provided you take knowledge from the are misleading the people. Just imagine. "I have no perfect. If you receive knowledge from a bogus person, perfect knowledge. I am merely theorizing. Actually, I then how can you have perfect knowledge? have nothing to offer but my unsubstantiated theories. But that's all right. I'll mislead the people." A big bluff— Knowledge has to be received from some person. When that is going on. An honest man should abstain from I go to a school or college or to a yoga society, actually big bluffs. "But not a great scientist like me. I am theorizing I am going to a teacher or guru. So if your teacher or and misleading the people with my big bluffs." guru is perfect, then you get perfect knowledge. But if your teacher is a bogus person, then you get bogus First of all, you must have accurate knowledge; then knowledge. you bring knowledge to others. That is our proposition. First of all, make your life Carol: So, again, if your teacher is perfect, the knowledge perfect; then you try to give you receive is perfect? knowledge. If you have no Srila Prabhupada: Yes. Carol: And do you receive this perfect knowledge immediately? Srila Prabhupada: Yes. For instance, we are giving knowledge from Bhagavad-gita. This is perfect knowledge. You take it; you become perfect. Carol: And your actions become perfect actions? Srila Prabhupada: Oh, yes. Have you read Bhagavad-gita?
  8. 8. Carol: Not as yet. bell ring, you press your finger on the button in this way." Srila Prabhupada: In Bhagavad-gita you'll find that the This is how the child gets perfect knowledge. Lord instructs us, man-mana bhava mad-bhakto. "Always Submissively, he tries what his father has told him, and think of Me." So we are doing this. "Hare Krishna, Hare he sees, "Oh, the bell is ringing." Krishna, Krishna Krishna"—we are thinking of Krishna. So perfect knowledge is available. The child may be The direction is there, and we are doing that. Therefore, imperfect, but the knowledge he has received—that is our actions are perfect. If my physician says, "You take perfect. This is ordinary knowledge. And in the same this medicine in such-and-such doses, and don't do this, way, if you get higher knowledge from a person who is but do do that," then, if I follow, I'm cured. Perfect. perfect, then your higher knowledge is perfect. Carol: Does a man, then, still have to judge and agonize But if you receive your knowledge—just like this over his actions? anthropology business—from an imperfect person like Srila Prabhupada: No. If you know that the knowledge Darwin, then the whole thing is imperfect. So why should you are receiving is perfect—because the person giving we waste our time on imperfect knowledge? you the knowledge is perfect—then there is no question Carol: Perhaps because we seem to have low standards of judging. You simply follow. for what we consider a perfect person, we find scarcely Carol: So it's a matter of complete faith. anyone we could call a perfect person. Srila Prabhupada: Just like a child. A child assumes, Srila Prabhupada: So then, if people want to be cheated, "My father is perfect." And actually, a father should be then I shall be a perfect cheater. [Laughter.] That is perfect, at least for the child. In that way, whatever the another thing. I'll take my doctorate title and be a perfect father or mother presents to him as knowledge, that is cheater. perfect. For instance, the father says, "My dear child, Carol: But it is true that even if you look very sincerely this is called a table." for someone who is perfect, you don't find anyone. Now, the child does not know what a table is, but he Srila Prabhupada: Therefore, we are giving this understands from his father. The child says, "This is a information: "Here is Krishna. Here is the perfect person. table." You take this." But you don't follow Him. Or, as I said So when the child says, "This is a table," it is a fact. His to begin with, Jesus Christ is perfect. But you don't knowledge is perfect. On the whole, the child may be follow him. imperfect, but because he is repeating the perfect Carol: Mm. knowledge of his father, whatever he is speaking is perfect. Srila Prabhupada: You don't like to follow him. You follow Darwin. Whose fault is it? The perfect person's Actually, the child makes all sorts of inquiries from the fault? Or your fault? You don't like to hear from the father. "Father, what is this?" perfect person. You want to hear from a humbug, bogus The father smiles. "This is called a bell. To make the person. That is the defect. Krishna Voice, Nov 2009 9
  9. 9. GOVARDHANA PUJA Bangalore... Above & left: A massive cake replica of Govardhana Hill was made and offered to the Lord by the devotees at the temple on the occasion of Govardhana Puja. Below: Devotees worship Mother Cow and feed her prasadam fruits on Go Puja which was celebrated at the temple on the same day as Govardhana Puja. 10 Krishna Voice, Nov 2009
  10. 10. Bellary... Right: Sri Krishna and Balarama, Bellary. Below: The Govardhana Cake which was offered to Them by the devotees. Krishna Voice, Nov 2009 11
  11. 11. ..and Hubli Giridhari alankara on Govardhana Puja The huge replica of Govardhana made from cake, offered to the Lord on Govardhana Puja 12 Krishna Voice, Nov 2009
  12. 12. Vrindavan Karthik Utsav 2009 at Sri Radha Vrindavan Chandra Mandir, Vrindavan Above: Devotees offered a replica of Govardhana Hill made from halwa as annakoota to the Lord on the occasion of Govardhana Puja, at the Sri Radha Vrindavan Chandra temple in Vrindavan. Above: A grand ratha carries the utsava vigraha of Their Lordships during the Ratha Yatra which was part of the Karthik Utsava celebrations at Vrindavan. Below: Devotees row the ceremonial boat or nauka in the temple pond, taking Their Lordships on a cool evening cruise to the accompaniment of kirtana and much jubilation. Above: Special Giridhari alankara of the utsava vigraha of Their Lordships on Govardhana Puja. Lord Krishna holds up Govardhana Hill with Radharani and Rohini to His left and His parents Yashoda and Nanda to His right. Krishna Voice, Nov 2009 13
  13. 13. Sam Surya goes to his city’s orphanage one day and moral scrutiny. Thus, under Hume’s theory, Sam’s donation How Free Are We? makes a large donation. Elsewhere in town, Andy is considered to be causally determined by his desire to Andhakara robs a bank. What led these two to make donate, and yet is also considered free because it is done such drastically different choices? Was it their own volition, willingly. Andy’s act of robbery is caused by his desire to or the force of some other factor? In other words, were acquire money, but he remains morally culpable because their actions predetermined, or did Sam and Andy have he was not forced to act against his wishes. Navin Jani free will? Although with Hume’s soft determinism we finally have These questions concern one of the pivotal debates in don’t have the power to decide to steal or not, then what’s Countless persons have endorsed some such a theory that connects individuals with their behavior, Western philosophy. Are human beings destined to follow the use of sending such a message? Therefore, strict compromise—including the English philosophers Thomas whether it does so in a way that gives them actual freedom a set course? Are we like children on an amusement park determinism can be rejected as counterintuitive and highly Hobbes, John Locke, and John Stuart Mill—and it more is questionable. Granting that it avoids the oppressive ride that lets them steer right and left but inevitably takes impractical. or less represents the consensus of contemporary Western impersonalism of strict determinism and the chaos of them along a fixed track? Or are we free to desire and philosophy. Among these, the mid–eighteenth-century categorical free will, does it actually bestow on humans Categorical Free Will do as we like, our lives a blank slate upon which we may Scottish philosopher David Hume made what is arguably the power of conscious choice? Critics have said no. write anything and everything? Having rejected this extreme, let’s test out the other. As the chief presentation. strict determinism tells us that Sam and Andy each had His theory has been In this article we’ll take a brief look at how Western to act in a particular way, the opposite perspective tells referred to as soft philosophy has addressed the problem of determinism us they could have acted in absolutely any way. This is determinism because it versus free will, and then suggest how the Vedic literature the theory known as categorical free will. It holds that takes strict determinism can offer additional insight into this most elusive yet human actions are in theory completely unconstrained and alters it in a way important issue. and can unfold in an infinite number of ways. Our behavior that allows for personal Before we begin, let’s be clear about the term “will”. From is not the preset product of any grand universal scheme, freedom and moral a philosophical perspective, it is a nuanced concept that but is fluid and flexible. It essentially has no cause, for accountability. He starts has undergone shifts in meaning over the years. that would limit its course. with the notion that Nevertheless, for all practical purposes it can be taken every human action Unlike the theory of strict determinism, which has had as synonymous with “action.” Hence the debate over has a cause that few adherents among Western philosophers, the theory determinism versus free will is essentially a quest to determines how it will of categorical free will has been embraced by many, identify the cause of human behavior. Keeping this in unfold. If this cause is including the French philosopher Rene Descartes in the mind should help keep you from getting lost in what might something external to early seventeenth century and the German philosopher otherwise become a hazy jungle of abstract philosophical the individual, he refers Immanuel Kant in the late eighteenth century. Indeed, it jargon. to the resultant action is a welcome relief from the stifling rigidity of determinism, as involuntary. If this Strict Determinism and it resonates with Western notions of liberty and cause is an internal independence. But as other philosophers have pointed One perspective on this debate is to say that Sam Surya desire of the individual, out (including those named in the next section), it goes was destined to donate and Andy Andhakara was destined he refers to the too far. They argue that a phenomenon either has a cause to steal, and neither ever really had a say in the matter. resultant action as (or causes) or is completely random; there is no third This is the theory known as strict determinism. It holds voluntary. Whereas in option. Therefore to say that human actions have no that all human actions are the direct results of a sequence strict determinism all cause is to say that they are random. But observation of of causes and effects such that they are predetermined actions are caused by the world around us shows that this is clearly not the and can unfold in one and only one way. Thus, we do external forces and are case. We don’t see mothers hugging their dirty laundry not actually play any part in determining our actions. therefore what Hume and throwing their babies into the washing machine. Rather, they are caused by something beyond us. Western would call involuntary, Rather, in place of such inexplicable chaos (the logical philosophers have generally been loath to embrace this his soft determinism consequence of this theory) we observe order and view, and with good reason: strict determinism is contrary allows for both external meaning in human behavior. Hence, categorical free will to both common experience and the norms of civilization. and internal causes. must also be rejected as illogical and unrealistic. (The doctrine of the predestination of souls, espoused Indeed, he emphasizes by St. Augustine in the fifth century and championed by Soft Determinism the latter by explaining the leaders of the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth that human beings will So while strict determinism leaves us with no room to century, is one major exception.) Far from feeling forced always act according to breathe, it turns out categorical free will opens the door into every action we take, we instinctively feel we can their strongest internal far too wide. Neither theory allows for us to have a desire unless forcibly make choices in our lives. Therefore, the thought that we conscious influence on our actions. What of the middle constrained by some have no control whatsoever over what we do is repulsive. ground, something between these two extremes? Such external factor. And the laws that govern society have meaning only if a perspective would allow Sam and Andy to cause their citizens can decide to follow them or not. For example, actions in some way that reconciles determinism and free Hume concludes by we would perhaps support punishing Andy Andhakara to will. Human behavior could then be understood as neither deeming such send a message to the community that stealing is bad capricious nor automatically enacted irrespective of voluntary action “free” and others should not follow his example. But if citizens individual wishes. and therefore liable to 14 Krishna Voice, Nov 2009 15
  14. 14. They have noted that although under Hume’s theory activities that are in actuality carried out by the three individuals act voluntarily, they do not act freely. This is modes of material nature.” Thus, our freedom does not because the internal desires that cause their actions lie in the tangible realm of physical matter. are not under their conscious control. For example, Sam To some people the implication of such evidence is that voluntarily acts in accordance with his desire to give free will is simply illusory and that enlightenment involves charity (and so feels like he is acting freely), but where accepting that we are the powerless pawns of a does this desire come from? Did he choose to have the deterministic world. Historically, Western philosophers kind of personality that is inclined to give? have even been led to clump the Vedic worldview No. We could either trace its development through his together with other Eastern philosophies and dismiss experiences, education, and parenting, or resign them all under the condescending label of “Asiatic ourselves to a simple, “He was born that way.” In either fatalism.” But this is only half the Vedic equation. Equally case, we must acknowledge that the very factors that compelling (and arguably even more important) is the resulted in Sam’s wanting to help out the orphanage Vedic evidence of freedom and the power of conscious are clearly not subject to his conscious control. Rather, choice. his desire is the deterministic product of his background, For example, the Vedic literature contains a plethora of and it compels him to act accordingly. He is not free to rules, regulations, and rituals. Many prominent Vaishnava act otherwise. Thus, we are not justified in calling Sam’s philosophers have used the same logic we cited earlier and Andy’s respective actions free, and praising or in defeating strict determinism to claim that such scriptural censuring them accordingly. In fact, soft determinism prescriptions (and their associated rewards and ultimately leads us to the same dead end as strict punishments) can have meaning only if the living entity determinism, albeit with a little more scenery on the has some degree of factual independence. Indeed, “The way. Supreme Personality of Godhead has so dexterously Although strict determinism and categorical free will formulated and applied the laws of material nature proved easy to dismiss (both in this article and in the governing punishment and reward for human behavior annals of Western philosophy), you will likely agree that that the living being is discouraged from sin and soft determinism seemed more promising. But it still left encouraged toward goodness without suffering any us short of what we are searching for: a viable explanation significant interference with his free will as an eternal of the cause of human action. Certainly the answer soul.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 10.24.14, Purport by does lie in some sort of synthesis of determinism and Prabhupada’s disciples) free will, but Western philosophy can take us no further It is important to note here, however, that as the mind in this direction. We therefore now consider the is considered material in the Vedic understanding, it is philosophy of ancient India. Within the Vedic scriptures subject to the same rigid control that was attributed to we find a perspective that genuinely reconciles the body above. So just as the free will of the living determinism and free will in a way that makes sense to being cannot extend to the actions of the physical body our heads and is agreeable to our hearts. and senses, so too it cannot extend to the actions of The Soul’s Free Will the mind or intelligence. Thus, the free will Prabhupada speaks of must be restricted to the domain of the spirit We begin by reviewing the deterministic side of the soul proper, and it must be the actions of this soul that equation. Krishna explains in the Bhagavad-gita that all merit the various punishments and rewards he speaks living beings have eternal spiritual forms of which the of. But how does the soul act? Prabhupada explains physical bodies we see are only temporary coverings. that it is through desire. Not only that, he goes one step The root cause of this encasement is known in Sanskrit further to reveal that the desire whether “to surrender as ahankara. Though this term is usually translated as to God or not is the essential expression of our free false ego, it literally means “I am the doer.” Because will.” we are made of spirit, not matter, we have no ability to independently manipulate matter, and to think we do is And there, at last, is our answer and the Vedic resolution the ultimate binding delusion. Far from being a controller, of the problem of determinism versus free will. As human by inhabiting a physical body we come under the control beings, our freedom is limited to desiring to come closer of nature, because the body, being matter, acts according to God or to move farther away from Him. Material to the laws of nature. The real agent behind the nature, under the supervision of God, takes care of the movements of the material world is the energy of God rest. According to our past desires, we are provided at in the form of the three material principles, or modes: birth with a suitable body through which the modes of maintenance (goodness), creation (passion), and material nature help us perform actions appropriate to destruction (ignorance). Krishna sums up this whole those desires. Within the constraints of this body, which dynamic by observing, “The spirit soul bewildered by range from our mental disposition to the karmic results the influence of false ego thinks himself the doer of due to us while in it, we have the opportunity to form 16 Krishna Voice, Nov 2009
  15. 15. new desires. These desires may take many forms, but they will always be reducible to one of two broad categories: desires to be closer to God, or desires to be farther away from Him. Our new desires then create karmic reactions that in turn determine our next body. No Deterministic Dead End This Vedic understanding of free will thus saves us from the dead end that soft determinism led us to. We can trace the manifold desires that cause a person to act back from the upbringing of his present life to his nature at birth, to the desires of his previous lives, and, underlying it all, to his progressive desire to surrender to or rebel against God. Freedom reigns at this final, primary level, while determinism dominates all subsequent links in the chain. We could thus call the Vedic model a sort of binary free will. For example, Sam Surya, in his previous birth, must have had godly desires (e.g., selfless desires to forego pleasures for a higher purpose). As a result, he was probably born with an innate generosity and received good training from his parents and early teachers, both of which allowed him to progress towards God. Andy Andhakara, on the other hand, must have had ungodly desires (e.g., selfish desires that focused on his own well-being at the cost of others), which led him to be born in a degraded situation favorable for expressing and acting upon such desires. The key to understanding how this works is in realizing that karma applies on a subtle, as well as a gross, level. Good actions don’t just create good circumstances; they also create the desire to do further good actions. And vice versa. Unlike the blank slate of free will or the fixed track of determinism, this blend of the two might be likened to an interactive movie that lets you make choices at key moments and then unfolds automatically until the next decision. If we make choices favorable to reestablishing our relationship with God, like Sam Surya, we’ll get more and better options of this kind the next time. If we make choices that hamper our connection with God, like Andy Andhakara, the godly options will diminish in scope and quantity. Either way, what happens in between the decision points is the preset product of innumerable past choices. When we finally evolve to the point where we unreservedly and uninterruptedly desire only to be closer to God, then we break the chain of successive physical bodies and can return to the divine abode. There, having revived our original spiritual bodies, we will be completely independent of the laws of nature that so rigidly control us in this world. Thus we come to the ultimate paradox of free will. When we are at every moment lovingly offering our free will at the feet of God for His pleasure rather than ours, then and only then are we the most free. Krishna Voice, Nov 2009 17
  16. 16. Waking from the Dream By Jahundvipa Dasa We souls inhabiting the material world are under the universe continues. So in relation to Lord Brahma’s influence of Krishna’s illusory potency, Maya Devi. Just perception of time, our lives are so short and insignificant as one forgets his life during a dream at night, we who that for all practical purposes they might as well never live in the material world live in ignorance of our real have been. Similarly, in the eternal time of the spiritual identity and are considered to be asleep. The “reality” realm, Lord Brahma and the universe we live in are as to which we have become so accustomed is a dream. insignificant and nonexistent as we are in relation to the Our spiritual existence, the one we have forgotten—our universe. Krishna explains this in the Bhagavad-gita eternal existence in the spiritual realm—is the reality. (8.17-20): How can we distinguish between reality and illusion? By human calculation, a thousand ages taken together In a dream, everything seems quite real. We go through form the duration of Brahma’s one day. And such also the same register of emotions and impressions as when is the duration of his night. we are awake. Dreams seem real enough. What, then, At the beginning of Brahma’s day, all living entities makes a dream unreal? In the Bhagavad-gita Lord become manifest from the unmanifest state, and Krishna has given the answer by pointing out that reality thereafter, when the night falls, they are merged into is that which exists without cessation, that which the unmanifest again. continues and is everlasting. A dream, therefore, since it has a beginning and an end, cannot be real. Real Again and again, when Brahma’s day arrives, all living existence is continuous. entities come into being, and with the arrival of Brahma’s night they are helplessly annihilated. “Those who are seers of the truth have concluded that of the nonexistent [the material body] there is no Yet there is another unmanifest nature, which is eternal endurance and of the eternal [the soul] there is no and is transcendental to this manifested and change. This they have concluded by studying the nature unmanifested matter. It is supreme and is never of both.” (Bhagavad-gita 2.16) annihilated. When all in this world is annihilated, that part remains as it is. When Lord Krishna speaks of the material body as “nonexistent,” He is referring to its being temporary; its Another Plane existence is not a permanent fact. “Nonexistent” does Krishna says that there is an eternal realm of existence not mean that the material body and the material world beyond this manifested, temporary world. Here on this are simply not there at all, or that they are “false,” as plane all our experiences and activities are dreamlike some impersonalists say. because they will be reduced to fleeting memories; then In contrast to eternal time, our current temporary they will evaporate in time as if they had never taken existence is fleeting and insubstantial—a short flash, place. And finally we will go to sleep at death. But on like a dream. Even a long dreamlike life will come to an the spiritual plane we will possess a continuous end, and in the realm of eternity our lifespan of sixty or experience of eternality. We will have woken up to our eighty years is such a miniscule glimpse in the vastness real life. of eternity that it doesn’t even register. The same is true That’s why our present existence in a body that changes of the computer I am writing on. Even if I left it sitting from childhood to youth to old age is unreal and alone on my desk and never touched it, time would dreamlike. Our life in this particular body has a beginning eventually destroy it, its identity or form ceasing to exist. and an end, and for that reason it is a dream. Our life However long that would take is immaterial. To us a is not unreal in the sense that it does not take place. thousand or a million years may seem like a substantial Obviously it does. If I bash my head against a wall, it amount of time. But from the point of view of, say, Lord will hurt, and that pain is real enough. So the unreal Brahma, the first created living being in the universe factor about the body is that it ends. And it can never (who lives for the unimaginable length of time of 311.04 fulfill its promise of the happiness we are always hoping trillion years), surely my computer, the desk my computer for. sits on, as well as the house that surrounds the desk, That’s the real illusion of material life. One may consider cannot be said to exist. Before Lord Brahma even has enjoyment in the material world substantial. What’s time to finish his morning ablutions, we would have died wrong with enjoying? What’s wrong with seeking some and been born thousands of times. happiness? The answer is that the pleasure of life always Lord Brahma’s lifespan is the same as the lifespan of ends. That’s what’s wrong. Such pleasure can never the universe we live in. That is, he lives as long as the satisfy the self, because the self is eternal and therefore 18 Krishna Voice, Nov 2009
  17. 17. hungers for lasting pleasure. (Bhagavad-gita 8.16) “An intelligent person does not take part in the sources Now, if there weren’t any alternative to such a material of misery, which are due to contact with the material life, existence would be bleak indeed. Many people who senses. O son of Kunti, such pleasures have a beginning have no knowledge of the positive alternative of Krishna and an end, and so the wise man does not delight in consciousness find the truth about the material world them.” (Bhagavad-gita 5.22) a depressing message. But just as a dream denotes something real, so our temporary material life is nothing As we can see from Krishna’s words here, not only can but a distorted reflection of our real, eternal life. we not find satisfaction in temporary pleasures, but the same pleasures will also cause us suffering. Misery The screen of material perception now covers our always follows material happiness. Because the soul is consciousness and mentality. That’s why we think it is eternal by constitution, we cannot find satisfaction in possible to find happiness in the material world through the temporary. Life in the material world can never satisfy the material body. The soul has stepped outside its real us, no matter how much sense gratification we get. It environment of eternality and entered the temporary is exactly like in a dream. We may experience some world of matter. Srila Prabhupada compared this to a sense of happiness as we engage in pleasurable fish on dry land. Outside its natural element, the fish activities, but we always have to wake up to the reality cannot enjoy and soon withers and dies. No matter how of misery and lamentation. In a dream we wake up to much pleasure the fish is offered, it will not be able to our daily life, and in life we wake up to disease, old age, enjoy it because it is out of its natural element. Similarly, death, or some other calamity. we have to wither and die again and again, pathetically flapping for a few inconsequential moments on the Fading Memories shores of time. This cycle will continue endlessly, until In life the activities we engage in become memories, we wake up to our real existence. and these memories are like dreams. All the good and We have come to the material world because we desired bad experiences we have been through in life are now to imitate Krishna’s position as the supreme enjoyer just memories—fleeting and without substance—like a and controller. Since we can never usurp Krishna’s dream we may have had. We forget them as if they position, He has kindly put us to sleep in material life never happened. There is in essence no difference so that we can dream that we are the enjoyers and between a dream we once had and an experience that controllers. actually happened to us. When an old man sits outside the mall wearily eyeing the young ladies hurrying by, it The genuine spiritual process of Krishna consciousness is of little comfort to him to think about all the pleasures helps the soul sleeping in the lap of Maya to wake up he once had with women. to reality—the reality of spiritual life. In reality, we are eternally full of knowledge and bliss. But being asleep, Sometimes people say that they have lived a full life, we cannot see that. Instead we try to find happiness in that they have nice memories to fall back on. But the our dreams—be they the pursuit of love, family, success, fact is that the memories of past pleasures are not wealth, or any number of temporary solutions. We seek enough to satisfy us. The memories of enjoyment we happiness outside ourselves, when the happiness is had in the past or hope to have in the future cannot there all the time within. We are like a deer that neglects satisfy the deep longings for fulfillment that live in our a nearby brook and runs into the desert to find water. hearts. Our senses and mind can find some temporary The sages tell us that the solution to this pitiful condition, relief in relationships, or even in possessions, but then the means to get out of this existential ignorance, is to it is over. Even if we love the same person faithfully chant the Hare Krishna mantra. Therefore the members throughout our whole life and that person loves us back, of the Hare Krishna movement are very eager to get the happiness cannot last—there is bound to be everyone to chant Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna separation, and then misery sets in. There is no way to Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama avoid it: material life is headed for lamentation. Rama, Hare Hare. The Kali-santarana Upanishad says Krishna says, “From the highest planet in the material of the maha-mantra, “It is the only means by which to world down to the lowest, all are places of misery wherein counteract the evils of Kali-yuga. After having searched repeated birth and death take place. But one who attains through all the Vedas, one will find no more sublime to My abode, O son of Kunti, never takes birth again.” form of religion.” Fasting Festivals Nov 13 Ekadashi Nov 28 Gita Jayanti Nov 14 break fast Dec 5 Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura Nov 28 Ekadashi Disappearance day Nov 29 break fast Fasting till noon 20 Krishna Voice, Nov 2009
  18. 18. KRISHNA'S KIND SOLUTION: Train Calves, Don't Eat Them! By Suresvara Dasa Bir Krishna the calf loves coconut fudge, and Sita the teamstress knows it. Her pockets bulge with the sweet as she and Bir walk to the training ring. Today the calf will learn his first call: "Get up!" The earth is soft from the recent rain. Sita carries a lash and leads Bir with a rope tied to a blue halter. The calf bounds through a cluster of gnats, then slows as they come to the ring. What's this? The gate opens, and Bir walks in to explore. He treads the edge and sniffs the white hardwood boards. The ring is twenty-four feet in diameter. Hoofprints stud the grass and mud, the signatures of oxen training. The calf's eyes blink and widen at his new surroundings. Sita wants to reassure her charge. She strokes his head behind the ears. "Good boy, Bir." Time to teach the call. Sita walks to the center of the ring and lets the rope slacken. She raises the lash and taps Bir on the rump ("Get up!"), goading him forward. She follows him closely, indicating with her body he should keep going. When he stops, another tap. "Get up!" A few times and Bir has made the connection between the tap and the call. "Good boy, Bir. Come here ..." The calf walks over to Sita, who kneels and holds up a piece of fudge. A crumb falls on the kerchief crowning her hair, flaxen from the sun. A flick and a lick and Bir has it, his lotus eyes beaming. They are making a pact, animal and human, sealed in mud and trust. At three months, Bir is the youngest calf at Gita-nagari, the Hare Krishna farm community in central Pennsylvania. Unlike his brethren in modern "factory farms," Bir will never suffer the "veal-crate fate." Every year, more than one million male calves are born into darkness, and kept there, chained round the neck in a stall so tiny they can neither stand up nor turn around. To keep their flesh pale and tender, they are denied sunlight, exercise, and even solid food. Their liquid diet of growth stimulators, antibiotics, powdered skim milk, and mold inhibitors gives them an iron deficiency that satisfies the consumer's demand for light meat, sold as "premium" or "milk-fed" veal. After three months of living in diarrhea, at an age when they could be trained to work, they are butchered. Bir is learning remarkably fast. Sita doesn't have to follow him so closely anymore. Just the call and a tap and he moves forward. Has he learned his lesson well enough to move without the lash? Sita looks Bir in the eyes and raises the lash. "Bir ... get up!" The calf takes a few steps forward, then stops. "Get up!" A swat on the rump and off he goes at the end of the rope, now circling behind her. Out of eye contact, he starts to slow, then speeds up again at the sound of the call. Sita beams. "Broke to the word" on the first lesson! Out comes the rest of the fudge. "Good boy, Bir. Very good boy." To the modern farmer, Sita and Bir are an anachronism, a picture in a history book. The caption reads: "Here's how our farmers used to raise bulls—for work!" But has it been a good deal, the ox for the tractor? His muscle for the engines that roar and pollute and suck up gasoline at soaring prices? His legs for the giant wheels that crush and compact? His enriching manure for chemical fertilizers that exhaust the earth and contaminate the water table? His labor for his meat, whose industry signals the decline of our health? Such is the progress of science without religion. Factory farming finds its antithesis in the animal liberation movement. Disgusted by man's exploitative dominion over animals, many animal rights advocates hold that animals should not have to work for humans and that humans have no right to use animal products. The genuine advocate is often a vegan. Appalled by the dairy industry's collusion with the slaughterhouse, he shuns the cow's milk as well as her meat. There is an irony here. A cow produces an average of ten times more milk than a calf can consume. To deny humanity her milk is really to deny that she is our mother. And hence the Krishna Voice, Nov 2009 21
  19. 19. possibility that we might treat her as such. The same with the bull. To deprive humanity of his labor is to obscure his natural relation to us as a father, who tills the ground to provide food. This is the grave error of religion without science, for as soon as man stops working the ox, he wants to kill him. It is no accident that the technology that produced the tractor also produced the slaughterhouse. The vegan rightly challenges exploitation and murderous abuse. Yet decades, even centuries, of abuse do not preclude the possibility of kindly use. And that is what Krishna's cowherds have to offer. In a field near Sita and Bir, Rasala Dasa, Sita's husband, works a team of oxen tedding hay. After hay is cut, it is tedded, or fluffed up, so air can circulate through it for faster drying. Frequent rains have made the cutting especially thick. The oxen pull a long-fingered device that grabs the hay and throws it up in the air. Rasala walks on their left side, calling commands so they go straight over the rows. Rasala rests the oxen periodically as the sun nears the meridian. They will finish the field before it sets. Sure a tractor can do more—more harm than good! In a couple of years Bir will join the oxen, spared the veal crate and the steer market. To work him in devotional service is to synthesize science and religion. "The Vedic way is to farm with the ox," writes ISKCON farm historian Hare Krishna Dasi, "as humanity has done for thousands of years, and as much of the world is still doing—small-scale, personal, noncapitalistic, nonexploitive farming. We don't have to ruin the world to produce food. We can live a simple, sweet agricultural life, as Krishna Himself demonstrated. "This doesn't mean we have to be primitive, either. There is a large role for developing appropriate technology— like ox-powered energy generators and methane digesters—beyond strictly agricultural applications." Granted, the golden calf of historical progress is a tough idol to topple. Yet listen to the Vedic view of the earth when Krishna visited some fifty centuries ago. "The clouds showered all the water that people needed, and the earth produced all the necessities of man in profusion. Due to its fatty milk bag and cheerful attitude, the cow used to moisten the grazing ground with milk" (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.10.4). "The years like great black oxen tread the world," wrote the poet W. B. Yeats, "And God the herdsman goads them on behind." Time will tell if our modern world can recover the good life Krishna gave us. But doers like Rasala and Sita can't wait for the world. Working oxen is too rewarding. "There's a new moon coming," says Sita with a twinkle. "Get up!" 22 Krishna Voice, Nov 2009
  20. 20. MAHARAJA PRATAPARUDRA: Humble Servant in Kingly Dress By Satyaraja Dasa Maharaja Prataparudra, a king who played a central role in Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s life, is mentioned in all of Lord Chaitanya’s sacred biographies as well as in secular historical records. For example, Prabhat Mukherjee, a scholar of Orissan history, has written several books on the Chaitanya tradition, touching on Maharaja Prataparudra’s genealogy and political career. Such historical accounts tell us that the wise king Purushottam Deva ruled Orissa until 1497, when he was succeeded by Prataparudra, who ruled until 1540, about seven years after Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu returned to His eternal abode. Following the tradition of kings in his line, Prataparudra accepted the titles Gajapati and Gaudeshwar. His empire extended from the Ganges in Bengal to Karnataka, with his capital city in Cuttack, Orissa. Though his capital was in Cuttack, like Gajapati kings before him he is also associated with Puri, the holy city in Orissa on the Bay of Bengal. Puri is the home of the Jagannatha temple and has been a pilgrimage site for centuries. Historical documents tell of Prataparudra’s battles with both Hussein Shah, the ruler of Bengal, and King Krishnadeva Raya of Vijayanagar, a South Indian kingdom. Hussein Shah played a role in the history of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu: Rupa Gosvami and Sanatana Gosvami, leading disciples of Lord Chaitanya, were ministers in the Shah’s government before retiring to join Lord Chaitanya’s mission. Despite recurring battles during his rule, King Prataparudra led a disciplined and religious life. This is evident from the following account, given to the Vijayanagar emperor by a spy in his court: [The Gajapati king] gets up from bed early in the morning two hours before sunrise and salutes two Brahmins before looking at any other person. Then accompanied by the Sixteen Patras [the Brahminical council], he goes on a ride of about twenty or thirty miles before returning to the palace. After taking his bath, he engages himself in the daily worship of Lord Jagannath, after which he takes his midday meal. After food, he recites the Ramayana. Then, putting on official robes bedecked with jewels, he sits in the court and transacts his daily business. —From Dr. R. Subrahmanyam, The Suryavamsi Gajapatis of Orissa A book called Sarasvati-vilasa, accepted as authoritative by Orissan historians, says that King Prataparudra had four queens, named Padma, Padmalaya, Ila, and Mahila. It is also written that by the time of his death, Prataparudra had thirty-two sons and several daughters. Among his many children, Sarasvati-vilasa highlights the life of one son, Purushottam. Chaitanya-charitamrita (Antya 3.9.99) and Bhakti-ratnakara (6.65) also speak of Purushottam, confirming information from secular texts. Documents of the Jagannatha temple inform us that even before meeting Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Prataparudra followed the custom of sweeping the road before Lord Jagannatha’s chariot. They also tell us that he was well educated and a patron of learning and brahminical culture. He had already acquired knowledge of the Srimad- Bhagavatam and discussed truths about Krishna with Ramananda Raya, one of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s most important associates and the governor, under the king, of Rajamahendri in the south. Ramananda Raya dedicates the prefatory verse of every song in his devotional play Jagannatha-Vallabha-Natakam to King Prataparudra, indicating the extent of the king’s attraction for hearing the pastimes of Radha and Krishna. The king’s soft, devotional heart is perhaps most clearly evident in the story behind a painting he commissioned. After many of the Lord’s intimate associates had passed on, the king wanted to “immortalize” them for the pleasure of the remaining Vaishnavas, particularly for Srinivasa, a greatly respected second-generation devotee of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. As the story goes, when Srinivasa arrived in Puri he hoped to study the Bhagavatam under Gadadhara Pandita. But Gadadhara’s manuscript had been irreparably damaged by his tears of spiritual ecstasy. So he sent Srinivasa back to Bengal to get another copy. But by the time he returned, Gadadhara had passed away, leaving Srinivasa disconsolate. To assuage Srinivasa’s grief, Maharaja Prataparudra gave him the painting, so that he could regularly meditate on the Lord and His devotees. The grandson of Srinivasa later gave Krishna Voice, Nov 2009 23
  21. 21. it to a devotee named Nanda Kumar, which is how it arrived in Kunja-ghat, Kumar’s ancestral home. The authenticity of this painting has come into question. Did King Prataparudra actually commission? This doubt has been exacerbated by the fact that there are several modern renditions of the original work, all with variations. Gopal Gosh, of the Vrindavan Research Institute (UP, India)—where such things are thoroughly analyzed and catalogued—states after extensive study, “There is no doubt about the authenticity of the painting.” Still, not everyone agrees. But it is certain that the painting has been part of the tradition for several centuries. Though there is compelling historical evidence for Pratapuradra’s existence and his reign in sixteenth-century India, as we have seen, his importance as a monarch is overshadowed by his spiritual significance in the pastimes of Lord Chaitanya. The book Gaura-ganoddesha-dipika, by Kavi Karnapura, is accepted by spiritual masters in Lord Chaitanya’s line as the authority on identifying the associates of Lord Chaitanya. In Gaura-ganoddesha-dipika (118) the author writes, “Maharaja Prataparudra, who was as powerful as Lord Indra, had formerly been Maharaja Indradyumna, who began the worship of Lord Jagannatha.” It is no wonder, therefore, that as Prataparudra this soul is intimately connected to Jagannatha yet again, but this time through the grace of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. On a Quest to Meet the Lord The blessings that Chaitanya Mahaprabhu showered on King Prataparudra have been documented in most of Lord Chaitanya’s biographies: Murari Gupta’s Kadaca, Vrindavana Dasa Thakura’s Chaitanya-Bhagavata, Kavi Karnapura’s Chaitanya-charitamrita-maha-kavya and Chaitanya-candrodaya-nataka, Locana Dasa’s Chaitanya- mangala, and Krishnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami’s Chaitanya-charitamrita. They tell essentially the same story: King Prataparudra, though a monarch, was a great devotee of Lord Krishna. Naturally, when Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Krishna Himself, came to Puri, the king wanted to see Him. But Mahaprabhu told His associates, “I cannot give him what he wants. Because he is a king, he is like a black serpent.” Chaitanya Mahaprabhu then made His position clearer. “For a renunciant like Me,” He said, “it is risky to associate with two kinds of people: women, and persons involved in worldly matters.” Although this particular king was a very advanced devotee, Mahaprabhu, on principle, still denied him His association. Lord Chaitanya was very strict, setting an example for others who would take up the life of renunciation. When Nityananda Prabhu, Advaita Acharya, Ramananda Raya, and Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya—all beloved associates of Lord Chaitanya—requested Him to see the king, He told them, “I’ll leave Puri and going to Alalanatha, or somewhere else. I will not remain here. You can remain here with him. But I will not.” This is how strongly He felt about avoiding the association of men involved in money and power. Disappointed, Prataparudra was ready to renounce the world himself. If Lord Chaitanya would not see him because of his royal position, then why not give it up? Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya, Ramananda Raya, and the others told Lord Chaitanya of the king’s determination, and Lord Chaitanya was pleased. Still, He stood by His vow of renunciation and again asserted that He would avoid the king, despite the king’s devotion. Nityananda Prabhu then suggested that Lord Chaitanya, out of His mercy, send the king a piece of His outer garment to appease him. Lord Chaitanya did so, and Prataparudra worshiped that garment as if it were Lord Chaitanya Himself. Ultimately, the great devotee Ramananda Raya interceded on the king’s behalf, and by his prodding, Lord Chaitanya agreed to see the king’s son. After all, Lord Chaitanya reasoned, “a son is one’s own self born again,” as the saying goes. And the young prince was naturally not as ensconced in worldly matters as his father. So Lord Chaitanya’s associates brought the boy to Him. The prince was dark-hued and handsome, reminding Lord Chaitanya of Krishna Himself. Lord Chaitanya showed him special mercy. Upon seeing the boy, Mahaprabhu embraced him, and the young prince swooned in ecstatic love for Krishna. Later, he went to his father, Prataparudra, who naturally embraced his son as well and received that same intense love. Sarvabhauma’s Plan Feeling Lord Chaitanya’s ecstatic love for Krishna, the king now wanted to be in Mahaprabhu’s presence more than ever. Sarvabhauma then devised a plan: The Rathayatra festival would soon be held in Puri, and in spiritual bliss Mahaprabhu would no doubt dance like a madman before the cart of Lord Jagannatha. After a while, Lord Chaitanya would want to rest and would retire to a nearby garden. At that point, the king could, in the dress of a commoner, approach Lord Chaitanya while reciting intimate passages from the Tenth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam. 24 Krishna Voice, Nov 2009
  22. 22. These sweet verses never failed to move Lord Chaitanya into ecstatic trance. Mahaprabhu would then embrace the king under the assumption that he was a simple Vaishnava. The day of the festival finally came, and it was marked by the king’s humble act of sweeping the road before Lord Jagannatha. When Mahaprabhu saw this, He was inclined to the king more than ever, and He bore this in mind as He ecstatically sang and danced before the majestic cart. At one point, His mystic reverie reaching a crescendo, He nearly pass out. By His divine arrangement He allowed Prataparudra to be right at His side to catch Him in his arms. The touch of the king, however, restored Mahaprabhu to His senses, and He chided Himself for having touched a worldly person. The Chaitanya-charitamrita tells us something deeper: Lord Chaitanya inwardly relished His association with the king but needed to set an example for others in the renounced order of life. Sarvabhauma’s plan, too, was enacted later on in the festival, and the king indeed received the embrace of Lord Chaitanya. It is said that Prataparudra turned over the kingdom to his son even while Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was present in this world. Soon after Lord Chaitanya’s passing, he was so grief-stricken that he left Puri. According to Bhakti- ratnakara (3.217-221), “When the king heard that Lord Chaitanya had departed, he fell to the ground and lamented. Hitting his head again and again, he fell unconscious, and only the company of Ramananda Raya kept him alive. The king was unable to bear the absence of Lord Chaitanya, and so he left Puri, staying elsewhere for the rest of his days.” Historian N. N. Vasu writes in his Archeological Report of Mayurbhanj that Maharaja Prataparudra started for Vrindavana but didn’t make it there. While en route, he passed away in the village of Ramachandrapur in the Mayurbhanj district of Orissa. The name of the village was then changed to Pratappur in his honour, and it is known by that name today. Krishna Voice, Nov 2009 25
  23. 23. Krishna Voice Monthly Magazine, November 2009 Vol10, No.11 Price Rs 15/- Posted on 5th or 10th of the Month at MBC, Manipal, License to post without prepayment No. WPP(CO-8), Reg No. KA/BGGPO 2521/ 2009-11, Registered with Registrar of Newspapers for India under No. RNI 71022/99, Posted at MBC, Manipal, 576104. AKSHAYA PATRA HELPS FLOOD VICTIMS In some of the worst hit areas during the recent floods in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, the Akshaya Patra Foundation supplied food for thousands of hapless victims. Mantralaya, Shiraguppa taluk (Bellary district), Chikamanchalli taluk (Raichur district), Kustagi taluk (Koppal district), Food is airlifted from the Bellary kitchen as part of flood relief operations Puliyogare is packed for distribution to victims at the Bellary Akshaya Patra kitchen Lingsugur taluk (Raichur district) are some of the locations where the Akshaya Patra volunteers distributed cooked food to flood victims. Many of these people have lost their houses and were stranded without any of their possessions. Those who managed to hold onto some of their things could not light fires to cook as they did not have firewood or any other fuel. Wherever the Akshaya Patra vans went, hands reached out to grab whatever food they could. The Akshaya Patra kitchen in Bellary reaches nutritious meals everyday to over 1 lakh under privileged school children, The Akshaya Patra van brings hope to hungry flood victims mostly in the rural areas. 28