Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Mukunda-mālā-stotra 36
andhasya me hṛta-viveka-mahā-dhanasya
cauraiḥ prabho balibhir indriya-nāmadheyaiḥ
deveśa dehi kṛpaṇasya karāvalambam
andhasya — who is blind; me — of me; hṛta — stolen; viveka — discrimination; mahā — great; dhanasya — whose wealth; cauraiḥ — by thieves; prabho — O master; balibhiḥ — powerful; indriya — as the senses; nāmadheyaiḥ — who are named; moha — of delusion; andha-kūpa — of the pitch-dark well; kuhare — into the cavity; vinipātitasya — thrown down; deva — of the demigods; īśa — O supreme controller; dehi — give; kṛpaṇasya — to this unfortunate person; kara — of the hand; avalambam — the aid.
O Lord, the powerful thieves of my senses have blinded me by stealing my most precious possession, my discrimination, and they have thrown me deep into the pitch-dark well of delusion. Please, O Lord of lords, extend Your hand and save this wretched soul.
In texts 20, 26, 31, and 34, King Kulaśekhara instructed his senses to serve the Lord. But now those same senses have apparently dragged him down into the well of delusion. Of course, the king is a liberated, pure devotee of the Lord, and he is simply taking the role of a fallen conditioned soul for our instruction. But still, one might question why Kulaśekhara has first encouraged us with descriptions of proper sensory engagement in the Lord's service — and then discouraged us with this dreary picture of uncontrolled senses casting the hapless soul into the well of delusion.
The answer is that King Kulaśekhara is simply giving us a realistic picture of the alternatives faced by the living being in the clutches of the material energy. We need a sober view of Māyā's powers if we hope to extricate ourselves. As the Īśopaniṣad (11) states,
vidyāḿ cāvidyāḿ ca yas tad vedobhayaḿ saha
avidyayā mṛtyuḿ tīrtvā vidyayāmṛtam aśnute
"Only one who can learn the process of nescience and that of transcendental knowledge side by side can transcend the influence of repeated birth and death and enjoy the full blessings of immortality." The right choice for human beings is vidyā, or transcendental knowledge, with restricted sense enjoyment. We are taught about avidyā so that we will be fully aware of its dire consequences. Then we can strongly reject it and engage our mind and senses wholeheartedly in devotional service to Kṛṣṇa. As Lord Kṛṣṇa states in the Bhagavad-gītā (6.5), "A man must elevate himself by his own mind, not degrade himself. The mind is the friend of the conditioned soul, and his enemy as well."
How to use all of one's faculties in Kṛṣṇa's service was exemplified by Mahārāja Ambarīṣa, who engaged his mind in meditating on the Lord's lotus feet, his words in glorifying the Lord's transcendental qualities, his hands in cleaning the Lord's temple, his ears in hearing the Lord's pastimes, his eyes in seeing the Lord's transcendental forms, his body in touching the bodies of the Lord's devotees, his sense of smell in smelling the flowers offered to the Deity, his tongue in tasting the tulasī leaves offered to the Lord, his legs in going to the holy places where the Lord's temples are situated, his head in offering humble obeisances to the Lord, and his desires in fulfilling the Lord's desires.
If despite warnings we follow the wanton dictates of our senses, those senses will lead us into the ditch of deep illusion, just as an unreined horse might drag a chariot into a ditch. If this happens — if we fall deep into sinful life — then our only recourse is to call sincerely upon the Supreme Lord to extricate us. King Kulaśekhara's metaphor is not imaginary, for in India a person will sometimes accidentally fall into a dry, overgrown well known as an andha-kūpa, or "blind well." Once at the bottom of the well — if he survives the fall — he cannot possibly get out by himself.
Similarly, we cannot extricate ourselves from the deep well of material life unless we grab the rope of mercy lowered by Kṛṣṇa or His representative. As Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī prays in his Stava-mālā:
manasija-phaṇi-juṣṭe labdha-pāto 'smi duṣṭe
timira-gahana-rūpe hanta saḿsāra-kūpe
ajita nikhila-rakṣā-hetum uddhāra-dakṣāḿ
upanaya mama haste bhakti-rajjuḿ namas te
"Alas, I have fallen into the deep, dark, filthy well of saḿsāra, in which the viper of sex desire dwells. O invincible Lord, the rope of devotional service is the cause of universal protection and is expert at delivering the fallen souls. Please place that rope in my hand. I offer my respectful obeisances unto You."
In a similar mood, Śrīla Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī says the following in the fifth verse of his Manaḥ-śikṣā ("Instructions to the Mind"):
gale baddhvā hanye 'ham iti baka-bhid vartmapa-gaṇe
kuru tvaḿ phut-kārān avati sa yathā tvaḿ mana itaḥ
"The highwaymen of lust and his accomplices — greed, etc. — have waylaid me and bound my neck with the horrible ropes of sinful activities. O mind, please scream out for help, crying 'O Kṛṣṇa! O killer of Baka, I am on the verge of death!' If you do this, then Kṛṣṇa will certainly save me."
To be aware of danger is itself a blessing. If we see the disaster of death and rebirth approaching, we will naturally call out to Kṛṣṇa for help. But if we remain in ignorance we will foolishly continue trying to enjoy sense pleasure, not recognizing that sense gratification implicates us in repeated birth and death. However, once we begin sincerely calling on Kṛṣṇa, in full awareness that we are in mortal danger and that He is our only protector, we are already saved.
Copyright © The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, Inc.
His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness
Satsvarupa dasa Goswami
Gopiparanadhana dasa Adhikari