|Chapter 26: Enchantment by Kṛṣṇa's Glories|
Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Teachings of Queen Kuntī
A summary of the Supreme Lord, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, is made herein by Śrīmatī Kuntīdevī. The almighty Lord has His eternal, transcendental abode, where He is engaged in keeping surabhi cows. He is served by hundreds and thousands of goddesses of fortune. He descends on the material world to reclaim His devotees and to annihilate the disturbing elements in groups of political parties and kings who are supposed to be in charge of administration work. He creates, maintains, and annihilates by His unlimited energies, and still He is always full with prowess and does not deteriorate in potency. The cows, the brāhmaṇas, and the devotees of the Lord are all objects of His special attention because they are very important factors for the general welfare of living beings.
Kuntī addresses Lord Kṛṣṇa as kṛṣṇa-sakha because she knows that although Arjuna, who is also known as Kṛṣṇa, is her son and therefore subordinate to her, Lord Kṛṣṇa is more intimately related with Arjuna than with her. Kṛṣṇā is also a name of Draupadī, and so the word kṛṣṇa-sakha also indicates Lord Kṛṣṇa's relationship with Draupadī, whom He saved from being insulted when Duryodhana and Karṇa attempted to strip her naked. Kuntī also addresses Lord Kṛṣṇa as vṛṣṇi-ṛṣabha, the child of the dynasty of Vṛṣṇi. It was because Kṛṣṇa appeared in the Vṛṣṇi dynasty that this dynasty became famous, just as Malaysia and the Malaya Hills became famous because of the sandalwood that grows there.
Kuntīdevī also addresses Lord Kṛṣṇa as the destroyer of the political parties or royal dynasties that disturb the earth. In every monarchy, the king is honored very gorgeously. Why? Since he is a human being and the other citizens are also human beings, why is the king so honored? The answer is that the king, like the spiritual master, is meant to be the representative of God. In the Vedic literature it is said, ācāryaḿ māḿ vijānīyān nāvamanyeta karhicit (Bhāg. 11.17.27): the spiritual master should not be regarded as an ordinary human being. Similarly, a king or president is also not treated like an ordinary human being.
In the Sanskrit language the king is also called naradeva, which means "God in human form." His duty is like that of Kṛṣṇa. As God is the supreme living being in the universe and is the maintainer of all other living beings, the king is the supreme citizen in the state and is responsible for the welfare of all others.
Just as we are all living beings, Kṛṣṇa, God, is also a living being. Kṛṣṇa is not impersonal. Because we are all individual persons but our knowledge and opulence are limited, the impersonalists cannot adjust to the idea that the Supreme, the original, unlimited cause of everything, can also be a person. Because we are limited and God is unlimited, the Māyāvādīs, or impersonalists, with their poor fund of knowledge, think that God must be impersonal. Making a material comparison, they say that just as the sky, which we think of as unlimited, is impersonal, if God is unlimited He must also be impersonal.
But that is not the Vedic instruction. The Vedas instruct that God is a person. Kṛṣṇa is a person, and we are also persons, but the difference is that He is to be worshiped whereas we are to be worshipers. The king or president is a person, and the citizens are also persons, but the difference is that the president or king is an exalted person who should be offered all respect.
Now, why should so many persons worship one person? Because that one person provides for the others. Eko bahūnāḿ yo vidadhāti kāmān. God is one, and we are many, but He is worshiped because He provides for everyone. It is God who provides food and all the other necessities of life. We need water, and God has nicely arranged for oceans of water, with salt mixed in to preserve it all nicely. Then, because we need drinking water, by God's arrangement the sunshine evaporates the water from the ocean, takes it high in the sky, and then distributes clear, distilled water. Just see how God is providing everything that everyone needs.
Even in ordinary life the state has a heating department, lighting department, plumbing department, and so on. Why? Because these are amenities we require. But these arrangements are subordinate; the first arrangement is that of God. It is God who originally supplies heat, light, and water. It is God who supplies the rainwater that fills our wells and reservoirs. Therefore the original supplier is God.
God is an intelligent person who knows that we need heat, light, water, and so on. Without water we cannot produce food. Even those who eat animals cannot do so without God's arrangement, for the animal also must be provided with grass before one can take it to the slaughterhouse. Thus it is God who is supplying food, but still we are creating rebellion against Him. The word dhruk means "rebellious." Those rascals who are going against the law of God are rebellious.
The king's duty is to act as the representative of Kṛṣṇa, or God. Otherwise what right does he have to take so much honor from the citizens? Monarchy was formerly present in every country, but because the kings rebelled against God and violated His laws, because they tried to usurp the power of God and did not act as His representatives, the monarchies of the world have nearly all disappeared. The kings thought that their kingdoms were their personal property. "I have so much property, such a big kingdom," they thought. "I am God. I am the lord of all I survey." But that is not actually the fact. That fact is that everything belongs to God (īśāvāsyam idaḿ sarvam). Therefore the representative of God must be very obedient to God, and then his position will be legitimate.
Greedy, self-interested kings are like false spiritual masters who proclaim that they themselves are God. Because such false masters are rebellious, they have no position. A spiritual master is supposed to act not as God but as the most confidential servant of God by spreading God consciousness, Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura says, sākṣād-dharitvena samasta-śāstrair uktaḥ: ** all the śāstras, the Vedic literatures, state that the spiritual master is to be honored as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus the idea that the spiritual master is as good as God is not bogus. It is stated in the śāstras, and therefore those who are advanced in spiritual life accept this spiritual injunction (uktas tathā bhāvyata eva sadbhiḥ **). Then is the spiritual master as good as God? Kintu prabhor yaḥ priya eva tasya: the spiritual master is not God, but is the confidential representative of God. The distinction is that between sevya-bhagavān (he who is worshiped) and sevaka-bhagavān (he who is the worshiper). The spiritual master is God, and Kṛṣṇa is God, but Kṛṣṇa is the worshipable God whereas the spiritual master is the worshiper God.
The Māyāvādīs cannot understand this. They think, "Because the spiritual master has to be accepted as God and because I have become a spiritual master, I have become God." This is rebellious. Those who are given a position by God but who want to usurp His power, which they actually cannot do, are rebellious fools and rascals who require punishment. Therefore Kuntīdevī says, a vani-dhrug-rājanya-vaḿśa-dahana: "You descend to kill all these rascals who rebelliously claim Your position." When various kings or landholders are subordinate to an emperor, they sometimes rebel and refuse to pay taxes. Similarly, there are rebellious persons who deny the supremacy of God and declare themselves God, and Kṛṣṇa's business is to kill them.
The word anapavarga indicates that Kṛṣṇa's prowess is without deterioration. This word is the opposite of the word pavarga, which refers to the path of material tribulation. According to Sanskrit linguistics, the word pa-varga also refers to the Sanskrit letters pa, pha, ba, bha, and ma. Thus when the word pavarga is used to refer to the path of material tribulation, its meaning is understood through words beginning with these five letters.
The letter pa is for pariśrama, which means "labor." In this material world, one must work very hard to maintain oneself. In Bhagavad-gītā (3.8) it is said, śarīra-yātrāpi ca te na prasiddhyed akarmaṇaḥ: "one cannot even maintain one's own body without work." Kṛṣṇa never advised Arjuna, "I am your friend, and I shall do everything. You just sit down and smoke gañjā." Kṛṣṇa was doing everything, but still He told Arjuna, "You must fight." Nor did Arjuna say to Kṛṣṇa, "You are my great friend. Better for You to fight and let me sit down and smoke gañjā." No, that is not Kṛṣṇa consciousness. A God conscious person does not say, "God, You please do everything for me and let me smoke gañjā." Rather, a God conscious person must work for God. But even if one does not work for the sake of God, one must work, for without work one cannot even maintain one's body. This material world, therefore, is meant for pariśrama, hard labor.
Even a lion, although king of the beasts, must still look for its own prey in the jungle. It is said, na hi suptasya siḿhasya praviśanti mukhe mṛgāḥ. A lion cannot think, "Since I am king of the forest, let me sleep, and all the animals will come into my mouth." That is not possible. "No, sir. Although you are a lion, you must go search for your food." Thus even the lion, although so powerful, must endeavor with great difficulty to find another animal to eat, and similarly everyone in this material world must work with great difficulty to continue his life.
Thus pa indicates pariśrama, labor, and pha is for phenila, which means "foam." While working very hard a horse foams at the mouth, and similarly human beings must also work hard in this way. Such hard labor, however, is vyartha, futile, and this is what is indicated by the letter ba. And bha indicates bhaya, fear. Despite working so hard, one is always somewhat fearful that things will not be done as he desires. The nature of the body is that it involves eating, sleeping, mating, and fearing (āhāra-nidrā-bhaya-maithunaḿ ca). Although one may eat very nicely, one must consider whether one is overeating, so that he will not fall sick. Thus even eating involves fear. A bird, while eating, looks this way and that way, fearful that some enemy may be coming. And for all living entities, everything finally ends in death, mṛtyu, and this is what is indicated by the letter ma.
Thus pavarga and its component letters pa, pha, ba, bha, and ma indicate hard labor (pariśrama), foam at the mouth (phenila), frustration (vyartha), fear (bhaya), and death (mṛtyu). This is called pavarga, the path of material tribulation. Apavarga, however, indicates just the opposite — the spiritual world, where there is no labor, no foam, no frustration, no fear, and no death. Thus Kṛṣṇa is known as anapavarga-vīrya, for He shows the path to the spiritual world.
Why should one suffer from these five kinds of tribulation? Because one has a material body. As soon as one accepts a material body — whether it is that of a president or a common man, a demigod or a human being, an insect or a Brahmā — one must go through these tribulations. This is called material existence. Kṛṣṇa comes, therefore, to show one the path to apavarga, freedom from these tribulations, and when Kṛṣṇa shows this path, we should accept it. Kṛṣṇa says very clearly, "Surrender unto Me. I shall give you apavarga." Ahaḿ tvāḿ sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi: "I shall give you protection." And Kṛṣṇa has the power with which to fulfill this guarantee.
Kuntīdevī addresses Kṛṣṇa as Govinda because He is the giver of pleasure both to the cows and to the senses. Govindam ādi-puruṣaḿ tam ahaḿ bhajāmi **. Govinda, Kṛṣṇa, is the ādi-puruṣa, the original person. Aham ādir hi devānām (Bg. 10.2): He is the origin even of demigods like Brahmā, Viṣṇu, and Śiva. People should not think that Brahmā, Viṣṇu, and Śiva are the origin of everything. No. Kṛṣṇa says, aham ādir hi devānām: "I am the origin even of these demigods." Therefore we repeatedly emphasize that we worship no one but the original person (govindam ādi-puruṣaḿ tam ahaḿ bhajāmi **).
When Kuntī prays, go-dvija-surārti-harāvatāra, she indicates that Govinda, Kṛṣṇa, descends to this world especially to protect the cows, the brāhmaṇas, and the devotees. The demoniac in this world are the greatest enemies of the cows, for they maintain hundreds and thousands of slaughterhouses. Although the innocent cows give milk, the most important food, and although even after death the cows give their skin for shoes, people are such rascals that they kill the cows, but still they want to be happy in this world. How sinful they are.
Why is cow protection so much advocated? Because the cow is the most important animal. There is no injunction that one should not eat the flesh of tigers or other such animals. In the Vedic culture those who are meat-eaters are recommended to eat the flesh of goats, dogs, hogs, or other lower animals, but never the flesh of cows, the most important animals. While living, the cows give important service by giving milk, and even after death they give service by making available their skin, hooves, and horns, which may be used in many ways. Nonetheless, the present human society is so ungrateful that they needlessly kill these innocent cows. Therefore Kṛṣṇa comes to punish them.
Kṛṣṇa is worshiped with this prayer:
govindāya namo namaḥ
"My Lord, You are the well-wisher of the cows and the brāhmaṇas, and You are the well-wisher of the entire human society and world." For perfect human society there must be protection of go-dvija — the cows and the brāhmaṇas. The word dvija refers to the brāhmaṇa, or one who knows Brahman (God). When the demoniac give too much trouble to the brāhmaṇas and the cows, Kṛṣṇa descends to reestablish religious principles. As the Lord says in Bhagavad-gītā (4.7):
yadā yadā hi dharmasya
glānir bhavati bhārata
tadātmānaḿ sṛjāmy aham
"Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion — at that time I descend Myself." In the present age, Kali-yuga, people are very much sinful and are consequently suffering greatly. Therefore Kṛṣṇa has incarnated in the form of His name, as found in the mahā-mantra: Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare.
Queen Kuntī prayed to the Lord just to enunciate a fragment of His glories. The Lord, upon hearing her prayers, which were composed in choice words for His glorification, responded by smiling, and His smile was as enchanting as His mystic power. The conditioned souls, who are engaged in trying to lord it over the material world, are also enchanted by the Lord's mystic powers, but His devotees are enchanted in a different way by the glories of the Lord. Thus all the devotees worship the Lord by chosen words. No amount of chosen words are sufficient to enumerate the Lord's glory, yet He is satisfied by such prayers, just as a father is satisfied even by the broken linguistic attempts of a growing child. Thus the Lord smiled and accepted the prayers of Queen Kuntī.
Copyright © The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, Inc.
His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness