They Are Not Afraid Of Any Condition Of Life
by Srila Bhakti Raksaka Sridhara Maharaja
Srila Sridhar Maharaj: The day before Lord Ramacandra was to be installed on the throne, all in the kingdom were rejoicing, but Ramacandra Himself was in a serious frame of mind. His mood was not very light, not very pleasing. He was thinking that the next day, He is going to receive the great responsibility of discharging His duty to the kingdom:
“A great burden is coming on My shoulders, on My head. I shall have the responsibility of looking after so many subjects…” This was His sober mood. Then when He heard that instead of being enthroned, He is to go to the forest, that His stepmother has forced His father to enthrone Bharata, her son, and to banish Ramacandra to the forest, Ramacandra’s temperament remained the same: He is going to discharge a duty. To get the throne, to be enthroned, is duty; and to obey His father’s will by going to the forest, that is also duty. By accepting banishment to the forest, He is discharging a duty, and His temperament does not change. His balance of mind, His equilibrium, is not disturbed. Whether enthronment or banishment, His temperament is the same: He is going to discharge the duty that is coming to Him. He is not slave to any event, be it good or bad; to carry out His duty, He is perfectly equipoised. Even if He must have to go to hell, He is not in any way disturbed. And such a quality is also manifest in the exclusive devotees of the Lord:
na kutascana vibhyati
“Devotees solely engaged in the devotional service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana, never fear any condition of life. For them the heavenly planets, liberation, and the hellish planets are all the same, for such devotees are interested only in the service of the Lord.”
This verse is in connection with the following story related in the Srimad Bhagavatam. Once Lord Siva was sitting with his wife Parvati on his lap; at his desire she is there, and he is resting. Just then his friend and previous classmate Citraketu happened by, and, seeing this, he made some remark:
“O Sankara, what are you doing? Of course, I don’t question your dignity; but, to the public, it is not a good lesson, not a good example. You should consider this.”
Parvati was enraged: “You don’t know the greatness of Mahadev? You are making some remark about him, you are ridiculing his practice? Your views are not pure, so you must go to take a demonic birth.”
But Citraketu only said, “Yes, I accept your curse.” And he went away.
Then Mahadev his mood a little excited, angry, spoke to Parvati,“Do you know them: the devotees of Narayana? Do you know who they are?
Citraketu has not done anything wrong. He is my friend; and what I am doing, publicly it should not be done, and that is why his remark is not very insulting to me. He is my friend, and in a friendly way he gave such a slight remark. And you could not tolerate it, you cast a curse upon him. But what was his attitude? He could have cast a similar curse to you, he has that power, but he did not do that; he only accepted your curse, and went away. So, who are those devotees? Do you know them?”
Then Lord Siva instructed Parvati with this sloka:
narayana-parah sarve, na kutascana vibhyati,
svargapavarga-narakesu, api tulyartha-darsinau
“There is a class of person, the devotee of Narayana, they do not care for anything of this world, good or bad; both heaven and hell are equal to them. They are not afraid of any condition of life, they are prepared for any eventuality, whether ‘svarga’, ‘apavarga’, ‘naraka’, heaven, salvation or hell, all are equal to them.”
If such a devotee has to go to hell, the other sufferers there will be benefited, but no hellish thing will be able to touch him; he is always surrounded by the Lord’s protection. Just as, when a man in good health goes to serve an infectious patient, the infection cannot enter into him, but if the helping man’s own health is weak, he will fall prey to that bacillus, that infection. Similarly, the devotees of Narayana are of such quality, such a type, that wherever they are, whatever the unfavourable circumstances they are in, they are guarded, protected by the bhakti-rasa, their ‘under-garment’ is of the purest material, nothing can pierce and harm them.
So, tulyartha-darsinau, everything is equal in their eyes. Their vision is such. They are wandering in the world of Krsna; wherever they go is Krsna’s will. And whatever comes to them, they see: “Oh, it is Krsna’s will. I am serving His purpose…” They are living only with this idea: that they are serving His purpose. They are not suffering from any local interest, but always they are in such consciousness, broadest consciousness; they remain always merged in the universal interest.
Once, after the Kuruksetra war was finished, one boy rsi named Uttanka, met Krsna and told Him: “Krsna, I shall curse you.”
“Because You are the cause of all the misery that is the outcome of that great, vast battle of Kuruksetra, so many widows, so many orphans, so many crippled persons, they are all crying, out of pain and misery, and You are at the bottom of it all!”
Then Krsna said, “Oh, you rsi-kumar, boy rsi, whatever you have accumulated by your power, your penance, that will be finished if you will come to engage it, to utilise it against Me. Nothing, no effect, will come to Me; it will be unable to have any effect on Me. I am in nirguna. My position is such: nirguna, without any mundane quality, material quality, and gunatita, transcending the material qualities. There is sattva-rajah-tamah, the three gunas, materially binding qualities of goodness, passion, and ignorance. But above these three, there is the universal angle of vision; and there, I am. My position is there. That plane is ahaituki-apratihata; there is existing the causeless and irresistable flow of the most fundamental world.
Just as in the case of electricity which has its vibration, its flow, so, I am existing in a plane of dynamic movement; and that movement is irresistable, and it is causeless it has no object but is an automatic, wholesome movement of infinite character. I am there; all My activity is from that plane, so whatever waves from any other plane will come to clash with it, they will be finished, but the plane in which I am moving will continue forever. It is irresistable and it is eternal: it has no beginning and no end, it is a harmonious flow. I am there; and nothing can affect My position. Whatever you, rsi-kumar, have acquired, all of your relative power that will be finished if you throw it against the irresistable flow wherein I am moving.” This was Krsna’s reply.
So, the divine plane is nirguna, and in relation to that, not any external things but the internal position should be judged. The internal situation, that is all-important.
Such criterion may be applied in the case of grhasta devotees also; their inner purity we may consider from this standpoint. The sannyasins, of course, should not cast any glance over the ladies; to do so they will consider a very filthy thing. But there are grhasta devotees who are producing so many children, still they may be cent-per-cent pure no enjoying mood, no spirit of exploitation, is in them. And it is not only that the enjoying mood may be absent, but they have a serving mood: the grhasta is joined in union and the child comes, but in that there is a fully serving mood, there is no mood of enjoyment. It may be so.
In a word: exploitation is bad, serving is good. The outer colour of the thing does not matter much if any activity is approached through the spirit of service, if it is the vibration from that causeless and irresistible, most fundamental plane which is actuating any movement, any external activity, whatever it may be, then that activity is cent-per-cent pure. So thieving, lying everything may be pure, if the vibration is coming from the most fundamental plane. If the motive power has come, has pushed from that plane, it is alright. That is the nirguna-lila. There is not only existing selflessness,but the fullest self-surrendering to the Centre, and all movement is actuated by that power, it is only an effect of that power. The cent-per-cent surrendered servitors are fully established in lila, and that is nirguna.
So, it is not by the form, but by the spirit, the real position, that things should be judged. And, whatever we think we are achieving, or we are understanding, by our local or provincial experience, if we are accepting that local interest as our standard, that has got no value. That is to say: it has value, but local value, temporary value, because it is partial. Its locality is partial; it is part of space, and also part of time, and that is all of limited value. That kind of standard, local standard, is to be applied to the ordinary persons, but not to the nirguna servitors. The activity, the movement, of such servitors may appear to be similar, it may apparently show so many similar things, undesirable things, even stealing, lying, fighting, but because their motivation is from the nirguna plane, it is not so. It’s nature is of a different order.
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