23rd March, 2015. Gurgaon
Q: Why a seemingly simple process of just hearing the glories of Lord Krishna is considered so high ? ?
Ans: Because Lord Narayana Himself declares the same to the four Kumaras in SB 3.16.6 that
Anyone in the entire world, even down to the caṇḍāla, who lives by cooking and eating the flesh of the dog, is immediately purified if he takes bath in hearing through the ear the glorification of My name, fame, etc. Now you have realized Me without doubt; therefore I will not hesitate to lop off My own arm if its conduct is found hostile to you.
In his purport Srila Prabhupada writes that `Real purification can take place in human society if its members take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. This is clearly stated in all Vedic literature. Anyone who takes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness in all sincerity, even if he is not very advanced in good behavior, is purified. A devotee can be recruited from any section of human society, although it is not expected that everyone in all segments of society is well behaved. As stated in this verse and in many places in Bhagavad-gītā, even if one is not born in a brāhmaṇa family, or even if he is born in a family of caṇḍālas, if he simply takes to Krishna consciousness he is immediately purified.
In Bhagavad-gītā, Ninth Chapter, verses 30-32, it is clearly stated that even though a man is not well behaved, if he simply takes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness he is understood to be a saintly person. As long as a person is in this material world he has two different relationships in his dealings with others — one relationship pertains to the body, and the other pertains to the spirit. As far as bodily affairs or social activities are concerned, although a person is purified on the spiritual platform, it is sometimes seen that he acts in terms of his bodily relationships. If a devotee born in the family of a caṇḍāla (the lowest caste) is sometimes found engaged in his habitual activities, he is not to be considered a caṇḍāla.In other words, a Vaiṣṇava should not be evaluated in terms of his body.
The śāstra states that no one should think the Deity in the temple to be made of wood or stone, and no one should think that a person coming from a lower-caste family who has taken to Kṛṣṇa consciousness is still of the same low caste. These attitudes are forbidden because anyone who takes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness is understood to be fully purified. He is at least engaged in the process of purification, and if he sticks to the principle of Kṛṣṇa consciousness he will very soon be fully purified. The conclusion is that if one takes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness with all seriousness, he is to be understood as already purified, and Kṛṣṇa is ready to give him protection by all means. The Lord assures herein that He is ready to give protection to His devotee even if there is need to cut off part of His own body’.
Q: How to deal if any devotee uses harsh words to us ? What are Krishna’s instructions for us on this matter ?
Reply: This is a another wonderful verse in this chapter where Lord Narayana is speaking to the four Kumaras that even if a vaishanava speaks harsh words to us we should pacify them with a smiling face!
On the other hand, they captivate My heart who are gladdened in heart and who, their lotus faces enlightened by nectarean smiles, respect the brāhmaṇas, even though the brāhmaṇas utter harsh words. They look upon the brāhmaṇas as My own Self and pacify them by praising them in loving words, even as a son would appease an angry father or as I am pacifying you. (SB 3.16.11)
Srila Prabhupada expands it further in his purport with two examples. It has been observed in many instances in the Vedic scriptures that when the brāhmaṇas or Vaiṣṇavas curse someone in an angry mood, the person who is cursed does not take it upon himself to treat the brāhmaṇas or Vaiṣṇavas in the same way. There are many examples of this.
1. The sons of Kuvera, when cursed by the great sage Nārada, did not seek revenge in the same harsh way, but submitted.
2. Here also, when Jaya and Vijaya were cursed by the four Kumāras, they did not become harsh towards them; rather, they submitted.
That should be the way of treating brāhmaṇas and Vaiṣṇavas. One may sometimes be faced with a grievous situation created by a brāhmaṇa, but instead of meeting him with a similar mood, one should try to pacify him with a smiling face and mild treatment. Brāhmaṇas and Vaiṣṇavas should be accepted as earthly representatives of Nārāyaṇa…. the brāhmaṇa should especially be treated as the representative of Nārāyaṇa and should be worshiped like Him. It is specifically said that to pacify the brāhmaṇas, one’s face should be lotuslike. A lotuslike face is exhibited when one is adorned with love and affection. In this respect, the example of the father’s being angry at the son and the son’s trying to pacify the father with smiling and sweet words is very appropriate.
Q: Why does Krishna worships His own devotees and show submissive behaviour towards them ?
Reply : To show us by example what should we our behaviour towards vaishanavas. The four Kumaras in their reply to Lord Narayana thus spoke
O Lord, You are the protector of the highest of the twice-born. If You do not protect them by offering worship and mild words, then certainly the auspicious path of worship will be rejected by people in general, who act on the strength and authority of Your Lordship. (SB (3.26.23)
Srila Prabhupada writes in his purport on the above verse :
In Bhagavad-gītā it is stated by the Lord Himself that the acts and character of great authorities are followed by people in general. Leaders of ideal character are therefore needed in society. Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, appeared in this material world just to show the example of perfect authority, and people have to follow His path. The Vedic injunction is that one cannot understand the Absolute Truth simply by mental speculation or logical argument. One has to follow the authorities. Mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ. Great authorities should be followed; otherwise, if we simply depend on the scriptures, we are sometimes misled by rascals, or else we cannot understand or follow the different spiritual injunctions. The best path is to follow the authorities.
One should worship the brāhmaṇas and Vaiṣṇavas by offering them all kinds of endowments and sweet words, and if one has no means to offer anything, he must at least use sweet words to pacify them. The Lord personally exhibited this behavior towards the Kumāras.
If this system is not introduced by the leaders, then human civilization will be lost. When there is no protection and special treatment for persons who are devotees of the Lord, who are highly intelligent in spiritual life, then the whole society is lost. The word naṅkṣyati indicates that such a civilization becomes spoiled and is annihilated… If the authorities or the leaders of society do not give special respect to the brāhmaṇas and Vaiṣṇavas and do not offer them not only sweet words but all facilities, then the path of progress will be lost to human civilization. The Lord personally wanted to teach this, and therefore He offered so much praise to the Kumāras.
Four Kumaras then glorify this particular submissive behavior of Supreme Lord in the next verse.
You are the proprietor of the three creations and the maintainer of the entire universe. Therefore Your potency is not reduced by Your submissive behavior. Rather, by submission You exhibit Your transcendental pastimes. (SB 3.16.24)
So my learning from this chapter ( SB 3.16 ) are that
- I should daily read Srimad Bhagavatam and hear the glories of Lord Krishna from senior devotees at every given opportunity.
- If any devotee speaks harsh words then I should try to remain calm and appease him as I would appease my own father.
I should always try to be submissive towards all devotees and the temple management, even if I may not agree or understand some decisions. I should try to follow these principles even if they do not come naturally to me for the simple reason that such behavior pleases Lord Krishna.
All glories to Srimad Bhagavatam.
All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.