Date: March 4th, 2011
Topic: Dhruva Maharaja Goes back to Godhead
Speaker: HH Prahladananda Swami
anasthitam te pitrbhir anyair apy anga karhicit atistha jagatam vandyam tad visnoh paramam padam
TRANSLATION: Dear King Dhruva, neither your forefathers nor anyone else before you ever achieved such a transcendental planet. The planet known as Visnuloka, where Lord Visnu personally resides, is the highest of all. It is worshipable by the inhabitants of all other planets within the universe. Please come with us and live there eternally.
PURPORT: When Dhruva Maharaja went to perform austerities, he was very determined to achieve a post never dreamed of by his forefathers. His father was Uttanapada, his grandfather was Manu, and his great-grandfather was Lord Brahma. So Dhruva wanted a kingdom even greater than Lord Brahma could achieve, and he requested Narada Muni to give him facility for achieving it. The associates of Lord Visnu reminded him that not only his forefathers but everyone else before him was unable to attain Visnuloka, the planet where Lord Visnu resides.
This is because everyone within this material world is either a karmi, a jnani or a yogi, but there are hardly any pure devotees. The transcendental planet known as Visnuloka is especially meant for devotees, not for karmis, jnanis or yogis. Great rsis or demigods can hardly approach Brahmaloka, and as stated in Bhagavad-gita, Brahmaloka is not a permanent residence. Lord Brahma’s duration of life is so long that it is difficult to estimate even the duration of one day in his life, and yet Lord Brahma also dies, as do the residents of his planet. Bhagavad-gita (8.16) says, abrahma-bhuvanal lokah punar avartino ‘rjuna: except for those who go to Visnuloka, everyone is subjected to the four principles of material life, namely birth, death, old age and disease.
The Lord says, yad gatva na nivartante tad dhama paramam mama: “The planet from which, once going, no one returns, is My supreme abode.” (Bg. 15.6) Dhruva Maharaja was reminded, “You are going in our company to that planet from which no one returns to this material world.” Material scientists are attempting to go to the moon and other planets, but they cannot imagine going to the topmost planet, Brahmaloka, for it is beyond their imagination. By material calculation, traveling at the speed of light it would take forty thousand light-years to reach the topmost planet. By mechanical processes we are unable to reach the topmost planet of this universe, but the process called bhakti-yoga, as executed by Maharaja Dhruva, can give one the facility not only to reach other planets within this universe, but also to reach beyond this universe to the Visnuloka planets. We have outlined this in our small booklet Easy Journey to Other Planets. [End of Srila Prabhupada’s purport to SB 4.12.26]
etad vimana-pravaram uttamasloka-maulina upasthapitam ayusmann adhirodhum tvam arhasi
TRANSLATION: O immortal one, this unique airplane has been sent by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is worshiped by selected prayers and who is the chief of all living entities. You are quite worthy to board such a plane.
PURPORT: According to astronomical calculation, along with the polestar there is another star, which is called Sisumara, where Lord Visnu, who is in charge of the maintenance of this material world, resides. Sisumara or Dhruvaloka can never be reached by anyone but the Vaisnavas, as will be described by the following slokas. The associates of Lord Visnu brought the special airplane for Dhruva Maharaja and then informed him that Lord Visnu had especially sent this airplane.
The Vaikuntha airplane does not move by mechanical arrangement. There are three processes for moving in outer space. One of the processes is known to the modern scientist. It is called ka-pota-vayu. Ka means “outer space,” and pota means “ship.” There is a second process also called kapota-vayu. Kapota means “pigeon.” One can train pigeons to carry one into outer space. The third process is very subtle. It is called akasa-patana. This akasa-patana system is also material.
Just as the mind can fly anywhere one likes without mechanical arrangement, so the akasa-patana airplane can fly at the speed of mind. Beyond this akasa-patana system is the Vaikuntha process, which is completely spiritual. The airplane sent by Lord Visnu to carry Dhruva Maharaja to Sisumara was a completely spiritual, transcendental airplane. Material scientists can neither see such vehicles nor imagine how they fly in the air. The material scientist has no information about the spiritual sky, although it is mentioned in the Bhagavad-gita (paras tasmat tu bhavo ‘nyah [Bg. 8.20]). [End of Srila Prabhupada’s purport to SB 4.12.27]
HH Prahladananda Swami: We are in the forth canto right now and already it is way beyond my realization, practically speaking. Srila Prabhupada says, “Beyond even my imagination.” One time I was in Dallas, Texas and Srila Prabhupada came there. I had the good fortune of carrying the umbrella over his head while he was walking. Lord Krishna’s arrangement.
Then Srila Prabhupada gave a press interview. The reporters were asking Srila Prabhupada, “How did you come?” He explained there are different ways of travelling. Just like it is mentioned in this verse. He mentioned by travelling by airplane and travelling by pigeon. He said that you take a number of pigeons and you harness them together then they will enable you to fly into space. Then the reporters asked Srila Prabhupada, “So how did you come?” Srila Prabhupada said, “I came by airplane just to be one with you.”
In these two verses there are many things that are inconceivable to us and if we don’t recognize that they are inconceivable to us we won’t really examine them very carefully. In the Bhagavatam there are so many things that are beyond our conception, beyond our experience, but the Bhagavatam is not meant to bewilder us into thinking or dividing our faith into that which we can experience and that which seems we may never be able to experience in this body or we may be able to experience at some future time by the mercy of guru and Krishna. But one of the amazing things about Srila Prabhupada’s purports is that he tries to focus and emphasize what is actually essential. What is actually essential is that we understand ultimately as Krishna says,
yo mam evam asammudho, janati purusottamam sa sarva-vid bhajati mam, sarva-bhavena bharata [Bg 15.19]
“Anyone who knows Me as the Supreme Personality of Godhead is said to be the knower of everything and therefore engages himself in full devotional service.
iti guhyatamam sastram, idam uktam mayanagha etad buddhva buddhiman syat, krta-krtyas ca bharata [Bg 15.20]
This is the most confidential part of all the Vedic scriptures. Whoever knows this will become wise and his endeavors will know all perfection.
So whether there are vimanas flying in outer space, whether there are Vaikuntha airplanes transporting self realized souls back to Vaikuntha, these are not the most important things for us right now. What is important is that we understand theoretically and practically how to chant Hare Krishna, how to perform devotional service in such a way that we actually become conscious of Krishna.
Therefore harinam sankirtana, worshipping the deities, serving the devotees, hearing Srimad-Bhagavatam, Bhagavad-gita, living in a holy place or creating a holy place by our preaching, by our devotional service, these five very powerful activities are what’s recommended. And if we learn how to perform them in the proper mood and attitude then the result is that we will become conscious of Krishna.
So although these pastimes of Dhruva Maharaja is certainly very enlivening to hear, the essential part of it is his determination, at least the essential part of it for us is his great determination to perform the process of devotional service given to him by his spiritual master Srila Narada Muni. And because he executed the process give to him by his spiritual master with so much determination Lord Visnu appeared within his heart and ultimately appeared outside and blessed him with full knowledge and cognizance of Him and pure devotional service.
Our founder acarya His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada has also given us instructions. He has also given us a systematic process to realize those instructions. Part of that is how we will come to accept that not only Brahmaloka or in Dhruvaloka, in Jambudvip or wherever that there is a Krishna and Krishna is the owner of everything. If we somehow or another can meditate on that and as a result of that do something practical in Krishna’s service especially by trying to as Srila Prabhupada once wrote to me. He said in Buffalo while New York in just two weeks I have heard that they have distributed 3000 ‘Back To Godheads’ In Buffalo you are also distributing ‘Back to Godheads’ very nicely. So please continue in this way and you success in life is assured. As Krishna sees that if you are trying to help Lord Krishna’s other children back to the spiritual kingdom then He will bestow all His blessings upon you. Krishna is never ungrateful of our efforts to serve Him rest assured.
In other words there are so many conditioned souls starting with myself and every one of them has an eternal relation with Krishna. Now that relationship has been forgotten by the soul because the soul is in the illusion and in the misconception that he is the body. And that conception is born out of the desire to control material nature and try to enjoy it, forgetting that actually Krishna is controlling everything. All we can do is desire and if we desire in the right way we can go back to the spiritual world. We can begin the journey and eventually make progress step by step to the spiritual world.
If we are in the wrong association we will become caught up with Kali yuga and step by step we will be degraded to the lower species of life, all simply due to what we are desiring. In the association of devotees simply by hearing that there is a Krishna and hearing that if we chant His holy name, call out to Him with some devotion hoping that we can enter into the atmosphere of spiritual love and devotion, calling out to Srimati Radharani to engage us in Krishna’s service and simultaneously with that we take seriously Lord Krishna’s service in this age, to perform our saddhana, calling out to Srimati Radharani and Krishna and at the same time meditating how to use our energies beginning with our body, our minds, our words or whatever we have in our possession in the service of Krishna. In the service of meditating carefully, “Now I am in the situation. What can I do to serve Krishna? What can I do to become an instrument for Krishna that will help this jiva soul in front of me become a better servant of Krishna, awakening his relation with Krishna?
As one devotee Govinda dasi was saying Prabhupada called her over and pointed out a little slug. Everyone know what a slug is? It is a tiny insect that is very slow moving. Prabhupada pointed it out and said, “Look at this poor slug. Chant to him. Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Of course this I am not recommending or saying that Prabhupada’s mission was to chant to slugs but Prabhupada was demonstration what to speak of the slugs, we have so much opportunities twenty four hours a day practically speaking of meditating on this idea that before me is not my husband, is not my wife, is not my children, is not my god brother, god sister or god nephew. This is the eternal servant of Krishna. Of course these things we cannot forget. How to serve Krishna has to be done appropriately but we should not forget when we see the difference, when we discriminate between men and women, black, white, Russian, American or whatever.
Whatever our discrimination may be if we forget that actually these designations are simply external, temporary not completely unimportant but simply temporary and the real essence is the soul within the body and with the soul is the Supersoul directing him to understand what the Supersoul wants us to do within our present capacity, to serve the soul before us or souls before us to help them revive their relationship with Krishna, to help them awaken their consciousness of Krishna. It is not that by our hearing philosophy that we are not this body then suddenly we become not the body and the rest of the day we are the body. Or as explained about the Supersoul how He sanctions our desire just like when we understand the smell of a flower by being near it and then Krishna understanding what our desires are and what we deserve manifesting the entire universe to fulfill the desires according to the merits of the individual living entities.
How wonderfully amazing the Supersoul is, the expansion of Krishna, how He can perfectly create a universe and maintain it moment to moment with perfect justice, perfect execution of plan either directly give the living entities an opportunity to become more conscious of Krishna or help them remain forgetful of Krishna suffer in separation from Krishna. The intelligent realize their suffering is due to their separation from Krishna.
Here in these verses Prabhupada is explaining very important things. The whole universe is temporary. Not only is the universe temporary but every moment in our existence here is changing. Someone may give a wonderful class. Someone may give a horrible class. We may chant our rounds. We may not chant our rounds but the fact is moment to moment to moment to moment our lives are changing and as it is changing material energy we have to catch hold of the lotus feet of the guru who comes in parampara that can actually give us the intelligence, the instructions by which we contact the Supersoul and remember very simple things, remember that Krishna is the proprietor of everything, that everything here is meant for Krishna’s pleasure and that pleasure is the seed that other living entities are coming back to the spiritual world.
There may be progress. There may be some entities on a very elevated platform such as the devotees in our society. Some may endeavor to chant their rounds better, to rise early in the morning, serve the devotees with more sensitivity, more cognizance of their actual needs both spiritual and material. And others may be completely in the mode of ignorance all the way down to that little slug and to that we may just have to chant Hare Krishna and give them a Tulasi leaf or a little bit of prasadam to eat. In any case with that meditation then we become nimitta-matram bhava savya-sacin [Bg
After showing the whole universe, all the horrors of the universal form and not all the horrors of the universal form but most of them Arjuna was amazed. “What is this universe? You appear to be such a nice friend of mine and then suddenly Your mood has changed. Now You are displaying this universal form but it is a side of You I have never even dreamed could be. So what is Your mission/ Why have You come here? You are manifesting from Your mouth so much fire is coming. Your eyes are glowing in anger or rage, Your scents, so many different types of perfume, unlimited forms. This universe is everywhere. What is this all about?” Then Krishna says,
sri-bhagavan uvaca kalo ‘smi loka-ksaya-krt pravrddho, lokan samahartum iha pravrttah rte ‘pi tvam na bhavisyanti sarve, ye ‘vasthitah pratyanikesu yodhah [Bg
“Time I am, the great destroyer of the worlds, and I have come here to engage everyone.” That means ourselves also. “Except for you, the five Pandavas everyone here is going to be slain.” Not very good news! So it wasn’t some five thousand years ago some unfortunate soldiers on the battlefield of Kuruksetra were going to be killed but we are all devotees in Mayapur therefore our bodies are going to last forever. No. We have some bad news for you and we have some good news. The bad news is we are all going to die and the good news is that although the body is going to die the soul is going to live forever. And the souls can live forever in Krishna consciousness. And what is the formula?
tasmat tvam uttistha yaso labhasva, jitva satrun bhunksva rajyam samrddham mayaivaite nihatah purvam eva, nimitta-matram bhava savya-sacin [Bg 11.33]
“Just get up, (not right now,) but just get up and prepare to fight.” You have to wait to find out what kind of fight. “Just get up and fight and as you conquer your enemies enjoy a flourishing kingdom. They have been put to death by My arrangement and you are savya-sacin, can be an instrument in the fight.” Or in Srila Prabhupada’s words as he was mebntioning when he was on the Jaladutta. “I am coming to this western world. People are very much covered by the modes of ignorance and passion. They have created a world where everyone is imagining they are going to be happy in this world forever but actually they are just suffering. So please make my words so potent that they can enter the hearts of these conditioned souls and enlighten them and enliven them in the realm of Krishna consciousness. Actually who am I? I am simply a humble beggar. I really have no devotion. I really have no qualification to do this. I am simply coming as a servant of my spiritual master. So please make me a puppet in your hands. Let me dance, let me dance, let me dance.”
So we have to watch our progress, watch our perception. Am I am instrument right now in the hands of Srila Prabhupada and his representatives? Am I actually dancing as his instrument? Are my words actually penetrating even my own heart and enlivening and enlightening me in devotional service. Am I actually working to deliver Krishna’s other children back to the spiritual kingdom. And by doing so am I realizing that I am actually Krishna’s servant and nothing else other than that? Are my false perceptions of my own identity, my false conceptions to other identities, are they going away or am I re-enforcing my false ego? Am I feeling within my heart some appreciation for the devotees? Am I feeling some devotion towards Krishna and His pure devotees? Am I appreciating my position as a servant of the servant of the servant of Krishna? Am I seeing the innocent and realizing that I must somehow or the other help them as Krishna’s representative, make some progress? Am I avoiding those situations and those personalities in whose association I forget Krishna and become entangled and bewildered by my false ego and become influenced by other conceptions other than pure devotional service?
This takes intelligence. This is what we have to keep in mind not only for a few moments during the day but,
cetasa sarva-karmani, mayi sannyasya mat-parah buddhi-yogam upasritya, mac-cittah satatam bhava [Bg 18.57]
“In all activities depend upon Me.” Lord Krishna said. “Work always under my protection. In such devotional service try to be fully conscious of Me.” So far I can’t claim that throughout the day I am twenty four hours conscious of Krishna. If I could become conscious of Krishna even for a small amount during the day then I consider that day to be so much successful.
It is not that maya is just some ordinary personality. She is as powerful as Krishna but by the mercy of Srila Prabhupada and his representatives we can understand our helpless position, how much we have to depend upon guru and Krishna, how much we have to depend upon the instructions coming from Krishna in disciplic succession then from that moment our lives become better, becomes closer to Krishna.
If somehow or the other we become a little bewildered into thinking that, “Now I am safe, now I have made a little advancement I can relax, now is the time to have a little fun.” How much difficulty we can cause in our own life and in the lives of others! Maya is not some little insignificant personality. She is empowered.
daivi hy esa guna-mayi, mama maya duratyaya mam eva ye prapadyante, mayam etam taranti te
“This divine energy of mine is very difficult to overcome but those who take shelter of Me can easily cross beyond it.” [Bg 7.14]
During the day if we do not take shelter of Lord Krishna sufficiently and if there is some mistake certainly we should lament but after properly lamenting then we have to realize that this was an opportunity to humble us so we can realize how helpless we are without Krishna, how much we have to read these books, assimilate Srila Prabhupada’s philosophy, the philosophy coming from Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu that Srila Prabhupada has given us, how much we have to take shelter of the devotees within the society, how much we have to pray to the deities, the Supersoul, how we have to take shelter of Krishna in every conceivable way possible so that whatever causes us to stray can be eliminated from our heart and will not be repeated again. It is not possible to understand the depth of our conditioning all at once but when Lord Krishna reveals something to us at least that we have to take seriously.
Pariksit Maharaj, such a great personality that Lord Krishna appeared within the womb that he was inhabiting and saved him. How great this personality is beyond my conception but still Lord Krishna arranged that somehow or the other he put a garland of a dead snake over the head of Samika Rsi. From one point of view Prabhupada said this garlanding of Samika Rsi by Pariksit Maharaj, it is not a very important thing. He was thirsty after all. He was travelling for a long distance. He was very hungry. He entered this hermitage. As he came he expected that the rsi would at least properly greet him. He became momentarily a little disturbed and put the garland of a snake over his head.
The news spread to Srngi that his father was insulted by Pariksit Maharaj and therefore he became very angry, completely out of proportion of the reality of the situation – at least from Prabhupada’s point of view in the Bhagavatam and he cursed Pariksit Maharaj to die within seven days.
Samika Rsi when he learnt about this he . he was even to embarrassed to approach Pariksit Maharaj with the news. Pariksit Maharaj thought that “I have done wrong” even after he had gone and put the snake around Samika Rsis neck. He thought, “I have done wrong. Please Lord Krishna if there is some reaction let the reaction come upon my head so that I won’t commit this mistake again and please not that my relatives will have to suffer for this mistake I have made.
News came to him that due to this offense he was to die within seven days. Prabhupada said he didn’t try to counteract the curse. He did not try to go and beg from Srngi or Samika Rsi. He accepted the curse – whatever Krishna wants there must be some plan behind this and again he took the opportunity to go to the Ganges and hear from Sukadev Goswami for seven days the Srimad-Bhagavatam and in this way benedicting the entire universe.
Therefore sometimes it is not possible to understand how Krishna works. All we can do is smile a little bit or cry a little bit sometimes but ultimately we have to appreciate that Krishna is a wonderful personality and that whatever He arranges is ultimately for our purification. Therefore,
tat te ‘nukampam su-samiksamano, bhunjana evatma-krtam vipakam [SB 10.14.8]
If we can see that and at the same time use our intelligence o enter deeper into Krishna consciousness and in this way make our life more and more perfect. We may commit mistakes. We should repent for them and at the same time we should try to learn from them so we don’t commit them again and whatever reaction Krishna wants for us, not that we don’t use our Krishna conscious intelligence to become a better servant of Krishna even at that moment but ultimately we leave things in the hands of Krishna. In that way we won’t make that mistake again. That is our main mistake. We don’t think carefully enough what Krishna wants us to do under these circumstances. We are not absorbed intensely in that desire to become a better servant as Srila Prabhupada was, as Srimati Radharani is.
One time in Boston Srila Prabhupada came. This was in 1969 and the devotees greeted him at the airport. He came to the temple. They had just recently purchased the temple on Beacon Street. His servant came, at that time it was Purushottama and he said Prabhupada when he came and was trying to take rest he sat on the edge of his bed and he very gracefully fell onto the bed and rolled over and said, “I pray to my spiritual master and Krishna every night to please protect me from maya.
So this is the platform that we have to come to just to make progress. And the more we get sincerely into that mood of taking shelter of Krishna then we gradually come from sraddha to sadhu sanga, bhajanakriya and we make progress, progress, progress. Devotional service becomes more enlivening and enlivening.
Soon as we forget that, as soon as we try to take a little credit for our own selves, as soon as we forget that it is a team effort, as soon as we forget the mercy we are receiving from Krishna and his representatives, as soon as we want to take a little independent credit then so much problems can come about for ourselves and others. And even if we sincerely try and there is some problem we have to understand that sometimes as in the case of Pariksit Maharaj who was a completely pure devotee, sometimes Krishna arranges things just for our own purification. What to speak of Pariksit Maharaj, the purification of the entire universe.
Within our individual hearts we should always feel that, “I am nothing but the insignificant servant of Krishna’s servant and if there is some mistake as Srila Prabhupada said,
duhkhesv anudvigna-manah, sukhesu vigata-sprhah vita-raga-bhaya-krodhah, sthita-dhir munir ucyate
“One who is not disturbed by the three fold miseries, who is not elated when there is happiness and is free from attachment, fear and anger is known to be a sage of steady intelligence.” [Bg 2.56]
So when we get some difficult situation we should understand that this is due to our past activities and that instead of giving us the electric chair Krishna is simply giving us a little pinprick. If everything is going very nicely in our lives we should understand that Krishna is simply giving us the opportunity To serve Him better, to spread the sankirtana movement and become a better instrument to Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu and His transcendental servants hands.
Thank you for you kind attention. Any questions or comments?
Prabhu: You stated quite rightly so that we know if we make some mistake or some fault in our devotional service we should be thoughtful, we should pray that Krishna will help us remove it. What if we pray and it doesn’t go away?
HH Prahladananda Swami: I think I mentioned that also but maybe not so clearly. Thank you. If it doesn’t go away we keep on praying for the intelligence and we hope. Sometimes Krishna maybe trying to tell us something or trying to tell other people something. We may even get the message. We may be just an instrument in Krishna’s hands and we have to accept that. What can we do?
We look for instance at the pastimes of Caitanya Mahaprabhu. There are many devotes, there is Krishnadasa. He fell a victim to . Caitanya Mahaprabhu took him by his hair, dragged him, saved him and then rejected him. Krishnadasa is one of the eternal associates of Lord Caitanya. So Lord Caitanya’s arrangement that this particular pastime is for our own education
– not that Krishnadasa ultimately became purified but we have to become purified.
So it is not so easy sometimes to understand Krishna’s plan. In any case we should pray to Krishna and make sure we are doing the right thing and if Krishna continues on in the particular reaction or whatever it is then we don’t become disappointed that Krishna hasn’t helped us. We keep on praying and praying, “Yes Krishna. This is Your will. I must accept it but please make me a better servant.” And ultimately Krishna will reveal everything.
Prabhu: Hare Krishna Maharaj. Maharaj I have some doubts that I am hoping that you can clear up.
HH Prahladananda Swami: Just let me add one more thing. While that pastime is going on we should be very careful not to unnecessarily criticize the Vaisnavas. If we start to see a Vaisnava in a difficult situation we should understand that he is actually getting the mercy of his guru and Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu and with should be compassionate to him and try to assist him in his service – not think that he is simply getting a reaction. He deserves it. If we start thinking like that we may find ourselves in a very similar situation very shortly.
Prabhu: Maharaj I have some doubts. I can accept most things about devotional service and Bhagavatam that by chanting and hearing and remembering the Supreme Personality of Godhead we can advance. I accept that. Sometimes I have some doubts. Like today we hear about the pigeons flying in outer space. If you go to the Himalayas you see there is less oxygen there. People have trouble breathing and we hear that in outer space there is no air at all so how can the pigeons breathe and how can they flap their wings. So I have some doubts. What is my status/ Am I okay or what’s going on?
HH Prahladananda Swami: You are okay. [Laughter] I know nothing about pigeons. [Laughter] but the Bhagavatam if it says this is true I accept it but I have no realization. So when I see pigeons I don’t expect them to fly into outer space. If there are pigeons that can do that, personally I have to chant my rounds. I have no interest in finding any pigeon that can fly in outer space. I just hope that I have enough money to pay for my ticket by airplane. We have to end now but these things are not very important for our devotional service. We can chant Hare Krishna happily, devotionally we will become Krishna conscious and many more important things will be revealed to us and maybe that will be revealed to us also. I can’t really say. Thank you very much! Granthraj Srimad Bhagavatam Ki! Jai. Srila Prabhupada Ki! Jai. Gaura-premanande! Hari-haribol! [Applause] [To receive Mayapurlive lectures by email, write to firstname.lastname@example.org]