December 28, 1999 VNN5165 Comment on this storyAbout the AuthorOther Stories by this Author
Declare It Boldly!
BY SWAMI B.A. PARAMADVAITI
EDITORIAL, Dec 28 (VNN) from a discussion by Swami B.A.Paramadvaiti
on the day of Sri Gita Jayanti
ksipram bhavati dharmatma,
na me bhaktah pranasyati
"O Arjuna, promise to the public that My exclusively devoted servitor will never come to ruin. He who declares this swiftly becomes virtuous, and truly attains eternal divine grace."
Following the famous 'api ced suduracaro sloka', in Sri Gita's ninth chapter, the hidden treasure, or most confidential knowledge, Krsna makes a statement similar to the one He proclaims in the Bhagavat Purana's eleventh canto (11.1..32):
ajnayaivam gunan dosan, mayadistan api svakan
dharman samtyajya yah sarvan, mam bhajet sa ca sattamah
"The best of honest persons are those who have left behind the forms of duties that I Myself have recommended in the scriptures, for the general public. Although it is My direction, they cross it and come to render loving service to Me. They are the real honest men."
Hidden indeed, and most confidential (guyatamam) it is, this knowledge that urges Krsna to reveal the nature of sweet devotion.
Leaving dharma behind and entering prema- dharma, He directs one to the selfless love of the damsels of Vraja. More openly expressed in Sri Gita's eighteenth chapter, 'mam ekam saranam vraja' in Srila Sridhara Swami's rendering: 'come to Me to Vraja' (BG.18.66), He implies that "I have already given some direction for the general public. Do this, don't do that, but if in My interest anyone takes the risk of committing sin, then he should be considered the best amongst all My devotees." "O Kaunteya, son of Kunti, declare it boldly - My devotee (the ananya-bhak - exclusive devotee) is never vanquished!" Puzzled Arjuna asks: "Why are You asking me to take this vow? Why are You Yourself not taking it?"
Responding to this, Krsna had to confess: "I am very affectionate towards My devotees (bhakta vatsala), not being able to tolerate any problems put upon them, I will always protect them. On this battlefield, I'll have to break My own vow when you are fighting with Bhisma. People will only know this Bhagavad-Gita after the battle, and they'll say: "O, He spoke so many words, but He broke them all!" However, they'll know that your words are like lines on a stone. Therefore you should make this vow, declare it boldly, o Arjuna." In the battle of Kuruksetra, Arjuna was very powerful, killing many of the warriors of Durodhana's side. One night Duryodhana went to meet Bhisma, telling him: "Listen Bhisma, we are losing, are you aware of this? Why are we losing? You are the great general Bhisma. Do you know what I suspect? I believe that you are not really fighting, as all your sympathy lies on the side of the Pandavas. This is deception. You were formerly on my side, but now you are not cooperating." As Bhisma heard this, he was offended: "You say that I am a hypocrate? No, no. Listen, I have 5 mystical arrows here. They have got the benediction that they will never miss their target. And with these five arrows tomorrow I will kill the five Pandavas."
Hearing this Duryodhana got extremely excited. He said: "You know what? Give me these five arrows. I will take care of them tonight, so that nothing will happen. And tomorrow we will win the battle." Bhisma agreed. Duryodhana happily returned to his tent. Yet he did not take into consideration that Krsna was within his very heart, overhearing the whole conversation.
Krsna was on the other side in the tent with Arjuna, informing him: "Listen Arjuna, something very tragic has happened. Tomorrow Bhisma wants to kill all of you with five infallible arrows" So after the day's fighting, as the opposing parties sometimes met, Arjuna, on the instruction of Sri Krsna, went straight away to the tent of Durydhana. He said: "Duryodhana listen, can you remember when we were young and you promised me a wish?" "Yes of course I remember Arjuna," Duryodhana said: "What do you want? Do you want us to stop the battle? Do you want half of the kingdom? Arjuna said, "This is not what I want." "So then what is it that you desire?" Durydhana asked. "I want those five arrows that you have under your bed." Duryodhana could not believe it. Yet sticking to his promise as a ksatrya he gave Arjuna the arrows. Arjuna brought them to Krsna.
On the next day, preparing for battle. Bhisma deva drove his chariot to Duryodhana requesting the arrows. "I am ready." Duryodhana had to admit: "I do not have them anymore. I gave them away - to Arjuna." "What did you do?" Bhisma reasoned correctly: "Only Krsna can have known this, being all omniscient." So he thought to himself, "Since this Krsna wants to make me break my promise (as he had promised to kill today the five pandavas) then I will force Him to break His promise as well."
From the start of the battle until evening, Bhisma relentlessly attacked Arjuna, with such furious fighting that the chariot of Arjuna broke, thus forcing him into a gravely dangerous situation. As Bhisma was right on the urge of killing Arjuna, Krsna saw the situation. Fearing that Arjuna might be killed by Bhisma, Krsna broke his promise of not personally fighting in the battle, and seizing one of the broken chariot wheels he ran towards Bhisma ready to kill him. Bhisma gladly witnessed Krsna approaching. Yet at this moment, the conchshell declaring the end of the daily battle sounded. Therefore: kaunteya pratijaniyi - "You proclaim it, Arjuna. Declare it boldly - that my devotee is never vanquished!"
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