Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.8.24 , Los Angeles , 1973-04-16
Prabhupāda: [leads singing of Jaya rādhā-mādhava]
[prema-dhvāṇī prayers] Thank you very much.
Pradyumna: Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. [leads chanting of verse] [Prabhupāda and devotees repeat]
mṛdhe mṛdhe 'neka-mahārathāstrato
drauṇy-astrataś cāsma hare 'bhirakṣitāḥ
[Prabhupāda corrects a devotee's pronunciation in chanting]
Prabhupāda: All right. Girls. [ladies lead chanting] That's all right. Now word meanings.
Pradyumna: viṣāt---from poison; mahā-agneḥ---from the great fire; puruṣa-ada---the man-eaters; darśanāt---by combating; asat---vicious; sabhāyāḥ---assembly; vana-vāsa---exiled to the forest; kṛcchrataḥ---sufferings; mṛdhe mṛdhe---again and again in battle; aneka---many; mahā-ratha---great generals; astrataḥ---weapons; drauṇi---the son of Droṇācārya; astrataḥ---from the weapon of; ca---and; āsma---indicating past tense; hare---by the Personality of Godhead; abhirakṣitāḥ---protected completely
Translation. "My dear Kṛṣṇa, Your Lordship has protected us from a poisoned cake, from a great fire, from cannibals, from the vicious assembly, from sufferings during our exile in the forest and from the battle where great generals fought. And now You have saved us from the weapon of Aśvatthāmā."
Prabhupāda: So Kuntī is remembering all the dangers that she had passed before gaining the kingdom. Kaunteya pratijānīhi na me bhaktaḥ praṇaśyati [Bg. 9.31]. These Pāṇḍavas, they were great devotees of Lord Kṛṣṇa. And in the material world, because people are interested in material things, so they were put into so many dangerous condition of life. That was the policy of Dhṛtarāṣṭra, how to kill the sons of Pāṇḍu and usurp the kingdom for his own sons. That was his policy from the very beginning. But they were very obedient, because Dhṛtarāṣṭra was their guardian.
So Dhṛtarāṣṭra constructed a house of lac. Lac means as soon as you touch one matchstick, immediately takes fire. So he asked his nephews and sister-in-law, Kuntī, that "For some times you go. I have constructed a very nice house. You can go and live there." Vidura informed that "This is the policy = Dhṛtarāṣṭra wants you to burn into ashes by going that house." Duryodhana could understand that Vidura had already informed. Therefore he was very angry. These are politics. So although they knew that "This is the plan of my uncle to send into that house and set fire," but they agreed, "Yes." Not disobedient to the order of the superior. In this way the house was set into fire, but they digged a subway within that house, and they escaped.
So that is one incidence. Another incidence is giving them poison cakes when they were at home. That also they escaped. Then puruṣāda-darśanāt. They met one Hiḍimba Rākṣasa, man-eater demon. So Bhīma fought with him and killed him. Similarly, asat-sabhāyāḥ, in the assembly of asat... Asat means those who are not gentle, not gentlemen. In the sabhā, in the assembly, there was Dhṛtarāṣṭra, there was Bhīṣmadeva, Droṇācārya, all elderly persons, and there was trick of playing chess. So somehow or other, Draupadī was taken as bet = "If we lose, then Draupadī is no longer our wife. It is up to you." So lost the game. So immediately Karṇa and Duḥśāsana captured her = "Now you are not your husbands'. You are our property. We can deal with you as we like."
So Karṇa was insulted during Draupadī's svayaṁvara. In the svayaṁvara... Svayaṁvara means big, big princess, very qualified princess, they used to select her own husband. Just like in your country, the selection of husband is given to the girl, as she likes. This is not very good for common, but those who are uncommon, highly qualified, one who knows how to select, to such girl the facility was given to select her husband, and under very strict condition. Just like Draupadī's father made it condition---there was a fish on the ceiling, and one has to pierce the eye of the fish not directly seeing but seeing the shadow in the water down. So there were so many princes. As soon as such declaration is there, all the princes come to combat. That is kṣatriya principle.
So in that assembly of Draupadī's svayaṁvara there was Karṇa also. Draupadī knew... Draupadī's real purpose was to accept Arjuna as her husband. But she knew that "Karṇa is there. If Karṇa competes, then Arjuna will not be able to succeed." Therefore she said that "In this competition, except the kṣatriyas, nobody can compete." That means Karṇa at that time was not known that he was a kṣatriya. He was the son of Kuntī before her marriage. So people did not know. It was secret. So Karṇa was maintained by a carpenter. Therefore he was known as a śūdra. So Draupadī took advantage of this and said that "I do not wish that any carpenter shall come here and compete. I don't want that." So Karṇa was not allowed. So Karṇa took it as great insult.
Now, when Draupadī was lost in the game, he was first of all forward. He was Duryodhana's great friend. "Now we want to see naked beauty of Draupadī." So there were elderly persons in the meeting. Dhṛtarāṣṭra was; Bhīṣma was there; Droṇācārya. Still, they did not protest, "Oh, what is this, that you are going to make naked one lady in this assembly?" They did not protest. Therefore asat-sabhāyāḥ, "assembly of uncultured men." Uncultured man wants to see a woman naked. But that has become a fashion nowadays. A woman is not to be..., supposed not to be naked in anyone's, before except her husband. This is Vedic culture. But because these rascals wanted to see Draupadī naked in that great assembly, so they were all rascals, asat. Sat means gentle, and asat means rude. So asat sabhāyāḥ, "In that assembly of rudes, You saved"---Kṛṣṇa saved.
Draupadī was being naked; her sārī was being taken away, and the sārī would not be finished. Kṛṣṇa was supplying sārī. So they became tired in trying to make her naked. [laughter] And she never became naked, and heaps of cloth was stacked. They could understand, "It is impossible." And Draupadī was also first of all trying to save her cloth. And what she can do? She is woman, and they were two men. Karṇa and Duḥśāsana was trying to make her naked. So she was crying and praying to Kṛṣṇa, "Save my honor." But she was trying also herself to save. When she thought that "It is impossible to save myself, my honor, in this way," then [s]he left the hands. She simply got up her arms and prayed, "Kṛṣṇa, if You like, You can save."
So this is the position. So long we try to save ourself, that is not very good. If you simply depend on Kṛṣṇa, "Kṛṣṇa, if You save me, that is all right. Otherwise kill me, as You like." You see? Mārobi rākhobi---jo icchā tohārā. Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura says, "I surrender unto You." Mānasa deho geho, jo kichu mor, "My dear Lord, whatever I have got, my possession... And what I have got? I have got this body. I have got my mind. I have got a little home, and my wife, my children. This is my possession." So mānasa deho geho, jo kichu mor. "So whatever I have got---this body, this mind, this wife, these children, this home---everything I surrender unto You." Mānasa deho geho, jo kichu mor, arpiluṅ tuwā pade, nanda-kiśor [Mānasa Deha Geha]. Kṛṣṇa is known as Nanda-kiśora.
So this is surrender = no reservation, fully surrender, akiñcana. Therefore Kṛṣṇa..., a devotee is called akiñcana. Akiñcana. Kiñcana means something, something reserved for me. Of course, actually that should be position, but still... In the material world one should not imitate, but as Rūpa Gosvāmī has shown the path, that whatever possession you have got, fifty percent for Kṛṣṇa, twenty-five percent for the relatives---they also expect something---and twenty-five percent for personal emergency. This example is shown by Rūpa Gosvāmī. Before his retirement he did it. But actually that everything was spent. When Sanātana Gosvāmī was arrested, everything was spent. So this is full surrender. When Draupadī fully surrendered to Kṛṣṇa without trying herself to save herself, then unlimited yards of cloth was supplied, and she could not be made naked. But because the attempt was made in an assembly of crude, rude men, therefore it is said, asat-sabhāyāḥ.
Vana-vāsa-kṛcchrataḥ. And then next game was that if they lose the game, they will go..., they would go twelve years in the forest. So that was also happened. For twelve years. And the condition was = after twelve years, one year they should remain incognito. If they are detected, that "They are living in such-and-such place," then again twelve years. So hard condition. And that also surpassed. In that incognito condition they married Draupadī. Arjuna was at that time in a incognito. He went there as a brāhmaṇa, in the dress of a brāhmaṇa. Because if he went there in the dress of a kṣatriya, they would be detected again = "Oh, here is Arjuna." Then again they will have to go again for twelve years.
So these things are there described in the Mahābhārata. Mahābhārata means... Mahā means great, greater, and bhārata means India. It is the history, history of greater India, Mahābhārata. They take it as stories, as mythology. That is nonsense. It is history. Mahābhārata is the history. So we take it as history. All these Purāṇas, Mahābhārata, they are histories. But not this chronological history. Chronological history, if you keep, then how many pages you have to keep? So many things. Simply selected incidences, they are described there; select, most important incidences. But that is history. So these very important incidents, they are described in the Mahābhārata.
Then mṛdhe, mṛdhe [SB 1.8.24]. Mṛdha means battlefield. Mṛdhe mṛdhe. Aneka-mahā-ratha astrato. There were great, great fighters, mahā-ratha. These are just like in modern days they are given title, lieut..., captain, commander, commander-in-chief, like that. Formerly these titles were for the military man = eka-ratha, mahā-ratha, koṭi-ratha. Ratha means chariot. So if one could fight with one charioteer, he is eka-ratha. And if he could fight with one thousand charioteer, then he is called mahā-ratha.
So all the commanders there in the battlefield of Kurukṣetra were mahā-ratha. Mahā-ratha. They are described in the Bhagavad-gītā. Especially Bhīṣma and Karṇa, Droṇācārya, they were very, very great commanders. Still, Arjuna could kill them by the grace of Kṛṣṇa. Arjuna was nothing in front of them. They were so great fighter. Arjuna was also mahā-ratha. Still, these commanders were very, very powerful. But by the grace of Kṛṣṇa he could kill Karṇa, he could kill Bhīṣma, he could kill Droṇācārya, and came out victorious. And Parīkṣit Mahārāja, when he was talking with Śukadeva Gosvāmī, he also referred this, that "The battlefield of Kurukṣetra was just like ocean, and there were so many ferocious aquatic animals. But by the grace of Kṛṣṇa my grandfather crossed over it very easily."
This is very significant, that you may have many enemies or many fighters, very powerful fighters, but if you remain at the protection of Kṛṣṇa, then nobody can do you anything harm. Rākhe kṛṣṇa māre ke: "If Kṛṣṇa protects you, nobody can kill you." But if Kṛṣṇa kills you nobody can give you protection. That is the..., rākhe kṛṣṇa māre ke, māre kṛṣṇa rākhe ke. This is the... If Kṛṣṇa desires to kill you, nobody can save you. Just like a big man, a rich man, is suffering from disease. All first-class physician, medicine, hospital available for him, but still, he dies. That means Kṛṣṇa desires that "This man must die." So these things will not help you. The so-called protective methods that we have discovered, they will be useless if Kṛṣṇa does not desire that you should live. They will be useless.
Just like Rāvaṇa = he was very powerful. But when Kṛṣṇa desired, Lord Rāmacandra desired, nobody could give protection. He was a great devotee of Lord Śiva, and he was praying Lord Śiva, "Please come and save me in this danger." So Lord Śiva did not come. And Pārvatī, Lord Śiva's wife, asked that "Why is that? Your devotee, such a great devotee, he has served you so much, and now he is in danger. He is asking your help. You are not going?" And Lord Śiva replied, "My dear Pārvatī, what shall I do? I cannot give him protection. It is not possible. Why shall I go?" So this is the position, that if God wants to kill you, nobody can give you protection. And if God wants to give you protection, nobody can kill you. This is the position. Rākhe kṛṣṇa māre ke, māre kṛṣṇa rākhe ke.
So Kuntīdevī is remembering one after another how Kṛṣṇa saved them. That is thinking of Kṛṣṇa, smaraṇam, that "Kṛṣṇa, You are so kind upon us. You saved us in so many big, big, dangerous position. It is for You. Otherwise there was no hope." And the last is drauṇy-astra. Drauṇy-astra. This Aśvatthāmā, he executed very abominable task. He killed... Of course, there was fight. Both the parties belonged to the same family. So everyone died. So only five sons of the Pāṇḍavas, they were living. So Aśvatthāmā thought that "If I kill these five sons of Pāṇḍavas and present the head to Duryodhana, he will be very much pleased."
So what did he do? When the five sons were sleeping, inhumanly he cut off..., he separated the heads of the five sons and presented to Duryodhana. Duryodhana was at that time in a incapable state. His, this waist was broken. He could not move. And he lied that "I have brought the five heads of the Pāṇḍavas, my dear Duryodhana." "Oh, you have brought?" He was very glad in the beginning. But he knew how to test it. But when he pressed the head, it immediately became collapsed. "Oh," he said, "this is not Pāṇḍavas' head. It must be their sons' head." Then he admitted, "Yes." He became fainted, that "You have killed all the hopes. I hoped that in our family at least five sons will... You have killed also." So in that lamentment he died.
So he was arrested. He was arrested by Arjuna, and he was to be killed. Kṛṣṇa ordered that "Kill him. He is not a brāhmaṇa. He is less than śūdra." So when he was arrested, then he was let loose by the request of Draupadī, that "I am suffering for the death of my sons, and this rascal is the son of our Guru Mahārāja, Droṇācārya, who has done so much for us. If he dies also, then mother guru will be very much unhappy. So let him go away." So, being insulted, he threw atom bomb, brahmāstra. The brahmāstra is something like atomic weapon, nuclear weapon. It can go to the enemy wherever the enemy is. It doesn't matter. It will go and kill him. That is called brahmāstra. So the brahmāstra was... He knew that "The rest of the Kuru family is Parīkṣit, the son of Abhimanyu. She [he] is in the womb of Uttarā. So let me kill him also. Then everything finished." So drauṇy-astra.
So when that weapon was let loose, Parīkṣit Mahārāja mother, Uttarā, felt that she is going to discharge the womb. And she approached Kṛṣṇa, "Save me." And Kṛṣṇa entered the womb of Uttarā and saved the child, the posthumous child. So in this way the Pāṇḍava family was saved. Simply Parīkṣit Mahārāja remained. That also within the womb of his mother.
And in mature time, when Parīkṣit Mahārāja came out, the grandfathers only there. Parīkṣit Mahārāja's father was sixteen years old, and he went to fight. Seven big, big commanders killed him. Seven. He was so great fighter, Arjuna's son, Subhadrā's son. This Subhadrā is here. The Subhadrā is sister of Kṛṣṇa. She was married to Arjuna, and she got only one child, this Parīkṣit Mahārāja. So as soon as Parīkṣit Mahārāja became grown up, the whole estate was entrusted to him, and the all the Pāṇḍavas left home and went to Himalaya. This is the history of Mahābhārata.
Thank you very much. Hare Kṛṣṇa.
Devotees: Jaya Prabhupāda. Hare Kṛṣṇa.
[children shout "Haribol Prabhupāda"]
Prabhupāda: Haribol. [chuckles] Very good.