Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.8.46 , Los Angeles , 1973-05-08

Pradyumna: Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. [leads chanting of verse] [Prabhupāda and devotees repeat]

vyāsādyair īśvarehājñaiḥ
prabodhito 'pītihāsair
nābudhyata śucārpitaḥ


vyāsa-ādyaiḥ---by great sages headed by Vyāsa; īśvara---the almighty God; īhā---by the will of; jñaiḥ---by the learned; kṛṣṇena---by Kṛṣṇa Himself; adbhuta-karmaṇā---by one who performs all superhuman work; prabodhitaḥ---being solaced; api---although; itihāsaiḥ---by evidences from the histories; na---not; abudhyata---satisfied; śucā arpitaḥ---distressed.


Translation = "King Yudhiṣṭhira, who was much aggrieved, could not be convinced, despite instructions by great sages headed by Vyāsa and the Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself, the performer of superhuman feats, and despite all historical evidence."

Prabhupāda: Hmm. So Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira was very much aggrieved. He was thinking, Vaiṣṇava, that "I am a petty king, and for giving me the throne, so many people have been killed." That is the greatest war within the recollection of five thousand years, Kurukṣetra, Battle of Kurukṣetra. What is this figures? Six million, four hundred thousand people died in that battle. What is the statistics of the last war? How many people died? Is there any statistics?

Devotee: Two million.

Prabhupāda: Two million. And here it is six million.

Devotee: 640,000,000.

Prabhupāda: Eh? Last war?

Devotee: No, in Kurukṣetra, 640,000,000.

Prabhupāda: Oh. Six hundred forty?

Devotee: In the Bhagavad-gītā that you have published it was 640,000,000.

Prabhupāda: Oh. So which is greater? [laughter] Hare Kṛṣṇa. It is zero. It is a business of zero, add or subtract. So anyway, a very large number of people died, and Yudhiṣṭhira Mahārāja, because he is Vaiṣṇava, although he was kṣatriya... Kṣatriya's business is to keep himself in power even by killing his own son. That is kṣatriya's business. Kṣatriya, when there is question of fight... Just like Bhīṣmadeva. Bhīṣmadeva, grandfather of Arjuna, very affectionate grandfather...

Because the Pāṇḍavas---Yudhiṣṭhira Mahārāja, Bhīma, Arjuna, Nakula, Sahadeva---when their father died they were small children. Naturally, Bhīṣma is the grandfather of the family, and he had to take care to raise the children. In one side he is grandfather, and he actually raised the children. So very affectionate, especially fatherless... And the daughter-in-law, Kuntī, was so helpless, because this Dhṛtarāṣṭra and his family, they were trying always to kill these Pāṇḍavas. And Vidura and Bhīṣmadeva, they were giving protection some way or other.

So still, although so much affectionate, when the war was declared, Bhīṣmadeva took the side of Duryodhana. He did not take the side of Pāṇḍavas, although they were very affectionate, beloved. He replied that "This side, Duryodhana, they are maintaining me. I am maintained by them. So I cannot go against them. That is not possible." Naturally, Bhīṣmadeva would have come to the side of Pāṇḍavas because very affectionate. But he said that "That is not possible, because I am maintained by them." This is the duty. If somebody maintains you, you must be very much grateful to him. These are the examples, Vedic culture. He is not maintained by anyone, but because he had no claim on the kingdom, he was thinking himself that "I am dependent on this family."

Actually, the kingdom belonged to Bhīṣmadeva, the kingdom. But he promised... His father wanted to marry Satyavatī. At that time, his father was old enough... Bhīṣmadeva was grown-up boy, twenty, twenty-two years. But nature, his father wanted to marry again. Bhīṣmadeva is the son of Mother Ganges. Bhīṣmadeva's father married the predominating deity Mother Ganges, of the Ganges water. So she was very beautiful. So she agreed to marry Bhīṣmadeva's father on one condition. What is that condition? That all the children that will be begotten, they will be thrown in the Ganges water. This was the condition. If the king agreed, then she would marry.

So when a man becomes mad after woman... So he agreed, "Yes, I shall throw all the children. Never mind. [laughter] Come on." Māyā-mohita. Māyā-sukhāyā bharam udvahato vimūḍhān [SB 7.9.43]. This whole world, rascal world, they are captivated by this woman. Woman is captivated by man, man is captivated by woman. This is the tie here in this material world. Puṁsaḥ striyā mithunī-bhāvam etam [SB 5.5.8]. I have explained several times. The whole material existence means this attraction. [break] Yan maithunādi-gṛhamedhi-sukhaṁ hi tuccham [SB 7.9.45]. There are so many instructory verses. Here sex enjoyment is the most prominent, and people are captivated by this. This is life.

So anyway, even the father of Bhīṣma, he was captivated. So this was the condition. So in this way, every child was being thrown in the Ganges water. So after all... Bhīṣmadeva's father became very mortified. So Bhīṣma, when Bhīṣma was going to be thrown in the water, he objected = "No, I cannot allow. I cannot allow." "Then I am going." "Now you can go. I shall keep this child." So Ganges, Mother Ganges, left Bhīṣma's father. And Bhīṣma was raised by his father. He became grown up. Again this father became captivated with Satyavatī. Satyavatī. Satyavatī, before her marriage... Satyavatī is the daughter of a fisherman. The fishermens... In your country there is no such distinction, but in our country there are classification. A fishermen, there is a class. So their girls and women, very well-figured, very enchanting figure.

So Satyavatī was the daughter of a fisherman, and Bhīṣma's father become enchanted. So he went to the fisherman. He was king. So "Give me your daughter. I shall marry." "Oh, you are already married. You have got son. Why shall I give my daughter to you?" "No, I am king. I shall maintain her." "No, no, no. I don't want to give." In India still, if a man wants to marry, and if he has got children by his former wife, people will hesitate to give him daughter, because there are stepsons. So nobody wants that "My daughter will be troubled by the stepson, daughter." No. Still they are practiced. To marry for the second time becomes a problem. But nowadays these things are gone.

So the grown-up son, Bhīṣmadeva, he understood that "My father is inclined to marry that girl." So he went to plead, canvass = "So why don't you give your daughter to my father?" "No, no, I cannot give my daughter to your father. You are his son. You will inherit the kingdom, and my daughter's son will not inherit. So how can I give my daughter?" So he said that "I'll not accept the kingdom. I promise that your daughter's son will inherit the kingdom." "No, no, no. Still I cannot." "Why?" Now "You'll marry. Then your son will be inheritor. My grandson will not be inheritor." He was calculating in that way, pakkā businessman. [laughter] So he promised that "You give your daughter to my father, and I promise that I shall not marry. So there will be no son. So naturally my stepmother's son will inherit the kingdom." Then he agreed.

So Bhīṣmadeva's father, although it was little shameful that the son is canvassing for the marriage of father, still, he could understand that "My son is so sensible that I wanted to marry, and he has managed." So he gave him one benediction = "My dear son, you'll remain brahmacārī, I can understand. But I give you one benediction, that unless you desire to die, you will never die." Icchā-mṛtyu. "This benediction you will have. Unless you desire that 'Now I shall die,' nobody can kill you, and you'll never die." So this was the... Therefore...

And because he promised so seriously that "I shall not marry," he gave up his kingdom; therefore his name is Bhīṣma. Bhīṣma means "very serious." So this Bhīṣmadeva actually maintained the whole Pāṇḍava family. That means Pāṇḍava, the Pāṇḍava and Yudhiṣṭhira and Pāṇḍu, they are the sons of the stepmother. And because Bhīṣmadeva was elderly son, practically he maintained even Yudhiṣṭhira, here, Dhṛtarāṣṭra and Pāṇḍava. And then again, Pāṇḍu, he died; his sons, these Pāṇḍavas, Yudhiṣṭhira, they were also raised by Bhīṣmadeva. So much affection.

But when there was question of fight, so Bhīṣmadeva fought so severely that Arjuna had to be protected by Kṛṣṇa. Bhīṣmadeva, you know... In Mahābhārata these stories are there. Bhīṣmadeva actually had some affection. So Duryodhana thought that "My grandfather is not fighting properly because the other side, his beloved grandsons. I am also grandson, but I am not so beloved. But the other side, Pāṇḍavas, because they are fatherless, he has more affection for them. So he is officially fighting. He is not fighting with his real vigor." He complained that.

But actually, that was the fact, that "My dear grandfather, you are not fighting with Arjuna with your full vigor. I can understand that." "Oh, I am not fighting? So what do you think?" "Now, I want that you decide to kill them all tomorrow. You can do that." "All right. I shall do that. If you are doubting about my fighting, then I shall..." So he made special five arrows to kill the five brothers next. So Duryodhana asked his grandfather that "Let me keep these five arrows with me. I shall deliver you tomorrow morning. Otherwise it may be missing."

So all these things---Kṛṣṇa is Paramātmā; He knows everything. So He saw that "There is danger tomorrow. Now Bhīṣma has decided to kill all these Pāṇḍavas." So He asked Arjuna, "Arjuna, you just go, approach Duryodhana this evening." Formerly the practice was, daytime there is fight, but in the after evening they are all friends. After evening they are friends. One can go this camp, that camp, and talk together, sit together, just like friends. There is no enemy. So Duryodhana sometimes promised Arjuna that "I want to give you some benediction. You can ask." So Arjuna said---Duryodhana was elder than Arjuna---that "I will ask you in proper time." So Kṛṣṇa reminded that "Today..., tonight, you go to Duryodhana and ask him to deliver those five arrows kept in secret. Otherwise, tomorrow you will be finished."

So Duryodhana went to, er, Arjuna went to Duryodhana in the camp. Duryodhana received him well = "Come on, brother. What do you want?" He thought that "We are fighting. Arjuna has come to beg the kingdom without fighting." So they were so liberal. He said, "Yes, come in. If you want the kingdom without fighting, I am prepared." But a kṣatriya will never beg, "Give me, sir, without..." No. If they can own by fighting, then they will claim. This is kṣatriya spirit.

So he said that "No, I have not come to beg the kingdom. We shall fight, go on fighting. But I want those five arrows you have kept." Oh, immediately he delivered. Although he was very cautious that these five arrows may not be missing, but promise is promise. Immediately he delivered. So Bhīṣma understood later on that the five arrows were taken by Arjuna by trick. So still, he promised that "Even without those five weapons, today I shall kill Arjuna. Unless Kṛṣṇa gives His special protection to Arjuna, there is no escape. Either Kṛṣṇa has to break His promise, otherwise His friend will be killed."

So Kṛṣṇa, when He joined Arjuna, He said that He would not fight = "I can help you simply by becoming your charioteer, but I cannot fight." Because the purpose was that Arjuna was to gain the fight. But if Kṛṣṇa would fight, people would say that Kṛṣṇa won the fight, not Arjuna; that he avoided fighting. It was sure. Kṛṣṇa fights or not fights, because He was on the side of Arjuna, it was sure that he would gain the battle. That is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā. Yatra yogeśvaro hariḥ [Bg. 18.78]. Where there is Kṛṣṇa, the victory is assured.

So in this way there was fierce fighting between Arjuna and Bhīṣma. And Arjuna's chariot became broken into pieces, and he fell down, and when Kṛṣṇa saw that "Now Arjuna is going to be killed," He broke His own promise. He broke His own promise and took one wheel of the chariot and reached before Bhīṣma, that "Now I shall kill you." Bhīṣma immediately gave up his weapon. So "That was my promise, that I wanted that either You have to break Your promise or Your friend will be killed. So now You have broken Your promise. So I am giving up. Because it is not expected that I shall fight with You." [laughter] So Kṛṣṇa said that "Yes, I have kept your promise, but I have broken My promise. You decided, you promised..."

So this is Kṛṣṇa's business, to... Bhīṣma was a devotee, great devotee of Kṛṣṇa. So he promised that either Kṛṣṇa would break His promise, otherwise His friend will be dead. So He broke His promise. So sometimes Kṛṣṇa breaks His promise, own promise, for the sake of His devotee. Nobody is expected to break his promise, but Kṛṣṇa is so kind, for protection of His devotee He can do anything. He can break His promise also. This is Kṛṣṇa's position. So such Bhīṣma was so affectionate to the Pāṇḍavas. So Kṛṣṇa wanted... Bhīṣma was lying on the bed of arrows, preparing for his death. So Kṛṣṇa wanted that these Pāṇḍavas should go to Bhīṣma and hear his instruction.

Therefore, despite His advice to Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira that "There was no wrong on your part. You are thinking that you have killed, or for your sake so many men have been killed. That is not... You are not responsible for that. You are not sinful." For a kṣatriya, killing is not sinful. For a brāhmaṇa, sacrificing an animal in the arena, that is not sinful. So it is all explained in the Bhagavad-gītā, sa doṣam api na tyajet [Bg. 18.48]. Killing is bad, but a kṣatriya's business is to kill. Without killing, one cannot become perfect kṣatriya. Because he has to give protection, and there are so many demons, rascals. So if the king becomes nonviolent, how other citizens will be given protection? No.

So the king's business is as soon as he sees one undesirable element, immediately he would kill. That is real protection. Just like when Parīkṣit Mahārāja was going on tour, he saw one black man was trying to kill a cow. Immediately saw, "Who are you? You are trying to kill cow in my kingdom? I shall kill you." He immediately took out his sword. This is king, that... Not that animals should not be given protection, only man should be given protection. No. Prajā. Prajā means one who has taken birth in the kingdom. That is called prajā. So animal is also American, man is also American, but there is no protection for the animal by the government.

So that kind of government, rascal government, was not there. Equal right. Your country says equality given. Why not equality to the animals? That is defect. It is due to, I mean to say, absence of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. A Kṛṣṇa conscious person will not distinguish like that = for eating animal, they will philosophize that animal has no soul; therefore it can be killed. No. This is nonsense. Everyone has got soul. Even a small ant has got soul. But they have to kill. They have to eat. They are philosophizing different way. Lord Jesus Christ said, "Thou shall not kill," and now they are interpreting, "Killing means murdering, human being." But that is not in the Bible.

So they are manufacturing their own ways of understanding Bible and ethical principles. Therefore it is becoming valueless. It is becoming valueless. No value. One cannot change the words of the authority. If you believe in Lord Jesus Christ, you cannot make any change to your convenience. This is rascaldom. You cannot be a Christian if you violate the orders of Lord Jesus Christ. But they are doing so. Now the Christian priests... We had a meeting in Sydney. One priest asked me, "What we have done that they are not anymore caring for us?" I told him that "You are always violating the Ten Commandments, and you say what you have done? Lord Jesus Christ says, 'Thou shall not kill,' and you are killing, expert in killing. And you are still Christian? So you cannot understand what you have done? You have always misguided people." I told him. So he was not very happy to hear this straight answer. [laughter] But he admitted...

Anyway... So for kṣatriya, just like Mahārāja Parīkṣit... If kṣatriya becomes nonviolent... Just like our Mahatma Gandhi started nonviolence in politics. So that was a political policy. But in politics there is no question of nonviolence, in politics. That is foolishness. Actually, India gained independence not by nonviolence. That is a great history. India gained independence... Gandhi was fighting with nonviolence for thirty, thirty-five years; there was no result. But one of the leaders, when he, I mean to say, ensued fighting, then within, I think, within one year the Britishers left. So in politics there is no question of nonviolence. So a king, a protector, kṣatriya... Kṣatriya means kṣat. Kṣat means injury, injury. And tra, tra means deliver. So a kṣatriya's business is to deliver a person who is going to be injured. That is kṣatriya. Just like this cow was going to be injured, and as soon as Mahārāja Parīkṣit saw it, he immediately took his sword to kill him. So this is kṣatriya.

Therefore kṣatriyas are allowed to go in the forest and kill some animal. Because he has to practice. So what kind of animal? Not the cows or simple animal. He must kill one tiger, one lion, one jungle boar. Ferocious, very ferocious animal. That was the kṣatriya's business. Not that a rabbit [laughter] or innocent bird, sports. This kind of sporting was not allowed. If you want to kill, you must kill one rhinoceros. Then one can understand that you have power of killing. That kṣatriya used to do. Even, say, twenty-five years ago, Mahārāja Jaipur, he used to go into the forest every year, and he would fight with a tiger, simply with a sword. Simply with a sword. He would fight with a tiger in the jungle, and he was so expert, he would kill. And then the tiger would be brought in procession, in royal procession. Because the king used to say, "This tiger is the king of forest, or the lion is the king of the forest. I am also king. So after his death, there must be a royal reception." So this was..., the function was going on.

So kṣatriya means they used to kill, practice. Unless they practice, how they can kill? And now our president, they practice only smoking, that's all. [laughter] That's all. And when there is fight, he is in the chamber, safety chamber, and others are, the poor boys, they are called by the draft board, and go and fight. This is not kṣatriya. These are śūdras. Kṣatriya, when there is fight, the king must come forward first. The other party's king also. The king will fight with king, and the soldiers will fight soldiers according to position. And when the king is killed, then victory is owned. It doesn't require that all the soldiers were killed. No.

So there are many... This is actually Vedic culture. You will find all this from Mahābhārata. Bhāgavata also, we are trying to explain as far as possible. The brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra, this is natural division. So for fighting, kṣatriya. In India, because still there are some kṣatriyas, there is no such draft board. The kṣatriya class, they would come forward to be recruited by the military department. They will not go away. They will be very glad to accept military service, because in their blood the kṣatriya spirit is there. In India there is no scarcity to find out a fighter. But when people are trained as śūdra, how he can fight?

Therefore it is very scientific. Cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ [Bg. 4.13]. The society must be divided. There is division already, natural. We have to simply pick up, that "This boy is brāhmaṇa, this boy is kṣatriya, this boy is vaiśya and this boy is śūdra." So they should be given separate employment. Then there will be peace. If a person is employed according to his natural tendency, he becomes successful. He becomes successful. But if you give some employment, just like to put a cart before a horse, like that, no, that will not be successful.

Therefore Kṛṣṇa says that... You can say that "There is no need of kṣatriya; let there be all śūdras." No. Then there will be social scandal. Everything must be there. The brāhmaṇa must be there, the kṣatriya must be there, the vaiśyas must be there and the śūdras must be there, and the state should look that these things are observed scientifically and they are being educated in that way. That is king's business. He must see that the kṣatriyas, those who are kṣatriya spirited, they are being trained up as kṣatriya; the brāhmaṇas are being trained up as brāhmaṇa.

Everything is required. Just like in your body, all the four divisions... Just like head, that is brāhmaṇa; the arms, that is kṣatriya; the belly, that is vaiśya; and the legs, they are śūdra. So as much as the head is required, so much the legs are also required. You cannot say, "One class will do." No. But the modern tendency is one class of men. And therefore there is confusion. There must be four classes. That is scientific.

So our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is trying to educate some brāhmaṇas. If the society take our help and conduct the business of the society---kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra---then there will be peace and prosperity. Otherwise there will be chaos and confusion.

Thank you very much.

Devotees: Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda. [end]