Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.13.15 , Geneva , 1974-06-04
Nitāi: Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. [devotees repeat] [leads chanting of verse, etc.]
yāvad dadhāra śūdratvaṁ
śāpād varṣa-śataṁ yamaḥ
"As long as Vidura played the part of a śūdra, being cursed by Maṇḍūka Muni, Aryamā officiated at the post of Yamarāja to punish those who committed sinful acts."
yāvad dadhāra śūdratvaṁ
śāpād varṣa-śataṁ yamaḥ
So Vidura is Yamarāja, the superintendent of death. After our death, we are brought before the justice Yamarāja, what kind of next birth I may have. So Yamarāja is not śūdra. He is devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa, although he has the duty to punish the criminals. Just like a magistrate is always punishing the criminals; that is his business, but he is not criminal. He is giving judgment to the criminals. Similarly, Yamarāja is the appointed magistrate, superintendent. After death, one has to go before him and take the judgment of his next life. This is the process.
So Vidura was cursed by Maṇḍūka Muni, Maṇḍūka Muni. He was a great sage, but sometimes in his āśrama, some thieves were caught, so police arrested both the Maṇḍūka Muni and the thieves, and later on Maṇḍūka Muni was chastised to be punished by śūla. There was a system of punishment, I do not whether still existing. The śūla means one lance, lancer. Lancer, it is called?
Prabhupāda: It was to be pierced through the rectum, and it will go through the head and the man will die. The pierce was standing, and he was to sit down. What is this punishment? Is there any mention?
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: I never heard of anything.
Devotee: Arabians have this. It is called pala.
Guru-gaurāṅga: He says that in Arabia they still have this.
Devotee: It is called pala.
Prabhupāda: Śūla punishment. So when he was condemned to the śūla punishment, then the king heard that "Maṇḍūka Muni, the great sage, he is punished like that?" Immediately he stopped = "What is this nonsense that Maṇḍūka Muni has been punished? He is a great sage." So the king stopped the punishment and immediately came to see what has happened. Then he was immediately released. But he was very sorry, that "Why the judge Yamarāja punished him like that?" So he asked Yamarāja, "Why you have punished me like this?" "Now, in your childhood you pierced the rectum of an ant with a...," what is called?
Devotees: Pin, straw.
Prabhupāda: No, not straw.
Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Piece of grass.
Prabhupāda: Prick, pricking?
Prabhupāda: Kāṇṭā, kāṇṭā. We say kāṇṭā, that pricks.
Devotees: Straw. Splinter.
Prabhupāda: What is called?
Prabhupāda: Ah, thorn, yes. So therefore he was punished. Now just see. In his childhood he was playing with an ant, piercing the rectum with a thorn. That is also taken account, "All right. You will be punished." Just see how finer laws are there in nature. So the Maṇḍūka Muni did that. Therefore it was recorded he should be punished like that.
This is our position. Anything... If you are walking on the street, if you kill an ant by walking, you will be punished. This is nature's law. We are in such a dangerous position. In every movement there is punishment. Now, if you believe the śāstras, that is different thing. If you don't believe, then do anything you like. But from śāstra we can understand the laws of nature, or God, is very, very strict. Very, very strict. So Maṇḍūka Muni also chastised Yamarāja, that "In my childhood, without any knowledge I did something, and for which you have given me so great punishment. So you are not fit for becoming a brāhmaṇa or kṣatriya. You become śūdra." So he was cursed to become śūdra. Therefore Yamarāja took his birth as Vidura and was born in the womb of a śūdra mother. This is the history of Vidura's birth.
So in his absence, Aryamā, one of the demigods, he officiated Yamarāja. Therefore it is said, abibhrad aryamā daṇḍam. The office must go on; the magistrate post cannot be vacant. Somebody must come and act. So Aryamā was acting. Yathāvad agha-kāriṣu. Agha-kāriṣu. Agha-kāri means... Agha means sinful activities, and kāriṣu, kāriṣu means those who commit sinful acts. And yathāvat. Yathāvat means exactly to the point, how he should be punished. Yathāvad agha-kāriṣu. Yāvad dadhāra śūdratvam. So long Yamarāja continued as a śūdra, Aryamā was officiating in his place as Yamarāja. This is the purport.
[reads purport:] "Vidura, born in the womb of a śūdra mother, was forbidden even to a party of royal heritage along with his brothers Dhṛtarāṣṭra and Pāṇḍu. Then how could he occupy the post of a preacher to instruct such learned... Answer is that even though it is accepted that he was a śūdra by birth, because he renounced the world for spiritual enlightenment by the authority of Ṛṣi Maitreya and was thoroughly educated by him in transcendental knowledge, he was quite competent to occupy the post of an ācārya, or spiritual preceptor." Vidura was a śūdra born, born śūdra. Then how he became a preacher?
So the reason is... [reading:] "According to Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, anyone who is conversant in the transcendental knowledge or the science of Godhead, be he a brāhmaṇa or śūdra, a householder or a sannyāsī, is eligible to become a spiritual master." Not that because he was born a śūdra, he cannot preach, he cannot take the post of ācārya or spiritual master. That is not Caitanya philosophy. Caitanya philosophy has nothing to do with this body, external body. Caitanya philosophy is concerned with the soul. This movement is the movement of elevating the soul, saving the soul from degradation. Therefore people sometimes are surprised. The bodily concept of life, the same activities will be karma. And on the platform of spiritual life, the same karma will be bhakti. Same karma will be bhakti. So bhakti is not inactivity. Bhakti is all active. Yat karoṣi yaj juhoṣi yad aśnāsi yat tapasyasi kuruṣva tad mad-arpaṇam [Bg. 9.27]. This is bhakti, bhakti-yoga. Kṛṣṇa says to everyone, "If you cannot give up your karma, then that's all right. But the result of your karma, give to Me. Then it will be bhakti."
So Vidura was Yamarāja. Not only he was Yamarāja, ordinary, but he is one of the great authorities. There are twelve authorities mentioned in the śāstra. One of them is Yamarāja. Balir vaiyāsakir vayam. This is stated in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Yamarāja is one of the GBC of Kṛṣṇa. Yes. As we have got twelve GBCs, similarly Kṛṣṇa has got twelve GBCs. Now,
kapilo kumāraḥ manuḥ
prahlādo janako bhīṣmo
balir vaiyāsakir vayam
That twelve men are authorized to preach Kṛṣṇa consciousness. So we have to follow. Mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ [Cc. Madhya 17.186]. There we have created these GBCs. So they should be very responsible men; otherwise, they will be punished. They will be punished to become a śūdra. Although Yamarāja is a GBC, but he made a little mistake, he was punished to become a śūdra. So those who are GBC, they should be very, very careful to administer the business of ISKCON. Otherwise they will be punished. As the post is very great, similarly, the punishment is also very great. That is the difficulty. You can see from this example, Vidura. He was immediately punished. He did little mistake at Maṇḍūka... Because the ṛṣis, the munis, they will curse. Dealing is very... Even Yamarāja is not taking.
[reads:] "He was to play the part of so-called śūdra for one hundred years, being cursed by Maṇḍūka Muni. He was the incarnation of Yamarāja, one of the twelve mahājanas, on the level with such exalted personalities as Bhīṣma, Nārada..., Brahmā, Nārada, Śiva, Kapila, Bhīṣma, Prahlāda, etc. Being a mahājana, it is the duty of Yamarāja to preach the cult of devotion to the people of the world as Nārada, Brahmā and other mahājanas do. But Yamarāja is always busy in his plutonic kingdom, punishing the doers of sinful acts. Yamarāja is deputed by the Lord to a particular planet some hundreds of thousands of miles away from this planet." That is mentioned. He has got a different planet, where the criminals are taken away after death, and he gives the judgment, what kind of body he will have. And not like the theosophists' thinking, "Now I have got human body. It is permanent settlement." No, that is not permanent settlement. According to one's work. Work means all sinful acts. Without Kṛṣṇa consciousness, anyone who acts, he acts sinfully. There is no doubt of it. Because he is acting for sense gratification, and sense gratification means almost 99.9% all sinful activities. Duṣkṛtinaḥ. It is very risky job. Unless you act in Kṛṣṇa consciousness... Yajñārthe karmaṇo 'nyatra loko 'yaṁ karma-bandhanaḥ [Bg. 3.9]. This is the stringent law of the nature, that you have to act only for Yajña, for satisfaction of Kṛṣṇa, or Viṣṇu. Otherwise, you will be entangled. And who is serving Kṛṣṇa? Nobody is serving Kṛṣṇa. So everyone is being entangled. This is the material world.
[reads:] "Yamarāja is deputed by the Lord to a particular planet, some hundreds of thousands of miles away from the planet of earth, to take away the corrupt souls after death and convict them in accordance with their respective sinful activities. Thus, Yamarāja has very little time to take leave from his responsible office of punishing the wrongdoers. There are more wrongdoers than righteous men. Therefore Yamarāja has to do [more] work than other demigods who are also authorized agents of the Supreme Lord. But he wanted to preach the glories of the Lord, and therefore, by the will of the Lord, he was cursed by Maṇḍūka Muni to come into the world in the incarnation of Vidura and work very hard as a great devotee."
The punishment was also reward. Those who are servants of Kṛṣṇa, even they are so-called punished, there is some motive behind this. Just like Jaya-Vijaya. They were also punished to come down and..., just to become enemy of Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa... When they were very much perturbed that "We are going to the material world from Vaikuṇṭha, so what will be our fate, Sir? There is some little mistake on our part. What we shall do?" So Kṛṣṇa gave him that "If you become My enemy, then you will be relieved in three births, and if you become My friend, then seven births." So the Jaya-Vijaya agreed, "Sir, we shall become Your enemy."
So what is the purport? Kṛṣṇa wanted some enemy to fight, just like we sometimes want to fight. So this desire is there, Kṛṣṇa. Otherwise, where we get this desire? So actually, it was Kṛṣṇa's service, this Jaya-Vijaya. Kṛṣṇa wanted to have some fight. In the spiritual world there cannot be fight. There is no fight; there is only service. Therefore some of His devotees, the Jaya-Vijaya, agreed to become His enemy, come to this material world and to..., Kṛṣṇa fought with the Jaya-Vijaya. Rāmacandra, He fought with Rāvaṇa, and as Nṛsiṁha-deva, He fought with Hiraṇyakaśipu, and as Kṛṣṇa, He fought with Yamarā..., er, Kaṁsa. So similarly, Vidura also, he thought that "I am always busy in this magisterial work, simply to punish. I have no chance to preach." So Kṛṣṇa is very kind to His devotee. So He gave the chance to preach. So this was the arrangement, that he was cursed by Maṇḍūka Muni, came down to this material world. That is also material. Yamarāja's planet is also in the material world. Therefore he was given the chance of preaching.
[reads:] "He is transcendental to such divisions of mundane society, just as the Personality of Godhead assumes His incarnation as a hog, but He is not hog." If somebody thinks that He has come as a hog, playing the part of a hog, that is not the fact. Even though assumes the... [reads:] "The Lord and His different authorized devotees sometimes have to play the role of many lower creatures to claim the conditioned soul, but both the Lord and His pure devotees are always in the transcendental position." Etad īśanam īśasya. That is the authority of God, that even though He accepts some lower position, He is never in the lower position. He is always in the transcendental position. I have given the example yesterday = just like the sun is sometimes evaporating the urine. This is not very good business. But still, sun is sun. He is never polluted. Similarly, Kṛṣṇa or His devotee, if sometimes apparently does something which is not befitting their position, still, they are in their position. This is the conclusion. Kṛṣṇa has given this concession to His devotee.
It is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā,
bhajate mām ananya-bhāk
sādhur eva sa mantavyaḥ
samyag vyavasito hi saḥ
Even sometimes, not by willingly, sometimes accidentally, a devotee... Just like the other day in the meeting somebody was giving the example, "Lord Christ, he ate fish." So he can do that. There was some necessity. But you cannot do that. So even though it is sometimes done, abominable, but they're..., still they are in exalted position. This is to be understood. Tejīyasāṁ na doṣāya [SB 10.33.29]. Tejīyasām, those who are very, very powerful, anything abominable done by them, it does not contaminate. This is to be understood. But you cannot do that. You cannot imitate.
[reads:] "When Yamarāja thus incarnated himself as Vidura, his post was officiated by Aryamā, one of the many sons of Kaśyapa and Aditi, the Ādityas, or sons of Aditi, and there are twelve Ādityas. Aryamā is one of the twelve Ādityas, and therefore it was quite possible for him to take charge of the office of Yamarāja during his one hundred years' absence in the form of Vidura. The conclusion is that Vidura was never a śūdra, but was greater than the purest type of brāhmaṇa."
Now, have kīrtana.
Devotees: Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda. [end]