Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 6.1.6 , Nellore , 1976-01-05


adhuneha mahā-bhāga
yathaiva narakān naraḥ
nānogra-yātanān neyāt
tan me vyākhyātum arhasi

This is from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Sixth Chapter. This is our latest publication, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Therefore I am taking advantage of this publication to present before you. So in the Fifth Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Śukadeva Gosvāmī has given a vivid description of the naraka planets, or the hellish condition of life. Fifth Canto, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Śukadeva Gosvāmī has given a vivid description of the naraka planets, or the hellish planets. So this verse I am quoting from the First Chapter, Sixth Canto, that Parīkṣit Mahārāja is asking Śukadeva Gosvāmī, "How the people suffering in hellish condition of life can be delivered?" [break] Let him... [break] This is the beginning of the Sixth Chapter of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. [devotee translates thoughout]

At the end of the Fifth Chapter, Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī has given description of the hellish planets. You have seen in the sky, there are millions and millions of stars or planets, and they are divided into three groups. Everything is described in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. So as it is said in the Bhagavad-gītā, ūrdhvaṁ gacchanti sattva-sthāḥ [Bg. 14.18]. [break] ...sattva-sthāḥ, meaning that those who are in the sattva-guṇa, modes of goodness, they are promoted to the higher planetary system. Madhye tiṣṭhanti rājasaḥ: "Those who are under the influence of passion, they remain in the middle planetary system." And those who are in the lowest grade of tamo-guṇa, adho gacchanti tāmasāḥ. So Parīkṣit Mahārāja, after hearing the pitiable condition of persons in the hellish planets, he became sympathetic. Therefore he is putting the statement before Śukadeva Gosvāmī, adhuneha mahā-bhāga yathaiva narakān naraḥ: "My dear sir, you have described about the hellish condition of the suffering persons. Now kindly give me any enlightenment how they can be delivered."

This is the symptom of a Vaiṣṇava. Vaiṣṇava cannot tolerate the sufferings of the humanity. Just like Prahlāda Mahārāja, he said before Nṛsiṁha-deva, naitad udvije paro duratyaya-vaitaraṇyāḥ: "My dear Lord, I have no problem how to get delivered from this material world." Because a devotee is already on the transcendental platform. It is said in the Bhagavad-gītā,

māṁ ca vyabhicāriṇi
bhakti-yogena yaḥ sevate
sa guṇān samatītyaitān

Means anyone who is engaged in devotional service, he is already on the Brahman platform. Therefore a devotee means he is already in the Brahman platform, or spiritual platform. So Parīkṣit Mahārāja became very anxious how this suffering humanity can be saved. Here it is said, nānā ugra yātanāt neyāt tan me vyākhyātum arhasi: "Kindly give me some enlightenment how these people can be saved from this severe type of suffering."

So at the present moment in this age of Kali people are so fallen low that they do not know what is going to happen in the future. They are dismissing the whole problem by saying that there is no next life. This is very precarious condition of the modern civilization. So as there are comfortable life, we can see there are discomfortable life also. So there is understanding of pāpa and puṇya. Especially in the human form of life one should know what is pāpa and what is puṇya. The human life is responsible life. You have got practical experience that if you violate the law of the state you become criminal and punished. But if the cats and dogs or animals, they violate the law, they are not punishable. Therefore human life must be very responsible. Yes. So Śukadeva Gosvāmī says, "My dear king, if before one's next death whatever impious acts one has performed in this life with his mind, words and body are not counteracted through proper atonement according to the description of the Manu-saṁhitā and other dharma-śāstras, one will certainly enter into the hellish planets after death and undergo terrible sufferings as I have previously described."

So just like in our ordinary life if we commit some sinful activity and if we plead in the court, "My dear judge, I did not know the law," so this kind of pleading will not help him. Ignorance is no excuse. Therefore human life is distinct from animal life. If we live in human life without caring for the supreme laws, then we are destined to suffer. Therefore in the human society there is a system of religion and scripture. It is the duty of the human being to understand the laws of the nature, the injunction in the śāstras and live very honestly according to their direction. In the Bhagavad-gītā Kṛṣṇa says,

yaḥ śāstra-vidhim utsṛjya
vartate kāma-kārataḥ
na siddhiṁ sa avapnoti
na sukhaṁ na parāṁ gatim

"Anyone who does not follow the instruction of the śāstras and live whimsically as very free to act, such person never gets perfection of life, no happiness, and what to speak of going back to home, back to Godhead." Especially in India, who are born as Indians, they have got a special facility to get this transcendental knowledge from śāstras. Caitanya Mahāprabhu advised, or ordered, to every Indian that "You make your life perfect by going through the śāstras and distribute this knowledge throughout the whole world for welfare activities." The exact words in Bengali is like this,

bhārata bhūmite manuṣya-janma haila yāra
janma sārthaka kari' kara para-upakāra

[Cc. Ādi 9.41]

Means anyone who has taken birth in this holy land of Bhāratavarṣa must make his life successful by going through the śāstras and distribute the knowledge throughout the whole world.

Therefore I am appealing to my Indian brothers to take up this missionary work as ordered by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Especially my appeal is to the people of South India, because all our ācāryas---Rāmānujācārya, Madhvācārya, Nimbārka, Viṣṇu Svāmī, Śaṅkarācārya---they came out from South India. So I especially request gentlemen present here to take up this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement very seriously and join with us. [break] ...says that before our next death comes... Death will come. We say generally, "As sure as death." For our next life. Śukadeva Gosvāmī advises, according to our Vedic principle, before death there is a ceremony which is called prāyaścitta, or atonement. He advises that when a diseased man goes to a physician, the physician, after diagnosing the disease, he gives the suitable medicine. If the disease is very serious, sometimes very expensive medicine is recommended. There is some example in the Caitanya Mahāprabhu's time. One gentleman, he was a big zamindar, landholder. He was converted into a Muslim. In those days, five hundred years ago, it was not very difficult to convert a person into Muslim religion. If a Muslim would take some water from his water pot and sprinkle on the body of a Hindu, he would become Muslim. In this way, so many people were converted into Muslims. So I am quoting these instances in this respect because when in those days people would go to the brāhmaṇa to take advice for atonement they would give so severe type of atonement, that it was impossible to perform.

So there was the king in Bengal at that time. He was known as Nawab Hussein Shah. Formerly he was a Muhammadan servant to a big Hindu landlord. So this boy servant committed some theft, so the master punished him by striking with a cane. So the striking mark of the cane was there on his backside. So one day the Nawab's wife, Begum, saw the mark and inquired from her husband, "What is this mark?" So the Nawab described that in his childhood, when he was a servant of that Hindu gentleman, Buddhimanta Khan, he beat him with that cane, and that mark is there. So the wife of the Nawab, Begum Saiyada, she requested that "You kill this man. Otherwise people will blaspheme you." The Nawab, however, declined = "No, no, this cannot... This is not possible. He was my master, just like my father. He chastised me. There was no fault." So the wife then requested, "At least make him a Muhammadan." So the Nawab, to satisfy his wife, he agreed, "Well, that is not very difficult task." So one day he called Buddhimanta Khan and sprinkled the water on his body.

So Buddhimanta Khan took it that he has now become a Muhammadan, so he went to the brāhmaṇa for consultation. So when Buddhimanta Khan went to a bhaṭṭācārya, he said that "The...," what is called, "prāyaścitta is that you melt one kilogram of...," what is called, "lead, and drink it." So he, being helpless, he went to consult another brāhmaṇa bhaṭṭācārya. He said, "All right, if you cannot drink molten lead, then you can drink one kilo of melted ghee." So in this way, when he was helpless, he went to Caitanya Mahāprabhu. So Caitanya Mahāprabhu knew the situation of the then society. He therefore advised him that "You better give your family life. You go to Vṛndāvana." So He advised him that "Go to Vṛndāvana, live there and chant Hare Kṛṣṇa." So the difficulty is, in the śāstras there are atonement for prāyaścitta of so..., not like that---you drink hot ghee or hot lead---but there are prāyaścittas. So one has to execute that.

So when Śukadeva Gosvāmī recommended, "My dear King, you are very anxious for these persons suffering in the hell. They have to perform prāyaścitta." So Śukadeva Gosvāmī, after recommending this, could not satisfy Parīkṣit Mahārāja. He was king, kṣatriya. He knew the nature of the citizens. Therefore he said,

dṛṣṭa-śrutābhyāṁ yat pāpaṁ
janānn apy ātmano 'hitam
karoti bhūyo vivaśaḥ
prāyaścittam atho katham

The Mahārāja Parīkṣit said, "One may know that sinful activity is injurious for him because he actually sees that a criminal is punished by the government and rebuked by people in general, and because he hears from the scriptures and learned scholars that one is thrown into hellish condition in the next life for committing sinful act, nevertheless, in spite of such knowledge one is forced to commit sins again and again, even after performing acts of atonement. Therefore what is the value of such atonement?" Parīkṣit Mahārāja was ruler, the king. He knew everything practically, that so many citizens committing criminal act were imprisoned and punished. Still, they, after coming back from the jail, prisonhouse, again committed. So on the whole, Parīkṣit Mahārāja did not like the process of prāyaścitta is ultimately beneficial to the people.

That we get experience by two methods = by seeing and by hearing. Just like a criminal, a thief, he has seen that previously a man who stole, he was arrested by the police and punished, and he has heard also from authorities, from lawyers, that "Stealing is bad. If you are arrested you will be put into the prison." So this is the defect of the modern civilization. They are enacting so many laws to stop criminal, but the criminality is increasing. The practical example is, when you go to the airport there is security checking. So all gentlemen, whoever he may be---sometimes they excuse me---but they are checked thoroughly. So the authorities check everyone means that everyone is dishonest. So what is the value of this education if everyone is criminal and dishonest? So Parīkṣit Mahārāja is intelligent devotee. He therefore protested against this so-called atonement. Therefore he describes like this, dṛṣṭa-śrutābhyāṁ yat pāpaṁ janānn apy ātmano 'hitam [SB 6.1.9]. Everyone knows that "I am stealing; it is not good for me," but even though he is put into the jail as prāyaścitta, again he comes back and does the same thing. Then what is the meaning of this legal punishment or prāyaścitta? Therefore Parīkṣit Mahārāja says that,

kvacin nivartate 'bhadrāt
kvacic carati tat punaḥ
prāyaścittam atho 'pārtham
manye kuñjara-śaucavat

He gave very good example, that "This prāyaścitta, or legal punishment, is like kuñjara-śaucavat." Kuñjara means "elephant," and śauca, "taking bath." So kuñjara, the elephant, dips itself into the water and takes bath very thoroughly, and as soon as it comes on the land, it takes some dust and throws over his body. The purpose is that unless one is fully convinced that "Sinful activities are very, very abominable for me," he cannot give it up. Therefore one has to cleanse his heart. That is real prāyaścitta. Otherwise, even being imprisoned or giving fine or suffering, one cannot cease from sinful activities.

So this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is thoroughly wholesale process of cleansing the mind. Therefore Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has given His own version = ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanaṁ bhava-mahā-dāvāgni-nirvāpaṇaṁ śreyaḥ-kairava-candrikā-vitaraṇaṁ vidyā-vadhū-jīvanam [Cc. Antya 20.12]. The purport is---it is a long verse---that by chanting, paraṁ vijayate śrī-kṛṣṇa-saṅkīrtanam, if we perform this Kṛṣṇa saṅkīrtana, then immediately our core of heart, which is filled up with all dirty things, will be cleansed. For example, you can see practically all my disciples present here, they are coming from Western countries---Europe, America, or even in India, Parsis and other, Muhammadans, they are coming. But they are now pure, cleansed of all dirty things. In this movement throughout the whole world there are at least ten to twelve thousand devotees like that. And before this life they were addicted to all kinds of sinful life. We have summarized all sinful activities into four groups, namely, illicit sex, meat-eating, intoxication and gambling. So all these ten to twelve thousand men who are now attached with this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, they are not committing these four pillars of sinful life.

Therefore our request is that you take to this chanting method. It is very easy = Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare, and gradually you shall become free from all sinful reaction of life. But one thing we must be very careful = that we should not commit again sinful life. If you chant Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, you become free immediately from all sinful reaction. But if you commit again sinful life, that is your responsibility. This is warned very... Amongst the ten kinds of offenses, one offense is very grievous offense = nāmnād balād yasya hi pāpa-buddhiḥ---if one thinks that "I am chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa; therefore whatever sinful acts I am doing, it is becoming counteracted." If you keep yourself on the platform of chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra and do not commit willfully again sinful life, then you are liberated. So not only mukti-mārga; if you keep yourself always pure, do not commit any sinful activity and chant Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, then your life is successful. Don't commit the mistake of the elephant, that take bath thoroughly and again come and throw dust on your body.

I think I shall end tonight this here. Thank you very much. [end]