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Krsna Book Audio Dictation - Chapter 23

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His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Twenty-three. Subject matter: "Delivering the Wives of the Brāhmaṇas who Performed Sacrifices."

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The cowherds boys began to say, "My dear Kṛṣṇa, my dear Balarāma, You are both all-powerful and You can kill so many demons, but today we are very much afflicted with hunger, and it is disturbing us. Please therefore arrange for something by which we can mitigate our hunger."

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In this way, when Lord Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma were requested by Their cowherds boys friend, They immediately became compassionate on the wives of the brāhmaṇas who were performing sacrifices. These wives of the brāhmaṇas were great devotees of the Lord, and Kṛṣṇa thus took this opportunity to bless the wives of the brāhmaṇas.

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Lord Kṛṣṇa said, "My dear cowherds boys, please go to the house of the brāhmaṇas nearby who are now engaged in performing Vedic sacrifices known as āṅgirasa with a desire for being elevated to the heavenly planets. All of you please go to them." Lord Kṛṣṇa warned His friend that "These brāhmaṇas are not Vaiṣṇavas. They cannot even chant Our names, Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma. They are very busy in chanting the Vedic hymns, although the purpose of Vedic knowledge is to search out Me. But because they are not attracted so much by the name of Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, better do not ask them anything on My name. Better you ask them for some charity in the name of Balarāma."

Because charity is generally given to the high class brāhmaṇas, but Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma externally did not appear in any brāhmaṇa family. Balarāma was known as the son of Vasudeva, a kṣatriya, and Kṛṣṇa was known in Vṛndāvana as the son of Nanda Mahārāja, who is a vaiśya. None of them belonged to the brāhmaṇa community. Therefore, the brāhmaṇas who were engaged in performing sacrifices might not be induced to give such charity to the kṣatriyas and vaiśyas. "But it may be that if you utter the name of Balarāma, they would prefer to give charity to kṣatriya than to Me, because I am vaiśya."

In this way, being ordered by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, all the cowherds boy went there and began to ask for some charity of foodstuff. First of all they approached there, and with folded hands they fell down on the ground to offer them respect and addressed them, "O earthly gods, kindly hear from us who are ordered by Lord Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma. We hope you know Them very well, and we wish you all auspicity. Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma are tending cows nearby, and we have all accompanied Them. We have come to ask from you for some foodstuff. You are all brāhmaṇas and knower of religious principle. If you think that you should give us some charity, then give us some foodstuff. We shall all eat along with Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma. You are the most respectable brāhmaṇas within the human society, and you are expected to know all the principles of religious procedures."

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The idea is that the cowherds boys, although they were village boys not expected to learn all the Vedic principles of religious rituals, still, they hinted that by nature, on account of their being always associated with Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, they knew all the principles of religious rituals. Another point of view was expressed by them by addressing the brāhmaṇas as “knower of all religious principle,” means when the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, were asking for something foodstuff, they would immediately deliver some foodstuff without any hesitation because as it is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, "One should perform the yajṣas or sacrifices only for the satisfaction of Viṣṇu."

"Here Lord Viṣṇu as Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma are standing, and you should immediately deliver whatever foodstuff you have got at your stock." They also explained to the brāhmaṇas where foodstuff are to be accepted and where not to be accepted. Generally, the Vaiṣṇavas, or pure devotees of the Lord, do not take part in ordinary sacrificial performances. But they knew it very well in the sacrifices there are certain ceremonials called by the name dīkṣā, paśusamtha, sautrāmnya. They said that "After the procedure of dīkṣā and before the animal sacrificial ceremony, as well as sautrāmnya, or the ceremony in which liquors are also offered, if somebody takes the foodstuff it is not prohibitory. Therefore at the present stage if we take your foodstuff, it will be not prohibitory. So you can deliver us the foodstuff."

The companions of Lord Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, although they were simply cowherds boys, they could dictate even the high class brāhmaṇas engaged in the Vedic rituals of performing sacrifices. But the smārta brāhmaṇas, who were simply sacrificial-minded, they could not understand the dictation of the transcendental devotees of the Lord. They could not even appreciate the begging of the Supreme Lord, Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma. As such, although they heard all the arguments on order of Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, they did not care for it.

This degraded position is always there for the nondevotees, in spite of their being very highly elevated in the knowledge of Vedic sacrificial rites. Actually, all such nondevotee brāhmaṇas, although they think of themselves as very highly elevated, they are ignorant, foolish persons, and all their activities are like childish activities. They do not know what is the purpose of the Vedas, as it is explained in the Bhagavad-gītā that the purpose of the Vedas is to understand Kṛṣṇa. So in spite of their advancement in Vedic knowledge and rituals, they did not understand what is Kṛṣṇa. Therefore their understanding of Vedas was simply waste of time, without any purpose.

Lord Caitanya, therefore, gave His valuable opinion definitely that a person, even though he may not be born in a brāhmaṇa family, but if he knows Kṛṣṇa or the science of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he is more than a brāhmaṇa and quite fit for becoming the spiritual master.

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There are various detail arrangements in the matter of performing sacrifices, called by the name deśa, place; kāla means the time; pṛthak dravya, different detailed paraphernalia; mantra, hymns; tantra, scriptural evidences; agni, fire; ṛtvij, the learned performers of sacrifices; devatās, the demigods; yajamāna, the performer of the sacrifices; kratu, the sacrifice itself; dharma, the procedures. All these things for satisfying Kṛṣṇa. It is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā that He is the actual enjoyer of all sacrifices because He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead directly and the Supreme Absolute Truth, beyond the conception or speculation of material senses. He is present there just like ordinary human boy, but it was very difficult to understand Him for persons who identify themselves with this body. Therefore the brāhmaṇas were very much interested with the comforts of this material body by elevating themselves to the higher planetary residence called svarga-vāsa. They were completely unable to understand the position of Kṛṣṇa.

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When the cowherds boy saw the brāhmaṇas silent, without replying anything yes or no, at that time they became very much disappointed and came back to Lord Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma and explained all the circumstances happened there. After hearing their statement, the Supreme Personality of Godhead began to smile and convinced them that they should not be sorry for being refused by the brāhmaṇas, because that is the way of begging. He convinced them that while one is engaged in the business of collecting or begging, he should not be confident that everywhere he would be successful. Somewhere he may be unsuccessful, but that should not be the cause of disappointment.

Thus he asked all the cowherds boy to walk again to the wives of those brāhmaṇas engaged in sacrifices and ask them for some foodstuff. He also informed them that these wives of the brāhmaṇas were great devotees. "They are always absorbed in Our thought, Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma. Therefore you go there and ask them for some foodstuff in the name of Me as well as Balarāmajī, and I am sure that they would deliver you as much foodstuff as you desire to take."

The cowherds, therefore, carrying the order of Kṛṣṇa, immediately went to the wives of the brāhmaṇas inside the house where they were sitting, very beautifully decorated with ornaments, and after offering them all respectful obeisances, the cowherds boys began to say as follows: "My dear mother, the wives of the brāhmaṇas, please accept our humble obeisances and hear our statement. We may inform you that Lord Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma are just nearby. They have come here for tending the cows, and you may know also that we have come here under His instructions. At this time, all of us are very hungry. Therefore we have come to you for getting some foodstuff. Please therefore give us some foodstuff for eating both for Kṛṣṇa-Balarāma and ourselves."

The wives of the brāhmaṇas, because they were always very much anxious to see Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, immediately after hearing the statement of the cowherds boy become very much anxious and respectful for Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma. These symptoms of the wives of the brāhmaṇas are called spontaneous. They were not to be convinced about the importance of Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma; but immediately after hearing Their names and presence, they become very anxious to see Them on account of their previously being advanced by thinking of Kṛṣṇa constantly, thereby performing the greatest form of mystic meditation. After this, all the wives of the brāhmaṇas become very busily engaged in filling up different pots with nice foodstuff. On account of performance of the sacrifice, the foodstuff were all made very palatable as in varieties. Then after collecting the foodstuff they began to go towards Kṛṣṇa, their most lovable objective, exactly in the manner the rivers flow down towards the sea.

Since a very, very long time they were anxious to see Kṛṣṇa. But at this time, when they were going out of home to Kṛṣṇa, all their husbands, fathers, sons and relatives asked them not to go in that way, but they did not care for them. A devotee, when he is called by the attraction of Kṛṣṇa, does not care for anyone materially related with this body, then what to speak of the wives of the brāhmaṇas, who were since a very, very long time attracted to Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is prayed by the Vedic hymns by learned devotees.

In this way, the women entered the forest of Vṛndāvana on the bank of Yamunā, where every place was decorated with green vegetation and newly grown twigs and flowers. And they saw within that forest Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma engaged in tending the cows, along with Their very affectionate friends, the cowherds boys.

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The brāhmaṇas' wife, after entering the forest, they saw Kṛṣṇa in blackish hue of complexion. He was putting on a garment which was glittering like gold, and He had nice garland of forest flowers, with a peacock feather on His head. He was also painted with the minerals available in Vṛndāvana, and exactly looking like a dancing actor on theatrical stage. They saw Him that He was keeping one hand on the shoulder of His friend, and in other hand He was holding a lotus flower. He was decorated on both the ears with lily flower, and on His forehead there were marks of tilaka, and on the face He was decorated with nice smiling. Thus the wives of the brāhmaṇas saw the Supreme Personality of Godhead Kṛṣṇa directly with their eyes, of whom they heard so much through their ears and who was so much dear to them, and in whom their mind was always absorbed. In other words, what they previously heard about Kṛṣṇa and His beauty they saw Him eye to eye, face to face.

And as soon as they saw Kṛṣṇa in that way, immediately Kṛṣṇa entered within their heart through the eyes and they began to embrace Kṛṣṇa to their hearts' content so that the distress of separation was mitigated immediately, exactly like great sages by their advancement of knowledge merge into the existence of the Supreme.

At that time Lord Kṛṣṇa, who is the Supersoul living in everyone's heart, could understand their mind, that they had come to Him, neglecting all restriction of their relatives, fathers, husband, brothers, and all duties of household affairs, in order to see Him who was their life and soul. Lord Kṛṣṇa could understand their feelings because it was exactly corroborating His instruction in the Bhagavad-gītā. In the Bhagavad-gītā He has instructed that one should surrender to Him, giving up all different varieties of occupational and religious duties. So the wives of the brāhmaṇas had actually carried the instruction of Bhagavad-gītā in toto, and therefore He began to speak to them, smiling very magnificently.

We should, however, note in this connection that the wives of the brāhmaṇas who entered Kṛṣṇa in their heart by seeing Him and began to embrace Him, and thus they felt the transcendental bliss of becoming merged into Him, does not mean that the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa lost His existence or the individual wife of the brāhmaṇas lost his (her) existence. The individuality of both the Lord and the wives of the brāhmaṇas remained as it is. Still, they felt oneness in existence. When a lover submits to his lover without any pinch of personal consideration, that is called oneness. Lord Caitanya has taught us this feeling of oneness in His Śikṣāṣṭaka verse, that Kṛṣṇa may act freely, whatever He likes, but the devotee should always be in oneness or in agreement with His desires. That oneness is exhibited by the wives of the brāhmaṇas here in connection with their love for Kṛṣṇa.

Kṛṣṇa welcomed them in the following words: "My dear wives of the brāhmaṇas, you are all very fortunate, and you are welcome here. Please let Me know what can I do for you? Your coming here, neglecting all the restrictions and hindrances of relatives, fathers, brothers, husband, in order to see Me here is completely befitting. One who does like this actually knows his self-interest, because to render transcendental loving service unto Me, without any motive and without any restriction, is actually auspiciosity for all living entities."

Lord Kṛṣṇa confirmed herewith that the highest perfectional stage of conditioned soul is to surrender unto Him, giving up all other responsibilities. This complete surrender unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the most auspicious act of the conditioned soul because the Supreme Lord is the supreme objective of love. Everyone is loving his self according to the advancement of his knowledge. Ultimately, when one comes to the understanding that his self means his spirit soul, and the spirit soul is nothing but part and parcel of the Supreme Lord, therefore the Supreme Lord is the ultimate goal of love and thus surrenders unto Him. This act is considered as auspicious for the conditioned soul.

Our life, property, home, wife, children, house, country, society and all paraphernalia which are very, very dear to us are but expansion of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the central object of love because He gives us all bliss, expanding Himself in so many ways according to our different types of situation, namely bodily, mental or spiritual.

"So My dear the wives of the brāhmaṇas, you can now return to your home and engage yourself in the sacrificial activities and be engaged in the service of your husbands and household affairs, so that your husbands will be pleased upon you and the sacrifice which they have begun will be properly executed. After all, your husbands are householders, and without your help how they can execute their prescribed duties?"

The wives of the brāhmaṇas replied in this connection, addressing Kṛṣṇa, "My dear Lord, this sort of instruction unto us does not befit You. Your eternal promise is that You shall always protect Your devotees, and You must fulfill this promise now. This means that anyone who comes and surrenders unto You never goes back to the conditioned life of material existence. We expect that You shall now fulfill Your promise. Now we have surrendered unto Your lotus feet, which is covered by the tulasī leaves, and we have no more any desire to go back in the company of our so-called relatives, friends and society, giving up Your shelter of the lotus feet.

“And what shall we do, returning home? Because our husbands, our brothers, our fathers, our sons, our mothers, our friends would no more accept us at home because we have already left them all. Therefore. we have no other shelter to go back again. Please, therefore, do not ask us to go back to home but arrange for our stay under Your lotus feet so that eternally we can live under Your protection."

On this the Supreme Personality of Godhead replied as follows: "My dear the wives of the brāhmaṇas, be rest assured that your husbands will not neglect you on your return. Neither your brothers, sons or fathers will refuse to accept you. Because you are so pure devotees of Myself, not only your relatives but also people in general, as well as the demigods, everyone will be satisfied upon you." In other words, Kṛṣṇa being situated as the Supersoul in everyone's heart, if somebody becomes pure devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa, he immediately becomes pleasing to everyone. The pure devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa is never inimical to anyone, neither a sane person can become enemy of a pure devotee. "Transcendental love upon Me does not depend on bodily connection, but anyone whose mind is always absorbed in Me, surely he will..., very soon he would come to Me for My eternal association."

Thus after being instructed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, all the wives of the brāhmaṇas performing sacrifices again returned home, and their respective husbands also, being pleased to see their wives back home, executed the performance of sacrifices sitting together as it is enjoined in the śāstras. According to Vedic principle, any religious rituals must be executed by the husband and wife together. So when the brāhmaṇas' wife returned, the sacrifice which was arranged to be performed was duly and nicely executed. One of the brāhmaṇas' wife, however, who was forcibly checked from going to Kṛṣṇa at that time, the woman began to remember Kṛṣṇa as she heard of His bodily feature and, being completely absorbed in thought, gave up this material body conditioned by the laws of nature.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead, after the departure of the wives of the brāhmaṇas…


Kṛṣṇa, tape number twenty-five. Kṛṣṇa, tape number twenty-five. August 14th, 1969.

Śrī Govinda, along with cowherds boyfriends, enjoyed those four kinds of foodstuff offered by the wives of the brāhmaṇas, and in this way the ever-joyful Personality of Godhead repeated His transcendental pastimes just like an ordinary human being in order to attract the common men to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. And in this way, He enjoyed and attracted with words and beauty all the cows, cowherds boys and damsels in Vṛndāvana. All of them enjoyed together the pastimes of the Lord.

The brāhmaṇas, however, engaged in the performance of sacrifices after the return of their wives from Kṛṣṇa, began to regret very much for their sinful activities in the matter of refusing foodstuff to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They could understand their mistake that while the Supreme Personality of Godhead just like ordinary human being was asking some foodstuff from them, they neglected and were engaged in the performance of Vedic rituals. Thus they began to condemn themselves after seeing the faith and devotion of their respective wives. They regretted very much that while their wives were so much elevated to the platform of pure devotional service, they could not understand even a little bit of it how to love and offer transcendental loving service to the Supreme Soul.

They began to say amongst themselves that "Hell to our being born as a brāhmaṇa! Hell to our learning of all Vedic literatures! Hell to our performing great sacrifices, observing all the rules and regulation! Hell to our family! Hell to our expert service in the matter of performing the rituals exactly to the description of scriptures, because we have not developed transcendental loving service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is beyond the speculation of mind, body and the senses."

The learned brāhmaṇas, expert in Vedic ritualistic performances, rightly regretted because without developing Kṛṣṇa consciousness, all discharge of religious duties is simply a waste of time and energy. They began to speak amongst themselves that "The external energy of Kṛṣṇa is so strong that it can create illusion even to the greatest mystic yogī. As such, although we expert brāhmaṇas are considered to be the teachers of all other section of the human society, we have also been illusioned by such external energy. But just see how fortunate are these women who have so devotedly dedicated their life to the Supreme Personality of Godhead Kṛṣṇa, so much so that they could easily give up the family connection, which is so difficult to do and which is just like dark well for continuation of material miseries."

In other words, the woman as a class, being very simple in their heart, can very easily take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness; and when such Kṛṣṇa consciousness develops into love of Kṛṣṇa, they can very easily get liberation from the clutches of māyā, which is very difficult to surpass even by the so-called intelligent and learned men. According to Vedic injunction, the woman is not allowed to undergo the purificatory process of being initiated by the sacred thread. Neither they are allowed to live as brahmacāriṇī in the āśrama of the spiritual master. Neither they are advised to undergo the strict disciplinary procedure. Nor they are very much expert in discussing philosophy of self-realization, and by nature they are not very pure. Nor they are very much attached to activities of auspiciosity.

"But how wonderful it is that still they have developed transcendental love for Kṛṣṇa, the Lord of all mystic yogīs, and they have surpassed in firm faith and devotion to the Lord all of us, although we are considered to be first in all purificatory processes. Being too much attached to materialistic way of life, we did not know actually what is the goal of our interests, and even though we were reminded by the cowherds boy, Lord Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma, we did not take care of Them. We therefore think that it was simply a trick of mercy upon us by the Supreme Personality of Godhead by sending His cowherds boys friends to ask foodstuff from us. Otherwise, He had no necessity of sending the cowherds boys to us. He could satisfy their hunger then and there by willing to do so."

If somebody denies Kṛṣṇa's self-sufficiency because He was tending cows for livelihood, or somebody doubts about His not being in necessity of the foodstuff, He was actually hungry and therefore He sent His cowherds boyfriends to ask for the foodstuff, such person must understand that the goddess of fortune is always engaged in His service in order to eradicate faulty habit of restlessness.

In Vedic literatures like Brahma-saṁhitā it is stated that Kṛṣṇa is served in His abode not only by one goddess of fortune but many, many thousands of goddess of fortune with great respect. Therefore, it is simply illusion for the common philosophical men to understand that Kṛṣṇa begged foodstuff from the brāhmaṇas. It was actually a trick for showing them the mercy of accepting Him in pure devotional service instead of being engaged in ritualistic ceremonies of Vedic injunction. The Vedic ceremonial paraphernalia, like suitable place, suitable time, different grades of articles for performing such ritualistic ceremonies, the Vedic hymns, the process, the priest who is able to perform such sacrifices, and the fire and the demigods and the performer of such sacrifice, and the religiostic principles—all are meant for understanding Kṛṣṇa, and Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead directly. He is the Supreme Lord Viṣṇu and the Lord of all mystic yogīs.

"Because He has appeared in the dynasty of the Yadus, we are so fool that we could not understand Him that He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. But on the other hand, we are very much proud because we have such exalted wives who developed such pure transcendental loving service for the Lord, without being shackled by our rigid opposition. Let us therefore offer our respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of Lord Kṛṣṇa, under whose illusion only we are so much absorbed in the fruitive activities under the spell of māyā. We therefore pray to the Lord to be kind enough to excuse us, because we are simply captivated by the external energy of the Lord and thus transgressed His orders without knowing His transcendental glories."

In this way, the brāhmaṇas began to repent for their sinful activities on account of disobeying the orders of Kṛṣṇa, and they wanted to go personally and offer their obeisances unto Him. But being afraid of Kaṁsa, they could not go to Kṛṣṇa and surrender unto Him. In other words, it is very difficult for one to surrender fully unto the Personality of Godhead without being purified by devotional service. The examples of the learned brāhmaṇas and their wives are vivid in this connection. The wives of the brāhmaṇas, because they were enthused by pure devotional service, they did not care any kind of opposition and immediately went to Kṛṣṇa. But the brāhmaṇas, although they are repenting and although they have come to know the supremacy of the Lord, they were still afraid of King Kaṁsa because they were too much addicted to the Vedic ocean of fruitive activities.

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Thus ends the Bhaktivedanta purport of the Twenty-third Chapter, Kṛṣṇa, in the matter of "Delivering the Wives of the Brāhmaṇas who Performed Yajṣas."