"The Ropes Of Affection"

Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.8.41
Mayapura, October 21, 1974

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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada<br>Founder-Acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness

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Nitai: "O Lord of the universe, soul of the universe, O personality of the form of the universe, please, therefore, sever my tie of affection for my kinsmen, the Pandavas and the Vrsnis."


atha visvesa visvatman
visva-murte svakesu me
sneha-pasam imam chindhi
drdham pandusu vrsnisu

Kuntidevi is woman. So as a man has got one family, the woman has got two families. Affection... A man has got affection for one family, but a woman has got affection for two families: father's family and husband's family. Therefore he (she) specifically mentions, pandusu. Pandusu means husband's family, and vrsnisu, that is father's family. Krsna's father, Vasudeva... And Vasudeva's sister is Kuntidevi. Therefore she belonged to the Vrsni family, Yadu family, from the father's side. And from the husband's side she belongs to the Kuru family. Actually the pandusu, later on, they became Pandus because Dhrtarastra wanted to separate them from the Kuru family. Both of them, the Dhrtarastra's family and Pandu's family, both of them belonged to the Kuru's family. But because Dhrtarastra was very much anxious to separate the Pandavas, or the sons of his younger brother, Pandu, from the family, so they were known as Pandavas, and his own sons were known as Kurus.

So Kunti is praying. The prayer is very peculiar. What is that peculiar prayer? The prayer is sneha-pasam imam. Pasam means "rope." We are bound up by the ropes of affection to the family. This family or that family, everyone is bound up. Ato grha-ksetra-sutapta-vittair janasya moho 'yam. This family combination is maya because we all, living entities, we are being washed away by the waves of material nature. Prakrteh kriyamanani gunaih karmani sarvasah [Bg. 3.27]. So just like the waves of the river carry so many straws scattered here and there, and sometimes by whirlwind, all the straws meet together in the water, so our meeting -- "I am the father. You are the son. She is the wife. He is the grandson," or "He is father," or "She is..." -- in this way, our mixing up in a group of family is exactly like the assembly of some straws in the waves of the river. It has no meaning. Just like the straws, they gather together by the movement of the waves, and again, by the movements of waves, the straws are scattered here and there, here and there, here and... Nowadays it is very practical. Just like I am an Indian. I have my family. You are European, you are American. You have got family. But now where we are from, the family, we scattered. This is practical. We have no more any connection with our father, mother or children. No. We are now gathered in another group, Krsna conscious society.

So this is maya. Janasya moho 'yam aham mameti [SB 5.5.8]. We gather exactly like the straws, and on account of maya's influence, we become very much attached: "Oh, here is my son. Here is my wife. Here is my family. Here is my..." And this is the, what is called, entanglement. Our main business is in the human form of life how to get out of this material world. They do not know. They not only create family but also society, community, nation, In this way we are embarrassed. The so-called nationalism, socialism and communism -- simply moha, moha, exactly the same way as the small, that insects, under some illusion, moha, they come to the light and sacrifice their life. I have told you many times. We have seen in 1947, partition days, Hindu-Muslim fighting. One party was Hindu, other party was Muslim. They fought and so many died. And after death, there was no distinction who is Hindu or who is Muslim. The municipal men, they gathered together in piles and to throw them somewhere. Exactly the same way, the same insects, they come to the light and die in the morning, and we gather them together and throw in the street.

So long the life is there, everyone is thinking, "I have got this responsibility. I have got this responsibility. I have got this responsibility," and they are working very, very hard and doing all nonsense. Nunam pramattah kurute vikarma [SB 5.5.4]. Now, somebody's stealing for the sake of family maintenance, doing so many sinful activities, but when they are scattered again by the laws of nature, nobody will be sympathetic to me if I suffer for my own sinful activities. But they do by the so-..., for the so-called family. They get money, and they... Due to affection... First of all, whatever he earns, by hook or by crook, first of all he wants to see that his wife, children, are fed up very nicely. And, at last, if there is some remnants, he can eat, out of affection. You see?

So therefore this affection is the very hard knot for being bound up in this material world, this affection. Therefore the Vedic civilization is that the affection is to be cut off compulsory at a certain age, not that the affection should continue. If the affection continues, then there is no chance of my becoming free from this material world. There is no chance. Therefore vanaprastha. Because the wife's..., affection with the wife, is very, very strong. So vanaprastha means the husband and wife, they give up the affection. Not give up, go away from home, and they travel in the holy places just to purify, and again, when the affection draws, they come to the family. Again remain for one or two months, then again go away. So the wife, there is no sex connection, but wife remains as assistant to the man to be accustomed how to remain aloof from the family. And then, when he is practiced to remain aloof from the..., then wife is also sent back to the family, to the care of elderly children, and the man takes sannyasa, compulsory. It is called "civil suicide." My Guru Maharaja used to say, "Commit civil suicide." Mean... If you commit suicide it is criminal. It is also suicide, no more connection with family. This is also suicide, but it is civil. There is no criminal action against... But it is also voluntarily committing suicide -- no more connection with anyone.

Ata saba hari ara varnasrama-dharma, niskincana haya laya krsnaika sarana.(?) This is the... Varnasrama-dharma, that is material. Varnasrama is planned for material life in a systematic way so that, in due course of time, one may give up the family relationship and take sannyasa and completely devote for Krsna's service. This is the plan of varnasrama-dharma. Varnasrama-dharma is not meant for planning something, and you remain in the family. No. The Varnasrama... Varna means brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya, sudra. Catur-varnyam maya srstam guna-karma-vibhagasah [Bg. 4.13]. Guna, not everyone is qualified in the same way. Therefore you... The acarya will pick up that "They are meant for becoming brahmanas. They are meant for ksatriyas." Or for coming from ksatriya family, or the brahmana family... So first of all, these varnas, then asrama. The brahmana, one who is qualified as a brahmana, he has to observe the four asramas, a brahmana: the brahmacari-asrama, the grhastha-asrama, the vanaprastha-asrama and sannyasa-asrama. The ksatriya, they'll have to observe three asramas: brahmacari, grhastha and vanaprastha. And the vaisyas, two asramas: brahmacari and grhastha. And sudra, only one asrama, only grhastha. A sudra is never offered sannyasa. A... Only the brahmana is offered.

So in Sankara-sampradaya, strictly, unless one is born in brahmana family, he's not offered sannyasa. He's not given sannyasa. So far we are concerned, we also offer sannyasa to the brahmana, not to the sudras. But according to quality we create brahmana, not that we are offering sannyasa to the sudras, No. The principle is: sannyasa can be offered only to the brahmanas. So one may not mistake that we are offering to the..., offering sannyasa to the mlecchas, yavanas, as they complain. Some of my Godbrothers, they criticize like that, that I am offering sannyasa to the mlecchas, yavanas. This is wrong idea. This is naraki-buddhi. Actually, a Vaisnava is above this varnasrama-dharma. But we don't claim that we have become perfect Vaisnava. We are not so impudent. We want to remain under the Vaisnava. Under the Vaisnava. Otherwise Vaisnava means... In Caitanya-caritamrta you'll find the Vaisnava is paramahamsa. Vaisnava has no saffron cloth. Vaisnava is white cloth because Vaisnava is paramahamsa, above. But we don't claim the position of Vaisnava. We want to remain servant of Vaisnava. Therefore sannyasa order is below the position of Vaisnava. Sannyasa order means still in the material classification. But this Vaisnava is paramo nirmatsaranam satam. Dharmah projjhita-kaitavo 'tra paramo nirmat... [SB 1.1.2]. This Vaisnavism is meant for paramo nirmatsaranam, paramahamsa. Sa gunan samatityaitan brahma-bhuyaya kalpate [Bg. 14.26].

So Vaisnava position is not very easy thing, above all qualities. Therefore Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura introduced not to become an imitation of Rupa Gosvami. Rupa Gosvami, Sanatana, the Gosvamis of Vrndavana, they are paramahamsas. And in Vrndavana you'll find so-called babajis, they have imitated the dress of Rupa Gosvami -- half loincloth -- but a bidi in the mouth. What is this nonsense? Rupa Gosvami used to smoke bidi? (laughter) Not only that. You'll find in Vrndavana so many Rupa Gosvamis are making bidi. Have you seen in the Gopinatha Bazaar? They're making trade, bidis, and shameless. Therefore my Guru Maharaja introduced this. Of course, sannyasa is there in the Vaisnava... All the acaryas, they were sannyasa, but later on, it so degraded that these bidi-smoker, ganja-smoker, they imitated Rupa Gosvami. Therefore to purify, Guru Maharaja introduced this sannyasa system, below the paramahamsas, not that artificial means I become a paramahamsa, No. When one is...

The sannyasa stage has got four stages: kuticaka, bahudaka, parivrajakacarya and paramahamsa. Kuticaka. When one takes sannyasa... These are the processes. He is not practiced to beg from door to door. Therefore in the beginning he makes a cottage outside the village, and the foodstuff comes from his home. But he has no connection because by vanaprastha he has already left home, and by sannyasa, completely... But takes prasadam from home. That is called kuticaka. Then when he's practiced, he goes from door to door, and that is called bahudaka. And then, when he's still more practiced, he becomes a preacher, parivrajakacarya, goes from country to country, state to state, for preaching. And after preaching, when the preaching is advanced to some extent, then he sits down in a place as paramahamsa. That is called paramahamsa. Different stages. Not that all of a sudden one becomes paramahamsa and bidi also, not like that. Paramahamsa stage is not to be imitation. So to stop this imitation, Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura introduced this system, sannyasa. He personally became sannyasa, and to many of his disciples, he gave sannyasa.

So the whole process is how to get out of the affection of this family, community, nationalism. This is the process. This is illusion. But at the present moment, this illusion is being increased. They criticize the..., that "What is this nonsense? So many people, they have been entrapped by this Krsna consciousness movement, and they are nothing, they are doing nothing for the society, nothing for the nation, nothing for the family. So they are useless parasite." They are thinking like that. Even Subhash Chandra Bose, he was a politician. He came to my Guru Maharaja that "So many people, you have captured them. They are doing nothing for nationalism." So Guru Maharaja said, "Well, for your national propaganda you require very strong men, but these people are very weak. You can see. They are very skinny. So don't put your glance upon them. Let them eat something and chant Hare Krsna." He avoided like that.

And then there were many others. That was a philanthropy, to give food to the daridra-narayana. These things are going on. Nobody is interested that..., or they know it, that human life is only meant for God realization; there is no other business. Otherwise Caitanya Mahaprabhu is not so fool that at the age of twenty-four years He took sannyasa and preached this cult:

harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva nasty eva gatir anyatha
 [Adi 17.21]

He was not such a fool because that is the only business. That is the only business, how one should develop Krsna consciousness. That is the verdict of all Vedic sastras. What is the meaning of Vedic..., studying Vedas? Vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyah [Bg. 15.15]. That is the only necessity. To become educated, learned scholar and learned in Vedas, catur-vedi, tri-vedi, dvi-vedi, four-vedi... The brahmanas were divided according to education. Ordinarily they must study, vedi, Vedas. Veda-pathad bhaved viprah. Without Vedic knowledge, nobody can become a brahmana. Veda-pathad bhaved vipro brahma janatiti brahmanah. And by Vedic knowledge, when one understands Brahman, the Absolute Truth, he becomes brahmana.

So there are four Vedas: Sama, Yajur, Rk, Atharva. Generally they read one Veda, Sama-vedi, Rg-vedi, Yajur-vedi, vedi. But one who studies two Vedas, he is called dvi-vedi, and the apabhramsa is du-veda. And one who studies three Vedas, he's called tri-vedi. In... And I mean to say up-country, these titles are still there: vedis, dvi-vedis, tri-vedis, and catur-vedis or co-veda.(?) In Mathura you'll find the co-vedas. But they have no connection with Vedas now; simply with the name, and begging in the name of dvi, dvi-vedi or tri-vedi, catur-vedi. That...

The purpose is how to become disentangled with this family relationship. Family or society, that is the increase or expansion of the same affection. So the so-called nationalism is also materialism. There is the simply expansion. Just like you have got a party of rogues. And a big party or small party, the business is plundering. That's all. Because you have got a very big party of thieves, it does not mean that you are immune from criminal activities. Therefore these things are not required. People have become accustomed, but we discourage them. We do not approve this so-called nationalism. Therefore we have named "Internationalism." "International," no distinction between this nation or that nation, this religion or that religion. Religion is one. There cannot be two religions. If God is one... And what is religion? Religion means the law given by God. That is religion. This is a simple definition. "What is religion?" If somebody says... They will say, "Religion means this; religion means that." No. The simple definition of religion is "the law of God." Dharmam tu saksad bhagavat-pranitam [SB 6.3.19]. Just like law. Law means the order given by the state. That is law. Your order is not law, or my order is not law. But when the state orders, state orders, "Keep to the right," you must keep your car to the right side. Or the state orders that "Keep your car to the left side." In Europe, and some, somewhere, it right side coming to left side. So, so, the, according to the state... You cannot say, "Why sometimes it is left side, sometimes right side?" No. It may be whatever it is, but because it is the state order, you have to abide by it. You cannot say that "I was driving my car in India to the left side. Why shall I drive on the right side?" Sometimes they feel inconvenienced. But no, you have to because that is the state order.

So similarly, as the law means state order, similarly, religion means God's order. That's all, simple definition. Dharmam tu... It is not that we have manufactured... It is stated, dharmam tu saksad bhagavat-pranitam [SB 6.3.19]. Nobody knows what is dharma, neither the human being, nor the demigods, nor big, big sages, saintly person, and whatever you say, philosopher. No, nobody knows what is religion. Dharmasya tattvam nihitam guhayam mahajano yena gatah sa panthah. Mahajana means those who are authorized person by God, one who knows what is the law of God, he's mahajana. He mahajana. So a guru is mahajana because he knows what is religion and what is the law given by God. Therefore he's mahajana. How he has become mahajana? Because he is following the previous mahajana. That's all. It is not difficult. Evam parampara-praptam imam rajarsayo viduh [Bg. 4.2]. So mahajana... So therefore sampradaya. Just like we are Madhva-Gaudiya-sampradaya. Madhvacarya. Or Brahma-sampradaya. We are following... Brahma is mahajana. Or there are twelve, twelve mahajanas stated in the sastras, and Brahma is one of them. Svayambhu. Brahma's name is Svayambhu. The other day we were discussing Svayambhu. Or Atmabhu. Atmabhu. Because he is born out of the abdomen of the father, not of the mother. Not... The other... Father is the seed-giving, life-giving agent. So this life was not transferred to anyone else to take the body. The life-giver, father, gave him the body. Therefore Brahma is called Svayambhu. Svayambhur naradah sambhuh kumarah kapilo manuh [SB 6.3.20]. They are all mahajanas.

So dharma means the codes or the law given by God. That is dharma. And our life is meant for dharma. Dharma. But unfortunately we have created so many dharmas. But there cannot be so many dharmas. There cannot be. Suppose if gold... Gold is gold, pure gold. There cannot be... Just like they have made twenty-carat gold, fourteen-carat gold, sixteen-carat gold. That is mixture. That is not pure gold. We are preaching, "If you say it is religion, it is pure religion, not carat." "Fourteen-carat religions" or "Twenty-carat religion," no. Real, pure religion. What is that pure religion? Sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam... [Bg. 18.66]. We are teaching, "Just surrender to Krsna," Krsna consciousness. That is pure religion, original gold, no carat gold. Therefore our Vrndavana dasa Thakura has said very clearly, prthivite yaha kichu dharma name cale: "Whatever is going on, all over the world, in the name of dharma," bhagavata kahe taha paripurna cale,(?) "according to the opinion of Srimad-Bhagavatam, all this rascaldom is simply cheating." Now, if you say that, everyone will be rebellious. But that is the fact, because if dharma means the order of God, then what is God's order? That "You become My devotee." Man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam namas... Four things: "You always think of Me, and you become My devotee, you offer your obeisances," man-mana bhava mad-bhaktah, "and worship Me."

So we are teaching this real religion. Here is Deity, Krsna. So we are thinking of Krsna, "Hare Krsna." We are worshiping Deity, Krsna. There is no difference between Lord Krsna and Deity. He's Krsna. And we are offering obeisances. So the same... This... Therefore it is real religion because we are strictly following the laws of God. Anyabhilasita... We have no other business. So therefore this is real religion, if you take, or real culture, real society -- everything real. Because God is real, anything in connection with God, according to His instruction, that is real. All other things are imitation. So always remember that if somebody takes us as religionists, yes, we are religionists, but pure religionists. If somebody says socialist, we are pure socialist. If somebody says we are diplomats, poli..., yes, we are pure politicians. What is pure politicians? Politics requires violence. So annihilate the demons and give protection. The politics means two things. The state, government, what is that? Government gives protection to the good citizen, and those who are rogues, punish them. Law and order. Two things are there: maintenance and law and order. So similarly, our Krsna consciousness is also the same thing. But so far we are concerned, because we are not in political power... Otherwise we have, would have followed the principles of Krsna.

But Caitanya Mahaprabhu has shown us the way, that we kill the demons in a different way. We kill the demons in this way: By chanting Hare Krsna mantra, we purify him so that his demonic activities are stopped. That is also another way of killing. He stops his demonic activities. That is Caitanya Mahaprabhu's mercy, that He did not kill Jagai-Madhai. Although He wanted to kill them because they insulted Vaisnava, but still, Nityananda Prabhu reminded Him that "In this incarnation, You promised that You'll not kill. So have mercy upon them." So their demonic activities were killed. That is also killing. Caitanya Mahaprabhu accepted Jagai-Madhai on this condition, that "You have to stop your sinful activities. Whatever you have done, that is done." So we make this condition. The demonic activities, we say, you have to stop. Whatever is done is done. Strictly following Caitanya Mahaprabhu, there is no consideration. Because one, you were previously a demon; therefore you cannot become a Vaisnava -- no. Anyone can become Vaisnava provided he stops his demonic activities. Anyone. Anyone is welcome provided he accepts this philosophy, sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja [Bg. 18.66].

So this is the way that Kunti is praying, that sneha-pasam imam chindhi drdham . So in this way we can get rid of the so-called affection for society, friendship, love, country, nationalism... No. Our sneha, affection, is completely transferred to Krsna. That is Krsna consciousness.

Thank you very much. (end)
>>> Ref. VedaBase => Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.8.41 -- Mayapura, October 21, 1974

© 2001 The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International. Used with permission.

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