I have always liked this story of the dis-robing of Draupadi, and how she was saved by Krsna supplying endless heaps of sari. The following lecture by Srila Prabhupada is a very nice description of the contest between good and evil, or pious or impious activities.
Prabhupāda: So pāpam eva. Pāpam means sinful activities, and puṇyam is pious. So people should consider in every activity, whether it is pāpam or puṇyam, whether it is virtuous or sinful activities. But the asuras, they do not know. Pravṛttiṁ ca nivṛttiṁ ca na vidur asurā janāḥ [Bg. 16.7]. Those who are asuras, they do not care what is sinful or what is right. “I like it; I must do it.” This is asura. There is no reference to the authorities, whether the action which I am going to do, whether it is pious or impious…
…”Now she is our property. We can do whatever we like with. Arjuna has lost his wife.” So he advised that “Make her naked in this assembly.” To become naked in the, so many people, that is a great insult for woman. So actually, they tried to insult. Not tried, it was fact. But Kṛṣṇa saved. You know, Draupadi’s vastra-haraṇa. She was tried to become naked, but these people could not make her naked. The sārī was supplied by Kṛṣṇa, one after another, one after another, heaps of sārī. Then they become fed up, gave up that business, that “She cannot be made naked.” (from Bhagavad-gita 1.36 Lecture)
Lecture Bhagavad-gītā 1.36
By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
London, July 26, 1973
Pradyumna (leads chanting, etc.):
pāpam evāśrayed asmān
tasmān nārha vayaṁ hantuṁ
svajanaṁ hi kathaṁ hatvā
sukhinaḥ syāma mādhava
“Sin will overcome us if we slay such aggressors. Therefore it is not proper for us to kill the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra and our friends. What should we gain, O Kṛṣṇa, husband of the goddess of fortune, and how could we be happy by killing our own kinsmen?”
Prabhupāda: So pāpam eva. Pāpam means sinful activities, and puṇyam is pious. So people should consider in every activity, whether it is pāpam or puṇyam, whether it is virtuous or sinful activities. But the asuras, they do not know. Pravṛttiṁ ca nivṛttiṁ ca na vidur asurā janāḥ [Bg. 16.7]. Those who are asuras, they do not care what is sinful or what is right. “I like it; I must do it.” This is asura. There is no reference to the authorities, whether the action which I am going to do, whether it is pious or impious. Because by impious activities I will be degraded. Adho gacchanti tamasaḥ [Bg. 14.18]. Jaghanya-guṇa-vṛtti-sthāḥ. If we become addicted to sinful activities, the result will be we shall be degraded. But they do not know. Even so-called religious priests, they support killing, condone it. Killing is impious, sinful activity, but in the name of religion, killing is also going on. If someone says, “It is my religion to cut throat,” will it be accepted very nice thing? Sometimes… Just like here is the war. This is also religious war. But still, discrimination. Arjuna, because he is a Vaiṣṇava, a Vaiṣṇava means devatā, demigod. Viṣṇu-bhakto bhaved daiva āsuras tad viparyayaḥ. What is the difference between deva and asura? Who is called a devata, and who is called an asura? There are two kinds of men. One class is called deva, devata. The other class is called asura. Devāsura.
So there is always fight between deva and asura. Now at the present moment, the number of asuras have increased. Formerly the number of devatās were greater. So Arjuna is devatā because he is Viṣṇu-bhakta. Dvau bhūta-sargau loke (‘smin) daiva āsura eva ca [Bg. 16.6]. There are two classes of men within this creation. Viṣṇu-bhakto bhaved daivaḥ. Those who are devotees of Lord Viṣṇu, they are called devatā. Just like the demigods like Indra, Candra, Sūrya, and many others. There are thirty-three krores of devatās in the higher planetary system. They are all Viṣṇu-bhakta. They will abide by the orders of Viṣṇu and Vaiṣṇava. Just like Indra. He is devatā. There was fight between Hiraṇyakaśipu and the Indra’s party. So when Hiraṇyakaśipu was defeated, naturally the… Afterward, if the other party is defeated, the victorious party makes some, so many aggression, especially aggression of women. That is still current. Innocent women, they are very much harassed after the war by the victorious party. You know, the soldiers are given freedom to rape the women. And plunder the property. So many things they have. So when Hiraṇyakaśipu was defeated, all the devatās, they did not make such aggression, but the wife of Hiraṇyakaśipu—Kāyadhu, I think—she was arrested by Indra and was taken. She was crying, just usual, woman. But she was being dragged by Indra. So Nārada was passing. Now, he said, “What are you doing this?” “No, there is no question of harassing this woman. But I am taking her in my custody because she is pregnant and the child is begotten by asura, Hiraṇyakaśipu. Therefore I shall wait for the birth of the child, and as soon as she gives birth, I will kill that child.” Yes. So Nārada said, “No, no. That child is not asura child. He is coming, a great devotee, mahā-bhāgavata of Kṛṣṇa.” Because Nārada knew that when… Not before. After all, he knew. But before also, he knew. Because they are saintly persons, they can understand that here is a child is coming who will be a great devotee of Kṛṣṇa. So mahā-bhāgavata. So “Don’t try that. You don’t take her to your custody. Better give her in my custody. I shall take care.” So immediately he abided by the order of Nārada, immediately. He released. And not only released, circumambulated the woman. So here is a mahā-bhāgavata, in the womb of this woman. So let us offer our obeisances.
This is Vaiṣṇava. As soon as understood, that there is a Vaiṣṇava mahā-bhāgavata, in the womb of this woman, “She is to be respected, offered obeisances.” This is called Vaiṣṇava. But the asura would not do that. Asura would not do that. That is the difference between devatā and asura. In the Bhagavad-gītā, Sixteenth Chapter, you will find the description of the asura: pravṛttiṁ ca nivṛttiṁ ca na vidur asurā janāḥ [Bg. 16.7]. Pravṛtti. Pravṛtti means what sort of activities we shall do, and what sort of activities we shall not do. The asuras, they do not know. The asuras, they do not know. Anything they do. “For my sense gratification I must do everything.” Therefore they become entangled. So long they are strong in this life, they do not take care of anyone. Śāstra, sādhu or guru. They do not care for anything. So that means… But the asuric civilization, the living entities become entangled because he may not care for any action, the asura, but the nature is there.
guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ
kartāham iti manyate
Rascals, they are thinking that they are free to act anything he likes. That is not possible. So long we are in this material world, we are conditioned. Prakṛteḥ kriyamāṇāni guṇaiḥ karmāṇi. As we are associating with the particular quality of this material nature…
There are three varieties of quality. Goodness, passion and ignorance. So we have to associate with either of these qualities. Unless we are Kṛṣṇa conscious. Unless one is engaged in devotional service, he must be influenced by these three kinds of qualities. Goodness… Somebody may be very good man, according to the estimation of the… Just like Arjuna, he is talking in the modes of goodness, considering, considering. “Although they are ātatāyinaḥ…” Pāpam eva āśrayed asmān hatvā etān ātatāyinaḥ. Ātatāyinaḥ means aggressor. According to law, if somebody comes to attack you, or if somebody comes to kidnap your wife, these are ātatāyinaḥ. Or somebody comes to set fire in your house, especially they are called aggressors. So these aggressors are to be immediately killed. There is no question of nonviolence. You must kill immediately. There is no sin. Ātatāyinaḥ. But here, although the other party is ātatāyinaḥ, aggressor, still, Arjuna is considering whether they should be killed or not. That is the difference between devatā. In every action, they are calculating. But he is considering that “This kind of aggressor, because they are my kinsmen, they are my family men, whether this kind of aggressor should be killed or not?” It is common sense. Suppose your son has done something mischievous. The same thing.
Same thing means to attack the father. Still, the father will consider, “Whether I shall kill my son or not?” That is natural. “If my son sets fire in the house, whether I shall kill him or not?” So Arjuna’s position is like that. “Although they are ātatāyinaḥ, aggressor, still, because they belong to the same family, whether I shall kill them?” He is considering, pāpam eva āśrayed: “If I kill this kind of aggressor, I will be attacked with sinful activities. I have to suffer the result of sinful activities.” And he is explaining why. Pāpam eva āśrayed asmān. “Because these are bāndhavān.” Sva-bāndhavān dhārtarāṣṭrān. The dhārtarāṣṭrān means the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra, Duryodhana and others. So sva-bāndhavān. “They are our family members, bāndhavān.” Sva-janaṁ hi kathaṁ hatvā sukhinaḥ syāma mādhava [Bg. 1.36]. “Mādhava, my dear Mādhava, You are the husband of the goddess of fortune. So you are always very happy. Do you think I shall become happy by killing my own men? Do you think like that?” Because friend and friend talking.
So this is the position. Just see, they were ātatāyinaḥ, aggressor. There is no doubt about it. Because these dhārtarāṣṭrān, the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra, they insulted Draupadi. Arjuna’s wife. There was betting. The wife was betting. So they defeated, they were defeated in the chess play, and the wife was taken by the other party. So Karṇa took the opportunity. Because during Draupadi’s svayamvara, Karṇa was insulted by Draupadi. The piercing of the eyes of the fish, Karṇa was greater, what is called, arrowman. So when Karṇa came to touch the arrow for piercing the eyes of the fish, Draupadi objected, objected because she wanted Arjuna to become her husband. But she knew that “If Karṇa comes to this combat, he will be victorious. Then I will have to go to Karṇa.” So she was also very intelligent daughter of kṣatriya king. So Karna, nobody knew that he is kṣatriya. He was supposed to be son of a carpenter. Karṇa was born before Kuntī’s marriage. Therefore she… Karṇa remained hidden, whose son. But he was kṣatriya. So it was unknown. So Draupadi took this opportunity that “This competition is meant for the kṣatriyas, not for the non-kṣatriyas.” Because he was supposed to be son of a carpenter, śūdra. So he was not given the opportunity to gain Draupadi. But if he was given the opportunity, he would have come out victorious. So now Karṇa took this opportunity. When Draupadi was lost in the game, so he immediately… Karṇa was Duryodhana’s friend. He immediately advised, “Now she is our property. We can do whatever we like with. Arjuna has lost his wife.” So he advised that “Make her naked in this assembly.” To become naked in the, so many people, that is a great insult for woman. So actually, they tried to insult. Not tried, it was fact. But Kṛṣṇa saved. You know, Draupadi’s vastra-haraṇa. She was tried to become naked, but these people could not make her naked. The sārī was supplied by Kṛṣṇa, one after another, one after another, heaps of sārī. Then they become fed up, gave up that business, that “She cannot be made naked.”
So they were actually ātatāyinaḥ. Because ātatāyinaḥ means one who comes to kidnap your wife, insults your wife. You should immediately kill. Just like Lord Rāmacandra. He was so pious king, but when it so happened that his wife, Sītā, was insulted… Sītā was taken away by Rāvaṇa. Lord Rāmacandra could marry hundreds and thousands of Sītās. He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He could create Sītā, Rādhārāṇī, Lakṣmī. They are the pleasure potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Supreme Personality of Godhead cannot have a material wife or material companion. Kṛṣṇa’s Rādhārāṇī or Lord Rāmacandra’s Sītādevī, Nārāyaṇa’s Lakṣmīdevī, they are pleasure potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Rādhā-kṛṣṇa-praṇaya-vṛkitir āhlādinī-śaktir asmāt. Āhlādinī-śakti. Kṛṣṇa, God, has got many potencies. One of the potencies is called āhlādinī-śakti, pleasure potency. So Kṛṣṇa’s consort, Lord Rāmacandra’s consort, they are pleasure potency, exhibited. So to show the example, Lord Rāmacandra, because Sītā was kidnapped, Sītā was insulted, or Rāmacandra was insulted, the retaliation was Lord Rāmacandra killed not only Rāvaṇa, but the whole dynasty, finished. Only for one woman. He could create so many. No. Because ātatāyinaḥ, aggressed over. Just to teach people that anyone, if he is aggressor, he must be killed. This is the position.
But Arjuna is considering whether it will be pious or impious. This is devatā. In every action, they will consider, “What I am going to do, whether it is pious or impious.” That is devatā. “If it is pious, then it will elevate me. And if it is impious, then it will degrade me.” Nobody wants degradation. The human life should be especially meant for elevation, not for degradation. You have come to this human form of life from the lower status of life. Jalajā nava-lakṣāṇi sthavarā lakṣa-viṁśati kṛmayo rudra-saṅkhyakāḥ. Through so many status of life: the aquatics, the trees, the plants, the insects, the reptiles, the birds, the beasts. In this way… Bahūnāṁ janmanām ante. Bahūnāṁ sambhavante [Bg. 7.19]. This human form of life is gotten, we have received, after many, many births. These people, they do not know. It is very rare. Therefore Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura sings, manuṣya janama pāiya, rādhā-kṛṣṇa nā bhajiyā, jāniyā suniyā viṣa khāinu. Hari hari viphale janama goiṅu. He is lamenting, “My dear Kṛṣṇa, I am so unfortunate. I got this human form of life. It was meant for developing Kṛṣṇa consciousness. But I have wasted my time otherwise. So how it is so? Jāniyā suniyā viṣa khāinu. Knowingly I have taken poison. Knowingly.” Labdhvā sudurlabhaṁ idam bahu-sambhavante, manuṣyam artha-dam [SB 11.9.29].
These people, they do not know. Because they are asuras, they do not know what to do in this human form of life and what not to do. They are killing animals without any hesitation. They do not know these rascals. And still they are spiritual leaders. How horrible condition is this, in this Kali-yuga. Just imagine. Without any restriction, without any hindrance, they are committing sinful life. They do not know, next life, all this boastfulness, pride, will be finished. He will have to accept another body, which will be offered by the material nature. You cannot say that “I will not accept this body; I want this body.” No. Nature is not under your dictation. You have to abide by the dictation of nature. Prakṛteḥ kriyamāṇāni. This verse of Bhagavad-gītā is very important.
guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ
kartāham iti manyate
Ahāṅkāra, by false ego. The asuras, they think, “I am independent. I can do whatever I like.” No. You cannot do so. If you do so, then you will be punished.
daivī hy eṣā guṇamayī
mama māyā duratyayā
mām eva prapadyante
māyām etān taranti
For every little action, you are responsible. It is being noted by the material nature. And you will be forced to accept a kind of body for suffering. In so many types of bodies. Therefore Arjuna, being devatā, he is considering that “Although they are ātatāyinaḥ, at the same time, they are family men. Whether it is good to kill family?” He is asking Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is there. He is considering, he is consulting with Kṛṣṇa that “Do you think that killing this kind of aggressor, I will be benefitted or not?” Therefore in the last line he said, sva-janaṁ hi kathaṁ hatvā sukhinaḥ syāma mādhava: [Bg. 1.36] “My dear Kṛṣṇa, do you think by killing my family men, my relatives, shall I be happy? You are Mādhava. You are always happy because You are husband of goddess of fortune. But do you think I shall be happy in this way?” This is consultation.
So this is the proof of Arjuna’s character, a devotee’s character. A devotee is always devatā, demigod. So one who is devotee, one who is Kṛṣṇa conscious, sarvair guṇais tatra samāsate surāḥ [SB 5.18.12]. Sura means devatā. All the good qualities of devatā. A devotee of Kṛṣṇa will never accept that killing is very good. No. “For the satisfaction of my tongue, I shall kill so many animals.” A devotee will never accept. Ahiṁśa. Ahiṁśa. That is the third quality. Amānitvam adambhitvaṁ ahiṁśā kṣāntir ārjavam [Bg. 13.8]. These are… Everything is there in the Bhagavad-gītā. Amānitvam. Amānitvam means to accept this body as “I am.” This is amānitvam, er, not to accept. That is amānitvam. Everyone is proud that “I am Indian,” “I am American,” “I am Englishman.” So it is boastful, very proud of this body. So knowledge means “I am not this body. I am not this body.” That is amānitvam. Adambhitvam. As soon as we become aware that “I am not this body,” then my false pride immediately goes. Amānitvam adambhitvam ahiṁśā. Then ahiṁśā, nonviolence. Ārjavam, simplicity. There are eighteen qualifications of the demigods. So one who becomes a devotee of Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa conscious, these, all these good qualities develop. So here is the proof, that Arjuna, because he is a devotee of Kṛṣṇa, he is considering, “Whether I shall kill them or not?” Ahiṁsā. It is consideration, not that it is final settlement.
So people are trying to elevate the status of the society by so many things. But they do not know the secret. The secret is that if one is trained only to become a devotee of Kṛṣṇa, all good qualities automatically will be visible in his person. There is no need of separate endeavor, how to make a man honest, how to make a man religious, how to make a man high-thinking, simple living. These are good… Śamo damas, titikṣa ārjavaṁ jñānaṁ vijñānam āstikyam [Bg. 18.42]. All these qualities immediately develop. Because a living entity, spirit soul, he is part and parcel of Kṛṣṇa. Mamaivāṁśo jīvaḥ [Bg. 15.7]. Kṛṣṇa says all this. Ahaṁ bīja-pradaḥ pitā [Bg. 14.4]. “They have come to this material world. I am the seed-giving father. They wanted to enjoy. So I have given them chance. But actually I am the father. The material nature is the mother.” Just like we have got experience, the father injects the living entity in the womb of the mother. And the mother, by her blood, develops the body of the child. Similarly, all these living entities, 8,400,000 species, the… Bījo ‘haṁ sarva-bhūtānām [Bg 7.10]. The father is Kṛṣṇa. He has given the seed in the womb of this material nature. And the material nature has given the body. Somebody has got the body of fish, somebody has got the body of tree, plant, somebody has got insect, reptile, somebody bird, sometimes beasts, somebody human being, somebody demigod. But all these materials have been supplied by the mother. It is very easy to understand. Just like the child grows, the mother supplies the bodily ingredients. Caitanya Mahāprabhu therefore… This is very scientific. When He took sannyāsa and the mother came… Advaita Prabhu arranged to see for the last time her son. Because a sannyāsī is no more coming home. So at that time, mother became overwhelmed: “Such beautiful body. He has nice hair. Now it is shaven.” So she became very much overwhelmed and was crying. So Caitanya Mahāprabhu immediately fell down on her lotus feet and He said, “My dear mother, this body is yours. My dear mother, this body is yours. This body should have been engaged for your service, but some way or other, I mistake, I have taken this sannyāsī. Kindly excuse Me.” Caitanya Mahāprabhu said that “This body belongs to you. This is your body.” Every son should think like that. This is Vedic culture. Actually, the body supplied, mother. From the very beginning, after sex… These are all described in the Bhāgavata. The two secretions become emulsified, and a body is formed just like a pea, and gradually develops. The ingredients, the energy is supplied by the mother. So the same thing. The whole creation, the body is supplied by material nature, mother. Therefore she is called “mother.” Material nature is called “mother.” Mother Durgā. Sṛṣṭi-sthiti-pralaya-sādhana-śaktir eka. The material nature…, and her name is Durgā.
chāyeva yasya bhuvanāni vibharti durgā
icchānurūpam api yasya ca ceṣṭate sa
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi.
This is description of Durgā. So Kṛṣṇa also says. So we should not think like that, that animals or trees or birds and beasts, they are other than ourself. They are our brothers. Because the seed-giving father is Kṛṣṇa, and the mother is material nature. So we have got the same father and same mother. So if we have got the same father and mother, they are all our brothers.
So unless one is advanced in spiritual consciousness, how he can think of universal brotherhood? This is nonsense. There is no possibility. The so-called universal brotherhood is possible when he is Kṛṣṇa conscious, when one knows that Kṛṣṇa is the common father of everyone. The father will not tolerate. Suppose father has got ten sons. Out of them one or two sons are useless. So those who are very capable sons, if they say to the father, “My dear father, these two sons of yours, they are useless. So let us cut their throat and eat.” So father will say, “Yes, you do that”? No. Father will never say. The father will say, “Let them be useless, but let them live at my cost. Why…? You have no right to infringe on their rights.” This is common sense. But these rascals, they think that animals are to be killed for the satisfaction of the tongue of the human being. No sense. No sense. And still they are passing on as religious heads. Such type of cheating religion is completely kicked out from this Bhāgavata religion. Dharmaḥ projjhita-kaitavo atra paramo nirmatsarāṇāṁ vāstavaḥ vastu vedyam atra [SB 1.1.2]. It is meant for, this Bhāgavat-dharma. Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is meant for the paramo nirmatsarāṇāṁ those who are not envious. How they can be envious? Paramahaṁsa, one who has understood what is this creation, who is the creator, what are these living entities, one who has got this knowledge, he is called paramahaṁsa. So how a paramahaṁsa can be envious of others? Therefore it is said paramo nirmatsarāṇām [SB 1.1.2]. Matsaratā. Matsaratā means envious. So without becoming Vaiṣṇava, without becoming a devotee of Kṛṣṇa, you do not think that anyone is a human being. He is simply animal.
Thank you very much. Hare Kṛṣṇa. (end)