Calamities

Queen Kunti Calamities

Yesterday we did one post entitled “There will always be difficulties”, and while doing that post I was reminded of Queen Kunti, as the following letter we posted yesterday points out…

…You are a very good girl and a sincere devotee therefore, even though you have experienced difficulty you are remaining pure in Krsna Consciousness and keeping faith in Krsna and the spiritual master. This faithfulness has pleased me very much. So many great devotees have had to undergo difficulties, and the great example among women was Queen Kunti whose family life was perpetual danger, but because she always thought of Krsna she was saved. (Letter to: Dinadayadri — Rome 26 May, 1974)

Today I thought I would expand on this notion of difficulties in the form of “Calamities”. Which Queen Kunti prayed for, as indicated by the following verse from the Srimad Bhagavatam:

I wish that all those calamities would happen again and again so that we could see You again and again, for seeing You means that we will no longer see repeated births and deaths. (SB 1.8.25)

It is good for the animal in the sense that the sacrificed animal is at once promoted to the human form of life after being sacrificed at the altar, and the animal-eater is saved from grosser types of sins (eating meats supplied by organized slaughterhouses which are ghastly places for breeding all kinds of material afflictions to society, country and the people in general). The material world is itself a place always full of anxieties, and by encouraging animal slaughter the whole atmosphere becomes polluted more and more by war, pestilence, famine and many other unwanted calamities. (SB 1.7.37, Purport)

I wish that all those calamities would happen again and again so that we could see You again and again, for seeing You means that we will no longer see repeated births and deaths. (SB 1.8.25)

Generally the distressed, the needy, the intelligent and the inquisitive, who have performed some pious activities, worship or begin to worship the Lord. Others, who are thriving on misdeeds only, regardless of status, cannot approach the Supreme due to being misled by the illusory energy. Therefore, for a pious person, if there is some calamity there is no other alternative than to take shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord. Constantly remembering the lotus feet of the Lord means preparing for liberation from birth and death. Therefore, even though there are so-called calamities, they are welcome because they give us an opportunity to remember the Lord, which means liberation. (SB 1.8.25, Purport)

This material world is certified by the Lord in the Bhagavad-gītā as a dangerous place full of calamities. Less intelligent persons prepare plans to adjust to those calamities without knowing that the nature of this place is itself full of calamities. They have no information of the abode of the Lord, which is full of bliss and without trace of calamity. The duty of the sane person, therefore, is to be undisturbed by worldly calamities, which are sure to happen in all circumstances. Suffering all sorts of unavoidable misfortunes, one should make progress in spiritual realization because that is the mission of human life. The spirit soul is transcendental to all material calamities; therefore, the so-called calamities are called false. (SB 1.8.25, Purport)

A man may see a tiger swallowing him in a dream, and he may cry for this calamity. Actually there is no tiger and there is no suffering; it is simply a case of dreams. In the same way, all calamities of life are said to be dreams. If someone is lucky enough to get in contact with the Lord by devotional service, it is all gain. Contact with the Lord by any one of the nine devotional services is always a forward step on the path going back to Godhead. (SB 1.8.25, Purport)

Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira said: My uncle, do you remember how you always protected us, along with our mother, from all sorts of calamities? Your partiality, like the wings of a bird, saved us from poisoning and arson. (SB 1.13.8)

And by his warning the Pāṇḍavas escaped through a tunnel underneath the earth so that their escape was also unknown to Dhṛtarāṣṭra, so much so that after setting the fire, the Kauravas were so certain of the death of the Pāṇḍavas that Dhṛtarāṣṭra performed the last rites of death with great cheerfulness. And during the mourning period all the members of the palace became overwhelmed with lamentation, but Vidura did not become so, because of his knowledge that the Pāṇḍavas were alive somewhere. There are many such instances of calamities, and in each of them Vidura gave protection to the Pāṇḍavas on one hand, and on the other he tried to restrain his brother Dhṛtarāṣṭra from such intriguing policies. Therefore, he was always partial to the Pāṇḍavas, just as a bird protects its (SB 1.13.8, Purport)

Compassionate Mahātmā Vidura could not stand to see the Pāṇḍavas distressed at any time. Therefore he did not disclose this unpalatable and unbearable incident because calamities come of their own accord. (SB 1.13.13)

When my father, Pāṇḍu, fell down and we were all small children, these two uncles gave us protection from all kinds of calamities. They were always our good well-wishers. Alas, where have they gone from here? (SB 1.13.34)

Material advancement of civilization means advancement of the reactions of the threefold miseries due to celestial influence, earthly reactions and bodily or mental pains. By the celestial influence of the stars there are many calamities like excessive heat, cold, rains or no rains, and the aftereffects are famine, disease and epidemic. The aggregate result is agony of the body and the mind. Man-made material science cannot do anything to counteract these threefold miseries. They are all punishments from the superior energy of māyā under the direction of the Supreme Lord. Therefore our constant touch with the Lord by devotional service can give us relief without our being disturbed in the discharge of our human duties.
SB 1.14.11, Purport: When a man’s eyes, arms and thighs all quiver constantly, one must know that something is going to happen which is undesirable. These undesirables are compared to fire in a forest. No one goes into the forest to set fires, but fires automatically take place in the forest, creating inconceivable calamities for the living beings of the forest. Such a fire cannot be extinguished by any human efforts. The fire can be extinguished only by the mercy of the Lord, who sends clouds to pour water on the forest. Similarly, undesirable happenings in life cannot be checked by any number of plans. Such miseries can be removed only by the mercy of the Lord, who sends His bona fide representatives to enlighten human beings and thus save them from all calamities. (SB 1.14.10, Purport)

The Deities seem to be crying in the temple, lamenting and perspiring. They seem about to leave. All the cities, villages, towns, gardens, mines and hermitages are now devoid of beauty and bereft of all happiness. I do not know what sort of calamities are now awaiting us.
(SB 1.14.20)

His name is associated with many historical events, and it appears that the great mystic could be both easily satisfied and easily annoyed, like Lord Śiva. When he was satisfied, he could do tremendous good to the servitor, but if he was dissatisfied he could bring about the greatest calamity. Kumārī Kuntī, at her father’s house, used to minister all kinds of services to all great brāhmaṇas, and being satisfied with her good reception Durvāsā Muni blessed her with a power to call any demigod she desired. It is understood that he was a plenary incarnation of Lord Śiva, and thus he could be either easily satisfied or annoyed. He was a great devotee of Lord Śiva, and by Lord Śiva’s order he accepted the priesthood of King Śvetaketu because of the King’s performance of sacrifice for one hundred years. Sometimes he used to visit the parliamentary assembly of the heavenly kingdom of Indradeva. (SB 1.15.11, Purport)

(King Parīkṣit thought:) Due to my neglecting the injunctions of the Supreme Lord I must certainly expect some difficulty to overcome me in the near future. I now desire without reservation that the calamity come now, for in this way I may be freed of the sinful action and not commit such an offense again. (SB 1.19.2)

The Lord is Himself very much inclined to do good to brāhmaṇas and cows (go-brāhmaṇa-hitāya ca). Mahārāja Parīkṣit knew all this, and thus he concluded that his insulting a powerful brāhmaṇa was certainly to be punished by the laws of the Lord, and he was expecting something very difficult in the very near future. He therefore desired the imminent calamity to fall on him and not on his family members. A man’s personal misconduct affects all his family members. Therefore Mahārāja Parīkṣit desired the calamity to fall on him alone. By suffering personally he would be restrained from future sins, and at the same time the sin which he had committed would be counteracted so that his descendants would not suffer. That is the way a responsible devotee thinks. The family members of a devotee also share the effects of a devotee’s service unto the Lord. Mahārāja Prahlāda saved his demon father by his personal devotional service. A devotee son in the family is the greatest boon or blessing of the Lord. (SB 1.19.2, Purport)

SB Canto 2

SB 2.7.30, Purport: The mother was astonished, but out of her deep affection for Kṛṣṇa she thought that the Almighty Godhead Nārāyaṇa had kindly looked after her son just to protect Him from all the continuous calamities happening to Him. Because of her deep affection for Kṛṣṇa, she could never think that her very son was Nārāyaṇa, the Personality of Godhead Himself. That is the action of yogamāyā, the internal potency of the Supreme Lord, which acts to perfect all the pastimes of the Lord with His different types of devotees. Who could play such wonders without being God? (SB 2.7.30, Purport)

SB Canto 3

For a dutiful man there is nothing to fear. Similarly, those who are powerful have no fear of derision or unkind words from an enemy. The Lord had nothing to fear from anyone, yet He was merciful to His enemy by neglecting him. Although apparently He fled from the challenge, it was just to protect the earth from calamity that He tolerated Hiraṇyākṣa’s deriding words. (SB 3.18.7, Purport)

Devahūti continued: My dear Lord, please also describe in detail, both for me and for people in general, the continual process of birth and death, for by hearing of such calamities we may become detached from the activities of this material world. (SB 3.29.3)

SB Canto 4

Let that Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is understood by truly authorized Vedic literature and who has created peace and prosperity to destroy all calamities of the created world, be kind enough to bestow His glance upon the demigods. His merciful glance can supersede the beauty of the spotless lotus flower which is the home of the goddess of fortune. (SB 4.1.57)

Because of this curse, Śiva was deprived of his share in the oblations of Vedic sacrifices. It was due to the curse of Dakṣa, Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī comments in this connection, that Lord Śiva was saved from the calamity of taking part with other demigods, who were all materialistic. Lord Śiva is the greatest devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and it is not fitting for him to eat or sit with materialistic persons like the demigods. Thus the curse of Dakṣa was indirectly a blessing, for Śiva would not have to eat or sit with other demigods, who were too materialistic. There is a practical example set for us by Gaurakiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja, who used to sit on the side of a latrine to chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. Many materialistic persons used to come and bother him and disturb his daily routine of chanting, so to avoid their company he used to sit by the side of a latrine, where materialistic persons would not go because of the filth and the obnoxious smell. However, Gaurakiśora dāsa Bābājī Mahārāja was so great that he was accepted as the spiritual master of such a great personality as His Divine Grace Oṁ Viṣṇupāda Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Mahārāja. The conclusion is that Lord Śiva behaved in his own way to avoid materialistic persons who might disturb him in his prosecution of devotional service. (SB 4.2.18, Purport)

The attendants who came with Satī were meant to protect her from calamities, but since they were unable to protect their master’s wife, they decided to die for her, and before dying they wanted to kill Dakṣa. It is the duty of attendants to give protection to their master, and in case of failure it is their duty to die. (SB 4.4.31, Purport)

The purport of this verse is that when a devotee is in a calamitous condition he takes it as a benediction of the Supreme Lord and takes responsibility himself for his past misdeeds. In such a condition, he offers still more devotional service and is not disturbed. One who lives in such a disposition of mind, engaged in devotional service, is the most eligible candidate for promotion to the spiritual world. In other words, such a devotee’s claim for promotion to the spiritual world is assured in all circumstances. (SB 4.6.45, Purport)

Brāhmaṇas, the topmost section of human society, are mostly devotees. They are generally unaware of the happenings within the material world because they are always busy in their activities for spiritual advancement. Nonetheless, when there is a calamity in human society, they cannot remain impartial. If they do not do something to relieve the distressed condition of human society, it is said that due to such neglect their spiritual knowledge diminishes. Almost all the sages go to the Himalayas for their personal benefit, but Prahlāda Mahārāja said that he did not want liberation alone. He decided to wait until he was able to deliver all the fallen souls of the world. (SB 4.14.41, Purport)

He was so powerful that he was equal in fighting to Indra, the King of heaven. He gave protection to his citizens, keeping them engaged in pious activities and devotion to the Lord. He did not collect a single cent of taxes from the citizens without being able to give them protection from all calamities. The greatest calamity in life is to become godless and therefore sinful. If the state head or king allows the citizens to become sinful by indulging in illicit sex life, intoxication, meat-eating and gambling, then the king is responsible, and he has to suffer the resultant sequence of reactions for the sinful lives of the citizens because he levies taxes on them unnecessarily. These are the principles for a ruling power, and because Mahārāja Pṛthu observed all the principles for a ruling chief, he is referred to here as ādi-rājaḥ. (SB 4.20.21, Purport)

Na te viduḥ svārtha-gatiṁ hi viṣṇum: “They do not know that the real interest and the highest perfection of life is to worship Lord Viṣṇu (Kṛṣṇa).” (SB 7.5.31) It is impossible to become satisfied by trying to adjust the external energy. Without being a devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa, one can only be baffled and confused. To save living entities from such a calamity, Lord Kṛṣṇa points out in Bhagavad-gītā (7.19) (SB 4.24.74, Purport)

SB Canto 5

Being unable to protect himself from the threefold miseries of material existence, the conditioned soul becomes very morose and lives a life of lamentation. These threefold miseries are miseries suffered by mental calamity at the hands of the demigods (such as freezing wind and scorching heat), miseries offered by other living entities, and miseries arising from the mind and body themselves. (SB 5.14.25)
SB Canto 6

Devotional service, which begins with chanting of the holy name of the Lord, is so powerful that even if one falls down from the exalted position of a brāhmaṇa through sexual indulgence, he can be saved from all calamities if he somehow or other chants the holy name of the Lord. This is the extraordinary power of the Lord’s holy name. Therefore in Bhagavad-gītā it is advised that one not forget the chanting of the holy name even for a moment (satataṁ kīrtayanto māṁ yatantaś ca dṛḍha-vratāḥ (BG 9.14)). There are so many dangers in this material world that one may fall down from an exalted position at any time. Yet if one keeps himself always pure and steady by chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, he will be safe without a doubt. (SB 6.1.63, Purport)

The Supreme Personality of Godhead, the living entities, the material energy, the spiritual energy and the entire creation are all individual substances. In the ultimate analysis, however, together they constitute the supreme one, the Personality of Godhead. Therefore those who are advanced in spiritual knowledge see unity in diversity. For such advanced persons, the Lord’s bodily decorations, His name, His fame, His attributes and forms and the weapons in His hand are manifestations of the strength of His potency. According to their elevated spiritual understanding, the omniscient Lord, who manifests various forms, is present everywhere. May He always protect us everywhere from all calamities. (SB 6.8.32-33)

When the demigods, along with Brahmā, other prajāpatis and other great saintly persons, saw that Indra had been swallowed by the demon, they became very morose. “Alas,” they lamented. “What a calamity ! What a calamity !” (SB 6.12.30)

SB Canto 8

From this statement it appears that in the upper planetary system there is shipping and that traders there engage in navigation as their occupational duty. Sometimes, as on this planet, these traders are shipwrecked in the middle of the ocean. It appears that even in the upper planetary system, such calamities occasionally take place. The upper planetary system in the creation of the Lord is certainly not vacant or devoid of living entities. From Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam we understand that every planet is full of living entities, just as earth is. There is no reason to accept that on other planetary systems there are no living beings. (SB 8.11.25, Purport)

Therefore, since he was engaged to construct the residential quarters of Bali Mahārāja, the buildings and palaces on the planet Sutala must at least equal those on the heavenly planets. A further advantage of this place designed for Bali Mahārāja was that he would not be disturbed by any outward calamity. Moreover, he would not be disturbed by mental or bodily miseries. These are all extraordinary features of the planet Sutala, where Bali Mahārāja would live.

In the Vedic literatures we find descriptions of many different planets where there are many, many palaces, hundreds and thousands of times better than those of which we have experience on this planet earth. When we speak of palaces, this naturally includes the idea of great cities and towns. (SB 8.22.32, Purport)

SB Canto 9

According to the laws of nature, whether at the time of Paraśurāma or at the present, if the government becomes irresponsible and sinful, not caring for brahminical culture, there will certainly be an incarnation of God like Paraśurāma to create a devastation by fire, famine, pestilence or some other calamity. Whenever the government disrespects the supremacy of the Personality of Godhead and fails to protect the institution of varṇāśrama-dharma, it will certainly have to face such catastrophes as formerly brought about by Lord Paraśurāma. (SB 9.16.18-19, Purport)

It is said that in Kali-yuga people have only short lives, and they have no culture of spiritual consciousness. If anyone is at all interested in spiritual culture, he is misled by many bogus svāmīs and yogīs who do not refer to kṛṣṇa-kathā. Therefore most people are unfortunate and disturbed by many calamities. Śrīla Vyāsadeva prepared Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam at the request of Nārada Muni in order to give relief to the suffering people of this age (kali-kalmaṣa-ghnam). The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is seriously engaged in enlightening people through the pleasing topics of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. All over the world, the message of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and Bhagavad-gītā is being accepted in all spheres of life, especially in advanced, educated circles. (SB 10.1.14, Purport)

Nanda Mahārāja and the other gopas exclaimed: My dear friends, you must know that Ānakadundubhi, Vasudeva, has become a great saint or a master of mystic power. Otherwise how could he have foreseen this calamity and predicted it to us? (SB 10.6.32)

Vasudeva could see what would happen, whereas Nanda Mahārāja, the king of the agriculturalists, could only guess that Vasudeva was a great saintly person and had developed mystic powers. Vasudeva actually had all mystic powers under his control; otherwise he could not have become the father of Kṛṣṇa. But in fact he foresaw the calamities in Vraja by studying Kaṁsa’s political activities and thus warned Nanda Mahārāja to take precautions, although Nanda Mahārāja thought that Vasudeva had predicted this incident through wonderful mystic powers. By mystic powers gained through the practice of haṭha-yoga, one can study and understand the future. (SB 10.6.32, Purport)

The demon having fallen, the gopīs picked the child up and delivered Him to the lap of mother Yaśodā. Thus mother Yaśodā was struck with wonder, but because of yogamāyā’s influence, no one could understand who Kṛṣṇa was and what had actually happened. Rather, everyone began to praise fortune for the child’s having been saved from such a calamity. Nanda Mahārāja, of course, was thinking of the wonderful foretelling of Vasudeva and began to praise him as a great yogī. Later, when the child was on the lap of mother Yaśodā, the child yawned, and mother Yaśodā could see within His mouth the entire universal manifestation. (SB 10.7 Summary)

The handcart was loaded with heavy utensils and other paraphernalia. To set the cart back in its original position required much strength, but this was easily done by the cowherd men. Then, according to the system of the gopa jāti, various Vedic ceremonies were performed to appease the calamitous situation. (SB 10.7.12, Purport)

In transcendental life, as soon as devotees of the Lord merge in lamentation, they immediately experience the Lord’s transcendental activities and merge in transcendental bliss. Actually such devotees are always in transcendental bliss, and such apparent calamities provide a further impetus for that bliss. (SB 10.7.29, Purport)

When mother Yaśodā and Rohiṇī were unable to protect the babies from calamities threatened by horned cows, by fire, by animals with claws and teeth such as monkeys, dogs and cats, and by thorns, swords and other weapons on the ground, they were always in anxiety, and their household engagements were disturbed. At that time, they were fully equipoised in the transcendental ecstasy known as the distress of maternal affection, for this was aroused within their minds. (SB 10.8.25)

SB Cantos 10.14 to 12 (Translations Only)

Each day the gem would produce eight bhāras of gold, my dear Prabhu, and the place in which it was kept and properly worshiped would be free of calamities such as famine or untimely death, and also of evils like snake bites, mental and physical disorders and the presence of deceitful persons. (SB 10.56.11)

Some men proposed (that the troubles were due to Akrūra’s absence), but they had forgotten the glories of the Supreme Lord, which they themselves had so often described. Indeed, how can calamities occur in a place where the Personality of Godhead, the residence of all the sages, resides? (SB 10.57.31)

Queen Kuntī said: My dear, respectable brother, I feel that my desires have been frustrated, because although all of you are most saintly, you forgot me during my calamities. (SB 10.82.18)

Just as a ship rescues those who have fallen into the ocean, similarly, I very quickly rescue from all calamities those persons who uplift brāhmaṇas and devotees suffering in a poverty-stricken condition. (SB 11.17.44)

Thanks to Vani Quotes for providing some of the research data.

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