Cut the Knots of Entanglement

What appear like blessings may not be actually blessings, but ever-expanding networks of entanglement

tatrapasyat sthitan parthah
pitrn atha pitamahan
acaryan matulan bhratrn
putran pautran sakhims tatha
svasuran suhrdas caiva
senayor ubhayor api

tan samiksya sa kaunteyah
sarvan bandhun avasthitan
krpaya parayavisto
visidann idam abravit
[Bg. 1.26-27]


There Arjuna could see, within the midst of the armies of both parties, his fathers, grandfathers, teachers, maternal uncles, brothers, sons, grandsons, friends, and also his father-in-law and well-wishers-all present there. When the son of Kuntī, Arjuna, saw all these different grades of friends and relatives, he became overwhelmed with compassion and spoke thus:

Arjuna had his family members situated on both sides of the battlefield. Before the war began he offered his respects to grandfather Bhisma and teacher Dronacarya. He did this by shooting an arrow at their lotus feet – this is the etiquette. “My dear sir, you have taught me this fighting science. Now I am going to use it against you. So I offer my obeisances.” And Dronacarya threw another arrow that touched Arjuna’s head: “My dear boy, be blessed.” This is duty. How blessed? “By killing me. I know you will kill me, so I give you blessings that you kill me.”

Material Relationships – Not a Blessing

This material world is problematic, especially when we have got these family relationships. “Society, friendship, and love, divinely bestowed upon man,” they say. It is not divinely bestowed. It is entanglement. Dehapatya-kalatradisv atmasainyesv asatsv api/ tesam pramatto nidhanam pasyann api na pasyati (Bhagavatam 2.1.4). Deha is the body – first affection is with our body: “I am this Mr. Such and such. I am this body.” Apatya means offspring, which are the by-products of this body. Kalatra is wife. Stri, or woman, means one who expands (vistara). If I am alone, I accept a wife, and with her cooperation I expand. One who helps me expand is called stri. In this way I expand my affection for this material world. This material world is based on attachment. It is not required; it is a foreign thing. This material body is foreign, but I am spiritual (aham brahmasmi). But because I wanted to lord it over the material nature, Krishna has given me this body. According to our desire, we get a body – either of a human being, Brahma, tiger, ant, demigod, Englishman, American, or Indian. Krishna is so kind. Ye yatha mam prapadyante tams tathaiva bhajamy aham (Gita 4.11). A son may remain disobedient to his father, but the father continues to support him: “All right, you take money and enjoy.” Similarly Krishna provides us all necessities even though we act disobediently.

Srila Prabhupada

This material life is a concession given by God to us for gratifying our senses. Krishna does not want that you become entangled in this material world. Just as we want to enjoy life by having family, children and friends, so Krishna , being a person, wants to enjoy by having various relationships. Nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam (Katha Upanisad 2.2.13). He has produced so many children (we living entities). Why? To enjoy with them. Just try to understand the psychology. Yato va imani bhutani jayante. Janmady asya yatah (Bhagavatam 1.1.1). Where did this idea come from, that “I shall be happy within society, friendship, children and love?” The origin is there in Krishna . 

Anything that is within our experience is present in Krishna . Thus Krishna cannot be impersonal. Krishna is a person like you and me. But the difference is that He’s unlimitedly powerful, while we are limited. Krishna eagerly wants to live with His family. Our Krishna consciousness movement is just to train ourselves again to enter into the family of Krishna . Our so-called families based on material relationships will only give us suffering. But this family idea is there. That is perfect in Krishna , with Krishna .

So whatever we are seeing in this material world, its origin is in Krishna . But here it is perverted. It is like the reflection of a tree standing on a riverbank. Everything about the tree in the reflection is topsy-turvied – the upside has gone downside. Similarly this material world is a perverted reflection of the spiritual world. It is false in this sense because it is reflection. Otherwise, exactly the same things are there in the spiritual world. Urdhva-mulam adhahsakham asvattham prahur avyayam (Gita 15.1). The tree stands erect, and in the reflection the root has gone upside. So here is the problem.

Devotional Service Awards All Good Qualities

Krpaya parayavisto visidann idam abravit (Gita 1.27). When Arjuna saw all his friends and family members on the battlefield, he became overwhelmed by compassion. “O Krishna , how can I kill my fathers, my father-in-law, my grandfather, my sons, my grandsons, my brothers, and so many friends?”

It is natural to have such emotions. How did Arjuna develop such mood? Why did Duryodhana not think in this way? Because Arjuna is a devotee. A devotee does not like to kill anyone, not even an ant. How, then, could he kill his friends and relatives? Yasyasti bhaktir bhagavaty akincana sarvair gunais tatra samasate surah (Bhagavatam 5.18.12). This is the result of devotional life.

Arjuna was insulted. His belongings were taken away, he was banished for thirteen years, his wife was insulted – so many atrocities were done to him. Despite all this, he did not feel happy at the thought of killing his enemies. This is Vaisnava. He was ready to excuse even his greatest enemy. But Krishna did not approve this thought. If you insult His devotee, the devotee may excuse you, but Krishna will not excuse you. Therefore be careful before insulting a devotee. Krishna cannot tolerate any insult to His devotee. Therefore He arranged this war. Arjuna wanted to excuse his enemies, but Krishna said, “No, you must fight. You must kill them.” If you want to please Krishna , you must be prepared to kill your so-called relatives.

The Test of Real Education

Vedic civilization trains you to get detached from this so-called family affection. First there is a brahmacarya life, the life of austerity. A brahmacari is supposed to live to serve the spiritual master at his home, and he has to work just like a menial servant, whether he is a king’s son or a very great brahmana’s son. Whatever the spiritual master will order, he has to do it. This is brahmacari. And they will gladly do, because they are children.

Brahmacari life begins from five years, and they get all education from the spiritual master. A brahmacari has to beg: “Mother, please give me something, alms,” and he will collect some rice, dahl, atta, or some vegetables, sometimes some money. They bring all their collection and offer it to the spiritual master. Because he has begged, it does not become his property; it becomes the property of the spiritual master. Everything is guru’s property, so much so that after cooking everything, the spiritual master will call, “My dear boys, come on. Take prasada.” But if the spiritual master forgets to call somebody, the brahmacari will not eat. This is brahmacari. In this way, a brahmacari learns the principles of austerity and tolerance, how to see women as mother – not sister, but mother – even women of his own age. 

This is real education. Canakya Pandita, the great politician, has given the definition of a learned scholar:
matrvat para-daresu para-dravyesu lostravat atmavat sarva-bhutesu yah pasyati sa panditah
Matrvat para-daresu
: to see every woman except his wife as mother. Seeing all women as your mother is the perfection of education. Para-dravyesu lostravat: See others’ property as garbage in the street – not worthy of possessing. And atmavat sarva-bhutesu: treat all living entities as your own self. If you feel pain by something, do not use it upon others. If your throat is cut, if your head is cut, you feel so much pain. So how you can cut the head of another animal? Samah sarvesu-bhutesu. These three things are the tests of education. Unfortunately, there is no such education available now.

Gradually Rise Above the Problem

So this attachment for this material world must gradually be cut down. That is the Vedic civilization. If you want to go back home, back to Godhead, then there must remain no attachment to this material world of so-called society, friendship and love. As long as you have even a pinch of attraction to this material world, there is no possibility of being transferred to the spiritual world. Therefore by training and education, we have to become detached. We have to understand the falsity of this socalled society, friendship and love. Bhaktivinoda thakura has sung, mayar bose, jaccho bhese’, khaccho habudubu bhai: Sometimes drowned, sometimes on the surface, sometimes on the other shore, sometimes on this shore. Just as in rainy season, so many things float in the river, similarly we are also floating in the waves of maya, being tossed by different currents. Sometimes I am a king, a dog, or somebody else. Ultimately nobody is your father, mother, or sister. It is simply mayic, illusory combination. And we are so much attached to this combination that we are refusing to go back to home, back to Godhead. This is our position.

Therefore we have to meet them in the battlefield of Kuruksetra, and if required, we have to kill them and execute the order of Krishna . We can never be safe in this material world; my society, friendship, love, country, politics and sociology – none of these things can truly help us. We have to take care of our self.

Daivi hy esa gunamayi mama maya duratyaya (Gita 7.14). You are under the clutches of maya; you have no independence. Nor has anyone got any independence to save you. While flying an airplane high in the sky, if you are in danger no other airplane can help you. You must be a very careful pilot to take care of yourself. Similarly, in this material world everyone individually has to take care of himself. How can he be saved from the clutches of maya? That is Krishna consciousness movement. The acarya, or the teacher, can give you hints, “You can be saved in this way.” He can save you by instruction, by his mercy, as much as possible. But you have to take it in your hands seriously. But the execution of the duties – that is in your hand.

One who is too much attached to this society, friendship and love is called pramatta, or a crazy person. He does not see the reality. Although he sees, “When I was a child, my father and mother were giving me protection. Now they are gone. Who is giving me protection now?” I had my own family, sons, daughters, wife, but I left them all. Now who is giving me protection? Actually Krishna gives you protection always, not your society, friendship and love. These things will be finished. None of them will be able to give you protection. Only Krishna will be giving you protection. Therefore you surrender to Krishna . Sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja, aham tvam sarvapapebhyo moksayisyami (Gita 18.66): “I shall give you protection.” Kaunteya pratijanihi na me bhaktah pranasyati (Gita 9.31): “My devotee is never vanquished.” So the best thing is to take to Krishna consciousness, fully surrender unto Him, and you will be protected always.

Thank you very much. Hare Krishna .