Kalanidhi Dasa’s poem about the spiritual master glorifying Srila Prabhupada is very enlightening and enlivening! I would also add that the poem reflects my sentiments exactly!
Srila Prabhupada’s writings, especially his translations and commentaries on the Bhagavad-gita, had a very powerful influence on me when I was mired in materialism in the days of my ignorant youth, not knowing what direction my life would take. Srila Prabhupada’s presentations gradually transformed me from a clueless person to one who has taken his first few steps in the direction of the Lord. I did not know hitherto that his masterpiece the Bhagavad-gita was so readable, so approachable, and so easily and succinctly understandable. I am sure that Srila Prabhupada’s other works like the Srimad-Bhagavatam etc. must have transformed millions of people throughout the world. I have personally never seen or met him, but just by reading his profoundly sincere writings and his intense desire to bring the word of the Lord to every home, I know for sure that he is no ordinary master but a “Master Extraordinaire.”
(Gautam Saha, Mumbai)
Why did great Vaishnava rulers like Maharaja Parikshit commit animal killing as a sport while going on hunting expeditions?
Our reply: Kshatriyas (administrators) during Vedic times shouldered their responsibility to protect dharma and rule their kingdoms based on the proper principles. Sometimes ferocious animals, which would cause a disturbance in human society, had to be killed for ensuring human well-being. The kings would also punish disturbance-causing rogues and thieves justly. To do this effectively, they had to be trained adequately to administer proper punishment to the perpetrators of crimes. Thus, hunting was allowed only for the kshatriyas for the purpose of training so that they could protect the principles of dharma whenever a need arose. This can be likened to the modern concept of testing medicines on guinea-pigs in the laboratory so that eventually these medicines can be administered to human beings for their benefit. Another way to understand it is that surgeons need to perform surgeries on their patients in the course of protecting their lives. To make such surgeons effective, these surgeons are trained by making them practice their skills on a dead corpse to get used to the unpleasant sights of the internals of the human body viz. blood, bones etc. This ensures that the surgeons will not be disturbed later when a need exists for them to help their patients. In the same mood, the kshatriyas would get used to the art of killing anti-social elements by first practicing their skills on wild animals. Parikshit was an exemplary Vaishnava and a ksatriya both. Thus, he did whatever was necessary to ensure proper execution of his duty.
As opposed to this, we observe that endless violence is meted out to different aquatics/ birds/ animals etc. for human pleasure. For eg. most products of the modern cosmetics industry have various substances obtained by killiung different living beings mindlessly.
Also, in modern times, having seen many a leader abusing their position and power, totally disregarding their responsibility to protect their subjects from degradation, we perceive even kings like Parikshit through our cynical vision. We should however understand our limitation in trying to compare these two diverse examples of rulers. It is also to be noted that unlike modern leaders of the present age, Vedic kings including Parikshit neither killed for personal satisfaction nor ever opened huge organized slaughterhouses to produce flesh for satisfying the human palate.
Dealing With Gossip
One of the greatest problems in the life of a devotee is the tendency to gossip (prajalpa). I have noted that gossiping is very detrimental to my sadhana. I want to remove this obstacle but I have seen that it takes time to overcome. I want to really improve in my devotion and sincerity towards Krishna.
Our reply: The tendency to speak is a very strong one as confirmed by Srila Rupa Goswami in the first verse of his book Upadesamrita. If you are unable to control your tendency to gossip, please be assured that it is not something impossible; it can be tackled.
Gossip may be broadly described as some speech that is unfavorable for our Krishna consciousness. Some gossip is just light talk, essentially harmless and unintentionally begun. For instance, one may start by commenting on the weather or some other general topic from day-to-day life. Another category of gossip would be rumor-mongering and spreading discontent around. Such gossip would definitely be intentionally harmful and aimed at belittling someone around us. Both kinds of gossip are to be avoided but of the two, the second one is most dangerous and harmful to our spiritual advancement.
An easy way to overcome the tendency to gossip is to replace it with the tendency to glorify Krishna and His marvelous activities. Descriptions of these pastimes satisfy our thirst for topics for discussion. Scriptures like Ramayana, Mahabharata and Srimad-bhagavatam offer a practical and attractive panacea for all who are desirous to talk and discuss. We may take advantage of these historical masterpieces and continue talking but in a way that will bring us closer to Krishna.
The Editorial “Cereal Killer” (BTG February 2011) by Syamananda Dasa was really praiseworthy. I want to thank him for his valuable contribution.
Replies to the letters were written by Nanda Dulal Dasa.
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