Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.7.34-35
by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Vrndavana, September 28, 1976

Pradyumna: “After binding Asvatthama, Arjuna wanted to take him to the military camp. The Personality of Godhead Sri Krsna, looking on with His lotus eyes, spoke to angry Arjuna. Lord Sri Krsna said: O Arjuna, you should not show mercy by releasing this relative of a brahmana (brahma-bandhu), for he has killed innocent boys in their sleep.”


sibiraya ninisantam rajjva baddhva ripum balat praharjunam prakupito bhagavan ambujeksanah

mainam partharhasi tratum brahma-bandhum imam jahi yo ’sav anagasah suptan avadhin nisi balakan

So bhagavan ambujeksanah. Ambuja means lotus flower. Bhagavan is described in many places as ambujeksa—lotus-eyed, lotus feet, lotus navel, in so many ways, lotus palms. So ambujeksana, very beautiful eyes like the petals of a padma, lotus flower. But at the same time, prakupita, He’s angry. He’s angry. Still, ambujeksana. Not that as the Mayavadis think, that “God is kind. Why He should be angry?” But here it is said, prakupita. Pra means “specifically.” Prakrsta-rupena kupitah, “very angry.” Prakupita. And He was, rather, glad that this Asvatthama, who happens to be the son of a brahmana… Still, He was angry. He asked him not to excuse this rascal. Not to excuse. It is next verse, it is said, mainam partharhasi tratum brahma-bandhum imam jahi. He’s brahma-bandhu. He’s not a brahmana. He’s brahma-bandhu. Everyone can say, “I am the son of a brahmana.” That is brahma-bandhu. Or a friend of a brahmana. That does not mean he is a brahmana. This is the idea. Brahmana is not the body. Brahmana is the quality. If the brahmana is body, then when a brahmana is dead the sons take the dead body to the crematorium place and burn the body. Then if the body is brahmana, then the sons are committing sins by brahma-hatya. No. That is not brahma-hatya. Brahmana is the quality. That quality is gone. With the departure of the soul, that quality is gone. Now this body is simply a lump of matter, so there is no shame when the body is burnt into ashes.

The idea is that, as described in the sastra, who is a brahmana, who is a sudra, who is a ksatriya, who is a vaisya… It is all described in the Bhagavad-gita. So satyam samo damas titiksa arjavam, jnanam vijnanam astikyam brahma-karma svabhava-jam. Karma, guna and karma. Here Asvatthama, although he’s born of a brahmana father, he did not possess the quality of a brahmana, neither the work of a brahmana. He degraded himself. First of all, he was engaged as a soldier to assist, to flatter Duryodhana. He wanted to please Duryodhana by killing the Pandavas. But he was such a fool, instead of killing the Pandavas, he killed the five sleeping sons of the Pandavas. How much abominable he is, just imagine. Here it is said, suptan avadhin nisi balakan. First of all, they were minor aged, and they were sleeping, and they were killed at night. Just see. What kind of brahmana he is! A brahmana’s business is not to kill. Even brahmana can kill, he doesn’t require even sword or any other weapon. Simply by cursing he can kill—brahmana was so powerful. But still, it is not the business of a brahmana. When killing is required, it is done by the ksatriyas, not by the brahmanas. Just like Visvamitra Muni, he was disturbed by the Tadaka raksasi. He was quite powerful. Even by cursing he could kill this Tadaka raksasi in the forest, but he did not do so. For killing the raksasi he approached Maharaja Dasaratha. Because he is ksatriya, he is the king. His business is to give protection to the disturbed citizens. Just like we apply to the magistrate, similarly the king is responsible. So he did not kill. Visvamitra formerly was ksatriya, but since he became brahmana… By his endeavor in lifetime, he became a brahmana, a great sage, rsi. So since he became brahmana, he was not interested in killing anyone. That is not brahmana’s business. Brahmana’s business is samo damas titiksa. Even if he is disturbed by somebody, titiksa, he tolerates. Kama-rupa-tapasvin. He does not become… And when it is intolerable, he approaches the ksatriya.

So in considering all angles of vision, this Asvatthama was not a brahmana. Therefore Krsna personally advised him, ma enam partha arhasi tratum: “Don’t excuse him. Kill him, this brahma-bandhu. He has done wrong, now he deserves to be killed.” It is clearly said. So does it mean that Krsna is advising brahma-hatya? No. Krsna cannot do that. He is the teacher, world teacher. How He can advise somebody, especially His friend Arjuna? Bhakto ’si priyo ’si me. Can you advise anything adversely to your friend? To your son? No. I must give very good advice. So Krsna is advising Arjuna, “Don’t excuse this rascal brahma-bandhu. Don’t excuse.” This is Krsna’s advice. But it does not mean that we can do anything and everything under the pretext of Krsna’s advice. You must be first of all a confidential friend or servant of Krsna. You must receive direct order from Krsna. Then you can do it. Otherwise not. Otherwise not. Under the pretext that “Krsna said,” “My spiritual master has said,” “Prabhupada has said,” we manufacture something. Don’t do that. Unless you are directly ordered, you cannot do at least such things as to chastise a brahma-bandhu. This should not be done. Here is direct order.

So bhagavan ambujeksanah. Although He’s angry, although He’s the Supreme Lord, Bhagavan… He’s not so-called nonviolent. How nonviolent? Nonviolent or violent. Violence is also one of the qualifications of God. Especially in political matters, when the ksatriyas are dealing, there is always violence. Without violence, ksatriya has no meaning. Ksat, ksat means injury. Trayate. Ksatriya’s duty is to save the citizen from being injured by others. That is ksatriya. Even an animal. Animal…, just like this Kali was trying to kill cow. Maharaja Pariksit was on his tour. He saw that a black man was trying to kill a cow. So immediately he took his sword, “Who are you, rascal? You are trying to kill a cow in my kingdom?” That is ksatriya’s duty. Ksatriya’s duty is to give protection from injury for the safety of the citizen. The citizen must feel safety, that “We have got such a nice king. There is no fear of anything.” It is said in the Bhagavatam there was no anxiety. The citizens should feel so much safe, that “We have such a nice king that we have no danger at all. Not being injured, not our property being stolen or injustice given.” That is the real government—when the citizens will feel completely safe. That requires ksatriya. Not these camara, bhangis, and sudras voted and become the president and minister. That will not be successful. That is not possible. There must be trained-up ksatriyas, then there will be good government. Trained.

They should be trained means they should be advised by the brahmanas. Therefore four divisions required. The brahmanas have no interest or they have no time. Even a brahmana is made king… It is not his business. He may do it for some time, temporarily. Just like Visvamitra also did. But it is not his business. The brahmana should give advice to the ministers or the legislators. They should be all qualified brahmanas, not paid man. Paid man has nothing to do… Even during the time of Maharaja Candragupta, emperor, he had a brahmana minister, prime minister, Canakya Pandita. He was not taking a single farthing as salary. When once explanation was called for from Canakya Pandita by Candragupta, immediately he resigned. “You cannot call any explanation. Then I resign.” And he was living in a cottage, not that palatial building. He was living in a cottage. That was the system. Brahmana lived very humbly. He was not poor. Not that they are poor men. They were so rich that when Visvamitra approached Maharaja Dasaratha, immediately he vacated his seat and welcomed, “Sir, sit down here.” So respectful. This is Vedic culture. The brahmanas would not accept any comfort, but the ksatriyas would be very, very glad to give all comforts to the brahmanas. In our sastra, brahmana-bhojana, it is recommended that brahmanas should be invited to take prasada. Now they have manufactured daridra-bhojana or daridra-narayana-bhojana. They have made daridra-narayana. But that is not Vedic culture. Vedic culture is to find out qualified brahmana, sages, sannyasis. They would refuse, but still they’ll fall down, “Please come, take some prasada.” This is Vedic culture. Brahmana’s position is very, very exalted. Now, since after the battle of Kuruksetra, they have become brahma-bandhus. The example is here, brahma-bandhu.

So we should not become brahma-bandhu. We should become actually brahmana. And brahma janati iti brahmanah. One who knows Brahman, he is brahmana. And one who knows Parabrahman, he is Vaisnava. Brahman and Parabrahman. So Krsna is Parabrahman. In the Bhagavad-gita it is said, param brahma param dhama pavitram paramam bhavan purusam sasvatam divyam [Bg. 10.12]. So to realize Brahman realization… That is also spiritual. That is not material. Aham brahmasmi. That is spiritual. But that is the first appreciation of the Absolute Truth. That is not complete appreciation or complete knowledge. Complete knowledge is when one understands the param brahma. That is complete understanding. Not simply Brahman: Brahman, Paramatma, and Bhagavan. Brahmeti paramatmeti bhagavan iti sabdyate. The Absolute Truth, vadanti tat tattva-vidas tattvam [Bhag. 1.2.11]. Tattvam means Absolute Truth. What is that Absolute? Advaya-jnanam. One. Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan. They are not different. Advayam, the same Absolute. But it is due to my position, angle of vision, He’s realized in three different features—Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan. That one tattva-vastu, Absolute Truth. So to understand even Brahman, one requires to become brahmana. Brahma janati iti brahmanah. Brahman, understands Brahman, that is the first step. Then you have to make further progress. The example we have given many times, that we are in the sunshine. Now there is sunshine, that is also Brahman, or heat and light. But the heat and light here, ninety-three millions miles away from the sun, and the heat and light in the sun—a difference. That temperature is different. So when you go to the sun-god, that position, and to enjoy heat and light from ninety-three millions miles away, that is also difference. Although heat and light is there in the sun globe and heat and light in the sunshine, but still, sunshine is not the sun globe. Sun globe is not the sun-god. Similarly… This is a crude example. Therefore Caitanya Mahaprabhu’s philosophy is acintya-bhedabheda-tattva: everything is God, and everything is not God. Bheda-abheda. Bheda means not, different, and abheda means one. Acintya-bhedabheda-tattva. Acintya… For us, how we can adjust, at the same time one and different? Therefore it is acintya. Not cintya, cintaniya. In our present sense it is difficult to adjust things how we are one and different with the Supreme Absolute Truth. Acintya-bhedabheda-tattva.

So in this way we have to understand. Tad-vijnanartham sa gurum evabhigacchet [MU 1.2.12]. Through parampara system. Just as Arjuna is in the parampara system, Arjuna was being taught directly by Krsna, so you should learn from Arjuna. That is parampara system. Evam parampara-praptam imam rajarsayo viduh [Bg. 4.2]. Then you will understand. If you take the words of Arjuna, how he appreciated Bhagavad-gita and how he appreciated Krsna, then your knowledge is perfect. If you manufacture meaning and manufacture idea by your concocted, poor fund of knowledge. Acintyah khalu ye bhava na tams tarkena yojayet. Which is beyond your sense perception… Adhoksaja. Therefore Krsna is called adhoksaja. Adhah-krtam aksajam indriya-jnanam yena. Adhah-krta, subdued. You cannot approach Krsna by material sense perception. It is not possible. Therefore His name is adhoksaja. Still you have to offer your service to the Supreme. Sa vai pumsam paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhoksaje [SB 1.2.6]. Adhoksaje. This is the idea, that unless we approach the adhoksaja, Krsna… And Krsna… Atah sri-krsna-namadi na bhaved grahyam indriyaih [BRS. 1.2.234]. Those who are trying to study Krsna by these blunt senses, they’ll never understand Krsna. They’ll never understand.

Therefore Krsna is regretting, that “This rascal, they consider Me as human being.” Avajananti mam mudha manusim tanum asritam [Bg. 9.11]. They have been described as rascals. One who estimates Krsna from material point of view, material vision, he is mudha. Therefore he cannot surrender to Krsna. Na mam duskrtino mudhah prapadyante naradhamah [Bg. 7.15]. Lowest of the mankind, naradhama. Why lowest? Sinful? Duskrtina? These things are there. If we want to understand Krsna, then we should take the prescription of Krsna. What Krsna said? Bhaktya mam abhijanati: [Bg. 18.55] “One can understand Me by the process of bhakti.” Never said, Krsna, that “Yogi can understand Me,” or “The jnanis can understand Me” or “The karmis can understand.” Never. Naham tisthami yoginam hrdayesu. Although yogis are trying to see Krsna always within the heart… Yam brahma varunendra-rudra-marutah stunvanti dhyanavasthita-tad-gatena manasa pasyanti yam yoginah… [SB 12.13.1]. Those who are perfect yogis, they see always Krsna within the core of the heart. Man-mana bhava mad-bhaktah. That is perfect yogi. That is… Krsna admits,

yoginam api sarvesam mad-gatenantar-atmana sraddhavan bhajate yo mam sa me yuktatamo matah [Bg. 6.47]

That is first-class yogi, one who is thinking of Krsna always within the core of the heart. So yogis, jnanis, karmis, bhaktas… So when you become bhakta, then you are perfect karmi, you are perfect yogi, you are perfect jnani. Unless you are perfect jnani, how you can surrender to Krsna? Bahunam janmanam ante jnanavan mam prapadyate [Bg. 7.19] After many, many births cultivating knowledge, when he’s actually wise—jnanavan. Then what is the symptom? Mam prapadyate: he surrenders to Krsna. Why? Vasudevah sarvam iti sa mahatma sudurlabhah [Bg. 7.19]. He understands that Krsna is everything. That is real knowledge. Otherwise, it is not knowledge, it is speculation.

So speculation will not help us. We must have perfect knowledge, and that knowledge is given by Krsna. You take it and follow mahajana like Arjuna and other devotees, then you understand Krsna. And as soon as you understand Krsna, you are immediately liberated. Immediately.

janma karma ca me divyam yo janati tattvatah tyaktva deham punar janma naiti… [Bg. 4.9]

That is liberation. So simple thing, man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji. Simply think of Krsna, chant Krsna’s name, Hare Krsna, and be honest, and liberation is guaranteed.

Thank you very much. (end)