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Be Gentle – 1

The following is a humble effort to transcribe the Srimad Bhagavatam class delivered by HG Devakinandan prabhuji, our beloved God brother from Singapore on 29th April 2011, in Abudhabi on the following verse from Kunti Mata’s prayers SB 1.8.27

namo ‘kincana-vittaaya / nivrtta-guna-vrttaye
aatmaaraamaaya shaantaaya / kaivalya-pataye namah

My obeisances are unto You, who are the property of the materially impoverished. You have nothing to do with the actions and reactions of the material modes of nature. You are self-satisfied, and therefore You are the most gentle and are master of the monists.”

Krishna is described in three ways in this verse.

1. Akincana vittaaya – He is the property of those who are materially impoverished.
2. Nivrtta guna vrttaye – He has nothing to do with the material modes of nature.
3. Atmaraamaya shaantaaya – He is self-satisfied and most gentle.

These are the points we must remember about Krishna because if we remember these points about Krishna, it will help us in our daily lives. This is very very important. Prabhuji’s explanation on each of these points is transcribed herewith.

1. Akinchana vittaaya: The first point that is stated here is that Krishna is the property of the materially impoverished. In other words, those who are exhausted materially, Krishna becomes their property. To those who continue to seek material advancement, to the point where it actually becomes greed, to the point we think that by that material advancement, somehow or the other we will become peaceful, to those people, Krishna cannot become the property. Krishna exclusively reserves His right to those who do not estimate His glories by material standards. The moment we try to estimate Krishna by our material standards and by wealth, Krishna never becomes our property. He becomes distant from us. In one statement it is very nicely stated by Maharaj that, “Krishna is not a commodity to be possessed, evaluated and disposed off.” In material world, that is what we do with everything. We try to possess it, then we evaluate it and after a while we dispose it. But Krishna is not such a person. We cannot allow ourselves to behave that way with Krishna. The more we are attached to Krishna, the less we will be attached to material advancement. Material advancement will come, but it will also go. The devotee who works in the office is not a person who is not working well. A devotee is known as daksha. He performs all his material duties very expertly. But he is not doing them to advance materially. He is doing them to fly the flag of Krishna. He is doing them so that he becomes free of the work. The same work which can bind us, if we put Krishna in the centre, and we work hard and our motivation is to please Krishna then the same work liberates us. This is the beauty of a devotee.

So one who is materially impoverished, does not mean he is bankrupt materially. It does not mean he has no house. It does not mean he has no material wealth but that wealth he knows is not his opulence. He know that wealth cannot buy Krishna and he knows that instead of helping him to come to Krishna, wealth may very often make him forget Krishna. We may think as devotees we have left behind material greed but we all know subtly that we will always be attacked by lust, anger and greed. They are the servants of maya and they will always be around the corner to test us. When we become angry it is because we have not achieved an object. Therefore we have lust. The reason we have lust for an object is because we are greedy for it. So lust, anger and greed are three sisters or three brothers whichever way you want to call them. Wherever each one goes, the others must follow. Those who are away from lust, anger and greed, they are with Krishna and Krishna becomes their property.

Maharaj gave a very sweet story in Dwaraka in the early nineties. We were in Rukmini mata temple at that time. He said that Rukmini mata is exalted. You won’t find a temple for Satyabhama. Maharaj was saying why there is a temple for Rukmini and no temple for Satyabhama. There is a difference because of a very sweet episode that happened between Krishna, Rukmini and Satyabhama.

One day Satyabhama was sitting with Krishna and at that point Narada muni comes and Satyabhama prays to Narada muni and says, “Welcome my dear Narada, what can I give you?” Narada muni says, “You can give me something which you consider to be most valuable.” So she said I have many things which are valuable. She brought Narada into her room and she said, “See Krishna has given me all this wealth. He has given me diamonds, ear rings, bracelets, anklets everything. They have so much value.” Then Narada said, “Is this the most valuable item you have?” Satyabhama is devotee. So she says, “The person who has give me this is more valuable than all the valuable things that I have.” So then Narada said, “Then I want that which is most valuable.” So Satyabhama got trapped. She said the person who has given her all this is most valuable. Therefore He is the one most precious to her. Just before then Narada had been asked by her what he wanted and she had agreed to give that to him. So when she said Krishna is most valuable to her, Narada said, “I will take Krishna with me. He is most valuable. So I will take Him with me.” So Satyabhama begins to worry. She cannot bear to live in separation from Krishna. So she tells Narada muni, “I will give you something which is equal in value to Krishna. Is that alright?” Narada muni said, “If you can find that, I will be very happy.”

So she says, “Krishna come here.” We all know Krishna acted as a perfect hen-pecked husband of Satyabhama. Wherever Satyabhama says, “Krishna come”, He will come. “Krishna, sit” and He will sit. “Krishna I want paarijaata flower” and He will take the whole tree. That is the greatness of Krishna. So Krishna immediately came and said, “How can I serve you?” Satyabhama then told the servant to bring a large scale and then she says, “Krishna You sit on the left side.” And immediately the scale goes down. So Satyabhama then looks around. She goes to the room. She starts taking all the items of jewellery that Krishna had given her and she puts everything there confidently thinking that at some point the scale will become equal. Maharaj says that almost two hours had passed and she had put everything she has on the scale. Nothing left on her own body even. Krishna had not moved even an inch up. Then she calls all the other queens and asks them to bring all their jewellery. She puts everything on the pan and still Krishna does not move even an inch. Now she is really beginning to sweat. Narada Muni says, “If you cannot reach the value of Krishna, then I am going to take Krishna” and Krishna was just smiling and waiting to see the outcome. He does not want to interfere. Two great devotees are there. Better not to get into trouble. Just sit down and wait. Sometimes Maharaj says we are also caught in crossfire between two devotees. Both devotees want to serve Krishna and therefore they fight. When the two devotees are fighting for Krishna, better keep silent and be in the centre. That is the safest, Maharaj says. So Krishna sits down and waits.

Now Rukmini mata comes into the palace. Satyabhama calls Rukmini, “My dear sister, you must now help me.” Maharaj says, Normally, Satyabhama doesn’t really like Rukmini mata so much. She is in the leftist camp and Rukmini is in the rightist camp. So little bit of tension is there sometimes, not so much from Rukmini’s side, but Satyabhama. Maharaj says Satyabhama has a bit of a heavy mentality. She likes to exert her authority over Krishna. So Rukmini mata comes in and she says, “What can I do?” Satyabhama explains that “Narada is going to take Krishna if we are not able to find something equal in value to Krishna. I have tried my best. All the jewellery in the palace is put and there is nothing left. Can you help me?” Rukmini mata becomes very upset. She says, “My dear sister Satyabhama, how can you really think that you can measure Krishna with any amount of material wealth?” All the wealth you have in the world cannot equal to Krishna and that is very true. The more wealth you have, the more you forget Krishna and the more you forget Krishna, the more anxious you become not for Krishna, but in forgetfulness of Krishna. So Rukmini mata said, “I know only one thing in this world which will really be equal to the value of Krishna.” She goes outside and she picks one beautiful Tulasi leaf. She comes inside and she prays very earnestly to Krishna, “Krishna, You please accept Tulasi maharani. She is Your dear most devotee. No one excels her in devotion. You please accept this with whatever little devotion I also have and if You can accept this, then You please be pleased with us. We do not want to lose You Krishna and Your value can never be measured.” Saying like that, Rukmini mata throws all the jewellery aside and she puts Tulasi maharani on the pan and Krishna goes way up and Tulasi maharani goes way down. And Krishna starts laughing. Narada starts laughing. Satyabhama almost faints and she runs to Rukmini and says, “Now I know why you are the most favorite queen of Krishna because you realize the true value of Krishna.” Maharaj said this perfectly explains akinchana vittaaya. It is such a simple story but is so deep because it tells us that very often we run after Krishna with all the material paraphernalia but we do not realize that He is not interested in that. He is interested only if you run after His devotees. Tulasi maharani is His devotee. If you serve His devotees, then Krishna’s value increases in our lives.

Devakinandan prabhuji went on to explain how only pure devotional service will attract Krishna and the same shall be offered in the next mail, Krishna willing.

Thank you very much,
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev,
Vaijayanti mala devi dasi,