Among the countries of this meagre planet earth, Bhārata-varṣa, or India, is the best because since the dawn of creation Indian sages have exhibited the most exceptional skill in pursuing the esoteric spiritual science. In days of yore, these sages could communicate with the higher planetary systems. But today India is in such a bad condition that we are not willing to follow the instructions of previous sages. We are willing to accept Kṛṣṇa as a historical figure, but by devious means we try distort His instructions with confusing philosophical jargon. This is proof of India's undesirable state. India now has become eager to do away with the real God and replace Him with many fake Gods. This is the greatest misfortune for India.
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Days of yore
SB Canto 2
Great sages and saints in the days of yore were not living in palatial buildings furnished with good furniture and so-called amenities of life. They used to live in huts and groves and sit on the flat ground, and yet they have left immense treasures of high knowledge with all perfection. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī were high-ranking ministers of state, but they were able to leave behind them immense writings on transcendental knowledge, while residing only for one night underneath one tree. They did not live even two nights under the same tree, and what to speak of well-furnished rooms with modern amenities. And still they were able to give us most important literatures of self-realization. So-called comforts of life are not actually helpful for progressive civilization; rather, they are detrimental to such progressive life. In the system of sanātana-dharma, of four divisions of social life and four orders of progressive realization, there are ample opportunities and sufficient directions for a happy termination of the progressive life, and the sincere followers are advised therein to accept a voluntary life of renunciation in order to achieve the desired goal of life. If one is not accustomed to abiding by the life of renunciation and self-abnegation from the beginning, one should try to get into the habit at a later stage of life as recommended by Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī, and that will help one to achieve the desired success.
SB Canto 3
O Vasu, I know from within your mind what you desired in the days of yore when the Vasus and other demigods responsible for expanding the universal affairs performed sacrifices. You particularly desired to achieve My association. This is very difficult to obtain for others, but I award it unto you.
Uddhava is one of the eternal associates of the Lord, and a plenary portion of Uddhava was one of the eight Vasus in the days of yore. The eight Vasus and the demigods in the upper planetary system, who are responsible for the management of the universal affairs, performed a sacrifice in the days of yore, desiring to fulfill their respective ultimate goals in life. At that time an expansion of Uddhava, acting as one of the Vasus, desired to become an associate of the Lord. The Lord knew this because He is present in the heart of every living entity as Paramātmā, the Superconsciousness. In everyone's heart there is the representation of the Superconsciousness, who gives memory to the partial consciousness of every living entity. The living entity, as partial consciousness, forgets incidents of his past life, but the Superconsciousness reminds him how to act in terms of his past cultivation of knowledge. Bhagavad-gītā confirms this fact in various ways: ye yathā māṁ prapadyante tāṁs tathaiva bhajāmy aham (BG 4.11), sarvasya cāhaṁ hṛdi sanniviṣṭo mattaḥ smṛtir jñānam apohanaṁ ca (BG 15.15).
Everyone is at liberty to desire as he likes, but the desire is fulfilled by the Supreme Lord. Everyone is independent to think or desire, but the fulfillment of one's desire depends on the supreme will. This law is expressed as "Man proposes, God disposes." In the days of yore, when the demigods and Vasus performed sacrifice, Uddhava, as one of the Vasus, desired to enter into the association of the Lord, which is very difficult for those busy in empiric philosophical speculation or fruitive activities. Such persons have practically no information of the facts about becoming an associate of the Lord. Only the pure devotees can know, by the mercy of the Lord, that the personal association of the Lord is the highest perfection of life. The Lord assured Uddhava that He would fulfill his desire. It appears that when the Lord informed him by His indication to Uddhava, the great sage Maitreya finally became aware of the importance of entering into the association of the Lord.
O Uddhava, in the lotus millennium in the days of yore, at the beginning of the creation, I spoke unto Brahmā, who is situated on the lotus that grows out of My navel, about My transcendental glories, which the great sages describe as Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.
SB Canto 4
When one is engaged in devotional service, he is often surrounded by envious people, and often many enemies come to try to defeat him or stop him. This is not new in this present age, for even in the days of yore Prahlāda Mahārāja, who was engaged in the devotional service of the Lord, was harassed by his demoniac father, Hiraṇyakaśipu. The atheists are always prepared to harass a devotee; therefore Caitanya Mahāprabhu suggested that one be very tolerant of these people. Nonetheless, one has to continue chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra and preaching the chanting of this mantra because such preaching and chanting constitute the perfection of life. One should chant and preach about the urgency of making this life perfect in all respects. One should thus engage in the devotional service of the Lord and follow in the footsteps of previous ācāryas, beginning with Lord Brahmā and others.
This chapter contains a great lesson concerning the monarchical kingdom in the days of yore. When King Barhiṣat was considering retiring from the royal duties, he sent his sons to perform austerities in order to become perfect kings for the welfare of the citizens. At the same time, King Barhiṣat was being instructed by the great sage Nārada about the material world and the living entity who wants to enjoy it. It is therefore very clear how the kings and princes were trained to take charge of a kingdom. Welfare activities for the benefit of the citizens were aimed at understanding the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The human form of life is especially meant for understanding God, our relationship with Him and our activities in His service. Because the kings took charge of the spiritual education of the citizens, both the king and the citizens were happy in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. In this regard, we should remember that the monarchical hierarchy of Prācīnabarhiṣat comes from Mahārāja Dhruva, a great devotee of the Lord and the most celebrated disciple of Nārada Muni.
SB Canto 6
The distinction between the demigods (devas) and demons (asuras) is that the demigods are all devotees of Lord Viṣṇu whereas the demons are devotees of demigods like Lord Śiva, Goddess Kālī and Goddess Durgā. Sometimes the demons are also devotees of Lord Brahmā. For example, Hiraṇyakaśipu was a devotee of Lord Brahmā, Rāvaṇa was a devotee of Lord Śiva, and Mahiṣāsura was a devotee of Goddess Durgā. The demigods are devotees of Lord Viṣṇu (viṣṇu-bhaktaḥ smṛto daiva), whereas the demons (āsuras tad-viparyayaḥ) are always against the viṣṇu-bhaktas, or Vaiṣṇavas. To oppose the Vaiṣṇavas, the demons become devotees of Lord Śiva, Lord Brahmā, Kālī, Durgā, and so on. In the days of yore, many long years ago, there was animosity between the devas and the asuras, and the same spirit still continues, for the devotees of Lord Śiva and Goddess Durgā are always envious of Vaiṣṇavas, who are devotees of Lord Viṣṇu. This strain between the devotees of Lord Śiva and Lord Viṣṇu has always existed. In the higher planetary systems, fights between the demons and the demigods continue for a long, long time.
Queen Kṛtyadyuti's co-wives, who had poisoned the child, were very much ashamed, and they lost all their bodily luster. While lamenting, O King, they remembered the instructions of Aṅgirā and gave up their ambition to bear children. Following the directions of the brāhmaṇas, they went to the bank of the Yamunā, where they bathed and atoned for their sinful activities.
In this verse the word bāla-hatyā-hata-prabhāḥ is to be particularly noted. The practice of killing children has existed in human society for a long time—since time immemorial—but in the days of yore it was very rarely performed. At the present moment, however, in this age of Kali, abortion—killing of the child within the womb—has become very common, and sometimes a child is even killed after birth. If a woman performs such an abominable act, she gradually loses all her bodily luster (bāla-hatyā-hata-prabhāḥ). It is also to be noted that the ladies who had committed the sinful act of administering poison to the child were very much ashamed, and according to the directions of the brāhmaṇas, they had to undergo atonement for killing the child. Any woman who has ever performed such an infamously sinful act must atone for it, but no one now is doing that. Under the circumstances, the women responsible must suffer in this life and the next. Those who are sincere souls, after hearing this incident, should refrain from such child-killing and should atone for their sinful activities by taking to Kṛṣṇa consciousness very seriously. If one chants the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra without offenses, all of one's sinful actions are surely atoned for immediately, but one should not commit such deeds again, for that is an offense.
SB Canto 8
The demons thought that the front of the snake was auspicious and that catching hold of that portion would be more chivalrous. Moreover, Daityas must always do the opposite of the demigods. That is their nature. We have actually seen this in relation to our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. We are advocating cow protection and encouraging people to drink more milk and eat palatable preparations made of milk, but the demons, just to protest such proposals, are claiming that they are advanced in scientific knowledge, as described here by the words svādhyāya-śruta-sampannāḥ. They say that according to their scientific way, they have discovered that milk is dangerous and that the beef obtained by killing cows is very nutritious. This difference of opinion will always continue. Indeed, it has existed since days of yore. Millions of years ago, there was the same competition. The demons, as a result of their so-called Vedic study, preferred to hold the side of the snake near the mouth. The Supreme Personality of Godhead thought it wise to catch hold of the dangerous part of the snake and allow the demons to hold the tail, which was not dangerous, but because of a competitive desire, the demons thought it wise to hold the snake near the mouth. If the demigods were going to drink poison, the demons would resolve, "Why should we not share the poison and die gloriously by drinking it?"
Other Books by Srila Prabhupada
Renunciation Through Wisdom
So God is explaining Himself personally, and He is accepted by authorities, not only in days of yore, formerly, but recently within five hundred, seven hundred years, big, big ācāryas-Śaṅkarācārya, Rāmānujācārya, Madhvācārya, Viṣṇu Svāmī-big, big ācār..., stalwart, latest within five hundred years. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, everyone accepts Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. And these rascals are searching out what is God. Just see their rascaldom! God is here, and he is searching. So those who are searching after God, and they are, if they are making some proposition, thesis, these are all nonsense, cheating. You do not know God. You admit. That is very good. But why you are making thesis? God is not subjected to your mental speculation.