Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Dandavat pranams. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva.
In Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 1 Chapter 7, Suta Goswami narrates to the sages of Namisaranya as to how Ashwattama killed the sleeping sons of Pandavas. Arjuna initially promised to Draupadi to bring the head of Ashwattama to her. But after arresting him, Arjuna decided not to kill him. In Srimad Bhagavatam verse 1.7.40 very nicely brings out the mood of Arjuna.
evam parikshataa dharmam / paarthah krishnena coditah
naicchad dhantum guru-sutam / yadyapy aatma-hanam mahaan
Suta Gosvami said: Although Krishna, who was examining Arjuna in religion, encouraged Arjuna to kill the son of Dronacarya, Arjuna, a great soul, did not like the idea of killing him, although Ashvatthama was a heinous murderer of Arjuna's family members.
Srila Prabhupada very nicely glorifies the dutiful nature of Arjuna in the purport to the above verse. He says, "Lord Sri Krishna encouraged Arjuna outwardly just to test Arjuna's sense of duty. It is not that Arjuna was incomplete in the sense of his duty, nor was Lord Sri Krishna unaware of Arjuna's sense of duty. But Lord Sri Krishna put to test many of His pure devotees just to magnify the sense of duty. The gopis were put to such tests as well. Prahlada Maharaja also was put to such a test. All pure devotees come out successful in the respective tests by the Lord."
In his wonderful lecture on the above verse Srila Prabhupada teaches us important lesson on how we should behave as devotees. "Arjuna's decision was very right. Arjuna's decision was right because, naicchad dhantum guru-sutam. He thought that "Although Ashvatthama is criminal, he should be killed. But I am going to kill him on account of my sons's or our sons' being killed by him. We are so much aggrieved. So if I kill Ashvatthama, then his mother is there. She would be very much unhappy." For the sake of the spiritual master and teacher... Dronacarya was dead in the fight, but his wife was living. So Arjuna and Draupadi, (were) considering the grief of the wife of Dronacarya... There were many instances like that. Not that "The person is criminal," but "What will be the effect of killing him?" That is to be considered."
His Divine Grace further says, "Even there is duty, we have to see what will be the effect of the duty. Not everything should be done very blindly. Arjuna... This is devotee. Devotee means he's not blind. Yasyaasti bhaktir bhagavaty akincanaa sarvair gunais tatra samaasate suraah [SB 5.18.12]. Bhagavad-bhakta means he will act in such a way that all qualified, nobody can criticize him. That is bhagavad-bhakta. Sarvair gunais tatra samaasate suraah."
Whenever we are put in difficult situation, instead of blindly taking decisions, it is important to think over the impact of our decision on others. If our thoughts, words and deeds will help people to remember Krishna peacefully, then they are welcome. On the other hand if its going to add more pain and make them lose faith in Krishna, then we should not proceed with our decision.
Krishna willing we shall try to learn further lessons taught by His Divine Grace based on his lecture on this verse in the subsequent offering.
Thank you very much,
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Sudarshana devi dasi.
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