Steadiness in Devotional Service - Part 2

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept our humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev.

This is in continuation of the previous topic, "Steadiness in Devotional Service", wherein we were meditating on the wonderful verses spoken by Sri Narada Muni to Dhruva Maharaj, describing the form and glories of Supreme Lord. In Srimad Bhagavatam verse 4.8.47, Narada Muni glorifies the Lord as follows,

śrīvatsāṅkaṁ ghana-śyāmaṁ puruṣaṁ vana-mālinam
śaṅkha-cakra-gadā-padmair abhivyakta-caturbhujam

The Lord is further described as having the mark of Shrivatsa, or the sitting place of the goddess of fortune, and His bodily hue is deep bluish. The Lord is a person, He wears a garland of flowers, and He is eternally manifest with four hands, which hold [beginning from the lower left hand] a conchshell, wheel, club and lotus flow.

On the chest of Supreme Lord there is mark of Shrivatsa which is the sitting place of Lakshmi devi. There is a nice pastime behind this. Once Bhrgu muni, the son of Brahma was present in the assembly of sages near the shore of river Sarasvati wherein the sages decided to send Bhrgu Muni to test all three predominating deities and report to the assembly as to who is the greatest. Bhrgu decided to test the Lords' tolerance, for that quality is a sure sign of greatness. First he entered the court of Lord Brahma, his father, without offering him any respect. This enraged Brahma, who suppressed his anger because Bhrgu was his son. Next Bhrgu went to Lord Shiva, his older brother, who rose from his seat to embrace him. But Bhrgu rejected the embrace by saying, "My dear brother, you are always very impure. Because you smear your body with ashes, you are not very clean. Please do not touch me." Shiva became very angry with him. It is said that an offense can be committed either with the body, with the mind or by speech. Bhrgu Muni’s first offense, committed toward Lord Brahma, was an offense with the mind. His second offense, committed toward Lord Shiva by insulting him, criticizing him for unclean habits, was an offense by speech. Just as Shiva was about to kill Bhrgu with his trident, Goddess Parvati interceded and pacified her husband.

Next Bhrgu went to Vaikuntha loka to test Lord Narayana. When Bhrgu went back to the assembly of sages and told them all that had happened, they concluded that Lord Vishnu is certainly supreme. There Bhrgu Muni purposely committed the greatest sin by offending Lord Vishnu by his bodily activities. The first offense committed by Bhrgu Muni was mental, the second offense was vocal, and the third offense was corporal. These different offenses are progressively greater in degree. An offense committed within the mind is a positive offense, the same offense committed verbally is comparatively more grave, and when committed by bodily action it is superlative in offensiveness. So Bhrgu Muni committed the greatest offense by kicking the chest of the Lord with his foot in the presence of the goddess of fortune. Of course, Lord Vishnu is all-merciful. He did not become angry at the activities of Bhrgu Muni, for Bhrgu Muni was a great brahmana. A brahmana is to be excused even if he sometimes commits an offense, and Lord Vishnu set the example. Instead of becoming angry, he welcomed Bhrgu Muni, asked forgivance for not noticing his arrival and massaged his feet. He said, "My dear lord, My chest has now become sanctified because of the touch of your feet, and I am now assured that the goddess of fortune, Lakshmi, will be very glad to live there perpetually."

Srila Prabhupada very nicely mentions in the Krishna book that, "After hearing the details from Bhrgu Muni the sages were astonished because although Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva were immediately agitated, Lord Vishnu, in spite of being kicked by Bhrgu Muni, was not agitated in the least. The example is given that small lamps may be agitated by a slight breeze, but the greatest lamp or the greatest illuminating source, the sun, is never moved, even by the greatest hurricane. One's greatness has to be estimated by one's ability to tolerate provoking situations. The sages gathered on the bank of the river Sarasvati concluded that one who wants actual peace and freedom from all fear should take shelter of the lotus feet of Vishnu... it is stated in the Bhagavad-Gita that anyone who accepts Lord Vishnu or Krishna as the supreme friend attains the highest perfection of peaceful life."

By constantly meditating on the glorious qualities of Lord and His devotees, by Their mercy such good qualities will also get manifested in us. Srila Haridas Thakura was beat in 22 market places by the guards as per the order of Kazi. When he remained alive even after those beatings, the offenders became worried that Kazi would kill them. So hearing this, Thakura became very compassionate upon them and immediately dropped down dead. His body was then dropped in Ganges, but by mercy of Supreme Lord, he came back alive. Then the Kazi realized his mistake and sought forgivance. The important point to be noted here is that Haridas Thakur's spiritual potency is so great that strikes made by the offenders did not have any effect on him. But he was so kind that he did not want the offenders to suffer in the hands of Kazi. If we are not kind and tolerant to other living entities then it is not possible to chant the Holy Names of the Lord continuously,

jīve dayā nāme ruci vaiṣṇava sevana
iha chāra dharma nāhi śuna sanātana

Hear, Sanatana! Kindness to all living beings, taste for the holy name, and service to Vaishnavas—apart from these there is no other religion.

So on this auspicious occasion of Sri Sri Krishna Janmashtami, let us pray at the lotus feet of Supreme Lord, Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva that we understand the import of the above verse and practise the same in our lives. Then Supreme Lord will appear in our heart on each and every day.

Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev,
Kalacakra Krsna das and Sudarshana devi dasi.