Failing is Winning

5th Aug 2020
Sudarshana devi dasi

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

In Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 3 Chapter 19 there is nice description of the fight between Hiranyaksha and Lord Varaha. Lord playfully fought with the demon who was previously His doorkeeper in Vaikuntha. Both of them followed the codes of conductof war and never attacked each other when either of them became nirayudha. So in the course of fight when Hiranyaksha threw his trident at the Lord, the Lord released His Sudarshana cakra. Srimad Bhagavatam verse 3.19.16 says,

tad ojasā daitya-mahā-bhaṭārpitaṁ
cakāsad antaḥ-kha udīrṇa-dīdhiti
cakreṇa ciccheda niśāta-neminā
harir yathā tārkṣya-patatram ujjhitam

Hurled by the mighty demon with all his strength, the flying trident shone brightly in the sky. The Personality of Godhead, however, tore it to pieces with His discus Sudarshana, which had a sharp-edged rim, even as Indra cut off a wing of Garuda.

The way the trident was torn apart by Sudarshana cakra is being compared to Indra cutting off Garuda's wing. Now we might wonder when did this happen and our beloved Srila Prabhupada very nicely explains about this in the purport of the verse. His Divine Grace says, "Once upon a time, Garuda, the carrier of the Lord, snatched away a nectar pot from the hands of the demigods in heaven in order to liberate his mother, Vinata, from the clutches of his stepmother, Kadru, the mother of the serpents. On learning of this, Indra, the King of heaven, hurled his thunderbolt against Garuda. With a view to respect the infallibility of Indra's weapon, Garuda, though otherwise invincible, being the Lord's own mount, dropped one of his wings, which was shattered to pieces by the thunderbolt. The inhabitants of higher planets are so sensible that even in the process of fighting they observe the preliminary rules and regulations of gentleness. In this case, Garuda wanted to show respect for Indra; since he knew that Indra's weapon must destroy something, he offered his wing."

HG Krpana Vatsala Krishna Prabhuji in his recent offering, "Graceful degradation" had very nicely mentioned that how we can experience eternal bliss when we gracefully withdraw and let the Lord graciously overtake us. Many times in life we may face situations wherein we think that we are doing some service for the right cause and when obstructed by others we rebel or fight for it - so much so we might even end up forgetting the original purpose for what we began the service. Instead, if we stop for a moment and try to think what does Supreme Lord wants to convey to us and pray for His mercy to graciously overtake us and guide us, then instead of reacting, we would be able to respond in gentle manner.  

Garuda's intention was to release his mother Vinata from his step-mother Kadru for which he had to deliver pot of nectar to the serpents. Indra also noticed Garuda never attempted to drink the nectar himself, but was just taking it to free his mother. Indra did not want the nectar to be mishandled by the snakes as they would cause lot of trouble to all other living entities, if they drink the nectar. So Indra agreed to help Garuda in his attempts to free his mother and later stealthily took away the pot of nectar from the snakes before they could taste it. Here we can see that losing a fight or failing in our attempts of service is also not bad. In Prthu Maharaj's Ashwamedha sacrifice also we find that Prthu Maharaj wanted to do 100 horse sacrifice. This was agitating Indra who started stealing the 100th horse as he was feeling insecure of his position. When Brahma intervened and advised Prthu Maharaj to just stop with 99, Prthu Maharaj agreed to abide by Brahma's order. By this act, Prthu Maharaj could get darshan of Lord Vishnu, blessings of Lord Brahma as well as friendship with Lord Indra.

So the key lesson to be learnt from great devotees like Garuda and Prthu Maharaj is that showing our prowess is not as important as abiding by the orders of Guru and Krishna. In any stage of service - the following golden line from translation 3.16.37 will guide us to take the right decision. "What purpose can we serve on His behalf by deliberating on the subject?" In situations wherein we have to accept failure, such graceful withdrawal is actually a blessing. It's not a loss or failure - but it is real success.

Hare Krishna.
Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Sudarshana devi dasi.