5th Oct 2011
Sudarshana devi dasi

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

In Srimad Bhagavatam, Srila Narada Muni says a very beautiful verse (10.10.14). If only we understand the real import of that verse we will never dare to give pain to others.

yathā kaṇṭaka-viddhāṅgo jantor necchati tāṁ vyathām
jīva-sāmyaṁ gato liṅgair na tathāviddha-kaṇṭakaḥ

By seeing their faces, one whose body has been pricked by pins can understand the pain of others who are pinpricked. Realizing that this pain is the same for everyone, he does not want others to suffer in this way. But one who has never been pricked by pins cannot understand this pain.

One common thing for all living entities in this world is suffering. For a rich person, maintaining his wealth is a cause of his anxiety and for a poor man to make ends meet will be a great struggle. For a person who has got a job, sustaining the job, growing in his career, etc are a challenge. For a person who is jobless, finding a job itself is a great challenge. For persons who are not married, finding a good life-partner will be a challenge and for married people tolerating and adjusting with the life-partner will be trouble. For people who don't have children, to beget a child would be a great source of anxiety and for those who have children, to bring them up safely, provide a good education, and settling them in life would be a great source of anxiety. So everyone in every stage is experiencing some kind of the pain or other. But most of the time when we interact with living entities, we forget this and end up blaming, scolding, criticising, and fighting with each other. Thereby we are simply adding pain to their already painful existence.

In his wonderful purport to the above verse, His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada very nicely mentions, "There is a saying, 'The happiness of wealth is enjoyable by a person who has tasted the distress of poverty.' There is also another common saying, vandhyaa ki bujhibe prasava-vedanaa: 'A woman who has not given birth to a child cannot understand the pain of childbirth.' Unless one comes to the platform of actual experience, one cannot realize what is pain and what is happiness in this material world. The laws of nature act accordingly. If one has killed an animal, one must himself be killed by that same animal. This is called maamsa. Maam means "me," and sa means "he." As I am eating an animal, that animal will have the opportunity to eat me. In every state, therefore, it is ordinarily the custom that if a person commits murder he is hanged."

There are some very valuable lessons which we need to learn from the above purport.

1. The happiness of wealth is enjoyable by a person who has tasted the distress of poverty: Many times when we are having some particular suffering, we become very morose. We wonder why Krishna is doing this to us. As per the example of wealth given here, only when we undergo distress of poverty, we will be able to appreciate the value of wealth. There is also a saying that the value of shade is known only when we are exposed to heat. So if we are deprived of something it is only because the Lord is helping us to understand the value of it, so that when He later bestows the same, we will not land up misusing it.

2. A woman who has not given birth to a child cannot understand the pain of childbirth: Srimati Draupadi was ready to forgive Ashvattama, the son of Krpi, who had killed all her five sons while sleeping. Although she was in much pain she told Arjuna, "My Lord, do not make the wife of Dronacarya cry like me. I am aggrieved for the death of my sons. She need not cry constantly like me." This is an amazing act of kindness exhibited by Draupadi Mata. Being a mother herself, she knew how much pain it is, to lose her children. She knew that Krpi is already suffering the loss of her husband Dronacarya and so she did not want to add more pain by killing her son as well. This is a very important lesson for us to follow. When somebody harms us, our innate nature is to do "Tit for Tat". Even if no-one harms us, we like to harm others. But here we find Mother Draupadi, exhibiting a very wonderful quality of pure devotee, by not counteracting to the offense done by Ashvattama. Another example of this transcendental quality is exhibited by Jesus Christ who was nailed on the cross but still, he prayed to the Lord to forgive those offenders and that they do not suffer for their sins.

3. If one has killed an animal, one must himself be killed by that same animal: Hurting does not stop with human beings alone. If we harm/hurt any living entity, we are bound to face the reaction of the same. So meat-eating is very much forbidden. In his unparalleled purport to verse 1.7.37, Srila Prabhupada quotes from Manu Samhita -"He who gives permission, he who kills the animal, he who sells the slaughtered animal, he who cooks the animal, he who administers distribution of the foodstuff, and at last he who eats such cooked animal food are all murderers, and all of them are liable to be punished by the laws of nature. No one can create a living being despite all advancement of material science, and therefore no one has the right to kill a living being by one's independent whims."

So we should be very careful not to harm/hurt any living entity by our body, mind, or words. If we are not able to do any good to others, at least we should refrain from doing/thinking/talking bad things for them. As Lord Krishna very nicely advises us in Bhagavad Gita verse 12.15:

yasmān nodvijate look lokān nodvijate ca yaḥ
harṣāmarṣa-bhayodvegair mukto yaḥ sa ca me priyaḥ

He by whom no one is put into difficulty and who is not disturbed by anyone, who is equipoised in happiness and distress, fear and anxiety, is very dear to Me.

I pray to the lotus feet of Srila Gurudev and Srila Prabhupada that I always remember the truth that every living entity is suffering in this world so that I refrain from giving them more difficulty or pain by my thoughts, words, or deeds.

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