Lessons from Bali Maharaj - Part 2

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

We are continuing the topic on Lessons from Bali Maharaj. The realizations of Bali Maharaj on being arrested by the Lord is nicely expressed in seven transcendental gem of verses quoted by him in 8 Canto Chapter 22, verses 4 through 11. We discussed verses 4 and 5 in the previous mail and now we will discuss verses 6 through 9 in this mail.

yasmin vairānubandhena vyūḍhena vibudhetarāḥ
bahavo lebhire siddhiṁ yām u haikānta-yoginaḥ

tenāhaṁ nigṛhīto ’smi bhavatā bhūri-karmaṇā
baddhaś ca vāruṇaiḥ pāśair nātivrīḍe na ca vyathe

Many demons who were continuously inimical toward You finally achieved the perfection of great mystic yogas. Your Lordship can perform one work to serve many purposes, and consequently, although You have punished me in many ways, I do not feel ashamed of having been arrested by the ropes of Varuna nor do I feel aggrieved.

Bali Maharaj is expressing that he is not ashamed or aggrieved. na śocati na kāṅkṣati - He is in the brahma bhuta stage of devotional service. Whenever we are punished or in difficult condition, we feel aggrieved without a doubt. Though he is born in the family of demons and is the ruler of the three worlds, he is still quite happy being arrested by the Lord. In his wonderful purport to the above verse, Srila Prabhupada says - "Thus Bali Maharaja could understand that the Lord had some hidden purpose in punishing him. Consequently he was neither unhappy nor ashamed because of the awkward position in which he had been put by the Supreme Personality of Godhead." In our lives also we face difficult situations. But whenever some bad thing is happening in our life, we should understand that the the Lord has some purpose behind that and that He wants us to learn from that incident and correct our mistakes. We should remember and have faith that whatever the Lord does in our life is always for our good.

In Srimad Bhagavatam verse 8.22.8, Bali Maharaj further continues

pitāmaho me bhavadīya-sammataḥ
prahrāda āviṣkṛta-sādhu-vādaḥ
bhavad-vipakṣeṇa vicitra-vaiśasaṁ
samprāpitas tvaṁ paramaḥ sva-pitrā

My grandfather Prahlada Maharaja is famous, being recognized by all Your devotees. Although harassed in many ways by his father, Hiranyakashipu, he still remained faithful, taking shelter at Your lotus feet.

Bali Maharaj gives the realization that being faithful and truthful to the Lord is always beneficial as his own grandfather Prahlad Maharaj, never deterred from devotional service even when he was punished by his own father. Because of Prahlad Maharaj's extreme tolerance, he became famous all over the three worlds. Bali Maharaj is teaching us how to be faithful and truthful especially in trying circumstances. Bali Maharaja, following in the footsteps of his grandfather Prahlada Maharaja, remained fixed in his devotion to the Lord, despite the Lord's having punished him. To be faithful and truthful when things are going right in material life is not a great thing. But as soon as we encounter minor difficulties, we loose the faith and determination. As our Gurudev says Lord Krishna is the only firm shelter because the Lord is eternal. All other shelters would fade away. In verse 8.22.9, Bali Maharaj talks about what will be the effect of taking temporary shelter of the material body and its constituents.

kim ātmanānena jahāti yo ’ntataḥ
kiṁ riktha-hāraiḥ svajanākhya-dasyubhiḥ
kiṁ jāyayā saṁsṛti-hetu-bhūtayā
martyasya gehaiḥ kim ihāyuṣo vyayaḥ

What is the use of the material body, which automatically leaves its owner at the end of life? And what is the use of all one's family members, who are actually plunderers taking away money that is useful for the service of the Lord in spiritual opulence? What is the use of a wife? She is only the source of increasing material conditions. And what is the use of family, home, country and community? Attachment for them merely wastes the valuable energy of one's lifetime.

Bali Maharaj says that so called material or temporary shelters will crumble due to influence of time and ultimately he believes that atma nivedanam, surrendering everything to the Lord will be the ultimate benefit to a devotee as we are not going to carry anything with us at the time of death. dharmaanu gogachatti jiva ekah. Only devotional service will go with the soul. But unfortunately even though we understand, know and realize this, when it comes into implementation, we are doubtful that if I keep serving the Lord who will take care of my family and myself. But reality is whatever we are blessed with in this life, be it spouse, home, children, wealth are all gifts from Supreme Lord. So to use these gifts in His service is the right thing to do. If we don't do, then it means if we are simply misusing them and wasting our life. Srila Prabhupada very nicely says - "Human life is meant for self-realization, not for increasing unwanted things. Actually, a wife increases unwanted things. One's lifetime, one's home and everything one has, if not properly used in the service of the Lord, are all sources of material conditions of perpetual suffering under the threefold miseries (adhyaatmika, adhibhautika and adhidaivika). " So when we misuse Lord's gifts we are bound to face the consequences as well. On the other hand when we use everything in Lord's service, we will experience eternal bliss. Whether we want eternal bliss or perpetual suffering is choice which we need to make.

By the mercy of Gurudev, Srila Prabhupada and Sri Krishna we will continue the lessons from the verses 10 and 11 in the next offering in granthraj. As Maharaj says there is thread throughout the Srimad Bhagavatam verses and we can see how Bali Maharaj's realisations are inter connected with each other in a logical sequence.

I humbly request all of you to please pray for me to understand these transcendental gems and that I atleast try with earnest attempt to practise the same in my life.

Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev,
Sajjana Priya Krishna das
Abu Dhabi.