Lessons from the Demigods

Lessons from the Demigods

Kalacakra Krsna das

Dear Vaishnavas,

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

It is important to strike a balance in every activity we perform in our life. Taking it to either extremes will land us in trouble. To be balanced we should have a clear understanding of the shastras especially by hearing from the mouth of a pure Vaishnava. By hearing from such pure souls, we get a clear picture of what is right and what is wrong and implement the instructions properly in our lives.

One of the most common mistakes that many of us do is to show a lack of respect to the demigods and treat them on our levels. We generally base this on some of the instructions from Bhagavat-gita and Bhagavatam wherein it is stated that demigod worship is inferior. While it is true, it is nowhere stated in the shastras that the demigods should be disrespected. Rather there are some very good lessons we can learn from them.

Recently I came across an astounding statement by Srila Prabhupada in one of his purports that cleared my long standing doubt. My doubt was this: King Indra happens to appear in several episodes in Bhagavatam and pretty much in every incident, he is depicted almost like a villain. We can see how he repeatedly commited mistakes in the story of Vrtrasura, how he stole away the horse from Maharaja Prthu's yajna, how he tried to kill the Maruts in the womb of Diti..., the list goes on. But curiously, every time Lord Vishnu saves him and the other demigods from danger. Whereas the Demons seem to be on the receiving end everytime. Is Krishna really impartial?

The following lines from Srila Prabhupada's purport to SB 8.22.25 cleared my doubt:

"Although the demigods, who are officials appointed by the Lord for management, are attached to materialistic enjoyment, they never claim to be proprietors of the universe, for they know that the actual proprietor of everything is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is the qualification of the demigods. But the demons, instead of accepting the exclusive proprietorship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, claim the property of the universe for themselves through demarcations of nationalism."

And then I went through all the episodes where Indra was saved by the Lord. It is indeed true that whenever the Lord or His devotees interfered in any of his fights with the opponents, Indra immediately accepts the verdict of the Lord with respect and does what He says. We can see this in the episode where Indra keeps interrupting Prthu Maharaj's sacrifice by stealing away the sacrificial horse and when the Lord interfered he immediately asks for forgiveness from Prthu Maharaj. Again when he and the other demigods were about to kill Prahlad Maharaj in the womb of Kayadu, Narada muni interfers and reveals to them that Prahlad is indeed a devotee, they immediately accept his instructions respecfully, circumambulate and pay obeisances to Kayadu and Prahlad in the womb.

From the above examples, these are the two important qualities that we can learn from the demigods -

1. Accept the Lord and His devotee's orders 100%. (By following this, we become humble - amaanitvam)

2. Accept the exclusive propreitorship of the Lord i.e., accept Him to be the owner and controller of everything - ishaavaasyam idam sarvam. (By following this, we can become prideless - adambitvam).

But there is still one episode where Indra was punished by the Lord, wherein he tried to disrupt the lives of the inhabitants of Vrindavan for not respecting him, by pouring heavy rains in the land of Vraja. Thinking himself to be the controller he disregarded the supremacy of the Lord and hence the Lord smashed his pride by lifting the Govardhan hill and rendering his power completely useless. Then finally he came back to his senses.

Lord Krishna did not put someone in the position of demigods just for fun. He knows their qualifications well and hence rightly rewards them with what they deserve. On our part, we can learn from the good qualities that made them so exalted, respect them for what they are and go on with our service. We can actually follow this same formula in dealing with every living entity and this will save a lot of trouble for ourselves and for Krishna too (He need not waste His time in fixing us).

Thank you very much
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Gurudeva
Kalacakra Krsna das