Lessons from Lord Balaram - Part 3

31st Aug 2010
Sajjanapriya Krishna das

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada and Gurudev. All glories to Lord Baladev.

We are continuing on the topic of "Lessons from Lord Balaram" in the pastime of killing of Romaharshana.

We had listed down the 7 specific lessons to be learnt from this pastime.

1. Devotee should never get puffed up with Vedic knowledge and be pretentious in executing devotional service.
2. Lord and Pure devotees are always transcendental and supreme and therefore never under-estimate them in any circumstances.
3. Lord is the owner of all our strength, stamina, sensory power and Life duration.
4. Never express our own concocted opinion.
5. How to deal with senior devotees, elders, sannyasis and the Supreme Lord.
6. Accountability for offenses/ mistakes committed during our execution of devotional service.
7. Ready to accept instructions from all without discrimination.

In the previous mails we have discussed about the first four lessons to be learnt by us while executing devotional service. We will see the remaining lessons in this mail.

5. How to deal with senior devotees, elders, sannayasis and the Supreme Lord ?

Eventhough the Supreme Lord Balaram has killed Romaharshana who is a brahamana, the sages were very carefully in addressing the Lord and pointing out his mistake, not with the intention of finding fault with the Lord. Srimad Bhagavatam 10.78.31 and 32 speaks volume of the maturity of the sages in addressing the Lord.

ajaanataivaacaritas / tvayaa brahma-vadho yathaa
yogeshvarasya bhavato / naamnaayo 'pi niyaamakah
yady etad-brahma-hatyaayaah / paavanam loka-paavana
carishyati bhavaan loka- / sangraho 'nanya-coditah

"You have unknowingly killed a brahmana. Of course, even the injunctions of revealed scripture cannot dictate to You, the Lord of all mystic power. But if by Your own free will You nonetheless carry out the prescribed purification for this slaying of a brahmana, O purifier of the whole world, people in general will greatly benefit by Your example."

The sages were very careful in addressing the Lord about the accidental killing of the brahmana Romaharshana. We may be dealing with senior devotees, elders and sannyasis. Since the sages have found out the mistake and pointed out to the Lord, we cannot take that stand and find out mistakes in others. First of all we are not that much qualified as the exalted sages of Naimisharanya. With regard to sannyasis, we do not understand the activities of pure Vaishnava and therefore we do not have any right to question them. Better to avoid judging them. In case, we want to address the mistakes of our senior devotees, we should humbly submit our opinion, not with the attitude of pointing fingers, but out of genuine concern for the senior devotee. We should not put them down, especially in front of others. It may become offense and there is no recourse to it. In case of elders they are part and parcel of Krishna and hence better avoid offending them in any way. As regards the Lord, any reverse situation in our life, we immediately blame the Lord. The Lord is not personally present and so it is convenient to find fault with the Lord. Queen Kunti has suffered from beginning to end but still we don't find any complaints from her in her prayers. Her prayers are only for glorifying the Lord. This is the lesson we should learn from this pastime of Lord Balaram.

6. Accountability for offenses/mistakes committed during our execution of devotional service.

The moment Lord Balaram was questioned about the killing of Romaharasana, the Lord is so humble in admitting the fault and accepting immediate atonement in front of 60000 sages assembled in Naimsarana. The verse is excellent to meditate. Srimad Bhagavatam 10.78.33

shri-bhagavaan uvaaca
carishye vadha-nirvesham / lokaanugraha-kaamyayaa
niyamah prathame kalpe / yaavaan sa tu vidheeyataam

"The Personality of Godhead said: I will certainly perform the atonement for this killing, since I wish to show compassion to the people in general. Please, therefore, prescribe for Me whatever ritual is to be done first."

The word carishye is very significant. Even after studying Bhagavad Gita and Bhagavatam for so many years, we are not ready to follow Lord's orders. We hesitate a lot to accept our mistake and and perform the atonement. The Lord is so particular that He immediately became ready to execute whatever atonement the sages suggested for the killing of Romaharshana. He is not bound by any rules and regulations of the shaastras and also the Lord cannot allow an egoistic personality to discuss Srimad Bhagavatam to the sages. It is a gross offense by Romaharshana at the lotus feet of the Lord and so Lord had to mercifully punish him. Inspite of that, the Lord never thought that He is the Supreme and why He has to agree to the statements of sages. Even in the pastime of Sanat Kumaras, we find that when the door-keepers Jaya and Vijaya offended them, Lord Krishna personally came out running and asked the Kumaras for forgivance, even though there was no fault of His. With utmost humility Lord says in verse 3.16.5 - "A wrong act committed by a servant leads people in general to blame his master, just as a spot of white leprosy on any part of the body pollutes all of the skin."

We are so much insignificant and being ordinary humans, we are prone to errors always. It is one of the four main defects in us and we don't want to admit it. This is the main thing to be understood. So what we should do especially in devotional service.

1. We have to accept our mistakes.
2. After accepting the mistake, we need to take concrete steps for rectification of those mistakes. This is very important.
3. We should try our best not to repeat the mistake again. Also we should not try to cover our follies and mistakes with logical arguments.
4. We should not blame the person who is finding fault with us or take revenge by quoting his mistakes done in the past.
5. Lord is making us humble in accepting our mistakes. As our spiritual master HDG Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj says - "Blame yourselves, 100% of the problems disappear immediately."

7. Ready to accept instructions from all without discrimination.

Eventhough Lord is the Supreme Personality of Godhead for the entire cosmic manifestation, the Lord never had an iota of ego, in accepting the instructions from sages and saints. He never discriminated that these were spoken by sages empowered by Me with Vedic knowledge. The verse Srimad Bhagavatam 10.78.37 exemplifies the Lord's humility in unequivocally accepting the instructions of sages and waiting for more instructions. The Lord says - "Please tell Me your desire, O best of sages, and I shall certainly fulfill it. And, O wise souls, please carefully determine My proper atonement, since I do not know what it might be."

In our case we don't want to accept instructions from anybody especially when we become so called senior devotees, spending so many years in Krishna consciousness and thereby Lord Balaram is not satisfied by such behavior. We have to shed our ego at some stage or otherwise how are we going to achieve the lotus feet of the Lord ? In Goloka Vrindavan even a plant is conscious and may give instructions and we may not be able to tolerate it.

I therefore pray sincerely from core of my heart to Lord Balaram, Srila Prabhupada and Gurudeva, to imbibe the above lessons in my life and practise it with utmost care so that there is a meaning for my initiation and it will be a sign of devotional service.

Lord Balarama Bhagavan ki jai !

Thank you very much.
Your humble servant in the service of Srila Prabhupada and Gurudev,
Sajjanapriya Krishna Das,
Abu Dhabi.