Reflecting before Reacting

Reflecting before Reacting

Date
Author
Vaijayanti mala devi dasi

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,

Please accept my humble obeisances! All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev!

There are occasions in our life wherein we react to situations immediately in anger and hurry without thinking about the consequences and then we repent later, but it becomes too late and many times causes permanent destruction in our lives and in the lives of others. We find in Srimad Bhagavatam that the demigods had accepted Vishvarupa as their priest, after Brhaspati had disappeared following the disrespectful behavior of Indra. Vishvarupa, because of affection for the demons, secretly supplied the remnants of the yajnas to the demons also. When Indra heard about this, he beheaded Vishvarupa who was a Brahmana and also his guru and for this act done in anger, Indra repented and he had to go through the sinful reactions. In the eighth canto of Srimad Bhagavatam, the demigods, having been cursed by Durvasa Muni, were defeated in battle by the asuras. When the demigods were deprived of their heavenly kingdom, they approached the Lord and offered their prayers and at that time the Lord instructed them to propose a truce with the demons for the purpose of churning the ocean and He spoke the following verse in Srimad Bhagavatam 8.6.24

yuyam tad anumodadhvam  / yad icchanty asuraah suraah
na samrambhena sidhyanti / sarvaarthaah saantvayaa yathaa

"My dear demigods, with patience and peace everything can be done, but if one is agitated by anger, the goal is not achieved. Therefore, whatever the demons ask, agree to their proposal."

In this regard, there is a very famous couplet written by one of the foremost poets of Sanskrit literature Bhaaravi, in his great work Kiraataarjuniyam.

sahasaa vidadhitana kriyaam / avivekah paramaapadaampadam
vrnate hi vimrshyakaarinam / gunalubdhaah svayameva sampadah

"One should not do anything in a hurry, A person who does not deliberate (avivekaha) faces great calamities. Fortunes which are always attached to merits, seek on their own one who acts with reflection." 

This is what Dharmaraja says to an impatient Bhima wanting to take revenge on Kauravas. There are interesting stories about the above shloka. Bhaaravi showed immense capabilities of a poet even from his childhood. While everybody around was delighted, his father would conceal his own joy and say, "He is still a boy, what poetic talent he may possess? What will he know of the secret of poetry?" Angered Bhaaravi, with wicked thoughts overtaking him, wants to kill his father. As he secretly gets ready to kill his father, he hears his mother asking the same question to his father. His father tells his wife, "Beloved, do you think I do not know our son's abilities and talents? There is no doubt about his scholarship. But even though others praise him, we should not do so in front of him if we wish his well being. The great Chanakya Pandita says

laalane bahavo doshaas / taadane bahavo gunaah
tasmaat putram ca sishyam ca / taadayen na tu laalayet

"If you pat your subordinate, then it will increase the faulty habits and if you chastise, then they will improve. Therefore it is advised, 'Either your son or disciple, you should always chastise them. Never give them lenience'."

We have the example of King Dhrtarashtra who simply destroyed his son Duryodhana by always simply accepting the line of action adopted by his wicked son. His leniency led to distress." Hearing this, Bhaaravi felt ashamed and prostrated before his father and asked for forgiveness. It is interesting to note that this incident created such an impression in his mind and such great realization that he composed and included the above mentioned nice verse in his great work. Another story was that Bhaaravi was suffering from poverty and his wife was furious. He set out to make money. On the way, he stopped at a tank and wrote this sloka on a lotus leaf with his nail. A king passing by saw the poem and liked it very much and wanted to honor the poet. He also had the poem etched in gold and hung it in his bed room. One day he came back home to find a stranger lying next to his wife. He took out his sword to kill the stranger and his wife. As he looked up saw the shloka etched in gold. He restrained himself and woke up his wife. His wife was delighted to see him and told the king that the stranger is none other than their long lost son!! King realized that the shloka saved him and located Bhaaravi and honored him.

Let us pray at the lotus feet of the Lord and always contemplate and deliberate before we act or react and this will save us from so many unnecessary problems.  

Thank you very much
Yours in service of Srila Gurudev and Srila Prabhupada

Vaijayanti mala devi dasi

Abu dhabi