Glories of Vrtrasura - Part 3

Glories of Vrtrasura - Part 3

Date
9th Apr 2014
Author
Manohar Suvarna

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

This is in continuation of the previous topic titled, "Glories of Vrtrasura". In the previous two offerings, we have learnt

1. the cause and purpose of appearance of great devotee Vrtrasura in the form of a demon.
2. Lord's instruction to demigods for the protection.

Today, we will meditate on realization of Vrtrasura on the battlefield.

3. Fight till the end: After obtaining the instruction from Lord, demigods met exalted and renounced sage Dadichi and requested him to give up his body for their welfare. Sage Dadichi pretended to disagree with demigods request, in order to test the religious maturity of demigods. However later he agreed to give up his body for higher purposes he thereafter agreed to give it up, for after death the body is usually eaten by low animals like dogs and jackals. Dadichi's response to demigods is worth meditating. In Srimad Bhagavatam verse 6.10.8 he says, "One who has no compassion for humanity in its suffering and does not sacrifice his impermanent body for the higher cause of religious principles or eternal glory is certainly pitied by immovable beings."    

 The great devotee Dadichi gave up his life by placing his soul at the lotus feet of Supreme Personality of Godhead. With no attachment to the body, accepting Krishna's instruction to renounce the body for higher cause is one of the great qualities of pure devotees, which is to be understood over here. Then, Indra took the thunderbolt which was made from the bone of Dadichi Muni with its exalted power and blessed by Lord and sages went to attack Vrtrasura. Bhagavatam says war between demons led by Vrtrasura and demigods led by Indra was fought fierce fully and gradually demons lost their strength and power. The great demon heroes whom Vrtrasura had trusted fled the battleground pitiably out of fear. Vrtrasura's following verse in Srimad Bhagavatam 6.10.32 and 33 are worth contemplating:

jātasya mṛtyur dhruva eva sarvataḥ pratikriyā yasya na ceha kḷptā
loko yaśaś cātha tato yadi hy amuṁ ko nāma mṛtyuṁ na vṛṇīta yuktam

dvau sammatāv iha mṛtyū durāpau yad brahma-sandhāraṇayā jitāsuḥ
kalevaraṁ yoga-rato vijahyād yad agraṇīr vīra-śaye ’nivṛttaḥ

All living entities who have taken birth in this material world must die. Surely, no one in this world has found any means to be saved from death. Even providence has not provided a means to escape it. Under the circumstances, death being inevitable, if one can gain promotion to the higher planetary systems and be always celebrated here by dying a suitable death, what man will not accept such a glorious death? There are two ways to meet a glorious death, and both are very rare. One is to die after performing mystic yoga, especially bhakti-yoga, by which one can control the mind and living force and die absorbed in thought of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The second is to die on the battlefield, leading the army and never showing one's back. These two kinds of death are recommended in the shastra as glorious.

From the above verses we can see how much enlightened Vrtrasura is in spiritual knowledge and how out of compassion to the demons in the army, he is attempting to give them spiritual enlightenment even in that critical moment of defeat. He makes it clear that since death is inevitable for all, it is better to die fighting in the battle-field, instead of fleeing from it. Also he insists how for a soldier on a battle-field, death on a battle-field is as glorious as one who dies after performing bhakti yoga. All of us might not be soldiers in battle-field, but this very life itself is a battle. We should not leave the battle at any time out of fear or laziness. Fear of death should not deter us from our commitment. Instead we should continue our prescribed duties diligently all the time, even till the moment of death.

Krishna willing, we will learn more about the glories of Vrtrasura in the next offering.

Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev,
Manohar Suvarna,
Abu Dhabi