The Lord's Spiritual Ma(e)ssage - Part 3

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

Some time ago, we had written the first 2 parts of on this series titled "The Lord's Spiritual Ma(e)ssage" wherein we saw that the Lord requested Bhishmadev to enlighten the Pandavas on various subjects and initially Bhishmadev couldn't do so because of his physical weakness. Then the Lord massaged his body and blessed him by which Bhishmadev gained strength to speak. When Bhishmadev asked the Lord why the Lord Himself didn't discourse and wanted Bhishmadev to do, the Lord answered that He wanted Bhishmadev to be glorified. This is the concluding part of this series in which we can see what Krishna says if Bhishmadev does not speak as instructed by Him. Lord Krishna says in Mahabharata - (Shanti parva Chapter 54 - 37 and 38)

tasmād vaktavyam eveha tvayā paśyāmy aśeṣataḥ
dharmāñ śuśrūṣamāṇebhyaḥ pṛṣṭena ca satā punaḥ
vaktavyaṃ viduṣā ceti dharmam āhur manīṣiṇaḥ
apratibruvataḥ kaṣṭo doṣo hi bhavati prabho

It is obligatory on your good self to discourse on these subjects in detail unto persons desirous of listening to discourse on morality and duty. A learned person, especially when solicited by the righteous, should discourse on the same. The sages have declared this to be a duty. O effulgent one, if you do not speak on such subjects, you will incur sin. Therefore, questioned by your sons and grandsons, O learned one, about the eternal duties of men, O bull among the Bharatas, please discourse upon them on the subject.

When the Lord said this, Bhishmadev offered prayers to the Lord in glorification and showered the nectar of transcendental knowledge (Raja dharma, Moksha dharma etc.) on the Pandavas and all the assembled sages and devotees, based on the questions by Yudhishtira. After this, he finally sings the Bhishma stuti to the Lord and left his body in a glorious way in full Krishna consciousness. This final pastime of Bhishma reveals lot of important lessons as follows.

1.Preaching requires Lord's mercy and energization:
Actually Bhishmacharya was physically exhausted though he was sound in mind and his spirit. So he was unable to speak on the spiritual subject matters when requested by the Lord. However when the Lord massaged his body and blessed him, Bhishmacharya completely regained his physical and mental strength and he started speaking on the spiritual subjects. Although we may be physically fit. We're weak in mind and spirit due to our anarthas. So when when we're asked to preach the glories of the Lord, we should always pray for the Lord's mercy and blessings which will massage our mind and soul to speak spiritually rejuvenate ourselves. Then only we can preach the Lord's glories. It's not a mechanical act of memorizing slokas, meanings and reciting them in front of a crowd. It is a service done under the spiritual shelter of the Lord and the spiritual master. Our Gurudev HDG Mahavishnu Goswami and HDG Srila Prabhupada have practically shown us how inspite of their advanced age and bodily ailment, they continued to glorify the Lord even until their last breath.

2.One should preach when prompted by the Lord or His pure devotees:
In this pastime, we can see that Bhishmacharya out of his true humility refused to speak in the Lord's presence. He wanted the Lord to speak. However, when Lord insisted, Bhishmadev obediently followed His words with great respect. So when we are given any opportunity to preach, we should not refuse the opportunity out of false humility (superficially thinking ourselves to be fallen). We should speak the Lord's glories relying fully on the Lord and the spiritual master.

3.One should be detached in preaching:
Bhishmacharya gave unparalleled instructions on Raja dharma, Moksha dharma etc, and Vishnu Sahasranama to Yudhishtira. However, after giving instructions he did not wait for many days to see whether Yudhishtira is following all the instructions. He did his preaching as a service to the Lord and once it is done, he offered his wonderful prayers to the Lord (Bhishma Stuti) and left his body when the time arrived. When we do preaching, we become fruitive in our approach (we expect that people should follow whatever we want them to follow and get upset if it doesn't happen according to our timelines) and expect adoration, name and fame. But the great acharya demonstrated that preaching should be done for pleasing the Lord and not with material purposes/attachment.

4.It depends on how we utilize the devotee's presence:
This pastime reveals another very important lesson about associating with great souls. Kauravas had the maximum personal association of Bhishmacharya (as he was in the court of Dhrtarashtra) and he spent only a short time with the Pandavas. However, in spite of this long association with a great soul and pure devotee, Duryodhana and his brothers and Dhrtarashtra never bothered to receive spiritual instructions from him. Rather they were always insulting him and asking him to support their fight and enmity against the Pandavas. However the Pandavas, spoke only for a few days with Bhishmadeva while he was on the arrow bed, but they asked relevant questions about dharma and devotional service. This resulted in lot of treasure like the Vishnu Sahasranama and Moksha dharma which is guiding the humanity till date. So when we associate with great souls, it is the quality of association we seek from them and our intention which determine our spiritual advancement and not the time of assoication.

5.One should glorify the Lord in every preaching effort:
In the entire section of Bhishma's instruction to Yudhishtira, we can see that Bhishmacharya glorified the Lord before and after his preaching. So glorification of the Lord should be the main theme of all preaching efforts. H.G.Devakinandan prabhu during his Chennai yatra mentioned that, "Our only aim is to glorify the Lord. Preaching is only a by product". Because of his ardent devotion to the Lord and his great love for the Pandavas who were pure devotees of the Lord, Bhishmacharya is still glorified in this world, as a great Mahajana.

Srila Prabhupada beautifully explains the secret of preaching by the pure devotees in his commentary on Bhagavatam verse 2.4.11. He says "The devotees of the Lord, while delivering speeches and describing the transcendental attributes of the Lord, do not think that they can do anything independently. They think that they can speak only what they are induced to speak by the Supreme Lord, the master of the senses. The senses of the individual being are not his own; the devotee knows that such senses belong to the Supreme Lord and that they can be properly used when they are employed for the service of the Lord. The senses are instruments, and elements are ingredients, all endowed by the Lord; therefore whatever an individual can do, speak, see, etc., is under the direction of the Lord only. The Bhagavad-gita (15.15) confirms this: sarvasya caaham hrdi sannivishto mattah smrtir jnaanam apohanam ca. No one is free to act freely and independently, and as such, one should always seek the permission of the Lord to act or eat or speak, and by the blessing of the Lord everything done by a devotee is beyond the principles of the four defects typical of the conditioned soul."

Our spiritual master HDG Srila Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj left for the spiritual world in exactly the same glorious manner as Bhishmadev. I pray at the lotus feet of my spiritual master and His Divine Grace Srila Prabhupada, Sri Bhishmadev and the Supreme Lord Krishna so that I will become a bit sincere in devotional service and glorify Lord for Their pleasure.

Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Gurudeva,
Narahari Krishna das
Chennai.