"Gandhari--Chaste And Faithful"

Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.9.48
Mayapura, June 14, 1973

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Srila A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
 

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    (Translation and first part of lecture missing from recording.)

Prabhupada: ...this class, when it is held in Los Angeles, this full hall would have been compact. This is the difference between India and foreign countries. They are receiving this message of Krsna consciousness very seriously. Here they are rejecting. Indians, they're rejecting. There is a proverb: apanar dhana bilaye diye bhiksa mage parer dvare(?). They have lost their own culture, and they are now beggars. They are going to beg from door to door in the foreign countries. When I was speaking in Berkeley University sometimes in the year 1966, one Indian student stood up and he said, "Swamiji, what this Krsna consciousness movement will do? We require now technology." So I replied, "Yes. You are after technology. So you are a beggar. I am not a beggar. I have come here to give something. That is the difference. I have come here to give some culture, and you have come to imitate the Western civilization by technology. That is the difference. You'll remain a beggar, I shall remain a giver. That is the difference." So still I am maintaining that position of giving, not taking. Before me, so many swamijis went there. They did not give, but they took something and came here and advertised themselves as foreign-returned sannyasi and exploited the people. They lost even their original dress. Everyone knows, I have never changed my dress. Rather, I have given the dress to the foreigners, and they have taken it. The Ramakrishna mission people came to request me that I dress myself in coat, pant, hat. Because they are doing. Their so-called swamis, they are dressed in coat, pant, hat.

So this is a culture. This culture is meant for the human society. Fortunately this culture developed on this land of Bharatavarsa. Unfortunately, people are so much bewildered that they are giving up this culture. That is the most regrettable portion of, of our movement. Anyway, my mission was that I shall go to America, and if some of the American boys and girls, younger section, would accept it, then I'll bring them here to show these rascals that how great this culture is. So portion of the population, they are realizing now.

Now here is a word: Gandharim ca tapasvinim. Gandhari, the wife of Dhrtarastra... He (She) is qualified herewith as tapasvinim. Tapasvinim. She was a householder, wife, having children. Not only children; she had one hundred sons. But still she is addressed here as tapasvini. Tapasvini means one who undergoes austerity. Because this human life is meant for practicing austerity. Human life is not meant for extravagancy. Tapasya. Tapo divyam yena suddhyet sattvam. This is the principle of human civilization. Suddhyet sattvam, existence. Our existence... We are eternal. Every living entity is eternal, but we are subjected to birth and death. Why? Because we are not pure. Just like when you are impure, some disease infects. If you are pure, follow the hygienic principle, you'll not be infected. Similarly, this existence, material existence, we, every one of us, part and parcel of Krsna originally, the same purity qualitatively...

So Krsna is the supreme pure. We are also pure, because we are part and parcel of Krsna. Just like a small particle of gold is also gold. The value is gold. It is not iron or something low-grade metal. The same. Similarly, as Krsna... Ajo 'pi sann avyayatma. In the Bhagavad-gita it is said Krsna is aja. He never takes birth. Bhutanam isvaro 'pi san. Although He is the Lord of all living entities, still, by His desire, He appears. Our appearance in this material world is also the same desire, but that is not independent. Our desire... (aside:) Who is talking there? He must stop. That portion is simply talking-camp. Just like these frogs or toads, they're talking whole day and night, ca-ca ca, ca-ca ca. Actually we have got tongue, and these frogs, they have got also tongue. So they are using their tongue, ca-ca ca, inviting snakes: "Please come here and eat me." That is their business. Nature's way. So if we simply talk like the frogs without any krsna-katha, then we are inviting death very soon. So don't waste your time, ca-ca ca. That is my request. It is our habit because we are no better than frogs also. We are also living entity. But we have got the chance to stop this ca-ca ca and chant Hare Krsna. This chance we have got. The frogs, they haven't got that chance. They cannot chant Hare Krsna. That is the difference between the frog and myself. So similarly, if we waste our time in that ca-ca ca, then we are no better than the frogs. We are no better than the frogs.

So don't make ca-ca ca when you assemble together. That is my request. If you have got time, spare time, simply chant Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama... That should be your business. This is tapasya. Tendency is to crow, to make vibration like these frogs. That is our tendency. Because we are also conditioned souls, and the frogs, or any animal, they are also conditioned souls, conditioned by the material nature. Therefore tapasya, austerity, is required to nullify, to counteract this conditional state of living. Now we are conditioned. Janma-mrtyu-jara-vyadhi-duhkha-dosanudarsanam. We are conditioned by these four principles: birth, death, old age and disease. This is our condition. The scientist rascals, they are trying to improve the condition of living, but what is the improvement? There is death, there is birth, there is old age, and there is disease. No improvement. If you want to improve your condition, if you want to come back to original constitutional position, then tapasya, then you require to undergo austerity.

Tapo divyam yena suddhyet sattvam yasmad brahma-saukhyam anantam. If you undergo tapasya... Therefore we prescribe this tapasya: no illicit sex. Our tendency is to have illicit sex. That is the condition of this material nature. But we have to deny it. That is tapasya. Tendency's there. Tapasya means I have got some tendency, but voluntarily I have to check it. That is called control, tapasya. My tongue is dictating: "Oh, let us go to some place and eat such-and-such thing." But if you can control the tongue... "No," that is tapasya. "No, you cannot eat this. You cannot be allowed to eat anything and except Krsna prasadam." That is tapasya. Not that "My tongue has dried up. I must drink a cup of tea," and I take it. "No. It is intoxication, prohibited. So I shall not take it." That is tapasya. And that tapasya, what for? Tapasya divyam, tapo divyam. Otherwise, there are many men, they're also undergoing austerities for some material purpose. There are many men who wants to accumulate some money, begins business from low standard, works very hard day and night. In your country, there are many examples. Just like Mr. Henry Ford. So that is also tapasya. They underwent severe conditions of life to accumulate some money. After death or at the end of life, they'll be called: "Oh, here is a millionaire. He started his business with a farthing. Now he's millionaire." He wants that credit. No. Not that kind of tapasya. Because that accumulation of wealth, millions of dollars, will be finished after this body is finished. After death, he cannot take away the millions of dollars with him next life.

But they do not know that there is next life. Next life he may become a dog, and what this millions of dollars will help him? That he does not know. Therefore tapo divyam. Take austerity, penances, for reviving your original consciousness, Krsna consciousness. For that purpose, you undergo austerity. Otherwise, if you simply undergo austerities, penances, hardship, for some material gain, then it is waste of time, defeat, parabhava. Parabhavas tavad abodha-jatah. Because he's a fool, rascal, he does not know what for hardship should be taken. Just like Hiranyakasipu. He also underwent tapasya. The whole universe became trembled. Brahma came: "Why you are undergoing such severe tapasya?" On one finger he stood up, and undergoing tapasya. Brahma came: "What is your purpose of this tapasya?" "Sir, I want to be immortal." "So that is not possible. You cannot become immortal." Then in so many ways he wanted to become immortal. What is the purpose of becoming immortal? There are many trees standing for ten thousands of years. That is very successful life, to stand in a place for ten thousands of years without any movement? Or prolonging life for many thousands of years? Brahma lives also for many millions of years.

So people are misled in this way. They undergo hardship for some temporary gain, which is condemned. Sastra says that if you take hardship, if go under, undergo tapasya, it must be for realization of God. Tapo divyam. That will give you permanent happiness. And if you accept hardship for anything material, it may give you temporary so-called happiness, but with the end of your body, everything will be finished. Therefore this tapasvini, this Gandhari... Tapasvini. She has been described as tapasvini. She wanted to be a faithful, chaste wife. What is the result? If a woman becomes faithful, chaste wife, then the next life there is chance of her becoming a male. Because according to Vedic literature, to birth as woman is low-grade. Striyah sudras tatha vaisya ye 'pi syuh papa-yonayah. In the Bhagavad-gita the... As there are higher grade and lower grade births, so according to Vedic understanding, the women, the body of woman is lower grade birth. Therefore if she's fortunate to have a good husband, devotee, and if she becomes faithful to that husband, then her life is successful. That is called tapasya.

So Gandhari did it. Gandhari... In India still, marriage does not take by canvassing all of a sudden. The father and mother, especially in aristocratic family, royal family, even in Western countries, the father, mother select the husband or wife. Even in England, the Kind Edward VIII, he was intimately in friendship with a common girl. So the state would not allow him that "You can marry a common girl." So at that time the prime minister, one Mr. Baldwin, he said to him that "Either you have to give up the company of that common girl or you have to give up this empire." So out of sentiment, he gave up the empire. Later on he was very sorry. And his second brother, George VI, he... George VI means the father of the present Queen, Elizabeth. So still this is current in aristocratic family, that the husband and wife should be selected by the parents.

So Gandhari, she was the daughter of Afghanistan, Ghandahar. Still, the name is there Gandahar. Gandhar. Formerly the name was Gandhar. So Gandhari means the daughter of Gandhar country. So when she was informed that her would-be husband is a blind man -- Dhrtarastra was blind from birth -- so immediately she practiced austerity. Voluntarily she closed her eyes with cloth that she would also live as blind. "My husband would be blind. So, although I'm not blind, I must live also as blind." This is the beginning of austerity, Gandhari. So Gandhari was so faithful, one of the most exalted chaste wife mentioned in the sastras, Gandhari, that in all conditions she followed the husband. At last, when everything was finished in the Battle of Kuruksetra, no Kaurava, none of the sons or grandsons of Dhrtarastra was living, neither of the Pandavas, still, Gandhari was faithfully serving her husband. And Dhrtarastra was living with the nephews, Yudhisthira and his brothers. They were keeping the uncle very comfortably as elder uncle, all respect. But Vidura came there, and he criticized him, that "You have no shame. You all along remained enemy to your nephews. Now your nephews have killed all your descendants, and you are living here just like a dog. They are giving you some morsel of bread and you are eating and living here. You have no shame. You have become old." So he became very sorry: "My dear brother, what shall I do?" "Please come immediately along with me, and come to the forest." So Dhrtarastra went according to the instruction of Vidura. Gandhari followed. Gandhari never said that "I am now old. I have lost my children. These nephews, they're taking care of me. Why shall I go with my husband?" No. She also went.

So there are many good qualities in Mahabharata about Gandhari. Therefore she is described here as tapasvini. Tapasvini. Very chaste faithful wife. Ideal wife. Gandhari. Tapasvini. So what is the purport? Read it.

Pradyumna: "Dhrtarastra and Gandhari, the father and mother of Duryodhana and his brothers, were the elder uncle and aunt of Maharaja Yudhisthira. After the Battle of Kuruksetra, the celebrated couple, having lost all their sons and grandsons, were under the care of Maharaja Yudhisthira. They were passing their days in great agony over such heavy loss of life and were practically living the life of ascetics. The death..."

Prabhupada: Yes. The... Because he was elder uncle, Yudhisthira Maharaja was coming in the morning to offer obeisances, and one morning, when he came, he saw there is no Dhrtarastra and aunt. So became very much disappointed, because he was conscious that they were living in very aggrieved condition. "So might be I have offended them. So therefore they have left my home." That is also, you'll find. Then Narada came, that "Don't bother. They have gone to the forest to live as ascetic. Don't try to bring them back." Go on.

Pradyumna: "The death news of Bhismadeva, uncle of Dhrtarastra, was another great shock for the king and the queen, and therefore they required solace from Maharaja Yudhisthira. Maharaja Yudhisthira was conscious of his duty, and he at once hurried to the spot with Lord Krsna and satisfied the begrieved Dhrtarastra with kinds words both from himself and the Lord also. Gandhari was a powerful ascetic, although she was living the life of a faithful wife and kind mother. It is said that Gandhari also voluntarily closed her eyes because of the blindness of her husband. A wife's duty is to follow the husband cent percent, and Gandhari was so true to her husband that she followed him even in his perpetual blindness. Therefore in her actions she was a great ascetic. Besides that, the shock which she suffered because of the wholesale killing of her one hundred sons and her grandsons also was certainly too much for a woman. But she suffered all this just like an ascetic. Gandhari, although a woman..."

Prabhupada: Ascetic means who voluntarily suffers all kinds of suffering. Titiksavah, the exact word.

titiksavah karunikah
suhrdah sarva-dehinam
ajata-satravah santah
sadhavah sadhu-bhusanah

Sadhu means that he must be tolerant. Just like Haridasa Thakura. You know how much tolerant he was. So titiksavah. So titiksavah, titiksavah is the qualification of a brahmana. Samo damas titiksa. Tolerant. You cannot expect any peaceful life in this material world. That is not possible. Therefore in all conditions, in order to execute Krsna consciousness, you must be tolerant. Tams titiksasva bharata. Krsna advised Arjuna that there will be some material pleasures and... Not pleasure, displeasures. So pleasure is also here, displeasure. They do not know. So Krsna advised: tams titiksasva bharata. Agamapayino 'nityas tams titiksasva bharata. "These, such things come and go. Don't bother much. Try to become tolerant and execute your own business." Similarly we live together. There may be some inconvenience. You are brought up in a different standard in Europe and American, and in India it may be difficult because you haven't got all the facilities. But you learn tolerance. Execute Krsna consciousness. That should be our business. Tams titiksasva bharata.

matra-sparsas tu kaunteya
sitosna-sukha-duhkha-dah
agamapayino 'nityas
tams titiksasva bharata

So for life of austerity... Krsna consciousness life means the life of austerity, tapasya. It is not extravagancy. So we have to learn titiksa. That is one of the qualifications of the brahmana. Then?

Pradyumna: "Gandhari, although a woman, is no less than Bhismadeva in character. They are both remarkable personalities in the Mahabharata."

Prabhupada: That's all. Hare Krsna. (end)
 
>>> Ref. VedaBase => Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.9.48 -- Mayapura, June 14, 1973

© 2001 The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International. Used with permission.

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