Nitāi: “My dear Kṛṣṇa, Your Lordship has protected us from a poisoned cake, from a great fire, from cannibals, from the vicious assembly, from sufferings during our exile in the forest and from the battle where great generals fought. And now You have saved us from the weapon of Aśvatthāmā.” [SB 1.8.24]
Prabhupāda: So in the last verse, Kuntī accepted, vimocitā ahaṁ ca sahātmajā vibho: “My Lord, there were so many dangers, and You saved us, along with my sons.” Muhur vipad-gaṇāt: “One after another, dangerous position.” So some of them are being described.
Viṣāt: “from poison.” The Dhṛtarāṣṭra group, Dhṛtarāṣṭra and his sons, they conspired to give them poison. They were transferred to a house. They were so obedient because Dhṛtarāṣṭra happened to be the superior in the house, and he took care of the Pāṇḍavas when they were small children because their father died at an early age. So it was the duty of the elderly members of the family. After all, they were very respectable kṣatriya family. So the elderly members means Dhṛtarāṣṭra and Vidura and Bhīṣmadeva. Bhīṣmadeva was the grandfather of the family, and Dhṛtarāṣṭra was the elder brother of Pāṇḍava, and Vidura was also brother, Vidura, also elder. Pāṇḍu was the youngest, the father of Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira and… So it is, after all, a, what is called, varṇāśrama family, Vedic family. So the elderly people had the responsibility to raise the fatherless children. So Dhṛtarāṣṭra took charge as the eldest member. So māyā is very strong. He began to think that “Actually this kingdom belongs to me. I am the eldest son, but because I am born blind, therefore it was given to my younger brother. Now he is dead. Now he’s dead, so the property belongs to me. Some way or other, it was transferred to my younger brother. Now the younger brother is dead. Then again I become proprietor. So at least I could not rule over the kingdom, why not my sons?” This was the beginning.
Just like one of our Godbrothers, he’s thinking that “This institution was started by me and Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī as partners. Now the senior partner is dead. Therefore I am the sole proprietor. Who are these Godbrothers? Let them go away.” So this is māyā, the same māyā Dhṛtarāṣṭra was thinking. And his brother-in-law, Śakuni, was very expert in conspiracy. So he was advising him, “Yes, you are the proprietor. At least your sons should be…” This is natural. Every… Everyone has got some affection for the family. So this is the beginning of the conspiracy. Otherwise, he was taking care of the children very nicely. But māyā was dictating that “You are taking care of the children of your brother. What about your own children?” “Yes, why not my children?”
So attempt was being made how to kill these boys. The first attempt was to administer poison. They… Dhṛtarāṣṭra constructed a house of shellac. So they were transferred: “My dear boys, for some days you can live in that house. That is very nice.” So Vidura gave him hint, so, that “You are being sent there. Be careful for being killed. The house will be set fire.” So Vidura was very favorable to the Pāṇḍavas. So they made a subway in that house, and when the house was set fire, they escaped through the subway. In this way, it is said, viṣān mahāgneḥ, set fire in shellac house… Just like nowadays this, what is called, plastic. It gets set fire very soon. Then puruṣāda, they took shelter in a house where there was a rākṣasa, cannibal. He was disturbing the whole village. So the settlement was that every day one family should hand over one man to him for eating, then he will not create disturbance. So the Pāṇḍavas were taking shelter in a house after escaping from the fire, and the… One day the turn came to that family that they would have to hand over one member of the family to that cannibal. So the Pāṇḍavas were present. They thought, “We are guest here, and they are in danger, so we must save them.” This is obligation. If you become guest in a house, he’s receiving you well, he’s supplying you your necessities, so you are considered to be very intimate friend. So when they are danger, you must help. This consideration… Then it was decided that “This man should be hand over. Bhīma shall go.” So when Bhīma was handed over to that cannibals, so he was killed. So… But it was a great danger.
So in this way, danger after danger. Then asat-sabhāyāḥ: “The assembly of crooked persons.” Draupadī was lost in bet, betting. So Karṇa, he had some attraction for Draupadī from the beginning, when there was svayaṁvara. So Karṇa also went to contest, and he had very much attraction for Draupadī, but Draupadī wanted to get Arjuna as her husband. So she pointed out… Because she knew that “If Karṇa takes the contest, he will be victorious. Karṇa is more expert than Arjuna”; therefore she played a trick that “This svayaṁvara ceremony is meant for the kṣatriyas, not for others. I cannot accept my husband, anyone else except the kṣatriya.
So Karṇa is not a kṣatriya.” Karṇa’s history is that Karṇa is the pre-marriage son of Kuntī. Before her being married, she was born of Kuntī from the ear. Therefore his name is Karṇa. But still, out of social fear, Kuntī did not kill the child. Nowadays they kill. But he floated the child on a boat, and the boat was let loose, go anywhere. So one carpenter collected Karṇa and raised him. But he was kṣatriya. He was Kuntī’s son, born by sun, sun-god, Sūrya. So Kuntī had the power of calling. He got the benediction from Durvāsā. Durvāsā gave her the benediction that “You can call any demigod, and at once he will come by this mantra.” So when Kuntī was young, not married, so Durvāsā became the guest of her father, and she served Durvāsā Muni very nicely, attending as maidservant. Although she was king’s daughter, but because Durvāsā was guest, he was taken care of very nicely. So Durvāsā became very pleased and gave her this blessing, that “You can call any demigod, as you like.” So out of curiosity she chanted the mantra and called the sun-god, Vivasvān. So he came. So he wanted to give her a child, benediction. She said that “I am unmarried. I cannot have child.” “No, this child will be born from your ear.” Akṣata-yoni. Akṣata-yoni means a girl who has no union with any other man. That is called akṣata-yoni. So in this way Karṇa was born, but he was raised by a carpenter. Therefore he was not considered to be a kṣatriya. So Draupadī knew that Karṇa, if he contests, then he will be victorious, so she played a trick that “I cannot allow anyone else except the kṣatriyas to contest in this svayaṁvara.”
So Karṇa had attraction for Draupadī, and he remembered the insult also, that “Draupadī has insulted me, not to allow to take part in the contest.” Now that old grudge, he wanted to fulfill. When Draupadī was lost in the gambling, so this Duryodhana and others, they are… They were very friendly to Karṇa. So he advised, “Now this woman is lost. We can use her as we like.” So they decided, “Yes, why not? So make her naked in this assembly.” So it was decided that they would see this woman naked, naked beauty. Therefore, asat-sabhāyāḥ. This assembly was not of gentlemen. Asat. This word is used. Sat and asat. Sat means gentle, and asat means uncivilized. So they were so much uncivilized that they wanted, “Never mind. That woman was lost. It was a betting.” Her husbands were quite competent, but because that they thought that “We are lost,” they did not take any part: “You can use her as you like.” But that was not the duty of gentlemen, a kṣatriya. Therefore it is mentioned as asat-sabhāyāḥ. A woman is asked to be naked in the assembly—that assembly is not gentlemen’s assembly. That is meant for the uncivilized, crude. The woman is respected everywhere.
So in India, especially, women are still respected. Therefore Cāṇakya Paṇḍita says, mātṛvat para-dāreṣu: “Any woman who is not your wife, she should be treated as your mother.” This is moral instruction. Mātṛvat. At the present moment, they have invented the word bahinajī, “sister.” No. In the Vedic culture, there is no such thing as “sister.” “Mother,” that is Vedic culture. Because mother is always respected, so any woman, if she is called “Mother…” The brahmacārī would go to the householder’s house and address the ladies, “Mother. Mother, give us some alms.” So from the childhood, a brahmacārī is trained to address all women as mother. Therefore, when they are young, they cannot see women in any other way. This is Vedic culture. So therefore it is said, asat. The woman, who is respected as mother, and this, in this assembly, Draupadī was to be naked by the order of Karṇa? It is uncivilized, unlawful. So Kṛṣṇa remembered this. When Karṇa was killed, it was not… He was not killed lawfully because he fell down from his chariot, and he was trying to repair the chariot, and Kṛṣṇa advised Arjuna, “This is the opportunity to kill him. Otherwise you cannot kill him. Kill him immediately.” So when Karṇa protested, “Arjuna, what you are doing? I am not fighting. I am repairing my chariot and you…” So Kṛṣṇa said, “Yes, you did unlawful action by making Draupadī naked. So you should be unlawfully killed. This is justice. This is justice to you.” So everything has got so much history in the episode of Mahābhārata. Therefore it is called Mahābhārata, “Greater India.” Mahābhārata.
So asat-sabhāyāḥ. Then again, vana-vāsa. Next betting was vana-vāsa, that “If this time you lose, then twelve years, for twelve years you’ll have to go to live in the forest. And one year, incognito. If you are caught up within that one year, then again twelve years.” Just see. So vana-vāsa-kṛcchrataḥ. There were so many dangers. So just imagine that the Pāṇḍavas, they had their wife, Draupadī… She is incarnation of goddess of fortune. And friend, Kṛṣṇa, who is always protecting them… But still, there are so many dangers. This is the instruction, that because Kṛṣṇa is protecting you, you cannot expect that you’ll be out of danger. Danger you must meet, because…, then you’ll know that this material existence is full of dangers. Padaṁ padaṁ yad vipadām [SB 10.14.58]. This we always remember. We should not be so fool that “I am living very now comfortably.” No, sir. You are in danger. That is said by Kṛṣṇa. Duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam [Bg. 8.15]. You do not take this material existence as comfortable at any moment. Then you’ll not be able to make progress in spiritual life. As soon as you think that “I am very comfortable here,” then you are spiritually fall down. That is māyā. As soon as…
So at the present moment, people are becoming implicated with māyā more and more because foolishly they are thinking that “I am now very comfortable. I have got this skyscraper building. I have got so much bank balance. I have got so nice wife. So I am comfortable.” They are thinking like that. They do not know that it is not comfortable life. It is dangerous life because you have to change your body. Tathā dehāntara-prāptiḥ [Bg. 2.13]. Why don’t you remember that? Because as soon as death will take place next moment… You are proprietor of this house; next moment you become dog of this house. If you have got very much attachment for the house, and at the same time your activities have been like dog’s, then you get the body of a dog, and you may remain in this quarter and bark, “Gyeow! Gyeow! Gyeow! Gyeow! Gyeow!” That they do not know. Nūnaṁ pramattaḥ kurute vikarma [SB 5.5.4]. When there is nice building, nice comfortable life, they do anything sinful without knowing that “I am not going to be escaped by these sinful activities. I will have to suffer for this. As I am enjoying now material comforts due to my some pious activities in the past, similarly, if I commit sinful life, then I’ll have to suffer next life.” That they do not know.
Therefore it is always dangerous. To enjoy in this material life is dangerous because you are creating next life very, very abominable. That… The only escape is… That will be explained by Kuntīdevī in the next verse, that they were in danger, but they were simply thinking of Kṛṣṇa, “Kṛṣṇa, we have no other shelter.” This position should be taken. We are always in danger, and we should always think of the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa. Then we are safe. Otherwise it is very dangerous. Even Kuntī and others, Pāṇḍavas.
Then mṛdhe mṛdhe aneka-mahāratha astrataḥ [SB 1.8.24]. Then at last, after all these tribulations, at last it was decided… Kṛṣṇa wanted to settle up that “You have given these Pāṇḍavas so much trouble. Never mind. But they are kṣatriyas. They cannot become vaiśya or śūdra or brāhmaṇa. So they must have some place to rule over. So you give these five brothers five villages so they can rule and live.” “No, that is not possible. We are not going to leave a spot of land which can contain the upper portion of the needle without fight.” So then there was fight. The Battle of Kurukṣetra was forced upon the Pāṇḍavas by the Kurus. Still, Arjuna was not willing to kill them. Just see. He’s Vaiṣṇava. He never thought of, that “My, these cousin-brothers, they have given us so much trouble. Why I shall be sympathetic upon them?” No. Still, he was sympathetic. Why? Now, because he was a Vaiṣṇava. That is Vaiṣṇava. Para-duḥkha-duhkhī kṛpāmbudhir yas tam ahaṁ prapadye [Cc. Madhya 6.254]. Vaiṣṇava is so tolerant. They suffer; still, they do not want others’ suffering. So this is Vaiṣṇava.
So in that battlefield, mṛdhe mṛdhe, there were Bhīṣmadeva, Droṇācārya, Karṇa, Kṛpācārya. They were so big fighters, mahā-ratha. Mahā-ratha means… Mahā-ratha, ati-ratha, eka-ratha. A fighter who can fight with one man, he is called eka-ratha. And one who can fight with thousands of men, he is called mahā-ratha. And more than that, he is called ati-ratha. So these generals, Bhīṣmadeva, Karṇadeva, Karṇa and others, they were very, very powerful than Arjuna. Therefore Arjuna took the opportunity of killing Karṇa in a precarious position. Similarly, Bhīṣma was… Karṇa was almost dead when Bhīṣma was fighting. So Bhīṣma promised that “Today, either Arjuna will die or his dear friend, Kṛṣṇa, will have to break His promise. Then I’ll give up this fight.” So Arjuna was almost shattered, his chariot broken, and he was exasperated. So at that time Kṛṣṇa took one wheel and went to kill Bhīṣmadeva. So Bhīṣmadeva saw that “Kṛṣṇa has broken His promise. Therefore I give up this fight.” Kṛṣṇa came to threaten him. That means He has broken His promise. “So I wanted to see that Kṛṣṇa breaks.” This is also affection, love, between devotee… Just like in sporting, just like you want to see your friend defeated, but that does not mean you are enemy. In sporting, there is fight. That one party is defeated. That does (not) mean they are enemies. Next moment, they shake hands, sit together, dine together. It is like that.
So in this way Kṛṣṇa saved. Therefore mahāratha astrataḥ. And at last, Drauṇi, the son of Droṇācārya, Aśvatthāmā. He was so crooked that he killed the five sons of the five Pāṇḍavas, and at last, Mahārāja Parīkṣit was in the womb of his mother. He wanted to kill him also. Brahmāstra. Brahmāstra, atomic bomb nowadays. It is almost similar, but it is still dangerous because atom bomb, you release—it has no aim. It will kill with…, aimlessly. But the brahmāstra is so accurate that if you want to kill somebody, it will go there, wherever he is, and it will kill. So Parīkṣit Mahārāja was in the womb of the mother. The brahmāstra entered the womb of the mother and was trying to kill this Parīkṣit Mahārāja in the womb, and Kṛṣṇa saved. He entered also within the womb and saved the child. Therefore it is said that drauṇy-astrataś cāsma hare ‘bhirakṣitāḥ. Kṛṣṇa saved them in so many ways, so many ways. So that is being admitted. That is the behavior of Kṛṣṇa and His devotees.
So we should not be afraid. Because this place is dangerous, we should expect always danger. But if we are faithful to Kṛṣṇa, if we simply, I mean to say, expect help from Kṛṣṇa, then Kṛṣṇa will save you. These are the examples by the fight of Mahābhārata.
Thank you very much. (end)