Pradyumna: (leads chanting, etc.)
naino rājñaḥ prajā-bhartur
dharma-yuddhe vadho dviṣām
iti me na tu bodhāya
kalpate śāsanaṁ vacaḥ
“There is no sin for a king who kills for the right cause, who is engaged in maintaining his citizens.
But this injunction is not applicable to me.”
Pradyumna: Nama om… (recites praṇāma mantras) The first part of this verse, the first half of this verse, naino rājñaḥ prajā-bhartur dharma-yuddhe vadho dviṣām iti, this is a statement or an injunction of śāstra, that for the killing, or the vadha, dviṣām, of the enemies, dharma-yuddhe, in religious fight, rājñaḥ prajā-bhartur, of a king who is maintaining his citizens He has to maintain his citizens. So if there is some danger, then he has to eliminate the enemy.
Prabhupāda: What is religious fight? Religious fight means you have got right to kill your aggressor. If somebody takes your property, if somebody sets fire in your house, if somebody kidnaps your wife, or somebody is trying to kill you, they are called aggressor. So aggressor should be killed immediately. It is not that somebody has become an aggressor, and if I say, “Now I have become a Vaiṣṇava, I’ll not be violent. I shall tolerate. Caitanya Mahāprabhu has taught us to be tolerant like the tree or the grass. So I shall become tolerant. Let him do.” Just like Gandhi used to say. Somebody questioned him that “If somebody comes and violates the chastity of your daughter in your presence, what will you do?” He said, “I shall remain nonviolent.” But that is not śāstric injunction. This is foolishness.
If somebody is aggressor, he must be killed immediately. Dharma-yuddha. Yudhiṣṭhira Mahārāja is thinking that “Although there was fight, the fight was between our own men, my brother, my nephews, my grandfather. So they are family members. I have killed them for my kingdom.” He is thinking in that way. He is a pious man. Violence is required. We don’t say nonviolence. Just as Caitanya Mahāprabhu, He gave us the instruction, tṛṇād api sunīcena taror api sahiṣṇunā: “One should be tolerant, forbearing like the tree, like the grass.” Amāninā mānadena: “One should give respect to others. In this way one should chant Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra.” Because in chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, there will be so many aggressors. The nature is so cruel. Just like Prahlāda Mahārāja, a five-years-old boy. His only fault was that he was chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, and the father was aggressor, giving him trouble so many ways. So we must be prepared.
Therefore as there is danger… Suppose Caitanya Mahāprabhu has taught us that “Be tolerant,” but not that where violence is required we should be tolerant. No. Just like while Nityānanda Prabhu was injured by Jagāi and Mādhāi, He wanted to immediately kill him. Similarly, nonviolence does not mean that in right causes also you will remain nonviolent. No. You do not attack anybody unnecessarily. You do not kill unnecessarily animal even, not even an ant. You should be nonviolent by your nature. But when there is aggression, there are enemies, the śāstra says, dharma-yuddha. That is dharma-yuddha.
So prajā-bhartur dharma-yuddhe vadho dviṣām. Dviṣām, envious. So they must be killed. But Yudhiṣṭhira Mahārāja was thinking in terms of fight between the family: their friends, their nephews, their grandfather. So he was thinking himself as culprit. But in dharma-yuddha… The Pāṇḍavas, they tried to settle the issue. Actually, the kingdom belonged to Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira. It was inheritance from his father, Pāṇḍu. But some way or other, they were cheated by the Kurus. They were sent to the forest. In the meantime they grabbed everything. And when they came back, so asked, “Give us some…, our ruling power,”so they would not give. “No. Without fight, we shall not give.” So the Pāṇḍavas, even Kṛṣṇa tried their best to settle up the issue, but there was no settlement. So at that time, war was declared. That is dharma-yuddha. They tried to settle up the fight, but it was not possible. When it is not possible, then the last resort is to take to fighting. That is dharma-yuddha.
The battlefield… It is therefore called dharma-kṣetra. Dharma-kṣetre kuru-kṣetre [Bg. 1.1]. That fight was right. And especially when Kṛṣṇa was present, it is already dharma-kṣetra. Wherever… Just like this is temple. Similar houses are there, many. Why it is temple? Because Kṛṣṇa is there. Therefore it is called dharma-kṣetra, temple. What is the difference between temple? In other houses there may be big hall like this. There may be many men eating, sleeping. That is not temple. Where actually God is there, that is called temple. Similarly, although battle of Kurukṣetra was a fighting place, because Kṛṣṇa was there, therefore it is dharma-kṣetra. Wherever Kṛṣṇa is there, that is dharma-kṣetra. Tatra tiṣṭhāmi nārada yatra gāyanti mad-bhaktāḥ. So those who are bhaktas, they can make every place a pilgrimage, because they can sing the glories of the Lord and they can bring the Lord in that place. So it doesn’t matter whether if he is here or there, in America or India. Wherever Kṛṣṇa is there, that is dharma-kṣetra. Dharma-kṣetre kuru-kṣetre samavetā yuyutsavaḥ [Bg. 1.1].
So that fight was quite sanctioned by the śāstra. It is not the Pāṇḍavas did wrong, no. They did right thing. But Yudhiṣṭhira Mahārāja, being too cautious, too religious, he is thinking that “I did not carry out the injunction of the śāstra that fighting is meant for the enemies, not for the friends. So I have fought with my friends, with my relatives, with my brothers. Therefore I am most abominable.” That is the nature of the Vaiṣṇava. They always think of themselves as very humble, meek. That is the tṛṇād api… Personally, one should remain very humble and meek, but that does not mean that when there is… For a kṣatriya, to kill the enemies, that is dharma-yuddha. That is religious. Therefore there was section—kṣatriya section, the brāhmaṇa section, the vaiśya section—that everyone is engaged in his own occupational duty. So other section, brāhmaṇa, vaiśya, śūdras, if they are in difficulty, they should lodge complaint to the king. Just like in these days also, suppose one is wrong-doer. He has done wrong to me. I cannot take directly to punish him. No. That you cannot do. You have to lodge the complaint to the government agent, and if required, government can kill him, sanction, “Kill this man. He is a murderer.” So the sanction should come from there. Similarly, these divisions, very scientific. Killing business is for the kṣatriya, not for the brāhmaṇas. Kṣatriya, he can kill; there is no sin for him. The brāhmaṇas are not going to kill.
So this system—brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra—very scientific system. Cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ [Bg. 4.13]. But now everything is lost. But to make people happy, the Vedic culture is the most perfect. The kṣatriyas are meant for fighting. Kṣatriyas are meant for ruling, punishing. These are meant for the kṣatriyas. They are exacting taxes. That is their means of livelihood. The government can levy tax for expenditure. You cannot levy tax. So there are living means of everyone. For brāhmaṇa, the living means: paṭhana pāṭhana yajana yājana dāna pratigraha. Brāhmaṇa is meant for teaching others and become himself a learned scholar. That is brāhmaṇa business. Paṭhana pāṭhana yajana yājana. He should be a great worshiper of Viṣṇu, and he should teach others also. Just like we are not only worshiping Kṛṣṇa in our temple, but we are making propaganda. This is brāhmaṇa’s business. But if the government calls all our students to the draft board, “Come on, fight,” that is nonsense. Of course, they have got clauses not to disturb the ministerial class. That exception is there. Many of our students was excused from being called by the draft board on the ground that they have adopted the religious, ministerial order. That rule is prevalent everywhere, at all times.
So at the present moment the society is chaos because there is no proper training for the particular class of man. A brāhmaṇa should be trained up, a kṣatriya should be trained up, a vaiśya should be trained up, a śūdra should be trained up, cātur-varṇyaṁ mayā sṛṣṭaṁ guṇa-karma-vibhāgaśaḥ [Bg. 4.13], according to quality. Why Vedic culture has failed in India, it is simply remaining in name? Because everyone claims to become brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, by birth only, no qualification. The brāhmaṇa has no qualification of a brāhmaṇa, and because he is born of a brāhmaṇa father or brāhmaṇa family he is claiming, “I am brāhmaṇa.” This is not śāstra’s sanction.
So just see, here is a kṣatriya, ideal kṣatriya, Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira. How he is lamenting. He has done right thing; still, he is conscious that he has killed his family members, bandhu. Bandhu bandhaya, relatives. Then? Go on. Hm? Yes. What is the time? Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. All right, chant more. Hare Kṛṣṇa. (end)