Saturday, 17 October 2009

The amazing Queen Kunti

Since last two Friday's His Grace Rupa Vilas Prabhu has been speaking from the Chapter 8 of the First canto of the Srimad Bhagavatam.

The Chapter starts with Ashasthama again sending bhramastras to kill the five pandavas and also to the womb of Uttara, the wife of Abhimanyu who was himself killed in a unjust battle by the kauravas.

What amazes me is the prayers that Uttara offers, the way the Lord saves King Pariksit in the womb of Uttara and then the incredible prayers by Queen Kunti.

What can i say. People may say that to understand Spiritual life one must take sansya, women are less qualified. But then when you hear the prayers of Queen Kunti, you realize that such paryers are the very inspiration for all trancendentalists in the furuture. Srila Prabhupada explains that “By the Mecry of Queen Kunti, we can understand Sri Krisna !” .

In fact he claims that “Women generally very easily accept the Lord and this is a very nice thing, while men tend to speculate a lot”. I have seen this in so many cases in my own life starting with my mother and father. Enough about me, let’s see the prayers.

What follows i just my brief understandings based on the class by Rupa Vilas Prabhu. I am just a fool and have no qualification. I am writing this down just so that i may not forget.

Please understand Srila Prabhupada’s purports and books are the ocean, what is written here is just a few mere drops of that same ocean. Please do read Srila Prabhupada’s deep insights and purports on this @ Srimad Bhagavatam http://vedabase.net/sb/1/8/en2 and Teachings of Queen Kunti @ http://vedabase.net/tqk/en2 .

Uttara’s Prayers

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Canto 1: Creation    Chapter 8: Prayers by Queen Kunti and Pariksit Saved

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Srimad Bhagavatam 1.8.9

uttarovaca
pahi pahi maha-yogin
deva-deva jagat-pate
nanyam tvad abhayam pasye
yatra mrtyuh parasparam

SYNONYMS

uttara uvaca -- Uttara said; pahi pahi -- protect, protect; maha-yogin -- the greatest mystic; deva-deva -- the worshipable of the worshiped; jagat-pate -- O Lord of the universe; na -- not; anyam -- anyone else; tvat -- than You; abhayam -- fearlessness; pasye -- do I see; yatra -- where there is; mrtyuh -- death; parasparam -- in the world of duality.

TRANSLATION

Uttara said: O Lord of lords, Lord of the universe! You are the greatest of mystics. Please protect me, for there is no one else who can save me from the clutches of death in this world of duality.

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Srimad Bhagavatam 1.8.10

abhidravati mam isa
saras taptayaso vibho
kamam dahatu mam natha
ma me garbho nipatyatam

SYNONYMS

abhidravati -- coming towards; mam -- me; isa -- O Lord; sarah -- the arrow; tapta -- fiery; ayasah -- iron; vibho -- O great one; kamam -- desire; dahatu -- let it burn; mam -- me; natha -- O protector; ma -- not; me -- my; garbhah -- embryo; nipatyatam -- be aborted.

TRANSLATION

O my Lord, You are all-powerful. A fiery iron arrow is coming towards me fast. My Lord, let it burn me personally, if You so desire, but please do not let it burn and abort my embryo. Please do me this favor, my Lord.

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Brief analysis

So we see a couple of things

1) Even though Uttara and her unborn child is in very immediate danger she still offers a small prayer at first. She praises Sri Krishna as maha-yogi, jagat-pate, and that no one else was capable of making her abhayam or free from fear. What a supreme class of ladies existed at the time.

2) Then next, she says If you may so desire my lord, you may help me and also that you may let me die but please save my womb. Again two noble thoughts,

a) She does not want to force the Lord to help, So she says, if you so desire O Lord You may help  Again not forcing the Lord but just pleading.

b) She is willing to die but her child may be saved if the Lord wishes. So she is selfless in her love for her child.

Krishna saves Uttara, Her Unborn Child  and the Pandavas

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Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Srimad Bhagavatam 1.8.11

suta uvaca
upadharya vacas tasya
bhagavan bhakta-vatsalah
apandavam idam kartum
drauner astram abudhyata

SYNONYMS

sutah uvaca -- Suta Gosvami said; upadharya -- by hearing her patiently; vacah -- words; tasyah -- her; bhagavan -- the Personality of Godhead; bhakta-vatsalah -- He who is very much affectionate towards His devotees; apandavam -- without the existence of the Pandavas' descendants; idam -- this; kartum -- to do it; drauneh -- of the son of Dronacarya; astram -- weapon; abudhyata -- understood.

TRANSLATION

Suta Gosvami said: Having patiently heard her words, Lord Sri Krsna, who is always very affectionate to His devotees, could at once understand that Asvatthama, the son of Dronacarya, had thrown the brahmastra to finish the last life in the Pandava family.

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Srimad Bhagavatam 1.8.12

tarhy evatha muni-srestha
pandavah panca sayakan
atmano 'bhimukhan diptan
alaksyastrany upadaduh

SYNONYMS

tarhi -- then; eva -- also; atha -- therefore; muni-srestha -- O chief amongst the munis; pandavah -- all the sons of Pandu; panca -- five; sayakan -- weapons; atmanah -- own selves; abhimukhan -- towards; diptan -- glaring; alaksya -- seeing it; astrani -- weapons; upadaduh -- took up.

TRANSLATION

O foremost among the great thinkers [munis] [Saunaka], seeing the glaring brahmastra proceeding towards them, the Pandavas took up their five respective weapons.

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Srimad Bhagavatam 1.8.13

vyasanam viksya tat tesam
ananya-visayatmanam
sudarsanena svastrena
svanam raksam vyadhad vibhuh

SYNONYMS

vyasanam -- great danger; viksya -- having observed; tat -- that; tesam -- their; ananya -- no other; visaya -- means; atmanam -- thus inclined; sudarsanena -- by the wheel of Sri Krsna; sva-astrena -- by the weapon; svanam -- of His own devotees; raksam -- protection; vyadhat -- did it; vibhuh -- the Almighty.

TRANSLATION

The almighty Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna, having observed that a great danger was befalling His unalloyed devotees, who were fully surrendered souls, at once took up His Sudarsana disc to protect them.

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Srimad Bhagavatam 1.8.14

antahsthah sarva-bhutanam
atma yogesvaro harih
sva-mayayavrnod garbham
vairatyah kuru-tantave

SYNONYMS

antahsthah -- being within; sarva -- all; bhutanam -- of the living beings; atma -- soul; yoga-isvarah -- the Lord of all mysticism; harih -- the Supreme Lord; sva-mayaya -- by the personal energy; avrnot -- covered; garbham -- embryo; vairatyah -- of Uttara; kuru-tantave -- for the progeny of Maharaja Kuru.

TRANSLATION

The Lord of supreme mysticism, Sri Krsna, resides within everyone's heart as the Paramatma. As such, just to protect the progeny of the Kuru dynasty, He covered the embryo of Uttara by His personal energy.

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Srimad Bhagavatam 1.8.15

yadyapy astram brahma-siras
tv amogham capratikriyam
vaisnavam teja asadya
samasamyad bhrgudvaha

SYNONYMS

yadyapi -- although; astram -- weapon; brahma-sirah -- supreme; tu -- but; amogham -- without check; ca -- and; apratikriyam -- not to be counteracted; vaisnavam -- in relation with Visnu; tejah -- strength; asadya -- being confronted with; samasamyat -- was neutralized; bhrgu-udvaha -- O glory of the family of Bhrgu.

TRANSLATION

O Saunaka, although the supreme brahmastra weapon released by Asvatthama was irresistible and without check or counteraction, it was neutralized and foiled when confronted by the strength of Visnu [Lord Krsna].

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Srimad Bhagavatam 1.8.16

ma mamstha hy etad ascaryam
sarvascaryamaye 'cyute
ya idam mayaya devya
srjaty avati hanty ajah

SYNONYMS

ma -- do not; mamsthah -- think; hi -- certainly; etat -- all these; ascaryam -- wonderful; sarva -- all; ascarya-maye -- in the all-mysterious; acyute -- the infallible; yah -- one who; idam -- this (creation); mayaya -- by His energy; devya -- transcendental; srjati -- creates; avati -- maintains; hanti -- annihilates; ajah -- unborn.

TRANSLATION

O brahmanas, do not think this to be especially wonderful in the activities of the mysterious and infallible Personality of Godhead. By His own transcendental energy, He maintains and annihilates all material things, although He Himself is unborn.

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Brief analysis

So in this set of verses we see that the Lord does amazing things.

1) Sri Krishna enters in the womb of Uttara in a small form and saves Maharaj Pariskit.

2) He also gives darshan to Maharaj Pariskit, who after birth, all that he does is to search (pariksha) everyone, to see if He is the same friend to gave him Darshan in the womb. Since then He is known as Pariskit.

3) Such is Krishna Conciousness. The Lord and His devotees, are very dear to the heart of all living beings. Once someone gets some mercy from the Lord and/or His devotees, he/she can not forget that nectar and will want more and more.

4) And then Suta Gowsami warns the sages, to not be amazed by this act of the Lord. He explains THE LORD CAN DO ANYTHING!. Do not Limit what the Lord can or can not do, by what your own insignificant mind can think.

Prayers of Queen Kunti

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Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Srimad Bhagavatam 1.8.17

brahma-tejo-vinirmuktair
atmajaih saha krsnaya
prayanabhimukham krsnam
idam aha prtha sati

SYNONYMS

brahma-tejah -- the radiation of the brahmastra; vinirmuktaih -- being saved from; atma-jaih -- along with her sons; saha -- with; krsnaya -- Draupadi; prayana -- outgoing; abhimukham -- towards; krsnam -- unto Lord Krsna; idam -- this; aha -- said; prtha -- Kunti; sati -- chaste, devoted to the Lord.

TRANSLATION

Thus saved from the radiation of the brahmastra, Kunti, the chaste devotee of the Lord, and her five sons and Draupadi addressed Lord Krsna as He started for home.

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Srimad Bhagavatam 1.8.18

kunty uvaca
namasye purusam tvadyam
isvaram prakrteh param
alaksyam sarva-bhutanam
antar bahir avasthitam

SYNONYMS

kunti uvaca -- Srimati Kunti said; namasye -- let me bow down; purusam -- the Supreme Person; tva -- You; adyam -- the original; isvaram -- the controller; prakrteh -- of the material cosmos; param -- beyond; alaksyam -- the invisible; sarva -- all; bhutanam -- of living beings; antah -- within; bahih -- without; avasthitam -- existing.

TRANSLATION

Srimati Kunti said: O Krsna, I offer my obeisances unto You because You are the original personality and are unaffected by the qualities of the material world. You are existing both within and without everything, yet You are invisible to all.

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Srimad Bhagavatam 1.8.19

maya-javanikacchannam
ajnadhoksajam avyayam
na laksyase mudha-drsa
nato natyadharo yatha

SYNONYMS

maya -- deluding; javanika -- curtain; acchannam -- covered by; ajna -- ignorant; adhoksajam -- beyond the range of material conception (transcendental); avyayam -- irreproachable; na -- not; laksyase -- observed; mudha-drsa -- by the foolish observer; natah -- artist; natya-dharah -- dressed as a player; yatha -- as.

TRANSLATION

Being beyond the range of limited sense perception, You are the eternally irreproachable factor covered by the curtain of deluding energy. You are invisible to the foolish observer, exactly as an actor dressed as a player is not recognized.

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Srimad Bhagavatam 1.8.20

tatha paramahamsanam
muninam amalatmanam
bhakti-yoga-vidhanartham
katham pasyema hi striyah

SYNONYMS

tatha -- besides that; paramahamsanam -- of the advanced transcendentalists; muninam -- of the great philosophers or mental speculators; amala-atmanam -- those whose minds are competent to discern between spirit and matter; bhakti-yoga -- the science of devotional service; vidhana-artham -- for executing; katham -- how; pasyema -- can observe; hi -- certainly; striyah -- women.

TRANSLATION

You Yourself descend to propagate the transcendental science of devotional service unto the hearts of the advanced transcendentalists and mental speculators, who are purified by being able to discriminate between matter and spirit. How, then, can we women know You perfectly?

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Srimad Bhagavatam 1.8.21

krsnaya vasudevaya
devaki-nandanaya ca
nanda-gopa-kumaraya
govindaya namo namah

SYNONYMS

krsnaya -- the Supreme Lord; vasudevaya -- unto the son of Vasudeva; devaki-nandanaya -- unto the son of Devaki; ca -- and; nanda-gopa -- Nanda and the cowherd men; kumaraya -- unto their son; govindaya -- unto the Personality of Godhead, who enlivens the cows and the senses; namah -- respectful obeisances; namah -- obeisances.

TRANSLATION

Let me therefore offer my respectful obeisances unto the Lord, who has become the son of Vasudeva, the pleasure of Devaki, the boy of Nanda and the other cowherd men of Vrndavana, and the enlivener of the cows and the senses.

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Srimad Bhagavatam 1.8.22

namah pankaja-nabhaya
namah pankaja-maline
namah pankaja-netraya
namas te pankajanghraye

SYNONYMS

namah -- all respectful obeisances; pankaja-nabhaya -- unto the Lord who has a specific depression resembling a lotus flower in the center of His abdomen; namah -- obeisances; pankaja-maline -- one who is always decorated with a garland of lotus flowers; namah -- obeisances; pankaja-netraya -- one whose glance is as cooling as a lotus flower; namah te -- respectful obeisances unto You; pankaja-anghraye -- unto You, the soles of whose feet are engraved with lotus flowers (and who are therefore said to possess lotus feet).

TRANSLATION

My respectful obeisances are unto You, O Lord, whose abdomen is marked with a depression like a lotus flower, who are always decorated with garlands of lotus flowers, whose glance is as cool as the lotus and whose feet are engraved with lotuses.

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Brief analysis

So a few great points here

1) Queen Kunti has been trough a lot. Since the loss of her husband she and her children have been the subjects of most elaborate murder plots. Sri Krishna has always been there to save them.

2) This is happening just after the battle of Kurushetra when even the five small sons of the pandavas have just been unjustly killed by Ashwasthama. It is not exactly a great time to keep the faith.

3) She could have thought, like many of the people today “Why me ?”. I have loved and worshipped the Lord all my life, Why do i have to go though all of these difficulties ?

4) What does she do instead ?

She glorifies  The Lord in the first verse. She says “namaste purusham tu adyam”. I offer my obeciences to you O Lord who is The Original Supreme Personality of Godhead. “isvaram prakrteh param” The Lord who is beyond, material cosmos. “alaksyam sarva-bhutanam” , not visible to all living beings and “antar bahir avasthitam” both within and without everything.

This is so much like the Bhagavad Gita verses by Sri Krishna describing Himself. The beloved book of all kinds of renounced transcendentalists. And who is offering these prayers ? Queen Kunti, who is a lady, a housewife, a mother ? How dare anyone say she is less intelligent as she is a mere woman ?

As Srila Prabhupada would often explain something like “Real intelligence is not about IQ, but it is about spiritual acuteness !”

This is just the first verse of her prayers.

5) The next verse she explains

“maya-javanikacchannam” “ajnadhoksajam avyayam”  - You are covered by a curtain of maya for the ignorant,  beyond the range of material conception (transcendental) and irreproachable.

“na laksyase mudha-drsa”, not observed by the foolish observer.

“nato natyadharo yatha “ – Just as a artist who is nicely dressed as some player.

So here again we can see her profound philosophical understanding. Sri Krishna is covered by a curtain of maya, and so the ignorant can not see Him,  why ? because He is beyond the range of material conception (transcendental) and irreproachable.

Then she gives an allegory of a play

She says in a play someone may be so well dressed and playing the part of a character so well, that a foolish person may not be able to see the real actor who is just being the character for that play.

You see the genius of Mother Kunti here ?  She makes a very deep philosophical point and then she gives an allegory. And it is not that she had says preparing these prayers, she is doing all this right on the spot.

6) The next verse she explains

“tatha paramahamsanam muninam amalatmanam” besides that, of the advanced transcendentalists of the great philosophers or mental speculators, those whose minds are competent to discern between spirit and matter,

“bhakti-yoga-vidhanartham" - the science of devotional service for executing

“katham pasyema hi striyah” – certainly how can observe women.

Here we see the supreme humility of Queen Kunti.

Sri Krishna is standing in front of her, ready to do anything she wants. Sri Krishna was a chariot driver for her son. Sri Krishna was her Well Wisher. And what does she say, i have no qualification even to see you my Lord!

Think about it, mothers, if Sri Krishna was a driver for your son, He was present before you and ready to do anything you wanted , would you ever say, my dear Lord you are known to great transcendentalists in executing the science of devotional service, but You see if am just a mere foolish woman, so i certainly(hi) can not observe(pasyema ) You.

This is a devotee, never ever proud, even when the Lord is present in front of him/her, still feeling unqualified to get the Lord’s mercy.

7) The next verse she explains

krsnaya vasudevaya
devaki-nandanaya ca
nanda-gopa-kumaraya
govindaya namo namah

krsnaya -- the Supreme Lord; vasudevaya -- unto the son of Vasudeva; devaki-nandanaya -- unto the son of Devaki; ca -- and; nanda-gopa -- Nanda and the cowherd men; kumaraya -- unto their son; govindaya -- unto the Personality of Godhead, who enlivens the cows and the senses; namah -- respectful obeisances; namah -- obeisances.

Queen Kunti here is appealing to the Lord, by taking names of His devotees. Just as the devotee is happy when someone speaks the names of the lord, The Lord is happy when someone speaks the names of His dear devotees.

This verse is so nice, it is used by Brahama’s in all kinds of prayers.

Queen Kunti is here making very clear who she is speaking about.

Here is what Srila Prabhupada explains in the Prayers of Queen Kunti book .

“Kuntidevi, therefore, is pointing our attention toward Krsna, the Supreme Person, who is alaksya, invisible to all. Who is that invisible person? Here -- Krsna. "Oh, Krsna," one may say. "There are so many Krsnas." Therefore Kuntidevi says, "I am offering my prayers to Vasudeva, the son of Vasudeva." "There are many Vasudevas." "No. Nanda-gopa-kumaraya: I am praying to the foster son of Maharaja Nanda." In this way, three times she points out, "Here is Krsna.”

In the last paragraph of this verse explanation in Prayers of Queen Kunti book Srila Prabhupada makes a very nice point.”We know the address of God”

“By following in the footsteps of devotees like Kunti, we shall be able to understand Krsna's identity. For example, we may ask a person's identity by asking, "What is your father's name?" So Srimad-Bhagavatam presents God with His father's name, His mother's name, and even His address. We are not impersonalists with a vague idea of God. If one takes advantage of the Krsna consciousness movement, one can understand God perfectly and completely.”

8) The Lotus Verse, i can not break up this verse

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Srimad Bhagavatam 1.8.22

namah pankaja-nabhaya
namah pankaja-maline
namah pankaja-netraya
namas te pankajanghraye

SYNONYMS

namah -- all respectful obeisances; pankaja-nabhaya -- unto the Lord who has a specific depression resembling a lotus flower in the center of His abdomen; namah -- obeisances; pankaja-maline -- one who is always decorated with a garland of lotus flowers; namah -- obeisances; pankaja-netraya -- one whose glance is as cooling as a lotus flower; namah te -- respectful obeisances unto You; pankaja-anghraye -- unto You, the soles of whose feet are engraved with lotus flowers (and who are therefore said to possess lotus feet).

What can i add ! The Verse is perfect !

Two thing that Srila Prabhupada mentions in the Srimad Bhagavatam Purport are

a) “The Pankajanabhi Lord accepts the arca-vigraha (His transcendental form) in different elements, namely a form within the mind, a form made of wood, a form made of earth, a form made of metal, a form made of jewel, a form made of paint, a form drawn on sand, etc. All such forms of the Lord are always decorated with garlands of lotus flowers, and there should be a soothing atmosphere in the temple of worship to attract the burning attention of the nondevotees always engaged in material wranglings.”

b) “One should begin to see the Lord from His lotus feet, gradually rising to the thighs, waist, chest and face. One should not try to look at the face of the Lord without being accustomed to seeing the lotus feet of the Lord. Srimati Kunti, because of her being the aunt of the Lord, did not begin to see the Lord from the lotus feet because the Lord might feel ashamed, and thus Kuntidevi, just to save a painful situation for the Lord, began to see the Lord just above His lotus feet, i.e., from the waist of the Lord, gradually rising to the face, and then down to the lotus feet. In the round, everything there is in order.”

So that is why Queen Kunti starts with Namah Pankaja Nabhaya

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