SC 7: Authorized Discrimination
What the Representatives of Dharma Should Know
The Yamadūtas protested to the Viṣṇudūtas, "You are so exalted that it is not very good for you to interfere with our business." The Yamadūtas were surprised to see that the Viṣṇudūtas, although exalted souls, were hindering the rule of Yamarāja. Similarly, the Viṣṇudūtas were also surprised that the Yamadūtas, although claiming to be servants of Yamarāja, the supreme judge of religious principles, were unaware of the principles of religion. Thus the Viṣṇudūtas smiled, thinking, "What is this nonsense they are speaking? If they are actually servants of Yamarāja, they should know that Ajāmila is not a suitable candidate for them to carry off."
The Viṣṇudūtas began to speak in grave voices: "You claim to be the representatives of Dharmarāja [Yamarāja], the superintendent of death and the maintainer of religion, and you accuse us of interfering in your business, which he has entrusted to you. Therefore would you kindly explain what is
This inquiry put by the Viṣṇudūtas to the Yamadūtas is most important. A servant must know the instructions of his master. The servants of Yamarāja claimed to be carrying out his orders, and therefore the Viṣṇudūtas very intelligently asked them to explain religious and irreligious principles. A Vaiṣṇava knows these principles perfectly well because he is well acquainted with the instructions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Supreme Lord says,
na māṁ duṣkṛtino mūḍhāḥ
āsuraṁ bhāvam āśritāḥ
"Those miscreants who are grossly foolish, who are the lowest among mankind, whose knowledge is stolen by illusion, and who partake of the atheistic nature of demons do not surrender unto Me."
The question posed by the Viṣṇudūtas was very suitable. One who represents someone else must fully know that person's mission. The devotees in the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement must therefore be fully aware of the mission of Kṛṣṇa and Lord Caitanya and the philosophy of Kṛṣṇa consciousness; otherwise they will be considered foolish.
Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu has said,
Officers of Law Enforcement
One who has the power to punish others should not punish everyone. There are innumerable living entities, most of whom are in the spiritual world and are
The Yamadūtas felt that they were faultless because they were following the orders of Yamarāja, who himself is faultless. Just because a magistrate has to direct the punishment of those who transgress the law does not mean the magistrate is a criminal. He is a representative of the government. Similarly, although Yamarāja has jurisdiction over the regions of hell and deals with all sinful persons, he is a pure representative of Kṛṣṇa and simply executes the order of his master.
A police constable is supposed to know the law and whom to arrest for breaking the law. If he arrests anyone and everyone, then he himself is a criminal. He may not arrest the law-abiding citizens. Similarly, the Yamadūtas cannot take away just anyone and everyone to the court of Yamarāja. They can take only the nondevotees to be punished for their sinful acts. Yamarāja has especially cautioned the Yamadūtas not to approach Vaiṣṇavas.
However, because Ajāmila had been very sinful, the Yamadūtas could not understand why he should not be considered a criminal and be brought to Yamarāja for punishment.
Devotees and Demons
There are two classes of people in this material world: those who are servants of God, called
In the spiritual world, however, there is only one class, because the inhabitants are all servants of God. Therefore the spiritual world is called absolute. There is no disagreement in the spiritual world, as the center is Kṛṣṇa, or God, and everyone there is engaged in His service out of love, not as a paid servant. A paid servant will serve in proportion to the money he receives, but in Vaikuṇṭha there is no question of being a paid servant. Everyone is liberated, and everyone is as opulent as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but everyone is still a servant. In the material world people serve out of need, but in the spiritual world everyone serves out of love. There is no need for anything, because everything there is complete.
In the material world, service is forced upon everyone. If someone does not render service, he will starve. Even a king has to work, what to speak of the poor man. Under the direction of the Supreme Lord, the material energy makes everyone into a dancing dog. The master says, "Please dance," and the dog dances, because he knows that unless he performs, he will starve.
Whether in the material world or the spiritual world, everyone is a servant, but here people are under the impression that they are masters. The head of the family thinks, "I am the master of my wife and children." But in fact he is serving each and every member of his family. The state executive officer thinks, "I am the king" or "I am the president," but actually he is the servant of the citizens. Servitude is his position, and unless he serves the citizens according to their expectations, he will be deposed or fail to win reelection.
In the material world everyone is trying to become master of all he surveys, and thus there is competition on every level—between self-acclaimed "Gods," between heads of state, even between friends and family members. In this illusory competition to be master, everyone fails. Mahātmā Gandhi was respected as the father of India, but after all he was just a servant, and when one man didn't like his service, Gandhi was killed. Similarly, President Kennedy was a very popular president, but somebody saw some discrepancy in his service, and he was also killed. No one is really the master here. Everyone is either a servant of
Everyone has to obey the government laws. Under the spell of illusion, however, the criminal thinks, "I do not accept the government laws
Only persons who are totally illusioned refuse to serve God. Instead of voluntarily rendering service to God, they are the slaves of
Among the two classes of men—the divine (
Of course, even a tiger has affection for her cubs, and so at first Hiraṇyakaśipu showed affection for Prahlāda Mahārāja, who was a very well mannered and attractive child at five years old. One day Hiraṇyakaśipu asked his son, "My dear boy, what is the best thing you have learned in school? Tell me."
Prahlāda Mahārāja replied, "One should sacrifice everything to realize God. This human form of life is the best opportunity we have for making spiritual progress, and it must be utilized for realizing God."
Hiraṇyakaśipu angrily inquired from his son's teachers, "Why have you taught all this nonsense to my boy?"
They fearfully answered, "Sir, we did not teach these things to this boy. He is naturally inclined toward God, so what can we do? As soon as he gets the opportunity, he begins to teach God consciousness to the other boys in the class." In the absence of his teachers, Prahlāda Mahārāja would immediately stand up on the bench and address his friends, "My dear boys, this life is not for enjoying sense gratification. It is for realizing God. Do not forget this."
Similarly, we have taken up this preaching mission because people in general are interested only in immediate sense gratification, which is not good for them. In the
Lord Ṛṣabhadeva says that the materialistic way of life is very risky. For those who indulge in sense gratification, Kṛṣṇa gives the facility, forcing them to take birth again in the material atmosphere. A monkey has very good facility for enjoying sex. In some ways a monkey is renounced: he lives naked in the forest, he eats only fruit. But his nature is that he must have at least three dozen wives for sex enjoyment. So-called renunciants who wear the cloth of a
na māṁ duṣkṛtino mūḍhāḥ
āsuraṁ bhāvam āśritāḥ
"Those miscreants who are grossly foolish, who are lowest among mankind, whose knowledge is stolen by illusion, and who partake of the atheistic nature of demons do not surrender unto Me." Here Kṛṣṇa clearly states,
Scriptural injunctions may not be very palatable; nonetheless, they are authoritative, and we have to preach the truth. We cannot play hide and seek with the problems of life. We must know our real position, and we must know what is religion and what is irreligion. Religion means action according to the orders of God, and irreligion means action that goes against the orders of God.