By His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Sometimes it is questioned that Sanātana Gosvāmī paid money in black market. Yes. Actually he paid. When Nawab Hussain Shah imprisoned Sanātana Gosvāmī, he was a minister. The superintendent of jail was earlier working under Sanātana Gosvāmī since he was minister. So the Sanātana Gosvāmī requested him that “I had done so many times your benefit. So you do me one favour. Although the Nawab has imprisoned me, you let me go because I am going to be a pir (renunciate).” The Muslims respect the pir very much. So actually he was going to be a pir. He renounced the family life and became gosvāmī. “So I am sacrificing my life for God, and you just help me in this service. And not only that, you will get some material profit also.” First of all, he offered five thousand gold mudras (coins). But when he was not very happy he raised the offer to ten thousand. In this way, it was settled and the superintendent of jail let him go. And he inquired from Sanātana Gosvāmī, “What should I explain to the Nawab when he asks me for an explanation?” So he gave him a trick that… Formerly, people used to evacuate on the field. So he was imprisoned. So he wanted to evacuate in the field. And the superintendent of jail was accompanying him. In this way, he fabricated a story and he told that “When he was evacuating, immediately he jumped over the river and the river’s waves were so strong, he was carried away. I could not find him.” So in this way, Sanātana Gosvāmī escaped after bribing.
Now the question is whether this kind of black marketing, bribing, is required for spiritual life. And the answer is that everything is required, provided you can satisfy Krishna. This is the principle. The dealing should be in accordance to time and circumstances. Just like in the battlefield Krishna is advising Yudhisthira to speak lie, “You go and tell Dronācārya that his son, Aśvatthāmā, is dead.” And Yudhisthira hesitated: “How can I speak lie? I never spoke a lie in my life.” So the idea is that in our ordinary dealings, when there is fighting, they take all means, all propaganda to win. You know that. In fighting, the aim is how to own victory. Although there are so many international laws, they don’t care for it. Just like bombing. Sometimes the opposite party keeps soldiers under Red Cross, because Red Cross is not bombed according to international law. But when they get information, they bomb the Red Cross also. These are common practices. Just like in India, in the Hindu-Muslim fight, the Muslims were keeping weapons within mosques. You know that. Everyone knows. So there are so many international laws of fighting, but when there is necessity, they neglect all international laws and take advantage.
I have heard from a very reliable officer, Mr. MacPherson, in Allahabad, at the time when I was running a drug shop there. He was my customer and when he was coming, he was talking with me many past stories of the war when he was also one of the commanders. During the First World War, when Marshall Foch was in charge of the French centers, there were many refugees from Belgium in France, who were mostly women and children. So Mr. MacPherson told me that, “We were officers. We informed that so many refugees have come from Belgium. What to do.” Then Marshall became very angry. You see. He became very… “What can I do? In this battlefield?” So it was ordered that they should be killed. All these women and children were assembled together and were blown up by four guns from four sides. You see. Their own allies!
So these things take place in war, sometimes. There is no international law, no humanitarian consideration. Everything goes on. The point is that as people act, hooks and crooks, everything, for satisfying the senses and gaining some material profit. Similarly, if need be, everything can be accepted for Krishna’s service. Everything can be, can be accepted. Otherwise, how is it that Sanātana Gosvāmī is bribing? How is Krishna advising Yudhisthira to speak lie? There is a verse, man nimittam krtam pāpam punya eva kalpate. Sometimes it appears that this is a sinful act, but if it is done for Krishna, then it is bhakti. Our bhakti is ānukūlyena krisnānu-śīlanam [Cc. Madhya 19.167]. We have to satisfy Krishna. “Krishna is asking me to tell lie. Yes, I shall tell lie.” That is bhakti. If I consider that, “Oh, I have never spoken a lie in my life. How can I speak lie?”, then that is not bhakti because it is prātikūla, against the desire of Krishna. Common people cannot understand this. They’ll be shuddered. They think, “Oh, oh, Krishna is teaching a nice and religious person such as Yudhisthira to speak a lie.” Avajānanti mām mūdhā mānusīm tanum āśritam [Bg. 9.11]. If sometimes one thinks like that, he becomes mūdha (fool). When Karna was repairing the wheel of his chariot, Krishna told Arjuna, “Kill him immediately. Kill him immediately.” And Karna protested: “Arjuna, what are you doing? I am not in fighting now.” So Krishna said, “No, this is the right time. Otherwise, you will never be able to kill him. This is the time. This is the opportunity. You kill him.” Karna was a greater hero than Arjuna; even Dronācārya and Bhīsma were more heroic than Arjuna. That is explained by Parīksit Mahārāja, “In the battlefield of Kurukshetra, which was just like an ocean, there were big, big crocodiles, like Dronācārya, Bhīsma, Karna. But by the grace of Krishna, my grandfather (Arjuna) was able to kill them.” Arjuna was not so strong that he could kill Bhīsma or Dronācārya or Karna. They were greater heroes.
There are many instances. Just like the gopīs, who at the dead of night, when they heard Krishna’s flute, they left their husbands, their fathers, brothers, children, everything, and went away to meet Krishna. Now, according to our Vedic system, young girls and women, leaving the protection of the father, brother or superiors to go in the forest for meeting a boy is very sinful. Socially, it is sinful. And Krishna instructed them, “What you have done? You go back immediately.” And they began to cry. So now, from the social point of view, this is sin. The gopīs’ going to Krishna is a sin. Similarly, Prahlāda Mahārāja was standing without any protest when his father was being killed. Now can any sane man see that his father is being killed, and he’s standing silently, without any protest? And Bali Mahārāja, he rejected his spiritual master. When Śukrācārya said, “Don’t promise anything. He’s Visnu. He’ll take everything of yours. Don’t promise anything.”, Bali Mahārāja said, “He is Visnu? And you are asking me not to promise to Him? Oh, I don’t want such spiritual master. I reject him.” To reject the spiritual master is a great sin. So from the social point of view and from the religious point of view, these are irreligious, sinful activities – to reject one’s spiritual master; to see one’s father being killed in one’s presence; one woman going to another boy at the dead of night. Superficially they are sinful activities. But Caitanya Mahāprabhu recommends, ramyā kācid upāsanā vrajavadhū-vargena vā kalpitā. There is no upāsanā, method of worship, as it was conceived by the gopīs. It was simply first class.
So the point is that although superficially it may appear sometimes against the social and religious rules and regulations, but if it is done for Krishna, then it doesn’t matter. ānukūlyena… Bhakti means ānukūlyena krsnānu-śīlanam [Cc. Madhya 19.167] – Krishna should be satisfied.
Just like when Krishna pretended that He was sick, and many physicians came. He said, “No physician can cure Me. If some devotee gives Me the dust of his feet on My head, then I can be cured.” So all devotees were asked, and nobody was ready, “Oh! How can I give? My dust on the head of Krishna? How it is possible?” Nobody was prepared to give. Then Krishna suggested that “Go to Vrindāvana. Just ask the gopīs if they can give. They are My best friends. See if they are prepared? Oh, I am very much suffering from headache.” As soon as the gopīs were approached: “Oh, Krishna is sick. They want, oh, dust of…?” Immediately: “Please take. Please take.” They did not care that they would go to hell by offering their dust of feet on the head of Krishna. “Never mind; we shall go to hell but at least Krishna will be happy. That’s all. Krishna will be happy.” This is gopī. It doesn’t matter the whole world is going to hell, but if Krishna is satisfied, a devotee’s prepared to do that. That is called uttamā bhakti. Ānukūlyena krsnānu-śīlanam bhaktir uttamā [Cc. Madhya 19.167].
anyābhilāsitā-śūnyam [Brs. 1.1.11]. To, not to make business with Krishna by putting conditions such as: “I shall be devotee of Krishna provided everything of mine is adjusted perfectly. I shall not be sinful. I shall not do this. I shall not do that. My family will be kept nicely.” Just as people go to Vrindāvana after distributing all their money among their sons and grandsons. “You send me two hundred rupees per month. And all the two crores (one crore equals ten million) of rupees, that is for you. That is for you. That is not for Krishna. And simply for my eating, you send me two hundred.” There are many such persons in Vrindāvana. So Krishna is also very intelligent, “Two crores of rupees you earned with so much hard labor, that is kept for your children. And you have come here with empty hand. And for your food, two hundred rupees.” So, ye yathā mām prapadyante tāms tathaiva bhajāmy aham – As all surrender unto me, I reward them accordingly.[Bg. 4.11].
The first principle is that one should be prepared to sacrifice everything for Krishna. It doesn’t matter—my fate, my honor, my money, my prestige. He doesn’t care. Krishna must be satisfied. Just as Arjuna did. Arjuna didn’t like to fight, to kill his brothers, his grandfather on the other side. But when he understood that Krishna wants him to fight, he immediately said, “Yes, karisye vacanam tava [Bg. 18.73]: I’ll do as you say. That’s all right.” This is Krishna consciousness. No consideration for anything else; simply to satisfy Krishna, or Krishna’s representative. That is bhakti. Anyābhilāsitā-śūnyam jñāna-karmādy anāvrtam [Brs. 1.1.11]. Bhakti should not be tinged by jñāna. Jñāna is, “Oh, I am going to speak lie. I’ll go to hell. I am going to kill my grandfather. I’ll go to hell.” This is called jñāna, knowledge. But the definition is, jñāna-karmādy anāvrtam [Cc. Madhya 19.167]. It should be untouched by jñāna and karma.
So this is pure bhakti. The gopīs, they’re not jñānīs; they’re ordinary village girls. What jñāna do they have? No jñāna, no karma. They did not know what karma is, what sacrifice is. No. They did not know. So we should, we should be prepared to sacrifice everything, without any consideration of jñāna, karma or yoga. We have to see whether Krishna is satisfied. Svanusthitasya dharmasya samsiddhir hari-tosanam [SB 1.2.13]. That is perfection. Samsiddhir hari-tosanam: whether Krishna is satisfied.
So people have no information what is Krishna, and what to speak of satisfying Him. But bhakti means that the bhakta, is always ready to sacrifice everything for the satisfaction of Krishna. But if one has no idea what is Krishna, then where is bhakti? For the impersonalist, there cannot be any bhakti because they have no information of Krishna. They do not know who Krishna is. And bhakti means satisfaction of Krishna. If I know the person, if I know what his nature is, then only can I know how to satisfy him. If you have no information of any person, then where is the question of satisfaction?