What the Representatives of Dharma Should Know
The Yamadutas protested to the Visnudutas, “You are so exalted that it is not very good for you to interfere with our business.” The Yamadutas were surprised to see that the Visnudutas, although exalted souls, were hindering the rule of Yamaraja. Similarly, the Visnudutas were also surprised that the Yamadutas, although claiming to be servants of Yamaraja, the supreme judge of religious principles, were unaware of the principles of religion. Thus the Visnudutas smiled, thinking, “What is this nonsense they are speaking? If they are actually servants of Yamaraja, they should know that Ajamila is not a suitable candidate for them to carry off.”
The Visnudutas began to speak in grave voices: “You claim to be the representatives of Dharmaraja [Yamaraja], 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 dharma, or religion, and what is adharma, or irreligion? If you are actually representatives of Yamaraja, then you can answer this question.”
This inquiry put by the Visnudutas to the Yamadutas is most important. A servant must know the instructions of his master. The servants of Yamaraja claimed to be carrying out his orders, and therefore the Visnudutas very intelligently asked them to explain religious and irreligious principles. A Vaisnava knows these principles perfectly well because he is well acquainted with the instructions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Supreme Lord says, sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja: [Bg. 18.66] “Give up all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me.” Therefore surrender unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the actual principle of religion. Those who have surrendered to the demands of material nature instead of to Krsna are all impious, regardless of their material position. Unaware of the principles of religion, they do not surrender to Krsna, and therefore they are considered sinful rascals, the lowest of men, and fools bereft of all knowledge. As Krsna says in the Bhagavad-gita (7.15):
“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 Visnudutas was very suitable. One who represents someone else must fully know that person’s mission. The devotees in the Krsna consciousness movement must therefore be fully aware of the mission of Krsna and Lord Caitanya and the philosophy of Krsna consciousness; otherwise they will be considered foolish.
Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu has said, yei krsna-tattva-vetta, sei ‘guru’ haya: [Cc. Madhya 8.128] “One must know Krsna—then he can become a guru.” Not just anyone can become a guru. Thus the Visnudutas challenged the Yamadutas: “If you are truly representatives of Dharmaraja, then you must explain what is religion and what is irreligion.” That should be the criterion for determining who is actually representative of religion. It is not that everyone should be accepted as religious or as a guru. Widespread ignorance has given rise to many persons calling themselves God, representing so much nonsense in the name of dharma. When someone says, “I am God,” or “I have become God by mystic yoga,” one should challenge him. In America a man claimed, “I am God, everyone is God,” and thus gathered disciples. One day he was suffering from a toothache, and I asked him, “What kind of God are you that you are suffering so much from a toothache?” Only a lunatic or a cheater claims, “I am God.”