Chapter Twenty
Full Surrender
apy adya nas tvam sva-krtehita prabho
jihasasi svit suhrdo ’nujivinah
yesam na canyad bhavatah padambujat
parayanam rajasu yojitamhasam
O my Lord, You have executed all duties Yourself. Are You leaving us today, though we are completely dependent on Your mercy and have no one else to protect us, now when all kings are at enmity with us?
—Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.8.37
The Pandavas are most fortunate because with all good luck they were entirely dependent on the mercy of the Lord. In the material world, to be dependent on the mercy of someone else is the utmost sign of misfortune, but in the case of our transcendental relation with the Lord, it is the most fortunate case when we can live completely dependent on Him. The material disease is due to thinking of becoming independent of everything. But the cruel material nature does not allow us to become independent. The false attempt to become independent of the stringent laws of nature is known as material advancement of experimental knowledge. The whole material world is moving on this false attempt at becoming independent of the laws of nature. Beginning from Ravana, who wanted to prepare a direct staircase to the planets of heaven, down to the present age, they are trying to overcome the laws of nature. They are trying now to approach distant planetary systems by electronic mechanical power. But the highest goal of human civilization is to work hard under the guidance of the Lord and become completely dependent on Him. The highest achievement of perfect civilization is to work with valor but at the same time depend completely on the Lord. The Pandavas were the ideal executors of this standard of civilization. Undoubtedly they were completely dependent on the good will of Lord Sri Krsna, but they were not idle parasites of the Lord. They were all highly qualified both by personal character and by physical activities. Still they always looked for the mercy of the Lord because they knew that every living being is dependent by constitutional position. The perfection of life is, therefore, to become dependent on the will of the Lord, instead of becoming falsely independent in the material world. Those who try to become falsely independent of the Lord are called anatha, or without any guardian, whereas those who are completely dependent on the will of the Lord are called sanatha, or those having someone to protect them. Therefore we must try to be sanatha, so that we can always be protected from the unfavorable condition of material existence. By the deluding power of the external, material nature we forget that the material condition of life is the most undesirable perplexity. The Bhagavad-gita (7.19) therefore directs us that after many, many births one fortunate person becomes aware of the fact that Vasudeva, Krsna, is all in all and that the best way of leading one’s life is to surrender unto Him completely. That is the sign of a mahatma. All the members of the Pandava family were mahatmas in household life. Maharaja Yudhisthira was the head of these mahatmas, and Queen Kuntidevi was the mother. The lessons of the Bhagavad-gita and all the Puranas, specifically the Bhagavata Purana, are therefore inevitably connected with the history of the Pandava mahatmas. For them, separation from the Lord was just like the separation of a fish from water. Srimati Kuntidevi, therefore, felt such separation like a thunderbolt, and the whole prayer of the Queen is to try to persuade the Lord to stay with them. After the Battle of Kuruksetra, although the inimical kings were killed, their sons and grandsons were still there to deal with the Pandavas. It is not only the Pandavas who were put into the condition of enmity; all of us are always in such a condition, and the best way of living is to become completely dependent on the will of the Lord and thereby overcome all difficulties of material existence.
After the Battle of Kuruksetra ended and the Pandavas were established in their kingdom, Krsna, before going back home to Dvaraka, was taking leave of His aunt and bidding her farewell. It was at that time that Kunti offered this prayer. Now she directly asks, “Is it a fact that after finishing Your duty You are going away and leaving us alone?” This is the devotee’ s position. Kuntidevi says, yesam na canyad bha vatah padambujat: “We have no means of protection other than Your lotus feet.” This is full surrender.
In the process of surrender (saranagati) there are six items. The first is that one should completely depend on Krsna, and the next is that one should accept everything favorable for Krsna’s service (anukulyasya sankalpah). Anukulyena krsnanusilanam bhaktir uttama: a symptom of first-class bhakti, devotional service, is that one accepts everything favorable for that service. Another item of surrender is pratikulyasya-vivarjanam, rejecting everything unfavorable to the procedures of Krsna consciousness. Sometimes the spiritual master says, “Don’t do this,” forbidding something unfavorable, and he also recommends that which is favorable: “Do this. Chant Hare Krsna.” Full surrender, therefore, entails giving up unfavorable things and accepting that which is favorable (anukulyasya sankalpah pratikulyayasya-vivarjanam). Furthermore, one should believe with full faith, “Krsna will give me protection,” and one should count oneself as one of the servants of Krsna. These are some of the items of saranagati, full surrender.
Now Kuntidevi says, “My dear Krsna, if You think that we are well established now that we have our kingdom back, and if You therefore want to leave us, that is not a very good proposal. We are not free yet. Because we have killed so many kings, all their friends and relatives are planning to come fight with us again. So don’t think that we are free from all dangers. We are not. And we have no protection other than Your lotus feet. That is our position.” Thus she indirectly says to Krsna, “Do not leave us. Don’t think that we are now safe. Without Your protection, we are always unsafe.”
This should be the position of a devotee. We should know that we are actually in danger in this material world. Maya, illusion, may catch us at any time, as soon as we are a little inattentive, thinking, “Now I have done my duty. Let me take a little rest.” No, there is no rest. We must be always alert.
There is a verse in which Srila Rupa Gosvami says, avyartha-kalatvam: [Cc.Madhya 23.18-19] a devotee should be very much careful to see whether his time is being spent unnecessarily. He should ask himself, “Am I now engaged in maya’s service or Krsna’s service?” This is a symptom of an advanced devotee. Nama-gane sada rucih: such a devotee is never tired of chanting, singing, or dancing. The word sada means “always,” and ruci means “taste.” A devotee always has a taste for chanting Hare Krsna: “Oh, very nice. Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.” This is taste. Of course, this taste takes time to awaken, but when Rupa Gosvami was chanting he was thinking, “I have only one tongue and two ears. What can I appreciate of chanting? If I could have millions of tongues and trillions of ears, then I could relish something by chanting and hearing.” Of course, we should not imitate him, but the devotees of the Krsna consciousness movement must at least be very careful to complete their sixteen rounds, their minimum amount of prescribed chanting. Nama-gane sada rucih: we have to increase our taste for singing and chanting Hare Krsna.
Furthermore, we should also increase our inclination to live in a place where Krsna lives (pritis tad-vasati-sthale). In the vision of higher devotees, Krsna actually lives everywhere, but because we are in a lower condition, we should know that for us Krsna lives in the temple. Because we do not see Krsna everywhere, we should come to the temple to see Krsna, who kindly appears there, by His mercy, in a manner in which we can see Him.
Krsna has a completely spiritual body (sac-cid-ananda-vigraha [Bs. 5.1]), but we do not have the eyes to see what that spiritual body is. We are accustomed to seeing material, gross things (jada). We can see stone, metal, wood, and other elements, and because Krsna is everything, to be visible to our imperfect eyes He appears in a form of these elements. It is not that Krsna is stone or that we are worshiping stone. We are worshiping Krsna, but because we cannot see anything except material elements like stone, Krsna kindly appears in a form carved from stone. Therefore one should be very much inclined to live within the circle of a temple environment in which the form of Krsna is worshiped.
Moreover, one should always think oneself dependent on Krsna. This is Krsna consciousness. One should always think, “Without Krsna my life is useless, and I am in danger.” Therefore, while offering her prayers to Krsna, Kunti says, “Krsna, You are thinking that now we are safe, but I don’t think we are safe. We are always in danger. If You think we are safe, who will give us protection? We have no protection other than Your lotus feet. We are encircled by so many enemies because the sons of those who have died in the fight are now preparing to fight with us.”
Now, although Krsna had come to Kuntidevi to take the dust of the feet of His superior, His aunt, Kuntidevi addresses Him as Prabhu, the Lord, not as her beloved nephew. She knows, “Although Krsna is playing the part of my nephew, my brother’s son, He is still the supreme master.”
The symptoms of a really Krsna conscious person are that he knows that Krsna is the supreme master, he always thinks himself in danger without Krsna, and by taking shelter of Krsna’s lotus feet he always feels safe. Krsna says, kaunteya pratijanihi na me bhaktah pranasyati: “You may declare to the world that My devotee is never vanquished.” (Bg. 9.31) If one becomes a pure devotee of Krsna, there is no question of danger. Of course, Krsna gives protection to everyone, for without His protection no one can live even for a single moment. But one should not think, “If Krsna is giving protection to everyone, what is the use of becoming a devotee?” A king gives protection to every one of his citizens, for that is his duty, but he especially protects his own circle of men. This is not unnatural. If one directly engages in the service of the President, when one is in some difficulty he is especially protected. Although the President gives protection to all the citizens, those who personally associate with him, giving him service, receive special consideration. That is not actually partiality. That is natural. When a gentleman loves all children but has special love for his own children, no one will say, “Oh, why are you loving your own children more than others?” No, that is natural. Similarly, Krsna says in Bhagavad-gita, samo ’ham sarva-bhutesu: “I am equal to everyone.” Krsna, being God, loves everyone because everyone is part of Him. Nonetheless, He takes special care of His devotees. Therefore He says, kaunteya pratijanihi na me bhaktah pranasyati: “My devotee will never be vanquished.”
Krsna always sees to the comforts of His devotees, and the devotees are always busy seeing that Krsna is satisfied. The devotees dress Krsna, supply Him food, and always engage in serving Him, and similarly Krsna always sees to the happiness of His devotees. This is the intimate relationship between the devotee and Krsna. Every living entity has a relationship with Krsna, but when one becomes a devotee the relationship becomes intimate. Therefore Kuntidevi says to Krsna, “How can You leave us? We are Your intimate friends. We are simply living by Your care, by Your mercy. Don’t think that we are safe and that You can therefore leave us. Our life is always under Your mercy, for we have no shelter other than Your lotus feet. Kindly don’t leave us.” This is Kunti’s prayer. Similarly, Narottama dasa Thakura sings:
“Krsna, Nanda-suta, You are present with Radharani, the daughter of King Vrsabhanu. Now I fully surrender unto You. Please show me Your mercy.”
Without Krsna consciousness one thinks, “I shall protect myself, or my society, community, or state will give me protection. I have so many protectors. Why should I care for God? Why shall I go to Krsna? Those rascals who have no protection can go to Krsna.” But the fact is that unless Krsna gives one protection one cannot be protected. This is stated in the Srimad-Bhagavatam (7.9.19): balasya neha saranam pitarau nrsimha. When Prahlada Maharaja offered prayers to Krsna as Nrsimhadeva, he said, “My dear Lord, one should not think that because a child has a father and mother he has full protection.” If Krsna did not protect a child, the child could not be protected, even if he were to have thousands of fathers and mothers. Prahlada also says, nartasya cagadam udanvati majjato nauh: “It is not that a good physician or good medicine can protect one from disease.” Suppose a rich man is suffering from some disease and he hires a first-class physician and takes first-class medicine. Does it mean that his life is guaranteed? No. If Krsna does not give him protection, despite good medical treatment and a good supply of medicine he will die. “Similarly,” Prahlada continues, “one may have a good boat, but this does not guarantee that he will not drown in the ocean. If You do not protect him he may drown at any moment.” Nature offers so many difficulties, and although scientists may try to invent something to check these difficulties in the struggle for existence, unless Krsna gives one protection one’s inventions will be of no use.
Kuntidevi knows this, and therefore although she is the mother of the great warriors Arjuna and Bhima, she still thinks, “Although my sons are great warriors, they are not sufficient to give us protection. Nothing can give us protection but Your lotus feet.” This verse illustrates the position of a surrendered soul seeking the protection of Krsna. If we remain in this position, knowing that our only protector is Krsna and that our only duty is to serve Krsna, then our life is successful.

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