Sunday, January 29, 2006

A Person Condemned for Murder, The Justice of the Peace Cannot Be Blamed

Visnujana: 21: “O Partha, how can a person who knows that the soul is indestructible, unborn, eternal and immutable kill anyone or cause anyone to kill?” Purport: “Everything has its utility, and a man who is situated in complete knowledge knows how and where to apply a thing for its proper utility. Similarly violence also has its use, and how to apply violence rests with the person in knowledge. Although the justice of the peace awards capital punishment to a person condemned for murder, the justice of the peace cannot be blamed because he orders violence to another according to the codes of justice. In the Manu-samhita,...”

Prabhupada: Manu-samhita, yes.

Visnujana: “...the lawbook for mankind, it is supported that a murderer should be condemned to death so that in his next life he will not have to suffer for the great sin he has committed. Therefore the king’s punishment of hanging a murderer is actually beneficial. Similarly when Krsna orders fighting, it must be concluded that violence is for the supreme justice, and as such, Arjuna should follow the instruction, knowing well that such violence committed in the act of fighting for justice is not at all violence. Because at any rate the man, or rather, the soul, cannot be killed. For the administration of justice, so-called violence is permitted. A surgical operation is not meant to kill the patient, but is for his cure. Therefore the fighting to be executed by Arjuna under the instruction of Krsna is with full knowledge, and so there is no possibility of sinful reaction.”

Prabhupada: This is the distinction between violence and nonviolence. People are very much advocate of nonviolence, but they are committing, according to their estimation, they are committing every moment violence. But from higher standard there is practically no violence and the things which apparently appear to be violence, if it is properly executed... Just like under the order of high court judge, one body is being executed. So that is not violence. A justice of higher order is not meant for committing violence. It is justice. Similarly, when, under the direction of the supreme justice, Krsna, anything is done, apparently, although it appears violence, it is not violence. It is justice. This is to be understood. Go on.

Visnujana: 22: “As a person puts on a new garment, giving up old ones, similarly the soul accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless one.” Purport.

Prabhupada: In a different way, in varied ways, Krsna is trying to make us understand the constitutional position of the soul. Yes.

Visnujana: “Change of body by the atomic individual soul is an accepted fact. Even some of the modern scientists who do not believe in the existence of the soul but at the same time cannot explain the source of energy from the heart, they have to accept continuous changes of body which appear from childhood to boyhood and from boyhood to youth and again from youth to old age. From old age the change is transferred to another body. This has already been explained in the previous verse. Transference of the atomic individual soul to another body is also made possible by the grace of the Supersoul. The Supersoul fulfills the desire of the soul as one friend fulfills the desire of another. The Vedas, such as the Mundaka Upanisad, as well as the Svetasvatara Upanisad...”

Prabhupada: Svetasvatara.

Visnujana: “...confirm this concept of two kinds of souls by comparing them to two friendly birds sitting on the same tree. One of the birds, the individual atomic soul, is eating the fruit of the tree, and the other bird is simply watching his friend. Of these two birds, although they are the same in quality, one is captivated by the fruits of the material tree, while the other is simply witnessing his activity. Krsna is the witnessing bird and Arjuna is the eating bird. Although they are friends, one is still the master and the other is the servant.”

Prabhupada: That is the eternal relationship. These are confirmed in Vedic literature just like Svetasvatara Upanisad, Mundaka Upanisad. The system is whatever is mentioned in the Vedas, that is authoritatively accepted. That is the Vedic understanding. If there is some evidence in the Vedas... Just like in law court, if there is some section in the lawbook, then the lawyers, the judge, accept it. “Yes, it is like this.”

Similarly knowledge. Vedas means knowledge. So perfect knowledge is there. Therefore if the evidence is there in the statement of Vedas, that is the proof. Sabda-pramana. There are three kinds of evidences. Pratyaksa, direct sense perception, and sabda-pramana, evidence from the Vedic statement, and anumana, aitihya, historical or hypothesis. So out of all evidences, the evidence which is called, derived from Vedic statement, that is accepted as most authoritative.

Therefore Mundaka Upanisad and Svetasvatara Upanisad, they are Vedas. There is statement that two birds are sitting on the same tree. The tree is compared, the body is compared with the tree. And two birds, namely the Supersoul, Krsna, and the living entity, individual soul, they are sitting together. And one is eating the fruit of the tree and the other is simply witnessing. This is our position. The other friendly bird, Krsna or Supersoul, is giving us opportunity to act with this body as I like. He’s giving us opportunity. Ksetra-jna. I am the proprietor of this body. I have been allowed to utilize this body as I like. And the facility is given by the Supersoul.

So if I like, I can utilize this body for higher grade of life. Krsna will give us all facilities. And if I like, I can utilize this body for lower grade of life. Krsna will give us facilities. So He’s always friendly. And He gives us also friendly advice, that “Don’t act independently. Just act in Krsna consciousness under Me. Then you’ll be happy.” That is His actual instruction. But the living entity does not care for the instruction of the Supersoul. He wants to act independently, and he has to suffer the consequence. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gita in the Fourth Chapter. Yajnarthat karmano ’nyatra loko ’yam karma-bandhanah [Bg. 3.9]. Yajna means Visnu or Krsna. Whatever you do, or what... Not whatever you do. You have to do only for Krsna. Yajnarthe karma. Whatever you act. Never mind. Whatever you do. But you have to act for Krsna. Yajnarthe karma anyatra. Otherwise, karma-bandhanah, you’ll be bound up by the reaction. The same example: just a person acting on behalf of some superior authority, government, personally he has no responsibility because he is acting on behalf of the supreme authority. Just like a manager or agent, attorney. Just like we signed one lease agreement.

That Mr. Brown, he is acting as attorney on behalf of the landlord. So he has no responsibility. He is acting in landlord capacity or landlord consciousness. He is trying to save the interest of the landlord as far as possible. But if there is any mistake, the landlord will suffer or gain. He has nothing to do. Similarly, if we work in Krsna consciousness, if there is something wrong... Because we can act two ways, wrongly or rightly. That’s all. If we do rightly, it is all right. Even if we don’t do it rightly, wrongly, still, it is right because the cause is the Supreme. Yajnarthat karmano ’nyatra loko ’yam karma-bandhanah [Bg. 3.9]. The best, safest way of acting is to act in Krsna consciousness or under the order of Krsna. Or if somebody says “Where is Krsna?” No. Krsna is there. Just like Bhagavad-gita is there, and the explanation of Bhagavad-gita by the representative of Krsna is there. So Krsna, being absolute, His representative, His words are nondifferent from Him. We should not think that “Krsna is not in my presence.” As soon as Bhagavad-gita is there and as soon as we understand Bhagavad-gita as it is, that means we are hearing directly Krsna. So if we do according to the instruction of Krsna, as Arjuna did, then there is no reaction. We are free. Yajnarthat karmano ’nyatra....

[excerpt from Bhagavad-gita 2.20-25--Lecture, Seattle, October 14, 1968]

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