By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Lord Krishna withdrew His dynasty from the earth by orchestrating a devastating battle.
jalaukasam jale yadvan / mahanto ’danty aniyasah
durbalan balino rajan / mahanto balino mithah
evam balisthair yadubhir / mahadbhir itaran vibhuh
yadun yadubhir anyonyam / bhu-bharan sañjahara ha
“O King, as in the ocean the bigger and stronger aquatics swallow up the smaller and weaker ones, so also the Supreme Personality of Godhead, to lighten the burden of the earth, has engaged the stronger Yadu to kill the weaker, and the bigger Yadu to kill the smaller.” – Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.15.25–26
This is the theory of struggle for existence and survival of the fittest. The law of nature is that the stronger overpowers the weaker. In Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.13.47) it is stated:
ahastani sahastanam / apadani catus-padam
phalguni tatra mahatam / jivo jivasya jivanam
“Those who are devoid of hands are prey for those who have hands; those devoid of legs are prey for the four-legged. The weak are the subsistence of the strong, and the general rule holds that one living being is food for another.” A living entity lives by eating another living entity. Those who have no hands are food for the animal with hands.
Those who are eating animals are animals; they are not human beings. Although they have the form of a human being, they are not considered human beings. When a person is civilized, cultured, then he’s a human being. If he’s not civilized, if he’s not cultured, if he simply has two hands he’s an animal.
Civilized culture begins in the Aryan families. Therefore they are called Aryans, which means “advanced.” People want to group themselves in the Aryan family. Hitler declared, “The Germans are Aryans and the Jews are not Aryans.” You can manufacture ideas like that, but the real Aryan is one who is advanced in spiritual consciousness.
In the Aryan civilization there was Vedic culture. Without culture, life is simply a struggle for existence. The primitive so-called human being, naked in the jungle, eats animals. Darwin’s theory is that originally there was no civilized man, but gradually civilized man developed. It is not very clearly explained; Darwin does not know what evolution really is. Evolution means to become civilized, or to advance in Krishna consciousness.
The law of nature is that the stronger section devours the weaker section. Here it is said, jalaukasam jale yadvat: “like the aquatics in the water.” In the water there are so many aquatic animals, and their struggle is going on. The stronger fish is eating the weaker fish. That is the law of nature. Therefore meateaters, as long as they are like animals, can go on under nature’s law. You are man, stronger; therefore you slaughter the weaker animals, like cows and goats. They are stronger bodily, but they have no intelligence. You have intelligence and can misuse it in that way. You can do that. That is nature’s law. But to be a real human being you must have culture and advancement in spiritual consciousness.
Developing Spiritual Consciousness
That is human life, and that consciousness develops gradually. To come to that platform, society must be divided. Krishna says in Bhagavadgita (4.13), catur-varnyam maya srstam guna-karma-vibhagasa˙: “According to the three modes of material nature and the work associated with them, the four divisions of human society are created by Me.” Amongst the animals there is no division. Everyone is in the same status. But because the aim of human life is to develop Krishna consciousness, there must be some system. One must come to the platform of varnashrama-dharma: four social divisions and four spiritual divisions. Those divisions are made by Krishna Himself maya srstam. And by that institution we can gradually understand the aim of life.
purusena parah puman
vishnur aradhyate pantha
“The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Vishnu, is worshiped by the proper execution of prescribed duties in the system of varna and ashrama. There is no other way to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One must be situated in the institution of the four varnas and ashramas.” (Vishnu Purana 3.8.9)
What is the aim of life? We are now detached from God. That is our position. Material life means to be detached from God, detached from Krishna. That detachment is the cause of our suffering.
catvaro jajnire varna
gunair vipradayah prthak
“Each of the four social orders, headed by the brahmanas, was born through different combinations of the modes of nature, from the face, arms, thighs, and feet of the Supreme Lord in His universal form. Thus the four spiritual orders were also generated.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.5.2) We are parts of Krishna, God, so we must act accordingly. For example, if the hand is in its proper place, then it can act nicely. But if I cut the leg and make it a hand, then it is lost. One must act according to his qualifications.
The qualifications of the brahmana (intellectual), kshatriya (ruler or soldier), vaishya (farmer or merchant), and shudra (laborer or artisan) are described in the Bhagavad-gita.
People must be trained according to their qualities, just as a patient is treated according to the symptom of the disease. Then it is cured. Not that any patient is given any medicine. In the drug house there are so many medicines. You cannot say, “Any medicine will do.” No. It is the physician who will pick the right medicine and administer it to the patient. Then the patient will be cured.
Varnashrama-dharma is meant to take us from the animal position to the human position, just as graduation from school or college distinguishes a person from the uneducated. Human life does not mean the struggle for existence, in which the big fish eats the small fish. That is not human life. That is natural, but you have to rectify the natural position for realization of the utmost aim of life. That is human life.
Spiritual consciousness begins when one understands that he is soul he is not this body, he is spirit soul, aham brahmasmi. Brahman means the spirit soul. Human civilization begins with the understanding that we are spirit souls. Otherwise, anarya-justam. When Arjuna was declining to fight, Krishna chastised him: “This denial is anarya-justam. It befits the anarya, those who are not advanced. One must do his duty. You are a kshatriya, and your duty is to fight to give protection to the citizens. So why are you denying this?”
Here the example is given: jalaukasam jale yadvan mahanta˙ adanti. Adanti means “swallows.” The Yadus are Krishna’s descendants, so they must be powerful. But they were fighting anywhere, conquering anywhere, and everywhere they were victorious. So that was bhubharan: “burden of the world.” When one becomes extravagant and misuses his power, he creates a burden on the world.
You cannot misuse your power. You get power by the grace of God, Krishna. If you misuse it, then you become a burden. As soon as there is burden, then it is dharmasya glani˙. Krishna says, yada yada hi dharmasya glanir bhavati [Bg. 4.7]. As soon as there is a misuse of power, tadatmanam srjamy aham He comes. When Krishna saw that His dynasty was becoming so powerful that they were fighting unnecessarily, to kill them He engaged their fighting spirit for fighting amongst themselves. And they were all killed.
Misuse of the Fighting Spirit
Fighting is authorized if there is a need for it. But you must not misuse the fighting spirit. At the present moment, as soon as the politicians see that they cannot manage things and there is confusion in the country, they declare war so that all the attention may be turned in that direction and the agitation will end. That kind of war is not required. But war is there already: the struggle for existence.
Krishna saw that the Yadu dynasty, powerful because of His power, was fighting unnecessarily. To prevent their further degradation, He wanted to kill them. No outsider can kill them, because they are Krishna’s descendants. Therefore He arranged that they would fight among themselves, thereby reducing the burden of the world.
Krishna is exhibiting how things are going on. You don’t need to reduce the population through contraception. By nature’s way, population can be reduced wholesale through war, famine, pestilence. Why should you commit sinful activities to reduce the population? Don’t beget children unnecessarily, and don’t kill them. That is religion. That is civilization. Why should you unnecessarily produce children like cats and dogs? The Srimad-Bhagavatam (5.5.18) says, “Don’t become a father or mother if you cannot save your children from repeated birth and death. That is the parents’ responsibility. This understanding is part of Vedic civilization.
That is the responsibility. Don’t produce cats and dogs; produce Krishna devotees. Then you can marry. Otherwise don’t marry. That is the Vedic injunction. Marriage is not meant for sense gratification. Marriage is meant for producing nice children, Krishna devotees.
That is our aim. Our aim is not to produce cats and dogs. There are so many cats and dogs, and the world is not happy. Now there is the need to produce nice children sober, gentle devotees of Krishna, with good brains and good character. These things are required.
All for Show
The Yadus were not unwanted children. The incident being described in these verses is a kind of show. The Yadus were all demigods who descended just to fulfill Krishna’s mission. When Krishna came to earth, His confidential servants also appeared to help Him in different roles. So when Krishna wanted to go, He wanted to go with His descendants, the devotees who had come to help Him. So the Yadus’ fight with one another was a show. The real purpose was that Krishna wanted to take them away.
Ordinarily, when one becomes unnecessarily powerful and disturbs the world situation, he’s a burden. And that kind of burden is vanquished by Krishna’s will. There must be some catastrophe, like war, pestilence, or famine, and then everything will be finished.
In the human form of life, our duty is to know that we are eternal servants of Krishna and that, having forgotten our relationship with Him, we have come to the material world, where there is a struggle for existence.
The struggle for existence begins with the aquatics. There are 900,000 species of aquatics. Who is that scientist who can know 900,000 species of aquatics? But in the sastra, or scripture, you will find that exact number given. It doesn’t say 901,000 or 899,000. No: 900,000. There are 900,000 species of aquatics.
We are in contact with the material energy, and according to our desire, we are getting different types of body aquatics, trees, birds, and so on. That is our problem. Therefore human civilization occurs when people are interested in solving that problem. Otherwise, it is animal life, simply the struggle for existence. Human life is not meant for struggle. It is meant for becoming sober, not like animals. The animals are engaged day and night searching for food and sense gratification, especially sex. That is not human civilization.
Human Life Requires Austerity
Human civilization is meant for tapasya, austerity. You should know your responsibility and learn how to practice tapasya. This is a little tapasya: no illicit sex, no gambling, no meat-eating, and no intoxication. Who is dying without meat eating? We have so many students and there are so many other Vaishnavas and they do not eat meat. Are they dying? Meat-eating is a bad habit only. So you must practice. In the beginning giving up meat-eating may seem a little troublesome. But it is not troublesome.
One gentleman told me, “I cannot give up meat-eating. I want to, but I cannot.”
Practice. Anything you practice becomes a habit, and habit is second nature. So in association with devotees, try to practice tapasya.
The Srimad-Bhagavatam (6.1.13) says, tapasa brahmacaryena: the first principle of tapasya is brahmacarya. A brahmacari is not necessarily a celibate, but someone who does not have sex without any purpose other than begetting nice children.
Everything should be systematic; otherwise there will be chaos, and no one will be happy. That is described in the Bhagavad-gita: The whole world will be hell. That has become the situation now. The whole world has become hell.
The Krishna consciousness movement is very important. It is overhauling the whole human society socially, politically, religiously. Those who are engaged in the Krishna consciousness movement should be very, very responsible and sober. Try to understand the situation and take shelter of Krishna. Then everything will be very successful.