How the greatest obstacle to spiritual life is overcome by grace

By Srila Bhakti Sundar Govinda Dev-Goswami Maharaj

Prabhupad Srila Saraswati Thakur said, “Our programme is totalitarian war against maya.”

Maya is not a little thing. Only those who are enriched with the mercy of the Lord and enriched with mercy of Gurudev can cross maya. Otherwise, maya is very strong.

We are seeing that many big big stalwarts are falling down. The cause of this happening is ego. Ego is the most dangerous cause I feel.

Draupadi had five husbands, but she was chaste. This was accepted by law. Vedavyas himself accepted it, and Lord Siva himself accepted; everyone accepted almost. But Draupadi had some ego, “I am not an ordinary girl. I have five husbands, but I have the same mood with everyone. I am giving the same affection to everyone.” Etc. etc. She had some ego, and Krishna could not tolerate that.

One day some cause came, and Draupadi was thinking, “Karna is disturbing so much. I have heard something about Karna having some connection with the Pandavas and the Kauravas. So, if Karna was also my husband, then all the quarrel would go away because Duryodhan depends upon Karna.” She was thinking in this way, but Krishna wanted to demolish her ego.

At that time, she and the Pandavas were visiting a rsi’s ashram. Every day there, a tree was a giving a fruit, and the rsi was offering this to his Lord and eating it. But that day Sahadev or someone, not knowing this, took that fruit. Then, Krishna said, “Oh ho! You have made a great wrong! This fruit is for this rsi’s daily service, and you have made a massacre of that. Now the rsi is going to come and curse you. It is necessary to immediately put this fruit back on the tree.”

It was at that exact time that Draupadi thinking about Karna: “If I had six husbands, there would be no problem.” So here, Krishna got an opportunity to demolish her ego. Before her ego was very strong, and Krishna could not tolerate that. Krishna said, “If everyone will say what they are thinking in their mind at present, then this fruit will go back on the tree.”

Yudhisthir spoke, and the fruit went some of the way back. Every one else spoke, and the fruit went almost all the way back up, but lastly Draupadi could not say in front of her husbands that she was thinking about Karna. If she did, all her husbands would be upset. She thought she could not speak her thoughts in front of others, so Draupadi told a lie and the fruit did not rejoin the tree. Then, Yudhisthir was very angry: “You are not speaking your mind now.” Krishna said to Draupadi, “You are not telling the truth. Tell us what was in your mind.” Then finally Draupadi told that, and the fruit went back on the tree. Yudhisthir was then very angry.

Krishna does not keep anyone’s ego intact. Krishna is very clever, and Krishna did not allow even Draupadi, who is Krishna’s friend, Krishna’s very, very close friend, to maintain her ego.

We are practitioners. We are trying to practise Krishna consciousness. It is necessary to practise properly with love and affection, and chastity and sincerity. Then, the result will come. Otherwise, the result will not come: only formality will come. So, it is necessary to put there our heart.

We are speaking about the ten kinds of offences, but we are not following properly. We have ego, and that ego gives much disturbance to us. But Krishna is so merciful, and today or tomorrow we have hope that we can get Krishna consciousness. Why? Not because of our own capacity. We must think, “My Guru has capacity. I may not be full, but my Gurudev is full, and by his grace, I can attract the mind of the Lord towards me.”

Srimad Madhava Maharaj, one Guru Maharaj’s one godbrothers, a very affectionate godbrother, said this: “I have no quality, and I have no qualification, but my Guru has all quality and all qualification. In his name, please give Your mercy to me.” This is the Ghazi’s position in the Muslim sampradaya. “I have no quality or qualification, but my Guru is qualified, so please in his name bestow Your mercy upon me.”

We are thinking of our Guru Maharaj and our Param Gurudev Srila Saraswati Thakur. By their grace we must get the grace of Lord Krishna. There we have no doubt. That is our hope in spiritual life. We are all actually unqualified. So, Guru Maharaj said, “We are all students. We are not masters. We are students.” If we have that feeling, then we must proceed properly in the line of Krishna consciousness.


Spoken on 13 October 1999 in Mauritius.

Listen to the original audio recording here.