Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Everything You Know Is Wrong (About Your Friends and Enemies)

Once upon a time, millions of years ago, there was a saintly boy named Prahlāda who took birth as the son of a great demon named Hiranyakaśipu. This demon ruled over the entire universe, and even the demigods were afraid of him, and did his bidding. Prahlāda went to school and heard and recited the topics of politics and economics taught by the teachers, but he understood that political philosophy involves considering someone a friend and someone else an enemy, and thus he did not like it. Politics involves accepting one group of people as enemies and another group as friends. Everything in politics is based on this philosophy, and the entire world, especially at the present, is engrossed in it. The public is concerned with friendly countries and friendly groups or enemy countries and enemy groups, but as stated in Bhagavad-gītā, a learned person does not make distinctions between enemies and friends. Devotees, especially, do not create friends and enemies. A devotee sees that every living being is part and parcel of Krishna (God). Therefore a devotee treats friends and enemies equally by trying to educate them both in Krishna consciousness. Of course, atheistic men do not follow the instructions of pure devotees, but instead consider a devotee their enemy. A devotee, however, never creates a situation of friendship and enmity. Although Prahlāda Mahārāja was obliged to hear the instructions of his demoniac teachers, he did not like the philosophy of friends and enemies, which forms the basis of politics. He was not interested in this philosophy.

When the Supreme Personality of Godhead is pleased with the living entity because of his devotional service, one becomes a pandita and does not make distinctions between enemies, friends and himself. Intelligently, he then thinks, "Every one of us is an eternal servant of God, and therefore we are not different from one another."

When Prahlāda Mahārāja's teachers and demoniac father asked him how his intelligence had been polluted, Prahlāda Mahārāja said,

"As far as I am concerned, my intelligence has not been polluted. Rather, by the grace of my spiritual master and by the grace of my Lord, Krishna, I have now learned that no one is my enemy and no one is my friend. We are all actually eternal servants of Krishna, but under the influence of the external energy we think that we are separately situated from the Supreme Personality of Godhead as friends and enemies of one another. This mistaken idea has now been corrected, and therefore, unlike ordinary human beings, I no longer think that I am God and that others are my friends and enemies. Now I am rightly thinking that everyone is an eternal servant of God and that our duty is to serve the supreme master, for then we shall stand on the platform of oneness as servants."

One day, Hiranyakaśipu found out from Prahlāda's teachers that the boy had been teaching his classmates about Hiranyakaśipu's enemy, Vishnu, who had killed his brother. He was extremely angry, and threatened to kill his own son. He asked, "My son Prahlāda, you rascal, you know that when I am angry all the planets of the three worlds tremble, along with their chief rulers. By whose power has a rascal like you become so impudent that you appear fearless and overstep my power to rule you?" Prahlāda replied,

"My dear King, the source of my strength, of which you are asking, is also the source of yours. Indeed, the original source of all kinds of strength is one. He is not only your strength or mine, but the only strength for everyone. Without Him, no one can get any strength. Whether moving or not moving, superior or inferior, everyone, including Lord Brahmā, is controlled by the strength of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. My dear father, please give up your demoniac mentality. Do not discriminate in your heart between enemies and friends; make your mind equipoised toward everyone. Except for the uncontrolled and misguided mind, there is no enemy within this world. When one sees everyone on the platform of equality, one then comes to the position of worshiping the Lord perfectly. In former times there were many fools like you who did not conquer the six enemies that steal away the wealth of the body. These fools were very proud, thinking, 'I have conquered all enemies in all the ten directions.' But if a person is victorious over the six enemies and is equipoised toward all living entities, for him there are no enemies. Enemies are merely imagined by one in ignorance."

In this material world, everyone thinks that he has conquered his enemies, not understanding that his enemies are his uncontrolled mind and five senses (Bhagavad-gītā 15.7). In this material world, everyone has become a servant of the senses. Originally everyone is a servant of Krishna, but in ignorance one forgets this, and thus one is engaged in the service of māyā through lusty desires, anger, greed, illusion, madness and jealousy. Everyone is actually dependent on the reactions of material laws, but still one thinks himself independent and thinks that he has conquered all directions. In conclusion, one who thinks that he has many enemies is an ignorant man, whereas one who is in Krishna consciousness knows that there are no enemies but those within oneself -- the uncontrolled mind and senses.

The actual fact is that everyone is a servant of the Lord. As servants of the Lord, we are one, and there can be no questions of enmity or friendship. If one actually understands that every one of us is a servant of the Lord, where is the question of enemy or friend? We create enemies and friends according to the dictation of the mind, but actually there are no enemies and friends.

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