The Monk’s Podcast 78 with Krishna Kshetra Maharaj – Churning the Bhagavatam – Dashavatara 2 – Kurma
Churning the Bhagavatam – Dashavatara 2 – Kurma – The Monk’s Podcast 78 with Krishna Kshetra Maharaj
Summary from 1.38.55
Chaitanya Charan Prabhu: We started with the special features of Kurmadev. We talked about how it seems that He doesn’t speak, He is a very silent avatar. And there are no prayers offered to him. And then we had a lot of discussion on the nonliteral aspects. So Kurma Dev is worshipped for stability as is recommended by Bhakti Vinode Thakur.
We discussed how Srila Prabhupad while presenting Krishna Bhakti in a relevant way in a context where the Mahatma Gandhi and others were reducing it to myth or bias myth, Srila Prabhupad spoke strongly about literal understanding. Bhakti Vinode Thakur while addressing Bankim Chandra Chatterji’s attempts to bowdlerize Krishna Lila, and to present things, he, he gave people a non-literal way to understand it, but also emphasize that ultimately, it has to be an initial transcendental level.
We discussed various allegories. Metaphor would be more of a particular point of parallel way. Allegory is a narrative in which certain abstract properties are personified to teach something. So Chaintanya Chandrodaya natak is an allegory. At least there are allegorical characters in that. And then with respect to the Bhagavatam’s first canto in the bull and the cow narrative there is a blurring of categories, and the emphasis is on remembering and relishing Krishna. The Acharyas don’t talk so much about whether this is allegorical or not. So, depending on historical context, certain things, which we may consider very important individuality, 100- or 200-years others may think that something else is very important. So rather than focusing on what is considered contextually important we can be more Saragrahahi- essence seeking and focus on remembering the Lord. Before that you mentioned how there are not only multiple avatars present in this, but multiple avatars are cooperating in the pastime.
Then we discuss how Parshuram interacts with Ram. In the spiritual world there seems to be some awareness of at least Dwarka and Vrindavana. But whether there is interaction between the various lokas and the various devotees; that is something which we don’t have clear mention about.
And then we mentioned about Mandala and Yantra.
So, the Kurma being present with the churning rod above him is like a Mandela. Then we have the Mandala’s in the 1st cantoo where Nimisharanya is considered to be the center of the universe. Then we have Bhu Mandala in the 5th canto, and of course we have Rasa Mandala in the 10th canto.
We also discussed the idea of a universal turtle, or the turtles all the way. In our tradition, if you consider Kurma to be the supreme Lord. Then Kashyapa is the Prajapati. So, from the Prajapati everything comes. Kurma sustains everything. So, in that sense, there is a parallel over here.
You also discussed a lot in detail about how when Kurma appears, there is the churning in the 8th the 10th cantos. While, the churning in the 10th canto is for butter, that Krishna munificently distributes, for relishing Prema. The churning in the 8th Canto seems to be more for establishing Dharma. Sometimes the ends are more important to means!
And I never thought of this point, that this whole depiction is quite humorous. How the demons are sometimes childishly demanding that they want to hold on to the mouth. Then get overwhelmed by the smoke, then see Mohini Murti and get bewildered by her.
We also spoke about some cost cultural parallels, that Kurma is sustaining the earth. Sustaining the whole existence. He is humble, below everyone. Even, in the Christian tradition they have the idea of lifting up the cross, The Lord is lifting up the mountain itself.
Then there is the idea of drinking poison. Lord Shiva takes the poison. So, there is the idea of divine suffering. Mohini Murti’s is partial to the Devatas. But Lord Shiva brings poison for the benefit of everyone. He is not a Jeeva but is in the higher category -like the divine. So, He exhibits the divine munificence in an extraordinary way.
And then when we talked about Kurma for stability. You brought an extra meaning as to how in our movement we need stability and balance so that we don’t get too fixated on one opinion and then condemn the other opinion or we don’t get fixated on one project and neglect other aspects while pursuing that project.
Even in the world today, in politics there is so much polarization. And politics has become so dysfunctional that it takes a lot for the Devatas and Asuras to come together. This is good advice for politicians to come together.
And then lastly, due to the churning poison came out. Lord Shiva was needed. It seems the way we have not churned but disrupted the universe, by industrialization. The pandemic could be like a poison.
But whether Lord Shiva will come and remove the poison, is something we will have to wait and see. We can pray that there is stability. That the world becomes more stable.
We talked about positive psychology and hope, and how we cannot live without hope. In spirituality there is hope, there is gratitude and there is humour. So it does seem that this whole pandemic is making people think about higher consciousness, the meaning of life, the definition of progress and we have not just evolution but a revolution of consciousness, then there can be brighter times, which can come.
Lord Kurma Dev, He did not speak, but he was there sustainably everything. We can say that the process of churning of the milk ocean parallels the process of churning of the heart for manifesting the love of Krishna. So, we can pray for humanity individually and collectively that their heart gets churned and consciously rises to higher consciousness.
Thank you, Maharaj this was a breathtaking journey, you took us on today.
Krishna Kshetra Maharaj: Thank you for participating. Together we did some churning. By the way, it’s a detail but there is one more Mandela, you can say, in the Bhagavatam that I’ve thought of in the sixth Canto, when Chitraketu Maharaj meets Lord Shiva. He sees Lord Shiva with Parvati on his lap. And they’re surrounded by the sages. So that’s kind of Mandela also. And, of course, that’s the beginning of more trouble for Chitraketu. He thinks it’s very funny. We can picture that scene. All these sages and then Shiva, highly respected, but then Parvati is sitting on his lap, what is this? So, he can’t help it, he laughs. And of course, Parvati doesn’t think it’s funny at all. And her not seeing the humour in it is also funny.
The fact that she doesn’t see any humor in it, and in fact, she is offended, and she curses Chitraketu is also kind of humorous. And of course, Chitraketu very graciously accepts the curse. He says,” okay heaven or hell, whatever!”
So, I just thought that’s another Mandala.
Chaitanya Charan Prabhu: Yes, I think in the 10th canto when Krishna is sitting with the gopas to have lunch and Bhrahmaji sees them, that’s also a Mandala.
Krishna Kshetra Maharaj: Yeah, that’s also a Mandala. Yeah, yeah so good to remember.
Chaitanya Charan Prabhu: Bhagavatam is rich with this. I never thought of the dimension of Mandala this way. Thank you very much Maharaj for your time and your sangha.
Krishna Kshetra Maharaj: Thank you. Thank you. All the best. So, We’ll, we’ll proceed next time with Varah Dev.
Srila Prabhupada ki Jai! Ananta Koti Vaishnav Vrinda ki Jai! Hare Krishna!
End of transcription.