August 22, 2000
Des Plaines Mandira

Scriptures describe many yogas or ways to unite with God. (Thus, one who is attached to God is called a yogee.) The 18 chapters of the Gita have a yoga attached to each section, such as bhakti-yoga (yoga through devotion) and karma-yoga (yoga through selfless service). Krishna Bhagwan introduced the concept of sambandha-yoga. The type of affinity that a father has for his son, for example, when created with God's devotees, explains sambandha-yoga. Krishna Bhagwan illustrated such a relationship with Arjun.

The Pandav brothers were performing the ashvamedha-yagnya which consists of sending a ceremonial horse around the world. Upon seeing the horse, the other kings either pay homage to the king who sent the horse, or they stop it and challenge the army sent by the king. If the horse circles the earth, the yagnya is complete. When the horse came to Sudhanva, a great devotee of Krishna Bhagwan, he was pleased that he would get the opportunity to invite Krishna Bhagwan to his kingdom. But Sudhanva's mother wrongfully advised him that as a warrior he should fight. Thus Sudhanva promised his mother that he would defeat the Pandavs. Realizing the horse had been captured, Arjun, Krishna Bhagwan and the Pandav army soon reached Sudhanva's kingdom. Arjun questioned Krishna Bhagwan, "What type of devotee is this?" Krishna Bhagwan however explained the glory of Sudhanva. Further, Krishna Bhagwan told Arjun that he had no chance of defeating Sudhanva because of his weapons mastery. Before the battle, Sudhanva offered respects by aiming an arrow on the ground by Krishna Bhagwan's feet. His second arrow produced a garland from the skies. With the commencement of war, in a short while, Arjun's army was reduced to half. Krishna Bhagwan remained witnessing the battle.

But then Sudhanva had the thought to defeat Arjun. This thought should not have come. As a devotee of Krishna Bhagwan, Sudhanva should have understood the relationship between Arjun and Krishna Bhagwan. He recited the mantra, "If in my life, Krishna Bhagwan was most precious to me, let this arrow behead Arjun." Krishna Bhagwan told Arjun to step back and countered the arrow by reciting, "If Arjun is more dear to me than all my queens, let the arrow break away." Sudhanva then released a second arrow saying, "If I have valued Krishna Bhagwan more dear than my own body throughout my life, then let this arrow behead Arjun." Krishna Bhagwan responded, "In my entire life, if Arjun's well-being was more dear to me than my own, let the arrow break apart." Finally Sudhanva put all of his good deeds in the final arrow. Krishna Bhagwan saw this, and thus said, "If I have looked wrong or at fault in the eyes of the world for my devotee's sake, and if all of the seemingly irreligious things I have done for their sake actually becomes a great deed, let the arrow turn back and kill Sudhanva." With this utterance, Sudhanva was beheaded by the arrow.

Gunatitanand Swami references the story of Sudhanva in Swami Ni Vato 11/125 explaining that it is God's desire to understand the glory of both God and His Devotee.



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