Wisdom from the son of Armenia.
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- Vetch Hazaria – Six thousand secrets of wisdom
- Let me sacrifice myself for you
- The Prince, the Princess and the lusty guru
- Your desires overstep your sense of honor
- You can’t crush a watermelon in your armpit
- The errors of the fool are lessons for the wise
- If you cut off the tail of the dog, it doesn’t become an innocent lamb
- The poor who wait for the gifts of the rich, will lose the little they have
- Riches for the rich and an asses’ tail for the poor
- Patience and wisdom are destroyed by sorrow
My name is Harry (Hampartzoum) Terhanian. What has prompted me to publish this collection of Armenian proverbs is to create a web gathering of Armenians and other interested persons. As the Armenians are spread all over the world, there is a need to gather in a forum to live, share, and evolve our culture. Culture is something that is handed from generation to generation. Due to the tragedy of massacres, modern living, intermarriage, isolation, etc. there has been an erosion of transmission of Armenian culture. I want to make a small step at reversing this trend by sharing with all interested parties what I have learned from my parents and my travels. I hope that interested readers make available their knowledge of Armenian proverbs, stories, and wisdom so that I can swell the treasure of these pages for the enrichment of all. I will gradually add more pages as we progress. I hope to have a section of Armenian folk music, cooking, health, spirituality, marriage advice, and literary comment. Imagine learning culture by proverbs, stories, cooking lessons, music, poetry, discussion, and downright good old time one on one exchanges. Please join in the fun, open your heart and mind to share and embrace this wonderful culture. If you are interested in submitting proverbs or stories, see possible errors that you want to correct, want to ask a question, or just want to send an email, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call me at 425-246-8436.
To help you navigate the site, please take note of the following suggestion. If you click on the right side entries by date such as November 2005, by scrolling down to the end of the entries you will see “Older Entries” on the lower left hand side. Click on “Older Entries,” a new page appears with many more proverbs. Again, if you scroll down to the end of the page, you will ee “Older Entries,” click on it for another page to appear with more proverbs. If you come to the end of the page and do not see “Older Entries,” then you have come to the end of the proverbs for that month.
Have fun navigating the site.
Madagh linem yes
This is a well known exclamation in Armenian spoken when someone wants to express their love and dedication to another person or cause. Madagh is a sacrificial offering to benefit a person(s). It evokes passion and fervor for self-sacrifice when spoken sincerely. It implies that one person is willing to sacrifice their life or well-being in order to help another.
The following story illustrates the value of dedicated service and sacrifice that one can do to help a loved one.
There was a humble farmer named Jiraiyr, who was the dedicated son of his aging father and mother. He sacrificed his time and money to care for their every need. Jiraiyr’s wife, Lousig, resented her husband’s constant preoccupation with his parents. She felt it was an unfair burden on their personal life. They lived in the village called Aparan on the slopes of Mt. Aragats
Once a traveling minstrel named Kusahn Hovan visited Aparan. The Kousan (Minstrel) was a friend of Jiraiyr’s father. He was invited to stay with Jiraiyr’s mother and father as a guest. Every night, Kousan Hovan sang beautiful original compositions of poetry and music that entertained the villagers. Everyone came to Jiraiyr’s father’s back yard, which was over one acre in size, to hear the minstrel. Jiraiyr sacrificed even more than usual to provide food and refreshment for his father’s friend and the villagers who attended his nightly performance.
Lousig was livid that her husband was spending so much of his time and money to entertain his parents’ visitor and the entire village. She expressed her frustration every night to her husband. Jiraiyr tried his best to calm her but she became more and more upset with what she perceived as his wrong priorities in life. The last night that Kousan Hovan performed, there was a huge crowd of people that came to enjoy his melodious songs accompanied by his tar, the traditional instrument of choice of the traveling minstrels. Late that night, when all the guests had left, Jiraiyr sat with the minstrel. Hovan told Jiaiyr how much he was pleased with his kind behavior toward his parents and the villagers. Hovan was not an ordinary minstrel. He was a genuine mystic and holy man who used the medium of music and poetry to communicate his love for God.
As the two conversed, Hovan revealed that he had special powers of perception that he wanted to share with Jiraiyr. The minstrel had searched far and wide for a person who had a clean and gentle heart so that he could become the recipient of his special powers of perception. He wanted to impart his knowledge to a worthy person who would continue to use it for good purposes.
Hovan asked Jiraiyr if he had ever imagined that animals could speak to each other. Jiraiyr was surprised by such a question. He said, “I have always believed that animals communicate with each other. I have seen proof of it sometimes when deer make certain sounds during the mating season. Birds seem to chirp different messages. Why do you ask?”
Hovan: “What would you say if I could teach you to understand the languages of the animals and birds?
Jirayr: “Is it possible?”
Hovan: “Not only it is possible, but it is very useful.”
Jiraiyr: “What will I do with such knowledge. How will it be useful?”
Hovan: You will understand the mysteries of God and his creation. Every living creature is endowed by God with some knowledge. As we say in the Armenian language, “The more languages a man understands, the more he is educated.” The animals and birds spend most of their time seeking the necessities of life. But they are also endowed with natural perception of impending danger like the coming of earthquakes, tidal waves, and other natural disasters that man cannot perceive. They also can hear sounds at higher or lower frequencies than men. If you understand their languages, you will be able to help people who are in situations of imminent danger.
Hovan began to chant some mysterious sounds or incantations in an ancient language. He anointed Jiraiyr with clay marks on his forehead. After one hour of intense chanting and meditative trance, Jiraiyr experienced a strange feeling of something descending on his head. He could hear animal sounds that turned into comprehensible simple phrases. He was astonished that he could actually understand the chirping of birds, the barking of dogs, the meowing of cats, the braying of donkeys, the squeaking sounds of mice, the buzzing of grasshoppers and other animal sounds. Most of the animal talk was mundane: where is food, do you hear any predators, etc.
Jirayr became accustomed to understanding animal language. He began to discern certain animals that communicated more significant messages than others. There was a wise dog who conversed daily with a wizened donkey. They discussed events in their surroundings with amazing insight. They even made predictions based on their experience of life. Their discussions lasted only a few minutes in the early morning. Jiraiyr made it a daily habit to be near them to listen. One day the dog said,
“Friend monkey, have you noticed that Jiraiyr’s horse is slightly lopsided to the left?”
“Now that you mention it, brother dog, I see it. Why is that?”
“The poor horse is certain to die because it has some diseased growth in its stomach!”
Jiraiyr listened attentively. He was shocked to hear such bad news. What could he do? After two days, Jiraiyr saddled his horse and went to a secluded place where a recluse named Jiknahvohr Arevshat (jiknavohr means recluse and arevshat means the long lasting or eternal sun, the sun is a symbol of enlightenment by knowledge). Arevshat lived in a cave on one side of a mountain that had a hot spring that spewed forth bubbling hot water in a natural pool. The cave was warm even though the weather was very cold in the winter. During the summers, Arevshat lived outside the cave in a mud hut with a thatch roof.
When Jiraiyr arrived with the lopsided horse, Arevshat welcomed them. He immediately noted that the horse was lopsided. Jriaiyr was taken by surprise by the quick observation of the hermit. He begged him if he could cure his sick horse. Arevshat looked deeply into the eyes of the horse as if he was communicating with him. He indicated that the cure would require obtaining a special herb that was grown not with the light of the sun but with the light of the Illuminator, St. Gregory.
Jiraiyr was perplexed by Arevshat’s explanation. He had heard the legend that Saint Gregory the Illuminator prayed one day on Mount Aragats. A miraculous, eternal lantern hanging from the heavens came down to shed light on him. Jiraiyr had heard the elders of the village explain about the legend. Saint Gregory the Illuminator prayed one day on Mount Aragats, a miraculous ever-burning lantern hanging from the heavens came down to shed light on him. Armenians believe that the Illuminator’s lantern or lamp is still there, and only those pure in heart and spirit can see the eternal lantern — the symbol of the hopes and dreams of the nation.
There is another legend about St. Gregory and the Lamp of the Illuminator, which the faithful may see hanging above Mt. Aragats. According to alternate tradition, when King Trdat put down his sword, St. Gregory picked it up and threw it in the direction of the Sebouh mountains. While the sword was flying through the air, it turned into a glowing cross. The light of this cross is the Lamp of the Illuminator which hangs without a cord above the four peaks of Mt. Aragats, the second highest mountain in the Armenian Highlands. In Armenian “anparan” is understood as follows: “an” is a suffix that means without and “paran” means rope. The region around Mount Aragats is called Aparan which is derived from the word anparan. It refers to the Lamp of the Illuminator which hangs without a rope above Mount Aragats.
Jiraiyr was dismayed by the advice of Hovan. He had never known anyone in his village who had seen the Lamp of the Illuminator. How was he, a mere villager, going to merit seeing the Lamp and then finding an herb that grew only in the holy light of the sacred lamp? He humbly submitted his doubts to Arevshat. The saint replied, “My dear boy, you have faithfully served your elderly parents and respected the saintly Hovan the Minstrel. You have already been blessed with the knowledge of animal talk. Now, I shall bless you to have the patience and humility to save the life of your horse.
Arevshat explained that all life is sacred whether it be man, animal, plant, or even mountain, hill, river and valley. By respecting the sanctity of life, one is blessed by the saints and God. Similarly, by not respecting life, one is cursed to suffer due to causing suffering to others, be they humans, animals, plants or nature. This is the ancient wisdom of Armenia that has been lost due to misrepresentation by misguided so-called teachers and priests. To satisfy their own lust for wine, meat and women, they have tampered with the ancient wisdom of our forefathers. This has caused untold suffering to our people and all people who have been misled by such false teachers.
To see the Lamp of the Illuminator and find the healing herb, you must rely on the revelation of the pathway and knowledge. The knowledge is the profound teaching of Christ and our holy forefathers who have lived and died on this land. They have derived deep realizations from their collective experiences of many generation of faithfully following the path of spirituality and depending on the mercy of God. Christ has confirmed their realizations by His living example of compassion and love for the Heavenly Father. Revelation will come by faithfully hearing this spiritual knowledge and dedicating yourself to the higher purpose of serving God and sharing your love and knowledge with others.
Our Lord Jesus Christ has taught: “Blessed are the humble in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are the meek: for they shall please God. Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Blessed are they that suffer persecution for God’s sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
To delve deep into the understanding of the Lord’s words, one requires the blessings of a true saint. Since you have always been respectful to your parents, friends, neighbors, animals and especially to holy men, you merit hearing the profound meaning of the Lord’s benedictions to humanity. There are explanations of the mind and explanations of the heart. The first is intellectual, but the second is inspired by God for the welfare of all humanity. All people are God’s children. In every race, every nation, every ethnicity, there are good and bad people. For the most part, the majority of people are born good, but due to bad influences of false propaganda they can become individually or collectively bad. False propaganda comes in the form of political discourse which creates friends and enemies, materialistic philosophies that destroy belief in God and mislead people to seek fulfillment through temporary pleasures of the senses by sex, intoxication, meat eating, legally or illegally amassing wealth that far exceeds one’s basic needs, and gambling. These sinful activities degrade the goodness of the spirit of man. He or she becomes selfish, greedy, lusty, irreligious and defiant of the authority of God. Gradually one becomes arrogant and proud which makes one incapable of taking good advice.
Blinded by an irreverent mentality, such people are tossed in the ocean of suffering life after life with very little hope of salvation. They lose all respect for life and act like criminals inflicting pain and suffering on innocent living beings whether human, animal or plant. They lie, cheat, bear false witness and are always envious like snakes that bite even the person that tries to feed them. The association of bad people is worse than drinking poison.
My son, our forefathers have said, teh anoush lehzou ounehess otzuh dzahgehn guh hahness, teh gouddzou lehzou ounehess sourpuh douhnet guh vahness, “if you speak sweetly and respectfully the snake will stick its head out of the hole to hear you, but if you have a disrespectful speech you’ll chase the saint from your house.” Our speech should always be respectful and pleasing to the ear. Above all, we should only speak about uplifting subjects based on the original words of the prophets and their scriptural references.
Please hear the meaning of Jesus’ first blessing, “Blessed are the humble in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” The beginning of all good things and genuine knowledge is humility, which means one should not be anxious to have the satisfaction of being honored by others. In illusion, people seek to be honored by others. A humble person may be very wealthy, powerful, famous, or knowledgeable, but he does not brag about or seek praise for these personal achievements. Regardless of how rich and powerful he may be, at any moment, death can come and take everything away. He is aware that he can never be equal to or greater than God.
The association of saintly persons is an invaluable source of spiritual inspiration and knowledge for him. Because he has learned from saints to see the presence of God in heart of every living being and himself, he is respectful of God’s presence as the witness of everything that happens. With the universal understanding of God’s presence, he is very careful in his behavior. His motto is “to be more humble than the straw in the street, more tolerant than a tree, always ready to respect others especially those that don’t respect him, and not seek to be honored for any service rendered.”
The person who has spiritual knowledge knows that there is a difference between his eternal soul and his temporary material body that always is changing. Honor and dishonor in this world pertain to the mortal body and not to the eternal soul. Our forefathers have said, “Do a good deed and throw it into the ocean. If the fish don’t see it, God will.” We should not be chasing after the material deception of desiring to receive honor and recognition from others. With faith that God is the witness of our motives and actions, we can perform our spiritual and material duties in life without seeking to be honored. One should never advertise himself as a prophet or messiah of religion. The purpose of following the religious path is to learn how to please God and not how to profit personally in any way. The Son of God has said, “The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Mt 23:5-12)
The second blessing of Christ is, “Blessed are the meek: for they shall please God.” A meek person has the self-control to subordinate his desires and hankerings in order to serve the desires and will of God. He selflessly pursues the goal of benefitting others without self-interest and self-assertiveness.
Meekness is the opposite of self-will, self-interest, and self-assertiveness. One remains meek by being cognizant of the omnipresence of God. A meek person, even though he may be highly qualified in strength, knowledge, business sense, etc., doesn’t use his talents to take advantage of others. He has the mindset of considering himself less qualified than others and thus does not fall into the trap of trying to promote himself by braggadocio. Being meek is not an aspect of cowardice because it requires spiritual strength and self-control to remain dedicated to a higher purpose than smug self-assertiveness. One who is genuinely meek understands that he can only curb the forces of sense gratification by means of serving God. He engages all the senses with dedication to God by his unselfish service. Jesus agreeing to be crucified for the sins of others is a good example. He submitted Himself to the will of His Father and agreed to be crucified for the redemption of humanity.
One’s mind and intelligence become steady when they are fixed on the supreme goal of executing the will of God under the guidance of a bona fide spiritual mentor. Another example is Noah, who remained meek by faithfully following the order of God in spite of being ridiculed by his fellow men. “…in the last days there will come ridiculers with their ridicule, proceeding according to their own desires…” (2 Peter 3:2-7) Peter explained that similar to the time of Noah there will be ridiculers who will doubt the word of God and the end time of the judgment day. Noah remained dedicated to the order of God. He built an arc in the midst of the desert waiting patiently for the deluge that God predicted.
Jiraiyr, my son, always remain meek and humble in the service of God and you will be blessed all the days of your life. You may think that saving the life of a sick horse is not important enough to expend the energy and time and intense spiritual commitment to achieve such a goal. But, my son, I tell in truth, God cherishes the life of every creature in His creation. In the material conception of life, we see someone is a human being, a dog, a cat, a snake, an ant, etc. This is material vision, but not actual vision. The material conception of life precludes knowledge of the soul and its eternal relationship with God. After the death of the human body, the individual soul remains with two possible destinies. If one dies with unfinished material desires, he must take birth again to pursue the unfinished desires. If he dies with only the desire to serve God eternally, he is liberated from the cycle of birth and death and goes back to the eternal kingdom of God. The animals and lower forms of life must wait until they come to the human form to have the possibility of these two destinies. In the lower forms, the soul is forced to go through a gradual elevation to the human form by experiencing life in many bodies such as plant, reptile, insect, bird, fish, mammal and eventually human. You can see Jiraiyr how precious is the human form of life. It is the only chance one has to understand his real position in this world of suffering and attempt to prepare himself for ultimate liberation from birth and death. What I have spoken now is the ancient wisdom of our forefathers. Lord Jesus spoke the same knowledge, but it was somewhat altered over time and today we actually believe that only humans have a soul. This is a grave mistake that gives license to uneducated persons to exhibit beastly cruelty to poor animals, plants and nature. Everything that grows and diminishes is alive with an eternal soul. And every soul has the right to live and rise to the level of pure love of God over time.
Learn from our Lord, “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain the mercy of God.” One must be merciful to other living entities if he wishes to make progress in self-realization. This means he must explain this knowledge after perfecting himself and understanding himself as the eternal servant of God. Teaching others this sacred knowledge is showing real mercy to living entities. Humanitarian work can only give temporary benefit for the body. The living entity as we have said has an eternal soul that is temporarily covered by the material body. One can show real mercy by teaching the knowledge of one’s spiritual existence that provides the educational foundation for a life of dedication to God.
We can learn from the turtle that is able to withdraw its limbs into its shell when danger is present. Similarly, a wise man is able to restrain his senses from the objects of the senses. His higher intelligence is fixed on the goal of using his senses and mind uniquely for the service of God. He never allows his senses to be engaged in activities that cause forgetfulness of God.
There is a chariot drawn by five horses. The reins are compared to the mind and the five horses are the five senses: eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and skin. The intelligence is the driver and the soul is the passenger in the back seat. If the intelligence becomes weak and loosens its grip on the reins, the horses begin to run wild. The soul looks on in a state of distress as the horses lead the chariot rather than the driver who should control them with the reins. Eventually the chariot crashes and everyone is injured.
The senses and mind of a man striving to please God are used only for a particular purpose in the service of God. The difference between a person working for a spiritual purpose and one who is only interested in material gain is the first uses his senses in the service of God instead of for his own satisfaction like the second. Human life is meant for sense and mind control by the higher intelligence that fixes itself on the noble goal of attaining love of God through devotion. Unless all the senses are engaged in the service of the Lord, even one of them engaged in sense gratification can deviate the aspirant from the path of spiritual life. Jiraiyr, if you can restrain your senses and mind, keeping them under full control, and fix your consciousness on serving God, you will be able to tolerate all the difficulties of life and remain steady in goodness. Then you will have the blessing of the saints and the Lord (ohrnoutioun – blessing) to see the Lamp of the Illuminator and find the healing herb.
Never content with selfish desire
The hankering heart burns like fire
Prince and princess married and lived without care
While the guru was killed by the angry bear
In previous times, holy men were revered as true representatives of God’s word. They were given similar respect as one would offer God because they helped people understand the will of the Almighty. Their advice was considered the most auspicious way to please God. The holy men were relied upon to instruct the people how to dedicate one’s life to serving the will of the Supreme Person. They were often the close counselors of pious kings who relied on them to unravel the intricacies of right and wrong action.
Holy men were the exemplars of moral and spiritually right behavior. Their integrity was never questioned unless they exhibited improper behavior that contradicted the religious principles they were supposed to follow. The culture of renunciation was the safety net that protected holy men from becoming victimized by the allure of opulence and self-indulgence in the pursuit of sensuality. By cultivation of spiritual knowledge saintly persons gradually diminished their desires for carnal pleasures and developed the determination to use the body, mind and senses to favorably serve God.
There are two classifications of people according to behavior. They may engage in auspicious activities and have corresponding good qualities; or engage in inauspicious activities and have bad qualities. Those who are fortunate to have good qualities are regulated in their habits according to scriptural principles. They are inclined to accept saintly persons as spiritual mentors and listen attentively and follow their advice. Spiritual knowledge inspires truthfulness, compassion, freedom from lust, anger and greed. It is appreciated by honest persons seeking spiritual fulfillment. Aversion to faultfinding, and practice of forgiveness, gentleness, modesty, steady determination, cleanliness, and freedom from envy and the passion for honor are more qualities that they nurture. They are self-controlled, nonviolent and practice simple living and maintain a natural attitude of humility.
Persons who are inclined to inauspicious activities and possess bad habits are plagued by insatiable lust, pride and false prestige. They are attracted by impermanent things and engage in unclean habits like meat eating, intoxication, illicit sexual activity, and gambling. Their rush to sense gratification preoccupies their mind with limitless desires and anxieties and concomitant lust and anger. Earning money becomes the goal of life so that it can be spent on sense enjoyment. Deluded by wealth and false prestige, such persons may become religious and perform sacrifices in name only without following the prescribed rules and regulations of spiritual life. Thus bewildered by false ego, strength, pride, lust, and anger, they become envious of God and blaspheme against religion and belief in the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They ignore scriptural instructions and act whimsically due to lusty desires. They knowingly violate spiritual principles and are not ashamed of acting sinfully. Their aversion to God, holy men, and scriptural instructions causes their moral degradation and their bad example leads to the corruption of youth. Large segments of youth become addicted to lusty and greedy activities which increase anxiety for the future and confusion concerning the purpose of life. This gives rise to a chaotic environment in which people engage in self-destructive behavior due to extreme sexual desires and frustration.
The delineation between the two types of persons is starkly clear. However, sometimes persons in the garb of saintly men put on a masquerade of being the epitome of piety and moral rectitude. Yet, internally in the dark recesses of their psyche, they harbor lusty desires for sense gratification and its concomitant factors: profit, distinction, and adoration. Such pretenders are capable of performing heinous acts to satisfy their perverted appetite for sense gratification. Although they are supposed to live with a vow of poverty, they secretly amass property and wealth and whimsically live a lavish life. They misuse their authority to exploit faithful followers for their selfish desires.
When a person becomes obsessed with lust, he is possessed with impulsive desires that are never satisfied. Fire never ceases to burn when it is constantly given a supply of fuel. Lust also is never satisfied by any amount of sense gratification. Lust becomes an obsession due to ignorance of one’s spiritual destiny. By losing track of one’s spiritual potential, a person mistakes sensual gratification as the goal of life. One becomes shackled by the chains of sex desire and remains in a constant struggle with an unruly mind and insatiable lusty thoughts and desires. The lusty mind leads to reckless and erratic behavior. One becomes blinded to the consequences of victimizing others for his own selfish gratification. There is an ancient history that demonstrates the devastating outcome of surrendering to lust.
There was once a pious king who had a beautiful daughter of marriageable age. His kingdom was very prosperous. The capital city was a port on the banks of the Bay of Bengal. The king had a spiritual guide and advisor who he consulted. One day he asked the holy man, “Dear reverend teacher (guru), you are my spiritual preceptor. I always rely on your opinion whenever I have to make an important decision. Please let me know which day is most auspicious for my daughter’s wedding. The holy man replied, “Your majesty, let me consult my astrological charts and I will answer you tomorrow.”
Returning to his private chambers, the spiritual teacher was contemplating how to stop the marriage. Although he was an older man who had renounced his wife and children to assume the position of a revered holy man, he still had strong sexual desires for younger women. After leaving his wife and grown children when he was fifty years old, he became a mendicant monk traveling from one village to another and administering to the less fortunate. After a few years of an itinerant life he decided to stay in one village where he was very well received. The villagers adopted him as their holy man and offered him a place to live and all he needed to be comfortable. The simple villagers trusted him and accordingly they satisfied his wishes. At first he remained very humble and simple in his needs. As time passed, he became very popular with people from all the surrounding villages. Many villagers came to see him, hear his talks, and chant holy songs in his presence. Eventually, a temple was constructed in the village with the support of people in a fifty mile radius. He started to initiate villagers as his disciples. This increased their dedication and faithfulness. His life style began to change from a simple life of renunciation to one of gradually increasing opulence and ease. Regular donations flowed into the coffers of the temple and this helped to inflate his prestige and opulence. He became progressively attached to the many gifts and facilities offered to him. Renunciation faded into a forgotten past. With the opulence of tasty food, gifts, conveyances, temple, land, cows, and wealth, he developed the desire to have intimate contact with younger women. He had many women disciples. They fawned over him with service and submissive behavior. Mothers brought their young daughters to seek the blessings of the holy man so that their daughter could obtain a good husband.
Sometimes he would be alone with a young girl aspiring for his blessing. There is a saying that man is like butter and woman like fire. When the butter gets too close to the fire it melts. A man who has accepted the renounced order of life should not associate closely with women. He should always meet women aspiring for spiritual instruction accompanied by other responsible adults as a precaution. It is forbidden to be alone with a woman except for one’s wife. This is especially an absolute rule for persons who are holy men. But the influence of prestige accompanying the accumulation of wealth, fame and power can weaken the resolve to strictly follow the rules and regulations of spiritual life. Maintaining a very simple and humble lifestyle is important for spiritual aspirants. Living a life of luxury, eating opulent food, and associating with attractive, young women intimately will certainly cause even a great spiritualist to have mental disturbance. Gradually one’s determination to strictly follow the principles of a holy life can be compromised and one falls down into sinful activities.
The holy man succumbed to his increased lust for sexual intimacy. One day he touched a young girl in a short embrace during a private audience. She froze in her confusion. He continued and she let him due to her fear of being disrespectful to such a prominent holy man. The teacher violated the sanctity of the teenage girl but made her promise never to tell anyone for fear of being punished by God. The initial encounter evolved into the perverted taste for defiling the chastity of young virgins, which he did with impunity.
In spite of his depraved appetite for young virgins, the holy man’s fame and popularity spread due to his expertise at performing ceremonies that conferred material blessings on the believers such as long life, health and wealth. Materialistic success seekers flock to anyone who can help them achieve their mundane pursuits. Eventually he was recommended to the king of the country as a very successful holy man who guaranteed success in material endeavors. The king was a pious man. But he also wanted success in his governing affairs so he called the holy man to his palace and interviewed him. Only a thoroughly honest man without any pretentious desires can recognize a selfish person. Since the king had a material desire to satisfy through meeting with the holy man, he was not able to understand that the so-called sage was a pretender. The holy man also had learned to be ostensibly humble and very tactful in his initial dealings with important people in order to win their confidence. The king commissioned the holy man to live at least two weeks every month in his palace so that he could have his spiritual and material guidance. Thus the holy man became the confidant of the king. He also continued to visit his village fiefdom to exercise his control over simple folk and enjoy his lusty affairs with teenage virgins.
Previously, the ceremony marking the beginning of the princess’ menses was presided over by the holy man. From that day, he began to think day and night how he could enjoy the youthful princess’ delicate graces. When the king asked him to choose a propitious day for her marriage, he realized his opportunity had arrived. He returned the next day to the palace to talk to the king. The king was excited to hear about the auspicious day for his daughter’s marriage. The holy man spoke slowly with a grave tone while looking at the king. He said, “Your Majesty, the stars are not favorable for your daughter’s marriage at this time. My astrological charts reveal an unusual destiny for your daughter. The first part of her chart seems to be very uncertain and the second part is very auspicious. What I understand is the following. She should not marry at this time. It will result only in inauspicious results for her and your entire kingdom. You must dress her with the most ornate royal clothes and ornaments of precious jewels, adorn her with the most fragrant garlands of flowers, and seat her in a large sealed box placed on a floating barge with enough food for one week. Let the barge float out with the high tide onto the ocean currents. You and the queen should then fast and pray to God for her welfare. She should also pray continually while she floats to her destiny. God will determine the outcome by the sincerity of your prayers. You must not hesitate. Act quickly during this period of uncertain portents. Hesitation will result in disaster for yourself and your kingdom.”
The King and queen were shocked. At first, they were reluctant to follow the holy man’s advice. After four days of hesitation, bad omens occurred. The king’s uncle became deathly sick. There was a terrible flood that put many thousands of people in distress and caused much damage. The queen was bitten by a spider that put her into a coma. The king panicked and agreed to set his daughter afloat on the ocean tides. The princess was overwhelmed with fear and trembled and cried. She was comforted by her paternal grandmother who reassured her that she would be protected. She gave the princess a small picture of Lord Krishna and told her to pray to the Lord to accompany her on her perilous voyage. The grandmother referred to Lord Krishna as bhakta-vatsala, the dear and affectionate friend of his devotee. She said, “By praying incessantly to the Lord, my dearest princess, you will become more and more attracted to Lord Krishna and He will be very inclined to hear your sincere entreaties. The Lord will certainly reciprocate your prayers by protecting you as he did for Draupadi and other great devotee women. ” The grandmother taught the princess how to pray to the Lord by having her repeat the Hare Krishna Mantra, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare / Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare. She quoted a few lines of poetry that were so simple and sublime.
“Lord Krishna and His Names are the same / chanting them with faith is a blessed cure / heals all ills, sharpens one’s aim / to serve and love Him with devotion pure/ all one’s holy wishes He will fulfill / He is the source of all pleasure, no pain / there is no greater blessing or thrill / chant the nectar Names from the transcendent plane.” The princess began to chant the Holy Names with all her heart and soul.
The princess was dressed like a bride with royal ornaments and flowers and seated in the large box that was stocked with food and water. The box had a few small air holes. It was closed with nails and set on the barge which was taken out by the receding high tide. Seeing the barge float out into the vast ocean, the king became morose. At the same time, his uncle began to get better, the queen came out of her coma and people who suffered losses due to the flood were helped by the king’s soldiers with supplies of water, food and bedding. The king also allocated materials to help the people, who lost their homes, to rebuild.
As soon as the princess was afloat, the holy man left the palace for his village fiefdom which was another coastal town about fifty miles south of the royal town. He was completely blinded by his lust for the princess, thus he ignored the consequences of his heinous act. As soon as he reached the village, the holy man summoned his fishermen disciples and ordered them to find the floating barge with a large box. He urged them to bring the box to his private quarters without opening it. Many fishermen set out in their small boats as per the desire of the teacher in search of the barge.
But destiny had its own plan. The barge went out with the receding high tide and floated with the wind pushing it southward. About thirty miles south of the king’s capital, there was a coastal bay partially enclosed by land but with a wide access that permitted the barge to float into so that it was visible from the shoreline. That day there was a handsome prince from a neighboring kingdom who often sought solitude by spending the day in a summer cabin overlooking the bay. He was attended by two soldiers who always accompanied him. While swimming in the refreshing seawater he noticed the meandering barge with the large box floating about a quarter mile from the shoreline. He was intrigued by the abandoned barge so he swam toward it. As he approached he could hear what sounded like the loud praying of a woman from within the box. He boarded the barge. His actions prompted the princess from within to plead loudly for help. The Prince reassured her he would help but he needed to direct the barge toward the beach so that he could open the it and free her. The soldiers noticed the prince’s distant swimming toward the barge so they also swam toward it to be near him. With their help, the prince was able to bring the barge to shore where they used their sabers to open it. The beautiful princess continued to pray for she was not sure what would happen to her with this stranger.
The prince reassured her that she was safe. He asked her if she could explain how she ended up floating on a barge in a closed box. She described what happened and revealed her suspicions that it may have been a ploy by the holy man, her father’s adviser, to somehow take advantage of her. She was also very upset that her father agreed to set her afloat locked in a box.
The prince intuitively felt that there was an evil plan to defile the princess. He thought of consulting a saint who lived in a nearby village. He was a genuine holy man who served the people in distress with spiritual knowledge and prayers. The prince summoned him to the cabin and explained the plight of the princess. The saint understood that the evil intentions of the lusty holy man were behind princess’ strange fate. He calmly explained a commensurate response to the evil holy man’s chicanery. Some time ago, the saint had tamed a baby bear that was injured by hunters. It grew to become a powerful male bear. But, it remained attached to the saint and seemed to listen to his gentle words although it was not friendly to other humans. The saint made some strange sounds and incantations aimed at the bear and spoon fed it a potion he had made. The large beast slowly fell asleep. The saint asked the prince and his soldiers to place the bear in the box and close it. Then they set the box afloat on the barge which was carried out with the receding tide. The saint was confident that the holy man’s followers would be searching for the barge. If they found it, they would bring the box to the scoundrel’s private quarters for his personal fantasy. He gave a sleeping potion to the bear that would last 24 hours. He estimated that it would take that long for the barge to float near the holy man’s village
The prince was amazed at how precise and expert the saint seemed to be. He asked the saint how he was certain that the box would find it way to the holy man. The saint indicated that the princess’ suspicion was correct. Women have a sixth sense when it comes to perceiving the glances or favors of a lusty man. Rumors were abounding in the villages about the holy man’s appetite for young girls. There were fears that he would retaliate if anyone openly accused him. He had so many blind followers who would defend him by victimizing the whistle blower. He was able to continue his outrages because he molested young girls who were the children of poor villagers. The parents of the girls were quietly given monthly stipends so that they would remain silent.
Fate had its way. The barge was sighted by the fishermen and brought to shore. Twelve able-bodied men carried the sealed box to the holy man’s private quarters. They were ordered to leave and not to disturb him under any circumstances. He locked his doors and closed the curtains to all his windows. Now he was alone with the box unopened. He was surprised that the princess made no sounds from within the box. He began to speak tenderly to the princess reassuring her that she was safe. He used a metal bar and a hammer to open the lid of the box. Just as he opened the lid, the bear pushed the box over and stepped out of it in an angry mood. With its sharp claws the bear grabbed the holy man and bit his neck with such violence that the holy man fainted. Blood gushed out of his juggler vein and quickly he died. Soon the day ended. In the darkness of a moonless night which shrouded the village, the bear broke through a window and climbed out on the roof, then went down a tree trunk that was near the roof edge. He disappeared in the dark night and slowly made his way back to his master.
News spread quickly that the holy man was mauled to death by a wild beast in his personal chamber. Rumors abounded about a mysterious box that was found floating on the ocean. It was very heavy and most probably the deadly beast was inside of it. Why the holy man wanted it taken to his personal chamber without being opened was perplexing. The princess’ father, the king, heard the news and rushed to the holy man’s village to find his daughter. On arriving, he heard the description of the village fishermen. On examining the box he realized it was the same box in which his daughter was set afloat. But where was she? All the known facts were bewildering and confused. It was impossible that his daughter could inflict such ghastly wounds on the holy man and then escape without anyone seeing her. How did the box end up in the private chambers of the holy man with all the windows and doors closed? What were the intentions of the holy man? The king was broken-hearted that he had so cruelly set his precious daughter afloat on the ocean. He could sense that the holy man had some evil plan to exploit the princess, but somehow it was foiled.
The king returned to his royal capital troubled, but with a glimmer of hope that some act of God may have saved his daughter. On his return, he related to the queen and his mother what he observed at the holy man’s private quarters. He was perplexed that the box ended up in the holy man’s private quarters. But he could not find any trace of his daughter. Apparently, she was released by some act of God and replaced with a wild animal capable of killing a human being with claws and a bite to the neck. It could have been a tiger or a bear. The king’s mother revealed that she gave the princess a picture of Lord Krishna and taught her the sacred mantra Hare Krishna. She also prayed day and night for her safety as did the king and queen. She was convinced that the princess was alive and safe. She suggested that the king announce publicly that she, the royal mother of the king, was fatally ill. He should spread the news all over his kingdom and also the neighboring kingdoms both friend and enemy. A grand ritual should be organized with many priests presiding to perform sacred rites with continual chanting of the holy mantra Hare Krishna for the queen mother’s health and well-being.
The king announced publicly that his mother was very ill and near death. He organized a solemn ceremony of prayer, ritual for healing, and congregational chanting of the holy names of God starting immediately and continuing until her recovery or death. Many royal invitations were officially sent to prominent people in his kingdom, to surrounding kingdoms and nobility. He also arranged for massive distribution of holy food for hundreds and thousands of well-wishers of common folk and royal feasts for visiting dignitaries. The public chanting of the Hare Krishna Mantra took place in the large courtyard of the king’s palace that could hold over three thousand people. It began early in the morning at 6 AM and continued until 6 PM. Those dignitaries that requested to see the king’s mother were permitted if they could prove they were known to her.
News of the royal mother’s serious illness reached the princess who was safe under the protection of the prince’s father, the king of a neighboring country. The princess became very concerned for her grandmother who was instrumental in saving her from untold misery by teaching her the Hare Krishna Mantra and praying for her. She felt impelled to see her grandmother and pray at her side, comforting her as her grandmother did when the princess was beginning her probable death journey. The prince encouraged her, but cautioned that her identity would be known very quickly. The princess felt secure that she could face her father and mother calmly now that the holy man was dead. The prince suggested that the saint that advised him accompany them as he could explain authoritatively the evil reputation of the dead, holy man. All three, the prince, saint and the princess, dressed as commoners traveled to the royal city of the neighboring kingdom to pray for the ailing king’s mother. They entered with all the other well-wishers who had come to join in the congregational chanting for the welfare of the sick royal mother. After several hours of ecstatic chanting they inquired if they could see the grandmother. As they were dressed as commoners, they were told that only invited dignitaries were allowed. The princess humbly asked the guards to deliver a note from her to the king’s mother. After getting permission from their commander, the guards agreed to deliver the note. The princess wrote down the poem her grandmother recited before she was set afloat.
When the king’s mother read the handwritten note from the princess, she recognized the poem and her grand-daughter’s handwriting. She informed the king, who ordered his soldiers to bring the princess and the men with her to see his mother. When they entered the bedroom, the princess ran to the side of her grandmother and began to cry. She knelt down and gently hugged her grandmother. The king and queen entered the room and quietly observed. The king’s mother comforted the princess and chanted slowly Hare Krishna. They remained in an emotional state for over ten minutes. The atmosphere of the room seemed to become spiritually surcharged with the purity of their loving embrace and chanting. Everyone slowly repeated the Mantra responsively to the grandmother. There was a general feeling of healing and closeness that pervaded the room. The princess began to speak in a soft voice.
“Grandmother, when I heard you were deathly sick, I was so worried and grief stricken. I came immediately to see you. I cannot bear to think that you will leave this world. I owe my life to you, who comforted me and prayed for my safety in my darkest hours. By teaching me the Hare Krishna Mantra, I was able to implore Lord Krishna for His mercy. Nature and divine forces brought the barge into reach of this kind prince who saved my life. I know for certain that it was due to your sincere prayers that brought this good fortune to me in spite of the evil intentions of the holy man. Now I want to pray for you along with the thousands of common folk who love you. Please grandmother don’t leave us, I will not be able to bear it.”
The grandmother sat up and hugged the sobbing princess. She spoke to her with words that seemed like caresses. “My child, I prayed and fasted for almost a week until I heard what happened to the holy man. Then I understood that Lord Krishna had worked a miracle as He did previously for Draupadi and the Pandavas. I could feel in my heart that you were safe by some act of God. Tell me child, who are these men and how were you saved?” The princess explained how she was saved by the kind prince. She recounted how the saint who was a spiritual mentor of the prince had advised them to enclose the mature pet bear of the saint in the box and set it afloat again. The saint was certain that there was an evil intent by the holy man. Alas, he was right. The fishermen disciples found the barge with the box floating on the ocean waters and brought it to the private chambers of the evil holy man. Instead of finding a helpless princess, the holy man discovered a ferocious bear that killed him and fled into the forest.
The princess continued, “The prince and his father, the king of a neighboring kingdom, were very kind and protective of me. When we heard of your deathly sickness, I decided to come to be at your side. The prince has protected me and made sure I am comfortable.” The grandmother called the king and queen and asked them to beg forgiveness from the princess for setting her afloat on the vast ocean. They both came close and bowed down to her while begging for forgiveness. The princess made them stand up and said, “Dear father and mother, I am your daughter and I belong to you. You did what you thought was right. I will always be obedient to you and I hold no grudge.”
The prince was impressed by the purity of the grandmother and the princess’s gentleness and loyalty. He became determined to marry the princess whose nobility was impressive. Now a great feast was organized by the king. Everyone dressed in their finest clothes. The grandmother recovered from her illness on seeing the princess alive and safe. There was a grand celebration during which the grandmother spoke words of wisdom for everyone to hear. She said, “The value of a true saint is immeasurable. But a false holy man is the most despicable and dangerous creature. What has saved our princess is her faith in Lord Krishna and His mercy toward an innocent child who was the victim of a lusty man.” The grandmother stopped and looked at the saint who accompanied the prince and princess. She invited him to say some words of wisdom. She sensed that he could enlighten everyone. The saint stood up and began to speak.
“My dear royal mother, king and queen and all the dignitaries assembled here, may you be blessed by the all merciful Lord Krishna. What we are witnessing today is the triumph of virtue over evil. The clever plans of an evil person were defeated by the sincere prayers of a helpless young princess dependent on the Lord’s mercy. The Lord answered her prayers and those of her grandmother and parents. By a miraculous turn of events the princess was saved and the villain was destroyed by his own lust and greed.”
“Lust is engendered by engaging in activities that arouse our sensual passions. By associating with saintly persons, one learns the value of focusing the mind and senses in the service of God and thereby controlling them. When one chooses to associate with unholy persons who always think, plan, and desire for sense gratification such as sex, intoxication, and stimulating sensual experiences, one’s mind and senses are aroused and attracted to fantasize and actively seek sensual pleasures. The consciousness of such a person becomes clouded with lust and its insatiable appetite for gratification. Just as a fire is never extinguished by constantly feeding it fuel, so lust can never be satisfied by any amount of sense gratification.”
“The holy man began his career of renunciation with noble intentions. He left his wife and grown children to become a traveling mendicant. During his travels he was received by poor villagers who respected him as a holy man and shared with him their meager resources for his comfort. He gradually became very popular as a saint whose blessing conferred material benefits. He developed a reputation as a miracle man who healed the sick, reversed one’s destiny from poverty to wealth, and, in general, made possible the attainment of whatever material desire one wished. He received many invitations to settle in one place and open a temple. Eventually, he chose to establish his base in a large village whose residents were especially favorable to him. People from many nearby villages also visited the holy man and eventually a temple was built with many donations. The holy man installed many deities and conducted the worship primarily for material boons. The reputation of the temple spread rapidly and it became a hub for self-interested worshipers who were seeking mundane success through religious ritual performances. The opulence and fame of the holy man grew rapidly. He opened a school for children and an orphanage. Villagers flocked to receive the blessing of the holy man. At the same time, he started to initiate disciples who paid absolute allegiance to him. Rumors spread that he was actually an avatar of God because of the miracles he performed. With such notoriety, people trusted him and blindly followed his every command.”
“By accumulating disciples, wealth, fame, and power over his disciples and admirers, he became an enjoyer rather than a servant of God. People lavished praise on him when their material desires seemed to be accomplished by his prayers and ceremonies. The excessive and inappropriate praise became a daily diet for inflating his false ego. His disciple began to address him as bhagavan implying that he was god incarnate. His spiritual consciousness became clouded with his exaggerated self-importance. This was further exasperated by his continual self-indulgence in an opulent lifestyle of living in quarters meant for a king and glutinous feasting every day. He began to enjoy being pampered by his disciples who gratified his every desire until he developed the nature of a whimsical child desiring anything he fancied without spiritual discrimination if it was favorable or unfavorable for a renounced priest. The thought that he was actually a man-god became a conviction in his mind that was supported by his fawning disciples who continually praised him and gave fastidious special attention and care to his desires. The holy man had an aura of a great personality and inspired awe by his spiritual stature. Many people beside his disciples proclaimed him to be a powerful and saintly god. Parents were pleased when he gave a blessing to their child. As familiarity and trust increased, the holy man imagined he could get away with anything.”
“With each passing day he became progressively arrogant and reckless until he completely overstepped the bounds of a renunciate by becoming sexually active. His perverted taste for the exploitation of young virgins seized his mind with lust that overwhelmed his discriminative power of intelligence. The more he molested, the more he felt empowered to continue with increased brazenness. Although the holy man masqueraded as a saint outside, he was a devil inside with an evil agenda, which was his uncontrolled lust for sense gratification at the expense of innocent victims. He convinced himself that his sexual molestation of young girls was a special blessing he gave to purify them of lust by his merciful touch. He fell into a state of profound megalomaniacal state in which he imagined possessing omnipotent power and majesty.”
“His attempt to exploit the king’s daughter led to his day of reckoning. It is said, ‘God grinds His grain slowly so to be small, He mills until it becomes powder all. Divine reckoning is with patience done, none escape God’s justice under the sun.’ By the grace of Lord Krishna who heard the sincere prays of the grandmother, the king and queen, and the faultless princess, the barge floated into the cove where the prince saw it. He rescued the princess locked in the large box and honored her virtue by noble protection while seeking the advice of myself.”
“I had a male bear that I rescued when it was orphaned as a cub and I raised it to maturity. Somehow I could communicate with the beast and it maintained a certain attachment to me. I administered a potion that put the bear to sleep. It was locked in the large box which sat on the barge and set afloat. By Lord Krishna’s divine hand, the barge and box were recovered by the followers of the evil holy man. They were ordered by him to bring the box to his private quarters. He dismissed them and closed all the windows and curtains to his room. Then he opened the box expecting to find the helpless princess.”
“The bear awoke and became extremely angry by the confinement, and, at the same time, the evil holy man opened the lid of the box. Alas, the bear attacked him ferociously and he died a frightful death. Thus, the wages of sin is death. Because the evil holy man had developed an insatiable desire to satisfy his lust, he created the circumstances for his tragic death. The desire for exploiting others for sense gratification is the greatest enemy of the conditioned soul.”
“The evil holy man had a family life with a good wife and children who grew to maturity and were well educated. He accepted the renounced order of life without having fully given up the attraction to the opposite sex. Although he began the renounced order with sincerity, he vacillated toward a sedentary life in a village where he attracted the attention of enabling materialistic disciples who lavished him with money, opulent food and many gifts. He developed the enjoying mood of a materialist while maintaining the garb of a renounced monk. Gradually he became attracted to young women as objects of exploitation for his selfish, lusty desires.”
“Sex is the driving force for materialistic persons who become bound up like a prisoner by the shackles of carnal desire. In a prison, criminals are kept within concrete and iron-barred cells. Similarly, those who become criminals by being disobedient to the laws of God are shackled by overwhelming sex desires that lead to obsessive sex indulgence. Materialistic persons consider their success in mundane life in terms of their accumulation of money and their ability to spend it to maintain an active sex life accompanied by intoxication and paraphernalia such as fancy houses, clothes, jewelry, etc., that increase prestige for attracting victims for their sexual fantasies. The lust for sex is the reason why the living entity is kept as a prisoner in the material world to suffer repeatedly the repetition of birth and death. The fleeting enjoyment one experiences by engaging in sex may provide a certain feeling of satisfaction and pleasure, but this sensation of happiness is the enemy of the sense enjoyer because he is duped into believing that sex pleasure is the ultimate enjoyment attainable in this world. This misconception leads to an addictive preoccupation of the mind with sex desire and fantasizing about it. The mind is never satisfied and it hankers obsessively for more sex.”
“Everyone is aware of the law of gravity. There are other laws of nature just as omnipresent as gravity. For example, the following law: the more one is addicted to material sex pleasure, the more one is entrapped by material miseries. Many people may argue that this is not a law of nature, but a theory about human relationships. However, it is a factual and unalterable law of material nature that continually entraps unwitting men and women in an unending cycle of suffering and repeated birth and death. There may be a reluctance to admit that such a law exists because acceptance of the existence of this law may inhibit the misguided belief that sex is the ultimate happiness in life.”
“The evil holy man developed attachment to wealth and prestige as a result of his preaching activity. He became negligent in the strict discipline of spiritual asceticism. His popularity led him to believe he was an empowered man-god because of the willingness of his followers to attribute to him exceptional powers as a worker of miracles. Anything that seemed like a material benefit accruing to a follower was declared a miracle. Thus his followers proclaimed, ‘The holy man blessed me and my wife had a son. The holy man blessed me and my business prospered. The holy man blessed me and my backache went away.’ Progressively, he isolated himself in a circle of followers who were willing to satisfy his every whim. He became a victim of his insatiable desires and the intoxication of profit, distinction, and adoration. Blinded by these material goals, he lost his moral compass. He became negligent in following spiritual disciplines and disregarded the teachings of the holy scriptures that he was supposed to exemplify by his behavior and speech. Encouraged by the enabling of his blind followers, he became arrogantly self-confident and attempted to defile even the king’s daughter.”
“Evil is defeated by adherence to the principles of spiritual life which are austerity, cleanliness, mercy and truthfulness. Austerity is destroyed by false pride and meat eating, cleanliness by illicit sex, mercy by intoxication, and truthfulness by gambling and philosophical speculation. When a person becomes preoccupied by one or all of these bad habits and negative attitudes, the ability to faithfully follow the fundamental principles of spiritual life is undermined. In the Bhagavad-gita, Lord Krishna says, “This confidential knowledge may never be explained to those who are not austere, or devoted, or engaged in devotional service, nor to one who is envious.” (Bg 18.67) Thus those who are remiss in following spiritual principles are incapable of understanding spiritual knowledge or maintaining spiritual vows.”
“The benefit of hearing the Vedic knowledge spoken by a sincere devotee of Lord Krishna is developing the desire to become fully Krishna conscious. This means that one becomes enamored of Krishna and cannot but think of Him twenty four hours a day. Then and only then can one follow all the spiritual disciplines and regulations without any problem. With a peaceful and patient mind one carries out duties of spiritual life with dependence on the good will of Krishna. In the association of saintly persons one begins to give up attachment to materialism, which means one gives up the preoccupation of gaining wealth and using it for increased sense gratification. Without proper guidance, one may assume that a life of material renunciation is the goal of spiritual life because if attachment to matter is unfavorable for living a holy life then rejecting all material things and remaining inactive may seem to be the ideal. But this conclusion leads to impersonalism and lethargy. However, in the company of genuine spiritualists one sees them acting continually out of love and devotion for Krishna. They renounce the false desire to exploit material things for their own self-indulgence. Instead, by recognizing that Krishna is the supreme proprietor and enjoyer of all material things, they engage everything material in the service of the Lord with the specific knowledge of how to use it favorably for His pleasure. The eternal activity in spiritual life is devotional service. By such devoted service, one becomes attached to Lord Krishna and gradually loses attachment to using material things for one’s own selfish demands. Surrender to the will of God and following His instructions becomes real and pleasurable through the happy process of devotional service.”
“Experiencing Krishna’s unending mercy and protection is the result of serving Him according to bona fide guidance. The conviction that Krishna is the cause of all causes and the origin of all creation and the ultimate guide and protector becomes prominent in the mind of the devotee. One is sure that the material world is not acting independently of God’s will. The devotee sees the material world as the dictionary of the spiritual world. It appears as a perverted reflection of the eternal spiritual world. The material world is corrupted by lust, anger and greed and therefore, people cannot see the spiritual nature of it. Once the veil of illusion is lifted from the eyes of a devotee by constant engagement in devotional service and chanting the Hare Krishna mantra, one sees that everything is made of Lord Krishna’s two principle energies, material and spiritual. Thus, everything in existence has a relationship with the Lord. This is the beginning of the devotee’s universal vision of Lord Krishna’s omnipresence. Then the devotee surrenders completely to the Lord.”
“Lord Krishna explains, ‘One is understood to be in full knowledge whose every endeavor is devoid of desire for sense gratification. He is said by sages to be a worker for whom the reactions of work have been burned up by the fire of perfect knowledge.’ (Bg 4.19) The evil holy man was full of desires for sense gratification. Although he embarked on his spiritual journey with sincerity, he became negligent of his spiritual duties by becoming progressively attached to opulence and wealth and finally fell down into sordid debauchery. Let this be an example for all of us to be vigilant and extremely careful on the spiritual path to not compromise the regulative principles of spiritual life due to inappropriate self-indulgence.”
“The virtue of the princess, the prayers of her grandmother and parents, the chivalry and nobility of the prince who rescued her have all served to attract the mercy and good will of Lord Krishna. He has saved this young woman from being defiled. Therefore, there is proof before our very eyes of our ancestors’ Vedic wisdom and faith in following the teaching of Lord Krishna. It is said, ‘O descendant of King Bharata, one who desires to be free from all miseries must hear about, glorify and also remember the Personality of Godhead, who is the Supersoul, the controller and the savior from all miseries.”(SB 1.2.5) The saint ended his speech by chanting softly the Hare Krishna Mantra. Everyone chanted with him.”
The king father of the princess walked to the front of the room. He had the unmistakable presence of royalty. He began to address the people in attendance. “Holy Maharaja and dear friends I am humbled and thankful that Lord Krishna has protected my dearest daughter. Maharaja’s explanation has given me insightful understanding of the dangers of being neglectful of spiritual duties, which are just as important if not more important than material duties. I realize now that I was prone to be misled by the promises of the evil holy man for material success because my desires were impure. This prince and his royal father and mother are very fortunate to have the spiritual guidance of the Maharaja Pundit whose deep knowledge of our Vedic tradition and wisdom is priceless. I pray now that Maharaja will also accept my wife and I as his students so that we can also have proper guidance for spiritual progress. As a father, my concern now is to find a suitable husband for my daughter so that she will be protected and cared for the rest of her life. The prince is an ideal person to become her husband because of his upbringing by his royal parents and the spiritual guidance of Maharaja. If his parents and Maharaja agree, the fulfillment of my desire will be to arrange for their marriage.”
All the persons present were delighted by the king’s humble words. The prince’s father looked at his wife and then at Maharaja before speaking. They gave their glances of acceptance. He went over to the princess’s father and embraced him with the following words. “Let there be a grand celebration that will last for ten days so that our children will be blessed to live peacefully for many years. Everyone cheered because virtue was triumphant over evil. The princess and the prince and both royal families attained their wishes. May you also attain you cherished wishes.
Ashamed of what she sees in the daytime the sun sets with a blush
tzahngoutiounut bahdeeveet sahghmahnehn ahnteen gahntznee
tehvehroun duhg tzuhmehroug chee sehghmuhveer
heemahree suhkhahluh, khehlokeen tahss eh
shahn bohchuh guhdrehlohv ahnmegh kahrnoug chee tahrnah
shahdeen yehdehvehn eengohghuh, keetch ahl guh gohrssuhntzuhneh
shahduh shahdeen, eesshoun bohchuh ahghkadeen
This is an example of the Armenian villagers’ wry wit with alliteration (shahduh shahdeen – riches for the rich).
veehsstuh guh chuhncheh hahmpehroutioun ou eemahsstoutioun
pahregahmut kulkhout guh naiyee, tuhssnahmeet vohkeet
pahnuh vohr chee vehrchuhnehss dahssuh mahdohv, guh muhnah dahssuh dahrohv
pahjahgee metch pohtohreek ahnehl
yeteh ahnmehn mohrukee yehdehvuh eemahssdoutioun kuhnuhvehr, aiydzehruh pohlohr eemahssdoun guh tahrnahn
pahrgoutiounuh guhssguhssee khehtoutiahmp guh vetchahnah zuhghchahlohv