Today is the auspicious appearance day of Lord Varaha, the boar incarnation. So we shall read a verse and purport about Him from Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto Two, Chapter Seven: “Scheduled Incarnations with Specific Functions.”


yatrodyatah ksiti-taloddharanaya bibhrat
kraudim tanum sakala-yajna-mayim anantah
antar-maharnava upagatam adi-daityam
tam damstrayadrim iva vajra-dharo dadara


Lord Brahma said: When the unlimitedly powerful Lord assumed the form of a boar as a pastime, just to lift the planet earth, which was drowned in the great ocean of the universe called the Garbhodaka, the first demon [Hiranyaksa] appeared, and the Lord pierced him with His tusk.

PURPORT by Srila Prabhupada

Since the beginning of creation, the demons and the demigods, or the Vaisnavas, are always the two classes of living beings to dominate the planets of the universes. Lord Brahma is the first demigod, and Hiranyaksa is the first demon in this universe. Only under certain conditions do the planets float as weightless balls in the air, and as soon as these conditions are disturbed, the planets may fall down in the Garbhodaka Ocean, which covers half the universe. The other half is the spherical dome within which the innumerable planetary systems exist. The floating of the planets in the weightless air is due to the inner constitution of the globes, and the modernized drilling of the earth to exploit oil from within is a sort of disturbance by the modern demons and can result in a greatly harmful reaction to the floating condition of the earth. A similar disturbance was created formerly by the demons headed by Hiranyaksa (the great exploiter of the gold rush), and the earth was detached from its weightless condition and fell down into the Garbhodaka Ocean. The Lord, as maintainer of the whole creation of the material world, therefore assumed the gigantic form of a boar with a proportionate snout and picked up the earth from within the water of Garbhodaka. Sri Jayadeva Gosvami, the great Vaisnava poet, sang as follows:

vasati dasana-sikhare dharani tava lagna
sasini kalanka-kaleva nimagna
kesava dhrta-sukara-rupa
jaya jagadisa hare

“O Kesava! O Supreme Lord who have assumed the form of a boar! O Lord! The planet earth rested on Your tusks, and it appeared like the moon engraved with spots.”

Such is the symptom of an incarnation of the Lord. The incarnation of the Lord is not the concocted idea of fanciful men who create an incarnation out of imagination. The incarnation of the Lord appears under certain extraordinary circumstances like the above-mentioned occasion, and the incarnation performs a task which is not even imaginable by the tiny brain of mankind. The modern creators of the many cheap incarnations may take note of the factual incarnation of God as the gigantic boar with a suitable snout to carry the planet earth.

When the Lord appeared to pick up the earth, the demon of the name Hiranyaksa tried to create a disturbance in the methodical functions of the Lord, and therefore he was killed by being pierced by the Lord’s tusk. According to Srila Jiva Gosvami, the demon Hiranyaksa was killed by the hand of the Lord. Therefore his version is that after being killed by the hand of the Lord, the demon was pierced by the tusk. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura confirms this version.

COMMENT by Giriraj Swami

Srila Prabhupada explains that different incarnations assume different forms for specific purposes. They assume forms that are suitable for their specific functions. Because the demon Hiranyaksa disturbed the delicate condition of the earth, the earth fell into the Garbodhaka Ocean, which fills the lower half of the universe. And the Lord, who is the maintainer of all the planets in the universe, assumed a form suitable for the task of lifting up the earth and reinstating it in its proper position.

In India, at least in some places, one does see boars in the streets. They frequent the gutters and look for things to eat, and then they lift them out of the gutter and enjoy. The earth had fallen into the Garbodhaka Ocean just like a fruit might fall into a gutter or a puddle, and so the Lord assumed the form of a boar to lift it up. In the course of this pastime, the first demon, Hiranyaksa, tried to challenge Him, and in the end the Lord killed him. Sri Varahadeva ki jaya!

There is a statement in the Seventh Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam that even saintly persons take pleasure when a snake or a scorpion is killed (modeta sadhur api vrscika-sarpa-hatya). These words were spoken by Prahlada Maharaja in relation to the killing of Hiranyaksa’s brother Hiranyakasipu, another big demon, by Nrsimhadeva, another incarnation of the Lord. Prahlada was the most saintly person in the universe. He was so saintly that he prayed to the Lord for the deliverance of his father, who was such a great demon that he tried to kill his own son. Prahlada prayed to the Lord for the welfare of all living entities in the universe. He was the well-wisher of every living entity, yet still he said that even saintly persons (sadhus) take pleasure when a snake or a scorpion is killed—when a demon is killed. So it is an occasion for great rejoicing when a demon is killed—especially a great demon like Hiranyaksa, who caused so much disturbance to the earth and the universe.

We, in our own ways, have fallen into the gutter of material existence, and we need to be lifted up. As Srila Prabhupada says in the purport, the Lord can do things that no one else can do. In fact, He can do things that no one else could even imagine. So we need the mercy of the Lord to be uplifted, because it is not an ordinary feat to uplift a fallen soul from the material quagmire. In fact, Srila Prabhupada said that it is the most difficult job in the world to deliver even one soul from the material clutches. We have read the word uddharanaya, “for uplifting.” The same word used here for uplifting the earth from the Garbodhaka Ocean is also applied to the Lord in the matter of uplifting the fallen souls. One of His names is Patita-uddharana: He who uplifts the fallen.

We need to be uplifted, individually and collectively. There are so many demons now who are disturbing the delicate condition of the planet. Srila Prabhupada calls Hiranyaksa “the great exploiter of the gold rush.” He wanted to extract gold from the earth. Now we have many exploiters who want to extract oil, which is called liquid gold. These modern demons are exploiting the earth, disturbing the planet’s delicate balance, and putting us all in jeopardy. People have now become conscious of the phenomenon of global warming, which in part is the result of extracting oil from the earth and burning it. And the mentality of the demons today is just like that of the demons described in the Bhagavad-gita. “So much do I have today; tomorrow I will have more. He was my enemy; I have killed him.”

idam adya maya labdham
imam prapsye manoratham
idam astidam api me
bhavisyati punar dhanam

asau maya hatah satrur
hanisye caparan api
isvaro ’ham aham bhogi
siddho ’ham balavan sukhi

adhyo ’bhijanavan asmi
ko ’nyo ’sti sadrso maya
yaksye dasyami modisya
ity ajnana-vimohitah

“The demoniac person thinks: ‘So much wealth do I have today, and I will gain more according to my schemes. So much is mine now, and it will increase in the future, more and more. He is my enemy, and I have killed him, and my other enemies will also be killed. I am the lord of everything. I am the enjoyer. I am perfect, powerful, and happy. I am the richest man, surrounded by aristocratic relatives. There is none so powerful and happy as I am. I shall perform sacrifices, I shall give some charity, and thus I shall rejoice.’ In this way, such persons are deluded by ignorance.” (Bg 16.13–15)

The planet suffers, and saintly people suffer, whenever demons gain control, because by nature demons want to exploit—and they are envious of devotees. They always harass devotees. A vivid example, one that is on all of our minds now, is what is happening with the devotees in Kazakhstan. It is just horrendous what the political leaders there are doing, how they are persecuting the devotees out of greed for land. And we come back to oil, liquid gold. Because Kazakhstan has become so wealthy and powerful from oil, even though such atrocities are being committed, some people are reluctant to protest—because of the oil.

I read the latest news release yesterday. Earlier, the government had recognised the Society for Krishna Consciousness in Kazakhstan, which would allow the devotees to own property there. Now local officials have filed some false cases claiming that the devotees have been engaged in illegal activities and that therefore the society’s recognition should be revoked, which will give these people the opportunity to take away the devotees’ land. The demons want to do both: grab the land, and at the same time dispose of the devotees as a spiritual force in the country. Now His Holiness Bhakti Bhrnga Govinda Swami Maharaja, the spiritual leader there, has requested all devotees to pray. And especially today we can pray to Lord Varaha to help them. Of course, He will uplift the devotees. I cannot say what He will do to the demons, but eventually they will get the reactions for their offenses. Even now, the devotees, who are the victims, are happier than the people who have victimized them.

I remember when the devotees in Russia were being harassed. That was the worst. They were being imprisoned and put in psychiatric hospitals and labor camps in Siberia. They were really being tortured. And I mentioned it to one of our congregational devotees in Bombay, Dr. N. D. Desai. I will never forget it—we were walking from the temple room in Juhu through the glass door that leads into the guesthouse—and as soon as he heard about the atrocities being committed against the devotees, he said, “That is the end of the Soviet Union. Once they start persecuting devotees like that, Krsna will not allow it. The Soviet Union is finished.” At that time the Soviet Union was so powerful, no one could imagine that it would fall. Then later we heard the shocking news of the revolt in Moscow and the takeover of the government.

Whatever happens externally, we can always be Krsna conscious by chanting the holy name. The holy name is Krsna Himself, the reservoir of pleasure. Personally, we don’t need government support; we don’t need recognition; we don’t need land; we don’t need buildings; we don’t need a big temple. We can chant the holy names anywhere. And that was another instruction of Prahlada Maharaja. In his prayers to Lord Nrsimhadeva, he said that for himself he had no anxiety because wherever he was he could chant and hear the glories of the Lord and immerse himself in the nectarean ocean of the Lord’s name, form, qualities, and pastimes. His only anxiety was for the fallen souls who were bereft of Krsna consciousness, because he knew that without Krsna consciousness they could not be happy. Therefore he was always making plans to bring them to Krsna consciousness, to induce them to accept Krsna. He prayed,

naivodvije para duratyaya-vaitaranyas
soce tato vimukha-cetasa indriyartha-
maya-sukhaya bharam udvahato vimudhan

“O best of the great personalities, I am not at all afraid of material existence, for wherever I stay I am fully absorbed in thoughts of Your glories and activities. My concern is only for the fools and rascals who are making elaborate plans for material happiness and maintaining their families, societies, and countries. I am simply concerned with love for them.” (SB 7.9.43)

prayena deva munayah sva-vimukti-kama
maunam caranti vijane na parartha-nisthah
naitan vihaya krpanan vimumuksa eko
nanyam tvad asya saranam bhramato ’nupasye

“My dear Lord Nrsimhadeva, I see that there are many saintly persons indeed, but they are interested only in their own deliverance. Not caring for the big cities and towns, they go to the Himalayas or the forest to meditate with vows of silence. They are not interested in delivering others. As for me, however, I do not wish to be liberated alone, leaving aside all these poor fools and rascals. I know that without Krsna consciousness, without taking shelter of Your lotus feet, one cannot be happy. Therefore I wish to bring them back to shelter at Your lotus feet.” (SB 7.9.44)

From the human point of view it is an atrocity that devotees’ houses are being taken from them and they are being cast out into the cold without any shelter. But the devotees’ purpose in Kazakhstan is not to have a warm house in the winter. Their real goal is to preach Krsna consciousness, to uplift these fallen souls. And the real tragedy is not that the devotees won’t have a place to stay, because they will have a place to stay, or that they won’t have a temple in which to worship, because they will have a place to worship. The tragedy is that these fallen souls who could have been benefited so much by Krsna consciousness won’t get the chance—or at least they won’t get as much of a chance—because the devotees’ position will be so weakened by just fighting for survival. And of course the immediate effect of the offenses will make the atmosphere more polluted. But sometimes things have to get worse before they get better.

This struggle between the devotees and the demons has existed from the beginning of the universe, and it is continuing even today. In that sense, nothing has changed. And it will always continue.

Demons rely on their own strength, and sometimes they are very powerful, like Hiranyaksa and Hiranyakasipu. And devotees depend on strength from the Lord. In relation to the history of Lord Ramacandra and His allies fighting against Ravana and his demonic forces, Srila Prabhupada explained that there are two types of strength. One, purusakara, comes from one’s own intelligence and resources. And the other, daiva, comes from the Lord. Of the two, power that comes from the Lord is always superior. So even though Lord Rama’s army consisted of forest creatures, mainly monkeys and bears, whose only weapons were stones and trees, and even though Ravana’s army was well equipped with weapons of modern warfare, Rama’s army was successful because they were blessed by divine power from the Lord Himself—and Ravana and his forces were condemned by the curse of Mother Sita, whom they had offended.

Our only solace and our only recourse is the Lord—the Lord’s mercy and the Lord’s prowess. But we have to be fit to receive the Lord’s mercy. In Juhu, we also had a fight with a pretty big demon, named Nair. He was a wealthy man. He had been the sheriff of Bombay, and he owned one of three English daily newspapers there. So he was very influential—and very clever. In brief, he offered to sell some land to Srila Prabhupada, but in the agreement he inserted a condition that he knew he could use to cause Srila Prabhupada to default. He inserted a clause that Srila Prabhupada had to get the Charity Commissioner’s permission for the purchase, and he added that the purchase must be completed within six months. Then he used his influence and resources to make sure the commissioner did not issue the permit, and after the six months had elapsed, he cancelled the agreement—on the pretext of Prabhupada’s not getting the permission in time. He cancelled the agreement, and at the same time he wanted to keep the money. That was his whole plan. Anyway, there was a great struggle, with many ups and downs, but finally Srila Prabhupada prevailed. Perhaps there was some divine intervention, because quite unexpectedly and suddenly Mr. Nair died of a heart attack.

But that wasn’t the end of it, as we often see. After Varaha killed Hiranyaksa, Hiranyakasipu vowed to avenge his death. Similarly, after Krsna killed Kamsa, Jarasandha and other demons rallied to avenge Kamsa’s death—to kill Krsna. “This is terrible. He killed Kamsa. We must take revenge.” And that’s what happened after Mr. Nair’s death. All of his demonic friends came out. And they were greedy too. It wasn’t just that they were loyal, but they were also greedy for the land. So they instigated Nair’s wife to do even worse things than her husband had done. As we hear, she used her husband’s life insurance money to pay off the municipal corporation and the police to come and destroy the little temple we had. But still, in the end Srila Prabhupada and the devotees were successful.

Later, Srila Prabhupada raised a question: “Why were we successful and not Mr. Nair? He was very wealthy. We had no money—just collecting day to day. He was very influential. He had been the sheriff of Bombay and knew people in the government and other places. We hardly knew anyone—we were new in India. And he owned the Free Press Journal, a large English daily newspaper. Why were we successful and not him?” And then Srila Prabhupada gave the answer: “He was working on his own account, but we were working for Krsna. So we got Krsna’s mercy, and because of Krsna’s mercy we were successful.”

Srila Prabhupada wanted us to work for Krsna in such a way that Krsna would be pleased. He instructed that we should return from the city at 5 p.m., so we could chant and dance before the Deities during the arati and thus please Them. And he said that by pleasing Krsna we would be successful—not by staying out late trying to collect money. It is by Krsna’s pleasure and mercy that we achieve success.

So that is our goal: to please Krsna. Devotional service means to act to please the Lord, however the Lord wants. And Krsna is pleased when we chant and dance before Him. We shouldn’t think that chanting will take away from time we could use for more important service. Rather, chanting is our prayer to Krsna to engage us in His devotional service. And if we chant and dance nicely for His pleasure, He will reciprocate and reward us with service and success in our endeavors. Of course, we have to make efforts, as required, in all areas of service and work to spread Krsna consciousness for the benefit of others. But whatever we do should be done in the spirit of pleasing Krsna, as Krsna wants. That is bhakti. And to know what Krsna wants, we refer to sadhu, sastra, and guru—especially to Srila Prabhupada’s instructions, which he has so mercifully bestowed upon us. And if we act for Krsna’s pleasure, following Srila Prabhupada’s directions, we will be uplifted—no matter what else may happen.

So it is a struggle—to fight against the demons and spread Krsna consciousness. But we do it, because guru and Krsna want it. And we persevere. In Mauritius, there was a political party led by an avowed atheist, and in election after election his party was defeated by another party, whose leader claimed to believe in God. Before the elections there would be banners strung across all the thoroughfares, “Vote for . . .”—whomever. And as soon as an election was over and the atheist lost, his party would immediately spread banners with the slogan “La Lutte Continue”: the struggle continues. He never gave up. And we should be like that—stubborn. Of course, we are not atheists; we are stubborn in service to God. Srila Prabhupada said, “Stubborn servants of Krsna.”

As a young man, Prabhupada was the manager of a large pharmaceutical company in Calcutta, and when the packers went on strike, he said to the clerks, “Let us pack.” They themselves did the menial labor, and the strike ended. Srila Prabhupada said that in the same way, we should be ready to do anything for Krsna’s service, for Krsna’s pleasure. “We must be very stubborn servants of Krsna.” So we are like that—stubborn. We never give up. Whatever ups and downs there are—and there will always be ups and downs in the material world, in the struggles of devotees against demons (including the demons within us)—we should persevere with faith in Krsna and His holy name, use our intelligence to deal with the material world, and pray to Lord Varaha for His mercy.

Hare Krsna.

Any questions or comments?

Dravida dasa: The rate of extraction of oil from the earth is increasing, so is there a chance that again the delicate balance that keeps the earth in orbit will be disturbed and the earth could again fall into the Garbodhaka Ocean?

Giriraj Swami: From what I understand, the earth’s reserves of oil are being depleted and within some time they will run out. The only question is when. Some say twenty years, some say fifty years, but whenever, the oil will run out. At least the rate of extraction will decrease and the supply will not be able to meet the demand. And that may happen before the planet is dislodged from its orbit. Still, people will be dislodged from their present lifestyles. Either voluntarily or by force, they will have to change.

Here I think of Srila Prabhupada’s instructions about self-sufficient farming communities. When Srila Prabhupada first warned us that the present economy would eventually fail and that we should prepare by establishing self-sufficient farm communities, people thought his ideas were backward. Actually, his ideas were the most forward. Now people are considering, “That is what we may have to do.” But decades ago he saw that this situation would arise, and he wanted us to be prepared.

When cheap fossil fuel is no longer available, people’s lifestyles may change for the better, and they may become more receptive to Krsna consciousness—which will be the greatest boon for them. At the same time, at least at first, there may be some chaos. One scientist wrote a book about what will happen when the oil runs out, and he made various predictions: People will be reduced to walking or using animal power to travel. They will have to develop sources of food locally. And in one scenario, pirates from places such as Japan, which have limited resources, will descend on California in ships and plunder our resources. [laughter] That one may be a bit more speculative, but you never know.

In any case, Prabhupada’s point was that when people realize that their modern materialistic way of life has ended in disaster, they will consider, “What did we do wrong? We must have gone very wrong to end up where we are now. Now let us do things differently.” At the same time, the circumstances will force them to change their lifestyles. So they may become more humble—and open to Krsna consciousness.

Dravida dasa: In one of Prabhupada’s lectures, he said, “This car . . .” Sometimes he would comment on the cars and trucks that were passing, and imitate the sounds. He was very dismissive of this so-called civilization, and he predicted then that in about fifty years this whole civilization would be finished. At that time, no one could really see it. Just like no one saw the end of the Soviet Union; no one—the CIA—nobody expected that. Prabhupada could tell just by going once to Russia that people were unhappy. And sure enough, we are coming to the end of the peak oil—not the end of the oil altogether—but the end of the point at which the supply can really fulfill the demand.

Giriraj Swami: That’s right. It is the end of cheap oil.

Dravida dasa: Yes. They will try to increase the production of oil to keep up with the demand until they can’t increase anymore, but the demand will continue to increase. Eventually, the supply will not be able to keep up with the demand, and the curve will flatten out—just about on schedule. Prabhupada said in fifty years, which would make it 2020, or 2023. Sure enough, that is when they now say the peak oil will be finished, by 2023. So Prabhupada was perfect in his prediction.

Madhumangala dasa: Can we see Prabhupada’s books as Lord Varaha?

Giriraj Swami: Yes, very good point. As we mentioned, the holy name is the Lord Himself—kali-kale nama-rupe krsna-avatara. Similarly, Prabhupada’s books are also the Lord, and by our distributing them, people will be uplifted. In effect, we are distributing incarnations of Lord Varaha, who was able to uplift the entire planet. So, you are absolutely right. Thank you very much, Madhumangala Prabhu.

Srila Prabhupada ki jaya!
Varahadeva ki jaya!
Gaura-bhakta-vrnda ki jaya!
Nitai-gaura-premanande hari-haribol!

January 29, 2007
San Diego

 Posted by at 5:22 am