Twenty-Four Siksa Gurus

Wisdom Quest

( – Twenty-Four Siksa Gurus

Sri Srimad Bhaktivedanta Narayana Maharaja
June 16, 2006
Badger, California

As I mentioned yesterday, Brahma, Sankara and all the other demigods went to Dvaraka, to the palace of Lord Sri Krsna, and they told the Lord, “Previously, we prayed to You to come to this world and remove the burden of the Earth. This is completed now. You have killed Putana, Aghasura, Bakasura, Trnavarta and so many other demons in Vrndavana, and in Mathura You killed demons such as Kamsa, Carana and Mustika and their brothers. You also defeated Jarasandha seventeen times, even though his army was practically unlimited. Also, in the Mahabharata War You killed so many demons, either by Yourself or by Your ‘arms’ like Bhima and Arjuna. You have killed all the demons who had come in the form of ksatriyas.”

Lord Sri Krsna replied, “I know; I understand your prayers and request. You have reminded Me of this. I have performed all My duties and have executed My will. If I leave now, however, the members of the Yadu dynasty will create many problems. Therefore, before I leave this world, I should arrange for their annihilation.” Krsna thus inspired Durvasa and other rsis (sages) to give a curse to the boys of the Yadu dynasty, so that by quarreling with each other they would be finished.

Sri Krsna then met with all the elder members of the Yadu dynasty and told them, “Because of the curse of the brahmanas, I am seeing inauspicious omens, foreboding great disturbances and destruction. We should go to Prabhasa-tirtha, a very sacred place. There we will counteract the ill effects of sinful activities by making donations to the brahmanas and satisfy them.

The Lord convinced them to go to Prabhasa-tirtha, where they could save themselves by the performance of ritual bathing, charity, and so on. In obedience to His desire, they prepared to journey there. All the members of His dynasty went there, and a fire sacrifice was performed. At that time, the Yadus drank wine and forgot everything – they forgot who their mothers, brothers and fathers were, and they forgot each other. They fought with each other, and thus it appeared that they killed each other.

I have explained before that this was only the magic of Krsna. By this event, Krsna sent some of His associates to heaven, some to Vaikuntha, some to Dvaraka and some to Vraja.

Sri Baladeva Prabhu then appeared in the form of a snake. In that form He left this world and went to Goloka Vrndavana. After that Sri Krsna sat under a pippal tree, as if nothing had happened. He is atmarama and atmakama. This means He takes pleasure in His own atma or self, and He is also satisfied with whatever transpires externally.

In the meantime, Uddhava came and told Him, “I know that now You want to return to Goloka Vrndavana. I cannot live without You, so please take me with You.”

Sri Krsna replied, “Something remains for you to do in this world, so you must stay here for awhile. I will now tell you about the process of bhagavat-dharma. Even a blind man can easily follow this process and achieve pure love for the Supreme Lord. You should teach this same knowledge to Vidura on your way to Badrika-asrama. Then, at Badrika-asrama, tell this to Maitreya Rsi. Maitreya Rsi will then spread this same message everywhere.

“Sometimes you should remain at Badrika-asrama, and sometimes you should be in Vraja, at Kusuma-sarovara (Uddhava Kunda) – as a blade of grass, waiting for the lotus foot dust of the gopis when they go out to meet with Me.”

At that time Uddhava requested Krsna, “The entire world is entangled in household-life. How can the worlds’ population be liberated and attain Krsna-prema?”

Krsna then began His teachings to Uddhava: “You should give up worldly life. It is like a blind well and a burning fire. Give it up at once and be renounced. Give up all attachments in this world, and then you can travel throughout the world like Sri Narada Rsi. Kali-yuga is known as mahan-yuga, the most auspicious yuga. Even demigods and those who are very intelligent want to take birth in Kali-yuga in the human form.


kalim sabhajayanty arya
guna jnah sara-bhaginah
yatra sankirtanenaiva
sarva-svartho ’bhilabhyate


[Those who are actually advanced in knowledge are able to appreciate the essential value of this Age of Kali (this present Age, the Age of quarrel and hypocrisy). Such enlightened persons worship Kali-yuga because in this fallen Age all perfection of life can easily be achieved by the performance of sankirtana. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.5.36)]

By nama-sankirtana, by singing the glories of Lord Sri Krsna’s form, name, qualities and pastimes, one can easily achieve more than what people could attain in Satya-yuga by knowledge, in Treta-yuga by sacrifice and in Dvapara-yuga by Deity worship.

In Kali-yuga, if a man thinks, “I should do this bad thing,” but he does not actually perform that activity, there is no bad reaction. In previous Ages the reaction to thinking badly was as severe as acting badly. In Kali-yuga, if a person is doing a lot of nonsense by his mind, but not by body, he does not get a bad reaction. If he performs a bad activity by his body and senses, then he gets the reaction. Kali-yuga has so many good qualities, and this is why wise and intelligent persons want to come to this Earth in Kali-yuga.

In Satya-yuga (the Age of Goodness) and other yugas, simply by one’s thinking a bad thought one must get a sinful reaction. On the other hand, in Kali-yuga, positive thoughts will give fruit, but not bad thoughts. [Editors’ note: The obvious reaction is there for thinking bad thoughts: one will feel bad by thinking in a bad way. As one continues to think in a bad way, eventually he or she will act in a bad way, and then the severe reaction is right there. So there is certainly a reaction eventually. However, in previous Yugas the severe reaction is there at once, simply by thinking bad. The conclusion is that in Kali-yuga a person who thinks bad can still improve his or her condition by changing thoughts through the influence of good association; or, in the absence of good association by trying to be positive and respectful to all.]

Lord Sri Krsna told Uddhava, “Yadu Maharaja was a very religious person in My family dynasty, and he had great love and affection for brahmanas and sages. One day he saw a naked person traveling. He noticed that although that person did not beg anything from anyone, he was very healthy and very happy.

The following verse reveals the type of people who are unconditionally happy:


sa vai pumsam paro dharmo
yato bhaktir adhoksaje
ahaituky apratihata
yayatma suprasidati


[“The supreme occupation [dharma] for all humanity is that by which men can attain to loving devotional service unto the transcendent Lord. Such devotional service must be unmotivated and uninterrupted to completely satisfy the self. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.6)]

That person was always remembering Lord Sri Krsna’s pastimes. Yadu Maharaja offered obeisances to him, put the foot dust of that person on his own head and said, “I would like to know something. You are naked and you have no possessions. You are not begging anything and you are roaming here and there. How is it that you look so happy and healthy? I want to know this.”

That person’s name was Dattatreya, and he was a manifestation of God. Dattatreya replied, “Oh Yadu Maharaja, I have accepted twenty-four siksa-gurus: Prthivi (Earth), Vayu (air), sky, water, fire, the Moon, the Sun, the pigeon, the python, the ocean, the moth, the bumblebee, the elephant, the honey collector, the deer, the fish, the prostitute named Pingala, the hawk, the baby, the unmarried girl, the arrow-maker, the snake, the spider and the wasp.

“Oh Yadu Maharaja, I have made these my 24 siksa-gurus. I have learned so many things from them, and that is why I am happy. I am not attached to anyone, and in this way I travel throughout the world. Sometimes I hide myself and sometimes I am visible. No one knows who I am. People think I am a mad person. Sometimes, to give mercy, for their benefit, I manifest. Now, I am manifesting myself to you and mercifully speaking to you.”

I will explain in brief what Dattatreya told Maharaja Yadu about his twenty-four siksa-gurus, beginning with the Earth:

Vaisnavas should be very tolerant, like the Earth. Sometimes we dig on the Earth to obtain something. Sometimes we pass urine and stool on the Earth; but Prthivi-devi the goddess of the Earth is very tolerant. She never protests. She doesn’t demand, “Why are you doing this?!” She is very tolerant. You should be tolerant like the Earth.

Upon the Earth, trees and creepers are also very tolerant:


trnad api sunicena
taror api sahisnuna
amanina manadena
kirtaniyah sada harih


[“One can chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking himself lower than the straw in the street. One should be more tolerant than the tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige and ready to offer all respects to others. ln such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly.” (Siksastaka 3)]

Their bark, juice, fruits, flowers, leaves, wood and everything else they possess is for others. The tree does not even ask for water. He will dry up before asking: “Give me water.” He will tolerate his branches getting cut by others. Similarly, everything a Vaisnava/Vaisnavi possesses is for all others. Try to learn this, otherwise how can you become a Vaisnava?

The mountain: We do so many nonsense things, but the mountain tolerates. Its life and everything is for others. You should also be like the mountain. Don’t aspire for any position, aside from the position of a humble servant of Sri Guru. Don’t collect anything.


sasvat parartha-sarvehah
sadhuh sikseta bhü-bhrtto
naga-sisyah paratmatam


[A saintly person should learn from the mountain to devote all his efforts to the service of others and to make the welfare of others the sole reason for his existence. Similarly, as the disciple of the tree, he should learn to dedicate himself to others. (Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.7.38)]


prana-vrttyaiva santusyen
munir naivendriya-priyaih
jnanam yatha na nasyeta
navakiryeta van-manah


[“A learned sage should take his satisfaction in the simple maintenance of his existence and should not seek satisfaction through gratifying the material senses. In other words, one should care for the material body in such a way that one’s higher knowledge is not destroyed and so that one’s speech and mind are not deviated from self-realization.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.7.39)]

We should not take food according to the demands of our belly. Rather, we should take only simple and pure food – not more or less than we need. We should take only what is required to maintain life; not for tasting sense gratification and thinking, “This is very sweet, this is very tasteful.”

You should remember:


atyaharah prayasas ca
prajalpo niyamagrahah
jana-sangas ca laulyam ca
sadbhir bhaktir vinasyati


[“One’s devotional service is spoiled when he becomes too entangled in the following six activities: (1) eating more than necessary or collecting more funds than required; (2) over endeavoring for mundane things that are very difficult to obtain; (3) talking unnecessarily about mundane subject matters; (4) Practicing the scriptural rules and regulations only for the sake of following them and not for the sake of spiritual advancement, or rejecting the rules and regulations of the scriptures and working independently or whimsically; (5) associating with worldly-minded persons who are not interested in Krsna consciousness; and (6) being greedy for mundane achievements.” (Nectar of Instruction, verse 2)]

Don’t take prasadam for its taste. Rather, take prasadam only to somehow maintain your life.

Air: Air is everywhere. The air goes everywhere and takes the scent of everything good and bad – earth, flowers and stool. Yet, the air is always detached. The air is always auspicious, because it has no attachment to anyone – and we should be like that. We should travel here and there to maintain our lives, and also to preach. But be careful. Never be attached to anyone. I have explained the difference between attachment and affection. Air does not mix with any good or bad qualities. It is always auspicious.

Sadhakas (spiritual practitioners) tolerate hunger and thirst, as well as bodily urges. Such urges do not belong to the soul but to the body. We are not this body.

Sky: The sky is seen as blue, but actually the sky has no color and it seems as though it does not exist at all. It is like air. Also, it appears that lightning or cold and rain comes from the sky, but it does not. We should try to be like the sky. We should not be attached. Dattatreya said, “I have made the sky my siksa-guru.” We should know that the soul is pure – it is the eternal servant of Lord Sri Krsna. This body has now come to you, but don’t have the false ego that “I am this body.”


tejasvi tapasa dipto
sarva-bhaksyo ’pi yuktatma
nadatte malam agni-vat


[“Saintly persons become powerful by execution of austerities. Their consciousness is unshakable because they do not try to enjoy anything within the material world. Such naturally liberated sages accept foodstuffs that are offered to them by destiny, and if by chance they happen to eat contaminated food, they are not affected; just like fire, which burns up contaminated substances that are offered to it.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.7.45)]

Fire: Fire burns stool and urine. It burns both auspicious and inauspicious things, but does not really mix with anything. Vaisnavas should eat something, only to maintain their life, and they should not be entangled. What is fire? Have you seen fire? If some crooked wood is burning you will see that the fire above it is crooked, or you may see that on a flat stove the fire is straight, or in a forest you may see that a fire is very big – but that is not fire. Fire is everywhere. There is fire in our bodies, and by that fire we digest. Sometimes fire is visible and sometimes not. We see flames, but the flames are not fire. Fire is a power; the material power of Krsna. We should be like that fire. We should maintain our lives, and at the same time we should not be attached to anything in this world.


visargadyah smasananta
bhava dehasya natmanah
kalanam iva candrasya


Darsana in his room

[“The various phases of one’s material life, beginning with birth and culminating in death, are all properties of the body and do not affect the soul, just as the apparent waxing and waning of the moon does not affect the moon itself. Such changes are enforced by the imperceptible movements of time.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 11.7.47)]

The Moon: The Moon is always full, but due to the rotation of the Sun, Earth and Moon we see a first moon, second moon, etc. If we go very high in the sky, we see that the moon is always a full moon. Sometimes we see a reduced moon or a developed moon, but that is due to its orbit in relation with other planets. Similarly, the soul is always full. All hunger, thirst and other bodily urges belong to the body. The soul is not affected at all. You should have that understanding. You are not this body. You are soul, part and parcel of Lord Sri Krsna. You are, by nature, always happy as Lord Krsna’s eternal servant. You should therefore be unaffected.

Returning to his quarters after giving classReturning to his quarters after giving class

Dattatreya continued. “My siksa-guru is the Sun. The sun evaporates water from the ocean and then returns it as rainfall. Similarly, if you have a collection of anything – you should donate that. Don’t keep it, otherwise it acts like fire. Do not donate it to material sense enjoyers, but donate it to Hari, Guru and Vaisnavas.”

Dattatreya continued, “I have also learned something from a pigeon.”

Try to understand this. If you understand and keep this in your heart, you will never be unhappy. I see that so many are unhappy, because they don’t try to understand and follow my teachings. If they will understand and follow, they will be happy. We call upon our own sufferings. Don’t call them.

Pigeon: A male pigeon was greatly attached to a lady pigeon, his wife, and to their children. One day the he- and she-pigeon went to the forest to collect some food. In the meantime, a hunter came and saw the baby pigeons. He grabbed them all and placed them in his net. When the male and lady pigeon returned from the forest, the lady exclaimed, “Oh, my children!” She ran to them, and she also became caught in the net. The male pigeon felt that he had now lost everything. He considered, “Oh! My dear wife has helped me and always obeyed me – always. Without her, how can I pass my life?” Distraught, he fell into the net and the hunter also took him. What became of all the pigeons? The hunter took them all. He very happily went to his house and cooked and ate them.

We should learn something from these teachings. It is for this reason that I came here and I am telling you this 11th Canto – even though it is very hard to grasp. There are so many teachings there. We should learn those teachings, keep them in our hearts, and teach them to others. They are very powerful.

Who is telling this story of Dattatreya and King Yadu? Sri Krsna Himself is telling it to Uddhava. You should think about this, and follow the examples of these siksa-gurus. Take something for your maintenance, but don’t keep anything extra with you, and don’t be attached to anyone.

[Erratum: In the Badger lecture of June 14, entitled, “Eleventh Canto,” the name of the king who met the Yogindras should have been Nimi Maharaja, not Nemi Maharaja. Please excuse us for that error.]
Returning to his quarters after classDarsana in his room

Transcriber and typist: Vasanti dasi
Editor: Syamarani dasi
Proof-reader: Krsna-kamini dasi

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