The demon Shankacuda

Excerpt from a lecture by HH Radhanath Swami

Submitted by Gopinath das.

That demon Shankacuda is lurking in our heart in the form of name, fame, the inclination to enjoy what belongs to Krishna. He had got a big beautiful jewel. We also have our jewels. Some of them are little jewels. Some of them are big jewels. Whatever we are good at, whatever we are proud of, whatever we can do, is like a jewel. That jewel is meant to decorate Radha Gopinath. It is not meant to be worn in our own crown. That is the difference between a Vaishnava and Shankacuda. He should have come and said, Krishna, this jewel is the best thing I have. It is yours. Krishna would not have smashed his head. Krishna would have given him pure love of God. All he had to do was give up that jewel. It ended up in Krishna's hands anyway. But Shankacuda had to die a miserable death in the process. So, whatever we have, whoever we are, whatever we can do, that is our jewel. Don't keep it in your crown. Offer it to Krishna. With humility, with devotion, offer it for the welfare of the Vaishnavas. Then Krishna will accept it. Srila Prabhupada said, "Don't think, that if you give something to Krishna, you have something less. You will get millions of times more;so we have to be aware that this representation of Shankacuda is in our heart and we all have our various jewels that we are attached to, that we are proud of, that causes us to think that we are better than others, that causes us to be envious of others-----and ultimately if you are envious of any other living being, that is an expression of envy to Krishna.


In the conditioned state of consciousness we have these competitive envious tendencies, which creates so much dissatisfaction in our own hearts and creates un-palatable dealings among people, even devotees. And to the degree we are willing to make the sacrifice to humble ourselves for the over-all mission of the spiritual master and Krishna, to that degree, Krishna is pleased and Krishna bestows His blessings and those blessings are what make our lives and our temple attractive for other people. We're not trying to attract people to see the beauty of how there are beautiful paintings on the wall or there are carvings on the walls. We're trying to make this place (temple) a wonderful abode where the people can receive blessings of the Lord.


In our International Society for Krishna Consciousness, when new devotees would come, they were very enthusiastic, waking up for mangala arati, dancing like mad men and women, eating very little food, being very strict. We used to call that the pure devotee syndrome. Instantly they thought they were pure souls. However what is spiritual advancement? Trnad api sunicena api sunicena tarorapi sahisnuna amanina mana dena mana dena kirtaniya sada harih sada hari. To be more humble than a blade of grass, more tolerant than a tree, to offer all respect to others and expect no respect in return.

Only in this state of consciousness can we please really Krishna and be empowered to constantly chant the Holy names. This is the quality that we are trying to acquire through our bhajan, our sadhana and our service. It is this quality that will satisfy Krishna. So vanity is one of the most powerful demons within our heart. There are sanyaasis, who live in strict celibacy, learn extensive scriptures, become very powerful in controlling the mind and senses, but are simply the victims of their false ego. 'I am God!' 'I am most dear to the spiritual master!' That is a great obstacle on the path of pure devotional service.