The Ethics of Canakya Pandit

December 16, 2022 in Articles by Damaghosa dasa

Ethics from Canakya pandit slokas
ch 1 verse 16One must accept nectar from the midst of poison, gold even from an impure place, good instructions from a low class person and a jewel even from a girl from a wicked family”
Note-I have always liked this sloka because it tells us to be intelligent enough to be able to see what is truth and what is not truth. What is beneficial and what is not beneficial. To accept what is favorable for Krsna seva and not reject it because it seems unpalatable to our so called “understanding”. Or it comes in a package we are not comfortable with?
There are so many different people, devotees and situations that demands we use intelligence in every case to understand what can be used and how to engage it for Krsna’s service. And even to be able to recognize it when in front of us. Just like one simple example-that bum that came into the early NYC temple storefront and offered a roll of toilet paper to Srila Prabhupada-and Prabhupada accepted it. Who of us could do that or would most of us just recoil at the site (and smell) of such a person what to speak of accepting toilet paper? So  realizations and benefits to many come to those who keep their minds and eyes open.

ch 3 verse 5Therefore a man of ambitions gathers high minded gentlemen around him because they never leave their associates either in the days of progress or a downfall.
Note–How many of us have been disappointed over someone’s lack of courtesy, respect, ignorance, or downright arrogance? How many of us had lovers, spouses, money, material objects and other things taken away from us for no good apparent reason? There is one example given in SB about how you will see thousands of leaves floating down a stream, come together for a while briefly,  and then separate. This describes associations in the material world as most people just give you up when the going gets tough as they say, if their personal sense gratification gets interrupted.. But  Canakya pandit says only high minded gentlemen despite turbulent times will never leave their friends.
ch 5 verse 19-It is the power of truth which is the basis for this earth. It is the power of truth which allows the sun to radiate heat and life energy throughout four billion miles of the Brahmanda. It is the power of truth  by which the air blows. Only  by observing the truth by the tongue, eyes, mind, every thought word, and deed unfailingly, do the desired results come. What more to say: everything is based on truth throughout the ten directions in the fourteen worlds.
Dec 25 1972 letter
So far this making some false story for collecting money or selling book, of course we may do anything for Krishna, but that is supposed to be reserved for very advanced experts in Krishna Consciousness—they know how to catch the big fish without themselves getting wet. So it is not very much advisable to make lies just to sell book. If we simply stick to describing how wonderful is Krishna, then whatever we may lie or exaggerate, that will not be lie! But other things, lies, they will not help us to train ourselves in truthfulness. Lie to some, not to others, that is not a good philosophy. Rather the brahmanas are always truthful, even to their enemies.There is sufficient merit in our books that if you simply describe them sincerely to anyone, they will buy. That art you must develop, not art of lying. Convince them to give by your preaching the Absolute Truth, not by tricking, that is more mature stage of development of Krishna Consciousness.
Some Conclusions–The above slokas and letters are meant to tell a story about how we are to act as devotees of the Lord. What is that story?
BG 5.7–One who works in devotion, who is a pure soul, and who controls his mind and senses, is dear to everyone, and everyone is dear to him. Though always working, such a man is never entangled.
Hare Krsna
damaghosa das