The Untold Story of the Arishadvargas (the Six Passions)
~ By Acharya Ratnananda
Among the millions of devotees of Lord Krishna, there are many who are confused and pained at some of His actions during His birth and early life.
One of them is the fact as to why did He cause the destruction of His six elder brothers. No explanation is given anywhere about these painful incidents except short hints in the Devi Bhagavatam.
When the heavenly bodies came to know of Lord Krishna’s intention to be born in the World, six demigods prayed to Him to allow their birth along with Him. The other heavenly beings who desired to get rid of these egotistical demigods, also supported their prayers.
The Lord in His infinite mercy decided to help both the appeals and allowed the birth of these six demigods before Him. They were the Arishadvargas or the six passions: Kama (lust), Krodha (anger), Lobha (greed), Moha (delusory emotional attachment), Madha (pride), and Matsarya (jealousy).
Knowing the immense suffering these demigods would cause to humankind, the Lord quietly arranged for the disappearance of their physical forms. To their shock, these demigods found themselves formless after birth and their capacities greatly diminished. Even so, they were capable of causing much suffering for people.
Here, the Lord intervened again, on behalf of humanity. He modified the ill-effects of these formless entities by transforming them as follows:
Lust for Power into Love for Service
Anger against People into Anger against Poverty
Avarice for Possessions into Acceptance of Simplicity
Arrogance of Attitude into Pride of being Human
Hatred of Things into Hatred of Injustice
The Lord also allowed a person’s past Karma to influence the positive or negative effects in their present lives. Such a fascinating modification of negative values into positive ones by Lord Krishna brought immense joy to the people.
Our great Masters, past and present, have also adopted these positive perceptions to guide men and women, and to lift them up from the material to the spiritual levels of existence.
Another aspect that confuses many devotees of Lord Krishna is his choice of being the youngest of Devaki and Vasudeva’s children. Here too, the Devi Bhagavatam gives us a clue. As Sri Rama, the Lord was the eldest and as Sri Krishna, He was the youngest, proving that the youngest in the World as equally capable and deserve the same status and stature as the eldest.
Again, in a World where most of the religions gave prominence and priority to the male, the Father as the Prime Divinity, Lord Krishna gave preference to the female, the Mother, as the foremost Divinity, a daring concept in a male dominated society.
Lord Krishna’s life is a surprisingly sweet and fascinating wonder for all people and for all times!