Calcutta, West Bengal, India — Sunday, May 14th

Who's fooling who?

On Friday we celebrated the appearance day of Lord Nrisinghadev, the half-man, half-lion incarnation of Lord Vishnu.

Talk about making a dramatic appearance! To fulfill Krishna's assurance in Bhagavad Gita (4:8) to protect His devotees (paritranaya sadhunam) and to kill the demons (vinasaya ca duskrtam), when the demon Hiranyakashipu mercilessly persecutes his own son, the saintly Prahlad, Lord Nrisinghadev bursts out of a pillar to kill the boy's atheistic father.

Hiranyakashipu thought that he could act with impunity because he was immortal. After performing severe austerities for many thousands of years, Lord Brahma, the creator of this material universe, offered him anything that he desired. When Hiranyakashipu's request for immortality was denied (because everybody born in this material world, including Lord Brahma must die) Hiranyakashipu tried to become immortal by cheating: he duplicitously asked for (and received) the blessing that he would not be killed by man or beast, by day or by night, on the ground or in the sky, inside or outside.


Hiranyakashipu thought he held all the cards, but Lord Brahma had a card up his sleeve. When Lord Krishna in the form of the ferocious Lord Nrisingha burst out of the pillar to kill the terrified Hiranyakashipu, all the conditions of Hiranyakashipu's so-called immortality were honored: Lord Nrisingha, the half-man half-lion (neither man nor beast) killed Hiranyakashipu at twilight (neither day nor night) by placing him on his lap (neither on the ground nor the sky) in the doorway of the palace (neither inside nor outside).

Very clever!

In the Bhagavad Gita (10:36) Krishna says, "I am the greatest cheater (dyutam chalayatam asmi)."

I know.

You're shocked.

"God cheats?"

Um, yes — when you try to cheat Him.

God is the best at everything — even deception. He is much more versatile and ingenious than we could ever be. If you think you can fool Him, you are only fooling yourself. If you try to cheat Him, He will cheat you. Just ask Hiranyakashipu!

You see, Krishna's promise in Bhagavad Gita (6:40)

na hi kalyana-krt kascid / durgatim tata gacchati

(if you are sincere you will never be deceived) contains an implicit warning: "If you are insincere, you must be cheated."

This is corroborated by Krishna's earlier (4:11) statement:

ye yatha mam prapadyante / tams tathaiva bhajamy aham

"However you deal with Me (ye yatha mam prapadyante) I reciprocate (tams tathaiva bhajamy aham). If you try to cheat Me (ye yatha mam prapadyante) I will cheat you too (tams tathaiva bhajamy aham). I play the same cards (tams tathaiva bhajamy aham) that you play (ye yatha mam prapadyante)."

This is a no-brainer, right? What was Hiranyakashipu thinking?

Don't be like that. Don't try to cheat God...

But I don't have to tell you this, right?

Because if you do think that you can cheat God, you're not playing with a full deck anyway...

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Layout by iMonk — May 14th, 2006.