Put Out the Forest Fire

2nd January 2017 • Illuminations on Bhakti

HH Candramauli Swami in a lecture on the Siksastakam prayers, March 26th 2016, BVM London

The second of the seven benedictions of chanting the holy names of the Lord mentioned in the first verse of the Siksastakam prayers is bhava-maha-davagni. Davagni means forest fire, a blazing forest fire. Birth, death, disease, old age – miseries of the mind and body; miseries coming from other living beings; miseries coming from higher powers. Srila Prabhupada would say, “If anybody thinks this material world is a nice place, he should know that he is crazy. Why? Because no one can be happy here, no one stay here. There is a sign on the door of the material world: Anyone who enters here does not come out alive.”

That is the charateristic of this world. It is only filled of miseries. Krishna says it in the Bhagavad-gita, duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam (Bhagavad-gita 8.15). Okay, we haven’t got it. So He says it again, anityam asukhaṁ. This material world is temporary and miserable. We cannot fulfill our desires. We are always overwhelmed by the material energy and the things around us. Ultimately, whatever we achieve, we lose. “Nice place”. Haribol!

The fact is that this material energy will not leave you alone. It is constantly scorching the living entity with various types of suffering. So, a blazing fire is something that is very dangerous, maha-davagni. Srila Prabhupada compares it to a forest fire. When you have a forest fire, how do you put it out? You cannot call the fire brigades and all their trucks. They cannot do it. In America, especially on the West coast, forest fires are quite frequent and, sometimes, a forest fire will blaze for months. They unable one to put it out. The fire will destroy hundreds and hundreds of miles of forest. They try everything, they cannot put them out. The only thing to put out a forest fire is a torrential downpour of rain. Then it is extinguished.

So, this material world is compared like that. And what is that downpour of rain? Krishna’s holy names. This is the only effective way for putting out the fire of material existence. Srila Prabhupada said, “If you are chanting Hare Krishna, if you are engaged in devotional service, you are free from the miseries of this material world.” We may get a little token suffering here and there, just to remind us not to look back. But ultimately, when a devotee is chanting Hare Krishna, and is fixed in that chanting, then this material energy cannot touch him. Krishna’s name gives complete protection, and it gives complete freedom from any influence of the material energy. That is the power of Krishna’s holy name. That is the second benediction listed of seven.