Radhanath Swami, during the Kartik Yatra of 1998, very graphically explained how Krishna killed the demon named Arishtasura, who was sent by the evil Kamsa to kill Lord Krishna and Lord Balarama. Radhanath Swami then drew parallels between the demoniac mentality of Arishtasura and the mentality of the people in general in Kaliyuga.
Radhanath Swami: Arishtasura represents one of the very serious obstacles on the path of devotional service: the propensity to consider oneself very religious, and to follow the principles of religion invented by other conditioned souls—while criticizing the path of devotional service. This is a very serious obstacle, and it’s everywhere. In the name of religion, in this age of Kali, there is so much concoction: what is religion is taken to be irreligion and what is irreligion is taken to be religion. There are people presenting so many different ideas about God, about who is God and how to attain God.
Some people say that there is one path and it doesn’t matter what God you worship, it doesn’t matter what deity you worship, because ultimately, I am God, you are God, and everything is God; you just somehow purify yourself by concentrating yourself, your attention on some kind of divinity, and you will become Bhagavan. Hundreds and millions of people in this world believe in this. And then when we tell them Krishna is God, that Bhakti is the real process, they criticize—what is this sectarianism? What is this close mindedness? What is all this austerities and renunciation you are talking about? You just worship any God, any demigod, it doesn’t matter. Bhakti Siddhanta Saraswati Thakur declared war against these misconceptions.
But we sometimes tend to become affected by all this propaganda. Then it becomes very, very great obstacle in devotional service.
We should therefore understand what Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita:
Men of small intelligence worship the demigods, and their fruits are limited and temporary. Those who worship the demigods go to the planets of the demigods, but My devotees ultimately reach My supreme planet. (BG 7.23)
So we should not be mislaid by false propaganda.
And even, often times, people who declare Krishna to be God, have so many different conceptions without knowing what actually the truth is.
Therefore Krishna says,
Evam parampara praptam imam rajarsayo viduh
Sa kaleneha mahata yogo nastah parantapa (B.G. – 4.2)
If we take the truth from a proper disciplic succession of great acharyas, we then understand what is what.
So many people are dragged away from the process of devotional service, due to this type of association—represented by Arishtasura.
Kamsa worshipped Shiva, considered himself a very, very religious man, and he sent Arishtasura to promote hisreligiosity. What was the purpose? To kill Krishna. Similarly, all these Arishtasuras who are preaching principles that are contrary to pure devotional service, they are coming to attack Krishna in our hearts. Therefore, we must defend ourselves by maintaining proper association, by understanding philosophically what our siddhanta is, and ultimately by crying out to Krishna for help by chanting his holy names, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare !!”
– Radhanath Swami