Radhanath Swami on Sakatasura

Krishna killing shakatasura

During the Vedic times, every aspect of a child’s life would be celebrated. Srila Prabhupada explains that in Vedic family life, children are not considered a burden. They are considered to be a gift of God. At various stages of their growth, purificatory ceremonies are performed. At the time of conception there is the Garbhadan samskara. When the child is about three months old and starts to turn himself and slant himself, it is called utthana.

When Yashoda mayi saw Krishna turning, she told Nanda Maharaja and a big celebration followed. Yashoda and Nanda Maharaja were giving out gifts because they knew that the greatest way to receive blessings is to give.

The more you give, the more the blessings naturally come from other’s hearts. When Krishna sees that we are doing something very special for those He loves, Krishna blesses us infinitely. 

When the celebrations were going on, little Gopal was a little tired. So Yashoda put Him to sleep under a big cart and resumed her services. Little Gopal felt hungry and while crying He kicked the cart with His soft lotus feet. This cart was a ghost demon named Sakatasura.

Being a ghost, Sakatasura had no gross body. Ghostly beings try to enter into another body to haunt people and create havoc in the world. Sakatasura especially wanted to kill Krishna. He took the opportunity and entered into the cart. Knowing this well, Krishna kicked the wheel of the cart and the entire cart broke down with a tumultuous sound. Everyone was shocked to see little Gopal amidst this broken cart. Krishna destroyed the cart and also liberated Sakatasura.

Shakatasura represents the mentality of holding on to our old bad habits. These habits are like a demon in our mind. We have to be very careful to protect the Bhakti in our hearts from our past bad habits that we hold on to.

Gita explains that if we understand Krishna to be,

  •  The Supreme Proprietor of everything that exists
  •  The ultimate enjoyer of everything and everyone &
  • The most loving intimate well-wishing friend of all

we can become truly peaceful. But due to our past bad habits, we want to be the proprietor, controller and enjoyer.

It is very difficult to give up bad habits. Sakatasura was a ghost and sometimes our old bad habits may come back and haunt us like a ghost. Even after 10, 20, 30, 40, 60, 100 years or lifetimes, these habits may come back to haunt us. There is only one way to deal with it.

Krishna tells us in the Bhagavad Gita that we must restrain ourselves from these old tendencies and at the same time fix our mind on Him. If we can use whatever we have learnt and whatever we know from the past in Krishna’s service in a favorable positive way, we purify those habits and they become transcendental forms of devotional service.

But when we allow selfish envious attitude, which is the very foundation of materialistic bad habits, to come back and haunt us, it could cause havoc in our life.

Srila Prabhupada explains that the way to give up bad habits is to replace them with good habits. 

Lord Caitanya gave such a simple and joyful process. By taking nice prasadam, associating with devotees, dancing in kirtan, rendering loving service, taking darshan of the deities, hearing Krishna’s beautiful pastimes and chanting His holy names we can purify our hearts and inundate our mind with transcendental happiness.

– Radhanath Swami

Krishna killing shakatasura