“Ravana was very advanced materially, so much so that he turned his kingdom, Lanka, into pure gold, or full material wealth. But because he did not recognize the supremacy of Lord Ramachandra and defied Him by stealing His wife, Sita, Ravana was killed, and all his opulence and power were destroyed.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 2.7.23 Purport)
One of the names for the Supreme Lord is Achyuta. The name “Krishna” says that He is all-attractive. This is rather self-evident. If attractiveness is one of the desirable qualities in the temporary existence of this world, then certainly it can’t be lacking in the entity who is everything. He is both good and bad, high and low, combined into one person. The distinction with Him is that even what we consider to be bad is good. Evidence of this contradictory truth is in the all-attractiveness belonging to Him. There is not one aspect of Him that needs to be denied, pushed aside, or downplayed.
With the people who are against God, the opposite is the case. After all, they are in a pursuit to try to become Achyuta themselves. This Sanskrit word means “one who never falls down.” When a person of fame makes an error, they often come out with an apology that includes the line, “That wasn’t me.” Actually, it certainly was them. They are not claiming that an imposter committed the error. What they want us to do is forget about the incident. Don’t hold it against them. The Supreme Lord, however, never makes such mistakes.
There are the obvious transgressions that require public statements, but there are other faults as well. The people who are against God try to subtly push these things aside. There are many examples of this. One group says that the earth is warming at an alarming rate and that they have proof that human beings are the cause. Using the sympathy of the public towards ecology and the preservation of the earth to their advantage, these activists claim that the only way to control temperatures is to follow their recommendations, the foundation of which is increased taxes on industrialized nations.
Yet they want you to forget that their leaders are often the biggest polluters, who consume way more fossil fuels than the average person. They also want you to ignore any scientist who makes claims to the contrary. They want you to forget that only a few decades prior the same scientific community predicted that the earth was cooling. They want you to forget that their community, material scientists, has been consistently wrong since the beginning of time. After all, you can only have progress if the point from which you’re progressing is imperfect.
Another group says that they are close to creating life using only chemicals; they don’t need an existing life. They are also on the verge of prolonging life indefinitely. Death will be a thing of the past, they say. Of course, they want you to forget the fact that there is no proof. They have yet to succeed a single time, but they don’t want you to remember that.
Another group is adamantly behind the cause of saving innocent children in the womb. They oppose abortion and they use religious grounds as their foundation. Yet they want you to forget about how they kill so many innocent animals on a daily basis. They openly share with you the love they have for cats and dogs, but cows are a different story. If you mention this contradiction, they will label you a fanatic, an oddball, or someone who is into “new age” things.
These are but a few of the many examples available to us, but the point really hits home when you have a very powerful atheist. Take someone who is strongly against God and has the power to do something about it. We can learn a lot from Ravana, the King of Lanka. He is infamous today through the Ramayana and the tradition of aural reception that is the Vedas.
One time a messenger went to visit Ravana in Lanka. This visitor had a monkey-type body, and he was very strong. Named Angada, he was the son of one of Ravana’s old friends, Vali. Angada tried to warn Ravana of the impending doom headed towards Lanka. Ravana did not want to hear this message. He reminded Angada of all his accomplishments. The whole world feared Ravana. He had sacrificed his heads as a way to please the great god, Lord Shiva. Ravana could vanquish pretty much anyone in battle.
Angada was working for Rama, who is the same Krishna. Rama is another name for God and it also identifies a famous personality who roamed the earth many thousands of years ago. Ravana belittled Rama while praising himself. Angada had a very nice retort to this. He asked Ravana why the king failed to mention his stealing of Rama’s wife Sita. Ravana did this in secret. He had to create a ruse, whereby Rama was lured away from Sita’s side. If Ravana were so strong, he wouldn’t have required trickery. If Rama were weak and scared as Ravana said He was, then stealing Sita should have been easy.
This is the way of the atheist. They ask that we forget their shortcomings, of which there are many. On the other side, there is no such requirement. In bhakti-yoga we can and should study every aspect of the Supreme Lord. Even atheism is something rooted in Him. It is merely the negation of the inherent love and devotion belonging to the spirit soul. Like hate is the opposite side to love, atheism is the reverse of worship of the Supreme. Every aspect to Rama is attractive, including the words of his messengers like Angada.
Giving himself praise very high,
But for Sita with trickery to try.
Despite so many boons from celestials to get,
This transgression Ravana wanting you to forget.
As Achyuta the Supreme Lord never to fall,
Every aspect of Him worthy to recall.
Angada the messenger inherently knowing,
So to Lanka’s king with confidence going.