Three People Who Could Not Maintain A Spotless Reputation

[Syamantaka Jewel]“The false rumor that Krishna had killed Prasena and had taken away the jewel was spread everywhere like wildfire. Krishna did not like to be defamed in that way, and therefore He decided that He would go to the forest and find the Syamantaka jewel, taking with Him some of the inhabitants of Dvaraka.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 2, Ch 1)

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1. Sita Devi

You would think that sacrificing regal comforts for supporting her husband in a time of difficulty would win some acclaim. Especially during that time period the chastity of a wife was highlighted. When a member of the family exhibits certain admirable traits, the guardians share in the glory.

“Oh, look at this child. They were raised right. Their parents must be of such good character. Rare it is to find someone of that quality. Looks like there is still hope in this world.”

Sita Devi was from Videha. Her father was the venerable King Janaka. There was qualification based on ancestry and then marriage. She was the patni in all dharma to Shri Rama, the prince of Ayodhya. She carried herself with the utmost grace and composure, while enduring three mothers-in-law from her new family.

[Sita Devi fire test]Despite withstanding a test of fire after being rescued from the home of another man, Sita could not maintain a spotless reputation. There were rumors that perhaps she wasn’t faithful to Rama while under duress in the kingdom of Lanka. Maybe Rama made a mistake in accepting her after being separated, though it was no fault of her own. Some of the townspeople spoke in this way.

2. King Nriga

You try to do everything the right way. Maintain peace and prosperity. Keep everyone happy. Do not violate the all-important property rights of others. Keep everyone engaged in the occupation that best suits them. Maintain equality in the sense that every person receives the same amount of protection from the government.

Even with so much careful attention, maintaining a watchful eye, King Nriga slipped up. He accidentally donated a cow to one brahmana. That cow happened to belong to another brahmana, but the king did not know. The priestly class can lose their temper every now and then. Supplication from the king did not help. He was cursed to suffer in the future.

Fortunately, the curse turned into a blessing. Though in the form of a lizard and stuck in a well, he was eventually liberated through direct contact with Shri Krishna.

3. Shri Krishna

Bhagavan Himself. His expert capability demonstrated many a time. Protecting His friends and relatives from danger. Escaping the constant and annoying attack of the rival king named Jarasandha. Ensuring that everyone was safe and protected in the community of Dvaraka.

Yet even He was defamed. A rumor once spread that Krishna had stolen a jewel. Known as Syamantaka, it could produce endless amounts of gold when cared for properly. As His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada says, where there is gold you will find lying, cheating and overall adharma [irreligiosity]. Thus it is not surprising that the jewel turned into something like a hot potato.

[Syamantaka Jewel]When it went missing and one person previously holding it was found dead in the forest, the rumor started that Krishna had taken the jewel for Himself. He is already more splendorous than the sun. Material wealth means nothing to Him. As Yogeshvara, the master of all mystic potency, He can create hundreds of Syamantaka jewels just by thinking of it.

The ways of the material world are such that no one is entirely safe from defamation. No one can maintain a completely spotless reputation, no matter how much they try. Moreover, the viewpoint of other flawed human beings should not be impetus to drastically alter behavior.

It is the opinion of Shri Krishna that matters most. He is the judge, the ever-watchful eye taking the assessment particularly at the time of death. The consciousness while quitting the body determines the next kind of birth, and so one who is remembering the king of Dvaraka automatically reaches the most auspicious destination.

In Closing:

Reaching auspicious destination,
When faithful determination.

That for Krishna alone,
Consciousness my own.

My fate then protected,
Not from criticism projected.

Where ruined even best reputation,
From flawed envy fixation.

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