Nalakūvara and Maṇigrīva were great devotees of Lord Śiva, but because of material opulence they became so extravagant and senseless that one day they were enjoying with naked girls in a lake and shamelessly walking here and there. Suddenly Nārada Muni passed by, but they were so maddened by their wealth and false prestige that even though they saw Nārada Muni present, they remained naked and were not even ashamed. In other words, because of opulence and false prestige, they lost their sense of common decency. Of course, it is the nature of the material qualities that when one becomes very much opulent in terms of wealth and a prestigious position, one loses one’s sense of etiquette and does not care about anyone, even a sage like Nārada Muni. For such bewildered persons (ahaṅkāra-vimūḍhātmā), who especially deride devotees, the proper punishment is to be again stricken with poverty. The Vedic rules and regulations prescribe how to control the false sense of prestige by the practice of yama, niyama and so on (tapasā brahmacaryeṇa śamena ca damena ca [SB 6.1.13]). A poor man can be convinced very easily that the prestige of an opulent position in this material world is temporary, but a rich man cannot. Therefore Nārada Muni set an example by cursing these two persons, Nalakūvara and Maṇigrīva, to become dull and unconscious like trees. This was a fit punishment. But because Kṛṣṇa is always merciful, even though they were punished they were fortunate enough to see the Supreme Personality of Godhead face to face. Therefore the punishment given by Vaiṣṇavas is not at all punishment; rather, it is another kind of mercy. By the curse of the devarṣi, Nalakūvara and Maṇigrīva became twin arjuna trees and remained in the courtyard of mother Yaśodā and Nanda Mahārāja, waiting for the opportunity to see Kṛṣṇa directly. Lord Kṛṣṇa, by the desire of His devotee, uprooted these yamala-arjuna trees, and when Nalakūvara and Maṇigrīva were thus delivered by Kṛṣṇa after one hundred years of the devas, their old consciousness revived, and they offered Kṛṣṇa prayers suitable to be offered by demigods. Having thus gotten the opportunity to see Kṛṣṇa face to face, they understood how merciful Nārada Muni was, and therefore they expressed their indebtedness to him and thanked him. Then, after circumambulating the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, they departed for their respective abodes.
kathyatāṁ bhagavann etat
tayoḥ śāpasya kāraṇam
yat tad vigarhitaṁ karma
yena vā devarṣes tamaḥ
śrī-rājā uvāca—the King further inquired; kathyatām—please describe; bhagavan—O supremely powerful one; etat—this; tayoḥ—of both of them; śāpasya—of cursing; kāraṇam—the cause; yat—which; tat—that; vigarhitam—abominable; karma—act; yena—by which; vā—either; devarṣeḥ tamaḥ—the great sage Nārada became so angry.
King Parīkṣit inquired from Śukadeva Gosvāmī: O great and powerful saint, what was the cause of Nalakūvara’s and Maṇigrīva’s having been cursed by Nārada Muni? What did they do that was so abominable that even Nārada, the great sage, became angry at them? Kindly describe this to me.
vāruṇīṁ madirāṁ pītvā
ceratuḥ puṣpite vane
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī replied; rudrasya—of Lord Śiva; anucarau—two great devotees or associates; bhūtvā—being elevated to that post; su-dṛptau—being proud of that position and their beautiful bodily features; dhanada-ātmajau—the two sons of Kuvera, treasurer of the demigods; kailāsa-upavane—in a small garden attached to Kailāsa Parvata, the residence of Lord Śiva; ramye—in a very beautiful place; mandākinyām—on the River Mandākinī; mada-utkaṭau—terribly proud and mad; vāruṇīm—a kind of liquor named Vāruṇī; madirām—intoxication; pītvā—drinking; mada-āghūrṇita-locanau—their eyes rolling with intoxication; strī-janaiḥ—with women; anugāyadbhiḥ—vibrating songs sung by them; ceratuḥ—wandered; puṣpite vane—in a nice flower garden.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: O King Parīkṣit, because the two sons of Kuvera had been elevated to the association of Lord Śiva, of which they were very much proud, they were allowed to wander in a garden attached to Kailāsa Hill, on the bank of the Mandākinī River. Taking advantage of this, they used to drink a kind of liquor called Vāruṇī. Accompanied by women singing after them, they would wander in that garden of flowers, their eyes always rolling in intoxication.
This verse mentions some of the material advantages afforded to persons associated with or devoted to Lord Śiva. Apart from Lord Śiva, if one is a devotee of any other demigod, one receives some material advantages. Foolish people, therefore, become devotees of demigods. This has been pointed out and criticized by Lord Kṛṣṇa in Bhagavad-gītā (7.20): kāmais tais tair hṛta jñānāḥ prapadyante ’nya-devatāḥ. Those who are not devotees of Kṛṣṇa have a taste for women, wine and so forth, and therefore they have been described as hṛta jñāna, bereft of sense. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement can very easily point out such foolish persons, for they have been indicated in Bhagavad-gītā (7.15), where Lord Kṛṣṇa says:
“Those miscreants who are grossly foolish, lowest among mankind, whose knowledge is stolen by illusion, and who partake of the atheistic nature of demons, do not surrender unto Me.” Anyone who is not a devotee of Kṛṣṇa and does not surrender to Kṛṣṇa must be considered narādhama, the lowest of men, and duṣkṛtī, one who always commits sinful activities. Thus there is no difficulty in finding out who is a third-class or fourth-class man, for one’s position can be understood simply by this crucial test: is he or is he not a devotee of Kṛṣṇa?
Why are devotees of the demigods greater in number than the Vaiṣṇavas? The answer is given herein. Vaiṣṇavas are not interested in such fourth-class pleasures as wine and women, nor does Kṛṣṇa allow them such facilities.
antaḥ praviśya gaṅgāyām
gajāv iva kareṇubhiḥ
antaḥ—within; praviśya—entering; gaṅgāyām—the Ganges, known as Mandākinī; ambhoja—of lotus flowers; vana-rājini—where there was a congested forest; cikrīḍatuḥ—the two of them used to enjoy; yuvatibhiḥ—in the company of young girls; gajau—two elephants; iva—just like; kareṇubhiḥ—with female elephants.
Within the waters of the Mandākinī Ganges, which were crowded with gardens of lotus flowers, the two sons of Kuvera would enjoy young girls, just like two male elephants enjoying in the water with female elephants.
People generally go to the Ganges to be purified of the effects of sinful life, but here is an example of how foolish persons enter the Ganges to become involved in sinful life. It is not that everyone becomes purified by entering the Ganges. Everything, spiritual and material, depends on one’s mental condition.
yadṛcchayā ca devarṣir
bhagavāṁs tatra kaurava
apaśyan nārado devau
yadṛcchayā—by chance, while wandering all over the universe; ca—and; deva-ṛṣiḥ—the supreme saintly person among the demigods; bhagavān—the most powerful; tatra—there (where the two sons of Kuvera were enjoying life); kaurava—O Mahārāja Parīkṣit; apaśyat—when he saw; nāradaḥ—the great saint; devau—the two boys of the demigods; kṣībāṇau—with eyes maddened by intoxication; samabudhyata—he could understand (their position).
O Mahārāja Parīkṣit, by some auspicious opportunity for the two boys, the great saint Devarṣi Nārada once appeared there by chance. Seeing them intoxicated, with rolling eyes, he could understand their situation.
It is said:
Wherever Nārada Muni goes, any moment at which he appears is understood to be extremely auspicious. It is also said:
“According to their karma, all living entities are wandering throughout the entire universe. Some of them are being elevated to the upper planetary systems, and some are going down into the lower planetary systems. Out of many millions of wandering living entities, one who is very fortunate gets an opportunity to associate with a bona fide spiritual master by the grace of Kṛṣṇa. By the mercy of both Kṛṣṇa and the spiritual master, such a person receives the seed of the creeper of devotional service.” (Cc. Madhya 19.151) Nārada appeared in the garden to give the two sons of Kuvera the seed of devotional service, even though they were intoxicated. Saintly persons know how to bestow mercy upon the fallen souls.
taṁ dṛṣṭvā vrīḍitā devyo
vāsāṁsi paryadhuḥ śīghraṁ
vivastrau naiva guhyakau
tam—Nārada Muni; dṛṣṭvā—seeing; vrīḍitāḥ—being ashamed; devyaḥ—the young girls of the demigods; vivastrāḥ—although they were naked; śāpa-śaṅkitāḥ—being afraid of being cursed; vāsāṁsi—garments; paryadhuḥ—covered the body; śīghram—very swiftly; vivastrau—who were also naked; na—not; eva—indeed; guhyakau—the two sons of Kuvera.
Upon seeing Nārada, the naked young girls of the demigods were very much ashamed. Afraid of being cursed, they covered their bodies with their garments. But the two sons of Kuvera did not do so; instead, not caring about Nārada, they remained naked.
tau dṛṣṭvā madirā-mattau
śāpaṁ dāsyann idaṁ jagau
tau—the two boys of the demigods; dṛṣṭvā—seeing; madirā-mattau—very intoxicated because of drinking liquor; śrī-mada-andhau—being blind with false prestige and opulence; sura-ātmajau—the two sons of the demigods; tayoḥ—unto them; anugraha-arthāya—for the purpose of giving special mercy; śāpam—a curse; dāsyan—desiring to offer them; idam—this; jagau—uttered.
Seeing the two sons of the demigods naked and intoxicated by opulence and false prestige, Devarṣi Nārada, in order to show them special mercy, desired to give them a special curse. Thus he spoke as follows.
Although in the beginning Nārada Muni appeared very angry and cursed them, at the end the two demigods Nalakūvara and Maṇigrīva were able to see the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, face to face. Thus the curse was ultimately auspicious and brilliant. One has to judge what kind of curse Nārada placed upon them. Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura gives herein a good example. When a father finds his child deeply asleep but the child has to take some medicine to cure some disease, the father pinches the child so that the child will get up and take the medicine. In a similar way, Nārada Muni cursed Nalakūvara and Maṇigrīva in order to cure their disease of material blindness.
na hy anyo juṣato joṣyān
yatra strī dyūtam āsavaḥ
śrī-nāradaḥ uvāca—Nārada Muni said; na—there is not; hi—indeed; anyaḥ—another material enjoyment; juṣataḥ—of one who is enjoying; joṣyān—things very attractive in the material world (different varieties of eating, sleeping, mating and defense); buddhi-bhraṁśaḥ—such enjoyments attract the intelligence; rajaḥ-guṇaḥ—being controlled by the mode of passion; śrī-madāt—than riches; ābhijātya-ādiḥ—among the four material principles (attractive personal bodily features, birth in an aristocratic family, being very learned, and being very rich); yatra—wherein; strī—women; dyūtam—gambling; āsavaḥ—wine (wine, women and gambling are very prominent).
Nārada Muni said: Among all the attractions of material enjoyment, the attraction of riches bewilders one’s intelligence more than having beautiful bodily features, taking birth in an aristocratic family, and being learned. When one is uneducated but falsely puffed up by wealth, the result is that one engages his wealth in enjoying wine, women and gambling.
Among the three modes of material nature—goodness, passion and ignorance—people are certainly conducted by the lower qualities, namely passion and ignorance, and especially by passion. Conducted by the mode of passion, one becomes more and more involved in material existence. Therefore human life is meant for subduing the modes of passion and ignorance and advancing in the mode of goodness.
This is culture: one must subdue the modes of passion and ignorance. In the mode of passion, when one is falsely proud of wealth, one engages his wealth only for three things, namely wine, women and gambling. We can actually see, especially in this age, that those who have unnecessary riches simply try to enjoy these three things. In Western civilization, these three things are very prominent because of an unnecessary increase of wealth. Nārada Muni considered all this in the case of Maṇigrīva and Nalakūvara because he found in them so much pride in the wealth of their father, Kuvera.
hanyante paśavo yatra
manyamānair imaṁ deham
hanyante—are killed in many ways (especially by slaughterhouses); paśavaḥ—four-legged animals (horses, sheep, cows, hogs, etc.); yatra—wherein; nirdayaiḥ—by those merciless persons who are conducted by the mode of passion; ajita-ātmabhiḥ—rascals who are unable to control the senses; manyamānaiḥ—are thinking; imam—this; deham—body; ajara—will never become old or diseased; amṛtyu—death will never come; naśvaram—although the body is destined to be annihilated.
Unable to control their senses, rascals who are falsely proud of their riches or their birth in aristocratic families are so cruel that to maintain their perishable bodies, which they think will never grow old or die, they kill poor animals without mercy. Sometimes they kill animals merely to enjoy an excursion.
When the modes of passion and ignorance increase in human society, giving rise to unnecessary economic development, the result is that people become involved with wine, women and gambling. Then, being mad, they maintain big slaughterhouses or occasionally go on pleasure excursions to kill animals. Forgetting that however one may try to maintain the body, the body is subject to birth, death, old age and disease, such foolish rascals engage in sinful activities, one after another. Being duṣkṛtīs, they completely forget the existence of the supreme controller, who is sitting within the core of everyone’s heart (īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe ’rjuna tiṣṭhati [Bg. 18.61]). That supreme controller is observing every bit of one’s activity, and He rewards or punishes everyone by giving one a suitable body made by material nature (bhrāmayan sarva-bhūtāni yantrārūḍhāni māyayā [Bg. 18.61]). In this way, sinful persons automatically receive punishment in different types of bodies. The root cause of this punishment is that when one unnecessarily accumulates wealth, one becomes more and more degraded, not knowing that his wealth will be finished with his next birth.
Animal killing is prohibited. Every living being, of course, has to eat something (jīvo jīvasya jīvanam). But one should be taught what kind of food one should take. Therefore the Īśopaniṣad instructs, tena tyaktena bhuñjīthāḥ: one should eat whatever is allotted for human beings. Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad-gītā (9.26):
“If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, I will accept it.” A devotee, therefore, does not eat anything that would require slaughterhouses for poor animals. Rather, devotees take prasāda of Kṛṣṇa (tena tyaktena bhuñjīthāḥ). Kṛṣṇa recommends that one give Him patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyam—a leaf, a flower, fruit or water. Animal food is never recommended for human beings; instead, a human being is recommended to take prasāda, remnants of food left by Kṛṣṇa. Yajña-śiṣṭāśinaḥ santo mucyante sarva-kilbiṣaiḥ (Bg. 3.13). If one practices eating prasāda, even if there is some little sinful activity involved, one becomes free from the results of sinful acts.
deva-saṁjñitam apy ante
bhūta-dhruk tat-kṛte svārthaṁ
kiṁ veda nirayo yataḥ
deva-saṁjñitam—the body now known as a very exalted person, like president, minister or even demigod; api—even if the body is so exalted; ante—after death; kṛmi—turns into worms; viṭ—or into stool; bhasma-saṁjñitam—or into ashes; bhūta-dhruk—a person who does not accept the śāstric injunctions and is unnecessarily envious of other living entities; tat-kṛte—by acting in that way; sva-artham—self-interest; kim—who is there; veda—who knows; nirayaḥ yataḥ—because from such sinful activities one must suffer hellish conditions.
While living one may be proud of one’s body, thinking oneself a very big man, minister, president or even demigod, but whatever one may be, after death this body will turn either into worms, into stool or into ashes. If one kills poor animals to satisfy the temporary whims of this body, one does not know that he will suffer in his next birth, for such a sinful miscreant must go to hell and suffer the results of his actions.
In this verse the three words kṛmi-vid-bhasma are significant. After death, the body may become kṛmi, which means “worms,” for if the body is disposed of without cremation, it may be eaten by worms; or else it may be eaten by animals like hogs and vultures and be turned into stool. Those who are more civilized burn the dead body, and thus it becomes ashes (bhasma-saṁjñitam). Yet although the body will be turned into worms, stool or ashes, foolish persons, just to maintain it, commit many sinful activities. This is certainly regrettable. The human form of body is actually meant for jīvasya tattva jijñāsā, enlightenment in knowledge of spiritual values. Therefore, one must seek shelter of a bona fide spiritual master. Tasmād guruṁ prapadyeta: one must approach a guru. Who is a guru? Śābde pare ca niṣṇātam (Bhāg. 11.3.21): a guru is one who has full transcendental knowledge. Unless one approaches a spiritual master, one remains in ignorance. Ācāryavān puruṣo veda (Chāndogya Upaniṣad 6.14.2): one has full knowledge about life when one is ācāryavān, controlled by the ācārya. But when one is conducted by rajo-guṇa and tamo-guṇa, one does not care about anything; instead, one acts like an ordinary foolish animal, risking his life (mṛtyu-saṁsāra-vartmani) and therefore continuing to go through suffering after suffering. Na te viduḥ svārtha-gatiṁ hi viṣṇum (Bhāg. 7.5.31). Such a foolish person does not know how to elevate himself in this body. Instead, he indulges in sinful activities and goes deeper and deeper into hellish life.
dehaḥ kim anna-dātuḥ svaṁ
niṣektur mātur eva ca
mātuḥ pitur vā balinaḥ
kretur agneḥ śuno ’pi vā
dehaḥ—this body; kim anna-dātuḥ—does it belong to the employer who gives me the money to maintain it; svam—or does it belong to me personally; niṣektuḥ—(or does it belong) to the person who discharged the semen; mātuḥ eva—(or does it belong) to the mother who maintained this body within her womb; ca—and; mātuḥ pituḥ vā—or (does it belong) to the father of the mother (because sometimes the father of the mother takes a grandson as an adopted son); balinaḥ—(or does it belong) to the person who takes this body away by force; kretuḥ—or to the person who purchases the body as a slave; agneḥ—or to the fire (because ultimately the body is burned); śunaḥ—or to the dogs and vultures that ultimately eat it; api—even; vā—or.
While alive, does this body belong to its employer, to the self, to the father, the mother, or the mother’s father? Does it belong to the person who takes it away by force, to the slave master who purchases it, or to the sons who burn it in the fire? Or, if the body is not burned, does it belong to the dogs that eat it? Among the many possible claimants, who is the rightful claimant? Not to ascertain this but instead to maintain the body by sinful activities is not good.
evaṁ sādhāraṇaṁ deham
ko vidvān ātmasāt kṛtvā
hanti jantūn ṛte ’sataḥ
evam—in this way; sādhāraṇam—common property; deham—the body; avyakta—from unmanifested nature; prabhava—manifested in that way; apyayam—and again merged with the unmanifested (“for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return”); kaḥ—who is that person; vidvān—one who is actually in knowledge; ātmasāt kṛtvā—claiming as his own; hanti—kills; jantūn—poor animals; ṛte—except; asataḥ—rascals who have no knowledge, no clear understanding.
This body, after all, is produced by the unmanifested nature and again annihilated and merged in the natural elements. Therefore, it is the common property of everyone. Under the circumstances, who but a rascal claims this property as his own and while maintaining it commits such sinful activities as killing animals just to satisfy his whims? Unless one is a rascal, one cannot commit such sinful activities.
Atheists do not believe in the existence of the soul. Nonetheless, unless one is very cruel, why should one kill animals unnecessarily? The body is a manifestation of a combination of matter. In the beginning it was nothing, but by a combination of matter it has come into existence. Then again, when the combination is dismantled, the body will no longer exist. In the beginning it was nothing, and in the end it will be nothing. Why then should one commit sinful activities when it is manifested? It is not possible for anyone to do this unless he is rascal number one.
dāridryaṁ param añjanam
daridraḥ param īkṣate
asataḥ—of such a foolish rascal; śrī-mada-andhasya—who is blinded by temporarily possessing riches and opulence; dāridryam—poverty; param añjanam—the best ointment for the eyes, by which to see things as they are; ātma-aupamyena—with comparison to himself; bhūtāni—living beings; daridraḥ—a poverty-stricken man; param—perfectly; īkṣate—can see things as they are.
Atheistic fools and rascals who are very much proud of wealth fail to see things as they are. Therefore, returning them to poverty is the proper ointment for their eyes so they may see things as they are. At least a poverty-stricken man can realize how painful poverty is, and therefore he will not want others to be in a painful condition like his own.
Even today, if a man who was formerly poverty-stricken gets money, he is inclined to utilize his money to perform many philanthropic activities, like opening schools for uneducated men and hospitals for the diseased. In this connection there is an instructive story called punar mūṣiko bhava, “Again Become a Mouse.” A mouse was very much harassed by a cat, and therefore the mouse approached a saintly person to request to become a cat. When the mouse became a cat, he was harassed by a dog, and then when he became a dog, he was harassed by a tiger. But when he became a tiger, he stared at the saintly person, and when the saintly person asked him, “What do you want?” the tiger said, “I want to eat you.” Then the saintly person cursed him, saying, “May you again become a mouse.” A similar thing is going on all over the universe. One is going up and down, sometimes becoming a mouse, sometimes a tiger, and so on. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said:
The living entities are promoted and degraded by the laws of nature, but if one is very, very fortunate, by association with saintly persons he gets the seed of devotional service, and his life becomes successful. Nārada Muni wanted to bring Nalakūvara and Maṇigrīva to the platform of devotional service through poverty, and thus he cursed them. Such is the mercy of a Vaiṣṇava. Unless one is brought to the Vaiṣṇava platform, one cannot be a good man. Harāv abhaktasya kuto mahad-guṇāḥ (Bhāg. 5.18.12). An avaiṣṇava never becomes a good man, however severely he is punished.
jantor necchati tāṁ vyathām
jīva-sāmyaṁ gato liṅgair
yathā—just as; kaṇṭaka-viddha-aṅgaḥ—a person whose body has been pinpricked; jantoḥ—of such an animal; na—not; icchati—desires; tām—a particular; vyathām—pain; jīva-sāmyam gataḥ—when he understands that the position is the same for everyone; liṅgaiḥ—by possessing a particular type of body; na—not; tathā—so; aviddha-kaṇṭakaḥ—a person who has not been pinpricked.
By seeing their faces, one whose body has been pricked by pins can understand the pain of others who are pinpricked. Realizing that this pain is the same for everyone, he does not want others to suffer in this way. But one who has never been pricked by pins cannot understand this pain.
There is a saying, “The happiness of wealth is enjoyable by a person who has tasted the distress of poverty.” There is also another common saying, vandhyā ki bujhibe prasava-vedanā: “A woman who has not given birth to a child cannot understand the pain of childbirth.” Unless one comes to the platform of actual experience, one cannot realize what is pain and what is happiness in this material world. The laws of nature act accordingly. If one has killed an animal, one must himself be killed by that same animal. This is called māṁsa. Mām means “me,” and sa means “he.” As I am eating an animal, that animal will have the opportunity to eat me. In every state, therefore, it is ordinarily the custom that if a person commits murder he is hanged.
muktaḥ sarva-madair iha
tad dhi tasya paraṁ tapaḥ
daridraḥ—a poverty-stricken person; nir-aham-stambhaḥ—is automatically freed from all false prestige; muktaḥ—liberated; sarva—all; madaiḥ—from false ego; iha—in this world; kṛcchram—with great difficulty; yadṛcchayā āpnoti—what he gains by chance from providence; tat—that; hi—indeed; tasya—his; param—perfect; tapaḥ—austerity.
A poverty-stricken man must automatically undergo austerities and penances because he does not have the wealth to possess anything. Thus his false prestige is vanquished. Always in need of food, shelter and clothing, he must be satisfied with what is obtained by the mercy of providence. Undergoing such compulsory austerities is good for him because this purifies him and completely frees him from false ego.
A saintly person voluntarily accepts a state of poverty just to become free from material false prestige. Many great kings left their princely standard of living and went to the forest to practice austerity according to Vedic culture, just to become purified. But if one who cannot voluntarily accept such austerity is put into a situation of poverty, he automatically must practice austerity. Austerity is good for everyone because it frees one from material conditions. Therefore, if one is very much proud of his material position, putting him into poverty is the best way to rectify his foolishness. Dāridrya-doṣo guṇa-rāśi-nāśi: when a person is poverty-stricken, naturally his false pride in aristocracy, wealth, education and beauty is smashed. Thus corrected, he is in the right position for liberation.
nityam—always; kṣut—with hunger; kṣāma—weak, without necessary strength; dehasya—of the body of a poor man; daridrasya—poverty-stricken; anna-kāṅkṣiṇaḥ—always desiring to get sufficient food; indriyāṇi—the senses, which are compared to snakes; anuśuṣyanti—gradually become weaker and weaker, with less potency; hiṁsā api—the tendency to be envious of others; vinivartate—reduces.
Always hungry, longing for sufficient food, a poverty-stricken man gradually becomes weaker and weaker. Having no extra potency, his senses are automatically pacified. A poverty-stricken man, therefore, is unable to perform harmful, envious activities. In other words, such a man automatically gains the results of the austerities and penances adopted voluntarily by saintly persons.
According to the opinion of experienced medical practitioners, diabetes is a result of voracious eating, and tuberculosis is a disease of undereating. We should desire neither to be diabetic nor to be tubercular. Yāvad artha-prayojanam. We should eat frugally and keep the body fit for advancing in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. As recommended elsewhere in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.2.10):
The real business of human life is to keep oneself fit for advancement in spiritual realization. Human life is not meant for making the senses unnecessarily strong so that one suffers from disease and one increases in an envious, fighting spirit. In this age of Kali, however, human civilization is so misled that people are unnecessarily increasing in economic development, and as a result they are opening more and more slaughterhouses, liquor shops and brothels. In this way, the whole civilization is being spoiled.
sadbhiḥ kṣiṇoti taṁ tarṣaṁ
tata ārād viśuddhyati
daridrasya—of a person who is poverty-stricken; eva—indeed; yujyante—may easily associate; sādhavaḥ—saintly persons; sama-darśinaḥ—although sādhus are equal to everyone, to the poor and the rich, the poor man can take advantage of their association; sadbhiḥ—by the association of such saintly persons; kṣiṇoti—reduces; tam—the original cause of material suffering; tarṣam—the desire for material enjoyment; tataḥ—thereafter; ārāt—very soon; viśuddhyati—his material contamination is cleansed off.
Saintly persons may freely associate with those who are poverty-stricken, but not with those who are rich. A poverty-stricken man, by association with saintly persons, very soon becomes uninterested in material desires, and the dirty things within the core of his heart are cleansed away.
It is said, mahad-vicalanaṁ nṝṇāṁ gṛhiṇāṁ dīna-cetasām (Bhāg. 10.8.4). The only business of a saintly person or sannyāsī, a person in the renounced order, is to preach Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Sādhus, saintly persons, want to preach to both the poor and the rich, but the poor take more advantage of the sādhus’ preaching than the rich do. A poor man receives sādhus very quickly, offers them obeisances, and tries to take advantage of their presence, whereas a rich man keeps a big greyhound dog at his door so that no one can enter his house. He posts a sign saying “Beware of Dog” and avoids the association of saintly persons, whereas a poor man keeps his door open for them and thus benefits by their association more than a rich man does. Because Nārada Muni, in his previous life, was the poverty-stricken son of a maidservant, he got the association of saintly persons and later became the exalted Nārada Muni. This was his actual experience. Therefore, he is now comparing the position of a poor man with that of a rich man.
If one gets the advantage of association with saintly persons, by their instructions one becomes more and more purified of material desires.
Material life means that one forgets Kṛṣṇa and that one increases in one’s desires for sense gratification. But if one receives the advantage of instructions from saintly persons and forgets the importance of material desires, one is automatically purified. Ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanaṁ bhava-mahā-dāvāgni-nirvāpaṇam [Cc. Antya 20.12] (Śikṣāṣṭaka 1). Unless the core of a materialistic person’s heart is purified, he cannot get rid of the pangs of bhava-mahā-dāvāgni, the blazing fire of material existence.
upekṣyaiḥ kiṁ dhana-stambhair
sādhūnām—of saintly persons; sama-cittānām—of those who are equal to everyone; mukunda-caraṇa-eṣiṇām—whose only business is to serve Mukunda, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and who always aspire for that service; upekṣyaiḥ—neglecting the association; kim—what; dhana-stambhaiḥ—rich and proud; asadbhiḥ—with the association of undesirable persons; asat-āśrayaiḥ—taking shelter of those who are asat, or nondevotees.
Saintly persons [sādhus] think of Kṛṣṇa twenty-four hours a day. They have no other interest. Why should people neglect the association of such exalted spiritual personalities and try to associate with materialists, taking shelter of nondevotees, most of whom are proud and rich?
A sādhu is one who is engaged in devotional service to the Lord without deviation (bhajate mām ananya-bhāk).
“The symptoms of a sādhu are that he is tolerant, merciful and friendly to all living entities. He has no enemies, he is peaceful, he abides by the scriptures, and all his characteristics are sublime.” (Bhāg. 3.25.21) A sādhu is suhṛdaḥ sarva-dehinām, the friend of everyone. Why then should the rich, instead of associating with sādhus, waste their valuable time in association with other rich men who are averse to spiritual life? Both the poor man and the rich man can take advantage of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, and here it is advised that everyone do so. There is no profit in avoiding the association of the members of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura has said:
If we give up the association of sādhus, saintly persons engaged in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, and associate with persons seeking sense gratification and accumulating wealth for this purpose, our life is spoiled. The word asat refers to an avaiṣṇava, one who is not a devotee of Kṛṣṇa, and sat refers to a Vaiṣṇava, Kṛṣṇa’s devotee. One should always seek the association of Vaiṣṇavas and not spoil one’s life by mixing with avaiṣṇavas. In Bhagavad-gītā (7.15), the distinction between Vaiṣṇava and avaiṣṇava is enunciated:
Anyone who is not surrendered to Kṛṣṇa is a most sinful person (duṣkṛtī), a rascal (mūḍha), and the lowest of men (narādhama). Therefore one should not avoid the association of Vaiṣṇavas, which is now available all over the world in the form of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement.
tad ahaṁ mattayor mādhvyā
tat—therefore; aham—I; mattayoḥ—of these two drunken persons; mādhvyā—by drinking liquor; vāruṇyā—named Vāruṇī; śrī-mada-andhayoḥ—who are blinded by celestial opulence; tamaḥ-madam—this false prestige due to the mode of ignorance; hariṣyāmi—I shall take away; straiṇayoḥ—because they have become so attached to women; ajita-ātmanoḥ—being unable to control the senses.
Therefore, since these two persons, drunk with the liquor named Vāruṇī, or Mādhvī, and unable to control their senses, have been blinded by the pride of celestial opulence and have become attached to women, I shall relieve them of their false prestige.
When a sādhu chastises or punishes someone, he does not do so for revenge. Mahārāja Parīkṣit had inquired why Nārada Muni was subject to such a spirit of revenge (tamaḥ). But this was not tamaḥ, for Nārada Muni, in full knowledge of what was for the good of the two brothers, wisely thought of how to cure them. Vaiṣṇavas are good physicians. They know how to protect a person from material disease. Thus they are never in tamo-guṇa. Sa guṇān samatītyaitān brahma-bhūyāya kalpate (Bg. 14.26). Vaiṣṇavas are always situated on the transcendental platform, the Brahman platform. They cannot be subject to mistakes or the influence of the modes of material nature. Whatever they do, after full consideration, is meant just to lead everyone back home, back to Godhead.
yad imau loka-pālasya
putrau bhūtvā tamaḥ-plutau
na vivāsasam ātmānaṁ
ato ’rhataḥ sthāvaratāṁ
syātāṁ naivaṁ yathā punaḥ
smṛtiḥ syān mat-prasādena
vṛtte svarlokatāṁ bhūyo
yat—because; imau—these two young demigods; loka-pālasya—of the great demigod Kuvera; putrau—born as sons; bhūtvā—being so (they should not have become like that); tamaḥ-plutau—so absorbed in the mode of darkness; na—not; vivāsasam—without any dress, completely naked; ātmānam—their personal bodies; vijānītaḥ—could understand that they were naked; su-durmadau—because they were very much fallen due to false pride; ataḥ—therefore; arhataḥ—they deserve; sthāvaratām—immobility like that of a tree; syātām—they may become; na—not; evam—in this way; yathā—as; punaḥ—again; smṛtiḥ—remembrance; syāt—may continue; mat-prasādena—by my mercy; tatra api—over and above that; mat-anugrahāt—by my special favor; vāsudevasya—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; sānnidhyam—the personal association, face to face; labdhvā—obtaining; divya-śarat-śate vṛtte—after the expiry of one hundred years by the measurement of the demigods; svarlokatām—the desire to live in the celestial world; bhūyaḥ—again; labdha-bhaktī—having revived their natural condition of devotional service; bhaviṣyataḥ—will become.
These two young men, Nalakūvara and Maṇigrīva, are by fortune the sons of the great demigod Kuvera, but because of false prestige and madness after drinking liquor, they are so fallen that they are naked but cannot understand that they are. Therefore, because they are living like trees (for trees are naked but are not conscious), these two young men should receive the bodies of trees. This will be proper punishment. Nonetheless, after they become trees and until they are released, by my mercy they will have remembrance of their past sinful activities. Moreover, by my special favor, after the expiry of one hundred years by the measurement of the demigods, they will be able to see the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vāsudeva, face to face, and thus revive their real position as devotees.
A tree has no consciousness: when cut, it feels no pain. But Nārada Muni wanted the consciousness of Nalakūvara and Maṇigrīva to continue, so that even after being released from the life of trees, they would not forget the circumstances under which they had been punished. Therefore, to bestow upon them special favor, Nārada Muni arranged things in such a way that after being released, they would be able to see Kṛṣṇa in Vṛndāvana and thus revive their dormant bhakti.
Each day of the demigods in the upper planetary system equals six months of our measurement. Although the demigods in the upper planetary system are attached to material enjoyment, they are all devotees, and therefore they are called demigods. There are two kinds of persons, namely the devas and the asuras. Asuras forget their relationship with Kṛṣṇa (āsuraṁ bhāvam āśritāḥ), whereas the devas do not forget.
The distinction between a pure devotee and a karma-miśra devotee is this: a pure devotee does not desire anything for material enjoyment, whereas a mixed devotee becomes a devotee to become a first-class enjoyer of this material world. One who is in direct touch with the Supreme Personality of Godhead in devotional service remains pure, uncontaminated by material desires (anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyaṁ jñāna-karmādy-anāvṛtam [Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu
“One should render transcendental loving service to the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa favorably and without desire for material profit or gain through fruitive activities or philosophical speculation. That is called pure devotional service.” Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.1.11
By karma-miśra-bhakti one is elevated to the celestial kingdom, by jñāna-miśra-bhakti one is able to merge in the Brahman effulgence, and by yoga-miśra-bhakti one is able to realize the omnipotency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. But pure bhakti does not depend on karma, jñāna or yoga, for it simply consists of loving affairs. The liberation of the bhakta, therefore, which is called not just mukti but vimukti, surpasses the five other kinds of liberation—sāyujya, sārūpya, sālokya, sārṣṭi and sāmīpya. A pure devotee always engages in pure service (ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānuśīlanaṁ bhaktir uttamā). Taking birth in the upper planetary system as a demigod is a chance to become a further purified devotee and go back home, back to Godhead. Nārada Muni indirectly gave Maṇigrīva and Nalakūvara the greatest opportunity by his so-called curse.
evam uktvā sa devarṣir
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued to speak; evam uktvā—thus uttering; saḥ—he; devarṣiḥ—the greatest saintly person, Nārada; gataḥ—left that place; nārāyaṇa-āśramam—for his own āśrama, known as Nārāyaṇa-āśrama; nalakūvara—Nalakūvara; maṇigrīvau—and Maṇigrīva; āsatuḥ—remained there to become; yamala-arjunau—twin arjuna trees.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued: Having thus spoken, the great saint Devarṣi Nārada returned to his āśrama, known as Nārāyaṇa-āśrama, and Nalakūvara and Maṇigrīva became twin arjuna trees.
Arjuna trees are still found in many forests, and their skin is used by cardiologists to prepare medicine for heart trouble. This means that even though they are trees, they are disturbed when skinned for medical science.
satyaṁ kartuṁ vaco hariḥ
jagāma śanakais tatra
ṛṣeḥ—of the great sage and saintly person Nārada; bhāgavata-mukhyasya—of the topmost of all devotees; satyam—truthful; kartum—to prove; vacaḥ—his words; hariḥ—the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa; jagāma—went there; śanakaiḥ—very slowly; tatra—there; yatra—to the spot where; āstām—there were; yamala-arjunau—the twin arjuna trees.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, to fulfill the truthfulness of the words of the greatest devotee, Nārada, slowly went to that spot where the twin arjuna trees were standing.
devarṣir me priyatamo
yad imau dhanadātmajau
tat tathā sādhayiṣyāmi
yad gītaṁ tan mahātmanā
devarṣiḥ—the great saint Devarṣi Nārada; me—My; priya-tamaḥ—most beloved devotee; yat—although; imau—these two persons (Nalakūvara and Maṇigrīva); dhanada-ātmajau—born of a rich father and being nondevotees; tat—the words of Devarṣi; tathā—just so; sādhayiṣyāmi—I shall execute (because he wanted Me to come face to face with the yamala-arjuna, I shall do so); yat gītam—as already stated; tat—that; mahātmanā—by Nārada Muni.
“Although these two young men are the sons of the very rich Kuvera and I have nothing to do with them, Devarṣi Nārada is My very dear and affectionate devotee, and therefore because he wanted Me to come face to face with them, I must do so for their deliverance.”
Nalakūvara and Maṇigrīva actually had nothing to do with devotional service or seeing the Supreme Personality of Godhead face to face, for this is not an ordinary opportunity. It is not that because one is very rich or learned or was born in an aristocratic family one will be able to see the Supreme Personality of Godhead face to face. This is impossible. But in this case, because Nārada Muni desired that Nalakūvara and Maṇigrīva see Vāsudeva face to face, the Supreme Personality of Godhead wanted to fulfill the words of His very dear devotee Nārada Muni. If one seeks the favor of a devotee instead of directly asking favors from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one is very easily successful. Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura has therefore recommended: vaiṣṇava ṭhākura tomāra kukkura bhuliyā jānaha more, kṛṣṇa se tomāra kṛṣṇa dite pāra. One should desire to become like a dog in strictly following a devotee. Kṛṣṇa is in the hand of a devotee. Adurlabham ātma-bhaktau. Thus without the favor of a devotee, one cannot directly approach Kṛṣṇa, what to speak of engaging in His service. Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura therefore sings, chāḍiyā vaiṣṇava-sevā nistāra pāyeche kebā: unless one becomes a servant of a pure devotee, one cannot be delivered from the material condition of life. In our Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava society, following in the footsteps of Rūpa Gosvāmī, our first business is to seek shelter of a bona fide spiritual master (ādau gurv-āśrayaḥ).
kṛṣṇas tu yamayor yayau
iti—thus deciding; antareṇa—between; arjunayoḥ—the two arjuna trees; kṛṣṇaḥ tu—Lord Kṛṣṇa; yamayoḥ yayau—entered between the two trees; ātma-nirveśa-mātreṇa—as soon as He entered (between the two trees); tiryak—crossways; gatam—so became; ulūkhalam—the big mortar for grinding spices.
Having thus spoken, Kṛṣṇa soon entered between the two arjuna trees, and thus the big mortar to which He was bound turned crosswise and stuck between them.
bālena niṣkarṣayatānvag ulūkhalaṁ tad
bālena—by the boy Kṛṣṇa; niṣkarṣayatā—who was dragging; anvak—following the dragging of Kṛṣṇa; ulūkhalam—the wooden mortar; tat—that; dāma-udareṇa—by Kṛṣṇa, who was tied by the belly; tarasā—with great force; utkalita—uprooted; aṅghri-bandhau—the roots of the two trees; niṣpetatuḥ—fell down; parama-vikramita—by the supreme power; ati-vepa—trembling severely; skandha—trunk; pravāla—bunches of leaves; viṭapau—those two trees, along with their branches; kṛta—having made; caṇḍa-śabdau—a fierce sound.
By dragging behind Him with great force the wooden mortar tied to His belly, the boy Kṛṣṇa uprooted the two trees. By the great strength of the Supreme Person, the two trees, with their trunks, leaves and branches, trembled severely and fell to the ground with a great crash.
This is the pastime of Kṛṣṇa known as dāmodara-līlā. Therefore another of Kṛṣṇa’s names is Dāmodara. As stated in the Hari-vaṁśa:
tatra śriyā paramayā kakubhaḥ sphurantau
siddhāv upetya kujayor iva jāta-vedāḥ
kṛṣṇaṁ praṇamya śirasākhila-loka-nāthaṁ
baddhāñjalī virajasāv idam ūcatuḥ sma
tatra—there, on the very spot where the two arjunas fell; śriyā—with beautification; paramayā—superexcellent; kakubhaḥ—all directions; sphurantau—illuminating by effulgence; siddhau—two perfect persons; upetya—then coming out; kujayoḥ—from between the two trees; iva—like; jāta-vedāḥ—fire personified; kṛṣṇam—unto Lord Kṛṣṇa; praṇamya—offering obeisances; śirasā—with the head; akhila-loka-nātham—to the Supreme Person, the controller of everything; baddha-añjalī—with folded hands; virajasau—fully cleansed of the mode of ignorance; idam—the following words; ūcatuḥ sma—uttered.
Thereafter, in that very place where the two arjuna trees had fallen, two great, perfect personalities, who appeared like fire personified, came out of the two trees. The effulgence of their beauty illuminating all directions, with bowed heads they offered obeisances to Kṛṣṇa, and with hands folded they spoke the following words.
kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa mahā-yogiṁs
tvam ādyaḥ puruṣaḥ paraḥ
vyaktāvyaktam idaṁ viśvaṁ
rūpaṁ te brāhmaṇā viduḥ
kṛṣṇa kṛṣṇa—O Lord Kṛṣṇa, O Lord Kṛṣṇa; mahā-yogin—O master of mysticism; tvam—You, the exalted personality; ādyaḥ—the root cause of everything; puruṣaḥ—the Supreme Person; paraḥ—beyond this material creation; vyakta-avyaktam—this material cosmic manifestation, consisting of cause and effect, or gross and subtle forms; idam—this; viśvam—whole world; rūpam—form; te—Your; brāhmaṇāḥ—learned brāhmaṇas; viduḥ—know.
O Lord Kṛṣṇa, Lord Kṛṣṇa, Your opulent mysticism is inconceivable. You are the supreme, original person, the cause of all causes, immediate and remote, and You are beyond this material creation. Learned brāhmaṇas know [on the basis of the Vedic statement sarvaṁ khalv idaṁ brahma] that You are everything and that this cosmic manifestation, in its gross and subtle aspects, is Your form.
The two demigods Nalakūvara and Maṇigrīva, because of their continuing memory, could understand the supremacy of Kṛṣṇa by the grace of Nārada. Now they admitted, “That we should be delivered by the blessings of Nārada Muni was all Your plan. Therefore You are the supreme mystic. Everything—past, present and future—is known to You. Your plan was made so nicely that although we stayed here as twin arjuna trees, You have appeared as a small boy to deliver us. This was all Your inconceivable arrangement. Because You are the Supreme Person, You can do everything.”
tvam ekaḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ
tvam eva kālo bhagavān
viṣṇur avyaya īśvaraḥ
tvaṁ mahān prakṛtiḥ sūkṣmā
tvam eva puruṣo ’dhyakṣaḥ
tvam—Your Lordship; ekaḥ—one; sarva-bhūtānām—of all living entities; deha—of the body; asu—of the life force; ātma—of the soul; indriya—of the senses; īśvaraḥ—the Supersoul, the controller; tvam—Your Lordship; eva—indeed; kālaḥ—the time factor; bhagavān—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; viṣṇuḥ—all-pervading; avyayaḥ—imperishable; īśvaraḥ—controller; tvam—Your Lordship; mahān—the greatest; prakṛtiḥ—the cosmic manifestation; sūkṣmā—subtle; rajaḥ-sattva-tamaḥ-mayī—consisting of three modes of nature (passion, goodness and ignorance); tvam eva—Your Lordship is indeed; puruṣaḥ—the Supreme Person; adhyakṣaḥ—the proprietor; sarva-kṣetra—in all living entities; vikāra-vit—knowing the restless mind.
You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the controller of everything. The body, life, ego and senses of every living entity are Your own self. You are the Supreme Person, Viṣṇu, the imperishable controller. You are the time factor, the immediate cause, and You are material nature, consisting of the three modes passion, goodness and ignorance. You are the original cause of this material manifestation. You are the Supersoul, and therefore You know everything within the core of the heart of every living entity.
gṛhyamāṇais tvam agrāhyo
vikāraiḥ prākṛtair guṇaiḥ
ko nv ihārhati vijñātuṁ
prāk siddhaṁ guṇa-saṁvṛtaḥ
gṛhyamāṇaiḥ—accepting the body made of material nature as existing at the present moment because of being visible; tvam—You; agrāhyaḥ—not confined in a body made of material nature; vikāraiḥ—agitated by the mind; prākṛtaiḥ guṇaiḥ—by the material modes of nature (sattva-guṇa, rajo-guṇa and tamo-guṇa); kaḥ—who is there; nu—after that; iha—in this material world; arhati—who deserves; vijñātum—to know; prāk siddham—that which existed before the creation; guṇa-saṁvṛtaḥ—because of being covered by the material qualities.
O Lord, You exist before the creation. Therefore, who, trapped by a body of material qualities in this material world, can understand You?
As it is said:
“No one can understand the transcendental nature of the name, form, quality and pastimes of Śrī Kṛṣṇa through his materially contaminated senses. Only when one becomes spiritually saturated by transcendental service to the Lord are the transcendental name, form, quality and pastimes of the Lord revealed to him.” (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.2.234)
Kṛṣṇa’s name, attributes and form are Absolute Truth, existing before the creation. Therefore, how can those who are created—that is, those entrapped in bodies created of material elements—understand Kṛṣṇa perfectly? This is not possible. But, sevonmukhe hi jihvādau svayam eva sphuraty adaḥ: Kṛṣṇa reveals Himself to those engaged in devotional service. This is also confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (18.15) by the Lord Himself: bhaktyā mām abhijānāti [Bg. 18.55]. Even the descriptions of Kṛṣṇa in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam are sometimes misunderstood by less intelligent men with a poor fund of knowledge. Therefore, the best course by which to know Him is to engage oneself in pure devotional activities. The more one advances in devotional activities, the more one can understand Him as He is. If from the material platform one could understand Kṛṣṇa, then, since Kṛṣṇa is everything (sarvaṁ khalv idaṁ brahma), one could understand Kṛṣṇa by seeing anything within this material world. But that is not possible.
Everything is resting on Kṛṣṇa, and everything is Kṛṣṇa, but this is not to be realized by persons on the material platform.
tasmai tubhyaṁ bhagavate
mahimne brahmaṇe namaḥ
tasmai—(because You are not to be understood from the material platform, we simply offer obeisances) unto Him; tubhyam—unto You; bhagavate—unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead; vāsudevāya—unto Vāsudeva, the origin of Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha; vedhase—unto the origin of creation; ātma-dyota-guṇaiḥ channa-mahimne—unto You whose glories are covered by Your personal energy; brahmaṇe—unto the Supreme Brahman; namaḥ—our respectful obeisances.
O Lord, whose glories are covered by Your own energy, You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead. You are Saṅkarṣaṇa, the origin of creation, and You are Vāsudeva, the origin of the caturvyūha. Because You are everything and are therefore the Supreme Brahman, we simply offer our respectful obeisances unto You.
Instead of trying to understand Kṛṣṇa in detail, it is better to offer our respectful obeisances unto Him, for He is the origin of everything and He is everything. Because we are covered by the material modes of nature, He is very difficult for us to understand unless He reveals Himself to us. Therefore it is better for us to acknowledge that He is everything and offer obeisances unto His lotus feet.
tais tair atulyātiśayair
vīryair dehiṣv asaṅgataiḥ
sa bhavān sarva-lokasya
bhavāya vibhavāya ca
sāmprataṁ patir āśiṣām
yasya—of whom; avatārāḥ—the different incarnations, like Matsya, Kūrma and Varāha; jñāyante—are speculated; śarīreṣu—in different bodies, differently visible; aśarīriṇaḥ—they are not ordinary material bodies, but are all transcendental; taiḥ taiḥ—by such bodily activities; atulya—incomparable; ati-śayaiḥ—unlimited; vīryaiḥ—by strength and power; dehiṣu—by those who actually have material bodies; asaṅgataiḥ—which activities, enacted in different incarnations, are impossible to be performed; saḥ—the same Supreme; bhavān—Your Lordship; sarva-lokasya—of everyone; bhavāya—for the elevation; vibhavāya—for the liberation; ca—and; avatīrṇaḥ—have now appeared; aṁśa-bhāgena—in full potency, with different parts and parcels; sāmpratam—at the present moment; patiḥ āśiṣām—You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the master of all auspiciousness.
Appearing in bodies like those of an ordinary fish, tortoise and hog, You exhibit activities impossible for such creatures to perform—extraordinary, incomparable, transcendental activities of unlimited power and strength. These bodies of Yours, therefore, are not made of material elements, but are incarnations of Your Supreme Personality. You are the same Supreme Personality of Godhead, who have now appeared, with full potency, for the benefit of all living entities within this material world.
Kṛṣṇa appears as an incarnation when real spiritual life declines and when rogues and thieves increase to disturb the situation of the world. Unfortunate, less intelligent persons, bereft of devotional service, cannot understand the Lord’s activities, and therefore such persons describe these activities as kalpanā—mythology or imagination—because they are rascals and the lowest of men (na māṁ duṣkṛtino mūḍhāḥ prapadyante narādhamāḥ [Bg. 7.15]). Such men cannot understand that the events described by Vyāsadeva in the purāṇas and other śāstras are not fictitious or imaginary, but factual.
Kṛṣṇa, in His full, unlimited potency, here shows that He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, for although the two trees were so large and sturdy that even many elephants could not move them, Kṛṣṇa, as a child, exhibited such extraordinary strength that they fell down with a great sound. From the very beginning, by killing Pūtanā, Śakaṭāsura and Tṛṇāvartāsura, by causing the trees to fall, and by showing the entire universe within His mouth, Kṛṣṇa proved that He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The lowest of men (mūḍhas), because of sinful activities, cannot understand this, but devotees can accept it without a doubt. Thus the position of a devotee is different from that of a nondevotee.
yadūnāṁ pataye namaḥ
namaḥ—we therefore offer our respectful obeisances; parama-kalyāṇa—You are the supreme auspiciousness; namaḥ—our respectful obeisances unto You; parama-maṅgala—whatever You do is good; vāsudevāya—unto the original Personality of Godhead, Vāsudeva; śāntāya—unto the most peaceful; yadūnām—of the Yadu dynasty; pataye—unto the controller; namaḥ—our respectful obeisances unto You.
O supremely auspicious, we offer our respectful obeisances unto You, who are the supreme good. O most famous descendant and controller of the Yadu dynasty, O son of Vasudeva, O most peaceful, let us offer our obeisances unto Your lotus feet.
The word parama-kalyāṇa is significant because Kṛṣṇa, in any of His incarnations, appears in order to protect the sādhus (paritrāṇāya sādhūnām). The sādhus, saintly persons or devotees, are always harassed by nondevotees, and Kṛṣṇa appears in His incarnations to give them relief. This is His first concern. If we study the history of Kṛṣṇa’s life, we shall find that for most of His life He predominantly engaged in killing demons one after another.
anujānīhi nau bhūmaṁs
darśanaṁ nau bhagavata
ṛṣer āsīd anugrahāt
anujānīhi—may we have permission; nau—we; bhūman—O greatest universal form; tava anucara-kiṅkarau—because of being servants of Your most confidential devotee Nārada Muni; darśanam—to see personally; nau—of us; bhagavataḥ—of You, the Supreme Personality of Godhead; ṛṣeḥ—of the great saint Nārada; āsīt—there was (in the form of a curse); anugrahāt—from the mercy.
O supreme form, we are always servants of Your servants, especially of Nārada Muni. Now give us permission to leave for our home. It is by the grace and mercy of Nārada Muni that we have been able to see You face to face.
Unless delivered or blessed by a devotee, one cannot realize that Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Manuṣyāṇāṁ sahasreṣu kaścid yatati siddhaye. According to this verse of Bhagavad-gītā (7.3), there are so many siddhas or yogīs who cannot understand Kṛṣṇa; instead, they misunderstand Him. But if one takes shelter of a devotee descending from the paramparā system of Nārada (svayambhūr nāradaḥ śambhuḥ [SB 6.3.20]), one can then understand who is an incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In this age, many pseudo incarnations are advertised simply for having exhibited some magical performances, but except for persons who are servants of Nārada and other servants of Kṛṣṇa, no one can understand who is God and who is not. This is confirmed by Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura. Chāḍiyā vaiṣṇava-sevā nistāra pāyeche kebā: no one is delivered from the material conception of life unless favored by a Vaiṣṇava. Others can never understand, neither by speculation nor by any other bodily or mental gymnastics.
vāṇī guṇānukathane śravaṇau kathāyāṁ
hastau ca karmasu manas tava pādayor naḥ
smṛtyāṁ śiras tava nivāsa-jagat-praṇāme
dṛṣṭiḥ satāṁ darśane ’stu bhavat-tanūnām
vāṇī—words, the power of speech; guṇa-anukathane—always engaged in talking about Your pastimes; śravaṇau—the ear, or aural reception; kathāyām—in talks about You and Your pastimes; hastau—hands and legs and other senses; ca—also; karmasu—engaging them in executing Your mission; manaḥ—the mind; tava—Your; pādayoḥ—of Your lotus feet; naḥ—our; smṛtyām—in remembrance always engaged in meditation; śiraḥ—the head; tava—Your; nivāsa-jagat-praṇāme—because You are all-pervading, You are everything, and our heads should bow down, not looking for enjoyment; dṛṣṭiḥ—the power of sight; satām—of the Vaiṣṇavas; darśane—in seeing; astu—let all of them be engaged in this way; bhavat-tanūnām—who are nondifferent from You.
Henceforward, may all our words describe Your pastimes, may our ears engage in aural reception of Your glories, may our hands, legs and other senses engage in actions pleasing to You, and may our minds always think of Your lotus feet. May our heads offer our obeisances to everything within this world, because all things are also Your different forms, and may our eyes see the forms of Vaiṣṇavas, who are nondifferent from You.
Here the process of understanding the Supreme Personality of Godhead is given. This process is bhakti.
Everything should be engaged in the service of the Lord. Hṛṣīkeṇa hṛṣīkeśa-sevanaṁ bhaktir ucyate [Cc. Madhya 19.170] (Nārada-pañcarātra). Everything—the mind, the body and all the sense organs—should be engaged in Kṛṣṇa’s service. This is to be learned from expert devotees like Nārada, Svayambhū and Śambhu. This is the process. We cannot manufacture our own way of understanding the Supreme Personality of Godhead, for it is not that everything one manufactures or concocts will lead to understanding God. Such a proposition—yata mata, tata patha—is foolish. Kṛṣṇa says, bhaktyāham ekayā grāhyaḥ: “Only by executing the activities of bhakti can one understand Me.” (Bhāg. 11.14.21) This is called ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānuśīlanam, remaining engaged favorably in the service of the Lord.
itthaṁ saṅkīrtitas tābhyāṁ
dāmnā colūkhale baddhaḥ
prahasann āha guhyakau
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued to speak; ittham—in this way, as aforesaid; saṅkīrtitaḥ—being glorified and praised; tābhyām—by the two young demigods; bhagavān—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; gokula-īśvaraḥ—the master of Gokula (because He is sarva-loka-maheśvara); dāmnā—by the rope; ca—also; ulūkhale—on the wooden mortar; baddhaḥ—bound; prahasan—smiling; āha—said; guhyakau—unto the two young demigods.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued: The two young demigods thus offered prayers to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Although Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Godhead, is the master of all and was certainly Gokuleśvara, the master of Gokula, He was bound to the wooden mortar by the ropes of the gopīs, and therefore, smiling widely, He spoke to the sons of Kuvera the following words.
Kṛṣṇa was smiling because He was thinking to Himself, “These two young demigods fell from the higher planetary system to this planet, and I have delivered them from the bondage of standing for a long time as trees, but as for Me, I am bound by the ropes of the gopīs and am subject to their chastisements.” In other words, Kṛṣṇa submits to being chastised and bound by the gopīs because of pure love and affection worthy of being praised by a devotee in so many ways.
jñātaṁ mama puraivaitad
yac chrī-madāndhayor vāgbhir
vibhraṁśo ’nugrahaḥ kṛtaḥ
śrī-bhagavān uvāca—the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; jñātam—everything is known; mama—to Me; purā—in the past; eva—indeed; etat—this incident; ṛṣiṇā—by the great sage Nārada; karuṇā-ātmanā—because he was very, very kind to you; yat—which; śrī-mada-andhayoḥ—who had become mad after material opulence and had thus become blind; vāgbhiḥ—by words or by cursing; vibhraṁśaḥ—falling down from the heavenly planet to become arjuna trees here; anugrahaḥ kṛtaḥ—this was a great favor done by him to you.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: The great saint Nārada Muni is very merciful. By his curse, he showed the greatest favor to both of you, who were mad after material opulence and who had thus become blind. Although you fell from the higher planet Svargaloka and became trees, you were most favored by him. I knew of all these incidents from the very beginning.
It is now confirmed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead that the curse of a devotee is also to be regarded as mercy. As Kṛṣṇa, God, is all-good, a Vaiṣṇava is also all-good. Whatever he does is good for everyone. This is explained in the following verse.
darśanān no bhaved bandhaḥ
puṁso ’kṣṇoḥ savitur yathā
sādhūnām—of devotees; sama-cittānām—who are equally disposed toward everyone; sutarām—excessively, completely; mat-kṛta-ātmanām—of persons who are fully surrendered, determined to render service unto Me; darśanāt—simply by the audience; no bhavet bandhaḥ—freedom from all material bondage; puṁsaḥ—of a person; akṣṇoḥ—of the eyes; savituḥ yathā—as by being face to face with the sun.
When one is face to face with the sun, there is no longer darkness for one’s eyes. Similarly, when one is face to face with a sādhu, a devotee, who is fully determined and surrendered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one will no longer be subject to material bondage.
If by chance one meets a sādhu, a devotee, one’s life is immediately successful, and one is freed from material bondage. It may be argued that whereas someone may receive a sādhu with great respect, someone else may not receive a sādhu with such respect. A sādhu, however, is always equipoised toward everyone. Because of being a pure devotee, a sādhu is always ready to deliver Kṛṣṇa consciousness without discrimination. As soon as one sees a sādhu, one naturally becomes free. Nonetheless, persons who are too much offensive, who commit vaiṣṇava-aparādhas, or offenses to a sādhu, will have to take some time before being rectified. This is also indicated herein.
tad gacchataṁ mat-paramau
sañjāto mayi bhāvo vām
īpsitaḥ paramo ’bhavaḥ
tat gacchatam—now both of you may return; mat-paramau—accepting Me as the supreme destination of life; nalakūvara—O Nalakūvara and Maṇigrīva; sādanam—to your home; sañjātaḥ—being saturated with; mayi—unto Me; bhāvaḥ—devotional service; vām—by you; īpsitaḥ—which was desired; paramaḥ—supreme, highest, always engaged with all senses; abhavaḥ—from which there is no falldown into material existence.
O Nalakūvara and Maṇigrīva, now you may both return home. Since you desire to be always absorbed in My devotional service, your desire to develop love and affection for Me will be fulfilled, and now you will never fall from that platform.
The highest perfection of life is to come to the platform of devotional service and always engage in devotional activities. Understanding this, Nalakūvara and Maṇigrīva desired to attain that platform, and the Supreme Personality of Godhead blessed them with the fulfillment of their transcendental desire.
ity uktau tau parikramya
praṇamya ca punaḥ punaḥ
jagmatur diśam uttarām
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; iti uktau—having been ordered by the Supreme Personality of Godhead in this way; tau—Nalakūvara and Maṇigrīva; parikramya—circumambulating; praṇamya—offering obeisances; ca—also; punaḥ punaḥ—again and again; baddha-ulūkhalam āmantrya—taking the permission of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who was bound to the wooden mortar; jagmatuḥ—departed; diśam uttarām—to their respective destinations.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: The Supreme Personality of Godhead having spoken to the two demigods in this way, they circumambulated the Lord, who was bound to the wooden mortar, and offered obeisances to Him. After taking the permission of Lord Kṛṣṇa, they returned to their respective homes.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the Tenth Canto, Tenth Chapter, of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, entitled “Deliverance of the Yamala-arjuna Trees.”
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