Questions by Vidura
evam etat purā pṛṣṭo
maitreyo bhagavān kila
kṣattrā vanaṁ praviṣṭena
tyaktvā sva-gṛham ṛddhimat
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; evam—thus; etat—this; purā—formerly; pṛṣṭaḥ—being asked; maitreyaḥ—the great sage Maitreya; bhagavān—His Grace; kila—certainly; kṣattrā—by Vidura; vanam—forest; praviṣṭena—entering; tyaktvā—renouncing; sva-gṛham—own house; ṛddhimat—prosperous.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: After renouncing his prosperous home and entering the forest, King Vidura, the great devotee, asked this question of His Grace Maitreya Ṛṣi.
yad vā ayaṁ mantra-kṛd vo
yat—the house; vai—what else is there to say; ayam—Śrī Kṛṣṇa; mantra-kṛt—minister; vaḥ—you people; bhagavān—the Personality of Godhead; akhila-īśvaraḥ—the Lord of everything; pauravendra—Duryodhana; gṛham—house; hitvā—giving up; praviveśa—entered; ātmasāt—identify with oneself; kṛtam—so accepted.
What else is there to say about the residential house of the Pāṇḍavas? Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Lord of everything, acted as your minister. He used to enter that house as if it were His own, and He did not take any care of Duryodhana’s house.
According to the Gauḍīya acintya-bhedābheda-tattva philosophy, anything which satisfies the senses of the Supreme Lord, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, is also Śrī Kṛṣṇa. For example, Śrī Vṛndāvana-dhāma is nondifferent from Śrī Kṛṣṇa (tad-dhāma vṛndāvanam) because at Vṛndāvana the Lord enjoys the transcendental bliss of His internal potency. Similarly, the house of the Pāṇḍavas was also the source of transcendental bliss for the Lord. It is mentioned here that the Lord identified the house with His own Self. Thus the house of the Pāṇḍavas was as good as Vṛndāvana, and Vidura should not have given up that place of transcendental bliss. Therefore the reason for his quitting the house was not exactly family misunderstanding; rather, Vidura took the opportunity to meet Ṛṣi Maitreya and discuss transcendental knowledge. For a saintly person like Vidura, any disturbance due to worldly affairs is insignificant. Such disturbances, however, are sometimes favorable for higher realization, and therefore Vidura took advantage of a family misunderstanding in order to meet Maitreya Ṛṣi.
kutra kṣattur bhagavatā
kadā vā saha-saṁvāda
etad varṇaya naḥ prabho
rājā uvāca—the King said; kutra—wherein; kṣattuḥ—with Vidura; bhagavatā—and with His Grace; maitreyeṇa—with Maitreya; āsa—there was; saṅgamaḥ—meeting; kadā—when; vā—also; saha—with; saṁvādaḥ—discussion; etat—this; varṇaya—describe; naḥ—unto me; prabho—O my lord.
The King asked Śukadeva Gosvāmī: Where and when did the meeting and discussion take place between Saint Vidura and His Grace Maitreya Muni? Kindly oblige, my lord, and describe this to us.
Exactly as Śaunaka Ṛṣi inquired of Sūta Gosvāmī and Sūta Gosvāmī replied, so Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī replied to King Parīkṣit’s inquiries. The King was very anxious to understand the meaningful discussion that took place between the two great souls.
na hy alpārthodayas tasya
tasmin varīyasi praśnaḥ
na—never; hi—certainly; alpa-artha—small (unimportant) purpose; udayaḥ—raised; tasya—his; vidurasya—of Vidura; amala-ātmanaḥ—of the saintly man; tasmin—in that; varīyasi—highly purposeful; praśnaḥ—question; sādhu-vāda—things approved by saints and sages; upabṛṁhitaḥ—full with.
Saint Vidura was a great and pure devotee of the Lord, and therefore his questions to His Grace Ṛṣi Maitreya must have been very purposeful, on the highest level, and approved by learned circles.
Questions and answers among different classes of men have different value. Inquiries by mercantile men in a business exchange cannot be expected to be highly purposeful in spiritual values. Questions and answers by different classes of men can be guessed by the caliber of the persons concerned. In Bhagavad-gītā, the discussion was between Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna, the Supreme Person and the supreme devotee respectively. The Lord admitted Arjuna to be His devotee and friend (Bg. 4.3), and therefore any sane man can guess that the discussion was on the topic of the bhakti-yoga system. Actually the whole Bhagavad-gītā is based on the principle of bhakti-yoga. There is a difference between karma and karma-yoga. Karma is regulated action for the enjoyment of the fruit by the performer, but karma-yoga is action performed by the devotee for the satisfaction of the Lord. Karma-yoga is based on bhakti, or pleasing the Lord, whereas karma is based on pleasing the senses of the performer himself. According to Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, one is advised to approach a bona fide spiritual master when one is actually inclined to question from an elevated level of spiritual understanding. A common man who has no interest in spiritual values has no need to approach a spiritual master just as a matter of following fashion.
As a student, Mahārāja Parīkṣit was serious about learning the science of God, and Śukadeva Gosvāmī was a bona fide spiritual master in the transcendental science. Both of them knew that the topics discussed by Vidura and Ṛṣi Maitreya were elevated, and thus Mahārāja Parīkṣit was very interested in learning from the bona fide spiritual master.
sa evam ṛṣi-varyo ’yaṁ
pṛṣṭo rājñā parīkṣitā
praty āha taṁ subahu-vit
prītātmā śrūyatām iti
sūtaḥ uvāca—Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī said; saḥ—he; evam—thus; ṛṣi-varyaḥ—the great ṛṣi; ayam—Śukadeva Gosvāmī; pṛṣṭaḥ—being questioned; rājñā—by the King; parīkṣitā—Mahārāja Parīkṣit; prati—to; āha—replied; tam—unto the King; su-bahu-vit—highly experienced; prīta-ātmā—fully satisfied; śrūyatām—please hear me; iti—thus.
Śrī Suta Gosvāmī said: The great sage Śukadeva Gosvāmī was highly experienced and was pleased with the King. Thus being questioned by the King, he said to him, “Please hear the topics attentively.”
yadā tu rājā sva-sutān asādhūn
puṣṇan na dharmeṇa vinaṣṭa-dṛṣṭiḥ
bhrātur yaviṣṭhasya sutān vibandhūn
praveśya lākṣā-bhavane dadāha
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; yadā—when; tu—but; rājā—King Dhṛtarāṣṭra; sva-sutān—his own sons; asādhūn—dishonest; puṣṇan—nourishing; na—never; dharmeṇa—on the right path; vinaṣṭa-dṛṣṭiḥ—one who has lost his insight; bhrātuḥ—of his brother; yaviṣṭhasya—younger; sutān—sons; vibandhūn—having no guardian (father); praveśya—made to enter; lākṣā—lacquer; bhavane—in the house; dadāha—set on fire.
Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: King Dhṛtarāṣṭra became blind under the influence of impious desires to nourish his dishonest sons, and thus he set fire to the lacquer house to burn his fatherless nephews, the Pāṇḍavas.
Dhṛtarāṣṭra was blind from birth, but his blindness in committing impious activities to support his dishonest sons was a greater blindness than his physical lack of eyesight. The physical lack of sight does not bar one from spiritual progress. But when one is blind spiritually, even though physically fit, that blindness is dangerously detrimental to the progressive path of human life.
yadā sabhāyāṁ kuru-deva-devyāḥ
keśābhimarśaṁ suta-karma garhyam
na vārayām āsa nṛpaḥ snuṣāyāḥ
svāsrair harantyāḥ kuca-kuṅkumāni
yadā—when; sabhāyām—the assembly; kuru-deva-devyāḥ—of Draupadī, the wife of godly Yudhiṣṭhira; keśa-abhimarśam—insult by grabbing her hair; suta-karma—action taken by his son; garhyam—which was abominable; na—did not; vārayām āsa—forbid; nṛpaḥ—the King; snuṣāyāḥ—of his daughter-in-law; svāsraiḥ—by her tears; harantyāḥ—of she who was washing; kuca-kuṅkumāni—red dust on her breast.
The King did not forbid his son Duḥśāsana’s abominable action of grabbing the hair of Draupadī, the wife of the godly King Yudhiṣṭhira, even though her tears washed the red dust on her breast.
dyūte tv adharmeṇa jitasya sādhoḥ
satyāvalambasya vanaṁ gatasya
na yācato ’dāt samayena dāyaṁ
tamo-juṣāṇo yad ajāta-śatroḥ
dyūte—by means of gambling; tu—but; adharmeṇa—by unfair tricks; jitasya—of the vanquished; sādhoḥ—a saintly person; satya-avalambasya—one who embraced truth as shelter; vanam—forest; gatasya—of the goer; na—never; yācataḥ—when asked for; adāt—delivered; samayena—in due course; dāyam—right share; tamaḥ-juṣāṇaḥ—overwhelmed by illusion; yat—as much as; ajāta-śatroḥ—of one who had no enemy.
Yudhiṣṭhira, who was born without any enemy, was unfairly defeated in gambling. But because he had taken the vow of truthfulness, he went off to the forest. When he came back in due course and begged the return of his rightful share of the kingdom, he was refused by Dhṛtarāṣṭra, who was overwhelmed by illusion.
Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira was the rightful heir to his father’s kingdom. But just to favor his own sons, headed by Duryodhana, Dhṛtarāṣṭra, Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira’s uncle, adopted various unfair means to cheat his nephews of their rightful share of the kingdom. At last the Pāṇḍavas demanded only five villages, one for each of the five brothers, but that was also refused by the usurpers. This incident led to the War of Kurukṣetra. The Battle of Kurukṣetra, therefore, was induced by the Kurus, and not the Pāṇḍavas.
As kṣatriyas, the proper livelihood of the Pāṇḍavas was only to rule, and not to accept any other occupation. A brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya or vaiśya will not accept employment for his livelihood under any circumstances.
yadā ca pārtha-prahitaḥ sabhāyāṁ
jagad-gurur yāni jagāda kṛṣṇaḥ
na tāni puṁsām amṛtāyanāni
rājoru mene kṣata-puṇya-leśaḥ
yadā—when; ca—also; pārtha-prahitaḥ—being advised by Arjuna; sabhāyām—in the assembly; jagat-guruḥ—of the teacher of the world; yāni—those; jagāda—went; kṛṣṇaḥ—Lord Kṛṣṇa; na—never; tāni—such words; puṁsām—of all men of sense; amṛta-ayanāni—as good as nectar; rājā—the King (Dhṛtarāṣṭra or Duryodhana); uru—very important; mene—did consider; kṣata—dwindling; puṇya-leśaḥ—fragment of pious acts.
Lord Kṛṣṇa was sent by Arjuna into the assembly as the spiritual master of the whole world, and although His words were heard by some [like Bhīṣma] as pure nectar, it was not so for the others, who were completely bereft of the last farthing of past pious works. The King [Dhṛtarāṣṭra or Duryodhana] did not take the words of Lord Kṛṣṇa very seriously.
Lord Kṛṣṇa, who is the spiritual master of the entire universe, accepted the duty of a messenger, and, deputed by Arjuna, went to the assembly of King Dhṛtarāṣṭra on a peace mission. Kṛṣṇa is everyone’s Lord, yet because He was the transcendental friend of Arjuna, He gladly accepted the role of messenger, exactly like an ordinary friend. That is the beauty of the Lord’s behavior with His pure devotees. He reached the assembly and spoke about peace, and the message was relished by Bhīṣma and other great leaders because it was spoken by the Lord Himself. But due to the exhaustion of the pious results of their past deeds, Duryodhana, or his father, Dhṛtarāṣṭra, did not take the message very seriously. That is the way of persons who have no credit of pious deeds. By past pious deeds, one may become the king of a country, but because the results of the pious acts of Duryodhana and company were dwindling, it became evident from their actions that they were sure to lose the kingdom to the Pāṇḍavas. The message of Godhead is always like nectar to the devotees, but it is just the opposite to the nondevotees. Sugar candy is always sweet to a healthy man, but it tastes very bitter to persons suffering from jaundice.
yadopahūto bhavanaṁ praviṣṭo
mantrāya pṛṣṭaḥ kila pūrvajena
athāha tan mantra-dṛśāṁ varīyān
yan mantriṇo vaidurikaṁ vadanti
yadā—when; upahūtaḥ—was called by; bhavanam—the palace; praviṣṭaḥ—entered; mantrāya—for consultation; pṛṣṭaḥ—asked by; kila—of course; pūrvajena—by the elder brother; atha—thus; āha—said; tat—that; mantra—advice; dṛśām—just suitable; varīyān—excellent; yat—that which; mantriṇaḥ—the ministers of state, or expert politicians; vaidurikam—instructions by Vidura; vadanti—do they say.
When Vidura was invited by his elder brother [Dhṛtarāṣṭra] for consultation, he entered the house and gave instructions which were exactly to the point. His advice is well known, and instructions by Vidura are approved by expert ministers of state.
Political suggestions by Vidura are known as expert, just as, in modern times, Paṇḍita Cāṇakya is considered the authority in good counsel in both political and moral instructions.
ajāta-śatroḥ pratiyaccha dāyaṁ
titikṣato durviṣahaṁ tavāgaḥ
sahānujo yatra vṛkodarāhiḥ
śvasan ruṣā yat tvam alaṁ bibheṣi
ajāta-śatroḥ—of Yudhiṣṭhira, who has no enemy; pratiyaccha—return; dāyam—legitimate share; titikṣataḥ—of he who is so forbearing; durviṣaham—unbearable; tava—your; āgaḥ—offense; saha—along with; anujaḥ—younger brothers; yatra—wherein; vṛkodara—Bhīma; ahiḥ—revenging snake; śvasan—breathing heavily; ruṣā—in anger; yat—whom; tvam—you; alam—verily; bibheṣi—do fear.
[Vidura said:] You must now return the legitimate share to Yudhiṣṭhira, who has no enemies and who has been forbearing through untold sufferings due to your offenses. He is waiting with his younger brothers, among whom is the revengeful Bhīma, breathing heavily like a snake. Surely you are afraid of him.
pārthāṁs tu devo bhagavān mukundo
āste sva-puryāṁ yadu-deva-devo
pārthān—the sons of Pṛthā (Kuntī); tu—but; devaḥ—the Lord; bhagavān—the Personality of Godhead; mukundaḥ—Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who awards liberation; gṛhītavān—has taken up; sa—with; kṣiti-deva-devaḥ—the brāhmaṇas and the demigods; āste—is present; sva-puryām—along with His family; yadu-deva-devaḥ—worshiped by the royal order of the Yadu dynasty; vinirjita—who have been conquered; aśeṣa—unlimited; nṛdeva—kings; devaḥ—Lord.
Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Personality of Godhead, has accepted the sons of Pṛthā as His kinsmen, and all the kings of the world are with Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa. He is present in His home with all His family members, the kings and princes of the Yadu dynasty, who have conquered an unlimited number of rulers, and He is their Lord.
Vidura gave Dhṛtarāṣṭra very good counsel regarding political alliance with the sons of Pṛthā, the Pāṇḍavas. The first thing he said was that Lord Kṛṣṇa was intimately related with them as their cousin. Because Lord Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He is worshipable by all brāhmaṇas and demigods, who are the controllers of the universal affairs. Besides that, Lord Kṛṣṇa and His family members, the royal order of the Yadu dynasty, were the conquerors of all kings of the world.
The kṣatriyas used to fight the kings of various dominions and kidnap their beautiful princess-daughters, after conquering their relatives. This system was laudable because the kṣatriyas and the princesses would be married only on the basis of the chivalry of the conquering kṣatriya. All the young princes of the Yadu dynasty married the daughters of other kings in this way, by chivalrous force, and thus they were conquerors of all the kings of the world. Vidura wanted to impress upon his elder brother that fighting with the Pāṇḍavas was fraught with many dangers because they were supported by Lord Kṛṣṇa, who had conquered, even in His childhood, demons like Kaṁsa and Jarāsandha and demigods like Brahmā and Indra. Therefore all universal power was behind the Pāṇḍavas.
sa eṣa doṣaḥ puruṣa-dviḍ āste
gṛhān praviṣṭo yam apatya-matyā
puṣṇāsi kṛṣṇād vimukho gata-śrīs
tyajāśv aśaivaṁ kula-kauśalāya
saḥ—he; eṣaḥ—this; doṣaḥ—offense personified; puruṣa-dviṭ—envious of Lord Kṛṣṇa; āste—exists; gṛhān—household; praviṣṭaḥ—entered; yam—whom; apatya-matyā—thinking to be your son; puṣṇāsi—maintaining; kṛṣṇāt—from Kṛṣṇa; vimukhaḥ—in opposition; gata-śrīḥ—devoid of everything auspicious; tyaja—give up; āśu—as soon as possible; aśaivam—inauspicious; kula—family; kauśalāya—for the sake of.
You are maintaining offense personified, Duryodhana, as your infallible son, but he is envious of Lord Kṛṣṇa. And because you are thus maintaining a nondevotee of Kṛṣṇa, you are devoid of all auspicious qualities. Relieve yourself of this ill fortune as soon as possible and do good to the whole family!
A good son is called apatya, one who does not allow his father to fall down. The son can protect the father’s soul when the father is dead by offering sacrifices to please the Supreme Lord, Viṣṇu. This system is still prevalent in India. After the death of his father, a son goes to offer sacrifices at the lotus feet of Viṣṇu at Gayā and thus delivers the father’s soul if the father is fallen. But if the son is already an enemy of Viṣṇu, how, in such an inimical mood, can he offer sacrifice unto Lord Viṣṇu’s lotus feet? Lord Kṛṣṇa is directly the Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu, and Duryodhana was inimical to Him. He would therefore be unable to protect his father, Dhṛtarāṣṭra, after his death. He himself was to fall down because of his faithlessness towards Viṣṇu. How, then, could he protect his father? Vidura advised Dhṛtarāṣṭra to get rid of such an unworthy son as Duryodhana as soon as possible if he was at all anxious to see to the good of his family.
According to the moral instructions of Cāṇakya Paṇḍita, “What is the use of a son who is neither a learned man nor a devotee of the Lord?” If a son is not a devotee of the Supreme Lord, he is just like blind eyes—a source of trouble. A physician may sometimes advise the extrication of such useless eyes from their sockets so that one can be relieved of the constant trouble. Duryodhana was exactly like blind, troubling eyes; he would be a source of great trouble to the family of Dhṛtarāṣṭra, as foreseen by Vidura. Vidura therefore rightly advised his eldest brother to get rid of this source of trouble. Dhṛtarāṣṭra was wrongly maintaining such personified offense under the mistaken impression that Duryodhana was a good son, able to liberate his father.
ity ūcivāṁs tatra suyodhanena
iti—thus; ūcivān—while speaking; tatra—there; suyodhanena—by Duryodhana; pravṛddha—swollen with; kopa—anger; sphurita—flapping; adhareṇa—lips; asat-kṛtaḥ—insulted; sat—respectable; spṛhaṇīya-śīlaḥ—desirable qualities; kṣattā—Vidura; sa—with; karṇa—Karṇa; anuja—younger brothers; saubalena—with Śakuni.
While speaking thus, Vidura, whose personal character was esteemed by respectable persons, was insulted by Duryodhana, who was swollen with anger and whose lips were trembling. Duryodhana was in company with Karṇa, his younger brothers and his maternal uncle Śakuni.
It is said that giving good counsel to a foolish person causes the fool to become angry, just as feeding milk to a snake only increases its venomous poison. Saint Vidura was so honorable that his character was looked up to by all respectable persons. But Duryodhana was so foolish that he dared to insult Vidura. This was due to his bad association with Śakuni, his maternal uncle, as well as with his friend Karṇa, who always encouraged Duryodhana in his nefarious acts.
ka enam atropajuhāva jihmaṁ
dāsyāḥ sutaṁ yad-balinaiva puṣṭaḥ
tasmin pratīpaḥ parakṛtya āste
nirvāsyatām āśu purāc chvasānaḥ
kaḥ—who; enam—this; atra—here; upajuhāva—called for; jihmam—crooked; dāsyāḥ—of a kept mistress; sutam—son; yat—whose; balinā—by whose subsistence; eva—certainly; puṣṭaḥ—grown up; tasmin—unto him; pratīpaḥ—enmity; parakṛtya—enemy’s interest; āste—situated; nirvāsyatām—get him out; āśu—immediately; purāt—from the palace; śvasānaḥ—let him breathe only.
Who asked him to come here, this son of a kept mistress? He is so crooked that he spies in the interest of the enemy against those on whose support he has grown up. Toss him out of the palace immediately and leave him with only his breath.
When getting married, the kṣatriya kings would take on several other youthful girls along with the married princess. These girl attendants of the king were known as dāsīs, or attendant mistresses. By intimate association with the king, the dāsīs would get sons. Such sons were called dāsī-putras. They had no claim to a royal position, but they would get maintenance and other facilities just like princes. Vidura was the son of such a dāsī, and he was thus not counted amongst the kṣatriyas. King Dhṛtarāṣṭra was very affectionate toward his younger dāsī-putra brother, Vidura, and Vidura was a great friend and philosophical advisor to Dhṛtarāṣṭra. Duryodhana knew very well that Vidura was a great soul and well-wisher, but unfortunately he used strong words to hurt his innocent uncle. Duryodhana not only attacked Vidura’s birth, but also called him an infidel because he seemed to support the cause of Yudhiṣṭhira, whom Duryodhana considered his enemy. He desired that Vidura he immediately put out of the palace and deprived of all his possessions. If possible, he would have liked him caned until he was left with nothing but his breath. He charged that Vidura was a spy of the Pāṇḍavas because he advised King Dhṛtarāṣṭra in their favor. Such is the situation of palace life and the intricacies of diplomacy that even a faultless person like Vidura could be charged with something abominable and punished. Vidura was struck with wonder at such unexpected behavior from his nephew Duryodhana, and before anything actually happened, he decided to leave the palace for good.
svayaṁ dhanur dvāri nidhāya māyāṁ
bhrātuḥ puro marmasu tāḍito ’pi
sa ittham atyulbaṇa-karṇa-bāṇair
gata-vyatho ’yād uru mānayānaḥ
svayam—he himself; dhanuḥ dvāri—bow on the door; nidhāya—keeping; māyām—the external nature; bhrātuḥ—brother’s; puraḥ—from the palace; marmasu—in the core of the heart; tāḍitaḥ—being afflicted; api—in spite of; saḥ—he (Vidura); ittham—like this; ati-ulbaṇa—severely; karṇa—ear; bāṇaiḥ—by the arrows; gata-vyathaḥ—without being sorry; ayāt—excited; uru—great; māna-yānaḥ—so thinking.
Thus being pierced by arrows through his ears and afflicted to the core of his heart, Vidura placed his bow on the door and quit his brother’s palace. He was not sorry, for he considered the acts of the external energy to be supreme.
A pure devotee of the Lord is never perturbed by an awkward position created by the external energy of the Lord. In Bhagavad-gītā (3.27) it is stated:
A conditioned soul is absorbed in material existence under the influence of different modes of external energy. Absorbed in the false ego, he thinks that he is doing everything by himself. The external energy of the Lord, the material nature, is fully under the control of the Supreme Lord, and the conditioned soul is fully under the grip of the external energy. Therefore, the conditioned soul is fully under the control of the law of the Lord. But, due to illusion only, he thinks himself independent in his activities. Duryodhana was acting under such influence of the external nature, by which he would be vanquished at the ultimate end. He could not accept the sound advice of Vidura, but on the contrary he insulted that great soul, who was the well-wisher of his whole family. Vidura could understand this because he was a pure devotee of the Lord. In spite of being very strongly insulted by Duryodhana’s words, Vidura could see that Duryodhana, under the influence of māyā, the external energy, was making progress on the path toward his own ruination. He therefore considered the acts of the external energy to be supreme, yet he also saw how the internal energy of the Lord helped him in that particular situation. A devotee is always in a renounced temperament because the worldly attractions can never satisfy him. Vidura was never attracted by the royal palace of his brother. He was always ready to leave the place and devote himself completely to the transcendental loving service of the Lord. Now he got the opportunity by the grace of Duryodhana, and instead of being sorry at the strong words of insult, he thanked him from within because it gave him the chance to live alone in a holy place and fully engage in the devotional service of the Lord. The word gata-vyathaḥ (without being sorry) is significant here because Vidura was relieved from the tribulations which trouble every man entangled in material activities. He therefore thought that there was no need to defend his brother with his bow because his brother was meant for ruination. Thus he left the palace before Duryodhana could act. Māyā, the supreme energy of the Lord, acted here both internally and externally.
sa nirgataḥ kaurava-puṇya-labdho
gajāhvayāt tīrtha-padaḥ padāni
adhiṣṭhito yāni sahasra-mūrtiḥ
saḥ—he (Vidura); nirgataḥ—after having quit; kaurava—the Kuru dynasty; puṇya—piety; labdhaḥ—so achieved; gaja-āhvayāt—from Hastināpura; tīrtha-padaḥ—of the Supreme Lord; padāni—pilgrimages; anvākramat—took shelter; puṇya—piety; cikīrṣayā—desiring so; urvyām—of high grade; adhiṣṭhitaḥ—situated; yāni—all those; sahasra—thousands; mūrtiḥ—forms.
By his piety, Vidura achieved the advantages of the pious Kauravas. After leaving Hastināpura, he took shelter of many places of pilgrimages, which are the Lord’s lotus feet. With a desire to gain a high order of pious life, he traveled to holy places where thousands of transcendental forms of the Lord are situated.
Vidura was undoubtedly a highly elevated and pious soul, otherwise he would not have taken his birth in the Kaurava family. To have high parentage, to possess wealth, to be highly learned and to have great personal beauty are all due to past pious acts. But such pious possessions are not sufficient for obtaining the grace of the Lord and being engaged in His transcendental loving service. Vidura considered himself less pious, and therefore he decided to travel to all the great places of pilgrimage in the world in order to achieve greater piety and advance nearer to the Lord. At that time, Lord Kṛṣṇa was personally present in the world, and Vidura could have at once approached Him directly, but he did not do so because he was not sufficiently freed from sin. One cannot be one hundred percent devoted to the Lord unless and until he is completely free from all effects of sin. Vidura was conscious that by the association of the diplomatic Dhṛtarāṣṭra and Duryodhana he had lost his piety and was therefore not fit to associate at once with the Lord. In Bhagavad-gītā (7.28) this is confirmed in the following verse:
Persons who are sinful asuras like Kaṁsa and Jarāsandha cannot think of Lord Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Absolute Truth. Only those who are pure devotees, those who follow the regulative principles of religious life as prescribed in the scriptures, are able to engage themselves in karma-yoga and then jñāna-yoga and thereafter, by pure meditation, can understand pure consciousness. When God consciousness is developed, one can take advantage of the association of pure devotees. Syān mahat-sevayā viprāḥ puṇya-tīrtha-niṣevaṇāt: one is able to associate with the Lord even during the existence of this life.
Places of pilgrimages are meant for eradicating the sins of the pilgrims, and they are distributed all over the universe just to give facility to all concerned for attaining pure existence and God realization. One should not be satisfied, however, merely by visiting the places of pilgrimage and performing one’s prescribed duties; he should be eager to meet the great souls who are already there, engaged in the service of the Lord. In each and every place of pilgrimage, the Lord is present in His various transcendental forms.
These forms are called arcā-mūrtis, or forms of the Lord which can be easily appreciated by the common man. The Lord is transcendental to our mundane senses. He cannot be seen with our present eyes, nor can He be heard with our present ears. To the degree that we have entered into the service of the Lord or to the proportion to which our lives are freed from sins, we can perceive the Lord. But even though we are not free from sins, the Lord is kind enough to allow us the facility of seeing Him in His arcā-mūrtis in the temple. The Lord is all-powerful, and therefore He is able to accept our service by presentation of His arcā form. No one, therefore, should foolishly think the arcā in the temple to be an idol. Such an arcā-mūrti is not an idol but the Lord Himself, and to the proportion to which one is free from sins, he is able to know the significance of the arcā-mūrti. The guidance of a pure devotee is therefore always required.
In the land of Bhāratavarṣa there are many hundreds and thousands of places of pilgrimage distributed all over the country, and by traditional practice the common man visits such holy places during all seasons of the year. Some of the arcā representations of the Lord situated in different places of pilgrimage are mentioned herewith. The Lord is present at Mathurā (the birthplace of Lord Kṛṣṇa) as Ādi-keśava; the Lord is present at Purī (Orissa) as Lord Jagannātha (also known as Puruṣottama); He is present at Allahabad (Prayāga) as Bindu-mādhava; at Mandara Hill He is present as Madhusūdana. In the Ānandāraṇya, He is known as Vāsudeva, Padmanābha and Janārdana; at Viṣṇukāñcī, He is known as Viṣṇu; and at Māyāpura, He is known as Hari. There are millions and billions of such arcā forms of the Lord distributed all over the universe. All these arcā-mūrtis are summarized in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta in the following words:
“The Lord has so distributed Himself all over the universe just to give pleasure to the devotees, to give the common man facility to eradicate his sins, and to establish religious principles in the world.”
cacāra tīrthāyataneṣv ananyaḥ
pureṣu—holy places like Ayodhyā, Dvārakā and Mathurā; puṇya—piety; upavana—the air; adri—hill; kuñjeṣu—in the orchards; apaṅka—without sin; toyeṣu—in the water; sarit—river; saraḥsu—lakes; ananta-liṅgaiḥ—the forms of the Unlimited; samalaṅkṛteṣu—being so decorated; cacāra—executed; tīrtha—places of pilgrimage; āyataneṣu—holy lands; ananyaḥ—alone or seeing Kṛṣṇa alone.
He began to travel alone, thinking only of Kṛṣṇa, through various holy places like Ayodhyā, Dvārakā and Mathurā. He traveled where the air, hill, orchard, river and lake are all pure and sinless and where the forms of the Unlimited decorate the temples. Thus he performed the pilgrim’s progress.
These arcā forms of the Lord may be considered idols by the atheists, but that does not matter for persons like Vidura or His many other servants. The forms of the Lord are mentioned here as ananta-liṅga. Such forms of the Lord have unlimited potency, the same as that of the Lord Himself. There is no difference between the potencies of the arcā and those of the personal forms of the Lord. The example of the postbox and post office may be applied here. The little postboxes distributed all over the city have the same potency as the postal system in general. The duty of the post office is to carry letters from one place to another. If one puts letters in postboxes authorized by the general post office, the function of carrying letters is performed without a doubt. Similarly, the arcā-mūrti can also deliver the same unlimited potency of the Lord as when He is personally present. Vidura, therefore, could see nothing but Kṛṣṇa in the different arcā forms, and ultimately he was able to realize Kṛṣṇa alone and nothing else.
gāṁ paryaṭan medhya-vivikta-vṛttiḥ
sadāpluto ’dhaḥ śayano ’vadhūtaḥ
alakṣitaḥ svair avadhūta-veṣo
vratāni cere hari-toṣaṇāni
gām—earth; paryaṭan—traversing; medhya—pure; vivikta-vṛttiḥ—independent occupation for living; sadā—always; āplutaḥ—sanctified; adhaḥ—on the earth; śayanaḥ—lying; avadhūtaḥ—without dressing (of the hair, etc.); alakṣitaḥ—without being seen; svaiḥ—alone; avadhūta-veṣaḥ—dressed like a mendicant; vratāni—vows; cere—performed; hari-toṣaṇāni—that pleased the Lord.
While so traversing the earth, he simply performed duties to please the Supreme Lord Hari. His occupation was pure and independent. He was constantly sanctified by taking his bath in holy places, although he was in the dress of a mendicant and had no hair dressing nor a bed on which to lie. Thus he was always unseen by his various relatives.
The first and foremost duty of a pilgrim is to satisfy the Supreme Lord Hari. While traveling as a pilgrim, one should not be worried about pleasing society. There is no need to depend on social formalities or occupation or dress. One should remain always absorbed in the function of pleasing the Lord. Thus sanctified by thought and action, one is able to realize the Supreme Lord by the process of a pilgrim’s journey.
itthaṁ vrajan bhāratam eva varṣaṁ
kālena yāvad gatavān prabhāsam
tāvac chaśāsa kṣitim eka cakrām
ekātapatrām ajitena pārthaḥ
ittham—like this; vrajan—while traveling; bhāratam—India; eva—only; varṣam—the tract of land; kālena—in due course of time; yāvat—when; gatavān—visited; prabhāsam—the Prabhāsa pilgrimage site; tāvat—at that time; śaśāsa—ruled; kṣitim—the world; eka-cakrām—by one military force; eka—one; ātapatrām—flag; ajitena—by the mercy of the unconquerable Kṛṣṇa; pārthaḥ—Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira.
Thus, when he was in the land of Bhāratavarṣa traveling to all the places of pilgrimage, he visited Prabhāsakṣetra. At that time Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira was the emperor and held the world under one military strength and one flag.
More than five thousand years ago, while Saint Vidura was traveling the earth as a pilgrim, India was known as Bhāratavarṣa, as it is known even today. The history of the world cannot give any systematic account for more than three thousand years into the past, but before that the whole world was under the flag and military strength of Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira, who was the emperor of the world. At present there are hundreds and thousands of flags flapping in the United Nations, but during the time of Vidura there was, by the grace of Ajita, Lord Kṛṣṇa, only one flag. The nations of the world are very eager to again have one state under one flag, but for this they must seek the favor of Lord Kṛṣṇa, who alone can help us become one worldwide nation.
tatrātha śuśrāva suhṛd-vinaṣṭiṁ
vanaṁ yathā veṇuja-vahni-saṁśrayam
saṁspardhayā dagdham athānuśocan
sarasvatīṁ pratyag iyāya tūṣṇīm
tatra— there; atha—thereafter; śuśrāva—heard; suhṛt—kinsmen; vinaṣṭim—all dead; vanam—forest; yathā—as much as; veṇuja-vahni—fire due to the bamboos; saṁśrayam—friction with one another; saṁspardhayā—by violent passion; dagdham—burnt; atha—thus; anuśocan—thinking; sarasvatīm—the River Sarasvatī; pratyak—westward; iyāya—went; tūṣṇīm—silently.
At the place of pilgrimage at Prabhāsa, it came to his knowledge that all his relatives had died due to violent passion, just as an entire forest burns due to fire produced by the friction of bamboos. After this he proceeded west, where the River Sarasvatī flows.
Both the Kauravas and the Yādavas were relatives of Vidura, and Vidura heard of their extinction due to fratricidal war. The comparison of the friction of forest bamboos to that of passionate human societies is appropriate. The whole world is compared to a forest. At any moment there may be a flare-up of fire in the forest due to friction. No one goes to the forest to set it on fire, but due only to friction between bamboos, fire takes place and burns an entire forest. Similarly, in the greater forest of worldly transaction, the fire of war takes place because of the violent passion of the conditioned souls illusioned by the external energy. Such a worldly fire can be extinguished only by the water of the mercy cloud of saints, just as a forest fire can be extinguished only by rains falling from a cloud.
tasyāṁ tritasyośanaso manoś ca
pṛthor athāgner asitasya vāyoḥ
tīrthaṁ sudāsasya gavāṁ guhasya
yac chrāddhadevasya sa āsiṣeve
tasyām—on the bank of the River Sarasvatī; tritasya—the pilgrimage site named Trita; uśanasaḥ—the pilgrimage site named Uśanā; manoḥ ca—as also of the pilgrimage site named Manu; pṛthoḥ—that of Pṛthu; atha—thereafter; agneḥ—that of Agni; asitasya—that of Asita; vāyoḥ—that of Vāyu; tīrtham—places of pilgrimages; sudāsasya—of the name Sudāsa; gavām—that of Go; guhasya—that of Guha; yat—thereupon; śrāddhadevasya—of the name Śrāddhadeva; saḥ—Vidura; āsiṣeve—duly visited and performed the rituals.
On the bank of the River Sarasvatī there were eleven places of pilgrimage, namely, (1) Trita, (2) Uśanā, (3) Manu, (4) Pṛthu, (5) Agni, (6) Asita, (7) Vāyu, (8) Sudāsa, (9) Go, (10) Guha and (11) Srāddhadeva. Vidura visited all of them and duly performed rituals.
anyāni ceha dvija-deva-devaiḥ
kṛtāni nānāyatanāni viṣṇoḥ
yad-darśanāt kṛṣṇam anusmaranti
anyāni—others; ca—also; iha—here; dvija-deva—by the great sages; devaiḥ—and the demigods; kṛtāni—established by; nānā—various; āyatanāni—various forms; viṣṇoḥ—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; prati—each and every; aṅga—part; mukhya—the chief; aṅkita—marked; mandirāṇi—temple s; yat—which; darśanāt—by seeing from a distance; kṛṣṇam—the original Personality of Godhead; anusmaranti—constantly remembers.
There were also many other temples of various forms of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Viṣṇu, established by great sages and demigods. These temples were marked with the chief emblems of the Lord, and they reminded one always of the original Personality of Godhead, Lord Kṛṣṇa.
Human society is divided into four social orders of life and four spiritual divisions, applying to each and every individual person. This system is called varṇāśrama-dharma and has already been discussed in many places in this great literature. The sages, or persons who completely devoted themselves to the spiritual upliftment of the entire human society, were known as dvija-deva, the best amongst the twice-born. The denizens of superior planets, from the moon planet and upwards, were known as devas. Both the dvija-devas and the devas always establish temples of Lord Viṣṇu in His various forms, such as Govinda, Madhusūdana, Nṛsiṁha, Mādhava, Keśava, Nārāyaṇa, Padmanābha, Pārtha-sārathi and many others. The Lord expands Himself in innumerable forms, but all of them are nondifferent from one another. Lord Viṣṇu has four hands, and each hand holds a particular item—either a conchshell, wheel, club or lotus flower. Of these four emblems, the cakra, or wheel, is the chief. Lord Kṛṣṇa, being the original Viṣṇu form, has only one emblem, namely the wheel, and therefore He is sometimes called the Cakrī. The Lord’s cakra is the symbol of the power by which the Lord controls the whole manifestation. The tops of Viṣṇu temples are marked with the symbol of the wheel so that people may have the chance to see the symbol from a very long distance and at once remember Lord Kṛṣṇa. The purpose of building very high temples is to give people a chance to see them from a distant place. This system is carried on in India whenever a new temple is constructed, and it appears that it is coming down from a time before recorded history. The foolish propaganda by atheists that temples were constructed only in later days is refuted here because Vidura visited these temples at least five thousand years ago, and the temples of Viṣṇu were in existence long, long before Vidura visited them. The great sages and demigods never established statues of men or demigods, but they established temples of Viṣṇu for the benefit of common men, to raise them to the platform of God consciousness.
tatas tv ativrajya surāṣṭram ṛddhaṁ
sauvīra-matsyān kurujāṅgalāṁś ca
kālena tāvad yamunām upetya
tatroddhavaṁ bhāgavataṁ dadarśa
tataḥ—from there; tu—but; ativrajya—by passing over; surāṣṭram—the kingdom of Surat; ṛddham—very wealthy; sauvīra—the kingdom of Sauvīra; matsyān—the kingdom of Matsya; kurujāṅgalān—the kingdom of western India up to the Delhi province; ca—also; kālena—in course of time; tāvat—as soon as; yamunām—bank of the River Yamunā; upetya—reaching; tatra—there; uddhavam—Uddhava, one of the prominent Yadus; bhāgavatam—the great devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa; dadarśa—happened to see.
Thereafter he passed through very wealthy provinces like Surat, Sauvīra and Matsya and through western India, known as Kurujāṅgala. At last he reached the bank of the Yamunā, where he happened to meet Uddhava, the great devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa.
The tract of land comprising about one hundred square miles from modern Delhi to the Mathurā district in Uttar Pradesh, including a portion of the Gurgaon district in Punjab (East India), is considered to be the topmost place of pilgrimage in all of India. This land is sacred because Lord Kṛṣṇa traveled through it many times. From the very beginning of His appearance, He was at Mathurā in the house of His maternal uncle Kaṁsa, and He was reared by His foster father Mahārāja Nanda at Vṛndāvana. There are still many devotees of the Lord lingering there in ecstasy in search of Kṛṣṇa and His childhood associates, the gopīs. It is not that such devotees meet Kṛṣṇa face to face in that tract of land, but a devotee’s eagerly searching after Kṛṣṇa is as good as his seeing Him personally. How this is so cannot be explained, but it is factually realized by those who are pure devotees of the Lord. Philosophically, one can understand that Lord Kṛṣṇa and His remembrance are on the absolute plane and that the very idea of searching for Him at Vṛndāvana in pure God consciousness gives more pleasure to the devotee than seeing Him face to face. Such devotees of the Lord see Him face to face at every moment, as confirmed in the Brahma-saṁhitā (5.38):
“Those who are in ecstasy of love with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Śyāmasundara [Kṛṣṇa], see Him always in their hearts due to love and devotional service rendered to the Lord.” Both Vidura and Uddhava were such elevated devotees, and therefore they both came to the bank of the Yamunā and met each other.
sa vāsudevānucaraṁ praśāntaṁ
bṛhaspateḥ prāk tanayaṁ pratītam
āliṅgya gāḍhaṁ praṇayena bhadraṁ
svānām apṛcchad bhagavat-prajānām
saḥ—he, Vidura; vāsudeva—Lord Kṛṣṇa; anucaram—constant companion; praśāntam—very sober and gentle; bṛhaspateḥ—of Bṛhaspati, the learned spiritual master of the demigods; prāk—formerly; tanayam—son or disciple; pratītam—acknowledged; āliṅgya—embracing; gāḍham—very feelingly; praṇayena—in love; bhadram—auspicious; svānām—his own; apṛcchat—asked; bhagavat—of the Personality of Godhead; prajānām—family.
Then, due to his great love and feeling, Vidura embraced him [Uddhava], who was a constant companion of Lord Kṛṣṇa and formerly a great student of Bṛhaspati’s. Vidura then asked him for news of the family of Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Personality of Godhead.
Vidura was older than Uddhava, like a father, and therefore when the two met, Uddhava bowed down before Vidura, and Vidura embraced him because Uddhava was younger, like a son. Vidura’s brother Pāṇḍu was Lord Kṛṣṇa’s uncle, and Uddhava was a cousin to Lord Kṛṣṇa. According to social custom, therefore, Vidura was to be respected by Uddhava on the level of his father. Uddhava was a great scholar in logic, and he was known to be a son or disciple of Bṛhaspati, the greatly learned priest and spiritual master of the demigods. Vidura asked Uddhava about the welfare of his relatives, although he already knew that they were no longer in the world. This inquiry appears to be very queer, but Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī states that the news was shocking to Vidura, who therefore inquired again due to great curiosity. Thus his inquiry was psychological and not practical.
kaccit purāṇau puruṣau svanābhya-
āsāta urvyāḥ kuśalaṁ vidhāya
kṛta-kṣaṇau kuśalaṁ śūra-gehe
kaccit—whether; purāṇau—the original; puruṣau—Personalities of Godhead (Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma); svanābhya—Brahmā; pādma-anuvṛttyā—by the request of the one who is born from the lotus; iha—here; kila—certainly; avatīrṇau—incarnated; āsāte—are; urvyāḥ—in the world; kuśalam—well-being; vidhāya—for doing so; kṛta-kṣaṇau—the elevators of everyone’s prosperity; kuśalam—all well; śūra-gehe—in the house of Śūrasena.
[Please tell me] whether the original Personalities of Godhead, who incarnated Themselves at the request of Brahmā [who is born out of the lotus flower from the Lord] and who have increased the prosperity of the world by elevating everyone, are doing well in the house of Śūrasena.
Lord Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma are not two different Personalities of Godhead. God is one without a second, but He expands Himself in many forms without their being separate from one another. They are all plenary expansions. The immediate expansion of Lord Kṛṣṇa is Baladeva, and Brahmā, born from the lotus flower from Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, is an expansion of Baladeva. This indicates that Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva are not subjected to the regulations of the universe; on the contrary, the whole universe is under Their subjugation. They appeared at the request of Brahmā to liberate the burden of the world, and They relieved the world by many superhuman activities so that everyone became happy and prosperous. Without the grace of the Lord, no one can become happy and prosperous. Because the happiness of the family of the Lord’s devotees depends on the happiness of the Lord, Vidura first of all inquired about the well-being of the Lord.
kaccit kurūṇāṁ paramaḥ suhṛn no
bhāmaḥ sa āste sukham aṅga śauriḥ
yo vai svasṝṇāṁ pitṛvad dadāti
varān vadānyo vara-tarpaṇena
kaccit—whether; kurūṇām—of the Kurus; paramaḥ—greatest; suhṛt—well-wisher; naḥ—our; bhāmaḥ—brother-in-law; saḥ—he; āste—is; sukham—happy; aṅga—O Uddhava; śauriḥ—Vasudeva; yaḥ—one who; vai—certainly; svasṝṇām—of the sisters; pitṛ-vat—like a father; dadāti—gives; varān—everything desirable; vadānyaḥ—munificent; vara—wife; tarpaṇena—by pleasing.
[Please tell me] whether the best friend of the Kurus, our brother-in-law Vasudeva, is doing well. He is very munificent. He is like a father to his sisters, and he is always pleasing to his wives.
Lord Kṛṣṇa’s father, Vasudeva, had sixteen wives, and one of them, named Pauravī or Rohiṇī, the mother of Baladeva, was the sister of Vidura. Vasudeva, therefore, was the husband of Vidura’s sister, and thus they were brothers-in-law. Vasudeva’s sister Kuntī was the wife of Pāṇḍu, Vidura’s elder brother, and in that sense also, Vasudeva was brother-in-law to Vidura. Kuntī was younger than Vasudeva, and it was the duty of the elder brother to treat younger sisters as daughters. Whenever anything was needed by Kuntī, it was munificently delivered by Vasudeva, due to his great love for his younger sister. Vasudeva never dissatisfied his wives, and at the same time he supplied the objects desired by his sister. He had special attention for Kuntī because she became a widow at an early age. While inquiring about Vasudeva’s welfare, Vidura remembered all about him and the family relationship.
kaccid varūthādhipatir yadūnāṁ
pradyumna āste sukham aṅga vīraḥ
yaṁ rukmiṇī bhagavato ’bhilebhe
ārādhya viprān smaram ādi-sarge
kaccit—whether; varūtha—of the military; adhipatiḥ—commander-in-chief; yadūnām—of the Yadus; pradyumnaḥ—the son of Kṛṣṇa named Pradyumna; āste—is; sukham—happy; aṅga—O Uddhava; vīraḥ—the great warrior; yam—whom; rukmiṇī—the wife of Kṛṣṇa named Rukmiṇī; bhagavataḥ—from the Personality of Godhead; abhilebhe—got as a prize; ārādhya—pleasing; viprān—brāhmaṇas; smaram—Cupid (Kāmadeva); ādi-sarge—in his previous life.
O Uddhava, please tell me how is Pradyumna, the commander-in-chief of the Yadus, who was Cupid in a former life? Rukmiṇī bore him as her son from Lord Kṛṣṇa, by the grace of brāhmaṇas whom she pleased.
According to Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, Smara (Cupid, or Kāmadeva) is one of the eternal associates of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Jīva Gosvāmī has explained this very elaborately in his treatise Kṛṣṇa-sandarbha.
kaccit sukhaṁ sātvata-vṛṣṇi-bhoja-
dāśārhakāṇām adhipaḥ sa āste
yam abhyaṣiñcac chata-patra-netro
nṛpāsanāśāṁ parihṛtya dūrāt
kaccit—whether; sukham—is all well; sātvata—the Sātvata race; vṛṣṇi—the Vṛṣṇi dynasty; bhoja—the Bhoja dynasty; dāśārhakāṇām—the Dāśārha race; adhipaḥ—King Ugrasena; saḥ—he; āste—does exist; yam—whom; abhyaṣiñcat—installed; śata-patra-netraḥ—Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa; nṛpa-āsana-āśām—hope of the royal throne; parihṛtya—giving up; dūrāt—at a distant place.
O my friend, [tell me] whether Ugrasena, the King of the Sātvatas, Vṛṣṇis, Bhojas and Dāśārhas, is now doing well. He went far away from his kingdom, leaving aside all hopes of his royal throne, but Lord Kṛṣṇa again installed him.
kaccid dhareḥ saumya sutaḥ sadṛkṣa
āste ’graṇī rathināṁ sādhu sāmbaḥ
asūta yaṁ jāmbavatī vratāḍhyā
devaṁ guhaṁ yo ’mbikayā dhṛto ’gre
kaccit—whether; hareḥ—of the Personality of Godhead; saumya—O grave one; sutaḥ—son; sadṛkṣaḥ—similar; āste—fares well; agraṇīḥ—foremost; rathinām—of the warriors; sādhu—well behaved; sāmbaḥ—Sāmba; asūta—gave birth; yam—whom; jāmbavatī—Jāmbavatī, a queen of Lord Kṛṣṇa’s; vratāḍhyā—enriched by vows; devam—the demigod; guham—of the name Kārttikeya; yaḥ—whom; ambikayā—unto the wife of Śiva; dhṛtaḥ—born; agre—in the previous birth.
O gentle one, does Sāmba fare well? He exactly resembles the son of the Personality of Godhead. In a previous birth he was born as Kārttikeya in the womb of the wife of Lord Śiva, and now he has been born in the womb of Jāmbavatī, the most enriched wife of Kṛṣṇa.
Lord Śiva, one of the three qualitative incarnations of the Personality of Godhead, is the plenary expansion of the Lord. Kārttikeya, born of him, is on the level of Pradyumna, another son of Lord Kṛṣṇa. When Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa descends into the material world, all His plenary portions also appear with Him to exhibit different functions of the Lord. But for the pastimes at Vṛndāvana, all functions are performed by the Lord’s different plenary expansions. Vāsudeva is a plenary expansion of Nārāyaṇa. When the Lord appeared as Vāsudeva before Devakī and Vasudeva, He appeared in His capacity as Nārāyaṇa. Similarly, all the demigods of the heavenly kingdom appeared as associates of the Lord in the forms of Pradyumna, Sāmba, Uddhava, etc. It is learned here that Kāmadeva appeared as Pradyumna, Kārttikeya as Sāmba, and one of the Vasus as Uddhava. All of them served in their different capacities in order to enrich the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa.
kṣemaṁ sa kaccid yuyudhāna āste
yaḥ phālgunāl labdha-dhanū-rahasyaḥ
gatiṁ tadīyāṁ yatibhir durāpām
kṣemam—all good; saḥ—he; kaccit—whether; yuyudhānaḥ—Sātyaki; āste—is there; yaḥ—one who; phālgunāt—from Arjuna; labdha—has achieved; dhanuḥ-rahasyaḥ—one who understands the intricacies of military art; lebhe—also achieved; añjasā—summarily; adhokṣaja—of the Transcendence; sevayā—by service; eva—certainly; gatim—destination; tadīyām—transcendental; yatibhiḥ—by great renouncers; durāpām—very difficult to achieve.
O Uddhava, does Yuyudhāna fare well? He learned the intricacies of the military art from Arjuna and attained the transcendental destination which is very difficult to reach even for great renouncers.
The destination of transcendence is to become the personal associate of the Personality of Godhead, who is known as adhokṣaja, He who is beyond the reach of the senses. The renouncers of the world, the sannyāsīs, give up all worldly connections, namely, family, wife, children, friends, home, wealth—everything—to attain the transcendental bliss of Brahman happiness. But adhokṣaja happiness is beyond Brahman happiness. The empiric philosophers enjoy a transcendental quality of bliss by philosophical speculation on the Supreme Truth, but beyond that pleasure is the pleasure enjoyed by Brahman in His eternal form of the Personality of Godhead. Brahman bliss is enjoyed by living entities after liberation from material bondage. But Parabrahman, the Personality of Godhead, enjoys eternally a bliss of His own potency, which is called the hlādinī potency. The empiric philosopher who studies Brahman by negation of the external features has not yet learned the quality of the hlādinī potency of Brahman. Out of many potencies of the Omnipotent, there are three features of His internal potency—namely saṁvit, sandhinī and hlādinī. And in spite of their strict adherence to the principles of yama, niyama, āsana, dhyāna, dhāraṇā and prāṇāyāma, the great yogīs and jñānīs are unable to enter into the internal potency of the Lord. This internal potency is, however, easily realized by the devotees of the Lord by dint of devotional service. Yuyudhāna achieved this stage of life, just as he achieved expert knowledge in military science from Arjuna. Thus his life was successful to the fullest extent from both the material and spiritual angles of vision. That is the way of devotional service to the Lord.
kaccid budhaḥ svasty anamīva āste
kaccit—whether; budhaḥ—very learned; svasti—well; anamīvaḥ—faultless; āste—does exist; śvaphalka-putraḥ—the son of Śvaphalka, Akrūra; bhagavat—regarding the Personality of Godhead; prapannaḥ—surrendered; yaḥ—one who; kṛṣṇa—the Lord; pāda-aṅkita—marked with footprints; mārga—path; pāṁsuṣu—in the dust; aceṣṭata—exhibited; prema-vibhinna—lost in transcendental love; dhairyaḥ—mental equilibrium.
Please tell me whether Akrūra, the son of Śvaphalka, is doing well. He is a faultless soul surrendered unto the Personality of Godhead. He once lost his mental equilibrium due to his ecstasy of transcendental love and fell down on the dust of a road which was marked with the footprints of Lord Kṛṣṇa.
When Akrūra came to Vṛndāvana in search of Kṛṣṇa, he saw the footprints of the Lord on the dust of Nanda-grāma and at once fell on them in ecstasy of transcendental love. This ecstasy is possible for a devotee who is fully absorbed in incessant thoughts of Kṛṣṇa. Such a pure devotee of the Lord is naturally faultless because he is always associated with the supremely pure Personality of Godhead. Constant thought of the Lord is the antiseptic method for keeping oneself free from the infectious contamination of the material qualities. The pure devotee of the Lord is always in company with the Lord by thinking of Him. Yet, in the particular context of time and place, the transcendental emotions take a different turn, and this breaks the mental equilibrium of the devotee. Lord Caitanya displayed the typical example of transcendental ecstasy, as we can understand from the life of this incarnation of God.
kaccic chivaṁ devaka-bhoja-putryā
viṣṇu-prajāyā iva deva-mātuḥ
yā vai sva-garbheṇa dadhāra devaṁ
trayī yathā yajña-vitānam artham
kaccit—whether; śivam—everything well; devaka-bhoja-putryāḥ—of the daughter of King Devaka-bhoja; viṣṇu-prajāyāḥ—of she who gave birth to the Personality of Godhead; iva—like that of; deva-mātuḥ—of the mother of the demigods (Aditi); yā—one who; vai—indeed; sva-garbheṇa—by her own womb; dadhāra—conceived; devam—the Supreme Lord; trayī—the Vedas; yathā—as much as; yajña-vitānam—of spreading the sacrifice; artham—purpose.
As the Vedas are the reservoir of sacrificial purposes, so the daughter of King Devaka-bhoja conceived the Supreme Personality of Godhead in her womb, as did the mother of the demigods. Is she [Devakī] doing well?
The Vedas are full of transcendental knowledge and spiritual values, and thus Devakī, the mother of Lord Kṛṣṇa, conceived the Lord in her womb as the personified meaning of the Vedas. There is no difference between the Vedas and the Lord. The Vedas aim at the understanding of the Lord, and the Lord is the Vedas personified. Devakī is compared to the meaningful Vedas and the Lord to their purpose personified.
apisvid āste bhagavān sukhaṁ vo
yaḥ sātvatāṁ kāma-dugho ’niruddhaḥ
yam āmananti sma hi śabda-yoniṁ
api—as also; svit—whether; āste—does He; bhagavān—the Personality of Godhead; sukham—all happiness; vaḥ—of you; yaḥ—one who; sātvatām—of the devotees; kāma-dughaḥ—source of all desires; aniruddhaḥ—the plenary expansion Aniruddha; yam—whom; āmananti—they accept; sma—from yore; hi—certainly; śabda-yonim—the cause of the Ṛg Veda; manaḥ-mayam—creator of the mind; sattva—transcendental; turīya—the fourth expansion; tattvam—principle.
May I inquire whether Aniruddha is doing well? He is the fulfiller of all the desires of the pure devotees and has been considered from yore to be the cause of the Ṛg Veda, the creator of the mind and the fourth Plenary expansion of Viṣṇu.
Ādi-caturbhuja, the original expansions from Baladeva, are Vāsudeva, Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha. All of Them are viṣṇu-tattvas, or nondifferent Personalities of Godhead. In the incarnation of Śrī Rāma, all these different expansions appeared for particular pastimes. Lord Rāma is the original Vāsudeva, and His brothers were Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha. Aniruddha is also the cause of Mahā-Viṣṇu, from whose breathing the Ṛg Veda appeared. All this is nicely explained in the Mārkaṇḍeya Purāṇa. In the incarnation of Lord Kṛṣṇa, Aniruddha appeared as the son of the Lord. Lord Kṛṣṇa in Dvārakā is the Vāsudeva expansion of the original group. The original Lord Kṛṣṇa never leaves Goloka Vṛndāvana. All the plenary expansions are one and the same viṣṇu-tattva, and there is no difference in Their potency.
apisvid anye ca nijātma-daivam
ananya-vṛttyā samanuvratā ye
gadādayaḥ svasti caranti saumya
api—as also; svit—whether; anye—others; ca—and; nija-ātma—of one’s own self; daivam—Śrī Kṛṣṇa; ananya—absolutely; vṛttyā—faith; samanuvratāḥ—followers; ye—all those who; hṛdīka—Hṛdīka; satya-ātmaja—the son of Satyabhāmā; cārudeṣṇa—Cārudeṣṇa; gada—Gada; ādayaḥ—and others; svasti—all well; caranti—pass time; saumya—O sober one.
O sober one, others, such as Hṛdīka, Cārudeṣṇa, Gada and the son of Satyabhāmā, who accept Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa as the soul of the self and thus follow His path without deviation—are they well?
api sva-dorbhyāṁ vijayācyutābhyāṁ
dharmeṇa dharmaḥ paripāti setum
duryodhano ’tapyata yat-sabhāyāṁ
api—as also; sva-dorbhyām—own arms; vijaya—Arjuna; acyutā-bhyām—along with Śrī Kṛṣṇa; dharmeṇa—on religious principles; dharmaḥ—King Yudhiṣṭhira; paripāti—maintains; setum—the respect of religion; duryodhanaḥ—Duryodhana; atapyata—envied; yat—whose; sabhāyām—royal assembly; sāmrājya—imperial; lakṣmyā—opulence; vijaya-anuvṛttyā—by the service of Arjuna.
Also let me inquire whether Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira is now maintaining the kingdom according to religious principles and with respect for the path of religion. Formerly Duryodhana was burning with envy because Yudhiṣṭhira was being protected by the arms of Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna as if they were his own arms.
Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira was the emblem of religion. When he was ruling his kingdom with the help of Lord Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna, the opulence of his kingdom surpassed all imaginations of the opulence of the kingdom of heaven. His actual arms were Lord Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna, and thus he surpassed everyone’s opulence. Duryodhana, being envious of this opulence, planned so many schemes to put Yudhiṣṭhira into difficulty, and at last the Battle of Kurukṣetra was brought about. After the Battle of Kurukṣetra, Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira was again able to rule his legitimate kingdom, and he reinstated the principles of honor and respect for religion. That is the beauty of a kingdom ruled by a pious king like Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira.
kiṁ vā kṛtāgheṣv agham atyamarṣī
bhīmo ’hivad dīrghatamaṁ vyamuñcat
yasyāṅghri-pātaṁ raṇa-bhūr na sehe
mārgaṁ gadāyāś carato vicitram
kim—whether; vā—either; kṛta—performed; agheṣu—unto the sinners; agham—angry; ati-amarṣī—unconquerable; bhīmaḥ—Bhīma; ahi-vat—like a cobra; dīrgha-tamam—long-cherished; vyamuñcat—has released; yasya—whose; aṅghri-pātam—putting on the steps; raṇa-bhūḥ—the field of battle; na—could not; sehe—tolerate; mārgam—the path; gadāyāḥ—by the clubs; carataḥ—playing; vicitram—wonderful.
[Please tell me] whether the unconquerable Bhīma, who is like a cobra, has released his long-cherished anger upon the sinners? The field of battle could not tolerate even the wonderful playing of his club when he stepped on the path.
Vidura knew the strength of Bhīma. Whenever Bhīma was on the battlefield, his steps on the path and the wonderful playing of his club were unbearable for the enemy. Powerful Bhīma did not take steps against the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra for a long time. Vidura’s inquiry was whether he had yet released his anger, which was like that of a suffering cobra. When a cobra releases its venom after long-cherished anger, its victim cannot survive.
kaccid yaśodhā ratha-yūthapānāṁ
māyā-kirāto giriśas tutoṣa
kaccit—whether; yaśaḥ-dhā—famous; ratha-yūthapānām—amongst the great chariot warriors; gāṇḍīva—Gāṇḍīva; dhanva—bow; uparata-ariḥ—one who has vanquished the enemies; āste—doing well; alakṣitaḥ—without being identified; yat—whose; śara-kūṭa-gūḍhaḥ—being covered by arrows; māyā-kirātaḥ—false hunter; giriśaḥ—Lord Śiva; tutoṣa—was satisfied.
[Please tell me] whether Arjuna, whose bow bears the name Gāṇḍīva and who is always famous amongst the chariot warriors for vanquishing his enemies, is doing well. He once satisfied Lord Śiva by covering him with arrows when Śiva came as an unidentified false hunter.
Lord Śiva tested Arjuna’s strength by picking a quarrel with him over a hunted boar. He confronted Arjuna in the false dress of a hunter, and Arjuna covered him with arrows until Lord Śiva was satisfied with Arjuna’s fighting. He offered Arjuna the Pāśupati weapon and blessed him. Here Vidura inquired about the great warrior’s well-being.
yamāv utasvit tanayau pṛthāyāḥ
pārthair vṛtau pakṣmabhir akṣiṇīva
remāta uddāya mṛdhe sva-rikthaṁ
parāt suparṇāv iva vajri-vaktrāt
yamau—twins (Nakula and Sahadeva); utasvit—whether; tanayau—sons; pṛthāyāḥ—of Pṛthā; pārthaiḥ—by the sons of Pṛthā; vṛtau—protected; pakṣmabhiḥ—by shields; akṣiṇī—of the eyes; iva—like; remāte—playing carelessly; uddāya—snatching; mṛdhe—in the fight; sva-riktham—own property; parāt—from the enemy Duryodhana; suparṇau—Garuḍa, the carrier of Lord Viṣṇu; iva—like; vajri-vaktrāt—from the mouth of Indra.
Are the twin brothers who are protected by their brothers doing well? Just as the eye is always protected by the eyelid, they are protected by the sons of Pṛthā, who snatched back their rightful kingdom from the hands of their enemy Duryodhana, just as Garuḍa snatched nectar from the mouth of Indra, the thunderbolt carrier.
Indra, the King of heaven, carries a thunderbolt in his hand and is very strong, yet Garuḍa, the carrier of Lord Viṣṇu, was able to snatch nectar from his mouth. Similarly, Duryodhana was as strong as the King of heaven, and still the sons of Pṛthā, the Pāṇḍavas, were able to snatch away their kingdom from Duryodhana. Both Garuḍa and the Pārthas are pet devotees of the Lord, and thus it was possible for them to face such strong enemies.
Vidura’s inquiry was about the youngest brothers of the Pāṇḍavas, namely Nakula and Sahadeva. These twin brothers were sons of Mādrī, the stepmother of the other Pāṇḍavas. But although they were stepbrothers, because Kuntī took charge of them after the departure of Mādrī with her husband Mahārāja Pāṇḍu, Nakula and Sahadeva were as good as the other three Pāṇḍavas, Yudhiṣṭhira, Bhīma and Arjuna. The five brothers are known in the world as regular brothers. The three elder Pāṇḍavas took care of the younger brothers, just as the eyelid takes care of the eye. Vidura was anxious to know whether, after winning back their own kingdom from the hands of Duryodhana, the younger brothers were still living happily under the care of the elder brothers.
aho pṛthāpi dhriyate ’rbhakārthe
rājarṣi-varyeṇa vināpi tena
yas tv eka-vīro ’dhiratho vijigye
dhanur dvitīyaḥ kakubhaś catasraḥ
aho—O my lord; pṛthā—Kuntī; api—also; dhriyate—bears her life; arbhaka-arthe—for the sake of fatherless children; rājarṣi—King Pāṇḍu; varyeṇa—the best; vinā api—without him; tena—him; yaḥ—one who; tu—but; eka—alone; vīraḥ—the warrior; adhirathaḥ—commander; vijigye—could conquer; dhanuḥ—the bow; dvitīyaḥ—the second; kakubhaḥ—directions; catasraḥ—four.
O my lord, is Pṛthā still living? She lived only for the sake of her fatherless children; otherwise it was impossible for her to live without King Pāṇḍu, who was the greatest commander and who alone conquered the four directions simply with the help of a second bow.
A faithful wife cannot live without her lord, the husband, and therefore all widows used to voluntarily embrace the burning fire which consumed the dead husband. This system was very common in India because all the wives were chaste and faithful to their husbands. Later on, with the advent of the age of Kali, the wives gradually began to be less adherent to their husbands, and the voluntary embrace of the fire by the widows became a thing of the past. Very recently the system was abolished, since the voluntary system had become a forcible social custom.
When Mahārāja Pāṇḍu died, both his wives, namely Kuntī and Mādrī, were prepared to embrace the fire, but Mādrī requested Kuntī to live for the sake of the younger children, the five Pāṇḍavas. This was agreed upon by Kuntī at the added request of Vyāsadeva. In spite of her great bereavement, Kuntī decided to live, not to enjoy life in the absence of her husband, but only to give protection to the children. This incident is referred to here by Vidura because he knew all the facts about his sister-in-law Kuntīdevī. It is understood that Mahārāja Pāṇḍu was a great warrior and that he alone, with the help of bow and arrow, could conquer the world’s four directions. In the absence of such a husband, it was almost impossible for Kuntī to live on even as a widow, but she had to do it for the sake of the five children.
saumyānuśoce tam adhaḥ-patantaṁ
bhrātre paretāya vidudruhe yaḥ
niryāpito yena suhṛt sva-puryā
ahaṁ sva-putrān samanuvratena
saumya—O gentle one; anuśoce—just lamenting; tam—him; adhaḥ-patantam—gliding down; bhrātre—on his brother’s; paretāya—death; vidudruhe—revolted against; yaḥ—one who; niryāpitaḥ—driven out; yena—by whom; suhṛt—well-wisher; sva-puryāḥ—from his own house; aham—myself; sva-putrān—with his own sons; samanu-vratena—accepting the same line of action.
O gentle one, I simply lament for he [Dhṛtarāṣṭra] who rebelled against his brother after death. By him I was driven out of my own house, although I am his sincere well-wisher, because he accepted the line of action adopted by his own sons.
Vidura did not ask about the welfare of his elder brother because there was no chance of his well-being, only news of his gliding down to hell. Vidura was a sincere well-wisher for Dhṛtarāṣṭra, and he had a thought about him in the corner of his heart. He lamented that Dhṛtarāṣṭra could rebel against the sons of his dead brother Pāṇḍu and that he could drive him (Vidura) out of his own house on the dictation of his crooked sons. In spite of these actions, Vidura never became an enemy of Dhṛtarāṣṭra but continued to be his well-wisher, and at the last stage of Dhṛtarāṣṭra’s life, it was Vidura only who proved to be his real friend. Such is the behavior of a Vaiṣṇava like Vidura: he desires all good, even for his enemies.
so ’haṁ harer martya-viḍambanena
dṛśo nṛṇāṁ cālayato vidhātuḥ
nānyopalakṣyaḥ padavīṁ prasādāc
carāmi paśyan gata-vismayo ’tra
saḥ aham—therefore, I; hareḥ—of the Personality of Godhead; martya—in this mortal world; viḍambanena—without being recognized; dṛśaḥ—on sight; nṛṇām—of the people in general; cālayataḥ—bewildering; vidhātuḥ—in order to do it; na—not; anya—other; upalakṣyaḥ—seen by others; padavīm—glories; prasādāt—by the grace of; carāmi—do travel; paśyan—by seeing; gata-vismayaḥ—without doubt; atra—in this matter.
I am not astonished at this, having traveled over the world without being seen by others. The activities of the Personality of Godhead, which are like those of a man in this mortal world, are bewildering to others, but I know of His greatness by His grace, and thus I am happy in all respects.
Although he was the brother of Dhṛtarāṣṭra, Vidura was completely different. By the grace of Lord Kṛṣṇa, he was not foolish like his brother, and thus his brother’s association could not influence him. Dhṛtarāṣṭra and his materialistic sons wanted to falsely lord it over the world by dint of their own strength. The Lord encouraged them in this, and thus they became more and more bewildered. But Vidura wanted to achieve sincere devotional service of the Lord and therefore became a soul absolutely surrendered to the Absolute Personality of Godhead. He could realize this in the progress of his pilgrim’s journey, and thus he was freed from all doubts. He was not at all sorry to be bereft of his hearth and home because he now had experience that dependence on the mercy of the Lord is a greater freedom than so-called freedom at home. A person should not be in the renounced order of life unless he is firmly convinced of being protected by the Lord. This stage of life is explained in Bhagavad-gītā as abhayaṁ sattva-saṁśuddhiḥ: every living entity is factually completely dependent on the mercy of the Lord, but unless one is in the pure state of existence, he cannot be established in this position. This stage of dependence is called sattva-saṁśuddhiḥ, or purification of one’s existence. The result of such purification is exhibited in fearlessness. A devotee of the Lord, who is called nārāyaṇa-para, is never afraid of anything because he is always aware of the fact that the Lord protects him in all circumstances. With this conviction, Vidura traveled alone, and he was not seen or recognized by any friend or foe. Thus he enjoyed freedom of life without obligation to the many duties of the world.
When Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa was personally present in the mortal world in His eternal, blissful form of Śyāmasundara, those who were not pure devotees of the Lord could not recognize Him or know His glories. Avajānānti māṁ mūḍhā mānuṣīṁ tanum āśritam (Bg. 9.11): He is always bewildering to the nondevotees, but He is always seen by the devotees by dint of their pure devotional service to Him.
nūnaṁ nṛpāṇāṁ tri-madotpathānāṁ
mahīṁ muhuś cālayatāṁ camūbhiḥ
’py upaikṣatāghaṁ bhagavān kurūṇām
nūnam—of course; nṛpāṇām—of the kings; tri—three; mada-utpathānām—going astray out of false pride; mahīm—earth; muhuḥ—constantly; cālayatām—agitating; camūbhiḥ—by movement of soldiers; vadhāt—from the act of killing; prapanna—surrendered; ārti-jihīrṣaya—willing to relieve the distress of the sufferers; īśaḥ—the Lord; api—in spite of; upaikṣata—waited; agham—offenses; bhagavān—the Supreme Lord; kurūṇām—of the Kurus.
Despite His being the Lord and being always willing to relieve the distress of sufferers, He [Kṛṣṇa] refrained from killing the Kurus, although they committed all sorts of sins and although He saw other kings constantly agitating the earth by their strong military movements carried out under the dictation of three kinds of false pride.
As declared in Bhagavad-gītā, the Lord appears in the mortal world to execute His much-needed mission of killing the miscreants and giving protection to the suffering faithful. In spite of that mission, Lord Kṛṣṇa tolerated the insult to Draupadī by the Kurus and the injustices perpetrated against the Pāṇḍavas, as well as insults to Himself. The question may be raised, “Why did He tolerate such injustices and insults in His presence? Why did He not chastise the Kurus immediately?” When Draupadī was insulted in the assembly by the Kurus by their attempt to see her naked in the presence of all, the Lord protected Draupadī by supplying an unlimited length of clothing. But He did not chastise the insulting party immediately. This silence of the Lord did not mean, however, that He excused the offenses of the Kurus. There were many other kings on earth who had become very proud of three kinds of possessions—wealth, education and followers—and they were constantly agitating the earth by movements of military strength. The Lord was just waiting to get them together on the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra and kill them all at one time, just to make a short-cut in His killing mission. Godless kings or heads of state, when puffed up by advancement of material wealth, education and increase of population, always make a show of military strength and give trouble to the innocent. When Lord Kṛṣṇa was personally present, there were many such kings all over the world, and He thus arranged for the Battle of Kurukṣetra. In His manifestation of viśva-rūpa, the Lord expressed His mission of killing as follows: “I have willingly descended on the earth in My capacity of inexorable Time in order to decrease the unwanted population. I shall finish all those who have assembled here except you, the Pāṇḍavas. This killing does not wait for you to take part in it. It is already arranged: all will be killed by Me. If you want to become famous as the hero of the battlefield and thus enjoy the booty of war, then, O Savyasācī, just become the immediate cause of this killing and thus take the credit. I have already killed all the great warriors—Bhīṣma, Droṇa, Jayadratha, Karṇa and many other great generals. Do not worry. Fight the battle and be famous as a great hero.” (Bg. 11.32–34)
The Lord always wants to see His devotee as the hero of some episode which He Himself performs. He wanted to see His devotee and friend Arjuna as the hero of the Battle of Kurukṣetra, and thus He waited for all the miscreants of the world to assemble. That, and nothing else, is the explanation of His waiting.
karmāṇy akartur grahaṇāya puṁsām
nanv anyathā ko ’rhati deha-yogaṁ
paro guṇānām uta karma-tantram
ajasya—of the unborn; janma—appearance; utpatha-nāśanāya—f or the sake of annihilating the upstarts; karmāṇi—works; akartuḥ—of one who has nothing to do; grahaṇāya—to take up; puṁsām—of all persons; nanu anyathā—otherwise; kaḥ—who; arhati—may deserve; deha-yogam—contact of the body; paraḥ—transcendental; guṇānām—of the three modes of nature; uta—what to speak of; karma-tantram—the law of action and reaction.
The appearance of the Lord is manifested for the annihilation of the upstarts. His activities are transcendental and are enacted for the understanding of all persons. Otherwise, since the Lord is transcendental to all material modes, what purpose could He serve by coming to earth?
Īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahaḥ (Brahma-saṁhitā 5.1): the form of the Lord is eternal, blissful, and all-satisfying. His so-called birth is therefore an appearance only, like the birth of the sun on the horizon. His birth does not, like that of the living entities, take place under the influence of material nature and the bondage of the reactions of past deeds. His works and activities are independent pastimes and are not subject to the reactions of material nature. In Bhagavad-gītā (4.14) it is said:
The law of karma enacted by the Supreme Lord for the living entities cannot be applicable to Him, nor has the Lord any desire to improve Himself by activities like those of ordinary living beings. Ordinary living beings work for the improvement of their conditional lives. But the Lord is already full of all opulence, all strength, all fame, all beauty, all knowledge and all renunciation. Why should He desire improvement? No one can excel Him in any opulence, and therefore the desire for improvement is absolutely useless for Him. One should always discriminate between the activities of the Lord and those of ordinary living beings. Thus one may come to the right conclusion regarding the Lord’s transcendental position. One who can come to the conclusion of the Lord’s transcendence can become a devotee of the Lord and can at once be free from all reactions of past deeds. It is said, karmāṇi nirdahati kintu ca bhakti-bhājām: the Lord minimizes or nullifies the reactionary influence of the devotee’s past deeds. (Brahma-saṁhitā 5.54)
The activities of the Lord are to be accepted and relished by all living entities. His activities are to attract the ordinary man towards the Lord. The Lord always acts in favor of the devotees, and therefore ordinary men who are fruitive actors or seekers of salvation may be attracted to the Lord when He acts as protector of the devotees. The fruitive actors can attain their goals by devotional service, and the salvationists can also attain their goal in life by devotional service to the Lord. The devotees do not want the fruitive results of their work, nor do they want any kind of salvation. They relish the glorious superhuman activities of the Lord, such as His lifting Govardhana Hill and His killing the demon Pūtanā in infancy. His activities are enacted to attract all kinds of men—karmīs, jñānīs and bhaktas. Because He is transcendental to all laws of karma, there is no possibility of His accepting a form of māyā as is forced on the ordinary living entities who are bound by the actions and reactions of their own deeds.
The secondary purpose of His appearance is to annihilate the upstart asuras and to stop the nonsense of atheistic propaganda by less intelligent persons. By the Lord’s causeless mercy, the asuras who are killed personally by the Personality of Godhead get salvation. The meaningful appearance of the Lord is always distinct from ordinary birth. Even the pure devotees have no connection with the material body, and certainly the Lord, who appears as He is, in His sac-cid-ānanda form, is not limited by a material form.
avasthitānām anuśāsane sve
arthāya jātasya yaduṣv ajasya
vārtāṁ sakhe kīrtaya tīrtha-kīrteḥ
tasya—His; prapanna—surrendered; akhila-loka-pānām—all rulers of the entire universe; avasthitānām—situated in; anuśāsane—under the control of; sve—own self; arthāya—for the interest of; jātasya—of the born; yaduṣu—in the family of the Yadus; ajasya—of the unborn; vārtām—topics; sakhe—O my friend; kīrtaya—please narrate; tīrtha-kīrteḥ—of the Lord, whose glories are chanted in the places of pilgrimage.
O my friend, please, therefore, chant the glories of the Lord, who is meant to be glorified in the places of pilgrimage. He is unborn, and yet He appears by His causeless mercy upon the surrendered rulers of all parts of the universe. Only for their interest did He appear in the family of His unalloyed devotees the Yadus.
There are innumerable rulers all over the universe in different varieties of planets: the sun-god in the sun planet, the moon-god in the moon planet, Indra in the heavenly planet, Vāyu, Varuṇa, and those in the Brahmaloka planet, where Lord Brahmā is living. All are obedient servants of the Lord. Whenever there is any trouble in the administration of the innumerable planets in different universes, the rulers pray for an appearance, and the Lord appears. The Bhāgavatam (1.3.28) has already confirmed this in the following verse:
In every millennium, whenever there is any trouble for the obedient rulers, the Lord appears. He also appears for the sake of His pure unalloyed devotees. The surrendered rulers and the pure devotees are always strictly under the control of the Lord, and they are never disobedient to the desires of the Lord. The Lord is therefore always attentive to them.
The purpose of pilgrimages is to remember the Lord constantly, and therefore the Lord is known as tīrtha-kīrti. The purpose of going to a place of pilgrimage is to get the chance to glorify the Lord. Even today, although times have changed, there are still pilgrimage sites in India. For example, in Mathurā and Vṛndāvana, where we had a chance to stay, people are awake from early in the morning at 4 A.M. up until nighttime and are constantly engaged, some way or other, in chanting the holy glories of the Lord. The beauty of such a pilgrimage site is that automatically one remembers the holy glories of the Lord. His name, fame, quality, form, pastimes and entourage are all identical to the Lord, and therefore chanting the glories of the Lord invokes the personal presence of the Lord. Any time or anywhere pure devotees meet and chant the glories of the Lord, the Lord is present without any doubt. It is said by the Lord Himself that He always stays where His pure devotees chant His glories.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the Third Canto, First Chapter, of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, entitled “Questions by Vidura.”
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