The Story of King Vena
bhṛgv-ādayas te munayo
goptary asati vai nṝṇāṁ
maitreyaḥ uvāca—the great sage Maitreya continued; bhṛgu-ādayaḥ—headed by Bhṛgu; te—all of them; munayaḥ—the great sages; lokānām—of the people; kṣema-darśinaḥ—who always aspire for the welfare; goptari—the King; asati—being absent; vai—certainly; nṝṇām—of all the citizens; paśyantaḥ—having understood; paśu-sāmyatām—existence on the level of the animals.
The great sage Maitreya continued: O great hero Vidura, the great sages, headed by Bhṛgu, were always thinking of the welfare of the people in general. When they saw that in the absence of King Aṅga there was no one to protect the interests of the people, they understood that without a ruler the people would become independent and nonregulated.
In this verse the significant word is kṣema-darśinaḥ, which refers to those who are always looking after the welfare of the people in general. All the great sages headed by Bhṛgu were always thinking of how to elevate all the people of the universe to the spiritual platform. Indeed, they advised the kings of every planet to rule the people with that ultimate goal of life in mind. The great sages used to advise the head of the state, or the king, and he used to rule the populace in accordance with their instruction. After the disappearance of King Aṅga, there was no one to follow the instructions of the great sages. Consequently all the citizens became unruly, so much so that they could be compared to animals. As described in Bhagavad-gītā (4.13), human society must be divided into four orders according to quality and work. In every society there must be an intelligent class, administrative class, productive class and worker class. In modern democracy these scientific divisions are turned topsy-turvy, and by vote śūdras, or workers, are chosen for administrative posts. Having no knowledge of the ultimate goal of life, such persons whimsically enact laws without knowledge of life’s purpose. The result is that no one is happy.
abhyaṣiñcan patiṁ bhuvaḥ
vīra—of Vena; mātaram—mother; āhūya—calling; sunīthām—of the name Sunīthā; brahma-vādinaḥ—the great sages learned in the Vedas; prakṛti—by the ministers; asammatam—not approved of; venam—Vena; abhyaṣiñcan—enthroned; patim—the master; bhuvaḥ—of the world.
The great sages then called for the Queen Mother, Sunīthā, and with her permission they installed Vena on the throne as master of the world. All the ministers, however, disagreed with this.
nililyur dasyavaḥ sadyaḥ
śrutvā—after hearing; nṛpa—of the King; āsana-gatam—ascended to the throne; venam—Vena; ati—very; ugra—severe; śāsanam—punisher; nililyuḥ—hid themselves; dasyavaḥ—all the thieves; sadyaḥ—immediately; sarpa—from snakes; trastāḥ—being afraid; iva—like; ākhavaḥ—rats.
It was already known that Vena was very severe and cruel; therefore, as soon as all the thieves and rogues in the state heard of his ascendance to the royal throne, they became very much afraid of him. Indeed, they hid themselves here and there as rats hide themselves from snakes.
When the government is very weak, rogues and thieves flourish. Similarly, when the government is very strong, all the thieves and rogues disappear or hide themselves. Of course Vena was not a very good king, but he was known to be cruel and severe. Thus the state at least became freed from thieves and rogues.
stabdhaḥ sambhāvitaḥ svataḥ
saḥ—King Vena; ārūḍha—ascended to; nṛpa-sthānaḥ—the seat of the king; unnaddhaḥ—very proud; aṣṭa—eight; vibhūtibhiḥ—by opulences; avamene—began to insult; mahā-bhāgān—great personalities; stabdhaḥ—inconsiderate; sambhāvitaḥ—considered great; svataḥ—by himself.
When the King ascended to the throne, he became all-powerful with eight kinds of opulences. Consequently he became too proud. By virtue of his false prestige, he considered himself to be greater than anyone. Thus he began to insult great personalities.
In this verse the word aṣṭa-vibhūtibhiḥ, meaning “by eight opulences,” is very important. The king is supposed to possess eight kinds of opulences. By dint of mystic yoga practice, kings generally acquired these eight opulences. These kings were called rājarṣis, kings who were also great sages. By practicing mystic yoga, a rājarṣi could become smaller than the smallest, greater than the greatest, and could get whatever he desired. A rājarṣi could also create a kingdom, bring everyone under his control and rule everyone. These were some of the opulences of a king. King Vena, however, was not practiced in yoga, but he became very proud of his royal position nonetheless. Because he was not very considerate, he began to misuse his power and insult great personalities.
evaṁ madāndha utsikto
niraṅkuśa iva dvipaḥ
paryaṭan ratham āsthāya
kampayann iva rodasī
evam—thus; mada-andhaḥ—being blind with power; utsiktaḥ—proud; niraṅkuśaḥ—uncontrolled; iva—like; dvipaḥ—an elephant; paryaṭan—traveling; ratham—a chariot; āsthāya—having mounted; kampayan—causing to tremble; iva—indeed; rodasī—the sky and earth.
When he became overly blind due to his opulences, King Vena mounted a chariot and, like an uncontrolled elephant, began to travel through the kingdom, causing the sky and earth to tremble wherever he went.
na yaṣṭavyaṁ na dātavyaṁ
na hotavyaṁ dvijāḥ kvacit
iti nyavārayad dharmaṁ
na—not; yaṣṭavyam—any sacrifices can be performed; na—not; dātavyam—any charity can be given; na—not; hotavyam—any clarified butter can be offered; dvijāḥ—O twice-born; kvacit—at any time; iti—thus; nyavārayat—he stopped; dharmam—the procedures of religious principles; bherī—of kettledrums; ghoṣeṇa—with the sound; sarvaśaḥ—everywhere.
All the twice-born [brāhmaṇas] were forbidden henceforward to perform any sacrifice, and they were also forbidden to give charity or offer clarified butter. Thus King Vena sounded kettledrums throughout the countryside. In other words, he stopped all kinds of religious rituals.
What was committed by King Vena many years ago is at present being carried out by atheistic governments all over the world. The world situation is so tense that at any moment governments may issue declarations to stop religious rituals. Eventually the world situation will become so degraded that it will be impossible for pious men to live on the planet. Therefore sane people should execute Kṛṣṇa consciousness very seriously, so that they can go back home, back to Godhead, without having to further suffer the miserable conditions predominant in this universe.
kṛpayocuḥ sma satriṇaḥ
venasya—of King Vena; āvekṣya—after observing; munayaḥ—all the great sages; durvṛttasya—of the great rogue; viceṣṭitam—activities; vimṛśya—considering; loka-vyasanam—danger to the people in general; kṛpayā—out of compassion; ūcuḥ—talked; sma—in the past; satriṇaḥ—the performers of sacrifices.
Therefore all the great sages assembled together and, after observing cruel Vena’s atrocities, concluded that a great danger and catastrophe was approaching the people of the world. Thus out of compassion they began to talk amongst themselves, for they themselves were the performers of the sacrifices.
Before King Vena was enthroned, all the great sages were very much anxious to see to the welfare of society. When they saw that King Vena was most irresponsible, cruel and atrocious, they again began to think of the welfare of the people. It should be understood that sages, saintly persons and devotees are not unconcerned with the people’s welfare. Ordinary karmīs are busy acquiring money for sense gratification, and ordinary jñānīs are socially aloof when they speculate on liberation, but actual devotees and saintly persons are always anxious to see how the people can be made happy both materially and spiritually. Therefore the great sages began to consult one another on how to get out of the dangerous atmosphere created by King Vena.
aho ubhayataḥ prāptaṁ
lokasya vyasanaṁ mahat
dāruṇy ubhayato dīpte
aho—alas; ubhayataḥ—from both directions; prāptam—received; lokasya—of the people in general; vyasanam—danger; mahat—great; dāruṇi—a log; ubhayataḥ—from both sides; dīpte—burning; iva—like; taskara—from thieves and rogues; pālayoḥ—and from the king.
When the great sages consulted one another, they saw that the people were in a dangerous position from both directions. When a fire blazes on both ends of a log, the ants in the middle are in a very dangerous situation. Similarly, at that time the people in general were in a dangerous position due to an irresponsible king on one side and thieves and rogues on the other.
tato ’py āsīd bhayaṁ tv adya
kathaṁ syāt svasti dehinām
arājaka—being without a king; bhayāt—out of fear; eṣaḥ—this Vena; kṛtaḥ—was made; rājā—the king; a-tat-arhaṇaḥ—though not qualified for it; tataḥ—from him; api—also; āsīt—there was; bhayam—danger; tu—then; adya—now; katham—how; syāt—can there be; svasti—happiness; dehinām—of the people in general.
Thinking to save the state from irregularity, the sages began to consider that it was due to a political crisis that they made Vena king although he was not qualified. But alas, now the people were being disturbed by the king himself. Under such circumstances, how could the people be happy?
In Bhagavad-gītā (18.5) it is stated that even in the renounced order one should not give up sacrifice, charity and penance. The brahmacārīs must perform sacrifices, the gṛhasthas must give in charity, and those in the renounced order of life (the vānaprasthas and sannyāsīs) must practice penance and austerities. These are the procedures by which everyone can be elevated to the spiritual platform. When the sages and saintly persons saw that King Vena had stopped all these functions, they became concerned about the people’s progress. Saintly people preach God consciousness, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness, because they are anxious to save the general populace from the dangers of animalistic life. There must be a good government to see that the citizens are actually executing their religious rituals, and thieves and rogues must be curbed. When this is done, the people can advance peacefully in spiritual consciousness and make their lives successful.
aher iva payaḥ-poṣaḥ
venaḥ prakṛtyaiva khalaḥ
aheḥ—of a snake; iva—like; payaḥ—with milk; poṣaḥ—the maintaining; poṣakasya—of the maintainer; api—even; anartha—against the interest; bhṛt—becomes; venaḥ—King Vena; prakṛtyā—by nature; eva—certainly; khalaḥ—mischievous; sunīthā—of Sunīthā, Vena’s mother; garbha—the womb; sambhavaḥ—born of.
The sages began to think within themselves: Because he was born from the womb of Sunīthā, King Vena is by nature very mischievous. Supporting this mischievous king is exactly like maintaining a snake with milk. Now he has become a source of all difficulties.
Saintly persons are generally aloof from social activities and the materialistic way of life. King Vena was supported by the saintly persons just to protect the citizens from the hands of rogues and thieves, but after his ascendance to the throne, he became a source of trouble to the sages. Saintly people are especially interested in performing sacrifices and austerities for the advancement of spiritual life, but Vena, instead of being obliged because of the saints’ mercy, turned out to be their enemy because he prohibited them from executing their ordinary duties. A serpent who is maintained with milk and bananas simply stores poison in his teeth and awaits the day to bite his master.
sa jighāṁsati vai prajāḥ
nāsmāṁs tat-pātakaṁ spṛśet
nirūpitaḥ—appointed; prajā-pālaḥ—the king; saḥ—he; jighāṁsati—desires to harm; vai—certainly; prajāḥ—the citizens; tathā api—nevertheless; sāntvayema—we should pacify; amum—him; na—not; asmān—us; tat—his; pātakam—sinful result; spṛśet—may touch.
We appointed this Vena king of the state in order to give protection to the citizens, but now he has become the enemy of the citizens. Despite all these discrepancies, we should at once try to pacify him. By doing so, we may not be touched by the sinful results caused by him.
The saintly sages elected King Vena to become king, but he proved to be mischievous; therefore the sages were very much afraid of incurring sinful reaction. The law of karma prohibits a person even to associate with a mischievous individual. By electing Vena to the throne, the saintly sages certainly associated with him. Ultimately King Vena became so mischievous that the saintly sages actually became afraid of becoming contaminated by his activities. Thus before taking any action against him, the sages tried to pacify and correct him so that he might turn from his mischief.
veno ’smābhiḥ kṛto nṛpaḥ
sāntvito yadi no vācaṁ
na grahīṣyaty adharma-kṛt
tat—his mischievous nature; vidvadbhiḥ—aware of; asat-vṛttaḥ—impious; venaḥ—Vena; asmābhiḥ—by us; kṛtaḥ—was made; nṛpaḥ—king; sāntvitaḥ—(in spite of) being pacified; yadi—if; naḥ—our; vācam—words; na—not; grahīṣyati—he will accept; adharma-kṛt—the most mischievous; loka-dhik-kāra—by public condemnation; sandagdham—burned; dahiṣyāmaḥ—we shall burn; sva-tejasā—by our prowess.
The saintly sages continued thinking: Of course we are completely aware of his mischievous nature. Yet nevertheless we enthroned Vena. If we cannot persuade King Vena to accept our advice, he will be condemned by the public, and we will join them. Thus by our prowess we shall burn him to ashes.
Saintly persons are not interested in political matters, yet they are always thinking of the welfare of the people in general. Consequently they sometimes have to come down to the political field and take steps to correct the misguided government or royalty. However, in Kali-yuga, saintly persons are not as powerful as they previously were. They used to be able to burn any sinful man to ashes by virtue of their spiritual prowess. Now saintly persons have no such power due to the influence of the age of Kali. Indeed, the brāhmaṇas do not even have the power to perform sacrifices in which animals are put into a fire to attain a new life. Under these circumstances, instead of actively taking part in politics, saintly persons should engage in chanting the mahā-mantra, Hare Kṛṣṇa. By the grace of Lord Caitanya, by simply chanting this Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, the general populace can derive all benefits without political implications.
sāntvayitvā ca sāmabhiḥ
evam—thus; adhyavasāya—having decided; enam—him; munayaḥ—the great sages; gūḍha-manyavaḥ—concealing their anger; upavrajya—having approached; abruvan—spoke; venam—to King Vena; sāntvayitvā—after pacifying; ca—also; sāmabhiḥ—with sweet words.
The great sages, having thus decided, approached King Vena. Concealing their real anger, they pacified him with sweet words and then spoke as follows.
yat te vijñāpayāma bhoḥ
tava tāta vivardhanam
munayaḥ ūcuḥ—the great sages said; nṛpa-varya—O best of the kings; nibodha—kindly try to understand; etat—this; yat—which; te—to you; vijñāpayāma—we shall instruct; bhoḥ—O King; āyuḥ—duration of life; śrī—opulences; bala—strength; kīrtīnām—good reputation; tava—your; tāta—dear son; vivardhanam—which will increase.
The great sages said: Dear King, we have come to give you good advice. Kindly hear us with great attention. By doing so, your duration of life and your opulence, strength and reputation will increase.
According to Vedic civilization, in a monarchy the king is advised by saintly persons and sages. By taking their advice, he can become the greatest executive power, and everyone in his kingdom will be happy, peaceful and prosperous. The great kings were very responsible in taking the instructions given by great saintly personalities. The kings used to accept the instructions given by great sages like Parāśara, Vyāsadeva, Nārada, Devala and Asita. In other words, they would first accept the authority of saintly persons and then execute their monarchical power. Unfortunately, in the present age of Kali, the head of government does not follow the instructions given by the saintly persons; therefore neither the citizens nor the men of government are very happy. Their duration of life is shortened, and almost everyone is wretched and bereft of bodily strength and spiritual power. If citizens want to be happy and prosperous in this democratic age, they should not elect rascals and fools who have no respect for saintly persons.
dharma ācaritaḥ puṁsāṁ
lokān viśokān vitaraty
dharmaḥ—religious principles; ācaritaḥ—executed; puṁsām—to persons; vāk—by words; manaḥ—mind; kāya—body; buddhibhiḥ—and by intelligence; lokān—the planets; viśokān—without misery; vitarati—bestow; atha—certainly; ānantyam—unlimited happiness, liberation; asaṅginām—to those free from material influence.
Those who live according to religious principles and who follow them by words, mind, body and intelligence are elevated to the heavenly kingdom, which is devoid of all miseries. Being thus rid of the material influence, they achieve unlimited happiness in life.
The saintly sages herein instruct that the king or head of government should set an example by living a religious life. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā, religion means worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One should not simply make a show of religious life, but should perform devotional service perfectly with words, mind, body and good intelligence. By doing so, not only will the king or government head rid himself of the contamination of the material modes of nature, but the general public will also, and they will all become gradually elevated to the kingdom of God and go back home, back to Godhead. The instructions given herein serve as a summary of how the head of government should execute his ruling power and thus attain happiness not only in this life but also in the life after death.
sa te mā vinaśed vīra
yasmin vinaṣṭe nṛpatir
saḥ—that spiritual life; te—by you; mā—do not; vinaśet—let it be spoiled; vīra—O hero; prajānām—of the people; kṣema-lakṣaṇaḥ—the cause of prosperity; yasmin—which; vinaṣṭe—being spoiled; nṛpatiḥ—the king; aiśvaryāt—from opulence; avarohati—falls down.
The sages continued: O great hero, for this reason you should not be the cause of spoiling the spiritual life of the general populace. If their spiritual life is spoiled because of your activities, you will certainly fall down from your opulent and royal position.
Formerly, in practically all parts of the world, there were monarchies, but gradually as monarchy declined from the ideal life of religion to the godless life of sense gratification, monarchies all over the world were abolished. However, simply abolishing monarchy and replacing it with democracy is not sufficient unless the government men are religious and follow in the footsteps of great religious personalities.
corādibhyaḥ prajā nṛpaḥ
rakṣan yathā baliṁ gṛhṇann
iha pretya ca modate
rājan—O King; asādhu—mischievous; amātyebhyaḥ—from ministers; cora-ādibhyaḥ—from thieves and rogues; prajāḥ—the citizens; nṛpaḥ—the king; rakṣan—protecting; yathā—accordingly as; balim—taxes; gṛhṇan—accepting; iha—in this world; pretya—after death; ca—also; modate—enjoys.
The saintly persons continued: When the king protects the citizens from the disturbances of mischievous ministers as well as from thieves and rogues, he can, by virtue of such pious activities, accept taxes given by his subjects. Thus a pious king can certainly enjoy himself in this world as well as in the life after death.
The duty of a pious king is described very nicely in this verse. His first and foremost duty is to give protection to the citizens from thieves and rogues as well as from ministers who are no better than thieves and rogues. Formerly, ministers were appointed by the king and were not elected. Consequently, if the king was not very pious or strict, the ministers would become thieves and rogues and exploit the innocent citizens. It is the king’s duty to see that there is no increase of thieves and rogues either in the government secretariat or in the departments of public affairs. If a king cannot give protection to citizens from thieves and rogues both in the government service and in public affairs, he has no right to exact taxes from them. In other words, the king or the government that taxes can levy taxes from the citizens only if the king or government is able to give protection to the citizens from thieves and rogues.
In the Twelfth Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (12.1.40) there is a description of these thieves and rogues in government service. As stated, prajās te bhakṣayiṣyanti mlecchā rājanya-rūpiṇaḥ: “These proud mlecchas [persons who are less than śūdras]. representing themselves as kings, will tyrannize their subjects, and their subjects, on the other hand, will cultivate the most vicious practices. Thus practicing evil habits and behaving foolishly, the subjects will be like their rulers.” The idea is that in the democratic days of Kali-yuga, the general population will fall down to the standard of śūdras. As stated (kalau śūdra-sambhavaḥ), practically the whole population of the world will be śūdra. A śūdra is a fourth-class man who is only fit to work for the three higher social castes. Being fourth-class men, śūdras are not very intelligent. Since the population is fallen in these democratic days, they can only elect a person in their category, but a government cannot run very well when it is run by śūdras. The second class of men, known as kṣatriyas, are especially meant for governing a country under the direction of saintly persons (brāhmaṇas) who are supposed to be very intelligent. In other ages—in Satya-yuga, Tretā-yuga and Dvāpara-yuga—the general populace was not so degraded, and the head of government was never elected. The king was the supreme executive personality, and if he caught any ministers stealing like thieves and rogues, he would at once have them killed or dismissed from service. As it was the duty of the king to kill thieves and rogues, it was similarly his duty to immediately kill dishonest ministers in government service. By such strict vigilance, the king could run the government very well, and the citizens would be happy to have such a king. The conclusion is that unless the king is perfectly able to give protection to the citizens from rogues and thieves, he has no right to levy taxes from the citizens for his own sense gratification. However, if he gives all protection to the citizens and levies taxes on them, he can live very happily and peacefully in this life, and at the end of this life be elevated to the heavenly kingdom or even to the Vaikuṇṭhas, where he will be happy in all respects.
yasya rāṣṭre pure caiva
ijyate svena dharmeṇa
yasya—whose; rāṣṭre—in the state or kingdom; pure—in the cities; ca—also; eva—certainly; bhagavān—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; yajña-pūruṣaḥ—who is the enjoyer of all sacrifices; ijyate—is worshiped; svena—their own; dharmeṇa—by occupation; janaiḥ—by the people; varṇa-āśrama—the system of eight social orders; anvitaiḥ—who follow.
The king is supposed to be pious in whose state and cities the general populace strictly observes the system of eight social orders of varṇa and āśrama, and where all citizens engage in worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead by their particular occupations.
The state’s duty and the citizen’s duty are very nicely explained in this verse. The activities of the government head, or king, as well as the activities of the citizens, should be so directed that ultimately everyone engages in devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The king, or government head, is supposed to be the representative of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and is therefore supposed to see that things go on nicely and that the citizens are situated in the scientific social order comprised of four varṇas and four āśramas. In the Viṣṇu Purāṇa it is stated that unless people are educated or situated in the scientific social order comprised of four varṇas (brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya and śūdra) and four āśramas (brahmacarya, gṛhastha, vānaprastha and sannyāsa), society can never be considered real human society, nor can it make any advancement towards the ultimate goal of human life. It is the duty of the government to see that things go on in terms of varṇa and āśrama. As stated herein, bhagavān yajña-pūruṣaḥ—the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, is the yajña-pūruṣa. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (5.29): bhoktāraṁ yajña-tapasām. Kṛṣṇa is the ultimate purpose of all sacrifice. He is also the enjoyer of all sacrifices; therefore He is known as yajña-pūruṣa. The word yajña-pūruṣa indicates Lord Viṣṇu or Lord Kṛṣṇa, or any Personality of Godhead in the category of viṣṇu-tattva. In perfect human society, people are situated in the orders of varṇa and āśrama and are engaged in worshiping Lord Viṣṇu by their respective activities. Every citizen engaged in an occupation renders service by the resultant actions of his activities. That is the perfection of life. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (18.46):
“By worship of the Lord, who is the source of all beings and who is all-pervading, man can, in the performance of his own duty, attain perfection.”
Thus the brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas, śūdras and vaiśyas must execute their prescribed duties as these duties are stated in the śāstras. In this way everyone can satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu. The king, or government head, has to see that the citizens are thus engaged. In other words, the state or the government must not deviate from its duty by declaring that the state is a secular one, which has no interest in whether or not the people advance in varṇāśrama-dharma. Today people engaged in government service and people who rule over the citizens have no respect for the varṇāśrama-dharma. They complacently feel that the state is secular. In such a government, no one can be happy. The people must follow the varṇāśrama-dharma, and the king must see that they are following it nicely.
tasya rājño mahā-bhāga
tasya—with him; rājñaḥ—the king; mahā-bhāga—O noble one; bhagavān—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; bhūta-bhāvanaḥ—who is the original cause of the cosmic manifestation; parituṣyati—becomes satisfied; viśva-ātmā—the Supersoul of the entire universe; tiṣṭhataḥ—being situated; nija-śāsane—in his own governing situation.
O noble one, if the king sees that the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the original cause of the cosmic manifestation and the Supersoul within everyone, is worshiped, the Lord will be satisfied.
It is a fact that the government’s duty is to see that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is satisfied by the activities of the people as well as by the activities of the government. There is no possibility of happiness if the government or citizenry have no idea of Bhagavān, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the original cause of the cosmic manifestation, or if they have no knowledge of bhūta-bhāvana, who is viśvātmā, or the Supersoul, the soul of everyone’s soul. The conclusion is that without engaging in devotional service, neither the citizens nor the government can be happy in any way. At the present moment neither the king nor the governing body is interested in seeing that the people are engaged in the devotional service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Rather, they are more interested in advancing the machinery of sense gratification. Consequently they are becoming more and more implicated in the complex machinery of the stringent laws of nature. People should be freed from the entanglement of the three modes of material nature, and the only process by which this is possible is surrender unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is advised in Bhagavad-gītā. Unfortunately neither the government nor the people in general have any idea of this; they are simply interested in sense gratification and in being happy in this life. The word nija-śāsane (“in his own governmental duty”) indicates that both the government and the citizens are responsible for the execution of varṇāśrama-dharma. Once the populace is situated in the varṇāśrama-dharma, there is every possibility of real life and prosperity both in this world and in the next.
tasmiṁs tuṣṭe kim aprāpyaṁ
lokāḥ sapālā hy etasmai
haranti balim ādṛtāḥ
tasmin—when He; tuṣṭe—is satisfied; kim—what; aprāpyam—impossible to achieve; jagatām—of the universe; īśvara-īśvare—the controller of the controllers; lokāḥ—the inhabitants of the planets; sapālāḥ—with their presiding deities; hi—for this reason; etasmai—unto Him; haranti—offer; balim—paraphernalia for worship; ādṛtāḥ—with great pleasure.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is worshiped by the great demigods, controllers of universal affairs. When He is satisfied, nothing is impossible to achieve. For this reason all the demigods, presiding deities of different planets, as well as the inhabitants of their planets, take great pleasure in offering all kinds of paraphernalia for His worship.
All Vedic civilization is summarized in this verse: all living entities, either on this planet or on other planets, have to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead by their respective duties. When He is satisfied, all necessities of life are automatically supplied. In the Vedas it is also stated: eko bahūnāṁ yo vidadhāti kāmān (Kaṭha Upaniṣad 2.2.13). From the Vedas we understand that He is supplying everyone’s necessities, and we can actually see that the lower animals, the birds and the bees, have no business or profession, yet they are not dying for want of food. They are all living in nature’s way, and they all have the necessities of life provided—namely eating, sleeping, mating and defending.
Human society, however, has artificially created a type of civilization which makes one forgetful of his relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Modern society even enables one to forget the Supreme Personality of Godhead’s grace and mercy. Consequently modern civilized man is always unhappy and in need of things. People do not know that the ultimate goal of life is to approach Lord Viṣṇu and satisfy Him. They have taken this materialistic way of life as everything and have become captivated by materialistic activities. Indeed, their leaders are always encouraging them to follow this path, and the general populace, being ignorant of the laws of God, are following their blind leaders down the path of unhappiness. In order to rectify this world situation, all people should be trained in Kṛṣṇa consciousness and act in accordance with the varṇāśrama system. The state should also see that the people are engaged in satisfying the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is the primary duty of the state. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement was started to convince the general populace to adopt the best process by which to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead and thus solve all problems.
trayīmayaṁ dravyamayaṁ tapomayam
yajñair vicitrair yajato bhavāya te
rājan sva-deśān anuroddhum arhasi
tam—Him; sarva-loka—in all planets; amara—with the predominating deities; yajña—sacrifices; saṅgraham—who accepts; trayī-mayam—the sum total of the three Vedas; dravya-mayam—the owner of all paraphernalia; tapaḥ-mayam—the goal of all austerity; yajñaiḥ—by sacrifices; vicitraiḥ—various; yajataḥ—worshiping; bhavāya—for elevation; te—your; rājan—O King; sva-deśān—your countrymen; anuroddhum—to direct; arhasi—you ought.
Dear King, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, along with the predominating deities, is the enjoyer of the results of all sacrifices in all planets. The Supreme Lord is the sum total of the three Vedas, the owner of everything, and the ultimate goal of all austerity. Therefore your countrymen should engage in performing various sacrifices for your elevation. Indeed, you should always direct them towards the offering of sacrifices.
yajñena yuṣmad-viṣaye dvijātibhir
vitāyamānena surāḥ kalā hareḥ
sviṣṭāḥ sutuṣṭāḥ pradiśanti vāñchitaṁ
tad-dhelanaṁ nārhasi vīra ceṣṭitum
yajñena—by sacrifice; yuṣmat—your; viṣaye—in the kingdom; dvijātibhiḥ—by the brāhmaṇas; vitāyamānena—being performed; surāḥ—all the demigods; kalāḥ—expansions; hareḥ—of the Personality of Godhead; su-iṣṭāḥ—being properly worshiped; su-tuṣṭāḥ—very much satisfied; pradiśanti—will give; vāñchitam—desired result; tat-helanam—disrespect to them; na—not; arhasi—you ought; vīra—O hero; ceṣṭitum—to do.
When all the brāhmaṇas engage in performing sacrifices in your kingdom, all the demigods, who are plenary expansions of the Lord, will be very much satisfied by their activities and will give you your desired result. Therefore, O hero, do not stop the sacrificial performances. If you stop them, you will disrespect the demigods.
bāliśā bata yūyaṁ vā
ye vṛttidaṁ patiṁ hitvā
jāraṁ patim upāsate
venaḥ—King Vena; uvāca—replied; bāliśāḥ—childish; bata—oh; yūyam—all of you; vā—indeed; adharme—in irreligious principles; dharma-māninaḥ—accepting as religious; ye—all of you who; vṛttidam—providing maintenance; patim—husband; hitvā—giving up; jāram—paramour; patim—husband; upāsate—worship.
King Vena replied: You are not at all experienced. It is very much regrettable that you are maintaining something which is not religious and are accepting it as religious. Indeed, I think you are giving up your real husband, who maintains you, and are searching after some paramour to worship.
King Vena was so foolish that he accused the saintly sages of being inexperienced like small children. In other words, he was accusing them of not having perfect knowledge. In this way he could reject their advice and make accusations against them, comparing them to a woman who does not care for her husband who maintains her but goes to satisfy a paramour who does not maintain her. The purpose of this simile is apparent. It is the duty of the kṣatriyas to engage the brāhmaṇas in different types of religious activities, and the king is supposed to be the maintainer of the brāhmaṇas. If the brāhmaṇas do not worship the king but instead go to the demigods, they are as polluted as unchaste women.
avajānanty amī mūḍhā
nānuvindanti te bhadram
iha loke paratra ca
avajānanti—disrespect; amī—those (who); mūḍhāḥ—being ignorant; nṛpa-rūpiṇam—in the form of the king; īśvaram—the Personality of Godhead; na—not; anuvindanti—experience; te—they; bhadram—happiness; iha—in this; loke—world; paratra—after death; ca—also.
Those who, out of gross ignorance, do not worship the king, who is actually the Supreme Personality of Godhead, experience happiness neither in this world nor in the world after death.
ko yajña-puruṣo nāma
yatra vo bhaktir īdṛśī
yathā jāre kuyoṣitām
kaḥ—who (is); yajña-puruṣaḥ—the enjoyer of all sacrifices; nāma—by name; yatra—unto whom; vaḥ—your; bhaktiḥ—devotional service; īdṛśī—so great; bhartṛ—for the husband; sneha—affection; vidūrāṇām—bereft of; yathā—like; jāre—unto the paramour; ku-yoṣitām—of unchaste women.
You are so much devoted to the demigods, but who are they? Indeed, your affection for these demigods is exactly like the affection of an unchaste woman who neglects her married life and gives all attention to her paramour.
viṣṇur viriñco giriśa
indro vāyur yamo raviḥ
parjanyo dhanadaḥ somaḥ
kṣitir agnir apāmpatiḥ
ete cānye ca vibudhāḥ
dehe bhavanti nṛpateḥ
viṣṇuḥ—Lord Viṣṇu; viriñcaḥ—Lord Brahmā; giriśaḥ—Lord Śiva; indraḥ—Lord Indra; vāyuḥ—Vāyu, the director of the air; yamaḥ—Yama, the superintendent of death; raviḥ—the sun-god; parjanyaḥ—the director of rainfall; dhana-daḥ—Kuvera, the treasurer; somaḥ—the moon-god; kṣitiḥ—the predominating deity of the earth; agniḥ—the fire-god; apām-patiḥ—Varuṇa, the lord of waters; ete—all these; ca—and; anye—others; ca—also; vibudhāḥ—demigods; prabhavaḥ—competent; vara-śāpayoḥ—in both benediction and curse; dehe—in the body; bhavanti—abide; nṛpateḥ—of the king; sarva-devamayaḥ—comprising all demigods; nṛpaḥ—the king.
Lord Viṣṇu; Lord Brahmā; Lord Śiva; Lord Indra; Vāyu, the master of air; Yama, the superintendent of death; the sun-god; the director of rainfall; Kuvera, the treasurer; the moon-god; the predominating deity of the earth; Agni, the fire-god; Varuṇa, the lord of waters, and all others who are great and competent to bestow benedictions or to curse, all abide in the body of the king. For this reason the king is known as the reservoir of all demigods, who are simply parts and parcels of the king’s body.
There are many demons who think of themselves as the Supreme and present themselves as the directors of the sun, moon and other planets. This is all due to false pride. Similarly, King Vena developed the demonic mentality and presented himself as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Such demons are numerous in this age of Kali, and all of them are condemned by great sages and saintly persons.
tasmān māṁ karmabhir viprā
baliṁ ca mahyaṁ harata
matto ’nyaḥ ko ’gra-bhuk pumān
tasmāt—for this reason; mām—me; karmabhiḥ—by ritualistic activities; viprāḥ—O brāhmaṇas; yajadhvam—worship; gata—without; matsarāḥ—being envious; balim—paraphernalia for worship; ca—also; mahyam—unto me; harata—bring; mattaḥ—than me; anyaḥ—other; kaḥ—who (is); agra-bhuk—the enjoyer of the first oblations; pumān—personality.
King Vena continued: For this reason, O brāhmaṇas, you should abandon your envy of me, and, by your ritualistic activities, you should worship me and offer me all paraphernalia. If you are intelligent, you should know that there is no personality superior to me, who can accept the first oblations of all sacrifices.
As stated by Kṛṣṇa Himself throughout Bhagavad-gītā, there is no truth superior to Him. King Vena was imitating the Supreme Personality of Godhead and was also speaking out of false pride, presenting himself as the Supreme Lord. These are all characteristics of a demonic person.
pāpīyān utpathaṁ gataḥ
na cakre bhraṣṭa-maṅgalaḥ
maitreyaḥ uvāca—Maitreya said; ittham—thus; viparyaya-matiḥ—one who has developed perverse intelligence; pāpīyān—most sinful; utpatham—from the right path; gataḥ—having gone; anunīyamānaḥ—being offered all respect; tat-yācñām—the request of the sages; na—not; cakre—accepted; bhraṣṭa—bereft of; maṅgalaḥ—all good fortune.
The great sage Maitreya continued: Thus the King, who became unintelligent due to his sinful life and deviation from the right path, became actually bereft of all good fortune. He could not accept the requests of the great sages, which the sages put before him with great respect, and therefore he was condemned.
The demons certainly cannot have any faith in the words of authorities. In fact, they are always disrespectful to authorities. They manufacture their own religious principles and disobey great personalities like Vyāsa, Nārada, and even the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa. As soon as one disobeys authority, he immediately becomes very sinful and loses his good fortune. The King was so puffed up and impudent that he dared disrespect the great saintly personalities, and this brought him ruination.
iti te ’sat-kṛtās tena
tasmai vidura cukrudhuḥ
iti—thus; te—all the great sages; asat-kṛtāḥ—being insulted; tena—by the King; dvijāḥ—the brāhmaṇas; paṇḍita-māninā—thinking himself to be very learned; bhagnāyām—being broken; bhavya—auspicious; yācñāyām—their request; tasmai—at him; vidura—O Vidura; cukrudhuḥ—became very angry.
My dear Vidura, all good fortune unto you. The foolish King, who thought himself very learned, thus insulted the great sages, and the sages, being brokenhearted by the King’s words, became very angry at him.
hanyatāṁ hanyatām eṣa
jīvañ jagad asāv āśu
kurute bhasmasād dhruvam
hanyatām—kill him; hanyatām—kill him; eṣaḥ—this king; pāpaḥ—representative of sin; prakṛti—by nature; dāruṇaḥ—most dreadful; jīvan—while living; jagat—the whole world; asau—he; āśu—very soon; kurute—will make; bhasmasāt—into ashes; dhruvam—certainly.
All the great saintly sages immediately cried: Kill him! Kill him! He is the most dreadful, sinful person. If he lives, he will certainly turn the whole world into ashes in no time.
Saintly persons are generally very kind to all kinds of living entities, but they are not unhappy when a serpent or a scorpion is killed. It is not good for saintly persons to kill, but they are encouraged to kill demons, who are exactly like serpents and scorpions. Therefore all the saintly sages decided to kill King Vena, who was so dreadful and dangerous to all human society. We can appreciate the extent to which the saintly sages actually controlled the king. If the king or government becomes demonic, it is the duty of a saintly person to upset the government and replace it with deserving persons who follow the orders and instructions of saintly persons.
nāyam arhaty asad-vṛtto
yo ’dhiyajña-patiṁ viṣṇuṁ
na—never; ayam—this man; arhati—deserves; asat-vṛttaḥ—full of impious activities; nara-deva—of the worldly king or worldly god; vara-āsanam—the exalted throne; yaḥ—he who; adhiyajña-patim—the master of all sacrifices; viṣṇum—Lord Viṣṇu; vinindati—insults; anapatrapaḥ—shameless.
The saintly sages continued: This impious, impudent man does not deserve to sit on the throne at all. He is so shameless that he even dared insult the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Viṣṇu.
One should not at any time tolerate blasphemy and insults against Lord Viṣṇu or His devotees. A devotee is generally very humble and meek, and he is reluctant to pick a quarrel with anyone. Nor does he envy anyone. However, a pure devotee immediately becomes fiery with anger when he sees that Lord Viṣṇu or His devotee is insulted. This is the duty of a devotee. Although a devotee maintains an attitude of meekness and gentleness, it is a great fault on his part if he remains silent when the Lord or His devotee is blasphemed.
ko vainaṁ paricakṣīta
venam ekam ṛte ’śubham
prāpta īdṛśam aiśvaryaṁ
kaḥ—who; vā—indeed; enam—the Lord; paricakṣīta—would blaspheme; venam—King Vena; ekam—alone; ṛte—but for; aśubham—inauspicious; prāptaḥ—having obtained; īdṛśam—like this; aiśvaryam—opulence; yat—whose; anugraha—mercy; bhājanaḥ—receiving.
But for King Vena, who is simply inauspicious, who would blaspheme the Supreme Personality of Godhead, by whose mercy one is awarded all kinds of fortune and opulence?
When human society individually or collectively becomes godless and blasphemes the authority of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, it is certainly destined for ruination. Such a civilization invites all kinds of bad fortune due to not appreciating the mercy of the Lord.
itthaṁ vyavasitā hantum
nijaghnur huṅkṛtair venaṁ
ittham—thus; vyavasitāḥ—decided; hantum—to kill; ṛṣayaḥ—the sages; rūḍha—manifested; manyavaḥ—their anger; nijaghnuḥ—they killed; hum-kṛtaiḥ—by angry words or by sounds of hum; venam—King Vena; hatam—dead; acyuta—against the Supreme Personality of Godhead; nindayā—by blasphemy.
The great sages, thus manifesting their covert anger, immediately decided to kill the King. King Vena was already as good as dead due to his blasphemy against the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus without using any weapons, the sages killed King Vena simply by high-sounding words.
sunīthā pālayām āsa
ṛṣibhiḥ—by the sages; sva-āśrama-padam—to their own respective hermitages; gate—having returned; putra—of her son; kalevaram—the body; sunīthā—Sunīthā, the mother of King Vena; pālayām āsa—preserved; vidyā-yogena—by mantra and ingredients; śocatī—while lamenting.
After all the sages returned to their respective hermitages, the mother of King Vena, Sunīthā, became very much aggrieved because of her son’s death. She decided to preserve the dead body of her son by the application of certain ingredients and by chanting mantras [mantra-yogena].
ekadā munayas te tu
hutvāgnīn sat-kathāś cakrur
ekadā—once upon a time; munayaḥ—all those great saintly persons; te—they; tu—then; sarasvat—of the River Sarasvatī; salila—in the water; āplutāḥ—bathed; hutvā—offering oblations; agnīn—into the fires; sat-kathāḥ—discussions about transcendental subject matters; cakruḥ—began to do; upaviṣṭāḥ—sitting; sarit-taṭe—by the side of the river.
Once upon a time, the same saintly persons, after taking their bath in the River Sarasvatī, began to perform their daily duties by offering oblations into the sacrificial fires. After this, sitting on the bank of the river, they began to talk about the transcendental person and His pastimes.
apy abhadram anāthāyā
dasyubhyo na bhaved bhuvaḥ
vīkṣya—having seen; utthitān—developed; tadā—then; utpātān—disturbances; āhuḥ—they began to say; loka—in society; bhayam-karān—causing panic; api—whether; abhadram—misfortune; anāthāyāḥ—having no ruler; dasyubhyaḥ—from thieves and rogues; na—not; bhavet—may happen; bhuvaḥ—of the world.
In those days there were various disturbances in the country that were creating a panic in society. Therefore all the sages began to talk amongst themselves: Since the King is dead and there is no protector in the world, misfortune may befall the people in general on account of rogues and thieves.
Whenever there is a disturbance in the state, or a panic situation, the property and lives of the citizens become unsafe. This is caused by the uprising of various thieves and rogues. At such a time it is to be understood that the ruler, or the government, is dead. All of these misfortunes happened due to the death of King Vena. Thus the saintly persons became very anxious for the safety of the people in general. The conclusion is that even though saintly persons have no business in political affairs, they are always compassionate upon the people in general. Thus even though they are always aloof from society, out of mercy and compassion they consider how the citizens can peacefully execute their rituals and follow the rules and regulations of varṇāśrama-dharma. That was the concern of these sages. In this age of Kali, everything is disturbed. Therefore saintly persons should take to the chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, as recommended in the śāstras:
evaṁ mṛśanta ṛṣayo
pāṁsuḥ samutthito bhūriś
evam—thus; mṛśantaḥ—while considering; ṛṣayaḥ—the great saintly persons; dhāvatām—running; sarvataḥ-diśam—from all directions; pāṁsuḥ—dust; samutthitaḥ—arose; bhūriḥ—much; corāṇām—from thieves and rogues; abhilumpatām—engaged in plundering.
When the great sages were carrying on their discussion in this way, they saw a dust storm arising from all directions. This storm was caused by the running of thieves and rogues, who were engaged in plundering the citizens.
Thieves and rogues simply await some political upset in order to take the opportunity to plunder the people in general. To keep thieves and rogues inactive in their profession, a strong government is always required.
tad upadravam ājñāya
lokasya vasu lumpatām
bhartary uparate tasminn
anyonyaṁ ca jighāṁsatām
lokān nāvārayañ chaktā
tat—at that time; upadravam—the disturbance; ājñāya—understanding; lokasya—of the people in general; vasu—riches; lumpatām—by those who were plundering; bhartari—the protector; uparate—being dead; tasmin—King Vena; anyonyam—one another; ca—also; jighāṁ-satām—desiring to kill; cora-prāyam—full of thieves; jana-padam—the state; hīna—bereft of; sattvam—regulation; arājakam—without a king; lokān—the thieves and rogues; na—not; avārayan—they subdued; śaktāḥ—able to do so; api—although; tat-doṣa—the fault of that; darśinaḥ—considering.
Upon seeing the dust storm, the saintly persons could understand that there were a great deal of irregularities due to the death of King Vena. Without government, the state was devoid of law and order, and consequently there was a great uprising of murderous thieves and rogues, who were plundering the riches of the people in general. Although the great sages could subdue the disturbance by their powers—just as they could kill the King—they considered it improper on their part to do so. Thus they did not attempt to stop the disturbance.
The saintly persons and great sages killed King Vena out of emergency, but they did not choose to take part in the government in order to subdue the uprising of thieves and rogues, which took place after the death of King Vena. It is not the duty of brāhmaṇas and saintly persons to kill, although they may sometimes do so in the case of an emergency. They could kill all the thieves and rogues by the prowess of their mantras, but they thought it the duty of kṣatriya kings to do so. Thus they reluctantly did not take part in the killing business.
brāhmaṇaḥ sama-dṛk śānto
sravate brahma tasyāpi
bhinna-bhāṇḍāt payo yathā
brāhmaṇaḥ—a brāhmaṇa; sama-dṛk—equipoised; śāntaḥ—peaceful; dīnānām—the poor; samupekṣakaḥ—grossly neglecting; sravate—diminishes; brahma—spiritual power; tasya—his; api—certainly; bhinna-bhāṇḍāt—from a cracked pot; payaḥ—water; yathā—just as.
The great sages began to think that although a brāhmaṇa is peaceful and impartial because he is equal to everyone, it is still not his duty to neglect poor humans. By such neglect, a brāhmaṇa’s spiritual power diminishes, just as water kept in a cracked pot leaks out.
Brāhmaṇas, the topmost section of human society, are mostly devotees. They are generally unaware of the happenings within the material world because they are always busy in their activities for spiritual advancement. Nonetheless, when there is a calamity in human society, they cannot remain impartial. If they do not do something to relieve the distressed condition of human society, it is said that due to such neglect their spiritual knowledge diminishes. Almost all the sages go to the Himalayas for their personal benefit, but Prahlāda Mahārāja said that he did not want liberation alone. He decided to wait until he was able to deliver all the fallen souls of the world.
In their elevated condition, the brāhmaṇas are called Vaiṣṇavas. There are two types of brāhmaṇas—namely, brāhmaṇa-paṇḍita and brāhmaṇa-vaiṣṇava. A qualified brāhmaṇa is naturally very learned, but when his learning is advanced in understanding the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he becomes a brāhmaṇa-vaiṣṇava. Unless one becomes a Vaiṣṇava, one’s perfection of brahminical culture is incomplete.
The saintly persons considered very wisely that although King Vena was very sinful, he was born in a family descending from Dhruva Mahārāja. Therefore the semen in the family must be protected by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Keśava. As such, the sages wanted to take some steps to relieve the situation. For want of a king, everything was being disturbed and turned topsy-turvy.
nāṅgasya vaṁśo rājarṣer
eṣa saṁsthātum arhati
amogha-vīryā hi nṛpā
vaṁśe ’smin keśavāśrayāḥ
na—not; aṅgasya—of King Aṅga; vaṁśaḥ—family line; rāja-ṛṣeḥ—of the saintly King; eṣaḥ—this; saṁsthātum—to be stopped; arhati—ought; amogha—without sin, powerful; vīryāḥ—their semen; hi—because; nṛpāḥ—kings; vaṁśe—in the family; asmin—this; keśava—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; āśrayāḥ—under the shelter.
The sages decided that the descendants of the family of the saintly King Aṅga should not be stopped, for in this family the semen was very powerful and the children were prone to become devotees of the Lord.
The purity of hereditary succession is called amogha-vīrya. The pious seminal succession in the twice-born families of the brāhmaṇas and kṣatriyas especially, as well as in the families of vaiśyas also, must be kept very pure by the observation of the purificatory processes beginning with garbhādhāna-saṁskāra, which is observed before conceiving a child. Unless this purificatory process is strictly observed, especially by the brāhmaṇas, the family descendants become impure, and gradually sinful activities become visible in the family. Mahārāja Aṅga was very pure because of the purification of semen in the family of Mahārāja Dhruva. However, his semen became contaminated in association with his wife, Sunīthā, who happened to be the daughter of death personified. Because of this polluted semen, King Vena was produced. This was a catastrophe in the family of Dhruva Mahārāja. All the saintly persons and sages considered this point, and they decided to take action in this matter, as described in the following verses.
mamanthur ūruṁ tarasā
tatrāsīd bāhuko naraḥ
viniścitya—deciding; evam—thus; ṛṣayaḥ—the great sages; vipannasya—dead; mahī-pateḥ—of the King; mamanthuḥ—churned; ūrum—the thighs; tarasā—with specific power; tatra—thereupon; āsīt—was born; bāhukaḥ—of the name Bāhuka (dwarf); naraḥ—a person.
After making a decision, the saintly persons and sages churned the thighs of the dead body of King Vena with great force and according to a specific method. As a result of this churning, a dwarf-like person was born from King Vena’s body.
That a person was born by the churning of the thighs of King Vena proves that the spirit soul is individual and separate from the body. The great sages and saintly persons could beget another person from the body of the dead King Vena, but it was not possible for them to bring King Vena back to life. King Vena was gone, and certainly he had taken another body. The saintly persons and sages were only concerned with the body of Vena because it was a result of the seminal succession in the family of Mahārāja Dhruva. Consequently, the ingredients by which another body could be produced were there in the body of King Vena. By a certain process, when the thighs of the dead body were churned, another body came out. Although dead, the body of King Vena was preserved by drugs, and mantras chanted by King Vena’s mother. In this way the ingredients for the production of another body were there. When the body of the person named Bāhuka came out of the dead body of King Vena, it was really not very astonishing. It was simply a question of knowing how to do it. From the semen of one body, another body is produced, and the life symptoms are visible due to the soul’s taking shelter of this body. One should not think that it was impossible for another body to come out of the dead body of Mahārāja Vena. This was performed by the skillful action of the sages.
kāka-kṛṣṇaḥ—as black as a crow; ati-hrasva—very short; aṅgaḥ—his limbs; hrasva—short; bāhuḥ—his arms; mahā—big; hanuḥ—his jaws; hrasva—short; pāt—his legs; nimna—flat; nāsa-agraḥ—the tip of his nose; rakta—reddish; akṣaḥ—his eyes; tāmra—copperlike; mūrdha-jaḥ—his hair.
This person born from King Vena’s thighs was named Bāhuka, and his complexion was as black as a crow’s. All the limbs of his body were very short, his arms and legs were short, and his jaws were large. His nose was flat, his eyes were reddish, and his hair copper-colored.
taṁ tu te ’vanataṁ dīnaṁ
kiṁ karomīti vādinam
niṣīdety abruvaṁs tāta
sa niṣādas tato ’bhavat
tam—unto him; tu—then; te—the sages; avanatam—bowed down; dīnam—meek; kim—what; karomi—shall I do; iti—thus; vādinam—inquiring; niṣīda—just sit down; iti—thus; abruvan—they replied; tāta—my dear Vidura; saḥ—he; niṣādaḥ—of the name Niṣāda; tataḥ—thereafter; abhavat—became.
He was very submissive and meek, and immediately after his birth he bowed down and inquired, “Sirs, what shall I do?” The great sages replied, “Please sit down [niṣīda].” Thus Niṣāda, the father of the Naiṣāda race, was born.
It is said in the śāstras that the head of the body represents the brāhmaṇas, the arms represent the kṣatriyas, the abdomen represents the vaiśyas, and the legs, beginning with the thighs, represent the śūdras. The śūdras are sometimes called black, or kṛṣṇa. The brāhmaṇas are called śukla, or white, and the kṣatriyas and the vaiśyas are a mixture of black and white. However, those who are extraordinarily white are said to have skin produced out of white leprosy. It may be concluded that white or a golden hue is the color of the higher caste, and black is the complexion of the śūdras.
tasya vaṁśyās tu naiṣādā
tasya—his (Niṣāda’s); vaṁśyāḥ—descendants; tu—then; naiṣādāḥ—called Naiṣādas; giri-kānana—the hills and forests; gocarāḥ—inhabiting; yena—because; aharat—he took upon himself; jāyamānaḥ—being born; vena—of King Vena; kalmaṣam—all kinds of sin; ulbaṇam—very fearful.
After his [Niṣāda’s] birth, he immediately took charge of all the resultant actions of King Vena’s sinful activities. As such, this Naiṣāda class are always engaged in sinful activities like stealing, plundering and hunting. Consequently they are only allowed to live in the hills and forests.
The Naiṣādas are not allowed to live in cities and towns because they are sinful by nature. As such, their bodies are very ugly, and their occupations are also sinful. We should, however, know that even these sinful men (who are sometimes called Kirātas) can be delivered from their sinful condition to the topmost Vaiṣṇava platform by the mercy of a pure devotee. Engagement in the transcendental loving devotional service of the Lord can make anyone, however sinful he may be, fit to return home, back to Godhead. One has only to become free from all contamination by the process of devotional service. In this way everyone can become fit to return home, back to Godhead. This is confirmed by the Lord Himself in Bhagavad-gītā (9.32):
“O son of Pṛthā, those who take shelter of Me, though they be of lower birth—women, vaiśyas [merchants], as well as śūdras [workers]—can approach the supreme destination.”
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the Fourth Canto, Fourteenth Chapter, of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, entitled “The Story of King Vena.”
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