evaṁ sa bhagavān vainyaḥ
chandayām āsa tān kāmaiḥ
maitreyaḥ uvāca—the great sage Maitreya continued to speak; evam—thus; saḥ—he; bhagavān—the Personality of Godhead; vainyaḥ—in the form of the son of King Vena; khyāpitaḥ—being glorified; guṇa-karmabhiḥ—by qualities and factual activities; chandayām āsa—pacified; tān—those reciters; kāmaiḥ—by various presentations; pratipūjya—offering all respects; abhinandya—offering prayers; ca—also.
The great sage Maitreya continued: In this way the reciters who were glorifying Mahārāja Pṛthu readily described his qualities and chivalrous activities. At the end, Mahārāja Pṛthu offered them various presentations with all due respect and worshiped them adequately.
paurāñ jāna-padān śreṇīḥ
brāhmaṇa-pramukhān—unto the leaders of the brāhmaṇa community; varṇān—to the other castes; bhṛtya—servants; amātya—ministers; purodhasaḥ—to the priests; paurān—to the citizens; jāna-padān—to his countrymen; śreṇīḥ—to different communities; prakṛtīḥ—to the admirers; samapūjayat—he gave proper respects.
King Pṛthu thus satisfied and offered all respect to all the leaders of the brāhmaṇas and other castes, to his servants, to his ministers and to the priests, citizens, general countrymen, people from other communities, admirers and others, and thus they all became happy.
kasmād dadhāra go-rūpaṁ
yāṁ dudoha pṛthus tatra
ko vatso dohanaṁ ca kim
viduraḥ uvāca—Vidura inquired; kasmāt—why; dadhāra—took; go-rūpam—the shape of a cow; dharitrī—the earth; bahu-rūpiṇī—who has many other forms; yām—whom; dudoha—milked; pṛthuḥ—King Pṛthu; tatra—there; kaḥ—who; vatsaḥ—the calf; dohanam—the milking pot; ca—also; kim—what.
Vidura inquired from the great sage Maitreya: My dear brāhmaṇa, since mother earth can appear in different shapes, why did she take the shape of a cow? And when King Pṛthu milked her, who became the calf, and what was the milking pot?
prakṛtyā viṣamā devī
kṛtā tena samā katham
tasya medhyaṁ hayaṁ devaḥ
kasya hetor apāharat
prakṛtyā—by nature; viṣamā—not level; devī—the earth; kṛtā—was made; tena—by him; samā—level; katham—how; tasya—his; medhyam—meant for offering in the sacrifice; hayam—horse; devaḥ—the demigod Indra; kasya—for what; hetoḥ—reason; apāharat—stole.
The surface of the earth is by nature low in some places and high in others. How did King Pṛthu level the surface of the earth, and why did the King of heaven, Indra, steal the horse meant for the sacrifice ?
labdhvā jñānaṁ sa-vijñānaṁ
rājarṣiḥ kāṁ gatiṁ gataḥ
sanat-kumārāt—from Sanat-kumāra; bhagavataḥ—the most powerful; brahman—my dear brāhmaṇa; brahma-vit-uttamāt—well versed in the Vedic knowledge; labdhvā—after achieving; jñānam—knowledge; sa-vijñānam—for practical application; rāja-ṛṣiḥ—the great saintly King; kām—which; gatim—destination; gataḥ—achieved.
The great saintly King, Mahārāja Pṛthu, received knowledge from Sanat-kumāra, who was the greatest Vedic scholar. After receiving knowledge to be applied practically in his life, how did the saintly King attain his desired destination?
There are four Vaiṣṇava sampradāyas (systems) of disciplic succession. One sampradāya comes from Lord Brahmā, one from the goddess of fortune, one from the Kumāras, headed by Sanat-kumāra, and one from Lord Śiva. These four systems of disciplic succession are still going on. As King Pṛthu has illustrated, one who is serious about receiving transcendental Vedic knowledge must accept a guru, or spiritual master, in one of these four disciplic successions. It is said that unless one accepts a mantra from one of these sampradāyas, the so-called mantra will not act in Kali-yuga. Many sampradāyas have sprung up without authority, and they are misleading the people by giving unauthorized mantras. The rascals of these so-called sampradāyas do not observe the Vedic rules and regulations. Although they are addicted to all kinds of sinful activities, they still offer the people mantras and thus mislead them. Intelligent persons, however, know that such mantras will never be successful, and as such they never patronize such upstart spiritual groups. People should be very careful of these nonsensical sampradāyas. To get some facility for sense gratification, unfortunate people in this age receive mantras from these so-called sampradāyas. Pṛthu Mahārāja, however, showed by his example that one should receive knowledge from a bona fide sampradāya. Therefore Mahārāja Pṛthu accepted Sanat-kumāra as his spiritual master.
yac cānyad api kṛṣṇasya
bhavān bhagavataḥ prabhoḥ
śravaḥ suśravasaḥ puṇyaṁ
bhaktāya me ’nuraktāya
tava cādhokṣajasya ca
vaktum arhasi yo ’duhyad
vainya-rūpeṇa gām imām
yat—which; ca—and; anyat—other; api—certainly; kṛṣṇasya—of Kṛṣṇa; bhavān—your good self; bhagavataḥ—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; prabhoḥ—powerful; śravaḥ—glorious activities; su-śravasaḥ—who is very pleasing to hear about; puṇyam—pious; pūrva-deha—of His previous incarnation; kathā-āśrayam—connected with the narration; bhaktāya—unto the devotee; me—to me; anuraktāya—very much attentive; tava—of you; ca—and; adhokṣajasya—of the Lord, who is known as Adhokṣaja; ca—also; vaktum arhasi—please narrate; yaḥ—one who; aduhyat—milked; vainya-rūpeṇa—in the form of the son of King Vena; gām—cow, earth; imām—this.
Pṛthu Mahārāja was a powerful incarnation of Lord Kṛṣṇa’s potencies; consequently any narration concerning his activities is surely very pleasing to hear, and it produces all good fortune. As far as I am concerned, I am always your devotee as well as a devotee of the Lord, who is known as Adhokṣaja. Please therefore narrate all the stories of King Pṛthu, who, in the form of the son of King Vena, milked the cow-shaped earth.
Lord Kṛṣṇa is also known as avatārī, which means, “one from whom all the incarnations emanate.” In Bhagavad-gītā (10.8) Lord Kṛṣṇa says, ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate: “I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me.” Thus Lord Kṛṣṇa is the origin of everyone’s appearance. As far as this material world is concerned, Lord Brahmā, Lord Viṣṇu and Lord Śiva are all emanations from Kṛṣṇa. These three incarnations of Kṛṣṇa are called guṇa-avatāras. The material world is governed by three material modes of nature, and Lord Viṣṇu, Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva respectively take charge of the modes of goodness, passion and ignorance. Mahārāja Pṛthu is also an incarnation of those qualities of Lord Kṛṣṇa by which one rules over conditioned souls.
In this verse the word adhokṣaja, meaning “beyond the perception of the material senses,” is very significant. No one can perceive the Supreme Personality of Godhead by mental speculation; therefore a person with a poor fund of knowledge cannot understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Since one can form only an impersonal idea on the strength of one’s material senses, the Lord is known as Adhokṣaja.
praśasya taṁ prīta-manā
sūtaḥ uvāca—Sūta Gosvāmī said; coditaḥ—inspired; vidureṇa—by Vidura; evam—thus; vāsudeva—of Lord Kṛṣṇa; kathām—narration; prati—about; praśasya—praising; tam—him; prīta-manāḥ—being very pleased; maitreyaḥ—the saint Maitreya; pratyabhāṣata—replied.
Sūta Gosvāmī continued: When Vidura became inspired to hear of the activities of Lord Kṛṣṇa in His various incarnations, Maitreya, also being inspired and being very pleased with Vidura, began to praise him. Then Maitreya spoke as follows.
Talk of kṛṣṇa-kathā, or topics about Lord Kṛṣṇa or His incarnations, is spiritually so inspiring that the reciter and hearer are never exhausted. That is the nature of spiritual talks. We have actually seen that one can never become satiated by hearing the conversations between Vidura and Maitreya. Both of them are devotees, and the more Vidura inquires, the more Maitreya is encouraged to speak. A symptom of spiritual talks is that no one feels tired. Thus upon hearing the questions of Vidura, the great sage Maitreya did not feel disgusted but rather felt encouraged to speak at greater length.
yadābhiṣiktaḥ pṛthur aṅga viprair
āmantrito janatāyāś ca pālaḥ
prajā niranne kṣiti-pṛṣṭha etya
kṣut-kṣāma-dehāḥ patim abhyavocan
maitreyaḥ uvāca—the great sage Maitreya said; yadā—when; abhiṣiktaḥ—was enthroned; pṛthuḥ—King Pṛthu; aṅga—my dear Vidura; vipraiḥ—by the brāhmaṇas; āmantritaḥ—was declared; janatāyāḥ—of the people; ca—also; pālaḥ—the protector; prajāḥ—the citizens; niranne—being without food grains; kṣiti-pṛṣṭhe—the surface of the globe; etya—coming near; kṣut—by hunger; kṣāma—skinny; dehāḥ—their bodies; patim—to the protector; abhyavocan—they said.
The great sage Maitreya continued: My dear Vidura, at the time King Pṛthu was enthroned by the great sages and brāhmaṇas and declared to be the protector of the citizens, there was a scarcity of food grains. The citizens actually became skinny due to starvation. Therefore they came before the King and informed him of their real situation.
Information is given herein concerning the selection of the king by the brāhmaṇas. According to the varṇāśrama system, the brāhmaṇas are considered to be the heads of the society and therefore to be situated in the topmost social position. The varṇāśrama-dharma, the institution of four varṇas and four āśramas, is very scientifically designed. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā, varṇāśrama-dharma is not a man-made institution, but is God-made. In this narration it is clearly indicated that the brāhmaṇas used to control the royal power. When an evil king like Vena ruled, the brāhmaṇas would kill him through their brahminical powers and would select a proper ruler by testing his qualifications. In other words, the brāhmaṇas, the intelligent men or great sages, would control the monarchical powers. Here we have an indication of how the brāhmaṇas elected King Pṛthu to the throne as the protector of the citizens. The citizens, being skinny due to hunger, approached the King and informed him that necessary action should be taken. The structure of the varṇāśrama-dharma; was so nice that the brāhmaṇas would guide the head of state. The head of state would then give protection to the citizens. The kṣatriyas would take charge of protecting the people in general, and under the protection of the kṣatriyas, the vaiśyas would protect the cows, produce food grains and distribute them. Śūdras, the working class, would help the higher three classes by manual labor. This is the perfect social system.
vayaṁ rājañ jāṭhareṇābhitaptā
yathāgninā koṭara-sthena vṛkṣāḥ
tvām adya yātāḥ śaraṇaṁ śaraṇyaṁ
yaḥ sādhito vṛtti-karaḥ patir naḥ
tan no bhavān īhatu rātave ’nnaṁ
yāvan na naṅkṣyāmaha ujjhitorjā
vārtā-patis tvaṁ kila loka-pālaḥ
vayam—we; rājan—O King; jāṭhareṇa—by the fire of hunger; abhitaptāḥ—very much aggrieved; yathā—just as; agninā—by the fire; koṭara-sthena—in the hollow of a tree; vṛkṣāḥ—trees; tvām—unto you; adya—today; yātāḥ—we have come; śaraṇam—shelter; śaraṇyam—worth taking shelter of; yaḥ—who; sādhitaḥ—appointed; vṛtti-karaḥ—one who gives employment; patiḥ—master; naḥ—our; tat—therefore; naḥ—to us; bhavān—Your Majesty; īhatu—please try; rātave—to give; annam—food grains; kṣudhā—with hunger; arditānām—suffering; nara-deva-deva—O supreme master of all kings; yāvat na—lest; naṅkṣyāmahe—we will perish; ujjhita—being bereft of; ūrjāḥ—food grains; vārtā—of occupational engagements; patiḥ—bestower; tvam—you; kila—indeed; loka-pālaḥ—the protector of the citizens.
Dear King, just as a tree with a fire burning in the hollow of the trunk gradually dries up, we are drying up due to the fire of hunger in our stomachs. You are the protector of surrendered souls, and you have been appointed to give employment to us. Therefore we have all come to you for protection. You are not only a king, but the incarnation of God as well. Indeed, you are the king of all kings. You can give us all kinds of occupational engagements, for you are the master of our livelihood. Therefore, O king of all kings, please arrange to satisfy our hunger by the proper distribution of food grains. Please take care of us, lest we soon die for want of food.
It is the duty of the king to see that everyone in the social orders—brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya and śūdra—is fully employed in the state. Just as it is the duty of the brāhmaṇas to elect a proper king, it is the duty of the king to see that all the varṇas—brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya and śūdra—are fully engaged in their respective occupational duties. It is here indicated that although the people were allowed to perform their duties, they were still unemployed. Although they were not lazy, they still could not produce sufficient food to satisfy their hunger. When the people are perplexed in this way, they should approach the head of government, and the president or king should take immediate action to mitigate the distress of the people.
pṛthuḥ prajānāṁ karuṇaṁ
dīrghaṁ dadhyau kuruśreṣṭha
nimittaṁ so ’nvapadyata
maitreyaḥ uvāca—the great saint Maitreya said; pṛthuḥ—King Pṛthu; prajānām—of the citizens; karuṇam—pitiable condition; niśamya—hearing; paridevitam—lamentation; dīrgham—for a long time; dadhyau—contemplated; kuru-śreṣṭha—O Vidura; nimittam—the cause; saḥ—he; anvapadyata—found out.
After hearing this lamentation and seeing the pitiable condition of the citizens, King Pṛthu contemplated this matter for a long time to see if he could find out the underlying causes.
iti vyavasito buddhyā
sandadhe viśikhaṁ bhūmeḥ
kruddhas tripura-hā yathā
iti—thus; vyavasitaḥ—having arrived at the conclusion; buddhyā—by intelligence; pragṛhīta—having taken up; śarāsanaḥ—the bow; sandadhe—fixed; viśikham—an arrow; bhūmeḥ—at the earth; kruddhaḥ—angry; tri-pura-hā—Lord Śiva; yathā—like.
Having arrived at a conclusion, the King took up his bow and arrow and aimed them at the earth, exactly like Lord Śiva, who destroys the whole world out of anger.
King Pṛthu found out the cause for the scarcity of food grains. He could understand that it was not the people’s fault, for they were not lazy in executing their duties. Rather, the earth was not producing sufficient food grains. This indicates that the earth can produce sufficiently if everything is properly arranged, but sometimes the earth can refuse to produce food grains for various reasons. The theory that there is a scarcity of food grains due to an increase of population is not a very sound theory. There are other causes that enable the earth to produce profusely or to stop producing. King Pṛthu found out the proper causes and took the necessary steps immediately.
niśāmyodāyudhaṁ ca tam
gauḥ saty apādravad bhītā
pravepamānā—trembling; dharaṇī—the earth; niśāmya—seeing; udāyudham—having taken his bow and arrow; ca—also; tam—the King; gauḥ—a cow; satī—becoming; apādravat—began to flee; bhītā—very much afraid; mṛgī iva—like a deer; mṛgayu—by a hunter; drutā—being followed.
When the earth saw that King Pṛthu was taking his bow and arrow to kill her, she became very much afraid and began to tremble. She then began to flee, exactly like a deer, which runs very swiftly when followed by a hunter. Being afraid of King Pṛthu, she took the shape of a cow and began to run.
Just as a mother produces various children, both male and female, the womb of mother earth produces all kinds of living entities in various shapes. Thus it is possible for mother earth to take on innumerable shapes. At this time, in order to avoid the wrath of King Pṛthu, she took the shape of a cow. Since a cow is never to be killed, mother earth thought it wise to take the shape of a cow in order to avoid King Pṛthu’s arrows. King Pṛthu, however, could understand this fact, and therefore he did not stop chasing the cow-shaped earth.
tām anvadhāvat tad vainyaḥ
śaraṁ dhanuṣi sandhāya
yatra yatra palāyate
tām—the cow-shaped earth; anvadhāvat—he chased; tat—then; vainyaḥ—the son of King Vena; kupitaḥ—being very much angry; ati-aruṇa—very red; īkṣaṇaḥ—his eyes; śaram—an arrow; dhanuṣi—on the bow; sandhāya—placing; yatra yatra—wherever; palāyate—she flees.
Seeing this, Mahārāja Pṛthu became very angry, and his eyes became as red as the early-morning sun. Placing an arrow on his bow, he chased the cow-shaped earth wherever she would run.
sā diśo vidiśo devī
rodasī cāntaraṁ tayoḥ
dhāvantī tatra tatrainaṁ
sā—the cow-shaped earth; diśaḥ—in the four directions; vidiśaḥ—randomly in other directions; devī—the goddess; rodasī—towards heaven and earth; ca—also; antaram—between; tayoḥ—them; dhāvantī—fleeing; tatra tatra—here and there; enam—the King; dadarśa—she saw; anu—behind; udyata—taken up; āyudham—his weapons.
The cow-shaped earth ran here and there in outer space between the heavenly planets and the earth, and wherever she ran, the King chased her with his bow and arrows.
loke nāvindata trāṇaṁ
vainyān mṛtyor iva prajāḥ
trastā tadā nivavṛte
loke—within the three worlds; na—not; avindata—could obtain; trāṇam—release; vainyāt—from the hand of the son of King Vena; mṛtyoḥ—from death; iva—like; prajāḥ—men; trastā—being very much afraid; tadā—at that time; nivavṛte—turned back; hṛdayena—within her heart; vidūyatā—very much aggrieved.
Just as a man cannot escape the cruel hands of death, the cow-shaped earth could not escape the hands of the son of Vena. At length the earth, fearful, her heart aggrieved, turned back in helplessness.
uvāca ca mahā-bhāgaṁ
trāhi mām api bhūtānāṁ
pālane ’vasthito bhavān
uvāca—she said; ca—and; mahā-bhāgam—unto the great, fortunate King; dharma-jña—O knower of the principles of religion; āpanna-vatsala—O shelter of the surrendered; trāhi—save; mām—me; api—indeed; bhūtānām—of living entities; pālane—in protection; avasthitaḥ—situated; bhavān—Your Majesty.
Addressing the great, opulent King Pṛthu as the knower of religious principles and shelter of the surrendered, she said: Please save me. You are the protector of all living entities. Now you are situated as the King of this planet.
The cow-shaped earth addressed King Pṛthu as dharma jña, which refers to one who knows the principles of religion. The principles of religion dictate that a woman, a cow, a child, a brāhmaṇa and an old man must be given all protection by the king or anyone else. Consequently mother earth took the shape of a cow. She was also a woman. Thus she appealed to the King as one who knows the principles of religion. Religious principles also dictate that one is not to be killed if he surrenders. She reminded King Pṛthu that not only was he an incarnation of God, but he was situated as the King of the earth as well. Therefore his duty was to excuse her.
sa tvaṁ jighāṁsase kasmād
ahaniṣyat kathaṁ yoṣāṁ
dharma-jña iti yo mataḥ
saḥ—that very person; tvam—you; jighāṁsase—want to kill; kasmāt—why; dīnām—poor; akṛta—without having done; kilbiṣām—any sinful activities; ahaniṣyat—would kill; katham—how; yoṣām—a woman; dharma-jñaḥ—the knower of religious principles; iti—thus; yaḥ—one who; mataḥ—is considered.
The cow-shaped earth continued to appeal to the King: I am very poor and have not committed any sinful activities. I do not know why you want to kill me. Since you are supposed to be the knower of all religious principles, why are you so envious of me, and why are you so anxious to kill a woman?
The earth appealed to the King in two ways. A king who knows religious principles cannot kill anyone who has not committed sinful activities. Apart from this, a woman is not to be killed, even if she does commit some sinful activities. Since the earth was innocent and was also a woman, the King should not kill her.
praharanti na vai strīṣu
kṛtāgaḥsv api jantavaḥ
kim uta tvad-vidhā rājan
praharanti—strike; na—never; vai—certainly; strīṣu—women; kṛta-āgaḥsu—having committed sinful activities; api—although; jantavaḥ—human beings; kim uta—then what to speak of; tvat-vidhāḥ—personalities like you; rājan—O King; karuṇāḥ—merciful; dīna-vatsalāḥ—affectionate to the poor.
Even if a woman does commit some sinful activity, no one should place his hand upon her. And what to speak of you, dear King, who are so merciful. You are a protector, and you are affectionate to the poor.
māṁ vipāṭyājarāṁ nāvaṁ
yatra viśvaṁ pratiṣṭhitam
ātmānaṁ ca prajāś cemāḥ
katham ambhasi dhāsyasi
mām—me; vipāṭya—breaking to pieces; ajarām—very strong; nāvam—boat; yatra—where; viśvam—all worldly paraphernalia; pratiṣṭhitam—standing; ātmānam—yourself; ca—and; prajāḥ—your subjects; ca—also; imāḥ—all these; katham—how; ambhasi—in the water; dhāsyasi—you will hold.
The cow-shaped earth continued: My dear King, I am just like a strong boat, and all the paraphernalia of the world is standing upon me. If you break me to pieces, how can you protect yourself and your subjects from drowning?
Beneath the entire planetary system is the garbha water. Lord Viṣṇu lies on this garbha water, and from His abdomen a lotus stem grows, and all the planets within the universe are floating in the air, being supported by this lotus stem. If a planet is destroyed, it must fall into the water of garbha. The earth therefore warned King Pṛthu that he could gain nothing by destroying her. Indeed, how would he protect himself and his citizens from drowning in the garbha water? In other words, outer space may be compared to an ocean of air, and each and every planet is floating on it just as a boat or island floats on the ocean. Sometimes planets are called dvīpa, or islands, and sometimes they are called boats. Thus the cosmic manifestation is partially explained in this reference by the cow-shaped earth.
vasudhe tvāṁ vadhiṣyāmi
bhāgaṁ barhiṣi yā vṛṅkte
na tanoti ca no vasu
pṛthuḥ uvāca—King Pṛthu replied; vasu-dhe—my dear earthly planet; tvām—you; vadhiṣyāmi—I shall kill; mat—my; śāsana—rulings; parāk-mukhīm—disobedient to; bhāgam—your share; barhiṣi—in the yajña; yā—who; vṛṅkte—accepts; na—not; tanoti—does deliver; ca—and; naḥ—to us; vasu—produce.
King Pṛthu replied to the earthly Planet: My dear earth, you have disobeyed my orders and rulings. In the form of a demigod you accepted your share of the yajñas we performed, but in return you have not produced sufficient food grains. For this reason I must kill you.
The cow-shaped earthly planet submitted that she not only was a woman, but was innocent and sinless as well. Thus she argued that she should not be killed. Besides, she pointed out that being perfectly religious-minded, the King could not violate the religious principles that forbade killing a woman. In reply, Mahārāja Pṛthu informed her that first of all she had disobeyed his orders. This was her first sinful activity. Secondly he accused her of taking her share of the yajñas (sacrifices) but not producing sufficient food grains in return.
yavasaṁ jagdhy anudinaṁ
naiva dogdhy audhasaṁ payaḥ
tasyām evaṁ hi duṣṭāyāṁ
daṇḍo nātra na śasyate
yavasam—green grass; jagdhi—you eat; anudinam—daily; na—never; eva—certainly; dogdhi—you yield; audhasam—in the milk bag; payaḥ—milk; tasyām—when a cow; evam—thus; hi—certainly; duṣṭāyām—being offensive; daṇḍaḥ—punishment; na—not; atra—here; na—not; śasyate—is advisable.
Although you are eating green grass every day, you are not filling your milk bag so we can utilize your milk. Since you are willfully committing offenses, it cannot be said that you are not punishable due to your assuming the form of a cow.
A cow eats green grasses in the pasture and fills her milk bag with sufficient milk so that the cowherdsmen can milk her. Yajñas (sacrifices) are performed to produce sufficient clouds that will pour water over the earth. The word payaḥ can refer both to milk and to water. As one of the demigods, the earthly planet was taking her share in the yajñas—that is, she was eating green grass—but in return she was not producing sufficient food grains—that is, she was not filling her milk bag. Pṛthu Mahārāja was therefore justified in threatening to punish her for her offense.
tvaṁ khalv oṣadhi-bījāni
prāk sṛṣṭāni svayambhuvā
na muñcasy ātma-ruddhāni
mām avajñāya manda-dhīḥ
tvam—you; khalu—certainly; oṣadhi—of herbs, plants and grains; bījāni—the seeds; prāk—formerly; sṛṣṭāni—created; svayambhuvā—by Lord Brahmā; na—do not; muñcasi—deliver; ātma-ruddhāni—hidden within yourself; mām—me; avajñāya—disobeying; manda-dhīḥ—less intelligent.
You have so lost your intelligence that, despite my orders, you do not deliver the seeds of herbs and grains formerly created by Brahmā and now hidden within yourself.
While creating all the planets in the universe, Lord Brahmā also created the seeds of various grains, herbs, plants and trees. When sufficient water falls from the clouds, the seeds fructify and produce fruits, grains, vegetables, etc. By his example, Pṛthu Mahārāja indicates that whenever there is a scarcity in food production, the head of the government should take steps to see why production is being held up and what should be done to rectify the situation.
bhinnāyās tava medasā
amūṣām—of all of them; kṣut-parītānām—suffering from hunger; ārtānām—of the distressed; paridevitam—the lamentation; śamayiṣyāmi—I shall pacify; mat-bāṇaiḥ—by my arrows; bhinnāyāḥ—being cut to pieces; tava—of you; medasā—by the flesh.
Now, with the help of my arrows, I shall cut you to pieces and with your flesh satisfy the hunger-stricken citizens, who are now crying for want of grains. Thus I shall satisfy the crying citizens of my kingdom.
Here we find some indication of how the government can arrange for the eating of cow flesh. It is here indicated that in a rare circumstance when there is no supply of grains, the government may sanction the eating of meat. However, when there is sufficient food, the government should not allow the eating of cow’s flesh just to satisfy the fastidious tongue. In other words, in rare circumstances, when people are suffering for want of grains, meat-eating or flesh-eating can be allowed, but not otherwise. The maintenance of slaughterhouses for the satisfaction of the tongue and the killing of animals unnecessarily should never be sanctioned by a government.
As described in a previous verse, cows and other animals should be given sufficient grass to eat. If despite a sufficient supply of grass a cow does not supply milk, and if there is an acute shortage of food, the dried-up cow may be utilized to feed the hungry masses of people. According to the law of necessity, first of all human society must try to produce food grains and vegetables, but if they fail in this, they can indulge in flesh-eating. Otherwise not. As human society is presently structured, there is sufficient production of grains all over the world. Therefore the opening of slaughterhouses cannot be supported. In some nations there is so much surplus grain that sometimes extra grain is thrown into the sea, and sometimes the government forbids further production of grain. The conclusion is that the earth produces sufficient grain to feed the entire population, but the distribution of this grain is restricted due to trade regulations and a desire for profit. Consequently in some places there is scarcity of grain and in others profuse production. If there were one government on the surface of the earth to handle the distribution of grain, there would be no question of scarcity, no necessity to open slaughterhouses, and no need to present false theories about over-population.
pumān yoṣid uta klība
nṛpāṇāṁ tad-vadho ’vadhaḥ
pumān—a man; yoṣit—a woman; uta—also; klībaḥ—a eunuch; ātma-sambhāvanaḥ—interested in self -maintenance; adhamaḥ—lowest of humankind; bhūteṣu—to other living entities; niranukrośaḥ—without compassion; nṛpāṇām—for the kings; tat—of him; vadhaḥ—killing; avadhaḥ—not killing.
Any cruel person—be he a man, woman or impotent eunuch—who is only interested in his personal maintenance and has no compassion for other living entities may be killed by the king. Such killing can never be considered actual killing.
The planet earth is actually a woman in her constitutional form, and as such she needs to be protected by the king. Pṛthu Mahārāja argues, however, that if a citizen within the state—be he man, woman or eunuch—is not compassionate upon his fellow men, he or she may be killed by the king, and such killing is never to be considered actual killing. As far as the field of spiritual activities is concerned, when a devotee is self-satisfied and does not preach the glories of Kṛṣṇa, he is not considered a first-class devotee. A devotee who tries to preach, who has compassion upon innocent persons who have no knowledge of Kṛṣṇa, is a superior devotee. In his prayer to the Lord, Prahlāda Mahārāja said that he was not personally interested in liberation from this material world; rather, he did not wish to be liberated from this material condition until all fallen souls were delivered. Even in the material field, if a person is not interested in others’ welfare, he should be considered to be condemned by the Personality of Godhead or His incarnation like Pṛthu Mahārāja.
tvāṁ stabdhāṁ durmadāṁ nītvā
māyā-gāṁ tilaśaḥ śaraiḥ
dhārayiṣyāmy ahaṁ prajāḥ
tvām—you; stabdhām—very much puffed up; durmadām—mad; nītvā—bringing into such a condition; māyā-gām—false cow; tilaśaḥ—into small particles like grains; śaraiḥ—by my arrows; ātma—personal; yoga-balena—by mystic power; imāḥ—all these; dhārayiṣyāmi—shall uphold; aham—I; prajāḥ—all the citizens, or all the living entities.
You are very much puffed up with pride and have become almost insane. Presently you have assumed the form of a cow by your mystic powers. Nonetheless I shall cut you into small pieces like grain, and I will uphold the entire population by my personal mystic powers.
The earth informed King Pṛthu that if he destroyed her, he and his subjects would all fall down into the waters of the garbha ocean. King Pṛthu now replies to that point. Although the earth assumed the shape of a cow by her mystic powers in order to be saved from being killed by the King, the King was aware of this fact and would not hesitate to cut her to pieces, just like small bits of grain. As far as the destruction of the citizens is concerned, Mahārāja Pṛthu maintained that he could uphold everyone by his own mystic powers. He did not need the help of the earthly planet. Being the incarnation of Lord Viṣṇu, Pṛthu Mahārāja possessed the power of Saṅkarṣaṇa, which is explained by the scientists as the power of gravitation. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is holding millions of planets in space without any support; similarly, Pṛthu Mahārāja would not have had any difficulty supporting all his citizens and himself in space without the help of the planet earth. The Lord is known as Yogeśvara, master of all mystic powers. Consequently the planet earth was informed by the King that she need not worry about his standing without her help.
evaṁ manyumayīṁ mūrtiṁ
kṛtāntam iva bibhratam
praṇatā prāñjaliḥ prāha
evam—thus; manyu-mayīm—very much angry; mūrtim—form; kṛta-antam—death personified, Yamarāja; iva—like; bibhratam—possessing; praṇatā—surrendered; prāñjaliḥ—with folded hands; prāha—said; mahī—the planet earth; sañjāta—arisen; vepathuḥ—trembling in her body.
At this time Pṛthu Mahārāja became exactly like Yamarāja, and his whole body appeared very angry. In other words, he was anger personified. After hearing him, the planet earth began to tremble. She surrendered, and with folded hands began to speak as follows.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is death personified to miscreants and the supreme beloved Lord to the devotees. In Bhagavad-gītā (10.34) the Lord says, mṛtyuḥ sarva-haraś cāham: “I am all-devouring death.” Faithless unbelievers, who challenge the appearance of God, will be delivered by the Supreme Personality of Godhead when He appears before them as death. Hiraṇyakaśipu, for example, challenged the authority of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and the Lord met him in the form of Nṛsiṁhadeva and killed him. Similarly, the planet earth saw Mahārāja Pṛthu as death personified, and she also saw him in the mood of anger personified. Therefore she began to tremble. One cannot challenge the authority of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in any circumstance. It is better to surrender unto Him and take His protection at all times.
namaḥ parasmai puruṣāya māyayā
namaḥ svarūpānubhavena nirdhuta-
dharā—the planet earth; uvāca—said; namaḥ—I offer my obeisances; parasmai—unto the Transcendence; puruṣāya—unto the person; māyayā—by the material energy; vinyasta—expanded; nānā—various; tanave—whose forms; guṇa-ātmane—unto the source of the three modes of material nature; namaḥ—I offer my obeisances; svarūpa—of the real form; anubhavena—by understanding; nirdhuta—not affected by; dravya—matter; kriyā—action; kāraka—doer; vibhrama—bewilderment; ūrmaye—the waves of material existence.
The planet earth spoke: My dear Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, You are transcendental in Your position, and by Your material energy You have expanded Yourself in various forms and species of life through the interaction of the three modes of material nature. Unlike some other masters, You always remain in Your transcendental position and are not affected by the material creation, which is subject to different material interactions. Consequently You are not bewildered by material activities.
After King Pṛthu gave his royal command, the planet earth in the shape of a cow could understand that the King was a directly empowered incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Consequently the King knew everything—past, present and future. Thus there was no possibility of the earth’s cheating him. The earth was accused of hiding the seeds of all herbs and grains, and therefore she is preparing to explain how the seeds of these herbs and grains can be again exposed. The earth knew that the King was very angry with her, and she realized that unless she pacified his anger, there was no possibility of placing a positive program before him. Therefore in the beginning of her speech she very humbly presents herself as a part and parcel of the Supreme Personality of Godhead’s body. She submits that the various bodily forms manifest in the physical world are but different parts and parcels of the supreme gigantic body. It is said that the lower planetary systems are parts and parcels of the legs of the Lord, whereas the upper planetary systems are parts and parcels of the Lord’s head. The Lord creates this material world by His external energy, but this external energy is in one sense not different from Him. Yet at the same time the Lord is not directly manifest in the external energy but is always situated in the spiritual energy. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (9.10), mayādhyakṣeṇa prakṛtiḥ: material nature is working under the direction of the Lord. Therefore the Lord is not unattached to the external energy, and He is addressed in this verse as guṇa-ātmā, the source of the three modes of material nature. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (13.15), nirguṇaṁ guṇa-bhoktṛ ca: although the Lord is not attached to the external energy, He is nonetheless the master of it. The philosophy of Lord Caitanya, upholding that the Lord is simultaneously one with and different from His creation (), is very easily understandable in this connection. The planet earth explains that although the Lord is attached to the external energy, He is nirdhuta; He is completely free from the activities of the external energy. The Lord is always situated in His internal energy. Therefore in this verse it is stated: svarūpa-anubhavena. The Lord remains completely in His internal potency and yet has full knowledge of the external energy as well as the internal energy, just as His devotee remains always in a transcendental position, keeping himself in the service of the Lord without becoming attached to the material body. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī says that the devotee who is always engaged in the devotional service of the Lord is always liberated, regardless of his material situation. If it is possible for a devotee to remain transcendental, it is certainly possible for the Supreme Personality of Godhead to remain in His internal potency without being attached to the external potency. There should be no difficulty in understanding this situation. Just as a devotee is never bewildered by his material body, the Lord is never bewildered by the external energy of this material world. A devotee is not hampered by the material body, although he is situated in a physical body that runs according to so many material conditions, just as there are five kinds of air functioning within the body, and so many organs—the hands, legs, tongue, genitals, rectum, etc.—all working differently. The spirit soul, the living entity, who is in full knowledge of his position is always engaged in chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare and is not concerned with the bodily functions. Although the Lord is connected with the material world, He is always situated in His spiritual energy and is always unattached to the functions of the material world. As far as the material body is concerned, there are six “waves,” or symptomatic material conditions: hunger, thirst, lamentation, bewilderment, old age and death. The liberated soul is never concerned with these six physical interactions. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, being the all-powerful master of all energies, has some connection with the external energy, but He is always free from the interactions of the external energy in the material world.
yenāham ātmāyatanaṁ vinirmitā
dhātrā yato ’yaṁ guṇa-sarga-saṅgrahaḥ
sa eva māṁ hantum udāyudhaḥ svarāḍ
upasthito ’nyaṁ śaraṇaṁ kam āśraye
yena—by whom; aham—I; ātma-āyatanam—resting place of all living entities; vinirmitā—was created; dhātrā—by the Supreme Lord; yataḥ—on account of whom; ayam—this; guṇa-sarga-saṅgrahaḥ—combination of different material elements; saḥ—He; eva—certainly; mām—me; hantum—to kill; udāyudhaḥ—prepared with weapons; svarāṭ—completely independent; upasthitaḥ—now present before me; anyam—other; śaraṇam—shelter; kam—unto whom; āśraye—I shall resort to.
The planet earth continued: My dear Lord, You are the complete conductor of the material creation. You have created this cosmic manifestation and the three material qualities, and therefore You have created me, the planet earth, the resting place of all living entities. Yet You are always fully independent, my Lord. Now that You are present before me and ready to kill me with Your weapons, let me know where I should go to take shelter, and tell me who can give me protection.
The planet earth herein exhibits the symptoms of full surrender before the Lord. As stated, no one can protect the person whom Kṛṣṇa is prepared to kill, and no one can kill the person whom Kṛṣṇa protects. Because the Lord was prepared to kill the planet earth, there was no one to give protection to her. We are all receiving protection from the Lord, and it is therefore proper that every one of us surrender unto Him. In Bhagavad-gītā (18.66) the Lord instructs:
“Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear.”
Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura sings: “My dear Lord, whatever I have—even my mind, the center of all material necessities. namely my home, my body and whatever I have in connection with this body—I now surrender unto You. You are now completely independent to act however You like. If You like, You can kill me, and if You like, You can save me. In any case, I am Your eternal servant, and You have every right to do whatever You like.”
ya etad ādāv asṛjac carācaraṁ
tayaiva so ’yaṁ kila goptum udyataḥ
kathaṁ nu māṁ dharma-paro jighāṁsati
yaḥ—one who; etat—these; ādau—in the beginning of creation; asṛjat—created; cara-acaram—moving and nonmoving living entities; sva-māyayā—by His own potency; ātma-āśrayayā—sheltered under His own protection; avitarkyayā—inconceivable; tayā—by that same māyā; eva—certainly; saḥ—he; ayam—this King; kila—certainly; goptum udyataḥ—prepared to give protection; katham—how; nu—then; mām—me; dharma-paraḥ—one who is strictly following religious principles; jighāṁsati—desires to kill.
In the beginning of creation You created all these moving and nonmoving living entities by Your inconceivable energy. Through this very same energy You are now prepared to protect the living entities. Indeed, You are the supreme protector of religious principles. Why are You so anxious to kill me, even though I am in the form of a cow?
The planet earth argues that there is no doubt that one who creates can also annihilate by his sweet will. The planet earth questions why she should be killed when the Lord is prepared to give protection to everyone. After all, it is the earth that is the resting place for all other living entities, and it is the earth that produces grains for them.
nūnaṁ bateśasya samīhitaṁ janais
na lakṣyate yas tv akarod akārayad
yo ’neka ekaḥ parataś ca īśvaraḥ
nūnam—surely; bata—certainly; īśasya—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; samīhitam—activities, plan; janaiḥ—by people; tat-māyayā—by His potency; durjayayā—which is unconquerable; akṛta-ātmabhiḥ—who are not sufficiently experienced; na—never; lakṣyate—are seen; yaḥ—he who; tu—then; akarot—created; akārayat—caused to create; yaḥ—one who; anekaḥ—many; ekaḥ—one; parataḥ—by His inconceivable potencies; ca—and; īśvaraḥ—controller.
My dear Lord, although You are one, by Your inconceivable potencies You have expanded Yourself in many forms. Through the agency of Brahmā, You have created this universe. You are therefore directly the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Those who are not sufficiently experienced cannot understand Your transcendental activities because these persons are covered by Your illusory energy.
God is one, but He expands Himself in a variety of energies—the material energy, the spiritual energy, the marginal energy and so forth. Unless one is favored and especially endowed with grace, he cannot understand how the one Supreme Personality of Godhead acts through His different energies. The living entities are also the marginal energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Brahmā is also one of these living entities, but he is especially empowered by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Although Brahmā is supposed to be the creator of this universe, actually the Supreme Personality of Godhead is its ultimate creator. In this verse the word māyayā is significant. Māyā means “energy.” Lord Brahmā is not the energetic but is one of the manifestations of the Lord’s marginal energy. In other words, Lord Brahmā is only an instrument. Although sometimes plans appear contradictory, there is a definite plan behind all action. One who is experienced and is favored by the Lord can understand that everything is being done according to the Lord’s supreme plan.
sargādi yo ’syānuruṇaddhi śaktibhir
namaḥ parasmai puruṣāya vedhase
sarga-ādi—creation, maintenance and dissolution; yaḥ—one who; asya—of this material world; anuruṇaddhi—causes; śaktibhiḥ—by His own potencies; dravya—physical elements; kriyā—senses; kāraka—controlling demigods; cetanā—intelligence; ātmabhiḥ—consisting of false ego; tasmai—unto Him; samunnaddha—manifest; niruddha—potential; śaktaye—one who possesses these energies; namaḥ—obeisances; parasmai—unto the transcendental; puruṣāya—Supreme Personality of Godhead; vedhase—unto the cause of all causes.
My dear Lord, by Your own potencies You are the original cause of the material elements, as well as the performing instruments (the senses), the workers of the senses (the controlling demigods), the intelligence and the ego, as well as everything else. By Your energy You manifest this entire cosmic creation, maintain it and dissolve it. Through Your energy alone everything is sometimes manifest and sometimes not manifest. You are therefore the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the cause of all causes. I offer my respectful obeisances unto You.
All activities begin with the creation of the total energy, the mahat-tattva. Then, by the agitation of the three guṇas, the physical elements are created, as well as the mind, ego and the controllers of the senses. All of these are created one after another by the inconceivable energy of the Lord. In modern electronics, a mechanic may, by pushing only one button, set off an electronic chain-reaction, by which so many actions are carried out one after another. Similarly, the Supreme Personality of Godhead pushes the button of creation, and different energies create the material elements and various controllers of the physical elements, and their subsequent interactions follow the inconceivable plan of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
sa vai bhavān ātma-vinirmitaṁ jagad
saṁsthāpayiṣyann aja māṁ rasātalād
saḥ—He; vai—certainly; bhavān—Yourself; ātma—by Yourself; vinirmitam—manufactured; jagat—this world; bhūta—the physical elements; indriya—senses; antaḥ-karaṇa—mind, heart; ātmakam—consisting of; vibho—O Lord; saṁsthāpayiṣyan—maintaining; aja—O unborn; mām—me; rasātalāt—from the plutonic region; abhyujjahāra—took out; ambhasaḥ—from the water; ādi—original; sūkaraḥ—the boar.
My dear Lord, You are always unborn. Once, in the form of the original boar, You rescued me from the waters in the bottom of the universe. Through Your own energy You created all the physical elements, the senses and the heart, for the maintenance of the world.
This refers to the time when Lord Kṛṣṇa appeared as the supreme boar, Varāha, and rescued the earth, which had been merged in water. The asura Hiraṇyākṣa had dislocated the earth from its orbit and thrown it beneath the waters of the Garbhodaka Ocean. Then the Lord, in the shape of the original boar, rescued the earth.
apām upasthe mayi nāvy avasthitāḥ
prajā bhavān adya rirakṣiṣuḥ kila
sa vīra-mūrtiḥ samabhūd dharā-dharo
yo māṁ payasy ugra-śaro jighāṁsasi
apām—of the water; upasthe—situated on the surface; mayi—in me; nāvi—in a boat; avasthitāḥ—standing; prajāḥ—living entities; bhavān—Yourself; adya—now; rirakṣiṣuḥ—desiring to protect; kila—indeed; saḥ—He; vīra-mūrtiḥ—in the form of a great hero; samabhūt—became; dharā-dharaḥ—the protector of the planet earth; yaḥ—one who; mām—me; payasi—for the sake of milk; ugra-śaraḥ—with sharpened arrows; jighāṁsasi—you desire to kill.
My dear Lord, in this way You once protected me by rescuing me from the water, and consequently Your name has been famous as Dharādhara—He who holds the planet earth. Yet at the present moment, in the form of a great hero, You are about to kill me with sharpened arrows. I am, however, just like a boat on the water, keeping everything afloat.
The Lord is known as Dharādhara, meaning, “He who keeps the planet earth on His tusks as the boar incarnation.” Thus the planet earth in the shape of a cow is accounting the contradictory acts of the Lord. Although He once saved the earth, He now wants to upset the earth, which is like a boat on water. No one can understand the activities of the Lord. Due to a poor fund of knowledge, human beings sometimes think the Lord’s activities contradictory.
nūnaṁ janair īhitam īśvarāṇām
na jñāyate mohita-citta-vartmabhis
tebhyo namo vīra-yaśas-karebhyaḥ
nūnam—surely; janaiḥ—by the people in general; īhitam—activities; īśvarāṇām—of the controllers; asmat-vidhaiḥ—like me; tat—of the Personality of Godhead; guṇa—of the modes of material nature; sarga—which brings forth creation; māyayā—by Your energy; na—never; jñāyate—are understood; mohita—bewildered; citta—whose minds; vartmabhiḥ—way; tebhyaḥ—unto them; namaḥ—obeisances; vīra-yaśaḥ-karebhyaḥ—who bring renown to heroes themselves.
My dear Lord, I am also the creation of one of Your energies, composed of the three modes of material nature. Consequently I am bewildered by Your activities. Even the activities of Your devotees cannot be understood, and what to speak of Your pastimes. Thus everything appears to us to be contradictory and wonderful.
The activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His various forms and incarnations are always uncommon and wonderful. It is not possible for a tiny human being to estimate the purpose and plans of such activities; therefore Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī has said that unless the Lord’s activities are accepted as inconceivable, they cannot be explained. The Lord is eternally existing as Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in Goloka Vṛndāvana. He has also simultaneously expanded Himself in innumerable forms, beginning with Lord Rāma, Lord Nṛsiṁha, Lord Varāha and all the incarnations coming directly from Saṅkarṣaṇa. Saṅkarṣaṇa is the expansion of Baladeva, and Baladeva is the first manifestation of Kṛṣṇa. Therefore all these incarnations are known as kalā.
The word īśvarāṇām refers to all the Personalities of Godhead. As stated in Brahma-saṁhitā (5.39): rāmādi-mūrtiṣu kalā-niyamena tiṣṭhan. In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam it is confirmed that all the incarnations are partial expansions, or kalā, of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. However, Kṛṣṇa is the original Supreme Personality of Godhead. One should not take the plural number of the word īśvarāṇām to mean that there are many Godheads. The fact is that God is one, but He exists eternally and expands Himself in innumerable forms and acts in various ways. Sometimes the common man is bewildered by all this and considers such activities contradictory, but they are not contradictory. There is a great plan behind all the Lord’s activities.
For our understanding it is sometimes said that the Lord is situated in the heart of the thief as well as in the heart of the householder, but the Supersoul in the heart of the thief dictates, “Go and steal things from that particular house,” and at the same time the Lord tells the householder, “Now be careful of thieves and burglars.” These instructions to different persons appear contradictory, yet we should know that the Supersoul, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, has some plan, and we should not consider such activities contradictory. The best course is to surrender unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead wholeheartedly, and, being protected by Him, remain peaceful.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the Fourth Canto, Seventeenth Chapter, of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, entitled “Mahārāja Pṛthu Becomes Angry at the Earth.”
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