antara ksetram avasan
arabdhan eva bubhuje
maitreyah uvaca—the great saint Maitreya said; ganga—the River Ganges; yamunayoh—of the River Yamuna; nadyoh—of the two rivers; antara—between; ksetram—the land; avasan—living there; arabdhan—destined; eva—like; bubhuje—enjoyed; bhogan—fortunes; punya—pious activities; jihasaya—for the purpose of diminishing.
The great saintly sage Maitreya told Vidura: My dear Vidura, King Prthu lived in the tract of land between the two great rivers Ganges and Yamuna. Because he was very opulent, it appeared that he was enjoying his destined fortune in order to diminish the results of his past pious activities.
The terms “pious” and “impious” are applicable only in reference to the activities of an ordinary living being. But Maharaja Prthu was a directly empowered incarnation of Lord Visnu; therefore he was not subject to the reactions of pious or impious activities. As we have already explained previously, when a living being is specifically empowered by the Supreme Lord to act for a particular purpose, he is called a saktyavesa-avatara. Prthu Maharaja was not only a saktyavesa-avatara but also a great devotee. A devotee is not subjected to the reactions resulting from past deeds. In the Brahma-samhita it is said, karmani nirdahati kintu ca bhakti-bhajam: [Bs. 5.54] for devotees the results of past pious and impious activities are nullified by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The words arabdhan eva mean “as if achieved by past deeds,” but in the case of Prthu Maharaja there was no question of reaction to past deeds, and thus the word eva is used here to indicate comparison to ordinary persons. In Bhagavad-gita the Lord says, avajananti mam mudhah. This means that sometimes people misunderstand an incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead to be an ordinary man. The Supreme Godhead, His incarnations or His devotees may pose themselves as ordinary men, but they are never to be considered as such. Nor should an ordinary man not supported by authorized statements of the sastras and acaryas be accepted as an incarnation or devotee. By the evidence of sastra, Sanatana Gosvami detected Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu to be a direct incarnation of Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, although Lord Caitanya never disclosed the fact. It is therefore generally recommended that the acarya, or guru, should not be accepted as an ordinary man.
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