Talks Between Lord Śiva and Satī
sadā vidviṣator evaṁ
kālo vai dhriyamāṇayoḥ
maitreyaḥ uvāca—Maitreya said; sadā—constantly; vidviṣatoḥ—the tension; evam—in this manner; kālaḥ—time; vai—certainly; dhriyamāṇayoḥ—continued to bear; jāmātuḥ—of the son-in-law; śvaśurasya—of the father-in-law; api—even; su-mahān—a very great; aticakrame—passed.
Maitreya continued: In this manner the tension between the father-in-law and son-in-law, Dakṣa and Lord Śiva, continued for a considerably long period.
The previous chapter has already explained that Vidura questioned the sage Maitreya as to the cause of the misunderstanding between Lord Śiva and Dakṣa. Another question is why the strife between Dakṣa and his son-in-law caused Sati to destroy her body. The chief reason for Satī’s giving up her body was that her father, Dakṣa, began another sacrificial performance, to which Lord Śiva was not invited at all. Generally, when any sacrifice is performed, although each and every sacrifice is intended to pacify the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu, all the demigods, especially Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva and the other principal demigods, such as Indra and Candra, are invited, and they take part. lt is said that unless all the demigods are present, no sacrifice is complete. But in the tension between the father-in-law and son-in-law, Dakṣa began another yajña performance, to which Lord Śiva was not invited. Dakṣa was the chief progenitor employed by Lord Brahmā, and he was a son of Brahmā, so he had a high position and was also very proud.
yadābhiṣikto dakṣas tu
ādhipatye smayo ’bhavat
yadā—when; abhiṣiktaḥ—appointed; dakṣaḥ—Dakṣa; tu—but; brahmaṇā—by Brahmā; parameṣṭhinā—the supreme teacher; prajāpatīnām—of the Prajāpatis; sarveṣām—of all; ādhipatye—as the chief; smayaḥ—puffed up; abhavat—he became.
When Lord Brahmā appointed Dakṣa the chief of all the Prajāpatis, the progenitors of population, Dakṣa became very much puffed up.
Although he was envious and was inimical towards Lord Śiva, Dakṣa was appointed the chief of all Prajāpatis. That was the cause of his excessive pride. When a man becomes too proud of his material possessions, he can perform any disastrous act, and therefore Dakṣa acted out of false prestige. That is described in this chapter.
iṣṭvā sa vājapeyena
brahmiṣṭhān abhibhūya ca
iṣṭvā—after performing; saḥ—he (Dakṣa); vājapeyena—with a vājapeya sacrifice; brahmiṣṭhān—Śiva and his followers; abhibhūya—neglecting; ca—and; bṛhaspati-savam—the bṛhaspati-sava; nāma—called; samārebhe—began; kratu-uttamam—the best of sacrifices.
Dakṣa began a sacrifice named vājapeya, and he became excessively confident of his support by Lord Brahmā, He then performed another great sacrifice, named bṛhaspati-sava.
In the Vedas it is prescribed that before performing a bṛhaspati-sava sacrifice, one should perform the sacrifice named vājapeya. While performing these sacrifices, however, Dakṣa neglected great devotees like Lord Śiva. According to Vedic scriptures, the demigods are eligible to participate in yajñas and share the oblations, but Dakṣa wanted to avoid them. All sacrifices are intended to pacify Lord Viṣṇu, but Lord Viṣṇu includes all His devotees. Brahmā, Lord Śiva and the other demigods are all obedient servants of Lord Viṣṇu; therefore Lord Viṣṇu is never satisfied without them. But Dakṣa, being puffed up with his power, wanted to deprive Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva of participation in the sacrifice, understanding that if one satisfies Viṣṇu, it is not necessary to satisfy His followers. But that is not the process. Viṣṇu wants His followers to be satisfied first. Lord Kṛṣṇa says, mad-bhakta-pūjābhyadhikā: [SB 11.19.21] “The worship of My devotees is better than worship of Me.” Similarly, in the Śiva Purāṇa, it is stated that the best mode of worship is to offer oblations to Viṣṇu, but better than that is to worship the devotees of Kṛṣṇa. Thus Dakṣa’s determination to neglect Lord Śiva in the sacrifices was not fitting.
tasmin brahmarṣayaḥ sarve
tat-patnyaś ca sa-bhartṛkāḥ
tasmin—in that (sacrifice); brahma-ṛṣayaḥ—the brahmarṣis; sarve—all; devarṣi—the devarṣis; pitṛ—ancestors; devatāḥ—demigods; āsan—were; kṛta-svasti-ayanāḥ—were very nicely decorated with ornaments; tat-patnyaḥ—their wives; ca—and; sa-bhartṛkāḥ—along with their husbands.
While the sacrifice was being performed, many brahmarṣis, great sages, ancestral demigods and other demigods, their wives all very nicely decorated with ornaments, attended from different parts of the universe.
In any auspicious ceremony, such as a marriage ceremony, sacrificial ceremony or pūjā ceremony, it is auspicious for married women to decorate themselves very nicely with ornaments, fine clothing and cosmetics. These are auspicious signs. Many heavenly women assembled with their husbands, the devarṣis, demigods and rājarṣis, in that great sacrifice named bṛhaspati-sava. It is specifically mentioned in this verse that they approached with their husbands, for when a woman is decorated nicely, her husband becomes more cheerful. The nice decorations, ornaments and dress of the wives of the demigods and sages and the cheerfulness of the demigods and sages themselves were all auspicious signs for the ceremony.
tad upaśrutya nabhasi
satī dākṣāyaṇī devī
vrajantīḥ sarvato digbhya
patiṁ bhūta-patiṁ devam
tat—then; upaśrutya—hearing; nabhasi—in the sky; khe-carāṇām—of those who were flying in the air (the Gandharvas); prajalpatām—the conversation; satī—Sati; dākṣāyaṇī—the daughter of Dakṣa; devī—the wife of Śiva; pitṛ-yajña-mahā-utsavam—the great festival of sacrifice performed by her father; vrajantīḥ—were going; sarvataḥ—from all; digbhyaḥ—directions; upadeva-vara-striyaḥ—the beautiful wives of the demigods; vimāna-yānāḥ—flying in their airplanes; sa-preṣṭhāḥ—along with their husbands; niṣka-kaṇṭhīḥ—having nice necklaces with lockets; su-vāsasaḥ—dressed in fine clothing; dṛṣṭvā—seeing; sva-nilaya-abhyāśe—near her residence; lola-akṣīḥ—having beautiful glittering eyes; mṛṣṭa-kuṇḍalāḥ—nice earrings; patim—her husband; bhūta-patim—the master of the bhūtas; devam—the demigod; autsukyāt—from great anxiety; abhyabhāṣata—she spoke.
The chaste lady Satī, the daughter of Dakṣa, heard the heavenly denizens flying in the sky conversing about the great sacrifice being performed by her father. When she saw that from all directions the beautiful wives of the heavenly denizens, their eyes very beautifully glittering, were near her residence and were going to the sacrifice dressed in fine clothing and ornamented with earrings and necklaces with lockets, she approached her husband, the master of the bhūtas, in great anxiety, and spoke as follows.
It appears that the residence of Lord Śiva was not on this planet but somewhere in outer space, otherwise how could Sati have seen the airplanes coming from different directions towards this planet and heard the passengers talking about the great sacrifice being performed by Dakṣa? Satī is described here as Dākṣāyaṇī because she was the daughter of Dakṣa. The mention of upadeva-vara refers to inferior demigods like the Gandharvas, Kinnaras and Uragas, who are not exactly demigods but between the demigods and human beings. They were also coming in planes. The word sva-nilayābhyāśe indicates that they were passing right near her residential quarters. The dresses and bodily features of the wives of the heavenly denizens are very nicely described here. Their eyes moved, their earrings and other ornaments glittered and glared, their dresses were the nicest possible, and all of them had special lockets on their necklaces. Each woman was accompanied by her husband. Thus they looked so beautiful that Satī, Dākṣāyaṇī, was impelled to dress similarly and go to the sacrifice with her husband. That is the natural inclination of a woman.
prajāpates te śvaśurasya sāmprataṁ
niryāpito yajña-mahotsavaḥ kila
vayaṁ ca tatrābhisarāma vāma te
yady arthitāmī vibudhā vrajanti hi
satī uvāca—Sati said; prajāpateḥ—of Dakṣa; te—your; śvaśurasya—of your father-in-law; sāmpratam—nowadays; niryāpitaḥ—has been started; yajña-mahā-utsavaḥ—a great sacrifice; kila—certainly; vayam—we; ca—and; tatra—there; abhisarāma—may go; vāma—O my dear Lord Śiva; te—your; yadi—if; arthitā—desire; amī—these; vibudhāḥ—demigods; vrajanti—are going; hi—because.
Satī said: My dear Lord Śiva, your father-in-law is now executing great sacrifices, and all the demigods, having been invited by him, are going there. If you desire, we may also go.
Satī knew of the tension between her father and her husband, but still she expressed to her husband, Lord Śiva, that since such sacrifices were going on at her father’s house and so many demigods were going, she also desired to go. But she could not express her willingness directly, and so she told her husband that if he desired to go, then she could also accompany him. In other words, she submitted her desire very politely to her husband.
tasmin bhaginyo mama bhartṛbhiḥ svakair
dhruvaṁ gamiṣyanti suhṛd-didṛkṣavaḥ
ahaṁ ca tasmin bhavatābhikāmaye
sahopanītaṁ paribarham arhitum
tasmin—in that sacrifice; bhaginyaḥ—sisters; mama—my; bhartṛbhiḥ—with their husbands; svakaiḥ—their own; dhruvam—surely; gamiṣyanti—will go; suhṛt-didṛkṣavaḥ—desiring to meet the relatives; aham—I; ca—and; tasmin—in that assembly; bhavatā—with you (Lord Śiva); abhikāmaye—I desire; saha—with; upanītam—given; paribarham—ornaments of decoration; arhitum—to accept.
I think that all my sisters must have gone to this great sacrificial ceremony with their husbands just to see their relatives. I also desire to decorate myself with the ornaments given to me by my father and go there with you to participate in that assemble.
It is a woman’s nature to want to decorate herself with ornaments and nice dresses and accompany her husband to social functions, meet friends and relatives, and enjoy life in that way. This propensity is not unusual, for woman is the basic principle of material enjoyment. Therefore in Sanskrit the word for woman is strī, which means “one who expands the field of material enjoyment.” In the material world there is an attraction between woman and man. This is the arrangement of conditional life. A woman attracts a man, and in that way the scope of material activities, involving house, wealth, children and friendship, increases, and thus instead of decreasing one’s material demands, one becomes entangled in material enjoyment. Lord Śiva, however, is different; therefore his name is Śiva. He is not at all attracted by material enjoyment, although his wife, Satī, was the daughter of a very great leader and was given to him by the request of Brahmā. Lord Śiva was reluctant, but Satī, as a woman, the daughter of a king, wanted enjoyment. She wanted to go to her father’s house, just as her other sisters might have done, and meet them and enjoy social life. Here, she specifically indicated that she would decorate herself with the ornaments given by her father. She did not say that she would decorate herself with the ornaments given by her husband because her husband was callous about all such matters. He did not know how to decorate his wife and take part in social life because he was always in ecstasy with thoughts of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. According to the Vedic system, a daughter is given a sufficient dowry at the time of her marriage, and therefore Sati was also given a dowry by her father, and ornaments were included. It is also the custom that the husband gives some ornaments, but here it is particularly mentioned that her husband, being materially almost nothing, could not do so; therefore she wanted to decorate herself with the ornaments given by her father. It was fortunate for Satī that Lord Śiva did not take the ornaments from his wife and spend them for gāñjā, because those who imitate Lord Śiva in smoking gāñjā exploit everything from household affairs; they take all of their wives’ property and spend on smoking, intoxication and similar other activities.
tatra svasṝr me nanu bhartṛ-sammitā
mātṛ-ṣvasṝḥ klinna-dhiyaṁ ca mātaram
drakṣye cirotkaṇṭha-manā maharṣibhir
unnīyamānaṁ ca mṛḍādhvara-dhvajam
tatra—there; svasṝḥ—own sisters; me—my; nanu—surely; bhartṛ-sammitāḥ—along with their husbands; mātṛ-svasṝḥ—the sisters of my mother; klinna-dhiyam—affectionate; ca—and; mātaram—mother; drakṣye—I shall see; cira-utkaṇṭha-manāḥ—being very anxious for a long time; mahā-ṛṣibhiḥ—by great sages; unnīyamānam—being raised; ca—and; mṛḍa—O Śiva; adhvara—sacrifice; dhvajam—flags.
My sisters, my mother’s sisters and their husbands, and other affectionate relatives must be assembled there, so if I go I shall be able to see them, and I shall be able to see the flapping flags and the performance of the sacrifice by the great sages. For these reasons, my dear husband, I am very much anxious to go.
As stated before, the tension between the father-in-law and son-in-law persisted for a considerable time. Sati, therefore, had not gone to her father’s house for a long while. Thus she was very anxious to go to her father’s house, particularly because on that occasion her sisters and their husbands and her mother’s sisters would be there. As is natural for a woman, she wanted to dress equally to her other sisters and also be accompanied by her husband. She did not, of course, want to go alone.
tvayy etad āścaryam ajātma-māyayā
vinirmitaṁ bhāti guṇa-trayātmakam
tathāpy ahaṁ yoṣid atattva-vic ca te
dīnā didṛkṣe bhava me bhava-kṣitim
tvayi—in you; etat—this; āścaryam—wonderful; aja—O Lord Śiva; ātma-māyayā—by the external energy of the Supreme Lord; vinirmitam—created; bhāti—appears; guṇa-traya-ātmakam—being an interaction of the three modes of material nature; tathā api—even so; aham—I; yoṣit—woman; atattva-vit—not conversant with the truth; ca—and; te—your; dīnā—poor; didṛkṣe—I wish to see; bhava—O Lord Śiva; me—my; bhava-kṣitim—place of birth.
This manifested cosmos is a wonderful creation of the interaction of the three material modes, or the external energy of the Supreme Lord. This truth is fully known to you. Yet I am but a poor woman, and, as you know, I am not conversant with the truth. Therefore I wish to see my birthplace once more.
Dākṣāyaṇī, Sati, knew very well that her husband, Lord Śiva, was not very much interested in the glaring manifestation of the material world, which is caused by the interaction of the three modes of nature. Therefore she addressed her husband as aja, which refers to one who has transcended the bondage of birth and death, or one who has realized his eternal position. She stated, “The illusion of accepting the perverted reflection, the material or cosmic manifestation, to be real is not present in you, because you are self-realized. For you the attraction of social life and the consideration that someone is father, someone is mother and someone is sister, which are illusory relationships, is already over; but because I am a poor woman, I am not so advanced in transcendental realization. Therefore naturally these appear to me as real.” Only less intelligent persons accept this perverted reflection of the spiritual world to be real. Those who are under the spell of the external energy accept this manifestation to be fact, whereas those who are advanced in spiritual realization know that it is illusion. Actual reality is elsewhere, in the spiritual world. “But as far as I am concerned,” Sati said, “I do not have much knowledge about self-realization. I am poor because I do not know the actual facts. I am attracted by my birthplace, and I want to see it.” One who has attraction for his birthplace, for his body, and for other such items mentioned in the Bhāgavatam is considered to be like an ass or a cow. Satī might have heard all this many times from her husband, Lord Śiva, but because she was a woman, yoṣit, she still hankered after the same material objects of affection. The word yoṣit means “one who is enjoyed.” Therefore woman is called yoṣit. In spiritual advancement, association with yoṣit is always restricted because if one is like a play doll in the hands of yoṣit, then all his spiritual advancement is at once stopped. It is said, “Those who are just like playthings in the hands of a woman (yoṣit-krīḍā-mṛgeṣu) cannot make any advancement in spiritual realization.”
paśya prayāntīr abhavānya-yoṣito
’py alaṅkṛtāḥ kānta-sakhā varūthaśaḥ
yāsāṁ vrajadbhiḥ śiti-kaṇṭha maṇḍitaṁ
nabho vimānaiḥ kala-haṁsa-pāṇḍubhiḥ
paśya—just see; prayāntīḥ—going; abhava—O never-born; anya-yoṣitaḥ—other women; api—certainly; alaṅkṛtāḥ—ornamented; kānta-sakhāḥ—with their husbands and friends; varūthaśaḥ—in large numbers; yāsām—of them; vrajadbhiḥ—flying; śiti-kaṇṭha—O blue-throated one; maṇḍitam—decorated; nabhaḥ—the sky; vimānaiḥ—with airplanes; kala-haṁsa—swans; pāṇḍubhiḥ—white.
O never-born, O blue-throated one, not only my relatives but also other women, dressed in nice clothes and decorated with ornaments, are going there with their husbands and friends. Just see how their flocks of white airplanes have made the entire sky very beautiful.
Here Lord Śiva is addressed as abhava, which means “one who is never born,” although generally he is known as bhava, “one who is born.” Rudra, Lord Śiva, is actually born from between the eyes of Brahmā, who is called Svayambhū because he is not born of any human being or material creature but is born directly from the lotus flower which grows from the abdomen of Viṣṇu. When Lord Śiva is addressed here as abhava, this may be taken to mean “one who has never felt material miseries.” Sati wanted to impress upon her husband that even those who were not related to her father were also going, to say nothing of herself, who was intimately related with him. Lord Śiva is addressed here as blue throated. Lord Śiva drank an ocean of poison and kept it in his throat, not swallowing it or allowing it to go down to his stomach, and thus his throat became blue. Since then he has been known as nīlakaṇṭha, or blue throated. The reason that Lord Śiva drank an ocean of poison was for others’ benefit. When the ocean was churned by the demigods and the demons, the churning at first produced poison, so because the poisonous ocean might have affected others who were not so advanced, Lord Śiva drank all the ocean water. In other words, he could drink such a great amount of poison for others’ benefit, and now, since his wife was personally requesting him to go to her father’s house, even if he did not wish to give that permission, he should do so out of his great kindness.
kathaṁ sutāyāḥ pitṛ-geha-kautukaṁ
niśamya dehaḥ sura-varya neṅgate
anāhutā apy abhiyanti sauhṛdaṁ
bhartur guror deha-kṛtaś ca ketanam
katham—how; sutāyāḥ—of a daughter; pitṛ-geha-kautukam—the festival in the house of her father; niśamya—hearing; dehaḥ—the body; sura-varya—O best of the demigods; na—not; iṅgate—disturbed; anāhutāḥ—without being called; api—even; abhiyanti—goes; sauhṛdam—a friend; bhartuḥ—of the husband; guroḥ—of the spiritual master; deha-kṛtaḥ—of the father; ca—and; ketanam—the house.
O best of the demigods, how can the body of a daughter remain undisturbed when she hears that some festive event is taking place in her father’s house? Even though you may be considering that I have not been invited, there is no harm if one goes to the house of one’s friend, husband, spiritual master or father without invitation.
tan me prasīdedam amartya vāñchitaṁ
kartuṁ bhavān kāruṇiko batārhati
tvayātmano ’rdhe ’ham adabhra-cakṣuṣā
nirūpitā mānugṛhāṇa yācitaḥ
tat—therefore; me—unto me; prasīda—please be kind; idam—this; amartya—O immortal lord; vāñchitam—desire; kartum—to do; bhavān—Your Honor; kāruṇikaḥ—kind; bata—O lord; arhati—is able; tvayā—by you; ātmanaḥ—of your own body; ardhe—in the half; aham—I; adabhra-cakṣuṣā—having all knowledge; nirūpitā—am situated; mā—to me; anugṛhāṇa—please show kindness; yācitaḥ—requested.
O immortal Śiva, please be kind towards me and fulfill my desire. You have accepted me as half of your body; therefore please show kindness towards me and accept my request.
evaṁ giritraḥ priyayābhibhāṣitaḥ
pratyabhyadhatta prahasan suhṛt-priyaḥ
saṁsmārito marma-bhidaḥ kuvāg-iṣūn
yān āha ko viśva-sṛjāṁ samakṣataḥ
ṛṣiḥ uvāca—the great sage Maitreya said; evam—thus; giritraḥ—Lord Śiva; priyayā—by his dear wife; abhibhāṣitaḥ—being spoken to; pratyabhyadhatta—replied; prahasan—while smiling; suhṛt-priyaḥ—dear to the relatives; saṁsmāritaḥ—remembering; marma-bhidaḥ—heart piercing; kuvāk-iṣūn—malicious words; yān—which (words); āha—said; kaḥ—who (Dakṣa); viśva-sṛjām—of the creators of the universal manifestation; samakṣataḥ—in the presence.
The great sage Maitreya said: Lord Śiva, the deliverer of the hill Kailāsa, having thus been addressed by his dear wife, replied smilingly, although at the same time he remembered the malicious, heart-piercing speeches delivered by Dakṣa before the guardians of the universal affairs.
When Lord Śiva heard from his wife about Dakṣa, the psychological effect was that he immediately remembered the strong words spoken against him in the assembly of the guardians of the universe, and, remembering those words, he was sorry at heart, although to please his wife he smiled. In Bhagavad-gītā it is said that a liberated person is always in mental equilibrium in both the distress and the happiness of this material world. Therefore the question may now be raised why a liberated personality like Lord Śiva was so unhappy because of the words of Dakṣa. The answer is given by Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura. Lord Śiva is ātmārāma, or situated in complete self-realization, but because he is the incarnation in charge of the material mode of ignorance, tamo-guṇa, he is sometimes affected by the pleasure and pain of the material world. The difference between the pleasure and pain of this material world and that of the spiritual world is that in the spiritual world the effect is qualitatively absolute. Therefore one may feel sorry in the absolute world, but the manifestation of so-called pain is always full of bliss. For instance, once Lord Kṛṣṇa, in His childhood, was chastised by His mother, Yaśodā, and Lord Kṛṣṇa cried. But although He shed tears from His eyes, this is not to be considered a reaction of the mode of ignorance, for the incident was full of transcendental pleasure. When Kṛṣṇa was playing in so many ways, sometimes it appeared that He caused distress to the gopīs, but actually such dealings were full of transcendental bliss. That is the difference between the material and spiritual worlds. The spiritual world, where everything is pure, is pervertedly reflected in this material world. Since everything in the spiritual world is absolute, in the spiritual varieties of apparent pleasure and pain there is no perception other than eternal bliss, whereas in the material world, because everything is contaminated by the modes of material nature, there are feelings of pleasure and pain. Therefore because Lord Śiva, although a fully self-realized person, was in charge of the material mode of ignorance, he felt sorrow.
tvayoditaṁ śobhanam eva śobhane
anāhutā apy abhiyanti bandhuṣu
te yady anutpādita-doṣa-dṛṣṭayo
śrī-bhagavān uvāca—the great lord replied; tvayā—by you; uditam—said; śobhanam—is true; eva—certainly; śobhane—my dear beautiful wife; anāhutāḥ—without being invited; api—even; abhiyanti—go; bandhuṣu—among friends; te—those (friends); yadi—if; anutpādita-doṣa-dṛṣṭayaḥ—not finding fault; balīyasā—more important; anātmya-madena—by pride caused by identification with the body; manyunā—by anger.
The great lord replied: My dear beautiful wife, you have said that one may go to a friend’s house without being invited, and this is true, provided such a friend does not find fault with the guest because of bodily identification and thereby become angry towards him.
Lord Śiva could foresee that as soon as Sati reached her father’s house, her father, Dakṣa, being too puffed up because of bodily identification, would be angry at her presence, and although she was innocent and faultless, he would be mercilessly angry towards her. Lord Śiva warned that since her father was too puffed up by his material possessions, he would be angry, and this would be intolerable for her. Therefore it was better that she not go. This fact was already experienced by Lord Śiva because although Lord Śiva was faultless, Dakṣa had cursed him in so many harsh words.
satāṁ guṇaiḥ ṣaḍbhir asattametaraiḥ
smṛtau hatāyāṁ bhṛta-māna-durdṛśaḥ
stabdhā na paśyanti hi dhāma bhūyasām
vidyā—education; tapaḥ—austerity; vitta—wealth; vapuḥ—beauty of body, etc.; vayaḥ—youth; kulaiḥ—with heritage; satām—of the pious; guṇaiḥ—by such qualities; ṣaḍbhiḥ—six; asattama-itaraiḥ—having the opposite result to those who are not great souls; smṛtau—good sense; hatāyām—being lost; bhṛta-māna-durdṛśaḥ—blind due to pride; stabdhāḥ—being proud; na—not; paśyanti—see; hi—for; dhāma—the glories; bhūyasām—of the great souls.
Although the six qualities education, austerity, wealth, beauty, youth and heritage are for the highly elevated, one who is proud of possessing them becomes blind, and thus he loses his good sense and cannot appreciate the glories of great personalities.
It may be argued that since Dakṣa was very learned, wealthy and austere and had descended from a very exalted heritage, how could he be unnecessarily angry towards another? The answer is that when the qualities of good education, good parentage, beauty and sufficient wealth are misplaced in a person who is puffed up by all these possessions, they produce a very bad result. Milk is a very nice food, but when milk is touched by an envious serpent it becomes poisonous. Similarly, material assets such as education, wealth, beauty and good parentage are undoubtedly nice, but when they decorate persons of a malicious nature, then they act adversely. Another example, given by Cāṇakya Paṇḍita, is that a serpent that has a jewel on its head is still fearful because it is a serpent. A serpent, by nature, is envious of other living entities, even though they be faultless. When a serpent bites another creature, it is not necessarily because the other creature is at fault; it is the habit of the serpent to bite innocent creatures. Similarly, although Dakṣa was qualified by many material assets, because he was proud of his possessions and because he was envious, all those qualities were polluted. It is sometimes, therefore, detrimental for a person advancing in spiritual consciousness, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness, to possess such material assets. Kuntīdevī, while offering prayers to Kṛṣṇa, addressed Him as akiñcana-gocara, one who is easily approached by those who are bereft of all material acquisitions. Material exhaustion is an advantage for advancement in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, although if one is conscious of his eternal relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one can utilize one’s material assets, such as great learning and beauty and exalted ancestry, for the service of the Lord; then such assets become glorious. In other words, unless one is Kṛṣṇa conscious, all his material possessions are zero, but when this zero is by the side of the Supreme One, it at once increases in value to ten. Unless situated by the side of the Supreme One, zero is always zero; one may add one hundred zeros, but the value will still remain zero. Unless one’s material assets are used in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, they may play havoc and degrade the possessor.
gṛhān pratīyād anavasthitātmanām
ye ’bhyāgatān vakra-dhiyābhicakṣate
na—not; etādṛśānām—like this; sva-jana—kinsmen; vyapekṣayā—depending on that; gṛhān—in the house of; pratīyāt—one should go; anavasthita—disturbed; ātmanām—mind; ye—those; abhyāgatān—guests; vakra-dhiyā—with a cold reception; abhicakṣate—looking at; āropita-bhrūbhiḥ—with raised eyebrows; amarṣaṇa—angry; akṣibhiḥ—with the eyes.
One should not go to anyone’s house, even on the consideration of his being a relative or a friend, when the man is disturbed in his mind and looks upon the guest with raised eyebrows and angry eyes.
However low a person may be, he is never unkind to his children, wife and nearest kin; even a tiger is kind to its cubs, for within the animal kingdom the cubs are treated very nicely. Since Sati was the daughter of Dakṣa, however cruel and contaminated he might be, naturally it was expected that he would receive her very nicely. But here it is indicated by the word anavasthita that such a person cannot be trusted. Tigers are very kind to their cubs, but it is also known that sometimes they eat them. Malicious persons should not be trusted, because they are always unsteady. Thus Satī was advised not to go to her father’s house because to accept such a father as a relative and to go to his house without being properly invited was not suitable.
tathāribhir na vyathate śilīmukhaiḥ
śete ’rditāṅgo hṛdayena dūyatā
svānāṁ yathā vakra-dhiyāṁ duruktibhir
divā-niśaṁ tapyati marma-tāḍitaḥ
tathā—so; aribhiḥ—enemy; na—not; vyathate—is hurt; śilīmukhaiḥ—by the arrows; śete—rests; ardita—aggrieved; aṅgaḥ—a part; hṛdayena—by the heart; dūyatā—grieving; svānām—of relatives; yathā—as; vakra-dhiyām—deceitful; duruktibhiḥ—by harsh words; divā-niśam—day and night; tapyati—suffers; marma-tāḍitaḥ—one whose feelings are hurt.
Lord Śiva continued: If one is hurt by the arrows of an enemy, one is not as aggrieved as when cut by the unkind words of a relative, for such grief continues to rend one’s heart day and night.
Satī might have concluded that she would take the risk of going to her father’s house, and even if her father spoke unkindly against her she would be tolerant, as a son sometimes tolerates the reproaches of his parents. But Lord Śiva reminded her that she would not be able to tolerate such unkind words because natural psychology dictates that although one can suffer harm from an enemy and not mind so much because pain inflicted by an enemy is natural, when one is hurt by the strong words of a relative, one suffers the effects continually, day and night, and sometimes the injury becomes so intolerable that one commits suicide.
vyaktaṁ tvam utkṛṣṭa-gateḥ prajāpateḥ
priyātmajānām asi subhru me matā
tathāpi mānaṁ na pituḥ prapatsyase
mad-āśrayāt kaḥ paritapyate yataḥ
vyaktam—it is clear; tvam—you; utkṛṣṭa-gateḥ—having the best behavior; prajāpateḥ—of Prajāpati Dakṣa; priyā—the pet; ātmajānām—of the daughters; asi—you are; subhru—O you with the beautiful eyebrows; me—my; matā—considered; tathā api—yet; mānam—honor; na—not; pituḥ—from your father; prapatsyase—you will meet with; mat-āśrayāt—from connection with me; kaḥ—Dakṣa; paritapyate—is feeling pain; yataḥ—from whom.
My dear white-complexioned wife, it is clear that of the many daughters of Dakṣa you are the pet, yet you will not be honored at his house because of your being my wife. Rather, you will be sorry that you are connected with me.
Lord Śiva put forward the argument that even if Sati proposed to go alone, without her husband, still she would not be received well because she was his wife. There was every chance of a catastrophe, even if she wanted to go alone. Therefore Lord Śiva indirectly requested her not to go to her father’s house.
akalpa eṣām adhiroḍhum añjasā
paraṁ padaṁ dveṣṭi yathāsurā harim
pāpacyamānena—burning; hṛdā—with a heart; ātura-indriyaḥ—who is distressed; samṛddhibhiḥ—by the pious reputation, etc.; pūruṣa-buddhi-sākṣiṇām—of those who are always absorbed in thought of the Supreme Lord; akalpaḥ—being unable; eṣām—of those persons; adhiroḍhum—to rise; añjasā—quickly; param—merely; padam—to the standard; dveṣṭi—envy; yathā—as much as; asurāḥ—the demons; harim—the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
One who is conducted by false ego and thus always distressed, both mentally and sensually, cannot tolerate the opulence of self-realized persons. Being unable to rise to the standard of self-realization, he envies such persons as much as demons envy the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
The real reason for the enmity between Lord Śiva and Dakṣa is explained here. Dakṣa was envious of Lord Śiva because of Śiva’s high position as an incarnation of a quality of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and because Śiva was directly in contact with the Supersoul and was therefore honored and given a better sitting place than he. There were many other reasons also. Dakṣa, being materially puffed up, could not tolerate the high position of Lord Śiva, so his anger at Lord Śiva’s not standing up in his presence was only the final manifestation of his envy. Lord Śiva is always in meditation and always perceives the Supersoul, as expressed here by the words pūruṣa-buddhi-sākṣiṇām. The position of one whose intelligence is always absorbed in meditation upon the Supreme Personality of Godhead is very great and cannot be imitated by anyone, especially an ordinary person. When Dakṣa entered the arena of yajña, Lord Śiva was in meditation and might not have seen Dakṣa enter, but Dakṣa took the opportunity to curse him because Dakṣa had maintained an envious attitude towards Lord Śiva for a long time. Those who are actually self-realized see every individual body as a temple of the Supreme Personality of Godhead because the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in His Paramātmā feature, is residing in everyone’s body.
When one offers respect to the body, it is not to the material body but to the presence of the Supreme Lord. Thus one who is always in meditation upon the Supreme Lord is always offering Him obeisances. But since Dakṣa was not very elevated, he thought that obeisances were offered to the material body, and because Lord Śiva did not offer respect to his material body, Dakṣa became envious. Such persons, being unable to rise to the standard of self-realized souls like Lord Śiva, are always envious. The example given here is very suitable. Asuras, demons or atheists, are always envious of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; they simply want to kill Him. Even in this age we find some so-called scholars commenting on Bhagavad-gītā who are envious of Kṛṣṇa. When Kṛṣṇa says, man-manā bhava mad-bhaktaḥ (Bg. 18.65)—“Always think of Me, become My devotee, and surrender unto Me”—the so-called scholars comment that it is not to Kṛṣṇa that we have to surrender. That is envy. The asuras or atheists, the demons, without reason or cause, are envious of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Similarly, instead of offering respect to self-realized persons, foolish men who cannot approach the highest standard of self-realization are always envious, although there is no reason.
vidhīyate sādhu mithaḥ sumadhyame
prājñaiḥ parasmai puruṣāya cetasā
guhā-śayāyaiva na deha-mānine
pratyudgama—standing up from one’s seat; praśrayaṇa—welcoming; abhivādanam—obeisances; vidhīyate—are intended; sādhu—proper; mithaḥ—mutually; su-madhyame—my dear young wife; prājñaiḥ—by the wise; parasmai—unto the Supreme; puruṣāya—unto the Supersoul; cetasā—with the intelligence; guhā-śayāya—sitting within the body; eva—certainly; na—not; deha-mānine—to the person identifying with the body.
My dear young wife, certainly friends and relatives offer mutual greetings by standing up, welcoming one another and offering obeisances. But those who are elevated to the transcendental platform, being intelligent, offer such respects to the Supersoul, who is sitting within the body, not to the person who identifies with the body.
It may be argued that since Dakṣa was the father-in-law of Lord Śiva, it was certainly the duty of Lord Śiva to offer him respect. In answer to that argument it is explained here that when a learned person stands up or offers obeisances in welcome, he offers respect to the Supersoul, who is sitting within everyone’s heart. It is seen, therefore, among Vaiṣṇavas, that even when a disciple offers obeisances to his spiritual master, the spiritual master immediately returns the obeisances because they are mutually offered not to the body but to the Supersoul. Therefore the spiritual master also offers respect to the Supersoul situated in the body of the disciple. The Lord says in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam that offering respect to His devotee is more valuable than offering respect to Him. Devotees do not identify with the body, so offering respect to a Vaiṣṇava means offering respect to Viṣṇu. It is stated also that as a matter of etiquette as soon as one sees a Vaiṣṇava one must immediately offer him respect, indicating the Supersoul sitting within. A Vaiṣṇava sees the body as a temple of Viṣṇu. Since Lord Śiva had already offered respect to the Supersoul in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, offering respect to Dakṣa, who identified with his body, was already performed. There was no need to offer respect to his body, for that is not directed by any Vedic injunction.
sattvaṁ viśuddhaṁ vasudeva-śabditaṁ
yad īyate tatra pumān apāvṛtaḥ
sattve ca tasmin bhagavān vāsudevo
hy adhokṣajo me namasā vidhīyate
sattvam—consciousness; viśuddham—pure; vasudeva—Vasudeva; śabditam—known as; yat—because; īyate—is revealed; tatra—there; pumān—the Supreme Person; apāvṛtaḥ—without any covering; sattve—in consciousness; ca—and; tasmin—in that; bhagavān—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; vāsudevaḥ—Vāsudeva; hi—because; adhokṣajaḥ—transcendental; me—by me; namasā—with obeisances; vidhīyate—worshiped.
I am always engaged in offering obeisances to Lord Vāsudeva in pure Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Kṛṣṇa consciousness is always pure consciousness, in which the Supreme Personality of Godhead, known as Vāsudeva, is revealed without any covering.
The living entity is constitutionally pure. Asaṅgo hy ayaṁ puruṣaḥ. In the Vedic literature it is said that the soul is always pure and uncontaminated by material attachment. The identification of the body with the soul is due to misunderstanding. As soon as one is fully Kṛṣṇa conscious it is to be understood that one is in his pure, original constitutional position. This state of existence is called śuddha-sattva, which means that it is transcendental to the material qualities. Since this śuddha-sattva existence is under the direct action of the internal potency, in this state the activities of material consciousness stop. For example, when iron is put into a fire, it becomes warm, and when red-hot, although it is iron, it acts like fire. Similarly, when copper is surcharged with electricity, its action as copper stops; it acts as electricity. Bhagavad-gītā (14.26) also confirms that anyone who engages in unadulterated devotional service to the Lord is at once elevated to the position of pure Brahman:
Therefore śuddha-sattva, as described in this verse, is the transcendental position, which is technically called vasudeva. Vasudeva is also the name of the person from whom Kṛṣṇa appears. This verse explains that the pure state is called vasudeva because in that state Vāsudeva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is revealed without any covering. To execute unadulterated devotional service, therefore, one must follow the rules and regulations of devotional service without desire to gain material profit by fruitive activities or mental speculation.
In pure devotional service one simply serves the Supreme Personality of Godhead as a matter of duty, without reason and without being impeded by material conditions. That is called śuddha-sattva, or vasudeva, because in that stage the Supreme Person, Kṛṣṇa, is revealed in the heart of the devotee. Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī has very nicely described this vasudeva, or śuddha-sattva, in his Bhagavat-sandarbha. He explains that aṣṭottara-śata (108) is added to the name of the spiritual master to indicate one who is situated in śuddha-sattva, or in the transcendental state of vasudeva. The word vasudeva is also used for other purposes. For example, vasudeva also means one who is everywhere, or all-pervading. The sun is also called vasudeva-śabditam. The word vasudeva may be utilized for different purposes, but whatever purpose we adopt, Vāsudeva means the all-pervading or localized Supreme Personality of Godhead. In Bhagavad-gītā (7.19) it is also stated, vāsudevaḥ sarvam iti. Factual realization is to understand Vāsudeva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and surrender unto Him. Vasudeva is the ground wherein Vāsudeva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is revealed. When one is free from the contamination of material nature and is situated in pure Kṛṣṇa consciousness, or in the vasudeva state, Vāsudeva, the Supreme Person, is revealed. This state is also called kaivalya, which means “pure consciousness.” Jñānaṁ sāttvikaṁ kaivalyam. When one is situated in pure, transcendental knowledge, one is situated in kaivalya. Therefore vasudeva also means kaivalya, a word which is generally used by impersonalists. Impersonal kaivalya is not the last stage of realization, but in Kṛṣṇa consciousness kaivalya, when one understands the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then one is successful. In that pure state, by hearing, chanting, remembering, etc., because of the development of knowledge of the science of Kṛṣṇa, one can understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead. All these activities are under the guidance of the internal energy of the Supreme Lord.
The action of the internal potency is also described in this verse as apāvṛtaḥ, free from any covering. Because the Supreme Personality of Godhead, His name, His form, His quality, His paraphernalia, etc., being transcendental, are beyond material nature, it is not possible to understand any one of them with the materialistic senses. When the senses are purified by the discharge of pure devotional service (hṛṣīkeṇa hṛṣīkeśa-sevanaṁ bhaktir ucyate [Cc. Madhya 19.170]), the pure senses can see Kṛṣṇa without covering. Now one may inquire that since factually the devotee has the same material existential body, how is it possible that the same materialistic eyes become purified by devotional service? The example, as stated by Lord Caitanya, is that devotional service cleanses the mirror of the mind. In a clean mirror one can see one’s face very distinctly. Similarly, simply by cleansing the mirror of the mind one can have a clear conception of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is stated in Bhagavad-gītā (8.8), abhyāsa-yoga-yuktena. By executing one’s prescribed duties in devotional service, cetasā nānya-gāminā, or simply by hearing about God and chanting about Him, if one’s mind is always engaged in chanting and hearing and is not allowed to go elsewhere, one can realize the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As confirmed by Lord Caitanya, by the bhakti-yoga process, beginning from hearing and chanting, one can cleanse the heart and mind, and thus one can clearly see the face of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Lord Śiva said that since his heart was always filled with the conception of Vāsudeva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, because of the Supreme Lord’s presence within his mind and heart, he was always offering obeisances unto that Supreme Godhead. In other words, Lord Śiva is always in trance, samādhi. This samādhi is not under the control of the devotee; it is under the control of Vāsudeva, for the entire internal energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead acts under His order. Of course, the material energy also acts by His order, but His direct will is specifically executed through the spiritual energy. Thus by His spiritual energy He reveals Himself. It is stated in Bhagavad-gītā (4.6), sambhavāmy ātma-māyayā. Ātma-māyayā means “internal potency.” By His sweet will He reveals Himself by His internal potency, being satisfied by the transcendental loving service of the devotee. The devotee never commands, “My dear Lord, please come here so that I can see You.” It is not the position of the devotee to command the Supreme Personality of Godhead to come before him or to dance before him. There are many so-called devotees who command the Lord to come before them dancing. The Lord, however, is not subject to anyone’s command, but if He is satisfied by one’s pure devotional activities, He reveals Himself. Therefore a meaningful word in this verse is adhokṣaja, for it indicates that the activities of our material senses will fail to realize the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One cannot realize the Supreme Personality of Godhead simply by the attempt of one’s speculative mind, but if one desires he can subdue all the material activities of his senses, and the Lord, by manifesting His spiritual energy, can reveal Himself to the pure devotee. When the Supreme Personality of Godhead reveals Himself to the pure devotee, the devotee has no other duty than to offer Him respectful obeisances. The Absolute Truth reveals Himself to the devotee in His form. He is not formless. Vāsudeva is not formless, for it is stated in this verse that as soon as the Lord reveals Himself, the devotee offers his obeisances. Obeisances are offered to a person, not to anything impersonal. One should not accept the Māyāvāda interpretation that Vāsudeva is impersonal. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā, prapadyate, one surrenders. One surrenders to a person, not to impersonal nonduality. Whenever there is a question of surrendering or offering obeisances, there must be an object of surrender or obeisances.
tat te nirīkṣyo na pitāpi deha-kṛd
dakṣo mama dviṭ tad-anuvratāś ca ye
yo viśvasṛg-yajña-gataṁ varoru mām
anāgasaṁ durvacasākarot tiraḥ
tat—therefore; te—your; nirīkṣyaḥ—to be seen; na—not; pitā—your father; api—although; deha-kṛt—the giver of your body; dakṣaḥ—Dakṣa; mama—my; dviṭ—envious; tat-anuvratāḥ—his (Dakṣa’s) followers; ca—also; ye—who; yaḥ—who (Dakṣa); viśva-sṛk—of the Viśvasṛks; yajña-gatam—being present at the sacrifice; vara-ūru—O Sati; mām—me; anāgasam—being innocent; durvacasā—with cruel words; akarot tiraḥ—has insulted.
Therefore you should not see your father, although he is the giver of your body, because he and his followers are envious of me. Because of his envy, O most worshipful one, he has insulted me with cruel words although I am innocent.
For a woman, both the husband and the father are equally worshipable. The husband is the protector of a woman during her youthful life, whereas the father is her protector during her childhood. Thus both are worshipable, but especially the father because he is the giver of the body. Lord Śiva reminded Satī, “Your father is undoubtedly worshipable, even more than I am, but take care, for although he is the giver of your body, he may also be the taker of your body because when you see your father, because of your association with me, he may insult you. An insult from a relative is worse than death, especially when one is well situated.”
yadi vrajiṣyasy atihāya mad-vaco
bhadraṁ bhavatyā na tato bhaviṣyati
sambhāvitasya sva-janāt parābhavo
yadā sa sadyo maraṇāya kalpate
yadi—if; vrajiṣyasi—you will go; atihāya—neglecting; mat-vacaḥ—my words; bhadram—good; bhavatyāḥ—your; na—not; tataḥ—then; bhaviṣyati—will become; sambhāvitasya—most respectable; svajanāt—by your own relative; parābhavaḥ—are insulted; yadā—when; saḥ—that insult; sadyaḥ—immediately; maraṇāya—to death; kalpate—is equal.
If in spite of this instruction you decide to go, neglecting my words, the future will not be good for you. You are most respectable, and when you are insulted by your relative, this insult will immediately be equal to death.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the Fourth Canto, Third Chapter, of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, entitled “Talks Between Lord Śiva and Satī.”
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