Chapter Eight
Dhruva Mahārāja Leaves Home for the Forest
maitreya uvāca
sanakādyā nāradaś ca
ṛbhur haṁso ’ruṇir yatiḥ
naite gṛhān brahma-sutā
hy āvasann ūrdhva-retasaḥ
maitreyaḥ uvāca—Maitreya said; sanaka-ādyāḥ—those headed by Sanaka; nāradaḥNārada; ca—and; ṛbhuḥ—Ṛbhu; haṁsaḥHaṁsa; aruṇiḥ—Aruṇi; yatiḥYati; na—not; ete—all these; gṛhān—at home; brahma-sutāḥ—sons of Brahmā; hi—certainly; āvasan—did live; ūrdhva-retasaḥ—unadulterated celibates.
The great sage Maitreya said: The four great Kumāra sages headed by Sanaka, as well as Nārada, Ṛbhu, Haṁsa, Aruṇi and Yati, all sons of Brahmā did not live at home, but became ūrdhva-retā, or naiṣṭhika-brahmacārīs, unadulterated celibates.
The system of brahmacarya has been current since the birth of Brahmā. A section of the population, especially male, did not marry at all. Instead of allowing their semen to be driven downwards, they used to lift the semen up to the brain. They are called ūrdhva-retasaḥ, those who lift up. Semen is so important that if, by the yogic process, one can lift the semen up to the brain, he can perform wonderful work—one’s memory is enabled to act very swiftly, and the duration of life is increased. Yogīs can thus perform all kinds of austerity with steadiness and be elevated to the highest perfectional stage, even to the spiritual world. Vivid examples of brahmacārīs who accepted this principle of life are the four sages Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanātana and Sanat-kumāra, as well as Nārada and others.
Another significant phrase here is naite gṛhān hy āvasan, “they did not live at home.” Gṛha means “home” as well as “wife.” In fact, “home” means wife; “home” does not mean a room or a house. One who lives with a wife lives at home, otherwise a sannyāsī or brahmacāri, even though he may live in a room or in a house, does not live at home. That they did not live at home means that they did not accept a wife, and so there was no question of their discharging semen. Semen is meant to be discharged when one has a home, a wife and the intention to beget children, otherwise there is no injunction for discharging semen. These principles were followed from the beginning of creation, and such brahmacārīs never created progeny. This narration has dealt with the descendants of Lord Brahmā from Manu’s daughter Prasūti. prasūti’s daughter was Dākṣāyaṇī, or Satī, in relation to whom the story of the Dakṣa yajña was narrated. Maitreya is now explaining about the progeny of the sons of Brahmā. Out of the many sons of Brahmā, the brahmacārī sons headed by Sanaka and Nārada did not marry at all, and therefore there is no question of narrating the history of their descendants.
mṛṣādharmasya bhāryāsīd
dambhaṁ māyāṁ ca śatru-han
asūta mithunaṁ tat tu
nirṛtir jagṛhe ’prajaḥ
mṛṣāMṛṣā; adharmasya—of Irreligion; bhāryā—wife; āsīt—was; dambham—Bluffing; māyām—Cheating; ca—and; śatru-han—O slayer of enemies; asūta—produced; mithunam—combination; tat—that; tu—but; nirṛtiḥ—Nirṛti; jagṛhe—took; aprajaḥ—being childless.
Another son of Lord Brahmā was Irreligion, whose wife’s name was Falsity. From their combination were born two demons named Dambha, or Bluffing, and Māyā, or Cheating. These two demons were taken by a demon named Nirṛti, who had no children.
It is understood herein that Adharma, Irreligion, was also a son of Brahmā, and he married his sister Mṛṣā. This is the beginning of sex life between brother and sister. This unnatural combination of sex life can be possible in human society only where there is Adharma, or Irreligion. It is understood that in the beginning of creation Brahmā created not only saintly sons like Sanaka, Sanātana and Nārada but also demonic offspring like Nirṛti, Adharma, Dambha and Falsity. Everything was created by Brahmā in the beginning. Regarding Nārada, it is understood that because his previous life was very pious and his association very good, he was born as Nārada. Others were also born in their own capacities, according to their backgrounds. The law of karma continues birth after birth, and when there is a new creation, the same karma comes back with the living entities. They are born in different capacities according to karma even though their father is originally Brahmā, who is the exalted qualitative incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
tayoḥ samabhaval lobho
nikṛtiś ca mahā-mate
tābhyāṁ krodhaś ca hiṁsā ca
yad duruktiḥ svasā kaliḥ
tayoḥ—those two; samabhavat—were born; lobhaḥ—Greed; nikṛtiḥ—Cunning; ca—and; mahā-mate—O great soul; tābhyām—from both of them; krodhaḥ—Anger; ca—and; hiṁsā—Envy; ca—and; yat—from both of whom; duruktiḥ—Harsh Speech; svasā—sister; kaliḥKali.
Maitreya told Vidura: O great soul, from Dambha and Māyā were born Greed and Nikṛti, or Cunning. From their combination came children named Krodha (Anger) and Hiṁsā (Envy), and from their combination were born Kali and his sister Durukti (Harsh Speech).
duruktau kalir ādhatta
bhayaṁ mṛtyuṁ ca sattama
tayoś ca mithunaṁ jajñe
yātanā nirayas tathā
duruktau—in Durukti; kaliḥKali; ādhatta—produced; bhayam—Fearfulness; mṛtyum—Death; ca—and; sat-tama—O greatest of all good men; tayoḥ—of those two; ca—and; mithunam—by combination; jajñe—were produced; yātanā—Excessive Pain; nirayaḥ—Hell; tathā—as well.
O greatest of all good men, by the combination of Kali and Harsh Speech were born children named Mṛtyu (Death) and Bhīti (Fear). From the combination of Mṛtyu and Bhīti came children named Yātanā (Excessive Pain) and Niraya (Hell).
saṅgraheṇa mayākhyātaḥ
pratisargas tavānagha
triḥ śrutvaitat pumān puṇyaṁ
vidhunoty ātmano malam
saṅgraheṇa—in summary; mayā—by me; ākhyātaḥ—is explained; pratisargaḥ—cause of devastation; tava—your; anagha—O pure one; triḥ—three times; śrutvā—having heard; etat—this description; pumān—one who; puṇyam—piety; vidhunoti—washes off; ātmanaḥ—of the soul; malam—contamination.
My dear Vidura, I have summarily explained the causes of devastation. One who hears this description three times attains piety and washes the sinful contamination from his soul.
The creation takes place on the basis of goodness, but devastation takes place because of irreligion. That is the way of material creation and devastation. Here it is stated that the cause of devastation is Adharma, or Irreligion. The descendants of Irreligion and Falsity, born one after another, are Bluffing, Cheating, Greed, Cunning, Anger, Envy, Quarrel, Harsh Speech, Death, Fear, Severe Pain and Hell. All these descendants are described as signs of devastation. If a person is pious and hears about these causes of devastation, he will feel hatred for all these, and that will cause his advancement in a life of piety. Piety refers to the process of cleansing the heart. As recommended by Lord Caitanya, one has to cleanse the dust from the mirror of the mind, and then advancement on the path of liberation begins. Here also the same process is recommended. Malam means: “contamination.” We should learn to despise all the causes of devastation, beginning from irreligion and cheating, and then we shall be able to make advancement in a life of piety. The possibility of our attaining Kṛṣṇa consciousness will be easier, and we shall not be subjected to repeated devastation. The present life is repeated birth and death, but if we seek the path of liberation, we may be saved from repeated suffering.
athātaḥ kīrtaye vaṁśaṁ
puṇya-kīrteḥ kurūdvaha
svāyambhuvasyāpi manor
harer aṁśāṁśa-janmanaḥ
atha—now; ataḥ—hereafter; kīrtaye—I shall describe; vaṁśam—dynasty; puṇya-kīrteḥ—celebrated for virtuous activities; kuru-udvaha—O best of the Kurus; svāyambhuvasya—of Svāyambhuva; api—even; manoḥ—of the Manu; hareḥ—of the Personality of Godhead; aṁśa—plenary expansion; aṁśa—part of; janmanaḥ—born of.
Maitreya continued: O best of the Kuru dynasty, I shall now describe before you the descendants of Svāyambhuva Manu, who was born of a part of a plenary expansion of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Lord Brahmā is a powerful expansion of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Although Brahmā is jīva-tattva, he is empowered by the Lord, and therefore he is considered a plenary expansion of the Supreme Godhead. Sometimes it happens that when there is no suitable living being to be empowered to act as Brahmā, the Supreme Lord Himself appears as Brahmā. Brahmā is the plenary expansion of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and Svāyambhuva Manu was the direct son of Brahmā. The great sage Maitreya is now going to explain about the descendants of this Manu, all of whom are widely celebrated for their pious activities. Before speaking of these pious descendants, Maitreya has already described the descendants of impious activities, representing anger, envy, unpalatable speech, quarrel, fear and death. Purposely, therefore, he is next relating the history of the life of Dhruva Mahārāja, the most pious king within this universe.
śatarūpā-pateḥ sutau
vāsudevasya kalayā
rakṣāyāṁ jagataḥ sthitau
priyavrataPriyavrata; uttānapādau—Uttānapāda; śatarūpā-pateḥ—of Queen Śatarūpā and her husband, Manu; sutau—the two sons; vāsudevasya—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; kalayā—by plenary expansion; rakṣāyām—for the protection; jagataḥ—of the world; sthitau—for the maintenance.
Svāyambhuva Manu had two sons by his wife, Śatarūpā, and the names of the sons were Uttānapāda and Priyavrata. Because both of them were descendants of a plenary expansion of Vāsudeva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, they were very competent to rule the universe to maintain and protect the citizens.
It is said that these two kings, Uttānapāda and Priyavrata, were specifically empowered by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, unlike the great King Ṛṣabha, who was the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself.
jāye uttānapādasya
sunītiḥ surucis tayoḥ
suruciḥ preyasī patyur
netarā yat-suto dhruvaḥ
jāye—of the two wives; uttānapādasya—of King Uttānapāda; sunītiḥ—Sunīti; suruciḥ—Suruci; tayoḥ—of both of them; suruciḥ—Suruci; preyasī—very dear; patyuḥ—of the husband; na itarā—not the other; yat—whose; sutaḥ—son; dhruvaḥDhruva.
King Uttānapāda had two queens, named Sunīti and Suruci. Suruci was much more dear to the King; Sunīti, who had a son named Dhruva, was not his favorite.
The great sage Maitreya wanted to describe the pious activities of the kings. Priyavrata was the first son of Svāyambhuva Manu, and Uttānapāda was the second, but the great sage Maitreya immediately began to speak of Dhruva Mahārāja, the son of Uttānapāda, because Maitreya was very eager to describe pious activities. The incidents in the life of Dhruva Mahārāja are very attractive for devotees. From his pious actions, one can learn how one can detach himself from material possessions and how one can enhance one’s devotional service by severe austerities and penances. By hearing the activities of pious Dhruva, one can enhance one’s faith in God and can directly connect with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and thus one can very soon be elevated to the transcendental platform of devotional service. The example of Dhruva Mahārāja’s austerities can immediately generate a feeling of devotional service in the hearts of the hearers.
ekadā suruceḥ putram
aṅkam āropya lālayan
uttamaṁ nārurukṣantaṁ
dhruvaṁ rājābhyanandata
ekadā—once upon a time; suruceḥ—of Queen Suruci; putram—the son; aṅkam—on the lap; āropya—placing; lālayan—while patting; uttamamUttama; na—did not; ārurukṣantam—trying to get on; dhruvamDhruva; rājā—the King; abhyanandata—welcome.
Once upon a time, King Uttānapāda was patting the son of Suruci, Uttama, placing him on his lap. Dhruva Mahārāja was also trying to get on the King’s lap, but the King did not very much welcome him.
tathā cikīrṣamāṇaṁ taṁ
sapatnyās tanayaṁ dhruvam
suruciḥ śṛṇvato rājñaḥ
serṣyam āhātigarvitā
tathā—thus; cikīrṣamāṇam—the child Dhruva, who was trying to get up; tam—unto him; sa-patnyāḥ—of her co-wife (Sunīti); tanayam—son; dhruvamDhruva; suruciḥ—Queen Suruci; śṛṇvataḥ—while hearing; rājñaḥ—of the King; sa-īrṣyam—with envy; āha—said; atigarvitā—being too proud.
While the child, Dhruva Mahārāja, was trying to get on the lap of his father, Suruci, his stepmother, became very envious of the child, and with great pride she began to speak so as to be heard by the King himself.
The King, of course, was equally affectionate toward both his sons, Uttama and Dhruva, so he had a natural inclination to take Dhruva, as well as Uttama, on his lap. But because of his favoritism towards his queen Suruci, he could not welcome Dhruva Mahārāja, despite his feelings. King Uttānapāda’s feeling was understood by Suruci, and therefore with great pride she began to speak about the King’s affection for her. This is the nature of woman. If a woman understands that her husband regards her as a favorite and is especially affectionate to her, she takes undue advantage. These symptoms are visible even in such an elevated society as the family of Svāyambhuva Manu. Therefore it is concluded that the feminine nature of woman is present everywhere.
na vatsa nṛpater dhiṣṇyaṁ
bhavān āroḍhum arhati
na gṛhīto mayā yat tvaṁ
kukṣāv api nṛpātmajaḥ
na—not; vatsa—my dear child; nṛpateḥ—of the King; dhiṣṇyam—seat; bhavān—yourself; āroḍhum—to get on; arhati—deserve; na—not; gṛhītaḥ—taken; mayā—by me; yat—because; tvam—you; kukṣau—in the womb; api—although; nṛpa-ātmajaḥ—son of the King.
Queen Suruci told Dhruva Mahārāja: My dear child, you do not deserve to sit on the throne or on the lap of the King. Surely you are also the son of the King, but because you did not take your birth from my womb, you are not qualified to sit on your father’s lap.
Queen Suruci very proudly informed Dhruva Mahārāja that to be the King’s son was not the qualification for sitting on the lap or throne of the King. Rather, this privilege was dependent on one’s having taken birth from her womb. In other words, she indirectly informed Dhruva Mahārāja that although he happened to be born of the King, he was considered an illegitimate son because of his birth from the womb of the other queen.
bālo ’si bata nātmānam
nūnaṁ veda bhavān yasya
durlabhe ’rthe manorathaḥ
bālaḥ—child; asi—you are; bata—however; na—not; ātmānam—my own; anya—other; strī—woman; garbha—womb; sambhṛtam—born by; nūnam—however; veda—just try to know; bhavān—yourself; yasya—of which; durlabhe—unapproachable; arthe—matter; manaḥ-rathaḥ—desirous.
My dear child, you are unaware that you were born not of my womb but of another woman. Therefore you should know that your attempt is doomed to failure. You are trying to fulfill a desire which is impossible to fulfill.
The small child, Dhruva Mahārāja, was naturally affectionate toward his father, and he did not know that there was a distinction between his two mothers. This distinction was pointed out by Queen Suruci, who informed him that since he was a child he did not understand the distinction between the two queens. This is another statement of Queen Suruci’s pride.
tapasārādhya puruṣaṁ
tasyaivānugraheṇa me
garbhe tvaṁ sādhayātmānaṁ
yadīcchasi nṛpāsanam
tapasā—by austerities; ārādhya—having satisfied; puruṣam—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; tasya—by His; eva—only; anugraheṇa—by the mercy of; me—my; garbhe—in the womb; tvam—you; sādhaya—place; ātmānam—yourself; yadi—if; icchasi—you desire; nṛpa-āsanam—on the throne of the King.
If you at all desire to rise to the throne of the King, then you have to undergo severe austerities. First of all you must satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Nārāyaṇa, and then, when you are favored by Him because of such worship, you shall have to take your next birth from my womb.
Suruci was so envious of Dhruva Mahārāja that she indirectly asked him to change his body. According to her, first of all he had to die, then take his next body in her womb, and only then would it be possible for Dhruva Mahārāja to ascend the throne of his father.
maitreya uvāca
mātuḥ sapatnyāḥ sa durukti-viddhaḥ
śvasan ruṣā daṇḍa-hato yathāhiḥ
hitvā miṣantaṁ pitaraṁ sanna-vācaṁ
jagāma mātuḥ prarudan sakāśam
maitreyaḥ uvāca—the great sage Maitreya said; mātuḥ—of his mother; sa-patnyāḥ—of the co-wife; saḥ—he; durukti—harsh words; viddhaḥ—being pierced by; śvasan—breathing very heavily; ruṣā—out of anger; daṇḍa-hataḥ—struck by a stick; yathā—as much as; ahiḥ—a snake; hitvā—giving up; miṣantam—simply looking over; pitaram—his father; sanna-vācam—silently; jagāma—went; mātuḥ—to his mother; prarudan—weeping; sakāśam—near.
The sage Maitreya continued: My dear Vidura, as a snake, when struck by a stick, breathes very heavily, Dhruva Mahārāja, having been struck by the strong words of his stepmother, began to breathe very heavily because of great anger. When he saw that his father was silent and did not protest, he immediately left the palace and went to his mother.
taṁ niḥśvasantaṁ sphuritādharoṣṭhaṁ
sunītir utsaṅga udūhya bālam
niśamya tat-paura-mukhān nitāntaṁ
sā vivyathe yad gaditaṁ sapatnyā
tam—him; niḥśvasantam—heavily breathing; sphurita—trembling; adhara-oṣṭham—upper and lower lips; sunītiḥ—Queen Sunīti; utsaṅge—on her lap; udūhya—lifting; bālam—her son; niśamya—after hearing; tat-paura-mukhāt—from the mouths of other inhabitants; nitāntam—all descriptions; —she; vivyathe—became aggrieved; yat—that which; gaditam—spoken; sa-patnyā—by her co-wife.
When Dhruva Mahārāja reached his mother, his lips were trembling in anger, and he was crying very grievously. Queen Sunīti immediately lifted her son onto her lap, while the palace residents who had heard all the harsh words of Suruci related everything in detail. Thus Sunīti also became greatly aggrieved.
sotsṛjya dhairyaṁ vilalāpa śoka-
dāvāgninā dāva-lateva bālā
vākyaṁ sapatnyāḥ smaratī saroja-
śriyā dṛśā bāṣpa-kalām uvāha
—she; utsṛjya—giving up; dhairyam—patience; vilalāpa—lamented; śoka-dāva-agninā—by the fire of grief; dāva-latā iva—like burnt leaves; bālā—the woman; vākyam—words; sa-patnyāḥ—spoken by her co-wife; smaratī—remember; saroja-śriyā—a face as beautiful as a lotus; dṛśā—by looking; bāṣpa-kalām—weeping; uvāha—said.
This incident was unbearable to Sunīti’s patience. She began to burn as if in a forest fire, and in her grief she became just like a burnt leaf and so lamented. As she remembered the words of her co-wife, her bright, lotuslike face filled with tears, and thus she spoke.
When a man is aggrieved, he feels exactly like a burnt leaf in a forest fire. Sunīti’s position was like that. Although her face was as beautiful as a lotus flower, it dried up because of the burning fire caused by the harsh words of her co-wife.
dīrghaṁ śvasantī vṛjinasya pāram
apaśyatī bālakam āha bālā
māmaṅgalaṁ tāta pareṣu maṁsthā
bhuṅkte jano yat para-duḥkhadas tat
dīrgham—heavy; śvasantī—breathing; vṛjinasya—of the danger; pāram—limitation; apaśyatī—without finding; bālakam—to her son; āha—said; bālā—the lady; —let there not be; amaṅgalam—ill fortune; tāta—my dear son; pareṣu—unto others; maṁsthāḥ—desire; bhuṅkte—suffered; janaḥ—person; yat—that which; para-duḥkhadaḥ—who is apt to inflict pains upon others; tat—that.
She also was breathing very heavily, and she did not know the factual remedy for the painful situation. Not finding any remedy, she said to her son: My dear son, don’t wish for anything inauspicious for others. Anyone who inflicts pains upon others suffers himself from that pain.
satyaṁ surucyābhihitaṁ bhavān me
yad durbhagāyā udare gṛhītaḥ
stanyena vṛddhaś ca vilajjate yāṁ
bhāryeti vā voḍhum iḍaspatir mām
satyam—truth; surucyā—by Queen Suruci; abhihitam—narrated; bhavān—unto you; me—of me; yat—because; durbhagāyāḥ—of the unfortunate; udare—in the womb; gṛhītaḥ—taken birth; stanyena—fed by the breast milk; vṛddhaḥ ca—grown up; vilajjate—becomes ashamed; yām—unto one; bhāryā—wife; iti—thus; —or; voḍhum—to accept; iḍaḥ-patiḥ—the King; mām—me.
Sunīti said: My dear boy, whatever has been spoken by Suruci is so, because the King, your father, does not consider me his wife or even his maidservant. He feels ashamed to accept me. Therefore it is a fact that you have taken birth from the womb of an unfortunate woman, and by being fed from her breast you have grown up.
ātiṣṭha tat tāta vimatsaras tvam
uktaṁ samātrāpi yad avyalīkam
yadīcchase ’dhyāsanam uttamo yathā
ātiṣṭha—just execute; tat—that; tāta—my dear son; vimatsaraḥ—without being envious; tvam—unto you; uktam—said; samātrā api—by your stepmother; yat—whatever; avyalīkam—they are all factual; ārādhaya—just begin worshiping; adhokṣaja—the Transcendence; pāda-padmam—lotus feet; yadi—if; icchase—desire; adhyāsanam—to be seated along with; uttamaḥ—your stepbrother; yathā—as much as.
My dear boy, whatever has been spoken by Suruci, your stepmother, although very harsh to hear, is factual. Therefore, if you desire at all to sit on the same throne as your stepbrother, Uttama, then give up your envious attitude and immediately try to execute the instructions of your stepmother. Without further delay, you must engage yourself in worshiping the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
The harsh words used by Suruci to her stepson were true because unless one is favored by the Supreme Personality of Godhead one cannot achieve any success in life. Man proposes, God disposes. Sunīti, the mother of Dhruva Mahārāja, agreed with her co-wife’s advice that Dhruva engage himself in the worship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Indirectly, the words of Suruci were a benediction for Dhruva Mahārāja, for because of the influence of his stepmother’s words, he became a great devotee.
yasyāṅghri-padmaṁ paricarya viśva-
ajo ’dhyatiṣṭhat khalu pārameṣṭhyaṁ
padaṁ jitātma-śvasanābhivandyam
yasya—whose; aṅghri—leg; padmam—lotus feet; paricarya—worshiping; viśva—universe; vibhāvanāya—for creating; ātta—received; guṇa-abhipatteḥ—for acquiring the required qualifications; ajaḥ—the unborn (Lord Brahmā); adhyatiṣṭhat—became situated; khalu—undoubtedly; pārameṣṭhyam—the supreme position within the universe; padam—position; jita-ātma—one who has conquered his mind; śvasana—by controlling the life air; abhivandyam—worshipable.
Sunīti continued: The Supreme Personality of Godhead is so great that simply by worshiping His lotus feet, your great-grandfather, Lord Brahmā, acquired the necessary qualifications to create this universe. Although he is unborn and is the chief of all living creatures, he is situated in that exalted post because of the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whom even great yogīs worship by controlling the mind and regulating the life air [prāṇa].
Sunīti cited the example of Lord Brahmā, who was Dhruva Mahārāja’s great-grandfather. Although Lord Brahmā is also a living being, by his penance and austerity he acquired the exalted position of creator of this universe by the mercy of the Supreme Lord. To become successful in any attempt, one not only has to undergo severe penances and austerities, but also must be dependent on the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This indication had been given to Dhruva Mahārāja by his stepmother and was now confirmed by his own mother, Sunīti.
tathā manur vo bhagavān pitāmaho
yam eka-matyā puru-dakṣiṇair makhaiḥ
iṣṭvābhipede duravāpam anyato
bhaumaṁ sukhaṁ divyam athāpavargyam
tathā—similarly; manuḥSvāyambhuva Manu; vaḥ—your; bhagavān—worshipable; pitāmahaḥ—grandfather; yam—unto whom; eka-matyā—with unflinching devotion; puru—great; dakṣiṇaiḥ—charity; makhaiḥ—by executing sacrifices; iṣṭvā—worshiping; abhipede—achieved; duravāpam—difficult to achieve; anyataḥ—by any other means; bhaumam—material; sukham—happiness; divyam—celestial; atha—thereafter; āpavargyam—liberation.
Sunīti informed her son: Your grandfather Svāyambhuva Manu executed great sacrifices with distribution of charity, and thereby, with unflinching faith and devotion, he worshiped and satisfied the Supreme Personality of Godhead. By acting in that way, he achieved the greatest success in material happiness and afterwards achieved liberation, which is impossible to obtain by worshiping the demigods.
The success of one’s life is measured by one’s material happiness in this life and liberation in the next. Such success can be achieved only by the grace of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The words eka-matyā mean concentrating one’s mind on the Lord without deviation. This process of undeviating worship of the Supreme Lord is also expressed in Bhagavad-gītā as ananya-bhāk. “That which is impossible to obtain from any other source” is also mentioned here. “Other source” refers to worship of the demigods. It is especially stressed here that the opulence of Manu was due to his undeviating faithfulness in the transcendental service of the Lord. One who diverts his mind to worshiping many demigods to obtain material happiness is considered bereft of intelligence. If anyone wants even material happiness, he can worship the Supreme Lord without deviation, and persons who are desirous of liberation can also worship the Supreme Lord and achieve their goal of life.
tam eva vatsāśraya bhṛtya-vatsalaṁ
mumukṣubhir mṛgya-padābja-paddhatim
ananya-bhāve nija-dharma-bhāvite
manasy avasthāpya bhajasva pūruṣam
tam—Him; eva—also; vatsa—my dear boy; āśraya—take shelter; bhṛtya-vatsalam—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is very kind to His devotees; mumukṣubhiḥ—also by persons desiring liberation; mṛgya—to be sought; pada-abja—lotus feet; paddhatim—system; ananya-bhāve—in an unflinching situation; nija-dharma-bhāvite—being situated in one’s original constitutional position; manasi—unto the mind; avasthāpya—placing; bhajasva—go on executing devotional service; pūruṣam—the Supreme Person.
My dear boy, you also should take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is very kind to His devotees. Persons seeking liberation from the cycle of birth and death always take shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord in devotional service. Becoming purified by executing your allotted occupation, just situate the Supreme Personality of Godhead in your heart, and without deviating for a moment, engage always in His service.
The system of bhakti-yoga described by Queen Sunīti to her son is the standard way of God realization. Everyone can continue in his constitutional occupational duties and at the same time keep the Supreme Personality of Godhead within his heart. This was also instructed by the Lord Himself to Arjuna in Bhagavad-gītā: “Go on fighting, but keep Me within your mind.” That should be the motto of every honest person seeking perfection in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. In this connection, Queen Sunīti advised her son that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is known as bhṛtya-vatsala, which indicates that He is very kind to His devotees. She said, “You came to me crying, having been insulted by your stepmother, but I am unable to do any good for you. But Kṛṣṇa is so kind to His devotees that if you go to Him, then the combined kindness of millions of mothers like me will be surpassed by His affectionate and tender dealings. When everyone else fails to mitigate one’s misery, Kṛṣṇa is able to help the devotee.” Queen Sunīti also stressed that the process of approaching the Supreme Personality of Godhead is not easy, but is sought after by great sages who are very advanced in spiritual realization. Queen Sunīti also indicated by her instruction that Dhruva Mahārāja was only a small child, five years old, and it was not possible for him to purify himself by the way of karma-kāṇḍa. But by the process of bhakti-yoga, even a child less than five years old, or anyone of any age, can be purified. That is the special significance of bhakti-yoga. Therefore she advised him not to accept worship of the demigods or any other process, but simply to take to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and the result would be all perfection. As soon as one places the Supreme Personality of Godhead within one’s heart, everything becomes easy and successful.
nānyaṁ tataḥ padma-palāśa-locanād
duḥkha-cchidaṁ te mṛgayāmi kañcana
yo mṛgyate hasta-gṛhīta-padmayā
śriyetarair aṅga vimṛgyamāṇayā
na anyam—no others; tataḥ—therefore; padma-palāśa-locanāt—from the lotus-eyed Supreme Personality of Godhead; duḥkha-chidam—one who can mitigate others’ difficulties; te—your; mṛgayāmi—I am searching after; kañcana—anyone else; yaḥ—who; mṛgyate—searches; hasta-gṛhīta-padmayā—taking a lotus flower in the hand; śriyā—the goddess of fortune; itaraiḥ—by others; aṅga—my dear boy; vimṛgyamāṇayā—one who is worshiped.
My dear Dhruva, as far as I am concerned, I do not find anyone who can mitigate your distress but the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose eyes are like lotus petals. Many demigods such as Lord Brahmā seek the pleasure of the goddess of fortune, but the goddess of fortune herself, with a lotus flower in her hand, is always ready to render service to the Supreme Lord.
Sunīti pointed out herewith that the benediction received from the Supreme Personality of Godhead and that received from the demigods are not on an equal level. Foolish persons say that no matter whom one worships one will get the same result, but actually that is not a fact. In Bhagavad-gītā it is also said that benedictions received from the demigods are all temporary and are meant for the less intelligent. In other words, because the demigods are all materialistically conditioned souls, although they are situated in very exalted positions, their benedictions cannot be permanent. permanent benediction is spiritual benediction, since a spirit soul is eternal. It is also said in Bhagavad-gītā that only persons who have lost their intelligence go to worship the demigods. Therefore Sunīti told her son that he should not seek the mercy of the demigods, but should directly approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead to mitigate his misery.
Material opulences are controlled by the Supreme Personality of Godhead through His different potencies and specifically the goddess of fortune. Therefore, those who are after material opulences seek the pleasure or mercy of the goddess of fortune. Even the highly placed demigods worship the goddess of fortune, but the goddess of fortune, Mahā-Lakṣmī herself, is always seeking the pleasure of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Anyone, therefore, who takes to the worship of the Supreme Lord automatically receives the blessings of the goddess of fortune. At this stage of his life, Dhruva Mahārāja was seeking material opulences, and his mother advised rightly that even for material opulences it is better to worship not the demigods but the Supreme Lord.
Although a pure devotee does not seek benedictions from the Supreme Lord for material advancement, it is stated in Bhagavad-gītā that pious persons go to the Lord even for material benedictions. A person who goes to the Supreme Personality of Godhead for material gain is gradually purified in association with the Supreme Lord. Thus he becomes free from all material desires and is elevated to the platform of spiritual life. Unless one is raised to the spiritual platform, it is not possible for him to completely transcend all material contamination.
Sunīti, the mother of Dhruva, was a farseeing woman, and therefore she advised her son to worship the Supreme Lord and no one else. The Lord is described herein as lotus eyed (padma-palāśa-locanāt). When a person is fatigued, if he sees a lotus flower all his fatigue can be immediately reduced to nil. Similarly, when an aggrieved person sees the lotus face of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, immediately all his grief is reduced. A lotus flower is also an insignia in the hand of Lord Viṣṇu as well as in the hand of the goddess of fortune. The worshipers of the goddess of fortune and Lord Viṣṇu together are certainly very opulent in all respects, even in material life. The Lord is sometimes described as śiva-viriñci-nutam, which means that Lord Śiva and Lord Brahmā also offer their respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Nārāyaṇa.
maitreya uvāca
evaṁ sañjalpitaṁ mātur
ākarṇyārthāgamaṁ vacaḥ
niścakrāma pituḥ purāt
maitreyaḥ uvāca—the great sage Maitreya said; evam—thus; sañjalpitam—spoken together; mātuḥ—from the mother; ākarṇya—hearing; artha-āgamam—purposeful; vacaḥ—words; sanniyamya—controlling; ātmanā—by the mind; ātmānam—own self; niścakrāma—got out; pituḥ—of the father; purāt—from the house.
The great sage Maitreya continued: The instruction of Dhruva Mahārāja’s mother, Sunīti, was actually meant for fulfilling his desired objective. Therefore, after deliberate consideration and with intelligence and fixed determination, he left his father’s house.
Both the mother and the son were lamenting Dhruva Mahārāja’s having been insulted by his stepmother and his father’s not having taken any step on this issue. But mere lamentation is useless—one should find out the means to mitigate one’s lamentation. Thus both mother and son decided to take shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord because that is the only solution to all material problems. It is indicated in this connection that Dhruva Mahārāja left his father’s capital city to go to a secluded place to search out the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is the instruction of Prahlāda Mahārāja also that if one is seeking peace of mind he should free himself from all contamination of family life and take shelter of the Supreme Godhead by going to the forest. To the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava this forest is the forest of Vṛndā, or Vṛndāvana. If one takes shelter of Vṛndāvana under Vṛndāvaneśvarī, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī, certainly all the problems of his life are solved very easily.
nāradas tad upākarṇya
jñātvā tasya cikīrṣitam
spṛṣṭvā mūrdhany agha-ghnena
pāṇinā prāha vismitaḥ
nāradaḥ—the great sage Nārada; tat—that; upākarṇya—overhearing; jñātvā—and knowing; tasya—his (Dhruva Mahārāja’s); cikīrṣitam—activities; spṛṣṭvā—by touching; mūrdhani—on the head; agha-ghnena—which can drive away all sinful activities; pāṇinā—by the hand; prāha—said; vismitaḥ—being surprised.
The great sage Nārada overheard this news, and understanding all the activities of Dhruva Mahārāja, he was struck with wonder. He approached Dhruva, and touching the boy’s head with his all-virtuous hand, he spoke as follows.
When Dhruva Mahārāja was talking with his mother, Sunīti, of all the incidents that had taken place in the palace, Nārada was not present. Thus the question may be raised how Nārada overheard all these topics. The answer is that Nārada is trikāla-jña; he is so powerful that he can understand the past, future and present of everyone’s heart, just like the Supersoul, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore, after understanding the strong determination of Dhruva Mahārāja, Nārada came to help him. It may be explained in this way: The Supreme Personality of Godhead is present in everyone’s heart, and as soon as He understands that a living entity is serious about entering devotional service, He sends His representative. In this way Nārada was sent to Dhruva Mahārāja. This is explained in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta. Guru-kṛṣṇa-prasāde pāya bhakti-latā-bīja: by the grace of the spiritual master and Kṛṣṇa, one can enter into devotional service. Because of Dhruva Mahārāja’s determination, Kṛṣṇa, the Supersoul, immediately sent His representative, Nārada, to initiate him.
aho tejaḥ kṣatriyāṇāṁ
māna-bhaṅgam amṛṣyatām
bālo ’py ayaṁ hṛdā dhatte
yat samātur asad-vacaḥ
aho—how surprising it is; tejaḥ—power; kṣatriyāṇām—of the kṣatriyas; māna-bhaṅgam—hurting the prestige; amṛṣyatām—unable to tolerate; bālaḥ—only a child; api—although; ayam—this; hṛdā—at heart; dhatte—has taken; yat—that which; sa-mātuḥ—of the stepmother; asat—unpalatable; vacaḥ—words.
How wonderful are the powerful kṣatriyas. They cannot tolerate even a slight infringement upon their prestige. Just imagine! This boy is only a small child, yet harsh words from his stepmother proved unbearable to him.
The qualifications of the kṣatriyas are described in Bhagavad-gīta-. Two important qualifications are to have a sense of prestige and not to flee from battle. It appears that the kṣatriya blood within the body of Dhruva Mahārāja was naturally very active. If the brahminical, kṣatriya or vaiśya culture is maintained in a family, naturally the sons and grandsons inherit the spirit of the particular class. Therefore, according to the Vedic system, the saṁskāra, or the reformatory system, is maintained very rigidly. If one fails to observe the reformatory measures current in the family, one is immediately degraded to a lower standard of life.
nārada uvāca
nādhunāpy avamānaṁ te
sammānaṁ vāpi putraka
lakṣayāmaḥ kumārasya
saktasya krīḍanādiṣu
nāradaḥ uvāca—the great sage Nārada said; na—not; adhunā—just now; api—although; avamānam—insult; te—unto you; sammānam—offering respects; —or; api—certainly; putraka—my dear boy; lakṣayāmaḥ—I can see; kumārasya—of boys like you; saktasya—being attached; krīḍana-ādiṣu—to sports and frivolities.
The great sage Nārada told Dhruva: My dear boy, you are only a little boy whose attachment is to sports and other frivolities. Why are you so affected by words insulting your honor?
Ordinarily if a child is rebuked as a rascal or fool, he smiles and does not take such insulting words very seriously. Similarly, if words of honor are offered, he does not appreciate them. But in the case of Dhruva Mahārāja, the kṣatriya spirit was so strong that he could not tolerate a slight insult from his stepmother which injured his kṣatriya prestige.
vikalpe vidyamāne ’pi
na hy asantoṣa-hetavaḥ
puṁso moham ṛte bhinnā
yal loke nija-karmabhiḥ
vikalpe—alternation; vidyamāne api—although there is; na—not; hi—certainly; asantoṣa—dissatisfaction; hetavaḥ—causes; puṁsaḥ—of the persons; moham ṛte—without being illusioned; bhinnāḥ—separated; yat loke—within this world; nija-karmabhiḥ—by his own work.
My dear Dhruva, if you feel that your sense of honor has been insulted, you still have no cause for dissatisfaction. This kind of dissatisfaction is another feature of the illusory energy; every living entity is controlled by his previous actions, and therefore there are different varieties of life for enjoying or suffering.
In the Vedas it is said that the living entity is always uncontaminated and unaffected by material association. The living entity gets different types of material bodies because of his previous fruitive actions. If, however, one understands the philosophy that as a living spirit soul he has an affinity for neither suffering nor enjoyment, then he is considered to be a liberated person. It is confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (18.54), brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā: when one is actually situated on the transcendental platform, he has nothing for which to lament and nothing for which to hanker. Nārada Ṛṣi first of all wanted to impress upon Dhruva Mahārāja that he was only a child; he should not have been affected by words of insult or honor. And if he were so developed as to understand honor and insult, then this understanding should have been applied in his own life; he should have known that honor and dishonor are both destined only by one’s previous actions; therefore one should not be sorry or happy under any circumstances.
parituṣyet tatas tāta
tāvan-mātreṇa pūruṣaḥ
daivopasāditaṁ yāvad
vīkṣyeśvara-gatiṁ budhaḥ
parituṣyet—one should be satisfied; tataḥ—therefore; tāta—my dear boy; tāvat—up to such; mātreṇa—quality; pūruṣaḥ—a person; daiva—destiny; upasāditam—offered by; yāvat—as; vīkṣya—seeing; īśvara-gatim—the process of the Supreme; budhaḥ—one who is intelligent.
The process of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is very wonderful. One who is intelligent should accept that process and be satisfied with whatever comes, favorable or unfavorable, by His supreme will.
The great sage Nārada instructed Dhruva Mahārāja that one should be satisfied in all circumstances. Everyone who is intelligent should know that because of our concept of bodily existence, we are subjected to suffering and enjoyment. One who is in the transcendental position, beyond the concept of bodily life, is considered to be intelligent. One who is a devotee especially accepts all reverses as gifts of the Supreme Lord. When a devotee is put into distress, he accepts this as God’s mercy and offers Him repeated obeisances with his body, mind and intellect. An intelligent person, therefore, should be always satisfied, depending on the mercy of the Lord.
atha mātropadiṣṭena
yat-prasādaṁ sa vai puṁsāṁ
durārādhyo mato mama
atha—therefore; mātrā—by your mother; upadiṣṭena—being instructed; yogena—by mystic meditation; avarurutsasi—want to elevate yourself; yat-prasādam—whose mercy; saḥ—that; vai—certainly; puṁsām—of the living entities; durārādhyaḥ—very difficult to perform; mataḥ—opinion; mama—my.
Now you have decided to undertake the mystic process of meditation under the instruction of your mother, just to achieve the mercy of the Lord, but in my opinion such austerities are not possible for any ordinary man. It is very difficult to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
The process of bhakti-yoga is simultaneously very difficult and very easy to perform. Śrī Nārada Muni, the supreme spiritual master, is testing Dhruva Mahārāja to see how determined he is to prosecute devotional service. This is the process of accepting a disciple. The great sage Nārada has come to Dhruva under the direction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead just to initiate him, yet he is testing Dhruva’s determination to execute the process. It is a fact, however, that for a sincere person devotional service is very easy. But for one who is not determined and sincere, this process is very difficult.
munayaḥ padavīṁ yasya
na vidur mṛgayanto ’pi
munayaḥ—great sages; padavīm—path; yasya—whose; niḥsaṅgena—by detachment; uru-janmabhiḥ—after many births; na—never; viduḥ—understood; mṛgayantaḥ—searching for; api—certainly; tīvra-yoga—severe austerities; samādhinā—by trance.
Nārada Muni continued: After trying this process for many, many births and remaining unattached to material contamination, placing themselves continually in trance and executing many types of austerities, many mystic yogīs were unable to find the end of the path of God realization.
ato nivartatām eṣa
nirbandhas tava niṣphalaḥ
yatiṣyati bhavān kāle
śreyasāṁ samupasthite
ataḥ—hereafter; nivartatām—just stop yourself; eṣaḥ—this; nirbandhaḥ—determination; tava—your; niṣphalaḥ—without any result; yatiṣyati—in the future you should try; bhavān—yourself; kāle—in due course of time; śreyasām—opportunities; samupasthite—being present.
For this reason, my dear boy, you should not endeavor for this; it will not be successful. It is better that you go home. When you are grown up, by the mercy of the Lord you will get a chance for these mystic performances. At that time you may execute this function.
Generally, a thoroughly trained person takes to spiritual perfection at the end of his life. According to the Vedic system, therefore, life is divided into four stages. In the beginning, one becomes a brahmacārī, a student who studies Vedic knowledge under the authoritative guidance of a spiritual master. He then becomes a householder and executes household duties according to the Vedic process. Then the householder becomes a vānaprastha, and gradually, when he is mature, he renounces household life and vānaprastha life also and takes to sannyāsa, completely devoting himself to devotional service.
Generally, people think that childhood is meant for enjoying life by engaging oneself in sports and play, youth is meant for enjoying the company of young girls, and when one becomes old, at the time of death, then he may try to execute devotional service or a mystic yoga process. But this conclusion is not for devotees who are actually serious. The great sage Nārada is instructing Dhruva Mahārāja just to test him. Actually, the direct order is that from any point of life one should begin rendering devotional service. But it is the duty of the spiritual master to test the disciple to see how seriously he desires to execute devotional service. Then he may be initiated.
yasya yad daiva-vihitaṁ
sa tena sukha-duḥkhayoḥ
ātmānaṁ toṣayan dehī
tamasaḥ pāram ṛcchati
yasya—anyone; yat—that which; daiva—by destiny; vihitam—destined; saḥ—such a person; tena—by that; sukha-duḥkhayoḥ—happiness or distress; ātmānam—one’s self; toṣayan—being satisfied; dehī—an embodied soul; tamasaḥ—of the darkness; pāram—to the other side; ṛcchati—crosses.
One should try to keep himself satisfied in any condition of life—whether distress or happiness—which is offered by the supreme will. A person who endures in this way is able to cross over the darkness of nescience very easily.
Material existence consists of pious and impious fruitive activities. As long as one is engaged in any kind of activity other than devotional service, it will result in the happiness and distress of this material world. When we enjoy life in so-called material happiness, it is to be understood that we are diminishing the resultant actions of our pious activities. And when we are put into suffering, it is to be understood that we are diminishing the resultant actions of our impious activities. Instead of being attached to the circumstantial happiness and distress resulting from pious or impious activities, if we want to get out of the clutches of this nescience, then whatever position we are put in by the will of the Lord we should accept. Thus if we simply surrender unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, we shall get out of the clutches of this material existence.
guṇādhikān mudaṁ lipsed
anukrośaṁ guṇādhamāt
maitrīṁ samānād anvicchen
na tāpair abhibhūyate
guṇa-adhikāt—one who is more qualified; mudam—pleasure; lipset—one should feel; anukrośam—compassion; guṇa-adhamāt—one who is less qualified; maitrīm—friendship; samānāt—with an equal; anvicchet—one should desire; na—not; tāpaiḥ—by tribulation; abhibhūyate—becomes affected.
Every man should act like this: when he meets a person more qualified than himself, he should be very pleased; when he meets someone less qualified than himself, he should be compassionate toward him; and when he meets someone equal to himself, he should make friendship with him. In this way one is never affected by the threefold miseries of this material world.
Generally when we find someone more qualified than ourselves, we become envious of him; when we find someone less qualified, we deride him; and when we find someone equal we become very proud of our activities. These are the causes of all material tribulations. The great sage Nārada therefore advised that a devotee should act perfectly. Instead of being envious of a more qualified man, one should be jolly to receive him. Instead of being oppressive to a less qualified man, one should be compassionate toward him just to raise him to the proper standard. And when one meets an equal, instead of being proud of one’s own activities before him, one should treat him as a friend. One should also have compassion for the people in general, who are suffering due to forgetfulness of Kṛṣṇa. These important functions will make one happy within this material world.
dhruva uvāca
so ’yaṁ śamo bhagavatā
darśitaḥ kṛpayā puṁsāṁ
durdarśo ’smad-vidhais tu yaḥ
dhruvaḥ uvācaDhruva Mahārāja said; saḥ—that; ayam—this; śamaḥ—equilibrium of mind; bhagavatā—by Your Lordship; sukha-duḥkha—happiness and miseries; hata-ātmanām—those who are affected; darśitaḥ—shown; kṛpayā—by mercy; puṁsām—of the people; durdarśaḥ—very difficult to perceive; asmat-vidhaiḥ—by persons like us; tu—but; yaḥ—whatever you have said.
Dhruva Mahārāja said: My dear Lord Nāradajī, for a person whose heart is disturbed by the material conditions of happiness and distress, whatever you have so kindly explained for attainment of peace of mind is certainly a very good instruction. But as far as I am concerned, I am covered by ignorance, and this kind of philosophy does not touch my heart.
There are various classes of men. One class is called akāmīs, referring to those who have no material desire. Desire must exist, either material or spiritual. Material desire arises when one wants to satisfy one’s personal senses. One who is ready to sacrifice anything to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead can be said to have spiritual desire. Dhruva did not accept the instruction given by the great saint Nārada because he thought himself unfit for such instruction, which prohibited all material desires. It is not a fact, however, that those who have material desires are prohibited from worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is the essential instruction from the life of Dhruva. He frankly admitted that his heart was full of material desires. He was very much affected by the cruel words of his stepmother, whereas those who are spiritually advanced do not care about anyone’s condemnation or adoration.
In Bhagavad-gītā it is said that persons who are actually advanced in spiritual life do not care for the dual behavior of this material world. But Dhruva Mahārāja frankly admitted that he was not beyond the affliction of material distress and happiness. He was confident that the instruction given by Nārada was valuable, yet he could not accept it. The question raised here is whether or not a person afflicted by material desires is fit to worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The answer is that everyone is fit to worship Him. Even if one has many material desires to fulfill, he should take to Kṛṣṇa consciousness and worship the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa, who is so merciful that He fulfills everyone’s desires. Through this narration it will become very clear that no one is barred from worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead, even if one has many material desires.
athāpi me ’vinītasya
kṣāttraṁ ghoram upeyuṣaḥ
surucyā durvaco-bāṇair
na bhinne śrayate hṛdi
atha api—therefore; me—my; avinītasya—not very submissive; kṣāttram—the spirit of a kṣatriya; ghoram—intolerant; upeyuṣaḥ—achieved; surucyāḥ—of Queen Suruci; durvacaḥ—harsh words; bāṇaiḥ—by the arrows; na—not; bhinne—being pierced; śrayate—remain in; hṛdi—the heart.
My dear lord, I am very impudent for not accepting your instructions, but this is not my fault. It is due to my having been born in a kṣatriya family. My stepmother, Suruci, has pierced my heart with her harsh words. Therefore your valuable instruction does not stand in my heart.
It is said that the heart or mind is just like an earthen pot; once broken, it cannot be repaired by any means. Dhruva Mahārāja gave this example to Nārada Muni. He said that his heart, having been pierced by the arrows of his stepmother’s harsh words, felt so broken that nothing seemed valuable but his desire to counteract her insult. His stepmother had said that because he was born from the womb of Sunīti, a neglected queen of Mahārāja Uttānapāda, Dhruva Mahārāja was not fit to sit either on the throne or on his father’s lap. In other words, according to his stepmother, he could not be declared king. Dhruva Mahārāja’s determination, therefore, was to become king of a planet exalted even beyond that possessed by Lord Brahmā, the greatest of all the demigods.
Dhruva Mahārāja indirectly informed the great sage Nārada that there are four kinds of human spirit—the brahminical spirit, the kṣatriya spirit, the vaiśya spirit and the śūdra spirit. The spirit of one caste is not applicable to the members of another. The philosophical spirit enunciated by Nārada Muni might have been suitable for a brāhmaṇa spirit, but it was not suitable for a kṣatriya. Dhruva frankly admitted that he was lacking in brahminical humility and was therefore unable to accept the philosophy of Nārada Muni.
The statements of Dhruva Mahārāja indicate that unless a child is trained according to his tendency, there is no possibility of his developing his particular spirit. It was the duty of the spiritual master or teacher to observe the psychological movement of a particular boy and thus train him in a particular occupational duty. Dhruva Mahārāja, having already been trained in the kṣatriya spirit, would not accept the brahminical philosophy. In America we have practical experience of this incompatibility of the brahminical and kṣatriya temperaments. The American boys, who have simply been trained as śūdras, are not at all fit to fight in battle. Therefore, when they are called to join the military, they refuse because they do not have kṣatriya spirit. This is a cause of great dissatisfaction in society.
That the boys do not have the kṣatriya spirit does not mean that they are trained in brahminical qualities; they are trained as śūdras, and thus in frustration they are becoming hippies. However, as soon as they enter the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement being started in America, they are trained to meet the brahminical qualifications, even though they have fallen to the lowest conditions as śūdras. In other words, since the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is open for everyone, people in general can attain the brahminical qualifications. This is the greatest need at the present moment, for now there are actually no brāhmaṇas or kṣatriyas but only some vaiśyas and, for the most part, śūdras. The classification of society into brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas, vaiśyas and śūdras is very scientific. In the human social body, the brāhmaṇas are considered the head, the kṣatriyas are the arms, the vaiśyas are the belly, and the śūdras are the legs. At the present moment the body has legs and a belly, but there are no arms or head, and therefore society is topsy-turvy. It is necessary to reestablish the brahminical qualifications in order to raise the fallen human society to the highest standard of spiritual consciousness.
padaṁ tri-bhuvanotkṛṣṭaṁ
jigīṣoḥ sādhu vartma me
brūhy asmat-pitṛbhir brahmann
anyair apy anadhiṣṭhitam
padam—position; tri-bhuvana—the three worlds; utkṛṣṭam—the best; jigīṣoḥ—desirous; sādhu—honest; vartma—way; me—unto me; brūhi—please tell; asmat—our; pitṛbhiḥ—by the forefathers, the father and grandfather; brahman—O great brāhmaṇa; anyaiḥ—by others; api—even; anadhiṣṭhitam—not acquired.
O learned brāhmaṇa, I want to occupy a position more exalted than any yet achieved within the three worlds by anyone, even by my fathers and grandfathers. If you will oblige, kindly advise me of an honest path to follow by which I can achieve the goal of my life.
When Dhruva Mahārāja refused to accept the brahminical instruction of Nārada Muni, naturally the next question would be what sort of instruction he wanted. So even before Nārada Muni asked, Dhruva Mahārāja expressed his heartfelt desire. His father, of course, was the emperor of the entire world, and his grandfather, Lord Brahmā, was the creator of the universe. Dhruva Mahārāja expressed his desire to possess a kingdom better than those of his father and grandfather. He frankly stated that he wanted a kingdom which had no competitor within the three worlds, namely the higher, middle and lower planetary systems. The greatest personality within this universe is Lord Brahmā, and Dhruva Mahārāja wanted a position even greater than his. He wanted to take advantage of Nārada Muni’s presence because he knew very well that if Nārada Muni, the greatest devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa, could bless him or show him the path, then certainly he would be able to occupy a more exalted position than any person within the three worlds. Thus he wanted help from Nāradajī to achieve that position. Dhruva Mahārāja wanted a position greater than that of Brahmā. This was practically an impossible proposition, but by pleasing the Supreme Personality of Godhead a devotee can achieve even the impossible.
One particular point mentioned here is that Dhruva Mahārāja wanted to occupy an exalted position not by hook or by crook, but by honest means. This indicates that if Kṛṣṇa offered him such a position, then he would accept it. That is the nature of a devotee. He may desire material gain, but he accepts it only if Kṛṣṇa offers it. Dhruva Mahārāja was sorry to refuse the instruction of Nārada Muni; therefore he requested him to be merciful to him by showing a path by which he could fulfill his mind’s desires.
nūnaṁ bhavān bhagavato
yo ’ṅgajaḥ parameṣṭhinaḥ
vitudann aṭate vīṇāṁ
hitāya jagato ’rkavat
nūnam—certainly; bhavān—Your Honor; bhagavataḥ—of the Lord; yaḥ—that which; aṅga-jaḥ—born from the body; parameṣṭhinaḥ—Lord Brahmā; vitudan—by playing on; aṭate—travel all over; vīṇām—a musical instrument; hitāya—for the welfare; jagataḥ—of the world; arka-vat—like the sun.
My dear lord, you are a worthy son of Lord Brahmā, and you travel, playing on your musical instrument, the vīṇā, for the welfare of the entire universe. You are like the sun, which rotates in the universe for the benefit of all living beings.
Dhruva Mahārāja, although a young child, expressed his hope that he might be offered the benediction of a kingdom which would exceed in opulence those of his father and grandfather. He also expressed his gladness that he had met such an exalted person as Nārada, whose only concern was to illuminate the world, like the sun, which rotates all over the universe only for the purpose of benefiting the inhabitants of all planets. Nārada Muni travels all over the universe for the sole purpose of performing the best welfare activity for the entire universe by teaching everyone how to become a devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus Dhruva Mahārāja felt fully assured that Nārada Muni could fulfill his desire, even though the desire was very extraordinary.
The example of the sun is very significant. The sun is so kind that he distributes his sunshine everywhere, without consideration. Dhruva Mahārāja requested Nārada Muni to be merciful to him. He pointed out that Nārada travels all over the universe just for the purpose of doing good to all conditioned souls. He requested that Nārada Muni show his mercy by awarding him the benefit of his particular desire. Dhruva Mahārāja was strongly determined to fulfill his desire, and it was for that purpose that he had left his home and palace.
maitreya uvāca
ity udāhṛtam ākarṇya
bhagavān nāradas tadā
prītaḥ pratyāha taṁ bālaṁ
sad-vākyam anukampayā
maitreyaḥ uvāca—the sage Maitreya continued; iti—thus; udāhṛtam—being spoken; ākarṇya—hearing; bhagavān nāradaḥ—the great personality Nārada; tadā—thereupon; prītaḥ—being pleased; pratyāha—replied; tam—him; bālam—the boy; sat-vākyam—good advice; anukampayā—being compassionate.
The sage Maitreya continued: The great personality Nārada Muni, upon hearing the words of Dhruva Mahārāja, became very compassionate toward him, and in order to show him his causeless mercy, he gave him the following expert advice.
Since the great sage Nārada is the foremost spiritual master, naturally his only activity is to bestow the greatest benefit upon whomever he meets. Dhruva Mahārāja, however, was a child, and so his demand was also that of a playful child. Still, the great sage became compassionate toward him, and for his welfare he spoke the following verses.
nārada uvāca
jananyābhihitaḥ panthāḥ
sa vai niḥśreyasasya te
bhagavān vāsudevas taṁ
bhaja taṁ pravaṇātmanā
nāradaḥ uvāca—the great sage Nārada said; jananyā—by your mother; abhihitaḥ—stated; panthāḥ—the path; saḥ—that; vai—certainly; niḥśreyasasya—the ultimate goal of life; te—for you; bhagavān—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; vāsudevaḥKṛṣṇa; tam—unto Him; bhaja—render your service; tam—by Him; pravaṇa-ātmanā—fully absorbing your mind.
The great sage Nārada told Dhruva Mahārāja: The instruction given by your mother, Sunīti, to follow the path of devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is just suitable for you. You should therefore completely absorb yourself in the devotional service of the Lord.
Dhruva Mahārāja’s demand was to achieve an abode even greater than Lord Brahmā’s. Within this universe, Lord Brahmā is supposed to be in the most exalted position, for he is the chief of all demigods, but Dhruva Mahārāja wanted a realm beyond his. Therefore his desire was not to be fulfilled by worshiping any demigod. As described in Bhagavad-gītā, the benedictions offered by the demigods are all temporary. Therefore Nārada Muni asked Dhruva Mahārāja to follow the path recommended by his mother—to worship Kṛṣṇa, Vāsudeva. When Kṛṣṇa offers anything, it is beyond the expectation of the devotee. Both Sunīti and Nārada Muni knew that the demand of Dhruva Mahārāja was impossible for any demigod to fulfill, and therefore both of them recommended following the process of devotional service to Lord Kṛṣṇa.
Nārada Muni is referred to here as bhagavān because he can bless any person just as the Supreme Personality of Godhead can. He was very pleased with Dhruva Mahārāja, and he could have at once personally given whatever he wanted, but that is not the duty of the spiritual master. His duty is to engage the disciple in proper devotional service as prescribed in the śāstras. Kṛṣṇa was similarly present before Arjuna, and even though He could have given him all facilities for victory over the opposing party without a fight, He did not do so; instead He asked Arjuna to fight. In the same way, Nārada Muni asked Dhruva Mahārāja to undergo devotional discipline in order to achieve the desired result.
ya icchec chreya ātmanaḥ
ekaṁ hy eva hares tatra
kāraṇaṁ pāda-sevanam
dharma-artha-kāma-mokṣa—the four principles religiosity, economic development, sense gratification and liberation; ākhyam—by the name; yaḥ—who; icchet—may desire; śreyaḥ—the goal of life; ātmanaḥ—of the self; ekam hi eva—only the one; hareḥ—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; tatra—in that; kāraṇam—the cause; pāda-sevanam—worshiping the lotus feet.
Any person who desires the fruits of the four principles religiosity, economic development, sense gratification and, at the end, liberation, should engage himself in the devotional service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, for worship of His lotus feet yields the fulfillment of all of these.
In Bhagavad-gītā it is said that only with the sanction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead can the demigods offer benedictions. Therefore, whenever any sacrifice is offered to a demigod, the Supreme Lord in the form of nārāyaṇa-śilā, or śālagrāma-śilā, is put forward to observe the sacrifice. Actually, the demigods cannot give any benediction without the sanction of the Supreme Lord. Nārada Muni, therefore, advised that even for religiosity, economic development, sense gratification or liberation, one should approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead, offer prayers and ask for the fulfillment of one’s desire at the lotus feet of the Lord. That is real intelligence. An intelligent person never goes to demigods to pray for anything. He goes directly to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the cause of all benediction.
As Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa has said in Bhagavad-gītā, performance of ritualistic ceremonies is not actually religion. The real path of religion is to surrender at the lotus feet of the Lord. For one who is actually surrendered to the lotus feet of the Lord, there is no question of any separate endeavor for economic development. A devotee engaged in service to the Lord is not disappointed in the satisfaction of his senses. If he wants to satisfy his senses, Kṛṣṇa fulfills that desire. As far as liberation is concerned, any devotee fully engaged in the service of the Lord is already liberated; therefore there is no separate necessity for his liberation.
Nārada Muni therefore advised Dhruva Mahārāja to take shelter of Vāsudeva, Lord Kṛṣṇa, and engage himself in the way that his mother had advised, for that would help him fulfill his desire. In this verse Nārada Muni has especially stressed the devotional service of the Lord as the only way. In other words, even if one is full of material desires, he can continue his devotional service to the Lord, and all his desires will be fulfilled.
tat tāta gaccha bhadraṁ te
yamunāyās taṭaṁ śuci
puṇyaṁ madhuvanaṁ yatra
sānnidhyaṁ nityadā hareḥ
tat—that; tāta—my dear son; gaccha—go; bhadram—good fortune; te—for you; yamunāyāḥ—of the Yamunā; taṭam—bank; śuci—being purified; puṇyam—the holy; madhu-vanam—of the name Madhuvana; yatra—where; sānnidhyam—being nearer; nityadā—always; hareḥ—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
My dear boy, I therefore wish all good fortune for you. You should go to the bank of the Yamunā, where there is a virtuous forest named Madhuvana, and there be purified. Just by going there, one draws nearer to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who always lives there.
Both Nārada Muni and Sunīti, the mother of Dhruva Mahārāja, advised Dhruva Mahārāja to worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Now, Nārada Muni is especially giving him directions how this worship of the Supreme Person can very quickly fructify. He recommends that Dhruva Mahārāja go to the bank of the Yamunā, where there is a forest of the name Madhuvana, and begin his meditation and worship there.
Places of pilgrimage yield a special advantage for a devotee in quickly advancing his spiritual life. Lord Kṛṣṇa lives everywhere, but still it is very easy to approach Him in holy places of pilgrimage because these places are inhabited by great sages. Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa says that He lives wherever His devotees are chanting the glories of His transcendental activities. There are many places of pilgrimage in India, and especially prominent are Badarī-nārāyaṇa, Dvārakā, Rāmeśvara and Jagannātha purī. These sacred places are called the four dhāmas. Dhāma refers to a place where one can immediately contact the Supreme Lord. To go to Badarī-nārāyaṇa one has to pass through Hardwar on the path to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Similarly, there are other holy places of pilgrimage, such as Prayāga (Allahabad) and Mathurā, and the topmost of them all is Vṛndāvana. Unless one is very advanced in spiritual life, it is recommended that he live in such holy places and execute devotional service there. But an advanced devotee like Nārada Muni who is engaged in preaching work can serve the Supreme Lord anywhere. Sometimes he even goes to the hellish planets. Hellish conditions do not affect Nārada Muni because he is engaged in greatly responsible activities in devotional service. According to the statement of Nārada Muni, Madhuvana, which is still existing in the Vṛndāvana area, in the district of Mathurā, is a most sacred place. Many saintly persons still live there and engage in the devotional service of the Lord.
There are twelve forests in the area of Vṛndāvana, and Madhuvana is one of them. Pilgrims from all parts of India assemble together and visit all twelve of these forests. There are five forests on the eastern bank of the Yamunā: Bhadravana, Bilvavana, Lauhavana, Bhāṇḍīravana and Mahāvana. On the western side of the bank there are seven: Madhuvana, Tālavana, Kumudavana, Bahulāvana, Kāmyavana, Khadiravana and Vṛndāvana. ln those twelve forests there are different ghāṭas, or bathing places. They are listed as follows: (1) Avimukta, (2) Adhirūḍha, (3) Guhya-tīrtha, (4) Prayāga-tīrtha, (5) Kanakhala, (6) Tinduka-tīrtha, (7) Sūrya-tīrtha, (8) Vaṭasvāmī, (9) Dhruva-ghāṭa (Dhruva-ghāṭa, where there are many nice trees of fruits and flowers, is famous because Dhruva Mahārāja meditated and underwent severe penances and austerities there in an elevated spot), (10) Ṛṣi-tīrtha, (11) Mokṣa-tīrtha, (12) Budha-tīrtha, (13) Gokarṇa, (14) Kṛṣṇagaṅgā, (15) Vaikuṇṭha, (16) Asi-kuṇḍa, (17) Catuḥ-sāmudrika-kūpa, (18) Akrūra-tīrtha (when Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma were going to Mathurā in the chariot driven by Akrūra, all of them took baths in this ghāṭa), (19) Yājñika-vipra-sthāna, (20) Kubjā-kūpa, (21) Raṅga-sthala, (22) Mañcha-sthala, (23) Mallayuddha-sthāna, and (24) Daśāśvamedha.
snātvānusavanaṁ tasmin
kālindyāḥ salile śive
kṛtvocitāni nivasann
ātmanaḥ kalpitāsanaḥ
snātvā—after taking bath; anusavanam—three times; tasmin—in that; kālindyāḥ—in the River Kālindī (the Yamunā); salile—in the water; śive—which is very auspicious; kṛtvā—performing; ucitāni—suitable; nivasan—sitting; ātmanaḥ—of the self; kalpita-āsanaḥ—having prepared a sitting place.
Nārada Muni instructed: My dear boy, in the waters of the Yamunā River, which is known as Kālindī, you should take three baths daily because the water is very auspicious, sacred and clear. After bathing, you should perform the necessary regulative principles for aṣṭāṅga-yoga and then sit down on your āsana [sitting place] in a calm and quiet position.
It appears from this statement that Dhruva Mahārāja had already been instructed how to practice the eightfold yoga system, which is known as aṣṭāṅga-yoga. This system is explained in our Bhagavad-gītā As It Is, in the chapter entitled, “Dhyāna-yoga.” It is understood that in aṣṭāṅga-yoga one practices settling the mind and then concentrating it on the form of Lord Viṣṇu, as will be described in the following verses. It is clearly stated here that aṣṭāṅga-yoga is not a bodily gymnastic exercise, but a practice to concentrate the mind on the form of Viṣṇu. Before sitting on his āsana, which is also described in Bhagavad-gītā, one has to cleanse himself very nicely in clear or sacred water thrice daily. The water of the Yamunā is naturally very clear and pure, and thus if anyone bathes there three times, undoubtedly he will be very greatly purified externally. Nārada Muni, therefore, instructed Dhruva Mahārāja to go to the bank of the Yamunā and thus become externally purified. This is part of the gradual process of practicing mystic yoga.
prāṇāyāmena tri-vṛtā
śanair vyudasyābhidhyāyen
manasā guruṇā gurum
prāṇāyāmena—by breathing exercises; tri-vṛtā—by the three recommended ways; prāṇa-indriya—the life air and the senses; manaḥ—mind; malam—impurity; śanaiḥ—gradually; vyudasya—giving up; abhidhyāyet—meditate upon; manasā—by the mind; guruṇā—undisturbed; gurum—the supreme spiritual master, Kṛṣṇa.
After sitting on your seat, practice the three kinds of breathing exercises, and thus gradually control the life air, the mind and the senses. Completely free yourself from all material contamination, and with great patience begin to meditate on the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
In this verse the entire yoga system is described in summary, and special stress is given to the breathing exercises for stopping the disturbing mind. The mind, by nature, is always oscillating, for it is very fickle, but the breathing exercise is meant to control it. This process of controlling the mind might have been very possible in those days millions of years ago when Dhruva Mahārāja took to it, but at the present moment the mind has to be fixed directly on the lotus feet of the Lord by the chanting process. By chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra one immediately concentrates on the sound vibration and thinks of the lotus feet of the Lord, and very quickly one is elevated to the position of samādhi, or trance. If one goes on chanting the holy names of the Lord, which are not different from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, naturally his mind becomes absorbed in thought of the Lord.
It is here recommended to Dhruva Mahārāja that he meditate on the supreme guru, or supreme spiritual master. The supreme spiritual master is Kṛṣṇa, who is therefore known as caitya-guru. This refers to the Supersoul, who is sitting in everyone’s heart. He helps from within as stated in Bhagavad-gītā, and He sends the spiritual master, who helps from without. The spiritual master is the external manifestation of the caitya-guru, or the spiritual master sitting in everyone’s heart.
The process by which we give up our thoughts of material things is called pratyāhāra, which entails being freed from all material thoughts and engagements. The word abhidhyāyet, which is used in this verse, indicates that unless one’s mind is fixed, one cannot meditate. The conclusion, therefore, is that meditation means thinking of the Lord within. Whether one comes to that stage by the aṣṭāṅga-yoga system or by the method recommended in the śāstras especially for this present age—to constantly chant the holy name of the Lord—the goal is to meditate on the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
prasādābhimukhaṁ śaśvat
sunāsaṁ subhruvaṁ cāru-
kapolaṁ sura-sundaram
prasāda-abhimukham—always prepared to offer causeless mercy; śaśvat—always; prasanna—pleasing; vadana—mouth; īkṣaṇam—vision; su-nāsam—very nicely constructed nose; su-bhruvam—very nicely decorated eyebrows; cāru—beautiful; kapolam—forehead; sura—the demigods; sundaram—good looking.
[The form of the Lord is described herein.] The Lord’s face is perpetually very beautiful and pleasing in attitude. To the devotees who see Him, He appears never to be displeased, and He is always prepared to award benedictions to them. His eyes, His nicely decorated eyebrows, His raised nose and His broad forehead are all very beautiful. He is more beautiful than all the demigods.
This verse clearly explains how one has to meditate on the form of the Lord. Impersonal meditation is a bogus invention of modern days. In none of the Vedic literatures is impersonal meditation recommended. In Bhagavad-gītā, when meditation is recommended, the word mat-paraḥ, which means “pertaining to Me,” is used. Any Viṣṇu form pertains to Lord Kṛṣṇa because Lord Kṛṣṇa is the original Viṣṇu form. Sometimes someone tries to meditate upon the impersonal Brahman, which is described in Bhagavad-gītā as avyakta, meaning “unmanifested” or “impersonal.” But it is remarked by the Lord Himself that those who are attached to this impersonal feature of the Lord suffer a very troublesome task because no one can concentrate on the impersonal feature. One has to concentrate on the form of the Lord, which is described here in connection with Dhruva Mahārāja’s meditation. As will be apparent from later descriptions, Dhruva Mahārāja perfected this kind of meditation, and his yoga was successful.
taruṇaṁ ramaṇīyāṅgam
praṇatāśrayaṇaṁ nṛmṇaṁ
śaraṇyaṁ karuṇārṇavam
taruṇam—youthful; ramaṇīya—attractive; aṅgam—all parts of the body; aruṇa-oṣṭha—lips pinkish like the rising sun; īkṣaṇa-adharam—eyes of the same nature; praṇata—one who is surrendered; āśrayaṇam—shelter of the surrendered; nṛmṇam—transcendentally pleasing in all respects; śaraṇyam—the person unto whom it is just worthy to surrender; karuṇā—merciful like; arṇavam—the ocean.
Nārada Muni continued: The Lord’s form is always youthful. Every limb and every part of His body is properly formed, free from defect. His eyes and lips are pinkish like the rising sun. He is always prepared to give shelter to the surrendered soul, and anyone so fortunate as to look upon Him feels all satisfaction. The Lord is always worthy to be the master of the surrendered soul, for He is the ocean of mercy.
Everyone has to surrender to someone superior. That is always the nature of our living condition. At the present moment we are trying to surrender to someone—either to society or to our nation, family, state or government. The surrendering process already exists, but it is never perfect because the person or institution unto whom we surrender is imperfect, and our surrender, having so many ulterior motives, is also imperfect. As such, in the material world no one is worthy to accept anyone’s surrender, nor does anyone fully surrender to anyone else unless obliged to do so. But here the surrendering process is voluntary, and the Lord is worthy to accept the surrender. This surrender by the living entity occurs automatically as soon as he sees the beautiful youthful nature of the Lord.
The description given by Nārada Muni is not imaginary. The form of the Lord is understood by the paramparā system. Māyāvādī philosophers say that we have to imagine the form of the Lord, but here Nārada Muni does not say that. Rather, he gives the description of the Lord from authoritative sources. He is himself an authority, and he is able to go to Vaikuṇṭhaloka and see the Lord personally; therefore his description of the bodily features of the Lord is not imagination. Sometimes we give instructions to our students about the bodily features of the Lord, and they paint Him. Their paintings are not imaginary. The description is given through disciplic succession, just like that given by Nārada Muni, who sees the Lord and describes His bodily features. Therefore, such descriptions should be accepted, and if they are painted, that is not imaginative painting.
śrīvatsāṅkaṁ ghana-śyāmaṁ
puruṣaṁ vana-mālinam
śrīvatsa-aṅkam—the mark of Śrīvatsa on the chest of the Lord; ghana-śyāmam—deeply bluish; puruṣam—the Supreme Person; vana-mālinam—with a garland of flowers; śaṅkha—conchshell; cakra—wheel; gadā—club; padmaiḥ—lotus flower; abhivyakta—manifested; catuḥ-bhujam—four handed.
The Lord is further described as having the mark of Śrīvatsa, or the sitting place of the goddess of fortune, and His bodily hue is deep bluish. The Lord is a person, He wears a garland of flowers, and He is eternally manifest with four hands, which hold [beginning from the lower left hand] a conchshell, wheel, club and lotus flower.
Here in this verse the word puruṣam is very significant. The Lord is never female. He is always male (puruṣa). Therefore the impersonalist who imagines the Lord’s form as that of a woman is mistaken. The Lord appears in female form if necessary, but His perpetual form is puruṣa because He is originally male. The feminine feature of the Lord is displayed by goddesses of fortune—Lakṣmī, Rādhārāṇī, Sītā, etc. All these goddesses of fortune are servitors of the Lord; they are not the Supreme, as falsely imagined by the impersonalist. Lord Kṛṣṇa in His Nārāyaṇa feature is always four handed. On the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra, when Arjuna wanted to see His universal form, He showed this feature of four-handed Nārāyaṇa. Some devotees are of the opinion that Kṛṣṇa is an incarnation of Nārāyaṇa, but the Bhāgavata school says that Nārāyaṇa is a manifestation of Kṛṣṇa.
kirīṭinaṁ kuṇḍalinaṁ
kirīṭinam—the Lord is decorated with a jeweled helmet; kuṇḍalinam—with pearl earrings; keyūra—jeweled necklace; valaya-anvitam—with jeweled bracelets; kaustubha-ābharaṇa-grīvam—His neck is decorated by the Kaustubha jewel; pīta-kauśeya-vāsasam—and He is dressed with yellow silk garments.
The entire body of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vāsudeva, is decorated. He wears a valuable jeweled helmet, necklaces and bracelets, His neck is adorned with the Kaustubha jewel, and He is dressed in yellow silk garments.
darśanīyatamaṁ śāntaṁ
kāñcī-kalāpa—small bells; paryastam—surrounding the waist; lasat-kāñcana-nūpuram—His legs are decorated with golden ankle bells; darśanīya-tamam—the superexcellent feature; śāntam—peaceful, calm and quiet; manaḥ-nayana-vardhanam—very pleasing to the eyes and the mind.
The Lord is decorated with small golden bells around His waist, and His lotus feet are decorated with golden ankle bells. All His bodily features are very attractive and pleasing to the eyes. He is always peaceful, calm and quiet and very pleasing to the eyes and the mind.
padbhyāṁ nakha-maṇi-śreṇyā
vilasadbhyāṁ samarcatām
ākramyātmany avasthitam
padbhyām—by His lotus feet; nakha-maṇi-śreṇyā—by the light of the jewellike nails on the toes; vilasadbhyām—glittering lotus feet; samarcatām—persons who are engaged in worshiping them; hṛt-padma-karṇikā—the whorl of the lotus flower of the heart; dhiṣṇyam—situated; ākramya—seizing; ātmani—in the heart; avasthitam—situated.
Real yogīs meditate upon the transcendental form of the Lord as He stands on the whorl of the lotus of their hearts, the jewellike nails of His lotus feet glittering.
smayamānam abhidhyāyet
manasā varadarṣabham
smayamānam—the Lord’s smiling; abhidhyāyet—one should meditate upon Him; sa-anurāga-avalokanam—one who is looking toward the devotees with great affection; niyatena—in this way, regularly; eka-bhūtena—with great attention; manasā—with the mind; vara-da-ṛṣabham—one should meditate upon the greatest bestower of benedictions.
The Lord is always smiling, and the devotee should constantly see the Lord in this form, as He looks very mercifully toward the devotee. In this way the meditator should look toward the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the bestower of all benedictions.
The word niyatena is very significant in this connection, for it indicates that one should execute the meditation practice as stated above. One should not manufacture a way of meditation on the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but should follow the authorized śāstras and personalities. By this prescribed method one can practice concentration upon the Lord until one is so fixed that he remains in trance, thinking always of the form of the Lord. The word used here is eka-bhūtena, which means “with great attention and concentration.” If one concentrates on the descriptions of the bodily features of the Lord, one will never fall down.
evaṁ bhagavato rūpaṁ
subhadraṁ dhyāyato manaḥ
nirvṛtyā parayā tūrṇaṁ
sampannaṁ na nivartate
evam—thus; bhagavataḥ—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; rūpam—form; su-bhadram—very auspicious; dhyāyataḥ—meditating; manaḥ—the mind; nirvṛtyā—being freed from all material contamination; parayā—transcendental; tūrṇam—very soon; sampannam—being enriched; na—never; nivartate—come down.
One who meditates in this way, concentrating his mind upon the always auspicious form of the Lord, is very soon freed from all material contamination, and he does not come down from meditation upon the Lord.
This fixed meditation is called samādhi, or trance. A person constantly engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord cannot be deviated from meditating on the form of the Lord, as described herein. The arcana-mārga, or the devotional path prescribed in the Pañcarātra system of devotional service for worshiping the Deity in the temple, makes the devotee think constantly of the Lord; that is samādhi, or trance. One who practices in this way cannot deviate from the service of the Lord, and that makes him perfect in the mission of human life.
japaś ca paramo guhyaḥ
śrūyatāṁ me nṛpātmaja
yaṁ sapta-rātraṁ prapaṭhan
pumān paśyati khecarān
japaḥ ca—the chanting mantra in this connection; paramaḥ—very, very; guhyaḥ—confidential; śrūyatām—please hear; me—from me; nṛpa-ātmaja—O son of the King; yam—which; sapta-rātram—seven nights; prapaṭhan—chanting; pumān—a person; paśyati—can see; khe-carān—human beings who travel in space.
O son of the King, now I shall speak unto you the mantra which is to be chanted with this process of meditation. One who carefully chants this mantra for seven nights can see the perfect human beings flying in the sky.
Within this universe there is a planet called Siddhaloka. The inhabitants of Siddhaloka are by nature perfect in the yoga achievements, which are of eight varieties: one can become smaller than the smallest, lighter than the lightest, or bigger than the biggest; one can immediately get whatever he likes, one can even create a planet, etc. These are some of the yogic perfections. By virtue of the laghimā-siddhi, or purificatory process to become lighter than the lightest, the inhabitants of Siddhaloka can fly in the sky without airplanes or airships. It is hinted herein by Nārada Muni to Dhruva Mahārāja that by meditating upon the transcendental form of the Lord and at the same time chanting the mantra one becomes so perfect within seven days that he can see the human beings who fly in the sky. Nārada Muni uses the word japaḥ, which indicates that the mantra to be chanted is very confidential. One may ask, “If it is confidential, why is it mentioned in the writing of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam?” It is confidential in this sense: one may receive a published mantra anywhere, but unless it is accepted through the chain of disciplic succession, the mantra does not act. It is said by authoritative sources that any mantra chanted without having been received from the disciplic succession has no efficacy.
Another point established in this verse is that meditation should be carried on with the chanting of a mantra. Chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is the easiest process of meditation in this age. As soon as one chants the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, he sees the forms of Kṛṣṇa, Rāma and Their energies, and that is the perfect stage of trance. One should not artificially try to see the form of the Lord while chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, but when the chanting is performed offenselessly the Lord will automatically reveal Himself to the view of the chanter. The chanter, therefore, has to concentrate on hearing the vibration, and without extra endeavor on his part, the Lord will automatically appear.
oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya
mantreṇānena devasya
kuryād dravyamayīṁ budhaḥ
saparyāṁ vividhair dravyair
oṁ—O my Lord; namaḥ—I offer my respectful obeisances; bhagavate—unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead; vāsudevāya—unto the Supreme Lord, Vāsudeva; mantreṇa—by this hymn, or mantra; anena—this; devasya—of the Lord; kuryāt—one should do; dravyamayīm—physical; budhaḥ—one who is learned; saparyām—worship by the prescribed method; vividhaiḥ—with varieties; dravyaiḥ—paraphernalia; deśa—according to country; kāla—time; vibhāga-vit—one who knows the divisions.
Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. This is the twelve-syllable mantra for worshiping Lord Kṛṣṇa. One should install the physical forms of the Lord, and with the chanting of the mantra one should offer flowers and fruits and other varieties of foodstuffs exactly according to the rules and regulations prescribed by authorities. But this should be done in consideration of place, time, and attendant conveniences and inconveniences.
Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya is known as the dvādaśākṣara-mantra. This mantra is chanted by Vaiṣṇava devotees, and it begins with praṇava, or oṁkāra. There is an injunction that those who are not brāhmaṇas cannot pronounce the praṇava mantra. But Dhruva Mahārāja was born a kṣatriya. He at once admitted before Nārada Muni that as a kṣatriya he was unable to accept Nārada’s instruction of renunciation and mental equilibrium, which are the concern of a brāhmaṇa. Still, although not a brāhmaṇa but a kṣatriya, Dhruva was allowed, on the authority of Nārada, to pronounce the praṇava oṁkāra. This is very significant. Especially in India, the caste brāhmaṇas object greatly when persons from other castes, who are not born in brāhmaṇa families, recite this praṇava mantra. But here is tacit proof that if a person accepts the Vaiṣṇava mantra or Vaiṣṇava way of worshiping the Deity, he is allowed to chant the praṇava mantra. In Bhagavad-gītā the Lord personally accepts that anyone, even one of a low species, can be elevated to the highest position and go back home, back to Godhead, simply if he worships properly.
The prescribed rules, as stated here by Nārada Muni, are that one should accept the mantra through a bona fide spiritual master and hear the mantra in the right ear. Not only should one chant or murmur the mantra, but in front of him he must have the Deity, or physical form of the Lord. Of course, when the Lord appears it is no longer a physical form. For example, when an iron rod is made red-hot in a fire, it is no longer iron; it is fire. Similarly, when we make a form of the Lord—whether of wood or stone or metal or jewels or paint, or even a form within the mind—it is a bona fide, spiritual, transcendental form of the Lord. Not only must one receive the mantra from the bona fide spiritual master like Nārada Muni or his representative in the disciplic succession, but one must chant the mantra. And not only must one chant, but he should also offer whatever foodstuff is available in his part of the world, according to time and convenience.
The method of worship—chanting the mantra and preparing the forms of the Lord—is not stereotyped, nor is it exactly the same everywhere. lt is specifically mentioned in this verse that one should take consideration of the time, place and available conveniences. Our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is going on throughout the entire world, and we also install Deities in different centers. Sometimes our Indian friends, puffed up with concocted notions, criticize, “This has not been done. That has not been done.” But they forget this instruction of Nārada Muni to one of the greatest Vaiṣṇavas, Dhruva Mahārāja. One has to consider the particular time, country and conveniences. What is convenient in India may not be convenient in the Western countries. Those who are not actually in the line of ācāryas, or who personally have no knowledge of how to act in the role of ācārya, unnecessarily criticize the activities of the ISKCON movement in countries outside of India. The fact is that such critics cannot do anything personally to spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness. If someone does go and preach, taking all risks and allowing all considerations for time and place, it might be that there are changes in the manner of worship, but that is not at all faulty according to śāstra. Śrīmad Vīrarāghava Ācārya, an ācārya in the disciplic succession of the Rāmānuja-sampradāya, has remarked in his commentary that caṇḍālas, or conditioned souls who are born in lower than śūdra families, can also be initiated according to circumstances. The formalities may be slightly changed here and there to make them Vaiṣṇavas.
Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu recommends that His name should be heard in every nook and corner of the world. How is this possible unless one preaches everywhere? The cult of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu is bhāgavata-dharma, and He especially recommends kṛṣṇa-kathā, or the cult of Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. He recommends that every Indian, considering this task to be para-upakāra, or welfare activity, take the Lord’s message to other residents of the world. “Other residents of the world” does not refer only to those who are exactly like the Indian brāhmaṇas and kṣatriyas, or like the caste brāhmaṇas, who claim to be brāhmaṇas because they were born in the families of brāhmaṇas. The principle that only Indians and Hindus should be brought into the Vaiṣṇava cult is a mistaken idea. There should be propaganda to bring everyone to the Vaiṣṇava cult. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is meant for this purpose. There is no bar to propagating the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement even among people who are born in caṇḍāla, mleccha or yavana families. Even in India, this point has been enunciated by Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī in his book Hari-bhakti-vilāsa, which is smṛti and is the authorized Vedic guide for Vaiṣṇavas in their daily behavior. Sanātana Gosvāmī says that as bell metal can turn to gold when mixed with mercury in a chemical process, so, by the bona fide dīkṣā, or initiation method, anyone can become a Vaiṣṇava. One should take initiation from a bona fide spiritual master coming in the disciplic succession, who is authorized by his predecessor spiritual master. I his is called dīkṣā-vidhāna. Lord Kṛṣṇa states in Bhagavad-gītā, vyapāśritya: one should accept a spiritual master. By this process the entire world can be converted to Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
salilaiḥ śucibhir mālyair
vanyair mūla-phalādibhiḥ
śastāṅkurāṁśukaiś cārcet
tulasyā priyayā prabhum
salilaiḥ—by use of water; śucibhiḥ—being purified; mālyaiḥ—by garlands; vanyaiḥ—of forest flowers; mūla—roots; phala-ādibhiḥ—by different kinds of vegetables and fruits; śasta—the newly grown grass; aṅkura—buds; aṁśukaiḥ—by the skin of trees, such as the bhūrja; ca—and; arcet—should worship; tulasyā—by the tulasī leaves; priyayā—which are very dear to the Lord; prabhum—the Lord.
One should worship the Lord by offering pure water, pure flower garlands, fruits, flowers and vegetables, which are available in the forest, or by collecting newly grown grasses, small buds of flowers or even the skins of trees, and if possible, by offering tulasī leaves, which are very dear to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
It is specifically mentioned herein that tulasī leaves are very dear to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and devotees should take particular care to have tulasī leaves in every temple and center of worship. In the Western countries, while engaged in propagating the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, we were brought great unhappiness because we could not find tulasī leaves. We are very much obliged, therefore, to our disciple Śrīmatī Govinda dāsī because she has taken much care to grow tulasī plants from seeds, and she has been successful by the grace of Kṛṣṇa. Now tulasī plants are growing in almost every center of our movement.
Tulasī leaves are very important in the method of worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In this verse the word salilaiḥ means “by the water.” Of course, Dhruva Mahārāja was worshiping on the bank of the Yamunā. The Yamunā and the Ganges are sacred, and sometimes devotees in India insist that the Deity must be worshiped with water of the Ganges or Yamunā. But here we understand deśa-kāla to mean “according to time and country.” In the Western countries there is no River Yamunā or Ganges—water from such sacred rivers is not available. Does this mean that the arcā worship should for that reason be stopped? No. Salilaiḥ refers to any water—whatever is available—but it must be very clear and collected purely. That water can be used. The other paraphernalia, such as flower garlands, fruits and vegetables, should be collected according to the country and according to their availability. Tulasī leaves are very important for satisfying the Lord, so as far as possible an arrangement should be made for growing tulasī leaves. Dhruva Mahārāja was advised to worship the Lord with the fruits and flowers available in the forest. In the Bhagavad-gītā Kṛṣṇa frankly says that He accepts vegetables, fruits, flowers, etc. One should not offer Lord Vāsudeva anything other than what is prescribed herein by the great authority Nārada Muni. One cannot offer to the Deity according to one’s whims; since these fruits and vegetables are available anywhere in the universe, we should observe this small point very attentively.
labdhvā dravyamayīm arcāṁ
kṣity-ambv-ādiṣu vārcayet
ābhṛtātmā muniḥ śānto
yata-vāṅ mita-vanya-bhuk
labdhvā—by getting; dravya-mayīm—made of physical elements; arcām—worshipable Deity; kṣiti—earth; ambu—water; ādiṣu—beginning with; —or; arcayet—worship; ābhṛta-ātmā—one who is fully self-controlled; muniḥ—a great personality; śāntaḥ—peacefully; yata-vāk—controlling the force of talking; mita—frugal; vanya-bhuk—eating whatever is available in the forest.
It is possible to worship a form of the Lord made of physical elements such as earth, water, pulp, wood and metal. In the forest one can make a form with no more than earth and water and worship Him according to the above principles. A devotee who has full control over his self should be very sober and peaceful and must be satisfied simply with eating whatever fruits and vegetables are available in the forest.
It is essential for a devotee to worship the form of the Lord and not only meditate upon the form of the Lord within his mind with the chanting of the mantra given by the spiritual master. The worship of the form must be present. The impersonalist takes unnecessary trouble to meditate upon or worship something impersonal, and the path is very precarious. We are not advised to follow the impersonalist way of meditating on or worshiping the Lord. Dhruva Mahārāja was advised to worship a form made of earth and water because in the jungle, if it is not possible to have a form made of metal, wood or stone, the best process is to take earth mixed with water and make a form of the Lord and worship Him. The devotee should not be anxious about cooking food; whatever is available in the forest or in the city among the fruit and vegetable groups should be offered to the Deity, and the devotee should be satisfied eating that. He should not be anxious to have very palatable dishes. Of course, wherever it is possible, one should offer the Deities the best foodstuffs, prepared within the category of fruits and vegetables, cooked or uncooked. The important factor is that the devotee should be regulated (mita-bhuk); that is one of the good qualifications of a devotee. He should not hanker to satisfy the tongue with a particular kind of foodstuff. He should be satisfied to eat whatever prasāda is available by the grace of the Lord.
kariṣyaty uttamaślokas
tad dhyāyed dhṛdayaṅ-gamam
sva-icchā—by His own supreme will; avatāra—incarnation; caritaiḥ—activities; acintya—inconceivable; nija-māyayā—by His own potency; kariṣyati—performs; uttama-ślokaḥ—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; tat—that; dhyāyet—one should meditate; hṛdayam-gamam—very attractive.
My dear Dhruva, besides worshiping the Deity and chanting the mantra three times a day, you should meditate upon the transcendental activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His different incarnations, as exhibited by His supreme will and personal potencies.
Devotional service comprises nine prescribed practices—hearing, chanting, remembering, worshiping, serving, offering everything to the Deity, etc. Here Dhruva Mahārāja is advised not only to meditate on the form of the Lord, but to think of His transcendental pastimes in His different incarnations. Māyāvādī philosophers take the incarnation of the Lord to be in the same category as the ordinary living entity. This is a great mistake. The incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is not forced to act by the material laws of nature. The word svecchā is used here to indicate that He appears out of His supreme will. The conditioned soul is forced to accept a particular type of body according to his karma given by the laws of material nature under the direction of the Supreme Lord. But when the Lord appears, He is not forced by the dictation of material nature; He appears as He likes by His own internal potency. That is the difference. The conditioned soul accepts a particular type of body, such as the body of a hog, by his work and by the superior authority of material nature. But when Lord Kṛṣṇa appears in the incarnation of a boar, He is not the same kind of hog as an ordinary animal. Kṛṣṇa appears as Varāha-avatāra in an expansive feature which cannot be compared to an ordinary hog’s. His appearance and disappearance are inconceivable to us. In the Bhagavad-gītā it is clearly said that He appears by His own internal potency for the protection of the devotees and the annihilation of the nondevotees. A devotee should always consider that Kṛṣṇa does not appear as an ordinary human being or ordinary beast; His appearance as Varāha-mūrti or a horse or tortoise is an exhibition of His internal potency. In the Brahma-saṁhitā it is said, ānanda-cinmaya-rasa-pratibhāvitābhiḥ: one should not mistake the appearance of the Lord as a human being or a beast to be the same as the birth of an ordinary conditioned soul, who is forced to appear by the laws of nature, whether as an animal, as a human being or as a demigod. This kind of thinking is offensive. Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu has condemned the Māyāvādīs as offensive to the Supreme Personality of Godhead because of their thinking that the Lord and the conditioned living entities are one and the same.
Nārada advises Dhruva to meditate on the pastimes of the Lord, which is as good as the meditation of concentrating one’s mind on the form of the Lord. As meditation on any form of the Lord is valuable, so is chanting of different names of the Lord, such as Hari, Govinda and Nārāyaṇa. But in this age we are especially advised to chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra as enunciated in the śāstra: Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare/ Hare Rāma, Hare Rāma, Rāma Rāma, Hare Hare.
paricaryā bhagavato
yāvatyaḥ pūrva-sevitāḥ
tā mantra-hṛdayenaiva
prayuñjyān mantra-mūrtaye
paricaryāḥ—service; bhagavataḥ—of the Personality of Godhead; yāvatyaḥ—as they are prescribed (as above mentioned); pūrva-sevitāḥ—recommended or done by previous ācāryas; tāḥ—that; mantra—hymns; hṛdayena—within the heart; eva—certainly; prayuñjyāt—one should worship; mantra-mūrtaye—who is nondifferent from the mantra.
One should follow in the footsteps of previous devotees regarding how to worship the Supreme Lord with the prescribed paraphernalia, or one should offer worship within the heart by reciting the mantra to the Personality of Godhead, who is nondifferent from the mantra.
It is recommended here that even if one cannot arrange to worship the forms of the Lord with all recommended paraphernalia, one can simply think about the form of the Lord and mentally offer everything recommended in the śāstras, including flowers, candana pulp, conchshell, umbrella, fan and cāmara. One can meditate upon offering and chant the twelve-syllable mantra, oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. Since the mantra and the Supreme Personality of Godhead are nondifferent, one can worship the form of the Lord with the mantra in the absence of physical paraphernalia. The story of the brāhmaṇa who worshiped the Lord within his mind, as related in Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, or The Nectar of Devotion, should be consulted in this connection. If paraphernalia is not present physically, one can think of the items and offer them to the Deity by chanting the mantra. Such are the liberal and potent facilities in the process of devotional service.
TEXTS 59–60
evaṁ kāyena manasā
vacasā ca mano-gatam
paricaryamāṇo bhagavān
puṁsām amāyināṁ samyag
bhajatāṁ bhāva-vardhanaḥ
śreyo diśaty abhimataṁ
yad dharmādiṣu dehinām
evam—thus; kāyena—by the body; manasā—by the mind; vacasā—by the words; ca—also; manaḥ-gatam—simply by thinking of the Lord; paricaryamāṇaḥ—engaged in the devotional service; bhagavān—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; bhakti-mat—according to the regulative principles of devotional service; paricaryayā—by worshiping the Lord; puṁsām—of the devotee; amāyinām—who is sincere and serious; samyak—perfectly; bhajatām—engaged in devotional service; bhāva-vardhanaḥ—the Lord, who increases the ecstasy of the devotee; śreyaḥ—ultimate goal; diśati—bestows; abhimatam—desire; yat—as they are; dharma-ādiṣu—regarding spiritual life and economic development; dehinām—of the conditioned souls.
Anyone who thus engages in the devotional service of the Lord, seriously and sincerely, with his mind, words and body, and who is fixed in the activities of the prescribed devotional methods, is blessed by the Lord according to his desire. If a devotee desires material religiosity, economic development, sense gratification or liberation from the material world, he is awarded these results.
Devotional service is so potent that one who renders devotional service can receive whatever he likes as a benediction from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The conditioned souls are very much attached to the material world, and thus by performing religious rites they want the material benefits known as dharma and artha.
viraktaś cendriya-ratau
bhakti-yogena bhūyasā
taṁ nirantara-bhāvena
bhajetāddhā vimuktaye
viraktaḥ ca—completely renounced order of life; indriya-ratau—in the matter of sense gratification; bhakti-yogena—by the process of devotional service; bhūyasā—with great seriousness; tam—unto Him (the Supreme); nirantara—constantly, twenty-four hours daily; bhāvena—in the topmost stage of ecstasy; bhajeta—must worship; addhā—directly; vimuktaye—for liberation.
If one is very serious about liberation, he must stick to the process of transcendental loving service, engaging twenty-four hours a day in the highest stage of ecstasy, and he must certainly be aloof from all activities of sense gratification.
There are different stages of perfection according to different persons’ objectives. Generally people are karmīs, for they engage in activities of sense gratification. Above the karmīs are the jñānīs, who are trying to become liberated from material entanglement. Yogīs are still more advanced because they meditate on the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. And above all these are the devotees, who simply engage in the transcendental loving service of the Lord; they are situated seriously on the topmost platform of ecstasy.
Here Dhruva Mahārāja is advised that if he has no desire for sense gratification, then he should directly engage himself in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. The path of apavarga, or liberation, begins from the stage called mokṣa. ln this verse the word vimuktaye, “for liberation,” is especially mentioned. If one wants to he happy within this material world, he may aspire to go to the different material planetary systems where there is a higher standard of sense gratification, but real mokṣa, or liberation, is performed without any such desire. This is explained in the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu by the term anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyam [Madhya 19.167], “without desire for material sense gratification.” For persons who are still inclined to enjoy material life in different stages or on different planets, the stage of liberation in bhakti-yoga is not recommended. Only persons who are completely free from the contamination of sense gratification can execute bhakti-yoga, or the process of devotional service, very purely. The activities on the path of apavarga up to the stages of dharma, artha and kāma are meant for sense gratification, but when one comes to the stage of mokṣa, the impersonalist liberation, the practitioner wants to merge into the existence of the Supreme. But that is also sense gratification. When one goes above the stage of liberation, however, he at once becomes one of the associates of the Lord to render transcendental loving service. That is technically called vimukti. For this specific vimukti liberation, Nārada Muni recommends that one directly engage himself in devotional service.
ity uktas taṁ parikramya
praṇamya ca nṛpārbhakaḥ
yayau madhuvanaṁ puṇyaṁ
hareś caraṇa-carcitam
iti—thus; uktaḥ—being spoken; tam—him (Nārada Muni); parikramya—by circumambulating; praṇamya—by offering obeisances; ca—also; nṛpa-arbhakaḥ—the boy of the King; yayau—went to; madhuvanam—a forest in Vṛndāvana known as Madhuvana; puṇyam—which is auspicious and pious; hareḥ—of the Lord; caraṇa-carcitam—imprinted by the lotus feet of Lord Kṛṣṇa.
When Dhruva Mahārāja, the son of the King, was thus advised by the great sage Nārada, he circumambulated Nārada, his spiritual master, and offered him respectful obeisances. Then he started for Madhuvana, which is always imprinted with the lotus footprints of Lord Kṛṣṇa and which is therefore especially auspicious.
tapo-vanaṁ gate tasmin
praviṣṭo ’ntaḥ-puraṁ muniḥ
arhitārhaṇako rājñā
sukhāsīna uvāca tam
tapaḥ-vanam—the forest path where Dhruva Mahārāja executed his austerity; gate—having thus approached; tasmin—there; praviṣṭaḥ—having entered; antaḥ-puram—within the private house; muniḥ—the great sage Nārada; arhita—being worshiped; arhaṇakaḥ—by respectful behavior; rājñā—by the King; sukha-āsīnaḥ—when he comfortably sat on his seat; uvāca—said; tam—unto him (the King).
After Dhruva entered Madhuvana Forest to execute devotional service, the great sage Nārada thought it wise to go to the King to see how he was faring within the palace. When Nārada Muni approached, the King received him properly, offering him due obeisances. After being seated comfortably, Nārada began to speak.
nārada uvāca
rājan kiṁ dhyāyase dīrghaṁ
mukhena pariśuṣyatā
kiṁ vā na riṣyate kāmo
dharmo vārthena saṁyutaḥ
nāradaḥ uvāca—the great sage Nārada Muni said; rājan—my dear King; kim—what; dhyāyase—thinking of; dīrgham—very deeply; mukhena—with your face; pariśuṣyatā—as if drying up; kim —whether; na—not; riṣyate—been lost; kāmaḥ—sense gratification; dharmaḥ—religious rituals; —or; arthena—with economic development; saṁyutaḥ—along with.
The great sage Nārada inquired: My dear King, your face appears to be withering up, and you look like you have been thinking of something for a very long time. Why is that? Have you been hampered in following your path of religious rites, economic development and sense gratification?
The four stages of advancement of human civilisation are religiosity, economic development, sense gratification and, for some, the stage of liberation. Nārada Muni did not inquire from the King about his liberation, but only regarding the state management, which is meant for advancement of the three principles religiosity, economic development and sense gratification. Since those who engage in such activities are not interested in liberation, Nārada did not inquire from the King about this. Liberation is meant for persons who have lost all interest in religious ritualistic ceremonies, economic development and sense gratification.
suto me bālako brahman
nirvāsitaḥ pañca-varṣaḥ
saha mātrā mahān kaviḥ
rājā uvāca—the King replied; sutaḥ—son; me—my; bālakaḥ—tender boy; brahman—my dear brāhmaṇa; straiṇena—one who is too addicted to his wife; akaruṇā-ātmanā—one who is very hard of heart and without mercy; nirvāsitaḥ—is banished; pañca-varṣaḥ—although the boy is five years old; saha—with; mātrā—mother; mahān—great personality; kaviḥ—devotee.
The King replied: O best of the brāhmaṇas, I am very much addicted to my wife, and I am so fallen that I have abandoned all merciful behavior, even to my son, who is only five years old. I have banished him and his mother, even though he is a great soul and a great devotee.
In this verse there are some specific words which are to be understood very carefully. The King said that since he was very much addicted to his wife, he had lost all his mercy. That is the result of becoming too affectionate toward women. The King had two wives; the first wife was Sunīti, and the second was Suruci. He was too attached to the second wife, however, so he could not behave well with Dhruva Mahārāja. That was the cause of Dhruva’s leaving home to perform austerities. Although as a father the King was affectionate toward his son, he minimized his affection for Dhruva Mahārāja because he was too much addicted to the second wife. Now he was repenting that both Dhruva Mahārāja and his mother, Sunīti, were practically banished. Dhruva Mahārāja went to the forest, and since his mother was being neglected by the King, she was therefore almost banished also. The King repented having banished his boy, for Dhruva was only five years old and a father should not banish his wife and children or neglect their maintenance. Repentant over his neglect of both Sunīti and her son, he was morose, and his face appeared withered. According to Manu-smṛti, one should never desert his wife and children. In a case where the wife and children are disobedient and do not follow the principles of home life, they are sometimes given up. But in the case of Dhruva Mahārāja this was not applicable because Dhruva was very mannerly and obedient. Moreover, he was a great devotee. Such a person is never to be neglected, yet the King was obliged to banish him. Now he was very sorry.
apy anāthaṁ vane brahman
mā smādanty arbhakaṁ vṛkāḥ
śrāntaṁ śayānaṁ kṣudhitaṁ
api—certainly; anātham—without being protected by anyone; vane—in the forest; brahman—my dear brāhmaṇa; —whether or not; sma—did not; adanti—devour; arbhakam—the helpless boy; vṛkāḥ—wolves; śrāntam—being fatigued; śayānam—lying down; kṣudhitam—being hungry; parimlāna—emaciated; mukha-ambujam—his face, which is just like a lotus flower.
My dear brāhmaṇa, the face of my son was just like a lotus flower. I am thinking of his precarious condition. He is unprotected, and he might he very hungry. He might have lain down somewhere in the forest, and the wolves might have attacked him to eat his body.
aho me bata daurātmyaṁ
yo ’ṅkaṁ premṇārurukṣantaṁ
nābhyanandam asattamaḥ
aho—alas; me—my; bata—certainly; daurātmyam—cruelty; strī-jitasya—conquered by a woman; upadhāraya—just think of me in this regard; yaḥ—who; aṅkam—lap; premṇā—out of love; ārurukṣantam—trying to rise onto it; na—not; abhyanandam—received properly; asat-tamaḥ—the most cruel.
Alas, just see how I was conquered by my wife! Just imagine my cruelty! Out of love and affection the boy was trying to get up on my lap, but I did not receive him, nor did I even pat him for a moment. Just imagine how hardhearted I am.
nārada uvāca
mā mā śucaḥ sva-tanayaṁ
deva-guptaṁ viśāmpate
tat-prabhāvam avijñāya
prāvṛṅkte yad-yaśo jagat
nāradaḥ uvāca—the great sage Nārada said; —do not; —do not; śucaḥ—be aggrieved; sva-tanayam—of your own son; deva-guptam—he is well protected by the Lord; viśām-pate—O master of human society; tat—his; prabhāvam—influence; avijñāya—without knowing; prāvṛṅkte—widespread; yat—whose; yaśaḥ—reputation; jagat—all over the world.
The great sage Nārada replied: My dear King, please do not he aggrieved about your son. He is well protected by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Although you have no actual information of his influence, his reputation is already spread all over the world.
Sometimes when we hear that great sages and devotees go to the forest and engage themselves in devotional service or meditation, we become surprised: how can one live in the forest and not be taken care of by anyone? But the answer, given by a great authority, Nārada Muni, is that such persons are well protected by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Śaraṇāgati, or surrender, means acceptance or firm belief that wherever the surrendered soul lives he is always protected by the Supreme Personality of Godhead; he is never alone or unprotected. Dhruva Mahārāja’s affectionate father thought his young boy, only five years old, to be in a very precarious position in the jungle, but Nārada Muni assured him, “You do not have sufficient information about the influence of your son.” Anyone who engages in devotional service, anywhere within this universe, is never unprotected.
suduṣkaraṁ karma kṛtvā
loka-pālair api prabhuḥ
aiṣyaty acirato rājan
yaśo vipulayaṁs tava
su-duṣkaram—impossible to perform; karma—work; kṛtvā—after performing; loka-pālaiḥ—by great personalities; api—even; prabhuḥ—quite competent; aiṣyati—will come back; acirataḥ—without delay; rājan—my dear King; yaśaḥ—reputation; vipulayan—causing to become great; tava—your.
My dear King, your son is very competent. He will perform activities which would he impossible even for great kings and sages. Very soon he will complete his task and come back home. You should know that he will also spread your reputation all over the world.
Here in this verse Nārada Muni has described Dhruva Mahārāja as prabhu. This word is applicable to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Sometimes the spiritual master is addressed as Prabhupāda. Prabhu means “the Supreme Personality of Godhead,” and pāda means “post.” According to Vaiṣṇava philosophy, the spiritual master occupies the post of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, or in other words he is the bona fide representative of the Supreme Lord. Dhruva Mahārāja is also described here as prabhu because he is an ācārya of the Vaiṣṇava school. Another meaning of prabhu is “master of the senses,” just like the word svāmī. Another significant word is suduṣkaram, “very difficult to perform.” What was the task that Dhruva Mahārāja undertook? The most difficult task in life is to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and Dhruva Mahārāja would be able to do that. We must remember that Dhruva Mahārāja was not fickle; he was determined to execute his service and then come back. Every devotee, therefore, should be determined that in this life he will be able to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead and by that process go back home, back to Godhead. That is the perfection of the highest mission of life.
maitreya uvāca
iti devarṣiṇā proktaṁ
viśrutya jagatī-patiḥ
rāja-lakṣmīm anādṛtya
putram evānvacintayat
maitreyaḥ uvāca—the great sage Maitreya said; iti—thus; devarṣiṇā—by the great sage Nārada; proktam—spoken; viśrutya—hearing; jagatī-patiḥ—the King; rāja-lakṣmīm—the opulence of his big kingdom; anādṛtya—without taking care of; putram—his son; eva—certainly; anvacintayat—began to think of him.
The great Maitreya continued: The King, Uttānapāda, after being advised by Nārada Muni, practically gave up all duties in relation with his kingdom, which was very vast and wide, opulent like the goddess of fortune, and he simply began to think of his son Dhruva.
tatrābhiṣiktaḥ prayatas
tām upoṣya vibhāvarīm
samāhitaḥ paryacarad
ṛṣy-ādeśena pūruṣam
tatra—thereupon; abhiṣiktaḥ—after taking a bath; prayataḥ—with great attention; tām—that; upoṣya—fasting; vibhāvarīm—night; samāhitaḥ—perfect attention; paryacarat—worshiped; ṛṣi—by the great sage Nārada; ādeśena—as advised; pūruṣam—the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Elsewhere, Dhruva Mahārāja, having arrived at Madhuvana, took his bath in the River Yamunā and observed fasting in the night with great care and attention. After that, as advised by the great sage Nārada, he engaged himself in worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
The significance of this particular verse is that Dhruva Mahārāja acted exactly according to the advice of his spiritual master, the great sage Nārada. Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī also advises that if we want to be successful in our attempt to go back to Godhead, we must very seriously act according to the instruction of the spiritual master. That is the way of perfection. There need be no anxiety over attaining perfection because if one follows the instruction given by the spiritual master he is sure to attain perfection. Our only concern should be how to execute the order of the spiritual master. A spiritual master is expert in giving special instructions to each of his disciples, and if the disciple executes the order of the spiritual master, that is the way of his perfection.
tri-rātrānte tri-rātrānte
māsaṁ ninye ’rcayan harim
tri—three; rātra-ante—at the end of night; tri—three; rātra-ante—at the end of night; kapittha-badara—fruits and berries; aśanaḥ—eating; ātma-vṛtti—just to preserve the body; anusāreṇa—as it was necessary, minimum; māsam—one month; ninye—passed away; arcayan—worshiping; harim—the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
For the first month Dhruva Mahārāja ate only fruits and berries on every third day, only to keep his body and soul together, and in this way he progressed in his worship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Kapittha is a flower which is known in Indian vernacular as kayeta. We do not find an English equivalent for the name of this flower, but its fruit is generally not accepted by human beings; it is eaten by monkeys in the forest. Dhruva Mahārāja, however, accepted such fruits, not for luxurious feasting but just to keep his body and soul together. The body needs food, but a devotee should not accept foodstuff to satisfy the tongue in sense gratification. It is recommended in Bhagavad-gītā that one should accept as much food as necessary to keep the body fit, but one should not eat for luxury. Dhruva Mahārāja is an ācārya, and by undergoing severe austerities and penances he teaches us how one should execute devotional service. We must carefully know the process of Dhruva Mahārāja’s service; how severely he passed his days will be shown in later verses. We should always remember that to become a bona fide devotee of the Lord is not an easy task, but in this age, by the mercy of Lord Caitanya, it has been made very easy. But if we do not follow even the liberal instructions of Lord Caitanya, how can we expect to discharge our regular duties in devotional service? lt is not possible in this age to follow Dhruva Mahārāja in his austerity, but the principles must be followed; we should not disregard the regulative principles given by our spiritual master, for they make it easier for the conditioned soul. As far as our ISKCON movement is concerned, we simply ask that one observe the four prohibitive rules, chant sixteen rounds and, instead of indulging in luxurious eating for the tongue, simply accept prasāda offered to the Lord. This does not mean that with our fasting the Lord should also fast. The Lord should be given foodstuff which is as nice as possible. But we should not make it a point to satisfy our own tongues. As far as possible we should accept simple foodstuff, just to keep the body and soul together to execute devotional service.
It is our duty to remember always that in comparison to Dhruva Mahārāja we are insignificant. We cannot do anything like what Dhruva Mahārāja did for self-realization because we are absolutely incompetent to execute such service. But by Lord Caitanya’s mercy we have been given all concessions possible for this age, so at least we should always remember that neglect of our prescribed duties in devotional service will not make us successful in the mission we have undertaken. It is our duty to follow in the footsteps of Dhruva Mahārāja, for he was very determined. We should also be determined to finish our duties in executing devotional service in this life; we should not wait for another life to finish our job.
dvitīyaṁ ca tathā māsaṁ
ṣaṣṭhe ṣaṣṭhe ’rbhako dine
tṛṇa-parṇādibhiḥ śīrṇaiḥ
kṛtānno ’bhyarcayan vibhum
dvitīyam—the next month; ca—also; tathā—as mentioned above; māsam—month; ṣaṣṭhe ṣaṣṭhe—every sixth day; arbhakaḥ—the innocent boy; dine—on days; tṛṇa-parṇa-ādibhiḥ—by grasses and leaves; śīrṇaiḥ—which were dry; kṛta-annaḥ—made for his food; abhyarcayan—and thus continued his method of worship; vibhum—for the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
In the second month Dhruva Mahārāja ate only every six days, and for his eatables he took dry grass and leaves. Thus he continued his worship.
tṛtīyaṁ cānayan māsaṁ
navame navame ’hani
ab-bhakṣa uttamaślokam
upādhāvat samādhinā
tṛtīyam—the third month; ca—also; ānayan—passing; māsam—one month; navame navame—on each ninth; ahani—on the day; ap-bhakṣaḥ—drinking water only; uttama-ślokam—the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is worshiped by selected verses; upādhāvat—worshiped; samādhinā—in trance.
In the third month he drank water only every nine days. Thus he remained completely in trance and worshiped the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is adored by selected verses.
caturtham api vai māsaṁ
dvādaśe dvādaśe ’hani
vāyu-bhakṣo jita-śvāso
dhyāyan devam adhārayat
caturtham—fourth; api—also; vai—in that way; māsam—the month; dvādaśe dvādaśe—on the twelfth; ahani—day; vāyu—air; bhakṣaḥ—eating; jita-śvāsaḥ—controlling the breathing process; dhyāyan—meditating; devam—the Supreme Lord; adhārayat—worshiped.
In the fourth month Dhruva Mahārāja became a complete master of the breathing exercise, and thus he inhaled air only every twelfth day. In this way he became completely fixed in his position and worshiped the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
pañcame māsy anuprāpte
jita-śvāso nṛpātmajaḥ
dhyāyan brahma padaikena
tasthau sthāṇur ivācalaḥ
pañcame—in the fifth; māsi—in the month; anuprāpte—being situated; jita-śvāsaḥ—and still controlling the breathing; nṛpa-ātmajaḥ—the son of the King; dhyāyan—meditating; brahma—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; padā ekena—with one leg; tasthau—stood; sthāṇuḥ—just like a column; iva—like; acalaḥ—without movement.
By the fifth month, Mahārāja Dhruva, the son of the King, had controlled his breathing so perfectly that he was able to stand on only one leg, just as a column stands, without motion, and concentrate his mind fully on the Parabrahman.
sarvato mana ākṛṣya
hṛdi bhūtendriyāśayam
dhyāyan bhagavato rūpaṁ
nādrākṣīt kiñcanāparam
sarvataḥ—in all respects; manaḥ—mind; ākṛṣya—concentrating; hṛdi—in the heart; bhūta-indriya-āśayam—resting place of the senses and the objects of the senses; dhyāyan—meditating; bhagavataḥ—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; rūpam—form; na adrākṣīt—did not see; kiñcana—anything; aparam—else.
He completely controlled his senses and their objects, and in this way he fixed his mind, without diversion to anything else, upon the form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
The yogic principles of meditation are clearly explained here. One has to fix one’s mind upon the form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead without diversion to any other objective. It is not that one can meditate or concentrate on an impersonal objective. To try to do so is simply a waste of time, for it is unnecessarily troublesome, as explained in Bhagavad-gītā.
ādhāraṁ mahad-ādīnāṁ
brahma dhārayamāṇasya

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