In this chapter Bharata Mahārāja, now Jaḍa Bharata, was successfully accepted by King Rahūgaṇa, ruler of the states known as Sindhu and Sauvīra. The King forced Jaḍa Bharata to carry his palanquin and chastised him because he did not carry it properly. A carrier of King Rahūgaṇa’s palanquin was needed, and to fulfill this need the chief carriers found Jaḍa Bharata as the most likely person to do the work. He was therefore forced to carry the palanquin. Jaḍa Bharata, however, did not protest this proud order, but humbly accepted the job and carried the palanquin. While carrying it, however, he was very careful to see that he did not step on an ant, and whenever he saw one, he would stop until the ant had passed. Because of this, he could not keep pace with the other carriers. The King within the palanquin became very disturbed and chastised Jaḍa Bharata with filthy language, but Jaḍa Bharata, being completely freed from the bodily conception, did not protest; he proceeded carrying the palanquin. When he continued as before, the King threatened him with punishment, and being threatened by the King, Jaḍa Bharata began to talk. He protested against the filthy language used by the King when the King chastised him, and the King, hearing the instructions of Jaḍa Bharata, was awakened to his real knowledge. When he came to his consciousness, he understood that he had offended a great, learned and saintly person. At that time he very humbly and respectfully prayed to Jaḍa Bharata. He now wanted to understand the deep meaning of the philosophical words used by Jaḍa Bharata, and with great sincerity, he begged his pardon. He admitted that if one offends the lotus feet of a pure devotee, he is certainly punished by the trident of Lord Śiva.
atha sindhu-sauvīra-pate rahūgaṇasya vrajata ikṣumatyās taṭe tat-kula-patinā śibikā-vāha-puruṣānveṣaṇa-samaye daivenopasāditaḥ sa dvija-vara upalabdha eṣa pīvā yuvā saṁhananāṅgo go-kharavad dhuraṁ voḍhum alam iti pūrva-viṣṭi-gṛhītaiḥ saha gṛhītaḥ prasabham atad-arha uvāha śibikāṁ sa mahānubhāvaḥ.
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued to speak; atha—thus; sindhu-sauvīra-pateḥ—of the ruler of the states known as Sindhu and Sauvīra; rahū-gaṇasya—the King known as Rahūgaṇa; vrajataḥ—while going (to the āśrama of Kapila); ikṣu-matyāḥ taṭe—on the bank of the river known as Ikṣumatī; tat-kula-patinā—by the leader of the palanquin carriers; śibikā-vāha—to become a carrier of the palanquin; puruṣa-anveṣaṇa-samaye—at the time of searching for a man; daivena—by chance; upasāditaḥ—led near; saḥ—that; dvija-varaḥ—Jaḍa Bharata, the son of a brāhmaṇa; upalabdhaḥ—obtained; eṣaḥ—this man; pīvā—very strong and stout; yuvā—young; saṁhanana-aṅgaḥ—having very firm limbs; go-khara-vat—like a cow or an ass; dhuram—a load; voḍhum—to carry; alam—able; iti—thus thinking; pūrva-viṣṭi-gṛhītaiḥ—others who were formerly forced to do the task; saha—with; gṛhītaḥ—being taken; prasabham—by force; a-tat-arhaḥ—although not fit for carrying the palanquin; uvāha—carried; śibikām—the palanquin; saḥ—he; mahā-anubhāvaḥ—a great soul.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued: My dear King, after this, King Rahūgaṇa, ruler of the states known as Sindhu and Sauvīra, was going to Kapilāśrama. When the King’s chief palanquin carriers reached the banks of the River Ikṣumatī, they needed another carrier. Therefore they began searching for someone, and by chance they came upon Jaḍa Bharata. They considered the fact that Jaḍa Bharata was very young and strong and had firm limbs. Like cows and asses, he was quite fit to carry loads. Thinking in this way, although the great soul Jaḍa Bharata was unfit for such work, they nonetheless unhesitatingly forced him to carry the palanquin.
yadā hi dvija-varasyeṣu-mātrāvalokānugater na samāhitā puruṣa-gatis tadā viṣama-gatāṁ sva-śibikāṁ rahūgaṇa upadhārya puruṣān adhivahata āha he voḍhāraḥ sādhv atikramata kim iti viṣamam uhyate yānam iti.
yadā—when; hi—certainly; dvija-varasya—of Jaḍa Bharata; iṣu-mātra—the measurement of an arrow (three feet) ahead; avaloka-anugateḥ—from moving only after glancing; na samāhitā—not united; puruṣa-gatiḥ—the movement of the carriers; tadā—at that time; viṣama-gatām—becoming uneven; sva-śibikām—his own palanquin; rahūgaṇaḥ—King Rahūgaṇa; upadhārya—understanding; puruṣān—unto the men; adhivahataḥ—who were carrying the palanquin; āha—said; he—oh; voḍhāraḥ—carriers of the palanquin; sādhu atikramata—please walk evenly so that there will not be bouncing; kim iti—for what reason; viṣamam—uneven; uhyate—is being carried; yānam—the palanquin; iti—thus.
The palanquin, however, was very erratically carried by Jaḍa Bharata due to his sense of nonviolence. As he stepped forward, he checked before him every three feet to see whether he was about to step on ants. Consequently he could not keep pace with the other carriers. Due to this, the palanquin was shaking, and King Rahūgaṇa immediately asked the carriers, “Why are you carrying this palanquin unevenly? Better carry it properly.”
Although Jaḍa Bharata was forced to carry the palanquin, he did not give up his sympathetic feelings toward the poor ants passing on the road. A devotee of the Lord does not forget his devotional service and other favorable activities, even when he is in a most distressful condition. Jaḍa Bharata was a qualified brāhmaṇa, highly elevated in spiritual knowledge, yet he was forced to carry the palanquin. He did not mind this, but while walking on the road, he could not forget his duty to avoid killing even an ant. A Vaiṣṇava is never envious or unnecessarily violent. There were many ants on the path, but Jaḍa Bharata took care by looking ahead three feet. When the ants were no longer in his way, he would place his foot on the ground. A Vaiṣṇava is always very kind at heart to all living entities. In His sāṅkhya-yoga, Lord Kapiladeva explains: suhṛdaḥ sarva-dehinām. Living entities assume different bodily forms. Those who are not Vaiṣṇavas consider only human society worthy of their sympathy, but Kṛṣṇa claims to be the supreme father of all life forms. Consequently the Vaiṣṇava takes care not to annihilate untimely or unnecessarily any life form. All living entities have to fulfill a certain duration for being encaged in a particular type of material body. They have to finish the duration allotted a particular body before being promoted or evolved to another body. Killing an animal or any other living being simply places an impediment in the way of his completing his term of imprisonment in a certain body. One should therefore not kill bodies for one’s sense gratification, for this will implicate one in sinful activity.
atha ta īśvara-vacaḥ sopālambham upākarṇyopāya-turīyāc chaṅkita-manasas taṁ vijñāpayāṁ babhūvuḥ.
atha—thus; te—they (the carriers of the palanquin); īśvara-vacaḥ—the words of the master, King Rahūgaṇa; sa-upālambham—with reproach; upākarṇya—hearing; upāya—the means; turīyāt—from the fourth one; śaṅkita-manasaḥ—whose minds were afraid; tam—him (the King); vijñāpayām babhūvuḥ—informed.
When the palanquin carriers heard the threatening words of Mahārāja Rahūgaṇa, they became very afraid of his punishment and began to speak to him as follows.
According to political science, a king sometimes tries to pacify his subordinates, sometimes chastises them, sometimes derides them and sometimes rewards them. In this way the king rules his subordinates. The bearers of the palanquin could understand that the King was angry and that he would chastise them.
na vayaṁ nara-deva pramattā bhavan-niyamānupathāḥ sādhv eva vahāmaḥ. ayam adhunaiva niyukto ’pi na drutaṁ vrajati nānena saha voḍhum u ha vayaṁ pārayāma iti.
na—not; vayam—we; nara-deva—O lord among human beings (the king is supposed to be the representative of deva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead); pramattāḥ—neglectful in our duties; bhavat-niyama-anupathāḥ—who are always obedient to your order; sādhu—properly; eva—certainly; vahāmaḥ—we are carrying; ayam—this man; adhunā—just recently; eva—indeed; niyuktaḥ—being engaged to work with us; api—although; na—not; drutam—very quickly; vrajati—works; na—not; anena—him; saha—with; voḍhum—to carry; u ha—oh; vayam—we; pārayāmaḥ—are able; iti—thus.
O lord, please note that we are not at all negligent in discharging our duties. We have been faithfully carrying this palanquin according to your desire, but this man who has been recently engaged to work with us cannot walk very swiftly. Therefore we are not able to carry the palanquin with him.
The other palanquin carriers were śūdras, whereas Jaḍa Bharata was not only a high-caste brāhmaṇa but also a great devotee. Śūdras do not sympathize with other living beings, but a Vaiṣṇava cannot act like a śūdra. Whenever a śūdra and a brāhmaṇa Vaiṣṇava are combined, there will certainly be imbalance in the execution of duties. The śūdras were walking with the palanquin without at all caring for the ants on the ground, but Jaḍa Bharata could not act like a śūdra, and therefore difficulty arose.
sāṁsargiko doṣa eva nūnam ekasyāpi sarveṣāṁ sāṁsargikāṇāṁ bhavitum arhatīti niścitya niśamya kṛpaṇa-vaco rājā rahūgaṇa upāsita-vṛddho ’pi nisargeṇa balāt kṛta īṣad-utthita-manyur avispaṣṭa-brahma-tejasaṁ jāta-vedasam iva rajasāvṛta-matir āha.
sāṁsargikaḥ—resulting from intimate association; doṣaḥ—a fault; eva—indeed; nūnam—certainly; ekasya—of one; api—although; sarveṣām—of all other; sāṁsargikāṇām—persons associated with him; bhavitum—to become; arhati—is able; iti—thus; niścitya—ascertaining; niśamya—by hearing; kṛpaṇa-vacaḥ—the words of the poor servants, who were very afraid of being punished; rājā—the King; rahūgaṇaḥ—Rahūgaṇa; upāsita-vṛddhaḥ—having served and heard from many elderly sages; api—in spite of; nisargeṇa—by his personal nature, which was that of a kṣatriya; balāt—by force; kṛtaḥ—done; īṣat—slightly; utthita—awakened; manyuḥ—whose anger; avispaṣṭa—not being distinctly visible; brahma-tejasam—his (Jaḍa Bharata’s) spiritual effulgence; jāta-vedasam—a fire covered by ashes in Vedic ritualistic ceremonies; iva—like; rajasā āvṛta—covered by the mode of passion; matiḥ—whose mind; āha—said.
King Rahūgaṇa could understand the speeches given by the carriers, who were afraid of being punished. He could also understand that simply due to the fault of one person, the palanquin was not being carried properly. Knowing this perfectly well and hearing their appeal, he became a little angry, although he was very advanced in political science and was very experienced. His anger arose due to his inborn nature as a king. Actually King Rahūgaṇa’s mind was covered by the mode of passion, and he therefore spoke as follows to Jaḍa Bharata, whose Brahman effulgence was not clearly visible, being covered like a fire covered by ashes.
The distinction between rajo-guṇa and sattva-guṇa is explained in this verse. Although the King was very upright and advanced in political science and governmental management, he was nonetheless in the mode of passion, and therefore, due to a slight agitation, he became angry. Jaḍa Bharata, despite all kinds of injustice endured because of his deaf and dumb display, remained silent by the strength of his spiritual advancement. Nonetheless his brahma-tejaḥ, his Brahman effulgence, was indistinctly visible in his person.
aho kaṣṭaṁ bhrātar vyaktam uru-pariśrānto dīrgham adhvānam eka eva ūhivān suciraṁ nāti-pīvā na saṁhananāṅgo jarasā copadruto bhavān sakhe no evāpara ete saṅghaṭṭina iti bahu-vipralabdho ’py avidyayā racita-dravya-guṇa-karmāśaya-sva-carama-kalevare ’vastuni saṁsthāna-viśeṣe ’haṁ mamety anadhyāropita-mithyā-pratyayo brahma-bhūtas tūṣṇīṁ śibikāṁ pūrvavad uvāha.
aho—alas; kaṣṭam—how troublesome it is; bhrātaḥ—my dear brother; vyaktam—clearly; uru—very much; pariśrāntaḥ—fatigued; dīrgham—a long; adhvānam—path; ekaḥ—alone; eva—certainly; ūhivān—you have carried; su-ciram—for a long time; na—not; ati-pīvā—very strong and stout; na—nor; saṁhanana-aṅgaḥ—having a firm, tolerant body; jarasā—by old age; ca—also; upadrutaḥ—disturbed; bhavān—yourself; sakhe—my friend; no eva—not certainly; apare—the other; ete—all these; saṅghaṭṭinaḥ—co-workers; iti—thus; bahu—very much; vipralabdhaḥ—sarcastically criticized; api—although; avidyayā—by nescience; racita—manufactured; dravya-guṇa-karma-āśaya—in a combination of material elements, material qualities, and the results of past activities and desires; sva-carama-kalevare—in the body, which is moved by the subtle elements (mind, intelligence and ego); avastuni—in such physical things; saṁsthāna-viśeṣe—having a particular disposition; aham mama—I and mine; iti—in this way; anadhyāropita—not interposed; mithyā—false; pratyayaḥ—belief; brahma-bhūtaḥ—who was self-realized, standing on the Brahman platform; tūṣṇīm—being silent; śibikām—the palanquin; pūrva-vat—as before; uvāha—carried.
King Rahūgaṇa told Jaḍa Bharata: How troublesome this is, my dear brother. You certainly appear very fatigued because you have carried this palanquin alone without assistance for a long time and for a long distance. Besides that, due to your old age you have become greatly troubled. My dear friend, I see that you are not very firm, nor very strong and stout. Aren’t your fellow carriers cooperating with you?
In this way the King criticized Jaḍa Bharata with sarcastic words, yet despite being criticized in this way, Jaḍa Bharata had no bodily conception of the situation. He knew that he was not the body, for he had attained his spiritual identity. He was neither fat, lean nor thin, nor had he anything to do with a lump of matter, a combination of the five gross and three subtle elements. He had nothing to do with the material body and its two hands and legs. In other words, he had completely realized his spiritual identity . He was therefore unaffected by this sarcastic criticism from the King. Without saying anything, he continued carrying the palanquin as before.
Jaḍa Bharata was completely liberated. He did not even care when the dacoits attempted to kill his body; he knew that he certainly was not the body. Even if the body were killed, he would not have cared, for he was thoroughly convinced of the proposition found in Bhagavad-gītā (2.20): na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre. He knew that he could not be killed even if his body were killed. Although he did not protest, the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His agent could not tolerate the injustice of the dacoits; therefore he was saved by the mercy of Kṛṣṇa, and the dacoits were killed. In this case, while carrying the palanquin, he also knew that he was not the body. This body was very strong and stout, in sound condition and quite competent to carry the palanquin. Due to his being freed from the bodily conception, the sarcastic words of the King did not at all affect him. The body is created according to one’s karma, and material nature supplies the ingredients for the development of a certain type of body. The soul the body covers is different from the bodily construction; therefore anything favorable or mischievous done to the body does not affect the spirit soul. The Vedic injunction is asaṅgo hy ayaṁ puruṣaḥ: the spirit soul is always unaffected by material arrangements.
atha punaḥ sva-śibikāyāṁ viṣama-gatāyāṁ prakupita uvāca rahūgaṇaḥ kim idam are tvaṁ jīvan-mṛto māṁ kadarthī-kṛtya bhartṛ-śāsanam aticarasi pramattasya ca te karomi cikitsāṁ daṇḍa-pāṇir iva janatāyā yathā prakṛtiṁ svāṁ bhajiṣyasa iti.
atha—thereafter; punaḥ—again; sva-śibikāyām—in his own palanquin; viṣama-gatāyām—being unevenly carried because of Jaḍa Bharata’s not walking properly; prakupitaḥ—becoming very angry; uvāca—said; rahūgaṇaḥ—King Rahūgaṇa; kim idam—what is this nonsense; are—O fool; tvam—you; jīvat—living; mṛtaḥ—dead; mām—me; kat-arthī-kṛtya—neglecting; bhartṛ-śāsanam—chastisement by the master; aticarasi—you are overstepping; pramattasya—who are almost crazy; ca—also; te—your; karomi—I shall do; cikitsām—proper treatment; daṇḍa-pāṇiḥ iva—like Yamarāja; janatāyāḥ—of the people in general; yathā—so that; prakṛtim—natural position; svām—your own; bhajiṣyase—you will take to; iti—thus.
Thereafter, when the King saw that his palanquin was still being shaken by the carriers, he became very angry and said: You rascal, what are you doing? Are you dead despite the life within your body? Do you not know that I am your master? You are disregarding me and are not carrying out my order. For this disobedience I shall now punish you just as Yamarāja, the superintendent of death, punishes sinful people. I shall give you proper treatment so that you will come to your senses and do the correct thing.
evaṁ bahv abaddham api bhāṣamāṇaṁ nara-devābhimānaṁ rajasā tamasānuviddhena madena tiraskṛtāśeṣa-bhagavat-priya-niketaṁ paṇḍita-māninaṁ sa bhagavān brāhmaṇo brahma-bhūta-sarva-bhūta-suhṛd-ātmā yogeśvara-caryāyāṁ nāti-vyutpanna-matiṁ smayamāna iva vigata-smaya idam āha.
evam—in this way; bahu—much; abaddham—nonsensical; api—although; bhāṣamāṇam—talking; nara-deva-abhimānam—King Rahūgaṇa, who thought himself the ruler; rajasā—by the material mode of passion; tamasā—as well as by the mode of ignorance; anuviddhena—being increased; madena—by madness; tiraskṛta—who rebuked; aśeṣa—innumerable; bhagavat-priya-niketam—devotees of the Lord; paṇḍita-māninam—considering himself a very learned scholar; saḥ—that; bhagavān—spiritually most powerful (Jaḍa Bharata); brāhmaṇaḥ—a fully qualified brāhmaṇa; brahma-bhūta—fully self-realized; sarva-bhūta-suhṛt-ātmā—who was thus the friend of all living entities; yoga-īśvara—of the most advanced mystic yogīs; caryāyām—in the behavior; na ati-vyutpanna-matim—unto King Rahūgaṇa, who was not actually experienced; smayamānaḥ—slightly smiling; iva—like; vigata-smayaḥ—who was relieved from all material pride; idam—this; āha—spoke.
Thinking himself a king, King Rahūgaṇa was in the bodily conception and was influenced by material nature’s modes of passion and ignorance. Due to madness, he chastised Jaḍa Bharata with uncalled-for and contradictory words. Jaḍa Bharata was a topmost devotee and the dear abode of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Although considering himself very learned, the King did not know about the position of an advanced devotee situated in devotional service, nor did he know his characteristics. Jaḍa Bharata was the residence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; he always carried the form of the Lord within his heart. He was the dear friend of all living beings, and he did not entertain any bodily conception. He therefore smiled and spoke the following words.
The distinction between a person in the bodily conception and a person beyond the bodily conception is presented in this verse. In the bodily conception, King Rahūgaṇa considered himself a king and chastised Jaḍa Bharata in so many unwanted ways. Being self-realized, Jaḍa Bharata, who was fully situated on the transcendental platform, did not at all become angry; instead, he smiled and began to deliver his teachings to King Rahūgaṇa. A highly advanced Vaiṣṇava devotee is a friend to all living entities, and consequently he is a friend to his enemies also. In fact, he does not consider anyone to be his enemy. Suhṛdaḥ sarva-dehinām. Sometimes a Vaiṣṇava becomes superficially angry at a nondevotee, but this is good for the nondevotee. We have several examples of this in Vedic literature. Once Nārada became angry with the two sons of Kuvera, Nalakūvara and Maṇigrīva, and he chastised them by turning them into trees. The result was that later they were liberated by Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa. The devotee is situated on the absolute platform, and when he is angry or pleased, there is no difference, for in either case he bestows his benediction.
tvayoditaṁ vyaktam avipralabdhaṁ
bhartuḥ sa me syād yadi vīra bhāraḥ
gantur yadi syād adhigamyam adhvā
pīveti rāśau na vidāṁ pravādaḥ
brāhmaṇaḥ uvāca—the learned brāhmaṇa (Jaḍa Bharata) spoke; tvayā—by you; uditam—explained; vyaktam—very clearly; avipralabdham—without contradictions; bhartuḥ—of the bearer, the body; saḥ—that; me—mine; syāt—it would have been; yadi—if; vīra—O great hero (Mahārāja Rahūgaṇa); bhāraḥ—a load; gantuḥ—of the mover, also the body; yadi—if; syāt—it had been; adhigamyam—the object to be obtained; adhvā—the path; pīvā—very stout and strong; iti—thus; rāśau—in the body; na—not; vidām—of the self-realized persons; pravādaḥ—subject matter for discussion.
The great brāhmaṇa Jaḍa Bharata said: My dear King and hero, whatever you have spoken sarcastically is certainly true. Actually these are not simply words of chastisement, for the body is the carrier. The load carried by the body does not belong to me, for I am the spirit soul. There is no contradiction in your statements because I am different from the body. I am not the carrier of the palanquin; the body is the carrier. Certainly, as you have hinted, I have not labored carrying the palanquin, for I am detached from the body. You have said that I am not stout and strong, and these words are befitting a person who does not know the distinction between the body and the soul. The body may be fat or thin, but no learned man would say such things of the spirit soul. As far as the spirit soul is concerned, I am neither fat nor skinny; therefore you are correct when you say that I am not very stout. Also, if the object of this journey and the path leading there were mine, there would be many troubles for me, but because they relate not to me but to my body, there is no trouble at all.
In Bhagavad-gītā it is stated that one who is advanced in spiritual knowledge is not disturbed by the pains and pleasures of the material body. The material body is completely separate from the spirit soul, and the pains and pleasures of the body are superfluous. The practice of austerity and penance is meant for understanding the distinction between the body and the soul and how the soul can be unaffected by the pleasures and pains of the body. Jaḍa Bharata was actually situated on the platform of self-realization. He was completely aloof from the bodily conception; therefore he immediately took this position and convinced the King that whatever contradictory things the King had said about his body did not actually apply to him as a spirit soul.
sthaulyaṁ kārśyaṁ vyādhaya ādhayaś ca
kṣut tṛḍ bhayaṁ kalir icchā jarā ca
nidrā ratir manyur ahaṁ madaḥ śuco
dehena jātasya hi me na santi
sthaulyam—being very stout and strong; kārśyam—being skinny and weak; vyādhayaḥ—the pains of the body, such as disease; ādhayaḥ—the pains of the mind; ca—and; kṣut tṛṭ bhayam—hunger, thirst and fear; kaliḥ—quarrels between two persons; icchā—desires; jarā—old age; ca—and; nidrā—sleep; ratiḥ—attachment for sense gratification; manyuḥ—anger; aham—false identification (in the bodily concept of life); madaḥ—illusion; śucaḥ—lamentation; dehena—with this body; jātasya—of one who has taken birth; hi—certainly; me—of me; na—not; santi—exist.
Fatness, thinness, bodily and mental distress, thirst, hunger, fear, disagreement, desires for material happiness, old age, sleep, attachment for material possessions, anger, lamentation, illusion and identification of the body with the self are all transformations of the material covering of the spirit soul. A person absorbed in the material bodily conception is affected by these things, but I am free from all bodily conceptions. Consequently I am neither fat nor skinny nor anything else you have mentioned.
Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura has sung: deha-smṛti nāhi yāra, saṁsāra-bandhana kāhāṅ tāra. One who is spiritually advanced has no connection with the body or with the bodily actions and reactions. When one comes to understand that he is not the body and therefore is neither fat nor skinny, one attains the topmost form of spiritual realization. When one is not spiritually realized, the bodily conception entangles one in the material world. At the present moment all human society is laboring under the bodily conception; therefore in the śāstras people in this age are referred to as dvipada-paśu, two-legged animals. No one can be happy in a civilization conducted by such animals. Our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is trying to raise fallen human society to the status of spiritual understanding. It is not possible for everyone to become immediately self-realized like Jaḍa Bharata. However, as stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.2.18): naṣṭa-prāyeṣv abhadreṣu nityaṁ bhāgavata-sevayā. By spreading the Bhāgavata principles, we can raise human society to the platform of perfection. When one is not affected by the bodily conceptions, one can advance to the Lord’s devotional service.
The more we advance our freedom from the bodily conception, the more we are fixed in devotional service, and the more we are happy and peaceful. In this regard, Śrīla Madhvācārya says that those who are too materially affected continue the bodily conception. Such persons are concerned with different bodily symptoms, whereas one freed from bodily conceptions lives without the body even in the material condition.
jīvan-mṛtatvaṁ niyamena rājan
ādyantavad yad vikṛtasya dṛṣṭam
sva-svāmya-bhāvo dhruva īḍya yatra
tarhy ucyate ’sau vidhikṛtya-yogaḥ
jīvat-mṛtatvam—the quality of being dead while living; niyamena—by the laws of nature; rājan—O King; ādi-anta-vat—everything material has a beginning and an end; yat—because; vikṛtasya—of things that are transformed, such as the body; dṛṣṭam—is seen; sva-svāmya-bhāvaḥ—the condition of servanthood and mastership; dhruvaḥ—unchangeable; īḍya—O you who are worshiped; yatra—wherein; tarhi—then; ucyate—it is said; asau—that; vidhi-kṛtya-yogaḥ—fitness of order and duty.
My dear King, you have unnecessarily accused me of being dead though alive. In this regard, I can only say that this is the case everywhere because everything material has its beginning and end. As far as your thinking that you are the king and master and are thus trying to order me, this is also incorrect because these positions are temporary. Today you are a king and I am your servant, but tomorrow the position may be changed, and you may be my servant and I your master. These are temporary circumstances created by providence.
The bodily conception is the basic principle of suffering in material existence. In Kali-yuga especially, people are so uneducated that they cannot even understand that the body is changing at every moment and that the ultimate change is called death. In this life one may be a king, and in the next life one may be a dog, according to karma. The spirit soul is in a deep slumber caused by the force of material nature. He is put in one type of condition and again changed into another type. Without self-realization and knowledge, conditional life continues, and one falsely claims himself a king, a servant, a cat or a dog. These are simply different transformations brought about by the supreme arrangement. One should not be misled by such temporary bodily conceptions. Actually no one is master within the material world, for everyone is under the control of material nature, which is under the control of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, is the ultimate master. As explained in Caitanya-caritāmṛta, ekale īśvara kṛṣṇa, āra saba bhṛtya: the only master is Kṛṣṇa, and everyone else is His servant. Forgetfulness of our relationship with the Supreme Lord brings about our suffering in the material world.
viśeṣa-buddher vivaraṁ manāk ca
paśyāma yan na vyavahārato ’nyat
ka īśvaras tatra kim īśitavyaṁ
tathāpi rājan karavāma kiṁ te
viśeṣa-buddheḥ—of the conception of the distinction between master and servant; vivaram—the scope; manāk—a little; ca—also; paśyāmaḥ—I see; yat—which; na—not; vyavahārataḥ—than the temporary usage or convention; anyat—other; kaḥ—who; īśvaraḥ—the master; tatra—in this; kim—who; īśitavyam—is to be controlled; tathāpi—nevertheless; rājan—O King (if you still think that you are master and I am servant); karavāma—I may do; kim—what; te—for you.
My dear King, if you still think that you are the King and that I am your servant, you should order me, and I should follow your order. I can then say that this differentiation is temporary, and it expands only from usage or convention. I do not see any other cause. In that case, who is the master, and who is the servant? Everyone is being forced by the laws of material nature; therefore no one is master, and no one is servant. Nonetheless, if you think that you are the master and that I am the servant, I shall accept this. Please order me. What can I do for you?
It is said in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, ahaṁ mameti: [SB 5.5.8] One thinks, “I am this body, and in this bodily relationship he is my master, he is my servant, she is my wife, and he is my son.” All these conceptions are temporary due to the inevitable change of body and the arrangement of material nature. We are gathered together like straws floating in the waves of an ocean, straws that are inevitably separated by the laws of the waves. In this material world, everyone is floating on the waves of the ocean of nescience. As described by Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura:
(miche) māyāra vaśe, yāccha bhese’,
khāccha hābuḍubu, bhāi
(jīva) kṛṣṇa-dāsa, ei viśvāsa,
karle ta’ āra duḥkha nāi
Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura states that all men and women are floating like straws on the waves of material nature. If they come to the understanding that they are the eternal servants of Kṛṣṇa, they will put an end to this floating condition. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (3.37): kāma eṣa krodha eṣa rajo-guṇa-samudbhavaḥ. Due to the mode of passion, we desire many things, and according to our desire or anxiety and according to the order of the Supreme Lord, material nature gives us a certain type of body. For some time we play as master or servant, as actors play on the stage under someone else’s direction. While we are in the human form, we should put an end to this nonsensical stage performance. We should come to our original constitutional position, known as Kṛṣṇa consciousness. At the present moment, the real master is material nature. Daivī hy eṣā guṇa-mayī mama māyā duratyayā (Bg. 7.14). Under the spell of material nature, we are becoming servants and masters, but if we agree to be controlled by the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His eternal servants, this temporary condition ceases to exist.
gatasya me vīra cikitsitena
arthaḥ kiyān bhavatā śikṣitena
stabdha-pramattasya ca piṣṭapeṣaḥ
unmatta—madness; matta—a drunkard; jaḍa-vat—like a dunce; sva-saṁsthām—situation in my original constitutional position; gatasya—of one who has obtained; me—of me; vīra—O King; cikitsitena—by your chastisement; arthaḥ—the meaning or purpose; kiyān—what; bhavatā—by you; śikṣitena—by being instructed; stabdha—dull; pramattasya—of a crazy man; ca—also; piṣṭa-peṣaḥ—like grinding flour.
My dear King, you have said, “You rascal, you dull, crazy fellow! I am going to chastise you, and then you will come to your senses.” In this regard, let me say that although I live like a dull, deaf and dumb man, I am actually a self-realized person. What will you gain by punishing me? If your calculation is true and I am a madman, then your punishment will be like beating a dead horse. There will be no effect. When a madman is punished, he is not cured of his madness.
Everyone in this material world is working like a madman under certain impressions falsely acquired in the material condition. For example, a thief who knows that stealing is not good and who knows that it is followed with punishment by a king or by God, who has seen that thieves are arrested and punished by the police, nonetheless steals again and again. He is obsessed with the idea that by stealing he will be happy. This is a sign of madness. Despite repeated punishment, the thief cannot give up his stealing habit; therefore the punishment is useless.
etāvad anuvāda-paribhāṣayā pratyudīrya muni-vara upaśama-śīla uparatānātmya-nimitta upabhogena karmārabdhaṁ vyapanayan rāja-yānam api tathovāha.
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued to speak; etāvat—so much; anuvāda-paribhāṣayā—by explanatory repetition of words spoken previously by the King; pratyudīrya—giving replies one after another; muni-varaḥ—great sage Jaḍa Bharata; upaśama-śīlaḥ—who was calm and peaceful in character; uparata—ceased; anātmya—things not related to the soul; nimittaḥ—whose cause (ignorance) for identification with things not related to the soul; upabhogena—by accepting the consequences of his karma; karma-ārabdham—the resultant action now attained; vyapanayan—finishing; rāja-yānam—the palanquin of the King; api—again; tathā—as before; uvāha—continued to carry.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: O Mahārāja Parīkṣit, when King Rahūgaṇa chastised the exalted devotee Jaḍa Bharata with harsh words, that peaceful, saintly person tolerated it all and replied properly. Nescience is due to the bodily conception, and Jaḍa Bharata was not affected by this false conception. Out of his natural humility, he never considered himself a great devotee, and he agreed to suffer the results of his past karma. Like an ordinary man, he thought that by carrying the palanquin, he was destroying the reactions of his past misdeeds. Thinking in this way, he began to carry the palanquin as before.
An exalted devotee of the Lord never thinks that he is a paramahaṁsa or a liberated person. He always remains a humble servant of the Lord. In all reverse conditions, he agrees to suffer the results of his past life. He never accuses the Lord of putting him into a distressed condition. These are the signs of an exalted devotee. Tat te ’nukampāṁ susamīkṣyamāṇaḥ. When suffering reversed conditions, the devotee always considers that the reverse conditions are the Lord’s concessions. He is never angry with his master; he is always satisfied with the position his master offers. In any case, he continues performing his duty in devotional service. Such a person is guaranteed promotion back home, back to Godhead. As stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.14.8):
“My dear Lord, one who constantly waits for Your causeless mercy to be bestowed upon him and who goes on suffering the reactions of his past misdeeds, offering You respectful obeisances from the core of his heart. is surely eligible for liberation, for it has become his rightful claim.”
sa cāpi pāṇḍaveya sindhu-sauvīra-patis tattva-jijñāsāyāṁ samyak-śraddhayādhikṛtādhikāras tad dhṛdaya-granthi-mocanaṁ dvija-vaca āśrutya bahu-yoga-grantha-sammataṁ tvarayāvaruhya śirasā pāda-mūlam upasṛtaḥ kṣamāpayan vigata-nṛpa-deva-smaya uvāca.
saḥ—he (Mahārāja Rahūgaṇa); ca—also; api—indeed; pāṇḍaveya—O best of the Pāṇḍu dynasty (Mahārāja Parīkṣit); sindhu-sauvīra-patiḥ—the King of the states known as Sindhu and Sauvīra; tattva-jijñāsāyām—in the matter of inquiring about the Absolute Truth; samyak-śraddhayā—by faith consisting of complete control of the senses and the mind; adhikṛta-adhikāraḥ—who attained the proper qualification; tat—that; hṛdaya-granthi—the knot of false conceptions within the heart; mocanam—which eradicates; dvija-vacaḥ—the words of the brāhmaṇa (Jaḍa Bharata); āśrutya—hearing; bahu-yoga-grantha-sammatam—approved by all yogic processes and their scriptures; tvarayā—very hastily; avaruhya—getting down (from the palanquin); śirasā—by his head; pāda-mūlam—at the lotus feet; upasṛtaḥ—falling down flat to offer obeisances; kṣamāpayan—obtaining pardon for his offense; vigata-nṛpa-deva-smayaḥ—giving up the false pride of being the King and therefore being worshipable; uvāca—said.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued: O best of the Pāṇḍu dynasty [Mahārāja Parīkṣit], the King of the Sindhu and Sauvīra states [Mahārāja Rahūgaṇa] had great faith in discussions of the Absolute Truth. Being thus qualified, he heard from Jaḍa Bharata that philosophical presentation which is approved by all scriptures on the mystic yoga process and which slackens the knot in the heart. His material conception of himself as a king was thus destroyed. He immediately descended from his palanquin and fell flat on the ground with his head at the lotus feet of Jaḍa Bharata in such a way that he might be excused for his insulting words against the great brāhmaṇa. He then prayed as follows.
“This supreme science was thus received through the chain of disciplic succession, and the saintly kings understood it in that way. But in course of time the succession was broken, and therefore the science as it is appears to be lost.”
Through the disciplic succession the royal order was on the same platform as great saintly persons (rāja-ṛṣis). Formerly they could understand the philosophy of life and knew how to train the citizens to come to the same standard. In other words, they knew how to deliver the citizens from the entanglement of birth and death. When Mahārāja Daśaratha ruled Ayodhyā, the great sage Viśvāmitra once came to him to take away Lord Rāmacandra and Lakṣmaṇa to the forest to kill a demon. When the saintly person Viśvāmitra came to the court of Mahārāja Daśaratha, the King, in order to receive the saintly person, asked him, aihiṣṭaṁ yat tat punar janma jayāya. He asked the sage whether everything was going on well in his endeavor to conquer the repetition of birth and death. The whole process of Vedic civilization is based on this point. We must know how to conquer the repetition of birth and death. Mahārāja Rahūgaṇa also knew the purpose of life; therefore when Jaḍa Bharata put the philosophy of life before him, he immediately appreciated it. This is the foundation of Vedic society. Learned scholars, brāhmaṇas, saintly persons and sages who were fully aware of the Vedic purpose advised the royal order how to benefit the general masses, and by their cooperation, the general masses were benefited. Therefore everything was successful. Mahārāja Rahūgaṇa attained this perfection of understanding the value of human life; therefore he regretted his insulting words to Jaḍa Bharata, and he immediately descended from his palanquin and fell down at the lotus feet of Jaḍa Bharata in order to be excused and to hear from him further about the values of life known as brahma jijñāsā (inquiry into the Absolute Truth). At the present moment, high government officials are ignorant of the values of life, and when saintly persons endeavor to broadcast the Vedic knowledge, the so-called executives do not offer their respectful obeisances but try to obstruct the spiritual propaganda. Thus one can say that the former kingly government was like heaven and that the present government is like hell.
kas tvaṁ nigūḍhaś carasi dvijānāṁ
bibharṣi sūtraṁ katamo ’vadhūtaḥ
kasyāsi kutratya ihāpi kasmāt
kṣemāya naś ced asi nota śuklaḥ
kaḥ tvam—who are you; nigūḍhaḥ—very much covered; carasi—you move within this world; dvijānām—among the brāhmaṇas or saintly persons; bibharṣi—you also wear; sūtram—the sacred thread belonging to the first-class brāhmaṇas; katamaḥ—which; avadhūtaḥ—highly elevated person; kasya asi—whose are you (whose disciple or son are you); kutratyaḥ—from where; iha api—here in this place; kasmāt—for what purpose; kṣemāya—for the benefit; naḥ—of us; cet—if; asi—you are; na uta—or not; śuklaḥ—the personality of the pure mode of goodness (Kapiladeva).
King Rahūgaṇa said: O brāhmaṇa, you appear to be moving in this world very much covered and unknown to others. Who are you? Are you a learned brāhmaṇa and saintly person? I see that you are wearing a sacred thread. Are you one of those exalted, liberated saints such as Dattātreya and other highly advanced, learned scholars? May I ask whose disciple you are? Where do you live? Why have you come to this place? Is your mission in coming here to do good for us? Please let me know who you are.
Mahārāja Rahūgaṇa was very anxious to receive further enlightenment in Vedic knowledge because he could understand that Jaḍa Bharata belonged to a brāhmaṇa family either by disciplic succession or by birth in a brāhmaṇa dynasty. As stated in the Vedas: tad vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet [MU
“To understand these things properly, one must humbly approach, with firewood in hand, a spiritual master who is learned in the Vedas and firmly devoted to the Absolute Truth.”
[Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad 1.2.12]
nāhaṁ viśaṅke sura-rāja-vajrān
na tryakṣa-śūlān na yamasya daṇḍāt
chaṅke bhṛśaṁ brahma-kulāvamānāt
na—not; aham—I; viśaṅke—am afraid; sura-rāja-vajrāt—from the thunderbolt of the King of heaven, Indra; na—nor; tryakṣa-śūlāt—from the piercing trident of Lord Śiva; na—nor; yamasya—of the superintendent of death, Yamarāja; daṇḍāt—from the punishment; na—nor; agni—of fire; arka—of the scorching heat of the sun; soma—of the moon; anila—of the wind; vitta-pa—of the owner of riches, Kuvera, the treasurer of the heavenly planets; astrāt—from the weapons; śaṅke—I am afraid; bhṛśam—very much; brahma-kula—the group of the brāhmaṇas; avamānāt—from offending.
My dear sir, I am not at all afraid of the thunderbolt of King Indra, nor am I afraid of the serpentine, piercing trident of Lord Śiva. I do not care about the punishment of Yamarāja, the superintendent of death, nor am I afraid of fire, scorching sun, moon, wind, nor the weapons of Kuvera. Yet I am afraid of offending a brāhmaṇa. I am very much afraid of this.
When Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was instructing Rūpa Gosvāmī at the Daśāśvamedha-ghāṭa in Prayāga, He pointed out very clearly the seriousness of offending a Vaiṣṇava. He compared the vaiṣṇava-aparādha to hātī mātā, a mad elephant. When a mad elephant enters a garden, it spoils all the fruits and flowers. Similarly, if one offends a Vaiṣṇava, he spoils all his spiritual assets. Offending a brāhmaṇa is very dangerous, and this was known to Mahārāja Rahūgaṇa. He therefore frankly admitted his fault. There are many dangerous things—thunderbolts, fire, Yamarāja’s punishment, the punishment of Lord Śiva’s trident, and so forth—but none is considered as serious as offending a brāhmaṇa like Jaḍa Bharata. Therefore Mahārāja Rahūgaṇa immediately descended from his palanquin and fell flat before the lotus feet of the brāhmaṇa Jaḍa Bharata just to be excused.
tad brūhy asaṅgo jaḍavan nigūḍha-
vijñāna-vīryo vicarasy apāraḥ
vacāṁsi yoga-grathitāni sādho
na naḥ kṣamante manasāpi bhettum
tat—therefore; brūhi—please speak; asaṅgaḥ—who have no association with the material world; jaḍa-vat—appearing like a deaf and dumb man; nigūḍha—completely hidden; vijñāna-vīryaḥ—who have full knowledge of the spiritual science and are thus very powerful; vicarasi—you are moving; apāraḥ—who possess unlimited spiritual glories; vacāṁsi—the words uttered by you; yoga-grathitāni—bearing the complete meaning of mystic yoga; sādho—O great, saintly person; na—not; naḥ—of us; kṣamante—are able; manasā api—even by the mind; bhettum—to understand by analytical study.
My dear sir, it appears that the influence of your great spiritual knowledge is hidden. Factually you are bereft of all material association and fully absorbed in the thought of the Supreme. Consequently you are unlimitedly advanced in spiritual knowledge. Please tell me why you are wandering around like a dullard. O great, saintly person, you have spoken words approved by the yogic process, but it is not possible for us to understand what you have said. Therefore kindly explain it.
Saintly people like Jaḍa Bharata do not speak ordinary words. Whatever they say is approved by great yogīs and those advanced in spiritual life. That is the difference between ordinary people and saintly people. The listener must also be advanced to understand the words of such exalted, spiritually advanced people as Jaḍa Bharata. Bhagavad-gītā was spoken to Arjuna, not to others. Lord Kṛṣṇa especially selected Arjuna for instruction in spiritual knowledge because Arjuna happened to be a great devotee and confidential friend. Similarly, great personalities also speak to the advanced, not to śūdras, vaiśyas, women or unintelligent men. Sometimes it is very risky to give great philosophical instructions to ordinary people, but Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, for the benefit of the fallen souls of Kali-yuga, has given us a very nice instrument, the chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. The general mass of people, although śūdras and less, can be purified by chanting this Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra. Then they can understand the exalted philosophical statements of Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement has therefore adopted the chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra for the general masses. When people gradually become purified, they are instructed in the lessons of Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Materialistic people like strī, śūdra and dvija-bandhu cannot understand words of spiritual advancement, yet one can take to the shelter of a Vaiṣṇava, for he knows the art of enlightening even śūdras in the highly elevated subject matter spoken in Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.
ahaṁ ca yogeśvaram ātma-tattva-
vidāṁ munīnāṁ paramaṁ guruṁ vai
praṣṭuṁ pravṛttaḥ kim ihāraṇaṁ tat
sākṣād dhariṁ jñāna-kalāvatīrṇam
aham—I; ca—and; yoga-īśvaram—the master of all mystic power; ātma-tattva-vidām—of the learned scholars who are aware of the spiritual science; munīnām—of such saintly persons; paramam—the best; gurum—the preceptor; vai—indeed; praṣṭum—to inquire; pravṛttaḥ—engaged; kim—what; iha—in this world; araṇam—the most secure shelter; tat—that which; sākṣāt harim—directly the Supreme Personality of Godhead; jñāna-kalā-avatīrṇam—who has descended as the incarnation of complete knowledge in His plenary portion known as Kapiladeva.
I consider your good self the most exalted master of mystic power. You know the spiritual science perfectly well. You are the most exalted of all learned sages, and you have descended for the benefit of all human society. You have come to give spiritual knowledge, and you are a direct representative of Kapiladeva, the incarnation of God and the plenary portion of knowledge. I am therefore asking you, O spiritual master, what is the most secure shelter in this world?
“Of all yogīs, he who abides in Me with great faith, worshiping Me in transcendental loving service, is most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all.” (Bg. 6.47)
Jaḍa Bharata was a perfect yogī. He was formerly the emperor Bharata Mahārāja, and he was now the most exalted personality among learned sages and the master of all mystic powers. Although Jaḍa Bharata was an ordinary living entity, he had inherited all the knowledge given by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kapiladeva. He could therefore be taken directly as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As confirmed by Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura in his stanzas to the spiritual master: sākṣād-dharitvena samasta-śāstraiḥ. An exalted personality like Jaḍa Bharata is as good as the Supreme Personality of Godhead because he fully represents the Lord by giving knowledge to others. Jaḍa Bharata is herein accepted as the direct representative of the Supreme Personality of Godhead because he was imparting knowledge on behalf of the Supreme Lord. Therefore Mahārāja Rahūgaṇa concluded that it was appropriate to ask him about ātma-tattva, the spiritual science. Tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet [MU
“To understand these things properly, one must humbly approach, with firewood in hand, a spiritual master who is learned in the Vedas and firmly devoted to the Absolute Truth.”
[Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad 1.2.12]
sa vai bhavāḹ loka-nirīkṣaṇārtham
avyakta-liṅgo vicaraty api svit
yogeśvarāṇāṁ gatim andha-buddhiḥ
kathaṁ vicakṣīta gṛhānubandhaḥ
saḥ—that Supreme Personality of Godhead or His incarnation Kapiladeva; vai—indeed; bhavān—your good self; loka-nirīkṣaṇa-artham—just to study the characteristics of the people of this world; avyakta-liṅgaḥ—without manifesting your real identity; vicarati—are traveling in this world; api svit—whether; yoga-īśvarāṇām—of all the advanced yogīs; gatim—the characteristics or actual behavior; andha-buddhiḥ—who are illusioned and have become blind to spiritual knowledge; katham—how; vicakṣīta—may know; gṛha-anubandhaḥ—I who am bound by attachment to family life, or worldly life.
Is it not a fact that your good self is the direct representative of Kapiladeva, the incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead? To examine people and see who is actually a human being and who is not, you have presented yourself to be a deaf and dumb person. Are you not moving this way upon the surface of the world? I am very attached to family life and worldly activities, and I am blind to spiritual knowledge. Nonetheless, I am now present before you and am seeking enlightenment from you. How can I advance in spiritual life?
Although Mahārāja Rahūgaṇa was playing the part of a king, he had been informed by Jaḍa Bharata that be was not a king nor was Jaḍa Bharata deaf and dumb. Such designations were simply coverings of the spirit soul. Everyone must come to this knowledge. As confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (2.13): dehino ’smin yathā dehe. Everyone is encased within the body. Since the body is never identical with the soul, the bodily activities are simply illusory. In the association of such a sādhu as Jaḍa Bharata, Mahārāja Rahūgaṇa came to the awareness that his activities as a royal authority were simply illusory phenomena. He therefore agreed to receive knowledge from Jaḍa Bharata, and that was the beginning of his perfection. Tad-vijñānārthaṁ sa gurum evābhigacchet [MU
“To understand these things properly, one must humbly approach, with firewood in hand, a spiritual master who is learned in the Vedas and firmly devoted to the Absolute Truth.”
[Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad 1.2.12]
dṛṣṭaḥ śramaḥ karmata ātmano vai
bhartur gantur bhavataś cānumanye
samūla iṣṭo vyavahāra-mārgaḥ
dṛṣṭaḥ—it is experienced by everyone; śramaḥ—fatigue; karmataḥ—from acting in some way; ātmanaḥ—of the soul; vai—indeed; bhartuḥ—of one who is carrying the palanquin; gantuḥ—of one who is moving; bhavataḥ—of yourself; ca—and; anumanye—I guess like that; yathā—as much as; asatā—with something that is not an actual fact; uda—of water; ānayana-ādi—of the bringing and other such tasks; abhāvāt—from the absence; sa-mūlaḥ—based on evidence; iṣṭaḥ—respected; vyavahāra-mārgaḥ—phenomenon.
You have said, “I am not fatigued from labor.” Although the soul is different from the body, there is fatigue because of bodily labor, and it appears to be the fatigue of the soul. When you are carrying the palanquin, there is certainly labor for the soul. This is my conjecture. You have also said that the external behavior exhibited between the master and the servant is not factual, but although in the phenomenal world it is not factual, the products of the phenomenal world can actually affect things. That is visible and experienced. As such, even though material activities are impermanent, they cannot be said to be untrue.
This is a discussion on impersonal Māyāvāda philosophy and the practical philosophy of Vaiṣṇavas. The Māyāvāda philosophy explains this phenomenal world to be false, but Vaiṣṇava philosophers do not agree. They know that the phenomenal world is a temporary manifestation, but it is not false. A dream that we see at night is certainly false, but a horrible dream certainly affects the person seeing it. The soul’s fatigue is not factual, but as long as one is immersed in the illusory bodily conception, one is affected by such false dreams. When dreaming, it is not possible to avoid the actual facts, and the conditioned soul is forced to suffer due to his dream. A waterpot is made of earth and is temporary. Actually there is no waterpot; there is simply earth. However, as long as the waterpot can contain water, we can use it in that way. It cannot be said to be absolutely false.
sthāly-agni-tāpāt payaso ’bhitāpas
sthāli—on the cooking pot; agni-tāpāt—because of the heat of fire; payasaḥ—the milk put into the pot; abhitāpaḥ—becomes hot; tat-tāpataḥ—because of the milk’s becoming hot; taṇḍula-garbha-randhiḥ—the center of the rice within the milk becomes cooked; deha-indriya-asvāśaya—the bodily senses; sannikarṣāt—from having connections with; tat-saṁsṛtiḥ—the experience of fatigue and other miseries; puruṣasya—of the soul; anurodhāt—from compliance due to being grossly attached to the body, senses and mind.
King Rahūgaṇa continued: My dear sir, you have said that designations like bodily fatness and thinness are not characteristics of the soul. That is incorrect because designations like pain and pleasure are certainly felt by the soul. You may put a pot of milk and rice within fire, and the milk and rice are automatically heated one after the other. Similarly, due to bodily pains and pleasures, the senses, mind and soul are affected. The soul cannot be completely detached from this conditioning.
This argument put forward by Mahārāja Rahūgaṇa is correct from the practical point of view, but it arises from an attachment to the bodily conception. It can be said that a person sitting in his car is certainly different from his car, but if there is damage to the car, the owner of the car, being overly attached to the car, feels pain. Actually, the damage done to the car has nothing to do with the car’s proprietor, but because the proprietor has identified himself with the interest of the car, he feels pleasure and pain connected with it. This conditional state can be avoided if attachment is withdrawn from the car. Then the proprietor would not feel pleasure or pain if the car is damaged or whatever. Similarly, the soul has nothing to do with the body and the senses, but due to ignorance, he identifies himself with the body, and he feels pleasure and pain due to bodily pleasure and pain.
śāstābhigoptā nṛpatiḥ prajānāṁ
yaḥ kiṅkaro vai na pinaṣṭi piṣṭam
sva-dharmam ārādhanam acyutasya
yad īhamāno vijahāty aghaugham
śāstā—the governor; abhigoptā—a well-wisher of the citizens as a father is the well-wisher of his children; nṛ-patiḥ—the king; prajānām—of the citizens; yaḥ—one who; kiṅkaraḥ—order carrier; vai—indeed; na—not; pinaṣṭi piṣṭam—grinds what is already ground; sva-dharmam—one’s own occupational duty; ārādhanam—worshiping; acyutasya—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; yat—which; īhamānaḥ—performing; vijahāti—they are released from; agha-ogham—all kinds of sinful activity and faulty action.
My dear sir, you have said that the relationship between the king and the subject or between the master and the servant are not eternal, but although such relationships are temporary, when a person takes the position of a king, his duty is to rule the citizens and punish those who are disobedient to the laws. By punishing them, he teaches the citizens to obey the laws of the state. Again, you have said that punishing a person who is deaf and dumb is like chewing the chewed or grinding the pulp; that is to say, there is no benefit in it. However, if one is engaged in his own occupational duty as ordered by the Supreme Lord, his sinful activities are certainly diminished. Therefore if one is engaged in his occupational duty by force, he benefits because he can vanquish all his sinful activities in that way.
This argument offered by Mahārāja Rahūgaṇa is certainly very effective. In his Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.2.4), Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī says, tasmāt kenāpy upāyena manaḥ kṛṣṇe niveśayet: somehow or other, one should engage in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Actually every living being is an eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa, but due to forgetfulness, a living entity engages himself as an eternal servant of māyā. As long as one is engaged in māyā’s service, he cannot be happy. Our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement aims at engaging people in Lord Kṛṣṇa’s service. That will help them become freed from all material contamination and sinful activity. This is confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (4.10): vīta-rāga-bhaya-krodhāḥ. By becoming detached from material activities, we will be freed from fear and anger. By austerity, one becomes purified and eligible to return home, back to Godhead. The duty of the king is to rule his citizens in such a way that they can become Kṛṣṇa conscious. This would be very beneficial for everyone. Unfortunately the king or president engages people in sense gratification instead of the Lord’s service, and such activities are certainly not beneficial for anyone. King Rahūgaṇa tried to engage Jaḍa Bharata in carrying the palanquin, which is a form of sense gratification for the King. However, if one is engaged as a palanquin carrier in the Lord’s service, that is certainly beneficial. In this godless civilization, if a president engages people somehow or other in devotional service or the awakening of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he renders the very best service to the citizens.
tan me bhavān nara-devābhimāna-
kṛṣīṣṭa maitrī-dṛśam ārta-bandho
yathā tare sad-avadhyānam aṁhaḥ
tat—therefore; me—unto me; bhavān—your good self; nara-deva-abhimāna-madena—by madness due to having the body of a king and thus being proud of it; tucchīkṛta—who has insulted; sat-tamasya—you who are the best among human beings; kṛṣīṣṭa—kindly show; maitrī-dṛśam—your causeless mercy upon me like a friend; ārta-bandho—O friend of all distressed persons; yathā—so; tare—I can get relief from; sat-avadhyānam—neglecting a great personality like you; aṁhaḥ—the sin.
Whatever you have spoken appears to me to be contradictory. O best friend of the distressed, I have committed a great offense by insulting you. I was puffed up with false prestige due to possessing the body of a king. For this I have certainly become an offender. Therefore I pray that you kindly glance at me with your causeless mercy. If you do so, I can be relieved from sinful activities brought about by insulting you.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has said that by offending a Vaiṣṇava, one finishes all his spiritual activities. Offending a Vaiṣṇava is considered the mad elephant offense. A mad elephant can destroy an entire garden which has been developed with great labor. One may attain the topmost platform of devotional service, but somehow or other if he offends a Vaiṣṇava, the whole structure collapses. Unconsciously, King Rahūgaṇa offended Jaḍa Bharata, but due to his good sense, he asked to be excused. This is the process by which one can be relieved from a vaiṣṇava-aparādha. Kṛṣṇa is always very simple and by nature merciful. When one commits an offense at the feet of a Vaiṣṇava, one must immediately apologize to such a personality so that his spiritual advancement may not be hampered.
na vikriyā viśva-suhṛt-sakhasya
sāmyena vītābhimates tavāpi
mahad-vimānāt sva-kṛtād dhi mādṛṅ
naṅkṣyaty adūrād api śūlapāṇiḥ
na—not; vikriyā—material transformation; viśva-suhṛt—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is a friend to everyone; sakhasya—of you, the friend; sāmyena—because of your mental equilibrium; vīta-abhimateḥ—who has completely forsaken the bodily concept of life; tava—your; api—indeed; mahat-vimānāt—of insulting a great devotee; sva-kṛtāt—from my own activity; hi—certainly; mādṛk—a person like me; naṅkṣyati—will be destroyed; adūrāt—very soon; api—certainly; śūla-pāṇiḥ—even though as powerful as Lord Śiva (Śūlapāṇi).
O my dear lord, you are the friend of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the friend of all living entities. You are therefore equal to everyone, and you are free from the bodily conception. Although I have committed an offense by insulting you, I know that there is no loss or gain for you due to my insult. You are fixed in your determination, but I have committed an offense. Because of this, even though I may be as strong as Lord Śiva, I shall be vanquished without delay due to my offense at the lotus feet of a Vaiṣṇava.
Mahārāja Rahūgaṇa was very intelligent and conscious of the inauspicious effects arising from insulting a Vaiṣṇava. He was therefore very anxious to be excused by Jaḍa Bharata. Following in the footsteps of Mahārāja Rahūgaṇa, everyone should be very cautious not to commit an offense at the lotus feet of a Vaiṣṇava. Śrīla Vṛndāvana dāsa Ṭhākura in the Caitanya-bhāgavata (Madhya 13) says:
“Even if one is as strong as Lord Śiva, who carries a trident in his hand, one will nonetheless fall down from his spiritual position if he tries to insult a Vaiṣṇava. That is the verdict of all Vedic scriptures.” He also says this in Caitanya-bhāgavata (Madhya 22):
“One who blasphemes a Vaiṣṇava cannot be protected by anyone. Even if a person is as strong as Lord Śiva, if he blasphemes a Vaiṣṇava, he is sure to be destroyed. This is the verdict of all śāstras. If one does not care for the verdict of the śāstras and dares blaspheme a Vaiṣṇava, he suffers life after life because of this.”
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the Fifth Canto, Tenth Chapter, of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, entitled, “The Discussion Between Jaḍa Bharata and Mahārāja Rahūgaṇa.”
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