Chapter Twenty-four
The Subterranean Heavenly Planets
This chapter describes the planet Rāhu, which is 10,000 yojanas (80,000 miles) below the sun, and it also describes Atala and the other lower planetary systems. Rāhu is situated below the sun and moon. It is between these two planets and the earth. When Rāhu conceals the sun and moon, eclipses occur, either total or partial, depending on whether Rāhu moves in a straight or curving way.
Below Rāhu by another 1,000,000 yojanas are the planets of the Siddhas, Cāraṇas and Vidyādharas, and below these are planets such as Yakṣaloka and Rakṣaloka. Below these planets is the earth, and 70,000 yojanas below the earth are the lower planetary systems—Atala, Vitala, Sutala, Talātala, Mahātala, Rasātala and Pātāla. Demons and Rakṣasas live in these lower planetary systems with their wives and children, always engaged in sense gratification and not fearing their next births. The sunshine does not reach these planets, but they are illuminated by jewels fixed upon the hoods of snakes. Because of these shining gems there is practically no darkness. Those living in these planets do not become old or diseased, and they are not afraid of death from any cause but the time factor, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
In the planet Atala, the yawning of a demon has produced three kinds of women, called svairiṇī (independent), kāmiṇī (lusty) and puṁścalī (very easily subdued by men). Below Atala is the planet Vitala, wherein Lord Śiva and his wife Gaurī reside. Because of their presence, a kind of gold is produced called hāṭaka. Below Vitala is the planet Sutala, the abode of Bali Mahārāja, the most fortunate king. Bali Mahārāja was favored by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vāmanadeva, because of his intense devotional service. The Lord went to the sacrificial arena of Bali Mahārāja and begged him for three paces of land, and on this plea the Lord took from him all his possessions. When Bali Mahārāja agreed to all this, the Lord was very pleased, and therefore the Lord serves as his doorkeeper. The description of Bali Mahārāja appears in the Eighth Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.
When the Supreme Personality of Godhead offers a devotee material happiness, this is not His real favor. The demigods, who are very puffed up by their material opulence, pray to the Lord only for material happiness, not knowing anything better. Devotees like Prahlāda Mahārāja, however, do not want material happiness. Not to speak of material happiness, they do not want even liberation from material bondage, although one can achieve this liberation simply by chanting the holy name of the Lord, even with improper pronunciation.
Below Sutala is the planet Talātala, the abode of the demon Maya. This demon is always materially happy because he is favored by Lord Śiva, but he cannot achieve spiritual happiness at any time. Below Talātala is the planet Mahātala, where there are many snakes with hundreds and thousands of hoods. Below Mahātala is Rasātala, and below that is Pātāla, where the serpent Vasukī lives with his associates.
TEXT 1
śrī-śuka uvāca
adhastāt savitur yojanāyute svarbhānur nakṣatravac caratīty eke yo ’sāv amaratvaṁ grahatvaṁ cālabhata bhagavad-anukampayā svayam asurāpasadaḥ saiṁhikeyo hy atad-arhas tasya tāta janma karmāṇi copariṣṭād vakṣyāmaḥ.
SYNONYMS
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; adhastāt—below; savituḥ—the sun globe; yojana—a measurement equal to eight miles; ayute—ten thousand; svarbhānuḥ—the planet known as Rāhu; nakṣatra-vat—like one of the stars; carati—is rotating; iti—thus; eke—some who are learned in the Purāṇas; yaḥ—which; asau—that; amaratvam—a lifetime like those of the demigods; grahatvam—a position as one of the chief planets; ca—and; alabhata—obtained; bhagavat-anukampayā—by the compassion of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; svayam—personally; asura-apasadaḥ—the lowest of the asuras; saiṁhikeyaḥ—being the son of Siṁhikā; hi—indeed; a-tat-arhaḥ—not qualified for that position; tasya—his; tāta—O my dear King; janma—birth; karmāṇi—activities; ca—also; upariṣṭāt—later; vakṣyāmaḥ—I shall explain.
TRANSLATION
Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: My dear King, some historians, the speakers of the Purāṇas, say that 10,000 yojanas [80,000 miles] below the sun is the planet known as Rāhu, which moves like one of the stars. The presiding deity of that planet, who is the son of Siṁhikā, is the most abominable of all asuras, but although he is completely unfit to assume the position of a demigod or planetary deity, he has achieved that position by the grace of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Later I shall speak further about him.
TEXT 2
yad adas taraṇer maṇḍalaṁ pratapatas tad vistarato yojanāyutam ācakṣate dvādaśa-sahasraṁ somasya trayodaśa-sahasraṁ rāhor yaḥ parvaṇi tad-vyavadhāna-kṛd vairānubandhaḥ sūryā-candramasāv abhidhāvati.
SYNONYMS
yat—which; adaḥ—that; taraṇeḥ—of the sun; maṇḍalam—globe; pratapataḥ—which is always distributing heat; tat—that; vistarataḥ—in terms of width; yojana—a distance of eight miles; ayutam—ten thousand; ācakṣate—they estimate; dvādaśa-sahasram—20,000 yojanas (160,000 miles); somasya—of the moon; trayodaśa—thirty; sahasram—one thousand; rāhoḥ—of the planet Rāhu; yaḥ—which; parvaṇi—on occasion; tat-vyavadhāna-kṛt—who created an obstruction to the sun and moon at the time of the distribution of nectar; vaira-anubandhaḥ—whose intentions are inimical; sūryā—the sun; candramasau—and the moon; abhidhāvati—runs after them on the full-moon night and the dark-moon day.
TRANSLATION
The sun globe, which is a source of heat, extends for 10,000 yojanas [80,000 miles]. The moon extends for 20,000 yojanas [160,000 miles], and Rāhu extends for 30,000 yojanas [240,000 miles]. Formerly, when nectar was being distributed, Rāhu tried to create dissension between the sun and moon by interposing himself between them. Rāhu is inimical toward both the sun and the moon, and therefore he always tries to cover the sunshine and moonshine on the dark-moon day and full-moon night.
PURPORT
As stated herein, the sun extends for 10,000 yojanas, and the moon extends for twice that, or 20,000 yojanas. The word dvādaśa should be understood to mean twice as much as ten, or twenty. In the opinion of Vijayadhvaja, the extent of Rāhu should be twice that of the moon, or text of the Bhāgavatam, Vijayadhvaja cites the following quotation concerning Rāhu; rāhu-soma-ravīṇāṁ tu maṇḍalā dvi-guṇoktitām. This means that Rāhu is twice as large as the moon, which is twice as large as the sun. This is the conclusion of the commentator Vijayadhvaja.
TEXT 3
tan niśamyobhayatrāpi bhagavatā rakṣaṇāya prayuktaṁ sudarśanaṁ nāma bhāgavataṁ dayitam astraṁ tat tejasā durviṣahaṁ muhuḥ parivartamānam abhyavasthito muhūrtam udvijamānaś cakita-hṛdaya ārād eva nivartate tad uparāgam iti vadanti lokāḥ.
SYNONYMS
tat—that situation; niśamya—hearing; ubhayatra—around both the sun and moon; api—indeed; bhagavatā—by the Supreme Personality of Godhead; rakṣaṇāya—for their protection; prayuktam—engaged; sudarśanam—the wheel of Kṛṣṇa; nāma—named; bhāgavatam—the most confidential devotee; dayitam—the most favorite; astram—weapon; tat—that; tejasā—by its effulgence; durviṣaham—unbearable heat; muhuḥ—repeatedly; parivartamānam—moving around the sun and moon; abhyavasthitaḥ—situated; muhūrtam—for a muhūrta (forty-eight minutes); udvijamānaḥ—whose mind was full of anxieties; cakita—frightened; hṛdayaḥ—the core of whose heart; ārāt—to a distant place; eva—certainly; nivartate—flees; tat—that situation; uparāgam—an eclipse; iti—thus; vadanti—they say; lokāḥ—the people.
TRANSLATION
After hearing from the sun and moon demigods about Rāhu’s attack, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu, engages His disc, known as the Sudarśana cakra, to protect them. The Sudarśana cakra is the Lord’s most beloved devotee and is favored by the Lord. The intense heat of its effulgence, meant for killing non-Vaiṣṇavas, is unbearable to Rāhu, and he therefore flees in fear of it. During the time Rāhu disturbs the sun or moon, there occurs what people commonly know as an eclipse.
PURPORT
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu, is always the protector of His devotees, who are also known as demigods. The controlling demigods are most obedient to Lord Viṣṇu, although they also want material sense enjoyment, and that is why they are called demigods, or almost godly. Although Rāhu attempts to attack both the sun and the moon, they are protected by Lord Viṣṇu. Being very afraid of Lord Viṣṇu’s cakra, Rāhu cannot stay in front of the sun or moon for more than a muhūrta (forty-eight minutes). The phenomenon that occurs when Rāhu blocks the light of the sun or moon is called an eclipse. The attempt of the scientists of this earth to go to the moon is as demoniac as Rāhu’s attack. Of course. their attempts will be failures because no one can enter the moon or sun so easily. Like the attack of Rāhu, such attempts will certainly be failures.
TEXT 4
tato ’dhastāt siddha-cāraṇa-vidyādharāṇāṁ sadanāni tāvan mātra eva.
SYNONYMS
tataḥ—the planet Rāhu; adhastāt—below; siddha-cāraṇa—of the planets known as Siddhaloka and Cāraṇaloka; vidyādharāṇām—and the planets of the Vidyādharas; sadanāni—the residential places; tāvat mātra—only that much distance (eighty thousand miles); eva—indeed.
TRANSLATION
Below Rāhu by 10,000 yojanas [80,000 miles] are the planets known as Siddhaloka, Cāraṇaloka and Vidyādhara-loka.
PURPORT
It is said that the residents of Siddhaloka, being naturally endowed with the powers of yogīs, can go from one planet to another by their natural mystic powers without using airplanes or similar machines.
TEXT 5
tato ’dhastād yakṣa-rakṣaḥ-piśāca-preta-bhūta-gaṇānāṁ vihārājiram antarikṣaṁ yāvad vāyuḥ pravāti yāvan meghā upalabhyante.
SYNONYMS
tataḥ adhastāt—beneath the planets occupied by the Siddhas, Cāraṇas and Vidyādharas; yakṣa-rakṣaḥ-piśāca-preta-bhūta-gaṇānām—of Yakṣas, Rākṣasas, Piśācas, ghosts and so on; vihāra-ajiram—the place of sense gratification; antarikṣam—in the sky or outer space; yāvat—as far as; vāyuḥ—the wind; pravāti—blows; yāvat—as far as; meghāḥ—the clouds; upalabhyante—are seen.
TRANSLATION
Beneath Vidyādhara-loka, Cāraṇaloka and Siddhaloka, in the sky called antarikṣa, are the places of enjoyment for the Yakṣas, Rākṣasas, Piśācas, ghosts and so on. Antarikṣa extends as far as the wind blows and the clouds float in the sky. Above this there is no more air.
TEXT 6
tato ’dhastāc chata-yojanāntara iyaṁ pṛthivī yāvad dhaṁsa-bhāsa-śyena-suparṇādayaḥ patattri-pravarā utpatantīti.
SYNONYMS
tataḥ adhastāt—beneath that; śata-yojana—of one hundred yojanas; antare—by an interval; iyam—this; pṛthivī—planet earth; yāvat—as high as; haṁsa—swans; bhāsa—vultures; śyena—eagles; suparṇa-ādayaḥ—and other birds; patattri-pravarāḥ—the chief among birds; utpatanti—can fly; iti—thus.
TRANSLATION
Below the abodes of the Yakṣas and Rākṣasas by a distance of 100 yojanas [800 miles] is the planet earth. Its upper limits extend as high as swans, hawks, eagles and similar large birds can fly.
TEXT 7
upavarṇitaṁ bhūmer yathā-sanniveśāvasthānam avaner apy adhastāt sapta bhū-vivarā ekaikaśo yojanāyutāntareṇāyāma-vistāreṇopakḷptā atalaṁ vitalaṁ sutalaṁ talātalaṁ mahātalaṁ rasātalaṁ pātālam iti.
SYNONYMS
upavarṇitam—stated previously; bhūmeḥ—of the planet earth; yathā-sanniveśa-avasthānam—according to the arrangement of the different places; avaneḥ—the earth; api—certainly; adhastāt—beneath; sapta—seven; bhū-vivarāḥ—other planets; eka-ekaśaḥ—in succession, up to the outer limit of the universe; yojana-ayuta-antareṇa—with an interval of ten thousand yojanas (eighty thousand miles); āyāma-vistāreṇa—by width and length; upakḷptāḥ—situated; atalam—named Atala; vitalam—Vitala; sutalamSutala; talātalam—Talātala; mahātalam—Mahātala; rasātalamRasātala; pātālamPātāla; iti—thus.
TRANSLATION
My dear King, beneath this earth are seven other planets, known as Atala, Vitala, Sutala, Talātala, Mahātala, Rasātala and Pātāla. I have already explained the situation of the planetary systems of earth. The width and length of the seven lower planetary systems are calculated to be exactly the same as those of earth.
TEXT 8
eteṣu hi bila-svargeṣu svargād apy adhika-kāma-bhogaiśvaryānanda-bhūti-vibhūtibhiḥ susamṛddha-bhavanodyānākrīḍa-vihāreṣu daitya-dānava-kādraveyā nitya-pramuditānurakta-kalatrāpatya-bandhu-suhṛd-anucarā gṛha-pataya īśvarād apy apratihata-kāmā māyā-vinodā nivasanti.
SYNONYMS
eteṣu—in these; hi—certainly; bila-svargeṣu—known as the heavenly subterranean worlds; svargāt—than the heavenly planets; api—even; adhika—a greater quantity; kāma-bhoga—enjoyment of sense gratification; aiśvarya-ānanda—bliss due to opulence; bhūti—influence; vibhūtibhiḥ—by those things and wealth; su-samṛddha—improved; bhavana—houses; udyāna—gardens; ākrīḍa-vihāreṣu—in places for different types of sense gratification; daitya—the demons; dānava—ghosts; kādraveyāḥ—snakes; nitya—who are always; pramudita—overjoyed; anurakta—because of attachment; kalatra—to wife; apatya—children; bandhu—family relations; suhṛt—friends; anucarāḥ—followers; gṛha-patayaḥ—the heads of the households; īśvarāt—than those more capable, like the demigods; api—even; apratihata-kāmāḥ—whose fulfillment of lusty desires is unimpeded; māyā—illusory; vinodāḥ—who feel happiness; nivasanti—live.
TRANSLATION
In these seven planetary systems, which are also known as the subterranean heavens [bila-svarga], there are very beautiful houses, gardens and places of sense enjoyment, which are even more opulent than those in the higher planets because the demons have a very high standard of sensual pleasure, wealth and influence. Most of the residents of these planets, who are known as Daityas, Dānavas and Nāgas, live as householders. Their wives, children, friends and society are all fully engaged in illusory, material happiness. The sense enjoyment of the demigods is sometimes disturbed, but the residents of these planets enjoy life without disturbances. Thus they are understood to be very attached to illusory happiness.
PURPORT
According to the statements of Prahlāda Mahārāja, material enjoyment is māyā-sukha, illusory enjoyment. A Vaiṣṇava is full of anxieties for the deliverance of all living entities from such false enjoyment. Prahlāda Mahārāja says, māyā-sukhāya bharam udvahato vimūḍhān: [SB 7.9.43] these fools (vimūḍhas) are engaged in material happiness, which is surely temporary. Whether in the heavenly planets, the lower planets or the earthly planets, people are engrossed in temporary, material happiness, forgetting that in due course of time they have to change their bodies according to the material laws and suffer the repetition of birth, death, old age and disease. Not caring what will happen in the next birth, gross materialists are simply busy enjoying during the present short span of life. A Vaiṣṇava is always anxious to give all such bewildered materialists the real happiness of spiritual bliss.
TEXT 9
yeṣu mahārāja mayena māyāvinā vinirmitāḥ puro nānā-maṇi-pravara-praveka-viracita-vicitra-bhavana-prākāra-gopura-sabhā-caitya-catvarāyatanādibhir nāgāsura-mithuna-pārāvata-śuka-sārikākīrṇa-kṛtrima-bhūmibhir vivareśvara-gṛhottamaiḥ samalaṅkṛtāś cakāsati.
SYNONYMS
yeṣu—in those lower planetary systems; mahā-rāja—O my dear King; mayena—by the demon named Maya; māyā-vinā—possessing advanced knowledge in the construction of material comforts; vinirmitāḥ—constructed; puraḥ—cities; nānā-maṇi-pravara—of valuable gems; praveka—with excellent; viracita—constructed; vicitra—wonderful; bhavana—houses; prākāra—walls; gopura—gates; sabhā—legislative meeting rooms; caitya—temples; catvara—schools; āyatana-ādibhiḥ—with hotels or recreation halls and so on; nāga—of living entities with snakelike bodies; asura—of demons, or godless persons; mithuna—by couples; pārāvata—pigeons; śuka—parrots; sārikā—mynas; ākīrṇa—crowded; kṛtrima—artificial; bhūmibhiḥ—possessing areas; vivara-īśvara—of the leaders of the planets; gṛha-uttamaiḥ—with first-class houses; samalaṅkṛtāḥ—decorated; cakāsati—shine magnificently.
TRANSLATION
My dear King, in the imitation heavens known as bila-svarga there is a great demon named Maya Dānava, who is an expert artist and architect. He has constructed many brilliantly decorated cities. There are many wonderful houses, walls, gates, assembly houses, temples, yards and temple compounds, as well as many hotels serving as residential quarters for foreigners. The houses for the leaders of these planets are constructed with the most valuable jewels, and they are always crowded with living entities known as Nāgas and Asuras, as well as many pigeons, parrots and similar birds. All in all, these imitation heavenly cities are most beautifully situated and attractively decorated.
TEXT 10
udyānāni cātitarāṁ mana-indriyānandibhiḥ kusuma-phala-stabaka-subhaga-kisalayāvanata-rucira-viṭapa-viṭapināṁ latāṅgāliṅgitānāṁ śrībhiḥ samithuna-vividha-vihaṅgama-jalāśayānām amala-jala-pūrṇānāṁ jhaṣakulollaṅghana-kṣubhita-nīra-nīraja-kumuda-kuva-laya-kahlāra-nīlotpala-lohita-śatapatrādi-vaneṣu kṛta-niketanānām eka-vihārākula-madhura-vividha-svanādibhir indriyotsavair amara-loka-śriyam atiśayitāni.
SYNONYMS
udyānāni—the gardens and parks; ca—also; atitarām—greatly; manaḥ—to the mind; indriya—and to the senses; ānandibhiḥ—which cause pleasure; kusuma—by flowers; phala—of fruits; stabaka—bunches; subhaga—very beautiful; kisalaya—new twigs; avanata—bent low; rucira—attractive; viṭapa—possessing branches; viṭapinām—of trees; latā-aṅga-āliṅgitānām—which are embraced by the limbs of creepers; śrībhiḥ—by the beauty; sa-mithuna—in pairs; vividha—varieties; vihaṅgama—frequented by birds; jala-āśayānām—of reservoirs of water; amala-jala-pūrṇānām—full of clear and transparent water; jhaṣa-kula-ullaṅghana—by the jumping of different fish; kṣubhita—agitated; nīra—in the water; nīraja—of lotus flowers; kumuda—lilies; kuvalaya—flowers named kuvalaya; kahlāra—kahlāra flowers; nīla-utpala—blue lotus flowers; lohita—red; śata-patra-ādi—lotus flowers with a hundred petals and so on; vaneṣu—in forests; kṛta-niketanānām—of birds that have made their nests; eka-vihāra-ākula—full of uninterrupted enjoyment; madhura—very sweet; vividha—varieties; svana-ādibhiḥ—by vibrations; indriya-utsavaiḥ—invoking sense enjoyment; amara-loka-śriyam—the beauty of the residential places of the demigods; atiśayitāni—surpassing.
TRANSLATION
The parks and gardens in the artificial heavens surpass in beauty those of the upper heavenly planets. The trees in those gardens, embraced by creepers, bend with a heavy burden of twigs with fruits and flowers, and therefore they appear extraordinarily beautiful. That beauty could attract anyone and make his mind fully blossom in the pleasure of sense gratification. There are many lakes and reservoirs with clear, transparent water, agitated by jumping fish and decorated with many flowers such as lilies, kuvalayas, kahlāras and blue and red lotuses. Pairs of cakravākas and many other water birds nest in the lakes and always enjoy in a happy mood, making sweet, pleasing vibrations that are very satisfying and conducive to enjoyment of the senses.
TEXT 11
yatra ha vāva na bhayam aho-rātrādibhiḥ kāla-vibhāgair upalakṣyate.
SYNONYMS
yatra—where; ha vāva—certainly; na—not; bhayam—fearfulness; ahaḥ-rātra-ādibhiḥ—because of days and nights; kāla-vibhāgaiḥ—the divisions of time; upalakṣyate—is experienced.
TRANSLATION
Since there is no sunshine in those subterranean planets, time is not divided into days and nights, and consequently fear produced by time does not exist.
TEXT 12
yatra hi mahāhi-pravara-śiro-maṇayaḥ sarvaṁ tamaḥ prabādhante.
SYNONYMS
yatra—where; hi—indeed; mahā-ahi—of great serpents; pravara—of the best; śiraḥ-maṇayaḥ—the gems on the hoods; sarvam—all; tamaḥ—darkness; prabādhante—drive away.
TRANSLATION
Many great serpents reside there with gems on their hoods, and the effulgence of these gems dissipates the darkness in all directions.
TEXT 13
na vā eteṣu vasatāṁ divyauṣadhi-rasa-rasāyanānna-pāna-snānādibhir ādhayo vyādhayo valī-palita-jarādayaś ca deha-vaivarṇya-daurgandhya-sveda-klama-glānir iti vayo ’vasthāś ca bhavanti.
SYNONYMS
na—not; —either; eteṣu—in these planets; vasatām—of those residing; divya—wonderful; auṣadhi—of herbs; rasa—the juices; rasāyana—and elixirs; anna—by eating; pāna—drinking; snāna-ādibhiḥ—by bathing in and so on; ādhayaḥ—mental troubles; vyādhayaḥ—diseases; valī—wrinkles; palita—grey hair; jarā—old age; ādayaḥ—and so on; ca—and; deha-vaivarṇya—the fading of bodily luster; daurgandhya—bad odor; sveda—perspiration; klama—fatigue; glāniḥ—lack of energy; iti—thus; vayaḥ avasthāḥ—miserable conditions due to increasing age; ca—and; bhavanti—are.
TRANSLATION
Since the residents of these planets drink and bathe in juices and elixirs made from wonderful herbs, they are freed from all anxieties and physical diseases. They have no experience of grey hair, wrinkles or invalidity, their bodily lusters do not fade, their perspiration does not cause a bad smell, and they are not troubled by fatigue or by lack of energy or enthusiasm due to old age.
TEXT 14
na hi teṣāṁ kalyāṇānāṁ prabhavati kutaścana mṛtyur vinā bhagavat-tejasaś cakrāpadeśāt.
SYNONYMS
na hi—not; teṣām—of them; kalyāṇānām—who are by nature auspicious; prabhavati—able to influence; kutaścana—from anywhere; mṛtyuḥ—death; vinā—except; bhagavat-tejasaḥ—of the energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; cakra-apadeśāt—from that weapon named the Sudarśana cakra.
TRANSLATION
They live very auspiciously and do not fear death from anything but death’s established time, which is the effulgence of the Sudarśana cakra of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
PURPORT
This is the defect of material existence. Everything in the subterranean heavens is very nicely arranged. There are well situated residential quarters, there is a pleasing atmosphere, and there are no bodily inconveniences or mental anxieties, but nevertheless those who live there have to take another birth according to karma. Persons whose minds are dull cannot understand this defect of a materialistic civilization aiming at material comforts. One may make his living conditions very pleasing for the senses, but despite all favorable conditions, one must in due course of time meet death. The members of a demoniac civilization endeavor to make their living conditions very comfortable, but they cannot check death. The influence of the Sudarśana cakra will not allow their so-called material happiness to endure.
TEXT 15
yasmin praviṣṭe ’sura-vadhūnāṁ prāyaḥ puṁsavanāni bhayād eva sravanti patanti ca.
SYNONYMS
yasmin—where; praviṣṭe—when entered; asura-vadhūnām—of the wives of those demons; prāyaḥ—almost always; puṁsavanāni—fetuses; bhayāt—because of fear; eva—certainly; sravanti—slip out; patanti—fall down; ca—and.
TRANSLATION
When the Sudarśana disc enters those provinces, the pregnant wives of the demons all have miscarriages due to fear of its effulgence.
TEXT 16
athātale maya-putro ’suro balo nivasati yena ha vā iha sṛṣṭāḥ ṣaṇ-ṇavatir māyāḥ kāścanādyāpi māyāvino dhārayanti yasya ca jṛmbhamāṇasya mukhatas trayaḥ strī-gaṇā udapadyanta svairiṇyaḥ kāminyaḥ puṁścalya iti yā vai bilāyanaṁ praviṣṭaṁ puruṣaṁ rasena hāṭakākhyena sādhayitvā sva-vilāsāvalokanānurāga-smita-saṁlāpopagūhanādibhiḥ svairaṁ kila ramayanti yasminn upayukte puruṣa īśvaro ’haṁ siddho ’ham ity ayuta-mahā-gaja-balam ātmānam abhimanyamānaḥ katthate madāndha iva.
SYNONYMS
atha—now; atale—on the planet named Atala; maya-putraḥ asuraḥ—the demon son of Maya; balaḥBala; nivasati—resides; yena—by whom; ha —indeed; iha—in this; sṛṣṭāḥ—propagated; ṣaṭ-ṇavatiḥ—ninety-six; māyāḥ—varieties of illusion; kāścana—some; adya api—even today; māyā-vinaḥ—those who know the art of magical feats (like manufacturing gold); dhārayanti—utilize; yasya—of whom; ca—also; jṛmbhamāṇasya—while yawning; mukhataḥ—from the mouth; trayaḥ—three; strī-gaṇāḥ—varieties of women; udapadyanta—were generated; svairiṇyaḥsvairiṇī (one who only marries in her same class); kāminyaḥkāmiṇī (one who, being lusty, marries men from any group); puṁścalyaḥpuṁścalī (one who wants to go from one husband to another); iti—thus; yāḥ—who; vai—certainly; bila-ayanam—the subterranean planets; praviṣṭam—entering; puruṣam—a male; rasena—by a juice; hāṭaka-ākhyena—made from an intoxicating herb known as hāṭaka; sādhayitvā—making sexually fit; sva-vilāsa—for their personal sense gratification; avalokana—by glances; anurāga—lustful; smita—by smiling; saṁlāpa—by talking; upagūhana-ādibhiḥ—and by embracing; svairam—according to their own desire; kila—indeed; ramayanti—enjoy sex pleasure; yasmin—which; upayukte—when used; puruṣaḥ—a man; īśvaraḥ aham—I am the most powerful person; siddhaḥ aham—I am the greatest and most elevated person; iti—thus; ayuta—ten thousand; mahā-gaja—of big elephants; balam—the strength; ātmānam—himself; abhimanyamānaḥ—being full of pride; katthate—they say; mada-andhaḥ—blinded by false prestige; iva—like.
TRANSLATION
My dear King, now I shall describe to you the lower planetary systems, one by one, beginning from Atala. In Atala there is a demon, the son of Maya Dānava named Bala, who created ninety-six kinds of mystic power. Some so-called yogīs and svāmīs take advantage of this mystic power to cheat people even today. Simply by yawning, the demon Bala created three kinds of women, known as svairiṇī, kāmiṇī and puṁścalī. The svairiṇīs like to marry men from their own group, the kāmiṇīs marry men from any group, and the puṁścalīs change husbands one after another. If a man enters the planet of Atala, these women immediately capture him and induce him to drink an intoxicating beverage made with a drug known as hāṭaka [cannabis indica]. This intoxicant endows the man with great sexual prowess, of which the women take advantage for enjoyment. A woman will enchant him with attractive glances, intimate words, smiles of love and then embraces. In this way she induces him to enjoy sex with her to her full satisfaction. Because of his increased sexual power, the man thinks himself stronger than ten thousand elephants and considers himself most perfect. Indeed, illusioned and intoxicated by false pride, he thinks himself God, ignoring impending death.
TEXT 17
tato ’dhastād vitale haro bhagavān hāṭakeśvaraḥ sva-pārṣada-bhūta-gaṇāvṛtaḥ prajāpati-sargopabṛṁhaṇāya bhavo bhavānyā saha mithunī-bhūta āste yataḥ pravṛttā sarit-pravarā hāṭakī nāma bhavayor vīryeṇa yatra citrabhānur mātariśvanā samidhyamāna ojasā pibati tan niṣṭhyūtaṁ hāṭakākhyaṁ suvarṇaṁ bhūṣaṇenāsurendrāvarodheṣu puruṣāḥ saha puruṣībhir dhārayanti.
SYNONYMS
tataḥ—the planet Atala; adhastāt—beneath; vitale—on the planet; haraḥ—Lord Śiva; bhagavān—the most powerful personality; hāṭakeśvaraḥ—the master of gold; sva-pārṣada—by his own associates; bhūta-gaṇa—who are ghostly living beings; āvṛtaḥ—surrounded; prajāpati-sarga—of the creation of Lord Brahmā; upabṛṁhaṇāya—to increase the population; bhavaḥ—Lord Śiva; bhavānyā saha—with his wife, Bhavānī; mithunī-bhūtaḥ—being united in sex; āste—remains; yataḥ—from that planet (Vitala); pravṛttā—being emanated; sarit-pravarā—the great river; hāṭakīHāṭakī; nāma—named; bhavayoḥ vīryeṇa—due to the semina and ovum of Lord Śiva and Bhavānī; yatra—where; citra-bhānuḥ—the fire-god; mātariśvanā—by the wind; samidhyamānaḥ—being brightly inflamed; ojasā—with great strength; pibati—drinks; tat—that; niṣṭhyūtam—spit out with a hissing sound; hāṭaka-ākhyam—named Hāṭaka; suvarṇam—gold; bhūṣaṇena—by different types of ornaments; asura-indra—of the great asuras; avarodheṣu—in the homes; puruṣāḥ—the males; saha—with; puruṣībhiḥ—their wives and women; dhārayanti—wear.
TRANSLATION
The next planet below Atala is Vitala, wherein Lord Śiva, who is known as the master of gold mines, lives with his personal associates, the ghosts and similar living entities. Lord Śiva, as the progenitor, engages in sex with Bhavānī, the progenitress, to produce living entities, and from the mixture of their vital fluid the river named Hāṭakī is generated. When fire, being made to blaze by the wind, drinks of this river and then sizzles and spits it out, it produces gold called Hāṭaka. The demons who live on that planet with their wives decorate themselves with various ornaments made from that gold, and thus they live there very happily.
PURPORT
It appears that when Bhava and Bhavānī, Lord Śiva and his wife, unite sexually, the emulsification of their secretions creates a chemical which when heated by fire can produce gold. It is said that the alchemists of the medieval age tried to prepare gold from base metal, and Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī also states that when bell metal is treated with mercury, it can produce gold. Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī mentions this in regard to the initiation of low-class men to turn them into brāhmaṇas. Sanātana Gosvāmī said:
yathā kāñcanatāṁ yāti
kāṁsyaṁ rasa-vidhānataḥ
tathā dīkṣā-vidhānena
dvijatvaṁ jāyate nṛṇām
“As one can transform kaṁsa, or bell metal, into gold by treating it with mercury, one can also turn a lowborn man into a brāhmaṇa by initiating him properly into Vaiṣṇava activities.” The International Society for Krishna Consciousness is trying to turn mlecchas and yavanas into real brāhmaṇas by properly initiating them and stopping them from engaging in meat-eating, intoxication, illicit sex and gambling. One who stops these four principles of sinful activity and chants the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra can certainly become a pure brāhmaṇa through the process of bona fide initiation, as suggested by Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmī.
Apart from this, if one takes a hint from this verse and learns how to mix mercury with bell metal by properly heating and melting them, one can get gold very cheaply. The alchemists of the medieval age tried to manufacture gold, but they were unsuccessful, perhaps because they did not follow the right instructions.
TEXT 18
tato ’dhastāt sutale udāra-śravāḥ puṇya-śloko virocanātmajo balir bhagavatā mahendrasya priyaṁ cikīrṣamāṇenāditer labdha-kāyo bhūtvā vaṭu-vāmana-rūpeṇa parākṣipta-loka-trayo bhagavad-anukampayaiva punaḥ praveśita indrādiṣv avidyamānayā susamṛddhayā śriyābhijuṣṭaḥ sva-dharmeṇārādhayaṁs tam eva bhagavantam ārādhanīyam apagata-sādhvasa āste ’dhunāpi.
SYNONYMS
tataḥ adhastāt—beneath the planet known as Vitala; sutale—on the planet known as Sutala; udāra-śravāḥ—very greatly celebrated; puṇya-ślokaḥ—very pious and advanced in spiritual consciousness; virocana-ātmajaḥ—the son of Virocana; baliḥBali Mahārāja; bhagavatā—by the Supreme Personality of Godhead; mahā-indrasya—of the King of heaven, Indra; priyam—the welfare; cikīrṣamāṇena—desiring to perform; āditeḥ—from Aditi; labdha-kāyaḥ—having obtained His body; bhūtvā—appearing; vaṭubrahmacāri; vāmana-rūpeṇa—in the form of a dwarf; parākṣipta—wrested away; loka-trayaḥ—the three worlds; bhagavat-anukampayā—by the causeless mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; eva—certainly; punaḥ—again; praveśitaḥ—caused to enter; indra-ādiṣu—even among the demigods like the King of heaven; avidyamānayā—not existing; susamṛddhayā—much enriched by such exalted opulence; śriyā—by good fortune; abhijuṣṭaḥ—being blessed; sva-dharmeṇa—by discharging devotional service; ārādhayan—worshiping; tam—Him; eva—certainly; bhagavantam—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; ārādhanīyam—who is most worshipable; apagata-sādhvasaḥ—without fear; āste—remains; adhunā api—even today.
TRANSLATION
Below the planet Vitala is another planet, known as Sutala, where the great son of Mahārāja Virocana, Bali Mahārāja, who is celebrated as the most pious king, resides even now. For the welfare of Indra, the King of heaven, Lord Viṣṇu appeared in the form of a dwarf brahmacārī as the son of Aditi and tricked Bali Mahārāja by begging for only three paces of land but taking all the three worlds. Being very pleased with Bali Mahārāja for giving all his possessions, the Lord returned his kingdom and made him richer than the opulent King Indra. Even now, Bali Mahārāja engages in devotional service by worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the planet of Sutala.
PURPORT
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is described as Uttamaśloka, “He who is worshiped by the best of selected Sanskrit verses,” and His devotees such as Bali Mahārāja are also worshiped by puṇya-śloka, verses that increase one’s piety. Bali Mahārāja offered everything to the Lord—his wealth, his kingdom and even his own body (sarvātma-nivedane baliḥ). The Lord appeared before Bali Mahārāja as a brāhmaṇa beggar, and Bali Mahārāja gave Him everything he had. However, Bali Mahārāja did not become poor; by donating all his possessions to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he became a successful devotee and got everything back again with the blessings of the Lord. Similarly, those who give contributions to expand the activities of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement and to accomplish its objectives will never be losers; they will get their wealth back with the blessings of Lord Kṛṣṇa. On the other side, those who collect contributions on behalf of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness should be very careful not to use even a farthing of the collection for any purpose other than the transcendental loving service of the Lord.
TEXT 19
no evaitat sākṣātkāro bhūmi-dānasya yat tad bhagavaty aśeṣa-jīva-nikāyānāṁ jīva-bhūtātma-bhūte paramātmani vāsudeve tīrthatame pātra upapanne parayā śraddhayā paramādara-samāhita-manasā sampratipāditasya sākṣād apavarga-dvārasya yad bila-nilayaiśvaryam.
SYNONYMS
no—not; eva—indeed; etat—this; sākṣātkāraḥ—the direct result; bhūmi-dānasya—of contribution of land; yat—which; tat—that; bhagavati—unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead; aśeṣa-jīva-nikāyānām—of unlimited numbers of living entities; jīva-bhūta-ātma-bhūte—who is the life and the Supersoul; parama-ātmani—the supreme regulator; vāsudeve—Lord Vāsudeva (Kṛṣṇa); tīrtha-tame—who is the best of all places of pilgrimage; pātre—the most worthy recipient; upapanne—having approached; parayā—by the topmost; śraddhayā—faith; parama-ādara—with great respect; samāhita-manasā—with an attentive mind; sampratipāditasya—which was given; sākṣāt—directly; apavarga-dvārasya—the gate of liberation; yat—which; bila-nilaya—of bila-svarga, the imitation heavenly planets; aiśvaryam—the opulence.
TRANSLATION
My dear King, Bali Mahārāja donated all his possessions to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vāmanadeva, but one should certainly not conclude that he achieved his great worldly opulence in bila-svarga as a result of his charitable disposition. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the source of life for all living entities, lives within everyone as the friendly Supersoul, and under His direction a living entity enjoys or suffers in the material world. Greatly appreciating the transcendental qualities of the Lord, Bali Mahārāja offered everything at His lotus feet. His purpose, however, was not to gain anything material, but to become a pure devotee. For a pure devotee, the door of liberation is automatically opened. One should not think that Bali Mahārāja was given so much material opulence merely because of his charity. When one becomes a pure devotee in love, he may also be blessed with a good material position by the will of the Supreme Lord. However, one should not mistakenly think that the material opulence of a devotee is the result of his devotional service. The real result of devotional service is the awakening of pure love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, which continues under all circumstances.
TEXT 20
yasya ha vāva kṣuta-patana-praskhalanādiṣu vivaśaḥ sakṛn nāmābhigṛṇan puruṣaḥ karma-bandhanam añjasā vidhunoti yasya haiva pratibādhanaṁ mumukṣavo ’nyathaivopalabhante.
SYNONYMS
yasya—of whom; ha vāva—indeed; kṣuta—when in hunger; patana—falling down; praskhalana-ādiṣu—stumbling and so on; vivaśaḥ—being helpless; sakṛt—once; nāma abhigṛṇan—chanting the holy name of the Lord; puruṣaḥ—a person; karma-bandhanam—the bondage of fruitive activity; añjasā—completely; vidhunoti—washes away; yasya—of which; ha—certainly; eva—in this way; pratibādhanam—the repulsion; mumukṣavaḥ—persons desiring liberation; anyathā—otherwise; eva—certainly; upalabhante—are trying to realize.
TRANSLATION
If one who is embarrassed by hunger or who falls down or stumbles chants the holy name of the Lord even once, willingly or unwillingly, he is immediately freed from the reactions of his past deeds. Karmīs entangled in material activities face many difficulties in the practice of mystic yoga and other endeavors to achieve that same freedom.
PURPORT
It is not a fact that one has to offer his material possessions to the Supreme Personality of Godhead and be liberated before he can engage in devotional service. A devotee automatically attains liberation without separate endeavors. Bali Mahārāja did not get back all his material possessions merely because of his charity to the Lord. One who becomes a devotee, free from material desires and motives, regards all opportunities, both material and spiritual, as benedictions from the Lord, and in this way his service to the Lord is never hampered. Bhukti, material enjoyment, and mukti, liberation, are only by-products of devotional service. A devotee need not work separately to attain mukti. Śrīla Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura said, muktiḥ svayaṁ mukulitāñjaliḥ sevate ’smān: a pure devotee of the Lord does not have to endeavor separately for mukti, because mukti is always ready to serve him.
In this regard, Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Antya 3.177–188) describes Haridāsa Ṭhākura’s confirmation of the effect of chanting the holy name of the Lord.
keha bale——‘nāma haite haya pāpa-kṣaya’
keha bale——‘nāma haite jīvera mokṣa haya’
Some say that by chanting the holy name of the Lord one is freed from all the reactions of sinful life, and others say that by chanting the holy name of the Lord one attains liberation from material bondage.
Haridāsa Ṭhākura, however, said that the desired result of chanting the holy name of the Lord is not that one is liberated from material bondage or freed from the reactions of sinful life. The actual result of chanting the holy name of the Lord is that one awakens his dormant Kṛṣṇa consciousness, his loving service to the Lord.
Haridāsa Ṭhākura said that liberation and freedom from the reactions of sinful activities are only by-products of chanting the holy name of the Lord. If one chants the holy name of the Lord purely, he attains the platform of loving service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In this regard Haridāsa Ṭhākura gave an example comparing the power of the holy name to sunshine.
ei ślokera artha kara paṇḍitera gaṇa”
sabe kahe,——‘tumi kaha artha-vivaraṇa’
He placed a verse before all the learned scholars present, but the learned scholars asked him to state the purport of the verse.
Haridāsa Ṭhākura said that as the sun begins to rise, it dissipates the darkness of night, even before the sunshine is visible.
Before the sunrise even takes place, the light of dawn destroys the fear of the dangers of the night, such as disturbances by thieves, ghosts and Rākṣasas, and when the sunshine actually appears, one engages in his duties.
Similarly, even before one’s chanting of the holy name is pure, one is freed from all sinful reactions, and when he chants purely he becomes a lover of Kṛṣṇa.
‘mukti’ tuccha-phala haya nāmābhāsa haite
ye mukti bhakta laya, se kṛṣṇa cāhe dite”
A devotee never accepts mukti, even if Kṛṣṇa offers it. Mukti, freedom from all sinful reactions, is obtained even by nāmābhāsa, or a glimpse of the light of the holy name before its full light is perfectly visible.
The nāmābhāsa stage is between that of nāma-aparādha, or chanting of the holy name with offenses, and pure chanting. There are three stages in chanting the holy name of the Lord. In the first stage, one commits ten kinds of offenses while chanting. In the next stage, nāmābhāsa, the offenses have almost stopped, and one is coming to the platform of pure chanting. In the third stage, when one chants the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra without offenses, his dormant love for Kṛṣṇa immediately awakens. This is the perfection.
TEXT 21
tad bhaktānām ātmavatāṁ sarveṣām ātmany ātmada ātmatayaiva.
SYNONYMS
tat—that; bhaktānām—of great devotees; ātma-vatām—of self-realized persons like Sanaka and Sanātana; sarveṣām—of all; ātmani—to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the soul; ātma-de—who gives Himself without hesitation; ātmatayā—who is the Supreme Soul, Paramātmā; eva—indeed.
TRANSLATION
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is situated in everyone’s heart as the Supersoul, sells Himself to His devotees such as Nārada Muni. In other words, the Lord gives pure love to such devotees and gives Himself to those who love Him purely. Great, self-realized mystic yogīs such as the four Kumāras also derive great transcendental bliss from realizing the Supersoul within themselves.
PURPORT
The Lord became Bali Mahārāja’s doorkeeper not because of his giving everything to the Lord, but because of his exalted position as a lover of the Lord.
TEXT 22
na vai bhagavān nūnam amuṣyānujagrāha yad uta punar ātmānusmṛti-moṣaṇaṁ māyāmaya-bhogaiśvaryam evātanuteti.
SYNONYMS
na—not; vai—indeed; bhagavān—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; nūnam—certainly; amuṣya—unto Bali Mahārāja; anujagrāha—showed His favor; yat—because; uta—certainly; punaḥ—again; ātma-anusmṛti—of remembrance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; moṣaṇam—which robs one; māyā-maya—an attribute of Māyā; bhoga-aiśvaryam—the material opulence; eva—certainly; ātanuta—extended; iti—thus.
TRANSLATION
The Supreme Personality of Godhead did not award His mercy to Bali Mahārāja by giving him material happiness and opulence, for these make one forget loving service to the Lord. The result of material opulence is that one can no longer absorb his mind in the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
PURPORT
There are two kinds of opulence. One, which results from one’s karma, is material, whereas the other is spiritual. A surrendered soul who fully depends upon the Supreme Personality of Godhead does not want material opulence for sense gratification. Therefore when a pure devotee is seen to possess exalted material opulence, it is not due to his karma. Rather, it is due to his bhakti. In other words, he is in that position because the Supreme Lord wants him to execute service to Him very easily and opulently. The special mercy of the Lord for the neophyte devotee is that he becomes materially poor. This is the Lord’s mercy because if a neophyte devotee becomes materially opulent, he forgets the service of the Lord. However, if an advanced devotee is favored by the Lord with opulence, it is not material opulence but a spiritual opportunity. Material opulence offered to the demigods causes forgetfulness of the Lord, but opulence was given to Bali Mahārāja for continuing service to the Lord, which was free from any touch of māyā.
TEXT 23
yat tad bhagavatānadhigatānyopāyena yācñā-cchalenāpahṛta-sva-śarīrāvaśeṣita-loka-trayo varuṇa-pāśaiś ca sampratimukto giri-daryāṁ cāpaviddha iti hovāca.
SYNONYMS
yat—which; tat—that; bhagavatā—by the Supreme Personality of Godhead; anadhigata-anya-upāyena—who is not perceived by other means; yācñā-chalena—by a trick of begging; apahṛta—taken away; sva-śarīra-avaśeṣita—with only his own body remaining; loka-trayaḥ—the three worlds; varuṇa-pāśaiḥ—by the ropes of Varuṇa; ca—and; sampratimuktaḥ—completely bound; giri-daryām—in a cave in a mountain; ca—and; apaviddhaḥ—being detained; iti—thus; ha—indeed; uvāca—said.
TRANSLATION
When the Supreme Personality of Godhead could see no other means of taking everything away from Bali Mahārāja, He adopted the trick of begging from him and took away all the three worlds. Thus only his body was left, but the Lord was still not satisfied. He arrested Bali Mahārāja, bound him with the ropes of Varuṇa and threw him in a cave in a mountain. Nevertheless, although all his property was taken and he was thrown into a cave, Bali Mahārāja was such a great devotee that he spoke as follows.
TEXT 24
nūnaṁ batāyaṁ bhagavān artheṣu na niṣṇāto yo ’sāv indro yasya sacivo mantrāya vṛta ekāntato bṛhaspatis tam atihāya svayam upendreṇātmānam ayācatātmanaś cāśiṣo no eva tad-dāsyam ati-gambhīra-vayasaḥ kālasya manvantara-parivṛttaṁ kiyal loka-trayam idam.
SYNONYMS
nūnam—certainly; bata—alas; ayam—this; bhagavān—very learned; artheṣu—in self-interest; na—not; niṣṇātaḥ—very experienced; yaḥ—who; asau—the King of heaven; indraḥIndra; yasya—of whom; sacivaḥ—the prime minister; mantrāya—for giving instructions; vṛtaḥ—chosen; ekāntataḥ—alone; bṛhaspatiḥ—named Bṛhaspati; tam—him; atihāya—ignoring; svayam—personally; upendreṇa—by means of Upendra (Lord Vāmanadeva); ātmānam—myself; ayācata—requested; ātmanaḥ—for himself; ca—and; āśiṣaḥ—blessings (the three worlds); no—not; eva—certainly; tat-dāsyam—the loving service of the Lord; ati—very; gambhīra-vayasaḥ—having an insurmountable duration; kālasya—of time; manvantara-parivṛttam—changed by the end of a life of a Manu; kiyat—what is the value of; loka-trayam—three worlds; idam—these.
TRANSLATION
Alas, how pitiable it is for Indra, the King of heaven, that although he is very learned and powerful and although he chose Bṛhaspati as his prime minister to instruct him, he is completely ignorant concerning spiritual advancement. Bṛhaspati is also unintelligent because he did not properly instruct his disciple Indra. Lord Vāmanadeva was standing at Indra’s door, but King Indra, instead of begging Him for an opportunity to render transcendental loving service, engaged Him in asking me for alms to gain the three worlds for his sense gratification. Sovereignty over the three worlds is very insignificant because whatever material opulence one may possess lasts only for an age of Manu, which is but a tiny fraction of endless time.
PURPORT
Bali Mahārāja was so powerful that he fought with Indra and took possession of the three worlds. Indra was certainly very advanced in knowledge, but instead of asking Vāmanadeva for engagement in His service, he used the Lord to beg for material possessions that would lie finished at the end of one age of Manu. An age of Manu, which is the duration of Manu’s life, is calculated to last seventy-two yugas. One yuga consists of 4,300,000 years, and therefore the duration of Manu’s life is 309,600,000 years. The demigods possess their material opulence only until the end of the life of Manu. Time is insurmountable. The time one is allotted, even if it be millions of years, is quickly gone. The demigods own their material possessions only within the limits of time. Therefore Bali Mahārāja lamented that although Indra was very learned, he did not know how to use his intelligence properly, for instead of asking Vāmanadeva to allow him to engage in His service, Indra used Him to beg Bali Mahārāja for material wealth. Although Indra was learned and his prime minister, Bṛhaspati, was also learned, neither of them begged to be able to render loving service to Lord Vāmanadeva. Therefore Bali Mahārāja lamented for Indra.
TEXT 25
yasyānudāsyam evāsmat-pitāmahaḥ kila vavre na tu sva-pitryaṁ yad utākutobhayaṁ padaṁ dīyamānaṁ bhagavataḥ param iti bhagavatoparate khalu sva-pitari.
SYNONYMS
yasya—of whom (the Supreme Personality of Godhead); anudāsyam—the service; eva—certainly; asmat—our; pitā-mahaḥ—grandfather; kila—indeed; vavre—accepted; na—not; tu—but; sva—own; pitryam—paternal property; yat—which; uta—certainly; akutaḥ-bhayam—fearlessness; padam—position; dīyamānam—being offered; bhagavataḥ—than the Supreme Personality of Godhead; param—other; iti—thus; bhagavatā—by the Supreme Personality of Godhead; uparate—when killed; khalu—indeed; sva-pitari—his own father.
TRANSLATION
Bali Mahārāja said: My grandfather Prahlāda Mahārāja is the only person who understood his own self-interest. Upon the death of Prahlāda’s father, Hiraṇyakaśipu, Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva wanted to offer Prahlāda his father’s kingdom and even wanted to grant him liberation from material bondage, but Prahlāda accepted neither. Liberation and material opulence, he thought, are obstacles to devotional service, and therefore such gifts from the Supreme Personality of Godhead are not His actual mercy. Consequently, instead of accepting the results of karma and jñāna, Prahlāda Mahārāja simply begged the Lord for engagement in the service of His servant.
PURPORT
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has instructed that an unalloyed devotee should consider himself a servant of the servant of the servant of the Supreme Lord (gopī-bhartuḥ pāda-kamalayor dāsa-dāsānudāsaḥ). In Vaiṣṇava philosophy, one should not even become a direct servant. Prahlāda Mahārāja was offered all the blessings of an opulent position in the material world and even the liberation of merging into Brahman, but he refused all this. He simply wanted to engage in the service of the servant of the servant of the Lord. Therefore Bali Mahārāja said that because his grandfather Prahlāda Mahārāja had rejected the blessings of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in terms of material opulence and liberation from material bondage, he truly understood his self-interest.
TEXT 26
tasya mahānubhāvasyānupatham amṛjita-kaṣāyaḥ ko vāsmad-vidhaḥ parihīṇa-bhagavad-anugraha upajigamiṣatīti.
SYNONYMS
tasya—of Prahlāda Mahārāja; mahā-anubhāvasya—who was an exalted devotee; anupatham—the path; amṛjita-kaṣāyaḥ—a person who is materially contaminated; kaḥ—what; —or; asmat-vidhaḥ—like us; parihīṇa-bhagavat-anugrahaḥ—being without the favor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; upajigamiṣati—desires to follow; iti—thus.
TRANSLATION
Bali Mahārāja said: Persons like us, who are still attached to material enjoyment, who are contaminated by the modes of material nature and who lack the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, cannot follow the supreme path of Prahlāda Mahārāja, the exalted devotee of the Lord.
PURPORT
It is said that for spiritual realization one must follow great personalities like Lord Brahmā, Devarṣi Nārada, Lord Śiva and Prahlāda Mahārāja. The path of bhakti is not at all difficult if we follow in the footsteps of previous ācāryas and authorities, but those who are too materially contaminated by the modes of material nature cannot follow them. Although Bali Mahārāja was actually following the path of his grandfather, because of his great humility he thought that he was not. It is characteristic of advanced Vaiṣṇavas following the principles of bhakti that they think themselves ordinary human beings. This is not an artificial exhibition of humility; a Vaiṣṇava sincerely thinks this way and therefore never admits his exalted position.
TEXT 27
tasyānucaritam upariṣṭād vistariṣyate yasya bhagavān svayam akhila-jagad-gurur nārāyaṇo dvāri gadā-pāṇir avatiṣṭhate nija-janānukampita-hṛdayo yenāṅguṣṭhena padā daśa-kandharo yojanāyutāyutaṁ dig-vijaya uccāṭitaḥ.
SYNONYMS
tasya—of Bali Mahārāja; anucaritam—the narration; upariṣṭāt—later (in the Eighth Canto); vistariṣyate—will be explained; yasya—of whom; bhagavān—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; svayam—personally; akhila-jagat-guruḥ—the master of all the three worlds; nārāyaṇaḥ—the Supreme Lord, Nārāyaṇa Himself; dvāri—at the gate; gadā-pāṇiḥ—bearing the club in His hand; avatiṣṭhate—stands; nija-jana-anukampita-hṛdayaḥ—whose heart is always filled with mercy for His devotees; yena—by whom; aṅguṣṭhena—by the big toe; padā—of His foot; daśa-kandharaḥRāvaṇa, who had ten heads; yojana-ayuta-ayutam—a distance of eighty thousand miles; dik-vijaye—for the purpose of gaining victory over Bali Mahārāja; uccāṭitaḥ—driven away.
TRANSLATION
Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued: My dear King, how shall I glorify the character of Bali Mahārāja? The Supreme Personality of Godhead, the master of the three worlds, who is most compassionate to His own devotee, stands with club in hand at Bali Mahārāja’s door. When Rāvaṇa, the powerful demon, came to gain victory over Bali Mahārāja, Vāmanadeva kicked him a distance of eighty thousand miles with His big toe. I shall explain the character and activities of Bali Mahārāja later [in the Eighth Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam].
TEXT 28
tato ’dhastāt talātale mayo nāma dānavendras tri-purādhipatir bhagavatā purāriṇā tri-lokī-śaṁ cikīrṣuṇā nirdagdha-sva-pura-trayas tat-prasādāl labdha-pado māyāvinām ācāryo mahādevena parirakṣito vigata-sudarśana-bhayo mahīyate.
SYNONYMS
tataḥ—the planet known as Sutala; adhastāt—below; talātale—in the planet known as Talātala; mayaḥMaya; nāma—named; dānava-indraḥ—the king of the Dānava demons; tri-pura-adhipatiḥ—the Lord of the three cities; bhagavatā—by the most powerful; purāriṇā—Lord Śiva, who is known as Tripurāri; tri-lokī—of the three worlds; śam—the good fortune; cikīrṣuṇā—who was desiring; nirdagdha—burned; sva-pura-trayaḥ—whose three cities; tat-prasādāt—by Lord Śiva’s mercy; labdha—obtained; padaḥ—a kingdom; māyā-vinām ācāryaḥ—who is the ācārya, or master, of all the conjurers; mahā-devena—by Lord Śiva; parirakṣitaḥ—protected; vigata-sudarśana-bhayaḥ—who is not afraid of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His Sudarśana cakra; mahīyate—is worshiped.
TRANSLATION
Beneath the planet known as Sutala is another planet, called Talātala, which is ruled by the Dānava demon named Maya. Maya is known as the ācārya [master] of all the māyāvīs, who can invoke the powers of sorcery. For the benefit of the three worlds, Lord Śiva, who is known as Tripurāri, once set fire to the three kingdoms of Maya, but later, being pleased with him, he returned his kingdom. Since that time, Maya Dānava has been protected by Lord Śiva, and therefore he falsely thinks that he need not fear the Sudarśana cakra of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
TEXT 29
tato ’dhastān mahātale kādraveyāṇāṁ sarpāṇāṁ naika-śirasāṁ krodhavaśo nāma gaṇaḥ kuhaka-takṣaka-kāliya-suṣeṇādi-pradhānā mahā-bhogavantaḥ patattri-rājādhipateḥ puruṣa-vāhād anavaratam udvijamānāḥ sva-kalatrāpatya-suhṛt-kuṭumba-saṅgena kvacit pramattā viharanti.
SYNONYMS
tataḥ—the planet Talātala; adhastāt—beneath; mahātale—in the planet known as Mahātala; kādraveyāṇām—of the descendants of Kadrū; sarpāṇām—who are big snakes; na eka-śirasām—who have many hoods; krodha-vaśaḥ—always subject to anger; nāma—named; gaṇaḥ—the group; kuhakaKuhaka; takṣakaTakṣaka; kāliyaKāliya; suṣeṇaSuṣeṇa; ādi—and so on; pradhānāḥ—who are the prominent ones; mahā-bhogavantaḥ—addicted to all kinds of material enjoyment; patattri-rāja-adhipateḥ—from the king of all birds, Garuḍa; puruṣa-vāhāt—who carries the Supreme Personality of Godhead; anavaratam—constantly; udvijamānāḥ—afraid; sva—of their own; kalatra-apatya—wives and children; suhṛt—friends; kuṭumba—relatives; saṅgena—in the association; kvacit—sometimes; pramattāḥ—infuriated; viharanti—they sport.
TRANSLATION
The planetary system below Talātala is known as Mahātala. It is the abode of many-hooded snakes, descendants of Kadrū, who are always very angry. The great snakes who are prominent are Kuhaka, Takṣaka, Kāliya and Suṣeṇa. The snakes in Mahātala are always disturbed by fear of Garuḍa, the carrier of Lord Viṣṇu, but although they are full of anxiety, some of them nevertheless sport with their wives, children, friends and relatives.
PURPORT
It is stated here that the snakes who live in the planetary system known as Mahātala are very powerful and have many hoods. They live with their wives and children and consider themselves very happy, although they are always full of anxiety because of Garuḍa, who comes there to destroy them. This is the way of material life. Even if one lives in the most abominable condition, he still thinks himself happy with his wife, children, friends and relatives.
TEXT 30
tato ’dhastād rasātale daiteyā dānavāḥ paṇayo nāma nivāta-kavacāḥ kāleyā hiraṇya-puravāsina iti vibudha-pratyanīkā utpattyā mahaujaso mahā-sāhasino bhagavataḥ sakala-lokānubhāvasya harer eva tejasā pratihata-balāvalepā bileśayā iva vasanti ye vai saramayendra-dūtyā vāgbhir mantra-varṇābhir indrād bibhyati.
SYNONYMS
tataḥ adhastāt—below the planetary system Mahātala; rasātale—on the planet called Rasātala; daiteyāḥ—the sons of Diti; dānavāḥ—the sons of Danu; paṇayaḥ nāma—named Paṇis; nivāta-kavacāḥNivāta-kavacas; kāleyāḥ—Kāleyas; hiraṇya-puravāsinaḥHiraṇya-puravāsīs; iti—thus; vibudha-pratyanīkāḥ—enemies of the demigods; utpattyāḥ—from birth; mahā-ojasaḥ—very powerful; mahā-sāhasinaḥ—very cruel; bhagavataḥ—of the Personality of Godhead; sakala-loka-anubhāvasya—who is auspicious for all planetary systems; hareḥ—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; eva—certainly; tejasā—by the Sudarśana cakra; pratihata—defeated; bala—strength; avalepāḥ—and pride (because of bodily strength); bila-īśayāḥ—the snakes; iva—like; vasanti—they live; ye—who; vai—indeed; saramayā—by Saramā; indra-dūtyā—the messenger of Indra; vāgbhiḥ—by the words; mantra-varṇābhiḥ—in the form of a mantra; indrāt—from King Indra; bibhyati—are afraid.
TRANSLATION
Beneath Mahātala is the planetary system known as Rasātala, which is the abode of the demoniac sons of Diti and Danu. They are called Paṇis, Nivāta-kavacas, Kāleyas and Hiraṇya-puravāsīs [those living in Hiraṇya-pura]. They are all enemies of the demigods, and they reside in holes like snakes. From birth they are extremely powerful and cruel, and although they are proud of their strength, they are always defeated by the Sudarśana cakra of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who rules all the planetary systems. When a female messenger from Indra named Saramā chants a particular curse, the serpentine demons of Mahātala become very afraid of Indra.
PURPORT
It is said that there was a great fight between these serpentine demons and Indra, the King of heaven. When the defeated demons met the female messenger Saramā, who was chanting a mantra, they became afraid, and therefore they are living in the planet called Rasātala.
TEXT 31
tato ’dhastāt pātāle nāga-loka-patayo vāsuki-pramukhāḥ śaṅkha-kulika-mahāśaṅkha-śveta-dhanañjaya-dhṛtarāṣṭra-śaṅkhacūḍa-kambalāśvatara-devadattādayo mahā-bhogino mahāmarṣā nivasanti yeṣām u ha vai pañca-sapta-daśa-śata-sahasra-śīrṣāṇāṁ phaṇāsu viracitā mahā-maṇayo rociṣṇavaḥ pātāla-vivara-timira-nikaraṁ sva-rociṣā vidhamanti.
SYNONYMS
tataḥ adhastāt—beneath that planet Rasātala; pātāle—on the planet known as Pātāla; nāga-loka-patayaḥ—the masters of the Nāgalokas; vāsuki—by Vāsuki; pramukhāḥ—headed; śaṅkha—Śaṅkha; kulikaKulika; mahā-śaṅkha—Mahāśaṅkha; śveta—Śveta; dhanañjayaDhanañjaya; dhṛtarāṣṭraDhṛtarāṣṭra; śaṅkha-cūḍa—Śaṅkhacūḍa; kambalaKambala; aśvataraAśvatara; deva-datta—Devadatta; ādayaḥ—and so on; mahā-bhoginaḥ—very addicted to material happiness; mahā-amarṣāḥ—greatly envious by nature; nivasanti—live; yeṣām—of all of them; u ha—certainly; vai—indeed; pañca—five; sapta—seven; daśa—ten; śata—one hundred; sahasra—one thousand; śīrṣāṇām—of those possessing hoods; phaṇāsu—on those hoods; viracitāḥ—fixed; mahā-maṇayaḥ—very valuable gems; rociṣṇavaḥ—full of effulgence; pātāla-vivara—the caves of the Pātāla planetary system; timira-nikaram—the mass of darkness; sva-rociṣā—by the effulgence of their hoods; vidhamanti—disperse.
TRANSLATION
Beneath Rasātala is another planetary system, known as Pātāla or Nāgaloka, where there are many demoniac serpents, the masters of Nāgaloka, such as Śaṅkha, Kulika, Mahāśaṅkha, Śveta, Dhanañjaya, Dhṛtarāṣṭra, Śaṅkhacūḍa, Kambala, Aśvatara and Devadatta. The chief among them is Vāsuki. They are all extremely angry, and they have many, many hoods—some snakes five hoods, some seven, some ten, others a hundred and others a thousand. These hoods are bedecked with valuable gems, and the light emanating from the gems illuminates the entire planetary system of bila-svarga.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the Fifth Canto, Twenty-fourth Chapter of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, entitled “The Subterranean Heavenly Planets.”

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