The Activities of Lord Ṛṣabhadeva
This chapter tells how Lord Ṛṣabhadeva left His body. He was not attached to His body even when it was being burned up in a forest fire. When the seed of fruitive activity is burned by the fire of knowledge, the spiritual properties and mystic powers are automatically manifest, yet bhakti-yoga is not affected by these mystic powers. An ordinary yogī is captivated by mystic powers and his progress checked; therefore a perfect yogī does not welcome them. Because the mind is restless and undependable, it must remain always under control. Even the mind of the advanced yogī Saubhari created such a disturbance that he lost his yogic mystic powers. Due to a restless mind, even a very advanced yogī can fall down. The mind is so restless that it induces even a perfect yogī to be controlled by the senses. Therefore Lord Ṛṣabhadeva, for the instruction of all yogīs, showed the process of quitting the body. While traveling in South India, through the provinces of Karṇāṭa, Koṅka, Veṅka and Kuṭaka, Lord Ṛṣabhadeva arrived in the neighborhood of Kuṭakācala. Suddenly there was a forest fire that burned the forest and Lord Ṛṣabhadeva’s body to ashes. The pastimes of Lord Ṛṣabhadeva as a liberated soul were known by the King of Koṅka, Veṅka and Kuṭaka. This King’s name was Arhat. He later became captivated by the illusory energy, and in this condition he set forth the basic principles of Jainism. Lord Ṛṣabhadeva set forth the principles of religion that can free one from material bondage, and He put an end to all kinds of atheistic activities. On this earth, the place known as Bhārata-varṣa was a very pious land because the Supreme Lord appeared there when He wanted to incarnate.
Lord Ṛṣabhadeva neglected all the mystic powers for which the so-called yogīs hanker. Because of the beauty of devotional service, devotees are not at all interested in so-called mystic power. The master of all yogic power, Lord Kṛṣṇa, can exhibit all powers on behalf of His devotee. Devotional service is more valuable than yogic mystic powers. Devotees who are sometimes misled aspire for liberation and mystic powers. The Supreme Lord gives these devotees whatever they desire, but they cannot attain the most important function of devotional service. Devotional service to the Lord is guaranteed for those who do not desire liberation and mystic power.
na nūnaṁ bhagava ātmārāmāṇāṁ yoga-samīrita-jñānāvabharjita-karma-bījānām aiśvaryāṇi punaḥ kleśadāni bhavitum arhanti yadṛc-chayopagatāni.
rājā uvāca—King Parīkṣit inquired; na—not; nūnam—indeed; bhagavaḥ—O most powerful Śukadeva Gosvāmī; ātmārāmāṇām—of pure devotees simply engaged in devotional service; yoga-samīrita—achieved by practice of yoga; jñāna—by knowledge; avabharjita—burned; karma-bījānām—of those whose seeds of fruitive activities; aiśvaryāṇi—the mystic powers; punaḥ—again; kleśadāni—sources of distress; bhavitum—to become; arhanti—are able; yadṛcchayā—automatically; upagatāni—achieved.
King Parīkṣit asked Śukadeva Gosvāmī: My dear Lord, for those who are completely pure in heart, knowledge is attained by the practice of bhakti-yoga, and attachment for fruitive activity is completely burned to ashes. For such people, the powers of mystic yoga automatically arise. They do not cause distress. Why, then, did Ṛṣabhadeva neglect them?
A pure devotee is constantly engaged in the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Whatever is necessary for the discharge of devotional service is automatically attained, though it may appear to be the result of mystic yoga power. Sometimes a yogī displays a little yogic power by manufacturing gold. A little quantity of gold captivates foolish people, and thus the yogī gets many followers, who are willing to accept such a tiny person as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Such a yogī may also advertise himself as Bhagavān. However, a devotee does not have to exhibit such magical wonders. Without practicing the mystic yogic process, he achieves even greater opulence all over the world. Under the circumstances, Lord Ṛṣabhadeva refused to manifest mystic yogic perfections, and Mahārāja Parīkṣit asked why He did not accept them, since, for a devotee, they are not at all disturbing. A devotee is never distressed or satisfied by material opulence. His concern is how to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If, by the grace of the Supreme Lord, a devotee achieves extraordinary opulence, he utilizes the opportunity for the Lord’s service. He is not disturbed by the opulence.
satyam uktaṁ kintv iha vā eke na manaso ’ddhā viśrambham anavasthānasya śaṭha-kirāta iva saṅgacchante.
ṛṣiḥ uvāca—Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; satyam—the correct thing; uktam—have said; kintu—but; iha—in this material world; vā—either; eke—some; na—not; manasaḥ—of the mind; addhā—directly; viśrambham—faithful; anavasthānasya—being unsteady; śaṭha—very cunning; kirātaḥ—a hunter; iva—like; saṅgacchante—become.
Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī replied: My dear King, you have spoken correctly. However, after capturing animals, a cunning hunter does not put faith in them, for they might run away. Similarly, those who are advanced in spiritual life do not put faith in the mind. Indeed, they always remain vigilant and watch the mind’s action.
“Acts of sacrifice, charity and penance are not to be given up but should be performed. Indeed, sacrifice, charity and penance purify even the great souls.”
Even one who has renounced the world and has taken sannyāsa should not renounce chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra. Renunciation does not mean that one has to renounce saṅkīrtana-yajña. Similarly, one should not renounce charity or tapasya. The yoga system for control of the mind and senses must be strictly followed. Lord Ṛṣabhadeva showed how severe types of tapasya could be performed, and He set an example for all others.
na kuryāt karhicit sakhyaṁ
manasi hy anavasthite
yad-viśrambhāc cirāc cīrṇaṁ
caskanda tapa aiśvaram
tathā—so; ca—and; uktam—it is said; na—never; kuryāt—should do; karhicit—at any time or with anyone; sakhyam—friendship; manasi—in the mind; hi—certainly; anavasthite—which is very restless; yat—in which; viśrambhāt—from placing too much faith; cirāt—for a long time; cīrṇam—practiced; caskanda—became disturbed; tapaḥ—the austerity; aiśvaram—of great personalities like Lord Śiva and the great sage Saubhari.
All the learned scholars have given their opinion. The mind is by nature very restless, and one should not make friends with it. If we place full confidence in the mind, it may cheat us at any moment. Even Lord Śiva became agitated upon seeing the Mohinī form of Lord Kṛṣṇa, and Saubhari Muni also fell down from the mature stage of yogic perfection.
The first business of one trying to advance in spiritual life is to control the mind and senses. As Śrī Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad-gītā (15.7):
Although the living entities are part and parcel of the Supreme Lord and are therefore in a transcendental position, they are still suffering in this material world and struggling for existence due to the mind and the senses. To get out of this false struggle for existence and become happy in the material world, one has to control the mind and senses and be detached from material conditions. One should never neglect austerities and penances; one should always perform them. Lord Ṛṣabhadeva personally showed us how to do this. In the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (9.19.17) it is specifically stated:
A gṛhastha, vānaprastha, sannyāsī and brahmacārī should be very careful when associating with women. One is forbidden to sit down in a solitary place even with one’s mother, sister or daughter. In our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement it has been very difficult to disassociate ourselves from women in our society, especially in Western countries. We are therefore sometimes criticized, but nonetheless we are trying to give everyone a chance to chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra and thus advance spiritually. If we stick to the principle of chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra offenselessly, then, by the grace of Śrīla Haridāsa Ṭhākura, we may be saved from the allurement of women. However, if we are not very strict in chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, we may at any time fall victim to women.
nityaṁ dadāti kāmasya
cchidraṁ tam anu ye ’rayaḥ
patyur jāyeva puṁścalī
nityam—always; dadāti—gives; kāmasya—of lust; chidram—facility; tam—that (lust); anu—following; ye—those; arayaḥ—enemies; yoginaḥ—of the yogīs or persons trying to advance in spiritual life; kṛta-maitrasya—having put faith in the mind; patyuḥ—of the husband; jāyā iva—like the wife; puṁścalī—who is unchaste or easily carried away by other men.
An unchaste woman is very easily carried away by paramours, and it sometimes happens that her husband is violently killed by her paramours. If the yogī gives his mind a chance and does not restrain it, his mind will give facility to enemies like lust, anger and greed, and they will doubtlessly kill the yogī.
In this verse the word puṁścalī refers to a woman who is easily carried away by men. Such a woman is never to be trusted. Unfortunately, in the present age, women are never controlled. According to the directions of the śāstras, women are never to be given freedom. When a child, a woman must be strictly controlled by her father. When she is young, she must be strictly controlled by her husband, and when she is old, she must be controlled by her elderly sons. If she is given independence and allowed to mingle unrestrictedly with men, she will be spoiled. A spoiled woman, being manipulated by paramours, might even kill her husband. This example is given here because a yogī desiring to get free from material conditions must always keep his mind under control. Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura used to say that in the morning our first business should be to beat the mind with shoes a hundred times. and, before going to bed, to beat the mind a hundred times with a broomstick. In this way one’s mind can be kept under control. An uncontrolled mind and an unchaste wife are the same. An unchaste wife can kill her husband at any time, and an uncontrolled mind, followed by lust, anger, greed, madness, envy and illusion, can certainly kill the yogī. When the yogī is controlled by the mind, he falls down into the material condition. One should be very careful of the mind, just as a husband should be careful of an unchaste wife.
kāmo manyur mado lobhaḥ
karma-bandhaś ca yan-mūlaḥ
svīkuryāt ko nu tad budhaḥ
kāmaḥ—lust; manyuḥ—anger; madaḥ—pride; lobhaḥ—greed; śoka—lamentation; moha—illusion; bhaya—fear; ādayaḥ—all these together; karma-bandhaḥ—bondage to fruitive activities; ca—and; yat-mūlaḥ—the origin of which; svīkuryāt—would accept; kaḥ—who; nu—indeed; tat—that mind; budhaḥ—if one is learned.
The mind is the root cause of lust, anger, pride, greed, lamentation, illusion and fear. Combined, these constitute bondage to fruitive activity. What learned man would put faith in the mind?
The mind is the original cause of material bondage. It is followed by many enemies, such as anger, pride, greed, lamentation, illusion and fear. The best way to control the mind is to engage it always in Kṛṣṇa consciousness (sa vai manaḥ kṛṣṇa-padāravindayoḥ). Since the followers of the mind bring about material bondage, we should be very careful not to trust the mind.
athaivam akhila-loka-pāla-lalāmo ’pi vilakṣaṇair jaḍavad avadhūta-veṣa-bhāṣā-caritair avilakṣita-bhagavat-prabhāvo yogināṁ sāmparāya-vidhim anuśikṣayan sva-kalevaraṁ jihāsur ātmany ātmānam asaṁvyavahitam anarthāntara-bhāvenānvīkṣamāṇa uparatānuvṛttir upararāma.
atha—thereafter; evam—in this way; akhila-loka-pāla-lalāmaḥ—the head of all kings and monarchs of the universe; api—although; vilakṣaṇaiḥ—various; jaḍa-vat—as if stupid; avadhūta-veṣa-bhāṣā-caritaiḥ—by the dress, language and characteristics of an avadhūta; avilakṣita-bhagavat-prabhāvaḥ—hiding the opulence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead (keeping Himself like an ordinary human being); yoginām—of the yogīs; sāmparāya-vidhim—the method of giving up this material body; anuśikṣayan—teaching; sva-kalevaram—His own personal body, which is not at all material; jihāsuḥ—desiring to give up like an ordinary human being; ātmani—unto Vāsudeva, the original person; ātmānam—Himself, Lord Ṛṣabhadeva, being an āveśa-avatāra of Lord Viṣṇu; asaṁvyavahitam—without intervention by the illusory energy; anartha-antara-bhāvena—Himself in the status of Viṣṇu; anvīkṣamāṇaḥ—always seeing; uparata-anuvṛttiḥ—who was acting as if giving up His material body; upararāma—ceased His pastimes as the King of this planet.
Lord Ṛṣabhadeva was the head of all kings and emperors within this universe, but assuming the dress and language of an avadhūta, He acted as if dull and materially bound. Consequently no one could observe His divine opulence. He adopted this behavior just to teach yogīs how to give up the body. Nonetheless, He maintained His original position as a plenary expansion of Lord Vāsudeva, Kṛṣṇa. Remaining always in that state, He gave up His pastimes as Lord Ṛṣabhadeva within the material world. If, following in the footsteps of Lord Ṛṣabhadeva, one can give up his subtle body, there is no chance that one will accept a material body again.
“One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.”
This is possible simply by keeping oneself an eternal servant of the Supreme Lord. One must understand his constitutional position and the constitutional position of the Supreme Lord as well. Both have the same spiritual identity. Maintaining oneself as a servant of the Supreme Lord, one should avoid rebirth in this material world. If one keeps himself spiritually fit and thinks of himself as an eternal servant of the Supreme Lord, he will be successful at the time he has to give up the material body.
tasya ha vā evaṁ mukta-liṅgasya bhagavata ṛṣabhasya yogamāyā-vāsanayā deha imāṁ jagatīm abhimānābhāsena saṅkramamāṇaḥ koṅka-veṅka-kuṭakān dakṣiṇa-karṇāṭakān deśān yadṛcchayopagataḥ kuṭakācalopavana āsya kṛtāśma-kavala unmāda iva mukta-mūrdhajo ’saṁvīta eva vicacāra.
tasya—of Him (Lord Ṛṣabhadeva); ha vā—as it were; evam—thus; mukta-liṅgasya—who had no identification with the gross and subtle body; bhagavataḥ—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; ṛṣabhasya—of Lord Ṛṣabhadeva; yoga-māyā-vāsanayā—by the accomplishment of yogamāyā for the purpose of the Lord’s pastimes; dehaḥ—body; imām—this; jagatīm—earth; abhimāna-ābhāsena—with the apparent conception of having a body of material elements; saṅkramamāṇaḥ—traveling; koṅka-veṅka-kuṭakān—Koṅka, Veṅka and Kuṭaka; dakṣiṇa—in South India; karṇāṭakān—in the province of Karṇāṭa; deśān—all the countries; yadṛcchayā—of His own accord; upagataḥ—reached; kuṭakācala-upavane—a forest near Kuṭakācala; āsya—within the mouth; kṛta-aśma-kavalaḥ—having put a mouthful of stone; unmādaḥ iva—just like a madman; mukta-mūrdhajaḥ—having scattered hair; asaṁvītaḥ—naked; eva—just; vicacāra—traveled.
Actually Lord Ṛṣabhadeva had no material body, but due to yogamāyā, He considered His body material, and therefore, because He played like an ordinary human being, He gave up the mentality of identifying with it. Following this principle, He began to wander all over the world. While traveling, He came to the province of Karṇāṭa in South India and passed through Koṅka, Veṅka and Kuṭaka. He had no plan to travel this way, but He arrived near Kuṭakācala and entered a forest there. He placed stones within His mouth and began to wander through the forest, naked and with His hair disheveled like a madman.
atha samīra-vega-vidhūta-veṇu-vikarṣaṇa-jātogra-dāvānalas tad vanam ālelihānaḥ saha tena dadāha.
atha—thereafter; samīra-vega—by the force of the wind; vidhūta—tossed about; veṇu—of bamboos; vikarṣaṇa—by the rubbing; jāta—produced; ugra—fierce; dāva-analaḥ—a forest fire; tat—that; vanam—forest near Kuṭakācala; ālelihānaḥ—devouring all around; saha—with; tena—that body; dadāha—burned to ashes.
While He was wandering about, a wild forest fire began. This fire was caused by the friction of bamboos, which were being blown by the wind. In that fire, the entire forest near Kuṭakācala and the body of Lord Ṛṣabhadeva were burnt to ashes.
Such a forest fire can burn the external bodies of animals, but Lord Ṛṣabhadeva was not burned, although He apparently seemed so. Lord Ṛṣabhadeva is the Supersoul of all living entities within the forest, and His soul is never burned by fire. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā, adāhyo ’yam—the soul is never burned by fire. Due to Lord Ṛṣabhadeva’s presence, all the animals in the forest were also liberated from material encagement.
yasya kilānucaritam upākarṇya koṅka-veṅka-kuṭakānāṁ rājārhan-nāmopaśikṣya kalāv adharma utkṛṣyamāṇe bhavitavyena vimohitaḥ sva-dharma-patham akuto-bhayam apahāya kupatha-pākhaṇḍam asamañjasaṁ nija-manīṣayā mandaḥ sampravartayiṣyate.
yasya—of whom (Lord Ṛṣabhadeva); kila anucaritam—pastimes as a paramahaṁsa, above all regulative varṇāśrama principles; upākarṇya—hearing; koṅka-veṅka-kuṭakānām—of Koṅka, Veṅka and Kuṭaka; rājā—the King; arhat-nāma—whose name was Arhat (now known as the Jain); upaśikṣya—imitating the activities of Lord Ṛṣabhadeva in His paramahaṁsa feature; kalau—in this age of Kali; adharme utkṛṣyamāṇe—because of increasing irreligious life; bhavitavyena—by that which was about to happen; vimohitaḥ—bewildered; sva-dharma-patham—the path of religion; akutaḥ-bhayam—which is free from all kinds of fearful danger; apahāya—giving up (such practices as cleanliness, truthfulness, control of the senses and mind, simplicity, the principles of religion, and practical application of knowledge); ku-patha-pākhaṇḍam—the wrong path of atheism; asamañjasam—improper or against the Vedic literature; nija-manīṣayā—by his own fertile brain; mandaḥ—most foolish; sampravartayiṣyate—will introduce.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued speaking to Mahārāja Parīkṣit: My dear King, the King of Koṅka, Veṅka and Kuṭaka whose name was Arhat, heard of the activities of Ṛṣabhadeva and, imitating Ṛṣabhadeva’s principles, introduced a new system of religion. Taking advantage of Kali-yuga, the age of sinful activity, King Arhat, being bewildered, gave up the Vedic principles, which are free from risk, and concocted a new system of religion opposed to the Vedas. That was the beginning of the Jain dharma. Many other so-called religions followed this atheistic system.
When Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa was present on this planet, a person named Pauṇḍraka imitated the four-handed Nārāyaṇa and declared himself the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He desired to compete with Kṛṣṇa. Similarly, during the time of Lord Ṛṣabhadeva, the King of Koṅka and Veṅka acted like a paramahaṁsa and imitated Lord Ṛṣabhadeva. He introduced a system of religion and took advantage of the fallen condition of the people in this age of Kali. It is said in Vedic literatures that people in this age will be more inclined to accept anyone as the Supreme Lord and accept any religious system opposed to Vedic principles. The people in this age are described as mandāḥ sumanda-matayaḥ. Generally they have no spiritual culture, and therefore they are very fallen. Due to this, they will accept any religious system. Due to their misfortune. they forget the Vedic principles. Following non-Vedic principles in this age, they think themselves the Supreme Lord and thus spread the cult of atheism all over the world.
yena ha vāva kalau manujāpasadā deva-māyā-mohitāḥ sva-vidhi-niyoga-śauca-cāritra-vihīnā deva-helanāny apavratāni nija-nijecchayā gṛhṇānā asnānānācamanāśauca-keśolluñcanādīni kalinādharma-bahulenopahata-dhiyo brahma-brāhmaṇa-yajña-puruṣa-loka-vidūṣakāḥ prāyeṇa bhaviṣyanti.
yena—by which pseudo religious system; ha vāva—certainly; kalau—in this age of Kali; manuja-apasadāḥ—the most condemned men; deva-māyā-mohitāḥ—bewildered by the external energy, or illusory energy, of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; sva-vidhi-niyoga-śauca-cāritra-vihīnāḥ—without character, cleanliness, and the rules and regulations given according to one’s own duty in life; deva-helanāni—negligent of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; apavratāni—impious vows; nija-nija-icchayā—by their own desires; gṛhṇānāḥ—accepting; asnāna-anācamana-aśauca-keśa-ulluñcana-ādīni—concocted religious principles such as no bathing, no washing of the mouth, being unclean and plucking out the hair; kalinā—by the age of Kali; adharma-bahulena—with an abundance of irreligion; upahata-dhiyaḥ—whose pure consciousness is destroyed; brahma-brāhmaṇa-yajña-puruṣa-loka-vidūṣakāḥ—blasphemous toward the Vedas, the strict brāhmaṇas, ritualistic ceremonies such as sacrifice, and toward the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the devotees; prāyeṇa—almost entirely; bhaviṣyanti—will become.
People who are lowest among men and bewildered by the illusory energy of the Supreme Lord will give up the original varṇāśrama-dharma and its rules and regulations. They will abandon bathing three times daily and worshiping the Lord. Abandoning cleanliness and neglecting the Supreme Lord, they will accept nonsensical principles. Not regularly bathing or washing their mouths regularly, they will always remain unclean, and they will pluck out their hair. Following a concocted religion, they will flourish. During this age of Kali, people are more inclined to irreligious systems. Consequently these people will naturally deride Vedic authority, the followers of Vedic authority, the brāhmaṇas, the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the devotees.
Presently the hippies in the Western countries fit this description. They are irresponsible and unregulated. They do not bathe, and they deride standard Vedic knowledge. They concoct new life-styles and religions. There are many hippie groups at the present moment, but they all originated from King Arhat, who imitated the activities of Lord Ṛṣabhadeva, who was situated on the paramahaṁsa stage. King Arhat did not care for the fact that although Lord Ṛṣabhadeva acted like a madman, His stool and urine were nonetheless aromatic, so much so that they nicely scented the countryside for miles around. The followers of King Arhat went under the name Jains, and they were later followed by many others, particularly by the hippies, who are more or less offshoots of Māyāvāda philosophy because they think themselves the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Such people do not respect the real followers of Vedic principles, the ideal brāhmaṇas. Nor do they have respect for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Supreme Brahman. Due to the influence of this age of Kali, they are apt to concoct false religious systems.
te ca hy arvāktanayā nija-loka-yātrayāndha-paramparayāśvastās tamasy andhe svayam eva prapatiṣyanti.
te—those people not following the Vedic principles; ca—and; hi—certainly; arvāktanayā—deviating from the eternal principles of Vedic religion; nija-loka-yātrayā—by a practice arrived at by their own mental concoction; andha-paramparayā—by a disciplic succession of blind. ignorant people; āśvastāḥ—being encouraged; tamasi—into the darkness of ignorance; andhe—blindness; svayam eva—themselves; prapatiṣyanti—will fall down.
Low-class people, due to their gross ignorance, introduce a system of religion that deviates from the Vedic principles. Following their own mental concoctions, they automatically fall down into the darkest regions of existence.
In this connection, one may see Bhagavad-gītā, Chapter Sixteen. where there is a description of the downfall of the asuras (16.16 and 16.23).
ayam avatāro rajasopapluta-kaivalyopaśikṣaṇārthaḥ.
ayam avatāraḥ—this incarnation (Lord Ṛṣabhadeva); rajasā—by the mode of passion; upapluta—overwhelmed; kaivalya-upaśikṣaṇa-arthaḥ—to teach people the path of liberation.
In this age of Kali, people are overwhelmed by the modes of passion and ignorance. Lord Ṛṣabhadeva incarnated Himself to deliver them from the clutches of māyā.
The symptoms of Kali-yuga are predicted in the Twelfth Canto, Third Chapter, of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Lāvaṇyaṁ keśa-dhāraṇam. It is predicted how fallen souls will behave. They will keep their hair long and consider themselves very beautiful, or they will pluck out their hair as the Jains do. They will keep themselves unclean and will not wash their mouths. Jains refer to Lord Ṛṣabhadeva as their original preceptor. If such people are serious followers of Ṛṣabhadeva, they must also take His instructions. In the Fifth Chapter of this canto, Ṛṣabhadeva gave His one hundred sons instructions whereby they could become free from the clutches of māyā. If one actually follows Ṛṣabhadeva, he will certainly be delivered from the clutches of māyā and return home, back to Godhead. If one strictly follows the instructions of Ṛṣabhadeva given in the Fifth Chapter, he will certainly be liberated. Lord Ṛṣabhadeva incarnated specifically to deliver these fallen souls.
tasyānuguṇān ślokān gāyanti——
aho bhuvaḥ sapta-samudravatyā
dvīpeṣu varṣeṣv adhipuṇyam etat
gāyanti yatratya-janā murāreḥ
karmāṇi bhadrāṇy avatāravanti
tasya—of Him (Lord Ṛṣabhadeva); anuguṇān—conforming to the instructions for liberation; ślokān—verses; gāyanti—chant; aho—oh; bhuvaḥ—of this earthly planet; sapta-samudra-vatyāḥ—possessing seven seas; dvīpeṣu—among the islands; varṣeṣu—among the lands; adhipuṇyam—more pious than any other island; etat—this (Bhārata-varṣa); gāyanti—sing about; yatratya-janāḥ—the people of this tract of land; murāreḥ—of Murāri, the Supreme Personality of Godhead; karmāṇi—the activities; bhadrāṇi—all-auspicious; avatāravanti—in many incarnations such as Lord Ṛṣabhadeva.
Learned scholars chant about the transcendental qualities of Lord Ṛṣabhadeva in this way: “Oh, this earthly planet contains seven seas and many islands and lands, of which Bhārata-varṣa is considered the most pious. People of Bhārata-varṣa are accustomed to glorifying the activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His incarnations as Lord Ṛṣabhadeva and others. All these activities are very auspicious for the welfare of humanity.
As stated in this verse, Bhārata-varṣa is a most pious land. The followers of Vedic literature understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His different incarnations, and they are privileged to glorify the Lord by following the directions of Vedic literature. After realizing the glories of human life. such people should take up the mission to spread the importance of human life throughout the whole world. This is the mission of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. The word adhipuṇyam indicates that there are certainly many other pious men throughout the world, but the people of Bhārata-varṣa are even more pious. Therefore they are fit to spread Kṛṣṇa Consciousness throughout the world for the benefit of all human society. Śrīla Madhvācārya also recognizes the land of Bhārata-varṣa: viśeṣād bhārate puṇyam. Throughout the world, there is no question of bhagavad-bhakti or devotional service, but the people of Bhārata-varṣa can easily understand the devotional service of the Lord. Thus every inhabitant of Bhārata-varṣa can perfect his life by discharging bhagavad-bhakti and then preaching this cult throughout the world for the benefit of everyone.
aho nu vaṁśo yaśasāvadātaḥ
praiyavrato yatra pumān purāṇaḥ
kṛtāvatāraḥ puruṣaḥ sa ādyaś
cacāra dharmaṁ yad akarma-hetum
aho—oh; nu—indeed; vaṁśaḥ—the dynasty; yaśasā—with widespread fame; avadātaḥ—fully pure; praiyavrataḥ—related to King Priyavrata; yatra—wherein; pumān—the Supreme Person; purāṇaḥ—the original; kṛta-avatāraḥ—descended as an incarnation; puruṣaḥ—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; saḥ—He; ādyaḥ—the original person; cacāra—executed; dharmam—religious principles; yat—from which; akarma-hetum—the cause of the end of fruitive activities.
“Oh, what shall I say of the dynasty of Priyavrata, which is pure and very much celebrated. In that dynasty, the Supreme Person, the original Personality of Godhead, descended as an incarnation and executed religious principles that could free one from the results of fruitive activity.
There are many dynasties in human society wherein the Supreme Lord descends as an incarnation. Lord Kṛṣṇa appeared in the Yadu dynasty, and Lord Rāmacandra appeared in the Ikṣvāku, or Raghu, dynasty. Similarly, Lord Ṛṣabhadeva appeared in the dynasty of King Priyavrata. All these dynasties are very famous, and of them the dynasty of Priyavrata is most famous.
ko nv asya kāṣṭhām aparo ’nugacchen
mano-rathenāpy abhavasya yogī
yo yoga-māyāḥ spṛhayaty udastā
hy asattayā yena kṛta-prayatnāḥ
kaḥ—who; nu—indeed; asya—of Lord Ṛṣabhadeva; kāṣṭhām—the example; aparaḥ—else; anugacchet—can follow; manaḥ-rathena—by the mind; api—even; abhavasya—of the unborn; yogī—the mystic; yaḥ—who; yoga-māyāḥ—the mystic perfections of yoga; spṛhayati—desires; udastāḥ—rejected by Ṛṣabhadeva; hi—certainly; asattayā—by the quality of being insubstantial; yena—by whom, Ṛṣabhadeva; kṛta-prayatnāḥ—although eager to serve.
“Who is that mystic yogī who can follow the examples of Lord Ṛṣabhadeva even with his mind? Lord Ṛṣabhadeva rejected all kinds of yogic perfection, which other yogīs hanker to attain. Who is that yogī who can compare to Lord Ṛṣabhadeva?”
Generally yogīs desire the yogic perfections of aṇimā, laghimā, mahimā, prākāmya, prāpti, īśitva, vaśitva and kāmāvasāyitā. Lord Ṛṣabhadeva, however, never aspired for all these material things. Such siddhis (perfections) are presented by the illusory energy of the Lord. The real purpose of the yoga system is to achieve the favor and shelter of the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but this purpose is covered by the illusory energy of yogamāyā. So-called yogīs are therefore allured by the superficial material perfections of aṇimā, laghimā, prāpti and so forth. Consequently ordinary yogīs cannot compare to Lord Ṛṣabhadeva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
iti ha sma sakala-veda-loka-deva-brāhmaṇa-gavāṁ parama-guror bhagavata ṛṣabhākhyasya viśuddhācaritam īritaṁ puṁsāṁ samasta-duścaritābhiharaṇaṁ parama-mahā-maṅgalāyanam idam anuśraddhayopacitayānuśṛṇoty āśrāvayati vāvahito bhagavati tasmin vāsudeva ekāntato bhaktir anayor api samanuvartate.
iti—thus; ha sma—indeed; sakala—all; veda—of knowledge; loka—of people in general; deva—of the demigods; brāhmaṇa—of the brāhmaṇas; gavām—of the cows; parama—the supreme; guroḥ—master; bhagavataḥ—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; ṛṣabha-ākhyasya—whose name was Lord Ṛṣabhadeva; viśuddha—pure; ācaritam—activities; īritam—now explained; puṁsām—of every living entity; samasta—all; duścarita—sinful activities; abhiharaṇam—destroying; parama—foremost; mahā—great; maṅgala—of auspiciousness; ayanam—the shelter; idam—this; anuśraddhayā—with faith; upacitayā—increasing; anuśṛṇoti—hears from the authority; āśrāvayati—speaks to others; vā—or; avahitaḥ—being attentive; bhagavati—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; tasmin—unto Him; vāsudeve—to Lord Vāsudeva, Lord Kṛṣṇa; eka-antataḥ—unflinching; bhaktiḥ—devotion; anayoḥ—of both groups, the listeners and the speakers; api—certainly; samanuvartate—factually begins.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued: Lord Ṛṣabhadeva is the master of all Vedic knowledge, human beings, demigods, cows and brāhmaṇas. I have already explained His pure, transcendental activities, which will vanquish the sinful activities of all living entities. This narration of Lord Ṛṣabhadeva’s pastimes is the reservoir of all auspicious things. Whoever attentively hears or speaks of them, following in the footsteps of the ācāryas, will certainly attain unalloyed devotional service at the lotus feet of Lord Vāsudeva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
The teachings of Lord Ṛṣabhadeva are for the people of all yugas—Satya-yuga, Tretā-yuga, Dvāpara-yuga and especially Kali-yuga. These instructions are so powerful that even in this age of Kali, one can attain perfection simply by explaining the instructions, following in the footsteps of the ācāryas or listening to the instructions with great attention. If one does so, one can attain the platform of pure devotional service to Lord Vāsudeva. The pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His devotees are recorded in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam so that those who recite these pastimes and listen to them will become purified. Nityaṁ bhāgavata-sevayā [SB 1.2.18]. As a matter of principle, devotees should read, speak and hear Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam persistently, twenty-four hours daily if possible. That is the recommendation of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Kīrtanīyaḥ sadā hariḥ [Cc. adi 17.31]. One should either chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra or read Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and thereby try to understand the characteristics and instructions of the Supreme Lord, who appeared as Lord Ṛṣabhadeva, Lord Kapila and Lord Kṛṣṇa. In this way one can become fully aware of the transcendental nature of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā, one who knows the transcendental nature of the Lord’s birth and activities attains liberation from material bondage and returns to Godhead.
yasyām eva kavaya ātmānam avirataṁ vividha-vṛjina-saṁsāra-paritāpopatapyamānam anusavanaṁ snāpayantas tayaiva parayā nirvṛtyā hy apavargam ātyantikaṁ parama-puruṣārtham api svayam āsāditaṁ no evādriyante bhagavadīyatvenaiva parisamāpta-sarvārthāḥ.
yasyām eva—in which (Kṛṣṇa consciousness or the nectar of devotional service); kavayaḥ—the advancement of learned scholars or philosophers in spiritual life; ātmānam—the self; aviratam—constantly; vividha—various; vṛjina—full of sins; saṁsāra—in material existence; paritāpa—from miserable conditions; upatapyamānam—suffering; anusavanam—without stopping; snāpayantaḥ—bathing; tayā—by that; eva—certainly; parayā—great; nirvṛtyā—with happiness; hi—certainly; apavargam—liberation; ātyantikam—uninterrupted; parama-puruṣa-artham—the best of all human achievements; api—although; svayam—itself; āsāditam—obtained; no—not; eva—certainly; ādriyante—endeavor to achieve; bhagavadīyatvena eva—because of a relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead; parisamāpta-sarva-arthāḥ—those who have ended all kinds of material desires.
Devotees always bathe themselves in devotional service in order to be relieved from the various tribulations of material existence. By doing this, the devotees enjoy supreme bliss, and liberation personified comes to serve them. Nonetheless, they do not accept that service, even if it is offered by the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. For the devotees, liberation [mukti] is very unimportant because, having attained the Lord’s transcendental loving service, they have attained everything desirable and have transcended all material desires.
Devotional service unto the Lord is the highest attainment for anyone desiring liberation from the tribulations of material existence. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (6.22), yaṁ labdhvā cāparaṁ lābhaṁ manyate nādhikaṁ tataḥ: “Gaining this, one thinks there is no greater gain.” When one attains the service of the Lord, which is non-different from the Lord, one does not desire anything material. Mukti means relief from material existence. Bilvamaṅgala Ṭhākura says: muktiḥ mukulitāñjaliḥ sevate ’smān. For a devotee, mukti is not a very great achievement. Mukti means being situated in one’s constitutional position. The constitutional position of every living being is that of the Lord’s servant; therefore when a living entity is engaged in the Lord’s loving service, he has already attained mukti. Consequently a devotee does not aspire for mukti, even if it is offered by the Supreme Lord Himself.
rājan patir gurur alaṁ bhavatāṁ yadūnāṁ
daivaṁ priyaḥ kula-patiḥ kva ca kiṅkaro vaḥ
astv evam aṅga bhagavān bhajatāṁ mukundo
muktiṁ dadāti karhicit sma na bhakti-yogam
rājan—O my dear King; patiḥ—maintainer; guruḥ—spiritual master; alam—certainly; bhavatām—of you; yadūnām—the Yadu dynasty; daivam—the worshipable Deity; priyaḥ—very dear friend; kula-patiḥ—the master of the dynasty; kva ca—sometimes even; kiṅkaraḥ—servant; vaḥ—of you (the Pāṇḍavas); astu—to be sure; evam—thus; aṅga—O King; bhagavān—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; bhajatām—of those devotees engaged in service; mukundaḥ—the Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead; muktim—liberation; dadāti—delivers; karhicit—at any time; sma—indeed; na—not; bhakti-yogam—loving devotional service.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued: My dear King, the Supreme Person, Mukunda, is actually the maintainer of all the members of the Pāṇḍava and Yadu dynasties. He is your spiritual master, worshipable Deity, friend, and the director of your activities. To say nothing of this, He sometimes serves your family as a messenger or servant. This means He worked just as ordinary servants do. Those engaged in getting the Lord’s favor attain liberation from the Lord very easily, but He does not very easily give the opportunity to render direct service unto Him.
While instructing Mahārāja Parīkṣit, Śukadeva Gosvāmī thought it wise to encourage the King because the King might be thinking of the glorious position of various royal dynasties. Especially glorious is the dynasty of Priyavrata, in which the Supreme Lord Ṛṣabhadeva incarnated. Similarly, the family of Uttānapāda Mahārāja, the father of Mahārāja Dhruva, is also glorious due to King Pṛthu’s taking birth in it. The dynasty of Mahārāja Raghu is glorified because Lord Rāmacandra appeared in that family. As far as the Yadu and Kuru dynasties are concerned, they existed simultaneously, but of the two, the Yadu dynasty was more glorious due to the appearance of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Mahārāja Parīkṣit might have been thinking that the Kuru dynasty was not as fortunate as the others because the Supreme Lord did not appear in that family, neither as Kṛṣṇa, Lord Rāmacandra, Lord Ṛṣabhadeva or Mahārāja Pṛthu. Therefore Parīkṣit Mahārāja was encouraged by Śukadeva Gosvāmī in this particular verse.
The Kuru dynasty may be considered more glorious due to the presence of devotees like the five Pāṇḍavas, who rendered unalloyed devotional service. Although Lord Kṛṣṇa did not appear in the Kuru dynasty. He was so obligated to the Pāṇḍavas’ devotional service that He acted as a maintainer of the family and spiritual master of the Pāṇḍavas. Although He took birth in the Yadu dynasty, Lord Kṛṣṇa was more affectionate to the Pāṇḍavas. By His actions, Lord Kṛṣṇa proved that He was more inclined to the Kuru dynasty than the Yadu dynasty. Indeed, Lord Kṛṣṇa, indebted to the Pāṇḍavas’ devotional service, sometimes acted as their messenger, and He guided them through many dangerous situations. Therefore Mahārāja Parīkṣit should not have been saddened because Lord Kṛṣṇa did not appear in his family. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is always inclined toward His pure devotees, and by His action it is clear that liberation is not very important for the devotees. Lord Kṛṣṇa easily gives one liberation, but He does not so easily give one the facility to become a devotee. Muktiṁ dadāti karhicit sma na bhakti-yogam. Directly or indirectly, it is proved that bhakti-yoga is the basis for the supreme relationship with the Supreme Lord. It is far superior to liberation. For a pure devotee of the Lord, mukti is automatically attained.
śreyasy atad-racanayā cira-supta-buddheḥ
lokasya yaḥ karuṇayābhayam ātma-lokam
ākhyān namo bhagavate ṛṣabhāya tasmai
nitya-anubhūta—due to being always conscious of His real identity; nija-lābha-nivṛtta-tṛṣṇaḥ—who was complete in Himself and had no other desire to fulfill; śreyasi—in life’s genuine welfare; a-tat-racanayā—by expanding activities in the material field, mistaking the body for the self; cira—for a long time; supta—sleeping; buddheḥ—whose intelligence; lokasya—of men; yaḥ—who (Lord Ṛṣabhadeva); karuṇayā—by His causeless mercy; abhayam—fearlessness; ātma-lokam—the real identity of the self; ākhyāt—instructed; namaḥ—respectful obeisances; bhagavate—unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead; ṛṣabhāya—unto Lord Ṛṣabhadeva; tasmai—unto Him.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Ṛṣabhadeva, was fully aware of His true identity; therefore He was self-sufficient, and He did not desire external gratification. There was no need for Him to aspire for success, since He was complete in Himself. Those who unnecessarily engage in bodily conceptions and create an atmosphere of materialism are always ignorant of their real self-interest. Out of His causeless mercy, Lord Ṛṣabhadeva taught the self’s real identity and the goal of life. We therefore offer our respectful obeisances unto the Lord, who appeared as Lord Ṛṣabhadeva.
This is the summary of this chapter, in which the activities of Lord Ṛṣabhadeva are described. Being the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, Lord Ṛṣabhadeva is complete in Himself. We living entities, as parts and parcels of the Supreme Lord, should follow the instructions of Lord Ṛṣabhadeva and become self-sufficient. We should not create unnecessary demands due to the bodily conception. When one is self-realized, he is sufficiently satisfied due to being situated in his original spiritual position. As confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (18.54): Brahma-bhūtaḥ prasannātmā na śocati na kāṅkṣati. This is the goal of all living entities. Even though one may be situated within this material world, he can become fully satisfied and devoid of hankering and lamentation simply by following the instructions of the Lord as set forth in Bhagavad-gītā or Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Satisfaction through self-realization is called svarūpānanda. The conditioned soul, eternally sleeping in darkness, does not understand his self-interest. He simply tries to become happy by making material adjustments, but this is impossible. It is therefore said in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, na te viduḥ svārtha-gatiṁ hi viṣṇum: [SB 7.5.31] due to gross ignorance, the conditioned soul does not know that his real self-interest is to take shelter at the lotus feet of Lord Viṣṇu. To try to become happy by adjusting the material atmosphere is a useless endeavor. Indeed, it is impossible. By His personal behavior and instructions, Lord Ṛṣabhadeva enlightened the conditioned soul and showed him how to become self-sufficient in his spiritual identity.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the Fifth Canto, Sixth Chapter, of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, entitled “The Activities of Lord Ṛṣabhadeva.”
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