na ced ihaivapacitim yathamhasah
krtasya kuryan mana-ukta-panibhih
dhruvam sa vai pretya narakan upaiti
ye kirtita me bhavatas tigma-yatanah
sri-sukah uvaca—Srila Sukadeva Gosvami said; na—not; cet—if; iha—within this life; eva—certainly; apacitim—counteraction, atonement; yatha—duly; amhasah krtasya—when one has performed sinful activities; kuryat—performs; manah—with the mind; ukta—words; panibhih—and with the senses; dhruvam—undoubtedly; sah—that person; vai—indeed; pretya—after death; narakan—different varieties of hellish conditions; upaiti—attains; ye—which; kirtitah—were already described; me—by me; bhavatah—unto you; tigma-yatanah—in which there is very terrible suffering.
Sukadeva Gosvami replied: My dear King, if before one’s next death whatever impious acts one has performed in this life with his mind, words and body are not counteracted through proper atonement according to the description of the Manu-samhita and other dharma-sastras, one will certainly enter the hellish planets after death and undergo terrible suffering, as I have previously described to you.
Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura mentions that although Maharaja Pariksit was a pure devotee, Sukadeva Gosvami did not immediately speak to him about the strength of devotional service. As stated in Bhagavad-gita (14.26):
Devotional service is so strong that if one fully surrenders to Krsna and takes fully to His devotional service, the reactions of his sinful life immediately stop.
Elsewhere in the Gita (18.66), Lord Krsna urges that one give up all other duties and surrender to Him, and He promises, aham tvam sarva-papebhyo moksayisyami: “I shall free you from all sinful reactions and give you liberation.” Therefore in response to the inquiries of Pariksit Maharaja, Sukadeva Gosvami, his guru, could have immediately explained the principle of bhakti, but to test Pariksit Maharaja’s intelligence, he first prescribed atonement according to karma-kanda, the path of fruitive activities. For karma-kanda there are eighty authorized scriptures, such as Manu-samhita, which are known as dharma-sastras. In these scriptures one is advised to counteract his sinful acts by performing other types of fruitive action. This was the path first recommended by Sukadeva Gosvami to Maharaja Pariksit, and actually it is a fact that one who does not take to devotional service must follow the decision of these scriptures by performing pious acts to counteract his impious acts. This is known as atonement.
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