Chapter Ten
The Battle Between the Demigods and Vṛtrāsura
As described in this chapter, after Indra obtained the body of Dadhīci, a thunderbolt was prepared from Dadhīci’s bones, and a fight took place between Vṛtrāsura and the demigods.
Following the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the demigods approached Dadhīci Muni and begged for his body. Dadhīci Muni, just to hear from the demigods about the principles of religion, jokingly refused to relinquish his body, but for higher purposes he thereafter agreed to give it up, for after death the body is usually eaten by low animals like dogs and jackals. Dadhīci Muni first merged his gross body made of five elements into the original stock of five elements and then engaged his soul at the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus he gave up his gross body. With the help of Viśvakarmā, the demigods then prepared a thunderbolt from Dadhīci’s bones. Armed with the thunderbolt weapon, they prepared themselves to fight and got up on the backs of elephants.
At the end of Satya-yuga and the beginning of Tretā-yuga. a great fight took place between the demigods and the asuras. Unable to tolerate the effulgence of the demigods, the asuras fled the battle. leaving Vṛtrāsura, their commander in chief, to fight for himself. Vṛtrāsura, however, seeing the demons fleeing, instructed them in the importance of fighting and dying in the battlefield. One who is victorious in battle gains material possessions, and one who dies in the battlefield attains a residence at once in the celestial heavens. In either way, the fighter benefits.
śrī-bādarāyaṇir uvāca
indram evaṁ samādiśya
bhagavān viśva-bhāvanaḥ
paśyatām animeṣāṇāṁ
tatraivāntardadhe hariḥ
śrī-bādarāyaṇiḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; indramIndra, the heavenly King; evam—thus; samādiśya—after instructing; bhagavān—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; viśva-bhāvanaḥ—the original cause of all cosmic manifestations; paśyatām animeṣāṇām—while the demigods were looking on; tatra—then and there; eva—indeed; antardadhe—disappeared; hariḥ—the Lord.
Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: After instructing Indra in this way, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, the cause of the cosmic manifestation, then and there disappeared from the presence of the onlooking demigods.
tathābhiyācito devair
ṛṣir ātharvaṇo mahān
modamāna uvācedaṁ
prahasann iva bhārata
tathā—in that manner; abhiyācitaḥ—being begged; devaiḥ—by the demigods; ṛṣiḥ—the great saintly person; ātharvaṇaḥ—Dadhīci, the son of Atharvā; mahān—the great personality; modamānaḥ—being merry; uvāca—said; idam—this; prahasan—smiling; iva—somewhat; bhārata—O Mahārāja Parīkṣit.
O King Parīkṣit, following the Lord’s instructions, the demigods approached Dadhīci, the son of Atharvā. He was very liberal, and when they begged him to give them his body, he at once partially agreed. However, just to hear religious instructions from them, he smiled and jokingly spoke as follows.
api vṛndārakā yūyaṁ
na jānītha śarīriṇām
saṁsthāyāṁ yas tv abhidroho
duḥsahaś cetanāpahaḥ
api—although; vṛndārakāḥ—O demigods; yūyam—all of you; na jānītha—do not know; śarīriṇām—of those who have material bodies; saṁsthāyām—at the time of death, or while quitting this body; yaḥ—which; tu—then; abhidrohaḥ—severe pain; duḥsahaḥ—unbearable; cetana—the consciousness; apahaḥ—which takes away.
O elevated demigods, at the time of death, severe, unbearable pain takes away the consciousness of all living entities who have accepted material bodies. Don’t you know about this pain?
jijīviṣūṇāṁ jīvānām
ātmā preṣṭha ihepsitaḥ
ka utsaheta taṁ dātuṁ
bhikṣamāṇāya viṣṇave
jijīviṣūṇām—aspiring to remain alive; jīvānām—of all living entities; ātmā—the body; preṣṭhaḥ—very dear; iha—here; īpsitaḥ—desired; kaḥ—who; utsaheta—can bear; tam—that body; dātum—to deliver; bhikṣamāṇāya—begging; viṣṇave—even to Lord Viṣṇu.
In this material world, every living entity is very much addicted to his material body. Struggling to keep his body forever, everyone tries to protect it by all means, even at the sacrifice of all his possessions. Therefore, who would be prepared to deliver his body to anyone, even if it were demanded by Lord Viṣṇu?
It is said, ātmānaṁ sarvato rakṣet tato dharmaṁ tato dhanam: one must protect his body by all means; then he may protect his religious principles and thereafter his possessions. This is the natural desire of all living entities. No one wants to give up his body unless it is forcibly given away. Even though the demigods said that they were demanding Dadhīci’s body for their benefit in accordance with the order of Lord Viṣṇu, Dadhīci superficially refused to give them his body.
śrī-devā ūcuḥ
kiṁ nu tad dustyajaṁ brahman
puṁsāṁ bhūtānukampinām
bhavad-vidhānāṁ mahatāṁ
śrī-devāḥ ūcuḥ—the demigods said; kim—what; nu—indeed; tat—that; dustyajam—difficult to give up; brahman—O exalted brāhmaṇa; puṁsām—of persons; bhūta-anukampinām—who are very sympathetic toward the suffering living entities; bhavat-vidhānām—like Your Lordship; mahatām—who are very great; puṇya-śloka-īḍya-karmaṇām—whose pious activities are praised by all great souls.
The demigods replied: O exalted brāhmaṇa, pious persons like you, whose activities are praiseworthy, are very kind and affectionate to people in general. What can’t such pious souls give for the benefit of others? They can give everything, including their bodies.
nūnaṁ svārtha-paro loko
na veda para-saṅkaṭam
yadi veda na yāceta
neti nāha yad īśvaraḥ
nūnam—certainly; sva-artha-paraḥ—interested only in sense gratification in this life or the next; lokaḥ—materialistic people in general; na—not; veda—know; para-saṅkaṭam—the pain of others; yadi—if; veda—know; na—not; yāceta—would ask; na—no; iti—thus; na āha—does not say; yat—since; īśvaraḥ—able to give charity.
Those who are too self-interested beg something from others, not knowing of others’ pain. But if the beggar knew the difficulty of the giver, he would not ask for anything. Similarly, he who is able to give charity does not know the beggar’s difficulty, for otherwise he would not refuse to give the beggar anything he might want as charity.
This verse describes two people—one who gives charity and one who begs for it. A beggar should not ask charity from a person who is in difficulty. Similarly, one who is able to give charity should not deny a beggar. These are the moral instructions of the śāstra. Cāṇakya Paṇḍita says, san-nimitte varaṁ tyāgo vināśe niyate sati: everything within this material world will be destroyed, and therefore one should use everything for good purposes. If one is advanced in knowledge, he must always be prepared to sacrifice anything for a better cause. At the present moment the entire world is in a dangerous position under the spell of a godless civilization. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement needs many exalted, learned persons who will sacrifice their lives to revive God consciousness throughout the world. We therefore invite all men and women advanced in knowledge to join the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement and sacrifice their lives for the great cause of reviving the God consciousness of human society.
śrī-ṛṣir uvāca
dharmaṁ vaḥ śrotu-kāmena
yūyaṁ me pratyudāhṛtāḥ
eṣa vaḥ priyam ātmānaṁ
tyajantaṁ santyajāmy aham
śrī-ṛṣiḥ uvāca—the great saint Dadhīci said; dharmam—the principles of religion; vaḥ—from you; śrotu-kāmena—by the desire to hear; yūyam—you; me—by me; pratyudāhṛtāḥ—replied to the contrary; eṣaḥ—this; vaḥ—for you; priyam—dear; ātmānam—body; tyajantam—leaving me anyway, today or tomorrow; santyajāmi—give up; aham—I.
The great sage Dadhīci said: Just to hear from you about religious principles, I refused to offer my body at your request. Now, although my body is extremely dear to me, I must give it up for your better purposes since I know that it will leave me today or tomorrow.
yo ’dhruveṇātmanā nāthā
na dharmaṁ na yaśaḥ pumān
īheta bhūta-dayayā
sa śocyaḥ sthāvarair api
yaḥ—anyone who; adhruveṇa—impermanent; ātmanā—by the body; nāthāḥ—O lords; na—not; dharmam—religious principles; na—not; yaśaḥ—fame; pumān—a person; īheta—endeavors for; bhūta-dayayā—by mercy for the living beings; saḥ—that person; śocyaḥ—pitiable; sthāvaraiḥ—by the immobile creatures; api—even.
O demigods, one who has no compassion for humanity in its suffering and does not sacrifice his impermanent body for the higher causes of religious principles or eternal glory is certainly pitied even by the immovable beings.
In this regard, a very exalted example was set by Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and the six Gosvāmīs of Vṛndāvana. Concerning Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu it is said in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.5.34):
tyaktvā sudustyaja-surepsita-rājya-lakṣmīṁ
dharmiṣṭha ārya-vacasā yad agād araṇyam
māyā-mṛgaṁ dayitayepsitam anvadhāvad
vande mahā-puruṣa te caraṇāravindam
“We offer our respectful obeisances unto the lotus feet of the Lord. upon whom one should always meditate. He left His householder life, leaving aside His eternal consort, whom even the denizens of heaven adore. He went into the forest to deliver the fallen souls, who are put into illusion by material energy.” To accept sannyāsa means to commit civil suicide. but sannyāsa is compulsory, at least for every brāhmaṇa, every first-class human being. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu had a very young and beautiful wife and a very affectionate mother. Indeed, the affectionate dealings of His family members were so pleasing that even the demigods could not expect such happiness at home. Nevertheless, for the deliverance of all the fallen souls of the world, Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu took sannyāsa and left home when He was only twenty-four years old. He lived a very strict life as a sannyāsī, refusing all bodily comforts. Similarly, His disciples the six Gosvāmīs were ministers who held exalted positions in society, but they also left everything to join the movement of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Śrīnivāsa Ācārya says:
tyaktvā tūrṇam aśeṣa-maṇḍala-pati-śreṇīṁ sadā tucchavat
bhūtvā dīna-gaṇeśakau karuṇayā kaupīna-kanthāśritau
These Gosvāmīs left their very comfortable lives as ministers. Zamindars and learned scholars and joined Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s movement, just to show mercy to the fallen souls of the world (dīna-gaṇeśakau karuṇayā). Accepting very humble lives as mendicants, wearing no more than loincloths and torn quilts (kaupīna-kantha). they lived in Vṛndāvana and followed Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s order to excavate Vṛndāvana’s lost glories.
Similarly. everyone else with a materially comfortable condition in this world should join the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement to elevate the fallen souls. The words bhūta-dayayā, māyā-mṛgaṁ dayitayepsitam and dīna-gaṇeśakau karuṇayā all convey the same sense. These are very significant words for those interested in elevating human society to a proper understanding of life. One should join the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement, following the examples of such great personalities as Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the six Gosvāmīs and, before them, the great sage Dadhīci. Instead of wasting one’s life for temporary bodily comforts. one should always be prepared to give up one’s life for better causes. After all, the body will be destroyed. Therefore one should sacrifice it for the glory of distributing religious principles throughout the world.
etāvān avyayo dharmaḥ
puṇya-ślokair upāsitaḥ
yo bhūta-śoka-harṣābhyām
ātmā śocati hṛṣyati
etāvān—this much; avyayaḥ—imperishable; dharmaḥ—religious principle; puṇya-ślokaiḥ—by famous persons who are celebrated as pious; upāsitaḥ—recognized; yaḥ—which; bhūta—of the living beings; śoka—by the distress; harṣābhyām—and by the happiness; ātmā—the mind; śocati—laments; hṛṣyati—feels happiness.
If one is unhappy to see the distress of other living beings and happy to see their happiness, his religious principles are appreciated as imperishable by exalted persons who are considered pious and benevolent.
One generally follows different types of religious principles or performs various occupational duties according to the body given to him by the modes of material nature. In this verse, however, real religious principles are explained. Everyone should be unhappy to see others in distress and happy to see others happy. Ātmavat sarva-bhūteṣu: one should feel the happiness and distress of others as his own. It is on this basis that the Buddhist religious principle of nonviolence—ahiṁsaḥ parama-dharmaḥ—is established. We feel pain when someone disturbs us, and therefore we should not inflict pain upon other living beings. Lord Buddha’s mission was to stop unnecessary animal killing, and therefore he preached that the greatest religious principle is nonviolence.
One cannot continue killing animals and at the same time be a religious man. That is the greatest hypocrisy. Jesus Christ said, “Do not kill,” but hypocrites nevertheless maintain thousands of slaughterhouses while posing as Christians. Such hypocrisy is condemned in this verse. One should be happy to see others happy, and one should be unhappy to see others unhappy. This is the principle to be followed. Unfortunately, at the present moment so-called philanthropists and humanitarians advocate the happiness of humanity at the cost of the lives of poor animals. That is not recommended herein. This verse clearly says that one should be compassionate to all living entities. Regardless of whether human. animal, tree or plant, all living entities are sons of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Lord Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad-gītā (14.4):
“It should be understood that all species of life, O son of Kuntī, are made possible by birth in this material nature, and that I am the seed-giving father.” The different forms of these living entities are only their external dresses. Every living being is actually a spirit soul, a part and parcel of God. Therefore one should not favor only one kind of living being. A Vaiṣṇava sees all living entities as part and parcel of God. As the Lord says in Bhagavad-gītā (5.18 and 18.54):
“The humble sage, by virtue of true knowledge, sees with equal vision a learned and gentle brāhmaṇa, a cow, an elephant, a dog and a dog-eater [outcaste].”
“One who is transcendentally situated at once realizes the Supreme Brahman and becomes fully joyful. He never laments nor desires to have anything; he is equally disposed to every living entity. In that state he attains pure devotional service unto Me.” A Vaiṣṇava, therefore, is truly a perfect person because he laments to see others unhappy and feels joy at seeing others happy. A Vaiṣṇava is para-duḥkha-duḥkhī; he is always unhappy to see the conditioned souls in an unhappy state of materialism. Therefore a Vaiṣṇava is always busy preaching Kṛṣṇa consciousness throughout the world.
aho dainyam aho kaṣṭaṁ
pārakyaiḥ kṣaṇa-bhaṅguraiḥ
yan nopakuryād asvārthair
martyaḥ sva-jñāti-vigrahaiḥ
aho—alas; dainyam—a miserable condition; aho—alas; kaṣṭam—simply tribulation; pārakyaiḥ—which after death are eatable by dogs and jackals; kṣaṇa-bhaṅguraiḥ—perishable at any moment; yat—because; na—not; upakuryāt—would help; a-sva-arthaiḥ—not meant for self-interest; martyaḥ—a living entity destined to die; sva—with his wealth; jñāti—relatives and friends; vigrahaiḥ—and his body.
This body, which is eatable by jackals and dogs after death, does not actually do any good for me, the spirit soul. It is usable only for a short time and may perish at any moment. The body and its possessions, its riches and relatives, must all be engaged for the benefit of others, or else they will be sources of tribulation and misery.
Similar advice is also given in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.22.35):
“It is the duty of every living being to perform welfare activities for the benefit of others with his life, wealth, intelligence and words.” This is the mission of life. One’s own body and the bodies of his friends and relatives, as well as one’s own riches and everything else one has, should be engaged for the benefit of others. This is the mission of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. As stated in Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Ādi 9.41):
“One who has taken birth as a human being in the land of India [Bhārata-varṣa] should make his life successful and work for the benefit of all other people.
The word upakuryāt means para-upakāra, helping others. Of course, in human society there are many institutions to help others, but because philanthropists do not know how to help others, their propensity for philanthropy is ineffectual. They do not know the ultimate goal of life (śreya ācaraṇam), which is to please the Supreme Lord. If all philanthropic and humanitarian activities were directed toward achieving the ultimate goal of life—to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead—they would all be perfect. Humanitarian work without Kṛṣṇa is nothing. Kṛṣṇa must be brought to the center of all our activities; otherwise no activity will have value.
śrī-bādarāyaṇir uvāca
evaṁ kṛta-vyavasito
dadhyaṅṅ ātharvaṇas tanum
pare bhagavati brahmaṇy
ātmānaṁ sannayañ jahau
śrī-bādarāyaṇiḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; evam—thus; kṛta-vyavasitaḥ—making certain of what to do (in giving his body to the demigods); dadhyaṅ—Dadhīci Muni; ātharvaṇaḥ—the son of Atharvā; tanum—his body; pare—to the Supreme; bhagavati—Personality of Godhead; brahmaṇi—the Supreme Brahman; ātmānam—himself. the spirit soul; sannayan—offering; jahau—gave up.
Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: Dadhīci Muni, the son of Atharvā, thus resolved to give his body to the service of the demigods. He placed himself, the spirit soul, at the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and in this way gave up his gross material body made of five elements.
As indicated by the words pare bhagavati brahmaṇy ātmānaṁ sannayan, Dadhīci placed himself, as spirit soul, at the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In this regard, one may refer to the incident of Dhṛtarāṣṭra’s leaving his body, as described in the First Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.13.55). Dhṛtarāṣṭra analytically divided his gross material body into the five different elements of which it was made—earth, water, fire, air and ether—and distributed them to the different reservoirs of these elements; in other words, he merged these five elements into the original mahat-tattva. By identifying his material conception of life, he gradually separated his spirit soul from material connections and placed himself at the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The example given in this connection is that when an earthen pot is broken, the small portion of the sky within the pot is united with the large sky outside the pot. Māyāvādī philosophers misunderstand this description of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Therefore Śrī Rāmānuja Svāmī, in his book Vedānta-tattva-sāra, has described that this merging of the soul means that after separating himself from the material body made of eight elements—earth, water, fire, air, ether, false ego, mind and intelligence—the individual soul engages himself in devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His eternal form (īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahaḥ/ anādir ādir govindaḥ sarva-kāraṇa-kāraṇam [Bs. 5.1]). The material cause of the material elements absorbs the material body, and the spiritual soul assumes its original position. As described by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, jīvera ‘svarūpa’ hayakṛṣṇera ‘nitya-dāsa’: [Cc. Madhya 20.108] the constitutional position of the living entity is that he is the eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa. When one overcomes the material body through cultivation of spiritual knowledge and devotional service, one can revive his own position and thus engage in the service of the Lord.
tattva-dṛg dhvasta-bandhanaḥ
āsthitaḥ paramaṁ yogaṁ
na dehaṁ bubudhe gatam
yata—controlled; akṣa—senses; asu—the life air; manaḥ—the mind; buddhiḥ—intelligence; tattva-dṛk—one who knows the tattvas, the material and spiritual energies; dhvasta-bandhanaḥ—liberated from bondage; āsthitaḥ—being situated in; paramam—the supreme; yogam—absorption, trance; na—not; deham—the material body; bubudhe—perceived; gatam—left.
Dadhīci Muni controlled his senses, life force, mind and intelligence and became absorbed in trance. Thus he cut all his material bonds. He could not perceive how his material body became separated from his self.
The Lord says in Bhagavad-gītā (8.5):
“Whoever, at the time of death, quits his body remembering Me alone, at once attains My nature. Of this there is no doubt.” Of course, one must practice before one is overcome by death, but the perfect yogī, namely the devotee, dies in trance, thinking of Kṛṣṇa. He does not feel his material body being separated from his soul; the soul is immediately transferred to the spiritual world. Tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti: [Bg. 4.9] the soul does not enter the womb of a material mother again. but is transferred back home, back to Godhead. This yoga, bhakti-yoga, is the highest yoga system, as explained by the Lord Himself in Bhagavad-gītā (6.47):
“Of all yogīs, he who always abides in Me with great faith. worshiping Me in transcendental loving service, is most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all.” The bhakti-yogī always thinks of Kṛṣṇa, and therefore at the time of death he can very easily transfer himself to Kṛṣṇaloka, without even perceiving the pains of death.
TEXTS 13–14
athendro vajram udyamya
nirmitaṁ viśvakarmaṇā
muneḥ śaktibhir utsikto
vṛto deva-gaṇaiḥ sarvair
gajendropary aśobhata
stūyamāno muni-gaṇais
trailokyaṁ harṣayann iva
atha—thereafter; indraḥ—the King of heaven; vajram—the thunderbolt; udyamya—firmly taking up; nirmitam—manufactured; viśvakarmaṇā—by Viśvakarmā; muneḥ—of the great sage, Dadhīci; śaktibhiḥ—by the power; utsiktaḥ—saturated; bhagavat—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; tejasā—with spiritual power; anvitaḥ—endowed; vṛtaḥ—encircled; deva-gaṇaiḥ—by the other demigods; sarvaiḥ—all; gajendra—of his elephant carrier; upari—upon the back; aśobhata—shone; stūyamānaḥ—being offered prayers; muni-gaṇaiḥ—by the saintly persons; trai-lokyam—to the three worlds; harṣayan—causing pleasure; iva—as it were.
Thereafter, King Indra very firmly took up the thunderbolt manufactured by Viśvakarmā from the bones of Dadhīci. Charged with the exalted power of Dadhīci Muni and enlightened by the power of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Indra rode on the back of his carrier, Airāvata, surrounded by all the demigods, while all the great sages offered him praise. Thus he shone very beautifully, pleasing the three worlds as he rode off to kill Vṛtrāsura.
vṛtram abhyadravac chatrum
paryastam ojasā rājan
kruddho rudra ivāntakam
vṛtram—Vṛtrāsura; abhyadravat—attacked; śatrum—the enemy; asura-anīka-yūthapaiḥ—by the commanders or captains of the soldiers of the asuras; paryastam—surrounded; ojasā—with great force; rājan—O King; kruddhaḥ—being angry; rudraḥ—an incarnation of Lord Śiva; iva—like; antakamAntaka, or Yamarāja.
My dear King Parīkṣit, as Rudra, being very angry at Antaka [Yamarāja] had formerly run toward Antaka to kill him, Indra angrily and with great force attacked Vṛtrāsura, who was surrounded by the leaders of the demoniac armies.
tataḥ surāṇām asurai
raṇaḥ parama-dāruṇaḥ
tretā-mukhe narmadāyām
abhavat prathame yuge
tataḥ—thereafter; surāṇām—of the demigods; asuraiḥ—with the demons; raṇaḥ—a great battle; parama-dāruṇaḥ—very fearful; tretā-mukhe—in the beginning of Tretā-yuga; narmadāyām—on the bank of the River Narmadā; abhavat—took place; prathame—in the first; yuge—millennium.
Thereafter, at the end of Satya-yuga and the beginning of Tretā-yuga, a fierce battle took place between the demigods and the demons on the bank of the Narmadā.
Herein the Narmadā does not mean the Narmadā River in India. The five sacred rivers in India—Gaṅgā, Yamunā, Narmadā, Kāverī and Kṛṣṇā—are all celestial. Like the Ganges River, the Narmadā River also flows in the higher planetary systems. The battle between the demigods and the demons took place in the higher planets.
The words prathame yuge mean “in the beginning of the first millennium,” that is to say, in the beginning of the Vaivasvata manvantara. In one day of Brahmā there are fourteen Manus, who each live for seventy-one millenniums. The four yugasSatya, Tretā, Dvāpara and Kali—constitute one millennium. We are presently in the manvantara of Vaivasvata Manu, who is mentioned in Bhagavad-gītā (imaṁ vivasvate yogaṁ proktavān aham avyayam/ vivasvān manave prāha [Bg. 4.1]). We are now in the twenty-eighth millennium of Vaivasvata Manu, but this fight took place in the beginning of Vaivasvata Manu’s first millennium. One can historically calculate how long ago the battle took place. Since each millennium consists of 4,300,000 years and we are now in the twenty-eighth millennium, some 120,400,000 years have passed since the battle took place on the bank of the River Narmadā.
TEXTS 17–18
rudrair vasubhir ādityair
aśvibhyāṁ pitṛ-vahnibhiḥ
marudbhir ṛbhubhiḥ sādhyair
viśvedevair marut-patim
dṛṣṭvā vajra-dharaṁ śakraṁ
rocamānaṁ svayā śriyā
nāmṛṣyann asurā rājan
mṛdhe vṛtra-puraḥsarāḥ
rudraiḥ—by the Rudras; vasubhiḥ—by the Vasus; ādityaiḥ—by the Ādityas; aśvibhyām—by the Aśvinī-kumāras; pitṛ—by the Pitās; vahnibhiḥ—and the Vahnis; marudbhiḥ—by the Maruts; ṛbhubhiḥ—by the Ṛbhus; sādhyaiḥ—by the Sādhyas; viśve-devaiḥ—by the Viśvadevas; marut-patimIndra, the heavenly King; dṛṣṭvā—seeing; vajra-dharam—bearing the thunderbolt; śakram—another name of Indra; rocamānam—shining; svayā—by his own; śriyā—opulence; na—not; amṛṣyan—tolerated; asurāḥ—all the demons; rājan—O King; mṛdhe—in the fight; vṛtra-puraḥsarāḥ—headed by Vṛtrāsura.
O King, when all the asuras came onto the battlefield, headed by Vṛtrāsura, they saw King Indra carrying the thunderbolt and surrounded by the Rudras, Vasus, Ādityas, Aśvinī-kumāras, Pitās, Vahnis, Maruts, Ṛbhus, Sādhyas and Viśvadevas. Surrounded by his company, Indra shone so brightly that his effulgence was intolerable to the demons.
TEXTS 19–22
namuciḥ śambaro ’narvā
dvimūrdhā ṛṣabho ’suraḥ
hayagrīvaḥ śaṅkuśirā
vipracittir ayomukhaḥ
pulomā vṛṣaparvā ca
prahetir hetir utkalaḥ
daiteyā dānavā yakṣā
rakṣāṁsi ca sahasraśaḥ
mṛtyor api durāsadam
abhyardayann asambhrāntāḥ
siṁha-nādena durmadāḥ
gadābhiḥ parighair bāṇaiḥ
namuciḥNamuci; śambaraḥ—Śambara; anarvāAnarvā; dvimūrdhāDvimūrdhā; ṛṣabhaḥ—Ṛṣabha; asuraḥAsura; hayagrīvaḥHayagrīva; śaṅkuśirāḥ—Śaṅkuśirā; vipracittiḥ—Vipracitti; ayomukhaḥ—Ayomukha; pulomāPulomā; vṛṣaparvāVṛṣaparvā; ca—also; prahetiḥ—Praheti; hetiḥ—Heti; utkalaḥUtkala; daiteyāḥ—the Daityas; dānavāḥ—the Dānavas; yakṣāḥ—the Yakṣas; rakṣāṁsi—the Rākṣasas; ca—and; sahasraśaḥ—by the thousands; sumāli-māli-pramukhāḥ—others, headed by Sumāli and Māli; kārtasvara—of gold; paricchadāḥ—dressed in ornaments; pratiṣidhya—keeping back; indra-senā-agram—the front of Indra’s army; mṛtyoḥ—for death; api—even; durāsadam—difficult to approach; abhyardayan—harassed; asambhrāntāḥ—without fear; siṁha-nādena—with a sound like a lion; durmadāḥ—furious; gadābhiḥ—with clubs; parighaiḥ—with iron-studded bludgeons; bāṇaiḥ—with arrows; prāsa-mudgara-tomaraiḥ—with barbed missiles, mallets and lances.
Many hundreds and thousands of demons, demi-demons, Yakṣas, Rākṣasas [man-eaters] and others, headed by Sumāli and Māli, resisted the armies of King Indra, which even death personified cannot easily overcome. Among the demons were Namuci, Śambara, Anarvā, Dvimūrdhā, Ṛṣabha, Asura, Hayagrīva, Śaṅkuśirā, Vipracitti, Ayomukha, Pulomā, Vṛṣaparvā, Praheti, Heti and Utkala. Roaring tumultuously and fearlessly like lions, these invincible demons, all dressed in golden ornaments, gave pain to the demigods with weapons like clubs, bludgeons, arrows, barbed darts, mallets and lances.
śūlaiḥ paraśvadhaiḥ khaḍgaiḥ
śataghnībhir bhuśuṇḍibhiḥ
sarvato ’vākiran śastrair
astraiś ca vibudharṣabhān
śūlaiḥ—by spears; paraśvadhaiḥ—by axes; khaḍgaiḥ—by swords; śataghnībhiḥ—by śataghnīs; bhuśuṇḍibhiḥ—by bhuśuṇḍis; sarvataḥ—all around; avākiran—scattered; śastraiḥ—with weapons; astraiḥ—with arrows; ca—and; vibudha-ṛṣabhān—the chiefs of the demigods.
Armed with lances, tridents, axes, swords and other weapons like śataghnīs and bhuśuṇḍis, the demons attacked from different directions and scattered all the chiefs of the demigod armies.
na te ’dṛśyanta sañchannāḥ
śara-jālaiḥ samantataḥ
jyotīṁṣīva nabho-ghanaiḥ
na—not; te—they (the demigods); adṛśyanta—were seen; sañchannāḥ—being completely covered; śara-jālaiḥ—by networks of arrows; samantataḥ—all around; puṅkha-anupuṅkha—one arrow after another; patitaiḥ—falling; jyotīṁṣi iva—like the stars in the sky; nabhaḥ-ghanaiḥ—by the dense clouds.
As the stars in the sky cannot be seen when covered by dense clouds, the demigods, being completely covered by networks of arrows falling upon them one after another, could not be seen.
na te śastrāstra-varṣaughā
hy āseduḥ sura-sainikān
chinnāḥ siddha-pathe devair
laghu-hastaiḥ sahasradhā
na—not; te—those; śastra-astra-varṣa-oghāḥ—showers of arrows and other weapons; hi—indeed; āseduḥ—reached; sura-sainikān—the armies of the demigods; chinnāḥ—cut; siddha-pathe—in the sky; devaiḥ—by the demigods; laghu-hastaiḥ—quick-handed; sahasradhā—into thousands of pieces.
The showers of various weapons and arrows released to kill the soldiers of the demigods did not reach them because the demigods, acting quickly, cut the weapons into thousands of pieces in the sky.
atha kṣīṇāstra-śastraughā
abhyavarṣan sura-balaṁ
cicchidus tāṁś ca pūrvavat
atha—thereupon; kṣīṇa—being reduced; astra—of the arrows released by mantras; śastra—and weapons; oghāḥ—the multitudes; giri—of mountains; śṛṅga—with the peaks; druma—with trees; upalaiḥ—and with stones; abhyavarṣan—showered; sura-balam—the soldiers of the demigods; cicchiduḥ—broke to pieces; tān—them; ca—and; pūrva-vat—as before.
As their weapons and mantras decreased, the demons began showering mountain peaks, trees and stones upon the demigod soldiers, but the demigods were so powerful and expert that they nullified all these weapons by breaking them to pieces in the sky as before.
tān akṣatān svastimato niśāmya
śastrāstra-pūgair atha vṛtra-nāthāḥ
drumair dṛṣadbhir vividhādri-śṛṅgair
avikṣatāṁs tatrasur indra-sainikān
tān—them (the soldiers of the demigods); akṣatān—not injured; svasti-mataḥ—being very healthy; niśāmya—seeing; śastra-astra-pūgaiḥ—by the bunches of weapons and mantras; atha—thereupon; vṛtra-nāthāḥ—the soldiers led by Vṛtrāsura; drumaiḥ—by the trees; dṛṣadbhiḥ—by the stones; vividha—various; adri—of mountain s; śṛṅgaiḥ—by the peaks; avikṣatān—not injured; tatrasuḥ—became afraid; indra-sainikān—the soldiers of King Indra.
When the soldiers of the demons, commanded by Vṛtrāsura, saw that the soldiers of King Indra were quite well, having not been injured at all by their volleys of weapons, not even by the trees, stones and mountain peaks, the demons were very much afraid.
sarve prayāsā abhavan vimoghāḥ
kṛtāḥ kṛtā deva-gaṇeṣu daityaiḥ
kṛṣṇānukūleṣu yathā mahatsu
kṣudraiḥ prayuktā ūṣatī rūkṣa-vācaḥ
sarve—all; prayāsāḥ—endeavors; abhavan—were; vimoghāḥ—futile; kṛtāḥ—performed; kṛtāḥ—again performed; deva-gaṇeṣu—unto the demigods; daityaiḥ—by the demons; kṛṣṇa-anukūleṣu—who were always protected by Kṛṣṇa; yathā—just as; mahatsu—unto the Vaiṣṇavas; kṣudraiḥ—by insignificant persons; prayuktāḥ—used; ūṣatīḥ—unfavorable; rūkṣa—rough; vācaḥ—words.
When insignificant persons use rough words to cast false, angry accusations against saintly persons, their fruitless words do not disturb the great personalities. Similarly, all the efforts of the demons against the demigods, who were favorably situated under the protection of Kṛṣṇa, were futile.
There is a Bengali saying that if a vulture curses a cow to die, the curse will not be effective. Similarly, accusations made by demoniac persons against devotees of Kṛṣṇa cannot have any effect. The demigods are devotees of Lord Kṛṣṇa, and therefore the curses of the demons were futile.
te sva-prayāsaṁ vitathaṁ nirīkṣya
harāv abhaktā hata-yuddha-darpāḥ
palāyanāyāji-mukhe visṛjya
patiṁ manas te dadhur ātta-sārāḥ
te—they (the demons); sva-prayāsam—their own endeavors; vitatham—fruitless; nirīkṣya—seeing; harau abhaktāḥ—the asuras, those who are not devotees of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; hata—defeated; yuddha-darpāḥ—their pride in fighting; palāyanāya—for leaving the battlefield; āji-mukhe—in the very beginning of the battle; visṛjya—leaving aside; patim—their commander, Vṛtrāsura; manaḥ—their minds; te—all of them; dadhuḥ—gave; ātta-sārāḥ—whose prowess was taken away.
The asuras, who are never devotees of Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, lost their pride in fighting when they found all their endeavors futile. Leaving aside their leader even in the very beginning of the fight, they decided to flee because all their prowess had been taken away by the enemy.
vṛtro ’surāṁs tān anugān manasvī
pradhāvataḥ prekṣya babhāṣa etat
palāyitaṁ prekṣya balaṁ ca bhagnaṁ
bhayena tīvreṇa vihasya vīraḥ
vṛtraḥ—Vṛtrāsura, the commander of the demons; asurān—all the demons; tān—them; anugān—his followers; manasvī—the great-minded; pradhāvataḥ—fleeing; prekṣya—observing; babhāṣa—spoke; etat—this; palāyitam—fleeing; prekṣya—seeing; balam—army; ca—and; bhagnam—broken; bhayena—out of fear; tīvreṇa—intense; vihasya—smiling; vīraḥ—the great hero.
Seeing his army broken and all the asuras, even those known as great heroes, fleeing the battlefield out of intense fear, Vṛtrāsura, who was truly a great-minded hero, smiled and spoke the following words.
kālopapannāṁ rucirāṁ manasvināṁ
jagāda vācaṁ puruṣa-pravīraḥ
he vipracitte namuce puloman
mayānarvañ chambara me śṛṇudhvam
kāla-upapannām—suitable to the time and circumstances; rucirām—very beautiful; manasvinām—to the great, deep-minded personalities; jagāda—spoke; vācam—words; puruṣa-pravīraḥ—the hero among heroes, Vṛtrāsura; he—O; vipracitte—Vipracitti; namuce—O Namuci; puloman—O Pulomā; maya—O Maya; anarvan—O Anarvā; śambara—O Śambara; me—from me; śṛṇudhvam—please hear.
According to his position and the time and circumstances, Vṛtrāsura, the hero among heroes, spoke words that were much to be appreciated by thoughtful men. He called to the heroes of the demons, “O Vipracitti! O Namuci! O Pulomā! O Maya, Anarvā and Śambara! Please hear me and do not flee.”
jātasya mṛtyur dhruva eva sarvataḥ
pratikriyā yasya na ceha kḷptā
loko yaśaś cātha tato yadi hy amuṁ
ko nāma mṛtyuṁ na vṛṇīta yuktam
jātasya—of one who has taken birth (all living beings); mṛtyuḥ—death; dhruvaḥ—inevitable; eva—indeed; sarvataḥ—everywhere in the universe; pratikriyā—counteraction; yasya—of which; na—not; ca—also; iha—in this material world; kḷptā—devised; lokaḥ—promotion to higher planets; yaśaḥ—reputation and glory; ca—and; atha—then; tataḥ—from that; yadi—if; hi—indeed; amum—that; kaḥ—who; nāma—indeed; mṛtyum—death; na—not; vṛṇīta—would accept; yuktam—suitable.
Vṛtrāsura said: All living entities who have taken birth in this material world must die. Surely, no one in this world has found any means to be saved from death. Even providence has not provided a means to escape it. Under the circumstances, death being inevitable, if one can gain promotion to the higher planetary systems and be always celebrated here by dying a suitable death, what man will not accept such a glorious death?
If by dying one can be elevated to the higher planetary systems and be ever-famous after his death, who is so foolish that he will refuse such a glorious death? Similar advice was also given by Kṛṣṇa to Arjuna. “My dear Arjuna,” the Lord said, “do not desist from fighting. If you gain victory in the fight, you will enjoy a kingdom, and even if you die you will be elevated to the heavenly planets.” Everyone should be ready to die while performing glorious deeds. A glorious person is not meant to meet death like cats and dogs.
dvau sammatāv iha mṛtyū durāpau
yad brahma-sandhāraṇayā jitāsuḥ
kalevaraṁ yoga-rato vijahyād
yad agraṇīr vīra-śaye ’nivṛttaḥ
dvau—two; sammatau—approved (by śāstra and great personalities); iha—in this world; mṛtyū—deaths; durāpau—extremely rare; yat—which; brahma-sandhāraṇayā—with concentration on Brahman, Paramātmā or Parabrahma, Kṛṣṇa; jita-asuḥ—controlling the mind and senses; kalevaram—the body; yoga-rataḥ—being engaged in the performance of yoga; vijahyāt—one may leave; yat—which; agraṇīḥ—taking the lead; vīra-śaye—on the battlefield; anivṛttaḥ—not turning back.
There are two ways to meet a glorious death, and both are very rare. One is to die after performing mystic yoga, especially bhakti-yoga, by which one can control the mind and living force and die absorbed in thought of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The second is to die on the battlefield, leading the army and never showing one’s back. These two kinds of death are recommended in the śāstra as glorious.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the Sixth Canto, Tenth Chapter, of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, entitled “The Battle Between the Demigods and Vṛtrāsura.”

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