The Transcendental Qualities of Vṛtrāsura
This chapter describes Vṛtrāsura’s great qualities. When the prominent commanders of the demons fled, not hearing Vṛtrāsura’s advice. Vṛtrāsura condemned them all as cowards. Speaking very bravely, he stood alone to face the demigods. When the demigods saw Vṛtrāsura’s attitude, they were so afraid that they practically fainted, and Vṛtrāsura began trampling them down. Unable to tolerate this, Indra, the King of the demigods, threw his club at Vṛtrāsura, but Vṛtrāsura was such a great hero that he easily caught the club with his left hand and used it to beat Indra’s elephant. Struck by the blow of Vṛtrāsura, the elephant was pushed back fourteen yards and fell, with Indra on its back.
King Indra had first accepted Viśvarūpa as his priest and thereafter killed him. Reminding Indra of his heinous activities, Vṛtrāsura said, “If one is a devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Viṣṇu, and depends on Lord Viṣṇu in every respect, then victory, opulence and peace of mind are all inevitably available. Such a person has nothing for which to aspire in the three worlds. The Supreme Lord is so kind that He especially favors such a devotee by not giving him opulence that will hamper his devotional service. Therefore I wish to give up everything for the service of the Lord. I wish always to chant the glories of the Lord and engage in His service. Let me become unattached to my worldly family and make friendships with the devotees of the Lord. I do not desire to be promoted to the higher planetary systems, even to Dhruvaloka or Brahmaloka, nor do I desire an unconquerable position within this material world. I have no need for such things.”
ta evaṁ śaṁsato dharmaṁ
vacaḥ patyur acetasaḥ
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; te—they; evam—thus; śaṁsataḥ—praising; dharmam—the principles of religion; vacaḥ—the words; patyuḥ—of their master; acetasaḥ—their minds being very disturbed; na—not; eva—indeed; agṛhṇanta—accepted; sambhrāntāḥ—fearful; palāyana-parāḥ—intent upon fleeing; nṛpa—O King.
Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: O King, Vṛtrāsura, the commander in chief of the demons, advised his lieutenants in the principles of religion, but the cowardly demoniac commanders, intent upon fleeing the battlefield, were so disturbed by fear that they could not accept his words.
tān nivāryaujasā rājan
nirbhartsyedam uvāca ha
viśīryamāṇām—being shattered; pṛtanām—the army; āsurīm—of the demons; asura-ṛṣabhaḥ—the best of the asuras, Vṛtrāsura; kāla-anukūlaiḥ—following the circumstances presented by time; tridaśaiḥ—by the demigods; kālyamānām—being chased; anātha-vat—as if no one were there to protect them; dṛṣṭvā—seeing; atapyata—felt pain; saṅkruddhaḥ—being very angry; indra-śatruḥ—Vṛtrāsura, the enemy of Indra; amarṣitaḥ—unable to tolerate; tān—them (the demigods); nivārya—blocking; ojasā—with great force; rājan—O King Parīkṣit; nirbhartsya—rebuking; idam—this; uvāca—said; ha—indeed.
O King Parīkṣit, the demigods, taking advantage of a favorable opportunity presented by time, attacked the army of the demons from the rear and began driving away the demoniac soldiers, scattering them here and there as if their army had no leader. Seeing the pitiable condition of his soldiers, Vṛtrāsura, the best of the asuras, who was called Indraśatru, the enemy of Indra, was very much aggrieved. Unable to tolerate such reverses, he stopped and forcefully rebuked the demigods, speaking the following words in an angry mood.
kiṁ va uccaritair mātur
dhāvadbhiḥ pṛṣṭhato hataiḥ
na hi bhīta-vadhaḥ ślāghyo
na svargyaḥ śūra-māninām
kim—what is the benefit; vaḥ—for you; uccaritaiḥ—with those like the stool; mātuḥ—of the mother; dhāvadbhiḥ—running away; pṛṣṭhataḥ—from the back; hataiḥ—killed; na—not; hi—certainly; bhīta-vadhaḥ—the killing of a person who is afraid; ślāghyaḥ—glorious; na—nor; svargyaḥ—leading to the heavenly planets; śūra-māninām—of persons who consider themselves heroes.
O demigods, these demoniac soldiers have taken birth uselessly. Indeed, they have come from the bodies of their mothers exactly like stool. What is the benefit of killing such enemies from behind while they are running in fear? One who considers himself a hero should not kill an enemy who is afraid of losing his life. Such killing is never glorious, nor can it promote one to the heavenly planets.
Vṛtrāsura rebuked both the demigods and the demoniac soldiers because the demons were running in fear of their lives and the demigods were killing them from behind. The actions of both were abominable. When a fight takes place, the opposing parties must be prepared to fight like heroes. A hero never runs from the field of battle. He always fights face to face, determined to gain victory or lay down his life in the fight. That is heroic. Killing an enemy from behind is also inglorious. When an enemy turns his back and runs in fear of his life, he should not be killed. This is the etiquette of military science.
Vṛtrāsura insulted the demoniac soldiers by comparing them to the stool of their mothers. Both stool and a cowardly son come from the abdomen of the mother, and Vṛtrāsura said that there is no difference between them. A similar comparison was given by Tulasī dāsa, who commented that a son and urine both come from the same channel. In other words, semen and urine both come from the genitals, but semen produces a child whereas urine produces nothing. Therefore if a child is neither a hero nor a devotee, he is not a son but urine. Similarly, Cāṇakya Paṇḍita also says:
“What is the use of a son who is neither glorious nor devoted to the Lord? Such a son is like a blind eye, which simply gives pain but cannot help one see.”
yadi vaḥ pradhane śraddhā
sāraṁ vā kṣullakā hṛdi
agre tiṣṭhata mātraṁ me
na ced grāmya-sukhe spṛhā
yadi—if; vaḥ—of you; pradhane—in battle; śraddhā—faith; sāram—patience; vā—or; kṣullakāḥ—O insignificant ones; hṛdi—in the core of the heart; agre—in front; tiṣṭhata—just stand; mātram—for a moment; me—of me; na—not; cet—if; grāmya-sukhe—in sense gratification; spṛhā—desire.
O insignificant demigods, if you truly have faith in your heroism, if you have patience in the cores of your hearts and if you are not ambitious for sense gratification, please stand before me for a moment.
Rebuking the demigods, Vṛtrāsura challenged, “O demigods, if you are actually heroes, stand before me now and try to show your prowess. If you do not wish to fight, if you are afraid of losing your lives, I shall not kill you, for unlike you, I am not so evil minded as to kill persons who are neither heroic nor willing to fight. If you have faith in your heroism, please stand before me.”
evaṁ sura-gaṇān kruddho
bhīṣayan vapuṣā ripūn
yena lokā vicetasaḥ
evam—thus; sura-gaṇān—the demigods; kruddhaḥ—being very angry; bhīṣayan—terrifying; vapuṣā—by his body; ripūn—his enemies; vyanadat—roared; su-mahā-prāṇaḥ—the most powerful Vṛtrāsura; yena—by which; lokāḥ—all people; vicetasaḥ—unconscious.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: Vṛtrāsura, the angry and most powerful hero, terrified the demigods with his stout and strongly built body. When he roared with a resounding voice, nearly all living entities fainted.
tena deva-gaṇāḥ sarve
nipetur mūrcchitā bhūmau
tena—by that; deva-gaṇāḥ—the demigods; sarve—all; vṛtra-visphoṭanena—the tumultuous sound of Vṛtrāsura; vai—indeed; nipetuḥ—fell; mūrcchitāḥ—fainted; bhūmau—on the ground; yathā—just as if; eva—indeed; aśaninā—by a thunderbolt; hatāḥ—struck.
When all the demigods heard Vṛtrāsura’s tumultuous roar, which resembled that of a lion, they fainted and fell to the ground as if struck by thunderbolts.
mamarda padbhyāṁ sura-sainyam āturaṁ
gāṁ kampayann udyata-śūla ojasā
nālaṁ vanaṁ yūtha-patir yathonmadaḥ
mamarda—trampled; padbhyām—by his feet; sura-sainyam—the army of the demigods; āturam—who were very afraid; nimīlita-akṣam—closing their eyes; raṇa-raṅga-durmadaḥ—arrogant on the battlefield; gām—the surface of the globe; kampayan—causing to tremble; udyata-śūlaḥ—taking up his trident; ojasā—with his strength; nālam—of hollow bamboo sticks; vanam—a forest; yūtha-patiḥ—an elephant; yathā—just as; unmadaḥ—maddened.
As the demigods closed their eyes in fear, Vṛtrāsura, taking up his trident and making the earth tremble with his great strength, trampled the demigods beneath his feet on the battlefield the way a mad elephant tramples hollow bamboos in the forest.
vilokya taṁ vajra-dharo ’tyamarṣitaḥ
sva-śatrave ’bhidravate mahā-gadām
cikṣepa tām āpatatīṁ suduḥsahāṁ
jagrāha vāmena kareṇa līlayā
vilokya—seeing; tam—him (Vṛtrāsura); vajra-dharaḥ—the carrier of the thunderbolt (King Indra); ati—very much; amarṣitaḥ—intolerant; sva—his own; śatrave—toward the enemy; abhidravate—running; mahā-gadām—a very powerful club; cikṣepa—threw; tām—that (club); āpatatīm—flying toward him; su-duḥsahām—very difficult to counteract; jagrāha—caught; vāmena—with his left; kareṇa—hand; līlayā—very easily.
Seeing Vṛtrāsura’s disposition, Indra, the King of heaven, became intolerant and threw at him one of his great clubs, which are extremely difficult to counteract. However, as the club flew toward him, Vṛtrāsura easily caught it with his left hand.
sa indra-śatruḥ kupito bhṛśaṁ tayā
jaghāna kumbha-sthala unnadan mṛdhe
tat karma sarve samapūjayan nṛpa
saḥ—that; indra-śatruḥ—Vṛtrāsura; kupitaḥ—being angry; bhṛśam—very much; tayā—with that; mahendra-vāham—the elephant who is the carrier of Indra; gadayā—by the club; uru-vikramaḥ—who is famous for his great strength; jaghāna—struck; kumbha-sthale—on the head; unnadan—roaring loudly; mṛdhe—in that fight; tat karma—that action (striking the head of Indra’s elephant with the club in his left hand); sarve—all the soldiers (on both sides); samapūjayan—glorified; nṛpa—O King Parīkṣit.
O King Parīkṣit, the powerful Vṛtrāsura, the enemy of King Indra, angrily struck the head of Indra’s elephant with that club, making a tumultuous sound on the battlefield. For this heroic deed, the soldiers on both sides glorified him.
vighūrṇito ’driḥ kuliśāhato yathā
apāsarad bhinna-mukhaḥ sahendro
muñcann asṛk sapta-dhanur bhṛśārtaḥ
airāvataḥ—Airāvata, the elephant of King Indra; vṛtra-gadā-abhimṛṣṭaḥ—struck by the club in Vṛtrāsura’s hand; vighūrṇitaḥ—shaken; adriḥ—a mountain; kuliśa—by a thunderbolt; āhataḥ—struck; yathā—just like; apāsarat—was pushed back; bhinna-mukhaḥ—having a broken mouth; saha-indraḥ—with King Indra; muñcan—spitting; asṛk—blood; sapta-dhanuḥ—a distance measured by seven bows (approximately fourteen yards); bhṛśa—very severely; ārtaḥ—aggrieved.
Struck with the club by Vṛtrāsura like a mountain struck by a thunderbolt, the elephant Airāvata, feeling great pain and spitting blood from its broken mouth, was pushed back fourteen yards. In great distress, the elephant fell, with Indra on its back.
na sanna-vāhāya viṣaṇṇa-cetase
prāyuṅkta bhūyaḥ sa gadāṁ mahātmā
na—not; sanna—fatigued; vāhāya—upon him whose carrier; viṣaṇṇa-cetase—morose in the core of his heart; prāyuṅkta—used; bhūyaḥ—again; saḥ—he (Vṛtrāsura); gadām—the club; mahā-ātmā—the great soul (who refrained from striking Indra with the club when he saw Indra morose and aggrieved); indraḥ—Indra; amṛta-syandi-kara—of his hand, which produces nectar; abhimarśa—by the touch; vīta—was relieved; vyatha—from pains; kṣata—and cuts; vāhaḥ—whose carrier elephant; avatasthe—stood there.
When he saw Indra’s carrier elephant thus fatigued and injured and when he saw Indra morose because his carrier had been harmed in that way, the great soul Vṛtrāsura, following religious principles, refrained from again striking Indra with the club. Taking this opportunity, Indra touched the elephant with his nectar-producing hand, thus relieving the animal’s pain and curing its injuries. Then the elephant and Indra both stood silently.
sa taṁ nṛpendrāhava-kāmyayā ripuṁ
vajrāyudhaṁ bhrātṛ-haṇaṁ vilokya
smaraṁś ca tat-karma nṛ-śaṁsam aṁhaḥ
śokena mohena hasañ jagāda
saḥ—he (Vṛtrāsura); tam—him (the King of heaven, Indra); nṛpa-indra—O King Parīkṣit; āhava-kāmyayā—with a desire to fight; ripum—his enemy; vajra-āyudham—whose weapon was the thunderbolt (made from the bones of Dadhīci); bhrātṛ-haṇam—who was the killer of his brother; vilokya—seeing; smaran—remembering; ca—and; tat-karma—his activities; nṛ-śaṁsam—cruel; aṁhaḥ—a great sin; śokena—with lamentation; mohena—by bewilderment; hasan—laughing; jagāda—said.
O King, when the great hero Vṛtrāsura saw Indra, his enemy, the killer of his brother, standing before him with a thunderbolt in his hand, desiring to fight, Vṛtrāsura remembered how Indra had cruelly killed his brother. Thinking of Indra’s sinful activities, he became mad with lamentation and forgetfulness. Laughing sarcastically, he spoke as follows.
diṣṭyā bhavān me samavasthito ripur
yo brahma-hā guru-hā bhrātṛ-hā ca
diṣṭyānṛṇo ’dyāham asattama tvayā
śrī-vṛtraḥ uvāca—the great hero Vṛtrāsura said; diṣṭyā—by good fortune; bhavān—Your Lordship; me—of me; samavasthitaḥ—situated (in front); ripuḥ—my enemy; yaḥ—who; brahma-hā—the killer of a brāhmaṇa; guru-hā—the killer of your guru; bhrātṛ-hā—the killer of my brother; ca—also; diṣṭyā—by good fortune; anṛṇaḥ—free from debt (to my brother); adya—today; aham—I; asat-tama—O most abominable one; tvayā—through you; mat-śūla—by my trident; nirbhinna—being pierced; dṛṣat—like stone; hṛdā—whose heart; acirāt—very soon.
Śrī Vṛtrāsura said: He who has killed a brāhmaṇa, he who has killed his spiritual master—indeed, he who has killed my brother—is now, by good fortune, standing before me face to face as my enemy. O most abominable one, when I pierce your stonelike heart with my trident, I shall be freed from my debt to my brother.
yo no ’grajasyātma-vido dvijāter
guror apāpasya ca dīkṣitasya
viśrabhya khaḍgena śirāṁsy avṛścat
paśor ivākaruṇaḥ svarga-kāmaḥ
yaḥ—he who; naḥ—our; agra-jasya—of the elder brother; ātma-vidaḥ—who was fully self-realized; dvi-jāteḥ—a qualified brāhmaṇa; guroḥ—your spiritual master; apāpasya—free from all sinful activities; ca—also; dīkṣitasya—appointed as the initiator of your yajña; viśrabhya—trustfully; khaḍgena—by your sword; śirāṁsi—the heads; avṛścat—cut off; paśoḥ—of an animal; iva—like; akaruṇaḥ—merciless; svarga-kāmaḥ—desiring the heavenly planets.
Only for the sake of living in the heavenly planets, you killed my elder brother—a self-realized, sinless, qualified brāhmaṇa who had been appointed your chief priest. He was your spiritual master, but although you entrusted him with the performance of your sacrifice, you later mercilessly severed his heads from his body the way one butchers an animal.
śrī-hrī-dayā-kīrtibhir ujjhitaṁ tvāṁ
sva-karmaṇā puruṣādaiś ca garhyam
aspṛṣṭa-vahniṁ samadanti gṛdhrāḥ
śrī—opulence or beauty; hrī—shame; dayā—mercy; kīrtibhiḥ—and glory; ujjhitam—bereft of; tvām—you; sva-karmaṇā—by your own activities; puruṣa-adaiḥ—by the Rākṣasas (man-eaters); ca—and; garhyam—condemnable; kṛcchreṇa—with great difficulty; mat-śūla—by my trident; vibhinna—pierced; deham—your body; aspṛṣṭa-vahnim—not even touched by fire; samadanti—will eat; gṛdhrāḥ—the vultures.
Indra, you are bereft of all shame, mercy, glory and good fortune. Deprived of these good qualities by the reactions of your fruitive activities, you are to be condemned even by the man-eaters [Rākṣasas]. Now I shall pierce your body with my trident, and after you die with great pain, even fire will not touch you; only the vultures will eat your body.
anye ’nu ye tveha nṛ-śaṁsam ajñā
yad udyatāstrāḥ praharanti mahyam
tair bhūta-nāthān sagaṇān niśāta-
anye—others; anu—follow; ye—who; tvā—you; iha—in this connection; nṛ-śaṁsam—very cruel; ajñāḥ—persons unaware of my prowess; yat—if; udyata-astrāḥ—with their swords raised; praharanti—attack; mahyam—me; taiḥ—with those; bhūta-nāthān—to such leaders of the ghosts as Bhairava; sa-gaṇān—with their hordes; niśāta—sharpened; tri-śūla—by the trident; nirbhinna—separated or pierced; galaiḥ—having their necks; yajāmi—I shall offer sacrifices.
You are naturally cruel. If the other demigods, unaware of my prowess, follow you by attacking me with raised weapons, I shall sever their heads with this sharp trident. With those heads I shall perform a sacrifice to Bhairava and the other leaders of the ghosts, along with their hordes.
atho hare me kuliśena vīra
hartā pramathyaiva śiro yadīha
tatrānṛṇo bhūta-baliṁ vidhāya
manasvināṁ pāda-rajaḥ prapatsye
atho—otherwise; hare—O King Indra; me—of me; kuliśena—by your thunderbolt; vīra—O great hero; hartā—you cut off; pramathya—destroying my army; eva—certainly; śiraḥ—head; yadi—if; iha—in this battle; tatra—in that case; anṛṇaḥ—relieved of all debts in this material world; bhūta-balim—a presentation for all living entities; vidhāya—arranging; manasvinām—of great sages like Nārada Muni; pāda-rajaḥ—the dust of the lotus feet; prapatsye—I shall achieve.
But if in this battle you cut off my head with your thunderbolt and kill my soldiers, O Indra, O great hero, I shall take great pleasure in offering my body to other living entities [such as jackals and vultures]. I shall thus be relieved of my obligations to the reactions of my karma, and my fortune will be to receive the dust from the lotus feet of great devotees like Nārada Muni.
Śrī Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura sings:
“I am the servant of the six Gosvāmīs, and the dust of their lotus feet provides my five kinds of food.” A Vaiṣṇava always desires the dust of the lotus feet of previous ācāryas and Vaiṣṇavas. Vṛtrāsura was certain that he would be killed in the battle with Indra, because this was the desire of Lord Viṣṇu. He was prepared for death because he knew that after his death he was destined to return home, back to Godhead. This is a great destination, and it is achieved by the grace of a Vaiṣṇava. Chāḍiyā vaiṣṇava-sevā nistāra pāyeche kebā: no one has ever gone back to Godhead without being favored by a Vaiṣṇava. In this verse, therefore, we find the words manasvināṁ pāda-rajaḥ prapatsye: “I shall receive the dust of the lotus feet of great devotees.” The word manasvinām refers to great devotees who always think of Kṛṣṇa. They are always peaceful, thinking of Kṛṣṇa, and therefore they are called dhīra. The best example of such a devotee is Nārada Muni. If one receives the dust of the lotus feet of a manasvī, a great devotee, he certainly returns home, back to Godhead.
sureśa kasmān na hinoṣi vajraṁ
puraḥ sthite vairiṇi mayy amogham
mā saṁśayiṣṭhā na gadeva vajraḥ
syān niṣphalaḥ kṛpaṇārtheva yācñā
sura-īśa—O King of the demigods; kasmāt—why; na—not; hinoṣi—you hurl; vajram—the thunderbolt; puraḥ sthite—standing in front; vairiṇi—your enemy; mayi—at me; amogham—which is infallible (your thunderbolt); mā—do not; saṁśayiṣṭhāḥ—doubt; na—not; gadā iva—like the club; vajraḥ—the thunderbolt; syāt—may be; niṣphalaḥ—with no result; kṛpaṇa—from a miserly person; arthā—for money; iva—like; yācñā—a request.
O King of the demigods, since I, your enemy, am standing before you, why don’t you hurl your thunderbolt at me? Although your attack upon me with your club was certainly useless, like a request of money from a miser, the thunderbolt you carry will not be useless. You need have no doubts about this.
When King Indra threw his club at Vṛtrāsura, Vṛtrāsura caught it in his left hand and retaliated by using it to strike the head of Indra’s elephant. Thus Indra’s attack was a disastrous failure. Indeed, Indra’s elephant was injured and thrown back fourteen yards. Therefore even though Indra stood with the thunderbolt to hurl against Vṛtrāsura, he was doubtful, thinking that the thunderbolt might also fail. Vṛtrāsura, however, being a Vaiṣṇava, assured Indra that the thunderbolt would not fail, for Vṛtrāsura knew that it had been prepared in accordance with the instructions of Lord Viṣṇu. Although Indra had doubts because he could not understand that Lord Viṣṇu’s order never fails, Vṛtrāsura understood Lord Viṣṇu’s purpose. Vṛtrāsura was eager to be killed by the thunderbolt manufactured according to Lord Viṣṇu’s instructions because he was sure that he would thus return home, back to Godhead. He was simply waiting for the opportunity of the thunderbolt’s being released. In effect, therefore, Vṛtrāsura told Indra, “If you want to kill me, since I am your enemy, take this opportunity. Kill me. You will gain victory, and I shall go back to Godhead. Your deed will be equally beneficial for both of us. Do it immediately.”
nanv eṣa vajras tava śakra tejasā
harer dadhīces tapasā ca tejitaḥ
tenaiva śatruṁ jahi viṣṇu-yantrito
yato harir vijayaḥ śrīr guṇās tataḥ
nanu—certainly; eṣaḥ—this; vajraḥ—thunderbolt; tava—of yours; śakra—O Indra; tejasā—by the prowess; hareḥ—of Lord Viṣṇu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead; dadhīceḥ—of Dadhīci; tapasā—by the austerities; ca—as well as; tejitaḥ—empowered; tena—with that; eva—certainly; śatrum—your enemy; jahi—kill; viṣṇu-yantritaḥ—ordered by Lord Viṣṇu; yataḥ—wherever; hariḥ—Lord Viṣṇu; vijayaḥ—victory; śrīḥ—opulences; guṇāḥ—and other good qualities; tataḥ—there.
O Indra, King of heaven, the thunderbolt you carry to kill me has been empowered by the prowess of Lord Viṣṇu and the strength of Dadhīci’s austerities. Since you have come here to kill me in accordance with Lord Viṣṇu’s order, there is no doubt that I shall be killed by the release of your thunderbolt. Lord Viṣṇu has sided with you. Therefore your victory, opulence and all good qualities are assured.
Vṛtrāsura not only assured King Indra that the thunderbolt was invincible, but also encouraged Indra to use it against him as soon as possible. Vṛtrāsura was eager to die with the stroke of the thunderbolt sent by Lord Viṣṇu so that he could immediately return home, back to Godhead. By hurling the thunderbolt, Indra would gain victory and enjoy the heavenly planets, remaining in the material world for repeated birth and death. Indra wanted to gain victory over Vṛtrāsura and thereby become happy, but that would not at all be happiness. The heavenly planets are just below Brahmaloka, but as stated by the Supreme Lord, Kṛṣṇa, ābrahma-bhuvanāl lokāḥ punar āvartino ’rjuna: [Bg. 8.16] even if one achieves Brahmaloka, he must still fall to the lower planetary systems again and again. However, if one goes back to Godhead, he never returns to this material world. By killing Vṛtrāsura, Indra would not actually gain; he would remain in the material world. Vṛtrāsura, however, would go to the spiritual world. Therefore victory was destined for Vṛtrāsura, not for Indra.
ahaṁ samādhāya mano yathāha naḥ
gatiṁ muner yāmy apaviddha-lokaḥ
aham—I; samādhāya—fixing firmly; manaḥ—the mind; yathā—just as; āha—said; naḥ—our; saṅkarṣaṇaḥ—Lord Saṅkarṣaṇa; tat-caraṇa-aravinde—at His lotus feet; tvat-vajra—of your thunderbolt; raṁhaḥ—by the force; lulita—torn; grāmya—of material attachment; pāśaḥ—the rope; gatim—the destination; muneḥ—of Nārada Muni and other devotees; yāmi—I shall achieve; apaviddha—giving up; lokaḥ—this material world (where one desires all kinds of impermanent things).
By the force of your thunderbolt, I shall be freed of material bondage and shall give up this body and this world of material desires. Fixing my mind upon the lotus feet of Lord Saṅkarṣaṇa, I shall attain the destination of such great sages as Nārada Muni, just as Lord Saṅkarṣaṇa has said.
The words ahaṁ samādhāya manaḥ indicate that the most important duty at the time of death is to concentrate one’s mind. If one can fix his mind on the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, Viṣṇu, Saṅkarṣaṇa or any Viṣṇu mūrti, his life will be successful. To be killed while fixing his mind at the lotus feet of Saṅkarṣaṇa, Vṛtrāsura asked Indra to release his vajra, or thunderbolt. He was destined to be killed by the thunderbolt given by Lord Viṣṇu; there was no question of its being baffled. Therefore Vṛtrāsura requested Indra to release the thunderbolt immediately, and he prepared himself by fixing his mind at the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa. A devotee is always ready to give up his material body, which is described herein as grāmya-pāśa, the rope of material attachment. The body is not at all good; it is simply a cause of bondage to the material world. Unfortunately, even though the body is destined for destruction, fools and rascals invest all their faith in the body and are never eager to return home, back to Godhead.
puṁsāṁ kilaikānta-dhiyāṁ svakānāṁ
yāḥ sampado divi bhūmau rasāyām
na rāti yad dveṣa udvega ādhir
madaḥ kalir vyasanaṁ samprayāsaḥ
puṁsām—unto persons; kila—certainly; ekānta-dhiyām—who are advanced in spiritual consciousness; svakānām—who are recognized by the Supreme Personality of Godhead as His own; yāḥ—which; sampadaḥ—opulences; divi—in the upper planetary systems; bhūmau—in the middle planetary systems; rasāyām—and in the lower planetary systems; na—not; rāti—bestows; yat—from which; dveṣaḥ—envy; udvegaḥ—anxiety; ādhiḥ—mental agitation; madaḥ—pride; kaliḥ—quarrel; vyasanam—distress due to loss; samprayāsaḥ—great endeavor.
Persons who fully surrender at the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and always think of His lotus feet are accepted and recognized by the Lord as His own personal assistants or servants. The Lord never bestows upon such servants the brilliant opulences of the upper, lower and middle planetary systems of this material world. When one possesses material opulence in any of these three divisions of the universe, his possessions naturally increase his enmity, anxiety, mental agitation, pride and belligerence. Thus one goes through much endeavor to increase and maintain his possessions, and he suffers great unhappiness when he loses them.
“As devotees surrender unto Me, I reward them accordingly. Everyone follows My path in all respects, O son of Pṛthā.” Both Indra and Vṛtrāsura were certainly devotees of the Lord, although Indra took instructions from Viṣṇu to kill Vṛtrāsura. The Lord was actually more favorable to Vṛtrāsura because after being killed by Indra’s thunderbolt, Vṛtrāsura would go back to Godhead, whereas the victorious Indra would rot in this material world. Because both of them were devotees, the Lord awarded them the respective benedictions they wanted. Vṛtrāsura never wanted material possessions, for he knew very well the nature of such possessions. To accumulate material possessions, one must labor very hard, and when he gets them he creates many enemies because this material world is always full of rivalry. If one becomes rich, his friends or relatives are envious. For ekānta-bhaktas, unalloyed devotees, Kṛṣṇa therefore never provides material possessions. A devotee sometimes needs some material possessions for preaching, but the possessions of a preacher are not like those of a karmī. A karmī’s possessions are achieved as a result of karma, but those of a devotee are arranged by the Supreme Personality of Godhead just to facilitate his devotional activities. Because a devotee never uses material possessions for any purpose other than the service of the Lord, the possessions of a devotee are not to be compared to those of a karmī.
patir vidhatte puruṣasya śakra
tato ’numeyo bhagavat-prasādo
yo durlabho ’kiñcana-gocaro ’nyaiḥ
trai-vargika—for the three objectives, namely religiosity, economic development, and satisfaction of the senses; āyāsa—of endeavor; vighātam—the ruin; asmat—our; patiḥ—Lord; vidhatte—performs; puruṣasya—of a devotee; śakra—O Indra; tataḥ—whereby; anumeyaḥ—to be inferred; bhagavat-prasādaḥ—the special mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; yaḥ—which; durlabhaḥ—very difficult to obtain; akiñcana-gocaraḥ—within the reach of the unalloyed devotees; anyaiḥ—by others, who aspire for material happiness.
Our Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, forbids His devotees to endeavor uselessly for religion, economic development and sense gratification. O Indra, one can thus infer how kind the Lord is. Such mercy is obtainable only by unalloyed devotees, not by persons who aspire for material gains.
There are four objectives in human life—namely, religiosity (dharma), economic development (artha), sense gratification (kāma), and liberation (mokṣa) from the bondage of material existence. People generally aspire for religiosity, economic development and sense gratification, but a devotee has no other desire than to serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead both in this life and in the next. The special mercy for the unalloyed devotee is that the Lord saves him from hard labor to achieve the results of religion, economic development and sense gratification. Of course, if one wants such benefits, the Lord certainly awards them. Indra, for example, although a devotee, was not much interested in release from material bondage; instead, he desired sense gratification and a high standard of material happiness in the heavenly planets. Vṛtrāsura, however, being an unalloyed devotee, aspired only to serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore the Lord arranged for him to go back to Godhead after his bodily bondage was destroyed by Indra. Vṛtrāsura requested Indra to release his thunderbolt against him as soon as possible so that both he and Indra would benefit according to their proportionate advancement in devotional service.
ahaṁ hare tava pādaika-mūla-
dāsānudāso bhavitāsmi bhūyaḥ
manaḥ smaretāsu-pater guṇāṁs te
gṛṇīta vāk karma karotu kāyaḥ
aham—I; hare—O my Lord; tava—of Your Lordship; pāda-eka-mūla—whose only shelter is the lotus feet; dāsa-anudāsaḥ—the servant of Your servant; bhavitāsmi—shall I become; bhūyaḥ—again; manaḥ—my mind; smareta—may remember; asu-pateḥ—of the Lord of my life; guṇān—the attributes; te—of Your Lordship; gṛṇīta—may chant; vāk—my words; karma—activities of service to You; karotu—may perform; kāyaḥ—my body.
O my Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, will I again be; able to be a servant of Your eternal servants who find shelter only at Your lotus feet? O Lord of my life, may I again become their servant so that my mind may always think of Your transcendental attributes, my words always glorify those attributes, and my body always engage in the loving service of Your Lordship?
This verse gives the sum and substance of devotional life. One must first become a servant of the servant of the servant of the Lord (dāsānudāsa). Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu advised, and He also showed by His own example, that a living entity should always desire to be a servant of the servant of the servant of Kṛṣṇa, the maintainer of the gopīs (gopī-bhartuḥ pada-kamalayor dāsa-dāsānudāsaḥ). This means that one must accept a spiritual master who comes in the disciplic succession and is a servant of the servant of the Lord. Under his direction, one must then engage one’s three properties, namely his body, mind and words. The body should be engaged in physical activity under the order of the master, the mind should think of Kṛṣṇa incessantly, and one’s words should be engaged in preaching the glories of the Lord. If one is thus engaged in the loving service of the Lord, one’s life is successful.
na nāka-pṛṣṭhaṁ na ca pārameṣṭhyaṁ
na sārva-bhaumaṁ na rasādhipatyam
na yoga-siddhīr apunar-bhavaṁ vā
samañjasa tvā virahayya kāṅkṣe
na—not; nāka-pṛṣṭham—the heavenly planets or Dhruvaloka; na—nor; ca—also; pārameṣṭhyam—the planet on which Lord Brahmā resides; na—nor; sārva-bhaumam—sovereignty of the whole earthly planetary system; na—nor; rasā-ādhipatyam—sovereignty of the lower planetary systems; na—nor; yoga-siddhīḥ—eight kinds of mystic yogic power (aṇimā, laghimā, mahimā, etc.); apunaḥ-bhavam—liberation from rebirth in a material body; vā—or; samañjasa—O source of all opportunities; tvā—You; virahayya—being separated from; kāṅkṣe—I desire.
O my Lord, source of all opportunities, I do not desire to enjoy in Dhruvaloka, the heavenly planets or the planet where Lord Brahmā resides, nor do I want to be the supreme ruler of all the earthly planets or the lower planetary systems. I do not desire to be master of the powers of mystic yoga, nor do I want liberation if I have to give up Your lotus feet.
A pure devotee never desires to gain material opportunities by rendering transcendental loving service to the Lord. A pure devotee desires only to engage in loving service to the Lord in the constant association of the Lord and His eternal associates, as stated in the previous verse (dāsānudāso bhavitāsmi). As confirmed by Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura:
To serve the Lord and the servants of His servants, in the association of devotees, is the only objective of a pure, unalloyed devotee.
ajāta-pakṣā iva mātaraṁ khagāḥ
stanyaṁ yathā vatsatarāḥ kṣudh-ārtāḥ
priyaṁ priyeva vyuṣitaṁ viṣaṇṇā
mano ’ravindākṣa didṛkṣate tvām
ajāta-pakṣāḥ—who have not yet grown wings; iva—like; mātaram—the mother; khagāḥ—small birds; stanyam—the milk from the udder; yathā—just as; vatsatarāḥ—the young calves; kṣudh-ārtāḥ—distressed by hunger; priyam—the beloved or husband; priyā—the wife or lover; iva—like; vyuṣitam—who is away from home; viṣaṇṇā—morose; manaḥ—my mind; aravinda-akṣa—O lotus-eyed one; didṛkṣate—wants to see; tvām—You.
O lotus-eyed Lord, as baby birds that have not yet developed their wings always look for their mother to return and feed them, as small calves tied with ropes await anxiously the time of milking, when they will be allowed to drink the milk of their mothers, or as a morose wife whose husband is away from home always longs for him to return and satisfy her in all respects, I always yearn for the opportunity to render direct service unto You.
A pure devotee always yearns to associate personally with the Lord and render service unto Him. The examples given in this regard are most appropriate. A small baby bird is practically never satisfied except when the mother bird comes to feed it, a small calf is not satisfied unless allowed to suck the milk from the mother’s udder, and a chaste, devoted wife whose husband is away from home is never satisfied until she has the association of her beloved husband.
saṁsāra-cakre bhramataḥ sva-karmabhiḥ
āsakta-cittasya na nātha bhūyāt
mama—my; uttama-śloka-janeṣu—among devotees who are simply attached to the Supreme Personality of Godhead; sakhyam—friendship; saṁsāra-cakre—in the cycle of birth and death; bhramataḥ—who am wandering; sva-karmabhiḥ—by the results of my own fruitive activities; tvat-māyayā—by Your external energy; ātma—to the body; ātma-ja—children; dāra—wife; geheṣu—and home; āsakta—attached; cittasya—whose mind; na—not; nātha—O my Lord; bhūyāt—may there be.
O my Lord, my master, I am wandering throughout this material world as a result of my fruitive activities. Therefore I simply seek friendship in the association of Your pious and enlightened devotees. My attachment to my body, wife, children and home is continuing by the spell of Your external energy, but I wish to be attached to them no longer. Let my mind, my consciousness and everything I have be attached only to You.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports to the Sixth Canto, Eleventh Chapter, of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, entitled “The Transcendental Qualities of Vṛtrāsura.”
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