TEXTS 12–15
kumaro narada rbhur
angira devalo ’sitah
apantaratama vyaso
markandeyo ’tha gautamah
vasistho bhagavan ramah
kapilo badarayanih
durvasa yajnavalkyas ca
jatukarnas tatharunih
romasas cyavano datta
asurih sapatanjalih
rsir veda-sira dhaumyo
munih pancasikhas tatha
hiranyanabhah kausalyah
srutadeva rtadhvajah
ete pare ca siddhesas
caranti jnana-hetavah
kumarahSanat-kumara; naradahNarada Muni; rbhuh—Rbhu; angirah—Angira; devalahDevala; asitahAsita; apantaratamah—Vyasa’s previous name, Apantaratama; vyasahVyasa; markandeyahMarkandeya; atha—and; gautamahGautama; vasisthahVasistha; bhagavan ramah—Lord Parasurama; kapilahKapila; badarayanih—Sukadeva Gosvami; durvasah—Durvasa; yajnavalkyah—Yajnavalkya; ca—also; jatukarnah—Jatukarna; tatha—as well as; arunih—Aruni; romasahRomasa; cyavanahCyavana; dattah—Dattatreya; asurih—Asuri; sa-patanjalih—with Patanjali Rsi; rsih—the sage; veda-sirah—the head of the Vedas; dhaumyahDhaumya; munih—the sage; pancasikhah—Pancasikha; tatha—so also; hiranyanabhah—Hiranyanabha; kausalyahKausalya; srutadevah—Srutadeva; rtadhvajah—Rtadhvaja; ete—all of these; pare—others; ca—and; siddha-isah—the masters of mystic power; caranti—wander; jnana-hetavah—very learned persons who preach all over the world.
O great souls, I have heard that among the great and perfect persons wandering the surface of the earth to instruct knowledge to people covered by ignorance are Sanat-kumara, Narada, Rbhu, Angira, Devala, Asita, Apantaratama [Vyasadeva], Markandeya, Gautama, Vasistha, Bhagavan Parasurama, Kapila, Sukadeva, Durvasa, Yajnavalkya, Jatukarna and Aruni. Others are Romasa, Cyavana, Dattatreya, Asuri, Patanjali, the great sage Dhaumya who is like the head of the Vedas, the sage Pancasikha, Hiranyanabha, Kausalya, Srutadeva and Rtadhvaja. You must certainly be among them.
The word jnana-hetavah is very significant because great personalities like those listed in these verses wander on the surface of the globe not to mislead the populace, but to distribute real knowledge. Without this knowledge, human life is wasted. The human form of life is meant for realization of one’s relationship with Krsna, or God. One who lacks this knowledge is categorized among the animals. The Lord Himself says in Bhagavad-gita (7.15):
“Those miscreants who are grossly foolish, lowest among mankind, whose knowledge is stolen by illusion, and who partake of the atheistic nature of demons, do not surrender unto Me.”
Ignorance is the bodily conception of life (yasyatma-buddhih kunape tri-dhatuke. ...sa eva go-kharah [SB 10.84.13]). Practically everyone throughout the universe, especially on this planet, Bhurloka, thinks that there is no separate existence of the body and soul and therefore no need of self-realization. But that is not a fact. Therefore all the brahmanas listed here, being devotees, travel all over the world to awaken Krsna consciousness in the hearts of such foolish materialists.
The acaryas mentioned in these verses are described in the Mahabharata. The word pancasikha is also important. One who is liberated from the conceptions of annamaya, pranamaya, manomaya, vijnanamaya and anandamaya and who is perfectly aware of the subtle coverings of the soul is called pancasikha. According to the statements of the Mahabharata (Santi-parva, Chapters 218–219), an acarya named Pancasikha took birth in the family of Maharaja Janaka, the ruler of Mithila. The Sankhya philosophers accept Pancasikhacarya as one of them. Real knowledge pertains to the living entity dwelling within the body. Unfortunately, because of ignorance, the living entity identifies himself with the body and therefore feels pleasure and pain.

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