Chapter Nine
Appearance of the Demon Vṛtrāsura
As described in this chapter, Indra, the King of heaven, killed Viśvarūpa, and therefore Viśvarūpa’s father performed a yajña to kill Indra. When Vṛtrāsura appeared from that yajña, the demigods, in fear, sought shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and glorified Him.
Because of affection for the demons, Viśvarūpa secretly supplied them the remnants of yajña. When Indra learned about this, he beheaded Viśvarūpa, but he later regretted killing Viśvarūpa because Viśvarūpa was a brāhmaṇa. Although competent to neutralize the sinful reactions for killing a brāhmaṇa, Indra did not do so. Instead he accepted the reactions. Later, he distributed these reactions among the land, water, trees and women in general. Since the land accepted one fourth of the sinful reactions, a portion of the land turned into desert. The trees were also given one fourth of the sinful reactions, and therefore they drip sap, which is prohibited for drinking. Because women accepted one fourth of the sinful reactions, they are untouchable during their menstrual period. Since water was also infested with sinful reactions, when bubbles appear in water it cannot be used for any purpose.
After Viśvarūpa was killed, his father, Tvaṣṭā, performed a sacrifice to kill King Indra. Unfortunately, if mantras are chanted irregularly, they yield an opposite result. This happened when Tvaṣṭā performed this yajña. While performing the sacrifice to kill Indra. Tvaṣṭā chanted a mantra to increase Indra’s enemies, but because he chanted the mantra wrong, the sacrifice produced an asura named Vṛtrāsura, of whom Indra was the enemy. When Vṛtrāsura was generated from the sacrifice, his fierce features made the whole world afraid, and his personal effulgence diminished even the power of the demigods. Finding no other means of protection, the demigods began to worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the enjoyer of all the results of sacrifice, who is supreme throughout the entire universe. The demigods all worshiped Him because ultimately no one but Him can protect a living entity from fear and danger. Seeking shelter of a demigod instead of worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead is compared to trying to cross the ocean by grasping the tail of a dog. A dog can swim, but that does not mean that one can cross the ocean by grasping a dog’s tail.
Being pleased with the demigods, the Supreme Personality of Godhead advised them to approach Dadhīci to beg him for the bones of his own body. Dadhīci would comply with the request of the demigods, and with the help of his bones Vṛtrāsura could be killed.
śrī-śuka uvāca
tasyāsan viśvarūpasya
śirāṁsi trīṇi bhārata
soma-pīthaṁ surā-pītham
annādam iti śuśruma
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; tasya—of him; āsan—there were; viśvarūpasya—of Viśvarūpa, the priest of the demigods; śirāṁsi—heads; trīṇi—three; bhārata—O Mahārāja Parīkṣit; soma-pītham—used for drinking the beverage soma; surā-pītham—used for drinking wine; anna-adam—used for eating; iti—thus; śuśruma—I have heard by the paramparā system.
Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued: Viśvarūpa, who was engaged as the priest of the demigods, had three heads. He used one to drink the beverage soma-rasa, another to drink wine and the third to eat food. O King Parīkṣit, thus I have heard from authorities.
One cannot directly perceive the kingdom of heaven, its king and other inhabitants, or how they perform their various engagements, for no one can go to the heavenly planets. Although modern scientists have invented many powerful space vehicles, they cannot even go to the moon, not to speak of other planets. By direct experience one cannot learn anything beyond the range of human perception. One must hear from authorities. Therefore Śukadeva Gosvāmī, a great personality, says, “What I am describing to you, O King, is what I have heard from authoritative sources.” This is the Vedic system. The Vedic knowledge is called śruti because it must be received by being heard from authorities. It is beyond the realm of our false experimental knowledge.
sa vai barhiṣi devebhyo
bhāgaṁ pratyakṣam uccakaiḥ
adadad yasya pitaro
devāḥ sapraśrayaṁ nṛpa
saḥ—he (Viśvarūpa); vai—indeed; barhiṣi—in the sacrificial fire; devebhyaḥ—unto the particular demigods; bhāgam—the proper share; pratyakṣam—visibly; uccakaiḥ—by loud chanting of the mantras; adadat—offered; yasya—of whom; pitaraḥ—the fathers; devāḥ—demigods; sa-praśrayam—very humbly in a gentle voice; nṛpa—O King Parīkṣit.
O Mahārāja Parīkṣit, the demigods were related to Viśvarūpa from his father’s side, and therefore he visibly offered clarified butter in the fire while chanting mantras such as indrāya idaṁ svāhā [“this is meant for King Indra”] and idam agnaye [“this is for the demigod of fire”]. He loudly chanted these mantras and offered each of the demigods his proper share.
sa eva hi dadau bhāgaṁ
parokṣam asurān prati
yajamāno ’vahad bhāgaṁ
saḥ—he (Viśvarūpa); eva—indeed; hi—certainly; dadau—offered; bhāgam—share; parokṣam—without the knowledge of the demigods; asurān—the demons; prati—unto; yajamānaḥ—performing sacrifice; avahat—offered; bhāgam—share; mātṛ-sneha—by affection for his mother; vaśa-anugaḥ—being compelled.
Although offering clarified butter in the sacrificial fire in the name of the demigods, without the knowledge of the demigods he also offered oblations to the demons because they were his relatives through his mother.
Because of Viśvarūpa’s affection for the families of both the demigods and the demons, he appeased the Supreme Lord on behalf of both dynasties. When he offered oblations in the fire on behalf of the asuras, he did so secretly. without the knowledge of the demigods.
tad deva-helanaṁ tasya
dharmālīkaṁ sureśvaraḥ
ālakṣya tarasā bhītas
tac-chīrṣāṇy acchinad ruṣā
tat—that; deva-helanam—offense to the demigods; tasya—of him (Viśvarūpa); dharma-alīkam—cheating in religious principles (pretending to be the priest of the demigods, but secretly acting as the priest of the demons also); sura-īśvaraḥ—the king of the demigods; ālakṣya—observing; tarasā—quickly; bhītaḥ—being afraid (that the demons would gain strength by being blessed by Viśvarūpa); tat—his (Viśvarūpa’s); śīrṣāṇi—heads; acchinat—cut off; ruṣā—with great anger.
Once upon a time, however, the King of heaven, Indra, understood that Viśvarūpa was secretly cheating the demigods by offering oblations on behalf of the demons. He became extremely afraid of being defeated by the demons, and in great anger at Viśvarūpa he cut Viśvarūpa’s three heads from his shoulders.
soma-pīthaṁ tu yat tasya
śira āsīt kapiñjalaḥ
kalaviṅkaḥ surā-pītham
annādaṁ yat sa tittiriḥ
soma-pītham—used for drinking soma-rasa; tu—however; yat—which; tasya—of him (Viśvarūpa); śiraḥ—the head; āsīt—became; kapiñjalaḥ—a francolin partridge; kalaviṅkaḥ—a sparrow; surā-pītham—meant for drinking wine; anna-adam—used for eating food; yat—which; saḥ—that; tittiriḥ—a common partridge.
Thereafter, the head meant for drinking soma-rasa was transformed into a kapiñjala [francolin partridge]. Similarly, the head meant for drinking wine was transformed into a kalaviṅka [sparrow], and the head meant for eating food became a tittiri [common partridge].
brahma-hatyām añjalinā
jagrāha yad apīśvaraḥ
saṁvatsarānte tad aghaṁ
bhūtānāṁ sa viśuddhaye
caturdhā vyabhajad dhariḥ
brahma-hatyām—the sinful reaction for killing a brāhmaṇa; añjalinā—with folded hands; jagrāha—assumed the responsibility for; yat api—although; īśvaraḥ—very powerful; saṁvatsara-ante—after one year; tat agham—that sinful reaction; bhūtānām—of the material elements; saḥ—he; viśuddhaye—for purification; bhūmi—unto the earth; ambu—water; druma—trees; yoṣidbhyaḥ—and unto women; caturdhā—in four divisions; vyabhajat—divided; hariḥ—King Indra.
Although Indra was so powerful that he could neutralize the sinful reactions for killing a brāhmaṇa, he repentantly accepted the burden of these reactions with folded hands. He suffered for one year, and then to purify himself he distributed the reactions for this sinful killing among the earth, water, trees and women.
bhūmis turīyaṁ jagrāha
khāta-pūra-vareṇa vai
īriṇaṁ brahma-hatyāyā
rūpaṁ bhūmau pradṛśyate
bhūmiḥ—the earth; turīyam—one fourth; jagrāha—accepted; khāta-pūra—of the filling of holes; vareṇa—because of the benediction; vai—indeed; īriṇam—the deserts; brahma-hatyāyāḥ—of the reaction for killing a brāhmaṇa; rūpam—form; bhūmau—on the earth; pradṛśyate—is visible.
In return for King Indra’s benediction that ditches in the earth would be filled automatically, the land accepted one fourth of the sinful reactions for killing a brāhmaṇa. Because of those sinful reactions, we find many deserts on the surface of the earth.
Because deserts are manifestations of the earth’s diseased condition, no auspicious ritualistic ceremony can be performed in a desert. Persons destined to live in deserts are understood to be sharing the reactions for the sin of brahma-hatyā, the killing of a brāhmaṇa.
turyaṁ cheda-viroheṇa
vareṇa jagṛhur drumāḥ
teṣāṁ niryāsa-rūpeṇa
brahma-hatyā pradṛśyate
turyam—one fourth; cheda—although being cut; viroheṇa—of growing again; vareṇa—because of the benediction; jagṛhuḥ—accepted; drumāḥ—the trees; teṣām—of them; niryāsa-rūpeṇa—by the liquid oozing from the trees; brahma-hatyā—the reaction for killing a brāhmaṇa; pradṛśyate—is visible.
In return for Indra’s benediction that their branches and twigs would grow back when trimmed, the trees accepted one fourth of the reactions for killing a brāhmaṇa. These reactions are visible in the flowing of sap from trees. [Therefore one is forbidden to drink this sap.]
turīyaṁ jagṛhuḥ striyaḥ
rajo-rūpeṇa tāsv aṁho
māsi māsi pradṛśyate
śaśvat—perpetual; kāma—of sexual desire; vareṇa—because of the benediction; aṁhaḥ—the sinful reaction for killing a brāhmaṇa; turīyam—one fourth; jagṛhuḥ—accepted; striyaḥ—women; rajaḥ-rūpeṇa—in the form of the menstrual period; tāsu—in them; aṁhaḥ—the sinful reaction; māsi māsi—every month; pradṛśyate—is visible.
In return for Lord Indra’s benediction that they would be able to enjoy lusty desires continuously, even during pregnancy for as long as sex is not injurious to the embryo, women accepted one fourth of the sinful reactions. As a result of those reactions, women manifest the signs of menstruation every month.
Women as a class are very lusty, and apparently their continuous lusty desires are never satisfied. In return for Lord Indra’s benediction that there would be no cessation to their lusty desires, women accepted one fourth of the sinful reactions for killing a brāhmaṇa.
turīyaṁ jagṛhur malam
tāsu budbuda-phenābhyāṁ
dṛṣṭaṁ tad dharati kṣipan
dravya—other things; bhūyaḥ—of increasing; vareṇa—by the benediction; āpaḥ—water; turīyam—one fourth; jagṛhuḥ—accepted; malam—the sinful reaction; tāsu—in the water; budbuda-phenābhyām—by bubbles and foam; dṛṣṭam—visible; tat—that; harati—one collects; kṣipan—throwing away.
And in return for King Indra’s benediction that water would increase the volume of other substances with which it was mixed, water accepted one fourth of the sinful reactions. Therefore there are bubbles and foam in water. When one collects water, these should be avoided.
If water is mixed with milk, fruit juice or other similar substances, it increases their volume, and no one can understand which has increased. In return for this benediction, water accepted one fourth of Indra’s sinful reactions. These sinful reactions are visible in foam and bubbles. Therefore one should avoid foam and bubbles while collecting drinking water.
hata-putras tatas tvaṣṭā
juhāvendrāya śatrave
indra-śatro vivardhasva
mā ciraṁ jahi vidviṣam
hata-putraḥ—who lost his son; tataḥ—thereafter; tvaṣṭāTvaṣṭā; juhāva—performed a sacrifice; indrāya—of Indra; śatrave—for creating an enemy; indra-śatro—O enemy of Indra; vivardhasva—increase; —not; ciram—after a long time; jahi—kill; vidviṣam—your enemy.
After Viśvarūpa was killed, his father, Tvaṣṭā, performed ritualistic ceremonies to kill Indra. He offered oblations in the sacrificial fire, saying, “O enemy of Indra, flourish to kill your enemy without delay.”
There was some defect in Tvaṣṭā’s chanting of the mantra because he chanted it long instead of short, and therefore the meaning changed. Tvaṣṭā intended to chant the word indra-śatro, meaning, “O enemy of Indra.” In this mantra, the word indra is in the possessive case (ṣaṣṭhī), and the word indra-śatro is called a tat-puruṣa compound (tatpuruṣa-samāsa). Unfortunately, instead of chanting the mantra short, Tvaṣṭā chanted it long, and its meaning changed from “the enemy of Indra” to “Indra, who is an enemy.” Consequently instead of an enemy of Indra’s, there emerged the body of Vṛtrāsura, of whom Indra was the enemy.
utthito ghora-darśanaḥ
kṛtānta iva lokānāṁ
yugānta-samaye yathā
atha—thereafter; anvāhārya-pacanāt—from the fire known as Anvāhārya; utthitaḥ—arisen; ghora-darśanaḥ—appearing very fearful; kṛtāntaḥ—personified annihilation; iva—like; lokānām—of all the planets; yuga-anta—of the end of the millennium; samaye—at the time; yathā—just as.
Thereafter, from the southern side of the sacrificial fire known as Anvāhārya came a fearful personality who looked like the destroyer of the entire creation at the end of the millennium.
TEXTS 13–17
viṣvag vivardhamānaṁ tam
iṣu-mātraṁ dine dine
dedīpyamāne tri-śikhe
śūla āropya rodasī
nṛtyantam unnadantaṁ ca
cālayantaṁ padā mahīm
pibatā ca nabhastalam
lihatā jihvayarkṣāṇi
grasatā bhuvana-trayam
mahatā raudra-daṁṣṭreṇa
jṛmbhamāṇaṁ muhur muhuḥ
vitrastā dudruvur lokā
vīkṣya sarve diśo daśa
viṣvak—all around; vivardhamānam—increasing; tam—him; iṣu-mātram—an arrow’s flight; dine dine—day after day; dagdha—burnt; śaila—mountain; pratīkāśam—resembling; sandhyā—in the evening; abhra-anīka—like an array of clouds; varcasam—having an effulgence; tapta—melted; tāmra—like copper; śikhā—hair; śmaśrum—moustache and beard; madhyāhna—at midday; arka—like the sun; ugra-locanam—having powerful eyes; dedīpyamāne—blazing; tri-śikhe—three-pointed; śūle—on his spear; āropya—keeping; rodasī—heaven and earth; nṛtyantam—dancing; unnadantam—shouting loudly; ca—and; cālayantam—moving; padā—by his foot; mahīm—the earth; darī-gambhīra—as deep as a cave; vaktreṇa—by the mouth; pibatā—drinking; ca—also; nabhastalam—the sky; lihatā—licking up; jihvayā—by the tongue; ṛkṣāṇi—the stars; grasatā—swallowing; bhuvana-trayam—the three worlds; mahatā—very great; raudra-daṁṣṭreṇa—with fearful teeth; jṛmbhamāṇam—yawning; muhuḥ muhuḥ—again and again; vitrastāḥ—fearful; dudruvuḥ—ran; lokāḥ—people; vīkṣya—seeing; sarve—all; diśaḥ daśa—ten directions.
Like arrows released in the four directions, the demon’s body grew, day after day. Tall and blackish, he appeared like a burnt hill and was as lustrous as a bright array of clouds in the evening. The hair on the demon’s body and his beard and moustache were the color of melted copper, and his eyes were piercing like the midday sun. He appeared unconquerable, as if holding the three worlds on the points of his blazing trident. Dancing and shouting with a loud voice, he made the entire surface of the earth tremble as if from an earthquake. As he yawned again and again, he seemed to be trying to swallow the whole sky with his mouth, which was as deep as a cave. He seemed to be licking up all the stars in the sky with his tongue and eating the entire universe with his long, sharp teeth. Seeing this gigantic demon, everyone, in great fear, ran here and there in all directions.
yenāvṛtā ime lokās
tapasā tvāṣṭra-mūrtinā
sa vai vṛtra iti proktaḥ
pāpaḥ parama-dāruṇaḥ
yena—by whom; āvṛtāḥ—covered; ime—all these; lokāḥ—planets; tapasā—by the austerity; tvāṣṭra-mūrtinā—in the form of the son of Tvaṣṭā; saḥ—he; vai—indeed; vṛtraḥVṛtra; iti—thus; proktaḥ—called; pāpaḥ—personified sin; parama-dāruṇaḥ—very fearful.
That very fearful demon, who was actually the son of Tvaṣṭā, covered all the planetary systems by dint of austerity. Therefore he was named Vṛtra, or one who covers everything.
In the Vedas it is said, sa imāḹ lokān āvṛṇot tad vṛtrasya vṛtratvam: because the demon covered all the planetary systems, his name was Vṛtrāsura.
taṁ nijaghnur abhidrutya
sagaṇā vibudharṣabhāḥ
svaiḥ svair divyāstra-śastraughaiḥ
so ’grasat tāni kṛtsnaśaḥ
tam—him; nijaghnuḥ—struck; abhidrutya—running to; sa-gaṇāḥ—with soldiers; vibudha-ṛṣabhāḥ—all the great demigods; svaiḥ svaiḥ—with their own respective; divya—transcendental; astra—bows and arrows; śastra-oghaiḥ—different weapons; saḥ—he (Vṛtra); agrasat—swallowed; tāni—them (the weapons); kṛtsnaśaḥ—all together.
The demigods, headed by Indra, charged the demon with their soldiers, striking him with their own transcendental bows and arrows and other weapons but Vṛtrāsura swallowed all their weapons.
tatas te vismitāḥ sarve
viṣaṇṇā grasta-tejasaḥ
pratyañcam ādi-puruṣam
upatasthuḥ samāhitāḥ
tataḥ—thereafter; te—they (the demigods); vismitāḥ—being struck with wonder; sarve—all; viṣaṇṇāḥ—being very morose; grasta-tejasaḥ—having lost all their personal strength; pratyañcam—to the Supersoul; ādi-puruṣam—the original person; upatasthuḥ—prayed; samāhitāḥ—all gathered together.
Struck with wonder and disappointment upon seeing the strength of the demon, the demigods lost their own strength. Therefore they all met together to try to please the Supersoul, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Nārāyaṇa, by worshiping Him.
śrī-devā ūcuḥ
vāyv-ambarāgny-ap-kṣitayas tri-lokā
brahmādayo ye vayam udvijantaḥ
harāma yasmai balim antako ’sau
bibheti yasmād araṇaṁ tato naḥ
śrī-devāḥ ūcuḥ—the demigods said; vāyu—composed of air; ambara—sky; agni—fire; ap—water; kṣitayaḥ—and land; tri-lokāḥ—the three worlds; brahma-ādayaḥ—beginning from Lord Brahmā; ye—who; vayam—we; udvijantaḥ—being very much afraid; harāma—offer; yasmai—unto whom; balim—presentation; antakaḥ—the destroyer, death; asau—that; bibheti—fears; yasmāt—from whom; araṇam—shelter; tataḥ—therefore; naḥ—our.
The demigods said: The three worlds are created by the five elements—namely ether, air, fire, water and earth—which are controlled by various demigods, beginning from Lord Brahmā. Being very much afraid that the time factor will end our existence, we offer presentations unto time by performing our work as time dictates. The time factor himself, however, is afraid of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore let us now worship that Supreme Lord, who alone can give us full protection.
When one is afraid of being killed, one must take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is worshiped by all the demigods. beginning from Brahmā, although they are in charge of the various elements of this material world. The words bibheti yasmāt indicate that all the demons, regardless of how great and powerful, fear the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The demigods, being afraid of death, took shelter of the Lord and offered Him these prayers. Although the time factor is fearful to everyone, fear personified is afraid of the Supreme Lord, who is therefore known as abhaya, fearless. Taking shelter of the Supreme Lord brings actual fearlessness, and therefore the demigods decided to take shelter of the Lord.
avismitaṁ taṁ paripūrṇa-kāmaṁ
svenaiva lābhena samaṁ praśāntam
vinopasarpaty aparaṁ hi bāliśaḥ
śva-lāṅgulenātititarti sindhum
avismitam—who is never struck with wonder; tam—Him; paripūrṇa-kāmam—who is fully satisfied; svena—by His own; eva—indeed; lābhena—achievements; samam—equipoised; praśāntam—very steady; vinā—without; upasarpati—approaches; aparam—another; hi—indeed; bāliśaḥ—a fool; śva—of a dog; lāṅgulena—by the tail; atititarti—wants to cross; sindhum—the sea.
Free from all material conceptions of existence and never wonder-struck by anything, the Lord is always jubilant and fully satisfied by His own spiritual perfection. He has no material designations, and therefore He is steady and unattached. That Supreme Personality of Godhead is the only shelter of everyone. Anyone desiring to be protected by others is certainly a great fool who desires to cross the sea by holding the tail of a dog.
A dog can swim in the water, but if a dog dives in the ocean and someone wants to cross the ocean by holding the dog’s tail, he is certainly fool number one. A dog cannot cross the ocean, nor can a person cross the ocean by catching a dog’s tail. Similarly, one who desires to cross the ocean of nescience should not seek the shelter of any demigod or anyone else but the fearless shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.14.58) therefore says:
The Lord’s lotus feet are an indestructible boat, and if one takes shelter of that boat he can easily cross the ocean of nescience. Consequently there are no dangers for a devotee although he lives within this material world, which is full of dangers at every step. One should seek the shelter of the all-powerful instead of trying to be protected by one’s own concocted ideas.
yasyoru-śṛṅge jagatīṁ sva-nāvaṁ
manur yathābadhya tatāra durgam
sa eva nas tvāṣṭra-bhayād durantāt
trātāśritān vāricaro ’pi nūnam
yasya—of whom; uru—very strong and high; śṛṅge—on the born; jagatīm—in the form of the world; sva-nāvam—his own boat; manuḥManu, King Satyavrata; yathā—just as; ābadhya—binding; tatāra—crossed; durgam—the very difficult to cross (inundation); saḥ—He (the Supreme Personality of Godhead); eva—certainly; naḥ—us; tvāṣṭra-bhayāt—from fear of the son of Tvaṣṭā; durantāt—endless; trātā—deliverer; āśritān—dependents (like us); vāri-caraḥ api—although taking the form of a fish; nūnam—indeed.
The Manu named King Satyavrata formerly saved himself by tying the small boat of the entire world to the horn of the Matsya avatāra, the fish incarnation. By the grace of the Matsya avatāra, Manu saved himself from the great danger of the flood. May that same fish incarnation save us from the great and fearful danger caused by the son of Tvaṣṭā.
purā svayambhūr api saṁyamāmbhasy
udīrṇa-vātormi-ravaiḥ karāle
eko ’ravindāt patitas tatāra
tasmād bhayād yena sa no ’stu pāraḥ
purā—formerly (during the time of creation); svayambhūḥ—Lord Brahmā; api—also; saṁyama-ambhasi—in the water of inundation; udīrṇa—very high; vāta—of wind; ūrmi—and of waves; ravaiḥ—by the sounds; karāle—very fearful; ekaḥ—alone; aravindāt—from the lotus seat; patitaḥ—almost fallen; tatāra—escaped; tasmāt—from that; bhayāt—fearful situation; yena—by whom (the Lord); saḥ—He; naḥ—of us; astu—let there be; pāraḥ—deliverance.
In the beginning of creation, a tremendous wind caused fierce waves of inundating water. The great waves made such a horrible sound that Lord Brahmā almost fell from his seat on the lotus into the water of devastation, but he was saved with the help of the Lord. Thus we also expect the Lord to protect us from this dangerous condition.
ya eka īśo nija-māyayā naḥ
sasarja yenānusṛjāma viśvam
vayaṁ na yasyāpi puraḥ samīhataḥ
paśyāma liṅgaṁ pṛthag īśa-māninaḥ
yaḥ—He who; ekaḥ—one; īśaḥ—controller; nija-māyayā—by His transcendental potency; naḥ—us; sasarja—created; yena—by whom (through whose mercy); anusṛjāma—we also create; viśvam—the universe; vayam—we; na—not; yasya—of whom; api—although; puraḥ—in front of us; samīhataḥ—of Him who is acting; paśyāma—see; liṅgam—the form; pṛthak—separate; īśa—as controllers; māninaḥ—thinking of ourselves.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who created us by His external potency and by whose mercy we expand the creation of the universe, is always situated before us as the Supersoul, but we cannot see His form. We are unable to see Him because all of us think that we are separate and independent gods.
Here is an explanation of why the conditioned soul cannot see the Supreme Personality of Godhead face to face. Even though the Lord appears before us as Lord Kṛṣṇa or Lord Rāmacandra and lives in human society as a leader or king, the conditioned soul cannot understand Him. Avajānanti māṁ mūḍhā mānuṣīṁ tanum āśritam: [Bg. 9.11] rascals (mūḍhas) deride the Supreme Personality of Godhead, thinking Him an ordinary human being. However insignificant we are, we think that we are also God, that we can create a universe or that we can create another God. This is why we cannot see or understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In this regard, Śrīla Madhvācārya says:
We are all conditioned to various degrees, but we think that we are God. This is why we cannot understand who God is or see Him face to face.
TEXTS 26–27
yo naḥ sapatnair bhṛśam ardyamānān
devarṣi-tiryaṅ-nṛṣu nitya eva
kṛtāvatāras tanubhiḥ sva-māyayā
kṛtvātmasāt pāti yuge yuge ca
tam eva devaṁ vayam ātma-daivataṁ
paraṁ pradhānaṁ puruṣaṁ viśvam anyam
vrajāma sarve śaraṇaṁ śaraṇyaṁ
svānāṁ sa no dhāsyati śaṁ mahātmā
yaḥ—He who; naḥ—us; sapatnaiḥ—by our enemies, the demons; bhṛśam—almost always; ardyamānān—being persecuted; deva—among the demigods; ṛṣi—the saintly persons; tiryak—the animals; nṛṣu—and men; nityaḥ—always; eva—certainly; kṛta-avatāraḥ—appearing as an incarnation; tanubhiḥ—with different forms; sva-māyayā—by His internal potency; kṛtvā ātmasāt—considering very near and dear to Him; pāti—protects; yuge yuge—in every millennium; ca—and; tam—Him; eva—indeed; devam—the Supreme Lord; vayam—all of us; ātma-daivatam—the Lord of all living entities; param—transcendental; pradhānam—the original cause of the total material energy; puruṣam—the supreme enjoyer; viśvam—whose energy constitutes this universe; anyam—separately situated; vrajāma—we approach; sarve—all; śaraṇam—shelter; śaraṇyam—suitable as shelter; svānām—unto His own devotees; saḥ—He; naḥ—unto us; dhāsyati—shall give; śam—good fortune; mahātmā—the Supersoul.
By His inconceivable internal potency, the Supreme Personality of Godhead expands into various transcendental bodies as Vāmanadeva, the incarnation of strength among the demigods; Paraśurāma, the incarnation among saints; Nṛsiṁhadeva and Varāha, incarnations among animals; and Matsya and Kūrma, incarnations among aquatics. He accepts various transcendental bodies among all types of living entities, and among human beings He especially appears as Lord Kṛṣṇa and Lord Rāma. By His causeless mercy, He protects the demigods, who are always harassed by the demons. He is the supreme worshipable Deity of all living entities. He is the supreme cause, represented as the male and female creative energies. Although different from this universe, He exists in His universal form [virāṭ-rūpa]. In our fearful condition, let us take shelter of Him, for we are sure that the Supreme Lord, the Supreme Soul, will give us His protection.
In this verse, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu, is ascertained to be the original cause of creation. Śrīdhara Svāmī, in his commentary Bhāvārtha-dīpikā, replies to the idea that prakṛti and puruṣa are the causes of the cosmic manifestation. As stated herein, paraṁ pradhānaṁ puruṣaṁ viśvam anyam: “He is the supreme cause, represented as the male and female creative energies. Although different from this universe, He exists in His universal form [virāṭ ’rūpa].” The word prakṛti, which is used to indicate the source of generation, refers to the material energy of the Supreme Lord, and the word puruṣa refers to the living entities, who are the superior energy of the Lord. Both the prakṛti and puruṣa ultimately enter the Supreme Lord, as stated in Bhagavad-gītā (prakṛtiṁ yānti māmikām).
Although prakṛti and puruṣa superficially appear to be the causes of the material manifestation, both are emanations of different energies of the Supreme Lord. Therefore the Supreme Lord is the cause of prakṛti and puruṣa. He is the original cause (sarva-kāraṇa-kāraṇam [Bs. 5.1]). The Nāradīya Purāṇa says:
avikāro ’pi paramaḥ
prakṛtis tu vikāriṇī
anupraviśya govindaḥ
prakṛtiś cābhidhīyate
Both the prakṛti and puruṣa, which are inferior and superior energies, are emanations from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As explained in Bhagavad-gītā (gām āviśya), the Lord enters the prakṛti, and then the prakṛti creates different manifestations. The prakṛti is not independent or beyond His energies. Vāsudeva, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, is the original cause of everything. Therefore the Lord says in Bhagavad-gītā (10.8):
“I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. The wise who perfectly know this engage in My devotional service and worship Me with all their hearts.” In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (2.9.33) the Lord also says, aham evāsam evāgre: “Only I existed before the creation.” This is confirmed in the Brahmāṇḍa Purāṇa as follows:
smṛtir avyavadhānena
prakṛtitvam iti sthitiḥ
vāsudevaḥ paraḥ pumān
prakṛtiḥ puruṣaś ceti
śabdair eko ’bhidhīyate
To generate the universe, the Lord acts indirectly as the puruṣa and directly as the prakṛti. Because both energies emanate from Lord Vāsudeva, the all-pervasive Supreme Personality of Godhead, He is known as both prakṛti and puruṣa. Therefore Vāsudeva is the cause of everything (sarva-kāraṇa-kāraṇam [Bs. 5.1]).
śrī-śuka uvāca
iti teṣāṁ mahārāja
surāṇām upatiṣṭhatām
pratīcyāṁ diśy abhūd āviḥ
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; iti—thus; teṣām—of them; mahārāja—O King; surāṇām—of the demigods; upatiṣṭhatām—praying; pratīcyām—inside; diśi—in the direction; abhūt—became; āviḥ—visible; śaṅkha-cakra-gadā-dharaḥ—bearing the transcendental weapons: the conchshell, disc and club.
Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: My dear King, when all the demigods offered Him their prayers, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Hari, carrying His weapons, the conchshell, disc and club, appeared first within their hearts and then before them.
TEXTS 29–30
ātma-tulyaiḥ ṣoḍaśabhir
vinā śrīvatsa-kaustubhau
paryupāsitam unnidra-
dṛṣṭvā tam avanau sarva
daṇḍavat patitā rājañ
chanair utthāya tuṣṭuvuḥ
ātma-tulyaiḥ—almost equal to Himself; ṣoḍaśabhiḥ—by sixteen (servants); vinā—without; śrīvatsa-kaustubhau—the Śrīvatsa mark and Kaustubha jewel; paryupāsitam—being attended on all sides; unnidra—blooming; śarat—of the autumn; amburuha—like lotus flowers; īkṣaṇam—having eyes; dṛṣṭvā—seeing; tam—Him (the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Nārāyaṇa); avanau—on the ground; sarve—all of them; īkṣaṇa—from directly seeing; āhlāda—with happiness; viklavāḥ—being overwhelmed; daṇḍa-vat—like a stick; patitāḥ—fell; rājan—O King; śanaiḥ—slowly; utthāya—standing up; tuṣṭuvuḥ—offered prayers.
Surrounding and serving the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Nārāyaṇa, were sixteen personal attendants, decorated with ornaments and appearing exactly like Him but without the mark of Śrīvatsa and the Kaustubha jewel. O King, when all the demigods saw the Supreme Lord in that posture, smiling with eyes like the petals of lotuses grown in autumn, they were overwhelmed with happiness and immediately fell down like rods, offering daṇḍavats. Then they slowly rose and pleased the Lord by offering Him prayers.
In Vaikuṇṭhaloka the Supreme Personality of Godhead has four hands and decorations like the Śrīvatsa mark on His chest and the gem known as Kaustubha. These are special indications of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Lord’s personal attendants and other devotees in Vaikuṇṭha have the same features, except for the Śrīvatsa mark and the Kaustubha gem.
śrī-devā ūcuḥ
namas te yajña-vīryāya
vayase uta te namaḥ
namas te hy asta-cakrāya
namaḥ supuru-hūtaye
śrī-devāḥ ūcuḥ—the demigods said; namaḥ—obeisances; te—unto You; yajña-vīryāya—unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is able to give the results of sacrifice; vayase—who is the time factor, which ends the results of yajña; uta—although; te—unto You; namaḥ—obeisances; namaḥ—obeisances; te—unto You; hi—indeed; asta-cakrāya—who throws the disc; namaḥ—respectful obeisances; supuru-hūtaye—having varieties of transcendental names.
The demigods said: O Supreme Personality of Godhead, You are competent to give the results of sacrifice, and You are also the time factor that destroys all such results in due course. You are the one who releases the cakra to kill the demons. O Lord, who possesses many varieties of names, we offer our respectful obeisances unto You.
yat te gatīnāṁ tisṛṇām
īśituḥ paramaṁ padam
nārvācīno visargasya
dhātar veditum arhati
yat—which; te—of You; gatīnām tisṛṇām—of the three destinations (the heavenly planets, the earthly planets and hell); īśituḥ—who are the controller; paramam padam—the supreme abode, Vaikuṇṭhaloka; na—not; arvācīnaḥ—a person appearing after; visargasya—the creation; dhātaḥ—O supreme controller; veditum—to understand; arhati—is able.
O supreme controller, You control the three destinations [promotion to the heavenly planets, birth as a human being, and condemnation in hell], yet Your supreme abode is Vaikuṇṭha-dhāma. Since we appeared after You created this cosmic manifestation, Your activities are impossible for us to understand. We therefore have nothing to offer You but our humble obeisances.
An inexperienced man generally does not know what to beg from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Everyone is under the jurisdiction of the created material world, and no one knows what benediction to ask when praying to the Supreme Lord. People generally pray to be promoted to the heavenly planets because they have no information of Vaikuṇṭhaloka. Śrīla Madhvācārya quotes the following verse:
There are different planetary systems, known as Devaloka (the planets of the demigods), Pitṛloka (the planet of the Pitās) and Niraya (the hellish planets). When one transcends these various planetary systems and enters Vaikuṇṭhaloka, he achieves the ultimate resort of the Vaiṣṇavas. Vaiṣṇavas have nothing to do with the other planetary systems.
oṁ namas te ’stu bhagavan nārāyaṇa vāsudevādi-puruṣa mahā-puruṣa mahānubhāva parama-maṅgala parama-kalyāṇa parama-kāruṇika kevala jagad-ādhāra lokaika-nātha sarveśvara lakṣmī-nātha paramahaṁsa-parivrājakaiḥ parameṇātma-yoga-samādhinā paribhāvita-parisphuṭa-pāramahaṁsya-dharmeṇodghāṭita-tamaḥ-kapāṭa-dvāre citte ’pāvṛta ātma-loke svayam upalabdha-nija-sukhānubhavo bhavān.
oṁ—O Lord; namaḥ—respectful obeisances; te—unto You; astu—let there be; bhagavan—O Supreme Personality of Godhead; nārāyaṇa—the resort of all living entities, Nārāyaṇa; vāsudeva—Lord Vāsudeva, Śrī Kṛṣṇa; ādi-puruṣa—the original person; mahā-puruṣa—the most exalted personality; mahā-anubhāva—the supremely opulent; parama-maṅgala—the most auspicious; parama-kalyāṇa—the supreme benediction; parama-kāruṇika—the supremely merciful; kevala—changeless; jagat-ādhāra—the support of the cosmic manifestation; loka-eka-nātha—the only proprietor of all the planetary systems; sarva-īśvara—the supreme controller; lakṣmī-nātha—the husband of the goddess of fortune; paramahaṁsa-parivrājakaiḥ—by the topmost sannyāsīs wandering all over the world; parameṇa—by supreme; ātma-yoga-samādhinā—absorption in bhakti-yoga; paribhāvita—fully purified; parisphuṭa—and fully manifested; pāramahaṁsya-dharmeṇa—by executing the transcendental process of devotional service; udghāṭita—pushed open; tamaḥ—of illusory existence; kapāṭa—in which the door; dvāre—existing as the entrance; citte—in the mind; apāvṛte—without contamination; ātma-loke—in the spiritual world; svayam—personally; upalabdha—experiencing; nija—personal; sukha-anubhavaḥ—perception of happiness; bhavān—Your Lordship.
O Supreme Personality of Godhead, O Nārāyaṇa, O Vāsudeva, original person! O most exalted person, supreme experience, welfare personified! O supreme benediction, supremely merciful and changeless! O support of the cosmic manifestation, sole proprietor of all planetary systems, master of everything and husband of the goddess of fortune! Your Lordship is realized by the topmost sannyāsīs, who wander about the world to preach Kṛṣṇa consciousness, fully absorbed in samādhi through bhakti-yoga. Because their minds are concentrated upon You, they can receive the conception of Your personality in their fully purified hearts. When the darkness in their hearts is completely eradicated and You are revealed to them, the transcendental bliss they enjoy is the transcendental form of Your Lordship. No one but such persons can realize You. Therefore we simply offer You our respectful obeisances.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead has numerous transcendental names pertaining to different grades of revelation to various grades of devotees and transcendentalists. When He is realized in His impersonal form He is called the Supreme Brahman, when realized as the Paramātmā He is called antaryāmī, and when He expands Himself in different forms for material creation He is called Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu and Kāraṇodakaśāyī Viṣṇu. When He is realized as Vāsudeva, Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha—the Caturvyūha, who are beyond the three forms of Viṣṇu—He is the Vaikuṇṭha Nārāyaṇa. Above realization of Nārāyaṇa is realization of Baladeva, and above that is realization of Kṛṣṇa. All these realizations are possible when one engages fully in devotional service. The covered core of one’s heart is then completely open to receiving an understanding of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His various forms.
duravabodha iva tavāyaṁ vihāra-yogo yad aśaraṇo ’śarīra idam anavekṣitāsmat-samavāya ātmanaivāvikriyamāṇena saguṇam aguṇaḥ sṛjasi pāsi harasi.
duravabodhaḥ—difficult to understand; iva—quite; tava—Your; ayam—this; vihāra-yogaḥ—engagement in the pastimes of material creation, maintenance and annihilation; yat—which; aśaraṇaḥ—not dependent on any other support; aśarīraḥ—without having a material body; idam—this; anavekṣita—without waiting for; asmat—of us; samavāyaḥ—the cooperation; ātmanā—by Your own self; eva—indeed; avikriyamāṇena—without being transformed; sa-guṇam—the material modes of nature; aguṇaḥ—although transcendental to such material qualities; sṛjasi—You create; pāsi—maintain; harasi—annihilate.
O Lord, You need no support, and although You have no material body, You do not need cooperation from us. Since You are the cause of the cosmic manifestation and You supply its material ingredients without being transformed, You create, maintain and annihilate this cosmic manifestation by Yourself. Nevertheless, although You appear engaged in material activity, You are transcendental to all material qualities. Consequently these transcendental activities of Yours are extremely difficult to understand.
The Brahma-saṁhitā (5.37) says, goloka eva nivasaty akhilātma-bhūtaḥ: the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, is always situated in Goloka Vṛndāvana. It is also said, vṛndāvanaṁ parityajya padam ekaṁ na gacchati: Kṛṣṇa never goes even a step from Vṛndāvana. Nevertheless, although Kṛṣṇa is situated in His own abode, Goloka Vṛndāvana, He is simultaneously all-pervading and is therefore present everywhere. This is very difficult for a conditioned soul to understand. but devotees can understand how Kṛṣṇa, without undergoing any changes, can simultaneously be in His abode and be all-pervasive. The demigods are understood to be various limbs of the Supreme Lord’s body, although the Supreme Lord has no material body and does not need anyone’s help. He is spread everywhere (mayā tatam idaṁ sarvaṁ jagad avyakta-mūrtinā). Nevertheless, He is not present everywhere in His spiritual form. According to the Māyāvāda philosophy, the Supreme Truth, being all-pervasive, does not need a transcendental form. The Māyāvādīs suppose that since His form is distributed everywhere, He has no form. This is untrue. The Lord keeps His transcendental form, and at the same time He extends everywhere, in every nook and corner of the material creation.
atha tatra bhavān kiṁ devadattavad iha guṇa-visarga-patitaḥ pāratantryeṇa sva-kṛta-kuśalākuśalaṁ phalam upādadāty āhosvid ātmārāma upaśama-śīlaḥ samañjasa-darśana udāsta iti ha vāva na vidāmaḥ.
atha—therefore; tatra—in that; bhavān—Your Lordship; kim—whether; deva-datta-vat—like an ordinary human being, forced by the fruits of his activities; iha—in this material world; guṇa-visarga-patitaḥ—fallen in a material body impelled by the modes of material nature; pāratantryeṇa—by dependence on the conditions of time, space, activity and nature; sva-kṛta—executed by oneself; kuśala—auspicious; akuśalam—inauspicious; phalam—results of action; upādadāti—accepts; āhosvit—or; ātmārāmaḥ—completely self-satisfied; upaśama-śīlaḥ—self-controlled in nature; samañjasa-darśanaḥ—not deprived of full spiritual potencies; udāste—remains neutral as the witness; iti—thus; ha vāva—certainly; na vidāmaḥ—we do not understand.
These are our inquiries. The ordinary conditioned soul is subject to the material laws, and he thus receives the fruits of his actions. Does Your Lordship, like an ordinary human being, exist within this material world in a body produced by the material modes? Do You enjoy or suffer the good or bad results of actions under the influence of time, past work and so forth? Or, on the contrary, are You present here only as a neutral witness who is self-sufficient, free from all material desires, and always full of spiritual potency? We certainly cannot understand Your actual position.
In Bhagavad-gītā Kṛṣṇa says that He descends to this material world for two purposes, namely paritrāṇāya sādhūnāṁ vināśāya ca duṣkṛtām [Bg. 4.8]—to relieve the devotees and kill demons or nondevotees. These two kinds of action are the same for the Absolute Truth. When the Lord comes to punish the demons, He bestows His favor upon them, and similarly when He delivers His devotees and gives them relief, He also bestows His favor. Thus the Lord bestows His favor equally upon the conditioned souls. When a conditioned soul gives relief to others he acts piously, and when he gives trouble to others he acts impiously, but the Lord is neither pious nor impious; He is always full in His spiritual potency, by which He shows equal mercy to the punishable and the protectable. The Lord is apāpa-viddham; He is never contaminated by the reactions of so-called sinful activities. When Kṛṣṇa was present on this earth, He killed many inimical nondevotees, but they all received sārūpya; in other words, they returned to their original spiritual bodies. One who does not know the Lord’s position says that God is unkind to him but merciful to others. Actually the Lord says in Bhagavad-gītā (9.29), samo ’haṁ sarva-bhūteṣu na me dveṣyo ’sti na priyaḥ: “I am equal to everyone. No one is My enemy, and no one is My friend.” But He also says, ye bhajanti tu māṁ bhaktyā mayi te teṣu cāpy aham: “If one becomes My devotee and fully surrenders unto Me, I give him special attention.”
na hi virodha ubhayaṁ bhagavaty aparimita-guṇa-gaṇa īśvare ’navagāhya-māhātmye ’rvācīna-vikalpa-vitarka-vicāra-pramāṇābhāsa-kutarka-śāstra-kalilāntaḥkaraṇāśraya-duravagraha-vādināṁ vivādānavasara uparata-samasta-māyāmaye kevala evātma-māyām antardhāya ko nv artho durghaṭa iva bhavati svarūpa-dvayābhāvāt.
na—not; hi—certainly; virodhaḥ—contradiction; ubhayam—both; bhagavati—in the Supreme Personality of Godhead; aparimita—unlimited; guṇa-gaṇe—whose transcendental attributes; īśvare—in the supreme controller; anavagāhya—possessing; māhātmye—unfathomable ability and glories; arvācīna—recent; vikalpa—full of equivocal calculations; vitarka—opposing arguments; vicāra—judgments; pramāṇa-ābhāsa—imperfect evidence; kutarka—useless arguments; śāstra—by unauthorized scriptures; kalila—agitated; antaḥkaraṇa—minds; āśraya—whose shelter; duravagraha—with wicked obstinacies; vādinām—of theorists; vivāda—of the controversies; anavasare—not within the range; uparata—withdrawn; samasta—from whom all; māyā-maye—illusory energy; kevale—without a second; eva—indeed; ātma-māyām—the illusory energy, which can do and undo the inconceivable; antardhāya—placing between; kaḥ—what; nu—indeed; arthaḥ—meaning; durghaṭaḥ—impossible; iva—as it were; bhavati—is; sva-rūpa—natures; dvaya—of two; abhāvāt—due to the absence.
O Supreme Personality of Godhead, all contradictions can be reconciled in You. O Lord, since You are the Supreme Person, the reservoir of unlimited spiritual qualities, the supreme controller, Your unlimited glories are inconceivable to the conditioned souls. Many modern theologians argue about right and wrong without knowing what is actually right. Their arguments are always false and their judgments inconclusive because they have no authorized evidence with which to gain knowledge of You. Because their minds are agitated by scriptures containing false conclusions, they are unable to understand the truth concerning You. Furthermore, because of polluted eagerness to arrive at the right conclusion, their theories are incapable of revealing You, who are transcendental to their material conceptions. You are one without a second, and therefore in You contradictions like doing and not doing, happiness and distress, are not contradictory. Your potency is so great that it can do and undo anything as You like. With the help of that potency, what is impossible for You? Since there is no duality in Your constitutional position, You can do everything by the influence of Your energy.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, being self-sufficient, is full of transcendental bliss (ātmārāma). He enjoys bliss in two ways—when He appears happy and when He appears distressed. Distinctions and contradictions are impossible in Him because only from Him have they emanated. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the reservoir of all knowledge, all potency, all strength, opulence and influence. There is no limit to His powers. Since He is full in all transcendental attributes, nothing abominable from the material world can exist in Him. He is transcendental and spiritual, and therefore conceptions of material happiness and distress do not apply to Him.
We should not be astonished to find contradictions in the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Actually there are no contradictions. That is the meaning of His being supreme. Because He is all-powerful, He is not subject to the conditioned soul’s arguments regarding His existence or nonexistence. He is pleased to protect His devotees by killing their enemies. He enjoys both the killing and the protecting.
Such freedom from duality applies not only to the Lord but also to His devotees. In Vṛndāvana, the damsels of Vrajabhūmi enjoy transcendental bliss in the company of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, and they feel the same transcendental bliss in separation when Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma leave Vṛndāvana for Mathurā. There is no question of material pains or pleasures for either the Supreme Personality of Godhead or His pure devotees, although they are sometimes superficially said to be distressed or happy. One who is ātmārāma is blissful in both ways.
Nondevotees cannot understand the contradictions present in the Supreme Lord or His devotees. Therefore in Bhagavad-gītā the Lord says, bhaktyā mām abhijānāti: [Bg. 18.55] the transcendental pastimes can be understood through devotional service; to nondevotees they are inconceivable. Acintyāḥ khalu ye bhāvā na tāṁs tarkeṇa yojayet: the Supreme Lord and His form, name, pastimes and paraphernalia are inconceivable to nondevotees, and one should not try to understand such realities simply by logical arguments. They will not bring one to the right conclusion about the Absolute Truth.
sama-viṣama-matīnāṁ matam anusarasi yathā rajju-khaṇḍaḥ sarpādi-dhiyām.
sama—equal or proper; viṣama—and unequal or mistaken; matīnām—of those having intelligence; matam—conclusion; anusarasi—You follow; yathā—just as; rajju-khaṇḍaḥ—a piece of rope; sarpa-ādi—a snake, etc.; dhiyām—of those who perceive.
A rope causes fear for a bewildered person who considers it a snake, but not for a person with proper intelligence who knows it to be only a rope. Similarly, You, as the Supersoul in everyone’s heart, inspire fear or fearlessness according to one’s intelligence, but in You there is no duality.
In Bhagavad-gītā (4.11) the Lord says, ye yathā māṁ prapadyante tāṁs tathaiva bhajāmy aham: “As one surrenders unto Me, I reward him accordingly.” The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the reservoir of everything, including all knowledge, all truth and all contradictions. The example cited herein is very appropriate. A rope is one truth, but some mistake it for a snake, whereas others know it to be a rope. Similarly, devotees who know the Supreme Personality of Godhead do not see contradictions in Him, but nondevotees regard Him as the snakelike source of all fear. For example, when Nṛsiṁhadeva appeared, Prahlāda Mahārāja saw the Lord as the supreme solace, whereas his father, a demon, saw Him as the ultimate death. As stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.2.37), bhayaṁ dvitīyābhiniveśataḥ syāt: fear results from being absorbed in duality. When one is in knowledge of duality, one knows both fear and bliss. The same Supreme Lord is a source of bliss to devotees and fear to nondevotees who have a poor fund of knowledge. God is one, but people understand the Absolute Truth from different angles of vision. The unintelligent see contradictions in Him, but sober devotees find no contradictions.
sa eva hi punaḥ sarva-vastuni vastu-svarūpaḥ sarveśvaraḥ sakala-jagat-kāraṇa-kāraṇa-bhūtaḥ sarva-pratyag-ātmatvāt sarva-guṇābhāsopalakṣita eka eva paryavaśeṣitaḥ.
saḥ—He (the Supreme Personality of Godhead); eva—indeed; hi—certainly; punaḥ—again; sarva-vastuni—in everything, material and spiritual; vastu-svarūpaḥ—the substance; sarva-īśvaraḥ—the controller of everything; sakala-jagat—of the whole universe; kāraṇa—of the causes; kāraṇa-bhūtaḥ—existing as the cause; sarva-pratyak-ātmatvāt—because of being the Supersoul of every living being, or being present in everything, even the atom; sarva-guṇa—of all the effects of the material modes of nature (such as intelligence and the senses); ābhāsa—by the manifestations; upalakṣitaḥ—perceived; ekaḥ—alone; eva—indeed; paryavaśeṣitaḥ—left remaining.
With deliberation, one will see that the Supreme Soul, although manifested in different ways, is actually the basic principle of everything. The total material energy is the cause of the material manifestation, but the material energy is caused by Him. Therefore He is the cause of all causes, the manifester of intelligence and the senses. He is perceived as the Supersoul of everything. Without Him, everything would be dead. You, as that Supersoul, the supreme controller, are the only one remaining.
The words sarva-vastuni vastu-svarūpaḥ indicate that the Supreme Lord is the active principle of everything. As described in the Brahma-saṁhitā (5.35):
eko ’py asau racayituṁ jagad-aṇḍa-koṭiṁ
yac-chaktir asti jagad-aṇḍa-cayā yad-antaḥ
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
“I worship the Personality of Godhead, Govinda, who enters the existence of every universe and every atom by one of His plenary portions and thus manifests His infinite energy throughout the material creation.” By His one plenary portion as Paramātmā, antaryāmī, the Lord is all-pervading throughout the unlimited universes. He is the pratyak, or antaryāmī, of all living entities. The Lord says in Bhagavad-gītā (13.3), kṣetrajñaṁ cāpi māṁ viddhi sarva-kṣetreṣu bhārata: “O scion of Bharata, you should understand that I am also the knower in all bodies.” Because the Lord is the Supersoul, He is the active principle of every living entity and even the atom (aṇḍa-ntara-stha-paramāṇu-cayāntara-stham). He is the actual reality. According to various stages of intelligence, one realizes the presence of the Supreme in everything through the manifestations of His energy. The entire world is permeated by the three guṇas, and one can understand His presence according to one’s modes of material nature.
atha ha vāva tava mahimāmṛta-rasa-samudra-vipruṣā sakṛd avalīḍhayā sva-manasi niṣyandamānānavarata-sukhena vismārita-dṛṣṭa-śruta-viṣaya-sukha-leśābhāsāḥ parama-bhāgavatā ekāntino bhagavati sarva-bhūta-priya-suhṛdi sarvātmani nitarāṁ nirantaraṁ nirvṛta-manasaḥ katham u ha vā ete madhumathana punaḥ svārtha-kuśalā hy ātma-priya-suhṛdaḥ sādhavas tvac-caraṇāmbujānusevāṁ visṛjanti na yatra punar ayaṁ saṁsāra-paryāvartaḥ.
atha ha—therefore; vāva—indeed; tava—Your; mahima—of glories; amṛta—of the nectar; rasa—of the mellow; samudra—of the ocean; vipruṣā—by a drop; sakṛt—only once; avalīḍhayā—tasted; sva-manasi—in his mind; niṣyandamāna—flowing; anavarata—continuously; sukhena—by the transcendental bliss; vismārita—forgotten; dṛṣṭa—from material sight; śruta—and sound; viṣaya-sukha—of the material happiness; leśa-ābhāsāḥ—the dim reflection of a tiny portion; parama-bhāgavatāḥ—great, exalted devotees; ekāntinaḥ—who have faith only in the Supreme Lord and nothing else; bhagavati—in the Supreme Personality of Godhead; sarva-bhūta—to all living entities; priya—who is dearmost; suhṛdi—the friend; sarva-ātmani—the Supersoul of all; nitarām—completely; nirantaram—continuously; nirvṛta—with happiness; manasaḥ—those whose minds; katham—how; u ha—then; —or; ete—these; madhu-mathana—O killer of the Madhu demon; punaḥ—again; sva-artha-kuśalāḥ—who are expert in the interest of life; hi—indeed; ātma-priya-suhṛdaḥ—who have accepted You as the Supersoul, dearmost lover and friend; sādhavaḥ—the devotees; tvat-caraṇa-ambuja-anusevām—service to the lotus feet of Your Lordship; visṛjanti—can give up; na—not; yatra—wherein; punaḥ—again; ayam—this; saṁsāra-paryāvartaḥ—repetition of birth and death within the material world.
Therefore, O killer of the Madhu demon, incessant transcendental bliss flows in the minds of those who have even once tasted but a drop of the nectar from the ocean of Your glories. Such exalted devotees forget the tiny reflection of so-called material happiness produced from the material senses of sight and sound. Free from all desires, such devotees are the real friends of all living entities. Offering their minds unto You and enjoying transcendental bliss, they are expert in achieving the real goal of life. O Lord, You are the soul and dear friend of such devotees, who never need return to this material world. How could they give up engagement in Your devotional service?
Although nondevotees, because of their meager knowledge and speculative habits, cannot understand the real nature of the Lord, a devotee who has once tasted the nectar from the Lord’s lotus feet can realize what transcendental pleasure there is in the Lord’s devotional service. A devotee knows that simply by rendering service to the Lord, he serves everyone. Therefore devotees are real friends to all living entities. Only a pure devotee can preach the glories of the Lord for the benefit of all conditioned souls.
tri-bhuvanātma-bhavana trivikrama tri-nayana tri-loka-manoharānubhāva tavaiva vibhūtayo ditija-danujādayaś cāpi teṣām upakrama-samayo ’yam iti svātma-māyayā sura-nara-mṛga-miśrita-jalacarākṛtibhir yathāparādhaṁ daṇḍaṁ daṇḍa-dhara dadhartha evam enam api bhagavañ jahi tvāṣṭram uta yadi manyase.
tri-bhuvana-ātma-bhavana—O Lord, You are the shelter of the three worlds because You are the Supersoul of the three worlds; tri-vikrama—O Lord, who assumes the form of Vāmana, Your power and opulence are distributed throughout the three worlds; tri-nayana—O maintainer and seer of the three worlds; tri-loka-manohara-anubhāva—O You who are perceived as the most beautiful within the three worlds; tava—of You; eva—certainly; vibhūtayaḥ—the expansions of energy; diti-ja-danu-ja-ādayaḥ—the demoniac sons of Diti, and the Dānavas, another type of demon; ca—and; api—also (the human beings); teṣām—of all of them; upakrama-samayaḥ—the time of enterprise; ayam—this; iti—thus; sva-ātma-māyayā—by Your own energy; sura-nara-mṛga-miśrita-jalacara-ākṛtibhiḥ—with different forms like those of the demigods, human beings, animals, mixtures and aquatics (the incarnations Vāmana, Lord Rāmacandra, Kṛṣṇa, Varāha, Hayagrīva, Nṛsiṁha, Matsya and Kūrma); yathā-aparādham—according to their offenses; daṇḍam—punishment; daṇḍa-dhara—O supreme chastiser; dadhartha—You awarded; evam—thus; enam—this one (Vṛtrāsura); api—also; bhagavan—O Supreme Personality of Godhead; jahi—kill; tvāṣṭram—the son of Tvaṣṭā; uta—indeed; yadi manyase—if You think it proper.
O Lord, O personified three worlds, father of the three worlds! O strength of the three worlds, in the form of the Vāmana incarnation! O three-eyed form of Nṛsiṁhadeva! O most beautiful person within the three worlds! Everything and everyone, including human beings and even the Daitya demons and the Dānavas, is but an expansion of Your energy. O supremely powerful one, You have always appeared in Your forms as the various incarnations to punish the demons as soon as they become very powerful. You appear as Lord Vāmanadeva, Lord Rāma and Lord Kṛṣṇa. You appear sometimes as an animal like Lord Boar, sometimes a mixed incarnation like Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva and Lord Hayagrīva, and sometimes an aquatic like Lord Fish and Lord Tortoise. Assuming such various forms, You have always punished the demons and Dānavas. We therefore pray that Your Lordship appear today as another incarnation, if You so desire, to kill the great demon Vṛtrāsura.
There are two kinds of devotees, known as sakāma and akāma. Pure devotees are akāma, whereas devotees in the upper planetary systems, such as the demigods, are called sakāma because they still want to enjoy material opulence. Because of their pious activities, the sakāma devotees are promoted to the higher planetary systems, but at heart they still desire to lord it over the material resources. The sakāma devotees are sometimes disturbed by the demons and Rākṣasas, but the Lord is so kind that He always saves them by appearing as an incarnation. The Lord’s incarnations are so powerful that Lord Vāmanadeva covered the entire universe with two steps and therefore had no place for His third step. The Lord is called Trivikrama because He showed His strength by delivering the entire universe with merely three steps.
The difference between sakāma and akāma devotees is that when sakāma devotees, like the demigods, fall into difficulty, they approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead for relief, whereas akāma devotees, even in the greatest danger, never disturb the Lord for material benefits. Even if an akāma devotee is suffering, he thinks this is due to his past impious activities and agrees to suffer the consequences. He never disturbs the Lord. Sakāma devotees immediately pray to the Lord as soon as they are in difficulty, but they are regarded as pious because they consider themselves fully dependent on the mercy of the Lord. As stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (10.14.8):
tat te ’nukampāṁ susamīkṣamāṇo
bhuñjāna evātma-kṛtaṁ vipākam
hṛd-vāg-vapurbhir vidadhan namas te
jīveta yo mukti-pade sa dāya-bhāk
Even while suffering in the midst of difficulties, devotees simply offer their prayers and service more enthusiastically. In this way they become firmly fixed in devotional service and eligible to return home, back to Godhead, without a doubt. Sakāma devotees, of course, achieve from the Lord the results they desire from their prayers, but they do not immediately become fit to return to Godhead. It is to be noted herein that Lord Viṣṇu, in His various incarnations, is always the protector of His devotees. Śrīla Madhvācārya says: vividhaṁ bhāva-pātratvāt sarve viṣṇor vibhūtayaḥ. Kṛṣṇa is the original Personality of Godhead (kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam). All the other incarnations proceed from Lord Viṣṇu.
asmākaṁ tāvakānāṁ tatatata natānāṁ hare tava caraṇa-nalina-yugala-dhyānānubaddha-hṛdaya-nigaḍānāṁ sva-liṅga-vivaraṇenātmasāt-kṛtānām anukampānurañjita-viśada-rucira-śiśira-smitāvalokena vigalita-madhura-mukha-rasāmṛta-kalayā cāntas tāpam anaghārhasi śamayitum.
asmākam—of us; tāvakānām—who are wholly and solely dependent upon You; tata-tata—O grandfather, father of the father; natānām—who are fully surrendered unto You; hare—O Lord Hari; tava—Your; caraṇa—on the feet; nalina-yugala—like two blue lotus flowers; dhyāna—by meditation; anubaddha—bound; hṛdaya—in the heart; nigaḍānām—whose chains; sva-liṅga-vivaraṇena—by manifesting Your own form; ātmasāt-kṛtānām—of those You have accepted as Your own; anukampā—by compassion; anurañjita—being colored; viśada—bright; rucira—very pleasing; śiśira—cool; smita—with a smile; avalokena—by Your glance; vigalita—melted with compassion; madhura-mukha-rasa—of the very sweet words from Your mouth; amṛta-kalayā—by the drops of nectar; ca—and; antaḥ—within the cores of our hearts; tāpam—the great pain; anagha—O supreme pure; arhasi—You deserve; śamayitum—to curb.
O supreme protector, O grandfather, O supreme pure, O Lord! We are all surrendered souls at Your lotus feet. Indeed, our minds are bound to Your lotus feet in meditation by chains of love. Now please manifest Your incarnation. Accepting us as Your own eternal servants and devotees, be pleased with us and sympathetic toward us. By Your love-filled glance, with its cool and pleasing smile of sympathy, and by the sweet, nectarean words emanating from Your beautiful face, free us from the anxiety caused by this Vṛtrāsura, who always pains the cores of our hearts.
Lord Brahmā is considered the father of the demigods, but Kṛṣṇa, or Lord Viṣṇu, is the father of Brahmā because Brahmā took birth from the lotus flower growing from the Lord’s abdomen.
atha bhagavaṁs tavāsmābhir akhila-jagad-utpatti-sthiti-laya-nimittāyamāna-divya-māyā-vinodasya sakala-jīva-nikāyānām antar-hṛdayeṣu bahir api ca brahma-pratyag-ātma-svarūpeṇa pradhāna-rūpeṇa ca yathā-deśa-kāla-dehāvasthāna-viśeṣaṁ tad-upādānopalambhakatayānubhavataḥ sarva-pratyaya-sākṣiṇa ākāśa-śarīrasya sākṣāt para-brahmaṇaḥ paramātmanaḥ kiyān iha vārtha-viśeṣo vijñāpanīyaḥ syād visphuliṅgādibhir iva hiraṇya-retasaḥ.
atha—therefore; bhagavan—O Lord; tava—of You; asmābhiḥ—by us; akhila—all; jagat—of the material world; utpatti—of the creation; sthiti—maintenance; laya—and annihilation; nimittāyamāna—being the cause; divya-māyā—with the spiritual energy; vinodasya—of You, who amuse Yourself; sakala—all; jīva-nikāyānām—of the hordes of living entities; antaḥ-hṛdayeṣu—in the cores of the hearts; bahiḥ api—externally also; ca—and; brahma—of impersonal Brahman, or the Absolute Truth; pratyak-ātma—of the Supersoul; sva-rūpeṇa—by Your forms; pradhāna-rūpeṇa—by Your form as the external ingredients; ca—also; yathā—according to; deśa-kāla-deha-avasthāna—of country, time, body and position; viśeṣam—the particulars; tat—of them; upādāna—of the material causes; upalambhakatayā—by being the exhibitor; anubhavataḥ—witnessing; sarva-pratyaya-sākṣiṇaḥ—the witness of all different activities; ākāśa-śarīrasya—the Supersoul of the whole universe; sākṣāt—directly; para-brahmaṇaḥ—the Supreme Absolute Truth; paramātmanaḥ—the Supersoul; kiyān—of what extent; iha—herein; —or; artha-viśeṣaḥ—special necessity; vijñāpanīyaḥ—to be informed; syāt—may be; visphuliṅga-ādibhiḥ—by the sparks of the fire; iva—like; hiraṇya-retasaḥ—to the original fire.
O Lord, as the small sparks of a fire cannot possibly perform the actions of the whole fire, we sparks of Your Lordship cannot inform You of the necessities of our lives. You are the complete whole. Therefore, of what do we need to inform You? You know everything because You are the original cause of the cosmic manifestation, the maintainer and the annihilator of the entire universal creation. You always engage in Your pastimes with Your spiritual and material energies, for You are the controller of all these varied energies. You exist within all living entities, within the cosmic manifestation, and also beyond them. You exist internally as Parabrahman and externally as the ingredients of the material creation. Therefore, although manifested in various stages, at different times and places, and in various bodies, You, the Personality of Godhead, are the original cause of all causes. Indeed, You are the original element. You are the witness of all activities, but because You are as great as the sky, You are never touched by any of them. You are the witness of everything as Parabrahman and Paramātmā. O Supreme Personality of Godhead, nothing is unknown to You.
The Absolute Truth exists in three phases of spiritual understanding—Brahman, Paramātmā and Bhagavān (brahmeti paramātmeti bhagavān iti śabdyate). Bhagavān, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the cause of Brahman and Paramātmā. Brahman, the impersonal Absolute Truth, is all-pervading, and Paramātmā is locally situated in everyone’s heart, but Bhagavān, who is worshipable by the devotees. is the original cause of all causes. A pure devotee is aware that since nothing is unknown to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He need not be informed of a devotee’s conveniences and inconveniences. A pure devotee knows that there is no need to ask the Absolute Truth for any material necessities. Therefore, while informing the Supreme Lord about their distress in being attacked by Vṛtrāsura, the demigods apologized for offering prayers for their safety. A neophyte devotee, of course, approaches the Supreme Lord for relief from distress or poverty, or for speculative knowledge of the Lord. Bhagavad-gītā (7.16) mentions four kinds of pious men who begin devotional service to the Lord—one who is distressed (ārta), one in need of money (arthārthī), one who is inquisitive (jijñāsu) and one who is searching for the Absolute Truth (jñānī). A pure devotee, however, knows that since the Lord is omnipresent and omniscient, there is no need to offer prayers or worship Him for one’s personal benefit. A pure devotee always engages in the service of the Lord without demanding anything. The Lord is present everywhere and knows the necessities of His devotees; consequently there is no need to disturb Him by asking Him for material benefits.
ata eva svayaṁ tad upakalpayāsmākaṁ bhagavataḥ parama-guros tava caraṇa-śata-palāśac-chāyāṁ vividha-vṛjina-saṁsāra-pariśramopaśamanīm upasṛtānāṁ vayaṁ yat-kāmenopasāditāḥ.
ata eva—therefore; svayam—Yourself; tat—that; upakalpaya—please arrange; asmākam—of us; bhagavataḥ—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; parama-guroḥ—the supreme spiritual master; tava—of You; caraṇa—of the feet; śata-palāśat—like lotus flowers with hundreds of petals; chāyām—the shade; vividha—various; vṛjina—with dangerous positions; saṁsāra—of this conditioned life; pariśrama—the pain; upaśamanīm—relieving; upasṛtānām—the devotees who have taken shelter at Your lotus feet; vayam—we; yat—for which; kāmena—by the desires; upasāditāḥ—caused to come near (the shelter of Your lotus feet).
Dear Lord, You are omniscient, and therefore You know very well why we have taken shelter at Your lotus feet, which provide shade that gives relief from all material disturbances. Since You are the supreme spiritual master and You know everything, we have sought shelter of Your lotus feet for instruction. Please give us relief by counteracting our present distress. Your lotus feet are the only shelter for a fully surrendered devotee and are the only means for subduing all the tribulations of this material world.
One need only seek shelter of the shade of the Lord’s lotus feet. Then all the material tribulations that disturb him will be subdued, just as when one comes under the shadow of a big tree, the disturbances caused by the heat of the scorching sun are immediately mitigated, without one’s asking for relief. Therefore the whole concern of the conditioned soul should be the lotus feet of the Lord. The conditioned soul suffering from various tribulations because of existing in this material world can be relieved only when he seeks shelter at the Lord’s lotus feet.
atho īśa jahi tvāṣṭraṁ
grasantaṁ bhuvana-trayam
grastāni yena naḥ kṛṣṇa
tejāṁsy astrāyudhāni ca
atho—therefore; īśa—O supreme controller; jahi—kill; tvāṣṭram—the demon Vṛtrāsura, son of Tvaṣṭā; grasantam—who is devouring; bhuvana-trayam—the three worlds; grastāni—devoured; yena—by whom; naḥ—our; kṛṣṇa—O Lord Kṛṣṇa; tejāṁsi—all strength and prowess; astra—arrows; āyudhāni—and other weapons; ca—also.
Therefore, O Lord, O supreme controller, O Lord Kṛṣṇa, please annihilate this dangerous demon Vṛtrāsura, Tvaṣṭā’s son, who has already swallowed all our weapons, our paraphernalia for fighting, and our strength and influence.
The Lord says in Bhagavad-gītā (7.15–16):
catur-vidhā bhajante māṁ
janāḥ sukṛtino ’rjuna
ārto jijñāsur arthārthī
jñānī ca bharatarṣabha
“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. O best among the Bhāratas [Arjuna], four kinds of pious men render devotional service unto Me—the distressed, the desirer of wealth, the inquisitive, and he who is searching for knowledge of the Absolute.”
The four classes of neophyte devotees who approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead to offer devotional service because of material motives are not pure devotees, but the advantage for such materialistic devotees is that they sometimes give up their material desires and become pure. When the demigods are utterly helpless, they approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead in grief and with tears in their eyes, praying to the Lord, and thus they become almost pure devotees, free from material desires. Admitting that they have forgotten pure devotional service because of extensive material opportunities, they fully surrender to the Lord, leaving to His consideration whether to maintain them or annihilate them. Such surrender is necessary. Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura sings, mārabi rākhabi—yo icchā tohārā: “O Lord, I fully surrender unto Your lotus feet. Now, as You desire, You may protect me or annihilate me. You have the full right to do either.”
haṁsāya dahra-nilayāya nirīkṣakāya
kṛṣṇāya mṛṣṭa-yaśase nirupakramāya
sat-saṅgrahāya bhava-pāntha-nijāśramāptāv
ante parīṣṭa-gataye haraye namas te
haṁsāya—unto the most exalted and pure (pavitraṁ paramam, the supreme pure); dahra—in the core of the heart; nilayāya—whose abode; nirīkṣakāya—supervising the activities of the individual soul; kṛṣṇāya—unto the Supersoul, who is a partial manifestation of Kṛṣṇa; mṛṣṭa-yaśase—whose reputation is very bright; nirupakramāya—who has no beginning; sat-saṅgrahāya—understood only by pure devotees; bhava-pāntha-nija-āśrama-āptau—being obtainment of the shelter of Kṛṣṇa for persons within this material world; ante—at the ultimate end; parīṣṭa-gataye—unto Him who is the ultimate goal, the highest success of life; haraye—unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead; namaḥ—respectful obeisances; te—unto You.
O Lord, O supreme pure, You live within the core of everyone’s heart and observe all the desires and activities of the conditioned souls. O Supreme Personality of Godhead known as Lord Kṛṣṇa, Your reputation is bright and illuminating. You have no beginning, for You are the beginning of everything. This is understood by pure devotees because You are easily accessible to the pure and truthful. When the conditioned souls are liberated and sheltered at Your lotus feet after roving throughout the material world for many millions of years, they attain the highest success of life. Therefore, O Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, we offer our respectful obeisances at Your lotus feet.
The demigods certainly wanted Lord Viṣṇu to relieve their anxiety, but now they directly approach Lord Kṛṣṇa, for although there is no difference between Lord Kṛṣṇa and Lord Viṣṇu, Kṛṣṇa descends to this planet in His Vāsudeva feature for the purpose of paritrāṇāya sādhūnāṁ vināśāya ca duṣkṛtām [Bg. 4.8]—protecting His devotees and annihilating the miscreants. Demons, or atheists, always disturb the demigods, or devotees, and therefore Kṛṣṇa descends to punish the atheists and demons and fulfill the desire of His devotees. Kṛṣṇa, being the original cause of everything, is the Supreme Person, above even Viṣṇu and Nārāyaṇa, although there is no difference between these different forms of the Lord. As explained in Brahma-saṁhitā (5.46):
Kṛṣṇa expands Himself as Viṣṇu the way a bright candle kindles another. Although there is no difference between the power of one candle and another, Kṛṣṇa is compared to the original candle.
The word mṛṣṭa-yaśase is significant herein because Kṛṣṇa is always famous for relieving His devotee from danger. A devotee who has sacrificed everything for the service of Kṛṣṇa and whose only source of relief is the Lord is known as akiñcana.
As expressed in the prayers offered by Queen Kuntī, the Lord is akiñcana-vitta, the property of such a devotee. Those who are liberated from the bondage of conditioned life are elevated to the spiritual world, where they achieve five kinds of liberation—sāyujya, sālokya, sārūpya, sārṣṭi and sāmīpya. They personally associate with the Lord in five mellows—śānta, dāsya, sakhya, vātsalya and mādhurya. These rasas are all emanations from Kṛṣṇa. As described by Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, the original mellow, ādi-rasa, is conjugal love. Kṛṣṇa is the origin of pure and spiritual conjugal love.
śrī-śuka uvāca
athaivam īḍito rājan
sādaraṁ tri-daśair hariḥ
svam upasthānam ākarṇya
prāha tān abhinanditaḥ
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; atha—thereafter; evam—in this way; īḍitaḥ—being worshiped and offered obeisances; rājan—O King; sa-ādaram—with proper respect; tri-daśaiḥ—by all the demigods from the higher planetary systems; hariḥ—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; svam upasthānam—their prayer glorifying Him; ākarṇya—hearing; prāha—replied; tān—unto them (the demigods); abhinanditaḥ—being pleased.
Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued: O King Parīkṣit, when the demigods offered the Lord their sincere prayers in this way, the Lord listened by His causeless mercy. Being pleased, He then replied to the demigods.
śrī-bhagavān uvāca
prīto ’haṁ vaḥ sura-śreṣṭhā
ātmaiśvarya-smṛtiḥ puṁsāṁ
bhaktiś caiva yayā mayi
śrī-bhagavān uvāca—the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; prītaḥ—pleased; aham—I; vaḥ—of you; sura-śreṣṭhāḥ—O best of the demigods; mat-upasthāna-vidyayā—by the highly advanced knowledge and prayers offered unto Me; ātma-aiśvarya-smṛtiḥ—remembrance of the exalted transcendental position of Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead; puṁsām—of men; bhaktiḥ—devotional service; ca—and; eva—certainly; yayā—by which; mayi—unto Me.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: O beloved demigods, you have offered your prayers to Me with great knowledge, and I am certainly most pleased with you. A person is liberated by such knowledge, and thus he remembers My exalted position, which is above the conditions of material life. Such a devotee is fully purified by offering prayers in full knowledge. This is the source of devotional service to Me.
Another name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is Uttamaśloka, which means that He is offered prayers with selected verses. Bhakti means śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ [SB 7.5.23], chanting and hearing about Lord Viṣṇu. Impersonalists cannot be purified, for they do not offer personal prayers to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Even though they sometimes offer prayers, the prayers are not directed toward the Supreme Person. Impersonalists sometimes show their incomplete knowledge by addressing the Lord as being nameless. They always offer prayers indirectly, saying, “You are this, You are that,” but they do not know to whom they are praying. A devotee, however, always offers personal prayers. A devotee says, govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi **: “I offer my respectful obeisances unto Govinda, unto Kṛṣṇa.” That is the way to offer prayers. If one continues to offer such personal prayers to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he is eligible to become a pure devotee and return home, back to Godhead.
kiṁ durāpaṁ mayi prīte
tathāpi vibudharṣabhāḥ
mayy ekānta-matir nānyan
matto vāñchati tattva-vit
kim—what; durāpam—difficult to obtain; mayi—when 1; prīte—satisfied; tathāpi—still; vibudha-ṛṣabhāḥ—O best of the intelligent demigods; mayi—in Me; ekānta—exclusively fixed; matiḥ—whose attention; na anyat—not anything other; mattaḥ—than Me; vāñchati—desires; tattva-vit—one who knows the truth.
O best of the intelligent demigods, although it is true that nothing is difficult for one to obtain when I am pleased with him, a pure devotee, whose mind is exclusively fixed upon Me, does not ask Me for anything but the opportunity to engage in devotional service.
When the demigods finished offering their prayers, they anxiously waited for their enemy Vṛtrāsura to be killed. This means that the demigods are not pure devotees. Although without difficulty one can get anything he desires if the Lord is pleased, the demigods aspire for material profit by pleasing the Lord. The Lord wanted the demigods to pray for unalloyed devotional service, but instead they prayed for an opportunity to kill their enemy. This is the difference between a pure devotee and a devotee on the material platform. Indirectly, the Lord regretted that the demigods did not ask for pure devotional service.
na veda kṛpaṇaḥ śreya
ātmano guṇa-vastu-dṛk
tasya tān icchato yacched
yadi so ’pi tathā-vidhaḥ
na—not; veda—knows; kṛpaṇaḥ—a miserly living entity; śreyaḥ—the ultimate necessity; ātmanaḥ—of the soul; guṇa-vastu-dṛk—who is attracted by the creation of the modes of material nature; tasya—of him; tān—things created by the material energy; icchataḥ—desiring; yacchet—one bestows; yadi—if; saḥ api—he also; tathā-vidhaḥ—of the kind (a foolish kṛpaṇa who does not know his real self-interest).
Those who think material assets to be everything or to be the ultimate goal of life are called misers [kṛpaṇas]. They do not know the ultimate necessity of the soul. Moreover, if one awards that which is desired by such fools, he must also be considered foolish.
There are two classes of men—namely the kṛpaṇa and the brāhmaṇa. A brāhmaṇa is one who knows Brahman, the Absolute Truth, and who thus knows his real interest. A kṛpaṇa, however, is one who has a material, bodily concept of life. Not knowing how to utilize his human or demigod life, a kṛpaṇa is attracted by things created by the material modes of nature. The kṛpaṇas, who always desire material benefits, are foolish, whereas brāhmaṇas, who always desire spiritual benefits, are intelligent. If a kṛpaṇa, not knowing his self-interest, foolishly asks for something material, one who awards it to him is also foolish. Kṛṣṇa, however, is not a foolish person; He is supremely intelligent. If someone comes to Kṛṣṇa asking for material benefits, Kṛṣṇa does not award him the material things he desires. Instead, the Lord gives him intelligence so that he will forget his material desires and become attached to the Lord’s lotus feet. In such cases, although the kṛpaṇa offers prayers to Lord Kṛṣṇa for material things, the Lord takes away whatever material possessions the kṛpaṇa has and gives him the sense to become a devotee. As stated by the Lord in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya 22.39):
āmivijña, ei mūrkhe ’viṣaya’ kene diba?
sva-caraṇāmṛta diyā ’viṣaya’ bhulāiba
“Since I am very intelligent, why should I give this fool material prosperity? Instead I shall induce him to take the nectar of the shelter of My lotus feet and make him forget illusory material enjoyment.” If one sincerely prays to God for material possessions in exchange for devotional service, the Lord, who is not foolish like such an unintelligent devotee, shows him special favor by taking away whatever material possessions he has and gradually giving him the intelligence to be satisfied only by rendering service to His lotus feet. Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura comments in this regard that if a foolish child requests his mother to give him poison, the mother, being intelligent, will certainly not give him poison, even though he requests it. A materialist does not know that to accept material possessions means to accept poison, or the repetition of birth and death. An intelligent person, a brāhmaṇa, aspires for liberation from material bondage. That is the real self-interest of a human being.
svayaṁ niḥśreyasaṁ vidvān
na vakty ajñāya karma hi
na rāti rogiṇo ’pathyaṁ
vāñchato ’pi bhiṣaktamaḥ
svayam—personally; niḥśreyasam—the supreme goal of life, namely the means of obtaining ecstatic love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead; vit-vān—one who is accomplished in devotional service; na—not; vakti—teaches; ajñāya—unto a foolish person not conversant with the ultimate goal of life; karma—fruitive activities; hi—indeed; na—not; rāti—administers; rogiṇaḥ—unto the patient; apathyam—something unconsumable; vāñchataḥ—desiring; api—although; bhiṣak-tamaḥ—an experienced physician.
A pure devotee who is fully accomplished in the science of devotional service will never instruct a foolish person to engage in fruitive activities for material enjoyment, not to speak of helping him in such activities. Such a devotee is like an experienced physician, who never encourages a patient to eat food injurious to his health, even if the patient desires it.
Here is the difference between the benedictions awarded by the demigods and those awarded by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu. Devotees of the demigods ask for benedictions simply for sense gratification, and therefore they have been described in Bhagavad-gītā (7.20) as bereft of intelligence.
“Those whose minds are distorted by material desires surrender unto demigods and follow the particular rules and regulations of worship according to their own natures.”
Conditioned souls are generally bereft of intelligence because of profound desires for sense gratification. They do not know what benedictions to ask. Therefore nondevotees are advised in the śāstras to worship various demigods to achieve material benefits. For example, if one wants a beautiful wife, he is advised to worship Umā, or goddess Durgā. If one wants to be cured of a disease, he is advised to worship the sun-god. All requests for benedictions from the demigods, however, are due to material lust. The benedictions will be finished at the end of the cosmic manifestation, along with those who bestow them. If one approaches Lord Viṣṇu for benedictions, the Lord will give him a benediction that will help him return home, back to Godhead. This is also confirmed by the Lord Himself in Bhagavad-gītā (10.10):
Lord Viṣṇu, or Lord Kṛṣṇa, instructs a devotee who constantly engages in His service how to approach Him at the end of his material body. The Lord says in Bhagavad-gītā (4.9):
“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 the benediction of Lord Viṣṇu, Kṛṣṇa. After giving up his body, a devotee returns home, back to Godhead.
A devotee may foolishly ask for material benedictions, but Lord Kṛṣṇa does not give him such benedictions, despite the devotee’s prayers. Therefore people who are very attached to material life do not generally become devotees of Kṛṣṇa or Viṣṇu. Instead they become devotees of the demigods (kāmais tais tair hṛta jñānāḥ prapadyante ’nya-devatāḥ [Bg. 7.20]). The benedictions of the demigods, however, are condemned in Bhagavad-gītā. Antavat tu phalaṁ teṣāṁ tad bhavaty alpa-medhasām: “Men of small intelligence worship the demigods, and their fruits are limited and temporary.” A non-Vaiṣṇava, one who is not engaged in the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is considered a fool with a small quantity of brain substance.
maghavan yāta bhadraṁ vo
dadhyañcam ṛṣi-sattamam
gātraṁ yācata mā ciram
maghavan—O Indra; yāta—go; bhadram—good fortune; vaḥ—to all of you; dadhyañcam—to Dadhyañca; ṛṣi-sat-tamam—the most exalted saintly person; vidyā—of education; vrata—vow; tapaḥ—and austerities; sāram—the essence; gātram—his body; yācata—ask for; ciram—without delay.
O Maghavan [Indra], all good fortune unto you. I advise you to approach the exalted saint Dadhyañca [Dadhīci]. He has become very accomplished in knowledge, vows and austerities, and his body is very strong. Go ask him for his body without delay.
Everyone in this material world, from Lord Brahmā down to the ant, is eager to keep his body comfortable. A pure devotee may also be comfortable, but he is not eager for such a benediction. Since Maghavan, the King of heaven, still aspired for a comfortable bodily situation, Lord Viṣṇu advised him to ask Dadhyañca for his body, which was very strong due to his knowledge, vows and austerity.
sa vā adhigato dadhyaṅṅ
aśvibhyāṁ brahma niṣkalam
yad vā aśvaśiro nāma
tayor amaratāṁ vyadhāt
saḥ—he; —certainly; adhigataḥ—having obtained; dadhyaṅ—Dadhyañca; aśvibhyām—to the two Aśvinī-kumāras; brahma—spiritual knowledge; niṣkalam—pure; yat —by which; aśvaśiraḥ—Aśvaśira; nāma—named; tayoḥ—of the two; amaratām—liberation in one’s life; vyadhāt—awarded.
That saintly Dadhyañca, who is also known as Dadhīci, personally assimilated the spiritual science and then delivered it to the Aśvinī-kumāras. It is said that Dadhyañca gave them mantras through the head of a horse. Therefore the mantras are called Aśvaśira. After obtaining the mantras of spiritual science from Dadhīci, the Aśvinī-kumāras became jīvan-mukta, liberated even in this life.
The following story is narrated by many ācāryas in their commentaries:
niśamyātharvaṇaṁ dakṣaṁ pravargya-brahmavidyayoḥ; dadhyañcaṁ samupāgamya tam ūcatur athāśvinau; bhagavan dehi nau vidyām iti śrutvā sa cābravīt; karmaṇy avasthito ’dyāhaṁ paścād vakṣyāmi gacchatam; tayor nirgatayor eva śakra āgatya taṁ munim; uvāca bhiṣajor vidyāṁ vādīr aśvinor mune; yadi mad-vākyam ullaṅghya bravīṣi sahasaiva te; śiraś-chindyāṁ na sandeha ity uktvā sa yayau hariḥ; indre gate tathābhyetya nāsatyāv ūcatur dvijam; tan-mukhād indra-gaditaṁ śrutvā tāv ūcatuḥ punaḥ; āvāṁ tava śiraś chittvā pūrvam aśvasya mastakam; sandhāsyāvas tato brūhi tena vidyāṁ ca nau dvija; tasminn indreṇa sañchinne punaḥ sandhāya mastakam; nijaṁ te dakṣiṇāṁ dattvā gamiṣyāvo yathāgatam; etac chrutvā tadovāca dadhyaṅṅ ātharvaṇas tayoḥ pravargyaṁ brahma-vidyāṁ ca sat-kṛto ’satya-śaṅkitaḥ.
The great saint Dadhīci had perfect knowledge of how to perform fruitive activities, and he had advanced spiritual knowledge as well. Knowing this, the Aśvinī-kumāras once approached him and begged him to instruct them in spiritual science (brahma-vidyā). Dadhīci Muni replied, “I am now engaged in arranging sacrifices for fruitive activities. Come back some time later.” When the Aśvinī-kumāras left, Indra, the King of heaven, approached Dadhīci and said, “My dear Muni, the Aśvinī-kumāras are only physicians. Please do not instruct them in spiritual science. If you impart the spiritual science to them despite my warning, I shall punish you by cutting off your head.” After warning Dadhīci in this way, Indra returned to heaven. The Aśvinī-kumāras, who understood Indra’s desires, returned and begged Dadhīci for brahma-vidyā. When the great saint Dadhīci informed them of Indra’s threat, the Aśvinī-kumāras replied, “Let us first cut off your head and replace it with the head of a horse. You can instruct brahma-vidyā through the horse’s head, and when Indra returns and cuts off that head, we shall reward you and restore your original head.” Since Dadhīci had promised to impart brahma-vidyā to the Aśvinī-kumāras, he agreed to their proposal. Therefore, because Dadhīci imparted brahma-vidyā through the mouth of a horse, this brahma-vidyā is also known as Aśvaśira.
dadhyaṅṅ ātharvaṇas tvaṣṭre
varmābhedyaṁ mad-ātmakam
viśvarūpāya yat prādāt
tvaṣṭā yat tvam adhās tataḥ
dadhyaṅ—Dadhyañca; ātharvaṇaḥ—the son of Atharvā; tvaṣṭre—unto Tvaṣṭā; varma—the protective covering known as Nārāyaṇa-kavaca; abhedyam—invincible; mat-ātmakam—consisting of Myself; viśvarūpāya—unto Viśvarūpa; yat—which; prādāt—delivered; tvaṣṭāTvaṣṭā; yat—which; tvam—you; adhāḥ—received; tataḥ—from him.
Dadhyañca’s invincible protective covering known as the Nārāyaṇa-kavaca was given to Tvaṣṭā, who delivered it to his son Viśvarūpa, from whom you have received it. Because of this Nārāyaṇa-kavaca, Dadhīci’s body is now very strong. You should therefore beg him for his body.
yuṣmabhyaṁ yācito ’śvibhyāṁ
dharma-jño ’ṅgāni dāsyati
tatas tair āyudha-śreṣṭho
yena vṛtra-śiro hartā
yuṣmabhyam—for all of you; yācitaḥ—being asked; aśvibhyām—by the Aśvinī-kumāras; dharma-jñaḥ—Dadhīci, who knows the principles of religion; aṅgāni—his limbs; dāsyati—will give; tataḥ—after that; taiḥ—by those bones; āyudha—of weapons; śreṣṭhaḥ—the most powerful (the thunderbolt); viśvakarma-vinirmitaḥ—manufactured by Viśvakarmā; yena—by which; vṛtra-śiraḥ—the head of Vṛtrāsura; hartā—will be taken away; mat-tejaḥ—by My strength; upabṛṁhitaḥ—increased.
When the Aśvinī-kumāras beg for Dadhyañca’s body on your behalf, he will surely give it because of affection. Do not doubt this, for Dadhyañca is very experienced in religious understanding. When Dadhyañca awards you his body, Viśvakarmā will prepare a thunderbolt from his bones. This thunderbolt will certainly kill Vṛtrāsura because it will be invested with My power.
tasmin vinihate yūyaṁ
bhūyaḥ prāpsyatha bhadraṁ vo
na hiṁsanti ca mat-parān
tasmin—when he (Vṛtrāsura); vinihate—is killed; yūyam—all of you; tejaḥ—power; astra—arrows; āyudha—other weapons; sampadaḥ—and opulence; bhūyaḥ—again; prāpsyatha—will obtain; bhadram—all good fortune; vaḥ—unto you; na—not; hiṁsanti—hurt; ca—also; mat-parān—My devotees.
When Vṛtrāsura is killed because of My spiritual strength, you will regain your strength, weapons and wealth. Thus there will be all good fortune for all of you. Although Vṛtrāsura can destroy all the three worlds, do not fear that he will harm you. He is also a devotee and will never be envious of you.
A devotee of the Lord is never envious of anyone, what to speak of other devotees. As revealed later, Vṛtrāsura was also a devotee. Therefore be was not expected to be envious of the demigods. Indeed, of his own accord, he would try to benefit the demigods. A devotee does not hesitate to give up his own body for a better cause. Cāṇakya Paṇḍita said, san-nimitte varaṁ tyāgo vināśe niyate sati. After all, all one’s material possessions, including his body, will be destroyed in due course of time. Therefore if the body and other possessions can be utilized for a better cause, a devotee never hesitates to give up even his own body. Because Lord Viṣṇu wanted to save the demigods, Vṛtrāsura, even though able to swallow the three worlds, would agree to be killed by the demigods. For a devotee there is no difference between living and dying because in this life a devotee engages in devotional service, and after giving up his body, he engages in the same service in the spiritual world. His devotional service is never hindered.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports to the Ninth Chapter, Sixth Canto, of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, entitled “Appearance of the Demon Vṛtrāsura.”

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