Chapter Three
Hiraṇyakaśipu’s Plan to Become Immortal
This chapter describes how Hiraṇyakaśipu performed a severe type of austerity for material benefit, thus causing great distress throughout the universe. Even Lord Brahmā, the chief personality within this universe, became somewhat disturbed and personally went to see why Hiraṇyakaśipu was engaged in such a severe austerity.
Hiraṇyakaśipu wanted to become immortal. He wanted not to be conquered by anyone, not to be attacked by old age and disease, and not to be harassed by any opponent. Thus he wanted to become the absolute ruler of the entire universe. With this desire, he entered the valley of Mandara Mountain and began practicing a severe type of austerity and meditation. Seeing Hiraṇyakaśipu engaged in this austerity, the demigods returned to their respective homes, but while Hiraṇyakaśipu was thus engaged, a kind of fire began blazing from his head, disturbing the entire universe and its inhabitants, including the birds, beasts and demigods. When all the higher and lower planets became too hot to live on, the demigods, being disturbed, left their abodes in the higher planets and went to see Lord Brahmā, praying to him that he curtail this unnecessary heat. The demigods disclosed to Lord Brahmā Hiraṇyakaśipu’s ambition to become immortal, overcoming his short duration of life, and to be the master of all the planetary systems, even Dhruvaloka.
Upon hearing about the purpose of Hiraṇyakaśipu’s austere meditation, Lord Brahmā, accompanied by the great sage Bhṛgu and great personalities like Dakṣa, went to see Hiraṇyakaśipu. He then sprinkled water from his kamaṇḍalu, a type of waterpot, upon Hiraṇyakaśipu’s head.
Hiraṇyakaśipu, the King of the Daityas, bowed down before Lord Brahmā, the creator of this universe, offering respectful obeisances again and again and offering prayers. When Lord Brahmā agreed to give him benedictions, he prayed not be killed by any living entity, not to be killed in any place, covered or uncovered, not to die in the daytime or at night, not to be killed by any weapon, on land or in the air, and not to be killed by any human being, animal, demigod or any other entity, living or nonliving. He further prayed for supremacy over the entire universe and requested the eight yogic perfections, such as aṇimā and laghimā.
śrī-nārada uvāca
hiraṇyakaśipū rājann
ajeyam ajarāmaram
ātmānam apratidvandvam
eka-rājaṁ vyadhitsata
śrī-nāradaḥ uvācaNārada Muni said; hiraṇyakaśipuḥ—the demoniac king Hiraṇyakaśipu; rājan—O King Yudhiṣṭhira; ajeyam—unconquerable by any enemy; ajara—without old age or disease; amaram—immortal; ātmānam—himself; apratidvandvam—without any rival or opponent; eka-rājam—the one king of the universe; vyadhitsata—desired to become.
Nārada Muni said to Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira: The demoniac king Hiraṇyakaśipu wanted to be unconquerable and free from old age and dwindling of the body. He wanted to gain all the yogic perfections like aṇimā and laghimā, to be deathless, and to be the only king of the entire universe, including Brahmaloka.
Such are the goals of the austerities performed by demons. Hiraṇyakaśipu wanted to receive a benediction from Lord Brahmā so that in the future he would be able to conquer Lord Brahmā’s abode. Similarly, another demon received a benediction from Lord Śiva but later wanted to kill Lord Śiva through that same benediction. Thus self-interested persons, by demoniac austerity, want to kill even their benedictors, whereas the Vaiṣṇava wants to remain an ever-existing servant of the Lord and never to occupy the post of the Lord. Through sāyujya-mukti, which is generally demanded by asuras, one merges into the existence of the Lord, but although one sometimes thus achieves the goal of the theory of monism, one falls down again to struggle in material existence.
sa tepe mandara-droṇyāṁ
tapaḥ parama-dāruṇam
ūrdhva-bāhur nabho-dṛṣṭiḥ
saḥ—he (Hiraṇyakaśipu); tepe—performed; mandara-droṇyām—in a valley of Mandara Hill; tapaḥ—austerity; parama—most; dāruṇam—difficult; ūrdhva—raising; bāhuḥ—arms; nabhaḥ—toward the sky; dṛṣṭiḥ—his vision; pāda-aṅguṣṭha—with the big toes of his feet; āśrita—resting on; avaniḥ—the ground.
In the valley of Mandara Hill, Hiraṇyakaśipu began performing his austerities by standing with his toes on the ground, keeping his arms upward and looking toward the sky. This position was extremely difficult, but he accepted it as a means to attain perfection.
jaṭā-dīdhitibhī reje
saṁvartārka ivāṁśubhiḥ
tasmiṁs tapas tapyamāne
devāḥ sthānāni bhejire
jaṭā-dīdhitibhiḥ—by the effulgence of the hair on his head; reje—was shining; saṁvarta-arkaḥ—the sun at the time of destruction; iva—like; aṁśubhiḥ—by the beams; tasmin—when he (Hiraṇyakaśipu); tapaḥ—austerities; tapyamāne—was engaged in; devāḥ—all the demigods who were wandering throughout the universe to see Hiraṇyakaśipu’s demoniac activities; sthānāni—to their own places; bhejire—returned.
From the hair on Hiraṇyakaśipu’s head there emanated an effulgent light as brilliant and intolerable as the rays of the sun at the time of dissolution. Seeing the performance of such austere penances, the demigods, who had been wandering throughout the planets, now returned to their respective homes.
tasya mūrdhnaḥ samudbhūtaḥ
sadhūmo ’gnis tapomayaḥ
tīryag ūrdhvam adho lokān
prātapad viṣvag īritaḥ
tasya—his; mūrdhnaḥ—from the head; samudbhūtaḥ—generated; sa-dhūmaḥ—with smoke; agniḥ—fire; tapaḥ-mayaḥ—because of severe austerities; tīryak—sideways; ūrdhvam—upward; adhaḥ—downward; lokān—all the planets; prātapat—heated; viṣvak—all around; īritaḥ—spreading.
Because of Hiraṇyakaśipu’s severe austerities, fire came from his head, and this fire and its smoke spread throughout the sky, encompassing the upper and lower planets, which all became extremely hot.
cukṣubhur nady-udanvantaḥ
sadvīpādriś cacāla bhūḥ
nipetuḥ sagrahās tārā
jajvaluś ca diśo daśa
cukṣubhuḥ—became agitated; nadī-udanvantaḥ—the rivers and oceans; sa-dvīpa—with the islands; adriḥ—and mountains; cacāla—trembled; bhūḥ—the surface of the globe; nipetuḥ—fell; sa-grahāḥ—with the planets; tārāḥ—the stars; jajvaluḥ—blazed; ca—also; diśaḥ daśa—the ten directions.
Because of the power of his severe austerities, all the rivers and oceans were agitated, the surface of the globe, with its mountains and islands, began trembling, and the stars and planets fell. All directions were ablaze.
tena taptā divaṁ tyaktvā
brahmalokaṁ yayuḥ surāḥ
dhātre vijñāpayām āsur
deva-deva jagat-pate
daityendra-tapasā taptā
divi sthātuṁ na śaknumaḥ
tena—by that (fire of austerity); taptāḥ—burned; divam—their residential quarters in the upper planets; tyaktvā—giving up; brahma-lokam—to the planet where Lord Brahmā lives; yayuḥ—went; surāḥ—the demigods; dhātre—unto the chief of this universe, Lord Brahmā; vijñāpayām āsuḥ—submitted; deva-deva—O chief of the demigods; jagat-pate—O master of the universe; daitya-indra-tapasā—by the severe austerity performed by the King of the Daityas, Hiraṇyakaśipu; taptāḥ—roasted; divi—on the heavenly planets; sthātum—to stay; na—not; śaknumaḥ—we are able.
Scorched and extremely disturbed because of Hiraṇyakaśipu’s severe penances, all the demigods left the planets where they reside and went to the planet of Lord Brahmā, where they informed the creator as follows: O lord of the demigods, O master of the universe, because of the fire emanating from Hiraṇyakaśipu’s head as a result of his severe austerities, we have become so disturbed that we could not stay in our planets but have come to you.
tasya copaśamaṁ bhūman
vidhehi yadi manyase
lokā na yāvan naṅkṣyanti
bali-hārās tavābhibhūḥ
tasya—of this; ca—indeed; upaśamam—the cessation; bhūman—O great personality; vidhehi—please execute; yadi—if; manyase—you think it right; lokāḥ—all the inhabitants of the various planets; na—not; yāvat—as long as; naṅkṣyanti—will be lost; bali-hārāḥ—who are obedient to the worship; tava—of you; abhibhūḥ—O chief of all the universe.
O great person, chief of the universe, if you think it proper, kindly stop these disturbances, meant to destroy everything, before all your obedient subjects are annihilated.
tasyāyaṁ kila saṅkalpaś
carato duścaraṁ tapaḥ
śrūyatāṁ kiṁ na viditas
tavāthāpi niveditam
tasya—his; ayam—this; kila—indeed; saṅkalpaḥ—determination; carataḥ—who is executing; duścaram—very difficult; tapaḥ—austerity; śrūyatām—let it be heard; kim—what; na—not; viditaḥ—known; tava—of you; athāpi—still; niveditam—submitted.
Hiraṇyakaśipu has undertaken a most severe type of austerity. Although his plan is not unknown to you, kindly listen as we submit his intentions.
TEXTS 9–10
sṛṣṭvā carācaram idaṁ
adhyāste sarva-dhiṣṇyebhyaḥ
parameṣṭhī nijāsanam
tad ahaṁ vardhamānena
kālātmanoś ca nityatvāt
sādhayiṣye tathātmanaḥ
sṛṣṭvā—creating; cara—moving; acaram—and not moving; idam—this; tapaḥ—of austerity; yoga—and mystic power; samādhinā—by practicing the trance; adhyāste—is situated in; sarva-dhiṣṇyebhyaḥ—than all the planets, including the heavenly planets; parameṣṭhī—Lord Brahmā; nija-āsanam—his own throne; tat—therefore; aham—I; vardhamānena—by dint of increasing; tapaḥ—austerity; yoga—mystic powers; samādhinā—and trance; kāla—of time; ātmanoḥ—and of the soul; ca—and; nityatvāt—from the eternality; sādhayiṣye—shall achieve; tathā—so much; ātmanaḥ—for my personal self.
“The supreme person within this universe, Lord Brahmā, has gotten his exalted post by dint of severe austerities, mystic power and trance. Consequently, after creating the universe, he has become the most worshipable demigod within it. Since I am eternal and time is eternal, I shall endeavor for such austerity, mystic power and trance for many, many births, and thus I shall occupy the same post occupied by Lord Brahmā.
Hiraṇyakaśipu’s determination was to occupy the post of Lord Brahmā, but this was impossible because Brahmā has a long duration of life. As confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (8.17), sahasra-yuga-paryantam ahar yad brahmaṇo viduḥ: one thousand yugas equals one day of Brahmā. The duration of Brahmā’s life is extremely great, and consequently it was impossible for Hiraṇyakaśipu to occupy that post. Nonetheless, his decision was that since the self (ātmā) and time are both eternal, if he could not occupy that post in one lifetime he would continue to execute austerities life after life so that sometime he would be able to do so.
anyathedaṁ vidhāsye ’ham
ayathā pūrvam ojasā
kim anyaiḥ kāla-nirdhūtaiḥ
kalpānte vaiṣṇavādibhiḥ
anyathā—just the opposite; idam—this universe; vidhāsye—shall make; aham—I; ayathā—inappropriate; pūrvam—as it was before; ojasā—by dint of the power of my austerity; kim—what use; anyaiḥ—with other; kāla-nirdhūtaiḥ—vanquished in due course of time; kalpa-ante—at the end of the millennium; vaiṣṇava-ādibhiḥ—with planets like Dhruvaloka or Vaikuṇṭhaloka.
“By dint of my severe austerities, I shall reverse the results of pious and impious activities. I shall overturn all the established practices within this world. Even Dhruvaloka will be vanquished at the end of the millennium. Therefore, what is the use of it? I shall prefer to remain in the position of Brahmā.”
Hiraṇyakaśipu’s demoniac determination was explained to Lord Brahmā by the demigods, who informed him that Hiraṇyakaśipu wanted to overturn all the established principles. After executing severe austerities, people within this material world are promoted to the heavenly planets, but Hiraṇyakaśipu wanted them to be unhappy, suffering because of the diplomatic feelings of the demigods, even in the heavenly planets. He wanted those who were harassed in this world by material transactions to be unhappy for the same reason, even in the heavenly planets. Indeed, be wanted to introduce such harassment everywhere. One might ask how this would be possible, since the universal order has been established since time immemorial, but Hiraṇyakaśipu was proud to declare that he would be able to do everything by the power of his tapasya. He even wanted to make the Vaiṣṇavas’ position insecure. These are some of the symptoms of asuric determination.
iti śuśruma nirbandhaṁ
tapaḥ paramam āsthitaḥ
vidhatsvānantaraṁ yuktaṁ
svayaṁ tri-bhuvaneśvara
iti—in this way; śuśruma—we have heard; nirbandham—strong determination; tapaḥ—austerity; paramam—very severe; āsthitaḥ—is situated in; vidhatsva—please take steps; anantaram—as soon as possible; yuktam—befitting; svayam—yourself; tri-bhuvana-īśvara—O master of the three worlds.
O lord, we have heard from reliable sources that in order to obtain your post, Hiraṇyakaśipu is now engaged in severe austerity. You are the master of the three worlds. Please, without delay, take whatever steps you deem appropriate.
In the material world, a servant is provided for by the master but is always planning how to capture the master’s post. There have been many instances of this in history. Especially in India during the Mohammedan rule, many servants, by plans and devices, took over the posts of their masters. It is learned from Caitanya literature that one big Zamindar, Subuddhi Rāya, kept a Mohammedan boy as a servant. Of course, he treated the boy as his own child, and sometimes, when the boy would steal something, the master would chastise him by striking him with a cane. There was a mark on the boy’s back from this chastisement. Later, after that boy had by crooked means become Hussain Shah, Nawab of Bengal, one day his wife saw the mark on his back and inquired about it. The Nawab replied that in his childhood he had been a servant of Subuddhi Rāya, who had punished him because of some mischievous activities. Upon hearing this, the Nawab’s wife immediately became agitated and requested her husband to kill Subuddhi Rāya. Nawab Hussain Shah, of course, was very grateful to Subuddhi Rāya and therefore refused to kill him, but when his wife requested him to turn Subuddhi Rāya into a Mohammedan, the Nawab agreed. Taking some water from his waterpot, he sprinkled it upon Subuddhi Rāya and declared that Subuddhi Rāya had now become a Mohammedan. The point is that this Nawab had been an ordinary menial servant of Subuddhi Rāya but was somehow or other able to occupy the supreme post of Nawab of Bengal. This is the material world. Everyone is trying to become master through various devices, although everyone is servant of his senses. Following this system, a living entity, although servant of his senses, tries to become master of the whole universe. Hiraṇyakaśipu was a typical example of this, and Brahmā was informed by the demigods of his intentions.
tavāsanaṁ dvija-gavāṁ
pārameṣṭhyaṁ jagat-pate
bhavāya śreyase bhūtyai
kṣemāya vijayāya ca
tava—your; āsanam—position on the throne; dvija—of the brahminical culture or the brāhmaṇas; gavām—of the cows; pārameṣṭhyam—supreme; jagat-pate—O master of the whole universe; bhavāya—for improvement; śreyase—for the ultimate happiness; bhūtyai—for increasing the opulence; kṣemāya—for the maintenance and good fortune; vijayāya—for the victory and increasing prestige; ca—and.
O Lord Brahmā, your position within this universe is certainly most auspicious for everyone, especially the cows and brāhmaṇas. Brahminical culture and the protection of cows can be increasingly glorified, and thus all kinds of material happiness, opulence and good fortune will automatically increase. But unfortunately, if Hiraṇyakaśipu occupies your seat, everything will be lost.
In this verse the words dvija-gavāṁ pārameṣṭhyam indicate the most exalted position of the brāhmaṇas, brahminical culture and the cows. In Vedic culture, the welfare of the cows and the welfare of the brāhmaṇas are essential. Without a proper arrangement for developing brahminical culture and protecting cows, all the affairs of administration will go to hell. Being afraid that Hiraṇyakaśipu would occupy the post of Brahmā, all the demigods were extremely disturbed. Hiraṇyakaśipu was a well-known demon, and the demigods knew that if demons and Rākṣasas were to occupy the supreme post, brahminical culture and protection of cows would come to an end. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (5.29), the original proprietor of everything is Lord Kṛṣṇa (bhoktāraṁ yajña-tapasāṁ sarva-loka-maheśvaram). The Lord, therefore, knows particularly well how to develop the material condition of the living entities within this material world. In every universe there is one Brahmā engaged on behalf of Lord Kṛṣṇa, as confirmed in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (tene brahma hṛdaya ādi-kavaye). The principal creator in each brahmāṇḍa is Lord Brahmā, who imparts Vedic knowledge to his disciples and sons. On every planet, the king or supreme controller must be a representative of Brahmā. Therefore, if a Rākṣasa, or demon, were situated in Brahmā’s post, then the entire arrangement of the universe, especially the protection of the brahminical culture and cows, would be ruined. All the demigods anticipated this danger, and therefore they went to request Lord Brahmā to take immediate steps to thwart Hiraṇyakaśipu’s plan.
In the beginning of creation, Lord Brahmā was attacked by two demons—Madhu and Kaiṭabha—but Kṛṣṇa saved him. Therefore Kṛṣṇa is addressed as madhu-kaiṭabha-hantṛ. Now again, Hiraṇyakaśipu was trying to replace Brahmā. The material world is so situated that even the position of Lord Brahmā, not to speak of ordinary living entities, is sometimes in danger. Nonetheless, until the time of Hiraṇyakaśipu, no one had tried to replace Lord Brahmā. Hiraṇyakaśipu, however, was such a great demon that he maintained this ambition.
The word bhūtyai means “for increasing opulence,” and the word śreyase refers to ultimately returning home, back to Godhead. In spiritual advancement, one’s material position improves at the same time that the path of liberation becomes clear and one is freed from material bondage. If one is situated in an opulent position in spiritual advancement, his opulence never decreases. Therefore such a spiritual benediction is called bhūti or vibhūti. Kṛṣṇa confirms this in Bhagavad-gītā (10.41). Yad yad vibhūtimat sattvaṁ. .. mama tejo-’ṁśa-sambhavam: if a devotee advances in spiritual consciousness and thus becomes materially opulent also, his position is a special gift from the Lord. Such opulence is never to be considered material. At the present, especially on this planet earth, the influence of Lord Brahmā has decreased considerably, and the representatives of Hiraṇyakaśipu—the Rākṣasas and demons—have taken charge. Therefore there is no protection of brahminical culture and cows, which are the basic prerequisites for all kinds of good fortune. This age is very dangerous because society is being managed by demons and Rākṣasas.
iti vijñāpito devair
bhagavān ātmabhūr nṛpa
parito bhṛgu-dakṣādyair
yayau daityeśvarāśramam
iti—thus; vijñāpitaḥ—informed; devaiḥ—by all the demigods; bhagavān—the most powerful; ātma-bhūḥ—Lord Brahmā, who was born from the lotus flower; nṛpa—O King; paritaḥ—being surrounded; bhṛgu—by Bhṛgu; dakṣaDakṣa; ādyaiḥ—and others; yayau—went; daitya-īśvara—of Hiraṇyakaśipu, the King of the Daityas; āśramam—to the place of austerity.
O King, being thus informed by the demigods, the most powerful Lord Brahmā, accompanied by Bhṛgu, Dakṣa and other great sages, immediately started for the place where Hiraṇyakaśipu was performing his penances and austerities.
Lord Brahmā was waiting for the austerities performed by Hiraṇyakaśipu to mature so that he could go there and offer benedictions according to Hiraṇyakaśipu’s desire. Now, taking the opportunity of being accompanied by all the demigods and great saintly persons, Brahmā went there to award him the benediction he desired.
TEXTS 15–16
na dadarśa praticchannaṁ
pipīlikābhir ācīrṇaṁ
tapantaṁ tapasā lokān
yathābhrāpihitaṁ ravim
vilakṣya vismitaḥ prāha
hasaṁs taṁ haṁsa-vāhanaḥ
na—not; dadarśa—saw; praticchannam—covered; valmīka—by an anthill; tṛṇa—grass; kīcakaiḥ—and bamboo sticks; pipīlikābhiḥ—by the ants; ācīrṇam—eaten all around; medaḥ—whose fat; tvak—skin; māṁsa—the flesh; śoṇitam—and blood; tapantam—heating; tapasā—by a severe type of penance; lokān—all the three worlds; yathā—just as; abhra—by clouds; apihitam—covered; ravim—the sun; vilakṣya—seeing; vismitaḥ—struck with wonder; prāha—said; hasan—smiling; tam—to him; haṁsa-vāhanaḥ—Lord Brahmā, who rides a swan airplane.
Lord Brahmā, who is carried by a swan airplane, at first could not see where Hiraṇyakaśipu was, for Hiraṇyakaśipu’s body was covered by an anthill and by grass and bamboo sticks. Because Hiraṇyakaśipu had been there for a long time, the ants had devoured his skin, fat, flesh and blood. Then Lord Brahmā and the demigods spotted him, resembling a cloud-covered sun, heating all the world by his austerity. Struck with wonder, Lord Brahmā began to smile and then addressed him as follows.
The living entity can live merely by his own power, without the help of skin, marrow, bone, blood and so on, because it is said, asaṅgo’yaṁ puruṣaḥ—the living entity has nothing to do with the material covering. Hiraṇyakaśipu performed a severe type of tapasya, austerity, for many long years. Indeed, it is said that he performed the tapasya for one hundred heavenly years. Since one day of the demigods equals six of our months, certainly this was a very long time. By nature’s own way, his body had been almost consumed by earthworms, ants and other parasites, and therefore even Brahmā was at first unable to see him. Later, however, Brahmā could ascertain where Hiraṇyakaśipu was, and Brahmā was struck with wonder to see Hiraṇyakaśipu’s extraordinary power to execute tapasya. Anyone would conclude that Hiraṇyakaśipu was dead because his body was covered in so many ways, but Lord Brahmā, the supreme living being in this universe, could understand that Hiraṇyakaśipu was alive but covered by material elements.
It is also to be noted that although Hiraṇyakaśipu performed this austerity for a long, long time, he was nonetheless known as a Daitya and Rākṣasa. It will be seen from verses to follow that even great saintly persons could not perform such a severe type of austerity. Why then was he called a Rākṣasa and Daitya? It is because whatever he did was for his own sense gratification. His son Prahlāda Mahārāja was only five years old, and so what could Prahlāda do? Yet simply by performing a little devotional service according to the instructions of Nārada Muni, Prahlāda became so dear to the Lord that the Lord came to save him, whereas Hiraṇyakaśipu, in spite of all his austerities, was killed. This is the difference between devotional service and all other methods of perfection. One who performs severe austerities for sense gratification is fearful to the entire world. whereas a devotee who performs even a slight amount of devotional service is a friend to everyone (suhṛdaṁ sarva-bhūtānām). Since the Lord is the well-wisher of every living entity and since a devotee assumes the qualities of the Lord, a devotee also acts for everyone’s good fortune by performing devotional service. Thus although Hiraṇyakaśipu performed such a severe austerity, he remained a Daitya and a Rākṣasa, whereas Prahlāda Mahārāja, although born of the same Daitya father, became the most exalted devotee and was personally protected by the Supreme Lord. Bhakti is therefore called sarvopādhi-vinirmuktam [Cc. Madhya 19.170], indicating that a devotee is freed from all material designations, and anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyam [Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu
ānukūlyena kṛṣṇānu-
śīlanaṁ bhaktir uttamā
One should render transcendental loving service to the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa favorably and without desire for material profit or gain through fruitive activities or philosophical speculation. That is called pure devotional service.Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu], situated in a transcendental position, free from all material desires.
uttiṣṭhottiṣṭha bhadraṁ te
tapaḥ-siddho ’si kāśyapa
varado ’ham anuprāpto
vriyatām īpsito varaḥ
śrī-brahmā uvāca—Lord Brahmā said; uttiṣṭha—please get up; uttiṣṭha—get up; bhadram—good fortune; te—unto you; tapaḥ-siddhaḥ—perfect in executing austerities; asi—you are; kāśyapa—O son of Kaśyapa; vara-daḥ—the giver of benediction; aham—I; anuprāptaḥ—arrived; vriyatām—let it be submitted; īpsitaḥ—desired; varaḥ—benediction.
Lord Brahmā said: O son of Kaśyapa Muni, please get up, please get up. All good fortune unto you. You are now perfect in the performance of your austerities, and therefore I may give you a benediction. You may now ask from me whatever you desire, and I shall try to fulfill your wish.
Śrīla Madhvācārya quotes from the Skanda Purāṇa, which says that Hiraṇyakaśipu, having become a devotee of Lord Brahmā, who is known as Hiraṇyagarbha, and having undergone a severe austerity to please him, is also known as Hiraṇyaka. Rākṣasas and demons worship various demigods, such as Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva, just to take the post of these demigods. This we have already explained in previous verses.
adrākṣam aham etaṁ te
hṛt-sāraṁ mahad-adbhutam
prāṇā hy asthiṣu śerate
adrākṣam—have personally seen; aham—I; etam—this; te—your; hṛt-sāram—power of endurance; mahat—very great; adbhutam—wonderful; daṁśa-bhakṣita—eaten by worms and ants; dehasya—whose body; prāṇāḥ—the life air; hi—indeed; asthiṣu—in the bones; śerate—is taking shelter.
I have been very much astonished to see your endurance. In spite of being eaten and bitten by all kinds of worms and ants, you are keeping your life air circulating within your bones. Certainly this is wonderful.
It appears that the soul can exist even through the bones, as shown by the personal example of Hiraṇyakaśipu. When great yogīs are in samadhi, even when their bodies are buried and their skin, marrow, blood and so on have all been eaten, if only their bones remain they can exist in a transcendental position. Very recently an archaeologist published findings indicating that Lord Christ, after being buried, was exhumed and that he then went to Kashmir. There have been many actual examples of yogīs’ being buried in trance and exhumed alive and in good condition several hours later. A yogī can keep himself alive in a transcendental state even if buried not only for many days but for many years.
naitat pūrvarṣayaś cakrur
na kariṣyanti cāpare
nirambur dhārayet prāṇān
ko vai divya-samāḥ śatam
na—not; etat—this; pūrva-ṛṣayaḥ—the sages before you, such as Bhṛgu; cakruḥ—executed; na—nor; kariṣyanti—will execute; ca—also; apare—others; nirambuḥ—without drinking water; dhārayet—can sustain; prāṇān—the life air; kaḥ—who; vai—indeed; divya-samāḥ—celestial years; śatam—one hundred.
Even saintly persons like Bhṛgu, born previously, could not perform such severe austerities, nor will anyone in the future be able to do so. Who within these three worlds can sustain his life without even drinking water for one hundred celestial years?
It appears that even if a yogī does not drink a drop of water, he can live for many, many years by the yogic process, though his outer body be eaten by ants and moths.
vyavasāyena te ’nena
duṣkareṇa manasvinām
tapo-niṣṭhena bhavatā
jito ’haṁ diti-nandana
vyavasāyena—by determination; te—your; anena—this; duṣkareṇa—difficult to perform; manasvinām—even for great sages and saintly persons; tapaḥ-niṣṭhena—aimed at executing austerity; bhavatā—by you; jitaḥ—conquered; aham—I; diti-nandana—O son of Diti.
My dear son of Diti, with your great determination and austerity you have done what was impossible even for great saintly persons, and thus I have certainly been conquered by you.
In regard to the word jitaḥ, Śrīla Madhva Muni gives the following quotation from the Śabda-nirṇaya: parābhūtaṁ vaśa-sthaṁ ca jitabhid ucyate budhaiḥ. “If one comes under someone else’s control or is defeated by another, he is called jitaḥ.” Hiraṇyakaśipu’s austerity was so great and wonderful that even Lord Brahmā agreed to be conquered by him.
tatas ta āśiṣaḥ sarvā
dadāmy asura-puṅgava
martasya te hy amartasya
darśanaṁ nāphalaṁ mama
tataḥ—because of this; te—unto you; āśiṣaḥ—benedictions; sarvāḥ—all; dadāmi—I shall give; asura-puṅgava—O best of the asuras; martasya—of one who is destined to die; te—such as you; hi—indeed; amartasya—of one who does not die; darśanam—the audience; na—not; aphalam—without results; mama—my.
O best of the asuras, for this reason I am now prepared to give you all benedictions, according to your desire. I belong to the celestial world of demigods, who do not die like human beings. Therefore, although you are subject to death, your audience with me will not go in vain.
It appears that human beings and asuras are subject to death, whereas demigods are not. The demigods who reside with Lord Brahmā in Satyaloka go to Vaikuṇṭhaloka in their present bodily constructions at the time of the dissolution. Therefore although Hiraṇyakaśipu had undergone severe austerities, Lord Brahmā predicted that he had to die; he could not become immortal or even gain equal status with the demigods. The great austerities and penances he had performed for so many years could not give him protection from death. This was foretold by Lord Brahmā.
śrī-nārada uvāca
ity uktvādi-bhavo devo
bhakṣitāṅgaṁ pipīlikaiḥ
śrī-nāradaḥ uvāca—Śrī Nārada Muni said; iti—thus; uktvā—saying; ādi-bhavaḥ—Lord Brahmā, the original living creature within this universe; devaḥ—the principal demigod; bhakṣita-aṅgam—Hiraṇyakaśipu’s body, which had been almost completely eaten; pipīlikaiḥ—by the ants; kamaṇḍalu—from the special waterpot in the hands of Lord Brahmā; jalena—by water; aukṣat—sprinkled; divyena—which was spiritual, not ordinary; amogha—without fail; rādhasā—whose power.
Śrī Nārada Muni continued: After speaking these words to Hiraṇyakaśipu, Lord Brahmā, the original being of this universe, who is extremely powerful, sprinkled transcendental, infallible, spiritual water from his kamaṇḍalu upon Hiraṇyakaśipu’s body, which had been eaten away by ants and moths. Thus he enlivened Hiraṇyakaśipu.
Lord Brahmā is the first created being within this universe and is empowered by the Supreme Lord top create. Tene brahma hṛdā ya ādi-kavaye: the ādi deva, or ādi-kavi—the first living creature—was personally taught by the Supreme Personality of Godhead through the heart. There was no one to teach him, but since the Lord is situated within Brahmā’s heart, Brahmā was educated by the Lord Himself. Lord Brahmā, being especially empowered, is infallible in doing whatever he wants. This is the meaning of the word amogha rādhasā. He desired to restore Hiraṇyakaśipu’s original body, and therefore, by sprinkling transcendental water from his waterpot, he immediately did so.
sa tat kīcaka-valmīkāt
vajra-saṁhanano yuvā
utthitas tapta-hemābho
vibhāvasur ivaidhasaḥ
saḥ—Hiraṇyakaśipu; tat—that; kīcaka-valmīkāt—from the anthill and bamboo grove; sahaḥ—mental strength; ojaḥ—strength of the senses; bala—and sufficient bodily strength; anvitaḥ—endowed with; sarva—all; avayava—the limbs of the body; sampannaḥ—fully restored; vajra-saṁhananaḥ—having a body as strong as a thunderbolt; yuvā—young; utthitaḥ—arisen; tapta-hema-ābhaḥ—whose bodily luster became like molten gold; vibhāvasuḥ—fire; iva—like; edhasaḥ—from fuel wood.
As soon as he was sprinkled with the water from Lord Brahmā’s waterpot, Hiraṇyakaśipu arose, endowed with a full body with limbs so strong that they could bear the striking of a thunderbolt. With physical strength and a bodily luster resembling molten gold, he emerged from the anthill a completely young man, just as fire springs from fuel wood.
Hiraṇyakaśipu was revitalized, so much so that his body was quite competent to tolerate the striking of thunderbolts. He was now a young man with a strong body and a very beautiful bodily luster resembling molten gold. This is the rejuvenation that took place because of his severe austerity and penance.
sa nirīkṣyāmbare devaṁ
haṁsa-vāham upasthitam
nanāma śirasā bhūmau
saḥ—he (Hiraṇyakaśipu); nirīkṣya—seeing; ambare—in the sky; devam—the supreme demigod; haṁsa-vāham—who rides a swan airplane; upasthitam—situated before him; nanāma—offered obeisances; śirasā—with his head; bhūmau—on the ground; tat-darśana—by seeing Lord Brahmā; mahā-utsavaḥ—very much pleased.
Seeing Lord Brahmā present before him in the sky, carried by his swan airplane, Hiraṇyakaśipu was extremely pleased. He immediately fell flat with his head on the ground and began to express his obligation to the lord.
Lord Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad-gītā (9.23–24):
ye ’py anya-devatā-bhaktā
yajante śraddhayānvitāḥ
te ’pi mām eva kaunteya
yajanty avidhi-pūrvakam
“Whatever a man may sacrifice to other gods, O son of Kuntī, is really meant for Me alone, but it is offered without true understanding. I am the only enjoyer and the only object of sacrifice. Those who do not recognize My true transcendental nature fall down.”
In effect, Kṛṣṇa says, “Persons engaged in the worship of demigods are not very intelligent, although such worship is indirectly offered to Me.” For example, when a man pours water on the leaves and branches of a tree without pouring water on the root, he does so without sufficient knowledge or without observing regulative principles. The process of watering a tree is to pour water on the root. Similarly, the process of rendering service to different parts of the body is to supply food to the stomach. The demigods are, so to speak, different officers and directors in the government of the Supreme Lord. One has to follow the laws made by the government, not by the officers or directors. Similarly, everyone is to offer his worship to the Supreme Lord only. That will automatically satisfy the different officers and directors of the Lord. The officers and directors are engaged as representatives of the government, and to offer some bribe to the officers and directors is illegal. This is stated in Bhagavad-gītā as avidhi-pūrvakam. In other words, Kṛṣṇa does not approve the unnecessary worship of the demigods.
In Bhagavad-gītā it is clearly stated that there are many types of yajña performances recommended in the Vedic literatures, but actually all of them are meant for satisfying the Supreme Lord. Yajña means Viṣṇu. In the Third Chapter of Bhagavad-gītā it is clearly stated that one should work only for satisfying Yajña, or Viṣṇu. The perfectional form of human civilization, known as varṇāśrama-dharma, is specifically meant for satisfying Viṣṇu. Therefore, Kṛṣṇa says, “I am the enjoyer of all sacrifices because I am the supreme master.” However, less intelligent persons, without knowing this fact, worship demigods for temporary benefit. Therefore they fall down to material existence and do not achieve the desired goal of life. If, however, anyone has any material desire to be fulfilled, he had better pray for it to the Supreme Lord (although that is not pure devotion), and he will thus achieve the desired result.
Although Hiraṇyakaśipu offered his obeisances unto Lord Brahmā, he was strongly inimical toward Lord Viṣṇu. This is the symptom of an asura. Asuras worship the demigods as being separate from the Lord, not knowing that all the demigods are powerful because of being servants of the Lord. If the Supreme Lord were to withdraw the powers of the demigods, the demigods would no longer be able to offer benedictions to their worshipers. The difference between a devotee and a nondevotee, or asura, is that a devotee knows that Lord Viṣṇu is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and that everyone derives power from Him. Without worshiping the demigods for particular powers, a devotee worships Lord Viṣṇu, knowing that if he desires a particular power he can get that power while acting as Lord Viṣṇu’s devotee. Therefore in the śāstra (Bhāg. 2.3.10) it is recommended:
“A person who has broader intelligence, whether he be full of material desires, free from material desires, or desiring liberation, must by all means worship the supreme whole, the Personality of Godhead.” Even if a person has material desires, instead of worshiping the demigods he should pray to the Supreme Lord so that his connection with the Supreme Lord will be established and he will be saved from becoming a demon or a nondevotee. In this regard, Śrīla Madhvācārya gives the following quotation from the Brahma-tarka:
viṣṇoḥ prādhānyatas tathā
jīvasya tad-adhīnatvān
na bhinnādhikṛtaṁ vacaḥ
Since Viṣṇu is the Supreme, by worshiping Viṣṇu one can fulfill all one’s desires. There is no need to divert one’s attention to any demigod.
utthāya prāñjaliḥ prahva
īkṣamāṇo dṛśā vibhum
girā gadgadayāgṛṇāt
utthāya—getting up; prāñjaliḥ—with folded hands; prahvaḥ—in a humble manner; īkṣamāṇaḥ—seeing; dṛśā—with his eyes; vibhum—the supreme person within this universe; harṣa—of jubilation; aśru—with tears; pulaka—with hairs standing on the body; udbhedaḥ—enlivened; girā—by words; gadgadayā—faltering; agṛṇāt—prayed.
Then, getting up from the ground and seeing Lord Brahmā before him, the head of the Daityas was overwhelmed by jubilation. With tears in his eyes, his whole body shivering, he began praying in a humble mood, with folded hands and a faltering voice, to satisfy Lord Brahmā.
TEXTS 26–27
śrī-hiraṇyakaśipur uvāca
kalpānte kāla-sṛṣṭena
yo ’ndhena tamasāvṛtam
abhivyanag jagad idaṁ
svayañjyotiḥ sva-rociṣā
ātmanā tri-vṛtā cedaṁ
sṛjaty avati lumpati
parāya mahate namaḥ
śrī-hiraṇyakaśipuḥ uvāca—Hiraṇyakaśipu said; kalpa-ante—at the end of every day of Lord Brahmā; kāla-sṛṣṭena—created by the time factor; yaḥ—he who; andhena—by dense darkness; tamasā—by ignorance; āvṛtam—covered; abhivyanak—manifested; jagat—cosmic manifestation; idam—this; svayam-jyotiḥ—self-effulgent; sva-rociṣā—by his bodily rays; ātmanā—by himself; tri-vṛtā—conducted by the three modes of material nature; ca—also; idam—this material world; sṛjati—creates; avati—maintain s; lumpati—annihilates; rajaḥ—of the mode of passion; sattva—the mode of goodness; tamaḥ—and the mode of ignorance; dhāmne—unto the supreme lord; parāya—unto the supreme; mahate—unto the great; namaḥ—my respectful obeisances.
Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto the supreme lord within this universe. At the end of each day of his life, the universe is fully covered with dense darkness by the influence of time, and then again, during his next day, that self-effulgent lord, by his own effulgence, manifests, maintains and destroys the entire cosmic manifestation through the material energy, which is invested with the three modes of material nature. He, Lord Brahmā, is the shelter of those modes of nature—sattva-guṇa, rajo-guṇa and tamo-guṇa.
The words abhivyanag jagad idam refer to he who creates this cosmic manifestation. The original creator is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa (janmādy asya yataḥ [SB 1.1.1]); Lord Brahmā is the secondary creator. When Lord Brahmā is empowered by Lord Kṛṣṇa as the engineer to create the phenomenal world, he becomes the supremely powerful feature within this universe. The total material energy is created by Kṛṣṇa, and later, taking advantage of all that has necessarily been created, Lord Brahmā engineers the entire phenomenal universe. At the end of Lord Brahmā’s day, everything up to Svargaloka is inundated with water, and the next morning, when there is darkness in the universe, Brahmā again brings the phenomenal manifestation into existence. Therefore he is described here as he who manifests this universe.
Trīn guṇān vṛṇoti: Lord Brahmā takes advantage of the three modes of material nature. prakṛti, material nature, is described here as tri-vṛtā, the source of the three material modes. Śrīla Madhvācārya comments in this connection that tri-vṛtā means prakṛtyā. Thus Lord Kṛṣṇa is the original creator, and Lord Brahmā is the original engineer.
nama ādyāya bījāya
vikārair vyaktim īyuṣe
namaḥ—I offer my respectful obeisances; ādyāya—unto the original living creature; bījāya—the seed of the cosmic manifestation; jñāna—of knowledge; vijñāna—and of practical application; mūrtaye—unto the deity or form; prāṇa—of the life air; indriya—of the senses; manaḥ—of the mind; buddhi—of the intelligence; vikāraiḥ—by transformations; vyaktim—manifestation; īyuṣe—who has obtained.
I offer my obeisances to the original personality within this universe, Lord Brahmā, who is cognizant and who can apply his mind and realized intelligence in creating this cosmic manifestation. It is because of his activities that everything within the universe is visible. He is therefore the cause of all manifestations.
The Vedānta-sūtra begins by declaring that the Absolute Person is the original source of all creation (janmādy asya yataḥ [SB 1.1.1]). One may ask whether Lord Brahmā is the Supreme Absolute Person. No, the Supreme Absolute Person is Kṛṣṇa. Brahmā receives his mind, intelligence, materials and everything else from Kṛṣṇa, and then he becomes the secondary creator, the engineer of this universe. In this regard we may note that the creation does not take place accidentally, because of the explosion of a chunk. Such nonsensical theories are not accepted by Vedic students. The first created living being is Brahmā, who is endowed with perfect knowledge and intelligence by the Lord. As stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, tene brahma hṛdā ya ādi-kavaye: although Brahmā is the first created being, he is not independent, for he receives help from the Supreme Personality of Godhead through his heart. There is no one but Brahmā at the time of creation, and therefore he receives his intelligence directly from the Lord through the heart. This has been discussed in the beginning of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.
Lord Brahmā is described in this verse as the original cause of the cosmic manifestation, and this applies to his position in the material world. There are many, many such controllers, all of whom are created by the Supreme Lord, Viṣṇu. This is illustrated by an incident described in Caitanya-caritāmṛta. When the Brahmā of this particular universe was invited by Kṛṣṇa to Dvārakā, he thought that he was the only Brahmā. Therefore when Kṛṣṇa inquired from His servant which Brahmā was at the door to visit, Lord Brahmā was surprised. He replied that of course Lord Brahmā, the father of the four Kumāras, was waiting at the door. Later, Lord Brahmā asked Kṛṣṇa why He had inquired which Brahmā had come. He was then informed that there are millions of other Brahmās because there are millions of universes. Kṛṣṇa then called all the Brahmās, who immediately came to visit Him. The catur-mukha Brahmā, the four-headed Brahmā of this universe, thought himself a very insignificant creature in the presence of so many Brahmās with so many heads. Thus although there is a Brahmā who is the engineer of each universe, Kṛṣṇa is the original source of all of them.
tvam īśiṣe jagatas tasthuṣaś ca
prāṇena mukhyena patiḥ prajānām
cittasya cittair mana-indriyāṇāṁ
patir mahān bhūta-guṇāśayeśaḥ
tvam—you; īśiṣe—actually control; jagataḥ—of the moving being; tasthuṣaḥ—of the being that is dull or stationed in one place; ca—and; prāṇena—by the living force; mukhyena—the origin of all activities; patiḥ—master; prajānām—of all living entities; cittasya—of the mind; cittaiḥ—by the consciousness; manaḥ—of the mind; indriyāṇām—and of the two kinds of senses (acting and knowledge-gathering); patiḥ—the master; mahān—great; bhūta—of the material elements; guṇa—and the qualities of the material elements; āśaya—of desires; īśaḥ—the supreme master.
Your Lordship, being the origin of the life of this material world, is the master and controller of the living entities, both moving and stationary, and you inspire their consciousness. You maintain the mind and the acting and knowledge-acquiring senses, and therefore you are the great controller of all the material elements and their qualities, and you are the controller of all desires.
In this verse it is clearly indicated that the original source of everything is life. Brahmā was instructed by the supreme life, Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa is the supreme living entity (nityo nityānāṁ cetanaś cetanānām), and Brahmā is also a living entity, but the original source of Brahmā is Kṛṣṇa. Therefore Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad-gītā (7.7), mattaḥ parataraṁ nānyat kiñcid asti dhanañjaya: “O Arjuna, there is no truth superior to Me.” Kṛṣṇa is the original source of Brahmā, who is the original source of this universe. Brahmā is a representative of Kṛṣṇa, and therefore all the qualities and activities of Kṛṣṇa are also present in Lord Brahmā.
tvaṁ sapta-tantūn vitanoṣi tanvā
trayyā catur-hotraka-vidyayā ca
tvam eka ātmātmavatām anādir
ananta-pāraḥ kavir antarātmā
tvam—you; sapta-tantūn—the seven kinds of Vedic ritualistic ceremonies, beginning from the agniṣṭoma-yajña; vitanoṣi—spread; tanvā—by your body; trayyā—the three Vedas; catuḥ-hotraka—of the four kinds of Vedic priests, known as hotā, adhvaryu, brahma and udgātā; vidyayā—by the necessary knowledge; ca—also; tvam—you; ekaḥ—one; ātmā—the Supersoul; ātma-vatām—of all living entities; anādiḥ—without beginning; ananta-pāraḥ—without end; kaviḥ—the supreme inspirer; antaḥ-ātmā—the Supersoul within the core of the heart.
My dear lord, by your form as the Vedas personified and through knowledge relating to the activities of all the yajñic brāhmaṇas, you spread the Vedic ritualistic ceremonies of the seven kinds of sacrifices, headed by agniṣṭoma. Indeed, you inspire the yajñic brāhmaṇas to perform the rituals mentioned in the three Vedas. Being the Supreme Soul, the Supersoul of all living entities, you are beginningless, endless and omniscient, beyond the limits of time and space.
The Vedic ritualistic ceremonies, the knowledge thereof, and the person who agrees to perform them are inspired by the Supreme Soul. As confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā, mattaḥ smṛtir jñānam apohanaṁ ca: [Bg. 15.15] from the Lord come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness. The Supersoul is situated in everyone’s heart (sarvasya cāhaṁ hṛdi sanniviṣṭaḥ, īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe ’rjuna tiṣṭhati [Bg. 18.61]), and when one is advanced in Vedic knowledge, the Supersoul gives him directions. Acting as Supersoul, the Lord gives inspiration to a suitable person to perform the Vedic ritualistic ceremonies. In this connection, four classes of priests, known as ṛtvik, are required. They are mentioned as hotā, adhvaryu, brahma and udgātā.
tvam eva kālo ’nimiṣo janānām
āyur lavādy-avayavaiḥ kṣiṇoṣi
kūṭa-stha ātmā parameṣṭhy ajo mahāṁs
tvaṁ jīva-lokasya ca jīva ātmā
tvam—you; eva—indeed; kālaḥ—unlimited time; animiṣaḥ—unblinking; janānām—of all living entities; āyuḥ—the duration of life; lava-ādi—consisting of seconds, moments, minutes and hours; avayavaiḥ—by different parts; kṣiṇoṣi—reduce; kūṭa-sthaḥ—without being affected by anything; ātmā—the Supersoul; parameṣṭhī—the Supreme Lord; ajaḥ—the unborn; mahān—the great; tvam—you; jīva-lokasya—of this material world; ca—also; jīvaḥ—the cause of life; ātmā—the Supersoul.
O my lord, Your Lordship is eternally awake, seeing everything that happens. As eternal time, you reduce the duration of life for all living entities through your different parts, such as moments, seconds, minutes and hours. Nonetheless, you are unchanged, resting in one place as the Supersoul, witness and Supreme Lord, the birthless, all-pervading controller who is the cause of life for all living entities.
In this verse the word kūṭa-stha is very important. Although the Supreme Personality of Godhead is situated everywhere, He is the central unchanging point. Īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe ’rjuna tiṣṭhati: [Bg. 18.61] the Lord is situated in full in the core of everyone’s heart. As indicated in the Upaniṣads by the word ekatvam, although there are millions and millions of living entities, the Lord is situated as the Supersoul in every one of them. Nonetheless, He is one in many. As stated in the Brahma-saṁhitā, advaitam acyutam anādim ananta-rūpam: [Bs 5.33] He has many forms, yet they are advaita—one and unchanging. Since the Lord is all-pervading, He is also situated in eternal time. The living entities are described as parts and parcels of the Lord because He is the life and soul of all living entities, being situated within their hearts as the antaryāmī, as enunciated by the philosophy of inconceivable oneness and difference (acintya-bhedābheda). Since the living entities are part of God, they are one in quality with the Lord, yet they are different from Him. The Supersoul, who inspires all living entities to act, is one and changeless. There are varieties of subjects, objects and activities, yet the Lord is one.
tvattaḥ paraṁ nāparam apy anejad
ejac ca kiñcid vyatiriktam asti
vidyāḥ kalās te tanavaś ca sarvā
hiraṇyagarbho ’si bṛhat tri-pṛṣṭhaḥ
tvattaḥ—from you; param—higher; na—not; aparam—lower; api—even; anejat—not moving; ejat—moving; ca—and; kiñcit—anything; vyatiriktam—separate; asti—there is; vidyāḥ—knowledge; kalāḥ—its parts; te—of you; tanavaḥ—features of the body; ca—and; sarvāḥ—all; hiraṇya-garbhaḥ—the one who keeps the universe within his abdomen; asi—you are; bṛhat—greater than the greatest; tri-pṛṣṭhaḥ—transcendental to the three modes of material nature.
There is nothing separate from you, whether it be better or lower, stationary or moving. The knowledge derived from the Vedic literatures like the Upaniṣads, and from all the sub-limbs of the original Vedic knowledge, form your external body. You are Hiraṇyagarbha, the reservoir of the universe, but nonetheless, being situated as the supreme controller, you are transcendental to the material world, which consists of the three modes of material nature.
The word param means “the supreme cause,” and aparam means “the effect.” The supreme cause is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and the effect is material nature. The living entities, both moving and nonmoving, are controlled by the Vedic instructions in art and science, and therefore they are all expansions of the external energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the center as the Supersoul. The brahmāṇḍas, the universes, exist during the duration of a breath of the Supreme Lord (yasyaika-niśvasita-kālam athāvalambya jīvanti loma-vilajā jagad-aṇḍa-nāthāḥ [Bs. 5.48]). Thus they are also within the womb of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Mahā-Viṣṇu. Nothing, therefore, is separate from the Supreme Lord. This is the philosophy of .
vyaktaṁ vibho sthūlam idaṁ śarīraṁ
yenendriya-prāṇa-mano-guṇāṁs tvam
bhuṅkṣe sthito dhāmani pārameṣṭhye
avyakta ātmā puruṣaḥ purāṇaḥ
vyaktam—manifested; vibho—O my lord; sthūlam—cosmic manifestation; idam—this; śarīram—external body; yena—by which; indriya—the senses; prāṇa—the life air; manaḥ—the mind; guṇān—transcendental qualities; tvam—you; bhuṅkṣe—enjoy; sthitaḥ—situated; dhāmani—in your own abode; pārameṣṭhye—the supreme; avyaktaḥ—not manifested through ordinary knowledge; ātmā—the soul; puruṣaḥ—the supreme person; purāṇaḥ—the oldest.
O my lord, being changelessly situated in your own abode, you expand your universal form within this cosmic manifestation, thus appearing to taste the material world. You are Brahman, the Supersoul, the oldest, the Personality of Godhead.
It is said that the Absolute Truth appears in three features—namely, impersonal Brahman, localized Supersoul and ultimately the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa. The cosmic manifestation is the gross material body of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who enjoys the taste of the material mellows by expanding His parts and parcels, the living entities, who are qualitatively one with Him. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, however, is situated in the Vaikuṇṭha planets, where He enjoys the spiritual mellows. Therefore the one Absolute Truth, Bhagavān, pervades all by His material cosmic manifestation, the spiritual Brahman effulgence, and His personal existence as the Supreme Lord.
yenedam akhilaṁ tatam
tasmai bhagavate namaḥ
ananta-avyakta-rūpeṇa—by the unlimited, unmanifested form; yena—by which; idam—this; akhilam—total aggregate; tatam—expanded; cit—with spiritual; acit—and material; śakti—potency; yuktāya—unto he who is endowed; tasmai—unto him; bhagavate—unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead; namaḥ—I offer my respectful obeisances.
Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme, who in his unlimited, unmanifested form has expanded the cosmic manifestation, the form of the totality of the universe. He possesses external and internal energies and the mixed energy called the marginal potency, which consists of all the living entities.
The Lord is endowed with unlimited potencies (parāsya śaktir vividhaiva śrūyate), which are summarized as three, namely external, internal and marginal. The external potency manifests this material world, the internal potency manifests the spiritual world, and the marginal potency manifests the living entities, who are mixtures of internal and external. The living entity, being part and parcel of Parabrahman, is actually internal potency, but because of being in contact with the material energy, he is an emanation of material and spiritual energies. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is above the material energy and is engaged in spiritual pastimes. The material energy is only an external manifestation of His pastimes.
yadi dāsyasy abhimatān
varān me varadottama
bhūtebhyas tvad-visṛṣṭebhyo
mṛtyur mā bhūn mama prabho
yadi—if; dāsyasi—you will give; abhimatān—the desired; varān—benedictions; me—unto me; varada-uttama—O best of all benedictors; bhūtebhyaḥ—from living entities; tvat—by you; visṛṣṭebhyaḥ—who are created; mṛtyuḥ—death; —not; bhūt—let there be; mama—my; prabho—O my lord.
O my lord, O best of the givers of benediction, if you will kindly grant me the benediction I desire, please let me not meet death from any of the living entities created by you.
After being created from the navel of Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, Lord Brahmā, the original created living being within the universe, created many other different types of living entities to reside in this universe. Therefore, from the beginning of creation, the living entities were born of a superior living entity. Ultimately, Kṛṣṇa is the supreme living being, the father of all others. Ahaṁ bīja-pradaḥ pitā: He is the seed-giving father of all living entities.
Thus far, Hiraṇyakaśipu has adored Lord Brahmā as the Supreme Personality of Godhead and has expected to become immortal by the benediction of Lord Brahmā. Now, however, having come to understand that even Lord Brahmā is not immortal because at the end of the millennium Lord Brahmā will also die, Hiraṇyakaśipu is very carefully asking him for benedictions that will be almost as good as immortality. His first proposal is that he not be killed by any of the different forms of living entities created by Lord Brahmā within this material world.
nāntar bahir divā naktam
anyasmād api cāyudhaiḥ
na bhūmau nāmbare mṛtyur
na narair na mṛgair api
na—not; antaḥ—inside (the palace or home); bahiḥ—outside the home; divā—during the daytime; naktam—during the night; anyasmāt—from any others beyond Lord Brahmā; api—even; ca—also; ayudhaiḥ—by any weapons used within this material world; na—nor; bhūmau—on the ground; na—not; ambare—in the sky; mṛtyuḥ—death; na—not; naraiḥ—by any men; na—nor; mṛgaiḥ—by any animal; api—also.
Grant me that I not die within any residence or outside any residence, during the daytime or at night, nor on the ground or in the sky. Grant me that my death not be brought by any being other than those created by you, nor by any weapon, nor by any human being or animal.
Hiraṇyakaśipu was very much afraid of Viṣṇu’s becoming an animal to kill him because his brother had been killed by Viṣṇu when the Lord took the shape of a boar. He was therefore very careful to guard against all kinds of animals. But even without taking the shape of an animal, Viṣṇu could kill him by hurling His Sudarśana cakra, which can go anywhere without the Lord’s physical presence. Therefore Hiraṇyakaśipu was careful to guard against all kinds of weapons. He guarded against all kinds of time, space and countries because he was afraid of being killed by someone else in another land. There are many other planets, higher and lower, and therefore he prayed for the benediction of not being killed by any resident of any of these planets. There are three original deities—Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśvara. Hiraṇyakaśipu knew that Brahmā would not kill him, but he also wanted not to be killed by Lord Viṣṇu or Lord Śiva. Consequently, he prayed for such a benediction. Thus Hiraṇyakaśipu thought himself securely protected from any kind of death caused by any living entity within this universe. He also carefully guarded against natural death, which might take place within his house or outside of the house.
TEXTS 37–38
vyasubhir vāsumadbhir vā
apratidvandvatāṁ yuddhe
aika-patyaṁ ca dehinām
sarveṣāṁ loka-pālānāṁ
mahimānaṁ yathātmanaḥ
yan na riṣyati karhicit
vyasubhiḥ—by things that have no life; —or; asumadbhiḥ—by entities that have life; —or; sura—by the demigods; asura—the demons; mahā-uragaiḥ—by the great serpents who live on the lower planets; apratidvandvatām—without a rival; yuddhe—in battle; aika-patyam—supremacy; ca—and; dehinām—over those who have material bodies; sarveṣām—of all; loka-pālānām—the predominating deities of all planets; mahimānam—the glory; yathā—just as; ātmanaḥ—of yourself; tapaḥ-yoga-prabhāvāṇām—of those whose power is obtained by austerities and the practice of mystic yoga; yat—which; na—never; riṣyati—is destroyed; karhicit—at any time.
Grant me that I not meet death from any entity, living or nonliving. Grant me, further, that I not be killed by any demigod or demon or by any great snake from the lower planets. Since no one can kill you in the battlefield, you have no competitor. Therefore, grant me the benediction that I too may have no rival. Give me sole lordship over all the living entities and presiding deities, and give me all the glories obtained by that position. Furthermore, give me all the mystic powers attained by long austerities and the practice of yoga, for these cannot be lost at any time.
Lord Brahmā obtained his supreme position due to long austerities and penances, mystic yoga, meditation and so on. Hiraṇyakaśipu wanted a similar position. The ordinary powers achieved by mystic yoga, austerities and other processes are sometimes vanquished, but the powers obtained by the mercy of the Lord are never vanquished. Hiraṇyakaśipu, therefore, wanted a benediction that would never be vanquished.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the Seventh Canto, Third Chapter, of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, entitled “Hiraṇyakaśipu’s Plan to Become Immortal.”

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