Chapter Twelve
The Mohinī-mūrti Incarnation Bewilders Lord Śiva
This chapter describes how Lord Śiva was bewildered upon seeing the beautiful Mohinī-mūrti incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and how he later came to his senses. When Lord Śiva heard about the pastimes performed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, in the form of an attractive woman, he mounted his bull and went to see the Lord. Accompanied by his wife, Umā, and his servants, the bhūta-gaṇa, or ghosts, he approached the lotus feet of the Lord. Lord Śiva offered obeisances to the Supreme Lord as the all-pervading Lord, the universal form, the supreme controller of creation, the Supersoul, the resting place for everyone, and the completely independent cause of all causes. Thus he offered prayers giving truthful descriptions of the Lord. Then he expressed his desire. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is very kind to His devotees. Therefore, to fulfill the desire of His devotee Lord Śiva, He expanded His energy and manifested Himself in the form of a very beautiful and attractive woman. Upon seeing this form, even Lord Śiva was captivated. Later, by the grace of the Lord, he controlled himself. This demonstrates that by the power of the Lord’s external energy, everyone is captivated by the form of woman in this material world. Again, however, by the grace of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one can overcome the influence of māyā. This was evinced by Lord Śiva, the topmost devotee of the Lord. First he was captivated, but later, by the grace of the Lord, he restrained himself. It is declared in this connection that only a pure devotee can restrain himself from the attractive feature of māyā. Otherwise, once a living entity is trapped by the external feature of māyā, he cannot overcome it. After Lord Śiva was graced by the Supreme Lord, he circumambulated the Lord along with his wife, Bhavānī, and his companions, the ghosts. Then he left for his own abode. Śukadeva Gosvāmī concludes this chapter by describing the transcendental qualities of Uttamaśloka, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and by declaring that one can glorify the Lord by nine kinds of devotional service, beginning with śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ
śrī-bādarāyaṇir uvāca
vṛṣa-dhvajo niśamyedaṁ
yoṣid-rūpeṇa dānavān
mohayitvā sura-gaṇān
hariḥ somam apāyayat
vṛṣam āruhya giriśaḥ
sarva-bhūta-gaṇair vṛtaḥ
saha devyā yayau draṣṭuṁ
yatrāste madhusūdanaḥ
śrī-bādarāyaṇiḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; vṛṣa-dhvajaḥ—Lord Śiva, who is carried by a bull; niśamya—hearing; idam—this (news); yoṣit-rūpeṇa—by assuming the form of a woman; dānavān—the demons; mohayitvā—enchanting; sura-gaṇān—unto the demigods; hariḥ—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; somam—nectar; apāyayat—caused to drink; vṛṣam—the bull; āruhya—mounting; giriśaḥ—Lord Śiva; sarva—all; bhūta-gaṇaiḥ—by the ghosts; vṛtaḥ—surrounded; saha devyā—with Umā; yayau—went; draṣṭum—to see; yatra—where; āste—stays; madhusūdanaḥ—Lord Viṣṇu.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, in the form of a woman, captivated the demons and enabled the demigods to drink the nectar. After hearing of these pastimes, Lord Śiva, who is carried by a bull, went to the place where Madhusūdana, the Lord, resides. Accompanied by his wife, Umā, and surrounded by his companions, the ghosts, Lord Śiva went there to see the Lord’s form as a woman.
sabhājito bhagavatā
sādaraṁ somayā bhavaḥ
sūpaviṣṭa uvācedaṁ
pratipūjya smayan harim
sabhājitaḥ—well received; bhagavatā—by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu; sa-ādaram—with great respect (as befitting Lord Śiva); sa-umayā—with Umā; bhavaḥ—Lord Śambhu (Lord Śiva); su-upaviṣṭaḥ—being comfortably situated; uvāca—said; idam—this; pratipūjya—offering respect; smayan—smiling; harim—unto the Lord.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead welcomed Lord Śiva and Umā with great respect, and after being seated comfortably, Lord Śiva duly worshiped the Lord and smilingly spoke as follows.
śrī-mahādeva uvāca
deva-deva jagad-vyāpiñ
jagad-īśa jagan-maya
sarveṣām api bhāvānāṁ
tvam ātmā hetur īśvaraḥ
śrī-mahādevaḥ uvāca—Lord Śiva (Mahādeva) said; deva-deva—O best demigod among the demigods; jagat-vyāpin—O all-pervading Lord; jagat-īśa—O master of the universe; jagat-maya—O my Lord, who are transformed by Your energy into this creation; sarveṣām api—all kinds of; bhāvānām—situations; tvam—You; ātmā—the moving force; hetuḥ—because of this; īśvaraḥ—the Supreme Lord, Parameśvara.
Lord Mahādeva said: O chief demigod among the demigods, O all-pervading Lord, master of the universe, by Your energy You are transformed into the creation. You are the root and efficient cause of everything. You are not material. Indeed, You are the Supersoul or supreme living force of everything. Therefore, You are Parameśvara, the supreme controller of all controllers.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu, resides within the material world as the sattva-guṇa-avatāra. Lord Śiva is the tamo-guṇa-avatāra, and Lord Brahmā is the rajo-guṇa-avatāra, but although Lord Viṣṇu is among them, He is not in the same category. Lord Viṣṇu is deva-deva, the chief of all the demigods. Since Lord Śiva is in this material world, the energy of the Supreme Lord, Viṣṇu, includes Lord Śiva. Lord Viṣṇu is therefore called jagad-vyāpī, “the all-pervading Lord.” Lord Śiva is sometimes called Maheśvara, and so people think that Lord Śiva is everything. But here Lord Śiva addresses Lord Viṣṇu as Jagad-īśa, “the master of the universe.” Lord Śiva is sometimes called Viśveśvara, but here he addresses Lord Viṣṇu as Jagan-maya, indicating that even Viśveśvara is under Lord Viṣṇu’s control. Lord Viṣṇu is the master of the spiritual world, yet He controls the material world also, as stated in Bhagavad-gītā (mayādhyakṣeṇa prakṛtiḥ sūyate sacarācaram [Bg. 9.10]). Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva are also sometimes called īśvara, but the supreme īśvara is Lord Viṣṇu, Lord Kṛṣṇa. As stated in Brahma-saṁhitā, īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ: [Bs. 5.1] the Supreme Lord is Kṛṣṇa, Lord Viṣṇu. Everything in existence works in proper order because of Lord Viṣṇu. Aṇḍāntara-stha-paramāṇu-cayāntara-stham. Even paramāṇu, the small atoms, work because of Lord Viṣṇu’s presence within them.
ādy-antāv asya yan madhyam
idam anyad ahaṁ bahiḥ
yato ’vyayasya naitāni
tat satyaṁ brahma cid bhavān
ādi—the beginning; antau—and the end; asya—of this manifested cosmos or of anything material or visible; yat—that which; madhyam—between the beginning and the end, the sustenance; idam—this cosmic manifestation; anyat—anything other than You; aham—the wrong mental conception; bahiḥ—outside of You; yataḥ—because of; avyayasya—the inexhaustible; na—not; etāni—all these differences; tat—that; satyam—the Absolute Truth; brahma—the Supreme; cit—spiritual; bhavān—Your Lordship.
The manifest, the unmanifest, false ego and the beginning, maintenance and annihilation of this cosmic manifestation all come from You, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. But because You are the Absolute Truth, the supreme absolute spirit soul, the Supreme Brahman, such changes as birth, death and sustenance do not exist in You.
According to the Vedic mantras, yato imāni bhūtāni jāyante: everything is an emanation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As stated by the Lord Himself in Bhagavad-gītā (7.4):
bhūmir āpo ’nalo vāyuḥ
khaṁ mano buddhir eva ca
ahaṅkāra itīyaṁ me
bhinnā prakṛtir aṣṭadhā
“Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego—all together these eight comprise My separated material energies.” In other words, the ingredients of the cosmic manifestation also consist of the energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This does not mean, however, that because the ingredients come from Him, He is no longer complete. pūrṇasya pūrṇam ādāya pūrṇam evāvaśiṣyate: “Because He is the complete whole, even though so many complete units emanate from Him, He remains the complete balance.” Thus the Lord is called avyaya, inexhaustible. Unless we accept the Absolute Truth as acintya-bhedābheda, simultaneously one and different, we cannot have a clear conception of the Absolute Truth. The Lord is the root of everything. Aham ādir hi devānām: He is the original cause of all the devas, or demigods. Ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavaḥ: everything emanates from Him. In all cases—nominative, objective, positive, negative and so on—whatever we may conceive of in this entire cosmic manifestation is in fact the Supreme Lord. For Him there are no such distinctions as “this is mine, and this belongs to someone else,” because He is everything. He is therefore called avyaya—changeless and inexhaustible. Because the Supreme Lord is avyaya, He is the Absolute Truth, the fully spiritual Supreme Brahman.
tavaiva caraṇāmbhojaṁ
śreyas-kāmā nirāśiṣaḥ
visṛjyobhayataḥ saṅgaṁ
munayaḥ samupāsate
tava—Your; eva—indeed; caraṇa-ambhojam—lotus feet; śreyaḥ-kāmāḥ—persons desiring the ultimate auspiciousness, the ultimate goal of life; nirāśiṣaḥ—without material desire; visṛjya—giving up; ubhayataḥ—in this life and the next; saṅgam—attachment; munayaḥ—great sages; samupāsate—worship.
Pure devotees or great saintly persons who desire to achieve the highest goal in life and who are completely free from all material desires for sense gratification engage constantly in the transcendental service of Your lotus feet.
One is in the material world when he thinks, “I am this body, and everything with reference to my body is mine.” Ato gṛha-kṣetra-sutāpta-vittair janasya moho ’yam ahaṁ mameti [SB 5.5.8]. This is the symptom of material life. In the materialistic conception of life, one thinks, “This is my house, this is my land, this is my family, this is my state,” and so on. But those who are munayaḥ, saintly persons following in the footsteps of Nārada Muni, simply engage in the transcendental loving service of the Lord without any personal desire for sense gratification. Anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyaṁ jñāna-karmādy-anāvṛtam [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]. Either in this life or in the next, the only concern of such saintly devotees is to serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus they are also absolute because they have no other desires. Being freed from the dualities of material desire, they are called śreyas-kāmāḥ. In other words, they are not concerned with dharma (religiosity), artha (economic development), or kāma (sense gratification). The only concern of such devotees is mokṣa, liberation. This mokṣa does not refer to becoming one with the Supreme like the Māyāvādī philosophers. Caitanya Mahāprabhu explained that real mokṣa means taking shelter of the lotus feet of the Personality of Godhead. The Lord clearly explained this fact while instructing Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya. Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya wanted to correct the word mukti-pade in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, but Caitanya Mahāprabhu informed him that there is no need to correct any word in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. He explained that mukti-pade refers to the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu, who offers mukti and is therefore called Mukunda. A pure devotee is not concerned with material things. He is not concerned with religiosity, economic development or sense gratification. He is interested only in serving the lotus feet of the Lord.
tvaṁ brahma pūrṇam amṛtaṁ viguṇaṁ viśokam
ānanda-mātram avikāram ananyad anyat
viśvasya hetur udaya-sthiti-saṁyamānām
ātmeśvaraś ca tad-apekṣatayānapekṣaḥ
tvam—Your Lordship; brahma—the all-pervading Absolute Truth; pūrṇam—fully complete; amṛtam—never to be vanquished; viguṇam—spiritually situated, free from the material modes of nature; viśokam—without lamentation; ānanda-mātram—always in transcendental bliss; avikāram—changeless; ananyat—separated from everything; anyat—yet You are everything; viśvasya—of the cosmic manifestation; hetuḥ—the cause; udaya—of the beginning; sthiti—maintenance; saṁyamānām—and of all the directors controlling the various departments of the cosmic manifestation; ātma-īśvaraḥ—the Supersoul giving direction to everyone; ca—also; tat-apekṣatayā—everyone depends upon You; anapekṣaḥ—always fully independent.
My Lord, You are the Supreme Brahman, complete in everything. Being completely spiritual, You are eternal, free from the material modes of nature, and full of transcendental bliss. Indeed, for You there is no question of lamentation. Since You are the supreme cause, the cause of all causes, nothing can exist without You. Yet we are different from You in a relationship of cause and effect, for in one sense the cause and effect are different. You are the original cause of creation, manifestation and annihilation, and You bestow benedictions upon all living entities. Everyone depends upon You for the results of his activities, but You are always independent.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead says in Bhagavad-gītā (9.4):
“By Me, in My unmanifested form, this entire universe is pervaded. All beings are in Me, but I am not in them.” This explains the philosophy of simultaneous oneness and difference, known as acintya-bhedābheda. Everything is the Supreme Brahman, the Personality of Godhead, yet the Supreme Person is differently situated from everything. Indeed, because the Lord is differently situated from everything material, He is the Supreme Brahman, the supreme cause, the supreme controller. Īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahaḥ [Bs. 5.1]. The Lord is the supreme cause, and His form has nothing to do with the material modes of nature. The devotee prays: “As Your devotee is completely free from all desires, Your Lordship is also completely free from desires. You are fully independent. Although all living entities engage in Your service, You do not depend on the service of anyone. Although this material world is created complete by You, everything depends on Your sanction. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā, mattaḥ smṛtir jñānam apohanaṁ ca: [Bg. 15.15] remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness come from You. Nothing can be done independently, yet You act independently of the service rendered by Your servants. The living entities depend on Your mercy for liberation, but when You want to give them liberation, You do not depend on anyone else. Indeed, by Your causeless mercy, You can give liberation to anyone. Those who receive Your mercy are called kṛpā-siddha. To reach the platform of perfection takes many, many lives (bahūnāṁ janmanām ante jñānavān māṁ prapadyate [Bg. 7.19]). Nonetheless, even without undergoing severe austerities, one can attain perfection by Your mercy. Devotional service should be unmotivated and free from impediments (ahaituky apratihatā yayātmā suprasīdati). This is the position of nirāśiṣaḥ, or freedom from expectations for results. A pure devotee continuously offers transcendental loving service to You, but You may nonetheless offer mercy to anyone, without depending on his service.”
ekas tvam eva sad asad dvayam advayaṁ ca
svarṇaṁ kṛtākṛtam iveha na vastu-bhedaḥ
ajñānatas tvayi janair vihito vikalpo
yasmād guṇa-vyatikaro nirupādhikasya
ekaḥ—the only one; tvam—Your Lordship; eva—indeed; sat—which is existing, as the effect; asat—which is nonexistent, as the cause; dvayam—both of them; advayam—without duality; ca—and; svarṇam—gold; kṛta—manufactured into different forms; ākṛtam—the original source of gold (the gold mine); iva—like; iha—in this world; na—not; vastu-bhedaḥ—difference in the substance; ajñānataḥ—only because of ignorance; tvayi—unto You; janaiḥ—by the general mass of people; vihitaḥ—it should be done; vikalpaḥ—differentiation; yasmāt—because of; guṇa-vyatikaraḥ—free from the differences created by the material modes of nature; nirupādhikasya—without any material designation.
My dear Lord, Your Lordship alone is the cause and the effect. Therefore, although You appear to be two, You are the absolute one. As there is no difference between the gold of a golden ornament and the gold in a mine, there is no difference between cause and effect; both of them are the same. Only because of ignorance do people concoct differences and dualities. You are free from material contamination, and since the entire cosmos is caused by You and cannot exist without You, it is an effect of Your transcendental qualities. Thus the conception that Brahman is true and the world false cannot be maintained.
Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura says that the living entities are representations of the Supreme Personality of Godhead’s marginal potency whereas the various bodies accepted by the living entities are products of the material energy. Thus the body is considered material, and the soul is considered spiritual. The origin of them both, however, is the same Supreme Personality of Godhead. As the Lord explains in Bhagavad-gītā (7.4–5):
bhūmir āpo ’nalo vāyuḥ
khaṁ mano buddhir eva ca
ahaṅkāra itīyaṁ me
bhinnā prakṛtir aṣṭadhā
“Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego—all together these eight comprise My separated material energies. But besides this inferior nature, O mighty-armed Arjuna, there is a superior energy of Mine, which consists of all living entities who are struggling with material nature and are sustaining the universe.” Thus both matter and the living entities are manifestations of energy of the Supreme Lord. Since the energy and the energetic are not different and since the material and marginal energies are both energies of the supreme energetic, the Supreme Lord, ultimately the Supreme Personality of Godhead is everything. In this regard, the example may be given of gold that has not been molded and gold that has been molded into various ornaments. A gold earring and the gold in a mine are different only as cause and effect; otherwise they are the same. The Vedānta-sūtra describes that Brahman is the cause of everything. Janmādy asya yataḥ [SB 1.1.1]. Everything is born of the Supreme Brahman, from which everything emanates as different energies. None of these energies, therefore, should be considered false. The Māyāvādīs’ differentiation between Brahman and māyā is only due to ignorance.
Śrīmad Vīrarāghava Ācārya, in his Bhāgavata-candra-candrikā, describes the Vaiṣṇava philosophy as follows. The cosmic manifestation is described as sat and asat, as cit and acit. Matter is acit, and the living force is cit, but their origin is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in whom there is no difference between matter and spirit. According to this conception, the cosmic manifestation, consisting of both matter and spirit, is not different from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Idaṁ hi viśvaṁ bhagavān ivetaraḥ: “This cosmic manifestation is also the Supreme Personality of Godhead, although it appears different from Him.” In Bhagavad-gītā (9.4) the Lord says:
“By Me, in My unmanifested form, this entire universe is pervaded. All beings are in Me, but I am not in them.” Thus although someone may say that the Supreme Person is different from the cosmic manifestation, actually He is not. The Lord says, mayā tatam idaṁ sarvam: “In My impersonal feature I am spread throughout the world.” Therefore, this world is not different from Him. The difference is a difference in names. For example, whether we speak of gold earrings, gold bangles or gold necklaces, ultimately they are all gold. In a similar way, all the different manifestations of matter and spirit are ultimately one in the Supreme Personality of Godhead. ekam evādvitīyaṁ brahma. This is the Vedic version (Chāndogya Upaniṣad 6.2.1). There is oneness because everything emanates from the Supreme Brahman. The example already given is that there is no difference between a golden earring and the gold mine as it is. The Vaiśeṣika philosophers, however, because of their Māyāvāda conception, create differences. They say, brahma satyaṁ jagan mithyā: “The Absolute Truth is real, and the cosmic manifestation is false.” But why should the jagat be considered mithyā? The jagat is an emanation from Brahman. Therefore the jagat is also truth.
Vaiṣṇavas, therefore, do not consider the jagat to be mithyā; rather, they regard everything as reality in connection with the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
“Things should be accepted for the Lord’s service and not for one’s personal sense gratification. If one accepts something without attachment and accepts it because it is related to Kṛṣṇa, one’s renunciation is called yuktaṁ vairāgyam. Whatever is favorable for the rendering of service to the Lord should be accepted and should not be rejected as a material thing.” (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.2.255–256) The jagat should not be rejected as mithyā. It is truth, and the truth is realized when everything is engaged in the service of the Lord. A flower accepted for one’s sense gratification is material, but when the same flower is offered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead by a devotee, it is spiritual. Food taken and cooked for oneself is material, but food cooked for the Supreme Lord is spiritual prasāda. This is a question of realization. Actually, everything is given by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and therefore everything is spiritual, but those who are not advanced in proper knowledge make distinctions because of the interactions of the three modes of material nature. In this regard, Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī says that although the sun is the only light, the sunshine, which is exhibited in seven colors, and darkness, which is the absence of sunshine, are not different from the sun, for without the existence of the sun such differentiations cannot exist. There may be varied nomenclature because of different conditions, but they are all the sun. The purāṇas therefore say:
“Just as the illumination of a fire, which is situated in one place, is spread all over, the energies of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Parabrahman, are spread all over this universe.” (Viṣṇu Purāṇa 1.22.53) Materially, we can directly perceive the sunshine spreading itself according to different names and activities, but ultimately the sun is one. Similarly, sarvaṁ khalv idaṁ brahma: everything is an expansion of the Supreme Brahman. Therefore, the Supreme Lord is everything, and He is one without differentiation. There is no existence separate from the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
tvāṁ brahma kecid avayanty uta dharmam eke
eke paraṁ sad-asatoḥ puruṣaṁ pareśam
anye ’vayanti nava-śakti-yutaṁ paraṁ tvāṁ
kecin mahā-puruṣam avyayam ātma-tantram
tvām—You; brahma—the supreme truth, the Absolute Truth, Brahman; kecit—some people, namely the group of Māyāvādīs known as the Vedāntists; avayanti—consider; uta—certainly; dharmam—religion; eke—some others; eke—some others; param—transcendental; sat-asatoḥ—to both cause and effect; puruṣam—the Supreme person; pareśam—the supreme controller; anye—others; avayanti—describe; nava-śakti-yutam—endowed with nine potencies; param—transcendental; tvām—unto You; kecit—some; mahā-puruṣam—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; avyayam—without loss of energy; ātma-tantram—supremely independent.
Those who are known as the impersonalist Vedāntists regard You as the impersonal Brahman. Others, known as the Mīmāṁsaka philosophers, regard You as religion. The Sāṅkhya philosophers regard You as the transcendental person who is beyond prakṛti and puruṣa and who is the controller of even the demigods. The followers of the codes of devotional service known as the Pañcarātras regard You as being endowed with nine different potencies. And the Patañjala philosophers, the followers of Patañjali Muni, regard You as the supreme independent Personality of Godhead, who has no equal or superior.
nāhaṁ parāyur ṛṣayo na marīci-mukhyā
jānanti yad-viracitaṁ khalu sattva-sargāḥ
yan-māyayā muṣita-cetasa īśa daitya-
martyādayaḥ kim uta śaśvad-abhadra-vṛttāḥ
na—neither; aham—I; para-āyuḥ—that personality who lives for millions and millions of years (Lord Brahmā); ṛṣayaḥ—the seven ṛṣis of the seven planets; na—nor; marīci-mukhyāḥ—headed by Marīci Ṛṣi; jānanti—know; yat—by whom (the Supreme Lord); viracitam—this universe, which has been created; khalu—indeed; sattva-sargāḥ—although born in the mode of material goodness; yat-māyayā—by the influence of whose energy; muṣita-cetasaḥ—their hearts are bewildered; īśa—O my Lord; daitya—the demons; martya-ādayaḥ—the human beings and others; kim uta—what to speak of; śaśvat—always; abhadra-vṛttāḥ—influenced by the base qualities of material nature.
O my Lord, I, who am considered to be the best of the demigods, and Lord Brahmā and the great ṛṣis, headed by Marīci, are born of the mode of goodness. Nonetheless, we are bewildered by Your illusory energy and cannot understand what this creation is. Aside from us, what is to be said of others, like the demons and human beings, who are in the base modes of material nature [rajo-guṇa and tamo-guṇa]? How will they know You?
Factually speaking, even those who are situated in the material mode of goodness cannot understand the position of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. What then is to be said of those who are situated in rajo-guṇa and tamo-guṇa, the base qualities of material nature? How can we even imagine the Supreme Personality of Godhead? There are so many philosophers trying to understand the Absolute Truth, but since they are situated in the base qualities of material nature and are addicted to so many bad habits, like drinking, meat-eating, illicit sex and gambling, how can they conceive of the Supreme Personality of Godhead? For them it is impossible. For the present day, the pāñcarātrikī-vidhi as enunciated by Nārada Muni is the only hope. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, therefore, has quoted the following verse from the Brahma-yāmala:
pañcarātra-vidhiṁ vinā
aikāntikī harer bhaktir
utpātāyaiva kalpate
pañcarātra-vidhiṁ vinā
aikāntikī harer bhaktir
utpātāyaiva kalpate
“Devotional service of the Lord that ignores the authorized Vedic literatures like the Upaniṣads, Purāṇas and Nārada-pañcarātra is simply an unnecessary disturbance in society.” Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.2.1011.2.101]
“Devotional service of the Lord that ignores the authorized Vedic literatures like the Upaniṣads, purāṇas and Nārada-pañcarātra is simply an unnecessary disturbance in society.” (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.2.101) Those who are very advanced in knowledge and are situated in the mode of goodness follow the Vedic instructions of the śruti and smṛti and other religious scriptures, including the pāñcarātrikī-vidhi. Without understanding the Supreme Personality of Godhead in this way, one only creates a disturbance. In this age of Kali, so many gurus have sprung up, and because they do not refer to the śruti-smṛti-purāṇādi-pañcarātrika-vidhi [BRS
pañcarātra-vidhiṁ vinā
aikāntikī harer bhaktir
utpātāyaiva kalpate
“Devotional service of the Lord that ignores the authorized Vedic literatures like the Upaniṣads, Purāṇas and Nārada-pañcarātra is simply an unnecessary disturbance in society.” Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.2.1011.2.101], they are creating a great disturbance in the world in regard to understanding the Absolute Truth. However, those who follow the pāñcarātrikī-vidhi under the guidance of a proper spiritual master can understand the Absolute Truth. It is said, pañcarātrasya kṛtsnasya vaktā tu bhagavān svayam: the pañcarātra system is spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, just like Bhagavad-gītā. Vāsudeva-śaraṇā vidur añjasaiva: the truth can be understood only by one who has taken shelter of the lotus feet of Vāsudeva.
“After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.” (Bg. 7.19) Only those who have surrendered to the lotus feet of Vāsudeva can understand the Absolute Truth.
“By rendering devotional service unto the Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, one immediately acquires causeless knowledge and detachment from the world.” (Bhāg. 1.2.7) Therefore, Vāsudeva, Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa, personally teaches in Bhagavad-gītā:
“Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me.” (Bg. 18.66)
“One can understand the Supreme Personality as He is only by devotional service.” (Bg. 18.55) The Supreme Personality of Godhead is not properly understood even by Lord Śiva or Lord Brahmā, what to speak of others, but He can be understood by the process of bhakti-yoga.
(Bg. 7.1)
If one practices bhakti-yoga by taking shelter of Vāsudeva, Kṛṣṇa, simply by hearing Vāsudeva speak about Himself, one can understand everything about Him. Indeed, one can understand Him completely (samagram).
sa tvaṁ samīhitam adaḥ sthiti-janma-nāśaṁ
bhūtehitaṁ ca jagato bhava-bandha-mokṣau
vāyur yathā viśati khaṁ ca carācarākhyaṁ
sarvaṁ tad-ātmakatayāvagamo ’varuntse
saḥ—Your Lordship; tvam—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; samīhitam—which has been created (by You); adaḥ—of this material cosmic manifestation; sthiti-janma-nāśam—creation, maintenance and annihilation; bhūta—of the living entities; īhitam ca—and the different activities or endeavors; jagataḥ—of the whole world; bhava-bandha-mokṣau—in being implicated and being liberated from material complications; vāyuḥ—the air; yathā—as; viśati—enters; kham—in the vast sky; ca—and; cara-acara-ākhyam—and everything, moving and nonmoving; sarvam—everything; tat—that; ātmakatayā—because of Your presence; avagamaḥ—everything is known to You; avaruntse—You are all-pervading and therefore know everything.
My Lord, You are the supreme knowledge personified. You know everything about this creation and its beginning, maintenance and annihilation, and You know all the endeavors made by the living entities, by which they are either implicated in this material world or liberated from it. As the air enters the vast sky and also enters the bodies of all moving and nonmoving entities, You are present everywhere, and therefore You are the knower of all.
As stated in the Brahma-saṁhitā:
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 by one of His plenary portions enters the existence of every universe and every atomic particle and thus manifests His infinite energy unlimitedly throughout the material creation.” (Brahma-saṁhitā 5.35)
tābhir ya eva nija-rūpatayā kalābhiḥ
goloka eva nivasaty akhilātma-bhūto
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
“I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who resides in His own realm, Goloka, with Rādhā, who resembles His own spiritual figure and who embodies the ecstatic potency [hlādinī]. Their companions are Her confidantes, who embody extensions of Her bodily form and who are imbued and permeated with ever-blissful spiritual rasa.” (Brahma-saṁhitā 5.37)
Although Govinda is always present in His abode (goloka eva nivasati), He is simultaneously present everywhere. Nothing is unknown to Him, and nothing can be hidden from Him. The example given here compares the Lord to the air, which is within the vast sky and within every body but still is different from everything.
avatārā mayā dṛṣṭā
ramamāṇasya te guṇaiḥ
so ’haṁ tad draṣṭum icchāmi
yat te yoṣid-vapur dhṛtam
avatārāḥ—incarnations; mayā—by me; dṛṣṭāḥ—have been seen; ramamāṇasya—while You demonstrate Your various pastimes; te—of You; guṇaiḥ—by the manifestations of transcendental qualities; saḥ—Lord Śiva; aham—I; tat—that incarnation; draṣṭum icchāmi—wish to see; yat—which; te—of You; yoṣit-vapuḥ—the body of a woman; dhṛtam—was accepted.
My Lord, I have seen all kinds of incarnations You have exhibited by Your transcendental qualities, and now that You have appeared as a beautiful young woman, I wish to see that form of Your Lordship.
When Lord Śiva approached Lord Viṣṇu, Lord Viṣṇu inquired about the purpose for Lord Śiva’s coming there. Now Lord Śiva discloses his desire. He wanted to see the recent incarnation of Mohinī-mūrti, which Lord Viṣṇu had assumed to distribute the nectar generated from the churning of the ocean of milk.
yena sammohitā daityāḥ
pāyitāś cāmṛtaṁ surāḥ
tad didṛkṣava āyātāḥ
paraṁ kautūhalaṁ hi naḥ
yena—by such an incarnation; sammohitāḥ—were captivated; daityāḥ—the demons; pāyitāḥ—were fed; ca—also; amṛtam—nectar; surāḥ—the demigods; tat—that form; didṛkṣavaḥ—desiring to see; āyātāḥ—we have come here; param—very much; kautūhalam—great eagerness; hi—indeed; naḥ—of ourselves.
My Lord, we have come here desiring to see that form of Your Lordship which You showed to the demons to captivate them completely and in this way enable the demigods to drink nectar. I am very eager to see that form.
śrī-śuka uvāca
evam abhyarthito viṣṇur
bhagavān śūla-pāṇinā
prahasya bhāva-gambhīraṁ
giriśaṁ pratyabhāṣata
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; evam—in this way; abhyarthitaḥ—being requested; viṣṇuḥ bhagavān—Lord Viṣṇu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead; śūla-pāṇinā—by Lord Śiva, who carries a trident in his hand; prahasya—laughing; bhāva-gambhīram—with serious gravity; giriśam—unto Lord Śiva; pratyabhāṣata—replied.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: When Lord Viṣṇu was thus requested by Lord Śiva, who carries a trident in his hand, He smiled with gravity and replied to Lord Śiva as follows.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu, is known as Yogeśvara. Yatra yogeśvaraḥ kṛṣṇaḥ. Mystic yogīs want to acquire some power by practicing the yoga system, but Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is known as the Supreme Lord of all mystic power. Lord Śiva wanted to see the Mohinī-mūrti, which was captivating the entire world, and Lord Viṣṇu was gravely thinking of how to captivate Lord Śiva also. Therefore the word bhāva-gambhīram is used here. The illusory, material energy is represented by Durgādevī, who is the wife of Girīśa, or Lord Śiva. Durgādevī could not captivate Lord Śiva’s mind, but now that Lord Śiva wanted to see Lord Viṣṇu’s feminine form, Lord Viṣṇu, by His mystic power, would assume a form that would captivate even Lord Śiva. Therefore Lord Viṣṇu was grave and at the same time was smiling.
śrī-bhagavān uvāca
kautūhalāya daityānāṁ
yoṣid-veṣo mayā dhṛtaḥ
paśyatā sura-kāryāṇi
gate pīyūṣa-bhājane
śrī-bhagavān uvāca—the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; kautūhalāya—for the bewildering; daityānām—of the demons; yoṣit-veṣaḥ—the form of a beautiful woman; mayā—by Me; dhṛtaḥ—assumed; paśyatā—seeing that it is necessary for Me; sura-kāryāṇi—for executing the interests of the demigods; gate—having been taken away; pīyūṣa-bhājane—the jug of nectar.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: When the demons took away the jug of nectar, I assumed the form of a beautiful woman to bewilder them by directly cheating them and thus to act in the interest of the demigods.
When the Supreme Personality of Godhead assumed the form of the beautiful woman Mohinī-mūrti, the demons were certainly captivated, but the demigods present were not. In other words, those who maintain a demoniac mentality are bewildered by the beauty of a woman, but those who are advanced in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, or even those on the platform of goodness, are not bewildered. The Supreme Personality of Godhead knew that because Lord Śiva is not an ordinary person, he cannot be bewildered even by the most beautiful woman. Cupid himself tried to invoke Lord Śiva’s lusty desires in the presence of Pārvatī, but Lord Śiva was never agitated. Rather, the blazing fire from Lord Śiva’s eyes turned Cupid to ashes. Therefore, Lord Viṣṇu had to think twice about what kind of beautiful form would bewilder even Lord Śiva. Consequently He was smiling gravely, as stated in the previous verse (prahasya bhāva-gambhīram). A beautiful woman generally cannot induce Lord Śiva to be lusty, but Lord Viṣṇu was considering whether there was any form of woman who could enchant him.
tat te ’haṁ darśayiṣyāmi
didṛkṣoḥ sura-sattama
kāmināṁ bahu mantavyaṁ
tat—that; te—unto you; aham—I; darśayiṣyāmi—shall show; didṛkṣoḥ—desirous of seeing; sura-sattama—O best of the demigods; kāminām—of persons who are very lusty; bahu—very much; mantavyam—an object of adoration; saṅkalpa—lusty desires; prabhava-udayam—causing to be strongly aroused.
O best of the demigods, I shall now show you My form that is very much appreciated by those who are lusty. Since you want to see that form, I shall reveal it in your presence.
Lord Śiva’s desiring to see Lord Viṣṇu reveal the most attractive and beautiful form of a woman was certainly a joking affair. Lord Śiva knew that he could not be agitated by any so-called beautiful woman. “The Daityas may have been bewildered,” he thought, “but since even the demigods could not be agitated, what to speak of me, who am the best of all the demigods?” However, because Lord Śiva wanted to see Lord Viṣṇu’s form as a woman, Lord Viṣṇu decided to impersonate a woman and show him a form that would immediately put him in an ocean of lusty desires. In effect, therefore, Lord Viṣṇu told Lord Śiva, “I will show you My form as a woman, and if you become agitated by lusty desires, do not blame Me.” The attractive features of a woman are appreciated by those who are affected by lusty desires, but those who are above such desires, who are on the platform of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, are very difficult to bewilder. Nonetheless, by the supreme desire of the Personality of Godhead, everything can be done. This was to be a test of whether Lord Śiva could remain unagitated.
śrī-śuka uvāca
iti bruvāṇo bhagavāṁs
sarvataś cārayaṁś cakṣur
bhava āste sahomayā
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; iti—thus; bruvāṇaḥ—while speaking; bhagavān—Lord Viṣṇu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead; tatra—there; eva—immediately; antaradhīyata—disappeared from the vision of Lord Śiva and his associates; sarvataḥ—everywhere; cārayan—moving; cakṣuḥ—the eyes; bhavaḥ—Lord Śiva; āste—remained; saha-umayā—with his wife, Umā.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued: After speaking in this way, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu, immediately disappeared, and Lord Śiva remained there with Umā, looking for Him all around with moving eyes.
tato dadarśopavane vara-striyaṁ
vikrīḍatīṁ kanduka-līlayā lasad-
tataḥ—thereafter; dadarśa—Lord Śiva saw; upavane—in a nice forest; vara-striyam—a very beautiful woman; vicitra—of many varieties; puṣpa—flowers; aruṇa—pink; pallava—leaves; drume—in the midst of the trees; vikrīḍatīm—engaged in playing; kanduka—with a ball; līlayā—by pastimes of playing; lasat—shining; dukūla—by a sari; paryasta—covered; nitamba—on her hips; mekhalām—dressed with a belt.
Thereafter, in a nice forest nearby, full of trees with reddish-pink leaves and varieties of flowers, Lord Śiva saw a beautiful woman playing with a ball. Her hips were covered with a shining sari and ornamented with a belt.
prakṛṣṭa-hāroru-bharaiḥ pade pade
prabhajyamānām iva madhyataś calat-
pada-pravālaṁ nayatīṁ tatas tataḥ
āvartana—by the falling down; udvartana—and springing up; kampita—trembling; stana—of the two breasts; prakṛṣṭa—beautiful; hāra—and of garlands; uru-bharaiḥ—because of the heavy load; pade pade—at every step; prabhajyamānām iva—as if breaking; madhyataḥ—in the middle portion of the body; calat—moving like that; pada-pravālam—feet reddish like coral; nayatīm—moving; tataḥ tataḥ—here and there.
Because the ball was falling down and bouncing up, as She played with it Her breasts trembled, and because of the weight of those breasts and Her heavy flower garlands, Her waist appeared to be all but breaking at every step, as Her two soft feet, which were reddish like coral, moved here and there.
dikṣu bhramat-kanduka-cāpalair bhṛśaṁ
dikṣu—in all directions; bhramat—moving; kanduka—of the ball; cāpalaiḥ—restlessness; bhṛśam—now and then; prodvigna—full of anxieties; tāra—eyes; āyata—broad; lola—restless; locanām—with such eyes; sva-karṇa—on Her own two ears; vibhrājita—illuminating; kuṇḍala—earrings; ullasat—shining; kapola—cheeks; nīla—bluish; alaka—with hair; maṇḍita—was decorated; ānanām—face.
The woman’s face was decorated by broad, beautiful, restless eyes, which moved as the ball bounced here and there from Her hand. The two brilliant earrings on Her ears decorated Her shining cheeks like bluish reflections, and the hair scattered on Her face made Her even more beautiful to see.
ślathad dukūlaṁ kabarīṁ ca vicyutāṁ
sannahyatīṁ vāma-kareṇa valgunā
vinighnatīm anya-kareṇa kandukaṁ
vimohayantīṁ jagad-ātma-māyayā
ślathat—slipping or slackening; dukūlam—the sari; kabarīm ca—and the hair on the head; vicyutām—being slackened and scattered; sannahyatīm—trying to bind; vāma-kareṇa—with the left hand; valgunā—very beautifully attractive; vinighnatīm—striking; anya-kareṇa—with the right hand; kandukam—the ball; vimohayantīm—in this way captivating everyone; jagat—the whole world; ātma-māyayā—by the spiritual potency, the internal energy.
As She played with the ball, the sari covering Her body became loose, and Her hair scattered. She tried to bind Her hair with Her beautiful left hand, and at the same time She played with the ball by striking it with Her right hand. This was so attractive that the Supreme Lord, by His internal potency, in this way captivated everyone.
In Bhagavad-gītā (7.14) it is said, daivī hy eṣā guṇa-mayī mama māyā duratyayā: the external potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is extremely strong. Indeed, everyone is fully captivated by her activities. Lord Śambhu (Śiva) was not to be captivated by the external potency, but because Lord Viṣṇu wanted to captivate Him also, He exhibited His internal potency to act the way that His external potency acts to captivate ordinary living entities. Lord Viṣṇu can captivate anyone, even such a strong personality as Lord Śambhu.
tāṁ vīkṣya deva iti kanduka-līlayeṣad-
nātmānam antika umāṁ sva-gaṇāṁś ca veda
tām—Her; vīkṣya—after observing; devaḥ—Lord Śambhu; iti—in this way; kanduka-līlayā—by playing with the ball; īṣat—slight; vrīḍā—by bashfulness; asphuṭa—not very distinct; smita—with smiling; visṛṣṭa—sent; kaṭākṣa-muṣṭaḥ—defeated by the glances; strī-prekṣaṇa—by glancing at that beautiful woman; pratisamīkṣaṇa—and by constantly being watched by Her; vihvala-ātmā—whose mind was agitated; na—not; ātmānam—himself; antike—(situated) nearby; umām—his wife, mother Umā; sva-gaṇān ca—and his associates; veda—Lord Śiva could understand.
While Lord Śiva observed the beautiful woman playing with the ball, She sometimes glanced at him and slightly smiled in bashfulness. As he looked at the beautiful woman and She watched him, he forgot both himself and Umā, his most beautiful wife, as well as his associates nearby.
The material bondage of this world is that a beautiful woman can captivate a handsome man and that a handsome man can captivate a beautiful woman. Such are the affairs that began when Lord Śiva observed the beautiful girl playing with the ball. In such activities, the influence of Cupid is very prominent. As both parties move their eyebrows and glance at one another, their lusty desires increase more and more. Such reciprocations of lusty desire took place between Lord Śiva and the beautiful woman, even though Umā and Lord Śiva’s associates were by Lord Śiva’s side. Such is the attraction between man and woman in the material world. Lord Śiva was supposed to be above all this attraction, but he was victimized by the captivating power of Lord Viṣṇu. Ṛṣabhadeva thus explains the nature of lusty attraction:
puṁsaḥ striyā mithunī-bhāvam etaṁ
tayor mitho hṛdaya-granthim āhuḥ
ato gṛha-kṣetra-sutāpta-vittair
janasya moho ’yam ahaṁ mameti
“The attraction between male and female is the basic principle of material existence. On the basis of this misconception, which ties together the hearts of the male and female, one becomes attracted to his body, home, property, children, relatives and wealth. In this way one increases life’s illusions and thinks in terms of ‘I and mine.’ ” (Bhāg. 5.5.8) When a man and woman exchange feelings of lust, both of them are victimized, and thus they are bound to this material world in various ways.
tasyāḥ karāgrāt sa tu kanduko yadā
gato vidūraṁ tam anuvrajat-striyāḥ
vāsaḥ sasūtraṁ laghu māruto ’harad
bhavasya devasya kilānupaśyataḥ
tasyāḥ—of the beautiful woman; kara-agrāt—from the hand; saḥ—that; tu—but; kandukaḥ—the ball; yadā—when; gataḥ—had gone; vidūram—far off; tam—that ball; anuvrajat—began to follow; striyāḥ—of that woman; vāsaḥ—the covering dress; sa-sūtram—with the belt; laghu—because of being very fine; mārutaḥ—the breeze; aharat—blew away; bhavasya—while Lord Śiva; devasya—the chief demigod; kila—indeed; anupaśyataḥ—was always looking.
When the ball leaped from Her hand and fell at a distance, the woman began to follow it, but as Lord Śiva observed these activities, a breeze suddenly blew away the fine dress and belt that covered her.
evaṁ tāṁ rucirāpāṅgīṁ
darśanīyāṁ manoramām
dṛṣṭvā tasyāṁ manaś cakre
viṣajjantyāṁ bhavaḥ kila
evam—in this way; tām—Her; rucira-apāṅgīm—possessing all attractive features; darśanīyām—pleasing to see; manoramām—beautifully formed; dṛṣṭvā—seeing; tasyām—upon Her; manaḥ cakre—thought; viṣajjantyām—to be attracted by him; bhavaḥ—Lord Śiva; kila—indeed.
Thus Lord Śiva saw the woman, every part of whose body was beautifully formed, and the beautiful woman also looked at him. Therefore, thinking that She was attracted to him, Lord Śiva became very much attracted to Her.
Lord Śiva was observing every part of the woman’s body, and She was also glancing at him with restless eyes. Thus Śiva thought that She was also attracted to him, and now he wanted to touch Her.
bhavānyā api paśyantyā
gata-hrīs tat-padaṁ yayau
tayā—by Her; apahṛta—taken away; vijñānaḥ—good sense; tat-kṛta—done by Her; smara—by the smiling; vihvalaḥ—having become mad for Her; bhavānyāḥ—while Bhavānī, the wife of Lord Śiva; api—although; paśyantyāḥ—was seeing all these incidents; gata-hrīḥ—bereft of all shame; tat-padam—to the place where She was situated; yayau—went.
Lord Śiva, his good sense taken away by the woman because of lusty desires to enjoy with Her, became so mad for Her that even in the presence of Bhavānī he did not hesitate to approach Her.
sā tam āyāntam ālokya
vivastrā vrīḍitā bhṛśam
nilīyamānā vṛkṣeṣu
hasantī nānvatiṣṭhata
—that woman; tam—Lord Śiva; āyāntam—who was coming near; ālokya—seeing; vivastrā—She was naked; vrīḍitā—very bashful; bhṛśam—so much; nilīyamānā—was hiding; vṛkṣeṣu—among the trees; hasantī—smiling; na—not; anvatiṣṭhata—stood in one place.
The beautiful woman was already naked, and when She saw Lord Śiva coming toward Her, She became extremely bashful. Thus She kept smiling, but She hid Herself among the trees and did not stand in one place.
tām anvagacchad bhagavān
bhavaḥ pramuṣitendriyaḥ
kāmasya ca vaśaṁ nītaḥ
kareṇum iva yūthapaḥ
tām—Her; anvagacchat—followed; bhagavān—Lord Śiva; bhavaḥ—known as Bhava; pramuṣita-indriyaḥ—whose senses were agitated; kāmasya—of lusty desires; ca—and; vaśam—victimized; nītaḥ—having become; kareṇum—a female elephant; iva—just as; yūthapaḥ—a male elephant.
His senses being agitated, Lord Śiva, victimized by lusty desires, began to follow Her, just as a lusty elephant follows a she-elephant.
so ’nuvrajyātivegena
gṛhītvānicchatīṁ striyam
keśa-bandha upānīya
bāhubhyāṁ pariṣasvaje
saḥ—Lord Śiva; anuvrajya—following Her; ati-vegena—with great speed; gṛhītvā—catching; anicchatīm—although She was not willing to be caught; striyam—the woman; keśa-bandhe—on the cluster of hair; upānīya—dragging Her near; bāhubhyām—with his arms; pariṣasvaje—embraced Her.
After following Her with great speed, Lord Śiva caught Her by the braid of Her hair and dragged Her near him. Although She was unwilling, he embraced Her with his arms.
TEXTS 29–30
sopagūḍhā bhagavatā
kariṇā kariṇī yathā
itas tataḥ prasarpantī
ātmānaṁ mocayitvāṅga
prādravat sā pṛthu-śroṇī
māyā deva-vinirmitā
—the woman; upagūḍhā—being captured and embraced; bhagavatā—by Lord Śiva; kariṇā—by a male elephant; kariṇī—a she-elephant; yathā—as; itaḥ tataḥ—here and there; prasarpantī—swirling like a snake; viprakīrṇa—scattered; śiroruhā—all the hair on Her head; ātmānam—Herself; mocayitvā—releasing; aṅga—O King; sura-ṛṣabha—of the best of the demigods (Lord Śiva); bhuja-antarāt—from the entanglement in the midst of the arms; prādravat—began to run very fast; —She; pṛthu-śroṇī—bearing very large hips; māyā—internal potency; deva-vinirmitā—exhibited by the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Being embraced by Lord Śiva like a female elephant embraced by a male, the woman, whose hair was scattered, swirled like a snake. O King, this woman, who had large, high hips, was a woman of yogamāyā presented by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. She released Herself somehow or other from the fond embrace of Lord Śiva’s arms and ran away.
tasyāsau padavīṁ rudro
viṣṇor adbhuta-karmaṇaḥ
pratyapadyata kāmena
vairiṇeva vinirjitaḥ
tasya—of He who is the Supreme Lord; asau—Lord Śiva; padavīm—the place; rudraḥ—Lord Śiva; viṣṇoḥ—of Lord Viṣṇu; adbhuta-karmaṇaḥ—of He who acts very wonderfully; pratyapadyata—began to follow; kāmena—by lusty desire; vairiṇā iva—as if by an enemy; vinirjitaḥ—being harassed.
As if harassed by an enemy in the form of lusty desires, Lord Śiva followed the path of Lord Viṣṇu, who acts very wonderfully and who had taken the form of Mohinī.
Lord Śiva cannot be victimized by māyā. Therefore it is to be understood that Lord Śiva was being thus harassed by Lord Viṣṇu’s internal potency. Lord Viṣṇu can perform many wonderful activities through His various potencies.
(Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 6.8)
The Supreme Lord has various potencies, by which He can act very efficiently. To do anything expertly, He doesn’t even need to contemplate. Since Lord Śiva was being harassed by the woman, it is to be understood that this was being done not by a woman but by Lord Viṣṇu Himself.
tasyānudhāvato retaś
śuṣmiṇo yūthapasyeva
vāsitām anudhāvataḥ
tasya—of him (Lord Śiva); anudhāvataḥ—who was following; retaḥ—the semen; caskanda—discharged; amogha-retasaḥ—of that person whose discharge of semen never goes in vain; śuṣmiṇaḥmad; yūthapasya—of a male elephant; iva—just like; vāsitām—to a female elephant able to conceive pregnancy; anudhāvataḥ—following.
Just as a maddened bull elephant follows a female elephant who is able to conceive pregnancy, Lord Śiva followed the beautiful woman and discharged semen, even though his discharge of semen never goes in vain.
yatra yatrāpatan mahyāṁ
retas tasya mahātmanaḥ
tāni rūpyasya hemnaś ca
kṣetrāṇy āsan mahī-pate
yatra—wherever; yatra—and wherever; apatat—fell; mahyām—on the surface of the world; retaḥ—the semen; tasya—of him; mahā-ātmanaḥ—of the great personality (Lord Śiva); tāni—all those places; rūpyasya—of silver; hemnaḥ—of gold; ca—and; kṣetrāṇi—mines; āsan—became; mahī-pate—O King.
O King, wheresoever on the surface of the globe fell the semen of the great personality of Lord Śiva, mines of gold and silver later appeared.
Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura comments that those who seek gold and silver can worship Lord Śiva for material opulences. Lord Śiva lives under a bael tree and does not even construct a house in which to dwell, but although he is apparently poverty-stricken, his devotees are sometimes opulently endowed with large quantities of silver and gold. Parīkṣit Mahārāja later asks about this, and Śukadeva Gosvāmī replies.
sarit-saraḥsu śaileṣu
vaneṣūpavaneṣu ca
yatra kva cāsann ṛṣayas
tatra sannihito haraḥ
sarit—near the shores of the rivers; saraḥsu—and near the lakes; śaileṣu—near the mountains; vaneṣu—in the forests; upavaneṣu—in the gardens or small forests; ca—also; yatra—wherever; kva—anywhere; ca—also; āsan—were exiting; ṛṣayaḥ—great sages; tatra—there; sannihitaḥ—was present; haraḥ—Lord Śiva.
Following Mohinī, Lord Śiva went everywhere—near the shores of the rivers and lakes, near the mountains, near the forests, near the gardens, and wherever there lived great sages.
Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura remarks that Mohinī-mūrti dragged Lord Śiva to so many places, especially to where the great sages lived, to instruct the sages that their Lord Śiva had become mad for a beautiful woman. Thus although they were all great sages and saintly persons, they should not think themselves free, but should remain extremely cautious about beautiful women. No one should think himself liberated in the presence of a beautiful woman. The śāstras enjoin:
“One should not stay in a solitary place with a woman, even if she be his mother, sister or daughter, for the senses are so uncontrollably powerful that in the presence of a woman one may become agitated, even if he is very learned and advanced.” (Bhāg. 9.19.17)
skanne retasi so ’paśyad
ātmānaṁ deva-māyayā
jaḍīkṛtaṁ nṛpa-śreṣṭha
sannyavartata kaśmalāt
skanne—when fully discharged; retasi—the semen; saḥ—Lord Śiva; apaśyat—saw; ātmānam—his own self; deva-māyayā—by the māyā of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; jaḍīkṛtam—had become victimized as a fool; nṛpa-śreṣṭha—O best of kings (Mahārāja Parīkṣit); sannyavartata—restrained himself further; kaśmalāt—from illusion.
O Mahārāja Parīkṣit, best of kings, when Lord Śiva had fully discharged semen, he could see how he himself had been victimized by the illusion created by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus he restrained himself from any further māyā.
Once one is agitated by lusty desires upon seeing a woman, those desires increase more and more, but when semen is discharged in the act of sex, the lusty desires diminish. The same principle acted upon Lord Śiva. He was allured by the beautiful woman Mohinī-mūrti, but when his semen had been fully discharged, he came to his senses and realized how he had been victimized as soon as he saw the woman in the forest. If one is trained to protect his semen by observing celibacy, naturally he is not attracted by the beauty of a woman. If one can remain a brahmacārī, he saves himself so much trouble in material existence. Material existence means enjoying the pleasure of sexual intercourse (yan maithunādi-gṛhamedhi-sukham [SB 7.9.45]). If one is educated about sex life and is trained to protect his semen, he is saved from the danger of material existence.
ātmano jagad-ātmanaḥ
na mene tad u hādbhutam
atha—thus; avagata—being fully convinced about; māhātmyaḥ—the greatness; ātmanaḥ—of himself; jagat-ātmanaḥ—and of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; aparijñeya-vīryasya—who has unlimited potency; na—not; mene—did consider; tat—the miraculous activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in bewildering him; u ha—certainly; adbhutam—as wonderful.
Thus Lord Śiva could understand his position and that of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who has unlimited potencies. Having reached this understanding, he was not at all surprised by the wonderful way Lord Viṣṇu had acted upon him.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is known as all-powerful because no one can excel Him in any activity. In Bhagavad-gītā (7.7) the Lord says, mattaḥ parataraṁ nānyat kiñcid asti dhanañjaya: “O conqueror of wealth, there is no truth superior to Me.” No one can equal the Lord or be greater than Him, for He is the master of everyone. As stated in Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Ādi 5.142), ekale īśvara kṛṣṇa, āra saba bhṛtya. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, is the only master of everyone, including even Lord Śiva, what to speak of others. Lord Śiva was already aware of the supreme power of Lord Viṣṇu, but when he was actually put into bewilderment, he felt proud to have such an exalted master.
tam aviklavam avrīḍam
ālakṣya madhusūdanaḥ
uvāca parama-prīto
bibhrat svāṁ pauruṣīṁ tanum
tam—him (Lord Śiva); aviklavam—without being agitated by the incident that had taken place; avrīḍam—without being ashamed; ālakṣya—seeing; madhu-sūdanaḥ—the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is known as Madhusūdana, the killer of the demon Madhu; uvāca—said; parama-prītaḥ—being very pleased; bibhrat—assuming; svām—His own; pauruṣīm—original; tanum—form.
Seeing Lord Śiva unagitated and unashamed, Lord Viṣṇu [Madhusūdana] was very pleased. Thus He resumed His original form and spoke as follows.
Although Lord Śiva was aghast at the potency of Lord Viṣṇu, he did not feel ashamed. Rather, he was proud to be defeated by Lord Viṣṇu. Nothing is hidden from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, for He is in everyone’s heart. Indeed, the Lord says in Bhagavad-gītā (15.15), sarvasya cāhaṁ hṛdi sanniviṣṭo mattaḥ smṛtir jñānam apohanaṁ ca: “I am seated in everyone’s heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness.” Whatever happened had taken place under the direction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and therefore there was no cause to be sorry or ashamed. Although Lord Śiva is never defeated by anyone, when defeated by Lord Viṣṇu he felt proud that he had such an exalted and powerful master.
śrī-bhagavān uvāca
diṣṭyā tvaṁ vibudha-śreṣṭha
svāṁ niṣṭhām ātmanā sthitaḥ
yan me strī-rūpayā svairaṁ
mohito ’py aṅga māyayā
śrī-bhagavān uvāca—the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; diṣṭyā—all auspiciousness; tvam—unto you; vibudha-śreṣṭha—O best of all the demigods; svām—in your own; niṣṭhām—fixed situation; ātmanā—of your own self; sthitaḥ—you are situated; yat—as; me—Mine; strī-rūpayā—appearance like a woman; svairam—sufficiently; mohitaḥ—enchanted; api—in spite of; aṅga—O Lord Śiva; māyayā—by My potency.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: O best of the demigods, although you have been amply harassed because of My potency in assuming the form of a woman, you are established in your position. Therefore, may all good fortune be upon you.
Since Lord Śiva is the best of the demigods, he is the best of all devotees (vaiṣṇavānāṁ yathā śambhuḥ). His exemplary character was therefore praised by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who gave His benediction by saying, “May all good fortune be upon you.” When a devotee becomes a little proud, the Supreme Lord sometimes exhibits His supreme power to dissipate the devotee’s misunderstanding. After being amply harassed by Lord Viṣṇu’s potency, Lord Śiva resumed his normal, unagitated condition. This is the position of a devotee. A devotee should not be agitated under any circumstances, even in the worst reverses. As confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (6.22), yasmin sthito na duḥkhena guruṇāpi vicālyate: because of his full faith in the Supreme Personality of Godhead, a devotee is never agitated, even in the greatest trials. This pridelessness is possible only for the first-class devotees, of whom Lord Śambhu is one.
ko nu me ’titaren māyāṁ
viṣaktas tvad-ṛte pumān
tāṁs tān visṛjatīṁ bhāvān
dustarām akṛtātmabhiḥ
kaḥ—what; nu—indeed; me—My; atitaret—can surpass; māyām—illusory energy; viṣaktaḥ—attached to material sense enjoyment; tvat-ṛte—except for you; pumān—person; tān—such conditions; tān—unto the materially attached persons; visṛjatīm—in surpassing; bhāvān—reactions of material activities; dustarām—very difficult to surmount; akṛta-ātmabhiḥ—by persons unable to control their senses.
My dear Lord Śambhu, who within this material world but you can surpass My illusory energy? People are generally attached to sense enjoyment and conquered by its influence. Indeed, the influence of material nature is very difficult for them to surmount.
Of the three chief demigods—Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśvara—all but Viṣṇu are under the influence of māyā. In Caitanya-caritāmṛta, they are described as māyī, which means “under māyā’s influence.” But even though Lord Śiva associates with māyā, he is not influenced. The living entities are affected by māyā, but although Lord Śiva apparently associates with māyā, he is not affected. In other words, all living entities within this material world except for Lord Śiva are swayed by māyā. Lord Śiva is therefore neither viṣṇu-tattva nor jīva-tattva. He is between the two.
seyaṁ guṇa-mayī māyā
na tvām abhibhaviṣyati
mayā sametā kālena
kāla-rūpeṇa bhāgaśaḥ
—that insurmountable; iyam—this; guṇa-mayī—consisting of the three modes of material nature; māyā—illusory energy; na—not; tvām—you; abhibhaviṣyati—will be able to bewilder in the future; mayā—with Me; sametā—joined; kālena—eternal time; kāla-rūpeṇa—in the form of time; bhāgaśaḥ—with her different parts.
The material, external energy [māyā], who cooperates with Me in creation and who is manifested in the three modes of nature, will not be able to bewilder you any longer.
When Lord Śiva was present, his wife, Durgā, was also there. Durgā works in cooperation with the Supreme Personality of Godhead in creating the cosmic manifestation. The Lord says in Bhagavad-gītā (9.10), mayādhyakṣeṇa prakṛtiḥ sūyate sacarācaram: “The material energy [prakṛti] works under My direction, O son of Kuntī, and is producing all moving and unmoving beings.” Prakṛti is Durgā.
The entire cosmos is created by Durgā in cooperation with Lord Viṣṇu in the form of kāla, time. Sa īkṣata lokān nu sṛjā. Sa imāḹ lokān asṛjata. This is the version of the Vedas (Aitareya Upaniṣad 1.1.1–2). Māyā happens to be the wife of Lord Śiva, and thus Lord Śiva is in association with māyā, but Lord Viṣṇu here assures Lord Śiva that this māyā will no longer be able to captivate him.
śrī-śuka uvāca
evaṁ bhagavatā rājan
śrīvatsāṅkena sat-kṛtaḥ
āmantrya taṁ parikramya
sagaṇaḥ svālayaṁ yayau
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; evam—thus; bhagavatā—by the Supreme Personality of Godhead; rājan—O King; śrīvatsa-aṅkena—who always carries the mark of Śrīvatsa on His breast; sat-kṛtaḥ—being very much applauded; āmantrya—taking permission from; tam—Him; parikramya—circumambulating; sa-gaṇaḥ—with his associates; sva-ālayam—to his own abode; yayau—went back.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: O King, having thus been praised by the Supreme Personality, who bears the mark of Śrīvatsa on His chest, Lord Śiva circumambulated Him. Then, after taking permission from Him, Lord Śiva returned to his abode, Kailāsa, along with his associates.
Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura remarks that when Lord Śiva was offering obeisances unto Lord Viṣṇu, Lord Viṣṇu arose and embraced him. Therefore the word śrīvatsāṅkena is used here. The mark of Śrīvatsa adorns the chest of Lord Viṣṇu, and therefore when Lord Viṣṇu embraced Lord Śiva while being circumambulated, the Śrīvatsa mark touched Lord Śiva’s bosom.
ātmāṁśa-bhūtāṁ tāṁ māyāṁ
bhavānīṁ bhagavān bhavaḥ
sammatām ṛṣi-mukhyānāṁ
prītyācaṣṭātha bhārata
ātma-aṁśa-bhūtām—a potency of the Supreme Soul; tām—unto her; māyām—the illusory energy; bhavānīm—who is the wife of Lord Śiva; bhagavān—the powerful; bhavaḥ—Lord Śiva; sammatām—accepted; ṛṣi-mukhyānām—by the great sages; prītyā—in jubilation; ācaṣṭa—began to address; atha—then; bhārata—O Mahārāja Parīkṣit, descendant of Bharata.
O descendant of Bharata Mahārāja, Lord Śiva, in jubilation, then addressed his wife, Bhavānī, who is accepted by all authorities as the potency of Lord Viṣṇu.
ayi vyapaśyas tvam ajasya māyāṁ
parasya puṁsaḥ para-devatāyāḥ
ahaṁ kalānām ṛṣabho ’pi muhye
yayāvaśo ’nye kim utāsvatantrāḥ
ayi—oh; vyapaśyaḥ—have seen; tvam—you; ajasya—of the unborn; māyām—the illusory energy; parasya puṁsaḥ—of the Supreme Person; para-devatāyāḥ—the Absolute Truth; aham—myself; kalānām—of plenary portions; ṛṣabhaḥ—the chief; api—although; muhye—became bewildered; yayā—by her; avaśaḥ—imperceptibly; anye—others; kim uta—what to speak of; asvatantrāḥ—fully dependent on māyā.
Lord Śiva said: O Goddess, you have now seen the illusory energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the unborn master of everyone. Although I am one of the principal expansions of His Lordship, even I was illusioned by His energy. What then is to be said of others, who are fully dependent on māyā?
yaṁ mām apṛcchas tvam upetya yogāt
samā-sahasrānta upārataṁ vai
sa eṣa sākṣāt puruṣaḥ purāṇo
na yatra kālo viśate na vedaḥ
yam—about whom; mām—from me; apṛcchaḥ—inquired; tvam—you; upetya—coming near me; yogāt—from performing mystic yoga; samā—years; sahasra-ante—at the end of one thousand; upāratam—ceasing; vai—indeed; saḥ—He; eṣaḥ—here is; sākṣāt—directly; puruṣaḥ—the Supreme Person; purāṇaḥ—the original; na—not; yatra—where; kālaḥ—eternal time; viśate—can enter; na—nor; vedaḥ—the Vedas.
When I finished performing mystic yoga for one thousand years, you asked me upon whom I was meditating. Now, here is that Supreme Person to whom time has no entrance and who the Vedas cannot understand.
Eternal time enters anywhere and everywhere, but it cannot enter the kingdom of god. Nor can the Vedas understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is an indication of the Lord’s being omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient.
śrī-śuka uvāca
iti te ’bhihitas tāta
vikramaḥ śārṅga-dhanvanaḥ
sindhor nirmathane yena
dhṛtaḥ pṛṣṭhe mahācalaḥ
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; iti—thus; te—unto you; abhihitaḥ—explained; tāta—my dear King; vikramaḥ—prowess; śārṅga-dhanvanaḥ—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who carries the Śārṅga bow; sindhoḥ—of the ocean of milk; nirmathane—in the churning; yena—by whom; dhṛtaḥ—was held; pṛṣṭhe—on the back; mahā-acalaḥ—the great mountain.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: My dear King, the person who bore the great mountain on His back for the churning of the ocean of milk is the same Supreme Personality of Godhead, known as Śārṅga-dhanvā. I have now described to you His prowess.
etan muhuḥ kīrtayato ’nuśṛṇvato
na riṣyate jātu samudyamaḥ kvacit
yad uttamaśloka-guṇānuvarṇanaṁ
etat—this narration; muhuḥ—constantly; kīrtayataḥ—of one who chants; anuśṛṇvataḥ—and also hears; na—not; riṣyate—annihilated; jātu—at any time; samudyamaḥ—the endeavor; kvacit—at any time; yat—because; uttamaśloka—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; guṇa-anuvarṇanam—describing the transcendental qualities; samasta—all; saṁsāra—of material existence; pariśrama—misery; apaham—finishing.
The endeavor of one who constantly hears or describes this narration of the churning of the ocean of milk will never be fruitless. Indeed, chanting the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the only means to annihilate all sufferings in this material world.
asad-aviṣayam aṅghriṁ bhāva-gamyaṁ prapannān
amṛtam amara-varyān āśayat sindhu-mathyam
kapaṭa-yuvati-veṣo mohayan yaḥ surārīṁs
tam aham upasṛtānāṁ kāma-pūraṁ nato ’smi
asat-aviṣayam—not understood by the atheists; aṅghrim—unto the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; bhāva-gamyam—understood by devotees; prapannān—fully surrendered; amṛtam—the nectar; amara-varyān—only unto the demigods; āśayat—gave to drink; sindhu-mathyam—produced from the ocean of milk; kapaṭa-yuvati-veṣaḥ—appearing as a false young girl; mohayan—captivating; yaḥ—He who; sura-arīn—the enemies of the demigods; tam—unto Him; aham—I; upasṛtānām—of the devotees; kāma-pūram—who fulfills all desires; nataḥ asmi—I offer my respectful obeisances.
Assuming the form of a young woman and thus bewildering the demons, the Supreme Personality of Godhead distributed to His devotees, the demigods, the nectar produced from the churning of the ocean of milk. Unto that Supreme Personality of Godhead, who always fulfills the desires of His devotees, I offer my respectful obeisances.
The instruction of this narration concerning the churning of the milk ocean is clearly manifested by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Although He is equal to everyone, because of natural affection He favors His devotees. The Lord says in Bhagavad-gītā (9.29):
samo ’haṁ sarva-bhūteṣu
na me dveṣyo ’sti na priyaḥ
ye bhajanti tu māṁ bhaktyā
mayi te teṣu cāpy aham
“I envy no one, nor am I partial to anyone. I am equal to all. But whoever renders service unto Me in devotion is a friend, is in Me, and I am also a friend to him.” This partiality of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is natural. A person cares for his children not because of partiality but in a reciprocation of love. The children depend on the father’s affection, and the father affectionately maintains the children. Similarly, because devotees do not know anything but the lotus feet of the Lord, the Lord is always prepared to give protection to His devotees and fulfill their desires. He therefore says, kaunteya pratijānīhi na me bhaktaḥ praṇaśyati: “O son of Kuntī, declare it boldly that My devotee never perishes.”
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the Eighth Canto, Twelfth Chapter, of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, entitled “The Mohinī-mūrti Incarnation Bewilders Lord Śiva.”

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