The System of Universal Management
This chapter describes the duties allotted to Manu by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. All the Manus, as well as their sons, the sages, the demigods and the Indras, act under the orders of various incarnations of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. At the end of every catur-yuga, consisting of Satya-yuga, Dvāpara-yuga, Tretā-yuga and Kali-yuga, the sages, acting under the orders of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, distribute the Vedic knowledge and thus reinstate eternal religious principles. Manu’s duty is to reestablish the system of religion. Manu’s sons execute Manu’s orders, and thus the entire universe is maintained by Manu and his descendants. The Indras are various rulers of the heavenly planets. Assisted by the demigods, they rule the three worlds. The Supreme Personality of Godhead also appears as incarnations in different yugas. He appears as Sanaka, Sanātana, Yājñavalkya, Dattātreya and others, and thus He gives instructions in spiritual knowledge, prescribed duties, principles of mystic yoga, and so on. As Marīci and others, He creates progeny; as the king, He punishes the miscreants; and in the form of time, He annihilates the creation. One may argue, “If the all-powerful Supreme Personality of Godhead can do anything simply by His will, why has He arranged for so many personalities to manage?” How and why He does this cannot be understood by those who are under the clutches of māyā.
yathā manv-ādayas tv ime
yasmin karmaṇi ye yena
niyuktās tad vadasva me
śrī-rājā uvāca—King Parīkṣit said; manvantareṣu—in the reign of each Manu; bhagavan—O great sage; yathā—as; manu-ādayaḥ—the Manus and others; tu—but; ime—these; yasmin—in which; karmaṇi—activities; ye—which persons; yena—by whom; niyuktāḥ—appointed; tat—that; vadasva—kindly describe; me—to me.
Mahārāja Parīkṣit inquired: O most opulent Śukadeva Gosvāmī, please explain to me how Manu and the others in each manvantara are engaged in their respective duties, and by whose order they are so engaged.
manavo manu-putrāś ca
munayaś ca mahī-pate
indrāḥ sura-gaṇāś caiva
śrī-ṛṣiḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; manavaḥ—all the Manus; manu-putrāḥ—all the sons of Manu; ca—and; munayaḥ—all the great sages; ca—and; mahī-pate—O King; indrāḥ—all the Indras; sura-gaṇāḥ—the demigods; ca—and; eva—certainly; sarve—all of them; puruṣa-śāsanāḥ—under the rule of the Supreme person.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: The Manus, the sons of Manu, the great sages, the Indras and all the demigods, O King, are appointed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His various incarnations such as Yajña.
yajñādayo yāḥ kathitāḥ
pauruṣyas tanavo nṛpa
nayanty ābhiḥ pracoditāḥ
yajña-ādayaḥ—the Lord’s incarnation known as Yajña and others; yāḥ—who; kathitāḥ—already spoken of; pauruṣyaḥ—of the Supreme Person; tanavaḥ—incarnations; nṛpa—O King; manu-ādayaḥ—the Manus and others; jagat-yātrām—universal affairs; nayanti—conduct; ābhiḥ—by the incarnations; pracoditāḥ—being inspired.
O King, I have already described to you various incarnations of the Lord, such as Yajña. The Manus and others are chosen by these incarnations, under whose direction they conduct the universal affairs.
The Manus execute the orders of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His various incarnations.
grastāñ chruti-gaṇān yathā
tapasā ṛṣayo ’paśyan
yato dharmaḥ sanātanaḥ
catuḥ-yuga-ante—at the end of every four yugas (Satya, Dvāpara, Tretā and Kali); kālena—in due course of time; grastān—lost; śruti-gaṇān—the Vedic instruction; yathā—as; tapasā—by austerity; ṛṣayaḥ—great saintly persons; apaśyan—by seeing misuse; yataḥ—wherefrom; dharmaḥ—occupational duties; sanātanaḥ—eternal.
At the end of every four yugas, the great saintly persons, upon seeing that the eternal occupational duties of mankind have been misused, reestablish the principles of religion.
In this verse, the words dharmaḥ and sanātanaḥ are very important. Sanātana means “eternal,” and dharma means “occupational duties.” From Satya-yuga to Kali-yuga, the principles of religion and occupational duty gradually deteriorate. In Satya-yuga, the religious principles are observed in full, without deviation. In Tretā-yuga, however, these principles are somewhat neglected, and only three fourths of the religious duties continue. In Dvāpara-yuga only half of the religious principles continue, and in Kali-yuga only one fourth of the religious principles, which gradually disappear. At the end of Kali-yuga, the principles of religion, or the occupational duties of humanity, are almost lost. Indeed, in this Kali-yuga we have passed through only five thousand years, yet the decline of sanātana-dharma is very prominent. The duty of saintly persons, therefore, is to take up seriously the cause of sanātana-dharma and try to reestablish it for the benefit of the entire human society. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement has been started according to this principle. As stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (12.3.51):
The entire Kali-yuga is full of faults. It is like an unlimited ocean of faults. But the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is very authorized. Therefore, following in the footsteps of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, who five hundred years ago inaugurated the movement of saṅkīrtana, kṛṣṇa-kīrtana, we are trying to introduce this movement, according to superior orders, all over the world. Now, if the inaugurators of this movement strictly follow the regulative principles and spread this movement for the benefit of all human society, they will certainly usher in a new way of life by reestablishing sanātana-dharma, the eternal occupational duties of humanity. The eternal occupational duty of the human being is to serve Kṛṣṇa. Jīvera ‘svarūpa’ haya—kṛṣṇera ‘nitya-dāsa.’ [Cc. Madhya 20.108]. This is the purport of sanātana-dharma. Sanātana means nitya, or “eternal,” and kṛṣṇa-dāsa means “servant of Kṛṣṇa.” The eternal occupational duty of the human being is to serve Kṛṣṇa. This is the sum and substance of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement.
tato dharmaṁ catuṣpādaṁ
yuktāḥ sañcārayanty addhā
sve sve kāle mahīṁ nṛpa
tataḥ—thereafter (at the end of Kali-yuga); dharmam—the religious principle; catuḥ-pādam—in four parts; manavaḥ—all the Manus; hariṇā—by the Supreme Personality of Godhead; uditāḥ—being instructed; yuktāḥ—being engaged; sañcārayanti—reestablish; addhā—directly; sve sve—in their own; kāle—time; mahīm—within this world; nṛpa—O King.
Thereafter, O King, the Manus, being fully engaged according to the instructions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, directly reestablish the principles of occupational duty in its full four parts.
Dharma, or occupational duty, can be established in its full four parts as explained in Bhagavad-gītā. In Bhagavad-gītā (4.1) the Lord says:
“I instructed this imperishable science of yoga to the sun-god, Vivasvān, and Vivasvān instructed it to Manu, the father of mankind, and Manu in turn instructed it to Ikṣvāku.” This is the process of disciplic succession. Following the same process, the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is teaching the principles of Bhagavad-gītā as it is, without deviation, all over the world. If the fortunate people of this time accept the instructions of Lord Kṛṣṇa, they will certainly be happy in Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu’s mission. Caitanya Mahāprabhu wanted everyone, at least in India, to become a preacher of this mission. In other words, one should become a guru and preach the Lord’s instructions all over the world for the peace and prosperity of humanity.
yāvad antaṁ vibhāgaśaḥ
ye ca tatrānvitāś ca taiḥ
pālayanti—execute the order; prajā-pālāḥ—the rulers of the world, namely the sons and grandsons of Manu; yāvat antam—unto the end of Manu’s reign; vibhāgaśaḥ—in divisions; yajña-bhāga-bhujaḥ—the enjoyers of the result of yajñas; devāḥ—the demigods; ye—others; ca—also; tatra anvitāḥ—engaged in that business; ca—also; taiḥ—by them.
To enjoy the results of sacrifices [yajñas], the rulers of the world, namely the sons and grandsons of Manu, discharge the orders of the Supreme Personality of Godhead until the end of Manu’s reign. The demigods also share the results of these sacrifices.
“This supreme science was thus received through the chain of disciplic succession, and the saintly kings understood it in that way.” This paramparā system extends from Manu to Ikṣvāku and from Ikṣvāku to his sons and grandsons. The rulers of the world in the line of hierarchy execute the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the paramparā system. Anyone interested in peaceful life must participate in this paramparā system and perform yajñas. As Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas in the paramparā system of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, we must perform saṅkīrtana-yajña all over the world (yajñaiḥ saṅkīrtana-prāyair yajanti hi sumedhasaḥ [SB 11.5.32]). Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu is the incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in this age of Kali, and He will be easily satisfied if the saṅkīrtana movement is spread vigorously all over the world. This will also make people happy without a doubt.
indro bhagavatā dattāṁ
bhuñjānaḥ pāti lokāṁs trīn
kāmaṁ loke pravarṣati
indraḥ—the King of heaven; bhagavatā—by the Supreme Personality of Godhead; dattām—given; trailokya—of the three worlds; śriyam ūrjitām—the great opulences; bhuñjānaḥ—enjoying; pāti—maintains; lokān—all the planets; trīn—within the three worlds; kāmam—as much as necessary; loke—within the world; pravarṣati—pours rain.
Indra, King of heaven, receiving benedictions from the Supreme Personality of Godhead and thus enjoying highly developed opulences, maintains the living entities all over the three worlds by pouring sufficient rain on all the planets.
jñānaṁ cānuyugaṁ brūte
jñānam—transcendental knowledge; ca—and; anuyugam—according to the age; brūte—explains; hariḥ—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; siddha-svarūpa-dhṛk—assuming the form of liberated persons like Sanaka and Sanātana; ṛṣi-rūpa-dharaḥ—assuming the form of great saintly persons like Yājñavalkya; karma—karma; yogam—the mystic yoga system; yoga-īśa-rūpa-dhṛk—by assuming the form of a great yogī like Dattātreya.
In every yuga, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, assumes the form of Siddhas such as Sanaka to preach transcendental knowledge, He assumes the form of great saintly persons such as Yājñavalkya to teach the way of karma, and He assumes the form of great yogīs such as Dattātreya to teach the system of mystic yoga.
For the benefit of all human society, not only does the Lord assume the form of Manu as an incarnation to rule the universe properly, but He also assumes the forms of a teacher, yogī, jñānī and so on, for the benefit of human society. The duty of human society, therefore, is to accept the path of action enunciated by the Supreme Lord. In the present age, the sum and substance of all Vedic knowledge is to be found in Bhagavad-gītā, which is personally taught by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and the same Supreme Godhead, assuming the form of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, expands the teachings of Bhagavad-gītā all over the world. In other words, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, is so kind and merciful to human society that He is always anxious to take the fallen souls back home, back to Godhead.
dasyūn hanyāt svarāḍ-vapuḥ
abhāvāya pṛthag guṇaḥ
sargam—creation of progeny; prajā-īśa-rūpeṇa—in the form of the Prajāpati Marīci and others; dasyūn—thieves and rogues; hanyāt—kills; sva-rāṭ-vapuḥ—in the form of the king; kāla-rūpeṇa—in the form of time; sarveṣām—of everything; abhāvāya—for the annihilation; pṛthak—different; guṇaḥ—possessing qualities.
In the form of Prajāpati Marīci, the Supreme Personality of Godhead creates progeny; becoming the king, He kills the thieves and rogues; and in the form of time, He annihilates everything. All the different qualities of material existence should be understood to be qualities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
stūyamāno janair ebhir
darśanair na ca dṛśyate
stūyamānaḥ—being sought; janaiḥ—by people in general; ebhiḥ—by all of them; māyayā—under the influence of māyā; nāma-rūpayā—possessing different names and forms; vimohita—bewildered; ātmabhiḥ—by illusion; nānā—various; darśanaiḥ—by philosophical approaches; na—not; ca—and; dṛśyate—the Supreme Personality of Godhead can be found.
People in general are bewildered by the illusory energy, and therefore they try to find the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, through various types of research and philosophical speculation. Nonetheless, they are unable to see the Supreme Lord.
Whatever actions and reactions take place for the creation, maintenance and annihilation of this material world are actually brought about by the one Supreme Person. There are many varieties of philosophers trying to search for the ultimate cause under different names and forms, but they are unable to find the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, who explains in Bhagavad-gītā that He is the origin of everything and the cause of all causes (ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavaḥ). This inability is due to the illusory energy of the Supreme Lord. Devotees, therefore, accept the Supreme Personality of Godhead as He is and remain happy simply by chanting the glories of the Lord.
yatra manvantarāṇy āhuś
etat—all these; kalpa—in one day of Lord Brahmā; vikalpasya—of the changes in a kalpa, such as the change of Manus; pramāṇam—evidences; parikīrtitam—described (by me); yatra—wherein; manvantarāṇi—periods of Manu; āhuḥ—said; caturdaśa—fourteen; purā-vidaḥ—learned scholars.
In one kalpa, or one day of Brahmā, there take place the many changes called vikalpas. O King, all of these have been previously described to you by me. Learned scholars who know the past, present and future have ascertained that in one day of Brahmā there are fourteen Manus.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the Eighth Canto, Fourteenth Chapter, of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, entitled “The System of Universal Management.”
Link to this page: https://prabhupadabooks.com/sb/8/14
Previous: SB 8.13: Description of Future Manus Next: SB 8.15: Bali Maharaja Conquers the Heavenly Planets