Chapter Twenty-three
The Demigods Regain the Heavenly Planets
This chapter describes how Bali Mahārāja, along with his grandfather Prahlāda Mahārāja, entered the planet Sutala and how the Supreme Personality of Godhead allowed Indra to reenter the heavenly planet.
The great soul Bali Mahārāja experienced that the highest gain in life is to attain devotional service under the shelter of the Lord’s lotus feet in full surrender. Being fixed in this conclusion, his heart full of ecstatic devotion and his eyes full of tears, he offered obeisances to the Personality of Godhead and then, with his associates, entered the planet known as Sutala. Thus the Supreme Personality of Godhead satisfied the desire of Aditi and reinstalled Lord Indra. Prahlāda Mahārāja, being aware of Bali’s release from arrest, then described the transcendental pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in this material world. Prahlāda Mahārāja praised the Supreme Lord for creating the material world, for being equal to everyone and for being extremely liberal to the devotees, just like a desire tree. Indeed, Prahlāda Mahārāja said that the Lord is kind not only to His devotees but also to the demons. In this way he described the unlimited causeless mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Then, with folded hands, he offered his respectful obeisances unto the Lord, and after circumambulating the Lord he also entered the planet Sutala in accordance with the Lord’s order. The Lord then ordered Śukrācārya to describe Bali Mahārāja’s faults and discrepancies in executing the sacrificial ceremony. Śukrācārya became free from fruitive actions by chanting the holy name of the Lord, and he explained how chanting can diminish all the faults of the conditioned soul. He then completed Bali Mahārāja’s sacrificial ceremony. All the great saintly persons accepted Lord Vāmanadeva as the benefactor of Lord Indra because He had returned Indra to his heavenly planet. They accepted the Supreme Personality of Godhead as the maintainer of all the affairs of the universe. Being very happy, Indra, along with his associates, placed Vāmanadeva before him and reentered the heavenly planet in their airplane. Having seen the wonderful activities of Lord Viṣṇu in the sacrificial arena of Bali Mahārāja, all the demigods, saintly persons, Pitās, Bhūtas and Siddhas glorified the Lord again and again. The chapter concludes by saying that the most auspicious function of the conditioned soul is to chant and hear about the glorious activities of Lord Viṣṇu.
TEXT 1
śrī-śuka uvāca
ity uktavantaṁ puruṣaṁ purātanaṁ
mahānubhāvo ’khila-sādhu-sammataḥ
baddhāñjalir bāṣpa-kalākulekṣaṇo
bhakty-utkalo gadgadayā girābravīt
SYNONYMS
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; iti—thus; uktavantam—upon the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; puruṣam—unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead; purātanam—the oldest of everyone; mahā-anubhāvaḥBali Mahārāja, who was a great and exalted soul; akhila-sādhu-sammataḥ—as approved by all saintly persons; baddha-añjaliḥ—with folded hands; bāṣpa-kala-ākula-īkṣaṇaḥ—whose eyes were filled with tears; bhakti-utkalaḥ—full of ecstatic devotion; gadgadayā—which were faltering in devotional ecstasy; girā—by such words; abravīt—said.
TRANSLATION
Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: When the supreme, ancient, eternal Personality of Godhead had thus spoken to Bali Mahārāja, who is universally accepted as a pure devotee of the Lord and therefore a great soul, Bali Mahārāja, his eyes filled with tears, his hands folded and his voice faltering in devotional ecstasy, responded as follows.
TEXT 2
śrī-balir uvāca
aho praṇāmāya kṛtaḥ samudyamaḥ
prapanna-bhaktārtha-vidhau samāhitaḥ
yal loka-pālais tvad-anugraho ’marair
alabdha-pūrvo ’pasade ’sure ’rpitaḥ
SYNONYMS
śrī-baliḥ uvācaBali Mahārāja said; aho—alas; praṇāmāya—to offer my respectful obeisances; kṛtaḥ—I did; samudyamaḥ—only an endeavor; prapanna-bhakta-artha-vidhau—in the regulative principles observed by pure devotees; samāhitaḥ—is capable; yat—that; loka-pālaiḥ—by the leaders of various planets; tvat-anugrahaḥ—Your causeless mercy; amaraiḥ—by the demigods; alabdha-pūrvaḥ—not achieved previously; apasade—unto a fallen person like me; asure—belonging to the asura community; arpitaḥ—endowed.
TRANSLATION
Bali Mahārāja said: What a wonderful effect there is in even attempting to offer respectful obeisances to You! I merely endeavored to offer You obeisances, but nonetheless the attempt was as successful as those of pure devotees. The causeless mercy You have shown to me, a fallen demon, was never achieved even by the demigods or the leaders of the various planets.
PURPORT
When Vāmanadeva appeared before Bali Mahārāja, Bali Mahārāja immediately wanted to offer Him respectful obeisances, but he was unable to do so because of the presence of Śukrācārya and other demoniac associates. The Lord is so merciful, however, that although Bali Mahārāja did not actually offer obeisances but only endeavored to do so within his mind, the Supreme Personality of Godhead blessed him with more mercy than even the demigods could ever expect. As confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (2.40), svalpam apy asya dharmasya trāyate mahato bhayāt: “Even a little advancement on this path can protect one from the most dangerous type of fear.” The Supreme Personality of Godhead is known as bhāva-grāhī janārdana because He takes only the essence of a devotee’s attitude. If a devotee sincerely surrenders, the Lord, as the Supersoul in everyone’s heart, immediately understands this. Thus even though, externally, a devotee may not render full service, if he is internally sincere and serious the Lord welcomes his service nonetheless. Thus the Lord is known as bhāva-grāhī janārdana because He takes the essence of one’s devotional mentality.
TEXT 3
śrī-śuka uvāca
ity uktvā harim ānatya
brahmāṇaṁ sabhavaṁ tataḥ
viveśa sutalaṁ prīto
balir muktaḥ sahāsuraiḥ
SYNONYMS
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; iti uktvā—saying this; harim—unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari; ānatya—offering obeisances; brahmāṇam—unto Lord Brahmā; sa-bhavam—with Lord Śiva; tataḥ—thereafter; viveśa—he entered; sutalam—the planet Sutala; prītaḥ—being fully satisfied; baliḥBali Mahārāja; muktaḥ—thus released; saha asuraiḥ—with his asura associates.
TRANSLATION
Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued: After speaking in this way, Bali Mahārāja offered his obeisances first to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, and then to Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva. Thus he was released from the bondage of the nāga-pāśa [the ropes of Varuṇa], and in full satisfaction he entered the planet known as Sutala.
TEXT 4
evam indrāya bhagavān
pratyānīya triviṣṭapam
pūrayitvāditeḥ kāmam
aśāsat sakalaṁ jagat
SYNONYMS
evam—in this way; indrāya—unto King Indra; bhagavān—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; pratyānīya—giving back; tri-viṣṭapam—his supremacy in the heavenly planets; pūrayitvā—fulfilling; aditeḥ—of Aditi; kāmam—the desire; aśāsat—ruled; sakalam—complete; jagat—universe.
TRANSLATION
Thus having delivered the proprietorship of the heavenly planets to Indra and having fulfilled the desire of Aditi, mother of the demigods, the Supreme Personality of Godhead ruled the affairs of the universe.
TEXT 5
labdha-prasādaṁ nirmuktaṁ
pautraṁ vaṁśa-dharaṁ balim
niśāmya bhakti-pravaṇaḥ
prahrāda idam abravīt
SYNONYMS
labdha-prasādam—who had achieved the blessings of the Lord; nirmuktam—who was released from bondage; pautram—his grandson; vaṁśa-dharam—the descendant; balimBali Mahārāja; niśāmya—after overhearing; bhakti-pravaṇaḥ—in fully ecstatic devotion; prahrādaḥPrahlāda Mahārāja; idam—this; abravīt—spoke.
TRANSLATION
When Prahlāda Mahārāja heard how Bali Mahārāja, his grandson and descendant, had been released from bondage and had achieved the benediction of the Lord, he spoke as follows in a tone of greatly ecstatic devotion.
TEXT 6
śrī-prahrāda uvāca
nemaṁ viriñco labhate prasādaṁ
na śrīr na śarvaḥ kim utāpare ’nye
yan no ’surāṇām asi durga-pālo
viśvābhivandyair abhivanditāṅghriḥ
SYNONYMS
śrī-prahrādaḥ uvācaPrahlāda Mahārāja said; na—not; imam—this; viriñcaḥ—even Lord Brahmā; labhate—can achieve; prasādam—benediction; na—nor; śrīḥ—the goddess of fortune; na—nor; śarvaḥ—Lord Śiva; kim uta—what to speak of; apare anye—others; yat—which benediction; naḥ—of us; asurāṇām—the demons; asi—You have become; durga-pālaḥ—the maintainer; viśva-abhivandyaiḥ—by personalities like Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva, who are worshiped all over the universe; abhivandita-aṅghriḥ—whose lotus feet are worshiped.
TRANSLATION
Prahlāda Mahārāja said: O Supreme Personality of Godhead, You are universally worshiped; even Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva worship Your lotus feet. Yet although You are such a great personality, You have kindly promised to protect us, the demons. I think that such kindness has never been achieved even by Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva or the goddess of fortune, Lakṣmī, what to speak of other demigods or common people.
PURPORT
The word durga-pāla is significant. The word durga means “that which does not go very easily.” Generally durga refers to a fort, which one cannot very easily enter. Another meaning of durga is “difficulty.” Because the Supreme Personality of Godhead promised to protect Bali Mahārāja and his associates from all dangers, He is addressed here as durga-pāla, the Lord who gives protection from all miserable conditions.
TEXT 7
yat-pāda-padma-makaranda-niṣevaṇena
brahmādayaḥ śaraṇadāśnuvate vibhūtīḥ
kasmād vayaṁ kusṛtayaḥ khala-yonayas te
dākṣiṇya-dṛṣṭi-padavīṁ bhavataḥ praṇītāḥ
SYNONYMS
yat—of whom; pāda-padma—of the lotus flower of the feet; makaranda—of the honey; niṣevaṇena—by tasting the sweetness of rendering service; brahma-ādayaḥ—great personalities like Lord Brahmā; śaraṇa-da—O my Lord, supreme shelter of everyone; aśnuvate—enjoy; vibhūtīḥ—benedictions given by You; kasmāt—how; vayam—we; ku-sṛtayaḥ—all the rogues and thieves; khala-yonayaḥ—born of an envious dynasty, namely that of the demons; te—those asuras; dākṣiṇya-dṛṣṭi-padavīm—the position bestowed by the merciful glance; bhavataḥ—of Your Lordship; praṇītāḥ—have achieved.
TRANSLATION
O supreme shelter of everyone, great personalities like Brahmā enjoy their perfection simply by tasting the honey of rendering service at Your lotus feet. But as for us, who are all rogues and debauchees born of an envious family of demons, how have we received Your mercy? It has been possible only because Your mercy is causeless.
TEXT 8
citraṁ tavehitam aho ’mita-yogamāyā-
līlā-visṛṣṭa-bhuvanasya viśāradasya
sarvātmanaḥ samadṛśo ’viṣamaḥ svabhāvo
bhakta-priyo yad asi kalpataru-svabhāvaḥ
SYNONYMS
citram—very wonderful; tava īhitam—all Your activities; aho—alas; amita—unlimited; yogamāyā—of Your spiritual potency; līlā—by the pastimes; visṛṣṭa-bhuvanasya—of Your Lordship, by whom all the universes have been created; viśāradasya—of Your Lordship, who are expert in all respects; sarva-ātmanaḥ—of Your Lordship, who pervade all; sama-dṛśaḥ—and who are equal toward all; aviṣamaḥ—without differentiation; svabhāvaḥ—that is Your characteristic; bhakta-priyaḥ—under the circumstances You become favorable to the devotees; yat—because; asi—You are; kalpataru-svabhāvaḥ—having the characteristic of a desire tree.
TRANSLATION
O my Lord, Your pastimes are all wonderfully performed by Your inconceivable spiritual energy; and by her perverted reflection, the material energy, You have created all the universes. As the Supersoul of all living entities, You are aware of everything, and therefore You are certainly equal toward everyone. Nonetheless, You favor Your devotees. This is not partiality, however, for Your characteristic is just like that of a desire tree, which yields everything according to one’s desire.
PURPORT
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.” The Supreme Personality of Godhead is certainly equal toward all living entities, but a devotee who fully surrenders at the lotus feet of the Lord is different from a nondevotee. In other words, everyone can take shelter at the lotus feet of the Lord to enjoy equal benedictions from the Lord, but nondevotees do not do so, and therefore they suffer the consequences created by the material energy. We can understand this fact by a simple example. The king or government is equal to all citizens. Therefore, if a citizen capable of receiving special favors from the government is offered such favors, this does not mean that the government is partial. One who knows how to receive favors from the authority can receive them, but one who does not neglects these favors and does not receive them. There are two classes of men—the demons and the demigods. The demigods are fully aware of the Supreme Lord’s position, and therefore they are obedient to Him, but even if demons know about the supremacy of the Lord they purposely defy His authority. Therefore, the Lord makes distinctions according to the mentality of the living being, but otherwise He is equal to everyone. Like a desire tree, the Lord fulfills the desires of one who takes shelter of Him, but one who does not take such shelter is distinct from the surrendered soul. One who takes shelter at the lotus feet of the Lord is favored by the Lord, regardless of whether such a person is a demon or a demigod.
TEXT 9
śrī-bhagavān uvāca
vatsa prahrāda bhadraṁ te
prayāhi sutalālayam
modamānaḥ sva-pautreṇa
jñātīnāṁ sukham āvaha
SYNONYMS
śrī-bhagavān uvāca—the Personality of Godhead said; vatsa—O My dear son; prahrāda—O Prahlāda Mahārāja; bhadram te—all auspiciousness unto you; prayāhi—please go; sutala-ālayam—to the place known as Sutala; modamānaḥ—in a spirit of jubilation; sva-pautreṇa—with your grandson (Bali Mahārāja); jñātīnām—of your relatives and friends; sukham—happiness; āvaha—just enjoy.
TRANSLATION
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear son Prahlāda, all good fortune unto you. For the time being, please go to the place known as Sutala and there enjoy happiness with your grandson and your other relatives and friends.
TEXT 10
nityaṁ draṣṭāsi māṁ tatra
gadā-pāṇim avasthitam
mad-darśana-mahāhlāda-
dhvasta-karma-nibandhanaḥ
SYNONYMS
nityam—constantly; draṣṭā—the seer; asi—you shall be; mām—unto Me; tatra—there (in Sutalaloka); gadā-pāṇim—with a club in My hand; avasthitam—situated there; mat-darśana—by seeing Me in that form; mahā-āhlāda—by the great transcendental bliss; dhvasta—having been vanquished; karma-nibandhanaḥ—the bondage of fruitive activities.
TRANSLATION
The Supreme Personality of Godhead assured Prahlāda Mahārāja: You shall be able to see Me there in My usual feature with conchshell, disc, club and lotus in My hand. Because of your transcendental bliss due to always personally seeing Me, you will have no further bondage to fruitive activities.
PURPORT
Karma-bandha, the bondage of fruitive activities, entails the repetition of birth and death. One performs fruitive activities in such a way that he creates another body for his next life. As long as one is attached to fruitive activities, he must accept another material body. This repeated acceptance of material bodies is called saṁsāra-bandhana. To stop this, a devotee is advised to see the Supreme Lord constantly. The kaniṣṭha-adhikārī, or neophyte devotee, is therefore advised to visit the temple every day and see the form of the Lord regularly. Thus the neophyte devotee can be freed from the bondage of fruitive activities.
TEXTS 11–12
śrī-śuka uvāca
ājñāṁ bhagavato rājan
prahrādo balinā saha
bāḍham ity amala-prajño
mūrdhny ādhāya kṛtāñjaliḥ
parikramyādi-puruṣaṁ
sarvāsura-camūpatiḥ
praṇatas tad-anujñātaḥ
praviveśa mahā-bilam
SYNONYMS
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; ājñām—the order; bhagavataḥ—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; rājan—O King (Mahārāja Parīkṣit); prahrādaḥMahārāja Prahlāda; balinā saha—accompanied by Bali Mahārāja; bāḍham—yes, sir, what You say is all right; iti—thus; amala-prajñaḥPrahlāda Mahārāja, who had clear intelligence; mūrdhni—on his head; ādhāya—accepting; kṛta-añjaliḥ—with folded hands; parikramya—after circumambulating; ādi-puruṣam—the supreme original person, Bhagavān; sarva-asura-camūpatiḥ—the master of all the chiefs of the demons; praṇataḥ—after offering obeisances; tat-anujñātaḥ—being permitted by Him (Lord Vāmana); praviveśa—entered; mahā-bilam—the planet known as Sutala.
TRANSLATION
Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: Accompanied by Bali Mahārāja, my dear King Parīkṣit, Prahlāda Mahārāja, the master of all the chiefs of the demons, took the Supreme Lord’s order on his head with folded hands. After saying yes to the Lord, circumambulating Him and offering Him respectful obeisances, he entered the lower planetary system known as Sutala.
TEXT 13
athāhośanasaṁ rājan
harir nārāyaṇo ’ntike
āsīnam ṛtvijāṁ madhye
sadasi brahma-vādinām
SYNONYMS
atha—thereafter; āha—said; uśanasam—unto Śukrācārya; rājan—O King; hariḥ—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; nārāyaṇaḥ—the Lord; antike—nearby; āsīnam—who was sitting; ṛtvijām madhye—in the group of all the priests; sadasi—in the assembly; brahma-vādinām—of the followers of Vedic principles.
TRANSLATION
Hari, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Nārāyaṇa, thereafter addressed Śukrācārya, who was sitting nearby in the midst of the assembly with the priests [brahma, hotā, udgātā and adhvaryu]. O Mahārāja Parīkṣit, these priests were all brahma-vādīs, followers of the Vedic principles for performing sacrifices.
TEXT 14
brahman santanu śiṣyasya
karma-cchidraṁ vitanvataḥ
yat tat karmasu vaiṣamyaṁ
brahma-dṛṣṭaṁ samaṁ bhavet
SYNONYMS
brahman—O brāhmaṇa; santanu—please describe; śiṣyasya—of your disciple; karma-chidram—the discrepancies in the fruitive activities; vitanvataḥ—of he who was performing sacrifices; yat tat—that which; karmasu—in the fruitive activities; vaiṣamyam—discrepancy; brahma-dṛṣṭam—when it is judged by the brāhmaṇas; samam—equipoised; bhavet—it so becomes.
TRANSLATION
O best of the brāhmaṇas, Śukrācārya, please describe the fault or discrepancy in your disciple Bali Mahārāja, who engaged in performing sacrifices. This fault will be nullified when judged in the presence of qualified brāhmaṇas.
PURPORT
When Bali Mahārāja and Prahlāda Mahārāja had departed for the planet Sutala, Lord Viṣṇu asked Śukrācārya what the fault was in Bali Mahārāja for which Śukrācārya had cursed him. It might be argued that since Bali Mahārāja had now left the scene, how could his faults be judged? In reply to this, Lord Viṣṇu informed Śukrācārya that there was no need for Bali Mahārāja’s presence, for his faults and discrepancies could be nullified if judged before the brāhmaṇas. As will be seen in the next verse, Bali Mahārāja had no faults; Śukrācārya had unnecessarily cursed him. Nonetheless, this was better for Bali Mahārāja. Being cursed by Śukrācārya, Bali Mahārāja was deprived of all his possessions, with the result that the Supreme Personality of Godhead favored him for his strong faith in devotional service. Of course, a devotee is not required to engage in fruitive activities. As stated in the śāstra, sarvārhaṇam acyutejyā (Bhāg. 4.31.14). By worshiping Acyuta, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one satisfies everyone. Because Bali Mahārāja had satisfied the Supreme Personality of Godhead, there were no discrepancies in his performance of sacrifices.
TEXT 15
śrī-śukra uvāca
kutas tat-karma-vaiṣamyaṁ
yasya karmeśvaro bhavān
yajñeśo yajña-puruṣaḥ
sarva-bhāvena pūjitaḥ
SYNONYMS
śrī-śukraḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukrācārya said; kutaḥ—where is that; tat—of him (Bali Mahārāja); karma-vaiṣamyam—discrepancy in discharging fruitive activities; yasya—of whom (Bali Mahārāja); karma-īśvaraḥ—the master of all fruitive activities; bhavān—Your Lordship; yajña-īśaḥ—You are the enjoyer of all sacrifices; yajña-puruṣaḥ—You are the person for whose pleasure all sacrifices are offered; sarva-bhāvena—in all respects; pūjitaḥ—having worshiped.
TRANSLATION
Śukrācārya said: My Lord, You are the enjoyer and lawgiver in all performances of sacrifice, and You are the yajña-puruṣa, the person to whom all sacrifices are offered. If one has fully satisfied You, where is the chance of discrepancies or faults in his performances of sacrifice?
PURPORT
In Bhagavad-gītā (5.29) the Lord says, bhoktāraṁ yajña-tapasāṁ sarva-loka-maheśvaram: the Lord, the supreme proprietor, is the actual person to he satisfied by the performance of yajñas. The Viṣṇu Purāṇa (3.8.9) says:
varṇāśramācāravatā
puruṣeṇa paraḥ pumān
viṣṇur ārādhyate panthā
nanyat tat-toṣa-kāraṇam
All the Vedic ritualistic sacrifices are performed for the purpose of satisfying Lord Viṣṇu, the yajña-puruṣa. The divisions of society—brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya, śūdra, brahmacarya, gṛhastha, vānaprastha and sannyāsa—are all meant to satisfy the Supreme Lord, Viṣṇu. To act according to this principle of the varṇāśrama institution is called varṇāśramācaraṇa. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.2.13), Sūta Gosvāmī says:
“O best among the twice-born, it is therefore concluded that the highest perfection one can achieve by discharging his prescribed duties according to caste divisions and orders of life is to please the Personality of Godhead.” Everything is meant to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore, since Bali Mahārāja had satisfied the Lord, he had no faults, and Śukrācārya admitted that cursing him was not good.
TEXT 16
mantratas tantrataś chidraṁ
deśa-kālārha-vastutaḥ
sarvaṁ karoti niśchidram
anusaṅkīrtanaṁ tava
SYNONYMS
mantrataḥ—in pronouncing the Vedic mantras improperly; tantrataḥ—in insufficient knowledge for following regulative principles; chidram—discrepancy; deśa—in the matter of country; kāla—and time; arha—and recipient; vastutaḥ—and paraphernalia; sarvam—all these; karoti—makes; niśchidram—without discrepancy; anusaṅkīrtanam—constantly chanting the holy name; tava—of Your Lordship.
TRANSLATION
There may be discrepancies in pronouncing the mantras and observing the regulative principles, and, moreover, there may be discrepancies in regard to time, place, person and paraphernalia. But when Your Lordship’s holy name is chanted, everything becomes faultless.
PURPORT
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has recommended:
harer nāma harer nāma
harer nāmaiva kevalam
kalau nāsty eva nāsty eva
nāsty eva gatir anyathā
[Adi 17.21]
“In this age of quarrel and hypocrisy the only means of deliverance is chanting the holy name of the Lord. There is no other way. There is no other way. There is no other way.” (Bṛhan-nāradīya Purāṇa 38.126) In this age of Kali, it is extremely difficult to perform Vedic ritualistic ceremonies or sacrifices perfectly. Hardly anyone can chant the Vedic mantras with perfect pronunciation or accumulate the paraphernalia for Vedic performances. Therefore the sacrifice recommended in this age is saṅkīrtana, constant chanting of the holy name of the Lord. Yajñaiḥ saṅkīrtana-prāyair yajanti hi sumedhasaḥ (Bhāg. 11.5.29). Instead of wasting time performing Vedic sacrifices, those who are intelligent, those who possess good brain substance, should take to the chanting of the Lord’s holy name and thus perform sacrifice perfectly. I have seen that many religious leaders are addicted to performing yajñas and spending hundreds and thousands of rupees for imperfect sacrificial performances. This is a lesson for those who unnecessarily execute such imperfect sacrifices. We should take the advice of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu (yajñaiḥ saṅkīrtana-prāyair yajanti hi sumedhasaḥ). Although Śukrācārya was a strict brāhmaṇa addicted to ritualistic activities, he also admitted, niśchidram anusaṅkīrtanaṁ tava: “My Lord, constant chanting of the holy name of Your Lordship makes everything perfect.” In Kali-yuga the Vedic ritualistic ceremonies cannot be performed as perfectly as before. Therefore Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī has recommended that although one should take care to follow all the principles in every kind of spiritual activity, especially in worship of the Deity, there is still a chance of discrepancies, and one should compensate for this by chanting the holy name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement we therefore give special stress to the chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra in all activities.
TEXT 17
tathāpi vadato bhūman
kariṣyāmy anuśāsanam
etac chreyaḥ paraṁ puṁsāṁ
yat tavājñānupālanam
SYNONYMS
tathāpi—although there was no fault on the part of Bali Mahārāja; vadataḥ—because of your order; bhūman—O Supreme; kariṣyāmi— I must execute; anuśāsanam—because it is Your order; etat—this is; śreyaḥ—that which is the most auspicious; param—supreme; puṁsām—of all persons; yat—because; tava ājñā-anupālanam—to obey Your order.
TRANSLATION
Lord Viṣṇu, I must nonetheless act in obedience to Your order because obeying Your order is most auspicious and is the first duty of everyone.
TEXT 18
śrī-śuka uvāca
pratinandya harer ājñām
uśanā bhagavān iti
yajña-cchidraṁ samādhatta
baler viprarṣibhiḥ saha
SYNONYMS
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; pratinandya—offering all obeisances; hareḥ—of the Personality of Godhead; ājñām—the order; uśanāḥ—Śukrācārya; bhagavān—the most powerful; iti—thus; yajña-chidram—discrepancies in the performance of sacrifices; samādhatta—made it a point to fulfill; baleḥ—of Bali Mahārāja; vipra-ṛṣibhiḥ—the best brāhmaṇas; saha—along with.
TRANSLATION
Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued: In this way, the most powerful Śukrācārya accepted the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead with full respect. Along with the best brāhmaṇas, he began to compensate for the discrepancies in the sacrifices performed by Bali Mahārāja.
TEXT 19
evaṁ baler mahīṁ rājan
bhikṣitvā vāmano hariḥ
dadau bhrātre mahendrāya
tridivaṁ yat parair hṛtam
SYNONYMS
evam—thus; baleḥ—from Bali Mahārāja; mahīm—the land; rājan—O King Parīkṣit; bhikṣitvā—after begging; vāmanaḥ—His Lordship Vāmana; hariḥ—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; dadau—delivered; bhrātre—unto His brother; mahā-indrāyaIndra, the King of heaven; tridivam—the planetary system of the demigods; yat—which; paraiḥ—by others; hṛtam—was taken.
TRANSLATION
O King Parīkṣit, thus having taken all the land of Bali Mahārāja by begging, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Vāmanadeva, delivered to His brother Indra all the land taken away by Indra’s enemy.
TEXTS 20–21
prajāpati-patir brahmā
devarṣi-pitṛ-bhūmipaiḥ
dakṣa-bhṛgv-aṅgiro-mukhyaiḥ
kumāreṇa bhavena ca
kaśyapasyāditeḥ prītyai
sarva-bhūta-bhavāya ca
lokānāṁ loka-pālānām
akarod vāmanaṁ patim
SYNONYMS
prajāpati-patiḥ—the master of all Prajāpatis; brahmā—Lord Brahmā; deva—with the demigods; ṛṣi—with the great saintly persons; pitṛ—with the inhabitants of Pitṛloka; bhūmipaiḥ—with the Manus; dakṣa—with Dakṣa; bhṛgu—with Bhṛgu Muni; aṅgiraḥ—with Aṅgirā Muni; mukhyaiḥ—with all the chiefs of the various planetary systems; kumāreṇa—with Kārttikeya; bhavena—with Lord Śiva; ca—also; kaśyapasya—of Kaśyapa Muni; aditeḥ—of Aditi; prītyai—f or the pleasure; sarva-bhūta-bhavāya—for the auspiciousness of all living entities; ca—also; lokānām—of all planetary systems; loka-pālānām—of the predominating persons in all planets; akarot—made; vāmanam—Lord Vāmana; patim—the supreme leader.
TRANSLATION
Lord Brahmā [the master of King Dakṣa and all other Prajāpatis], accompanied by all the demigods, the great saintly persons, the inhabitants of Pitṛloka, the Manus, the munis, and such leaders as Dakṣa, Bhṛgu and Aṅgirā, as well as Kārttikeya and Lord Śiva, accepted Lord Vāmanadeva as the protector of everyone. He did this for the pleasure of Kaśyapa Muni and his wife Aditi and for the welfare of all the inhabitants of the universe, including their various leaders.
TEXTS 22–23
vedānāṁ sarva-devānāṁ
dharmasya yaśasaḥ śriyaḥ
maṅgalānāṁ vratānāṁ ca
kalpaṁ svargāpavargayoḥ
upendraṁ kalpayāṁ cakre
patiṁ sarva-vibhūtaye
tadā sarvāṇi bhūtāni
bhṛśaṁ mumudire nṛpa
SYNONYMS
vedānām—(for the protection) of all the Vedas; sarva-devānām—of all the demigods; dharmasya—of all principles of religion; yaśasaḥ—of all fame; śriyaḥ—of all opulences; maṅgalānām—of all auspiciousness; vratānām ca—and of all vows; kalpam—the most expert; svarga-apavargayoḥ—of elevation to the heavenly planets or liberation from material bondage; upendram—Lord Vāmanadeva; kalpayām cakre—they made it the plan; patim—the master; sarva-vibhūtaye—for all purposes; tadā—at that time; sarvāṇi—all; bhūtāni—living entities; bhṛśam—very much; mumudire—became happy; nṛpa—O King.
TRANSLATION
O King Parīkṣit, Indra was considered the King of all the universe, but the demigods, headed by Lord Brahmā, wanted Upendra, Lord Vāmanadeva, as the protector of the Vedas, the principles of religion, fame, opulence, auspiciousness, vows, elevation to the higher planetary system, and liberation. Thus they accepted Upendra, Lord Vāmanadeva, as the supreme master of everything. This decision made all living entities extremely happy.
TEXT 24
tatas tv indraḥ puraskṛtya
deva-yānena vāmanam
loka-pālair divaṁ ninye
brahmaṇā cānumoditaḥ
SYNONYMS
tataḥ—thereafter; tu—but; indraḥ—the King of heaven; puraskṛtya—keeping forward; deva-yānena—by an airplane used by the demigods; vāmanam—Lord Vāmana; loka-pālaiḥ—with the chiefs of all other planets; divam—to the heavenly planets; ninye—brought; brahmaṇā—by Lord Brahmā; ca—also; anumoditaḥ—being approved.
TRANSLATION
Thereafter, along with all the leaders of the heavenly planets, Indra, the King of heaven, placed Lord Vāmanadeva before him and, with the approval of Lord Brahmā, brought Him to the heavenly planet in a celestial airplane.
TEXT 25
prāpya tri-bhuvanaṁ cendra
upendra-bhuja-pālitaḥ
śriyā paramayā juṣṭo
mumude gata-sādhvasaḥ
SYNONYMS
prāpya—after obtaining; tri-bhuvanam—the three worlds; ca—also; indraḥ—the King of heaven; upendra-bhuja-pālitaḥ—being protected by the arms of Vāmanadeva, Upendra; śriyā—by opulence; paramayā—by supreme; juṣṭaḥ—thus being served; mumude—enjoyed; gata-sādhvasaḥ—without fear of the demons.
TRANSLATION
Indra, King of heaven, being protected by the arms of Vāmanadeva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, thus regained his rule of the three worlds and was reinstated in his own position, supremely opulent, fearless and fully satisfied.
TEXTS 26–27
brahmā śarvaḥ kumāraś ca
bhṛgv-ādyā munayo nṛpa
pitaraḥ sarva-bhūtāni
siddhā vaimānikāś ca ye
sumahat karma tad viṣṇor
gāyantaḥ param adbhutam
dhiṣṇyāni svāni te jagmur
aditiṁ ca śaśaṁsire
SYNONYMS
brahmā—Lord Brahmā; śarvaḥ—Lord Śiva; kumāraḥ ca—also Lord Kārttikeya; bhṛgu-ādyāḥ—headed by Bhṛgu Muni, one of the seven ṛṣis; munayaḥ—the saintly persons; nṛpa—O King; pitaraḥ—the inhabitants of Pitṛloka; sarva-bhūtāni—other living entities; siddhāḥ—the residents of Siddhaloka; vaimānikāḥ ca—human beings who can travel everywhere in outer space by airplane; ye—such persons; sumahat—highly praiseworthy; karma—activities; tat—all those (activities); viṣṇoḥ—done by Lord Viṣṇu; gāyantaḥ—glorifying; param adbhutam—uncommon and wonderful; dhiṣṇyāni—to their respective planets; svāni—own; te—all of them; jagmuḥ—departed; aditim ca—as well as Aditi; śaśaṁsire—praised all these activities of the Lord.
TRANSLATION
Lord Brahmā, Lord Śiva, Lord Kārttikeya, the great sage Bhṛgu, other saintly persons, the inhabitants of Pitṛloka and all other living entities present, including the inhabitants of Siddhaloka and living entities who travel in outer space by airplane, all glorified the uncommon activities of Lord Vāmanadeva. O King, while chanting about and glorifying the Lord, they returned to their respective heavenly planets. They also praised the position of Aditi.
TEXT 28
sarvam etan mayākhyātaṁ
bhavataḥ kula-nandana
urukramasya caritaṁ
śrotṝṇām agha-mocanam
SYNONYMS
sarvam—all; etat—these incidents; mayā—by me; ākhyātam—have been described; bhavataḥ—of you; kula-nandana—O Mahārāja Parīkṣit, the pleasure of your dynasty; urukramasya—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; caritam—activities; śrotṝṇām—of the audience; agha-mocanam—such hearing of the Lord’s activities certainly vanquishes the results of sinful activities.
TRANSLATION
O Mahārāja Parīkṣit, pleasure of your dynasty, I have now described to you everything about the wonderful activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Vāmanadeva. Those who hear about this are certainly freed from all the results of sinful activities.
TEXT 29
pāraṁ mahimna uruvikramato gṛṇāno
yaḥ pārthivāni vimame sa rajāṁsi martyaḥ
kiṁ jāyamāna uta jāta upaiti martya
ity āha mantra-dṛg ṛṣiḥ puruṣasya yasya
SYNONYMS
pāram—the measurement; mahimnaḥ—of the glories; uruvikramataḥ—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who acts wonderfully; gṛṇānaḥ—can count; yaḥ—a person who; pārthivāni—of the whole planet earth; vimame—can count; saḥ—he; rajāṁsi—the atoms; martyaḥ—a human being who is subject to death; kim—what; jāyamānaḥ—one who will take birth in the future; uta—either; jātaḥ—one who is already born; upaiti—can do; martyaḥ—a person subject to death; iti—thus; āha—said; mantra-dṛk—who could foresee the Vedic mantras; ṛṣiḥ—the great saintly Vasiṣṭha Muni; puruṣasya—of the supreme person; yasya—of whom.
TRANSLATION
One who is subject to death cannot measure the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Trivikrama, Lord Viṣṇu, any more than he can count the number of atoms on the entire planet earth. No one, whether born already or destined to take birth, is able to do this. This has been sung by the great sage Vasiṣṭha.
PURPORT
Vasiṣṭha Muni has given a mantra about Lord Viṣṇu: na te viṣṇor jāyamāno na jāto mahimnaḥ pāram anantam āpa. No one can estimate the extent of the uncommonly glorious activities of Lord Viṣṇu. Unfortunately, there are so-called scientists who are subject to death at every moment but are trying to understand by speculation the wonderful creation of the cosmos. This is a foolish attempt. Long, long ago, Vasiṣṭha Muni said that no one in the past could measure the glories of the Lord and that no one can do so in the future. One must simply be satisfied with seeing the glorious activities of the Supreme Lord’s creation. The Lord therefore says in Bhagavad-gītā (10.42), viṣṭabhyāham idaṁ kṛtsnam ekāṁśena sthito jagat: “With a single fragment of Myself, I pervade and support this entire universe.” The material world consists of innumerable universes, each one full of innumerable planets, which are all considered to be products of the Supreme Personality of Godhead’s material energy. Yet this is only one fourth of God’s creation. The other three fourths of creation constitute the spiritual world. Among the innumerable planets in only one universe, the so-called scientists cannot understand even the moon and Mars, but they try to defy the creation of the Supreme Lord and His uncommon energy. Such men have been described as crazy. Nūnaṁ pramattaḥ kurute vikarma (Bhāg. 5.5.4). Such crazy men unnecessarily waste time, energy and money in attempting to defy the glorious activities of Urukrama, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
TEXT 30
ya idaṁ deva-devasya
harer adbhuta-karmaṇaḥ
avatārānucaritaṁ
śṛṇvan yāti parāṁ gatim
SYNONYMS
yaḥ—anyone who; idam—this; deva-devasya—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is worshiped by the demigods; hareḥ—of Lord Kṛṣṇa, Hari; adbhuta-karmaṇaḥ—whose activities are all wonderful; avatāra-anucaritam—activities performed in His different incarnations; śṛṇvan—if one continues to hear; yāti—he goes; parām gatim—to the supreme perfection, back home, back to Godhead.
TRANSLATION
If one hears about the uncommon activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His various incarnations, he is certainly elevated to the higher planetary system or even brought back home, back to Godhead.
TEXT 31
kriyamāṇe karmaṇīdaṁ
daive pitrye ’tha mānuṣe
yatra yatrānukīrtyeta
tat teṣāṁ sukṛtaṁ viduḥ
SYNONYMS
kriyamāṇe—upon the performance; karmaṇi—of a ritualistic ceremony; idam—this description of the characteristics of Vāmanadeva; daive—to please the demigods; pitrye—or to please the forefathers, as in a śrāddha ceremony; atha—either; mānuṣe—for the pleasure of human society, as in marriages; yatra—wherever; yatra—whenever; anukīrtyeta—is described; tat—that; teṣām—for them; sukṛtam—auspicious; viduḥ—everyone should understand.
TRANSLATION
Whenever the activities of Vāmanadeva are described in the course of a ritualistic ceremony, whether the ceremony be performed to please the demigods, to please one’s forefathers in Pitṛloka, or to celebrate a social event like a marriage, that ceremony should be understood to be extremely auspicious.
PURPORT
There are three kinds of ceremonies—specifically, ceremonies to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead or the demigods, those performed for social celebrations like marriages and birthdays, and those meant to please the forefathers, like the śrāddha ceremony. In all these ceremonies, large amounts of money are spent for various activities, but here it is suggested that if along with this there is recitation of the wonderful activities of Vāmanadeva, certainly the ceremony will be carried out successfully and will be free of all discrepancies.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the Eighth Canto, Twenty-third Chapter, of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, entitled “The Demigods Regain the Heavenly planets.”

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