Chapter Eleven
Lord Rāmacandra Rules the World
This chapter describes how Lord Rāmacandra resided in Ayodhyā with His younger brothers and performed various sacrifices.
Lord Rāmacandra, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, performed various sacrifices by which to worship Himself, and at the end of these sacrifices He gave land to the hotā, adhvaryu, udgātā and brahmā priests. He gave them the eastern, western, northern and southern directions respectively, and the balance He gave to the ācārya. Lord Rāmacandra’s faith in the brāhmaṇas and affection for His servants was observed by all the brāhmaṇas, who then offered their prayers to the Lord and returned whatever they had taken from Him. They regarded the enlightenment given to them by the Lord within the core of their hearts as a sufficient contribution. Lord Rāmacandra subsequently dressed Himself like an ordinary person and began wandering within the capital to understand what impression the citizens had of Him. By chance, one night He heard a man talking to his wife, who had gone to another man’s house. In the course of rebuking his wife, the man spoke suspiciously of the character of Sītādevī. The Lord immediately returned home, and, fearing such rumors, He superficially decided to give up Sītādevī’s company. Thus He banished Sītādevī, who was pregnant, to the shelter of Vālmīki Muni, where she gave birth to twin sons, named Lava and Kuśa. In Ayodhyā, Lakṣmaṇa begot two sons named Aṅgada and Citraketu, Bharata begot two sons named Takṣa and Puṣkala, and Śatrughna begot two sons named Subāhu and Śrutasena. When Bharata went out to conquer various lands on behalf of the emperor, Lord Rāmacandra, He fought many millions of Gandharvas. By killing them in the fight, He acquired immense wealth, which He then brought home. Śatrughna killed a demon named Lavaṇa at Madhuvana and thus established the capital of Mathurā. Meanwhile, Sītādevī placed her two sons in the care of Vālmīki Muni and then entered into the earth. Upon hearing of this, Lord Rāmacandra was very much aggrieved, and thus He performed sacrifices for thirteen thousand years. After describing the pastimes of Lord Rāmacandra’s disappearance and establishing that the Lord appears for His pastimes only, Śukadeva Gosvāmī ends this chapter by describing the results of hearing about the activities of Lord Rāmacandra and by describing how the Lord protected His citizens and displayed affection for His brothers.
śrī-śuka uvāca
bhagavān ātmanātmānaṁ
rāma uttama-kalpakaiḥ
sarva-devamayaṁ devam
īje ’thācāryavān makhaiḥ
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; bhagavān—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; ātmanā—by Himself; ātmānam—Himself; rāmaḥ—Lord Rāmacandra; uttama-kalpakaiḥ—with very opulent paraphernalia; sarva-deva-mayam—the heart and soul of all the demigods; devam—the Supreme Lord Himself; īje—worshiped; atha—thus; ācāryavān—under the guidance of an ācārya; makhaiḥ—by performing sacrifices.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: Thereafter, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Rāmacandra, accepted an ācārya and performed sacrifices [yajñas] with opulent paraphernalia. Thus He Himself worshiped Himself, for He is the Supreme Lord of all demigods.
Sarvārhaṇam acyutejyā. If Acyuta, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is worshiped, then everyone is worshiped. As stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (4.31.14):
yathā taror mūla-niṣecanena
tṛpyanti tat-skandha-bhujopaśākhāḥ
prāṇopahārāc ca yathendriyāṇāṁ
tathaiva sarvārhaṇam acyutejyā
“As pouring water on the root of a tree nourishes the trunk, branches, twigs and leaves, and as supplying food to the stomach enlivens the senses and limbs of the body, worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead satisfies the demigods, who are part of that Supreme Personality.” Performing yajña involves worshiping the Supreme Lord. Here the Supreme Lord worshiped the Supreme Lord. Therefore it is said, bhagavān ātmanātmānam īje: the Lord worshiped Himself by Himself. This does not, of course, justify the Māyāvāda philosophy, by which one thinks himself the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The jīva, the living entity, is always different from the Supreme Lord. The living entities (vibhinnāṁśa) never become one with the Lord, although Māyāvādīs sometimes imitate the Lord’s worship of Himself. Lord Kṛṣṇa meditated upon Himself every morning as a gṛhastha, and similarly Lord Rāmacandra performed yajñas to satisfy Himself, but this does not mean that an ordinary living being should imitate the Lord by accepting the process of ahaṅgraha-upāsanā. Such unauthorized worship is not recommended herein.
hotre ’dadād diśaṁ prācīṁ
brahmaṇe dakṣiṇāṁ prabhuḥ
adhvaryave pratīcīṁ vā
uttarāṁ sāmagāya saḥ
hotre—unto the hotā priest, who offers oblations; adadāt—gave; diśam—direction; prācīm—the whole eastern side; brahmaṇe—unto the brahmā priest, who supervises what is done in the sacrificial arena; dakṣiṇām—the southern side; prabhuḥ—Lord Rāmacandra; adhvaryave—unto the adhvaryu priest; pratīcīm—the whole western side; —also; uttarām—the northern side; sāma-gāya—unto the udgātā priest, who sings the Sāma Veda; saḥ—He (Lord Rāmacandra).
Lord Rāmacandra gave the entire east to the hotā priest, the entire south to the brahmā priest, the west to the adhvaryu priest, and the north to the udgātā priest, the reciter of the Sāma Veda. In this way, He donated His kingdom.
ācāryāya dadau śeṣāṁ
yāvatī bhūs tad-antarā
manyamāna idaṁ kṛtsnaṁ
brāhmaṇo ’rhati niḥspṛhaḥ
ācāryāya—unto the ācārya, the spiritual master; dadau—gave; śeṣām—the balance; yāvatī—whatever; bhūḥ—land; tat-antarā—existing between the east, west, north and south; manyamānaḥ—thinking; idam—all this; kṛtsnam—wholly; brāhmaṇaḥ—the brāhmaṇas; arhati—deserve to possess; niḥspṛhaḥ—having no desire.
Thereafter, thinking that because the brāhmaṇas have no material desires they should possess the entire world, Lord Rāmacandra delivered the land between the east, west, north and south to the ācārya.
ity ayaṁ tad-alaṅkāra-
vāsobhyām avaśeṣitaḥ
tathā rājñy api vaidehī
iti—in this way (after giving everything to the brāhmaṇas); ayam—Lord Rāmacandra; tat—His; alaṅkāra-vāsobhyām—with personal ornaments and garments; avaśeṣitaḥ—remained; tathā—as well as; rājñī—the Queen (mother Sītā); api—also; vaidehī—the daughter of the King of Videha; saumaṅgalyā—with only the nose ring; avaśeṣitā—remained.
After thus giving everything in charity to the brāhmaṇas, Lord Rāmacandra retained only His personal garments and ornaments, and similarly the Queen, mother Sītā, was left with only her nose ring, and nothing else.
te tu brāhmaṇa-devasya
vātsalyaṁ vīkṣya saṁstutam
prītāḥ klinna-dhiyas tasmai
pratyarpyedaṁ babhāṣire
te—the hotā, brahmā and other priests; tu—but; brāhmaṇa-devasya—of Lord Rāmacandra, who loved the brāhmaṇas so much; vātsalyam—the paternal affection; vīkṣya—after seeing; saṁstutam—worshiped with prayers; prītāḥ—being very pleased; klinna-dhiyaḥ—with melted hearts; tasmai—unto Him (Lord Rāmacandra); pratyarpya—returning; idam—this (all the land given to them); babhāṣire—spoke.
All the brāhmaṇas who were engaged in the various activities of the sacrifice were very pleased with Lord Rāmacandra, who was greatly affectionate and favorable to the brāhmaṇas. Thus with melted hearts they returned all the property received from Him and spoke as follows.
In the previous chapter it was said that the prajās, the citizens, strictly followed the system of varṇāśrama-dharma. The brāhmaṇas acted exactly like brāhmaṇas, the kṣatriyas exactly like kṣatriyas, and so on. Therefore, when Lord Rāmacandra gave everything in charity to the brāhmaṇas, the brāhmaṇas, being qualified, wisely considered that brāhmaṇas are not meant to possess property to make a profit from it. The qualifications of a brāhmaṇa are given in Bhagavad-gītā (18.42):.
“Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, wisdom, knowledge, and religiousness—these are the qualities by which the brāhmaṇas work.” The brahminical character offers no scope for possessing land and ruling citizens; these are the duties of a kṣatriya. Therefore, although the brāhmaṇas did not refuse Lord Rāmacandra’s gift, after accepting it they returned it to the King. The brāhmaṇas were so pleased with Lord Rāmacandra’s affection toward them that their hearts melted. They saw that Lord Rāmacandra, aside from being the Supreme Personality of Godhead, was fully qualified as a kṣatriya and was exemplary in character. One of the qualifications of a kṣatriya is to be charitable. A kṣatriya, or ruler, levies taxes upon the citizens not for his personal sense gratification but to give charity in suitable cases. Dānam īśvara-bhāvaḥ. On one hand, kṣatriyas have the propensity to rule, but on the other they are very liberal with charity. When Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira gave charity, he engaged Karṇa to take charge of distributing it. Karṇa was very famous as Dātā Karṇa. The word dātā refers to one who gives charity very liberally. The kings always kept a large quantity of food grains in stock, and whenever there was any scarcity of grains, they would distribute grains in charity. A kṣatriya’s duty is to give charity, and a brāhmaṇa’s duty is to accept charity, but not more than needed to maintain body and soul together. Therefore, when the brāhmaṇas were given so much land by Lord Rāmacandra, they returned it to Him and were not greedy.
aprattaṁ nas tvayā kiṁ nu
bhagavan bhuvaneśvara
yan no ’ntar-hṛdayaṁ viśya
tamo haṁsi sva-rociṣā
aprattam—not given; naḥ—unto us; tvayā—by Your Lordship; kim—what; nu—indeed; bhagavan—O Supreme Lord; bhuvana-īśvara—O master of the whole universe; yat—because; naḥ—our; antaḥ-hṛdayam—within the core of the heart; viśya—entering; tamaḥ—the darkness of ignorance; haṁsi—You annihilate; sva-rociṣā—by Your own effulgence.
O Lord, You are the master of the entire universe. What have You not given to us? You have entered the core of our hearts and dissipated the darkness of our ignorance by Your effulgence. This is the supreme gift. We do not need a material donation.
When Dhruva Mahārāja was offered a benediction by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he replied, “O my Lord, I am fully satisfied. I do not need any material benediction.” Similarly, when Prahlāda Mahārāja was offered a benediction by Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva, he also refused to accept it and instead declared that a devotee should not be like a vaṇik, a mercantile man who gives something in exchange for some profit. One who becomes a devotee for some material profit is not a pure devotee. Brāhmaṇas are always enlightened by the Supreme Personality of Godhead within the heart (sarvasya cāhaṁ hṛdi sanniviṣṭo mattaḥ smṛtir jñānam apohanaṁ ca [Bg. 15.15]). And because the brāhmaṇas and Vaiṣṇavas are always directed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, they are not greedy for material wealth. What is absolutely necessary they possess, but they do not want an expanded kingdom. An example of this was given by Vāmanadeva. Acting as a brahmacārī, Lord Vāmanadeva wanted only three paces of land. Aspiring to possess more and more for personal sense gratification is simply ignorance, and this ignorance is conspicuous by its absence from the heart of a brāhmaṇa or Vaiṣṇava.
namo brahmaṇya-devāya
namaḥ—we offer our respectful obeisances; brahmaṇya-devāya—unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who accepts the brāhmaṇas as His worshipable deity; rāmāya—unto Lord Rāmacandra; akuṇṭha-medhase—whose memory and knowledge are never disturbed by anxiety; uttamaśloka-dhuryāya—the best of very famous persons; nyasta-daṇḍa-arpita-aṅghraye—whose lotus feet are worshiped by sages beyond the jurisdiction of punishment.
O Lord, You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who have accepted the brāhmaṇas as Your worshipable deity. Your knowledge and memory are never disturbed by anxiety. You are the chief of all famous persons within this world, and Your lotus feet are worshiped by sages who are beyond the jurisdiction of punishment. O Lord Rāmacandra, let us offer our respectful obeisances unto You.
kadācil loka-jijñāsur
gūḍho rātryām alakṣitaḥ
caran vāco ’śṛṇod rāmo
bhāryām uddiśya kasyacit
kadācit—once upon a time; loka-jijñāsuḥ—desiring to know about the public; gūḍhaḥ—hiding Himself by a disguise; rātryām—at night; alakṣitaḥ—without being identified by anyone else; caran—walking; vācaḥ—speaking; aśṛṇot—heard; rāmaḥ—Lord Rāmacandra; bhāryām—unto His wife; uddiśya—indicating; kasyacit—of someone.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued: Once while Lord Rāmacandra was walking at night incognito, hiding Himself by a disguise to find out the people’s opinion of Himself, He heard a man speaking unfavorably about His wife, Sītādevī.
nāhaṁ bibharmi tvāṁ duṣṭām
asatīṁ para-veśma-gām
straiṇo hi bibhṛyāt sītāṁ
rāmo nāhaṁ bhaje punaḥ
na—not; aham—I; bibharmi—can maintain; tvām—you; duṣṭām—because you are polluted; asatīm—unchaste; para-veśma-gām—one who has gone to another man’s house and committed adultery; straiṇaḥ—a person who is henpecked; hi—indeed; bibhṛyāt—can accept; sītām—even Sītā; rāmaḥ—like Lord Rāmacandra; na—not; aham—I; bhaje—shall accept; punaḥ—again.
[Speaking to his unchaste wife, the man said] You go to another man’s house, and therefore you are unchaste and polluted. I shall not maintain you any more. A henpecked husband like Lord Rāma may accept a wife like Sītā, who went to another man’s house, but I am not henpecked like Him, and therefore I shall not accept you again.
iti lokād bahu-mukhād
durārādhyād asaṁvidaḥ
patyā bhītena sā tyaktā
prāptā prācetasāśramam
iti—thus; lokāt—from persons; bahu-mukhāt—who can talk nonsensically in various ways; durārādhyāt—whom it is very difficult to stop; asaṁvidaḥ—who are without full knowledge; patyā—by the husband; bhītena—being afraid; —mother Sītā; tyaktā—was abandoned; prāptā—went; prācetasa-āśramam—to the hermitage of Prācetasa (Vālmīki Muni).
Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: Men with a poor fund of knowledge and a heinous character speak nonsensically. Fearing such rascals, Lord Rāmacandra abandoned His wife, Sītādevī, although she was pregnant. Thus Sītādevī went to the āśrama of Vālmīki Muni.
antarvatny āgate kāle
yamau sā suṣuve sutau
kuśo lava iti khyātau
tayoś cakre kriyā muniḥ
antarvatnī—the pregnant wife; āgate—arrived; kāle—in due course of time; yamau—twins; —Sītādevī; suṣuve—gave birth to; sutau—two sons; kuśaḥKuśa; lavaḥLava; iti—thus; khyātau—celebrated; tayoḥ—of them; cakre—performed; kriyāḥ—the ritualistic ceremonies of birth; muniḥ—the great sage Vālmīki.
When the time came, the pregnant mother Sītādevī gave birth to twin sons, later celebrated as Lava and Kuśa. The ritualistic ceremonies for their birth were performed by Vālmīki Muni.
aṅgadaś citraketuś ca
lakṣmaṇasyātmajau smṛtau
takṣaḥ puṣkala ity āstāṁ
bharatasya mahīpate
aṅgadaḥAṅgada; citraketuḥCitraketu; ca—also; lakṣmaṇasya—of Lord Lakṣmaṇa; ātmajau—two sons; smṛtau—were said to be; takṣaḥTakṣa; puṣkalaḥPuṣkala; iti—thus; āstām—were; bharatasya—of Lord Bharata; mahīpate—O King Parīkṣit.
O Mahārāja Parīkṣit, Lord Lakṣmaṇa had two sons, named Aṅgada and Citraketu, and Lord Bharata also had two sons, named Takṣa and Puṣkala.
TEXTS 13–14
subāhuḥ śrutasenaś ca
śatrughnasya babhūvatuḥ
gandharvān koṭiśo jaghne
bharato vijaye diśām
tadīyaṁ dhanam ānīya
sarvaṁ rājñe nyavedayat
śatrughnaś ca madhoḥ putraṁ
lavaṇaṁ nāma rākṣasam
hatvā madhuvane cakre
mathurāṁ nāma vai purīm
subāhuḥ—Subāhu; śrutasenaḥ—Śrutasena; ca—also; śatrughnasya—of Lord Śatrughna; babhūvatuḥ—were born; gandharvān—persons related with the Gandharvas, who are mostly pretenders; koṭiśaḥ—by the tens of millions; jaghne—killed; bharataḥ—Lord Bharata; vijaye—while conquering; diśām—all directions; tadīyam—of the Gandharvas; dhanam—riches; ānīya—bringing; sarvam—everything; rājñe—unto the King (Lord Rāmacandra); nyavedayat—offered; śatrughnaḥ—Śatrughna; ca—and; madhoḥ—of Madhu; putram—the son; lavaṇamLavaṇa; nāma—by the name; rākṣasam—a man-eater; hatvā—by killing; madhuvane—in the great forest known as Madhuvana; cakre—constructed; mathurāmMathurā; nāma—by the name; vai—indeed; purīm—a great town.
Śatrughna had two sons, named Subāhu and Śrutasena. When Lord Bharata went to conquer all directions, He had to kill many millions of Gandharvas, who are generally pretenders. Taking all their wealth, He offered it to Lord Rāmacandra. Śatrughna also killed a Rākṣasa named Lavaṇa, who was the son of Madhu Rākṣasa. Thus He established in the great forest known as Madhuvana the town known as Mathurā.
munau nikṣipya tanayau
sītā bhartrā vivāsitā
dhyāyantī rāma-caraṇau
vivaraṁ praviveśa ha
munau—unto the great sage Vālmīki; nikṣipya—giving in charge; tanayau—the two sons Lava and Kuśa; sītā—mother Sītādevī; bhartrā—by her husband; vivāsitā—banished; dhyāyantī—meditating upon; rāma-caraṇau—the lotus feet of Lord Rāmacandra; vivaram—within the earth; praviveśa—she entered; ha—indeed.
Being forsaken by her husband, Sītādevī entrusted her two sons to the care of Vālmīki Muni. Then, meditating upon the lotus feet of Lord Rāmacandra, she entered into the earth.
It was impossible for Sītādevī to live in separation from Lord Rāmacandra. Therefore, after entrusting her two sons to the care of Vālmīki Muni, she entered into the earth.
tac chrutvā bhagavān rāmo
rundhann api dhiyā śucaḥ
smaraṁs tasyā guṇāṁs tāṁs tān
nāśaknod roddhum īśvaraḥ
tat—this (the news of Sītādevī’s entering the earth); śrutvā—hearing; bhagavān—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; rāmaḥ—Lord Rāmacandra; rundhan—trying to reject; api—although; dhiyā—by intelligence; śucaḥ—grief; smaran—remembering; tasyāḥ—of her; guṇān—qualities; tān tān—under different circumstances; na—not; aśaknot—was able; roddhum—to check; īśvaraḥ—although the supreme controller.
After hearing the news of mother Sītā’s entering the earth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead was certainly aggrieved. Although He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, upon remembering the exalted qualities of mother Sītā, He could not check His grief in transcendental love.
Lord Rāmacandra’s grief at the news of Sītādevī’s entering the earth is not to be considered material. In the spiritual world also there are feelings of separation, but such feelings are considered spiritual bliss. Grief in separation exists even in the Absolute, but such feelings of separation in the spiritual world are transcendentally blissful. Such feelings are a sign of tasya prema-vaśyatva-svabhāva, being under the influence of hlādinī-śakti and being controlled by love. In the material world such feelings of separation are only a perverted reflection.
strī-puṁ-prasaṅga etādṛk
sarvatra trāsam-āvahaḥ
apīśvarāṇāṁ kim uta
grāmyasya gṛha-cetasaḥ
strī-pum-prasaṅgaḥ—attraction between husband and wife, or man and woman; etādṛk—like this; sarvatra—everywhere; trāsam-āvahaḥ—the cause of fear; api—even; īśvarāṇām—of controllers; kim uta—and what to speak of; grāmyasya—of ordinary men of this material world; gṛha-cetasaḥ—who are attached to materialistic household life.
The attraction between man and woman, or male and female, always exists everywhere, making everyone always fearful. Such feelings are present even among the controllers like Brahmā and Lord Śiva and is the cause of fear for them, what to speak of others who are attached to household life in this material world.
As explained above, when the feelings of love and transcendental bliss from the spiritual world are pervertedly reflected in this material world, they are certainly the cause of bondage. As long as men feel attracted to women in this material world and women feel attracted to men, the bondage of repeated birth and death will continue. But in the spiritual world, where there is no fear of birth and death, such feelings of separation are the cause of transcendental bliss. In the absolute reality there are varieties of feeling, but all of them are of the same quality of transcendental bliss.
tata ūrdhvaṁ brahmacaryaṁ
dhāryann ajuhot prabhuḥ
agnihotram akhaṇḍitam
tataḥ—thereafter; ūrdhvam—after mother Sītā’s going into the earth; brahmacaryam—complete celibacy; dhārayan—observing; ajuhot—performed a ritualistic ceremony and sacrifice; prabhuḥ—Lord Rāmacandra; trayodaśa-abda-sāhasram—for thirteen thousand years; agnihotram—the sacrifice known as Agnihotra-yajña; akhaṇḍitam—without ceasing.
After mother Sītā entered the earth, Lord Rāmacandra observed complete celibacy and performed an uninterrupted Agnihotra-yajña for thirteen thousand years.
smaratāṁ hṛdi vinyasya
viddhaṁ daṇḍaka-kaṇṭakaiḥ
sva-pāda-pallavaṁ rāma
ātma-jyotir agāt tataḥ
smaratām—of persons who always think of Him; hṛdi—in the core of the heart; vinyasya—placing; viddham—pierced; daṇḍaka-kaṇṭakaiḥ—by thorns in the forest of Daṇḍakāraṇya (while Lord Rāmacandra was living there); sva-pāda-pallavam—the petals of Mis lotus feet; rāmaḥ—Lord Rāmacandra; ātma-jyotiḥ—the rays of His bodily luster, known as the brahmajyoti; agāt—entered; tataḥ—beyond the brahmajyoti, or in His own Vaikuṇṭha planet.
After completing the sacrifice, Lord Rāmacandra, whose lotus feet were sometimes pierced by thorns when He lived in Daṇḍakāraṇya, placed those lotus feet in the hearts of those who always think of Him. Then He entered His own abode, the Vaikuṇṭha planet beyond the brahmajyoti.
The lotus feet of the Lord are always a subject matter for meditation for devotees. Sometimes when Lord Rāmacandra wandered in the forest of Daṇḍakāraṇya, thorns pricked His lotus feet. The devotees, upon thinking of this, would faint. The Lord does not feel pain or pleasure from any action or reaction of this material world, but the devotees cannot tolerate even the pricking of the Lord’s lotus feet by a thorn. This was the attitude of the gopīs when they thought of Kṛṣṇa wandering in the forest, with pebbles and grains of sand pricking His lotus feet. This tribulation in the heart of a devotee cannot be understood by karmīs, jñānīs or yogīs. The devotees, who could not tolerate even thinking of the Lord’s lotus feet being pricked by a thorn, were again put into tribulation by thinking of the Lord’s disappearance, for the Lord had to return to His abode after finishing His pastimes in this material world.
The word ātma-jyotiḥ is significant. The brahmajyoti, which is greatly appreciated by jñānīs, or monistic philosophers who desire to enter it for liberation, is nothing but the rays of the Lord’s body.
“I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who is endowed with great power. The glowing effulgence of His transcendental form is the impersonal Brahman, which is absolute, complete and unlimited and which displays the varieties of countless planets, with their different opulences, in millions and millions of universes.” (Brahma-saṁhitā 5.40) The brahmajyoti is the beginning of the spiritual world, and beyond the brahmajyoti are the Vaikuṇṭha planets. In other words, the brahmajyoti stays outside the Vaikuṇṭha planets, just as the sunshine stays outside the sun. To enter the sun planet, one must go through the sunshine. Similarly, when the Lord or His devotees enter the Vaikuṇṭha planets, they go through the brahmajyoti. The jñānīs, or monistic philosophers, because of their impersonal conception of the Lord, cannot enter the Vaikuṇṭha planets, but they also cannot stay eternally in the brahmajyoti. Thus after some time they fall again to this material world. Āruhya kṛcchreṇa paraṁ padaṁ tataḥ patanty adho ’nādṛta-yuṣmad-aṅghrayaḥ (Bhāg. 10.2.32). The Vaikuṇṭha planets are covered by the brahmajyoti, and therefore one cannot properly understand what those Vaikuṇṭha planets are unless one is a pure devotee.
nedaṁ yaśo raghupateḥ sura-yācñayātta-
līlā-tanor adhika-sāmya-vimukta-dhāmnaḥ
rakṣo-vadho jaladhi-bandhanam astra-pūgaiḥ
kiṁ tasya śatru-hanane kapayaḥ sahāyāḥ
na—not; idam—all these; yaśaḥ—fame; raghu-pateḥ—of Lord Rāmacandra; sura-yācñayā—by the prayers of the demigods; ātta-līlā-tanoḥ—whose spiritual body is always engaged in various pastimes; adhika-sāmya-vimukta-dhāmnaḥ—no one is greater than or equal to Him; rakṣaḥ-vadhaḥ—killing the Rākṣasa (Rāvaṇa); jaladhi-bandhanam—bridging the ocean; astra-pūgaiḥ—with bow and arrows; kim—whether; tasya—His; śatru-hanane—in killing the enemies; kapayaḥ—the monkeys; sahāyāḥ—assistants.
Lord Rāmacandra’s reputation for having killed Rāvaṇa with showers of arrows at the request of the demigods and for having built a bridge over the ocean does not constitute the factual glory of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Rāmacandra, whose spiritual body is always engaged in various pastimes. Lord Rāmacandra has no equal or superior, and therefore He had no need to take help from the monkeys to gain victory over Rāvaṇa.
As stated in the Vedas (Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 6.8):
“The Supreme Lord has nothing to do, and no one is found to be equal to or greater than Him, for everything is done naturally and systematically by His multifarious energies.” The Lord has nothing to do (na tasya kāryaṁ karaṇaṁ ca vidyate); whatever He does is His pastime. The Lord has no duty to perform to oblige anyone. Nonetheless, He appears to act to protect His devotees or kill His enemies. Of course, no one can be the Lord’s enemy, since who could be more powerful than the Lord? There is actually no question of anyone’s being His enemy, but when the Lord wants to take pleasure in pastimes, He comes down to this material world and acts like a human being, thus showing His wonderful, glorious activities to please the devotees. His devotees always want to see the Lord victorious in varied activities, and therefore, to please Himself and them, the Lord sometimes agrees to act as a human being and perform wonderful, uncommon pastimes for the satisfaction of the devotees.
yasyāmalaṁ nṛpa-sadaḥsu yaśo ’dhunāpi
gāyanty agha-ghnam ṛṣayo dig-ibhendra-paṭṭam
taṁ nākapāla-vasupāla-kirīṭa-juṣṭa-
pādāmbujaṁ raghupatiṁ śaraṇaṁ prapadye
yasya—whose (Lord Rāmacandra’s); amalam—spotless, free from material qualities; nṛpa-sadaḥsu—in the assembly of great emperors like Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira; yaśaḥ—famous glories; adhunā api—even today; gāyanti—glorify; agha-ghnam—which vanquish all sinful reactions; ṛṣayaḥ—great saintly persons like Mārkaṇḍeya; dik-ibha-indra-paṭṭam—as the ornamental cloth covering the elephant that conquers the directions; tam—that; nāka-pāla—of heavenly demigods; vasu-pāla—of earthly kings; kirīṭa—by the helmets; juṣṭa—are worshiped; pāda-ambujam—whose lotus feet; raghu-patim—unto Lord Rāmacandra; śaraṇam—surrender; prapadye—I offer.
Lord Rāmacandra’s spotless name and fame, which vanquish all sinful reactions, are celebrated in all directions, like the ornamental cloth of the victorious elephant that conquers all directions. Great saintly persons like Mārkaṇḍeya Ṛṣi still glorify His characteristics in the assemblies of great emperors like Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira. Similarly, all the saintly kings and all the demigods, including Lord Śiva and Lord Brahmā, worship the Lord by bowing down with their helmets. Let me offer my obeisances unto His lotus feet.
sa yaiḥ spṛṣṭo ’bhidṛṣṭo vā
saṁviṣṭo ’nugato ’pi vā
kosalās te yayuḥ sthānaṁ
yatra gacchanti yoginaḥ
saḥ—He, Lord Rāmacandra; yaiḥ—by which persons; spṛṣṭaḥ—touched; abhidṛṣṭaḥ—seen; —either; saṁviṣṭaḥ—eating together, lying together; anugataḥ—followed as servants; api —even; kosalāḥ—all those inhabitants of Kosala; te—they; yayuḥ—departed; sthānam—to the place; yatra—wherein; gacchanti—they go; yoginaḥ—all the bhakti-yogis.
Lord Rāmacandra returned to His abode, to which bhakti-yogīs are promoted. This is the place to which all the inhabitants of Ayodhyā went after they served the Lord in His manifest pastimes by offering Him obeisances, touching His lotus feet, fully observing Him as a fatherlike King, sitting or lying down with Him like equals, or even just accompanying Him.
The Lord says in Bhagavad-gītā (4.9):
“One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.” Here this is confirmed. All the inhabitants of Ayodhyā who saw Lord Rāmacandra as citizens, served Him as servants, sat and talked with Him as friends or were somehow or other present during His reign went back home, back to Godhead. After giving up the body, the devotee who becomes perfect in devotional service enters that particular universe where Lord Rāmacandra or Lord Kṛṣṇa is engaged in His pastimes. Then, after being trained to serve the Lord in various capacities in that prakaṭa-līlā, the devotee is finally promoted to sanātana-dhāma, the supreme abode in the spiritual world. This sanātana-dhāma is also mentioned in Bhagavad-gītā (paras tasmāt tu bhāvo ’nyo’vyakto’vyaktāt sanātanaḥ [Bg. 8.20]). One who enters the transcendental pastimes of the Lord is called nitya-līlā-praviṣṭa. To understand clearly why Lord Rāmacandra returned, it is mentioned herewith that the Lord went to that particular place where the bhakti-yogīs go. The impersonalists misunderstand the statements of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam to mean that the Lord entered His own effulgence and therefore become impersonal. But the Lord is a person, and His devotees are persons. Indeed, the living entities, like the Lord, were persons in the past, they are persons in the present, and they will continue to be persons even after giving up the body. This is also confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā.
puruṣo rāma-caritaṁ
śravaṇair upadhārayan
ānṛśaṁsya-paro rājan
karma-bandhair vimucyate
puruṣaḥ—any person; rāma-caritam—the narration concerning the activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Lord Rāmacandra; śravaṇaiḥ—by aural reception; upadhārayan—simply by this process of hearing; ānṛśaṁsya-paraḥ—becomes completely free from envy; rājan—O King Parīkṣit; karma-bandhaiḥ—by the bondage of fruitive activities; vimucyate—one becomes liberated.
O King Parīkṣit, anyone who aurally receives the narrations concerning the characteristics of Lord Rāmacandra’s pastimes will ultimately be freed from the disease of envy and thus be liberated from the bondage of fruitive activities.
Here in this material world, everyone is envious of someone else. Even in religious life, it is sometimes found that if one devotee has advanced in spiritual activities, other devotees are envious of him. Such envious devotees are not completely freed from the bondage of birth and death. As long as one is not completely free from the cause of birth and death, one cannot enter the sanātana-dhāma or the eternal pastimes of the Lord. One becomes envious because of being influenced by the designations of the body, but the liberated devotee has nothing to do with the body, and therefore he is completely on the transcendental platform. A devotee is never envious of anyone, even his enemy. Because the devotee knows that the Lord is his supreme protector, he thinks, “What harm can the so-called enemy do?” Thus a devotee is confident about his protection. The Lord says, ye yathā māṁ prapadyante tāṁs tathaiva bhajāmy aham: [Bg. 4.11] “According to the proportion of one’s surrender unto Me, I respond accordingly.” A devotee must therefore be completely free from envy, especially of other devotees. To envy other devotees is a great offense, a vaiṣṇava-aparādha. A devotee who constantly engages in hearing and chanting (śravaṇa-kīrtana) is certainly freed from the disease of envy, and thus he becomes eligible to go back home, back to Godhead.
kathaṁ sa bhagavān rāmo
bhrātṝn vā svayam ātmanaḥ
tasmin vā te ’nvavartanta
prajāḥ paurāś ca īśvare
śrī-rājā uvācaMahārāja Parīkṣit inquired; katham—how; saḥ—He, the Lord; bhagavān—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; rāmaḥ—Lord Rāmacandra; bhrātṝn—unto the brothers (Lakṣmaṇa, Bharata and Śatrughna); —either; svayam—personally; ātmanaḥ—expansions of His person; tasmin—unto the Lord; —either; te—they (all the inhabitants and the brothers); anvavartanta—behaved; prajāḥ—all the inhabitants; paurāḥ—the citizens; ca—and; īśvare—unto the Supreme Lord.
Mahārāja Parīkṣit inquired from Śukadeva Gosvāmī: How did the Lord conduct Himself, and how did He behave in relationship with His brothers, who were expansions of His own self? And how did His brothers and the inhabitants of Ayodhyā treat Him?
śrī-bādarāyaṇir uvāca
athādiśad dig-vijaye
bhrātṝṁs tri-bhuvaneśvaraḥ
ātmānaṁ darśayan svānāṁ
purīm aikṣata sānugaḥ
śrī-bādarāyaṇiḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; atha—hereafter (when the Lord accepted the throne on the request of Bharata); ādiśat—ordered; dik-vijaye—to conquer all the world; bhrātṝn—His younger brothers; tri-bhuvana-īśvaraḥ—the Lord of the universe; ātmānam—personally, Himself; darśayan—giving audience; svānām—to the family members and the citizens; purīm—the city; aikṣata—supervised; sa-anugaḥ—with other assistants.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī replied: After accepting the throne of the government by the fervent request of His younger brother Bharata, Lord Rāmacandra ordered His younger brothers to go out and conquer the entire world, while He personally remained in the capital to give audience to all the citizens and residents of the palace and supervise the governmental affairs with His other assistants.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead does not allow any of His devotees or assistants to be engaged in sense gratification. The younger brothers of Lord Rāmacandra were at home enjoying the personal presence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but the Lord ordered Them to go out and achieve victory all over the world. It was the custom (and this custom, in some places, is still current) that all other kings would have to accept the supremacy of the emperor. If the king of a small state did not accept the emperor’s supremacy, there would be a fight, and the king of the small state would be obliged to accept the emperor as supreme; otherwise, it would not be possible for the emperor to rule the country.
Lord Rāmacandra showed His favor to His brothers by ordering Them to go out. Many of the Lord’s devotees residing in Vṛndāvana have taken the vow not to leave Vṛndāvana to preach Kṛṣṇa consciousness. But the Lord says that Kṛṣṇa consciousness should be spread all over the world, in every village and every town. This is the open order of Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
A pure devotee, therefore, must execute the order of the Lord and must not gratify his senses by remaining stagnant in one place, falsely proud, thinking that because he does not leave Vṛndāvana but chants in a solitary place he has become a great devotee. A devotee must carry out the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, yāre dekha, tāre kaha ‘kṛṣṇa’-upadeśa [Cc. Madhya 7.128]. Every devotee, therefore, should spread Kṛṣṇa consciousness by preaching, asking whomever he meets to accept the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Lord says, sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja: [Bg. 18.66] “Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me.” This is the order of the Lord, who speaks as the supreme emperor. Everyone should be induced to accept this order, for this is victory (dig-vijaya). And it is the duty of the soldier, the devotee, to impress upon everyone this philosophy of life.
Of course, those who are kaniṣṭha-adhikārīs do not preach, but the Lord shows mercy to them also, as He did by staying personally in Ayodhyā to give audience to the people in general. One should not mistakenly think that the Lord asked His younger brothers to leave Ayodhyā because He especially favored the citizens. The Lord is merciful to everyone, and He knows how to show His favor to each individual person according to his capacity. One who abides by the order of the Lord is a pure devotee.
āsikta-mārgāṁ gandhodaiḥ
kariṇāṁ mada-śīkaraiḥ
svāminaṁ prāptam ālokya
mattāṁ vā sutarām iva
āsikta-mārgām—the streets were sprinkled; gandha-udaiḥ—with perfumed water; kariṇām—of elephants; mada-śīkaraiḥ—with particles of perfumed liquor; svāminam—the master or proprietor; prāptam—present; ālokya—seeing personally; mattām—very opulent; —either; sutarām—highly; iva—as if.
During the reign of Lord Rāmacandra, the streets of the capital, Ayodhyā, were sprinkled with perfumed water and drops of perfumed liquor, thrown about by elephants from their trunks. When the citizens saw the Lord personally supervising the affairs of the city in such opulence, they appreciated this opulence very much.
We have simply heard about the opulence of Rāma-rājya during the reign of Lord Rāmacandra. Now, here is one example of the opulence of the Lord’s kingdom. The streets of Ayodhyā were not only cleaned but also sprinkled with perfumed water and drops of perfumed liquor, which were distributed by elephants through their trunks. There was no need of sprinkling machines, for the elephant has a natural ability to suck water through its trunk and again throw it out in a shower. We can understand the opulence of the city from this one example: it was actually sprinkled with perfumed water. Moreover, the citizens had the opportunity to see the Lord personally supervising the affairs of the state. He was not a sleeping monarch, as we can understand from His activities in sending His brothers to see to affairs outside the capital and punish anyone who did not obey the emperor’s orders. This is called dig-vijaya. The citizens were all given facilities for peaceful life, and they were also qualified with appropriate attributes according to varṇāśrama. As we have seen from the previous chapter, varṇāśrama-guṇānvitāḥ: the citizens were trained according to the varṇāśrama system. A class of men were brāhmaṇas, a class of men were kṣatriyas, a class were vaiśyas, and a class were śūdras. Without this scientific division, there can be no question of good citizenship. The King, being magnanimous and perfect in His duty, performed many sacrifices and treated the citizens as His sons, and the citizens, being trained in the varṇāśrama system, were obedient and perfectly ordered. The entire monarchy was so opulent and peaceful that the government was even able to sprinkle the street with perfumed water, what to speak of other management. Since the city was sprinkled with perfumed water, we can simply imagine how opulent it was in other respects. Why should the citizens not have felt happy during the reign of Lord Rāmacandra.
patākābhiś ca maṇḍitām
prāsāda—in palaces; gopura—palace gates; sabhā—assembly houses; caitya—raised platforms; deva-gṛha—temples wherein deities are worshiped; ādiṣu—and so on; vinyasta—placed; hema-kalaśaiḥ—with golden waterpots; patākābhiḥ—by flags; ca—also; maṇḍitām—bedecked.
The palaces, the palace gates, the assembly houses, the platforms for meeting places, the temples and all such places were decorated with golden waterpots and bedecked with various types of flags.
pūgaiḥ savṛntai rambhābhiḥ
paṭṭikābhiḥ suvāsasām
ādarśair aṁśukaiḥ sragbhiḥ
pūgaiḥ—by trees of betel nut; sa-vṛntaiḥ—with bunches of flowers and fruits; rambhābhiḥ—with banana trees; paṭṭikābhiḥ—with flags; su-vāsasām—decorated with colorful cloth; ādarśaiḥ—with mirrors; aṁśukaiḥ—with cloths; sragbhiḥ—with garlands; kṛta-kautuka—made auspicious; toraṇām—possessing reception gates.
Wherever Lord Rāmacandra visited, auspicious welcome gates were constructed, with banana trees and betel nut trees, full of flowers and fruits. The gates were decorated with various flags made of colorful cloth and with tapestries, mirrors and garlands.
tam upeyus tatra tatra
paurā arhaṇa-pāṇayaḥ
āśiṣo yuyujur deva
pāhīmāṁ prāk tvayoddhṛtām
tam—unto Him, Lord Rāmacandra; upeyuḥ—approached; tatra tatra—wherever He visited; paurāḥ—the inhabitants of the neighborhood; arhaṇa-pāṇayaḥ—carrying paraphernalia to worship the Lord; āśiṣaḥ—blessings from the Lord; yuyujuḥ—came down; deva—O my Lord; pāhi—just maintain; imām—this land; prāk—as before; tvayā—by You; uddhṛtām—rescued (from the bottom of the sea in Your incarnation as Varāha).
Wherever Lord Rāmacandra visited, the people approached Him with paraphernalia of worship and begged the Lord’s blessings. “O Lord,” they said, “as You rescued the earth from the bottom of the sea in Your incarnation as a boar, may You now maintain it. Thus we beg Your blessings.”
tataḥ prajā vīkṣya patiṁ cirāgataṁ
didṛkṣayotsṛṣṭa-gṛhāḥ striyo narāḥ
āruhya harmyāṇy aravinda-locanam
atṛpta-netrāḥ kusumair avākiran
tataḥ—thereafter; prajāḥ—the citizens; vīkṣya—by seeing; patim—the King; cira-āgatam—returned after a long time; didṛkṣayā—desiring to see; utsṛṣṭa-gṛhāḥ—vacating their respective residences; striyaḥ—the women; narāḥ—the men; āruhya—getting on top of; harmyāṇi—great palaces; aravinda-locanam—Lord Rāmacandra, whose eyes are like the petals of a lotus; atṛpta-netrāḥ—whose eyes were not fully satisfied; kusumaiḥ—by flowers; avākiran—showered the Lord.
Thereafter, not having seen the Lord for a long time, the citizens, both men and women, being very eager to see Him, left their homes and got up on the roofs of the palaces. Being incompletely satiated with seeing the face of the lotus-eyed Lord Rāmacandra, they showered flowers upon Him.
TEXTS 31–34
atha praviṣṭaḥ sva-gṛhaṁ
juṣṭaṁ svaiḥ pūrva-rājabhiḥ
sthalair mārakataiḥ svacchair
citra-sragbhiḥ paṭṭikābhir
muktā-phalaiś cid-ullāsaiḥ
dhūpa-dīpaiḥ surabhibhir
maṇḍitaṁ puṣpa-maṇḍanaiḥ
strī-pumbhiḥ sura-saṅkāśair
juṣṭaṁ bhūṣaṇa-bhūṣaṇaiḥ
atha—thereafter; praviṣṭaḥ—He entered; sva-gṛham—His own palace; juṣṭam—occupied; svaiḥ—by His own family members; pūrva-rājabhiḥ—by the previous members of the royal family; ananta—unlimited; akhila—everywhere; koṣa—treasury; āḍhyam—prosperous; anarghya—priceless; uru—high; paricchadam—paraphernalia; vidruma—of coral; udumbara-dvāraiḥ—with the two sides of the doors; vaidūrya-stambha—with pillars of vaidūrya-maṇi; paṅktibhiḥ—in a line; sthalaiḥ—with floors; mārakataiḥ—made of marakata stone; svacchaiḥ—very cleanly polished; bhrājat—dazzling; sphaṭika—marble; bhittibhiḥ—foundations; citra-sragbhiḥ—with varieties of flower garlands; paṭṭikābhiḥ—with flags; vāsaḥ—clothing; maṇi-gaṇa-aṁśukaiḥ—by various effulgent and valuable stones; muktā-phalaiḥ—with pearls; cit-ullāsaiḥ—increasing celestial pleasure; kānta-kāma—fulfilling one’s desires; upapattibhiḥ—by such paraphernalia; dhūpa-dīpaiḥ—with incense and lamps; surabhibhiḥ—very fragrant; maṇḍitam—decorated; puṣpa-maṇḍanaiḥ—by bunches of various flowers; strī-pumbhiḥ—by men and women; sura-saṅkāśaiḥ—appearing like the demigods; juṣṭam—full of; bhūṣaṇa-bhūṣaṇaiḥ—whose bodies beautified their ornaments.
Thereafter, Lord Rāmacandra entered the palace of His forefathers. Within the palace were various treasures and valuable wardrobes. The sitting places on the two sides of the entrance door were made of coral, the yards were surrounded by pillars of vaidūrya-maṇi, the floor was made of highly polished marakata-maṇi, and the foundation was made of marble. The entire palace was decorated with flags and garlands and bedecked with valuable stones, shining with a celestial effulgence. The palace was fully decorated with pearls and surrounded by lamps and incense. The men and women within the palace all resembled demigods and were decorated with various ornaments, which seemed beautiful because of being placed on their bodies.
tasmin sa bhagavān rāmaḥ
snigdhayā priyayeṣṭayā
reme svārāma-dhīrāṇām
ṛṣabhaḥ sītayā kila
tasmin—in that celestial palace; saḥ—He; bhagavān—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; rāmaḥ—Lord Rāmacandra; snigdhayā—always pleased by her behavior; priyayā iṣṭayā—with His dearmost wife; reme—enjoyed; sva-ārāma—personal pleasure; dhīrāṇām—of the greatest learned persons; ṛṣabhaḥ—the chief; sītayā—with mother Sītā; kila—indeed.
Lord Rāmacandra, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, chief of the best learned scholars, resided in that palace with His pleasure potency, mother Sītā, and enjoyed complete peace.
bubhuje ca yathā-kālaṁ
kāmān dharmam apīḍayan
varṣa-pūgān bahūn nṝṇām
bubhuje—He enjoyed; ca—also; yathā-kālam—as long as required; kāmān—all enjoyment; dharmam—religious principles; apīḍayan—without transgressing; varṣa-pūgān—duration of years; bahūn—many; nṝṇām—of the people in general; abhidhyāta—being meditated upon; aṅghri-pallavaḥ—His lotus feet.
Without transgressing the religious principles, Lord Rāmacandra, whose lotus feet are worshiped by devotees in meditation, enjoyed with all the paraphernalia of transcendental pleasure for as long as needed.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the Ninth Canto, Eleventh Chapter, of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, entitled “Lord Rāmacandra Rules the World.”

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