King Yayāti Achieves Liberation
This Nineteenth Chapter describes how Mahārāja Yayāti achieved liberation after he recounted the figurative story of the he-goat and she-goat.
After many, many years of sexual relationships and enjoyment in the material world, King Yayāti finally became disgusted with such materialistic happiness. When satiated with material enjoyment, he devised a story of a he-goat and she-goat, corresponding to his own life, and narrated the story before his beloved Devayānī. The story is as follows. Once upon a time, while a goat was searching in a forest for different types of vegetables to eat, by chance he came to a well, in which he saw a she-goat. He became attracted to this she-goat and somehow or other delivered her from the well, and thus they were united. One day thereafter, when the she-goat saw the he-goat enjoying sex with another she-goat, she became angry, abandoned the he-goat, and returned to her brāhmaṇa owner, to whom she described her husband’s behavior. The brāhmaṇa became very angry and cursed the he-goat to lose his sexual power. Thereupon, the he-goat begged the brāhmaṇa’s pardon and was given back the power for sex. Then the he-goat enjoyed sex with the she-goat for many years, but still he was not satisfied. If one is lusty and greedy, even the total stock of gold in this world cannot satisfy one’s lusty desires. These desires are like a fire. One may pour clarified butter on a blazing fire, but one cannot expect the fire to be extinguished. To extinguish such a fire, one must adopt a different process. The śāstra therefore advises that by intelligence one renounce the life of enjoyment. Without great endeavor, those with a poor fund of knowledge cannot give up sense enjoyment, especially in relation to sex, because a beautiful woman bewilders even the most learned man. King Yayāti, however, renounced worldly life and divided his property among his sons. He personally adopted the life of a mendicant, or sannyāsī, giving up all attraction to material enjoyment, and engaged himself fully in devotional service to the Lord. Thus he attained perfection. Later, when his beloved wife, Devayānī, was freed from her mistaken way of life, she also engaged herself in the devotional service of the Lord.
sa ittham ācaran kāmān
straiṇo ’pahnavam ātmanaḥ
buddhvā priyāyai nirviṇṇo
gāthām etām agāyata
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; saḥ—Mahārāja Yayāti; ittham—in this way; ācaran—behaving; kāmān—in regard to lusty desires; straiṇaḥ—very much attached to woman; apahnavam—counteraction; ātmanaḥ—of his own welfare; buddhvā—understanding with intelligence; priyāyai—unto his beloved wife, Devayānī; nirviṇṇaḥ—disgusted; gāthām—story; etām—this (as follows); agāyata—narrated.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: O Mahārāja Parīkṣit, Yayāti was very much attached to woman. In due course of time, however, when disgusted with sexual enjoyment and its bad effects, he renounced this way of life and narrated the following story to his beloved wife.
śṛṇu bhārgavy amūṁ gāthāṁ
śṛṇu—please hear; bhārgavi—O daughter of Śukrācārya; amūm—this; gāthām—history; mat-vidhā—exactly resembling my behavior; ācaritām—behavior; bhuvi—within this world; dhīrāḥ—those who are sober and intelligent; yasya—of whom; anuśocanti—lament very much; vane—in the forest; grāma-nivāsinaḥ—very much attached to materialistic enjoyment.
My dearly beloved wife, daughter of Śukrācārya, in this world there was someone exactly like me. Please listen as I narrate the history of his life. By hearing about the life of such a householder, those who have retired from householder life always lament.
Persons who live in the village or town are called grāma-nivāsī, and those who live in the forest are called vana-vāsī or vānaprastha. The vānaprasthas, who have retired from family life, generally lament about their past family life because it engaged them in trying to fulfill lusty desires. Prahlāda Mahārāja said that one should retire from family life as soon as possible, and he described family life as the darkest well (hitvātma-pātaṁ gṛham andha-kūpam). If one continuously or permanently concentrates on living with his family, he should be understood to be killing himself. In the Vedic civilization, therefore, it is recommended that one retire from family life at the end of his fiftieth year and go to vana, the forest. When he becomes expert or accustomed to forest life, or retired life as a vānaprastha, he should accept sannyāsa. Vanaṁ gato yad dharim āśrayeta [SB 7.5.5]. Sannyāsa means accepting unalloyed engagement in the service of the Lord. Vedic civilization therefore recommends four different stages of life—brahmacarya, gṛhastha, vānaprastha and sannyāsa. One should be very much ashamed of remaining a householder and not promoting oneself to the two higher stages, namely vānaprastha and sannyāsa.
basta eko vane kaścid
vicinvan priyam ātmanaḥ
dadarśa kūpe patitāṁ
bastaḥ—goat; ekaḥ—one; vane—in a forest; kaścit—some; vicinvan—searching for food; priyam—very dear; ātmanaḥ—for himself; dadarśa—saw by chance; kūpe—within a well; patitām—fallen; sva-karma-vaśa-gām—under the influence of the results of fruitive activities; ajām—a she-goat.
While wandering in the forest, eating to satisfy his senses, a he-goat by chance approached a well, in which he saw a she-goat standing helplessly, having fallen into it by the influence of the results of fruitive activities.
Here Mahārāja Yayāti compares himself to a he-goat and Devayānī to a she-goat and describes the nature of man and woman. Like a he-goat, a man searches for sense gratification, wandering here and there, and a woman without the shelter of a man or husband is like a she-goat that has fallen into a well. Without being cared for by a man, a woman cannot be happy. Indeed, she is just like a she-goat that has fallen into a well and is struggling for existence. Therefore a woman must take shelter of her father, as Devayānī did when under the care of Śukrācārya, and then the father must give the daughter in charity to a suitable man, or a suitable man should help the woman by placing her under the care of a husband. This is shown vividly by the life of Devayānī. When King Yayāti delivered Devayānī from the well, she felt great relief and requested Yayāti to accept her as his wife. But when Mahārāja Yayāti accepted Devayānī, he became too attached and had sex life not only with her but with others, like Śarmiṣṭhā. Yet still he was dissatisfied. Therefore one should retire by force from such family life as Yayāti’s. When one is fully convinced of the degrading nature of worldly family life, one should completely renounce this way of life, take sannyāsa, and engage himself fully in the service of the Lord. Then one’s life will be successful.
bastaḥ kāmī vicintayan
vyadhatta tīrtham uddhṛtya
tasyāḥ—of the she-goat; uddharaṇa-upāyam—the means of deliverance (from the well); bastaḥ—the he-goat; kāmī—having lusty desires; vicintayan—planning; vyadhatta—executed; tīrtham—a way to come out; uddhṛtya—digging the earth; viṣāṇa-agreṇa—by the point of the horns; rodhasī—at the edge of the well.
After planning how to get the she-goat out of the well, the lusty he-goat dug up the earth on the well’s edge with the point of his horns in such a way that she was able to come out very easily.
Attraction for woman is the impetus for economic development, housing and many other things meant for living comfortably in this material world. Digging up the earth to make a way out for the she-goat was a laborious task, but before accepting the she-goat, the he-goat underwent this labor. Aho gṛha-kṣetra-sutāpta-vittair janasya moho ’yam ahaṁ mameti [SB 5.5.8]. The union between male and female provides the impetus for gaining a nice apartment, a good income, children and friends. Thus one becomes entangled in this material world.
sottīrya kūpāt suśroṇī
tam eva cakame kila
tayā vṛtaṁ samudvīkṣya
bahvyo ’jāḥ kānta-kāminīḥ
pīvānaṁ śmaśrulaṁ preṣṭhaṁ
sa eko ’javṛṣas tāsāṁ
sā—the she-goat; uttīrya—getting out; kūpāt—from the well; su-śroṇī—possessing very nice hips; tam—unto the he-goat; eva—indeed; cakame—desired to get as her husband; kila—indeed; tayā—by her; vṛtam—accepted; samudvīkṣya—seeing; bahvyaḥ—many others; ajāḥ—she-goats; kānta-kāminīḥ—desiring to get the he-goat as their husband; pīvānam—very stout and strong; śmaśrulam—having a very nice mustache and beard; preṣṭham—first-class; mīḍhvāṁsam—expert in discharging semen; yābha-kovidam—expert in the art of sexual intercourse; saḥ—that he-goat; ekaḥ—alone; aja-vṛṣaḥ—the hero of the goats; tāsām—of all the she-goats; bahvīnām—a great number; rati-vardhanaḥ—could increase the lusty desire; reme—he enjoyed; kāma-graha-grastaḥ—being haunted by the ghost of lusty desire; ātmānam—his own self; na—not; avabudhyata—could understand.
When the she-goat, who had very nice hips, got out of the well and saw the very handsome he-goat, she desired to accept him as her husband. When she did so, many other she-goats also desired him as their husband because he had a very beautiful bodily structure and a nice mustache and beard and was expert in discharging semen and in the art of sexual intercourse. Therefore, just as a person haunted by a ghost exhibits madness, the best of the he-goats, attracted by the many she-goats, engaged in erotic activities and naturally forgot his real business of self-realization.
Materialists are certainly very much attracted by sexual intercourse. Yan maithunādi-gṛhamedhi-sukhaṁ hi tuccham [SB 7.9.45]. Although one becomes a gṛhastha, or householder, to enjoy sex life to his heart’s content, one is never satisfied. Such a lusty materialist is like a goat, for it is said that if goats meant for slaughter get the opportunity, they enjoy sex before being killed. Human beings, however, are meant for self-realization.
Human life is meant for realization of the self, the spiritual soul within the body (dehino ’smin yathā dehe [Bg. 2.13]). A materialistic rascal does not know that he is not the body but a spiritual soul within the body. However, one should understand his real position and cultivate knowledge by which to get free from bodily entanglement. Like an unfortunate person who acts madly, haunted by ghosts, a materialist haunted by the ghost of lust forgets his real business so that he can enjoy so-called happiness in the bodily concept of life.
tam eva preṣṭhatamayā
nāmṛṣyad basta-karma tat
tam—the he-goat; eva—indeed; preṣṭhatamayā—beloved; ramamāṇam—engaged in sexual activities; ajā—the she-goat; anyayā—with another she-goat; vilokya—by seeing; kūpa-saṁvignā—the she-goat who had fallen into the well; na—not; amṛṣyat—tolerated; basta-karma—the business of the goat; tat—that (sex is accepted here as the business of the goat).
When the she-goat who had fallen into the well saw her beloved goat engaged in sexual affairs with another she-goat, she could not tolerate the goat’s activities.
taṁ durhṛdaṁ suhṛd-rūpaṁ
svāminaṁ duḥkhitā yayau
tam—him (the he-goat); durhṛdam—cruel hearted; suhṛt-rūpam—pretending to be a friend; kāminam—very lusty; kṣaṇa-sauhṛdam—having friendship for the time being; indriya-ārāmam—interested only in sense gratification or sensuality; utsṛjya—giving up; svāminam—to her present husband, or to the former maintainer; duḥkhitā—being very much aggrieved; yayau—she left.
Aggrieved by her husband’s behavior with another, the she-goat thought that the he-goat was not actually her friend but was hardhearted and was her friend only for the time being. Therefore, because her husband was lusty, she left him and returned to her former maintainer.
The word svāminam is significant. Svāmī means “caretaker” or “master.” Devayānī was cared for by Śukrācārya before her marriage, and after her marriage she was cared for by Yayāti, but here the word svāminam indicates that Devayānī left the protection of her husband, Yayāti, and returned to her former protector, Śukrācārya. Vedic civilization recommends that a woman stay under the protection of a man. During childhood she should be cared for by her father, in youth by her husband, and in old age by a grown son. In any stage of life, a woman should not have independence.
so ’pi cānugataḥ straiṇaḥ
kṛpaṇas tāṁ prasāditum
nāśaknot pathi sandhitum
saḥ—that he-goat; api—also; ca—also; anugataḥ—following the she-goat; straiṇaḥ—hen pecked; kṛpaṇaḥ—very poor; tām—her; prasāditum—to satisfy; kurvan—making; iḍaviḍā-kāram—an utterance in the language of the goats; na—not; aśaknot—was able; pathi—on the road; sandhitum—to satisfy.
Being very sorry, the he-goat, who was subservient to his wife, followed the she-goat on the road and tried his best to flatter her, but he could not pacify her.
tasya tatra dvijaḥ kaścid
ajā-svāmy acchinad ruṣā
lambantaṁ vṛṣaṇaṁ bhūyaḥ
sandadhe ’rthāya yogavit
tasya—of the he-goat; tatra—thereupon; dvijaḥ—brāhmaṇa; kaścit—some; ajā-svāmī—the maintainer of another she-goat; acchinat—castrated, made effeminate; ruṣā—out of anger; lambantam—long; vṛṣaṇam—testicles; bhūyaḥ—again; sandadhe—joined; arthāya—for self-interest; yoga-vit—expert in the power of mystic yoga.
The she-goat went to the residence of a brāhmaṇa who was the maintainer of another she-goat, and that brāhmaṇa angrily cut off the he-goat’s dangling testicles. But at the he-goat’s request, the brāhmaṇa later rejoined them by the power of mystic yoga.
Here Śukrācārya is figuratively described as the husband of another she-goat. This indicates that the relationship between husband and wife in any society, whether higher or lower than human society, is nothing but the same relationship between he-goat and she-goat, for the material relationship between man and woman is one of sex. Yan maithunādi-gṛhamedhi-sukhaṁ hi tuccham [SB 7.9.45]. Śukrācārya was an ācārya, or expert, in family affairs, which involve the transfer of semen from he-goat to she-goat, The words kaścid ajā-svāmī expressly indicate herein that Śukrācārya was no better than Yayāti, for both of them were interested in family affairs generated by śukra, or semen. Śukrācārya first cursed Yayāti to become old so that he could no longer indulge in sex, but when Śukrācārya saw that Yayāti’s emasculation would make his own daughter a victim of punishment, he used his mystic power to restore Yayāti’s masculinity. Because he used his power of mystic yoga for family affairs and not to realize the Supreme Personality of Godhead, this exercise in the magic of yoga was no better than the affairs of he-goats and she-goats. Yogic power should properly be used to realize the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As the Lord Himself recommends in Bhagavad-gītā (6.47):
“Of all yogīs, he who always abides in Me with great faith, worshiping Me in transcendental loving service, is most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all.”
sambaddha-vṛṣaṇaḥ so ’pi
hy ajayā kūpa-labdhayā
kālaṁ bahu-tithaṁ bhadre
kāmair nādyāpi tuṣyati
sambaddha-vṛṣaṇaḥ—rejoined with his testicles; saḥ—he; api—also; hi—indeed; ajayā—with the she-goat; kūpa-labdhayā—whom he got from the well; kālam—for a time; bahu-titham—of a long, long duration; bhadre—O my dear wife; kāmaiḥ—with such lusty desires; na—not; adya api—even until now; tuṣyati—is satisfied.
My dear wife, when the he-goat had his testicles restored, he enjoyed the she-goat he had gotten from the well, but although he continued to enjoy for many, many years, even now he has not been fully satisfied.
When one is bound by affection for one’s wife, one is attached to sexual desires that are very difficult to overcome. Therefore, according to Vedic civilization, one must voluntarily leave his so-called home and go to the forest. Pañcāśordhvaṁ vanaṁ vrajet. Human life is meant for such tapasya, or austerity. By the austerity of voluntarily stopping sex life at home and going to the forest to engage in spiritual activities in the association of devotees, one achieves the actual purpose of human life.
tathāhaṁ kṛpaṇaḥ subhru
mohitas tava māyayā
tathā—exactly like the he-goat; aham—I; kṛpaṇaḥ—a miser with no sense of the importance of life; su-bhru—O my wife, with beautiful eyebrows; bhavatyāḥ—in your company; prema-yantritaḥ—as if tied in love, although it is actually lust; ātmānam—self-realization (what I am and what my duty is); na abhijānāmi—I could not realize even until now; mohitaḥ—being bewildered; tava—your; māyayā—by the materially attractive feature.
O my dear wife with beautiful eyebrows, I am exactly like that he-goat, for I am so poor in intelligence that I am captivated by your beauty and have forgotten the real task of self-realization.
If one remains a victim of the so-called beauty of his wife, his family life is nothing but a dark well. Hitvātma-pātaṁ gṛham andha-kūpam. Existence in such a dark well is certainly suicidal. If one wants relief from the miserable condition of material life, one must voluntarily give up his lusty relationship with his wife; otherwise there is no question of self-realization. Unless one is extremely advanced in spiritual consciousness, household life is nothing but a dark well in which one commits suicide. Prahlāda Mahārāja therefore recommended that in due time, at least after one’s fiftieth year, one must give up household life and go to the forest. Vanaṁ gato yad dharim āśrayeta [SB 7.5.5]. There one should seek shelter at the lotus feet of Hari.
yat pṛthivyāṁ vrīhi-yavaṁ
hiraṇyaṁ paśavaḥ striyaḥ
na duhyanti manaḥ-prītiṁ
puṁsaḥ kāma-hatasya te
yat—what; pṛthivyām—within this world; vrīhi—food grains, rice; yavam—barley; hiraṇyam—gold; paśavaḥ—animals; striyaḥ—wives or other women; na duhyanti—do not give; manaḥ-prītim—satisfaction of the mind; puṁsaḥ—to a person; kāma-hatasya—because of being victimized by lusty desires; te—they.
A person who is lusty cannot satisfy his mind even if he has enough of everything in this world, including rice, barley and other food grains, gold, animals and women. Nothing can satisfy him.
Improvement of one’s economic condition is the aim and object of a materialist, but there is no end to this material advancement, for if one cannot control his lusty desires, he will never be pleased, even if he gets all the material wealth of the world. In this age we see much material improvement, but still people are struggling to get more and more material opulence. Manaḥ ṣaṣṭhānīndriyāṇi prakṛti-sthāni karṣati [Bg. 15.7]. Although every living entity is a part of the Supreme Being, because of lusty desires one continuously struggles for so-called betterment of one’s economic condition. To have a satisfied mind, one must give up his heart disease of lusty desires. This can be done only when one is Kṛṣṇa conscious.
If one becomes Kṛṣṇa conscious, then he can give up this heart disease; otherwise this disease of lusty desires will continue, and one cannot have peace in his mind.
na jātu kāmaḥ kāmānām
na—not; jātu—at any time; kāmaḥ—lusty desires; kāmānām—of persons who are very lusty; upabhogena—by enjoyment of lusty desires; śāṁyati—can be pacified; haviṣā—by supplying butter; kṛṣṇa-vartmā—fire; iva—like; bhūyaḥ—again and again; eva—indeed; abhivardhate—increases more and more.
As supplying butter to a fire does not diminish the fire but instead increases it more and more, the endeavor to stop lusty desires by continual enjoyment can never be successful. [In fact, one must voluntarily cease from material desires.]
One may have enough money and enough resources to satisfy the senses but still not be satisfied, for the endeavor to stop lusty desires by enjoying can never be successful. The example given here is very appropriate. One cannot stop a blazing fire by trying to extinguish it with butter.
yadā na kurute bhāvaṁ
sama-dṛṣṭes tadā puṁsaḥ
sarvāḥ sukhamayā diśaḥ
yadā—when; na—not; kurute—does; bhāvam—a different attitude of attachment or envy; sarva-bhūteṣu—to all living entities; amaṅgalam—inauspicious; sama-dṛṣṭeḥ—because of being equipoised; tadā—at that time; puṁsaḥ—of the person; sarvāḥ—all; sukha-mayāḥ—in a happy condition; diśaḥ—directions.
When a man is nonenvious and does not desire ill fortune for anyone, he is equipoised. For such a person, all directions appear happy.
Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī said, viśvaṁ pūrṇa-sukhāyate: when one becomes Kṛṣṇa conscious by the mercy of Lord Caitanya, for him the entire world appears happy, and he has nothing for which to hanker. On the brahma-bhūta stage, or the platform of spiritual realization, there is no lamentation and no material hankering (na śocati na kāṅkṣati). As long as one lives in the material world, actions and reactions will continue, but when one is unaffected by such material actions and reactions, he is to be considered free from the danger of being victimized by material desires. The symptoms of those who are satiated with lusty desires are described in this verse. As explained by Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, when one is not envious even of his enemy, does not expect honor from anyone, but instead desires all well-being even for his enemy, he is understood to be a paramahaṁsa, one who has fully subdued the lusty desires for sense gratification.
yā dustyajā durmatibhir
jīryato yā na jīryate
tāṁ tṛṣṇāṁ duḥkha-nivahāṁ
śarma-kāmo drutaṁ tyajet
yā—that which; dustyajā—extremely difficult to give up; durmatibhiḥ—by persons too attached to material enjoyment; jīryataḥ—even by one who is an invalid because of old age; yā—that which; na—not; jīryate—is vanquished; tām—such; tṛṣṇām—desire; duḥkha-nivahām—which is the cause of all tribulations; śarma-kāmaḥ—a person desiring his own happiness; drutam—very soon; tyajet—should give up.
For those who are too attached to material enjoyment, sense gratification is very difficult to give up. Even when one is an invalid because of old age, one cannot give up such desires for sense gratification. Therefore, one who actually desires happiness must give up such unsatisfied desires, which are the cause of all tribulations.
We have actually seen, especially in the Western countries, that men who have reached more than eighty years of age still go to nightclubs and pay heavy fees to drink wine and associate with women. Although such men are too old to enjoy anything, their desires have not ceased. Time deteriorates even the body itself, which is the medium for all sensual satisfaction, but even when a man becomes old and invalid, his desires are strong enough to dictate that he go here and there to satisfy the desires of his senses. Therefore, by the practice of bhakti-yoga, one should give up his lusty desires. As explained by Śrī Yāmunācārya:
When one is Kṛṣṇa conscious, he gets more and more happiness by discharging duties for Kṛṣṇa. Such a person spits on sense gratification, especially that of sexual enjoyment. An experienced, advanced devotee is no longer interested in sex life. The strong desire for sex can be subdued only by advancement in Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
mātrā svasrā duhitrā vā
vidvāṁsam api karṣati
mātrā—with one’s mother; svasrā—with one’s sister; duhitrā—with ones own daughter; vā—either; na—not; avivikta-āsanaḥ—seated closely on one seat; bhavet—one should be; balavān—very strong; indriya-grāmaḥ—the group of senses; vidvāṁsam—the very learned and advanced person; api—even; karṣati—agitates.
One should not allow oneself to sit on the same seat even with one’s own mother, sister or daughter, for the senses are so strong that even though one is very advanced in knowledge, he may be attracted by sex.
Learning the etiquette of how to deal with women does not free one from sexual attraction. As specifically mentioned herewith, such attraction is possible even with one’s mother, sister or daughter. Generally, of course, one is not sexually attracted to his mother, sister or daughter, but if one allows himself to sit very close to such a woman, one may be attracted. This is a psychological fact. It may be said that one is liable to be attracted if he is not very advanced in civilized life; however, as specifically mentioned here, vidvāṁsam api karṣati: even if one is highly advanced, materially or spiritually, he may be attracted by lusty desires. The object of attraction may even be one’s mother, sister or daughter. Therefore, one should be extremely careful in dealings with women. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu was most strict in such dealings, especially after He accepted the sannyāsa order. Indeed, no woman could come near Him to offer Him respect. Again, one is warned herewith that one should be extremely careful in dealings with women. A brahmacārī is forbidden even to see the wife of his spiritual master if she happens to be young. The wife of the spiritual master may sometimes take some service from the disciple of her husband, as she would from a son, but if the wife of the spiritual master is young, a brahmacārī is forbidden to render service to her.
pūrṇaṁ varṣa-sahasraṁ me
viṣayān sevato ’sakṛt
pūrṇam—completely; varṣa-sahasram—one thousand years; me—my; viṣayān—sense gratification; sevataḥ—enjoying; asakṛt—without cessation, continuously; tathā api—still; ca—indeed; anusavanam—more and more; tṛṣṇā—lusty desires; teṣu—in sense gratification; upajāyate—are increased.
I have spent a full one thousand years enjoying sense gratification, yet my desire to enjoy such pleasure increases daily.
Mahārāja Yayāti is explaining, in terms of his actual experience, how strong are sexual desires, even in old age.
tasmād etām ahaṁ tyaktvā
brahmaṇy adhyāya mānasam
cariṣyāmi mṛgaiḥ saha
tasmāt—therefore; etām—such strong desires for lusty affairs; aham—I; tyaktvā—giving up; brahmaṇi—upon the Supreme Absolute Truth; adhyāya—fixing; mānasam—the mind; nirdvandvaḥ—without duality; nirahaṅkāraḥ—without an identity of false prestige; cariṣyāmi—I shall loiter or wander in the forest; mṛgaiḥ saha—with the forest animals.
Therefore, I shall now give up all these desires and meditate upon the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Free from the dualities of mental concoction and free from false prestige, I shall wander in the forest with the animals.
To go to the forest and live there with the animals, meditating upon the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the only means by which to give up lusty desires. Unless one gives up such desires, one’s mind cannot be freed from material contamination. Therefore, if one is at all interested in being freed from the bondage of repeated birth, death, old age and disease, after a certain age one must go to the forest. pañcāśordhvaṁ vanaṁ vrajet. After fifty years of age, one should voluntarily give up family life and go to the forest. The best forest is Vṛndāvana, where one need not live with the animals but can associate with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who never leaves Vṛndāvana. Cultivating Kṛṣṇa consciousness in Vṛndāvana is the best means of being liberated from material bondage, for in Vṛndāvana one can automatically meditate upon Kṛṣṇa. Vṛndāvana has many temples, and in one or more of these temples one may see the form of the Supreme Lord as Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa or Kṛṣṇa-Balarāma and meditate upon this form. As expressed here by the words brahmaṇy adhyāya, one should concentrate one’s mind upon the Supreme Lord, Parabrahman. This Parabrahman is Kṛṣṇa, as confirmed by Arjuna in Bhagavad-gītā (paraṁ brahma paraṁ dhāma pavitraṁ paramaṁ bhavān [Bg. 10.12]). Kṛṣṇa and His abode, Vṛndāvana, are not different. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu said, ārādhyo bhagavān vrajeśa-tanayas tad-dhāma vṛndāvanam. Vṛndāvana is as good as Kṛṣṇa. Therefore, if one somehow or other gets the opportunity to live in Vṛndāvana, and if one is not a pretender but simply lives in Vṛndāvana and concentrates his mind upon Kṛṣṇa, one is liberated from material bondage. One’s mind is not purified, however, even in Vṛndāvana, if one is agitated by lusty desires. One should not live in Vṛndāvana and commit offenses, for a life of offenses in Vṛndāvana is no better than the lives of the monkeys and hogs there. Many monkeys and hogs live in Vṛndāvana, and they are concerned with their sexual desires. Men who have gone to Vṛndāvana but who still hanker for sex should immediately leave Vṛndāvana and stop their grievous offenses at the lotus feet of the Lord. There are many misguided men who live in Vṛndāvana to satisfy their sexual desires, but they are certainly no better than the monkeys and hogs. Those who are under the control of māyā, and specifically under the control of lusty desires, are called māyā-mṛga. Indeed, everyone in the conditional stage of material life is a māyā-mṛga. It is said, māyā-mṛgaṁ dayitayepsitam anvadhāvad: [SB 11.5.34] Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu took sannyāsa to show His causeless mercy to the māyā-mṛgas, the people of this material world, who suffer because of lusty desires. One should follow the principles of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and always think of Kṛṣṇa in full Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Then one will be eligible to live in Vṛndāvana, and his life will be successful.
dṛṣṭaṁ śrutam asad buddhvā
nānudhyāyen na sandiśet
saṁsṛtiṁ cātma-nāśaṁ ca
tatra vidvān sa ātma-dṛk
dṛṣṭam—the material enjoyment we experience in our present life; śrutam—material enjoyment as promised to the fruitive workers for future happiness (either in this life or in the next, in the heavenly planets and so on); asat—all temporary and bad; buddhvā—knowing; na—not; anudhyāyet—one should even think of; na—nor; sandiśet—should actually enjoy; saṁsṛtim—prolongation of material existence; ca—and; ātma-nāśam—forgetfulness of one’s own constitutional position; ca—as well as; tatra—in such a subject matter; vidvān—one who is completely aware; saḥ—such a person; ātma-dṛk—a self-realized soul.
One who knows that material happiness, whether good or bad, in this life or in the next, on this planet or on the heavenly planets, is temporary and useless, and that an intelligent person should not try to enjoy or even think of such things, is the knower of the self. Such a self-realized person knows quite well that material happiness is the very cause of continued material existence and forgetfulness of one’s own constitutional position.
The living entity is a spiritual soul, and the material body is his encagement. This is the beginning of spiritual understanding.
“As the embodied soul continually passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. The self-realized soul is not bewildered by such a change.” (Bg. 2.13) The real mission of human life is to get free from encagement in the material body. Therefore Kṛṣṇa descends to teach the conditioned soul about spiritual realization and how to become free from material bondage. Yadā yadā hi dharmasya glānir bhavati bhārata [Bg. 4.7]. The words dharmasya glāniḥ mean “pollution of one’s existence.” Our existence is now polluted, and it must be purified (sattvaṁ śuddhyet). The human life is meant for this purification, not for thinking of happiness in terms of the external body, which is the cause of material bondage. Therefore, in this verse, Mahārāja Yayāti advises that whatever material happiness we see and whatever is promised for enjoyment is all merely flickering and temporary. Ābrahma-bhuvanāl lokāḥ punar āvartino ’rjuna [Bg. 8.16]. Even if one is promoted to Brahmaloka, if one is not freed from material bondage one must return to this planet earth and continue in the miserable condition of material existence (bhūtvā bhūtvā pralīyate). One should always keep this understanding in mind so as not to be allured by any kind of sense enjoyment, in this life or in the next. One who is fully aware of this truth is self-realized (sa ātma-dṛk), but aside from him, everyone suffers in the cycle of birth and death (mṛtyu-saṁsāra-vartmani). This understanding is one of true intelligence, and anything contrary to this is but a cause of unhappiness. Kṛṣṇa-bhakta—niṣkāma, ataeva ‘śānta.’ Only a Kṛṣṇa conscious person, who knows the aim and object of life, is peaceful. All others, whether karmīs, jñānīs or yogīs, are restless and cannot enjoy real peace.
ity uktvā nāhuṣo jāyāṁ
tadīyaṁ pūrave vayaḥ
dattvā sva-jarasaṁ tasmād
iti uktvā—saying this; nāhuṣaḥ—Mahārāja Yayāti, the son of King Nahuṣa; jāyām—unto his wife, Devayānī; tadīyam—his own; pūrave—unto his son Pūru; vayaḥ—youth; dattvā—delivering; sva-jarasam—his own invalidity and old age; tasmāt—from him; ādade—took back; vigata-spṛhaḥ—being freed from all material lusty desires.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: After speaking in this way to his wife, Devayānī, King Yayāti, who was now free from all material desires, called his youngest son, Pūru, and returned Pūru’s youth in exchange for his own old age.
druhyuṁ dakṣiṇato yadum
pratīcyāṁ turvasuṁ cakra
udīcyām anum īśvaram
diśi—in the direction; dakṣiṇa-pūrvasyām—southeast; druhyum—his son named Druhyu; dakṣiṇataḥ—in the southern side of the world; yadum—Yadu; pratīcyām—in the western side of the world; turvasum—his son known as Turvasu; cakre—he made; udīcyām—in the northern side of the world; anum—his son named Anu; īśvaram—the King.
King Yayāti gave the southeast to his son Druhyu, the south to his son Yadu, the west to his son Turvasu, and the north to his son Anu. In this way he divided the kingdom.
pūrum arhattamaṁ viśām
vaśe sthāpya vanaṁ yayau
bhū-maṇḍalasya—of the entire planet earth; sarvasya—of all wealth and riches; pūrum—his youngest son, Pūru; arhat-tamam—the most worshipable person, the king; viśām—of the citizens or the subjects of the world; abhiṣicya—crowning on the throne of the emperor; agrajān—all his elder brothers, beginning from Yadu; tasya—of Pūru; vaśe—under the control; sthāpya—establishing; vanam—in the forest; yayau—he went away.
Yayāti enthroned his youngest son, Pūru, as the emperor of the entire world and the proprietor of all its riches, and he placed all the other sons, who were older than Pūru, under Pūru’s control.
ṣaḍ-vargaṁ viṣayeṣu saḥ
kṣaṇena mumuce nīḍaṁ
jāta-pakṣa iva dvijaḥ
āsevitam—being always engaged in; varṣa-pūgān—for many, many years; ṣaṭ-vargam—the six senses, including the mind; viṣayeṣu—in sense enjoyment; saḥ—King Yayāti; kṣaṇena—within a moment; mumuce—gave up; nīḍam—nest; jāta-pakṣaḥ—one that has grown its wings; iva—like; dvijaḥ—a bird.
Having enjoyed sense gratification for many, many years, O King Parīkṣit, Yayāti was accustomed to it, but he gave it up entirely in a moment, just as a bird flies away from the nest as soon as its wings have grown.
That Mahārāja Yayāti was immediately liberated from the bondage of conditioned life is certainly astonishing. But the example given herewith is appropriate. A tiny baby bird, dependent fully on its father and mother even to eat, suddenly flies away from the nest when its wings have grown. Similarly, if one fully surrenders to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one is immediately liberated from the bondage of conditioned life, as promised by the Lord Himself (ahaṁ tvāṁ sarva-pāpebhyo mokṣayiṣyāmi). As stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (2.4.18):
“Kirāta, Hūṇa, Āndhra, Pulinda, Pulkaśa, Ābhīra, Śumbha, Yavana and the Khasa races and even others addicted to sinful acts can be purified by taking shelter of the devotees of the Lord, for He is the supreme power. I beg to offer my respectful obeisances unto Him.” Lord Viṣṇu is so powerful that He can deliver anyone at once if He is pleased to do so. And Lord Viṣṇu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, can be pleased immediately if we accept His order by surrendering unto Him, as Mahārāja Yayāti did. Mahārāja Yayāti was eager to serve Vāsudeva, Kṛṣṇa, and therefore as soon as he wanted to renounce material life, Lord Vāsudeva helped him. We must therefore be very sincere in surrendering ourselves unto the lotus feet of the Lord. Then we can immediately be liberated from all the bondage of conditioned life. This is clearly expressed in the next verse.
sa tatra nirmukta-samasta-saṅga
pare ’male brahmaṇi vāsudeve
lebhe gatiṁ bhāgavatīṁ pratītaḥ
saḥ—Mahārāja Yayāti; tatra—upon doing this; nirmukta—was immediately liberated from; samasta-saṅgaḥ—all contamination; ātma-anubhūtyā—simply by understanding his constitutional position; vidhuta—was cleansed of; tri-liṅgaḥ—the contamination caused by the three modes of material nature (sattva-guṇa, rajo-guṇa and tamo-guṇa); pare—unto the Transcendence; amale—without material contact; brahmaṇi—the Supreme Lord; vāsudeve—Vāsudeva, Kṛṣṇa, the Absolute Truth, Bhagavān; lebhe—achieved; gatim—the destination; bhāgavatīm—as an associate of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; pratītaḥ—famous.
Because King Yayāti completely surrendered unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vāsudeva, he was freed from all contamination of the material modes of nature. Because of his self-realization, he was able to fix his mind upon the Transcendence [Parabrahman, Vāsudeva], and thus he ultimately achieved the position of an associate of the Lord.
The word vidhuta, meaning “cleansed,” is very significant. Everyone in this material world is contaminated (kāraṇaṁ guṇa-saṅgo ’sya). Because we are in a material condition, we are contaminated either by sattva-guṇa, by rajo-guṇa or by tamo-guṇa. Even if one becomes a qualified brāhmaṇa in the mode of goodness (sattva-guṇa), he is still materially contaminated. One must come to the platform of śuddha-sattva, transcending the sattva-guṇa. Then one is vidhuta-triliṅga, cleansed of the contamination caused by the three modes of material nature. This is possible by the mercy of Kṛṣṇa. As stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.2.17):
“Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the personality of Godhead, who is the Paramātmā [Supersoul] in everyone’s heart and the benefactor of the truthful devotee, cleanses desire for material enjoyment from the heart of the devotee who has developed the urge to hear His messages, which are in themselves virtuous when properly heard and chanted.” A person trying to be perfectly Kṛṣṇa conscious by hearing the words of Kṛṣṇa from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam or Bhagavad-gītā certainly has all the dirty things cleansed from the core of his heart. Caitanya Mahāprabhu also says, ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanam: [Cc. Antya 20.12] the process of hearing and chanting the glories of the Supreme Lord washes away the dirty things accumulated in the core of the heart. As soon as one is freed from all the dirt of material contamination, as Mahārāja Yayāti was, one’s original position as an associate of the Lord is revealed. This is called , or personal perfection.
śrutvā gāthāṁ devayānī
mene prastobham ātmanaḥ
śrutvā—hearing; gāthām—the narration; devayānī—Queen Devayānī, the wife of Mahārāja Yayāti; mene—understood; prastobham ātmanaḥ—when instructed for her self-realization; strī-puṁsoḥ—between the husband and wife; sneha-vaiklavyāt—from an exchange of love and affection; parihāsam—a funny joke or story; iva—like; īritam—spoken (by Mahārāja Yayāti).
When Devayānī heard Mahārāja Yayāti’s story of the he-goat and she-goat, she understood that this story, which was presented as if a funny joke for entertainment between husband and wife, was intended to awaken her to her constitutional position.
When one actually awakens from material life, one understands his real position as an eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa. This is called liberation. Muktir hitvānyathā rūpaṁ svarūpeṇa vyavasthitiḥ (Bhāg. 2.10.6). Under the influence of māyā, everyone living in this material world thinks that he is the master of everything (ahaṅkāra-vimūḍhātmā kartāham iti manyate [Bg. 3.27]). One thinks that there is no God or controller and that one is independent and can do anything. This is the material condition, and when one awakens from this ignorance, he is called liberated. Mahārāja Yayāti had delivered Devayānī from the well, and finally, as a dutiful husband, he instructed her with the story about the he-goat and she-goat and thus delivered her from the misconception of material happiness. Devayānī was quite competent to understand her liberated husband, and therefore she decided to follow him as his faithful wife.
sā sannivāsaṁ suhṛdāṁ
prapāyām iva gacchatām
sarvatra saṅgam utsṛjya
kṛṣṇe manaḥ samāveśya
vyadhunol liṅgam ātmanaḥ
sā—Devayānī; sannivāsam—living in the association; suhṛdām—of friends and relatives; prapāyām—in a place where water is supplied; iva—like; gacchatām—of tourists on a program for going from one place to another; vijñāya—understanding; īśvara-tantrāṇām—under the influence of the rigid laws of nature; māyā-viracitam—the laws enforced by māyā, the illusory energy; prabhoḥ—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; sarvatra—everywhere in this material world; saṅgam—association; utsṛjya—giving up; svapna-aupamyena—by the analogy of a dream; bhārgavī—Devayānī, the daughter of Śukrācārya; kṛṣṇe—unto Lord Kṛṣṇa; manaḥ—complete attention; samāveśya—fixing; vyadhunot—gave up; liṅgam—the gross and subtle bodies; ātmanaḥ—of the soul.
Thereafter, Devayānī, the daughter of Śukrācārya, understood that the materialistic association of husband, friends and relatives is like the association in a hotel full of tourists. The relationships of society, friendship and love are created by the māyā of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, exactly as in a dream. By the grace of Kṛṣṇa, Devayānī gave up her imaginary position in the material world. Completely fixing her mind upon Kṛṣṇa, she achieved liberation from the gross and subtle bodies.
One should be convinced that he is a spirit soul, part and parcel of the Supreme Brahman, Kṛṣṇa, but has somehow or other been entrapped by the material coverings of the gross and subtle bodies, consisting of earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego. One should know that the association of society, friendship, love, nationalism, religion and so on are nothing but creations of māyā. One’s only business is to become Kṛṣṇa conscious and render service unto Kṛṣṇa as extensively as possible for a living being. In this way one is liberated from material bondage. By the grace of Kṛṣṇa, Devayānī attained this state through the instructions of her husband.
namas tubhyaṁ bhagavate
śāntāya bṛhate namaḥ
namaḥ—I offer my respectful obeisances; tubhyam—unto You; bhagavate—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; vāsudevāya—Lord Vāsudeva; vedhase—the creator of everything; sarva-bhūta-adhivāsāya—present everywhere (within the heart of every living entity and within the atom also); śāntāya—peaceful, as if completely inactive; bṛhate—the greatest of all; namaḥ—I offer my respectful obeisances.
O Lord Vāsudeva, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, You are the creator of the entire cosmic manifestation. You live as the Supersoul in everyone’s heart and are smaller than the smallest, yet You are greater than the greatest and are all-pervading. You appear completely silent, having nothing to do, but this is due to Your all-pervading nature and Your fullness in all opulences. I therefore offer my respectful obeisances unto You.
How Devayānī became self-realized by the grace of her great husband, Mahārāja Yayāti, is described here. Describing such realization is another way of performing the bhakti process.
“Hearing and chanting about the transcendental holy name, form, qualities, paraphernalia and pastimes of Lord Viṣṇu, remembering them, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, offering the Lord respectful worship, offering prayers to the Lord, becoming His servant, considering the Lord one’s best friend, and surrendering everything unto Him—these nine processes are accepted as pure devotional service.” (Bhāg. 7.5.23) śravaṇaṁ kīrtanam, hearing and chanting, are especially important. By hearing from her husband about the greatness of Lord Vāsudeva, Devayānī certainly became convinced and surrendered herself unto the lotus feet of the Lord (oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya). This is knowledge. Bahūnāṁ janmanām ante jñānavān māṁ prapadyate [Bg. 7.19]. Surrender to Vāsudeva is the result of hearing about Him for many, many births. As soon as one surrenders unto Vāsudeva, one is liberated immediately. Because of her association with her great husband, Mahārāja Yayāti, Devayānī became purified, adopted the means of bhakti-yoga, and thus became liberated.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the Ninth Canto, Nineteenth Chapter, of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, entitled “King Yayāti Achieves Liberation.”
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