King Sudyumna Becomes a Woman
By the desire of Mahārāja Parīkṣit, Śukadeva Gosvāmī told about the dynasty of Vaivasvata Manu, who was formerly King Satyavrata, the ruler of Draviḍa. While describing this dynasty, he also described how the Supreme Personality of Godhead, while lying down in the waters of devastation, gave birth to Lord Brahmā from a lotus generated from His navel. From the mind of Lord Brahmā, Marīci was generated, and his son was Kaśyapa. From Kaśyapa, through Aditi, Vivasvān was generated, and from Vivasvān came Śrāddhadeva Manu, who was born from the womb of Saṁjñā. Śrāddhadeva’s wife, Śraddhā, gave birth to ten sons, such as Ikṣvāku and Nṛga.
Śrāddhadeva, or Vaivasvata Manu, the father of Mahārāja Ikṣvāku, was sonless before Ikṣvāku’s birth, but by the grace of the great sage Vasiṣṭha he performed a yajña to satisfy Mitra and Varuṇa. Then, although Vaivasvata Manu wanted a son, by the desire of his wife he got a daughter named Ilā. Manu, however, was not satisfied with the daughter. Consequently, for Manu’s satisfaction, the great sage Vasiṣṭha prayed for Ilā to be transformed into a boy, and his prayer was fulfilled by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus Ilā became a beautiful young man named Sudyumna.
Once upon a time, Sudyumna went on tour with his ministers. At the foot of the mountain Sumeru there is a forest named Sukumāra, and as soon as they entered that forest, they were all transformed into women. When Mahārāja Parīkṣit inquired from Śukadeva Gosvāmī about the reason for this transformation, Śukadeva Gosvāmī described how Sudyumna, being transformed into a woman, accepted Budha, the son of the moon, as her husband and had a son named Purūravā. By the grace of Lord Śiva, Sudyumna received the benediction that he would live one month as a woman and one month as a man. Thus he regained his kingdom and had three sons, named Utkala, Gaya and Vimala, who were all very religious. Thereafter, he entrusted his kingdom to Purūravā and took the order of vānaprastha life.
tvayoktāni śrutāni me
hares tatra kṛtāni ca
śrī-rājā uvāca—King Parīkṣit said; manvantarāṇi—all about the periods of the various Manus; sarvāṇi—all of them; tvayā—by you; uktāni—have been described; śrutāni—have been listened to; me—by me; vīryāṇi—wonderful activities; ananta-vīryasya—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who has unlimited potency; hareḥ—of the Supreme Lord, Hari; tatra—in those manvantara periods; kṛtāni—which have been performed; ca—also.
King Parīkṣit said: My lord, Śukadeva Gosvāmī, you have elaborately described all the periods of the various Manus and, within those periods, the wonderful activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who has unlimited potency. I am fortunate to have heard all of this from you.
yo ’sau satyavrato nāma
jñānaṁ yo ’tīta-kalpānte
sa vai vivasvataḥ putro
manur āsīd iti śrutam
tvattas tasya sutāḥ proktā
yaḥ asau—he who was known; satyavrataḥ—Satyavrata; nāma—by the name; rāja-ṛṣiḥ—the saintly king; draviḍa-īśvaraḥ—the ruler of the Draviḍa countries; jñānam—knowledge; yaḥ—one who; atīta-kalpa-ante—at the end of the period of the last Manu, or at the end of the last millennium; lebhe—received; puruṣa-sevayā—by rendering service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead; saḥ—he; vai—indeed; vivasvataḥ—of Vivasvān; putraḥ—son; manuḥ āsīt—became the Vaivasvata Manu; iti—thus; śrutam—I have already heard; tvattaḥ—from you; tasya—his; sutāḥ—sons; proktāḥ—have been explained; ikṣvāku-pramukhāḥ—headed by Ikṣvāku; nṛpāḥ—many kings.
Satyavrata, the saintly king of Draviḍadeśa who received spiritual knowledge at the end of the last millennium by the grace of the Supreme, later became Vaivasvata Manu, the son of Vivasvān, in the next manvantara [period of Manu]. I have received this knowledge from you. I also understand that such kings as Ikṣvāku were his sons, as you have already explained.
teṣāṁ vaṁśaṁ pṛthag brahman
nityaṁ śuśrūṣatāṁ hi naḥ
teṣām—of all those kings; vaṁśam—the dynasties; pṛthak—separately; brahman—O great brāhmaṇa (Śukadeva Gosvāmī); vaṁśa-anucaritāni ca—and their dynasties and characteristics; kīrtayasva—kindly describe; mahā-bhāga—O greatly fortunate one; nityam—eternally; śuśrūṣatām—who are engaged in your service; hi—indeed; naḥ—of ourselves.
O greatly fortunate Śukadeva Gosvāmī, O great brāhmaṇa, kindly describe to us separately the dynasties and characteristics of all those kings, for we are always eager to hear such topics from you.
ye bhūtā ye bhaviṣyāś ca
bhavanty adyatanāś ca ye
teṣāṁ naḥ puṇya-kīrtīnāṁ
sarveṣāṁ vada vikramān
ye—all of whom; bhūtāḥ—have already appeared; ye—all of whom; bhaviṣyāḥ—will appear in the future; ca—also; bhavanti—are existing; adyatanāḥ—at present; ca—also; ye—all of whom; teṣām—of all of them; naḥ—unto us; puṇya-kīrtīnām—who were all pious and celebrated; sarveṣām—of all of them; vada—kindly explain; vikramān—about the abilities.
Kindly tell us about the abilities of all the celebrated kings born in the dynasty of Vaivasvata Manu, including those who have already passed, those who may appear in the future, and those who exist at present.
evaṁ parīkṣitā rājñā
pṛṣṭaḥ provāca bhagavāñ
śrī-sūtaḥ uvāca—Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī said; evam—in this way; parīkṣitā—by Mahārāja Parīkṣit; rājñā—by the King; sadasi—in the assembly; brahma-vādinām—of all the great saintly experts in Vedic knowledge; pṛṣṭaḥ—having been asked; provāca—answered; bhagavān—the most powerful; śukaḥ—Śuka Gosvāmī; parama-dharma-vit—the most learned scholar in religious principles.
Sūta Gosvāmī said: When Śukadeva Gosvāmī, the greatest knower of religious principles, was thus requested by Mahārāja Parīkṣit in the assembly of all the scholars learned in Vedic knowledge, he then proceeded to speak.
śrūyatāṁ mānavo vaṁśaḥ
na śakyate vistarato
vaktuṁ varṣa-śatair api
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; śrūyatām—just hear from me; mānavaḥ vaṁśaḥ—the dynasty of Manu; prācuryeṇa—as expansive as possible; parantapa—O King, who can subdue your enemies; na—not; śakyate—one is able; vistarataḥ—very broadly; vaktum—to speak; varṣa-śataiḥ api—even if he does so for hundreds of years.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued: O King, subduer of your enemies, now hear from me in great detail about the dynasty of Manu. I shall explain as much as possible, although one could not say everything about it, even in hundreds of years.
ātmā yaḥ puruṣaḥ paraḥ
sa evāsīd idaṁ viśvaṁ
kalpānte ’nyan na kiñcana
para-avareṣām—of all living entities, in higher or lower statuses of life; bhūtānām—of those who have taken material bodies (the conditioned souls); ātmā—the Supersoul; yaḥ—one who is; puruṣaḥ—the Supreme Person; paraḥ—transcendental; saḥ—He; eva—indeed; āsīt—was existing; idam—this; viśvam—universe; kalpa-ante—at the end of the millennium; anyat—anything else; na—not; kiñcana—anything whatsoever.
The transcendental Supreme Person, the Supersoul of all living entities, who are in different statuses of life, high and low, existed at the end of the millennium, when neither this manifested cosmos nor anything else but Him existed.
Taking the proper position from which to describe the dynasty of Manu, Śukadeva Gosvāmī begins by saying that when the entire world is inundated, only the Supreme Personality of Godhead exists, and nothing else. Śukadeva Gosvāmī will now describe how the Lord creates other things, one after another.
tasya nābheḥ samabhavat
tasmiñ jajñe mahārāja
tasya—of Him (the Supreme Personality of Godhead); nābheḥ—from the navel; samabhavat—generated; padma-koṣaḥ—a lotus; hiraṇmayaḥ—known as Hiraṇmaya, or golden; tasmin—on that golden lotus; jajñe—appeared; mahārāja—O King; svayambhūḥ—one who is self-manifested, who takes birth without a mother; catuḥ-ānanaḥ—with four heads.
O King Parīkṣit, from the navel of the Supreme Personality of Godhead was generated a golden lotus, on which the four-faced Lord Brahmā took his birth.
marīcir manasas tasya
jajñe tasyāpi kaśyapaḥ
dākṣāyaṇyāṁ tato ’dityāṁ
vivasvān abhavat sutaḥ
marīciḥ—the great saintly person known as Marīci; manasaḥ tasya—from the mind of Lord Brahmā; jajñe—took birth; tasya api—from Marīci; kaśyapaḥ—Kaśyapa (took birth); dākṣāyaṇyām—in the womb of the daughter of Mahārāja Dakṣa; tataḥ—thereafter; adityām—in the womb of Aditi; vivasvān—Vivasvān; abhavat—took birth; sutaḥ—a son.
From the mind of Lord Brahmā, Marīci took birth, and from the semen of Marīci, Kaśyapa appeared from the womb of the daughter of Dakṣa Mahārāja. From Kaśyapa, by the womb of Aditi, Vivasvān took birth.
tato manuḥ śrāddhadevaḥ
saṁjñāyām āsa bhārata
śraddhāyāṁ janayām āsa
daśa putrān sa ātmavān
nariṣyantaṁ pṛṣadhraṁ ca
nabhagaṁ ca kaviṁ vibhuḥ
tataḥ—from Vivasvān; manuḥ śrāddhadevaḥ—the Manu named Śrāddhadeva; saṁjñāyām—in the womb of Saṁjñā (the wife of Vivasvān); āsa—was born; bhārata—O best of the Bhārata dynasty; śraddhāyām—in the womb of Śraddhā (the wife of Śrāddhadeva); janayām āsa—begot; daśa—ten; putrān—sons; saḥ—that Śrāddhadeva; ātmavān—having conquered his senses; ikṣvāku-nṛga-śaryāti-diṣṭa-dhṛṣṭa-karūṣakān—named Ikṣvāku, Nṛga, Śaryāti, Diṣṭa, Dhṛṣṭa and Karūṣaka; nariṣyantam—Nariṣyanta; pṛṣadhram ca—and Pṛṣadhra; nabhagam ca—and Nabhaga; kavim—Kavi; vibhuḥ—the great.
O King, best of the Bhārata dynasty, from Vivasvān, by the womb of Saṁjñā, Śrāddhadeva Manu was born. Śrāddhadeva Manu, having conquered his senses, begot ten sons in the womb of his wife, Śraddhā. The names of these sons were Ikṣvāku, Nṛga, Śaryāti, Diṣṭa, Dhṛṣṭa, Karūṣaka, Nariṣyanta, Pṛṣadhra, Nabhaga and Kavi.
aprajasya manoḥ pūrvaṁ
vasiṣṭho bhagavān kila
prajārtham akarod vibhuḥ
aprajasya—of he who had no son; manoḥ—of Manu; pūrvam—formerly; vasiṣṭhaḥ—the great saint Vasiṣṭha; bhagavān—powerful; kila—indeed; mitrā-varuṇayoḥ—of the demigods named Mitra and Varuṇa; iṣṭim—a sacrifice; prajā-artham—for the sake of getting sons; akarot—executed; vibhuḥ—the great person.
Manu at first had no sons. Therefore, in order to get a son for him, the great saint Vasiṣṭha, who was very powerful in spiritual knowledge, performed a sacrifice to satisfy the demigods Mitra and Varuṇa.
tatra śraddhā manoḥ patnī
tatra—in that sacrifice; śraddhā—Śraddhā; manoḥ—of Manu; patnī—the wife; hotāram—to the priest performing the yajña; samayācata—begged properly; duhitṛ-artham—for a daughter; upāgamya—coming near; praṇipatya—offering obeisances; payaḥ-vratā—who was observing the vow of drinking only milk.
During that sacrifice, Śraddhā, Manu’s wife, who was observing the vow of subsisting only by drinking milk, approached the priest offering the sacrifice, offered obeisances to him and begged for a daughter.
preṣito ’dhvaryuṇā hotā
vyacarat tat samāhitaḥ
gṛhīte haviṣi vācā
vaṣaṭ-kāraṁ gṛṇan dvijaḥ
preṣitaḥ—being told to execute the sacrifice; adhvaryuṇā—by the ṛtvik priest; hotā—the priest in charge of offering oblations; vyacarat—executed; tat—that (sacrifice); samāhitaḥ—with great attention; gṛhīte haviṣi—upon taking the clarified butter for the first oblation; vācā—by chanting the mantra; vaṣaṭ-kāram—the mantra beginning with the word vaṣaṭ; gṛṇan—reciting; dvijaḥ—the brāhmaṇa.
Told by the chief priest “Now offer oblations,” the person in charge of oblations took clarified butter to offer. He then remembered the request of Manu’s wife and performed the sacrifice while chanting the word “vaṣaṭ.”
kanyelā nāma sābhavat
tāṁ vilokya manuḥ prāha
hotuḥ—of the priest; tat—of the yajña; vyabhicāreṇa—by that transgression; kanyā—a daughter; ilā—Ilā; nāma—by the name; sā—that daughter; abhavat—was born; tām—unto her; vilokya—seeing; manuḥ—Manu; prāha—said; na—not; atituṣṭamanāḥ—very much satisfied; gurum—unto his guru.
Manu had begun that sacrifice for the sake of getting a son, but because the priest was diverted by the request of Manu’s wife, a daughter named Ilā was born. Upon seeing the daughter, Manu was not very satisfied. Thus he spoke to his guru, Vasiṣṭha, as follows.
Because Manu had no issue, he was pleased at the birth of the child, even though a daughter, and gave her the name Ilā. Later, however, he was not very satisfied to see the daughter instead of a son. Because he had no issue, he was certainly very glad at the birth of Ilā, but his pleasure was temporary.
bhagavan kim idaṁ jātaṁ
karma vo brahma-vādinām
viparyayam aho kaṣṭaṁ
maivaṁ syād brahma-vikriyā
bhagavan—O my lord; kim idam—what is this; jātam—born; karma—fruitive activities; vaḥ—of all of you; brahma-vādinām—of you, who are expert in chanting the Vedic mantras; viparyayam—deviation; aho—alas; kaṣṭam—painful; mā evam syāt—thus it should not have been; brahma-vikriyā—this opposite action of the Vedic mantras.
My lord, all of you are expert in chanting the Vedic mantras. How then has the result been opposite to the one desired? This is a matter for lamentation. There should not have been such a reversal of the results of the Vedic mantras.
In this age, the performance of yajña has been forbidden because no one can properly chant the Vedic mantras. If Vedic mantras are chanted properly, the desire for which a sacrifice is performed must be successful. Therefore the Hare Kṛṣṇa chant is called the mahā-mantra, the great, exalted mantra above all other Vedic mantras, because simply chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra brings so many beneficial effects. As explained by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu (Śikṣāṣṭaka 1):
“Glory to the Śrī Kṛṣṇa saṅkīrtana, which cleanses the heart of all the dust accumulated for years and extinguishes the fire of conditional life, of repeated birth and death. This saṅkīrtana movement is the prime benediction for humanity at large because it spreads the rays of the benediction moon. It is the life of all transcendental knowledge. It increases the ocean of transcendental bliss, and it enables us to fully taste the nectar for which we are always anxious.”
Therefore, the best performance of yajña given to us is the saṅkīrtana-yajña. Yajñaiḥ saṅkīrtana-prāyair yajanti hi sumedhasaḥ (Bhāg. 11.5.32). Those who are intelligent take advantage of the greatest yajña in this age by chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra in congregation. When the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra is chanted by many men together, the chanting is called saṅkīrtana, and as a result of such a yajña there will be clouds in the sky (yajñād bhavati parjanyaḥ [Bg. 3.14]). In these days of drought, people can gain relief from scarcity of rain and food by the simple method of the Hare Kṛṣṇa yajña. Indeed, this can relieve all of human society. At present there are droughts throughout Europe and America, and people are suffering, but if people take this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement seriously, if they stop their sinful activities and chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, all their problems will be solved without difficulty. In other processes of yajña there are difficulties because there are no learned scholars who can chant the mantras perfectly well, nor is it possible to secure the ingredients to perform the yajña. Because human society is poverty-stricken and men are devoid of Vedic knowledge and the power to chant the Vedic mantras, the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra is the only shelter. people should be intelligent enough to chant it. Yajñaiḥ saṅkīrtana-prāyair yajanti hi sumedhasaḥ [SB 11.5.32]. Those whose brains are dull cannot understand this chanting, nor can they take to it.
yūyaṁ brahma-vido yuktās
anṛtaṁ vibudheṣv iva
yūyam—of all you; brahma-vidaḥ—completely in awareness of the Absolute Truth; yuktāḥ—self-controlled and well balanced; tapasā—by dint of austerity and penances; dagdha-kilbiṣāḥ—all kinds of material contamination having been burnt out; kutaḥ—then how; saṅkalpa-vaiṣamyam—discrepancy in the matter of determination; anṛtam—false promise, false statement; vibudheṣu—in the society of the demigods; iva—or.
You are all self-controlled, well balanced in mind, and aware of the Absolute Truth. And because of austerities and penances you are completely cleansed of all material contamination. Your words, like those of the demigods, are never baffled. Then how is it possible that your determination has failed?
We have learned from many Vedic literatures that a benediction or curse given by the demigods never proves false. By performing austerities and penances, by controlling the senses and mind, and by achieving full knowledge of the Absolute Truth, one is fully cleansed of material contamination. Then one’s words and blessings, like those of the demigods, are never a failure.
niśamya tad vacas tasya
hotur vyatikramaṁ jñātvā
niśamya—after hearing; tat vacaḥ—those words; tasya—of him (Manu); bhagavān—the most powerful; prapitāmahaḥ—the great-grandfather Vasiṣṭha; hotuḥ vyatikramam—discrepancy on the part of the hotā priest; jñātvā—understanding; babhāṣe—spoke; ravi-nandanam—unto Vaivasvata Manu, son of the sun-god.
The most powerful great-grandfather Vasiṣṭha, after hearing these words of Manu, understood the discrepancy on the part of the priest. Thus he spoke as follows to the son of the sun-god.
hotus te vyabhicārataḥ
tathāpi sādhayiṣye te
etat—this; saṅkalpa-vaiṣamyam—discrepancy in the objective; hotuḥ—of the priest; te—your; vyabhicārataḥ—from deviating from the prescribed purpose; tathā api—still; sādhayiṣye—I shall execute; te—for you; su-prajāstvam—a very nice son; sva-tejasā—by my own prowess.
This discrepancy in the objective is due to your priest’s deviation from the original purpose. However, by my own prowess I shall give you a good son.
evaṁ vyavasito rājan
bhagavān sa mahā-yaśāḥ
evam—thus; vyavasitaḥ—deciding; rājan—O King Parīkṣit; bhagavān—the most powerful; saḥ—Vasiṣṭha; mahā-yaśāḥ—very famous; astauṣīt—offered prayers; ādi-puruṣam—unto the Supreme Person, Lord Viṣṇu; ilāyāḥ—of Ilā; puṁstva-kāmyayā—for the transformation into a male.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: O King Parīkṣit, after the most famous and powerful Vasiṣṭha made this decision, he offered prayers to the Supreme Person, Viṣṇu, to transform Ilā into a male.
tasmai kāma-varaṁ tuṣṭo
bhagavān harir īśvaraḥ
dadāv ilābhavat tena
tasmai—unto him (Vasiṣṭha); kāma-varam—the desired benediction; tuṣṭaḥ—being pleased; bhagavān—the Supreme Personality; hariḥ īśvaraḥ—the supreme controller, the Lord; dadau—gave; ilā—the girl, Ilā; abhavat—became; tena—because of this benediction; sudyumnaḥ—by the name Sudyumna; puruṣa-ṛṣabhaḥ—a nice male.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, the supreme controller, being pleased with Vasiṣṭha, gave him the benediction he desired. Thus Ilā was transformed into a very fine male named Sudyumna.
sa ekadā mahārāja
vicaran mṛgayāṁ vane
aśvam āruhya saindhavam
pragṛhya ruciraṁ cāpaṁ
śarāṁś ca paramādbhutān
daṁśito ’numṛgaṁ vīro
jagāma diśam uttarām
saḥ—Sudyumna; ekadā—once upon a time; mahārāja—O King Parīkṣit; vicaran—touring; mṛgayām—for hunting; vane—in the forest; vṛtaḥ—accompanied; katipaya—a few; amātyaiḥ—by ministers or associates; aśvam—upon a horse; āruhya—riding; saindhavam—born in the Sindhupradeśa; pragṛhya—holding in hand; ruciram—beautiful; cāpam—bow; śarān ca—and arrows; parama-adbhutān—very wonderful, uncommon; daṁśitaḥ—wearing armor; anumṛgam—behind the animals; vīraḥ—the hero; jagāma—went toward; diśam uttarām—the north.
O King Parīkṣit, that hero Sudyumna, accompanied by a few ministers and associates and riding on a horse brought from Sindhupradeśa, once went into the forest to hunt. He wore armor and was decorated with bows and arrows, and he was very beautiful. While following the animals and killing them, he reached the northern part of the forest.
adhastāt praviveśa ha
yatrāste bhagavāñ charvo
sukumāra-vanam—the forest known as Sukumāra; meroḥ adhastāt—at the foot of Mount Meru; praviveśa ha—he entered; yatra—wherein; āste—was; bhagavān—the most powerful (demigod); śarvaḥ—Lord Śiva; ramamāṇaḥ—engaged in enjoyment; saha umayā—with Umā, his wife.
There in the north, at the bottom of Mount Meru, is a forest known as Sukumāra where Lord Śiva always enjoys with Umā. Sudyumna entered that forest.
tasmin praviṣṭa evāsau
apaśyat striyam ātmānam
aśvaṁ ca vaḍavāṁ nṛpa
tasmin—in that forest; praviṣṭaḥ—having entered; eva—indeed; asau—he; sudyumnaḥ—Prince Sudyumna; para-vīra-hā—who could very well subdue his enemies; apaśyat—observed; striyam—female; ātmānam—himself; aśvam ca—and his horse; vaḍavām—a mare; nṛpa—O King Parīkṣit.
O King Parīkṣit, as soon as Sudyumna, who was expert in subduing enemies, entered the forest, he saw himself transformed into a female and his horse transformed into a mare.
tathā tad-anugāḥ sarve
dṛṣṭvā vimanaso ’bhūvan
tathā—similarly; tat-anugāḥ—the companions of Sudyumna; sarve—all of them; ātma-liṅga-viparyayam—the transformation of their sex into the opposite; dṛṣṭvā—seeing; vimanasaḥ—morose; abhūvan—they became; vīkṣamāṇāḥ—looking over; parasparam—one another.
When his followers also saw their identities transformed and their sex reversed, they were all very morose and just looked at one another.
katham evaṁ guṇo deśaḥ
kena vā bhagavan kṛtaḥ
praśnam enaṁ samācakṣva
paraṁ kautūhalaṁ hi naḥ
śrī-rājā uvāca—Mahārāja Parīkṣit said; katham—how; evam—this; guṇaḥ—quality; deśaḥ—the country; kena—why; vā—either; bhagavan—O most powerful; kṛtaḥ—it was so done; praśnam—question; enam—this; samācakṣva—just deliberate; param—very much; kautūhalam—eagerness; hi—indeed; naḥ—our.
Mahārāja Parīkṣit said: O most powerful brāhmaṇa, why was this place so empowered, and who made it so powerful? Kindly answer this question, for I am very eager to hear about this.
ekadā giriśaṁ draṣṭum
ṛṣayas tatra suvratāḥ
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; ekadā—once upon a time; giriśam—Lord Śiva; draṣṭum—to see; ṛṣayaḥ—very saintly persons; tatra—in that forest; su-vratāḥ—highly elevated in spiritual power; diśaḥ—all directions; vitimira-ābhāsāḥ—having been cleared of all darkness whatsoever; kurvantaḥ—doing so; samupāgaman—arrived.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī answered: Great saintly persons who strictly observed the spiritual rules and regulations and whose own effulgence dissipated all the darkness of all directions once came to see Lord Śiva in that forest.
tān vilokyāmbikā devī
vivāsā vrīḍitā bhṛśam
bhartur aṅkāt samutthāya
nīvīm āśv atha paryadhāt
tān—all the saintly persons; vilokya—seeing them; ambikā—mother Durgā; devī—the goddess; vivāsā—because she was naked; vrīḍitā—ashamed; bhṛśam—highly; bhartuḥ—of her husband; aṅkāt—from the lap; samutthāya—getting up; nīvīm—breast; āśu atha—very quickly; paryadhāt—covered with cloth.
When the goddess Ambikā saw the great saintly persons, she was very much ashamed because at that time she was naked. She immediately got up from the lap of her husband and tried to cover her breast.
ṛṣayo ’pi tayor vīkṣya
nivṛttāḥ prayayus tasmān
ṛṣayaḥ—all the great saintly persons; api—also; tayoḥ—of both of them; vīkṣya—seeing; prasaṅgam—engagement in sexual matters; ramamāṇayoḥ—who were enjoying in that way; nivṛttāḥ—desisted from going further; prayayuḥ—immediately departed; tasmāt—from that place; nara-nārāyaṇa-āśramam—to the āśrama of Nara-Nārāyaṇa.
Seeing Lord Śiva and Pārvatī engaged in sexual affairs, all the great saintly persons immediately desisted from going further and departed for the āśrama of Nara-Nārāyaṇa.
tad idaṁ bhagavān āha
sthānaṁ yaḥ praviśed etat
sa vai yoṣid bhaved iti
tat—because; idam—this; bhagavān—Lord Śiva; āha—said; priyāyāḥ—of his dear wife; priya-kāmyayā—for the pleasure; sthānam—place; yaḥ—anyone who; praviśet—will enter; etat—here; saḥ—that person; vai—indeed; yoṣit—female; bhavet—shall become; iti—thus.
Thereupon, just to please his wife, Lord Śiva said, “Any male entering this place shall immediately become a female!”
tata ūrdhvaṁ vanaṁ tad vai
puruṣā varjayanti hi
vicacāra vanād vanam
tataḥ ūrdhvam—from that time onward; vanam—forest; tat—that; vai—in particular; puruṣāḥ—males; varjayanti—do not enter; hi—indeed; sā—Sudyumna in the form of a woman; ca—also; anucara-saṁyuktā—accompanied by his companions; vicacāra—walked; vanāt vanam—within the forest from one place to another.
Since that time, no male had entered that forest. But now King Sudyumna, having been transformed into a female, began to walk with his associates from one forest to another.
“As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, the soul accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones.”
The body is just like a dress, and here this is proved. Sudyumna and his associates were all male, which means that their souls were covered by male dress, but now they became female, which means that their dress was changed. The soul, however, remains the same. It is said that by modern medical treatment a male can be transformed into a female, and a female into a male. The body, however, has no connection with the soul. The body can be changed, either in this life or the next. Therefore, one who has knowledge of the soul and how the soul transmigrates from one body to another does not pay attention to the body, which is nothing but a covering dress. Paṇḍitāḥ sama-darśinaḥ [Bg. 5.18]. Such a person sees the soul, which is part and parcel of the Supreme Lord. Therefore he is a sama-darśi, a learned person.
atha tām āśramābhyāśe
strībhiḥ parivṛtāṁ vīkṣya
cakame bhagavān budhaḥ
atha—in this way; tām—her; āśrama-abhyāśe—in the neighborhood of his āśrama; carantīm—loitering; pramadā-uttamām—the best of beautiful women who excite sex; strībhiḥ—by other women; parivṛtām—surrounded; vīkṣya—seeing her; cakame—desired sex; bhagavān—the most powerful; budhaḥ—Budha, the son of the moon and predominating deity of the planet known as Budha, or Mercury.
Sudyumna had been transformed into the best of beautiful women who excite sexual desire and was surrounded by other women. Upon seeing this beautiful woman loitering near his āśrama, Budha, the son of the moon, immediately desired to enjoy her.
sāpi taṁ cakame subhrūḥ
sa tasyāṁ janayām āsa
sā—Sudyumna, transformed into a woman; api—also; tam—unto him (Budha); cakame—desired sex; su-bhrūḥ—very beautiful; somarāja-sutam—unto the son of the king of the moon; patim—as her husband; saḥ—he (Budha); tasyām—in her womb; janayām āsa—begot; purūravasam—named Purūravā; ātma-jam—a son.
The beautiful woman also desired to accept Budha, the son of the king of the moon, as her husband. Thus Budha begot in her womb a son named Purūravā.
evaṁ strītvam anuprāptaḥ
sudyumno mānavo nṛpaḥ
sasmāra sa kulācāryaṁ
vasiṣṭham iti śuśruma
evam—in this way; strītvam—femininity; anuprāptaḥ—having achieved in that way; sudyumnaḥ—the male named Sudyumna; mānavaḥ—the son of Manu; nṛpaḥ—the king; sasmāra—remembered; saḥ—he; kula-ācāryam—the familial spiritual master; vasiṣṭham—the most powerful Vasiṣṭha; iti śuśruma—I have heard it (from reliable sources).
I heard from reliable sources that King Sudyumna, the son of Manu, having thus achieved femininity, remembered his familial spiritual master, Vasiṣṭha.
sa tasya tāṁ daśāṁ dṛṣṭvā
saḥ—he, Vasiṣṭha; tasya—of Sudyumna; tām—that; daśām—condition; dṛṣṭvā—seeing; kṛpayā—out of mercy; bhṛśa-pīḍitaḥ—being very much aggrieved; sudyumnasya—of Sudyumna; āśayan—desiring; puṁstvam—the maleness; upādhāvata—began to worship; śaṅkaram—Lord Śiva.
Upon seeing Sudyumna’s deplorable condition, Vasiṣṭha was very much aggrieved. Desiring for Sudyumna to regain his maleness, Vasiṣṭha again began to worship Lord Śaṅkara [Śiva].
tuṣṭas tasmai sa bhagavān
ṛṣaye priyam āvahan
svāṁ ca vācam ṛtāṁ kurvann
idam āha viśāmpate
māsaṁ pumān sa bhavitā
māsaṁ strī tava gotrajaḥ
itthaṁ vyavasthayā kāmaṁ
sudyumno ’vatu medinīm
tuṣṭaḥ—being pleased; tasmai—unto Vasiṣṭha; saḥ—he (Lord Śiva); bhagavān—the most powerful; ṛṣaye—unto the great sage; priyam āvahan—just to please him; svām ca—his own; vācam—word; ṛtām—true; kurvan—and keeping; idam—this; āha—said; viśāmpate—O King Parīkṣit; māsam—one month; pumān—male; saḥ—Sudyumna; bhavitā—will become; māsam—an other month; strī—female; tava—your; gotra-jaḥ—disciple born in your disciplic succession; ittham—in this way; vyavasthayā—by settlement; kāmam—according to desire; sudyumnaḥ—King Sudyumna; avatu—may rule; medinīm—the world.
O King Parīkṣit, Lord Śiva was pleased with Vasiṣṭha. Therefore, to satisfy him and to keep his own word to Pārvatī, Lord Śiva said to that saintly person, “Your disciple Sudyumna may remain a male for one month and a female for the next. In this way he may rule the world as he likes.”
The word gotrajaḥ is significant in this connection. Brāhmaṇas generally act as spiritual masters of two dynasties. One is their disciplic succession, and the other is the dynasty born of their semen. Both descendants belong to the same gotra, or dynasty. In the Vedic system we sometimes find that both brāhmaṇas and kṣatriyas and even vaiśyas come in the disciplic succession of the same ṛṣis. Because the gotra and dynasty are one, there is no difference between the disciples and the family born of the semen. The same system still prevails in Indian society, especially in regard to marriage, for which the gotra is calculated. Here the word gotrajaḥ refers to those born in the same dynasty, whether they be disciples or members of the family.
labdhvā puṁstvaṁ vyavasthayā
pālayām āsa jagatīṁ
nābhyanandan sma taṁ prajāḥ
ācārya-anugrahāt—by the mercy of the spiritual master; kāmam—desired; labdhvā—having achieved; puṁstvam—maleness; vyavasthayā—by this settlement of Lord Śiva; pālayām āsa—he ruled; jagatīm—the whole world; na abhyanandan sma—were not satisfied with; tam—to the king; prajāḥ—the citizens.
Thus being favored by the spiritual master, according to the words of Lord Śiva, Sudyumna regained his desired maleness every alternate month and in this way ruled the kingdom, although the citizens were not satisfied with this.
The citizens could understand that the king was transformed into a female every alternate month and therefore could not discharge his royal duty. Consequently they were not very satisfied.
tasyotkalo gayo rājan
vimalaś ca trayaḥ sutāḥ
tasya—of Sudyumna; utkalaḥ—by the name Utkala; gayaḥ—by the name Gaya; rājan—O King Parīkṣit; vimalaḥ ca—and Vimala; trayaḥ—three; sutāḥ—sons; dakṣiṇā-patha—of the southern part of the world; rājānaḥ—kings; babhūvuḥ—they became; dharma-vatsalāḥ—very religious.
O King, Sudyumna had three very pious sons, named Utkala, Gaya and Vimala, who became the kings of the Dakṣiṇā-patha.
tataḥ pariṇate kāle
gāṁ putrāya gato vanam
tataḥ—thereafter; pariṇate kāle—when the time was ripe; pratiṣṭhāna-patiḥ—the master of the kingdom; prabhuḥ—very powerful; purūravase—unto Purūravā; utsṛjya—delivering; gām—the world; putrāya—unto his son; gataḥ—departed; vanam—to the forest.
Thereafter, when the time was ripe, when Sudyumna, the king of the world, was sufficiently old, he delivered the entire kingdom to his son Purūravā and entered the forest.
According to the Vedic system, one within the institution of varṇa and āśrama must leave his family life after he reaches fifty years of age (pañcāśad ūrdhvaṁ vanaṁ vrajet). Thus Sudyumna followed the prescribed regulations of varṇāśrama by leaving the kingdom and going to the forest to complete his spiritual life.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the Ninth Canto, First Chapter, of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, entitled “King Sudyumna Becomes a Woman.”
Link to this page: https://prabhupadabooks.com/sb/9/1
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