The Dynasty of Aṁśumān
The son of Mahārāja Aṁśumān was Dilīpa, who tried to bring the Ganges to this world but who died without success. Bhagīratha, the son of Dilīpa, was determined to bring the Ganges to the material world, and for this purpose he underwent severe austerities. Mother Ganges, being fully satisfied by his austerities, made herself visible to him, wanting to give him a benediction. Bhagīratha then asked her to deliver his forefathers. Although mother Ganges agreed to come down to earth, she made two conditions: first, she wanted some suitable male to be able to control her waves; second, although all sinful men would be freed from sinful reactions by bathing in the Ganges, mother Ganges did not want to keep all these sinful reactions. These two conditions were subject matters for consideration. Bhagīratha replied to mother Ganges, “The Personality of Godhead Lord Śiva will be completely able to control the waves of your water, and when pure devotees bathe in your water, the sinful reactions left by sinful men will be counteracted.” Bhagīratha then performed austerities to satisfy Lord Śiva, who is called Āśutoṣa because he is naturally satisfied very easily. Lord Śiva agreed to Bhagīratha’s proposal to check the force of the Ganges. In this way, simply by the touch of the Ganges, Bhagīratha’s forefathers were delivered and allowed to go to the heavenly planets.
The son of Bhagīratha was Śruta, the son of Śruta was Nābha, and Nābha’s son was Sindhudvīpa. The son of Sindhudvīpa was Ayutāyu, and the son of Ayutāyu was Ṛtūparṇa, who was a friend of Nala. Ṛtūparṇa gave Nala the art of gambling and learned from him the art of aśva-vidyā. The son of Ṛtūparṇa was known as Sarvakāma, the son of Sarvakāma was Sudāsa, and his son was Saudāsa. The wife of Saudāsa was named Damayantī or Madayantī, and Saudāsa was also known as Kalmāṣapāda. Because of some defect in his fruitive activities, Saudāsa was cursed by Vasiṣṭha to become a Rākṣasa. While walking through the forest, he saw a brāhmaṇa engaged in sex with his wife, and because he had become a Rākṣasa he wanted to devour the brāhmaṇa. Although the brāhmaṇa’s wife pleaded with him in many ways, Saudāsa devoured the brāhmaṇa, and the wife therefore cursed him, saying, “As soon as you engage in sex you will die.” After twelve years, therefore, even though Saudāsa was released from the curse of Vasiṣṭha Muni, he remained sonless. At that time, with Saudāsa’s permission, Vasiṣṭha impregnated Saudāsa’s wife, Madayantī. Because Madayantī bore the child for many years but still could not give birth, Vasiṣṭha struck her abdomen with a stone, and thus a son was born. The son was named Aśmaka.
The son of Aśmaka was known as Bālika. He was protected from the curse of Paraśurāma because of being surrounded by many women, and therefore he is also known as Nārīkavaca. When the entire world was devoid of kṣatriyas, he became the original father of more kṣatriyas. He is therefore sometimes called Mūlaka. From Bālika, Daśaratha was born, from Daśaratha came Aiḍaviḍi, and from Aiḍaviḍi came Viśvasaha. The son of Viśvasaha was Mahārāja Khaṭvāṅga. Mahārāja Khaṭvāṅga joined the demigods in fighting the demons and was victorious, and the demigods therefore wanted to give him a benediction. But when the King inquired how long he would live and understood that his life would last only a few seconds more, he immediately left the heavenly planets and returned to his own abode by airplane. He could understand that everything in this material world is insignificant, and thus he fully engaged in worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari.
aṁśumāṁś ca tapas tepe
kālaṁ mahāntaṁ nāśaknot
tataḥ kālena saṁsthitaḥ
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; aṁśumān—the king named Aṁśumān; ca—also; tapaḥ tepe—executed austerity; gaṅgā—the Ganges; ānayana-kāmyayā—with a desire to bring the Ganges to this material world to deliver his forefathers; kālam—time; mahāntam—for a long duration; na—not; aśaknot—was successful; tataḥ—thereafter; kālena—in due course of time; saṁsthitaḥ—died.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued: King Aṁśumān, like his grandfather, performed austerities for a very long time. Nonetheless, he could not bring the Ganges to this material world, and thereafter, in due course of time, he died.
dilīpas tat-sutas tadvad
aśaktaḥ kālam eyivān
bhagīrathas tasya sutas
tepe sa sumahat tapaḥ
dilīpaḥ—named Dilīpa; tat-sutaḥ—the son of Aṁśumān; tat-vat—like his father; aśaktaḥ—being unable to bring the Ganges to the material world; kālam eyivān—became a victim of time and died; bhagīrathaḥ tasya sutaḥ—his son Bhagīratha; tepe—executed penance; saḥ—he; su-mahat—very great; tapaḥ—austerity.
Like Aṁśumān himself, Dilīpa, his son, was unable to bring the Ganges to this material world, and he also became a victim of death in due course of time. Then Dilīpa’s son, Bhagīratha, performed very severe austerities to bring the Ganges to this material world.
darśayām āsa taṁ devī
prasannā varadāsmi te
ity uktaḥ svam abhiprāyaṁ
darśayām āsa—appeared; tam—unto him, King Bhagīratha; devī—mother Ganges; prasannā—being very much satisfied; varadā asmi—I shall bless with my benediction; te—unto you; iti uktaḥ—thus being addressed; svam—his own; abhiprāyam—desire; śaśaṁsa—explained; avanataḥ—very respectfully bowing down; nṛpaḥ—the King (Bhagīratha).
Thereafter, mother Ganges appeared before King Bhagīratha and said, “I am very much satisfied with your austerities and am now prepared to give you benedictions as you desire.” Being thus addressed by Gaṅgādevī, mother Ganges, the King bowed his head before her and explained his desire.
The King’s desire was to deliver his forefathers, who had been burnt to ashes because of disrespecting Kapila Muni.
ko ’pi dhārayitā vegaṁ
patantyā me mahī-tale
anyathā bhū-talaṁ bhittvā
nṛpa yāsye rasātalam
kaḥ—who is that person; api—indeed; dhārayitā—who can sustain; vegam—the force of the waves; patantyāḥ—while falling down; me—of me; mahī-tale—upon this earth; anyathā—otherwise; bhū-talam—the surface of the earth; bhittvā—piercing; nṛpa—O King; yāsye—I shall go down; rasātalam—to Pātāla, the lower part of the universe.
Mother Ganges replied: When I fall from the sky to the surface of the planet earth, the water will certainly be very forceful. Who will sustain that force? If I am not sustained, I shall pierce the surface of the earth and go down to Rasātala, the Pātāla area of the universe.
kiṁ cāhaṁ na bhuvaṁ yāsye
narā mayy āmṛjanty agham
mṛjāmi tad aghaṁ kvāhaṁ
rājaṁs tatra vicintyatām
kim ca—also; aham—I; na—not; bhuvam—to the planet earth; yāsye—shall go; narāḥ—the people in general; mayi—in me, in my water; āmṛjanti—cleanse; agham—the reactions of their sinful activity; mṛjāmi—I shall wash; tat—that; agham—accumulation of sinful reactions; kva—unto whom; aham—I; rājan—O King; tatra—on this fact; vicintyatām—please consider carefully and decide.
O King, I do not wish to go down to the planet earth, for there the people in general will bathe in my water to cleanse themselves of the reactions of their sinful deeds. When all these sinful reactions accumulate in me, how shall I become free from them? You must consider this very carefully.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead says:
“Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear.” (Bg. 18.66) The Supreme Personality of Godhead can accept the reactions of anyone’s sinful deeds and neutralize them because He is pavitra, pure, like the sun, which is never contaminated by any worldly infection. Tejīyasāṁ na doṣāya vahneḥ sama-bhujo yathā (Bhāg. 10.33.29). One who is very powerful is not affected by any sinful activity. But here we see that mother Ganges fears being burdened with the sins of the people in general who would bathe in her waters. This indicates that no one but the Supreme Personality of Godhead is able to neutralize the reactions of sinful deeds, whether one’s own or those of others. Sometimes the spiritual master, after accepting a disciple, must take charge of that disciple’s past sinful activities and, being overloaded, must sometimes suffer—if not fully, then partially—for the sinful acts of the disciple. Every disciple, therefore, must be very careful not to commit sinful activities after initiation. The poor spiritual master is kind and merciful enough to accept a disciple and partially suffer for that disciple’s sinful activities, but Kṛṣṇa, being merciful to His servant, neutralizes the reactions of sinful deeds for the servant who engages in preaching His glories. Even mother Ganges feared the sinful reactions of the people in general and was anxious about how she would counteract the burden of these sins.
sādhavo nyāsinaḥ śāntā
haranty aghaṁ te ’ṅga-saṅgāt
teṣv āste hy agha-bhid dhariḥ
śrī-bhagīrathaḥ uvāca—Bhagīratha said; sādhavaḥ—saintly persons; nyāsinaḥ—sannyāsīs; śāntāḥ—peaceful, free from material disturbances; brahmiṣṭhāḥ—expert in following the regulative principles of Vedic scripture; loka-pāvanāḥ—who are engaged in delivering the entire world from a fallen condition; haranti—shall remove; agham—the reactions of sinful life; te—of you (mother Ganges); aṅga-saṅgāt—by bathing in the Ganges water; teṣu—within themselves; āste—there is; hi—indeed; agha-bhit—the Supreme Personality, who can vanquish all sinful activities; hariḥ—the Lord.
Bhagīratha said: Those who are saintly because of devotional service and are therefore in the renounced order, free from material desires, and who are pure devotees, expert in following the regulative principles mentioned in the Vedas, are always glorious and pure in behavior and are able to deliver all fallen souls. When such pure devotees bathe in your water, the sinful reactions accumulated from other people will certainly be counteracted, for such devotees always keep in the core of their hearts the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who can vanquish all sinful reactions.
Mother Ganges is available to everyone for bathing. Therefore, not only will sinful persons bathe in the Ganges water, but in Hardwar and other holy places where the Ganges flows, saintly persons and devotees will also bathe in the waters of the Ganges. Devotees and saintly persons advanced in the renounced order can deliver even the Ganges. Tīrthī-kurvanti tīrthāni svāntaḥ-sthena gadābhṛtā (Bhāg. 1.13.10). Because saintly devotees always keep the Lord within the core of their hearts, they can perfectly cleanse the holy places of all sinful reactions. Therefore, people in general must always respectfully honor saintly persons. It is ordered that as soon as one sees a Vaiṣṇava, or even a sannyāsī, one should immediately offer respects to such a holy man. If one forgets to show respect in this way, one must observe a fast for that day. This is a Vedic injunction. One must be extremely careful to refrain from committing offenses at the lotus feet of a devotee or saintly person.
There are methods of prāyaścitta, or atonement, but they are inadequate to cleanse one of sinful reactions. One can be cleansed of sinful reactions only by devotional service, as stated in regard to the history of Ajāmila:
“Only a rare person who has adopted complete, unalloyed devotional service to Kṛṣṇa can uproot the weeds of sinful actions with no possibility that they will revive. He can do this simply by discharging devotional service, just as the sun can immediately dissipate fog by its rays.” (Bhāg. 6.1.15) If one is under the protection of a devotee and sincerely renders service unto him, by this process of bhakti-yoga one is certainly able to counteract all sinful reactions.
dhārayiṣyati te vegaṁ
rudras tv ātmā śarīriṇām
yasminn otam idaṁ protaṁ
viśvaṁ śāṭīva tantuṣu
dhārayiṣyati—will sustain; te—your; vegam—force of the waves; rudraḥ—Lord Śiva; tu—indeed; ātmā—the Supersoul; śarīriṇām—of all embodied souls; yasmin—in whom; otam—is situated in its longitude; idam—this whole universe; protam—latitude; viśvam—the whole universe; śāṭī—a cloth; iva—as; tantuṣu—in threads.
Like a cloth woven of threads extending for its length and breadth, this entire universe, in all its latitude and longitude, is situated under different potencies of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Lord Śiva is the incarnation of the Lord, and thus he represents the Supersoul in the embodied soul. He can sustain your forceful waves on his head.
The water of the Ganges is supposed to rest on the head of Lord Śiva. Lord Śiva is an incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who sustains the entire universe by different potencies. Lord Śiva is described in the Brahma-saṁhitā (5.45):
“Milk changes into yogurt when mixed with a yogurt culture, but actually yogurt is constitutionally nothing but milk. Similarly, Govinda, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, assumes the form of Lord Śiva for the special purpose of material transactions. I offer my obeisances at Lord Govinda’s lotus feet.” Lord Śiva is the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the same sense that yogurt is also milk although at the same time it is not milk. For the maintenance of the material world there are three incarnations—Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśvara (Lord Śiva). Lord Śiva is Viṣṇu in an incarnation for the mode of ignorance. The material world exists predominantly in the mode of ignorance. Therefore Lord Śiva is compared here to the longitude and latitude of the entire universe, which resembles a cloth woven of threads extending for both its length and breadth.
ity uktvā sa nṛpo devaṁ
tasyeśaś cāśv atuṣyata
iti uktvā—after saying this; saḥ—he; nṛpaḥ—the King (Bhagīratha); devam—unto Lord Śiva; tapasā—by executing austerities; atoṣayat—pleased; śivam—Lord Śiva, the all-auspicious; kālena—by time; alpīyasā—which was not very long; rājan—O King; tasya—upon him (Bhagīratha); īśaḥ—Lord Śiva; ca—indeed; āśu—very soon; atuṣyata—became satisfied.
After saying this, Bhagīratha satisfied Lord Śiva by performing austerities. O King Parīkṣit, Lord Śiva was very quickly satisfied with Bhagīratha.
The words āśv atuṣyata indicate that Lord Śiva was satisfied very soon. Therefore another name for Lord Śiva is Āśutoṣa. Materialistic persons become attached to Lord Śiva because Lord Śiva bestows benedictions upon anyone and everyone very quickly, not caring to know how his devotees prosper or suffer. Although materialistic persons know that material happiness is nothing but another side of suffering, they want it, and to get it very quickly they worship Lord Śiva. We find that materialists are generally devotees of many demigods, especially Lord Śiva and mother Durgā. They do not actually want spiritual happiness, for it is almost unknown to them. But if one is serious about being happy spiritually, he must take shelter of Lord Viṣṇu, as the Lord personally demands:
“Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear.” (Bg. 18.66)
tathā—(let it be) so; iti—thus; rājñā abhihitam—having been addressed by the King (Bhagīratha); sarva-loka-hitaḥ—the Personality of Godhead, who is always auspicious to everyone; śivaḥ—Lord Śiva; dadhāra—sustained; avahitaḥ—with great attention; gaṅgām—the Ganges; pāda-pūta-jalām hareḥ—whose water is transcendentally pure because of emanating from the toes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Viṣṇu.
When King Bhagīratha approached Lord Śiva and requested him to sustain the forceful waves of the Ganges, Lord Śiva accepted the proposal by saying, “Let it be so.” Then, with great attention, he sustained the Ganges on his head, for the water of the Ganges is purifying, having emanated from the toes of Lord Viṣṇu.
bhagīrathaḥ sa rājarṣir
yatra sva-pitṝṇāṁ dehā
bhasmībhūtāḥ sma śerate
bhagīrathaḥ—King Bhagīratha; saḥ—he; rāja-ṛṣiḥ—the great saintly king; ninye—carried or brought; bhuvana-pāvanīm—mother Ganges, who can deliver the whole universe; yatra—in that place where; sva-pitṝṇām—of his forefathers; dehāḥ—the bodies; bhasmībhūtāḥ—having been burnt to ashes; sma śerate—were lying.
The great and saintly king Bhagīratha brought the Ganges, which can deliver all the fallen souls, to that place on earth where the bodies of his forefathers lay burnt to ashes.
deśān punantī nirdagdhān
rathena—on a chariot; vāyu-vegena—driving at the speed of the wind; prayāntam—Mahārāja Bhagīratha, who was going in front; anudhāvatī—running after; deśān—all the countries; punantī—sanctifying; nirdagdhān—who had been burnt to ashes; āsiñcat—sprinkled over; sagara-ātmajān—the sons of Sagara.
Bhagīratha mounted a swift chariot and drove before mother Ganges, who followed him, purifying many countries, until they reached the ashes of Bhagīratha’s forefathers, the sons of Sagara, who were thus sprinkled with water from the Ganges.
sagarātmajā divaṁ jagmuḥ
yat-jala—whose water; sparśa-mātreṇa—simply by touching; brahma-daṇḍa-hatāḥ—those who were condemned for offending brahma, the self; api—although; sagara-ātmajāḥ—the sons of Sagara; divam—to the heavenly planets; jagmuḥ—went; kevalam—only; deha-bhasmabhiḥ—by the remaining ashes of their burnt bodies.
Because the sons of Sagara Mahārāja had offended a great personality, the heat of their bodies had increased, and they were burnt to ashes. But simply by being sprinkled with water from the Ganges, all of them became eligible to go to the heavenly planets. What then is to be said of those who use the water of mother Ganges to worship her?
Mother Ganges is worshiped by the water of the Ganges: a devotee takes a little water from the Ganges and offers it back to the Ganges. When the devotee takes the water, mother Ganges does not lose anything, and when the water is offered back, mother Ganges does not increase, but in this way the worshiper of the Ganges is benefited. Similarly, a devotee of the Lord offers the Lord patraṁ puṣpaṁ phalaṁ toyam—a leaf, flower, fruit or water—in great devotion, but everything, including the leaf, flower, fruit and water, belongs to the Lord, and therefore there is nothing to renounce or to accept. One must simply take advantage of the bhakti process because by following this process one does not lose anything but one gains the favor of the Supreme Person.
svar yātāḥ sagarātmajāḥ
kiṁ punaḥ śraddhayā devīṁ
sevante ye dhṛta-vratāḥ
bhasmībhūta-aṅga—by the body which had been burnt to ashes; saṅgena—by contacting the water of the Ganges; svaḥ yātāḥ—went to the heavenly planets; sagara-ātmajāḥ—the sons of Sagara; kim—what to speak of; punaḥ—again; śraddhayā—with faith and devotion; devīm—unto mother Ganges; sevante—worship; ye—those persons who; dhṛta-vratāḥ—with vows of determination.
Simply by having water from the Ganges come in contact with the ashes of their burnt bodies, the sons of Sagara Mahārāja were elevated to the heavenly planets. Therefore, what is to be said of a devotee who worships mother Ganges faithfully with a determined vow? One can only imagine the benefit that accrues to such a devotee.
na hy etat param āścaryaṁ
svardhunyā yad ihoditam
na—not; hi—indeed; etat—this; param—ultimate; āścaryam—wonderful thing; svardhunyāḥ—of the water of the Ganges; yat—which; iha—herewith; uditam—has been described; ananta—of the Supreme Lord; caraṇa-ambhoja—from the lotus of the feet; prasūtāyāḥ—of that which emanates; bhava-chidaḥ—which can liberate from material bondage.
Because mother Ganges emanates from the lotus toe of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Anantadeva, she is able to liberate one from material bondage. Therefore whatever is described herewith about her is not at all wonderful.
It has actually been seen that anyone who regularly worships mother Ganges simply by bathing in her water keeps very good health and gradually becomes a devotee of the Lord. This is the effect of bathing in the water of the Ganges. Bathing in the Ganges is recommended in all Vedic śāstras, and one who takes to this path will certainly be completely freed from all sinful reactions. The practical example of this is that the sons of Mahārāja Sagara went to the heavenly planets when water from the Ganges merely touched the ashes of their burnt bodies.
sanniveśya mano yasmiñ
chraddhayā munayo ’malāḥ
traiguṇyaṁ dustyajaṁ hitvā
sadyo yātās tad-ātmatām
sanniveśya—giving full attention; manaḥ—the mind; yasmin—unto whom; śraddhayā—with faith and devotion; munayaḥ—great saintly persons; amalāḥ—freed from all contamination of sins; traiguṇyam—the three modes of material nature; dustyajam—very difficult to give up; hitvā—they can nonetheless give up; sadyaḥ—immediately; yātāḥ—achieved; tat-ātmatām—the spiritual quality of the Supreme.
Great sages, completely freed from material lusty desires, devote their minds fully to the service of the Lord. Such persons are liberated from material bondage without difficulty, and they become transcendentally situated, acquiring the spiritual quality of the Lord. This is the glory of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
śruto bhagīrathāj jajñe
tasya nābho ’paro ’bhavat
sindhudvīpas tatas tasmād
ayutāyus tato ’bhavat
yo ’śva-vidyām ayān nalāt
sarvakāmas tu tat-sutam
śrutaḥ—a son named Śruta; bhagīrathāt—from Bhagīratha; jajñe—was born; tasya—of Śruta; nābhaḥ—by the name Nābha; aparaḥ—different from the Nābha previously described; abhavat—was born; sindhudvīpaḥ—by the name Sindhudvīpa; tataḥ—from Nābha; tasmāt—from Sindhudvīpa; ayutāyuḥ—a son named Ayutāyu; tataḥ—thereafter; abhavat—was born; ṛtūparṇaḥ—a son named Ṛtūparṇa; nala-sakhaḥ—who was a friend of Nala; yaḥ—one who; aśva-vidyām—the art of controlling horses; ayāt—achieved; nalāt—from Nala; dattvā—after giving in exchange; akṣa-hṛdayam—the secrets of the art of gambling; ca—and; asmai—unto Nala; sarvakāmaḥ—by the name Sarvakāma; tu—indeed; tat-sutam—his son (the son of Ṛtūparṇa).
Bhagīratha had a son named Śruta, whose son was Nābha. This son was different from the Nābha previously described. Nābha had a son named Sindhudvīpa, from Sindhudvīpa came Ayutāyu, and from Ayutāyu came Ṛtūparṇa, who became a friend of Nalarāja. Ṛtūparṇa taught Nalarāja the art of gambling, and Nalarāja gave Ṛtūparṇa lessons in controlling and maintaining horses. The son of Ṛtūparṇa was Sarvakāma.
Gambling is also an art. Kṣatriyas are allowed to exhibit talent in this art of gambling. By the grace of Kṛṣṇa, the Pāṇḍavas lost everything by gambling and were deprived of their kingdom, wife, family and home because they were not expert in the gambling art. In other words, a devotee may not be expert in materialistic activities. It is therefore advised in the śāstra that materialistic activities are not at all suitable for the living entities, especially the devotees. A devotee should therefore be satisfied to eat whatever is sent as prasāda by the Supreme Lord. A devotee remains pure because he does not take to sinful activities such as gambling, intoxication, meat-eating and illicit sex.
tataḥ sudāsas tat-putro
āhur mitrasahaṁ yaṁ vai
kalmāṣāṅghrim uta kvacit
vasiṣṭha-śāpād rakṣo ’bhūd
tataḥ—from Sarvakāma; sudāsaḥ—Sudāsa was born; tat-putraḥ—the son of Sudāsa; damayantī-patiḥ—the husband of Damayantī; nṛpaḥ—he became king; āhuḥ—it is said; mitrasaham—Mitrasaha; yam vai—also; kalmāṣāṅghrim—by Kalmāṣapāda; uta—known; kvacit—sometimes; vasiṣṭha-śāpāt—being cursed by Vasiṣṭha; rakṣaḥ—a man-eater; abhūt—became; anapatyaḥ—without any son; sva-karmaṇā—by his own sinful act.
Sarvakāma had a son named Sudāsa, whose son, known as Saudāsa, was the husband of Damayantī. Saudāsa is sometimes known as Mitrasaha or Kalmāṣapāda. Because of his own misdeed, Mitrasaha was sonless and was cursed by Vasiṣṭha to become a man-eater [Rākṣasa].
kiṁ nimitto guroḥ śāpaḥ
etad veditum icchāmaḥ
kathyatāṁ na raho yadi
śrī-rājā uvāca—King Parīkṣit said; kim nimittaḥ—for what reason; guroḥ—of the spiritual master; śāpaḥ—curse; saudāsasya—of Saudāsa; mahā-ātmanaḥ—of the great soul; etat—this; veditum—to know; icchāmaḥ—I wish; kathyatām—please tell me; na—not; rahaḥ—confidential; yadi—if.
King Parīkṣit said: O Śukadeva Gosvāmī, why did Vasiṣṭha, the spiritual master of Saudāsa, curse that great soul? I wish to know of this. If it is not a confidential matter, please describe it to me.
saudāso mṛgayāṁ kiñcic
caran rakṣo jaghāna ha
mumoca bhrātaraṁ so ’tha
sañcintayann aghaṁ rājñaḥ
paktvā ninye narāmiṣam
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; saudāsaḥ—King Saudāsa; mṛgayām—in hunting; kiñcit—sometimes; caran—wandering; rakṣaḥ—a Rākṣasa, or man-eater; jaghāna—killed; ha—in the past; mumoca—released; bhrātaram—the brother of that Rākṣasa; saḥ—that brother; atha—thereafter; gataḥ—went; praticikīrṣayā—for taking revenge; sañcintayan—he thought; agham—to do some harm; rājñaḥ—of the King; sūda-rūpa-dharaḥ—disguised himself as a cook; gṛhe—in the house; gurave—unto the King’s spiritual master; bhoktu-kāmāya—who came there to take dinner; paktvā—after cooking; ninye—gave him; nara-āmiṣam—the flesh of a human being.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: Once Saudāsa went to live in the forest, where he killed a man-eater [Rākṣasa] but forgave and released the man-eater’s brother. That brother, however, decided to take revenge. Thinking to harm the King, he became the cook at the King’s house. One day, the King’s spiritual master, Vasiṣṭha Muni, was invited for dinner, and the Rākṣasa cook served him human flesh.
rājānam aśapat kruddho
rakṣo hy evaṁ bhaviṣyasi
parivekṣyamāṇam—while examining the eatables; bhagavān—the most powerful; vilokya—when he saw; abhakṣyam—unfit for consumption; añjasā—very easily by his mystic power; rājānam—unto the King; aśapat—cursed; kruddhaḥ—being very angry; rakṣaḥ—a man-eater; hi—indeed; evam—in this way; bhaviṣyasi—you shall become.
While examining the food given to him, Vasiṣṭha Muni, by his mystic power, could understand that it was unfit to eat, being the flesh of a human being. He was very angry at this and immediately cursed Saudāsa to become a man-eater.
rakṣaḥ-kṛtaṁ tad viditvā
so ’py apo-’ñjalim ādāya
guruṁ śaptuṁ samudyataḥ
ruśatīḥ pādayor jahau
diśaḥ kham avanīṁ sarvaṁ
paśyañ jīvamayaṁ nṛpaḥ
rakṣaḥ-kṛtam—having been done by the Rākṣasa only; tat—that serving of human flesh; viditvā—after understanding; cakre—(Vasiṣṭha) performed; dvādaśa-vārṣikam—twelve years of penance for atonement; saḥ—that Saudāsa; api—also; apaḥ-añjalim—a palmful of water; ādāya—taking; gurum—his spiritual master, Vasiṣṭha; śaptum—to curse; samudyataḥ—was preparing; vāritaḥ—being forbidden; madayantyā—by his wife, who was also known as Madayantī; apaḥ—water; ruśatīḥ—strong by chanting of a mantra; pādayoḥ jahau—threw on his legs; diśaḥ—all directions; kham—in the sky; avanīm—on the surface of the world; sarvam—everywhere; paśyan—seeing; jīva-mayam—full of living entities; nṛpaḥ—the King.
When Vasiṣṭha understood that the human flesh had been served by the Rākṣasa, not by the King, he undertook twelve years of austerity to cleanse himself for having cursed the faultless King. Meanwhile, King Saudāsa took water and chanted the śapa-mantra, preparing to curse Vasiṣṭha, but his wife, Madayantī, forbade him to do so. Then the King saw that the ten directions, the sky and the surface of the globe were full of living entities everywhere.
rākṣasaṁ bhāvam āpannaḥ
pāde kalmāṣatāṁ gataḥ
rākṣasam—man-eating; bhāvam—propensity; āpannaḥ—having gotten; pāde—on the leg; kalmāṣatām—a black spot; gataḥ—obtained; vyavāya-kāle—at the time of sexual intercourse; dadṛśe—he saw; vana-okaḥ—living in the forest; dam-patī—a husband and wife; dvijau—who were brāhmaṇas.
Saudāsa thus acquired the propensity of a man-eater and received on his leg a black spot, for which he was known as Kalmāṣapāda. Once King Kalmāṣapāda saw a brāhmaṇa couple engaged in sexual intercourse in the forest.
kṣudhārto jagṛhe vipraṁ
na bhavān rākṣasaḥ sākṣād
madayantyāḥ patir vīra
nādharmaṁ kartum arhasi
dehi me ’patya-kāmāyā
akṛtārthaṁ patiṁ dvijam
kṣudhā-ārtaḥ—being aggrieved by hunger; jagṛhe—caught; vipram—the brāhmaṇa; tat-patnī—his wife; āha—said; akṛta-artha-vat—being unsatisfied, poor and hungry; na—not; bhavān—yourself; rākṣasaḥ—a man-eater; sākṣāt—directly or factually; ikṣvākūṇām—among the descendants of Mahārāja Ikṣvāku; mahā-rathaḥ—a great fighter; madayantyāḥ—of Madayantī; patiḥ—the husband; vīra—O hero; na—not; adharmam—irreligious act; kartum—to do; arhasi—you deserve; dehi—please deliver; me—my; apatya-kāmāyāḥ—desiring to get a son; akṛta-artham—whose desire has not been fulfilled; patim—husband; dvijam—who is a brāhmaṇa.
Being influenced by the propensity of a Rākṣasa and being very hungry, King Saudāsa seized the brāhmaṇa. Then the poor woman, the brāhmaṇa’s wife, said to the King: O hero, you are not actually a man-eater; rather, you are among the descendants of Mahārāja Ikṣvāku. Indeed, you are a great fighter, the husband of Madayantī. You should not act irreligiously in this way. I desire to have a son. Please, therefore, return my husband, who has not yet impregnated me.
deho ’yaṁ mānuṣo rājan
tasmād asya vadho vīra
dehaḥ—body; ayam—this; mānuṣaḥ—human; rājan—O King; puruṣasya—of the living being; akhila—universal; artha-daḥ—beneficial; tasmāt—therefore; asya—of the body of my husband; vadhaḥ—the killing; vīra—O hero; sarva-artha-vadhaḥ—killing all beneficial opportunities; ucyate—it is said.
O King, O hero, this human body is meant for universal benefits. If you kill this body untimely, you will kill all the benefits of human life.
Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura has sung:
hari hari viphale janama goṅāinu
manuṣya-janama pāiyā, rādhā-kṛṣṇa nā bhajiyā,
jāniyā śuniyā viṣa khāinu
The body of a human being is extremely valuable because in this body one can understand the instructions of Kṛṣṇa and attain the ultimate destination of the living entity. The living entity is within the material world to fulfill the mission of going back home, back to Godhead. In the material world, one hankers for happiness, but because one does not know the ultimate destination, one changes bodies one after another. However, if one gets the opportunity to possess a human form of body, in this body he can fulfill the four principles of dharma, artha, kāma and mokṣa, and if one is properly regulated he makes further progress, after liberation, to engage in the service of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. This is the success of life: to stop the process of repeated birth and death and go back home, back to Godhead (mām eti), to be engaged in the service of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. Therefore, taking a human body is meant for completing one’s progress in life. Throughout human society, killing of a human being is taken very seriously. Hundreds and thousands of animals are killed in slaughterhouses, and no one cares about them, but the killing of even one human being is taken very seriously. Why? Because the human form of body is extremely important in executing the mission of life.
eṣa hi brāhmaṇo vidvāṁs
bhūteṣv antarhitaṁ guṇaiḥ
eṣaḥ—this; hi—indeed; brāhmaṇaḥ—a qualified brāhmaṇa; vidvān—learned in Vedic knowledge; tapaḥ—austerity; śīla—good behavior; guṇa-anvitaḥ—endowed with all good qualities; ārirādhayiṣuḥ—desiring to be engaged in worshiping; brahma—the Supreme Brahman; mahā-puruṣa—the Supreme Person, Kṛṣṇa; saṁjñitam—known as; sarva-bhūta—of all living entities; ātma-bhāvena—as the Supersoul; bhūteṣu—in every living entity; antarhitam—within the core of the heart; guṇaiḥ—by qualities.
Here is a learned, highly qualified brāhmaṇa, engaged in performing austerity and eagerly desiring to worship the Supreme Lord, the Supersoul who lives within the core of the heart in all living entities.
The wife of the brāhmaṇa did not regard her husband as a superficial brāhmaṇa who was called a brāhmaṇa merely because he was born of a brāhmaṇa family. Rather, this brāhmaṇa was actually qualified with the brahminical symptoms. Yasya yal lakṣaṇaṁ proktam (Bhāg. 7.11.35). The symptoms of a brāhmaṇa are stated in the śāstra:
“Peacefulness, self-control, austerity, purity, tolerance, honesty, wisdom, knowledge, and religiousness—these are the qualities by which the brāhmaṇas work.” (Bg. 18.42) Not only must a brāhmaṇa be qualified, but he must also engage in actual brahminical activities. Simply to be qualified is not enough; one must engage in a brāhmaṇa’s duties. The duty of a brāhmaṇa is to know the paraṁ brahma, Kṛṣṇa (paraṁ brahma paraṁ dhāma pavitraṁ paramaṁ bhavān [Bg. 10.12]). Because this brāhmaṇa was actually qualified and was also engaged in brahminical activities (brahma-karma), killing him would be a greatly sinful act, and the brāhmaṇa’s wife requested that he not be killed.
so ’yaṁ brahmarṣi-varyas te
katham arhati dharma-jña
vadhaṁ pitur ivātmajaḥ
saḥ—he, the brāhmaṇa; ayam—this; brahma-ṛṣi-varyaḥ—not only a brāhmaṇa but the best of great sages, or brahmarṣis; te—also from you; rāja-ṛṣi-pravarāt—who are the best of all saintly kings, or rājarṣis; vibho—O master of the state; katham—how; arhati—he deserves; dharma-jña—O you, who are quite aware of religious principles; vadham—killing; pituḥ—from the father; iva—like; ātmajaḥ—the son.
My lord, you are completely aware of the religious principles. As a son never deserves to be killed by his father, here is a brāhmaṇa who should be protected by the king, and never killed. How does he deserve to be killed by a rājarṣi like you?
The word rājarṣi refers to a king who behaves like a ṛṣi, or sage. Such a king is also called naradeva because he is considered a representative of the Supreme Lord. Because his duty is to rule the kingdom to maintain brahminical culture, he never desires to kill a brāhmaṇa. Generally, a brāhmaṇa, woman, child, old man or cow is never regarded as punishable. Thus the wife of the brāhmaṇa requested the King to refrain from this sinful act.
tasya sādhor apāpasya
kathaṁ vadhaṁ yathā babhror
manyate san-mato bhavān
tasya—of him; sādhoḥ—of the great saintly person; apāpasya—of one who has no sinful life; bhrūṇasya—of the embryo; brahma-vādinaḥ—of one who is well versed in Vedic knowledge; katham—how; vadham—the killing; yathā—as; babhroḥ—of a cow; manyate—you are thinking; sat-mataḥ—well recognized by higher circles; bhavān—your good self.
You are well known and worshiped in learned circles. How dare you kill this brāhmaṇa, who is a saintly, sinless person, well versed in Vedic knowledge? Killing him would be like destroying the embryo within the womb or killing a cow.
As stated in the Amara-kośa dictionary, bhrūṇo’rbhake bāla-garbhe: the word bhrūṇa refers either to the cow or to the living entity in embryo. According to Vedic culture, destroying the undeveloped embryo of the soul in the womb is as sinful as killing a cow or a brāhmaṇa. In the embryo, the living entity is present in an undeveloped stage. The modern scientific theory that life is a combination of chemicals is nonsense; scientists cannot manufacture living beings, even like those born from eggs. The idea that scientists can develop a chemical situation resembling that of an egg and bring life from it is nonsensical. Their theory that a chemical combination can have life may be accepted, but these rascals cannot create such a combination. This verse refers to bhrūṇasya vadham—the killing of a bhrūṇa or destruction of the embryo. Here is a challenge from the Vedic literature. The crude, atheistic understanding that the living entity is a combination of matter belongs to the grossest ignorance.
yady ayaṁ kriyate bhakṣyas
tarhi māṁ khāda pūrvataḥ
na jīviṣye vinā yena
kṣaṇaṁ ca mṛtakaṁ yathā
yadi—if; ayam—this brāhmaṇa; kriyate—is accepted; bhakṣyaḥ—as eatable; tarhi—then; mām—me; khāda—eat; pūrvataḥ—before that; na—not; jīviṣye—I shall live; vinā—without; yena—whom (my husband); kṣaṇam ca—even for a moment; mṛtakam—a dead body; yathā—like.
Without my husband, I cannot live for a moment. If you want to eat my husband, it would be better to eat me first, for without my husband I am as good as a dead body.
In the Vedic culture there is a system known as satī or saha-maraṇa, in which a woman dies with her husband. According to this system, if the husband dies, the wife will voluntarily die by falling in the blazing funeral pyre of her husband. Here, in this verse, the feelings inherent in this culture are expressed by the wife of the brāhmaṇa. A woman without a husband is like a dead body. Therefore according to Vedic culture a girl must be married. This is the responsibility of her father. A girl may be given in charity, and a husband may have more than one wife, but a girl must be married. This is Vedic culture. A woman is supposed to be always dependent—in her childhood she is dependent on her father, in youth on her husband, and in old age on her elderly sons. According to Manu-saṁhitā, she is never independent. Independence for a woman means miserable life. In this age, so many girls are unmarried and falsely imagining themselves free, but their life is miserable. Here is an instance in which a woman felt that without her husband she was nothing but a dead body.
vyāghraḥ paśum ivākhādat
evam—in this way; karuṇa-bhāṣiṇyāḥ—while the brāhmaṇa’s wife was speaking very pitiably; vilapantyāḥ—lamenting severely; anātha-vat—exactly like a woman who has no protector; vyāghraḥ—a tiger; paśum—prey animal; iva—like; akhādat—ate up; saudāsaḥ—King Saudāsa; śāpa—by the curse; mohitaḥ—because of being condemned.
Being condemned by the curse of Vasiṣṭha, King Saudāsa devoured the brāhmaṇa, exactly as a tiger eats its prey. Even though the brāhmaṇa’s wife spoke so pitiably, Saudāsa was unmoved by her lamentation.
This is an example of destiny. King Saudāsa was condemned by the curse of Vasiṣṭha, and therefore even though he was well qualified he could not restrain himself from becoming a tigerlike Rākṣasa, for this was his destiny. Tal labhyate duḥkhavad anyataḥ sukham (Bhāg. 1.5.18). As one is put into distress by destiny, destiny can also put one in a happy situation. Destiny is extremely strong, but one can change destiny if one comes to the platform of Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Karmāṇi nirdahati kintu ca bhakti-bhājām (Brahma-saṁhitā 5.54).
brāhmaṇī vīkṣya didhiṣuṁ
śocanty ātmānam urvīśam
aśapat kupitā satī
brāhmaṇī—the wife of the brāhmaṇa; vīkṣya—after seeing; didhiṣum—her husband, who was about to give the seed of a child; puruṣa-adena—by the man-eater (Rākṣasa); bhakṣitam—having been eaten up; śocantī—lamenting very much; ātmānam—for her body or her self; urvīśam—unto the King; aśapat—cursed; kupitā—being angry; satī—the chaste woman.
When the chaste wife of the brāhmaṇa saw that her husband, who was about to discharge semen, had been eaten by the man-eater, she was overwhelmed with grief and lamentation. Thus she angrily cursed the King.
yasmān me bhakṣitaḥ pāpa
kāmārtāyāḥ patis tvayā
tavāpi mṛtyur ādhānād
yasmāt—because; me—my; bhakṣitaḥ—was eaten up; pāpa—O sinful one; kāma-ārtāyāḥ—of a woman very much bereaved because of sexual desire; patiḥ—husband; tvayā—by you; tava—your; api—also; mṛtyuḥ—death; ādhānāt—when you try to discharge semen in your wife; akṛta-prajña—O foolish rascal; darśitaḥ—this curse is placed upon you.
O foolish, sinful person, because you have eaten my husband when I was sexually inclined and desiring to have the seed of a child, I shall also see you die when you attempt to discharge semen in your wife. In other words, whenever you attempt to sexually unite with your wife, you shall die.
evaṁ mitrasahaṁ śaptvā
tad-asthīni samiddhe ’gnau
prāsya bhartur gatiṁ gatā
evam—in this way; mitrasaham—King Saudāsa; śaptvā—after cursing; pati-loka-parāyaṇā—because of being inclined to go with her husband; tat-asthīni—her husband’s bones; samiddhe agnau—in the burning fire; prāsya—after placing; bhartuḥ—of her husband; gatim—to the destination; gatā—she also went.
Thus the wife of the brāhmaṇa cursed King Saudāsa, known as Mitrasaha. Then, being inclined to go with her husband, she set fire to her husband’s bones, fell into the fire herself, and went with him to the same destination.
mahiṣyā sa nivāritaḥ
viśāpaḥ—being released from the period of the curse; dvādaśa-abda-ante—after twelve years; maithunāya—for sexual intercourse with his wife; samudyataḥ—when Saudāsa was prepared to do it; vijñāpya—reminding him about; brāhmaṇī-śāpam—the curse given by the brāhmaṇī; mahiṣyā—by the Queen; saḥ—he (the King); nivāritaḥ—checked.
After twelve years, when King Saudāsa was released from the curse by Vasiṣṭha, he wanted to have sexual intercourse with his wife. But the Queen reminded him about the curse by the brāhmaṇī, and thus he was checked from sexual intercourse.
ata ūrdhvaṁ sa tatyāja
madayantyāṁ prajām adhāt
ataḥ—in this way; ūrdhvam—in the near future; saḥ—he, the King; tatyāja—gave up; strī-sukham—the happiness of sexual intercourse; karmaṇā—by destiny; aprajāḥ—remained sonless; vasiṣṭhaḥ—the great saint Vasiṣṭha; tat-anujñātaḥ—being permitted by the King to beget a son; madayantyām—in the womb of Madayantī, King Saudāsa’s wife; prajām—a child; adhāt—begot.
After being thus instructed, the King gave up the future happiness of sexual intercourse and by destiny remained sonless. Later, with the King’s permission, the great saint Vasiṣṭha begot a child in the womb of Madayantī.
sā vai sapta samā garbham
abibhran na vyajāyata
jaghne ’śmanodaraṁ tasyāḥ
so ’śmakas tena kathyate
sā—she, Queen Madayantī; vai—indeed; sapta—seven; samāḥ—years; garbham—the child within the womb; abibhrat—continued to bear; na—not; vyajāyata—gave delivery; jaghne—struck; aśmanā—by a stone; udaram—abdomen; tasyāḥ—of her; saḥ—a son; aśmakaḥ—by the name Aśmaka; tena—because of this; kathyate—was called.
Madayantī bore the child within the womb for seven years and did not give birth. Therefore Vasiṣṭha struck her abdomen with a stone, and then the child was born. Consequently, the child was known as Aśmaka [“the child born of a stone”].
aśmakād bāliko jajñe
yaḥ strībhiḥ parirakṣitaḥ
nārī-kavaca ity ukto
niḥkṣatre mūlako ’bhavat
aśmakāt—from that son named Aśmaka; bālikaḥ—a son named Bālika; jajñe—was born; yaḥ—this child Bālika; strībhiḥ—by women; parirakṣitaḥ—was protected; nārī-kavacaḥ—having a shield of women; iti uktaḥ—was known as such; niḥkṣatre—when there were no kṣatriyas (all kṣatriyas having been vanquished by Paraśurāma); mūlakaḥ—Mūlaka, the progenitor of the kṣatriyas; abhavat—he became.
From Aśmaka, Bālika took birth. Because Bālika was surrounded by women and was therefore saved from the anger of Paraśurāma, he was known as Nārīkavaca [“one who is protected by women”]. When Paraśurāma vanquished all the kṣatriyas, Bālika became the progenitor of more kṣatriyas. Therefore he was known as Mūlaka, the root of the kṣatriya dynasty.
tato daśarathas tasmāt
putra aiḍaviḍis tataḥ
rājā viśvasaho yasya
khaṭvāṅgaś cakravarty abhūt
tataḥ—from Bālika; daśarathaḥ—a son named Daśaratha; tasmāt—from him; putraḥ—a son; aiḍaviḍiḥ—named Aiḍaviḍi; tataḥ—from him; rājā viśvasahaḥ—the famous King Viśvasaha was born; yasya—of whom; khaṭvāṅgaḥ—the king named Khaṭvāṅga; cakravartī—emperor; abhūt—became.
From Bālika came a son named Daśaratha, from Daśaratha came a son named Aiḍaviḍi, and from Aiḍaviḍi came King Viśvasaha. The son of King Viśvasaha was the famous Mahārāja Khaṭvāṅga.
yo devair arthito daityān
avadhīd yudhi durjayaḥ
muhūrtam āyur jñātvaitya
sva-puraṁ sandadhe manaḥ
yaḥ—King Khaṭvāṅga who; devaiḥ—by the demigods; arthitaḥ—being requested; daityān—the demons; avadhīt—killed; yudhi—in a fight; durjayaḥ—very fierce; muhūrtam—for a second only; āyuḥ—duration of life; jñātvā—knowing; etya—approached; sva-puram—his own abode; sandadhe—fixed; manaḥ—the mind.
King Khaṭvāṅga was unconquerable in any fight. Requested by the demigods to join them in fighting the demons, he won victory, and the demigods, being very pleased, wanted to give him a benediction. The King inquired from them about the duration of his life and was informed that he had only one moment more. Thus he immediately left his palace and went to his own residence, where he engaged his mind fully on the lotus feet of the Lord.
The example of Mahārāja Khaṭvāṅga in performing devotional service is brilliant. Mahārāja Khaṭvāṅga engaged himself for only a moment in devotional service to the Lord, but he was promoted back to Godhead. Therefore, if one practices devotional service from the beginning of his life, surely he will return home, back to Godhead, without a doubt (asaṁśaya).
In Bhagavad-gītā the word asaṁśaya is used to describe the devotee. There the Lord Himself gives this instruction:
“Now hear, O son of Pṛthā [Arjuna], how by practicing yoga in full consciousness of Me, with mind attached to Me, you can know Me in full, free from doubt.” (Bg. 7.1)
The Lord also instructs:
“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.” (Bg. 4.9)
Therefore, from the very beginning of one’s life one should practice bhakti-yoga, which increases one’s attachment for Kṛṣṇa. If one daily sees the Deity in the temple, makes offerings by worshiping the Deity, chants the holy name of the Personality of Godhead, and preaches about the glorious activities of the Lord as much as possible, he thus becomes attached to Kṛṣṇa. This attachment is called āsakti. When one’s mind is attached to Kṛṣṇa (mayy āsakta-manāḥ), one can fulfill the mission of life in one human birth. If one misses this opportunity, one does not know where he is going, how long he will remain in the cycle of birth and death, and when he will again achieve the human form of life and the chance to return home, back to Godhead. The most intelligent person, therefore, uses every moment of his life to render loving service to the Lord.
na me brahma-kulāt prāṇāḥ
kula-daivān na cātmajāḥ
na śriyo na mahī rājyaṁ
na dārāś cātivallabhāḥ
na—not; me—my; brahma-kulāt—than the groups of brāhmaṇas; prāṇāḥ—life; kula-daivāt—than the personalities worshipable for my family; na—not; ca—also; ātmajāḥ—sons and daughters; na—nor; śriyaḥ—opulence; na—nor; mahī—the earth; rājyam—kingdom; na—nor; dārāḥ—wife; ca—also; ati-vallabhāḥ—extremely dear.
Mahārāja Khaṭvāṅga thought: Not even my life is dearer to me than the brahminical culture and the brāhmaṇas, who are worshiped by my family. What then is to be said of my kingdom, land, wife, children and opulence? Nothing is dearer to me than the brāhmaṇas.
Mahārāja Khaṭvāṅga, being in favor of the brahminical culture, wanted to utilize one moment’s time by fully surrendering unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Lord is worshiped with this prayer:
“I offer my respectful obeisances to the Supreme Absolute Truth, Kṛṣṇa, who is the well-wisher of the cows and the brāhmaṇas as well as the living entities in general. I offer my repeated obeisances to Govinda, who is the pleasure reservoir for all the senses.” A devotee of Kṛṣṇa is very much attached to brahminical culture. Indeed, an expert personality who knows who Kṛṣṇa is and what He wants is a real brāhmaṇa. Brahma jānātīti brāhmaṇaḥ. Kṛṣṇa is the Parabrahman, and therefore all Kṛṣṇa conscious persons, or devotees of Kṛṣṇa, are exalted brāhmaṇas. Khaṭvāṅga Mahārāja regarded the devotees of Kṛṣṇa as the real brāhmaṇas and the real light for human society. One who desires to advance in Kṛṣṇa consciousness and spiritual understanding must give the utmost importance to brahminical culture and must understand Kṛṣṇa (kṛṣṇāya govindāya). Then his life will be successful.
na bālye ’pi matir mahyam
adharme ramate kvacit
anyat kiñcana vastv aham
na—not; bālye—in childhood; api—indeed; matiḥ—attraction; mahyam—of me; adharme—in irreligious principles; ramate—enjoys; kvacit—at any time; na—nor; apaśyam—I saw; uttamaślokāt—than the Personality of Godhead; anyat—anything else; kiñcana—anything; vastu—substance; aham—I.
I was never attracted, even in my childhood, by insignificant things or irreligious principles. I did not find anything more substantial than the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Mahārāja Khaṭvāṅga provides a typical example of a Kṛṣṇa conscious person. A Kṛṣṇa conscious person does not see anything to be important but the Supreme Personality of Godhead, nor does he accept anything within this material world as being unconnected to the Supreme Lord. As stated in Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya 8.274):
“The mahā-bhāgavata, the advanced devotee, certainly sees everything mobile and immobile, but he does not exactly see their forms. Rather, everywhere he immediately sees manifest the form of the Supreme Lord.” Although a devotee is within the material world, he has no connection with it. Nirbandhaḥ kṛṣṇa-sambandhe. He accepts this material world in relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. A devotee may be engaged in earning money, but he uses that money for propagating the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement by constructing large temples and establishing worship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Khaṭvāṅga Mahārāja, therefore, was not a materialist. A materialist is always attached to wife, children, home, property and many other things for sense gratification, but, as stated above, Khaṭvāṅga Mahārāja was not attached to such things, nor could he think of anything existing without the purpose of the Supreme Lord. Īśāvāsyam idaṁ sarvam: everything is related to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Of course, this consciousness is not for the ordinary person, but if one takes to the path of devotional service, as prescribed in The Nectar of Devotion, he can be trained in this consciousness and attain perfect understanding. For a Kṛṣṇa conscious person, nothing is palatable without a relationship with Kṛṣṇa.
devaiḥ kāma-varo datto
na vṛṇe tam ahaṁ kāmaṁ
devaiḥ—by the demigods; kāma-varaḥ—the benediction to have whatever he wanted; dattaḥ—was given; mahyam—unto me; tri-bhuvana-īśvaraiḥ—by the demigods, the protectors of the three worlds (who can do whatever they like within this material world); na vṛṇe—did not accept; tam—that; aham—I; kāmam—everything desirable within this material world; bhūtabhāvana-bhāvanaḥ—being fully absorbed in the Supreme Personality of Godhead (and therefore not interested in anything material).
The demigods, the directors of the three worlds, wanted to give me whatever benediction I desired. I did not want their benedictions, however, because I am interested in the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who created everything in this material world. I am more interested in the Supreme Personality of Godhead than in all material benedictions.
A devotee is always transcendentally situated. paraṁ dṛṣṭvā nivartate: one who has seen the Supreme Personality of Godhead is no longer interested in material sense enjoyment. Even such an exalted devotee as Dhruva Mahārāja went to the forest for the sake of material benefit, but when he actually saw the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he refused to accept any material benediction. He said, svāmin kṛtārtho ’smi varaṁ na yāce: “My dear Lord, I am fully satisfied with whatever You have given me or not given me. I have nothing to ask from You, for I am fully satisfied to be engaged in Your service.” This is the mentality of a pure devotee, who does not want anything, material or spiritual, from the Personality of Godhead. Our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is therefore called kṛṣṇa-bhāvanāmṛta-saṅgha, the association of persons who are simply satisfied in thoughts of Kṛṣṇa. Being absorbed in thoughts of Kṛṣṇa is neither expensive nor troublesome. Kṛṣṇa says, man-manā bhava mad-bhakto mad-yājī māṁ namaskuru: “Engage your mind always in thinking of Me, offer obeisances and worship Me.” (Bg. 9.34) Anyone can always think of Kṛṣṇa, without difficulties or obstacles. This is called kṛṣṇa-bhāvanāmṛta. One who is absorbed in kṛṣṇa-bhāvanāmṛta has no material benefits to ask from Kṛṣṇa. Instead, such a person prays to the Lord for the benediction of being able to spread His glories all over the world. Mama janmani janmanīśvare bhavatād bhaktir ahaitukī tvayi. A Kṛṣṇa conscious person does not even want to stop his cycle of birth and death. He simply prays, “I may take birth as You like, but my only prayer is that I may be engaged in Your service.”
devās te sva-hṛdi sthitam
na vindanti priyaṁ śaśvad
ātmānaṁ kim utāpare
ye—which personalities; vikṣipta-indriya-dhiyaḥ—whose senses, mind and intelligence are always agitated because of material conditions; devāḥ—like the demigods; te—such persons; sva-hṛdi—in the core of the heart; sthitam—situated; na—not; vindanti—know; priyam—the dearmost Personality of Godhead; śaśvat—constantly, eternally; ātmānam—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; kim uta—what to speak of; apare—others (like human beings).
Even though the demigods have the advantages of being situated in the higher planetary system, their minds, senses and intelligence are agitated by material conditions. Therefore, even such elevated persons fail to realize the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is eternally situated in the core of the heart. What then is to be said of others, such as human beings, who have fewer advantages?
It is a fact that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is always situated in everyone’s heart (īśvaraḥ sarva-bhūtānāṁ hṛd-deśe ’rjuna tiṣṭhati [Bg. 18.61]). But because of our material anxieties, which are inevitable in this material world, we cannot understand the Supreme Lord, although He is situated so near to us. For those always agitated by material conditions, the yogic process is recommended so that one may concentrate his mind upon the Supreme Personality of Godhead within the heart. Dhyānāvasthita-tad-gatena manasā paśyanti yaṁ yoginaḥ [SB 12.13.1]. Because in material conditions the mind and senses are always agitated, by the yogic procedures like dhāraṇā, āsana and dhyāna one must quiet the mind and concentrate it upon the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In other words, the yogic process is a material attempt to realize the Lord, whereas bhakti, devotional service, is the spiritual process by which to realize Him. Mahārāja Khaṭvāṅga accepted the spiritual path, and therefore he was no longer interested in anything material. Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad-gītā (18.55), bhaktyā mām abhijānāti: “Only by devotional service can I be understood.” One can understand Kṛṣṇa, the Parabrahman, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, only through devotional service. The Lord never says that one can understand Him by performing mystic yoga or by philosophically speculating. Bhakti is above all such material attempts. Anyābhilāṣitā-śūnyaṁ jñāna-karmādy-anāvṛtam [Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.1.11]. Bhakti is uncontaminated, being unalloyed even by jñāna or pious activities.
rūḍhaṁ prakṛtyātmani viśva-kartur
bhāvena hitvā tam ahaṁ prapadye
atha—therefore; īśa-māyā—by the external potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; raciteṣu—in things manufactured; saṅgam—attachment; guṇeṣu—in the modes of material nature; gandharva-pura-upameṣu—which are compared to the illusion of a gandharva-pura, a town or houses seen in the forest or on a hill; rūḍham—very powerful; prakṛtyā—by material nature; ātmani—unto the Supersoul; viśva-kartuḥ—of the creator of the whole universe; bhāvena—by devotional service; hitvā—giving up; tam—unto Him (the Lord); aham—I; prapadye—surrender.
Therefore I should now give up my attachment for things created by the external energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. I should engage in thought of the Lord and should thus surrender unto Him. This material creation, having been created by the external energy of the Lord, is like an imaginary town visualized on a hill or in a forest. Every conditioned soul has a natural attraction and attachment for material things, but one must simply give up this attachment and surrender unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
When passing through a mountainous region in an airplane, one may sometimes see a city in the sky with towers and palaces, or one may see similar things in a big forest. This is called a gandharva-pura, a phantasmagoria. This entire world resembles such a phantasmagoria, and every materially situated person has attachment for it. But Khaṭvāṅga Mahārāja, because of his advanced Kṛṣṇa consciousness, was not interested in such things. Even though a devotee may engage in apparently materialistic activities, he knows his position very well. Nirbandhaḥ kṛṣṇa-sambandhe yuktaṁ vairāgyam ucyate. If one engages all material things in relation with the loving service of the Lord, one is situated in yukta-vairāgya, proper renunciation. In this material world, nothing should be accepted for one’s sense gratification: everything should be accepted for the service of the Lord. This is the mentality of the spiritual world. Mahārāja Khaṭvāṅga advises that one give up material attachments and surrender unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus one achieves success in life. This is pure bhakti-yoga, which involves vairāgya-vidyā—renunciation and knowledge.
“Let me surrender unto the Personality of Godhead who has appeared now as Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. He is the ocean of all mercy and has come down to teach us material detachment, learning and devotional service to Himself.” (Caitanya-candrodaya-nāṭaka 6.74) Śrī Kṛṣṇa Caitanya Mahāprabhu inaugurated this movement of vairāgya-vidyā, by which one detaches himself from material existence and engages in loving devotional service. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement of devotional service is the only process by which to counteract our false prestige in this material world.
iti vyavasito buddhyā
tataḥ svaṁ bhāvam āsthitaḥ
iti—thus; vyavasitaḥ—having firmly decided; buddhyā—by proper intelligence; nārāyaṇa-gṛhītayā—completely controlled by the mercy of Nārāyaṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead; hitvā—giving up; anya-bhāvam—consciousness other than Kṛṣṇa consciousness; ajñānam—which is nothing but constant ignorance and darkness; tataḥ—thereafter; svam—his original position as an eternal servant of Kṛṣṇa; bhāvam—devotional service; āsthitaḥ—situated.
Thus Mahārāja Khaṭvāṅga, by his advanced intelligence in rendering service to the Lord, gave up false identification with the body full of ignorance. In his original position of eternal servitorship, he engaged himself in rendering service to the Lord.
When one actually becomes purely Kṛṣṇa conscious, no one has any right to rule over him. When situated in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, one is no longer in the darkness of ignorance, and when freed from all such darkness, one is situated in his original position. Jīvera ‘svarūpa’ haya—kṛṣṇera ‘nitya-dāsa.’ [Cc. Madhya 20.108]. The living entity is eternally the servant of the Lord, and thus when he engages himself in the service of the Lord in all respects, he enjoys the perfection of life.
yat tad brahma paraṁ sūkṣmam
yaṁ gṛṇanti hi sātvatāḥ
yat—that which; tat—such; brahma param—Parabrahman, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa; sūkṣmam—spiritual, beyond all material conceptions; aśūnyam—not impersonal or void; śūnya-kalpitam—imagined to be void by less intelligent men; bhagavān—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; vāsudeva—Kṛṣṇa; iti—thus; yam—whom; gṛṇanti—sing about; hi—indeed; sātvatāḥ—pure devotees.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vāsudeva, Kṛṣṇa, is extremely difficult to understand for unintelligent men who accept Him as impersonal or void, which He is not. The Lord is therefore understood and sung about by pure devotees.
The Absolute Truth is realized in three phases—as Brahman, Paramātmā and Bhagavān. Bhagavān is the origin of everything. Brahman is a partial representation of Bhagavān, and Vāsudeva, the Supersoul living everywhere and in everyone’s heart, is also an advanced realization of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. But when one comes to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead (vāsudevaḥ samam iti), when one realizes that Vāsudeva is both Paramātmā and the impersonal Brahman, he is then in perfect knowledge. Kṛṣṇa is therefore described by Arjuna as paraṁ brahma paraṁ dhāma pavitraṁ paramaṁ bhavān [Bg. 10.12]. The words paraṁ brahma refer to the shelter of the impersonal Brahman and also of the all-pervading Supersoul. When Kṛṣṇa says tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti [Bg. 4.9], this means that the perfect devotee, after perfect realization, returns home, back to Godhead. Mahārāja Khaṭvāṅga accepted the shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and because of his full surrender he achieved perfection.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the Ninth Canto, Ninth Chapter, of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, entitled “The Dynasty of Aṁśumān.”
Link to this page: https://prabhupadabooks.com/sb/9/9
Previous: SB 9.8: The Sons of Sagara Meet Lord Kapiladeva Next: SB 9.10: The Pastimes of the Supreme Lord, Ramacandra