"The Status Quo"
Questions by Vidura
evam etat purā pṛṣṭo
maitreyo bhagavān kila
kṣattrā vanaṁ praviṣṭena
tyaktvā sva-gṛham ṛddhimat
śrī śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; evam—thus; etat—this; purā—formerly; pṛṣṭaḥ—being asked; maitreyaḥ—the great sage Maitreya; bhagavān—His Grace; kila—certainly; kṣattrā—by Vidura; vanam—forest; praviṣṭena—entering; tyaktvā—renouncing; sva-gṛham—own house; ṛddhimat—prosperous.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: After renouncing his prosperous home and entering the forest, King Vidura, the great devotee, asked this question of His Grace Maitreya Ṛṣi:
yadvā ayaṁ mantra-kṛd vo
yat—the house; vai—what else is there to say; ayam—Śrī Kṛṣṇa; mantra-kṛt—minister; vaḥ—you people; bhagavān—the Personality of Godhead; akhila-īśvaraḥ—the Lord of everything; pauravendra—Duryodhana; gṛham—house; hitvā—giving up; praviveśa—entered; ātmasāt—identify with oneself; kṛtam—so accepted.
What else is there to say about the residential house of the Pāṇḍavas? Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Lord of everything, acted as your minister. He used to enter that house as if it were His own, and He did not take any care of Duryodhana’s house.
According to the Gauḍīya acintya-bhedābheda-tattva philosophy, anything which satisfies the senses of the Supreme Lord, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, is also Śrī Kṛṣṇa. For example, Śrī Vṛndāvana-dhāma is nondifferent from Śrī Kṛṣṇa (tad-dhāma-vṛndāvanam) because at Vṛndāvana the Lord enjoys the transcendental bliss of His internal potency. Similarly, the house of the Pāṇḍavas was also the source of transcendental bliss for the Lord. It is mentioned here that the Lord identified the house with His own Self. Thus the house of the Pāṇḍavas was as good as Vṛndāvana, and Vidura should not have given up that place of transcendental bliss. Therefore the reason for his quitting the house was not exactly family misunderstanding; rather, Vidura took the opportunity to meet Ṛṣi Maitreya and discuss transcendental knowledge. For a saintly person like Vidura, any disturbance due to worldly affairs is insignificant. Such disturbances, however, are sometimes favorable for higher realization, and therefore Vidura took advantage of a family misunderstanding in order to meet Maitreya Ṛṣi.
kutra kṣattur bhagavatā
kadā vā saha-saṁvāda
etad varṇaya naḥ prabho
rājā uvāca—the King said; kutra—wherein; kṣattuḥ—with Vidura; bhāgavata—and with His Grace; maitreyeṇa—with Maitreya; āsa—there was; saṅgamaḥ—meeting; kadā—when; vā—also; saha—with; saṁvādaḥ—discussion; etat—this; varṇaya—describe; naḥ—unto me; prabho—O my lord.
The King asked Śukadeva Gosvāmī: Where and when did the meeting and discussion take place between Saint Vidura and His Grace Maitreya Muni? Kindly oblige, my lord, and describe this to us.
Exactly as Śaunaka Ṛṣi inquired of Sūta Gosvāmī and Sūta Gosvāmī replied, so Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī replied to King Parīkṣit’s inquiries. The King was very anxious to understand the meaningful discussion that took place between the two great souls.
na hy alpārthodayas tasya
tasmin varīyasi praśnaḥ
na—never; hi—certainly; alpa-artha—small (unimportant) purpose; udayaḥ—raised; tasya—his; vidurasya—of Vidura; amala-ātmanaḥ—of the saintly man; tasmin—in that; varīyasi—highly purposeful; praśnaḥ—question; sādhu-vada—things approved by saints and sages; upabṛṁhitaḥ—full with.
Saint Vidura was a great and pure devotee of the Lord, and therefore his questions to His Grace Ṛṣi Maitreya must have been very purposeful, on the highest level, and approved by learned circles.
Questions and answers among different classes of men have different value. Inquiries by mercantile men in a business exchange cannot be expected to be highly purposeful in spiritual values. Questions and answers by different classes of men can be guessed by the caliber of the persons concerned. In Bhagavad-gītā, the discussion was between Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna, the Supreme Person and the supreme devotee respectively. The Lord admitted Arjuna to be His devotee and friend (Bg. 4.3), and therefore any sane man can guess that the discussion was on the topic of the bhakti-yoga system. Actually the whole Bhagavad-gītā is based on the principle of bhakti-yoga. There is a difference between karma and karma-yoga. Karma is regulated action for the enjoyment of the fruit by the performer, but karma-yoga is action performed by the devotee for the satisfaction of the Lord. Karma-yoga is based on bhakti, or pleasing the Lord, whereas karma is based on pleasing the senses of the performer himself. According to Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, one is advised to approach a bona fide spiritual master when one is actually inclined to question from an elevated level of spiritual understanding. A common man who has no interest in spiritual values has no need to approach a spiritual master just as a matter of following fashion.
As a student, Mahārāja Parīkṣit was serious about learning the science of God, and Śukadeva Gosvāmī was a bona fide spiritual master in the transcendental science. Both of them knew that the topics discussed by Vidura and Ṛṣi Maitreya were elevated, and thus Mahārāja Parīkṣit was very interested to learn from the bona fide spiritual master.
sa evam ṛṣi-varyo ‘yaṁ
pṛṣṭo rājñā parīkṣitā
pratyāha taṁ su-bahuvit
prītātmā śrūyatām iti
śrī sūtaḥ uvāca—Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī said; saḥ—he; evam—thus; ṛṣi-varyaḥ—the great ṛṣi; ayam—Śukadeva Gosvāmī; pṛṣṭaḥ—being questioned; rājñā—by the King; parīkṣitā—Mahārāja Parīkṣit; prati-āha—replied; tam—unto the King; su-bahuvit—highly experienced; prīta-ātma—fully satisfied; śrūyatām—please hear me; iti—thus.
Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī said: The great sage Śukadeva Gosvāmī was highly experienced and was pleased with the King. Thus being questioned by the King, he said to him, Please hear the topics attentively.
yadā tu rājā sva-sutān asādhūn
puṣṇan na dharmeṇa vinaṣṭa-dṛṣṭiḥ
bhrātur yaviṣṭhasya sutān vibandhūn
praveśya lākṣā-bhavane dadāha
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; yadā—when; tu—but; rājā—King Dhṛtarāṣṭra; sva-sutān—his own sons; asādhūn—dishonest; puṣṇan—nourished; na—never; dharmeṇa—on the right path; vinaṣṭa-dṛṣṭiḥ—one who has lost his insight; bhrātuḥ—of his brother; yaviṣṭhasya—younger; sutān—sons; vibandhūn—having no guardian (father); praveśya—made to enter; lākṣā—lacquer; bhavane—in the house; dadāha—set on fire.
Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: King Dhṛtarāṣṭra became blind under the influence of impious desires to nourish his dishonest sons, and thus he set fire to the lacquer house to burn his fatherless nephews, the Pāṇḍavas.
Dhṛtarāṣṭra was blind from birth, but his blindness in committing impious activities to support his dishonest sons was a greater blindness than his physical lack of eyesight. The physical lack of sight does not bar one from spiritual progress. But when one is blind spiritually, even though physically fit, that blindness is dangerously detrimental to the progressive path of human life.
yadā sabhāyāṁ kuru-deva-devyāḥ
keśābhimarśaṁ suta-karma garhyam
na vārayāmāsa nṛpaḥ snuṣāyāḥ
svāsrair harantyāḥ kuca-kuṅkumāni
yadā—when; sabhāyām—the assembly; kuru-deva-devyāḥ—of Draupadī, the wife of godly Yudhiṣṭhira; keśa-abhimarśam—insult by grabbing her hair; suta-karma—action taken by his son; garhyam—which was abominable; na—did not; vārayāmāsa—forbidden; nṛpaḥ—the King; snuṣāyāḥ—of his daughter-in-law; svāsraiḥ—by her tears; harantyāḥ—of she who was washing; kuca-kuṅkumāni—red dust on her breast.
The King did not forbid his son Duḥśāsana’s abominable action of grabbing the hair of Draupadī, the wife of the godly King Yudhiṣṭhira, even though her tears washed the red dust on her breast.
dyūte tv adharmeṇa jitasya sādhoḥ
satyāvalambasya vanam gatasya
na yācato ‘dāt samayena dāyaṁ
tamo-juṣāṇo yad ajāta-śatroḥ
dyūte—by means of gambling; tu—but; adharmeṇa—by unfair tricks; jitasya—of the vanquished; sādhoḥ—a saintly person; satya-avalambasya—one who embraced truth as shelter; vanam—forest; gatasya—of the goer; na—never; yācataḥ—when asked for; adāt—delivered; samayena—in due course; dāyaṁ—right share; tamaḥ-juṣāṇaḥ—overwhelmed by illusion; yat—as much as; ajāta-śatroḥ—of one who had no enemy.
Yudhiṣṭhira, who was born without any enemy, was unfairly defeated in gambling. But because he had taken the vow of truthfulness, he went off to the forest. When he came back in due course and begged the return of his rightful share of the kingdom, he was refused by Dhṛtarāṣṭra, who was overwhelmed by illusion.
Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira was the rightful heir to his father’s kingdom. But just to favor his own sons, headed by Duryodhana, Dhṛtarāṣṭra, Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira’s uncle, adopted various unfair means to cheat his nephews of their rightful share of the kingdom. At last the Pāṇḍavas demanded only five villages, one for each of the five brothers, but that was also refused by the usurpers. This incidence led to the War of Kurukṣetra. The Battle of Kurukṣetra, therefore, was induced by the Kurus, and not the Pāṇḍavas.
As kṣatriyas, the proper livelihood of the Pāṇḍavas was only to rule, and not to accept any other occupation. A brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya or vaiśya will not accept employment for his livelihood under any circumstances.
yadā ca pārtha-prahitaḥ sabhāyāṁ
jagad-gurur yāni jagāda kṛṣṇaḥ
na tāni puṁsām amṛtāyanāni
rājoru mene kṣata-puṇya-leśaḥ
yadā—when; ca—also; pārtha-prahitaḥ—being advised by Arjuna; sabhāyām—in the assembly; jagat-guruḥ—of the teacher of the world; yāni—those; jagāda—went; kṛṣṇaḥ—Lord Kṛṣṇa; na—never; tāni—such words; puṁsām—of all men of sense; amṛta-ayanāni—as good as nectar; rājā—the King (Dhṛtarāṣṭra or Duryodhana); uru—very important; mene—did consider; kṣata—dwindling; puṇya-leśaḥ—fragment of pious acts.
Lord Kṛṣṇa was sent by Arjuna into the assembly as the spiritual master of the whole world, and although His words were heard by some [like Bhīṣma, etc.] as pure nectar, it was not so for the others, who were completely bereft of the last farthing of past pious works. The King [Dhṛtarāṣṭra or Duryodhana] did not take the words of Lord Kṛṣṇa very seriously.
Lord Kṛṣṇa, who is the spiritual master of the entire universe, accepted the duty of a messenger, and, deputed by Arjuna, went to the assembly of King Dhṛtarāṣṭra on a peace mission. Kṛṣṇa is everyone’s Lord, yet because He was the transcendental friend of Arjuna, He gladly accepted the role of messenger, exactly like an ordinary friend. That is the beauty of the Lord’s behavior with His pure devotees. He reached the assembly and spoke about peace, and the message was relished by Bhīṣma and other great leaders because it was spoken by the Lord Himself. But due to the exhaustion of the pious results of their past deeds, Duryodhana, or his father, Dhṛtarāṣṭra, did not take the message very seriously. That is the way of persons who have no credit of pious deeds. By past pious deeds, one may become the king of a country, but because the results of the pious acts of Duryodhana and company were dwindling, it became evident from their actions that they were sure to lose the kingdom to the Pāṇḍavas. The message of Godhead is always like nectar to the devotees, but it is just the opposite to the nondevotees. Sugar candy is always sweet to a healthy man, but it tastes very bitter to persons suffering from jaundice.
yadopahūto bhavanaṁ praviṣṭo
mantrāya pṛṣṭaḥ kila pūrvajena
athāha tan mantra-dṛśāṁ varīyān
yan mantriṇo vaidurikaṁ vadanti
yadā—when; upahūtaḥ—was called by; bhavanam—the palace; praviṣṭaḥ—entered; mantrāya—for consultation; pṛṣṭaḥ—asked by; kila—of course; pūrvajena—by the elder brother; atha—thus; aha—said; tat—that; mantra—advice; dṛśam—just suitable; varīyān—excellent; yat—that which; mantriṇaḥ—the ministers of state, or expert politicians; vaidurikam—instructions by Vidura; vadanti—do they say.
When Vidura was invited by his elder brother [Dhṛtarāṣṭra] for consultation, he entered the house and gave instructions which were exactly to the point. His advice is well-known, and instructions by Vidura are approved by expert ministers of state.
Political suggestions by Vidura are known as expert, just as, in modern times, Paṇḍit Cāṇakya is considered the authority in good counsel both in political and moral instructions.
ajāta-śatroḥ pratiyaccha dāyaṁ
titikṣato durviṣahaṁ tavāgaḥ
sahānujo yatra vṛkodarāhiḥ
śvasan ruṣā yat tvam alaṁ bibheṣi
ajāta-śatroḥ—of Yudhiṣṭhira, who has no enemy; pratiyaccha—return; dāyam—legitimate share; titikṣataḥ—of him who is so forebearing; durviṣaham—unbearable; tava—your; āgaḥ—offense; saha—along with; anujaḥ—younger brothers; yatra—wherein; vṛkodara—Bhīma; ahiḥ—revenging snake; śvasan—breathing heavily; ruṣā—in anger; yat—whom; tvam—you; alam—verily; bibheṣi—do fear.
[Vidura said: ] You must now return the legitimate share to Yudhiṣṭhira, who has no enemies and who has been forebearing through untold sufferings due to your offenses. He is waiting with his younger brothers, among whom is the revengeful Bhīma, breathing heavily like a snake. Surely you are afraid of him.
pārthāṁs tu devo bhagavān mukundo
āste sva-puryāṁ yadu-deva-devo
pārthān—the sons of Pṛthā (Kuntī); tu—but; devaḥ—Lord; bhagavān—the Personality of Godhead; mukundaḥ—Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who awards liberation; gṛhītavān—has taken up; sa—with; kṣiti-deva-devaḥ—the brāhmaṇas and the demigods; āste—is present; sva-puryām—along with His family; yadu-deva-devaḥ—worshiped by the royal order of the Yadu dynasty; vinirjita—conquered by; aśeṣa—unlimited; nṛdeva—kings; devaḥ—Lord.
Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Personality of Godhead, has accepted the sons of Pṛthā as His kinsmen, and all the kings of the world are with Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa. He is present in His home with all His family members, the kings and princes of the Yadu dynasty, who have conquered an unlimited number of rulers, and He is their Lord.
Vidura gave Dhṛtarāṣṭra very good counsel regarding political alliance with the sons of Pṛthā, the Pāṇḍavas. The first thing he said was that Lord Kṛṣṇa was intimately related with them as their cousin. Because Lord Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He is worshipable by all brāhmaṇas and demigods, who are the controllers of the universal affairs. Besides that, Lord Kṛṣṇa and His family members, the royal order of the Yadu dynasty, were the conquerers of all kings of the world.
The kṣatriyas used to fight the kings of various dominions and kidnap their beautiful princess-daughters, after conquering their relatives. This system was laudable because the kṣatriyas and the princesses would be married only on the basis of the chivalry of the conquering kṣatriya. All the young princes of the Yadu dynasty married the daughters of other kings in this way, by chivalrous force, and thus they were conquerors of all the kings of the world. Vidura wanted to impress upon his elder brother that fighting with the Pāṇḍavas was fraught with many dangers because they were supported by Lord Kṛṣṇa, who had conquered, even in His childhood, demons like Kaṁsa and Jarāsandha and demigods like Brahmā and Indra. Therefore all universal power was behind the Pāṇḍavas.
sa eṣa doṣaḥ puruṣa-dviḍ āste
gṛhān praviṣṭo yam apatya-matyā
puṣṇāsi kṛṣṇād vimukho gata-śrīs
saḥ—he; eṣaḥ—this; doṣaḥ—offense personified; puruṣa-dviṭ—envious of Lord Kṛṣṇa; āste—exists; gṛhān—household; praviṣṭaḥ—entered; yam—whom; apatya-matyā—thinking to be your son; puṣṇāsi—maintaining; kṛṣṇāt—from Kṛṣṇa; vimukhaḥ—in opposition; gata-śrīḥ—devoid of everything auspicious; tyaja—give up; āśu—as soon as possible; aśaivam—inauspicious; kula—family; kauśalāya—for the sake of.
You are maintaining offense personified, Duryodhana, as your infallible son, but he is envious of Lord Kṛṣṇa. And because you are thus maintaining a nondevotee of Kṛṣṇa, you are devoid of all auspicious qualities. Relieve yourself of this ill fortune as soon as possible and do good to the whole family!
A good son is called apatya, one who does not allow his father to fall down. The son can protect the father’s soul when the father is dead by offering sacrifices to please the Supreme Lord, Viṣṇu. This system is still prevalent in India. After the death of his father, a son goes to offer sacrifices at the lotus feet of Viṣṇu at Gayā and thus delivers the father’s soul if the father is fallen. But if the son is already an enemy of Viṣṇu, how, in such an inimical mood, can he offer sacrifice unto Lord Viṣṇu’s lotus feet? Lord Kṛṣṇa is directly the Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu, and Duryodhana was inimical to Him. He would therefore be unable to protect his father, Dhṛtarāṣṭra, after his death. He himself was to fall down because of his faithlessness towards Viṣṇu. How, then, could he protect his father? Vidura advised Dhṛtarāṣṭra to get rid of such an unworthy son as Duryodhana as soon as possible if he was at all anxious to see to the good of his family.
According to the moral instructions of Cāṇakya Paṇḍit, "What is the use of a son who is neither a learned man nor a devotee of the Lord?" If a son is not a devotee of the Supreme Lord, he is just like blind eyes—a source of trouble. A physician may sometimes advise the extrication of such useless eyes from their sockets so that one can be relieved of the constant trouble. Duryodhana was exactly like blind, troubling eyes; he would be a source of great trouble to the family of Dhṛtarāṣṭra, as foreseen by Vidura. Vidura therefore rightly advised his eldest brother to get rid of this source of trouble. Dhṛtarāṣṭra was wrongly maintaining such personified offense under the mistaken impression that Duryodhana was a good son, able to liberate his father.
ityūcivāṁs tatra suyodhanena
iti—thus; ūcivān—while speaking; tatra—there; suyodhanena—by Duryodhana; pravṛddha—swollen with; kopa—anger; sphurita—flapping; adhareṇa—lips; asatkṛtaḥ—insulted; sat—respectable; spṛhaṇīya-śīlaḥ—desirable qualities; kṣattā—Vidura; sa—with; karṇa—Karṇa; anuja—younger brothers; saubalena—with Śakuni.
While speaking thus, Vidura, whose personal character was esteemed by respectable persons, was insulted by Duryodhana, who was swollen with anger and whose lips were trembling. Duryodhana was in company with Karṇa, his younger brothers and his maternal uncle Śakuni.
It is said that giving good counsel to a foolish person causes the fool to become angry, just as feeding milk to a snake only increases its venomous poison. Saint Vidura was so honorable that his character was looked up to by all respectable persons. But Duryodhana was so foolish that he dared to insult Vidura. This was due to his bad association with Śakuni, his maternal uncle, as well as with his friend Karṇa, who always encouraged Duryodhana in his nefarious acts.
ka enam atropajuhāva jihmaṁ
dāsyāḥ sutaṁ yad-balinaiva puṣṭaḥ
tasmin pratīpaḥ parakṛtya āste
nirvāsyatām āśu purāc chvasānaḥ
kaḥ—who; enam—this; atra—here; upajuhāva—called for; jihmam—crooked; dāsyāḥ—of a kept mistress; sutam—son; yat—whose; balinaiva—by whose subsistence; puṣṭaḥ—grown up; tasmin—unto him; pratīpaḥ—enmity; parakṛtya—enemy’s interest; āste—situated; nirvāsyatām—get him out; āśu—immediately; purāt—from the palace; śvasānaḥ—let him breathe only.
Who asked him to come here, this son of a kept mistress? He is so crooked that he spies in the interest of the enemy against those on whose support he has grown up. Toss him out of the palace immediately and leave him with only his breath.
When getting married, the kṣatriya kings would take on several other youthful girls along with the married princess. These girl attendants of the king were known as dāsīs, or attendant mistresses. By intimate association with the king, the dāsīs would get sons. Such sons were called dāsī-putras. They had no claim to a royal position, but they would get maintenance and other facilities just like princes. Vidura was the son of such a dāsī, and he was thus not counted amongst the kṣatriyas. King Dhṛtarāṣṭra was very affectionate toward his younger dāsī-putra brother, Vidura, and Vidura was a great friend and philosophical advisor to Dhṛtarāṣṭra. Duryodhana knew very well that Vidura was a great soul and well-wisher, but unfortunately he used strong words to hurt his innocent uncle. Duryodhana not only attacked Vidura’s birth, but he also called him an infidel because he seemed to support the cause of Yudhiṣṭhira, whom Duryodhana considered his enemy. He desired that Vidura be immediately put out of the palace and deprived of all his possessions. If possible, he would have liked him caned until he was left with nothing but his breath. He charged that Vidura was a spy of the Pāṇḍavas because he advised King Dhṛtarāṣṭra in their favor. Such is the situation of palace life and the intricacies of diplomacy that even a faultless person like Vidura could be charged with something abominable and punished. Vidura was struck with wonder at such unexpected behavior from his nephew Duryodhana, and before anything actually happened, he decided to leave the palace for good.
svayaṁ dhanur dvāri nidhāya māyāṁ
puro marmasu tāḍito ‘pi
sa ittham aty ulbaṇa-karṇa-bāṇair
gata-vyatho ‘yād uru mānayānaḥ
svayam—he himself; dhanuḥ dvāri—bow on the door; nidhāya—keeping; māyām—the external nature; bhrātuḥ,—brother’s; puraḥ—from the palace; marmasu—in the core of the heart; tāḍitaḥ—being afflicted; api—in spite of; saḥ—he (Vidura); ittham—like this; ati-ulbaṇa—severely; karṇa—ear; bāṇaiḥ—by the arrows; gata-vyathaḥ—without being sorry; ayāt—excited; uru—great; mānayānaḥ—so thinking.
Thus being pierced by arrows through his ears and afflicted to the core of his heart, Vidura placed his bow on the door and quit his brother’s palace. He was not sorry, for he considered the acts of the external energy to be supreme.
A pure devotee of the Lord is never perturbed by an awkward position created by the external energy of the Lord. In Bhagavad-gītā it is stated:
prakṛteḥ kriyamāṇāni guṇaiḥ karmāṇi sarvaśaḥ
ahaṅkāra-vimūḍhātmā kartāham iti manyate
A conditioned soul is absorbed in material existence under the influence of different modes of external energy. Absorbed in the false ego, he thinks that he is doing everything by himself. The external energy of the Lord, the material nature, is fully under the control of the Supreme Lord, and the conditioned soul is fully under the grip of the external energy. Therefore, the conditioned soul is fully under the control of the law of the Lord. But, due to illusion only, he thinks himself independent in his activities. Duryodhana was acting under such influence of the external nature, by which he would be vanquished at the ultimate end. He could not accept the sound advice of Vidura, but on the contrary he insulted that great soul, who was the well-wisher of his whole family. Vidura could understand this because he was a pure devotee of the Lord. In spite of being very strongly insulted by Duryodhana’s words, Vidura could see that Duryodhana, under the influence of māyā, the external energy, was making progress on the path toward his own ruination. He therefore considered the acts of the external energy to be supreme, yet he also saw how the internal energy of the Lord helped him in that particular situation. A devotee is always in a renounced temperament because the worldly attractions can never satisfy him. Vidura was never attracted by the royal palace of his brother. He was always ready to leave the place and devote himself completely to the transcendental loving service of the Lord. Now he got the opportunity by the grace of Duryodhana, and instead of being sorry at the strong words of insult, he thanked him from within because it gave him the chance to live alone in a holy place and fully engage in the devotional service of the Lord. The word gata-vyathaḥ (without being sorry) is significant here because Vidura was relieved from the tribulations which trouble every man entangled in material activities. He therefore thought that there was no need to defend his brother with his bow because his brother was meant for ruination. Thus he left the palace before Duryodhana could act. Māyā, the supreme energy of the Lord, acted here both internally and externally.
sa nirgataḥ kaurava-puṇya-labdho
gajāhvayāt tīrtha-padaḥ padāni
adhiṣṭhito yāni sahasra-mūrtiḥ
saḥ—he (Vidura); nirgataḥ—after having quit; kaurava—the Kuru dynasty; puṇya—piety; labdhaḥ—so achieved; gaja-āhvayāt—from Hastināpura; tīrtha-padaḥ—of the Supreme Lord; padāni—pilgrimages; anvākramat—took shelter; puṇya—piety; cikīrṣaya—desiring so; urvyām—of high grade; adhiṣṭhitaḥ—situated; yāni—all those; sahasra—thousands; mūrtiḥ—forms.
By his piety, Vidura achieved the advantages of the pious Kauravas. After leaving Hastināpura, he took shelter of many places of pilgrimages, which are the Lord’s lotus feet. With a desire to gain a high order of pious life, he traveled to holy places where thousands of transcendental forms of the Lord are situated.
Vidura was undoubtedly a highly elevated and pious soul, otherwise he would not have taken his birth in the Kaurava family. To have high parentage, to possess wealth, to be highly learned and to have great personal beauty are all due to past pious acts. But such pious possessions are not sufficient for obtaining the grace of the Lord and being engaged in His transcendental loving service. Vidura considered himself less pious, and therefore he decided to travel to all the great places of pilgrimage in the world in order to achieve greater piety and advance nearer to the Lord. At that time, Lord Kṛṣṇa was personally present in the world, and Vidura could at once approach Him directly, but he did not do so because he was not sufficiently freed from sin. One cannot be one hundred percent devoted to the Lord unless and until he is completely free from all effects of sin. Vidura was conscious that by the association of the diplomatic Dhṛtarāṣṭra and Duryodhana he had lost his piety and was therefore not fit to associate at once with the Lord. In Bhagavad-gītā this is confirmed in the following verse:
yeṣāṁ tv anta-gataṁ pāpaṁ janānāṁ puṇya-karmaṇām
te dvandva-moha-nirmuktā bhajante māṁ dṛḍha-vratāḥ (Bg.7.28)
Persons who are sinful asuras like Kaṁsa and Jarāsandha cannot think of Lord Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Absolute Truth. Only those who are pure devotees, those who follow the regulative principles of religious life as prescribed in the scriptures, are able to engage themselves in karma-yoga and then jñāna-yoga and thereafter, by pure meditation, can understand pure consciousness. When God consciousness is developed, one can take advantage of the association of pure devotees. Syān mahat-sevayā viprāḥ puṇya-tīrtha: one is able to associate with the Lord even during the existence of this life.
Places of pilgrimages are meant for eradicating the sins of the pilgrims, and they are distributed all over the universe just to give facility to all concerned for attaining pure existence and God realization. One should not be satisfied, however, merely by visiting the places of pilgrimage and performing one’s prescribed duties; he should be eager to meet the great souls who are already there, engaged in the service of the Lord. In each and every place of pilgrimage, the Lord is present in His various transcendental forms.
These forms are called arcā-mūrtis, or forms of the Lord which can be easily appreciated by the common man. The Lord is transcendental to our mundane senses. He cannot be seen with our present eyes, nor can He be heard with our present ears. To the degree that we have entered into the service of the Lord or to the proportion to which our lives are freed from sins, we can perceive the Lord. But even though we are not free from sins, the Lord is kind enough to allow us the facility of seeing Him in His arcā-mūrtis in the temple. The Lord is all powerful, and therefore He is able to accept our service by presentation of His arcā form. No one, therefore, should foolishly think the arcā in the temple to be an idol. Such an arcā-mūrti is not an idol but the Lord Himself, and to the proportion to which one is free from sins, he is able to know the significance of the arcā-mūrti. The guidance of a pure devotee is therefore always required.
In the land of Bhāratavarṣa there are many hundreds and thousands of places of pilgrimage distributed all over the country, and by traditional practice the common man visits such holy places during all seasons of the year. Some of the arcā representations of the Lord situated in different places of pilgrimage are mentioned herewith. The Lord is present at Mathurā (the birthplace of Lord Kṛṣṇa) as Ādi-Keśava; the Lord is present at Purī (Orissa) as Lord Jagannātha (also known as Puruṣottama); He is present at Allahabad (Prayāg) as Bindu-Mādhava; at Mandara Hill he is present as Madhusūdana. In the Ānandāraṇya, He is known as Vāsudeva, Padmanābha and Janārdana; at Viṣṇukāñcī, He is known as Viṣṇu; and at Māyāpura, He is known as Hari. There are millions and billions of such arcā forms of the Lord distributed all over the universe. All these arcā-mūrtis are summarized in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta in the following words:
sarvatra prakāśa tāṅhāra bhakte sukhodite
jagatera adharma nāśi’ dharma sthapite
"The Lord has so distributed Himself all over the universe just to give pleasure to the devotees, to give the common man facility to eradicate his sins, and to establish religious principles in the world."
cacāra tīrthāyataneṣv ananyaḥ
pureṣu—holy places like Ayodhyā, Dvārakā, Mathurā, etc.; puṇya—piety; upavana—the air; adri—hill; kuñjeṣu—in the orchards; apaṅka—without sin; toyeṣu—in the water; sarit—river; saraḥsu—lakes; ananta-liṅgaiḥ—the forms of the unlimited; samalaṅkṛteṣu—being so decorated; cacāra—executed; tīrtha—places of pilgrimage; āyataneṣu—holy land; ananyaḥ—alone or seeing Kṛṣṇa alone.
He began to travel along, thinking only of Kṛṣṇa, through various holy places like Ayodhyā, Dvārakā and Mathurā. He traveled where the air, hill, orchard, river and lake are all pure and sinless and where the forms of the Unlimited decorate the temples. Thus he performed the pilgrim’s progress.
These arcā forms of the Lord may be considered idols by the atheists, but that does not matter for persons like Vidura or His many other servants. The forms of the Lord are mentioned here are ananta-liṅgaiḥ. Such forms of the Lord have unlimited potency, the same as that of the Lord Himself. There is no difference between the potencies of the arcā and those of the personal forms of the Lord. The example of the postbox and post office may be applied here. The little postboxes distributed all over the city have the same potency as the postal system in general. The duty of the post office is to carry letters from one place to another. If one puts letters in postboxes authorized by the general post office, the function of carrying letters is performed without a doubt. Similarly, the arcā-mūrti can also deliver the same unlimited potency of the Lord as when He is personally present. Vidura, therefore, could see nothing but Kṛṣṇa in the different arcā forms, and ultimately he was able to realize Kṛṣṇa alone and nothing else.
gāṁ paryaṭan medhya-vivikta-vṛttiḥ
sadā"pluto ‘dhaḥ śayano ‘vadhūtaḥ
alakṣitaḥ svair avadhūta-veṣo
vratāni cere hari-toṣaṇāni
gām—earth; paryaṭan—traversing; medhya—pure; vivikta-vṛttiḥ—independent occupation for living; sadā—always; āplutaḥ—sanctified; adhaḥ—on the earth; śayanaḥ—lying; avadhūtaḥ—without dressing (of the hair, etc.); alakṣitaḥ—without being seen; svaiḥ—alone; avadhūta-veṣaḥ—dressed like a mendicant; vratāni—vows; cere—performed; hari-toṣaṇāni—that pleases the Lord.
While so traversing the earth, he simply performed duties to please the Supreme Lord Hari. His occupation was pure and independent. He was constantly sanctified by taking his bath in holy places, although he was in the dress of a mendicant and had no hair dressing nor a bed on which to lie. Thus he was always unseen by his various relatives.
The first and foremost duty of a pilgrim is to satisfy the Supreme Lord Hari. While traveling as a pilgrim, one should not be worried about pleasing society. There is no need to depend on social formalities or occupation or dress. One should remain always absorbed in the function of pleasing the Lord. Thus sanctified by thought and action, one is able to realize the Supreme Lord by the process of a pilgrim’s journey.
itthaṁ vrajan bhāratam eva varṣaṁ
kālena yāvad gatavān prabhāsam
tāvac chaśāsa kṣitim eka cakrām
ekātapatrām ajitena pārthaḥ
ittham—like this; vrajan—while traveling; bhāratam—India; eva—only; varṣam—the tract of land; kālena—in due course of time; yāvat—when; gatavān—visited; prabhāsam—Prabhāsa pilgrimage site; tāvat—at that time; śaśāsa—rules; kṣitim—the world; eka-cakrām—by one military force; eka—one; ātapatrām—flag; ajitena—by the mercy of the unconquerable Kṛṣṇa; pārthaḥ—Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira.
Thus, when he was in the land of Bhāratavarṣa traveling to all the places of pilgrimage, he visited Prabhāsaṣetra. At that time Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira was the emperor and held the world under one military strength and one flag.
More than five thousand years ago, while Saint Vidura was traveling the earth as a pilgrim, India was known as Bhāratavarṣa, as it is known even today. The history of the world cannot give any systematic account for more than three thousand years into the past, but before that the whole world was under the flag and military strength of Mahārāja Yudiṣṭhira, who was the emperor of the world. At present there are hundreds and thousands of flags flapping in the United Nations, but during the time of Vidura there was, by the grace of Ajita, Lord Kṛṣṇa, only one flag. The nations of the world are very eager to again have one state under one flag, but for this they must seek the favor of Lord Kṛṣṇa, who alone can help us to become one worldwide nation.
tatrātha śuśrāva suhṛd-vinaṣṭiṁ
vanaṁ yathā veṇu-javahni-saṁśrayam
saṁspardhayā dagdham athānuśocan
sarasvatīṁ pratyag iyāya tūṣṇīm
tatra—there; atha—thereafter; śuśrāva—heard; suhṛt—kinsmen; vinaṣṭim—all dead; vanam—forest; yathā—as much as; veṇu-javahni—fire due to the bamboos; saṁśrayam—friction with one another; saṁspardhayā—by violent passion; dagdham—burnt; atha—thus; anuśocan—thinking; sarasvatīm—the River Sarasvati; pratyak—westward; iyāya—went; tūṣṇīm—silently.
At the place of pilgrimage at Prabhāsa, it came to his knowledge that all his relatives had died due to violent passion, just as an entire forest burns due to fire produced by the friction of bamboos. After this he proceeded west, where the River Sarasvatī flows.
Both the Kauravas and the Yadavas were relatives of Vidura, and Vidura heard of their extinction due to fratricidal war. The comparison of the friction of forest bamboos to that of passionate human societies is appropriate. The whole world is compared to a forest. At any moment there may be a flare up of fire in the forest due to friction. No one goes to the forest to set it on fire, but due only to friction between bamboos, fire takes place and burns an entire forest. Similarly, in the greater forest of worldly transaction, the fire of war takes place because of the violent passion of the conditioned souls illusioned by the external energy. Such a worldly fire can be extinguished only by the water of the mercy cloud of saints, just as a forest fire can be extinguished only by rains falling from a cloud.
tasyāṁ tritasyośanaso manoś ca
pṛthor athāgner asitasya vāyoḥ
tīrthaṁ sudāsasya gavāṁ guhasya
yac chrāddha-devasya sa āsiṣeve
tasyām—on the bank of the River Sarasvatī; tritasya—the pilgrimage site named Trita; uśanasaḥ—the pilgrimage site named Uśanā; manoḥ ca—as also of the pilgrimage site named Manu; pṛthoḥ—that of Pṛthu; atha—thereafter; agneḥ—that of Agni; asitasya—that of Asita; vāyoḥ—that of Vāyu; tīrtham—places of pilgrimages; sudāsasya—of the name Sudāsa; gavām—that of Go; guhasya—that of Guha; yat—thereupon; śrāddha-devasya—of the name Śrāddhadeva; saḥ—Vidura; āsiṣeve—duly visited and performed the rituals.
On the bank of the River Sarasvatī there were eleven places of pilgrimage, namely, (1) Trita, (2) Uśanā, (3) Manu, (4) Pṛthu, (5) Agni, (6) Asita, (7) Vāyu, (8) Sudāsa, (9) Go, (10) Guha and (11) Śrāddhadeva. Vidura visited all of them and duly performed rituals.
anyāni ceha dvija-deva-devaiḥ
kṛtāni nānāyatanāni viṣṇoḥ
yad-darśanāt kṛṣṇam anusmaranti
anyāni—others; ca—also; iha—here; dvija-deva—great sages; devaiḥ—by demigods; kṛtāni—established by; nānā—various; āyatanāni—various forms; viṣṇoḥ—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; prati—each and every; aṅga-part; mukhya—the chief; aṅkita—marked; mandirāṇi—temples; yat—which; darśanāt—by seeing from a distance; kṛṣṇam—the original Personality of Godhead; anusmaranti—constantly remembers.
There were also many other temples of various forms of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Viṣṇu, established by great sages and demigods. These temples were marked with the chief emblems of the Lord, and they reminded one always of the original Personality of Godhead, Lord Kṛṣṇa.
Human society is divided into four social orders of life and four divisions, applying to each and every individual person. This system is called varṇāśrama-dharma and has already been discussed in many places in this great literature. The sages, or persons who completely devoted themselves to the spiritual upliftment of the entire human society, were known as dvija-deva, the best amongst the twice-born. The denizens of superior planets, from the moon planet and upwards, were known as devas. Both the dvija-devas and the devas always establish temples of Lord Viṣṇu in His various forms, such as Govinda, Madhusūdana, Nṛsiṁha, Mādhava, Keśava, Nārāyaṇa, Padmanābha, Pārthasārathi and many others. The Lord expands Himself in innumerable forms, but all of them are nondifferent from one another. Lord Viṣṇu has four hands, and each hand holds a particular item—either a conchshell, wheel, club or lotus flower. Of these four emblems, the cakra, or wheel, is the chief. Lord Kṛṣṇa, being the original Viṣṇu form, has only one emblem, namely the wheel, and therefore He is sometimes called the Cakrī. The Lord’s cakra is the symbol of the power by which the Lord controls the whole manifestation. The tops of Viṣṇu temples are marked with the symbol of the wheel so that people may have the chance to see the symbol from a very long distance and at once remember Lord Kṛṣṇa. The purpose of building very high temples is to give people a chance to see them from a distant place. This system is carried on in India whenever a new temple is constructed, and it appears that it is coming down from a time before recorded history. The foolish propaganda by atheists that temples were only constructed in later days is refuted here because Vidura visited these temples at least 5,000 years ago, and the temples of Viṣṇu were in existence long, long before Vidura visited them. The great sages and demigods never established statues of men or demigods, but they established temples of Viṣṇu for the benefit of common men, to raise them to the platform of God consciousness.
tatas tv ativrajya surāṣṭram ṛddhaṁ
sauvīra-matsyān kurujāṅgalāṁś ca
kālena tāvad yamunām upetya
tatroddhavaṁ bhāgavataṁ dadarśa
tataḥ—from there; tu—but; ativrajya—by passing over; surāṣṭram—the kingdom of Surat; ṛddham—very wealthy; sauvīra—the kingdom of Sauvīra; matsyān—the kingdom of Matsya; kurujāṅgalān—the kingdom of western India up to the Delhi province; ca—also; kālena—in course of time; tāvat—as soon as; yamunām—bank of the River Yamunā; upetya—reaching; tatra—there; uddhavam—Uddhava, one of the prominent Yadus; bhāgavatam—the great devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa; dadarśa—happened to see.
Thereafter he passed through very wealthy provinces like Surat, Sauvīra and Matsya and through western India, known as Kurujāṅgala. At last he reached the bank of the Yamunā, where he happened to meet Uddhava, the great devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa.
The tract of land comprising about one hundred square miles from modern Delhi to the Mathurā district in Uttar Pradesh, including a portion of the Gurgaon district in Punjab (East India), is considered to be the topmost place of pilgrimage in all of India. This land is sacred because Lord Kṛṣṇa traveled through it many times. From the very beginning of His appearance, He was at Mathurā in the house of His maternal uncle Kaṁsa, and He was reared by His foster father Mahārāja Nanda at Vṛndāvana. There are still many devotees of the Lord lingering there in ecstasy in search of Kṛṣṇa and His childhood associates, the gopīs. It is not that such devotees meet Kṛṣṇa eye to eye in that tract of land, but a devotee’s eagerly searching after Kṛṣṇa is as good as his seeing Him personally. How this is so cannot be explained, but it is factually realized by those who are pure devotees of the Lord. Philosophically, one can understand that Lord Kṛṣṇa and His remembrance are on the absolute plane and that the very idea of searching for Him at Vṛndāvana in pure God consciousness gives more pleasure to the devotee than seeing Him eye to eye. Such devotees of the Lord see Him eye to eye at every moment, as is confirmed in the Brahma-saṁhitā:
santaḥ sadaiva hṛdayeṣu vilokayanti
yaṁ śyāmasundaram acintya-guṇa-svarūpaṁ
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi (Bs. 5.38)
"Those who are in ecstasy of love with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Śyāmasundara [Kṛṣṇa], see Him always in their hearts due to love and devotional service rendered to the Lord." Both Vidura and Uddhava were such elevated devotees, and therefore they both came to the bank of the Yamunā and met each other.
sa vāsudevānucaraṁ praśāntaṁ
bṛhaspateḥ prāk tanayaṁ pratītam
āliṅgya gāḍhaṁ praṇayena bhadraṁ
svānām apṛcchad bhagavat-prajānām
saḥ—Vidura; vāsudeva—Lord Kṛṣṇa; anucaram—constant companion; praśāntam—very sober and gentle; bṛhaspateḥ—of Bṛhaspati, the learned spiritual master of the demigods; prāk—formerly; tanayam—son or disciple; pratītam—acknowledged; āliṅgya—embracing; gāḍham—very feelingly; praṇayena—in love; bhadram—auspicious; svānām—his own; apṛcchat—asked; bhagavat—of the Personality of Godhead; prajānām—family.
Then, due to his great love and feeling, Vidura embraced him [Uddhava] who was a constant companion of Lord Kṛṣṇa and formerly a great student of Bṛhaspati. Vidura then asked him for news of the family of Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Personality of Godhead.
Vidura was older than Uddhava, like a father, and therefore when the two met, Uddhava bowed down before Vidura, and Vidura embraced him because Uddhava was younger, like a son. Vidura’s brother Pāṇḍu was Lord Kṛṣṇa’s uncle, and Uddhava was a cousin to Lord Kṛṣṇa. According to social custom, therefore, Vidura was to be respected by Uddhava on the level of his father. Uddhava was a great scholar in logic, and he was known to be a son or disciple of Bṛhaspati, the greatly learned priest and spiritual master of the demigods. Vidura asked Uddhava about the welfare of his relatives, although he already knew that they were no longer in the world. This inquiry appears to be very queer, but Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī states that the news was shocking to Vidura, who therefore inquired again due to great curiosity. Thus his inquiry was psychological and not practical.
kaccit purāṇau puruṣau svanābhya-
āsāta urvyāḥ kuśalaṁ vidhāya
kṛta-kṣaṇau kuśalaṁ śūra-gehe
kaccit—whether; purāṇau—the original; puruṣau—Personalities of Godhead (Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma); svanābhya—Brahmā; pādma-anuvṛttyeha—by the request of the one who is born from the lotus; kila—certainly; avatīrṇau—incarnated; āsāte—are; urvyāḥ—in the world; kuśalam—well-being; vidhāya—for doing so; kṛtakṣaṇau—the elevators of everyone’s prosperity; kuśalam—all well; śūra-gehe—in the house of Śūrasena.
[Please tell me] whether the original Personalities of Godhead, who incarnated Themselves at the request of Brahmā [who is born out of the lotus flower from the Lord] and who have increased the prosperity of the world by elevating everyone, are doing well in the house of Śūrasena.
Lord Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma are not two different Personalities of Godhead. God is one without a second, but He expands Himself in many forms without their being separate from one another. They are all plenary expansions. The immediate expansion of Lord Kṛṣṇa is Baladeva, and Brahmā, born from the lotus flower from Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, is an expansion of Baladeva. This indicates that Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva are not subjected to the regulations of the universe; on the contrary, the whole universe is under Their subjugation. They appeared at the request of Brahmā to liberate the burden of the world, and They relieved the world by many superhuman activities so that everyone became happy and prosperous. Without the grace of the Lord, no one can become happy and prosperous. Because the happiness of the family of devotees of the Lord depends on the happiness of the Lord, Vidura first of all inquired about the well-being of the Lord.
kaccit kurūṇāṁ paramaḥ suhṛn no
bhāmaḥ sa āste sukham aṅga śauriḥ
yo vai svasṝṇāṁ pitṛvad dadāti
varān vadānyo vara tarpaṇena
kaccit—whether; kurūṇām—of the Kurus; paramaḥ—greatest; suhṛt—well-wisher; naḥ—our; bhāmaḥ—brother-in-law; saḥ—he; āste—is; sukham—happy; aṅga—O Uddhava; śauriḥ—Vasudeva; yaḥ—one who; vai—certainly; svasṝṇām—of the sisters; pitṛvat—like father; dadāti—gives; varān—everything desirable; vadānyoḥ—munificent; vara—wife; tarpaṇena—by pleasing.
[Please tell me] whether the best friend of the Kurus, our brother-in-law Vasudeva, is doing well. He is very munificent. He is like a father to his sister, and he is always pleasing to his wives.
Lord Kṛṣṇa’s father, Vasudeva, had sixteen wives, and one of them, named Pauravī or Rohiṇī, the mother of Baladeva, was the sister of Vidura. Vasudeva, therefore, is the husband of Vidura’s sister, and thus they were brothers-in-law. Vasudeva’s sister Kuntī was the wife of Pāṇḍu, Vidura’s elder brother, and in that sense also, Vasudeva was brother-in-law to Vidura. Kuntī was younger than Vasudeva, and it was the duty of the elder brother to treat younger sisters as daughters. Whenever anything was needed by Kuntī, it was munificently delivered by Vasudeva, due to his great love for his younger sister. Vasudeva never dissatisfied his wives, and at the same time he supplied the objects desired by his sister. He had special attention for Kuntī because she became a widow at an early age. While inquiring about Vasudeva’s welfare, Vidura remembered all about him and the family relationship.
kaccid varūthādhipatir yadūnāṁ
pradyumna āste sukham aṅga vīraḥ
yaṁ rukmiṇī bhagavato ‘bhilebhe
ārādhya viprān smaram ādisarge
kaccit—whether; varūtha—military; adhipatiḥ—commander-in-chief; yadūnām—of the Yadus; pradyumnaḥ—the son of Kṛṣṇa named Pradyumna; āste—is; sukham—happy; aṅga—O Vidura; vīraḥ—the great warrior; yam—whom; rukmiṇī—the wife of Kṛṣṇa named Rukmiṇī; bhagavataḥ—from the Personality of Godhead; abhilebhe—got as a prize; ārādhya—pleasing; viprān—brāhmaṇas; smaram—Cupid (Kāmadeva); ādi-sarge—in his previous life.
O Uddhava, please tell me how is Pradyumna, the commander-in-chief of the Yadus, who was Cupid in a former life? Rukmiṇī bore him as her son from Lord Kṛṣṇa, by the grace of brāhmaṇas whom she pleased.
According to Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī, Smara (Cupid, or Kāmadeva) is one of the eternal associates of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Jīva Gosvāmī has explained this very elaborately in his treatise Kṛṣṇa-sandarbha.
kaccit sukhaṁ sātvata-vṛṣṇi-bhoja-
dāśārha-kāṇām adhipaḥ sa āste
yam abhyaṣiñcac chata-patranetro
nṛpāsanāśāṁ parihṛtya dūrāt
kaccit—whether; sukham—all well; sātvata—the Sātvata race; vṛṣṇi—the Vṛṣṇi dynasty; bhoja—the Bhoja dynasty; dāśārha-kāṇām—the Dāśārha race; adhipaḥ—King Ugrasena; saḥ—he; āste—do exist; yam—whom; abhyaṣiñcat—installed; śata-patra-netraḥ—Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa; nṛpāsanāśām—hope of the royal throne; parihṛtya—giving up; dūrāt—at a distant place.
O my friend, [tell me] whether Ugrasena, the King of the Sātvatas, Vṛṣṇis, Bhojas and Dāśārhas, is now doing well. He went far away from His kingdom, leaving aside all hopes of his royal throne, but Lord Kṛṣṇa again reinstalled him.
kaccid dhareḥ saumya sutaḥ sadṛkṣa
āste ‘graṇī rathināṁ sādhu sāmbaḥ
asūta yaṁ jāmbavatī vratāḍhyā
devaṁ guhaṁ yo ‘mbikayā dhṛto ‘gre
kaccit—whether; dhareḥ—of the Personality of Godhead; saumya—O grave one; sutaḥ—son; sadṛkṣaḥ—similar; āste—fare well; agraṇīḥ—forward; rathinām—of the warriors; sādhu—well behaved; sāmbaḥ—Sāmba; asūta—gave birth; yam—whom; jāmbavatī—Jāmbavatī, a queen of Lord Kṛṣṇa’s; vratāḍhyā—enriched by vows; devam—the demigod; guham—of the name Kārttikeya; yaḥ—whom; ambikayā—unto the wife of Śiva; dhṛtaḥ—born; agre—in the previous birth.
O gentle one, does Sāmba fare well? He exactly resembles the son of the Personality of Godhead. In a previous birth he was born as Kārttikeya in the womb of the wife of Lord Śiva, and now he has been born in the womb of Jāmbavatī, the most enriched wife of Kṛṣṇa.
Lord Śiva, one of the three qualitative incarnations of the Personality of Godhead, is the plenary expansion of the Lord. Kārttikeya, born of him, is on the level of Pradyumna, another son of Lord Kṛṣṇa. When Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa descends into the material world, all His plenary portions also appear with Him to exhibit different functions of the Lord. But for the pastimes at Vṛndāvana, all functions are performed by the Lord’s different plenary expansions. Vāsudeva is a plenary expansion of Nārāyaṇa. When the Lord appeared as Vāsudeva before Devakī and Vasudeva, He appeared in His capacity as Nārāyaṇa. Similarly, all the demigods of the heavenly kingdom appeared as associates of the Lord in the forms of Pradyumna, Sāmba, Uddhava, etc. It is learned here that Kāmadeva appeared as Pradyumna, Kārttikeya as Sāmba, and one of the Vasus as Uddhava. All of them served in their different capacities in order to enrich the pastimes of Kṛṣṇa.
kṣemaṁ sa kaccid yuyudhāna āste
yaḥ phālgunāl labdha-dhanū-rahasyaḥ
gatiṁ tadīyāṁ yatibhir durāpām
kṣemam—all good; saḥ—he; kaccit—whether; yuyudhānaḥ—Sātyaki; āste—is there; yaḥ—one who; phālgunāt—from Arjuna; labdha—achieved; dhanū-rahasyaḥ—one who understands the intricacies of military art; lebhe—also achieved; añjasā—summarily; adhokṣaja—transcendence; sevaya—by service; eva—certainly; gatim—destination; tadīyām—transcendental; yatibhiḥ—by great renouncers; durāpām—very difficult to achieve.
O Uddhava, does Yuyudhāna fare well? He learned the intricacies of the military art from Arjuna and attained the transcendental destination which is very difficult to reach even for great renouncers.
The destination of transcendence is to become the personal associate of the Personality of Godhead, who is known as Adhokṣaja, He who is beyond the reach of the senses. The renouncers of the world, the sannyāsīs, give up all worldly connections, namely, family, wife, children, friends, home, wealth—everything—to attain the transcendental bliss of Brahman happiness. But adhokṣaja happiness is beyond Brahman happiness. The empiric philosophers enjoy a transcendental quality of bliss by philosophical speculation on the Supreme Truth, but beyond that pleasure there is the pleasure which is enjoyed by Brahman in His eternal form of the Personality of Godhead. Brahman bliss is enjoyed by living entities after liberation from material bondage. But Param Brahman, the Personality of Godhead, enjoys eternally a bliss of His own potency, which is called the āhlādinī potency. The empiric philosopher who studies Brahman by negation of the external features has not yet learned the quality of the āhlādinī potency of Brahman. Out of many potencies of the Omnipotent, there are three features of His internal potency—namely saṁvit, sandhinī and āhlādinī. And in spite of their strict adherence to the principles of yama, niyama, āsana, dhyāna, dhāranā and prāṇāyāma, the great yogīs and jñānīs are unable to enter into the internal potency of the Lord. This internal potency is, however, easily realized by the devotees of the Lord by dint of devotional service. Yuyudhāna achieved this stage of life, just as he achieved expert knowledge in military science from Arjuna. Thus his life was successful to the fullest extent from both the material and spiritual angles of vision. That is the way of devotional service to the Lord.
kaccid budhaḥ svastyanamīva āste
kaccit—whether; budhaḥ—very learned; svasti—well; anamīvaḥ—faultless; āste—do exist; śvaphalka-putraḥ—the son of Śvaphalka, Akrūra; bhagavat—regarding the Personality of Godhead; prapannaḥ—surrendered; yaḥ—one who; kṛṣṇa—the Lord; pāda-aṅkita—marked with footprints; mārga—path; pāṁsuṣu—dust; aceṣṭata—exhibited; prema-vibhinna—lost in transcendental love; dhairyaḥ—mental equilibrium.
Please tell me whether Akrūra, the son of Śvaphalka, is doing well. He is a faultless soul surrendered unto the Personality of Godhead. He once lost his mental equilibrium due to his ecstasy of transcendental love and fell down on the dust of a road which was marked with the footprints of Lord Kṛṣṇa.
When Akrūra came to Vṛndāvana in search of Kṛṣṇa, he saw the footprints of the Lord on the dust of Nanda-grāma and at once fell on them in ecstasy of transcendental love. This ecstasy is possible for a devotee who is fully absorbed in incessant thoughts of Kṛṣṇa. Such a pure devotee of the Lord is naturally faultless because he is always associated with the supremely pure Personality of Godhead. Constant thought of the Lord is the antiseptic method for keeping oneself free from the infectious contamination of the material qualities. The pure devotee of the Lord is always in company with the Lord by thinking of Him. Yet, in the particular context of time and place, the transcendental emotions take a different turn, and this breaks the mental equilibrium of the devotee. Lord Caitanya was the typical example of the transcendental ecstasy, as we can understand from the life of this incarnation of God.
kaccic chivaṁ devaka-bhoja-putryā
viṣṇu-prajāyā iva deva-mātuḥ
yā vai sva-garbheṇa dadhāra devaṁ
trayī yathā yajña-vitānam artham
kaccit—whether; śivam—everything well; devaka-bhoja-putryāḥ—of the daughter of King Devaka-bhoja; viṣṇu-prajāyāḥ—of she who gave birth to the Personality of Godhead; iva—like that of; deva-mātuḥ—of the mother of the demigods (Āditi); yā—one who; vai—indeed; sva-garbheṇa—by her own womb; dadhāra—conceived; devam—the Supreme Lord; trayī—the Vedas; yathā—as much as; yajña-vitānam—spreading the sacrificial; artham—purpose.
As the Vedas are the reservoir of sacrificial purposes, so the daughter of King Devaka-bhoja conceived the Supreme Personality of Godhead in her womb, as did the mother of the demigods. Is she [Devakī] doing well?
The Vedas are full of transcendental knowledge and spiritual values, and thus Devakī, the mother of Lord Kṛṣṇa, conceived the Lord in her womb as the personified meaning of the Vedas. There is no difference between the Vedas and the Lord. The Vedas aim at the understanding of the Lord, and the Lord is the Vedas personified. Devakī is compared to the meaningful Vedas and the Lord to their purpose personified.
api-svid āste bhagavān sukhaṁ vo
yaḥ sātvatāṁ kāma-dugho ‘niruddhaḥ
yam āmananti sma hi śabda-yoniṁ
api—as also; svit—whether; āste—does He; bhagavān—the Personality of Godhead; sukham—all happiness; vaḥ—of you; yaḥ—one who; sātvatām—of the devotees; kāma-dughaḥ—source of all desires; aniruddhaḥ—the plenary expansion Aniruddha; yam—whom; āmananti—accept; sma—from yore; hi—certainly; śabda-yonim—the cause of the Ṛg-Veda; manaḥ-mayam—creator of the mind; sattva—transcendental; turīya—the fourth expansion; tattvam—principle.
May I inquire whether Aniruddha is doing well? He is the fulfiller of all the desires of the pure devotees and has been considered from yore to be the cause of the Ṛg-veda, the creator of the mind and the fourth plenary expansion of Viṣṇu.
Ādi-caturbuja, the original expansions from Baladeva, are Vāsudeva, Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha. All of Them are Viṣṇu-tattvas or nondifferent Personalities of Godhead. In the incarnation of Śrī Rāma, all these different expansions appeared for particular pastimes. Lord Rāma is the original Vāsudeva, and His brothers were Saṅkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha. Aniruddha is also the cause of Mahā-Viṣṇu, from whose breathing the Ṛg-Veda appeared. All this is nicely explained in the Mārkaṇḍeya Purāṇa. In the incarnation of Lord Kṛṣṇa, Aniruddha appeared as the son of the Lord. Lord Kṛṣṇa in Dvārakā is the Vāsudeva expansion of the original group. The original Lord Kṛṣṇa never leaves Goloka Vṛndāvana. All the plenary expansions are one and the same Viṣṇu-tattva, and there is no difference in their potency.
api-svid anye ca nijātma-daivam
ananya-vṛttyā samanuvratā ye
gadādayaḥ svasti caranti saumya
api—as also; svit—whether; anye—others; ca—and; nija-ātma—of one’s own self; daivam—Śrī Kṛṣṇa; ananya—absolutely; vṛttyā—faith; samanu-vratāḥ—followers; ye—all those; hṛdīka—Hṛdīka; satya-ātmaja—born of Satyabhāmā; cārudeṣṇa—Cārudeṣṇa; gada—Gada; ādayaḥ—and others; sva-sti—all well; caranti—pass time; saumya—O sober one.
O sober one, others, such as Hṛdīka, Cārudeṣṇa, the son of Satyabhāmā, and Gada, who accept Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa as the soul of the self and thus follow His path without deviation—are they well?
api sva-dorbhyāṁ vijayācyutābhyāṁ
dharmeṇa dharmaḥ paripāti setum
duryodhano ‘tapyata yat-sabhāyāṁ
api—an also; sva-dorbhyām—own arms; vijaya—Arjuna; acyutābhyām—along with Śrī Kṛṣṇa; dharmeṇa—on religious principles; dharmaḥ—King Yudhiṣṭhira; paripāti—maintains; setum—the respect of religion; duryo-dhanaḥ—Duryodhana; atapyata—envied; yat—whose; sabhāyām—royal assembly; sāmrājya—imperial; lakṣmyā—opulence; vijaya-anuvṛttyā—by the service of Arjuna.
Also let me inquire whether Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira is now maintaining the kingdom according to religious principles and with respect for the path of religion. Formerly Duryodhana was burning with envy because Yudhiṣṭhira was being protected by the arms of Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna as if they were his own arms.
Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira was the emblem of religion. When he was ruling his kingdom with the help of Lord Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna, the opulence of his kingdom surpassed all imaginations of the opulence of the kingdom of heaven. His actual arms were Lord Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna, and thus he surpassed everyone’s opulence. Duryodhana, being envious of this opulence, planned so many schemes to put Yudhiṣṭhira into difficulty, and at last the Battle of Kurukṣetra was brought about. After the Battle of Kurukṣetra, Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira was again able to rule his legitimate kingdom, and he reinstated the principles of honor and respect for religion. That is the beauty of a kingdom ruled by a pious king like Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira.
kiṁ vā kṛtāgheṣv aghamaty amarṣī
bhīmo ‘hivad dīrghatamaṁ vyamuñcat
yasyāṅghri-pātaṁ raṇa-bhūr na sehe
mārgaṁ gadāyāś carato vicitram
kim—whether; vā—either; kṛta—performed; agheṣu—unto the sinners; aghamati—angry; amarṣī—unconquerable; bhīmaḥ—Bhīma; ahivat—like the cobra; dīrghatamam—long-cherished; vyamuñcat—has released; yasya—whose; aṅghri-pātam—putting on the steps; raṇa-bhūḥ—the field of battle; na—could not; sehe—tolerate; mārgam—the path; gadāyāḥ—by the clubs; carataḥ—playing; vicitram—wonderful.
[Please tell me] whether the unconquerable Bhīma, who is like a cobra, has released his long-cherished anger upon the sinners? The field of battle could not tolerate even the wonderful playing of his club when he stepped on the path.
Vidura knew the strength of Bhīma. Whenever Bhīma was on the battlefield, his steps on the path and the wonderful playing of his club were unbearable for the enemy. Powerful Bhīma did not take steps against the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra for a long time. Vidura’s inquiry was whether he had yet released his anger, which was like that of a suffering cobra. When a cobra releases its venom after long-cherished anger, its victim cannot survive.
kaccid yaśodhā ratha-yūthapānāṁ
māyā-kirāto giriśas tutoṣa
kaccit—whether; yaśodhā—famous; ratha-yūthapānām—amongst the great chariot warriors; gāṇḍīva—Gāṇḍīva; dhanva—bow; uparatāriḥ—one who has vanquished the enemies; āste—doing well; alakṣitaḥ—without being identified; yat—whose; śara-kūṭa-gūḍhaḥ—being covered by arrows; māyā-kirātaḥ—false hunter; giriśaḥ—Lord Śiva; tutoṣa—was satisfied.
[Please tell me] whether Arjuna, whose bow bears the name Gāṇḍīva and who is always famous amongst the chariot warriors for vanquishing his enemies, is doing well. He once satisfied Lord Śiva by covering him with arrows when Śiva came as an unidentified false hunter.
Lord Śiva tested Arjuna’s strength by picking a quarrel with him over a hunted boar. He confronted Arjuna in the false dress of a hunter, and Arjuna covered him with arrows until Lord Śiva was satisfied with Arjuna’s fighting. He offered Arjuna the Pāśupati weapon and blessed him. Here Vidura inquired about the great warrior’s well-being.
yamāv utasvit tanayau pṛthāyāḥ
pārthair vṛtau pakṣmabhir akṣiṇīva
remāta uddāya mṛdhe sva-rikthaṁ
parāt suparṇāv iva vajri-vaktrāt
yamau—twins (Nakula and Sahadeva) utasvit—whether; tanayau—sons; pṛthāyāḥ—of Pṛthā; pārthaiḥ—by the sons of Pṛthā; vṛtau—protected; pakṣmabhiḥ—by shields; akṣiṇī—of the eyes; iva—like; remāte—playing carelessly; uddāya—snatching; mṛdhe—in the fight; sva-riktham—own property; parāt—from the enemy Duryodhana; suparṇau—Garuḍa, the carrier of Lord Viṣṇu; iva—like; vajri-vaktrāt—from the mouth of Indra.
Are the twin brothers who are protected by their brothers doing well? Just as the eye is always protected by the eyelid, they are protected by the sons of Pṛthā, who snatched back their rightful kingdom from the hands of their enemy Duryodhana, just as Garuḍa snatched nectar from the mouth of Indra, the thunderbolt carrier.
Indra, the King of heaven, carries a thunderbolt in his hand and is very strong, yet Garuḍa, the carrier of Lord Viṣṇu, was able to snatch nectar from his mouth. Similarly, Duryodhana was as stong as the King of heaven, and still the sons of Pṛthā, the Pāṇḍavas, were able to snatch away their kingdom from Duryodhana. Both Garuḍa and the Pārthas are pet devotees of the Lord, and thus it was possible for them to face such strong enemies.
Vidura’s inquiry was about the youngest brothers of the Pāṇḍavas, namely Nakula and Sahadeva. These twin brothers were sons of Mādrī, the stepmother of the other Pāṇḍavas. But although they were stepbrothers, because Kuntī took charge of them after the departure of Mādrī with her husband Mahārāja Pāṇḍu, Nakula and Sahadeva were as good as the other three Pāṇḍavas, Yudhiṣṭhira, Bhīma and Arjuna. The five brothers are known in the world as regular brothers. The three elder Pāṇḍavas took care of the younger brothers, just as the eyelid takes care of the eye. Vidura was anxious to know whether, after winning back their own kingdom from the hands of Duryodhana, the younger brothers were still living happily under the care of the elder brothers.
aho pṛthāpi dhriyate ‘rbhakārthe
rājarṣi-varyeṇa vināpi tena
yas tv eka-vīro ‘dhiratho vijigye
dhanur dvitīyaḥ kakubhaś catasraḥ
aho—O my lord; pṛthā—Kuntī; api—also; dhriyate—bears her life; arbhaka-arthe—for the sake of fatherless children; rājarṣi—King Pāṇḍu; varyeṇa—the best; vināpi—without him; tena—him; yaḥ—one who; tu—but; eka—alone; vīraḥ—the warrior; adhirathaḥ—commander; vijigye—could conquer; dhanuḥ—the bow; dvitīyaḥ—the second; kakubhaḥ—directions; catasraḥ—four.
O my lord, is Pṛthā still living? She lived only for the sake of her fatherless children; otherwise it was impossible for her to live without King Pāṇḍu, who was the greatest commander and who alone conquered the four directions simply with the help of a second bow.
A faithful wife cannot live without her lord, the husband, and therefore all widows used to voluntarily embrace the burning fire which consumed the dead husband. This system was very common in India because all the wives were chaste and faithful to their husbands. Later on, with the advent of the age of Kali, the wives gradually began to be less adherent to their husbands, and the voluntary embrace of the fire by the widows became a thing of the past. Very recently the system was abolished, since the voluntary system had become a forcible social custom.
When Mahārāja Pāṇḍu died, both his wives, namely Kuntī and Mādrī, were prepared to embrace the fire, but Mādrī requested Kuntī to live for the sake of the younger children, the five Pāṇḍavas. This was agreed upon by Kuntī at the added request of Vyāsadeva. In spite of her great bereavement, Kuntī decided to live, not to enjoy life in the absence of her husband, but only to give protection to the children. This incidence is referred to here by Vidura because he knew all the facts about his sister in-law, Kuntīdevī. It is understood that Mahārāja Pāṇḍu was a great warrior and that he alone, with the help of bow and arrow, could conquer the world’s four directions. In the absence of such a husband, it was almost impossible for Kuntī to live on even as a widow, but she had to do it for the sake of the five children.
saumyānuśoce tam adhaḥ-patantaṁ
bhrātre paretāya vidudruhe yaḥ
niryāpito yena suhṛt sva-puryā
ahaṁ sva-putrān samanuvratena
saumya—O gentle one; anuśoce—just lamenting; tam—him; adhaḥ-patantam—gliding down; bhrātre—on his brother’s; paretāya—death; vidudruhe—revolted against; yaḥ—one who; niryāpitaḥ—driven out; yena—by whom; suhṛt—well-wisher; sva-puryāḥ—from his own house; aham—myself; sva-putrān—with his own sons; samanuvratena—accepting the same line of action.
O gentle one, I simply lament for him [Dhṛtarāṣṭra] who rebelled against his brother after death. By him I was driven out of my own house, although I am his sincere well-wisher. He did this by accepting the line of action adopted by his own sons.
Vidura did not ask about the welfare of his elder brother because there was no chance of his well-being, only news of his gliding down to hell. Vidura was a sincere well-wisher for Dhṛtarāṣṭra, and he had a thought about him in the corner of his heart. He lamented that Dhṛtarāṣṭra could rebel against the sons of his dead brother Pāṇḍu and that he could drive him (Vidura) out of his own house on the dictation of his crooked sons. In spite of these actions, Vidura never became an enemy of Dhṛtarāṣṭra but continued to be his well-wisher, and at the last stage of Dhṛtarāṣṭra’s life, it was he only who proved to be his real friend. Such is the behavior of a Vaiṣṇava like Vidura: he desires all good, even for his enemies.
so ‘haṁ harer martya-viḍambanena
dṛśo nṛṇāṁ cālayato vidhātuḥ
nānyopalakṣyaḥ padavīṁ prasādāc
carāmi paśyan gata-vismayo ‘tra
saḥ aham—therefore,I; hareḥ—of the Personality of Godhead; martya—in this mortal world; viḍambanena—without being recognized; dṛśaḥ—on sight; nṛṇām—of the people in general; cālayataḥ—bewildering; vidhātuḥ—in order to do it; na—not; anya—other; upalakṣyaḥ—seen by others; padavīm—glories; prasādāt—by the grace of; carāmi—do travel; paśyan—by seeing; gata-vismayaḥ—without doubt; atra—in this matter.
I am not astonished at this, having traveled over the world without being seen by others. The activities of the Personality of Godhead, which are like those of a man in this mortal world, are bewildering to others, but I know of His greatness by His grace, and thus I am happy in all respects.
Although he was the brother of Dhṛtarāṣṭra, Vidura was completely different. By the grace of Lord Kṛṣṇa, he was not as foolish as his brother, and thus his brother’s association could not influence him. Dhṛtarāṣṭra and his materialistic sons wanted to falsely lord it over the world by dint of their own strength. The Lord encouraged them in this, and thus they became more and more bewildered. But Vidura wanted to achieve sincere devotional service of the Lord and therefore became a soul absolutely surrendered to the Absolute Personality of Godhead. He could realize this in the progress of his pilgrim’s journey, and thus he was freed from all doubts. He was not at all sorry to be bereft of his hearth and home because he now had experience that dependence on the mercy of the Lord is a greater freedom than so-called freedom at home. A person should not be in the renounced order of life unless he is firmly convinced of being protected by the Lord. This stage of life is explained in Bhagavad-gītā as abhayaṁ sattva-saṁśuddhiḥ: every living entity is factually completely dependent on the mercy of the Lord, but unless one is in the pure state of existence, he cannot be established in this position. This stage of dependence is called sattva-saṁśuddhiḥ, or purification of one’s existence. The result of such purification is exhibited in fearlessness. A devotee of the Lord, who is called nārāyaṇa-para, is never afraid of anything because he is always aware of the fact that the Lord protects him in all circumstances. With this conviction, Vidura traveled alone, and he was not seen or recognized by any friend or foe. Thus he enjoyed freedom of life without obligation to the many duties of the world.
When Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa was personally present in the mortal world in His eternal blissful form of Śyāmasundara, those who were not pure devotees of the Lord could not recognize Him or know His glories. Avajānānti mām mūḍhā mānuṣīṁ tanum āśritam (Bg. 9.11): He is always bewildering to the nondevotees, but He is always seen by the devotees by dint of their pure devotional service to Him.
nūnaṁ nṛpāṇāṁ tri-madotpathānāṁ
mahīṁ muhuś cālayatāṁ camūbhiḥ
‘py upaikṣatāghaṁ bhagavān kurūṇām
nūnam—of course; nṛpāṇām—of the kings; tri—three; mada-utpathānām—going astray out of false pride; mahīm—earth; muhuḥ—constantly; cālayatām—agitating; camūbhiḥ—by movement of soldiers; vadhāt—from the act of killing; prapanna—surrendered; arti-jihīrṣaya—willing to relieve the distress of the sufferers; īśaḥ—the Lord; api—in spite of; upaikṣata—waited; agham—offenses; bhagavān—the Supreme Lord; kurūṇām—of the Kurus.
Despite His being the Lord and being always willing to relieve the distress of sufferers, He [Kṛṣṇa] refrained from killing the Kurus, although they committed all sorts of sins and although He saw other kings constantly agitating the earth by their strong military movements carried out under the dictation of three kinds of false pride.
As declared in Bhagavad-gītā, the Lord appears in the mortal world to execute His much-needed mission of killing the miscreants and giving protection to the suffering faithful. In spite of that mission, Lord Kṛṣṇa tolerated the insult to Draupadī by the Kurus and the injustices perpetrated against the Pāṇḍavas, as well as insults to Himself. The question may be raised, "Why did He tolerate such injustices and insults in His presence? Why did He not chastise the Kurus immediately?" When Draupadī was insulted in the assembly by the Kurus by their attempt to see her naked in the presence of all, the Lord protected Draupadī by supplying an unlimited length of clothing. But He did not chastise the insulting party immediately. This silence of the Lord did not mean, however, that He excused the offenses of the Kurus. There were many other kings on earth who had become very proud of three kinds of possessions—wealth, education and followers—and they were constantly agitating the earth by movements of military strength. The Lord was just waiting to get them together on the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra and kill them all at one time, just to make a short-cut in His killing mission. Godless kings or heads of state, when puffed up by advancement of material wealth, education and increase of population, always make a show of military strength and give trouble to the innocent. When Lord Kṛṣṇa was personally present, there were many such kings all over the world, and He thus arranged for the Battle of Kurukṣetra. In His manifestation of viśva-rūpa, the Lord expressed His mission of killing as follows: "I have willingly descended on the earth in My capacity of inexorable Time in order to decrease the unwanted population. I shall finish all those who have assembled here except you, the Pāṇḍavas. This killing does not wait for you to take part in it. It is already arranged: all will be killed by Me. If you want to become famous as the hero of the battlefield and thus enjoy the booty of war, then, O Savyasācin, just become the immediate cause of this killing and thus take the credit. I have already killed all the great warriors, Bhīṣma, Droṇa, Jayadratha, Karṇa and many other great generals. Do not worry. Fight the battle and be famous as a great hero." (Bg. 11.32-34)
The Lord always wants to see His devotee as the hero of some episode which He Himself performs. He wanted to see His devotee and friend Arjuna as the hero of the Battle of Kurukṣetra, and thus He waited for all the miscreants of the world to assemble. That, and nothing else, is the explanation of His waiting.
karmāṇy akartur grahaṇāya puṁsām
nanv anyathā ko ‘rhati deha-yogaṁ
paro guṇānām uta karma-tantram
ajasya—of the unborn; janma—appearance; utpatha-nāśanāya—for the sake of annihilating the upstarts; karmāṇi—works; akartuḥ—of one who has nothing to do; grahaṇāya—to take up; puṁsām—of all persons; nanu anyathā—otherwise; kaḥ—who; arhati—may deserve; deha-yogam—contact of the body; paraḥ—transcendental; guṇānām—of the three modes of nature; uta—what to speak of; karma-tantram—the law of action and reaction.
The appearance of the Lord is manifested for the annihilation of the upstarts. His activities are transcendental and are enacted for the understanding of all persons. Otherwise, since the Lord is transcendental to all material modes, what purpose could He serve by coming to earth?
Īśvaraḥ paramaḥ kṛṣṇaḥ sac-cid-ānanda-vigrahaḥ (Brahma-saṁhitā, 5.1): the form of the Lord is eternal, blissful and all-knowing. His so-called birth is therefore an appearance only, like the birth of the sun on the horizon. His birth does not, like that of the living entities, take place under the influence of material nature and the bondage of the reactions of past deeds. His works and activities are independent pastimes and are not subject to the reactions of material nature. In Bhagavad-gītā it is said:
na māṁ karmāṇi limpanti na me karma-phale spṛhā
iti māṁ yo ‘bhijānāti karmabhir na sa badhyate (Bg. 4.14)
The law of karma enacted by the Supreme Lord for the living entities cannot be applicable to Him, nor has the Lord any desire to improve Himself by activities like those of ordinary living beings. Ordinary living beings work for the improvement of their conditional lives. But the Lord is already full of all opulence, all strength, all fame, all beauty, all knowledge and all renunciation. Why should He desire improvement? No one can excel Him in any opulence, and therefore the desire for improvement is absolutely useless for Him. One should always discriminate between the activities of the Lord and those of ordinary living beings. Thus one may come to the right conclusion regarding the Lord’s transcendental position. One who can come to the conclusion of the Lord’s transcendence can become a devotee of the Lord and can at once be free from all reactions of past deeds. It is said, karmāṇi nirdahati kintu ca bhakti-bhājām: The Lord minimizes or nullifies the reactionary influence of the devotees’ past deeds. (B.s. 5:54)
The activities of the Lord are to be accepted and relished by all living entities. His activities are to attract the ordinary man towards the Lord. The Lord always acts in favor of the devotees, and therefore ordinary men who are fruitive actors or seekers of salvation may be attracted to the Lord when He acts as protector of the devotees. The fruitive actors can attain their goals by devotional service, and the Salvationists can also attain their goal in life by devotional service to the Lord. The devotees neither want the fruitive results of their work nor do they want any kind of salvation. They relish the glorious superhuman activities of the Lord, such as His lifting Govardhana Hill, His killing the demon Pūtanā in infancy, etc. His activities are enacted to attract all kinds of men—karmīs, jñānīs and bhaktas. Because He is transcendental to all laws of karma, there is no possibility of His accepting a form of māyā as is forced on the ordinary living entities who are bound by the actions and reactions of their own deeds.
The secondary purpose of His appearance is to annihilate the upstart asuras and to stop the nonsense of atheistic propaganda by less intelligent persons. By the Lord’s causeless mercy, the asuras who are killed personally by the Personality of Godhead get salvation. The meaningful appearance of the Lord is always distinct from ordinary birth. Even the pure devotees have no connection with the material body, and certainly the Lord, who appears as He is, in His sac-cid-ānanda form, is not limited by a material form.
avasthitānām anuśāsane sve
arthāya jātasya yaduṣv ajasya
vārtāṁ sakhe kīrtaya tīrtha-kīrteḥ
tasya—His; prapanna—surrendered; akhila-loka-pānām—all rulers of the entire universe; avasthitānām—situated in; anuśāsane—under the control of; sve—own self; arthāya—for the interest of; jātasya—of the born; yadusu—in the family of the Yadus; ajasya—of the unborn; vārtām—topics; sakhe—O my friend; kīrtaya—please narrate; tīrtha-kīrteḥ—of the Lord, whose glories are chanted in the places of pilgrimage.
O my friend, please, therefore, chant the glories of the Lord, who is meant to be glorified in the places of pilgrimage. He is unborn, and yet He appears by His causeless mercy upon the surrendered rulers of all parts of the universe. Only for their interest did He appear in the family of His unalloyed devotees, the Yadus.
There are innumerable rulers all over the universe in different varieties of planets: the sun-god in the sun planet, the moon-god in the moon planet, Indra in the heavenly planet, Vāyu, Varuṇa, and those in the Brahmaloka planet where Lord Brahmā is living. All are obedient servants of the Lord. Whenever there is any trouble in the administration of the innumerable planets in different universes, the rulers pray for an appearance, and the Lord appears. The Bhāgavatam has already confirmed this in the following verse:
ete cāṁśa-kalāḥ puṁsaḥ kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam
indrāri-vyākulaṁ lokaṁ mṛḍayanti yuge yuge (Bhāg. 1.3.28)
In every millennium, whenever there is any trouble for the obedient rulers, the Lord appears. He also appears for the sake of His pure unalloyed devotees. The surrendered rulers and the pure devotees are always strictly under the control of the Lord, and they are never disobedient to the desires of the Lord. The Lord is therefore always attentive to them.
The purpose of pilgrimages is to remember the Lord constantly, and therefore the Lord is known as tīrtha-kīrti. The purpose of going to a place of pilgrimage is to get the chance to glorify the Lord. Even today, although times have changed, there are still pilgrimage sites in India. For example, in Mathurā and Vṛndāvana, where we had a chance to stay, people are awake from early in the morning at 4 A.M. up until nighttime and are constantly engaged, some way or other, in chanting the holy glories of the Lord. The beauty of such a pilgrimage site is that automatically one remembers the holy glories of the Lord. His name, fame, quality, form, pastimes and entourage are all identical to the Lord, and therefore chanting the glories of the Lord invokes the personal presence of the Lord. Anytime or anywhere pure devotees meet and chant the glories of the Lord, the Lord is present without any doubt. It is said by the Lord Himself that He always stays where His pure devotees chant His glories.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta PURPORTs of the Third Canto, First Chapter, of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, entitled "Questions by Vidura."
Remembrance of Lord Kṛṣṇa
iti bhāgavataḥ pṛṣṭaḥ
kṣattrā vārtāṁ priyāśrayām
prativaktuṁ na cotseha
śrī śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva said; iti—thus; bhāgavataḥ—the great devotee; pṛṣṭaḥ—being asked; kṣattrā—by Vidura; vārtām—message; priya-āśrayām—regarding the dearest; prativaktum—to reply; na—not; ca—also; utsehe—became eager; autkaṇṭhyāt—by excessive anxiety; smārita—remembrance; īśvaraḥ—the Lord.
Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: When the great devotee Uddhava was asked by Vidura to speak on the messages of the dearest [Lord Kṛṣṇa], Uddhava was unable to answer immediately due to excessive anxiety at the remembrance of the Lord.
yaḥ pañca-hāyano mātrā
tan naicchad racayan yasya
yaḥ—one who; pañca—five; hāyanaḥ—years old; mātrā—by his mother; prātarāśāya—for breakfast; yācitaḥ—called for; tat—that; na—not; aicchat—liked; racayan—playing; yasya—whose; saparyām—service; bāla-līlayā—childhood.
He was one who even in his childhood, at the age of five years, was so absorbed in the service of Lord Kṛṣṇa that when he was called by his mother for morning breakfast, he did not wish to have it.
From his very birth, Uddhava was a natural devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa, or a nitya-siddha, a liberated soul. From natural instinct he used to serve Lord Kṛṣṇa, even in his childhood. He used to play with dolls in the form of Kṛṣṇa, he would serve the dolls by dressing, feeding and worshiping them, and thus he was constantly absorbed in the play of transcendental realization. These are the signs of an eternally liberated soul. An eternally liberated Soul is a devotee of the Lord who never forgets Him. Human life is meant for reviving one’s eternal relation with the Lord, and all religious injunctions are meant for awakening this dormant instinct of the living entity. The sooner this awakening is brought about, the quicker the mission of human life is fulfilled. In a good family of devotees, the child gets the opportunity to serve the Lord in many ways. A soul who is already advanced in devotional service has the opportunity to take birth in such an enlightened family. This is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā (6.41). Śucīnāṁ śrīmatāṁ gehe yoga-bhraṣṭo ‘bhi jāyate: even the fallen devotee gets the opportunity to take his birth in the family of a well-situated brāhmaṇa or in a rich, well-to-do mercantile family. In both these families there is a good opportunity to revive one’s sense of God consciousness automatically because particularly in these families the worship of Lord Kṛṣṇa is regularly performed and the child gets the opportunity to imitate the process of worship called arcanā.
The pāñcarātrikī formula for training persons in devotional service is temple worship, whereby the neophytes get the opportunity to learn devotional service to the Lord. Mahārāja Parīkṣit also used to play with Kṛṣṇa dolls in his childhood. In India the children in good families are still given dolls of the Lord like Rāma and Kṛṣṇa, or sometimes the demigods, so that they may develop the aptitude of service to the Lord. By the grace of the Lord we were given the same opportunity by our parents, and the beginning of our life was based on this principle.
sa kathaṁ sevayā tasya
kālena jarasaṁ gataḥ
pṛṣṭo vārtāṁ pratibrūyād
bhartuḥ pādāv anusmaran
saḥ—Uddhava; katham—how; sevayā—by such service; tasya—his; kālena—in course of time; jarasam—invalidity; gataḥ—undergone; pṛṣṭaḥ—asked for; vārtām—message; pratibrūyāt—just to reply; bhartuḥ—of the Lord; pādau—His lotus feet; anusmaran—remembering.
Uddhava thus served the Lord continually from childhood, and in his old age that attitude of service never slackened. As soon as he was asked about the message of the Lord, he at once remembered all about Him.
Transcendental service to the Lord is not mundane. The service attitude of the devotee gradually increases and never becomes slackened. Generally, in old age a person is allowed retirement from mundane service. But in the transcendental service of the Lord there is no retirement at all; on the contrary, the service attitude increases more and more with the progress of age. In the transcendental service there is no satiation, and therefore there is no retirement. Materially, when a man becomes tired by rendering service in his physical body, he is allowed retirement, but in the transcendental service there is no feeling of fatigue because it is spiritual service and is not on the bodily plane. Service on the bodily plane dwindles as the body grows older, but the spirit is never old, and therefore on the spiritual plane the service is never tiresome.
Uddhava undoubtedly became old, but that does not mean that his spirit became old. His service attitude matured on the transcendental plane, and therefore as soon as he was questioned by Vidura about Lord Kṛṣṇa, he at once remembered his Lord by reference to the context and forgot himself on the physical plane. That is the sign of pure devotional service to the Lord, as will be explained later on (lakṣaṇaṁ bhakti-yogasya, etc.) in Lord Kapila’s instruction to His mother Devahūti.
sa muhūrtam abhūt tūṣṇīṁ
nimagnaḥ sādhu nirvṛtaḥ
saḥ—Uddhava; muhūrtam—for a moment; abhūt—became; tūṣṇīm—dead silent; kṛṣṇa-aṅghri—lotus feet of the Lord; sudhayā—by the nectar; bhṛśam—well matured; tīvreṇa—by very strong; bhakti-yogena—devotional service; nimagnaḥ—absorbed in; sādhu—good; nirvṛtaḥ—fully in love.
For a moment he remained dead silent, and his body did not move. He became absorbed in the nectar of remembering the Lord’s lotus feet in devotional ecstasy, and he appeared to be going increasingly deeper into that ecstasy.
On the inquiry by Vidura about Kṛṣṇa, Uddhava appeared to be awakened from slumber. He appeared to regret that he had forgotten the lotus feet of the Lord. Thus he again remembered the lotus feet of the Lord and remembered all his transcendental loving service unto Him, and by so doing he felt the same ecstasy that he used to feel in the presence of the Lord. Because the Lord is absolute, there is no difference between His remembrance and His personal presence. Thus Uddhava remained completely silent for a moment, but then he appeared to be going deeper and deeper into ecstasy. Feelings of ecstasy are displayed by highly advanced devotees of the Lord. There are eight kinds of transcendental changes in the body—tears, shivering of the body, perspiration, restlessness, throbbing, choking of the throat, etc.—and all were manifested by Uddhava in the presence of Vidura.
muñcan mīlad-dṛśā śucaḥ
pūrṇārtho lakṣitas tena
pulaka-udbhinna—bodily changes of transcendental ecstasy; sarvāṅgaḥ—every part of the body; muñcan—smearing; mīlat—opening; dṛśā—by the eyes; śucaḥ—tears of grief; pūrṇa-arthaḥ—complete achievement; lakṣitaḥ—thus observed; tena—by Vidura; sneha-prasara—extensive love; samplutaḥ—thoroughly assimilated.
It was so observed by Vidura that Uddhava had all the transcendental bodily changes due to total ecstasy, and he was trying to wipe away tears of separation from his eyes. Thus Vidura could understand that Uddhava had completely assimilated extensive love for the Lord.
The symptoms of the highest order of devotional life were observed by Vidura, an experienced devotee of the Lord, and he confirmed Uddhava’s perfectional stage of love of Godhead. Ecstatic bodily changes are manifested from the spiritual plane and are not artificial expressions developed by practice. There are three different stages of development in devotional service. The first stage is that of following the regulative principles prescribed in the codes of devotional service, the second stage is that of assimilation and realization of the steady condition of devotional service, and the last stage is that of ecstasy symptomized by transcendental bodily expression. The nine different modes of devotional service, such as hearing, chanting, and remembering, are the beginning of the process. By regular hearing of the glories and pastimes of the Lord, the impurities in the student’s heart begin to be washed off. The more one is cleansed of impurities, the more one becomes fixed in devotional service. Gradually the activities take the forms of steadiness, firm faith, taste, realization and assimilation, one after another. These different stages of gradual development increase love of God to the highest stage, and in the highest stage there are still more symptoms, such as affection, anger and attachment, gradually rising in exceptional cases to the mahā-bhāva stage, which is generally not possible for the living entities. All these were manifested by Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the personification of love of God.
In the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, the chief disciple of Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, these transcendental symptoms displayed by pure devotees like Uddhava are systematically described. We have written a summary study of Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu entitled The Nectar of Devotion, and one may consult this book for more detailed information on the science of devotional service.
nṛlokaṁ punar āgataḥ
vimṛjya netre viduraṁ
śanakaiḥ—a little after; bhagavat—the Lord; lokāt—from the abode; nṛlokam—the planet of the human beings; punaḥ āgataḥ—coming again; vimṛjya—wiping; netre—eyes; viduram—unto Vidura; pratya—in affection; āha—said; uddhavaḥ—Uddhava; utsmayan—by all those remembrances.
The great devotee Uddhava soon came back from the abode of the Lord to the human plane, and wiping his eyes, he awakened his reminiscence of the past and spoke to Vidura in a pleasing mood.
When Uddhava was fully absorbed in the transcendental ecstasy of love of God, he actually forgot all about the external world. The pure devotee lives constantly in the abode of the Supreme Lord, even in the present body, which apparently belongs to this world. The pure devotee is not exactly on the bodily plane, since he is absorbed in the transcendental thought of the Supreme. When Uddhava wanted to speak to Vidura, he came down from the abode of the Lord, Dvārakā, to the material plane of human beings. Even though a pure devotee is present on this mortal planet, he is here in relation to the Lord for engagement in transcendental loving service, and not for any material cause. A living entity can live either on the material plane or in the transcendental abode of the Lord, in accordance with his existential condition. The conditional changes of the living entity are explained in the Caitanya-caritāmṛta in the instructions given to Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī by Lord Śrī Caitanya: "The living entities all over the universes are enjoying the effects of the respective fruitive results of their own work, life after life. Out of all of them, some may be influenced by the association of pure devotees and thus get the chance to execute devotional service by attainment of taste. This taste is the seed of devotional service, and one who is fortunate enough to have received such a seed is advised to sow it in the core of his heart. As one cultivates a seed by pouring water to fructify it, similarly the seed of devotional service sown in the heart of the devotee may be cultured by pouring water in the form of hearing and chanting of the holy name and pastimes of the Lord. The creeper of devotional service, so nourished, gradually grows, and the devotee, acting as a gardener, goes on pouring the water of constant hearing and chanting. The creeper of devotional service gradually grows so high that it passes through the entire material universe and enters into the spiritual sky, growing still higher and higher until it reaches the planet of Goloka Vṛndāvana. The devotee gardener is in touch with the abode of the Lord even from the material plane by dint of performing devotional service to the Lord simply by hearing and chanting. As a creeper takes shelter of another, stronger tree, similarly the creeper of devotional service, nourished by the devotee, takes shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord and thus becomes fixed. When the creeper is fixed, then the fruit of the creeper comes into existence, and the gardener who nourished it is able to enjoy this fruit of love, and his life becomes successful." That Uddhava attained this stage is evident from his dealings. He could simultaneously reach the supreme planet and still appear in this world.
gīrṇeṣv ajagareṇa ha
kiṁ nu naḥ kuśalaṁ brūyāṁ
gata-śrīṣu gṛheṣv aham
śrī uddhavaḥ uvāca—Śrī Uddhava said; kṛṣṇa-dyumaṇi—the Kṛṣṇa sun; nimloce—having set; gīrṇeṣu—being swallowed; ajagareṇa—by the great snake; ha—in the past; kim—what; nu—else; naḥ—our; kuśalam—welfare; brūyām—may I say; gata—gone away; śrīṣu-gṛheṣu—in the house; aham—I.
Śrī Uddhava said: My dear Vidura, the sun of the world, Lord Kṛṣṇa, has set, and our house has now been swallowed by the great snake of time. What can I say to you about our welfare?
The disappearance of the Kṛṣṇa sun may be explained as follows, according to the commentary of Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākur. Vidura was struck with great sorrow when he got the hint of the annihilation of the great Yadu dynasty as well as his own family, the Kuru dynasty. Uddhava could understand the grief of Vidura, and therefore he first of all wanted to sympathize with him by saying that after the sunset everyone is in darkness. Since the entire world was merged in the darkness of grief, neither Vidura nor Uddhava nor anyone else could be happy. Uddhava was as much aggrieved as Vidura, and there was nothing further to be said about their welfare.
The comparison of Kṛṣṇa to the sun is very appropriate. As soon as the sun sets, darkness automatically appears. But the darkness experienced by the common man does not affect the sun itself either at the time of sunrise or of sunset. Lord Kṛṣṇa’s appearance and disappearance are exactly like that of the sun. He appears and disappears in innumerable universes, and as long as He is present in a particular universe there is all transcendental light in that universe, but the universe from which He passes away is put into darkness. His pastimes, however, are everlasting. The Lord is always present in some universe, just as the sun is present either in the eastern or the western hemisphere. The sun is always present either in India or in America, but when the sun is present in India, the American land is in darkness, and when the sun is present in America, the Indian hemisphere is in darkness.
As the sun appears in the morning and gradually rises up to the meridian and then again sets in one hemisphere while simultaneously rising in the other, so Lord Kṛṣṇa’s disappearance in one universe and the beginning of His different pastimes in another take place simultaneously. As soon as one pastime is finished here, it is manifested in another universe. And thus His nitya-līlā or eternal pastimes are going on without ending. As the sunrise takes place once in twenty-four hours, similarly the pastimes of Lord Kṛṣṇa take place in a universe once in a daytime of Brahmā, the account of which is given in the Bhagavad-gītā as 4,300,000,000 solar years. But wherever the Lord is present, all His different pastimes as described in the revealed scriptures take place at regular intervals.
As at sunset the snakes become powerful, thieves are encouraged, ghosts become active, the lotus becomes disfigured and the cakravākī laments, so with the disappearance of Lord Kṛṣṇa, the atheists feel enlivened, and the devotees become sorry.
durbhago bata loko ‘yaṁ
yadavo nitarām api
ye saṁvasanto na vidur
hariṁ mīnā ivoḍupam
durbhagaḥ—unfortunate; bata—certainly; lokaḥ—universe; ayam—this; yadavaḥ—the, Yadu dynasty; nitarām—more specifically; api—also; ye—those; saṁvasantaḥ—living together; na—did not; viduḥ—understand; harim—the Personality of Godhead; mīnāḥ—the fishes; iva uḍupam—like the moon.
This universe with all its planets is most unfortunate. And even more unfortunate are the members of the Yadu dynasty because they could not identify Lord Hari as the Personality of Godhead, any more than the fish could identify the moon.
Uddhava lamented for the unfortunate persons of the world who could not recognize Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa in spite of seeing all His transcendental godly qualities. From the very beginning of His appearance within the prison bars of King Kaṁsa up to His mausala-līlā, although He exhibited His potencies as the Personality of Godhead in the six opulences of wealth, strength, fame, beauty, knowledge and renunciation, the foolish persons of the world could not understand that He was the Supreme Lord. Foolish persons might have thought Him an extraordinary historical figure because they had no intimate touch with the Lord, but more unfortunate were the family members of the Lord, the members of the Yadu dynasty, who were always in company with the Lord but were unable to recognize Him as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Uddhava lamented his own fortune also because although he knew Kṛṣṇa to be the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he could not properly use the opportunity to render devotional service to the Lord. He regretted everyone’s misfortune, including his own. The pure devotee of the Lord thinks himself most unfortunate. That is due to excessive love for the Lord and is one of the transcendental perceptions of viraha, the suffering of separation.
It is learned from the revealed scriptures that the moon was born from the milk ocean. There is a milk ocean in the upper planets, and there Lord Viṣṇu, who controls the heart of every living being as Paramātmā (the Supersoul), resides as the Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu. Those who do not believe in the existence of the ocean of milk because they have experience only of the salty water in the ocean should know that the world is also called the Go, which means the cow. The urine of a cow is salty, and according to Ayurvedic medicine, the cow’s urine is very effective in treating patients suffering from liver trouble. Such patients may not have any experience of the cow’s milk because milk is never given to liver patients. But the liver patient may know that the cow has milk also, although he has never tasted it. Similarly, men who have experience only of this tiny planet where the salt-water ocean exists may take information from the revealed scriptures that there is also an ocean of milk, although we have never seen it. From this ocean of milk the moon was born, but the fish in the milk ocean could not recognize that the moon was not another fish and was different from them. The fish took the moon to be one of them or maybe something illuminating, but nothing more. The unfortunate persons who do not recognize Lord Kṛṣṇa are like such fish. They take Him to be one of them, although a little extraordinary in opulence, strength, etc. The Bhagavad-gītā confirms such foolish persons to be most unfortunate: avajānanti māṁ mūḍhā mānuṣīṁ tanum āśritam. (Bg. 9.11)
ekārāmāś ca sātvatāḥ
sātvatām ṛṣabhaṁ sarve
iṅgita-jñāḥ—expert in psychic study; puru-prauḍhāḥ—highly experienced; eka—one; ārāmāḥ—relaxation; ca—also; sātvatāḥ—devotees, or own men; sātvatām ṛṣabham—head of the family; sarve—all; bhūta-āvāsam—all-pervading; amaṁsata—could think.
The Yadus were all experienced devotees, learned and expert in psychic study. Over and above this, they were always with the Lord in all kinds of relaxations, and still they were able to know Him as the one Supreme who dwells everywhere.
In the Vedas it is said that the Supreme Lord or the Paramātmā cannot be understood simply by the strength of one’s erudition or power of mental speculation: nāyam ātmā pravacanena labhyo/ na medhayā na bahunā śrutena. He can be known only by one who has the mercy of the Lord. The Yadavas were all exceptionally learned and experienced, but in spite of their knowing the Lord as the one who lives in everyone’s heart, they could not understand that He is the original Personality of Godhead. This lack of knowledge was not due to their insufficient erudition, but it was due to their misfortune. In Vṛndāvana, however, the Lord was not even known as the Paramātmā because the residents of Vṛndāvana were pure unconventional devotees of the Lord and could only think of Him as their object of love. They did not know that He is the Personality of Godhead. The Yadus or the residents of Dvārakā, however, could know Lord Kṛṣṇa as Vāsudeva or the Supersoul living everywhere, but not as the Supreme Lord. As scholars of the Vedas, they verified the Vedic hymns: "eko devaḥ. . ." "sarva-bhūtādhivāsaḥ. . ." "antaryāmī. . ."and "vṛṣṇīnāṁ para-devatā. . ." The Yadus, therefore, accepted Lord Kṛṣṇa as the Supersoul incarnated in their family, and not more than that.
devasya māyayā spṛṣṭā
ye cānyad asad-āśritāḥ
bhrāmyate dhīr na tad-vākyair
ātmany uptātmano harau
devasya—of the Personality of Godhead; māyayā—by the influence of external energy; spṛṣṭāḥ—infected; ye—all those; ca—and; anyat—others; asat—illusory; āśritāḥ—being taken to; bhrāmyate—bewilder; dhīḥ—intelligence; na—not; tat—that; vākyaiḥ—by those words; ātmani—in the Supreme Self; uptātmanaḥ—surrendered souls; harau—unto the Lord.
Under no circumstances can the words of persons who are bewildered by the illusory energy of the Lord deviate the intelligence of those who are completely surrendered souls.
Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead according to all the evidences of the Vedas. He is accepted by all ācāryas, including Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya. But when He was present in the world, different classes of men accepted Him differently, and therefore their calculations of the Lord were also different. Generally, persons who had faith in the revealed scriptures accepted the Lord as He is, and all of them merged into great bereavement when the Lord disappeared from the world. In the First Canto we have already discussed the lamentation of Arjuna and Yudhiṣṭhira, to whom the disappearance of Lord Kṛṣṇa was almost intolerable up to the end of their lives.
The Yādavas were only partially cognizant of the Lord, but they are also glorious because they had the opportunity to associate with the Lord, who acted as the head of their family, and they also rendered the Lord intimate service. The Yādavas and other devotees of the Lord are different from those who wrongly calculated Him to be an ordinary human personality. Such persons are certainly bewildered by the illusory energy. They are hellish and are envious of the Supreme Lord. The illusory energy acts very powerfully on them because in spite of their elevated mundane education, such persons are faithless and are infected by the mentality of atheism. They are always very eager to establish that Lord Kṛṣṇa was an ordinary man who was killed by a hunter due to His many impious acts in plotting to kill the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra and Jarāsandha, the demonic kings of the earth. Such persons have no faith in the statement of the Bhagavad-gītā that the Lord is unaffected by the reactions of work: na māṁ tāni dharmāṇi limpanti. According to the atheistic point of view, Lord Kṛṣṇa’s family, the Yadu dynasty, was vanquished due to being cursed by the brāhmaṇas for the sins committed by Kṛṣṇa in killing the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra, etc. All these blasphemies do not touch the heart of the devotees of the Lord because they know perfectly well what is what. Their intelligence regarding the Lord is never disturbed. But those who are disturbed by the statements of the asuras are also condemned. That is what Uddhava meant in this verse.
ādāyāntar adhād yas tu
pradarśya—by exhibiting; atapta—without undergoing; tapasām—penances; avitṛpta-dṛśām—without fulfillment of vision; nṛṇām—of persons; ādāya—taking; antaḥ—disappearance; adhāt—performed; yaḥ—who; tu—but; sva-bimbam—His own form; loka-locanam—public vision.
Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, who manifested His eternal form before the vision of all on the earth, performed His disappearance by removing His form from the sight of those who were unable to see Him [as He is] due to not executing required penance.
In this verse the word avitṛpta-dṛśam is most significant. The conditioned souls in the material world are all trying to satisfy their senses in various ways, but they have failed to do so because it is impossible to be satisfied by such efforts. The example of the fish on land is very appropriate. If one takes a fish from the water and puts it on the land, it cannot be made happy by any amount of offered pleasure. The spirit soul can be happy only in the association of the supreme living being, the Personality of Godhead, and nowhere else. The Lord, by His unlimited causeless mercy, has innumerable Vaikuṇṭha planets in the brahmajyoti sphere of the spiritual world, and in that transcendental world there is an unlimited arrangement for the unlimited pleasure of the living entities.
The Lord Himself comes to display His transcendental pastimes, typically represented at Vṛndāvana, Mathurā and Dvārakā. He appears just to attract the conditioned souls back to Godhead, back home to the eternal world. But for want of sufficient piety, the onlookers are not attracted by such pastimes of the Lord. In Bhagavad-gītā it is said that only those who have completely surpassed the way of sinful reaction can engage themselves in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. The entire Vedic way of ritualistic performances is to put every conditioned soul on the path of piety. By strict adherence to the prescribed principles for all orders of social life, one can attain the qualities of truthfulness, control of the mind, control of the senses, forbearance, etc., and can be elevated to the plane of rendering pure devotional service to the Lord. Only by such a transcendental vision are one’s material hankerings fully satisfied.
When the Lord was present, persons who were able to satisfy their material hankerings by seeing Him in true perspective were thus able to go back with Him to His kingdom. But those persons who were unable to see the Lord as He is remained attached to material hankerings and were not able to go back home, back to Godhead. When the Lord passed beyond the vision of all, He did so in His original eternal form, as stated in this verse. The Lord left in His own body; He did not leave His body as is generally misunderstood by the conditioned souls. This statement defeats the false propaganda of the faithless nondevotees that the Lord passed away like an ordinary conditioned soul. The Lord appeared in order to release the world from the undue burden of the nonbelieving asuras, and after doing this, He disappeared from the world’s eyes.
yan martya-līlau-payikaṁ sva-yoga-
māyā-balaṁ darśayatā gṛhītam
vismāpanaṁ svasya ca saubhagarddheḥ
paraṁ padaṁ bhūṣaṇa-bhūṣaṇāṅgam
yat—His eternal form; martya—mortal world; līlāu-payikam—just suitable for the pastimes; sva-yoga-māyā-balam—potency of the internal energy; darśayatā—for manifestation; gṛhītam—discovered; vismāpanam—wonderful; svasya—of His own; ca—and; saubhagarddheḥ—of the opulent; param—supreme; padam—ultimate stand; bhūṣaṇa—ornament; bhūṣaṇāṅgam—of the ornaments.
The Lord appeared in the mortal world by His internal potency, yoga-māyā. He came in His eternal form, which is just suitable for His pastimes. These pastimes were wonderful for everyone, even for those proud of their own opulence, including the Lord Himself in His form as the Lord of Vaikuṇṭha. Thus His [Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s] transcendental body is the ornament of all ornaments.
In conformity with the Vedic hymns (nityo nityānāṁ cetanaś cetanānām), the Personality of Godhead is more excellent than all other living beings within all the universes in the material world. He is the chief of all living entities; no one can surpass Him or be equal to Him in wealth, strength, fame, beauty, knowledge or renunciation. When Lord Kṛṣṇa was within this universe, He seemed to be a human being because He appeared in a manner just suitable for His pastimes in the mortal world. He did not appear in human society in His Vaikuṇṭha feature with four hands because that would not have been suitable for His pastimes. But in spite of His appearing as a human being, no one was or is equal to Him in any respect in any of the six different opulences. Everyone is more or less proud of his opulence in this world, but when Lord Kṛṣṇa was in human society, He excelled all His contemporaries within the universe.
When the Lord’s pastimes are visible to the human eye, they are called prakaṭa, and when they are not visible they are called aprakaṭa. In fact, the Lord’s pastimes never stop, just as the sun never leaves the sky. The sun is always in its right orbit in the sky, but it is sometimes visible and sometimes invisible to our limited vision. Similarly, the pastimes of the Lord are always current in one universe or another, and when Lord Kṛṣṇa disappeared from the transcendental abode of Dvārakā, it was simply a disappearance from the eyes of the people there. It should not be misunderstood that His transcendental body, which is just suitable for the pastimes in the mortal world, is in any way inferior to His different expansions in the Vaikuṇṭhalokas. His body manifested in the material world is transcendental par excellence in the sense that His pastimes in the mortal world excel His mercy displayed in the Vaikuṇṭhalokas. In the Vaikuṇṭhalokas the Lord is merciful toward the liberated or nitya-mukta living entities, but in His pastimes in the mortal world He is merciful even to the fallen souls who are nitya-baddha or conditioned forever. The six excellent opulences which He displayed in the mortal world by the agency of His internal potency, yoga-māyā, are rare even in the Vaikuṇṭhalokas. All His pastimes were manifested not by the material energy but by His spiritual energy. The excellence of His rāsa-līlā at Vṛndāvana and His householder life with 16,000 wives is wonderful even for Nārāyaṇa in Vaikuṇṭha and is certainly so for other living entities within this mortal world. His pastimes are wonderful even for other incarnations of the Lord, such as Śrī Rāma, Nṛsiṁha and Varāha. His opulence was so superexcellent that His pastimes were adored even by the Lord of Vaikuṇṭha, who is not different from Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself.
yad dharma-sūnor bata rājasūye
nirīkṣya dṛk-svastyayanaṁ tri-lokaḥ
kārtsnyena cādyeha gataṁ vidhātur
arvāk-sṛtau kauśalam ity amanyata
yat—which; dharma-sūnoḥ—of Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira; bata—certainly; rājasūye—in the arena of the Rājasūya sacrifice; nirīkṣya—by observing; dṛk—sight; svastyayanam—pleasing; tri-lokaḥ—three worlds; kārtsnyena—in sum total; ca—thus; adya—today; iha—within the universe; gatam—surpassed; vidhātuḥ—of the creator (Brahmā); arvāk—recent mankind; sṛtau—in the material world; kauśalam—dexterity; iti—thus; amanyata—contemplated.
All the demigods from the upper, lower and middle universal planetary systems assembled at the altar of the Rājasūya sacrifice performed by Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira. After seeing the beautiful bodily features of Lord Kṛṣṇa, they all contemplated that He was the ultimate dexterous creation of Brahmā, the creator of human beings.
There was nothing comparable to the bodily features of Lord Kṛṣṇa when He was present in this world. The most beautiful object in the material world may he compared to the blue lotus flower or the full moon in the sky, but even the lotus flower and the moon were defeated by the beauty of the bodily features of Lord Kṛṣṇa, and this was certified by the demigods, the most beautiful living creatures in the universe. The demigods thought that Lord Kṛṣṇa, like themselves, was also created by Lord Brahmā, but in fact Brahmā was created by Lord Kṛṣṇa. It was not within the power of Brahmā to create the transcendental beauty of the Supreme Lord. No one is the creator of Kṛṣṇa; rather, He is the creator of everyone. As He says in Bhagavad-gītā, ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavo mattaḥ sarvaṁ pravartate. (Bg. 10.8)
vraja-striyo dṛgbhir anupravṛtta-
dhiyo ‘vatasthuḥ kila kṛtya-śeṣāḥ
yasya—whose; anurāga—attachment; pluta—enhanced by; hāsa—laughter; rāsa—humors; līlā—pastimes; avaloka—glancing; pratilabdha—obtained thereof; manaḥ—anguished; vraja-striyaḥ—damsels of Vraja; dṛgbhiḥ—with the eyes; anupravṛtta—following; dhiyaḥ—by intelligence; avatasthuḥ—sat silently; kila—indeed; kṛtya-śeṣāḥ—without finishing household duties.
The damsels of Vraja, after pastimes of laughter, humor and exchanges of glances, were anguished when Kṛṣṇa left them. They used to follow Him with their eyes, and thus they sat down with stunned intelligence and could not finish their household duties.
In His boyhood at Vṛndāvana, Lord Kṛṣṇa was notorious as a teasing friend in transcendental love to all the girls His age. His love for them was so intense that there is no comparison to that ecstasy, and the damsels of Vraja were so much attached to Him that their affection excelled that of the great demigods like Brahmā and Śiva. Lord Kṛṣṇa finally admitted His defeat before the transcendental affection of the gopīs and declared that He was unable to repay them for their unalloyed affection. Although the gopīs were seemingly anguished by the Lord’s teasing behavior, when Kṛṣṇa would leave them they could not tolerate the separation and used to follow Him with their eyes and minds. They were so stunned by the situation that they could not finish their household duties. No one could excel Him even in the dealing of love exchanged between boys and girls. It is said in the revealed scriptures that Lord Kṛṣṇa personally never goes beyond the boundary of Vṛndāvana. He remains there eternally because of the transcendental love of the inhabitants. Thus even though He is not visible at present, He is not away from Vṛndāvana for a moment.
sva-śānta-rūpeṣv itaraiḥ sva-rūpair
hy ajo ‘pi jāto bhagavān yathāgniḥ
sva-śānta-rūpeṣu—unto the peaceful devotees of the Lord; itaraiḥ—others, nondevotees; sva-rūpaiḥ—according to their own modes of nature; abhyardyamāneṣu—being harrassed by; anukampita-ātma—the all-compassionate Lord; parāvara—spiritual and material; īśaḥ—controller; mahat-aṁśa-yuktaḥ—accompanied by the plenary portion of mahat-tattva; hi—certainly; ajaḥ—the unborn; api—although; jātaḥ—be born; bhagavān—the Personality of Godhead; yathā—as if; agniḥ—the fire.
The Personality of Godhead, the all-compassionate controller of both the spiritual and material creations, is unborn, but when there is friction between His peaceful devotees and persons who are in the material modes of nature, He takes birth just like fire, accompanied by the mahat-tattva.
The devotees of the Lord are by nature peaceful because they have no material hankering. A liberated soul has no hankering, and therefore he has no lamentation. One who wants to possess also laments when he loses his possession. Devotees have no hankerings for material possessions and no hankerings for spiritual salvation. They are situated in the transcendental loving service of the Lord as a matter of duty, and they do not mind where they are or how they have to act. Karmīs, jñānīs and yogīs all hanker to possess some material or spiritual assets. Karmīs want material possessions, jñānīs and yogīs want spiritual possessions, but devotees do not want any material or spiritual assets. They want only to serve the Lord anywhere in the material or spiritual worlds that the Lord desires, and the Lord is always specifically compassionate towards such devotees.
The karmīs, jñānīs and yogīs have their particular mentalities in the modes of nature, and therefore they are called itara or nondevotees. These itaras, including even the yogīs, sometimes harass the devotees of the Lord. Durvāsā Muni, a great yogī, harassed Mahārāja Ambarīṣa because the latter was a great devotee of the Lord. And the great karmī and jñānī Hiraṇyakaśipu even harassed his own Vaiṣṇava son, Prahlāda Mahārāja. There are many instances of such harassment of the peaceful devotees of the Lord by the itaras. When such friction takes place, the Lord, out of His great compassion towards His pure devotees, appears in person, accompanied by His plenary portions controlling the mahat-tattva.
The Lord is everywhere, both in the material and spiritual domains, and He appears for the sake of His devotees when there is friction between His devotee and the nondevotee. As electricity is generated by friction of matter anywhere and everywhere, similarly, the Lord, being all-pervading, appears because of the friction of devotees and nondevotees. When Lord Kṛṣṇa appears on a mission, all His plenary portions accompany Him. When He appeared as the son of Vasudeva, there were differences of opinions about His incarnation. Some said, "He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead." Some said, "He is an incarnation of Nārāyaṇa," and others said, "He is the incarnation of Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu." But actually He is the original Supreme Personality of Godhead—Kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam—and Nārāyaṇa, the puruṣas and all other incarnations accompany Him to function as different parts of His pastimes. Mahat-aṁśa*-yuktaḥ indicates that He is accompanied by the puruṣas, who create the mahat-tattva. It is confirmed in the Vedic hymns, mahāntaṁ vibhum ātmānam.
Lord Kṛṣṇa appeared, just like electricity, when there was friction between Kaṁsa and Vasudeva and Ugrasena. Vasudeva and Ugrasena were the Lord’s devotees, and Kaṁsa, a representative of the karmīs and jñānīs, was a nondevotee. Kṛṣṇa, as He is, is compared to the sun. He first appeared from the ocean of the womb of Devakī, and gradually He satisfied the inhabitants of the places surrounding Mathurā, just as the sun enlivens the lotus flower in the morning. Gradually rising up to the meridian of Dvārakā, the Lord set like the sun, placing everything in darkness, as described by Uddhava.
*in the book there are 2 dots above the m.
māṁ khedayaty etad ajasya janma-
viḍambanaṁ yad vasudeva-gehe
vraje ca vāso ‘ri-bhayād iva svayaṁ
purād vyavātsīd yad-ananta-vīryaḥ
mām—to me; khedayati—gives me distress; etat—this; ajasya—of the unborn; janma—birth; viḍambanam—bewildering; yat—that; vasudeva-gehe—in the home of Vasudeva; vraje—in Vṛndāvana; ca—also; vāsaḥ—inhabitation; ari—enemy; bhayāt—because of fear; iva—as if; svayam—Himself; purāt—from Mathurā Purī; vyavātsīt—fled; yat—one who is; ananta-vīryaḥ—unlimitedly powerful.
When I think of Lord Kṛṣṇa—how He was born in the prison house of Vasudeva although He is unborn, how He went away from His father’s protection to Vraja and lived there incognito out of fear of the enemy, and how, although He is unlimitedly powerful, He fled from Mathurā in fear—all these bewildering incidences give me distress.
Because Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the original person from whom everything and everyone has emanated—ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavaḥ (Bg. 10.8), janmādy asya yataḥ (Vs. 1.12)—nothing can be equal to or greater than Him. The Lord is supremely perfect, and whenever He enacts His transcendental pastimes as a son, a rival or an object of enmity, He plays the part so perfectly that even pure devotees like Uddhava are bewildered. For example, Uddhava knew perfectly well that Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is eternally existent and can neither die nor disappear for good, yet he lamented for Lord Kṛṣṇa. All these events are perfect arrangements to give perfection to His supreme glories. It is for enjoyment’s sake. When a father plays with his little son and the father lays down on the floor as if defeated by the son, it is just to give the little son pleasure, and nothing more. Because the Lord is all-powerful, it is possible for Him to adjust opposites such as birth and no birth, power and defeat, fear and fearlessness, etc. A pure devotee knows very well how it is possible for the Lord to adjust opposite things, but he laments for the nondevotees who, not knowing the supreme glories of the Lord, think of Him as imaginary simply because there are so many apparently contradictory statements in the scriptures. Factually there is nothing contradictory, but everything is possible when we understand the Lord as the Lord and not as one of us, with all our imperfection.
dunoti cetaḥ smarato mamaitad
yad āha pādāv abhivandya pitroḥ
tātāmba kaṁsād uru-śaṅkitānāṁ
prasīdataṁ no ‘kṛta-niṣkṛtīnām
dunoti—it gives me pain; cetaḥ—heart; smarataḥ—while thinking of; mama—my; etat—this; yat—as much as; āha—said; pādau—feet; abhivandya—worshiping; pitroḥ—of the parents; tāta—my dear father; amba—my dear mother; kaṁsāt—out of Kaṁsa’s; ura—great; śaṅkitānām—of those who are afraid; prasīdatam—be pleased with; naḥ—our; akṛta—not executed; niṣkṛtīnām—duties to serve you.
Lord Kṛṣṇa begged pardon from His parents for Their [Kṛṣṇa’s and Balarāma’s] inability to serve their feet, due to being away from home because of great fear of Kaṁsa. He said, "O mother, O father, please excuse Us for this inability." All this behavior of the Lord gives me pain at heart.
It appears that Lord Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva were both very greatly afraid of Kaṁsa, and therefore They had to hide Themselves. But if Lord Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, how was it possible that They were afraid of Kaṁsa? Is there any contradiction in such statements? Vasudeva, due to his great appreciation for Kṛṣṇa, wanted to give Him protection. He never thought that Kṛṣṇa was the Supreme Lord and could protect Himself; he thought of Kṛṣṇa as his son. Because Vasudeva was a great devotee of the Lord, he did not like to think that Kṛṣṇa might be killed like his other children. Morally, Vasudeva was bound to deliver Kṛṣṇa to the hands of Kaṁsa because he had promised to turn over all his children. But out of his great love for Kṛṣṇa he broke his promise, and the Lord was very pleased with Vasudeva for his transcendental mentality. He did not want to disturb the intense affection of Vasudeva, and thus He agreed to be carried by His father to the house of Nanda and Yaśodā. And just to test the intense love of Vasudeva, Lord Kṛṣṇa fell down in the waters of the Yamunā while his father was crossing the river. Vasudeva became mad after his child as he tried to recover Him in the midst of the rising river.
These are all glorified pastimes of the Lord, and there is no contradiction in such manifestations. Since Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Lord, He was never afraid of Kaṁsa, but to please His father He agreed to be so. And the most brilliant part of His supreme character was that He begged pardon from His parents for being unable to serve their feet while absent from home because of fear of Kaṁsa. The Lord, whose lotus feet are worshiped by demigods like Brahmā and Śiva, wanted to worship the feet of Vasudeva. Such instruction by the Lord to the world is quite appropriate. Even if one is the Supreme Lord, one must serve his parents. A son is indebted to his parents in so many ways, and it is the duty of the son to serve his parents, however great the son may be. Indirectly, Kṛṣṇa wanted to teach the atheists who do not accept the supreme fatherhood of God, and they may learn from this action how much the Supreme Father has to be respected. Uddhava was simply struck with wonder by such glorious behavior of the Lord, and he was very sorry that he was unable to go with Him.
ko vā amuṣyāṅghri-saroja-reṇuṁ
vismartum īśīta pumān vijighran
yo visphurad-bhrū-viṭapena bhūmer
bhāraṁ kṛtāntena tiraścakāra
kaḥ—who else; vā—either; amuṣya—the Lord’s; aṅghri—feet; saroja-reṇum—dust of the lotus; vismartum—forgetting; īśīta—may be able; pumān—person; vijighran—smelling; yaḥ—one who; visphurat—expanding; bhrū-viṭapena—by the leaves of the eyebrows; bhūmeḥ—of the earth; bhāram—burden; kṛta-antena—by death blows; tiraścakāra—executed.
Who, after smelling the dust of His lotus feet even once, could ever forget it? Simply by expanding the leaves of His eyebrows [Kṛṣṇa] has given the death blow to those who were burdening the earth.
Lord Kṛṣṇa cannot be accepted as one of the human beings, even though He played the role of an obedient son. His actions were so extraordinary that by the simple raising of His eyebrows He could deliver death blows to those who were burdening the earth.
dṛṣṭā bhavadbhir nanu rājasūye
caidyasya kṛṣṇaṁ dviṣato ‘pi siddhiḥ
yāṁ yoginaḥ saṁspṛhayanti samyag
yogena kas tad-virahaṁ saheta
dṛṣṭā—it has been seen; bhavadbhiḥ—by your good self; nanu—of course; rājasūye—in the assembly of the Rājasūya sacrifice performed by Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira; caidyasya—of the King of Cedi (Śiśupāla); kṛṣṇam—unto Kṛṣṇa; dviṣataḥ—envying; api—in spite of; siddhiḥ—success; yām—which; yoginaḥ—the yogīs; saṁspṛhayanti—verily desire; samyak—fully; yogena—by performance of yoga; kaḥ—who; tat—His; viraham—separation; saheta—can tolerate.
You have personally seen how the King of Cedi [Śiśupāla] achieved success in yoga practice, although he hated Lord Kṛṣṇa. Even the actual yogīs aspire after such success with great interest by performance of their various practices.
Lord Kṛṣṇa’s causeless mercy was exhibited in the great assembly of Mahārāja Yudiṣṭhira. He was merciful even to His enemy, the King of Cedi, who always tried to be an envious rival of the Lord. Because it is not possible to be a bona fide rival of the Lord, the King of Cedi was extremely malicious toward Lord Kṛṣṇa. In this he was like many other asuras, such as Kaṁsa and Jarāsandha. In the open assembly of the Rājasūya sacrifice performed by Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira, Śiśupāla insulted Lord Kṛṣṇa, and he was finally killed by the Lord. But it was seen by everyone in the assembly that a light flashed out of the body of the King of Cedi and merged into the body of Lord Kṛṣṇa. This means that Cedirāja achieved the salvation of attaining oneness with the Supreme, which is a perfection most desired by the jñānīs and yogīs and for which they execute their different types of transcendental activities.
It is a fact that persons who are trying to understand the Supreme Truth by their personal endeavors of mental speculation or mystic powers of yoga achieve the same goal as others who are personally killed by the Lord. Both achieve the salvation of merging in the brahmajyoti rays of the transcendental body of the Lord. The Lord was merciful even to His enemy, and the success of the King of Cedi was observed by everyone who was present in the assembly. Vidura was also present there, and therefore Uddhava referred the incident to his memory.
tathaiva cānye nara-loka-vīrā
ya āhave kṛṣṇa-mukhāravindam
netraiḥ pibanto nayanābhirāmaṁ
pārthāstra-pūtaḥ padam āpur asya
tathā—as also; eva ca—and certainly; anye—others; nara-loka—human society; vīrāḥ—fighter; ye—those; āhave—on the battlefield (of Kurukṣetra); kṛṣṇa—Lord Kṛṣṇa’s; mukha-aravindam—face like a lotus flower; netraiḥ—with the eyes; pibantaḥ—while seeing; nayana-abhirāmam—very pleasing to the eyes; pārtha—Arjuna; astra-pūtaḥ—purified; padam—abode; āpuḥ—achieved; asya—of Him.
Certainly others who were fighters on the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra were purified by the onslaught of Arjuna’s arrows, and while seeing the lotuslike face of Kṛṣṇa, so pleasing to the eyes, they achieved the abode of the Lord.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, appears in this world for two missionary purposes: to deliver the faithful, and to annihilate the miscreants. But because the Lord is absolute, His two different kinds of actions, although apparently different, are ultimately one and the same. His annihilation of a person like Śiśupāla is as auspicious as His actions for the protection of the faithful. All the warriors who fought against Arjuna but who were able to see the lotuslike face of the Lord on the battlefront achieved the abode of the Lord, exactly as the devotees of the Lord do. The words "pleasing to the eyes of the seer" are very significant. When the warriors from the other side of the battlefield saw Lord Kṛṣṇa at the front, they appreciated His beauty, and their dormant instinct of love of God was awakened. Śiśupāla saw the Lord also, but he saw Him as his enemy, and his love was not awakened. Therefore Śiśupāla achieved oneness with the Lord by merging in the impersonal glare of His body, called the brahmajyoti. Others, who were in the marginal position, being neither friends nor enemies but slightly in love of Godhead by appreciating the beauty of His face, were at once promoted to the spiritual planets, the Vaikuṇṭhas. The Lord’s personal abode is called Goloka Vṛndāvana, and the abodes where His plenary expansions reside are called the Vaikuṇṭhas, where the Lord is present as Nārāyaṇa. Love of Godhead is dormant in every living entity, and the entire process of devotional service unto the Lord is meant for awakening this dormant, eternal love of Godhead. But there are degrees of such transcendental awakening. Those whose love of God is awakened to the fullest extent go back to Goloka Vṛndāvana planet in the spiritual sky, whereas persons who have just awakened to love of Godhead by accident or association are transferred to the Vaikuṇṭha planets. Essentially there is no material difference between Goloka and Vaikuṇṭha, but in the Vaikuṇṭhas the Lord is served in unlimited opulence, whereas in Goloka the Lord is served in natural affection.
This love of God is awakened by the association of pure devotees of the Lord. Here the word pārthāstra-pūtaḥ is significant. Those who saw the beautiful face of the Lord on the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra were purified first by Arjuna when he made his onslaught with arrows. The Lord appeared for the mission of diminishing the burden of the world, and Arjuna was assisting the Lord by fighting on His behalf. Arjuna personally declined to fight, and the whole instruction of the Bhagavad-gītā was given to Arjuna to engage him in the fight. As a pure devotee of the Lord, Arjuna agreed to fight in preference to his own decision, and thus Arjuna fought to assist the Lord in His mission of diminishing the burden of the world. All the activities of a pure devotee are executed on behalf of the Lord because a pure devotee of the Lord has nothing to do for his personal interest. Arjuna’s killing was as good as killing by the Lord Himself. As soon as Arjuna shot an arrow at an enemy, that enemy became purified of all material contaminations and became eligible to be transferred to the spiritual sky. Those warriors who appreciated the lotus feet of the Lord and saw His face at the front had their dormant love of God awakened, and thus they were transferred at once to Vaikuṇṭhaloka, not to the impersonal state of brahmajyoti as was Śiśupāla. Śiśupāla died without appreciating the Lord, while others died with appreciation of the Lord. Both were transferred to the spiritual sky, but those who awakened to love of God were transferred to the planets of the transcendental sky.
Uddhava seemingly lamented that his own position was less than that of the warriors on the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra because they had attained to Vaikuṇṭha, whereas he remained to lament the disappearance of the Lord.
svayaṁ tv asāmyātiśayas tryadhīśaḥ
baliṁ haradbhiś cira-loka-pālaiḥ
svayam—Himself; tu—but; asāmya—unique; atiśayaḥ—greater; tri-adhīśaḥ—Lord of the three; svārājya—independent supremacy; lakṣmī—fortune; āpta—achieved; samastakāmaḥ—all desires; balim—worshiping paraphernalia; haradbhiḥ—offered by; cira-loka-pālaiḥ—by the eternal maintainers of the order of creation; kirīṭa-koṭi—millions of helmets; eḍita-pāda-pīṭhaḥ—feet honored by prayers.
Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the Lord of all kinds of threes and is independently supreme by achievement of all kinds of fortune. He is worshiped by the eternal maintainers of the creation, who offer Him the paraphernalia of worship by touching their millions of helmets to His feet.
Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is so mild and merciful, as described in the above verses, and yet He is the Lord of all kinds of threes. He is the Supreme Lord of the three worlds, the three qualities of material nature and the three puruṣas (Kāraṇodakaśāyī, Garbhodakaśāyī and Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu). There are innumerable universes, and in each and every universe there are different manifestations of Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Rudra. Besides that, there is the Śeṣa-mūrti who bears all the universes on His hoods. And Lord Kṛṣṇa is the Lord of all of them. As the incarnation of Manu, He is the original source of all Manus in innumerable universes. Each universe has manifestations of 540,000 Manus. He is the Lord of the three principal potencies, namely cit-śakti, māyā-śakti and taṭasthā-śakti, and He is the complete master of six kinds of fortune—wealth, strength, fame, beauty, knowledge and renunciation. There is none who can excel Him in any matter of enjoyment, and certainly there is no one greater than Him. No one is equal to or greater than Him. It is the duty of everyone, whoever and wherever one may be, to surrender completely unto Him. It is not wonderful, therefore, that all the transcendental controllers surrender to Him and make all offerings of worship.
tat tasya kaiṅkaryam alaṁ bhṛtānno
viglāpayaty aṅga yad ugrasenam
tiṣṭhan niṣaṇṇaṁ parameṣṭhi-dhiṣṇye
nyabodhayad deva nidhārayeti
tat—therefore; tasya—His; kaiṅkaryam—service; alam—of course; bhṛtān—the servitors; naḥ—us; viglāpayati—gives pain; aṅga—O Vidura; yat—as much as; ugrasenam—unto King Ugrasena; tiṣṭhan—being seated; niṣaṇṇam—waiting upon Him; parameṣṭhi-dhiṣṇye—on the royal throne; nyabodhayat—submitted; deva—addressing my Lord; nidhāraya—please know it; iti—thus.
Therefore, O Vidura, does it not pain us, His servitors, when we remember that He [Lord Kṛṣṇa] used to stand before King Ugrasena, who was sitting on the royal throne, and used to submit explanations before him, saying, "O My lord, please let it be known to you"?
Lord Kṛṣṇa’s gentle behavior before His so-called superiors such as His father, grandfather and elder brother, His amiable behavior with His so-called wives, friends and contemporaries, His behavior as a child before His mother Yaśodā, and His naughty dealings with His young girl friends cannot bewilder a pure devotee like Uddhava. Others, who are not devotees, are bewildered by such behavior of the Lord, who acted just like a human being. This bewilderment is explained by the Lord Himself in the Bhagavad-gītā as follows:
mānuṣīṁ tanum āśritam
mama bhūta-maheśvaram (Bg. 9.11)
Persons with a poor fund of knowledge belittle the Personality of Godhead, Lord Kṛṣṇa, not knowing His exalted position as the Lord of everything. In Bhagavad-gītā the Lord has explained His position clearly, but the demoniac atheistic student squeezes out an interpretation to suit his own purpose and misleads unfortunate followers into the same mentality. Such unfortunate persons merely pick up some slogans from the great book of knowledge, but are unable to estimate the Lord as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Pure devotees like Uddhava, however, are never misled by such atheistic opportunists.
aho bakī yaṁ stana-kāla-kūṭaṁ
jighāṁsayāpāyayad apy asādhvī
lebhe gatiṁ dhātryucitāṁ tato ‘nyaṁ
kaṁ vā dayāluṁ śaraṇaṁ vrajema
aho—alas; bakī—the she-demon (Pūtanā); yam—whom; stana—breast; kāla—dead; kūṭam—poison; jighāṁsaya—out of envy; apāyayat—nourished; api—although; asādhvī—unfaithful; lebhe—achieved; gatim—destination; dhātryucitām—just suitable for the nurse; tataḥ—beyond whom; anyam—other; kam—who else; vā—certainly; dayālum—merciful; śaraṇam—shelter; vrajema—shall I take.
Alas, how shall I take shelter of one more merciful than Him who granted the position of mother to a she-demon [Pūtanā] although she was unfaithful and she prepared deadly poison to be sucked from her breast?
Here is an example of the extreme mercy of the Lord, even to His enemy. It is said that a noble man accepts the good qualities of a person of doubtful character, just as one accepts nectar from a stock of poison. In His babyhood, He was administered deadly poison by Pūtanā, a she-demon who tried to kill the wonderful baby. And because she was a demon, it was impossible for her to know that the Supreme Lord, even though playing the part of a baby, was no one less than the same Supreme Personality of Godhead. His value as the Supreme Lord did not diminish upon His becoming a baby to please His devotee Yaśodā. The Lord may assume the form of a baby or a shape other than that of a human being, but it doesn’t make the slightest difference; He is always the same Supreme. A living creature, however powerful he may become by dint of severe penance, can never become equal to the Supreme Lord.
Lord Kṛṣṇa accepted the motherhood of Pūtanā because she pretended to be an affectionate mother, allowing Kṛṣṇa to suck her breast. The Lord accepts the least qualification of the living entity and awards him the highest reward. That is the standard of His character. Therefore, who but the Lord can be the ultimate shelter?
manye ‘surān bhāgavatāṁs tryadhīśe
ye saṁyuge ‘cakṣata tārkṣya-putram
aṁse sunābhāyudham āpatantam
manye—I think; asurān—the demons; bhāgavatān—great devotees; tri-adhīśe—unto the Lord of the threes; saṁrambha—enmity; mārga—by the way of; abhiniviṣṭa-cittān—absorbed in thought; ye—those; saṁyuge—in the fight; acakṣata—could see; tārkṣya-putram—Garuḍa, the carrier of the Lord; aṁse—on the shoulder; sunābha—the wheel; ayudham—one who carries the weapon; āpatantam—coming forward.
I consider the demons, who are inimical toward the Lord, to be more than the devotees because while fighting with the Lord, absorbed in thoughts of enmity, they are able to see the Lord carried on the shoulder of Garuḍa, the son of Tārkṣya [Kaśyapa], and carrying the wheel weapon in His hand.
The asuras who fought against the Lord face to face got salvation due to their being killed by the Lord. This salvation of the demons is not due to their being devotees of the Lord; it is because of the Lord’s causeless mercy. Anyone who is slightly in touch with the Lord, somehow or other, is greatly benefited, even to the point of salvation, due to the excellence of the Lord. He is so kind that He awards salvation even to His enemies because they come into contact with Him and are indirectly absorbed in Him by their inimical thoughts. Actually, the demons can never be equal to the pure devotees, but Uddhava was thinking in that way because of his feelings of separation. He was thinking that at the last stage of his life he might not be able to see the Lord face to face as did the demons. The fact is that the devotees who are always engaged in the devotional service of the Lord in transcendental love are rewarded many hundreds and thousands of times more than the demons by being elevated to the spiritual planets, where they remain with the Lord in eternal, blissful existence. The demons and impersonalists are awarded the facility of merging in the brahmajyoti effulgence of the Lord, whereas the devotees are admitted into the spiritual planets. For comparison, one can just imagine the difference between floating in space and residing in one of the planets in the sky. The pleasure of the living entities on the planets is greater than that of those who have no body and who merge with the molecules of the sun’s rays. The impersonalists, therefore, are no more favored than the enemies of the Lord; rather, they are both on the same level of spiritual salvation.
cikīrṣur bhagavān asyāḥ
vasudevasya—of the wife of Vasudeva; devakyām—in the womb of Devakī; jātaḥ—born of; bhoja-indra—the King of the Bhojas; bandhane—in the prison house; cikīrṣuḥ—for doing; bhagavān—the Personality of Godhead; asyāḥ—of the earth; śam—welfare; ajena—by Brahmā; abhiyācitaḥ—being prayed for.
The Personality of Godhead, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, being prayed to by Brahmā to bring welfare to the earth, was begotten by Vasudeva in the womb of his wife Devakī in the prison of the King of Bhoja.
Although there is no difference between the Lord’s pastimes of appearance and disappearance, the devotees of the Lord do not generally discuss the subject matter of His disappearance. Vidura inquired indirectly from Uddhava about the incidence of His disappearance, since he asked him to relate Kṛṣṇa-kathā, or topics on the history of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Thus Uddhava began the topics from the very beginning of His appearance as the son of Vasudeva and Devakī in the prison of Kaṁsa, the King of the Bhojas, at Mathurā; The Lord has no business in this world, but when He is so requested by devotees like Brahmā, He descends on the earth for the welfare of the entire universe. This is stated in Bhagavad-gītā (4.8): paritrāṇāya sādhūnāṁ vināśāya ca duṣkṛtām dharma-saṁsthāpanārthāya sambhavāmi yuge yuge.
tato nanda-vrajam itaḥ
pitrā kaṁsād vibibhyatā
ekādaśa samās tatra
gūḍhārciḥ sabalo ‘vasat
tataḥ—thereafter; nanda-vrajam—cow pastures of Nanda Mahārāja; itaḥ—being brought up; pitrā—by His father; kaṁsāt—from Kaṁsa; vibibhyatā—being afraid of; ekādaśa—eleven; samāḥ—years; tatra—therein; gūḍha-arciḥ—covered fire; sabalaḥ—with Baladeva; avasat—resided.
Thereafter, His father, being afraid of Kaṁsa, brought Him to the cow pastures of Mahārāja Nanda, and there He lived for eleven years like a covered flame with His elder brother Baladeva.
There was no necessity of the Lord’s being dispatched to the house of Nanda Mahārāja out of fear of Kaṁsa’s determination to kill Him as soon as He appeared. It is the business of the asuras to try to kill the Supreme Personality of Godhead or to prove by all means that there is no God or that Kṛṣṇa is an ordinary human being and not God. Lord Kṛṣṇa is not affected by such determination of men of Kaṁsa’s class, but in order to play the role of a child He agreed to be carried by His father to the cow pastures of Nanda Mahārāja because Vasudeva was afraid of Kaṁsa. Nanda Mahārāja was due to receive Him as his child, and Yaśodāmayī was also to enjoy the childhood pastimes of the Lord, and therefore to fulfill everyone’s desire, He was carried from Mathurā to Vṛndāvana just after His appearance in the prison house of Kaṁsa. He lived there for eleven years and completed all His fascinating pastimes of childhood, boyhood and adolescence with His elder brother, Lord Baladeva, His first expansion. Vasudeva’s thought of protecting Kṛṣṇa from the wrath of Kaṁsa is part of a transcendental relationship. The Lord enjoys more when someone takes Him as his subordinate son who needs the protection of a father than He does when someone accepts Him as the Supreme Lord. He is the father of everyone, and He protects everyone, but when His devotee takes it for granted that the Lord is to be protected by the devotee’s care, it is a transcendental joy for the Lord. Thus when Vasudeva, out of fear of Karnsa, carried Him to Vṛndāvana, the Lord enjoyed it; otherwise, He had no fear from Kaṁsa or anyone else.
parīto vatsapair vatsāṁś
cārayan vyaharad vibhuḥ
paritaḥ—surrounded by; vatsapaiḥ—cowherd boys; vatsān—calves; cārayan—herding, tending; vyaharat—enjoyed by traveling; vibhuḥ—the Almighty; yamunā—the Yamunā River; upavane—gardens on the shore; kūjat—vibrated by the voice; dvija—the twice-born birds; saṅkulita—densely situated; aṅghripe—trees.
In His childhood, the Almighty Lord was surrounded by cowherd boys and calves, and thus He traveled on the shore of the Yamunā River, through gardens densely covered with trees and filled with vibrations of chirping birds.
Nanda Mahārāja was a landholder for King Kaṁsa, but because by caste he was a vaiśya, a member of the mercantile and agricultural community, he maintained thousands of cows. It is the duty of the vaiśyas to give protection to the cows, just as the kṣatriyas are to give protection to the human beings. Because the Lord was a child, He was put in charge of the calves with His other cowherd boy friends. These cowherd boys were great ṛṣis and yogīs in their previous births, and after many such pious births, they gained the association of the Lord and could play with Him on equal terms. Such cowherd boys never cared to know who Kṛṣṇa was, but they played with Him as a most intimate and lovable friend. They were so fond of the Lord that at night they would only think of the next morning when they would be able to meet the Lord and go together to the forests for cowherding.
The forests on the shore of the Yamunā are all beautiful gardens full of trees of mango, jackfruit, apples, guava, oranges, grapes, berries, palmfruit and so many other plants and fragrant flowers. And because the forest was on the bank of the Yamunā, naturally there were ducks, cranes and peacocks on the branches of the trees. All these trees and birds and beasts were pious living entities born in the transcendental abode of Vṛndāvana just to give pleasure to the Lord and His eternal associates, the cowherd boys.
While playing like a small child with His associates, the Lord killed many demons, including Aghāsura, Bakāsura, Pralambāsura and Gardabhāsura. Although He appeared at Vṛndāvana just as a boy, He was actually like the covered flames of a fire. As a small particle of fire can kindle a great fire with fuel, so the Lord killed all these great demons, beginning from His babyhood in the house of Nanda Mahārāja. The land of Vṛndāvana, the Lord’s childhood playground, still remains today, and anyone who visits these places enjoys the same transcendental bliss, although the Lord is not physically visible to our imperfect eyes. Lord Caitanya recommended this land of the Lord as identical with the Lord and therefore worshipable by the devotees. This instruction is taken up especially by the followers of Lord Caitanya known as the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavas. And because the land is identical with the Lord, devotees like Uddhava and Vidura therefore visited these places five thousand years ago in order to have direct contact with the Lord, visible or not visible. Thousands of devotees of the Lord are still wandering in these sacred places of Vṛndāvana, and all of them are preparing themselves to go back home, back to Godhead.
kaumārīṁ darśayaṁś ceṣṭāṁ
rudann iva hasan mugdha-
kaumārīm—just suitable to childhood; darśayan—used to show; ceṣṭām—activities; prekṣaṇīyām—worthy to be seen; vraja-okasām—by the inhabitants of the land of Vṛndāvana; rudan—crying; iva—just like; hasan—laughing; mugdha—struck with wonder; bāla-siṁha—lion cub; avalokanaḥ—looking like that.
When the Lord displayed His activities just suitable for childhood, He was only visible to the residents of Vṛndāvana. Sometimes He would cry and sometimes laugh, just like a child, and while so doing He would appear like a lion cub.
If anyone wants to enjoy the childhood pastimes of the Lord, then he has to follow in the footsteps of the residents of Vrajavāsī like Nanda, Upananda and other parental inhabitants. A child may insist on having something and cry like anything to get it, disturbing the whole neighborhood, and then immediately after achieving the desired thing, he laughs. Such crying and laughing is enjoyable to the parents and elderly members of the family, so the Lord would simultaneously cry and laugh in this way and merge His devotee parents in the humor of transcendental pleasure. These incidents are enjoyable only by the residents of Vraja like Nanda Mahārāja, and not by the impersonalist worshipers of Brahman or Paramātmā. Sometimes when He was attacked in the forest by demons, Kṛṣṇa would appear struck with wonder, but He looked on them like the cub of a lion and killed them. His childhood companions would also be struck with wonder, and when they came back home they would narrate the story to their parents, and everyone would appreciate the qualities of their Kṛṣṇa. Child Kṛṣṇa did not belong only to His parents, Nanda and Yaśodā, but He was the son of all the elderly inhabitants of Vṛndāvana and the friend of all contemporary boys and girls. Everyone loved Kṛṣṇa; He was the life and soul of everyone, including the animals, the cows and the calves.
sa eva go-dhanaṁ lakṣmyā
cārayann anugān gopān
saḥ—He (Lord Kṛṣṇa); eva—certainly; go-dhanam—the treasure of cows; lakṣmyāḥ—by opulence; niketam—reservoir; sita-go-vṛṣam—beautiful cows and bulls; cārayan—herding; anugān—the followers; gopān—cowherd boys; raṇat—blowing; veṇuḥ—flute; arīramat—enlivened.
While herding the very beautiful bulls, the Lord, who was the reservoir of all opulence and fortune, used to blow His flute, and thus He enlivened His faithful followers, the cowherd boys.
As He grew to six and seven years old, the Lord was given charge of looking after the cows and bulls in the grazing grounds. He was the son of a well-to-do landholder who owned hundreds and thousands of cows, and according to Vedic economics, one is considered to be a rich man by the strength of his store of grains and cows. With only these two things, cows and grain, humanity can solve its eating problem. Human society needs only sufficient grain and sufficient cows to solve its economic problems. All other things but these two are artificial necessities created by man to kill his valuable life at the human level and waste his time in things which are not needed. Lord Kṛṣṇa, as the teacher of human society, personally showed by His acts that the mercantile community or the vaiśyas should herd cows and bulls and thus give protection to the valuable animals. According to smṛti regulation, the cow is the mother and the bull the father of the human being. The cow is the mother because just as one sucks the breast of one’s mother, human society takes cow’s milk. Similarly, the bull is the father of human society because the father earns for the children just as the bull tills the ground to produce food grains. Human society will kill its spirit of life by killing the father and the mother. It is mentioned herein that the beautiful cows and bulls were of various checkered colors—red, black, green, yellow, ash, etc. And because of their colors and healthy smiling features, the atmosphere was enlivening.
Over and above all, the Lord used to play His celebrated flute. The sound vibrated by His flute would give His friends such transcendental pleasure that they would forget all the talks of the brahmānanda which is so praised by the impersonalists. These cowherd boys, as will be explained by Śukadeva Gosvāmī, were living entities who had accumulated heaps of pious acts and thus were enjoying with the Lord in person and were hearing His transcendental flute. The Brahma-saṁhitā confirms the Lord’s blowing His transcendental flute.
veṇuṁ kvaṇantam aravinda-dalāyatākṣaṁ
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi (Bs. 5.30)
Brahmājī said, "I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who plays on His transcendental flute. His eyes are like lotus flowers, He is decorated with peacock plumes, and His bodily color resembles a fresh black cloud although His bodily features are more beautiful than millions of cupids." These are the special features of the Lord.
līlayā vyanudat tāṁs tān
bālaḥ krīḍanakān iva
prayuktān—engaged; bhoja-rājena—by King Kaṁsa; māyinaḥ—great wizards; kāma-rūpiṇaḥ—who could assume any form they liked; līlayā—in the course of the pastimes; vyanudat—killed; tān—them; tān—as they came there; bālaḥ—the child; krīḍanakān—dolls; iva—like that.
The great wizards who were able to assume any form were engaged by the King of Bhoja, Kaṁsa, to kill Kṛṣṇa, but in the course of His pastimes the Lord killed them as easily as a child breaks dolls.
The atheist Kaṁsa wanted to kill Kṛṣṇa just after His birth. He failed to do so, but later on he got information that Kṛṣṇa was living in Vṛndāvana at the house of Nanda Mahārāja. He therefore engaged many wizards who could perform wonderful acts and assume any form they liked. All of them appeared before the child Lord in various forms, like Agha, Baka, Pūtanā, Śakaṭa, Tṛṇāvarta, Dhenuka and Gardabha, and they tried to kill the Lord at every opportunity. But one after another, all of them were killed by the Lord as if He were only playing with dolls. Children play with toy lions, elephants, boars and many similar dolls, which are broken by the children in the course of their playing with them. Before the Almighty Lord, any powerful living being is just like a toy lion in the hands of a playing child. No one can excel God in any capacity, and therefore no one can be equal to or greater than Him, nor can anyone attain the stage of equality with God by any kind of endeavor. Jñāna, yoga and bhakti are three recognized processes of spiritual realization. The perfection of such processes can lead one to the desired goal of life in spiritual value, but that does not mean that one can attain a perfection equal to the Lord’s by such endeavors. The Lord is the Lord at every stage. When He was playing just like a child on the lap of His mother Yaśodāmayī or just like a cowherd boy with His transcendental friends, He continued to remain God, without the slightest diminution of His six opulences. Thus He is always unrivaled.
tat toyaṁ prakṛti-sthitam
vipannān—perplexed in great difficulties; viṣa-pānena—by drinking poison; nigṛhya—subduing; bhujaga-ādhipam—the chief of the reptiles; utthāpya—after coming out; apāyayat—caused to drink; gāvaḥ—the cows; tat—that; toyam—water; prakṛti—natural; sthitam—situated.
The inhabitants of Vṛndāvana were perplexed by great difficulties because a certain portion of the Yamunā was poisoned by the chief of the reptiles [Kāliya]. The Lord chastised the snake king within the water and drove him away, and after coming out of the river, He caused the cows to drink the water and proved that the water was again in its natural state.
cikīrṣan sadvyayaṁ vibhuḥ
ayājayat—made to perform; go-savena—by worship of the cows; gopa-rājam—the king of the cowherds; dvija-uttamaiḥ—by the learned brāhmaṇas; vittasya—of the wealth; ca—also; uru-bhārasya—great opulence; cikīrṣan—desiring to act; sadvyayam—proper utilization; vibhuḥ—the great.
The Supreme Lord, Kṛṣṇa, desired to utilize the opulent financial strength of Mahārāja Nanda for worship of the cows, and also He wanted to give a lesson to Indra, the King of heaven. Thus He advised His father to perform worship of go, or the pasturing land and the cows, with the help of learned brāhmaṇas.
Since He is the teacher of everyone, the Lord also taught His father, Nanda Mahārāja. Nanda Mahārāja was a well-to-do landholder and owner of many cows, and, as was the custom, he used to perform yearly worship of Indra, the King of heaven, with great opulence. This worship of demigods by the general populace is also advised in the Vedic literature just so people can accept the superior power of the Lord. The demigods are servants of the Lord deputed to look after the management of various activities of universal affairs. Therefore it is advised in the Vedic scriptures that one should perform yajñas to appease the demigods. But one who is devoted to the Supreme Lord has no need to appease the demigods. Worship of the demigods by common people is an arrangement for acknowledging the supremacy of the Supreme Lord, but it is not necessary. Such appeasement is generally recommended for material gains only. As we have already discussed in the Second Canto of this literature, one who admits the supremacy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead does not need to worship the secondary demigods. Sometimes, being worshiped and adored by less intelligent living beings, the demigods become puffed up with power and forget the supremacy of the Lord. This happened when Lord Kṛṣṇa was present in the universe, and thus the Lord wanted to give a lesson to the King of heaven, Indra. He therefore asked Mahārāja Nanda to stop the sacrifice offered to Indra and to use the money properly by performing a ceremony worshiping the cows and the pasturing ground on the hill of Govardhana. By this act Lord Kṛṣṇa taught human society, as He has instructed in the Bhagavad-gītā also, that one should worship the Supreme Lord by all acts and by all their results. That will bring about the desired success. The vaiśyas are specifically advised to give protection to the cows and their pasturing ground or agricultural land instead of squandering their hard-earned money. That will satisfy the Lord. The perfection of one’s occupational duty, whether in the sphere of duty to oneself, one’s community or one’s nation, is judged by the degree to which the Lord is satisfied.
varṣatīndre vrajaḥ kopād
varṣati—in pouring water; indre—by the King of heaven, Indra; vrajaḥ—the land of cows (Vṛndāvana); kopāt bhagnamāne—having been in anger on being insulted; ati—highly; vihvalaḥ—perturbed; gotra—the hill for the cows; līlā-tapatreṇa—by the pastime umbrella; trātaḥ—were protected; bhadra—O sober one; anugṛhṇatā—by the merciful Lord.
O sober Vidura, King Indra, his honor having been insulted, poured water incessantly on Vṛndāvana, and thus the inhabitants of Vraja, the land of cows, were greatly distressed. But the compassionate Lord Kṛṣṇa saved them from danger with His pastime umbrella, the Govardhana Hill.
gāyan kala-padaṁ reme
śarat—autumn; śaśi—moon; karaiḥ—by the shine; mṛṣṭam—brightened; mānayan—thinking so; rajanī-mukham—the face of the night; gāyan—singing; kala-padam—pleasing songs; reme—enjoyed; strīṇām—of the women; maṇḍala-maṇḍanaḥ—as the central beauty of the assembly of women.
In the third season of the year, the Lord enjoyed the central beauty of the assembly of women by attracting them with His pleasing songs in an autumn night brightened by moonshine.
Before leaving the land of cows, Vṛndāvana, the Lord pleased His young girl friends, the transcendental gopīs, in His rāsa-līlā pastimes. Here Uddhava stopped his description of the Lord’s activities.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta PURPORTs of the Third Canto, Second Chapter, of the. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, entitled "Remembrance of Lord Kṛṣṇa."
The Lord’s Pastimes Out of Vṛndāvana
tataḥ sa āgatya puraṁ sva-pitroś
cikīrṣayā śaṁ baladeva-saṁyutaḥ
nipātya tuṅgād ripu-yūtha-nāthaṁ
hataṁ vyakarṣad vyasum ojasorvyām
śrī uddhavaḥ uvāca—Śrī Uddhava said; tataḥ—thereafter; saḥ—the Lord; āgatya—coming; puram—the city of Mathurā; sva-pitroḥ—own parents; cikīrṣayā—wishing well; śam—well-being; baladeva-saṁyutaḥ—with Lord Baladeva; nipātya—dragging down; tuṅgāt—from the throne; ripu-yūtha-nātham—leader of public enemies; hatam—killed; vyakarṣat—pulled; vyasum—on the ground; ojasā—by strength; urvyām—very great.
Śrī Uddhava said: Thereafter Lord Kṛṣṇa went to Mathurā City with Śrī Baladeva, and to please Their parents They dragged Kaṁsa, the leader of public enemies, down from his throne and killed him, pulling him along the ground with great strength.
King Kaṁsa’s death is only briefly described here because such pastimes are vividly and elaborately described in the Tenth Canto. The Lord proved to be a worthy son of His parents even at the age of sixteen years. Both brothers, Lord Kṛṣṇa and Lord Baladeva, went to Mathurā from Vṛndāvana and killed Their maternal uncle, who had given so much trouble to Their parents, Vasudeva and Devakī. Kaṁsa was a great giant, and Vasudeva and Devakī never thought that Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma (Baladeva) would be able to kill such a great and strong enemy. When the two brothers attacked Kaṁsa on the throne, Their parents feared that now Kaṁsa would finally get the opportunity to kill their sons, whom they had hidden for so long in the house of Nanda Mahārāja. The parents of the Lord, due to parental affection, felt extreme danger, and they almost fainted. Just to convince them that They had actually killed Kaṁsa, Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva pulled Kaṁsa’s dead body along the ground to encourage them.
sāndīpaneḥ sakṛt proktaṁ
tasmai prādād varaṁ putraṁ
sāndīpaneḥ—of Sāndīpani Muni; sakṛt—once only; proktam—instructed; brahma—all the Vedas with their different branches of knowledge; adhītya—after studying; savistaram—in all details; tasmai—unto him; prādāt—rewarded; varam—benediction; putram—son; mṛtam—who was already dead; pañca-jana—the region of the departed souls; udarāt—from within.
The Lord learned all the Vedas with their different branches simply by hearing them once from His teacher, Sāndīpani Muni, whom he rewarded by bringing back his dead son from the region of Yamaloka.
No one but the Supreme Lord can become well-versed in all the branches of Vedic wisdom simply by hearing once from his teacher. Nor can anyone bring a dead body back to life after the soul has already gone to the region of Yamarāja. But Lord Kṛṣṇa ventured to the planet of Yamaloka and found the dead son of His teacher and brought him back to his father as a reward for the instructions received. The Lord is constitutionally well-versed in all the Vedas, and yet to teach by example that everyone must go to learn the Vedas from an authorized teacher and must satisfy the teacher by service and reward, He Himself adopted this system. The Lord offered His services to His teacher, Sāndīpani Muni, and the muni, knowing the power of the Lord, asked something which was impossible to be done by anyone else. The teacher asked that his beloved son, who had died, be brought back to him, and the Lord fulfilled the request. The Lord is not, therefore, an ingrate to anyone who renders Him some sort of service. The devotees of the Lord who always engage in His loving service are never to be disappointed in the progressive march of devotional service.
samāhutā bhīṣmaka-kanyayā ye
śriyaḥ savarṇena bubhūṣayaiṣām
gāndharva-vṛttyā miṣatāṁ sva-bhāgaṁ
jahre padaṁ mūrdhni dadhat suparṇaḥ
samāhutāḥ—invited; bhīṣmaka—of King Bhīṣmaka; kanyayā—by the daughter; ye—all those; śriyaḥ—fortune; savarṇena—by a similar sequence; bubhūṣayā—expecting to be so; eṣām—of them; gāndharva—in marrying; vṛttyā—by such a custom; miṣatām—carrying so; sva-bhāgam—own share; jahre—took away; padam—let; mūrdhni—on the head; dadhat—placed; suparṇaḥ—Garuḍa.
Attracted by the beauty and fortune of Rukmiṇī, the daughter of King Bhīṣmaka, many great princes and kings assembled to marry her. But Lord Kṛṣṇa, stepping over the other hopeful candidates, carried her away as His own share, as Garuḍa carried away nectar.
Princess Rukmiṇī, the daughter of King Bhīṣmaka, was actually as attractive as fortune itself because she was as valuable as gold both in color and value. Since the goddess of fortune, Lakṣmī, is the property of the Supreme Lord, Rukmiṇī was actually meant for Lord Kṛṣṇa. But Śiśupāla was selected as her bridegroom by Rukmiṇī’s elder brother, although King Bhīṣmaka wanted his daughter to be married to Kṛṣṇa. Rukmiṇī invited Kṛṣṇa to take her away from the clutches of Śiśupāla, so when the bridegroom, Śiśupāla, came there with his party with the desire to marry Rukmiṇī, Kṛṣṇa all of a sudden swept her from the scene, stepping over the heads of all the princes there, just as Garuḍa carried away nectar from the hands of the demons. This incident will be clearly explained in the Tenth Canto.
kakudmino ‘viddhanaso damitvā
svayaṁvare nāgnajitīm uvāha
tad-bhagnamānān api gṛdhyato jñāñ
jaghne ‘kṣataḥ śastra-bhṛtaḥ sva-śastraiḥ
kakudminaḥ—bulls whose noses were not pierced; aviddhanasaḥ—pierced by the nose; damitvā—subduing; svayaṁvare—in the open competition to select the bridegroom; nāgnajitī—Princess Nāgnijitī; uvāha—married; tat-bhagnamānāḥ—in that way all who were disappointed; api—even though; gṛdhyaytaḥ—wanted; ajñān—fools; jaghne—killed and wounded; akṣataḥ—without being wounded; śāstra-bhṛtaḥ—equipped with all weapons; sva-śastraiḥ—by His own weapons.
By subduing seven bulls whose noses were not pierced, the Lord achieved the hand of Princess Nāgnijitī in the open competition to select her bridegroom. Although the Lord was victorious, His competitors asked the hand of the Princess, and thus there was a fight. Well-equipped with weapons, the Lord killed or wounded all of them, but He was not hurt Himself.
priyaṁ prabhur grāmya iva priyāyā
vidhitsur ārcchad dyutaruṁ yad-arthe
vajry ādravat taṁ sagaṇo ruṣāndhaḥ
krīḍā-mṛgo nūnam ayaṁ vadhūnām
priyam—of the dear wife; prabhuḥ—the Lord; grāmyaḥ—ordinary living being; iva—in the manner of; priyāyāḥ—just to please; vidhitsuḥ—wishing; ārcchat—brought about; dyutarum—the pārijāta flower tree; yat—for which; arthe—in the matter of; vajrī—Indra, the King of heaven; ādravat tam—went forward to fight with Him; sa-gaṇaḥ—with full strength; ruṣā—in anger; andhaḥ—blind; krīḍā-mṛgāḥ—henpecked; nūnam—of course; ayam—this; vadhūnām—of the wives.
Just to please His dear wife, the Lord brought back the pārijāta tree from heaven, just as an ordinary husband would do. But Indra, the King of heaven, induced by his wives (henpecked as he was), ran after the Lord with full force to fight Him.
The Lord once went to the heavenly planet to present an earring to Aditi, the mother of the demigods, and His wife Satyabhāmā also went with Him. There is a special flowering tree called the pārijāta which grows only in the heavenly planets, and Satyabhāmā wanted this tree. Just to please His wife, like an ordinary husband, the Lord brought back the tree, and this enraged Vajrī, or the controller of the thunderbolt. Indra’s wives inspired him to run after the Lord to fight, and Indra, because he was a henpecked husband and also a fool, listened to them and dared to fight with Kṛṣṇa. He was a fool on this occasion because he forgot that everything belongs to the Lord. There was no fault on the part of the Lord, even though He took away the tree from the heavenly kingdom, but because he was henpecked, dominated by his beautiful wives like Śacī, Indra became a fool, just as all persons who are dominated by their wives are generally foolish. Indra thought that Kṛṣṇa was a henpecked husband who only by the will of His wife Satyabhāmā took away the property of heaven, and therefore he thought that Kṛṣṇa could be punished. He forgot that the Lord is the proprietor of everything and cannot be henpecked. The Lord is fully independent, and by His will only He can have hundreds and thousands of wives like Satyabhāmā. He was not, therefore, attached to Satyabhāmā because she was a beautiful wife, but He was pleased with her devotional service and thus wanted to reciprocate the unalloyed devotion of His devotee.
sutaṁ mṛdhe khaṁ vapuṣā grasantaṁ
dṛṣṭvā sunābhon mathitaṁ dharitryā
āmantritas tat-tanayāya śeṣaṁ
dattvā tad-antaḥ-puram āviveśa
sutam—son; mṛdhe—in the fight; kham—the sky; vapuṣā—by his body; grasantam—while devouring; dṛṣṭvā—seeing; sunābhot—by the sudarśana wheel; mathitam—killed; dharitryā—by the earth; āmantritaḥ—being prayed for; tat-tanayāya—to the son of Narakāsura; śeṣam—that which was taken from; dattvā—returning; it; tat—his; antaḥ-puram—inside the house; āviveśa—entered.
Narakāsura, the son of Dharitrī, the earth, tried to grasp the whole sky, and for this he was killed by the Lord in a fight. His mother then prayed to the Lord, which led to the return of the kingdom to the son of Narakāsura, and thus the Lord entered the house of the demon.
It is said in other Purāṇas that Narakāsura was the son of Dharitrī, the earth, by the Lord Himself. But he became a demon due to the bad association of Bāṇa, another demon. An atheist is called a demon, and it is a fact that even a person born of good parents can turn into a demon by bad association. Birth is not always the criterion of goodness; unless and until one is trained in the culture of good association, one cannot become good.
tatrāhṛtās tā nara-deva-kanyāḥ
kujena dṛṣṭvā harim ārta-bandhum
utthāya sadyo jagṛhuḥ praharṣa-
tatra—inside the house of Narakāsura; āhṛtāḥ—kidnapped; tāḥ—all those; nara-deva-kanyāḥ—daughters of many kings; kujena—by the demon; dṛṣṭvā—by seeing; harim—the Lord; ārta-bandhum—the friend of the distressed; utthāya—at once got up; sadyaḥ—then and there; jagṛhuḥ—accepted; praharṣa—joyfully; vrīḍa—shyness; anurāga—attachment; prahita-avalokaiḥ—by eager glancing.
There in the house of the demon, all the princesses kidnapped by Narakāsura at once became alert upon seeing the Lord, the friend of the distressed. They looked upon Him with eagerness, joy and shyness and offered to be His wives.
Narakāsura kidnapped many daughters of great kings and kept them imprisoned in his palace. But when he was killed by the Lord and the Lord entered the house of the demon, all the princesses were enlivened with joy and offered to become His wives because the Lord is the only friend of the distressed. Unless the Lord accepted them, there would be no chance of their being married because the demon kidnapped them from their fathers’ custody and therefore no one would agree to marry them. According to Vedic society, girls are transferred from the custody of the father to the custody of the husband. Since these princesses had already been taken away from the custody of their fathers, it would have been difficult for them to have any husband other than the Lord Himself.
āsāṁ muhūrta ekasmin
savidhaṁ jagṛhe pāṇīn
āsām—all those; muhūrta—at one time; ekasmin—simultaneously; nānā-gāreṣu—in different compartments; yoṣitām—of the women; sa-vidham—in perfect rituals; jagṛhe—accepted; pāṇīn—hands; anurūpaḥ—exactly to match; sva-māyayā—by His internal potency.
All those princesses were lodged in different apartments, and the Lord simultaneously assumed different bodily expansions exactly matching each and every princess, and He accepted their hands in perfect rituals by His internal potency.
In the Brahma-saṁhitā the Lord is described as follows in regard to His innumerable plenary expansions:
advaitam acyutam anādim ananta-rupam
ādyam purāṇa-purūṣam navayauvanaṁ ca
vedeṣu durllabham adurllabham ātma-bhaktau
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi (Bs. 5.33)
"The Lord, Govinda, whom I worship, is the original Personality of Godhead. He is nondifferent from His innumerable plenary expansions, who are all infallible, original and unlimited and who have eternal forms. Although He is primeval, the oldest personality, He is always fresh and young." By His internal potency the Lord can expand Himself into various personalities of svayam-prakāśa and again into prabhava and vaibhava forms, and all of them are nondifferent from one another. The forms into which the Lord expanded to marry the princesses in different apartments were all slightly different just to match each and every one of them. They are called vaibhava-vilāsa forms of the Lord and are effected by His internal potency, yoga-māyā.
tāsv apatyāny ajanayād
ekaikasyāṁ daśa daśa
tāsu—unto them; apatyāni—offspring; ajanayāt—begot; ātma-tulyāni—all like Himself; sarvataḥ—in all respects; eka-ekasyām—in each and every one of them; daśa—ten; daśa—ten; prakṛteḥ—for expanding Himself; vibubhūṣayā—so desiring.
Just to expand Himself according to His transcendental features, the Lord begot in each and every one of them ten offspring with exactly His own qualities.
anīkai rundhataḥ puram
ajīghanat svayaṁ divyaṁ
sva-puṁsāṁ teja ādiśat
kāla—Kālayavana; māgadha—the King of Magadha (Jarāsandha); śālva—King Śālva; ādīn—and others; anīkaiḥ—by the soldiers; rundhataḥ—being encircled; puram—the city of Mathurā; ajīghanat—killed; svayam—personally; divyam—transcendental; sva-puṁsām—of His own men; tejaḥ—prowess; ādiśat—exhibited.
Kālayavana, the King of Magadha and Śālva attacked the city of Mathurā, but when the city was encircled by their soldiers, the Lord refrained from killing them personally, just to show the power of His own men.
After the death of Kaṁsa, when Mathurā was encircled by the soldiers of Kālayavana, Jarāsandha and Śālva, the Lord seemingly fled from the city, and thus He is known as Ranchor, or one who fled from fighting. Actually, the fact was that the Lord wanted to kill them through the agency of His own men, devotees like Mucukunda, Bhīma, etc. Kālayavana and the King of Magadha were killed by Mucukunda and Bhīma respectively, who acted as agents of the Lord. By such acts the Lord wanted to exhibit the prowess of His devotees, as if He were personally unable to fight but His devotees could kill them. The relationship of the Lord with His devotees is a very happy one. Actually, the Lord descended at the request of Brahmā in order to kill all the undesirables of the world, but to divide the share of glory He sometimes engaged His devotees to take the credit. The Battle of Kurukṣetra was designed by the Lord Himself, but just to give credit to His devotee Arjuna (nimitta-mātraṁ bhava savyasācin), He played the part of the charioteer, while Arjuna was given the chance to play the fighter and thus become the hero of the Battle of Kurukṣetra. What He wants to do Himself by His transcendental plans, He executes through His confidential devotees. That is the way of the Lord’s mercy towards His pure unalloyed devotees.
śambaraṁ dvividaṁ bāṇaṁ
muraṁ balvalam eva ca
anyāṁś ca dantavakrādīn
avadhīt kāṁś ca ghātayat
śambaram—Śambara; dvividam—Dvivida; bāṇam—Bāṇa; muram—Mura; balvalam—Balvala; eva ca—as also; anyān—others; ca—also; dantavakra-ādīn—like Dantavakra and others; avadhīt—killed; kān ca—and many others; ghātayat—caused to be killed.
Of kings like Śambara, Dvivida, Bāṇa, Mura, Balvala and many other demons, such as Dantavakra, some He killed Himself, and some He caused to be killed by others [Śrī Baladeva, etc].
atha te bhrātṛ-putrāṇāṁ
pakṣayoḥ patitān nṛpān
cacāla bhūḥ kurukṣetraṁ
yeṣām āpatatāṁ balaiḥ
atha—thereafter; te—your; bhrātṛ-putrāṇām—of the nephews; pakṣayoḥ—sides; patitān—killed; nṛpān—kings; cacāla—shook; bhūḥ—the earth; kurukṣetram—Battle of Kurukṣetra; yeṣām—of whom; āpatatām—traversing; balaiḥ—by strength.
Then, O Vidura, the Lord caused all the kings, both the enemies and those on the side of your fighting nephews, to be killed in the Battle of Kurukṣetra. All those kings were so great and strong that the earth seemed to shake as they traversed the warfield.
suyodhanaṁ sānucaraṁ śayānaṁ
bhagnorum ūrvyāṁ na nananda paśyan
saḥ—He (the Lord); karṇa—Karṇa; duḥśāsana—Duḥśāsana; saubalānām-Saubala; kumantra-pākena—by the intricacy of ill advice; hata-śriya—bereft of fortune; āyuṣam—duration of life; suyodhanam—Duryodhana; sa-anucaram—with followers; śayānam—lying down; bhagna—broken; ūrum—thighs; urvyām—very powerful; na—did not; nananda—take pleasure; paśyan—seeing like that.
Duryodhana was bereft of his fortune and duration of life because of the intricacy of ill advice given by Karṇa, Duḥśāsana and Saubala. When he lay on the ground with his followers, his thighs broken although he was powerful, the Lord was not happy to see the scene.
The fall of Duryodhana, the leading son of Dhṛtarāṣṭra, was not pleasing to the Lord, although He was on the side of Arjuna and it was He who advised Bhīma how to break the thighs of Duryodhana while the fight was going on. The Lord is constrained to award punishment upon the wrongdoer, but He is not happy to award such punishments because the living entities are originally His parts and parcels. He is harder than the thunderbolt for the wrongdoer and softer than the rose for the faithful. The wrongdoer is misled by bad associates and by ill advice which is against the established principles of the Lord’s order, and thus he becomes subject to punishment. The surest path to happiness is to live by the principles laid down by the Lord and not to disobey His established laws, which are enacted in the Vedas and the Purāṇas for the forgetful living entities.
kiyān bhuvo ‘yaṁ kṣapitoru-bhāro
aṣṭādaśākṣauhiṇi ko madaṁśair
āste balaṁ durviṣahaṁ yadūnām
kiyān—what is this; bhuvaḥ—of the earth; ayam—this; kṣapita—abated; uru—very great; bhāraḥ—burden; yat—which; droṇa—Droṇa; bhīṣma—Bhīṣma; arjuna—Arjuna; bhīma—Bhīma; mūlaiḥ—on the background; aṣṭādaśa—eighteen; akṣauhiṇi—phalanxes of military strength (vide Bhāg. 1.16.34); kaḥ—who; madaṁśaiḥ—with My descendants; āste—are still there; balam—great strength; durviṣaham—unbearable; yadūnām—of the Yadu dynasty.
[After the end of the Battle of Kurukṣetra, the Lord said:] The abatement of the great burden of the earth has now been effected with the help of Droṇa, Bhīṣma, Arjuna and Bhīma. But what is this? There is still the great strength of the Yadu dynasty, born of Myself, which may be a more unbearable burden.
It is a wrong theory that due to an increase in population the world becomes overburdened and therefore there are wars and other annihilating processes. The earth is never overburdened. The heaviest mountains and oceans on the face of the earth hold more living entities than there are human beings, and they are not overburdened. If a census were taken of all the living beings on the surface of the earth, certainly it would be found that the number of humans is not even five percent of the total number of living beings. If the birth rate of human beings is increasing, then the birth rate of other living beings is increasing proportionately. The birth rate of lower animals—beasts, aquatics, birds, etc.—is far greater than that of human beings. There is an adequate arrangement for food for all the living beings all over the earth by the order of the Supreme Lord, and He can arrange more and more if there is actually a disproportionate increase of living beings.
Therefore, there is no question of an increase in population causing a burden. The earth became overburdened due to dharma-glāni, or irregular discharge of the Lord’s desire. The Lord appeared on the earth to curb the increase in miscreants, and not the increase in population, as is wrongly put forward by the mundane economist. When Lord Kṛṣṇa appeared, there had been a sufficient increase in miscreants who had violated the desire of the Lord. The material creation is meant for fulfilling the desire of the Lord, and His desire is that the conditioned souls who are unfit to enter into the kingdom of God have a chance to improve their conditions for entering. The entire process of cosmic arrangement is intended just to give a chance to the conditioned souls to enter the kingdom of God, and there is an adequate arrangement for their maintenance by the nature of the Lord.
Therefore, although there may be a great increase in population on the surface of the earth, if the people are exactly in line with God consciousness and are not miscreants, such a burden on the earth is a source of pleasure for her. There are two kinds of burdens. There is the burden of the beast and the burden of love. The burden of the beast is unbearable, but the burden of love is a source of pleasure. Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī describes the burden of love very practically. He says that the burden of the husband on the young wife, the burden of the child on the lap of the mother, and the burden of wealth on the businessman, although actually burdens from the viewpoint of heaviness, are sources of pleasure, and in the absence of such burdensome objects, one may feel the burden of separation, which is heavier to bear than the actual burden of love. When Lord Kṛṣṇa referred to the burden of the Yadu dynasty on the earth, He referred to something different than the burden of the beast. The large numbers of family members born of Lord Kṛṣṇa counted to some millions and were certainly a great increase in the population of the earth, but because all of them were expansions of the Lord Himself by His transcendental plenary expansions, they were a source of great pleasure for the earth. When the Lord referred to them in connection with the burden on the earth, He had in mind their imminent disappearance from the earth. All the members of the family of Lord Kṛṣṇa were incarnations of different demigods, and they were to disappear from the surface of the earth along with the Lord. When He referred to the unbearable heaviness on the earth in connection with the Yadu dynasty, He was referring to the burden of their separation Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī confirms this inference.
mitho yadaiṣāṁ bhavitā vivādo
naiṣāṁ vadhopāya iyān ato ‘nyo
mayy udyate ‘ntardadhate svayaṁ sma
mithaḥ—one another; yadā—when; eṣām—of them; bhavitā—will take place; vivādaḥ—quarrel; madhu-āmada—intoxication by drinking; tāmra-vilocanānām—of their eyes being copper-red; na—not; eṣām—of them; vadhopāya—means of disappearance; iyān—like this; ataḥ—besides this; anyaḥ—alternative; mayi—on My; udyate—disappearance; antardadhate—will disappear; svayam—themselves; sma—certainly.
When they quarrel among themselves, influenced by intoxication, with their eyes red like copper because of drinking [madhu], then only will they disappear; otherwise, it will not be possible. On My disappearance, this incident will take place.
The Lord and His associates appear and disappear by the will of the Lord. They are not subjected to the laws of material nature. No one was able to kill the family of the Lord, nor was there any possibility of their natural death by the laws of nature. The only means, therefore, for their disappearance was the makeshow of a fight amongst themselves, as if brawling in intoxication due to drinking. That so-called fighting would also take place by the will of the Lord, otherwise there would be no cause for their fighting. Just as Arjuna was made to be illusioned by family affection and thus the Bhagavad-gītā was spoken, so the Yadu dynasty was made to be intoxicated by the will of the Lord, and nothing more. The devotees and associates of the Lord are completely surrendered souls. Thus they are transcendental instruments in the hands of the Lord and can be used in any way the Lord desires. The pure devotees also enjoy such pastimes of the Lord because they want to see Him happy. Devotees of the Lord never assert independent individuality; on the contrary, they utilize their individuality in pursuit of the desires of the Lord, and this cooperation of the devotees with the Lord makes a perfect scene of the Lord’s pastimes.
evaṁ sañcintya bhagavān
sva-rājye sthāpya dharmajam
sādhūnāṁ vartma darśayan
evam—thus; sañcintya—thinking within Himself; bhagavān—the Personality of Godhead; sva-rājye—in his own kingdom; sthāpya—installing; dharmajam—Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira; nanda-yāmāsa—gladdened; suhṛdaḥ—friend of all; sādhūnām—of the saints; vartma—path; darśayan—by indication.
Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, thus thinking to Himself, established Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira in the position of supreme control of the world in order to show the ideal of administration on the path of piety.
uttarāyāṁ dhṛtaḥ pūror
sa vai drauṇy-astra-sampluṣṭaḥ
punar bhagavatā dhṛtaḥ
uttarāyām—unto Uttarā; dhṛtaḥ—conceived; pūroḥ—of Pūru; vaṁśaḥ—descendant; sādhu abhimanyunā—by the hero Abhimanyu; saḥ—he; vai—certainly; drauṇi-astra—by the weapon of Drauṇi, the son of Droṇa; sampluṣṭaḥ—being burnt; punaḥ—again for the second time; bhagavatā—by the Personality of Godhead; dhṛtaḥ—protected.
The embryo of the descendant of Pūru, who was begotten by the great hero Abhimanyu in the womb of Uttarā, his wife, was burnt by the weapon of the son of Droṇa, but later on he was again protected by the Lord.
The embryonic body of Parīkṣit which was in formation after Uttarā’s pregnancy by Abhimanyu, the great hero, was burned by the brahmāstra of Aśvatthāmā, but a second body was given by the Lord within the womb, and thus the descendant of Pūru was saved. This incident is the direct proof that the body and the living entity, the spiritual spark, are different. When the living entity takes shelter in the womb of a woman through the injection of the semina of a man, there is an emulsification of the man’s and woman’s discharges, and thus a body is formed the size of a pea, gradually developing into a complete body. But if the developing embryo is destroyed in some way or other, the living entity has to take shelter in another body or in the womb of another woman. The particular living entity who was selected to be the descendant of Mahārāja Pūru, or the Pāṇḍavas, was not an ordinary living entity, and by the superior will of the Lord he was destined to be the successor to Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira. Therefore, when Aśvatthāmā destroyed the embryo of Mahārāja Parīkṣit, the Lord, by His own internal potency, entered into the womb of Uttarā by His plenary portion just to give audience to the would-be Mahārāja Parīkṣit, who was in great danger. By His appearance within the womb, the Lord encouraged the child and gave him complete protection in a new body by His omnipotency. By His power of omnipresence He was present both inside and outside of Uttarā and other members of the Pāṇḍava family.
aśva-medhais tribhir vibhuḥ
so ‘pi kṣmām anujai rakṣan
reme kṛṣṇam anuvrataḥ
ayājayat—made to perform; dharma-sutam—by the son of Dharma (Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira); aśva-medhaiḥ—by horse sacrifices; tribhiḥ—three; vibhuḥ—the Supreme Lord; saḥ—Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira; api—also; kṣmām—the earth; anujaiḥ—assisted by his younger brothers; rakṣan—protecting; reme—enjoyed; kṛṣṇam—Kṛṣṇa, the Personality of Godhead; anuvrataḥ—constant follower.
The Supreme Lord induced the son of Dharma to perform three horse sacrifices, and Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira, constantly following Kṛṣṇa, the Personality of Godhead, protected and enjoyed the earth, assisted by his younger brothers.
Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira was the ideal monarchical representative on the earth because he was a constant follower of the Supreme Lord, Śrī Kṛṣṇa. As stated in the Vedas (Īśopaniṣad), the Lord is the proprietor of the entire manifested cosmic creation, which presents a chance for the conditioned souls to revive their eternal relationship with the Lord and thus go back to Godhead, back home. The whole system of the material world is arranged with that program and plan. Anyone who violates the plan is punished by the law of nature, which is acting by the direction of the Supreme Lord. Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira was installed on the throne of the earth as a representative of the Lord. The king is always expected to be the representative of the Lord. Perfect monarchy necessitates representation of the supreme will of the Lord, and Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira was the ideal monarch on this supreme principle. Both the King and the subjects were happy in the discharge of worldly duties, and thus protection of the citizens and enjoyment of natural life, with full cooperation of material nature, followed in the reign of Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira and his worthy descendants like Mahārāja Parīkṣit.
bhagavān api viśvātmā
kāmān siṣeve dvārvatyām
asaktaḥ sāṅkhyam āsthitaḥ
bhagavān—the Personality of Godhead; api—also; viśva-ātma—the Supersoul of the universe; loka—custom; veda—the Vedic principles; patha-anugaḥ—follower of the path; kāmān—the necessities of life; siṣeve—enjoyed; dvārvatyām—in the city of Dvārakā; asaktaḥ—without being attached; sāṅkhyam—knowledge in Sāṅkhya philosophy; āsthitaḥ—being situated.
Simultaneously, the Personality of Godhead enjoyed life in the city of Dvārakā, strictly in conformity with the Vedic customs of society. He was situated in detachment and knowledge, as enunciated by the Sāṅkhya system of philosophy.
While Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira was the Emperor of the earth, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa was the King of Dvārakā and was known as Dvārakādhīśa. Like other subordinate kings, He was under the regime of Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira.
Although Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is the supreme emperor of the entire creation, while He was on this earth He never violated the principles of the Vedic injunctions because they are the guide for human life. Regulated human life according to the Vedic principles, which are based on the system of knowledge called Sāṅkhya philosophy, is the real way of enjoyment of the necessities of life. Without such knowledge, detachment and custom, the so-called human civilization is no more than an animal society of eat, drink, be merry and enjoy. The Lord was acting freely, as He willed, yet by His practical example He taught not to lead a life which goes against the principles of detachment and knowledge. Attainment of knowledge and detachment, as very elaborately discussed in Sāṅkhya philosophy, is the real perfection of life. Knowledge means to know that the mission of the human form of life is to end all the miseries of material existence and that in spite of having to fulfill the bodily necessities in a regulated way, one must be detached from such animal life. Fulfilling the demands of the body is animal life, and fulfilling the mission of spirit soul is the human mission.
snigdha—gentle; smita-avalokena—by a glance with sweet smile; vācā—by words; pīyūṣa-kalpayā—compared to nectar; caritreṇa—by character; anavadyena—without flaw; śrī—fortune; niketena—residence; ca—and; ātmanā—by His transcendental body.
He was there in His transcendental body, the residence of the goddess of fortune, with His usual gentle and sweetly smiling face, His nectarean words and His flawless character.
In the previous verse it is described that Lord Kṛṣṇa, being situated in the truths of Sāṅkhya philosophy, is detached from all kinds of matter. In the present verse it is described that He is the residence of the goddess of fortune. These two things are not at all contradictory. Lord Kṛṣṇa is detached from the variegatedness of the inferior nature, but He is in eternal, blissful enjoyment of the spiritual nature, or His internal potency. One who has a poor fund of knowledge cannot understand this distinction between the external and internal potencies. In Bhagavad-gītā, the internal potency is described as the para prakṛti. In the Viṣṇu Purāṇa also, the internal potency of Viṣṇu is described as para śakti. The Lord is never detached from the association of para śakti. This para śakti and her manifestations are described in the Brahma-saṁhitā as ānanda-cinmaya-rasa-pratibhāvitābhiḥ. (Bs. 5.37) The Lord is eternally joyful and cognizant in the taste derived from such transcendental bliss. Negation of the variegatedness of the inferior energy does not necessitate negation of the positive transcendental bliss of the spiritual world. Therefore the Lord’s gentleness, His smile, His character and everything related to Him are all transcendental. Such manifestations of the internal potency are the reality, of which the material shadow is only a temporary representation from which everyone with proper knowledge must be detached.
imaṁ lokam amuṁ caiva
ramayan sutarāṁ yadūn
reme kṣaṇadayā datta-
imam—this; lokam—earth; amum—and the other worlds; ca—also; eva—certainly; ramayan—pleasing; sutarām—specifically; yadūn—the Yadus; reme—enjoyed; kṣaṇadayā—by night; datta—given by; kṣaṇa—leisure; strī—women; kṣaṇa—conjugal love; sauhṛdaḥ—friendship.
The Lord enjoyed His pastimes, both in this world and in other worlds [higher planets], specifically in the association of the Yadu dynasty. At leisure hours offered by night, He enjoyed the friendship of conjugal love with women.
The Lord enjoyed in this world with His pure devotees. Although He is the Personality of Godhead and is transcendental to all material attachment, He nevertheless exhibited much attachment for His pure devotees on the earth, as well as for the demigods who engage in His service in the heavenly planets as powerful delegated directors in the management of all material activities. He displayed special attachment for His family members, the Yadus, as well as for His sixteen thousand wives, who had the opportunity to meet Him in the leisure hours of night. All these attachments of the Lord are manifestations of His internal potency, of which the external potency is only a shadow representation. In the Skanda Purāṇa, Prabhāsa khaṇḍa Chapter, in the topics between Lord Śiva and Gaurī, there is confirmation of His internal potential manifestations. There is mention of the Lord’s meeting with sixteen thousand cowherd damsels although He is the Haṁsa (transcendental) Supersoul and maintainer of all living entities. The sixteen thousand cowherd damsels are a display of sixteen varieties of internal potencies. This will be more elaborately explained in the Tenth Canto. It is said there that Lord Kṛṣṇa is just like the moon and the internal potential damsels are like the stars around the moon.
tasya—His; evam—thus; ramamāṇasya—enjoying; saṁvatsara—many years; gaṇān—number; bahūn—great many; gṛhamedheṣu—in household life; yogeṣu—in sex life; virāgaḥ—detachment; samajāyata—awakened.
The Lord was thus engaged in household life for many, many years, but at last His detachment from ephemeral sex life was fully manifested.
Even though the Lord is never attached to any kind of material sex life, as the universal teacher He remained a householder for many, many years, just to teach others how one should live in householder life. Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākur explains that the word samajāyata means "fully exhibited." In all His activities while present on the earth, the Lord exhibited detachment. This was fully displayed when He wanted to teach by example that one should not remain attached to household life for all the days of one’s life. One should naturally develop detachment as a matter of course. The Lord’s detachment from household life does not indicate detachment from His eternal associates, the transcendental cowherd damsels. But the Lord desired to end His so-called attachment to the three modes of material nature. He can never be detached from the service of His transcendental associates like Rukmiṇī and other goddesses of fortune, as described in the Brahma-saṁhitā: lakṣmī-sahasra-śata-sambhrama-sevyamānam. (Bs. 5.37)
daivādhīnaḥ svayaṁ pumān
ko viśrambheta yogena
daiva—supernatural; adhīneṣu—being controlled; kāmeṣu—in sense enjoyment; daiva-adhīnaḥ—controlled by supernatural force; svayam—himself; pumān—living entity; kaḥ—whoever; viśrambheta—can have faith in; yogena—by devotional service; yogeśvaram—the Supreme Lord; anuvrataḥ—serving.
Every living entity is controlled by a supernatural force, and thus his sense enjoyment is also under the control of that supernatural force. No one, therefore, can put his faith in Lord Kṛṣṇa’s transcendental sense activities but one who has become a devotee of the Lord by rendering devotional service.
As stated in Bhagavad-gītā, no one can understand the transcendental birth and activities of the Lord. The same fact is herein corroborated: no one but one who is enlightened by the devotional service of the Lord can understand the difference between the Lord’s activities and those of others, who are controlled by the supernatural force. The sense enjoyment of all animals, men and demigods within the purview of the material universe is controlled by the supernatural force called the prakṛti, or daivī-māyā. No one is independent in obtaining sense enjoyment, and everyone in this material world is after sense enjoyment. Persons who are themselves under the control of supernatural power cannot believe that Lord Kṛṣṇa is not under any control beyond Himself in the matter of sense enjoyment. They cannot understand that His senses are transcendental. In the Brahma-saṁhitā the Lord’s senses are described as omnipotent; i.e., with any sense He can perform the activities of the other senses. One who has limited senses cannot believe that the Lord can eat by His transcendental power of hearing and can perform the act of sex life simply by seeing. The controlled living entity cannot even dream of such sense activities in his conditional life. But simply by the activities of bhakti-yoga, he can understand that the Lord and His activities are always transcendental. As the Lord says in Bhagavad-gītā (Bg. 18.55), bhaktyā mām abhijānāti yāvān yaś cāsmi tattvataḥ: one cannot know even a fraction of the activities of the Lord if he is not a pure devotee of the Lord.
puryāṁ kadācit krīḍadbhir
kopitā munayaḥ śepur
puryām—in the city of Dvārakā; kadācit—once upon a time; krīḍadbhiḥ—by sporting activities; yadu—the descendants of Yadu; bhoja—the descendants of Bhoja; kumārakaiḥ—princes; kopitāḥ—became angry; munayaḥ—the great sages; śepuḥ—cursed; bhagavat—Personality of Godhead; mata—desire; kovidāḥ—cognizant.
Once upon a time, great sages were made angry by the sporting activities of the princely descendants of the Yadu and Bhoja dynasties, and thus, as desired by the Lord, the sages cursed them.
The associates of the Lord who were playing the part of princes of descendants of the Yadu and Bhoja dynasties were not ordinary living entities. It is not possible that they could offend any saintly man or sage, nor could the sages, who were all pure devotees of the Lord, be influenced to anger by any of the sporting activities of the princes born in the holy dynasty of Yadu or Bhoja wherein the Lord Himself appeared as a descendant. The cursing of the princes by the sages is another transcendental pastime of the Lord to make a show of anger. The princes were cursed in order that one may know that even the descendants of the Lord, who could never be vanquished by any act of material nature, were subjected to the reactions of anger by great devotees of the Lord. One should, therefore, take great care and attention not to commit an offense at the feet of a devotee of the Lord.
tataḥ katipayair māsair
yayuḥ prabhāsaṁ saṁhṛṣṭā
tataḥ—thereafter; katipayaiḥ—a few; māsaiḥ—months passing; vṛṣṇi—the descendants of Vṛṣṇi; bhoja—the descendants of Bhoja; andhaka-ādayaḥ—and others, like the sons of Andhaka; yayuḥ—went; prabhāsam—the place of pilgrimage named Prabhāsa; saṁhṛṣṭāḥ—with great pleasure; rathaiḥ—on their chariots; deva—by Kṛṣṇa; vimohitāḥ—bewildered.
A few months passed, and then, bewildered by Kṛṣṇa, all the descendants of Vṛṣṇi, Bhoja and Andhaka who were incarnations of demigods went to Prabhāsa, while those who were eternal devotees of the Lord did not leave but remained in Dvārakā.
tatra snātvā pitṝn devān
ṛṣīṁś caiva tad-ambhasā
gāvo bahu-guṇā daduḥ
tatra—there; snātvā—by taking bath; pitṝn—forefathers; devān—demigods; ṛṣīn—great sages; ca—also; eva—certainly; tat—of that; ambhasā—by the water; tarpayitvā—by pleasing; atha—thereupon; viprebhyaḥ—unto the brāhmaṇas; gāvaḥ—cows; bahu-guṇāḥ—greatly useful; daduḥ—gave in charity.
After arriving there, all of them took bath, and with the water of this place of pilgrimage they offered their respects to the forefathers, demigods and great sages and thus satisfied them. They gave cows to the brāhmaṇas in royal charity.
Amongst the devotees of the Lord there are several divisions, mainly nitya-siddhas and sādhana-siddhas. The nitya-siddha devotees never fall down to the region of the material atmosphere, even though they sometimes come onto the material plane to execute the mission of the Lord. The sādhana-siddha devotees are chosen from the conditioned souls. Out of the sādhana devotees, there are mixed and pure devotees. The mixed devotees are sometimes enthusiastic about fruitive activities and are habituated to philosophical speculation. The pure devotees are free from all these mixtures and are completely absorbed in the service of the Lord, regardless of how and where they are situated. Pure devotees of the Lord are not enthusiastic to put aside their service to the Lord in order to go visit holy places of pilgrimage. A great devotee of the Lord in modern times, Śrī Narottamadāsa Ṭhākur, has sung like this: "To visit holy places of pilgrimage is another bewilderment of the mind because devotional service to the Lord at any place is the last word in spiritual perfection."
For pure devotees of the Lord who are completely satisfied with the transcendental loving service of the Lord, there is hardly any necessity to visit the various places of pilgrimage. But those who are not so advanced have the prescribed duties of visiting pilgrimage sites and regularly performing the rituals. The part of the princely order of the Yadu dynasty who went to Prabhāsa performed all duties to be done in a place of pilgrimage and offered their pious actions to their forefathers and others.
As a rule, every human being is indebted to God, the demigods, great sages, other living entities, people in general, forefathers, etc., for various contributions received from them. Thus everyone is obliged to repay the debt of gratitude. The Yadus who went to the Prabhāsa pilgrimage site performed their duties by distributing land, gold, and well-nourished cows in royal charity, as described in the following verse.
hiraṇyaṁ rajataṁ śayyāṁ
yānaṁ rathān ibhān kanyā
dharāṁ vṛtti-karīm api
hiraṇyam—gold; rajatam—gold coins; śayyām—bedding; vāsāṁsi—clothing; ajina—animal skin for seats; kambalān—blankets; yānam—horses; rathān—chariots; ibhān—elephants; kanyāḥ—girls; dharām—land; vṛtti-karīm—to provide livelihood; api—also.
The brāhmaṇas were not only given well-fed cows in charity, but also gold, gold coins, bedding, clothing, animal skin seats, blankets, horses, elephants, girls and sufficient land for maintenance.
All these charities were meant for the brāhmaṇas whose lives were devoted entirely to the welfare of society, both spiritually and materially. The brāhmaṇas were not giving their services as paid servants, but the society provided them with all necessities. It was arranged for some of the brāhmaṇas, who were in difficulty for marriage, to be given girls. The brāhmaṇas, therefore, had no economic problems. The kṣatriya kings and rich mercantile men would provide them with all that they needed, and in exchange the brāhmaṇas were completely devoted to the elevation of society. That was the way of social cooperation between the different castes. When the brāhmaṇa class or caste gradually became easygoing, being fed by the society although they had no brahminical qualifications, they degraded themselves into brahma-bandhus, or disqualified brāhmaṇas, and thus other members of society also gradually fell down from the social standard of progressive life. As described in Bhagavad-gītā, the caste system is the creation of the Lord and is arranged according to the quality of work rendered to society and not in terms of birthright, as falsely claimed in the present degraded society.
annaṁ coru-rasaṁ tebhyo
praṇemur bhuvi mūrdhabhiḥ
annam—foodstuff; ca—also; uru-rasam—highly delicious; tebhyaḥ—unto the brāhmaṇas; dattvā—after supplying; bhagavat-arpaṇam—which was first offered to the Personality of Godhead; go—cow; vipra—brāhmaṇas; artha—purpose; āsavaḥ—purpose of living; śūrāḥ—all the valiant kṣatriyas; praṇemuḥ—offered obeisances; bhuvi—touching the ground; mūrdhabhiḥ—with their heads.
Thereafter they offered the brāhmaṇas highly delicious foodstuffs which were first offered to the Personality of Godhead, and they offered their respectful obeisances by touching their heads to the ground. They lived perfectly by protecting the cows and the brāhmaṇas.
The behavior exhibited by the descendants of Yadu in the pilgrimage site of Prabhāsa was highly cultured and exactly to the point of human perfection. The perfection of human life is attained by following three principles of civilization: protecting the cows, maintaining the brahminical culture and, above all, becoming a pure devotee of the Lord. Without becoming a devotee of the Lord, one cannot perfect one’s human life. The perfection of human life is to be elevated to the spiritual world, where there is no birth, no death, no diseases and no old age. That is the highest perfectional aim of human life. Without this aim, any amount of material advancement in so-called comforts can only bring the defeat of the human form of life.
Brāhmaṇas and Vaiṣṇavas do not accept any foodstuff which is not first offered to the Personality of Godhead. Foodstuff offered to the Lord is accepted by the devotees as the mercy of the Lord. After all, the Lord supplies all kinds of foodstuff, both to the human being and to other animals. A human being must be conscious of the fact that all foodstuffs, namely grains, vegetables, milk, water, etc.-the prime necessities of life-are supplied by the Lord for mankind, and such foodstuffs cannot be manufactured by any scientist or materialist in a laboratory or factory established by human effort. The intelligent class of men are called brāhmaṇas, and those who have realized the Absolute Truth in His supreme personal feature are called Vaiṣṇavas. But both of them accept foodstuffs which are the remnants of sacrifice. Sacrifice is ultimately meant to satisfy the yajña-puruṣa, Viṣṇu. In Bhagavad-gītā (Bg. 3.13) it is said that one who accepts foodstuffs as the remnants of sacrifice is freed from all sinful reactions, and one who cooks foodstuffs for maintenance of his body takes in all kinds of sins, which lead only to suffering. The foodstuffs prepared by the Yadus at the Prabhāsa pilgrimage site to offer to the bona fide brāhmaṇas there were all offered to the Personality of Godhead, Viṣṇu. They offered their sincere obeisances by touching their heads to the ground. The Yadus or any enlightened family in Vedic culture are trained for attainment of human perfection by total cooperation of service between the different divisions of social orders.
The word uru-rasam is also significant here. Hundreds of delicacies can be prepared simply by the combination of grains, vegetables and milk. All such preparations are in the mode of goodness and therefore can be offered to the Personality of Godhead. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (Bg. 9.26), the Lord accepts only foodstuffs which are within the range of fruits, flowers, leaves and liquids, provided they are offered in complete devotional service. Devotional service is the only criterion for a bona fide offering to the Lord. The Lord assures that He positively eats such foodstuffs offered by the devotees. So, judging from all sides, the Yadus were perfectly trained civilized persons, and their being cursed by the brāhmaṇa sages was only by the desire of the Lord; the whole incident was a warning to all concerned that no one should behave lightly with brāhmaṇas and Vaiṣṇavas.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta PURPORTs of the Third Chapter, Third Canto, of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, entitled "The Lord’s Pastimes Out of Vṛndāvana."
Vidura Approaches Maitreya
atha te tad-anujñātā
bhuktvā pītvā ca vāruṇīm
duruktair marma paspṛśuḥ
uddhavaḥ uvāca—Uddhava said; atha—thereafter; te—they (the Yādavas); tat—by the brāhmaṇas; anujñātāḥ—being permitted; bhuktvā—partaking; pītvā—drinking; ca—and; vāruṇīm—liquor; tayā—by that; vibhraṁśita-jñānāḥ—being bereft of knowledge; duruktaiḥ—with harsh words; marma—the core of the heart; paspṛśuḥ—touched.
Thereafter, all of them [the descendants of Vṛṣṇi and Bhoja], being permitted by the brāhmaṇas, partook of the remnants of prasādam and also drank liquor made of rice. By drinking they all became delirious, and, bereft of knowledge, they touched the cores of each other’s hearts with harsh words.
In ceremonies when brāhmaṇas and Vaiṣṇavas are sumptuously fed, the host partakes of the remnants of foodstuff after the guest has given permission. So the descendants of Vṛṣṇi and Bhoja formally took permission from the brāhmaṇas and ate the prepared foodstuff. Kṣatriyas are permitted to drink at certain occasions, so they all drank a kind of light liquor made of rice. By such drinking they became delirious and bereft of sense, so much so that they forgot their relationship with one another and used harsh words which touched the cores of each other’s hearts. Drinking is so harmful that even such a highly cultured family becomes affected by intoxication and can forget themselves in a drunken state. The descendants of Vṛṣṇi and Bhoja were not expected to forget themselves in this way, but by the will of the Supreme it happened, and thus they became harsh towards one another.
teṣām—of them; maireya—of intoxication; doṣeṇa—by the faults; viṣamīkṛta—became unbalanced; cetasām—of those of whom the minds; nimlocati—sets; ravau—the sun; āsīt—takes place; veṇūnām—of the bamboos; iva—as; mardanam—destruction.
As by the friction of bamboos destruction takes place, so also, at sunset, by the interaction of the faults of intoxication, all their minds became unbalanced, and destruction took place.
When there is need of fire in the forest, by the will of the Supreme it takes place due to friction among the bamboos. Similarly, the descendants of Yadu were all destroyed by the will of the Lord by the process of self-destruction. Just as there is no possibility of a fire’s occurring deep in a forest due to human effort, so also there was no power in the universe which could vanquish the descendants of the Yadus, who were protected by the Lord. The Lord wanted them to be so destroyed, and thus they obeyed His order, as indicated by the word tad-anujñāta.
gatiṁ tām avalokya saḥ
bhagavān—the Personality of Godhead; sva-ātma-māyayā—by His internal potency; gatim—the end; tam—that; avalokya—foreseeing; saḥ—He (Kṛṣṇa); sarasvatīm—the River Sarasvatī; upaspṛśya—after sipping water; vṛkṣa-mūlam—at the foot of a tree; upāviśat—sat down.
The Personality of Godhead, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, after foreseeing the end [of His family] by His internal potency, went to the bank of the River Sarasvatī and sat down there underneath a tree.
All the above-mentioned activities of the Yadus and Bhojas were executed by the internal potency of the Lord because He wanted them to be dispatched to their respective abodes after He had finished His mission of descent. They were all His sons and grandsons and were given complete protection by the paternal affection of the Lord. How they could be vanquished in the presence of the Lord is answered in this verse: everything was done by the Lord Himself (svātma-māyā yāḥ). The Lord’s family members were either incarnations of His plenary expansions or demigods from the heavenly planets, and thus before His departure He separated them by His internal potency. Before being dispatched to their respective abodes, they were sent to the holy place of Prabhāsa, where they performed pious activities and took food and drink to their heart’s content. It was then arranged for them to be sent back to their abodes so that others could see that the powerful Yadu dynasty was no longer in the world. In the previous verse, the word anujñāta, indicating that the whole sequence of events was arranged by the Lord, is significant. These particular pastimes of the Lord are not a manifestation of His external energy or material nature. Such an exhibition of His internal potency is eternal, and therefore one should not conclude that the Yadus and Bhojas died in a drunken state in an ordinary fratricidal war. Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī comments on these incidences as magical performances.
ahaṁ cokto bhagavatā
badarīṁ tvaṁ prayāhīti
aham—I; ca—and; uktaḥ—was told; bhāgavata—by the Supreme Lord; prapanna—of the surrendered; ārti-hareṇa—by He who is the vanquisher of the distresses; hā—indeed; badarīm—to Badarī; tvam—you; prayāhi—should go; iti—thus; sva-kulam—His own family; sañjihīrṣuṇā—by desiring to destroy.
The Lord is the vanquisher of the distresses of one who is surrendered unto Him. Thus He who desired to destroy His family told me previously to go to Badarikāśrama.
While at Dvārakā, Uddhava was warned to avoid the distresses which were to follow the disappearance of the Lord and the destruction of the Yadu dynasty. He was advised to proceed to Badarikāśrama because there he could associate with the devotees of Nara-Nārāyaṇa, and in their association of devotional service he could increase his eagerness for chanting, hearing, knowledge and detachment.
jānan naham arindama
pṛṣṭhato ‘nvagamaṁ bhartuḥ
tathāpi—yet, in spite of; tat-abhipretam—His desire; jānan—knowing; na—not; aham—I; arindama—O subduer of the enemy (Vidura); pṛṣṭhataḥ—behind; anvagamam—followed; bhartuḥ—of the master; pāda-viśleṣaṇa—separation from His lotus feet; akṣamaḥ—not being able.
Yet in spite of my knowing His desire [to destroy the dynasty], O Arindama [Vidura], I followed Him because it was impossible for me to bear separation from the lotus feet of the master.
adrākṣam ekam āsīnaṁ
vicinvan dayitaṁ patim
adrākṣam—I saw; ekam—alone; āsīnam—sitting; vicinvan—deeply thinking; dayitam—patron; patim—master; śrī-niketam—the shelter of the goddess of fortune; sarasvatyām—on the bank of the Sarasvatī; kṛta-ketam—taking shelter; aketanam—being situated without a shelter.
Thus following, I saw my patron and master [Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa] sitting alone and deeply thinking, taking shelter on the bank of the River Sarasvatī although He is the shelter of the goddess of fortune.
Those who are in the renounced order of life often take shelter underneath a tree. The Lord was found by Uddhava in that condition of taking shelter as do persons who have no shelter. Because He is the proprietor of everything, everywhere is His shelter, and everywhere is under His shelter. The entire material and spiritual cosmic manifestation is sustained by Him, and therefore He is the shelter of everything. So there was nothing astonishing in His taking shelter in the way of the unsheltered who are in the renounced order of life.
dorbhiś caturbhir viditaṁ
śyāma-avadātam—beautiful with black color; virajam—formed of pure goodness; praśānta—peaceful; aruṇa—reddish; locanaḥ—eyes; dorbhiḥ—by the arms; caturbhiḥ—four; viditam—being recognized; pīta—yellow; kauśa—silken; ambareṇa—with garments; ca—and.
The Lord’s body is blackish, but is eternal, full of bliss and knowledge, and very, very beautiful. His eyes are always peaceful, and they are reddish like the rising morning sun. I could immediately recognize Him as the Supreme Personality of Godhead by His four hands, different symbolic representations, and yellow colored silk garments.
vāma ūrāv adhiśritya
vāme—on the left; ūrau—thigh; adhiśritya—placed on; dakṣiṇā-aṅghri-saroruham—the right lotus foot; apāśrita—taking rest against; arbhaka—young; aśvattham—banyan tree; akṛśam—cheerful; tyakta—having left; pippalam—household comforts.
The Lord was sitting, taking rest against a young banyan tree, with His right lotus foot on His left thigh, and although He had left all household comforts, He looked quite cheerful in that posture.
According to Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākur, the Lord’s sitting posture—keeping His back against the newly grown banyan tree—is also meaningful. Aśvattha, the banyan tree, is so called because the tree does not die very quickly; it continues to live for many, many years. His legs and their energies are the material ingredients, which are five in all: earth, water, fire, air and sky. The material energies represented by the banyan tree are all products of His external potency and are therefore kept to His back. And because this particular universe is the smallest of all, the banyan tree is therefore designated as small, or as a child. Tyakta-pippalam indicates that He had now finished His pastimes in this particular small universe, but since the Lord is absolute and eternally blissful, there is no difference between His leaving or accepting something. The Lord was now prepared to leave this particular universe and go into another, just as the sun rises on one particular planet and sets in another simultaneously but does not change its own situation.
tasmin—then; mahā-bhāgavataḥ—a great devotee of the Lord; dvaipāyana—of Kṛṣṇa-dvaipāyana Vyāsa; suhṛt—a well-wisher; sakhā—a friend; lokān—the three worlds; anucaran—traveling; siddhe—in that āśrama; āsasāda—arrived; yadṛcchayā—by his own perfect accord.
At that time, after traveling in many parts of the world, Maitreya, a great devotee of the Lord and a friend and well-wisher of the great sage Kṛṣṇa-dvaipāyana Vyāsa, reached that spot out of his own perfect accord.
Maitreya was one of the disciples of Maharṣi Parāśara, the father of Vyāsadeva. Thus Vyāsadeva and Maitreya were friends and mutual wellwishers. By some fortunate accident, Maitreya reached the place where Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa was resting. To meet the Lord is not an ordinary incident. Maitreya was a great sage and a learned scholar-philosopher but not a pure devotee of the Lord, and therefore his meeting with the Lord at that time may have been due to ajñāta-sukṛti, or some unknown devotional service. Pure devotees always engage in pure devotional activities, and therefore their meeting with the Lord is natural. But when those who are not up to that standard meet the Lord, it is due to the unforeseen fortune of accidental devotional service.
tasyānuraktasya muner mukundaḥ
āśṛṇvato mām anurāga-hāsa-
samīkṣayā viśramayann uvāca
tasya—his (Maitreya’s); anuraktasya—although attached; muneḥ—of the sage; mukundaḥ—the Lord who awards salvation; pramoda-bhāva—in a pleasing attitude; ānata—lowered; kandharasya—of the shoulder; āśṛṇvataḥ—while thus hearing; mām—unto me; anurāga-hāsa—with kind smiling; samīkṣayā—particularly seeing me; viśramayan—allowing me complete rest; uvāca—said.
Maitreya Muni was greatly attached to Him [the Lord], and he was listening in a pleasing attitude, with his shoulder lowered. With a smile and a particular glance upon me, having allowed me to rest, the Lord spoke as follows:
Although both Uddhava and Maitreya were great souls, the Lord’s attention was more on Uddhava because he was a spotlessly pure devotee. A jñāna-bhakta, or one whose devotion is mixed with the monistic viewpoint, is not a pure devotee. Although Maitreya was a devotee, his devotion was mixed. The Lord reciprocates with His devotees on the basis of transcendental love and not on the basis of philosophical knowledge or fruitive activities. In the transcendental loving service of the Lord, there is no place for monistic knowledge or fruitive activities. The gopīs in Vṛndāvana were neither highly learned scholars nor mystic yogīs. They had spontaneous love for the Lord, and thus He became their heart and soul, and the gopīs also became the heart and soul of the Lord. Lord Caitanya approved the relationship of the gopīs with the Lord as supreme. Herein the Lord’s attitude towards Uddhava was more intimate than with Maitreya Muni.
vedāham antar manasīpsitaṁ te
dadāmi yat tad duravāpam anyaiḥ
satre purā viśva-sṛjāṁ vasūnāṁ
mat-siddhi-kāmena vaso tvayeṣṭaḥ
śrī bhagavān uvāca—the Personality of Godhead said; veda—known; aham—I; antaḥ—within; manasi—the mind; īpsitam—what you desired; te—your; dadāmi—I give you; yat—which is; tat—that; duravāpam—very difficult to achieve; anyaiḥ—by others; satre—in the sacrifice; purā—in the days of yore; viśva-sṛjām—of those who expanded this creation; vasūnām—of the Vasus; mat-siddhi-kāmena—with a desire to achieve My association; vaso—O Vasu; tvayā—by you; iṣṭaḥ—ultimate goal of life.
O Vasu, I know from within your mind what you desired in the days of yore when the Vasus and other demigods who are responsible for expanding the universal affairs performed sacrifices. You particularly desired to achieve My association. This is very difficult to obtain for others, but I award it unto you.
Uddhava is one of the eternal associates of the Lord, and a plenary portion of Uddhava was one of the eight Vasus in the days of yore. The eight Vasus and the demigods in the upper planetary system, who are responsible for the management of the universal affairs, performed a sacrifice in the days of yore, desiring to fulfill their respective ultimate goals in life. At that time an expansion of Uddhava, acting as one of the Vasus, desired to become an associate of the Lord. The Lord knew this because He is present in the heart of every living entity as Paramātmā, the Superconsciousness. In everyone’s heart there is the representation of the Superconsciousness, who gives memory to the partial consciousness of every living entity. The living entity, as partial consciousness, forgets incidences of his past life, but the Superconsciousness reminds him how to act in terms of his past cultivation of knowledge. Bhagavad-gītā confirms this fact in various ways: ye yathā māṁ prapadyante tāṁs tathaiva bhajāmy aham (Bg. 4.11), sarvasya cāhaṁ hṛdi sanniviṣṭo mattaḥ smṛtir jñānam apohanaṁ ca (Bg. 15.15).
Everyone is at liberty to desire as he likes, but the desire is fulfilled by the Supreme Lord. Everyone is independent to think or desire, but the fulfillment of one’s desire depends on the supreme will. This law is expressed as "Man proposes, God disposes." In the days of yore, when the demigods and Vasus performed sacrifice, Uddhava, as one of the Vasus, desired to enter into the association of the Lord, which is very difficult for those busy in empiric philosophical speculation or fruitive activities. Such persons have practically no information of the facts about becoming an associate of the Lord. Only the pure devotees can know, by the mercy of the Lord, that the personal association of the Lord is the highest perfection of life. The Lord assured Uddhava that He would fulfill his desire. It appears that when the Lord informed him by His indication to Uddhava, the great sage Maitreya finally became aware of the importance of entering into the association of the Lord.
sa eṣa sādho caramo bhavānām
āsāditas te mad-anugraho yat
yan māṁ nṛlokān raha utsṛjantaṁ
diṣṭyā dadṛśvān viśadānuvṛttyā
saḥ—that; eṣaḥ—of those; sādho—O honest one; caramaḥ—the ultimate; bhavānām—of all your incarnations (as Vasu); āsāditaḥ—now achieved; te—unto you; mat—My; anugrahaḥ—mercy; yat—as it is; yat—because; mām—Me; nṛlokān—the planets of the conditioned souls; rahaḥ—in seclusion; utsṛjantam—while quitting; diṣṭyā—by seeing; dadṛśvān—what you have seen; viśada-anuvṛttyā—by unflinching devotion.
O honest one, your present life is the last and the supermost because in this term of life you have been awarded My ultimate favor. Now you can go to My transcendental abode, Vaikuṇṭha, by leaving this universe of conditioned living entities. Your visit to Me in this lonely place because of your pure and unflinching devotional service is a great boon for you.
When a person is fully conversant with knowledge of the Lord as far as can be known by a perfect living entity in the liberated state, he is allowed to enter into the spiritual sky, where the Vaikuṇṭha planets exist. The Lord was sitting in a lonely place just about to disappear from the vision of the inhabitants of this universe, and Uddhava was fortunate to see Him even at that time and thus receive the Lord’s permission to enter Vaikuṇṭha. The Lord is everywhere at all times, and His appearance and disappearance are merely the experience of the inhabitants of a particular universe. He is just like the sun. The sun does not appear or disappear in the sky, but it is only in the experience of men that in the morning the sun rises and in the evening the sun sets. The Lord is simultaneously both in Vaikuṇṭha and everywhere within and without Vaikuṇṭha.
purā mayā proktam ajāya nābhye
padme niṣaṇṇāya mamādi-sarge
jñānaṁ paraṁ man-mahimāvabhāsaṁ
yat sūrayo bhāgavataṁ vadanti
purā—in the days of yore; māyā—by Me; proktam—was said; ajāya—unto Brahmā; nābhye—out of the navel; padme—on the lotus; niṣaṇṇāya—unto the one situated on; mama—My; ādi-sarge—in the beginning of creation; jñānam—knowledge; param—sublime; mat-mahimā—My transcendental glories; avabhāsam—that which clarifies; yat—which; sūrayaḥ—the great learned sages; bhāgavatam—Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam; vadanti—do say.
O Uddhava, in the lotus millennium in the days of yore, at the beginning of the creation, I spoke unto Brahmā, who is situated on the lotus which grows out of My navel, about My transcendental glories, which the great sages describe as Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.
The explanation of the Supreme Self, as given to Brahmā and already explained in the Second Canto of this great literature, is further clarified herein. The Lord said that the concise form of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam as explained to Brahmā was meant to elucidate His personality. The impersonal explanation of those four verses in the Second Canto is nullified herewith. Śrīdhara Svāmī also explains in this connection that the same concise form of the Bhāgavatam concerned the pastimes of Lord Kṛṣṇa and was never meant for impersonal indulgence.
ity ādṛtoktaḥ paramasya puṁsaḥ
snehottha-romā skhalitākṣaras taṁ
muñcañ chucaḥ prāñjalir ābabhāṣe
iti—thus; ādṛta—being favored; uktaḥ—addressed; paramasya—of the Supreme; puṁsaḥ—Personality of Godhead; pratikṣaṇa—every moment; anugraha-bhājanaḥ—ohiect of favor; aham—myself; sneha—affection; uttha—eruption; roma—hairs on the body; skhalita—slackened; akṣaraḥ—of the eyes; tam—that; muñcan—smearing; śucaḥ—tears; prāñjaliḥ—with folded hands; ābabhāṣe—said.
Uddhava said: O Vidura, when I was thus favored at every moment by the Supreme Personality of Godhead and addressed by Him with great affection, my words failed in tears, and the hairs on my body erupted. After smearing my tears, I, with folded hands, spoke like this:
ko nvīśa te pāda-saroja-bhājāṁ
sudurlabho ‘rtheṣu caturṣv apīha
tathāpi nāhaṁ pravṛṇomi bhūman
kaḥ nu īśa—O my Lord; te—Your; pāda-saroja-bhājām—of the devotees engaged in the transcendental loving service of Your lotus feet; sudurla-bhaḥ—very difficult to obtain; artheṣu—in the matter of; caturṣu—in the four objectives; api—in spite of; iha—in this world; tathāpi—yet; na—do not; aham—I; pravṛṇomi—prefer; bhūman—O great one; bhavat—Your; padām-bhoja—lotus feet; niṣevaṇa-utsukaḥ—anxious to serve.
O my Lord, devotees who engage in the transcendental loving service of Your lotus feet have no difficulty in achieving anything within the realm of the four principles of religiosity, economic development, sense gratification and liberation. But, O great one, as far as I am concerned, I have preferred only to engage in the loving service of Your lotus feet.
Those who are associated with the Lord in the Vaikuṇṭha planets achieve all the bodily features of the Lord and appear to be the same as Lord Viṣṇu. Such liberation is called sārūpya-mukti, which is one of the five kinds of liberation. The devotees engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord never accept the sāyujya-mukti, or merging in the rays of the Lord called the brahmajyoti. The devotees can achieve not only liberation but any success in the realm of religiosity, economic development or sense gratification up to the standard of the demigods in the heavenly planets. But such a pure devotee as Uddhava refuses to accept all such facilities. A pure devotee wants simply to engage in the service of the Lord and does not consider his own personal benefit.
karmāṇy anīhasya bhavo ‘bhavasya te
durgāśrayo ‘thāri-bhayāt palāyanam
kālātmano yat pramadā-yutāśramaḥ
svātman-rateḥ khidyati dhīr vidām iha
karmāṇi—activities; anīhasya—of one who has no desire; bhavaḥ—birth; abhavasya—of one who is never born; te—your; durga-āśrayaḥ—taking shelter of the fort; atha—thereafter; ari-bhayāt—out of fear of the enemies; palāyanam—flee; kāla-ātmanaḥ—of He who is the controller of eternal time; yat—that; pramadā-yuta—in the association of women; āśramaḥ—household life; sva-ātman—by Your own Self; rateḥ—one who enjoys; khidyati—disturbs; dhīḥ—intelligence; vidām—of the learned; iha—in this world.
My Lord, even the learned sages become disturbed in their intelligence when they see that Your Greatness engages in fruitive work although You are free from all desires, that You take birth although You are unborn, that You flee out of fear of the enemy and take shelter in a fort although You are the controller of invincible time, and that You enjoy householder life surrounded by many women although You enjoy in Your Self.
Pure devotees of the Lord are not very much concerned with philosophical speculation in regard to transcendental knowledge of the Lord. Nor is it possible to acquire complete knowledge of the Lord. Whatever little knowledge they have about the Lord is sufficient for them because devotees are simply satisfied in hearing and chanting about the transcendental pastimes of the Lord. This gives them all transcendental bliss. But some of the pastimes of the Lord appear contradictory, even to such pure devotees, and thus Uddhava asked the Lord about some of the contradictory incidences in His pastimes. The Lord is described as having nothing to do personally, and it is actually so because even in the creation and sustenance of the material world, the Lord has nothing to do. It seems contradictory, then, to hear that the Lord personally lifts the Govardhana Hill for the protection of His unalloyed devotees. The Lord is the Supreme Brahman, the Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead appearing like a man, but Uddhava had doubts whether He could have so many transcendental activities.
There is no difference between the Personality of Godhead and the impersonal Brahman. How then can the Lord have so many things to do, whereas the impersonal Brahman is stated to have nothing to do either materially or spiritually? If the Lord is ever unborn, how then is He born as the son of Vasudeva and Devakī? He is fearful even to kāla, the supreme fear, and yet the Lord is afraid of fighting Jarāsandha and takes shelter in a fort. How can one who is full in Himself take pleasure in the association of many women? How can He take wives and, just like a householder, lake pleasure in the association of family members, children, relatives and parents? All these apparently contradictory happenings bewilder even the greatest learned scholars, who, thus bewildered, cannot understand whether inactivity is a fact or whether His activities are only imitations.
The solution is that the Lord has nothing to do with anything mundane. All His activities are transcendental. This cannot be understood by the mundane speculators. For the mundane speculators there is certainly a kind of bewilderment, but for the transcendental devotees there is nothing astonishing in this. The Brahman conception of the Absolute Truth is certainly the negation of all mundane activities, but the Param Brahman conception is full with transcendental activities. One who knows the distinctions between the conception of Brahman and the conception of Supreme Brahman is certainly the real transcendentalist. There is no bewilderment for such transcendentalists. The Lord Himself also declares in Bhagavad-gītā, "Even the great sages and demigods can know hardly anything about My activities and transcendental potencies." (Bg. 10.2) The right explanation of the Lord’s activities is given by Grandfather Bhīṣmadeva (Bhāg. 1.9.16) as follows:
na hy asya karhicid rājan pumān veda vidhitsitam
yad-vijijñāsayā yuktā muhyanti kavayo ‘pi hi
mantreṣu māṁ vā upahūya yat tvam
pṛccheḥ prabho mugdha ivāpramattas
tan no mano mohayatīva deva
mantreṣu—in consultations; mām—unto me; vai—as either; upahūya—by calling; yat—as much as; tvam—Your Lordship; akuṇṭhita—without hesitation; akhaṇḍa—without being separated; sadā—eternally; ātma—self; bodhaḥ—intelligent; pṛccheḥ—asked; prabho—O my Lord; mugdhaḥ—bewildered; iva—as if it were so; apramattaḥ—although never bewildered; tat—that; naḥ—us; manaḥ—mind; mohayati—bewilders; iva—as it is so; deva—O my Lord.
O my Lord, Your eternal Self is never divided by the influence of time, and there is no limitation to Your perfect knowledge. Thus You were sufficiently able to consult with Yourself, yet You called upon me for consultation, as if bewildered, although You are never bewildered. And this act of Yours bewilders me.
Uddhava was never actually bewildered, but he says that all these contradictions appear to be bewildering. The whole discussion between Kṛṣṇa and Uddhava was meant for the benefit of Maitreya, who was sitting nearby. The Lord used to call Uddhava for consultation when the city was attacked by Jarāsandha and others and when He executed great sacrifices as part of His routine royal work as Lord of Dvārakā. The Lord has no past, present and future because He is unhampered by the influence of eternal time and thus nothing is hidden from Him. He is eternally self-intelligent. Therefore His calling for Uddhava to give Him enlightenment is certainly astonishing. All these actions of the Lord appear to be contradictory, although there is no contradiction in the routine activities of the Lord. Therefore it is better to see them as they are and not attempt to explain them.
jñānaṁ paraṁ svātma-rahaḥ-prakāśaṁ
provāca kasmai bhagavān samagram
api kṣamaṁ no grahaṇāya bhartar
vadāñjasā yad vṛjinaṁ tarema
jñānam—knowledge; param—supreme; sva-ātma—own self; rahaḥ—mystery; prakāśam—enlightening; provāca—said; kasmai—unto Ka (Brahmājī); bhagavān—the Personality of Godhead; samagram—in sum total; api—if so; kṣamam—able; naḥ—unto me; grahaṇāya—acceptable; bhartaḥ—my Lord; vada—say; añjasā—in detail; yat—that which; vṛjinam—miseries; tarema—can cross over.
My Lord, kindly explain to us, if You think us competent to receive it, that transcendental knowledge which gives enlightenment about Yourself and which You explained before to Brahmājī.
A pure devotee like Uddhava has no material afflictions because he engages constantly in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. A devotee feels afflicted without the association of the Lord. Constant remembrance of the Lord’s activities keeps the devotee alive, and therefore Uddhava requested that the Lord please enlighten him with the knowledge of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, as was previously instructed to Brahmājī.
mahyaṁ sa bhagavān paraḥ
ātmanaḥ paramāṁ sthitim
iti-āvedita—thus being prayed to by me; hārdāya—from the core of my heart; mahyam—unto me; saḥ—He; bhagavān—the Personality of Godhead; paraḥ—Supreme; ādideśa—instructed; aravinda-akṣaḥ—the lotus-eyed; ātma-naḥ—of Himself; paramām—transcendental; sthitim—situation.
When I thus expressed my heartfelt desires unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the lotus-eyed Lord instructed me about His transcendental situation.
The words paramāṁ sthitim are significant in this verse. The Lord’s transcendental situation was not even spoken of to Brahmā when the four verses of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam were explained (Bhāg. 2.9.30-33). This transcendental situation comprises His dealings with devotees engaged in transcendental loving service, as exhibited at Dvārakā and Vṛndāvana. When the Lord explained about His specific transcendental situation, it was meant for Uddhava only, and therefore Uddhava particularly said "mahyam" ("unto me"), although the great sage Maitreya was also sitting there. Such a transcendental situation is hardly understood by those whose devotion is mixed with speculative knowledge or fruitive activities. The Lord’s activities in confidential love are very rarely disclosed to the general devotees who are attracted by devotion mixed with knowledge and mysticism. Such activities are the inconceivable pastimes of the Lord.
sa evam ārādhita-pāda-tīrthād
praṇamya pādau parivṛtya devam
ihāgato ‘haṁ virahāturātmā
saḥ—so myself; evam—thus; ārādhita—worshiped; pāda-tīrthāt—the Personality of Godhead; adhīta—studied; tattva-ātma—self-knowledge; vibodha—understanding; mārgaḥ—path; praṇamya—after saluting; pādau—at His lotus feet; parivṛtya—after circumambulating; devam—the Lord; iha—at this place; āgataḥ—reached; aham—I; viraha—separation; ātura-ātmā—aggrieved in self.
I have studied the path of understanding self-knowledge from my spiritual master, the Personality of Godhead, and thus after circumambulating Him I have come to this place, very much aggrieved due to separation.
Śrī Uddhava’s actual life is the direct symbol of the "Catuḥślokī Bhāgavatam" enunciated first to Brahmājī by the Personality of Godhead. These four very great and important verses from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam are particularly taken out by the Māyāvādī speculators, who construe a different PURPORT to suit their impersonal view of monism. Here is the proper answer to such unauthorized speculators. The verses of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam are purely theistic science understandable by the postgraduate students of Bhagavad-gītā. The unauthorized dry speculators are offenders at the lotus feet of the Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa because they distort the PURPORTs of Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam to mislead the public and prepare a direct path to the hell known as andha-tāmisra. As confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (Bg. 16.20) such envious speculators are without knowledge and are surely condemned life after life. They unnecessarily take shelter of Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya, but he was not so drastic as to commit an offense at the lotus feet of Lord Kṛṣṇa. According to Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya preached the Māyāvādī philosophy for a particular purpose. Such a philosophy was necessary to defeat the Buddhist philosophy of the nonexistence of the spirit soul, but it was never meant for perpetual acceptance. It was an emergency. Thus Lord Kṛṣṇa was accepted by Śaṅkarācārya as the Supreme Personality of Godhead in his commentation on Bhagavad-gītā. Since he was a great devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa, he did not dare write any commentary on Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam because that would have been a direct offense at the lotus feet of the
Lord. But later speculators, in the name of Māyāvādī philosophy, unnecessarily make their commentary on the Catuḥślokī Bhāgavatam without any bona fide intent.
The monistic dry speculators have no business in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam because this particular Vedic literature is forbidden for them by the great author himself. Śrīla Vyāsadeva has definitely forbidden persons engaged in religiosity, economic development, sense gratification and finally, salvation, from trying to understand Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, which is not meant for them (Bhāg. 1.1.2). Śrīpāda Śrīdhara Svāmī, the great commentator on Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, has definitely forbidden the Salvationists or monists to deal in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. It is not for them. Yet such unauthorized persons perversely try to understand Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and thus they commit offense at the feet of the Lord, which even Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya dared not do. Thus they prepare for their continuation of miserable life. It should be particularly noted herein that Uddhava studied the Catuḥślokī Bhāgavatam directly from the Lord, who spoke them first to Brahmājī, and this time the Lord explained more confidentially the self-knowledge mentioned as the paramāṁ sthitim. Upon learning such self-knowledge of love, Uddhava felt very much aggrieved by feelings of separation from the Lord. Unless one is awakened to the stage of Uddhava—everlastingly feeling the separation of the Lord in transcendental love, as was exhibited by Lord Caitanya also—one cannot understand the real import of the four essential verses of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. One should not indulge in the unauthorized act of twisting the meaning and thereby putting himself on the dangerous path of offense.
so ‘haṁ tad-darśanāhlāda-
gamiṣye dayitaṁ tasya
saḥ aham—thus myself; tat—His; darśana—audience; āhlāda—pleasure; viyoga—without that; ārtiyutaḥ—afflicted by distress; prabho—my dear sir; gamiṣye—shall go; dayitam—so instructed; tasya—His; badaryāśrama—Badarikāśrama, in the Himalayas; maṇḍalam—association.
My dear Vidura, now I am mad for want of the pleasure of seeing Him, and just to mitigate this I am now proceeding to Badarikāśrama in the Himalayas for association, as I have been instructed by Him.
A pure devotee of the Lord of the standard of Uddhava constantly associates with the Lord in the double perception of simultaneous separation and meeting. The pure devotee is not for a moment unengaged in the transcendental service of the Lord. Execution of the Lord’s service is the main occupation of the pure devotee. Uddhava’s separation from the Lord was unbearable, and therefore he started to Badarikāśrama in obedience to the Lord’s order because the order of the Lord and the Lord Himself are identical. As long as one is engaged in the execution of the order of the Lord, there is no factual separation from Him.
yatra nārāyaṇo devo
naraś ca bhagavān ṛṣiḥ
mṛdu tīvraṁ tapo dīrghaṁ
yatra—where; nārāyaṇaḥ—the Personality of Godhead; devaḥ—by incarnation; naraḥ—human being; ca—also; bhagavān—the Lord; ṛṣiḥ—great sage; mṛdu—amiable to everyone; tīvram—severe; tapaḥ—penance; dīrgham—very long; tepāte—performing; loka-bhāvanau—welfare of all living entities.
There in Badarikāśrama the Personality of Godhead, in His incarnation as the sages Nara and Nārāyaṇa, has been undergoing great penance since time immemorial for the welfare of all amiable living entities.
Badarikāśrama on the Himalayas, the abode of the Nara-Nārāyaṇa sages, is a great place of pilgrimage for the Hindus. Even up to the present, hundreds and thousands of pious Hindus go to pay respects to the incarnation of Godhead Nara-Nārāyaṇa. It appears that even five thousand years ago this holy place was being visited by such a holy being as Uddhava, and even at that time the place was known to be very, very old. This particular pilgrimage site is very difficult to visit for ordinary men because of its difficult situation in the Himalayas in a place which is covered by ice almost all year. A few months during the summer season people can visit this place at great personal inconvenience. There are four dhāmas, or kingdoms of God, which represent the planets of the spiritual sky, which consists of the brahma-jyoti and the Vaikuṇṭhas. These are Badarikāśrama, Rameśvaram, Jagannātha Purī and Dvārakā. Faithful Hindus still visit all these holy places for perfection of spiritual realization, following in the footsteps of devotees like Uddhava.
ity uddhavād upākarṇya
suhṛdāṁ duḥsahaṁ vadham
śokam utpatitaṁ budhaḥ
śrī śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śuka Gosvāmī said; iti—thus; uddhavāt—from Uddhava; upākarṇya—hearing; suhṛdām—of friends and relatives; duḥsaham—unbearable; vadham—annihilation; jñānena—by transcendental knowledge; aśamayat—pacified himself; kṣattā—Vidura; śokam—bereavement; utpatitam—arisen; budhaḥ—the learned.
Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: After hearing from Uddhava all about the annihilation of his friends and relatives, the learned Vidura pacified his overwhelming bereavement by dint of his transcendental knowledge.
Vidura was informed that the result of the Battle of Kurukṣetra was the annihilation of his friends and relatives as well as the destruction of the Yadu dynasty and also the passing away of the Lord. All these hurled him into bereavement for the time being, but because he was highly advanced in transcendental knowledge, he was quite competent to pacify himself by enlightenment. As it is stated in Bhagavad-gītā, due to our long association with bodily relationships, bereavement on account of the annihilation of friends and relatives is not at all astonishing, but one has to learn the art of subduing such bereavement with higher transcendental knowledge. The talks between Uddhava and Vidura on the topic of Kṛṣṇa began at sunset, and Vidura was now further advanced in knowledge due to his association with Uddhava.
sa taṁ mahā-bhāgavataṁ
saḥ—Vidura; tam—unto Uddhava; mahā-bhāgavatam—the great devotee of the Lord; vrajantam—while going; kaurava-ṛṣabha—the best amongst the Kauravas; viśrambhāt—out of confidence; abhyadhatta—submitted; idam—this; mukyam—unto the chief; kṛṣṇa—Lord Kṛṣṇa; parigrahe—in devotional service to the Lord.
While Uddhava, the chief and most confidential amongst the devotees of the Lord, was going away, Vidura, in affection and confidence, questioned him.
Vidura was much older than Uddhava. By family relationship Uddhava was a contemporary brother of Kṛṣṇa’s, while Vidura was as elderly as Kṛṣṇa’s father Vasudeva. But although junior by age, Uddhava was much advanced in the devotional service of the Lord, and therefore he is described herein as the chief amongst the devotees of the Lord. Vidura was confident about this, and thus he addressed Uddhava in that higher category. That is the way of courteous dealings between two devotees.
jñānaṁ paraṁ svātma-rahaḥ-prakāśaṁ
yad āha yogeśvara īśvaras te
vaktuṁ bhavān no ‘rhati yadd hi viṣṇor
bhṛtyāḥ sva-bhṛtyārtha-kṛtaś caranti
viduraḥ uvāca—Vidura said; jñānam—knowledge; param—transcendental; sva-ātma—regarding the self; rahaḥ—mystery; prakāśam—enlightening; yat—that which; āha—said; yoga-īśvaraḥ—the master of all mystics; īśvaraḥ—the Lord; te—unto you; vaktum—to narrate; bhavān—your good self; naḥ—unto me; arhati—deserve; yat—for; hi—reason of; viṣṇoḥ—of Lord Viṣṇu; bhṛtyāḥ—servants; sva-bhṛtyārtha-kṛtaḥ—for the interest of their servants; caranti—do wander.
Vidura said: O Uddhava, because the servants of Viṣṇu, the Lord, wander in the interest of serving others, it is quite fit that you kindly describe the self-knowledge with which you have been enlightened by the Lord Himself.
The servants of the Lord are actually the servants of society. They have no interest in human society other than to enlighten it in transcendental knowledge; they are interested in imparting knowledge of the relationship of the living being with the Supreme Lord, the activities in that transcendental relationship, and the ultimate goal of human life. That is the real knowledge which can help society achieve the real aim of human welfare. Knowledge in the matter of the bodily necessities of eating, sleeping, mating and fearing, transformed into various branches of advancement of knowledge, is all temporary. A living being is not the material body but an eternal part and parcel of the Supreme Being, and thus revival of his self-knowledge is very essential. Without this knowledge, the human life is baffled. The servants of the Lord, Viṣṇu, are entrusted with this responsible work, and so they wander over the earth and to all other planets in the universe. Thus the knowledge which was received by Uddhava directly from the Lord deserves to be distributed in human society, especially to persons like Vidura who are highly advanced in the devotional service of the Lord.
Real transcendental knowledge descends in the disciplic succession from the Lord to Uddhava, from Uddhava to Vidura and so on. Such supreme transcendental knowledge is not possible to achieve by the process of imperfect speculation as performed by the so-called learned mundane wranglers. Vidura was anxious to know from Uddhava that confidential knowledge known as paramāṁ sthitim, in which the Lord is known by His transcendental pastimes. Although Vidura was older than Uddhava, he was anxious to become a servant of Uddhava in the transcendental relationship. This formula of transcendental disciplic succession is taught by Lord Caitanya also. Lord Caitanya advises that one receive transcendental knowledge from anyone—whether a brāhmaṇa or a śūdra, a householder or a sannyāsī—provided that person is factually conversant with the science of Kṛṣṇa. A person who knows the science of Kṛṣṇa is factually a bona fide spiritual master.
nanu te tattva-saṁrādhya
ṛṣiḥ kauṣāravo ‘ntike
sākṣād bhagavatā "diṣṭo
śrī uddhavaḥ uvāca—Śrī Uddhava said; nanu—however; te—yourself; tattva-saṁrādhyaḥ—one who is worshipable for reception of transcendental knowledge; ṛṣiḥ—learned scholar; kauṣāravaḥ—unto the son of Kuṣāru (Maitreya); antike—staying nearby; sākṣāt—directly; bhāgavata—by the Personality of Godhead; ādiṣṭaḥ—instructed; martya-lokam—mortal world; jihāsatā—while quitting.
Śrī Uddhava said: You may take lessons from the great learned sage Maitreya, who is nearby and who is worshipable for reception of transcendental knowledge. He was directly instructed by the Personality of Godhead while He was about to quit this mortal world.
Although one may be well versed in the transcendental science, one should be careful about the offense of maryā-dāvyati-krama, or impertinently surpassing a greater personality. According to scriptural injunction one should be very careful of transgressing the law of maryā-dāvyati-krama because by so doing one loses his duration of life, his opulence, fame, piety and the blessings of all the world. To be well versed in the transcendental science necessitates awareness of the techniques of spiritual science.
Uddhava, being well aware of all these technicalities of transcendental science, advised Vidura to approach Maitreya Ṛṣi to receive transcendental knowledge. Vidura wanted to accept Uddhava as his spiritual master, but Uddhava did not accept the post because Vidura was as old as Uddhava’s father and therefore Uddhava could not accept him as his disciple, especially when Maitreya was present nearby. The rule is that in the presence of a higher personality one should not be very eager to impart instructions, even if one is competent and well-versed. So Uddhava decided to send an elderly person like Vidura to Maitreya, another elderly person, but he was well versed also because he was directly instructed by the Lord while He was about to quit this mortal world. Since both Uddhava and Maitreya were directly instructed by the Lord, both had the authority to become the spiritual master of Vidura or anyone else, but Maitreya, being elderly, had the first claim to becoming the spiritual master, especially for Vidura, who was much older than Uddhava. One should not be eager to become a spiritual master cheaply for the sake of profit and fame, but should become a spiritual master only for the service of the Lord. The Lord never tolerates the impertinence of maryā-dāvyati-krama. One should never pass over the honor due to an elderly spiritual master in the interests of one’s own personal gain and fame. Impertinence on the part of the psuedo-spiritual master is very risky to progressive spiritual realization.
iti saha vidureṇa viśva-mūrter
guṇa-kathayā sudhayā plāvitorutāpaḥ
kṣaṇam iva puline yamasvasus tāṁ
samuṣita aupagavir niśāṁ tato ‘gāt
śrī śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; iti—thus; saha—along with; vidureṇa—Vidura; viśva-mūrteḥ—of the Universal Person; guṇa-kathayā—in the discourse of transcendental qualities; sudhayā—nectarean; plāvita-urutāpaḥ—overwhelmed by great affliction; kṣaṇam—moment; iva—like that; puline—on the bank of; yamasvasuḥ tām—River Yamunā; samuṣitaḥ—passed on; aupagavih—the son of Aupagava (Uddhava); niśām—the night; tataḥ—thereafter; agāt—went away.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: O King, thus discussing the transcendental name, fame, qualities, etc., on the bank of the Yamunā, Vidura became overwhelmed with great affliction. He passed the night as if it were a moment, and thereafter he went away.
The word used here for Kṛṣṇa is viśva-mūrti. Both Uddhava and Vidura were in great affliction because of Lord Kṛṣṇa’s departure, and the more they discussed the transcendental name, fame and qualities of the Lord, the more the picture of the Lord became visible to them everywhere. Such visualization of the transcendental form of the Lord is neither false nor imaginary but is factual Absolute Truth. When the Lord is perceived as viśva-mūrti, it is not that He loses His personality or transcendental eternal form, but He becomes visible in the same form everywhere.
nidhanam upagateṣu vṛṣṇi-bhojeṣv
sa tu katham avaśiṣṭa uddhavo yadd harir
api tatyaja ākṛtiṁ tryadhīśaḥ
śrī rājā uvāca—the King inquired; nidhanam—destruction; upagateṣu—having overtaken; vṛṣṇi—of the Vṛṣṇi dynasty; bhojeṣu—the Bhoja dynasty; adhiratha—great commander; yūthapa—commander-in-chief; yūthapeṣu—amongst them; mukhyaḥ—prominent; saḥ—he; tu—only; katham—how, avaśiṣṭaḥ—remained; uddhavaḥ—Uddhava; yat—whereas; hariḥ—the Personality of Godhead; api—also; tatyaje—finished; ākṛtim—complete pastimes; tri-adhīśaḥ—the Lord of the three worlds.
The King inquired: At the end of the pastimes of the Lord of the three worlds, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and after the disappearance of the members of the Vṛṣṇi and Bhoja dynasties, who were the best of the great commanders, why did Uddhava alone remain?
According to Śrī Jīva Gosvāmī, nidhanam means the transcendental abode of the Lord. Ni means the highest, and dhanam means opulence. And because the abode of the Lord is the highest manifestation of transcendental opulence, His abode can therefore be called nidhanam. Apart from the grammatical elucidation, the real purpose of the word nidhanam is to indicate that all the members of the Vṛṣṇi and Bhoja dynasties were direct associates of the Lord, and after the end of His pastimes, all the associates were dispatched to their respective positions in the transcendental abode.
Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākur elucidates the meaning of ākṛtim as pastimes. Ā means complete, and kṛtim means transcendental pastimes. Since the Lord is identical with His transcendental body, there is no question of His changing or quitting His body. To act in accordance with the rules and customs of the material world, the Lord seems to take His birth or leave His body, but the pure devotees of the Lord know well the actual fact. It is necessary, therefore, for the serious students of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam to follow the notes and comments of the great ācāryas like Jīva Gosvāmī and Viśvanātha Cakravartī. To others, who are not devotees of the Lord, the comments and explanations of such ācāryas may appear to be grammatical jugglery, but to the students who are in the line of disciplic succession, the explanations of the great ācāryas are quite fit.
The word upagateṣu is also significant. All the members of Vṛṣṇi and Bhoja directly reached the abode of the Lord. Other devotees do not reach the abode of the Lord directly, but the pure associates of the Lord have no attraction for the opulence of any planets of the material world. Sometimes, due to inquisitiveness, devotees who are to be promoted to the abode of the Lord have some attraction for the opulence of the higher material planets above the earth, and thus they desire to see them while going up to the perfection. But the Vṛṣṇis and Bhojas were directly dispatched because they had no attraction for material planets. Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākur also suggests that according to the Amara-kośa dictionary, ākṛti also means signal. Lord Kṛṣṇa ordered Uddhava by signal to go to Badarikāśrama after His departure, and Uddhava, as a pure devotee of the Lord, carried out the order more faithfully than going back to Godhead or the abode of the Lord. That was the cause of his remaining alone even after the departure of the Lord from the face of the earth.
saṁhṛtya sva-kulaṁ sphītaṁ
tyakṣyan deham acinta-yat
śrī śukaḥ uvāca—Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; brahma-śāpa—cursing by the brāhmaṇas; apadeśena—on the plea, by such a show; kālena—by the eternal time; amogha—unfailing; vāñcchitaḥ—one who so desires; saṁhṛtya—closing; sva-kūṭam—own family; sphītam—excessively numerous; tyakṣyan—for disappearing; deham—the universal form; acinta-yat—thought to Himself.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī replied: My dear King, the cursing of the brāhmaṇas was only a plea, but the actual fact is the supreme desire of the Lord. He wanted to disappear from the face of the earth after dispatching His excessively numerous family members. He thought to Himself as follows:
In this verse the word tyakṣyan is very significant in relation to Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s leaving His body. Since He is the eternal form of existence, knowledge and bliss, His body and His Self are identical. Therefore how is it possible that He would leave His body and then disappear from the vision of the world? There is a great controversy amongst the nondevotees or Māyāvādīs about the mysterious disappearance of the Lord, and the doubts of those men with a poor fund of knowledge have been very elaborately cleared by Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī in his Kṛṣṇa-sandarbha.
According to Brahma-saṁhitā, the Lord has many forms. It is stated therein that the Lord has innumerable forms, and when He appears within the vision of the living entities, as Lord Kṛṣṇa actually appeared, all such forms amalgamate with Him. Besides all these infallible forms, He has His universal form, as manifested before Arjuna on the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra. Here in this verse the word sphītam is also used, which indicates that He left His gigantic universal form called the virāṭa-rūpa, not His primeval, eternal form, because there is hardly any possibility of His changing His form of sac-cid-ānanda. This simple understanding is at once realized by the devotees of the Lord, but those who are nondevotees, who perform hardly any devotional service to the Lord, either do not understand this simple fact or purposely raise a controversy to defeat the eternity of the transcendental body of the Lord. This is due to the defect called the cheating propensity of the imperfect living entities.
By practical experience also, it is seen, up to the present day, that the Lord’s transcendental form is worshiped by devotees in different temples, and all the devotees of the Lord factually realize that the form of the Deity in the temple is nondifferent from the form of the Lord. This inconceivable performance of the internal potency of the Lord is described in Bhagavad-gītā; nāhaṁ prakāśaḥ sarvasya yogamāyā-samāvṛtaḥ. (Bg. 7.25) The Lord reserves the right of not being exposed to everyone. In the Pādma Purāṇa it is said, ataḥ śrī-kṛṣṇa-nāmādi na bhaved grāhyam indriyaiḥ. The name and form of the Lord cannot be perceived by the material senses, but when He appears within the vision of the mundane people He assumes the form of the virāṭa-rūpa. This is an additional material exhibition of form and is supported by the logic of a subject and its adjectives. In grammar, when an adjective is taken away from the subject, the subject it modifies does not change. Similarly, when the Lord quits His virāṭa-rūpa, His eternal form does not change, although there is no material difference between Himself and any one of His innumerable forms. In the Fifth Canto it will be seen how the Lord is worshiped in different planets in His different forms, even now, and how He is worshiped in different temples of this earth also.
Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī and Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākur have very elaborately explained this incidence of the Lord’s disappearance in their commentaries, quoting various authentic versions of Vedic literatures. We purposely do not include them all here to avoid an increase in the volume of this book. The entire matter is explained in Bhagavad-gītā, as quoted above: the Lord reserves the right of not being exposed to everyone. He always keeps Himself out of the vision of the nondevotees, who are devoid of love and devotion, and thus He puts them still further away from the Lord. The Lord appeared on the invitation of Brahmā, who prayed before the Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu, and therefore when the Lord appeared, all the forms of Viṣṇu amalgamated with Him,and when the mission was fulfilled, all of them disintegrated from Him in the usual course.
asmāl lokād uparate
mayi jñānaṁ mad-āśrayam
arhaty uddhava evāddhā
sampraty ātmavatāṁ varaḥ
asmāt—from this (universe); lokāt—earth; uparate—having disappeared; mayi—of Myself; jñānam—knowledge; mat-āśrayam—concerning Myself; arhati—deserves; uddhavaḥ—Uddhava; eva—certainly; addhā—directly; samprati—at the present moment; ātmavatām—of the devotees; varaḥ—foremost.
Now I shall leave the vision of this mundane world, and I see that Uddhava, the foremost of My devotees, is the only one who can be directly entrusted with knowledge about Me.
Jñānaṁ mad-āśrayam is significant in this verse. Transcendental knowledge has three departmental divisions, namely knowledge of impersonal Brahman, knowledge of the all-pervading Supersoul and knowledge of the Personality of Godhead. Out of the three, transcendental knowledge of the Personality of Godhead has special significance and is known as bhagavat-tattva-vijñām, specific knowledge of the Personality of Godhead. This specific knowledge is realized by pure devotional service and no other means. Bhagavad-gītā (Bg. 18.55) confirms this: bhaktyā mām abhijānāti yāvān yaś cā smi tattvataḥ. "Only persons engaged in devotional service can factually know the transcendental position of the Lord." Uddhava was considered to be the best amongst all devotees of that time, and therefore he was directly instructed by the Lord’s grace, so that people might take advantage of Uddhava’s knowledge after the disappearance of the Lord from the vision of the world. This is one of the reasons why Uddhava was advised to go to Badarikāśrama, where the Lord is personally represented by the Nara-Nārāyaṇa Deity. One who is transcendentally advanced can gain direct inspiration from the temple Deity, and thus a devotee of the Lord always takes shelter of a recognized temple of the Lord in order to make tangible advancement in transcendental knowledge by the grace of the Lord.
noddhavo ‘ṇv api man-nyūno
yad guṇair nārditaḥ prabhuḥ
ato mad-vayunaṁ lokaṁ
grāhayann iha tiṣṭhatu
na—not; uddhavaḥ—Uddhava; aṇu—slightly; api—also; mat—Myself; nyūnaḥ—inferior; yat—because; guṇaiḥ—by the modes of material nature; na—nor; arditaḥ—affected; prabhuḥ—master; ataḥ—therefore; mat-vayunam—knowledge of Me (the Personality of Godhead); lokam—the world; grāhayan—just to disseminate; iha—in this world; tiṣṭhatu—may remain.
Uddhava is not inferior to Me in any way because he is never affected by the modes of material nature. Therefore he may remain in this world in order to disseminate specific knowledge of the Personality of Godhead.
The specific qualification for becoming the representative of the Lord is to be unaffected by the material modes of nature. The highest qualification of a person in the material world is to be a brāhmaṇa. But since a brāhmaṇa is in the mode of goodness, to be a brāhmaṇa is not sufficient for becoming a representative of the Lord. One has to transcend the mode of goodness also and be situated in unalloyed goodness, unaffected by any of the qualities of material nature. This stage of transcendental qualification is called śuddha-sattva, or vāsudeva, and in this stage the science of God can be realized. As the Lord is not affected by the modes of material nature, so a pure devotee of the Lord is also not affected by the modes of nature. That is the primary qualification for being one with the Lord. A person who is able to attain this transcendental qualification is called jīvanmukta, or liberated, even though he is apparently in material conditions. This liberation is achieved by one who constantly engages in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. In Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu it is stated:
īhā yasya harer dāsye karmaṇā manasā girā
nikhilāsv apy avasthāsu jīvanmuktaḥ sa ucyate
"Anyone who, by his actions, mind and words, lives only for the transcendental loving service of the Lord, is certainly a liberated soul, even though he may appear to be in a condition of material existence." Uddhava was in such a transcendental position, and thus he was selected to be the factual representative of the Lord in His bodily absence from the vision of the world. Such a devotee of the Lord is never affected by material strength, intelligence or even renunciation. Such a devotee of the Lord can withstand all onslaughts of material nature, and therefore he is known as gosvāmī. Only such gosvāmīs can penetrate the mysteries of the Lord’s transcendental loving relationships.
harim īje samādhinā
evam—thus; tri-loka—three worlds; guruṇā—by the spiritual master; sandiṣṭaḥ—being perfectly taught; śabda-yoninā—by one who is the source of all Vedic knowledge; badarya-āśramam—in the pilgrimage site of Badarikāśrama; āsādya—reaching; harim—unto the Lord; īje—satisfied; samādhinā—by trance.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī informed the King that Uddhava, being thus instructed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the source of all Vedic knowledge and the spiritual master of the three worlds, reached the pilgrimage site of Badarikāśrama and engaged himself there in trance to satisfy the Lord.
Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is factually the spiritual master of the three worlds, and He is the original source of all Vedic knowledge. It is very difficult, however, to understand the personal feature of the Absolute Truth, even from the Vedas. His personal instructions are needed in order to understand the Personality of Godhead as the Supreme Absolute Truth. Bhagavad-gītā is the evidence of such transcendental knowledge in gist. One cannot know the Supreme Lord unless one is graced by the Lord Himself. Lord Kṛṣṇa exhibited this specific mercy towards Arjuna and Uddhava while He was in the material world.
Undoubtedly Bhagavad-gītā was spoken by the Lord on the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra just to encourage Arjuna to fight, and yet to complete the transcendental knowledge of Bhagavad-gītā, the Lord instructed Uddhava. The Lord wanted Uddhava to fulfill His mission and disseminate knowledge which He had not even spoken in Bhagavad-gītā. Persons who are attached to the words of the Vedas may also know from this verse that the Lord is the source of all Vedic knowledge. One who is unable to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead by going through the pages of the Vedas may take shelter of one of the Lord’s devotees, such as Uddhava, in order to advance further in knowledge of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Brahma-saṁhitā says that it is very difficult to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead from the Vedas, but He is easily understood from a pure devotee like Uddhava. Taking mercy on the great sages who lived at Badarikāśrama, the Lord authorized Uddhava to speak on His behalf. Unless one has such authorization, one cannot understand or preach the devotional service of the Lord.
While present on this earth, the Lord executed many uncommon activities, even traveling in space to bring down the pārijāta from heaven and recovering the son of His teacher (Sāndīpani Muni) from the regions of death. Uddhava was certainly informed of the conditions of life on other planets, and all the sages were anxious to know of them, just as we are anxious to know about the planets in space. Uddhava was particularly deputed to carry a message to Badarikāśrama, not only to the sages of that place of pilgrimage but also to the Nara-Nārāyaṇa Deities. Such a message must have been more confidential than the knowledge described in the pages of the Vedas.
The Lord is undoubtedly the source of all knowledge, and the messages dispatched through Uddhava to Nara-Nārāyaṇa and other sages were also part of the Vedic knowledge, but they were more confidential and could be sent or understood only through such a pure devotee as Uddhava. Since such confidential knowledge was known only to the Lord and Uddhava, it is said that Uddhava is as good as the Lord Himself. Every living entity can, like Uddhava, also become a confidential messenger on the same level as the Lord, provided he becomes confidential himself by dint of loving devotional service. Such confidential knowledge is entrusted, as confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā, only to pure devotees like Uddhava and Arjuna, and one has to learn the mystery through them, and not otherwise. One cannot understand Bhagavad-gītā or Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam without the help of such confidential devotees of the Lord. According to Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākur, that confidential message must have concerned the mystery of His departure and the annihilation of His dynasty after the end of His appearance in the mundane world for one hundred years. Everyone must have been very anxious to know about the mystery of the annihilation of the Yadu dynasty, and that message must have been explained by the Lord to Uddhava and dispatched to Badarikāśrama for the information of Nara-Nārāyaṇa and other pure devotees of the Lord.
viduro ‘py uddhavāc chrutvā
karmāṇi ślāghitāni ca
viduraḥ—Vidura; api—also; uddhavāt—from the source of Uddhava; śrutvā—having heard; kṛṣṇasya—of Lord Kṛṣṇa; paramaātmanaḥ—of the Supersoul; krīḍayā—for the sake of pastimes in the mortal world; upātta—extraordinarily accepted; dehasya—of the body; karmāṇi—transcendental activities; ślāghitāni—most glorious; ca—also.
Vidura also heard from Uddhava about the appearance and disappearance of Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Supersoul, in the mortal world, which is a subject matter sought after with great perseverance by the great sages.
The subject matter of the appearance and disappearance of the Supersoul, Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, is a mystery even for the great sages. The word paramātmanaḥ is significant in this verse. An ordinary living being is generally called the ātmanaḥ, but Lord Kṛṣṇa is never an ordinary living being because He is paramātmanaḥ, the Supersoul. Yet His appearance as one of the human beings and His disappearance again from the mortal world are subject matters for the research workers who execute research work with great perseverance. Such subject matters are certainly of increasing interest because the researchers have to search out the transcendental abode of the Lord, which He enters after finishing His pastimes in the mortal world. But even the great sages have no information that beyond the material sky there is the spiritual sky where Śrī Kṛṣṇa eternally resides with His associates, although at the same time He exhibits His pastimes in the mortal world in all the universes one after another. This fact is confirmed in Brahma-saṁhitā (Bs. 5.37): goloka eva nivasaty akhilātmabhūtaḥ. "The Lord, by His inconceivable potency, resides in His eternal abode, Goloka, yet at the same time, as the Supersoul, He is present everywhere-both in the spiritual and material skies—by His multivarieties of manifestation." Therefore His appearance and disappearance are simultaneously going on, and no one can say definitely which of them is the beginning and which is the end. His eternal pastimes have no beginning or end, and one has to learn of them from the pure devotee only and not waste valuable time in so-called research work.
deha-nyāsaṁ ca tasyaivaṁ
deha-nyāsam—entering the body; ca—also; tasya—His; evam—also; dhīrāṇām—of great sages; dhairya—perseverance; vardhanam—increasing; anyeṣām—for others; duṣkarataram—very difficult to ascertain; paśūnām—of the beasts; viklava—disturbed; ātmānam—of such a mind.
The Lord’s glorious acts and His acceptance of various transcendental forms for the performance of extraordinary pastimes in the mortal world are very difficult for anyone other than His devotees to understand, and for the beasts they are simply a mental disturbance.
The transcendental forms and pastimes of the Lord, as described in Bhagavad-gītā, are difficult subject matters for those who are not devotees to understand. The Lord never reveals Himself to persons like the jñānīs and yogīs. And there are others who, because of their envying the Lord from the bottom of their hearts, are classified amongst the beasts, and for such envious beasts the subject matter of the Lord’s appearance and disappearance is simply a mental disturbance. As confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (Bg. 7.15), the miscreants who are simply concerned with material enjoyment, who work very hard like beasts of burden, can hardly know the Personality of Godhead at any stage due to āsurika-bhāva, or a spirit of revolt against the Supreme Lord.
The transcendental bodily expansions manifested by the Lord for His pastimes in the mortal world, and the appearance and disappearance of such transcendental expansions, are difficult subject matters, and those who are not devotees are advised not to discuss the Lord’s appearance and disappearance, lest they commit further offenses at the lotus feet of the Lord. The more they discuss the transcendental appearance and disappearance of the Lord in the asuric spirit, the more they enter into the darkest region of hell, as stated in Bhagavad-gītā (Bg. 16.20). Anyone who is against the transcendental loving service of the Lord is more or less a beastly creature, as confirmed in this verse of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.
ātmānaṁ ca kuru-śreṣṭha
dhyāyan gate bhāgavate
ātmānam—himself; ca—also; kuru-śreṣṭha—O best amongst the Kurus; kṛṣṇena—by Kṛṣṇa; manasā—by the mind; īkṣitam—remembered; dhyāyan—thus thinking of; gate—having gone; bhāgavate—of the devotee; ruroda—cried loudly; prema-vihvalaḥ—overwhelmed by the ecstasy of love.
Understanding that he was remembered by Lord Kṛṣṇa [while quitting this world], Vidura began to cry loudly, overwhelmed by the ecstasy of love.
Vidura was overwhelmed by the ecstasy of love when he understood that Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, thought of him at the last moment. Although he thought of himself as insignificant, he was remembered by the Lord, by His causeless mercy. Vidura accepted this as a great favor, and thus he cried. This crying is the last word in the progressive path of devotional service. One who can cry for the Lord in love is certainly successful in the line of devotional service.
kālindyāḥ katibhiḥ siddha
yatra mitrā-suto muniḥ
kālindyāḥ—on the bank of the Yamunā; katibhiḥ—a few; siddhe—being so passed; ahobhiḥ—days; bharata-ṛṣabhaḥ—O best of the Bhārata dynasty; prāpadyata—reached; svaḥ-saritam—the celestial water of the Ganges; yatra—where; mitrā-sutaḥ—the son of Mitrā; muniḥ—sage.
After passing a few days on the bank of the River Yamunā, Vidura, the self-realized soul, reached the bank of the Ganges, where the great sage Maitreya was situated.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta PURPORTs of the Fourth Chapter, Third Canto, of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, entitled "Vidura Approaches Maitreya."
Vidura’s Talks with Maitreya
dvāri dyunadyā ṛṣabhaḥ kurūṇāṁ
maitreyam āsīnam agādha-bodham
śukaḥ uvāca—Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; dvāri—on the mouth of; dyunad-yāḥ—the celestial River Ganges; ṛṣabhaḥ—the best of the Kurus; kurūṇām—of the Kurus; maitreyam—unto Maitreya; āsīnam—sitting; agādha-bodham—of unfathomed knowledge; kṣattā—Vidura; upasṛtya—having approached nearer; acyuta—the infallible Lord; bhāva—character; siddhaḥ—perfect; papraccha—inquired; sauśīlya—gentleness; guṇa-abhitṛptaḥ—satisfied in transcendental qualities.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: Vidura, the best amongst the Kuru dynasty, who was perfect in devotional service to the Lord, thus reached the mouth of the celestial Ganges River [Hardwar], where Maitreya, the great fathomless learned sage of the world, was seated. Vidura, who was perfect in gentleness and satisfied in transcendence, inquired from him.
Vidura was already perfect due to his unalloyed devotion to the infallible Lord. The Lord and the living entities are all qualitatively the same by nature, but the Lord is quantitatively much greater than any individual living entity. He is ever infallible, whereas the living entities are prone to fall under the illusory energy. Vidura had already surpassed the fallible nature of the living entity in conditional life due to his being acyuta-bhāva, or legitimately absorbed in the devotional service of the Lord. This stage of life is called acyuta-bhāva-siddha, or perfection by dint of devotional service. Anyone, therefore, who is absorbed in the devotional service of the Lord is a liberated soul and has all admirable qualities. The learned sage Maitreya was sitting in a solitary place on the bank of the Ganges at Hardwar, and Vidura, who was a perfect devotee of the Lord and possessed all good transcendental qualities, approached him for inquiry.
sukhāya karmāṇi karoti loko
na taiḥ sukhaṁ vānyad-upāramaṁ vā
vindeta bhūyas tata eva duḥkhaṁ
yad atra yuktaṁ bhagavān vaden naḥ
viduraḥ uvāca—Śrī Vidura said; sukhāya—for attaining happiness; karmāṇi—fruitive activities; karoti—everyone does so; lokaḥ—in this world; na—never; taiḥ—by those activities; sukham—any happiness; vā—or; anyat—differently; upāramam—satiation; vā—either; vindeta—achieve; bhūyaḥ—on the contrary; tataḥ—by such activities; eva—certainly; duḥkham—miseries; yat—that which; atra—under the circumstances; yuktam—right course; bhagavān—O great one; vadet—may kindly enlighten; naḥ—us.
Vidura said: O great sage, in this world everyone engages in fruitive activities to attain happiness, but they find neither satiation nor the mitigation of distress. On the contrary, they are only aggravated by such activities. Please, therefore, give us directions on how one should live for real happiness.
Vidura asked Maitreya some common questions, which was not originally his intention. Uddhava asked Vidura to approach Maitreya Muni and inquire into all the truths concerning the Lord, His name, fame, quality, form, pastimes, entourage, etc., and thus when Vidura approached Maitreya, he should have asked only about the Lord. But out of natural humility he did not immediately ask about the Lord, but inquired into a subject which would be of great importance to the common man. A common man cannot understand the Lord. He must first know the real position of his life under the influence of the illusory energy. In illusion one thinks that he can be happy only by fruitive activities, but what actually happens is that one becomes more and more entangled in the network of action and reaction and does not find any solution to the problem of life. There is a nice song in this connection: "Because of a great desire to have all happiness in life, I built this house. But unfortunately the whole scheme has turned to ashes because the house was unexpectedly set on fire." The law of nature is like that. Everyone tries to become happy by planning in the material world, but the law of nature is so cruel that it sets fire to one’s schemes; the fruitive worker is not happy in his schemes, nor is there any satiation of his continuous hankering for happiness.
janasya kṛṣṇād-vimukhasya daivād
anugrahāyeha caranti nūnaṁ
bhūtāni bhavyāni janārdanasya
janasya—of the common man; kṛṣṇāt—from the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa; vimukhasya—of the one who has turned his face against the Lord; daivāt—by the influence of external energy; adharma-śīlasya—of one who is engaged in irreligion; suduḥkhitasya—of one who is always unhappy; anugrahāya—due to being compassionate towards them; iha—in this world; caranti—wander; nūnam—certainly; bhūtāni—persons; bhavyāni—great philanthropic souls; janārdanasya—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
O my lord, great philanthropic souls travel on the earth on behalf of the Supreme Personality of Godhead to show compassion to the fallen souls who are adverse to the sense of subordination to the Lord.
To be obedient to the wishes of the Supreme Lord is the natural position of every living entity. But due only to past misdeeds, a living being becomes adverse to the sense of subordination to the Lord and suffers all the miseries of material existence. No one has anything to do but render devotional service to the Supreme Lord, Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Therefore any activity other than transcendental loving service to the Lord is more or less a rebellious action against the supreme will. All fruitive activity, empirical philosophy and mysticism are more or less against the sense of subordination to the Lord, and any living entity engaged in such rebellious activity is more or less condemned by the laws of material nature, which work under the subordination of the Lord. Great unalloyed devotees of the Lord are compassionate towards the fallen, and therefore they travel all over the world with the mission of bringing souls back to Godhead, back to home. Such pure devotees of the Lord carry the message of Godhead in order to deliver the fallen souls, and therefore the common man who is bewildered by the influence of the external energy of the Lord should avail himself of their association.
tat sādhuvaryādiśa vartma śaṁ naḥ
saṁrādhito bhagavān yena puṁsām
hṛdi sthito yacchati bhaktipūte
jñānaṁ sa-tattvādhigamaṁ purāṇam
tat—therefore; sādhuvarya—O great one amongst the saints; ādiśa—please instruct; vartma—the path; śam—auspicious; naḥ—for us; saṁrādhitaḥ—being perfectly served; bhagavān—the Personality of Godhead; yena—by which; puṁsām—of the living entity; hṛdi sthitaḥ—residing in the heart; yacchati—awards; bhaktipūte—unto the unalloyed devotee; jñānam—knowledge; sa—that; tattva—truth; adhigamam—by which one learns; purāṇam—authorized, old.
Therefore, O great sage, please give me instruction on the transcendental devotional service of the Lord, so that He who is situated in the heart of everyone can he pleased to impart, from within, knowledge of the Absolute Truth in terms of the ancient Vedic principles delivered only to those who are purified by the process of devotional service.
As already explained in the First Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the Absolute Truth is realized in three different phases although they are one and the same in terms of the knower’s capacity to understand. The most capable transcendentalist is the pure devotee of the Lord who is without any tinge of fruitive actions or philosophical speculation. By devotional service only does one’s heart become completely purified from all material coverings like karma, jñāna and yoga. Only in such a purified stage does the Lord, who is seated in everyone’s heart with the individual soul, give instruction so that the devotee can reach the ultimate destination of going back home, back to Godhead. This is confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (Bg. 10.10): teṣāṁ satata-yuktānāṁ bhajatām. Only when the Lord is satisfied with the devotional service of the devotee does He impart knowledge, as He did for Arjuna and Uddhava.
The jñānīs, yogīs and karmīs cannot expect this direct cooperation of the Lord. They are not able to satisfy the Lord by transcendental loving service, nor do they believe in such service to the Lord. The bhakti process, as performed under the regulative principles of vaidhī-bhakti, or devotional service following the prescribed rules and regulations, is defined by the revealed scriptures and confirmed by great ācāryas. This practice can help the neophyte devotee to rise to the stage of rāga-bhakti, in which the Lord responds from within as the caitta-guru or the spiritual master as Super-consciousness. All transcendentalists other than devotees do not make any distinction between the individual soul and the Supersoul because they miscalculate the Superconsciousness and individual consciousness to be one and the same. Such miscalculation by the nondevotees makes them unfit to receive any direction from within, and therefore they are bereft of the direct cooperation of the Lord. After many, many births, when such a nondualist comes to sense that the Lord is worshipable and that the devotee is simultaneously one and different from the Lord, then only can he surrender unto the Lord, Vāsudeva. Pure devotional service begins from that point. The process of understanding the Absolute Truth adopted by the misguided nondualist is very difficult, whereas the devotee’s way of understanding the Absolute Truth comes directly from the Lord, who is pleased by devotional service. On behalf of many neophyte devotees, Vidura, at the very first instance, inquired from Maitreya about the path of devotional service, by which the Lord, who is seated within the heart, can be pleased.
karoti karmāṇi kṛtāvatāro
yāny ātma-tantro bhagavāṁs tryadhīśaḥ
yathā sasarjāgra idaṁ nirīhaḥ
saṁsthāpya vṛttiṁ jagato vidhatte
karoti—does them; karmāṇi—transcendental activities; kṛta—by accepting; avatāraḥ—incarnations; yāni—all those; ātma-tantraḥ—Self-independent; bhagavān—the Personality of Godhead; tryadhīśaḥ—the Lord of the three worlds; yathā—as much as; sasarja—created; agre—at first; idam—this cosmic manifestation; nirīhaḥ—although desireless; saṁsthāpya—by establishing; vṛttim—means of livelihood; jagataḥ—of the universes; vidhatte—as He regulates.
O great sage, kindly narrate how the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the independent desireless Lord of the three worlds and the controller of all energies, accepts incarnations and creates the cosmic manifestation with perfectly arranged regulative principles for its maintenance.
Lord Kṛṣṇa is the original Personality of Godhead from whom the three creative incarnations, namely the puruṣa-avatāras—Kāraṇārṇavaśāyī Viṣṇu, Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu and Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu—expand. The whole material creation is conducted by the three puruṣas in successive stages under the external energy of the Lord, and thus material nature is controlled by Him. Thinking material nature to be independent is like seeking milk from the nipplelike bags on the neck of a goat. The Lord is independent and desireless. He does not create the material world for His own satisfaction as we create our household affairs to fulfill our material desires. Actually the material world is created for the illusory enjoyment of the conditioned souls, who have been against the transcendental service of the Lord since time immemorial. But the material universes are full in themselves. There is no scarcity for maintenance in the material world. Because of their poor fund of knowledge, the materialists are disturbed when there is an apparent increase of population on the earth. Whenever there is a living being on the earth, however, his subsistence is immediately arranged by the Lord. The other species of living entities, who far outnumber human society, are never disturbed for maintenance; they are never seen dying of starvation. It is only human society that is disturbed about the food situation and, to cover up the real fact of administrative mismanagement, takes shelter in the plea that the population is excessively increasing. If there is any scarcity in the world, it is the scarcity of God consciousness, otherwise, by the grace of the Lord, there is no scarcity of anything.
yathā punaḥ sve kha idaṁ niveśya
śete guhāyāṁ sa nivṛtta-vṛttiḥ
yogeśvarādhīśvara eka etad
anupraviṣṭo bahudhā yathā "sīt
yathā—as much as; punaḥ—again; sve—in His; khe—form of space (virāṭa-rūpa); idam—this; niveśya—entering into; śete—lies down; guhāyām—within the universe; saḥ—He (the Personality of Godhead); nivṛtta—without endeavor; vṛttiḥ—means of livelihood; yoga-īśvara—the master of all mystic powers; adhīśvaraḥ—proprietor of everything; ekaḥ—one without a second; etat—this; anupraviṣṭaḥ—entering afterwards; bahudhā—by innumerable; yathā—as much as; āsīt—exists.
He lies down on His own heart spread in the form of the sky, and thus placing the whole creation in that space, He expands Himself into many living entities, which are manifested as different species of life. He does not have to endeavor for His maintenance because He is the master of all mystic powers and the proprietor of everything. Thus He is distinct from the living entities.
The questions regarding creation, maintenance and destruction, which are mentioned in many parts of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, are in relation to different millenniums (kalpas), and therefore they are differently described by different authorities when questioned by different students. There is no difference regarding the creative principles and the Lord’s control over them, yet there are some differences in the minute details because of different kalpas. The gigantic sky is the material body of the Lord, called the virāṭa-rūpa, and all material creations are resting on the sky or the heart of the Lord. Therefore, beginning from the sky, the first material manifestation to the gross vision, down to the earth, everything is called Brahman. Sarvaṁ khalv idaṁ brahma: "There is nothing but the Lord, and He is one without a second." The living entities are the superior energies, whereas matter is the inferior energy, and the combination of these energies brings about the manifestation of this material world, which is in the heart of the Lord.
krīḍan vidhatte dvija-go-surāṇāṁ
kṣemāya karmāṇy avatāra-bhedaiḥ
mano na tṛpyaty api śṛṇvatāṁ naḥ
krīḍan—manifesting pastimes; vidhatte—perform; dvija—twice-born; go—cow; surāṇām—of the demigods; kṣemāya—welfare; karmāṇi—transcendental activities; avatāra—incarnations; bhedaiḥ—differently; manaḥ—mind; na—never; tṛpyati—satisfies; api—in spite of; śṛṇvatām—continuously hearing; naḥ—our; suśloka—auspicious; mauleḥ—of the Lord; carita—characteristics; amṛtāni—undying.
You may narrate also about the auspicious characteristics of the Lord in His different incarnations for the welfare of the twice-born, the cows and the demigods. Our minds are never satisfied completely although we continuously hear of His transcendental activities.
The Lord appears in this universe in different incarnations like Matsya, Kūrma, Varāha and Nṛsiṁha, and He manifests His different transcendental activities for the welfare of the twice-born, the cows and the demigods. The Lord is directly concerned with the twice-born or civilized men. A civilized man is one who has taken his birth twice. A living entity takes birth in this mundane world due to the union of male and female. A human being is born due to union of the father and mother, but a civilized human being has another birth by contact with a spiritual master, who becomes the actual father. The father and mother of the material body are so only in one birth, and in the next birth the father and mother may be a different couple. But the bona fide spiritual master, as the representative of the Lord, is the eternal father because the spiritual master has the responsibility to lead the disciple to spiritual salvation or the ultimate goal of life. Therefore, a civilized man must be twice-born, otherwise he is no more than the lower animals.
The cow is the most important animal for developing the human body to perfection. The body can be maintained by any kind of foodstuff, but cow’s milk is particularly essential for developing the finer tissues of the human brain so that one can understand the intricacies of transcendental knowledge. A civilized man is expected to live on foodstuffs comprising fruits, vegetables, grains, sugar and milk. The bull helps in the agricultural process of producing grain, etc., and thus in one sense the bull is the father of humankind, whereas the cow is the mother, for she supplies milk to human society. A civilized man is therefore expected to give all protection to the bulls and cows.
The demigods, or the living entities who live in the higher planets, are far superior to human beings. Since they have better arrangements for living conditions, they live far more luxuriously than human beings, yet they are all devotees of the Lord. The Lord incarnates in different forms, such as those of a fish, a tortoise, a hog, a combined lion and man, etc., just to give protection to civilized man, the cow and the demigods, who are directly responsible for the regulative life of progressive self-realization. The whole system of the material creation is planned so that the conditioned souls may have the opportunity for self-realization. One who takes advantage of such an arrangement is called a demigod or civilized man. The cow is meant to help maintain such a high standard of living.
The Lord’s pastimes for the protection of the twice-born civilized men, the cows and the demigods are all transcendental. A human being is inclined to hear good narrations and stories, and therefore there are so many books, magazines and newspapers on the market to satisfy the interests of the developed soul. But the pleasure in such literature, after it is read once, becomes stale, and people do not take any interest in reading such literature repeatedly. In fact, newspapers are read for less than an hour and then thrown in the dustbins as rubbish. The case is similar with all other mundane literatures. But the beauty of transcendental literatures like Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is that they never become old. They have been read in the world by civilized man for the last five thousand years, and they have never become old. They are ever fresh to the learned scholars and devotees, and even by daily repetition of the verses of Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, there is no satiation for devotees like Vidura. Vidura might have heard the pastimes of the Lord many, many times before he met Maitreya, but still he wanted the same narrations to be repeated because he was never satiated by hearing them. That is the transcendental nature of the Lord’s glorious pastimes.
yais tattva-bhedair adhi-loka-nātho
lokān alokān saha loka-pālān
acīkḷpad yatra hi sarva-sattva-
nikāya-bhedo ‘dhikṛtaḥ pratītaḥ
yaiḥ—by whom: tattva—truth; bhedaiḥ—by differentiation; adhi-loka-nāthaḥ—the King of the kings; lokān—planets; alokān—planets of the lower region; saha—along with: loka-pālān—respective kings; acīkḷpat—planned; yatra—wherein; hi—certainly; sarva—all; sattva—existence; nikāya—living entities: bhedaḥ—difference; adhikṛtaḥ—occupied; pratītaḥ—it so appears.
The Supreme King of all kings has created different planets and places of habitation where living entities are situated in terms of the modes of nature and work, and He has created their different kings and rulers.
Lord Kṛṣṇa is the chief King of all kings, and He has created different planets for all kinds of living entities. Even on this planet there are different places for inhabitation by different types of men. There are places like deserts, icelands and valleys in mountainous countries, and in each of them there are different kinds of men born of different modes of nature according to their past deeds. There are people in the Arabian deserts and in the valleys of the Himalayan Mountains, and the inhabitants of these two places differ from one another, just as the inhabitants of the icelands also differ from them. Similarly, there are also different planets. The planets below the earth down to the Pātāla planet are full of various kinds of living beings; no planet is vacant, as is wrongly imagined by the modern so-called scientist. In Bhagavad-gītā we find it said by the Lord that the living entities are sarva-gata, or present in every sphere of life. So there is no doubt that on other planets there are also inhabitants like us, sometimes with greater intelligence and greater opulence. The living conditions for those of greater intelligence are more luxurious than on this earth. There are also planets where no sunlight reaches, and there are living entities who must live there due to their past deeds. All such plans for living conditions are made by the Supreme Lord, and Vidura requested Maitreya to describe this for the sake of further enlightenment.
yena prajānām uta ātma-karma-
rūpābhidhānāṁ ca bhidāṁ vyadhatta
nārāyaṇo viśvasṛg ātma-yonir
etac ca no varṇaya vipra-varya
yena—by which; prajānām—of those who are born; uta—as also; ātma-karma—destined engagement; rūpa—form and feature; abhidhānām—endeavors; ca—also; bhidām—differentiation; vyadhatta—dispersed; nārāyaṇaḥ—the Supreme Personality of Godhead; viśvasṛk—the creator of the universe; ātma-yoniḥ—self-sufficient; etat—all these; ca—also; naḥ—unto us; varṇaya—describe; vipra-varya—O chief amongst the brāhmaṇas.
O chief amongst the brāhmaṇas, please also describe how Nārāyaṇa, the creator of the universe and the self-sufficient Lord, has differently created the natures, activities, forms, features and names of the different living creatures.
Every living being is under the plan of his natural inclinations in terms of the modes of material nature. His work is manifested in terms of the nature of the three modes, his form and bodily features are designed according to his work, and his name is designated according to his bodily features. For example, the higher classes of men are white (śukla), and the lower classes of men are black. This division of white and black is in terms of one’s white and black duties of life. Pious acts lead one to take birth in a good and highly placed family, to become rich, to become learned, and to acquire beautiful bodily features. Impious acts lead one to become poor by parentage, to be always in want, to become a fool or illiterate and to acquire ugly bodily features. Vidura requested Maitreya to explain these differences between all the living creatures made by Nārāyaṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
parāvareṣāṁ bhagavan vratāni
śrutāni me vyāsa-mukhād abhīkṣṇam
para—higher; avara—lower; eṣām—of all these; bhagavān—O my lord, O great one; vratāni—occupations; śrutāni—heard; me—by me; vyāsa—Vyāsa; mukhāt—from the mouth; abhīkṣṇam—repeatedly; atṛpnuma—I am satisfied; kṣulla—little; sukha-āvahānām—that which causes happiness; teṣām—out of that; amṛta—reality; kṛṣṇa-kathā—talks about the Personality of Godhead, Lord Kṛṣṇa; amṛta-oghāt—from the nectar.
O my lord, I have repeatedly heard about these higher and lower statuses of human society from the mouth of Vyāsadeva, and I am quite satiated with all these lesser subject matters and their happiness. They have not satisfied me with the nectar of topics about Kṛṣṇa.
Because people are very much interested in hearing social and historical presentations, Śrīla Vyāsadeva has compiled many books such as the Purāṇas and Mahābhārata. These books are reading matter for the mass of people, and they were compiled with a view to reviving their God consciousness, now forgotten in the conditional life of material existence. The real purpose of such literatures is not so much to present topics of historical references, but to revive the people’s sense of God consciousness. For example, Mahābhārata is the history of the Battle of Kurukṣetra, and common people read it because it is full of topics regarding the social, political and economic problems of human society. But factually the most important part of Mahābhārata is Bhagavad-gītā, which is automatically taught to readers along with the historical narrations of the Battle of Kurukṣetra.
Vidura explained to Maitreya his position of being fully satiated with the knowledge of mundane social and political topics and having no more interest in them. He was anxious to hear transcendental topics regarding Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Because, there were insufficient topics directly concerning Kṛṣṇa in the Purāṇas, Mahābhārata, etc., he was not satisfied and wanted to know more about Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa-kathā, or topics regarding Kṛṣṇa, are transcendental, and there is no satiation in hearing such topics. Bhagavad-gītā is important on account of its being Kṛṣṇa-kathā, or speeches delivered by Lord Kṛṣṇa. The story of the Battle of Kurukṣetra may be interesting for the mass of people, but to a person like Vidura who is highly advanced in devotional service, only Kṛṣṇa-kathā and that which is dovetailed with Kṛṣṇa-kathā is interesting. Vidura wanted to hear of everything from Maitreya, and so he inquired from him, but he desired that all the topics be in relationship with Kṛṣṇa. As fire is never satisfied in its consumption of firewood, so a pure devotee of the Lord never hears enough about Kṛṣṇa. Historical events and other narrations concerning social and political incidents all become transcendental as soon as they are in relationship with Kṛṣṇa. That is the way to transform mundane things into spiritual identity. The whole world can be transformed into Vaikuṇṭha if all worldly activities are dovetailed with Kṛṣṇa-kathā.
There are two important Kṛṣṇa-kathās current in the world—Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Bhagavad-gītā is Kṛṣṇa-kathā because it is spoken by Kṛṣṇa, whereas Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is Kṛṣṇa-kathā because it narrates about Kṛṣṇa. Lord Caitanya advised all His disciples to preach Kṛṣṇa-kathā all over the world without discrimination because the transcendental value of Kṛṣṇa-kathā can purify one and all from material contamination.
kas tṛpnuyāt tīrtha-pado ‘bhidhānāt
satreṣu vaḥ sūribhir īḍyamānāt
yaḥ karṇa-nāḍīṁ puruṣasya yāto
bhava-pradāṁ geha-ratiṁ chinatti
kaḥ—who is that man; tṛpnuyāt—that can be satisfied; tīrtha-padaḥ—whose lotus feet are all the places of pilgrimage; abhidhānāt—from the talks of; satreṣu—in human society; vaḥ—one who is; sūribhiḥ—by great devotees; īḍyamānāt—one who is so worshiped; yaḥ—who; karṇa-nāḍīm—in the holes of the ears; puruṣasya—of a man; yātaḥ—entering; bhava-pradām—that which awards births and deaths; geha-ratim—family affection; chinatti—is cut off.
Who in human society can be satisfied without hearing sufficient talk of the Lord, whose lotus feet are the sum total of all places of pilgrimage and who is worshiped by great sages and devotees? Such topics can cut off one’s bondage to family affection simply by entering the holes of one’s ears.
Kṛṣṇa-kathā is so powerful that simply by entering into a person’s ear it can at once give deliverance from the bondage of family affection. Family affection is an illusory manifestation of the external energy, and it is the only impetus for all mundane activities. As long as there is mundane activity and the mind is absorbed in such engagement, one has to undergo the repetition of birth and death in the current material nescience. People are most influenced by the mode of ignorance, and some are influenced by the passionate mode of material nature, and under the spell of these two modes a living being is actuated by the material conception of life. The mundane qualities do not allow a living entity to understand his real position. The qualities of both ignorance and passion strongly bind one to the illusory bodily conception of the self. The best among the fools who are thus deluded are those who engage in altruistic activities under the spell of the material mode of passion. Bhagavad-gītā, which is direct Kṛṣṇa-kathā, gives humanity the elementary lesson that the body is perishable and that the consciousness which is spread throughout the body is imperishable. The conscious being, the imperishable self, is eternally existent and cannot be killed under any circumstances, even after the dissolution of the body. Anyone who misunderstands this perishable body to be the self and who works for it in the name of sociology, politics, philanthropy, altruism, nationalism or internationalism, under the false plea of the bodily conception of life, is certainly a fool and does not know the implications of reality and unreality. Some of them are above the modes of ignorance and passion and are situated in the mode of goodness, but mundane goodness is always contaminated by tinges of ignorance and passion. Mundane goodness can enlighten one that the body and the self are different, and one in goodness is concerned with the self and not the body. But due to being contaminated, those in mundane goodness cannot understand the real nature of the self as a person. Their impersonal conception of the self as distinct from the body keeps them in the mode of goodness within material nature, and unless they are attracted by Kṛṣṇa-kathā, they will never be liberated from the bondage of material existence. Kṛṣṇa-kathā is the only remedy for all people of the world because it can situate one in pure consciousness of the self and liberate one from material bondage. To preach Kṛṣṇa-kathā all over the world, as recommended by Lord Caitanya, is the greatest missionary activity, and all sensible men and women of the world may join in this great movement started by Lord Caitanya.
munir vivakṣur bhagavad-guṇānāṁ
sakhāpi te bhāratam āha kṛṣṇaḥ
yasmin nṛṇāṁ grāmya-sukhānuvādair
matir gṛhītā nu hareḥ kathāyām
muniḥ—the sage; vivakṣuḥ—described; bhagavat—of the Personality of Godhead; guṇānām—transcendental qualities; sakhā—friend; api—also; te—your; bhāratam—the Mahābhārata; āha—has described; kṛṣṇaḥ—Kṛṣṇa-dvaipāyana Vyāsa; yasmin—in which; nṛṇām—of the people; grāmya—worldly; sukhā-anuvādaiḥ—pleasure derived from mundane topics; matiḥ—attention; gṛhītā nu—just to draw towards; hareḥ—of the Lord; kathāyām—speeches of (Bhagavad-gītā).
Your friend the great sage Kṛṣṇa-dvaipāyana Vyāsa has already described the transcendental qualities of the Lord in his great work, the Mahābhārata. But the whole idea is to draw the attention of the mass of people to Kṛṣṇa-kathā [Bhagavad-gītā] through their strong affinity for hearing mundane topics.
The great sage Kṛṣṇa-dvaipāyana Vyāsa is the author of all Vedic literature, of which his works Vedānta-sūtra, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and Mahābhārata are very popular readings. As stated in Bhāgavatam (1.4.25), Śrīla Vyāsadeva compiled the Mahābhārata for the less intelligent class of men who take more interest in mundane topics than in the philosophy of life. The Vedānta-sūtra was compiled for persons already above the mundane topics, who might already have tasted the bitterness of the so-called happiness of mundane affairs. The first aphorism of Vedānta-sūtra is athāto brahma jijñāsā, i.e., only when one has finished the business of mundane inquiries in the marketplace of sense gratification can one make relevant inquiries regarding Brahman, the Transcendence. Those persons who are busy with the mundane inquiries which fill the newspapers and other such literatures are classified as strī-śūdra-dvijabandhus, or women, the laborer class and unworthy sons of the higher classes (brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya and vaiśya). Such less intelligent men cannot understand the purpose of Vedānta-sūtra, although they may make a show of studying the sūtras in a perverted way. The real purpose of Vedānta-sūtra is explained by the author himself in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, and anyone trying to understand Vedānta-sūtra without reference to Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is certainly misguided. Such misguided persons, who are interested in the mundane affairs of philanthropic and altruistic work under the misconception of the body as the self, could better take advantage of the Mahābhārata, which was specifically compiled by Śrīla Vyāsadeva for their benefit. The great author has compiled the Mahābhārata in such a way that the less intelligent class of men, who are more interested in mundane topics, may read the Mahābhārata with great relish and in the course of such mundane happiness can also take advantage of Bhagavad-gītā, the preliminary study of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam or the Vedānta-sūtra. Śrīla Vyāsadeva had no interest in writing a history of mundane activities other than to give less intelligent persons a chance for transcendental realization through Bhagavad-gītā. Vidura’s reference to the Mahābhārata indicates that he had heard of the Mahābhārata from Vyāsadeva, his real father, while he was away from home and was touring the places of pilgrimage.
sā śraddadhānasya vivardhamānā
viraktim anyatra karoti puṁsaḥ
samasta-duḥkhāpyayam āśu dhatte
sā—those topics of Kṛṣṇa, or Kṛṣṇa-kathā; śraddadhānasya—of one who is anxious to hear; vivardhamānā—gradually increasing; viraktim—indifference; anyatra—in other things (than such topics); karoti—does; puṁsaḥ—of one who is so engaged; hareḥ—of the Lord; pada-anusmṛti—constant remembrance of the lotus feet of the Lord; nirvṛtasya—one who has achieved such transcendental bliss; samasta-duḥkha—all miseries; apyayam—vanquished; āśu—without delay: dhatte—executes.
For one who is anxious to engage constantly in hearing such topics, Kṛṣṇa-kathā gradually increases his indifference towards all other things. Such constant remembrance of the lotus feet of Lord Kṛṣṇa by the devotee who has achieved transcendental bliss vanquishes all his miseries without delay.
We must certainly know that on the absolute plane Kṛṣṇa-kathā and Kṛṣṇa are one and the same. The Lord is the Absolute Truth, and therefore His name, form, quality, etc., which are all understood to be Kṛṣṇa-kathā, are nondifferent from Him. Bhagavad-gītā, being spoken by the Lord, is as good as the Lord Himself. When a sincere devotee reads Bhagavad-gītā, this is as good as his seeing the Lord eye to eye in his personal presence, but this is not so for the mundane wrangler. All the potencies of the Lord are there when one reads Bhagavad-gītā, provided it is read in the way recommended in the Gītā by the Lord Himself. One cannot foolishly manufacture an interpretation of Bhagavad-gītā and still bring about transcendental benefit. Anyone who tries to squeeze some artificial meaning or interpretation from Bhagavad-gītā for an ulterior motive is not śraddadhāna-puṁsa (one engaged anxiously in bona fide hearing of Kṛṣṇa-kathā). Such a person cannot derive any benefit from reading Bhagavad-gītā, however great a scholar he may be in the estimation of a layman. The śraddadhāna, or faithful devotee, can actually derive all the benefits of Bhagavad-gītā because by the omnipotency of the Lord he achieves the transcendental bliss which vanquishes attachment and nullifies all concomitant material miseries. Only the devotee, by his factual experience, can understand the import of this verse spoken by Vidura. The pure devotee of the Lord enjoys life by constantly remembering the lotus feet of the Lord by hearing Kṛṣṇa-kathā. For such a devotee there is no such thing as material existence, and the much advertised bliss of brahmānanda is like a fig for the devotee who is in the midst of the transcendental ocean of bliss.
tāñ chocya-śocyān avido ‘nuśoce
hareḥ kathāyāṁ vimukhān aghena
kṣiṇoti devo ‘nimiṣas tu yeṣām
tān—all those; śocya—pitiable; śocyān—of the pitiable; avidaḥ—ignorant; anuśoce—I pity; hareḥ—of the Lord; kathāyām—to the topics of; vimukhān—adverse; aghena—because of sinful activities; kṣiṇoti—decaying; devaḥ—O sage; animiṣaḥ—eternal time; tu—but; yeṣām—of whom; āyuḥ—duration of life; vṛthā—uselessly; vadā—philosophical speculations; gati—ultimate goal; smṛtīnām—of those following different rituals.
O sage, persons who, because of their sinful activities, are adverse to the topics of Transcendence and thus are ignorant of the purpose of the Mahābhārata [Bhagavad-gītā] are pitied by the pitiable. I also pity them because I see how their duration of life is spoiled by eternal time while they involve themselves in presentations of philosophical speculation, theoretical ultimate goals of life, and different modes of ritual.
According to the modes of material nature, there are three kinds of relationships between human beings and the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Those who are in the modes of ignorance and passion are adverse to the existence of God, or else they formally accept the existence of God in the capacity of an order supplier. Above them are those who are in the mode of goodness. This second class of men believe the Supreme Brahman to be impersonal. They accept the cult of bhakti, in which hearing of Kṛṣṇa-kathā is the first item, as a means and not the end. Above them are those who are pure devotees. They are situated in the transcendental stage above the mode of material goodness. Such persons are decidedly convinced that the name, form, fame, qualities, etc., of the Personality of Godhead are nondifferent from one another on the absolute plane. For them, hearing of the topics of Kṛṣṇa is equal to meeting with Him eye to eye. According to this class of men, who are situated in pure devotional service to the Lord, the highest goal of human life is puruṣārtha, devotional service to the Lord, the real mission of life. The impersonalists, because they engage in mental speculation and have no faith in the Personality of Godhead, have no business hearing the topics of Kṛṣṇa. Such persons are pitiable for the first-class pure devotees of the Lord. The pitiable impersonalists pity those who are influenced by the modes of ignorance and passion, but the pure devotees of the Lord take pity on them both because both waste their most valuable time in the human form of life in false pursuits, sense enjoyment and mental speculative presentations of different theories and goals of life.
tad asya kauṣārava śarma-dātur
hareḥ kathām eva kathāsu sāram
uddhṛtya puṣpebhya ivārta-bandho
śivāya naḥ kīrtaya tīrtha-kīrteḥ
tat—therefore; asya—His; kauṣārava—O Maitreya; śarma-dātuḥ—of one who awards good fortune; hareḥ—of the Lord; kathām—topics; eva—only; kathāsu—of all topics; sāram—the essence; uddhṛtya—by quoting; puṣpebhyaḥ—from the flowers; iva—like that; arta-bandho—of the friend of the distressed; śivāya—for welfare; naḥ—of us; kīrtaya—kindly describe; tīrtha—pilgrimage; kīrteḥ—of glorious.
O Maitreya, O friend of the distressed, the glories of the Supreme Lord can alone do good for people all over the world. Therefore, just as bees collect honey from flowers, kindly describe the essence of all topics—the topics of the Lord.
There are many topics for different persons in different modes of material nature, but the essential topics are those in relationship with the Supreme Lord. Unfortunately, materially affected conditioned souls are all more or less adverse to topics of the Supreme Lord because some of them do not believe in the existence of God and some of them believe only in the impersonal feature of the Lord. In both cases there is nothing for them to say of God. Both the nonbelievers and the impersonalists deny the essence of all topics; therefore, they engage in topics of relativity in various ways, either in sense gratification or mental speculation. For the pure devotees like Vidura, the topics of both the mundaners and the mental speculators are useless in all respects. Thus Vidura requested Maitreya to talk of the essence only, the talks of Kṛṣṇa, and nothing else.
cakāra karmāṇy atipūruṣāṇi
yānīśvaraḥ kīrtaya tāni mahyam
saḥ—the Personality of Godhead; viśva—universe; janma—creation; sthiti—maintenance; saṁyama-arthe—with a view to perfect control; kṛta—accepted; avatāraḥ—incarnation; pragṛhīta—accomplished with; śaktiḥ—potency; cakāra—performed; karmāṇi—transcendental activities; atipūruṣāṇi—superhuman; yāni—all those; īśvaraḥ—the Lord; kīrtaya—please chant; tāni—all those; mahyam—unto me.
Kindly chant all those superhuman transcendental activities of the supreme controller, the Personality of Godhead, who accepted incarnations fully equipped with all potency for the full manifestation and maintenance of the cosmic creation.
Vidura was undoubtedly very eager to hear about Lord Kṛṣṇa in particular, but he was overwhelmed because Lord Kṛṣṇa had just passed away from the visible world. He therefore wanted to hear about Him in His puruṣa incarnations, which He manifests with full potencies for the creation and maintenance of the cosmic world. The activities of the puruṣa incarnations are but an extension of the activities of the Lord. This hint was given by Vidura to Maitreya because Maitreya could not decide which part of the activities of Lord Kṛṣṇa should be chanted.
sa evaṁ bhagavān pṛṣṭaḥ
kṣattrā kauṣāravo munih
tam āha bahu-mānayan
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca—Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; saḥ—he; evam—this; bhagavān—the great sage; pṛṣṭaḥ—being requested; kṣattrā—by Vidura; kauṣāravaḥ—Maitreya; muniḥ—the great sage; puṁsām—for all people; niḥśreyasa—for the greatest welfare; arthena—for that; tam—unto him; āha—narrated; bahu—greatly; mānayan—honored.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: The great sage Maitreya Muni, after honoring Vidura very greatly, began to speak, at Vidura’s request, for the greatest welfare of all people.
The great sage Maitreya Muni is described here as bhagavān because he surpassed all ordinary human beings in learning and experience. Thus his selection of the greatest welfare service for the world is considered authoritative. The all-inclusive welfare service for the entire human society is devotional service to the Lord, and, as requested by Vidura, the sage described the same very appropriately.
sādhu pṛṣṭaṁ tvayā sādho
lokān sādhv anugṛhṇatā
kīrtiṁ vitanvatā loke
maitreyaḥ uvāca—Śrī Maitreya said; sādhu—all good; pṛṣṭam—I am asked; tvayā—by you; sādho—O good one; lokān—all the people; sādhu anugṛhṇatā—showing mercy in goodness; kīrtim—glories; vitanvatā—broadcasting; loke—in the world; ātmanaḥ—of the self; adhokṣaja—the Transcendence; ātmanaḥ—mind.
Śrī Maitreya said: O Vidura, all glory unto you. You have inquired from me of the greatest of all goodness, and thus you have shown your mercy both to the world and to me because your mind is always absorbed in thoughts of the Transcendence.
Maitreya Muni, who was experienced in the science of Transcendence, could understand that Vidura’s mind was fully absorbed in Transcendence. Adhokṣaja means that which transcends the limits of sense perception or sensuous experience. The Lord is transcendental to our sense experience, but He reveals Himself to the sincere devotee. Because Vidura was always absorbed in thought of the Lord, Maitreya could estimate Vidura’s transcendental value. He appreciated the valuable inquiries of Vidura and thus thanked him with great honor.
naitac citraṁ tvayi kṣattar
yat tvayā harir īśvaraḥ
na—never; etat—such inquiries; citram—very wonderful; tvayi—in you; kṣattaḥ—O Vidura; bādarāyaṇa—of Vyāsadeva; vīryaje—born from the semina: gṛhītaḥ—accepted; ananya-bhāvena—without deviation from the thought; yat—because; tvayā—by you; hariḥ—the Personality of Godhead; īśvaraḥ—the Lord.
O Vidura, it is not at all wonderful that you have so accepted the Lord without deviation of thought, for you are born from the semina of Vyāsadeva.
The value of great parentage and noble birth is evaluated here in connection with the birth of Vidura. The culture of a human being begins when the father invests his semina in the womb of the mother. According to his status of work, a living entity is placed in a particular father’s semina, and because Vidura was not an ordinary living entity, he was given the chance to be born from the semina of Vyāsa. The birth of a human being is a great science, and therefore reformation of the act of impregnation according to the Vedic ritual called Garbhādhāna-saṁskāra is very important for generating good population. The problem is not to check the growth of the population, but to generate good population on the level of Vidura, Vyāsa and Maitreya. There is no need to check the growth of population if the children are born as human beings with all precautions regarding their birth. So-called birth control is not only vicious but also useless.
bhrātuḥ kṣetre bhujiṣyāyāṁ
māṇḍavya—the great ṛṣi Māṇḍavya Muni; śāpāt—by his curse; bhagavān—the greatly powerful; prajā—one who is born; saṁyamanaḥ—controller of death; yamaḥ—known as Yamarāja; bhrātuḥ—of the brother; kṣetre—in the wife; bhujiṣyāyām—kept; jātaḥ—born; satyavatī—Satyavatī (the mother of both Vicitravīrya and Vyāsadeva); sutāt—by the son (Vyāsadeva).
I know that you are now Vidura due to the cursing of Māṇḍavya Muni and that formerly you were King Yamarāja, the great controller of living entities after their death. You were begotten by the son of Satyavatī, Vyāsadeva, in the kept wife of his brother.
Māṇḍavya Muni was a great sage (Cf. Bhāg. 1.13.1). and Vidura was formerly the controller Yamarāja, who takes charge of the living entities after death. Birth, maintenance and death are three conditional states of the living entities who are within the material world. As the appointed controller after death, Yamarāja once tried Māṇḍavya Muni for his childhood profligacy and ordered him to be pierced with a lance. Māṇḍavya, being angry at Yamarāja for awarding him undue punishment, cursed him to become a śūdra (member of the less intelligent laborer class). Thus Yamarāja took birth in the womb of the kept wife of Vicitravīrya from the semina of Vicitravīrya’s brother, Vyāsadeva. Vyāsadeva is the son of Satyavatī by the great King Śāntanu, the father of Bhīṣmadeva. This mysterious history of Vidura was known to Maitreya Muni because he happened to be a contemporary friend of Vyāsadeva’s. In spite of Vidura’s birth in the womb of a kept wife, because he had otherwise high parentage and great connection, he inherited the highest talent of becoming a great devotee of the Lord. To take birth in such a great family is understood to be an advantage for attaining devotional life. Vidura was given this chance due to his previous greatness.
bhavān bhagavato nityaṁ
sammataḥ sānugasya ha
mādiśad bhagavān vrajan
bhavān—your good self; bhagavataḥ—of the Personality of Godhead; nityam—eternal; sammataḥ—recognized; sānugasya—one of the associates; ha—have been; yasya—of whom; jñāna—knowledge; upadeśāya—for instructing; mā—unto me; ādiśat—so ordered; bhagavān—the Personality of Godhead; vrajan—while returning to His abode.
Your good self is one of the eternal associates of the Supreme Personality of Godhead for whose sake the Lord, while going back to His abode, left instructions with me.
Yamarāja, the great controller of life after death, decides the living entities’ destinies in their next lives. He is surely among the most confidential representatives of the Lord. Such confidential posts are offered to great devotees of the Lord who are as good as His eternal associates in the spiritual sky. And because Vidura happened to be among them, the Lord, while returning to Vaikuṇṭha, left instructions for Vidura with Maitreya Muni. Generally the eternal associates of the Lord in the spiritual sky do not come to the material world. Sometimes they come, however, by the order of the Lord—not to hold any administrative post, but to associate with the Lord in person or to propagate the message of God in human society. Such empowered representatives are called śaktyāveśa avatāras, or incarnations invested with transcendental power of attorney.
atha te bhagaval-līlā
atha—therefore; te—unto you; bhagavat—pertaining to the Personality of Godhead; līlāḥ—pastimes; yoga-māyā—energy of the Lord; uru—greatly; bṛṁhitāḥ—extended by; viśva—of the cosmic world; sthiti—maintenance; udbhava—creation; anta—dissolution; arthaḥ—purpose; varṇayāmi—I shall describe; anupūrvaśaḥ—systematically.
I shall therefore describe to you the pastimes by which the Personality of Godhead extends His transcendental potency for the creation, maintenance and dissolution of the cosmic world as they occur one after another.
The omnipotent Lord, by His different energies, can perform anything and everything He likes. The creation of the cosmic world is done by His yoga-māyā energy.
bhagavān eka āsedam
agra ātmātmanāṁ vibhuḥ
bhagavān—the Personality of Godhead; ekaḥ—one without a second; āsa—was there; idam—this creation; agre—prior to the creation; ātmā—in His own form; ātmānam—of the living entities; vibhuḥ—master; ātmā—Self; icchā—desire; anugatau—being merged in; ātmā—Self; nānāmati—different vision; upalakṣaṇaḥ—symptoms.
The Personality of Godhead, who is the master of all living entities, existed prior to the creation as one without a second. It is by His will only that creation is made possible and again everything merges in Him. This Supreme Self is symptomized by different names.
The great sage here begins to explain the purpose of the four original verses of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Although they have no access to the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the followers of the Māyāvādī (impersonalist) school sometimes screw out an imaginary explanation of the original four verses, but we must accept the actual explanation given herein by Maitreya Muni because he, along with Uddhava, personally heard it directly from the Lord. The first line of the original four verses runs, aham evāsam evāgre. The word aham is misinterpreted by the Māyāvādī school into meanings which no one but the interpreter can understand. Here aham is explained as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, not the individual living entities. Before the creation, there was only the Personality of Godhead; there were no puruṣa incarnations and certainly no living entities, nor was there the material energy, by which the manifested creation is effected. The puruṣa incarnations and all the different energies of the Supreme Lord were merged in Him only.
The Personality of Godhead is described herein as the master of all other living entities. He is like the sun disc, and the living entities are like the molecules of the sun’s rays. This existence of the Lord before the creation is confirmed by the śrutis: vāsudevo vā idaṁ agra āsīt na brahmā na ca śaṅkaraḥ, eko vai nārāyaṇa āsīt na brahmā na īśāno. Because everything that be is an emanation from the Personality of Godhead, He therefore always exists alone without a second. He can so exist because He is all-perfect and omnipotent. Everything other than Him, including His plenary expansions the Viṣṇu-tattvas, is His part and parcel. Before the creation there were no Kāraṇārṇavaśāyī or Garbhodakaśāyī or Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇus, nor was there Brahmā nor Śaṅkara. The Viṣṇu plenary expansion and the living entities beginning from Brahmā are separated parts and parcels. Although the spiritual existence was there with the Lord, the material existence was dormant in Him. By His will only is the material manifestation done and undone. The diversity of the Vaikuṇṭhaloka is one with the Lord, just as the diversity of soldiers is one with and the same as the king. As explained in Bhagavad-gītā (9.7), the material creation takes place at intervals by the will of the Lord, and in the periods between dissolution and creation, the living entities and the material energy remain dormant in Him.
sa vā eṣa tadā draṣṭā
nāpaśyad dṛśyam ekarāṭ
mene ‘santam ivātmānaṁ
saḥ—the Personality of Godhead; vā—either; eṣaḥ—all these; tadā—at that time; draṣṭā—the seer; na—did not; apaśyat—see; dṛśyam—the cosmic creation; ekarāṭ—undisputed proprietor; mene—thought like this; asantam—nonexistent; iva—like that; ātmānam—plenary manifestations; supta—unmanifested; śaktiḥ—material energy; asupta—manifested; dṛk—internal potency.
The Lord, the undisputed proprietor of everything, was the only seer. The cosmic manifestation was not present at that time, and thus He felt imperfect without His plenary and separated parts and parcels. The material energy was dormant, whereas the internal potency was manifested.
The Lord is the supreme seer because only by His glance did the material energy become active for cosmic manifestation. At that time the seer was there, but the external energy, over which the glance of the Lord is cast, was not present. He felt somewhat insufficient, like a husband feeling lonely in the absence of his wife. This is a poetic simile. The Lord wanted to create the cosmic manifestation to give another chance to the conditioned souls who were dormant in forgetfulness. The cosmic manifestation gives the conditioned souls a chance to go back home, back to Godhead, and that is its main purpose. The Lord is so kind that in the absence of such a manifestation He feels something wanting, and thus the creation lakes place. Although the creation of the internal potency was manifested, the other potency appeared to be sleeping, and the Lord wanted to awaken her to activity, just as a husband wants to awaken his wife from the sleeping state for enjoyment. It is the compassion of the Lord for the sleeping energy that He wants to see her awaken for enjoyment like the other wives who are awake. The whole process is to enliven the sleeping conditioned souls to the real life of spiritual consciousness so that they may thus become as perfect as the ever-liberated souls in the Vaikuṇṭhalokas. Since the Lord is sac-cid-ānanda-vigraha, He likes every part and parcel of His different potencies to take part in the blissful rasa because participation with the Lord in His eternal rāsa-līlā is the highest living condition, perfect in spiritual bliss and eternal knowledge.
sā vā etasya saṁdraṣṭuḥ
māyā nāma mahābhāga
yayedaṁ nirmame vibhuḥ
sā—that external energy; vā—is either; etasya—of the Lord; saṁdraṣṭuḥ—of the perfect seer; śaktiḥ—energy; sat-asat-ātmikā—both as the cause and the effect; māyā nāma—called by the name Māyā; mahābhāga—O fortunate one; yayā—by which; idam—this material world; nirmame—constructed; vibhuḥ—the Almighty.
The Lord is the seer, and the external energy, which is seen, works both as cause and effect in the cosmic manifestation. O greatly fortunate Vidura, this external energy is known as māyā or illusion, and through her agency only is the entire material manifestation made possible.
The material nature, known as māyā, is both the material and efficient cause of the cosmos, but in the background the Lord is the consciousness for all activities. As in the individual body the consciousness is the source of all energies of the body, so the supreme consciousness of the Lord is the source of all energies in material nature. This is confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (9.10) as follows:
mayādhyakṣeṇa prakṛtiḥ sūyate sacarācaram
hetunānena kaunteya jagad viparivartate
"Throughout all the energies of material nature there is the hand of the Supreme Lord as the final superintendent. Due to this supreme cause only, the activities of material nature appear planned and systematic, and all things regularly evolve."
kāla-vṛttyā tu māyāyāṁ
vīryam ādhatta vīryavān
kāla—the eternal time; vṛttyā—by the influence of; tu—but; māyāyām—in the external energy; guṇa-mayyām—in the qualitative modes of nature; adhokṣajaḥ—the Transcendence; puruṣeṇa—by the puruṣa incarnation; ātma-bhūtena—who is the plenary expansion of the Lord; vīryam—the seeds of the living entities; ādhatta—impregnated; vīryavān—the Supreme Living Being.
The Supreme Living Being in His feature as the transcendental puruṣa incarnation, who is the Lord’s plenary expansion, impregnates the material nature of three modes, and thus by the influence of eternal time the living entities appear.
The offspring of any living being is born after the father impregnates the mother with semina and the living entity floating in the semina of the father takes the shape of the mother’s form. Similarly, mother material nature cannot produce any living entity from her material elements unless and until she is impregnated with living entities by the Lord Himself. That is the mystery of the generation of the living entities. This impregnating process is performed by the first puruṣa incarnation, Kāraṇārṇavaśāyī Viṣṇu. Simply by His glance over material nature, the whole matter is accomplished.
We should not understand the process of impregnation by the Personality of Godhead in terms of our conception of sex. The omnipotent Lord can impregnate just by His eyes, and therefore He is called all-potent. Each and every part of His transcendental body can perform each and every function of the other parts. This is confirmed in the Brahma-saṁhitā (Bs. 5.32): aṅgāni yasya sakalendriya-vṛttimanti. In Bhagavad-gītā also (14.3), the same principle is confirmed: mama yonir mahad-brahma tasmin garbhaṁ dadhāmy aham. When the cosmic creation is manifested, the living entities are directly supplied from the Lord; they are never products of material nature. Thus, no scientific advancement of material science can ever produce a living being. That is the whole mystery of the material creation. The living entities are foreign to matter, and thus they cannot be happy unless they are situated in the same spiritual life as the Lord. The mistaken living being, out of forgetfulness of this original condition of life, unnecessarily wastes time trying to become happy in the material world. The whole Vedic process is to remind one of this essential feature of life. The Lord offers the conditioned soul a material body for his so-called enjoyment, but if one does not come to his senses and enter into spiritual consciousness, the Lord again puts him in the unmanifested condition as it existed in the beginning of the creation. The Lord is described here as vīryavān, or the greatest potent being, because He impregnates material nature with innumerable living entities who are conditioned from time immemorial.
tato ‘bhavan mahat-tattvam
viśvaṁ vyañjaṁs tamonudaḥ
tataḥ—thereafter: abhavat—came into existence; mahat—supreme; tattvam—sum total; avyaktāt—from the unmanifested; kāla-coditāt—by the interaction of time; vijñānātmā—unalloyed goodness; ātma-deha-stham—situated on the bodily self; viśvam—complete universes; vyañjan—manifested; tamonudaḥ—the supreme light.
Thereafter, influenced by the interactions of eternal time, the supreme sum total of matter called the mahat-tattva became manifested, and in this mahat tattva the unalloyed goodness, the Supreme Lord, sowed the seeds of universal manifestation out of His own body.
In due course of time, the impregnated material energy was manifested first as the total material ingredients. Everything takes its own time to fructify, and therefore the word kāla-coditāt, influenced by time, is used herein. The mahat-tattva is the total consciousness because a portion of it is represented in everyone as the intellect. The mahat-tattva is directly connected with the supreme consciousness of the Supreme Being, but still it appears as matter. The mahat-tattva or shadow of pure consciousness is the germinating place of all creation. It is pure goodness with the slight addition of the material mode of passion, and therefore activity is generated from this point.
so ‘py aṁśa-guṇa-kālātmā
ātmānaṁ vyakarod ātmā
saḥ—mahat-tattva; api—also; aṁśa—puruṣa plenary expansion; guṇa—chiefly the quality of ignorance: kāla—the duration of time; ātmā—full consciousness; bhagavat—the Personality of Godhead; dṛṣṭi-gocaraḥ—range of sight; ātmānam—many different forms; vyakarot—differentiated; ātmā—reservoir; viśvasya—the would-be entities; asya—of this; sisṛkṣayā—generates the false ego.
Thereafter the mahat-tattva differentiated itself into many different forms as the reservoir of the would-be entities. The mahat-tattva is chiefly in the mode of ignorance, and it generates the false ego. It is a plenary expansion of the Personality of Godhead with full consciousness of creative principles and time for fructification.
The mahat-tattva is the via medium between pure spirit and material existence. It is the junction of matter and spirit wherefrom the false ego of the living entity is generated. All living entities are differentiated parts and parcels of the Personality of Godhead. Under the pressure of false ego, the conditioned souls, although parts and parcels of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, claim to be the enjoyers of material nature. This false ego is the binding force of material existence. The Lord again and again gives a chance to the bewildered conditioned souls to get free from this false ego, and that is why the material creation takes place at intervals. He gives the conditioned souls all facilities for rectifying the activities of the false ego, but He does not interfere with their small independence as parts and parcels of the Lord.
vaikārikas taijasaś ca
tāmasaś cety ahaṁ tridhā
mahat—the great; tattvāt—causal truth; vikurvāṇāt—being transformed; aham—false ego; tattvam—material truth; vyajāyata—became manifested; kārya—effects; kāraṇa—cause; kartṛ—doer; ātmā—soul or source; bhūta—material ingredients; indriya—senses; manaḥ-mayaḥ—hovering on the mental plane; vaikārikāḥ—mode of goodness; taijasaḥ—mode of passion; tāmasaḥ—mode of ignorance; ca—and; iti—thus; aham—false ego; tridhā—three kinds.
Mahat-tattva, or the great causal truth, transforms into false ego, which is manifested in three phases—cause, effect and the doer. All such activities are on the mental plane and are based on the material elements, gross senses and mental speculation. The false ego is represented in three different modes—goodness, passion and ignorance.
A pure living entity in his original spiritual existence is fully conscious of his constitutional position as an eternal servitor of the Lord. All souls who are situated in such pure consciousness are liberated, and therefore they eternally live in bliss and knowledge in the various Vaikuṇṭha planets in the spiritual sky. When the material creation is manifested, it is not meant for them. The eternally liberated souls are called nitya-muktas, and they have nothing to do with the material creation. The material creation is meant for rebellious souls who are not prepared to accept subordination under the Supreme Lord. This spirit of false lordship is called false ego. It is manifested in three modes of material nature, and it exists in mental speculation only. Those who are in the mode of goodness think that each and every person is God, and thus they laugh at the pure devotees who try to engage in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. Those who are puffed up by the mode of passion try to lord it over material nature in various ways. Some of them engage in altruistic activities as if they were agents appointed to do good to others by their mental speculative plans. Such men accept the standard ways of mundane altruism, but their plans are made on the basis of false ego. This false ego extends to the limit of becoming one with the Lord. The last class of egoistic conditioned souls-those in the mode of ignorance are misguided by identification of the gross body with the self. Thus, all their activities are centered around the. body only. All these persons are given the chance to play with false egoistic ideas, but at the same time the Lord is kind enough to give them a chance to take help from scriptures like Bhagavad-gītā and Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam so that they may understand the science of Kṛṣṇa and thus make their lives successful. The entire material creation, therefore, is meant for the falsely egoistic living entities hovering on the mental plane under different illusions in the modes of material nature.
mano vaikārikād abhūt
vaikārikāś ca ye devā
aham-tattvāt—from the principle of false ego; vikurvāṇāt—by transformation; manaḥ—the mind; vaikārikāt—by interaction with the mode of goodness; abhūt—generated; vaikārikāḥ—by interaction with goodness; ca—also; ye—all these; devāḥ—demigods; artha—the phenomenon; abhivyañjanam—physical knowledge; yataḥ—the source.
The false ego is transformed into mind by interaction with the mode of goodness. All the demigods who control the phenomenal world are also products of the same principle, namely the interaction of false ego and the mode of goodness.
False ego interacting with the different modes of material nature is the source of all materials in the phenomenal world.
taijasāni—the mode of passion; indriyāṇi—the senses; eva—certainly; jñāna—knowledge, philosophical speculations; karma—fruitive activities; mayāni—predominating; ca—also.
The senses are certainly products of the mode of passion in false ego, and therefore philosophical speculative knowledge and fruitive activities are predominantly products of the mode of passion.
The chief function of the false ego is godlessness. When a person forgets his constitutional position as an eternally subordinate part and parcel of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and wants to be happy independently, he functions mainly in two ways. He first attempts to act fruitively for personal gain or sense gratification, and after attempting such fruitive activities for a considerable time, when he is frustrated, he becomes a philosophical speculator and thinks himself to be on the same level as God. This false idea of becoming one with the Lord is the last snare of the illusory energy, which traps a living entity into the bondage of forgetfulness under the spell of false ego.
The best means of liberation from the clutches of false ego is to give up the habit of philosophical speculation regarding the Absolute Truth. One should know definitely that the Absolute Truth is never realized by the philosophical speculations of the imperfect egoistic person. The Absolute Truth or the Supreme Personality of Godhead is realized by hearing about him in all submission and love from a bona fide authority who is a representative of the twelve great authorities mentioned in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. By such an attempt only can one conquer the illusory energy of the Lord, although for others she is unsurpassable, as confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā (7.14).
yataḥ khaṁ liṅgam ātmanaḥ
tāmasaḥ—from the mode of passion; bhūta-sūkṣmādiḥ—subtle sense objects; yataḥ—from which; kham—the sky; liṅgam—symbolic representation; ātmanaḥ—of the Supreme Soul.
The sky is a product of sound, and sound is the transformation of egoistic passion. In other words, the sky is the symbolic representation of the Supreme Soul.
In the Vedic hymns it is said, etasmād ātmanaḥ ākāśaḥ sambhūtaḥ. The sky is the symbolic representation of the Supreme Soul. Those who are egoistic in passion and ignorance cannot conceive of the Personality of Godhead. For them the sky is the symbolic representation of the Supreme Soul.
nabhaso ‘nusṛtaṁ sparśaṁ
vikurvan nirmame ‘nilam
kāla—time; māyā—external energy; aṁśa-yogena—partly mixed; bhagavat—the Personality of Godhead; vīkṣitam—glanced over; nabhaḥ—the sky; nabhasaḥ—from the sky; anusṛtam—being so contacted; sparśam—touch; vikurvat—being transformed; nirmame—was created: anilam—the air.
Thereafter the Personality of Godhead glanced over the sky, partly mixed with eternal time and external energy, and thus developed the touch sensation, from which the air in the sky was produced.
All material creations take place from subtle to gross. The entire universe has developed in that manner. From the sky developed the touch sensation, which is a mixture of eternal time, the external energy and the glance of the Personality of Godhead. The touch sensation developed into the air in the sky. Similarly, all other gross matter also developed from subtle to gross: sound developed into sky, touch developed into air, form developed into fire, taste developed into water, and smell developed into earth.
anilo ‘pi vikurvāṇo
jyotir lokasya locanam
anilaḥ—air; api—also; vikurvāṇaḥ—being transformed; nabhasā—sky; uru-bala-anvitaḥ—extremely powerful; sasarja—created; rūpa—form; tat-mātram—sense perception; jyotiḥ—electricity; lokasya—of the world; locanam—light to see.
Thereafter the extremely powerful air, interacting with the sky, generated the form of sense perception, and the perception of form transformed into electricity, the light to see the world.
anilena—by the air; anvitam—interacted; jyotiḥ—electricity; vikurvat—being transformed; paravīkṣitam—being glanced over by the Supreme; ādhatta—created; ambhaḥ rasa-mayam—water with taste; kāla—eternal time; māyāṁśa—external energy; yogataḥ—by a mixture.
When electricity was surcharged in the air and was glanced over by the Supreme, at that time, by a mixture of eternal time and external energy, there occurred the creation of water and taste.
mahīṁ gandha-guṇām ādhāt
jyotiṣā—electricity; ambhaḥ—water; anusaṁsṛṣṭam—thus created; vikurvat—due to transformation; brahma—the Supreme; vīkṣitam—so glanced over; mahīm—the earth; gandha—smell; guṇām—qualification; ādhāt—was created; kāla—eternal time; māyā—external energy; aṁśa—partially; yogataḥ—by intermixture.
Thereafter the water produced from electricity was glanced over by the Supreme Personality of Godhead and mixed with eternal time and external energy. Thus it was transformed into the earth, which is qualified primarily by smell.
From the descriptions of the physical elements in the above verses it is clear that in all stages the glance of the Supreme is needed with the other additions and alterations. In every transformation, the last finishing touch is the glance of the Lord, who acts as a painter does when he mixes different colors to transform them into a particular color. When one element mixes with another, the number of its qualities increases. For example, the sky is the cause of air. The sky has only one quality, namely sound, but by the interaction of the sky with the glance of the Lord, mixed with eternal time and external nature, the air is produced, which has two qualities—sound and touch. Similarly after the air is created, interaction of sky and air, touched by time and the external energy of the Lord, produces electricity. And after the interaction of electricity with air and sky, mixed with time, external energy and the Lord’s glance over them, the water is produced. In the final stage of sky there is one quality, namely sound; in the air two qualities, sound and touch; in the electricity three qualities, namely sound, touch and form; in the water four qualities, sound, touch, form and taste; and in the last stage of physical development the result is earth, which has all five qualities—sound, touch, form, taste and smell. Although they are different mixtures of different materials, such mixtures do not take place automatically, just as a mixture of colors does not take place automatically without the touch of the living painter. The automatic system is factually activated by the glancing touch of the Lord. Living consciousness is the final word in all physical changes. This fact is mentioned in Bhagavad-gītā as follows:
mayādhyakṣeṇa prakṛtiḥ sūyate sa-carācaram
hetunānena kaunteya jagad viparivartate (Bg. 9.10)
The conclusion is that the physical elements may work very wonderfully to the laymen’s eyes, but their workings actually take place under the supervision of the Lord. Those who can mark only the changes of the physical elements and cannot perceive the hidden hands of the Lord behind them are certainly less intelligent persons, although they may be advertised as great material scientists.
yad yad bhavyāvarā-varam
yathā saṅkhyaṁ guṇān viduḥ
bhūtānām—of all the physical elements; nabhaḥ—the sky; ādīnām—beginning from; yat—as; yat—and as; bhavya—O gentle one; avarā—inferior; varam—superior; teṣām—all of them; parā—the Supreme; anusaṁsargāt—last touch; yathā—as many; saṅkhyam—number; guṇān—qualities; viduḥ—you may understand.
O gentle one, of all the physical elements, beginning from the sky down to the earth, all the inferior and superior qualities are due only to the final touch of the glance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
ete devāḥ kalā viṣṇoḥ
procuḥ prāñjalayo vibhum
ete—of all these physical elements; devāḥ—the controlling demigods; kalāḥ—parts and parcels; viṣṇoḥ—of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; kāla—time; māyā—external energy; aṁśa—part and parcel; liṅginaḥ—so embodied; nānātvāt—because of various; svakriyā—personal duties; anīśāḥ—not being able to perform; procuḥ—uttered; prāñjalayaḥ—fascinating; vibhum—unto the Lord.
The controlling deities of all the above-mentioned physical elements are empowered expansions of Lord Viṣṇu. They are embodied by eternal time under the external energy, and they are His parts and parcels. Because they were entrusted with different functions of universal duties and were unable to perform them, they offered fascinating prayers to the Lord as follows:
The conception of various controlling demigods who inhabit the higher planetary systems for the management of universal affairs is not imaginary, as proposed by persons with a poor fund of knowledge. The demigods are expanded parts and parcels of the Supreme Lord Viṣṇu, and they are embodied by time, external energy and partial consciousness of the Supreme Human beings, animals, birds, etc., are also parts and parcels of the Lord and have different material bodies, but they are not the controlling deities of material affairs. They are, rather, controlled by such demigods. Such control is not superfluous; it is as necessary as the controlling departments in the affairs of a modern state. The demigods should not be despised by the controlled living beings. They are all great devotees of the Lord entrusted to execute certain functions of universal affairs. One may be angry with Yamarāja for his thankless task of punishing sinful souls, but Yamarāja is one of the authorized devotees of the Lord, and so are all the other demigods. A devotee of the Lord is never controlled by such deputed demigods, who function as assistants of the Lord, but he shows them all respects on account of the responsible positions to which they have been appointed by the Lord. At the same time, a devotee of the Lord does not foolishly mistake them to be the Supreme Lord. Only foolish persons accept the demigods as being on the same level as Viṣṇu; actually they are all appointed as servants of Viṣṇu.
Anyone who places the Lord and the demigods on the same level is called a pāṣaṇḍī, or atheist. The demigods are worshiped by persons who are more or less adherents to the processes of jñāna, yoga and karma, i.e., the impersonalists, meditators and fruitive workers. The devotees, however, worship only the Supreme Lord Viṣṇu. This worship is not for any material benefit, as desired by all the materialists, even up to the Salvationists, mystics and fruitive workers. Devotees worship the Supreme Lord to attain unalloyed devotion to the Lord. The Lord, however, is not worshiped by others who have no program for attaining love of God, which is the essential aim of human life. Persons who are adverse to a loving relationship with God are more or less condemned by their own actions.
The Lord is equal to every living entity, just like the flowing Ganges. The Ganges water is meant for the purification of everyone, yet the trees on the banks of the Ganges have different values. A mango tree on the bank of the Ganges drinks the water, and the nīm tree also drinks the same water. But the fruits of both trees are different. One is celestially sweet, and the other is hellishly bitter. The condemned bitterness of the nīm is due to its own past work, just as the sweetness of the mango is also due to its own karma. The Lord says in Bhagavad-gītā:
tān ahaṁ dviṣataḥ krūrān saṁsāreṣu narādhamān
kṣipāmy ajasram aśubhān āsurīsv eva yoniṣu
"The envious, the mischievous, the lowest of mankind, these do I ever put back into the ocean of material existence, into various demonic species of life." (Bg. 16.19). Demigods like Yamarāja and other controllers are there for the unwanted conditioned souls who always engage in threatening the tranquility of the kingdom of God. Since all the demigods are confidential devotee-servitors of the Lord, they are never to he condemned.
namāma te deva padāravindaṁ
yan-mūla-ketā yatayo ‘ñjasoru
saṁsāra-duḥkhaṁ bahir utkṣipanti
devāḥ ūcuḥ—the demigods said; namāma—we offer our respectful obeisances; te—Your; deva—O Lord; padā-aravindam—lotus feet; prapanna—surrendered; tāpa—distress; upaśama—suppresses; ātapatram—umbrella; yat-mūla-ketaḥ—shelter of the lotus feet; yatayaḥ—great sages; añjasā—totally; uru—great; saṁsāra-duḥkham—miseries of material existence; bahiḥ—out; utkṣipanti—forcibly throw.
The demigods said: O Lord, Your lotus feet are like an umbrella for the surrendered souls, protecting them from all the miseries of material existence. All the sages under that shelter throw off all material miseries. We therefore offer our respectful obeisances unto Your lotus feet.
There are many sages and saints who engage in trying to conquer rebirth and all other material miseries. But of all of them, those who take shelter under the lotus feet of the Lord can completely throw off all such miseries without difficulty. Others, who are engaged in transcendental activities in different ways, cannot do so. For them it is very difficult. They may artificially think of becoming liberated without accepting the shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord, but that is not possible. One is sure to fall again to the material existence from such false liberation, even though one may have undergone severe penances and austerities. This is the opinion of the demigods, who are not only well versed in Vedic knowledge but who are also seers of the past, present and future. The opinions of the demigods are valuable because they are authorized to hold positions in the affairs of universal management. They are appointed by the Lord as His confidential servants.
dhātar yad asmin bhava īśa jīvās
tāpa-trayeṇābhihatā na śarma
ātmal labhante bhagavaṁs tavāṅghri-
cchāyāṁ savidyām ata āśrayema
dhātaḥ—O father; yat—because; asmin—in this; bhave—material world; īśa—O Lord; jīvāḥ—the living entities; tāpa—miseries; trayeṇa—by the three; abhihatāḥ—always embarrassed; na—never; śarma—in happiness; ātman—self; labhante—do gain; bhagavan—Personality of Godhead; tava—Your; aṅghri-chāyām—shade of Your feet; savidyām—full of knowledge; ataḥ—obtain; āśrayema—shelter.
O Father, O Lord, O Personality of Godhead, the living entities in the material world can never have any happiness because they are overwhelmed by the three kinds of miseries. Therefore they take shelter of the shade of Your lotus feet, which are full of knowledge, and we also thus take shelter of them.
The way of devotional service is neither sentimental nor mundane. It is the path of reality by which the living entity can attain the transcendental happiness of being freed from the three kinds of material miseries—miseries arising from the body and mind, from other living entities and from natural disturbances. Everyone who is conditioned by material existence—whether he be a man or beast or demigod or bird—must suffer from ādhyatmic (bodily or menial) pains, ādhibautic pains (those offered by living creatures), and ādhidaivic pains (those due to supernatural disturbances). His happiness is nothing but a hard struggle to get free from the miseries of conditional life. But there is only one way he can be rescued, and that is by accepting the shelter of the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
The argument that unless one has proper knowledge one cannot be freed from material miseries is undoubtedly true. But because the lotus feet of the Lord are full of transcendental knowledge, acceptance of His lotus feet completes that necessity. We have already discussed this point in the First Canto (1.2.7):
vāsudeve bhagavati bhakti-yogaḥ prayojitaḥ
janayaty āśu vairāgyaṁ jñānaṁ ca yad ahaitukam
There is no want of knowledge in the devotional service of Vāsudeva, the Personality of Godhead. He, the Lord, personally takes charge of dissipating the darkness of ignorance from the heart of a devotee. He confirms this in Bhagavad-gītā (10.10):
teṣāṁ satata-yuktānāṁ bhajatāṁ prīti-pūrvakam
dadāmi buddhi-yogaṁ taṁ yena mām upayānti te
Empiric philosophical speculation cannot give one relief from the threefold miseries of material existence. Simply to endeavor for knowledge without devoting oneself to the Lord is a waste of valuable time.
mārganti yat te mukha-padma-nīḍaiś
chandaḥ-suparṇair ṛṣayo vivikte
padaṁ padaṁ tīrtha-padaḥ prapannāḥ
mārganti—searching after; yat—as; te—Your; mukha-padma—lotuslike face; nīḍaiḥ—by those who have taken shelter of such a lotus flower; chandaḥ—Vedic hymns; suparṇaiḥ—by the wings; ṛṣayaḥ—the sages; vivikte—in clear mind; yasya—whose; agha-marṣoda—that which offers freedom from all reactions to sin; sarit—rivers; varāyāḥ—in the best; padam padam—in every step; tīrtha-padaḥ—one whose lotus feet are as good as a place of pilgrimage; prapannaḥ—taking shelter.
The lotus feet of the Lord are by themselves the shelter of all places of pilgrimage. The great clear-minded sages, carried by the wings of the Vedas, always search after the nest of Your lotuslike face. Some of them surrender to Your lotus feet at every step by taking shelter of the best of rivers [the Ganges], which can deliver one from all sinful reactions.
The paramahaṁsas are compared to royal swans who make their nests on the petals of the lotus flower. The Lord’s transcendental bodily parts are always compared to the lotus flower because in the material world the lotus flower is the last word in beauty. The most beautiful thing in the world is the Vedas, or Bhagavad-gītā, because therein knowledge is imparted by the Personality of Godhead Himself. The paramahaṁsa makes his nest in the lotuslike face of the Lord and always seeks shelter at His lotus feet, which are reached by the wings of Vedic wisdom. Since the Lord is the original source of all emanations, intelligent persons, enlightened by Vedic knowledge, seek the shelter of the Lord, just as birds who leave the nest again search out the nest to take complete rest. All Vedic knowledge is meant for understanding the Supreme Lord, as stated by the Lord in Bhagavad-gītā: vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyaḥ (Bg. 15.15). Intelligent persons, who are like swans, take shelter of the Lord by all means and do not hover on the mental plane by fruitlessly speculating on different philosophies.
The Lord is so kind that He has spread the River Ganges throughout the universe so that by taking bath in that holy river everyone can get release from the reactions of sins, which occur at every step. There are many rivers in the world which are able to evoke one’s sense; of God consciousness simply by one’s bathing in them, and the River Ganges is chief amongst them. In India there are five sacred rivers, but the Ganges is the most sacred. The River Ganges and Bhagavad-gītā are chief sources of transcendental happiness for mankind, and intelligent persons can take shelter of them to go back home, back to Godhead. Even Śrīpāda Śaṅkarācārya recommends that a little knowledge in Bhagavad-gītā and the drinking of a little quantity of Ganges water can save one from the punishment of Yamarāja.
yac chraddhayā śruta-vatyā ca bhaktyā
sammṛjyamāne hṛdaye ‘vadhāya
jñānena vairāgya-balena dhīrā
vrajema tat te ‘ṅghri-sarojapīṭham
yat—that which; śraddhayā—by eagerness; śruta-vatyā—simply by hearing; ca—also; bhaktyā—in devotion; sammṛjyamāne—being cleansed; hṛdaye—in the heart; avadhāya—meditation; jñānena—by knowledge; vairāgya—detachment; balena—by the strength of; dhīrāḥ—pacified; vrajema—must go to; tat—that; te—Your; aṅghri—feet; saraḥ-japīṭham—lotus sanctuary.
Simply by hearing about Your lotus feet with eagerness and devotion and by meditating upon them within the heart, one at once becomes enlightened with knowledge, and on the strength of detachment one becomes pacified. We must therefore take shelter of the sanctuary of Your lotus feet.
The miracles of meditating on the lotus feet of the Lord with eagerness and devotion are so great that no other process can compare to it. The minds of materialistic persons are so disturbed that it is almost impossible for them to search after the Supreme Truth by personal regulative endeavors. But even such materialistic men, with a little eagerness for hearing about the transcendental name, fame, qualities, etc., can surpass all other methods of attaining knowledge and detachment. The conditioned soul is attached to the bodily conception of the self, and therefore he is in ignorance. Culture of self-knowledge can bring about detachment from material affection, and without such detachment there is no meaning to knowledge. The most stubborn attachment for material enjoyment is sex life. One who is attached to sex life is to be understood as devoid of knowledge. Knowledge must be followed by detachment. That is the way of self-realization. These two essentials for self-realization, knowledge and detachment, become manifest very quickly if one performs devotional service to the lotus feet of the Lord. The word dhīra is very significant in this connection. A person who is not disturbed even in the presence of cause of disturbance is called dhīra. Śrī Yāmunācārya says, "Since my heart has been overwhelmed by the devotional service of Lord Kṛṣṇa, I cannot even think of sex life, and if thoughts of sex come upon me I at once feel disgust." A devotee of the Lord becomes an elevated dhīra by the simple process of meditating in eagerness on the lotus feet of the Lord.
Devotional service entails being initiated by a bona fide spiritual master and following his instruction in regard to hearing about the Lord. Such a bona fide spiritual master is accepted by regularly hearing from him about the Lord. The improvement in knowledge and detachment can be perceived by devotees as an actual experience. Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu strongly recommended this process of bearing from a bona fide devotee, and by following this process one can achieve the highest result, conquering all other methods.
kṛtāvatārasya padāmbujaṁ te
vrajema sarve śaraṇaṁ yad īśa
smṛtaṁ prayacchaty abhayaṁ svapuṁsām
viśvasya—of the cosmic universe; janma—creation; sthiti—maintenance; saṁyamārthe—for the dissolution also; kṛta—accepted or assumed; avatārasya—of the incarnations; pada-ambujam—lotus feet; te—Your; vrajema—let us take shelter of; sarve—all of us; śaraṇam—shelter; yat—that which; īśa—O Lord; smṛtam—remembrance; prayacchati—awarding; abhayam—courage; svapuṁsām—of the devotees.
O Lord, You assume incarnations for the creation, maintenance and dissolution of the cosmic manifestation, and therefore we all take shelter of Your lotus feet because they always award remembrance and courage to Your devotees.
For the creation, maintenance and dissolution of the cosmic manifestations there are three incarnations: Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśvara (Lord Śiva). They are the controllers or masters of the three modes of material nature, which cause the phenomenal manifestation. Viṣṇu is the master of the mode of goodness, Brahmā is the master of the mode of passion, and Maheśvara is the master of the mode of ignorance. There are different kinds of devotees according to the modes of nature. Persons in the mode of goodness worship Lord Viṣṇu, those in the mode of passion worship Lord Brahmā, and those in the mode of ignorance worship Lord Śiva. All three of these deities are incarnations of the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa because He is the original Supreme Personality of Godhead. The demigods directly refer to the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord and not to the different incarnations. The incarnation of Viṣṇu in the material world is, however, directly worshiped by the demigods. It is learned from various scriptures that the demigods approach Lord Viṣṇu in the ocean of milk and submit their grievances whenever there is some difficulty in the administration of universal affairs. Although they are incarnations of the Lord, Lord Brahmā and Lord Śiva worship Lord Viṣṇu, and thus they are also counted amongst the demigods and not as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Persons who worship Lord Viṣṇu are called demigods, and persons who do not do so are called asuras, or demons. Viṣṇu always takes the part of the demigods, but Brahmā and Śiva sometimes take the side of the demons; it is not that they become one in interest with them, but sometimes they do something in order to gain control over the demons.
yat sānubandhe ‘sati deha-gehe
puṁsāṁ sudūraṁ vasato ‘pi puryāṁ
bhajema tat te bhagavan padābjam
yat—because; sānubandhe—due to becoming entangled; asati—thus being; deha—the gross material body; gehe—in the home; mama—mine; aham—I; iti—thus; ūḍha—great, deep; durāgrahāṇām—undesirable eagerness; puṁsām—of persons; sudūram—far away; vasataḥ—dwelling; api—although; puryām—within the body; bhajema—let us worship; tat—therefore; te—Your; bhagavan—O Lord; padābjam—lotus feet.
O Lord, persons who are entangled by undesirable eagerness for the temporary body and kinsmen, and who are bound by thoughts of "mine" and "I," are unable to see Your lotus feet, although they are situated within their own bodies. But let us take shelter of Your lotus feet.
The whole Vedic philosophy of life is that one should get rid of the material encagement of gross and subtle bodies, which only cause one to continue in a condemned life of miseries. This material body continues as long as one is not detached from the false conception of lording it over material nature. The impetus for lording over material nature is the sense of "mine" and "I." "I am the lord of all that I survey. So many things I possess, and I shall possess more and more. Who can be richer than I in wealth and education? I am the master, and I am God. Who else is there but me?" All these ideas reflect the philosophy of ahaṁ-mama, the conception that "I am everything". Persons conducted by such a conception of life can never get liberation from material bondage. But even a person perpetually condemned to the miseries of material existence can get relief from bondage if he simply agrees to hear only Kṛṣṇa-kathā. In this age of Kali, the process of hearing Kṛṣṇa-kathā is the most effective means to gain release from unwanted family affection and thus find permanent freedom in life. The age of Kali is full of sinful reactions, and people are more and more addicted to the qualities of this age, but simply by hearing and chanting of Kṛṣṇa-kathā one is sure to go back to Godhead. Therefore, people should be trained to hear only Kṛṣṇa-kathā—by all means—in order to get relief from all miseries.
tān vai hy asad-vṛttibhir akṣibhir ye
atho na paśyanty urugāya nūnaṁ
ye te padanyāsa-vilāsa-lakṣyāḥ
tān—the lotusfeet of the Lord; vai—certainly; hi—for; asat—materialistic; vṛttibhiḥ—by those who are influenced by external energy; akṣibhiḥ—by the senses; ye—those; parāhṛta—missing at a distance; antaḥ-manasaḥ—of the internal mind; pareśa—O Supreme; atho—therefore; na—never; paśyanti—can see; urugāya—O great; nūnam—but; ye—those; te—who are; padanyāsa—activities; vilāsa—transcendental enjoyment; lakṣyāḥ—those who see.
O great Supreme Lord, offensive persons whose internal vision has been too affected by external materialistic activities cannot see Your lotus feet, but they are seen by Your pure devotees, whose one and only aim is to transcendentally enjoy Your activities.
As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (18.61), the Lord is situated in everyone’s heart. It is natural that one should be able to see the Lord at least within himself. But that is not possible for those whose internal vision has been covered by external activities. The pure soul, which is symptomized by consciousness, can be easily perceived even by a common man because consciousness is spread all over the body. The yoga system as recommended in Bhagavad-gītā is to concentrate the mental activities internally and thus see the lotus feet of the Lord within oneself. But there are many so-called yogīs who have no concern with the Lord but are only concerned with consciousness, which they accept as the final realization. Such realization of consciousness is taught by Bhagavad-gītā within only a few minutes, whereas the so-called yogīs take continuous years to realize it because of their offenses at the lotus feet of the Lord. The greatest offense is to deny the existence of the Lord as separate from the individual souls or to accept the Lord and the individual soul as one and the same. The impersonalists misinterpret the theory of reflection, and thus they wrongly accept the individual consciousness as the supreme consciousness.
The theory of the reflection of the Supreme can be clearly understood without difficulty by any sincere common man. When there is a reflection of the sky on the water, both the sky and the stars are seen within the water, but it is understood that the sky and the stars are not to be accepted on the same level. The stars are parts of the sky, and therefore they cannot be equal to the whole. The sky is the whole, and the stars are parts. They cannot be one and the same. Transcendentalists who do not accept the supreme consciousness as separate from the individual consciousness are as offensive as the materialists who deny even the existence of the Lord.
Such offenders cannot actually see the lotus feet of the Lord within themselves, nor are they even able to see the devotees of the Lord. The devotees of the Lord are so kind that they roam to all places to enlighten people in God consciousness. The offenders, however, lose the chance to receive the Lord’s devotees, although the offenseless common man is at once influenced by the devotees’ presence. In this connection there is an interesting story of a hunter and Devarṣi Nārada. A hunter in the forest, although a great sinner, was not an intentional offender. He was at once influenced by the presence of Nārada, and he agreed to take the path of devotion, leaving aside his hearth and home. But the offenders Nalakūvara and Maṇigrīva, even though living amongst the demigods, had to undergo the punishment of becoming trees in their next lives, although by the grace of a devotee they were later delivered by the Lord. Offenders have to wait until they receive the mercy of devotees, and then they can become eligible to see the lotus feet of the Lord within themselves. But due to their offenses and their extreme materialism, they cannot see even the devotees of the Lord. Engaged in external activities, they kill the internal vision. The Lord’s devotees, however, do not mind the offenses of the foolish in their many gross and subtle bodily endeavors. The Lord’s devotees continue to bestow the blessings of devotion upon all such offenders without hesitation. That is the nature of devotees.
pānena te deva kathā-sudhāyāḥ
pravṛddha-bhaktyā viśadāśayā ye
vairāgya-sāraṁ pratilabhya bodhaṁ
pānena—by drinking; te—of You; deva—O Lord; kathā—topics; sudhāyāḥ—of the nectar; pravṛddha—highly enlightened; bhaktyā—by devotional service; viśada-āśayā—with a greatly serious attitude; ye—those; vairāgya-sāram—the entire PURPORT of renunciation; pratilabhya—achieving; bodham—intelligence; yathā—as much as; añjasā—quickly; anvīyuḥ—achieve; akuṇṭha-dhiṣṇyam—Vaikuṇṭhaloka in the spiritual sky.
O Lord, persons who, because of their serious attitude, attain the stage of enlightened devotional service achieve the complete meaning of renunciation and knowledge and attain the Vaikuṇṭhaloka in the spiritual sky simply by drinking the nectar of Your topics.
The difference between the impersonalistic mental speculators and the pure devotees of the Lord is that the former pass through a miserable understanding of the Absolute Truth at every stage, whereas the devotees enter into the kingdom of all pleasures even from the beginning of their attempt. The devotee has only to hear about devotional activities, which are as simple as anything in ordinary life, and he also acts very simply, whereas the mental speculator has to pass through a jugglery of words, which are partially facts and partially a make-show for the maintenance of an artificial impersonal status. In spite of his strenuous efforts to attain perfect knowledge, the impersonalist attains merging into the impersonal oneness of the brahmajyoti of the Lord, which is also attained by the enemies of the Lord simply because of their being killed by Him. The devotees, however, attain to the highest stage of knowledge and renunciation and achieve the Vaikuṇṭhalokas, the planets in the spiritual sky. The impersonalist attains only the sky, and does not achieve any tangible transcendental bliss, whereas the devotee attains to the planets where real spiritual life prevails. With a serious attitude, the devotee throws away all achievements like so much dust, and he accepts only devotional service, the transcendental culmination.
balena jitvā prakṛtiṁ baliṣṭhām
tvām eva dhīrāḥ puruṣaṁ viśanti
teṣāṁ śramaḥ syān na tu sevayā te
tathā—as far as; apare—others; ca—also; ātma-samādhi—transcendental self-realization; yoga—means; balena—by the strength of; jitvā—conquering; prakṛtim—acquired nature or modes of nature; baliṣṭhām—very powerful; tvām—You; eva—only; dhīrāḥ—pacified; puruṣam—person; viśanti—enters into; teṣām—for them; śramaḥ—much labor; syāt—has to be taken; na—never; tu—but; sevayā—by serving; te—of You.
Others, who are pacified by means of transcendental self-realization and have conquered over the modes of nature by dint of strong power and knowledge, also enter into You, but for them there is much pain, whereas the devotee simply discharges devotional service and thus feels no such pain.
In terms of a labor of love and its returns, the bhaktas, or devotees of the Lord, always have priority over persons who are addicted to the association of jñānīs, or impersonalists, and yogīs, or mystics. The word apare (others) is very significant in this connection. "Others" refer to the jñānīs and the yogīs, whose only hope is to merge into the existence of the impersonal brahmajyoti. Although their destination is not so important in comparison to the destination of the devotees, the labor of the non-devotees is far greater than that of the bhaktas. One may suggest that there is sufficient labor for the devotees also in the matter of discharging devotional service. But that labor is compensated by the enhancement of transcendental pleasure. The devotees derive more transcendental pleasure while engaged continuously in the service of the Lord than when they have no such engagement. In the family combination of a man and a woman there is much labor and responsibility for both of them, yet when they are single they feel more trouble for want of their untied activities.
The union of the impersonalists and the union of the devotees are not on a par. The impersonalists try to fully stop their individuality by attaining sāyujya-mukti, or unification by merging into oneness, whereas the devotees keep their individuality to exchange feelings in relationship with the Supreme Individual Lord. Such reciprocation of feelings takes place in the transcendental Vaikuṇṭha planets, and therefore the liberation sought by the impersonalists is already achieved in devotional service. The devotees attain mukti automatically while continuing the transcendental pleasure of maintaining individuality. As explained in the previous verse, the destination of the devotees is Vaikuṇṭha, or akuṇṭha-dhiṣṇya, the place where anxieties are completely eradicated. One should not mistake the destination of the devotees and that of the impersonalists to be one and the same. The destinations are distinctly different, and the transcendental pleasure derived by the devotee is also distinct from cinmātra, or spiritual feelings alone.
tat te vayaṁ loka-sisṛkṣayādya
tvayānusṛṣṭās tribhir ātmabhiḥ sma
sarve viyuktāḥ svavihāra-tantraṁ
na śaknumas tat pratihartave te
tat—therefore; te—Your; vayam—all of us; loka—world; sisṛkṣayā—for the sake of creation; ādya—the original; tvayā—by You; anusṛṣṭāḥ—being created one after another; tribhiḥ—by the three modes of nature; ātma-bhiḥ—by one’s own; sma—in the past; sarve—all; viyuktāḥ—separated; svavihāra-tantram—the network of activities for one’s own pleasure; na—not; śaknumaḥ—could do it; tat—that; pratihartave—to award; te—unto Your.
O Original Person, we are therefore but Yours only. Although we are Your creatures, we are born one after another under the influence of the three modes of nature, and for this reason we are separated in action. Therefore, after the creation we could not act concertedly for Your transcendental pleasure.
The cosmic creation is working under the influence of the three modes of the external potency of the Lord. Different creatures are also under the same influence, and therefore they cannot act concertedly in satisfying the Lord. Because of this diverse activity, there cannot be any harmony in the material world. The best policy, therefore, is to act for the sake of the Lord. That will bring about the desired harmony.
yāvad baliṁ te ‘ja harāma kāle
yathā vayaṁ cānnam adāma yatra
yathobhayeṣāṁ ta ime hi lokā
baliṁ haranto ‘nnam adanty anūhāḥ
yāvat—as it may be; balim—offerings; te—Your; aja—O unborn one; harāma—shall offer; kāle—at the right time; yathā—as much as; vayam—we; ca—also; annam—food grains; adāma—shall partake; yatra—whereupon; yathā—as much as; ubhayeṣām—both for You and us; te—all; ime—these living entities; hi—certainly; lokāḥ—in the world; balim—offerings; harantaḥ—while offering; annam—grains; adanti—eat; anūhāḥ—without disturbance.
O unborn one, please enlighten us regarding the ways and means by which we can offer You all enjoyable grains and commodities so that both we and all other living entities in this world can maintain ourselves without disturbance and can easily accumulate the necessities of life both for You and ourselves.
Developed consciousness begins from the human form of life and further increases in the form of the demigods living in higher planets. The earth is situated almost in the middle of the universe, and the human form of life is the via medium between the life of the demigods and that of the demons. The planetary systems above the earth are especially meant for the higher intellectuals, called demigods. They are called demigods because although their standard of life is far more advanced in culture, enjoyment, luxury, beauty, education and duration of life, they are always fully God conscious. Such demigods are always ready to render service to the Supreme Lord because they are perfectly aware of the fact that every living entity is constitutionally an eternal subordinate servitor of the Lord. They also know that it is the Lord only who can maintain all living entities with all the necessities of life. The Vedic hymns, "eko bahūnāṁ yo vidadhāti kāmān," "tā enam abruvan āyatanaṁ naḥ prajānīhi yasmin pratiṣṭhitā annam adāme," etc., confirm this truth. In Bhagavad-gītā also, the Lord is mentioned as bhūta-bhṛt, or the maintainer of all living creatures.
The modern theory that starvation is due to an increase in population is not accepted by the demigods or the devotees of the Lord. The devotees or demigods are fully aware that the Lord can maintain any number of living entities provided they are conscious of how to eat. If they want to eat like ordinary animals, who have no God consciousness, then they must live in starvation, poverty and want, like the jungle animals in the forest. The jungle animals are also maintained by the Lord with their respective foodstuffs, but they are not advanced in God consciousness. Similarly, human beings are provided with food grains, vegetables, fruits and milk by the grace of the Lord, but it is the duty of human beings to acknowledge the mercy of the Lord. As a matter of gratitude, they should feel obliged to the Lord for their supply of foodstuff, and they must first offer Him food in sacrifice and then partake of the remnants.
In Bhagavad-gītā it is confirmed (3.13) that one who takes foodstuff after a performance of sacrifice eats real food for proper maintenance of the body and soul, but one who cooks for himself and does not perform any sacrifice eats only lumps of sin in the shape of foodstuffs. Such sinful eating can never make one happy or free from scarcity. Famine is not due to an increase in population, as less intelligent economists think. When human society is grateful to the Lord for all His gifts for the maintenance of the living entities, then there is certainly no scarcity or want in society. But when men are unaware of the intrinsic value of such gifts from the Lord, surely they are in want. A person who has no God consciousness may live in opulence for the time being due to his past virtuous acts, but if one forgets his relationship with the Lord, certainly he must await the stage of starvation by the law of the powerful material nature. One cannot escape the vigilance of the powerful material nature unless he leads a God conscious or devotional life.
tvaṁ naḥ surāṇām asi sānvayānāṁ
kūṭa-stha ādyaḥ puruṣaḥ purāṇaḥ
tvaṁ deva śaktyāṁ guṇa-karma-yonau
retas tvajāyāṁ kavim ādadhe ‘jaḥ
tvam—Your Lordship; naḥ—of us; surāṇām—of the demigods; asi—You are; sānvayānām—with different gradations; kūṭa-sthaḥ—one who is unchanged; ādyaḥ—without any superior; puruṣaḥ—the founder person; purāṇaḥ—the oldest, who has no other founder; tvam—You; deva—O Lord; śaktyām—unto the energy; guṇa-karma-yonau—unto the cause of the material modes and activities; retaḥ—semina of birth; tvajāyām—for begetting; kavim—the total living entities; ādadhe—initiated; ajaḥ—one who is unborn.
You are the original personal founder of all the demigods and the orders of different gradations, yet You are the oldest and are unchanged. O Lord, You have no source or superior. You have impregnated the external energy with the semina of the total living entities, yet You are unborn.
The Lord, the Original Person, is the father of all other living entities, beginning from Brahmā, the personality from whom all other living entities in different gradations of species are generated. Yet the supreme father has no other father. Every one of the living entities of all grades, up to Brahmā, the original creature of the universe, is begotten by one father, but He, the Lord, has no father. When He descends on the material plane, out of His causeless mercy He accepts one of His great devotees as His father to keep pace with the rules of the material world. But since He is the Lord, He is always independent in choosing who will become His father. For example, the Lord came out of a pillar in His incarnation as Nṛsiṁhadeva, and by the Lord’s causeless mercy, Ahalyā came out of a stone by the touch of the lotus feet of His incarnation as Lord Śrī Rāma. He is also the companion of every living entity as the Supersoul, but He is unchanged. The living entity changes his body in the material world, but even when the Lord is in the material world, He is ever unchanged. That is His prerogative.
As confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā, the Lord impregnates the external or material energy (Bg. 14.3), and thus the total living entities later come out in different gradations, beginning from Brahmā, the first demigod, down to the insignificant ant. All gradations of living entities are manifested by Brahmā and the external energy, but the Lord is the original father of everyone. The relationship of every living being with the Supreme Lord is certainly one of son and father and not one of equality. Sometimes in love the son is more than the father, but the relationship of father and son is one of the superior and the subordinate. Every living entity, however great he may be, even up to demigods like Brahmā, Indra, etc., is an eternally subordinate servitor of the supreme father. The mahat-tattva principle is the generating source of all the modes of material nature, and the living entities take birth in the material world in bodies supplied by the mother, material nature, in terms of their previous work. The body is a gift of material nature, but the soul is originally part and parcel of the Supreme Lord.
tato vayaṁ mat-pramukhā yad-arthe
babhūvimātman karavāma kiṁ te
tvaṁ naḥ svacakṣuḥ paridehi śaktyā
deva kriyārthe yad-anugrahāṇām
tataḥ—therefore; vayam—all of us; mat-pramukhāḥ—coming from the total cosmos, the mahat-tattva; yat-arthe—for the purpose of which; babhūvima—created; ātman—the self; karavāma—shall do; kim—what; te—Your service; tvam—Yourself; naḥ—to us; svacakṣuḥ—personal plan; paridehi—specifically grant us; śaktyā—with potency to work; deva—O Lord; kriyārthe—for acting; yat—that which; anugrahāṇām—of those who are specifically favored.
O Supreme Self, please give us, who are created in the beginning from the mahat-tattva, the total cosmic energy, Your kind directions on how we shall act. Kindly award us Your perfect knowledge and potency so that we can render You service in the different departments of subsequent creation.
The Lord creates this material world and impregnates the material energy with the living entities who will act in the material world. All these actions have a divine plan behind them. The plan is to give the conditioned souls who so desire a chance to enjoy sense gratification. But there is another plan behind the creation: to help the living entities realize that they are created for the transcendental sense gratification of the Lord and not for their individual sense gratification. This is the constitutional position of the living entities. The Lord is one without a second, and He expands Himself into many for His transcendental pleasure. All the expansions-the Viṣṇu-tattvas, the jīva-tattvas and the śakti-tattvas (the Personalities of Godhead, the living entities and the different potential energies)-are different offshoots from the same one Supreme Lord. The jīva-tattvas are separated expansions of the Viṣṇu-tattvas, and although there are potential differences between them, they are all meant for the transcendental sense gratification of the Supreme Lord. Some of the jīvas, however, wanted to lord it over material nature in imitation of the lordship of the Personality of Godhead. Regarding when and why such propensities overcame the pure living entities, it can only be explained that the jīva-tattvas have infinitesimal independence and that due to misuse of this independence some of the living entities have become implicated in the conditions of cosmic creation and are therefore called nitya-bandhanas, or eternally conditioned souls.
The expansions of Vedic wisdom also give the nitya-bandhanas, the conditioned living entities, a chance to improve, and those who take advantage of such transcendental knowledge gradually regain their lost consciousness of rendering transcendental loving service to the Lord. The demigods are amongst the conditioned souls who have developed this pure consciousness of service to the Lord, but at the same time they continue to desire to lord it over the material energy. Such mixed consciousness puts a conditioned soul in the position of managing the affairs of this creation. The demigods are entrusted leaders of the conditioned souls. As some of the old prisoners in government jails are entrusted with some responsible work of prison management, so the demigods are improved conditioned souls acting as representatives of the Lord in the material creation. Such demigods are devotees of the Lord in the material world and are completely free from all material desire to lord it over the material energy. They have become pure devotees and have no desire but to serve the Lord. Any living entity who desires a position in the material world may desire so in the service of the Lord and may seek power and intelligence from the Lord, as exemplified by the demigods in this particular verse. One cannot do anything unless he is enlightened and empowered by the Lord. The Lord says in Bhagavad-gītā (15.15), mattaḥ smṛtir jñānam apohanaṁ ca. All recollections, knowledge, etc., as well as all forgetfulness, are engineered by the Lord, who is sitting within the heart of everyone. The intelligent man seeks the help of the Lord, and the Lord helps the sincere devotees engaged in His multifarious services.
The demigods are entrusted by the Lord to create different species of living entities according to their past deeds. They are herein asking the favor of the Lord for the intelligence and power to carry out their task. Similarly, any conditioned soul may also engage in the service of the Lord under the guidance of an expert spiritual master and thus gradually become freed from the entanglement of material existence. The spiritual master is the manifested representative of the Lord, and anyone who puts himself under the guidance of a spiritual master and acts accordingly is said to be acting in terms of buddhi-yoga, as explained in Bhagavad-gītā:
vyavasāyātmikā buddhir ekeha kuru-nandana
bahu-śākhā hy anantāś ca buddhayo ‘vyavasāyinām (Bg. 2.41)
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta PURPORTs of the Third Canto, Fifth Chapter, of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, entitled "Vidura’s Talks with Maitreya."
Creation of the Universal Form
iti tāsāṁ sva-śaktīnāṁ
satīnām asametya saḥ
niśāmya gatim īśvaraḥ
śrī ṛṣiḥ uvāca—the Ṛṣi Maitreya said; iti—thus; tāsām—their; sva-śaktīnām—own potency; satīnām—so situated; asametya—without combination; saḥ—He (the Lord); prasupta—suspended; loka-tantrāṇām—in the universal creations; niśāmya—hearing; gatim—progress; īśvaraḥ—the Lord.
The Ṛṣi Maitreya said: The Lord thus heard about the suspension of the progressive creative functions of the universe due to the noncombination of His potencies, such as the mahat-tattva.
There is nothing wanting in the creation of the Lord; all the potencies are there in a dormant state. But unless they are combined by the will of the Lord, nothing can progress. The suspended progressive work of creation can only be revived by the direction of the Lord.
kāla-sañjñāṁ tadā devīṁ
gaṇaṁ yugapad āviśat
kāla-sañjñām—known as Kālī; tadā—at that time; devīm—the goddess; bibhrat-destructive; śaktim—potency; urukramaḥ—the supreme powerful; trayoviṁśati—twenty-three; tattvānām—of the elements; gaṇam—all of them; yugapat—simultaneously; āviśat—entered.
The Supreme Powerful Lord then simultaneously entered into the twenty-three elements with the goddess Kālī, His external energy, who alone amalgamates all the different elements.
The ingredients of matter are counted as twenty-three: the total material energy, false ego, sound, touch, form, taste, smell, earth, water, fire, air, sky, eye, ear, nose, tongue, skin, hand, leg, evacuating organ, genitals, speech and mind. All are combined together by the influence of time and are again dissolved in the course of time. Time, therefore, is the energy of the Lord and acts in her own way by the direction of the Lord. This energy is called Kālī and is represented by the dark destructive goddess generally worshiped by persons influenced by the mode of darkness or ignorance in material existence. In the Vedic hymn this process is described as mūla-prakṛtir avikṛtir mahadādyāḥ prakṛti-vikṛtayaṁ sapta-soraśakas tu vikaro na prakṛtir na vikṛtiḥ puruṣaḥ. The energy which acts as material nature in a combination of twenty-three ingredients is not the final source of creation. The Lord enters into the elements and applies His energy, called Kālī. In all other Vedic scriptures the same principle is accepted. In Brahma-saṁhitā it is stated: