See for the online version with illustrations, music and links to the previous translation: http://bhagavata.org/
'The Story of the Fortunate One'
Third revised version 2012
CANTO 4bThe Creation of the Fourth Order, the Lord's Protection
Chapter 20 Lord Vishnu's Appearance in the Sacrificial Arena of Mahārāja Prithu
Chapter 21 Instructions by Mahārāja Prithu
Chapter 22 Prithu Mahārāja's Meeting with the Four Kumāras
Chapter 23 Mahārāja Prithu Returns Back Home
Chapter 24 The Song Sung by Lord S'iva
Chapter 25 About the Character of King Purańjana
Chapter 26 King Purańjana Goes Hunting and Finds his Morose Wife
Chapter 27 Candavega Attacks the City of King Purańjana; the Character of Kālakanyā
Chapter 28 Purańjana Becomes a Woman in his Next Life.
Chapter 29 The Conversation of Nārada and King Prācīnabarhi
Chapter 30 The Activities of the Pracetās
Chapter 31 Nārada Instructs the Pracetās
IntroductionThis book relates the story of the Lord and His incarnations since the earliest records of Vedic history, the history of the original culture of knowledge of India. It is verily the Krishna 'bible' [in Sanskrit called a Samhitā] of the Hindu universe. The Bhagavad Gītā relates to this book like the sermon on the mountain by Lord Jesus relates to the full Bible. It has about 18.000 verses contained in 335 chapters and consists of 12 subdivisions of books that are called Cantos. These books together tell the complete history of the Vedic culture and cover the essence of the classical collections of stories called the Purānas. This specific collection of Vedic stories is considered the most important one of all the great eighteen classical Purānas of India. It includes the cream of the Vedic knowledge compiled from all the Vedic literatures as also the story of the life of Lord Krishna in full (Canto 10). Lord Krishna constitutes a watershed in history between the old Vedic culture and the 'modern' political culture in which the rule of state no longer automatically is guided by the spiritual order. The book tells the story of His birth, His youth, all wonderful proofs of His divine nature, and His superhuman feats of defeating all kinds of demons, up to the great Mahābhārata war at Kurukshetra. In this war the Vedic culture fell down to be replaced by the fragmented religiosity we these days call Hinduism. This leading Purāna also called the 'perfect Purāna', is a brilliant story that has been brought to the West by S'rīla A.C. Bhaktivedānta Swami Prabhupāda, a Caitanya Vaishnava, a bhakti (devotional) monk of Lord Vishnu [the name for the transcendental form of Lord Krishna]. He undertook the daring task of enlightening the materialist westerners, the advanced philosophers and theologians, in order to help them to overcome the perils and loneliness of impersonalism and the philosophy of emptiness.
The representative of Vishnu on earth is named the Fortunate One in this book. We know Him specifically by the names of Lord Rāma and Lord Krishna. The Fortunate One is thus the Lord who is known in different forms or incarnations, the so-called avatāras, but also the devotees are part of His reality and are also called bhāgavata when they are of pure devotion. On top of that the book is also called bhāgavata. Thus there is the Lord in His many appearances, the devotee with as many faces and the book. They are all called bhāgavata or fortunate. The word bhāga means fortune or luck while the term bhaga refers to gracious lord, happiness and wealth. To be fortunate Vedically means to be of the opulence, or to carry, or live by, the fullness of God's riches, beauty, fame, power, knowledge and detachment.
The writer of this book is named Krishna Dvaipāyana Vyāsadeva, and is also called Bādarāyana. He is the Lord, the Bhagavān or venerable one, among the philosophers, who in India assembled all the holy texts. He compiled the Vedas, four basic scriptures known as the S'ruti, meaning that what is heard, containing the basic wisdom, the mantras for the rituals and the hymns. The Purānas together with the Itihāsas (separate stories) belong to the so-called smriti, that what is remembered. This knowledge is sometimes considered a fifth Veda. He also wrote the Mahābhārata, which is the greatest epic poem in the world. It describes the history (Itihāsa) of the great fall that the Vedic culture once made. The Bhagavad Gītā is the most important part of it. Vyāsa also wrote the rest of the eighteen great story books (the Purānas) of India as also the Brahma-sūtra, his masterpiece on the Absolute Truth. Vyāsa was a grandfather of the Kuru dynasty. He lived a very long time. His long duration of life enabled him to write the story of the Fortunate One and all the other books. He had a son called S'ukadeva who handed the message of this bible in the presence of other sages down to another member of the family, Emperor Parīkshit, who had difficulty respecting the classical wisdom. This emperor is there in this book, which presents the classical Vedic wisdom in the form of a frame story, as a model for us normal people who seek their stability in the wisdom. This knowledge was by S'uka conveyed to him in disciplic succession (paramparā), for the sake of those who teach by example (the ācāryas) the science of devotional service (bhakti). Swami A. C. Bhaktivedanta Prabhupāda from this disciplic succession, commissioned to disseminate this book in the West, together with his pupils (known as the Hare Krishnas of ISKCON), realized a verse by verse commented series of books covering the entire Bhāgavatam. The site bhagavata.org offers not all these texts (see for that purpose vedabase.io) but it does offer, under the Creative Commons copyright, an as-it-is translation, independent from ISKCON, of the verses in a concatenated form, complete with the previous version. This text is regularly updated and maintained by me, the undersigned, who received instruction in the temples of ISKCON and elsewhere. His predecessor in this duty in the Netherlands was S'rī Hayas'var das (Hendrik van Teylingen), initiated by him, who covered most of the translations into Dutch.
For this translation, this digital version of the book, the author has consulted the translations of C.L. Goswami, M.A., Sāstrī (from the Gītā Press, Gorakhpur), the paramparā version of S'rīla Vishvanātha Cakravarti Thhākura and the later version of this book by S'rīla A.C. Bhaktivedānta Swami Prabhupāda. The latter translators, as ācāryas of the age-old Indian Vaishnava tradition, are representatives of a culture of reformation in devotion for the Supreme Personality of God, or bhakti yoga, the way it has been practiced in India since the 16th century. This reformation asserts that the false authority of the caste system and single dry book knowledge is to be rejected. S'rī Krishna Caitanya, also called Caitanya Mahāprabhu (1486-1534), the avatāra [an incarnation of the Lord] who heralded this reform, restored the original paramparā purpose of developing devotion unto the person of God, and endeavored in particular for the dissemination of the two main sacred scriptures expounding on that devotion in relation to Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. These scriptures are the Bhagavad Gītā and this Bhāgavata Purāna, also called the S'rīmad Bhāgavatam, from which all the Vaishnava ācāryas of Lord Caitanya derived their wisdom for the purpose of instruction and the shaping of their devotion. The word for word translations as also the full text and commentaries of this book were studied within and without the Hare Krishna temples where the teaching of this culture takes place.
The purpose of this translation is first of all to make this glorious text available to a wider audience over the Internet. Since the Bible, the Koran and numerous other holy texts are readily available on the internet, I, the translator, meant that this book could not stay behind on the shelf of his own bookcase as a token of material possessiveness. When I started with this endeavor in the year 2000, there was no proper web presentation of this book. Knowledge not shared is knowledge lost, and certainly this type of knowledge, which stresses the yoga of non-possessiveness and devotion as its main values, could not be left out. The version of Swami Prabhupāda is very extensive covering some 2400 pages of plain fine printed text, including his commentaries. And that were only the first ten Cantos. The remaining two Cantos were posthumously published by his pupils in the full of his spirit. I thus was faced with two daring challenges: one was to concatenate the text, or make a readable running narrative, of the book that had been dissected and commented to the single word, and the second challenge was to put it into a language that would befit the 21st century with all its modern and postmodern experience and digital progress of the present cultural order of the world, without losing anything of its original verses. Thus another verse to verse as-it-is translation came about in which Vishvanātha's, Prabhupāda's and Sāstrī's words were pruned, retranslated and set to the understanding and realization of today. This realization in my case originated first of all directly from the disciplic line of succession of the Vaishnava line of ācāryas, as also from the complete field of the Indian philosophy of enlightenment, liberation and yoga discipline, as was brought to the West by also non-Vaishnava gurus and maintained by their pupils. Therefore I have to express my gratitude to all these great heroes who dared to face the adamantine of western philosophy with all its doubts, concreticism and skepticism. Especially the pupils of Prabhupāda, members of the renounced order - sannyāsīs (or samnyāsīns), who instructed me in the independence and maturity of the philosophy of the bhakti-yogis of Lord Caitanya, need to be mentioned. I was already initiated in India by a non-Vaishnava guru and was given the name Swami Anand Aadhar ('teacher of the foundation of happiness'). That name the Krishna community converted into Anand Aadhar Prabhu ('master of the foundation of happiness'), without further ceremonies of Vaishnava initiation (apart from a basic training). With the name Anand Aadhar I am a withdrawn devotee, a so-called vānaprashta, who does his devotional service independently in the silence and modesty of his local adaptations of the philosophy.
In most cases the word for word translations and grammatical directions of S'rīla A.C. Bhaktivedānta Swami Prabhupāda/ISKCON, Vishvanātha Cakravarti Thhākura and C.L. Goswami, M.A., Sāstrī, have been followed as they were used in their translations, and I have checked them with the help of the Monier-Williams Sanskrit Dictionary (see the file of the terms used). In footnotes and between square brackets [ ] sometimes a little comment and extra info is given to accommodate the reader when the original text is drawing from a more experienced approach. Terms in italics are explained in the glossary. On the internetsite bhagavata.org of this book, my version directly refers to the version of Prabhupāda, by being linked up at each verse, so that it is possible to retrace at any moment what I have done with the text. This is in accordance with the scientific tradition of the Vaishnava community.
For the copyright, on this translation and the podcast spoken version of the book, has been chosen the so-called Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License. This means that one is free to copy, distribute and alter the text on the condition of attribution (refer to the name of Anand Aadhar and to my website address bhagavata.org), that the resulting work can only be distributed under the same or similar license to this one, and that one cannot use the text for commercial purposes. For all other usage one will have to contact the translator. Donations are welcome!
With love and devotion,
Anand Aadhar Prabhu,
Enschede, The Netherlands, September 16, 2020.
Chapter 20: Lord Vishnu's Appearance in the Sacrificial Arena of Prithu Mahārāja
(1) Maitreya said: 'The Supreme Personality, the Lord of Vaikunthha, satisfied by the sacrifices unto Him, the Lord of All Sacrifices, appeared together with the mighty Indra and spoke as the enjoyer of the sacrifice to King Prithu. (2) The Supreme Lord said: 'This person [King Indra] who disturbed the hundredth horse sacrifice you performed, begs your pardon, you ought to forgive him. (3) Considerate souls willing to act in favor of others in this world, oh god of man, belong to the best human beings. They [acting from the soul] will never be malicious toward other living beings. The soul after all is not this vehicle of time, the body. (4) If people like you, who persistently are of service to the elders [the tradition, the wise], become bewildered by the external energy of God, the only thing that is achieved is weariness. (5) Therefore he who is well acquainted and knows that one owes this body to one's ignorance, desires and karma, will never become the slave of it. (6) In other words, which person having life experience would in his detachment call himself the proprietor of the wealth, house and children that result from such a bodily concept? (7) The one pure self that is enlightened and free from material characteristics, constitutes the reservoir of all good qualities that, transcendental to the body and the mind and pervading all, is the undivided witness unrelated to the material world. (8) Anyone who thus knows about the soul that exists within this body is, despite being situated within material nature, as a person never affected by the basic qualities of nature. Such a one is situated in Me. (9) He who free from ulterior motives, always doing his duty, worships Me with faith and devotion will, oh King, discover that his mind step by step finds the highest satisfaction. (10) Free from the modes, the basic qualities, of nature and with an equal vision, he who, innerly free from contaminations, is of peace, will achieve the equipoise of My spirit of emancipation. (11) Any person who knows this changeless soul as simply being the indifferent superintendent of the physical elements, the knowing and working senses and the mind, will find all fortune. (12) They who are bound to Me in friendship and enlightenment will never become disturbed by the happiness or distress they see associated with the different basic qualities and the constant change of the material body consisting of the physical elements, the active senses, its intentions and the mind. (13) Equipoised in happiness and distress, equal to all who are more elevated, lower or situated in between and with the senses and mind controlled, be as such the protector of all citizens, oh hero, together with the others [the officials] arranged by Me. (14) Ruling the populace in goodness it is certain for a king in his next life to be the collector of one sixth of the results of the pious activities [of his subjects]. Being of a different approach, solely collecting taxes, he will have to do without this sixth and be faced with the sins of the citizens he failed to protect. (15) Thus being the protector of the earth as someone whose chief interest it is to be unattached in respect of the principles as approved and handed down by the foremost twice-born souls, you soon will see yourself be loved by the citizens and at home be visited by the perfected souls in person. (16) Because you captivated Me by your excellent qualities*, please request any benediction from Me you desire, oh chief of the humans. I certainly cannot easily be obtained by mere sacrifices, austerities or doing yoga. I am present in the one who is evenminded.'
(17) Maitreya said: 'The conqueror of the world thus being led by the Supreme Master of All, the Personality of Vishnu, bowed his head to the instructions of the Lord. (18) King Indra, ashamed of his own actions then lovingly touched the feet of him [Prithu] who of course with an embrace gave up his anger. (19) The Supreme Lord, the Supersoul, next received worship with all the paraphernalia from Prithu whose devotion, having taken to the lotus feet, gradually increased. (20) Even though he was ready to leave him, the Lord with the lotus eyes, the well-wisher of the devotees, being detained by his kindness, could not depart. (21) He, the first among the kings could, with his eyes full of tears standing before the Lord with folded hands, not look at Him nor utter a word. His voice was choked up and within his heart embracing Him he remained in that position. (22) Looking at Him with insatiable eyes, he thereupon wiping the tears from his face addressed the Original Personality of Godhead who, with His hand resting upon the high shoulder of Garuda, the enemy of the snakes, barely touched the ground with His lotus feet.
(23) Prithu said: 'Oh Almighty One, how can a learned man ask from You, who are the master of all blessings, for benedictions that are also available to all those embodied living beings who are bewildered by the modes of nature, even when they are in hell? Nor do I ask, oh Supreme One, for Your enlightenment [to be one with You]. (24) I do not desire even that, oh Master, because I then have to do without the nectar delivered by the mouths of the devotees at Your lotus feet. Just give me a million ears to [relish that] what rises from the core of their hearts [the stories about You]. Let that be my benediction. (25) That soothing breeze of the nectarean [saffron] particles of Your lotus feet, oh Lord praised in the scriptures as delivered by the mouths of the great ones, restores of those who strayed from the path of devotional service the remembrance of the forgotten truth and makes other benedictions unnecessary. (26) When someone somehow or other, even only once, in association with those who are advanced listens to the all-auspicious glorification of You, oh honored one, how can someone appreciative of Your characteristics, unless he is an animal, then ever cease with that what the Goddess of Fortune in her desire to hear about You has accepted as Your quality? (27) Therefore I shall engage in the service of You, the all-inclusive Supreme, Original Personality [Pūrushottama] and reservoir of all transcendental qualities. Let there with me, who as anxious as the goddess with the lotus in her hand, competes in relation to the one Master, be no quarrel between her and me in the single-mindedness of acting in respect of Your feet. (28) The mother of the universe, oh Ruler of the Cosmic Reality, [being jealous] might ruin my desire to be of her action. But what difference would she make with You who, always favorably inclined to the poor, as a consequence of Your benevolence consider even the most insignificant service very great? (29) Saintly persons therefore rather worship You who dispel the misconceptions produced by the modes of nature. Oh Supreme Lord, I cannot think of any other purpose [in the life] of devotees than the remembrance of Your lotus feet. (30) I consider that what You said [to me] with the words 'make your choice', as a bewildering favor relating to the material world. How [is that supposed to work] when ordinary people [like me], who are not tied to what You say in the Vedic literature, time and again feel attracted to engage in karmic actions? (31) Oh Lord, the people are divided about Your illusory energy because of which they, missing the real knowledge, desire everything but the true matters of the soul. Please bestow that what You deem desirable, just like a father would do for the welfare of his child.'
(32) Maitreya said: 'Thus being worshiped by the original king He, the seer of the entire universe, said to him: 'My dear King, let there be your devotion for Me. By the good fortune of intelligently having acted unto Me like this, you will certainly overcome My illusory energy that is so difficult to give up. (33) Do therefore without neglect what I ordered you to do, oh protector of the citizens, anyone who acts according to My injunctions, will achieve all good fortune, wherever he is.'*: The twenty-six qualities of a devotee: (1) kind to everyone, (2) does not quarrel with anyone, (3) fixed in the Absolute Truth, (4) equal to everyone, (5) faultless, (6) charitable, (7) mild, (8) clean, (9) simple, (10) benevolent, (11) peaceful, (12) completely attached to Krishna, (13) has no material hankering, (14) meek, (15) steady, (16) self-controlled, (17) does not eat more than required, (18) sane, (19) respectful, (20) humble, (21) grave, (22) compassionate, (23) friendly, (24) poetic, (25) expert, (26) silent.
(34) Maitreya said: 'This way showing His appreciation for the words of the wise king, the son of Vena, the Infallible One, after properly having blessed him and being worshiped by him, decided to leave. (35-36) After they [by the king] with an intelligence dedicated to the Lord, with folded hands, sweet words and riches were properly respected in a spirit of devotional service, all the followers of the Lord of Vaikunthha departed: the godly souls, the sages, the forefathers, the artisans, the perfected ones, the heavenly singers, the snakelike beings, the superhuman beings, the nymphs, the earthly humans, the birds and all the other living entities [compare 3.10: 28-29]. (37) Having captivated the minds of the saintly king and all his priests, the protector of the living creation, the infallible Supreme Lord, also returned to His abode. (38) The king who had offered his obeisances to the Supreme Soul, [thus] received the revelation of the Unmanifested One, the God of Gods. He then returned to his home.'
Chapter 21: Instructions by Prithu Mahārāja
(1) Maitreya said [about King Prithu returning to his capital]: 'The city at the golden gates and everywhere around was decorated with pearls, flower garlands and cloth and there was also highly fragrant incense. (2) The streets, the parks and the lanes, that were sprinkled with water scented with sandalwood and aguru [a fragrant herb], were decorated with unbroken rice, flowers, fruits in their peel, precious stones, parched grains and lamps. (3) With everything being cleansed and festooned with leaves of various trees like fresh mango leaves and the flowers and fruits hanging down from pillars of banana trees and betel nut trees, it all looked very nice. (4) The citizens and many a beautiful radiating virgin decorated with tinkling earrings, came to welcome him equipped with lamps and countless articles of worship. (5) Even though the king when he entered the palace was honored with the sounds of kettledrums, conch shells and the Vedic chants of the priests, he took no pride in it. (6) With the great glory of thus being revered and pleased everywhere by the nobles and the commoners, he in his turn wished them all the best. (7) He had been so from the beginning: magnanimous in all his actions and doing great works regularly. He had become the greatest of the great and thus ruling with the achievement of a repute that had spread all over the world, he [finally] was elevated to the Supreme lotus feet.' "
(8) Sūta said: "Oh greatest of the devotees, oh leader of the sages [S'aunaka], after Maitreya thus befittingly had expounded on the high reputation of that ideal king so qualified because of his countless qualities, Vidura proved his great respect and addressed him. (9) Vidura said: 'When he [Prithu] was enthroned by the great souls of learning, he realized the full respect of the enlightened community and was by that grace of Vishnu able to expand to the strength of a rule of law by which he managed to break open [and exploit] the earth. (10) Who would not enjoy to hear about his glories, about his intelligence and his chivalry, to the example of which even to this day so many kings and their local rulers proceed in procuring what they desire for their livelihood? Please tell me [more] about those good deeds.'
(11) Maitreya proceeded: 'Living in the land between the two rivers the Ganges and the Yamunā, he who was destined to enjoy the fortune of his pious deeds, exhausted his merits. (12) Except for the brahmin culture and the souls in succession devoted to the Infallible One [the Vaishnavas], there was for everyone on the seven continents the irrevocable order of him as the one ruler holding the scepter. (13) And so he one day took a vow to initiate a great sacrifice to the occasion of which the authorities of God assembled: the brahmin sages, the wise kings and all the great devotees. (14) To that occasion he offered his obeisances to all the respectable souls who deserved it according to their respective positions, standing in their midst like the moon between the stars. (15-16) He was a tall man, well built with strong arms and a lotus-like fair complexion, eyes as bright as a sunrise, a straight nose and a beautiful face with a grave expression, high shoulders and teeth brilliant at the smile. He had a broad chest, a firm waist with beautiful folds in his abdomen like the leaf of a banana tree, a coiled navel, thighs of a golden hue and an arched instep. (17) With fine, curly, slick black hair on his head and a neck like a conch he was dressed in a very valuable dhotī with over his upper body a wrapper worn like a sacred thread. (18) With all the beauty of his physical appearance he was the one appointed to give up his garments according to the regulations. Nicely covered by a black deerskin and with a ring of kus'a grass around his finger, he then performed as was required. (19) With starry eyes as moist as the dew, he glanced over all the souls around him and then, for the purpose of pleasing the assembly, began to speak in terms of the following elevating discourse. (20) What he brought to mind for them was of a great importance and beauty and was flowery, crystal clear and free from doubt spoken to the benefit of all.
(21) The king addressing the ones present said: 'Listen carefully, oh great souls present here, how I as an inquisitive man feel obliged to present to you, dear nobles, my conclusions concerning the principles of dharma. (22) I, carrying the scepter as the king of all citizens, am engaged in this world as the protector and employer of each person the way he is born in the context of his own [Vedically] established, separate social order. (23) By executing of Him, the Seer of all destiny, that what the experts in Vedic knowledge speak about, I expect to fulfill all the objectives as desired everywhere by everyone. (24) Anyone who as a king exacts taxes from the citizens without reminding them of their respective [varnās'rama] duties of age and vocation, will according to the impiety of his citizens, also have to relinquish the enjoyment of his own fortune. (25) Therefore, my dear citizens, it suffers no doubt that whatever you, without grumbling, out of your own real interest [according to the varnās'rama system] do with Him beyond the senses in mind, constitutes a great service unto me. When you serve His interest, you are of service to me, your protector. (26) All of you present here as people faithful to the forefathers, the gods, the sages and the sinless, please take this at heart: in the hereafter the results of one's actions are equally shared by the performer of the deeds, by their director and by their supporter. (27) Oh respectable souls, there must be someone like Him who sometimes [in the scriptures] is called the Lord of Sacrifice. Why else would one in this material world and in the hereafter see embodiments of [great] power and beauty? (28-29) Manu, Uttānapāda [Dhruva's father], Dhruva and no doubt the great king Priyavrata and my grandfather Anga, these great and saintly personalities as also others of the Unborn Soul like Prahlāda and Bali Mahārāja, are proof of the existence of Him Holding the Club. (30) Except for descendants like my father who, abominably acting like death personified, had lost his way on the path of religion, one as good as always ascribes the elevation to higher worlds and class to the [in dharmic action] being liberated from the material motive for the sake of the One Supreme Soul. (31) Persons of penance destroy, because of their inclination to serve the lotus feet, immediately the dirt that accumulated in their minds in countless births. Just like the [Ganges] water that emanating from His toes vanquishes all dirt, they, day after day, see their purity increasing. (32) By particularly time and again gathering strength in seeking, in a systematic scientific way, refuge at His lotus feet, the person disgusted with the endless ruminations will purify himself and not again surrender to a materially motivated life full of hindrances. (33) All you citizens, in order to be satisfied, be sure of being devoted at His lotus feet according to your personal sense of duty. Be in your thoughts, your words and in a physical sense, of the particular qualities of your own type of work and answer with an open mind, in the full of your conviction, to all that is wanted, as far as your talents allow. (34) He who is present in this world with His various qualities and transcendence is worshiped with different kinds of sacrifices. In these sacrifices, performed with physical means and the practicing of mantras, His forms and names, as a condensation of His nature, then serve the purpose of the science of being free from contaminations. (35) Just like fire manifests differently depending the shape and quality of the firewood, the Almighty One also manifests this body [of forms and names] by activities and in a consciousness that are the result of a certain combination of the non-manifest primary nature [see also 3.26: 10], the time, the mental disposition and the dutifulness. (36) Oh all of you, by incessantly with firm determination on this earth by means of your occupational duties worshipping the Supreme Lord, the enjoyer of the sacrifice and the spiritual teacher, you share your grace with me. (37) Those who are of great opulence [the rulers] should never exercise power over the blessed souls devoted to the Unconquerable One [Vishnu], nor over those who practice tolerance, are of penance and are [spiritually] educated, for they personally constitute the ruling class of the twice-born souls [the brahmins] in society. (38) The Original Personality, the oldest and eternal Lord and godhead of the brahminical culture, acquired the opulence of His eternal fame of being the great elevated leader who purifies the entire universe, by exercising respect for their lotus feet. (39) By serving them one satisfies the unlimited, independent Lord dwelling in every one's heart. Therefore are those who humbly follow in His footsteps, in every respect constantly of service to the brahmin class. (40) A person automatically without delay achieves the greatest peace and the satisfaction of his soul when he regularly relates to them by means of delivering service, for who would be a better mouth and hand for the ghee that is offered? (41) Ananta, the Lord of the Snake bed, is never as pleased to eat from sacrifices in the fire, which [on itself] is bereft of consciousness, as He is by those sacrifices that, with faith and the worship of names in the midst of devotees, are offered in the mouths of the knowers of the Absolute. (42) Everything that with faith, austerity, auspicious actions, silence, an absorbed mind and sense control is propagated by the constant, pure and original brahminical culture, is there for the sake of showing the true meaning and purpose of the Vedic vision, in which this world is reflected as clear as in a mirror. (43) Oh people of culture, I will carry the dust of the lotus feet of all of them on my helmet until the end of my life. Everyone who always engages this way will soon vanquish his sins and be blessed with all qualities. (44) He whose wealth consists of good conduct and gratitude, he who seeks refuge with the learned and acquired all the good qualities, will achieve all the fortune of God. May the Maintainer of the three worlds as also His devotees be pleased with the brahmin class, with the cows and with me.'
(45) Maitreya said: 'The king speaking thus was congratulated by all the virtuous souls present: the elderly, the godly and the twice-born who satisfied and happy minded exclaimed 'sādhu, sādhu!' ['well done, well spoken!' They said:] (46) 'The Vedic teaching, which says that someone becomes victorious in all the worlds through his son, has become true now that he [Prithu] in a grand manner has delivered his most sinful father Vena from the darkness [in which he landed] after being cursed by the brahmins. (47) Also Hiranyakas'ipu who, because of repeatedly blaspheming the Supreme Lord, entered the darkest regions, was delivered by the actions of his son Prahlāda. (48) Best of all warriors, dear father of the earth whose devotion unto the Infallible One, the one Maintainer of all the worlds, is so exemplary, may you life forever. (49) Today, oh Supreme One of Purity, we are because of you under the rule of the Lord of Liberation Mukunda, of Him, Vishnu who, appearing in the stories of the scriptures, is glorified as the worshipable Lord of the brahmins. (50) It is nothing special, oh lord, to rule over citizens for one's income. What is of greatness, is the nature of your affection and mercy for all living beings. (51) We, who as a consequence of our deeds in the past lost their goal in life and determined by fate are wandering around, today because of you have learned to know the other side of the darkness of material existence. (52) Our obeisances to you whom we honor as a personality moved by the quality of goodness, as someone who by dint of his personal prowess inspires the brahminical culture and maintains [the honor of] the ruling class.'
Chapter 22: Prithu Mahārāja's Meeting with the Four Kumāras(1) Maitreya said: 'While the citizens were thus praying to the high and mighty King Prithu, four sages arrived there as bright as the sun. (2) The king and his associates could recognize the masters of yogic perfection, who descended from the ethereal realm, by the glaring effulgence of their all-embracing sinlessness[: they were the four Kumāras]. (3) Seeing the so very desired life of peaceful conduct before them, King Prithu with his followers jumped to their feet as if they were souls whose senses are ruled by the modes of nature. (4) After they had accepted that [reverence] and had taken their seats, he, humbly opposite the high civilization of their full glory, bowed before them and was of worship the way it is prescribed, with everything belonging to it. (5) The water of washing their feet he sprinkled on the tuft of his hair and thus he behaved like men of respect are supposed to behave. (6) Seated on the golden throne the brothers who were older than S'iva [see 3.12: 4-7] looked like the fire on an altar. Pleased with them, the king respectfully and with restraint addressed them. (7) Prithu said: 'To what do we owe the grace of your audience, of you who are fortune personified? It is an encounter difficult to achieve for even the greatest yogis. (8) He with whom the scholars [the brahmins and the Vaishnavas] are pleased, can achieve whatever that is difficult to achieve in this world or in the hereafter, including the [favor of the] all-auspicious Lord S'iva and Lord Vishnu who accompany them. (9) Even though you travel around in all the worlds, the people cannot see you, just as the ones causal to the creation [S'iva and Brahmā, compare 1.1: 1] cannot see the All-knowing witness present within everyone. (10) Despite not being that rich, those householders [may enjoy] the glory of most respectable saints [like you], who, with their home, can offer water, a place to sit, servants, land and the master of the house himself. (11) But, those houses that, abundant with all wealth, are not [blessed] with the water that washed from the feet of the great saints, are no doubt like a tree with venomous serpents. (12) I welcome you, oh best of the twice-born souls, you who move around like children and, controlled by vows, with great faith are motivated for liberation. (13) Oh masters, can persons who, having fallen into this material existence, are stricken with the illness of living to the command of their senses, all by themselves find any of our [kind of] good fortune? (14) There is no need to ask you about your well-being, for you, supreme souls, have no mind concerned with matters of good or bad fortune. (15) I am therefore certain that you for us, who suffer the pains of a material existence, are the friend to ask how one in this world soon may find salvation. (16) Manifesting as the supreme goal in life of the transcendentalists, the Supreme Lord, the Unborn One, in the form of perfected souls like you, moves about on this earth in order to show His devotees His mercy.'
(17) Maitreya said: 'Hearing that most substantial, appropriate, concise and sweet conclusion of Prithu, the Kumāra satisfied with a smile replied as follows. (18) Sanat-kumāra said: 'What a good question for you to ask, my dear King, oh you who desires the good of all living beings. Learned as you are, you nevertheless pose this question. [This speaks for you] as someone whose intelligence roots in the mind of the saints. (19) An association of devotees in which there is discussion, questioning and answering, is appreciated by both the parties [of speakers and listeners], and real happiness for all will expand from it. (20) Oh King, you are evidently attached to the organized appreciation for the qualities of the Lord's lotus feet. Difficult as it is, that, given a steady practice, will free the indwelling soul from the dirt of lusty feelings. (21) In the scriptures is defended that only the absence of attachment to other matters than the soul, in combination with an intense attachment to the True Self transcendental to the modes of nature, constitutes the perfect conviction for the salvation of man. (22) That [is realized] when one as a dutiful devotee with faith and devotion, by means of discussion and inquiry is spiritually united in one's determination and with respect for the Lord of Yoga regularly attends and listens to the stories of the God-fearing souls. (23) Reluctant to associate with the company of those who hanker after money, sense gratification and the acquiring of goods, one gets rid of the bad taste of the happiness of the self that has to live without drinking the nectar of the qualities of the Lord. (24) With nonviolence [as a vegetarian], following in the footsteps of the teachers of example, by remembering the Lord of Liberation, by testifying of His activities, by the nectar of following according to the yoga principles without a material motive [yama] and by practicing in line with the precepts [of niyama] one, thus being without offenses, will be living a simple life with tolerance for the worldly dualities.(25) With in one's ear constantly the discussions relating to the transcendental qualities of the Lord, it may be so that one, increasing in one's devotion and consciousness, is of an uncontaminated existence in the material world that is opposed to spiritual understanding, for when one has realized that kind of listening, it is easy to be attached to the Spirit of Transcendence. (26) When the person in respect of the teacher of example is fixed in attachment to the Spiritual Supreme, the impotence of the heart [as characterized by the five kles'as or hindrances: ignorance, egoism, attachment, dislike and death-fear] that is situated within the covering of the individual soul that consists of the five elements, will be burned, by the force of detachment and spiritual knowledge, like fuel being burned by fire. (27) After one with that immolation of the inner weakness is freed from the [dominance of the] complete of the therewith associated material qualities, there is no longer a difference, as there was in the past, between the inner action with the Supersoul and the outer action of the self. For such a soul that difference has ended, just like a dream ends when one wakes up. (28) The person sees, of himself, both the objects of his senses and his transcendence [as the witness]. In that position he knows desires and designations, but without those two [not being innerly divided] that is not the case. (29) The only reason for seeing differences between oneself and something [or someone] else, is that there are different causes [for each position] everywhere, just like it is when one has a reflection in water that is different from one's reflection in another medium [like a mirror]. (30) Because the ruminating mind is agitated by the senses that are drawn towards the sense objects, [the pure] consciousness [of one's intelligence] is easily lost, just like a lake easily can be overgrown by plants. (31) Scholars of the soul state that, in the destructive choking [overgrowing] of one's memory, the constant mindfulness of one's consciousness is destroyed and that the soul, bereft of real knowledge, thus degrades [see B.G. 2: 62-63]. (32) In this world there is nothing as bad as the obstruction of the interest of the Universal Soul, a process wherein other matters seem to be much more interesting than the realization of one's own true self one thus hinders. (33) When one constantly thinks for the sake of riches and sensual pleasures, all the [four] virtues of human society are destroyed [the purushārthas]. For that reason bereft of knowledge and devotional service, one then lapses into the inertia [the ignorance] of matter. (34) They who want to cross over that ocean [of ignorance] quickly, should never cling to the slowness of matter, for that is the great stumbling block for the virtues of religiousness, economic development, regulation of pleasures and salvation [dharma, artha, kāma, moksha]. (35) In this respect liberation is likely to be the most important virtue, because being engaged in the interest of the other three paths, one regularly finds oneself caught in the finality of things and in fear. (36) Following these [three] notions of a higher or lower form of life, one will never find any security, since they, depending on the interaction of the material modes, are all destroyed by the ordinance of the Lord [in the form of Time]. (37) Oh best of kings, be therefore, just as I am, convinced of Him, the Supreme Lord who from within the heart everywhere manifests by dominating as the Master of the Field. Therein radiating into every hair follicle, He is there for the consideration of self-realization, for all the moving and not moving living beings covered by a body endowed with senses and a life-breath. (38) Surrender to Him, the root cause manifesting as the truth within the untruth. By this deliberate consideration one is freed from the illusions of an intelligence that wonders whether one deals with a rope or a snake. One is then situated in the eternal liberation of the uncontaminated, pure truth, the truth of the original nature transcendental to all the impurities of one's karmic [fruitive] activities. (39) Be unto Him, Vāsudeva, of devotion. Just like the devotees who find Him, the One whose lotus toes bring joy, worthy to take shelter of. By devotional service the hard knot of karmic desire is uprooted, but that is never so with people missing that respect, however hard they try to stop the waves of sense enjoyment. (40) Great is the hardship of the non-devotees with the sharks of the six senses in this material ocean. Being unhappy it is very difficult to cross that ocean full of misfortune, that danger of an existence in separation, and therefore you should make the worshipable lotus feet of the Supreme Lord your boat.'
(41) Maitreya said: 'Thus in full being informed about the ins and outs of spiritual advancement by the son of Brahmā - the Kumāra who was so well versed in spiritual knowledge - the king praised him and then spoke. (42) The king said: 'You all, oh brahmins, oh powerful souls, have arrived here in order to confirm what was promised by Him [in 4.20: 15], the Lord who from His causeless mercy is so compassionate with the distressed. (43) With you, as fully gracious as the Lord in person, doing what may be expected from His representatives, is all that I have to offer, the remnants of the offerings to the saints! What should I give from my side? (44) My life, wife and children, oh brahmins, my home with everything belonging to it, my kingdom, power, land and treasury, I therefore offer all to you. (45) The post of the commander in chief and ruler over the kingdom, the scepter of authority and the complete dominion over the planet are no doubt only reserved for those who know the Vedic scriptures. (46) A brahmin enjoys his own [type of] food, wears his own [type of] clothes and gives what he has [ - his knowledge - ] in charity. It is by his mercy that the kshatriyas [the rulers] and the other departments of society eat their food. (47) You, from your kind of spiritual understanding of making progress with the Fortunate One, have conveyed to us the knowledge of the Vedic knowers of full comprehension. May you ever be pleased with what you do out of mercy! What else can be done in return for that but offer you water with cupped hands?'
(48) Maitreya said: 'After the masters of self-realization had been worshiped by the original king, they praised his character and then, for all people to see, disappeared in the sky. (49) The son of Vena, the first among the great personalities, who according to the teachings being fixed, had arrived at self-realization, considered himself as someone who had achieved what he desired. (50) In his actions for the sake of the Absolute Truth he performed as good as possible and as far as his means would allow, according to the time, the circumstances and his capacity. (51) Fully dedicated to the Supreme Spirit he, free from attachments being of renunciation, always thought of the superintendent of all actions, the Supersoul transcendental to material nature. (52) Even though he lived at home, he never felt attracted to all the opulence of his mighty kingdom, nor did he indulge in sensual pleasures, just like the sun [never responds to what it illuminates]. (53) Always engaging spiritually because of his yoga, he thus begot five sons in his wife Arci who fully met his expectations. (54) Their names were Vijitās'va, Dhūmrakes'a, Haryaksha, Dravina and Vrika. With them Prithu succeeded in incorporating all the qualities of all local authorities. (55) In his personal surrender to the Infallible One he, for the protection of the created universe, pleased the citizens during his time with the qualities of his kind-hearted words and actions. (56) The king thus was known as the King of the Moon, while he, on the other hand, was like the Sun god in his distributing, exacting and ruling over the wealth of the world. (57) In his exercise of power he was as unconquerable as fire, he was as insuperable as the King of Heaven, as tolerant as the earth itself and alike heaven in fulfilling all desires of human society. (58) He was used to be pleasing as bountiful as the rain that pours as much as one likes, he was as unfathomable as the sea and he occupied his position like the King of the Hills [mount Meru]. (59) He was like the King of Righteousness [Yamarāja] in his education, he was alike the Himalayas in his opulence [because of the minerals and jewels], he was like Kuvera in keeping the wealth and alike Varuna [the ruler of the waters] in his secrecy. (60) He was as all-pervading as the air [the wind] concerning his physical strength, courage and power, and he was as inexorable as the most powerful demigod Rudra [the Lord of the Ghosts, S'iva]. (61) He was as beautiful as Cupid, he was as attentive as the lion, the king of the animals, in his affection he was alike Svāyambhuva Manu and in matters of controlling the people he resembled the Unborn Lord, Brahmā. (62) He understood spiritual matters alike Brihaspati, in his personal self-control he was alike the Supreme Personality, in his devotion to the cows, the spiritual master and the brahmins he was as the Vaishnavas, the followers of Vishnu, in his shyness he was the most gentle one and in matters of philanthropy he was [as good] as he was for himself. (63) All over the three worlds the general public loudly declared - and surely all the lovers of truth and the women from everywhere came to hear about it - that his name and fame was as great as the glory of Rāmacandra [the Vishnu-avatāra].'
Chapter 23: Prithu Mahārāja Returns Back Home(1-3) Maitreya said: 'King Prithu, who fully conversant with everything concerning the soul, as the protector of the people endlessly had promoted all that he had created, saw one day that he physically was getting old. Fully in accord with the instructions of the Supreme Ruler he in this world, following the dharma of devotees, had provided for the maintenance of all the moving and nonmoving living beings. He left the earth to his sons and with pity towards his aggrieved citizens he, alone with his wife, went into the forest for his austerity. (4) As perfect as he formerly had been in his understanding while conquering the earth, he in that [retreat] perfectly understood that he, according to the rules and regulations of a retired life, had to engage seriously in the practice of severe austerities. (5) At first he so now and then ate bulbs, roots, fruits and dry leaves, then he drank only water for several fortnights and finally he only breathed the air. (6) Like the great sages the hero tolerated during the summer the five fires [of the sun above and four fires in the four directions], in autumn the torrents of rain, in winter to be up to his neck submerged in water while he [all year long] slept on the bare earth. (7) Simply longing for Krishna he tolerated it to be without words, sensuality, the discharge of semen and freedom of his life breath, and was thus of all possible practices of the best austerity. (8) Unrelenting keeping to the Perfection [of Krishna] he thus gradually got rid of all the dirt and desires of his workload, his karma, while he by means of breath control fully stopping his mind and senses broke with all that bound him. (9) [And so he,] the best of all human beings, worshiped the Supreme Personality of Godhead with the very yoga the fortunate Sanat-kumāra spoke about concerning the ultimate goal of relating to the soul. (10) With him as a devotee endeavoring with faith on the path of devotional service unto the Fortunate One, the Lord, who is [the origin of] the Spirit of the Absolute, became his exclusive object of worship. (11) He, who was perfectly alert in the constant remembrance of a purely transcendental mind, found by these devotional activities unto the Supreme Lord the perfection of wisdom. Thus not attached to whatever one could call one's own, he became free from doubt and the material conception of life that covers the soul. (12) Free from desire and firmly convinced of the ultimate goal of the soul, he had given up on all other notions of life and transcendental knowledge, [for he realized that] as long as a practitioner of the yoga system in his renunciation is not attracted to the stories about the elder brother of Gada, Krishna [Gada was another son of Vasudeva younger than Krishna] he would not be free from illusion. (13) He, the best of the heroes, fixing his mind on the Supersoul, in due course of time thus thoroughly being spiritually purified, gave up his vehicle of time. (14) By blocking his anus with his ankle he pushed up his life air gradually from the navel to the heart and from there upwards to the throat to fix himself between the eyebrows. (15) This way gradually establishing his life breath in his head he, being freed from all material desires, merged his life breath with the complete of [the cosmic] breath, his body with the complete of the earth and his innerly fire with the fire of the complete [of the universe]. (16) After merging the different apertures of his body [of his senses] with the sky and his fluids with the waters, he merged the earth with water, water with fire, fire with air and air with sky and thus united everything divided with its proper source [compare 2.5: 25-29]. (17) He united the mind with the senses and the sense organs with their objects and then merged the sense objects with the five elements they had originated from. Next he returned the material ego to the mahat-tattva, the totality of the material energy. (18) On his path towards Him, the reservoir of all qualities, he placed his individuality and the lives belonging to it in the Reservoir of All Potencies. He, the living entity and enjoyer, as the master of the senses thus returned home, back to his constitutional position, by dint of his insight in the spiritual knowledge of self-realization and renunciation.
(19) The queen named Arci, his wife, followed him on foot into the forest, even though she, with her delicate body, had not deserved it to contact the earth with her feet that way. (20) Even though her body would turn lean she, most determined as she was in her vow to serve her husband, saw no difficulty in living in conditions like those of the great saints and was glad to join him, happy to be in touch. (21) Seeing that the body of her husband, who was of such a mercy for the world and for her, showed no signs of life, the virtuous woman, after weeping a while, cremated him on top of a hill. (22) Having performed the funeral rites for her so very liberal husband, she took a bath in the river and offered oblations of water in worship of the thirty million demigods in heaven. Three times circumambulating the fire she then, thinking of her husband's feet, entered the fire herself.
(23) The gracious gods and their wives who observed her following her husband into death, offered by the thousands prayers for the chaste wife of the great warrior King Prithu. (24) On top of Mandara Hill they, showering flowers and to that occasion vibrating their musical instruments, spoke among themselves as follows. (25) The wives said: 'Oh how glorious this wife is who, just as the Goddess unto the Lord of Sacrifice [Vishnu], with heart and soul was of worship for her husband, the king of all the kings of the world. (26) Just see how she follows her chaste husband, the son of Vena, in his ascension and how she, who is named Arci, thus surpasses us by her difficult to conceive actions. (27) Among all those who but for a short moment live here in this human world, there is, for the ones who on the path of liberation do their best for the Kingdom of God, nothing too difficult to achieve. (28) He who, having achieved the human form of life, on the path of liberation gets involved in the great difficulties of all that one does for one's sense gratification in this world, is, in going against his own true self, no doubt cheated [by illusions].'
(29) Maitreya said: 'While the woman [Arci] thus by the wives of the denizens of heaven was glorified, she reached the place for which her husband had left. The position that the son of Vena under the protection of the Infallible One had attained was the topmost one of the self-realized. (30) I have thus described to you the character of Prithu, the first among the lords who was so high and mighty, as being the very best because of the greatness of his deeds. (31) Anyone who with faith and great attention reads and explains or hears about that very great and pious person of King Prithu, will attain the same position as reached by him. (32) The brahmin who reads it will attain spiritual splendor, a noble will become the king of the world, the trader will become the master of his trade and the laborer will attain the best unto Him. (33) When someone with great respect three times over listens to this that person, whether he is a man or a woman, when he is childless will have the best of children and when he is penniless will become the richest. (34) Without recognition he will become famous and illiterate he will become learned. This story so auspicious will drive away all bad luck of man. (35) They who desire wealth, a good repute, an increased life span, a better world [heaven], the defeat of the influence of the Age of Quarrel and those who are after the higher cause of the perfection of the four [civil virtues] of religiosity, economy, sensual pleasure and liberation, have to listen with great respect to this narration. (36) Listening to this the king, who on his chariot campaigns for his victory, will receive taxes from other kings like King Prithu did. (37) In performing unalloyed devotional service unto the Supreme Lord, one should, free from all other association, hear about, make others listen to and continue to read about the good deeds of the son of Vena. (38) Oh son of Vicitravīrya [Vidura], I explained to you how one should achieve one's destination and awaken to the greatness of His Cosmic Intelligence, by thus being involved in relation to this extraordinary text. (39) He who, liberated in the association concerning the Supreme Lord, with great reverence repeatedly listens to this narration about Prithu and also spreads it, will in full realize the attachment to His feet that constitute the boat for [crossing] the ocean of nescience.'
Chapter 24: The Song Sung by Lord S'iva
(1) Maitreya said: 'The son of Prithu, who because of his great actions became known as Vijitās'va [see 4.19: 18], became emperor and gave his younger brothers, he cared a lot about, the rule over the different directions of the world. (2) The master offered Haryaksha the eastern part, the south he offered to Dhūmrakes'a, the western side was for the brother with the name Vrika and the northern direction he gave to Dravina. (3) He who from [what he did in relation to] Indra [also] was honored with the name Antardhāna ['invisibly present'], begot in his wife S'ikhandinī three children who carried the approval of everyone. (4) They were named Pāvaka, Pavamāna and S'uci. They in the past had been the gods of fire but now, because of a curse of sage Vasishthha, had taken birth again in order to regain that status by the progress of yoga. (5) Antardhāna who did not kill Indra despite the fact that he knew that he had stolen the horse [of his father], begot in his wife named Nabhasvatī a son called Havirdhāna ['the offering won']. (6) The taxes, punishments and fines and such, that make up the livelihood of kings, he considered something very severe and therefore he abolished them in favor of sacrifices that in the past had been given up. (7) Despite being committed to the duty of ending the distress [of others], he as a realized soul always keeping to his ecstasy, by the worship of the Original Person easily attained His abode, the Supreme of the Soul. (8) Havirdhānī the wife of Havirdhāna, oh Vidura, gave birth to six sons named Barhishat, Gaya, S'ukla, Krishna, Satya and Jitavrata. (9) He who by Havirdhāna was named Barhishat was so fortunate in his ritualistic actions and yoga realization, that he was considered the Prajāpati [the founding father], oh best of the Kurus. (10) With this practice continually pleasing the gods with sacrifices, he all over the world kept the kus'a grass [of the ceremonial sitting places] facing the east. (11) On the advise of the god of gods [Brahmā] he married the daughter of the ocean named S'atadruti. The moment the fire god Agni saw her, youthful and charming in all her limbs, circumambulating [his fire] during the marriage ceremony, he felt himself as attracted as he [formerly] was to S'ukī. (12) The scholars, the ones of desire, the souls of heaven, the sages and the perfected souls, the ones of the earth and those of the snakes, were all captivated by the tinkling alone of the new bride's ankle bells that could be heard everywhere. (13) From [Prācīna]Barhi [or Barhishat] ten sons appeared in the womb of S'atadruti who, all deeply vowed to the dharma, together were called the Pracetās [from prācīna: being turned eastward]. (14) By their father ordered to beget children, they fled from home and settled, for their austerity, for a ten thousand years near a large lake in order to worship the Master of All Penance [S'rī Hari] with their tapas. (15) Following that path they encountered Lord S'iva who, very pleased with the great command of their meditation, mantra practice and worship, spoke to them.'
(16) Vidura asked: 'Oh brahmin, please clarify what happened when the Pracetās met Lord S'iva on their path, as also what the Lordship who was so pleased with them has said. (17) Oh best among the scholars, in this world being caught in a physical body it rarely happens that one finds association with Lord S'iva. Even sages who, with him as their object of desire, fully detached are engaged in meditation [fail in this]. (18) Although he is satisfied within himself, the great Lord S'iva, when he manifests in this world for the fulfillment of her wishes, engages with the terror of the forces controlling her [like those of Kālī, Durgā or Vīrabhadra, see 4.5].'
(19) Maitreya said: 'The sons of father Prācīnabarhi all [in full surrender] accepting the words of their father piously on their heads had, serious in their hearts about doing penances, left in the western direction. (20) They reached a very large expanse of water as vast as the nearby ocean with water that, as clear as the mind of a great soul, constituted a pleasure to its inhabitants. (21) In that water a multitude of red and blue, kahlāra and indīvara [during the day and the evening blossoming] lotuses was found and swans, cranes, ducks [cakravākas] and other birds [like kārandavas] vibrated their sounds there. (22) Mad bumblebees joyfully hummed there loudly with their little hairy bodies. It was a festival of creepers, trees and lotuses the pollen of which by the wind was spread in all directions. (23) All the princes were amazed about the beautiful heavenly music accompanied by drums and kettle drums that could be heard there continually.
(24-25) That very moment they witnessed how the chief of the demigods [Lord S'iva], came out of the water accompanied by an association of great souls who glorified him. Seeing his golden hue, his bodily features, his blue throat, three eyes and merciful beautiful face, they all aroused, filled with admiration, offered their obeisances. (26) He who dispels all dangers, the Great Lord and caretaker of the religion, then talked to them, pleased as he was with their observance of the principles in the past, their gentle behavior and their good manners. (27) Rudra said: 'Oh all of you sons of King Prācīnabarhi, knowing your actions and desires, I wish you all the best and in order to prove you my mercy, I therefore grant you my audience. (28) Any living being, any individual soul so one says, who surrenders directly to Vāsudeva, the Supreme Lord and transcendental controller of the three modes, is very dear to me. (29) When someone for the time of a hundred lives is fixed on his duty, he acquires the position of Brahmā [Brahmaloka] and when he also does not fail to [serve] the Supreme Lord, he thereafter will attain me [S'ivaloka]. Devotees of Lord Vishnu at the end of time attain a position [Vaikunthhaloka] like the one of me and the other demigods. (30) You devotees are for that reason as dear to me as the Supreme Lord Himself, just as apart from Him there is no one else as dear to the devotees as I am. (31) In particular this what I am going to tell you now, is what you always should attend to and repeat for yourselves, for it is very pure, auspicious, transcendental and beneficial.'
(32) Maitreya said: 'With a heart full of compassion Lord S'iva, the greatest devotee of Nārāyana, spoke the following words to the princes who with folded hands stood before him. (33) S'rī Rudra said [in worship of Vāsudeva]: 'All glories unto You, the best of all self-realized souls who brings happiness for the welfare of all. Let there be my obeisances unto You, for You are the all-perfect and worshipable soul of all, the Supersoul. (34) All my respects unto You Vāsudeva, from whose navel the lotus sprouted. You are the source of the senses and the sense objects and the immutable self-illumined state that is of an eternal peace. (35) I offer my obeisances also to [You in the form of] Sankarshana [the Lord of ego and integration] who as the origin of the subtle non-manifest matter is the unsurpassable master of disintegration [at the end of time], and to the master of all development, the soul in the beyond Pradyumna [the master of intelligence]. (36) All glories to You, I offer my respects again unto You as Aniruddha [Lord of the mind, of whom the sun god is an expansion, see also 3.1: 34], the master and director of the senses. My obeisances unto the Supreme One of perfect purity and completeness who stands apart from this material creation*. (37) Unto You as the heavenly abode, the path of liberation, the gateway of the eternal and the purest of the pure, my obeisances. All my respects I offer unto You, the golden semen, who are the continuity of the Vedic sacrifices [cātur-hotra]. (38) Be praised, oh You who invigorate the ancestors and the gods, oh master of the three Vedas and the sacrifices. You are the leading deity of the moon who pleases everyone. All my respects unto You, the Supersoul pervading all living beings. (39) The strength and power of all that exists, the body and Transcendental Self of the diversity of the material world [the virāth rūpa] and the maintainer of the three worlds, I offer my obeisances. (40) All glories to You who, as the ether, reveal the meaning, You, the within and without of the self, the supreme effulgence. My obeisances unto You as the beyond of death and the purpose of all pious activities. (41) Unto the inclining as also disinclining god of the forefathers, unto You as the final outcome of all fruitive action and as death itself, You, the cause of all sorts of misery resulting from irreligion, I offer my respects. (42) Because You are the topmost bestower of benedictions, the mastermind [of all mantras], the causal self, I offer You my respects. All glory to You as the greatest of all religiosity, unto You, Krishna, who are the perfection of intelligence. You are the oldest of the old, the Original Personality and master of yogic analysis [sānkya-yoga]. (43) The reservoir of the three energies [of the doer, the sense-activities and the resultant workload see B.G. 18a: 18], the reason of the material identification of the soul [the egotism] named Rudra and the embodiment of knowledge, intention and the voice of all powers, I offer my obeisances. (44) Please show us who desire Your presence, the form that to the satisfaction of all the senses of the devotees is worshiped by them as the dear most. (45-46) As glistening as the rain from the dense clouds during the rainy season, You are the summit of all beauty. Beautiful are the features of Your four-handed form, of the greatest is Your pleasant face, Your eyes are as beautiful as the petals in the whorl of a lotus flower, beautiful are Your eyebrows, straight nose, shining teeth, high forehead and the full decoration of Your face and equally beautiful perfect ears. (47-48) The beauty of Your merciful smile and sidelong glances, Your curly hair and clothing in the saffron color of the lotus, is supported by the glittering earrings and shiny helmet, the bangles, necklace, ankle bells, belt, conch shell, disc, club, and lotus flower, garland and the best of pearls, that make You look still more beautiful. (49) The shoulders under Your coils of hair that are like those of a lion and Your neck, fortunate of bearing the jewel glittering on Your chest [named Kaustubha], give You a never decreasing beauty that exceeds [the beauty of the streaks of gold on] every norm [or touchstone]. (50) Your inhaling and exhaling stirs beautifully the folds in Your belly that looks like a banana leaf, and the whirling depression of Your navel is alike the spiraling of the galaxy. (51) The dark color of the skin below Your waist is extra attractive with the beauty of Your dress and golden belt as also with, lower situated, the great symmetrical beauty of Your lotus feet, calves and thighs. (52) By the so very pleasing lotus feet, that are like the petals of a lotus flower in autumn, by the effulgence of Your nails, You drive away all the trouble agitating us. Show us the path of Your lotus feet [also understood as the first two cantos of this Bhāgavatam] that reduce the fear of material existence, oh teacher, oh spiritual master of all who suffer the darkness. (53) They who, performing their [occupational] duties, wish to purify themselves and live without fear, must meditate on this form [of Yours] in a devotional practice of yoga [bhakti-yoga]. (54) Your grace is easily obtained by the devotees, but for all other embodied souls You are difficult to reach, even for those belonging to the king of heaven Indra or for the self-realized souls whose ultimate goal it is to attain oneness [with You]. (55) What else would one desire but Your lotus feet, once one by pure devotional service has been of the worship that even for the most virtuous is difficult to attain! (56) The invincible time, by which You in Your prowess and majesty with simply raising Your eyebrows vanquish the entire universe, constitutes no threat to a soul of complete surrender. (57) Even but for a moment enjoying the association of a company of devotees cannot compare with heaven or with merging, not to mention worldly blessings. (58) Let there for us who, in order to wash away the ruminations of sin, dip in and step out of the Ganges, be the mercy and virtue of this association. For this association with the glorification of Your feet defeats all misfortune and blesses the normal living beings with the fullest goodness. (59) He whose heart was purified by the blessing derived from entering that [association of] bhakti-yoga, will be very happy to find therein the wisdom of Your way and will never end up bewildered in the dark pit of worldly influences. (60) You are the Absolute Spirit [brahma], the transcendental light spread [everywhere] like the ether, in whom this universe of the cosmic manifestation has appeared. (61) You are the one who by His energy has created, maintains and again annihilates this variegated manifestation. That eternal, unchanging intelligence of an increasing complexity is, so I understand, likely to give trouble to the individual soul in relation to You as the essential [independent] self, oh Supreme Lord. (62) Experts in the field of the Vedas and their corollaries are those transcendentalists who, for their perfection, with faith and conviction duly, by a wide range of organized actions, glorify You who are identified by that what is created, by the senses and by the heart. (63) You are the One Original Person from whose dormant energy the diversity of the totality of the material energy has originated that is ruled by [the natural modes of] passion, goodness and ignorance. It is a diversity we know as the ego, the sky, the air, the fire, the water and the earth, the virtuous souls, the sages and all the living beings. (64) That what You created from Your own potency, You afterwards enter in the form of the four kinds of bodies [as born from embryos, eggs, perspiration and seeds, see also 2.10: 40]. By these bodies, Your own parts and parcels, You know the person as an enjoyer of the senses, like a bee that relishes the sweet honey. (65) One may guess about [the authority and order of] Your reality [of Time]. [All] we see is how You, just like the wind scattering the clouds, with Your so very great force [of Time] in the long run destroy all the planetary systems and how all living beings equally find their end because of external causes. (66) The madmen [of this world] most greedily delighting in material enjoyment therefrom loudly exclaim what all should be done, but all of a sudden You, vigilantly as the Destroyer, seize them just like a mouse is seized by the restless tongue of a hungry snake. (67) Which educated person who knows that one, by not respecting You, only sees the [useless] decay of one's body, would reject Your lotus feet, the feet that by our spiritual teacher [Brahmā] and the fourteen Manus [after him, see Canto 2: 3: 9, 6: 30, 10: 4] were worshiped without hesitation or further arguing? (68) You therefore are for us, men of wisdom, the Supreme Brahman, the Soul of the soul, the Supersoul, the destination were there is no fear at all for the Destroyer Rudra who is feared by the entire universe.'
(69) 'If you pray like this and [faithfully] perform your duty, there will be happiness for all of you, oh purified sons of the king who have turned your minds to the Supreme Lord. (70) Be of worship and always sing for and meditate full of praise on Him, who as the Supreme Soul is situated in both your hearts and the hearts of all other living beings. (71) All of you, time and again read this [Yogādes'a] instruction of yoga and close it in your heart. Take to the vow of the sages of always with intelligence being [silently] absorbed within and practice this with the greatest respect. (72) This was first taught by the great Lord [Brahmā], the master of the creators of the universe, of the great sages headed by Bhrigu who, as his sons in charge of the world, were eager to create [compare 4.1: 12-15]. (73) We who as the controllers of the people were enjoined by him to procreate were by this [instruction] freed from all ignorance and thus could bring about the different kinds of people. (74) The person who thus regularly repeats this to himself with great attention, will being absorbed in this without delay achieve the auspiciousness of being devoted to Vāsudeva [Krishna as the Lord of Consciousness]. (75) Spiritual knowledge is, of all benedictions in this world, the supreme transcendental benefit of happiness for every person, because one with the boat of higher knowledge crosses over the insurmountable ocean of danger. (76) Anyone who devotedly attached and with faith regularly studies this song of mine, this prayer offered to Him, the Supreme Personality, will be able to please the Lord who is so difficult to praise. (77) The person who is fixed on the song as sung by me can, by dint of Him, the dear most of all benedictions, by the Lord of the Beyond who is pleased by it, attain whatever he desires. (78) The devotee who, rising early in the morning, with faith and devotion folding his hands, is absorbed in this prayer and thus personally listens and makes others listen to it, will be liberated from all karmic bondage. (79) Oh sons of the king ['the god of man'], by the intelligence of perfectly attentive praying and chanting this song I sang of the Supreme Person who is the Supersoul within every one, you will ultimately achieve the results you desired, for that practice equals the greatest austerities.'
*: Lord Krishna, by His quadruple expansion of Vāsudeva, Sankarshana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha, is the Lord of psychic action -- namely thinking, feeling, willing and acting.
Chapter 25: About the Character of King Purańjana
(1) Maitreya said: 'After thus having given instruction, the Destroyer, worshiped by the sons of Barhishat, vanished from there straight in front of the eyes of the princes. (2) While they at that water for an endless number of years executed austerities, all the Pracetās recited the prayer as sung by Lord S'iva. (3) Oh Vidura, meanwhile a compassionate Nārada, as a knower of the spiritual truth, instructed King Prācīnabarhi who had a mind full of attachment to fruitive activities: (4) 'Oh King, [he said] what spiritual welfare do you expect from fruitive activities? That way being engaged you will not see the misery disappear nor will the ultimate good of happiness be attained.'
(5) The king replied: 'I do not know, oh great transcendental soul, my intelligence is occupied by my desire for the fruits. Please enlighten me about the pure, spiritual knowledge that will relieve me of my workload. (6) Someone who considers the superficial duties of a family life with sons, a wife and wealth, the ultimate goal of life, does not achieve transcendence. Such a person foolishly wanders around on all paths of material existence.'
(7) Nārada said: 'Oh my dearest ruler of the citizens, oh King, may I remind you of all the thousands of animals that mercilessly were killed by you in the sacrifices? (8) Remembering the harm you did to them, they are all waiting for you, boiling with anger, to pierce you with horns of iron after your death. (9) As for this, I will relate to you the very old story about the character of [a king named] Purańjana ['he who is after the city that is the body']. Understand what I am going to tell you now. (10) Once there was a king of great renown named Purańjana, oh Ruler. He had a friend called Avijńāta ['the unknown one'] of whom nobody knew what he did. (11) Looking for a residence he traveled all over the planet to assert his influence, but when he could not find a place to his liking, he became depressed. (12) Wishing a residence that fulfilled his desires, he deemed none of the places that he saw good enough. (13) One day, at the southern side of the Himalayas, he spotted on its ridges a city with nine gates that offered him all facilities [compare B.G. 5: 13]. (14) Packed with houses and surrounded by walls, it had towers, gates, parks, canals, windows and domes made of gold, silver and iron. (15) The floors of the palaces were bedecked with sapphires, crystal, diamonds, pearls, emeralds and rubies, that gave the city a luster as radiating as the celestial town Bhogavatī. (16) There were assembly houses, squares and streets with gambling houses, shops and places to repose, that were decorated with flags, festoons and hanging gardens. (17) In the outskirts of that town one saw the nicest trees and creepers and there was a lake vibrating with the sounds of chirping birds and colonies of humming bees. (18) The treasure trove of trees on the bank of the lotus-filled lake received, from the waterfall of a mountain stream, a springtime mist of water droplets on its branches. (19) The different groups of forest animals were as tame as the wisest sages and all the cooing of its cuckoos made any passenger feel welcome. (20) There he happened to see a very beautiful woman coming towards him surrounded by ten servants who each led a hundred others. (21) Young as she was with a desirable, well-shaped figure, she, looking for a husband, was on all sides guarded by a five-hooded snake. (22) With an attractive nose and beautiful teeth the young woman had a nice forehead and beautiful, harmoniously to her face, arranged ears with dazzling earrings. (23) She wore a yellow garment and had a beautiful waist and dark complexion, a golden belt and at her feet ankle bells tinkling as she walked, like a denizen of heaven. (24) Pacing as graceful as an elephant she with the end of her sārī, timidly tried to cover the equally round and full youthful breasts. (25) Moved by her sexual attraction, the arrows of her looks, the exciting influence of her eyebrows and the great beauty of her coy smiles, the hero addressed her very gently.
(26) 'Who are you with those beautiful lotus petal eyes? Who do you belong to, where do you come from and what are you doing here near this city, oh chaste lady? Please be so kind to tell me what your plans are, oh timid girl. (27) Who are all these followers, your eleven guards and all these women? Oh you with your beautiful eyes, what kind of snake is that preparing your way? (28) In your shyness you are as the wife of S'iva [Umā] or rather Sarasvatī [of Brahmā] or even better... the Goddess of Fortune [Lakshmī belonging to Vishnu]! Where is the lotus flower that must have fallen from the palm of your hand in your search for your husband, oh you as alone as a sage in the forest walking on feet from which one may expect anything one might wish for? (29) And when you are none of these [goddesses], oh fortunate one - for your feet are touching the ground - then you, as someone who is so much alike the transcendental goddess of the Enjoyer of the Sacrifices, deserve it to walk, to the greater beauty of this city, alongside this great hero, I who am of the greatest glory in this world! (30) With your shy looks, sympathetic smiles and bewildering eyebrows, you have upset me. Because of you I am pained by the almighty Cupid. Therefore have mercy with me, my dearest beauty. (31) Oh woman with the lovely smile, your face with such nice eyebrows and warm eyes, surrounded by the locks of your bluish hair hanging loose, you have, in your shyness, not even lifted up to grant me the vision of your look and the sweet words of your speech.'
(32) Nārada said: 'Oh hero, the woman, attracted by the impatient begging of Purańjana, smiled and addressed the staunch soul: (33) 'I am not sure about who has put me on this planet, oh best among the men, nor from whose lineage the others were born or what their names are. (34) All I know is that we souls are all present here today. I do not know, oh hero, who created this city where all souls have their residence. (35) These different men and women at my side are my male and female friends, oh respectable man, and when I am asleep, the snake stays awake to protect this city. (36) Fortunately you came to this place, may you find all happiness! I and my friends, oh killer of the enemy, will provide for all the sense enjoyment you desire. (37) Just be as good to stay in this city with the nine gates, oh mighty soul, to enjoy for a hundred years the matters of life that I have arranged for you here. (38) Who else but you would I have to enjoy with? Being ignorant about the knowledge of passion [that you have], I do not know what I am heading for, like the animals, that do not see what lies ahead. (39) With religious rituals, economic development and regulated pleasures one can enjoy a life here beyond the ken of the transcendentalists, a life of having offspring, the nectar of sacrifices, a good repute and [access to higher] worlds without lamentation and disease. (40) All the forefathers, the gods, man in general, all living beings and each person for himself, will defend that a householder's life like this constitutes the [safe and] blessed refuge [for people] in the material world. (41) Who indeed, my great hero, would not accept such a lovable, magnanimous, beautiful and famous husband like you? (42) Which woman's mind in this world would not be drawn to your able body with its strong arms, oh mighty man, oh you who only travels around to dissipate, with your utmost effort and alluring smiles, the distress of a poor woman like me?'
(43) Nārada continued: 'Oh King, thus at that place having agreed upon the terms of their engagement, they as husband and wife entered the city to enjoy their life there for a hundred years. (44) When it was too hot he, surrounded by women, entered the river to sport with them there, and the singers there and elsewhere sang nice songs about it. (45) The city had seven gates above the ground and two below, that were constructed for the ruler in charge to reach different places. (46) Five of the gates faced the east, one was at the south, one at the north and two gates where found at the western side. I will describe their names to you, oh King. (47) At one place at the eastern side two gates were built named Khadyotā ['glowworm'] and Āvirmukhī ['torchlight']. The king used them to go to the city of Vibhrājita ['to see clearly'] with his friend Dyumān ['of the sun']. (48) At another location in the east there were built the gates called Nalinī and Nālinī ['mystical names for the nostrils'] and they were used when he, with his friend named Avadhūta ['the one who got rid'], went to a place called Saurabha ['aroma']. (49) The fifth gate on the eastern side called Mukhyā ['of the mouth'] was used by the king of the city, accompanied by Rasajńa ['the taster'] and Vipana ['the organ of speech'], to go to two places called Bahūdana ['many a gift'] and Āpana ['the market']. (50) Going through the southern city gate named Pitrihū ['invoking the ancestors'], oh King, Purańjana together with his friend S'rutadhara ['having a good memory'] visited the southern country side named Dakshina-pańcāla ['the southern territories']. (51) The city gate called Devahū ['directed at the divine'] in the north was used by Purańjana to visit together with S'rutadhara the northern countryside Uttara-pańcāla ['the northern fivefold']. (52) The gate on the western side called Āsurī ['the one void of light'] was used by Purańjana to go together with Durmada ['the one mad about'] to the city of pleasure called Grāmaka ['a small place']. (53) The western gate called Nirriti ['the bottom, dissolution'] was used by Purańjana to go to the place called Vais'asa ['distress, slaughter'] accompanied by his friend Lubdhaka ['the covetous one']. (54) The king, belonging to those endowed with sight, went through [the subterranean gates named] Nirvāk ['speechlessness'] and Pes'askrit ['the hand'] to engage in activities together with two blind citizens. (55) When he went to his private quarters, he did so accompanied by Vishūcīna ['going apart'] and then, in a state of illusion, to his satisfaction and happiness enjoyed the love of his wife and children. (56) Thus strongly attached to act in lust and foolishness for the sake of a certain result, he was cheated in being controlled by whatever his queen wanted him to do. (57-61) When she drank liquor, he drank and got drunk. When she ate he ate, chewing with her whatever she was chewing. When his wife sang he used to sing and when she at times had to cry, he cried too. When she had to laugh he also laughed, when she talked chitchat, he prattled after her. Wherever she went for a walk, he followed in her footsteps, when she stood still, he stood still and when she laid herself down on her bed, he had the habit to lie down following her example. He also had the habit of sitting down when she sat and at times listened to what she was listening to. When she saw something he looked for the same and when she smelled something, he usually smelled it too. When she touched, he touched and when she was complaining he followed her in being equally wretched. He enjoyed it when she was enjoying and when she was satisfied, he was the same after her. (62) Thus captivated by the queen in every way being tricked [by māyā] he, without a will of his own following her, was foolishly as weak as a pet animal.'
Chapter 26: King Purańjana Goes Hunting and Finds his Morose Wife(1-3) Nārada said: 'One day he [King Purańjana] went to the forest called Pańca-prastha ['the five destinations'] carrying his bow, golden armor and inexhaustible quiver. He traveled on the two wheels and one axle of a swift chariot with golden ornaments that, being drawn by five horses, had one sitting place, seven armor plates, three flags, five supports and two posts for his harnesses. He carried five weapons and two special arrows. Together with his eleven commanders and his one chariot driver who held one set of reins, he knew five objectives and five different ways of approach. (4) Having taken up his bow and arrows he, being inspired by the evil thought of hunting, was very proud of leaving his wife behind, for that was something almost impossible for him. (5) With a lack of enlightenment in his heart, he had taken to the horrible practice of mercilessly, with sharp arrows, killing the animals in the forests. (6) According to the Vedic instructions, a king may in his greed [for flesh], kill in the forest as many animals fit for sacrifices in holy places as are needed and not more than that. (7) Oh King, any man of learning who does his work according to the Vedic instructions, will, because of that spiritual knowledge, never be affected by such activities. (8) Otherwise [not regulated] he will get entangled by his karmic actions in a notion of false prestige and thus, having fallen under the influence of the natural modes, bereft of intelligence go downhill.
(9) Because of the destruction of the animal bodies that were pierced by the arrows, which had different kinds of feathers, there was great sadness, it was a distress unbearable for compassionate souls. (10) He got very tired from killing game like rabbits, buffaloes, bison, black deer, porcupines and various other kinds. (11) When he was done he arrived thirsty and exhausted back home to take a bath, have a proper meal and rest to find his peace back. (12) After he [some day] as should had perfumed and smeared his body with sandalwood pulp, he, nicely garlanded and beautifully ornamented, wanted to pay attention to his queen. (13) Satisfied, joyous and very proud also, he had his mind on Cupid and did not aim at a higher consciousness with his wife who maintained him with her royal household. (14) Dear King, a little worried he asked the maids of the household: 'Oh my beauties, is everything in order with you and your mistress? (15) All the matters at home at the moment appear to be not as attractive as before. To have no mother or wife at home devotedly welcoming her husband is like having a chariot without wheels. What man of learning would sit on such a poor thing? (16) So, where is she now, that intelligent woman who delivers me from drowning in an ocean of worries and inspires me at every step?'
(17) The women answered: 'Oh King, go and see how your beloved one lies on the bare floor, oh killer of the enemies. We have no idea why she has taken to this kind of behavior!'
(18) Nārada said: 'When he saw his queen lying lost on the ground, Purańjana, racking his brains over the scene, was most bewildered. (19) Pacifying her with sweet words and a heart full of regrets, he could not notice any anger as a sign of love from the side of his sweetheart. (20) Gradually first touching her feet and then embracing her on his lap, the hero, experienced in flattery, began to appease her. (21) Purańjana said: 'When a master by way of instruction does not rebuke a servant in offense depending on him, my fair lady, that servant is not done justice. (22) The reprimand of the master constitutes the greatest favor for the servants. One is a fool, oh slender maiden, not to realize that to be angry is the duty of a friend! (23) That face of yours that, with its beautiful teeth and eyebrows, fills me with attachment and now so gloomy is hanging down, you, together with your sweet voice, like a bee should lift up to me shining, smiling and glancing from under its bluish hair beautiful to your straight nose. Please, my loving darling, I am all yours. (24) Unless he belongs to the school of enlightened souls on this earth, I will scold him who wronged you, oh wife of this hero. When he is not a servant of Vishnu ['the enemy of Mura'], he will not live without fear and anxiety in the three worlds or anywhere else! (25) Your face was never without its decorations, nor have I ever seen you that dirty, morose, upset and without your luster and affection. I never saw your nice breasts wet with tears or your lips not red of kunkum. (26) My most intimate friend, be kind to this man who sick of passion did the wrong thing in going hunting of his own accord. What woman who with her great beauty controls the lusty desires of her husband, would not dutifully embrace him being lost in impatience and pierced by the arrows of Cupid?'
Chapter 27: Candavega Attacks the City of King Purańjana; the Character of Kālakanyā
(1) Nārada said: 'Purańjana's wife by means of these love games completely bringing her husband under her control, oh great King, thus enjoyed all the satisfaction she gave him. (2) Oh ruler, the king was most satisfied to welcome the queen who with her attractive face approached him nicely bathed and fully decorated. (3) Intimately making fun, she embraced him as he held her in his arms. Thus being captivated by the woman he lost his keenness and was not quite aware of how, day and night, the insurmountable time was passing. (4) Lying down on the precious bedstead of the queen, having his wife's arms for his pillow, the hero, despite his advanced consciousness, became increasingly illusioned. He, overwhelmed by ignorance considering that love to be his life's purpose, thus failed to realize what self-realization and the Supreme actually meant. (5) Oh best of kings, this way lustily enjoying with an impure heart, his newly won life passed in half a moment. (6) Purańjana, dear King, spending half his life that way, begot in his wife eleven sons and a hundred [grandsons]. (7) He also had over ten daughters and a hundred [granddaughters], and all those daughters of Purańjana, oh founding father, were just as famous as their parents because of their good conduct, magnanimity and [other] qualities. (8) He, the king of Pańcāla, married, for expanding his line, his sons with the best of wives and his daughters to equally qualified husbands. (9) Also the hundreds of sons of the [grand]sons all produced hundreds and hundreds of other descendants because of which Purańjana's family increased immensely in the land of Pańcāla. (10) Because of his deep rooted attachment to material enjoyment he became fully subservient to his descendants who heavily plundered his home and treasury. (11) He, so full of desires, just like you conducted sacrifices out of respect for the forefathers, the gods and the great souls in society. But those sacrifices were all equally ghastly inspired by the killing of poor animals. (12) Thus wantonly involved with a heart enslaved by kith and kin, one day the time [of old age] arrived that is not very loved by those who are fond of women.
(13) Oh King, there is a king belonging to the heavenly kingdom [Gandharvaloka] who is called Candavega ['the impetuously streaming time']. He is at the head of three hundred and sixty very powerful other Gandharvas [the days in a year]. (14) There are also an equal amount of black and white heavenly women of Candavega [the light and dark periods of the month, see 3.11: 10]. They all surrounded the city to plunder the amenities for sensual pleasure. (15) When all the followers of Candavega began to plunder the city of Purańjana, they met with the big serpent present there for its defense [its five hoods stand for the five kinds of life air: prana, apāna, vyāna, udāna and samāna; see 4.25: 35 and list]. (16) Single-handedly he for a hundred years, as the guardian of Purańjana's city, valiantly fought the seven hundred and twenty Gandharvas. (17) Becoming weak all alone fighting so many warriors, his intimate friend[, the ruler] of the city state along with all his friends and relatives, got very anxious and sad. (18) He who within the city [of the five senses] Pańcāla enjoyed the sweetest love and together with his associates collected the necessary means for it, as a hen-pecked husband could not understand though what kind of fear he actually dealt with [the fear of death].
(19) [All of this happened during the time that] the daughter of the Almighty Time [called Kālakanyā] traveled the three worlds desiring someone for a husband, oh King Prācīnabarhi, but there was never anyone who accepted her proposal. (20) Unhappy about it she was known in the world as Durbhagā ['ill-fated'], but being accepted by the wise king Pūru [a faithful son of Jayāti, an ancestor who by S'ukrācārya had been cursed with premature old age], she was pleased and granted him a boon [viz. to inherit the kingdom. See also 9.18]. (21) Once, when I, having descended to earth from Brahmaloka, traveled around, she, illusioned by lust, proposed to me, knowing I was a vowed celibate. (22) After I turned her down she, having become very angry with me, in a state of illusion cursed me saying: 'Having turned down my request, you sage, you will never be able to stay in one place.' (23) Upon that frustration of her plans, she on my instigation approached the ruler of the Yavanas [the untouchables also called mlecchas or meat-eaters] named Bhaya ['fear'], to accept him as her husband. (24) She said to him: Oh great hero, you, as the best of the untouchables, I accept as the husband of my desire. No one will ever see the plans foiled that he made with you. (25) The following two kinds of people are of lamentation: the ignorant not following the path of charity and the foolish who never wish to accept what according to custom and the scriptures is brought about by God's grace. (26) Therefore accept me, oh gentleman, I want to be of service. Have mercy with me, for every man it is a matter of principle to be of compassion for people in distress.'
(27) When the king of the Yavanas heard the daughter of Time express herself in these words, he, wishing to serve the Lord, was willing to do his duty in the private sphere and addressed her with a smile: (28) 'You are not welcome for considerate souls because you, by the inauspiciousness you stand for, are not acceptable to them. I thought about this and have arrived at the conclusion that you should have a husband. (29) Please, oh you who move about imperceptibly, enjoy this world that is built upon karma, upon fruitive action. With the help of my soldiers you will, unhindered, be able to guide the people to their death. (30) I give you my brother Prajvāra ['the fever of Vishnu'] and thus you become my sister. With the two of you and with my fearsome soldiers, I will roam about unseen in this world.'
Chapter 28: Purańjana Becomes a Woman in his Next Life
(1) Nārada said: 'Oh King Prācīnabarhi, all the forces of Bhaya, the representatives of death [who are alike the troubles of old age], roamed this earth together with Prajvāra and Kālakanyā. (2) But when they one day full of wrath laid siege to the city of Purańjana, which was so full of sensual pleasure, oh King, they discovered it was protected by the old serpent. (3) The daughter of Kāla then also participated in the violence to take hold of Purańjana's city. Overwhelmed by her someone immediately realizes how insignificant he is. (4) With her attack the Yavanas from all sides entered the gates and created severe trouble all over the city. (5) Purańjana, who as an all too eager householder was overly attached to his family, was thereupon in the troubled city plagued by all kinds of distress. (6) Embraced by the Daughter of Time he lost his beauty and because he in being addicted to sensual pleasures was a miser lacking in intelligence, he was by the Gandharvas and Yavanas [the meat-eaters] by force bereft of his opulence. (7) He saw his town fall apart in opposing fractions, that his sons and grandsons, servants and ministers were disrespectful and that his wife was indifferent. (8) With Pańcāla being infested with insurmountable enemies, he grew very anxious, but because he himself was seized by Kālakanyā, he could not take any counteraction. (9) In his emotional preference for his sons and wife he had lost the real purpose of life and, because of Kālakanyā, everything the poor man had lusted for in his life had become stale. (10) Against his will the king had to abandon his town that was overrun by the Gandharvas and Yavanas and was smashed by the Daughter of Time. (11) For the sole purpose of pleasing his elder brother Bhaya [called 'the fear'], Prajvāra [being 'the fever'], present at the spot, set fire to the city. (12) When the city with all the citizens, servants and followers was ablaze, Purańjana, the head of the big family, along with his wife and descendants had to suffer the heat.
(13) With the city being attacked by the Yavanas and seized by Kālakanyā as also with the problems caused by Prajvāra, the guardian of the city [the snake] got very aggrieved. (14) He could not protect the city [against the fire] and had great difficulty trying to get out of there. It was as if he had to escape from a hollow tree thrown in the flames. (15) With his physical strength defeated by the Gandharvas and the hostile Yavanas, oh King, he, being frustrated, had to cry aloud. (16) What fate would now befall the daughters, sons, grandsons, daughters- and sons-in-law and associates, what would become of the kingdom and the palace with all its wealth and goods?
(17) At his separation the householder turned his attention to the 'I' and 'mine' of his home and it thus happened that he, with a mind full of obnoxious thoughts, felt sorry for his wife. (18) 'When I have left for another life, how must this woman exist being bereft of a husband and lamenting with all the children of the family around her? (19) I never ate when she did not eat, I never missed a bath when she would bathe. She was always devoted to me and fearfully kept silent when I was angry, however afraid she was when I reprimanded her. (20) She gave me good counsel when I was foolish and she was saddened and became thin when I was away. Will she be able to hold on to the path of her household duties, being the mother of such great heroes? (21) How will my poor sons and daughters, who have no one else to depend on, live when I have disappeared from this world? They will be like a broken boat in the ocean!'
(22) While he thus with an inadequate intelligence was lamenting pointlessly, the king of the Yavanas called Fear approached to arrest him. (23) Purańjana was by the Yavanas restrained like an animal and taken to their abode, being followed by his deeply aggrieved attendants who were lost in tears. (24) As soon as the serpent, that had to give up the city, was arrested and following him had left, the city fell apart and turned into dust. (25) Forcibly dragged along by the mighty Yavana, Purańjana, covered by the darkness of his ignorance, could not remember his friend and well-wisher [the Supersoul within] who had been there from the beginning. (26) All the animals of sacrifice that he most unkind had killed with axes and had cut to pieces, most angrily remembered that sinful activity of him. (27) For an endless number of years he in the beyond was absorbed in darkness and, bereft of all intelligence, practically endless had to experience the misery of an impure life of being focussed on women. (28) Because he [till the very end] had kept her in mind, he after his death became a well situated woman [a daughter] in the house of the most powerful king Vidarbha [see also B.G. 8: 5]. (29) As the daughter of Vidarbha she [he] was given in marriage as a prize of valor to Malayadhvaja ['as firm as the Malaya hill'] who as the best of the learned [a Pāndya ruler] in his fights had defeated many princes and was the conqueror of their cities. (30) He begot a daughter in her with dark eyes as also seven younger mighty sons* who became the kings of the seven provinces of the south of India [Dravida]. (31) From each of them, oh King, millions and millions of descendants were born who ruled the world for the time of a manvantara and longer [see 3.11: 24]. (32) Āgastya [the sage; 'he who was born from a pot'] married the first daughter, who was vowed to the Lord, and from her was born a son called Dridhacyuta ['the infallible fortress'] who in his turn had the great sage Idhmavāha ['he who carries the wood'] for his son.(51) Someone she knew there, a friend of hers, a brahmin, a very learned scholar, pacified her so full of tears very nicely with mitigating words, speaking to her about her master. (52) The brahmin said: 'Who are you? To whom do you belong and who is this man lying there over whom you are lamenting? Do you not recognize Me as the friend whom you in the past have consulted? (53) Oh friend, do you remember how you, not familiar with the Supersoul, gave Me up as your friend? Desiring security you then got attached to material pleasures. (54) You and I, oh great soul, are two swans, two friends who for thousands of years in succession walked the same path of the spirit [of devotion] and then got separated from their safe haven [that Mānasa lake of the pure spirit]. (55) You who as that swan had left me, oh friend, thereupon traveled the earth and acquired a materialistic mentality. You then saw a city that was the love of some woman. (56) [In that abode you had] five gardens, nine gates, one protector, three store rooms, six [mercantile] families, five market places and five material elements with one woman running the place. (57) The gardens are the five objects of the senses, the gates My friend are the nine apertures of the senses, the three store rooms stand for fire, water and food and the families are the five senses. (58) The five market places represent the power of action [the five working senses] and the five elements are the fundamental elements of the material world. Man is an eternal controller of the forces, but having entered that city he is out of touch with the [original] intelligence. (59) In that situation you, under the influence of the outer splendor, in her company enjoying it, then had to live without the remembrance of the inexhaustible source [of your spiritual existence]. And thus you attained a state that was full of troubles and misery, My best one. (60) In fact you are not Vidarbha's daughter, nor is this hero of yours [Malayadhvaja] your well-wishing husband. Neither were you the husband of Purańjanī by whom you were captured in the body with its nine gates. (61) In reality it is so that you, by this deluding energy that I created, considered yourself either a man, a woman or a nonsexual being, and forgot about the two of us as [being united in the pure spirit of the] swans. (62) You and I are not different [in quality]. Look at yourself, you are just like Me, My friend. The imaginary distinction between the two of us is by the advanced scholars not even in the smallest degree ever acknowledged. (63) The two of us do not differ more from each other than the body, that one sees of oneself in a mirror or in the eyes of someone else, differs from one's own [compare 3.28: 40]. (64) An individual soul who thus like a swan lives together in the heart is, being instructed by the other swan, situated in self-realization, because he then regained the memory that was lost in the being separated from Him [in a material life].'
(33) Having divided the entire world among his sons, the pious king called Malayadhvaja went to Kulācala in a desire to worship Lord Krishna. (34) Giving up her home, children and material happiness, the daughter of Vidarbha with her enchanting eyes followed her lord of wisdom like the moonshine accompanying the moon. (35-36) There he cleansed himself daily both inside and outside with the holy waters of the rivers named the Candravasā, the Tāmraparnī and the Vathodakā. Subsisting on bulbs, seeds, roots and fruits, flowers, leaves, grasses and water, his body undergoing the austerity gradually grew thin. (37) Equipoised he thus conquered the dualities of cold and heat, wind and rain, hunger and thirst, the pleasant and the unpleasant and happiness and distress. (38) With vows [yama] and by regulation [niyama] fixing himself in his spiritual [yoga] realization, he subdued his senses, life and consciousness and thus, by means of the science of his austerities, all his impurities were burned [in the fire of his devotion, compare 4.22: 24, 3.29: 17]. (39) Sitting immovable like [a stump] in one place for a hundred demigod years [see 3.11: 12], he, steady in relation to Vāsudeva, the Supreme Lord, knew nothing besides that attraction. (40) Like in a dream he, by the all-pervasive Supersoul, could distinguish himself in perfect awareness: as the self-aware witness feeling certain in his [divine] indifference ['the glad hero']. (41) Under the direct prompting of the Supreme Lord, of the spiritual master Hari [the so-called caitya guru or the guru from within], oh King, he found the pure light of the spiritual knowledge that enlightens all perspectives [see also the six darshanas]. (42) He who thus saw himself in the transcendental Absolute and the Absolute Self within himself, with this before his mind's eye, gave up his considerations and withdrew himself [from life].
(43) Vaidarbhī, the daughter of Vidarbha, who served her husband Malayadhvaja with love and devotion, accepted her husband as her godhead, as the supreme knower of the principles, and gave up on her sense enjoyment. (44) In old rags, lean because of her vows and with her hair matted, she radiated, next to her husband, as peaceful as the flame of a fire. (45) With him sitting there fixed in his meditation posture, the woman continued to serve him as she was used to, until she, after he had passed away, no longer could detect any sign of life from her beloved husband. (46) Serving him no longer feeling the warmth of his feet, she became as anxious at heart as a doe separated from her partner. (47) Lamenting the misery of her fate to be without a friend, she broken-hearted began to cry loudly in the forest, wetting her breasts with her tears. (48) 'Get up, please, get up!, oh wise King. This world that, surrounded by the ocean, is so very afraid of rogues and false rulers, you ought to protect!' (49) Sobbing like this, the innocent faithful woman in that lonely place fell at the feet of her husband with tears running down her cheeks. (50) She built a funeral pyre of wood for her husband's body and placed him on top of it. After igniting it, she, lamenting, focussed her mind to die [saha-marana] together with him.
(65) 'Oh Prācīnabarhi, I have imparted this spiritual instruction in figures of speech, because the Supreme Personality our Lord, the Cause of All Causes, loves to be mysterious.'
*: These seven sons would stand for the initial seven processes of vidhi marga devotional service of hearing, chanting, remembering, offering worship, offering prayers, rendering transcendental loving service and serving the lotus feet of the Lord. Later on were added the raga marga processes of the balance-friendship and surrendering of everything.
Chapter 29: The Conversation of Nārada and King Prācīnabarhi
(1) King Prācīnabarhi said: 'Oh great sage, we could not fully understand your words. The wise may grasp what they really mean, but we who are fascinated by fruitive activities cannot.'
(2) Nārada said: 'The person of Purańjana ['he who enjoys the city that is the body'] should be seen as the creator of his own situation of dwelling in a one [a ghost], two, three [as with having a stick] or four legged body, or a body with many legs or no legs at all. (3) He whom I described as unknown [Avijńāta, 4.25: 10] is the friend and Lord of the person, because He by His names, activities and qualities is never [fully] understood by the living entities [compare Adhokshaja]. (4) When the living entity wants to fully enjoy the basic qualities of material nature, he considers it a good thing to have [a human form with] nine gates, two legs and two hands. (5) The young woman [pramadā or Purańjanī] then should be known as the intelligence that is responsible for the 'I' and 'mine' of taking to the shelter of the body, by which this living being, sentient to the modes of material nature, suffers and enjoys. (6) Her male friends represent the senses that lead to knowledge and action, the girlfriends stand for the engagements of the senses, while the serpent refers to the life air in its five forms [of the upgoing (udana), downgoing (apāna), expanding (vyāna), balanced (samāna) air and the breath held high (prānavāyu)]. (7) The mind one should recognize as the very powerful [eleventh] leader of the two groups of the senses and the kingdom of Pańcāla stands for the five realms [or objects] of the senses in the midst of which the city with the nine apertures is found. (8) The two eyes, two nostrils, two ears, the genitals and rectum are likewise the two by two gates with the mouth [as the ninth] that one passes when one accompanied by the senses goes outside. (9) The two eyes, the nostrils and the mouth are thus understood as the five gates in front [the east], with the right ear as the gate to the south and the left ear as the gate to the north, while downward in the west the two gates are found one calls the rectum and the genital. (10) The ones named Khadyotā and Āvirmukhī that were created at one place are the eyes by which the master with his sense of sight can perceive the form called Vibhrājita ['the clearly seen', see 4.25: 47]. (11) The gates named Nalinī and Nālinī represent the two nostrils and the place called Saurabha represents the fragrance. The [companion called] Avadhūta is the sense of smell. Mukhyā stands for the mouth with [for his friends] the faculty of speech named Vipana and the sense of taste is named Rasajńa [see 4.25: 48-49]. (12) Āpana concerns the [domain of the] tongue and Bahūdana the [realm of the] variety of eatables, with [the gates of] the right ear having the name Pitrihū and the left ear being called Devahū [see 4.25: 49-51]. (13) Together with the companion of hearing called S'rutadhara following the path to [the southern and northern realms of] Pańcāla by the processes of sense enjoyment and detachment as described in the scriptures, one reaches [respectively] Pitriloka and Devaloka. (14) Next to the gate of the rectum called Nirriti there is on the lower side the sexual member called Āsurī, that is the gate for the sexuality of the common man [who in the area of Grāmaka is] attracted to the procreative act called [the friend] Durmada [see 4.25: 52-53]. (15) Vais'asa is [the realm of] hell and [the friend] called Lubdhaka is the organ of defecation. The blind ones you next heard about from me, are the legs and hands with which the people engage in their work [see 4.25: 53-54]. (16) The private quarters are the heart and [the servant named] Vishūcīna is the mind, the material nature of which is said to result in illusion, satisfaction and jubilation. (17) As soon as the mind is agitated and activates in association with the natural modes, the individual soul, who is [actually] the observer, is carried away by those activities [just like Purańjana falling for his queen, see 4.25: 56].
(18-20) The physical body is the chariot that, with the senses for its horses, in fact does not move ahead in the course of one's years. The two wheels constitute the activities of profit minded labor and piety, the flags are the three modes of nature and the five supports stand for the five types of air. The rein is the mind, the chariot driver is the intelligence, the sitting place is the heart, the duality is formed by the posts for the harnesses, the five weapons are the sense objects and the seven armor plates are the physical elements [of nails, skin, fat, flesh, blood, bone and marrow]. The [ten] commanders of the five objectives and ways of approach constitute [together with the eleventh commander of the mind] the false aspiration of the externality, the military might of the eleven processes of the senses [the mind and the five senses of action and of perception] by which one in envy is engaged for the sake of sensual pleasure [see again 4.26: 1-3]. (21) The year called Candavega stands for the [passage of] time to which the three hundred and sixty men and women from heaven are to be understood as being the days and nights that by their moving around reduce the lifespan that one has on this earth [see 4.27: 13]. (22) The daughter of Time who was welcomed by no one and as the sister-in-law was accepted by the king of the Yavanas in favor of death and destruction, stands for jarā, old age [see 4.27: 19-30]. (23-25) His followers, the Yavana soldiers represent the disturbances of the mind and body who, at times when the living beings are in distress, very quickly rise to power with Prajvāra in the form of two kinds of fever [hot and cold, physical and mental conflict]. The one residing in the body that is moved by the material world, is thus for a hundred years subjected to different sorts of tribulations created by nature, by other living beings and by himself. [Therein] abiding by the fragmentary nature of sense enjoyment, he meditates the 'I' and 'mine' of himself as being the doer and thus, despite his transcendental nature, wrongly attributes to the soul the characteristics of the life force, the senses and the mind. (26-27) When the person forgets the Supreme Soul, the Almighty Lord who is the highest teacher, he surrenders to the modes of matter to find therein his happiness. Manifesting himself by those basic qualities he then takes to lives belonging to his karma. He therein is then helplessly controlled by the performance of fruitive activities that are of a white [a-karma or service in goodness], a black [vi-karma or ill deeds in ignorance] or a red nature [regular karma or work passionate after the profit; compare B.G. 13: 22 and 4: 17]. (28) Ruled by the light of goodness one reaches better worlds, but sometimes one with passion for one's work ends up in misery and then again, indulging in sloth or darkness, lands in lamentation [see B.G. 18a: 37-39]. (29) Sometimes one is a man, sometimes a woman and then one is neither of both. Then one has lost one's mind and then again one is a human being, a beast or a god. One is born according to the karma one has with the modes of nature. (30-31) Like a pitiable dog that, overcome by hunger, wanders from one house to another in order to be rewarded or else be punished, the living entity, pursuing different types of higher and lower desires, wanders high or low, or follows a middle course and thus, according to his destiny, reaches that what is pleasurable or not that pleasurable ['heaven' or 'hell']. (32) Even though the living being, confronted with the different forms of misery as caused by nature, others or himself, takes his countermeasures, it is not possible for him to stop the misery. (33-34) All that he in fact does is what a man carrying a heavy burden on his head does when he shifts his burden to his shoulder. In fact he, oh sinless one, in a state of illusion thinks that he can counter a dream with a dream. Counteracting one [karmic] activity with another one does not arrive at a definitive solution, only in counteracting the both of them that is the case. (35) Just as there is no end to the subtle manifestation of the reflection, wherein the mind wanders like in a dream, there is neither an end to one's wandering around in material existence, in spite of the sense objects not constituting a fixed reality. (36-37) In order to put an end to the succession of unwanted things [repeated births] in a material life, it is therefore for the soul of essential importance to be of unalloyed devotional service unto the spiritual teacher. He represents the being engaged in bhakti yoga in relation to the Supreme Personality of Godhead Vāsudeva, by which the result is found of full knowledge and complete detachment. (38) That, oh best of kings, will soon come about when one always faithfully listens to and remembers the stories about the Infallible One.
(39-40) From wherever one finds the great devotees, broad-minded pure souls whose consciousness is focussed on the regular reciting of and hearing about the qualities of the Supreme Lord, oh King, flow from the mouths of the great [examples, the teachers] the countless streams of nectar about the exploits of the killer of Madhu. They who eagerly drink in that nectar can never get enough of it. Hunger, thirst, fear, lamentation or illusion never get hold of those who know to listen [compare 3.25: 25]. (41) But the conditioned individual soul who is always troubled by what nature offers [in the sense of pains, fears, worries etc.], does not feel attracted to the nectarean ocean of stories about the Lord. (42-44) Brahmā, the father of the founding fathers, Lord S'iva, Manu and the rulers of mankind headed by Daksha, the strong celibates led by Sanaka, Marīci, Atri, Angirā, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Bhrigu, Vasishthha and I myself finally, are all well versed, authoritative brahmin speakers. Even though we have insight because of our meditation, education and austerities, we cannot fathom the Seer Himself, the Controller in the beyond. (45) Being engaged in listening to the unlimited spiritual knowledge and with mantras singing the glories of the enormously extended partial powers [the demigods], does not make one a knower of the Supreme [see footnote 1]. (46) When He who showers His grace, the Supreme Lord, by a soul is realized, such a one will give up both his worldly views and his attachment to Vedic rituals [see also B.G. 18: 66].
(47) Oh my dear Prācīnabarhi, therefore never ignorantly take the glamour of fruitive actions for the purpose of life. However nicely that [acquiring] might ring in your ears, the real interest is not served by it [compare B.G. 2: 42-43]. (48) Less intelligent souls speak of the [four] Vedas to the interest of rituals and ceremonies, but such people do not know [the real purport of the Vedas], they have no idea where the world of Lord Janārdana is to be found [of Vishnu, Krishna as the conqueror of wealth]. (49) You who [with your sons, the Pracetās] completely covered the face of the earth with the kus'a grass pointing eastward [see 4.24: 10], take great pride in all the killing [of the sacrificial animals] and consider yourself very important. But you do not know what work must be performed, what labor would satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead, by what knowledge, what education, there is the awareness of Him. (50) The Supreme Lord Himself is the Supersoul of all who accepted a material body; He is the controller of material nature. His feet form the shelter by which all men in this world find their fortune. (51) He indeed is the one loved most, the Subtle One from whom there is not the slightest fear. He alone is in full knowledge. Only the person who has learned this, is the spiritual master not different from the Lord.'
(52) Nārada said: 'I have thus far answered your questions, oh man of wisdom. Now listen to the established opinion about a confidential subject I am going to confide to you. (53) [Think of] a deer safely with its doe grazing grass in a field of flowers. Undisturbed doing his business he has in his ears the charming song of bumblebees, but he is not quite aware that in front of him there are tigers eager to kill and that behind him there is a hunter looking for a chance to pierce him with arrows. (54) The flowers work just like a woman who with her sweet scent of flowers suggests the safety of a household existence as being the result of an innocent desire for sensual pleasures such as plucking flowers. Thus one fulfills one's desires [like the deer] in always being absorbed in thoughts of sex with the wife and pleasures to the tongue. The sound of the different bumblebees, that is so very attractive to the ears, compares to the most attractive talks of the wife in the first place and also to those of the children that occupy one's mind completely. The tigers in front of him are together alike all the moments of the days and nights that, in enjoying one's household, unnoticed take away one's life span. And from behind there is the hunter taking care not to be seen while crouching upon him like the superintendent of death by whose arrow one's heart is pierced in this world. You should see yourself in this as the one whose heart is pierced, oh King. (55) Place yourself in the consciousness of the grazing deer and give up the fixation upon what you cherish in your heart. Give up that notion and those stories of a household life, so abominably filled with sexual concerns, and go, gradually getting detached, exclusively for the shelter of all liberated souls.'
(56) The king said: Oh brahmin, having heard this powerful tale and considered it, I must say that the honorable gentlemen [my teachers], did not know this, for if they did, then why did they not explain it to me? (57) But my doubts about them, oh brahmin, you have cleared as you spoke. Even the greatest sages free from [such] sensual activities, may lack in awareness. (58) Someone who forsakes his body in order to enjoy another body in a next life, has to face the consequences of the karma he built up in this life. (59) One thus knows the statement of the Vedic experts that says: of everything that one in this life does, one does not directly see the consequences.'
(60) Nārada said: 'From the karma a person engages in, the consequences are to be faced in a next life, because [having died, being in one's unembodied state] nothing changes in that what belongs to him: his proof of character [the subtle body or linga] and his mind about it stay the same. (61) The way a person, lying in bed and breathing, letting go [of the gross body in a dream] in his mind has to experience the actions he [in the waking state] was engaged in, the same way he will fare in a similar or another [animal] body [or another world he is reincarnated in after his death]. (62) Whatever all this 'mine' of the mind might entail in acceptance of an 'I', is by the living being taken along as the workload he acquired and by that karma he again enters a material existence. (63) The way one derives a state of mind from one's sensual experiences and from what one does [in response to them], one is likewise mentally characterized by propensities that are the result of physical actions one engaged in in a previous life. (64) Sometimes arbitrary forms pop up before one's mind's eye and that may happen without ever having heard, seen or experienced those images before. (65) Oh King, please accept from me when I tell you that to a living being, confronted with a proof of life that this way rises in the body, not a single thing can manifest itself in the mind which has not been tried, experienced or understood before. (66) The mind of a man is indicative of the forms he has accepted in the past and will accept - I wish you all the best - in a future birth, as also whether he will not take birth again. (67) That what someone has done in another time or at another place can [thus] be derived from the images one sometimes has in the mind of things one in this life has not seen or heard about before. (68) Everything that is perceived through the senses, may in different ways of sequential ordering [or types of logic or individual perspectives] pop up in - and vanish again from - the heart; every human being is endowed with a mind [filled with past impressions]. (69) With the Fortunate One constantly at one's side, abiding by a spirit of pure goodness [free from passion and ignorance], the world around oneself [the so-called 'here and now' that with all those impressions can be] like with the dark appearance of the [new] moon [also called Rahu with an eclipse], thus being connected will manifest itself [crystal clear]. (70) A person is separated from this consciousness, that is thus free from 'I' and 'mine', for as long as the eternal indweller [in the form of the subtle body of life signs, impressions or propensities, the linga] forms a distinct structure of material qualities consisting of intelligence, mind, senses and sense objects. (71) In deep sleep, when one faints or in great shock, one's breath is arrested while the knowledge and thought of having an 'I' stops, and that also happens when one has a high fever or when one dies. (72) Just like one with a new moon cannot see the moon itself, the linga, the self of typical life signs [the subtle body or the ego], cannot be observed of a young person in the womb and during [early] childhood because of the immaturity of the eleven [of the senses and the mind]. (73) Just as unwanted things in a dream have to run their own course [until one awakens], also for a soul contemplating sense enjoyment, the wandering around in the material world will not cease, in spite of the sense objects not constituting a fixed reality [***]. (74) The individual soul [the jīva] is understood as a combination of the life force with the, in sixteen expanded and by the three modes of nature ruled, typical self of life signs, the linga [expanded to the five objects of the senses, the five working and knowing senses and the mind]. (75) With this [linga] the person acquires material bodies and gives them up again, and thus being materially covered, finds enjoyment, lamentation, fear, misery and happiness [compare B.G. 2: 13]. (76-77) Just like a caterpillar does not disappear when it has to forsake its body [to become a butterfly], a human being does not vanish, for as long as he identifies himself with the material body he had, when he dies after the termination of his material activities. Because the mind [transported by the linga] is the ruler of man, it is the cause of the [continued] material existence of all the embodiments created. (78) When one thinking of results always [to the point of death] continues with one's actions for the sake of sense enjoyment, one is by the illusion of those actions karmically bound to a[n other] physical body [see B.G. 3: 9]. (79) In order to counteract that, therefore with all your heart and soul engage in the devotional service unto the Lord and consider therewith the cosmic manifestation as being controlled by Him from whom there is maintenance, creation and annihilation [see footnote **].'
(80) Maitreya said: 'After Nārada, the most powerful, pure and leading devotee, had explained to him the position of the two swans [of the individual soul and the Supreme Soul who is the Lord], he took leave and departed for the abode of the perfected souls [Siddhaloka]. (81) Upon leaving orders for his sons to protect the common people, Prācīnabarhi, the wise king, then left for practicing austerities in the spiritual resort of Kapila [at Gangā-sāgara, where the Ganges flows into the bay of Bengal, see for Kapila Canto 3.24-33]. (82) There, with a one-pointed mind living soberly at the lotus feet of Govinda, he, continuously worshiping Him, by his devotion managed to free himself from his attachments and attain sameness with the One Reality. (83) Oh sinless one, anyone who listens to or recounts this authoritative, spiritual discourse as narrated by Nārada, will be delivered from the physical concept of life [from his linga]. (84) Received from the mouth of the chief of the great sages, this story, being uttered, will purify anyone's heart, for it sanctifies this world with the fame of the Lord of Liberation, Mukunda. He who chants it will return to the spiritual world and, freed from all bondage, as a liberated soul, no longer wander around in this material world. (85) This wonderful spiritual mystery [this allegory] you have now heard from me, about a person [Purańjana] who took shelter of his wife, puts an end to all doubts about [the matter of having a] life after death.'See also: Reincarnation article
*: According to Vijayadhvaja Tīrtha, a renown commentator of the Bhāgavatam belonging to the Madhvācārya-sampradāya, the two following verses appear after verse 45 of this chapter. "What now would the difference be between animals and human beings when the intelligence of all depends on the animalistic maintenance of the body? After so many births having attained a human life out here the individual spiritual soul will become prominent when one, on the path of spiritual knowledge, has broken with that physicality, when one has given up the incorrect perception of being a gross or subtle body. (Vedabase)"
**: According to Vijayadhvaja Tīrtha, who belongs to the Madhvācārya-sampradāya the two following verses appear after verse 79. "Being of devotion unto Krishna, of mercy towards others and of perfect knowledge of the True Self, liberation from being bound to a material life will be the consequence. The great secret of it all is that the material existence of what we [will] see and do not see [anymore] all dissolves, just like when one sleeps; in other words, everything that happened in the past, happens in the present and is going to happen in the future, is but a dream." (Vedabase)
***: The first two lines of this verse are repeated from the first two lines in verse 35.
Chapter 30: The Activities of the Pracetās
(1) Vidura said: 'The sons of Prācīnabarhi you before spoke about, oh brahmin, all successfully satisfied the Lord with the song of Lord S'iva [see 4: 24]. What did they achieve that way? (2) Oh disciple of Brihaspati, what was it that the Pracetās arrived at after meeting the god of mountain Kailāsa [S'iva] who is so dear to the Lord of Emancipation and Beatitude? They must have attained the transcendental position, but what kind of life did they by chance therewith obtain in this life or a next one?'
(3) Maitreya said: 'The Pracetās who at the lake carried out the orders of their father, satisfied with their austerity, Him, the Indweller [the Supreme Lord], by chanting mantras. (4) After the ten thousand years of their severe austerity [see also 4.24: 14] the Original Person of the Eternal Reality then appeared before them, who satisfied and pacified them with His beauty. (5) Sitting on the back of His carrier bird [Garuda] looking like a cloud on the summit of Mount Meru, He, wearing yellow garments and the jewel around His neck, dissipated all darkness around. (6) Shining with golden ornaments He radiated with His helmet on His head, His dazzling face and His eight weapons, while He assiduously was served by an entourage of sages and demigods, and Garuda like a superhuman being [a Kinnara] sang His glories. (7) With a flower garland hanging between His eight stout arms that challenged the beauty of the Goddess of Fortune, the Original Personality of Godhead, glancing mercifully, addressed the surrendered sons of Prācīnabarhi with a voice resounding like thunder. (8) The Supreme Lord said: 'I am very pleased about your mutual friendship, about your occupation as friends in the same sense of duty, oh sons of the king. You therefore, to your good fortune, may ask Me for a boon. (9) Anyone who each day, every evening remembers you, will be a soulmate to his brothers and a friend with all living beings. (10) They who in the morning and the evening praise Me attentively with the song of S'iva, I shall reward with the fulfillment of all their wishes and a bright intellect. (11) Your shining glory will be known the world all over because you so gladly accepted your father's order. (12) There will be a famous son [of yours] who, in his qualities in no way inferior to Lord Brahmā, will populate the three worlds with his progeny. (13) The lotus-eyed daughter sage Kandu had from [the girl of heaven named] Pramlocā, was left to the care of the [divinity of the] trees, oh sons of Prācīnabarhi. (14) When she, distressed with hunger, cried, Soma, the King of the Moon, by means of his index finger poured the nectar compassionately into her mouth. (15) Faithfull to the command of your father who follows Me, beget children and marry forthwith that beautiful daughter with so many qualities. (16) May this well-behaved, slender-waisted girl with a character and sense of duty similar to yours, be a wife fully dedicated to all of you. (17) By My mercy, for millions of heavenly years [one year on earth is one day in heaven see 3: 11] your power will exist without interruption and you will enjoy all the pleasures of heaven and earth. (18) Be therefore steadfast unto Me by devotional service; with your mind free from the contamination of the modes, you will, free from attachment to a material existence, attain My abode. (19) Even for persons who have entered a household life, such a family life is not considered a cause of bondage - not when you spend every minute of your time on [engaging in] good works and [listening to and recounting] the stories about Me. (20) Having attained this ever fresh Knower who is present in the heart as the Supreme Spirit of God, as the one about whom the knowers of the Absolute Truth are speaking, one does not cheer or lament, nor will one be bewildered.'
(21) Maitreya said: 'When they heard Him, the Lord, the remover of all obstacles, thus speak about the supreme purpose of life, the Pracetās in His presence were liberated from the contamination of ignorance and passion, whereupon they, with faltering voices and folded hands, offered prayers to the greatest of all friends. (22) The Pracetās said: 'Again and again we offer the destroyer of all distress our obeisances who established His name as the magnanimous One of the qualities always ahead of the fastest mind and tongue; all glories to Him whose course cannot be perceived by means of the senses. (23) Unto the Most Peaceful and Pure One we offer our respects. With one's mind fixed on that what is His, the dual world appears meaningless. Our obeisances unto Him who, according to the modes of matter, assumed His forms for the maintenance, creation and annihilation of the universe. (24) We bow before You, the perfect virtue of goodness, before You, oh Lord Hari, whose intelligence liberates. You are the all-pervading Lord of consciousness Vāsudeva, Krishna, the reason for existence of all devotees. (25) Our respects for You, the One with the lotus navel, the One with the lotus garland, the One of the lotus feet and the One with the lotus eyes. (26) We offer our obeisances unto Him, the Supreme Witness, whose garment, with the saffron color of a lotus heart, is spotless; our obeisances unto the shelter of all living beings. (27) The form You revealed to us who suffer the material condition, oh Lord, puts an end to an unlimited amount of troubles; what other mercy would one need? (28) You who in Your compassion by Your expansions [and teachers] are visible to the humble devotees, are by one's devotional service - with [the necessary respect of] time - always remembered as such [ - by Your beautiful embodiment and not so much by thousands of mantras -], oh destroyer of all inauspiciousness. (29) By that form all desires of the living beings are quieted, however deep they may have fallen in their laboring - why would You, hidden in our hearts, not know our desires? (30) The blessing we are looking for is that You are satisfied with us, oh Father of the Universe, oh Supreme Lord and spiritual master with whom one on the path of liberation reaches the ultimate goal. (31) Nevertheless we pray for a favor from You, oh Lord of transcendence above everything else. There is no limit to Your greatness and thus You are celebrated as Ananta [the Unlimited One]. (32) A bee completely happy in achieving the Pārijāta tree [the honey dripping celestial wish-fulfilling tree or kalpa-vriksha] does not resort to another tree, so why would we, having approached Your lotus feet, having the root of everything directly before our eyes, ask for anything else? (33) As long as we are contaminated by Your illusory energy [māyā], we have to wander around in this world according to our workload [our karma]. Grant us [therefore], so long as that is the case, the association of Your loving devotees, whatever life [or world] we have found. (34) To enjoy but for a moment the company of those who are attached to the Supreme Lord, bears no comparison with the attainment of heaven, nor with the love of not being born again, not even mentioning the [so-called] benedictions reserved for mortal beings. (35) In that company the pure stories are discussed because of which all material hankering is appeased and among the members there is no question of any envy or fear. (36) There, where Lord Nārāyana, the ultimate goal of the renunciates, is worshiped, the Supreme Lord is personally present by dint of the repeated conversations about the truth of those who managed to break free from their attachments. (37) How can meeting those devotees, who on foot travel to the holy places to bring purity there, not be a pleasure to those who live in fear? (38) We who for a moment personally enjoyed the presence of Lord S'iva, Your dearest friend, oh Lord, today achieved [therewith] the destination that You are, You, the expert physician to cure us by Your company from death, the most difficult to cure disease of material existence. (39-40) We studied the scriptures, pleased the teachers, the brahmins and the elderly, we were good to the spiritually advanced souls [the civilized ones, the āryans] and have, free from any envy, honored our friends, brothers and all living beings. We were of severe penance, oh Lord, and resided near the water for a long time abstaining from food. We did all of that only for the benediction of seeing You satisfied, the most exalted Personality of God. (41) Manu, Brahmā, the mighty Lord S'iva as also others, purified their existence by austerity and knowledge, but never saw the full extent of Your glories. Nevertheless they offered their prayers to You, like us, who do the same to the best of our ability. (42) We offer You our obeisances, the Supreme transcendental Person equal towards everyone and always pure, the Supreme omnipresent Lord of eternal goodness.'
(43) Maitreya said: 'Thus having been praised by the Pracetās the Lord, the protector of the surrendered souls, said pleased: 'So be it [may your prayers be fulfilled]', and left for His heavenly abode. But they did not wish His departure, for they had not seen enough of Him whose prowess is never defeated. (44) The Pracetās thereupon moved away from the water of the lake, but when they saw that the world had been covered by trees that had grown very tall, as if they wanted to obstruct the way to heaven, they became angry. (45) Like with the fire of devastation at the end of time, they in their fury, oh King [Vidura as a ruler over the senses], with the help of the wind ['their breath'] thereupon started a fire in order to remove the trees from the earth. (46) Seeing that they had turned [almost] all the trees into ashes, the Great Father [Brahmā] came to pacify the sons of Barhishmān with reason. (47) The remaining trees who were very afraid, then, on the advise of Brahmā, delivered their daughter to the Pracetās [see verse 13]. (48) By the order of Brahmā they all married her, named Mārishā, from whom the son of the Instigator [the son of Brahmā] again took his birth because he had disrespected the Great One [S'iva see 4: 2]. (49) He was no one but Daksha, the one who, inspired by God during the previous manvantara [period of Manu*] called Cākshusha [the present one being called Vaivasvata*], had put as much people on earth as desired and was destroyed in the course of time. (50-51) He, who just after his birth with the brilliance of his luster outshone the brilliance of everyone else, was, for being a great expert in performing fruitive activities [sacrifices], called Daksha ['the expert']. Being appointed by the first living being, by Brahmā, to generate and sustain all the people on earth, he also made sure to engage all the other founding fathers in the process.'
*: The Manus existing in one day of Lord Brahmā are the following: (1) Svāyambhuva, (2) Svārocisha, (3) Uttama, (4) Tāmasa, (5) Raivata, (6) Cākshusha, (7) Vaivasvata, (8) Sāvarni, (9) Daksha-sāvarni, (10) Brahma-sāvarni, ( 11) Dharma-sāvarni, (12) Rudra-sāvarni, (13) Deva-sāvarni and (14) Indra-sāvarni [see also 3: 11].
Chapter 31: Nārada Instructs the Pracetās*: Time, the ingredient and the Creator combined, are called tritayātmaka, the three causes by which everything in this material world is created.(1) Maitreya said: '[The Pracetās] thereafter [after the marriage with Mārishā] arrived at a ripened vision. Remembering what the Lord in the Beyond had said [about the value of detachment] they soon handed the care for their wife over to their son [Daksha] and left home. (2) Heading in the western direction for the seashore where sage Jājali resided, they arrived, as his pupils being joined in the spirit of the Absolute, at the perfection of insight in the soul [residing within everyone]. (3) Mastering the sitting postures they all achieved the full control over their breath, mind, words and vision. Keeping their bodies straight with their minds freed from impurities they, pacified in being engaged in the transcendental spirit, then saw Nārada appear who [traditionally] is worshiped by both the enlightened and unenlightened souls. (4) When he appeared they all got up, offered their obeisances to welcome him and addressed him, after they with the necessary respect had offered him a comfortable seat. (5) The Pracetās said: 'Be welcome, oh sage among the enlightened souls! What a fortune to have your audience today; your arrival here is like the sun moving in the sky, oh great brahmin, it dispels all fear. (6) Being overly attached to family matters, we almost forgot, oh master, what was instructed by Lord S'iva and by the Lord in the Beyond [Vishnu]. (7) But seeing you now before our eyes, kindly shed light for us on the transcendental knowledge of the Absolute Truth, by which we can easily cross the formidable ocean of nescience.'
(8) Maitreya said: 'Thus petitioned by the Pracetās, the kings received an answer from the great Nārada who, with his mind always being absorbed in thoughts about the Lord Praised in the Verses, was of the greatest wisdom. (9) Nārada said: 'The Supreme Personality is the Controller of that birth, that life, that fruitive labor, that mind and those words of the people, by which the Soul of All Worlds is served. (10) Whether one acts according to what is human, what the Vedas say or whether one lives as long as a demigod, what is the use of the three births in this world of being born from semen, by initiation and by the labor of sacrifice [of s'aukra-sāvitra-yājńikaih, without this service]? (11) What is the use of Vedic education, austerities or eloquence, mental speculation, a sharp intellect, physical strength or sense control? (12) What would be the use of the practice of yoga, of analytic study, of accepting the renounced order, of reading the scriptures or of all the other auspicious activities, when there is never the [true] satisfaction of the Supreme Self of the Lord? (13) It suffers no doubt that the Supreme Self in fact is the goal of all auspicious activities and that the Lord is the beloved Supersoul who delivers the original identity [the self-realization] of all living beings. (14) The way one with watering the root of a tree satisfies the trunk, branches, and twigs and one likewise by offering food sustains the life of the [entire] sensory apparatus, so too each and everyone [the fellow human beings, the demigods] is honored when one is of worship for the Infallible One. (15) Just as the sun gradually will evaporate the water that rained down and all the moving and non-moving living beings will return to earth ['to dust'], it will unmistakably likewise happen to the emanated material nature [that finally will be withdrawn] in the Lord. (16) Just as one sees sunshine from the sun, the powers of the senses prove themselves during one's sleep and spiritual knowledge manifests itself after differences of opinion - in the confusion about material activities - are overcome, this creation we inhabit belongs to the transcendental Soul of the Universe from which it once appeared. (17) Just as there is the consecutive existence and non-existence of the clouds and the likewise changes of darkness and illumination in the sky, oh leaders of the earth, there is also the continuous change of the consecutive appearance and disappearance of the energies of passion, ignorance and goodness [the gunas] in the Supreme Absolute [of Brahman]. (18) All of you united in His quality, be therefore engaged in the devotional service of directly the Supreme Lord who is the actual cause [pradhāna] of Time, who is the original Person and the One Supreme Soul of the unlimited number of individual souls*, He who, by His spiritual power, is aloof from all emanations of the self. (19) When one is of mercy for all living beings, when one some or another way abides by peace and when one has all of one's senses under control, then Janārdana, He who agitates all man, will soon be satisfied. (20) Called into the heart of His devotees who, with all their desires vanquished and a soul free from impurities, constantly grow in their devotion, the Imperishable One [Vishnu] in His receptivity for the truthful soul, will not retreat anymore than space [will retreat from the reality of matter and time]. (21) He never accepts what persons with an impure heart have to offer, while those who, with faith in the soul and with feelings for the Lord, are of sacrifice without striving for possessions, are dear to Him. Those [impure souls] who take pride in education, a good birth, riches and fruitive labor [often] are offensive towards the devotees who are free from material motives [beyond necessity]. (22) He, perfectly satisfied within, never worries about the goddess of fortune who follows Him, about the demigods aspiring her favor or about the rulers of man. For how can a grateful person forsake Him who always sides with the servants on His path?'
(23) Maitreya said: 'Oh King [Vidura], the sage, the son of Brahmā, after thus informing the Pracetās about the topics concerning the Lord, then returned to his spiritual abode [Brahmaloka]. (24) From the mouth of Nārada having heard about the glorification of the Lord who removes the sins from the world, they then meditated on the feet of Hari and also attained His abode. (25) In response to what you asked me, oh Vidura, I described the glories of the Lord. This is all I had to tell you about the conversation between Nārada and the Pracetās.'
(26-27) S'rī S'ukadeva said: 'Oh best of kings [Parīkchit], after this faithful description of the dynasty of the son of Svāyambhuva Manu, Uttānapāda, now also hear from me about the dynasty of Priyavrata [the other son of Svāyambhuva, see 3.12: 56, 4.1 and 4.8: 7]. He, as someone who from Nārada learned about the knowledge of the soul, after again and again having enjoyed [his righteous rule], divided the earth among his sons and achieved the transcendental position. (28) When all of this was described by Maitreya and Vidura thus heard about the transcendental message of the stories about the Invincible One, his ecstasy intensified so much that it brought tears to his eyes. Being overwhelmed with the Lord in his heart, he placed the feet of the sage on his head.
(29) Vidura said: 'By what you so mercifully have shown me today about how one can put an end to one's darkness, oh great yogi, they who are free from material motives, can attain the Lord.'
(30) S'uka said: 'Thus having offered his obeisances, Vidura, who wished to see his family, asked permission to depart for the city of Hastināpura, whereupon he left, with his mind in peace. (31) Oh King, anyone who hears this story about kings who gave their life and soul to the Lord, will achieve the good fortune of a long life, wealth, material opulence and a good reputation, as also the ultimate goal of life.'
**: There are four orders of creation: heaven, earth, the living beings and their societal order.
Thus the fourth Canto of the S'rīmad Bhāgavatam ends named: The Creation of the Fourth Order**, the Lord's Protection.
Translation: Anand Aadhar Prabhu, http://bhagavata.org/c/8/AnandAadhar.html
Production: the Filognostic Association of The Order of Time, with special thanks to Sakhya Devi Dasi for proofreading and correcting the manuscript. http://theorderoftime.com/info/guests-friends.html
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