(The Search For the Lord's Mercy)
Chapter Three: Prapancatita Nama (Beyond the Material World)
1-3 Seeing Lord Shiva who, rapt in love for Krishna, was singing and dancing as He worshipped Lord Sankarsana, and who was also praising his followers, headed by Nandisvara, as they were singing, playing musical instruments, and joyfully calling out, "Jaya! Jaya!", and who was also praising Goddess Uma as she was expertly playing the karatalas, the sage Narada became happy, sounded his vina and bowed down to offer respect.
4 Again and again Narada sand, "You are the great object of Lord Krishna's mercy!" Repeating his father's words, Narada glorified Shiva in a melodious voice.
5-6 When, eager to touch the dust of Sri Shiva's lotus feet, the sage dear to Krishna approached him, the demigod, intoxicated by the flooding nectar stream of love for Sri Krishna, pulled the sage to him, embraced him, and respectfully said, "O son of Brahma, what are you saying?"
7-9 When, by conversing with Narada, the best of Vaishnavas, Shiva, who is the lord of Parvati's life, became plunged in the nectar of transcendental bliss, stopped his ecstatic dancing, retired with a few intimate associates, and sat in the virasana yoga-posture on a kusa-grass seat, with great devotion Narada bowed down to offer respect to him and recited many prayers describing his glory as the master of the universe. Then he sang of Lord Krishna's great mercy to Shiva.
10 Covering his ears, Shiva, the best of all Vaishnavas, the preacher of devotion for Lord Vishnu, very angrily said:
11 I have never been the master of the universe, and I am not the object of Lord Krishna's mercy. I always yearn for the mercy of the servants of the servants of Lord Krishna.
12 Sri Pariksit said: Bewildered, Narada stopped his prayer of Shiva's identity with Krishna. Thinking himself an offender, he slowly said:
13 Sri Narada said: Lord, in truth you both understand and preach the great mystery of the glories of Lord Vishnu and His devotees.
14 For this reason the best of Vaishnavas yearn for your mercy and Lord Krishna Himself is pleased with you and wholeheartedly chants your glories.
15 How many times did Lord Krishna, assuming many different forms, worship you with devotion? How many benedictions did He take from you?
16 Sri Pariksit said: Unable to remain peaceful while hearing these words, the embarrassed Shiva suddenly rose from his seat and with both hands covered Narada's mouth. "Don't speak this reckless nonsense about me," he said.
17 Struck with wonder, Shiva loudly said: O sage, you should see the inconceivable power and opulence of the Supreme Lord's transcendental pastimes!
18 Ah! My Lord is a wonderful deep ocean of transcendental glory. Even though I have many times offended Him, He does not become averse to me.
19 Sri Pariksit said: Filled with bliss, Narada touched Shiva's feet, made him sit down, and continued his glorification of Shiva, who is always plunged in the nectar of devotion to Lord Krishna.
20 Sri Narada said: You are very dear to the infallible Supreme Personality of Godhead. You have never offended Him. In the eyes of the common people you may seem to have sometimes offended Him but He does not see any offense in you.
21-3 When a demon named Bana, who was your devotee, who was very proud of the strength of his arms, and who brought many troubles to the saintly devotees, captured and bound Aniruddha with his mystic power, he fought with Lord Krishna, the holder of the cakra. Losing the fight with the Lord, Bana was almost dead, but he was saved by you, who prayed that his life be spared. Lord Krishna at once stopped from killing him, became pleased with him, and gave him a form like His own. Then He made him your personal associate, a state even the demigods cannot attain.
24 When Gargya and other enemies of the Vaishnavas worshipped you with severe austerities, you granted them a clever benediction that proved to be no benediction at all.
25 Even though Citraketu and many others had offended you, because they took shelter of Lord Krishna you were not angry with them.
26 You desire only the satisfaction of Lord Krishna. You eloquently pray only to remain a pure devotee of Lord Krishna.
27 For this reason the Supreme Personality of Godhead gave to you and goddess Durga the power to grant the liberation prayed for by Brahma and the demigods.
28 Living as an ascetic, you have a low opinion of all the happiness found in your power and opulence, which is greater than that of Brahma and all the demigods.
29 Who else, filled with ecstatic love for Lord Vishnu and clothed in only the ten directions, would dance as a madman with his wife and friends?
30 Today I have seen the wonderful glory of your intense desire to attain pure devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This desire has made you eternally very dear to Lord Krishna.
31 What more can I say? You are very dear to Lord Krishna, and by your mercy many others have also become dear to Him.
32 By Parvati's mercy also many have become dear to Lord Krishna. She knows very perfectly the truth about you both (Shiva and Krishna).
33 Lord Krishna loves her as if she were His own sister. For this reason, even though you are very renounced and advanced in spiritual life, you have great respect for her.
34 Sri Shiva said: When the terrible time for devouring the entire world comes, I am ashamed of my duty to destroy everything in the darkness of ignorance.
39 Narada, if I had received even a small particle of Lord Krishna's mercy, would I have been willing to fight with Him over the parijata flower, over Usa's kidnapping, and over so many other things?
40 Would He worship His own servant? Would the Lord have ordered me: "With a philosophy of your invention make everyone averse to Me"?
41 You happily glorify us both as givers of liberation, but the very terrible liberation we give brings pain to the devotees' ears.
42 O best of Lord Krishna's associates, don't think I am the object of His mercy. Know that the residents of Vaikuntha are the actual objects of His very great mercy.
43 Renouncing everything material as if it were only a clump of grass, with great devotion they worship their beloved Lord Krishna. If all material benefits and yogic perfections come before them, they will not look at them, even from the corner of their eye.
44 They who are free of all pride may go to that realm of Vaikuntha, which is beyond the three modes of material nature, free of all fear, eternal and full of transcendental knowledge and bliss.
45 Their forms already eternal and full of knowledge and bliss, the devotees there do not worship Lord Krishna to attain eternity, knowledge, bliss or opulence equal to His.
46 Happy with devotional service to the Lord, protecting the devotees and preaching devotional service, they travel as they wish.
47 As, in the forms of birds, trees, and other creatures, They eternally serve the Supreme Lord in many ways in the realm of Vaikuntha, they seem to mock the souls merged in impersonal liberation.
48 They gaze at the delightful Supreme Lord Hari, whose lotus feet are massaged by the goddess of fortune. They enjoy blissful pastimes in His company.
49 The great glory of Lord Krishna's mercy is eternally granted to the residents of Vaikunthaloka. Where else may that mercy be placed?
50 In that place is only a wonderful, blissful, eternal flowing stream of pure love for the Lord and sankirtana and a host of devotional activities. In that place there is not anything other than this.
51 Ah! The happiness of impersonal Brahman does not equal a very small portion of half a drop of the great wonder that is the glory of that nectar ocean of the bliss of pure devotion.
52 Vaikuntha, its residents, and everything within it are the greatest object of the transcendental love and mercy of Lord Krishna's lotus feet.
53 The glory of the opulent residents of Vaikuntha, who are all the objects of Lord Krishna's mercy, is much greater than any glory I may possess. How will it be possible for me to describe their glory?
54 People like myself should also always bow down to offer respects to they who, although they live in the earthly planets, and although they possess material bodies made of the five elements, are expert at always tasting the nectar mellows of pure devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
55 They have placed themselves at the lotus feet of Lord Krishna. Hoping to attain pure love for Lord Krishna, they have renounced wealth, followers, and the whole sphere of material life.
56 They do not care for material activities or material goals either in this life or the next. They have crossed to the farther shore of varnasrama duties based on the circumstances of birth.
57 Because of the power of their pure devotional service to Lord Hari they are free from the three debts, they have crossed beyond the path of the Vedas, and they are eternally free from all fear.
58 They do not desire anything in this world. They only yearn for the nectar of pure devotional service. They see heaven, hell and liberation to be the same.
59 In truth, to me they are as dear as the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. I pray that I may always have their company.
60 Narada, I think that wherever devotees like this live is already Vaikunthaloka. Of this I have no doubt.
61 Because they drink the nectar of pure devotional service to Lord Krishna, and because they thus forget everything of the material body and the great host of things in relation to it, they have forms of eternity, knowledge and bliss, even while they stay in bodies made of material elements.
62 They patiently wait for the time when they will enter Vaikuntha to enjoy transcendental pastimes with the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself.
63 The devotees I have described are all my superiors. They are very dear to Lord Krishna. They are the special object of His mercy.
64 Sri Parvati said: Of these devotees Laksmi-devi is the most dear to Lord Hari. She is the queen of Vaikuntha and its residents.
65 By her sidelong glance one may attain powers and opulences like the demigods who rule the various planets. By her mercy one may attain perfect knowledge, renunciation, and devotional service.
66 Even though many sages like yourself worship her with great reverence, she ignores you all, and chooses her beloved Lord Narayana instead. Even though Narayana is indifferent to her, she worships Him and performs severe austerities to please Him.
67 She eternally resides on His handsome chest. A faithful wife, she follows her husband in all His incarnations.
68-9 Sri Pariksit said: His heart trembling with great happiness, Narada Muni called out, "O husband of Laksmi, glory to You! O master of Vaikuntha, O Lord Hari, glory to You! O realm of Vaikuntha, glory to you! O residents of Vaikuntha, glory to you! O Laksmi, O beloved of Lord Krishna, O queen of Vaikuntha, glory to you!"
70 Narada rose to go to Vaikuntha and meet Laksmi. Understanding his plan, Shiva took his hand, stopped him, and said:
71 Sri Shiva said: "O sage whose memory is defeated by the wish to meet Lord Krishna's beloved, do you not remember that the Lord now lives in Dvaraka on the earth?"
72 Lord Krishna is the original Supreme Personality of Godhead and Rukmini is the goddess of fortune, Maha-Laksmi, whose plenary portions are the consorts of Lord Vamana and the other incarnations of the Lord.
73 Rukmini, the original goddess of fortune, eternally serves the two lotus feet of Lord Krishna, the original Personality of Godhead.
74 O brahmana, sit down, and I will whisper a great secret in your ear. Please listen with great faith.
75 Prahlad, whose fame as a great devotee is spread throughout the entire universe, is more dear to Lord Krishna than your father, than me, than Garuda, and all the other devotees, and even than the goddess of fortune herself.
76 Have you forgotten the words of the Supreme Personality of Godhead? Do you not remember this verse in the Puranas (Srimad Bhagavatam 9.4.64):
77 "O best of the brahmanas, without saintly persons for whom I am the only destination, I do not desire to enjoy My transcendental bliss and My supreme opulences."
78 Neither I, all the demigods, or even His own transcendental forms are as pleasing to Him as His dear devotees. Who can properly glorify the devotees?
79 The Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself proclaims that the inconceivably fortunate Prahlad is the most fortunate of all the devotees.
80 When Hiranyakasipu was ripped apart by the Lord, Laksmi-devi and all of us were able to see directly the incomparable good fortune of Prahlad.
81 Although Lord Vishnu wished to give him a host of benedictions one after another, Prahlad never asked for liberation. He only wished for pure devotional service. I bow down to offer my respects to him.
82-4 Bali Maharaj jumped over the rules of propriety, disobeyed the order of his spiritual master, and was unable to keep his own promise. Did Lord Vishnu become his doorkeeper as a reward for Bali's very insignificant gift? Did the Lord protect the demon Bana because of my prayers? The Lord became Bali's doorkeeper and protected Bana only to please His dear devotee Prahlad. Shall I say any more about this? After all, Laksmi's friend Parvati is here.
Note: Shiva hints that Parvati may become offended if Prahlad is glorified at the expense of her friend Laksmi.
85 Quickly go now to Sutaloka. Speak many words of blessing to Prahlad, embrace him, and tell him that I also embrace him again and again.
86 Prahlad, the best of the devotees, will not tolerate our bowing down before him. Also, if you wish to remain happy, do not make the mistake of praising him.