Prahlada Pacifies Lord Nrsimhadeva with Prayers
As related in this chapter, Prahlada Maharaja, following the order of Lord Brahma, pacified the Lord when the Lord was extremely angry after having killed Hiranyakasipu.
After Hiranyakasipu was killed, the Lord continued to be very angry, and the demigods, headed by Lord Brahma, could not pacify Him. Even mother Laksmi, the goddess of fortune, the constant companion of Narayana, could not dare come before Lord Nrsimhadeva. Then Lord Brahma asked Prahlada Maharaja to go forward and pacify the Lord's anger. Prahlada Maharaja, being confident of the affection of his master, Lord Nrsimhadeva, was not afraid at all. He very gravely appeared before the Lord's lotus feet and offered Him respectful obeisances. Lord Nrsimhadeva, being very much affectionate toward Prahlada Maharaja, put His hand on Prahlada's head, and because of being personally touched by the Lord, Prahlada Maharaja immediately achieved brahma-jnana, spiritual knowledge. Thus he offered his prayers to the Lord in full spiritual knowledge and full devotional ecstasy. The instructions given by Prahlada Maharaja in the form of his prayers are as follows.
Prahlada said, "I am not proud of being able to offer prayers to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. I simply take shelter of the mercy of the Lord, for without devotion one cannot appease Him. One cannot please the Supreme Personality of Godhead simply by dint of high parentage or great opulence, learning, austerity, penance or mystic power. Indeed, these are never pleasing to the Supreme Lord, for nothing can please Him but pure devotional service. Even if a nondevotee is a brahmana qualified with the twelve brahminical symptoms, he cannot be very dear to the Lord, whereas if a person born in a family of dog-eaters is a devotee, the Lord can accept his prayers. The Lord does not need anyone's prayers, but if a devotee offers his prayers to the Lord, the devotee benefits greatly. Ignorant persons born in low families, therefore, can sincerely offer heartfelt prayers to the Lord, and the Lord will accept them. As soon as one offers his prayers to the Lord, he is immediately situated on the Brahman platform.
Lord Nrsimhadeva appeared for the benefit of all human society, not only for Prahlada's personal benefit. The fierce form of Lord Nrsimhadeva may appear most awful to a nondevotee, but to the devotee the Lord is always affectionate as He is in other forms. Conditioned life in the material world is actually extremely fearful; indeed, a devotee is not afraid of anything else. Fear of material existence is due to false ego. Therefore the ultimate goal of life for every living entity is to attain the position of being servant of the servant of the Lord. The miserable condition of the living entities in the material world can be remedied only by the mercy of the Lord. Although there are so-called material protectors like Lord Brahma and the other demigods, or even one's own father, they are unable to do anything if one is neglected by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. However, one who has fully taken shelter of the Lord's lotus feet can be saved from the onslaught of material nature. Therefore every living entity should be unattracted by material so-called happiness and should take shelter of the Lord by all means. That is the mission of human life. To be attracted by sense gratification is simply foolish. Whether one is a devotee of the Lord or is a nondevotee does not depend upon one's birth in a high or low family. Even Lord Brahma and the goddess of fortune cannot achieve the full favor of the Lord, whereas a devotee can very easily attain such devotional service. The Lord's mercy is bestowed equally upon everyone, regardless of whether one is high or low. Because Prahlada Maharaja was blessed by Narada Muni, Prahlada became a great devotee. The Lord always saves the devotee from impersonalists and voidists. The Lord is present in everyone's heart as the Supersoul to give the living being protection and all benefits. Thus the Lord acts sometimes as the killer and sometimes as the protector. One should not accuse the Lord for any discrepancies. It is His plan that we see varieties of life within this material world. All of them are ultimately His mercy.
Although the entire cosmic manifestation is nondifferent, the material world is nonetheless different from the spiritual world. Only by the mercy of the Supreme Lord can one understand how the wonderful material nature acts. For example, although Lord Brahma appeared from the lotus seat that had grown from the abdomen of Garbhodakasayi Visnu, he could not understand what to do after his appearance. He was attacked by two demons, Madhu and Kaitabha, who took away Vedic knowledge, but the Lord killed them and entrusted to Lord Brahma the Vedic knowledge. Thus the Lord appears in every millennium in the societies of demigods, human beings, animals, saints and aquatics. All such incarnations are meant to protect the devotees and kill the demons, but this killing and protecting does not reflect any sense of partiality on the part of the Supreme Lord. The conditioned soul is always attracted by the external energy. Therefore he is subjected to lust and greed, and he suffers under the conditions of material nature. The Lord's causeless mercy toward His devotee is the only means by which to get out of material existence. Anyone engaged in glorifying the Lord's activities is always unafraid of this material world, whereas one who cannot glorify the Lord in that way is subjected to all lamentation.
Those interested in silently worshiping the Lord in solitary places may be eligible for liberation themselves, but a pure devotee is always aggrieved to see others suffering. Therefore, not caring for his own liberation, he always engages in preaching by glorifying the Lord. Prahlada Maharaja, therefore, had tried to deliver his class friends by preaching and had never remained silent. Although being silent, observing austerities and penances, learning the Vedic literature, undergoing ritualistic ceremonies, living in a solitary place and performing japa and transcendental meditation are approved means of liberation, they are meant for nondevotees or for cheaters who want to live at the expense of others. A pure devotee, however, being freed from all such deceptive activities, is able to see the Lord face to face.
The atomic theory of the composition of the cosmic manifestation is not factual. The Lord is the cause of everything, and therefore He is the cause of this creation. One should therefore always engage in devotional service by offering respectful obeisances to the Lord, offering prayers, working for the Lord, worshiping the Lord in the temple, always remembering the Lord and always hearing about His transcendental activities. Without these six kinds of activity, one cannot attain to devotional service.
Prahlada Maharaja thus offered his prayers to the Supreme Lord, begging His mercy at every step. Lord Nrsimhadeva was pacified by Prahlada Maharaja's prayers and wanted to give him benedictions by which Prahlada could procure all kinds of material facilities. Prahlada Maharaja, however, was not misled by material facilities. Rather, he wanted to remain always a servant of the servant of the Lord.
evam suradayah sarve
nopaitum asakan manyu-
sri-narada uvaca--the great saintly sage Narada Muni said; evam--thus; sura-adayah--the groups of demigods; sarve--all; brahma-rudra-purah sarah--represented by Lord Brahma and Lord Siva; na--not; upaitum--to go before the Lord; asakan--able; manyu-samrambham--in a completely angry mood; su-durasadam--very difficult to approach (Lord Nrsimhadeva).
The great saint Narada Muni continued: The demigods, headed by Lord Brahma, Lord Siva and other great demigods, dared not come forward before the Lord, who at that time was extremely angry.
Srila Narottama dasa Thakura has sung in his prema-bhakti-candrika, 'krodha' bhakta-dvesi jane: anger should be used to punish a demon who is envious of devotees. Kama, krodha, lobha, moha, mada and matsarya--lust, anger, greed, illusion, pride and envy--all have their proper use for the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His devotee. A devotee of the Lord cannot tolerate blasphemy of the Lord or His other devotees, and the Lord also cannot tolerate blasphemy of a devotee. Thus Lord Nrsimhadeva was so very angry that the great demigods like Lord Brahma and Lord Siva and even the goddess of fortune, who is the Lord's constant companion, could not pacify Him, even after offering prayers of glorification and praise. No one was able to pacify the Lord in His anger, but because the Lord was willing to exhibit His affection for Prahlada Maharaja, all the demigods and the others present before the Lord pushed Prahlada Maharaja forward to pacify Him.
saksat srih presita devair
drstva tam mahad adbhutam
sa nopeyaya sankita
saksat--directly; srih--the goddess of fortune; presita--being requested to go forward before the Lord; devaih--by all the demigods (headed by Lord Brahma and Lord Siva); drstva--after seeing; tam--Him (Lord Nrsimhadeva); mahat--very big; adbhutam--wonderful; adrsta--never seen; asruta--never heard of; purvatvat--due to being previously; sa--the goddess of fortune, Laksmi; na--not; upeyaya--went before the Lord; sankita--being very much afraid.
The goddess of fortune, Laksmiji, was requested to go before the Lord by all the demigods present, who because of fear could not do so. But even she had never seen such a wonderful and extraordinary form of the Lord, and thus she could not approach Him.
The Lord has unlimited forms and bodily features (advaitam acyutam anadim ananta-rupam). These are all situated in Vaikuntha, yet Laksmidevi, the goddess of fortune, being inspired by lila-sakti, could not appreciate this unprecedented form of the Lord. In this regard, Srila Madhvacarya recites the following verses from the Brahmanda Purana:
anyaih sadharanair janaih
nrsimham sankiteva srir
prahrade caiva vatsalya-
darsanaya harer api
jnatva manas tatha brahma
prahradam presayat tada
visesad darsayed dharih
In other words, for the common men the form of the Lord as Nrsimhadeva is certainly unseen and wonderful, but for a devotee like Prahlada Maharaja such a fearsome form of the Lord is not at all extraordinary. By the grace of the Lord, a devotee can very easily understand how the Lord can appear in any form He likes. Therefore the devotee is never afraid of such a form. Because of special favor bestowed upon Prahlada Maharaja, he remained silent and unafraid, even though all the demigods, including even Laksmidevi, were afraid of Lord Nrsimhadeva. Narayana-parah sarve na kutascana bibhyati (Bhag. 6.17.28). Not only is a pure devotee of Narayana like Prahlada Maharaja unafraid of any dangerous condition of material life, but also if the Lord appears to mitigate the fear of a devotee, the devotee maintains his status of fearlessness in all circumstances.
prahradam presayam asa
sva-pitre kupitam prabhum
prahradam--Prahlada Maharaja; presayam asa--requested; brahma--Lord Brahma; avasthitam--being situated; antike--very near; tata--my dear son; prasamaya--just try to appease; upehi--go near; sva-pitre--because of your father's demoniac activities; kupitam--greatly angered; prabhum--the Lord.
Thereafter Lord Brahma requested Prahlada Maharaja, who was standing very near him: My dear son, Lord Nrsimhadeva is extremely angry at your demoniac father. Please go forward and appease the Lord.
tatheti sanakai rajan
upetya bhuvi kayena
tatha--so be it; iti--thus accepting the words of Lord Brahma; sanakaih--very slowly; rajan--O King (Yudhisthira); maha-bhagavatah--the great, exalted devotee (Prahlada Maharaja); arbhakah--although only a small boy; upetya--gradually going near; bhuvi--on the ground; kayena--by his body; nanama--offered respectful obeisances; vidhrta-anjalih--folding his hands.
Narada Muni continued: O King, although the exalted devotee Prahlada Maharaja was only a little boy, he accepted Lord Brahma's words. He gradually proceeded toward Lord Nrsimhadeva and fell down to offer his respectful obeisances with folded hands.
sva-pada-mule patitam tam arbhakam
vilokya devah krpaya pariplutah
utthapya tac-chirsny adadhat karambujam
sva-pada-mule--at His lotus feet; patitam--fallen; tam--him (Prahlada Maharaja); arbhakam--only a little boy; vilokya--seeing; devah--Lord Nrsimhadeva; krpaya--out of His causeless mercy; pariplutah--very much afflicted (in ecstasy); utthapya--raising; tat-sirsni--on his head; adadhat--placed; kara-ambujam--His lotus hand; kala-ahi--of the deadly snake of time, (which can cause immediate death); vitrasta--afraid; dhiyam--to all of those whose minds; krta-abhayam--which causes fearlessness.
When Lord Nrsimhadeva saw the small boy Prahlada Maharaja prostrated at the soles of His lotus feet, He became most ecstatic in affection toward His devotee. Raising Prahlada, the Lord placed His lotus hand upon the boy's head because His hand is always ready to create fearlessness in all of His devotees.
The necessities of the material world are four--ahara, nidra, bhaya and maithuna (eating, sleeping, defending and mating). In this material world, everyone is in fearful consciousness (sada samudvigna-dhiyam), and the only means to make everyone fearless is Krsna consciousness. When Lord Nrsimhadeva appeared, all the devotees became fearless. The devotee's hope of becoming fearless is to chant the holy name of Lord Nrsimhadeva. Yato yato yami tato nrsimhah: wherever we go, we must always think of Lord Nrsimhadeva. Thus there will be no fear for the devotee of the Lord.
tat-pada-padmam hrdi nirvrto dadhau
sah--he (Prahlada Maharaja); tat-kara-sparsa--because of being touched on the head by the lotus hand of Nrsimhadeva; dhuta--being cleansed; akhila--all; asubhah--inauspiciousness or material desires; sapadi--immediately; abhivyakta--manifested; para-atma-darsanah--realization of the Supreme Soul (spiritual knowledge); tat-pada-padmam--Lord Nrsimhadeva's lotus feet; hrdi--within the core of the heart; nirvrtah--full of transcendental bliss; dadhau--captured; hrsyat-tanuh--having transcendental ecstatic bliss manifested in the body; klinna-hrt--whose heart was softened due to transcendental ecstasy; asru-locanah--with tears in his eyes.
By the touch of Lord Nrsimhadeva's hand on Prahlada Maharaja's head, Prahlada was completely freed of all material contaminations and desires, as if he had been thoroughly cleansed. Therefore he at once became transcendentally situated, and all the symptoms of ecstasy became manifest in his body. His heart filled with love, and his eyes with tears, and thus he was able to completely capture the lotus feet of the Lord within the core of his heart.
As stated in Bhagavad-gita (14.26):
mam ca yo 'vyabhicarena
sa gunan samatityaitan
"One who engages in full devotional service, who does not fall down in any circumstance, at once transcends the modes of material nature and thus comes to the level of Brahman." Elsewhere in Bhagavad-gita (9.32) the Lord says:
mam hi partha vyapasritya
ye 'pi syuh papa-yonayah
striyo vaisyas tatha sudras
te 'pi yanti param gatim
"O son of Prtha, those who take shelter in Me, though they be of lower birth--women, vaisyas [merchants], as well as sudras [workers]--can approach the supreme destination."
On the strength of these verses from Bhagavad-gita, it is evident that although Prahlada Maharaja was born in a demoniac family and although virtually demoniac blood flowed within his body, he was cleansed of all material bodily contamination because of his exalted position as a devotee. In other words, such impediments on the spiritual path could not stop him from progressing, for he was directly in touch with the Supreme personality of Godhead. Those who are physically and mentally contaminated by atheism cannot be situated on the transcendental platform, but as soon as one is freed from material contamination he is immediately fit to be situated in devotional service.
astausid dharim ekagra-
astausit--he began to offer prayers; harim--unto the Supreme personality of Godhead; ekagra-manasa--the mind being completely fixed upon the lotus feet of the Lord; su-samahitah--very attentive (without diversion to any other subject); prema-gadgadaya--faltering because of feeling transcendental bliss; vaca--with a voice; tat-nyasta--being fully dedicated to Him (Lord Nrsimhadeva); hrdaya-iksanah--with heart and sight.
Prahlada Maharaja fixed his mind and sight upon Lord Nrsimhadeva with full attention in complete trance. With a fixed mind, he began to offer prayers in love with a faltering voice.
The word susamahitah means "very attentive" or "fully fixed." The ability to fix the mind in this way is a result of yoga-siddhi, mystic perfection. As it is stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (12.13.1), dhyanavasthita-tad-gatena manasa pasyanti yam yoginah. One attains yogic perfection when he is freed from all material diversions and his mind is fixed upon the lotus feet of the Lord. This is called samadhi or trance. Prahlada Maharaja attained that stage beyond the senses. Because he was engaged in service, he felt transcendentally situated, and naturally his mind and attention became saturated in transcendence. In that condition, he began to offer his prayers as follows.
brahmadayah sura-gana munayo 'tha siddhah
sattvaikatana-gatayo vacasam pravahaih
naradhitum puru-gunair adhunapi pipruh
kim tostum arhati sa me harir ugra-jateh
sri-prahradah uvaca--Prahlada Maharaja prayed; brahma-adayah--headed by Lord Brahma; sura-ganah--the inhabitants of the upper planetary systems; munayah--the great saintly persons; atha--as well (like the four Kumaras and others); siddhah--who have attained perfection or full knowledge; sattva--to spiritual existence; ekatana-gatayah--who have taken without diversion to any material activities; vacasam--of descriptions or words; pravahaih--by streams; na--not; aradhitum--to satisfy; puru-gunaih--although fully qualified; adhuna--until now; api--even; pipruh--were able; kim--whether; tostum--to become pleased; arhati--is able; sah--He (the Lord); me--my; harih--the Supreme Personality of Godhead; ugra-jateh--who am born in an asuric family.
Prahlada Maharaja prayed: How is it possible for me, who have been born in a family of asuras, to offer suitable prayers to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead? Even until now, all the demigods, headed by Lord Brahma, and all the saintly persons, could not satisfy the Lord by streams of excellent words, although such persons are very qualified, being in the mode of goodness. Then what is to be said of me? I am not at all qualified.
A Vaisnava who is fully qualified to serve the Lord still thinks himself extremely low while offering prayers to the Lord. For example, Krsnadasa Kaviraja Gosvami, the author of Caitanya-caritamrta, says:
jagai madhai haite muni se papistha
purisera kita haite muni se laghistha
(Cc. Adi 5.205)
Thus he considers himself unqualified, lower than the worms in stool, and more sinful than Jagai and Madhai. A pure Vaisnava actually thinks of himself in this way. Similarly, although Prahlada Maharaja was a pure, exalted Vaisnava, he thought himself most unqualified to offer prayers to the Supreme Lord. Mahajano yena gatah sa panthah. Every pure Vaisnava should think like this. One should not be falsely proud of his Vaisnava qualifications. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has therefore instructed us:
trnad api sunicena
taror iva sahisnuna
kirtaniyah sada harih
"One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw in the street; one should be more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige and should be ready to offer all respect to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly." Unless one is meek and humble, to make progress in spiritual life is very difficult.
naradhanaya hi bhavanti parasya pumso
bhaktya tutosa bhagavan gaja-yutha-paya
manye--I consider; dhana--riches; abhijana--aristocratic family; rupa--personal beauty; tapah--austerity; sruta--knowledge from studying the Vedas; ojah--sensory prowess; tejah--bodily effulgence; prabhava--influence; bala--bodily strength; paurusa--diligence; buddhi--intelligence; yogah--mystic power; na--not; aradhanaya--for satisfying; hi--indeed; bhavanti--are; parasya--of the transcendent; pumsah--Supreme Personality of Godhead; bhaktya--simply by devotional service; tutosa--was satisfied; bhagavan--the Supreme personality of Godhead; gaja-yutha-paya--unto the King of elephants (Gajendra).
Prahlada Maharaja continued: One may possess wealth, an aristocratic family, beauty, austerity, education, sensory expertise, luster, influence, physical strength, diligence, intelligence and mystic yogic power, but I think that even by all these qualifications one cannot satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead. However, one can satisfy the Lord simply by devotional service. Gajendra did this, and thus the Lord was satisfied with him.
No kind of material qualification is the means for satisfying the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As stated in Bhagavad-gita, only by devotional service can the Lord be known (bhaktya mam abhijanati). Unless the Lord is pleased by the service of a devotee, the Lord does not reveal Himself (naham prakasah sarvasya yoga-maya-samavrtah). This is the verdict of all sastras. Neither by speculation nor by material qualifications can one understand or approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
viprad dvi-sad-guna-yutad aravinda-nabha-
padaravinda-vimukhat svapacam varistham
pranam punati sa kulam na tu bhurimanah
viprat--than a brahmana; dvi-sat-guna-yutat--qualified with twelve brahminical qualities; aravinda-nabha--Lord Visnu, who has a lotus growing from His navel; pada-aravinda--to the lotus feet of the Lord; vimukhat--not interested in devotional service; sva-pacam--one born in a low family, or a dog-eater; varistham--more glorious; manye-- I consider; tat-arpita--surrendered unto the lotus feet of the Lord; manah--his mind; vacana--words; ihita--every endeavor; artha--wealth; pranam--and life; punati--purifies; sah--he (the devotee); kulam--his family; na--not; tu--but; bhurimanah--one who falsely thinks himself to be in a prestigious position.
If a brahmana has all twelve of the brahminical qualifications [as they are stated in the book called Sanat-sujata] but is not a devotee and is averse to the lotus feet of the Lord, he is certainly lower than a devotee who is a dog-eater but who has dedicated everything--mind, words, activities, wealth and life--to the Supreme Lord. Such a devotee is better than such a brahmana because the devotee can purify his whole family, whereas the so-called brahmana in a position of false prestige cannot purify even himself.
Here is a statement by Prahlada Maharaja, one of the twelve authorities, regarding the distinction between a devotee and a brahmana expert in karma-kanda, or Vedic ritualistic ceremonies. There are four varnas and four asramas, which divide human society, but the central principle is to become a first-class pure devotee. It is said in the Hari-bhakti--sudhodaya:
jatih sastram japas tapah
"If one is born in a high family like that of a brahmana, ksatriya or vaisya but is not a devotee of the Lord, all his good qualifications as a brahmana, ksatriya or vaisya are null and void. Indeed, they are considered decorations of a dead body."
In this verse Prahlada Maharaja speaks of the vipras, the learned brahmanas. The learned brahmana is considered best among the divisions of brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya and sudra, but a devotee born in a low candala family is better than such brahmanas, not to speak of the ksatriyas, vaisyas and others. A devotee is better than anyone, for he is in the transcendental position on the Brahman platform.
mam ca yo vyabhicarena
sa gunan samatityaitan
"One who engages in full devotional service, who does not fall down in any circumstance, at once transcends the modes of material nature and thus comes to the level of Brahman." (Bg. 14.26) The twelve qualities of a first-class brahmana, as stated in the book called Sanat-sujata, are as follows:
jnanam ca satyam ca damah srutam ca
hy amatsaryam hris titiksanasuya
yajnas ca danam ca dhrtih samas ca
maha-vrata dvadasa brahmanasya
The European and American devotees in the Krsna consciousness movement are sometimes accepted as brahmanas, but the so-called caste brahmanas are very much envious of them. In answer to such envy, Prahlada Maharaja says that one who has been born in a brahmana family but is falsely proud of his prestigious position cannot even purify himself, not to speak of his family, whereas if a candala, a lowborn person, is a devotee and has fully surrendered unto the lotus feet of the Lord, he can purify his entire family. We have had actual experience of how Americans and Europeans, because of their full Krsna consciousness, have purified their whole families, so much so that a mother of a devotee, at the time of her death, inquired about Krsna with her last breath. Therefore it is theoretically true and has been practically proven that a devotee can give the best service to his family, his community, his society and his nation. The foolish accuse a devotee of following the principle of escapism, but actually the fact is that a devotee is the right person to elevate his family. A devotee engages everything in the service of the Lord, and therefore he is always exalted.
naivatmanah prabhur ayam nija-labha-purno
manam janad avidusah karuno vrnite
yad yaj jano bhagavate vidadhita manam
tac catmane prati-mukhasya yatha mukha-srih
na--nor; eva--certainly; atmanah--for His personal benefit; prabhuh--Lord; ayam--this; nija-labha-purnah--is always satisfied in Himself (He does not need to be satisfied by the service of others); manam--respect; janat--from a person; avidusah--who does not know that the aim of life is to please the Supreme Lord; karunah--(the Supreme Personality of Godhead), who is so kind to this foolish, ignorant person; vrnite--accepts; yat yat--whatever; janah--a person; bhagavate--unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead; vidadhita--may offer; manam--worship; tat--that; ca--indeed; atmane--for his own benefit; prati-mukhasya--of the reflection of the face in the mirror; yatha--just as; mukha-srih--the decoration of the face.
The Supreme Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is always fully satisfied in Himself. Therefore when something is offered to Him, the offering, by the Lord's mercy, is for the benefit of the devotee, for the Lord does not need service from anyone. To give an example, if one's face is decorated, the reflection of one's face in a mirror is also seen to be decorated.
In bhakti-yoga it is recommended that a devotee follow nine principles; sravanam kirtanam visnoh smaranam pada-sevanam. arcanam. vandanam dasyam sakhyam atma-nivedanam. This service of glorifying the Lord by hearing, chanting and so on is not, of course, meant for the benefit of the Lord; this devotional service is recommended for the benefit of the devotee. The Lord is always glorious, whether the devotee glorifies Him or not, but if the devotee engages in glorifying the Lord, the devotee himself automatically becomes glorious. Ceto-darpana-marjanam bhava-maha-davagni-nirvapanam. By glorifying the Lord constantly, the living entity becomes purified in the core of his heart, and thus he can understand that he does not belong to the material world but is a spirit soul whose actual activity is to advance in Krsna consciousness so that he may become free from the material clutches. Thus the blazing fire of material existence is immediately extinguished (bhava-maha-davagni-nirvapanam). A foolish person is amazed that Krsna orders, sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja: "Abandon all varieties of religious activities and just surrender unto Me." Some foolish scholars even say that this is too much to demand. But this demand is not for the benefit of the Supreme personality of Godhead; rather, it is for the benefit of human society. If human beings individually and collectively surrender everything to the Supreme Personality of Godhead in full Krsna consciousness, all of human society will benefit. One who does not dedicate everything to the Supreme Lord is described in this verse as avidusa, a rascal. In Bhagavad-gita (7.15), the Lord Himself speaks in the same way:
na mam duskrtino mudhah
"Those miscreants who are grossly foolish, lowest among mankind, whose knowledge is stolen by illusion, and who partake of the atheistic nature of demons, do not surrender unto Me." Because of ignorance and misfortune, the atheists and the naradhamas, the lowest of men, do not surrender unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore although the Supreme Lord, Krsna, is full in Himself, He appears in different yugas to demand the surrender of the conditioned souls so that they will benefit by becoming free from the material clutches. In conclusion, the more we engage in Krsna consciousness and render service unto the Lord, the more we benefit. Krsna does not need service from any of us.
tasmad aham vigata-viklava isvarasya
sarvatmana mahi grnami yatha manisam
nico 'jaya guna-visargam anupravistah
puyeta yena hi puman anuvarnitena
tasmat--therefore; aham--I; vigata-viklavah--having given up contemplation of being unfit; isvarasya--of the Supreme personality of Godhead; sarva-atmana--in full surrender; mahi--glory; grnami-- I shall chant or describe; yatha manisam--according to my intelligence; nicah--although lowborn (my father being a great demon, devoid of all good qualities); ajaya--because of ignorance; guna-visargam--the material world (wherein the living entity takes birth according to the contamination of the modes of nature); anupravistah--entered into; puyeta--may be purified; yena--by which (the glory of the Lord); hi--indeed; puman--a person; anuvarnitena--being chanted or recited.
Therefore, although I was born in a demoniac family, I may without a doubt offer prayers to the Lord with full endeavor, as far as my intelligence allows. Anyone who has been forced by ignorance to enter the material world may be purified of material life if he offers prayers to the Lord and hears the Lord's glories.
It is clearly understood that a devotee does not need to be born in a very high family, to be rich, to be aristocratic or to be very beautiful. None of these qualifications will engage one in devotional service. With devotion one should feel, "God is great, and I am very small. Therefore my duty is to offer my prayers to the Lord." Only on this basis can one understand and render service to the Lord. As the Lord says in Bhagavad-gita (18.55):
bhaktya mam abhijanati
yavan yas casmi tattvatah
tato mam tattvato jnatva
"One can understand the Supreme Personality as He is only by devotional service. And when one is in full consciousness of the Supreme Lord by such devotion, he can enter into the kingdom of God." Thus Prahlada Maharaja decided to offer his best prayers to the Lord, without consideration of his material position.
sarve hy ami vidhi-karas tava sattva-dhamno
brahmadayo vayam ivesa na codvijantah
ksemaya bhutaya utatma-sukhaya casya
vikriditam bhagavato ruciravataraih
sarve--all; hi--certainly; ami--these; vidhi-karah--executors of orders; tava--Your; sattva-dhamnah--being always situated in the transcendental world; brahma-adayah--the demigods, headed by Lord Brahma; vayam--we; iva--like; isa--O my Lord; na--not; ca--and; udvijantah--who are afraid (of Your fearful appearance); ksemaya--for the protection; bhutaye--for the increase; uta--it is said; atma-sukhaya--for personal satisfaction by such pastimes; ca--also; asya--of this (material world); vikriditam--manifested; bhagavatah--of Your Lordship; rucira--very pleasing; avataraih--by Your incarnations.
O my Lord, all the demigods, headed by Lord Brahma, are sincere servants of Your Lordship, who are situated in a transcendental position. Therefore they are not like us [Prahlada and his father, the demon Hiranyakasipu]. Your appearance in this fearsome form is Your pastime for Your own pleasure. Such an incarnation is always meant for the protection and improvement of the universe.
Prahlada Maharaja wanted to assert that his father and the other members of his family were all unfortunate because they were demoniac, whereas the devotees of the Lord are always fortunate because they are always ready to follow the orders of the Lord. When the Supreme Lord appears in this material world in His various incarnations, He performs two functions--saving the devotee and vanquishing the demon (paritranaya sadhunam vinasaya ca duskrtam). Lord Nrsimhadeva, for example, appeared for the protection of His devotee. Such pastimes as those of Nrsimhadeva are certainly not meant to create a fearful situation for the devotees, but nonetheless the devotees, being very simple and faithful, were afraid of the fierce incarnation of the Lord. Therefore Prahlada Maharaja, in the following prayer, requests the Lord to give up His anger.
tad yaccha manyum asuras ca hatas tvayadya
modeta sadhur api vrscika-sarpa-hatya
lokas ca nirvrtim itah pratiyanti sarve
rupam nrsimha vibhayaya janah smaranti
tat--therefore; yaccha--kindly give up; manyum--Your anger; asurah--my father, Hiranyakasipu, the great demon; ca--also; hatah--killed; tvaya--by You; adya--today; modeta--take pleasure; sadhuh api--even a saintly person; vrscika-sarpa-hatya--by killing a snake or a scorpion; lokah--all the planets; ca--indeed; nirvrtim--pleasure; itah--have achieved; pratiyanti--are waiting (for pacification of Your anger); sarve--all of them; rupam--this form; nrsimha--O Lord Nrsimhadeva; vibhayaya--for mitigating their fear; janah--all the people of the universe; smaranti--will remember.
My Lord Nrsimhadeva, please, therefore, cease Your anger now that my father, the great demon Hiranyakasipu, has been killed. Since even saintly persons take pleasure in the killing of a scorpion or a snake, all the worlds have achieved great satisfaction because of the death of this demon. Now they are confident of their happiness, and they will always remember Your auspicious incarnation in order to be free from fear.
The most important point in this verse is that although saintly persons never desire the killing of any living entity, they take pleasure in the killing of envious living entities like snakes and scorpions. Hiranyakasipu was killed because he was worse than a snake or a scorpion, and therefore everyone was happy. Now there was no need for the Lord to be angry. The devotees can always remember the form of Nrsimhadeva when they are in danger, and therefore the appearance of Nrsimhadeva was not at all inauspicious. The Lord's appearance is always worshipable and auspicious for all sane persons and devotees.
naham bibhemy ajita te 'tibhayanakasya-
na--not; aham--I; bibhemi--am afraid; ajita--O supreme victorious person, who are never conquered by anyone; te--Your; ati--very much; bhayanaka--fearful; asya--mouth; jihva--tongue; arka-netra--eyes shining like the sun; bhrukuti--frowning brows; rabhasa--strong; ugra-damstrat--ferocious teeth; antra-srajah--garlanded by intestines; ksataja--bloody; kesara--manes; sanku-karnat--wedgelike ears; nirhrada--by a roaring sound (caused by You); bhita--frightened; digibhat--from which even the great elephants; ari-bhit--piercing the enemy; nakha-agrat--the tips of whose nails.
My Lord, who are never conquered by anyone, I am certainly not afraid of Your ferocious mouth and tongue, Your eyes bright like the sun or Your frowning eyebrows. I do not fear Your sharp, pinching teeth, Your garland of intestines, Your mane soaked with blood, or Your high, wedgelike ears. Nor do I fear Your tumultuous roaring, which makes elephants flee to distant places, or Your nails, which are meant to kill Your enemies.
Lord Nrsimhadeva's fierce appearance was certainly most dangerous for the nondevotees, but for Prahlada Maharaja such a fearful appearance was not at all disturbing. The lion is very fearsome for other animals, but its cubs are not at all afraid of the lion. The water of the sea is certainly dreadful for all living entities on the land, but within the sea even the small fish is unafraid. Why? Because the small fish has taken shelter of the big ocean. It is said that although great elephants are taken away by the flooding waters of the river, the small fish swim opposite the current. Therefore although the Lord sometimes assumes a fierce appearance to kill the duskrtis, the devotees worship Him. Kesava dhrta-nara-hari-rupa jaya jagadisa hare. The devotee always takes pleasure in worshiping the Lord and glorifying the Lord in any form, either pleasing or fierce.
trasto 'smy aham krpana-vatsala duhsahogra-
samsara-cakra-kadanad grasatam pranitah
baddhah sva-karmabhir usattama te 'nghri-mulam
prito 'pavarga-saranam hvayase kada nu
trastah--frightened; asmi--am; aham--I; krpana-vatsala--O my Lord, who are so kind to the fallen souls (who have no spiritual knowledge); duhsaha--intolerable; ugra--ferocious; samsara-cakra--of the cycle of birth and death; kadanat--from such a miserable condition; grasatam--among other conditioned souls, who devour one another; pranitah--being thrown; baddhah--bound; sva-karmabhih--the course by the reactions of my own activities; usattama--O great insurmountable; te--Your; anghri-mulam--to the soles of the lotus feet; pritah--being pleased (with me); apavarga-saranam--which are the shelter meant for liberation from this horrible condition of material existence; hvayase--You will call (me); kada--when; nu--indeed.
O most powerful, insurmountable Lord, who are kind to the fallen souls, I have been put into the association of demons as a result of my activities, and therefore I am very much afraid of my condition of life within this material world. When will that moment come when You will call me to the shelter of Your lotus feet, which are the ultimate goal for liberation from conditional life?
Being in the material world is certainly miserable, but certainly when one is put into the association of asuras, or atheistic men, it is intolerably so. One may ask why the living entity is put into the material world. Indeed, sometimes foolish people deride the Lord for having put them here. Actually, everyone is put into conditional life according to his karma. Therefore Prahlada Maharaja, representing all the other conditioned souls, admits that he was put into life among the asuras because of the results of his karma. The Lord is known as krpana-vatsala because He is extremely kind to the conditioned souls. As stated in Bhagavad-gita, therefore, the Lord appears whenever there are discrepancies in the execution of religious principles (yada yada hi dharmasya glanir bhavati bharata. .. tadatmanam srjamy aham). The Lord is extremely anxious to deliver the conditioned souls, and therefore He instructs all of us to return home, back to Godhead (sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja). Thus Prahlada Maharaja expected that the Lord, by His kindness, would call him again to the shelter of His lotus feet. In other words, everyone should be eager to return home, back to Godhead, taking shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord and thus being fully trained in Krsna consciousness.
sokagnina sakala-yonisu dahyamanah
duhkhausadham tad api duhkham atad-dhiyaham
bhuman bhramami vada me tava dasya-yogam
yasmat--because of which (because of existing in the material world); priya--pleasing; apriya--not pleasing; viyoga--by separation; samyoga--and combination; janma--whose birth; soka-agnina--by the fire of lamentation; sakala-yonisu--in any type of body; dahyamanah--being burned; duhkha-ausadham--remedial measures for miserable life; tat--that; api--also; duhkham--suffering; a-tat-dhiya--by accepting the body as the self; aham--I; bhuman--O great one; bhramami--am wandering (within the cycle of birth and death); vada--kindly instruct; me--unto me; tava--Your; dasya-yogam--activities of service.
O great one, O Supreme Lord, because of combination with pleasing and displeasing circumstances and because of separation from them, one is placed in a most regrettable position, within heavenly or hellish planets, as if burning in a fire of lamentation. Although there are many remedies by which to get out of miserable life, any such remedies in the material world are more miserable than the miseries themselves. Therefore I think that the only remedy is to engage in Your service. Kindly instruct me in such service.
Prahlada Maharaja aspired to engage in the service of the lotus feet of the Lord. After the death of his father, who was materially very opulent, Prahlada would have inherited his father's property, which extended throughout the world, but Prahlada Maharaja was not inclined to accept such material opulence, for whether one is in the heavenly or hellish planets or is a rich or a poor man's son, material conditions are everywhere. Therefore no condition of life is at all pleasing. If one wants the uncontaminated pleasure of blissful life, he must engage himself in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. Material opulence may be somewhat pleasing for the time being, but to come to that temporary pleasing condition one must work extremely hard. When a poor man is rich he may be better situated, but to come to that position he had to accept many miseries. The fact is that in material life, whether one is miserable or happy, both conditions are miserable. If one actually wants happy, blissful life, one must become Krsna conscious and constantly engage in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. That is the real remedy. The entire world is under the illusion that people will be happy by advancing in materialistic measures to counteract the miseries of conditional life, but this attempt will never be successful. Humanity must be trained to engage in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. That is the purpose of the Krsna consciousness movement. There can be no happiness in changing one's material conditions, for everywhere there is trouble and misery.
so 'ham priyasya suhrdah paradevataya
lila-kathas tava nrsimha virinca-gitah
anjas titarmy anugrnan guna-vipramukto
durgani te pada-yugalaya-hamsa-sangah
sah--that; aham--I (Prahlada Maharaja); priyasya--of the dearmost; suhrdah--well-wisher; paradevatayah--of the Supreme personality of Godhead; lila-kathah--narrations of the pastimes; tava--Your; nrsimha--O my Lord Nrsimhadeva; virinca-gitah--given by Lord Brahma by the disciplic succession; anjah--easily; titarmi--I shall cross; anugrnan--constantly describing; guna--by the modes of material nature; vipramuktah--specifically being uncontaminated; durgani--all miserable conditions of life; te--of You; pada-yuga-alaya--fully absorbed in meditation on the lotus feet; hamsa-sangah--having the association of the hamsas, or liberated persons (who have no connection with material activities).
O my Lord Nrsimhadeva, by engaging in Your transcendental loving service in the association of devotees who are liberated souls [hamsas], I shall become completely uncontaminated by the association of the three modes of material nature and be able to chant the glories of Your Lordship, who are so dear to me. I shall chant Your glories, following exactly in the footsteps of Lord Brahma and his disciplic succession. In this way I shall undoubtedly be able to cross the ocean of nescience.
A devotee's life and duty are very well explained herein. As soon as a devotee can chant the holy name and glories of the Supreme Lord, he certainly comes to the liberated position. Attachment for glorifying the Lord by hearing and chanting the holy name and activities of the Lord (sravanam kirtanam visnoh) certainly brings one to the position where material contamination is absent. One should chant the bona fide songs received from the disciplic succession. In Bhagavad-gita it is said that the chanting is powerful when one follows the disciplic succession (evam parampara-praptam imam rajarsayo viduh). Manufacturing many ways of chanting will never be effective. However, chanting the song or the narration left by the previous acaryas (mahajano yena gatah sa panthah) is extremely effective, and this process is very easy. Therefore in this verse Prahlada Maharaja uses the word anjah ("easily"). Accepting the thoughts of exalted authorities through disciplic succession is certainly much easier than the method of mental speculation, by which one tries to invent some means to understand the Absolute Truth. The best process is to accept the instructions of the previous acaryas and follow them. Then God realization and self-realization become extremely easy. By following this easy method, one is liberated from the contamination of the material modes of nature, and thus one can certainly cross the ocean of nescience, in which there are many miserable conditions. By following in the footsteps of the great acaryas, one associates with the hamsas or paramahamsas, those who are completely freed from material contamination. Indeed, by following the instructions of the acaryas one is always freed from all material contamination, and thus one's life becomes successful, for one reaches the goal of life. This material world is miserable, regardless of one's standard of life. Of this there is no doubt. Attempts to mitigate the miseries of material existence by material methods will never be successful. One must take to Krsna consciousness to become really happy; otherwise happiness is impossible. One might say that becoming advanced in spiritual life also involves tapasya, voluntary acceptance of some inconvenience. However, such inconvenience is not as dangerous as material attempts to mitigate all miseries.
balasya neha saranam pitarau nrsimha
nartasya cagadam udanvati majjato nauh
taptasya tat-pratividhir ya ihanjasestas
tavad vibho tanu-bhrtam tvad-upeksitanam
balasya--of a little child; na--not; iha--in this world; saranam--shelter (protection); pitarau--the father and mother; nrsimha--O my Lord Nrsimhadeva; na--neither; artasya--of a person suffering from some disease; ca--also; agadam--medicine; udanvati--in the water of the ocean; majjatah--of a person who is drowning; nauh--the boat; taptasya--of a person suffering from a condition of material misery; tat-pratividhih--the counteraction (invented for stopping the suffering of material existence); yah--that which; iha--in this material world; anjasa--very easily; istah--accepted (as a remedy); tavat--similarly; vibho--O my Lord, O Supreme; tanu-bhrtam--of the living entities who have accepted material bodies; tvat-upeksitanam--who are neglected by You and not accepted by You.
My Lord Nrsimhadeva, O Supreme, because of a bodily conception of life, embodied souls neglected and not cared for by You cannot do anything for their betterment. Whatever remedies they accept, although perhaps temporarily beneficial, are certainly impermanent. For example, a father and mother cannot protect their child, a physician and medicine cannot relieve a suffering patient, and a boat on the ocean cannot protect a drowning man.
Through parental care, through remedies for different kinds of disease, and through means of protection on the water, in the air and on land, there is always an endeavor for relief from various kinds of suffering in the material world, but none of them are guaranteed measures for protection. They may be beneficial temporarily, but they afford no permanent benefit. Despite the presence of a father and mother, a child cannot be protected from accidental death, disease and various other miseries. No one can help, including the parents. Ultimately the shelter is the Lord, and one who takes shelter of the Lord is protected. This is guaranteed. As the Lord says in Bhagavad-gita (9.31), kaunteya pratijanihi na me bhaktah pranasyati: "O son of Kunti, declare it boldly that My devotee never perishes." Therefore, unless one is protected by the mercy of the Lord, no remedial measure can act effectively. One should consequently depend fully on the causeless mercy of the Lord. Although as a matter of routine duty one must of course accept other remedial measures, no one can protect one who is neglected by the Supreme personality of Godhead. In this material world, everyone is trying to counteract the onslaught of material nature, but everyone is ultimately fully controlled by material nature. Therefore even though so-called philosophers and scientists try to surmount the onslaught of material nature, they have not been able to do so. Krsna says in Bhagavad-gita (13.9) that the real sufferings of the material world are four--janma-mrtyu jara-vyadhi (birth, death, old age and disease). In the history of the world, no one has been successful in conquering these miseries imposed by material nature. prakrteh kriyamanani gunaih karmani sarvasah. Nature (prakrti) is so strong that no one can overcome her stringent laws. So-called scientists, philosophers, religionists and politicians should therefore conclude that they cannot offer facilities to the people in general. They should make vigorous propaganda to awaken the populace and raise them to the platform of Krsna consciousness. Our humble attempt to propagate the Krsna consciousness movement all over the world is the only remedy that can bring about a peaceful and happy life. We can never be happy without the mercy of the Supreme Lord (tvad-upeksitanam). If we keep displeasing our supreme father, we shall never be happy within this material world, in either the upper or lower planetary systems.
yasmin yato yarhi yena ca yasya yasmad
yasmai yatha yad uta yas tv aparah paro va
bhavah karoti vikaroti prthak svabhavah
sancoditas tad akhilam bhavatah svarupam
yasmin--in any condition of life; yatah--because of anything; yarhi--at any time (past, present or future); yena--by something; ca--also; yasya--in relationship with anyone; yasmat--from any causal representative; yasmai--unto anyone (without discrimination in regard to place, person or time); yatha--in any manner; yat--whatever it may be; uta--certainly; yah--anyone who; tu--but; aparah--the other; parah--the supreme; va--or; bhavah--being; karoti--does; vikaroti--changes; prthak--separate; svabhavah--nature (under the influence of different modes of material nature); sancoditah--being influenced; tat--that; akhilam--all; bhavatah--of Your Lordship; svarupam--emanated from Your different energies.
My dear Lord, everyone in this material world is under the modes of material nature, being influenced by goodness, passion and ignorance. Everyone--from the greatest personality, Lord Brahma, down to the small ant--works under the influence of these modes. Therefore everyone in this material world is influenced by Your energy. The cause for which they work, the place where they work, the time when they work, the matter due to which they work, the goal of life they have considered final, and the process for obtaining this goal--all are nothing but manifestations of Your energy. Indeed, since the energy and energetic are identical, all of them are but manifestations of You.
Whether one thinks himself protected by his parents, by the government, by some place or by some other cause, everything is due to the various potencies of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Everything that is done, whether in the higher, middle or lower planetary systems, is due to the supervision or control of the Supreme Lord. It is therefore said, karmana-daiva-netrena jantur dehopapattaye. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Supersoul within the core of everyone's heart, gives inspirations for action according to one's mentality. All of these mentalities are merely facilities given by Krsna to the person acting. Bhagavad-gita therefore says, mattah smrtir jnanam apohanam ca: everyone works according to the inspiration given by the Supersoul. Because everyone has a different goal of life, everyone acts differently, as guided by the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
The words yasmin yato yarhi yena ca yasya yasmat indicate that all activities, whatever they may be, are but different features of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. All of them are created by the living entity and fulfilled by the mercy of the Lord. Although all such activities are nondifferent from the Lord, the Lord nonetheless directs, sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja: "Give up all other duties and surrender unto Me." When we accept this direction from the Lord, we can actually become happy. As long as we work according to our material senses we are in material life, but as soon as we act according to the real, transcendental direction of the Lord, our position is spiritual. The activities of bhakti, devotional service, are directly under the control of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Narada-pancaratra states:
sevanam bhaktir ucyate
When one gives up materially designated positions and works directly under the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one's spiritual life is revived. This is described as svarupena avasthiti, being situated in one's original constitutional position. This is the real description of mukti, or liberation from material bondage.
maya manah srjati karmamayam baliyah
kalena codita-gunanumatena pumsah
chandomayam yad ajayarpita-sodasaram
samsara-cakram aja ko 'titaret tvad-anyah
maya--the external energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; manah--the mind; srjati--creates; karma-mayam--producing hundreds and thousands of desires and acting accordingly; baliyah--extremely powerful, insurmountable; kalena--by time; codita-guna--whose three modes of material nature are agitated; anumatena--permitted by the mercy of the glance (time); pumsah--of the plenary portion, Lord Visnu, the expansion of Lord Krsna; chandah-mayam--chiefly influenced by the directions in the Vedas; yat--which; ajaya--because of dark ignorance; arpita--offered; sodasa--sixteen; aram--the spokes; samsara-cakram--the wheel of repeated birth and death in different species of life; aja--O unborn Lord; kah--who (is there); atitaret--able to get out; tvat-anyah--without taking shelter at Your lotus feet.
O Lord, O supreme eternal, by expanding Your plenary portion You have created the subtle bodies of the living entities through the agency of Your external energy, which is agitated by time. Thus the mind entraps the living entity in unlimited varieties of desires to be fulfilled by the Vedic directions of karma-kanda [fruitive activity] and the sixteen elements. Who can get free from this entanglement unless he takes shelter at Your lotus feet?
If the hand of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is present in everything, where is the question of being liberated from material encagement to spiritual, blissful life? Indeed, it is a fact that Krsna is the source of everything, as we understand from Krsna Himself in Bhagavad-gita (aham sarvasya prabhavah). All the activities in both the spiritual and material world are certainly conducted by the orders of the Supreme personality of Godhead through the agency of either the material or spiritual nature. As further confirmed in Bhagavad-gita (9.10), mayadhyaksena prakrtih suyate sacaracaram: without the direction of the Supreme Lord, material nature cannot do anything; it cannot act independently. Therefore, in the beginning the living entity wanted to enjoy the material energy, and to give the living entity all facility, Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, created this material world and gave the living entity the facility to concoct different ideas and plans through the mind. These facilities offered by the Lord to the living entity constitute the sixteen kinds of perverted support in terms of the knowledge-gathering senses, the working senses, the mind and the five material elements. The wheel of repeated birth and death is created by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but to direct the bewildered living entity in progress toward liberation according to varied stages of advancement, different directions are given in the Vedas (chandomayam). If one wants to be elevated to the higher planetary systems, he may follow the Vedic directions. As the Lord states in Bhagavad-gita (9.25):
yanti deva-vrata devan
pitrn yanti pitr-vratah
bhutani yanti bhutejya
yanti mad-yajino 'pi mam
"Those who worship the demigods will take birth among the demigods; those who worship ghosts and spirits will take birth among such beings; those who worship ancestors go to the ancestors; and those who worship Me will live with Me." The real purpose of the Vedas is to direct one back home, back to Godhead, but the living entity, not knowing the real goal of his life, wants to go sometimes here and sometimes there and do sometimes this and sometimes that. In this way he wanders throughout the entire universe, imprisoned in various species and thus engaging in various activities for which he must suffer the reactions. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu therefore says:
brahmanda bhramite kona bhagyavan jiva
guru-krsna-prasade paya bhakti-lata-bija
(Cc. Madhya 19.151)
The fallen, conditioned living entity, trapped by the external energy, loiters in the material world, but if by good fortune he meets a bona fide representative of the Lord who gives him the seed of devotional service, and if he takes advantage of such a guru, or representative of God, he receives the bhakti-lata-bija, the seed of devotional service. If he properly cultivates Krsna consciousness, he is then gradually elevated to the spiritual world. The ultimate conclusion is that one must surrender to the principles of bhakti-yoga, for then one will gradually attain liberation. No other method of liberation from the material struggle is at all possible.
sa tvam hi nitya-vijitatma-gunah sva-dhamna
cakre visrstam ajayesvara sodasare
nispidyamanam upakarsa vibho prapannam
sah--that one (the supreme independent person who, through His external energy, has created the material mind, which is the cause of all suffering in this material world); tvam--You (are); hi--indeed; nitya--eternally; vijita-atma--conquered; gunah--whose property of the intelligence; sva-dhamna--by Your personal spiritual energy; kalah--the time element (which creates and annihilates); vasi-krta--brought under Your control; visrjya--by which all effects; visarga--and causes; saktih--the energy; cakre--in the wheel of time (the repetition of birth and death); visrstam--being thrown; ajaya--by Your external energy, the mode of ignorance; isvara--O supreme controller; sodasa-are--with sixteen spokes (the five material elements, the ten senses, and the leader of the senses, namely the mind); nispidyamanam--being crushed (under that wheel); upakarsa--kindly take me (to the shelter of Your lotus feet); vibho--O supreme great; prapannam--who am fully surrendered unto You.
My dear Lord, O supreme great, You have created this material world of sixteen constituents, but You are transcendental to their material qualities. In other words, these material qualities are under Your full control, and You are never conquered by them. Therefore the time element is Your representation. My Lord, O Supreme, no one can conquer You. As for me, however, I am being crushed by the wheel of time, and therefore I surrender fully unto You. Now kindly take me under the protection of Your lotus feet.
The wheel of material miseries is also a creation of the Supreme personality of Godhead, but He is not under the control of the material energy. Rather, He is the controller of the material energy, whereas we, the living entities, are under its control. When we give up our constitutional position (jivera 'svarupa' haya--krsnera 'nitya-dasa'), the Supreme Personality of Godhead creates this material energy and her influence over the conditioned soul. Therefore He is the Supreme, and only He can deliver the conditioned soul from the onslaught of material nature (mam eva ye prapadyante mayam etam taranti te). Maya, the external energy, continuously imposes upon the conditioned souls the suffering of the threefold miseries of this material world. Therefore, in the previous verse, Prahlada Maharaja prayed to the Lord, "But for Your Lordship, no one can save me." Prahlada Maharaja has also explained that a child's protectors, his parents, cannot save the child from the onslaught of birth and death, nor can medicine and a physician save one from death, nor can a boat or similar means of protection save a person drowning in the water, for everything is controlled by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore suffering humanity must surrender to Krsna, as Krsna Himself demands in the last instruction of Bhagavad-gita (18.66):
mam ekam saranam vraja
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo
moksayisyami ma sucah
"Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear." All of human society must take advantage of this offer and thus be saved by Krsna from the danger of being crushed by the wheel of time, the wheel of past, present and future.
The word nispidyamanam ("being crushed") is very significant. Every living entity in the material condition is actually being crushed again and again, and to be saved from this position one must take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Then one will be happy. The word prapannam is also very significant, for unless one fully surrenders to the Supreme Lord one cannot be saved from being crushed. A criminal is put in prison and punished by the government, but the same government, if it likes, can release the criminal from imprisoned life. Similarly, we must know conclusively that our material condition of suffering has been allotted to us by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and if we want to be saved from this suffering, we must appeal to the same controller. Thus one can be saved from this material condition.
drsta maya divi vibho 'khila-dhisnya-panam
ayuh sriyo vibhava icchati yan jano 'yam
ye 'smat pituh kupita-hasa-vijrmbhita-bhru-
visphurjitena lulitah sa tu te nirastah
drstah--have been seen practically; maya--by me; divi--in the higher planetary systems; vibho--O my Lord; akhila--all; dhisnya-panam--of the chiefs of different states or planets; ayuh--the duration of life; sriyah--the opulences; vibhavah--glories, influence; icchati--desire; yan--all of which; janah ayam--these people in general; ye--all of which (duration of life, opulence, etc.); asmat pituh--of our father, Hiranyakasipu; kupita-hasa--by his critical laughing when angry; vijrmbhita--being expanded; bhru--of the eyebrows; visphurjitena--simply by the feature; lulitah--pulled down or finished; sah--he (my father); tu--but; te--by You; nirastah--completely vanquished.
My dear Lord, people in general want to be elevated to the higher planetary systems for a long duration of life, opulence and enjoyment, but I have seen all of these through the activities of my father. When my father was angry and he laughed sarcastically at the demigods, they were immediately vanquished simply by seeing the movements of his eyebrows. Yet my father, who was so powerful, has now been vanquished by You within a moment.
Within this material world, one should understand by practical experience the value of material opulence, longevity and influence. We have actual experience that even on this planet there have been many great politicians and military commanders like Napolean, Hitler, Shubhash Chandra Bose and Gandhi, but as soon as their lives were finished, their popularity, influence and everything else were finished also. Prahlada Maharaja formerly gathered the same experience by seeing the activities of Hiranyakasipu, his great father. Therefore Prahlada Maharaja did not give any importance to anything in this material world. No one can maintain his body or material achievements forever. A Vaisnava can understand that nothing within this material world, not even that which is powerful, opulent or influential, can endure. At any time such things may be vanquished. And who can vanquish them? The Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore one should conclusively understand that no one is greater than the Supreme Great. Since the Supreme Great demands, sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja, every intelligent man must agree to this proposal. One must surrender unto the Lord to be saved from the wheel of repeated birth, death, old age and disease.
tasmad amus tanu-bhrtam aham asiso 'jna
ayuh sriyam vibhavam aindriyam avirincyat
necchami te vilulitan uruvikramena
kalatmanopanaya mam nija-bhrtya-parsvam
tasmat--therefore; amuh--all those (opulences); tanu-bhrtam--with reference to living entities possessing material bodies; aham--I; asisah ajnah--knowing well the results of such benedictions; ayuh--a long duration of life; sriyam--material opulences; vibhavam--influence and glories; aindriyam--all meant for sense gratification; avirincyat--beginning from Lord Brahma (down to the small ant); na--not; icchami--I want; te--by You; vilulitan--subject to be finished; uru-vikramena--who are extremely powerful; kala-atmana--as the master of the time factor; upanaya--kindly take to; mam--me; nija-bhrtya-parsvam--the association of Your faithful servant, Your devotee.
My dear Lord, now I have complete experience concerning the worldly opulence, mystic power, longevity and other material pleasures enjoyed by all living entities, from Lord Brahma down to the ant. As powerful time, You destroy them all. Therefore, because of my experience, I do not wish to possess them. My dear Lord, I request You to place me in touch with Your pure devotee and let me serve him as a sincere servant.
By studying Srimad-Bhagavatam, every intelligent man can get experience like that of Prahlada Maharaja through the historical incidents mentioned in this great literature of spiritual knowledge. By following in the footsteps of Prahlada Maharaja, one should gain thorough experience that all material opulence is perishable at every moment. Even this body, for which we try to acquire so many sensual pleasures, may perish at any time. The soul, however, is eternal. Na hanyate hanyamane sarire: the soul is never vanquished, even when the body is destroyed. An intelligent man, therefore, should care for the happiness of the spirit soul, not of the body. Even if one receives a body with a long duration of life, like those of Lord Brahma and the other great demigods, it will also be destroyed, and therefore an intelligent man should be concerned with the imperishable spirit soul.
To save oneself, one must take shelter of a pure devotee. Narottama dasa Thakura therefore says, chadiya vaisnava-seva nistara payeche keba. If one wants to save himself from material nature's onslaughts, which arise because of the material body, one must become Krsna conscious and try to fully understand Krsna. As stated in Bhagavad-gita (4.9), janma karma ca me divyam evam yo vetti tattvatah. One should understand Krsna in truth, and this one can do only by serving a pure devotee. Thus Prahlada Maharaja prays that Lord Nrsimhadeva place him in touch with a pure devotee and servant instead of awarding him material opulence. Every intelligent man within this material world must follow Prahlada Maharaja. Mahajano yena gatah sa panthah. Prahlada Maharaja did not want to enjoy the estate left by his father; rather, he wanted to become a servant of the servant of the Lord. The illusory human civilization that perpetually endeavors for happiness through material advancement is rejected by Prahlada Maharaja and those who strictly follow in his footsteps.
There are different types of material opulence, known technically as bhukti, mukti and siddhi. Bhukti refers to being situated in a very good position, like a position with the demigods in the higher planetary systems, where one can enjoy material sense gratification to the greatest extent. Mukti refers to being disgusted with material advancement and thus desiring to become one with the Supreme. Siddhi refers to executing a severe type of meditation, like that of the yogis, to attain eight kinds of perfection (anima, laghima, mahima, etc.). All who desire some material advancement through bhukti, mukti or siddhi are punishable in due course of time, and they return to material activities. Prahlada Maharaja rejected them all; he simply wanted to engage as an apprentice under the guidance of a pure devotee.
kutrasisah sruti-sukha mrgatrsni-rupah
kvedam kalevaram asesa-rujam virohah
nirvidyate na tu jano yad apiti vidvan
kamanalam madhu-lavaih samayan durapaih
kutra--where; asisah--benedictions; sruti-sukhah--simply pleasing to hear of; mrgatrsni-rupah--exactly like a mirage in the desert; kva--where; idam--this; kalevaram--body; asesa--unlimited; rujam--of diseases; virohah--the place for generating; nirvidyate--become satiated; na--not; tu--but; janah--people in general; yat api--although; iti--thus; vidvan--so-called learned philosophers, scientists and politicians; kama-analam--the blazing fire of lusty desires; madhu-lavaih--with drops of honey (happiness); samayan--controlling; durapaih--very difficult to obtain.
In this material world, every living entity desires some future happiness, which is exactly like a mirage in the desert. Where is water in the desert, or, in other words, where is happiness in this material world? As for this body, what is its value? It is merely a source of various diseases. The so-called philosophers, scientists and politicians know this very well, but nonetheless they aspire for temporary happiness. Happiness is very difficult to obtain, but because they are unable to control their senses, they run after the so-called happiness of the material world and never come to the right conclusion.
There is a song in the Bengali language which states, "I constructed this home for happiness, but unfortunately there was a fire, and everything has now been burnt to ashes." This illustrates the nature of material happiness. Everyone knows it, but nonetheless one plans to hear or think something very pleasing. Unfortunately, all of one's plans are annihilated in due course of time. There were many politicians who planned empires, supremacy and control of the world, but in due time all their plans and empires--and even the politicians themselves--were vanquished. Everyone should take lessons from Prahlada Maharaja about how we are engaged in so-called temporary happiness through bodily exercises for sense enjoyment. All of us repeatedly make plans, which are all repeatedly frustrated. Therefore one should stop such planmaking.
As one cannot stop a blazing fire by constantly pouring ghee upon it, one cannot satisfy oneself by increasing plans for sense enjoyment. The blazing fire is bhava-maha-davagni, the forest fire of material existence. This forest fire occurs automatically, without endeavor. We want to be happy in the material world, but this will never be possible; we shall simply increase the blazing fire of desires. Our desires cannot be satisfied by illusory thoughts and plans; rather, we have to follow the instructions of Lord Krsna: sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja. Then we shall be happy. Otherwise, in the name of happiness, we shall continue to suffer miserable conditions.
kvaham rajah-prabhava isa tamo 'dhike 'smin
jatah suretara-kule kva tavanukampa
na brahmano na tu bhavasya na vai ramaya
yan me 'rpitah sirasi padma-karah prasadah
kva--where; aham--I (am); rajah-prabhavah--being born in a body full of passion; isa--O my Lord; tamah--the mode of ignorance; adhike--surpassing in; asmin--in this; jatah--born; sura-itara-kule--in a family of atheists or demons (who are subordinate to the devotees); kva--where; tava--Your; anukampa--causeless mercy; na--not; brahmanah--of Lord Brahma; na--not; tu--but; bhavasya--of Lord Siva; na--nor; vai--even; ramayah--of the goddess of fortune; yat--which; me--of me; arpitah--offered; sirasi--on the head; padma-karah--lotus hand; prasadah--the symbol of mercy.
O my Lord, O Supreme, because I was born in a family full of the hellish material qualities of passion and ignorance, what is my position? And what is to be said of Your causeless mercy, which was never offered even to Lord Brahma, Lord Siva or the goddess of fortune, Laksmi? You never put Your lotus hand upon their heads, but You have put it upon mine.
Prahlada Maharaja was surprised at the causeless mercy of the Supreme Lord, the Personality of Godhead, for although Prahlada was born in a demoniac family and although the Lord had never before placed His lotus hand on the head of Brahma, Siva or the goddess of fortune, His constant companion, Lord Nrsimhadeva kindly placed His hand on the head of Prahlada. This is the meaning of causeless mercy. The causeless mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead may be bestowed upon anyone, regardless of his position in this material world. Everyone is eligible to worship the Supreme Lord, irrespective of his material position. This is confirmed in Bhagavad-gita (14.26):
mam ca yo 'vyabhicarena
bhakti yogena sevate
sa gunan samatityaitan
"One who engages in full devotional service, who does not fall down in any circumstance, at once transcends the modes of material nature and thus comes to the level of Brahman." Anyone who engages in continuous devotional service to the Lord is situated in the spiritual world and has nothing to do with the material qualities (sattva-guna, rajo-guna and tamo-guna).
Because Prahlada Maharaja was situated on the spiritual platform, he had nothing to do with his body, which had been born of the modes of passion and ignorance. The symptoms of passion and ignorance are described in Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.2.19) as lust and hankering (tada rajas tamo-bhavah kama-lobhadayas ca ye). Prahlada Maharaja, being a great devotee, thought the body born of his father to be born of passion and ignorance, but because Prahlada was fully engaged in the service of the Lord, his body did not belong to the material world. The pure Vaisnava's body is spiritualized even in this life. For example, when iron is put into a fire it becomes red-hot and is no longer iron but fire. Similarly, the so-called material bodies of devotees who fully engage in the devotional service of the Lord, being constantly in the fire of spiritual life, have nothing to do with matter, but are spiritualized.
Srila Madhvacarya remarks that the goddess of fortune, the mother of the universe, could not get mercy similar to that which was offered to Prahlada Maharaja, for although the goddess of fortune is always a constant companion of the Supreme Lord, the Lord is more inclined to His devotees. In other words, devotional service is so great that when it is offered even by those born in low families, the Lord accepts it as being more valuable than the service offered by the goddess of fortune. Lord Brahma, King Indra and the other demigods living in the upper planetary systems are situated in a different spirit of consciousness, and therefore they are sometimes troubled by demons, but a devotee, even if situated in the lower planets, enjoys life in Krsna consciousness under any circumstances. paratah svatah karmatah: as he acts himself, as he is instructed by others or as he performs his material activities, he enjoys life in every respect. In this regard, Madhvacarya quotes the following verses, which are mentioned in the Brahma-tarka:
tad anye ca kramadeva
sada muktau smrtav api
hari-bhaktau ca taj-jnane
sukhe ca niyamena tu
paratah svatah karmato va
na kathancit tad anyatha
naisa paravara-matir bhavato nanu syaj
jantor yathatma-suhrdo jagatas tathapi
samsevaya surataror iva te prasadah
sevanurupam udayo na paravaratvam
na--not; esa--this; para-avara--of higher or lower; matih--such discrimination; bhavatah--of Your Lordship; nanu--indeed; syat--there can be; jantoh--of ordinary living entities; yatha--as; atma-suhrdah--of one who is the friend; jagatah--of the whole material world; tathapi--but still (there is such a demonstration of intimacy or difference); samsevaya--according to the degree of service rendered by the devotee; surataroh iva--like that of the desire tree in Vaikunthaloka (which offers fruits according to the desire of the devotee); te--Your; prasadah--benediction or blessing; seva-anurupam--according to the category of service one renders to the Lord; udayah--manifestation; na--not; para-avaratvam--discrimination due to higher or lower levels.
Unlike an ordinary living entity, my Lord, You do not discriminate between friends and enemies, the favorable and the unfavorable, because for You there is no conception of higher and lower. Nonetheless, You offer Your benedictions according to the level of one's service, exactly as a desire tree delivers fruits according to one's desires and makes no distinction between the lower and the higher.
In Bhagavad-gita (4.11) the Lord clearly says, ye yatha mam prapadyante tams tathaiva bhajamy aham: "As one surrenders to Me, I reward him accordingly." As stated by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, jivera 'svarupa' haya--krsnera 'nitya-dasa': every living being is an eternal servant of Krsna. According to the service the living entity renders, he automatically receives benedictions from Krsna, who does not make distinctions, thinking, "Here is a person in an intimate relationship with Me, and here is a person I dislike." Krsna advises everyone to surrender to Him (sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja). One's relationship with the Supreme Lord is in proportion to that surrender and the service one renders unto the Lord. Thus throughout the entire world the higher or lower positions of the living entities are selected by the living entities themselves. If one is inclined to dictate that the Lord grant something, one receives benedictions according to his desires. If one wants to be elevated to the higher planetary systems, the heavenly planets, he can be promoted to the place he desires, and if one wants to remain a hog or a pig on earth, the Lord fulfills that desire also. Therefore, one's position is determined by one's desires; the Lord is not responsible for the higher or lower grades of our existence. This is further explained quite definitely in Bhagavad-gita (9.25) by the Lord Himself:
yanti deva-vrata devan
pitrn yanti pitr-vratah
bhutani yanti bhutejya
yanti mad-yajino 'pi mam
Some people want to be promoted to the heavenly planets, some want to be promoted to Pitrloka, and some want to remain on earth, but if one is interested in returning home, back to Godhead, he can be promoted there also. According to the demands of a particular devotee, he receives a result by the grace of the Lord. The Lord does not discriminate, thinking, "Here is a person favorable to Me, and here is a person who is not favorable." Rather, He fulfills the desires of everyone. Therefore the sastras enjoin:
akamah sarva-kamo va
yajeta purusam param
"Whether one is without desire [the condition of the devotees], or is desirous of all fruitive results, or is after liberation, one should with all efforts try to worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead for complete perfection, culminating in Krsna consciousness." (Bhag. 2.3.10) According to one's position, whether as a devotee, a karmi or a jnani, whatever one wants one can get if one fully engages in the service of the Lord.
evam janam nipatitam prabhavahi-kupe
kamabhikamam anu yah prapatan prasangat
krtvatmasat surarsina bhagavan grhitah
so 'ham katham nu visrje tava bhrtya-sevam
evam--thus; janam--people in general; nipatitam--fallen; prabhava--of material existence; ahi-kupe--in a blind well full of snakes; kama-abhikamam--desiring the sense objects; anu--following; yah--the person who; prapatan--falling down (in this condition); prasangat--because of bad association or increased association with material desires; krtva atmasat--causing me (to acquire spiritual qualities like himself, Sri Narada); sura-rsina--by the great saintly person (Narada); bhagavan--O my Lord; grhitah--accepted; sah--that person; aham--I; katham--how; nu--indeed; visrje--can give up; tava--Your; bhrtya-sevam--the service of Your pure devotee.
My dear Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, because of my association with material desires, one after another, I was gradually falling into a blind well full of snakes, following the general populace. But Your servant Narada Muni kindly accepted me as his disciple and instructed me how to achieve this transcendental position. Therefore, my first duty is to serve him. Mow could I leave his service?
As will be seen in later verses, even though Prahlada Maharaja was directly offered all the benedictions he might have desired, he refused to accept such offerings from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. On the contrary, he asked the Lord to engage him in the service of His servant Narada Muni. This is the symptom of a pure devotee. One should serve the spiritual master first. It is not that one should bypass the spiritual master and desire to serve the Supreme Lord. This is not the principle for a Vaisnava. Narottama dasa Thakura says:
tandera carana sevi bhakta-sane vasa
janame janame haya, ei abhilasa
One should not be anxious to offer direct service to the Lord. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu advised that one become a servant of the servant of the servant of the Lord (gopi-bhartuh pada-kamalayor dasa-dasanudasah). This is the process for approaching the Supreme Lord. The first service should be rendered to the spiritual master so that by his mercy one can approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead to render service. While teaching Rupa Gosvami, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, guru-krsna-prasade paya bhakti-lata-bija: one can achieve the seed of devotional service by the mercy of the guru, the spiritual master, and then by the mercy of Krsna. This is the secret of success. First one should try to please the spiritual master, and then one should attempt to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura also says, yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasado. One should not attempt to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead by concoction. One must first be prepared to serve the spiritual master, and when one is qualified he is automatically offered the platform of direct service to the Lord. Therefore Prahlada Maharaja proposed that he engage in the service of Narada Muni. He never proposed that he engage directly in the service of the Lord. This is the right conclusion. Therefore he said, so 'ham katham nu visrje tava bhrtya-sevam: "How can I give up the service of my spiritual master, who has favored me in such a way that I am now able to see You face to face?" Prahlada Maharaja prayed to the Lord that he might continue to engage in the service of his spiritual master, Narada Muni.
mat-prana-raksanam ananta pitur vadhas ca
manye sva-bhrtya-rsi-vakyam rtam vidhatum
khadgam pragrhya yad avocad asad-vidhitsus
tvam isvaro mad-aparo 'vatu kam harami
mat-prana-raksanam--saving my life; ananta--O unlimited one, reservoir of unlimited transcendental qualities; pituh--of my father; vadhah ca--and killing; manye--I consider; sva-bhrtya--of Your unalloyed servants; rsi-vakyam--and the words of the great saint Narada; rtam--true; vidhatum--to prove; khadgam--sword; pragrhya--taking in hand; yat--since; avocat--my father said; asat-vidhitsuh--desiring to act very impiously; tvam--You; isvarah--any supreme controller; mat-aparah--other than me; avatu--let him save; kam--your head; harami--I shall now separate.
My Lord, O unlimited reservoir of transcendental qualities, You have killed my father, Hiranyakasipu, and saved me from his sword. He had said very angrily, "If there is any supreme controller other than me, let Him save you. I shall now sever your head from your body." Therefore I think that both in saving me and in killing him, You have acted just to prove true the words of Your devotee. There is no other cause.
In Bhagavad-gita (9.29) the Lord says:
samo 'ham sarva-bhutesu
na me dvesyo 'sti na priyah
ye bhajanti tu mam bhaktya
mayi te tesu capy aham
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is undoubtedly equal to everyone. He has no friend and no enemy, but as one desires benefits from the Lord, the Lord is very pleased to award them. The lower and higher positions of different living entities are due to their desires, for the Lord, being equal to all, fulfills everyone's desires. The killing of Hiranyakasipu and saving of Prahlada Maharaja also strictly followed this law of the supreme controller's activities. When Prahlada's mother, this law of the supreme controller's activities. When Prahlada's mother, Hiranyakasipu's wife, Kayadhu, was under the protection of Narada, she prayed for the protection of her son from the enemy, and Narada Muni gave assurance that Prahlada Maharaja would always be saved from the enemy's hands. Thus when Hiranyakasipu was going to kill Prahlada Maharaja, the Lord saved Prahlada to fulfill His promise in Bhagavad-gita (kaunteya pratijanihi na me bhaktah pranasyati) and to prove true the words of Narada. The Lord can fulfill many purposes through one action. Thus the killing of Hiranyakasipu and the saving of Prahlada were enacted simultaneously to prove the truthfulness of the Lord's devotee and the fidelity of the Lord Himself to His own purpose. The Lord acts only to satisfy the desires of His devotees; otherwise He has nothing to do. As confirmed in the Vedic language, na tasya karyam karanam ca vidyate: the Lord has nothing to do personally, for everything is done through His different potencies (parasya saktir vividhaiva sruyate). The Lord has multifarious energies, through which everything is done. Thus when He personally does something, it is only to satisfy His devotee. The Lord is known as bhakta-vatsala because He very much favors His devoted servant.
ekas tvam eva jagad etam amusya yat tvam
ady-antayoh prthag avasyasi madhyatas ca
srstva guna-vyatikaram nija-mayayedam
naneva tair avasitas tad anupravistah
ekah--one; tvam--You; eva--only; jagat--the cosmic manifestation; etam--this; amusya--of that (the whole universe); yat--since; tvam--You; adi--in the beginning; antayoh--at the end; prthak--separately; avasyasi--exist (as the cause); madhyatah ca--also in the middle (the duration between the beginning and end); srstva--creating; guna-vyatikaram--the transformation of the three modes of material nature; nija-mayaya--by Your own external energy; idam--this; nana iva--like many varieties; taih--by them (the modes); avasitah--experienced; tat--that; anupravistah--entering into.
My dear Lord, You alone manifest Yourself as the entire cosmic manifestation, for You existed before the creation, You exist after the annihilation, and You are the maintainer between the beginning and the end. All this is done by Your external energy through actions and reactions of the three modes of material nature. Therefore whatever exists--externally and internally--is You alone.
As stated in the Brahma-samhita (5.35):
eko 'py asau racayitum jagad-anda-kotim
yac-chaktir asti jagad-anda-caya yad-antah
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
"I worship the Personality of Godhead, Govinda, who, by one of His plenary portions, enters the existence of every universe and every atomic particle and thus unlimitedly manifests His infinite energy all over the material creation." To create this cosmic manifestation, Govinda, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, expands His external energy and thus enters everything in the universe, including the atomic particles. In this way He exists in the entire cosmic manifestation. Therefore the activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in maintaining His devotees are transcendental, not material. He exists in everything as the cause and effect, yet He is separate, existing beyond this cosmic manifestation. This is also confirmed in Bhagavad-gita (9.4):
maya tatam idam sarvam
na caham tesv avasthitah
The entire cosmic manifestation is but an expansion of the Lord's energy; everything rests in Him, yet He exists separately, beyond creation, maintenance and annihilation. The varieties of creation are performed by His external energy. Because the energy and energetic are one, everything is one (sarvam khalv idam brahma). Therefore without Krsna, the Parabrahman, nothing can exist. The difference between the material and spiritual worlds is that His external energy is manifested in the material world whereas His spiritual energy exists in the spiritual world. Both energies, however, belong to the Supreme Lord, and therefore in a higher sense there is no exhibition of material energy because everything is spiritual energy. The energy in which the Lord's all-pervasiveness is not realized is called material. Otherwise, everything is spiritual. Therefore Prahlada prays, ekas tvam eva jagad etam: "You are everything.
tvam va idam sadasad isa bhavams tato 'nyo
maya yad atma-para-buddhir iyam hy apartha
yad yasya janma nidhanam sthitir iksanam ca
tad vaitad eva vasukalavad asti-tarvoh
tvam--You; va--either; idam--the whole universe; sat-asat--consisting of cause and effect (You are the cause, and Your energy is the effect); isa--O my Lord, the supreme controller; bhavan--Yourself; tatah--from the universe; anyah--separately situated (the creation is made by the Lord, yet He remains separate from the creation); maya--the energy that appears as a separate creation; yat--of which; atma-para-buddhih--the conception of one's own and another's; iyam--this; hi--indeed; apartha--has no meaning (everything is Your Lordship, and therefore there is no hope for understanding "my" and "your"); yat--the substance from which; yasya--of which; janma--creation; nidhanam--annihilation; sthitih--maintenance; iksanam--manifestation; ca--and; tat--that; va--or; etat--this; eva--certainly; vasukala-vat--like the quality of being the earth and, beyond that, the subtle element of the earth (smell); asti-tarvoh--the seed (the cause) and the tree (the effect of the cause).
My dear Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, the entire cosmic creation is caused by You, and the cosmic manifestation is an effect of Your energy. Although the entire cosmos is but You alone, You keep Yourself aloof from it. The conception of "mine and yours," is certainly a type of illusion [maya] because everything is an emanation from You and is therefore not different from You. Indeed, the cosmic manifestation is nondifferent from You, and the annihilation is also caused by You. This relationship between Your Lordship and the cosmos is illustrated by the example of the seed and the tree, or the subtle cause and the gross manifestation.
In Bhagavad-gita (7.10) the Lord says:
bijam mam sarva-bhutanam
viddhi partha sanatanam
"O son of Prtha, know that I am the original seed of all existences." In the Vedic literature it is said, isavasyam idam sarvam, yato va imani bhutani jayante and sarvam khalv idam brahma. All this Vedic information indicates that there is only one God and that there is nothing else but Him. The Mayavadi philosophers explain this in their own way, but the Supreme Personality of Godhead asserts the truth that He is everything and yet is separate from everything. This is the philosophy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, which is called acintya-bhedabheda-tattva. Everything is one, the Supreme Lord, yet everything is separate from the Lord. This is the understanding of oneness and difference.
The example given in this regard--vasukalavad asti-tarvoh--is very easy to understand. Everything exists in time, yet there are different phases of the time factor--present, past and future. Present, past and future are one. Every day we can experience the time factor as morning, noon and evening, and although morning is different from noon, which is different from evening, all of them taken together are one. The time factor is the energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but the Lord is separate from the time factor. Everything is created, maintained and annihilated by time, but the Supreme Lord, the Personality of Godhead, has no beginning and no end. He is nityah sasvatah--eternal, permanent. Everything passes through time's phases of present, past and future, yet the Lord is always the same. Thus there is undoubtedly a difference between the Lord and the cosmic manifestation, but actually they are not different. Accepting them to be different is called avidya, ignorance.
True oneness, however, is not equivalent to the conception of the Mayavadis. The true understanding is that the differences are manifested by the energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The seed is manifested as a tree, which displays varieties in its trunk, branches, leaves, flowers and fruits. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura has therefore sung, kesava tuya jagata vicitra: "My dear Lord, Your creation is full of varieties." The varieties are one and at the same time different. This is the philosophy of acintya-bhedabheda-tattva. The conclusion given in Brahma-samhita is this:
isvarah paramah krsnah
anadir adir govindah
"Krsna, known as Govinda, is the supreme controller. He has an eternal, blissful, spiritual body. He is the origin of all. He has no other origin, for He is the prime cause of all causes." Because the Lord is the supreme cause, everything is one with Him, but when we consider varieties, we find that one thing is different from another.
We may conclude, therefore, that there is no difference between one thing and another, yet in varieties there are differences. In this regard, Madhvacarya gives an example concerning a tree and a tree in fire. Both trees are the same, but they look different because of the time factor. The time factor is under the control of the Supreme Lord, and therefore the Supreme Lord is different from time. An advanced devotee consequently does not distinguish between happiness and distress. As stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.14.8):
tat te 'nukampam susamiksamano
bhunjana evatma-krtam vipakam
When a devotee is in a condition of so-called distress, he considers it a gift or blessing from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When a devotee is always thus situated in Krsna consciousness in any condition of life, he is described as mukti-pade sa daya-bhak, a perfect candidate for returning home, back to Godhead. The word daya-bhak means "inheritance." A son inherits the property of his father. Similarly, when the devotee is fully Krsna conscious, undisturbed by dualities, he is sure that he will return home, back to Godhead, just as one inherits his father's property.
nyasyedam atmani jagad vilayambu-madhye
sesetmana nija-sukhanubhavo nirihah
turye sthito na tu tamo na gunams ca yunkse
nyasya--throwing; idam--this; atmani--in Your own self; jagat--cosmic manifestation created by You; vilaya-ambu-madhye--in the Causal Ocean, in which everything is preserved in a state of reserved energy; sese--You act as if sleeping; atmana--by Yourself; nija--Your own personal; sukha-anubhavah--experiencing the state of spiritual bliss; nirihah--appearing to be doing nothing; yogena--by the mystic power; milita-drk--the eyes appearing closed; atma--by a manifestation of Yourself; nipita--prevented; nidrah--whose sleeping; turye--in the transcendental stage; sthitah--keeping (Yourself); na--not; tu--but; tamah--the material condition of sleeping; na--nor; gunan--the material modes; ca--and; yunkse--do You engage Yourself in.
O my Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, after the annihilation the creative energy is kept in You, who appear to sleep with half-closed eyes. Actually, however, You do not sleep like an ordinary human being, for You are always in a transcendental stage, beyond the creation of the material world, and You always feel transcendental bliss. As Karanodakasayi Visnu, You thus remain in Your transcendental status, not touching material objects. Although You appear to sleep, this sleeping is distinct from sleeping in ignorance.
As explained very clearly in the Brahma-samhita (5.47):
yah karanarnava-jale bhajati sma yoga-
adhara-saktim avalambya param sva-murtim
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
"I worship the primeval Lord Govinda, who lies down in the Causal Ocean in His plenary portion as Maha-Visnu, with all the universes generating from the pores of hair on His transcendental body, and who accepts the mystic slumber of eternity." The adi-purusa, the original Supreme Personality of Godhead--Krsna, Govinda--expands Himself as Maha-Visnu. After the annihilation of this cosmic manifestation, He keeps Himself in transcendental bliss. The word yoga-nidram is used in reference to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One should understand that this nidra, or sleep, is not like our nidra in the mode of ignorance. The Lord is always situated in transcendence. He is sac-cid-ananda--eternally in bliss--and thus He is not disturbed by sleep like ordinary human beings. It should be understood that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is in transcendental bliss in all stages. Srila Madhvacarya concisely states that the Lord is turya-sthitah, always situated in transcendence. In transcendence there is no such thing as jagarana-nidra-susupti--wakefulness, sleep and deep sleep.
The practice of yoga is similar to the yoga-nidra of Maha-Visnu. Yogis are advised to keep their eyes half closed, but this state is not at all one of sleep, although imitation yogis, especially in the modern age, manifest their so-called yoga by sleeping. In the sastra, yoga is described as dhyanavasthita, a state of full meditation, but this is meditation upon the Supreme personality of Godhead. Dhyanavasthita-tad-gatena manasa: the mind should always be situated at the lotus feet of the Lord. Yoga practice does not mean sleeping. The mind should always be actively fixed at the lotus feet of the Lord. Then one's practice of yoga will be successful.
tasyaiva te vapur idam nija-kala-saktya
ambhasy ananta-sayanad viramat-samadher
nabher abhut sva-kanika-vatavan-mahabjam
tasya--of that Supreme Personality of Godhead; eva--certainly; te--of You; vapuh--the cosmic body; idam--this (universe); nija-kala-saktya--by the potent time factor; sancodita--agitated; prakrti-dharmanah--of Him, by whom the three gunas, or qualities of material nature; atma-gudham--dormant in Yourself; ambhasi--in the water known as the Causal Ocean; ananta-sayanat--from the bed known as Ananta (another feature of Yourself); viramat-samadheh--having awakened from the samadhi (yogic trance); nabheh--from the navel; abhut--appeared; sva-kanika--from the seed; vata-vat--like the great banyan tree; maha-abjam--the great lotus of the worlds (has similarly grown).
This cosmic manifestation, the material world, is also Your body. This total lump of matter is agitated by Your potent energy known as kala-sakti, and thus the three modes of material nature are manifested. You awaken from the bed of Sesa, Ananta, and from Your navel a small transcendental seed is generated. It is from this seed that the lotus flower of the gigantic universe is manifested, exactly as a banyan tree grows from a small seed.
The three different forms of Maha-Visnu--namely Karanodakasayi Visnu, Garbhodakasayi Visnu and Ksirodakasayi Visnu, who are the origin of creation and maintenance--are gradually being described. From Maha-Visnu, Garbhodakasayi Visnu is generated, and from Garbhodakasayi Visnu, Ksirodakasayi Visnu gradually expands. Thus Maha-Visnu is the original cause of Garbhodakasayi Visnu, and from Garbhodakasayi Visnu comes the lotus flower from which Lord Brahma is manifested. Thus the original cause of everything is Visnu, and consequently the cosmic manifestation is not different from Visnu. This is confirmed in Bhagavad-gita (10.8), wherein Krsna says, aham sarvasya prabhavo mattah sarvam pravartate: "I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me." Garbhodakasayi Visnu is an expansion of Karanodakasayi Visnu, who is an expansion of Sankarsana. In this way, Krsna is ultimately the cause of all causes (sarva-karana-karanam). The conclusion is that both the material world and spiritual world are considered to be the body of the Supreme Lord. We can understand that the material body is caused by the spiritual body and is therefore an expansion of the spiritual body. Thus when one takes up spiritual activities, one's entire material body is spiritualized. Similarly, in this material world, when the Krsna consciousness movement expands, the entire material world becomes spiritualized. As long as we do not realize this, we live in the material world, but when we are fully Krsna conscious we live not in the material world but in the spiritual world.
tat-sambhavah kavir ato 'nyad apasyamanas
tvam bijam atmani tatam sa bahir vicintya
navindad abda-satam apsu nimajjamano
jate 'nkure katham uhopalabheta bijam
tat-sambhavah--who was generated from that lotus flower; kavih--he who can understand the subtle cause of creation (Lord Brahma); atah--from that (lotus); anyat--anything else; apasyamanah--not able to see; tvam--Your Lordship; bijam--the cause of the lotus; atmani--in himself; tatam--expanded; sah--he (Lord Brahma); bahih vicintya--considering to be external; na--not; avindat--understood (You); abda-satam--for a hundred years according to the demigods *; apsu--in the water; nimajjamanah--diving; jate ankure--when the seed fructifies and is manifested as a creeper; katham--how; uha--O my Lord; upalabheta--one can perceive; bijam--the seed that has already fructified.
From that great lotus flower, Brahma was generated, but Brahma certainly could see nothing but the lotus. Therefore, thinking You to be outside, Lord Brahma dove into the water and attempted to find the source of the lotus for one hundred years. He could find no trace of You, however, for when a seed fructifies, the original seed cannot be seen.
This is the description of the cosmic manifestation. The development of the cosmic manifestation is like the fructification of a seed. When cotton is transformed into thread, the cotton is no longer visible, and when the thread is woven into cloth, the thread is no longer visible. Similarly, it is perfectly correct that when the seed that had generated from the navel of Garbhodakasayi Visnu became manifested as the cosmic creation, one could no longer understand where the cause of the cosmic manifestation is. Modern scientists have tried to explain the origin of creation by a chunk theory, but no one can explain how such a chunk might have burst. The Vedic literature, however, explains clearly that the total material energy was agitated by the three modes of material nature because of the glance of the Supreme Lord. In other words, in terms of the chunk theory, the bursting of the chunk was caused by the Supreme personality of Godhead. Thus one must accept the supreme cause, Lord Visnu, as the cause of all causes.
sa tv atma-yonir ativismita asrito 'bjam
kalena tivra-tapasa parisuddha-bhavah
tvam atmanisa bhuvi gandham ivatisuksmam
bhutendriyasayamaye vitatam dadarsa
sah--he (Lord Brahma); tu--but; atma-yonih--who is born without a mother (directly begotten by the father, Lord Visnu); ati-vismitah--very much surprised (not finding the source of his birth); asritah--situated on; abjam--the lotus; kalena--in due course of time; tivra-tapasa--by severe austerities; parisuddha-bhavah--being completely purified; tvam--You; atmani--in his body and existence; isa--O my Lord; bhuvi--within the earth; gandham--aroma; iva--like; ati-suksmam--very subtle; bhuta-indriya--composed of elements and senses; asaya-maye--and that filled with desires (the mind); vitatam--spread out; dadarsa--found.
Lord Brahma, who is celebrated as atma-yoni, having been born without a mother, was struck with wonder. Thus he took shelter of the lotus flower, and when he had been purified after undergoing severe austerities for many hundreds of years, he could see that the cause of all causes, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, was spread throughout his own body and senses, just as aroma, although very subtle, is perceived in the earth.
Here the statement of self-realization aham brahmasmi, which is interpreted by the Mayavada philosophy to mean "I am the Supreme Lord," is explained. The Supreme Lord is the original seed of everything (janmady asya yatah. aham sarvasya prabhavo mattah sarvam pravartate). Thus the Supreme Lord extends everywhere, even throughout our bodies, because our bodies are made of material energy, which is the Lord's separated energy. One should realize that since the Supreme Lord spreads throughout one's body and since the individual soul is a part of the Supreme Lord, everything is Brahman (sarvam khalv idam brahma). This realization was achieved by Lord Brahma after he was purified, and it is possible for everyone. When one is completely in knowledge of aham brahmasmi, he thinks, "I am part of the Supreme Lord, my body is made of His material energy, and therefore I have no separate existence. Yet although the Supreme Lord is spread everywhere, He is different from me." This is the philosophy of acintya-bhedabheda-tattva. An example given in this regard is that of the aroma within the earth. In the earth there are aromas and colors, but one cannot see them. Actually we find that when flowers grow from the earth, they appear with different colors and aromas, which they have certainly gathered from the earth, although in the earth we cannot see them. Similarly, the Supreme Lord, by His different energies, spreads throughout one's body and soul, although we cannot see Him. An intelligent man, however, can see the Supreme Lord existing everywhere. Andantara-stha-paramanu-cayantara-stham: the Lord is within the universe and within the atom by His different energies. This is the real vision of the Supreme Lord for the intelligent man. Brahma, the first created being, became the most intelligent person by his tapasya, austerity, and thus he came to this realization. We must therefore take all knowledge from Brahma, who became perfect by his tapasya.
drstva maha-purusam apa mudam virincah
evam--in this way; sahasra--thousands and thousands; vadana--faces; anghri--feet; sirah--heads; kara--hands; uru--thighs; nasa-adya--noses, etc.; karna--ears; nayana--eyes; abharana--varieties of ornaments; ayudha--varieties of weapons; adhyam--endowed with; maya-mayam--all demonstrated by unlimited potency; sat-upalaksita--appearing in different symptoms; sannivesam--combined together; drstva--seeing; maha-purusam--the Supreme Personality of Godhead; apa--achieved; mudam--transcendental bliss; virincah--Lord Brahma.
Lord Brahma could then see You possessing thousands and thousands of faces, feet, heads, hands, thighs, noses, ears and eyes. You were very nicely dressed, being decorated and bedecked with varieties of ornaments and weapons. Seeing You in the form of Lord Visnu, Your symptoms and form being transcendental, Your legs extending from the lower planets, Lord Brahma achieved transcendental bliss.
Lord Brahma, being completely pure, could see the original form of the Lord as Visnu, having many thousands of faces and forms. This process is called self-realization. Genuine self-realization consists not of perceiving the impersonal effulgence of the Lord, but seeing face to face the transcendental form of the Lord. As distinctly mentioned here, Lord Brahma saw the Supreme Lord as maha-purusa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Arjuna also saw Krsna in this same way. Therefore he told the Lord, param brahma param dhama pavitram paramam bhavan purusam sasvatam divyam: "You are the Supreme Brahman, the ultimate, the supreme abode and purifier, the Absolute Truth and the eternal divine person." The Lord is parama-purusa, the supreme form. purusam sasvatam: He is everlastingly the supreme enjoyer. It is not that the impersonal Brahman assumes a form; on the contrary, the impersonal Brahman effulgence is an emanation from the supreme form of the Lord. Upon being purified, Brahma could see the supreme form of the Lord. The impersonal Brahman cannot have heads, noses, ears, hands and legs. This is not possible, for these are attributes of the Lord's form.
The word mayamayam means "spiritual knowledge." This is explained by Madhvacarya. Mayamayam jnana-svarupam. The word mayamayam, describing the Lord's form, should not be taken to mean illusion. Rather, the Lord's form is factual, and seeing this form is the result of perfect knowledge. This is confirmed in Bhagavad-gita: bahunam janmanam ante jnanavan mam prapadyate. The word jnanavan refers to one who is perfectly in knowledge. Such a person can see the Personality of Godhead, and therefore he surrenders unto the Lord. The Lord's being symptomized by a face, nose, ears and so on is eternal. Without such a form, no one can be blissful. The Lord, however, is sac-cid-ananda-vigraha, as stated in the sastra (isvarah paramah krsnah sac-cid-ananda-vigrahah). When one is in perfect transcendental bliss, he can see the Lord's supreme form (vigraha). In this regard, Srila Madhvacarya says:
gandhakhya devata yadvat
prthivim vyapya tisthati
evam vyaptam jagad visnum
brahmatma-stham dadarsa ha
Lord Brahma saw that as aromas and colors spread throughout the earth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead pervades the cosmic manifestation in a subtle form.
tasmai bhavan haya-siras tanuvam hi bibhrad
veda-druhav atibalau madhu-kaitabhakhyau
hatvanayac chruti-ganams ca rajas tamas ca
sattvam tava priyatamam tanum amananti
tasmai--unto Lord Brahma; bhavan--Your Lordship; haya-sirah--having the head and neck of a horse; tanuvam--the incarnation; hi--indeed; bibhrat--accepting; veda-druhau--two demons who were against the Vedic principles; ati-balau--extremely powerful; madhu-kaitabha-akhyau--known as Madhu and Kaitabha; hatva--killing; anayat--delivered; sruti-ganan--all the different Vedas (Sama, Yajur, Rg and Atharva); ca--and; rajah tamah ca--by representing the modes of passion and ignorance; sattvam--pure transcendental goodness; tava--Your; priya-tamam--most dear; tanum--form (as Hayagriva); amananti--they honor.
My dear Lord, when You appeared as Hayagriva, with the head of a horse, You killed two demons known as Madhu and Kaitabha, who were full of the modes of passion and ignorance. Then You delivered the Vedic knowledge to Lord Brahma. For this reason, all the great saints accept Your forms as transcendental, untinged by material qualities.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead in His transcendental form is always ready to give protection to His devotees. As mentioned herein, the Lord in the form of Hayagriva killed two demons named Madhu and Kaitabha when they attacked Lord Brahma. Modern demons think that there was no life in the beginning of creation, but from Srimad-Bhagavatam we understand that the first living creature created by the Supreme Personality of Godhead was Lord Brahma, who is full of Vedic understanding. Unfortunately, those entrusted with distributing Vedic knowledge, such as the devotees engaged in spreading Krsna consciousness, may sometimes be attacked by demons, but they must rest assured that demoniac attacks will not be able to harm them, for the Lord is always prepared to give them protection. The Vedas provide the knowledge by which we can understand the Supreme personality of Godhead (vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyah). The devotees of the Lord are always ready to spread knowledge by which one may understand the Lord through Krsna consciousness, but the demons, being unable to understand the Supreme Lord, are full of ignorance and passion. Thus the Lord, whose form is transcendental, is always ready to kill the demons. By culturing the mode of goodness, one can understand the position of the transcendental Lord and how the Lord is always prepared to remove all obstacles on the path of understanding Him.
In summary, whenever the Lord incarnates, He appears in His original transcendental form. As the Lord says in Bhagavad-gita (4.7):
yada yada hi dharmasya
glanir bhavati bharata
tadatmanam srjamy aham
"Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendent of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion--at that time I descend Myself." It is simply foolish to think of the Lord as being originally impersonal but accepting a material body when He appears as a personal incarnation. Whenever the Lord appears, He appears in His original transcendental form, which is spiritual and blissful. But unintelligent men, such as the Mayavadis, cannot understand the transcendental form of the Lord, and therefore the Lord chastises them by saying, avajananti mam mudha manusim tanum asritam: "Fools deride Me when I descend in the human form." Whenever the Lord appears, whether as a fish, a tortoise, a hog or any other form, one should understand that He maintains His transcendental position and that His only business, as stated here, is hatva--to kill the demons. The Lord appears in order to protect the devotees and kill the demons (paritranaya sadhunam vinasaya ca duskrtam). Since the demons are always ready to oppose Vedic civilization, they are sure to be killed by the transcendental form of the Lord.
lokan vibhavayasi hamsi jagat pratipan
dharmam maha-purusa pasi yuganuvrttam
channah kalau yad abhavas tri-yugo 'tha sa tvam
ittham--in this way; nr--like a human being (such as Lord Krsna and Lord Ramacandra); tiryak--like animals (such as the boar); rsi--as a great saint (Parasurama); deva--as demigods; jhasa--as an aquatic (such as the fish and tortoise); avataraih--by such different incarnations; lokan--all the different planetary systems; vibhavayasi--You protect; hamsi--You (sometimes) kill; jagat pratipan--persons who have simply created trouble in this world; dharmam--the principles of religion; maha-purusa--O great personality; pasi--You protect; yuga-anuvrttam--according to the different millenniums; channah--covered; kalau--in the age of Kali; yat--since; abhavah--have been (and will be in the future); tri-yugah--named Triyuga; atha--therefore; sah--the same personality; tvam--You.
In this way, my Lord, You appear in various incarnations as a human being, an animal, a great saint, a demigod, a fish or a tortoise, thus maintaining the entire creation in different planetary systems and killing the demoniac principles. According to the age, O my Lord, You protect the principles of religion. In the age of Kali, however, You do not assert Yourself as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and therefore You are known as Triyuga, or the Lord who appears in three yugas.
As the Lord appeared just to maintain Lord Brahma from the attack of Madhu and Kaitabha, He also appeared to protect the great devotee Prahlada Maharaja. Similarly, Lord Caitanya appeared in order to protect the fallen souls of Kali-yuga. There are four yugas, or millenniums--Satya, Treta, Dvapara and Kali. In all the yugas but Kali-yuga, the Lord appears in various incarnations and asserts Himself as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but although Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who appears in Kali-yuga, is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He never asserted Himself as such. On the contrary, whenever Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu was addressed as being as good as Krsna, He blocked His ears with His hands, denying His identity with Krsna, because He was playing the part of a devotee. Lord Caitanya knew that in Kali-yuga there would be many bogus incarnations pretending to be God, and therefore He avoided asserting Himself as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu is accepted as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, however, in many Vedic literatures, especially in Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.5.32):
yajanti hi sumedhasah
In Kali-yuga, intelligent men worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the form of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who is always accompanied by His associates such as Nityananda, Advaita, Gadadhara and Srivasa. The entire Krsna consciousness movement is based on the principles of the sankirtana movement inaugurated by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Therefore one who tries to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead through the medium of the sankirtana movement knows everything perfectly. He is sumedhas, a person with substantial intelligence.
naitan manas tava kathasu vikuntha-natha
sampriyate durita-dustam asadhu tivram
tasmin katham tava gatim vimrsami dinah
na--certainly not; etat--this; manah--mind; tava--Your; kathasu--in transcendental topics; vikuntha-natha--O Lord of Vaikuntha, where there is no anxiety; sampriyate--is pacified or interested in; durita--by sinful activities; dustam--polluted; asadhu--dishonest; tivram--very difficult to control; kama-aturam--always full of different desires and lusty propensities; harsa-soka--sometimes by jubilation and sometimes by distress; bhaya--and sometimes by fear; esana--and by desiring; artam--distressed; tasmin--in that mental status; katham--how; tava--Your; gatim--transcendental activities; vimrsami--I shall consider and try to understand; dinah--who am most fallen and poor.
My dear Lord of the Vaikuntha planets, where there is no anxiety, my mind is extremely sinful and lusty, being sometimes so-called happy and sometimes so-called distressed. My mind is full of lamentation and fear, and it always seeks more and more money. Thus it has become most polluted and is never satisfied in topics concerning You. I am therefore most fallen and poor. In such a status of life, how shall I be able to discuss Your activities?
Here Prahlada Maharaja represents himself as a common man, although he actually has nothing to do with this material world. Prahlada is always situated in the Vaikuntha planets of the spiritual world, but on behalf of the fallen souls he asks how, when his mind is always disturbed by material things, he can discuss the transcendental position of the Lord. The mind becomes sinful because we are always engaged in sinful activities. Anything not connected with Krsna consciousness should be understood to be sinful. Indeed, Krsna demands in Bhagavad-gita (18.66):
mam ekam saranam vraja
aham tvam sarva-papebhyo
moksayisyami ma sucah
"Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear." As soon as one surrenders unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, Krsna immediately relieves one of the reactions of sinful activities. Therefore one who is not surrendered to the lotus feet of the Lord should be understood to be sinful, foolish, degraded among men and bereft of all real knowledge because of atheistic propensities. This is confirmed in Bhagavad-gita (7.15):
na mam duskrtino mudhah
asuram bhavam asritah
Therefore, especially in this age of Kali, the mind must be cleansed, and this is possible only by the chanting of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra. Ceto-darpana-marjanam. In this age, the process of chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra is the only method by which to cleanse the sinful mind. When the mind is completely cleansed of all sinful reactions, one can then understand his duty in the human form of life. The Krsna consciousness movement is meant to educate sinful men so that they may become pious simply by chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra.
harer nama harer nama
harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva
nasty eva gatir anyatha
To cleanse the heart so that one may become sober and wise in this age of Kali, there is no value to any method other than the chanting of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra. Prahlada Maharaja has confirmed this process in previous verses. Tvad-virya-gayana-mahamrta-magna-cittah. Prahlada further confirms that if one's mind is always absorbed in thought of Krsna, that very qualification will purify one and keep one purified always. To understand the Lord and His activities, one must free his mind from all contamination of the material world, and this one can achieve by simply chanting the Lord's holy name. Thus one becomes free from all material bondage.
jihvaikato 'cyuta vikarsati mavitrpta
sisno 'nyatas tvag-udaram sravanam kutascit
ghrano 'nyatas capala-drk kva ca karma-saktir
bahvyah sapatnya iva geha-patim lunanti
jihva--the tongue; ekatah--to one side; acyuta--O my infallible Lord; vikarsati--attracts; ma--me; avitrpta--not being satisfied; sisnah--the genitals; anyatah--to another side; tvak--the skin (for touching a soft thing); udaram--the belly (for various types of food); sravanam--the ear (for hearing some sweet music); kutascit--to some other side; ghranah--the nose (for smelling); anyatah--to still another side; capala-drk--the restless eyesight; kva ca--somewhere; karma-saktih--the active senses; bahvyah--many; sa-patnyah--co-wives; iva--like; geha-patim--a householder; lunanti--annihilate.
My dear Lord, O infallible one, my position is like that of a person who has many wives, all trying to attract him in their own way. For example, the tongue is attracted to palatable dishes, the genitals to sex with an attractive woman, and the sense of touch to contact with soft things. The belly, although filled, still wants to eat more, and the ear, not attempting to hear about You, is generally attracted to cinema songs. The sense of smell is attracted to yet another side, the restless eyes are attracted to scenes of sense gratification, and the active senses are attracted elsewhere. In this way I am certainly embarrassed.
The human form of life is meant for God realization, but this process, which begins with sravanam kirtanam visnoh--hearing and chanting of the holy name of the Lord--is disturbed as long as our senses are materially attracted. Therefore devotional service means purifying the senses. In the conditioned state our senses are covered by material sense gratification, and as long as one is not trained in purifying the senses, one cannot become a devotee. In our Krsna consciousness movement, therefore, we advise from the very beginning that one restrict the activities of the senses, especially the tongue, which is described by Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura as most greedy and unconquerable. To stop this attraction of the tongue, one is authoritatively advised not to accept meat or similar uneatable things nor to allow the tongue to hanker to drink or smoke. Even the drinking of tea and coffee is not permitted. Similarly, the genitals must be restricted from illicit sex. Without such restraint of the senses, one cannot make advancement in Krsna consciousness. The only method of controlling the senses is to chant and hear the holy name of the Lord; otherwise, one will always be disturbed, as a householder with more than one wife would be disturbed by them for sense gratification.
evam sva-karma-patitam bhava-vaitaranyam
pasyan janam sva-para-vigraha-vaira-maitram
hanteti paracara piprhi mudham adya
evam--in this way; sva-karma-patitam--fallen because of the reactions of one's own material activities; bhava--compared to the world of nescience (birth, death, old age and disease); vaitaranyam--in the river known as Vaitarani (which lies in front of the doorway of Yamaraja, the superintendent of death); anyah anya--one after another; janma--birth; marana--death; asana--different types of eating; bhita-bhitam--being exceedingly afraid; pasyan--seeing; janam--the living entity; sva--one's own; para--of others; vigraha--in the body; vaira-maitram--considering friendship and enmity; hanta--alas; iti--in this way; paracara--O You, who are on the other side of the river of death; piprhi--kindly save us all (from this dangerous condition); mudham--we are all foolish, bereft of spiritual knowledge; adya--today (because You are personally present here).
My dear Lord, You are always transcendentally situated on the other side of the river of death, but because of the reactions of our own activities, we are suffering on this side. Indeed, we have fallen into this river and are repeatedly suffering the pains of birth and death and eating horrible things. Now kindly look upon us--not only upon me but also upon all others who are suffering--and by Your causeless mercy and compassion, deliver us and maintain us.
Prahlada Maharaja, a pure Vaisnava, prays to the Lord not only for himself but for all other suffering living entities. There are two classes of Vaisnavas--the bhajananandis and gosthy-anandis. The bhajananandis worship the Lord only for their own personal benefit, but the gosthy-anandis try to elevate all others to Krsna consciousness so that they may be saved. Fools who cannot perceive repeated birth and death and the other miseries of materialistic life cannot be sure of what will happen to them in their next birth. Indeed, these foolish, materially contaminated rascals have manufactured an irresponsible way of life that does not consider the next life. They do not know that according to one's own activities, one receives a body selected from 8,400,000 species. These rascals have been described in Bhagavad-gita as duskrtino mudhah. Nondevotees, those who are not Krsna conscious, must engage in sinful activities, and therefore they are mudhas--fools and rascals. They are such fools that they do not know what will happen to them in their next life. Although they see varieties of living creatures eating abominable things--pigs eating stool, crocodiles eating all kinds of flesh, and so on--they do not realize that they themselves, because of their practice of eating all kinds of nonsense in this life, will be destined to eat the most abominable things in their next life. A Vaisnava is always afraid of such an abominable life, and to free himself from such horrible conditions, he engages himself in the devotional service of the Lord. The Lord is compassionate to them, and therefore He appears for their benefit.
yada yada hi dharmasya
glanir bhavati bharata
tadatmanam srjamy aham
"Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion--at that time I descend Myself." (Bg. 4.7) The Lord is always ready to help the fallen souls, but because they are fools and rascals, they do not take to Krsna consciousness and abide by the instructions of Krsna. Therefore although Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu is personally the Supreme Lord, Krsna, He comes as a devotee to preach the Krsna consciousness movement. Yare dekha, tare kaha 'krsna'-upadesa. One must therefore become a sincere servant of Krsna. Amara ajnaya guru hana tara' ei desa (Cc. Madhya 7.128). One should become a guru and spread Krsna consciousness all over the world, simply by preaching the teachings of Bhagavad-gita.
ko nv atra te 'khila-guro bhagavan prayasa
uttarane 'sya bhava-sambhava-lopa-hetoh
mudhesu vai mahad-anugraha arta-bandho
kim tena te priya-janan anusevatam nah
kah--what is that; nu--indeed; atra--in this matter; te--of Your Lordship; akhila-guro--O supreme spiritual master of the entire creation; bhagavan--O Supreme Lord, O Personality of Godhead; prayasah--endeavor; uttarane--for the deliverance of these fallen souls; asya--of this; bhava-sambhava--of creation and maintenance; lopa--and of annihilation; hetoh--of the cause; mudhesu--unto the foolish persons rotting in this material world; vai--indeed; mahat-anugrahah--compassion by the Supreme; arta-bandho--O friend of the suffering living entities; kim--what is the difficulty; tena--with that; te--of Your Lordship; priya-janan--the dear persons (devotees); anusevatam--of those always engaged in serving; nah--like us (who are so engaged).
O my Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, original spiritual master of the entire world, what is the difficulty for You, who manage the affairs of the universe, in delivering the fallen souls engaged in Your devotional service? You are the friend of all suffering humanity, and for great personalities it is necessary to show mercy to the foolish. Therefore I think that You will show Your causeless mercy to persons like us, who engage in Your service.
Here the words priya janan anusevatam nah indicate that the Supreme Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is very favorable to devotees who act according to the instructions of His own pure devotee. In other words, one must become the servant of the servant of the servant of the Lord. If one wants to become the servant of the Lord directly, this is not as fruitful as engaging in the service of the Lord's servant. This is the direction of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, who shows us the way to become gopi-bhartuh pada-kamalayor dasa-dasanudasah. One should not be proud of becoming directly the servant of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Rather, one must seek a pure devotee, a servant of the Lord, and engage oneself in the service of such a servant. The more one becomes the servant of the servant, the more one becomes perfect in devotional service. This is also the injunction of Bhagavad-gita: evam parampara-praptam imam rajarsayo viduh. One can understand the science of the Supreme Personality of Godhead simply by the parampara system. In this regard, Srila Narottama dasa Thakura says, tandera carana sevi bhakta-sane vasa: "Let me serve the lotus feet of the devotees of the Lord, and let me live with devotees." Janame janame haya, ei abhilasa. Following Narottama dasa Thakura, one should aspire to be a servant of the Lord's servant, life after life. Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura also sings, tumi ta' thakura, tomara kukura, baliya janaha more: "O my Lord, O Vaisnava, please consider me your dog." One must become the dog of a Vaisnava, a pure devotee, for a pure devotee can deliver Krsna without difficulty. Krsna se tomara, krsna dite para. Krsna is the property of His pure devotee, and if we take shelter of a pure devotee, he can deliver Krsna very easily. Prahlada wants to engage in the service of a devotee, and therefore he prays to Krsna, "My dear Lord, kindly give me the shelter of Your very dear devotee so that I may engage in his service and You may then be pleased." Mad-bhakta-pujabhyadhika (Bhag. 11.19.21). The Lord says, "Engaging in the service of My devotee is better than trying to engage in My devotional service."
Another significant point in this verse is that by devotional service Prahlada Maharaja does not want to benefit alone. Rather, he prays to the Lord that all of us fallen souls in this material world may, by the grace of the Lord, engage in the service of His servant and thus be delivered. The grace of the Lord is not at all difficult for the Lord to bestow, and thus Prahlada Maharaja wants to save the whole world by spreading Krsna consciousness.
naivodvije para duratyaya-vaitaranyas
soce tato vimukha-cetasa indriyartha-
maya-sukhaya bharam udvahato vimudhan
na--not; eva--certainly; udvije--I am disturbed or afraid; para--O Supreme; duratyaya--insurmountable or very difficult to cross; vaitaranyah--of the Vaitarani, the river of the material world; tvat-virya--of Your Lordship's glories and activities; gayana--from chanting or distributing; maha-amrta--in the great ocean of nectarean spiritual bliss; magna-cittah--whose consciousness is absorbed; soce--I am simply lamenting; tatah--from that; vimukha-cetasah--the fools and rascals who are bereft of Krsna consciousness; indriya-artha--in sense gratification; maya-sukhaya--for temporary, illusory happiness; bharam--the false burden or responsibility (of maintaining one's family, society and nation and elaborate arrangements for that purpose); udvahatah--who are lifting (by making grand plans for this arrangement); vimudhan--although all of them are nothing but fools and rascals (I am thinking of them also).
O best of the great personalities, I am not at all afraid of material existence, for wherever I stay I am fully absorbed in thoughts of Your glories and activities. My concern is only for the fools and rascals who are making elaborate plans for material happiness and maintaining their families, societies and countries. I am simply concerned with love for them.
Throughout the entire world, everyone is making big, big plans to adjust the miseries of the material world, and this is true at present, in the past and in the future. Nonetheless, although they make elaborate political, social and cultural plans, they have all been described herein as vimudha--fools. The material world has been described in Bhagavad-gita as duhkhalayam asasvatam--temporary and miserable--but these fools are trying to turn the material world into sukhalayam, a place of happiness, not knowing how everything acts by the arrangement of material nature, which works in her own way.
gunaih karmani sarvasah
kartaham iti manyate
"The bewildered spirit soul, under the influence of the three modes of material nature, thinks himself to be the doer of activities that are in actuality carried out by nature." (Bg. 3.27)
There is a plan for material nature, personally known as Durga, to punish the demons. Although the asuras, the godless demons, struggle for existence, they are directly attacked by the goddess Durga, who is well equipped with ten hands with different types of weapons to punish them. She is carried by her lion carrier, or the modes of passion and ignorance. Everyone struggles very hard to fight through the modes of passion and ignorance and conquer material nature, but at the end everyone is vanquished by nature's laws.
There is a river known as Vaitarani between the material and spiritual worlds, and one must cross this river to reach the other side, or the spiritual world. This is an extremely difficult task. As the Lord says in Bhagavad-gita (7.14), daivi hy esa guna-mayi mama maya duratyaya: "This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome." The same word duratyaya, meaning "very difficult," is used here. Therefore one cannot surpass the stringent laws of material nature except by the mercy of the Supreme Lord. Nonetheless, although all materialists are baffled in their plans, they try again and again to become happy in this material world. Therefore they have been described as vimudha--first-class fools. As for Prahlada Maharaja, he was not at all unhappy, for although he was in the material world, he was full of Krsna consciousness. Those who are Krsna conscious, trying to serve the Lord, are not unhappy, whereas one who has no assets in Krsna consciousness and is struggling for existence is not only foolish but extremely unhappy also. Prahlada Maharaja was happy and unhappy simultaneously. He felt happiness and transcendental bliss because of his being Krsna conscious, yet he felt great unhappiness for the fools and rascals who make elaborate plans to be happy in this material world.
prayena deva munayah sva-vimukti-kama
maunam caranti vijane na parartha-nisthah
naitan vihaya krpanan vimumuksa eko
nanyam tvad asya saranam bhramato 'nupasye
prayena--generally, in almost all cases; deva--O my Lord; munayah--the great saintly persons; sva--personal, own; vimukti-kamah--ambitious for liberation from this material world; maunam--silently; caranti--they wander (in places like the Himalayan forests, where they have no touch with the activities of the materialists); vijane--in solitary places; na--not; para-artha-nisthah--interested in working for others by giving them the benefit of the Krsna consciousness movement, by enlightening them with Krsna consciousness; na--not; etan--these; vihaya--leaving aside; krpanan--fools and rascals (engaged in materialistic activity who do not know the benefit of the human form of life); vimumukse--I desire to be liberated and to return home, back to Godhead; ekah--alone; na--not; anyam--other; tvat--but for You; asya--of this; saranam--shelter; bhramatah--of the living entity rotating and wandering throughout the material universes; anupasye--do I see.
My dear Lord Nrsimhadeva, I see that there are many saintly persons indeed, but they are interested only in their own deliverance. Not caring for the big cities and towns, they go to the Himalayas or the forest to meditate with vows of silence [mauna-vrata]. They are not interested in delivering others. As for me, however, I do not wish to be liberated alone, leaving aside all these poor fools and rascals. I know that without Krsna consciousness, without taking shelter of Your lotus feet, one cannot be happy. Therefore I wish to bring them back to shelter at Your lotus feet.
This is the decision of the Vaisnava, the pure devotee of the Lord. For himself he has no problems, even if he has to stay in this material world, because his only business is to remain in Krsna consciousness. The Krsna conscious person can go even to hell and still be happy. Therefore Prahlada Maharaja said, naivodvije para duratyaya-vaitaranyah: "O best of the great personalities, I am not at all afraid of material existence." The pure devotee is never unhappy in any condition of life. This is confirmed in Srimad-Bhagavatam (6.17.28):
na kutascana bibhyati
"Devotees solely engaged in the devotional service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana, never fear any condition of life. For them the heavenly planets, liberation and the hellish planets are all the same, for such devotees are interested only in the service of the Lord."
For a devotee, being situated in the heavenly planets and being in the hellish planets are equal, for a devotee lives neither in heaven nor in hell but with Krsna in the spiritual world. The secret of success for the devotee is not understood by the karmis and jnanis. Karmis therefore try to be happy by material adjustment, and jnanis want to be happy by becoming one with the Supreme. The devotee has no such interest. He is not interested in so-called meditation in the Himalayas or the forest. Rather, his interest is in the busiest part of the world, where he teaches people Krsna consciousness. The Krsna consciousness movement was started for this purpose. We do not teach one to meditate in a secluded place just so that one may show that he has become very much advanced and may be proud of his so-called transcendental meditation, although he engages in all sorts of foolish materialistic activity. A Vaisnava like Prahlada Maharaja is not interested in such a bluff of spiritual advancement. Rather, he is interested in enlightening people in Krsna consciousness because that is the only way for them to become happy. Prahlada Maharaja says clearly, nanyam tvad asya saranam bhramato'nupasye: "I know that without Krsna consciousness, without taking shelter of Your lotus feet, one cannot be happy." One wanders within the universe, life after life, but by the grace of a devotee, a servant of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, one can get the clue to Krsna consciousness and then not only become happy in this world but also return home, back to Godhead. That is the real target in life. The members of the Krsna consciousness movement are not at all interested in so-called meditation in the Himalayas or the forest, where one will only make a show of meditation, nor are they interested in opening many schools for yoga and meditation in the cities. Rather, every member of the Krsna consciousness movement is interested in going door to door to try to convince people about the teachings of Bhagavad-gita As It Is, the teachings of Lord Caitanya. That is the purpose of the Hare Krsna movement. The members of the Krsna consciousness movement must be fully convinced that without Krsna one cannot be happy. Thus the Krsna conscious person avoids all kinds of pseudo spiritualists, transcendentalists, meditators, monists, philosophers and philanthropists.
yan maithunadi-grhamedhi-sukham hi tuccham
kanduyanena karayor iva duhkha-duhkham
trpyanti neha krpana bahu-duhkha-bhajah
kandutivan manasijam visaheta dhirah
yat--that which (is meant for material sense gratification); maithuna-adi--represented by talking of sex, reading sexual literature or enjoying sex life (at home or outside, as in a club); grhamedhi-sukham--all types of material happiness based on attachment to family, society, friendship, etc.; hi--indeed; tuccham--insignificant; kanduyanena--with the itching; karayoh--of the two hands (to relieve the itching); iva--like; duhkha-duhkham--different types of unhappiness (into which one is put after such itching sense gratification); trpyanti--become satisfied; na--never; iha--in material sense gratification; krpanah--the foolish persons; bahu-duhkha-bhajah--subjected to various types of material unhappiness; kanduti-vat--if one can learn from such itching; manasi-jam--which is simply a mental concoction (actually there is no happiness); visaheta--and tolerates (such itching); dhirah--(he can become) a most perfect, sober person.
Sex life is compared to the rubbing of two hands to relieve an itch. Grhamedhis, so-called grhasthas who have no spiritual knowledge, think that this itching is the greatest platform of happiness, although actually it is a source of distress. The krpanas, the fools who are just the opposite of brahmanas, are not satisfied by repeated sensuous enjoyment. Those who are dhira, however, who are sober and who tolerate this itching, are not subjected to the sufferings of fools and rascals.
Materialists think that sexual indulgence is the greatest happiness in this material world, and therefore they make elaborate plans to satisfy their senses, especially the genitals. This is generally found everywhere, and specifically found in the Western world, where there are regular arrangements to satisfy sex life in different ways. Actually, however, this has not made anyone happy. Even the hippies, who have given up all the materialistic comforts of their fathers and grandfathers, cannot give up the sensational happiness of sex life. Such persons are described here as krpanas, misers. The human form of life is a great asset, for in this life one can fulfill the goal of existence. Unfortunately, however, because of a lack of education and culture, people are victimized by the false happiness of sex life. Prahlada Maharaja therefore advises one not to be misled by this civilization of sense gratification, and especially not by sex life. Rather, one should be sober, avoid sense gratification and be Krsna conscious. The lusty person, who is compared to a foolish miser, never gets happiness by sense gratification. The influence of material nature is very difficult to surpass, but as stated by Krsna in Bhagavad-gita (7.14), mam eva ye prapadyante, mayam etam taranti te: if one voluntarily submits to the lotus feet of Krsna, he can be saved very easily.
In reference to the low-grade happiness of sex life, Yamunacarya says in this connection:
yadavadhi mama cetah krsna-padaravinde
nava-nava-rasa-dhamanudyata rantum asit
tadavadhi bata nari-sangame smaryamane
bhavati mukha-vikarah sustu nisthivanam ca
"Since I have been engaged in the transcendental loving service of Krsna, realizing ever-new pleasure in Him, whenever I think of sex pleasure, I spit at the thought, and my lips curl with distaste." Yamunacarya had formerly been a great king who enjoyed sexual happiness in various ways, but since he later engaged himself in the service of the Lord, he enjoyed spiritual bliss and hated to think of sex life. If sexual thoughts came to him, he would spit with disgust.
prayah param purusa te tv ajitendriyanam
varta bhavanty uta na vatra tu dambhikanam
mauna--silence; vrata--vows; sruta--Vedic knowledge; tapah--austerity; adhyayana--study of scripture; sva-dharma--executing varnasrama-dharma; vyakhya--explaining the sastras; rahah--living in a solitary place; japa--chanting or reciting mantras; samadhayah--remaining in trance; apavargyah--these are ten types of activities for advancing on the path of liberation; prayah--generally; param--the only means; purusa--O my Lord; te--all of them; tu--but; ajita-indriyanam--of persons who cannot control the senses; vartah--means of living; bhavanti--are; uta--so it is said; na--not; va--or; atra--in this connection; tu--but; dambhikanam--of persons who are falsely proud.
O Supreme Personality of Godhead, there are ten prescribed methods on the path to liberation--to remain silent, not to speak to anyone, to observe vows, to amass all kinds of Vedic knowledge, to undergo austerities, to study the Vedas and other Vedic literatures, to execute the duties of varnasrama-dharma, to explain the sastras, to stay in a solitary place, to chant mantras silently, and to be absorbed in trance. These different methods for liberation are generally only a professional practice and means of livelihood for those who have not conquered their senses. Because such persons are falsely proud, these procedures may not be successful.
As stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (6.1.15):
kecit kevalaya bhaktya
agham dhunvanti kartsnyena
niharam iva bhaskarah
"Only a rare person who has adopted complete, unalloyed devotional service to Krsna can uproot the weeds of sinful actions with no possibility that they will revive. He can do this simply by discharging devotional service, just as the sun can immediately dissipate fog by its rays." The real purpose of human life is to attain liberation from material entanglement. Such liberation may be achieved by many methods (tapasa brahmacaryena samena ca damena ca), but all of them more or less depend on tapasya, austerity, which begins with celibacy. Sukadeva Gosvami says that those who are vasudeva-parayana, who have fully surrendered to the lotus feet of Lord Vasudeva, Krsna, automatically achieve the results of mauna (silence), vrata (vows) and other such methods simply by discharging devotional service. In other words, these methods are not so powerful. If one takes to devotional service, all of them are very easily performed.
Mauna, for example, does not mean that one should just stop speaking. The tongue is meant for speaking, although sometimes, to make a big show, a person remains silent. There are many who observe silence some day in a week. Vaisnavas, however, do not observe such silence. Silence means not speaking foolishly. Speakers at assemblies, conferences and meetings generally speak foolishly like toads. This is described by Srila Rupa Gosvami as vaco vegam. One who wants to say something can show himself to be a big orator, but rather than go on speaking nonsense, better to remain silent. This method of silence, therefore, is recommended for persons very attached to speaking nonsense. One who is not a devotee must speak nonsensically because he does not have the power to speak about the glories of Krsna. Thus whatever he says is influenced by the illusory energy and is compared to the croaking of a frog. One who speaks about the glories of the Lord, however, has no need to be silent. Caitanya Mahaprabhu recommends, kirtaniyah sada harih: one should go on chanting the glories of the Lord twenty-four hours a day. There is no question of becoming mauna, or silent.
The ten processes for liberation or improvement on the path of liberation are not meant for the devotees. Kevalaya bhaktya: if one simply engages in devotional service to the Lord, all ten methods of liberation are automatically observed. Prahlada Maharaja's proposal is that such processes may be recommended for the ajitendriya, those who cannot conquer their senses. Devotees, however, have already conquered their senses. Sarvopadhi-vinirmuktam tat-paratvena nirmalam: a devotee is already freed from material contamination. Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura therefore said:
dusta mana! tumi kisera vaisnava?
pratisthara tare, nirjanera ghare,
tava hari-nama kevala kaitava
There are many who like to chant the Hare Krsna mantra in a silent, solitary place, but if one is not interested in preaching, talking constantly to the nondevotees, the influence of the modes of nature is very difficult to surpass. Therefore unless one is extremely advanced in Krsna consciousness, one should not imitate Haridasa Thakura, who had no other business than chanting the holy name always, twenty-four hours a day. Prahlada Maharaja does not condemn such a process; he accepts it, but without active service to the Lord, simply by such methods one generally cannot attain liberation. One cannot attain liberation simply by false pride.
rupe ime sad-asati tava veda-srste
bijankurav iva na canyad arupakasya
yuktah samaksam ubhayatra vicaksante tvam
yogena vahnim iva darusu nanyatah syat
rupe--in the forms; ime--these two; sat-asati--the cause and the effect; tava--Your; veda-srste--explained in the Vedas; bija-ankurau--the seed and the sprout; iva--like; na--never; ca--also; anyat--any other; arupakasya--of You, who possess no material form; yuktah--those engaged in Your devotional service; samaksam--before the very eyes; ubhayatra--in both ways (spiritually and materially); vicaksante--can actually see; tvam--You; yogena--simply by the method of devotional service; vahnim--fire; iva--like; darusu--in wood; na--not; anyatah--from any other means; syat--it is possible.
By authorized Vedic knowledge one can see that the forms of cause and effect in the cosmic manifestation belong to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, for the cosmic manifestation is His energy. Both cause and effect are nothing but energies of the Lord. Therefore, O my Lord, just as a wise man, by considering cause and effect, can see how fire pervades wood, those engaged in devotional service understand how You are both the cause and effect.
As described in previous verses, many so-called students of spiritual understanding follow the ten different methods known as mauna-vrata-sruta-tapo-'dhyayana-sva-dharma-vyakhya-raho japa-samadhayah. These may be very attractive, but by following such methods, one cannot actually understand the real cause and effect and the original cause of everything (janmady asya yatah). The original source of everything is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself (sarva-karana-karanam). This original source of everything is Krsna, the supreme ruler. Isvarah paramah krsnah sac-cid-ananda-vigrahah. He has His eternal spiritual form. Indeed, He is the root of everything (bijam mam sarva-bhutanam). Whatever manifestations exist, their cause is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This cannot be understood by so-called silence or by any other hodgepodge method. The supreme cause can be understood only by devotional service, as stated in Bhagavad-gita (bhaktya mam abhijanati). Elsewhere in Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.14.21), the Supreme Godhead personally says, bhaktyaham ekaya grahyah: one can understand the original cause of all causes, the Supreme Person, only by devotional service, not by show-bottle exhibitionism.
tvam vayur agnir avanir viyad ambu matrah
pranendriyani hrdayam cid anugrahas ca
sarvam tvam eva saguno vigunas ca bhuman
nanyat tvad asty api mano-vacasa niruktam
tvam--You (are); vayuh--air; agnih--fire; avanih--earth; viyat--sky; ambu--water; matrah--the sense objects; prana--the life airs; indriyani--the senses; hrdayam--the mind; cit--consciousness; anugrahah ca--and false ego or the demigods; sarvam--everything; tvam--You; eva--only; sa-gunah--material nature with its three modes; vigunah--the spiritual spark and Supersoul, which are beyond material nature; ca--and; bhuman--O my great Lord; na--not; anyat--other; tvat--than You; asti--is; api--although; manah-vacasa--by mind and words; niruktam--everything manifested.
O Supreme Lord, You are actually the air, the earth, fire, sky and water. You are the objects of sense perception, the life airs, the five senses, the mind, consciousness and false ego. Indeed, You are everything, subtle and gross. The material elements and anything expressed, either by the words or by the mind, are nothing but You.
This is the all-pervasive conception of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, which explains how He spreads everywhere and anywhere. Sarvam khalv idam brahma: everything is Brahman--the Supreme Brahman, Krsna. Nothing exists without Him. As the Lord says in Bhagavad-gita (9.4):
maya tatam idam sarvam
na caham tesv avasthitah
"I exist everywhere, and everything exists in Me, yet I am not visible everywhere." The Lord can be visible only through devotional service. Tatra tisthami narada yatra gayanti mad-bhaktah: the Supreme Lord stays only where His devotees chant His glories.
naite guna na gunino mahad-adayo ye
sarve manah prabhrtayah sahadeva-martyah
ady-antavanta urugaya vidanti hi tvam
evam vimrsya sudhiyo viramanti sabdat
na--neither; ete--all these; gunah--three qualities of material nature; na--nor; guninah--the predominating deities of the three modes of material nature (namely Lord Brahma, the predominating deity of passion, and Lord Siva, the predominating deity of ignorance); mahat-adayah--the five elements, the senses and the sense objects; ye--those which; sarve--all; manah--the mind; prabhrtayah--and so on; saha-deva-martyah--with the demigods and the mortal human beings; adi-anta-vantah--who all have a beginning and end; urugaya--O Supreme Lord, who are glorified by all saintly persons; vidanti--understand; hi--indeed; tvam--Your Lordship; evam--thus; vimrsya--considering; sudhiyah--all wise men; viramanti--cease; sabdat--from studying or understanding the Vedas.
Neither the three modes of material nature [sattva-guna, rajo-guna and tamo-guna], nor the predominating deities controlling these three modes, nor the five gross elements, nor the mind, nor the demigods nor the human beings can understand Your Lordship, for they are all subjected to birth and annihilation. Considering this, the spiritually advanced have taken to devotional service. Such wise men hardly bother with Vedic study. Instead, they engage themselves in practical devotional service.
As stated in several places, bhaktya mam abhijanati: only by devotional service can the Supreme Lord be understood. The intelligent person, the devotee, does not bother much about the practices mentioned in text 46 (mauna-vrata-sruta-tapo-'dhyayana-sva-dharma). After understanding the Supreme Lord through devotional service, such devotees are no longer interested in studies of the Vedas. Indeed, this is confirmed in the Vedas also. The Vedas say, kim artha vayam adhyesyamahe kim artha vayam vaksyamahe. What is the use of studying so many Vedic literatures? What is the use of explaining them in different ways? Vayam vaksyamahe. No one needs to study any more Vedic literatures, nor does anyone need to describe them by philosophical speculation. Bhagavad-gita (2.52) also says:
yada te moha-kalilam
tada gantasi nirvedam
srotavyasya srutasya ca
When one understands the Supreme Personality of Godhead by executing devotional service, one ceases the practice of studying the Vedic literature. Elsewhere it is said, aradhito yadi haris tapasa tatah kim. If one can understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead and engage in His service, there is no more need of severe austerities, penances and so on. However, if after performing severe austerities and penances one does not understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead, such practices are useless.
tat te 'rhattama namah stuti-karma-pujah
karma smrtis caranayoh sravanam kathayam
samsevaya tvayi vineti sad-angaya kim
bhaktim janah paramahamsa-gatau labheta
tat--therefore; te--unto You; arhat-tama--O supreme of all worshipable persons; namah--respectful obeisances; stuti-karma-pujah--worshiping Your Lordship by offering prayers and other devotional activities; karma--activities being dedicated to You; smrtih--constant remembrance; caranayoh--of Your lotus feet; sravanam--always hearing; kathayam--in topics (about You); samsevaya--such devotional service; tvayi--unto You; vina--without; iti--thus; sat-angaya--having six different parts; kim--how; bhaktim--devotional service; janah--a person; paramahamsa-gatau--obtainable by the paramahamsa; labheta--may attain.
Therefore, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, the best of all persons to whom prayers are offered, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You because without rendering six kinds of devotional service unto You--offering prayers, dedicating all the results of activities, worshiping You, working on Your behalf, always remembering Your lotus feet and hearing about Your glories--who can achieve that which is meant for the paramahamsas?
The Vedas enjoin: nayam atma pravacanena labhyo na medhaya na bahuna srutena. One cannot understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead simply by studying the Vedas and offering prayers. Only by the grace of the Supreme Lord can one understand Him. The process of understanding the Lord, therefore, is bhakti. Without bhakti, simply following the Vedic injunctions to understand the Absolute Truth will not be helpful at all. The process of bhakti is understood by the paramahamsa, one who has accepted the essence of everything. The results of bhakti are reserved for such a paramahamsa, and this stage cannot be obtained by any Vedic process other than devotional service. Other processes, such as jnana and yoga, can be successful only when mixed with bhakti. When we speak of jnana-yoga, karma-yoga and dhyana-yoga the word yoga indicates bhakti. Bhakti-yoga, or buddhi-yoga, executed with intelligence and full knowledge, is the only successful method for going back home, back to Godhead. If one wants to be liberated from the pangs of material existence, he should take to devotional service for quick attainment of this goal.
bhaktya bhaktena nirgunah
prahradam pranatam prito
sri-naradah uvaca--Sri Narada Muni said; etavat--up to this; varnita--described; gunah--transcendental qualities; bhaktya--with devotion; bhaktena--by the devotee (Prahlada Maharaja); nirgunah--the transcendental Lord; prahradam--unto Prahlada Maharaja; pranatam--who was surrendered at the lotus feet of the Lord; pritah--being pleased; yata-manyuh--controlling the anger; abhasata--began to speak (as follows).
The great saint Narada said: Thus Lord Nrsimhadeva was pacified by the devotee Prahlada Maharaja with prayers offered from the transcendental platform. The Lord gave up His anger, and being very kind to Prahlada, who was offering prostrated obeisances, He spoke as follows.
The word nirguna is important. The Mayavadi philosophers accept the Absolute Truth as nirguna or nirakara. The word nirguna refers to one who possesses no material qualities. The Lord, being full of spiritual qualities, gave up all His anger and spoke to Prahlada.
prahrada bhadra bhadram te
prito 'ham te 'surottama
kama-puro 'smy aham nrnam
sri-bhagavan uvaca--the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; prahrada--O My dear Prahlada; bhadra--you are so gentle; bhadram--all good fortune; te--unto you; pritah--pleased; aham--I (am); te--unto You; asura-uttama--O best devotee in the family of asuras (atheists); varam--benediction; vrnisva--just ask (from Me); abhimatam--desired; kama-purah--who fulfills everyone's desire; asmi--am; aham--I; nrnam--of all men.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Prahlada, most gentle one, best of the family of the asuras, all good fortune unto you. I am very much pleased with you. It is My pastime to fulfill the desires of all living beings, and therefore you may ask from Me any benediction that you desire to be fulfilled.
The Supreme personality of Godhead is known as bhakta-vatsala, the Supreme Personality who is very much affectionate to His devotees. It is not very extraordinary that the Lord offered His devotee all benedictions. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said in effect, "I fulfill the desires of everyone. Since you are My devotee, whatever you want for yourself will naturally be given, but if you pray for anyone else, that prayer also will be fulfilled." Thus if we approach the Supreme Lord or His devotee, or if we are blessed by a devotee, naturally we will automatically achieve the benedictions of the Supreme Lord. Yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasadah. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura says that if one pleases the Vaisnava spiritual master, all of one's desires will be fulfilled.
mam aprinata ayusman
darsanam durlabham hi me
drstva mam na punar jantur
atmanam taptum arhati
mam--Me; aprinatah--not pleasing; ayusman--O long-living Prahlada; darsanam--seeing; durlabham--very rare; hi--indeed; me--of Me; drstva--after seeing; mam--Me; na--not; punah--again; jantuh--the living entity; atmanam--for himself; taptum--to lament; arhati--deserves.
My dear Prahlada, may you live a long time. One cannot appreciate or understand Me without pleasing Me, but one who has seen or pleased Me has nothing more for which to lament for his own satisfaction.
One cannot be happy under any circumstances unless one pleases the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but one who has learned how to please the Supreme Lord need no longer lament for his material condition.
prinanti hy atha mam dhirah
sarvasam asisam patim
prinanti--try to please; hi--indeed; atha--because of this; mam--Me; dhirah--those who are sober and most intelligent; sarva-bhavena--in all respects, in different modes of devotional service; sadhavah--persons who are very well behaved (perfect in all respects); sreyas-kamah--desiring the best benefit in life; maha-bhaga--O you who are so fortunate; sarvasam--of all; asisam--kinds of benedictions; patim--the master (Me).
My dear Prahlada, you are very fortunate. Please know from Me that those who are very wise and highly elevated try to please Me in all different modes of mellows, for I am the only person who can fulfill all the desires of everyone.
The words dhirah sarva-bhavena do not mean "in whichever way you like." Bhava is the preliminary condition of love of Godhead.
athasaktis tato bhavas
sadhakanam ayam premnah
pradurbhave bhavet kramah
The bhava stage is the final division before one reaches love of Godhead. The word sarva-bhava means that one can love the Supreme Personality of Godhead in different transcendental modes of mellows, beginning with dasya, sakhya, vatsalya and madhurya. In the santa stage, one is on the border of loving service to the Lord. Pure love of Godhead begins from dasya and develops to sakhya, vatsalya and then madhurya. Still, in any of these five mellows one can render loving service to the Supreme Lord. Since our main business is to love the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one can render service from any of the above-mentioned platforms of love.
evam pralobhyamano 'pi
naicchat tan asurottamah
sri-naradah uvaca--the great saint Narada said; evam--thus; pralobhyamanah--being allured or induced; api--although; varaih--by benedictions; loka--of the world; pralobhanaih--by different kinds of allurements; ekantitvat--because of being solely surrendered; bhagavati--unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead; na aicchat--did not want; tan--those benedictions; asura-uttamah--Prahlada Maharaja, the best of the family of asuras.
Narada Muni said: Prahlada Maharaja was the best person in the family of asuras, who always aspire for material happiness. Nonetheless, although allured by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who offered him all benedictions for material happiness, because of his unalloyed Krsna consciousness he did not want to take any material benefit for sense gratification.
Pure devotees like Prahlada Maharaja and Dhruva Maharaja do not aspire for any material benefit at any stage of devotional service. When the Lord was present before Dhruva Maharaja, Dhruva did not want to take any material benefit from the Lord: svamin krtartho 'smi varam na yace. As a pure devotee, he could not ask the Lord for any material benefit. In this regard, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu instructed us:
na dhanam na janam na sundarim
kavitam va jagad-isa kamaye
mama janmani janmanisvare
bhavatad bhaktir ahaituki tvayi
"O my Lord, Jagadisa, I do not pray for benedictions by which to achieve material wealth, popularity or beauty. My only desire is to serve You. Kindly engage me in the service of the servant of Your servant."
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the Seventh Canto, Ninth Chapter, of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, entitled "Prahlada Pacifies Lord Nrsimhadeva with Prayers."