Prahlada, the Best Among Exalted Devotees
This chapter describes how the Supreme Personality of Godhead Nrsimhadeva disappeared, after pleasing Prahlada Maharaja. It also describes a benediction given by Lord Siva.
Lord Nrsimhadeva wanted to bestow benedictions upon Prahlada Maharaja, one after another, but Prahlada Maharaja, thinking them impediments on the path of spiritual progress, did not accept any of them. Instead, he fully surrendered at the Lord's lotus feet. He said: "If anyone engaged in the devotional service of the Lord prays for personal sense gratification, he cannot be called a pure devotee or even a devotee. He may be called only a merchant engaged in the business of give and take. Similarly, a master who wants to please his servant after taking service from him is also not a real master." Prahlada Maharaja, therefore, did not ask anything from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Rather, he said that if the Lord wanted to give him a benediction, he wanted the Lord to assure him that he would never be induced to take any benedictions for the sake of material desires. Exchanges of devotional service for lusty desires are always very prominent. As soon as lusty desires awaken, one's senses, mind, life, soul, religious principles, patience, intelligence, shyness, beauty, strength, memory and truthfulness are all vanquished. One can render unalloyed devotional service only when there are no material desires in one's mind.
The Supreme personality of Godhead was greatly pleased with Prahlada Maharaja for his unalloyed devotion, yet the Lord provided him one material benediction--that he would be perfectly happy in this world and live his next life in Vaikuntha. The Lord gave him the benediction that he would be the king of this material world until the end of the manvantara millennium and that although in this material world, he would have the facility to hear the glories of the Lord and depend fully on the Lord, performing service to Him in uncontaminated bhakti-yoga. The Lord advised Prahlada to perform sacrifices through bhakti-yoga, for this is the duty of a king.
Prahlada Maharaja accepted whatever the Lord had offered him, and he prayed for the Lord to deliver his father. In response to this prayer, the Lord assured him that in the family of such a pure devotee as he, not only the devotee's father but his forefathers for twenty-one generations are liberated. The Lord also asked Prahlada to perform the ritualistic ceremonies appropriate after his father's death.
Then Lord Brahma, who was also present, offered many prayers to the Lord, expressing his obligation to the Lord for having offered benedictions to Prahlada Maharaja. The Lord advised Lord Brahma not to offer benedictions to asuras as he had to Hiranyakasipu, for such benedictions indulge them. Then Lord Nrsimhadeva disappeared. On that day, Prahlada Maharaja was installed on the throne of the world by Lord Brahma and Sukracarya.
Thus Narada Muni described the character of Prahlada Maharaja for Yudhisthira Maharaja, and he further described the killing of Ravana by Lord Ramacandra and the killing of Sisupala and Dantavakra in Dvapara-yuga. Sisupala, of course, had merged into the existence of the Lord and thus achieved sayujya-mukti. Narada Muni praised Yudhisthira Maharaja because the Supreme Lord, Krsna, was the greatest well-wisher and friend of the Pandavas and almost always stayed in their house. Thus the fortune of the Pandavas was greater than that of Prahlada Maharaja.
Later, Narada Muni described how the demon Maya Danava constructed Tripura for the demons, who became very powerful and defeated the demigods. Because of this defeat, Lord Rudra, Siva, dismantled Tripura; thus he became famous as Tripurari. For this, Rudra is very much appreciated and worshiped by the demigods. This narration occurs at the end of the chapter.
bhakti-yogasya tat sarvam
smayamana uvaca ha
sri-naradah uvaca--Narada Muni said; bhakti-yogasya--of the principles of devotional service; tat--those (blessings or benedictions offered by Lord Nrsimhadeva); sarvam--each and every one of them; antarayataya--because of being impediments (on the path of bhakti-yoga); arbhakah--Prahlada Maharaja, although only a boy; manyamanah--considering; hrsikesam--unto Lord Nrsimhadeva; smayamanah--smiling; uvaca--said; ha--in the past.
The saint Narada Muni continued: Although Prahlada Maharaja was only a boy, when he heard the benedictions offered by Lord Nrsimhadeva he considered them impediments on the path of devotional service. Thus he smiled very mildly and spoke as follows.
Material achievements are not the ultimate goal of devotional service. The ultimate goal of devotional service is love of Godhead. Therefore although Prahlada Maharaja, Dhruva Maharaja, Ambarisa Maharaja, Yudhisthira Maharaja and many devotee kings were materially very opulent, they accepted their material opulence in the service of the Lord, not for their personal sense gratification. Of course, possessing material opulence is always fearful because under the influence of material opulence one may be misdirected from devotional service. Nonetheless, a pure devotee (anyabhilasita-sunyam) is never misdirected by material opulence. On the contrary, whatever he possesses he engages one hundred percent in the service of the Lord. When one is allured by material possessions, they are considered to be given by maya, but when one uses material possessions fully for service, they are considered God's gifts, or facilities offered by Krsna for enhancing one's devotional service.
ma mam pralobhayotpattya
saktamkamesu tair varaih
mumuksus tvam upasritah
sri-prahradah uvaca--Prahlada Maharaja said (to the Supreme Personality of Godhead); ma--please do not; mam--me; pralobhaya--allure; utpattya--because of my birth (in a demoniac family); saktam--(I am already) attached; kamesu--to material enjoyment; taih--by all those; varaih--benedictions of material possessions; tat-sanga-bhitah--being afraid of such material association; nirvinnah--completely detached from material desires; mumuksuh--desiring to be liberated from material conditions of life; tvam--unto Your lotus feet; upasritah--I have taken shelter.
Prahlada Maharaja said: My dear Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, because I was born in an atheistic family I am naturally attached to material enjoyment. Therefore, kindly do not tempt me with these illusions. I am very much afraid of material conditions, and I desire to be liberated from materialistic life. It is for this reason that I have taken shelter of Your lotus feet.
Materialistic life means attachment to the body and everything in relationship to the body. This attachment is based on lusty desires for sense gratification, specifically sexual enjoyment. Kamais tais tair hrta-jnanah: when one is too attached to material enjoyment, he is bereft of all knowledge (hrta jnanah). As stated in Bhagavad-gita, those who are attached to material enjoyment are mostly inclined to worship the demigods to procure various material opulences. They are especially attached to worship of the goddess Durga and Lord Siva because this transcendental couple can offer their devotees all material opulence. Prahlada Maharaja, however, was detached from all material enjoyment. He therefore took shelter of the lotus feet of Lord Nrsimhadeva, and not the feet of any demigod. It is to be understood that if one really wants release from this material world, from the threefold miseries and from janma-mrtyu jara-vyadhi (birth, death, old age and disease), one must take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, for without the Supreme Personality of Godhead one cannot get release from materialistic life. Atheistic men are very much attached to material enjoyment. Therefore if they get some opportunity to achieve more and more material enjoyment, they take it. Prahlada Maharaja, however, was very careful in this regard. Although born of a materialistic father, because he was a devotee he had no material desires (anyabhilasita-sunyam).
bhaktam kamesv acodayat
bhrtya-laksana-jijnasuh--desiring to exhibit the symptoms of a pure devotee; bhaktam--the devotee; kamesu--in the material world, where lusty desires predominate; acodayat--has sent; bhavan--Your Lordship; samsara-bijesu--the root cause of being present in this material world; hrdaya-granthisu--which (desire for material enjoyment) is in the cores of the hearts of all conditioned souls; prabho--O my worshipable Lord.
O my worshipable Lord, because the seed of lusty desires, which is the root cause of material existence, is within the core of everyone's heart, You have sent me to this material world to exhibit the symptoms of a pure devotee.
Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu has given considerable discussion about nitya-siddha and sadhana-siddha devotees. Nitya-siddha devotees come from Vaikuntha to this material world to teach, by their personal example, how to become a devotee. The living entities in this material world can take lessons from such nitya-siddha devotees and thus become inclined to return home, back to Godhead. A nitya-siddha devotee comes from Vaikuntha upon the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and shows by his example how to become a pure devotee (anyabhilasita-sunyam). In spite of coming to this material world, the nitya-siddha devotee is never attracted by the allurements of material enjoyment. A perfect example is Prahlada Maharaja, who was a nitya-siddha, a maha-bhagavata devotee. Although Prahlada was born in the family of Hiranyakasipu, an atheist, he was never attached to any kind of materialistic enjoyment. Desiring to exhibit the symptoms of a pure devotee, the Lord tried to induce Prahlada Maharaja to take material benedictions, but Prahlada Maharaja did not accept them. On the contrary, by his personal example he showed the symptoms of a pure devotee. In other words, the Lord Himself has no desire to send His pure devotee to this material world, nor does a devotee have any material purpose in coming. When the Lord Himself appears as an incarnation within this material world, He is not allured by the material atmosphere, and He has nothing to do with material activity, yet by His example He teaches the common man how to become a devotee. Similarly, a devotee who comes here in accordance with the order of the Supreme Lord shows by his personal behavior how to become a pure devotee. A pure devotee, therefore, is a practical example for all living entities, including Lord Brahma.
nanyatha te 'khila-guro
yas ta asisa asaste
na sa bhrtyah sa vai vanik
na--not; anyatha--otherwise; te--of You; akhila-guro--O supreme instructor of the entire creation; ghateta--such a thing can happen; karuna-atmanah--the Supreme Person, who is extremely kind to His devotees; yah--any person who; te--from You; asisah--material benefits; asaste--desires (in exchange for serving You); na--not; sah--such a person; bhrtyah--a servitor; sah--such a person; vai--indeed; vanik--a merchant (who wants to get material profit from his business).
Otherwise, O my Lord, O supreme instructor of the entire world, You are so kind to Your devotee that You could not induce him to do something unbeneficial for him. On the other hand, one who desires some material benefit in exchange for devotional service cannot be Your pure devotee. Indeed, he is no better than a merchant who wants profit in exchange for service.
It is sometimes found that one comes to a devotee or a temple of the Lord just to get some material benefit. Such a person is described here as a mercantile man. Bhagavad-gita speaks of arto jijnasur artharthi. The word arta refers to one who is physically distressed, and artharthi refers to one in need of money. Such persons are forced to approach the Supreme personality of Godhead for mitigation of their distress or to get some money by the benediction of the Lord. They have been described as sukrti, pious, because in their distress or need for money they have approached the Supreme Lord. Unless one is pious, one cannot approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead. However, although a pious man may receive some material benefit, one who is concerned with material benefits cannot be a pure devotee. When a pure devotee receives material opulences, this is not because of his pious activity but for the service of the Lord. When one engages in devotional service, one is automatically pious. Therefore, a pure devotee is anyabhilasita-sunyam. He has no desire for material profit, nor does the Lord induce him to try to profit materially. When a devotee needs something, the Supreme Personality of Godhead supplies it (yoga-ksemam vahamy aham).
Sometimes materialists go to a temple to offer flowers and fruit to the Lord because they have learned from Bhagavad-gita that if a devotee offers some flowers and fruits, the Lord accepts them. In Bhagavad-gita (9.26) the Lord says:
patram puspam phalam toyam
yo me bhaktya prayacchati
tad aham bhakty-upahrtam
"If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, I will accept it." Thus a man with a mercantile mentality thinks that if he can get some material benefit, like a large amount of money, simply by offering a little fruit and flower, this is good business. Such persons are not accepted as pure devotees. Because their desires are not purified, they are still mercantile men, even though they go to temples to make a show of being devotees. Sarvopadhi-vinirmuktam tat-paratvena nirmalam: only when one is fully freed from material desires can one be purified, and only in that purified state can one serve the Lord. Hrsikena hrsikesa-sevanam bhaktir ucyate. This is the pure devotional platform.
asasano na vai bhrtyah
svaminy asisa atmanah
na svami bhrtyatah svamyam
icchan yo rati casisah
asasanah--a person who desires (in exchange for service); na--not; vai--indeed; bhrtyah--a qualified servant or pure devotee of the Lord; svamini--from the master; asisah--material benefit; atmanah--for personal sense gratification; na--nor; svami--the master; bhrtyatah--from the servant; svamyam--the prestigious position of being the master; icchan--desiring; yah--any such master who; rati--bestows; ca--also; asisah--material profit.
A servant who desires material profits from his master is certainly not a qualified servant or pure devotee. Similarly, a master who bestows benedictions upon his servant because of a desire to maintain a prestigious position as master is also not a pure master.
As stated in Bhagavad-gita (7.20), kamais tais tair hrta jnanah prapadyante 'nya-devatah. "Those whose minds are distorted by material desires surrender unto demigods." A demigod cannot become master, for the real master is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The demigods, to keep their prestigious positions, bestow upon their worshipers whatever benedictions the worshipers want. For example, once it was found that an asura took a benediction from Lord Siva by which the asura would be able to kill someone simply by placing his hands on that person's head. Such benedictions are possible to receive from the demigods. If one worships the Supreme Personality of Godhead, however, the Lord will never offer him such condemned benedictions. On the contrary, it is said in the Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.88.8), yasyaham anugrhnami harisye tad-dhanam sanaih. If one is too materialistic but at the same time wants to be a servant of the Supreme Lord, the Lord, because of His supreme compassion for the devotee, takes away all his material opulences and obliges him to be a pure devotee of the Lord. Prahlada Maharaja distinguishes between the pure devotee and the pure master. The Lord is the pure master, the supreme master, whereas an unalloyed devotee with no material motives is the pure servant. One who has materialistic motivations cannot become a servant, and one who unnecessarily bestows benedictions upon his servant to keep his own prestigious position is not a real master.
aham tv akamas tvad-bhaktas
tvam ca svamy anapasrayah
aham--as far as I am concerned; tu--indeed; akamah--without material desire; tvat-bhaktah--fully attached to You without motivation; tvam ca--Your Lordship also; svami--the real master; anapasrayah--without motivation (You do not become the master with motivation); na--not; anyatha--without being in such a relationship as master and servant; iha--here; avayoh--our; arthah--any motivation (the Lord is the pure master, and Prahlada Maharaja is the pure devotee with no materialistic motivation); raja--of a king; sevakayoh--and the servitor; iva--like (just as a king exacts taxes for the benefit of the servant or the citizens pay taxes for the benefit of the king).
O my Lord, I am Your unmotivated servant, and You are my eternal master. There is no need of our being anything other than master and servant. You are naturally my master, and I am naturally Your servant. We have no other relationship.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu said, jivera 'svarupa' haya--krsnera 'nitya-dasa': every living being is eternally a servant of the Supreme Lord, Krsna. Lord Krsna says in Bhagavad-gita (5.29), bhoktaram yajna-tapasam sarva-loka-mahesvaram: "I am the proprietor of all planets, and I am the supreme enjoyer." This is the natural position of the Lord, and the natural position of the living being is to surrender unto Him (sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja). If this relationship continues, then real happiness exists eternally between the master and servant. Unfortunately, when this eternal relationship is disturbed, the living entity wants to become separately happy and thinks that the master is his order supplier. In this way there cannot be happiness. Nor should the master cater to the desires of the servant. If he does, he is not the real master. The real master commands, "You must do this," and the real servant immediately obeys the order. Unless this relationship between the Supreme Lord and the subordinate living entity is established, there can be no real happiness. The living entity is asraya, always subordinate, and the Supreme personality of Godhead is visaya, the supreme objective, the goal of life. Unfortunate persons trapped in this material world do not know this. Na te viduh svartha-gatim hi visnum: illusioned by the material energy, everyone in this material world is unaware that the only aim of life is to approach Lord Visnu.
visnor aradhanam param
tasmat parataram devi
In the Padma Purana Lord Siva explains to his wife, Parvati, the goddess Durga, that the highest goal of life is to satisfy Lord Visnu, who can be satisfied only when His servant is satisfied. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu therefore teaches, gopi-bhartuh pada-kamalayor dasa-dasanudasah. One must become a servant of the servant. Prahlada Maharaja also prayed to Lord Nrsimhadeva that he might be engaged as the servant of the Lord's servant. This is the prescribed method of devotional service. As soon as a devotee wants the Supreme Personality of Godhead to be his order supplier, the Lord immediately refuses to become the master of such a motivated devotee. In Bhagavad-gita (4.11) the Lord says, ye yatha mam prapadyante tams tathaiva bhajamy aham. "As one surrenders unto Me, I reward him accordingly." Materialistic persons are generally inclined to material profits. As long as one continues in such an adulterated position, he does not receive the benefit of returning home, back to Godhead.
yadi dasyasi me kaman
varams tvam varadarsabha
kamanam hrdy asamroham
bhavatas tu vrne varam
yadi--if; dasyasi--want to give; me--me; kaman--anything desirable; varan--as Your benediction; tvam--You; varada-rsabha--O Supreme Personality of Godhead, who can give any benediction; kamanam--of all desires for material happiness; hrdi--within the core of my heart; asamroham--no growth; bhava tah--from You; tu--then; vrne--I pray for; varam--such a benediction.
O my Lord, best of the givers of benediction, if You at all want to bestow a desirable benediction upon me, then I pray from Your Lordship that within the core of my heart there be no material desires.
Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu taught us how to pray for benedictions from the Lord. He said:
na dhanam na janam na sundarim
kavitam va jagad-isa kamaye
mama janmani janmanisvare
bhavatad bhaktir ahaituki tvayi
"O my Lord, I do not want from You any amount of wealth, nor many followers, nor a beautiful wife, for these are all materialistic desires. But if I have to ask You for any benediction, I pray that in whatever forms of life I may take my birth, under any circumstances, I will not be bereft of Your transcendental devotional service." Devotees are always on the positive platform, in contrast to the Mayavadis, who want to make everything impersonal or void. One cannot remain void (sunyavadi); rather, one must possess something. Therefore, the devotee, on the positive side, wants to possess something, and this possession is very nicely described by Prahlada Maharaja, who says, "If I must take some benediction from You, I pray that within the core of my heart there may be no material desires." The desire to serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead is not at all material.
indriyani manah prana
atma dharmo dhrtir matih
hrih sris tejah smrtih satyam
yasya nasyanti janmana
indriyani--the senses; manah--the mind; pranah--the life air; atma--the body; dharmah--religion; dhrtih--patience; matih--intelligence; hrih--shyness; srih--opulence; tejah--strength; smrtih--memory; satyam--truthfulness; yasya--of which lusty desires; nasyanti--are vanquished; janmana--from the very beginning of birth.
O my Lord, because of lusty desires from the very beginning of one's birth, the functions of one's senses, mind, life, body, religion, patience, intelligence, shyness, opulence, strength, memory and truthfulness are vanquished.
As stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam, kamam hrd-rogam. Materialistic life means that one is afflicted by a formidable disease called lusty desire. Liberation means freedom from lusty desires because it is only due to such desires that one must accept repeated birth and death. As long as one's lusty desires are unfulfilled, one must take birth after birth to fulfill them. Because of material desires, therefore, one performs various types of activities and receives various types of bodies with which to try to fulfill desires that are never satisfied. The only remedy is to take to devotional service, which begins when one is free from all material desires. Anyabhilasita-sunyam. Anya-abhilasita means "material desire," and sunyam means "free from." The spiritual soul has spiritual activities and spiritual desires, as described by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu: mama janmani janmanisvare bhavatad bhaktir ahaituki tvayi. Unalloyed devotion to the service of the Lord is the only spiritual desire. To fulfill this spiritual desire, however, one must be free from all material desires. Desirelessness means freedom from material desires. This is described by Srila Rupa Gosvami as Anyabhilasita-sunyam. As soon as one has material desires, one loses his spiritual identity. Then all the paraphernalia of one's life, including one's senses, body, religion, patience and intelligence, are deviated from one's original Krsna consciousness. As soon as one has material desires, one cannot properly use his senses, intelligence, mind and so on for the satisfaction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Mayavadi philosophers want to become impersonal, senseless and mindless, but that is not possible. The living entity must be living, always existing with desires, ambitions and so on. These should be purified, however, so that one can desire spiritually and be spiritually ambitious, without material contamination. In every living entity these propensities exist because he is a living entity. When materially contaminated, however, one is put into the hands of material misery (janma-mrtyu jara-vyadhi). If one wants to stop repeated birth and death, one must take to the devotional service of the Lord.
sevanam bhaktir ucyate
"Bhakti, or devotional service, means engaging all our senses in the service of the Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the master of all the senses. When the spirit soul renders service unto the Supreme, there are two side effects. One is freed from all material designations, and, simply by being employed in the service of the Lord, one's senses are purified."
vimuncati yada kaman
manavo manasi sthitan
tarhy eva pundarikaksa
vimuncati--gives up; yada--whenever; kaman--all material desires; manavah--human society; manasi--within the mind; sthitan--situated; tarhi--at that time only; eva--indeed; pundarika-aksa--O lotus-eyed Lord; bhagavattvaya--to be equally as opulent as the Lord; kalpate--becomes eligible.
O my Lord, when a human being is able to give up all the material desires in his mind, he becomes eligible to possess wealth and opulence like Yours.
Atheistic men sometimes criticize a devotee by saying, "If you do not want to take any benediction from the Lord and if the servant of the Lord is as opulent as the Lord Himself, why do you ask for the benediction of being engaged as the Lord's servant?" Sridhara Svami comments, bhagavattvaya bhagavat-saman aisvaryaya. Bhagavattva, becoming as good as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, does not mean becoming one with Him or equal to Him, although in the spiritual world the servant is equally as opulent as the master. The servant of the Lord is engaged in the service of the Lord as a servant, friend, father, mother or conjugal lover, all of whom are equally as opulent as the Lord. This is acintya-bhedabheda-tattva. The master and servant are different yet equal in opulence. This is the meaning of simultaneous difference from the Supreme Lord and oneness with Him.
om namo bhagavate tubhyam
om--O my Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead; namah--I offer my respectful obeisances; bhagavate--unto the Supreme Person; tubhyam--unto You; purusaya--unto the Supreme Person; maha-atmane--unto the Supreme Soul, or the Supersoul; haraye--unto the Lord, who vanquishes all the miseries of devotees; adbhuta-simhaya--unto Your wonderful lionlike form as Nrsimhadeva; brahmane--unto the Supreme Brahman; parama-atmane--unto the Supreme Soul.
O my Lord, full of six opulences, O Supreme Person! O Supreme Soul, killer of all miseries! O Supreme Person in the form of a wonderful lion and man, let me offer my respectful obeisances unto You.
In the previous verse Prahlada Maharaja has explained that a devotee can achieve the platform of bhagavattva, being as good as the Supreme Person, but this does not mean that the devotee loses his position as a servant. A pure servant of the Lord, although as opulent as the Lord, is still meant to offer respectful obeisances to the Lord in service. Prahlada Maharaja was engaged in pacifying the Lord, and therefore he did not consider himself equal to the Lord. He defined his position as a servant and offered respectful obeisances unto the Lord.
naikantino me mayi jatv ihasisa
asasate 'mutra ca ye bhavad-vidhah
tathapi manvantaram etad atra
daityesvaranam anubhunksva bhogan
sri-bhagavan uvaca--the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; na--not; ekantinah--unalloyed, without desires except for the one desire for devotional service; me--from Me; mayi--unto Me; jatu--any time; iha--within this material world; asisah--benedictions; asasate--intent desire; amutra--in the next life; ca--and; ye--all such devotees who; bhavat-vidhah--like you; tathapi--still; manvantaram--the duration of time until the end of the life of one Manu; etat--this; atra--within this material world; daitya-isvaranam--of the opulences of materialistic persons; anubhunksva--you can enjoy; bhogan--all material opulences.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Prahlada, a devotee like you never desires any kind of material opulences, either in this life or in the next. Nonetheless, I order you to enjoy the opulences of the demons in this material world, acting as their king until the end of the duration of time occupied by Manu.
One Manu lives for a duration of time calculated to be an aggregate of seventy-one yuga cycles, each of which equals 4,300,000 years. Although atheistic men like to enjoy material opulences and they endeavor with great energy to build big residences, roads, cities and factories, unfortunately they cannot live more than eighty, ninety or at the utmost one hundred years. Although the materialist exerts so much energy to create a kingdom of hallucinations, he is unable to enjoy it for more than a few years. However, because Prahlada Maharaja was a devotee, the Lord allowed him to enjoy material opulence as the king of the materialists. Prahlada Maharaja had taken birth in the family of Hiranyakasipu, who was the topmost materialist, and since Prahlada was the bona fide heir of his father, the Supreme Lord allowed him to enjoy the kingdom created by his father for so many years that no materialist could calculate them. A devotee does not have to desire material opulence, but if he is a pure devotee, there is ample opportunity for him to enjoy material happiness also, without personal endeavor. Therefore, everyone is advised to take to devotional service under all circumstances. If one desires material opulence, he can also become a pure devotee, and his desires will be fulfilled. It is stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (2.3.10):
akamah sarva-kamo va
yajeta purusam param
"Whether one desires everything or nothing, or whether he desires to merge into the existence of the Lord, he is intelligent only if he worships Lord Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, by rendering transcendental loving service."
katha madiya jusamanah priyas tvam
avesya mam atmani santam ekam
sarvesu bhutesv adhiyajnam isam
yajasva yogena ca karma hinvan
kathah--messages or instructions; madiyah--given by Me; jusamanah--always hearing or contemplating; priyah--extremely pleasing; tvam--yourself; avesya--being fully absorbed in; mam--Me; atmani--within the core of your heart; santam--existing; ekam--one (the same Supreme Soul); sarvesu--in all; bhutesu--living entities; adhiyajnam--the enjoyer of all ritualistic ceremonies; isam--the Supreme Lord; yajasva--worship; yogena--by bhakti-yoga, devotional service; ca--also; karma--fruitive activities; hinvan--giving up.
It does not matter that you are in the material world. You should always, continuously, hear the instructions and messages given by Me and always be absorbed in thought of Me, for I am the Supersoul existing in the core of everyone's heart. Therefore, give up fruitive activities and worship Me.
When a devotee becomes materially very opulent, one should not think that he is enjoying the results of his fruitive activities. A devotee in this material world uses all material opulences for the service of the Lord because he is planning how to serve the Lord with these opulences, as advised by the Lord Himself. Whatever material opulence is within his possession he engages to expand the glories and service of the Lord. A devotee never performs any fruitive or ritualistic ceremony to enjoy the results of such karma. Rather, a devotee knows that karma-kanda is meant for the less intelligent man. Narottama dasa Thakura says in his prema-bhakti-candrika, karma-kanda, jnana-kanda, kevala visera bhanda: both karma-kanda and jnana-kanda--fruitive activities and speculation about the Supreme Lord--are like pots of poison. One who is attracted to karma-kanda and jnana-kanda spoils his existence as a human being. Therefore a devotee is never interested in karma-kanda or jnana-kanda, but is simply interested in favorable service to the Lord (anukulyena krsnanusilanam), or cultivation of spiritual activities in devotional service.
bhogena punyam kusalena papam
kalevaram kala-javena hitva
kirtim visuddham sura-loka-gitam
vitaya mam esyasi mukta-bandhah
bhogena--by feelings of material happiness; punyam--pious activities or their results; kusalena--by acting piously (devotional service is the best of all pious activities); papam--all kinds of reactions to impious activities; kalevaram--the material body; kala-javena--by the most powerful time factor; hitva--giving up; kirtim--reputation; visuddham--transcendental or fully purified; sura-loka-gitam--praised even in the heavenly planets; vitaya--spreading all through the universe; mam--unto Me; esyasi--you will come back; mukta-bandhah--being liberated from all bondage.
My dear Prahlada, while you are in this material world you will exhaust all the reactions of pious activity by feeling happiness, and by acting piously you will neutralize impious activity. Because of the powerful time factor, you will give up your body, but the glories of your activities will be sung in the upper planetary systems, and being fully freed from all bondage, you will return home, back to Godhead.
Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura says: evam prahladasyamsena sadhana-siddhatvam nitya-siddhatvam ca naradadivaj jneyam. There are two classes of devotees--the sadhana-siddha and the nitya-siddha. Prahlada Maharaja is a mixed siddha; that is, he is perfect partly because of executing devotional service and partly because of eternal perfection. Thus he is compared to such devotees as Narada. Formerly, Narada Muni was the son of a maidservant, and therefore in his next birth he attained perfection (sadhana-siddhi) because of having executed devotional service. Yet he is also a nitya-siddha because he never forgets the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
The word kusalena is very important. One should live in the material world very expertly. The material world is known as the world of duality because one sometimes has to act impiously and sometimes has to act piously. Although one does not want to act impiously, the world is so fashioned that there is always danger (padam padam yad vipadam). Thus even when performing devotional service a devotee has to create many enemies. Prahlada Maharaja himself had experience of this, for even his father became his enemy. A devotee should expertly manage to think always of the Supreme Lord so that the reactions of suffering cannot touch him. This is the expert management of papa-punya--pious and impious activities. An exalted devotee like Prahlada Maharaja is jivan-mukta; he is liberated even in this very life in the material body.
ya etat kirtayen mahyam
tvaya gitam idam narah
tvam ca mam ca smaran kale
yah--anyone who; etat--this activity; kirtayet--chants; mahyam--unto Me; tvaya--by you; gitam--prayers offered; idam--this; narah--human being; tvam--you; ca--as well as; mam ca--Me also; smaran--remembering; kale--in due course of time; karma-bandhat--from the bondage of material activities; pramucyate--becomes free.
One who always remembers your activities and My activities also, and who chants the prayers you have offered, becomes free, in due course of time, from the reactions of material activities.
Here it is stated that anyone who chants and hears about the activities of Prahlada Maharaja and, in relationship with Prahlada's activities, the activities of Nrsimhadeva, gradually becomes free from all the bondage of fruitive activities. As stated in Bhagavad-gita (2.15, 2.56):
yam hi na vyathayanty ete
so 'mrtatvaya kalpate
"O best among men [Arjuna], the person who is not disturbed by happiness and distress and is steady in both is certainly eligible for liberation."
sthita-dhir munir ucyate
"One who is not disturbed in spite of the threefold miseries, who is not elated when there is happiness, and who is free from attachment, fear and anger, is called a sage of steady mind." A devotee should not be aggrieved in an awkward position, nor should he feel extraordinarily happy in material opulence. This is the way of expert management of material life. Because a devotee knows how to manage expertly, he is called jivan-mukta. As Rupa Gosvami explains in Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu:
iha yasya harer dasye
karmana manasa gira
nikhilasv apy avasthasu
jivan-muktah sa ucyate
"A person acting in Krsna consciousness (or, in other words, in the service of Krsna) with his body, mind, intelligence and words is a liberated person even within this material world, although he may be engaged in many so-called material activities." Because of constantly engaging in devotional service, in any condition of life, a devotee is free from all material bondage.
bhaktih punati man-nistha
sva-pakan api sambhavat
"Even one born in a family of meat-eaters is purified if he engages in devotional service." (Bhag. 11.14.21) Srila Jiva Gosvami cites this verse in logically supporting that anyone who chants about the pure life and activities of Prahlada Maharaja is freed from the reactions of material activities.
varam varaya etat te
yad anindat pita me
tvam avidvams teja aisvaram
tvad-bhakte mayi caghavan
tasmat pita me puyeta
durantad dustarad aghat
putas te 'panga-samdrstas
sri-prahradah uvaca--Prahlada Maharaja said; varam--benediction; varaye--I pray; etat--this; te--from You; varada-isat--the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who offers benedictions even to such exalted demigods as Brahma and Siva; maha-isvara--O my Supreme Lord; yat--that; anindat--vilified; pita--father; me--my; tvam--You; avidvan--without knowledge of; tejah--strength; aisvaram--supremacy; viddha--being polluted; amarsa--with anger; asayah--within the heart; saksat--directly; sarva-loka-gurum--unto the supreme spiritual master of all living beings; prabhum--unto the supreme master; bhratr-ha--the killer of his brother; iti--thus; mrsa-drstih--falsely envious because of a false conception; tvat-bhakte--unto Your devotee; mayi--unto me; ca--and; agha-van--who committed heavily sinful activities; tasmat--from that; pita--father; me--my; puyeta--may be purified; durantat--very great; dustarat--difficult to pass over; aghat--from all sinful activities; putah--(although he was) purified; te--of You; apanga--by the glance over him; samdrstah--being looked at; tada--at that time; krpana-vatsala--O You who are merciful to the materialistic.
Prahlada Maharaja said: O Supreme Lord, because You are so merciful to the fallen souls, I ask You for only one benediction. I know that my father, at the time of his death, had already been purified by Your glance upon him, but because of his ignorance of Your beautiful power and supremacy, he was unnecessarily angry at You, falsely thinking that You were the killer of his brother. Thus he directly blasphemed Your Lordship, the spiritual master of all living beings, and committed heavily sinful activities directed against me, Your devotee. I wish that he be excused for these sinful activities.
Although Hiranyakasipu was purified as soon as he came in contact with the Lord's lap and the Lord saw him, Prahlada Maharaja still wanted to hear from the Lord's own mouth that his father had been purified by the Lord's causeless mercy. Prahlada Maharaja offered this prayer to the Lord for the sake of his father. As a Vaisnava son, despite all the inconveniences imposed upon him by his father, he could not forget his father's affection.
trih-saptabhih pita putah
pitrbhih saha te 'nagha
yat sadho 'sya kule jato
bhavan vai kula-pavanah
sri-bhagavan uvaca--the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; trih-saptabhih--seven multiplied by three (that is to say, twenty-one); pita--father; putah--purified; pitrbhih--with your forefathers; saha--all together; te--your; anagha--O most sinless personality (Prahlada Maharaja); yat--because; sadho--O great saintly person; asya--of this person; kule--in the dynasty; jatah--took birth; bhavan--you; vai--indeed; kula-pavanah--the purifier of the whole dynasty.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Prahlada, O most pure, O great saintly person, your father has been purified, along with twenty-one forefathers in your family. Because you were born in this family, the entire dynasty has been purified.
The word trih-saptabhih means seven multiplied by three. In one's family one can count back four or five generations--to one's great-grandfather or even one's great-grandfather's father--but since the Lord mentions twenty-one forefathers, this indicates that the benediction expands to other families also. Before the present family in which one has taken birth, one must have been born in other families. Thus when a Vaisnava takes birth in a family, by the grace of the Lord he purifies not only that family but also the families of his previous births.
yatra yatra ca mad-bhaktah
te puyante 'pi kikatah
yatra yatra--wherever and whenever; ca--also; mat-bhaktah--My devotees; prasantah--extremely peaceful; sama-darsinah--equipoised; sadhavah--decorated with all good qualities; samudacarah--equally magnanimous; te--all of them; puyante--are purified; api--even; kikatah--a degraded country or the inhabitants of such a place.
Whenever and wherever there are peaceful, equipoised devotees who are well behaved and decorated with all good qualities, that place and the dynasties there, even if condemned, are purified.
Wherever exalted devotees stay, not only they and their dynasties but the entire country is purified.
sarvatmana na himsanti
sarva-atmana--in all respects, even in the modes of anger and jealousy; na--never; himsanti--they are envious; bhuta-gramesu--among all species of life; kincana--toward any one of them; ucca-avacesu--the lower and higher living entities; daitya-indra--O my dear Prahlada, King of the Daityas; mat-bhava--because of devotional service unto Me; vigata--given up; sprhah--all material modes of anger and greed.
My dear Prahlada, King of the Daityas, because of being attached to devotional service to Me, My devotee does not distinguish between lower and higher living entities. In all respects, he is never jealous of anyone.
bhavanti purusa loke
mad-bhaktas tvam anuvratah
bhavan me khalu bhaktanam
bhavanti--become; purusah--persons; loke--in this world; mat-bhaktah--My pure devotees; tvam--you; anuvratah--following in your footsteps; bhavan--you; me--My; khalu--indeed; bhaktanam--of all devotees; sarvesam--in different mellows; pratirupa-dhrk--tangible example.
Those who follow your example will naturally become My pure devotees. You are the best example of My devotee, and others should follow in your footsteps.
In this connection, Srila Madhvacarya quotes a verse from the Skanda Purana:
rte tu tattvikan devan
naradadims tathaiva ca
prahradad uttamah ko nu
There are many, many devotees of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and they have been enumerated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (6.3.20) as follows:
svayambhur naradah sambhuh
kumarah kapilo manuh
prahlado janako bhismo
balir vaiyasakir vayam
Of the twelve authorized devotees--Lord Brahma, Narada, Lord Siva, Kapila, Manu and so on--Prahlada Maharaja is understood to be the best example.
kuru tvam preta-krtyani
pituh putasya sarvasah
lokan yasyati suprajah
kuru--perform; tvam--you; preta-krtyani--the ritualistic ceremony performed after death; pituh--of your father; putasya--already purified; sarvasah--in all respects; mat-anga--My body; sparsanena--by touching; anga--My dear child; lokan--to planets; yasyati--he will be elevated; su-prajah--to become a devotee-citizen.
My dear child, your father has already been purified just by the touch of My body at the time of his death. Nonetheless, the duty of a son is to perform the sraddha ritualistic ceremony after his father's death so that his father may be promoted to a planetary system where he may become a good citizen and devotee.
In this regard, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura says that although Hiranyakasipu was already purified, he had to take birth on a higher planetary system to become a devotee again. Prahlada Maharaja was advised to perform the ritualistic ceremony as a matter of etiquette, for the Supreme Personality of Godhead under no circumstances wants to stop the regulative principles. Madhva Muni also instructs:
durau bhagavato mrtau
tama eva kramad aptau
bhaktya ced yo harim yayau
When the demons Madhu and Kaitabha were killed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, their kinsmen also observed the ritualistic ceremonies so that these demons could return home, back to Godhead.
pitryam ca sthanam atistha
mayy avesya manas tata
kuru karmani mat-parah
pitryam--paternal; ca--also; sthanam--place, throne; atistha--sit upon; yatha-uktam--as described; brahmavadibhih--by the followers of Vedic civilization; mayi--unto Me; avesya--being fully absorbed; manah--the mind; tata--My dear boy; kuru--just execute; karmani--the regulative duties; mat-parah--just for the sake of My work.
After performing the ritualistic ceremonies, take charge of your father's kingdom. Sit upon the throne and do not be disturbed by materialistic activities. Please keep your mind fixed upon Me. Without transgressing the injunctions of the Vedas, as a matter of formality you may perform your particular duties.
When one becomes a devotee, he no longer has any duty to the Vedic regulative principles. One has many duties to perform, but if one becomes fully devoted to the Lord, he no longer has any such obligations. As stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.5.41):
na kinkaro nayam rni ca rajan
sarvatmana yah saranam saranyam
gato mukundam parihrtya kartam
One who has fully surrendered to the lotus feet of the Lord is no longer a debtor to his forefathers, the great sages, human society, the common man or any living entity.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead nonetheless advised Prahlada Maharaja to follow the regulative principles, for since he was going to be the king, others would follow his example. Thus Lord Nrsimhadeva advised Prahlada Maharaja to engage in his political duties so that people would become the Lord's devotees.
yad yad acarati sresthas
tad tad evetaro janah
sa yat pramanam kurute
lokas tad anuvartate
"Whatever action a great man performs, common men follow. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues." (Bg. 3.21) One should not be attached to any materialistic activities, but a devotee may perform such activities as an example to show the common man that one should not deviate from the Vedic injunctions.
prahrado 'pi tatha cakre
pitur yat samparayikam
yathaha bhagavan rajann
sri-naradah uvaca--Narada Muni said; prahradah--Prahlada Maharaja; api--also; tatha--in that way; cakre--executed; pituh--of his father; yat--whatever; samparayikam--ritualistic ceremonies performed after death; yatha--even as; aha--order; bhagavan--the Supreme Personality of Godhead; rajan--O King Yudhisthira; abhisiktah--he was enthroned in the kingdom; dvi-jatibhih--by the brahmanas present.
Sri Narada Muni continued: Thus, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead ordered, Prahlada Maharaja performed the ritualistic ceremonies for his father. O King Yudhisthira, he was then enthroned in the kingdom of Hiranyakasipu, as directed by the brahmanas.
It is essential that society be divided into four groups of men--brahmanas, ksatriyas, vaisyas and sudras. Here we see that although Prahlada was perfect in every respect, he nonetheless followed the instructions of the brahmanas who performed the Vedic rituals. Therefore in society there must be a very intelligent class of leaders who are well versed in the Vedic knowledge so that they can guide the entire populace to follow the Vedic principles and thus gradually become most perfect and eligible to return home, back to Godhead.
brahma naraharim harim
stutva vagbhih pavitrabhih
praha devadibhir vrtah
prasada-sumukham--whose face was bright because the Supreme Lord was pleased; drstva--seeing this situation; brahma--Lord Brahma; nara-harim--unto Lord Nrsimhadeva; harim--the Supreme Personality of Godhead; stutva--offering prayers; vagbhih--by transcendental words; pavitrabhih--without any material contamination; praha--addressed (the Lord); deva-adibhih--by other demigods; vrtah--surrounded.
Lord Brahma, surrounded by the other demigods, was bright-faced because the Lord was pleased. Thus he offered prayers to the Lord with transcendental words.
distya te nihatah papo
sri-brahma uvaca--Lord Brahma said; deva-deva--O my Lord, Lord of all the demigods; akhila-adhyaksa--owner of the whole universe; bhuta-bhavana--O cause of all living entities; purva-ja--O original Personality of Godhead; distya--by Your example or because of our good fortune; te--by You; nihatah--killed; papah--most sinful; loka-santapanah--giving trouble to the entire universe; asurah--the demon Hiranyakasipu.
Lord Brahma said: O Supreme Lord of all lords, proprietor of the entire universe, O benedictor of all living entities, O original person [adi-purusa], because of our good fortune You have now killed this sinful demon, who was giving trouble to the entire universe.
The word purvaja is described in Bhagavad-gita (10.8): aham sarvasya prabhavo mattah sarvam pravartate. All the demigods, including Lord Brahma, are manifested from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore the original person, the cause of all causes, is Govinda, the adi-purusam.
yo 'sau labdha-varo matto
na vadhyo mama srstibhih
yah--the person who; asau--he (Hiranyakasipu); labdha-varah--being given the extraordinary benediction; mattah--from me; na vadhyah--not to be killed; mama srstibhih--by any living being created by me; tapah-yoga-bala--by austerity, mystic power and strength; unnaddhah--thus being very proud; samasta--all; nigaman--Vedic injunctions; ahan--disregarded, transgressed.
This demon, Hiranyakasipu, received from me the benediction that he would not be killed by any living being within my creation. With this assurance and with strength derived from austerities and mystic power, he became excessively proud and transgressed all the Vedic injunctions.
distya tat-tanayah sadhur
tvaya vimocito mrtyor
distya tvam samito 'dhuna
distya--by fortune; tat-tanayah--his son; sadhuh--who is a great saintly person; maha-bhagavatah--a great and exalted devotee; arbhakah--although a child; tvaya--by Your Lordship; vimocitah--released; mrtyoh--from the clutches of death; distya--also by great fortune; tvam samitah--perfectly under Your shelter; adhuna--now.
By great fortune, Hiranyakasipu's son Prahlada Maharaja has now been released from death, for although he is a child, he is an exalted devotee. Now he is fully under the protection of Your lotus feet.
etad vapus te bhagavan
sarvato goptr santrasan
mrtyor api jighamsatah
etat--this; vapuh--body; te--Your; bhagavan--O Supreme personality of Godhead; dhyayatah--those who meditate upon; parama-atmanah--of the Supreme Person; sarvatah--from everywhere; goptr--the protector; santrasat--from all kinds of fear; mrtyoh api--even from fear of death; jighamsatah--if one is envied by an enemy.
My dear Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, You are the Supreme Soul. If one meditates upon Your transcendental body, You naturally protect him from all sources of fear, even the imminent danger of death.
Everyone is sure to die, for no one is excused from the hands of death, which is but a feature of the Supreme Personality of Godhead (mrtyuh sarva-haras caham). When one becomes a devotee, however, he is not destined to die according to a limited duration of life. Everyone has a limited duration of life, but a devotee's lifetime can be extended by the mercy of the Supreme Lord, who is able to nullify the results of one's karma. Karmani nirdahati kintu ca bhakti-bhajam. This is the statement of Brahma-samhita (5.54). A devotee is not under the laws of karma. Therefore even a devotee's scheduled death can be avoided by the causeless mercy of the Supreme Lord. God protects the devotee even from the extreme danger of death.
maivam vibho 'suranam te
ahinam amrtam yatha
sri-bhagavan uvaca--the Supreme Personality of Godhead replied (to Brahma); ma--do not; evam--thus; vibho--O great person; asuranam--unto the demons; te--by you; pradeyah--bestow benedictions; padma-sambhava--O Lord Brahma, born from the lotus flower; varah--benediction; krura-nisarganam--persons who are by nature very cruel and jealous; ahinam--to snakes; amrtam--nectar or milk; yatha--just as.
The Personality of Godhead replied: My dear Lord Brahma, O great lord born from the lotus flower, just as it is dangerous to feed milk to a snake, so it is dangerous to give benedictions to demons, who are by nature ferocious and jealous. I warn you not to give such benedictions to any demon again.
ity uktva bhagavan rajams
tatas cantardadhe harih
sri-naradah uvaca--Narada Muni said; iti uktva--saying this; bhagavan--the Supreme Personality of Godhead; rajan--O King Yudhisthira; tatah--from that place; ca--also; antardadhe--disappeared; harih--the Lord; adrsyah--without being visible; sarva-bhutanam--by all kinds of living entities; pujitah--being worshiped; paramesthina--by Lord Brahma.
Narada Muni continued: O King Yudhisthira, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is not visible to an ordinary human being, spoke in this way, instructing Lord Brahma. Then, being worshiped by Brahma, the Lord disappeared from that place.
tatah sampujya sirasa
bhavam prajapatin devan
tatah--thereafter; sampujya--worshiping; sirasa--by bowing the head; vavande--offered prayers; paramesthinam--to Lord Brahma; bhavam--to Lord Siva; prajapatin--to the great demigods entrusted with increasing the population; devan--to all the great demigods; prahradah--Prahlada Maharaja; bhagavat-kalah--influential parts of the Lord.
Prahlada Maharaja then worshiped and offered prayers to all the demigods, such as Brahma, Siva and the Prajapatis, who are all parts of the Lord.
tatah kavyadibhih sardham
daityanam danavanam ca
prahradam akarot patim
tatah--thereafter; kavya-adibhih--with Sukracarya and others; sardham--and with; munibhih--great saintly persons; kamala-asanah--Lord Brahma; daityanam--of all the demons; danavanam--of all the giants; ca--and; prahradam--Prahlada Maharaja; akarot--created; patim--the master or king.
Thereafter, along with Sukracarya and other great saints, Lord Brahma, whose seat is on the lotus flower, made Prahlada the king of all the demons and giants in the universe.
By the grace of Lord Nrsimhadeva, Prahlada Maharaja became a greater king than his father, Hiranyakasipu. Prahlada's inauguration was performed by Lord Brahma in the presence of other saintly persons and demigods.
pratinandya tato devah
sva-dhamani yayu rajan
pratinandya--congratulating; tatah--thereafter; devah--all the demigods; prayujya--having offered; parama-asisah--exalted benedictions; sva-dhamani--to their respective abodes; yayuh--returned; rajan--O King Yudhisthira; brahma-adyah--all the demigods, headed by Lord Brahma; pratipujitah--being thoroughly worshiped (by Prahlada Maharaja).
O King Yudhisthira, after all the demigods, headed by Lord Brahma, were properly worshiped by Prahlada Maharaja, they offered Prahlada their utmost benedictions and then returned to their respective abodes.
evam ca parsadau visnoh
putratvam prapitau diteh
hrdi sthitena harina
vaira-bhavena tau hatau
evam--in this way; ca--also; parsadau--the two personal associates; visnoh--of Lord Visnu; putratvam--becoming the sons; prapitau--having gotten; diteh--of Diti; hrdi--within the core of the heart; sthitena--being situated; harina--by the Supreme Lord; vaira-bhavena--by conceiving as an enemy; tau--both of them; hatau--were killed.
Thus the two associates of Lord Visnu who had become Hiranyaksa and Hiranyakasipu, the sons of Diti, were both killed. By illusion they had thought that the Supreme Lord, who is situated in everyone's heart, was their enemy.
The discourse concerning Lord Nrsimhadeva and Prahlada Maharaja began when Maharaja Yudhisthira asked Narada how Sisupala had merged into the body of Krsna. Sisupala and Dantavakra were the same Hiranyaksa and Hiranyakasipu. Here Narada Muni is relating how in three different births the associates of Lord Visnu were killed by Lord Visnu Himself. First they were the demons Hiranyaksa and Hiranyakasipu.
punas ca vipra-sapena
raksasau tau babhuvatuh
hatau tau rama-vikramaih
punah--again; ca--also; vipra-sapena--being cursed by the brahmanas; raksasau--the two Raksasas; tau--both of them; babhuvatuh--incarnated as; kumbhakarna-dasa-grivau--known as Kumbhakarna and the ten-headed Ravana (in their next birth); hatau--they also were killed; tau--both of them; rama-vikramaih--by the extraordinary strength of Lord Ramacandra.
Being cursed by the brahmanas, the same two associates took birth again as Kumbhakarna and the ten-headed Ravana. These two Raksasas were killed by Lord Ramacandra's extraordinary power.
sayanau yudhi nirbhinna-
tac-cittau jahatur deham
sayanau--being laid down; yudhi--on the battlefield; nirbhinna--being pierced; hrdayau--in the core of the heart; rama-sayakaih--by the arrows of Lord Ramacandra; tat-cittau--thinking or being conscious of Lord Ramacandra; jahatuh--gave up; deham--body; yatha--even as; praktana-janmani--in their previous births.
Pierced by the arrows of Lord Ramacandra, both Kumbhakarna and Ravana lay on the ground and left their bodies, fully absorbed in thought of the Lord, just as they had in their previous births as Hiranyaksa and Hiranyakasipu.
tav ihatha punar jatau
pasyatas te samiyatuh
tau--both of them; iha--in this human society; atha--in this way; punah--again; jatau--took their births; sisupala--Sisupala; karusa-jau--Dantavakra; harau--unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead; vaira-anubandhena--by the bondage of considering the Lord an enemy; pasyatah--were looking on; te--while you; samiyatuh--merged or went into the lotus feet of the Lord.
They both took birth again in human society as Sisupala and Dantavakra and continued in the same enmity toward the Lord. It is they who merged into the body of the Lord in your presence.
Vairanubandhena. Acting like the Lord's enemy is also beneficial for the living entity. Kamad dvesad bhayat snehad. Whether in lusty desire, anger, fear or envy of the Lord, somehow or other, as recommended by Srila Rupa Gosvami (tasmat kenapy upayena), one should become attached to the Supreme Personality of Godhead and ultimately achieve the goal of returning home, back to Godhead. What, then, is to be said of one who is related to the Supreme Personality of Godhead as a servant, friend, father, mother or conjugal lover?
enah purva-krtam yat tad
jahus te 'nte tad-atmanah
kitah pesaskrto yatha
enah--this sinful activity (of blaspheming the Supreme Lord); purva-krtam--executed in previous births; yat--which; tat--that; rajanah--kings; krsna-vairinah--always acting as enemies of Krsna; jahuh--gave up; te--all of them; ante--at the time of death; tat-atmanah--attaining the same spiritual body and form; kitah--a worm; pesaskrtah--(captured by) a black drone; yatha--just like.
Not only Sisupala and Dantavakra but also many, many other kings who acted as enemies of Krsna attained salvation at the time of death. Because they thought of the Lord, they received spiritual bodies and forms the same as His, just as worms captured by a black drone obtain the same type of body as the drone.
The mystery of yogic meditation is explained here. Real yogis always meditate on the form of Visnu within their hearts. Consequently, at the time of death they give up their bodies while thinking of the form of Visnu and thus attain Visnuloka, Vaikunthaloka, where they receive bodily features the same as those of the Lord. From the Sixth Canto we have already learned that when the Visnudutas came from Vaikuntha to deliver Ajamila, they looked exactly like Visnu, with four hands and the same features as Visnu. Therefore, we may conclude that if one practices thinking of Visnu and is fully absorbed in thinking of Him at the time of death, one returns home, back to Godhead. Even enemies of Krsna who thought of Krsna in fear (bhaya), such as King Kamsa, received bodies in a spiritual identity similar to that of the Lord.
yatha yatha bhagavato
nrpas caidyadayah satmyam
hares tac-cintaya yayuh
yatha yatha--just as; bhagavatah--of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; bhaktya--by devotional service; paramaya--supreme; abhida--incessantly thinking of such activities; nrpah--kings; caidya-adayah--Sisupala, Dantavakra and others; satmyam--the same form; hareh--of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; tat-cintaya--by constantly thinking of Him; yayuh--returned home, back to Godhead.
By devotional service, pure devotees who incessantly think of the Supreme Personality of Godhead receive bodies similar to His. This is known as sarupya-mukti. Although Sisupala, Dantavakra and other kings thought of Krsna as an enemy, they also achieved the same result.
In Caitanya-caritamrta, in connection with Lord Caitanya's instructions to Sanatana Gosvami, it is explained that a devotee should externally execute his routine devotional service in a regular way but should always inwardly think of the particular mellow in which he is attracted to the service of the Lord. This constant thought of the Lord makes the devotee eligible to return home, back to Godhead. As stated in Bhagavad-gita (4.9), tyaktva deham punar janma naiti mam eti: after giving up his body, a devotee does not again receive a material body, but goes back to Godhead and receives a spiritual body resembling those of the Lord's eternal associates whose activities he followed. However the devotee likes to serve the Lord, he may constantly think of the Lord's associates--the cowherd boys, the gopis, the Lord's father and mother, His servants and the trees, land, animals, plants and water in the Lord's abode. Because of constantly thinking of these features, one acquires a transcendental position. Kings like Sisupala, Dantavakra, Kamsa, Paundraka, Narakasura and Salva were all similarly delivered. This is confirmed by Madhvacarya:
paundrake narake caiva
salve kamse ca rukmini
avistas tu harer bhaktas
tad-bhaktya harim apire
Paundraka, Narakasura, Salva and Kamsa were all inimical toward the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but because all these kings constantly thought of Him, they achieved the same liberation--sarupya-mukti. The jnana-bhakta, the devotee who follows the path of jnana, also attains the same destination. If even the enemies of the Lord achieve salvation by constantly thinking about the Lord, what is to be said of pure devotees who always engage in the Lord's service and who think of nothing but the Lord in every activity?
akhyatam sarvam etat te
yan mam tvam pariprstavan
hareh satmyam api dvisam
akhyatam--described; sarvam--everything; etat--this; te--unto you; yat--whatever; mam--unto me; tvam--you; pariprstavan--inquired; damaghosa-suta-adinam--of the son of Damaghosa (Sisupala) and others; hareh--of the Lord; satmyam--equal bodily features; api--even; dvisam--although they were inimical.
Everything you asked me about how Sisupala and others attained salvation although they were inimical has now been explained to you by me.
krsnasya ca mahatmanah
esa--all this; brahmanya-devasya--of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is worshiped by all brahmanas; krsnasya--of Krsna, the original Supreme Personality of Godhead; ca--also; maha-atmanah--the Supersoul; avatara-katha--narrations about His incarnations; punya--pious, purifying; vadhah--killing; yatra--wherein; adi--in the beginning of the millennium; daityayoh--of the demons (Hiranyaksa and Hiranyakasipu).
In this narration about Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, various expansions or incarnations of the Lord have been described, and the killing of the two demons Hiranyaksa and Hiranyakasipu has also been described.
Avataras, or incarnations, are expansions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead--Krsna, Govinda.
advaitam acyutam anadim ananta-rupam
adyam purana-purusam nava-yauvanam ca
vedesu durlabham adurlabham atma-bhaktau
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
"I worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Govinda, who is the original person--nondual, infallible, and without beginning. Although He expands into unlimited forms, He is still the original, and although He is the oldest person, He always appears as a fresh youth. Such eternal, blissful and all-knowing forms of the Lord cannot be understood by the academic wisdom of the Vedas, but they are always manifest to pure, unalloyed devotees." (Brahma-samhita 5.33) The Brahma-samhita describes the avataras. Indeed, all the avataras are described in the authentic scriptures. No one can become an avatara, or incarnation, although this has become fashionable in the age of Kali. The avataras are described in the authentic scriptures (sastras), and therefore before one risks accepting a pretender as an avatara, one should refer to the sastras. The sastras say everywhere that Krsna is the original Personality of Godhead and that He has innumerable avataras, or incarnations. Elsewhere in the Brahma-samhita it is said, ramadi-murtisu kala-niyamena tisthan: Rama, Nrsimha, Varaha and many others are consecutive expansions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. After Krsna comes Balarama, after Balarama is Sankarsana, then Aniruddha, Pradyumna, Narayana and then the purusa-avataras--Maha-Visnu, Garbhodakasayi Visnu and Ksirodakasayi Visnu. All of them are avataras.
One must hear about the avataras. Narrations about such avataras are called avatara-katha, the narrations of Krsna's expansions. Hearing and chanting these narrations is completely pious. Srnvatam sva-kathah krsnah punya-sravana-kirtanah. One who hears and chants can become punya, purified of material contamination.
Whenever there are references to the avataras, religious principles are established, and demons who are against Krsna are killed. The Krsna consciousness movement is spreading all over the world with two aims--to establish Krsna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead and to kill all the pretenders who falsely present themselves as avataras. The preachers of the Krsna consciousness movement must carry this conviction very carefully within their hearts and kill the demons who in many tactful ways vilify the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna. If we take shelter of Nrsimhadeva and Prahlada Maharaja, it will be easier to kill the demons who are against Krsna and to thus reestablish Krsna's supremacy. Krsnas tu bhagavan svayam: Krsna is the Supreme Lord, the original Lord. Prahlada Maharaja is our guru, and Krsna is our worshipable God. As advised by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, guru-krsna-prasade paya bhakti-lata-bija. If we can be successful in getting the mercy of Prahlada Maharaja and also that of Nrsimhadeva, then our Krsna consciousness movement will be extremely successful.
The demon Hiranyakasipu had so many ways to try to become God himself, but although Prahlada Maharaja was chastised and threatened in many ways, he rigidly refused to accept his powerful demoniac father as God. Following in the footsteps of Prahlada Maharaja, we should reject all the rascals who pretend to be God. We must accept Krsna and His incarnations, and no one else.
bhaktir jnanam viraktis ca
yatharthyam casya vai hareh
kalena vyatyayo mahan
prahradasya--of Prahlada Maharaja; anucaritam--characteristics (understood by reading or describing his activities); maha-bhagavatasya--of the great and exalted devotee; ca--also; bhaktih--devotional service unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead; jnanam--complete knowledge of the Transcendence (Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan); viraktih--renunciation of material existence; ca--also; yatharthyam--just to understand each of them perfectly; ca--and; asya--of this; vai--indeed; hareh--always in reference to the Supreme Personality of Godhead; sarga--of creation; sthiti--maintenance; apyaya--and annihilation; isasya--of the master (the Supreme personality of Godhead); guna--of the transcendental qualities and opulences; karma--and activities; anuvarnanam--description within the disciplic succession; para-avaresam--of different types of living entities known as demigods and demons; sthananam--of the various planets or places to live; kalena--in due course of time; vyatyayah--the annihilation of everything; mahan--although very great.
This narration describes the characteristics of the great and exalted devotee Prahlada Maharaja, his staunch devotional service, his perfect knowledge, and his perfect detachment from material contamination. It also describes the Supreme Personality of Godhead as the cause of creation, maintenance and annihilation. Prahlada Maharaja, in his prayers, has described the transcendental qualities of the Lord and has also described how the various abodes of the demigods and demons, regardless of how materially opulent, are destroyed by the mere direction of the Lord.
Srimad-Bhagavatam is filled with descriptions of the characteristics of various devotees, with reference to the service of the Lord. This Vedic literature is called Bhagavatam because it deals with the Supreme personality of Godhead and His devotee. By studying Srimad-Bhagavatam under the direction of the bona fide spiritual master, one can perfectly understand the science of Krsna, the nature of the material and spiritual worlds, and the aim of life. Srimad-Bhagavatam amalam puranam. Srimad-Bhagavatam is the spotless Vedic literature, as we have discussed in the beginning of Srimad-Bhagavatam. Therefore, simply by understanding Srimad-Bhagavatam, one can understand the science of the activities of the devotees, the activities of the demons, the permanent abode and the temporary abode. Through Srimad-Bhagavatam, everything is perfectly known.
dharmo bhagavatanam ca
bhagavan yena gamyate
akhyane 'smin samamnatam
dharmah--religious principles; bhagavatanam--of the devotees; ca--and; bhagavan--the Supreme Personality of Godhead; yena--by which; gamyate--one can understand; akhyane--in the narration; asmin--this; samamnatam--is perfectly described; adhyatmikam--transcendence; asesatah--without reservations.
The principles of religion by which one can actually understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead are called bhagavata-dharma. In this narration, therefore, which deals with these principles, actual transcendence is properly described.
Through the principles of religion, one can understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Brahman (the impersonal feature of the Supreme Lord) and Paramatma (the localized aspect of the Lord). When one is well conversant with all these principles, he becomes a devotee and performs bhagavata-dharma. Prahlada Maharaja, the spiritual master in the line of disciplic succession, advised that this bhagavata-dharma be instructed to students from the very beginning of their education (kaumara acaret prajno dharman bhagavatan iha). To understand the science of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the real purpose of education. Sravanam kirtanam visnoh. One must simply hear about and describe Lord Visnu and His various incarnations. This narration concerning Prahlada Maharaja and Lord Nrsimhadeva, therefore, has properly described spiritual, transcendental subjects.
ya etat punyam akhyanam
kirtayec chraddhaya srutva
yah--anyone who; etat--this; punyam--pious; akhyanam--narration; visnoh--of Lord Visnu; virya--the supreme power; upabrmhitam--in which is described; kirtayet--chants or repeats; sraddhaya--with great faith; srutva--after properly hearing (from the right source); karma-pasaih--from the bondage of fruitive activities; vimucyate--becomes liberated.
One who hears and chants this narration about the omnipotence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Visnu, is certainly liberated from material bondage without fail.
etad ya adi-purusasya mrgendra-lilam
daityendra-yutha-pa-vadham prayatah patheta
daityatmajasya ca satam pravarasya punyam
srutvanubhavam akuto-bhayam eti lokam
etat--this narration; yah--anyone who; adi-purusasya--of the original Personality of Godhead; mrga-indra-lilam--pastimes as a lion and human being combined; daitya-indra--of the King of the demons; yutha-pa--as strong as an elephant; vadham--the killing; prayatah--with great attention; patheta--reads; daitya-atma-jasya--of Prahlada Maharaja, the son of the demon; ca--also; satam--among elevated devotees; pravarasya--the best; punyam--pious; srutva--hearing; anubhavam--the activities; akutah-bhayam--where there is no fear anywhere or at any time; eti--reaches; lokam--the spiritual world.
Prahlada Maharaja was the best among exalted devotees. Anyone who with great attention hears this narration concerning the activities of Prahlada Maharaja, the killing of Hiranyakasipu, and the activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Nrsimhadeva, surely reaches the spiritual world, where there is no anxiety.
yuyam nr-loke bata bhuri-bhaga
lokam punana munayo 'bhiyanti
yesam grhan avasatiti saksad
gudham param brahma manusya-lingam
yuyam--all of you (the Pandavas); nr-loke--within this material world; bata--however; bhuri-bhagah--extremely fortunate; lokam--all the planets; punanah--who can purify; munayah--great saintly persons; abhiyanti--almost always come to visit; yesam--of whom; grhan--the house; avasati--resides in; iti--thus; saksat--directly; gudham--very confidential; param brahma--the Supreme Personality of Godhead; manusya-lingam--appearing just like a human being.
Narada Muni continued: My dear Maharaja Yudhisthira, all of you [the Pandavas] are extremely fortunate, for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, lives in your palace just like a human being. Great saintly persons know this very well, and therefore they constantly visit this house.
After hearing about the activities of Prahlada Maharaja, a pure devotee should be very anxious to follow in his footsteps, but such a devotee might be disappointed, thinking that not every devotee can come to the standard of Prahlada Maharaja. This is the nature of a pure devotee; he always thinks himself to be the lowest, to be incompetent and unqualified. Thus after hearing the narration of Prahlada Maharaja's activities, Maharaja Yudhisthira, who was on the same standard of devotional service as Prahlada, might have been thinking of his own humble position. Narada Muni, however, could understand Maharaja Yudhisthira's mind, and therefore he immediately encouraged him by saying that the Pandavas were not less fortunate; they were as good as Prahlada Maharaja because although Lord Nrsimhadeva appeared for Prahlada, the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His original form as Krsna was always living with the Pandavas. Although the Pandavas, because of the influence of Krsna's yogamaya, could not think of their fortunate position, every saintly person, including the great sage Narada, could understand it, and therefore they constantly visited Maharaja Yudhisthira.
Any pure devotee who is constantly conscious of Krsna is naturally very fortunate. The word nr-loke, meaning "within the material world," indicates that before the Pandavas there had been many, many devotees, such as the descendants of the Yadu dynasty and Vasistha, Marici, Kasyapa, Lord Brahma and Lord Siva, who were all extremely fortunate. The Pandavas, however, were better than all of them because Krsna Himself lived with them constantly. Narada Muni therefore specifically mentioned that within this material world (nr-loke) the Pandavas were the most fortunate.
sa va ayam brahma mahad-vimrgya-
priyah suhrd vah khalu matuleya
atmarhaniyo vidhi-krd gurus ca
sah--that (Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna); va--also; ayam--this; brahma--the impersonal Brahman (which is an emanation from Krsna); mahat--by great personalities; vimrgya--searched for; kaivalya--oneness; nirvana-sukha--of transcendental happiness; anubhutih--the source of practical experience; priyah--very, very dear; suhrt--well-wisher; vah--of you; khalu--indeed; matuleyah--the son of a maternal uncle; atma--exactly like body and soul together; arhaniyah--worshipable (because He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead); vidhi-krt--(yet He serves you as) an order carrier; guruh--your supreme advisor; ca--as well.
The impersonal Brahman is Krsna Himself because Krsna is the source of the impersonal Brahman. He is the origin of the transcendental bliss sought by great saintly persons, yet He, the Supreme Person, is your most dear friend and constant well-wisher and is intimately related to you as the son of your maternal uncle. Indeed, He is always like your body and soul. He is worshipable, yet He acts as your servant and sometimes as your spiritual master.
There is always a difference of opinion about the Absolute Truth. One class of transcendentalists concludes that the Absolute Truth is impersonal, and another class concludes that the Absolute Truth is a person. In Bhagavad-gita, the Absolute Truth is accepted as the Supreme Person. Indeed, that Supreme Person Himself, Lord Krsna, instructs in Bhagavad-gita, brahmano hi pratisthaham, mattah parataram nanyat. "The impersonal Brahman is My partial manifestation, and there is no truth superior to Me." That same Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, acted as the supreme friend and relative of the Pandavas, and sometimes He even acted as their servant by carrying a letter from the Pandavas to Dhrtarastra and Duryodhana. Because Krsna was the well-wisher of the Pandavas, He also acted as guru by becoming the spiritual master of Arjuna. Arjuna accepted Krsna as his spiritual master (sisyas te 'ham sadhi mam tvam prapannam), and Krsna sometimes chastised him. For example, the Lord said, asocyan anvasocas tvam prajna-vadams ca bhasase: "while speaking learned words, you are mourning for what is not worthy of grief." The Lord also said, kutas tva kasmalam idam visame samupasthitam: "My dear Arjuna, how have these impurities come upon you?" Such was the intimate relationship between the Pandavas and Krsna. In the same way, a pure devotee of the Lord is always with Krsna through thick and thin; his way of life is Krsna. This is the statement of the authority Sri Narada Muni.
na yasya saksad bhava-padmajadibhi
rupam dhiya vastutayopavarnitam
maunena bhaktyopasamena pujitah
prasidatam esa sa satvatam patih
na--not; yasya--of whom; saksat--directly; bhava--Lord Siva; padma-ja--Lord Brahma (born from the lotus); adibhih--by them and others also; rupam--the form; dhiya--even by meditation; vastutaya--fundamentally; upavarnitam--described and perceived; maunena--by samadhi, deep meditation; bhaktya--by devotional service; upasamena--by renunciation; pujitah--worshiped; prasidatam--may He be pleased; esah--this; sah--He; satvatam--of the great devotees; patih--the master.
Exalted persons like Lord Siva and Lord Brahma could not properly describe the truth of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna. May the Lord, who is always worshiped as the protector of all devotees by great saints who observe vows of silence, meditation, devotional service and renunciation, be pleased with us.
The Absolute Truth is sought by different persons in different ways, yet He remains inconceivable. Nonetheless, devotees like the Pandavas, the gopis, the cowherd boys, Mother Yasoda, Nanda Maharaja and all the inhabitants of Vrndavana do not need to practice conventional processes of meditation to attain the Supreme Personality of Godhead, for He remains with them through thick and thin. Therefore a saint like Narada, understanding the difference between transcendentalists and pure devotees, always prays that the Lord will be pleased with him.
sa esa bhagavan rajan
vyatanod vihatam yasah
pura rudrasya devasya
sah esah bhagavan--the same Personality of Godhead, Krsna, who is Parabrahman; rajan--my dear King; vyatanot--expanded; vihatam--lost; yasah--reputation; pura--formerly in history; rudrasya--of Lord Siva (the most powerful among the demigods); devasya--the demigod; mayena--by a demon named Maya; ananta--unlimited; mayina--possessing technical knowledge.
My dear King Yudhisthira, long, long ago in history, a demon known as Maya Danava, who was very expert in technical knowledge, reduced the reputation of Lord Siva. In that situation, Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, saved Lord Siva.
Lord Siva is known as Mahadeva, the most exalted demigod. Thus Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura says that although Lord Brahma did not know the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Siva could have known them. This historical incident proves that Lord Siva derives power from Lord Krsna, the Parabrahman.
kasmin karmani devasya
mayo 'han jagad-isituh
yatha copacita kirtih
raja uvaca--King Yudhisthira inquired; kasmin--for what reason; karmani--by which activities; devasya--of Lord Mahadeva (Siva); mayah--the great demon Maya Danava; ahan--vanquished; jagat-isituh--of Lord Siva, who controls the power of the material energy and is the husband of Durgadevi; yatha--just as; ca--and; upacita--again expanded; kirtih--reputation; krsnena--by Lord Krsna; anena--this; kathyatam--please describe.
Maharaja Yudhisthira said: For what reason did the demon Maya Danava vanquish Lord Siva's reputation? How did Lord Krsna save Lord Siva and expand his reputation again? Kindly describe these incidents.
nirjita asura devair
mayam saranam ayayuh
sri-naradah uvaca--Sri Narada Muni said; nirjitah--being defeated; asurah--all the demons; devaih--by the demigods; yudhi--in battle; anena--by Lord Krsna; upabrmhitaih--increased in power; mayinam--of all the demons; parama-acaryam--the best and largest; mayam--unto Maya Danava; saranam--shelter; ayayuh--took.
Narada Muni said: When the demigods, who are always powerful by the mercy of Lord Krsna, fought with the asuras, the asuras were defeated, and therefore they took shelter of Maya Danava, the greatest of the demons.
sa nirmaya puras tisro
tabhis te 'sura-senanyo
lokams trin sesvaran nrpa
smaranto nasayam cakruh
sah--that (great demon Maya Danava); nirmaya--constructing; purah--big residences; tisrah--three; haimi--made of gold; raupya--made of silver; ayasih--made of iron; vibhuh--very great, powerful; durlaksya--immeasurable; apaya-samyogah--whose movements in coming and going; durvitarkya--uncommon; paricchadah--possessing paraphernalia; tabhih--by all of them (the three residences, which resembled airplanes); te--they; asura-sena-anyah--the commanders of the asuras; lokan trin--the three worlds; sa-isvaran--with their chief rulers; nrpa--my dear King Yudhisthira; smarantah--remembering; nasayam cakruh--began to annihilate; purva--former; vairam--enmity; alaksitah--unseen by anyone else.
Maya Danava, the great leader of the demons, prepared three invisible residences and gave them to the demons. These dwellings resembled airplanes made of gold, silver and iron, and they contained uncommon paraphernalia. My dear King Yudhisthira, because of these three dwellings the commanders of the demons remained invisible to the demigods. Taking advantage of this opportunity, the demons, remembering their former enmity, began to vanquish the three worlds--the upper, middle and lower planetary systems.
tatas te sesvara loka
trahi nas tavakan deva
tatah--thereafter; te--they (the demigods); sa-isvarah--with their rulers; lokah--the planets; upasadya--approaching; isvaram--Lord Siva; natah--fell down in surrender; trahi--please save; nah--us; tavakan--near and dear to you and very frightened; deva--O Lord; vinastan--almost finished; tripura-alayaih--by the demons dwelling in those three planes.
Thereafter, when the demons had begun to destroy the higher planetary systems, the rulers of those planets went to Lord Siva, fully surrendered unto him and said: Dear Lord, we demigods living in the three worlds are about to be vanquished. We are your followers. Kindly save us.
ma bhaisteti suran vibhuh
saram dhanusi sandhaya
puresv astram vyamuncata
atha--thereafter; anugrhya--just to show them favor; bhagavan--the most powerful; ma--do not; bhaista--be afraid; iti--thus; suran--unto the demigods; vibhuh--Lord Siva; saram--arrows; dhanusi--on the bow; sandhaya--fixing; puresu--at those three residences occupied by the demons; astram--weapons; vyamuncata--released.
The most powerful and able Lord Siva reassured them and said, "Do not be afraid." He then fixed his arrows to his bow and released them toward the three residences occupied by the demons.
tato 'gni-varna isava
nadrsyanta puro yatah
tatah--thereafter; agni-varnah--as brilliant as fire; isavah--arrows; utpetuh--released; surya-mandalat--from the sun globe; yatha--just as; mayukha-sandohah--beams of light; na adrsyanta--could not be seen; purah--the three residences; yatah--because of this (being covered by the arrows of Lord Siva).
The arrows released by Lord Siva appeared like fiery beams emanating from the sun globe and covered the three residential airplanes, which could then no longer be seen.
taih sprsta vyasavah sarve
nipetuh sma puraukasah
tan aniya maha-yogi
mayah kupa-rase 'ksipat
taih--by those (fiery arrows); sprstah--being attacked or being touched; vyasavah--without life; sarve--all the demons; nipetuh--fell down; sma--formerly; pura-okasah--being the inhabitants of the above-mentioned three residential airplanes; tan--all of them; aniya--bringing; maha-yogi--the great mystic; mayah--Maya Danava; kupa-rase--in the well of nectar (created by the great mystic Maya); aksipat--put.
Attacked by Lord Siva's golden arrows, all the demoniac inhabitants of those three dwellings lost their lives and fell down. Then the great mystic Maya Danava dropped the demons into a nectarean well that he had created.
The asuras are generally extremely powerful because of their mystic yogic power. However, as Lord Krsna says in Bhagavad-gita (6.47):
yoginam api sarvesam
sraddhavan bhajate yo mam
sa me yuktatamo matah
"Of all yogis, he who always abides in Me with great faith, worshiping Me in transcendental loving service, is most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all." The actual purpose of mystic yoga is to concentrate one's attention fully on the Personality of Godhead, Krsna, and always think of Him (mad-gatenantaratmana). To attain such perfection, one must undergo a certain process--hatha-yoga--and through this yoga system the practitioner achieves some uncommon mystic power. The asuras, however, instead of becoming devotees of Krsna, utilize this mystic power for their personal sense gratification. Maya Danava, for example, is mentioned here as maha-yogi, a great mystic, but his business was to help the asuras. Nowadays we are actually seeing that there are some yogis who cater to the senses of materialists, and there are imposters who advertise themselves as God. Maya Danava was such a person, a god among the demons, and he could perform some wonderful feats, one of which is described here: he made a well filled with nectar and dipped the asuras into that nectarean well. This nectar was known as mrta-sanjivayitari, for it could bring a dead body to life. Mrta-sanjivayitari is also an Ayur-vedic preparation. It is a kind of liquor that invigorates even a person on the verge of death.
vaidyuta iva vahnayah
siddha-amrta-rasa-sprstah--the demons, thus being touched by the powerful mystic nectarean liquid; vajra-sarah--their bodies becoming invincible to thunderbolts; maha-ojasah--being extremely strong; uttasthuh--again got up; megha-dalanah--that which goes through the clouds; vaidyutah--lightning (which penetrates the clouds); iva--like; vahnayah--fiery.
When the dead bodies of the demons came in touch with the nectar, their bodies became invincible to thunderbolts. Endowed with great strength, they got up like lightning penetrating clouds.
tadayam bhagavan visnus
vilokya--seeing; bhagna-sankalpam--disappointed; vimanaskam--extremely unhappy; vrsa-dhvajam--Lord Siva; tada--at that time; ayam--this; bhagavan--the Supreme Personality of Godhead; visnuh--Lord Visnu; tatra--about the well of nectar; upayam--means (how to stop it); akalpayat--considered.
Seeing Lord Siva very much aggrieved and disappointed, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Visnu, considered how to stop this nuisance created by Maya Danava.
vatsas casit tada brahma
svayam visnur ayam hi gauh
pravisya tripuram kale
vatsah--a calf; ca--also; asit--became; tada--at that time; brahma--Lord Brahma; svayam--personally; visnuh--Lord Visnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead; ayam--this; hi--indeed; gauh--a cow; pravisya--entering; tri-puram--the three residences; kale--at noon; rasa-kupa-amrtam--the nectar contained in that well; papau--drank.
Then Lord Brahma became a calf and Lord Visnu a cow, and at noon they entered the residences and drank all the nectar in the well.
te 'sura hy api pasyanto
na nyasedhan vimohitah
tad vijnaya maha-yogi
rasa-palan idam jagau
smayan visokah sokartan
smaran daiva-gatim ca tam
te--those; asurah--demons; hi--indeed; api--although; pasyantah--seeing (the calf and cow drinking the nectar); na--not; nyasedhan--forbade them; vimohitah--being bewildered by illusion; tat vijnaya--knowing this fully; maha-yogi--the great mystic Maya Danava; rasa-palan--unto the demons who guarded the nectar; idam--this; jagau--said; smayan--being bewildered; visokah--not being very unhappy; soka-artan--greatly lamenting; smaran--remembering; daiva-gatim--spiritual power; ca--also; tam--that.
The demons could see the calf and cow, but because of the illusion created by the energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the demons could not forbid them. The great mystic Maya Danava became aware that the calf and cow were drinking the nectar, and he could understand this to be the unseen power of providence. Thus he spoke to the demons, who were grievously lamenting.
devo 'suro naro 'nyo va
nesvaro 'stiha kascana
atmano 'nyasya va distam
devah--the demigods; asurah--the demons; narah--humans; anyah--or anyone else; va--either; na--not; isvarah--the supreme controller; asti--is; iha--in this world; kascana--anyone; atmanah--one's own; anyasya--another's; va--either; distam--destiny; daivena--which is given by the Supreme Lord; apohitum--to undo; dvayoh--of both of them.
Maya Danava said: What has been destined by the Supreme Lord for oneself, for others, or for both oneself and others cannot be undone anywhere or by anyone, whether one be a demigod, a demon, a human being or anyone else.
The Supreme Lord is one--Krsna, the visnu-tattva. Krsna expands Himself into visnu-tattva personal expansions (svamsa), who control everything. Maya Danava said, "However I plan, you plan or both of us plan, the Lord has planned what is to happen. No one's plan will be successful without His sanction." We may make our own various plans, but unless they are sanctioned by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Visnu, they will never be successful. Hundreds and millions of plans are made by all kinds of living entities, but without the sanction of the Supreme Lord they are futile.
athasau saktibhih svabhih
sambhoh pradhanikam vyadhat
ratham sutam dhvajam vahan
dhanur varma-saradi yat
sannaddho ratham asthaya
saram dhanur upadade
atha--thereafter; asau--He (Lord Krsna); saktibhih--by His potencies; svabhih--personal; sambhoh--of Lord Siva; pradhanikam--ingredients; vyadhat--created; dharma--religion; jnana--knowledge; virakti--renunciation; rddhi--opulence; tapah--austerity; vidya--education; kriya--activities; adibhih--by all these and other transcendental opulences; ratham--chariot; sutam--charioteer; dhvajam--flag; vahan--horses and elephants; dhanuh--bow; varma--shield; sara-adi--arrows and so on; yat--everything that was required; sannaddhah--equipped; ratham--on the chariot; asthaya--seated; saram--arrow; dhanuh--unto the bow; upadade--joined.
Narada Muni continued: Thereafter, Lord Krsna, by His own personal potency, consisting of religion, knowledge, renunciation, opulence, austerity, education and activities, equipped Lord Siva with all the necessary paraphernalia, such as a chariot, a charioteer, a flag, horses, elephants, a bow, a shield and arrows. When Lord Siva was fully equipped in this way, he sat down on the chariot with his arrows and bow to fight with the demons.
As stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (12.13.16): vaisnavanam yatha sambhuh: Lord Siva is the best of the Vaisnavas, the devotees of Lord Krsna. Indeed, he is one of the mahajanas, the twelve authorities on Vaisnava philosophy (svayambhur naradah sambhuh kumarah kapilo manuh, etc.). Lord Krsna is always prepared to help all the mahajanas and devotees in every respect (kaunteya pratijanihi na me bhaktah pranasyati). Although Lord Siva is very powerful, he lost a battle to the asuras, and therefore he was morose and disappointed. However, because he is one of the chief devotees of the Lord, the Lord personally equipped him with all the paraphernalia for war. The devotee, therefore, must serve the Lord sincerely, and Krsna is always in the background to protect him and, if need be, to equip him fully to fight with his enemy. For devotees there is no scarcity of knowledge or material requisites for spreading the Krsna consciousness movement.
saram dhanusi sandhaya
dadaha tena durbhedya
haro 'tha tripuro nrpa
saram--the arrows; dhanusi--on the bow; sandhaya--joining together; muhurte abhijiti--at noon; isvarah--Lord Siva; dadaha--set afire; tena--by them (the arrows); durbhedyah--very difficult to pierce; harah--Lord Siva; atha--in this way; tri-purah--the three residences of the demons; nrpa--O King Yudhisthira.
My dear King Yudhisthira, the most powerful Lord Siva joined the arrows to his bow, and at noon he set fire to all three residences of the demons and thus destroyed them.
divi dundubhayo nedur
avakiran jagur hrsta
divi--in the sky; dundubhayah--kettledrums; neduh--vibrated; vimana--of airplanes; sata--hundreds and thousands; sankulah--endowed; deva-rsi--all the demigods and saints; pitr--the residents of Pitrloka; siddha--the residents of Siddhaloka; isah--all the great personalities; jaya iti--vibrated the chant "let there be victory"; kusuma-utkaraih--various kinds of flowers; avakiran--showered on the head of Lord Siva; jaguh--chanted; hrstah--in great pleasure; nanrtuh--danced; ca--and; apsarah-ganah--the beautiful women of the heavenly planets.
Seated in their airplanes in the sky, the inhabitants of the higher planetary systems beat many kettledrums. The demigods, saints, Pitas, Siddhas and various great personalities showered flowers on the head of Lord Siva, wishing him all victory, and the Apsaras began to chant and dance with great pleasure.
evam dagdhva puras tisro
bhagavan pura-ha nrpa
svam dhama pratyapadyata
evam--thus; dagdhva--burning to ashes; purah tisrah--the three residences of the demons; bhagavan--the supreme powerful; pura-ha--who annihilated the residences of the asuras; nrpa--O King Yudhisthira; brahma-adibhih--by Lord Brahma and other demigods; stuyamanah--being worshiped; svam--to his own; dhama--abode; pratyapadyata--returned.
O King Yudhisthira, thus Lord Siva is known as Tripurari, the annihilator of the three dwellings of the demons, because he burnt these dwellings to ashes. Being worshiped by the demigods, headed by Lord Brahma, Lord Siva returned to his own abode.
evam vidhany asya hareh sva-mayaya
vidambamanasya nr-lokam atmanah
viryani gitany rsibhir jagad-guror
lokam punanany aparam vadami kim
evam vidhani--in this way; asya--of Krsna; hareh--of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; sva-mayaya--by His transcendental potencies; vidambamanasya--acting like an ordinary human being; nr-lokam--within human society; atmanah--of Him; viryani--transcendental activities; gitani--narrations; rsibhih--by great saintly persons; jagat-guroh--of the supreme master; lokam--all the planetary systems; punanani--purifying; aparam--what else; vadami kim--can I say.
The Lord, Sri Krsna, appeared as a human being, yet He performed many uncommon and wonderful pastimes by His own potency. How can I say more about His activities than what has already been said by great saintly persons? Everyone can be purified by His activities, simply by hearing about them from the right source.
Bhagavad-gita and all the Vedic literatures fully explain that the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, appears in human society as an ordinary human being but acts very uncommonly for the well-being of the entire world. One should not be influenced by the illusory energy and think Lord Krsna to be an ordinary human being. Those who really seek the Absolute Truth come to the understanding that Krsna is everything (vasudevah samam iti). Such great souls are very rare. Nonetheless, if one studies the entire Bhagavad-gita as it is, Krsna is very easy to understand. The Krsna consciousness movement is just trying to make Krsna known all over the world as the Supreme Personality of Godhead (krsnas tu bhagavan svayam). If people take this movement seriously, their lives as human beings will be successful.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the Seventh Canto, Tenth Chapter, of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, entitled "Prahlada, the Best Among Exalted Devotees."