Chapter One : Genealogical Table of the Daughters of Manu Sri Maitreya said: Svayambhuva Manu begot three daughters in his wife Satarupa, and their names were Akuti, Devahuti and Prasuti. Akuti had two brothers, but in spite of her brothers, King Svayambhuva Manu handed her over to Prajapati Ruci on the condition that the son born of her be returned to Manu as his son. This he did in consultation with his wife, Satarupa. Ruci, who was very powerful in his brahminical qualifications and was appointed one of the progenitors of the living entities, begot one son and one daughter by his wife, Akuti. Of the two children born of Akuti, the male child was directly an incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and His name was Yajna, which is another name of Lord Vishnu. The female child was a partial incarnation of Laksmi, the goddess of fortune, the eternal consort of Lord Vishnu. Svayambhuva Manu very gladly brought home the beautiful boy named Yajna, and Ruci, his son-in-law, kept with him the daughter, Daksina. The Lord of the ritualistic performance of yajna later married Daksina, who was anxious to have the Personality of Godhead as her husband, and in this wife the Lord was also very much pleased to beget twelve children. The twelve boys born of Yajna and Daksina were named Tosa, Pratosa, Santosa, Bhadra, Santi, Idaspati, Idhma, Kavi, Vibhu, Svahna, Sudeva and Rocana. During the time of Svayambhuva Manu, these sons all became the demigods collectively named the Tusitas. Marici became the head of the seven rsis, and Yajna became the king of the demigods, Indra. Svayambhuva Manu's two sons, Priyavrata and Uttanapada, became very powerful kings, and their sons and grandsons spread all over the three worlds during that period. My dear son, Svayambhuva Manu handed over his very dear daughter Devahuti to Kardama Muni. I have already spoken to you about them, and you have heard about them almost in full. Svayambhuva Manu handed over his daughter Prasuti to the son of Brahma named Daksa, who was also one of the progenitors of the living entities. The descendants of Daksa are spread throughout the three worlds. You have already been informed about the nine daughters of Kardama Muni, who were handed over to nine different sages. I shall now describe the descendants of those nine daughters. Please hear from me. Kardama Muni's daughter Kala, who was married to Marici, gave birth to two children, whose names were Kasyapa and Purnima. Their descendants are spread all over the world. My dear Vidura, of the two sons, Kasyapa and Purnima, Purnima begot three children, namely Viraja, Visvaga and Devakulya. Of these three, Devakulya was the water which washed the lotus feet of the Personality of Godhead and which later on transformed into the Ganges of the heavenly planets. Anasuya, the wife of Atri Muni, gave birth to three very famous sons--Soma, Dattatreya and Durvasa--who were partial representations of Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma. Soma was a partial representation of Lord Brahma, Dattatreya was a partial representation of Lord Vishnu, and Durvasa was a partial representation of Lord Shiva. After hearing this, Vidura inquired from Maitreya: My dear master, how is it that the three deities Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, who are the creator, maintainer and destroyer of the whole creation, became the offspring of the wife of Atri Muni? Maitreya said: When Lord Brahma ordered Atri Muni to create generations after marrying Anasuya, Atri Muni and his wife went to perform severe austerities in the valley of the mountain known as Rksa. In that mountain valley flows a river named Nirvindhya. On the bank of the river are many asoka trees and other plants full of palasa flowers, and there is always the sweet sound of water flowing from a waterfall. The husband and wife reached that beautiful place. There the great sage concentrated his mind by the yogic breathing exercises, and thereby controlling all attachment, he remained standing on one leg only, eating nothing but air, and stood there on one leg for one hundred years. He was thinking: May the Lord of the universe, of whom I have taken shelter, kindly he pleased to offer me a son exactly like Him. While Atri Muni was engaged in these severe austerities, a blazing fire came out of his head by virtue of his breathing exercise, and that fire was seen by the three principal deities of the three worlds. At that time, the three deities approached the hermitage of Atri Muni, accompanied by the denizens of the heavenly planets, such as the celestial beauties, the Gandharvas, the Siddhas, the Vidyadharas and the Nagas. Thus they entered the asrama of the great sage, who had become famous by his austerities. The sage was standing on one leg, but as soon as he saw that the three deities had appeared before him, he was so pleased to see them all together that despite great difficulty he approached them on one leg. Thereafter he began to offer prayers to the three deities, who were seated on different carriers--a bull, a swan and Garuda--and who held in their hands a drum, kusa grass and a discus. The sage offered them his respects by falling down like a stick. Atri Muni was greatly pleased to see that the three devas were gracious towards him. His eyes were dazzled by the effulgence of their bodies, and therefore he closed his eyes for the time being. But since his heart was already attracted by the deities, somehow or other he gathered his senses, and with folded hands and sweet words he began to offer prayers to the predominating deities of the universe. The great sage Atri said: O Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva, you have divided yourself into three bodies by accepting the three modes of material nature, as you do in every millennium for the creation, maintenance and dissolution of the cosmic manifestation. I offer my respectful obeisances unto all of you and beg to inquire whom of you three I have called by my prayer. I called for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, desiring a son like Him, and I thought of Him only. But although He is far beyond the mental speculation of man, all three of you have come here. Kindly let me know how you have come, for I am greatly bewildered about this. The great sage Maitreya continued: Upon hearing Atri Muni speak in that way, the three great deities smiled, and they replied in the following sweet words. The three deities told Atri Muni: Dear brahmana, you are perfect in your determination, and therefore as you have decided, so it will happen; it will not happen otherwise. We are all the same person upon whom you were meditating, and therefore we have all come to you. You will have sons who will represent a partial manifestation of our potency, and because we desire all good fortune for you, those sons will glorify your reputation throughout the world. Thus, while the couple looked on, the three deities Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesvara disappeared from that place after bestowing upon Atri Muni the benediction. Thereafter, from the partial representation of Brahma, the moon-god was born of them; from the partial representation of Vishnu, the great mystic Dattatreya was born; and from the partial representation of Sankara [Lord Shiva], Durvasa was born. Now you may hear from me of the many sons of Angira. Angira's wife, Sraddha, gave birth to four daughters, named Sinivali, Kuhu, Raka and Anumati. Besides these four daughters, she also had another two sons. One of them was known as Utathya, and the other was the learned scholar Brhaspati. Pulastya begot in his wife, Havirbhu, one son of the name Agastya, who in his next birth became Dahragni. Besides him, Pulastya begot another very great and saintly son, whose name was Visrava. Visrava had two wives. The first wife was Idavida, from whom Kuvera, the master of all Yaksas, was born, and the next wife was named Kesini, from whom three sons were born--Ravana, Kumbhakarna and Vihhisana. Gati, the wife of the sage Pulaha, gave birth to three sons, named Karmarestha, Variyan and Sahisnu, and all of them were great sages. Kratu's wife, Kriya, gave birth to sixty thousand great sages, named the Valakhilyas. All these sages were greatly advanced in spiritual knowledge, and their bodies were illuminated by such knowledge. The great sage Vasistha begot in his wife, Urja, sometimes called Arundhati, seven spotlessly great sages, headed by the sage named Citraketu. The names of these seven sages are as follows: Citraketu, Suroci, Viraja, Mitra, Ulbana, Vasubhrdyana and Dyuman. Some other very competent sons were born from Vasistha's other wife. Citti, wife of the sage Atharva, gave birth to a son named Asvasira by accepting a great vow called Dadhyanca. Now you may hear from me about the descendants of the sage Bhrgu. The sage Bhrgu was highly fortunate. In his wife, known as Khyati, he begot two sons, named Dhata and Vidhata, and one daughter, named Sri, who was very much devoted to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The sage Meru had two daughters, named Ayati and Niyati, whom he gave in charity to Dhata and Vidhata. Ayati and Niyati gave birth to two sons, Mrkanda and Prana. From Mrkanda, Markandeya Muni was born, and from Prana the sage Vedaira, whose son was Usana [Sukracarya], also known as Kavi. Thus Kavi also belonged to the descendants of the Bhrgu dynasty. My dear Vidura, the population of the universe was thus increased by the descendants of these sages and the daughters of Kardama. Anyone who hears the descriptions of this dynasty with faith will be relieved from all sinful reactions. Another of Manu's daughters, known as Prasuti, married the son of Brahma named Daksa. Daksa begot sixteen very beautiful daughters with lotuslike eyes in his wife Prasuti. Of these sixteen daughters, thirteen were given in marriage to Dharma, and one daughter was given to Agni. One of the remaining two daughters was given in charity to the Pitrloka, where she resides very amicably, and the other was given to Lord Shiva, who is the deliverer of sinful persons from material entanglement. The names of the thirteen daughters of Daksa who were given to Dharma are Sraddha, Maitri, Daya, Santi, Tusti, Pusti, Kriya, Unnati, Buddhi, Medha, Titiksa, Hri and Murti. These thirteen daughters produced the following sons: Sraddha gave birth to Subha, Maitri produced Prasada, Daya gave birth to Abhaya, Santi gave birth to Sukha, Tusti gave birth to Muda, Pusti gave birth to Smaya, Kriya gave birth to Yoga, Unnati gave birth to Barpa, Buddhi gave birth to Artha, Medha gave birth to Smrti, Titiksa gave birth to Ksema, and Hri gave birth to Praraya. Murti, a reservoir of all respectable qualities, gave birth to Sri Nara-Narayana, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. On the occasion of the appearance of Nara-Narayana, the entire world was full of joy. Everyone's mind became tranquil, and thus in all directions the air, the rivers and the mountains became pleasant. In the heavenly planets, hands began to play, and they showered flowers from the sky. The pacified sages chanted Vedic prayers, the denizens of heaven known as the Gandharvas and Kinnaras sang, the beautiful damsels of the heavenly planets danced, and in this way, at the time of the appearance of Nara-Narayana, all signs of good fortune were visible. Just at that time, great demigods like Brahma also offered their respectful prayers. The demigods said: Let us offer our respectful obeisances unto the transcendental Personality of Godhead, who created as His external energy this cosmic manifestation, which is situated in Him as the air and clouds are situated in space, and who has now appeared in the form of Nara-Narayana Rsi in the house of Dharma. Let that Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is understood by truly authorized Vedic literature and who has created peace and prosperity to destroy all calamities of the created world, be kind enough to bestow His glance upon the demigods. His merciful glance can supersede the beauty of the spotless lotus flower which is the home of the goddess of fortune. [Maitreya said:] O Vidura, thus the demigods worshiped with prayers the Supreme Personality of Godhead appearing as the sage Nara-Narayana. The Lord glanced upon them with mercy and then departed for Gandhamadana Hill. That Nara-Narayana Rsi, who is a partial expansion of Krishna, has now appeared in the dynasties of Yadu and Kuru, in the forms of Krishna and Arjuna respectively, to mitigate the burden of the world. The predominating deity of fire begot in his wife, Svaha, three children, named Pavaka, Pavamana and Suci, who exist by eating the oblations offered to the fire of sacrifice. From those three sons another forty-five descendants were generated, who are also fire-gods. The total number of fire-gods is therefore forty-nine, including the fathers and the grandfather. These forty-nine fire-gods are the beneficiaries of the oblations offered in the Vedic sacrificial fire by impersonalist brahmanas. The Agnisvattas, the Barhisadas, the Saumyas and the Ajyapas are the Pitas. They are either sagnika or niragnika. The wife of all these Pitas is Svadha, who is the daughter of King Daksa. Svadha, who was offered to the Pitas, begot two daughters named Vayuna and Dharini, both of whom were impersonalists and were expert in transcendental and Vedic knowledge. The sixteenth daughter, whose name was Sati, was the wife of Lord Shiva. She could not produce a child, although she always faithfully engaged in the service of her husband. The reason is that Sati's father, Daksa, used to rebuke Lord Shiva in spite of Shiva's faultlessness. Consequently, before attaining a mature age, Sati gave up her body by dint of yogic mystic power. Chapter Two : Daksa Curses Lord Shiva Vidura inquired: Why was Daksa, who was so affectionate towards his daughter, envious of Lord Shiva, who is the best among the gentle? Why did he neglect his daughter Sati? Lord Shiva, the spiritual master of the entire world, is free from enmity, is a peaceful personality, and is always satisfied in himself. He is the greatest among the demigods. How is it possible that Daksa could be inimical towards such an auspicious personality? My dear Maitreya, to part with one's life is very difficult. Would you kindly explain to me how such a son-in-law and father-in-law could quarrel so bitterly that the great goddess Sati could give up her life? The sage Maitreya said: In a former time, the leaders of the universal creation performed a great sacrifice in which all the great sages, philosophers, demigods and fire-gods assembled with their followers. When Daksa, the leader of the Prajapatis, entered that assembly, his personal bodily luster as bright as the effulgence of the sun, the entire assembly was illuminated, and all the assembled personalities became insignificant in his presence. Influenced by his personal bodily luster, all the fire-gods and other participants in that great assembly, with the exceptions of Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva, gave up their own sitting places and stood in respect for Daksa. Daksa was adequately welcomed by the president of the great assembly, Lord Brahma. After offering Lord Brahma respect, Daksa, by the order of Brahma, properly took his seat. Before taking his seat, however, Daksa was very much offended to see Lord Shiva sitting and not showing him any respect. At that time, Daksa became greatly angry, and, his eyes glowing, he began to speak very strongly against Lord Shiva. All sages, brahmanas and fire-gods present, please hear me with attention, for I speak about the manners of gentle persons. I do not speak out of ignorance or envy. Shiva has spoiled the name and fame of the governors of the universe and has polluted the path of gentle manners. Because he is shameless, he does not know how to act. He has already accepted himself as my subordinate by marrying my daughter in the presence of fire and brahmanas. He has married my daughter, who is equal to Gayatri, and has pretended to be just like an honest person. He has eyes like a monkey's, yet he has married my daughter, whose eyes are just like those of a deer cub. Nevertheless he did not stand up to receive me, nor did he think it fit to welcome me with sweet words. I had no desire to give my daughter to this person, who has broken all rules of civility. Because of not observing the required rules and regulations, he is impure, but I was obliged to hand over my daughter to him just as one teaches the messages of the Vedas to a sudra. He lives in filthy places like crematoriums, and his companions are the ghosts and demons. Naked like a madman, sometimes laughing and sometimes crying, he smears crematorium ashes all over his body. He does not bathe regularly, and he ornaments his body with a garland of skulls and bones. Therefore only in name is he Shiva, or auspicious; actually, he is the most mad and inauspicious creature. Thus he is very dear to crazy beings in the gross mode of ignorance, and he is their leader. On the request of Lord Brahma I handed over my chaste daughter to him, although he is devoid of all cleanliness and his heart is filled with nasty things. The sage Maitreya continued: Thus Daksa, seeing Lord Shiva sitting as if against him, washed his hands and mouth and cursed him in the following words. The demigods are eligible to share in the oblations of sacrifice, but Lord Shiva, who is the lowest of all the demigods, should not have a share. Maitreya continued: My dear Vidura, in spite of the requests of all the members of the sacrificial assembly, Daksa, in great anger, cursed Lord Shiva and then left the assembly and went back to his home. Upon understanding that Lord Shiva had been cursed, Nandisvara, one of Lord Shiva's principal associates, became greatly angry. His eyes became red, and he prepared to curse Daksa and all the brahmanas present there who had tolerated Daksa's cursing Shiva in harsh words. Anyone who has accepted Daksa as the most important personality and neglected Lord Shiva because of envy is less intelligent and, because of visualizing in duality, will be bereft of transcendental knowledge. Pretentiously religious householder life, in which one is attracted to material happiness and thus also attracted to the superficial explanation of the Vedas, robs one of all intelligence and attaches one to fruitive activities as all in all. Daksa has accepted the body as all in all. Therefore, since he has forgotten the visnu-pada, or visnu-gati, and is attached to sex life only, within a short time he will have the face of a goat. Those who have become as dull as matter by cultivating materialistic education and intelligence are nesciently involved in fruitive activities. Such men have purposely insulted Lord Shiva. May they continue in the cycle of repeated birth and death. May those who are envious of Lord Shiva, being attracted by the flowery language of the enchanting Vedic promises, and who have thus become dull, always remain attached to fruitive activities. These brahmanas take to education, austerity and vows only for the purpose of maintaining the body. They shall be devoid of discrimination between what to eat and what not to eat. They will acquire money, begging from door to door, simply for the satisfaction of the body. When all the hereditary brahmanas were thus cursed by Nandisvara, the sage Bhrgu, as a reaction, condemned the followers of Lord Shiva with this very strong brahminical curse. One who takes a vow to satisfy Lord Shiva or who follows such principles will certainly become an atheist and be diverted from transcendental scriptural injunctions. Those who vow to worship Lord Shiva are so foolish that they imitate him by keeping long hair on their heads. When initiated into worship of Lord Shiva, they prefer to live on wine, flesh and other such things. Bhrgu Muni continued: Since you blaspheme the Vedas and the brahmanas, who are followers of the Vedic principles, it is understood that you have already taken shelter of the doctrine of atheism. The Vedas give the eternal regulative principles for auspicious advancement in human civilization which have been rigidly followed in the past. The strong evidence of this principle is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is called Janardana, the well-wisher of all living entities. By blaspheming the principles of the Vedas, which are the pure and supreme path of the saintly persons, certainly you followers of Bhutapati, Lord Shiva, will descend to the standard of atheism without a doubt. The sage Maitreya said: When such cursing and countercursing was going on between Lord Shiva's followers and the parties of Daksa and Bhrgu, Lord Shiva became very morose. Not saying anything, he left the arena of the sacrifice, followed by his disciples. The sage Maitreya continued: O Vidura, all the progenitors of the universal population thus executed a sacrifice for thousands of years, for sacrifice is the best way to worship the Supreme Lord, Hari, the Personality of Godhead. My dear Vidura, carrier of bows and arrows, all the demigods who were performing the sacrifice took their bath at the confluence of the Ganges and the Yamuna after completing the yajna performance. Such a bath is called avabhrtha-snana. After thus becoming purified in heart, they departed for their respective abodes. Chapter Three : Talks Between Lord Shiva and Sati Maitreya continued: In this manner the tension between the father-in-law and son-in-law, Daksa and Lord Shiva, continued for a considerably long period. When Lord Brahma appointed Daksa the chief of all the Prajapatis, the progenitors of population, Daksa became very much puffed up. Daksa began a sacrifice named vajapeya, and he became excessively confident of his support by Lord Brahma, He then performed another great sacrifice, named brhaspati-sava. While the sacrifice was being performed, many brahmarsis, great sages, ancestral demigods and other demigods, their wives all very nicely decorated with ornaments, attended from different parts of the universe. The chaste lady Sati, the daughter of Daksa, heard the heavenly denizens flying in the sky conversing about the great sacrifice being performed by her father. When she saw that from all directions the beautiful wives of the heavenly denizens, their eyes very beautifully glittering, were near her residence and were going to the sacrifice dressed in fine clothing and ornamented with earrings and necklaces with lockets, she approached her husband, the master of the bhutas, in great anxiety, and spoke as follows. Sati said: My dear Lord Shiva, your father-in-law is now executing great sacrifices, and all the demigods, having been invited by him, are going there. If you desire, we may also go. I think that all my sisters must have gone to this great sacrificial ceremony with their husbands just to see their relatives. I also desire to decorate myself with the ornaments given to me by my father and go there with you to participate in that assemble. My sisters, my mother's sisters and their husbands, and other affectionate relatives must be assembled there, so if I go I shall be able to see them, and I shall be able to see the flapping flags and the performance of the sacrifice by the great sages. For these reasons, my dear husband, I am very much anxious to go. This manifested cosmos is a wonderful creation of the interaction of the three material modes, or the external energy of the Supreme Lord. This truth is fully known to you. Yet I am but a poor woman, and, as you know, I am not conversant with the truth. Therefore I wish to see my birthplace once more. O never-born, O blue-throated one, not only my relatives but also other women, dressed in nice clothes and decorated with ornaments, are going there with their husbands and friends. Just see how their flocks of white airplanes have made the entire sky very beautiful. O best of the demigods, how can the body of a daughter remain undisturbed when she hears that some festive event is taking place in her father's house? Even though you may be considering that I have not been invited, there is no harm if one goes to the house of one's friend, husband, spiritual master or father without invitation. O immortal Shiva, please be kind towards me and fulfill my desire. You have accepted me as half of your body; therefore please show kindness towards me and accept my request. The great sage Maitreya said: Lord Shiva, the deliverer of the hill Kailasa, having thus been addressed by his dear wife, replied smilingly, although at the same time he remembered the malicious, heart-piercing speeches delivered by Daksa before the guardians of the universal affairs. The great lord replied: My dear beautiful wife, you have said that one may go to a friend's house without being invited, and this is true, provided such a friend does not find fault with the guest because of bodily identification and thereby become angry towards him. Although the six qualities education, austerity, wealth, beauty, youth and heritage are for the highly elevated, one who is proud of possessing them becomes blind, and thus he loses his good sense and cannot appreciate the glories of great personalities. One should not go to anyone's house, even on the consideration of his being a relative or a friend, when the man is disturbed in his mind and looks upon the guest with raised eyebrows and angry eyes. Lord Shiva continued: If one is hurt by the arrows of an enemy, one is not as aggrieved as when cut by the unkind words of a relative, for such grief continues to rend one's heart day and night. My dear white-complexioned wife, it is clear that of the many daughters of Daksa you are the pet, yet you will not be honored at his house because of your being my wife. Rather, you will be sorry that you are connected with me. One who is conducted by false ego and thus always distressed, both mentally and sensually, cannot tolerate the opulence of self-realized persons. Being unable to rise to the standard of self-realization, he envies such persons as much as demons envy the Supreme Personality of Godhead. My dear young wife, certainly friends and relatives offer mutual greetings by standing up, welcoming one another and offering obeisances. But those who are elevated to the transcendental platform, being intelligent, offer such respects to the Supersoul, who is sitting within the body, not to the person who identifies with the body. I am always engaged in offering obeisances to Lord Vasudeva in pure Krna consciousness. Krishna consciousness is always pure consciousness, in which the Supreme Personality of Godhead, known as Vasudeva, is revealed without any covering. Therefore you should not see your father, although he is the giver of your body, because he and his followers are envious of me. Because of his envy, O most worshipful one, he has insulted me with cruel words although I am innocent. If in spite of this instruction you decide to go, neglecting my words, the future will not be good for you. You are most respectable, and when you are insulted by your relative, this insult will immediately be equal to death. Chapter Four : Sati Quits Her Body The sage Maitreya said: Lord Shiva was silent after speaking to Sati, seeing her between decisions. Sati was very much anxious to see her relatives at her father's house, but at the same time she was afraid of Lord Shiva's warning. Her mind unsettled, she moved in and out of the room as a swing moves this way and that. Sati felt very sorry at being forbidden to go see her relatives at her father's house, and due to affection for them, tears fell from her eyes. Shaking and very much afflicted, she looked at her uncommon husband, Lord Shiva, as if she were going to blast him with her vision. Thereafter Sati left her husband, Lord Shiva, who had given her half his body due to affection. Breathing very heavily because of anger and bereavement, she went to the house of her father. This less intelligent act was due to her being a weak woman. When they saw Sati leaving alone very rapidly, thousands of Lord Shiva's disciples, headed by Maniman and Mada, quickly followed her with his bull Nandi in front and accompanied by the Yaksas. The disciples of Lord Shiva arranged for Sati to be seated on the back of a bull and gave her the bird which was her pet. They bore a lotus flower, a mirror and all such paraphernalia for her enjoyment and covered her with a great canopy. Followed by a singing party with drums, conchshells and bugles, the entire procession was as pompous as a royal parade. She then reached her father's house, where the sacrifice was being performed, and entered the arena where everyone was chanting the Vedic hymns. The great sages, brahmanas and demigods were all assembled there, and there were many sacrificial animals, as well as pots made of clay, stone, gold, grass and skin, which were all requisite for the sacrifice. When Sati, with her followers, reached the arena, because all the people assembled were afraid of Daksa, none of them received her well. No one welcomed her but her mother and sisters, who, with tears in their eyes and with glad faces, welcomed her and talked with her very pleasingly. Although she was received by her sisters and mother, she did not reply to their words of reception, and although she was offered a seat and presents, she did not accept anything, for her father neither talked with her nor welcomed her by asking about her welfare. Present in the arena of sacrifice, Sati saw that there were no oblations for her husband, Lord Shiva. Next she realized that not only had her father failed to invite Lord Shiva, but when he saw Lord Shiva's exalted wife, Daksa did not receive her either. Thus she became greatly angry, so much so that she looked at her father as if she were going to burn him with her eyes. The followers of Lord Shiva, the ghosts, were ready to injure or kill Daksa, but Sati stopped them by her order. She was very angry and sorrowful, and in that mood she began to condemn the process of sacrificial fruitive activities and persons who are very proud of such unnecessary and troublesome sacrifices. She especially condemned her father, speaking against him in the presence of all. The blessed goddess said: Lord Shiva is the most beloved of all living entities. He has no rival. No one is very dear to him, and no one is his enemy. No one but you could be envious of such a universal being, who is free from all enmity. Twice-born Daksa, a man like you can simply find fault in the qualities of others. Lord Shiva, however, not only finds no faults with others' qualities, but if someone has a little good quality, he magnifies it greatly. Unfortunately, you have found fault with such a great soul. It is not wonderful for persons who have accepted the transient material body as the self to engage always in deriding great souls. Such envy on the part of materialistic persons is very good because that is the way they fall down. They are diminished by the dust of the feet of great personalities. Sati continued: My dear father, you are committing the greatest offense by envying Lord Shiva, whose very name, consisting of two syllables, si and va, purifies one of all sinful activities. His order is never neglected. Lord Shiva is always pure, and no one but you envies him. You are envious of Lord Shiva, who is the friend of all living entities within the three worlds. For the common man he fulfills all desires, and because of their engagement in thinking of his lotus feet, he also blesses higher personalities who are seeking after brahmananda [transcendental bliss]. Do you think that greater, more respectable personalities than you, such as Lord Brahma, do not know this inauspicious person who goes under the name Lord Shiva? He associates with the demons in the crematorium, his locks of hair are scattered all over his body, he is garlanded with human skulls and smeared with ashes from the crematorium, but in spite of all these inauspicious qualities, great personalities like Brahma honor him by accepting the flowers offered to his lotus feet and placing them with great respect on their heads. Sati continued: If one hears an irresponsible person blaspheme the master and controller of religion, one should block his ears and go away if unable to punish him. But if one is able to kill, then one should by force cut out the blasphemer's tongue and kill the offender, and after that one should give up his own life. Therefore I shall no longer bear this unworthy body, which has been received from you, who have blasphemed Lord Shiva. If someone has taken food which is poisonous, the best treatment is to vomit. It is better to execute one's own occupational duty than to criticize others'. Elevated transcendentalists may sometimes forgo the rules and regulations of the Vedas, since they do not need to follow them, just as the demigods travel in space whereas ordinary men travel on the surface of the earth. In the Vedas there are directions for two kinds of activities--activities for those who are attached to material enjoyment and activities for those who are materially detached. In consideration of these two kinds of activities, there are two kinds of people, who have different symptoms. If one wants to see two kinds of activities in one person, that is contradictory. But both kinds of activities may be neglected by a person who is transcendentally situated. My dear father, the opulence we possess is impossible for either you or your flatterers to imagine, for persons who engage in fruitive activities by performing great sacrifices are concerned with satisfying their bodily necessities by eating foodstuff offered as a sacrifice. We can exhibit our opulences simply by desiring to do so. This can be achieved only by great personalities who are renounced, self-realized souls. You are an offender at the lotus feet of Lord Shiva, and unfortunately I have a body produced from yours. I am very much ashamed of our bodily relationship, and I condemn myself because my body is contaminated by a relationship with a person who is an offender at the lotus feet of the greatest personality. Because of our family relationship, when Lord Shiva addresses me as Daksayani I at once become morose, and my jolliness and my smile at once disappear. I feel very much sorry that my body, which is just like a bag, has been produced by you. I shall therefore give it up. Maitreya the sage told Vidura: O annihilator of enemies, while thus speaking to her father in the arena of sacrifice, Sati sat down on the ground and faced north. Dressed in saffron garments, she sanctified herself with water and closed her eyes to absorb herself in the process of mystic yoga. First of all she sat in the required sitting posture, and then she carried the life air upwards and placed it in the position of equilibrium near the navel. Then she raised her life air, mixed with intelligence, to the heart and then gradually towards the pulmonary passage and from there to between her eyebrows. Thus, in order to give up her body, which had been so respectfully and affectionately seated on the lap of Lord Shiva, who is worshiped by great sages and saints, Sati, due to anger towards her father, began to meditate on the fiery air within the body. Sati concentrated all her meditation on the holy lotus feet of her husband, Lord Shiva, who is the supreme spiritual master of all the world. Thus she became completely cleansed of all taints of sin and quit her body in a blazing fire by meditation on the fiery elements. When Sati annihilated her body in anger, there was a tumultuous roar all over the universe. Why had Sati, the wife of the most respectable demigod, Lord Shiva, quit her body in such a manner? It was astonishing that Daksa, who was Prajapati, the maintainer of all living entities, was so disrespectful to his own daughter, Sati, who was not only chaste but was also a great soul, that she gave up her body because of his neglect. Daksa, who is so hardhearted that he is unworthy to be a brahmana, will gain extensive ill fame because of his offenses to his daughter, because of not having prevented her death, and because of his great envy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. While people were talking among themselves about the wonderful voluntary death of Sati, the attendants who had come with her readied themselves to kill Daksa with their weapons. They came forward forcibly, but Bhrgu Muni saw the danger and, offering oblations into the southern side of the sacrificial fire, immediately uttered mantric hymns from the Yajur Veda by which the destroyers of yajnic performances could be killed immediately. When Bhrgu Muni offered oblations in the fire, immediately many thousands of demigods named Rbhus became manifested. All of them were powerful, having achieved strength from Soma, the moon. When the Rbhu demigods attacked the ghosts and Guhyakas with half-burned fuel from the yajna fire, all these attendants of Sati fled in different directions and disappeared. This was possible simply because of brahma-tejas, brahminical power. Chapter Five : Frustration of the Sacrifice of Daksa Maitreya said: When Lord Shiva heard from Narada that Sati, his wife, was now dead because of Prajapati Daksa's insult to her and that his soldiers had been driven away by the Rbhu demigods, he became greatly angry. Thus Lord Shiva, being extremely angry, pressed his lips with his teeth and immediately snatched from his head a strand of hair which blazed like electricity or fire. He stood up at once, laughing like a madman, and dashed the hair to the ground. A fearful black demon as high as the sky and as bright as three suns combined was thereby created, his teeth very fearful and the hairs on his head like burning fire. He had thousands of arms, equipped with various weapons, and he was garlanded with the heads of men. When that gigantic demon asked with folded hands, "What shall I do, my lord?" Lord Shiva, who is known as Bhutanatha, directly ordered, "Because you are born from my body, you are the chief of all my associates. Therefore, kill Daksa and his soldiers at the sacrifice." Maitreya continued: My dear Vidura, that black person was the personified anger of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and he was prepared to execute the orders of Lord Shiva. Thus, considering himself capable of coping with any power offered against him, he circumambulated Lord Shiva. Many other soldiers of Lord Shiva followed the fierce personality in a tumultuous uproar. He carried a great trident, fearful enough to kill even death, and on his legs he wore bangles which seemed to roar. At that time, all the persons assembled in the sacrificial arena--the priests, the chief of the sacrificial performance, and the brahmanas and their wives-- wondered where the darkness was coming from. Later they could understand that it was a dust storm, and all of them were full of anxiety. Conjecturing on the origin of the storm, they said: There is no wind blowing, and no cows are passing, nor is it possible that this dust storm could be raised by plunderers, for there is still the strong King Barhi, who would punish them. Where is this dust storm blowing from? Is the dissolution of the planet now to occur? Prasuti, the wife of Daksa, along with the other women assembled, became very anxious and said: This danger has been created by Daksa because of the death of Sati, who, even though completely innocent, quit her body as her sisters looked on. At the time of dissolution, Lord Shiva's hair is scattered, and he pierces the rulers of the different directions with his trident. He laughs and dances proudly, scattering their hands like flags, as thunder scatters the clouds all over the world. The gigantic black man bared his fearful teeth. By the movements of his brows he scattered the luminmies all over the sky, and he covered them with his strong, piercing effulgence. Because of the misbehavior of Daksa, even Lord Brahma, Daksa's father, could not have been saved from the great exhibition of anger. While all the people talked amongst themselves, Daksa saw dangerous omens from all sides, from the earth and from the sky. My dear Vidura, all the followers of Lord Shiva surrounded the arena of sacrifice. They were of short stature and were equipped with various kinds of weapons; their bodies appeared to be like those of sharks, blackish and yellowish. They ran all around the sacrificial arena and thus began to create disturbances. Some of the soldiers pulled down the pillars which were supporting the pandal of sacrifice, some of them entered the female quarters, some began destroying the sacrificial arena, and some entered the kitchen and the residential quarters. They broke all the pots made for use in the sacrifice, and some of them began to extinguish the sacrificial fire. Some tore down the boundary line of the sacrificial arena, and some passed urine on the arena. Some blocked the way of the fleeing sages, some threatened the women assembled there, and some arrested the demigods who were fleeing the pandal. Maniman, one of the followers of Lord Shiva, arrested Bhrgu Muni, and Virabhadra, the black demon, arrested Prajapati Daksa. Another follower, who was named Candesa, arrested Pusa. Nandisvara arrested the demigod Bhaga. There was a continuous shower of stones, and all the priests and other members assembled at the sacrifice were put into immense misery. For fear of their lives, they dispersed in different directions. Virabhadra tore off the mustache of Bhrgu, who was offering the sacrificial oblations with his hands in the fire. Virabhadra immediately caught Bhaga, who had been moving his eyebrows during Bhrgu's cursing of Lord Shiva, and out of great anger thrust him to the ground and forcibly put out his eyes. Just as Baladeva knocked out the teeth of Dantavakra, the King of Kalinga, during the gambling match at the marriage ceremony of Aniruddha, Virabhadra knocked out the teeth of both Daksa, who had shown them while cursing Lord Shiva, and Pusa, who by smiling sympathetically had also shown his teeth. Then Virabhadra, the giantlike personality, sat on the chest of Daksa and tried to separate his head from his body with sharp weapons, but was unsuccessful. He tried to cut the head of Daksa with hymns as well as weapons, but still it was hard to cut even the surface of the skin of Daksa's head. Thus Virabhadra was exceedingly bewildered. Then Virabhadra saw the wooden device in the sacrificial arena by which the animals were to have been killed. He took the opportunity of this facility to behead Daksa. Upon seeing the action of Virabhadra, the party of Lord Shiva was pleased and cried out joyfully, and all the bhutas, ghosts and demons that had come made a tumultuous sound. On the other hand, the brahmanas in charge of the sacrifice cried out in grief at the death of Daksa. Virabhadra then took the head and with great anger threw it into the southern side of the sacrificial fire, offering it as an oblation. In this way the followers of Lord Shiva devastated all the arrangements for sacrifice. After setting fire to the whole arena, they departed for their master's abode, Kailasa. Chapter Six : Brahma Satisfies Lord Shiva All the priests and other members of the sacrificial assembly and all the demigods, having been defeated by the soldiers of Lord Shiva and injured by weapons like tridents and swords, approached Lord Brahma with great fear. After offering him obeisances, they began to speak in detail of all the events which had taken place. Both Lord Brahma and Vishnu had already known that such events would occur in the sacrificial arena of Daksa, and knowing beforehand, they did not go to the sacrifice. When Lord Brahma heard everything from the demigods and the members who had attended the sacrifice, he replied: You cannot be happy in executing a sacrifice if you blaspheme a great personality and thereby offend his lotus feet. You cannot have happiness in that way. You have excluded Lord Shiva from taking part in the sacrificial results, and therefore you are all offenders at his lotus feet. Still, if you go without mental reservations and surrender unto him and fall down at his lotus feet, he will be very pleased. Lord Brahma also advised them that Lord Shiva is so powerful that by his anger all the planets and their chief controllers can be destroyed immediately. Also, he said that Lord Shiva was especially sorry because he had recently lost his dear wife and was also very much afflicted by the unkind words of Daksa. Under the circumstances, Lord Brahma suggested, it would behoove them to go at once and beg his pardon. Lord Brahma said that no one, not even himself, Indra, all the members assembled in the sacrificial arena, or all the sages, could know how powerful Lord Shiva is. Under the circumstances, who would dare to commit an offense at his lotus feet?. After thus instructing all the demigods, the Pitas and the lords of the living entities, Lord Brahma took them with him and left for the abode of Lord Shiva, known as the Kailasa Hill. The abode known as Kailasa is full of different herbs and vegetables, and it is sanctified by Vedic hymns and mystic yoga practice. Thus the residents of that abode are demigods by birth and have all mystic powers. Besides them there are other human beings, who are known as Kinnaras and Gandharvas and are accompanied by their beautfful wives, who are known as Apsaras, or angels. Kailasa is full of mountains filled with all kinds of valuable jewels and minerals and surrounded by all varieties of valuable trees and plants. The top of the hill is nicely decorated by various types of deer. There are many waterfalls, and in the mountains there are many beautiful caves in which the very beautiful wives of the mystics are found. On Kailasa Hill there is always the rhythmical sound of the peacocks' sweet vibrations and the bees' humming. Cuckoos are always singing, and other birds whisper amongst themselves. There are tall trees with straight branches that appear to call the sweet birds, and when herds of elephants pass through the hills, it appears that the Kailasa Hill moves with them. When the waterfalls resound, it appears that Kailasa Hill does also. The whole of Kailasa Hill is decorated with various kinds of trees, of which the following names may be mentioned: mandara, parijata, sarala, tamala, tala, kovidara, asana, arjuna, amra-jati (mango), kadamba, dhuli-kadamba, naga, punnaga, campaka, patala, asoka, bakula, kunda and kurabaka. The entire hill is decorated with such trees, which produce flowers with fragrant aromas. There are other trees also which decorate the hill, such as the golden lotus flower, the cinnamon tree, malati, kubja, mallika and madhavi. Kailasa Hill is also decorated with such trees as kata, jackfruit, julara, banyan trees, plaksas, nyagrodhas and trees producing asafetida. Also there are trees of betel nuts and bhurja-patra, as well as rajapuga, blackberries and similar other trees. There are mango trees, priyala, madhuka and inguda. Besides these there are other trees, like thin bamboos, kicaka and varieties of other bamboo trees, all decorating the tract of Kailasa Hill. There are different kinds of lotus flowers, such as kumuda, utpala and satapatra. The forest appears to be a decorated garden, and the small lakes are full of various kinds of birds who whisper very sweetly. There are many kinds of other animals also, like deer, monkeys, boars, lions, rksas, salyakas, forest cows, forest asses, tigers, small deer, buffalo and many other animals, who are fully enjoying their lives. There are varieties of deer, such as karnantra, ekapada, asvasya, vrka and kasturi, the deer which bears musk. Besides the deer there are many banana trees which decorate the small hillside lakes very nicely. There is a small lake named Alakananda in which Sati used to take her bath, and that lake is especially auspicious. All the demigods, after seeing the specific beauty of Kailasa Hill, were struck with wonder at the great opulence to be found there. Thus the demigods saw the wonderfully beautiful region known as Alaka in the forest known as Saugandhika, which means "full of fragrance." The forest is known as Saugandhika because of its abundance of lotus flowers. They also saw the two rivers named Nanda and Alakananda. These two rivers are sanctified by the dust of the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Govinda. My dear /ksatta, Vidura, the celestial damsels come down to those rivers in their airplanes with their husbands, and after sexual enjoyment, they enter the water and enjoy sprinkling their husbands with water. After the damsels of the heavenly planets bathe in the water, it becomes yellowish and fragrant due to the kunkuma from their bodies. Thus the elephants come to bathe there with their wives, the she-elephants, and they also drink the water, although they are not thirsty. The airplanes of the heavenly denizens are bedecked with pearls, gold and many valuable jewels. The heavenly denizens are compared to clouds in the sky decorated with occasional flashes of electric lightning. While traveling, the demigods passed over the forest known as Saugandhika, which is full of varieties of flowers, fruits and desire trees. While passing over the forest, they also saw the regions of Yaksesvara. In that celestial forest there were many birds whose necks were colored reddish and whose sweet sounds mixed with the humming of the bees. The lakes were abundantly decorated with crying swans as well as strong-stemmed lotus flowers. All these atmospheric influences unsettled the forest elephants who flocked together in the sandalwood forest, and the blowing wind agitated the minds of the damsels there for further sexual enjoyment. They also saw that the bathing ghatas and their staircases were made of vaidurya-mani. The water was full of lotus flowers. Passing by such lakes, the demigods reached a place where there was a great banyan tree. That banyan tree was eight hundred miles high, and its branches spread over six hundred miles around. The tree cast a fine shade which permanently cooled the temperature, yet there was no noise of birds. The demigods saw Lord Shiva sitting under that tree, which was competent to give perfection to mystic yogis and deliver all people. As grave as time eternal, he appeared to have given up all anger. Lord Shiva sat there, surrounded by saintly persons like Kuvera, the master of the Guhyakas, and the four Kumaras, who were already liberated souls. Lord Shiva was grave and saintly. The demigods saw Lord Shiva situated in his perfection as the master of the senses, knowledge, fruitive activities and the path of achieving perfection. He was the friend of the entire world, and by virtue of his full affection for everyone, he was very auspicious. He was seated on a deerskin and was practicing all forms of austerity. Because his body was smeared with ashes, he looked like an evening cloud. On his hair was the sign of a half-moon, a symbolic representation. He was seated on a straw mattress and speaking to all present, including the great sage Narada, to whom he specifically spoke about the Absolute Truth. His left leg was placed on his right thigh, and his left hand was placed on his left thigh. In his right hand he held rudraksa beads. This sitting posture is called virasana. He sat in the virasana posture, and his finger was in the mode of argument. All the sages and demigods, headed by Indra, offered their respectful obeisances unto Lord Shiva with folded hands. Lord Shiva was dressed in saffron garments and absorbed in trance, thus appearing to be the foremost of all sages. Lord Shiva's lotus feet were worshiped by both the demigods and demons, but still, in spite of his exalted position, as soon as he saw that Lord Brahma was there among all the other demigods, he immediately stood up and offered him respect by bowing down and touching his lotus feet, just as Vamanadeva offered His respectful obeisances to Kasyapa Muni. All the sages who were sitting with Lord Shiva, such as Narada and others, also offered their respectful obeisances to Lord Brahma. After being so worshiped, Lord Brahma, smiling, began to speak to Lord Shiva. Lord Brahma said: My dear Lord Shiva, I know that you are the controller of the entire material manifestation, the combination father and mother of the cosmic manifestation, and the Supreme Brahman beyond the cosmic manifestation as well. I know you in that way. My dear lord, you create this cosmic manifestation, maintain it, and annihilate it by expansion of your personality, exactly as a spider creates, maintains and winds up its web. My dear lord, Your Lordship has introduced the system of sacrifices through the agency of Daksa, and thus one may derive the benefits of religious activities and economic development. Under your regulative principles, the institution of the four varnas and aramas is respected. The brahmanas therefore vow to follow this system strictly. O most auspicious lord, you have ordained the heavenly planets, the spiritual Vaikuntha planets and the impersonal Brahman sphere as the respective destinations of the performers of auspicious activities. Similarly, for others, who are miscreants, you have destined different kinds of hells which are horrible and ghastly. Yet sometimes it is found that their destinations are just the opposite. It is very difficult to ascertain the cause of this. My dear Lord, devotees who have fully dedicated their lives unto your lotus feet certainly observe your presence as Paramatma in each and every being, and as such they do not differentiate between one living being and another. Such persons treat all living entities equally. They never become overwhelmed by anger like animals, who can see nothing without differentiation. Persons who observe everything with differentiation, who are simply attached to fruitive activities, who are mean minded, who are always pained to see the flourishing condition of others and who thus give distress to them by uttering harsh and piercing words have already been killed by providence. Thus there is no need for them to be killed again by an exalted personality like you. My dear lord, if in some places materialists, who are already bewildered by the insurmountable illusory energy of the Supreme Godhead, sometimes commit offenses, a saintly person, with compassion, does not take this seriously. Knowing that they commit offenses because they are overpowered by the illusory energy, he does not show his prowess to counteract them. My dear lord, you are never bewildered by the formidable influence of the illusory energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore you are omniscient and should be merciful and compassionate toward those who are bewildered by the same illusory energy and are very much attached to fruitive activities. My dear Lord Shiva, you are a shareholder of a portion of the sacrifice, and you are the giver of the result. The bad priests did not deliver your share, and therefore you destroyed everything, and the sacrifice remains unfinished. Now you can do the needful and take your rightful share. My dear lord, by your mercy the performer of the sacrifice (King Daksa) may get back his life, Bhaga may get back his eyes, Bhrgu his mustache, and Pusa his teeth. O Lord Shiva, may the demigods and the priests whose limbs have been broken by your soldiers recover from the injuries by your grace. O destroyer of the sacrifice, please take your portion of the sacrifice and let the sacrifice be completed by your grace. Chapter Seven :The Sacrifice Performed by Daksa The sage Maitreya said: O mighty-armed Vidura, Lord Shiva, being thus pacified by the words of Lord Brahma, spoke as follows in answer to Lord Brahma's request. Lord Shiva said: My dear father, Brahma, I do not mind the offenses created by the demigods. Because these demigods are childish and less intelligent, I do not take a serious view of their offenses, and I have punished them only in order to right them. Lord Shiva continued: Since the head of Daksa has already been burned to ashes, he will have the head of a goat. The demigod known as Bhaga will be able to see his share of sacrifice through the eyes of Mitra. The demigod Pusa will be able to chew only through the teeth of his disciples, and if alone, he will have to satisfy himself by eating dough made from chickpea flour. But the demigods who have agreed to give me my share of the sacrifice will recover from all their injuries. Those who have had their arms cut off will have to work with the arms of Asvini- kumara, and those whose hands were cut off will have to do their work with the hands of Pusa. The priests will also have to act in that manner. As for Bhrgu, he will have the beard from the goat's head. The great sage Maitreya said: My dear Vidura, all the personalities present were very much satisfied in heart and soul upon hearing the words of Lord Shiva, who is the best among the benedictors. Thereafter, Bhrgu, the chief of the great sages, invited Lord Shiva to come to the sacrificial arena. Thus the demigods, accompanied by the sages, Lord Shiva, and Lord Brahma, all went to the place where the great sacrifice was being performed. After everything was executed exactly as directed by Lord Shiva, Daksa's body was joined to the head of the animal meant to be killed in the sacrifice. When the animal's head was fixed on the body of King Daksa, Daksa was immediately brought to consciousness, and as he awakened from sleep, the King saw Lord Shiva standing before him. At that time, when Daksa saw Lord Shiva, who rides upon a bull, his heart, which was polluted by envy of Lord Shiva, was immediately cleansed, just as the water in a lake is cleansed by autumn rains. King Daksa wanted to offer prayers to Lord Shiva, but as he remembered the ill- fated death of his daughter Sati, his eyes filled with tears, and in bereavement his voice choked up, and he could not say anything. At this time, King Daksa, afflicted by love and affection, was very much awakened to his real senses. With great endeavor, he pacified his mind, checked his feelings, and with pure consciousness began to offer prayers to Lord Shiva. King Daksa said: My dear Lord Shiva, I committed a great offense against you, but you are so kind that instead of withdrawing your mercy, you have done me a great favor by punishing me. You and Lord Vishnu never neglect even useless, unqualified brahmanas. Why, then, should you neglect me, who am engaged in performing sacrifices? My dear great and powerful Lord Shiva, you were created first from the mouth of Lord Brahma in order to protect the brahmanas in pursuing education, austerities, vows and self-realization. As protector of the brahmanas, you always protect the regulative principles they follow, just as a cowherd boy keeps a stick in his hand to give protection to the cows. I did not know your full glories. For this reason, I threw arrows of sharp words at you in the open assembly, although you did not take them into account. I was going down to hell because of my disobedience to you, who are the most respectable personality, but you took compassion upon me and saved me by awarding punishment. I request that you be pleased by your own mercy, since I cannot satisfy you by my words. The great sage Maitreya said: Thus being pardoned by Lord Shiva, King Daksa, with the permission of Lord Brahma, again began the performance of the yajna, along with the great learned sages, the priests and others. Thereafter, in order to resume the activities of sacrifice, the brahmanas first arranged to purify the sacrificial arena of the contamination caused by the touch of Virabhadra and the other ghostly followers of Lord Shiva. Then they arranged to offer into the fire the oblations known as purodaa. The great sage Maitreya said to Vidura: My dear Vidura, as soon as King Daksa offered the clarified butter with Yajur Veda mantras in sanctified meditation, Lord Vishnu appeared there in His original form as Narayana. Lord Narayana was seated on the shoulder of Stotra, or Garuda, who had big wings. As soon as the Lord appeared, all directions were illuminated, diminishing the luster of Brahma and the others present. His complexion was blackish, His garment yellow like gold, and His helmet as dazzling as the sun. His hair was bluish, the color of black bees, and His face was decorated with earrings. His eight hands held a conchshell, wheel, club, lotus flower, arrow, bow, shield and sword, and they were decorated with golden ornaments such as bangles and bracelets. His whole body resembled a blossoming tree beautifully decorated with various kinds of flowers. Lord Vishnu looked extraordinarily beautiful because the goddess of fortune and a garland were situated on His chest. His face was beautifully decorated with a smiling attitude which can captivate the entire world, especially the devotees. Fans of white hair appeared on both sides of the Lord like white swans, and the white canopy overhead looked like the moon. As soon as Lord Vishnu was visible, all the demigods--Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva, the Gandharvas and all present there--immediately offered their respectful obeisances by falling down straight before Him. In the presence of the glaring effulgence of the bodily luster of Narayana, everyone else's luster faded away, and everyone stopped speaking. Fearful with awe and veneration, all present touched their hands to their heads and prepared to offer their prayers to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Adhoksaja. Although the mental scope of even demigods like Brahma was unable to comprehend the unlimited glories of the Supreme Lord, they were all able to perceive the transcendental form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead by His grace. Only by such grace could they offer their respectful prayers according to their different capacities. When Lord Vishnu accepted the oblations offered in the sacrifice, Daksa, the Prajapati, began with great pleasure to offer respectful prayers unto Him. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is actually the master of all sacrifices and preceptor of all the Prajapatis, and He is served even by such personalities as Nanda and Sunanda. Daksa addressed the Supreme Personality of Godhead: My dear Lord, You are transcendental to all speculative positions. You are completely spiritual, devoid of all fear, and You are always in control of the material energy. Even though You appear in the material energy, You are situated transcendentally. You are always free from material contamination because You are completely self- sufficient. The priests addressed the Lord, saying: O Lord, transcendental to material contamination, by the curse offered by Lord Shiva's men we have become attached to fruitive activities, and thus we are now fallen and therefore do not know anything about You. On the contrary, we are now involved in the injunctions of the three departments of the Vedic knowledge under the plea of executing rituals in the name of yajna. We know that You have made arrangements for distributing the respective shares of the demigods. The members of the assembly addressed the Lord: O exclusive shelter for all who are situated in troubled life, in this formidable fort of conditional existence the time element, like a snake, is always looking for an opportunity to strike. This world is full of ditches of so-called distress and happiness, and there are many ferocious animals always ready to attack. The fire of lamentation is always blazing, and the mirage of false happiness is always alluring, but one has no shelter from them. Thus foolish persons live in the cycle of birth and death, always overburdened in discharging their so-called duties, and we do not know when they will accept the shelter of Your lotus feet. Lord Shiva said: My dear Lord, my mind and consciousness are always fixed on Your lotus feet, which, as the source of all benediction and the fulfillment of all desires, are worshiped by all liberated great sages because Your lotus feet are worthy of worship. With my mind fixed on Your lotus feet, I am no longer disturbed by persons who blaspheme me, claiming that my activities are not purified. I do not mind their accusations, and I excuse them out of compassion, just as You exhibit compassion toward all living entities. Sri Bhrgu said: My dear Lord, all living entities, beginning from the highest, namely Lord Brahma, down to the ordinary ant, are under the influence of the insurmountable spell of illusory energy, and thus they are ignorant of their constitutional position. Everyone believes in the concept of the body, and all are thus submerged in the darkness of illusion. They are actually unable to understand how You live in every living entity as the Supersoul, nor can they understand Your absolute position. But You are the eternal friend and protector of all surrendered souls. Therefore, please be kind toward us and forgive all our offenses. Lord Brahma said: My dear Lord, Your personality and eternal form cannot be understood by any person who is trying to know You through the different processes of acquiring knowledge. Your position is always transcendental to the material creation, whereas the empiric attempt to understand You is material, as are its objectives and instruments. King Indra said: My dear Lord, Your transcendental form with eight hands and weapons in each of them appears for the welfare of the entire universe, and it is very pleasing to the mind and eyes. In such a form, Your Lordship is always prepared to punish the demons, who are envious of Your devotees. The wives of the performers of the sacrifice said: My dear Lord, this sacrifice was arranged under the instruction of Brahma, but unfortunately Lord Shiva, being angry at Daksa, devastated the entire scene, and because of his anger the animals meant for sacrifice are lying dead. Therefore the preparations of the yajna have been lost. Now, by the glance of Your lotus eyes, the sanctity of this sacrificial arena may be again invoked. The sages prayed: Dear Lord, Your activities are most wonderful, and although You do everything by Your different potencies, You are not at all attached to such activities. You are not even attached to the goddess of fortune, who is worshiped by the great demigods like Brahma, who pray to achieve her mercy. The Siddhas prayed: Like an elephant that has suffered in a forest fire but can forget all its troubles by entering a river, our minds, O Lord, always merge in the nectarean river of Your transcendental pastimes, and they desire never to leave such transcendental bliss, which is as good as the pleasure of merging in the Absolute. The wife of Daksa prayed as follows: My dear Lord, it is very fortunate that You have appeared in this arena of sacrifice. I offer my respectful obeisances unto You, and I request that You be pleased on this occasion. The sacrificial arena is not beautiful without You, just as a body is not beautiful without the head. The governors of various planets spoke as follows: Dear Lord, we believe only in our direct perception, but under the circumstances we do not know whether we have actually seen You with our material senses. By our material senses we can simply perceive the cosmic manifestation, but You are beyond the five elements. You are the sixth. We see You, therefore, as a creation of the material world. The great mystics said: Dear Lord, persons who see You as nondifferent from themselves, knowing that You are the Supersoul of all living entities, are certainly very, very dear to You. You are very favorable toward those who engage in devotional service, accepting You as the Lord and themselves as the servants. By Your mercy, You are always inclined in their favor. We offer our respectful obeisances unto the Supreme, who has created varieties of manifestations and put them under the spell of the three qualities of the material world in order to create, maintain and annihilate them. He Himself is not under the control of the external energy; in His personal feature He is completely devoid of the variegated manifestation of material qualities, and He is under no illusion of false identification. The personified Vedas said: We offer our respectful obeisances unto You, the Lord, the shelter of the quality of goodness and therefore the source of all religion, austerity and penance, for You are transcendental to all material qualities and no one knows You or Your actual situation. The fire-god said: My dear Lord, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You because by Your favor I am as luminous as blazing fire and I accept the offerings mixed with butter and offered in sacrifice. The five kinds of offerings according to the Yajur Veda are all Your different energies, and You are worshiped by five kinds of Vedic hymns. Sacrifice means Your Supreme Personality of Godhead. The demigods said: Dear Lord, formerly, when there was a devastation, You conserved all the different energies of material manifestation. At that time, all the inhabitants of the higher planets, represented by such liberated souls as Sanaka, were meditating on You by philosophical speculation. You are therefore the original person, and You rest in the water of devastation on the bed of the Sesa snake. Now, today, You are visible to us, who are all Your servants. Please give us protection. The Gandharvas said: Dear Lord, all the demigods, including Lord Shiva, Lord Brahma, Indra and Marici and the great sages, are all only differentiated parts and parcels of Your body. You are the Supreme Almighty Great; the whole creation is just like a plaything for You. We always accept You as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and we offer our respectful obeisances unto You. The Vidyadharas said: Dear Lord, this human form of body is meant for attaining the highest perfectional objective, but, impelled by Your external energy, the living entity misidentifies himself with his body and with the material energy, and therefore, influenced by maya, he wants to become happy by material enjoyment. He is misled and always attracted by temporary, illusory happiness. But Your transcendental activities are so powerful that if one engages in the hearing and chanting of such topics, he can be delivered from illusion. The brahmanas said: Dear Lord, You are sacrifice personified. You are the offering of clarified butter, You are the fire, You are the chanting of Vedic hymns by which the sacrifice is conducted, You are the fuel, You are the flame, You are the kusa grass, and You are the sacrificial pots. You are the priests who perform the yajna, You are the demigods headed by Indra, and You are the sacrificial animal. Everything that is sacrificed is You or Your energy. Dear Lord, O personified Vedic knowledge, in the past millennium, long, long ago, when You appeared as the great boar incarnation, You picked up the world from the water, as an elephant picks up a lotus flower from a lake. When You vibrated transcendental sound in that gigantic form of a boar, the sound was accepted as a sacrificial hymn, and great sages like Sanaka meditated upon it and offered prayers for Your glorification. Dear Lord, we were awaiting Your audience because we have been unable to perform the yajnas according to the Vedic rituals. We pray unto You, therefore, to be pleased with us. Simply by chanting Your holy name, one can surpass all obstacles. We offer our respectful obeisances unto You in Your presence. Sri Maitreya said: After Lord Vishnu was glorified by all present, Daksa, his consciousness purified, arranged to begin again the yajna which had been devastated by the followers of Lord Shiva. Maitreya continued: My dear sinless Vidura, Lord Vishnu is actually the enjoyer of the results of all sacrifices. Yet because of His being the Supersoul of all living entities, He was satisfied simply with His share of the sacrificial offerings. He therefore addressed Daksa in a pleasing attitude. Lord Vishnu replied: Brahma, Lord Shiva and I are the supreme cause of the material manifestation. I am the Supersoul, the self sufficient witness. But impersonally there is no difference between Brahma, Lord Shiva and Me. The Lord continued: My dear Daksa Dvija, I am the original Personality of Godhead, but in order to create, maintain and annihilate this cosmic manifestation, I act through My material energy, and according to the different grades of activity, My representations are differently named. The Lord continued: One who is not in proper knowledge thinks that demigods like Brahma and Shiva are independent, or he even thinks that the living entities are independent. A person with average intelligence does not think the head and other parts of the body to be separate. Similarly, My devotee does not differentiate Vishnu, the all-pervading Personality of Godhead, from any thing or any living entity. The Lord continued: One who does not consider Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva or the living entities in general to be separate from the Supreme, and who knows Brahman, actually realizes peace; others do not. The sage Maitreya said: Thus Daksa, the head of all Prajapatis, having been nicely instructed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, worshiped Lord Vishnu. After worshiping Him by performing the prescribed sacrificial ceremonies, Daksa separately worshiped Lord Brahma amd Lord Shiva. With all respect, Daksa worshiped Lord Shiva with his share of the remnants of the yajna. After finishing the ritualistic sacrificial activities, he satisfied all the other demigods and the other people assembled there. Then, after finishing all these duties with the priests, he took a bath and was fully satisfied. Thus worshiping the Supreme Lord Vishnu by the ritualistic performance of sacrifice, Daksa was completely situated on the religious path. Moreover, all the demigods who had assembled at the sacrifice blessed him that he might increase his piety, and then they left. Maitreya said: I have heard that after giving up the body she had received from Daksa, Daksayani (his daughter) took her birth in the kingdom of the Himalayas. She was born as the daughter of Mena. I heard this from authoritative sources. Ambika [goddess Durga], who was known as Daksayini [Sati], again accepted Lord Shiva as her husband, just as different energies of the Supreme Personality of Godhead act during the course of a new creation. Maitreya said: My dear Vidura, I heard this story of the Daksa yajna, which was devastated by Lord Shiva, from Uddhava, a great devotee and a disciple of Brhaspati. The great sage Maitreya concluded: If one hears and again narrates, with faith and devotion, this story of the Daksa yajna as it was conducted by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vishnu, then certainly one is cleared of all contamination of material existence, O son of Kuru. Chapter Eight : Dhruva Maharaja Leaves Home for the Forest The great sage Maitreya said: The four great Kumara sages headed by Sanaka, as well as Narada, Rbhu, Hamsa, Aruni and Yati, all sons of Brahma did not live at home, but became urdhva-reta, or naisthika-brahmacaris, unadulterated celibates. Another son of Lord Brahma was Irreligion, whose wife's name was Falsity. From their combination were born two demons named Dambha, or Bluffing, and Maya, or Cheating. These two demons were taken by a demon named Nirrti, who had no children. Maitreya told Vidura: O great soul, from Dambha and Maya were born Greed and Nikrti, or Cunning. From their combination came children named Krodha (Anger) and Himsa (Envy), and from their combination were born Kali and his sister Durukti (Harsh Speech). O greatest of all good men, by the combination of Kali and Harsh Speech were born children named Mrtyu (Death) and Bhiti (Fear). From the combination of Mrtyu and Bhiti came children named Yatana (Excessive Pain) and Niraya (Hell). My dear Vidura, I have summarily explained the causes of devastation. One who hears this description three times attains piety and washes the sinful contamination from his soul. Maitreya continued: O best of the Kuru dynasty, I shall now describe before you the descendants of Svayambhuva Manu, who was born of a part of a plenary expansion of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Svayambhuva Manu had two sons by his wife, Satarupa, and the names of the sons were Uttanapada and Priyavrata. Because both of them were descendants of a plenary expansion of Vasudeva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, they were very competent to rule the universe to maintain and protect the citizens. King Uttanapada had two queens, named Suniti and Suruci. Suruci was much more dear to the King; Suniti, who had a son named Dhruva, was not his favorite. Once upon a time, King Uttanapada was patting the son of Suruci, Uttama, placing him on his lap. Dhruva Maharaja was also trying to get on the King's lap, but the King did not very much welcome him. While the child, Dhruva Maharaja, was trying to get on the lap of his father, Suruci, his stepmother, became very envious of the child, and with great pride she began to speak so as to be heard by the King himself. Queen Suruci told Dhruva Maharaja: My dear child, you do not deserve to sit on the throne or on the lap of the King. Surely you are also the son of the King, but because you did not take your birth from my womb, you are not qualified to sit on your father's lap. My dear child, you are unaware that you were born not of my womb but of another woman. Therefore you should know that your attempt is doomed to failure. You are trying to fulfill a desire which is impossible to fulfill. If you at all desire to rise to the throne of the King, then you have to undergo severe austerities. First of all you must satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana, and then, when you are favored by Him because of such worship, you shall have to take your next birth from my womb. The sage Maitreya continued: My dear Vidura, as a snake, when struck by a stick, breathes very heavily, Dhruva Maharaja, having been struck by the strong words of his stepmother, began to breathe very heavily because of great anger. When he saw that his father was silent and did not protest, he immediately left the palace and went to his mother. When Dhruva Maharaja reached his mother, his lips were trembling in anger, and he was crying very grievously. Queen Suniti immediately lifted her son onto her lap, while the palace residents who had heard all the harsh words of Suruci related everything in detail. Thus Suniti also became greatly aggrieved. This incident was unbearable to Suniti's patience. She began to burn as if in a forest fire, and in her grief she became just like a burnt leaf and so lamented. As she remembered the words of her co-wife, her bright, lotuslike face filled with tears, and thus she spoke. She also was breathing very heavily, and she did not know the factual remedy for the painful situation. Not finding any remedy, she said to her son: My dear son, don't wish for anything inauspicious for others. Anyone who inflicts pains upon others suffers himself from that pain. Suniti said: My dear boy, whatever has been spoken by Suruci is so, because the King, your father, does not consider me his wife or even his maidservant. He feels ashamed to accept me. Therefore it is a fact that you have taken birth from the womb of an unfortunate woman, and by being fed from her breast you have grown up. My dear boy, whatever has been spoken by Suruci, your stepmother, although very harsh to hear, is factual. Therefore, if you desire at all to sit on the same throne as your stepbrother, Uttama, then give up your envious attitude and immediately try to execute the instructions of your stepmother. Without further delay, you must engage yourself in worshiping the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Suniti continued: The Supreme Personality of Godhead is so great that simply by worshiping His lotus feet, your great-grandfather, Lord Brahma, acquired the necessary qualifications to create this universe. Although he is unborn and is the chief of all living creatures, he is situated in that exalted post because of the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whom even great yogis worship by controlling the mind and regulating the life air [prana]. Suniti informed her son: Your grandfather Svayambhuva Manu executed great sacrifices with distribution of charity, and thereby, with unflinching faith and devotion, he worshiped and satisfied the Supreme Personality of Godhead. By acting in that way, he achieved the greatest success in material happiness and afterwards achieved liberation, which is impossible to obtain by worshiping the demigods. My dear boy, you also should take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is very kind to His devotees. Persons seeking liberation from the cycle of birth and death always take shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord in devotional service. Becoming purified by executing your allotted occupation, just situate the Supreme Personality of Godhead in your heart, and without deviating for a moment, engage always in His service. My dear Dhruva, as far as I am concerned, I do not find anyone who can mitigate your distress but the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose eyes are like lotus petals. Many demigods such as Lord Brahma seek the pleasure of the goddess of fortune, but the goddess of fortune herself, with a lotus flower in her hand, is always ready to render service to the Supreme Lord. The great sage Maitreya continued: The instruction of Dhruva Maharaja's mother, Suniti, was actually meant for fulfilling his desired objective. Therefore, after deliberate consideration and with intelligence and fixed determination, he left his father's house. The great sage Narada overheard this news, and understanding all the activities of Dhruva Maharaja, he was struck with wonder. He approached Dhruva, and touching the boy's head with his all-virtuous hand, he spoke as follows. How wonderful are the powerful ksatriyas. They cannot tolerate even a slight infringement upon their prestige. Just imagine! This boy is only a small child, yet harsh words from his stepmother proved unbearable to him. The great sage Narada told Dhruva: My dear boy, you are only a little boy whose attachment is to sports and other frivolities. Why are you so affected by words insulting your honor? My dear Dhruva, if you feel that your sense of honor has been insulted, you still have no cause for dissatisfaction. This kind of dissatisfaction is another feature of the illusory energy; every living entity is controlled by his previous actions, and therefore there are different varieties of life for enjoying or suffering. The process of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is very wonderful. One who is intelligent should accept that process and be satisfied with whatever comes, favorable or unfavorable, by His supreme will. Now you have decided to undertake the mystic process of meditation under the instruction of your mother, just to achieve the mercy of the Lord, but in my opinion such austerities are not possible for any ordinary man. It is very difficult to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Narada Muni continued: After trying this process for many, many births and remaining unattached to material contamination, placing themselves continually in trance and executing many types of austerities, many mystic yogis were unable to find the end of the path of God realization. For this reason, my dear boy, you should not endeavor for this; it will not be successful. It is better that you go home. When you are grown up, by the mercy of the Lord you will get a chance for these mystic performances. At that time you may execute this function. One should try to keep himself satisfied in any condition of life--whether distress or happiness--which is offered by the supreme will. A person who endures in this way is able to cross over the darkness of nescience very easily. Every man should act like this: when he meets a person more qualified than himself, he should be very pleased; when he meets someone less qualified than himself, he should be compassionate toward him; and when he meets someone equal to himself, he should make friendship with him. In this way one is never affected by the threefold miseries of this material world. Dhruva Maharaja said: My dear Lord Naradaji, for a person whose heart is disturbed by the material conditions of happiness and distress, whatever you have so kindly explained for attainment of peace of mind is certainly a very good instruction. But as far as I am concerned, I am covered by ignorance, and this kind of philosophy does not touch my heart. My dear lord, I am very impudent for not accepting your instructions, but this is not my fault. It is due to my having been born in a ksatriya family. My stepmother, Suruci, has pierced my heart with her harsh words. Therefore your valuable instruction does not stand in my heart. O learned brahmana, I want to occupy a position more exalted than any yet achieved within the three worlds by anyone, even by my fathers and grandfathers. If you will oblige, kindly advise me of an honest path to follow by which I can achieve the goal of my life. My dear lord, you are a worthy son of Lord Brahma, and you travel, playing on your musical instrument, the vina, for the welfare of the entire universe. You are like the sun, which rotates in the universe for the benefit of all living beings. The sage Maitreya continued: The great personality Narada Muni, upon hearing the words of Dhruva Maharaja, became very compassionate toward him, and in order to show him his causeless mercy, he gave him the following expert advice. The great sage Narada told Dhruva Maharaja: The instruction given by your mother, Suniti, to follow the path of devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is just suitable for you. You should therefore completely absorb yourself in the devotional service of the Lord. Any person who desires the fruits of the four principles religiosity, economic development, sense gratification and, at the end, liberation, should engage himself in the devotional service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, for worship of His lotus feet yields the fulfillment of all of these. My dear boy, I therefore wish all good fortune for you. You should go to the bank of the Yamuna, where there is a virtuous forest named Madhuvana, and there be purified. Just by going there, one draws nearer to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who always lives there. Narada Muni instructed: My dear boy, in the waters of the Yamuna River, which is known as Kalindi, you should take three baths daily because the water is very auspicious, sacred and clear. After bathing, you should perform the necessary regulative principles for astanga-yoga and then sit down on your asana [sitting place] in a calm and quiet position. After sitting on your seat, practice the three kinds of breathing exercises, and thus gradually control the life air, the mind and the senses. Completely free yourself from all material contamination, and with great patience begin to meditate on the Supreme Personality of Godhead. [The form of the Lord is described herein.] The Lord's face is perpetually very beautiful and pleasing in attitude. To the devotees who see Him, He appears never to be displeased, and He is always prepared to award benedictions to them. His eyes, His nicely decorated eyebrows, His raised nose and His broad forehead are all very beautiful. He is more beautiful than all the demigods. Narada Muni continued: The Lord's form is always youthful. Every limb and every part of His body is properly formed, free from defect. His eyes and lips are pinkish like the rising sun. He is always prepared to give shelter to the surrendered soul, and anyone so fortunate as to look upon Him feels all satisfaction. The Lord is always worthy to be the master of the surrendered soul, for He is the ocean of mercy. The Lord is further described as having the mark of Srivatsa, or the sitting place of the goddess of fortune, and His bodily hue is deep bluish. The Lord is a person, He wears a garland of flowers, and He is eternally manifest with four hands, which hold [beginning from the lower left hand] a conchshell, wheel, club and lotus flower. The entire body of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vasudeva, is decorated. He wears a valuable jeweled helmet, necklaces and bracelets, His neck is adorned with the Kaustubha jewel, and He is dressed in yellow silk garments. The Lord is decorated with small golden bells around His waist, and His lotus feet are decorated with golden ankle bells. All His bodily features are very attractive and pleasing to the eyes. He is always peaceful, calm and quiet and very pleasing to the eyes and the mind. Real yogis meditate upon the transcendental form of the Lord as He stands on the whorl of the lotus of their hearts, the jewellike nails of His lotus feet glittering. The Lord is always smiling, and the devotee should constantly see the Lord in this form, as He looks very mercifully toward the devotee. In this way the meditator should look toward the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the bestower of all benedictions. One who meditates in this way, concentrating his mind upon the always auspicious form of the Lord, is very soon freed from all material contamination, and he does not come down from meditation upon the Lord. O son of the King, now I shall speak unto you the mantra which is to be chanted with this process of meditation. One who carefully chants this mantra for seven nights can see the perfect human beings flying in the sky. Om namo bhagavate vasudevaya. This is the twelve-syllable mantra for worshiping Lord Krishna. One should install the physical forms of the Lord, and with the chanting of the mantra one should offer flowers and fruits and other varieties of foodstuffs exactly according to the rules and regulations prescribed by authorities. But this should be done in consideration of place, time, and attendant conveniences and inconveniences. One should worship the Lord by offering pure water, pure flower garlands, fruits, flowers and vegetables, which are available in the forest, or by collecting newly grown grasses, small buds of flowers or even the skins of trees, and if possible, by offering tulasi leaves, which are very dear to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is possible to worship a form of the Lord made of physical elements such as earth, water, pulp, wood and metal. In the forest one can make a form with no more than earth and water and worship Him according to the above principles. A devotee who has full control over his self should be very sober and peaceful and must be satisfied simply with eating whatever fruits and vegetables are available in the forest. My dear Dhruva, besides worshiping the Deity and chanting the mantra three times a day, you should meditate upon the transcendental activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His different incarnations, as exhibited by His supreme will and personal potencies. One should follow in the footsteps of previous devotees regarding how to worship the Supreme Lord with the prescribed paraphernalia, or one should offer worship within the heart by reciting the mantra to the Personality of Godhead, who is nondifferent from the mantra. Anyone who thus engages in the devotional service of the Lord, seriously and sincerely, with his mind, words and body, and who is fixed in the activities of the prescribed devotional methods, is blessed by the Lord according to his desire. If a devotee desires material religiosity, economic development, sense gratification or liberation from the material world, he is awarded these results. If one is very serious about liberation, he must stick to the process of transcendental loving service, engaging twenty-four hours a day in the highest stage of ecstasy, and he must certainly be aloof from all activities of sense gratification. When Dhruva Maharaja, the son of the King, was thus advised by the great sage Narada, he circumambulated Narada, his spiritual master, and offered him respectful obeisances. Then he started for Madhuvana, which is always imprinted with the lotus footprints of Lord Krishna and which is therefore especially auspicious. After Dhruva entered Madhuvana Forest to execute devotional service, the great sage Narada thought it wise to go to the King to see how he was faring within the palace. When Narada Muni approached, the King received him properly, offering him due obeisances. After being seated comfortably, Narada began to speak. The great sage Narada inquired: My dear King, your face appears to be withering up, and you look like you have been thinking of something for a very long time. Why is that? Have you been hampered in following your path of religious rites, economic development and sense gratification? The King replied: O best of the brahmanas, I am very much addicted to my wife, and I am so fallen that I have abandoned all merciful behavior, even to my son, who is only five years old. I have banished him and his mother, even though he is a great soul and a great devotee. My dear brahmana, the face of my son was just like a lotus flower. I am thinking of his precarious condition. He is unprotected, and he might he very hungry. He might have lain down somewhere in the forest, and the wolves might have attacked him to eat his body. Alas, just see how I was conquered by my wife! Just imagine my cruelty! Out of love and affection the boy was trying to get up on my lap, but I did not receive him, nor did I even pat him for a moment. Just imagine how hardhearted I am. The great sage Narada replied: My dear King, please do not he aggrieved about your son. He is well protected by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Although you have no actual information of his influence, his reputation is already spread all over the world. My dear King, your son is very competent. He will perform activities which would he impossible even for great kings and sages. Very soon he will complete his task and come back home. You should know that he will also spread your reputation all over the world. The great Maitreya continued: The King, Uttanapada, after being advised by Narada Muni, practically gave up all duties in relation with his kingdom, which was very vast and wide, opulent like the goddess of fortune, and he simply began to think of his son Dhruva. Elsewhere, Dhruva Maharaja, having arrived at Madhuvana, took his bath in the River Yamuna and observed fasting in the night with great care and attention. After that, as advised by the great sage Narada, he engaged himself in worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead. For the first month Dhruva Maharaja ate only fruits and berries on every third day, only to keep his body and soul together, and in this way he progressed in his worship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In the second month Dhruva Maharaja ate only every six days, and for his eatables he took dry grass and leaves. Thus he continued his worship. In the third month he drank water only every nine days. Thus he remained completely in trance and worshiped the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is adored by selected verses. In the fourth month Dhruva Maharaja became a complete master of the breathing exercise, and thus he inhaled air only every twelfth day. In this way he became completely fixed in his position and worshiped the Supreme Personality of Godhead. By the fifth month, Maharaja Dhruva, the son of the King, had controlled his breathing so perfectly that he was able to stand on only one leg, just as a column stands, without motion, and concentrate his mind fully on the Parabrahman. He completely controlled his senses and their objects, and in this way he fixed his mind, without diversion to anything else, upon the form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When Dhruva Maharaja thus captured the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the refuge of the total material creation and who is the master of all living entities, the three worlds began to tremble. As Dhruva Maharaja, the King's son, kept himself steadily standing on one leg, the pressure of his big toe pushed down half the earth, just as an elephant being carried on a boat rocks the boat left and right with his every step. When Dhruva Maharaja became practically one in heaviness with Lord Vishnu, the total consciousness, due to his fully concentrating, and closing all the holes of his body, the total universal breathing became choked up, and all the great demigods in all the planetary systems felt suffocated and thus took shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The demigods said: Dear Lord, You are the refuge of all moving and nonmoving living entities. We feel all living entities to be suffocating, their breathing processes choked up. We have never experienced such a thing. Since You are the ultimate shelter of all surrendered souls, we have therefore approached You; kindly save us from this danger. The Supreme Personality of Godhead replied: My dear demigods, do not be perturbed by this. It is due to the severe austerity and full determination of the son of King Uttanapada, who is now fully absorbed in thought of Me. He has obstructed the universal breathing process. You can safely return to your respective homes. I shall stop this boy in his severe acts of austerities, and you will be saved from this situation. Chapter Nine : Dhruva Maharaja Returns Home The great sage Maitreya told Vidura: When the demigods were thus reassured by the Personality of Godhead, they were freed from all fears, and after offering their obeisances, they returned to their heavenly planets. Then the Lord, who is nondifferent from the Sahasrasirsa incarnation, got on the back of Garuda, who carried Him to the Madhuvana Forest to see His servant Dhruva. The form of the Lord, which was brilliant like lightning and in which Dhruva Maharaja, in his mature yogic process, was fully absorbed in meditation, all of a sudden disappeared. Thus Dhruva was perturbed, and his meditation broke. But as soon as he opened his eyes he saw the Supreme Personality of Godhead personally present, just as he had been seeing the Lord in his heart. When Dhruva Maharaja saw his Lord just in front of him, he was greatly agitated and offered Him obeisances and respect. He fell flat before Him like a rod and became absorbed in love of Godhead. Dhruva Maharaja, in ecstasy, looked upon the Lord as if he were drinking the Lord with his eyes, kissing the lotus feet of the Lord with his mouth, and embracing the Lord with his arms. Although Dhruva Maharaja was a small boy, he wanted to offer prayers to the Supreme Personality of Godhead in suitable language. But because he was inexperienced, he could not adjust himself immediately. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, being situated in everyone's heart, could understand Dhruva Maharaja's awkward position. Out of His causeless mercy He touched His conchshell to the forehead of Dhruva Maharaja, who stood before Him with folded hands. At that time Dhruva Maharaja became perfectly aware of the Vedic conclusion and understood the Absolute Truth and His relationship with all living entities. In accordance with the line of devotional service to the Supreme Lord, whose fame is widespread, Dhruva, who in the future would receive a planet which would never be annihilated, even during the time of dissolution, offered his deliberate and conclusive prayers. Dhruva Maharaja said: My dear Lord, You are all-powerful. After entering within me, You have enlivened all my sleeping senses--my hands, legs, ears, touch sensation, life force and especially my power of speech. Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto You. My Lord, You are the supreme one, but by Your different energies You appear differently in the spiritual and material worlds. You create the total energy of the material world by Your external potency, and after creation You enter within the material world as the Supersoul. You are the Supreme Person, and through the temporary modes of material nature You create varieties of manifestation, just as fire, entering into wood of different shapes, burns brilliantly in different varieties. O my master, Lord Brahma is fully surrendered unto You. In the beginning You gave him knowledge, and thus he could see and understand the entire universe, just as a person awakens from sleep and visualizes his immediate duties. You are the only shelter of all persons who desire liberation, and You are the friend of all who are distressed. How, therefore, can a learned person who has perfect knowledge ever forget You? Persons who worship You simply for the sense gratification of this bag of skin are certainly influenced by Your illusory energy. In spite of having You, who are like a desire tree and are the cause of liberation from birth and death, foolish persons, such as me, desire benedictions from You for sense gratification, which is available even for those who live in hellish conditions. My Lord, the transcendental bliss derived from meditating upon Your lotus feet or hearing about Your glories from pure devotees is so unlimited that it is far beyond the stage of brahmananda, wherein one thinks himself merged in the impersonal Brahman as one with the Supreme. Since brahmananda is also defeated by the transcendental bliss derived from devotional service, then what to speak of the temporary blissfulness of elevating oneself to the heavenly planets, which is ended by the separating sword of time? Although one may be elevated to the heavenly planets, he falls down in due course of time. Dhruva Maharaja continued: O unlimited Lord, kindly bless me so that I may associate with great devotees who engage in Your transcendental loving service constantly, as the waves of a river constantly flow. Such transcendental devotees are completely situated in an uncontaminated state of life. By the process of devotional service I shall surely be able to cross the nescient ocean of material existence, which is filled with the waves of blazing, firelike dangers. It will be very easy for me, for I am becoming mad to hear about Your transcendental qualities and pastimes, which are eternally existent. O Lord who have a lotus navel, if a person happens to associate with a devotee whose heart always hankers after Your lotus feet, seeking always their fragrance, he is never attached to the material body or, in a bodily relationship, to offspring, friends, home, wealth and wife, which are very, very dear to materialistic persons. Indeed, he does not care for them. My dear Lord, O Supreme Unborn, I know that the different varieties of living entities, such as animals, trees, birds, reptiles, demigods and human beings, are spread throughout the universe, which is caused by the total material energy, and I know that they are sometimes manifest and sometimes unmanifest; but I have never experienced the supreme form I behold as I see You now. Now all kinds of methods of theorizing have come to an end. My dear Lord, at the end of each millennium the Supreme Personality of Godhead Garbhodakasayi Vishnu dissolves everything manifested within the universe into His belly. He lies down on the lap of Sesa Naga, from His navel sprouts a golden lotus flower on a stem, and on that lotus Lord Brahma is created. I can understand that You are the same Supreme Godhead. I therefore offer my respectful obeisances unto You. My Lord, by Your unbroken transcendental glance You are the supreme witness of all stages of intellectual activities. You are eternally liberated, Your existence is situated in pure goodness, and You are existent in the Supersoul without change. You are the original Personality of Godhead, full with six opulences, and You are eternally the master of the three modes of material nature. Thus, You are always different from the ordinary living entities. As Lord Vishnu, You maintain all the affairs of the entire universe, and yet You stand aloof and are the enjoyer of the results of all sacrifices. My dear Lord, in Your impersonal manifestation of Brahman there are always two opposing elements--knowledge and ignorance. Your multienergies are continually manifest, but the impersonal Brahman, which is undivided, original, changeless, unlimited and blissful, is the cause of the material manifestation. Because You are the same impersonal Brahman, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You. My Lord, O Supreme Lord, You are the supreme personified form of all benediction. Therefore, for one who abides in Your devotional service with no other desire, worshiping Your lotus feet is better than becoming king and lording it over a kingdom. That is the benediction of worshiping Your lotus feet. To ignorant devotees like me, You are the causelessly merciful maintainer, just like a cow, who takes care of the newly born calf by supplying milk and giving it protection from attack. The great sage Maitreya continued: My dear Vidura, when Dhruva Maharaja, who had good intentions in his heart, finished his prayer, the Supreme Lord, the Personality of Godhead, who is very kind to His devotees and servants, congratulated him, speaking as follows. The Personality of Godhead said: My dear Dhruva, son of the King, you have executed pious vows, and I also know the desire within your heart. Although your desire is very ambitious and very difficult to fulfill, I shall favor you with its fulfillment. All good fortune unto you. The Supreme Personality of Godhead continued: My dear Dhruva, I shall award you the glowing planet known as the polestar, which will continue to exist even after the dissolution at the end of the millennium. No one has ever ruled this planet, which is surrounded by all the solar systems, planets and stars. All the luminaries in the sky circumambulate this planet, just as bulls tread around a central pole for the purpose of crushing grains. Keeping the polestar to their right, all the stars inhabited by the great sages like Dharma, Agni, Kasyapa and Sukra circumambulate this planet, which continues to exist even after the dissolution of all others. After your father goes to the forest and awards you the rule of his kingdom, you will rule continuously the entire world for thirty-six thousand years, and all your senses will continue to be as strong as they are now. You will never become old. The Lord continued: Sometime in the future your brother, Uttama, will go hunting in the forest, and while absorbed in hunting, he will be killed. Your stepmother, Suruci, being maddened upon the death of her son, will go to search him out in the forest, but she will be devoured by a forest fire. The Lord continued: I am the heart of all sacrifices. You will be able to perform many great sacrifices and also give great charities. In this way you will be able to enjoy the blessings of material happiness in this life, and at the time of your death you will be able to remember Me. The Personality of Godhead continued: My dear Dhruva, after your material life in this body, you will go to My planet, which is always offered obeisances by the residents of all other planetary systems. It is situated above the planets of the seven rsis, and having gone there you will never have to come back again to this material world. The great sage Maitreya said: After being worshiped and honored by the boy, Dhruva Maharaja, and after offering him His abode, Lord Vishnu, on the back of Garuda, returned to His abode, as Dhruva Maharaja looked on. Despite having achieved the desired result of his determination by worshiping the lotus feet of the Lord, Dhruva Maharaja was not very pleased. Thus he returned to his home. Sri Vidura inquired: My dear brahmana, the abode of the Lord is very difficult to attain. It can be attained only by pure devotional service, which alone pleases the most affectionate, merciful Lord. Dhruva Maharaja achieved this position even in one life, and he was very wise and conscientious. Why, then, was he not very pleased? Maitreya answered: Dhruva Maharaja's heart, which was pierced by the arrows of the harsh words of his stepmother, was greatly aggrieved, and thus when he fixed upon his goal of life he did not forget her misbehavior. He did not demand actual liberation from this material world, but at the end of his devotional service, when the Supreme Personality of Godhead appeared before him, he was simply ashamed of the material demands he had in his mind. Dhruva Maharaja thought to himself: To endeavor to be situated in the shade of the lotus feet of the Lord is not an ordinary task because even the great brahmacaris headed by Sanandana, who practiced astanga-yoga in trance, attained the shelter of the Lord's lotus feet only after many, many births. Within six months I achieved the same result, yet due to my thinking differently from the Lord, I fell down from my position. Alas, just look at me! I am so unfortunate. I approached the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who can immediately cut the chain of the repetition of birth and death, but still, out of my foolishness, I prayed for things which are perishable. Since all the demigods who are situated in the higher planetary system will have to come down again, they are all envious of my being elevated to Vaikunthaloka by devotional service. These intolerant demigods have dissipated my intelligence, and only for this reason could I not accept the genuine benediction of the instructions of Sage Narada. Dhruva Maharaja lamented: I was under the influence of the illusory energy; being ignorant of the actual facts, I was sleeping on her lap. Under a vision of duality, I saw my brother as my enemy, and falsely I lamented within my heart, thinking, "They are my enemies." It is very difficult to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but in my case, although I have satisfied the Supersoul of the whole universe, I have prayed only for useless things. My activities were exactly like treatment given to a person who is already dead. Just see how unfortunate I am, for in spite of meeting the Supreme Lord, who can cut one's link with birth and death, I have prayed for the same conditions again. Because of my state of complete foolishness and paucity of pious activities, although the Lord offered me His personal service, I wanted material name, fame and prosperity. My case is just like that of the poor man who, when he satisfied a great emperor who wanted to give him anything he might ask, out of ignorance asked only a few broken grains of husked rice. The great sage Maitreya continued: My dear Vidura, persons like you, who are pure devotees of the lotus feet of Mukunda [the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who can offer liberation] and who are always attached to the honey of His lotus feet, are always satisfied in serving at the lotus feet of the Lord. In any condition of life, such persons remain satisfied, and thus they never ask the Lord for material prosperity. When King Uttanapada heard that his son Dhruva was coming back home, as if coming back to life after death, he could not put his faith in this message, for he was doubtful of how it could happen. He considered himself the most wretched, and therefore he thought that it was not possible for him to attain such good fortune. Although he could not believe the words of the messenger, he had full faith in the word of the great sage Narada. Thus he was greatly overwhelmed by the news, and he immediately offered the messenger a highly valuable necklace in great satisfaction. Then King Uttanapada, being very eager to see the face of his lost son, mounted a chariot drawn by excellent horses and bedecked with golden filigree. Taking with him many learned brahmanas, all the elderly personalities of his family, his officers, his ministers and his immediate friends, he immediately left the city. As he proceeded in this parade, there were auspicious sounds of conchshells, kettledrums, flutes, and the chanting of Vedic mantras to indicate all good fortune. Both the queens of King Uttanapada, namely Suniti and Suruci, along with his other son, Uttama, appeared in the procession. The queens were seated on a palanquin. Upon seeing Dhruva Maharaja approaching the neighboring small forest, King Uttanapada with great haste got down from his chariot. He had been very anxious for a long time to see his son Dhruva, and therefore with great love and affection he went forward to embrace his long-lost boy. Breathing very heavily, the King embraced him with both arms. But Dhruva Maharaja was not the same as before; he was completely sanctified by spiritual advancement due to having been touched by the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Reunion with Dhruva Maharaja fulfilled King Uttanapada's long-cherished desire, and for this reason he smelled Dhruva's head again and again and bathed him with torrents of very cold tears. Then Dhruva Maharaja, the foremost of all nobles, first of all offered his obeisances at the feet of his father and was honored by his father with various questions. He then bowed his head at the feet of his two mothers. Suruci, the younger mother of Dhruva Maharaja, seeing that the innocent boy had fallen at her feet, immediately picked him up, embracing him with her hands, and with tears of feeling she blessed him with the words, "My dear boy, long may you live!" Unto one who has transcendental qualities due to friendly behavior with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, all living entities offer honor, just as water automatically flows down by nature. The two brothers Uttama and Dhruva Maharaja also exchanged their tears. They were overwhelmed by the ecstasy of love and affection, and when they embraced one another, the hair on their bodies stood up. Suniti, the real mother of Dhruva Maharaja, embraced the tender body of her son, who was dearer to her than her own life, and thus forgot all material grief, for she was very pleased. My dear Vidura, Suniti was the mother of a great hero. Her tears, together with the milk flowing from her breasts, wet the whole body of Dhruva Maharaja. This was a great, auspicious sign. The residents of the palace praised the Queen: Dear Queen, your beloved son was lost a long time ago, and it is your great fortune that he now has come back. It appears, therefore, that your son will be able to protect you for a very long time and will put an end to all your material pangs. Dear Queen, you must have worshiped the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who delivers His devotees from the greatest danger. Persons who constantly meditate upon Him surpass the course of birth and death. This perfection is very difficult to achieve. The sage Maitreya continued: My dear Vidura, when everyone was thus praising Dhruva Maharaja, the King was very happy, and he had Dhruva and his brother seated on the back of a she-elephant. Thus he returned to his capital, where he was praised by all classes of men. The whole city was decorated with columns of banana trees containing bunches of fruits and flowers, and betel nut trees with leaves and branches were seen here and there. There were also many gates set up which were structured to give the appearance of sharks. At each and every gate there were burning lamps and big waterpots decorated with differently colored cloth, strings of pearls, flower garlands and hanging mango leaves. In the capital city there were many palaces, city gates and surrounding walls, which were already very, very beautiful, and on this occasion all of them were decorated with golden ornaments. The domes of the city palaces glittered, as did the domes of the beautiful airplanes which hovered over the city. All the quadrangles, lanes and streets in the city, and the raised sitting places at the crossings, were thoroughly cleansed and sprinkled with sandalwood water; and auspicious grains such as rice and barley, and flowers, fruits and many other auspicious presentations were scattered all over the city. Thus as Dhruva Maharaja passed on the road, from every place in the neighborhood all the gentle household ladies assembled to see him, and out of maternal affection they offered their blessings, showering him with white mustard seed, barley, curd, water, newly grown grass, fruits and flowers. In this way Dhruva Maharaja, while hearing the pleasing songs sung by the ladies, entered the palace of his father. Dhruva Maharaja thereafter lived in his father's palace, which had walls bedecked with highly valuable jewels. His affectionate father took particular care of him, and he dwelled in that house just as the demigods live in their palaces in the higher planetary systems. The bedding in the palace was as white as the foam of milk and was very soft. The bedsteads were made of ivory with embellishments of gold, and the chairs, benches and other sitting places and furniture were made of gold. The palace of the King was surrounded by walls made of marble with many engravings made of valuable jewels like sapphires, which depicted beautiful women with shining jewel lamps in their hands. The King's residence was surrounded by gardens wherein there were varieties of trees brought from the heavenly planets. In those trees there were pairs of sweetly singing birds and almost-mad bumblebees, which made a very relishable buzzing sound. There were emerald staircases which led to lakes full of variously colored lotus flowers and lilies, and swans, karandavas, cakravakas, cranes and similar other valuable birds were visible in those lakes. The saintly King Uttanapada, hearing of the glorious deeds of Dhruva Maharaja and personally seeing also how influential and great he was, felt very satisfied, for Dhruva's activities were wonderful to the supreme degree. When, after concentration, King Uttanapada saw that Dhruva Maharaja was suitably mature to take charge of the kingdom and that his ministers were agreeable and the citizens were also very fond of him, he enthroned Dhruva as emperor of this planet. After considering his advanced age and deliberating on the welfare of his spiritual self, King Uttanapada detached himself from worldly affairs and entered the forest. Chapter Ten : Dhruva Maharaja's Fight With the Yaksas The great sage Maitreya said: My dear Vidura, thereafter Dhruva Maharaja married the daughter of Prajapati Sisumara, whose name was Bhrami, and two sons named Kalpa and Vatsara were born of her. The greatly powerful Dhruva Maharaja had another wife, named Ila, who was the daughter of the demigod Vayu. By her he begot a son named Utkala and a very beautiful daughter. Dhruva Maharaja's younger brother Uttama, who was still unmarried, once went on a hunting excursion and was killed by a powerful Yaksa in the Himalaya Mountains. Along with him, his mother, Suruci, also followed the path of her son [she died]. When Dhruva Maharaja heard of the killing of his brother Uttama by the Yaksas in the Himalaya Mountains, being overwhelmed with lamentation and anger, he got on his chariot and went out for victory over the city of the Yaksas, Alakapuri. Dhruva Maharaja went to the northern direction of the Himalayan range. In a valley he saw a city full of ghostly persons who were followers of Lord Shiva. Maitreya continued: My dear Vidura, as soon as Dhruva Maharaja reached Alakapuri, he immediately blew his conchshell, and the sound reverberated throughout the entire sky and in every direction. The wives of the Yaksas became very much frightened. From their eyes it was apparent that they were full of anxiety. O hero Vidura, the greatly powerful heroes of the Yaksas, unable to tolerate the resounding vibration of the conchshell of Dhruva Maharaja, came forth from their city with weapons and attacked Dhruva. Dhruva Maharaja, who was a great charioteer and certainly a great bowman also, immediately began to kill them by simultaneously discharging arrows three at a time. When the heroes of the Yaksas saw that all their heads were being thus threatened by Dhruva Maharaja, they could very easily understand their awkward position, and they concluded that they would certainly be defeated. But, as heroes, they lauded the action of Dhruva. Just like serpents, who cannot tolerate being trampled upon by anyone's feet, the Yaksas, being intolerant of the wonderful prowess of Dhruva Maharaja, threw twice as many arrows--six from each of their soldiers--and thus they very valiantly exhibited their prowess. The Yaksa soldiers were 130,000 strong, all greatly angry and all desiring to defeat the wonderful activities of Dhruva Maharaja. With full strength they showered upon Maharaja Dhruva, along with his chariot and charioteer, various types of feathered arrows, parighas [iron bludgeons], nistrimsas [swords], prasasulas [tridents], parasvadhas [lances], saktis [pikes], rstis [spears] and bhusundi weapons. Dhruva Maharaja was completely covered by an incessant shower of weapons, just as a mountain is covered by incessant rainfall. All the Siddhas from the higher planetary systems were observing the fight from the sky, and when they saw that Dhruva Maharaja had been covered by the incessant arrows of the enemy, they roared tumultuously, "The grandson of Manu, Dhruva, is now lost!" They cried that Dhruva Maharaja was just like the sun and that now he had set within the ocean of the Yaksas. The Yaksas, being temporarily victorious, exclaimed that they had conquered Dhruva Maharaja. But in the meantime Dhruva's chariot suddenly appeared, just as the sun suddenly appears from within foggy mist. Dhruva Maharaja's bow and arrows twanged and hissed, causing lamentation in the hearts of his enemies. He began to shoot incessant arrows, shattering all their different weapons, just as the blasting wind scatters the assembled clouds in the sky. The sharp arrows released from the bow of Dhruva Maharaja pierced the shields and bodies of the enemy, like the thunderbolts released by the King of heaven, which dismantle the bodies of the mountains. The great sage Maitreya continued: My dear Vidura, the heads of those who were cut to pieces by the arrows of Dhruva Maharaja were decorated very beautifully with earrings and turbans. The legs of their bodies were as beautiful as golden palm trees, their arms were decorated with golden bracelets and armlets, and on their heads there were very valuable helmets bedecked with gold. All these ornaments lying on that battlefield were very attractive and could bewilder the mind of a hero. The remaining Yaksas who somehow or other were not killed had their limbs cut to pieces by the arrows of the great warrior Dhruva Maharaja. Thus they began to flee, just as elephants flee when defeated by a lion. Dhruva Maharaja, the best of human beings, observed that in that great battlefield not one of the opposing soldiers was left standing with proper weapons. He then desired to see the city of Alakapuri, but he thought to himself, "No one knows the plans of the mystic Yaksas." In the meantime, while Dhruva Maharaja, doubtful of his mystic enemies, was talking with his charioteer, they heard a tremendous sound, as if the whole ocean were there, and they found that from the sky a great dust storm was coming over them from all directions. Within a moment the whole sky was overcast with dense clouds, and severe thundering was heard. There was glittering electric lightning and severe rainfall. My dear faultless Vidura, in that rainfall there was blood, mucus, pus, stool, urine and marrow falling heavily before Dhruva Maharaja, and there were trunks of bodies falling from the sky. Next, a great mountain was visible in the sky, and from all directions hailstones fell, along with lances, clubs, swords, iron bludgeons and great pieces of stone. Dhruva Maharaja also saw many big serpents with angry eyes, vomiting forth fire and coming to devour him, along with groups of mad elephants, lions and tigers. Then, as if it were the time of the dissolution of the whole world, the fierce sea with foaming waves and great roaring sounds came forward before him. The demon Yaksas are by nature very heinous, and by their demoniac power of illusion they can create many strange phenomena to frighten one who is less intelligent. When the great sages heard that Dhruva Maharaja was overpowered by the illusory mystic tricks of the demons, they immediately assembled to offer him auspicious encouragement. All the sages said: Dear Dhruva, O son of King Uttanapada, may the Supreme Personality of Godhead known as Sarngadhanva, who relieves the distresses of His devotees, kill all your threatening enemies. The holy name of the Lord is as powerful as the Lord Himself. Therefore, simply by chanting and hearing the holy name of the Lord, many men can be fully protected from fierce death without difficulty. Thus a devotee is saved. Chapter Eleven : Svayambuva Manu Advises Dhruva Maharaja to Stop Fighting Sri Maitreya said: My dear Vidura, when Dhruva Maharaja heard the encouraging words of the great sages, he performed the acamana by touching water and then took up his arrow made by Lord Narayana and fixed it upon his bow. As soon as Dhruva Maharaja joined the narayanastra arrow to his bow, the illusion created by the Yaksas was immediately vanquished, just as all material pains and pleasures are vanquished when one becomes fully cognizant of the self. Even as Dhruva Maharaja fixed the weapon made by Narayana Rsi onto his bow, arrows with golden shafts and feathers like the wings of a swan flew out from it. They entered the enemy soldiers with a great hissing sound, just as peacocks enter a forest with tumultuous crowing. Those sharp arrows dismayed the enemy soldiers, who became almost unconscious, but various Yaksas on the battlefield, in a rage against Dhruva Maharaja, somehow or other collected their weapons and attacked. Just as serpents agitated by Garuda rush towards Garuda with upraised hoods, all the Yaksa soldiers prepared to overcome Dhruva Maharaja with their upraised weapons. When Dhruva Maharaja saw the Yaksas coming forward, he immediately took his arrows and cut the enemies to pieces. Separating their arms, legs, heads and bellies from their bodies, he delivered the Yaksas to the planetary system which is situated above the sun globe and which is attainable only by first-class brahmacaris, who have never discharged their semen. When Svayambhuva Manu saw that his grandson Dhruva Maharaja was killing so many of the Yaksas who were not actually offenders, out of his great compassion he approached Dhruva with great sages to give him good instruction. Lord Manu said: My dear son, please stop. It is not good to become unnecessarily angry--it is the path to hellish life. Now you are going beyond the limit by killing Yaksas who are actually not offenders. My dear son, the killing of the sinless Yaksas which you have undertaken is not at all approved by authorities, and it does not befit our family, which is supposed to know the laws of religion and irreligion. My dear son, it has been proved that you are very much affectionate towards your brother and are greatly aggrieved at his being killed by the Yaksas, but just consider--for one Yaksa's offense, you have killed many others, who are innocent. One should not accept the body as the self and thus, like the animals, kill the bodies of others. This is especially forbidden by saintly persons, who follow the path of devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is very difficult to achieve the spiritual abode of Hari, in the Vaikuntha planets, but you are so fortunate that you are already destined to go to that abode by worshiping Him as the supreme abode of all living entities. Because you are a pure devotee of the Lord, the Lord is always thinking of you, and you are also recognized by all His confidential devotees. Your life is meant for exemplary behavior. I am therefore surprised--why have you undertaken such an abominable task? The Lord is very satisfied with His devotee when the devotee greets other people with tolerance, mercy, friendship and equality. One who actually satisfies the Supreme Personality of Godhead during one's lifetime becomes liberated from the gross and subtle material conditions. Thus being freed from all material modes of nature, he achieves unlimited spiritual bliss. The creation of the material world begins with the five elements, and thus everything, including the body of a man or a woman, is created of these elements. By the sexual life of man and woman, the number of men and women in this material world is further increased. Mahu continued: My dear King Dhruva, it is simply by the illusory, material energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and by the interaction of the three modes of material nature that creation, maintenance and annihilation take place. My dear Dhruva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead is uncontaminated by the material modes of nature. He is the remote cause of the creation of this material cosmic manifestation. When He gives the impetus, many other causes and effects are produced, and thus the whole universe moves, just as iron moves by the integrated force of a magnet. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, by His inconceivable supreme energy, time, causes the interaction of the three modes of material nature, and thus varieties of energy become manifest. It appears that He is acting, but He is not the actor. He is killing, but He is not the killer. Thus it is understood that only by His inconceivable power is everything happening. My dear Dhruva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead is ever existing, but in the form of time, He is the killer of everything. He has no beginning, although He is the beginning of everything, nor is He ever exhaustible, although everything is exhausted in due course of time. The living entities are created through the agency of the father and killed through the agency of death, but He is perpetually free of birth and death. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, in His feature of eternal time, is present in the material world and is neutral towards everyone. No one is His ally, and no one is His enemy. Within the jurisdiction of the time element, everyone enjoys or suffers the result of his own karma, or fruitive activities. As, when the wind blows, small particles of dust fly in the air, so, according to one's particular karma, one suffers or enjoys material life. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vishnu, is all-powerful, and He awards the results of one's fruitive activities. Thus, although one living entity's duration of life is very small whereas that of another is very great, He is always in His transcendental position, and there is no question of lessening or increasing His duration of life. The differentiation among varieties of life and their suffering and enjoyment is explained by some to be the result of karma. Others say it is due to nature, others due to time, others due to fate, and still others say that it is due to desire. The Absolute Truth, Transcendence, is never subject to the understanding of imperfect sensory endeavor, nor is He subject to direct experience. He is the master of varieties of energies, like the full material energy, and no one can understand His plans or actions; therefore it should be concluded that although He is the original cause of all causes, no one can know Him by mental speculation. My dear son, those Yaksas, who are descendants of Kuvera, are not actually the killers of your brother; the birth and death of every living entity are caused by the Supreme, who is certainly the cause of all causes. The Supreme Personality of Godhead creates this material world, maintains it, and annihilates it in due course of time, but because He is transcendental to such activities, He is never affected by ego in such action or by the modes of material nature. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the Supersoul of all living entities. He is the controller and maintainer of everyone; through the agency of His external energy, He creates, maintains and annihilates everyone. My dear boy Dhruva, please surrender unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the ultimate goal of the progress of the world. Everyone, including the demigods headed by Lord Brahma, is working under His control, just as a bull, prompted by a rope in its nose, is controlled by its owner. My dear Dhruva, at the age of only five years you were very grievously afflicted by the words of your mother's co-wife, and you very boldly gave up the protection of your mother and went to the forest to engage in the yogic process for realization of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As a result of this you have already achieved the topmost position in all the three worlds. My dear Dhruva, please, therefore, turn your attention to the Supreme Person, who is the infallible Brahman. Face the Supreme Personality of Godhead in your original position, and thus, by self-realization, you will find this material differentiation to be merely flickering. Thus regaining your natural position and rendering service unto the Supreme Lord, who is the all-powerful reservoir of all pleasure and who lives in all living entities as the Supersoul, you will very soon forget the illusory understanding of "I" and "my." My dear King, just consider what I have said to you, which will act as medicinal treatment upon disease. Control your anger, for anger is the foremost enemy on the path of spiritual realization. I wish all good fortune for you. Please follow my instructions. A person who desires liberation from this material world should not fall under the control of anger because when bewildered by anger one becomes a source of dread for all others. My dear Dhruva, you thought that the Yaksas killed your brother, and therefore you have killed great numbers of them. But by this action you have agitated the mind of Lord Shiva's brother Kuvera, who is the treasurer of the demigods. Please note that your actions have been very disrespectful to Kuvera and Lord Shiva. For this reason, my son, you should immediately pacify Kuvera with gentle words and prayers, and thus his wrath may not affect our family. Thus Svayambhuva Manu, after giving instruction to Dhruva Maharaja, his grandson, received respectful obeisances from him. Then Lord Manu and the great sages went back to their respective homes. Chapter Twelve : Dhruva Maharaja Goes Back to Godhead The great sage Maitreya said: My dear Vidura, Dhruva Maharaja's anger subsided, and he completely ceased killing Yaksas. When Kuvera, the most blessed master of the treasury, learned this news, he appeared before Dhruva. While being worshiped by Yaksas, Kinnaras and Caranas, he spoke to Dhruva Maharaja, who stood before him with folded hands. The master of the treasury, Kuvera, said: O sinless son of a ksatriya, I am very glad to know that under the instruction of your grandfather you have given up your enmity, although it is very difficult to avoid. I am very pleased with you. Actually, you have not killed the Yaksas, nor have they killed your brother, for the ultimate cause of generation and annihilation is the eternal time feature of the Supreme Lord. Misidentification of oneself and others as "I" and "you" on the basis of the bodily concept of life is a product of ignorance. This bodily concept is the cause of repeated birth and death, and it makes us go on continuously in material existence. My dear Dhruva, come forward. May the Lord always grace you with good fortune. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is beyond our sensory perception, is the Supersoul of all living entities, and thus all entities are one, without distinction. Begin, therefore, to render service unto the transcendental form of the Lord, who is the ultimate shelter of all living entities. Engage yourself fully, therefore, in the devotional service of the Lord, for only He can deliver us from this entanglement of materialistic existence. Although the Lord is attached to His material potency, He is aloof from her activities. Everything in this material world is happening by the inconceivable potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. My dear Dhruva Maharaja, son of Maharaja Uttanapada, we have heard that you are constantly engaged in transcendental loving service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is known for His lotus navel. You are therefore worthy to take all benedictions from us. Please, therefore, ask without hesitation whatever benediction you want from me. The great sage Maitreya continued: My dear Vidura, when thus asked to accept a benediction from Kuvera the Yaksaraja [King of the Yaksas], Dhruva Maharaja, that most elevated pure devotee, who was an intelligent and thoughtful king, begged that he might have unflinching faith in and remembrance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, for thus a person can cross over the ocean of nescience very easily, although it is very difficult for others to cross. The son of Idavida, Lord Kuvera, was very pleased, and happily he gave Dhruva Maharaja the benediction he wanted. Thereafter he disappeared from Dhruva's presence, and Dhruva Maharaja returned to his capital city. As long as he remained at home, Dhruva Maharaja performed many great ceremonial sacrifices in order to please the enjoyer of all sacrifices, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Prescribed ceremonial sacrifices are especially meant to please Lord Vishnu, who is the objective of all such sacrifices and who awards the resultant benedictions. Dhruva Maharaja rendered devotional service unto the Supreme, the reservoir of everything, with unrelenting force. While carrying out his devotional service to the Lord, he could see that everything is situated in Him only and that He is situated in all living entities. The Lord is called Acyuta because He never fails in His prime duty, to give protection to His devotees. Dhruva Maharaja was endowed with all godly qualities; he was very respectful to the devotees of the Supreme Lord and very kind to the poor and innocent, and he protected religious principles. With all these qualifications, he was considered to be the direct father of all the citizens. Dhruva Maharaja ruled over this planet for thirty-six thousand years; he diminished the reactions of pious activities by enjoyment, and by practicing austerities he diminished inauspicious reactions. The self-controlled great soul Dhruva Maharaja thus passed many, many years favorably executing three kinds of worldly activities, namely religiosity, economic development and satisfaction of all material desires. Thereafter he handed over the charge of the royal throne to his son. Srila Dhruva Maharaja realized that this cosmic manifestation bewilders living entities like a dream or phantasmagoria because it is a creation of the illusory, external energy of the Supreme Lord. Thus Dhruva Maharaja, at the end, left his kingdom, which extended all over the earth and was bounded by the great oceans. He considered his body, his wives, his children, his friends, his army, his rich treasury, his very comfortable palaces and his many enjoyable pleasure-grounds to be creations of the illusory energy. Thus in due course of time he retired to the forest in the Himalayas known as Badarikasrama. In Badarikasrama Dhruva Maharaja's senses became completely purified because he bathed regularly in the crystal-clear purified water. He fixed his sitting position and by yogic practice controlled the breathing process and the air of life; in this way his senses were completely withdrawn. Then he concentrated his mind on the arca-vigraha form of the Lord, which is the exact replica of the Lord and, thus meditating upon Him, entered into complete trance. Because of his transcendental bliss, incessant tears flowed from his eyes, his heart melted, and there was shivering and standing of the hairs all over his body. Thus transformed, in a trance of devotional service, Dhruva Maharaja completely forgot his bodily existence, and thus he immediately became liberated from material bondage. As soon as the symptoms of his liberation were manifest, he saw a very beautiful airplane coming down from the sky, as if the brilliant full moon were coming down, illuminating all the ten directions. Dhruva Maharaja saw two very beautiful associates of Lord Vishnu in the plane. They had four hands and a blackish bodily luster, they were very youthful, and their eyes were just like reddish lotus flowers. They held clubs in their hands, and they were dressed in very attractive garments with helmets and were decorated with necklaces, bracelets and earrings. Dhruva Maharaja, seeing that these uncommon personalities were direct servants of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, immediately stood up. But, being puzzled, in hastiness he forgot how to receive them in the proper way. Therefore he simply offered obeisances with folded hands and chanted and glorified the holy names of the Lord. Dhruva Maharaja was always absorbed in thinking of the lotus feet of Lord Krishna. His heart was full with Krishna. When the two confidential servants of the Supreme Lord, who were named Nanda and Sunanda, approached him, smiling happily, Dhruva stood with folded hands, bowing humbly. They then addressed him as follows. Nanda and Sunanda, the two confidential associates of Lord Vishnu, said: Dear King, let there be all good fortune unto you. Please attentively hear what we shall say. When you were only five years old, you underwent severe austerities, and you thereby greatly satisfied the Supreme Personality of Godhead. We are representatives of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the creator of the whole universe, who carries in His hand the bow named Sarnga. We have been specifically deputed to take you to the spiritual world. To achieve Vishnuloka is very difficult, but by your austerity you have conquered. Even the great rsis and demigods cannot achieve this position. Simply to see the supreme abode [the Vishnu planet], the sun and moon and all the other planets, stars, lunar mansions and solar systems are circumambulating it. Now please come; you are welcome to go there. Dear King Dhruva, neither your forefathers nor anyone else before you ever achieved such a transcendental planet. The planet known as Vishnuloka, where Lord Vishnu personally resides, is the highest of all. It is worshipable by the inhabitants of all other planets within the universe. Please come with us and live there eternally. O immortal one, this unique airplane has been sent by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is worshiped by selected prayers and who is the chief of all living entities. You are quite worthy to board such a plane. The great sage Maitreya continued: Maharaja Dhruva was very dear to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When he heard the sweet speeches of the Lord's chief associates in the Vaikuntha planet, he immediately took his sacred bath, dressed himself with suitable ornaments, and performed his daily spiritual duties. Thereafter he offered his respectful obeisances to the great sages present there and accepted their blessings. Before getting aboard, Dhruva Maharaja worshiped the airplane, circumambulated it, and also offered obeisances to the associates of Vishnu. In the meantime he became as brilliant and illuminating as molten gold. He was thus completely prepared to board the transcendental plane. When Dhruva Maharaja was attempting to get on the transcendental plane, he saw death personified approach him. Not caring for death, however, he took advantage of the opportunity to put his feet on the head of death, and thus he got up on the airplane, which was as big as a house. At that time drums and kettledrums resounded from the sky, the chief Gandharvas began to sing and other demigods showered flowers like torrents of rain upon Dhruva Maharaja. Dhruva was seated in the transcendental airplane, which was just about to start, when he remembered his poor mother, Suniti. He thought to himself, "How shall I go alone to the Vaikuntha planet and leave behind my poor mother?" The great associates of Vaikunthaloka, Nanda and Sunanda, could understand the mind of Dhruva Maharaja, and thus they showed him that his mother, Suniti, was going forward in another plane. While Dhruva Maharaja was passing through space, he gradually saw all the planets of the solar system, and on the path he saw all the demigods in their airplanes showering flowers upon him like rain. Dhruva Maharaja thus surpassed the seven planetary systems of the great sages who are known as saptarsi. Beyond that region, he achieved the transcendental situation of permanent life in the planet where Lord Vishnu lives. The self-effulgent Vaikuntha planets, by whose illumination alone all the illuminating planets within this material world give off reflected light, cannot be reached by those who are not merciful to other living entities. Only persons who constantly engage in welfare activities for other living entities can reach the Vaikuntha planets. Persons who are peaceful, equipoised, cleansed and purified, and who know the art of pleasing all other living entities, keep friendship only with devotees of the Lord; they alone can very easily achieve the perfection of going back home, back to Godhead. In this way, the fully Krishna conscious Dhruva Maharaja, the exalted son of Maharaja Uttanapada, attained the summit of the three statuses of planetary systems. Saint Maitreya continued: My dear Vidura, descendant of Kuru, as a herd of bulls circumambulates a central pole on their right side, all the luminaries within the universal sky unceasingly circumambulate the abode of Dhruva Maharaja with great force and speed. After observing the glories of Dhruva Maharaja, the great sage Narada, playing his vina, went to the sacrificial arena of the Pracetas and very happily chanted the following three verses. The great sage Narada said: Simply by the influence of his spiritual advancement and powerful austerity, Dhruva Maharaja, the son of Suniti, who was devoted to her husband, acquired an exalted position not possible to attain even for the so-called Vedantists or strict followers of the Vedic principles, not to speak of ordinary human beings. The great sage Narada continued: Just see how Dhruva Maharaja, aggrieved at the harsh words of his stepmother, went to the forest at the age of only five years and under my direction underwent austerity. Although the Supreme Personality of Godhead is unconquerable, Dhruva Maharaja defeated Him with the specific qualifications possessed by the Lord's devotees. Dhruva Maharaja attained an exalted position at the age of only five or six years, after undergoing austerity for six months. Alas, a great ksatriya cannot achieve such a position even after undergoing austerities for many, many years. The great sage Maitreya continued: My dear Vidura, whatever you have asked from me about the great reputation and character of Dhruva Maharaja I have explained to you in all detail. Great saintly persons and devotees very much like to hear about Dhruva Maharaja. By hearing the narration of Dhruva Maharaja one can fulfill desires for wealth, reputation and increased duration of life. It is so auspicious that one can even go to a heavenly planet or attain Dhruvaloka, which was achieved by Dhruva Maharaja, just by hearing about him. The demigods also become pleased because this narration is so glorious, and it is so powerful that it can counteract all the results of one's sinful actions. Anyone who hears the narration of Dhruva Maharaja, and who repeatedly tries with faith and devotion to understand his pure character, attains the pure devotional platform and executes pure devotional service. By such activities one can diminish the threefold miserable conditions of material life. Anyone who hears this narration of Dhruva Maharaja acquires exalted qualities like him. For anyone who desires greatness, prowess or influence, here is the process by which to acquire them, and for thoughtful men who want adoration, here is the proper means. The great sage Maitreya recommended: One should chant of the character and activities of Dhruva Maharaja both in the morning and in the evening, with great attention and care, in a society of brahmanas or other twice-born persons. Persons who have completely taken shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord should recite this narration of Dhruva Maharaja without taking remuneration. Specifically, recitation is recommended on the full moon or dark moon day, on the day after Ekadasi, on the appearance of the Sravana star, at the end of a particular tithi, or the occasion of Vyatipata, at the end of the month, or on Sunday. Such recitation should of course be performed before a favorable audience. When recitation is performed this way, without professional motive, the reciter and audience become perfect. The narration of Dhruva Maharaja is sublime knowledge for the attainment of immortality. Persons unaware of the Absolute Truth can be led to the path of truth. Those who out of transcendental kindness take on the responsibility of becoming master-protectors of the poor living entities automatically gain the interest and blessings of the demigods. The transcendental activities of Dhruva Maharaja are well known all over the world, and they are very pure. In childhood Dhruva Maharaja rejected all kinds of toys and playthings, left the protection of his mother and seriously took shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vishnu. My dear Vidura, I therefore conclude this narration, for I have described to you all its details. Chapter Thirteen : Description of the Descendants of Dhruva Maharaja Suta Gosvami, continuing to speak to all the rsis, headed by Saunaka, said: After hearing Maitreya Rsi describe Dhruva Maharaja's ascent to Lord Vishnu's abode, Vidura became very much enlightened in devotional emotion, and he inquired from Maitreya as follows. Vidura inquired from Maitreya: O greatly advanced devotee, who were the Pracetas? To which family did they belong? Whose sons were they, and where did they perform the great sacrifices? Vidura continued: I know that the great sage Narada is the greatest of all devotees. He has compiled the pancaratrika procedure of devotional service and has directly met the Supreme Personality of Godhead. While all the Pracetas were executing religious rituals and sacrificial ceremonies and thus worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead for His satisfaction, the great sage Narada described the transcendental qualities of Dhruva Maharaja. My dear brahmana, how did Narada Muni glorify the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and what pastimes were described in that meeting? I am very eager to hear of them. Kindly explain fully about that glorification of the Lord. The great sage Maitreya replied: My dear Vidura, when Maharaja Dhruva departed for the forest, his son, Utkala, did not desire to accept the opulent throne of his father, which was meant for the ruler of all the lands of this planet. From his very birth, Utkala was fully satisfied and unattached to the world. He was equipoised, for he could see everything resting in the Supersoul and the Supersoul present in everyone's heart. By expansion of his knowledge of the Supreme Brahman, he had already attained liberation from the bondage of the body. This liberation is known as nirvana. He was situated in transcendental bliss, and he continued always in that blissful existence, which expanded more and more. This was possible for him by continual practice of bhakti-yoga, which is compared to fire because it burns away all dirty, material things. He was always situated in his constitutional position of self-realization, and he could not see anything else but the Supreme Lord and himself engaged in discharging devotional service. Utkala appeared to the less intelligent persons on the road to be foolish, blind, dumb, deaf and mad, although actually he was not so. He remained like fire covered with ashes, without blazing flames. For this reason the ministers and all the elderly members of the family thought Utkala to be without intelligence and, in fact, mad. Thus his younger brother, named Vatsara, the son of Bhrami, was elevated to the royal throne, and he became king of the world. King Vatsara had a very dear wife whose name was Svarvithi, and she gave birth to six sons, named Pusparna, Tigmaketu, Isa, Urja, Vasu and Jaya. Pusparna had two wives, named Prabha and Dosa. Prabha had three sons, named Pratar, Madhyandinam and Sayam. Dosa had three sons--Pradosa, Nisitha and Vyusta. Vyusta's wife was named Puskarini, and she gave birth to a very powerful son named Sarvateja. Sarvateja's wife, Akuti, gave birth to a son named Caksusa, who became the sixth Manu at the end of the Manu millennium. Nadvala, the wife of Caksusa Manu, gave birth to the following faultless sons: Puru, Kutsa, Trita, Dyumna, Satyavan, Rta, Vrata, Agnistoma, Atiratra, Pradyumna, Sibi and Ulmuka. Of the twelve sons, Ulmuka begot six sons in his wife Puskarini. They were all very good sons, and their names were Anga, Sumana, Khyati, Kratu, Angira and Gaya. The wife of Anga, Sunitha, gave birth to a son named Vena, who was very crooked. The saintly King Anga was very disappointed with Vena's bad character, and he left home and kingdom and went out to the forest. My dear Vidura, when great sages curse, their words are as invincible as a thunderbolt. Thus when they cursed King Vena out of anger, he died. After his death, since there was no king, all the rogues and thieves flourished, the kingdom became unregulated, and all the citizens suffered greatly. On seeing this, the great sages took the right hand of Vena as a churning rod, and as a result of their churning, Lord Vishnu in His partial representation made His advent as King Prthu, the original emperor of the world. Vidura inquired from the sage Maitreya: My dear brahmana, King Anga was very gentle. He had high character and was a saintly personality and lover of brahminical culture. Mow is it that such a great soul got a bad son like Vena, because of whom he became indifferent to his kingdom and left it? Vidura also inquired: How is it that the great sages, who were completely conversant with religious principles, desired to curse King Vena, who himself carried the rod of punishment, and thus awarded him the greatest punishment [brahma-sapa]? It is the duty of all citizens in a state never to insult the king, even though he sometimes appears to have done something very sinful. Because of his prowess, the king is always more influential than all other ruling chiefs. Vidura requested Maitreya: My dear brahmana, you are well conversant with all subjects, both past and future. Therefore I wish to hear from you all the activities of King Vena. I am your faithful devotee, so please explain this. Sri Maitreya replied: My dear Vidura, once the great King Anga arranged to perform the great sacrifice known as asvamedha. All the expert brahmanas present knew how to invite the demigods, but in spite of their efforts, no demigods participated or appeared in that sacrifice. The priests engaged in the sacrifice then informed King Anga: O King, we are properly offering the clarified butter in the sacrifice, but despite all our efforts the demigods do not accept it. O King, we know that the paraphernalia to perform the sacrifice is well collected by you with great faith and care and is not polluted. Our chanting of the Vedic hymns is also not deficient in any way, for all the brahmanas and priests present here are expert and are executing the performances properly. Dear King, we do not find any reason that the demigods should feel insulted or neglected in any way, but still the demigods who are witnesses for the sacrifice do not accept their shares. We do not know why this is so. Maitreya explained that King Anga, after hearing the statements of the priests, was greatly aggrieved. At that time he took permission from the priests to break his silence and inquired from all the priests who were present in the sacrificial arena. King Anga addressed the priestly order: My dear priests, kindly tell me what offense I have committed. Although invited, the demigods are neither taking part in the sacrifice nor accepting their shares. The head priests said: O King, in this life we do not find any sinful activity, even within your mind, so you are not in the least offensive. But we can see that in your previous life you performed sinful activities due to which, in spite of your having all qualifications, you have no son. O King, we wish all good fortune for you. You have no son, but if you pray at once to the Supreme Lord and ask for a son, and if you execute the sacrifice for that purpose, the enjoyer of the sacrifice, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, will fulfill your desire. When Hari, the supreme enjoyer of all sacrifices, is invited to fulfill your desire for a son, all the demigods will come with Him and take their shares in the sacrifice. The performer of the sacrifices [under karma-kanda activities] achieves the fulfillment of the desire for which he worships the Lord. Thus for the sake of a son for King Anga, they decided to offer oblations to Lord Vishnu, who is situated in the hearts of all living entities. As soon as the oblation was offered in the fire, a person appeared from the fire altar wearing a golden garland and a white dress. He was carrying a golden pot filled with rice boiled in milk. The King was very liberal, and after taking permission from the priests, he took the preparation in his joined palms, and after smelling it he offered a portion to his wife. Although the Queen had no son, after eating that food, which had the power to produce a male child, she became pregnant by her husband, and in due course of time she gave birth to a son. That boy was born partially in the dynasty of irreligion. His grandfather was death personified, and the boy grew up as his follower; he became a greatly irreligious person. After fixing his bow and arrow, the cruel boy used to go to the forest and unnecessarily kill innocent deer, and as soon as he came all the people would cry, "Here comes cruel Vena! Here comes cruel Vena!" The boy was so cruel that while playing with young boys of his age he would kill them very mercilessly, as if they were animals meant for slaughter. After seeing the cruel and merciless behavior of his son, Vena, King Anga punished him in different ways to reform him, but was unable to bring him to the path of gentleness. He thus became greatly aggrieved. The King thought to himself: Persons who have no son are certainly fortunate. They must have worshiped the Lord in their previous lives so that they would not have to suffer the unbearable unhappiness caused by a bad son. A sinful son causes a person's reputation to vanish. His irreligious activities at home cause irreligion and quarrel among everyone, and this creates only endless anxiety. Who, if he is considerate and intelligent, would desire such a worthless son? Such a son is nothing but a bond of illusion for the living entity, and he makes one's home miserable. Then the King thought: A bad son is better than a good son because a good son creates an attachment for home, whereas a bad son does not. A bad son creates a hellish home from which an intelligent man naturally becomes very easily detached. Thinking like that, King Anga could not sleep at night. He became completely indifferent to household life. Once, therefore, in the dead of night, he got up from bed and left Vena's mother [his wife], who was sleeping deeply. He gave up all attraction for his greatly opulent kingdom, and, unseen by anyone, he very silently gave up his home and opulence and proceeded towards the forest. When it was understood that the King had indifferently left home, all the citizens, priests, ministers, friends, and people in general were greatly aggrieved. They began to search for him all over the world, just as a less experienced mystic searches out the Supersoul within himself. When the citizens could not find any trace of the King after searching for him everywhere, they were very disappointed, and they returned to the city, where all the great sages of the country assembled because of the King's absence. With tears in their eyes the citizens offered respectful obeisances and informed the sages in full detail that they were unable to find the King anywhere. Chapter Fourteen : The Story of King Vena The great sage Maitreya continued: O great hero Vidura, the great sages, headed by Bhrgu, were always thinking of the welfare of the people in general. When they saw that in the absence of King Anga there was no one to protect the interests of the people, they understood that without a ruler the people would become independent and nonregulated. The great sages then called for the Queen Mother, Sunitha, and with her permission they installed Vena on the throne as master of the world. All the ministers, however, disagreed with this. It was already known that Vena was very severe and cruel; therefore, as soon as all the thieves and rogues in the state heard of his ascendance to the royal throne, they became very much afraid of him. Indeed, they hid themselves here and there as rats hide themselves from snakes. When the King ascended to the throne, he became all-powerful with eight kinds of opulences. Consequently he became too proud. By virtue of his false prestige, he considered himself to be greater than anyone. Thus he began to insult great personalities. When he became overly blind due to his opulences, King Vena mounted a chariot and, like an uncontrolled elephant, began to travel through the kingdom, causing the sky and earth to tremble wherever he went. All the twice-born [brahmanas] were forbidden henceforward to perform any sacrifice, and they were also forbidden to give charity or offer clarified butter. Thus King Vena sounded kettledrums throughout the countryside. In other words, he stopped all kinds of religious rituals. Therefore all the great sages assembled together and, after observing cruel Vena's atrocities, concluded that a great danger and catastrophe was approaching the people of the world. Thus out of compassion they began to talk amongst themselves, for they themselves were the performers of the sacrifices. When the great sages consulted one another, they saw that the people were in a dangerous position from both directions. When a fire blazes on both ends of a log, the ants in the middle are in a very dangerous situation. Similarly, at that time the people in general were in a dangerous position due to an irresponsible king on one side and thieves and rogues on the other. Thinking to save the state from irregularity, the sages began to consider that it was due to a political crisis that they made Vena king although he was not qualified. But alas, now the people were being disturbed by the king himself. Under such circumstances, how could the people be happy? The sages began to think within themselves: Because he was born from the womb of Sunitha, King Vena is by nature very mischievous. Supporting this mischievous king is exactly like maintaining a snake with milk. Now he has become a source of all difficulties. We appointed this Vena king of the state in order to give protection to the citizens, but now he has become the enemy of the citizens. Despite all these discrepancies, we should at once try to pacify him. By doing so, we may not be touched by the sinful results caused by him. The saintly sages continued thinking: Of course we are completely aware of his mischievous nature. Yet nevertheless we enthroned Vena. If we cannot persuade King Vena to accept our advice, he will be condemned by the public, and we will join them. Thus by our prowess we shall burn him to ashes. The great sages, having thus decided, approached King Vena. Concealing their real anger, they pacified him with sweet words and then spoke as follows. The great sages said: Dear King, we have come to give you good advice. Kindly hear us with great attention. By doing so, your duration of life and your opulence, strength and reputation will increase. Those who live according to religious principles and who follow them by words, mind, body and intelligence are elevated to the heavenly kingdom, which is devoid of all miseries. Being thus rid of the material influence, they achieve unlimited happiness in life. The sages continued: O great hero, for this reason you should not be the cause of spoiling the spiritual life of the general populace. If their spiritual life is spoiled because of your activities, you will certainly fall down from your opulent and royal position. The saintly persons continued: When the king protects the citizens from the disturbances of mischievous ministers as well as from thieves and rogues, he can, by virtue of such pious activities, accept taxes given by his subjects. Thus a pious king can certainly enjoy himself in this world as well as in the life after death. The king is supposed to be pious in whose state and cities the general populace strictly observes the system of eight social orders of varna and asrama, and where all citizens engage in worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead by their particular occupations. O noble one, if the king sees that the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the original cause of the cosmic manifestation and the Supersoul within everyone, is worshiped, the Lord will be satisfied. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is worshiped by the great demigods, controllers of universal affairs. When He is satisfied, nothing is impossible to achieve. For this reason all the demigods, presiding deities of different planets, as well as the inhabitants of their planets, take great pleasure in offering all kinds of paraphernalia for His worship. Dear King, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, along with the predominating deities, is the enjoyer of the results of all sacrifices in all planets. The Supreme Lord is the sum total of the three Vedas, the owner of everything, and the ultimate goal of all austerity. Therefore your countrymen should engage in performing various sacrifices for your elevation. Indeed, you should always direct them towards the offering of sacrifices. When all the brahmanas engage in performing sacrifices in your kingdom, all the demigods, who are plenary expansions of the Lord, will be very much satisfied by their activities and will give you your desired result. Therefore, O hero, do not stop the sacrificial performances. If you stop them, you will disrespect the demigods. King Vena replied: You are not at all experienced. It is very much regrettable that you are maintaining something which is not religious and are accepting it as religious. Indeed, I think you are giving up your real husband, who maintains you, and are searching after some paramour to worship. Those who, out of gross ignorance, do not worship the king, who is actually the Supreme Personality of Godhead, experience happiness neither in this world nor in the world after death. You are so much devoted to the demigods, but who are they? Indeed, your affection for these demigods is exactly like the affection of an unchaste woman who neglects her married life and gives all attention to her paramour. Lord Vishnu; Lord Brahma; Lord Shiva; Lord Indra; Vayu, the master of air; Yama, the superintendent of death; the sun-god; the director of rainfall; Kuvera, the treasurer; the moon-god; the predominating deity of the earth; Agni, the fire- god; Varuna, the lord of waters, and all others who are great and competent to bestow benedictions or to curse, all abide in the body of the king. For this reason the king is known as the reservoir of all demigods, who are simply parts and parcels of the king's body. King Vena continued: For this reason, O brahmanas, you should abandon your envy of me, and, by your ritualistic activities, you should worship me and offer me all paraphernalia. If you are intelligent, you should know that there is no personality superior to me, who can accept the first oblations of all sacrifices. The great sage Maitreya continued: Thus the King, who became unintelligent due to his sinful life and deviation from the right path, became actually bereft of all good fortune. He could not accept the requests of the great sages, which the sages put before him with great respect, and therefore he was condemned. My dear Vidura, all good fortune unto you. The foolish King, who thought himself very learned, thus insulted the great sages, and the sages, being brokenhearted by the King's words, became very angry at him. All the great saintly sages immediately cried: Kill him! Kill him! He is the most dreadful, sinful person. If he lives, he will certainly turn the whole world into ashes in no time. The saintly sages continued: This impious, impudent man does not deserve to sit on the throne at all. He is so shameless that he even dared insult the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Vishnu. But for King Vena, who is simply inauspicious, who would blaspheme the Supreme Personality of Godhead, by whose mercy one is awarded all kinds of fortune and opulence? The great sages, thus manifesting their covert anger, immediately decided to kill the King. King Vena was already as good as dead due to his blasphemy against the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus without using any weapons, the sages killed King Vena simply by high-sounding words. After all the sages returned to their respective hermitages, the mother of King Vena, Sunitha, became very much aggrieved because of her son's death. She decided to preserve the dead body of her son by the application of certain ingredients and by chanting mantras [mantra-yogena]. Once upon a time, the same saintly persons, after taking their bath in the River Sarasvati, began to perform their daily duties by offering oblations into the sacrificial fires. After this, sitting on the bank of the river, they began to talk about the transcendental person and His pastimes. In those days there were various disturbances in the country that were creating a panic in society. Therefore all the sages began to talk amongst themselves: Since the King is dead and there is no protector in the world, misfortune may befall the people in general on account of rogues and thieves. When the great sages were carrying on their discussion in this way, they saw a dust storm arising from all directions. This storm was caused by the running of thieves and rogues, who were engaged in plundering the citizens. Upon seeing the dust storm, the saintly persons could understand that there were a great deal of irregularities due to the death of King Vena. Without government, the state was devoid of law and order, and consequently there was a great uprising of murderous thieves and rogues, who were plundering the riches of the people in general. Although the great sages could subdue the disturbance by their powers--just as they could kill the King--they considered it improper on their part to do so. Thus they did not attempt to stop the disturbance. The great sages began to think that although a brahmana is peaceful and impartial because he is equal to everyone, it is still not his duty to neglect poor humans. By such neglect, a brahmana's spiritual power diminishes, just as water kept in a cracked pot leaks out. The sages decided that the descendants of the family of the saintly King Anga should not be stopped, for in this family the semen was very powerful and the children were prone to become devotees of the Lord. After making a decision, the saintly persons and sages churned the thighs of the dead body of King Vena with great force and according to a specific method. As a result of this churning, a dwarf-like person was born from King Vena's body. This person born from King Vena's thighs was named Bahuka, and his complexion was as black as a crow's. All the limbs of his body were very short, his arms and legs were short, and his jaws were large. His nose was flat, his eyes were reddish, and his hair copper-colored. He was very submissive and meek, and immediately after his birth he bowed down and inquired, "Sirs, what shall I do?" The great sages replied, "Please sit down [nisida]." Thus Nisada, the father of the Naisada race, was born. After his [Nisada's] birth, he immediately took charge of all the resultant actions of King Vena's sinful activities. As such, this Naisada class are always engaged in sinful activities like stealing, plundering and hunting. Consequently they are only allowed to live in the hills and forests. Chapter Fifteen : King Prthu's Appearance and Coronation The great sage Maitreya continued: My dear Vidura, thus the brahmanas and the great sages again churned the two arms of King Vena's dead body. As a result a male and female couple came out of his arms. The great sages were highly learned in Vedic knowledge. When they saw the male and female born of the arms of Vena's body, they were very pleased, for they could understand that the couple was an expansion of a plenary portion of Vishnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The great sages said: The male is a plenary expansion of the power of Lord Vishnu, who maintains the entire universe, and the female is a plenary expansion of the goddess of fortune, who is never separated from the Lord. Of the two, the male will be able to expand his reputation throughout the world. His name will be Prthu. Indeed, he will be the first among kings. The female has such beautiful teeth and beautiful qualities that she will actually beautify the ornaments she wears. Her name will be Arci. In the future she will accept King Prthu as her husband. In the form of King Prthu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead has appeared through a part of His potency to protect the people of the world. The goddess of fortune is the constant companion of the Lord, and therefore she has incarnated partially as Arci to become King Prthu's queen. The great sage Maitreya continued: My dear Viduraji, at that time all the brahmanas highly praised and glorified King Prthu, and the best singers of Gandharvaloka chanted his glories. The inhabitants of Siddhaloka showered flowers, and the beautiful women in the heavenly planets danced in ecstasy. Conchshells, bugles, drums and kettledrums vibrated in outer space. Great sages, forefathers and personalities from the heavenly planets all came to earth from various planetary systems. Lord Brahma, the master of the entire universe, arrived there accompanied by all the demigods and their chiefs. Seeing the lines of Lord Vishnu's palm on King Prthu's right hand and impressions of lotus flowers on the soles of his feet, Lord Brahma could understand that King Prthu was a partial representation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One whose palm bears the sign of a disc, as well as other such lines, should be considered a partial representation or incarnation of the Supreme Lord. The learned brahmanas, who were very attached to the Vedic ritualistic ceremonies, then arranged for the King's coronation. People from all directions collected all the different paraphernalia for the ceremony. Thus everything was complete. All the rivers, seas, hills, mountains, serpents, cows, birds, animals, heavenly planets, the earthly planet and all other living entities collected various presentations, according to their ability, to offer the King. Thus the great King Prthu, exquisitely dressed with garments and ornaments, was coronated and placed on the throne. The King and his wife, Arci, who was also exquisitely ornamented, appeared exactly like fire. The great sage continued: My dear Vidura, Kuvera presented the great King Prthu with a golden throne. The demigod Varuna presented him with an umbrella that constantly sprayed fine particles of water and was as brilliant as the moon. The demigod of air, Vayu, presented King Prthu with two whisks [camaras] of hair; the King of religion, Dharma, presented him with a flower garland which would expand his fame; the King of heaven, Indra, presented him with a valuable helmet; and the superintendent of death, Yamaraja, presented him with a sceptor with which to rule the world. Lord Brahma presented King Prthu with a protective garment made of spiritual knowledge. Bharati [Sarasvati], the wife of Brahma, gave him a transcendental necklace. Lord Vishnu presented him with a Sudarsana disc, and Lord Vishnu's wife, the goddess of fortune, gave him imperishable opulences. Lord Shiva presented him with a sword within a sheath marked with ten moons, and his wife, the goddess Durga, presented him with a shield marked with one hundred moons. The moon-demigod presented him with horses made of nectar, and the demigod Visvakarma presented him with a very beautiful chariot. The demigod of fire, Agni, presented him with a bow made of the horns of goats and cows. The sun-god presented him with arrows as brilliant as sunshine. The predominating deity of Bhurloka presented him with slippers full of mystic power. The demigods from outer space brought him presentations of flowers again and again. The demigods who always travel in outer space gave King Prthu the arts to perform dramas, sing songs, play musical instruments and disappear at his will. The great sages also offered him infallible blessings. The ocean offered him a conchshell produced from the ocean. The seas, mountains and rivers gave him room to drive his chariot without impediments, and a suta, a magadha and a vandi offered prayers and praises. They all presented themselves before him to perform their respective duties. Thus when the greatly powerful King Prthu, the son of Vena, saw the professionals before him, to congratulate them he smiled, and with the gravity of the vibrating sounds of clouds he spoke as follows. King Prthu said: O gentle suta, magadha and other devotee offering prayers, the qualities of which you have spoken are not distinct in me. Why then should you praise me for all these qualities when I do not shelter these features? I do not wish for these words meant for me to go in vain, but it is better that they be offered to someone else. O gentle reciters, offer such prayers in due course of time, when the qualities of which you have spoken actually manifest themselves in me. The gentle who offer prayers to the Supreme Personality of Godhead do not attribute such qualities to a human being, who does not actually have them. How could an intelligent man competent enough to possess such exalted qualities allow his followers to praise him if he did not actually have them? Praising a man by saying that if he were educated he might have become a great scholar or great personality is nothing but a process of cheating. A foolish person who agrees to accept such praise does not know that such words simply insult him. As a person with a sense of honor and magnanimity does not like to hear about his abominable actions, a person who is very famous and powerful does not like to hear himself praised. King Prthu continued: My dear devotees, headed by the suta, just now I am not very famous for my personal activities because I have not done anything praiseworthy you could glorify. Therefore how could I engage you in praising my activities exactly like children? Chapter Sixteen : Praise of King Prthu by the Professional Reciters The great sage Maitreya continued: While King Prthu thus spoke, the humility of his nectarean speeches pleased the reciters very much. Then again they continued to praise the King highly with exalted prayers, as they had been instructed by the great sages. The reciters continued: Dear King, you are a direct incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Vishnu, and by His causeless mercy you have descended on this earth. Therefore it is not possible for us to actually glorify your exalted activities. Although you have appeared through the body of King Vena, even great orators and speakers like Lord Brahma and other demigods cannot exactly describe the glorious activities of Your Lordship. Although we are unable to glorify you adequately, we nonetheless have a transcendental taste for glorifying your activities. We shall try to glorify you according to the instructions received from authoritative sages and scholars. Whatever we speak, however, is always inadequate and very insignificant. Dear King, because you are a direct incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, all your activities are liberal and ever laudable. This King, Maharaja Prthu, is the best amongst those who are following religious principles. As such, he will engage everyone in the pursuit of religious principles and give those principles all protection. He will also be a great chastiser to the irreligious and atheistic. This King alone, in his own body, will be able in due course of time to maintain all living entities and keep them in a pleasant condition by manifesting himself as different demigods to perform various departmental activities. Thus he will maintain the upper planetary system by inducing the populace to perform Vedic sacrifices. In due course of time he will also maintain this earthly planet by discharging proper rainfall. This King Prthu will be as powerful as the sun-god, and just as the sun-god equally distributes his sunshine to everyone, King Prthu will distribute his mercy equally. Similarly, just as the sun-god evaporates water for eight months and, during the rainy season, returns it profusely, this King will also exact taxes from the citizens and return these monies in times of need. This King Prthu will be very, very kind to all citizens. Even though a poor person may trample over the King's head by violating the rules and regulations, the King, out of his causeless mercy, will be forgetful and forgiving. As a protector of the world, he will be as tolerant as the earth itself. When there is no rainfall and the citizens are in great danger due to the scarcity of water, this royal Personality of Godhead will be able to supply rains exactly like the heavenly King Indra. Thus he will very easily be able to protect the citizens from drought. This King, Prthu Maharaja, by virtue of his affectionate glances and beautiful moonlike face, which is always smiling with great affection for the citizens, will enhance everyone's peaceful life. The reciters continued: No one will be able to understand the policies the King will follow. His activities will also be very confidential, and it will not be possible for anyone to know how he will make every activity successful. His treasury will always remain unknown to everyone. He will be the reservoir of unlimited glories and good qualities, and his position will be maintained and covered just as Varuna, the deity of the seas, is covered all around by water. King Prthu was born of the dead body of King Vena as fire is produced from arani wood. Thus King Prthu will always remain just like fire, and his enemies will not be able to approach him. Indeed, he will be unbearable to his enemies, for although staying very near him, they will never be able to approach him but will have to remain as if far away. No one will be able to overcome the strength of King Prthu. King Prthu will be able to see all the internal and external activities of every one of his citizens. Still no one will be able to know his system of espionage, and he himself will remain neutral regarding all matters of glorification or vilification paid to him. He will be exactly like air, the life force within the body, which is exhibited internally and externally but is always neutral to all affairs. Since this King will always remain on the path of piety, he will be neutral to both his son and the son of his enemy. If the son of his enemy is not punishable, he will not punish him, but if his own son is punishable, he will immediately punish him. Just as the sun-god expands his shining rays up to the Arctic region without impedance, the influence of King Prthu will cover all tracts of land up to the Arctic region and will remain undisturbed as long as he lives. This King will please everyone by his practical activities, and all of his citizens will remain very satisfied. Because of this the citizens will take great satisfaction in accepting him as their ruling king. The King will be firmly determined and always situated in truth. He will be a lover of the brahminical culture and will render all service to old men and give shelter to all surrendered souls. Giving respect to all, he will always be merciful to the poor and innocent. The King will respect all women as if they were his own mother, and he will treat his own wife as the other half of his body. He will be just like an affectionate father to his citizens, and he will treat himself as the most obedient servant of the devotees, who always preach the glories of the Lord. The King will consider all embodied living entities as dear as his own self, and he will always be increasing the pleasures of his friends. He will intimately associate with liberated persons, and he will be a chastising hand to all impious persons. This King is the master of the three worlds, and he is directly empowered by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is without change, and he is an incarnation of the Supreme known as a saktyavesa-avatara. Being a liberated soul and completely learned, he sees all material varieties as meaningless because their basic principle is nescience. This King, being uniquely powerful and heroic, will have no competitor. He will travel around the globe on his victorious chariot, holding his invincible bow in his hand and appearing exactly like the sun, which rotates in its own orbit from the south. When the King travels all over the world, other kings, as well as the demigods, will offer him all kinds of presentations. Their queens will also consider him the original king, who carries in His hands the emblems of club and disc, and will sing of his fame, for he will be as reputable as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This King, this protector of the citizens, is an extraordinary king and is equal to the Prajapati demigods. For the living facility of all citizens, he will milk the earth, which is like a cow. Not only that, but he will level the surface of the earth with the pointed ends of his bow, breaking all the hills exactly as King Indra, the heavenly King, breaks mountains with his powerful thunderbolt. When the lion travels in the forest with its tail turned upward, all menial animals hide themselves. Similarly, when King Prthu will travel over his kingdom and vibrate the string of his bow, which is made of the horns of goats and bulls and is irresistible in battle, all demoniac rogues and thieves will hide themselves in all directions. At the source of the River Sarasvati, this King will perform one hundred sacrifices known as asvamedha. In the course of the last sacrifice, the heavenly King Indra will steal the sacrificial horse. This King Prthu will meet Sanat-kumara, one of the four Kumaras, in the garden of his palace compound. The King will worship him with devotion and will be fortunate to receive instructions by which one can enjoy transcendental bliss. In this way when the chivalrous activities of King Prthu come to be known to the people in general, King Prthu will always hear about himself and his uniquely powerful activities. No one will be able to disobey the orders of Prthu Maharaja. After conquering the world, he will completely eradicate the threefold miseries of the citizens. Then he will be recognized all over the world. At that time both the suras and the asuras will undoubtedly glorify his magnanimous activities. Chapter Seventeen : Maharaja Prthu Becomes Angry at the Earth The great sage Maitreya continued: In this way the reciters who were glorifying Maharaja Prthu readily described his qualities and chivalrous activities. At the end, Maharaja Prthu offered them various presentations with all due respect and worshiped them adequately. King Prthu thus satisfied and offered all respect to all the leaders of the brahmanas and other castes, to his servants, to his ministers and to the priests, citizens, general countrymen, people from other communities, admirers and others, and thus they all became happy. Vidura inquired from the great sage Maitreya: My dear brahmana, since mother earth can appear in different shapes, why did she take the shape of a cow? And when King Prthu milked her, who became the calf, and what was the milking pot? The surface of the earth is by nature low in some places and high in others. How did King Prthu level the surface of the earth, and why did the King of heaven, Indra, steal the horse meant for the sacrifice ? The great saintly King, Maharaja Prthu, received knowledge from Sanat-kumara, who was the greatest Vedic scholar. After receiving knowledge to be applied practically in his life, how did the saintly King attain his desired destination? Prthu Maharaja was a powerful incarnation of Lord Krishna's potencies; consequently any narration concerning his activities is surely very pleasing to hear, and it produces all good fortune. As far as I am concerned, I am always your devotee as well as a devotee of the Lord, who is known as Adhoksaja. Please therefore narrate all the stories of King Prthu, who, in the form of the son of King Vena, milked the cow-shaped earth. Suta Gosvami continued: When Vidura became inspired to hear of the activities of Lord Krishna in His various incarnations, Maitreya, also being inspired and being very pleased with Vidura, began to praise him. Then Maitreya spoke as follows. The great sage Maitreya continued: My dear Vidura, at the time King Prthu was enthroned by the great sages and brahmanas and declared to be the protector of the citizens, there was a scarcity of food grains. The citizens actually became skinny due to starvation. Therefore they came before the King and informed him of their real situation. Dear King, just as a tree with a fire burning in the hollow of the trunk gradually dries up, we are drying up due to the fire of hunger in our stomachs. You are the protector of surrendered souls, and you have been appointed to give employment to us. Therefore we have all come to you for protection. You are not only a king, but the incarnation of God as well. Indeed, you are the king of all kings. You can give us all kinds of occupational engagements, for you are the master of our livelihood. Therefore, O king of all kings, please arrange to satisfy our hunger by the proper distribution of food grains. Please take care of us, lest we soon die for want of food. After hearing this lamentation and seeing the pitiable condition of the citizens, King Prthu contemplated this matter for a long time to see if he could find out the underlying causes. Having arrived at a conclusion, the King took up his bow and arrow and aimed them at the earth, exactly like Lord Shiva, who destroys the whole world out of anger. When the earth saw that King Prthu was taking his bow and arrow to kill her, she became very much afraid and began to tremble. She then began to flee, exactly like a deer, which runs very swiftly when followed by a hunter. Being afraid of King Prthu, she took the shape of a cow and began to run. Seeing this, Maharaja Prthu became very angry, and his eyes became as red as the early-morning sun. Placing an arrow on his bow, he chased the cow-shaped earth wherever she would run. The cow-shaped earth ran here and there in outer space between the heavenly planets and the earth, and wherever she ran, the King chased her with his bow and arrows. Just as a man cannot escape the cruel hands of death, the cow-shaped earth could not escape the hands of the son of Vena. At length the earth, fearful, her heart aggrieved, turned back in helplessness. Addressing the great, opulent King Prthu as the knower of religious principles and shelter of the surrendered, she said: Please save me. You are the protector of all living entities. Now you are situated as the King of this planet. The cow-shaped earth continued to appeal to the King: I am very poor and have not committed any sinful activities. I do not know why you want to kill me. Since you are supposed to be the knower of all religious principles, why are you so envious of me, and why are you so anxious to kill a woman? Even if a woman does commit some sinful activity, no one should place his hand upon her. And what to speak of you, dear King, who are so merciful. You are a protector, and you are affectionate to the poor. The cow-shaped earth continued: My dear King, I am just like a strong boat, and all the paraphernalia of the world is standing upon me. If you break me to pieces, how can you protect yourself and your subjects from drowning? King Prthu replied to the earthly Planet: My dear earth, you have disobeyed my orders and rulings. In the form of a demigod you accepted your share of the yajnas we performed, but in return you have not produced sufficient food grains. For this reason I must kill you. Although you are eating green grass every day, you are not filling your milk bag so we can utilize your milk. Since you are willfully committing offenses, it cannot be said that you are not punishable due to your assuming the form of a cow. You have so lost your intelligence that, despite my orders, you do not deliver the seeds of herbs and grains formerly created by Brahma and now hidden within yourself. Now, with the help of my arrows, I shall cut you to pieces and with your flesh satisfy the hunger-stricken citizens, who are now crying for want of grains. Thus I shall satisfy the crying citizens of my kingdom. Any cruel person--be he a man, woman or impotent eunuch--who is only interested in his personal maintenance and has no compassion for other living entities may be killed by the king. Such killing can never be considered actual killing. You are very much puffed up with pride and have become almost insane. Presently you have assumed the form of a cow by your mystic powers. Nonetheless I shall cut you into small pieces like grain, and I will uphold the entire population by my personal mystic powers. At this time Prthu Maharaja became exactly like Yamaraja, and his whole body appeared very angry. In other words, he was anger personified. After hearing him, the planet earth began to tremble. She surrendered, and with folded hands began to speak as follows. The planet earth spoke: My dear Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, You are transcendental in Your position, and by Your material energy You have expanded Yourself in various forms and species of life through the interaction of the three modes of material nature. Unlike some other masters, You always remain in Your transcendental position and are not affected by the material creation, which is subject to different material interactions. Consequently You are not bewildered by material activities. The planet earth continued: My dear Lord, You are the complete conductor of the material creation. You have created this cosmic manifestation and the three material qualities, and therefore You have created me, the planet earth, the resting place of all living entities. Yet You are always fully independent, my Lord. Now that You are present before me and ready to kill me with Your weapons, let me know where I should go to take shelter, and tell me who can give me protection. In the beginning of creation You created all these moving and nonmoving living entities by Your inconceivable energy. Through this very same energy You are now prepared to protect the living entities. Indeed, You are the supreme protector of religious principles. Why are You so anxious to kill me, even though I am in the form of a cow? My dear Lord, although You are one, by Your inconceivable potencies You have expanded Yourself in many forms. Through the agency of Brahma, You have created this universe. You are therefore directly the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Those who are not sufficiently experienced cannot understand Your transcendental activities because these persons are covered by Your illusory energy. My dear Lord, by Your own potencies You are the original cause of the material elements, as well as the performing instruments (the senses), the workers of the senses (the controlling demigods), the intelligence and the ego, as well as everything else. By Your energy You manifest this entire cosmic creation, maintain it and dissolve it. Through Your energy alone everything is sometimes manifest and sometimes not manifest. You are therefore the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the cause of all causes. I offer my respectful obeisances unto You. My dear Lord, You are always unborn. Once, in the form of the original boar, You rescued me from the waters in the bottom of the universe. Through Your own energy You created all the physical elements, the senses and the heart, for the maintenance of the world. My dear Lord, in this way You once protected me by rescuing me from the water, and consequently Your name has been famous as Dharadhara--He who holds the planet earth. Yet at the present moment, in the form of a great hero, You are about to kill me with sharpened arrows. I am, however, just like a boat on the water, keeping everything afloat. My dear Lord, I am also the creation of one of Your energies, composed of the three modes of material nature. Consequently I am bewildered by Your activities. Even the activities of Your devotees cannot be understood, and what to speak of Your pastimes. Thus everything appears to us to be contradictory and wonderful. Chapter Eighteen :Prthu Maharaja Milks the Earth Planet The great saint Maitreya continued to address Vidura: My dear Vidura, at that time, after the planet earth finished her prayers, King Prthu was still not pacified, and his lips trembled in great anger. Although the planet earth was frightened, she made up her mind and began to speak as follows in order to convince the King. My dear Lord, please pacify your anger completely and hear patiently whatever I submit before you. Please turn your kind attention to this. I may be very poor, but a learned man takes the essence of knowledge from all places, just as a bumblebee collects honey from each and every flower. To benefit all human society, not only in this life but in the next, the great seers and sages have prescribed various methods conducive to the prosperity of the people in general. One who follows the principles and instructions enjoined by the great sages of the past can utilize these instructions for practical purposes. Such a person can very easily enjoy life and pleasures. A foolish person who manufactures his own ways and means through mental speculation and does not recognize the authority of the sages who lay down unimpeachable directions is simply unsuccessful again and again in his attempts. My dear King, the seeds, roots, herbs and grains, which were created by Lord Brahma in the past, are now being used by nondevotees, who are devoid of all spiritual understanding. My dear King, not only are grains and herbs being used by nondevotees, but, as far as I am concerned, I am not being properly maintained. Indeed, I am being neglected by kings who are not punishing these rascals who have turned into thieves by using grains for sense gratification. Consequently I have hidden all these seeds, which were meant for the performance of sacrifice. Due to being stocked for a very long time, all the grain seeds within me have certainly deteriorated. Therefore you should immediately arrange to take these seeds out by the standard process, which is recommended by the acaryas or sastras. O great hero, protector of living entities, if you desire to relieve the living entities by supplying them sufficient grain, and if you desire to nourish them by taking milk from me, you should make arrangements to bring a calf suitable for this purpose and a pot in which the milk can be kept, as well as a milkman to do the work. Since I will be very much affectionate towards my calf, your desire to take milk from me will be fulfilled. My dear King, may I inform you that you have to make the entire surface of the globe level. This will help me, even when the rainy season has ceased. Rainfall comes by the mercy of King Indra. Rainfall will remain on the surface of the globe, always keeping the earth moistened, and thus it will be auspicious for all kinds of production. After hearing the auspicious and pleasing words of the planet earth, the King accepted them. He then transformed Svayambhuva Manu into a calf and milked all the herbs and grains from the earth in the form of a cow, keeping them in his cupped hands. Others, who were as intelligent as King Prthu, also took the essence out of the earthly planet. Indeed, everyone took this opportunity to follow in the footsteps of King Prthu and get whatever he desired from the planet earth. All the great sages transformed Brhaspati into a calf, and making the senses into a pot, they milked all kinds of Vedic knowledge to purify words, mind and hearing. All the demigods made Indra, the King of heaven, into a calf, and from the earth they milked the beverage soma, which is nectar. Thus they became very powerful in mental speculation and bodily and sensual strength. The sons of Diti and the demons transformed Prahlada Maharaja, who was born in an asura family, into a calf, and they extracted various kinds of liquor and beer, which they put into a pot made of iron. The inhabitants of Gandharvaloka and Apsaroloka made Visvavasu into a calf, and they drew the milk into a lotus flower pot. The milk took the shape of sweet musical art and beauty. The fortunate inhabitants of Pitrloka, who preside over the funeral ceremonies, made Aryama into a calf. With great faith they milked kavya, food offered to the ancestors, into an unbaked earthen pot. After this, the inhabitants of Siddhaloka, as well as the inhabitants of Vidyadhara-loka, transformed the great sage Kapila into a calf, and making the whole sky into a pot, they milked out specific yogic mystic powers, beginning with anima. Indeed, the inhabitants of Vidyadhara-loka acquired the art of flying in the sky. Others also, the inhabitants of planets known as Kimpurusa-loka, made the demon Maya into a calf, and they milked out mystic powers by which one can disappear immediately from another's vision and appear again in a different form. Then the Yaksas, Raksasas, ghosts and witches, who are habituated to eating flesh, transformed Lord Shiva's incarnation Rudra [Bhutanatha] into a calf and milked out beverages made of blood and put them in a pot made of skulls. Thereafter cobras and snakes without hoods, large snakes, scorpions and many other poisonous animals took poison out of the planet earth as their milk and kept this poison in snake holes. They made a calf out of Taksaka. The four-legged animals like the cows made a calf out of the bull who carries Lord Shiva and made a milking pot out of the forest. Thus they got fresh green grasses to eat. Ferocious animals like tigers transformed a lion into a calf, and thus they were able to get flesh for milk. The birds made a calf out of Garuda and took milk from the planet earth in the form of moving insects and nonmoving plants and grasses. The trees made a calf out of the banyan tree, and thus they derived milk in the form of many delicious juices. The mountains transformed the Himalayas into a calf, and they milked a variety of minerals into a pot made of the peaks of hills. The planet earth supplied everyone his respective food. During the time of King Prthu, the earth was fully under the control of the King. Thus all the inhabitants of the earth could get their food supply by creating various types of calves and putting their particular types of milk in various pots. My dear Vidura, chief of the Kurus, in this way King Prthu and all the others who subsist on food created different types of calves and milked out their respective eatables. Thus they received their various foodstuffs, which were symbolized as milk. Thereafter King Prthu was very satisfied with the planet earth, for she sufficiently supplied all food to various living entities. Thus he developed an affection for the planet earth, just as if she were his own daughter. After this, the king of all kings, Maharaja Prthu, leveled all rough places on the surface of the globe by breaking up the hills with the strength of his bow. By his grace the surface of the globe almost became flat. To all the citizens of the state, King Prthu was as good as a father. Thus he was visibly engaged in giving them proper subsistence and proper employment for subsistence. After leveling the surface of the globe, he earmarked different places for residential quarters, inasmuch as they were desirable. In this way the King founded many types of villages, settlements and towns and built forts, residences for cowherdsmen, stables for the animals, and places for the royal camps, mining places, agricultural towns and mountain villages. Before the reign of King Prthu there was no planned arrangement for different cities, villages, pasturing grounds, etc. Every thing was scattered, and everyone constructed his residential quarters according to his own convenience. However, since King Prthu plans were made for towns and villages. Chapter Nineteen :King Prthu's One Hundred Horse Sacrifices The great sage Maitreya continued: My dear Vidura, King Prthu initiated the performance of one hundred horse sacrifices at the spot where the River Sarasvati flows towards the east. This piece of land is known as Brahmavarta, and it was controlled by Svayambhuva Manu. When the most powerful Indra, the King of heaven, saw this, he considered the fact that King Prthu was going to exceed him in fruitive activities. Thus Indra could not tolerate the great sacrificial ceremonies performed by King Prthu. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Vishnu, is present in everyone's heart as the Supersoul, and He is the proprietor of all planets and the enjoyer of the results of all sacrifices. He was personally present at the sacrifices made by King Prthu. When Lord Vishnu appeared in the sacrificial arena, Lord Brahma, Lord Shiva and all the chief predominating personalities of every planet, as well as their followers, came with Him. When He appeared on the scene, the residents of Gandharvaloka, the great sages, and the residents of Apsaroloka all praised Him. The Lord was accompanied by the residents of Siddhaloka and Vidyadhara-loka, all the descendants of Diti, and the demons and the Yaksas. He was also accompanied by His chief associates, headed by Sunanda and Nanda. Great devotees, who were always engaged in the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as well as the great sages named Kapila, Narada and Dattatreya, and masters of mystic powers, headed by Sanaka Kumara, all attended the great sacrifice with Lord Vishnu. My dear Vidura, in that great sacrifice the entire land came to be like the milk-producing kama-dhenu, and thus, by the performance of yajna, all daily necessities for life were supplied. The flowing rivers supplied all kinds of tastes--sweet, pungent, sour, etc.--and very big trees supplied fruit and honey in abundance. The cows, having eaten sufficient green grass, supplied profuse quantities of milk, curd, clarified butter and similar other necessities. King Prthu was presented with various gifts from the general populace and predominating deities of all planets. The oceans and seas were full of valuable jewels and pearls, and the hills were full of chemicals and fertilizers. Four kinds of edibles were produced profusely. King Prthu was dependent on the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is known as Adhoksaja. Because King Prthu Performed so many sacrifices, he was superhumanly enhanced by the mercy of the Supreme Lord. King Prthu's opulence, however, could not be tolerated by the King of heaven, Indra, who tried to impede the progress of his opulence. When Prthu Maharaja was performing the last horse sacrifice [asvamedha-yajna], King Indra, invisible to everyone, stole the horse intended for sacrifice. He did this because of his great envy of King Prthu. When King Indra was taking away the horse, he dressed himself to appear as a liberated person. Actually this dress was a form of cheating, for it falsely created an impression of religion. When Indra went into outer space in this way, the great sage Atri saw him and understood the whole situation. When the son of King Prthu was informed by Atri of King Indra's trick, he immediately became very angry and followed Indra to kill him, calling, "Wait! Wait!" King Indra was fraudulently dressed as a sannyasi, having knotted his hair on his head and smeared ashes all over his body. Upon seeing such dress, the son of King Prthu considered Indra a religious man and pious sannyasi. Therefore he did not release his arrows. When Atri Muni saw that the son of King Prthu did not kill Indra but returned deceived by him, Atri Muni again instructed him to kill the heavenly King because he thought that Indra had become the lowliest of all demigods due to his impeding the execution of King Prthu's sacrifice. Being thus informed, the grandson of King Vena immediately began to follow Indra, who was fleeing through the sky in great haste. He was very angry with him, and he chased him just as the king of the vultures chased Ravana. When Indra saw that the son of Prthu was chasing him, he immediately abandoned his false dress and left the horse. Indeed, he disappeared from that very spot, and the great hero, the son of Maharaja Prthu, returned the horse to his father's sacrificial arena. My dear Lord Vidura, when the great sages observed the wonderful prowess of the son of King Prthu, they all agreed to give him the name Vijitasva. My dear Vidura, Indra, being the King of heaven and very powerful, immediately brought a dense darkness upon the sacrificial arena. Covering the whole scene in this way, he again took away the horse, which was chained with golden shackles near the wooden instrument where animals were sacrificed. The great sage Atri again pointed out to the son of King Prthu that Indra was fleeing through the sky. The great hero, the son of Prthu, chased him again. But when he saw that Indra was carrying in his hand a staff with a skull at the top and was again wearing the dress of a sannyasi, he still chose not to kill him. When the great sage Atri again gave directions, the son of King Prthu became very angry and placed an arrow on his bow. Upon seeing this, King Indra immediately abandoned the false dress of a sannyasi and, giving up the horse, made himself invisible. Then the great hero, Vijitasva, the son of King Prthu, again took the horse and returned to his father's sacrificial arena. Since that time, certain men with a poor fund of knowledge have adopted the dress of a false sannyasi. It was King Indra who introduced this. Whatever different forms Indra assumed as a mendicant because of his desire to seize the horse were symbols of atheistic philosophy. In this way, King Indra, in order to steal the horse from King Prthu's sacrifice, adopted several orders of sannyasa. Some sannyasis go naked, and sometimes they wear red garments and pass under the name of kapalika. These are simply symbolic representations of their sinful activities. These so-called sannyasis are very much appreciated by sinful men because they are all godless atheists and very expert in putting forward arguments and reasons to support their case. We must know, however, that they are only passing as adherents of religion and are not so in fact. Unfortunately, bewildered persons accept them as religious, and being attracted to them, they spoil their life. Maharaja Prthu, who was celebrated as very powerful, immediately took up his bow and arrows and prepared to kill Indra himself, because Indra had introduced such irregular sannyasa orders. When the priests and all the others saw Maharaja Prthu very angry and prepared to kill Indra, they requested him: O great soul, do not kill him, for only sacrificial animals can be killed in a sacrifice. Such are the directions given by sastra. Dear King, Indra's powers are already reduced due to his attempt to impede the execution of your sacrifice. We shall call him by Vedic mantras which were never before used, and certainly he will come. Thus by the power of our mantra, we shall cast him into the fire because he is your enemy. My dear Vidura, after giving the King this advice, the priests who had been engaged in performing the sacrifice called for Indra, the King of heaven, in a mood of great anger. When they were just ready to put the oblation in the fire, Lord Brahma appeared on the scene and forbade them to start the sacrifice. Lord Brahma addressed them thus: My dear sacrificial performers, you cannot kill Indra, the King of heaven. It is not your duty. You should know that Indra is as good as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Indeed, he is one of the most powerful assistants of the Personality of Godhead. You are trying to satisfy all the demigods by the performance of this yajna, but you should know that all these demigods are but parts and parcels of Indra, the King of heaven. How, then, can you kill him in this great sacrifice? In order to make trouble and impede the performance of King Prthu's great sacrifice, King Indra has adopted some means that in the future will destroy the clear path of religious life. I draw your attention to this fact. If you oppose him any further, he will further misuse his power and introduce many other irreligious systems. "Let there be only ninety-nine sacrificial performances for Maharaja Prthu," Lord Brahma concluded. Lord Brahma then turned towards Maharaja Prthu and informed him that since he was thoroughly aware of the path of liberation, what was the use in performing more sacrifices? Lord Brahma continued: Let there be good fortune to both of you, for you and King Indra are both part and parcel of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore you should not be angry with King Indra, who is nondifferent from you. My dear King, do not be agitated and anxious because your sacrifices have not been properly executed due to providential impediments. Kindly take my words with great respect. We should always remember that if something happens by providential arrangement, we should not be very sorry. The more we try to rectify such reversals, the more we enter into the darkest region of materialistic thought. Lord Brahma continued: Stop the performance of these sacrifices, for they have induced Indra to introduce so many irreligious aspects. You should know very well that even amongst the demigods there are many unwanted desires. Just see how Indra, the King of heaven, was creating a disturbance in the midst of the sacrifice by stealing the sacrificial horse. These attractive sinful activities he has introduced will be carried out by the people in general. O King Prthu, son of Vena, you are the part-and-parcel expansion of Lord Vishnu. Due to the mischievous activities of King Vena, religious principles were almost lost. At that opportune moment you descended as the incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Indeed, for the protection of religious principles you have appeared from the body of King Vena. O protector of the people in general, please consider the purpose of your being incarnated by Lord Vishnu. The irreligious principles created by Indra are but mothers of so many unwanted religions. Please therefore stop these imitations immediately. The great sage Maitreya continued: When King Prthu was thus advised by the supreme teacher, Lord Brahma, he abandoned his eagerness to perform yajnas and with great affection concluded a peace with King Indra. After this, Prthu Maharaja took his bath, which is customarily taken after the performance of a yajna, and received the benedictions and due blessings of the demigods, who were very pleased by his glorious activities. With great respect, the original king, Prthu, offered all kinds of rewards to the brahmanas present at the sacrifice. Since all these brahmanas were very much satisfied, they gave their heartfelt blessings to the King. All the great sages and brahmanas said: O mighty King, by your invitation all classes of living entities have attended this assembly. They have come from Pitrloka and the heavenly planets, and great sages as well as common men have attended this meeting. Now all of them are very much satisfied by your dealings and your charity towards them. Chapter Twenty ; Lord Vishnu's Appearance in the The great sage Maitreya continued: My dear Vidura, being very much satisfied by the performance of ninety-nine horse sacrifices, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Vishnu, appeared on the scene. Accompanying Him was King Indra. Lord Vishnu then began to speak. Lord Vishnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, said: My dear King Prthu, Indra, the King of heaven, has disturbed your execution of one hundred sacrifices. Now he has come with Me to be forgiven by you. Therefore excuse him. O King, one who is advanced in intelligence and eager to perform welfare activities for others is considered best amongst human beings. An advanced human being is never malicious to others. Those with advanced intelligence are always conscious that this material body is different from the soul. If a personality like you, who are so much advanced because of executing the instructions of the previous acaryas, is carred away by the influence of My material energy, then all your advancement may be considered simply a waste of time. Those who are in full knowledge of the bodily conception of life, who know that this body is composed of nescience, desires and activities resulting from illusion, do not become addicted to the body. How can a highly learned person who has absolutely no affinity for the bodily conception of life be affected by the bodily conception in regard to house, children, wealth and similar other bodily productions? The individual soul is one, Pure, nonmaterial and self-effulgent. He is the reservoir of all good qualities, and He is all-pervading. He is without material covering, and He is the witness of all activities. He is completely distinguished from other living entities, and He is transcendental to all embodied souls. Although within the material nature, one who is thus situated in full knowledge of the Paramatma and atma is never affected by the modes of material nature, for he is always situated in My transcendental loving service. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Vishnu, continued: My dear King Prthu, when one situated in his occupational duty engages in My loving service without motive for material gain, he gradually becomes very satisfied within. When the heart is cleansed of all material contamination, the devotee's mind becomes broader and transparent, and he can see things equally. At that stage of life there is peace, and one is situated equally with Me as sac-cid-ananda- vigraha. Anyone who knows that this material body, made of the five gross elements, the sense organs, the working senses and the mind, is simply supervised by the fixed soul is eligible to be liberated from material bondage. Lord Vishnu told King Prthu: My dear King, the constant change of this material world is due to the interaction of the three modes of material nature. The five elements, the senses, the demigods who control the senses, as well as the mind, which is agitated by the spirit soul--all these taken together comprise the body. Since the spirit soul is completely different from this combination of gross and subtle material elements, My devotee who is connected with Me in intense friendship and affection, being completely in knowledge, is never agitated by material happiness and distress. My dear heroic King, please keep yourself always equipoised and treat people equally, whether they are greater than you, in the intermediate stage or lower than you. Do not be disturbed by temporary distress or happiness. Fully control your mind and senses. In this transcendental position, try to execute your duty as king in whatever condition of life you may be posted by My arrangement, for your only duty here is to give protection to the citizens of your kingdom. To give protection to the general mass of people who are citizens of the state is the prescribed occupational duty for a king. By acting in that way, the king in his next life shares one sixth of the result of the pious activities of the citizens. But a king or executive head of state who simply collects taxes from the citizens but does not give them proper protection as human beings has the results of his own pious activities taken away by the citizens, and in exchange for his not giving protection he becomes liable to punishment for the impious activities of his subjects. Lord Vishnu continued: My dear King Prthu, if you continue to protect the citizens according to the instructions of the learned brahmana authorities, as they are received by the disciplic succession--by hearing--from master to disciple, and if you follow the religious principles laid down by them, without attachment to ideas manufactured by mental concoction, then every one of your citizens will be happy and will love you, and very soon you will be able to see such already liberated personalities as the four Kumaras [Sanaka, Sanatana, Sanandana and Sanat-kumara]. My dear King, I am very captivated by your elevated qualities and excellent behavior, and thus I am very favorably inclined toward you. You may therefore ask from Me any benediction you like. One who does not possess elevated qualities and behavior cannot possibly achieve My favor simply by performance of sacrifices, severe austerities or mystic yoga. But I always remain equipoised in the heart of one who is also equipoised in all circumstances. The great saint Maitreya continued: My dear Vidura, in this way Maharaja Prthu, the conqueror of the entire world, accepted the instructions of the Supreme Personality of Godhead on his head. As King Indra was standing by, he became ashamed of his own activities and fell down before King Prthu to touch his lotus feet. But Prthu Maharaja immediately embraced him in great ecstasy and gave up all envy against him for his having stolen the horse meant for the sacrifice. King Prthu abundantly worshiped the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who was so merciful to him. While worshiping the lotus feet of the Lord, Prthu Maharaja gradually increased his ecstasy in devotional service. The Lord was just about to leave, but because He was so greatly inclined toward the behavior of King Prthu, He did not depart. Seeing the behavior of Maharaja Prthu with His lotus eyes, He was detained because He is always the well-wisher of His devotees. The original king, Maharaja Prthu, his eyes full of tears and his voice faltering and choked up, could neither see the Lord very distinctly nor speak to address the Lord in any way. He simply embraced the Lord within his heart and remained standing in that way with folded hands. The Supreme Personality of Godhead stood with His lotus feet almost touching the ground while He rested the front of His hand on the raised shoulder of Garuda, the enemy of the snakes. Maharaja Prthu, wiping the tears from his eyes, tried to look upon the Lord, but it appeared that the King was not fully satisfied by looking at Him. Thus the King offered the following prayers. My dear Lord, You are the best of the demigods who can offer benedictions. Why, therefore, should any learned person ask You for benedictions meant for living entities bewildered by the modes of nature? Such benedictions are available automatically, even in the lives of living entities suffering in hellish conditions. My dear Lord, You can certainly bestow merging into Your existence, but I do not wish to have such a benediction. My dear Lord, I therefore do not wish to have the benediction of merging into Your existence, a benediction in which there is no existence of the nectarean beverage of Your lotus feet. I want the benediction of at least one million ears, for thus I may be able to hear about the glories of Your lotus feet from the mouths of Your pure devotees. My dear Lord, You are glorified by the selected verses uttered by great personalities. Such glorification of Your lotus feet is just like saffron particles. When the transcendental vibration from the mouths of great devotees carries the aroma of the saffron dust of Your lotus feet, the forgetful living entity gradually remembers his eternal relationship with You. Devotees thus gradually come to the right conclusion about the value of life. My dear Lord, I therefore do not need any other benediction but the opportunity to hear from the mouth of Your pure devotee. My dear highly glorified Lord, if one, in the association of pure devotees, hears even once the glories of Your activities, he does not, unless he is nothing but an animal, give up the association of devotees, for no intelligent person would be so careless as to leave their association. The perfection of chanting and hearing about Your glories was accepted even by the goddess of fortune, who desired to hear of Your unlimited activities and transcendental glories. Now I wish to engage in the service of the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and to serve just like the goddess of fortune, who carries a lotus flower in her hand, because His Lordship, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the reservoir of all transcendental qualities. I am afraid that the goddess of fortune and I would quarrel because both of us would be attentively engaged in the same service. My dear Lord of the universe, the goddess of fortune, Laksmi, is the mother of the universe, and yet I think that she may be angry with me because of my intruding upon her service and acting on that very platform to which she is so much attached. Yet I am hopeful that even though there is some misunderstanding, You will take my part, for You are very much inclined to the poor and You always magnify even insignificant service unto You. Therefore even though she becomes angry, I think that there is no harm for You, because You are so self-sufficient that You can do without her. Great saintly persons who are always liberated take to Your devotional service because only by devotional service can one be relieved from the illusions of material existence. O my Lord, there is no reason for the liberated souls to take shelter at Your lotus feet except that such souls are constantly thinking of Your feet. My dear Lord, what You have said to Your unalloyed devotee is certainly very much bewildering. The allurements You offer in the Vedas are certainly not suitable for pure devotees. People in general, bound by the sweet words of the Vedas, engage themselves again and again in fruitive activities, enamored by the results of their actions. My Lord, due to Your illusory energy, all living beings in this material world have forgotten their real constitutional position, and out of ignorance they are always desirous of material happiness in the form of society, friendship and love. Therefore, please do not ask me to take some material benefits from You, but as a father, not waiting for the son's demand, does everything for the benefit of the son, please bestow upon me whatever You think best for me. The great sage Maitreya continued by saying that the Lord, the seer of the universe, after hearing Prthu Maharaja's prayer, addressed the King: My dear King, may you always be blessed by engaging in My devotional service. Only by such purity of purpose, as you yourself very intelligently express, can one cross over the insurmountable illusory energy of maya. My dear King, O protector of the citizens, henceforward be very careful to execute My orders and not be misled by anything. Anyone who lives in that way, simply carrying out My orders faithfully, will always find good fortune all over the world. The great saint Maitreya told Vidura: The Supreme Personality of Godhead amply appreciated the meaningful prayers of Maharaja Prthu. Thus, after being properly worshiped by the King, the Lord blessed him and decided to depart. King Prthu worshiped the demigods, the great sages, the inhabitants of Pitrloka, the inhabitants of Gandharvaloka and those of Siddhaloka, Caranaloka, Pannagaloka, Kinnaraloka, Apsaroloka, the earthly planets and the planets of the birds. He also worshiped many other living entities who presented themselves in the sacrificial arena. With folded hands he worshiped all these, as well as the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the personal associates of the Lord, by offering sweet words and as much wealth as possible. After this function, they all went back to their respective abodes, following in the footsteps of Lord Vishnu. The infallible Supreme Personality of Godhead, having captivated the minds of the King and the priests who were present, returned to His abode in the spiritual sky. King Prthu then offered his respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the Supreme Lord of all demigods. Although not an object of material vision, the Lord revealed Himself to the sight of Maharaja Prthu. After offering obeisances to the Lord, the King returned to his home. Chapter Twenty-one : Instructions by Maharaja Prthu The great sage Maitreya told Vidura: When the King entered his city, it was very beautifully decorated to receive him with pearls, flower garlands, beautiful cloth and golden gates, and the entire city was perfumed with highly fragrant incense. Fragrant water distilled from sandalwood and aguru herb was sprinkled everywhere on the lanes, roads and small parks throughout the city, and everywhere were decorations of unbroken fruits, flowers, wetted grains, varied minerals, and lamps, all presented as auspicious paraphernalia. At the street crossings there were bunches of fruits and flowers, as well as pillars of banana trees and betel nut branches. All these combined decorations everywhere looked very attractive. As the King entered the gate of the city, all the citizens received him with many auspicious articles like lamps, flowers and yogurt. The King was also received by many beautiful unmarried girls whose bodies were bedecked with various ornaments, especially with earrings which collided with one another. When the King entered the palace, conchshells and kettledrums were sounded, priests chanted Vedic mantras, and professional reciters offered different prayers. But in spite of all this ceremony to welcome him, the King was not the least bit affected. Both the important citizens and the common citizens welcomed the King very heartily, and he also bestowed upon them their desired blessings. King Prthu was greater than the greatest soul and was therefore worshipable by everyone. He performed many glorious activities in ruling over the surface of the world and was always magnanimous. After achieving such great success and a reputation which spread throughout the universe, he at last obtained the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Suta Gosvami continued: O Saunaka, leader of the great sages, after hearing Maitreya speak about the various activities of King Prthu, the original king, who was fully qualified, glorified and widely praised all over the world, Vidura, the great devotee, very submissively worshiped Maitreya Rsi and asked him the following question. Vidura said: My dear brahmana Maitreya, it is very enlightening to understand that King Prthu was enthroned by the great sages and brahmanas. All the demigods presented him with innumerable gifts, and he also expanded his influence upon personally receiving strength from Lord Vishnu. Thus he greatly developed the earth. Prthu Maharaja was so great in his activities and magnanimous in his method of ruling that all the kings and demigods on the various planets still follow in his footsteps. Who is there who will not try to hear about his glorious activities? I wish to hear more and more about Prthu Maharaja because his activities are so pious and auspicious. The great saintly sage Maitreya told Vidura: My dear Vidura, King Prthu lived in the tract of land between the two great rivers Ganges and Yamuna. Because he was very opulent, it appeared that he was enjoying his destined fortune in order to diminish the results of his past pious activities. Maharaja Prthu was an unrivaled king and possessed the scepter for ruling all the seven islands on the surface of the globe. No one could disobey his irrevocable orders but the saintly persons, the brahmanas and the descendants of the Supreme Personality of Godhead [the Vaisnavas]. Once upon a time King Prthu initiated the performance of a very great sacrifice in which great saintly sages, brahmanas, demigods from higher planetary systems and great saintly kings known as rajarsis all assembled together. In that great assembly, Maharaja Prthu first of all worshiped all the respectable visitors according to their respective positions. After this, he stood up in the midst of the assembly, and it appeared that the full moon had arisen amongst the stars. King Prthu's body was tall and sturdy, and his complexion was fair. His arms were full and broad and his eyes as bright as the rising sun. His nose was straight, his face very beautiful and his personality grave. His teeth were set beautifully in his smiling face. The chest of Maharaja Prthu was very broad, his waist was very thick, and his abdomen, wrinkled by lines of skin, resembled in construction a leaf of a banyan tree. His navel was coiled and deep, his thighs were of a golden hue, and his instep was arched. The black, slick hair on his head was very fine and curly, and his neck, like a conchshell, was decorated with auspicious lines. He wore a very valuable dhoti, and there was a nice wrapper on the upper part of his body. As Maharaja Prthu was being initiated to perform the sacrifice, he had to leave aside his valuable dress, and therefore his natural bodily beauty was visible. It was very pleasing to see him put on a black deerskin and wear a ring of kusa grass on his finger, for this increased the natural beauty of his body. It appears that Maharaja Prthu observed all the regulative principles before he performed the sacrifice. Just to encourage the members of the assembly and to enhance their pleasure, King Prthu glanced over them with eyes that seemed like stars in a sky wet with dew. He then spoke to them in a great voice. Maharaja Prthu's speech was very beautiful, full of metaphorical language, clearly understandable and very pleasing to hear. His words were all grave and certain. It appears that when he spoke, he expressed his personal realization of the Absolute Truth in order to benefit all who were present. King Prthu said: O gentle members of the assembly, may all good fortune be upon you! May all of you great souls who have come to attend this meeting kindly hear my prayer attentively. A person who is actually inquisitive must present his decision before an assembly of noble souls. King Prthu continued: By the grace of the Supreme Lord I have been appointed the king of this planet, and I carry the scepter to rule the citizens, protect them from all danger and give them employment according to their respective positions in the social order established by Vedic injunction. Maharaja Prthu said: I think that upon the execution of my duties as king, I shall be able to achieve the desirable objectives described by experts in Vedic knowledge. This destination is certainly achieved by the pleasure of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the seer of all destiny. Any king who does not teach his citizens about their respective duties in terms of varna and asrama but who simply exacts tolls and taxes from them is liable to suffer for the impious activities which have been performed by the citizens. In addition to such degradation, the king also loses his own fortune. Prthu Maharaja continued: Therefore, my dear citizens, for the welfare of your king after his death, you should execute your duties properly in terms of your positions of varna and asrama and should always think of the Supreme Personality of Godhead within your hearts. By doing so, you will protect your own interests, and you will bestow mercy upon your king for his welfare after death. I request all the pure-hearted demigods, forefathers and saintly persons to support my proposal, for after death the result of an action is equally shared by its doer, its director and its supporter. My dear respectable ladies and gentlemen, according to the authoritative statements of sastra, there must be a supreme authority who is able to award the respective benefits of our present activities. Otherwise, why should there be persons who are unusually beautiful and powerful both in this life and in the life after death? This is confirmed not only by the evidence of the Vedas but also by the personal behavior of great personalities like Manu, Uttanapada, Dhruva, Priyavrata and my grandfather Anga, as well as by many other great personalities and ordinary living entities, exemplified by Maharaja Prahlada and Bali, all of whom are theists, believing in the existence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who carries a club. Although abominable persons like my father, Vena, the grandson of death personified, are bewildered on the path of religion, all the great personalities like those mentioned agree that in this world the only bestower of the benedictions of religion, economic development, sense gratification, liberation or elevation to the heavenly planets is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. By the inclination to serve the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, suffering humanity can immediately cleanse the dirt which has accumulated in their minds during innumerable births. Like the Ganges water, which emanates from the toes of the lotus feet of the Lord, such a process immediately cleanses the mind, and thus spiritual or Krishna consciousness gradually increases. When a devotee takes shelter at the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he is completely cleansed of all misunderstanding or mental speculation, and he manifests renunciation. This is possible only when one is strengthened by practicing bhakti-yoga. Once having taken shelter at the root of the lotus feet of the Lord, a devotee never comes back to this material existence, which is full of the threefold miseries. Prthu Maharaja advised his citizens: Engaging your minds, your words, your bodies and the results of your occupational duties, and being always open- minded, you should all render devotional service to the Lord. According to your abilities and the occupations in which you are situated, you should engage your service at the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead with full confidence and without reservation. Then you will surely be successful in achieving the final objective in your lives. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is transcendental and not contaminated by this material world. But although He is concentrated spirit soul without material variety, for the benefit of the conditioned soul He nevertheless accepts different types of sacrifice performed with various material elements, rituals and mantras and offered to the demigods under different names according to the interests and purposes of the performers. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is all-pervading, but He is also manifested in different types of bodies which arise from a combination of material nature, time, desires and occupational duties. Thus different types of consciousness develop, just as fire, which is always basically the same, blazes in different ways according to the shape and dimension of firewood. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the master and enjoyer of the results of all sacrifices, and He is the supreme spiritual master as well. All of you citizens on the surface of the globe who have a relationship with me and are worshiping Him by dint of your occupational duties are bestowing your mercy upon me. Therefore, O my citizens, I thank you. The brahmanas and Vaisnavas are personally glorified by their characteristic powers of tolerance, penance, knowledge and education. By dint of all these spiritual assets, Vaisnavas are more powerful than royalty. It is therefore advised that the princely order not exhibit its material prowess before these two communities and should avoid offending them. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, the ancient, eternal Godhead, who is foremost amongst all great personalities, obtained the opulence of His staunch reputation, which purifies the entire universe, by worshiping the lotus feet of those brahmanas and Vaisnavas. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is everlastingly independent and who exists in everyone's heart, is very pleased with those who follow in His footsteps and engage without reservation in the service of the descendants of brahmanas and Vaisnavas, for He is always dear to brahmanas and Vaisnavas and they are always dear to Him. By regular service to the brahmanas and Vaisnavas, one can clear the dirt from his heart and thus enjoy supreme peace and liberation from material attachment and be satisfied. In this world there is no fruitive activity superior to serving the brahmana class, for this can bring pleasure to the demigods, for whom the many sacrifices are recommended. Although the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Ananta, eats through the fire sacrifices offered in the names of the different demigods, He does not take as much pleasure in eating through fire as He does in accepting offerings through the mouths of learned sages and devotees, for then He does not leave the association of devotees. In brahminical culture a brahmana's transcendental position is eternally maintained because the injunctions of the Vedas are accepted with faith, austerity, scriptural conclusions, full sense and mind control, and meditation. In this way the real goal of life is illuminated, just as one's face is fully reflected in a clear mirror. O respectable personalities present here, I beg the blessings of all of you that I may perpetually carry on my crown the dust of the lotus feet of such brahmanas and Vaisnavas until the end of my life. He who can carry such dust on his head is very soon relieved of all the reactions which arise from sinful life, and eventually he develops all good and desirable qualities. Whoever acquires the brahminical qualifications--whose only wealth is good behavior, who is grateful and who takes shelter of experienced persons--gets all the opulence of the world. I therefore wish that the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His associates be pleased with the brahmana class, with the cows and with me. The great sage Maitreya said: After hearing King Prthu speak so nicely, all the demigods, the denizens of Pitrloka, the brahmanas and the saintly persons present at the meeting congratulated him by expressing their good will. They all declared that the Vedic conclusion that one can conquer the heavenly planets by the action of a putra, or son, was fulfilled, for the most sinful Vena, who had been killed by the curse of the brahmanas, was now delivered from the darkest region of hellish life by his son, Maharaja Prthu. Similarly, Hiranyakasipu, who by dint of his sinful activities always defied the supremacy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, entered into the darkest region of hellish life; but by the grace of his great son, Prahlada Maharaja, he also was delivered and went back home, back to Godhead. All the saintly brahmanas thus addressed Prthu Maharaja: O best of the warriors, O father of this globe, may you be blessed with a long life, for you have great devotion to the infallible Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the master of all the universe. The audience continued: Dear King Prthu, your reputation is the purest of all, for you are preaching the glories of the most glorified of all, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Lord of the brahmanas. Since, due to our great fortune, we have you as our master, we think that we are living directly under the agency of the Lord. Our dear lord, it is your occupational duty to rule over your citizens. That is not a very wonderful task for a personality like you, who are so affectionate in seeing to the interests of the citizens, because you are full of mercy. That is the greatness of your character. The citizens continued: Today you have opened our eyes and revealed how to cross to the other side of the ocean of darkness. By our past deeds and by the arrangement of superior authority, we are entangled in a network of fruitive activities and have lost sight of the destination of life; thus we have been wandering within the universe. Dear lord, you are situated in your pure existential position of goodness; therefore you are the perfect representative of the Supreme Lord. You are glorified by your own prowess, and thus you are maintaining the entire world by introducing brahminical culture and protecting everyone in your line of duty as a ksatriya. Chapter Twenty-two :Prthu Maharaja's Meeting with the Four Kumaras The great sage Maitreya said: While the citizens were thus praying to the most powerful King Prthu, the four Kumaras, who were as bright as the sun, arrived on the spot. Seeing the glowing effulgence of the four Kumaras, the masters of all mystic Power, the King and his associates could recognize them as they descended from the sky. Seeing the four Kumaras, Prthu Maharaja was greatly anxious to receive them. Therefore the King, with all his officers, very hastily got up, as anxiously as a conditioned soul whose senses are immediately attracted by the modes of material nature. When the great sages accepted their reception, according to the instructions of the sastras, and finally took their seats offered by the King, the King, influenced by the glories of the sages, immediately bowed down. Thus he worshiped the four Kumaras. After this, the King took the water which had washed the lotus feet of the Kumaras and sprinkled it over his hair. By such respectful actions, the King, as an exemplary personality, showed how to receive a spiritually advanced personality. The four great sages were elder to Lord Shiva, and when they were seated on the golden throne, they appeared just like fire blazing on an altar. Maharaja Prthu, out of his great gentleness and respect for them, began to speak with great restraint as follows. King Prthu spoke: My dear great sages, auspiciousness personified, it is very difficult for even the mystic yogis to see you. Indeed, you are very rarely seen. I do not know what kind of pious activity I performed for you to grace me by appearing before me without difficulty. Any person upon whom the brahmanas and Vaisnavas are pleased can achieve anything which is very rare to obtain in this world as well as after death. Not only that, but one also receives the favor of the auspicious Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu, who accompany the brahmanas and Vaisnavas. Prthu Maharaja continued: Although you are traveling in all planetary systems, people cannot know you, just as they cannot know the Supersoul, although He is within everyone's heart as the witness of everything. Even Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva cannot understand the Supersoul. A person who is not very rich and is attached to family life becomes highly glorified when saintly persons are present in his home. The master and servants who are engaged in offering the exalted visitors water, a sitting place and paraphernalia for reception are glorified, and the home itself is also glorified. On the contrary, even though full of all opulence and material prosperity, any householder's house where the devotees of the Lord are never allowed to come in, and where there is no water for washing their feet, is to be considered a tree in which all venomous serpents live. Maharaja Prthu offered his welcome to the four Kumaras, addressing them as the best of the brahmanas. He welcomed them, saying: From the beginning of your birth you strictly observed the vows of celibacy, and although you are experienced in the path of liberation, you are keeping yourselves just like small children. Prthu Maharaja inquired from the sages about persons entangled in this dangerous material existence because of their previous actions; could such persons, whose only aim is sense gratification, be blessed with any good fortune? Prthu Maharaja continued: My dear sirs, there is no need to ask about your good and bad fortune because you are always absorbed in spiritual bliss. The mental concoction of the auspicious and inauspicious does not exist in you. I am completely assured that personalities like you are the only friends for persons who are blazing in the fire of material existence. I therefore ask you how in this material world we can very soon achieve the ultimate goal of life. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is always anxious to elevate the living entities, who are His parts and parcels, and for their special benefit, the Lord travels all over the world in the form of self-realized persons like you. The great sage Maitreya continued: Thus Sanat-kumara, the best of the celibates, after hearing the speech of Prthu Maharaja, which was meaningful, appropriate, full of precise words and very sweet to hear, smiled with full satisfaction and began to speak as follows. Sanat-kumara said: My dear King Prthu, I am very nicely questioned by you. Such questions are beneficial for all living entities, especially because they are raised by you, who are always thinking of the good of others. Although you know everything, you ask such questions because that is the behavior of saintly persons. Such intelligence is befitting your position. When there is a congregation of devotees, their discussions, questions and answers become conclusive to both the speaker and the audience. Thus such a meeting is beneficial for everyone's real happiness. Sanat-kumara continued: My dear King, you already have an inclination to glorify the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Such attachment is very difficult to achieve, but when one has attained such unflinching faith in the Lord, it automatically cleanses lusty desires from the core of the heart. It has been conclusively decided in the scriptures, after due consideration, that the ultimate goal for the welfare of human society is detachment from the bodily concept of life and increased and steadfast attachment for the Supreme Lord, who is transcendental, beyond the modes of material nature. Attachment for the Supreme can be increased by practicing devotional service, inquiring about the Supreme Personality of Godhead, applying bhakti-yoga in life, worshiping the Yogesvara, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and by hearing and chanting about the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. These actions are pious in themselves. One has to make progress in spiritual life by not associating with persons who are simply interested in sense gratification and making money. Not only such persons, but one who associates with such persons should be avoided. One should mold his life in such a way that he cannot live in peace without drinking the nectar of the glorification of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari. One can be thus elevated by being disgusted with the taste for sense enjoyment. A candidate for spiritual advancement must be nonviolent, must follow in the footsteps of great acaryas, must always remember the nectar of the pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, must follow the regulative principles without material desire and, while following the regulative principles, should not blaspheme others. A devotee should lead a very simple life and not be disturbed by the duality of opposing elements. He should learn to tolerate them. The devotee should gradually increase the culture of devotional service by constant hearing of the transcendental qualities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. These pastimes are like ornamental decorations on the ears of devotees. By rendering devotional service and transcending the material qualities, one can easily be fixed in transcendence in the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Upon becoming fixed in his attachment to the Supreme Personality of Godhead by the grace of the spiritual master and by awakening knowledge and detachment, the living entity, situated within the heart of the body and covered by the five elements, burns up his material surroundings exactly as fire, arising from wood, burns the wood itself. When a person becomes devoid of all material desires and liberated from all material qualities, he transcends distinctions between actions executed externally and internally. At that time the difference between the soul and the Supersoul, which was existing before self-realization, is annihilated. When a dream is over, there is no longer a distinction between the dream and the dreamer. When the soul exists for sense gratification, he creates different desires, and for that reason he becomes subjected to designations. But when one is in the transcendental position, he is no longer interested in anything except fulfilling the desires of the Lord. Only because of different causes does a person see a difference between himself and others, just as one sees the reflection of a body appearing differently manifested on water, on oil or in a mirror. When one's mind and senses are attracted to sense objects for enjoyment, the mind becomes agitated. As a result of continually thinking of sense objects, one's real consciousness almost becomes lost, like the water in a lake that is gradually sucked up by the big grass straws on its bank. When one deviates from his original consciousness, he loses the capacity to remember his previous position or recognize his present one. When remembrance is lost, all knowledge acquired is based on a false foundation. When this occurs, learned scholars consider that the soul is lost. There is no stronger obstruction to one's self-interest than thinking other subject matters to be more pleasing than one's self-realization. For human society, constantly thinking of how to earn money and apply it for sense gratification brings about the destruction of everyone's interests. When one becomes devoid of knowledge and devotional service, he enters into species of life like those of trees and stones. Those who strongly desire to cross the ocean of nescience must not associate with the modes of ignorance, for hedonistic activities are the greatest obstructions to realization of religious principles, economic development, regulated sense gratification and, at last, liberation. Out of the four principles--namely religion, economic development, sense gratification and liberation--liberation has to be taken very seriously. The other three are subject to destruction by the stringent law of nature--death. We accept as blessings different states of higher life, distinguishing them from lower states of life, but we should know that such distinctions exist only in relation to the interchange of the modes of material nature. Actually these states of life have no permanent existence, for all of them will be destroyed by the supreme controller. Sanat-kumara advised the King: Therefore, my dear King Prthu, try to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is living within everyone's heart along with the individual soul, in each and every body, either moving or not moving. The individual souls are fully covered by the gross material body and subtle body made of the life air and intelligence. The Supreme Personality of Godhead manifests Himself as one with the cause and effect within this body, but one who has transcended the illusory energy by deliberate consideration, which clears the misconception of a snake for a rope, can understand that the Paramatma is eternally transcendental to the material creation and situated in pure internal energy. Thus the Lord is transcendental to all material contamination. Unto Him only must one surrender. The devotees, who are always engaged in the service of the toes of the lotus feet of the Lord, can very easily overcome hard-knotted desires for fruitive activities. Because this is very difficult, the nondevotees--the jnanis and yogis--although trying to stop the waves of sense gratification, cannot do so. Therefore you are advised to engage in the devotional service of Krishna, the son of Vasudeva. The ocean of nescience is very difficult to cross because it is infested with many dangerous sharks. Although those who are nondevotees undergo severe austerities and penances to cross that ocean, we recommend that you simply take shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord, which are like boats for crossing the ocean. Although the ocean is difficult to cross, by taking shelter of His lotus feet you will overcome all dangers. The great sage Maitreya continued: Being thus enlightened in complete spiritual knowledge by the son of Brahma--one of the Kumaras, who was complete in spiritual knowledge--the King worshiped them in the following words. The King said: O brahmana, O powerful one, formerly Lord Vishnu showed me His causeless mercy, indicating that you would come to my house, and to confirm that blessing, you have all come. My dear brahmana, you have carried out the order thoroughly because you are also as compassionate as the Lord. It is my duty, therefore, to offer you something, but all I possess are but remnants of food taken by great saintly persons. What shall I give? The King continued: Therefore, my dear brahmanas, my life, wife, children, home, furniture and household paraphernalia, my kingdom, strength, land and especially my treasury are all offered unto you. Since only a person who is completely educated according to the principles of Vedic knowledge deserves to be commander-in-chief, ruler of the state, the first to chastise and the proprietor of the whole planet, Prthu Maharaja offered everything to the Kumaras. The ksatriyas, vaisyas and sudras eat their food by virtue of the brahmanas' mercy. It is the brahmanas who enjoy their own property, clothe themselves with their own property and give charity with their own property. Prthu Maharaja continued: How can such persons, who have rendered unlimited service by explaining the path of self-realization in relation to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and whose explanations are given for our enlightenment with complete conviction and Vedic evidence, be repaid except by folded palms containing water for their satisfaction? Such great personalities can be satisfied only by their own activities, which are distributed amongst human society out of their unlimited mercy. The great sage Maitreya continued: Being thus worshiped by Maharaja Prthu, the four Kumaras, who were masters of devotional service, became very pleased. Indeed, they appeared in the sky and praised the character of the King, and everyone observed them. Amongst great personalities, Maharaja Prthu was the chief by virtue of his fixed position in relation to spiritual enlightenment. He remained satisfied as one who has achieved all success in spiritual understanding. Being self-satisfied, Maharaja Prthu executed his duties as perfectly as possible according to the time and his situation, strength and financial position. His only aim in all his activities was to satisfy the Absolute Truth. In this way, he duly acted. Maharaja Prthu completely dedicated himself to be an eternal servant of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, transcendental to material nature. Consequently all the fruits of his activities were dedicated to the Lord, and he always thought of himself as the servant of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the proprietor of everything. Maharaja Prthu, who was very opulent due to the prosperity of his entire empire, remained at home as a householder. Since he was never inclined to utilize his opulences for the gratification of his senses, he remained unattached, exactly like the sun, which is unaffected in all circumstances. Being situated in the liberated position of devotional service, Prthu Maharaja not only performed all fruitive activities but also begot five sons by his wife, Arci. Indeed, all his sons were begotten according to his own desire. After begetting five sons, named Vijitasva, Dhumrakesa, Haryaksa, Dravina and Vrka, Prthu Maharaja continued to rule the planet. He accepted all the qualities of the deities who governed all other planets. Since Maharaja Prthu was a perfect devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he wanted to protect the Lord's creation by pleasing the various citizens according to their various desires. Therefore Prthu Maharaja used to please them in all respects by his words, mentality, works and gentle behavior. Maharaja Prthu became as celebrated a king as Soma-raja, the king of the moon. He was also powerful and exacting, just like the sun-god, who distributes heat and light and at the same time exacts all the planetary waters. Maharaja Prthu was so strong and powerful that no one could disobey his orders any more than one could conquer fire itself. He was so strong that he was compared to Indra, the King of heaven, whose power is insuperable. On the other hand, Maharaja Prthu was also as tolerant as the earth, and in fulfilling various desires of human society, he was like heaven itself. Just as rainfall satisfies everyone's desires, Maharaja Prthu used to satisfy everyone. He was like the sea in that no one could understand his depths, and he was like Meru, the king of hills, in the fixity of his purpose. Maharaja Prthu's intelligence and education were exactly like that of Yamaraja, the superintendent of death. His opulence was comparable to the Himalaya Mountains, where all valuable jewels and metals are stocked. He possessed great riches like Kuvera, the treasurer of the heavenly planets, and no one could reveal his secrets, for they were like the demigod Varuna's. In his bodily strength and in the strength of his senses, Maharaja Prthu was as strong as the wind, which can go anywhere and everywhere. As far as his intolerance was concerned, he was just like the all-powerful Rudra expansion of Lord Shiva, or Sadasiva. In his bodily beauty he was just like Cupid, and in his thoughtfulness he was like a lion. In his affection he was just like Svayambhuva Manu, and in his ability to control he was like Lord Brahma. In his personal behavior, Prthu Maharaja exhibited all good qualities, and in spiritual knowledge he was exactly like Brhaspati. In self-control he was like the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. As far as his devotional service was concerned, he was a great follower of devotees who were attached to cow protection and the rendering of all service to the spiritual master and the brahmanas. He was perfect in his shyness and in his gentle behavior, and when he engaged in some philanthropic activity, he worked as if he were working for his own personal self. Throughout the whole universe--in the higher, lower and middle planetary systems--Prthu Maharaja's reputation was loudly declared, and all ladies and saintly persons heard his glories, which were as sweet as the glories of Lord Ramacandra. Chapter Twenty-three : Maharaja Prthu's Going Back Home At the last stage of his life, when Maharaja Prthu saw himself getting old, that great soul, who was king of the world, divided whatever opulence he had accumulated amongst all kinds of living entities, moving and nonmoving. He arranged pensions for everyone according to religious principles, and after executing the orders of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in complete coordination with Him, he dedicated his sons unto the earth, which was considered to be his daughter. Then Maharaja Prthu left the presence of his citizens, who were almost lamenting and crying from feeling separation from the King, and went to the forest alone with his wife to perform austerities. After retiring from family life, Maharaja Prthu strictly followed the regulations of retired life and underwent severe austerities in the forest. He engaged in these activities as seriously as he had formerly engaged in leading the government and conquering everyone. In the tapo-vana, Maharaja Prthu sometimes ate the trunks and roots of trees, and sometimes he ate fruit and dried leaves, and for some weeks he drank only water. Finally he lived simply by breathing air. Following the principles of forest living and the footsteps of the great sages and munis, Prthu Maharaja accepted five kinds of heating processes during the summer season, exposed himself to torrents of rain in the rainy season and, in the winter, stood in water up to his neck. He also used to simply lie down on the floor to sleep. Maharaja Prthu underwent all these severe austerities in order to control his words and his senses, to refrain from discharging his semen and to control the life air within his body. All this he did for the satisfaction of Krishna. He had no other purpose. By thus practicing severe austerities, Maharaja Prthu gradually became steadfast in spiritual life and completely free of all desires for fruitive activities. He also practiced breathing exercises to control his mind and senses, and by such control he became completely free from all desires for fruitive activity. Thus the best amongst human beings, Maharaja Prthu, followed that path of spiritual advancement which was advised by Sanat-kumara. That is to say, he worshiped the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna. Maharaja Prthu thus engaged completely in devotional service, executing the rules and regulations strictly according to principles, twenty-four hours daily. Thus his love and devotion unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, developed and became unflinching and fixed. By regularly discharging devotional service, Prthu Maharaja became transcendental in mind and could therefore constantly think of the lotus feet of the Lord. Because of this, he became completely detached and attained perfect knowledge by which he could transcend all doubt. Thus he was freed from the clutches of false ego and the material conception of life. When he became completely free from the conception of bodily life, Maharaja Prthu realized Lord Krishna sitting in everyone's heart as the Paramatma. Being thus able to get all instructions from Him, he gave up all other practices of yoga and jnana. He was not even interested in the perfection of the yoga and jnana systems, for he thoroughly realized that devotional service to Krishna is the ultimate goal of life and that unless the yogis and jnanis become attracted to krsna-katha [narrations about Krishna], their illusions concerning existence can never be dispelled. In due course of time, when Prthu Maharaja was to give up his body, he fixed his mind firmly upon the lotus feet of Krishna, and thus, completely situated on the brahma-bhuta platform, he gave up the material body. When Maharaja Prthu practiced a particular yogic sitting posture, he blocked the doors of his anus with his ankles, pressed his right and left calves and gradually raised his life air upward, passing it on to the circle of his navel, up to his heart and throat, and finally pushed it upward to the central position between his two eyebrows. In this way, Prthu Maharaja gradually raised his air of life up to the hole in his skull, whereupon he lost all desire for material existence. Gradually he merged his air of life with the totality of air, his body with the totality of earth, and the fire within his body with the totality of fire. In this way, according to the different positions of the various parts of the body, Prthu Maharaja merged the holes of his senses with the sky; his bodily liquids, such as blood and various secretions, with the totality of water; and he merged earth with water, then water with fire, fire with air, air with sky, and so on. He amalgamated the mind with the senses and the senses with the sense objects, according to their respective positions, and he also amalgamated the material ego with the total material energy, mahat-tattva. Prthu Maharaja then offered the total designation of the living entity unto the supreme controller of illusory energy. Being released from all the designations by which the living entity became entrapped, he became free by knowledge and renunciation and by the spiritual force of his devotional service. In this way, being situated in his original constitutional position of Krishna consciousness, he gave up this body as a prabhu, or controller of the senses. The Queen, the wife of Prthu Maharaja, whose name was Arci, followed her husband into the forest. Since she was a queen, her body was very delicate. Although she did not deserve to live in the forest, she voluntarily touched her lotus feet to the ground. Although she was not accustomed to such difficulties, Queen Arci followed her husband in the regulative principles of living in the forest like great sages. She lay down on the ground and ate only fruits, flowers and leaves, and because she was not fit for these activities, she became frail and thin. Yet because of the pleasure she derived in serving her husband, she did not feel any difficulties. When Queen Arci saw that her husband, who had been so merciful to her and the earth, no longer showed symptoms of life, she lamented for a little while and then built a fiery pyre on top of a hill and placed the body of her husband on it. After this, the Queen executed the necessary funerary functions and offered oblations of water. After bathing in the river, she offered obeisances to various demigods situated in the sky in the different planetary systems. She then circumambulated the fire and, while thinking of the lotus feet of her husband, entered its flames. After observing this brave act performed by the chaste wife Arci, the wife of the great King Prthu, many thousands of the wives of the demigods, along with their husbands, offered prayers to the Queen, for they were very much satisfied. At that time the demigods were situated on the top of Mandara Hill, and all their wives began to shower flowers on the funeral pyre and began to talk amongst themselves as follows. The wives of the demigods said: All glories to Queen Arci! We can see that this queen of the great King Prthu, the emperor of all the kings of the world, has served her husband with mind, speech and body exactly as the goddess of fortune serves the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Yajnesa, or Vishnu. The wives of the demigods continued: Just see how this chaste lady, Arci, by dint of her inconceivable pious activities, is still following her husband upward, as far as we can see. In this material world, every human being has a short span of life, but those who are engaged in devotional service go back home, back to Godhead, for they are actually on the path of liberation. For such persons, there is nothing which is not available. Any person who engages himself within this material world in performing activities that necessitate great struggle, and who, after obtaining a human form of life--which is a chance to attain liberation from miseries--undertakes the difficult tasks of fruitive activities, must be considered to be cheated and envious of his own self. The great sage Maitreya continued speaking: My dear Vidura, when the wives of the denizens of heaven were thus talking amongst themselves, Queen Arci reached the planet which her husband, Maharaja Prthu, the topmost self-realized soul, had attained. Maitreya continued: The greatest of all devotees, Maharaja Prthu, was very powerful, and his character was liberal, magnificent and magnanimous. Thus I have described him to you as far as possible. Any person who describes the great characteristics of King Prthu with faith and determination--whether he reads or hears of them himself or helps others to hear of them--is certain to attain the very planet which Maharaja Prthu attained. In other words, such a person also returns home to the Vaikuntha planets, back to Godhead. If one hears of the characteristics of Prthu Maharaja and is a brahmana, he becomes perfectly qualified with brahminical powers; if he is a ksatriya, he becomes a king of the world; if he is a vaisya, he becomes a master of other vaisyas and many animals; and if he is a sudra, he becomes the topmost devotee. It does not matter whether one is a man or woman. Anyone who, with great respect, hears this narration of Maharaja Prthu will become the father of many children if he is without children and will become the richest of men if he is without money. Also, one who hears this narration three times will become very reputable if he is not recognized in society, and he will become a great scholar if he is illiterate. In other words, hearing of the narrations of Prthu Maharaja is so auspicious that it drives away all bad luck. By hearing the narration of Prthu Maharaja, one can become great, increase his duration of life, gain promotion to the heavenly planets and counteract the contaminations of this age of Kali. In addition, one can promote the causes of religion, economic development, sense gratification and liberation. Therefore from all sides it is advisable for a materialistic person who is interested in such things to read and hear the narrations of the life and character of Prthu Maharaja. If a king, who is desirous of attaining victory and ruling power, chants the narration of Prthu Maharaja three times before going forth on his chariot, all subordinate kings will automatically render all kinds of taxes unto him--as they rendered them unto Maharaja Prthu--simply upon his order. A pure devotee who is executing the different processes of devotional service may be situated in the transcendental position, being completely absorbed in Krishna consciousness, but even he, while discharging devotional service, must hear, read and induce others to hear about the character and life of Prthu Maharaja. The great sage Maitreya continued: My dear Vidura, I have as far as possible spoken the narrations about Prthu Maharaja, which enrich one's devotional attitude. Whoever takes advantage of these benefits also goes back home, back to Godhead, like Maharaja Prthu. Whoever, with great reverence and adoration, regularly reads, chants and describes the history of Maharaja Prthu's activities will certainly increase unflinching faith and attraction for the lotus feet of the Lord. The Lord's lotus feet are the boat by which one can cross the ocean of nescience. Chapter Twenty-four : Chanting the Song Sung by Lord Shiva The great sage Maitreya continued: Vijitasva, the eldest son of Maharaja Prthu, who had a reputation like his father's, became emperor and gave his younger brothers different directions of the world to govern, for he was very affectionate toward his brothers. Maharaja Vijitasva offered the eastern part of the world to his brother Haryaksa, the southern part to Dhumrakesa, the western part to Vrka and the northern part to Dravina. Formerly, Maharaja Vijitasva pleased the King of heaven, Indra, and from him received the title Antardhana. His wife's name was Sikhandini, and by her he begot three good sons. The three sons of Maharaja Antardhana were named Pavaka, Pavamana and Suci. Formerly these three personalities were the demigods of fire, but due to the curse of the great sage Vasistha, they became the sons of Maharaja Antardhana. As such, they were as powerful as the fire-gods, and they attained the destination of mystic yoga power, being again situated as the demigods of fire. Maharaja Antardhana had another wife, named Nabhasvati, and by her he was happy to beget another son, named Havirdhana. Since Maharaja Antardhana was very liberal, he did not kill Indra while the demigod was stealing his father's horse at the sacrifice. Whenever Antardhana, the supreme royal power, had to exact taxes, punish his citizens or fine them severely, he was not willing to do so. Consequently he retired from the execution of such duties and engaged himself in the performance of different sacrifices. Although Maharaja Antardhana was engaged in performing sacrifices, because he was a self-realized soul he very intelligently rendered devotional service to the Lord, who eradicates all the fears of His devotees. By thus worshiping the Supreme Lord, Maharaja Antardhana, rapt in ecstasy, attained His planet very easily. Havirdhana, the son of Maharaja Antardhana, had a wife named Havirdhani, who gave birth to six sons, named Barhisat, Gaya, Sukla, Krishna, Satya and Jitavrata. The great sage Maitreya continued: My dear Vidura, Havirdhana's very powerful son named Barhisat was very expert in performing various kinds of fruitive sacrifices, and he was also expert in the practice of mystic yoga. By his great qualifications, he became known as Prajapati. Maharaja Barhisat executed many sacrifices all over the world. He scattered kusa grasses and kept the tops of the grasses pointed eastward. Maharaja Barhisat--henceforward known as Pracinabarhi--was ordered by the supreme demigod Lord Brahma to marry the daughter of the ocean named Satadruti. Her bodily features were completely beautiful, and she was very young. She was decorated with the proper garments, and when she came into the marriage arena and began circumambulating it, the fire-god Agni became so attracted to her that he desired her company, exactly as he had formerly desired to enjoy Suki. While Satadruti was thus being married, the demons, the denizens of Gandharvaloka, the great sages, and the denizens of Siddhaloka, the earthly planets and Nagaloka, although highly exalted, were all captivated by the tinkling of her ankle bells. King Pracinabarhi begot ten children in the womb of Satadruti. All of them were equally endowed with religiosity, and all of them were known as the Pracetas. When all these Pracetas were ordered by their father to marry and beget children, they all entered the ocean and practiced austerities and penances for ten thousand years. Thus they worshiped the master of all austerity, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When all the sons of Pracinabarhi left home to execute austerities, they met Lord Shiva, who, out of great mercy, instructed them about the Absolute Truth. All the sons of Pracinabarhi meditated upon the instructions, chanting and worshiping them with great care and attention. Vidura asked Maitreya: My dear brahmana, why did the Pracetas meet Lord Shiva on the way? Please tell me how the meeting happened, how Lord Shiva became very pleased with them and how he instructed them. Certainly such talks are important, and I wish that you please be merciful upon me and describe them. The great sage Vidura continued: O best of the brahmanas, it is very difficult for living entities encaged within this material body to have personal contact with Lord Shiva. Even great sages who have no material attachments do not contact him, despite their always being absorbed in meditation to attain his personal contact. Lord Shiva, the most powerful demigod, second only to Lord Vishnu, is self- sufficient. Although he has nothing to aspire for in the material world, for the benefit of those in the material world he is always busily engaged everywhere and is accompanied by his dangerous energies like goddess Kali and goddess Durga. The great sage Maitreya continued: My dear Vidura, because of their pious nature, all the sons of Pracinabarhi very seriously accepted the words of their father with heart and soul, and with these words on their heads, they went toward the west to execute their father's order. While traveling, the Pracetas happened to see a great reservoir of water which seemed almost as big as the ocean. The water of this lake was so calm and quiet that it seemed like the mind of a great soul, and its inhabitants, the aquatics, appeared very peaceful and happy to be under the protection of such a watery reservoir. In that great lake there were different types of lotus flowers. Some of them were bluish, and some of them were red. Some of them grew at night, some in the day and some, like the indivara lotus flower, in the evening. Combined together, the lotus flowers filled the lake so full that the lake appeared to be a great mine of such flowers. Consequently, on the shores there were swans and cranes, cakravaka, karandava and other beautiful water birds standing about. There were various trees and creepers on all sides of the lake, and there were mad bumblebees humming all about them. The trees appeared to be very jolly due to the sweet humming of the bumblebees, and the saffron, which was contained in the lotus flowers, was being thrown into the air. These all created such an atmosphere that it appeared as though a festival were taking place there. The sons of the King became very much amazed when they heard vibrations from various drums and kettledrums along with other orderly musical sounds pleasing to the ear. The Pracetas were fortunate to see Lord Shiva, the chief of the demigods, emerging from the water with his associates. His bodily luster was just like molten gold, his throat was bluish, and he had three eyes, which looked very mercifully upon his devotees. He was accompanied by many musicians, who were glorifying him. As soon as the Pracetas saw Lord Shiva, they immediately offered their obeisances in great amazement and fell down at the lotus feet of the lord. Lord Shiva became very pleased with the Pracetas because generally Lord Shiva is the protector of pious persons and persons of gentle behavior. Being very much pleased with the princes, he began to speak as follows. Lord Shiva said: You are all the sons of King Pracinabarhi, and I wish all good fortune to you. I also know what you are going to do, and therefore I am visible to you just to show my mercy upon you. Lord Shiva continued: Any person who is surrendered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, the controller of everything--material nature as well as the living entity--is actually very dear to me. A person who executes his occupational duty properly for one hundred births becomes qualified to occupy the post of Brahma, and if he becomes more qualified, he can approach Lord Shiva. A person who is directly surrendered to Lord Krishna, or Vishnu, in unalloyed devotional service is immediately promoted to the spiritual planets. Lord Shiva and other demigods attain these planets after the destruction of this material world. You are all devotees of the Lord, and as such I appreciate that you are as respectable as the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. I know in this way that the devotees also respect me and that I am dear to them. Thus no one can be as dear to the devotees as I am. Now I shall chant one mantra which is not only transcendental, pure and auspicious, but is the best prayer for anyone who is aspiring to attain the ultimate goal of life. When I chant this mantra, please hear it carefully and attentively. The great sage Maitreya continued: Out of his causeless mercy, the exalted personality Lord Shiva, a great devotee of Lord Narayana, continued to speak to the King's sons, who were standing with folded hands. Lord Shiva addressed the Supreme Personality of Godhead with the following prayer: O Supreme Personality of Godhead, all glories unto You. You are the most exalted of all self-realized souls. Since You are always auspicious for the self-realized, I wish that You be auspicious for me. You are worshipable by virtue of the all-perfect instructions You give. You are the Supersoul; therefore I offer my obeisances unto You as the supreme living being. My Lord, You are the origin of the creation by virtue of the lotus flower which sprouts from Your navel. You are the supreme controller of the senses and the sense objects, and You are also the all-pervading Vasudeva. You are most peaceful, and because of Your self-illuminated existence, You are not disturbed by the six kinds of transformations. My dear Lord, You are the origin of the subtle material ingredients, the master of all integration as well as the master of all disintegration, the predominating Deity named Sankarsana, and the master of all intelligence, known as the predominating Deity Pradyumna. Therefore, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You. My Lord, as the supreme directing Deity known as Aniruddha, You are the master of the senses and the mind. I therefore offer my obeisances unto You again and again. You are known as Ananta as well as Sankarsana because of Your ability to destroy the whole creation by the blazing fire from Your mouth. My Lord, O Aniruddha, You are the authority by which the doors of the higher planetary systems and liberation are opened. You are always within the pure heart of the living entity. Therefore I offer my obeisances unto You. You are the possessor of semen which is like gold, and thus, in the form of fire, You help the Vedic sacrifices, beginning with catur-hotra. Therefore I offer my obeisances unto You. My Lord, You are the provider of the Pitrlokas as well as all the demigods. You are the predominating deity of the moon and the master of all three Vedas. I offer my respectful obeisances unto You because You are the original source of satisfaction for all living entities. My dear Lord, You are the gigantic universal form which contains all the individual bodies of the living entities. You are the maintainer of the three worlds, and as such You maintain the mind, senses, body, and air of life within them. I therefore offer my respectful obeisances unto You. My dear Lord, by expanding Your transcendental vibrations, You reveal the actual meaning of everything. You are the all-pervading sky within and without, and You are the ultimate goal of pious activities executed both within this material world and beyond it. I therefore offer my respectful obeisances again and again unto You. My dear Lord, You are the viewer of the results of pious activities. You are inclination, disinclination and their resultant activities. You are the cause of the miserable conditions of life caused by irreligion, and therefore You are death. I offer You my respectful obeisances. My dear Lord, You are the topmost of all bestowers of all benediction, the oldest and supreme enjoyer amongst all enjoyers. You are the master of all the worlds' metaphysical philosophy, for You are the supreme cause of all causes, Lord Krishna. You are the greatest of all religious principles, the supreme mind, and You have a brain which is never checked by any condition. Therefore I repeatedly offer my obeisances unto You. My dear Lord, You are the supreme controller of the worker, sense activities and results of sense activities [karma]. Therefore You are the controller of the body, mind and senses. You are also the supreme controller of egotism, known as Rudra. You are the source of knowledge and the activities of the Vedic injunctions. My dear Lord, I wish to see You exactly in the form that Your very dear devotees worship. You have many other forms, but I wish to see Your form that is especially liked by the devotees. Please be merciful upon me and show me that form, for only that form worshiped by the devotees can perfectly satisfy all the demands of the senses. The Lord's beauty resembles a dark cloud during the rainy season. As the rainfall glistens, His bodily features also glisten. Indeed, He is the sum total of all beauty. The Lord has four arms and an exquisitely beautiful face with eyes like lotus petals, a beautiful highly raised nose, a mind-attracting smile, a beautiful forehead and equally beautiful and fully decorated ears. The Lord is superexcellently beautiful on account of His open and merciful smile and Mis sidelong glance upon His devotees. His black hair is curly, and His garments, waving in the wind, appear like flying saffron pollen from lotus flowers. His glittering earrings, shining helmet, bangles, garland, ankle bells, waist belt and various other bodily ornaments combine with conchshell, disc, club and lotus flower to increase the natural beauty of the Kaustubha pearl on His chest. The Lord has shoulders just like a lion's. Upon these shoulders are garlands, necklaces and epaulets, and all of these are always glittering. Besides these, there is the beauty of the Kaustubha-mani pearl, and on the dark chest of the Lord there are streaks named Srivatsa, which are signs of the goddess of fortune. The glittering of these streaks excels the beauty of the golden streaks on a gold-testing stone. Indeed, such beauty defeats a gold-testing stone. The Lord's abdomen is beautiful due to three ripples in the flesh. Being so round, His abdomen resembles the leaf of a banyan tree, and when He exhales and inhales, the movement of the ripples appears very, very beautiful. The coils within the navel of the Lord are so deep that it appears that the entire universe sprouted out of it and yet again wishes to go back. The lower part of the Lord's waist is dark and covered with yellow garments and a belt bedecked with golden embroidery work. His symmetrical lotus feet and the calves, thighs and joints of His legs are extraordinarily beautiful. Indeed, the Lord's entire body appears to be well built. My dear Lord, Your two lotus feet are so beautiful that they appear like two blossoming petals of the lotus flower which grows during the autumn season. Indeed, the nails of Your lotus feet emanate such a great effulgence that they immediately dissipate all the darkness in the heart of a conditioned soul. My dear Lord, kindly show me that form of Yours which always dissipates all kinds of darkness in the heart of a devotee. My dear Lord, You are the supreme spiritual master of everyone; therefore all conditioned souls covered with the darkness of ignorance can be enlightened by You as the spiritual master. My dear Lord, those who desire to purify their existence must always engage in meditation upon Your lotus feet, as described above. Those who are serious about executing their occupational duties and who want freedom from fear must take to this process of bhakti-yoga. My dear Lord, the king in charge of the heavenly kingdom is also desirous of obtaining the ultimate goal of life--devotional service. Similarly, You are the ultimate destination of those who identify themselves with You [aham brahmasmi]. However, it is very difficult for them to attain You, whereas a devotee can very easily attain Your Lordship. My dear Lord, pure devotional service is even difficult for liberated persons to discharge, but devotional service alone can satisfy You. Who will take to other processes of self-realization if he is actually serious about the perfection of life? Simply by expansion of His eyebrows, invincible time personified can immediately vanquish the entire universe. However, formidable time does not approach the devotee who has taken complete shelter at Your lotus feet. If one by chance associates with a devotee, even for a fraction of a moment, he no longer is subject to attraction by the results of karma or jnana. What interest then can he have in the benedictions of the demigods, who are subject to the laws of birth and death? My dear Lord, Your lotus feet are the cause of all auspicious things and the destroyer of all the contamination of sin. I therefore beg Your Lordship to bless me by the association of Your devotees, who are completely purified by worshiping Your lotus feet and who are so merciful upon the conditioned souls. I think that Your real benediction will be to allow me to associate with such devotees. The devotee whose heart has been completely cleansed by the process of devotional service and who is favored by Bhaktidevi does not become bewildered by the external energy, which is just like a dark well. Being completely cleansed of all material contamination in this way, a devotee is able to understand very happily Your name, fame, form, activities, etc. My dear Lord, the impersonal Brahman spreads everywhere, like the sunshine or the sky. And that impersonal Brahman, which spreads throughout the universe and in which the entire universe is manifested, is You. My dear Lord, You have manifold energies, and these energies are manifested in manifold forms. With such energies You have also created this cosmic manifestation, and although You maintain it as if it were permanent, You ultimately annihilate it. Although You are never disturbed by such changes and alterations, the living entities are disturbed by them, and therefore they find the cosmic manifestation to be different or separated from You. My Lord, You are always independent, and I can clearly see this fact. My dear Lord, Your universal form consists of all five elements, the senses, mind, intelligence, false ego (which is material) and the Paramatma, Your partial expansion, who is the director of everything. Yogis other than the devotees--namely the karma-yogi and jnana-yogi--worship You by their respective actions in their respective positions. It is stated both in the Vedas and in the sastras that are corollaries of the Vedas, and indeed everywhere, that it is only You who are to be worshiped. That is the expert version of all the Vedas. My dear Lord, You are the only Supreme Person, the cause of all causes. Before the creation of this material world, Your material energy remains in a dormant condition. When Your material energy is agitated, the three qualities--namely goodness, passion and ignorance--act, and as a result the total material energy- -egotism, ether, air, fire, water, earth and all the various demigods and saintly persons--becomes manifest. Thus the material world is created. My dear Lord, after creating by Your own potencies, You enter within the creation in four kinds of forms. Being within the hearts of the living entities, You know them and know how they are enjoying their senses. The so-called happiness of this material creation is exactly like the bees' enjoyment of honey after it has been collected in the honeycomb. My dear Lord, Your absolute authority cannot be directly experienced, but one can guess by seeing the activities of the world that everything is being destroyed in due course of time. The force of time is very strong, and everything is being destroyed by something else--just as one animal is being eaten by another animal. Time scatters everything, exactly as the wind scatters clouds in the sky. My dear Lord, all living entities within this material world are mad after planning for things, and they are always busy with a desire to do this or that. This is due to uncontrollable greed. The greed for material enjoyment is always existing in the living entity, but Your Lordship is always alert, and in due course of time You strike him, just as a snake seizes a mouse and very easily swallows him. My dear Lord, any learned person knows that unless he worships You, his entire life is spoiled. Knowing this, how could he give up worshiping Your lotus feet? Even our father and spiritual master, Lord Brahma, unhesitatingly worshiped You, and the fourteen Manus followed in his footsteps. My dear Lord, all actually learned persons know You as the Supreme Brahman and the Supersoul. Although the entire universe is afraid of Lord Rudra, who ultimately annihilates everything, for the learned devotees You are the fearless destination of all. My dear sons of the King, just execute your occupational duty as kings with a pure heart. Just chant this prayer fixing your mind on the lotus feet of the Lord. That will bring you all good fortune, for the Lord will be very much pleased with you. Therefore, O sons of the King, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, is situated in everyone's heart. He is also within your hearts. Therefore chant the glories of the Lord and always meditate upon Him continuously. My dear princes, in the form of a prayer I have delineated the yoga system of chanting the holy name. All of you should take this important stotra within your minds and promise to keep it in order to become great sages. By acting silently like a great sage and by giving attention and reverence, you should practice this method. This prayer was first spoken to us by Lord Brahma, the master of all creators. The creators, headed by Bhrgu, were instructed in these prayers because they wanted to create. When all the Prajapatis were ordered to create by Lord Brahma, we chanted these prayers in praise of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and became completely free from all ignorance. Thus we were able to create different types of living entities. A devotee of Lord Krishna whose mind is always absorbed in Him, who with great attention and reverence chants this stotra [prayer], will achieve the greatest perfection of life without delay. In this material world there are different types of achievement, but of all of them the achievement of knowledge is considered to be the highest because one can cross the ocean of nescience only on the boat of knowledge. Otherwise the ocean is impassable. Although rendering devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead and worshiping Him are very difficult, if one vibrates or simply reads this stotra [prayer] composed and sung by me, he will very easily be able to invoke the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the dearmost objective of all auspicious benedictions. A human being who sings this song sung by me can please the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Such a devotee, being fixed in the Lord's devotional service, can acquire whatever he wants from the Supreme Lord. A devotee who rises early in the morning and with folded hands chants these prayers sung by Lord Shiva and gives facility to others to hear them certainly becomes free from all bondage to fruitive activities. My dear sons of the King, the prayers I have recited to you are meant for pleasing the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Supersoul. I advise you to recite these prayers, which are as effective as great austerities. In this way, when you are mature, your life will be successful, and you will certainly achieve all your desired objectives without fail. Chapter Twenty-five : The Descriptions of the Characteristics The great sage Maitreya continued speaking to Vidura: My dear Vidura, in this way Lord Shiva instructed the sons of King Barhisat. The sons of the King also worshiped Lord Shiva with great devotion and respect. Finally, Lord Shiva became invisible to the princes. All the Praceta princes simply stood in the water for ten thousand years and recited the prayers given to them by Lord Shiva. While the princes were undergoing severe austerities in the water, their father was performing different types of fruitive activities. At this time the great saint Narada, master and teacher of all spiritual life, became very compassionate upon the King and decided to instruct him about spiritual life. Narada Muni asked King Pracinabarhisat: My dear King, what do you desire to achieve by performing these fruitive activities? The chief aim of life is to get rid of all miseries and enjoy happiness, but these two things cannot be realized by fruitive activity. The King replied: O great soul, Narada, my intelligence is entangled in fruitive activities; therefore I do not know the ultimate goal of life. Kindly instruct me in pure knowledge so that I can get out of the entanglement of fruitive activities. Those who are interested only in a so-called beautiful life--namely remaining as a householder entangled by sons and a wife and searching after wealth--think that such things are life's ultimate goal. Such people simply wander in different types of bodies throughout this material existence without finding out the ultimate goal of life. The great saint Narada said: O ruler of the citizens, my dear King, please see in the sky those animals which you have sacrificed without compassion and without mercy in the sacrificial arena. All these animals are awaiting your death so that they can avenge the injuries you have inflicted upon them. After you die, they will angrily pierce your body with iron horns. In this connection I wish to narrate an old history connected with the character of a king called Puranjana. Please try to hear me with great attention. My dear King, once in the past lived a king named Puranjana, who was celebrated for his great activities. He had a friend named Avijnata ["the unknown one"]. No one could understand the activities of Avijnata. King Puranjana began to search for a suitable place to live, and thus he traveled all over the world. Even after a great deal of traveling, he could not find a place just to his liking. Finally he became morose and disappointed. King Puranjana had unlimited desires for sense enjoyment; consequently he traveled all over the world to find a place where all his desires could be fulfilled. Unfortunately he found a feeling of insufficiency everywhere. Once, while wandering in this way, he saw on the southern side of the Himalayas, in a place named Bharata-varsa [India], a city that had nine gates all about and was characterized by all auspicious facilities. That city was surrounded by walls and parks, and within it were towers, canals, windows and outlets. The houses there were decorated with domes made of gold, silver and iron. The floors of the houses in that city were made of sapphire, crystal, diamonds, pearls, emeralds and rubies. Because of the luster of the houses in the capital, the city was compared to the celestial town named Bhogavati. In that city there were many assembly houses, street crossings, streets, restaurants, gambling houses, markets, resting places, flags, festoons and beautiful parks. All these surrounded the city. On the outskirts of that city were many beautiful trees and creepers encircling a nice lake. Also surrounding that lake were many groups of birds and bees that were always chanting and humming. The branches of the trees standing on the bank of the lake received particles of water carried by the spring air from the falls coming down from the icy mountain. In such an atmosphere even the animals of the forest became nonviolent and nonenvious like great sages. Consequently, the animals did not attack anyone. Over and above everything was the cooing of the cuckoos. Any passenger passing along that path was invited by that atmosphere to take rest in that nice garden. While wandering here and there in that wonderful garden, King Puranjana suddenly came in contact with a very beautiful woman who was walking there without any engagement. She had ten servants with her, and each servant had hundreds of wives accompanying him. The woman was protected on all sides by a five-hooded snake. She was very beautiful and young, and she appeared very anxious to find a suitable husband. The woman's nose, teeth and forehead were all very beautiful. Her ears were equally very beautiful and were bedecked with dazzling earrings. The waist and hips of the woman were very beautiful. She was dressed in a yellow sari with a golden belt. While she walked, her ankle bells rang. She appeared exactly like a denizen of the heavens. With the end of her sari the woman was trying to cover her breasts, which were equally round and well placed side by side. She again and again tried to cover them out of shyness while she walked exactly like a great elephant. Puranjana, the hero, became attracted by the eyebrows and smiling face of the very beautiful girl and was immediately pierced by the arrows of her lusty desires. When she smiled shyly, she looked very beautiful to Puranjana, who, although a hero, could not refrain from addressing her. My dear lotus-eyed, kindly explain to me where you are coming from, who you are, and whose daughter you are. You appear very chaste. What is the purpose of your coming here? What are you trying to do? Please explain all these things to me. My dear lotus-eyed, who are those eleven strong bodyguards with you, and who are those ten specific servants? Who are those women following the ten servants, and who is the snake that is preceding you? My dear beautiful girl, you are exactly like the goddess of fortune or the wife of Lord Shiva or the goddess of learning, the wife of Lord Brahma. Although you must be one of them, I see that you are loitering in this forest. Indeed, you are as silent as the great sages. Is it that you are searching after your own husband? Whoever your husband may be, simply by understanding that you are so faithful to him, he will come to possess all opulences. I think you must be the goddess of fortune, but I do not see the lotus flower in your hand. Therefore I am asking you where you have thrown that lotus. O greatly fortunate one, it appears that you are none of the women I have mentioned because I see that your feet are touching the ground. But if you are some woman of this planet, you can, like the goddess of fortune, who, accompanied by Lord Vishnu, increases the beauty of the Vaikuntha planets, also increase the beauty of this city by associating with me. You should understand that I am a great hero and a very powerful king on this planet. Certainly your glancing upon me today has very much agitated my mind. Your smile, which is full of shyness but at the same time lusty, is agitating the most powerful cupid within me. Therefore, O most beautiful, I ask you to be merciful upon me. My dear girl, your face is so beautiful with your nice eyebrows and eyes and with your bluish hair scattered about. In addition, very sweet sounds are coming from your mouth. Nonetheless, you are so covered with shyness that you do not see me face to face. I therefore request you, my dear girl, to smile and kindly raise your head to see me. Narada continued: My dear King, when Puranjana became so attracted and impatient to touch the girl and enjoy her, the girl also became attracted by his words and accepted his request by smiling. By this time she was certainly attracted by the King. The girl said: O best of human beings, I do not know who has begotten me. I cannot speak to you perfectly about this. Nor do I know the names or the origin of the associates with me. O great hero, we only know that we are existing in this place. We do not know what will come after. Indeed, we are so foolish that we do not care to understand who has created this beautiful place for our residence. My dear gentleman, all these men and women with me are known as my friends, and the snake, who always remains awake, protects this city even during my sleeping hours. So much I know. I do not know anything beyond this. O killer of the enemy, you have somehow or other come here. This is certainly great fortune for me. I wish all auspicious things for you. You have a great desire to satisfy your senses, and all my friends and I shall try our best in all respects to fulfill your desires. My dear lord, I have just arranged this city of nine gates for you so that you can have all kinds of sense gratification. You may live here for one hundred years, and everything for your sense gratification will be supplied. Mow can I expect to unite with others, who are neither conversant about sex nor capable of knowing how to enjoy life while living or after death? Such foolish persons are like animals because they do not know the process of sense enjoyment in this life and after death. The woman continued: In this material world, a householder's life brings all kinds of happiness in religion, economic development, sense gratification and the begetting of children, sons and grandsons. After that, one may desire liberation as well as material reputation. The householder can appreciate the results of sacrifices, which enable him to gain promotion to superior planetary systems. All this material happiness is practically unknown to the transcendentalists. They cannot even imagine such happiness. The woman continued: According to authorities, the householder life is pleasing not only to oneself but to all the forefathers, demigods, great sages, saintly persons and everyone else. A householder life is thus beneficial. O my dear hero, who in this world will not accept a husband like you? You are so famous, so magnanimous, so beautiful and so easily gotten. O mighty-armed, who in this world will not be attracted by your arms, which are just like the bodies of serpents? Actually you relieve the distress of husbandless women like us by your attractive smile and your aggressive mercy. We think that you are traveling on the surface of the earth just to benefit us only. The great sage Narada continued: My dear King, those two--the man and the woman- -supporting one another through mutual understanding, entered that city and enjoyed life for one hundred years. Many professional singers used to sing about the glories of King Puranjana and his glorious activities. When it was too hot in the summer, he used to enter a reservoir of water. He would surround himself with many women and enjoy their company. Of the nine gates in that city, seven were on the surface, and two were subterranean. A total of nine doors were constructed, and these led to different places. All the gates were used by the city's governor. My dear King, of the nine doors, five led toward the eastern side, one led toward the northern side, one led toward the southern side, and two led toward the western side. I shall try to give the names of these different doors. The two gates named Khadyota and Avirmukhi were situated facing the eastern side, but they were constructed in one place. Through those two gates the King used to go to the city of Vibhrajita accompanied by a friend whose name was Dyuman. Similarly in the east there were two sets of gates named Nalini and Nalini, and these were also constructed in one place. Through these gates the King, accompanied by a friend named Avadhuta, used to go to the city of Saurabha. The fifth gate situated on the eastern side was named Mukhya, or the chief. Through this gate, accompanied by his friends named Rasajna and Vipana, he used to visit two places named Bahudana and Apana. The southern gate of the city was known as Pitrhu, and through that gate King Puranjana used to visit the city named Daksina-pancala, accompanied by his friend Srutadhara. On the northern side was the gate named Devahu. Through that gate, King Puranjana used to go with his friend Srutadhara to the place known as Uttara- pancala. On the western side was a gate named Asuri. Through that gate King Puranjana used to go to the city of Gramaka, accompanied by his friend Durmada. Another gate on the western side was known as Nirrti. Puranjana used to go through this gate to the place known as Vaisasa, accompanied by his friend Lubdhaka. Of the many inhabitants of this city, there are two persons named Nirvak and Pesaskrt. Although King Puranjana was the ruler of citizens who possessed eyes, he unfortunately used to associate with these blind men. Accompanied by them, he used to go here and there and perform various activities. Sometimes he used to go to his private home with one of his chief servants [the mind], who was named Visucina. At that time, illusion, satisfaction and happiness used to be produced from his wife and children. Being thus entangled in different types of mental concoction and engaged in fruitive activities, King Puranjana came completely under the control of material intelligence and was thus cheated. Indeed, he used to fulfill all the desires of his wife, the Queen. When the Queen drank liquor, King Puranjana also engaged in drinking. When the Queen dined, he used to dine with her, and when she chewed, King Puranjana used to chew along with her. When the Queen sang, he also sang. Similarly, when the Queen cried, he also cried, and when the Queen laughed, he also laughed. When the Queen talked loosely, he also talked loosely, and when the Queen walked, the King walked behind her. When the Queen would stand still, the King would also stand still, and when the Queen would lie down in bed, he would also follow and lie down with her. When the Queen sat, he would also sit, and when the Queen heard something, he would follow her to hear the same thing. When the Queen saw something, the King would also look at it, and when the Queen smelled something, the King would follow her to smell the same thing. When the Queen touched something, the King would also touch it, and when the dear Queen was lamenting, the poor King also had to follow her in lamentation. In the same way, when the Queen felt enjoyment, he also enjoyed, and when the Queen was satisfied, the King also felt satisfaction. In this way, King Puranjana was captivated by his nice wife and was thus cheated. Indeed, he became cheated in his whole existence in the material world. Even against that poor foolish King's desire, he remained under the control of his wife, just like a pet animal that dances according to the order of its master. Chapter Twenty-six : King Puranjana Goes to the Forest to Hunt, The great sage Narada continued: My dear King, once upon a time King Puranjana took up his great bow, and equipped with golden armor and a quiver of unlimited arrows and accompanied by eleven commanders, he sat on his chariot driven by five swift horses and went to the forest named Panca-prastha. He took with him in that chariot two explosive arrows. The chariot itself was situated on two wheels and one revolving axle. On the chariot were three flags, one rein, one chariot driver, one sitting place, two poles to which the harness was fixed, five weapons and seven coverings. The chariot moved in five different styles, and five obstacles lay before it. All the decorations of the chariot were made of gold. It was almost impossible for King Puranjana to give up the company of his Queen even for a moment. Nonetheless, on that day, being very much inspired by the desire to hunt, he took up his bow and arrow with great pride and went to the forest, not caring for his wife. At that time King Puranjana was very much influenced by demoniac propensities. Because of this, his heart became very hard and merciless, and with sharp arrows he killed many innocent animals in the forest, taking no consideration. If a king is too attracted to eating flesh, he may, according to the directions of the revealed scriptures on sacrificial performances, go to the forest and kill some animals that are recommended for killing. One is not allowed to kill animals unnecessarily or without restrictions. The Vedas regulate animal-killing to stop the extravagance of foolish men influenced by the modes of passion and ignorance. Narada Muni continued to speak to King Pracinabarhisat: My dear King, any person who works according to the directions of the Vedic scriptures does not become involved in fruitive activities. Otherwise, a person who acts whimsically falls down due to false prestige. Thus he becomes involved in the laws of nature, which are composed of the three qualities [goodness, passion and ignorance]. In this way a living entity becomes devoid of his real intelligence and becomes perpetually lost in the cycle of birth and death. Thus he goes up and down from a microbe in stool to a high position in the Brahmaloka planet. When King Puranjana was hunting in this way, many animals within the forest lost their lives with great pain, being pierced by the sharp arrowheads. Upon seeing these devastating, ghastly activities performed by the King, all the people who were merciful by nature became very unhappy. Such merciful persons could not tolerate seeing all this killing. In this way King Puranjana killed many animals, including rabbits, boars, buffalo, bison, black deer, porcupines and other game animals. After killing and killing, the King became very tired. After this, the King, very much fatigued, hungry and thirsty, returned to his royal palace. After returning, he took a bath and had an appropriate dinner. Then he took rest and thus became freed from all restlessness. After this, King Puranjana decorated his body with suitable ornaments. He also smeared scented sandalwood pulp over his body and put on flower garlands. In this way he became completely refreshed. After this, he began to search out his Queen. After taking his dinner and having his thirst and hunger satisfied, King Puranjana felt some joy within his heart. Instead of being elevated to a higher consciousness, he became captivated by Cupid, and was moved by a desire to find his wife, who kept him satisfied in his household life. At that time King Puranjana was a little anxious, and he inquired from the household women: My dear beautiful women, are you and your mistress all very happy like before, or not? King Puranjana said: I do not understand why my household paraphernalia does not attract me as before. I think that if there is neither a mother nor devoted wife at home, the home is like a chariot without wheels. Where is the fool who will sit down on such an unworkable chariot? Kindly let me know the whereabouts of that beautiful woman who always saves me when I am drowning in the ocean of danger. By giving me good intelligence at every step, she always saves me. All the women addressed the King: O master of the citizens, we do not know why your dear wife has taken on this sort of existence. O killer of enemies, kindly look! She is lying on the ground without bedding. We cannot understand why she is acting this way. The great sage Narada continued: My dear King Pracinabarhi, as soon as King Puranjana saw his Queen lying on the ground, appearing like a mendicant, he immediately became bewildered. The King, with aggrieved mind, began to speak to his wife with very pleasing words. Although he was filled with regret and tried to pacify her, he could not see any symptom of anger caused by love within the heart of his beloved wife. Because the King was very expert in flattery, he began to pacify his Queen very slowly. First he touched her two feet, then embraced her nicely, seating her on his lap, and began to speak as follows. King Puranjana said: My dear beautiful wife, when a master accepts a servant as his own man, but does not punish him for his offenses, the servant must be considered unfortunate. My dear slender maiden, when a master chastises his servant, the servant should accept this as great mercy. One who becomes angry must be very foolish not to know that such is the duty of his friend. My dear wife, your teeth are very beautifully set, and your attractive features make you appear very thoughtful. Kindly give up your anger, be merciful upon me, and please smile upon me with loving attachment. When I see a smile on your beautiful face, and when I see your hair, which is as beautiful as the color blue, and see your raised nose and hear your sweet talk, you will become more beautiful to me and thus attract me and oblige me. You are my most respected mistress. O hero's wife, kindly tell me if someone has offended you. I am prepared to give such a person punishment as long as he does not belong to the brahmana caste. But for the servant of Muraripu [Krishna], I excuse no one within or beyond these three worlds. No one can freely move after offending you, for I am prepared to punish him. My dear wife, until this day I have never seen your face without tilaka decorations, nor have I seen you so morose and without luster or affection. Nor have I seen your two nice breasts wet with tears from your eyes. Nor have I ever before seen your lips, which are ordinarily as red as the bimba fruit, without their reddish hue. My dear Queen, due to my sinful desires I went to the forest to hunt without asking you. Therefore I must admit that I have offended you. Nonetheless, thinking of me as your most intimate subordinate, you should still be very much pleased with me. Factually I am very much bereaved, but being pierced by the arrow of Cupid, I am feeling lusty. But where is the beautiful woman who would give up her lusty husband and refuse to unite with him? Chapter Twenty-seven : Attack by Candavega on the City of King Puranjana; The great sage Narada continued: My dear King, after bewildering her husband in different ways and bringing him under her control, the wife of King Puranjana gave him all satisfaction and enjoyed sex life with him. The Queen took her bath and dressed herself nicely with all auspicious garments and ornaments. After taking food and becoming completely satisfied, she returned to the King. Upon seeing her beautifully decorated attractive face, the King welcomed her with all devotion. Queen Puranjani embraced the King, and the King also responded by embracing her shoulders. In this way, in a solitary place, they enjoyed joking words. Thus King Puranjana became very much captivated by his beautiful wife and deviated from his good sense. He forgot that the passing of days and nights meant that his span of life was being reduced without profit. In this way, increasingly overwhelmed by illusion, King Puranjana, although advanced in consciousness, remained always lying down with his head on the pillow of his wife's arms. In this way he considered woman to be his ultimate life and soul. Becoming thus overwhelmed by the mode of ignorance, he could not understand the meaning of self-realization, of his self or of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. My dear King Pracinabarhisat, in this way King Puranjana, with his heart full of lust and sinful reactions, began to enjoy sex with his wife, and in this way his new life and youth expired in half a moment. The great sage Narada then addressed King Pracinabarhisat: O one whose life-span is great [virat], in this way King Puranjana begot 1,100 sons within the womb of his wife, Puranjani. However, in this business he passed away half of his life- span. O Prajapati, King Pracinabarhisat, in this way King Puranjana also begot 110 daughters. All of these were equally glorified like the father and mother. Their behavior was gentle, and they possessed magnanimity and other good qualities. After this, King Puranjana, King of the Pancala country, in order to increase the descendants of his paternal family, married his sons with qualified wives and married his daughters with qualified husbands. Of these many sons, each produced hundreds and hundreds of grandsons. In this way the whole city of Pancala became overcrowded by these sons and grandsons of King Puranjana. These sons and grandsons were virtually plunderers of King Puranjana's riches, including his home, treasury, servants, secretaries and all other paraphernalia. Puranjana's attachment for these things was very deep-rooted. The great sage Narada continued: My dear King Pracinabarhisat, like you King Puranjana also became implicated in so many desires. Thus he worshiped demigods, forefathers and social leaders with various sacrifices which were all very ghastly because they were inspired by the desire to kill animals. Thus King Puranjana, being attached to fruitive activities [karma-kandiya] as well as kith and kin, and being obsessed with polluted consciousness, eventually arrived at that point not very much liked by those who are overly attached to material things. O King! In Gandharvaloka there is a king named Candavega. Under him there are 360 very powerful Gandharva soldiers. Along with Candavega were as many female Gandharvis as there were soldiers, and all of them repetitively plundered all the paraphernalia for sense enjoyment. When King Gandharva-raja [Candavega] and his followers began to plunder the city of Puranjana, a snake with five hoods began to defend the city. The five-hooded serpent, the superintendent and protector of the city of King Puranjana, fought with the Gandharvas for one hundred years. He fought alone, with all of them, although they numbered 720. Because he had to fight alone with so many soldiers, all of whom were great warriors, the serpent with five hoods became very weak. Seeing that his most intimate friend was weakening, King Puranjana and his friends and citizens living within the city all became very anxious. King Puranjana collected taxes in the city known as Pancala and thus was able to engage in sexual indulgence. Being completely under the control of women, he could not understand that his life was passing away and that he was reaching the point of death. My dear King Pracinabarhisat, at this time the daughter of formidable Time was seeking her husband throughout the three worlds. Although no one agreed to accept her, she came. The daughter of Time [Jara] was very unfortunate. Consequently she was known as Durbhaga ["ill-fated"]. However, she was once pleased with a great king, and because the king accepted her, she granted him a great benediction. When I once came to this earth from Brahmaloka, the highest planetary system, the daughter of Time, wandering over the universe, met me. Knowing me to be an avowed brahmacari, she became lusty and proposed that I accept her. The great sage Narada continued: When I refused to accept her request, she became very angry at me and cursed me severely. Because I refused her request, she said that I would not be able to stay in one place for a long time. After she was thus disappointed by me, with my permission she approached the King of the Yavanas, whose name was Bhaya, or Fear, and she accepted him as her husband. Approaching the King of the Yavanas, Kalakanya addressed him as a great hero, saying: My dear sir, you are the best of the untouchables. I am in love with you, and I want you as my husband. I know that no one is baffled if he makes friends with you. One who does not give charity according to the customs or injunctions of the scriptures and one who does not accept charity in that way are considered to be in the mode of ignorance. Such persons follow the path of the foolish. Surely they must lament at the end. Kalakanya continued: O gentle one, I am now present before you to serve you. Please accept me and thus show me mercy. It is a gentleman's greatest duty to be compassionate upon a person who is distressed. After hearing the statement of Kalakanya, daughter of Time, the King of the Yavanas began to smile and devise a means for executing his confidential duty on behalf of providence. He then addressed Kalakanya as follows. The King of the Yavanas replied: After much consideration, I have arrived at a husband for you. Actually, as far as everyone is concerned, you are inauspicious and mischievous. Since no one likes you, how can anyone accept you as his wife? This world is a product of fruitive activities. Therefore you may imperceptibly attack people in general. Helped by my soldiers, you can kill them without opposition. The King of the Yavanas continued: Here is my brother Prajvara. I now accept you as my sister. I shall employ both of you, as well as my dangerous soldiers, to act imperceptibly within this world. Chapter Twenty-eight : Puranjana Becomes a Woman in the Next Life The great sage Narada continued: My dear King Pracinabarhisat, afterward, the King of the Yavanas, whose name is fear itself, as well as Prajvara, Kalakanya, and his soldiers, began to travel all over the world. Once the dangerous soldiers attacked the city of Puranjana with great force. Although the city was full of paraphernalia for sense gratification, it was being protected by the old serpent. Gradually Kalakanya, with the help of dangerous soldiers, attacked all the inhabitants of Puranjana's city and thus rendered them useless for all purposes. When Kalakanya, daughter of Time, attacked the body, the dangerous soldiers of the King of the Yavanas entered the city through different gates. They then began to give severe trouble to all the citizens. When the city was thus endangered by the soldiers and Kalakanya, King Puranjana, being overly absorbed in affection for his family, was placed in difficulty by the attack of Yavana-raja and Kalakanya. When King Puranjana was embraced by Kalakanya, he gradually lost all his beauty. Having been too much addicted to sex, he became very poor in intelligence and lost all his opulence. Being bereft of all possessions, he was conquered forcibly by the Gandharvas and the Yavanas. King Puranjana then saw that everything in his town was scattered and that his sons, grandsons, servants and ministers were all gradually opposing him. He also noted that his wife was becoming cold and indifferent. When King Puranjana saw that all his family members, relatives, followers, servants, secretaries and everyone else had turned against him, he certainly became very anxious. But he could not counteract the situation because he was thoroughly overwhelmed by Kalakanya. The objects of enjoyment became stale by the influence of Kalakanya. Due to the continuance of his lusty desires, King Puranjana became very poor in everything. Thus he did not understand the aim of life. He was still very affectionate toward his wife and children, and he worried about maintaining them. The city of King Puranjana was overcome by the Gandharva and Yavana soldiers, and although the King had no desire to leave the city, he was circumstantially forced to do so, for it was smashed by Kalakanya. Under the circumstances, the elder brother of Yavana-raja, known as Prajvara, set fire to the city to please his younger brother, whose other name is fear itself. When the city was set ablaze, all the citizens and servants of the King, as well as all family members, sons, grandsons, wives and other relatives, were within the fire. King Puranjana thus became very unhappy. The city's superintendent of police, the serpent, saw that the citizens were being attacked by Kalakanya, and he became very aggrieved to see his own residence set ablaze after being attacked by the Yavanas. As a serpent living within the cavity of a tree wishes to leave when there is a forest fire, so the city's police superintendent, the snake, wished to leave the city due to the fire's severe heat. The limbs of the serpent's body were slackened by the Gandharvas and Yavana soldiers, who had thoroughly defeated his bodily strength. When he attempted to leave the body, he was checked by his enemies. Being thus baffled in his attempt, he began to cry loudly. King Puranjana then began to think of his daughters, sons, grandsons, daughters- in-law, sons-in-law, servants and other associates as well as his house, his household paraphernalia and his little accumulation of wealth. King Puranjana was overly attached to his family and conceptions of "I" and "mine." Because he was overly attracted to his wife, he was already quite poverty-stricken. At the time of separation, he became very sorry. King Puranjana was anxiously thinking, "Alas, my wife is encumbered by so many children. When I pass from this body, how will she be able to maintain all these family members? Alas, she will be greatly harassed by thoughts of family maintenance." King Puranjana then began to think of his past dealings with his wife. He recalled that his wife would not take her dinner until he had finished his, that she would not take her bath until he had finished his, and that she was always very much attached to him, so much so that if he would sometimes become angry and chastise her, she would simply remain silent and tolerate his misbehavior. King Puranjana continued thinking how, when he was in a state of bewilderment, his wife would give him good counsel and how she would become aggrieved when he was away from home. Although she was the mother of so many sons and heroes, the King still feared that she would not be able to maintain the responsibility of household affairs. King Puranjana continued worrying: "After I pass from this world, how will my sons and daughters, who are now fully dependent on me, live and continue their lives? Their position will be similar to that of passengers aboard a ship wrecked in the midst of the ocean." Although King Puranjana should not have lamented over the fate of his wife and children, he nonetheless did so due to his miserly intelligence. In the meantime, Yavana-raja, whose name was fear itself, immediately drew near to arrest him. When the Yavanas were taking King Puranjana away to their place, binding him like an animal, the King's followers became greatly aggrieved. While they lamented, they were forced to go along with him. The serpent, who had already been arrested by the soldiers of Yavana-raja and was out of the city, began to follow his master along with the others. As soon as they all left the city, it was immediately dismantled and smashed to dust. When King Puranjana was being dragged with great force by the powerful Yavana, out of his gross ignorance he still could not remember his friend and well- wisher, the Supersoul. That most unkind king, Puranjana, had killed many animals in various sacrifices. Now, taking advantage of this opportunity, all these animals began to pierce him with their horns. It was as though he were being cut to pieces by axes. Due to his contaminated association with women, a living entity like King Puranjana eternally suffers all the pangs of material existence and remains in the dark region of material life, bereft of all remembrance for many, many years. King Puranjana gave up his body while remembering his wife, and consequently in his next life he became a very beautiful and well-situated woman. He took his next birth as the daughter of King Vidarbha in the very house of the King. It was fixed that Vaidarbhi, daughter of King Vidarbha, was to be married to a very powerful man, Malayadhvaja, an inhabitant of the Pandu country. After conquering other princes, he married the daughter of King Vidarbha. King Malayadhvaja fathered one daughter, who had very black eyes. He also had seven sons, who later became rulers of that tract of land known as Dravida. Thus there were seven kings in that land. My dear King Pracinabarhisat, the sons of Malayadhvaja gave birth to many thousands and thousands of sons, and all of these have been protecting the entire world up to the end of one Manu's life-span and even afterward. The great sage named Agastya married the first-born daughter of Malayadhvaja, the avowed devotee of Lord Krishna. From her one son was born, whose name was Drdhacyuta, and from him another son was born, whose name was Idhmavaha. After this, the great saintly King Malayadhvaja divided his entire kingdom among his sons. Then, in order to worship Lord Krishna with full attention, he went to a solitary place known as Kulacala. Just as the moonshine follows the moon at night, immediately after King Malayadhvaja departed for Kulacala, his devoted wife, whose eyes were very enchanting, followed him, giving up all homely happiness, despite family and children. In the province of Kulacala, there were rivers named Candravasa, Tamraparni and Vatodaka. King Malayadhvaja used to go to those pious rivers regularly and take his bath there. Thus he purified himself externally and internally. He took his bath and ate bulbs, seeds, leaves, flowers, roots, fruits and grasses and drank water. In this way he underwent severe austerities. Eventually he became very skinny. Through austerity, King Malayadhvaja in body and mind gradually became equal to the dualities of cold and heat, happiness and distress, wind and rain, hunger and thirst, the pleasant and the unpleasant. In this way he conquered all relativities. By worshiping, executing austerities and following the regulative principles, King Malayadhvaja conquered his senses, his life and his consciousness. Thus he fixed everything on the central point of the Supreme Brahman [Krishna]. In this way he stayed immovable in one place for one hundred years by the calculations of the demigods. After this time, he developed pure devotional attraction for Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and remained fixed in that position. King Malayadhvaja attained perfect knowledge by being able to distinguish the Supersoul from the individual soul. The individual soul is localized, whereas the Supersoul is all-pervasive. He became perfect in knowledge that the material body is not the soul but that the soul is the witness of the material body. In this way King Malayadhvaja attained perfect knowledge because in his pure state he was directly instructed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. By means of such enlightening transcendental knowledge, he could understand everything from all angles of vision. King Malayadhvaja could thus observe that the Supersoul was sitting by his side, and that he, as the individual soul, was sitting by the side of the Supersoul. Since both were together, there was no need for separate interests; thus he ceased from such activities. The daughter of King Vidarbha accepted her husband all in all as the Supreme. She gave up all sensual enjoyment and in complete renunciation followed the principles of her husband, who was so advanced. Thus she remained engaged in his service. The daughter of King Vidarbha wore old garments, and she was lean and thin because of her vows of austerity. Since she did not arrange her hair, it became entangled and twisted in locks. Although she remained always near her husband, she was as silent and unagitated as the flame of an undisturbed fire. The daughter of King Vidarbha continued as usual to serve her husband, who was seated in a steady posture, until she could ascertain that he had passed away from the body. While she was serving her husband by massaging his legs, she could feel that his feet were no longer warm and could thus understand that he had already passed from the body. She felt great anxiety upon being left alone. Bereft of her husband's company, she felt exactly as the deer feels upon being separated from its mate. Being now alone and a widow in that forest, the daughter of Vidarbha began to lament, incessantly shedding tears, which soaked her breasts, and crying very loudly. O best of kings, please get up! Get up! Just see this world surrounded by water and infested with rogues and so-called kings. This world is very much afraid, and it is your duty to protect her. That most obedient wife thus fell down at the feet of her dead husband and began to cry pitifully in that solitary forest. Thus the tears rolled down from her eyes. She then prepared a blazing fire with firewood and placed the dead body of her husband upon it. When this was finished, she lamented severely and prepared herself to perish in the fire with her husband. My dear King, one brahmana, who was an old friend of King Puranjana, came to that place and began to pacify the Queen with sweet words. The brahmana inquired as follows: Who are you? Whose wife or daughter are you? Who is the man lying here? It appears you are lamenting for this dead body. Don't you recognize Me? I am your eternal friend. You may remember that many times in the past you have consulted Me. The brahmana continued: My dear friend, even though you cannot immediately recognize Me, can't you remember that in the past you had a very intimate friend? Unfortunately, you gave up My company and accepted a position as enjoyer of this material world. My dear gentle friend, both you and I are exactly like two swans. We live together in the same heart, which is just like the Manasa Lake. Although we have been living together for many thousands of years, we are still far away from our original home. My dear friend, you are now My very same friend. Since you left Me, you have become more and more materialistic, and not seeing Me, you have been traveling in different forms throughout this material world, which was created by some woman. In that city [the material body] there are five gardens, nine gates, one protector, three apartments, six families, five stores, five material elements, and one woman who is lord of the house. My dear friend, the five gardens are the five objects of sense enjoyment, and the protector is the life air, which passes through the nine gates. The three apartments are the chief ingredients--fire, water and earth. The six families are the aggregate total of the mind and five senses. The five stores are the five working sensory organs. They transact their business through the combined forces of the five elements, which are eternal. Behind all this activity is the soul. The soul is a person and an enjoyer in reality. However, because he is now hidden within the city of the body, he is devoid of knowledge. My dear friend, when you enter such a body along with the woman of material desires, you become overly absorbed in sense enjoyment. Because of this, you have forgotten your spiritual life. Due to your material conceptions, you are placed in various miserable conditions. Actually, you are not the daughter of Vidarbha, nor is this man, Malayadhvaja, your well-wishing husband. Nor were you the actual husband of Puranjani. You were simply captivated in this body of nine gates. Sometimes you think yourself a man, sometimes a chaste woman and sometimes a neutral eunuch. This is all because of the body, which is created by the illusory energy. This illusory energy is My potency, and actually both of us-- you and I--are pure spiritual identities. Now just try to understand this. I am trying to explain our factual position. My dear friend, I, the Supersoul, and you, the individual soul, are not different in quality, for we are both spiritual. In fact, My dear friend, you are qualitatively not different from Me in your constitutional position. Just try to consider this subject. Those who are actually advanced scholars, who are in knowledge, do not find any qualitative difference between you and Me. As a person sees the reflection of his body in a mirror to be one with himself and not different, whereas others actually see two bodies, so in our material condition, in which the living being is affected and yet not affected, there is a difference between God and the living entity. In this way both swans live together in the heart. When the one swan is instructed by the other, he is situated in his constitutional position. This means he regains his original Krishna consciousness, which was lost because of his material attraction. My dear King Pracinabarhi, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the cause of all causes, is celebrated to be known indirectly. Thus I have described the story of Puranjana to you. Actually it is an instruction for self-realization. Chapter Twenty-nine : Talks Between Narada and King Pracinabarhi King Pracinabarhi replied: My dear lord, we could not appreciate completely the purport of your allegorical story of King Puranjana. Actually, those who are perfect in spiritual knowledge can understand, but for us, who are overly attached to fruitive activities, to realize the purpose of your story is very difficult. The great sage Narada Muni continued: You must understand that Puranjana, the living entity, transmigrates according to his own work into different types of bodies, which may be one-legged, two-legged, three-legged, four-legged, many- legged or simply legless. Transmigrating into these various types of bodies, the living entity, as the so-called enjoyer, is known as Puranjana. The person I have described as unknown is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the master and eternal friend of the living entity. Since the living entities cannot realize the Supreme Personality of Godhead by material names, activities or qualities, He remains everlastingly unknown to the conditioned soul. When the living entity wants to enjoy the modes of material nature in their totality, he prefers, out of many bodily forms, to accept that body which has nine gates, two hands and two legs. Thus he prefers to become a human being or a demigod. The great sage Narada continued: The word pramada mentioned in this regard refers to material intelligence, or ignorance. It is to be understood as such. When one takes shelter of this kind of intelligence, he identifies himself with the material body. Influenced by the material consciousness of "I" and "mine," he begins to enjoy and suffer through his senses. Thus the living entity is entrapped. The five working senses and the five senses that acquire knowledge are all male friends of Puranjani. The living entity is assisted by these senses in acquiring knowledge and engaging in activity. The engagements of the senses are known as girl friends, and the serpent, which was described as having five heads, is the life air acting within the five circulatory processes. The eleventh attendant, who is the commander of the others, is known as the mind. He is the leader of the senses both in the acquisition of knowledge and in the performance of work. The Pancala kingdom is that atmosphere in which the five sense objects are enjoyed. Within that Pancala kingdom is the city of the body, which has nine gates. The eyes, nostrils and ears are pairs of gates situated in one place. The mouth, genital and rectum are also different gates. Being placed into a body having these nine gates, the living entity acts externally in the material world and enjoys sense objects like form and taste. Two eyes, two nostrils and a mouth--all together five--are situated in the front. The right ear is accepted as the southern gate, and the left ear is the northern gate. The two holes, or gates, situated in the west are known as the rectum and genital. The two gates named Khadyota and Avirmukhi, which have been spoken of, are the two eyes side by side in one place. The town named Vibhrajita should be understood as form. In this way the two eyes are always engaged in seeing different kinds of forms. The two doors named Nalini and Nalini should be known as the two nostrils, and the city named Saurabha represents aroma. The companion spoken of as Avadhuta is the sense of smell. The door called Mukhya is the mouth, and Vipana is the faculty of speech. Rasajna is the sense of taste. The city called Apana represents engagement of the tongue in speech, and Bahudana is the variety of foodstuffs. The right ear is called the gate of Pitrhu, and the left ear is called the gate of Devahu. Narada Muni continued: The city spoken of as Daksina-pancala represents the scriptures meant for directing pravrtti, the process of sense enjoyment in fruitive activities. The other city, named Uttara-pancala, represents the scriptures meant for decreasing fruitive activities and increasing knowledge. The living entity receives different kinds of knowledge by means of two ears, and some living entities are promoted to Pitrloka and some to Devaloka. All this is made possible by the two ears. The city called Gramaka, which is approached through the lower gate of Asuri [the genital], is meant for sex, which is very pleasing to common men who are simply fools and rascals. The faculty of procreation is called Durmada, and the rectum is called Nirrti. When it is said that Puranjana goes to Vaisasa, it is meant that he goes to hell. He is accompanied by Lubdhaka, which is the working sense in the rectum. Formerly I have also spoken of two blind associates. These associates should be understood to be the hands and legs. Being helped by the hands and legs, the living entity performs all kinds of work and moves hither and thither. The word antah-pura refers to the heart. The word visucina, meaning "going everywhere," indicates the mind. Within the mind the living entity enjoys the effects of the modes of material nature. These effects sometimes cause illusion, sometimes satisfaction and sometimes jubilation. Formerly it was explained that the Queen is one's intelligence. While one is awake or asleep, that intelligence creates different situations. Being influenced by contaminated intelligence, the living entity envisions something and simply imitates the actions and reactions of his intelligence. Narada Muni continued: What I referred to as the chariot was in actuality the body. The senses are the horses that pull that chariot. As time passes, year after year, these horses run without obstruction, but in fact they make no progress. Pious and impious activities are the two wheels of the chariot. The three modes of material nature are the chariot's flags. The five types of life air constitute the living entity's bondage, and the mind is considered to be the rope. Intelligence is the chariot driver. The heart is the sitting place in the chariot, and the dualities of life, such as pleasure and pain, are the knotting place. The seven elements are the coverings of the chariot, and the working senses are the five external processes. The eleven senses are the soldiers. Being engrossed in sense enjoyment, the living entity, seated on the chariot, hankers after fulfillment of his false desires and runs after sense enjoyment life after life. What was previously explained as Candavega, powerful time, is covered by days and nights, named Gandharvas and Gandharvis. The body's life-span is gradually reduced by the passage of days and nights, which number 360. What was described as Kalakanya should be understood as old age. No one wants to accept old age, but Yavanesvara [Yavana-raja], who is death, accepts Jara [old age] as his sister. The followers of Yavanesvara [Yamaraja] are called the soldiers of death, and they are known as the various types of disturbances that pertain to the body and mind. Prajvara represents the two types of fever: extreme heat and extreme cold- -typhoid and pneumonia. The living entity lying down within the body is disturbed by many tribulations pertaining to providence, to other living entities and to his own body and mind. Despite all kinds of tribulations, the living entity, subjected to the necessities of the body, mind and senses and suffering from various types of disease, is carried away by many plans due to his lust to enjoy the world. Although transcendental to this material existence, the living entity, out of ignorance, accepts all these material miseries under the pretext of false egoism ("I" and "mine"). In this way he lives for a hundred years within this body. The living entity by nature has minute independence to choose his own good or bad fortune, but when he forgets his supreme master, the Personality of Godhead, he gives himself up unto the modes of material nature. Being influenced by the modes of material nature, he identifies himself with the body and, for the interest of the body, becomes attached to various activities. Sometimes he is under the influence of the mode of ignorance, sometimes the mode of passion and sometimes the mode of goodness. The living entity thus gets different types of bodies under the modes of material nature. Those who are situated in the mode of goodness act piously according to Vedic injunctions. Thus they are elevated to the higher planetary systems where the demigods live. Those who are influenced by the mode of passion engage in various types of productive activities in the planetary systems where human beings live. Similarly, those influenced by the mode of darkness are subjected to various types of misery and live in the animal kingdom. Covered by the mode of ignorance in material nature, the living entity is sometimes a male, sometimes a female, sometimes a eunuch, sometimes a human being, sometimes a demigod, sometimes a bird, an animal, and so on. In this way he is wandering within the material world. His acceptance of different types of bodies is brought about by his activities under the influence of the modes of nature. The living entity is exactly like a dog, who, overcome with hunger, goes from door to door for some food. According to his destiny, he sometimes receives punishment and is driven out and at other times receives a little food to eat. Similarly, the living entity, being influenced by so many desires, wanders in different species of life according to destiny. Sometimes he is high, and sometimes he is low. Sometimes he goes to the heavenly planets, sometimes to hell, sometimes to the middle planets, and so on. The living entities are trying to counteract different miserable conditions pertaining to providence, other living entities or the body and mind. Still, they must remain conditioned by the laws of nature, despite all attempts to counter these laws. A man may carry a burden on his head, and when he feels it to be too heavy, he sometimes gives relief to his head by putting the burden on his shoulder. In this way he tries to relieve himself of the burden. However, whatever process he devises to counteract the burden does nothing more than Put the same burden from one place to another. Narada continued: O you who are free from all sinful activity! No one can counteract the effects of fruitive activity simply by manufacturing a different activity devoid of Krishna consciousness. All such activity is due to our ignorance. When we have a troublesome dream, we cannot relieve it with a troublesome hallucination. One can counteract a dream only by awaking. Similarly, our material existence is due to our ignorance and illusion. Unless we awaken to Krishna consciousness, we cannot be relieved of such dreams. For the ultimate solution to all problems, we must awaken to Krishna consciousness. Sometimes we suffer because we see a tiger in a dream or a snake in a vision, but actually there is neither a tiger nor a snake. Thus we create some situation in a subtle form and suffer the consequences. These sufferings cannot be mitigated unless we are awakened from our dream. The real interest of the living entity is to get out of the nescience that causes him to endure repeated birth and death. The only remedy is to surrender unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead through His representative. Unless one renders devotional service unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vasudeva, one cannot possibly become completely detached from this material world, nor can he possibly manifest real knowledge. O best of kings, one who is faithful, who is always hearing the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is always engaged in the culture of Krishna consciousness and in hearing of the Lord's activities, very soon becomes eligible to see the Supreme Personality of Godhead face to face. My dear King, in the place where pure devotees live, following the rules and regulations and thus purely conscious and engaged with great eagerness in hearing and chanting the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in that place if one gets a chance to hear their constant flow of nectar, which is exactly like the waves of a river, one will forget the necessities of life-- namely hunger and thirst--and become immune to all kinds of fear, lamentation and illusion. Because the conditioned soul is always disturbed by the bodily necessities such as hunger and thirst, he has very little time to cultivate attachment to hearing the nectarean words of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The most powerful Lord Brahma, the father of all progenitors; Lord Shiva; Manu, Daksa and the other rulers of humankind; the four saintly first-class brahmacaris headed by Sanaka and Sanatana; the great sages Marici, Atri, Angira, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Bhrgu and Vasistha; and my humble self [Narada] are all stalwart brahmanas who can speak authoritatively on Vedic literature. We are very powerful because of austerities, meditation and education. Nonetheless, even after inquiring about the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whom we always see, we do not know perfectly about Him. Despite the cultivation of Vedic knowledge, which is unlimited, and the worship of different demigods by the symptoms of Vedic mantras, demigod worship does not help one to understand the supreme powerful Personality of Godhead. When a person is fully engaged in devotional service, he is favored by the Lord, who bestows His causeless mercy. At such a time, the awakened devotee gives up all material activities and ritualistic performances mentioned in the Vedas. My dear King Barhisman, you should never out of ignorance take to the Vedic rituals or to fruitive activity, which may be pleasing to hear about or which may appear to be the goal of self-interest. You should never take these to be the ultimate goal of life. Those who are less intelligent accept the Vedic ritualistic ceremonies as all in all. They do not know that the purpose of the Vedas is to understand one's own home, where the Supreme Personality of Godhead lives. Not being interested in their real home, they are illusioned and search after other homes. My dear King, the entire world is covered with the sharp points of kusa grass, and on the strength of this you have become proud because you have killed various types of animals in sacrifices. Because of your foolishness, you do not know that devotional service is the only way one can please the Supreme Personality of Godhead. You cannot understand this fact. Your only activities should be those that can please the Personality of Godhead. Our education should be such that we can become elevated to Krishna consciousness. Sri Hari, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the Supersoul and guide of all living entities who have accepted material bodies within this world. He is the supreme controller of all material activities in material nature. He is also our best friend, and everyone should take shelter at His lotus feet. In doing so, one's life will be auspicious. One who is engaged in devotional service has not the least fear in material existence. This is because the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the Supersoul and friend of everyone. One who knows this secret is actually educated, and one thus educated can become the spiritual master of the world. One who is an actually bona fide spiritual master, representative of Krishna, is not different from Krishna. The great saint Narada continued: O great personality, I have replied properly about all that you have asked me. Now hear another narration that is accepted by saintly persons and is very confidential. My dear King, please search out that deer who is engaged in eating grass in a very nice flower garden along with his wife. That deer is very much attached to his business, and he is enjoying the sweet singing of the bumblebees in his garden. Just try to understand his position. He is unaware that before him is a tiger, which is accustomed to living at the cost of another's flesh. Behind the deer is a hunter, who is threatening to pierce him with sharp arrows. Thus the deer's death is imminent. My dear King, woman, who is very attractive in the beginning but in the end very disturbing, is exactly like the flower, which is attractive in the beginning and detestable at the end. With woman, the living entity is entangled with lusty desires, and he enjoys sex, just as one enjoys the aroma of a flower. He thus enjoys a life of sense gratification--from his tongue to his genitals--and in this way the living entity considers himself very happy in family life. United with his wife, he always remains absorbed in such thoughts. He feels great pleasure in hearing the talks of his wife and children, which are like the sweet humming of bumblebees that collect honey from flower to flower. He forgets that before him is time, which is taking away his life-span with the passing of day and night. He does not see the gradual diminishing of his life, nor does he care about the superintendent of death, who is trying to kill him from behind. Just try to understand this. You are in a precarious position and are threatened from all sides. My dear King, just try to understand the allegorical position of the deer. Be fully conscious of yourself, and give up the pleasure of hearing about promotion to heavenly planets by fruitive activity. Give up household life, which is full of sex, as well as stories about such things, and take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead through the mercy of the liberated souls. In this way, please give up your attraction for material existence. The King replied: My dear brahmana, whatever you have said I have heard with great attention and, considering all of it, have come to the conclusion that the acaryas [teachers] who engaged me in fruitive activity did not know this confidential knowledge. If they were aware of it, why did they not explain it to me? My dear brahmana, there are contradictions between your instructions and those of my spiritual teachers who engaged me in fruitive activities. I now can understand the distinction between devotional service, knowledge and renunciation. I had some doubts about them, but you have now very kindly dissipated all these doubts. I can now understand how even the great sages are bewildered by the real purpose of life. Of course, there is no question of sense gratification. The results of whatever a living entity does in this life are enjoyed in the next life. The expert knowers of the Vedic conclusions say that one enjoys or suffers the results of his past activities. But practically it is seen that the body that performed the work in the last birth is already lost. So how is it possible to enjoy or suffer the reactions of that work in a different body? The great sage Narada continued: The living entity acts in a gross body in this life. This body is forced to act by the subtle body, composed of mind, intelligence and ego. After the gross body is lost, the subtle body is still there to enjoy or suffer. Thus there is no change. The living entity, while dreaming, gives up the actual living body. Through the activities of his mind and intelligence, he acts in another body, either as a god or a dog. After giving up this gross body, the living entity enters either an animal body or a demigod's body on this planet or on another planet. He thus enjoys the results of the actions of his past life. The living entity labors under the bodily conception of "I am this, I am that. My duty is this, and therefore I shall do it." These are all mental impressions, and all these activities are temporary; nonetheless, by the grace of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the living entity gets a chance to execute all his mental concoctions. Thus he gets another body. One can understand the mental or conscious position of a living entity by the activities of two kinds of senses--the knowledge-acquiring senses and the executive senses. Similarly, by the mental condition or consciousness of a person, one can understand his position in the previous life. Sometimes we suddenly experience something that was never experienced in the present body by sight or hearing. Sometimes we see such things suddenly in dreams. Therefore, my dear King, the living entity, who has a subtle mental covering, develops all kinds of thoughts and images because of his previous body. Take this from me as certain. There is no possibility of concocting anything mentally without having perceived it in the previous body. O King, all good fortune unto you! The mind is the cause of the living entity's attaining a certain type of body in accordance with his association with material nature. According to one's mental composition, one can understand what the living entity was in his past life as well as what kind of body he will have in the future. Thus the mind indicates the past and future bodies. Sometimes in a dream we see something never experienced or heard of in this life, but all these incidents have been experienced at different times, in different places and in different conditions. The mind of the living entity continues to exist in various gross bodies, and according to one's desires for sense gratification, the mind records different thoughts. In the mind these appear together in different combinations; therefore these images sometimes appear as things never seen or never heard before. Krishna consciousness means constantly associating with the Supreme Personality of Godhead in such a mental state that the devotee can observe the cosmic manifestation exactly as the Supreme Personality of Godhead does. Such observation is not always possible, but it becomes manifest exactly like the dark planet known as Rahu, which is observed in the presence of the full moon. As long as there exists the subtle material body composed of intelligence, mind, senses, sense objects, and the reactions of the material qualities, the consciousness of false identification and its relative objective, the gross body, exist as well. When the living entity is in deep sleep, when he faints, when there is some great shock on account of severe loss, at the time of death, or when the body temperature is very high, the movement of the life air is arrested. At that time the living entity loses knowledge of identifying the body with the self. When one is a youth, all the ten senses and the mind are completely visible. However, in the mother's womb or in the boyhood state, the sense organs and the mind remain covered, just as the full moon is covered by the darkness of the dark-moon night. When the living entity dreams, the sense objects are not actually present. However, because one has associated with the sense objects, they become manifest. Similarly, the living entity with undeveloped senses does not cease to exist materially, even though he may not be exactly in contact with the sense objects. The five sense objects, the five sense organs, the five knowledge-acquiring senses and the mind are the sixteen material expansions. These combine with the living entity and are influenced by the three modes of material nature. Thus the existence of the conditioned soul is understood. By virtue of the processes of the subtle body, the living entity develops and gives up gross bodies. This is known as the transmigration of the soul. Thus the soul becomes subjected to different types of so-called enjoyment, lamentation, fear, happiness and unhappiness. The caterpillar transports itself from one leaf to another by capturing one leaf before giving up the other. Similarly, according to his previous work, the living entity must capture another body before giving up the one he has. This is because the mind is the reservoir of all kinds of desires. As long as we desire to enjoy sense gratification, we create material activities. When the living entity acts in the material field, he enjoys the senses, and while enjoying the senses, he creates another series of material activities. In this way the living entity becomes entrapped as a conditioned soul. You should always know that this cosmic manifestation is created, maintained and annihilated by the will of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Consequently, everything within this cosmic manifestation is under the control of the Lord. To be enlightened by this perfect knowledge, one should always engage himself in the devotional service of the Lord. The great sage Maitreya continued: The supreme devotee, the great saint Narada, thus explained to King Pracinabarhi the constitutional position of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the living entity. After giving an invitation to the King, Narada Muni left to return to Siddhaloka. In the presence of his ministers, the saintly King Pracinabarhi left orders for his sons to protect the citizens. He then left home and went off to undergo austerities in a holy place known as Kapilasrama. Having undergone austerities and penances at Kapilasrama, King Pracinabarhi attained full liberation from all material designations. He constantly engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord and attained a spiritual position qualitatively equal to that of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. My dear Vidura, one who hears this narration concerning the understanding of the living entity's spiritual existence, as described by the great sage Narada, or who relates it to others, will be liberated from the bodily conception of life. This narration spoken by the great sage Narada is full of the transcendental fame of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Consequently this narration, when described, certainly sanctifies this material world. It purifies the heart of the living entity and helps him attain his spiritual identity. One who relates this transcendental narration will be liberated from all material bondage and will no longer have to wander within this material world. The allegory of King Puranjana, described herein according to authority, was heard by me from my spiritual master, and it is full of spiritual knowledge. If one can understand the purpose of this allegory, he will certainly be relieved from the bodily conception and will clearly understand life after death. Although one may not understand what transmigration of the soul actually is, one can fully understand it by studying this narration. A desire to maintain body, wife and children is also observed in animal society. The animals have full intelligence to manage such affairs. If a human being is simply advanced in this respect, what is the difference between him and an animal? One should be very careful to understand that this human life is attained after many, many births in the evolutionary process. A learned man who gives up the bodily conception of life, both gross and subtle, will, by the enlightenment of spiritual knowledge, become a prominent individual spirit soul, as the Supreme Lord is also. If a living entity is developed in Krishna consciousness and is merciful to others, and if his spiritual knowledge of self-realization is perfect, he will immediately attain liberation from the bondage of material existence. Everything happening within time, which consists of past, present and future, is merely a dream. That is the secret understanding in all Vedic literature. Chapter Thirty :The Activities of the Pracetas Vidura inquired from Maitreya: O brahmana, you formerly spoke about the sons of Pracinabarhi and informed me that they satisfied the Supreme Personality of Godhead by chanting a song composed by Lord Shiva. What did they achieve in this way? My dear Barhaspatya, what did the sons of King Barhisat, known as the Pracetas, obtain after meeting Lord Shiva, who is very dear to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the bestower of liberation? Certainly they were transferred to the spiritual world, but apart from that, what did they obtain within this material world, either in this life or in other lives? The great sage Maitreya said: The sons of King Pracinabarhi, known as the Pracetas, underwent severe austerities within the seawater to carry out the order of their father. By chanting and repeating the mantras given by Lord Shiva, they were able to satisfy Lord Vishnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. At the end of ten thousand years of severe austerities performed by the Pracetas, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, to reward their austerities, appeared before them in His very pleasing form. This appealed to the Pracetas and satisfied the labor of their austerities. The Personality of Godhead, appearing on the shoulder of Garuda, seemed like a cloud resting on the summit of the mountain known as Meru. The transcendental body of the Personality of Godhead was covered by attractive yellow garments, and His neck was decorated with the jewel known as Kaustubha-mani. The bodily effulgence of the Lord dissipated all the darkness of the universe. The Lord's face was very beautiful, and His head was decorated with a shining helmet and golden ornaments. The helmet was dazzling and was very beautifully situated on His head. The Lord had eight arms, which each held a particular weapon. The Lord was surrounded by demigods, great sages and other associates. These were all engaged in His service. Garuda, the carrier of the Lord, glorified the Lord with Vedic hymns by flapping his wings. Garuda appeared to be an inhabitant of the planet known as Kinnaraloka. Around the neck of the Personality of Godhead hung a flower garland that reached to His knees. His eight stout and elongated arms were decorated with that garland, which challenged the beauty of the goddess of fortune. With a merciful glance and a voice like thunder, the Lord addressed the sons of King Pracinabarhisat, who were very much surrendered unto Him. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear sons of the King, I am very much pleased by the friendly relationships among you. All of you are engaged in one occupation--devotional service. I am so pleased with your mutual friendship that I wish you all good fortune. Now you may ask a benediction of Me. The Lord continued: Those who remember you every evening of every day will become friendly with their brothers and with all other living entities. Those who will offer Me the prayers composed by Lord Shiva, both in the morning and in the evening, will be given benedictions by Me. In this way they can both fulfill their desires and attain good intelligence. Because you have with pleasure accepted within your hearts the orders of your father and have executed those orders very faithfully, your attractive qualities will be celebrated all over the world. You will have a nice son, who will be in no way inferior to Lord Brahma. Consequently, he will be very famous all over the universe, and the sons and grandsons generated by him will fill the three worlds. O sons of King Pracinabarhisat, the heavenly society girl named Pramloca kept the lotus-eyed daughter of Kandu in the care of the forest trees.Then she went back to the heavenly planet. This daughter was born by the coupling of the Apsara named Pramloca with the sage Kandu. Thereafter the child, who was left to the care of the trees, began to cry in hunger. At that time the king of the forest, namely the king of the moon planet, out of compassion placed his finger, which poured forth nectar, within the child's mouth. Thus the child was raised by the mercy of the king of the moon. Since all of you are very much obedient to My orders, I ask you to immediately marry that girl, who is so well qualified with beauty and good qualities. According to the order of your father, create progeny through her. You brothers are all of the same nature, being devotees and obedient sons of your father. Similarly, that girl is also of the same type and is dedicated to all of you. Thus both the girl and you, the sons of Pracinabarhisat, are on the same platform, being united on a common principle. The Lord then blessed all the Pracetas, saying: My dear princes, by My mercy, you can enjoy all the facilities of this world as well as the heavenly world. Indeed, you can enjoy all of them without hindrance and with full strength for one million celestial years. Thereafter you will develop unadulterated devotional service unto Me and be freed from all material contamination. At that time, being completely unattached to material enjoyment in the so-called heavenly planets as well as in hellish planets, you will return home, back to Godhead. Those who are engaged in auspicious activities in devotional service certainly understand that the ultimate enjoyer or beneficiary of all activities is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus when one acts, he offers the results to the Supreme Personality of Godhead and passes life always engaged in the topics of the Lord. Even though such a person may be participating in family life, he is not affected by the results of his actions. Always engaging in the activities of devotional service, devotees feel ever- increasingly fresh and new in all their activities. The all-knower, the Supersoul within the heart of the devotee, makes everything increasingly fresh. This is known as the Brahman position by the advocates of the Absolute Truth. In such a liberated stage [brahma-bhuta], one is never bewildered. Nor does one lament or become unnecessarily jubilant. This is due to the brahma-bhuta situation. The great sage Maitreya said: After the Personality of Godhead spoke thus, the Pracetas began to offer Him prayers. The Lord is the bestower of all success in life and is the supreme benefactor. He is also the supreme friend who takes away all miserable conditions experienced by a devotee. In a faltering voice, due to ecstasy, the Pracetas began to offer prayers. They were purified by the presence of the Lord, who was before them face to face. The Pracetas spoke as follows: Dear Lord, You relieve all kinds of material distress. Your magnanimous transcendental qualities and holy name are all- auspicious. This conclusion is already settled. You can go faster than the speed of mind and words. You cannot be perceived by material senses. We therefore offer You respectful obeisances again and again. Dear Lord, we beg to offer our obeisances unto You. When the mind is fixed upon You, the world of duality, although a place for material enjoyment, appears meaningless. Your transcendental form is full of transcendental bliss. We therefore offer our respects unto You. Your appearances as Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva are meant for the purpose of creating, maintaining and annihilating this cosmic manifestation. Dear Lord, we offer our respectful obeisances unto You because Your existence is completely independent of all material influences. Your Lordship always takes away the devotee's miserable conditions, for Your brain plans how to do so. You live everywhere as Paramatma; therefore You are known as Vasudeva. You also accept Vasudeva as Your father, and You are celebrated by the name Krishna. You are so kind that You always increase the influence of all kinds of devotees. Dear Lord, we offer our respectful obeisances unto You because from Your abdomen sprouts the lotus flower, the origin of all living entities. You are always decorated with a lotus garland, and Your feet resemble the lotus flower with all its fragrance. Your eyes are also like the petals of a lotus flower. Therefore we always offer our respectful obeisances unto You. Dear Lord, the garment You have put on is yellowish in color, like the saffron of a lotus flower, but it is not made of anything material. Since You live in everyone's heart, You are the direct witness of all the activities of all living entities. We offer our respectful obeisances unto You again and again. Dear Lord, we conditioned souls are always covered by ignorance in the bodily conception of life. We therefore always prefer the miserable conditions of material existence. To deliver us from these miserable conditions, You have advented Yourself in this transcendental form. This is evidence of Your unlimited causeless mercy upon those of us who are suffering in this way. What, then, to speak of the devotees to whom You are always so favorably disposed? Dear Lord, You are the killer of all inauspicious things. You are compassionate upon Your poor devotees through the expansion of Your arca-vigraha. You should certainly think of us as Your eternal servants. When the Lord, out of His natural compassion, thinks of His devotee, by that process only are all desires of the neophyte devotee fulfilled. The Lord is situated in every living entity's heart, although the living entity may be very insignificant. The Lord knows everything about the living entity, including all his desires. Although we are very insignificant, why should the Lord not know our desires? O Lord of the universe, You are the actual teacher of the science of devotional service. We are satisfied that Your Lordship is the ultimate goal of our lives, and we pray that You will be satisfied with us. That is our benediction. We do not desire anything other than Your full satisfaction. Dear Lord, we shall therefore pray for Your benediction because You are the Supreme, beyond all transcendence, and because there is no end to Your opulences. Consequently, You are celebrated by the name Ananta. Dear Lord, when the bee approaches the celestial tree called the parijata, it certainly does not leave the tree, because there is no need for such action. Similarly, when we have approached Your lotus feet and taken shelter of them, what further benediction may we ask of You? Dear Lord, as long as we have to remain within this material world due to our material contamination and wander from one type of body to another and from one planet to another, we pray that we may associate with those who are engaged in discussing Your pastimes. We pray for this benediction life after life, in different bodily forms and on different planets. Even a moment's association with a pure devotee cannot be compared to being transferred to heavenly planets or even merging into the Brahman effulgence in complete liberation. For living entities who are destined to give up the body and die, association with pure devotees is the highest benediction. Whenever pure topics of the transcendental world are discussed, the members of the audience forget all kinds of material hankerings, at least for the time being. Not only that, but they are no longer envious of one another, nor do they suffer from anxiety or fear. The Supreme Lord, Narayana, is present among devotees who are engaged in hearing and chanting the holy name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Lord Narayana is the ultimate goal of sannyasis, those in the renounced order of life, and Narayana is worshiped through this sankirtana movement by those who are liberated from material contamination. Indeed, they recite the holy name again and again. Dear Lord, Your personal associates, devotees, wander all over the world to purify even the holy places of pilgrimage. Is not such activity pleasing to those who are actually afraid of material existence? Dear Lord, by virtue of a moment's association with Lord Shiva, who is very dear to You and who is Your most intimate friend, we were fortunate to attain You. You are the most expert physician, capable of treating the incurable disease of material existence. On account of our great fortune, we have been able to take shelter at Your lotus feet. Dear Lord, we have studied the Vedas, accepted a spiritual master and offered respect to brahmanas, advanced devotees and aged personalities who are spiritually very advanced. We have offered our respects to them, and we have not been envious of any brother, friends or anyone else. We have also undergone severe austerities within the water and have not taken food for a long time. All these spiritual assets of ours are simply offered for Your satisfaction. We pray for this benediction only, and nothing more. Dear Lord, even great yogis and mystics who are very much advanced by virtue of austerities and knowledge and who have completely situated themselves in pure existence, as well as great personalities like Manu, Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva, cannot fully understand Your glories and potencies. Nonetheless they have offered their prayers according to their own capacities. In the same way, we, although much lower than these personalities, also offer our prayers according to our own capability. Dear Lord, You have no enemies or friends. Therefore You are equal to everyone. You cannot be contaminated by sinful activities, and Your transcendental form is always beyond the material creation. You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead because You remain everywhere within all existence. You are consequently known as Vasudeva. We offer You our respectful obeisances. The great sage Maitreya continued: My dear Vidura, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the protector of surrendered souls, being thus addressed by the Pracetas and worshiped by them, replied, "May whatever you have prayed for be fulfilled." After saying this, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose prowess is never defeated, left. The Pracetas were unwilling to be separated from Him because they had not seen Him to their full satisfaction. Thereafter all the Pracetas emerged from the waters of the sea. They then saw that all the trees on land had grown very tall, as if to obstruct the path to the heavenly planets. These trees had covered the entire surface of the world. At this time the Pracetas became very angry. My dear King, at the time of devastation, Lord Shiva emits fire and air from his mouth out of anger. To make the surface of the earth completely treeless, the Pracetas also emitted fire and air from their mouths. After seeing that all the trees on the surface of the earth were being turned to ashes, Lord Brahma immediately came to the sons of King Barhisman and pacified them with words of logic. The remaining trees, being very much afraid of the Pracetas, immediately delivered their daughter at the advice of Lord Brahma. Following the order of Lord Brahma, all the Pracetas accepted the girl as their wife. From the womb of this girl, the son of Lord Brahma named Daksa took birth. Daksa had to take birth from the womb of Marisa due to his disobeying and disrespecting Lord Mahadeva [Shiva]. Consequently he had to give up his body twice. His previous body had been destroyed, but he, the same Daksa, inspired by the supreme will, created all the desired living entities in the Caksusa manvantara. After being born, Daksa, by the superexcellence of his bodily luster, covered all others' bodily opulence. Because he was very expert in performing fruitive activity, he was called by the name Daksa, meaning "the very expert." Lord Brahma therefore engaged Daksa in the work of generating living entities and maintaining them. In due course of time, Daksa also engaged other Prajapatis [progenitors] in the process of generation and maintenance. Chapter Thirty-one : Narada Instructs the Pracetas The great saint Maitreya continued: After that, the Pracetas lived at home for thousands of years and developed perfect knowledge in spiritual consciousness. At last they remembered the blessings of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and left home, putting their wife in charge of a perfect son. The Pracetas went to the seashore in the west where the great liberated sage Jajali was residing. After perfecting the spiritual knowledge by which one becomes equal toward all living entities, the Pracetas became perfect in Krishna consciousness. After practicing the yogasana for mystic yoga, the Pracetas managed to control their life air, mind, words and external vision. Thus by the pranayama process they were completely relieved of material attachment. By remaining perpendicular, they could concentrate their minds on the uppermost Brahman. While they were practicing this pranayama, the great sage Narada, who is worshiped both by demons and by demigods, came to see them. As soon as the Pracetas saw that the great sage Narada had appeared, they immediately got up even from their asanas. As required, they immediately offered obeisances and worshiped him, and when they saw that Narada Muni was properly seated, they began to ask him questions. All the Pracetas began to address the great sage Narada: O great sage, O brahmana, we hope you met with no disturbances while coming here. It is due to our great fortune that we are now able to see you. By the traveling of the sun, people are relieved from the fear of the darkness of night--a fear brought about by thieves and rogues. Similarly, your traveling is like the sun's, for you drive away all kinds of fear. O master, may we inform you that because of our being overly attached to family affairs, we almost forgot the instructions we received from Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. Dear master, kindly enlighten us in transcendental knowledge, which may act as a torchlight by which we may cross the dark nescience of material existence. The great sage Maitreya continued: My dear Vidura, being thus petitioned by the Pracetas, the supreme devotee Narada, who is always absorbed in thoughts of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, began to reply. The great sage Narada said: When a living entity is born to engage in the devotional service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the supreme controller, his birth, all his fruitive activities, his life-span, his mind and his words are all factually perfect. A civilized human being has three kinds of births. The first birth is by a pure father and mother, and this birth is called birth by semen. The next birth takes place when one is initiated by the spiritual master, and this birth is called savitra. The third birth, called yajnika, takes place when one is given the opportunity to worship Lord Vishnu. Despite the opportunities for attaining such births, even if one gets the life-span of a demigod, if one does not actually engage in the service of the Lord, everything is useless. Similarly, one's activities may be mundane or spiritual, but they are useless if they are not meant for satisfying the Lord. Without devotional service, what is the meaning of severe austerities, the process of hearing, the power of speech, the power of mental speculation, elevated intelligence, strength, and the power of the senses? Transcendental practices that do not ultimately help one realize the Supreme Personality of Godhead are useless, be they mystic yoga practices, the analytical study of matter, severe austerity, the acceptance of sannyasa, or the study of Vedic literature. All these may be very important aspects of spiritual advancement, but unless one understands the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, all these processes are useless. Factually the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the original source of all self- realization. Consequently, the goal of all auspicious activities--karma, jnana, yoga and bhakti--is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As pouring water on the root of a tree energizes the trunk, branches, twigs and everything else, and as supplying food to the stomach enlivens the senses and limbs of the body, simply worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead through devotional service automatically satisfies the demigods, who are parts of that Supreme Personality. During the rainy season, water is generated from the sun, and in due course of time, during the summer season, the very same water is again absorbed by the sun. Similarly, all living entities, moving and inert, are generated from the earth, and again, after some time, they all return to the earth as dust. Similarly, everything emanates from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and in due course of time everything enters into Him again. Just as the sunshine is nondifferent from the sun, the cosmic manifestation is also nondifferent from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Supreme Personality is therefore all-pervasive within this material creation. When the senses are active, they appear to be part and parcel of the body, but when the body is asleep, their activities are unmanifest. Similarly, the whole cosmic creation appears different and yet nondifferent from the Supreme Person. My dear Kings, sometimes in the sky there are clouds, sometimes there is darkness, and sometimes there is illumination. The appearance of all these takes place consecutively. Similarly, in the Supreme Absolute, the modes of passion, darkness and goodness appear as consecutive energies. Sometimes they appear, and sometimes they disappear. Because the Supreme Lord is the cause of all causes, He is the Supersoul of all individual living entities, and He exists as both the remote and immediate cause. Since He is aloof from the material emanations, He is free from their interactions and is Lord of material nature. You should therefore engage in His devotional service, thinking yourself qualitatively one with Him. By showing mercy to all living entities, being satisfied somehow or other and controlling the senses from sense enjoyment, one can very quickly satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Janardana. Being completely cleansed of all material desires, the devotees are freed from all mental contamination. Thus they can always think of the Lord constantly and address Him very feelingly. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, knowing Himself to be controlled by His devotees, does not leave them for a second, just as the sky overhead never becomes invisible. The Supreme Personality of Godhead becomes very dear to those devotees who have no material possessions but are fully happy in possessing the devotional service of the Lord. Indeed, the Lord relishes the devotional activities of such devotees. Those who are puffed up with material education, wealth, aristocracy and fruitive activity are very proud of possessing material things, and they often deride the devotees. Even if such people offer the Lord worship, the Lord never accepts them. Although the Supreme Personality of Godhead is self-sufficient, He becomes dependent on His devotees. He does not care for the goddess of fortune, nor for the kings and demigods who are after the favors of the goddess of fortune. Where is that person who is actually grateful and will not worship the Personality of Godhead? The great sage Maitreya continued: My dear King Vidura, Sri Narada Muni, the son of Lord Brahma, thus described all these relationships with the Supreme Personality of Godhead to the Pracetas. Afterward, he returned to Brahmaloka. Hearing from Narada's mouth the glories of the Lord, which vanquish all the ill fortune of the world, the Pracetas also became attached to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Meditating on His lotus feet, they advanced to the ultimate destination. My dear Vidura, I have told you everything you wanted to know about the conversation between Narada and the Pracetas, the conversation describing the glories of the Lord. I have related this as far as possible. Sukadeva Gosvami continued: O best of kings [King Pariksit], I have now finished telling about the descendants of the first son of Svayambhuva Manu, Uttanapada. I shall now try to relate the activities of the descendants of Priyavrata, the second son of Svayambhuva Manu. Please hear them attentively. Although Maharaja Priyavrata received instructions from the great sage Narada, he still engaged in ruling the earth. After fully enjoying material possessions, he divided his property among his sons. He then attained a position by which he could return home, back to Godhead. My dear King, in this way, after hearing the transcendental messages of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His devotees from the great sage Maitreya, Vidura was overwhelmed with ecstasy. With tears in his eyes, he immediately fell down at the lotus feet of his guru, his spiritual master. He then fixed the Supreme Personality of Godhead within the core of his heart. Sri Vidura said: O great mystic, O greatest of all devotees, by your causeless mercy I have been shown the path of liberation from this world of darkness. By following this path, a person liberated from the material world can return home, back to Godhead. Sukadeva Gosvami continued: Vidura thus offered obeisances unto the great sage Maitreya and, taking his permission, started for the city of Hastinapura to see his own kinsmen, although he had no material desires. O King, those who hear these topics about kings who are completely surrendered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead obtain without difficulty a long life, wealth, good reputation, good fortune and, ultimately, the opportunity to return home, back to Godhead.