Chapter One : The Activities of Maharaja Priyavrata King Pariksit inquired from Sukadeva Gosvami: O great sage, why did King Priyavrata, who was a great, self-realized devotee of the Lord, remain in household life, which is the root cause of the bondage of karma [fruitive activities] and which defeats the mission of human life? Devotees are certainly liberated persons. Therefore, O greatest of the brahmanas, they cannot possibly be absorbed in family affairs. Elevated mahatmas who have taken shelter of the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are fully satiated by the shade of those lotus feet. Their consciousness cannot possibly become attached to family members. The King continued: O great brahmana, this is my great doubt. How was it possible for a person like King Priyavrata, who was so attached to wife, children and home, to achieve the topmost infallible perfection in Krishna consciousness? Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: What you have said is correct. The glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is praised in eloquent, transcendental verses by such exalted personalities as Brahma, are very pleasing to great devotees and liberated persons. One who is attached to the nectarean honey of the Lord's lotus feet, and whose mind is always absorbed in His glories, may sometimes be checked by some impediment, but he still never gives up the exalted position he has acquired. Sukadeva Gosvami continued: My dear King, Prince Priyavrata was a great devotee because he sought the lotus feet of Narada, his spiritual master, and thus achieved the highest perfection in transcendental knowledge. With advanced knowledge, he always engaged in discussing spiritual subjects and did not divert his attention to anything else. The Prince's father then asked him to take charge of ruling the world. He tried to convince Priyavrata that this was his duty as indicated in the revealed scriptures. Prince Priyavrata, however, was continuously practicing bhakti-yoga by constantly remembering the Supreme Personality of Godhead, thus engaging all his senses in the service of the Lord. Therefore, although the order of his father could not be rejected, the Prince did not welcome it. Thus he very conscientiously raised the question of whether he might be diverted from devotional service by accepting the responsibility of ruling over the world. Sri Sukadeva Gosvami continued: The first created being and most powerful demigod in this universe is Lord Brahma, who is always responsible for developing universal affairs. Born directly from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he dedicates his activities to the welfare of the entire universe, for he knows the purpose of the universal creation. This supremely powerful Lord Brahma, accompanied by his associates and the personified Vedas, left his own abode in the highest planetary system and descended to the place of Prince Priyavrata's meditation. As Lord Brahma descended on his carrier, the great swan, all the residents of the planets named Siddhaloka, Gandharvaloka, Sadhyaloka and Caranaloka, as well as great sages and demigods flying in their different airplanes, assembled within the canopy of the sky to receive Lord Brahma and worship him. As he received respect and adoration from the residents of the various planets, Lord Brahma appeared just like the full moon surrounded by illuminating stars. Lord Brahma's great swan then arrived at the border of Gandhamadana Hill and approached Prince Priyavrata, who was sitting there. Lord Brahma, the father of Narada Muni, is the supreme person within this universe. As soon as Narada saw the great swan, he could understand that Lord Brahma had arrived. Therefore he immediately stood up, along with Svayambhuva Manu and his son Priyavrata, whom Narada was instructing. Then they folded their hands and began to worship Lord Brahma with great respect. My dear King Pariksit, because Lord Brahma had finally descended from Satyaloka to Bhuloka, Narada Muni, Prince Priyavrata and Svayambhuva Manu came forward to offer him objects of worship and to praise him in highly qualified language, according to Vedic etiquette. At that time, Lord Brahma, the original person of this universe, felt compassion for Priyavrata and, looking upon him with a smiling face, spoke to him as follows. Lord Brahma, the supreme person within this universe, said: My dear Priyavrata, kindly hear attentively what I shall say to you. Do not be jealous of the Supreme Lord, who is beyond our experimental measurements. All of us, including Lord Shiva, your father and the great sage Maharsi Narada, must carry out the order of the Supreme. We cannot deviate from His order. One cannot avoid the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, not by the strength of severe austerities, an exalted Vedic education, or the power of mystic yoga, physical prowess or intellectual activities. Nor can one use his power of religion, his material opulence or any other means, either by himself or with the help of others, to defy the orders of the Supreme Lord. That is not possible for any living being, from Brahma down to the ant. My dear Priyavrata, by the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, all living entities accept different types of bodies for birth and death, activity, lamentation, illusion, fear of future dangers, and happiness and distress. My dear boy, all of us are bound by the Vedic injunctions to the divisions of varnasrama according to our qualities and work. These divisions are difficult to avoid because they are scientifically arranged. We must therefore carry out our duties of varnasrama-dharma, like bulls obliged to move according to the direction of a driver pulling on ropes knotted to their noses. My dear Priyavrata, according to our association with different modes of material nature, the Supreme Personality of Godhead gives us our specific bodies and the happiness and distress we achieve. One must therefore remain situated as he is and be conducted by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, exactly as a blind man is led by a person who has eyes with which to see. Even if one is liberated, he nevertheless accepts the body he has received according to his past karma. Without misconceptions, however, he regards his enjoyment and suffering due to that karma the way an awakened person regards a dream he had while sleeping. He thus remains steadfast and never works to achieve another material body under the influence of the three modes of material nature. Even if he goes from forest to forest, one who is not self-controlled must always fear material bondage because he is living with six co-wives--the mind and knowledge-acquiring senses. Even householder life, however, cannot harm a self-satisfied, learned man who has conquered his senses. One who is situated in household life and who systematically conquers his mind and five sense organs is like a king in his fortress who conquers his powerful enemies. After one has been trained in household life and his lusty desires have decreased, he can move anywhere without danger. Lord Brahma continued: My dear Priyavrata, seek shelter inside the opening in the lotus of the feet of the Lord, whose navel is also like a lotus. Thus conquer the six sense organs [the mind and knowledge-acquiring senses]. Accept material enjoyment because the Lord, extraordinarily, has ordered you to do this. You will thus always be liberated from material association and be able to carry out the Lord's orders in your constitutional position. Sri Sukadeva Gosvami continued: After thus being fully instructed by Lord Brahma, who is the spiritual master of the three worlds, Priyavrata, his own position being inferior, offered obeisances, accepted the order and carried it out with great respect. Lord Brahma was then worshiped by Manu, who respectfully satisfied him as well as he could. Priyavrata and Narada also looked upon Brahma with no tinges of resentment. Having engaged Priyavrata in accepting his father's request, Lord Brahma returned to his abode, Satyaloka, which is indescribable by the endeavor of mundane mind or words. Svayambhuva Manu, with the assistance of Lord Brahma, thus fulfilled his desires. With the permission of the great sage Narada, he delivered to his son the governmental responsibility for maintaining and protecting all the planets of the universe. He thus achieved relief from the most dangerous, poisonous ocean of material desires. Following the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Maharaja Priyavrata fully engaged in worldly affairs, yet he always thought of the lotus feet of the Lord, which are the cause of liberation from all material attachment. Although Priyavrata Maharaja was completely freed from all material contamination, he ruled the material world just to honor the orders of his superiors. Thereafter, Maharaja Priyavrata married Barhismati, the daughter of the prajapati named Visvakarma. In her he begot ten sons equal to him in beauty, character, magnanimity and other qualities. He also begot a daughter, the youngest of all, named Urjasvati. The ten sons of Maharaja Priyavrata were named Agnidhra, Idhmajihva, Yajnabahu, Mahavira, Hiranyareta, Ghrtaprstha, Savana, Medhatithi, Vitihotra and Kavi. These are also names of Agni, the fire-god. Three among these ten--namely Kavi, Mahavira and Savana--lived in complete celibacy. Thus trained in brahmacari life from the beginning of childhood, they were very conversant with the highest perfection, known as the paramahamsa- asrama. Thus situated in the renounced order from the beginning of their lives, all three of them completely controlled the activities of their senses and thus became great saints. They concentrated their minds always upon the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the resting place of the totality of living entities and who is therefore celebrated as Vasudeva. Lord Vasudeva is the only shelter of those who are actually afraid of material existence. By constantly thinking of His lotus feet, these three sons of Maharaja Priyavrata became advanced in pure devotional service. By the prowess of their devotional service, they could directly perceive the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is situated in everyone's heart as the Supersoul, and realize that there was qualitatively no difference between themselves and Him. In his other wife, Maharaja Priyavrata begot three sons, named Uttama, Tamasa and Raivata. All of them later took charge of manvantara millenniums. After Kavi, Mahavira and Savana were completely trained in the paramahamsa stage of life, Maharaja Priyavrata ruled the universe for eleven arbudas of years. Whenever he was determined to fix his arrow upon his bowstring with his two powerful arms, all opponents of the regulative principles of religious life would flee from his presence in fear of the unparalleled prowess he displayed in ruling the universe. He greatly loved his wife Barhismati, and with the increase of days, their exchange of nuptial love also increased. By her feminine behavior as she dressed herself, walked, got up, smiled, laughed, and glanced about, Queen Barhismati increased his energy. Thus although he was a great soul, he appeared lost in the feminine conduct of his wife. He behaved with her just like an ordinary man, but actually he was a great soul. While so excellently ruling the universe, King Priyavrata once became dissatisfied with the circumambulation of the most powerful sun-god. Encircling Sumeru Hill on his chariot, the sun-god illuminates all the surrounding planetary systems. However, when the sun is on the northern side of the hill, the south receives less light, and when the sun is in the south, the north receives less. King Priyavrata disliked this situation and therefore decided to make daylight in the part of the universe where there was night. He followed the orbit of the sun-god on a brilliant chariot and thus fulfilled his desire. He could perform such wonderful activities because of the power he had achieved by worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When Priyavrata drove his chariot behind the sun, the rims of his chariot wheels created impressions that later became seven oceans, dividing the planetary system known as Bhu-mandala into seven islands. The names of the islands are Jambu, Plaksa, Salmali, Kusa, Kraunca, Saka and Puskara. Each island is twice as large as the one preceding it, and each is surrounded by a liquid substance, beyond which is the next island. The seven oceans respectively contain salt water, sugarcane juice, liquor, clarified butter, milk, emulsified yogurt, and sweet drinking water. All the islands are completely surrounded by these oceans, and each ocean is equal in breadth to the island it surrounds. Maharaja Priyavrata, the husband of Queen Barhismati, gave sovereignty over these islands to his respective sons, namely Agnidhra, Idhmajihva, Yajnabahu, Hiranyareta, Ghrtaprstha, Medhatithi and Vitihotra. Thus they all became kings by the order of their father. King Priyavrata then gave his daughter, Urjasvati, in marriage to Sukracarya, who begot in her a daughter named Devayani. My dear King, a devotee who has taken shelter of the dust from the lotus feet of the Lord can transcend the influence of the six material whips--namely hunger, thirst, lamentation, illusion, old age and death--and he can conquer the mind and five senses. However, this is not very wonderful for a pure devotee of the Lord because even a person beyond the jurisdiction of the four castes--in other words, an untouchable--is immediately relieved of bondage to material existence if he utters the holy name of the Lord even once. While enjoying his material opulences with full strength and influence, Maharaja Priyavrata once began to consider that although he had fully surrendered to the great saint Narada and was actually on the path of Krishna consciousness, he had somehow become again entangled in material activities. Thus his mind now became restless, and he began to speak in a spirit of renunciation. The King thus began criticizing himself: Alas, how condemned I have become because of my sense gratification! I have now fallen into material enjoyment, which is exactly like a covered well. I have had enough! I am not going to enjoy any more. Just see how I have become like a dancing monkey in the hands of my wife. Because of this, I am condemned. By the grace of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Maharaja Priyavrata reawakened to his senses. He divided all his earthly possessions among his obedient sons. He gave up everything, including his wife, with whom he had enjoyed so much sense gratification, and his great and opulent kingdom, and he completely renounced all attachment. His heart, having been cleansed, became a place of pastimes for the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus he was able to return to the path of Krishna consciousness, spiritual life, and resume the position he had attained by the grace of the great saint Narada. There are many famous verses regarding Maharaja Priyavrata's activities: "No one but the Supreme Personality of Godhead could do what Maharaja Priyavrata has done. Maharaja Priyavrata dissipated the darkness of night, and with the rims of his great chariot, he excavated seven oceans." "To stop the quarreling among different peoples, Maharaja Priyavrata marked boundaries at rivers and at the edges of mountains and forests so that no one would trespass upon another's property." "As a great follower and devotee of the sage Narada, Maharaja Priyavrata considered hellish the opulences he had achieved by dint of fruitive activities and mystic power, whether in the lower or heavenly planetary systems or in human society." Chapter Two : The Activities of Maharaja Agnidhra Sri Sukadeva Gosvami continued: After his father, Maharaja Priyavrata, departed to follow the path of spiritual life by undergoing austerities, King Agnidhra completely obeyed his order. Strictly observing the principles of religion, he gave full protection to the inhabitants of Jambudvipa as if they were his own begotten sons. Desiring to get a perfect son and become an inhabitant of Pitrloka, Maharaja Agnidhra once worshiped Lord Brahma, the master of those in charge of material creation. He went to a valley of Mandara Hill, where the damsels of the heavenly planets come down to stroll. There he collected garden flowers and other necessary paraphernalia and then engaged in severe austerities and worship. Understanding King Agnidhra's desire, the first and most powerful created being of this universe, Lord Brahma, selected the best of the dancing girls in his assembly, whose name was Purvacitti, and sent her to the King. The Apsara sent by Lord Brahma began strolling in a beautiful park near the place where the King was meditating and worshiping. The park was beautiful because of its dense green foliage and golden creepers. There were pairs of varied birds such as peacocks, and in a lake there were ducks and swans, all vibrating very sweet sounds. Thus the park was magnificently beautiful because of the foliage, the clear water, the lotus flowers and the sweet singing of various kinds of birds. As Purvacitti passed by on the road in a very beautiful style and mood of her own, the pleasing ornaments on her ankles tinkled with her every step. Although Prince Agnidhra was controlling his senses, practicing yoga with half-open eyes, he could see her with his lotuslike eyes, and when he heard the sweet tinkling of her bangles, he opened his eyes slightly more and could see that she was just nearby. Like a honeybee, the Apsara smelled the beautiful and attractive flowers. She could attract the minds and vision of both humans and demigods by her playful movements, her shyness and humility, her glances, the very pleasing sounds that poured from her mouth as she spoke, and the motion of her limbs. By all these qualities, she opened for Cupid, who bears an arrow of flowers, a path of aural reception into the minds of men. When she spoke, nectar seemed to flow from her mouth. As she breathed, the bees, mad for the taste of her breath, tried to hover about her beautiful lotuslike eyes. Disturbed by the bees, she tried to move hastily, but as she raised her feet to walk quickly, her hair, the belt on her hips, and her breasts, which were like water jugs, also moved in a way that made her extremely beautiful and attractive. Indeed, she seemed to be making a path for the entrance of Cupid, who is most powerful. Therefore the prince, completely subdued by seeing her, spoke to her as follows. The Prince mistakenly addressed the Apsara: O best of saintly persons, who are you? Why are you on this hill, and what do you want to do? Are you one of the illusory potencies of the Supreme Personality of Godhead? You seem to be carrying two bows without strings, What is the reason you carry these bows? Is it for some purpose of your own or for the sake of a friend? Perhaps you carry them to kill the mad animals in this forest. Then Agnidhra observed the glancing eyes of Purvacitti and said: My dear friend, you have two very powerful arrows, namely your glancing eyes. Those arrows have feathers like the petals of a lotus flower. Although they have no shafts, they are very beautiful, and they have very sharp, piercing points. They appear very peaceful, and thus it seems that they will not be shot at anyone. You must be loitering in this forest to shoot those arrows at someone, but I cannot understand whom. My intelligence is dull, and I cannot combat you. Indeed, no one can equal you in prowess, and therefore I pray that your prowess will be for my good fortune. Seeing the bumblebees following Purvacitti, Maharaja Agnidhra said: My dear Lord, the bumblebees surrounding your body are like disciples surrounding your worshipable self. They are incessantly chanting the mantras of the Sama Veda and the Upanisads, thus offering prayers to you. Just as great sages resort to the branches of Vedic literatures, the bumblebees are enjoying the showers of flowers falling from your hair. O brahmana, I can simply hear the tinkling of your ankle bells. Within those bells, tittiri birds seem to be chirping among themselves. Although I do not see their forms, I can hear how they are chirping. When I look at your beautiful circular hips, I see they are the lovely color of kadamba flowers, and your waist is encircled by a belt of burning cinders. Indeed, you seem to have forgotten to dress yourself. Agnidhra then praised Purvacitti's raised breasts. He said: My dear brahmana your waist is very thin, yet with great difficulty you are carefully carrying two horns, to which my eyes have become attracted. What is filling those two beautiful horns? You seem to have spread fragrant red powder upon them, powder that is like the rising morning sun. O most fortunate one, I beg to inquire where you have gotten this fragrant powder that is perfuming my asrama, my place of residence. O best friend, will you kindly show me the place where you reside? I cannot imagine how the residents of that place have gotten such wonderful bodily features as your raised breasts, which agitate the mind and eyes of a person like me who sees them. Judging by the sweet speech and kind smiles of those residents, I think that their mouths must contain nectar. My dear friend, what do you eat to maintain your body? Because you are chewing betel, a pleasing scent is emanating from your mouth. This proves that you always eat the remnants of food offered to Vishnu. Indeed, you must also be an expansion of Lord Vishnu's body. Your face is as beautiful as a pleasing lake. Your jeweled earrings resemble two brilliant sharks with unblinking eyes like those of Vishnu, and your own eyes resemble two restless fish. Simultaneously, therefore, two sharks and two restless fish are swimming in the lake of your face. Besides them, the white rows of your teeth seem like rows of very beautiful swans in the water, and your scattered hair resembles swarms of bumblebees following the beauty of your face. My mind is already restless, and by playing with a ball, moving it all about with your lotuslike palm, you are also agitating my eyes. Your curling black hair is now scattered, but you are not attentive to arranging it. Are you not going to arrange it? Like a man attached to women, the most cunning wind is trying to take off your lower garment. Are you not mindful of it? O best among those performing austerities, where did you get this wonderful beauty that dismantles the austerities performed by others? Where have you learned this art? What austerity have you undergone to achieve this beauty, my dear friend? I desire that you join me to perform austerity and penance, for it may be that the creator of the universe, Lord Brahma, being pleased with me, has sent you to become my wife. Lord Brahma, who is worshiped by the brahmanas, has very mercifully given you to me, and that is why I have met you. I do not want to give up your company, for my mind and eyes are fixed upon you and cannot be drawn away. O woman with beautiful raised breasts, I am your follower. You may take me wherever you like, and your friends may also follow me. Sukadeva Gosvami continued: Maharaja Agnidhra, whose intelligence was like that of a demigod, knew the art of flattering women to win them to his side. He therefore pleased that celestial girl with his lusty words and gained her favor. Attracted by the intelligence, learning, youth, beauty, behavior, opulence and magnanimity of Agnidhra, the King of Jambudvipa and master of all heroes, Purvacitti lived with him for many thousands of years and luxuriously enjoyed both worldly and heavenly happiness. In the womb of Purvacitti, Maharaja Agnidhra, the best of kings, begot nine sons, named Nabhi, Kimpurusa, Harivarsa, Ilavrta, Ramyaka, Hiranmaya, Kuru, Bhadrasva and Ketumala. Purvacitti gave birth to these nine sons, one each year, but after they grew up, she left them at home and again approached Lord Brahma to worship him. Because of drinking the breast milk of their mother, the nine sons of Agnidhra naturally had strong, well-built bodies. Their father gave them each a kingdom in a different part of Jambudvipa. The kingdoms were named according to the names of the sons. Thus the sons of Agnidhra ruled the kingdoms they received from their father. After Purvacitti's departure, King Agnidhra, his lusty desires not at all satisfied, always thought of her. Therefore, in accordance with the Vedic injunctions, the King, after his death, was promoted to the same planet as his celestial wife. That planet, which is called Pitrloka, is where the pitas, the forefathers, live in great delight. After the departure of their father, the nine brothers married the nine daughters of Meru named Merudevi, Pratirupa, Ugradamstri, Lata, Ramya, Syama, Nari, Bhadra and Devaviti. Chapter Three : Rsabhadeva's Appearance in the Womb of Merudevi, Sukadeva Gosvami continued to speak: Maharaja Nabhi, the son of Agnidhra, wished to have sons, and therefore he attentively began to offer prayers and worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Vishnu, the master and enjoyer of all sacrifices. Maharaja Nabhi's wife, Merudevi, who had not given birth to any children at that time, also worshiped Lord Vishnu along with her husband. In the performance of a sacrifice, there are seven transcendental means to obtain the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead: (1) by sacrificing valuable things or eatables, (2) by acting in terms of place, (3) by acting in terms of time, (4) by offering hymns, (5) by going through the priest, (6) by offering gifts to the priests and (7) by observing the regulative principles. However, one cannot always obtain the Supreme Lord through this paraphernalia. Nonetheless, the Lord is affectionate to His devotee; therefore when Maharaja Nabhi, who was a devotee, worshiped and offered prayers to the Lord with great faith and devotion and with a pure uncontaminated mind, superficially performing some yajna in the line of pravargya, the kind Supreme Personality of Godhead, due to His affection for His devotees, appeared before King Nabhi in His unconquerable and captivating form with four hands. In this way, to fulfill the desire of His devotee, the Supreme Personality of Godhead manifested Himself in His beautiful body before His devotee. This body pleases the mind and eyes of the devotees. Lord Vishnu appeared before King Nabhi with four arms. He was very bright, and He appeared to be the best of all personalities. Around the lower portion of His body, He wore a yellow silken garment. On His chest was the mark of Srivatsa, which always displays beauty. He carried a conchshell, lotus flower, disc and club, and He wore a garland of forest flowers and the Kaustubha gem. He was beautifully decorated with a helmet, earrings, bangles, belt, pearl necklace, armlets, ankle bells and other bodily ornaments bedecked with radiant jewels. Seeing the Lord present before them, King Nabhi and his priests and associates felt just like poor people who have suddenly attained great riches. They received the Lord and respectfully bent their heads and offered Him things in worship. The priests began to offer prayers to the Lord, saying: O most worshipable one, we are simply Your servants. Although You are full in Yourself, please, out of Your causeless mercy, accept a little service from us, Your eternal servants. We are not actually aware of Your transcendental form, but we can simply offer our respectful obeisances again and again, as instructed by the Vedic literatures and authorized acaryas. Materialistic living entities are very much attracted to the modes of material nature, and therefore they are never perfect, but You are above the jurisdiction of all material conceptions. Your name, form and qualities are all transcendental and beyond the conception of experimental knowledge. Indeed, who can conceive of You? In the material world we can perceive only material names and qualities. We have no other power than to offer our respectful obeisances and prayers unto You, the transcendental person. The chanting of Your auspicious transcendental qualities will wipe out the sins of all mankind. That is the most auspicious activity for us, and we can thus partially understand Your supernatural position. O Supreme Lord, You are full in every respect. You are certainly very satisfied when Your devotees offer You prayers with faltering voices and in ecstasy bring You tulasi leaves, water, twigs bearing new leaves, and newly grown grass. This surely makes You satisfied. We have engaged in Your worship with many things and have offered sacrifices unto You, but we think that there is no need for so many arrangements to please Your Lordship. All of life's goals and opulences are directly, self-sufficiently, unceasingly and unlimitedly increasing in You at every moment. Indeed, You are unlimited enjoyment and blissful existence itself. As far as we are concerned, O Lord, we are always after material enjoyment. You do not need all these sacrificial arrangements, but they are meant for us so that we may be benedicted by Your Lordship. All these sacrifices are performed for our fruitive results, aid they are not actually needed by You. O Lord of lords, we are completely ignorant of the execution of dharma, artha, kama and moksa, the process of liberation, because we do not actually know the goal of life. You have appeared personally before us like a person soliciting worship, but actually You are present here just so we can see You. You have come out of Your abundant and causeless mercy in order to serve our purpose, our interest, and give us the benefit of Your personal glory called apavarga, liberation. You have come, although You are not properly worshiped by us due to our ignorance. O most worshipable of all, You are the best of all benefactors, and Your appearance at saintly King Nabhi's sacrificial arena is meant for our benediction. Because You have been seen by us, You have bestowed upon us the most valuable benediction. Dear Lord, all the great sages who are thoughtful and saintly persons incessantly recount Your spiritual qualities. These sages have already burned up all the unlimited dirty things and, by the fire of knowledge, strengthened their detachment from the material world. Thus they have attained Your qualities and are self-satisfied. Yet even for those who feel spiritual bliss in chanting Your attributes, Your personal presence is very rare. Dear Lord, we may not be able to remember Your name, form and qualities due to stumbling, hunger, falling down, yawning or being in a miserable diseased condition at the time of death when there is a high fever. We therefore pray unto You, O Lord, for You are very affectionate to Your devotees. Please help us remember You and utter Your holy names, attributes and activities, which can dispel all the reactions of our sinful lives. Dear Lord, here is the great King Nabhi, whose ultimate goal in life is to have a son like You. Your Lordship, his position is like that of a person approaching a very rich man and begging for a little grain. Maharaja Nabhi is so desirous of having a son that he is worshiping You for a son, although You can offer him any exalted position, including elevation to the heavenly planets or liberation back to Godhead. Dear Lord, unless one worships the lotus feet of great devotees, one will be conquered by the illusory energy, and his intelligence will be bewildered. Indeed, who has not been carried away by the waves of material enjoyment, which are like poison? Your illusory energy is unconquerable. No one can see the path of this material energy or tell how it is working. O Lord, You perform many wonderful activities. Our only aim was to acquire a son by performing this great sacrifice; therefore our intelligence is not very sharp. We are not experienced in ascertaining life's goal. By inviting You to this negligible sacrifice for some material motive, we have certainly committed a great offense at Your lotus feet. Therefore, O Lord of lords, please excuse our offense because of Your causeless mercy and equal mind. Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: The priests, who were even worshiped by King Nabhi, the Emperor of Bharata-varsa, offered prayers in prose [generally they were in poetry] and bowed down at the Lord's lotus feet. The Lord of lords, the ruler of the demigods, was very pleased with them, and He began to speak as follows. The Supreme Personality of Godhead replied: O great sages, I am certainly very pleased with your prayers. You are all truthful. You have prayed for the benediction of a son like Me for King Nabhi, but this is very difficult to obtain. Since I am the Supreme Person without a second and since no one is equal to Me, another personality like Me is not possible to find. In any case, because you are all qualified brahmanas, your vibrations should not prove untrue. I consider the brahmanas who are well qualified with brahminical qualities to be as good as My own mouth. Since I cannot find anyone equal to Me, I shall personally expand Myself into a plenary portion and thus advent Myself in the womb of Merudevi, the wife of Maharaja Nabhi, the son of Agnidhra. Sukadeva Gosvami continued: After saying this, the Lord disappeared. The wife of King Nabhi, Queen Merudevi, was sitting by the side of her husband, and consequently she could hear everything the Supreme Lord had spoken. O Vishnudatta, Pariksit Maharaja, the Supreme Personality of Godhead was pleased by the great sages at that sacrifice. Consequently the Lord decided to personally exhibit the method of executing religious principles [as observed by brahmacaris, sannyasis, vanaprasthas and grhasthas engaged in rituals] and also satisfy Maharaja Nabhi's desire. Consequently He appeared as the son of Merudevi in His original spiritual form, which is above the modes of material nature. Chapter Four : The Characteristics of Rsabhadeva, Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: As soon as the Lord was born as the son of Maharaja Nabhi, He manifested symptoms of the Supreme Lord, such as marks on the bottoms of His feet [the flag, thunderbolt, etc.]. This son was equal to everyone and very peaceful. He could control His senses and His mind, and, possessing all opulence, He did not hanker for material enjoyment. Endowed with all these attributes, the son of Maharaja Nabhi became more powerful day after day. Due to this, the citizens, learned brahmanas, demigods and ministers wanted Rsabhadeva to be appointed ruler of the earth. When the son of Maharaja Nabhi became visible, He evinced all good qualities described by the great poets--namely, a well-built body with all the symptoms of the Godhead, prowess, strength, beauty, name, fame, influence and enthusiasm. When the father, Maharaja Nabhi, saw all these qualities, he thought his son to be the best of human beings or the supreme being. Therefore he gave Him the name Rsabha. Indra, the King of heaven, who is very materially opulent, became envious of King Rsabhadeva. Consequently he stopped pouring water on the planet known as Bharata-varsa. At that time the Supreme Lord, Rsabhadeva, the master of all mystic power, understood King Indra's purpose and smiled a little. Then, by His own prowess, through yogamaya [His internal potency], He profusely poured water upon His own place, which was known as Ajanabha. Due to getting a perfect son according to his desire, King Nabhi was always overwhelmed with transcendental bliss and was very affectionate to his son. It was with ecstasy and a faltering voice that he addressed Him, "My dear son, my darling." This mentality was brought about by yogamaya, whereby he accepted the Supreme Lord, the supreme father, as his own son. Out of His supreme good will, the Lord became his son and dealt with everyone as if He were an ordinary human being. Thus King Nabhi began to raise his transcendental son with great affection, and he was overwhelmed with transcendental bliss, joy and devotion. King Nabhi understood that his son, Rsabhadeva, was very popular among the citizens and among government officers and ministers. Understanding the popularity of his son, Maharaja Nabhi enthroned Him as the emperor of the world to give protection to the general populace in terms of the Vedic religious system. To do this, he entrusted Him into the hands of learned brahmanas, who would guide Him in administrating the government. Then Maharaja Nabhi and his wife, Merudevi, went to Badarikasrama in the Himalaya Mountains, where the King engaged Himself very expertly in austerities and penances with great jubilation. In full samadhi he worshiped the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Nara-Narayana, who is Krishna in His plenary expansion. By doing so, in course of time Maharaja Nabhi was elevated to the spiritual world known as Vaikuntha. O Maharaja Pariksit, to glorify Maharaja Nabhi, the old sages composed two verses. One of them is this: "Who can attain the perfection of Maharaja Nabhi? Who can attain his activities? Because of his devotional service, the Supreme Personality of Godhead agreed to become his son." [The second prayer is this.] "Who is a better worshiper of brahmanas than Maharaja Nabhi? Because he worshiped the qualified brahmanas to their full satisfaction, the brahmanas, by their brahminical prowess, showed Maharaja Nabhi the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana, in person." After Nabhi Maharaja departed for Badarikasrama, the Supreme Lord, Rsabhadeva, understood that His kingdom was His field of activities. He therefore showed Himself as an example and taught the duties of a householder by first accepting brahmacarya under the direction of spiritual masters. He also went to live at the spiritual masters' place, gurukula. After His education was finished, He gave gifts (guru-daksina) to His spiritual masters and then accepted the life of a householder. He took a wife named Jayanti and begot one hundred sons who were as powerful and qualified as He Himself. His wife Jayanti had been offered to Him by Indra, the King of heaven. Rsabhadeva and Jayanti performed householder life in an exemplary way, carrying out ritualistic activities ordained by the sruti and smrti sastra. Of Rsabhadeva's one hundred sons, the eldest, named Bharata, was a great, exalted devotee qualified with the best attributes. In his honor, this planet has become known as Bharata-varsa. Following Bharata, there were ninety-nine other sons. Among these were nine elderly sons, named Kusavarta, Ilavarta, Brahmavarta, Malaya, Ketu, Bhadrasena, Indrasprk, Vidarbha and Kikata. In addition to these sons were Kavi, Havi, Antariksa, Prabuddha, Pippalayana, Avirhotra, Drumila, Camasa and Karabhajana. These were all very exalted, advanced devotees and authorized preachers of Srimad-Bhagavatam. These devotees were glorified due to their strong devotion to Vasudeva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore they were very exalted. To satisfy the mind perfectly, I [Sukadeva Gosvami] shall hereafter describe the characteristics of these nine devotees when I discuss the conversation between Narada and Vasudeva. In addition to these nineteen sons mentioned above, there were eighty-one younger ones, all born of Rsabhadeva and Jayanti. According to the order of their father, they became well cultured, well behaved, very pure in their activities and expert in Vedic knowledge and the performance of Vedic rituals. Thus they all became perfectly qualified brahmanas. Being an incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Rsabhadeva was fully independent because His form was spiritual, eternal and full of transcendental bliss. He eternally had nothing to do with the four principles of material misery [birth, death, old age and disease]. Nor was He materially attached. He was always equipoised, and He saw everyone on the same level. He was unhappy to see others unhappy, and He was the well-wisher of all living entities. Although He was a perfect personality, the Supreme Lord and controller of all, He nonetheless acted as if He were an ordinary conditioned soul. Therefore He strictly followed the principles of varnasrama-dharma and acted accordingly. In due course of time, the principles of varnasrama-dharma had become neglected; therefore through His personal characteristics and behavior, He taught the ignorant public how to perform duties within the varnasrama- dharma. In this way He regulated the general populace in householder life, enabling them to develop religion and economic well-being and to attain reputations, sons and daughters, material pleasure and finally eternal life. By His instructions, He showed how people could remain householders and at the same time become perfect by following the principles of varnasrama-dharma. Whatever action is performed by a great man, common men follow. Although Lord Rsabhadeva knew everything about confidential Vedic knowledge, which includes information about all types of occupational duties, He still maintained Himself as a ksatriya and followed the instructions of the brahmanas as they related to mind control, sense control, tolerance and so forth. Thus He ruled the people according to the system of varnasrama-dharma, which enjoins that the brahmanas instruct the ksatriyas and the ksatriyas administer to the state through the vaisyas and sudras. Lord Rsabhadeva performed all kinds of sacrifices one hundred times according to the instructions of the Vedic literatures. Thus He satisfied Lord Vishnu in every respect. All the rituals were enriched by first-class ingredients. They were executed in holy places according to the proper time by priests who were all young and faithful. In this way Lord Vishnu was worshiped, and the prasada was offered to all the demigods. Thus the functions and festivals were all successful. No one likes to possess anything that is like a will-o'-the-wisp or a flower in the sky, for everyone knows very well that such things do not exist. When Lord Rsabhadeva ruled this planet of Bharatavarsa, even common men did not want to ask for anything, at any time or by any means. No one ever asks for a will-o'- the-wisp. In other words, everyone was completely satisfied, and therefore there was no chance of anyone's asking for anything. The people were absorbed in great affection for the King. Since this affection was always expanding, they were not inclined to ask for anything. Once while touring the world, Lord Rsabhadeva, the Supreme Lord, reached a place known as Brahmavarta. There was a great conference of learned brahmanas at that place, and all the King's sons attentively heard the instructions of the brahmanas there. At that assembly, within the hearing of the citizens, Rsabhadeva instructed His sons, although they were already very well behaved, devoted and qualified. He instructed them so that in the future they could rule the world very perfectly. Thus he spoke as follows. Chapter Five : Lord Rsabhadeva's Teachings to His Sons Lord Rsabhadeva told His sons: My dear boys, of all the living entities who have accepted material bodies in this world, one who has been awarded this human form should not work hard day and night simply for sense gratification, which is available even for dogs and hogs that eat stool. One should engage in penance and austerity to attain the divine position of devotional service. By such activity, one's heart is purified, and when one attains this position, he attains eternal, blissful life, which is transcendental to material happiness and which continues forever. One can attain the path of liberation from material bondage only by rendering service to highly advanced spiritual personalities. These personalities are impersonalists and devotees. Whether one wants to merge into the Lord's existence or wants to associate with the Personality of Godhead, one should render service to the mahatmas. For those who are not interested in such activities, who associate with people fond of women and sex, the path to hell is wide open. The mahatmas are equipoised. They do not see any difference between one living entity and another. They are very peaceful and are fully engaged in devotional service. They are devoid of anger, and they work for the benefit of everyone. They do not behave in any abominable way. Such people are known as mahatmas. Those who are interested in reviving Krishna consciousness and increasing their love of Godhead do not like to do anything that is not related to Krishna. They are not interested in mingling with people who are busy maintaining their bodies, eating, sleeping, mating and defending. They are not attached to their homes, although they may be householders. Nor are they attached to wives, children, friends or wealth. At the same time, they are not indifferent to the execution of their duties. Such people are interested in collecting only enough money to keep the body and soul together. When a person considers sense gratification the aim of life, he certainly becomes mad after materialistic living and engages in all kinds of sinful activity. He does not know that due to his past misdeeds he has already received a body which, although temporary, is the cause of his misery. Actually the living entity should not have taken on a material body, but he has been awarded the material body for sense gratification. Therefore I think it not befitting an intelligent man to involve himself again in the activities of sense gratification by which he perpetually gets material bodies one after another. As long as one does not inquire about the spiritual values of life, one is defeated and subjected to miseries arising from ignorance. Be it sinful or pious, karma has its resultant actions. If a person is engaged in any kind of karma, his mind is called karmatmaka, colored with fruitive activity. As long as the mind is impure, consciousness is unclear, and as long as one is absorbed in fruitive activity, he has to accept a material body. When the living entity is covered by the mode of ignorance, he does not understand the individual living being and the supreme living being, and his mind is subjugated to fruitive activity. Therefore, until one has love for Lord Vasudeva, who is none other than Myself, he is certainly not delivered from having to accept a material body again and again. Even though one may be very learned and wise, he is mad if he does not understand that the endeavor for sense gratification is a useless waste of time. Being forgetful of his own interest, he tries to be happy in the material world, centering his interests around his home, which is based on sexual intercourse and which brings him all kinds of material miseries. In this way one is no better than a foolish animal. The attraction between male and female is the basic principle of material existence. On the basis of this misconception, which ties together the hearts of the male and female, one becomes attracted to his body, home, property, children, relatives and wealth. In this way one increases life's illusions and thinks in terms of "I and mine." When the strong knot in the heart of a person implicated in material life due to the results of past action is slackened, one turns away from his attachment to home, wife and children. In this way, one gives up the basic principle of illusion [I and mine] and becomes liberated. Thus one goes to the transcendental world. O My sons, you should accept a highly elevated paramahamsa, a spiritually advanced spiritual master. In this way, you should place your faith and love in Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. You should detest sense gratification and tolerate the duality of pleasure and pain, which are like the seasonal changes of summer and winter. Try to realize the miserable condition of living entities, who are miserable even in the higher planetary systems. Philosophically inquire about the truth. Then undergo all kinds of austerities and penances for the sake of devotional service. Give up the endeavor for sense enjoyment and engage in the service of the Lord. Listen to discussions about the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and always associate with devotees. Chant about and glorify the Supreme Lord, and look upon everyone equally on the spiritual platform. Give up enmity and subdue anger and lamentation. Abandon identifying the self with the body and the home, and practice reading the revealed scriptures. Live in a secluded place and practice the process by which you can completely control your life air, mind and senses. Have full faith in the revealed scriptures, the Vedic literatures, and always observe celibacy. Perform your prescribed duties and avoid unnecessary talks. Always thinking of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, acquire knowledge from the right source. Thus practicing bhakti-yoga, you will patiently and enthusiastically be elevated in knowledge and will be able to give up the false ego. As I have advised you, My dear sons, you should act accordingly. Be very careful. By these means you will be freed from the ignorance of the desire for fruitive activity, and the knot of bondage in the heart will be completely severed. For further advancement, you should also give up the means. That is, you should not become attached to the process of liberation itself. If one is serious about going back home, back to Godhead, he must consider the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead the summum bonum and chief aim of life. If he is a father instructing his sons, a spiritual master instructing his disciples, or a king instructing his citizens, he must instruct them as I have advised. Without being angry, he should continue giving instructions, even if his disciple, son or citizen is sometimes unable to follow his order. Ignorant people who engage in pious and impious activities should be engaged in devotional service by all means. They should always avoid fruitive activity. If one puts into the bondage of karmic activity his disciple, son or citizen who is bereft of transcendental vision, how will one profit? It is like leading a blind man to a dark well and causing him to fall in. Due to ignorance, the materialistic person does not know anything about his real self-interest, the auspicious path in life. He is simply bound to material enjoyment by lusty desires, and all his plans are made for this purpose. For temporary sense gratification, such a person creates a society of envy, and due to this mentality, he plunges into the ocean of suffering. Such a foolish person does not even know about this. If someone is ignorant and addicted to the path of samsara, how can one who is actually learned, merciful and advanced in spiritual knowledge engage him in fruitive activity and thus further entangle him in material existence? If a blind man is walking down the wrong path, how can a gentleman allow him to continue on his way to danger? How can he approve this method? No wise or kind man can allow this. "One who cannot deliver his dependents from the path of repeated birth and death should never become a spiritual master, a father, a husband, a mother or a worshipable demigod". My transcendental body [sac-cid-ananda-vigraha] looks exactly like a human form, but it is not a material human body. It is inconceivable. I am not forced by nature to accept a particular type of body; I take on a body by My own sweet will. My heart is also spiritual, and I always think of the welfare of My devotees. Therefore within My heart can be found the process of devotional service, which is meant for the devotees. Far from My heart have I abandoned irreligion [adharma] and nondevotional activities. They do not appeal to Me. Due to all these transcendental qualities, people generally pray to Me as Rsabhadeva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the best of all living entities. My dear boys, you are all born of My heart, which is the seat of all spiritual qualities. Therefore you should not be like materialistic and envious men. You should accept your eldest brother, Bharata, who is exalted in devotional service. If you engage yourselves in Bharata's service, your service to him will include My service, and you will rule the citizens automatically. Of the two energies manifest [spirit and dull matter], beings possessing living force [vegetables, grass, trees and plants] are superior to dull matter [stone, earth, etc.]. Superior to nonmoving plants and vegetables are worms and snakes, which can move. Superior to worms and snakes are animals that have developed intelligence. Superior to animals are human beings, and superior to human beings are ghosts because they have no material bodies. Superior to ghosts are the Gandharvas, and superior to them are the Siddhas. Superior to the Siddhas are the Kinnaras, and superior to them are the asuras. Superior to the asuras are the demigods, and of the demigods, Indra, the King of heaven, is supreme. Superior to Indra are the direct sons of Lord Brahma, sons like King Daksa, and supreme among Brahma's sons is Lord Shiva. Since Lord Shiva is the son of Lord Brahma, Brahma is considered superior, but Brahma is also subordinate to Me, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Because I am inclined to the brahmanas, the brahmanas are best of all. O respectful brahmanas, as far as I am concerned, no one is equal or superior to the brahmanas in this world. I do not find anyone comparable to them. When people know My motive after performing rituals according to the Vedic principles, they offer food to Me with faith and love through the mouth of a brahmana. When food is thus offered unto Me, I eat it with full satisfaction. Indeed, I derive more pleasure from food offered in that way than from the food offered in the sacrificial fire. The Vedas are My eternal transcendental sound incarnation. Therefore the Vedas are sabda-brahma. In this world, the brahmanas thoroughly study all the Vedas, and because they assimilate the Vedic conclusions, they are also to be considered the Vedas personified. The brahmanas are situated in the supreme transcendental mode of nature--sattva-guna. Because of this, they are fixed in mind control [sama], sense control [dama], and truthfulness [satya]. They describe the Vedas in their original sense, and out of mercy [anugraha] they preach the purpose of the Vedas to all conditioned souls. They practice penance [tapasya] and tolerance [titiksa], and they realize the position of the living entity and the Supreme Lord [anubhava]. These are the eight qualifications of the brahmanas. Therefore among all living entities, no one is superior to the brahmanas. I am fully opulent, almighty and superior to Lord Brahma and Indra, the King of the heavenly planets. I am also the bestower of all happiness obtained in the heavenly kingdom and by liberation. Nonetheless, the brahmanas do not seek material comforts from Me. They are very pure and do not want to possess anything. They simply engage in My devotional service. What is the need of their asking for material benefits from anyone else? My dear sons, you should not envy any living entity--be he moving or nonmoving. Knowing that I am situated in them, you should offer respect to all of them at every moment. In this way, you offer respect to Me. The true activity of the sense organs--mind, sight, words and all the knowledge- gathering and working senses--is to engage fully in My service. Unless his senses are thus engaged, a living entity cannot think of getting out of the great entanglement of material existence, which is exactly like Yamaraja's stringent rope. Sukadeva Gosvami said: Thus the great well-wisher of everyone, the Supreme Lord Rsabhadeva, instructed His own sons. Although they were perfectly educated and cultured, He instructed them just to set an example of how a father should instruct his sons before retiring from family life. Samnyasis, who are no longer bound by fruitive activity and who have taken to devotional service after all their material desires have been vanquished, also learn by these instructions. Lord Rsabhadeva instructed His one hundred sons, of whom the eldest, Bharata, was a very advanced devotee and a follower of Vaisnavas. In order to rule the whole world, the Lord enthroned His eldest son on the royal seat. Thereafter, although still at home, Lord Rsabhadeva lived like a madman, naked and with disheveled hair. Then the Lord took the sacrificial fire within Himself, and He left Brahmavarta to tour the whole world. After accepting the feature of avadhuta, a great saintly person without material cares, Lord Rsabhadeva passed through human society like a blind, deaf and dumb man, an idle stone, a ghost or a madman. Although people called Him such names, He remained silent and did not speak to anyone. Rsabhadeva began to tour through cities, villages, mines, countrysides, valleys, gardens, military camps, cow pens, the homes of cowherd men, transient hotels, hills, forests and hermitages. Wherever He traveled, all bad elements surrounded Him, just as flies surround the body of an elephant coming from a forest. He was always being threatened, beaten, urinated upon and spat upon. Sometimes people threw stones, stool and dust at Him, and sometimes people passed foul air before Him. Thus people called Him many bad names and gave Him a great deal of trouble, but He did not care about this, for He understood that the body is simply meant for such an end. He was situated on the spiritual platform, and, being in His spiritual glory, He did not care for all these material insults. In other words, He completely understood that matter and spirit are separate, and He had no bodily conception. Thus, without being angry at anyone, He walked through the whole world alone. Lord Rsabhadeva's hands, feet and chest were very long. His shoulders, face and limbs were all very delicate and symmetrically proportioned. His mouth was beautifully decorated with His natural smile, and He appeared all the more lovely with His reddish eyes spread wide like the petals of a newly grown lotus flower covered with dew in the early morning. The irises of His eyes were so pleasing that they removed all the troubles of everyone who saw Him. His forehead, ears, neck, nose and all His other features were very beautiful. His gentle smile always made His face beautiful, so much so that He even attracted the hearts of married women. It was as though they had been pierced by arrows of Cupid. About His head was an abundance of curly, matted brown hair. His hair was disheveled because His body was dirty and not taken care of. He appeared as if He were haunted by a ghost. When Lord Rsabhadeva saw that the general populace was very antagonistic to His execution of mystic yoga, He accepted the behavior of a python in order to counteract their opposition. Thus He stayed in one place and lay down. While lying down, He ate and drank, and He passed stool and urine and rolled in it. Indeed, He smeared His whole body with His own stool and urine so that opposing elements might not come and disturb Him. Because Lord Rsabhadeva remained in that condition, the public did not disturb Him, but no bad aroma emanated from His stool and urine. Quite the contrary, His stool and urine were so aromatic that they filled eighty miles of the countryside with a pleasant fragrance. In this way Lord Rsabhadeva followed the behavior of cows, deer and crows. Sometimes He moved or walked, and sometimes He sat down in one place. Sometimes He lay down, behaving exactly like cows, deer and crows. In that way, He ate, drank, passed stool and urine and cheated the people in this way. O King Pariksit, just to show all the yogis the mystic process, Lord Rsabhadeva, the partial expansion of Lord Krishna, performed wonderful activities. Actually He was the master of liberation and was fully absorbed in transcendental bliss, which increased a thousandfold. Lord Krishna, Vasudeva, the son of Vasudeva, is the original source of Lord Rsabhadeva. There is no difference in Their constitution, and consequently Lord Rsabhadeva awakened the loving symptoms of crying, laughing and shivering. He was always absorbed in transcendental love. Due to this, all mystic powers automatically approached Him, such as the ability to travel in outer space at the speed of mind, to appear and disappear, to enter the bodies of others, and to see things far, far away. Although He could do all this, He did not exercise these powers. Chapter Six :The Activities of Lord Rsabhadeva King Pariksit asked Sukadeva Gosvami: My dear Lord, for those who are completely pure in heart, knowledge is attained by the practice of bhakti-yoga, and attachment for fruitive activity is completely burned to ashes. For such people, the powers of mystic yoga automatically arise. They do not cause distress. Why, then, did Rsabhadeva neglect them? Srila Sukadeva Gosvami replied: My dear King, you have spoken correctly. However, after capturing animals, a cunning hunter does not put faith in them, for they might run away. Similarly, those who are advanced in spiritual life do not put faith in the mind. Indeed, they always remain vigilant and watch the mind's action. All the learned scholars have given their opinion. The mind is by nature very restless, and one should not make friends with it. If we place full confidence in the mind, it may cheat us at any moment. Even Lord Shiva became agitated upon seeing the Mohini form of Lord Krishna, and Saubhari Muni also fell down from the mature stage of yogic perfection. An unchaste woman is very easily carried away by paramours, and it sometimes happens that her husband is violently killed by her paramours. If the yogi gives his mind a chance and does not restrain it, his mind will give facility to enemies like lust, anger and greed, and they will doubtlessly kill the yogi. The mind is the root cause of lust, anger, pride, greed, lamentation, illusion and fear. Combined, these constitute bondage to fruitive activity. What learned man would put faith in the mind? Lord Rsabhadeva was the head of all kings and emperors within this universe, but assuming the dress and language of an avadhuta, He acted as if dull and materially bound. Consequently no one could observe His divine opulence. He adopted this behavior just to teach yogis how to give up the body. Nonetheless, He maintained His original position as a plenary expansion of Lord Vasudeva, Krishna. Remaining always in that state, He gave up His pastimes as Lord Rsabhadeva within the material world. If, following in the footsteps of Lord Rsabhadeva, one can give up his subtle body, there is no chance that one will accept a material body again. Actually Lord Rsabhadeva had no material body, but due to yogamaya, He considered His body material, and therefore, because He played like an ordinary human being, He gave up the mentality of identifying with it. Following this principle, He began to wander all over the world. While traveling, He came to the province of Karnata in South India and passed through Konka, Venka and Kutaka. He had no plan to travel this way, but He arrived near Kutakacala and entered a forest there. He placed stones within His mouth and began to wander through the forest, naked and with His hair disheveled like a madman. While He was wandering about, a wild forest fire began. This fire was caused by the friction of bamboos, which were being blown by the wind. In that fire, the entire forest near Kutakacala and the body of Lord Rsabhadeva were burnt to ashes. Sukadeva Gosvami continued speaking to Maharaja Pariksit: My dear King, the King of Konka, Venka and Kutaka whose name was Arhat, heard of the activities of Rsabhadeva and, imitating Rsabhadeva's principles, introduced a new system of religion. Taking advantage of Kali-yuga, the age of sinful activity, King Arhat, being bewildered, gave up the Vedic principles, which are free from risk, and concocted a new system of religion opposed to the Vedas. That was the beginning of the Jain dharma. Many other so-called religions followed this atheistic system. People who are lowest among men and bewildered by the illusory energy of the Supreme Lord will give up the original varnasrama-dharma and its rules and regulations. They will abandon bathing three times daily and worshiping the Lord. Abandoning cleanliness and neglecting the Supreme Lord, they will accept nonsensical principles. Not regularly bathing or washing their mouths regularly, they will always remain unclean, and they will pluck out their hair. Following a concocted religion, they will flourish. During this age of Kali, people are more inclined to irreligious systems. Consequently these people will naturally deride Vedic authority, the followers of Vedic authority, the brahmanas, the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the devotees. Low-class people, due to their gross ignorance, introduce a system of religion that deviates from the Vedic principles. Following their own mental concoctions, they automatically fall down into the darkest regions of existence. In this age of Kali, people are overwhelmed by the modes of passion and ignorance. Lord Rsabhadeva incarnated Himself to deliver them from the clutches of maya. Learned scholars chant about the transcendental qualities of Lord Rsabhadeva in this way: "Oh, this earthly planet contains seven seas and many islands and lands, of which Bharata-varsa is considered the most pious. People of Bharata- varsa are accustomed to glorifying the activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His incarnations as Lord Rsabhadeva and others. All these activities are very auspicious for the welfare of humanity. "Oh, what shall I say of the dynasty of Priyavrata, which is pure and very much celebrated. In that dynasty, the Supreme Person, the original Personality of Godhead, descended as an incarnation and executed religious principles that could free one from the results of fruitive activity. "Who is that mystic yogi who can follow the examples of Lord Rsabhadeva even with his mind? Lord Rsabhadeva rejected all kinds of yogic perfection, which other yogis hanker to attain. Who is that yogi who can compare to Lord Rsabhadeva?" Sukadeva Gosvami continued: Lord Rsabhadeva is the master of all Vedic knowledge, human beings, demigods, cows and brahmanas. I have already explained His pure, transcendental activities, which will vanquish the sinful activities of all living entities. This narration of Lord Rsabhadeva's pastimes is the reservoir of all auspicious things. Whoever attentively hears or speaks of them, following in the footsteps of the acaryas, will certainly attain unalloyed devotional service at the lotus feet of Lord Vasudeva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Devotees always bathe themselves in devotional service in order to be relieved from the various tribulations of material existence. By doing this, the devotees enjoy supreme bliss, and liberation personified comes to serve them. Nonetheless, they do not accept that service, even if it is offered by the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. For the devotees, liberation [mukti] is very unimportant because, having attained the Lord's transcendental loving service, they have attained everything desirable and have transcended all material desires. Sukadeva Gosvami continued: My dear King, the Supreme Person, Mukunda, is actually the maintainer of all the members of the Pandava and Yadu dynasties. He is your spiritual master, worshipable Deity, friend, and the director of your activities. To say nothing of this, He sometimes serves your family as a messenger or servant. This means He worked just as ordinary servants do. Those engaged in getting the Lord's favor attain liberation from the Lord very easily, but He does not very easily give the opportunity to render direct service unto Him. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Rsabhadeva, was fully aware of His true identity; therefore He was self-sufficient, and He did not desire external gratification. There was no need for Him to aspire for success, since He was complete in Himself. Those who unnecessarily engage in bodily conceptions and create an atmosphere of materialism are always ignorant of their real self- interest. Out of His causeless mercy, Lord Rsabhadeva taught the self's real identity and the goal of life. We therefore offer our respectful obeisances unto the Lord, who appeared as Lord Rsabhadeva. Chapter Seven : The Activities of King Bharata Sukadeva Gosvami continued speaking to Maharaja Pariksit: My dear King, Bharata Maharaja was a topmost devotee. Following the orders of his father, who had already decided to install him on the throne, he began to rule the earth accordingly. When Bharata Maharaja ruled the entire globe, he followed the orders of his father and married Pancajani, the daughter of Visvarupa. Just as the false ego creates the subtle sense objects, Maharaja Bharata created five sons in the womb of Pancajani, his wife. These sons were named Sumati, Rastrabhrta, Sudarsana, Avarana and Dhumraketu. Formerly this planet was known as Ajanabha-varsa, but since Maharaja Bharata's reign, it has become known as Bharata-varsa. Maharaja Bharata was a very learned and experienced king on this earth. He perfectly ruled the citizens, being himself engaged in his own respective duties. Maharaja Bharata was as affectionate to the citizens as his father and grandfather had been. Keeping them engaged in their occupational duties, he ruled the earth. With great faith King Bharata performed various kinds of sacrifice. He performed the sacrifices known as agni-hotra, darsa, purnamasa, caturmasya, pasu-yajna [wherein a horse is sacrificed] and soma-yajna [wherein a kind of beverage is offered]. Sometimes these sacrifices were performed completely and sometimes partially. In any case, in all the sacrifices the regulations of caturhotra were strictly followed. In this way Bharata Maharaja worshiped the Supreme Personality of Godhead. After performing the preliminaries of various sacrifices, Maharaja Bharata offered the results in the name of religion to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vasudeva. In other words, he performed all the yajnas for the satisfaction of Lord Vasudeva, Krishna. Maharaja Bharata thought that since the demigods were different parts of Vasudeva's body, He controls those who are explained in the Vedic mantras. By thinking in this way, Maharaja Bharata was freed from all material contamination, such as attachment, lust and greed. When the priests were about to offer the sacrificial ingredients into the fire, Maharaja Bharata expertly understood how the offering made to different demigods was simply an offering to the different limbs of the Lord. For instance, Indra is the arm of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and Surya [the sun] is His eye. Thus Maharaja Bharata considered that the oblations offered to different demigods were actually offered unto the different limbs of Lord Vasudeva. In this way, being purified by ritualistic sacrifices, the heart of Maharaja Bharata was completely uncontaminated. His devotional service unto Vasudeva, Lord Krishna, increased day after day. Lord Krishna, the son of Vasudeva, is the original Personality of Godhead manifest as the Supersoul [Paramatma] as well as the impersonal Brahman. Yogis meditate upon the localized Paramatma situated in the heart, jnanis worship the impersonal Brahman as the Supreme Absolute Truth, and devotees worship Vasudeva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose transcendental body is described in the sastras. His body is decorated with the Srivatsa, the Kaustubha jewel and a flower garland, and His hands hold a conchshell, disc, club and lotus flower. Devotees like Narada always think of Him within their hearts. Destiny fixed the time for Maharaja Bharata's enjoyment of material opulence at one thousand times ten thousand years. When that period was finished, he retired from family life and divided the wealth he had received from his forefathers among his sons. He left his paternal home, the reservoir of all opulence, and started for Pulahasrama, which is situated in Hardwar. The salagrama-silas are obtainable there. At Pulaha-asrama, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, out of His transcendental affection for His devotee, becomes visible to His devotee, satisfying His devotee's desires. In Pulaha-asrama is the Gandaki River, which is the best of all rivers. The salagrama-sila, the marble pebbles, purify all those places. On each and every marble pebble, up and down, circles like navels are visible. In the gardens of Pulaha-asrama, Maharaja Bharata lived alone and collected a variety of flowers, twigs and tulasi leaves. He also collected the water of the Gandaki River, as well as various roots, fruits and bulbs. With these he offered food to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vasudeva, and, worshiping Him, he remained satisfied. In this way his heart was completely uncontaminated, and he did not have the least desire for material enjoyment. All material desires vanished. In this steady position, he felt full satisfaction and was situated in devotional service. That most exalted devotee, Maharaja Bharata, in this way engaged constantly in the devotional service of the Lord. Naturally his love for Vasudeva, Krishna, increased more and more and melted his heart. Consequently he gradually lost all attachment for regulative duties. The hairs of his body stood on end, and all the ecstatic bodily symptoms were manifest. Tears flowed from his eyes, so much so that he could not see anything. Thus he constantly meditated on the reddish lotus feet of the Lord. At that time, his heart, which was like a lake, was filled with the water of ecstatic love. When his mind was immersed in that lake, he even forgot the regulative service to the Lord. Maharaja Bharata appeared very beautiful. He had a wealth of curly hair on his head, which was wet from bathing three times daily. He dressed in a deerskin. He worshiped Lord Narayana, whose body was composed of golden effulgence and who resided within the sun. Maharaja Bharata worshiped Lord Narayana by chanting the hymns given in the Rg Veda, and he recited the following verse as the sun rose. "The Supreme Personality of Godhead is situated in pure goodness. He illuminates the entire universe and bestows all benedictions upon His devotees. The Lord has created this universe from His own spiritual potency. According to His desire, the Lord entered this universe as the Supersoul, and by virtue of His different potencies, He is maintaining all living entities desiring material enjoyment. Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto the Lord, who is the giver of intelligence." Chapter Eight : A Description of the Character of Bharata Maharaja Sri Sukadeva Gosvami continued: My dear King, one day, after finishing his morning duties--evacuating, urinating and bathing--Maharaja Bharata sat down on the bank of the River Gandaki for a few minutes and began chanting his mantra, beginning with omkara. O King, while Bharata Maharaja was sitting on the bank of that river, a doe, being very thirsty, came there to drink. While the doe was drinking with great satisfaction, a lion, which was very close, roared very loudly. This was frightful to every living entity, and it was heard by the doe. By nature the doe was always afraid of being killed by others, and it was always looking about suspiciously. When it heard the lion's tumultuous roar, it became very agitated. Looking here and there with disturbed eyes, the doe, although it had not fully satisfied itself by drinking water, suddenly leaped across the river. The doe was pregnant, and when it jumped out of fear, the baby deer fell from its womb into the flowing waters of the river. Being separated from its flock and distressed by its miscarriage, the black doe, having crossed the river, was very much distressed. Indeed, it fell down in a cave and died immediately. The great King Bharata, while sitting on the bank of the river, saw the small deer, bereft of its mother, floating down the river. Seeing this, he felt great compassion. Like a sincere friend, he lifted the infant deer from the waves, and, knowing it to be motherless, brought it to his asrama. Gradually Maharaja Bharata became very affectionate toward the deer. He began to raise it and maintain it by giving it grass. He was always careful to protect it from the attacks of tigers and other animals. When it itched, he petted it, and in this way he always tried to keep it in a comfortable condition. He sometimes kissed it out of love. Being attached to raising the deer, Maharaja Bharata forgot the rules and regulations for the advancement of spiritual life, and he gradually forgot to worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead. After a few days, he forgot everything about his spiritual advancement. The great King Maharaja Bharata began to think: Alas, this helpless young deer, by the force of time, an agent of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, has now lost its relatives and friends and has taken shelter of me. It does not know anyone but me, as I have become its father, mother, brother and relatives. This deer is thinking in this way, and it has full faith in me. It does not know anyone but me; therefore I should not be envious and think that for the deer my own welfare will be destroyed. I should certainly raise, protect, gratify and fondle it. When it has taken shelter with me, how can I neglect it? Even though the deer is disturbing my spiritual life, I realize that a helpless person who has taken shelter cannot be neglected. That would be a great fault. Even though one is in the renounced order, one who is advanced certainly feels compassion for suffering living entities. One should certainly neglect his own personal interests, although they may be very important, to protect one who has surrendered. Due to attachment for the deer, Maharaja Bharata lay down with it, walked about with it, bathed with it and even ate with it. Thus his heart became bound to the deer in affection. When Maharaja Bharata wanted to enter the forest to collect kusa grass, flowers, wood, leaves, fruits, roots and water, he would fear that dogs, jackals, tigers and other ferocious animals might kill the deer. He would therefore always take the deer with him when entering the forest. When entering the forest, the animal would appear very attractive to Maharaja Bharata due to its childish behavior. Maharaja Bharata would even take the deer on his shoulders and carry it due to affection. His heart was so filled with great love for the deer that he would sometimes keep it on his lap or, when sleeping, on his chest. In this way he felt great pleasure in fondling the animal. When Maharaja Bharata was actually worshiping the Lord or was engaged in some ritualistic ceremony, although his activities were unfinished, he would still, at intervals, get up and see where the deer was. In this way he would look for it, and when he could see that the deer was comfortably situated, his mind and heart would be very satisfied, and he would bestow his blessings upon the deer, saying, "My dear calf, may you be happy in all respects." If Bharata Maharaja sometimes could not see the deer, his mind would be very agitated. He would become like a miser, who, having obtained some riches, had lost them and had then become very unhappy. When the deer was gone, he would be filled with anxiety and would lament due to separation. Thus he would become illusioned and speak as follows. Bharata Maharaja would think: Alas, the deer is now helpless. I am now very unfortunate, and my mind is like a cunning hunter, for it is always filled with cheating propensities and cruelty. The deer has put its faith in me, just as a good man who has a natural interest in good behavior forgets the misbehavior of a cunning friend and puts his faith in him. Although I have proved faithless, will this deer return and place its faith in me? Alas, is it possible that I shall again see this animal protected by the Lord and fearless of tigers and other animals? Shall I again see him wandering in the garden eating soft grass? I do not know, but the deer might have been eaten by a wolf or a dog or by the boars that flock together or the tiger who travels alone. Alas, when the sun rises, all auspicious things begin. Unfortunately, they have not begun for me. The sun-god is the Vedas personified, but I am bereft of all Vedic principles. That sun-god is now setting, yet the poor animal who trusted in me since its mother died has not returned. That deer is exactly like a prince. When will it return? When will it again display its personal activities, which are so pleasing? When will it again pacify a wounded heart like mine? I certainly must have no pious assets, otherwise the deer would have returned by now. Alas, the small deer, while playing with me and seeing me feigning meditation with closed eyes, would circumambulate me due to anger arising from love, and it would fearfully touch me with the points of its soft horns, which felt like drops of water. When I placed all the sacrificial ingredients on the kusa grass, the deer, when playing, would touch the grass with its teeth and thus pollute it. When I chastised the deer by pushing it away, it would immediately become fearful and sit down motionless, exactly like the son of a saintly person. Thus it would stop its play. After speaking like a madman in this way, Maharaja Bharata got up and went outside. Seeing the footprints of the deer on the ground, he praised the footprints out of love, saying: O unfortunate Bharata, your austerities and penances are very insignificant compared to the penance and austerity undergone by this earth planet. Due to the earth's severe penances, the footprints of this deer, which are small, beautiful, most auspicious and soft, are imprinted on the surface of this fortunate planet. This series of footprints show a person like me, who am bereaved due to loss of the deer, how the animal has passed through the forest and how I can regain my lost wealth. By these footprints, this land has become a proper place for brahmanas who desire heavenly planets or liberation to execute sacrifices to the demigods. Maharaja Bharata continued to speak like a madman. Seeing above his head the dark marks on the rising moon, which resembled a deer, he said: Can it be that the moon, who is so kind to an unhappy man, might also be kind upon my deer, knowing that it has strayed from home and has become motherless? This moon has given the deer shelter near itself just to protect it from the fearful attacks of a lion. After perceiving the moonshine, Maharaja Bharata continued speaking like a crazy person. He said: The deer's son was so submissive and dear to me that due to its separation I am feeling separation from my own son. Due to the burning fever of this separation, I am suffering as if inflamed by a forest fire. My heart, which is like the lily of the land, is now burning. Seeing me so distressed, the moon is certainly splashing its shining nectar upon me--just as a friend throws water on another friend who has a high fever. In this way, the moon is bringing me happiness. Sukadeva Gosvami continued: My dear King, in this way Bharata Maharaja was overwhelmed by an uncontrollable desire which was manifest in the form of the deer. Due to the fruitive results of his past deeds, he fell down from mystic yoga, austerity and worship of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If it were not due to his past fruitive activity, how could he have been attracted to the deer after giving up the association of his own son and family, considering them stumbling blocks on the path of spiritual life? Mow could he show such uncontrollable affection for a deer? This was definitely due to his past karma. The King was so engrossed in petting and maintaining the deer that he fell down from his spiritual activities. In due course of time, insurmountable death, which is compared to a venomous snake that enters the hole created by a mouse, situated itself before him. At the time of death, the King saw that the deer was sitting by his side, exactly like his own son, and was lamenting his death. Actually the mind of the King was absorbed in the body of the deer, and consequently--like those bereft of Krishna consciousness--he left the world, the deer, and his material body and acquired the body of a deer. However, there was one advantage. Although he lost his human body and received the body of a deer, he did not forget the incidents of his past life. Although in the body of a deer, Bharata Maharaja, due to his rigid devotional service in his past life, could understand the cause of his birth in that body. Considering his past and present life, he constantly repented his activities, speaking in the following way. In the body of a deer, Bharata Maharaja began to lament: What misfortune! I have fallen from the path of the self-realized. I gave up my real sons, wife and home to advance in spiritual life, and I took shelter in a solitary holy place in the forest. I became self-controlled and self-realized, and I engaged constantly in devotional service, hearing, thinking, chanting, worshiping and remembering the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vasudeva. I was successful in my attempt, so much so that my mind was always absorbed in devotional service. However, due to my personal foolishness, my mind again became attached--this time to a deer. Now I have obtained the body of a deer and have fallen far from my devotional practices. Although Bharata Maharaja received the body of a deer, by constant repentance he became completely detached from all material things. He did not disclose these things to anyone, but he left his mother deer in a place known as Kalanjara Mountain, where he was born. He again went to the forest of Salagrama and to the asrama of Pulastya and Pulaha. Remaining in that asrama, the great King Bharata Maharaja was now very careful not to fall victim to bad association. Without disclosing his past to anyone, he remained in that asrama and ate dry leaves only. He was not exactly alone, for he had the association of the Supersoul. In this way he waited for death in the body of a deer. Bathing in that holy place, he finally gave up that body. Chapter Nine : The Supreme Character of Jada Bharata Srila Sukadeva Gosvami continued: My dear King, after giving up the body of a deer, Bharata Maharaja took birth in a very pure brahmana family. There was a brahmana who belonged to the dynasty of Angira. He was fully qualified with brahminical qualifications. He could control his mind and senses, and he had studied the Vedic literatures and other subsidiary literatures. He was expert in giving charity, and he was always satisfied, tolerant, very gentle, learned and nonenvious. He was self-realized and engaged in the devotional service of the Lord. He remained always in a trance. He had nine equally qualified sons by his first wife, and by his second wife he begot twins--a brother and a sister, of which the male child was said to be the topmost devotee and foremost of saintly kings--Bharata Maharaja. This, then, is the story of the birth he took after giving up the body of a deer. Due to his being especially gifted with the Lord's mercy, Bharata Maharaja could remember the incidents of his past life. Although he received the body of a brahmana, he was still very much afraid of his relatives and friends who were not devotees. He was always very cautious of such association because he feared that he would again fall down. Consequently he manifested himself before the public eye as a madman--dull, blind and deaf--so that others would not try to talk to him. In this way he saved himself from bad association. Within he was always thinking of the lotus feet of the Lord and chanting the Lord's glories, which save one from the bondage of fruitive action. In this way he saved himself from the onslaught of nondevotee associates. The brahmana father's mind was always filled with affection for his son, Jada Bharata [Bharata Maharaja]. Therefore he was always attached to Jada Bharata. Because Jada Bharata was unfit to enter the grhastha-asrama, he simply executed the purificatory process up to the end of the brahmacarya-asrama. Although Jada Bharata was unwilling to accept his father's instructions, the brahmana nonetheless instructed him in how to keep clean and how to wash, thinking that the son should be taught by the father. Jada Bharata behaved before his father like a fool, despite his father's adequately instructing him in Vedic knowledge. He behaved in that way so that his father would know that he was unfit for instruction and would abandon the attempt to instruct him further. He would behave in a completely opposite way. Although instructed to wash his hands after evacuating, he would wash them before. Nonetheless, his father wanted to give him Vedic instructions during the spring and summer. He tried to teach him the Gayatri mantra along with omkara and vyahrti, but after four months, his father still was not successful in instructing him. The brahmana father of Jada Bharata considered his son his heart and soul, and therefore he was very much attached to him. He thought it wise to educate his son properly, and being absorbed in this unsuccessful endeavor, he tried to teach his son the rules and regulations of brahmacarya--including the execution of the Vedic vows, cleanliness, study of the Vedas, the regulative methods, service to the spiritual master and the method of offering a fire sacrifice. He tried his best to teach his son in this way, but all his endeavors failed. In his heart he hoped that his son would be a learned scholar, but all his attempts were unsuccessful. Like everyone, this brahmana was attached to his home, and he had forgotten that someday he would die. Death, however, was not forgetful. At the proper time, death appeared and took him away. Thereafter, the brahmana's younger wife, after entrusting her twin children--the boy and girl--to the elder wife, departed for Patiloka, voluntarily dying with her husband. After the father died, the nine stepbrothers of Jada Bharata, who considered Jada Bharata dull and brainless, abandoned the father's attempt to give Jada Bharata a complete education. The stepbrothers of Jada Bharata were learned in the three Vedas--the Rg Veda, Sama Veda and Yajur Veda--which very much encourage fruitive activity. The nine brothers were not at all spiritually enlightened in devotional service to the Lord. Consequently they could not understand the highly exalted position of Jada Bharata. Degraded men are actually no better than animals. The only difference is that animals have four legs and such men have only two. These two-legged, animalistic men used to call Jada Bharata mad, dull, deaf and dumb. They mistreated him, and Jada Bharata behaved for them like a madman who was deaf, blind or dull. He did not protest or try to convince them that he was not so. If others wanted him to do something, he acted according to their desires. Whatever food he could acquire by begging or by wages, and whatever came of its own accord--be it a small quantity, palatable, stale or tasteless--he would accept and eat. He never ate anything for sense gratification because he was already liberated from the bodily conception, which induces one to accept palatable or unpalatable food. He was full in the transcendental consciousness of devotional service, and therefore he was unaffected by the dualities arising from the bodily conception. Actually his body was as strong as a bull's, and his limbs were very muscular. He didn't care for winter or summer, wind or rain, and he never covered his body at any time. He lay on the ground, and never smeared oil on his body or took a bath. Because his body was dirty, his spiritual effulgence and knowledge were covered, just as the splendor of a valuable gem is covered by dirt. He only wore a dirty loincloth and his sacred thread, which was blackish. Understanding that he was born in a brahmana family, people would call him a brahma-bandhu and other names. Being thus insulted and neglected by materialistic people, he wandered here and there. Jada Bharata used to work only for food. His stepbrothers took advantage of this and engaged him in agricultural field work in exchange for some food, but actually he did not know how to work very well in the field. He did not know where to spread dirt or where to make the ground level or uneven. His brothers used to give him broken rice, oil cakes, the chaff of rice, worm-eaten grains and burned grains that had stuck to the pot, but he gladly accepted all this as if it were nectar. He did not hold any grudges and ate all this very gladly. At this time, being desirous of obtaining a son, a leader of dacoits who came from a sudra family wanted to worship the goddess Bhadra Kali by offering her in sacrifice a dull man, who is considered no better than an animal. The leader of the dacoits captured a man-animal for sacrifice, but he escaped, and the leader ordered his followers to find him. They ran in different directions but could not find him. Wandering here and there in the middle of the night, covered by dense darkness, they came to a paddy field where they saw the exalted son of the Angira family [Jada Bharata], who was sitting in an elevated place guarding the field against the attacks of deer and wild pigs. The followers and servants of the dacoit chief considered Jada Bharata to possess qualities quite suitable for a man-animal, and they decided that he was a perfect choice for sacrifice. Their faces bright with happiness, they bound him with ropes and brought him to the temple of the goddess Kali. After this, all the thieves, according to their imaginative ritual for killing animalistic men, bathed Jada Bharata, dressed him in new clothes, decorated him with ornaments befitting an animal, smeared his body with scented oils and decorated him with tilaka, sandalwood pulp and garlands. They fed him sumptuously and then brought him before the goddess Kali, offering her incense, lamps, garlands, parched grain, newly grown twigs, sprouts, fruits and flowers. In this way they worshiped the deity before killing the man-animal, and they vibrated songs and prayers and played drums and bugles. Jada Bharata was then made to sit down before the deity. At this time, one of the thieves, acting as the chief priest, was ready to offer the blood of Jada Bharata, whom they imagined to be an animal-man, to the goddess Kali to drink as a liquor. He therefore took up a very fearsome sword, which was very sharp and, consecrating it by the mantra of Bhadra Kali, raised it to kill Jada Bharata. All the rogues and thieves who had made arrangements for the worship of goddess Kali were low minded and bound to the modes of passion and ignorance. They were overpowered by the desire to become very rich; therefore they had the audacity to disobey the injunctions of the Vedas, so much so that they were prepared to kill Jada Bharata, a self-realized soul born in a brahmana family. Due to their envy, these dacoits brought him before the goddess Kali for sacrifice. Such people are always addicted to envious activities, and therefore they dared to try to kill Jada Bharata. Jada Bharata was the best friend of all living entities. He was no one's enemy, and he was always absorbed in meditation on the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He was born of a good brahmana father, and killing him was forbidden, even though he might have been an enemy or aggressive person. In any case, there was no reason to kill Jada Bharata, and the goddess Kali could not bear this. She could immediately understand that these sinful dacoits were about to kill a great devotee of the Lord. Suddenly the deity's body burst asunder, and the goddess Kali personally emerged from it in a body burning with an intense and intolerable effulgence. Intolerant of the offenses committed, the infuriated goddess Kali flashed her eyes and displayed her fierce, curved teeth. Her reddish eyes glowed, and she displayed her fearsome features. She assumed a frightening body, as if she were prepared to destroy the entire creation. Leaping violently from the altar, she immediately decapitated all the rogues and thieves with the very sword with which they had intended to kill Jada Bharata. She then began to drink the hot blood that flowed from the necks of the beheaded rogues and thieves, as if this blood were liquor. Indeed, she drank this intoxicant with her associates, who were witches and female demons. Becoming intoxicated with this blood, they all began to sing very loudly and dance as though prepared to annihilate the entire universe. At the same time, they began to play with the heads of the rogues and thieves, tossing them about as if they were balls. When an envious person commits an offense before a great personality, he is always punished in the way mentioned above. Sukadeva Gosvami then said to Maharaja Pariksit: O Vishnudatta, those who already know that the soul is separate from the body, who are liberated from the invincible knot in the heart, who are always engaged in welfare activities for all living entities and who never contemplate harming anyone are always protected by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who carries His disc [the Sudarsana cakra] and acts as supreme time to kill the demons and protect His devotees. The devotees always take shelter at the lotus feet of the Lord. Therefore at all times, even if threatened by decapitation, they remain unagitated. For them, this is not at all wonderful. Chapter Ten :The Discussion Between Sukadeva Gosvami continued: My dear King, after this, King Rahugana, ruler of the states known as Sindhu and Sauvira, was going to Kapilasrama. When the King's chief palanquin carriers reached the banks of the River Iksumati, they needed another carrier. Therefore they began searching for someone, and by chance they came upon Jada Bharata. They considered the fact that Jada Bharata was very young and strong and had firm limbs. Like cows and asses, he was quite fit to carry loads. Thinking in this way, although the great soul Jada Bharata was unfit for such work, they nonetheless unhesitatingly forced him to carry the palanquin. The palanquin, however, was very erratically carried by Jada Bharata due to his sense of nonviolence. As he stepped forward, he checked before him every three feet to see whether he was about to step on ants. Consequently he could not keep pace with the other carriers. Due to this, the palanquin was shaking, and King Rahugana immediately asked the carriers, "Why are you carrying this palanquin unevenly? Better carry it properly." When the palanquin carriers heard the threatening words of Maharaja Rahugana, they became very afraid of his punishment and began to speak to him as follows. O lord, please note that we are not at all negligent in discharging our duties. We have been faithfully carrying this palanquin according to your desire, but this man who has been recently engaged to work with us cannot walk very swiftly. Therefore we are not able to carry the palanquin with him. King Rahugana could understand the speeches given by the carriers, who were afraid of being punished. He could also understand that simply due to the fault of one person, the palanquin was not being carried properly. Knowing this perfectly well and hearing their appeal, he became a little angry, although he was very advanced in political science and was very experienced. His anger arose due to his inborn nature as a king. Actually King Rahugana's mind was covered by the mode of passion, and he therefore spoke as follows to Jada Bharata, whose Brahman effulgence was not clearly visible, being covered like a fire covered by ashes. King Rahugana told Jada Bharata: How troublesome this is, my dear brother. You certainly appear very fatigued because you have carried this palanquin alone without assistance for a long time and for a long distance. Besides that, due to your old age you have become greatly troubled. My dear friend, I see that you are not very firm, nor very strong and stout. Aren't your fellow carriers cooperating with you? In this way the King criticized Jada Bharata with sarcastic words, yet despite being criticized in this way, Jada Bharata had no bodily conception of the situation. He knew that he was not the body, for he had attained his spiritual identity. He was neither fat, lean nor thin, nor had he anything to do with a lump of matter, a combination of the five gross and three subtle elements. He had nothing to do with the material body and its two hands and legs. In other words, he had completely realized his spiritual identity [aham brahmasmi]. He was therefore unaffected by this sarcastic criticism from the King. Without saying anything, he continued carrying the palanquin as before. Thereafter, when the King saw that his palanquin was still being shaken by the carriers, he became very angry and said: You rascal, what are you doing? Are you dead despite the life within your body? Do you not know that I am your master? You are disregarding me and are not carrying out my order. For this disobedience I shall now punish you just as Yamaraja, the superintendent of death, punishes sinful people. I shall give you proper treatment so that you will come to your senses and do the correct thing. Thinking himself a king, King Rahugana was in the bodily conception and was influenced by material nature's modes of passion and ignorance. Due to madness, he chastised Jada Bharata with uncalled-for and contradictory words. Jada Bharata was a topmost devotee and the dear abode of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Although considering himself very learned, the King did not know about the position of an advanced devotee situated in devotional service, nor did he know his characteristics. Jada Bharata was the residence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; he always carried the form of the Lord within his heart. He was the dear friend of all living beings, and he did not entertain any bodily conception. He therefore smiled and spoke the following words. The great brahmana Jada Bharata said: My dear King and hero, whatever you have spoken sarcastically is certainly true. Actually these are not simply words of chastisement, for the body is the carrier. The load carried by the body does not belong to me, for I am the spirit soul. There is no contradiction in your statements because I am different from the body. I am not the carrier of the palanquin; the body is the carrier. Certainly, as you have hinted, I have not labored carrying the palanquin, for I am detached from the body. You have said that I am not stout and strong, and these words are befitting a person who does not know the distinction between the body and the soul. The body may be fat or thin, but no learned man would say such things of the spirit soul. As far as the spirit soul is concerned, I am neither fat nor skinny; therefore you are correct when you say that I am not very stout. Also, if the object of this journey and the path leading there were mine, there would be many troubles for me, but because they relate not to me but to my body, there is no trouble at all. Fatness, thinness, bodily and mental distress, thirst, hunger, fear, disagreement, desires for material happiness, old age, sleep, attachment for material possessions, anger, lamentation, illusion and identification of the body with the self are all transformations of the material covering of the spirit soul. A person absorbed in the material bodily conception is affected by these things, but I am free from all bodily conceptions. Consequently I am neither fat nor skinny nor anything else you have mentioned. My dear King, you have unnecessarily accused me of being dead though alive. In this regard, I can only say that this is the case everywhere because everything material has its beginning and end. As far as your thinking that you are the king and master and are thus trying to order me, this is also incorrect because these positions are temporary. Today you are a king and I am your servant, but tomorrow the position may be changed, and you may be my servant and I your master. These are temporary circumstances created by providence. My dear King, if you still think that you are the King and that I am your servant, you should order me, and I should follow your order. I can then say that this differentiation is temporary, and it expands only from usage or convention. I do not see any other cause. In that case, who is the master, and who is the servant? Everyone is being forced by the laws of material nature; therefore no one is master, and no one is servant. Nonetheless, if you think that you are the master and that I am the servant, I shall accept this. Please order me. What can I do for you? My dear King, you have said, "You rascal, you dull, crazy fellow! I am going to chastise you, and then you will come to your senses." In this regard, let me say that although I live like a dull, deaf and dumb man, I am actually a self- realized person. What will you gain by punishing me? If your calculation is true and I am a madman, then your punishment will be like beating a dead horse. There will be no effect. When a madman is punished, he is not cured of his madness. Sukadeva Gosvami said: O Maharaja Pariksit, when King Rahugana chastised the exalted devotee Jada Bharata with harsh words, that peaceful, saintly person tolerated it all and replied properly. Nescience is due to the bodily conception, and Jada Bharata was not affected by this false conception. Out of his natural humility, he never considered himself a great devotee, and he agreed to suffer the results of his past karma. Like an ordinary man, he thought that by carrying the palanquin, he was destroying the reactions of his past misdeeds. Thinking in this way, he began to carry the palanquin as before. Sukadeva Gosvami continued: O best of the Pandu dynasty [Maharaja Pariksit], the King of the Sindhu and Sauvira states [Maharaja Rahugana] had great faith in discussions of the Absolute Truth. Being thus qualified, he heard from Jada Bharata that philosophical presentation which is approved by all scriptures on the mystic yoga process and which slackens the knot in the heart. His material conception of himself as a king was thus destroyed. He immediately descended from his palanquin and fell flat on the ground with his head at the lotus feet of Jada Bharata in such a way that he might be excused for his insulting words against the great brahmana. He then prayed as follows. King Rahugana said: O brahmana, you appear to be moving in this world very much covered and unknown to others. Who are you? Are you a learned brahmana and saintly person? I see that you are wearing a sacred thread. Are you one of those exalted, liberated saints such as Dattatreya and other highly advanced, learned scholars? May I ask whose disciple you are? Where do you live? Why have you come to this place? Is your mission in coming here to do good for us? Please let me know who you are. My dear sir, I am not at all afraid of the thunderbolt of King Indra, nor am I afraid of the serpentine, piercing trident of Lord Shiva. I do not care about the punishment of Yamaraja, the superintendent of death, nor am I afraid of fire, scorching sun, moon, wind, nor the weapons of Kuvera. Yet I am afraid of offending a brahmana. I am very much afraid of this. My dear sir, it appears that the influence of your great spiritual knowledge is hidden. Factually you are bereft of all material association and fully absorbed in the thought of the Supreme. Consequently you are unlimitedly advanced in spiritual knowledge. Please tell me why you are wandering around like a dullard. O great, saintly person, you have spoken words approved by the yogic process, but it is not possible for us to understand what you have said. Therefore kindly explain it. I consider your good self the most exalted master of mystic power. You know the spiritual science perfectly well. You are the most exalted of all learned sages, and you have descended for the benefit of all human society. You have come to give spiritual knowledge, and you are a direct representative of Kapiladeva, the incarnation of God and the plenary portion of knowledge. I am therefore asking you, O spiritual master, what is the most secure shelter in this world? Is it not a fact that your good self is the direct representative of Kapiladeva, the incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead? To examine people and see who is actually a human being and who is not, you have presented yourself to be a deaf and dumb person. Are you not moving this way upon the surface of the world? I am very attached to family life and worldly activities, and I am blind to spiritual knowledge. Nonetheless, I am now present before you and am seeking enlightenment from you. How can I advance in spiritual life? You have said, "I am not fatigued from labor." Although the soul is different from the body, there is fatigue because of bodily labor, and it appears to be the fatigue of the soul. When you are carrying the palanquin, there is certainly labor for the soul. This is my conjecture. You have also said that the external behavior exhibited between the master and the servant is not factual, but although in the phenomenal world it is not factual, the products of the phenomenal world can actually affect things. That is visible and experienced. As such, even though material activities are impermanent, they cannot be said to be untrue. King Rahugana continued: My dear sir, you have said that designations like bodily fatness and thinness are not characteristics of the soul. That is incorrect because designations like pain and pleasure are certainly felt by the soul. You may put a pot of milk and rice within fire, and the milk and rice are automatically heated one after the other. Similarly, due to bodily pains and pleasures, the senses, mind and soul are affected. The soul cannot be completely detached from this conditioning. My dear sir, you have said that the relationship between the king and the subject or between the master and the servant are not eternal, but although such relationships are temporary, when a person takes the position of a king, his duty is to rule the citizens and punish those who are disobedient to the laws. By punishing them, he teaches the citizens to obey the laws of the state. Again, you have said that punishing a person who is deaf and dumb is like chewing the chewed or grinding the pulp; that is to say, there is no benefit in it. However, if one is engaged in his own occupational duty as ordered by the Supreme Lord, his sinful activities are certainly diminished. Therefore if one is engaged in his occupational duty by force, he benefits because he can vanquish all his sinful activities in that way. Whatever you have spoken appears to me to be contradictory. O best friend of the distressed, I have committed a great offense by insulting you. I was puffed up with false prestige due to possessing the body of a king. For this I have certainly become an offender. Therefore I pray that you kindly glance at me with your causeless mercy. If you do so, I can be relieved from sinful activities brought about by insulting you. O my dear lord, you are the friend of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the friend of all living entities. You are therefore equal to everyone, and you are free from the bodily conception. Although I have committed an offense by insulting you, I know that there is no loss or gain for you due to my insult. You are fixed in your determination, but I have committed an offense. Because of this, even though I may be as strong as Lord Shiva, I shall be vanquished without delay due to my offense at the lotus feet of a Vaisnava. Chapter Eleven : Jada Bharata Instructs King Rahugana The brahmana Jada Bharata said: My dear King, although you are not at all experienced, you are trying to speak like a very experienced man. Consequently you cannot be considered an experienced person. An experienced person does not speak the way you are speaking about the relationship between a master and a servant or about material pains and pleasures. These are simply external activities. Any advanced, experienced man, considering the Absolute Truth, does not talk in this way. My dear King, talks of the relationship between the master and the servant, the king and the subject and so forth are simply talks about material activities. People interested in material activities, which are expounded in the Vedas, are intent on performing material sacrifices and placing faith in their material activities. For such people, spiritual advancement is definitely not manifest. A dream becomes automatically known to a person as false and immaterial, and similarly one eventually realizes that material happiness in this life or the next, on this planet or a higher planet, is insignificant. When one realizes this, the Vedas, although an excellent source, are insufficient to bring about direct knowledge of the truth. As long as the mind of the living entity is contaminated by the three modes of material nature (goodness, passion and ignorance), his mind is exactly like an independent, uncontrolled elephant. It simply expands its jurisdiction of pious and impious activities by using the senses. The result is that the living entity remains in the material world to enjoy and suffer pleasures and pains due to material activity. Because the mind is absorbed in desires for pious and impious activities, it is naturally subjected to the transformations of lust and anger. In this way, it becomes attracted to material sense enjoyment. In other words, the mind is conducted by the modes of goodness, passion and ignorance. There are eleven senses and five material elements, and out of these sixteen items, the mind is the chief. Therefore the mind brings about birth in different types of bodies among demigods, human beings, animals and birds. When the mind is situated in a higher or lower position, it accepts a higher or lower material body. The materialistic mind covering the living entity's soul carries it to different species of life. This is called continued material existence. Due to the mind, the living entity suffers or enjoys material distress and happiness. Being thus illusioned, the mind further creates pious and impious activities and their karma, and thus the soul becomes conditioned. The mind makes the living entity within this material world wander through different species of life, and thus the living entity experiences mundane affairs in different forms as a human being, demigod, fat person, skinny person and so forth. Learned scholars say that bodily appearance, bondage and liberation are caused by the mind. When the living entity's mind becomes absorbed in the sense gratification of the material world, it brings about his conditioned life and suffering within the material situation. However, when the mind becomes unattached to material enjoyment, it becomes the cause of liberation. When the flame in a lamp burns the wick improperly, the lamp is blackened, but when the lamp is filled with ghee and is burning properly, there is bright illumination. Similarly, when the mind is absorbed in material sense gratification, it causes suffering, and when detached from material sense gratification, it brings about the original brightness of Krishna consciousness. There are five working senses and five knowledge-acquiring senses. There is also the false ego. In this way, there are eleven items for the mind's functions. O hero, the objects of the senses [such as sound and touch], the organic activities [such as evacuation] and the different types of bodies, society, friendship and personality are considered by learned scholars the fields of activity for the functions of the mind. Sound, touch, form, taste and smell are the objects of the five knowledge- acquiring senses. Speech, touch, movement, evacuation and sexual intercourse are the objects of the working senses. Besides this, there is another conception by which one thinks, "This is my body, this is my society, this is my family, this is my nation," and so forth. This eleventh function, that of the mind, is called the false ego. According to some philosophers, this is the twelfth function, and its field of activity is the body. The physical elements, nature, the original cause, culture, destiny and the time element are all material causes. Agitated by these material causes, the eleven functions transform into hundreds of functions and then into thousands and then into millions. But all these transformations do not take place automatically by mutual combination. Rather, they are under the direction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The individual soul bereft of Krishna consciousness has many ideas and activities created in the mind by the external energy. They have been existing from time immemorial. Sometimes they are manifest in the wakening state and in the dream state, but during deep sleep [unconsciousness] or trance, they disappear. A person who is liberated in this life [jivan-mukta] can see all these things vividly. There are two kinds of ksetrajna--the living entity, as explained above, and the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is explained as follows. He is the all- pervading cause of creation. He is full in Himself and is not dependent on others. He is perceived by hearing and direct perception. He is self-effulgent and does not experience birth, death, old age or disease. He is the controller of all the demigods, beginning with Lord Brahma. He is called Narayana, and He is the shelter of living entities after the annihilation of this material world. He is full of all opulences, and He is the resting place of everything material. He is therefore known as Vasudeva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. By His own potency, He is present within the hearts of all living entities, just as the air or vital force is within the bodies of all beings, moving and nonmoving. In this way He controls the body. In His partial feature, the Supreme Personality of Godhead enters all bodies and controls them. My dear King Rahugana, as long as the conditioned soul accepts the material body and is not freed from the contamination of material enjoyment, and as long as he does not conquer his six enemies and come to the platform of self-realization by awakening his spiritual knowledge, he has to wander among different places and different species of life in this material world. The soul's designation, the mind, is the cause of all tribulations in the material world. As long as this fact is unknown to the conditioned living entity, he has to accept the miserable condition of the material body and wander within this universe in different positions. Because the mind is affected by disease, lamentation, illusion, attachment, greed and enmity, it creates bondage and a false sense of intimacy within this material world. This uncontrolled mind is the greatest enemy of the living entity. If one neglects it or gives it a chance, it will grow more and more powerful and will become victorious. Although it is not factual, it is very strong. It covers the constitutional position of the soul. O King, please try to conquer this mind by the weapon of service to the lotus feet of the spiritual master and of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Do this with great care. Chapter Twelve : Conversation Between King Rahugana said: O most exalted personality, you are not different from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. By the influence of your true self, all kinds of contradiction in the sastras have been removed. In the dress of a friend of a brahmana, you are hiding your transcendental blissful position. I offer my respectful obeisances unto you. O best of the brahmanas, my body is filled with dirty things, and my vision has been bitten by the serpent of pride. Due to my material conceptions, I am diseased. Your nectarean instructions are the proper medicine for one suffering from such a fever, and they are cooling waters for one scorched by the heat. Whatever doubts I have about a particular subject matter I shall ask you about later. For the time being, these mysterious yoga instructions you have given me for self-realization appear very difficult to understand. Please repeat them in a simple way so that I can understand them. My mind is very inquisitive, and I want to understand this clearly. O master of yogic power, you said that fatigue resulting from moving the body here and there is appreciated by direct perception, but actually there is no fatigue. It simply exists as a matter of formality. By such inquiries and answers, no one can come to the conclusion of the Absolute Truth. Because of your presentation of this statement, my mind is a little disturbed. The self-realized brahmana Jada Bharata said: Among the various material combinations and permutations, there are various forms and earthly transformations. For some reason, these move on the surface of the earth and are called palanquin carriers. Those material transformations which do not move are gross material objects like stones. In any case, the material body is made of earth and stone in the form of feet, ankles, calves, knees, thighs, torso, throat and head. Upon the shoulders is the wooden palanquin, and within the palanquin is the so-called King of Sauvira. The body of the King is simply another transformation of earth, but within that body Your Lordship is situated and falsely thinking that you are the King of the state of Sauvira. It is a fact, however, that these innocent people carrying your palanquin without payment are certainly suffering due to this injustice. Their condition is very lamentable because you have forcibly engaged them in carrying your palanquin. This proves that you are cruel and unkind, yet due to false prestige you were thinking that you were protecting the citizens. This is ludicrous. You were such a fool that you could not have been adored as a great man in an assembly of persons advanced in knowledge. All of us on the surface of the globe are living entities in different forms. Some of us are moving and some not moving. All of us come into existence, remain for some time and are annihilated when the body is again mingled with the earth. We are all simply different transformations of the earth. Different bodies and capacities are simply transformations of the earth that exist in name only, for everything grows out of the earth and when everything is annihilated it again mingles with the earth. In other words, we are but dust, and we shall but be dust. Everyone can consider this point. One may say that varieties arise from the planet earth itself. However, although the universe may temporarily appear to be the truth, it ultimately has no real existence. The earth was originally created by a combination of atomic particles, but these particles are impermanent. Actually the atom is not the cause of the universe, although some philosophers think so. It is not a fact that the varieties found in this material world simply result from atomic juxtaposition or combination. Since this universe has no real ultimate existence, the things within it-- shortness, differences, grossness, skinniness, smallness, bigness, result, cause, living symptoms, and materials--are all imagined. They are all pots made of the same substance, earth, but they are named differently. The differences are characterized by the substance, nature, predisposition, time and activity. You should know that all these are simply mechanical manifestations created by material nature. What, then, is the ultimate truth? The answer is that nondual knowledge is the ultimate truth. It is devoid of the contamination of material qualities. It gives us liberation. It is the one without a second, all-pervading and beyond imagination. The first realization of that knowledge is Brahman. Then Paramatma, the Supersoul, is realized by the yogis who try to see Him without grievance. This is the second stage of realization. Finally, full realization of the same supreme knowledge is realized in the Supreme Person. All learned scholars describe the Supreme Person as Vasudeva, the cause of Brahman, Paramatma and others. My dear King Rahugana, unless one has the opportunity to smear his entire body with the dust of the lotus feet of great devotees, one cannot realize the Absolute Truth. One cannot realize the Absolute Truth simply by observing celibacy [brahmacarya], strictly following the rules and regulations of householder life, leaving home as a vanaprastha, accepting sannyasa, or undergoing severe penances in winter by keeping oneself submerged in water or surrounding oneself in summer by fire and the scorching heat of the sun. There are many other processes to understand the Absolute Truth, but the Absolute Truth is only revealed to one who has attained the mercy of a great devotee. Who are the pure devotees mentioned here? In an assembly of pure devotees, there is no question of discussing material subjects like politics and sociology. In an assembly of pure devotees, there is discussion only of the qualities, forms and pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is praised and worshiped with full attention. In the association of pure devotees, by constantly hearing such topics respectfully, even a person who wants to merge into the existence of the Absolute Truth abandons this idea and gradually becomes attached to the service of Vasudeva. In a previous birth I was known as Maharaja Bharata. I attained perfection by becoming completely detached from material activities through direct experience, and through indirect experience I received understanding from the Vedas. I was fully engaged in the service of the Lord, but due to my misfortune, I became very affectionate to a small deer, so much so that I neglected my spiritual duties. Due to my deep affection for the deer, in my next life I had to accept the body of a deer. My dear heroic King, due to my past sincere service to the Lord, I could remember everything of my past life even while in the body of a deer. Because I am aware of the falldown in my past life, I always keep myself separate from the association of ordinary men. Being afraid of their bad, materialistic association, I wander alone unnoticed by others. Simply by associating with exalted devotees, anyone can attain perfection of knowledge and with the sword of knowledge can cut to pieces the illusory associations within this material world. Through the association of devotees, one can engage in the service of the Lord by hearing and chanting [sravanam kirtanam]. Thus one can revive his dormant Krishna consciousness and, sticking to the cultivation of Krishna consciousness, return home, back to Godhead, even in this life. Chapter Thirteen : Further Talks Between Jada Bharata, who had fully realized Brahman, continued: My dear King Rahugana, the living entity wanders on the path of the material world, which is very difficult for him to traverse, and he accepts repeated birth and death. Being captivated by the material world under the influence of the three modes of material nature (sattva-guna, rajo-guna and tamo-guna), the living entity can see only the three fruits of activities under the spell of material nature. These fruits are auspicious, inauspicious and mixed. He thus becomes attached to religion, economic development, sense gratification and the monistic theory of liberation (merging with the Supreme). He works very hard day and night exactly like a merchant who enters a forest to acquire some articles to sell later for profit. However, he cannot really achieve happiness within this material world. O King Rahugana, in this forest of material existence there are six very powerful plunderers. When the conditioned soul enters the forest to acquire some material gain, the six plunderers misguide him. Thus the conditioned merchant does not know how to spend his money, and it is taken away by these plunderers. Like tigers, jackals and other ferocious animals in a forest that are ready to take away a lamb from the custody of its protector, the wife and children enter the heart of the merchant and plunder him in so many ways. In this forest there are dense bowers composed of thickets of bushes, grass and creepers. In these bowers the conditioned soul is always disturbed by cruelly biting mosquitoes [envious people]. Sometimes he sees an imaginary palace in the forest, and sometimes he is bewildered by seeing a fleeting fiend or ghost, which appears like a meteor in the sky. My dear King, the merchant on the forest path of the material world, his intelligence victimized by home, wealth, relatives and so forth, runs from one place to another in search of success. Sometimes his eyes are covered by the dust of a whirlwind--that is to say, in his lust he is captivated by the beauty of his wife, especially during her menstrual period. Thus his eyes are blinded, and he cannot see where to go or what he is doing. Wandering in the forest of the material world, the conditioned soul sometimes hears an invisible cricket making harsh sounds, and his ears become very much aggrieved. Sometimes his heart is pained by the sounds of owls, which are just like the harsh words of his enemies. Sometimes he takes shelter of a tree that has no fruits or flowers. He approaches such a tree due to his strong appetite, and thus he suffers. He would like to acquire water, but he is simply illusioned by a mirage, and he runs after it. Sometimes the conditioned soul jumps into a shallow river, or being short of food grains, he goes to beg food from people who are not at all charitable. Sometimes he suffers from the burning heat of household life, which is like a forest fire, and sometimes he becomes sad to have his wealth, which is as dear as life, plundered by kings in the name of heavy income taxes. Sometimes, being defeated or plundered by a superior, powerful agent, a living entity loses all his possessions. He then becomes very morose, and lamenting their loss, he sometimes becomes unconscious. Sometimes he imagines a great palatial city in which he desires to live happily with his family members and riches. He thinks himself fully satisfied if this is possible, but such so- called happiness continues only for a moment. Sometimes the merchant in the forest wants to climb the hills and mountains, but due to insufficient footwear, his feet are pricked by small stone fragments and by thorns on the mountain. Being pricked by them, he becomes very aggrieved. Sometimes a person who is very attached to his family becomes overwhelmed with hunger, and due to his miserable condition he becomes furious with his family members. The conditioned soul in the material forest is sometimes swallowed by a python or crushed. At such a time he is left lying in the forest like a dead person, devoid of consciousness and knowledge. Sometimes other poisonous snakes bite him. Being blind to his consciousness, he falls down into a dark well of hellish life with no hope of being rescued. Sometimes, in order to have a little insignificant sex enjoyment, one searches after debauched women. In this attempt, one is insulted and chastised by the women's kinsmen. This is like going to take honey from a beehive and being attacked by the bees. Sometimes, after spending lots of money, one may acquire another woman for some extra sense enjoyment. Unfortunately, the object of sense enjoyment, the woman, is taken away or kidnapped by another debauchee. Sometimes the living entity is busy counteracting the natural disturbances of freezing cold, scorching heat, strong wind, excessive rainfall and so forth. When he is unable to do so, he becomes very unhappy. Sometimes he is cheated in business transactions one after another. In this way, by cheating, living entities create enmity among themselves. On the forest path of material existence, sometimes a person is without wealth and due to this does not have a proper home, bed or sitting place, nor proper family enjoyment. He therefore goes to beg money from others, but when his desires are not fulfilled by begging, he wants to borrow or steal the property of others. Thus he is insulted in society. Due to monetary transactions, relationships become very strained and end in enmity. Sometimes the husband and wife walk on the path of material progress, and to maintain their relationship they work very hard. Sometimes due to scarcity of money or due to diseased conditions, they are embarrassed and almost die. My dear King, on the forest path of material life, first a person is bereft of his father and mother, and after their death he becomes attached to his newly born children. In this way he wanders on the path of material progress and is eventually embarrassed. Nonetheless, no one knows how to get out of this, even up to the moment of death. There were and are many political and social heroes who have conquered enemies of equal power, yet due to their ignorance in believing that the land is theirs, they fight one another and lay down their lives in battle. They are not able to take up the spiritual path accepted by those in the renounced order. Although they are big heroes and political leaders, they cannot take to the path of spiritual realization. Sometimes the living entity in the forest of material existence takes shelter of creepers and desires to hear the chirping of the birds in those creepers. Being afraid of roaring lions in the forest, he makes friends with cranes, herons and vultures. Being cheated by them, the living entity in the forest of the material world tries to give up the association of these so-called yogis, svamis and incarnations and come to the association of real devotees, but due to misfortune he cannot follow the instructions of the spiritual master or advanced devotees; therefore he gives up their company and again returns to the association of monkeys who are simply interested in sense gratification and women. He derives satisfaction by associating with sense gratifiers and enjoying sex and intoxication. In this way he spoils his life simply by indulging in sex and intoxication. Looking into the faces of other sense gratifiers, he becomes forgetful and thus approaches death. When the living entity becomes exactly like a monkey jumping from one branch to another, he remains in the tree of household life without any profit but sex. Thus he is kicked by his wife just like the he-ass. Unable to gain release, he remains helplessly in that position. Sometimes he falls victim to am incurable disease, which is like falling into a mountain cave. He becomes afraid of death, which is like the elephant in the back of that cave, and he remains stranded, grasping at the twigs and branches of a creeper. O killer of enemies, Maharaja Rahugana, if the conditioned soul somehow or other gets out of his dangerous position, he again returns to his home to enjoy sex life, for that is the way of attachment. Thus, under the spell of the Lord's material energy, he continues to loiter in the forest of material existence. He does not discover his real interest even at the point of death. My dear King Rahugana, you are also a victim of the external energy, being situated on the path of attraction to material pleasure. So that you may become an equal friend to all living entities, I now advise you to give up your kingly position and the rod by which you punish criminals. Give up attraction to the sense objects and take up the sword of knowledge sharpened by devotional service. Then you will be able to cut the hard knot of illusory energy and cross to the other side of the ocean of nescience. King Rahugana said: This birth as a human being is the best of all. Even birth among the demigods in the heavenly planets is not as glorious as birth as a human being on this earth. What is the use of the exalted position of a demigod? In the heavenly planets, due to profuse material comforts, there is no possibility of associating with devotees. It is not at all wonderful that simply by being covered by the dust of your lotus feet, one immediately attains the platform of pure devotional service to Adhoksaja, which is not available even to great demigods like Brahma. By associating with you just for a moment, I am now freed from all argument, false prestige and lack of discrimination, which are the roots of entanglement in the material world. Now I am free from all these problems. I offer my respectful obeisances unto the great personalities, whether they walk on the earth's surface as children, young boys, avadhutas or great brahmanas. Even if they are hidden under different guises, I offer my respects to all of them. By their mercy, may there be good fortune in the royal dynasties that are always offending them. Srila Sukadeva Gosvami continued: My dear King, O son of mother Uttara, there were some waves of dissatisfaction in the mind of Jada Bharata due to his being insulted by King Rahugana, who made him carry his palanquin, but Jada Bharata neglected this, and his heart again became calm and quiet like an ocean. Although King Rahugana had insulted him, he was a great paramahamsa. Being a Vaisnava, he was naturally very kindhearted, and he therefore told the King about the constitutional position of the soul. He then forgot the insult because King Rahugana pitifully begged pardon at his lotus feet. After this, he began to wander all over the earth, just as before. After receiving lessons from the great devotee Jada Bharata, King Rahugana of the state of Sauvira became completely aware of the constitutional position of the soul. He thus gave up the bodily conception completely. My dear King, whoever takes shelter of the servant of the servant of the Lord is certainly glorified because he can without difficulty give up the bodily conception. King Pariksit then told Sukadeva Gosvami: My dear lord, O great devotee sage, you are omniscient. You have very nicely described the position of the conditioned soul, who is compared to a merchant in the forest. From these instructions intelligent men can understand that the senses of a person in the bodily conception are like rogues and thieves in that forest, and one's wife and children are like jackals and other ferocious animals. However, it is not very easy for the unintelligent to understand the purport of this story because it is difficult to extricate the exact meaning from the allegory. I therefore request Your Holiness to give the direct meaning. Chapter Fourteen :The Material World as the When King Pariksit asked Sukadeva Gosvami about the direct meaning of the material forest, Sukadeva Gosvami replied as follows: My dear King, a man belonging to the mercantile community [vanik] is always interested in earning money. Sometimes he enters the forest to acquire some cheap commodities like wood and earth and sell them in the city at good prices. Similarly, the conditioned soul, being greedy, enters this material world for some material profit. Gradually he enters the deepest part of the forest, not really knowing how to get out. Having entered the material world, the pure soul becomes conditioned by the material atmosphere, which is created by the external energy under the control of Lord Vishnu. Thus the living entity comes under the control of the external energy, daivi maya. Living independently and bewildered in the forest, he does not attain the association of devotees who are always engaged in the service of the Lord. Once in the bodily conception, he gets different types of bodies one after the other under the influence of material energy and impelled by the modes of material nature [sattva-guna, rajo-guna and tamo-guna]. In this way the conditioned soul goes sometimes to the heavenly planets, sometimes to the earthly planets and sometimes to the lower planets and lower species. Thus he suffers continuously due to different types of bodies. These sufferings and pains are sometimes mixed. Sometimes they are very severe, and sometimes they are not. These bodily conditions are acquired due to the conditioned soul's mental speculation. He uses his mind and five senses to acquire knowledge, and these bring about the different bodies and different conditions. Using the senses under the control of the external energy, maya, the living entity suffers the miserable conditions of material existence. He is actually searching for relief, but he is generally baffled, although sometimes he is relieved after great difficulty. Struggling for existence in this way, he cannot get the shelter of pure devotees, who are like bumblebees engaged in loving service at the lotus feet of Lord Vishnu. In the forest of material existence, the uncontrolled senses are like plunderers. The conditioned soul may earn some money for the advancement of Krishna consciousness, but unfortunately the uncontrolled senses plunder his money through sense gratification. The senses are plunderers because they make one spend his money unnecessarily for seeing, smelling, tasting, touching, hearing, desiring and willing. In this way the conditioned soul is obliged to gratify his senses, and thus all his money is spent. This money is actually acquired for the execution of religious principles, but it is taken away by the plundering senses. My dear King, family members in this material world go under the names of wife and children, but actually they behave like tigers and jackals. A herdsman tries to protect his sheep to the best of his ability, but the tigers and foxes take them away by force. Similarly, although a miserly man wants to guard his money very carefully, his family members take away all his assets forcibly, even though he is very vigilant. Every year the plowman plows over his grain field, completely uprooting all weeds. Nonetheless, the seeds lie there and, not being completely burned, again come up with the plants sown in the field. Even after being plowed under, the weeds come up densely. Similarly, the grhastha-asrama [family life] is a field of fruitive activity. Unless the desire to enjoy family life is completely burned out, it grows up again and again. Even though camphor may be removed from a pot, the pot nonetheless retains the aroma of camphor. As long as the seeds of desire are not destroyed, fruitive activities are not destroyed. Sometimes the conditioned soul in household life, being attached to material wealth and possessions, is disturbed by gadflies and mosquitoes, and sometimes locusts, birds of prey and rats give him trouble. Nonetheless, he still wanders down the path of material existence. Due to ignorance he becomes lusty and engages in fruitive activity. Because his mind is absorbed in these activities, he sees the material world as permanent, although it is temporary like a phantasmagoria, a house in the sky. Sometimes in this house in the sky [gandharva-pura] the conditioned soul drinks, eats and has sex. Being overly attached, he chases after the objects of the senses just as a deer chases a mirage in the desert. Sometimes the living entity is interested in the yellow stool known as gold and runs after it. That gold is the source of material opulence and envy, and it can enable one to afford illicit sex, gambling, meat-eating and intoxication. Those whose minds are overcome by the mode of passion are attracted by the color of gold, just as a man suffering from cold in the forest runs after a phosphorescent light in a marshy land, considering it to be fire. Sometimes the conditioned soul is absorbed in finding residential quarters or apartments and getting a supply of water and riches to maintain his body. Absorbed in acquiring a variety of necessities, he forgets everything and perpetually runs around the forest of material existence. Sometimes, as if blinded by the dust of a whirlwind, the conditioned soul sees the beauty of the opposite sex, which is called pramada. Being thus bewildered, he is raised upon the lap of a woman, and at that time his good senses are overcome by the force of passion. He thus becomes almost blind with lusty desire and disobeys the rules and regulations governing sex life. He does not know that his disobedience is witnessed by different demigods, and he enjoys illicit sex in the dead of night, not seeing the future punishment awaiting him. The conditioned soul sometimes personally appreciates the futility of sense enjoyment in the material world, and he sometimes considers material enjoyment to be full of miseries. However, due to his strong bodily conception, his memory is destroyed, and again and again he runs after material enjoyment, just as an animal runs after a mirage in the desert. Sometimes the conditioned soul is very aggrieved by the chastisement of his enemies and government servants, who use harsh words against him directly or indirectly. At that time his heart and ears become very saddened. Such chastisement may be compared to the sounds of owls and crickets. Due to his pious activities in previous lives, the conditioned soul attains material facilities in this life, but when they are finished, he takes shelter of wealth and riches, which cannot help him in this life or the next. Because of this, he approaches the living dead who possess these things. Such people are compared to impure trees, creepers and poisonous wells. Sometimes, to mitigate distresses in this forest of the material world, the conditioned soul receives cheap blessings from atheists. He then loses all intelligence in their association. This is exactly like jumping in a shallow river. As a result one simply breaks his head. He is not able to mitigate his sufferings from the heat, and in both ways he suffers. The misguided conditioned soul also approaches so-called sadhus and svamis who preach against the principles of the Vedas. He does not receive benefit from them, either in the present or in the future. In this material world, when the conditioned soul cannot arrange for his own maintenance, despite exploiting others, he tries to exploit his own father or son, taking away that relative's possessions, although they may be very insignificant. If he cannot acquire things from his father, son or other relatives, he is prepared to give them all kinds of trouble. In this world, family life is exactly like a blazing fire in the forest. There is not the least happiness, and gradually one becomes more and more implicated in unhappiness. In household life, there is nothing favorable for perpetual happiness. Being implicated in home life, the conditioned soul is burned by the fire of lamentation. Sometimes he condemns himself as being very unfortunate, and sometimes he claims that he suffers because he performed no pious activities in his previous life. Government men are always like carnivorous demons called Raksasas [man-eaters]. Sometimes these government men turn against the conditioned soul and take away all his accumulated wealth. Being bereft of his life's reserved wealth, the conditioned soul loses all enthusiasm. Indeed, it is as though he loses his life. Sometimes the conditioned soul imagines that his father or grandfather has again come in the form of his son or grandson. In this way he feels the happiness one sometimes feels in a dream, and the conditioned soul sometimes takes pleasure in such mental concoctions. In household life one is ordered to execute many yajnas and fruitive activities, especially the vivaha-yajna [the marriage ceremony for sons and daughters] and the sacred thread ceremony. These are all the duties of a grhastha, and they are very extensive and troublesome to execute. They are compared to a big hill over which one must cross when one is attached to material activities. A person desiring to cross over these ritualistic ceremonies certainly feels pains like the piercing of thorns and pebbles endured by one attempting to climb a hill. Thus the conditioned soul suffers unlimitedly. Sometimes, due to bodily hunger and thirst, the conditioned soul becomes so disturbed that he loses his patience and becomes angry with his own beloved sons, daughters and wife. Thus, being unkind to them, he suffers all the more. Sukadeva Gosvami continued speaking to Maharaja Pariksit: My dear King, sleep is exactly like a python. Those who wander in the forest of material life are always devoured by the python of sleep. Being bitten by this python, they always remain in the darkness of ignorance. They are like dead bodies thrown in a distant forest. Thus the conditioned souls cannot understand what is going on in life. In the forest of the material world, the conditioned soul is sometimes bitten by envious enemies, which are compared to serpents and other creatures. Through the tricks of the enemy, the conditioned soul falls from his prestigious position. Being anxious, he cannot even sleep properly. He thus becomes more and more unhappy, and he gradually loses his intelligence and consciousness. In that state he becomes almost perpetually like a blind man who has fallen into a dark well of ignorance. The conditioned soul is sometimes attracted to the little happiness derived from sense gratification. Thus he has illicit sex or steals another's property. At such a time he may be arrested by the government or chastised by the woman's husband or protector. Thus simply for a little material satisfaction, he falls into a hellish condition and is put into jail for rape, kidnapping, theft and so forth. Learned scholars and transcendentalists therefore condemn the materialistic path of fruitive activity because it is the original source and breeding ground of material miseries, both in this life and in the next. Stealing or cheating another person out of his money, the conditioned soul somehow or other keeps it in his possession and escapes punishment. Then another man, named Devadatta, cheats him and takes the money away. Similarly, another man, named Vishnumitra, steals the money from Devadatta and takes it away. In any case, the money does not stay in one place. It passes from one hand to another. Ultimately no one can enjoy the money, and it remains the property of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Being unable to protect himself from the threefold miseries of material existence, the conditioned soul becomes very morose and lives a life of lamentation. These threefold miseries are miseries suffered by mental calamity at the hands of the demigods [such as freezing wind and scorching heat], miseries offered by other living entities, and miseries arising from the mind and body themselves. As far as transactions with money are concerned, if one person cheats another by a farthing or less, they become enemies. In this materialistic life, there are many difficulties, as I have just mentioned, and all of these are insurmountable. In addition, there are difficulties arising from so-called happiness, distress, attachment, hate, fear, false prestige, illusion, madness, lamentation, bewilderment, greed, envy, enmity, insult, hunger, thirst, tribulation, disease, birth, old age and death. All these combine together to give the materialistic conditioned soul nothing but misery. Sometimes the conditioned soul is attracted by illusion personified (his wife or girl friend) and becomes eager to be embraced by a woman. Thus he loses his intelligence as well as knowledge of life's goal. At that time, no longer attempting spiritual cultivation, he becomes overly attached to his wife or girl friend and tries to provide her with a suitable apartment. Again, he becomes very busy under the shelter of that home and is captivated by the talks, glances and activities of his wife and children. In this way he loses his Krishna consciousness and throws himself in the dense darkness of material existence. The personal weapon used by Lord Krishna, the disc, is called hari-cakra, the disc of Hari. This cakra is the wheel of time. It expands from the beginning of the atoms up to the time of Brahma's death, and it controls all activities. It is always revolving and spending the lives of the living entities, from Lord Brahma down to an insignificant blade of grass. Thus one changes from infancy, to childhood, to youth and maturity, and thus one approaches the end of life. It is impossible to check this wheel of time. This wheel is very exacting because it is the personal weapon of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Sometimes the conditioned soul, fearing the approach of death, wants to worship someone who can save him from imminent danger. Yet he does not care for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose weapon is the indefatigable time factor. The conditioned soul instead takes shelter of a man-made god described in unauthorized scriptures. Such gods are like buzzards, vultures, herons and crows. Vedic scriptures do not refer to them. Imminent death is like the attack of a lion, and neither vultures, buzzards, crows nor herons can save one from such an attack. One who takes shelter of unauthorized man-made gods cannot be saved from the clutches of death. The pseudo svamis, yogis and incarnations who do not believe in the Supreme Personality of Godhead are known as pasandis. They themselves are fallen and cheated because they do not know the real path of spiritual advancement, and whoever goes to them is certainly cheated in his turn. When one is thus cheated, he sometimes takes shelter of the real followers of Vedic principles [brahmanas or those in Krishna consciousness], who teach everyone how to worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead according to the Vedic rituals. However, being unable to stick to these principles, these rascals again fall down and take shelter among sudras who are very expert in making arrangements for sex indulgence. Sex is very prominent among animals like monkeys, and such people who are enlivened by sex may be called descendants of monkeys. In this way the descendants of the monkeys intermingle with each other, and they are generally known as sudras. Without hesitating, they live and move freely, not knowing the goal of life. They are captivated simply by seeing the faces of one another, which remind them of sense gratification. They are always engaged in material activities, known as gramya-karma, and they work hard for material benefit. Thus they forget completely that one day their small life spans will be finished and they will be degraded in the evolutionary cycle. Just as a monkey jumps from one tree to another, the conditioned soul jumps from one body to another. As the monkey is ultimately captured by the hunter and is unable to get out of captivity, the conditioned soul, being captivated by momentary sex pleasure, becomes attached to different types of bodies and is encaged in family life. Family life affords the conditioned soul a festival of momentary sex pleasure, and thus he is completely unable to get out of the material clutches. In this material world, when the conditioned soul forgets his relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead and does not care for Krishna consciousness, he simply engages in different types of mischievous and sinful activities. He is then subjected to the threefold miseries, and, out of fear of the elephant of death, he falls into the darkness found in a mountain cave. The conditioned soul suffers many miserable bodily conditions, such as being affected by severe cold and strong winds. He also suffers due to the activities of other living beings and due to natural disturbances. When he is unable to counteract them and has to remain in a miserable condition, he naturally becomes very morose because he wants to enjoy material facilities. Sometimes conditioned souls exchange money, but in due course of time, enmity arises because of cheating. Although there may be a tiny profit, the conditioned souls cease to be friends and become enemies. Sometimes, having no money, the conditioned soul does not get sufficient accommodations. Sometimes he doesn't even have a place to sit, nor does he have the other necessities. In other words, he falls into scarcity, and at that time, when he is unable to secure the necessities by fair means, he decides to seize the property of others unfairly. When he cannot get the things he wants, he simply receives insults from others and thus becomes very morose. Although people may be enemies, in order to fulfill their desires again and again, they sometimes get married. Unfortunately, these marriages do not last very long, and the people involved are separated again by divorce or other means. The path of this material world is full of material miseries, and various troubles disturb the conditioned souls. Sometimes he loses, and sometimes he gains. In either case, the path is full of danger. Sometimes the conditioned soul is separated from his father by death or other circumstances. Leaving him aside he gradually becomes attached to others, such as his children. In this way, the conditioned soul is sometimes illusioned and afraid. Sometimes he cries loudly out of fear. Sometimes he is happy maintaining his family, and sometimes he is overjoyed and sings melodiously. In this way he becomes entangled and forgets his separation from the Supreme Personality of Godhead since time immemorial. Thus he traverses the dangerous path of material existence, and on this path he is not at all happy. Those who are self-realized simply take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in order to get out of this dangerous material existence. Without accepting the devotional path, one cannot get out of the clutches of material existence. The conclusion is that no one can be happy in material life. One must take to Krishna consciousness. Saintly persons, who are friends to all living entities, have a peaceful consciousness. They have controlled their senses and minds, and they easily attain the path of liberation, the path back to Godhead. Being unfortunate and attached to the miserable material conditions, a materialistic person cannot associate with them. There were many great saintly kings who were very expert in performing sacrificial rituals and very competent in conquering other kingdoms, yet despite their power they could not attain the loving service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is because those great kings could not even conquer the false consciousness of "I am this body, and this is my property." Thus they simply created enmity with rival kings, fought with them and died without having discharged life's real mission. When the conditioned soul accepts the shelter of the creeper of fruitive activity, he may be elevated by his pious activities to higher planetary systems and thus gain liberation from hellish conditions, but unfortunately he cannot remain there. After reaping the results of his pious activities, he has to return to the lower planetary systems. In this way he perpetually goes up and comes down. Having summarized the teachings of Jada Bharata, Sukadeva Gosvami said: My dear King Pariksit, the path indicated by Jada Bharata is like the path followed by Garuda, the carrier of the Lord, and ordinary kings are just like flies. Flies cannot follow the path of Garuda, and to date none of the great kings and victorious leaders could follow this path of devotional service, not even mentally. While in the prime of life, the great Maharaja Bharata gave up everything because he was fond of serving the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Uttamasloka. He gave up his beautiful wife, nice children, great friends and an enormous empire. Although these things were very difficult to give up, Maharaja Bharata was so exalted that he gave them up just as one gives up stool after evacuating. Such was the greatness of His Majesty. Sukadeva Gosvami continued: My dear King, the activities of Bharata Maharaja are wonderful. He gave up everything difficult for others to give up. He gave up his kingdom, his wife and his family. His opulence was so great that even the demigods envied it, yet he gave it up. It was quite befitting a great personality like him to be a great devotee. He could renounce everything because he was so attracted to the beauty, opulence, reputation, knowledge, strength and renunciation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna. Krishna is so attractive that one can give up all desirable things for His sake. Indeed, even liberation is considered insignificant for those whose minds are attracted to the loving service of the Lord. Even though in the body of a deer, Maharaja Bharata did not forget the Supreme Personality of Godhead; therefore when he was giving up the body of a deer, he loudly uttered the following prayer: "The Supreme Personality of Godhead is sacrifice personified. He gives the results of ritualistic activity. He is the protector of religious systems, the personification of mystic yoga, the source of all knowledge, the controller of the entire creation, and the Supersoul in every living entity. He is beautiful and attractive. I am quitting this body offering obeisances unto Him and hoping that I may perpetually engage in His transcendental loving service." Uttering this, Maharaja Bharata left his body. Devotees interested in hearing and chanting [sravanam kirtanam] regularly discuss the pure characteristics of Bharata Maharaja and praise his activities. If one submissively hears and chants about the all-auspicious Maharaja Bharata, one's life span and material opulences certainly increase. One can become very famous and easily attain promotion to the heavenly planets, or attain liberation by merging into the existence of the Lord. Whatever one desires can be attained simply by hearing, chanting and glorifying the activities of Maharaja Bharata. In this way, one can fulfill all his material and spiritual desires. One does not have to ask anyone else for these things, for simply by studying the life of Maharaja Bharata, one can attain all desirable things. Chapter Fifteen : The Glories of the Srila Sukadeva Gosvami continued: The son of Maharaja Bharata known as Sumati followed the path of Rsabhadeva, but some unscrupulous people imagined him to be Lord Buddha himself. These people, who were actually atheistic and of bad character, took up the Vedic principles in an imaginary, infamous way to support their activities. Thus these sinful people accepted Sumati as Lord Buddhadeva and propagated the theory that everyone should follow the principles of Sumati. In this way they were carried away by mental concoction. From Sumati, a son named Devatajit was born by the womb of his wife named Vrddhasena. Thereafter, in the womb of Asuri, the wife of Devatajit, a son named Devadyumna was begotten. Devadyumna begot in the womb of his wife, Dhenumati, a son named Paramesthi. Paramesthi begot a son named Pratiha in the womb of his wife, Suvarcala. King Pratiha personally propagated the principles of self-realization. In this way, not only was he purified, but he became a great devotee of the Supreme Person, Lord Vishnu, and directly realized Him. In the womb of his wife Suvarcala, Pratiha begot three sons, named Pratiharta, Prastota and Udgata. These three sons were very expert in performing Vedic rituals. Pratiharta begot two sons, named Aja and Bhuma, in the womb of his wife, named Stuti. In the womb of his wife, Rsikulya, King Bhuma begot a son named Udgitha. From Udgitha's wife, Devakulya, a son named Prastava was born, and Prastava begot a son named Vibhu through his wife, Niyutsa. In the womb of his wife, Rati, Vibhu begot a son named Prthusena. Prthusena begot a son named Nakta in the womb of his wife, named Akuti. Nakta's wife was Druti, and from her womb the great King Gaya was born. Gaya was very famous and pious; he was the best of saintly kings. Lord Vishnu and His expansions, who are meant to protect the universe, are always situated in the transcendental mode of goodness, known as visuddha- sattva. Being the direct expansion of Lord Vishnu, King Gaya was also situated in the visuddha-sattva. Because of this, Maharaja Gaya was fully equipped with transcendental knowledge. Therefore he was called Mahapurusa. King Gaya gave full protection and security to the citizens so that their personal property would not be disturbed by undesirable elements. He also saw that there was sufficient food to feed all the citizens. [This is called posana.] He would sometimes distribute gifts to the citizens to satisfy them. [This is called prinana.] He would sometimes call meetings and satisfy the citizens with sweet words. [This is called upalalana.] He would also give them good instructions on how to become first-class citizens. [This is called anusasana.] Such were the characteristics of King Gaya's royal order. Besides all this, King Gaya was a householder who strictly observed the rules and regulations of household life. He performed sacrifices and was an unalloyed pure devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He was called Mahapurusa because as a king he gave the citizens all facilities, and as a householder he executed all his duties so that at the end he became a strict devotee of the Supreme Lord. As a devotee, he was always ready to give respect to other devotees and to engage in the devotional service of the Lord. This is the bhakti-yoga process. Due to all these transcendental activites, King Gaya was always free from the bodily conception. He was full in Brahman realization, and consequently he was always jubilant. He did not experience material lamentation. Although he was perfect in all respects, he was not proud, nor was he anxious to rule the kingdom. My dear King Pariksit, those who are learned scholars in the histories of the Puranas eulogize and glorify King Gaya with the following verses. The great King Gaya used to perform all kinds of Vedic rituals. He was highly intelligent and expert in studying all the Vedic literatures. He maintained the religious principles and possessed all kinds of opulence. He was a leader among gentlemen and a servant of the devotees. He was a totally qualified plenary expansion of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore who could equal him in the performance of gigantic ritualistic ceremonies? All the chaste and honest daughters of Maharaja Daksa, such as Sraddha, Maitri and Daya, whose blessings were always effective, bathed Maharaja Gaya with sanctified water. Indeed, they were very satisfied with Maharaja Gaya. The planet earth personified came as a cow, and, as though she saw her calf, she delivered milk profusely when she saw all the good qualities of Maharaja Gaya. In other words, Maharaja Gaya was able to derive all benefits from the earth and thus satisfy the desires of his citizens. However, he personally had no desire. Although King Gaya had no personal desire for sense gratification, all his desires were fulfilled by virtue of his performance of Vedic rituals. All the kings with whom Maharaja Gaya had to fight were forced to fight on religious principles. They were very satisfied with his fighting, and they would present all kinds of gifts to him. Similarly, all the brahmanas in his kingdom were very satisfied with King Gaya's munificent charities. Consequently the brahmanas contributed a sixth of their pious activities for King Gaya's benefit in the next life. In Maharaja Gaya's sacrifices, there was a great supply of the intoxicant known as soma. King Indra used to come and become intoxicated by drinking large quantities of soma-rasa. Also, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Vishnu [the yajna-purusa] also came and personally accepted all the sacrifices offered unto Him with pure and firm devotion in the sacrificial arena. When the Supreme Lord is pleased by a person's actions, automatically all the demigods, human beings, animals, birds, bees, creepers, trees, grass and all other living entities, beginning with Lord Brahma, are pleased. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the Supersoul of everyone, and He is by nature fully pleased. Nonetheless, He came to the arena of Maharaja Gaya and said, "I am fully pleased." In the womb of Gayanti, Maharaja Gaya begot three sons, named Citraratha, Sugati and Avarodhana. In the womb of his wife Urna, Citraratha begot a son named Samrat. The wife of Samrat was Utkala, and in her womb Samrat begot a son named Marici. In the womb of his wife Bindumati, Marici begot a son named Bindu. In the womb of his wife Saragha, Bindu begot a son named Madhu. In the womb of his wife named Sumana, Madhu begot a son named Viravrata. In the womb of his wife Bhoja, Viravrata begot two sons named Manthu and Pramanthu. In the womb of his wife Satya, Manthu begot a son named Bhauvana, and in the womb of his wife Dusana, Bhauvana begot a son named Tvasta. In the womb of his wife Virocana, Tvasta begot a son named Viraja. The wife of Viraja was Visuci, and in her womb Viraja begot one hundred sons and one daughter. Of all these sons, the son named Satajit was predominant. There is a famous verse about King Viraja. "Because of his high qualities and wide fame, King Viraja became the jewel of the dynasty of King Priyavrata, just as Lord Vishnu, by His transcendental potency, decorates and blesses the demigods." Chapter Sixteen : A Description of Jambudvipa King Pariksit said to Sukadeva Gosvami: O brahmana, you have already informed me that the radius of Bhu-mandala extends as far as the sun spreads its light and heat and as far as the moon and all the stars can be seen. My dear Lord, the rolling wheels of Maharaja Priyavrata's chariot created seven ditches, in which the seven oceans came into existence. Because of these seven oceans, Bhu-mandala is divided into seven islands. You have given a very general description of their measurement, names and characteristics. Now I wish to know of them in detail. Kindly fulfill my desire. When the mind is fixed upon the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His external feature made of the material modes of nature--the gross universal form--it is brought to the platform of pure goodness. In that transcendental position, one can understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vasudeva, who in His subtler form is self-effulgent and beyond the modes of nature. O my lord, please describe vividly how that form, which covers the entire universe, is perceived. The great rsi Sukadeva Gosvami said: My dear King, there is no limit to the expansion of the Supreme Personality of Godhead's material energy. This material world is a transformation of the material qualities [sattva-guna, rajo-guna and tamo-guna], yet no one could possibly explain it perfectly, even in a lifetime as long as that of Brahma No one in the material world is perfect, and an imperfect person could not describe this material universe accurately, even after continued speculation. O King, I shall nevertheless try to explain to you the principal regions, such as Bhu-goloka [Bhuloka], with their names, forms, measurements and various symptoms. The planetary system known as Bhu-mandala resembles a lotus flower, and its seven islands resemble the whorl of that flower. The length and breadth of the island known as Jambudvipa, which is situated in the middle of the whorl, are one million yojanas [eight million miles]. Jambudvipa is round like the leaf of a lotus flower. In Jambudvipa there are nine divisions of land, each with a length of 9,000 yojanas [72,000 miles]. There are eight mountains that mark the boundaries of these divisions and separate them nicely. Amidst these divisions, or varsas, is the varsa named Ilavrta, which is situated in the middle of the whorl of the lotus. Within Ilavrta-varsa is Sumeru Mountain, which is made of gold. Sumeru Mountain is like the pericarp of the lotuslike Bhu-mandala planetary system. The mountain's height is the same as the width of Jambudvipa--or, in other words, 100,000 yojanas [800,000 miles]. Of that, 16,0O0 yojanas [128,000 miles] are within the earth, and therefore the mountain's height above the earth is 84,000 yojanas [672,000 miles]. The mountain's width is 32,000 yojanas [256,000 miles] at its summit and 16,000 yojanas at its base. Just north of Ilavrta-varsa--and going further northward, one after another--are three mountains named Nila, Sveta and Srngavan. These mark the borders of the three varsas named Ramyaka, Hiranmaya and Kuru and separate them from one another. The width of these mountains is 2,000 yojanas [16,000 miles]. Lengthwise, they extend east and west to the beaches of the ocean of salt water. Going from south to north, the length of each mountain is one tenth that of the previous mountain, but the height of them all is the same. Similarly, south of Ilavrta-varsa and extending from east to west are three great mountains named (from north to south) Nisadha, Hemakuta and Himalaya. Each of them is 10,000 yojanas [80,000 miles] high. They mark the boundaries of the three varsas named Hari-varsa, Kimpurusa-varsa and Bharata-varsa [India]. In the same way, west and east of Ilavrta-varsa are two great mountains named Malyavan and Gandhamadana respectively. These two mountains, which are 2,000 yojanas [16,000 miles] high, extend as far as Nila Mountain in the north and Nisadha in the south. They indicate the borders of Ilavrta-varsa and also the varsas known as Ketumala and Bhadrasva. On the four sides of the great mountain known as Sumeru are four mountains-- Mandara, Merumandara, Suparsva and Kumuda--which are like its belts. The length and height of these mountains are calculated to be 10,000 yojanas [80,000 miles]. Standing like flagstaffs on the summits of these four mountains are a mango tree, a rose apple tree, a kadamba tree and a banyan tree. Those trees are calculated to have a width of 100 yojanas [800 miles] and a height of 1,100 yojanas [8,800 miles]. Their branches also spread to a radius of 1,100 yojanas. O Maharaja Pariksit, best of the Bharata dynasty, between these four mountains are four huge lakes. The water of the first tastes just like milk; the water of the second, like honey; and that of the third, like sugarcane juice. The fourth lake is filled with pure water. The celestial beings such as the Siddhas, Caranas and Gandharvas, who are also known as demigods, enjoy the facilities of those four lakes. Consequently they have the natural perfections of mystic yoga, such as the power to become smaller than the smallest or greater than the greatest. There are also four celestial gardens named Nandana, Caitraratha, Vaibhrajaka and Sarvatobhadra. The best of the demigods, along with their wives, who are like ornaments of heavenly beauty, meet together and enjoy within those gardens, while their glories are sung by lesser demigods known as Gandharvas. On the lower slopes of Mandara Mountain is a mango tree named Devacuta. It is 1,100 yojanas high. Mangoes as big as mountain peaks and as sweet as nectar fall from the top of this tree for the enjoyment of the denizens of heaven. When all those solid fruits fall from such a height, they break, and the sweet, fragrant juice within them flows out and becomes increasingly more fragrant as it mixes with other scents. That juice cascades from the mountain in waterfalls and becomes a river called Arunoda, which flows pleasantly through the eastern side of Ilavrta. The pious wives of the Yaksas act as personal maidservants to assist Bhavani, the wife of Lord Shiva. Because they drink the water of the River Arunoda, their bodies become fragrant, and as the air carries away that fragrance, it perfumes the entire atmosphere for eighty miles around. Similarly, the fruits of the jambu tree, which are full of pulp and have very small seeds, fall from a great height and break to pieces. Those fruits are the size of elephants, and the juice gliding from them becomes a river named Jambu- nadi. This river falls a distance of 10,000 yojanas, from the summit of Merumandara to the southern side of Ilavrta, and floods the entire land of Ilavrta with juice. The mud on both banks of the River Jambu-nadi, being moistened by the flowing juice and then dried by the air and the sunshine, produces huge quantities of gold called Jambu-nada. The denizens of heaven use this gold for various kinds of ornaments. Therefore all the inhabitants of the heavenly planets and their youthful wives are fully decorated with golden helmets, bangles and belts, and thus they enjoy life. On the side of Suparsva Mountain stands a big tree called Mahakadamba, which is very celebrated. From the hollows of this tree flow five rivers of honey, each about five vyamas wide. This flowing honey falls incessantly from the top of Suparsva Mountain and flows all around Ilavrta-varsa, beginning from the western side. Thus the whole land is saturated with the pleasing fragrance. The air carrying the scent from the mouths of those who drink that honey perfumes the land for a hundred yojanas around. Similarly, on Kumuda Mountain there is a great banyan tree, which is called Satavalsa because it has a hundred main branches. From those branches come many roots, from which many rivers are flowing. These rivers flow down from the top of the mountain to the northern side of Ilavrta-varsa for the benefit of those who live there. Because of these flowing rivers, all the people have ample supplies of milk, yogurt, honey, clarified butter [ghee], molasses, food grains, clothes, bedding, sitting places and ornaments. All the objects they desire are sufficiently supplied for their prosperity, and therefore they are very happy. The residents of the material world who enjoy the products of these flowing rivers have no wrinkles on their bodies and no grey hair. They never feel fatigue, and perspiration does not give their bodies a bad odor. They are not afflicted by old age, disease or untimely death, they do not suffer from chilly cold or scorching heat, nor do their bodies lose their luster. They all live very happily, without anxieties, until death. There are other mountains beautifully arranged around the foot of Mount Meru like the filaments around the whorl of a lotus flower. Their names are Kuranga, Kurara, Kusumbha, Vaikanka, Trikuta, Sisira, Patanga, Rucaka, Nisadha, Sinivasa, Kapila, Sankha, Vaidurya, Jarudhi, Hamsa, Rsabha, Naga, Kalanjara and Narada. On the eastern side of Sumeru Mountain are two mountains named Jathara and Devakuta, which extend to the north and south for 18,000 yojanas [144,000 miles]. Similarly, on the western side of Sumeru are two mountains named Pavana and Pariyatra, which also extend north and south for the same distance. On the southern side of Sumeru are two mountains named Kailasa and Karavira, which extend east and west for 18,000 yojanas, and on the northern side of Sumeru, extending for the same distance east and west, are two mountains named Trisrnga and Makara. The width and height of all these mountains is 2,000 yojanas [16,000 miles]. Sumeru, a mountain of solid gold shining as brilliantly as fire, is surrounded by these eight mountains. In the middle of the summit of Meru is the township of Lord Brahma. Each of its four sides is calculated to extend for ten million yojanas [eighty million miles]. It is made entirely of gold, and therefore learned scholars and sages call it Satakaumbhi. Surrounding Brahmapuri in all directions are the residences of the eight principal governors of the planetary systems, beginning with King Indra. These abodes are similar to Brahmapuri but are one fourth the size. Chapter Seventeen : The Descent of the River Ganges Sukadeva Gosvami said: My dear King, Lord Vishnu, the enjoyer of all sacrifices, appeared as Vamanadeva in the sacrificial arena of Bali Maharaja. Then He extended His left foot to the end of the universe and pierced a hole in its covering with the nail of His big toe. Through the hole, the pure water of the Causal Ocean entered this universe as the Ganges River. Having washed the lotus feet of the Lord, which are covered with reddish powder, the water of the Ganges acquired a very beautiful pink color. Every living being can immediately purify his mind of material contamination by touching the transcendental water of the Ganges, yet its waters remain ever pure. Because the Ganges directly touches the lotus feet of the Lord before descending within this universe, she is known as Vishnupadi. Later she received other names like Jahnavi and Bhagirathi. After one thousand millenniums, the water of the Ganges descended on Dhruvaloka, the topmost planet in this universe. Therefore all learned sages and scholars proclaim Dhruvaloka to be Vishnupada ["situated on Lord Vishnu's lotus feet"]. Dhruva Mabaraja, the famous son of Maharaja Uttanapada, is known as the most exalted devotee of the Supreme Lord because of his firm determination in executing devotional service. Knowing that the sacred Ganges water washes the lotus feet of Lord Vishnu, Dhruva Maharaja, situated on his own planet, to this very day accepts that water on his head with great devotion. Because he constantly thinks of Krishna very devoutly within the core of his heart, he is overcome with ecstatic anxiety. Tears flow from his half-open eyes, and eruptions appear on his entire body. The seven great sages [Marici, Vasistha, Atri and so on] reside on planets beneath Dhruvaloka. Well aware of the influence of the water of the Ganges, to this day they keep Ganges water on the tufts of hair on their heads. They have concluded that this is the ultimate wealth, the perfection of all austerities, and the best means of prosecuting transcendental life. Having obtained uninterrupted devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, they neglect all other beneficial processes like religion, economic development, sense gratification and even merging into the Supreme. Just as jnanis think that merging into the existence of the Lord is the highest truth, these seven exalted personalities accept devotional service as the perfection of life. After purifying the seven planets near Dhruvaloka [the polestar], the Ganges water is carried through the spaceways of the demigods in billions of celestial airplanes. Then it inundates the moon [Candraloka] and finally reaches Lord Brahma's abode atop Mount Meru. On top of Mount Meru, the Ganges divides into four branches, each of which gushes in a different direction [east, west, north and south]. These branches, known by the names Sita, Alakananda, Caksu and Bhadra, flow down to the ocean. The branch of the Ganges known as the Sita flows through Brahmapuri atop Mount Meru, and from there it runs down to the nearby peaks of the Kesaracala Mountains, which stand almost as high as Mount Meru itself. These mountains are like a bunch of filaments around Mount Meru. From the Kesaracala Mountains, the Ganges falls to the peak of Gandhamadana Mountain and then flows into the land of Bhadrasva-varsa. Finally it reaches the ocean of salt water in the west. The branch of the Ganges known as Caksu falls onto the summit of Malyavan Mountain and from there cascades onto the land of Ketumala-varsa. The Ganges flows incessantly through Ketumala-varsa and in this way also reaches the ocean of salt water in the West. The branch of the Ganges known as Bhadra flows from the northern side of Mount Meru. Its waters fall onto the peaks of Kumuda Mountain, Mount Nila, Sveta Mountain and Srngavan Mountain in succession. Then it runs down into the province of Kuru and, after crossing through that land, flows into the saltwater ocean in the north. Similarly, the branch of the Ganges known as Alakananda flows from the southern side of Brahmapuri [Brahma-sadana]. Passing over the tops of mountains in various lands, it falls down with fierce force upon the peaks of the mountains Memakuta and Himakuta. After inundating the tops of those mountains, the Ganges falls down onto the tract of land known as Bharata-varsa, which she also inundates. Then the Ganges flows into the ocean of salt water in the south. Persons who come to bathe in this river are fortunate. It is not very difficult for them to achieve with every step the results of performing great sacrifices like the Rajasuya and Asvamedha yajnas. Many other rivers, both big and small, flow from the top of Mount Meru. These rivers are like daughters of the mountain, and they flow to the various tracts of land in hundreds of branches. Among the nine varsas, the tract of land known as Bharata-varsa is understood to be the field of fruitive activities. Learned scholars and saintly persons declare the other eight varsas to be meant for very highly elevated pious persons. After returning from the heavenly planets, they enjoy the remaining results of their pious activities in these eight earthly varsas. In these eight varsas, or tracts of land, human beings live ten thousand years according to earthly calculations. All the inhabitants are almost like demigods. They have the bodily strength of ten thousand elephants. Indeed, their bodies are as sturdy as thunderbolts. The youthful duration of their lives is very pleasing, and both men and women enjoy sexual union with great pleasure for a long time. After years of sensual pleasure--when a balance of one year of life remains--the wife conceives a child. Thus the standard of pleasure for the residents of these heavenly regions is exactly like that of the human beings who lived during Treta-yuga. In each of those tracts of land, there are many gardens filled with flowers and fruits according to the season, and there are beautifully decorated hermitages as well. Between the great mountains demarcating the borders of those lands lie enormous lakes of clear water filled with newly grown lotus flowers. Aquatic birds such as swans, ducks, water chickens, and cranes become greatly excited by the fragrance of lotus flowers, and the charming sound of bumblebees fills the air. The inhabitants of those lands are important leaders among the demigods. Always attended by their respective servants, they enjoy life in gardens alongside the lakes. In this pleasing situation, the wives of the demigods smile playfully at their husbands and look upon them with lusty desires. All the demigods and their wives are constantly supplied with sandalwood pulp and flower garlands by their servants. In this way, all the residents of the eight heavenly varsas enjoy, attracted by the activities of the opposite sex. To show mercy to His devotees in each of these nine tracts of land, the Supreme Personality of Godhead known as Narayana expands Himself in His quadruple principles of Vasudeva, Sankarsana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha. In this way He remains near His devotees to accept their service. Sukadeva Gosvami said: In the tract of land known as Ilavrta-varsa, the only male person is Lord Shiva, the most powerful demigod. Goddess Durga, the wife of Lord Shiva, does not like any man to enter that land. If any foolish man dares to do so, she immediately turns him into a woman. I shall explain this later [in the Ninth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam]. In Ilavrta-varsa, Lord Shiva is always encircled by ten billion maidservants of goddess Durga, who minister to him. The quadruple expansion of the Supreme Lord is composed of Vasudeva, Pradyumna, Aniruddha and Sankarsana. Sankarsana, the fourth expansion, is certainly transcendental, but because his activities of destruction in the material world are in the mode of ignorance, He is known as tamasi, the Lord's form in the mode of ignorance. Lord Shiva knows that Sankarsana is the original cause of his own existence, and thus he always meditates upon Him in trance by chanting the following mantra. The most powerful Lord Shiva says: O Supreme Personality of Godhead, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You in Your expansion as Lord Sankarsana. You are the reservoir of all transcendental qualities. Although You are unlimited, You remain unmanifest to the nondevotees. O my Lord, You are the only worshipable person, for You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the reservoir of all opulences. Your secure lotus feet are the only source of protection for all Your devotees, whom You satisfy by manifesting Yourself in various forms. O my Lord, You deliver Your devotees from the clutches of material existence. Nondevotees, however, remain entangled in material existence by Your will. Kindly accept me as Your eternal servant. We cannot control the force of our anger. Therefore when we look at material things, we cannot avoid feeling attraction or repulsion for them. But the Supreme Lord is never affected in this way. Although He glances over the material world for the purpose of creating, maintaining and destroying it, He is not affected, even to the slightest degree. Therefore, one who desires to conquer the force of the senses must take shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord. Then he will be victorious. For persons with impure vision, the Supreme Lord's eyes appear like those of someone who indiscriminately drinks intoxicating beverages. Thus bewildered, such unintelligent persons become angry at the Supreme Lord, and due to their angry mood the Lord Himself appears angry and very fearful. However, this is an illusion. When the wives of the serpent demon were agitated by the touch of the Lord's lotus feet, due to shyness they could proceed no further in their worship of Him. Yet the Lord remained unagitated by their touch, for He is equipoised in all circumstances. Therefore who will not worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead ? Lord Shiva continued: All the great sages accept the Lord as the source of creation, maintenance and destruction, although He actually has nothing to do with these activities. Therefore the Lord is called unlimited. Although the Lord in His incarnation as Sesa holds all the universes on His hoods, each universe feels no heavier than a mustard seed to Him. Therefore, what person desiring perfection will not worship the Lord? From that Supreme Personality of Godhead appears Lord Brahma, whose body is made from the total material energy, the reservoir of intelligence predominated by the passionate mode of material nature. From Lord Brahma, I myself am born as a representation of false ego known as Rudra. By my own power I create all the other demigods, the five elements and the senses. Therefore, I worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is greater than any of us and under whose control are situated all the demigods, material elements and senses, and even Lord Brahma and I myself, like birds bound by a rope. Only by the Lord's grace can we create, maintain and annihilate the material world. Therefore I offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Being. The illusory energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead binds all of us conditioned souls to this material world. Therefore, without being favored by Him, persons like us cannot understand how to get out of that illusory energy. Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto the Lord, who is the cause of creation and annihilation. Chapter Eighteen : The Prayers Offered to the Lord Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: Bhadrasrava, the son of Dharmaraja, rules the tract of land known as Bhadrasva-varsa. Just as Lord Shiva worships Sankarsana in Ilavrta-varsa, Bhadrasrava, accompanied by his intimate servants and all the residents of the land, worships the plenary expansion of Vasudeva known as Hayasirsa. Lord Hayasirsa is very dear to the devotees, and He is the director of all religious principles. Fixed in the topmost trance, Bhadrasrava and his associates offer their respectful obeisances to the Lord and chant the following prayers with careful pronunciation. The ruler Bhadrasrava and his intimate associates utter the following prayer: We offer our respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the reservoir of all religious principles, who cleanses the heart of the conditioned soul in this material world. Again and again we offer our respectful obeisances unto Him. Alas! How wonderful it is that the foolish materialist does not heed the great danger of impending death! He knows that death will surely come, yet he is nevertheless callous and neglectful. If his father dies, he wants to enjoy his father's property, and if his son dies, he wants to enjoy his son's possessions as well. In either case, he heedlessly tries to enjoy material happiness with the acquired money. O unborn one, learned Vedic scholars who are advanced in spiritual knowledge certainly know that this material world is perishable, as do other logicians and philosophers. In trance they realize the factual position of this world, and they preach the truth as well. Yet even they are sometimes bewildered by Your illusory energy. This is Your own wonderful pastime. Therefore, I can understand that Your illusory energy is very wonderful, and I offer my respectful obeisances unto You. O Lord, although You are completely detached from the creation, maintenance and annihilation of this material world and are not directly affected by these activities, they are all attributed to You. We do not wonder at this, for Your inconceivable energies perfectly qualify You to be the cause of all causes. You are the active principle in everything, although You are separate from everything. Thus we can realize that everything is happening because of Your inconceivable energy. At the end of the millennium, ignorance personified assumed the form of a demon, stole all the Vedas and took them down to the planet of Rasatala. The Supreme Lord, however, in His form of Hayagriva retrieved the Vedas and returned them to Lord Brahma when he begged for them. I offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Lord, whose determination never fails. Sukadeva Gosvami continued: My dear King, Lord Nrsimhadeva resides in the tract of land known as Hari-varsa. In the Seventh Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, I shall describe to you how Prahlada Maharaja caused the Lord to assume the form of Nrsimhadeva. Prahlada Maharaja, the topmost devotee of the Lord, is a reservoir of all the good qualities of great personalities. His character and activities have delivered all the fallen members of his demoniac family. Lord Nrsimhadeva is very dear to this exalted personality. Thus Prahlada Maharaja, along with his servants and all the denizens of Hari-varsa, worships Lord Nrsimhadeva by chanting the following mantra. I offer my respectful obeisances unto Lord Nrsimhadeva, the source of all power. O my Lord who possesses nails and teeth just like thunderbolts, kindly vanquish our demonlike desires for fruitive activity in this material world. Please appear in our hearts and drive away our ignorance so that by Your mercy we may become fearless in the struggle for existence in this material world. May there be good fortune throughout the universe, and may all envious persons be pacified. May all living entities become calm by practicing bhakti-yoga, for by accepting devotional service they will think of each other's welfare. Therefore let us all engage in the service of the supreme transcendence, Lord Sri Krishna, and always remain absorbed in thought of Him. My dear Lord, we pray that we may never feel attraction for the prison of family life, consisting of home, wife, children, friends, bank balance, relatives and so on. If we do have some attachment, let it be for devotees, whose only dear friend is Krishna. A person who is actually self-realized and who has controlled his mind is perfectly satisfied with the bare necessities of life. He does not try to gratify his senses. Such a person quickly advances in Krishna consciousness, whereas others, who are too attached to material things, find advancement very difficult. By associating with persons for whom the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Mukunda, is the all in all, one can hear of His powerful activities and soon come to understand them. The activities of Mukunda are so potent that simply by hearing of them one immediately associates with the Lord. For a person who constantly and very eagerly hears narrations of the Lord's powerful activities, the Absolute Truth, the Personality of Godhead in the form of sound vibrations, enters within his heart and cleanses it of all contamination. On the other hand, although bathing in the Ganges diminishes bodily contaminations and infections, this process and the process of visiting holy places can cleanse the heart only after a long time. Therefore who is the sane man who will not associate with devotees to quickly perfect his life? All the demigods and their exalted qualities, such as religion, knowledge and renunciation, become manifest in the body of one who has developed unalloyed devotion for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vasudeva. On the other hand, a person devoid of devotional service and engaged in material activities has no good qualities. Even if he is adept at the practice of mystic yoga or the honest endeavor of maintaining his family and relatives, he must be driven by his own mental speculations and must engage in the service of the Lord's external energy. How can there be any good qualities in such a man? Just as aquatics always desire to remain in the vast mass of water, all conditioned living entities naturally desire to remain in the vast existence of the Supreme Lord. Therefore if someone very great by material calculations fails to take shelter of the Supreme Soul but instead becomes attached to material household life, his greatness is like that of a young, low-class couple. One who is too attached to material life loses all good spiritual qualities. Therefore, O demons, give up the so-called happiness of family life and simply take shelter of the lotus feet of Lord Nrsimhadeva, which are the actual shelter of fearlessness. Entanglement in family life is the root cause of material attachment, indefatigable desires, moroseness, anger, despair, fear and the desire for false prestige, all of which result in the repetition of birth and death. Sukadeva Gosvami continued: In the tract of land called Ketumala-varsa, Lord Vishnu lives in the form of Karadeva, only for the satisfaction of His devotees. These include Laksmiji [the goddess of fortune], the Prajapati Samvatsara and all of Samvatsara's sons and daughters. The daughters of Prajapati are considered the controlling deities of the nights, and his sons are considered the controllers of the days. The Prajapati's offspring number 36,000, one for each day and each night in the lifetime of a human being. At the end of each year, the Prajapati's daughters become very agitated upon seeing the extremely effulgent disc of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and thus they all suffer miscarriages. In Ketumala-varsa, Lord Kamadeva [Pradyumna] moves very graciously. His mild smile is very beautiful, and when He increases the beauty of His face by slightly raising His eyebrows and glancing playfully, He pleases the goddess of fortune. Thus He enjoys His transcendental senses. Accompanied during the daytime by the sons of the Prajapati [the predominating deities of the days] and accompanied at night by his daughters [the deities of the nights], Laksmidevi worships the Lord during the period known as the Samvatsara in His most merciful form as Kamadeva. Fully absorbed in devotional service, she chants the following mantras. Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Hrsikesa, the controller of all my senses and the origin of everything. As the supreme master of all bodily, mental and intellectual activities, He is the only enjoyer of their results. The five sense objects and eleven senses, including the mind, are His partial manifestations. He supplies all the necessities of life, which are His energy and thus nondifferent from Him, and He is the cause of everyone's bodily and mental prowess, which is also nondifferent from Him. Indeed, He is the husband and provider of necessities for all living entities. The purpose of all the Vedas is to worship Him. Therefore let us all offer Him our respectful obeisances. May He always be favorable toward us in this life and the next. My dear Lord, You are certainly the fully independent master of all the senses. Therefore all women who worship You by strictly observing vows because they wish to acquire a husband to satisfy their senses are surely under illusion. They do not know that such a husband cannot actually give protection to them or their children. Nor can he protect their wealth or duration of life, for he himself is dependent on time, fruitive results and the modes of nature, which are all subordinate to You. He alone who is never afraid but who, on the contrary, gives complete shelter to all fearful persons can actually become a husband and protector. Therefore, my Lord, you are the only husband, and no one else can claim this position. If you were not the only husband, You would be afraid of others. Therefore persons learned in all Vedic literature accept only Your Lordship as everyone's master, and they think no one else a better husband and protector than You. My dear Lord, You automatically fulfill all the desires of a woman who worships Your lotus feet in pure love. However, if a woman worships Your lotus feet for a particular purpose, You also quickly fulfill her desires, but in the end she becomes broken-hearted and laments. Therefore one need not worship Your lotus feet for some material benefit. O supreme unconquerable Lord, when they become absorbed in thoughts of material enjoyment, Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva, as well as other demigods and demons, undergo severe penances and austerities to receive my benedictions. But I do not favor anyone, however great he may be; unless he is always engaged in the service of Your lotus feet. Because I always keep You within my heart, I cannot favor anyone but a devotee. O infallible one, Your lotus palm is the source of all benediction. Therefore Your pure devotees worship it, and You very mercifully place Your hand on their heads. I wish that You may also place Your hand on My head, for although You already bear my insignia of golden streaks on Your chest, I regard this honor as merely a kind of false prestige for me. You show Your real mercy to Your devotees, not to me. Of course, You are the supreme absolute controller, and no one can understand Your motives. Sukadeva Gosvami continued: In Ramyaka-varsa, where Vaivasvata Manu rules, the Supreme Personality of Godhead appeared as Lord Matsya at the end of the last era [the Caksusa-manvantara]. Vaivasvata Manu now worships Lord Matsya in pure devotional service and chants the following mantra. I offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is pure transcendence. He is the origin of all life, bodily strength, mental power and sensory ability. Known as Matsyavatara, the gigantic fish incarnation, He appears first among all the incarnations. Again I offer my obeisances unto Him. My dear Lord, just as a puppeteer controls his dancing dolls and a husband controls his wife, Your Lordship controls all the living entities in the universe, such as the brahmanas, ksatriyas, vaisyas and sudras. Although You are in everyone's heart as the supreme witness and commander and are outside everyone as well, the so-called leaders of societies, communities and countries cannot realize You. Only those who hear the vibration of the Vedic mantras can appreciate You. My Lord, from the great leaders of the universe, such as Lord Brahma and other demigods, down to the political leaders of this world, all are envious of Your authority. Without Your help, however, they could neither separately nor concertedly maintain the innumerable living entities within the universe. You are actually the only maintainer of all human beings, of animals like cows and asses, and of plants, reptiles, birds, mountains and whatever else is visible within this material world. O almighty Lord, at the end of the millennium this planet earth, which is the source of all kinds of herbs, drugs and trees, was inundated by water and drowned beneath the devastating waves. At that time, You protected me along with the earth and roamed the sea with great speed. O unborn one, You are the actual maintainer of the entire universal creation, and therefore You are the cause of all living entities. I offer my respectful obeisances unto You. Sukadeva Gosvami continued: In Hiranmaya-varsa, the Supreme Lord, Vishnu, lives in the form of a tortoise [kurma-sarira]. This most dear and beautiful form is always worshiped there in devotional service by Aryama, the chief resident of Hiranmaya-varsa, along with the other inhabitants of that land. They chant the following hymns. O my Lord, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You, who have assumed the form of a tortoise. You are the reservoir of all transcendental qualities, and being entirely untinged by matter, You are perfectly situated in pure goodness. You move here and there in the water, but no one can discern Your position. Therefore I offer my respectful obeisances unto You. Because of Your transcendental position, You are not limited by past, present and future. You are present everywhere as the shelter of all things, and therefore I offer my respectful obeisances unto You again and again. My dear Lord, this visible cosmic manifestation is a demonstration of Your own creative energy. Since the countless varieties of forms within this cosmic manifestation are simply a display of Your external energy, this virata-rupa [universal body] is not Your real form. Except for a devotee in transcendental consciousness, no one can perceive Your actual form. Therefore I offer my respectful obeisances unto You. My dear Lord, You manifest Your different energies in countless forms: as living entities born from wombs, from eggs and from perspiration; as plants and trees that grow out of the earth; as all living entities, both moving and standing, including the demigods, the learned sages and the pitas; as outer space, as the higher planetary system containing the heavenly planets, and as the planet earth with its hills, rivers, seas, oceans and islands. Indeed, all the stars and planets are simply manifestations of Your different energies, but originally You are one without a second. Therefore there is nothing beyond You. This entire cosmic manifestation is therefore not false but is simply a temporary manifestation of Your inconceivable energy. O my Lord, Your name, form and bodily features are expanded in countless forms. No one can determine exactly how many forms exist, yet You Yourself, in Your incarnation as the learned scholar Kapiladeva, have analyzed the cosmic manifestation as containing twenty-four elements. Therefore if one is interested in Sankhya philosophy, by which one can enumerate the different truths, he must hear it from You. Unfortunately, nondevotees simply count the different elements and remain ignorant of Your actual form. I offer my respectful obeisances unto You. Sukadeva Gosvami said: Dear King, the Supreme Lord in His boar incarnation, who accepts all sacrificial offerings, lives in the northern part of Jambudvipa. There, in the tract of land known as Uttarakuru-varsa, mother earth and all the other inhabitants worship Him with unfailing devotional service by repeatedly chanting the following Upanisad mantra. O Lord, we offer our respectful obeisances unto You as the gigantic person. Simply by chanting mantras, we shall be able to understand You fully. You are yajna [sacrifice], and You are the kratu [ritual]. Therefore all the ritualistic ceremonies of sacrifice are part of Your transcendental body, and You are the only enjoyer of all sacrifices. Your form is composed of transcendental goodness. You are known as tri-yuga because in Kali-yuga You appeared as a concealed incarnation and because You always fully possess the three pairs of opulences. By manipulating a fire-generating stick, great saints and sages can bring forth the fire lying dormant within wood. In the same way, O Lord, those expert in understanding the Absolute Truth try to see You in everything--even in their own bodies. Yet you remain concealed. You are not to be understood by indirect processes involving mental or physical activities. Because You are self- manifested, only when You see that a person is wholeheartedly engaged in searching for You do You reveal Yourself. Therefore I offer my respectful obeisances unto You. The objects of material enjoyment [sound, form, taste, touch and smell], the activities of the senses, the controllers of sensory activities [the demigods], the body, eternal time and egotism are all creations of Your material energy. Those whose intelligence has become fixed by perfect execution of mystic yoga can see that all these elements result from the actions of Your external energy. They can also see Your transcendental form as Supersoul in the background of everything. Therefore I repeatedly offer my respectful obeisances unto You. O Lord, You do not desire the creation, maintenance or annihilation of this material world, but You perform these activities for the conditioned souls by Your creative energy. Exactly as a piece of iron moves under the influence of a lodestone, inert matter moves when You glance over the total material energy. My Lord, as the original boar within this universe, You fought and killed the great demon Hiranyaksa. Then You lifted me [the earth] from the Garbhodaka Ocean on the end of Your tusk, exactly as a sporting elephant plucks a lotus flower from the water. I bow down before You. Chapter Nineteen : A Description of the Island of Jambudvipa Srila Sukadeva Gosvami said: My dear King, in Kimpurusa-varsa the great devotee Hanuman is always engaged with the inhabitants of that land in devotional service to Lord Ramacandra, the elder brother of Laksmana and dear husband of Sitadevi. A host of Gandharvas is always engaged in chanting the glories of Lord Ramacandra. That chanting is always extremely auspicious. Hanumanji and Arstisena, the chief person in Kimpurusa-varsa, constantly hear those glories with complete attention. Hanuman chants the following mantras. Let me please Your Lordship by chanting the bija-mantra omkara. I wish to offer my respectful obeisances unto the Personality of Godhead, who is the best among the most highly elevated personalities. Your Lordship is the reservoir of all the good qualities of Aryans, people who are advanced. Your character and behavior are always consistent, and You always control Your senses and mind. Acting just like an ordinary human being, You exhibit exemplary character to teach others how to behave. There is a touchstone that can be used to examine the quality of gold, but You are like a touchstone that can verify all good qualities. You are worshiped by brahmanas who are the foremost of all devotees. You, the Supreme Person, are the King of kings, and therefore I offer my respectful obeisances unto You. The Lord, whose pure form [sac-cid-ananda-vigraha] is uncontaminated by the modes of material nature, can be perceived by pure consciousness. In the Vedanta He is described as being one without a second. Because of His spiritual potency, He is untouched by the contamination of material nature, and because He is not subjected to material vision, He is known as transcendental. He has no material activities, nor has He a material form or name. Only in pure consciousness, Krishna consciousness, can one perceive the transcendental form of the Lord. Let us be firmly fixed at the lotus feet of Lord Ramacandra, and let us offer our respectful obeisances unto those transcendental lotus feet. It was ordained that Ravana, chief of the Raksasas, could not be killed by anyone but a man, and for this reason Lord Ramacandra, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, appeared in the form of a human being. Lord Ramacandra's mission, however, was not only to kill Ravana but also to teach mortal beings that material happiness centered around sex life or centered around one's wife is the cause of many miseries. He is the self-sufficient Supreme Personality of Godhead, and nothing is lamentable for Him. Therefore why else could He be subjected to tribulations by the kidnapping of mother Sita? Since Lord Sri Ramacandra is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vasudeva, He is not attached to anything in this material world. He is the most beloved Supersoul of all self-realized souls, and He is their very intimate friend. He is full of all opulences. Therefore He could not possibly have suffered because of separation from His wife, nor could He have given up His wife and Laksmana, His younger brother. To give up either would have been absolutely impossible. One cannot establish a friendship with the Supreme Lord Ramacandra on the basis of material qualities such as one's birth in an aristocratic family, one's personal beauty, one's eloquence, one's sharp intelligence or one's superior race or nation. None of these qualifications is actually a prerequisite for friendship with Lord Sri Ramacandra. Otherwise how is it possible that although we uncivilized inhabitants of the forest have not taken noble births, although we have no physical beauty and although we cannot speak like gentlemen, Lord Ramacandra has nevertheless accepted us as friends? Therefore, whether one is a demigod or a demon, a man or a creature other than man, such as a beast or bird, everyone should worship Lord Ramacandra, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who appears on this earth just like a human being. There is no need of great austerities or penances to worship the Lord, for Me accepts even a small service offered by His devotee. Thus He is satisfied, and as soon as He is satisfied, the devotee is successful. Indeed, Lord Sri Ramacandra brought all the devotees of Ayodhya back home, back to Godhead [Vaikuntha]. [Sukadeva Gosvami continued:] The glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are inconceivable. He has appeared in the form of Nara-Narayana in the land of Bharata-varsa, at the place known as Badarikasrama, to favor His devotees by teaching them religion, knowledge, renunciation, spiritual power, sense control and freedom from false ego. He is advanced in the opulence of spiritual assets, and He engages in executing austerity until the end of this millennium. This is the process of self-realization. In his own book, known as Narada Pancaratra, Bhagavan Narada has very vividly described how to work to achieve the ultimate goal of life--devotion--through knowledge and through execution of the mystic yoga system. He has also described the glories of the Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The great sage Narada instructed the tenets of this transcendental literature to Savarni Manu in order to teach those inhabitants of Bharata-varsa who strictly follow the principles of varnasrama-dharma how to achieve the devotional service of the Lord. Thus Narada Muni, along with the other inhabitants of Bharata-varsa, always engages in the service of Nara-Narayana, and he chants as follows. Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto Nara-Narayana, the best of all saintly persons, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is the most self- controlled and self-realized, He is free from false prestige, and He is the asset of persons who have no material possessions. He is the spiritual master of all paramahamsas, who are the most exalted human beings, and He is the master of the self-realized. Let me offer my repeated obeisances at His lotus feet. Narada, the most powerful saintly sage, also worships Nara-Narayana by chanting the following mantra: The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the master of the creation, maintenance and annihilation of this visible cosmic manifestation, yet He is completely free from false prestige. Although to the foolish He appears to have accepted a material body like us, He is unaffected by bodily tribulations like hunger, thirst and fatigue. Although He is the witness who sees everything, His senses are unpolluted by the objects He sees. Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto that unattached, pure witness of the world, the Supreme Soul, the Personality of Godhead. O my Lord, master of all mystic yoga, this is the explanation of the yogic process spoken of by Lord Brahma [Hiranyagarbha], who is self-realized. At the time of death, all yogis give up the material body with full detachment simply by placing their minds at Your lotus feet. That is the perfection of yoga. Materialists are generally very attached to their present bodily comforts and to the bodily comforts they expect in the future. Therefore they are always absorbed in thoughts of their wives, children and wealth and are afraid of giving up their bodies, which are full of stool and urine. If a person engaged in Krishna consciousness, however, is also afraid of giving up his body, what is the use of his having labored to study the sastras? It was simply a waste of time. Therefore, O Lord, O Transcendence, kindly help us by giving us the power to execute bhakti-yoga so that we can control our restless minds and fix them upon You. We are all infected by Your illusory energy; therefore we are very attached to the body, which is full of stool and urine, and to anything related with the body. Except for devotional service, there is no way to give up this attachment. Therefore kindly bestow upon us this benediction. In the tract of land known as Bharata-varsa, as in Ilavrta-varsa, there are many mountains and rivers. Some of the mountains are known as Malaya, Mangala- prastha, Mainaka, Trikuta, Rsabha, Kutaka, Kollaka, Sabya, Devagiri, Rsyamuka, Sri-saila, Venkata, Mahendra, Varidhara, Vindhya, Suktiman, Rksagiri, Pariyatra, Drona, Citrakuta, Govardhana, Raivataka, Kakubha, Nila, Gokamukha, Indrakila and Kamagiri. Besides these, there are many other hills, with many large and small rivers flowing from their slopes. Two of the rivers--the Brahmaputra and the Sona--are called nadas, or main rivers. These are other great rivers that are very prominent: Candravasa, Tamraparni, Avatoda, Krtamala, Vaihayasi, Kaveri, Veni, Payasvini, Sarkaravarta, Tungabhadra, Krishnavenya, Bhimarathi, Godavari, Nirvindhya, Payosni, Tapi, Reva, Surasa, Narmada, Carmanvati, Mahanadi, Vedasmrti, Rsikulya, Trisama, Kausiki, Mandakini, Yamuna, Sarasvati, Drsadvati, Gomati, Sarayu, Rodhasvati, Saptavati, Susoma, Satadru, Candrabhaga, Marudvrdha, Vitasta, Asikni and Visva. The inhabitants of Bharata-varsa are purified because they always remember these rivers. Sometimes they chant the names of these rivers as mantras, and sometimes they go directly to the rivers to touch them and bathe in them. Thus the inhabitants of Bharata-varsa become purified. The people who take birth in this tract of land are divided according to the qualities of material nature--the modes of goodness [sattva-guna], passion [rajo-guna], and ignorance [tamo-guna]. Some of them are born as exalted personalities, some are ordinary human beings, and some are extremely abominable, for in Bharata-varsa one takes birth exactly according to one's past karma. If one's position is ascertained by a bona fide spiritual master and one is properly trained to engage in the service of Lord Vishnu according to the four social divisions [brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya and sudra] and the four spiritual divisions [brahmacari, grhastha, vanaprastha and sannyasa], one's life becomes perfect. After many, many births, when the results of one's pious activities mature, one gets an opportunity to associate with pure devotees. Then one is able to cut the knot of bondage to ignorance, which bound him because of varied fruitive activities. As a result of associating with devotees, one gradually renders service to Lord Vasudeva, who is transcendental, free from attachment to the material world, beyond the mind and words, and independent of everything else. That bhakti-yoga, devotional service to Lord Vasudeva, is the real path of liberation. Since the human form of life is the sublime position for spiritual realization, all the demigods in heaven speak in this way: Mow wonderful it is for these human beings to have been born in the land of Bharata-varsa. They must have executed pious acts of austerity in the past, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself must have been pleased with them. Otherwise, how could they engage in devotional service in so many ways? We demigods can only aspire to achieve human births in Bharata-varsa to execute devotional service, but these human beings are already engaged there. The demigods continue: After performing the very difficult tasks of executing Vedic ritualistic sacrifices, undergoing austerities, observing vows and giving charity, we have achieved this position as inhabitants of the heavenly planets. But what is the value of this achievement? Here we are certainly very engaged in material sense gratification, and therefore we can hardly remember the lotus feet of Lord Narayana. Indeed, because of our excessive sense gratification, we have almost forgotten His lotus feet. A short life in the land of Bharata-varsa is preferable to a life achieved in Brahmaloka for millions and billions of years because even if one is elevated to Brahmaloka, he must return to repeated birth and death. Although life in Bharata-varsa, in a lower planetary system, is very short, one who lives there can elevate himself to full Krishna consciousness and achieve the highest perfection, even in this short life, by fully surrendering unto the lotus feet of the Lord. Thus one attains Vaikunthaloka, where there is neither anxiety nor repeated birth in a material body. An intelligent person does not take interest in a place, even in the topmost planetary system, if the pure Ganges of topics concerning the Supreme Lord's activities does not flow there, if there are not devotees engaged in service on the banks of such a river of piety, or if there are no festivals of sankirtana- yajna to satisfy the Lord [especially since sankirtana-yajna is recommended in this age]. Bharata-varsa offers the proper land and circumstances in which to execute devotional service, which can free one from the results of jnana and karma. If one obtains a human body in the land of Bharata-varsa, with clear sensory organs with which to execute the sankirtana-yajna, but in spite of this opportunity he does not take to devotional service, he is certainly like liberated forest animals and birds that are careless and are therefore again bound by a hunter. In India [Bharata-varsa], there are many worshipers of the demigods, the various officials appointed by the Supreme Lord, such as Indra, Candra and Surya, all of whom are worshiped differently. The worshipers offer the demigods their oblations, considering the demigods part and parcel of the whole, the Supreme Lord. Therefore the Supreme Personality of Godhead accepts these offerings and gradually raises the worshipers to the real standard of devotional service by fulfilling their desires and aspirations. Because the Lord is complete, He offers the worshipers the benedictions they desire even if they worship only part of His transcendental body. The Supreme Personality of Godhead fulfills the material desires of a devotee who approaches Him with such motives, but He does not bestow benedictions upon the devotee that will cause him to demand more benedictions again. However, the Lord willingly gives the devotee shelter at His own lotus feet, even though such a person does not aspire for it, and that shelter satisfies all his desires. That is the Supreme Personality's special mercy. We are now living in the heavenly planets, undoubtedly as a result of our having performed ritualistic ceremonies, pious activities and yajnas and having studied the Vedas. However, our lives here will one day be finished. We pray that at that time, if any merit remains from our pious activities, we may again take birth in Bharata-varsa as human beings able to remember the lotus feet of the Lord. The Lord is so kind that He personally comes to the land of Bharata-varsa and expands the good fortune of its people. Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: My dear King, in the opinion of some learned scholars, eight smaller islands surround Jambudvipa. When the sons of Maharaja Sagara were searching all over the world for their lost horse, they dug up the earth, and in this way eight adjoining islands came into existence. The names of these islands are Svarnaprastha, Candrasukla, Avartana, Ramanaka, Mandara- harina, Pancajanya, Simhala and Lanka. My dear King Pariksit, O best of the descendants of Bharata Maharaja, I have thus described to you, as I myself have been instructed, the island of Bharata- varsa and its adjoining islands. These are the islands that constitute Jambudvipa. Chapter Twenty : Studying the Structure of the Universe The great sage Sukadeva Gosvami said: Hereafter I shall describe the dimensions, characteristics and forms of the six islands beginning with the island of Plaksa. As Sumeru Mountain is surrounded by Jambudvipa, Jambudvipa is also surrounded by an ocean of salt water. The breadth of Jambudvipa is 100,000 yojanas [800,000 miles], and the breadth of the saltwater ocean is the same. As a moat around a fort is sometimes surrounded by gardenlike forest, the saltwater ocean surrounding Jambudvipa is itself surrounded by Plaksadvipa. The breadth of Plaksadvipa is twice that of the saltwater ocean--in other words 260,000 yojanas [1,600,000 miles]. On Plaksadvipa there is a tree shining like gold and as tall as the jambu tree on Jambudvipa. At its root is a fire with seven flames. It is because this tree is a plaksa tree that the island is called Plaksadvipa. Plaksadvipa was governed by Idhmajihva, one of the sons of Maharaja Priyavrata. He endowed the seven islands with the names of his seven sons, divided the islands among the sons, and then retired from active life to engage in the devotional service of the Lord. The seven islands [varsas] are named according to the names of those seven sons- -Shiva, Yavasa, Subhadra, Santa, Ksema, Amrta and Abhaya. In those seven tracts of land, there are seven mountains and seven rivers. The mountains are named Manikuta, Vajrakuta, Indrasena, Jyotisman, Suparna, Hiranyasthiva and Meghamala, and the rivers are named Aruna, Nrmna, Angirasi, Savitri, Suptabhata, Rtambhara and Satyambhara. One can immediately be free from material contamination by touching or bathing in those rivers, and the four castes of people who live in Plaksadvipa--the Hamsas, Patangas, Urdhvayanas and Satyangas--purify themselves in that way. The inhabitants of Plaksadvipa live for one thousand years. They are beautiful like the demigods, and they also beget children like the demigods. By completely performing the ritualistic ceremonies mentioned in the Vedas and by worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead as represented by the sun-god, they attain the sun, which is a heavenly planet. [This is the mantra by which the inhabitants of Plaksadvipa worship the Supreme Lord.] Let us take shelter of the sun-god, who is a reflection of Lord Vishnu, the all-expanding Supreme Personality of Godhead, the oldest of all persons. Vishnu is the only worshipable Lord. He is the Vedas, He is religion, and He is the origin of all auspicious and inauspicious results. O King, longevity, sensory prowess, physical and mental strength, intelligence and bravery are naturally and equally manifested in all the inhabitants of the five islands headed by Plaksadvipa. Plaksadvipa is surrounded by an ocean of sugarcane juice, equal in breadth to the island itself. Similarly, there is then another island--Salmalidvipa--twice as broad as Plaksadvipa [400,000 yojanas, or 3,200,000 miles] and surrounded by an equally broad body of water called Surasagara, the ocean that tastes like liquor. On Salmalidvipa there is a salmali tree, from which the island takes its name. That tree is as broad and tall as the plaksa tree--in other words 100 yojanas [800 miles] broad and 1,100 yojanas [8,800 miles] tall. Learned scholars say that this gigantic tree is the residence of Garuda, the king of all birds and carrier of Lord Vishnu. In that tree, Garuda offers Lord Vishnu his Vedic prayers. The son of Maharaja Priyavrata named Yajnabahu, the master of Salmalidvipa, divided the island into seven tracts of land, which he gave to his seven sons. The names of those divisions, which correspond to the names of the sons, are Surocana, Saumanasya, Ramanaka, Deva-varsa, Paribhadra, Apyayana and Avijnata. In those tracts of land there are seven mountains--Svarasa, Sata-srnga, Vamadeva, Kunda, Mukunda, Puspa-varsa and Sahasra-sruti. There are also seven rivers--Anumati, Sinivali, Sarasvati, Kuhu, Rajani, Nanda and Raka. They are still existing. Strictly following the cult of varnasrama-dhamna, the inhabitants of those islands, who are known as Srutidharas, Viryadharas, Vasundharas and Isandharas, all worship the expansion of the Supreme Personality of Godhead named Soma, the moon-god. [The inhabitants of Salmalidvipa worship the demigod of the moon in the following words.] By his own rays, the moon-god has divided the month into two fortnights, known as sukla and krsna, for the distribution of food grains to the pitas and the demigods. The demigod of the moon is he who divides time, and he is the king of all the residents of the universe. We therefore pray that he may remain our king and guide, and we offer him our respectful obeisances. Outside the ocean of liquor is another island, known as Kusadvipa, which is 800,000 yojanas [6,400,000 miles] wide, twice as wide as the ocean of liquor. As Salmalidvipa is surrounded by a liquor ocean, Kusadvipa is surrounded by an ocean of liquid ghee as broad as the island itself. On Kusadvipa there are clumps of kusa grass, from which the island takes its name. This kusa grass, which was created by the demigods by the will of the Supreme Lord, appears like a second form of fire, but with very mild and pleasing flames. Its young shoots illuminate all directions. O King, another son of Maharaja Priyavrata, Hiranyareta, was the king of this island. He divided it into seven parts, which he delivered to his seven sons according to the rights of inheritance. The King then retired from family life to engage in austerities. The names of those sons are Vasu, Vasudana, Krdharuci, Stutyavrata, Nabhigupta, Vivikta and Vamadeva. In those seven islands there are seven boundary mountains, known as Cakra, Catuh-srnga, Kapila, Citrakuta, Devanika, Urdhvaroma and Dravina. There are also seven rivers, known as Ramakulya, Madhukulya, Mitravinda, Srutavinda, Devagarbha, Ghrtacyuta and Mantramala. The inhabitants of the island of Kusadvipa are celebrated as the Kusalas, Kovidas, Abhiyuktas and Kulakas. They are like the brahmanas, ksatriyas, vaisyas and sudras respectively. By bathing in the waters of those rivers, they all become purified. They are expert in performing ritualistic ceremonies according to the orders of the Vedic scriptures. Thus they worship the Lord in His aspect as the demigod of fire. [This is the mantra by which the inhabitants of Kusadvipa worship the fire-god.] O fire-god, you are a part of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, and you carry to Him all the offerings of sacrifices. Therefore we request you to offer to the Supreme Personality of Godhead the yajnic ingredients we are offering the demigods, for the Lord is the real enjoyer. Outside the ocean of clarified butter is another island, known as Krauncadvipa, which has a width of 1,600,000 yojanas [12,800,000 miles], twice the width of the ocean of clarified butter. As Kusadvipa is surrounded by an ocean of clarified butter, Krauncadvipa is surrounded by an ocean of milk as broad as the island itself. On Krauncadvipa there is a great mountain known as Kraunca, from which the island takes its name. Although the vegetables living on the slopes of Mount Kraunca were attacked and devastated by the weapons of Karttikeya, the mountain has become fearless because it is always bathed on all sides by the ocean of milk and protected by Varunadeva. The ruler of this island was another son of Maharaja Priyavrata. His name was Ghrtaprstha, and he was a very learned scholar. He also divided his own island among his seven sons. After dividing the island into seven parts, named according to the names of his sons, Ghrtaprstha Maharaja completely retired from family life and took shelter at the lotus feet of the Lord, the soul of all souls, who has all auspicious qualities. Thus he attained perfection. The sons of Maharaja Ghrtaprstha were named Ama, Madhuruha, Meghaprstha, Sudhama, Bhrajistha, Lohitarna and Vanaspati. In their island there are seven mountains, which indicate the boundaries of the seven tracts of land, and there are also seven rivers. The mountains are named Sukla, Vardhamana, Bhojana, Upabarhina, Nanda, Nandana and Sarvatobhadra. The rivers are named Abhaya, Amrtaugha, Aryaka, Tirthavati, Rupavati, Pavitravati and Sukla. The inhabitants of Krauncadvipa are divided into four castes, called the Purusas, Rabhas, Dravinas and Devakas. Using the waters of those sanctified rivers, they worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead by offering a palmful of water at the lotus feet of Varuna, the demigod who has a form of water. [The inhabitants of Krauncadvipa worship with this mantra.] O water of the rivers, you have obtained energy from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore you purify the three planetary systems, known as Bhuloka, Bhuvarloka and Svarloka. By your constitutional nature, you take away sins, and that is why we are touching you. Kindly continue to purify us. Outside the ocean of milk is another island, Sakadvipa, which has a width of 3,200,000 yojanas [25,600,000 miles]. As Krauncadvipa is surrounded by its own ocean of milk, Sakadvipa is surrounded by an ocean of churned yogurt as broad as the island itself. In Sakadvipa there is a big saka tree, from which the island takes its name. This tree is very fragrant. Indeed, it lends its scent to the entire island. The master of this island, also one of the sons of Priyavrata, was known as Medhatithi. He also divided his island into seven sections, named according to the names of his own sons, whom he made the kings of that island. The names of those sons are Purojava, Manojava, Pavamana, Dhumranika, Citrarepha, Bahurupa and Visvadhara. After dividing the island and situating his sons as its rulers, Medhatithi personally retired, and to fix his mind completely upon the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he entered a forest suitable for meditation. For these lands also, there are seven boundary mountains and seven rivers. The mountains are Isana, Urusrnga, Balabhadra, Satakesara, Sahasra-srota, Devapala and Mahanasa. The rivers are Anagha, Ayurda, Ubhayasprsti, Aparajita, Pancapadi, Sahasra-sruti and Nijadhrti. The inhabitants of those islands are also divided into four castes--Rtavrata, Satyavrata, Danavrata and Anuvrata--which exactly resemble brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya and sudra. They practice pranayama and mystic yoga, and in trance they worship the Supreme Lord in the form of Vayu. [The inhabitants of Sakadvipa worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the form of Vayu in the following words.] O Supreme Person, situated as the Supersoul within the body, You direct the various actions of the different airs, such as prana, and thus You maintain all living entities. O Lord, O Supersoul of everyone, O controller of the cosmic manifestation under whom everything exists, may You protect us from all dangers. Outside the ocean of yogurt is another island, known as Puskaradvipa, which is 6,400,000 yojanas [51,200,000 miles] wide, twice as wide as the ocean of yogurt. It is surrounded by an ocean of very tasteful water as broad as the island itself. On Puskaradvipa there is a great lotus flower with 100,000,000 pure golden petals, as effulgent as the flames of fire. That lotus flower is considered the sitting place of Lord Brahma, who is the most powerful living being and who is therefore sometimes called bhagavan. In the middle of that island is a great mountain named Manasottara, which forms the boundary between the inner side and the outer side of the island. Its breadth and height are 10,000 yojanas [80,000 miles]. On that mountain, in the four directions, are the residential quarters of demigods such as Indra. In the chariot of the sun-god, the sun travels on the top of the mountain in an orbit called the Samvatsara, encircling Mount Meru. The sun's path on the northern side is called Uttarayana, and its path on the southern side is called Daksinayana. One side represents a day for the demigods, and the other represents their night. The ruler of this island, the son of Maharaja Priyavrata named Vitihotra, had two sons named Ramanaka and Dhataki. He granted the two sides of the island to these two sons and then personally engaged himself in activities for the sake of the Supreme Personality of Godhead like his elder brother Medhatithi. For the fulfillment of material desires, the inhabitants of this tract of land worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead as represented by Lord Brahma. They offer prayers to the Lord as follows. Lord Brahma is known as karma-maya, the form of ritualistic ceremonies, because by performing ritualistic ceremonies one may attain his position and because the Vedic ritualistic hymns become manifest from him. He is devoted to the Supreme Personality of Godhead without deviation, and therefore in one sense he is not different from the Lord. Nevertheless, he should be worshiped not as the monists worship him, but in duality. One should always remain a servitor of the Supreme Lord, the supreme worshipable Deity. We therefore offer our respectful obeisances unto Lord Brahma, the form of manifest Vedic knowledge. Thereafter, beyond the ocean of sweet water and fully surrounding it, is a mountain named Lokaloka, which divides the countries that are full of sunlight from those not lit by the sun. Beyond the ocean of sweet water is a tract of land as broad as the area between the middle of Mount Sumeru and the boundary of Manasottara Mountain. In that tract of land there are many living beings. Beyond it, extending to Lokaloka Mountain, is another land, which is made of gold. Because of its golden surface, it reflects light like the surface of a mirror, and any physical article that falls on that land can never be perceived again. All living entities, therefore, have abandoned that golden land. Between the lands inhabited by living entities and those that are uninhabited stands the great mountain which separates the two and which is therefore celebrated as Lokaloka. By the supreme will of Krishna, the mountain known as Lokaloka has been installed as the outer border of the three worlds--Bhurloka, Bhuvarloka and Svarloka--to control the rays of the sun throughout the universe. All the luminaries, from the sun up to Dhruvaloka, distribute their rays throughout the three worlds, but only within the boundary formed by this mountain. Because it is extremely high, extending even higher than Dhruvaloka, it blocks the rays of the luminaries, which therefore can never extend beyond it. Learned scholars who are free from mistakes, illusions and propensities to cheat have thus described the planetary systems and their particular symptoms, measurements and locations. With great deliberation, they have established the truth that the distance between Sumeru and the mountain known as Lokaloka is one fourth of the diameter of the universe--or, in other words, 125,000,000 yojanas [1 billion miles]. On the top of Lokaloka Mountain are the four gaja-patis, the best of elephants, which were established in the four directions by Lord Brahma, the supreme spiritual master of the entire universe. The names of those elephants are Rsabha, Puskaracuda, Vamana and Aparajita. They are responsible for maintaining the planetary systems of the universe. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the master of all transcendental opulences and the master of the spiritual sky. He is the Supreme Person, Bhagavan, the Supersoul of everyone. The demigods, led by Indra, the King of heaven, are entrusted with seeing to the affairs of the material world. To benefit all living beings in all the varied planets and to increase the power of those elephants and of the demigods, the Lord manifests Himself on top of that mountain in a spiritual body, uncontaminated by the modes of material nature. Surrounded by His personal expansions and assistants like Visvaksena, He exhibits all His perfect opulences, such as religion and knowledge, and His mystic powers such as anima, laghima and mahima. He is beautifully situated, and He is decorated by the different weapons in His four hands. The various forms of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, such as Narayana and Vishnu, are beautifully decorated with different weapons. The Lord exhibits those forms to maintain all the varied planets created by His personal potency, yogamaya. My dear King, outside Lokaloka Mountain is the tract of land known as Aloka- varsa, which extends for the same breadth as the area within the mountain--in other words, 125,000,000 yojanas [one billion miles]. Beyond Aloka-varsa is the destination of those who aspire for liberation from the material world. It is beyond the jurisdiction of the material modes of nature, and therefore it is completely pure. Lord Krishna took Arjuna through this place to bring back the sons of the brahmana. The sun is situated [vertically] in the middle of the universe, in the area between Bhurloka and Bhuvarloka, which is called antariksa, outer space. The distance between the sun and the circumference of the universe is twenty-five koti yojanas [two billion miles]. The sun-god is also known as Vairaja, the total material body for all living entities. Because he entered this dull egg of the universe at the time of creation, he is also called Martanda. He is also known as Hiranyagarbha because he received his material body from Hiranyagarbha [Lord Brahma]. O King, the sun-god and the sun planet divide all the directions of the universe. It is only because of the presence of the sun that we can understand what the sky, the higher planets, this world and the lower planets are. It is also only because of the sun that we can understand which places are for material enjoyment, which are for liberation, which are hellish and subterranean. All living entities, including demigods, human beings, animals, birds, insects, reptiles, creepers and trees, depend upon the heat and light given by the sun- god from the sun planet. Furthermore, it is because of the sun's presence that all living entities can see, and therefore he is called drg-isvara, the Personality of Godhead presiding over sight. Chapter Twenty-one : The Movements of the Sun Sukadeva Gosvami said: My dear King, I have thus far described the diameter of the universe [fifty crores of yojanas, or four billion miles] and its general characteristics, according to the estimations of learned scholars. As a grain of wheat is divided into two parts and one can estimate the size of the upper part by knowing that of the lower, so, expert geographers instruct, one can understand the measurements of the upper part of the universe by knowing those of the lower part. The sky between the earthly sphere and heavenly sphere is called antariksa, or outer space. It adjoins the top of the sphere of earth and the bottom of that of heaven. In the midst of that region of outer space [antariksa] is the most opulent sun, the king of all the planets that emanate heat, such as the moon. By the influence of its radiation, the sun heats the universe and maintains its proper order. It also gives light to help all living entities see. While passing toward the north, toward the south or through the equator, in accordance with the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, it is said to move slowly, swiftly or moderately. According to its movements in rising above, going beneath or passing through the equator--and correspondingly coming in touch with various signs of the zodiac, headed by Makara [Capricorn]--days and nights are short, long or equal to one another. When the sun passes through Mesa [Aries] and Tula [Libra], the durations of day and night are equal. When it passes through the five signs headed by Vrsabha [Taurus], the duration of the days increases [until Cancer], and then it gradually decreases by half an hour each month, until day and night again become equal [in Libra]. When the sun passes through the five signs beginning with Vrscika [Scorpio], the duration of the days decreases [until Capricorn], and then gradually it increases month after month, until day and night become equal [in Aries]. Until the sun travels to the south the days grow longer, and until it travels to the north the nights grow longer. Sukadeva Gosvami continued; My dear King, as stated before, the learned say that the sun travels over all sides of Mahasottara Mountain in a circle whose length is 95,100,000 yojanas [760,800,000 miles]. On Manasottara Mountain, due east of Mount Sumeru, is a place known as Devadhani, possessed by King Indra. Similarly, in the south is a place known as Samyamani, possessed by Yamaraja, in the west is a place known as Nimlocani, possessed by Varuna, and in the north is a place named Vibhavari, possessed by the moon-god. Sunrise, midday, sunset and midnight occur in all those places according to specific times, thus engaging all living entities in their various occupational duties and also making them cease such duties. The living entities residing on Sumeru Mountain are always very warm, as at midday, because for them the sun is always overhead. Although the sun moves counterclockwise, facing the constellations, with Sumeru Mountain on its left, it also moves clockwise and appears to have the mountain on its right because it is influenced by the daksinavarta wind. People living in countries at points diametrically opposite to where the sun is first seen rising will see the sun setting, and if a straight line were drawn from a point where the sun is at midday, the people in countries at the opposite end of the line would be experiencing midnight. Similarly, if people residing where the sun is setting were to go to countries diametrically opposite, they would not see the sun in the same condition. When the sun travels from Devadhani, the residence of Indra, to Samyamani, the residence of Yamaraja, it travels 23,775,000 yojanas [190,200,000 miles] in fifteen ghatikas [six hours]. From the residence of Yamaraja the sun travels to Nimlocani, the residence of Varuna, from there to Vibhavari, the residence of the moon-god, and from there again to the residence of Indra. In a similar way, the moon, along with the other stars and planets, becomes visible in the celestial sphere and then sets and again becomes invisible. Thus the chariot of the sun-god, which is trayimaya, or worshiped by the words om bhur bhuvah svah, travels through the four residences mentioned above at a speed of 3,400,800 yojanas [27,206,400 miles] in a muhurta. The chariot of the sun-god has only one wheel, which is known as Samvatsara. The twelve months are calculated to be its twelve spokes, the six seasons are the sections of its rim, and the three catur-masya periods are its three-sectioned hub. One side of the axle carrying the wheel rests upon the summit of Mount Sumeru, and the other rests upon Manasottara Mountain. Affixed to the outer end of the axle, the wheel continuously rotates on Manasottara Mountain like the wheel of an oil-pressing machine. As in an oil-pressing machine, this first axle is attached to a second axle, which is one-fourth as long [3,937,500 yojanas, or 31,500,000 miles]. The upper end of this second axle is attached to Dhruvaloka by a rope of wind. My dear King, the carriage of the sun-god's chariot is estimated to be 3,600,000 yojanas [28,800,000 miles] long and one-fourth as wide [900,00O yojanas, or 7,200,000 miles]. The chariot's horses, which are named after Gayatri and other Vedic meters, are harnessed by Arunadeva to a yoke that is also 900,000 yojanas wide. This chariot continuously carries the sun-god. Although Arunadeva sits in front of the sun-god and is engaged in driving the chariot and controlling the horses, he looks backward toward the sun-god. There are sixty thousand saintly persons named Valikhilyas, each the size of a thumb, who are located in front of the sun-god and who offer him eloquent prayers of glorification. Similarly, fourteen other saints, Gandharvas, Apsaras, Nagas, Yaksas, Raksasas and demigods, who are divided into groups of two, assume different names every month and continuously perform different ritualistic ceremonies to worship the Supreme Lord as the most powerful demigod Suryadeva, who holds many names. My dear King, in his orbit through Bhu-mandala, the sun-god traverses a distance of 95,100,000 yojanas [760,800,0O0 miles] at the speed of 2,000 yojanas and two krosas [16,004 miles] in a moment. Chapter Twenty-two : The Orbits of the Planets King Pariksit inquired from Sukadeva Gosvami: My dear lord, you have already affirmed the truth that the supremely powerful sun-god travels around Dhruvaloka with both Dhruvaloka and Mount Sumeru on his right. Yet at the same time the sun-god faces the signs of the zodiac and keeps Sumeru and Dhruvaloka on his left. How can we reasonably accept that the sun-god proceeds with Sumeru and Dhruvaloka on both his left and right simultaneously? Sri Sukadeva Gosvami clearly answered: When a potter's wheel is moving and small ants located on that big wheel are moving with it, one can see that their motion is different from that of the wheel because they appear sometimes on one part of the wheel and sometimes on another. Similarly, the signs and constellations, with Sumeru and Dhruvaloka on their right, move with the wheel of time, and the antlike sun and other planets move with them. The sun and planets, however, are seen in different signs and constellations at different times. This indicates that their motion is different from that of the zodiac and the wheel of time itself. The original cause of the cosmic manifestation is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana. When great saintly persons, fully aware of the Vedic knowledge, offered prayers to the Supreme Person, He descended to this material world in the form of the sun to benefit all the planets and purify fruitive activities. He divided Himself into twelve parts and created seasonal forms, beginning with spring. In this way He created the seasonal qualities, such as heat, cold and so on. According to the system of four varnas and four asramas, people generally worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana, who is situated as the sun-god. With great faith they worship the Supreme Personality as the Supersoul according to ritualistic ceremonies handed down in the three Vedas, such as agnihotra and similar higher and lower fruitive acts, and according to the process of mystic yoga. In this way they very easily attain the ultimate goal of life. The sun-god, who is Narayana, or Vishnu, the soul of all the worlds, is situated in outer space between the upper and lower portions of the universe. Passing through twelve months on the wheel of time, the sun comes in touch with twelve different signs of the zodiac and assumes twelve different names according to those signs. The aggregate of those twelve months is called a samvatsara, or an entire year. According to lunar calculations, two fortnights--one of the waxing moon and the other of the waning--form one month. That same period is one day and night for the planet Pitrloka. According to stellar calculations, a month equals two and one quarter constellations. When the sun travels for two months, a season passes, and therefore the seasonal changes are considered parts of the body of the year. Thus the time the sun takes to rotate through half of outer space is called an ayana, or its period of movement [in the north or in the south]. The sun-god has three speeds--slow, fast and moderate. The time he takes to travel entirely around the spheres of heaven, earth and space at these three speeds is referred to, by learned scholars, by the five names Samvatsara, Parivatsara, Idavatsara, Anuvatsara and Vatsara. Above the rays of the sunshine by a distance of 100,000 yojanas [800,000 miles] is the moon, which travels at a speed faster than that of the sun. In two lunar fortnights the moon travels through the equivalent of a samvatsara of the sun, in two and a quarter days it passes through a month of the sun, and in one day it passes through a fortnight of the sun. When the moon is waxing, the illuminating portions of it increase daily, thus creating day for the demigods and night for the pitas. When the moon is waning, however, it causes night for the demigods and day for the pitas. In this way the moon passes through each constellation of stars in thirty muhurtas [an entire day]. The moon is the source of nectarean coolness that influences the growth of food grains, and therefore the moon-god is considered the life of all living entities. He is consequently called Jiva, the chief living being within the universe. Because the moon is full of all potentialities, it represents the influence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The moon is the predominating deity of everyone's mind, and therefore the moon-god is called Manomaya. He is also called Annamaya because he gives potency to all herbs and plants, and he is called Amrtamaya because he is the source of life for all living entities. The moon pleases the demigods, pitas, human beings, animals, birds, reptiles, trees, plants and all other living entities. Everyone is satisfied by the presence of the moon. Therefore the moon is also called Sarvamaya [all-pervading]. There are many stars located 200,000 yojanas [1,600,000 miles] above the moon. By the supreme will of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, they are fixed to the wheel of time, and thus they rotate with Mount Sumeru on their right, their motion being different from that of the sun. There are twenty-eight important stars, headed by Abhijit. Some 1,600,000 miles above this group of stars is the planet Venus, which moves at almost exactly the same pace as the sun according to swift, slow and moderate movements. Sometimes Venus moves behind the sun, sometimes in front of the sun and sometimes along with it. Venus nullifies the influence of planets that are obstacles to rainfall. Consequently its presence causes rainfall, and it is therefore considered very favorable for all living beings within this universe. This has been accepted by learned scholars. Mercury is described to be similar to Venus, in that it moves sometimes behind the sun, sometimes in front of the sun and sometimes along with it. It is 1,600,000 miles above Venus, or 7,200,000 miles above earth. Mercury, which is the son of the moon, is almost always very auspicious for the inhabitants of the universe, but when it does not move along with the sun, it forbodes cyclones, dust, irregular rainfall, and waterless clouds. In this way it creates fearful conditions due to inadequate or excessive rainfall. Situated 1,600,000 miles above Mercury, or 8,800,000 miles above earth, is the planet Mars. If this planet does not travel in a crooked way, it crosses through each sign of the zodiac in three fortnights and in this way travels through all twelve, one after another. It almost always creates unfavorable conditions in respect to rainfall and other influences. Situated 1,600,000 miles above Mars, or 10,400,000 miles above earth, is the planet Jupiter, which travels through one sign of the zodiac within the period of a Parivatsara. If its movement is not curved, the planet Jupiter is very favorable to the brahmanas of the universe. Situated 1,600,000 miles above Jupiter, or 12,000,000 miles above earth, is the planet Saturn, which passes through one sign of the zodiac in thirty months and covers the entire zodiac circle in thirty Anuvatsaras. This planet is always very inauspicious for the universal situation. Situated 8,800,000 miles above Saturn, or 20,800,000 miles above earth, are the seven saintly sages, who are always thinking of the well-being of the inhabitants of the universe. They circumambulate the supreme abode of Lord Vishnu, known as Dhruvaloka, the polestar. Chapter Twenty-three : The Sisumara Planetary Systems Sukadeva Gosvami continued: My dear King, 1,300,000 yojanas [10,400,000 miles] above the planets of the seven sages is the place that learned scholars describe as the abode of Lord Vishnu. There the son of Maharaja Uttanapada, the great devotee Maharaja Dhruva, still resides as the life source of all the living entities who live until the end of the creation. Agni, Indra, Prajapati, Kasyapa and Dharma all assemble there to offer him honor and respectful obeisances. They circumambulate him with their right sides toward him. I have already described the glorious activities of Maharaja Dhruva [in the Fourth Canto of Srimad- Bhagavatam]. Established by the supreme will of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the polestar, which is the planet of Maharaja Dhruva, constantly shines as the central pivot for all the stars and planets. The unsleeping, invisible, most powerful time factor causes these luminaries to revolve around the polestar without cessation. When bulls are yoked together and tied to a central post to thresh rice, they tread around that pivot without deviating from their proper positions--one bull being closest to the post, another in the middle, and a third on the outside. Similarly, all the planets and all the hundreds and thousands of stars revolve around the polestar, the planet of Maharaja Dhruva, in their respective orbits, some higher and some lower. Fastened by the Supreme Personality of Godhead to the machine of material nature according to the results of their fruitive acts, they are driven around the polestar by the wind and will continue to be so until the end of creation. These planets float in the air within the vast sky, just as clouds with hundreds of tons of water float in the air or as the great syena eagles, due to the results of past activities, fly high in the sky and have no chance of falling to the ground. This great machine, consisting of the stars and planets, resembles the form of a sisumara [dolphin] in the water. It is sometimes considered an incarnation of Krishna, Vasudeva. Great yogis meditate upon Vasudeva in this form because it is actually visible. This form of the sisumara has its head downward and its body coiled. On the end of its tail is the planet of Dhruva, on the body of its tail are the planets of the demigods Prajapati, Agni, Indra and Dharma, and at the base of its tail are the planets of the demigods Dhata and Vidhata. Where the hips might be on the sisumara are the seven saintly sages like Vasistha and Angira. The coiled body of the Sisumara-cakra turns toward its right side, on which the fourteen constellations from Abhijit to Punarvasu are located. On its left side are the fourteen stars from Pusya to Uttarasadha. Thus its body is balanced because its sides are occupied by an equal number of stars. On the back of the sisumara is the group of stars known as Ajavithi, and on its abdomen is the Ganges that flows in the sky [the Milky Way]. On the right and left sides of where the loins might be on the Sisumara-cakra are the stars named Punarvasu and Pusya. Ardra and Aslesa are on its right and left feet, Abhijit and Uttarasadha are on its right and left nostrils, Sravana and Purvasadha are at its right and left eyes, and Dhanistha and Mula are on its right and left ears. The eight stars from Magha to Anuradha, which mark the southern course, are on the ribs of the left of its body, and the eight stars from Mrgasirsa to Purvabhadra, which mark the northern course, are on the ribs on the right side. Satabhisa and Jyestha are on the right and left shoulders. On the upper chin of the sisumara is Agasti; on its lower chin, Yamaraja; on its mouth, Mars; on its genitals, Saturn; on the back of its neck, Jupiter; on its chest, the sun; and within the core of its heart, Narayana. Within its mind is the moon; on its navel, Venus; and on its breasts, the Asvini-kumaras. Within its life air, which is known as pranapana, is Mercury, on its neck is Rahu, all over its body are comets, and in its pores are the numerous stars. My dear King, the body of the sisumara, as thus described, should be considered the external form of Lord Vishnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Morning, noon and evening, one should silently observe the form of the Lord as the Sisumara-cakra and worship Him with this mantra: "O Lord who has assumed the form of time! O resting place of all the planets moving in different orbits! O master of all demigods, O Supreme Person, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You and meditate upon You." The body of the Supreme Lord, Vishnu, which forms the Sisumara-cakra, is the resting place of all the demigods and all the stars and planets. One who chants this mantra to worship that Supreme Person three times a day--morning, noon and evening--will surely be freed from all sinful reactions. If one simply offers his obeisances to this form or remembers this form three times a day, all his recent sinful activities will be destroyed. Chapter Twenty-four : The Subterranean Heavenly Planets Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: My dear King, some historians, the speakers of the Puranas, say that 10,000 yojanas [80,000 miles] below the sun is the planet known as Rahu, which moves like one of the stars. The presiding deity of that planet, who is the son of Simhika, is the most abominable of all asuras, but although he is completely unfit to assume the position of a demigod or planetary deity, he has achieved that position by the grace of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Later I shall speak further about him. The sun globe, which is a source of heat, extends for 10,000 yojanas [80,000 miles]. The moon extends for 20,000 yojanas [160,000 miles], and Rahu extends for 30,000 yojanas [240,000 miles]. Formerly, when nectar was being distributed, Rahu tried to create dissension between the sun and moon by interposing himself between them. Rahu is inimical toward both the sun and the moon, and therefore he always tries to cover the sunshine and moonshine on the dark-moon day and full-moon night. After hearing from the sun and moon demigods about Rahu's attack, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vishnu, engages His disc, known as the Sudarsana cakra, to protect them. The Sudarsana cakra is the Lord's most beloved devotee and is favored by the Lord. The intense heat of its effulgence, meant for killing non- Vaisnavas, is unbearable to Rahu, and he therefore flees in fear of it. During the time Rahu disturbs the sun or moon, there occurs what people commonly know as an eclipse. Below Rahu by 10,000 yojanas [80,000 miles] are the planets known as Siddhaloka, Caranaloka and Vidyadhara-loka. Beneath Vidyadhara-loka, Caranaloka and Siddhaloka, in the sky called antariksa, are the places of enjoyment for the Yaksas, Raksasas, Pisacas, ghosts and so on. Antariksa extends as far as the wind blows and the clouds float in the sky. Above this there is no more air. Below the abodes of the Yaksas and Raksasas by a distance of 100 yojanas [800 miles] is the planet earth. Its upper limits extend as high as swans, hawks, eagles and similar large birds can fly. My dear King, beneath this earth are seven other planets, known as Atala, Vitala, Sutala, Talatala, Mahatala, Rasatala and Patala. I have already explained the situation of the planetary systems of earth. The width and length of the seven lower planetary systems are calculated to be exactly the same as those of earth. In these seven planetary systems, which are also known as the subterranean heavens [bila-svarga], there are very beautiful houses, gardens and places of sense enjoyment, which are even more opulent than those in the higher planets because the demons have a very high standard of sensual pleasure, wealth and influence. Most of the residents of these planets, who are known as Daityas, Danavas and Nagas, live as householders. Their wives, children, friends and society are all fully engaged in illusory, material happiness. The sense enjoyment of the demigods is sometimes disturbed, but the residents of these planets enjoy life without disturbances. Thus they are understood to be very attached to illusory happiness. My dear King, in the imitation heavens known as bila-svarga there is a great demon named Maya Danava, who is an expert artist and architect. He has constructed many brilliantly decorated cities. There are many wonderful houses, walls, gates, assembly houses, temples, yards and temple compounds, as well as many hotels serving as residential quarters for foreigners. The houses for the leaders of these planets are constructed with the most valuable jewels, and they are always crowded with living entities known as Nagas and Asuras, as well as many pigeons, parrots and similar birds. All in all, these imitation heavenly cities are most beautifully situated and attractively decorated. The parks and gardens in the artificial heavens surpass in beauty those of the upper heavenly planets. The trees in those gardens, embraced by creepers, bend with a heavy burden of twigs with fruits and flowers, and therefore they appear extraordinarily beautiful. That beauty could attract anyone and make his mind fully blossom in the pleasure of sense gratification. There are many lakes and reservoirs with clear, transparent water, agitated by jumping fish and decorated with many flowers such as lilies, kuvalayas, kahlaras and blue and red lotuses. Pairs of cakravakas and many other water birds nest in the lakes and always enjoy in a happy mood, making sweet, pleasing vibrations that are very satisfying and conducive to enjoyment of the senses. Since there is no sunshine in those subterranean planets, time is not divided into days and nights, and consequently fear produced by time does not exist. Many great serpents reside there with gems on their hoods, and the effulgence of these gems dissipates the darkness in all directions. Since the residents of these planets drink and bathe in juices and elixirs made from wonderful herbs, they are freed from all anxieties and physical diseases. They have no experience of grey hair, wrinkles or invalidity, their bodily lusters do not fade, their perspiration does not cause a bad smell, and they are not troubled by fatigue or by lack of energy or enthusiasm due to old age. They live very auspiciously and do not fear death from anything but death's established time, which is the effulgence of the Sudarsana cakra of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When the Sudarsana disc enters those provinces, the pregnant wives of the demons all have miscarriages due to fear of its effulgence. My dear King, now I shall describe to you the lower planetary systems, one by one, beginning from Atala. In Atala there is a demon, the son of Maya Danava named Bala, who created ninety-six kinds of mystic power. Some so-called yogis and svamis take advantage of this mystic power to cheat people even today. Simply by yawning, the demon Bala created three kinds of women, known as svairini, kamini and pumscali. The svairinis like to marry men from their own group, the kaminis marry men from any group, and the pumscalis change husbands one after another. If a man enters the planet of Atala, these women immediately capture him and induce him to drink an intoxicating beverage made with a drug known as hataka [cannabis indica]. This intoxicant endows the man with great sexual prowess, of which the women take advantage for enjoyment. A woman will enchant him with attractive glances, intimate words, smiles of love and then embraces. In this way she induces him to enjoy sex with her to her full satisfaction. Because of his increased sexual power, the man thinks himself stronger than ten thousand elephants and considers himself most perfect. Indeed, illusioned and intoxicated by false pride, he thinks himself God, ignoring impending death. The next planet below Atala is Vitala, wherein Lord Shiva, who is known as the master of gold mines, lives with his personal associates, the ghosts and similar living entities. Lord Shiva, as the progenitor, engages in sex with Bhavani, the progenitress, to produce living entities, and from the mixture of their vital fluid the river named Hataki is generated. When fire, being made to blaze by the wind, drinks of this river and then sizzles and spits it out, it produces gold called Hataka. The demons who live on that planet with their wives decorate themselves with various ornaments made from that gold, and thus they live there very happily. Below the planet Vitala is another planet, known as Sutala, where the great son of Maharaja Virocana, Bali Maharaja, who is celebrated as the most pious king, resides even now. For the welfare of Indra, the King of heaven, Lord Vishnu appeared in the form of a dwarf brahmacari as the son of Aditi and tricked Bali Maharaja by begging for only three paces of land but taking all the three worlds. Being very pleased with Bali Maharaja for giving all his possessions, the Lord returned his kingdom and made him richer than the opulent King Indra. Even now, Bali Maharaja engages in devotional service by worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the planet of Sutala. My dear King, Bali Maharaja donated all his possessions to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vamanadeva, but one should certainly not conclude that he achieved his great worldly opulence in bila-svarga as a result of his charitable disposition. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the source of life for all living entities, lives within everyone as the friendly Supersoul, and under His direction a living entity enjoys or suffers in the material world. Greatly appreciating the transcendental qualities of the Lord, Bali Maharaja offered everything at His lotus feet. His purpose, however, was not to gain anything material, but to become a pure devotee. For a pure devotee, the door of liberation is automatically opened. One should not think that Bali Maharaja was given so much material opulence merely because of his charity. When one becomes a pure devotee in love, he may also be blessed with a good material position by the will of the Supreme Lord. However, one should not mistakenly think that the material opulence of a devotee is the result of his devotional service. The real result of devotional service is the awakening of pure love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, which continues under all circumstances. If one who is embarrassed by hunger or who falls down or stumbles chants the holy name of the Lord even once, willingly or unwillingly, he is immediately freed from the reactions of his past deeds. Karmis entangled in material activities face many difficulties in the practice of mystic yoga and other endeavors to achieve that same freedom. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is situated in everyone's heart as the Supersoul, sells Himself to His devotees such as Narada Muni. In other words, the Lord gives pure love to such devotees and gives Himself to those who love Him purely. Great, self-realized mystic yogis such as the four Kumaras also derive great transcendental bliss from realizing the Supersoul within themselves. The Supreme Personality of Godhead did not award His mercy to Bali Maharaja by giving him material happiness and opulence, for these make one forget loving service to the Lord. The result of material opulence is that one can no longer absorb his mind in the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When the Supreme Personality of Godhead could see no other means of taking everything away from Bali Maharaja, He adopted the trick of begging from him and took away all the three worlds. Thus only his body was left, but the Lord was still not satisfied. He arrested Bali Maharaja, bound him with the ropes of Varuna and threw him in a cave in a mountain. Nevertheless, although all his property was taken and he was thrown into a cave, Bali Maharaja was such a great devotee that he spoke as follows. Alas, how pitiable it is for Indra, the King of heaven, that although he is very learned and powerful and although he chose Brhaspati as his prime minister to instruct him, he is completely ignorant concerning spiritual advancement. Brhaspati is also unintelligent because he did not properly instruct his disciple Indra. Lord Vamanadeva was standing at Indra's door, but King Indra, instead of begging Him for an opportunity to render transcendental loving service, engaged Him in asking me for alms to gain the three worlds for his sense gratification. Sovereignty over the three worlds is very insignificant because whatever material opulence one may possess lasts only for an age of Manu, which is but a tiny fraction of endless time. Bali Maharaja said: My grandfather Prahlada Maharaja is the only person who understood his own self-interest. Upon the death of Prahlada's father, Hiranyakasipu, Lord Nrsimhadeva wanted to offer Prahlada his father's kingdom and even wanted to grant him liberation from material bondage, but Prahlada accepted neither. Liberation and material opulence, he thought, are obstacles to devotional service, and therefore such gifts from the Supreme Personality of Godhead are not His actual mercy. Consequently, instead of accepting the results of karma and jnana, Prahlada Maharaja simply begged the Lord for engagement in the service of His servant. Bali Maharaja said: Persons like us, who are still attached to material enjoyment, who are contaminated by the modes of material nature and who lack the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, cannot follow the supreme path of Prahlada Maharaja, the exalted devotee of the Lord. Sukadeva Gosvami continued: My dear King, how shall I glorify the character of Bali Maharaja? The Supreme Personality of Godhead, the master of the three worlds, who is most compassionate to His own devotee, stands with club in hand at Bali Maharaja's door. When Ravana, the powerful demon, came to gain victory over Bali Maharaja, Vamanadeva kicked him a distance of eighty thousand miles with His big toe. I shall explain the character and activities of Bali Maharaja later [in the Eighth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam]. Beneath the planet known as Sutala is another planet, called Talatala, which is ruled by the Danava demon named Maya. Maya is known as the acarya [master] of all the mayavis, who can invoke the powers of sorcery. For the benefit of the three worlds, Lord Shiva, who is known as Tripurari, once set fire to the three kingdoms of Maya, but later, being pleased with him, he returned his kingdom. Since that time, Maya Danava has been protected by Lord Shiva, and therefore he falsely thinks that he need not fear the Sudarsana cakra of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The planetary system below Talatala is known as Mahatala. It is the abode of many-hooded snakes, descendants of Kadru, who are always very angry. The great snakes who are prominent are Kuhaka, Taksaka, Kaliya and Susena. The snakes in Mahatala are always disturbed by fear of Garuda, the carrier of Lord Vishnu, but although they are full of anxiety, some of them nevertheless sport with their wives, children, friends and relatives. Beneath Mahatala is the planetary system known as Rasatala, which is the abode of the demoniac sons of Diti and Danu. They are called Panis, Nivata-kavacas, Kaleyas and Hiranya-puravasis [those living in Hiranya-pura]. They are all enemies of the demigods, and they reside in holes like snakes. From birth they are extremely powerful and cruel, and although they are proud of their strength, they are always defeated by the Sudarsana cakra of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who rules all the planetary systems. When a female messenger from Indra named Sarama chants a particular curse, the serpentine demons of Mahatala become very afraid of Indra. Beneath Rasatala is another planetary system, known as Patala or Nagaloka, where there are many demoniac serpents, the masters of Nagaloka, such as Sankha, Kulika, Mahasankha, Sveta, Dhananjaya, Dhrtarastra, Sankhacuda, Kambala, Asvatara and Devadatta. The chief among them is Vasuki. They are all extremely angry, and they have many, many hoods--some snakes five hoods, some seven, some ten, others a hundred and others a thousand. These hoods are bedecked with valuable gems, and the light emanating from the gems illuminates the entire planetary system of bila-svarga. Chapter Twenty-five : The Glories of Lord Ananta Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said to Maharaja Pariksit: My dear King, approximately 240,000 miles beneath the planet Patala lives another incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is the expansion of Lord Vishnu known as Lord Ananta or Lord Sankarsana. He is always in the transcendental position, but because He is worshiped by Lord Shiva, the deity of tamo-guna or darkness, He is sometimes called tamasi. Lord Ananta is the predominating Deity of the material mode of ignorance as well as the false ego of all conditioned souls. When a conditioned living being thinks, "I am the enjoyer, and this world is meant to be enjoyed by me," this conception of life is dictated to him by Sankarsana. Thus the mundane conditioned soul thinks himself the Supreme Lord. Sukadeva Gosvami continued: This great universe, situated on one of Lord Anantadeva's thousands of hoods, appears just like a white mustard seed. It is infinitesimal compared to the hood of Lord Ananta. At the time of devastation, when Lord Anantadeva desires to destroy the entire creation, He becomes slightly angry. Then from between His two eyebrows appears three-eyed Rudra, carrying a trident. This Rudra, who is known as Sankarsana, is the embodiment of the eleven Rudras, or incarnations of Lord Shiva. He appears in order to devastate the entire creation. The pink, transparent toenails on the Lord's lotus feet are exactly like valuable gems polished to a mirror finish. When the unalloyed devotees and the leaders of the snakes offer their obeisances to Lord Sankarsana with great devotion, they become very joyful upon seeing their own beautiful faces reflected in His toenails. Their cheeks are decorated with glittering earrings, and the beauty of their faces is extremely pleasing to see. Lord Ananta's arms are attractively long, beautifully decorated with bangles and completely spiritual. They are white, and so they appear like silver columns. When the beautiful princesses of the serpent kings, hoping for the Lord's auspicious blessing, smear His arms with aguru pulp, sandalwood pulp and kunkuma, the touch of His limbs awakens lusty desires within them. Understanding their minds, the Lord looks at the princesses with a merciful smile, and they become bashful, realizing that He knows their desires. Then they smile beautifully and look upon the Lord's lotus face, which is beautified by reddish eyes rolling slightly from intoxication and delighted by love for His devotees. Lord Sankarsana is the ocean of unlimited spiritual qualities, and thus He is known as Anantadeva. He is nondifferent from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. For the welfare of all living entities within this material world, He resides in His abode, restraining His anger and intolerance. Sukadeva Gosvami continued: The demigods, the demons, the Uragas [serpentine demigods], the Siddhas, the Gandharvas, the Vidyadharas and many highly elevated sages constantly offer prayers to the Lord. Because He is intoxicated, the Lord looks bewildered, and His eyes, appearing like flowers in full bloom, move to and fro. He pleases His personal associates, the heads of the demigods, by the sweet vibrations emanating from His mouth. Dressed in bluish garments and wearing a single earring, He holds a plow on His back with His two beautiful and well-constructed hands. Appearing as white as the heavenly King Indra, He wears a golden belt around His waist and a vaijayanti garland of ever-fresh tulasi blossoms around His neck. Bees intoxicated by the honeylike fragrance of the tulasi flowers hum very sweetly around the garland, which thus becomes more and more beautiful. In this way, the Lord enjoys His very magnanimous pastimes. If persons who are very serious about being liberated from material life hear the glories of Anantadeva from the mouth of a spiritual master in the chain of disciplic succession, and if they always meditate upon Sankarsana, the Lord enters the cores of their hearts, vanquishes all the dirty contamination of the material modes of nature, and cuts to pieces the hard knot within the heart, which has been tied tightly since time immemorial by the desire to dominate material nature through fruitive activities. Narada Muni, the son of Lord Brahma, always glorifies Anantadeva in his father's assembly. There he sings blissful verses of his own composition, accompanied by his stringed instrument [or a celestial singer] known as Tumburu. By His glance, the Supreme Personality of Godhead enables the modes of material nature to act as the causes of universal creation, maintenance and destruction. The Supreme Soul is unlimited and beginningless, and although He is one, He has manifested Himself in many forms. How can human society understand the ways of the Supreme? This manifestation of subtle and gross matter exists within the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Out of causeless mercy toward His devotees, He exhibits various forms, which are all transcendental. The Supreme Lord is most liberal, and He possesses all mystic power. To conquer the minds of His devotees and give pleasure to their hearts, He appears in different incarnations and manifests many pastimes. Even if he be distressed or degraded, any person who chants the holy name of the Lord, having heard it from a bona fide spiritual master, is immediately purified. Even if he chants the Lord's name jokingly or by chance, he and anyone who hears him are freed from all sins. Therefore how can anyone seeking disentanglement from the material clutches avoid chanting the name of Lord Sesa? Of whom else should one take shelter? Because the Lord is unlimited, no one can estimate His power. This entire universe, filled with its many great mountains, rivers, oceans, trees and living entities, is resting just like an atom on one of His many thousands of hoods. Is there anyone, even with thousands of tongues, who can describe His glories? There is no end to the great and glorious qualities of that powerful Lord Anantadeva. Indeed, His prowess is unlimited. Though self-sufficient, He Himself is the support of everything. He resides beneath the lower planetary systems and easily sustains the entire universe. My dear King, as I heard of it from my spiritual master, I have fully described to you the creation of this material world according to the fruitive activities and desires of the conditioned souls. Those conditioned souls, who are full of material desires, achieve various situations in different planetary systems, and in this way they live within this material creation. My dear King, I have thus described how people generally act according to their different desires and, as a result, get different types of bodies in higher or lower planets. You inquired of these things from me, and I have explained to you whatever I have heard from authorities. What shall I speak of now? Chapter Twenty-six : A Description of the Hellish Planets King Pariksit inquired from Sukadeva Gosvami: My dear sir, why are the living entities put into different material situations? Kindly explain this to me. The great sage Sukadeva Gosvami said: My dear King, in this material world there are three kinds of activities--those in the mode of goodness, the mode of passion and the mode of ignorance. Because all people are influenced by the three modes of material nature, the results of their activities are also divided into three. One who acts in the mode of goodness is religious and happy, one who acts in passion achieves mixed misery and happiness, and one who acts under the influence of ignorance is always unhappy and lives like an animal. Because of the varying degrees to which the living entities are influenced by the different modes of nature, their destinations are also of different varieties. Just as by executing various pious activities one achieves different positions in heavenly life, by acting impiously one achieves different positions in hellish life. Those who are activated by the material mode of ignorance engage in impious activities, and according to the extent of their ignorance, they are placed in different grades of hellish life. If one acts in the mode of ignorance because of madness, his resulting misery is the least severe. One who acts impiously but knows the distinction between pious and impious activities is placed in a hell of intermediate severity. And for one who acts impiously and ignorantly because of atheism, the resultant hellish life is the worst. Because of ignorance, every living entity has been carried by various desires into thousands of different hellish planets since time immemorial. I shall try to describe them as far as possible. King Pariksit inquired from Sukadeva Gosvami: My dear lord, are the hellish regions outside the universe, within the covering of the universe, or in different places on this planet? The great sage Sukadeva Gosvami answered: All the hellish planets are situated in the intermediate space between the three worlds and the Garbhodaka Ocean. They lie on the southern side of the universe, beneath Bhu-mandala, and slightly above the water of the Garbhodaka Ocean. Pitrloka is also located in this region between the Garbhodaka Ocean and the lower planetary systems. All the residents of Pitrloka, headed by Agnisvatta, meditate in great samadhi on the Supreme Personality of Godhead and always wish their families well. The King of the pitas is Yamaraja, the very powerful son of the sun-god. He resides in Pitrloka with his personal assistants and, while abiding by the rules and regulations set down by the Supreme Lord, has his agents, the Yamadutas, bring all the sinful men to him immediately upon their death. After bringing them within his jurisdiction, he properly judges them according to their specific sinful activities and sends them to one of the many hellish planets for suitable punishments. Some authorities say that there is a total of twenty-one hellish planets, and some say twenty-eight. My dear King, I shall outline all of them according to their names, forms and symptoms. The names of the different hells are as follows: Tamisra, Andhatamisra, Raurava, Maharaurava, Kumbhipaka, Kalasutra, Asi-patravana, Sukaramukha, Andhakupa, Krmibhojana, Sandamsa, Taptasurmi, Vajrakantaka-salmali, Vaitarani, Puyoda, Pranarodha, Visasana, Lalabhaksa, Sarameyadana, Avici, Ayahpana, Ksarakardama, Raksogana-bhojana, Sulaprota, Dandasuka, Avata-nirodhana, Paryavartana and Sucimukha. All these planets are meant for punishing the living entities. My dear King, a person who appropriates another's legitimate wife, children or money is arrested at the time of death by the fierce Yamadutas, who bind him with the rope of time and forcibly throw him into the hellish planet known as Tamisra. On this very dark planet, the sinful man is chastised by the Yamadutas, who beat and rebuke him. He is starved, and he is given no water to drink. Thus the wrathful assistants of Yamaraja cause him severe suffering, and sometimes he faints from their chastisement. The destination of a person who slyly cheats another man and enjoys his wife and children is the hell known as Andhatamisra. There his condition is exactly like that of a tree being chopped at its roots. Even before reaching Andhatamisra, the sinful living being is subjected to various extreme miseries. These afflictions are so severe that he loses his intelligence and sight. It is for this reason that learned sages call this hell Andhatamisra. A person who accepts his body as his self works very hard day and night for money to maintain his own body and the bodies of his wife and children. While working to maintain himself and his family, he may commit violence against other living entities. Such a person is forced to give up his body and his family at the time of death, when he suffers the reaction for his envy of other creatures by being thrown into the hell called Raurava. In this life, an envious person commits violent acts against many living entities. Therefore after his death, when he is taken to hell by Yamaraja, those living entities who were hurt by him appear as animals called rurus to inflict very severe pain upon him. Learned scholars call this hell Raurava. Not generally seen in this world, the ruru is more envious than a snake. Punishment in the hell called Maharaurava is compulsory for a person who maintains his own body by hurting others. In this hell, ruru animals known as kravyada torment him and eat his flesh. For the maintenance of their bodies and the satisfaction of their tongues, cruel persons cook poor animals and birds alive. Such persons are condemned even by man-eaters. In their next lives they are carried by the Yamadutas to the hell known as Kumbhipaka, where they are cooked in boiling oil. The killer of a brahmana is put into the hell known as Kalasutra, which has a circumference of eighty thousand miles and which is made entirely of copper. Heated from below by fire and from above by the scorching sun, the copper surface of this planet is extremely hot. Thus the murderer of a brahmana suffers from being burned both internally and externally. Internally he is burning with hunger and thirst, and externally he is burning from the scorching heat of the sun and the fire beneath the copper surface. Therefore he sometimes lies down, sometimes sits, sometimes stands up and sometimes runs here and there. He must suffer in this way for as many thousands of years as there are hairs on the body of an animal. If a person deviates from the path of the Vedas in the absence of an emergency, the servants of Yamaraja put him into the hell called Asi-patravana, where they beat him with whips. When he runs hither and thither, fleeing from the extreme pain, on all sides he runs into palm trees with leaves like sharpened swords. Thus injured all over his body and fainting at every step, he cries out, "Oh, what shall I do now! How shall I be saved!" This is how one suffers who deviates from the accepted religious principles. In his next life, a sinful king or governmental representative who punishes an innocent person, or who inflicts corporal punishment upon a brahmana, is taken by the Yamadutas to the hell named Sukaramukha, where the most powerful assistants of Yamaraja crush him exactly as one crushes sugarcane to squeeze out the juice. The sinful living entity cries very pitiably and faints, just like an innocent man undergoing punishments. This is the result of punishing a faultless person. By the arrangement of the Supreme Lord, low-grade living beings like bugs and mosquitoes suck the blood of human beings and other animals. Such insignificant creatures are unaware that their bites are painful to the human being. However, first-class human beings--brahmanas, ksatriyas and vaisyas--are developed in consciousness, and therefore they know how painful it is to be killed. A human being endowed with knowledge certainly commits sin if he kills or torments insignificant creatures, who have no discrimination. The Supreme Lord punishes such a man by putting him into the hell known as Andhakupa, where he is attacked by all the birds and beasts, reptiles, mosquitoes, lice, worms, flies, and any other creatures he tormented during his life. They attack him from all sides, robbing him of the pleasure of sleep. Unable to rest, he constantly wanders about in the darkness. Thus in Andhakupa his suffering is just like that of a creature in the lower species. A person is considered no better than a crow if after receiving some food, he does not divide it among guests, old men and children, but simply eats it himself, or if he eats it without performing the five kinds of sacrifice. After death he is put into the most abominable hell, known as Krmibhojana. In that hell is a lake becomes a worm in that lake and feeds on the other worms there, who also feed on him. Unless he atones for his actions before his death, such a sinful man remains in the hellish lake of Krmibhojana for as many years as there are yojanas in the width of the lake. My dear King, a person who in the absence of an emergency robs a brahmana--or, indeed, anyone else--of his gems and gold is put into a hell known as Sandamsa. There his skin is torn and separated by red-hot iron balls and tongs. In this way, his entire body is cut to pieces. A man or woman who indulges in sexual intercourse with an unworthy member of the opposite sex is punished after death by the assistants of Yamaraja in the hell known as Taptasurmi. There such men and women are beaten with whips. The man is forced to embrace a red-hot iron form of a woman, and the woman is forced to embrace a similar form of a man. Such is the punishment for illicit sex. A person who indulges in sex indiscriminately--even with animals--is taken after death to the hell known as Vajrakantaka-salmali. In this hell there is a silk- cotton tree full of thorns as strong as thunderbolts. The agents of Yamaraja hang the sinful man on that tree and pull him down forcibly so that the thorns very severely tear his body. A person who is born into a responsible family--such as a ksatriya, a member of royalty or a government servant--but who neglects to execute his prescribed duties according to religious principles, and who thus becomes degraded, falls down at the time of death into the river of hell known as Vaitarani. This river, which is a moat surrounding hell, is full of ferocious aquatic animals. When a sinful man is thrown into the River Vaitarani, the aquatic animals there immediately begin to eat him, but because of his extremely sinful life, he does not leave his body. He constantly remembers his sinful activities and suffers terribly in that river, which is full of stool, urine, pus, blood, hair, nails, bones, marrow, flesh and fat. The shameless husbands of lowborn sudra women live exactly like animals, and therefore they have no good behavior, cleanliness or regulated life. After death, such persons are thrown into the hell called Puyoda, where they are put into an ocean filled with pus, stool, urine, mucus, saliva and similar things. Sudras who could not improve themselves fall into that ocean and are forced to eat those disgusting things. If in this life a man of the higher classes [brahmana, ksatriya and vaisya] is very fond of taking his pet dogs, mules or asses into the forest to hunt and kill animals unnecessarily, he is placed after death into the hell known as Pranarodha. There the assistants of Yamaraja make him their targets and pierce him with arrows. A person who in this life is proud of his eminent position, and who heedlessly sacrifices animals simply for material prestige, is put into the hell called Visasana after death. There the assistants of Yamaraja kill him after giving him unlimited pain. If a foolish member of the twice-born classes [brahmana, ksatriya and vaisya] forces his wife to drink his semen out of a lusty desire to keep her under control, he is put after death into the hell known as Lalabhaksa. There he is thrown into a flowing river of semen, which he is forced to drink. In this world, some persons are professional plunderers who set fire to others' houses or administer poison to them. Also, members of the royalty or government officials sometimes plunder mercantile men by forcing them to pay income tax and by other methods. After death such demons are put into the hell known as Sarameyadana. On that planet there are 720 dogs with teeth as strong as thunderbolts. Under the orders of the agents of Yamaraja, these dogs voraciously devour such sinful people. A person who in this life bears false witness or lies while transacting business or giving charity is severely punished after death by the agents of Yamaraja. Such a sinful man is taken to the top of a mountain eight hundred miles high and thrown headfirst into the hell known as Avicimat. This hell has no shelter and is made of strong stone resembling the waves of water. There is no water there, however, and thus it is called Avicimat [waterless]. Although the sinful man is repeatedly thrown from the mountain and his body broken to tiny pieces, he still does not die but continuously suffers chastisement. Any brahmana or brahmana's wife who drinks liquor is taken by the agents of Yamaraja to the hell known as Ayahpana. This hell also awaits any ksatriya, vaisya, or person under a vow who in illusion drinks soma-rasa. In Ayahpana the agents of Yamaraja stand on their chests and pour hot melted iron into their mouths. A lowborn and abominable person who in this life becomes falsely proud, thinking "I am great," and who thus fails to show proper respect to one more elevated than he by birth, austerity, education, behavior, caste or spiritual order, is like a dead man even in this lifetime, and after death he is thrown headfirst into the hell known as Ksarakardama. There he must great suffer great tribulation at the hands of the agents of Yamaraja. There are men and women in this world who sacrifice human beings to Bhairava or Bhadra Kali and then eat their victims' flesh. Those who perform such sacrifices are taken after death to the abode of Yamaraja, where their victims, having taken the form of Raksasas, cut them to pieces with sharpened swords. Just as in this world the man-eaters drank their victims' blood, dancing and singing in jubilation, their victims now enjoy drinking the blood of the sacrificers and celebrating in the same way. In this life some people give shelter to animals and birds that come to them for protection in the village or forest, and after making them believe that they will be protected, such people pierce them with lances or threads and play with them like toys, giving them great pain. After death such people are brought by the assistants of Yamaraja to the hell known as Sulaprota, where their bodies are pierced with sharp, needlelike lances. They suffer from hunger and thirst, and sharp-beaked birds such as vultures and herons come at them from all sides to tear at their bodies. Tortured and suffering, they can then remember the sinful activities they committed in the past. Those who in this life are like envious serpents, always angry and giving pain to other living entities, fall after death into the hell known as Dandasuka. My dear King, in this hell there are serpents with five or seven hoods. These serpents eat such sinful persons just as snakes eat mice. Those who in this life confine other living entities in dark wells, granaries or mountain caves are put after death into the hell known as Avata-nirodhana. There they themselves are pushed into dark wells, where poisonous fumes and smoke suffocate them and they suffer very severely. A householder who receives guests or visitors with cruel glances, as if to burn them to ashes, is put into the hell called Paryavartana, where he is gazed at by hard-eyed vultures, herons, crows and similar birds, which suddenly swoop down and pluck out his eyes with great force. One who in this world or this life is very proud of his wealth always thinks, "I am so rich. Who can equal me?" His vision is twisted, and he is always afraid that someone will take his wealth. Indeed, he even suspects his superiors. His face and heart dry up at the thought of losing his wealth, and therefore he always looks like a wretched fiend. He is not in any way able to obtain actual happiness, and he does not know what it is to be free from anxiety. Because of the sinful things he does to earn money, augment his wealth and protect it, he is put into the hell called Sucimukha, where the officials of Yamaraja punish him by stitching thread through his entire body like weavers manufacturing cloth. My dear King Pariksit, in the province of Yamaraja there are hundreds and thousands of hellish planets. The impious people I have mentioned--and also those I have not mentioned--must all enter these various planets according to the degree of their impiety. Those who are pious, however, enter other planetary systems, namely the planets of the demigods. Nevertheless, both the pious and impious are again brought to earth after the results of their pious or impious acts are exhausted. In the beginning [the Second and Third Cantos of Srimad-Bhagavatam] I have already described how one can progress on the path of liberation. In the Puranas the vast universal existence, which is like an egg divided into fourteen parts, is described. This vast form is considered the external body of the Lord, created by His energy and qualities. It is generally called the virata-rupa. If one reads the description of this external form of the Lord with great faith, or if one hears about it or explains it to others to propagate bhagavata-dharma, or Krishna consciousness, his faith and devotion in spiritual consciousness, Krishna consciousness, will gradually increase. Although developing this consciousness is very difficult, by this process one can purify himself and gradually come to an awareness of the Supreme Absolute Truth. One who is interested in liberation, who accepts the path of liberation and is not attracted to the path of conditional life, is called yati, or a devotee. Such a person should first control his mind by thinking of the virata-rupa, the gigantic universal form of the Lord, and then gradually think of the spiritual form of Krishna [sac-cid-ananda-vigraha] after hearing of both forms. Thus one's mind is fixed in samadhi. By devotional service one can then realize the spiritual form of the Lord, which is the destination of devotees. Thus his life becomes successful. My dear King, I have now described for you this planet earth, other planetary systems, and their lands [varsas], rivers and mountains. I have also described the sky, the oceans, the lower planetary systems, the directions, the hellish planetary systems and the stars. These constitute the virata-rupa, the gigantic material form of the Lord, on which all living entities repose. Thus I have explained the wonderful expanse of the external body of the Lord.