Chapter One : The History of the Life of Ajamila Maharaja Pariksit said: O my lord, O Sukadeva Gosvami, you have already described [in the Second Canto] the path of liberation [nivrtti-marga]. By following that path, one is certainly elevated gradually to the highest planetary system, Brahmaloka, from which one is promoted to the spiritual world along with Lord Brahma. Thus one's repetition of birth and death in the material world ceases. O great sage Sukadeva Gosvami, unless the living entity is freed from the infection of the material modes of nature, he receives different types of bodies in which to enjoy or suffer, and according to the body, he is understood to have various inclinations. By following these inclinations he traverses the path called pravrtti-marga, by which one may be elevated to the heavenly planets, as you have already described [in the Third Canto]. You have also described [at the end of the Fifth Canto] the varieties of hellish life that result from impious activities, and you have described [in the Fourth Canto] the first manvantara, which was presided over by Svayambhuva Manu, the son of Lord Brahma. My dear lord, you have described the dynasties and characteristics of King Priyavrata and King Uttanapada. The Supreme Personality of Godhead created this material world with various universes, planetary systems, planets and stars, with varied lands, seas, oceans, mountains, rivers, gardens and trees, all with different characteristics. These are divided among this planet earth, the luminaries in the sky and the lower planetary systems. You have very clearly described these planets and the living entities who live on them. O greatly fortunate and opulent Sukadeva Gosvami, now kindly tell me how human beings may be saved from having to enter hellish conditions in which they suffer terrible pains. Sukadeva Gosvami replied: My dear King, if before one's next death whatever impious acts one has performed in this life with his mind, words and body are not counteracted through proper atonement according to the description of the Manu-samhita and other dharma-sastras, one will certainly enter the hellish planets after death and undergo terrible suffering, as I have previously described to you. Therefore, before one's next death comes, as long as one's body is strong enough, one should quickly adopt the process of atonement according to sastra; otherwise one's time will be lost, and the reactions of his sins will increase. As an expert physician diagnoses and treats a disease according to its gravity, one should undergo atonement according to the severity of one's sins. Maharaja Pariksit said: One may know that sinful activity is injurious for him because he actually sees that a criminal is punished by the government and rebuked by people in general and because he hears from scriptures and learned scholars that one is thrown into hellish conditions in the next life for committing sinful acts. Nevertheless, in spite of such knowledge, one is forced to commit sins again and again, even after performing acts of atonement. Therefore, what is the value of such atonement? Sometimes one who is very alert so as not to commit sinful acts is victimized by sinful life again. I therefore consider this process of repeated sinning and atoning to be useless. It is like the bathing of an elephant, for an elephant cleanses itself by taking a full bath, but then throws dust over its head and body as soon as it returns to the land. Sukadeva Gosvami, the son of Vedavyasa, answered: My dear King, since acts meant to neutralize impious actions are also fruitive, they will not release one from the tendency to act fruitively. Persons who subject themselves to the rules and regulations of atonement are not at all intelligent. Indeed, they are in the mode of darkness. Unless one is freed from the mode of ignorance, trying to counteract one action through another is useless because this will not uproot one's desires. Thus even though one may superficially seem pious, he will undoubtedly be prone to act impiously. Therefore real atonement is enlightenment in perfect knowledge, Vedanta, by which one understands the Supreme Absolute Truth. My dear King, if a diseased person eats the pure, uncontaminated food prescribed by a physician, he is gradually cured, and the infection of disease can no longer touch him. Similarly, if one follows the regulative principles of knowledge, he gradually progresses toward liberation from material contamination. To concentrate the mind, one must observe a life of celibacy and not fall down. One must undergo the austerity of voluntarily giving up sense enjoyment. One must then control the mind and senses, give charity, be truthful, clean and nonviolent, follow the regulative principles and regularly chant the holy name of the Lord. Thus a sober and faithful person who knows the religious principles is temporarily purified of all sins performed with his body, words and mind. These sins are like the dried leaves of creepers beneath a bamboo tree, which may be burned by fire although their roots remain to grow again at the first opportunity. Only a rare person who has adopted complete, unalloyed devotional service to Krishna can uproot the weeds of sinful actions with no possibility that they will revive. He can do this simply by discharging devotional service, just as the sun can immediately dissipate fog by its rays. My dear King, if a sinful person engages in the service of a bona fide devotee of the Lord and thus learns how to dedicate his life unto the lotus feet of Krishna, he can be completely purified. One cannot be purified merely by undergoing austerity, penance, brahmacarya and the other methods of atonement I have previously described. The path followed by pure devotees, who are well behaved and fully endowed with the best qualifications, is certainly the most auspicious path in this material world. It is free from fear, and it is authorized by the sastras. My dear King, as a pot containing liquor cannot be purified even if washed in the waters of many rivers, nondevotees cannot be purified by processes of atonement even if they perform them very well. Although not having fully realized Krishna, persons who have even once surrendered completely unto His lotus feet and who have become attracted to His name, form, qualities and pastimes are completely freed of all sinful reactions, for they have thus accepted the true method of atonement. Even in dreams, such surrendered souls do not see Yamaraja or his order carriers, who are equipped with ropes to bind the sinful. In this regard, learned scholars and saintly persons describe a very old historical incident involving a discussion between the order carriers of Lord Vishnu and those of Yamaraja. Please hear of this from me. In the city known as Kanyakubja there was a brahmana named Ajamila who married a prostitute maidservant and lost all his brahminical qualities because of the association of that low-class woman. This fallen brahmana, Ajamila, gave trouble to others by arresting them, by cheating them in gambling or by directly plundering them. This was the way he earned his livelihood and maintained his wife and children. My dear King, while he thus spent his time in abominable, sinful activities to maintain his family of many sons, eighty-eight years of his life passed by. That old man Ajamila had ten sons, of whom the youngest was a baby named Narayana. Since Narayana was the youngest of all the sons, he was naturally very dear to both his father and his mother. Because of the child's broken language and awkward movements, old Ajamila was very much attached to him. He always took care of the child and enjoyed the child's activities. When Ajamila chewed food and ate it, he called the child to chew and eat, and when he drank he called the child to drink also. Always engaged in taking care of the child and calling his name, Narayana, Ajamila could not understand that his own time was now exhausted and that death was upon him. When the time of death arrived for the foolish Ajamila, he began thinking exclusively of his son Narayana. Ajamila then saw three awkward persons with deformed bodily features, fierce, twisted faces, and hair standing erect on their bodies. With ropes in their hands, they had come to take him away to the abode of Yamaraja. When he saw them he was extremely bewildered, and because of attachment to his child, who was playing a short distance away, Ajamila began to call him loudly by his name. Thus with tears in his eyes he somehow or other chanted the holy name of Narayana. My dear King, the order carriers of Vishnu, the Vishnudutas, immediately arrived when they heard the holy name of their master from the mouth of the dying Ajamila, who had certainly chanted without offense because he had chanted in complete anxiety. The order carriers of Yamaraja were snatching the soul from the core of the heart of Ajamila, the husband of the prostitute, but with resounding voices the messengers of Lord Vishnu, the Vishnudutas, forbade them to do so. When the order carriers of Yamaraja, the son of the sun-god, were thus forbidden, they replied: Who are you, sirs, that have the audacity to challenge the jurisdiction of Yamaraja? Dear sirs, whose servants are you, where have you come from, and why are you forbidding us to touch the body of Ajamila? Are you demigods from the heavenly planets, are you sub-demigods, or are you the best of devotees? The order carriers of Yamaraja said: Your eyes are just like the petals of lotus flowers. Dressed in yellow silken garments, decorated with garlands of lotuses, and wearing very attractive helmets on your heads and earrings on your ears, you all appear fresh and youthful. Your four long arms are decorated with bows and quivers of arrows and with swords, clubs, conchshells, discs and lotus flowers. Your effulgence has dissipated the darkness of this place with extraordinary illumination. Now, sirs, why are you obstructing us? Sukadeva Gosvami continued: Being thus addressed by the messengers of Yamaraja, the servants of Vasudeva smiled and spoke the following words in voices as deep as the sound of rumbling clouds. The blessed messengers of Lord Vishnu, the Vishnudutas, said: If you are actually servants of Yamaraja, you must explain to us the meaning of religious principles and the symptoms of irreligion. What is the process of punishing others? Who are the actual candidates for punishment? Are all karmis engaged in fruitive activities punishable, or only some of them? The Yamadutas replied: That which is prescribed in the Vedas constitutes dharma, the religious principles, and the opposite of that is irreligion. The Vedas are directly the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana, and are self-born. This we have heard from Yamaraja. The supreme cause of all causes, Narayana, is situated in His own abode in the spiritual world, but nevertheless He controls the entire cosmic manifestation according to the three modes of material nature--sattva-guna, rajo-guna and tamo-guna. In this way all living entities are awarded different qualities, different names [such as brahmana, ksatriya and vaisya], different duties according to the varnasrama institution, and different forms. Thus Narayana is the cause of the entire cosmic manifestation. The sun, fire, sky, air, demigods, moon, evening, day, night, directions, water, land and Supersoul Himself all witness the activities of the living entity. The candidates for punishment are those who are confirmed by these many witnesses to have deviated from their prescribed regulative duties. Everyone engaged in fruitive activities is suitable to be subjected to punishment according to his sinful acts. O inhabitants of Vaikuntha, you are sinless, but those within this material world are all karmis, whether acting piously or impiously. Both kinds of action are possible for them because they are contaminated by the three modes of nature and must act accordingly. One who has accepted a material body cannot be inactive, and sinful action is inevitable for one acting under the modes of material nature. Therefore all the living entities within this material world are punishable. In proportion to the extent of one's religious or irreligious actions in this life, one must enjoy or suffer the corresponding reactions of his karma in the next. O best of the demigods, we can see three different varieties of life, which are due to the contamination of the three modes of nature. The living entities are thus known as peaceful, restless and foolish; as happy, unhappy or in-between; or as religious, irreligious and semireligious. We can deduce that in the next life these three kinds of material nature will similarly act. Just as springtime in the present indicates the nature of springtimes in the past and future, so this life of happiness, distress or a mixture of both gives evidence concerning the religious and irreligious activities of one's past and future lives. The omnipotent Yamaraja is as good as Lord Brahma, for while situated in his own abode or in everyone's heart like the Paramatma, he mentally observes the past activities of a living entity and thus understands how the living entity will act in future lives. As a sleeping person acts according to the body manifested in his dreams and accepts it to be himself, so one identifies with his present body, which he acquired because of his past religious or irreligious actions, and is unable to know his past or future lives. Above the five senses of perception, the five working senses and the five objects of the senses is the mind, which is the sixteenth element. Above the mind is the seventeenth element, the soul, the living being himself, who, in cooperation with the other sixteen, enjoys the material world alone. The living being enjoys three kinds of situations, namely happy, distressful and mixed. The subtle body is endowed with sixteen parts--the five knowledge-acquiring senses, the five working senses, the five objects of sense gratification, and the mind. This subtle body is an effect of the three modes of material nature. It is composed of insurmountably strong desires, and therefore it causes the living entity to transmigrate from one body to another in human life, animal life and life as a demigod. When the living entity gets the body of a demigod, he is certainly very jubilant, when he gets a human body he is always in lamentation, and when he gets the body of an animal, he is always afraid. In all conditions, however, he is actually miserable. His miserable condition is called samsrti, or transmigration in material life. The foolish embodied living entity, inept at controlling his senses and mind, is forced to act according to the influence of the modes of material nature, against his desires. He is like a silkworm that uses its own saliva to create a cocoon and then becomes trapped in it, with no possibility of getting out. The living entity traps himself in a network of his own fruitive activities and then can find no way to release himself. Thus he is always bewildered, and repeatedly he dies. Not a single living entity can remain unengaged even for a moment. One must act by his natural tendency according to the three modes of material nature because this natural tendency forcibly makes him work in a particular way. The fruitive activities a living being performs, whether pious or impious, are the unseen cause for the fulfillment of his desires. This unseen cause is the root for the living entity's different bodies. Because of his intense desire, the living entity takes birth in a particular family and receives a body which is either like that of his mother or like that of his father. The gross and subtle bodies are created according to his desire. Since the living entity is associated with material nature, he is in an awkward position, but if in the human form of life he is taught how to associate with the Supreme Personality of Godhead or His devotee, this position can be overcome. In the beginning this brahmana named Ajamila studied all the Vedic literatures. He was a reservoir of good character, good conduct and good qualities. Firmly established in executing all the Vedic injunctions, he was very mild and gentle, and he kept his mind and senses under control. Furthermore, he was always truthful, he knew how to chant the Vedic mantras, and he was also very pure. Ajamila was very respectful to his spiritual master, the fire-god, guests, and the elderly members of his household. Indeed, he was free from false prestige. He was upright, benevolent to all living entities, and well behaved. He would never speak nonsense or envy anyone. Once this brahmana Ajamila, following the order of his father, went to the forest to collect fruit, flowers and two kinds of grass, called samit and kusa. On the way home, he came upon a sudra, a very lusty, fourth-class man, who was shamelessly embracing and kissing a prostitute. The sudra was smiling, singing and enjoying as if this were proper behavior. Both the sudra and the prostitute were drunk. The prostitute's eyes were rolling in intoxication, and her dress had become loose. Such was the condition in which Ajamila saw them. The sudra, his arm decorated with turmeric powder, was embracing the prostitute. When Ajamila saw her, the dormant lusty desires in his heart awakened, and in illusion he fell under their control. As far as possible he patiently tried to remember the instructions of the sastras not even to see a woman. With the help of this knowledge and his intellect, he tried to control his lusty desires, but because of the force of Cupid within his heart, he failed to control his mind. In the same way that the sun and moon are eclipsed by a low planet, the brahmana lost all his good sense. Taking advantage of this situation, he always thought of the prostitute, and within a short time he took her as a servant in his house and abandoned all the regulative principles of a brahmana. Thus Ajamila began spending whatever money he had inherited from his father to satisfy the prostitute with various material presentations so that she would remain pleased with him. He gave up all his brahminical activities to satisfy the prostitute. Because his intelligence was pierced by the lustful glance of the prostitute, the victimized brahmana Ajamila engaged in sinful acts in her association. He even gave up the company of his very beautiful young wife, who came from a very respectable brahmana family. Although born of a brahmana family, this rascal, bereft of intelligence because of the prostitute's association, earned money somehow or other, regardless of whether properly or improperly, and used it to maintain the prostitute's sons and daughters. This brahmana irresponsibly spent his long lifetime transgressing all the rules and regulations of the holy scripture, living extravagantly and eating food prepared by a prostitute. Therefore he is full of sins. He is unclean and is addicted to forbidden activities. This man Ajamila did not undergo atonement. Therefore because of his sinful life, we must take him into the presence of Yamaraja for punishment. There, according to the extent of his sinful acts, he will be punished and thus purified. Chapter Two :Ajamila Delivered by the Vishnudutas Sukadeva Gosvami said: My dear King, the servants of Lord Vishnu are always very expert in logic and arguments. After hearing the statements of the Yamadutas, they replied as follows. The Vishnudutas said: Alas, how painful it is that irreligion is being introduced into an assembly where religion should be maintained. Indeed, those in charge of maintaining the religious principles are needlessly punishing a sinless, unpunishable person. A king or governmental official should be so well qualified that he acts as a father, maintainer and protector of the citizens because of affection and love. He should give the citizens good advice and instructions according to the standard scriptures and should be equal to everyone. Yamaraja does this, for he is the supreme master of justice, and so do those who follow in his footsteps. However, if such persons become polluted and exhibit partiality by punishing an innocent, blameless person, where will the citizens go to take shelter for their maintenance and security? The mass of people follow the example of a leader in society and imitate his behavior. They accept as evidence whatever the leader accepts. People in general are not very advanced in knowledge by which to discriminate between religion and irreligion. The innocent, unenlightened citizen is like an ignorant animal sleeping in peace with its head on the lap of its master, faithfully believing in the master's protection. If a leader is actually kindhearted and deserves to be the object of a living entity's faith, how can he punish or kill a foolish person who has fully surrendered in good faith and friendship? Ajamila has already atoned for all his sinful actions. Indeed, he has atoned not only for sins performed in one life but for those performed in millions of lives, for in a helpless condition he chanted the holy name of Narayana. Even though he did not chant purely, he chanted without offense, and therefore he is now pure and eligible for liberation. The Vishnudutas continued: Even previously, while eating and at other times, this Ajamila would call his son, saying, "My dear Narayana, please come here." Although calling the name of his son, he nevertheless uttered the four syllables na-ra-ya-na. Simply by chanting the name of Narayana in this way, he sufficiently atoned for the sinful reactions of millions of lives. The chanting of the holy name of Lord Vishnu is the best process of atonement for a thief of gold or other valuables, for a drunkard, for one who betrays a friend or relative, for one who kills a brahmana, or for one who indulges in sex with the wife of his guru or another superior. It is also the best method of atonement for one who murders women, the king or his father, for one who slaughters cows, and for all other sinful men. Simply by chanting the holy name of Lord Vishnu, such sinful persons may attract the attention of the Supreme Lord, who therefore considers, "Because this man has chanted My holy name, My duty is to give him protection." By following the Vedic ritualistic ceremonies or undergoing atonement, sinful men do not become as purified as by chanting once the holy name of Lord Hari. Although ritualistic atonement may free one from sinful reactions, it does not awaken devotional service, unlike the chanting of the Lord's names, which reminds one of the Lord's fame, qualities, attributes, pastimes and paraphernalia. The ritualistic ceremonies of atonement recommended in the religious scriptures are insufficient to cleanse the heart absolutely because after atonement one's mind again runs toward material activities. Consequently, for one who wants liberation from the fruitive reactions of material activities, the chanting of the Hare Krishna mantra, or glorification of the name, fame and pastimes of the Lord, is recommended as the most perfect process of atonement because such chanting eradicates the dirt from one's heart completely. At the time of death, this Ajamila helplessly and very loudly chanted the holy name of the Lord, Narayana. That chanting alone has already freed him from the reactions of all sinful life. Therefore, O servants of Yamaraja, do not try to take him to your master for punishment in hellish conditions. One who chants the holy name of the Lord is immediately freed from the reactions of unlimited sins, even if he chants indirectly [to indicate something else], jokingly, for musical entertainment, or even neglectfully. This is accepted by all the learned scholars of the scriptures. If one chants the holy name of Hari and then dies because of an accidental misfortune, such as falling from the top of a house, slipping and suffering broken bones while traveling on the road, being bitten by a serpent, being afflicted with pain and high fever, or being injured by a weapon, one is immediately absolved from having to enter hellish life, even though he is sinful. Authorities who are learned scholars and sages have carefully ascertained that one should atone for the heaviest sins by undergoing a heavy process of atonement and one should atone for lighter sins by undergoing lighter atonement. Chanting the Hare Krishna mantra, however, vanquishes all the effects of sinful activities, regardless of whether heavy or light. Although one may neutralize the reactions of sinful life through austerity, charity, vows and other such methods, these pious activities cannot uproot the material desires in one's heart. However, if one serves the lotus feet of the Personality of Godhead, he is immediately freed from all such contaminations. As a fire burns dry grass to ashes, so the holy name of the Lord, whether chanted knowingly or unknowingly, burns to ashes, without fail, all the reactions of one's sinful activities. If a person unaware of the effective potency of a certain medicine takes that medicine or is forced to take it, it will act even without his knowledge because its potency does not depend on the patient's understanding. Similarly, even though one does not know the value of chanting the holy name of the Lord, if one chants knowingly or unknowingly, the chanting will be very effective. Sri Sukadeva Gosvami continued: My dear King, having thus perfectly judged the principles of devotional service with reasoning and arguments, the order carriers of Lord Vishnu released the brahmana Ajamila from the bondage of the Yamadutas and saved him from imminent death. My dear Maharaja Pariksit, O subduer of all enemies, after the servants of Yamaraja had been answered by the order carriers of Lord Vishnu, they went to Yamaraja and explained to him everything that had happened. Having been released from the nooses of Yamaraja's servants, the brahmana Ajamila, now free from fear, came to his senses and immediately offered obeisances to the Vishnudutas by bowing his head at their lotus feet. He was extremely pleased by their presence, for he had seen them save his life from the hands of the servants of Yamaraja. O sinless Maharaja Pariksit, the order carriers of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Vishnudutas, saw that Ajamila was attempting to say something, and thus they suddenly disappeared from his presence. After hearing the discourses between the Yamadutas and the Vishnudutas, Ajamila could understand the religious principles that act under the three modes of material nature. These principles are mentioned in the three Vedas. He could also understand the transcendental religious principles, which are above the modes of material nature and which concern the relationship between the living being and the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Furthermore, Ajamila heard glorification of the name, fame, qualities and pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He thus became a perfectly pure devotee. He could then remember his past sinful activities, which he greatly regretted having performed. Ajamila said: Alas, being a servant of my senses, how degraded I became! I fell down from my position as a duly qualified brahmana and begot children in the womb of a prostitute. Alas, all condemnation upon me! I acted so sinfully that I degraded my family tradition. Indeed, I gave up my chaste and beautiful young wife to have sexual intercourse with a fallen prostitute accustomed to drinking wine. All condemnation upon me! My father and mother were old and had no other son or friend to look after them. Because I did not take care of them, they lived with great difficulty. Alas, like an abominable lower-class man, I ungratefully left them in that condition. It is now clear that as a consequence of such activities, a sinful person like me must be thrown into hellish conditions meant for those who have broken religious principles and must there suffer extreme miseries. Was this a dream I saw, or was it reality? I saw fearsome men with ropes in their hands coming to arrest me and drag me away. Where have they gone? And where have those four liberated and very beautiful persons gone who released me from arrest and saved me from being dragged down to the hellish regions? I am certainly most abominable and unfortunate to have merged in an ocean of sinful activities, but nevertheless, because of my previous spiritual activities, I could see those four exalted personalities who came to rescue me. Now I feel exceedingly happy because of their visit. Were it not for my past devotional service, how could I, a most unclean keeper of a prostitute, have gotten an opportunity to chant the holy name of Vaikunthapati when I was just ready to die? Certainly it could not have been possible. Ajamila continued: I am a shameless cheater who has killed his brahminical culture. Indeed, I am sin personified. Where am I in comparison to the all- auspicious chanting of the holy name of Lord Narayana? I am such a sinful person, but since I have now gotten this opportunity, I must completely control my mind, life and senses and always engage in devotional service so that I may not fall again into the deep darkness and ignorance of material life. Because of identifying oneself with the body, one is subjected to desires for sense gratification, and thus one engages in many different types of pious and impious action. This is what constitutes material bondage. Now I shall disentangle myself from my material bondage, which has been caused by the Supreme Personality of Godhead's illusory energy in the form of a woman. Being a most fallen soul, I was victimized by the illusory energy and have become like a dancing dog led around by a woman's hand. Now I shall give up all lusty desires and free myself from this illusion. I shall become a merciful, well-wishing friend to all living entities and always absorb myself in Krishna consciousness. Simply because I chanted the holy name of the Lord in the association of devotees, my heart is now becoming purified. Therefore I shall not fall victim again to the false lures of material sense gratification. Now that I have become fixed in the Absolute Truth, henceforward I shall not identify myself with the body. I shall give up false conceptions of "I" and "mine" and fix my mind on the lotus feet of Krishna. Because of a moment's association with devotees [the Vishnudutas], Ajamila detached himself from the material conception of life with determination. Thus freed from all material attraction, he immediately started for Hardwar. In Hardwar, Ajamila took shelter at a Vishnu temple, where he executed the process of bhakti-yoga. He controlled his senses and fully applied his mind in the service of the Lord. Ajamila fully engaged in devotional service. Thus he detached his mind from the process of sense gratification and became fully absorbed in thinking of the form of the Lord. When his intelligence and mind were fixed upon the form of the Lord, the brahmana Ajamila once again saw before him four celestial persons. He could understand that they were those he had seen previously, and thus he offered them his obeisances by bowing down before them. Upon seeing the Vishnudutas, Ajamila gave up his material body at Hardwar on the bank of the Ganges. He regained his original spiritual body, which was a body appropriate for an associate of the Lord. Accompanied by the order carriers of Lord Vishnu, Ajamila boarded an airplane made of gold. Passing through the airways, he went directly to the abode of Lord Vishnu, the husband of the goddess of fortune. Ajamila was a brahmana who because of bad association had given up all brahminical culture and religious principles. Becoming most fallen, he stole, drank and performed other abominable acts. He even kept a prostitute. Thus he was destined to be carried away to hell by the order carriers of Yamaraja, but he was immediately rescued simply by a glimpse of the chanting of the holy name Narayana. Therefore one who desires freedom from material bondage should adopt the process of chanting and glorifying the name, fame, form and pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, at whose feet all the holy places stand. One cannot derive the proper benefit from other methods, such as pious atonement, speculative knowledge and meditation in mystic yoga, because even after following such methods one takes to fruitive activities again, unable to control his mind, which is contaminated by the base qualities of nature, namely passion and ignorance. Because this very confidential historical narration has the potency to vanquish all sinful reactions, one who hears or describes it with faith and devotion is no longer doomed to hellish life, regardless of his having a material body and regardless of how sinful he may have been. Indeed, the Yamadutas, who carry out the orders of Yamaraja, do not approach him even to see him. After giving up his body, he returns home, back to Godhead, where he is very respectfully received and worshiped. While suffering at the time of death, Ajamila chanted the holy name of the Lord, and although the chanting was directed toward his son, he nevertheless returned home, back to Godhead. Therefore if one faithfully and inoffensively chants the holy name of the Lord, where is the doubt that he will return to Godhead? Chapter Three : Yamaraja Instructs His Messengers King Pariksit said: O my lord, O Sukadeva Gosvami, Yamaraja is the controller of all living entities in terms of their religious and irreligious activities, but his order had been foiled. When his servants, the Yamadutas, informed him of their defeat by the Vishnudutas, who had stopped them from arresting Ajamila, what did he reply? O great sage, never before has it been heard anywhere that an order from Yamaraja has been baffled. Therefore I think that people will have doubts about this that no one but you can eradicate. Since that is my firm conviction, kindly explain the reasons for these events. Sri Sukadeva Gosvami replied: My dear King, when the order carriers of Yamaraja were baffled and defeated by the order carriers of Vishnu, they approached their master, the controller of Samyamani-puri and master of sinful persons, to tell him of this incident. The Yamadutas said: Our dear lord, how many controllers or rulers are there in this material world? How many causes are responsible for manifesting the various results of activities performed under the three modes of material nature [sattva-guna, rajo-guna and tamo-guna]? If in this universe there are many rulers and justices who disagree about punishment and reward, their contradictory actions will neutralize each other, and no one will be punished or rewarded. Otherwise, if their contradictory acts fail to neutralize each other, everyone will have to be both punished and rewarded. The Yamadutas continued: Since there are many different karmis, or workers, there may be different judges or rulers to give them justice, but just as one central emperor controls different departmental rulers, there must be one supreme controller to guide all the judges. The supreme judge must be one, not many. It was our understanding that you are that supreme judge and that you have jurisdiction even over the demigods. Our impression was that you are the master of all living entities, the supreme authority who discriminates between the pious and impious activities of all human beings. But now we see that the punishment ordained under your authority is no longer effective, since your order has been transgressed by four wonderful and perfect persons. We were bringing the most sinful Ajamila toward the hellish planets, following your order, when those beautiful persons from Siddhaloka forcibly cut the knots of the ropes with which we were arresting him. As soon as the sinful Ajamila uttered the name Narayana, these four beautiful men immediately arrived and reassured him, saying, "Do not fear. Do not fear." We wish to know about them from Your Lordship. If you think we are able to understand them, kindly describe who they are. Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: Thus having been questioned, Lord Yamaraja, the supreme controller of the living entities, was very pleased with his order carriers because of hearing from them the holy name of Narayana. He remembered the lotus feet of the Lord and began to reply. Yamaraja said: My dear servants, you have accepted me as the Supreme, but factually I am not. Above me, and above all the other demigods, including Indra and Candra, is the one supreme master and controller. The partial manifestations of His personality are Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, who are in charge of the creation, maintenance and annihilation of this universe. He is like the two threads that form the length and breadth of a woven cloth. The entire world is controlled by Him just as a bull is controlled by a rope in its nose. Just as the driver of a bullock cart ties ropes through the nostrils of his bulls to control them, the Supreme Personality of Godhead binds all men through the ropes of His words in the Vedas, which set forth the names and activities of the distinct orders of human society [brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya and sudra]. In fear, the members of these orders all worship the Supreme Lord by offering Him presentations according to their respective activities. I, Yamaraja; Indra, the King of heaven; Nirrti; Varuna; Candra, the moon-god; Agni; Lord Shiva; Pavana; Lord Brahma; Surya, the sun-god; Visvasu; the eight Vasus; the Sadhyas; the Maruts; the Rudras; the Siddhas; and Marici and the other great rsis engaged in maintaining the departmental affairs of the universe, as well as the best of the demigods headed by Brhaspati, and the great sages headed by Bhrgu are all certainly freed from the influence of the two base material modes of nature, namely passion and ignorance. Nevertheless, although we are in the mode of goodness, we cannot understand the activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. What, then, is to be said of others, who, under illusion, merely speculate to know God? As the different limbs of the body cannot see the eyes, the living entities cannot see the Supreme Lord, who is situated as the Supersoul in everyone's heart. Not by the senses, by the mind, by the life air, by thoughts within the heart, or by the vibration of words can the living entities ascertain the real situation of the Supreme Lord. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is self-sufficient and fully independent. He is the master of everyone and everything, including the illusory energy. He has His form, qualities and features; and similarly His order carriers, the Vaisnavas, who are very beautiful, possess bodily features, transcendental qualities and a transcendental nature almost like His. They always wander within this world with full independence. The order carriers of Lord Vishnu, who are worshiped even by the demigods, possess wonderful bodily features exactly like those of Vishnu and are very rarely seen. The Vishnudutas protect the devotees of the Lord from the hands of enemies, from envious persons and even from my jurisdiction, as well as from natural disturbances. Real religious principles are enacted by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Although fully situated in the mode of goodness, even the great rsis who occupy the topmost planets cannot ascertain the real religious principles, nor can the demigods or the leaders of Siddhaloka, to say nothing of the asuras, ordinary human beings, Vidyadharas and Caranas. Lord Brahma, Bhagavan Narada, Lord Shiva, the four Kumaras, Lord Kapila [the son of Devahuti], Svayambhuva Manu, Prahlada Maharaja, Janaka Maharaja, Grandfather Bhisma, Bali Maharaja, Sukadeva Gosvami and I myself know the real religious principle. My dear servants, this transcendental religious principle, which is known as bhagavata-dharma, or surrender unto the Supreme Lord and love for Him, is uncontaminated by the material modes of nature. It is very confidential and difficult for ordinary human beings to understand, but if by chance one fortunately understands it, he is immediately liberated, and thus he returns home, back to Godhead. Devotional service, beginning with the chanting of the holy name of the Lord, is the ultimate religious principle for the living entity in human society. My dear servants, who are as good as my sons, just see how glorious is the chanting of the holy name of the Lord. The greatly sinful Ajamila chanted only to call his son, not knowing that he was chanting the Lord's holy name. Nevertheless, by chanting the holy name of the Lord, he remembered Narayana, and thus he was immediately saved from the ropes of death. Therefore it should be understood that one is easily relieved from all sinful reactions by chanting the holy name of the Lord and chanting of His qualities and activities. This is the only process recommended for relief from sinful reactions. Even if one chants the holy name of the Lord with improper pronunciation, he will achieve relief from material bondage if he chants without offenses. Ajamila, for example, was extremely sinful, but while dying he merely chanted the holy name, and although calling his son, he achieved complete liberation because he remembered the name of Narayana. Because they are bewildered by the illusory energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Yajnavalkya and Jaimini and other compilers of the religious scriptures cannot know the secret, confidential religious system of the twelve mahajanas. They cannot understand the transcendental value of performing devotional service or chanting the Hare Krishna mantra. Because their minds are attracted to the ritualistic ceremonies mentioned in the Vedas--especially the Yajur Veda, Sama Veda and Rg Veda--their intelligence has become dull. Thus they are busy collecting the ingredients for ritualistic ceremonies that yield only temporary benefits, such as elevation to Svargaloka for material happiness. They are not attracted to the sankirtana movement; instead, they are interested in dharma, artha, kama and moksa. Considering all these points, therefore, intelligent men decide to solve all problems by adopting the devotional service of chanting the holy name of the Lord, who is situated in everyone's heart and who is a mine of all auspicious qualities. Such persons are not within my jurisdiction for punishment. Generally they never commit sinful activities, but even if by mistake or because of bewilderment or illusion they sometimes commit sinful acts, they are protected from sinful reactions because they always chant the Hare Krishna mantra. My dear servants, please do not approach such devotees, for they have fully surrendered to the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They are equal to everyone, and their narrations are sung by the demigods and the inhabitants of Siddhaloka. Please do not even go near them. They are always protected by the club of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and therefore Lord Brahma and I and even the time factor are not competent to chastise them. Paramahamsas are exalted persons who have no taste for material enjoyment and who drink the honey of the Lord's lotus feet. My dear servants, bring to me for punishment only persons who are averse to the taste of that honey, who do not associate with paramahamsas and who are attached to family life and worldly enjoyment, which form the path to hell. My dear servants, please bring to me only those sinful persons who do not use their tongues to chant the holy name and qualities of Krishna, whose hearts do not remember the lotus feet of Krishna even once, and whose heads do not bow down even once before Lord Krishna. Send me those who do not perform their duties toward Vishnu, which are the only duties in human life. Please bring me all such fools and rascals. [Then Yamaraja, considering himself and his servants to be offenders, spoke as follows, begging pardon from the Lord.] O my Lord, my servants have surely committed a great offense by arresting a Vaisnava such as Ajamila. O Narayana, O supreme and oldest person, please forgive us. Because of our ignorance, we failed to recognize Ajamila as a servant of Your Lordship, and thus we have certainly committed a great offense. Therefore with folded hands we beg Your pardon. My Lord, since You are supremely merciful and are always full of good qualities, please pardon us. We offer our respectful obeisances unto You. Sukadeva Gosvami continued: My dear King, the chanting of the holy name of the Lord is able to uproot even the reactions of the greatest sins. Therefore the chanting of the sankirtana movement is the most auspicious activity in the entire universe. Please try to understand this so that others will take it seriously. One who constantly hears and chants the holy name of the Lord and hears and chants about His activities can very easily attain the platform of pure devotional service, which can cleanse the dirt from one's heart. One cannot achieve such purification merely by observing vows and performing Vedic ritualistic ceremonies. Devotees who always lick the honey from the lotus feet of Lord Krishna do not care at all for material activities, which are performed under the three modes of material nature and which bring only misery. Indeed, devotees never give up the lotus feet of Krishna to return to material activities. Others, however, who are addicted to Vedic rituals because they have neglected the service of the Lord's lotus feet and are enchanted by lusty desires, sometimes perform acts of atonement. Nevertheless, being incompletely purified, they return to sinful activities again and again. After hearing from the mouth of their master about the extraordinary glories of the Lord and His name, fame and attributes, the Yamadutas were struck with wonder. Since then, as soon as they see a devotee, they fear him and dare not look at him again. When the great sage Agastya, the son of Kumbha, was residing in the Malaya Hills and worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead, I approached him, and he explained to me this confidential history. Chapter Four : The Hamsa-guhya Prayers The blessed King said to Sukadeva Gosvami: My dear lord, the demigods, demons, human beings, Nagas, beasts and birds were created during the reign of Svayambhuva Manu. You have spoken about this creation briefly [in the Third Canto]. Now I wish to know about it elaborately. I also wish to know about the potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead by which He brought about the secondary creation. Suta Gosvami said: O great sages [assembled at Naimisaranya], after the great yogi Sukadeva Gosvami heard King Pariksit's inquiry, he praised it and thus replied. Sukadeva Gosvami said: When the ten sons of Pracinabarhi emerged from the waters, in which they were performing austerities, they saw that the entire surface of the world was covered by trees. Because of having undergone long austerities in the water, the Pracetas were very angry at the trees. Desiring to burn them to ashes, they generated wind and fire from their mouths. My dear King Pariksit, when Soma, the king of the trees and predominating deity of the moon, saw the fire and wind burning all the trees to ashes, he felt great sympathy because he is the maintainer of all herbs and trees. To appease the anger of the Pracetas, Soma spoke as follows. O greatly fortunate ones, you should not kill these poor trees by burning them to ashes. Your duty is to wish the citizens [prajas] all prosperity and to act as their protectors. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Hari, is the master of all living entities, including all the prajapatis, such as Lord Brahma. Because He is the all-pervading and indestructible master, He has created all these trees and vegetables as eatables for other living entities. By nature's arrangement, fruits and flowers are considered the food of insects and birds; grass and other legless living entities are meant to be the food of four-legged animals like cows and buffalo; animals that cannot use their front legs as hands are meant to be the food of animals like tigers, which have claws; and four-legged animals like deer and goats, as well as food grains, are meant to be the food of human beings. O pure-hearted ones, your father, Pracinabarhi, and the Supreme Personality of Godhead have ordered you to generate population. Therefore how can you burn to ashes these trees and herbs, which are needed for the maintenance of your subjects and descendants? The path of goodness traversed by your father, grandfather and great- grandfathers is that of maintaining the subjects [prajas], including the men, animals and trees. That is the path you should follow. Unnecessary anger is contrary to your duty. Therefore I request you to control your anger. As the father and mother are the friends and maintainers of their children, as the eyelid is the protector of the eye, as the husband is the maintainer and protector of a woman, as the householder is the maintainer and protector of beggars, and as the learned is the friend of the ignorant, so the king is the protector and giver of life to all his subjects. The trees are also subjects of the king. Therefore they should be given protection. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is situated as the Supersoul within the cores of the hearts of all living entities, whether moving or nonmoving, including men, birds, animals, trees and, indeed, all living entities. Therefore you should consider every body a residence or temple of the Lord. By such vision you will satisfy the Lord. You should not angrily kill these living entities in the forms of trees. One who inquires into self-realization and thus subdues his powerful anger-- which awakens suddenly in the body as if falling from the sky--transcends the influence of the modes of material nature. There is no need to burn these poor trees any longer. Let whatever trees still remain be happy. Indeed, you should also be happy. Now, here is a beautiful, well-qualified girl named Marisa, who was raised by the trees as their daughter. You may accept this beautiful girl as your wife. Sukadeva Gosvami continued: My dear King, after thus pacifying the Pracetas, Soma, the king of the moon, gave them the beautiful girl born of Pramloca Apsara. The Pracetas all received Pramloca's daughter, who had high, very beautiful hips, and married her according to the religious system. In the womb of that girl the Pracetas all begot a son named Daksa, who filled the three worlds with living entities. Sukadeva Gosvami continued: Please hear from me with great attention how Prajapati Daksa, who was very affectionate to his daughters, created different types of living entities through his semen and through his mind. With his mind, Prajapati Daksa first created all kinds of demigods, demons, human beings, birds, beasts, aquatics and so on. But when Prajapati Daksa saw that he was not properly generating all kinds of living entities, he approached a mountain near the Vindhya mountain range, and there he executed very difficult austerities. Near that mountain was a very holy place named Aghamarsana. There Prajapati Daksa executed ritualistic ceremonies and satisfied the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, by engaging in great austerities to please Him. My dear King, I shall fully explain to you the Hamsa-guhya prayers, which were offered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead by Daksa, and I shall explain how the Lord was pleased with him for those prayers. Prajapati Daksa said: The Supreme Personality of Godhead is transcendental to the illusory energy and the physical categories it produces. He possesses the potency for unfailing knowledge and supreme willpower, and He is the controller of the living entities and the illusory energy. The conditioned souls who have accepted this material manifestation as everything cannot see Him, for He is above the evidence of experimental knowledge. Self-evident and self-sufficient, He is not caused by any superior cause. Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto Him. As the sense objects [form, taste, touch, smell and sound] cannot understand how the senses perceive them, so the conditioned soul, although residing in his body along with the Supersoul, cannot understand how the supreme spiritual person, the master of the material creation, directs his senses. Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto that Supreme Person, who is the supreme controller. Because they are only matter, the body, the life airs, the external and internal senses, the five gross elements and the subtle sense objects [form, taste, smell, sound and touch] cannot know their own nature, the nature of the other senses or the nature of their controllers. But the living being, because of his spiritual nature, can know his body, the life airs, the senses, the elements and the sense objects, and he can also know the three qualities that form their roots. Nevertheless, although the living being is completely aware of them, he is unable to see the Supreme Being, who is omniscient and unlimited. I therefore offer my respectful obeisances unto Him. When one's consciousness is completely purified of the contamination of material existence, gross and subtle, without being agitated as in the working and dreaming states, and when the mind is not dissolved as in susupti, deep sleep, one comes to the platform of trance. Then one's material vision and the memories of the mind, which manifests names and forms, are vanquished. Only in such a trance is the Supreme Personality of Godhead revealed. Thus let us offer our respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is seen in that uncontaminated, transcendental state. Just as great learned brahmanas who are expert in performing ritualistic ceremonies and sacrifices can extract the fire dormant within wooden fuel by chanting the fifteen Samidheni mantras, thus proving the efficacy of the Vedic mantras, so those who are actually advanced in consciousness--in other words, those who are Krishna conscious--can find the Supersoul, who by His own spiritual potency is situated within the heart. The heart is covered by the three modes of material nature and the nine material elements [material nature, the total material energy, the ego, the mind and the five objects of sense gratification], and also by the five material elements and the ten senses. These twenty-seven elements constitute the external energy of the Lord. Great yogis meditate upon the Lord, who is situated as the Supersoul, Paramatma, within the core of the heart. May that Supersoul be pleased with me. The Supersoul is realized when one is eager for liberation from the unlimited varieties of material life. One actually attains such liberation when he engages in the transcendental loving service of the Lord and realizes the Lord because of his attitude of service. The Lord may be addressed by various spiritual names, which are inconceivable to the material senses. When will that Supreme Personality of Godhead be pleased with me? Anything expressed by material vibrations, anything ascertained by material intelligence and anything experienced by the material senses or concocted within the material mind is but an effect of the modes of material nature and therefore has nothing to do with the real nature of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Supreme Lord is beyond the creation of this material world, for He is the source of the material qualities and creation. As the cause of all causes, He exists before the creation and after the creation. I wish to offer my respectful obeisances unto Him. The Supreme Brahman, Krishna, is the ultimate resting place and source of everything. Everything is done by Him, everything belongs to Him, and everything is offered to Him. He is the ultimate objective, and whether acting or causing others to act, He is the ultimate doer. There are many causes, high and low, but since He is the cause of all causes, He is well known as the Supreme Brahman who existed before all activities. He is one without a second and has no other cause. I therefore offer my respects unto Him. Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto the all-pervading Supreme Personality of Godhead, who possesses unlimited transcendental qualities. Acting from within the cores of the hearts of all philosophers, who propagate various views, He causes them to forget their own souls while sometimes agreeing and sometimes disagreeing among themselves. Thus He creates within this material world a situation in which they are unable to come to a conclusion. I offer my obeisances unto Him. There are two parties--namely, the theists and the atheists. The theist, who accepts the Supersoul, finds the spiritual cause through mystic yoga. The Sankhyite, however, who merely analyzes the material elements, comes to a conclusion of impersonalism and does not accept a supreme cause--whether Bhagavan, Paramatma or even Brahman. Instead, he is preoccupied with the superfluous, external activities of material nature. Ultimately, however, both parties demonstrate the Absolute Truth because although they offer opposing statements, their object is the same ultimate cause. They are both approaching the same Supreme Brahman, to whom I offer my respectful obeisances. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is inconceivably opulent, who is devoid of all material names, forms and pastimes, and who is all-pervading, is especially merciful to the devotees who worship His lotus feet. Thus He exhibits transcendental forms and names with His different pastimes. May that Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose form is eternal and full of knowledge and bliss, be merciful to me. As the air carries various characteristics of the physical elements, like the aroma of a flower or colors resulting from a mixture of dust in the air, the Lord appears through lower systems of worship according to one's desires, although He appears as the demigods and not in His original form. What is the use of these other forms? May the original Supreme Personality of Godhead please fulfill my desires. Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, who is extremely affectionate to His devotees, was very pleased by the prayers offered by Daksa, and thus He appeared at that holy place known as Aghamarsana. O Maharaja Pariksit, best of the Kuru dynasty, the Lord's lotus feet rested on the shoulders of His carrier, Garuda, and He appeared with eight long, mighty, very beautiful arms. In His hands He held a disc, conchshell, sword, shield, arrow, bow, rope and club--in each hand a different weapon, all brilliantly shining. His garments were yellow and His bodily hue deep bluish. His eyes and face were very cheerful, and from His neck to His feet hung a long garland of flowers. His chest was decorated with the Kaustubha jewel and the mark of Srivatsa. On His head was a gorgeous round helmet, and His ears were decorated with earrings resembling sharks. All these ornaments were uncommonly beautiful. The Lord wore a golden belt on His waist, bracelets on His arms, rings on His fingers, and ankle bells on His feet. Thus decorated by various ornaments, Lord Hari, who is attractive to all the living entities of the three worlds, is known as Purusottama, the best personality. He was accompanied by great devotees like Narada, Nanda and all the principal demigods, led by the heavenly king, Indra, and the residents of various upper planetary systems such as Siddhaloka, Gandharvaloka and Caranaloka. Situated on both sides of the Lord and behind Him as well, these devotees offered Him prayers continuously. Seeing that wonderful and effulgent form of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Prajapati Daksa was first somewhat afraid, but then he was very pleased to see the Lord, and he fell to the ground like a stick [dandavat] to offer his respects to the Lord. As rivers are filled by water flowing from a mountain, all of Daksa's senses were filled with pleasure. Because of his highly elevated happiness, Daksa could not say anything, but simply remained flat on the ground. Although Prajapati Daksa could not say anything, when the Lord, who knows everyone's heart, saw His devotee prostrate in that manner and desiring to increase the population, He addressed him as follows. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: O most fortunate Pracetasa, because of your great faith in Me, you have attained the supreme devotional ecstasy. Indeed, because of your austerities, combined with exalted devotion, your life is now successful. You have achieved complete perfection. My dear Prajapati Daksa, you have performed extreme austerities for the welfare and growth of the world. My desire also is that everyone within this world be happy. I am therefore very pleased with you because you are endeavoring to fulfill My desire for the welfare of the entire world. Lord Brahma, Lord Shiva, the Manus, all the other demigods in the higher planetary systems, and you prajapatis, who are increasing the population, are working for the benefit of all living entities. Thus you expansions of My marginal energy are incarnations of My various qualities. My dear brahmana, austerity in the form of meditation is My heart, Vedic knowledge in the form of hymns and mantras constitutes My body, and spiritual activities and ecstatic emotions are My actual form. The ritualistic ceremonies and sacrifices, when properly conducted, are the various limbs of My body, the unseen good fortune proceeding from pious or spiritual activities constitutes My mind, and the demigods who execute My orders in various departments are My life and soul. Before the creation of this cosmic manifestation, I alone existed with My specific spiritual potencies. Consciousness was then unmanifested, just as one's consciousness is unmanifested during the time of sleep. I am the reservoir of unlimited potency, and therefore I am known as unlimited or all-pervading. From My material energy the cosmic manifestation appeared within Me, and in this universal manifestation appeared the chief being, Lord Brahma, who is your source and is not born of a material mother. When the chief lord of the universe, Lord Brahma [Svayambhu], having been inspired by My energy, was attempting to create, he thought himself incapable. Therefore I gave him advice, and in accordance with My instructions he underwent extremely difficult austerities. Because of these austerities, the great Lord Brahma was able to create nine personalities, including you, to help him in the functions of creation. O My dear son Daksa, Prajapati Pancajana has a daughter named Asikni, whom I offer to you so that you may accept her as your wife. Now unite in sexual life as man and woman, and in this way, by sexual intercourse, you will be able to beget hundreds of children in the womb of this girl to increase the population. After you give birth to many hundreds and thousands of children, they will also be captivated by My illusory energy and will engage, like You, in sexual intercourse. But because of My mercy to you and them, they will also be able to give Me presentations in devotion. Sukadeva Gosvami continued: After the creator of the entire universe, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, had spoken in this way in the presence of Prajapati Daksa, He immediately disappeared as if He were an object experienced in a dream. Chapter Five : Narada Muni Cursed by Prajapati Daksa Srila Sukadeva Gosvami continued: Impelled by the illusory energy of Lord Vishnu, Prajapati Daksa begot ten thousand sons in the womb of Pancajani [Asikni]. My dear King, these sons were called the Haryasvas. My dear King, all the sons of Prajapati Daksa were alike in being very gentle and obedient to the orders of their father. When their father ordered them to beget children, they all went in the western direction. In the west, where the River Sindhu meets the sea, there is a great place of pilgrimage known as Narayana-saras. Many sages and others advanced in spiritual consciousness live there. In that holy place, the Haryasvas began regularly touching the lake's waters and bathing in them. Gradually becoming very much purified, they became inclined toward the activities of paramahamsas. Nevertheless, because their father had ordered them to increase the population, they performed severe austerities to fulfill his desires. One day, when the great sage Narada saw those boys performing such fine austerities to increase the population, Narada approached them. The great sage Narada said: My dear Haryasvas, you have not seen the extremities of the earth. There is a kingdom where only one man lives and where there is a hole from which, having entered, no one emerges. A woman there who is extremely unchaste adorns herself with various attractive dresses, and the man who lives there is her husband. In that kingdom, there is a river flowing in both directions, a wonderful home made of twenty-five materials, a swan that vibrates various sounds, and an automatically revolving object made of sharp razors and thunderbolts. You have not seen all this, and therefore you are inexperienced boys without advanced knowledge. How, then, will you create progeny? Alas, your father is omniscient, but you do not know his actual order. Without knowing the actual purpose of your father, how will you create progeny? Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: Hearing these enigmatic words of Narada Muni, the Haryasvas considered them with their natural intelligence, without help from others. [The Haryasvas understood the meaning of Narada's words as follows.] The word "bhuh" ["the earth"] refers to the field of activities. The material body, which is a result of the living being's actions, is his field of activities, and it gives him false designations. Since time immemorial, he has received various types of material bodies, which are the roots of bondage to the material world. If one foolishly engages in temporary fruitive activities and does not look toward the cessation of this bondage, what will be the benefit of his actions? [Narada Muni had said that there is a kingdom where there is only one male. The Haryasvas realized the purport of this statement.] The only enjoyer is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who observes everything, everywhere. He is full of six opulences and fully independent of everyone else. He is never subject to the three modes of material nature, for He is always transcendental to this material creation. If the members of human society do not understand Him, the Supreme, through their advancement in knowledge and activities, but simply work very hard like cats and dogs all day and night for temporary happiness, what will be the benefit of their activities? [Narada Muni had described that there is a bila, or hole, from which, having entered, one does not return. The Haryasvas understood the meaning of this allegory.] Hardly once has a person who has entered the lower planetary system called Patala been seen to return. Similarly, if one enters the Vaikuntha-dhama [pratyag-dhama], he does not return to this material world. If there is such a place, from which, having gone, one does not return to the miserable material condition of life, what is the use of jumping like monkeys in the temporary material world and not seeing or understanding that place? What will be the profit? [Narada Muni had described a woman who is a professional prostitute. The Haryasvas understood the identity of this woman.] Mixed with the mode of passion, the unsteady intelligence of every living entity is like a prostitute who changes dresses just to attract one's attention. If one fully engages in temporary fruitive activities, not understanding how this is taking place, what does he actually gain? [Narada Muni had also spoken of a man who is the husband of the prostitute. The Haryasvas understood this as follows.] If one becomes the husband of a prostitute, he loses all independence. Similarly, if a living entity has polluted intelligence, he prolongs his materialistic life. Frustrated by material nature, he must follow the movements of the intelligence, which brings various conditions of happiness and distress. If one performs fruitive activities under such conditions, what will be the benefit? [Narada Muni had said that there is a river flowing in both directions. The Haryasvas understood the purport of this statement.] Material nature functions in two ways--by creation and dissolution. Thus the river of material nature flows both ways. A living entity who unknowingly falls in this river is submerged in its waves, and since the current is swifter near the banks of the river, he is unable to get out. What will be the benefit of performing fruitive activities in that river of maya? [Narada Muni had said that there is a house made of twenty-five elements. The Haryasvas understood this analogy.] The Supreme Lord is the reservoir of the twenty-five elements, and as the Supreme Being, the conductor of cause and effect, He causes their manifestation. If one engages in temporary fruitive activities, not knowing that Supreme Person, what benefit will he derive? [Narada Muni had spoken of a swan. That swan is explained in this verse.] The Vedic literatures [sastras] vividly describe how to understand the Supreme Lord, the source of all material and spiritual energy. Indeed, they elaborately explain these two energies. The swan [hamsa] is one who discriminates between matter and spirit, who accepts the essence of everything, and who explains the means of bondage and the means of liberation. The words of scriptures consist of variegated vibrations. If a foolish rascal leaves aside the study of these sastras to engage in temporary activities, what will be the result? [Narada Muni had spoken of a physical object made of sharp blades and thunderbolts. The Haryasvas understood this allegory as follows.] Eternal time moves very sharply, as if made of razors and thunderbolts. Uninterrupted and fully independent, it drives the activities of the entire world. If one does not try to study the eternal element of time, what benefit can he derive from performing temporary material activities? [Narada Muni had asked how one could ignorantly defy one's own father. The Haryasvas understood the meaning of this question.] One must accept the original instructions of the sastra. According to Vedic civilization, one is offered a sacred thread as a sign of second birth. One takes his second birth by dint of having received instructions in the sastra from a bona fide spiritual master. Therefore, sastra, scripture, is the real father. All the sastras instruct that one should end his material way of life. If one does not know the purpose of the father's orders, the sastras, he is ignorant. The words of a material father who endeavors to engage his son in material activities are not the real instructions of the father. Sukadeva Gosvami continued: My dear King, after hearing the instructions of Narada, the Haryasvas, the sons of Prajapati Daksa, were firmly convinced. They all believed in his instructions and reached the same conclusion. Having accepted him as their spiritual master, they circumambulated that great sage and followed the path by which one never returns to this world. The seven musical notes--sa, r, ga, ma, pa, dha and ni--are used in musical instruments, but originally they come from the Sama Veda. The great sage Narada vibrates sounds describing the pastimes of the Supreme Lord. By such transcendental vibrations, such as Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare, he fixes his mind at the lotus feet of the Lord. Thus he directly perceives Hrsikesa, the master of the senses. After delivering the Haryasvas, Narada Muni continued traveling throughout the planetary systems, his mind always fixed at the lotus feet of the Lord. The Haryasvas, the sons of Prajapati Daksa, were very well behaved, cultured sons, but unfortunately, because of the instructions of Narada Muni, they deviated from the order of their father. When Daksa heard this news, which was brought to him by Narada Muni, he began to lament. Although he was the father of such good sons, he had lost them all. Certainly this was lamentable. When Prajapati Daksa was lamenting for his lost children, Lord Brahma pacified him with instructions, and thereafter Daksa begot one thousand more children in the womb of his wife, Pancajani. This time his sons were known as the Savalasvas. In accordance with their father's order to beget children, the second group of sons also went to Narayana-saras, the same place where their brothers had previously attained perfection by following the instructions of Narada. Undertaking great vows of austerity, the Savalasvas remained at that holy place. At Narayana-saras, the second group of sons performed penances in the same way as the first. They bathed in the holy water, and by its touch all the dirty material desires in their hearts were cleansed away. They murmured mantras beginning with omkara and underwent a severe course of austerities. For a few months the sons of Prajapati Daksa drank only water and ate only air. Thus undergoing great austerities, they recited this mantra: "Let us offer our respectful obeisances unto Narayana, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is always situated in His transcendental abode. Since He is the Supreme Person [paramahamsa], let us offer our respectful obeisances unto Him." O King Pariksit, Narada Muni approached these sons of Prajapati Daksa, who were engaged in tapasya to beget children, and spoke enigmatic words to them just as he had spoken to their elder brothers. O sons of Daksa, please hear my words of instruction attentively. You are all very affectionate to your elder brothers, the Haryasvas. Therefore you should follow their path. A brother aware of the principles of religion follows in the footsteps of his elder brothers. Because of being highly elevated, such a pious brother gets the opportunity to associate and enjoy with demigods like the Maruts, who are all affectionate to their brothers. Sukadeva Gosvami continued: O best of the advanced Aryans, after saying this much to the sons of Prajapati Daksa, Narada Muni, whose merciful glance never goes in vain, left as he had planned. The sons of Daksa followed their elder brothers. Not attempting to produce children, they engaged themselves in Krishna consciousness. The Savalasvas took to the correct path, which is obtainable by a mode of life meant to achieve devotional service, or the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Like nights that have gone to the west, they have not returned even until now. At this time, Prajapati Daksa observed many inauspicious signs, and he heard from various sources that his second group of sons, the Savalasvas, had followed the path of their elder brothers in accordance with the instructions of Narada. When he heard that the Savalasvas had also left this world to engage in devotional service, Daksa was angry at Narada, and he almost fainted due to lamentation. When Daksa met Narada, Daksa's lips began trembling in anger, and he spoke as follows. Prajapati Daksa said: Alas, Narada Muni, you wear the dress of a saintly person, but you are not actually a saint. Indeed, although I am now in grhastha life, I am a saintly person. By showing my sons the path of renunciation, you have done me an abominable injustice. Prajapati Daksa said: My sons were not at all freed from their three debts. Indeed, they did not properly consider their obligations. O Narada Muni, O personality of sinful action, you have obstructed their progress toward good fortune in this world and the next because they are still indebted to the saintly persons, the demigods and their father. Prajapati Daksa continued: Thus committing violence against other living entities and yet claiming to be an associate of Lord Vishnu, you are defaming the Supreme Personality of Godhead. You needlessly created a mentality of renunciation in innocent boys, and therefore you are shameless and devoid of compassion. How could you travel with the personal associates of the Supreme Lord ? All the devotees of the Lord but you are very kind to the conditioned souls and are eager to benefit others. Although you wear the dress of a devotee, you create enmity with people who are not your enemies, or you break friendship and create enmity between friends. Are you not ashamed of posing as a devotee while performing these abominable actions? Prajapati Daksa continued: If you think that simply awakening the sense of renunciation will detach one from the material world, I must say that unless full knowledge is awakened, simply changing dresses as you have done cannot possibly bring detachment. Material enjoyment is indeed the cause of all unhappiness, but one cannot give it up unless one has personally experienced how much suffering it is. Therefore one should be allowed to remain in so-called material enjoyment while simultaneously advancing in knowledge to experience the misery of this false material happiness. Then, without help from others, one will find material enjoyment detestful. Those whose minds are changed by others do not become as renounced as those who have personal experience. Although I live in household life with my wife and children, I honestly follow the Vedic injunctions by engaging in fruitive activities to enjoy life without sinful reactions. I have performed all kinds of yajnas, including the deva- yajna, rsi-yajna, pitr-yajna and nr-yajna. Because these yajnas are called vratas [vows], I am known as a grhavrata. Unfortunately, you have given me great displeasure by misguiding my sons, for no reason, to the path of renunciation. This can be tolerated once. You have made me lose my sons once, and now you have again done the same inauspicious thing. Therefore you are a rascal who does not know how to behave toward others. You may travel all over the universe, but I curse you to have no residence anywhere. Sri Sukadeva Gosvami continued: My dear King, since Narada Muni is an approved saintly person, when cursed by Prajapati Daksa he replied, "tad badham: Yes, what you have said is good. I accept this curse." He could have cursed Prajapati Daksa in return, but because he is a tolerant and merciful sadhu, he took no action. Chapter Six : The Progeny of the Daughters of Daksa Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: My dear King, thereafter, at the request of Lord Brahma, Prajapati Daksa, who is known as Pracetasa, begot sixty daughters in the womb of his wife Asikni. All the daughters were very affectionate toward their father. He gave ten daughters in charity to Dharmaraja [Yamaraja], thirteen to Kasyapa [first twelve and then one more], twenty-seven to the moon-god, and two each to Angira, Krsasva and Bhuta. The other four daughters were given to Kasyapa. [Thus Kasyapa received seventeen daughters in all.] Now please hear from me the names of all these daughters and their descendants, who filled all the three worlds. The ten daughters given to Yamaraja were named Bhanu, Lamba, Kakud, Yami, Visva, Sadhya, Marutvati, Vasu, Muhurta and Sankalpa. Now hear the names of their sons. O King, a son named Deva-rsabha was born from the womb of Bhanu, and from him came a son named Indrasena. From the womb of Lamba came a son named Vidyota, who generated all the clouds. From the womb of Kakud came the son named Sankata, whose son was named Kikata. From Kikata came the demigods named Durga. From Yami came the son named Svarga, whose son was named Nandi. The sons of Visva were the Visvadevas, who had no progeny. From the womb of Sadhya came the Sadhyas, who had a son named Arthasiddhi. The two sons who took birth from the womb of Marutvati were Marutvari and Jayanta. Jayanta, who is an expansion of Lord Vasudeva, is known as Upendra. The demigods named the Mauhurtikas took birth from the womb of Muhurta. These demigods deliver the results of actions to the living entities of their respective times. The son of Sankalpa was known as Sankalpa, and from him lust was born. The sons of Vasu were known as the eight Vasus. Just hear their names from me: Drona, Prana, Dhruva, Arka, Agni, Dosa, Vastu and Vibhavasu. From Abhimati, the wife of the Vasu named Drona, were generated the sons named Harsa, Soka, Bhaya and so on. Urjasvati, the wife of Prana, gave birth to three sons, named Saha, Ayus and Purojava. The wife of Dhruva was known as Dharani, and from her womb various cities took birth. From the womb of Vasana, the wife of Arka, came many sons, headed by Tarsa. Dhara, the wife of the Vasu named Agni, gave birth to many sons, headed by Dravinaka. From Krttika, another wife of Agni, came the son named Skanda, Karttikeya, whose sons were headed by Visakha. From the womb of Sarvari, the wife of the Vasu named Dosa, came the son named Sisumara, who was an expansion of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. From Angirasi, the wife of the Vasu named Vastu, was born the great architect Visvakarma. Visvakarma became the husband of Akrti, from whom the Manu named Caksusa was born. The sons of Manu were known as the Visvadevas and Sadhyas. Usa, the wife of Vibhavasu, gave birth to three sons--Vyusta, Rocisa and Atapa. From Atapa came Pancayama, the span of day, who awakens all living entities to material activities. Sarupa, the wife of Bhuta, gave birth to the ten million Rudras, of whom the eleven principle Rudras were Raivata, Aja, Bhava, Bhima, Vama, Ugra, Vrsakapi, Ajaikapat, Ahirbradhna, Bahurupa and Mahan. Their associates, the ghosts and goblins, who are very fearful, were born of the other wife of Bhuta. The prajapati Angira had two wives, named Svadha and Sati. The wife named Svadha accepted all the Pitas as her sons, and Sati accepted the Atharvangirasa Veda as her son. Krsasva had two wives, named Arcis and Dhisana. In the wife named Arcis he begot Dhumaketu and in Dhisana he begot four sons, named Vedasira, Devala, Vayuna and Manu. Kasyapa, who is also named Tarksya, had four wives--Vinata [Suparna], Kadru, Patangi and Yamini. Patangi gave birth to many kinds of birds, and Yamini gave birth to locusts. Vinata [Suparna] gave birth to Garuda, the carrier of Lord Vishnu, and to Anuru, or Aruna, the chariot driver of the sun-god. Kadru gave birth to different varieties of serpents. O Maharaja Pariksit, best of the Bharatas, the constellations named Krttika were all wives of the moon-god. However, because Prajapati Daksa had cursed him to suffer from a disease causing gradual destruction, the moon-god could not beget children in any of his wives. Thereafter the King of the moon pacified Prajapati Daksa with courteous words and thus regained the portions of light he had lost during his disease. Nevertheless he could not beget children. The moon loses his shining power during the dark fortnight, and in the bright fortnight it is manifest again. O King Pariksit, now please hear from me the names of Kasyapa's wives, from whose wombs the population of the entire universe has come. They are the mothers of almost all the population of the entire universe, and their names are very auspicious to hear. They are Aditi, Diti, Danu, Kastha, Arista, Surasa, Ila, Muni, Krodhavasa, Tamra, Surabhi, Sarama and Timi. From the womb of Timi all the aquatics took birth, and from the womb of Sarama the ferocious animals like the tigers and lions took birth. My dear King Pariksit, from the womb of Surabhi the buffalo, cow and other animals with cloven hooves took birth, from the womb of Tamra the eagles, vultures and other large birds of prey took birth, and from the womb of Muni the angels took birth. The sons born of Krodhavasa were the serpents known as dandasuka, as well as other serpents and the mosquitoes. All the various creepers and trees were born from the womb of Ila. The Raksasas, bad spirits, were born from the womb of Surasa. The Gandharvas were born from the womb of Arista, and animals whose hooves are not split, such as the horse, were born from the womb of Kastha. O King, from the womb of Danu came sixty-one sons, of whom these eighteen were very important: Dvimurdha, Sambara, Arista, Hayagriva, Vibhavasu, Ayomukha, Sankusira, Svarbhanu, Kapila, Aruna, Puloma, Vrsaparva, Ekacakra, Anutapana, Dhumrakesa, Virupaksa, Vipracitti and Durjaya. The daughter of Svarbhanu named Suprabha was married by Namuci. The daughter of Vrsaparva named Sarmistha was given to the powerful King Yayati, the son of Nahusa. Vaisvanara, the son of Danu, had four beautiful daughters, named Upadanavi, Hayasira, Puloma and Kalaka. Hiranyaksa married Upadanavi, and Kratu married Hayasira. Thereafter, at the request of Lord Brahma, Prajapati Kasyapa married Puloma and Kalaka, the other two daughters of Vaisvanara. From the wombs of these two wives of Kasyapa came sixty thousand sons, headed by Nivatakavaca, who are known as the Paulomas and the Kalakeyas. They were physically very strong and expert in fighting, and their aim was to disturb the sacrifices performed by the great sages. My dear King, when your grandfather Arjuna went to the heavenly planets, he alone killed all these demons, and thus King Indra became extremely affectionate toward him. In his wife Simhika, Vipracitti begot one hundred and one sons, of whom the eldest is Rahu and the others are the one hundred Ketus. All of them attained positions in the influential planets. Now please hear me as I describe the descendants of Aditi in chronological order. In this dynasty the Supreme Personality of Godhead Narayana descended by His plenary expansion. The names of the sons of Aditi are as follows: Vivasvan, Aryama, Pusa, Tvasta, Savita, Bhaga, Dhata, Vidhata, Varuna, Mitra, Satru and Urukrama. Samjna, the wife of Vivasvan, the sun-god, gave birth to the Manu named Sraddhadeva, and the same fortunate wife also gave birth to the twins Yamaraja and the River Yamuna. Then Yami, while wandering on the earth in the form of a mare, gave birth to the Asvini-kumaras. Chaya, another wife of the sun-god, begot two sons named Sanaiscara and Savarni Manu, and one daughter, Tapati, who married Samvarana. From the womb of Matrka, the wife of Aryama, were born many learned scholars. Among them Lord Brahma created the human species, which are endowed with an aptitude for self-examination. Pusa had no sons. When Lord Shiva was angry at Daksa, Pusa had laughed at Lord Shiva and shown his teeth. Therefore he lost his teeth and had to live by eating only ground flour. Racana, the daughter of the Daityas, became the wife of Prajapati Tvasta. By his semina he begot in her womb two very powerful sons named Sannivesa and Visvarupa. Although Visvarupa was the son of the daughter of their eternal enemies the demons, the demigods accepted him as their priest in accordance with the order of Brahma when they were abandoned by their spiritual master, Brhaspati, whom they had disrespected. Chapter Seven : Indra Offends His Spiritual Master, Brhaspati. Maharaja Pariksit inquired from Sukadeva Gosvami: O great sage, why did the spiritual master of the demigods, Brhaspati, reject the demigods, who were his own disciples? What offense did the demigods commit against their spiritual master? Please describe to me this incident. Sukadeva Gosvami said: O King, once upon a time, the King of heaven, Indra, being extremely proud because of his great opulence of the three worlds, transgressed the law of Vedic etiquette. Seated on his throne, he was surrounded by the Maruts, Vasus, Rudras, Adityas, Rbhus, Visvadevas, Sadhyas, Asvini- kumaras, Siddhas, Caranas and Gandharvas and by great saintly persons. Also surrounding him were the Vidyadharas, Apsaras, Kinnaras, Patagas [birds] and Uragas [snakes]. All of them were offering Indra their respects and services, and the Apsaras and Gandharvas were dancing and singing with very sweet musical instruments. Over Indra's head was a white umbrella as effulgent as the full moon. Fanned by yak-tail whisks and served with all the paraphernalia of a great king, Indra was sitting with his wife, Sacidevi, who occupied half the throne, when the great sage Brhaspati appeared in that assembly. Brhaspati, the best of the sages, was the spiritual master of Indra and the demigods and was respected by the demigods and demons alike. Nevertheless, although Indra saw his spiritual master before him, he did not rise from his own seat or offer a seat to his spiritual master, nor did Indra offer him a respectful welcome. Indra did nothing to show him respect. Brhaspati knew everything that would happen in the future. Seeing Indra's transgression of etiquette, he completely understood that Indra was puffed up by his material opulence. Although able to curse Indra, he did not do so. Instead, he left the assembly and in silence returned to his home. Indra, the King of heaven, could immediately understand his mistake. Realizing he had disrespected his spiritual master, he condemned himself in the presence of all the members of the assembly. Alas, what a regrettable deed I have committed because of my lack of intelligence and my pride in my material opulences. I failed to show respect to my spiritual master when he entered this assembly, and thus I have insulted him. Although I am King of the demigods, who are situated in the mode of goodness, I was proud of a little opulence and polluted by false ego. Under the circumstances, who in this world would accept such riches at the risk of falling down ? Alas! I condemn my wealth and opulence. If a person says, "One who is situated on the exalted throne of a king should not stand up to show respect to another king or a brahmana," it is to be understood that he does not know the superior religious principles. Leaders who have fallen into ignorance and who mislead people by directing them to the path of destruction [as described in the previous verse] are, in effect, boarding a stone boat, and so too are those who blindly follow them. A stone boat would be unable to float and would sink in the water with its passengers. Similarly, those who mislead people go to hell, and their followers go with them. King Indra said: Therefore with great frankness and without duplicity I shall now bow my head at the lotus feet of Brhaspati, the spiritual master of the demigods. Because he is in the mode of goodness, he is fully aware of all knowledge and is the best of the brahmanas. Now I shall touch his lotus feet and offer my obeisances unto him to try to satisfy him. While Indra, the King of the demigods, thought in this way and repented in his own assembly, Brhaspati, the most powerful spiritual master, understood his mind. Thus he became invisible to Indra and left home, for Brhaspati was spiritually more powerful than King Indra. Although Indra searched vigorously with the assistance of the other demigods, he could not find Brhaspati. Then Indra thought, "Alas, my spiritual master has become dissatisfied with me, and now I have no means of achieving good fortune." Although Indra was surrounded by demigods, he could not find peace of mind. Hearing of the pitiable condition of King Indra, the demons, following the instructions of their guru, Sukracarya, equipped themselves with weapons and declared war against the demigods. The demigods' heads, thighs and arms and the other parts of their bodies were injured by the sharp arrows of the demons. The demigods, headed by Indra, saw no other course than to immediately approach Lord Brahma with bowed heads for shelter and proper instruction. When the most powerful Lord Brahma saw the demigods coming toward him, their bodies gravely injured by the arrows of the demons, he pacified them by his great causeless mercy and spoke as follows. Lord Brahma said: O best of the demigods, unfortunately, because of madness resulting from your material opulence, you failed to receive Brhaspati properly when he came to your assembly. Because he is aware of the Supreme Brahman and fully in control of his senses, he is the best of the brahmanas. Therefore it is very astonishing that you have acted impudently toward him. Because of your misbehavior toward Brhaspati, you have been defeated by the demons. My dear demigods, since the demons were weak, having been defeated by you several times, how else could you, who were so advanced in opulence, be defeated by them? O Indra, your enemies, the demons, were extremely weak because of their disrespect toward Sukracarya, but since they have now worshiped Sukracarya with great devotion, they have again become powerful. By their devotion to Sukracarya, they have increased their strength so much that now they are even able to easily seize my abode from me. Because of their firm determination to follow the instructions of Sukracarya, his disciples, the demons, are now unconcerned about the demigods. In fact, kings or others who have determined faith in the mercy of brahmanas, cows and the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, and who always worship these three are always strong in their position. O demigods, I instruct you to approach Visvarupa, the son of Tvasta, and accept him as your guru. He is a pure and very powerful brahmana undergoing austerity and penances. Pleased by your worship, he will fulfill your desires, provided that you tolerate his being inclined to side with the demons. Srila Sukadeva Gosvami continued: Thus advised by Lord Brahma and relieved of their anxiety, all the demigods went to the sage Visvarupa, the son of Tvasta. My dear King, they embraced him and spoke as follows. The demigods said: Beloved Visvarupa, may there be all good fortune for you. We, the demigods, have come to your asrama as your guests. Please try to fulfill our desires according to the time, since we are on the level of your parents. O brahmana, the highest duty of a son, even though he has sons of his own, is to serve his parents, and what to speak of a son who is a brahmacari? The acarya, the spiritual master who teaches all the Vedic knowledge and gives initiation by offering the sacred thread, is the personification of all the Vedas. Similarly, a father personifies Lord Brahma; a brother, King Indra; a mother, the planet earth; and a sister, mercy. A guest personifies religious principles, an invited guest personifies the demigod Agni, and all living entities personify Lord Vishnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Dear son, we have been defeated by our enemies, and therefore we are very much aggrieved. Please mercifully fulfill our desires by relieving our distress through the strength of your austerities. Please fulfill our prayers. Since you are completely aware of the Supreme Brahman, you are a perfect brahmana, and therefore you are the spiritual master of all orders of life. We accept you as our spiritual master and director so that by the power of your austerity we may easily defeat the enemies who have conquered us. The demigods continued: Do not fear criticism for being younger than us. Such etiquette does not apply in regard to Vedic mantras. Except in relationship to Vedic mantras, seniority is determined by age, but one may offer respectful obeisances even to a younger person who is advanced in chanting Vedic mantras. Therefore although you are junior in relationship to us, you may become our priest without hesitation. Sukadeva Gosvami continued: When all the demigods requested the great Visvarupa to be their priest, Visvarupa, who was advanced in austerities, was very pleased. He replied to them as follows. Sri Visvarupa said: O demigods, although the acceptance of priesthood is decried as causing the loss of previously acquired brahminical power, how can someone like me refuse to accept your personal request? You are all exalted commanders of the entire universe. I am your disciple and must take many lessons from you. Therefore I cannot refuse you. I must agree for my own benefit. O exalted governors of various planets, the true brahmana, who has no material possessions, maintains himself by the profession of accepting silonchana. In other words, he picks up grains left in the field and on the ground in the wholesale marketplace. By this means, householder brahmanas who actually abide by the principles of austerity and penance maintain themselves and their families and perform all necessary pious activities. A brahmana who desires to achieve happiness by gaining wealth through professional priesthood must certainly have a very low mind. How shall I accept such priesthood? All of you are my superiors. Therefore although accepting priesthood is sometimes reproachable, I cannot refuse even a small request from you. I agree to be your priest. I shall fulfill your request by dedicating my life and possessions. Sri Sukadeva Gosvami continued: O King, after making this promise to the demigods, the exalted Visvarupa, surrounded by the demigods, performed the necessary priestly activities with great enthusiasm and attention. The opulence of the demons, who are generally known as the enemies of the demigods, was protected by the talents and tactics of Sukracarya, but Visvarupa, who was most powerful, composed a protective prayer known as the Narayana- kavaca. By this intelligent mantra, he took away the opulence of the demons and gave it to Mahendra, the King of heaven. Visvarupa, who was most liberal, spoke to King Indra [Sahasraksa] the secret hymn that protected Indra and conquered the military power of the demons. Chapter Eight : The Narayana-kavaca Shield King Pariksit inquired from Sukadeva Gosvami: My lord, kindly explain the Vishnu mantra armor that protected King Indra and enabled him to conquer his enemies, along with their carriers, and enjoy the opulence of the three worlds. Please explain to me that Narayana armor, by which King Indra achieved success in battle, conquering the enemies who were endeavoring to kill him. Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: King Indra, the leader of the demigods, inquired about the armor known as Narayana-kavaca from Visvarupa, who was engaged by the demigods as their priest. Please hear Visvarupa's reply with great attention. Visvarupa said: If some form of fear arrives, one should first wash his hands and legs clean and then perform acamana by chanting this mantra: om apavitrah pavitro va sarvavastham gato 'pi va/ yah smaret pundarikaksam sa bahyabhyantarah sucih/ sri-visnu sri-visnu sri-visnu. Then one should touch kusa grass and sit gravely and silently, facing north. When completely purified, one should touch the mantra composed of eight syllables to the eight parts of his body and touch the mantra composed of twelve syllables to his hands. Thus, in the following manner, he should bind himself with the Narayana coat of armor. First, while chanting the mantra composed of eight syllables [om namo narayanaya], beginning with the pranava, the syllable om, one should touch his hands to eight parts of his body, starting with the two feet and progressing systematically to the knees, thighs, abdomen, heart, chest, mouth and head. Then one should chant the mantra in reverse, beginning from the last syllable [ya], while touching the parts of his body in the reverse order. These two processes are known as utpatti-nyasa and samhara-nyasa respectively. Then one should chant the mantra composed of twelve syllables [om namo bhagavate vasudevaya]. Preceding each syllable by the omkara, one should place the syllables of the mantra on the tips of his fingers, beginning with the index finger of the right hand and concluding with the index finger of the left. The four remaining syllables should be placed on the joints of the thumbs. One must then chant the mantra of six syllables [om visnave namah]. One should place the syllable om on his heart, the syllable vi on the top of his head, the syllable sa between his eyebrows, the syllable na on his tuft of hair [sikha], and the syllable ve between his eyes. The chanter of the mantra should then place the syllable na on all the joints of his body and meditate on the syllable ma as being a weapon. He should thus become the perfect personification of the mantra. Thereafter, adding visarga to the final syllable ma, he should chant the mantra mah astraya phat in all directions, beginning from the east. In this way, all directions will be bound by the protective armor of the mantra. After finishing this chanting, one should think himself qualitatively one with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is full in six opulences and is worthy to be meditated upon. Then one should chant the following protective prayer to Lord Narayana, the Narayana-kavaca. The Supreme Lord, who sits on the back of the bird Garuda, touching him with His lotus feet, holds eight weapons--the conchshell, disc, shield, sword, club, arrows, bow and ropes. May that Supreme Personality of Godhead protect me at all times with His eight arms. He is all-powerful because He fully possesses the eight mystic powers [anima, laghima, etc.]. May the Lord, who assumes the body of a great fish, protect me in the water from the fierce animals that are associates of the demigod Varuna. By expanding His illusory energy, the Lord assumed the form of the dwarf Vamana. May Vamana protect me on the land. Since the gigantic form of the Lord, Visvarupa, conquers the three worlds, may He protect me in the sky. May Lord Nrsimhadeva, who appeared as the enemy of Hiranyakasipu, protect me in all directions. His loud laughing vibrated in all directions and caused the pregnant wives of the asuras to have miscarriages. May that Lord be kind enough to protect me in difficult places like the forest and battlefront. The Supreme indestructible Lord is ascertained through the performance of ritualistic sacrifices and is therefore known as Yajnesvara. In His incarnation as Lord Boar, He raised the planet earth from the water at the bottom of the universe and kept it on His pointed tusks. May that Lord protect me from rogues on the street. May Parasurama protect me on the tops of mountains, and may the elder brother of Bharata, Lord Ramacandra, along with His brother Laksmana, protect me in foreign countries. May Lord Narayana protect me from unnecessarily following false religious systems and falling from my duties due to madness. May the Lord in His appearance as Nara protect me from unnecessary pride. May Lord Dattatreya, the master of all mystic power, protect me from falling while performing bhakti- yoga, and may Lord Kapila, the master of all good qualities, protect me from the material bondage of fruitive activities. May Sanat-kumara protect me from lusty desires. As I begin some auspicious activity, may Lord Hayagriva protect me from being an offender by neglecting to offer respectful obeisances to the Supreme Lord. May Devarsi Narada protect me from committing offenses in worshiping the Deity, and may Lord Kurma, the tortoise, protect me from falling to the unlimited hellish planets. May the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His incarnation as Dhanvantari relieve me from undesirable eatables and protect me from physical illness. May Lord Rsabhadeva, who conquered His inner and outer senses, protect me from fear produced by the duality of heat and cold. May Yajna protect me from defamation and harm from the populace, and may Lord Balarama as Sesa protect me from envious serpents. May the Personality of Godhead in His incarnation as Vyasadeva protect me from all kinds of ignorance resulting from the absence of Vedic knowledge. May Lord Buddhadeva protect me from activities opposed to Vedic principles and from laziness that causes one to madly forget the Vedic principles of knowledge and ritualistic action. May Kalkideva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who appeared as an incarnation to protect religious principles, protect me from the dirt of the age of Kali. May Lord Kesava protect me with His club in the first portion of the day, and may Govinda, who is always engaged in playing His flute, protect me in the second portion of the day. May Lord Narayana, who is equipped with all potencies, protect me in the third part of the day, and may Lord Vishnu, who carries a disc to kill His enemies, protect me in the fourth part of the day. May Lord Madhusudana, who carries a bow very fearful for the demons, protect me during the fifth part of the day. In the evening, may Lord Madhava, appearing as Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesvara, protect me, and in the beginning of night may Lord Hrsikesa protect me. At the dead of night [in the second and third parts of night] may Lord Padmanabha alone protect me. May the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who bears the Srivatsa on His chest, protect me after midnight until the sky becomes pinkish. May Lord Janardana, who carries a sword in His hand, protect me at the end of night [during the last four ghatikas of night]. May Lord Damodara protect me in the early morning, and may Lord Visvesvara protect me during the junctions of day and night. Set into motion by the Supreme Personality of Godhead and wandering in all the four directions, the disc of the Supreme Lord has sharp edges as destructive as the fire of devastation at the end of the millennium. As a blazing fire burns dry grass to ashes with the assistance of the breeze, may that Sudarsana cakra burn our enemies to ashes. O club in the hand of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, you produce sparks of fire as powerful as thunderbolts, and you are extremely dear to the Lord. I am also His servant. Therefore kindly help me pound to pieces the evil living beings known as Kusmandas, Vainayakas, Yaksas, Raksasas, Bhutas and Grahas. Please pulverize them. O best of conchshells, O Pancajanya in the hands of the Lord, you are always filled with the breath of Lord Krishna. Therefore you create a fearful sound vibration that causes trembling in the hearts of enemies like the Raksasas, pramatha ghosts, Pretas, Matas, Pisacas and brahmana ghosts with fearful eyes. O king of sharp-edged swords, you are engaged by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Please cut the soldiers of my enemies to pieces. Please cut them to pieces! O shield marked with a hundred brilliant moonlike circles, please cover the eyes of the sinful enemies. Pluck out their sinful eyes. May the glorification of the transcendental name, form, qualities and paraphernalia of the Supreme Personality of Godhead protect us from the influence of bad planets, meteors, envious human beings, serpents, scorpions, and animals like tigers and wolves. May it protect us from ghosts and the material elements like earth, water, fire and air, and may it also protect us from lightning and our past sins. We are always afraid of these hindrances to our auspicious life. Therefore, may they all be completely destroyed by the chanting of the Hare Krishna maha-mantra. Lord Garuda, the carrier of Lord Vishnu, is the most worshipable lord, for he is as powerful as the Supreme Lord Himself. He is the personified Vedas and is worshiped by selected verses. May he protect us from all dangerous conditions, and may Lord Visvaksena, the Personality of Godhead, also protect us from all dangers by His holy names. May the Supreme Personality of Godhead's holy names, His transcendental forms, His carriers and all the weapons decorating Him as personal associates protect our intelligence, senses, mind and life air from all dangers. The subtle and gross cosmic manifestation is material, but nevertheless it is nondifferent from the Supreme Personality of Godhead because He is ultimately the cause of all causes. Cause and effect are factually one because the cause is present in the effect. Therefore the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, can destroy all our dangers by any of His potent parts. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, the living entities, the material energy, the spiritual energy and the entire creation are all individual substances. In the ultimate analysis, however, together they constitute the supreme one, the Personality of Godhead. Therefore those who are advanced in spiritual knowledge see unity in diversity. For such advanced persons, the Lord's bodily decorations, His name, His fame, His attributes and forms and the weapons in His hand are manifestations of the strength of His potency. According to their elevated spiritual understanding, the omniscient Lord, who manifests various forms, is present everywhere. May He always protect us everywhere from all calamities. Prahlada Maharaja loudly chanted the holy name of Lord Nrsimhadeva. May Lord Nrsimhadeva, roaring for His devotee Prahlada Maharaja, protect us from all fear of dangers created by stalwart leaders in all directions through poison, weapons, water, fire, air and so on. May the Lord cover their influence by His own transcendental influence. May Nrsimhadeva protect us in all directions and in all corners, above, below, within and without. Visvarupa continued: O Indra, this mystic armor related to Lord Narayana has been described by me to you. By putting on this protective covering, you will certainly be able to conquer the leaders of the demons. If one employs this armor, whomever he sees with his eyes or touches with his feet is immediately freed from all the above-mentioned dangers. This prayer, Narayana-kavaca, constitutes subtle knowledge transcendentally connected with Narayana. One who employs this prayer is never disturbed or put in danger by the government, by plunderers, by evil demons or by any type of disease. O King of heaven, a brahmana named Kausika formerly used this armor when he purposely gave up his body in the desert by mystic power. Surrounded by many beautiful women, Citraratha, the King of Gandharvaloka, was once passing in his airplane over the brahmana's body at the spot where the brahmana had died. Suddenly Citraratha was forced to fall from the sky headfirst with his airplane. Struck with wonder, he was ordered by the great sages named the Valikhilyas to throw the brahmana's bones in the nearby River Sarasvati. He had to do this and bathe in the river before returning to his own abode. Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: My dear Maharaja Pariksit, one who employs this armor or hears about it with faith and veneration when afraid because of any conditions in the material world is immediately freed from all dangers and is worshiped by all living entities. King Indra, who performed one hundred sacrifices, received this prayer of protection from Visvarupa. After conquering the demons, he enjoyed all the opulences of the three worlds. Chapter Nine :Appearance of the Demon Vrtrasura Sri Sukadeva Gosvami continued: Visvarupa, who was engaged as the priest of the demigods, had three heads. He used one to drink the beverage soma-rasa, another to drink wine and the third to eat food. O King Pariksit, thus I have heard from authorities. O Maharaja Pariksit, the demigods were related to Visvarupa from his father's side, and therefore he visibly offered clarified butter in the fire while chanting mantras such as indraya idam svaha ["this is meant for King Indra"] and idam agnaye ["this is for the demigod of fire"]. He loudly chanted these mantras and offered each of the demigods his proper share. Although offering clarified butter in the sacrificial fire in the name of the demigods, without the knowledge of the demigods he also offered oblations to the demons because they were his relatives through his mother. Once upon a time, however, the King of heaven, Indra, understood that Visvarupa was secretly cheating the demigods by offering oblations on behalf of the demons. He became extremely afraid of being defeated by the demons, and in great anger at Visvarupa he cut Visvarupa's three heads from his shoulders. Thereafter, the head meant for drinking soma-rasa was transformed into a kapinjala [francolin partridge]. Similarly, the head meant for drinking wine was transformed into a kalavinka [sparrow], and the head meant for eating food became a tittiri [common partridge]. Although Indra was so powerful that he could neutralize the sinful reactions for killing a brahmana, he repentantly accepted the burden of these reactions with folded hands. He suffered for one year, and then to purify himself he distributed the reactions for this sinful killing among the earth, water, trees and women. In return for King Indra's benediction that ditches in the earth would be filled automatically, the land accepted one fourth of the sinful reactions for killing a brahmana. Because of those sinful reactions, we find many deserts on the surface of the earth. In return for Indra's benediction that their branches and twigs would grow back when trimmed, the trees accepted one fourth of the reactions for killing a brahmana. These reactions are visible in the flowing of sap from trees. [Therefore one is forbidden to drink this sap.] In return for Lord Indra's benediction that they would be able to enjoy lusty desires continuously, even during pregnancy for as long as sex is not injurious to the embryo, women accepted one fourth of the sinful reactions. As a result of those reactions, women manifest the signs of menstruation every month. And in return for King Indra's benediction that water would increase the volume of other substances with which it was mixed, water accepted one fourth of the sinful reactions. Therefore there are bubbles and foam in water. When one collects water, these should be avoided. After Visvarupa was killed, his father, Tvasta, performed ritualistic ceremonies to kill Indra. He offered oblations in the sacrificial fire, saying, "O enemy of Indra, flourish to kill your enemy without delay." Thereafter, from the southern side of the sacrificial fire known as Anvaharya came a fearful personality who looked like the destroyer of the entire creation at the end of the millennium. Like arrows released in the four directions, the demon's body grew, day after day. Tall and blackish, he appeared like a burnt hill and was as lustrous as a bright array of clouds in the evening. The hair on the demon's body and his beard and moustache were the color of melted copper, and his eyes were piercing like the midday sun. He appeared unconquerable, as if holding the three worlds on the points of his blazing trident. Dancing and shouting with a loud voice, he made the entire surface of the earth tremble as if from an earthquake. As he yawned again and again, he seemed to be trying to swallow the whole sky with his mouth, which was as deep as a cave. He seemed to be licking up all the stars in the sky with his tongue and eating the entire universe with his long, sharp teeth. Seeing this gigantic demon, everyone, in great fear, ran here and there in all directions. That very fearful demon, who was actually the son of Tvasta, covered all the planetary systems by dint of austerity. Therefore he was named Vrtra, or one who covers everything. The demigods, headed by Indra, charged the demon with their soldiers, striking him with their own transcendental bows and arrows and other weapons but Vrtrasura swallowed all their weapons. Struck with wonder and disappointment upon seeing the strength of the demon, the demigods lost their own strength. Therefore they all met together to try to please the Supersoul, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana, by worshiping Him. The demigods said: The three worlds are created by the five elements--namely ether, air, fire, water and earth--which are controlled by various demigods, beginning from Lord Brahma. Being very much afraid that the time factor will end our existence, we offer presentations unto time by performing our work as time dictates. The time factor himself, however, is afraid of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore let us now worship that Supreme Lord, who alone can give us full protection. Free from all material conceptions of existence and never wonder-struck by anything, the Lord is always jubilant and fully satisfied by His own spiritual perfection. He has no material designations, and therefore He is steady and unattached. That Supreme Personality of Godhead is the only shelter of everyone. Anyone desiring to be protected by others is certainly a great fool who desires to cross the sea by holding the tail of a dog. The Manu named King Satyavrata formerly saved himself by tying the small boat of the entire world to the horn of the Matsya avatara, the fish incarnation. By the grace of the Matsya avatara, Mahu saved himself from the great danger of the flood. May that same fish incarnation save us from the great and fearful danger caused by the son of Tvasta. In the beginning of creation, a tremendous wind caused fierce waves of inundating water. The great waves made such a horrible sound that Lord Brahma almost fell from his seat on the lotus into the water of devastation, but he was saved with the help of the Lord. Thus we also expect the Lord to protect us from this dangerous condition. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who created us by His external potency and by whose mercy we expand the creation of the universe, is always situated before us as the Supersoul, but we cannot see His form. We are unable to see Him because all of us think that we are separate and independent gods. By His inconceivable internal potency, the Supreme Personality of Godhead expands into various transcendental bodies as Vamanadeva, the incarnation of strength among the demigods; Parasurama, the incarnation among saints; Nrsimhadeva and Varaha, incarnations among animals; and Matsya and Kurma, incarnations among aquatics. He accepts various transcendental bodies among all types of living entities, and among human beings He especially appears as Lord Krishna and Lord Rama. By His causeless mercy, He protects the demigods, who are always harassed by the demons. He is the supreme worshipable Deity of all living entities. He is the supreme cause, represented as the male and female creative energies. Although different from this universe, He exists in His universal form [virata-rupa]. In our fearful condition, let us take shelter of Him, for we are sure that the Supreme Lord, the Supreme Soul, will give us His protection. Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: My dear King, when all the demigods offered Him their prayers, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Hari, carrying His weapons, the conchshell, disc and club, appeared first within their hearts and then before them. Surrounding and serving the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana, were sixteen personal attendants, decorated with ornaments and appearing exactly like Him but without the mark of Srivatsa and the Kaustubha jewel. O King, when all the demigods saw the Supreme Lord in that posture, smiling with eyes like the petals of lotuses grown in autumn, they were overwhelmed with happiness and immediately fell down like rods, offering dandavats. Then they slowly rose and pleased the Lord by offering Him prayers. The demigods said: O Supreme Personality of Godhead, You are competent to give the results of sacrifice, and You are also the time factor that destroys all such results in due course. You are the one who releases the cakra to kill the demons. O Lord, who possesses many varieties of names, we offer our respectful obeisances unto You. O supreme controller, You control the three destinations [promotion to the heavenly planets, birth as a human being, and condemnation in hell], yet Your supreme abode is Vaikuntha-dhama. Since we appeared after You created this cosmic manifestation, Your activities are impossible for us to understand. We therefore have nothing to offer You but our humble obeisances. O Supreme Personality of Godhead, O Narayana, O Vasudeva, original person! O most exalted person, supreme experience, welfare personified! O supreme benediction, supremely merciful and changeless! O support of the cosmic manifestation, sole proprietor of all planetary systems, master of everything and husband of the goddess of fortune! Your Lordship is realized by the topmost sannyasis, who wander about the world to preach Krishna consciousness, fully absorbed in samadhi through bhakti-yoga. Because their minds are concentrated upon You, they can receive the conception of Your personality in their fully purified hearts. When the darkness in their hearts is completely eradicated and You are revealed to them, the transcendental bliss they enjoy is the transcendental form of Your Lordship. No one but such persons can realize You. Therefore we simply offer You our respectful obeisances. O Lord, You need no support, and although You have no material body, You do not need cooperation from us. Since You are the cause of the cosmic manifestation and You supply its material ingredients without being transformed, You create, maintain and annihilate this cosmic manifestation by Yourself. Nevertheless, although You appear engaged in material activity, You are transcendental to all material qualities. Consequently these transcendental activities of Yours are extremely difficult to understand. These are our inquiries. The ordinary conditioned soul is subject to the material laws, and he thus receives the fruits of his actions. Does Your Lordship, like an ordinary human being, exist within this material world in a body produced by the material modes? Do You enjoy or suffer the good or bad results of actions under the influence of time, past work and so forth? Or, on the contrary, are You present here only as a neutral witness who is self- sufficient, free from all material desires, and always full of spiritual potency? We certainly cannot understand Your actual position. O Supreme Personality of Godhead, all contradictions can be reconciled in You. O Lord, since You are the Supreme Person, the reservoir of unlimited spiritual qualities, the supreme controller, Your unlimited glories are inconceivable to the conditioned souls. Many modern theologians argue about right and wrong without knowing what is actually right. Their arguments are always false and their judgments inconclusive because they have no authorized evidence with which to gain knowledge of You. Because their minds are agitated by scriptures containing false conclusions, they are unable to understand the truth concerning You. Furthermore, because of polluted eagerness to arrive at the right conclusion, their theories are incapable of revealing You, who are transcendental to their material conceptions. You are one without a second, and therefore in You contradictions like doing and not doing, happiness and distress, are not contradictory. Your potency is so great that it can do and undo anything as You like. With the help of that potency, what is impossible for You? Since there is no duality in Your constitutional position, You can do everything by the influence of Your energy. A rope causes fear for a bewildered person who considers it a snake, but not for a person with proper intelligence who knows it to be only a rope. Similarly, You, as the Supersoul in everyone's heart, inspire fear or fearlessness according to one's intelligence, but in You there is no duality. With deliberation, one will see that the Supreme Soul, although manifested in different ways, is actually the basic principle of everything. The total material energy is the cause of the material manifestation, but the material energy is caused by Him. Therefore He is the cause of all causes, the manifester of intelligence and the senses. He is perceived as the Supersoul of everything. Without Him, everything would be dead. You, as that Supersoul, the supreme controller, are the only one remaining. Therefore, O killer of the Madhu demon, incessant transcendental bliss flows in the minds of those who have even once tasted but a drop of the nectar from the ocean of Your glories. Such exalted devotees forget the tiny reflection of so- called material happiness produced from the material senses of sight and sound. Free from all desires, such devotees are the real friends of all living entities. Offering their minds unto You and enjoying transcendental bliss, they are expert in achieving the real goal of life. O Lord, You are the soul and dear friend of such devotees, who never need return to this material world. How could they give up engagement in Your devotional service? O Lord, O personified three worlds, father of the three worlds! O strength of the three worlds, in the form of the Vamana incarnation! O three-eyed form of Nrsimhadeva! O most beautiful person within the three worlds! Everything and everyone, including human beings and even the Daitya demons and the Danavas, is but an expansion of Your energy. O supremely powerful one, You have always appeared in Your forms as the various incarnations to punish the demons as soon as they become very powerful. You appear as Lord Vamanadeva, Lord Rama and Lord Krishna. You appear sometimes as an animal like Lord Boar, sometimes a mixed incarnation like Lord Nrsimhadeva and Lord Hayagriva, and sometimes an aquatic like Lord Fish and Lord Tortoise. Assuming such various forms, You have always punished the demons and Danavas. We therefore pray that Your Lordship appear today as another incarnation, if You so desire, to kill the great demon Vrtrasura. O supreme protector, O grandfather, O supreme pure, O Lord! We are all surrendered souls at Your lotus feet. Indeed, our minds are bound to Your lotus feet in meditation by chains of love. Now please manifest Your incarnation. Accepting us as Your own eternal servants and devotees, be pleased with us and sympathetic toward us. By Your love-filled glance, with its cool and pleasing smile of sympathy, and by the sweet, nectarean words emanating from Your beautiful face, free us from the anxiety caused by this Vrtrasura, who always pains the cores of our hearts. O Lord, as the small sparks of a fire cannot possibly perform the actions of the whole fire, we sparks of Your Lordship cannot inform You of the necessities of our lives. You are the complete whole. Therefore, of what do we need to inform You? You know everything because You are the original cause of the cosmic manifestation, the maintainer and the annihilator of the entire universal creation. You always engage in Your pastimes with Your spiritual and material energies, for You are the controller of all these varied energies. You exist within all living entities, within the cosmic manifestation, and also beyond them. You exist internally as Parabrahman and externally as the ingredients of the material creation. Therefore, although manifested in various stages, at different times and places, and in various bodies, You, the Personality of Godhead, are the original cause of all causes. Indeed, You are the original element. You are the witness of all activities, but because You are as great as the sky, You are never touched by any of them. You are the witness of everything as Parabrahman and Paramatma. O Supreme Personality of Godhead, nothing is unknown to You. Dear Lord, You are omniscient, and therefore You know very well why we have taken shelter at Your lotus feet, which provide shade that gives relief from all material disturbances. Since You are the supreme spiritual master and You know everything, we have sought shelter of Your lotus feet for instruction. Please give us relief by counteracting our present distress. Your lotus feet are the only shelter for a fully surrendered devotee and are the only means for subduing all the tribulations of this material world. Therefore, O Lord, O supreme controller, O Lord Krishna, please annihilate this dangerous demon Vrtrasura, Tvasta's son, who has already swallowed all our weapons, our paraphernalia for fighting, and our strength and influence. O Lord, O supreme pure, You live within the core of everyone's heart and observe all the desires and activities of the conditioned souls. O Supreme Personality of Godhead known as Lord Krishna, Your reputation is bright and illuminating. You have no beginning, for You are the beginning of everything. This is understood by pure devotees because You are easily accessible to the pure and truthful. When the conditioned souls are liberated and sheltered at Your lotus feet after roving throughout the material world for many millions of years, they attain the highest success of life. Therefore, O Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, we offer our respectful obeisances at Your lotus feet. Sri Sukadeva Gosvami continued: O King Pariksit, when the demigods offered the Lord their sincere prayers in this way, the Lord listened by His causeless mercy. Being pleased, He then replied to the demigods. The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: O beloved demigods, you have offered your prayers to Me with great knowledge, and I am certainly most pleased with you. A person is liberated by such knowledge, and thus he remembers My exalted position, which is above the conditions of material life. Such a devotee is fully purified by offering prayers in full knowledge. This is the source of devotional service to Me. O best of the intelligent demigods, although it is true that nothing is difficult for one to obtain when I am pleased with him, a pure devotee, whose mind is exclusively fixed upon Me, does not ask Me for anything but the opportunity to engage in devotional service. Those who think material assets to be everything or to be the ultimate goal of life are called misers [krpanas]. They do not know the ultimate necessity of the soul. Moreover, if one awards that which is desired by such fools, he must also be considered foolish. A pure devotee who is fully accomplished in the science of devotional service will never instruct a foolish person to engage in fruitive activities for material enjoyment, not to speak of helping him in such activities. Such a devotee is like an experienced physician, who never encourages a patient to eat food injurious to his health, even if the patient desires it. O Maghavan [Indra], all good fortune unto you. I advise you to approach the exalted saint Dadhyanca [Dadhici]. He has become very accomplished in knowledge, vows and austerities, and his body is very strong. Go ask him for his body without delay. That saintly Dadhyanca, who is also known as Dadhici, personally assimilated the spiritual science and then delivered it to the Asvini-kumaras. It is said that Dadhyanca gave them mantras through the head of a horse. Therefore the mantras are called Asvasira. After obtaining the mantras of spiritual science from Dadhici, the Asvini-kumaras became jivan-mukta, liberated even in this life. Dadhyanca's invincible protective covering known as the Narayana-kavaca was given to Tvasta, who delivered it to his son Visvarupa, from whom you have received it. Because of this Narayana-kavaca, Dadhici's body is now very strong. You should therefore beg him for his body. When the Asvini-kumaras beg for Dadhyanca's body on your behalf, he will surely give it because of affection. Do not doubt this, for Dadhyanca is very experienced in religious understanding. When Dadhyanca awards you his body, Visvakarma will prepare a thunderbolt from his bones. This thunderbolt will certainly kill Vrtrasura because it will be invested with My power. When Vrtrasura is killed because of My spiritual strength, you will regain your strength, weapons and wealth. Thus there will be all good fortune for all of you. Although Vrtrasura can destroy all the three worlds, do not fear that he will harm you. He is also a devotee and will never be envious of you. Chapter Ten : The Battle Between the Demigods and Vrtrasura Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: After instructing Indra in this way, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, the cause of the cosmic manifestation, then and there disappeared from the presence of the onlooking demigods. O King Pariksit, following the Lord's instructions, the demigods approached Dadhici, the son of Atharva. He was very liberal, and when they begged him to give them his body, he at once partially agreed. However, just to hear religious instructions from them, he smiled and jokingly spoke as follows. O elevated demigods, at the time of death, severe, unbearable pain takes away the consciousness of all living entities who have accepted material bodies. Don't you know about this pain? In this material world, every living entity is very much addicted to his material body. Struggling to keep his body forever, everyone tries to protect it by all means, even at the sacrifice of all his possessions. Therefore, who would be prepared to deliver his body to anyone, even if it were demanded by Lord Vishnu? The demigods replied: O exalted brahmana, pious persons like you, whose activities are praiseworthy, are very kind and affectionate to people in general. What can't such pious souls give for the benefit of others? They can give everything, including their bodies. Those who are too self-interested beg something from others, not knowing of others' pain. But if the beggar knew the difficulty of the giver, he would not ask for anything. Similarly, he who is able to give charity does not know the beggar's difficulty, for otherwise he would not refuse to give the beggar anything he might want as charity. The great sage Dadhici said: Just to hear from you about religious principles, I refused to offer my body at your request. Now, although my body is extremely dear to me, I must give it up for your better purposes since I know that it will leave me today or tomorrow. O demigods, one who has no compassion for humanity in its suffering and does not sacrifice his impermanent body for the higher causes of religious principles or eternal glory is certainly pitied even by the immovable beings. If one is unhappy to see the distress of other living beings and happy to see their happiness, his religious principles are appreciated as imperishable by exalted persons who are considered pious and benevolent. This body, which is eatable by jackals and dogs after death, does not actually do any good for me, the spirit soul. It is usable only for a short time and may perish at any moment. The body and its possessions, its riches and relatives, must all be engaged for the benefit of others, or else they will be sources of tribulation and misery. Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: Dadhici Muni, the son of Atharva, thus resolved to give his body to the service of the demigods. He placed himself, the spirit soul, at the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and in this way gave up his gross material body made of five elements. Dadhici Muni controlled his senses, life force, mind and intelligence and became absorbed in trance. Thus he cut all his material bonds. He could not perceive how his material body became separated from his self. Thereafter, King Indra very firmly took up the thunderbolt manufactured by Visvakarma from the bones of Dadhici. Charged with the exalted power of Dadhici Muni and enlightened by the power of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Indra rode on the back of his carrier, Airavata, surrounded by all the demigods, while all the great sages offered him praise. Thus he shone very beautifully, pleasing the three worlds as he rode off to kill Vrtrasura. My dear King Pariksit, as Rudra, being very angry at Antaka [Yamaraja] had formerly run toward Antaka to kill him, Indra angrily and with great force attacked Vrtrasura, who was surrounded by the leaders of the demoniac armies. Thereafter, at the end of Satya-yuga and the beginning of Treta-yuga, a fierce battle took place between the demigods and the demons on the bank of the Narmada. O King, when all the asuras came onto the battlefield, headed by Vrtrasura, they saw King Indra carrying the thunderbolt and surrounded by the Rudras, Vasus, Adityas, Asvini-kumaras, Pitas, Vahnis, Maruts, Rbhus, Sadhyas and Visvadevas. Surrounded by his company, Indra shone so brightly that his effulgence was intolerable to the demons. Many hundreds and thousands of demons, demi-demons, Yaksas, Raksasas [man- eaters] and others, headed by Sumali and Mali, resisted the armies of King Indra, which even death personified cannot easily overcome. Among the demons were Namuci, Sambara, Anarva, Dvimurdha, Rsabha, Asura, Hayagriva, Sankusira, Vipracitti, Ayomukha, Puloma, Vrsaparva, Praheti, Heti and Utkala. Roaring tumultuously and fearlessly like lions, these invincible demons, all dressed in golden ornaments, gave pain to the demigods with weapons like clubs, bludgeons, arrows, barbed darts, mallets and lances. Armed with lances, tridents, axes, swords and other weapons like sataghnis and bhusundis, the demons attacked from different directions and scattered all the chiefs of the demigod armies. As the stars in the sky cannot be seen when covered by dense clouds, the demigods, being completely covered by networks of arrows falling upon them one after another, could not be seen. The showers of various weapons and arrows released to kill the soldiers of the demigods did not reach them because the demigods, acting quickly, cut the weapons into thousands of pieces in the sky. As their weapons and mantras decreased, the demons began showering mountain peaks, trees and stones upon the demigod soldiers, but the demigods were so powerful and expert that they nullified all these weapons by breaking them to pieces in the sky as before. When the soldiers of the demons, commanded by Vrtrasura, saw that the soldiers of King Indra were quite well, having not been injured at all by their volleys of weapons, not even by the trees, stones and mountain peaks, the demons were very much afraid. When insignificant persons use rough words to cast false, angry accusations against saintly persons, their fruitless words do not disturb the great personalities. Similarly, all the efforts of the demons against the demigods, who were favorably situated under the protection of Krishna, were futile. The asuras, who are never devotees of Lord Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, lost their pride in fighting when they found all their endeavors futile. Leaving aside their leader even in the very beginning of the fight, they decided to flee because all their prowess had been taken away by the enemy. Seeing his army broken and all the asuras, even those known as great heroes, fleeing the battlefield out of intense fear, Vrtrasura, who was truly a great- minded hero, smiled and spoke the following words. According to his position and the time and circumstances, Vrtrasura, the hero among heroes, spoke words that were much to be appreciated by thoughtful men. He called to the heroes of the demons, "O Vipracitti! O Namuci! O Puloma! O Maya, Anarva and Sambara! Please hear me and do not flee." Vrtrasura said: All living entities who have taken birth in this material world must die. Surely, no one in this world has found any means to be saved from death. Even providence has not provided a means to escape it. Under the circumstances, death being inevitable, if one can gain promotion to the higher planetary systems and be always celebrated here by dying a suitable death, what man will not accept such a glorious death? There are two ways to meet a glorious death, and both are very rare. One is to die after performing mystic yoga, especially bhakti-yoga, by which one can control the mind and living force and die absorbed in thought of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The second is to die on the battlefield, leading the army and never showing one's back. These two kinds of death are recommended in the sastra as glorious. Chapter Eleven : The Transcendental Qualities of Vrtrasura Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: O King, Vrtrasura, the commander in chief of the demons, advised his lieutenants in the principles of religion, but the cowardly demoniac commanders, intent upon fleeing the battlefield, were so disturbed by fear that they could not accept his words. O King Pariksit, the demigods, taking advantage of a favorable opportunity presented by time, attacked the army of the demons from the rear and began driving away the demoniac soldiers, scattering them here and there as if their army had no leader. Seeing the pitiable condition of his soldiers, Vrtrasura, the best of the asuras, who was called Indrasatru, the enemy of Indra, was very much aggrieved. Unable to tolerate such reverses, he stopped and forcefully rebuked the demigods, speaking the following words in an angry mood. O demigods, these demoniac soldiers have taken birth uselessly. Indeed, they have come from the bodies of their mothers exactly like stool. What is the benefit of killing such enemies from behind while they are running in fear? One who considers himself a hero should not kill an enemy who is afraid of losing his life. Such killing is never glorious, nor can it promote one to the heavenly planets. O insignificant demigods, if you truly have faith in your heroism, if you have patience in the cores of your hearts and if you are not ambitious for sense gratification, please stand before me for a moment. Sukadeva Gosvami said: Vrtrasura, the angry and most powerful hero, terrified the demigods with his stout and strongly built body. When he roared with a resounding voice, nearly all living entities fainted. When all the demigods heard Vrtrasura's tumultuous roar, which resembled that of a lion, they fainted and fell to the ground as if struck by thunderbolts. As the demigods closed their eyes in fear, Vrtrasura, taking up his trident and making the earth tremble with his great strength, trampled the demigods beneath his feet on the battlefield the way a mad elephant tramples hollow bamboos in the forest. Seeing Vrtrasura's disposition, Indra, the King of heaven, became intolerant and threw at him one of his great clubs, which are extremely difficult to counteract. However, as the club flew toward him, Vrtrasura easily caught it with his left hand. O King Pariksit, the powerful Vrtrasura, the enemy of King Indra, angrily struck the head of Indra's elephant with that club, making a tumultuous sound on the battlefield. For this heroic deed, the soldiers on both sides glorified him. Struck with the club by Vrtrasura like a mountain struck by a thunderbolt, the elephant Airavata, feeling great pain and spitting blood from its broken mouth, was pushed back fourteen yards. In great distress, the elephant fell, with Indra on its back. When he saw Indra's carrier elephant thus fatigued and injured and when he saw Indra morose because his carrier had been harmed in that way, the great soul Vrtrasura, following religious principles, refrained from again striking Indra with the club. Taking this opportunity, Indra touched the elephant with his nectar-producing hand, thus relieving the animal's pain and curing its injuries. Then the elephant and Indra both stood silently. O King, when the great hero Vrtrasura saw Indra, his enemy, the killer of his brother, standing before him with a thunderbolt in his hand, desiring to fight, Vrtrasura remembered how Indra had cruelly killed his brother. Thinking of Indra's sinful activities, he became mad with lamentation and forgetfulness. Laughing sarcastically, he spoke as follows. Sri Vrtrasura said: He who has killed a brahmana, he who has killed his spiritual master--indeed, he who has killed my brother--is now, by good fortune, standing before me face to face as my enemy. O most abominable one, when I pierce your stonelike heart with my trident, I shall be freed from my debt to my brother. Only for the sake of living in the heavenly planets, you killed my elder brother--a self-realized, sinless, qualified brahmana who had been appointed your chief priest. He was your spiritual master, but although you entrusted him with the performance of your sacrifice, you later mercilessly severed his heads from his body the way one butchers an animal. Indra, you are bereft of all shame, mercy, glory and good fortune. Deprived of these good qualities by the reactions of your fruitive activities, you are to be condemned even by the man-eaters [Raksasas]. Now I shall pierce your body with my trident, and after you die with great pain, even fire will not touch you; only the vultures will eat your body. You are naturally cruel. If the other demigods, unaware of my prowess, follow you by attacking me with raised weapons, I shall sever their heads with this sharp trident. With those heads I shall perform a sacrifice to Bhairava and the other leaders of the ghosts, along with their hordes. But if in this battle you cut off my head with your thunderbolt and kill my soldiers, O Indra, O great hero, I shall take great pleasure in offering my body to other living entities [such as jackals and vultures]. I shall thus be relieved of my obligations to the reactions of my karma, and my fortune will be to receive the dust from the lotus feet of great devotees like Narada Muni. O King of the demigods, since I, your enemy, am standing before you, why don't you hurl your thunderbolt at me? Although your attack upon me with your club was certainly useless, like a request of money from a miser, the thunderbolt you carry will not be useless. You need have no doubts about this. O Indra, King of heaven, the thunderbolt you carry to kill me has been empowered by the prowess of Lord Vishnu and the strength of Dadhici's austerities. Since you have come here to kill me in accordance with Lord Vishnu's order, there is no doubt that I shall be killed by the release of your thunderbolt. Lord Vishnu has sided with you. Therefore your victory, opulence and all good qualities are assured. By the force of your thunderbolt, I shall be freed of material bondage and shall give up this body and this world of material desires. Fixing my mind upon the lotus feet of Lord Sankarsana, I shall attain the destination of such great sages as Narada Muni, just as Lord Sankarsana has said. Persons who fully surrender at the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and always think of His lotus feet are accepted and recognized by the Lord as His own personal assistants or servants. The Lord never bestows upon such servants the brilliant opulences of the upper, lower and middle planetary systems of this material world. When one possesses material opulence in any of these three divisions of the universe, his possessions naturally increase his enmity, anxiety, mental agitation, pride and belligerence. Thus one goes through much endeavor to increase and maintain his possessions, and he suffers great unhappiness when he loses them. Our Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, forbids His devotees to endeavor uselessly for religion, economic development and sense gratification. O Indra, one can thus infer how kind the Lord is. Such mercy is obtainable only by unalloyed devotees, not by persons who aspire for material gains. O my Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, will I again be; able to be a servant of Your eternal servants who find shelter only at Your lotus feet? O Lord of my life, may I again become their servant so that my mind may always think of Your transcendental attributes, my words always glorify those attributes, and my body always engage in the loving service of Your Lordship? O my Lord, source of all opportunities, I do not desire to enjoy in Dhruvaloka, the heavenly planets or the planet where Lord Brahma resides, nor do I want to be the supreme ruler of all the earthly planets or the lower planetary systems. I do not desire to be master of the powers of mystic yoga, nor do I want liberation if I have to give up Your lotus feet. O lotus-eyed Lord, as baby birds that have not yet developed their wings always look for their mother to return and feed them, as small calves tied with ropes await anxiously the time of milking, when they will be allowed to drink the milk of their mothers, or as a morose wife whose husband is away from home always longs for him to return and satisfy her in all respects, I always yearn for the opportunity to render direct service unto You. O my Lord, my master, I am wandering throughout this material world as a result of my fruitive activities. Therefore I simply seek friendship in the association of Your pious and enlightened devotees. My attachment to my body, wife, children and home is continuing by the spell of Your external energy, but I wish to be attached to them no longer. Let my mind, my consciousness and everything I have be attached only to You. Chapter Twelve : Vrtrasura's Glorious Death Sukadeva Gosvami said: Desiring to give up his body, Vrtrasura considered death in the battle preferable to victory. O King Pariksit, he vigorously took up his trident and with great force attacked Lord Indra, the King of heaven, just as Kaitabha had forcefully attacked the Supreme Personality of Godhead when the universe was inundated. Then Vrtrasura, the great hero of the demons, whirled his trident, which had points like the flames of the blazing fire at the end of the millennium. With great force and anger he threw it at Indra, roaring and exclaiming loudly, "O sinful one, thus shall I kill you!" Flying in the sky, Vrtrasura's trident resembled a brilliant meteor. Although the blazing weapon was difficult to look upon, King Indra, unafraid, cut it to pieces with his thunderbolt. Simultaneously, he cut off one of Vrtrasura's arms, which was as thick as the body of Vasuki, the King of the serpents. Although one of his arms was severed from his body, Vrtrasura angrily approached King Indra and struck him on the jaw with an iron mace. He also struck the elephant that carried Indra. Thus Indra dropped the thunderbolt from his hand. The denizens of various planets, like the demigods, demons, Caranas and Siddhas, praised Vrtrasura's deed, but when they observed that Indra was in great danger, they lamented, "Alas! Alas!" Having dropped the thunderbolt from his hand in the presence of his enemy, Indra was practically defeated and was very much ashamed. He dared not pick up his weapon again. Vrtrasura, however, encouraged him, saying, "Take up your thunderbolt and kill your enemy. This is not the time to lament your fate." Vrtrasura continued: O Indra, no one is guaranteed of being always victorious but the original enjoyer, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Bhagavan. He is the cause of creation, maintenance and annihilation, and He knows everything. Being dependent and being obliged to accept material bodies, belligerent subordinates are sometimes victorious and sometimes defeated. All living beings in all the planets of this universe, including the presiding deities of all the planets, are fully under the control of the Lord. They work like birds caught in a net, who cannot move independently. Our sensory prowess, mental power, bodily strength, living force, immortality and mortality are all subject to the superintendence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Not knowing this, foolish people think the dull material body to be the cause of their activities. O King Indra, as a wooden doll that looks like a woman or as an animal made of grass and leaves cannot move or dance independently, but depends fully on the person who handles it, all of us dance according to the desire of the supreme controller, the Personality of Godhead. No one is independent. The three purusas--Karanodakasayi Vishnu, Garbhodakasayi Vishnu and Ksirodakasayi-Vishnu--the material nature, the total material energy, the false ego, the five material elements, the material senses, the mind, the intelligence and consciousness cannot create the material manifestation without the direction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. A foolish, senseless person cannot understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Although always dependent, he falsely thinks himself the Supreme. If one thinks, "According to one's previous fruitive actions, one's material body is created by the father and mother, and the same body is annihilated by another agent, as another animal is devoured by a tiger," this is not proper understanding. The Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself creates and devours the living beings through other living beings. Just as a person not inclined to die must nonetheless give up his longevity, opulence, fame and everything else at the time of death, so, at the appointed time of victory, one can gain all these when the Supreme Lord awards them by His mercy. Since everything is dependent on the supreme will of the Personality of Godhead, one should be equipoised in fame and defamation, victory and defeat, life and death. In their effects, represented as happiness and distress, one should maintain oneself in equilibrium, without anxiety. One who knows that the three qualities--goodness, passion and ignorance--are not qualities of the soul but qualities of material nature, and who knows that the pure soul is simply an observer of the actions and reactions of these qualities, should be understood to be a liberated person. He is not bound by these qualities. O my enemy, just look at me. I have already been defeated, for my weapon and arm have been cut to pieces. You have already overwhelmed me, but nonetheless, with a desire to kill you, I am trying my best to fight. I am not at all morose, even under such adverse conditions. Therefore you should give up your moroseness and continue fighting. O my enemy, consider this battle a gambling match in which our lives are the stakes, the arrows are the dice, and the animals acting as carriers are the game board. No one can understand who will be defeated and who will be victorious. It all depends on providence. Sukadeva Gosvami said: Hearing the straightforward, instructive words of Vrtrasura, King Indra praised him and again took the thunderbolt in his hand. Without bewilderment or duplicity, he then smiled and spoke to Vrtrasura as follows. Indra said: O great demon, I see by your discrimination and endurance in devotional service, despite your dangerous position, that you are a perfect devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Supersoul and friend of everyone. You have surmounted the illusory energy of Lord Vishnu, and because of this liberation, you have given up the demoniac mentality and have attained the position of an exalted devotee. O Vrtrasura, demons are generally conducted by the mode of passion. Therefore, what a great wonder it is that although you are a demon, you have adopted the mentality of a devotee and have fixed your mind on the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vasudeva, who is always situated in pure goodness. A person fixed in the devotional service of the Supreme Lord, Hari, the Lord of the highest auspiciousness, swims in the ocean of nectar. For him what is the use of the water in small ditches? Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: Vrtrasura and King Indra spoke about devotional service even on the battlefield, and then as a matter of duty they again began fighting. My dear King, both of them were great fighters and were equally powerful. O Maharaja Pariksit, Vrtrasura, who was completely able to subdue his enemy, took his iron club, whirled it around, aimed it at Indra and then threw it at him with his left hand. With his thunderbolt named Sataparvan, Indra simultaneously cut to pieces Vrtrasura's club and his remaining hand. Vrtrasura, bleeding profusely, his two arms cut off at their roots, looked very beautiful, like a flying mountain whose wings have been cut to pieces by Indra. Vrtrasura was very powerful in physical strength and influence. He placed his lower jaw on the ground and his upper jaw in the sky. His mouth became very deep, like the sky itself, and his tongue resembled a large serpent. With his fearful, deathlike teeth, he seemed to be trying to devour the entire universe. Thus assuming a gigantic body, the great demon Vrtrasura shook even the mountains and began crushing the surface of the earth with his legs, as if he were the Himalayas walking about. He came before Indra and swallowed him and Airavata, his carrier, just as a big python might swallow an elephant. When the demigods, along with Brahma, other prajapatis and other great saintly persons, saw that Indra had been swallowed by the demon, they became very morose. "Alas," they lamented. "What a calamity ! What a calamity !" The protective armor of Narayana, which Indra possessed, was identical with Narayana Himself, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Protected by that armor and by his own mystic power, King Indra, although swallowed by Vrtrasura, did not die within the demon's belly. With his thunderbolt, King Indra, who was also extremely powerful, pierced through Vrtrasura's abdomen and came out. Indra, the killer of the demon Bala, then immediately cut off Vrtrasura's head, which was as high as the peak of a mountain. Although the thunderbolt revolved around Vrtrasura's neck with great speed, separating his head from his body took one complete year--360 days, the time in which the sun, moon and other luminaries complete a northern and southern journey. Then, at the suitable time for Vrtrasura to be killed, his head fell to the ground. When Vrtrasura was killed, the Gandharvas and Siddhas in the heavenly planets beat kettledrums in jubilation. With Vedic hymns they celebrated the prowess of Indra, the killer of Vrtrasura, praising Indra and showering flowers upon him with great pleasure. O King Pariksit, subduer of enemies, the living spark then came forth from Vrtrasura's body and returned home, back to Godhead. While all the demigods looked on, he entered the transcendental world to become an associate of Lord Sankarsana. Chapter Thirteen : King Indra Afflicted by Sinful Reaction Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: O King Pariksit, who are so charitably disposed, when Vrtrasura was killed, all the presiding deities and everyone else in the three planetary systems was immediately pleased and free from trouble--everyone, that is, except Indra. Thereafter, the demigods, the great saintly persons, the inhabitants of Pitrloka and Bhutaloka, the demons, the followers of the demigods, and also Lord Brahma, Lord Shiva and the demigods subordinate to Indra all returned to their respective homes. While departing, however, no one spoke to Indra. Maharaja Pariksit inquired from Sukadeva Gosvami: O great sage, what was the reason for Indra's unhappiness? I wish to hear about this. When he killed Vrtrasura, all the demigods were extremely happy. Why, then, was Indra himself unhappy? Sri Sukadeva Gosvami answered: When all the great sages and demigods were disturbed by the extraordinary power of Vrtrasura, they had assembled to ask Indra to kill him. Indra, however, being afraid of killing a brahmana, declined their request. King Indra replied: When I killed Visvarupa, I received extensive sinful reactions, but I was favored by the women, land, trees and water, and therefore I was able to divide the sin among them. But now if I kill Vrtrasura, another brahmana, how shall I free myself from the sinful reactions? Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: Hearing this, the great sages replied to King Indra, "O King of heaven, all good fortune unto you. Do not fear. We shall perform an asvamedha sacrifice to release you from any sin you may accrue by killing the brahmana." The rsis continued: O King Indra, by performing an asvamedha sacrifice and thereby pleasing the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the Supersoul, Lord Narayana, the supreme controller, one can be relieved even of the sinful reactions for killing the entire world, not to speak of killing a demon like Vrtrasura. One who has killed a brahmana, one who has killed a cow or one who has killed his father, mother or spiritual master can be immediately freed from all sinful reactions simply by chanting the holy name of Lord Narayana. Other sinful persons, such as dog-eaters and candalas, who are less than sudras, can also be freed in this way. But you are a devotee, and we shall help you by performing the great horse sacrifice. If you please Lord Narayana in that way, why should you be afraid? You will be freed even if you kill the entire universe, including the brahmanas, not to speak of killing a disturbing demon like Vrtrasura. Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: Encouraged by the words of the sages, Indra killed Vrtrasura, and when he was killed the sinful reaction for killing a brahmana [brahma-hatya] certainly took shelter of Indra. Following the advice of the demigods, Indra killed Vrtrasura, and he suffered because of this sinful killing. Although the other demigods were happy, he could not derive happiness from the killing of Vrtrasura. Indra's other good qualities, such as tolerance and opulence, could not help him in his grief. Indra saw personified sinful reaction chasing him, appearing like a candala woman, a woman of the lowest class. She seemed very old, and all the limbs of her body trembled. Because she was afflicted with tuberculosis, her body and garments were covered with blood. Breathing an unbearable fishy odor that polluted the entire street, she called to Indra, "Wait! Wait!" O King, Indra first fled to the sky, but there also he saw the woman of personified sin chasing him. This witch followed him wherever he went. At last he very quickly went to the northeast and entered the Mahasa-sarovara Lake. Always thinking of how he could be relieved from the sinful reaction for killing a brahmana, King Indra, invisible to everyone, lived in the lake for one thousand years in the subtle fibers of the stem of a lotus. The fire-god used to bring him his share of all yajnas, but because the fire-god was afraid to enter the water, Indra was practically starving. As long as King Indra lived in the water, wrapped in the stem of the lotus, Nahusa was equipped with the ability to rule the heavenly kingdom, due to his knowledge, austerity and mystic power. Nahusa, however, blinded and maddened by power and opulence, made undesirable proposals to Indra's wife with a desire to enjoy her. Thus Nahusa was cursed by a brahmana and later became a snake. Indra's sins were diminished by the influence of Rudra, the demigod of all directions. Because Indra was protected by the goddess of fortune, Lord Vishnu's wife, who resides in the lotus clusters of Manasa-sarovara Lake, Indra's sins could not affect him. Indra was ultimately relieved of all the reactions of his sinful deeds by strictly worshiping Lord Vishnu. Then he was called back to the heavenly planets by the brahmanas and reinstated in his position. O King, when Lord Indra reached the heavenly planets, the saintly brahmanas approached him and properly initiated him into a horse sacrifice [asvamedha- yajna] meant to please the Supreme Lord. The horse sacrifice performed by the saintly brahmanas relieved Indra of the reactions to all his sins because he worshiped the Supreme Personality of Godhead in that sacrifice. O King, although he had committed a gravely sinful act, it was nullified at once by that sacrifice, just as fog is vanquished by the brilliant sunrise. King Indra was favored by Marici and the other great sages. They performed the sacrifice just according to the rules and regulations, worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Supersoul, the original person. Thus Indra regained his exalted position and was again honored by everyone. In this very great narrative there is glorification of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana, there are statements about the exaltedness of devotional service, there are descriptions of devotees like Indra and Vrtrasura, and there are statements about King Indra's release from sinful life and about his victory in fighting the demons. By understanding this incident, one is relieved of all sinful reactions. Therefore the learned are always advised to read this narration. If one does so, one will become expert in the activities of the senses, his opulence will increase, and his reputation will become widespread. One will also be relieved of all sinful reactions, he will conquer all his enemies, and the duration of his life will increase. Because this narration is auspicious in all respects, learned scholars regularly hear and repeat it on every festival day. Chapter Fourteen :King Citraketu's Lamentation King Pariksit inquired from Sukadeva Gosvami: O learned brahmana, demons are generally sinful, being obsessed with the modes of passion and ignorance. How, then, could Vrtrasura have attained such exalted love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana? Demigods situated in the mode of goodness and great saints cleansed of the dirt of material enjoyment hardly ever render pure devotional service at the lotus feet of Mukunda. [Therefore how could Vrtrasura have become such a great devotee?] In this material world there are as many living entities as atoms. Among these living entities, a very few are human beings, and among them, few are interested in following religious principles. O best of the brahmanas, Sukadeva Gosvami, out of many persons who follow religious principles, only a few desire liberation from the material world. Among many thousands who desire liberation, one may actually achieve liberation, giving up material attachment to society, friendship, love, country, home, wife and children. And among many thousands of such liberated persons, one who can understand the true meaning of liberation is very rare. O great sage, among many millions who are liberated and perfect in knowledge of liberation, one may be a devotee of Lord Narayana, or Krishna. Such devotees, who are fully peaceful, are extremely rare. Vrtrasura was situated in the blazing fire of battle and was an infamous, sinful demon, always engaged in giving troubles and anxieties to others. How could such a demon become so greatly Krishna conscious? My dear lord, Sukadeva Gosvami, although Vrtrasura was a sinful demon, he showed the prowess of a most exalted ksatriya and satisfied Lord Indra in battle. How could such a demon be a great devotee of Lord Krishna? These contradictions have caused me great doubt, and they have made me eager to hear of this from you. Sri Suta Gosvami said: After hearing Maharaja Pariksit's very intelligent question, Sukadeva Gosvami, the most powerful sage, began answering his disciple with great affection. Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: O King, I shall speak to you the same history I have heard from the mouths of Vyasadeva, Narada and Devala. Please listen with attention. O King Pariksit, in the province of Surasena there was a king named Citraketu, who ruled the entire earth. During his reign, the earth produced all the necessities for life. This Citraketu had ten million wives, but although he was capable of producing children, he did not receive a child from any of them. By chance, all the wives were barren. Citraketu, the husband of these millions of wives, was endowed with a beautiful form, magnanimity and youth. He was born in a high family, he had a complete education, and he was wealthy and opulent. Nevertheless, in spite of being endowed with all these assets, he was full of anxiety because he did not have a son. His queens all had beautiful faces and attractive eyes, yet neither his opulences, his hundreds and thousands of queens, nor the lands of which he was the supreme proprietor were sources of happiness for him. Once upon a time, when the powerful sage named Angira was traveling all over the universe without engagement, by his sweet will he came to the palace of King Citraketu. Citraketu immediately stood up from his throne and offered him worship. He offered drinking water and eatables and in this way performed his duty as a host to a great guest. When the rsi was seated very comfortably, the King, restraining his mind and senses, sat on the ground at the side of the rsi's feet. O King Pariksit, when Citraketu, bent low in humility, was seated at the lotus feet of the great sage, the sage congratulated him for his humility and hospitality. The sage addressed him in the following words. The great sage Angira said: My dear King, I hope that your body and mind and your royal associates and paraphernalia are well. When the seven properties of material nature [the total material energy, the ego and the five objects of sense gratification] are in proper order, the living entity within the material elements is happy. Without these seven elements one cannot exist. Similarly, a king is always protected by seven elements--his instructor (svamor guru), his ministers, his kingdom, his fort, his treasury, his royal order and his friends. O King, O lord of humanity, when a king directly depends upon his associates and follows their instructions, he is happy. Similarly, when his associates offer their gifts and activities to the king and follow his orders, they are also happy. O King, are your wives, citizens, secretaries and servants and the merchants who sell spices and oil under your control? Are you also in full control of ministers, the inhabitants of your palace, your provincial governors, your sons and your other dependents? If the king's mind is fully controlled, all his family members and governmental officers are subordinate to him. His provincial governors present taxes on time, without resistance, and what to speak of lesser servants? O King Citraketu, I can observe that your mind is not pleased. You seem not to have achieved your desired goal. Is this because of you yourself, or has it been caused by others? Your pale face reflects your deep anxiety. Sukadeva Gosvami said: O King Pariksit, although the great sage Angira knew everything, he inquired from the King in this way. Thus King Citraketu, desiring a son, bent low in great humility and spoke to the great sage as follows. King Citraketu said: O great lord Angira, because of austerity, knowledge and transcendental samadhi, you are freed from all the reactions of sinful life. Therefore, as a perfect yogi, you can understand everything external and internal regarding embodied, conditioned souls like us. O great soul, you are aware of everything, yet you are asking me why I am full of anxiety. Therefore, in response to your order, let me disclose the cause. As a person aggrieved by hunger and thirst is not pleased by the external gratification of flower garlands or sandalwood pulp, I am not pleased with my empire, opulence or possessions, which are desirable even for great demigods, because I have no son. Therefore, O great sage, please save me and my forefathers, who are descending to the darkness of hell because I have no progeny. Kindly do something so that I may have a son to deliver us from hellish conditions. In response to the request of Maharaja Citraketu, Angira Rsi, who was born of Lord Brahma's mind, was very merciful toward him. Because the sage was a greatly powerful personality, he performed a sacrifice by offering oblations of sweetrice to Tvasta. O Pariksit Maharaja, best of the Bharatas, the remnants of the food offered in the yajna were given by the great sage Angira to the first and most perfect among Citraketu's millions of queens, whose name was Krtadyuti. Thereafter, the great sage told the King, "O great King, now you will have a son who will be the cause of both jubilation and lamentation." The sage then left, without waiting for Citraketu's response. As Krttikadevi, after receiving the semen of Lord Shiva from Agni, conceived a child named Skanda [Karttikeya], Krtadyuti, having received semen from Citraketu, became pregnant after eating remnants of food from the yajna performed by Angira. After receiving semen from Maharaja Citraketu, the King of Surasena, Queen Krtadyuti gradually developed in her pregnancy, O King Pariksit, just as the moon develops during the bright fortnight. Thereafter, in due course of time, a son was born to the King. Hearing news of this, all the inhabitants of the state of Surasena were extremely pleased. King Citraketu was especially pleased. After purifying himself by bathing and by decorating himself with ornaments, he engaged learned brahmanas in offering benedictions to the child and performing the birth ceremony. Unto the brahmanas who took part in the ritualistic ceremony the King gave charity of gold, silver, garments, ornaments, villages, horses and elephants, as well as sixty crores of cows [six hundred million cows]. As a cloud indiscriminately pours water on the earth, the beneficent King Citraketu, to increase the reputation, opulence and longevity of his son, distributed like rainfall all desirable things to everyone. When a poor man gets some money after great difficulty, his affection for the money increases daily. Similarly, when King Citraketu, after great difficulty, received a son, his affection for the son increased day after day. The mother's attraction and attention to the son, like that of the child's father, excessively increased. The other wives, seeing Krtadyuti's son, were very much agitated, as if by high fevers, with a desire to have sons. As King Citraketu fostered his son very carefully, his affection for Queen Krtadyuti increased, but gradually he lost affection for the other wives, who had no sons. The other queens were extremely unhappy due to their being sonless. Because of the King's negligence toward them, they condemned themselves in envy and lamented. A wife who has no sons is neglected at home by her husband and dishonored by her co-wives exactly like a maidservant. Certainly such a woman is condemned in every respect because of her sinful life. Even maidservants who are constantly engaged in rendering service to the husband are honored by the husband, and thus they have nothing for which to lament. Our position, however, is that we are maidservants of the maidservant. Therefore we are most unfortunate. Sri Sukadeva Gosvami continued: Being neglected by their husband and seeing Krtadyuti's opulence in possessing a son, Krtadyuti's co-wives always burned in envy, which became extremely strong. As their envy increased, they lost their intelligence. Being extremely hardhearted and unable to tolerate the King's neglect, they finally administered poison to the son. Unaware of the poison administered by her co-wives, Queen Krtadyuti walked within the house, thinking that her son was sleeping deeply. She did not understand that he was dead. Thinking that her child had been sleeping for a long time, Queen Krtadyuti, who was certainly very intelligent, ordered the nurse, "My dear friend, please bring my son here." When the maidservant approached the child, who was lying down, she saw that his eyes were turned upward. There were no signs of life, all his senses having stopped, and she could understand that the child was dead. Seeing this, she immediately cried, "Now I am doomed," and fell to the ground. In great agitation, the maidservant struck her breast with both hands and cried loudly in regretful words. Hearing her loud voice, the Queen immediately came, and when she approached her son, she saw that he was suddenly dead. In great lamentation, her hair and dress in disarray, the Queen fell to the ground unconscious. O King Pariksit, hearing the loud crying, all the inhabitants of the palace came, both men and women. Being equally aggrieved, they also began to cry. The queens who had administered the poison also cried pretentiously, knowing full well their offense. When King Citraketu heard of his son's death from unknown causes, he became almost blind. Because of his great affection for his son, his lamentation grew like a blazing fire, and as he went to see the dead child, he kept slipping and falling on the ground. Surrounded by his ministers and other officers and the learned brahmanas present, the King approached and fell unconscious at the child's feet, his hair and dress scattered. When the King, breathing heavily, regained consciousness, his eyes were tearful, and he could not speak. When the Queen saw her husband, King Citraketu, merged in great lamentation and saw the dead child, who was the only son in the family, she lamented in various ways. This increased the pain in the cores of the hearts of all the inhabitants of the palace, the ministers and all the brahmanas. The garland of flowers decorating the Queen's head fell, and her hair scattered. Falling tears melted the collyrium on her eyes and moistened her breasts, which were covered with kunkuma powder. As she lamented the loss of her son, her loud crying resembled the sweet sound of a kurari bird. Alas, O Providence, O Creator, You are certainly inexperienced in creation, for during the lifetime of a father You have caused the death of his son, thus acting in opposition to Your creative laws. If You are determined to contradict these laws, You are certainly the enemy of living entities and are never merciful. My Lord, You may say that there is no law that a father must die in the lifetime of his son and that a son must be born in the lifetime of his father, since everyone lives and dies according to his own fruitive activity. However, if fruitive activity is so strong that birth and death depend upon it, there is no need of a controller, or God. Again, if You say that a controller is needed because the material energy does not have the power to act, one may answer that if the bonds of affection You have created are disturbed by fruitive action, no one will raise children with affection; instead, everyone will cruelly neglect his children. Since You have cut the bonds of affection that compel a parent to raise his child, You appear inexperienced and unintelligent. My dear son, I am helpless and very much aggrieved. You should not give up my company. Just look at your lamenting father. We are helpless because without a son we shall have to suffer the distress of going to the darkest hellish regions. You are the only hope by which we can get out of these dark regions. Therefore I request you not to go any further with the merciless Yama. My dear son, you have slept a long time. Now please get up. Your playmates are calling you to play. Since you must be very hungry, please get up and suck my breast and dissipate our lamentation. My dear son, I am certainly most unfortunate, for I can no longer see your mild smiling. You have closed your eyes forever. I therefore conclude that you have been taken from this planet to another, from which you will not return. My dear son, I can no longer hear your pleasing voice. Sri Sukadeva Gosvami continued: Accompanied by his wife, who was thus lamenting for her dead son, King Citraketu began crying loudly with an open mouth, being greatly aggrieved. As the King and Queen lamented, all their male and female followers joined them in crying. Because of the sudden accident, all the citizens of the kingdom were almost unconscious. When the great sage Angira understood that the King was almost dead in an ocean of lamentation, he went there with Narada Rsi. Chapter Fifteen : The Saints Narada and Angira Instruct King Citraketu Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: While King Citraketu, overcome by lamentation, lay like a dead body at the side of the dead body of his son, the two great sages Narada and Angira instructed him about spiritual consciousness as follows. O King, what relationship does the dead body for which you lament have with you, and what relationship do you have with him? You may say that you are now related as father and son, but do you think this relationship existed before? Does it truly exist now? Will it continue in the future? O King, as small particles of sand sometimes come together and are sometimes separated due to the force of the waves, the living entities who have accepted material bodies sometimes come together and are sometimes separated by the force of time. When seeds are sown in the ground, they sometimes grow into plants and sometimes do not. Sometimes the ground is not fertile, and the sowing of seeds is unproductive. Similarly, sometimes a prospective father, being impelled by the potency of the Supreme Lord, can beget a child, but sometimes conception does not take place. Therefore one should not lament over the artificial relationship of parenthood, which is ultimately controlled by the Supreme Lord. O King, both you and us--your advisers, wives and ministers--as well as everything moving and not moving throughout the entire cosmos at this time, are in a temporary situation. Before our birth this situation did not exist, and after our death it will exist no longer. Therefore our situation now is temporary, although it is not false. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, the master and proprietor of everything, is certainly not interested in the temporary cosmic manifestation. Nonetheless, just as a boy at the beach creates something in which he is not interested, the Lord, keeping everything under His control, causes creation, maintenance and annihilation. He creates by engaging a father to beget a son, He maintains by engaging a government or king to see to the public's welfare, and He annihilates through agents for killing, such as snakes. The agents for creation, maintenance and annihilation have no independent potency, but because of the spell of the illusory energy, one thinks himself the creator, maintainer and annihilator. As from one seed another seed is generated, O King, so from one body [the body of the father], through another body [the body of the mother], a third body is generated [the body of a son]. As the elements of the material body are eternal, the living entity who appears through these material elements is also eternal. Divisions of generalization and specification, such as nationality and individuality, are the imaginations of persons who are not advanced in knowledge. Sri Sukadeva Gosvami continued: Thus enlightened by the instructions of Narada and Angira, King Citraketu became hopeful with knowledge. Wiping his shriveled face with his hand, the King began to speak. King Citraketu said: You have both come here dressed like avadhutas, liberated persons, just to cover your identities, but I see that of all men, you are the most elevated in awareness. You know everything as it is. Therefore you are the greatest of all great personalities. Brahmanas who are exalted to the position of Vaisnavas, the most dear servants of Krishna, sometimes dress like madmen. Just to benefit materialists like us, who are always attached to sense gratification, and just to dissipate our ignorance, these Vaisnavas wander on the surface of the globe according to their desire. O great souls, I have heard that among the great and perfect persons wandering the surface of the earth to instruct knowledge to people covered by ignorance are Sanat-kumara, Narada, Rbhu, Angira, Devala, Asita, Apantaratama [Vyasadeva], Markandeya, Gautama, Vasistha, Bhagavan Parasurama, Kapila, Sukadeva, Durvasa, Yajnavalkya, Jatukarna and Aruni. Others are Romasa, Cyavana, Dattatreya, Asuri, Patanjali, the great sage Dhaumya who is like the head of the Vedas, the sage Pancasikha, Hiranyanabha, Kausalya, Srutadeva and Rtadhvaja. You must certainly be among them. Because you are great personalities, you can give me real knowledge. I am as foolish as a village animal like a pig or dog because I am merged in the darkness of ignorance. Therefore, please ignite the torch of knowledge to save me. Angira said: My dear King, when you desired to have a son, I approached you. Indeed, I am the same Angira Rsi who gave you this son. As for this rsi, he is the great sage Narada, the direct son of Lord Brahma My dear King, you are an advanced devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. To be absorbed in lamentation for the loss of something material is unsuitable for a person like you. Therefore we have both come to relieve you from this false lamentation, which is due to your being merged in the darkness of ignorance. For those who are advanced in spiritual knowledge to be affected by material loss and gain is not at all desirable. When I first came to your home, I could have given you the supreme transcendental knowledge, but when I saw that your mind was absorbed in material things, I gave you only a son, who caused you jubilation and lamentation. My dear King, now you are actually experiencing the misery of a person who has sons and daughters. O King, owner of the state of Surasena, one's wife, his house, the opulence of his kingdom, and his various other opulences and objects of sense perception are all the same in that they are temporary. One's kingdom, military power, treasury, servants, ministers, friends and relatives are all causes of fear, illusion, lamentation and distress. They are like a gandharva- nagara, a nonexistent palace that one imagines to exist in the forest. Because they are impermanent, they are no better than illusions, dreams and mental concoctions. These visible objects like wife, children and property are like dreams and mental concoctions. Actually what we see has no permanent existence. It is sometimes seen and sometimes not. Only because of our past actions do we create such mental concoctions, and because of these concoctions, we perform further activities. The living entity in the bodily conception of life is absorbed in the body, which is a combination of the physical elements, the five senses for gathering knowledge, and the five senses of action, along with the mind. Through the mind the living entity suffers three kinds of tribulations--adhibhautika, adhidaivika and adhyatmika. Therefore this body is a source of all miseries. Therefore, O King Citraketu, carefully consider the position of the atma. In other words, try to understand who you are--whether body, mind or soul. Consider where you have come from, where you are going after giving up this body, and why you are under the control of material lamentation. Try to understand your real position in this way, and then you will be able to give up your unnecessary attachment. You will also be able to give up the belief that this material world, or anything not directly in touch with service to Krishna, is eternal. Thus you will obtain peace. The great sage Narada continued: My dear King, attentively receive from me a mantra, which is most auspicious. After accepting it from me, in seven nights you will be able to see the Lord face to face. My dear King, in former days Lord Shiva and other demigods took shelter of the lotus feet of Sankarsana. Thus they immediately got free from the illusion of duality and achieved unequaled and unsurpassed glories in spiritual life. You will very soon attain that very same position. Chapter Sixteen : King Citraketu Meets the Supreme Lord Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: My dear King Pariksit, by his mystic power the great sage Narada brought the dead son into the vision of all the lamenting relatives and then spoke as follows. Sri Narada Muni said: O living entity, all good fortune unto you. Just see your father and mother. All your friends and relatives are overwhelmed with grief because of your passing away. Because you died untimely, the balance of your lifetime still remains. Therefore you may reenter your body and enjoy the remainder of your life, surrounded by your friends and relatives. Accept the royal throne and all the opulences given by your father. By the mystic power of Narada Muni, the living entity reentered his dead body for a short time and spoke in reply to Narada Muni's request. He said: According to the results of my fruitive activities, I, the living being, transmigrate from one body to another, sometimes going to the species of the demigods, sometimes to the species of lower animals, sometimes among the vegetables, and sometimes to the human species. Therefore, in which birth were these my mother and father? No one is actually my mother and father. How can I accept these two people as my parents? In this material world, which advances like a river that carries away the living entity, all people become friends, relatives and enemies in due course of time. They also act neutrally, they mediate, they despise one another, and they act in many other relationships. Nonetheless, despite these various transactions, no one is permanently related. Just as gold and other commodities are continually transferred from one place to another in due course of purchase and sale, so the living entity, as a result of his fruitive activities, wanders throughout the entire universe, being injected into various bodies in different species of life by one kind of father after another. A few living entities are born in the human species, and others are born as animals. Although both are living entities, their relationships are impermanent. An animal may remain in the custody of a human being for some time, and then the same animal may be transferred to the possession of other human beings. As soon as the animal goes away, the former proprietor no longer has a sense of ownership. As long as the animal is in his possession he certainly has an affinity for it, but as soon as the animal is sold, the affinity is lost. Even though one living entity becomes connected with another because of a relationship based on bodies that are perishable, the living entity is eternal. Actually it is the body that is born or lost, not the living entity. One should not accept that the living entity takes birth or dies. The living being actually has no relationship with so-called fathers and mothers. As long as he appears as the son of a certain father and mother as a result of his past fruitive activities, he has a connection with the body given by that father and mother. Thus he falsely accepts himself as their son and acts affectionately. After he dies, however, the relationship is finished. Under these circumstances, one should not be falsely involved with jubilation and lamentation. The living entity is eternal and imperishable because he actually has no beginning and no end. He never takes birth or dies. He is the basic principle of all types of bodies, yet he does not belong to the bodily category. The living being is so sublime that he is equal in quality to the Supreme Lord. Nonetheless, because he is extremely small, he is prone to be illusioned by the external energy, and thus he creates various bodies for himself according to his different desires. For this living entity, no one is dear, nor is anyone unfavorable. He makes no distinction between that which is his own and that which belongs to anyone else. He is one without a second; in other words, he is not affected by friends and enemies, well-wishers or mischief-mongers. He is only an observer, a witness, of the different qualities of men. The Supreme Lord [atma], the creator of cause and effect, does not accept the happiness and distress that result from fruitive actions. He is completely independent of having to accept a material body, and because He has no material body, He is always neutral. The living entities, being part and parcel of the Lord, possess His qualities in a minute quantity. Therefore one should not be affected by lamentation. Sri Sukadeva Gosvami continued: When the conditioned soul [jiva] in the form of Maharaja Citraketu's son had spoken in this way and then left, Citraketu and the other relatives of the dead son were all astonished. Thus they cut off the shackles of their affection, which was due to their relationship with him, and gave up their lamentation. After the relatives had discharged their duties by performing the proper funeral ceremonies and burning the dead child's body, they gave up the affection that leads to illusion, lamentation, fear and pain. Such affection is undoubtedly difficult to give up, but they gave it up very easily. Queen Krtyadyuti's co-wives, who had poisoned the child, were very much ashamed, and they lost all their bodily luster. While lamenting, O King, they remembered the instructions of Angira and gave up their ambition to bear children. Following the directions of the brahmanas, they went to the bank of the Yamuna, where they bathed and atoned for their sinful activities. Thus enlightened by the instructions of the brahmanas Angira and Narada, King Citraketu became fully aware of spiritual knowledge. As an elephant becomes free from a muddy reservoir of water, King Citraketu came out of the dark well of family life. The King bathed in the water of the Yamuna, and according to prescribed duties, he offered oblations of water to the forefathers and demigods. Very gravely controlling his senses and mind, he then offered his respects and obeisances to the sons of Lord Brahma [Angira and Narada]. Thereafter, being very much pleased with Citraketu, who was a self-controlled devotee and surrendered soul, Narada, the most powerful sage, spoke to him the following transcendental instructions. [Narada gave Citraketu the following mantra.] O Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, who are addressed by the omkara [pranava], I offer my respectful obeisances unto You. O Lord Vasudeva, I meditate upon You. O Lord Pradyumna, Lord Aniruddha and Lord Sankarsana, I offer You my respectful obeisances. O reservoir of spiritual potency, O supreme bliss, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You, who are self-sufficient and most peaceful. O ultimate truth, one without a second, You are realized as Brahman, Paramatma and Bhagavan and are therefore the reservoir of all knowledge. I offer my respectful obeisances unto You. Perceiving Your personal bliss, You are always transcendental to the waves of material nature. Therefore, my Lord, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You. You are the supreme controller of the senses, and Your expansions of form are unlimited. You are the greatest, and therefore I offer my respectful obeisances unto You. The words and mind of the conditioned soul cannot approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead, for material names and forms are not applicable to the Lord, who is entirely spiritual, beyond the conception of gross and subtle forms. The impersonal Brahman is another of His forms. May He, by His pleasure, protect us. As pots made completely of earth are situated on earth after being created and are transformed into earth again when broken, this cosmic manifestation is caused by the Supreme Brahman, situated in the Supreme Brahman, and annihilated in the same Supreme Brahman. Therefore, since the Supreme Lord is the cause of Brahman, let us offer Him our respectful obeisances. The Supreme Brahman emanates from the Supreme Personality of Godhead and expands like the sky. Although untouched by anything material, it exists within and without. Nonetheless, the mind, intelligence, senses and living force can neither touch Him nor know Him. I offer unto Him my respectful obeisances. As iron has the power to burn when made red-hot in the association of fire, so the body, senses, living force, mind and intelligence, although merely lumps of matter, can function in their activities when infused with a particle of consciousness by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As iron cannot burn unless heated by fire, the bodily senses cannot act unless favored by the Supreme Brahman. O transcendental Lord, who are situated in the topmost planet of the spiritual world, Your two lotus feet are always massaged by a multitude of the best devotees with their lotus-bud hands. You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, complete in six opulences. You are the supreme person mentioned in the Purusa- sukta prayers. You are the most perfect, self-realized master of all mystic power. Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto You. Sri Sukadeva Gosvami continued: Narada, having become the spiritual master of Citraketu, instructed him fully in this prayer because Citraketu was fully surrendered. O King Pariksit, Narada then left with the great sage Angira for the topmost planet, known as Brahmaloka. Fasting and drinking only water, Citraketu for one week continuously chanted with great care and attention the mantra given by Narada Muni. O King Pariksit, after only one week of repeatedly practicing the mantra received from the spiritual master, Citraketu achieved the rule of the planet of the Vidyadharas as an intermediate product of his spiritual advancement in knowledge. Thereafter, within a very few days, by the influence of the mantra that Citraketu had practiced, his mind became increasingly enlightened in spiritual progress, and he attained shelter at the lotus feet of Anantadeva. Upon reaching the shelter of Lord Sesa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Citraketu saw that He was as white as the white fibers of a lotus flower. He was dressed in bluish garments and adorned with a brilliantly glittering helmet, armlets, belt and bangles. His face was smiling, and His eyes were reddish. He was surrounded by such exalted liberated persons as Sanat-kumara. As soon as Maharaja Citraketu saw the Supreme Lord, he was cleansed of all material contamination and situated in his original Krishna consciousness, being completely purified. He became silent and grave, and because of love for the Lord, tears fell from his eyes, and his hairs stood on end. With great devotion and love, he offered his respectful obeisances unto the original Personality of Godhead. With tears of love and affection, Citraketu repeatedly moistened the resting place of the Supreme Lord's lotus feet. Because his voice was choked in ecstasy, for a considerable time he was unable to utter any of the letters of the alphabet to offer the Lord suitable prayers. Thereafter, by controlling his mind with his intelligence and thus restricting his senses from external engagements, he recovered suitable words with which to express his feelings. Thus he began offering prayers to the Lord, who is the personification of the holy scriptures [the satvata-samhitas like the Brahma- samhita and the Narada-pancaratra] and who is the spiritual master of all. He offered his prayers as follows. Citraketu said: O unconquerable Lord, although You cannot be conquered by anyone, You are certainly conquered by devotees who have control of the mind and senses. They can keep You under their control because You are causelessly merciful to devotees who desire no material profit from You. Indeed, You give Yourself to them, and because of this You also have full control over Your devotees. My dear Lord, this cosmic manifestation and its creation, maintenance and annihilation are all but Your opulences. Since Lord Brahma and the other creators are nothing but small portions of a portion of You, their partial power to create does not make them God [isvara]. Their consciousness of themselves as separate Lords is therefore merely false prestige. It is not valid. You exist in the beginning, middle and end of everything, from the most minute particle of the cosmic manifestation--the atom--to the gigantic universes and total material energy. Nonetheless, You are eternal, having no beginning, end or middle. You are perceived to exist in these three phases, and thus You are permanent. When the cosmic manifestation does not exist, You exist as the original potency. Every universe is covered by seven layers--earth, water, fire, air, sky, the total energy and false ego--each ten times greater than the previous one. There are innumerable universes besides this one, and although they are unlimitedly large, they move about like atoms in You. Therefore You are called unlimited [ananta]. O Lord, O Supreme, unintelligent persons who thirst for sense enjoyment and who worship various demigods are no better than animals in the human form of life. Because of their animalistic propensities, they fail to worship Your Lordship, and instead they worship the insignificant demigods, who are but small sparks of Your glory. With the destruction of the entire universe, including the demigods, the benedictions received from the demigods also vanish, just like the nobility when a king is no longer in power. O Supreme Lord, if persons obsessed with material desires for sense gratification through material opulence worship You, who are the source of all knowledge and are transcendental to material qualities, they are not subject to material rebirth, just as sterilized or fried seeds do not produce plants. Living entities are subjected to the repetition of birth and death because they are conditioned by material nature, but since You are transcendental, one who is inclined to associate with You in transcendence escapes the conditions of material nature. O unconquerable one, when You spoke about bhagavata-dharma, which is the uncontaminated religious system for achieving the shelter of Your lotus feet, that was Your victory. Persons who have no material desires, like the Kumaras, who are self-satisfied sages, worship You to be liberated from material contamination. In other words, they accept the process of bhagavata-dharma to achieve shelter at Your lotus feet. Being full of contradictions, all forms of religion but bhagavata-dharma work under conceptions of fruitive results and distinctions of "you and I" and "yours and mine." The followers of Srimad-Bhagavatam have no such consciousness. They are all Krishna conscious, thinking that they are Krishna's and Krishna is theirs. There are other, low-class religious systems, which are contemplated for the killing of enemies or the gain of mystic power, but such religious systems, being full of passion and envy, are impure and temporary. Because they are full of envy, they are full of irreligion. How can a religious system that produces envy of one's self and of others be beneficial for oneself and for them? What is auspicious about following such a system? What is actually to be gained? By causing pain to one's own self due to self-envy and by causing pain to others, one arouses Your anger and practices irreligion. My dear Lord, one's occupational duty is instructed in Srimad-Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-gita according to Your point of view, which never deviates from the highest goal of life. Those who follow their occupational duties under Your supervision, being equal to all living entities, moving and nonmoving, and not considering high and low, are called Aryans. Such Aryans worship You, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. My Lord, it is not impossible for one to be immediately freed from all material contamination by seeing You. Not to speak of seeing You personally, merely by hearing the holy name of Your Lordship only once, even candalas, men of the lowest class, are freed from all material contamination. Under the circumstances, who will not be freed from material contamination simply by seeing You? Therefore, my dear Lord, simply seeing You has now wiped away all the contamination of sinful activities and their results of material attachment and lusty desires, which always filled my mind and the core of my heart. Whatever is predicted by the great sage Narada Muni cannot be otherwise. In other words, I have obtained Your audience as a result of being trained by Narada Muni. O unlimited Supreme Personality of Godhead, whatever a living entity does in this material world is well known to You because You are the Supersoul. In the presence of the sun there is nothing to be revealed by the light of a glowworm. Similarly, because You know everything, in Your presence there is nothing for me to make known. My dear Lord, You are the creator, maintainer and annihilator of this cosmic manifestation, but persons who are too materialistic and who always see separateness do not have eyes with which to see You. They cannot understand Your real position, and therefore they conclude that the cosmic manifestation is independent of Your opulence. My Lord, You are the supreme pure, and You are full in all six opulences. Therefore I offer my respectful obeisances unto You. My dear Lord, it is after You endeavor that Lord Brahma, Indra and the other directors of the cosmic manifestation become occupied with their activities. It is after You perceive the material energy, My Lord, that the senses begin to perceive. The Supreme Personality of Godhead holds all the universes on His heads like seeds of mustard. I offer my respectful obeisances unto You, that Supreme Personality, who has thousands of hoods. Sukadeva Gosvami continued: The Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Anantadeva, being very much pleased with the prayers offered by Citraketu, the King of the Vidyadharas, replied to him as follows, O best of the Kuru dynasty, Maharaja Pariksit. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Anantadeva, replied as follows: O King, as a result of your having accepted the instructions spoken about Me by the great sages Narada and Angira, you have become completely aware of transcendental knowledge. Because you are now educated in the spiritual science, you have seen Me face to face. Therefore you are now completely perfect. All living entities, moving and nonmoving, are My expansions and are separate from Me. I am the Supersoul of all living beings, who exist because I manifest them. I am the form of the transcendental vibrations like omkara and Hare Krishna Hare Rama, and I am the Supreme Absolute Truth. These two forms of Mine- -namely, the transcendental sound and the eternally blissful spiritual form of the Deity, are My eternal forms; they are not material. In this world of matter, which the conditioned soul accepts as consisting of enjoyable resources, the conditioned soul expands, thinking that he is the enjoyer of the material world. Similarly, the material world expands in the living entity as a source of enjoyment. In this way they both expand, but because they are My energies, they are both pervaded by Me. As the Supreme Lord, I am the cause of these effects, and one should know that both of them rest in Me. When a person is in deep sleep, he dreams and sees in himself many other objects, such as great mountains and rivers or perhaps even the entire universe, although they are far away. Sometimes when one awakens from a dream he sees that he is in a human form, lying in his bed in one place. Then he sees himself, in terms of various conditions, as belonging to a particular nationality, family and so on. All the conditions of deep sleep, dreaming and wakefulness are but energies of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One should always remember the original creator of these conditions, the Supreme Lord, who is unaffected by them. Know Me to be the Supreme Brahman, the all-pervading Supersoul through whom the sleeping living entity can understand his dreaming condition and his happiness beyond the activities of the material senses. That is to say, I am the cause of the activities of the sleeping living being. If one's dreams during sleep are merely subject matters witnessed by the Supersoul, how can the living entity, who is different from the Supersoul, remember the activities of dreams? The experiences of one person cannot be understood by another. Therefore the knower of the facts, the living entity who inquires into the incidents manifested in dreams and wakefulness, is different from the circumstantial activities. That knowing factor is Brahman. In other words, the quality of knowing belongs to the living entities and to the Supreme Soul. Thus the living entity can also experience the activities of dreams and wakefulness. In both stages the knower is unchanged, but is qualitatively one with the Supreme Brahman. When a living entity, thinking himself different from Me, forgets his spiritual identity of qualitative oneness with Me in eternity, knowledge and bliss, his material, conditional life begins. In other words, instead of identifying his interest with Mine, he becomes interested in his bodily expansions like his wife, children and material possessions. In this way, by the influence of his actions, one body comes from another, and after one death, another death takes place. A human being can attain perfection in life by self-realization through the Vedic literature and its practical application. This is possible especially for a human being born in India, the land of piety. A man who obtains birth in such a convenient position but does not understand his self is unable to achieve the highest perfection, even if he is exalted to life in the higher planetary systems. Remembering the great trouble found in the field of activities performed for fruitive results, and remembering how one receives the reverse of the results one desires--whether from material actions or from the fruitive activities recommended in the Vedic literatures--an intelligent man should cease from the desire for fruitive actions, for by such endeavors one cannot achieve the ultimate goal of life. On the other hand, if one acts without desires for fruitive results--in other words, if one engages in devotional activities--he can achieve the highest goal of life with freedom from miserable conditions. Considering this, one should cease from material desires. As husband and wife, a man and woman plan together to attain happiness and decrease unhappiness, working jointly in many ways, but because their activities are full of desires, these activities are never a source of happiness, and they never diminish distress. On the contrary, they are a cause of great unhappiness. One should understand that the activities of persons who are proud of their material experience bring only results contradictory to those such persons conceive while awake, sleeping and deeply sleeping. One should further understand that the spirit soul, although very difficult for the materialist to perceive, is above all these conditions, and by the strength of one's discrimination, one should give up the desire for fruitive results in the present life and in the next. Thus becoming experienced in transcendental knowledge, one should become My devotee. Persons who try to reach the ultimate goal of life must expertly observe the Supreme Absolute Person and the living entity, who are one in quality in their relationship as part and whole. This is the ultimate understanding of life. There is no better truth than this. O King, if you accept this conclusion of Mine, being unattached to material enjoyment, adhering to Me with great faith and thus becoming proficient and fully aware of knowledge and its practical application in life, you will achieve the highest perfection by attaining Me. Sri Sukadeva Gosvami continued: After thus instructing Citraketu and assuring him of perfection in this way, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the supreme spiritual master, the supreme soul, Sankarsana, disappeared from that place as Citraketu looked on. Chapter Seventeen : Mother Parvati Curses Citraketu Srila Sukadeva Gosvami said: After offering obeisances to the direction from which Ananta, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, had disappeared, Citraketu began traveling in outer space as the head of the Vidyadharas. Being praised by great sages and saints and by the inhabitants of Siddhaloka and Caranaloka, Citraketu, the most powerful mystic yogi, wandered about enjoying life for millions of years. With bodily strength and senses free from deterioration, he traveled within the valleys of Sumeru Mountain, which is the place of perfection for various kinds of mystic power. In those valleys he enjoyed life with the women of Vidyadhara-loka by chanting the glories of the Supreme Lord, Hari. One time while King Citraketu was traveling in outer space on a brilliantly effulgent airplane given to him by Lord Vishnu, he saw Lord Shiva, surrounded by Siddhas and Caranas. Lord Shiva was sitting in an assembly of great saintly persons and embracing Parvati on his lap with his arm. Citraketu laughed loudly and spoke, within the hearing of Parvati. Citraketu said: Lord Shiva, the spiritual master of the general populace, is the best of all living entities who have accepted material bodies. He enunciates the system of religion. Yet how wonderful it is that he is embracing his wife, Parvati, in the midst of an assembly of great saintly persons. Lord Shiva, whose hair is matted on his head, has certainly undergone great austerities and penances. Indeed, he is the president in the assembly of strict followers of Vedic principles. Nonetheless, he is seated with his wife on his lap in the midst of saintly persons and is embracing her as if he were a shameless, ordinary human being. Ordinary conditioned persons generally embrace their wives and enjoy their company in solitary places. How wonderful it is that Lord Mahadeva, although a great master of austerity, is embracing his wife openly in the midst of an assembly of great saints. Srila Sukadeva Gosvami continued: My dear King, after hearing Citraketu's statement, Lord Shiva, the most powerful personality, whose knowledge is fathomless, simply smiled and remained silent, and all the members of the assembly followed the lord by not saying anything. Not knowing the prowess of Lord Shiva and Parvati, Citraketu strongly criticized them. His statements were not at all pleasing, and therefore the goddess Parvati, being very angry, spoke as follows to Citraketu, who thought himself better than Lord Shiva in controlling the senses. The goddess Parvati said: Alas, has this upstart now received a post from which to punish shameless persons like us? Has he been appointed ruler, carrier of the rod of punishment? Is he now the only master of everything? Alas, Lord Brahma, who has taken his birth from the lotus flower, does not know the principles of religion, nor do the great saints like Bhrgu and Narada, nor the four Kumaras, headed by Sanat-kumara. Manu and Kapila have also forgotten the religious principles. I suppose it to be because of this that they have not tried to stop Lord Shiva from behaving improperly. This Citraketu is the lowest of ksatriyas, for he has impudently overridden Brahma and the other demigods by insulting Lord Shiva, upon whose lotus feet they always meditate. Lord Shiva is personified religion and the spiritual master of the entire world, and therefore Citraketu must be punished. This person is puffed up because of his achievements, thinking, "I am the best." He does not deserve to approach the shelter of Lord Vishnu's lotus feet, which are worshiped by all saintly persons, for he is impudent, thinking himself greatly important. O impudent one, my dear son, now take birth in a low, sinful family of demons so that you will not commit such an offense again toward exalted, saintly persons in this world. Sri Sukadeva Gosvami continued: My dear King Pariksit, when Citraketu was cursed by Parvati, he descended from his airplane, bowed before her with great humility and pleased her completely. Citraketu said: My dear mother, with my own hands folded together I accept the curse upon me. I do not mind the curse, for happiness and distress are given by the demigods as a result of one's past deeds. Deluded by ignorance, the living entity wanders in the forest of this material world, enjoying the happiness and distress resulting from his past deeds, everywhere and at all times. [Therefore, my dear mother, neither you nor I am to be blamed for this incident.] In this material world, neither the living entity himself nor others [friends and enemies] are the cause of material happiness and distress. But because of gross ignorance, the living entity thinks that he and others are the cause. This material world resembles the waves of a constantly flowing river. Therefore, what is a curse and what is a favor? What are the heavenly planets, and what are the hellish planets? What is actually happiness, and what is actually distress? Because the waves flow constantly, none of them has an eternal effect. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is one. Unaffected by the conditions of the material world, He creates all the conditioned souls by His own personal potency. Because of being contaminated by the material energy, the living entity is put into ignorance and thus into different conditions of bondage. Sometimes, by knowledge, the living entity is given liberation. In sattva-guna and rajo- guna, he is subjected to happiness and distress. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is equally disposed toward all living entities. Therefore no one is very dear to Him, and no one is a great enemy for Him; no one is His friend, and no one is His relative. Being unattached to the material world, He has no affection for so-called happiness or hatred for so- called distress. The two terms happiness and distress are relative. Since the Lord is always happy, for Him there is no question of distress. Although the Supreme Lord is unattached to our happiness and distress according to karma, and although no one is His enemy or favorite, He creates pious and impious activities through the agency of His material potency. Thus for the continuation of the materialistic way of life He creates happiness and distress, good fortune and bad, bondage and liberation, birth and death. O mother, you are now unnecessarily angry, but since all my happiness and distress are destined by my past activities, I do not plead to be excused or relieved from your curse. Although what I have said is not wrong, please let whatever you think is wrong be pardoned. Sri Sukadeva Gosvami continued: O King Pariksit, subduer of the enemy, after Citraketu satisfied Lord Shiva and his wife, Parvati, he boarded his airplane and left as they looked on. When Lord Shiva and Parvati saw that Citraketu, although informed of the curse, was unafraid, they smiled, being fully astonished by his behavior. Thereafter, in the presence of the great sage Narada, the demons, the inhabitants of Siddhaloka, and his personal associates, Lord Shiva, who is most powerful, spoke to his wife, Parvati, while they all listened. Lord Shiva said: My dear beautiful Parvati, have you seen the greatness of the Vaisnavas? Being servants of the servants of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, they are great souls and are not interested in any kind of material happiness. Devotees solely engaged in the devotional service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana, never fear any condition of life. For them the heavenly planets, liberation and the hellish planets are all the same, for such devotees are interested only in the service of the Lord. Because of the actions of the Supreme Lord's external energy, the living entities are conditioned in contact with material bodies. The dualities of happiness and distress, birth and death, curses and favors, are natural by- products of this contact in the material world. As one mistakenly considers a flower garland to be a snake or experiences happiness and distress in a dream, so, in the material world, by a lack of careful consideration, we differentiate between happiness and distress, considering one good and the other bad. Persons engaged in devotional service to Lord Vasudeva, Krishna, have naturally perfect knowledge and detachment from this material world. Therefore such devotees are not interested in the so-called happiness or so-called distress of this world. Neither I [Lord Shiva], nor Brahma, nor the Asvini-kumaras, nor Narada or the other great sages who are Brahma's sons, nor even the demigods can understand the pastimes and personality of the Supreme Lord. Although we are part of the Supreme Lord, we consider ourselves independent, separate controllers, and thus we cannot understand His identity. He holds no one as very dear and no one as inimical. He has no one for His own relative, and no one is alien to Him. He is actually the soul of the soul of all living entities. Thus He is the auspicious friend of all living beings and is very near and dear to all of them. This magnanimous Citraketu is a dear devotee of the Lord. He is equal to all living entities and is free from attachment and hatred. Similarly, I am also very dear to Lord Narayana. Therefore, no one should be astonished to see the activities of the most exalted devotees of Narayana, for they are free from attachment and envy. They are always peaceful, and they are equal to everyone. Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: O King, after hearing this speech by her husband, the demigoddess [Uma, the wife of Lord Shiva] gave up her astonishment at the behavior of King Citraketu and became steady in intelligence. The great devotee Citraketu was so powerful that he was quite competent to curse mother Parvati in retaliation, but instead of doing so he very humbly accepted the curse and bowed his head before Lord Shiva and his wife. This is very much to be appreciated as the standard behavior of a Vaisnava. Being cursed by mother Durga [Bhavani, the wife of Lord Shiva], that same Citraketu accepted birth in a demoniac species of life. Although still fully equipped with transcendental knowledge and practical application of that knowledge in life, he appeared as a demon at the fire sacrifice performed by Tvasta, and thus he became famous as Vrtrasura. My dear King Pariksit, you inquired from me how Vrtrasura, a great devotee, took birth in a demoniac family.Thus I have tried to explain to you everything about this. Citraketu was a great devotee [mahatma]. If one hears this history of Citraketu from a pure devotee, the listener also is freed from the conditional life of material existence. One who rises from bed early in the morning and recites this history of Citraketu, controlling his words and mind and remembering the Supreme Personality of Godhead, will return home, back to Godhead, without difficulty. Chapter Eighteen : Diti Vows to Kill King Indra Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: Prsni, who was the wife of Savita, the fifth of the twelve sons of Aditi, gave birth to three daughters--Savitri, Vyahrti and Trayi- -and the sons named Agnihotra, Pasu, Soma, Caturmasya and the five Mahayajnas. O King, Siddhi, who was the wife of Bhaga, the sixth son of Aditi, bore three sons, named Mahima, Vibhu and Prabhu, and one extremely beautiful daughter, whose name was Asi. Bhata, the seventh son of Aditi, had four wives, named Kuhu, Sinivali, Raka and Anumati. These wives begot four sons, named Sayam, Darsa, Pratah and Purnamasa respectively. The wife of Vidhata, the eighth son of Aditi, was named Kriya. In her Vidhata begot the five fire-gods named the Purisyas. The wife of Varuna, the ninth son of Aditi, was named Carsani. Bhrgu, the son of Brahma, took birth again in her womb. By the semen of Varuna, the great mystic Valmiki took birth from an anthill. Bhrgu and Valmiki were specific sons of Varuna, whereas Agastya and Vasistha Rsis were the common sons of Varuna and Mitra, the tenth son of Aditi. Upon seeing Urvasi, the celestial society girl, both Mitra and Varuna discharged semen, which they preserved in an earthen pot. The two sons Agastya and Vasistha later appeared from that pot, and they are therefore the common sons of Mitra and Varuna. Mitra begot three sons in the womb of his wife, whose name was Revati. Their names were Utsarga, Arista and Pippala. O King Pariksit, Indra, the King of the heavenly planets and eleventh son of Aditi, begot three sons, named Jayanta, Rsabha and Midhusa, in the womb of his wife, Paulomi. Thus we have heard. By His own potency, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who has multifarious potencies, appeared in the form of a dwarf as Urukrama, the twelfth son of Aditi. In the womb of His wife, whose name was Kirti, He begot one son, named Brhatsloka, who had many sons, headed by Saubhaga. Later [in the Eighth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam] I shall describe how Urukrama, Lord Vamanadeva, appeared as the son of the great sage Kasyapa and how He covered the three worlds with three steps. I shall describe the uncommon activities He performed, His qualities, His power and how He took birth from the womb of Aditi. Now let me describe the sons of Diti, who were begotten by Kasyapa but who became demons. In this demoniac family the great devotee Prahlada Maharaja appeared, and Bali Maharaja also appeared in that family. The demons are technically known as Daityas because they proceeded from the womb of Diti. First the two sons named Hiranyakasipu and Hiranyaksa took birth from Diti's womb. Both of them were very powerful and were worshiped by the Daityas and Danavas. The wife of Hiranyakasipu was known as Kayadhu. She was the daughter of Jambha and a descendant of Danu. She gave birth to four consecutive sons, known as Samhlada, Anuhlada, Hlada and Prahlada. The sister of these four sons was known as Simhika. She married the demon named Vipracit and gave birth to another demon, named Rahu. While Rahu, in disguise, was drinking nectar among the demigods, the Supreme Personality of Godhead severed his head. The wife of Samhlada was named Krti. By union with Samhlada, Krti gave birth to a son named Pancajana. The wife of Hlada was named Dhamani. She gave birth to two sons, named Vatapi and Ilvala. When Agastya Muni became Ilvala's guest, Ilvala served him a feast by cooking Vatapi, who was in the shape of a ram. The wife of Anuhlada was named Surya. She gave birth to two sons, named Baskala and Mahisa. Prahlada had one son, Virocana, whose wife gave birth to Bali Maharaja. Thereafter, Bali Maharaja begot one hundred sons in the womb of Asana. Of these one hundred sons, King Bana was the eldest. The activities of Bali Maharaja, which are very laudable, will be described later [in the Eighth Canto]. Since King Bana was a great worshiper of Lord Shiva, he became one of Lord Shiva's most celebrated associates. Even now, Lord Shiva protects King Bana's capital and always stands beside him. The forty-nine Marut demigods were also born from the womb of Diti. None of them had sons. Although they were born of Diti, King Indra gave them a position as demigods. King Pariksit inquired: My dear lord, due to their birth, the forty-nine Maruts must have been obsessed with a demoniac mentality. Why did Indra, the King of heaven, convert them into demigods? Did they perform any rituals or pious activities? My dear brahmana, I and all the sages present with me are eager to know about this. Therefore, O great soul, kindly explain to us the reason. Sri Suta Gosvami said: O great sage Saunaka, after hearing Maharaja Pariksit speak respectfully and briefly on topics essential to hear, Sukadeva Gosvami, who was well aware of everything, praised his endeavor with great pleasure and replied. Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: Just to help Indra, Lord Vishnu killed the two brothers Hiranyaksa and Hiranyakasipu. Because of their being killed, their mother, Diti, overwhelmed with lamentation and anger, contemplated as follows. Lord Indra, who is very much fond of sense gratification, has killed the two brothers Hiranyaksa and Hiranyakasipu by means of Lord Vishnu. Therefore Indra is cruel, hardhearted and sinful. When will I, having killed him, rest with a pacified mind? When dead, the bodies of all the rulers known as kings and great leaders will be transformed into worms, stool or ashes. If one enviously kills others for the protection of such a body, does he actually know the true interest of life? Certainly he does not, for if one is envious of other entities, he surely goes to hell. Diti thought: Indra considers his body eternal, and thus he has become unrestrained. I therefore wish to have a son who can remove Indra's madness. Let me adopt some means to help me in this. Thinking in this way [with a desire for a son to kill Indra], Diti began constantly acting to satisfy Kasyapa by her pleasing behavior. O King, Diti always carried out Kasyapa's orders very faithfully, as he desired. With service, love, humility and control, with words spoken very sweetly to satisfy her husband, and with smiles and glances at him, Diti attracted his mind and brought it under her control. Although Kasyapa Muni was a learned scholar, he was captivated by Diti's artificial behavior, which brought him under her control. Therefore he assured his wife that he would fulfill her desires. Such a promise by a husband is not at all astonishing. In the beginning of creation, Lord Brahma, the father of the living entities of the universe, saw that all the living entities were unattached. To increase population, he then created woman from the better half of man's body, for woman's behavior carries away a man's mind. O my dear one, the most powerful sage Kasyapa, being extremely pleased by the mild behavior of his wife Diti, smiled and spoke to her as follows. Kasyapa Muni said: O beautiful woman, O irreproachable lady, since I am very much pleased by your behavior, you may ask me for any benediction you want. If a husband is pleased, what desires are difficult for his wife to obtain, either in this world or in the next? A husband is the supreme demigod for a woman. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Vasudeva, the husband of the goddess of fortune, is situated in everyone's heart and is worshiped through the various names and forms of the demigods by fruitive workers. Similarly, a husband represents the Lord as the object of worship for a woman. My dear wife, whose body is so beautiful, your waist being thin, a conscientious wife should be chaste and should abide by the orders of her husband. She should very devoutly worship her husband as a representative of Vasudeva. My dear gentle wife, because you have worshiped me with great devotion, considering me a representative of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, I shall reward you by fulfilling your desires, which are unobtainable for an unchaste wife. Diti replied: O my husband, O great soul, I have now lost my sons. If you want to give me a benediction, I ask you for an immortal son who can kill Indra. I pray for this because Indra, with the help of Vishnu, has killed my two sons Hiranyaksa and Hiranyakasipu. Upon hearing Diti's request, Kasyapa Muni was very much aggrieved. "Alas," he lamented, "now I face the danger of the impious act of killing Indra." Kasyapa Muni thought: Alas, I have now become too attached to material enjoyment. Taking advantage of this, my mind has been attracted by the illusory energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the form of a woman [my wife]. Therefore I am surely a wretched person who will glide down toward hell. This woman, my wife, has adopted a means that follows her nature, and therefore she is not to be blamed. But I am a man. Therefore, all condemnation upon me! I am not at all conversant with what is good for me, since I could not control my senses. A woman's face is as attractive and beautiful as a blossoming lotus flower during autumn. Her words are very sweet, and they give pleasure to the ear, but if we study a woman's heart, we can understand it to be extremely sharp, like the blade of a razor. In these circumstances, who could understand the dealings of a woman? To satisfy their own interests, women deal with men as if the men were most dear to them, but no one is actually dear to them. Women are supposed to be very saintly, but for their own interests they can kill even their husbands, sons or brothers, or cause them to be killed by others. I promised to give her a benediction, and this promise cannot be violated, but Indra does not deserve to be killed. In these circumstances, the solution I have is quite suitable. Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: Kasyapa Muni, thinking in this way, became somewhat angry. Condemning himself, O Maharaja Pariksit, descendant of Kuru, he spoke to Diti as follows. Kasyapa Muni said: My dear gentle wife, if you follow my instructions regarding this vow for at least one year, you will surely get a son who will be able to kill Indra. However, if you deviate from this vow of following the Vaisnava principles, you will get a son who will be favorable to Indra. Diti replied: My dear brahmana, I must accept your advice and follow the vow. Now let me understand what I have to do, what is forbidden and what will not break the vow. Please clearly state all this to me. Kasyapa Muni said: My dear wife, to follow this vow, do not be violent or cause harm to anyone. Do not curse anyone, and do not speak lies. Do not cut your nails and hair, and do not touch impure things like skulls and bones. Kasyapa Muni continued: My dear gentle wife, never enter the water while bathing, never be angry, and do not even speak or associate with wicked people. Never wear clothes that have not been properly washed, and do not put on a garland that has already been worn. Never eat leftover food, never eat prasada offered to the goddess Kali [Durga], and do not eat anything contaminated by flesh or fish. Do not eat anything brought or touched by a sudra nor anything seen by a woman in her menstrual period. Do not drink water by joining your palms. After eating, you should not go out to the street without having washed your mouth, hands and feet. You should not go out in the evening or with your hair loose, nor should you go out unless you are properly decorated with ornaments. You should not leave the house unless you are very grave and are sufficiently covered. You should not lie down without having washed both of your feet or without being purified, nor with wet feet or with your head pointed west or north. You should not lie naked, or with other women, or during the sunrise or sunset. Putting on washed clothing, being always pure and being adorned with turmeric, sandalwood pulp and other auspicious items, before breakfast one should worship the cows, the brahmanas, the goddess of fortune and the Supreme Personality of Godhead. With flower garlands, sandalwood pulp, ornaments and other paraphernalia, a woman following this vow should worship women who have sons and whose husbands are living. The pregnant wife should worship her husband and offer him prayers. She should meditate upon him, thinking that he is situated in her womb. Kasyapa Muni continued: If you perform this ceremony called pumsavana, adhering to the vow with faith for at least one year, you will give birth to a son destined to kill Indra. But if there is any discrepancy in the discharge of this vow, the son will be a friend to Indra. O King Pariksit, Diti, the wife of Kasyapa, agreed to undergo the purificatory process known as pumsavana. "Yes," she said, "I shall do everything according to your instructions." With great jubilation she became pregnant, having taken semen from Kasyapa, and faithfully began discharging the vow. O King, who are respectful to everyone, Indra understood Diti's purpose, and thus he contrived to fulfill his own interests. Following the logic that self- preservation is the first law of nature, he wanted to break Diti's promise. Thus he engaged himself in the service of Diti, his aunt, who was residing in an asrama. Indra served his aunt daily by bringing flowers, fruits, roots and wood for yajnas from the forest. He also brought kusa grass, leaves, sprouts, earth and water exactly at the proper time. O King Pariksit, as the hunter of a deer becomes like a deer by covering his body with deerskin and serving the deer, so Indra, although at heart the enemy of the sons of Diti, became outwardly friendly and served Diti in a faithful way. Indra's purpose was to cheat Diti as soon as he could find some fault in the way she discharged the vows of the ritualistic ceremony. However, he wanted to be undetected, and therefore he served her very carefully. O master of the entire world, when Indra could find no faults, he thought, "How will there be good fortune for me?" Thus he was full of deep anxiety. Having grown weak and thin because of strictly following the principles of the vow, Diti once unfortunately neglected to wash her mouth, hands and feet after eating and went to sleep during the evening twilight. Finding this fault, Indra, who has all the mystic powers [the yoga-siddhis such as anima and laghima], entered Diti's womb while she was unconscious, being fast asleep. After entering Diti's womb, Indra, with the help of his thunderbolt, cut into seven pieces her embryo, which appeared like glowing gold. In seven places, seven different living beings began crying. Indra told them, "Do not cry," and then he cut each of them into seven pieces again. O King, being very much aggrieved, they pleaded to Indra with folded hands, saying, "Dear Indra, we are the Maruts, your brothers. Why are you trying to kill us?" When Indra saw that actually they were his devoted followers, he said to them: If you are all my brothers, you have nothing more to fear from me. Sukadeva Gosvami said: My dear King Pariksit, you were burned by the brahmastra of Asvatthama, but when Lord Krishna entered the womb of your mother, you were saved. Similarly, although the one embryo was cut into forty-nine pieces by the thunderbolt of Indra, they were all saved by the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If one worships the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the original person, even once, he receives the benefit of being promoted to the spiritual world and possessing the same bodily features as Vishnu. Diti worshiped Lord Vishnu for almost one year, adhering to a great vow. Because of such strength in spiritual life, the forty-nine Maruts were born. How, then, is it wonderful that the Maruts, although born from the womb of Diti, became equal to the demigods by the mercy of the Supreme Lord ? Because of worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Diti was completely purified. When she got up from bed, she saw her forty-nine sons along with Indra. These forty-nine sons were all as brilliant as fire and were in friendship with Indra, and therefore she was very pleased. Thereafter, Diti said to Indra: My dear son, I adhered to this difficult vow just to get a son to kill you twelve Adityas. I prayed for only one son, but now I see that there are forty-nine. How has this happened? My dear son Indra, if you know, please tell me the truth. Do not try to speak lies. Indra replied: My dear mother, because I was grossly blinded by selfish interests, I lost sight of religion. When I understood that you were observing a great vow in spiritual life, I wanted to find some fault in you. When I found such a fault, I entered your womb and cut the embryo to pieces. First I cut the child in the womb into seven pieces, which became seven children. Then I cut each of the children into seven pieces again. By the grace of the Supreme Lord, however, none of them died. My dear mother, when I saw that all forty-nine sons were alive, I was certainly struck with wonder. I decided that this was a secondary result of your having regularly executed devotional service in worship of Lord Vishnu. Although those who are interested only in worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead do not desire anything material from the Lord and do not even want liberation, Lord Krishna fulfills all their desires. The ultimate goal of all ambitions is to become a servant of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If an intelligent man serves the most dear Lord, who gives Himself to His devotees, how can he desire material happiness, which is available even in hell? O my mother, O best of all women, I am a fool. Kindly excuse me for whatever offenses I have committed. Your forty-nine sons have been born unhurt because of your devotional service. As an enemy, I cut them to pieces, but because of your great devotional service they did not die. Sri Sukadeva Gosvami continued: Diti was extremely satisfied by Indra's good behavior. Then Indra offered his respects to his aunt with profuse obeisances, and with her permission he went away to the heavenly planets with his brothers the Maruts. My dear King Pariksit, I have replied as far as possible to the questions you have asked me, especially in regard to this pure, auspicious narration about the Maruts. Now you may inquire further, and I shall explain more. Chapter Nineteen Maharaja Pariksit said: My dear lord, you have already spoken about the pumsavana vow. Now I want to hear about it in detail, for I understand that by observing this vow one can please the Supreme Lord, Vishnu. Sukadeva Gosvami said: On the first day of the bright fortnight of the month of Agrahayana [November-December], following the instructions of her husband, a woman should begin this regulative devotional service with a vow of penance, for it can fulfill all one's desires. Before beginning the worship of Lord Vishnu, the woman should hear the story of how the Maruts were born. Under the instructions of qualified brahmanas, in the morning she should wash her teeth, bathe, and dress herself with white cloth and ornaments, and before taking breakfast she should worship Lord Vishnu and Laksmi. [She should then pray to the Lord as follows.] My dear Lord, You are full in all opulences, but I do not beg You for opulence. I simply offer my respectful obeisances unto You. You are the husband and master of Laksmidevi, the goddess of fortune, who has all opulences. Therefore You are the master of all mystic yoga. I simply offer my obeisances unto You. O my Lord, because You are endowed with causeless mercy, all opulences, all prowess and all glories, strength and transcendental qualities, You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the master of everyone. [After profusely offering obeisances unto Lord Vishnu, the devotee should offer respectful obeisances unto mother Laksmi, the goddess of fortune, and pray as follows.] O wife of Lord Vishnu, O internal energy of Lord Vishnu, you are as good as Lord Vishnu Himself, for you have all of His qualities and opulences. O goddess of fortune, please be kind to me. O mother of the entire world, I offer my respectful obeisances unto you. "My Lord Vishnu, full in six opulences, You are the best of all enjoyers and the most powerful. O husband of mother Laksmi, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You, who are accompanied by many associates, such as Visvaksena. I offer all the paraphernalia for worshiping You." One should chant this mantra every day with great attention while worshiping Lord Vishnu with all paraphernalia, such as water for washing His feet, hands and mouth and water for His bath. One must offer Him various presentations for His worship, such as garments, a sacred thread, ornaments, scents, flowers, incense and lamps. Sukadeva Gosvami continued: After worshiping the Lord with all the paraphernalia mentioned above, one should chant the following mantra while offering twelve oblations of ghee on the sacred fire: om namo bhagavate maha-purusaya mahavibhutipataye svaha. If one desires all opulences, his duty is to daily worship Lord Vishnu with His wife, Laksmi. With great devotion one should worship Him according to the above- mentioned process. Lord Vishnu and the goddess of fortune are an immensely powerful combination. They are the bestowers of all benedictions and the sources of all good fortune. Therefore the duty of everyone is to worship Laksmi- Narayana. One should offer obeisances unto the Lord with a mind humbled through devotion. While offering dandavats by falling on the ground like a rod, one should chant the above mantra ten times. Then one should chant the following prayer. My Lord Vishnu and mother Laksmi, goddess of fortune, you are the proprietors of the entire creation. Indeed, you are the cause of the creation. Mother Laksmi is extremely difficult to understand because she is so powerful that the jurisdiction of her power is difficult to overcome. Mother Laksmi is represented in the material world as the external energy, but actually she is always the internal energy of the Lord. My Lord, You are the master of energy, and therefore You are the Supreme Person. You are sacrifice [yajna] personified. Laksmi, the embodiment of spiritual activities, is the original form of worship offered unto You, whereas You are the enjoyer of all sacrifices. Mother Laksmi, who is here, is the reservoir of all spiritual qualities, whereas You manifest and enjoy all these qualities. Indeed, You are actually the enjoyer of everything. You live as the Supersoul of all living entities, aid the goddess of fortune is the form of their bodies, senses and minds. She also has a holy name and form, whereas You are the support of all such names and forms and the cause for their manifestation. You are both the supreme rulers and benedictors of the three worlds. Therefore, my Lord, Uttamasloka, may my ambitions be fulfilled by Your grace. Sri Sukadeva Gosvami continued: Thus one should worship Lord Vishnu, who is known as Srinivasa, along with mother Laksmi, the goddess of fortune, by offering prayers according to the process mentioned above. After removing all the paraphernalia of worship, one should offer them water to wash their hands and mouths, and then one should worship them again. Thereafter, with devotion and humility, one should offer prayers to the Lord and mother Laksmi. Then one should smell the remnants of the food offered and then again worship the Lord and Laksmiji. Accepting her husband as the representative of the Supreme Person, a wife should worship him with unalloyed devotion by offering him prasada. The husband, being very pleased with his wife, should engage himself in the affairs of his family. Between the husband and wife, one person is sufficient to execute this devotional service. Because of their good relationship, both of them will enjoy the result. Therefore if the wife is unable to execute this process, the husband should carefully do so, and the faithful wife will share the result. One should accept this visnu-vrata, which is a vow in devotional service, and should not deviate from its execution to engage in anything else. By offering the remnants of prasada, flower garlands, sandalwood pulp and ornaments, one should daily worship the brahmanas and worship women who peacefully live with their husbands and children. Every day the wife must continue following the regulative principles to worship Lord Vishnu with great devotion. Thereafter, Lord Vishnu should be laid in His bed, and then one should take prasada. In this way, husband and wife will be purified and will have all their desires fulfilled. The chaste wife must perform such devotional service continuously for one year. After one year passes, she should fast on the full-moon day in the month of Karttika [October-November]. On the morning of the next day, one should wash oneself, and after worshiping Lord Krishna as before, one should cook as one cooks for festivals as stated in the Grhya-sutras. Sweet rice should be cooked with ghee, and with this preparation the husband should offer oblations to the fire twelve times. Thereafter, he should satisfy the brahmanas. When the satisfied brahmanas bestow their blessings, he should devotedly offer them respectful obeisances with his head, and with their permission he should take prasada. Before taking his meal, the husband must first seat the acarya comfortably, and, along with his relatives and friends, should control his speech and offer prasada to the guru. Then the wife should eat the remnants of the oblation of sweet rice cooked with ghee. Eating the remnants insures a learned, devoted son and all good fortune. If this vow or ritualistic ceremony is observed according to the description of sastra, even in this life a man will be able to achieve all the benedictions he desires from the Lord. A wife who performs this ritualistic ceremony will surely receive good fortune, opulence, sons, a long-living husband, a good reputation and a good home. If an unmarried girl observes this vrata, she will be able to get a very good husband. If a woman who is avira--who has no husband or son--executes this ritualistic ceremony, she can be promoted to the spiritual world. A woman whose children have died after birth can get a child with a long duration of life and also become very fortunate in possessing wealth. If a woman is unfortunate she will become fortunate, and if ugly she will become beautiful. By observing this vrata, a diseased man can gain relief from his disease and have an able body with which to work. If one recites this narration while offering oblations to the pitas and demigods, especially during the sraddha ceremony, the demigods and inhabitants of Pitrloka will be extremely pleased with him and bestow upon him the fulfillment of all desires. After one performs this ritualistic ceremony, Lord Vishnu and His wife, mother Laksmi, the goddess of fortune, are very pleased with him. O King Pariksit, now I have completely described how Diti performed this ceremony and had good children--the Maruts--and a happy life. I have tried to explain this to you as elaborately as possible.