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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

[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 

[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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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 

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-

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 

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.

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