Chapter One : The Supreme Lord Is Equal to Everyone

King Pariksit inquired: My dear brahmana, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, 
Vishnu, being everyone's well-wisher, is equal and extremely dear to everyone. 
How, then, did He become partial like a common man for the sake of Indra and 
thus kill Indra's enemies? How can a person equal to everyone be partial to some 
and inimical toward others?

Lord Vishnu Himself, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the reservoir of all 
pleasure. Therefore, what benefit would He derive from siding with the demigods? 
What interest would He fulfill in this way? Since the Lord is transcendental, 
why should He fear the asuras, and how could He be envious of them?

O greatly fortunate and learned brahmana, whether Narayana is partial or 
impartial has become a subject of great doubt. Kindly dispel my doubt with 
positive evidence that Narayana is always neutral and equal to everyone.

The great sage Sukadeva Gosvami said: My dear King, you have put before me an 
excellent question. Discourses concerning the activities of the Lord, in which 
the glories of His devotees are also found, are extremely pleasing to devotees. 
Such wonderful topics always counteract the miseries of the materialistic way of 
life. Therefore great sages like Narada always speak upon Srimad-Bhagavatam 
because it gives one the facility to hear and chant about the wonderful 
activities of the Lord. Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto Srila 
Vyasadeva and then begin describing topics concerning the activities of Lord 

The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vishnu, is always transcendental to material 
qualities, and therefore He is called nirguna, or without qualities. Because He 
is unborn, He does not have a material body to be subjected to attachment and 
hatred. Although the Lord is always above material existence, through His 
spiritual potency He appeared and acted like an ordinary human being, accepting 
duties and obligations, apparently like a conditioned soul.

My dear King Pariksit, the material qualities--sattva-guna, rajo-guna and tamo-
guna--all belong to the material world and do not even touch the Supreme 
Personality of Godhead. These three gunas cannot act by increasing or decreasing 

When the quality of goodness is prominent, the sages and demigods flourish with 
the help of that quality, with which they are infused and surcharged by the 
Supreme Lord. Similarly, when the mode of passion is prominent the demons 
flourish, and when ignorance is prominent the Yaksas and Raksasas flourish. The 
Supreme Personality of Godhead is present in everyone's heart, fostering the 
reactions of sattva-guna, rajo-guna and tamo-guna.

The all-pervading Personality of Godhead exists within the heart of every living 
being, and an expert thinker can perceive how He is present there to a large or 
small extent. Just as one can understand the supply of fire in wood, the water 
in a waterpot, or the sky within a pot, one can understand whether a living 
entity is a demon or a demigod by understanding that living entity's devotional 
performances. A thoughtful man can understand how much a person is favored by 
the Supreme Lord by seeing his actions.

When the Supreme Personality of Godhead creates different types of bodies, 
offering a particular body to each living entity according to his character and 
fruitive actions, the Lord revives all the qualities of material nature--sattva-
guna, rajo-guna and tamo-guna. Then, as the Supersoul, He enters each body and 
influences the qualities of creation, maintenance and annihilation, using 
sattva-guna for maintenance, rajo-guna for creation and tamo-guna for 

O great King, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the controller of the material 
and spiritual energies, who is certainly the creator of the entire cosmos, 
creates the time factor to allow the material energy and the living entity to 
act within the limits of time. Thus the Supreme Personality is never under the 
time factor nor under the material energy.

O King, this time factor enhances the sattva-guna. Thus although the Supreme 
Lord is the controller, He favors the demigods, who are mostly situated in 
sattva-guna. Then the demons, who are influenced by tamo-guna, are annihilated. 
The Supreme Lord induces the time factor to act in different ways, but He is 
never partial. Rather, His activities are glorious, therefore He is called 

Formerly, O King, when Maharaja Yudhisthira was performing the Rajasuya 
sacrifice, the great sage Narada, responding to his inquiry, recited historical 
facts showing how the Supreme Personality of Godhead is always impartial, even 
when killing demons. In this regard he gave a vivid example.

O King, at the Rajasuya sacrifice, Maharaja Yudhisthira, the son of Maharaja 
Pandu, personally saw Sisupala merge into the body of the Supreme Lord, Krishna. 
Therefore, struck with wonder, he inquired about the reason for this from the 
great sage Narada, who was seated there. While he inquired, all the sages 
present also heard him ask his question.

Maharaja Yudhisthira inquired: It is very wonderful that the demon Sisupala 
merged into the body of the Supreme Personality of Godhead even though extremely 
envious. This sayujya-mukti is impossible to attain even for great 
transcendentalists. How then did the enemy of the Lord attain it?

O great sage, we are all eager to know the cause for this mercy of the Lord. I 
have heard that formerly a king named Vena blasphemed the Supreme Personality of 
Godhead and that all the brahmanas consequently obliged him to go to hell. 
Sisupala should also have been sent to hell. How then did he merge into the 
Lord's existence?

From the very beginning of his childhood, when he could not even speak properly, 
Sisupala, the most sinful son of Damaghosa, began blaspheming the Lord, and he 
continued to be envious of Sri Krishna until death. Similarly, his brother 
Dantavakra continued the same habits.

Although these two men--Sisupala and Dantavakra--repeatedly blasphemed the 
Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Vishnu [Krishna], the Supreme Brahman, they 
were quite healthy. Indeed, their tongues were not attacked by white leprosy, 
nor did they enter the darkest region of hellish life. We are certainly most 
surprised by this.

How was it possible for Sisupala and Dantavakra in the presence of many exalted 
persons, to enter very easily into the body of Krishna, whose nature is 
difficult to attain?.

This matter is undoubtedly very wonderful. Indeed, my intelligence has become 
disturbed, just as the flame of a candle is disturbed by a blowing wind. O 
Narada Muni, you know everything. Kindly let me know the cause of this wonderful 

Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: After hearing the request of Maharaja Yudhisthira, 
Narada Muni, the most powerful spiritual master, who knew everything, was very 
pleased. Thus he replied in the presence of everyone taking part in the yajna.

The great sage Sri Naradaji said: O King, blasphemy and praise, chastisement and 
respect, are experienced because of ignorance. The body of the conditioned soul 
is planned by the Lord for suffering in the material world through the agency of 
the external energy.

My dear King, the conditioned soul, being in the bodily conception of life, 
considers his body to be his self and considers everything in relationship with 
the body to be his. Because he has this wrong conception of life, he is 
subjected to dualities like praise and chastisement.

Because of the bodily conception of life, the conditioned soul thinks that when 
the body is annihilated the living being is annihilated. Lord Vishnu, the 
Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the supreme controller, the Supersoul of all 
living entities. Because He has no material body, He has no false conception of 
"I and mine." It is therefore incorrect to think that He feels pleasure or pain 
when blasphemed or offered prayers. This is impossible for Him. Thus He has no 
enemy and no friend. When He chastises the demons it is for their good, and when 
He accepts the prayers of the devotees it is for their good. He is affected 
neither by prayers nor by blasphemy.

Therefore by enmity or by devotional service, by fear, by affection or by lusty 
desire--by all of these or any one of them--if a conditioned soul somehow or 
other concentrates his mind upon the Lord, the result is the same, for the Lord, 
because of His blissful position, is never affected by enmity or friendship.

Narada Muni continued: By devotional service one cannot achieve such intense 
absorption in thought of the Supreme Personality of Godhead as one can through 
enmity toward Him. That is my opinion.

A grassworm confined in a hole of a wall by a bee always thinks of the bee in 
fear and enmity and later becomes a bee simply because of such remembrance. 
Similarly, if the conditioned souls somehow or other think of Krishna, who is 
sac-cid-ananda-vigraha, they will become free from their sins. Whether thinking 
of Him as their worshipable Lord or an enemy, because of constantly thinking of 
Him they will regain their spiritual bodies.

Many, many persons have attained liberation simply by thinking of Krishna with 
great attention and giving up sinful activities. This great attention may be due 
to lusty desires, inimical feelings, fear, affection or devotional service. I 
shall now explain how one receives Krishna's mercy simply by concentrating one's 
mind upon Him.

My dear King Yudhisthira, the gopis by their lusty desires, Kamsa by his fear, 
Sisupala and other kings by envy, the Yadus by their familial relationship with 
Krishna, you Pandavas by your great affection for Krishna, and we, the general 
devotees, by our devotional service, have obtained the mercy of Krishna.

Somehow or other, one must consider the form of Krishna very seriously. Then, by 
one of the five different processes mentioned above, one can return home, back 
to Godhead. Atheists like King Vena, however, being unable to think of Krishna's 
form in any of these five ways, cannot attain salvation. Therefore, one must 
somehow think of Krishna, whether in a friendly way or inimically.

Narada Muni continued: O best of the Pandavas, your two cousins Sisupala and 
Dantavakra, the sons of your maternal aunt, were formerly associates of Lord 
Vishnu, but because they were cursed by brahmanas, they fell from Vaikuntha to 
this material world.

Maharaja Yudhisthira inquired: What kind of great curse could affect even 
liberated visnu-bhaktas, and what sort of person could curse even the Lord's 
associates? For unflinching devotees of the Lord to fall again to this material 
world is impossible. I cannot believe this.

The bodies of the inhabitants of Vaikuntha are completely spiritual, having 
nothing to do with the material body, senses or life air. Therefore, kindly 
explain how associates of the Personality of Godhead were cursed to descend in 
material bodies like ordinary persons.

The great saint Narada said: Once upon a time when the four sons of Lord Brahma 
named Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanatana and Sanat-kumara were wandering throughout the 
three worlds, they came by chance to Vishnuloka.

Although these four great sages were older than Brahma's other sons like Marici, 
they appeared like small naked children only five or six years old. When Jaya 
and Vijaya saw them trying to enter Vaikunthaloka, these two gatekeepers, 
thinking them ordinary children, forbade them to enter.

Thus checked by the doorkeepers Jaya and Vijaya, Sanandana and the other great 
sages very angrily cursed them. "You two foolish doorkeepers," they said. "Being 
agitated by the material qualities of passion and ignorance, you are unfit to 
live at the shelter of Madhudvisa's lotus feet, which are free from such modes. 
It would be better for you to go immediately to the material world and take your 
birth in a family of most sinful asuras."

While Jaya and Vijaya, thus cursed by the sages, were falling to the material 
world, they were addressed as follows by the same sages, who were very kind to 
them. "O doorkeepers, after three births you will be able to return to your 
positions in Vaikuntha, for then the duration of the curse will have ended."

These two associates of the Lord--Jaya and Vijaya--later descended to the 
material world, taking birth as the two sons of Diti, Hiranyakasipu being the 
elder and Hiranyaksa the younger. They were very much respected by the Daityas 
and Danavas [demoniac species].

Appearing as Nrsimhadeva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Hari, killed 
Hiranyakasipu. When the Lord delivered the planet earth, which had fallen in the 
Garbhodaka Ocean, Hiranyaksa tried to hinder Him, and then the Lord, as Varaha, 
killed Hiranyaksa.

Desiring to kill his son Prahlada, who was a great devotee of Lord Vishnu, 
Hiranyakasipu tortured him in many ways.

The Lord, the Supersoul of all living entities, is sober, peaceful and equal to 
everyone. Since the great devotee Prahlada was protected by the Lord's potency, 
Hiranyakasipu was unable to kill him, in spite of endeavoring to do so in 
various ways.

Thereafter the same Jaya and Vijaya, the two doorkeepers of Lord Vishnu, took 
birth as Ravana and Kumbhakarna, begotten by Visrava in the womb of Kesini. They 
were extremely troublesome to all the people of the universe.

Narada Muni continued: My dear King, just to relieve Jaya and Vijaya of the 
brahmanas' curse, Lord Ramacandra appeared in order to kill Ravana and 
Kumbhakarna. It will be better for you to hear narrations about Lord 
Ramacandra's activities from Markandeya.

In their third birth, the same Jaya and Vijaya appeared in a family of ksatriyas 
as your cousins, the sons of your aunt. Because Lord Krishna has struck them 
with His disc, all their sinful reactions have been destroyed, and now they are 
free from the curse.

These two associates of Lord Vishnu--Jaya and Vijaya--maintained a feeling of 
enmity for a very long time. Because of always thinking of Krishna in this way, 
they regained the shelter of the Lord, having returned home, back to Godhead.

Maharaja Yudhisthira inquired: O my lord, Narada Muni, why was there such enmity 
between Hiranyakasipu and his beloved son Prahlada Maharaja? How did Prahlada 
Maharaja become such a great devotee of Lord Krishna? Kindly explain this to me.

Chapter Two : Hiranyakasipu, King of the Demons

Sri Narada Muni said: My dear King Yudhisthira, when Lord Vishnu, in the form of 
Varaha, the boar, killed Hiranyaksa, Hiranyaksa's brother Hiranyakasipu was 
extremely angry and began to lament.

Filled with rage and biting his lips, Hiranyakasipu gazed at the sky with eyes 
that blazed in anger, making the whole sky smoky. Thus he began to speak.

Exhibiting his terrible teeth, fierce glance and frowning eyebrows, terrible to 
see, he took up his weapon, a trident, and thus began speaking to his 
associates, the assembled demons.

O Danavas and Daityas! O Kaimurdha, Tryaksa, Sambara and Satabahu ! O Hayagriva, 
Namuci, Paka and Ilvala! O Vipracitti, Puloman, Sakuna and other demons! All of 
you, kindly hear me attentively and then act according to my words without 

My insignificant enemies the demigods have combined to kill my very dear and 
obedient well-wisher, my brother Hiranyaksa. Although the Supreme Lord, Vishnu, 
is always equal to both of us--namely, the demigods and the demons--this time, 
being devoutly worshiped by the demigods, He has taken their side and helped 
them kill Hiranyaksa.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead has given up His natural tendency of equality 
toward the demons and demigods. Although He is the Supreme Person, now, 
influenced by maya, He has assumed the form of a boar to please His devotees, 
the demigods, just as a restless child leans toward someone. I shall therefore 
sever Lord Vishnu's head from His trunk by my trident, and with the profuse 
blood from His body I shall please my brother Hiranyaksa, who was so fond of 
sucking blood. Thus shall I too be peaceful.

When the root of a tree is cut and the tree falls down, its branches and twigs 
automatically dry up. Similarly, when I have killed this diplomatic Vishnu, the 
demigods, for whom Lord Vishnu is the life and soul, will lose the source of 
their life and wither away.

While I am engaged in the business of killing Lord Vishnu, go down to the planet 
earth, which is flourishing due to brahminical culture and a ksatriya 
government. These people engage in austerity, sacrifice, Vedic study, regulative 
vows, and charity. Destroy all the people thus engaged!

The basic principle of brahminical culture is to satisfy Lord Vishnu, the 
personification of sacrificial and ritualistic ceremonies. Lord Vishnu is the 
personified reservoir of all religious principles, and He is the shelter of all 
the demigods, the great pitas, and the people in general. When the brahmanas are 
killed, no one will exist to encourage the ksatriyas to perform yajnas, and thus 
the demigods, not being appeased by yajna, will automatically die.

Immediately go wherever there is good protection for the cows and brahmanas and 
wherever the Vedas are studied in terms of the varnasrama principles. Set fire 
to those places and cut from the roots the trees there, which are the source of 

Thus the demons, being fond of disastrous activities, took Hiranyakasipu's 
instructions on their heads with great respect and offered him obeisances. 
According to his directions, they engaged in envious activities directed against 
all living beings.

The demons set fire to the cities, villages, pasturing grounds, cowpens, 
gardens, agricultural fields and natural forests. They burned the hermitages of 
the saintly persons, the important mines that produced valuable metals, the 
residential quarters of the agriculturalists, the mountain villages, and the 
villages of the cow protectors, the cowherd men. They also burned the government 

Some of the demons took digging instruments and broke down the bridges, the 
protective walls and the gates [gopuras] of the cities. Some took axes and began 
cutting the important trees that produced mango, jackfruit and other sources of 
food. Some of the demons took firebrands and set fire to the residential 
quarters of the citizens.

Thus disturbed again and again by the unnatural occurrences caused by the 
followers of Hiranyakasipu, all the people had to cease the activities of Vedic 
culture. Not receiving the results of yajna, the demigods also became disturbed. 
They left their residential quarters in the heavenly planets and, unobserved by 
the demons, began wandering on the planet earth to see the disasters.

After performing the ritualistic observances for the death of his brother, 
Hiranyakasipu, being extremely unhappy, tried to pacify his nephews.

O King, Hiranyakasipu was extremely angry, but since he was a great politician, 
he knew how to act according to the time and situation. With sweet words he 
began pacifying his nephews, whose names were Sakuni, Sambara, Dhrsti, 
Bhutasantapana, Vrka, Kalanabha, Mahanabha, Harismasru and Utkaca. He also 
consoled their mother, his sister-in-law, Rusabhanu, as well as his own mother, 
Diti. He spoke to them all as follows.

Hiranyakasipu said: My dear mother, sister-in-law and nephews, you should not 
lament for the death of the great hero, for a hero's death in front of his enemy 
is glorious and desirable.

My dear mother, in a restaurant or place for drinking cold water, many travelers 
are brought together, and after drinking water they continue to their respective 
destinations. Similarly, living entities join together in a family, and later, 
as a result of their own actions, they are led apart to their destinations.

The spirit soul, the living entity, has no death, for he is eternal and 
inexhaustible. Being free from material contamination, he can go anywhere in the 
material or spiritual worlds. He is fully aware and completely different from 
the material body, but because of being misled by misuse of his slight 
independence, he is obliged to accept subtle and gross bodies created by the 
material energy and thus be subjected to so-called material happiness and 
distress. Therefore, no one should lament for the passing of the spirit soul 
from the body.

Because of the movements of the water, the trees on the bank of a river, when 
reflected on the water, seem to move. Similarly, when the eyes move because of 
some mental derangement, the land appears to move also.

In the same way, O my gentle mother, when the mind is agitated by the movements 
of the modes of material nature, the living entity, although freed from all the 
different phases of the subtle and gross bodies, thinks that he has changed from 
one condition to another.

In his bewildered state, the living entity, accepting the body and mind to be 
the self, considers some people to be his kinsmen and others to be outsiders. 
Because of this misconception, he suffers. Indeed, the accumulation of such 
concocted material ideas is the cause of suffering and so-called happiness in 
the material world. The conditioned soul thus situated must take birth in 
different species and work in various types of consciousness, thus creating new 
bodies. This continued material life is called samsara. Birth, death, 
lamentation, foolishness and anxiety are due to such material considerations. 
Thus we sometimes come to a proper understanding and sometimes fall again to a 
wrong conception of life.

In this regard, an example is given from an old history. This involves a 
discourse between Yamaraja and the friends of a dead person. Please hear it 

In the state known as Usinara there was a celebrated King named Suyajna. When 
the King was killed in battle by his enemies, his kinsmen sat down around the 
dead body and began to lament the death of their friend.

His golden, bejeweled armor smashed, his ornaments and garlands fallen from 
their places, his hair scattered and his eyes lusterless, the slain King lay on 
the battlefield, his entire body smeared with blood, his heart pierced by the 
arrows of the enemy. When he died he had wanted to show his prowess, and thus he 
had bitten his lips, and his teeth remained in that position. His beautiful 
lotuslike face was now black and covered with dust from the battlefield. His 
arms, with his sword and other weapons, were cut and broken. When the queens of 
the King of Usinara saw their husband lying in that position, they began crying, 
"O lord, now that you have been killed, we also have been killed." Repeating 
these words again and again, they fell down, pounding their breasts, at the feet 
of the dead King.

As the queens loudly cried, their tears glided down their breasts, becoming 
reddened by kunkuma powder, and fell upon the lotus feet of their husband. Their 
hair became disarrayed, their ornaments fell, and in a way that evoked sympathy 
from the hearts of others, the queens began lamenting their husband's death.

O lord, you have now been removed by cruel providence to a state beyond our 
sight. You had previously sustained the livelihood of the inhabitants of 
Usinara, and thus they were happy, but your condition now is the cause of their 

O King, O hero, you were a very grateful husband and the most sincere friend of 
all of us. How shall we exist without you? O hero, wherever you are going, 
please direct us there so that we may follow in your footsteps and engage again 
in your service. Let us go along with you!

The time was appropriate for the body to be burned, but the queens, not allowing 
it to be taken away, continued lamenting for the dead body, which they kept on 
their laps. In the meantime, the sun completed its movements for setting in the 

While the queens were lamenting for the dead body of the King, their loud cries 
were heard even from the abode of Yamaraja. Assuming the body of a boy, Yamaraja 
personally approached the relatives of the dead body and advised them as 

Sri Yamaraja said: Alas, how amazing it is! These persons, who are older than 
me, have full experience that hundreds and thousands of living entities have 
taken birth and died. Thus they should understand that they also are apt to die, 
yet still they are bewildered. The conditioned soul comes from an unknown place 
and returns after death to that same unknown place. There is no exception to 
this rule, which is conducted by material nature. Knowing this, why do they 
uselessly lament?

It is wonderful that these elderly women do not have a higher sense of life than 
we do. Indeed, we are most fortunate, for although we are children and have been 
left to struggle in material life, unprotected by father and mother, and 
although we are very weak, we have not been vanquished or eaten by ferocious 
animals. Thus we have a firm belief that the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who 
has given us protection even in the womb of the mother, will protect us 

The boy addressed the women: O weak women! Only by the will of the Supreme 
Personality of Godhead, who is never diminished, is the entire world created, 
maintained and again annihilated. This is the verdict of the Vedic knowledge. 
This material creation, consisting of the moving and nonmoving, is exactly like 
His plaything. Being the Supreme Lord, He is completely competent to destroy and 

Sometimes one loses his money on a public street, where everyone can see it, and 
yet his money is protected by destiny and not seen by others. Thus the man who 
lost it gets it back. On the other hand, if the Lord does not give protection, 
even money maintained very securely at home is lost. If the Supreme Lord gives 
one protection, even though one has no protector and is in the jungle, one 
remains alive, whereas a person well protected at home by relatives and others 
sometimes dies, no one being able to protect him.

Every conditioned soul receives a different type of body according to his work, 
and when the engagement is finished the body is finished. Although the spirit 
soul is situated in subtle and gross material bodies in different forms of life, 
he is not bound by them, for he is always understood to be completely different 
from the manifested body.

Just as a householder, although different from the identity of his house, thinks 
his house to be identical with him, so the conditioned soul, due to ignorance, 
accepts the body to be himself, although the body is actually different from the 
soul. This body is obtained through a combination of portions of earth, water 
and fire, and when the earth, water and fire are transformed in the course of 
time, the body is vanquished. The soul has nothing to do with this creation and 
dissolution of the body.

As fire, although situated in wood, is perceived to be different from the wood, 
as air, although situated within the mouth and nostrils, is perceived to be 
separate, and as the sky, although all-pervading, never mixes with anything, so 
the living entity, although now encaged within the material body, of which it is 
the source, is separate from it.

Yamaraja continued: O lamenters, you are all fools! The person named Suyajna, 
for whom you lament, is still lying before you and has not gone anywhere. Then 
what is the cause for your lamentation? Previously he heard you and replied to 
you, but now, not finding him, you are lamenting. This is contradictory 
behavior, for you have never actually seen the person within the body who heard 
you and replied. There is no need for your lamentation, for the body you have 
always seen is lying here.

In the body the most important substance is the life air, but that also is 
neither the listener nor the speaker. Beyond even the life air, the soul also 
can do nothing, for the Supersoul is actually the director, in cooperation with 
the individual soul. The Supersoul conducting the activities of the body is 
different from the body and living force.

The five material elements, the ten senses and the mind all combine to form the 
various parts of the gross and subtle bodies. The living entity comes in contact 
with his material bodies, whether high or low, and later gives them up by his 
personal prowess. This strength can be perceived in a living entity's personal 
power to possess different types of bodies.

As long as the spirit soul is covered by the subtle body, consisting of the 
mind, intelligence and false ego, he is bound to the results of his fruitive 
activities. Because of this covering, the spirit soul is connected with the 
material energy and must accordingly suffer material conditions and reversals, 
continually, life after life.

It is fruitless to see and talk of the material modes of nature and their 
resultant so-called happiness and distress as if they were factual. When the 
mind wanders during the day and a man begins to think himself extremely 
important, or when he dreams at night and sees a beautiful woman enjoying with 
him, these are merely false dreams. Similarly, the happiness and distress caused 
by the material senses should be understood to be meaningless.

Those who have full knowledge of self-realization, who know very well that the 
spirit soul is eternal whereas the body is perishable, are not overwhelmed by 
lamentation. But persons who lack knowledge of self-realization certainly 
lament. Therefore it is difficult to educate a person in illusion.

There was once a hunter who lured birds with food and captured them after 
spreading a net. He lived as if appointed by death personified as the killer of 
the birds.

While wandering in the forest, the hunter saw a pair of kulinga birds. Of the 
two, the female was captivated by the hunter's lure.

O queens of Suyajna, the male kulinga bird, seeing his wife put into the 
greatest danger in the grip of Providence, became very unhappy. Because of 
affection, the poor bird, being unable to release her, began to lament for his 

Alas, how merciless is Providence! My wife, unable to be helped by anyone, is in 
such an awkward position and lamenting for me. What will Providence gain by 
taking away this poor bird? What will be the profit?

If unkind Providence takes away my wife, who is half my body, why should He not 
take me also? What is the use of my living with half of my body, bereaved by 
loss of my wife? What shall I gain in this way?

The unfortunate baby birds, bereft of their mother, are waiting in the nest for 
her to feed them. They are still very small and have not yet grown their wings. 
How shall I be able to maintain them?

Because of the loss of his wife, the kulinga bird lamented with tears in his 
eyes. Meanwhile, following the dictations of mature time, the hunter, who was 
very carefully hidden in the distance, released his arrow, which pierced the 
body of the kulinga bird and killed him.

Thus Yamaraja, in the guise of a small boy, told all the queens: You are all so 
foolish that you lament but do not see your own death. Afflicted by a poor fund 
of knowledge, you do not know that even if you lament for your dead husband for 
hundreds of years, you will never get him back alive, and in the meantime your 
lives will be finished.

Hiranyakasipu said: While Yamaraja, in the form of a small boy, was instructing 
all the relatives surrounding the dead body of Suyajna, everyone was struck with 
wonder by his philosophical words. They could understand that everything 
material is temporary, not continuing to exist.

After instructing all the foolish relatives of Suyajna, Yamaraja, in the form of 
a boy, disappeared from their vision. Then the relatives of King Suyajna 
performed the ritualistic funeral ceremonies.

Therefore none of you should be aggrieved for the loss of the body--whether your 
own or those of others. Only in ignorance does one make bodily distinctions, 
thinking "Who am I? Who are the others? What is mine? What is for others?"

Sri Narada Muni continued: Diti, the mother of Hiranyakasipu and Hiranyaksa, 
heard the instructions of Hiranyakasipu along with her daughter-in-law, Rusa-
bhanu, Hiranyaksa's wife. She then forgot her grief over her son's death and 
thus engaged her mind and attention in understanding the real philosophy of 

Chapter Three : Hiranyakasipu's Plan to Become Immortal

Narada Muni said to Maharaja Yudhisthira: The demoniac king Hiranyakasipu wanted 
to be unconquerable and free from old age and dwindling of the body. He wanted 
to gain all the yogic perfections like anima and laghima, to be deathless, and 
to be the only king of the entire universe, including Brahmaloka.

In the valley of Mandara Hill, Hiranyakasipu began performing his austerities by 
standing with his toes on the ground, keeping his arms upward and looking toward 
the sky. This position was extremely difficult, but he accepted it as a means to 
attain perfection.

From the hair on Hiranyakasipu's head there emanated an effulgent light as 
brilliant and intolerable as the rays of the sun at the time of dissolution. 
Seeing the performance of such austere penances, the demigods, who had been 
wandering throughout the planets, now returned to their respective homes.

Because of Hiranyakasipu's severe austerities, fire came from his head, and this 
fire and its smoke spread throughout the sky, encompassing the upper and lower 
planets, which all became extremely hot.

Because of the power of his severe austerities, all the rivers and oceans were 
agitated, the surface of the globe, with its mountains and islands, began 
trembling, and the stars and planets fell. All directions were ablaze.

Scorched and extremely disturbed because of Hiranyakasipu's severe penances, all 
the demigods left the planets where they reside and went to the planet of Lord 
Brahma, where they informed the creator as follows: O lord of the demigods, O 
master of the universe, because of the fire emanating from Hiranyakasipu's head 
as a result of his severe austerities, we have become so disturbed that we could 
not stay in our planets but have come to you.

O great person, chief of the universe, if you think it proper, kindly stop these 
disturbances, meant to destroy everything, before all your obedient subjects are 

Hiranyakasipu has undertaken a most severe type of austerity. Although his plan 
is not unknown to you, kindly listen as we submit his intentions.

"The supreme person within this universe, Lord Brahma, has gotten his exalted 
post by dint of severe austerities, mystic power and trance. Consequently, after 
creating the universe, he has become the most worshipable demigod within it. 
Since I am eternal and time is eternal, I shall endeavor for such austerity, 
mystic power and trance for many, many births, and thus I shall occupy the same 
post occupied by Lord Brahma.

"By dint of my severe austerities, I shall reverse the results of pious and 
impious activities. I shall overturn all the established practices within this 
world. Even Dhruvaloka will be vanquished at the end of the millennium. 
Therefore, what is the use of it? I shall prefer to remain in the position of 

O lord, we have heard from reliable sources that in order to obtain your post, 
Hiranyakasipu is now engaged in severe austerity. You are the master of the 
three worlds. Please, without delay, take whatever steps you deem appropriate.

O Lord Brahma, your position within this universe is certainly most auspicious 
for everyone, especially the cows and brahmanas. Brahminical culture and the 
protection of cows can be increasingly glorified, and thus all kinds of material 
happiness, opulence and good fortune will automatically increase. But 
unfortunately, if Hiranyakasipu occupies your seat, everything will be lost.

O King, being thus informed by the demigods, the most powerful Lord Brahma, 
accompanied by Bhrgu, Daksa and other great sages, immediately started for the 
place where Hiranyakasipu was performing his penances and austerities.

Lord Brahma, who is carried by a swan airplane, at first could not see where 
Hiranyakasipu was, for Hiranyakasipu's body was covered by an anthill and by 
grass and bamboo sticks. Because Hiranyakasipu had been there for a long time, 
the ants had devoured his skin, fat, flesh and blood. Then Lord Brahma and the 
demigods spotted him, resembling a cloud-covered sun, heating all the world by 
his austerity. Struck with wonder, Lord Brahma began to smile and then addressed 
him as follows.

Lord Brahma said: O son of Kasyapa Muni, please get up, please get up. All good 
fortune unto you. You are now perfect in the performance of your austerities, 
and therefore I may give you a benediction. You may now ask from me whatever you 
desire, and I shall try to fulfill your wish.

I have been very much astonished to see your endurance. In spite of being eaten 
and bitten by all kinds of worms and ants, you are keeping your life air 
circulating within your bones. Certainly this is wonderful.

Even saintly persons like Bhrgu, born previously, could not perform such severe 
austerities, nor will anyone in the future be able to do so. Who within these 
three worlds can sustain his life without even drinking water for one hundred 
celestial years?

My dear son of Diti, with your great determination and austerity you have done 
what was impossible even for great saintly persons, and thus I have certainly 
been conquered by you.

O best of the asuras, for this reason I am now prepared to give you all 
benedictions, according to your desire. I belong to the celestial world of 
demigods, who do not die like human beings. Therefore, although you are subject 
to death, your audience with me will not go in vain.

As soon as he was sprinkled with the water from Lord Brahma's waterpot, 
Hiranyakasipu arose, endowed with a full body with limbs so strong that they 
could bear the striking of a thunderbolt. With physical strength and a bodily 
luster resembling molten gold, he emerged from the anthill a completely young 
man, just as fire springs from fuel wood.

Seeing Lord Brahma present before him in the sky, carried by his swan airplane, 
Hiranyakasipu was extremely pleased. He immediately fell flat with his head on 
the ground and began to express his obligation to the lord.

Then, getting up from the ground and seeing Lord Brahma before him, the head of 
the Daityas was overwhelmed by jubilation. With tears in his eyes, his whole 
body shivering, he began praying in a humble mood, with folded hands and a 
faltering voice, to satisfy Lord Brahma.

Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto the supreme lord within this 
universe. At the end of each day of his life, the universe is fully covered with 
dense darkness by the influence of time, and then again, during his next day, 
that self-effulgent lord, by his own effulgence, manifests, maintains and 
destroys the entire cosmic manifestation through the material energy, which is 
invested with the three modes of material nature. He, Lord Brahma, is the 
shelter of those modes of nature--sattva-guna, rajo-guna and tamo-guna.

I offer my obeisances to the original personality within this universe, Lord 
Brahma, who is cognizant and who can apply his mind and realized intelligence in 
creating this cosmic manifestation. It is because of his activities that 
everything within the universe is visible. He is therefore the cause of all 

Your Lordship, being the origin of the life of this material world, is the 
master and controller of the living entities, both moving and stationary, and 
you inspire their consciousness. You maintain the mind and the acting and 
knowledge-acquiring senses, and therefore you are the great controller of all 
the material elements and their qualities, and you are the controller of all 

My dear lord, by your form as the Vedas personified and through knowledge 
relating to the activities of all the yajnic brahmanas, you spread the Vedic 
ritualistic ceremonies of the seven kinds of sacrifices, headed by agnistoma. 
Indeed, you inspire the yajnic brahmanas to perform the rituals mentioned in the 
three Vedas. Being the Supreme Soul, the Supersoul of all living entities, you 
are beginningless, endless and omniscient, beyond the limits of time and space.

O my lord, Your Lordship is eternally awake, seeing everything that happens. As 
eternal time, you reduce the duration of life for all living entities through 
your different parts, such as moments, seconds, minutes and hours. Nonetheless, 
you are unchanged, resting in one place as the Supersoul, witness and Supreme 
Lord, the birthless, all-pervading controller who is the cause of life for all 
living entities.

There is nothing separate from you, whether it be better or lower, stationary or 
moving. The knowledge derived from the Vedic literatures like the Upanisads, and 
from all the sub-limbs of the original Vedic knowledge, form your external body. 
You are Hiranyagarbha, the reservoir of the universe, but nonetheless, being 
situated as the supreme controller, you are transcendental to the material 
world, which consists of the three modes of material nature.

O my lord, being changelessly situated in your own abode, you expand your 
universal form within this cosmic manifestation, thus appearing to taste the 
material world. You are Brahman, the Supersoul, the oldest, the Personality of 

Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme, who in his unlimited, 
unmanifested form has expanded the cosmic manifestation, the form of the 
totality of the universe. He possesses external and internal energies and the 
mixed energy called the marginal potency, which consists of all the living 

O my lord, O best of the givers of benediction, if you will kindly grant me the 
benediction I desire, please let me not meet death from any of the living 
entities created by you.

Grant me that I not die within any residence or outside any residence, during 
the daytime or at night, nor on the ground or in the sky. Grant me that my death 
not be brought by any being other than those created by you, nor by any weapon, 
nor by any human being or animal.

Grant me that I not meet death from any entity, living or nonliving. Grant me, 
further, that I not be killed by any demigod or demon or by any great snake from 
the lower planets. Since no one can kill you in the battlefield, you have no 
competitor. Therefore, grant me the benediction that I too may have no rival. 
Give me sole lordship over all the living entities and presiding deities, and 
give me all the glories obtained by that position. Furthermore, give me all the 
mystic powers attained by long austerities and the practice of yoga, for these 
cannot be lost at any time.

Chapter Four : Hiranyakasipu Terrorizes the Universe

Narada Muni continued: Lord Brahma was very much satisfied by Hiranyakasipu's 
austerities, which were difficult to perform. Therefore, when solicited for 
benedictions, he indeed granted them, although they were rarely to be achieved.

Lord Brahma said: O Hiranyakasipu, these benedictions for which you have asked 
are difficult to obtain for most men. Nonetheless, O my son, I shall grant you 
them although they are generally not available.

Then Lord Brahma, who awards infallible benedictions, departed, being worshiped 
by the best of the demons, Hiranyakasipu, and being praised by great sages and 
saintly persons.

The demon Hiranyakasipu, having thus been blessed by Lord Brahma and having 
acquired a lustrous golden body, continued to remember the death of his brother 
and therefore be envious of Lord Vishnu.

Hiranyakasipu became the conqueror of the entire universe. Indeed, that great 
demon conquered all the planets in the three worlds--upper, middle and lower--
including the planets of the human beings, the Gandharvas, the Garudas, the 
great serpents, the Siddhas, Caranas and Vidyadharas, the great saints, 
Yamaraja, the Manus, the Yaksas, the Raksasas, the Pisacas and their masters, 
and the masters of the ghosts and Bhutas. He defeated the rulers of all the 
other planets where there are living entities and brought them under his 
control. Conquering the abodes of all, he seized their power and influence.

Hiranyakasipu, who possessed all opulence, began residing in heaven, with its 
famous Nandana garden, which is enjoyed by the demigods. In fact, he resided in 
the most opulent palace of Indra, the King of heaven. The palace had been 
directly constructed by the demigod architect Visvakarma and was as beautifully 
made as if the goddess of fortune of the entire universe resided there.

The steps of King Indra's residence were made of coral, the floor was bedecked 
with invaluable emeralds, the walls were of crystal, and the columns of vaidurya 
stone. The wonderful canopies were beautifully decorated, the seats were 
bedecked with rubies, and the silk bedding, as white as foam, was decorated with 
pearls. The ladies of the palace, who were blessed with beautiful teeth and the 
most wonderfully beautiful faces, walked here and there in the palace, their 
ankle bells tinkling melodiously, and saw their own beautiful reflections in the 
gems. The demigods, however, being very much oppressed, had to bow down and 
offer obeisances at the feet of Hiranyakasipu, who chastised the demigods very 
severely and for no reason. Thus Hiranyakasipu lived in the palace and severely 
ruled everyone.

O my dear King, Hiranyakasipu was always drunk on strong-smelling wines and 
liquors, and therefore his coppery eyes were always rolling. Nonetheless, 
because he had powerfully executed great austerities in mystic yoga, although he 
was abominable, all but the three principal demigods--Lord Brahma, Lord Shiva 
and Lord Vishnu--personally worshiped him to please him by bringing him various 
presentations with their own hands.

O Maharaja Yudhisthira, descendant of Pandu, by dint of his personal power, 
Hiranyakasipu, being situated on the throne of King Indra, controlled the 
inhabitants of all the other planets. The two Gandharvas Visvavasu and Tumburu, 
I myself and the Vidyadharas, Apsaras and sages all offered prayers to him again 
and again just to glorify him.

Being worshiped by sacrifices offered with great gifts by those who strictly 
followed the principles of varna and asrama, Hiranyakasipu, instead of offering 
shares of the oblations to the demigods, accepted them himself.

As if in fear of Hiranyakasipu, the planet earth, which consists of seven 
islands, delivered food grains without being plowed. Thus it resembled cows like 
the surabhi of the spiritual world or the kama-dugha of heaven. The earth 
yielded sufficient food grains, the cows supplied abundant milk, and outer space 
was beautifully decorated with wonderful phenomena.

By the flowing of their waves, the various oceans of the universe, along with 
their tributaries, the rivers, which are compared to their wives, supplied 
various kinds of gems and jewels for Hiranyakasipu's use. These oceans were the 
oceans of salt water, sugarcane juice, wine, clarified butter, milk, yogurt, and 
sweet water.

The valleys between the mountains became fields of pleasure for Hiranyakasipu, 
by whose influence all the trees and plants produced fruits and flowers 
profusely in all seasons. The qualities of pouring water, drying and burning, 
which are all qualities of the three departmental heads of the universe--namely 
Indra, Vayu and Agni--were all directed by Hiranyakasipu alone, without 
assistance from the demigods.

In spite of achieving the power to control in all directions and in spite of 
enjoying all types of dear sense gratification as much as possible, 
Hiranyakasipu was dissatisfied because instead of controlling his senses he 
remained their servant.

Hiranyakasipu thus passed a long time being very much proud of his opulences and 
transgressing the laws and regulations mentioned in the authoritative sastras. 
He was therefore subjected to a curse by the four Kumaras, who were great 

Everyone, including the rulers of the various planets, was extremely distressed 
because of the severe punishment inflicted upon them by Hiranyakasipu. Fearful 
and disturbed, unable to find any other shelter, they at last surrendered to the 
Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vishnu.

"Let us offer our respectful obeisances unto that direction where the Supreme 
Personality of Godhead is situated, where those purified souls in the renounced 
order of life, the great saintly persons, go, and from which, having gone, they 
never return." Without sleep, fully controlling their minds, and living on only 
their breath, the predominating deities of the various planets began worshiping 
Hrsikesa with this meditation.

Then there appeared before them a transcendental sound vibration, emanating from 
a personality not visible to material eyes. The voice was as grave as the sound 
of a cloud, and it was very encouraging, driving away all fear.

The voice of the Lord vibrated as follows: O best of learned persons, do not 
fear! I wish all good fortune to you. Become My devotees by hearing and chanting 
about Me and offering Me prayers, for these are certainly meant to award 
benedictions to all living entities. I know all about the activities of 
Hiranyakasipu and shall surely stop them very soon. Please wait patiently until 
that time.

When one is envious of the demigods, who represent the Supreme Personality of 
Godhead, of the Vedas, which give all knowledge, of the cows, brahmanas, 
Vaisnavas and religious principles, and ultimately of Me, the Supreme 
Personality of Godhead, he and his civilization will be vanquished without 

When Hiranyakasipu teases the great devotee Prahlada, his own son, who is 
peaceful and sober and who has no enemy, I shall kill Hiranyakasipu immediately, 
despite the benedictions of Brahma.

The great saint Narada Muni continued: When the Supreme Personality of Godhead, 
the spiritual master of everyone, thus reassured all the demigods living in the 
heavenly planets, they offered their respectful obeisances unto Him and 
returned, confident that the demon Hiranyakasipu was now practically dead.

Hiranyakasipu had four wonderful, well-qualified sons, of whom the one named 
Prahlada was the best. Indeed, Prahlada was a reservoir of all transcendental 
qualities because he was an unalloyed devotee of the Personality of Godhead.

[The qualities of Maharaja Prahlada, the son of Hiranyakasipu, are described 
herewith.] He was completely cultured as a qualified brahmana, having very good 
character and being determined to understand the Absolute Truth. He had full 
control of his senses and mind. Like the Supersoul, he was kind to every living 
entity and was the best friend of everyone. To respectable persons he acted 
exactly like a menial servant, to the poor he was like a father, to his equals 
he was attached like a sympathetic brother, and he considered his teachers, 
spiritual masters and older Godbrothers to be as good as the Supreme Personality 
of Godhead. He was completely free from unnatural pride that might have arisen 
from his good education, riches, beauty, aristocracy and so on.

Although Prahlada Maharaja was born in a family of asuras, he himself was not an 
asura but a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. Unlike the other asuras, he was never 
envious of Vaisnavas. He was not agitated when put into danger, and he was 
neither directly nor indirectly interested in the fruitive activities described 
in the Vedas. Indeed, he considered everything material to be useless, and 
therefore he was completely devoid of material desires. He always controlled his 
senses and life air, and being of steady intelligence and determination, he 
subdued all lusty desires.

O King, Prahlada Maharaja's good qualities are still glorified by learned saints 
and Vaisnavas. As all good qualities are always found existing in the Supreme 
Personality of Godhead, they also exist forever in His devotee Prahlada 

In any assembly where there are discourses about saints and devotees, O King 
Yudhisthira, even the enemies of the demons, namely the demigods, what to speak 
of you, would cite Prahlada Maharaja as an example of a great devotee.

Who could list the innumerable transcendental qualities of Prahlada Maharaja? He 
had unflinching faith in Vasudeva, Lord Krishna [the son of Vasudeva], and 
unalloyed devotion to Him. His attachment to Lord Krishna was natural because of 
his previous devotional service. Although his good qualities cannot be 
enumerated, they prove that he was a great soul [mahatma].

From the very beginning of his childhood, Prahlada Maharaja was uninterested in 
childish playthings. Indeed, he gave them up altogether and remained silent and 
dull, being fully absorbed in Krishna consciousness. Since his mind was always 
affected by Krishna consciousness, he could not understand how the world goes on 
being fully absorbed in the activities of sense gratification.

Prahlada Maharaja was always absorbed in thought of Krishna. Thus, being always 
embraced by the Lord, he did not know how his bodily necessities, such as 
sitting, walking, eating, lying down, drinking and talking, were being 
automatically performed.

Because of advancement in Krishna consciousness, he sometimes cried, sometimes 
laughed, sometimes expressed jubilation and sometimes sang loudly.

Sometimes, upon seeing the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Prahlada Maharaja 
would loudly call in full anxiety. He sometimes lost his shyness in jubilation 
and began dancing in ecstasy, and sometimes, being fully absorbed in thoughts of 
Krishna, he felt oneness and imitated the pastimes of the Lord.

Sometimes, feeling the touch of the Lord's lotus hands, he became spiritually 
jubilant and remained silent, his hairs standing on end and tears gliding down 
from his half-closed eyes because of his love for the Lord.

Because of his association with perfect, unalloyed devotees who had nothing to 
do with anything material, Prahlada Maharaja constantly engaged in the service 
of the Lord's lotus feet. By seeing his bodily features when he was in perfect 
ecstasy, persons very poor in spiritual understanding became purified. In other 
words, Prahlada Maharaja bestowed upon them transcendental bliss.

My dear King Yudhisthira, the demon Hiranyakasipu tormented this exalted, 
fortunate devotee, although Prahlada was his own son.

Maharaja Yudhisthira said: O best of the saints among the demigods, O best of 
spiritual leaders, how did Hiranyakasipu give so much trouble to Prahlada 
Maharaja, the pure and exalted saint, although Prahlada was his own son? I wish 
to know about this subject from you.

A father and mother are always affectionate to their children. When the children 
are disobedient the parents chastise them, not due to enmity but only for the 
child's instruction and welfare. How did Hiranyakasipu, the father of Prahlada 
Maharaja, chastise such a noble son? This is what I am eager to know.

Maharaja Yudhisthira further inquired: How was it possible for a father to be so 
violent toward an exalted son who was obedient, well-behaved and respectful to 
his father? O brahmana, O master, I have never heard of such a contradiction as 
an affectionate father's punishing his noble son with the intention of killing 
him. Kindly dissipate our doubts in this regard.

Chapter Five : Prahlada Maharaja, the Saintly Son of Hiranyakasipu

The great saint Narada Muni said: The demons, headed by Hiranyakasipu, accepted 
Sukracarya as their priest for ritualistic ceremonies. Sukracarya's two sons, 
Sanda and Amarka, lived near Hiranyakasipu's palace.

Prahlada Maharaja was already educated in devotional life, but when his father 
sent him to those two sons of Sukracarya to be educated, they accepted him at 
their school along with the other sons of the asuras.

Prahlada certainly heard and recited the topics of politics and economics taught 
by the teachers, but he understood that political philosophy involves 
considering someone a friend and someone else an enemy, and thus he did not like 

My dear King Yudhisthira, once upon a time the King of the demons, 
Hiranyakasipu, took his son Prahlada on his lap and very affectionately 
inquired: My dear son, please let me know what you think is the best of all the 
subjects you have studied from your teachers.

Prahlada Maharaja replied: O best of the asuras, King of the demons, as far as I 
have learned from my spiritual master, any person who has accepted a temporary 
body and temporary household life is certainly embarrassed by anxiety because of 
having fallen in a dark well where there is no water but only suffering. One 
should give up this position and go to the forest [vana]. More clearly, one 
should go to Vrndavana, where only Krishna consciousness is prevalent, and 
should thus take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Narada Muni continued: When Prahlada Maharaja spoke about the path of self-
realization in devotional service, thus being faithful to the camp of his 
father's enemies, Hiranyakasipu, the King of the demons, heard Prahlada's words 
and he laughingly said, "Thus is the intelligence of children spoiled by the 
words of the enemy."

Hiranyakasipu advised his assistants: My dear demons, give complete protection 
to this boy at the guru-kula where he is instructed, so that his intelligence 
will not be further influenced by Vaisnavas who may go there in disguise.

When Hiranyakasipu's servants brought the boy Prahlada back to the guru-kula 
[the place where the brahmanas taught the boys], the priests of the demons, 
Sanda and Amarka, pacified him. With very mild voices and affectionate words, 
they inquired from him as follows.

Dear son Prahlada, all peace and good fortune unto you. Kindly do not speak 
lies; just reply with the truth. These boys you see are not like you, for they 
do not speak in a deviant way. How have you learned these instructions? How has 
your intelligence been spoiled in this way?

O best of your family, has this pollution of your intelligence been brought 
about by you or by the enemies? We are all your teachers and are very eager to 
hear about this. Please tell us the truth.

Prahlada Maharaja replied: Let me offer my respectful obeisances unto the 
Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose external energy has created the 
distinctions of "my friend" and "my enemy" by deluding the intelligence of men. 
Indeed, I am now actually experiencing this, although I have previously heard of 
it from authoritative sources.

When the Supreme Personality of Godhead is pleased with the living entity 
because of his devotional service, one becomes a pandita and does not make 
distinctions between enemies, friends and himself. Intelligently, he then 
thinks, "Every one of us is an eternal servant of God, and therefore we are not 
different from one another."

Persons who always think in terms of "enemy" and "friend" are unable to 
ascertain the Supersoul within themselves. Not to speak of them, even such 
exalted persons as Lord Brahma, who are fully conversant with the Vedic 
literature, are sometimes bewildered in following the principles of devotional 
service. The same Supreme Personality of Godhead who has created this situation 
has certainly given me the intelligence to take the side of your so-called 

O brahmanas [teachers], as iron attracted by a magnetic stone moves 
automatically toward the magnet, my consciousness, having been changed by His 
will, is attracted by Lord Vishnu, who carries a disc in His hand. Thus I have 
no independence.

The great saint Narada Muni continued: The great soul Prahlada Maharaja became 
silent after saying this to his teachers, Sanda and Amarka, the seminal sons of 
Sukracarya. These so-called brahmanas then became angry at him. Because they 
were servants of Hiranyakasipu, they were very sorry, and to chastise Prahlada 
Maharaja they spoke as follows.

Oh, please bring me a stick! This Prahlada is damaging our name and fame. 
Because of his bad intelligence, he has become like a cinder in the dynasty of 
the demons. Now he needs to be treated by the fourth of the four kinds of 
political diplomacy.

This rascal Prahlada has appeared like a thorn tree in a forest of sandalwood. 
To cut down sandalwood trees, an axe is needed, and the wood of the thorn tree 
is very suitable for the handle of such an axe. Lord Vishnu is the axe for 
cutting down the sandalwood forest of the family of demons, and this Prahlada is 
the handle for that axe.

Sanda and Amarka, the teachers of Prahlada Maharaja, chastised and threatened 
their disciple in various ways and began teaching him about the paths of 
religion, economic development and sense gratification. This is the way they 
educated him.

After some time, the teachers Sanda and Amarka thought that Prahlada Maharaja 
was sufficiently educated in the diplomatic affairs of pacifying public leaders, 
appeasing them by giving them lucrative posts, dividing and ruling over them, 
and punishing them in cases of disobedience. Then, one day, after Prahlada's 
mother had personally washed the boy and dressed him nicely with sufficient 
ornaments, they presented him before his father.

When Hiranyakasipu saw that his child had fallen at his feet and was offering 
obeisances, as an affectionate father he immediately began showering blessings 
upon the child and embraced him with both arms. A father naturally feels happy 
to embrace his son, and Hiranyakasipu became very happy in this way.

Narada Muni continued: My dear King Yudhisthira, Hiranyakasipu seated Prahlada 
Maharaja on his lap and began smelling his head. With affectionate tears gliding 
down from his eyes and moistening the child's smiling face, he spoke to his son 
as follows.

Hiranyakasipu said: My dear Prahlada, my dear son, O long-lived one, for so much 
time you have heard many things from your teachers. Now please repeat to me 
whatever you think is the best of that knowledge.

Prahlada Maharaja said: Hearing and chanting about the transcendental holy name, 
form, qualities, paraphernalia and pastimes of Lord Vishnu, remembering them, 
serving the lotus feet of the Lord, offering the Lord respectful worship with 
sixteen types of paraphernalia, offering prayers to the Lord, becoming His 
servant, considering the Lord one's best friend, and surrendering everything 
unto Him (in other words, serving Him with the body, mind and words)--these nine 
processes are accepted as pure devotional service. One who has dedicated his 
life to the service of Krishna through these nine methods should be understood 
to be the most learned person, for he has acquired complete knowledge.

After hearing these words of devotional service from the mouth of his son 
Prahlada, Hiranyakasipu was extremely angry. His lips trembling, he spoke as 
follows to Sanda the son of his guru, Sukracarya.

O unqualified, most heinous son of a brahmana, you have disobeyed my order and 
taken shelter of the party of my enemies. You have taught this poor boy about 
devotional service! What is this nonsense?

In due course of time, various types of diseases are manifest in those who are 
sinful. Similarly, in this world there are many deceptive friends in false 
garbs, but eventually, because of their false behavior, their actual enmity 
becomes manifest.

The son of Sukracarya, Hiranyakasipu's spiritual master, said: O enemy of King 
Indra, O King! Whatever your son Prahlada has said was not taught to him by me 
or anyone else. His spontaneous devotional service has naturally developed in 
him. Therefore, please give up your anger and do not unnecessarily accuse us. It 
is not good to insult a brahmana in this way.

Sri Narada Muni continued: When Hiranyakasipu received this reply from the 
teacher, he again addressed his son Prahlada. Hiranyakasipu said: You rascal, 
most fallen of our family, if you have not received this education from your 
teachers, where have you gotten it?

Prahlada Maharaja replied: Because of their uncontrolled senses, persons too 
addicted to materialistic life make progress toward hellish conditions and 
repeatedly chew that which has already been chewed. Their inclinations toward 
Krishna are never aroused, either by the instructions of others, by their own 
efforts, or by a combination of both.

Persons who are strongly entrapped by the consciousness of enjoying material 
life, and who have therefore accepted as their leader or guru a similar blind 
man attached to external sense objects, cannot understand that the goal of life 
is to return home, back to Godhead, and engage in the service of Lord Vishnu. As 
blind men guided by another blind man miss the right path and fall into a ditch, 
materially attached men led by another materially attached man are bound by the 
ropes of fruitive labor, which are made of very strong cords, and they continue 
again and again in materialistic life, suffering the threefold miseries.

Unless they smear upon their bodies the dust of the lotus feet of a Vaisnava 
completely freed from material contamination, persons very much inclined toward 
materialistic life cannot be attached to the lotus feet of the Lord, who is 
glorified for His uncommon activities. Only by becoming Krishna conscious and 
taking shelter at the lotus feet of the Lord in this way can one be freed from 
material contamination.

After Prahlada Maharaja had spoken in this way and become silent, Hiranyakasipu, 
blinded by anger, threw him off his lap and onto the ground.

Indignant and angry, his reddish eyes like molten copper, Hiranyakasipu said to 
his servants: O demons, take this boy away from me! He deserves to be killed. 
Kill him as soon as possible!

This boy Prahlada is the killer of my brother, for he has given up his family to 
engage in the devotional service of the enemy, Lord Vishnu, like a menial 

Although Prahlada is only five years old, even at this young age he has given up 
his affectionate relationship with his father and mother. Therefore, he is 
certainly untrustworthy. Indeed, it is not at all believable that he will behave 
well toward Vishnu.

Although a medicinal herb, being born in the forest, does not belong to the same 
category as a man, if beneficial it is kept very carefully. Similarly, if 
someone outside one's family is favorable, he should be given protection like a 
son. On the other hand, if a limb of one's body is poisoned by disease, it must 
be amputated so that the rest of the body may live happily. Similarly, even 
one's own son, if unfavorable, must be rejected, although born of one's own 

Just as uncontrolled senses are the enemies of all yogis engaged in advancing in 
spiritual life, this Prahlada, who appears to be a friend, is an enemy because I 
cannot control him. Therefore this enemy, whether eating, sitting or sleeping, 
must be killed by all means.

The demons [Raksasas], the servants of Hiranyakasipu, thus began striking the 
tender parts of Prahlada Maharaja's body with their tridents. The demons all had 
fearful faces, sharp teeth and reddish, coppery beards and hair, and they 
appeared extremely threatening. Making a tumultuous sound, shouting, "Chop him 
up! Pierce him!" they began striking Prahlada Maharaja, who sat silently, 
meditating upon the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Even though a person who has no assets in pious activities performs some good 
deed, it will have no result. Thus the weapons of the demons had no tangible 
effects upon Prahlada Maharaja because he was a devotee undisturbed by material 
conditions and fully engaged in meditating upon and serving the Supreme 
Personality of Godhead, who is unchangeable, who cannot be realized by the 
material senses, and who is the soul of the entire universe.

My dear King Yudhisthira, when all the attempts of the demons to kill Prahlada 
Maharaja were futile, the King of the demons, Hiranyakasipu, being most fearful, 
began contriving other means to kill him.

Hiranyakasipu could not kill his son by throwing him beneath the feet of big 
elephants, throwing him among huge, fearful snakes, employing destructive 
spells, hurling him from the top of a hill, conjuring up illusory tricks, 
administering poison, starving him, exposing him to severe cold, winds, fire and 
water, or throwing heavy stones to crush him. When Hiranyakasipu found that he 
could not in any way harm Prahlada, who was completely sinless, he was in great 
anxiety about what to do next.

Hiranyakasipu thought: I have used many ill names in chastising this boy 
Prahlada and have devised many means of killing him, but despite all my 
endeavors, he could not be killed. Indeed, he saved himself by his own powers, 
without being affected in the least by these treacheries and abominable actions.

Although he is very near to me and is merely a child, he is situated in complete 
fearlessness. He resembles a dog's curved tail, which can never be straightened, 
because he never forgets my misbehavior and his connection with his master, Lord 

I can see that this boy's strength is unlimited, for he has not feared any of my 
punishments. He appears immortal. Therefore, because of my enmity toward him, I 
shall die. Or maybe this will not take place.

Thinking in this way, the King of the Daityas, morose and bereft of bodily 
luster, remained silent with his face downward. Then Sanda and Amarka, the two 
sons of Sukracarya, spoke to him in secret.

O lord, we know that when you simply move your eyebrows, all the commanders of 
the various planets are most afraid. Without the help of any assistant, you have 
conquered all the three worlds. Therefore, we do not find any reason for you to 
be morose and full of anxiety. As for Prahlada, he is nothing but a child and 
cannot be a cause of anxiety. After all, his bad or good qualities have no 

Until the return of our spiritual master, Sukracarya, arrest this child with the 
ropes of Varuna so that he will not flee in fear. In any case, by the time he is 
somewhat grown up and has assimilated our instructions or served our spiritual 
master, he will change in his intelligence. Thus there need be no cause for 

After hearing these instructions of Sanda and Amarka, the sons of his spiritual 
master, Hiranyakasipu agreed and requested them to instruct Prahlada in that 
system of occupational duty which is followed by royal householder families.

Thereafter, Sanda and Amarka systematically and unceasingly taught Prahlada 
Maharaja, who was very submissive and humble, about mundane religion, economic 
development and sense gratification.

The teachers Sanda and Amarka instructed Prahlada Maharaja in the three kinds of 
material advancement called religion, economic development and sense 
gratification. Prahlada, however, being situated above such instructions, did 
not like them, for such instructions are based on the duality of worldly 
affairs, which involve one in a materialistic way of life marked by birth, 
death, old age and disease.

When the teachers went home to attend to their household affairs, the students 
of the same age as Prahlada Maharaja would call him to take the opportunity of 
leisure hours for play.

Prahlada Maharaja, who was truly the supreme learned person, then addressed his 
class friends in very sweet language. Smiling, he began to teach them about the 
uselessness of the materialistic way of life. Being very kind to them, he 
instructed them as follows.

My dear King Yudhisthira, all the children were very much affectionate and 
respectful to Prahlada Maharaja, and because of their tender age they were not 
so polluted by the instructions and actions of their teachers, who were attached 
to condemned duality and bodily comfort. Thus the boys surrounded Prahlada 
Maharaja, giving up their playthings, and sat down to hear him. Their hearts and 
eyes being fixed upon him, they looked at him with great earnestness. Prahlada 
Maharaja, although born in a demon family, was an exalted devotee, and he 
desired their welfare. Thus he began instructing them about the futility of 
materialistic life.

Chapter Six : Prahlada Instructs His Demoniac Schoolmates

Prahlada Maharaja said: One who is sufficiently intelligent should use the human 
form of body from the very beginning of life--in other words, from the tender 
age of childhood--to practice the activities of devotional service, giving up 
all other engagements. The human body is most rarely achieved, and although 
temporary like other bodies, it is meaningful because in human life one can 
perform devotional service. Even a slight amount of sincere devotional service 
can give one complete perfection.

The human form of life affords one a chance to return home, back to Godhead. 
Therefore every living entity, especially in the human form of life, must engage 
in devotional service to the lotus feet of Lord Vishnu. This devotional service 
is natural because Lord Vishnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the most 
beloved, the master of the soul, and the well-wisher of all other living beings.

Prahlada Maharaja continued: My dear friends born of demoniac families, the 
happiness perceived with reference to the sense objects by contact with the body 
can be obtained in any form of life, according to one's past fruitive 
activities. Such happiness is automatically obtained without endeavor, just as 
we obtain distress.

Endeavors merely for sense gratification or material happiness through economic 
development are not to be performed, for they result only in a loss of time and 
energy, with no actual profit. If one's endeavors are directed toward Krishna 
consciousness, one can surely attain the spiritual platform of self-realization. 
There is no such benefit from engaging oneself in economic development.

Therefore, while in material existence [bhavam asritah], a person fully 
competent to distinguish wrong from right must endeavor to achieve the highest 
goal of life as long as the body is stout and strong and is not embarrassed by 

Every human being has a maximum duration of life of one hundred years, but for 
one who cannot control his senses, half of those years are completely lost 
because at night he sleeps twelve hours, being covered by ignorance. Therefore 
such a person has a lifetime of only fifty years.

In the tender age of childhood, when everyone is bewildered, one passes ten 
years. Similarly, in boyhood, engaged in sporting and playing, one passes 
another ten years. In this way, twenty years are wasted. Similarly, in old age, 
when one is an invalid, unable to perform even material activities, one passes 
another twenty years wastefully.

One whose mind and senses are uncontrolled becomes increasingly attached to 
family life because of insatiable lusty desires and very strong illusion. In 
such a madman's life, the remaining years are also wasted because even during 
those years he cannot engage himself in devotional service.

What person too attached to household life due to being unable to control his 
senses can liberate himself? An attached householder is bound very strongly by 
ropes of affection for his family [wife, children and other relatives].

Money is so dear that one conceives of money as being sweeter than honey. 
Therefore, who can give up the desire to accumulate money, especially in 
household life? Thieves, professional servants [soldiers] and merchants try to 
acquire money even by risking their very dear lives.

How can a person who is most affectionate to his family, the core of his heart 
being always filled with their pictures, give up their association? 
Specifically, a wife is always very kind and sympathetic and always pleases her 
husband in a solitary place. Who could give up the association of such a dear 
and affectionate wife? Small children talk in broken language, very pleasing to 
hear, and their affectionate father always thinks of their sweet words. Mow 
could he give up their association? One's elderly parents and one's sons and 
daughters are also very dear. A daughter is especially dear to her father, and 
while living at her husband's house she is always in his mind. Who could give up 
that association? Aside from this, in household affairs there are many decorated 
items of household furniture, and there are also animals and servants. Who could 
give up such comforts? The attached householder is like a silkworm, which weaves 
a cocoon in which it becomes imprisoned, unable to get out. Simply for the 
satisfaction of two important senses--the genitals and the tongue--one is bound 
by material conditions. How can one escape?

One who is too attached cannot understand that he is wasting his valuable life 
for the maintenance of his family. He also fails to understand that the purpose 
of human life, a life suitable for realization of the Absolute Truth, is being 
imperceptibly spoiled. However, he is very cleverly attentive to seeing that not 
a single farthing is lost by mismanagement. Thus although an attached person in 
material existence always suffers from threefold miseries, he does not develop a 
distaste for the way of material existence.

If a person too attached to the duties of family maintenance is unable to 
control his senses, the core of his heart is immersed in how to accumulate 
money. Although he knows that one who takes the wealth of others will be 
punished by the law of the government, and by the laws of Yamaraja after death, 
he continues cheating others to acquire money.

O my friends, sons of demons! In this material world, even those who are 
apparently advanced in education have the propensity to consider, "This is mine, 
and that is for others." Thus they are always engaged in providing the 
necessities of life to their families in a limited conception of family life, 
just like uneducated cats and dogs. They are unable to take to spiritual 
knowledge; instead, they are bewildered and overcome by ignorance.

My dear friends, O sons of the demons, it is certain that no one bereft of 
knowledge of the Supreme Personality of Godhead has been able to liberate 
himself from material bondage at any time or in any country. Rather, those 
bereft of knowledge of the Lord are bound by the material laws. They are 
factually addicted to sense gratification, and their target is woman. Indeed, 
they are actually playthings in the hands of attractive women. Victimized by 
such a conception of life, they become surrounded by children, grandchildren and 
great-grandchildren, and thus they are shackled to material bondage. Those who 
are very much addicted to this conception of life are called demons. Therefore, 
although you are sons of demons, keep aloof from such persons and take shelter 
of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana, the origin of all the demigods, 
because the ultimate goal for the devotees of Narayana is liberation from the 
bondage of material existence.

My dear sons of demons, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana, is the 
original Supersoul, the father of all living entities. Consequently there are no 
impediments to pleasing Him or worshiping Him under any conditions, whether one 
be a child or an old man. The relationship between the living entities and the 
Supreme Personality of Godhead is always a fact, and therefore there is no 
difficulty in pleasing the Lord.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead, the supreme controller, who is infallible 
and indefatigable, is present in different forms of life, from the inert living 
beings [sthavara], such as the plants, to Brahma, the foremost created living 
being. He is also present in the varieties of material creations and in the 
material elements, the total material energy and the modes of material nature 
[sattva-guna, rajo-guna and tamo-guna], as well as the unmanifested material 
nature and the false ego. Although He is one, He is present everywhere, and He 
is also the transcendental Supersoul, the cause of all causes, who is present as 
the observer in the cores of the hearts of all living entities. He is indicated 
as that which is pervaded and as the all-pervading Supersoul, but actually He 
cannot be indicated. He is changeless and undivided. He is simply perceived as 
the supreme sac-cid-ananda [eternity, knowledge and bliss]. Being covered by the 
curtain of the external energy, to the atheist He appears nonexistent.

Therefore, my dear young friends born of demons, please act in such a way that 
the Supreme Lord, who is beyond the conception of material knowledge, will be 
satisfied. Give up your demoniac nature and act without enmity or duality. Show 
mercy to all living entities by enlightening them in devotional service, thus 
becoming their well-wishers.

Nothing is unobtainable for devotees who have satisfied the Supreme Personality 
of Godhead, who is the cause of all causes, the original source of everything. 
The Lord is the reservoir of unlimited spiritual qualities. For devotees, 
therefore, who are transcendental to the modes of material nature, what is the 
use of following the principles of religion, economic development, sense 
gratification and liberation, which are all automatically obtainable under the 
influence of the modes of nature? We devotees always glorify the lotus feet of 
the Lord, and therefore we need not ask for anything in terms of dharma, kama, 
artha and moksa.

Religion, economic development and sense gratification--these are described in 
the Vedas as tri-varga, or three ways to salvation. Within these three 
categories are education and self-realization; ritualistic ceremonies performed 
according to Vedic injunction; logic; the science of law and order; and the 
various means of earning one's livelihood. These are the external subject 
matters of study in the Vedas, and therefore I consider them material. However, 
I consider surrender to the lotus feet of Lord Vishnu to be transcendental.

Narayana, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the well-wisher and friend of all 
living entities, formerly explained this transcendental knowledge to the great 
saint Narada. Such knowledge is extremely difficult to understand without the 
mercy of a saintly person like Narada, but everyone who has taken shelter of 
Narada's disciplic succession can understand this confidential knowledge.

Prahlada Maharaja continued: I received this knowledge from the great saint 
Narada Muni, who is always engaged in devotional service. This knowledge, which 
is called bhagavata-dharma, is fully scientific. It is based on logic and 
philosophy and is free from all material contamination.

The sons of the demons replied: Dear Prahlada, neither you nor we know any 
teacher or spiritual master other than Sanda and Amarka, the sons of Sukracarya. 
After all, we are children and they our controllers. For you especially, who 
always remain within the palace, it is very difficult to associate with a great 
personality. Dear friend, most gentle one, would you kindly explain how it was 
possible for you to hear Narada? Kindly dispel our doubts in this regard.

Chapter Seven : What Prahlada Learned in the Womb

Narada Muni said: Although Prahlada Maharaja was born in a family of asuras, he 
was the greatest of all devotees. Having thus been questioned by his class 
friends, the sons of the asuras, he remembered the words spoken to him by me and 
replied to his friends as follows.

Prahlada Maharaja said: When our father, Hiranyakasipu, went to Mandaracala 
Mountain to execute severe austerities, in his absence the demigods, headed by 
King Indra, made a severe attempt to subdue all the demons in warfare.

"Alas, as a serpent is eaten by small ants, so the troublesome Hiranyakasipu, 
who always inflicted miseries upon all types of people, has now been defeated by 
the reactions of his own sinful activities." Saying this, the demigods, headed 
by King Indra, arranged to fight the demons.

When the great leaders of the demons, who were being killed one after another, 
saw the unprecedented exertion of the demigods in fighting, they began to flee, 
scattering themselves in all directions. Simply to protect their lives, they 
hastily fled from their homes, wives, children, animals and household 
paraphernalia. Paying no heed to all these, the demons simply fled.

The victorious demigods plundered the palace of Hiranyakasipu, the King of the 
demons, and destroyed everything within it. Then Indra, King of heaven, arrested 
my mother, the Queen.

As she was being led away, crying in fear like a kurari captured by a vulture, 
the great sage Narada, who at that time had no engagement, appeared on the scene 
and saw her in that condition.

Narada Muni said: O Indra, King of the demigods, this woman is certainly 
sinless. You should not drag her off in this merciless way. O greatly fortunate 
one, this chaste woman is the wife of another. You must immediately release her.

King Indra said: In the womb of this woman, the wife of the demon Hiranyakasipu, 
is the seed of that great demon. Therefore, let her remain in our custody until 
her child is delivered, and then we shall release her.

Narada Muni replied: The child within this woman's womb is faultless and 
sinless. Indeed, he is a great devotee, a powerful servant of the Supreme 
Personality of Godhead. Therefore you will not be able to kill him.

When the great saint Narada Muni had thus spoken, King Indra, being respectful 
to Narada's words, immediately released my mother. Because of my being a devotee 
of the Lord, all the demigods circumambulated her. Then they returned to their 
celestial kingdom.

Prahlada Maharaja continued: The great saint Narada Muni brought my mother to 
his asrama and assured her of all protection, saying, "My dear child, please 
remain at my asrama until the arrival of your husband."

After accepting the instructions of Devarsi Narada, my mother stayed in his 
care, without fear from any direction, as long as my father, the King of the 
Daityas, had not become free from his severe austerities.

My mother, being pregnant, desired the safety of her embryo and desired to give 
birth after her husband's arrival. Thus she stayed at Narada Muni's asrama, 
where she rendered service unto Narada Muni with great devotion.

Narada Muni delivered his instructions both to me, who was within the womb, and 
to my mother, who was engaged in rendering him service. Because he is naturally 
extremely kind to the fallen souls, being in a transcendental position, he gave 
instructions on religion and transcendental knowledge. These instructions were 
free from all material contamination.

Because of the long duration of time that has passed and because of her being a 
woman and therefore less intelligent, my mother has forgotten all those 
instructions; but the great sage Narada blessed me, and therefore I could not 
forget them.

Prahlada Maharaja continued: My dear friends, if you can place your faith in my 
words, simply by that faith you can also understand transcendental knowledge, 
just like me, although you are small children. Similarly, a woman can also 
understand transcendental knowledge and know what is spirit and what is matter.

Just as the fruits and flowers of a tree in due course of time undergo six 
changes--birth, existence, growth, transformation, dwindling and then death--the 
material body, which is obtained by the spirit soul under different 
circumstances, undergoes similar changes. However, there are no such changes for 
the spirit soul.

Atma refers to the Supreme Lord or the living entities. Both of them are 
spiritual, free from birth and death, free from deterioration and free from 
material contamination. They are individual, they are the knowers of the 
external body, and they are the foundation or shelter of everything. They are 
free from material change, they are self-illuminated, they are the cause of all 
causes, and they are all-pervading. They have nothing to do with the material 
body, and therefore they are always uncovered. With these transcendental 
qualities, one who is actually learned must give up the illusory conception of 
life, in which one thinks, "I am this material body, and everything in 
relationship with this body is mine."

An expert geologist can understand where there is gold and by various processes 
can extract it from the gold ore. Similarly, a spiritually advanced person can 
understand how the spiritual particle exists within the body, and thus by 
cultivating spiritual knowledge he can attain perfection in spiritual life. 
However, as one who is not expert cannot understand where there is gold, a 
foolish person who has not cultivated spiritual knowledge cannot understand how 
the spirit exists within the body.

The Lord's eight separated material energies, the three modes of material nature 
and the sixteen transformations [the eleven senses and the five gross material 
elements like earth and water]--within all these, the one spiritual soul exists 
as the observer. Therefore all the great acaryas have concluded that the 
individual soul is conditioned by these material elements.

There are two kinds of bodies for every individual soul--a gross body made of 
five gross elements and a subtle body made of three subtle elements. Within 
these bodies, however, is the spirit soul. One must find the soul by analysis, 
saying, "This is not it. This is not it." Thus one must separate spirit from 

Sober and expert persons should search for the spirit soul with minds purified 
through analytical study in terms of the soul's connection with and distinction 
from all things that undergo creation, maintenance and destruction.

Intelligence can be perceived in three states of activity--wakefulness, dreaming 
and deep sleep. The person who perceives these three is to be considered the 
original master, the ruler, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

As one can understand the presence of the air by the aromas it carries, so, 
under the guidance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one can understand the 
living soul by these three divisions of intelligence. These three divisions, 
however, are not the soul; they are constituted of the three modes and are born 
of activities.

Through polluted intelligence one is subjected to the modes of nature, and thus 
one is conditioned by material existence. Like a dreaming state in which one 
falsely suffers, material existence, which is due to ignorance, must be 
considered unwanted and temporary.

Therefore, my dear friends, O sons of the demons, your duty is to take to 
Krishna consciousness, which can burn the seed of fruitive activities 
artificially created by the modes of material nature and stop the flow of the 
intelligence in wakefulness, dreaming and deep sleep. In other words, when one 
takes to Krishna consciousness, his ignorance is immediately dissipated.

Of the different processes recommended for disentanglement from material life, 
the one personally explained and accepted by the Supreme Personality of Godhead 
should be considered all-perfect. That process is the performance of duties by 
which love for the Supreme Lord develops.

One must accept the bona fide spiritual master and render service unto him with 
great devotion and faith. Whatever one has in one's possession should be offered 
to the spiritual master, and in the association of saintly persons and devotees 
one should worship the Lord, hear the glories of the Lord with faith, glorify 
the transcendental qualities and activities of the Lord, always meditate on the 
Lord's lotus feet, and worship the Deity of the Lord strictly according to the 
injunctions of the sastra and guru.

One should always remember the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His localized 
representation as the Paramatma, who is situated in the core of every living 
entity's heart. Thus one should offer respect to every living entity according 
to that living entity's position or manifestation.

By these activities [as mentioned above] one is able to cut down the influence 
of the enemies, namely lust, anger, greed, illusion, madness and jealousy, and 
when thus situated, one can render service to the Lord. In this way one surely 
attains the platform of loving service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

One who is situated in devotional service is certainly the controller of his 
senses, and thus he is a liberated person. When such a liberated person, the 
pure devotee, hears of the transcendental qualities and activities of the Lord's 
incarnations for the performance of various pastimes, his hair stands on end on 
his body, tears fall from his eyes, and in his spiritual realization his voice 
falters. Sometimes he very openly dances, sometimes he sings loudly, and 
sometimes he cries. Thus he expresses his transcendental jubilation.

When a devotee becomes like a person haunted by a ghost, he laughs and very 
loudly chants about the qualities of the Lord. Sometimes he sits to perform 
meditation, and he offers respects to every living entity, considering him a 
devotee of the Lord. Constantly breathing very heavily, he becomes careless of 
social etiquette and loudly chants like a madman, "Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna! O 
my Lord, O master of the universe!"

The devotee is then freed from all material contamination because he constantly 
thinks of the Lord's pastimes and because his mind and body have been converted 
to spiritual qualities. Because of his intense devotional service, his 
ignorance, material consciousness and all kinds of material desires are 
completely burnt to ashes. This is the stage at which one can achieve the 
shelter of the Lord's lotus feet.

The real problem of life is the repetition of birth and death, which is like a 
wheel rolling repeatedly up and down. This wheel, however, completely stops when 
one is in touch with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In other words, by the 
transcendental bliss realized from constant engagement in devotional service, 
one is completely liberated from material existence. All learned men know this. 
Therefore, my dear friends, O sons of the asuras, immediately begin meditating 
upon and worshiping the Supersoul within everyone's heart.

O my friends, sons of the asuras, the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His 
Supersoul feature always exists within the cores of the hearts of all living 
entities. Indeed, He is the well-wisher and friend of all living entities, and 
there is no difficulty in worshiping the Lord. Why, then, should people not 
engage in His devotional service? Why are they so addicted to unnecessarily 
producing artificial paraphernalia for sense gratification?

One's riches, beautiful wife and female friends, one's sons and daughters, one's 
residence, one's domestic animals like cows, elephants and horses, one's 
treasury, economic development and sense gratification--indeed, even the 
lifetime in which one can enjoy all these material opulences--are certainly 
temporary and flickering. Since the opportunity of human life is temporary, what 
benefit can these material opulences give to a sensible man who has understood 
himself to be eternal?

It is learned from Vedic literature that by performing great sacrifices one may 
elevate himself to the heavenly planets. However, although life on the heavenly 
planets is hundreds and thousands of times more comfortable than life on earth, 
the heavenly planets are not pure [nirmalam], or free from the taint of material 
existence. The heavenly planets are also temporary, and therefore they are not 
the goal of life. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, however, has never been 
seen or heard to possess inebriety. Consequently, for your own benefit and self-
realization, you must worship the Lord with great devotion, as described in the 
revealed scriptures.

A materialistic person, thinking himself very advanced in intelligence, 
continually acts for economic development. But again and again, as enunciated in 
the Vedas, he is frustrated by material activities, either in this life or in 
the next. Indeed, the results one obtains are inevitably the opposite of those 
one desires.

In this material world, every materialist desires to achieve happiness and 
diminish his distress, and therefore he acts accordingly. Actually, however, one 
is happy as long as one does not endeavor for happiness; as soon as one begins 
his activities for happiness, his conditions of distress begin.

A living entity desires comfort for his body and makes many plans for this 
purpose, but actually the body is the property of others. Indeed, the perishable 
body embraces the living entity and then leaves him aside.

Since the body itself is ultimately meant to become stool or earth, what is the 
meaning of the paraphernalia related to the body, such as wives, residences, 
wealth, children, relatives, servants, friends, kingdoms, treasuries, animals 
and ministers? They are also temporary. What more can be said about this?

All this paraphernalia is very near and dear as long as the body exists, but as 
soon as the body is destroyed, all things related to the body are also finished. 
Therefore, actually one has nothing to do with them, but because of ignorance 
one accepts them as valuable. Compared to the ocean of eternal happiness, they 
are most insignificant. What is the use of such insignificant relationships for 
the eternal living being?

My dear friends, O sons of the asuras, the living entity receives different 
types of bodies according to his previous fruitive activities. Thus he is seen 
to suffer with reference to his particular body in all conditions of life, 
beginning with his infusion into the womb. Please tell me, therefore, after full 
consideration, what is the living entity's actual interest in fruitive 
activities, which result in hardship and misery?

The living entity, who has received his present body because of his past 
fruitive activity, may end the results of his actions in this life, but this 
does not mean that he is liberated from bondage to material bodies. The living 
entity receives one type of body, and by performing actions with that body he 
creates another. Thus he transmigrates from one body to another, through 
repeated birth and death, because of his gross ignorance.

The four principles of advancement in spiritual life--dharma, artha, kama and 
moksa--all depend on the disposition of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. 
Therefore, my dear friends, follow in the footsteps of devotees. Without desire, 
fully depend upon the disposition of the Supreme Lord, worship Him, the 
Supersoul, in devotional service.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, is the soul and the Supersoul of all 
living entities. Every living entity is a manifestation of His energy in terms 
of the living soul and the material body. Therefore the Lord is the most dear, 
and He is the supreme controller.

If a demigod, demon, human being, Yaksa, Gandharva or anyone within this 
universe renders service to the lotus feet of Mukunda, who can deliver 
liberation, he is actually situated in the most auspicious condition of life, 
exactly like us [the mahajanas, headed by Prahlada Maharaja].

My dear friends, O sons of the demons, you cannot please the Supreme Personality 
of Godhead by becoming perfect brahmanas, demigods or great saints or by 
becoming perfectly good in etiquette or vast learning. None of these 
qualifications can awaken the pleasure of the Lord. Nor by charity, austerity, 
sacrifice, cleanliness or vows can one satisfy the Lord. The Lord is pleased 
only if one has unflinching, unalloyed devotion to Him. Without sincere 
devotional service, everything is simply a show.

My dear friends, O sons of the demons, in the same favorable way that one sees 
himself and takes care of himself, take to devotional service to satisfy the 
Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is present everywhere as the Supersoul of 
all living entities.

O my friends, O sons of demons, everyone, including you (the Yaksas and 
Raksasas), the unintelligent women, sudras and cowherd men, the birds, the lower 
animals and the sinful living entities, can revive his original, eternal 
spiritual life and exist forever simply by accepting the principles of bhakti-

In this material world, to render service to the lotus feet of Govinda, the 
cause of all causes, and to see Him everywhere, is the only goal of life. This 
much alone is the ultimate goal of human life, as explained by all the revealed 

Chapter Eight : Lord Nrsimhadeva Slays the King of the Demons

Narada Muni continued: All the sons of the demons appreciated the transcendental 
instructions of Prahlada Maharaja and took them very seriously. They rejected 
the materialistic instructions given by their teachers, Sanda and Amarka.

When Sanda and Amarka, the sons of Sukracarya, observed that all the students, 
the sons of the demons, were becoming advanced in Krishna consciousness because 
of the association of Prahlada Maharaja, they were afraid. They approached the 
King of the demons and described the situation as it was.

When Hiranyakasipu understood the entire situation, he was extremely angry, so 
much so that his body trembled. Thus he finally decided to kill his son 
Prahlada. Hiranyakasipu was by nature very cruel, and feeling insulted, he began 
hissing like a snake trampled upon by someone's foot. His son Prahlada was 
peaceful, mild and gentle, his senses were under control, and he stood before 
Hiranyakasipu with folded hands. According to Prahlada's age and behavior, he 
was not to be chastised. Yet with staring, crooked eyes, Hiranyakasipu rebuked 
him with the following harsh words.

Hiranyakasipu said: O most impudent, most unintelligent disruptor of the family, 
O lowest of mankind, you have violated my power to rule you, and therefore you 
are an obstinate fool. Today I shall send you to the place of Yamaraja.

My son Prahlada, you rascal, you know that when I am angry all the planets of 
the three worlds tremble, along with their chief rulers. By whose power has a 
rascal like you become so impudent that you appear fearless and overstep my 
power to rule you?

Prahlada Maharaja said: My dear King, the source of my strength, of which you 
are asking, is also the source of yours. Indeed, the original source of all 
kinds of strength is one. He is not only your strength or mine, but the only 
strength for everyone. Without Him, no one can get any strength. Whether moving 
or not moving, superior or inferior, everyone, including Lord Brahma, is 
controlled by the strength of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the supreme controller and time 
factor, is the power of the senses, the power of the mind, the power of the 
body, and the vital force of the senses. His influence is unlimited. He is the 
best of all living entities, the controller of the three modes of material 
nature. By His own power, He creates this cosmic manifestation, maintains it and 
annihilates it also.

Prahlada Maharaja continued: My dear father, please give up your demoniac 
mentality. Do not discriminate in your heart between enemies and friends; make 
your mind equipoised toward everyone. Except for the uncontrolled and misguided 
mind, there is no enemy within this world. When one sees everyone on the 
platform of equality, one then comes to the position of worshiping the Lord 

In former times there were many fools like you who did not conquer the six 
enemies that steal away the wealth of the body. These fools were very proud, 
thinking, "I have conquered all enemies in all the ten directions." But if a 
person is victorious over the six enemies and is equipoised toward all living 
entities, for him there are no enemies. Enemies are merely imagined by one in 

Hiranyakasipu replied: You rascal, you are trying to minimize my value, as if 
you were better than me at controlling the senses. This is over-intelligent. I 
can therefore understand that you desire to die at my hands, for this kind of 
nonsensical talk is indulged in by those about to die.

O most unfortunate Prahlada, you have always described a supreme being other 
than me, a supreme being who is above everything, who is the controller of 
everyone, and who is all-pervading. But where is He? If He is everywhere, then 
why is He not present before me in this pillar?

Because you are speaking so much nonsense, I shall now sever your head from your 
body. Now let me see your most worshipable God come to protect you. I want to 
see it.

Being obsessed with anger, Hiranyakasipu, who was very great in bodily strength, 
thus chastised his exalted devotee-son Prahlada with harsh words. Cursing him 
again and again, Hiranyakasipu took up his sword, got up from his royal throne, 
and with great anger struck his fist against the column.

Then from within the pillar came a fearful sound, which appeared to crack the 
covering of the universe. O my dear Yudhisthira, this sound reached even the 
abodes of the demigods like Lord Brahma, and when the demigods heard it, they 
thought, "Oh, now our planets are being destroyed!"

While showing his extraordinary prowess, Hiranyakasipu, who desired to kill his 
own son, heard that wonderful, tumultuous sound, which had never before been 
heard. Upon hearing the sound, the other leaders of the demons were afraid. None 
of them could find the origin of that sound in the assembly.

To prove that the statement of His servant Prahlada Maharaja was substantial--in 
other words, to prove that the Supreme Lord is present everywhere, even within 
the pillar of an assembly hall--the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, 
exhibited a wonderful form never before seen. The form was neither that of a man 
nor that of a lion. Thus the Lord appeared in His wonderful form in the assembly 

While Hiranyakasipu looked all around to find the source of the sound, that 
wonderful form of the Lord, which could not be ascertained to be either a man or 
a lion, emerged from the pillar. In amazement, Hiranyakasipu wondered, "What is 
this creature that is half man and half lion?"

Hiranyakasipu studied the form of the Lord, trying to decide who the form of 
Nrsimhadeva standing before him was. The Lord's form was extremely fearsome 
because of His angry eyes, which resembled molten gold; His shining mane, which 
expanded the dimensions of His fearful face; His deadly teeth; and His razor-
sharp tongue, which moved about like a dueling sword. His ears were erect and 
motionless, and His nostrils and gaping mouth appeared like caves of a mountain. 
His jaws parted fearfully, and His entire body touched the sky. His neck was 
very short and thick, His chest broad, His waist thin, and the hairs on His body 
as white as the rays of the moon. His arms, which resembled flanks of soldiers, 
spread in all directions as He killed the demons, rogues and atheists with His 
conchshell, disc, club, lotus and other natural weapons.

Hiranyakasipu murmured to himself, "Lord Vishnu, who possesses great mystic 
power, has made this plan to kill me, but what is the use of such an attempt? 
Who can fight with me?" Thinking like this and taking up his club, Hiranyakasipu 
attacked the Lord like an elephant.

Just as a small insect falls forcefully into a fire and the insignificant 
creature becomes invisible, when Hiranyakasipu attacked the Lord, who was full 
of effulgence, Hiranyakasipu became invisible. This is not at all astonishing, 
for the Lord is always situated in pure goodness. Formerly, during creation, He 
entered the dark universe and illuminated it by His spiritual effulgence.

Thereafter, the great demon Hiranyakasipu, who was extremely angry, swiftly 
attacked Nrsimhadeva with his club and began to beat Him. Lord Nrsimhadeva, 
however, captured the great demon, along with his club, just as Garuda might 
capture a great snake.

O Yudhisthira, O great son of Bharata, when Lord Nrsimhadeva gave Hiranyakasipu 
a chance to slip from His hand, just as Garuda sometimes plays with a snake and 
lets it slip from his mouth, the demigods, who had lost their abodes and who 
were hiding behind the clouds for fear of the demon, did not consider that 
incident very good. Indeed, they were perturbed.

When Hiranyakasipu was freed from the hands of Nrsimhadeva, he falsely thought 
that the Lord was afraid of his prowess. Therefore, after taking a little rest 
from the fight, he took up his sword and shield and again attacked the Lord with 
great force.

Making a loud, shrill sound of laughter, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, 
Narayana, who is extremely strong and powerful, captured Hiranyakasipu, who was 
protecting himself with his sword and shield, leaving no gaps open. With the 
speed of a hawk, Hiranyakasipu moved sometimes in the sky and sometimes on the 
earth, his eyes closed because of fear of Nrsimhadeva's laughter.

As a snake captures a mouse or Garuda captures a very venomous snake, Lord 
Nrsimhadeva captured Hiranyakasipu, who could not be pierced even by the 
thunderbolt of King Indra. As Hiranyakasipu moved his limbs here, there and all 
around, very much afflicted at being captured, Lord Nrsimhadeva placed the demon 
on His lap, supporting him with His thighs, and in the doorway of the assembly 
hall the Lord very easily tore the demon to pieces with the nails of His hand.

Lord Nrsimhadeva's mouth and mane were sprinkled with drops of blood, and His 
fierce eyes, full of anger, were impossible to look at. Licking the edge of His 
mouth with His tongue, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Nrsimhadeva, 
decorated with a garland of intestines taken from Hiranyakasipu's abdomen, 
resembled a lion that has just killed an elephant.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who had many, many arms, first uprooted 
Hiranyakasipu's heart and then threw him aside and turned toward the demon's 
soldiers. These soldiers had come in thousands to fight with Him with raised 
weapons and were very faithful followers of Hiranyakasipu, but Lord Nrsimhadeva 
killed all of them merely with the ends of His nails.

The hair on Nrsimhadeva's head shook the clouds and scattered them here and 
there, His glaring eyes stole the effulgence of the luminaries in the sky, and 
His breathing agitated the seas and oceans. Because of His roaring, all the 
elephants in the world began to cry in fear.

Airplanes were thrown into outer space and the upper planetary system by the 
hair on Nrsimhadeva's head. Because of the pressure of the Lord's lotus feet, 
the earth appeared to slip from its position, and all the hills and mountains 
sprang up due to His intolerable force. Because of the Lord's bodily effulgence, 
both the sky and all directions diminished in their natural illumination.

Manifesting a full effulgence and a fearsome countenance, Lord Nrsimha, being 
very angry and finding no contestant to face His power and opulence, then sat 
down in the assembly hall on the excellent throne of the king. Because of fear 
and obedience, no one could come forward to serve the Lord directly.

Hiranyakasipu had been exactly like a fever of meningitis in the head of the 
three worlds. Thus when the wives of the demigods in the heavenly planets saw 
that the great demon had been killed by the personal hands of the Supreme 
Personality of Godhead, their faces blossomed in great joy. The wives of the 
demigods again and again showered flowers from heaven upon Lord Nrsimhadeva like 

At that time, the airplanes of the demigods, who desired to see the activities 
of the Supreme Lord, Narayana, crowded the sky. The demigods began beating drums 
and kettledrums, and upon hearing them the angelic women began to dance, while 
the chiefs of the Gandharvas sang sweetly.

My dear King Yudhisthira, the demigods then approached the Lord. They were 
headed by Lord Brahma, King Indra and Lord Shiva and included great saintly 
persons and the residents of Pitrloka, Siddhaloka, Vidyadhara-loka and the 
planet of the snakes. The Manus approached, and so did the chiefs of various 
other planets. The angelic dancers approached, as did the Gandharvas, the 
Caranas, the Yaksas, the inhabitants of Kinnaraloka, the Vetalas, the 
inhabitants of Kimpurusa-loka, and the personal servants of Vishnu like Sunanda 
and Kumuda. All of them came near the Lord, who glowed with intense light. They 
individually offered their obeisances and prayers, their hands folded at their 

Lord Brahma prayed: My Lord, You are unlimited, and You possess unending 
potencies. No one can estimate or calculate Your prowess and wonderful 
influence, for Your actions are never polluted by the material energy. Through 
the material qualities, You very easily create the universe, maintain it and 
again annihilate it, yet You remain the same, without deterioration. I therefore 
offer my respectful obeisances unto You.

Lord Shiva said: The end of the millennium is the time for Your anger. Now that 
this insignificant demon Hiranyakasipu has been killed, O my Lord, who are 
naturally affectionate to Your devotee, kindly protect his son Prahlada 
Maharaja, who is standing nearby as Your fully surrendered devotee.

King Indra said: O Supreme Lord, You are our deliverer and protector. Our shares 
of sacrifices, which are actually Yours, have been recovered from the demon by 
You. Because the demoniac king Hiranyakasipu was most fearsome, our hearts, 
which are Your permanent abode, were all overtaken by him. Now, by Your 
presence, the gloom and darkness in our hearts have been dissipated. O Lord, for 
those who always engage in Your service, which is more exalted than liberation, 
all material opulence is insignificant. They do not even care for liberation, 
not to speak of the benefits of kama, artha and dharma.

All the saintly persons present offered their prayers in this way: O Lord, O 
supreme maintainer of those sheltered at Your lotus feet, O original Personality 
of Godhead, the process of austerity and penance, in which You instructed us 
before, is the spiritual power of Your very self. It is by austerity that You 
create the material world, which lies dormant within You. This austerity was 
almost stopped by the activities of this demon, but now, by Yourself appearing 
in the form of Nrsimhadeva, which is meant just to give us protection, and by 
killing this demon, You have again approved the process of austerity.

The inhabitants of Pitrloka prayed: Let us offer our respectful obeisances unto 
Lord Nrsimhadeva, the maintainer of the religious principles of the universe. He 
has killed Hiranyakasipu, the demon who by force enjoyed all the offerings of 
the sraddha ceremonies performed by our sons and grandsons on the anniversaries 
of our death and who drank the water with sesame seeds offered in holy places of 
pilgrimage. By killing this demon, O Lord, You have taken back all this stolen 
property from his abdomen by piercing it with Your nails. We therefore wish to 
offer our respectful obeisances unto You.

The inhabitants of Siddhaloka prayed: O Lord Nrsimhadeva, because we belong to 
Siddhaloka, we automatically achieve perfection in all eight kinds of mystic 
power. Yet Hiranyakasipu was so dishonest that by the strength of his power and 
austerity, he took away our powers. Thus he became very proud of his mystic 
strength. Now, because this rogue has been killed by Your nails, we offer our 
respectful obeisances unto You.

The inhabitants of Vidyadhara-loka prayed: Our acquired power to appear and 
disappear in various ways according to varieties of meditation was banned by 
that foolish Hiranyakasipu because of his pride in his superior bodily strength 
and his ability to conquer others. Now the Supreme Personality of Godhead has 
killed him just as if the demon were an animal. Unto that supreme pastime form 
of Lord Nrsimhadeva, we eternally offer our respectful obeisances.

The inhabitants of Nagaloka said: The most sinful Hiranyakasipu took away all 
the jewels on our hoods and all our beautiful wives. Now, since his chest has 
been pierced by Your nails, You are the source of all pleasure to our wives. 
Thus we together offer our respectful obeisances unto You.

All the Manus offered their prayers as follows: As Your order carriers, O Lord, 
we, the Manus, are the law-givers for human society, but because of the 
temporary supremacy of this great demon, Hiranyakasipu, our laws for maintaining 
varnasrama-dharma were destroyed. O Lord, now that You have killed this great 
demon, we are in our normal condition. Kindly order us, Your eternal servants, 
what to do now.

The prajapatis offered their prayers as follows: O Supreme Lord, Lord of even 
Brahma and Shiva, we, the prajapatis, were created by You to execute Your 
orders, but we were forbidden by Hiranyakasipu to create any more good progeny. 
Now the demon is lying dead before us, his chest pierced by You. Let us 
therefore offer our respectful obeisances unto You, whose incarnation in this 
form of pure goodness is meant for the welfare of the entire universe.

The inhabitants of Gandharvaloka prayed: Your Lordship, we ever engage in Your 
service by dancing and singing in dramatic performances, but this Hiranyakasipu, 
by the influence of his bodily strength and valor, brought us under his 
subjugation. Now he has been brought to this low condition by Your Lordship. 
What benefit can result from the activities of such an upstart as Hiranyakasipu?

The inhabitants of the Carana planet said: O Lord, because You have destroyed 
the demon Hiranyakasipu, who was always a stake in the hearts of all honest men, 
we are now relieved, and we eternally take shelter of Your lotus feet, which 
award the conditioned soul liberation from materialistic contamination.

The inhabitants of Yaksaloka prayed: O controller of the twenty-four elements, 
we are considered the best servants of Your Lordship because of rendering 
services pleasing to You, yet we engaged as palanquin carriers by the order of 
Hiranyakasipu, the son of Diti. O Lord in the form of Nrsimhadeva, You know how 
this demon gave trouble to everyone, but now You have killed him, and his body 
is mixing with the five material elements.

The inhabitants of Kimpurusa-loka said: We are insignificant living entities, 
and You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the supreme controller. 
Therefore how can we offer suitable prayers unto You? When this demon was 
condemned by devotees because they were disgusted with him, he was then killed 
by You.

The inhabitants of Vaitalika-loka said: Dear Lord, because of chanting Your 
spotless glories in great assemblies and arenas of sacrifice, we were accustomed 
to great respect from everyone. This demon, however, usurped that position. Now, 
to our great fortune, You have killed this great demon, exactly as one cures a 
chronic disease.

The Kinnaras said: O supreme controller, we are ever-existing servants of Your 
Lordship, but instead of rendering service to You, we were engaged by this demon 
in his service, constantly and without remuneration. This sinful man has now 
been killed by You. Therefore, O Lord Nrsimhadeva, our master, we offer our 
respectful obeisances unto You. Please continue to be our patron.

The associates of Lord Vishnu in Vaikuntha offered this prayer: O Lord, our 
supreme giver of shelter, today we have seen Your wonderful form as Lord 
Nrsimhadeva, meant for the good fortune of all the world. O Lord, we can 
understand that Hiranyakasipu was the same Jaya who engaged in Your service but 
was cursed by brahmanas and who thus received the body of a demon. We understand 
that his having now been killed is Your special mercy upon him.

Chapter Nine : Prahlada Pacifies Lord Nrsimhadeva with Prayers

The great saint Narada Muni continued: The demigods, headed by Lord Brahma, Lord 
Shiva and other great demigods, dared not come forward before the Lord, who at 
that time was extremely angry.

The goddess of fortune, Laksmiji, was requested to go before the Lord by all the 
demigods present, who because of fear could not do so. But even she had never 
seen such a wonderful and extraordinary form of the Lord, and thus she could not 
approach Him.

Thereafter Lord Brahma requested Prahlada Maharaja, who was standing very near 
him: My dear son, Lord Nrsimhadeva is extremely angry at your demoniac father. 
Please go forward and appease the Lord.

Narada Muni continued: O King, although the exalted devotee Prahlada Maharaja 
was only a little boy, he accepted Lord Brahma's words. He gradually proceeded 
toward Lord Nrsimhadeva and fell down to offer his respectful obeisances with 
folded hands.

When Lord Nrsimhadeva saw the small boy Prahlada Maharaja prostrated at the 
soles of His lotus feet, He became most ecstatic in affection toward His 
devotee. Raising Prahlada, the Lord placed His lotus hand upon the boy's head 
because His hand is always ready to create fearlessness in all of His devotees.

By the touch of Lord Nrsimhadeva's hand on Prahlada Maharaja's head, Prahlada 
was completely freed of all material contaminations and desires, as if he had 
been thoroughly cleansed. Therefore he at once became transcendentally situated, 
and all the symptoms of ecstasy became manifest in his body. His heart filled 
with love, and his eyes with tears, and thus he was able to completely capture 
the lotus feet of the Lord within the core of his heart.

Prahlada Maharaja fixed his mind and sight upon Lord Nrsimhadeva with full 
attention in complete trance. With a fixed mind, he began to offer prayers in 
love with a faltering voice.

Prahlada Maharaja prayed: How is it possible for me, who have been born in a 
family of asuras, to offer suitable prayers to satisfy the Supreme Personality 
of Godhead? Even until now, all the demigods, headed by Lord Brahma, and all the 
saintly persons, could not satisfy the Lord by streams of excellent words, 
although such persons are very qualified, being in the mode of goodness. Then 
what is to be said of me? I am not at all qualified.

Prahlada Maharaja continued: One may possess wealth, an aristocratic family, 
beauty, austerity, education, sensory expertise, luster, influence, physical 
strength, diligence, intelligence and mystic yogic power, but I think that even 
by all these qualifications one cannot satisfy the Supreme Personality of 
Godhead. However, one can satisfy the Lord simply by devotional service. 
Gajendra did this, and thus the Lord was satisfied with him.

If a brahmana has all twelve of the brahminical qualifications [as they are 
stated in the book called Sanat-sujata] but is not a devotee and is averse to 
the lotus feet of the Lord, he is certainly lower than a devotee who is a dog-
eater but who has dedicated everything--mind, words, activities, wealth and 
life--to the Supreme Lord. Such a devotee is better than such a brahmana because 
the devotee can purify his whole family, whereas the so-called brahmana in a 
position of false prestige cannot purify even himself.

The Supreme Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is always fully satisfied 
in Himself. Therefore when something is offered to Him, the offering, by the 
Lord's mercy, is for the benefit of the devotee, for the Lord does not need 
service from anyone. To give an example, if one's face is decorated, the 
reflection of one's face in a mirror is also seen to be decorated.

Therefore, although I was born in a demoniac family, I may without a doubt offer 
prayers to the Lord with full endeavor, as far as my intelligence allows. Anyone 
who has been forced by ignorance to enter the material world may be purified of 
material life if he offers prayers to the Lord and hears the Lord's glories.

O my Lord, all the demigods, headed by Lord Brahma, are sincere servants of Your 
Lordship, who are situated in a transcendental position. Therefore they are not 
like us [Prahlada and his father, the demon Hiranyakasipu]. Your appearance in 
this fearsome form is Your pastime for Your own pleasure. Such an incarnation is 
always meant for the protection and improvement of the universe.

My Lord Nrsimhadeva, please, therefore, cease Your anger now that my father, the 
great demon Hiranyakasipu, has been killed. Since even saintly persons take 
pleasure in the killing of a scorpion or a snake, all the worlds have achieved 
great satisfaction because of the death of this demon. Now they are confident of 
their happiness, and they will always remember Your auspicious incarnation in 
order to be free from fear.

My Lord, who are never conquered by anyone, I am certainly not afraid of Your 
ferocious mouth and tongue, Your eyes bright like the sun or Your frowning 
eyebrows. I do not fear Your sharp, pinching teeth, Your garland of intestines, 
Your mane soaked with blood, or Your high, wedgelike ears. Nor do I fear Your 
tumultuous roaring, which makes elephants flee to distant places, or Your nails, 
which are meant to kill Your enemies.

O most powerful, insurmountable Lord, who are kind to the fallen souls, I have 
been put into the association of demons as a result of my activities, and 
therefore I am very much afraid of my condition of life within this material 
world. When will that moment come when You will call me to the shelter of Your 
lotus feet, which are the ultimate goal for liberation from conditional life?

O great one, O Supreme Lord, because of combination with pleasing and 
displeasing circumstances and because of separation from them, one is placed in 
a most regrettable position, within heavenly or hellish planets, as if burning 
in a fire of lamentation. Although there are many remedies by which to get out 
of miserable life, any such remedies in the material world are more miserable 
than the miseries themselves. Therefore I think that the only remedy is to 
engage in Your service. Kindly instruct me in such service.

O my Lord Nrsimhadeva, by engaging in Your transcendental loving service in the 
association of devotees who are liberated souls [hamsas], I shall become 
completely uncontaminated by the association of the three modes of material 
nature and be able to chant the glories of Your Lordship, who are so dear to me. 
I shall chant Your glories, following exactly in the footsteps of Lord Brahma 
and his disciplic succession. In this way I shall undoubtedly be able to cross 
the ocean of nescience.

My Lord Nrsimhadeva, O Supreme, because of a bodily conception of life, embodied 
souls neglected and not cared for by You cannot do anything for their 
betterment. Whatever remedies they accept, although perhaps temporarily 
beneficial, are certainly impermanent. For example, a father and mother cannot 
protect their child, a physician and medicine cannot relieve a suffering 
patient, and a boat on the ocean cannot protect a drowning man.

My dear Lord, everyone in this material world is under the modes of material 
nature, being influenced by goodness, passion and ignorance. Everyone--from the 
greatest personality, Lord Brahma, down to the small ant--works under the 
influence of these modes. Therefore everyone in this material world is 
influenced by Your energy. The cause for which they work, the place where they 
work, the time when they work, the matter due to which they work, the goal of 
life they have considered final, and the process for obtaining this goal--all 
are nothing but manifestations of Your energy. Indeed, since the energy and 
energetic are identical, all of them are but manifestations of You.

O Lord, O supreme eternal, by expanding Your plenary portion You have created 
the subtle bodies of the living entities through the agency of Your external 
energy, which is agitated by time. Thus the mind entraps the living entity in 
unlimited varieties of desires to be fulfilled by the Vedic directions of karma-
kanda [fruitive activity] and the sixteen elements. Who can get free from this 
entanglement unless he takes shelter at Your lotus feet?

My dear Lord, O supreme great, You have created this material world of sixteen 
constituents, but You are transcendental to their material qualities. In other 
words, these material qualities are under Your full control, and You are never 
conquered by them. Therefore the time element is Your representation. My Lord, O 
Supreme, no one can conquer You. As for me, however, I am being crushed by the 
wheel of time, and therefore I surrender fully unto You. Now kindly take me 
under the protection of Your lotus feet.

My dear Lord, people in general want to be elevated to the higher planetary 
systems for a long duration of life, opulence and enjoyment, but I have seen all 
of these through the activities of my father. When my father was angry and he 
laughed sarcastically at the demigods, they were immediately vanquished simply 
by seeing the movements of his eyebrows. Yet my father, who was so powerful, has 
now been vanquished by You within a moment.

My dear Lord, now I have complete experience concerning the worldly opulence, 
mystic power, longevity and other material pleasures enjoyed by all living 
entities, from Lord Brahma down to the ant. As powerful time, You destroy them 
all. Therefore, because of my experience, I do not wish to possess them. My dear 
Lord, I request You to place me in touch with Your pure devotee and let me serve 
him as a sincere servant.

In this material world, every living entity desires some future happiness, which 
is exactly like a mirage in the desert. Where is water in the desert, or, in 
other words, where is happiness in this material world? As for this body, what 
is its value? It is merely a source of various diseases. The so-called 
philosophers, scientists and politicians know this very well, but nonetheless 
they aspire for temporary happiness. Happiness is very difficult to obtain, but 
because they are unable to control their senses, they run after the so-called 
happiness of the material world and never come to the right conclusion.

O my Lord, O Supreme, because I was born in a family full of the hellish 
material qualities of passion and ignorance, what is my position? And what is to 
be said of Your causeless mercy, which was never offered even to Lord Brahma, 
Lord Shiva or the goddess of fortune, Laksmi? You never put Your lotus hand upon 
their heads, but You have put it upon mine.

Unlike an ordinary living entity, my Lord, You do not discriminate between 
friends and enemies, the favorable and the unfavorable, because for You there is 
no conception of higher and lower. Nonetheless, You offer Your benedictions 
according to the level of one's service, exactly as a desire tree delivers 
fruits according to one's desires and makes no distinction between the lower and 
the higher.

My dear Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, because of my association with 
material desires, one after another, I was gradually falling into a blind well 
full of snakes, following the general populace. But Your servant Narada Muni 
kindly accepted me as his disciple and instructed me how to achieve this 
transcendental position. Therefore, my first duty is to serve him. Mow could I 
leave his service?

My Lord, O unlimited reservoir of transcendental qualities, You have killed my 
father, Hiranyakasipu, and saved me from his sword. He had said very angrily, 
"If there is any supreme controller other than me, let Him save you. I shall now 
sever your head from your body." Therefore I think that both in saving me and in 
killing him, You have acted just to prove true the words of Your devotee. There 
is no other cause.

My dear Lord, You alone manifest Yourself as the entire cosmic manifestation, 
for You existed before the creation, You exist after the annihilation, and You 
are the maintainer between the beginning and the end. All this is done by Your 
external energy through actions and reactions of the three modes of material 
nature. Therefore whatever exists--externally and internally--is You alone.

My dear Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, the entire cosmic creation is 
caused by You, and the cosmic manifestation is an effect of Your energy. 
Although the entire cosmos is but You alone, You keep Yourself aloof from it. 
The conception of "mine and yours," is certainly a type of illusion [maya] 
because everything is an emanation from You and is therefore not different from 
You. Indeed, the cosmic manifestation is nondifferent from You, and the 
annihilation is also caused by You. This relationship between Your Lordship and 
the cosmos is illustrated by the example of the seed and the tree, or the subtle 
cause and the gross manifestation.

O my Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, after the annihilation the creative 
energy is kept in You, who appear to sleep with half-closed eyes. Actually, 
however, You do not sleep like an ordinary human being, for You are always in a 
transcendental stage, beyond the creation of the material world, and You always 
feel transcendental bliss. As Karanodakasayi Vishnu, You thus remain in Your 
transcendental status, not touching material objects. Although You appear to 
sleep, this sleeping is distinct from sleeping in ignorance.

This cosmic manifestation, the material world, is also Your body. This total 
lump of matter is agitated by Your potent energy known as kala-sakti, and thus 
the three modes of material nature are manifested. You awaken from the bed of 
Sesa, Ananta, and from Your navel a small transcendental seed is generated. It 
is from this seed that the lotus flower of the gigantic universe is manifested, 
exactly as a banyan tree grows from a small seed.

From that great lotus flower, Brahma was generated, but Brahma certainly could 
see nothing but the lotus. Therefore, thinking You to be outside, Lord Brahma 
dove into the water and attempted to find the source of the lotus for one 
hundred years. He could find no trace of You, however, for when a seed 
fructifies, the original seed cannot be seen.

Lord Brahma, who is celebrated as atma-yoni, having been born without a mother, 
was struck with wonder. Thus he took shelter of the lotus flower, and when he 
had been purified after undergoing severe austerities for many hundreds of 
years, he could see that the cause of all causes, the Supreme Personality of 
Godhead, was spread throughout his own body and senses, just as aroma, although 
very subtle, is perceived in the earth.

Lord Brahma could then see You possessing thousands and thousands of faces, 
feet, heads, hands, thighs, noses, ears and eyes. You were very nicely dressed, 
being decorated and bedecked with varieties of ornaments and weapons. Seeing You 
in the form of Lord Vishnu, Your symptoms and form being transcendental, Your 
legs extending from the lower planets, Lord Brahma achieved transcendental 

My dear Lord, when You appeared as Hayagriva, with the head of a horse, You 
killed two demons known as Madhu and Kaitabha, who were full of the modes of 
passion and ignorance. Then You delivered the Vedic knowledge to Lord Brahma. 
For this reason, all the great saints accept Your forms as transcendental, 
untinged by material qualities.

In this way, my Lord, You appear in various incarnations as a human being, an 
animal, a great saint, a demigod, a fish or a tortoise, thus maintaining the 
entire creation in different planetary systems and killing the demoniac 
principles. According to the age, O my Lord, You protect the principles of 
religion. In the age of Kali, however, You do not assert Yourself as the Supreme 
Personality of Godhead, and therefore You are known as Triyuga, or the Lord who 
appears in three yugas.

My dear Lord of the Vaikuntha planets, where there is no anxiety, my mind is 
extremely sinful and lusty, being sometimes so-called happy and sometimes so-
called distressed. My mind is full of lamentation and fear, and it always seeks 
more and more money. Thus it has become most polluted and is never satisfied in 
topics concerning You. I am therefore most fallen and poor. In such a status of 
life, how shall I be able to discuss Your activities?

My dear Lord, O infallible one, my position is like that of a person who has 
many wives, all trying to attract him in their own way. For example, the tongue 
is attracted to palatable dishes, the genitals to sex with an attractive woman, 
and the sense of touch to contact with soft things. The belly, although filled, 
still wants to eat more, and the ear, not attempting to hear about You, is 
generally attracted to cinema songs. The sense of smell is attracted to yet 
another side, the restless eyes are attracted to scenes of sense gratification, 
and the active senses are attracted elsewhere. In this way I am certainly 

My dear Lord, You are always transcendentally situated on the other side of the 
river of death, but because of the reactions of our own activities, we are 
suffering on this side. Indeed, we have fallen into this river and are 
repeatedly suffering the pains of birth and death and eating horrible things. 
Now kindly look upon us--not only upon me but also upon all others who are 
suffering--and by Your causeless mercy and compassion, deliver us and maintain 

O my Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, original spiritual master of the 
entire world, what is the difficulty for You, who manage the affairs of the 
universe, in delivering the fallen souls engaged in Your devotional service? You 
are the friend of all suffering humanity, and for great personalities it is 
necessary to show mercy to the foolish. Therefore I think that You will show 
Your causeless mercy to persons like us, who engage in Your service.

O best of the great personalities, I am not at all afraid of material existence, 
for wherever I stay I am fully absorbed in thoughts of Your glories and 
activities. My concern is only for the fools and rascals who are making 
elaborate plans for material happiness and maintaining their families, societies 
and countries. I am simply concerned with love for them.

My dear Lord Nrsimhadeva, I see that there are many saintly persons indeed, but 
they are interested only in their own deliverance. Not caring for the big cities 
and towns, they go to the Himalayas or the forest to meditate with vows of 
silence [mauna-vrata]. They are not interested in delivering others. As for me, 
however, I do not wish to be liberated alone, leaving aside all these poor fools 
and rascals. I know that without Krishna consciousness, without taking shelter 
of Your lotus feet, one cannot be happy. Therefore I wish to bring them back to 
shelter at Your lotus feet.

Sex life is compared to the rubbing of two hands to relieve an itch. Grhamedhis, 
so-called grhasthas who have no spiritual knowledge, think that this itching is 
the greatest platform of happiness, although actually it is a source of 
distress. The krpanas, the fools who are just the opposite of brahmanas, are not 
satisfied by repeated sensuous enjoyment. Those who are dhira, however, who are 
sober and who tolerate this itching, are not subjected to the sufferings of 
fools and rascals.

O Supreme Personality of Godhead, there are ten prescribed methods on the path 
to liberation--to remain silent, not to speak to anyone, to observe vows, to 
amass all kinds of Vedic knowledge, to undergo austerities, to study the Vedas 
and other Vedic literatures, to execute the duties of varnasrama-dharma, to 
explain the sastras, to stay in a solitary place, to chant mantras silently, and 
to be absorbed in trance. These different methods for liberation are generally 
only a professional practice and means of livelihood for those who have not 
conquered their senses. Because such persons are falsely proud, these procedures 
may not be successful.

By authorized Vedic knowledge one can see that the forms of cause and effect in 
the cosmic manifestation belong to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, for the 
cosmic manifestation is His energy. Both cause and effect are nothing but 
energies of the Lord. Therefore, O my Lord, just as a wise man, by considering 
cause and effect, can see how fire pervades wood, those engaged in devotional 
service understand how You are both the cause and effect.

O Supreme Lord, You are actually the air, the earth, fire, sky and water. You 
are the objects of sense perception, the life airs, the five senses, the mind, 
consciousness and false ego. Indeed, You are everything, subtle and gross. The 
material elements and anything expressed, either by the words or by the mind, 
are nothing but You.

Neither the three modes of material nature [sattva-guna, rajo-guna and tamo-
guna], nor the predominating deities controlling these three modes, nor the five 
gross elements, nor the mind, nor the demigods nor the human beings can 
understand Your Lordship, for they are all subjected to birth and annihilation. 
Considering this, the spiritually advanced have taken to devotional service. 
Such wise men hardly bother with Vedic study. Instead, they engage themselves in 
practical devotional service.

Therefore, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, the best of all persons to whom 
prayers are offered, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You because without 
rendering six kinds of devotional service unto You--offering prayers, dedicating 
all the results of activities, worshiping You, working on Your behalf, always 
remembering Your lotus feet and hearing about Your glories--who can achieve that 
which is meant for the paramahamsas?

The great saint Narada said: Thus Lord Nrsimhadeva was pacified by the devotee 
Prahlada Maharaja with prayers offered from the transcendental platform. The 
Lord gave up His anger, and being very kind to Prahlada, who was offering 
prostrated obeisances, He spoke as follows.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Prahlada, most gentle one, best 
of the family of the asuras, all good fortune unto you. I am very much pleased 
with you. It is My pastime to fulfill the desires of all living beings, and 
therefore you may ask from Me any benediction that you desire to be fulfilled.

My dear Prahlada, may you live a long time. One cannot appreciate or understand 
Me without pleasing Me, but one who has seen or pleased Me has nothing more for 
which to lament for his own satisfaction.

My dear Prahlada, you are very fortunate. Please know from Me that those who are 
very wise and highly elevated try to please Me in all different modes of 
mellows, for I am the only person who can fulfill all the desires of everyone.

Narada Muni said: Prahlada Maharaja was the best person in the family of asuras, 
who always aspire for material happiness. Nonetheless, although allured by the 
Supreme Personality of Godhead, who offered him all benedictions for material 
happiness, because of his unalloyed Krishna consciousness he did not want to 
take any material benefit for sense gratification.

Chapter Ten : Prahlada, the Best Among Exalted Devotees

The saint Narada Muni continued: Although Prahlada Maharaja was only a boy, when 
he heard the benedictions offered by Lord Nrsimhadeva he considered them 
impediments on the path of devotional service. Thus he smiled very mildly and 
spoke as follows.

Prahlada Maharaja said: My dear Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, because 
I was born in an atheistic family I am naturally attached to material enjoyment. 
Therefore, kindly do not tempt me with these illusions. I am very much afraid of 
material conditions, and I desire to be liberated from materialistic life. It is 
for this reason that I have taken shelter of Your lotus feet.

O my worshipable Lord, because the seed of lusty desires, which is the root 
cause of material existence, is within the core of everyone's heart, You have 
sent me to this material world to exhibit the symptoms of a pure devotee.

Otherwise, O my Lord, O supreme instructor of the entire world, You are so kind 
to Your devotee that You could not induce him to do something unbeneficial for 
him. On the other hand, one who desires some material benefit in exchange for 
devotional service cannot be Your pure devotee. Indeed, he is no better than a 
merchant who wants profit in exchange for service.

A servant who desires material profits from his master is certainly not a 
qualified servant or pure devotee. Similarly, a master who bestows benedictions 
upon his servant because of a desire to maintain a prestigious position as 
master is also not a pure master.

O my Lord, I am Your unmotivated servant, and You are my eternal master. There 
is no need of our being anything other than master and servant. You are 
naturally my master, and I am naturally Your servant. We have no other 

O my Lord, best of the givers of benediction, if You at all want to bestow a 
desirable benediction upon me, then I pray from Your Lordship that within the 
core of my heart there be no material desires.

O my Lord, because of lusty desires from the very beginning of one's birth, the 
functions of one's senses, mind, life, body, religion, patience, intelligence, 
shyness, opulence, strength, memory and truthfulness are vanquished.

O my Lord, when a human being is able to give up all the material desires in his 
mind, he becomes eligible to possess wealth and opulence like Yours.

O my Lord, full of six opulences, O Supreme Person! O Supreme Soul, killer of 
all miseries! O Supreme Person in the form of a wonderful lion and man, let me 
offer my respectful obeisances unto You.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Prahlada, a devotee like you 
never desires any kind of material opulences, either in this life or in the 
next. Nonetheless, I order you to enjoy the opulences of the demons in this 
material world, acting as their king until the end of the duration of time 
occupied by Manu.

It does not matter that you are in the material world. You should always, 
continuously, hear the instructions and messages given by Me and always be 
absorbed in thought of Me, for I am the Supersoul existing in the core of 
everyone's heart. Therefore, give up fruitive activities and worship Me.

My dear Prahlada, while you are in this material world you will exhaust all the 
reactions of pious activity by feeling happiness, and by acting piously you will 
neutralize impious activity. Because of the powerful time factor, you will give 
up your body, but the glories of your activities will be sung in the upper 
planetary systems, and being fully freed from all bondage, you will return home, 
back to Godhead.

One who always remembers your activities and My activities also, and who chants 
the prayers you have offered, becomes free, in due course of time, from the 
reactions of material activities.

Prahlada Maharaja said: O Supreme Lord, because You are so merciful to the 
fallen souls, I ask You for only one benediction. I know that my father, at the 
time of his death, had already been purified by Your glance upon him, but 
because of his ignorance of Your beautiful power and supremacy, he was 
unnecessarily angry at You, falsely thinking that You were the killer of his 
brother. Thus he directly blasphemed Your Lordship, the spiritual master of all 
living beings, and committed heavily sinful activities directed against me, Your 
devotee. I wish that he be excused for these sinful activities.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: My dear Prahlada, O most pure, O great 
saintly person, your father has been purified, along with twenty-one forefathers 
in your family. Because you were born in this family, the entire dynasty has 
been purified.

Whenever and wherever there are peaceful, equipoised devotees who are well 
behaved and decorated with all good qualities, that place and the dynasties 
there, even if condemned, are purified.

My dear Prahlada, King of the Daityas, because of being attached to devotional 
service to Me, My devotee does not distinguish between lower and higher living 
entities. In all respects, he is never jealous of anyone.

Those who follow your example will naturally become My pure devotees. You are 
the best example of My devotee, and others should follow in your footsteps.

My dear child, your father has already been purified just by the touch of My 
body at the time of his death. Nonetheless, the duty of a son is to perform the 
sraddha ritualistic ceremony after his father's death so that his father may be 
promoted to a planetary system where he may become a good citizen and devotee.

After performing the ritualistic ceremonies, take charge of your father's 
kingdom. Sit upon the throne and do not be disturbed by materialistic 
activities. Please keep your mind fixed upon Me. Without transgressing the 
injunctions of the Vedas, as a matter of formality you may perform your 
particular duties.

Sri Narada Muni continued: Thus, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead ordered, 
Prahlada Maharaja performed the ritualistic ceremonies for his father. O King 
Yudhisthira, he was then enthroned in the kingdom of Hiranyakasipu, as directed 
by the brahmanas.

Lord Brahma, surrounded by the other demigods, was bright-faced because the Lord 
was pleased. Thus he offered prayers to the Lord with transcendental words.

Lord Brahma said: O Supreme Lord of all lords, proprietor of the entire 
universe, O benedictor of all living entities, O original person [adi-purusa], 
because of our good fortune You have now killed this sinful demon, who was 
giving trouble to the entire universe.

This demon, Hiranyakasipu, received from me the benediction that he would not be 
killed by any living being within my creation. With this assurance and with 
strength derived from austerities and mystic power, he became excessively proud 
and transgressed all the Vedic injunctions.

By great fortune, Hiranyakasipu's son Prahlada Maharaja has now been released 
from death, for although he is a child, he is an exalted devotee. Now he is 
fully under the protection of Your lotus feet.

My dear Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, You are the Supreme Soul. If one 
meditates upon Your transcendental body, You naturally protect him from all 
sources of fear, even the imminent danger of death.

The Personality of Godhead replied: My dear Lord Brahma, O great lord born from 
the lotus flower, just as it is dangerous to feed milk to a snake, so it is 
dangerous to give benedictions to demons, who are by nature ferocious and 
jealous. I warn you not to give such benedictions to any demon again.

Narada Muni continued: O King Yudhisthira, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, 
who is not visible to an ordinary human being, spoke in this way, instructing 
Lord Brahma. Then, being worshiped by Brahma, the Lord disappeared from that 

Prahlada Maharaja then worshiped and offered prayers to all the demigods, such 
as Brahma, Shiva and the Prajapatis, who are all parts of the Lord.

Thereafter, along with Sukracarya and other great saints, Lord Brahma, whose 
seat is on the lotus flower, made Prahlada the king of all the demons and giants 
in the universe.

O King Yudhisthira, after all the demigods, headed by Lord Brahma, were properly 
worshiped by Prahlada Maharaja, they offered Prahlada their utmost benedictions 
and then returned to their respective abodes.

Thus the two associates of Lord Vishnu who had become Hiranyaksa and 
Hiranyakasipu, the sons of Diti, were both killed. By illusion they had thought 
that the Supreme Lord, who is situated in everyone's heart, was their enemy.

Being cursed by the brahmanas, the same two associates took birth again as 
Kumbhakarna and the ten-headed Ravana. These two Raksasas were killed by Lord 
Ramacandra's extraordinary power.

Pierced by the arrows of Lord Ramacandra, both Kumbhakarna and Ravana lay on the 
ground and left their bodies, fully absorbed in thought of the Lord, just as 
they had in their previous births as Hiranyaksa and Hiranyakasipu.

They both took birth again in human society as Sisupala and Dantavakra and 
continued in the same enmity toward the Lord. It is they who merged into the 
body of the Lord in your presence.

Not only Sisupala and Dantavakra but also many, many other kings who acted as 
enemies of Krishna attained salvation at the time of death. Because they thought 
of the Lord, they received spiritual bodies and forms the same as His, just as 
worms captured by a black drone obtain the same type of body as the drone.

By devotional service, pure devotees who incessantly think of the Supreme 
Personality of Godhead receive bodies similar to His. This is known as sarupya-
mukti. Although Sisupala, Dantavakra and other kings thought of Krishna as an 
enemy, they also achieved the same result.

Everything you asked me about how Sisupala and others attained salvation 
although they were inimical has now been explained to you by me.

In this narration about Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, various 
expansions or incarnations of the Lord have been described, and the killing of 
the two demons Hiranyaksa and Hiranyakasipu has also been described.

This narration describes the characteristics of the great and exalted devotee 
Prahlada Maharaja, his staunch devotional service, his perfect knowledge, and 
his perfect detachment from material contamination. It also describes the 
Supreme Personality of Godhead as the cause of creation, maintenance and 
annihilation. Prahlada Maharaja, in his prayers, has described the 
transcendental qualities of the Lord and has also described how the various 
abodes of the demigods and demons, regardless of how materially opulent, are 
destroyed by the mere direction of the Lord.

The principles of religion by which one can actually understand the Supreme 
Personality of Godhead are called bhagavata-dharma. In this narration, 
therefore, which deals with these principles, actual transcendence is properly 

One who hears and chants this narration about the omnipotence of the Supreme 
Personality of Godhead, Vishnu, is certainly liberated from material bondage 
without fail.

Prahlada Maharaja was the best among exalted devotees. Anyone who with great 
attention hears this narration concerning the activities of Prahlada Maharaja, 
the killing of Hiranyakasipu, and the activities of the Supreme Personality of 
Godhead, Nrsimhadeva, surely reaches the spiritual world, where there is no 

Narada Muni continued: My dear Maharaja Yudhisthira, all of you [the Pandavas] 
are extremely fortunate, for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, lives 
in your palace just like a human being. Great saintly persons know this very 
well, and therefore they constantly visit this house.

The impersonal Brahman is Krishna Himself because Krishna is the source of the 
impersonal Brahman. He is the origin of the transcendental bliss sought by great 
saintly persons, yet He, the Supreme Person, is your most dear friend and 
constant well-wisher and is intimately related to you as the son of your 
maternal uncle. Indeed, He is always like your body and soul. He is worshipable, 
yet He acts as your servant and sometimes as your spiritual master.

Exalted persons like Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma could not properly describe the 
truth of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna. May the Lord, who is 
always worshiped as the protector of all devotees by great saints who observe 
vows of silence, meditation, devotional service and renunciation, be pleased 
with us.

My dear King Yudhisthira, long, long ago in history, a demon known as Maya 
Danava, who was very expert in technical knowledge, reduced the reputation of 
Lord Shiva. In that situation, Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, 
saved Lord Shiva.

Maharaja Yudhisthira said: For what reason did the demon Maya Danava vanquish 
Lord Shiva's reputation? How did Lord Krishna save Lord Shiva and expand his 
reputation again? Kindly describe these incidents.

Narada Muni said: When the demigods, who are always powerful by the mercy of 
Lord Krishna, fought with the asuras, the asuras were defeated, and therefore 
they took shelter of Maya Danava, the greatest of the demons.

Maya Danava, the great leader of the demons, prepared three invisible residences 
and gave them to the demons. These dwellings resembled airplanes made of gold, 
silver and iron, and they contained uncommon paraphernalia. My dear King 
Yudhisthira, because of these three dwellings the commanders of the demons 
remained invisible to the demigods. Taking advantage of this opportunity, the 
demons, remembering their former enmity, began to vanquish the three worlds--the 
upper, middle and lower planetary systems.

Thereafter, when the demons had begun to destroy the higher planetary systems, 
the rulers of those planets went to Lord Shiva, fully surrendered unto him and 
said: Dear Lord, we demigods living in the three worlds are about to be 
vanquished. We are your followers. Kindly save us.

The most powerful and able Lord Shiva reassured them and said, "Do not be 
afraid." He then fixed his arrows to his bow and released them toward the three 
residences occupied by the demons.

The arrows released by Lord Shiva appeared like fiery beams emanating from the 
sun globe and covered the three residential airplanes, which could then no 
longer be seen.

Attacked by Lord Shiva's golden arrows, all the demoniac inhabitants of those 
three dwellings lost their lives and fell down. Then the great mystic Maya 
Danava dropped the demons into a nectarean well that he had created.

When the dead bodies of the demons came in touch with the nectar, their bodies 
became invincible to thunderbolts. Endowed with great strength, they got up like 
lightning penetrating clouds.

Seeing Lord Shiva very much aggrieved and disappointed, the Supreme Personality 
of Godhead, Lord Vishnu, considered how to stop this nuisance created by Maya 

Then Lord Brahma became a calf and Lord Vishnu a cow, and at noon they entered 
the residences and drank all the nectar in the well.

The demons could see the calf and cow, but because of the illusion created by 
the energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the demons could not forbid 
them. The great mystic Maya Danava became aware that the calf and cow were 
drinking the nectar, and he could understand this to be the unseen power of 
providence. Thus he spoke to the demons, who were grievously lamenting.

Maya Danava said: What has been destined by the Supreme Lord for oneself, for 
others, or for both oneself and others cannot be undone anywhere or by anyone, 
whether one be a demigod, a demon, a human being or anyone else.

Narada Muni continued: Thereafter, Lord Krishna, by His own personal potency, 
consisting of religion, knowledge, renunciation, opulence, austerity, education 
and activities, equipped Lord Shiva with all the necessary paraphernalia, such 
as a chariot, a charioteer, a flag, horses, elephants, a bow, a shield and 
arrows. When Lord Shiva was fully equipped in this way, he sat down on the 
chariot with his arrows and bow to fight with the demons.

My dear King Yudhisthira, the most powerful Lord Shiva joined the arrows to his 
bow, and at noon he set fire to all three residences of the demons and thus 
destroyed them.

Seated in their airplanes in the sky, the inhabitants of the higher planetary 
systems beat many kettledrums. The demigods, saints, Pitas, Siddhas and various 
great personalities showered flowers on the head of Lord Shiva, wishing him all 
victory, and the Apsaras began to chant and dance with great pleasure.

O King Yudhisthira, thus Lord Shiva is known as Tripurari, the annihilator of 
the three dwellings of the demons, because he burnt these dwellings to ashes. 
Being worshiped by the demigods, headed by Lord Brahma, Lord Shiva returned to 
his own abode.

The Lord, Sri Krishna, appeared as a human being, yet He performed many uncommon 
and wonderful pastimes by His own potency. How can I say more about His 
activities than what has already been said by great saintly persons? Everyone 
can be purified by His activities, simply by hearing about them from the right 

Chapter Eleven : The Perfect Society: Four Social Classes

Sukadeva Gosvami continued: After hearing about the activities and character of 
Prahlada Maharaja, which are adored and discussed among great personalities like 
Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva, Yudhisthira Maharaja, the most respectful king among 
exalted personalities, again inquired from the great saint Narada Muni in a mood 
of great pleasure.

Maharaja Yudhisthira said: My dear lord, I wish to hear from you about the 
principles of religion by which one can attain the ultimate goal of life--
devotional service. I wish to hear about the general occupational duties of 
human society and the system of social and spiritual advancement known as 

O best of the brahmanas, you are directly the son of Prajapati [Lord Brahma]. 
Because of your austerities, mystic yoga and trance, you are considered the best 
of all of Lord Brahma's sons.

No one is superior to you in peaceful life and mercy, and no one knows better 
than you how to execute devotional service or how to become the best of the 
brahmanas. Therefore, you know all the principles of confidential religious 
life, and no one knows them better than you.

Sri Narada Muni said: After first offering my obeisances unto Lord Krishna, the 
protector of the religious principles of all living entities, let me explain the 
principles of the eternal religious system, of which I have heard from the mouth 
of Narayana.

Lord Narayana, along with His partial manifestation Nara, appeared in this world 
through the daughter of Daksa Maharaja known as Murti. He was begotten by Dharma 
Maharaja for the benefit of all living entities. Even now, He is still engaged 
in executing great austerities near the place known as Badarikasrama.

The Supreme Being, the Personality of Godhead, is the essence of all Vedic 
knowledge, the root of all religious principles, and the memory of great 
authorities. O King Yudhisthira, this principle of religion is to be understood 
as evidence. On the basis of this religious principle, everything is satisfied, 
including one's mind, soul and even one's body.

These are the general principles to be followed by all human beings: 
truthfulness, mercy, austerity (observing fasts on certain days of the month), 
bathing twice a day, tolerance, discrimination between right and wrong, control 
of the mind, control of the senses, nonviolence, celibacy, charity, reading of 
scripture, simplicity, satisfaction, rendering service to saintly persons, 
gradually taking leave of unnecessary engagements, observing the futility of the 
unnecessary activities of human society, remaining silent and grave and avoiding 
unnecessary talk, considering whether one is the body or the soul, distributing 
food equally to all living entities (both men and animals), seeing every soul 
(especially in the human form) as a part of the Supreme Lord, hearing about the 
activities and instructions given by the Supreme Personality of Godhead (who is 
the shelter of the saintly persons), chanting about these activities and 
instructions, always remembering these activities and instructions, trying to 
render service, performing worship, offering obeisances, becoming a servant, 
becoming a friend, and surrendering one's whole self. O King Yudhisthira, these 
thirty qualifications must be acquired in the human form of life. Simply by 
acquiring these qualifications, one can satisfy the Supreme Personality of 

Those who have been reformed by the garbhadhana ceremony and other prescribed 
reformatory methods, performed with Vedic mantras and without interruption, and 
who have been approved by Lord Brahma, are dvijas, or twice-born. Such 
brahmanas, ksatriyas and vaisyas, purified by their family traditions and by 
their behavior, should worship the Lord, study the Vedas and give charity. In 
this system, they should follow the principles of the four asramas [brahmacarya, 
grhastha, vanaprastha and sannyasa].

For a brahmana there are six occupational duties. A ksatriya should not accept 
charity, but he may perform the other five of these duties. A king or ksatriya 
is not allowed to levy taxes on brahmanas, but he may make his livelihood by 
levying minimal taxes, customs duties, and penalty fines upon his other 

The mercantile community should always follow the directions of the brahmanas 
and engage in such occupational duties as agriculture, trade, and protection of 
cows. For the sudras the only duty is to accept a master from a higher social 
order and engage in his service.

As an alternative, a brahmana may also take to the vaisya's occupational duty of 
agriculture, cow protection, or trade. He may depend on that which he has 
received without begging, he may beg in the paddy field every day, he may 
collect paddy left in a field by its proprietor, or he may collect food grains 
left here and there in the shops of grain dealers. These are four means of 
livelihood that may also be adopted by brahmanas. Among these four, each of them 
in succession is better than the one preceding it.

Except in a time of emergency, lower persons should not accept the occupational 
duties of those who are higher. When there is such an emergency, of course, 
everyone but the ksatriya may accept the means of livelihood of others.

In time of emergency, one may accept any of the various types of professions 
known as rta, amrta, mrta, pramrta and satyanrta, but one should not at any time 
accept the profession of a dog. The profession of unchasila, collecting grains 
from the field, is called rta. Collecting without begging is called amrta, 
begging grains is called mrta, tilling the ground is called pramrta, and trade 
is called satyanrta. Engaging in the service of low-grade persons, however, is 
called sva-vrtti, the profession of the dogs. Specifically, brahmanas and 
ksatriyas should not engage in the low and abominable service of sudras. 
Brahmanas should be well acquainted with all the Vedic knowledge, and ksatriyas 
should be well acquainted with the worship of demigods.

The symptoms of a brahmana are control of the mind, control of the senses, 
austerity and penance, cleanliness, satisfaction, forgiveness, simplicity, 
knowledge, mercy, truthfulness, and complete surrender to the Supreme 
Personality of Godhead.

To be influential in battle, unconquerable, patient, challenging and charitable, 
to control the bodily necessities, to be forgiving, to be attached to the 
brahminical nature and to be always jolly and truthful--these are the symptoms 
of the ksatriya.

Being always devoted to the demigods, the spiritual master and the Supreme Lord, 
Vishnu; endeavoring for advancement in religious principles, economic 
development and sense gratification [dharma, artha and kama]; believing in the 
words of the spiritual master and scripture; and always endeavoring with 
expertise in earning money--these are the symptoms of the vaisya.

Offering obeisances to the higher sections of society [the brahmanas, ksatriyas 
and vaisyas], being always very clean, being free from duplicity, serving one's 
master, performing sacrifices without uttering mantras, not stealing, always 
speaking the truth and giving all protection to the cows and brahmanas--these 
are the symptoms of the sudra.

To render service to the husband, to be always favorably disposed toward the 
husband, to be equally well disposed toward the husband's relatives and friends, 
and to follow the vows of the husband--these are the four principles to be 
followed by women described as chaste.

A chaste woman must dress nicely and decorate herself with golden ornaments for 
the pleasure of her husband. Always wearing clean and attractive garments, she 
should sweep and clean the household with water and other liquids so that the 
entire house is always pure and clean. She should collect the household 
paraphernalia and keep the house always aromatic with incense and flowers and 
must be ready to execute the desires of her husband. Being modest and truthful, 
controlling her senses, and speaking in sweet words, a chaste woman should 
engage in the service of her husband with love, according to time and 

A chaste woman should not be greedy, but satisfied in all circumstances. She 
must be very expert in handling household affairs and should be fully conversant 
with religious principles. She should speak pleasingly and truthfully and should 
be very careful and always clean and pure. Thus a chaste woman should engage 
with affection in the service of a husband who is not fallen.

The woman who engages in the service of her husband, following strictly in the 
footsteps of the goddess of fortune, surely returns home, back to Godhead, with 
her devotee husband, and lives very happily in the Vaikuntha planets.

Among the mixed classes known as sankara, those who are not thieves are known as 
antevasayi or candalas [dog-eaters], and they also have their hereditary 

My dear King, brahmanas well conversant in Vedic knowledge have given their 
verdict that in every age [yuga] the conduct of different sections of people 
according to their material modes of nature is auspicious both in this life and 
after death.

If one acts in his profession according to his position in the modes of nature 
and gradually gives up these activities, he attains the niskama stage.

My dear King, if an agricultural field is cultivated again and again, the power 
of its production decreases, and whatever seeds are sown there are lost. Just as 
drops of ghee on a fire never extinguish the fire but a flood of ghee will, 
similarly, overindulgence in lusty desires mitigates such desires entirely.

If one shows the symptoms of being a brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya or sudra, as 
described above, even if he has appeared in a different class, he should be 
accepted according to those symptoms of classification.

Chapter Twelve : The Perfect Society: Four Spiritual Classes

Narada Muni said: A student should practice completely controlling his senses. 
He should be submissive and should have an attitude of firm friendship for the 
spiritual master. With a great vow, the brahmacari should live at the guru-kula, 
only for the benefit of the guru.

At both junctions of day and night, namely, in the early morning and in the 
evening, he should be fully absorbed in thoughts of the spiritual master, fire, 
the sun-god and Lord Vishnu and by chanting the Gayatri mantra he should worship 

Being called by the spiritual master, the student should study the Vedic mantras 
regularly. Every day, before beginning his studies and at the end of his 
studies, the disciple should respectfully offer obeisances unto the spiritual 

Carrying pure kusa grass in his hand, the brahmacari should dress regularly with 
a belt of straw and with deerskin garments. He should wear matted hair, carry a 
rod and waterpot and be decorated with a sacred thread, as recommended in the 

The brahmacari should go out morning and evening to collect alms, and he should 
offer all that he collects to the spiritual master. He should eat only if 
ordered to take food by the spiritual master; otherwise, if the spiritual master 
does not give this order, he may sometimes have to fast.

A brahmacari should be quite well behaved and gentle and should not eat or 
collect more than necessary. He must always be active and expert, fully 
believing in the instructions of the spiritual master and the sastra. Fully 
controlling his senses, he should associate only as much as necessary with women 
or those controlled by women.

A brahmacari, or one who has not accepted the grhastha-asrama [family life], 
must rigidly avoid talking with women or about women, for the senses are so 
powerful that they may agitate even the mind of a sannyasi, a member of the 
renounced order of life.

If the wife of the spiritual master is young, a young brahmacari should not 
allow her to care for his hair, massage his body with oil, or bathe him with 
affection like a mother.

Woman is compared to fire, and man is compared to a butter pot. Therefore a man 
should avoid associating even with his own daughter in a secluded place. 
Similarly, he should also avoid association with other women. One should 
associate with women only for important business and not otherwise.

As long as a living entity is not completely self-realized--as long as he is not 
independent of the misconception of identifying with his body, which is nothing 
but a reflection of the original body and senses--he cannot be relieved of the 
conception of duality, which is epitomized by the duality between man and woman. 
Thus there is every chance that he will fall down because his intelligence is 

All the rules and regulations apply equally to the householder and the sannyasi, 
the member of the renounced order of life. The grhastha, however, is given 
permission by the spiritual master to indulge in sex during the period favorable 
for procreation.

Brahmacaris or grhasthas who have taken the vow of celibacy as described above 
should not indulge in the following: applying powder or ointment to the eyes, 
massaging the head with oil, massaging the body with the hands, seeing a woman 
or painting a woman's picture, eating meat, drinking wine, decorating the body 
with flower garlands, smearing scented ointment on the body, or decorating the 
body with ornaments. These they should give up.

According to the rules and regulations mentioned above, one who is twice-born, 
namely a brahmana, ksatriya or vaisya, should reside in the guru-kula under the 
care of the spiritual master. There he should study and learn all the Vedic 
literatures along with their supplements and the Upanisads, according to his 
ability and power to study. If possible, the student or disciple should reward 
the spiritual master with the remuneration the spiritual master requests, and 
then, following the master's order, the disciple should leave and accept one of 
the other asramas, namely the grhastha-asrama, vanaprastha-asrama or sannyasa-
asrama, as he desires.

One should realize that in the fire, in the spiritual master, in one's self and 
in all living entities--in all circumstances and conditions--the Supreme 
Personality of Godhead, Vishnu, has simultaneously entered and not entered. He 
is situated externally and internally as the full controller of everything.

By practicing in this way, whether one be in the brahmacari-asrama, grhastha-
asrama, vanaprastha-asrama or sannyasa-asrama, one must always realize the all-
pervading presence of the Supreme Lord, for in this way it is possible to 
understand the Absolute Truth.

O King, I shall now describe the qualifications for a vanaprastha, one who has 
retired from family life. By rigidly following the rules and regulations for the 
vanaprastha, one can easily be elevated to the upper planetary system known as 

A person in vanaprastha life should not eat grains grown by tilling of the 
fields. He should also not eat grains that have grown without tilling of the 
field but are not fully ripe. Nor should a vanaprastha eat grains cooked in 
fire. Indeed, he should eat only fruit ripened by the sunshine.

A vanaprastha should prepare cakes to be offered in sacrifice from fruits and 
grains grown naturally in the forest. When he obtains some new grains, he should 
give up his old stock of grains.

A vanaprastha should prepare a thatched cottage or take shelter of a cave in a 
mountain only to keep the sacred fire, but he should personally practice 
enduring snowfall, wind, fire, rain and the shining of the sun.

The vanaprastha should wear matted locks of hair on his head and let his body 
hair, nails and moustache grow. He should not cleanse his body of dirt. He 
should keep a waterpot, deerskin and rod, wear the bark of a tree as a covering, 
and use garments colored like fire.

Being very thoughtful, a vanaprastha should remain in the forest for twelve 
years, eight years, four years, two years or at least one year. He should behave 
in such a way that he will not be disturbed or troubled by too much austerity.

When because of disease or old age one is unable to perform his prescribed 
duties for advancement in spiritual consciousness or study of the Vedas, he 
should practice fasting, not taking any food.

He should properly place the fire element in his own self and in this way give 
up bodily affinity, by which one thinks the body to be one's self or one's own. 
One should gradually merge the material body into the five elements [earth, 
water, fire, air and sky].

A sober, self-realized person who has full knowledge should merge the various 
parts of the body in their original sources. The holes in the body are caused by 
the sky, the process of breathing is caused by the air, the heat of the body is 
caused by fire, and semen, blood and mucus are caused by water. The hard 
substances, like skin, muscle and bone, are caused by earth. In this way all the 
constituents of the body are caused by various elements, and they should be 
merged again into those elements.

Thereafter, the object of speech, along with the sense of speech [the tongue], 
should be bestowed upon fire. Craftsmanship and the two hands should be given to 
the demigod Indra. The power of movement and the legs should be given to Lord 
Vishnu. Sensual pleasure, along with the genitals, should be bestowed upon 
Prajapati. The rectum, with the power of evacuation, should be bestowed, in its 
proper place, unto Mrtyu. The aural instrument, along with sound vibration, 
should be given to the deities presiding over the directions. The instrument of 
touch, along with the sense objects of touch, should be given to Vayu. Form, 
with the power of sight, should be bestowed upon the sun. The tongue, along with 
the demigod Varuna, should be bestowed upon water, and the power of smell, along 
with the two Asvini-kumara demigods, should be bestowed upon the earth.

The mind, along with all material desires, should be merged in the moon demigod. 
All the subject matters of intelligence, along with the intelligence itself, 
should be placed in Lord Brahma. False ego, which is under the influence of the 
material modes of nature and which induces one to think, "I am this body, and 
everything connected with this body is mine," should be merged, along with 
material activities, in Rudra, the predominating deity of false ego. Material 
consciousness, along with the goal of thought, should be merged in the 
individual living being, and the demigods acting under the modes of material 
nature should be merged, along with the perverted living being, into the Supreme 
Being. The earth should be merged in water, water in the brightness of the sun, 
this brightness into the air, the air into the sky, the sky into the false ego, 
the false ego into the total material energy, the total material energy into the 
unmanifested ingredients [the pradhana feature of the material energy], and at 
last the ingredient feature of material manifestation into the Supersoul.

When all the material designations have thus merged into their respective 
material elements, the living beings, who are all ultimately completely 
spiritual, being one in quality with the Supreme Being, should cease from 
material existence, as flames cease when the wood in which they are burning is 
consumed. When the material body is returned to its various material elements, 
only the spiritual being remains. This spiritual being is Brahman and is equal 
in quality with Parabrahman.

Chapter Thirteen : The Behavior of a Perfect Person

Sri Narada Muni said: A person able to cultivate spiritual knowledge should 
renounce all material connections, and merely keeping the body inhabitable, he 
should travel from one place to another, passing only one night in each village. 
In this way, without dependence in regard to the needs of the body, the sannyasi 
should travel all over the world.

A person in the renounced order of life may try to avoid even a dress to cover 
himself. If he wears anything at all, it should be only a loincloth, and when 
there is no necessity, a sannyasi should not even accept a danda. A sannyasi 
should avoid carrying anything but a danda and kamandalu.

The sannyasi, completely satisfied in the self, should live on alms begged from 
door to door. Not being dependent on any person or any place, he should always 
be a friendly well-wisher to all living beings and be a peaceful, unalloyed 
devotee of Narayana. In this way he should move from one place to another.

The sannyasi should always try to see the Supreme pervading everything and see 
everything, including this universe, resting on the Supreme.

During unconsciousness and consciousness, and between the two, he should try to 
understand the self and be fully situated in the self. In this way, he should 
realize that the conditional and liberated stages of life are only illusory and 
not actually factual. With such a higher understanding, he should see only the 
Absolute Truth pervading everything.

Since the material body is sure to be vanquished and the duration of one's life 
is not fixed, neither death nor life is to be praised. Rather, one should 
observe the eternal time factor, in which the living entity manifests himself 
and disappears.

Literature that is a useless waste of time--in other words, literature without 
spiritual benefit--should be rejected. One should not become a professional 
teacher as a means of earning one's livelihood, nor should one indulge in 
arguments and counter-arguments. Nor should one take shelter of any cause or 

A sannyasi must not present allurements of material benefits to gather many 
disciples, nor should he unnecessarily read many books or give discourses as a 
means of livelihood. He must never attempt to increase material opulences 

A peaceful, equipoised person who is factually advanced in spiritual 
consciousness does not need to accept the symbols of a sannyasi, such as the 
tridanda and kamandalu. According to necessity, he may sometimes accept those 
symbols and sometimes reject them.

Although a saintly person may not expose himself to the vision of human society, 
by his behavior his purpose is disclosed. To human society he should present 
himself like a restless child, and although he is the greatest thoughtful 
orator, he should present himself like a dumb man.

As a historical example of this, learned sages recite the story of an ancient 
discussion between Prahlada Maharaja and a great saintly person who was feeding 
himself like a python.

Prahlada Maharaja, the most dear servitor of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, 
once went out touring the universe with some of his confidential associates just 
to study the nature of saintly persons. Thus he arrived at the bank of the 
Kaveri, where there was a mountain known as Sahya. There he found a great 
saintly person who was lying on the ground, covered with dirt and dust, but who 
was deeply spiritually advanced.

Neither by that saintly person's activities, by his bodily features, by his 
words nor by the symptoms of his varnasrama status could people understand 
whether he was the same person they had known.

The advanced devotee Prahlada Maharaja duly worshiped and offered obeisances to 
the saintly person who had adopted a python's means of livelihood. After thus 
worshiping the saintly person and touching his own head to the saint's lotus 
feet, Prahlada Maharaja, in order to understand him, inquired very submissively 
as follows.

Seeing the saintly person to be quite fat, Prahlada Maharaja said: My dear sir, 
you undergo no endeavor to earn your livelihood, but you have a stout body, 
exactly like that of a materialistic enjoyer. I know that if one is very rich 
and has nothing to do, he becomes extremely fat by eating and sleeping and 
performing no work.

O brahmana, fully in knowledge of transcendence, you have nothing to do, and 
therefore you are lying down. It is also understood that you have no money for 
sense enjoyment. How then has your body become so fat? Under the circumstances, 
if you do not consider my question impudent, kindly explain how this has 

Your Honor appears learned, expert and intelligent in every way. You can speak 
very well, saying things that are pleasing to the heart. You see that people in 
general are engaged in fruitive activities, yet you are lying here inactive.

Narada Muni continued: When the saintly person was thus questioned by Prahlada 
Maharaja, the King of the Daityas, he was captivated by this shower of nectarean 
words, and he replied to the inquisitiveness of Prahlada Maharaja with a smiling 

The saintly brahmana said: O best of the asuras, Prahlada Maharaja, who are 
recognized by advanced and civilized men, you are aware of the different stages 
of life because of your inherent transcendental eyes, with which you can see a 
man's character and thus know clearly the results of acceptance and rejection of 
things as they are.

Narayana, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is full of all opulences, is 
predominant within the core of your heart because of your being a pure devotee. 
He always drives away all the darkness of ignorance, as the sun drives away the 
darkness of the universe.

My dear King, although you know everything, you have posed some questions, which 
I shall try to answer according to what I have learned by hearing from 
authorities. I cannot remain silent in this regard, for a personality like you 
is just fit to be spoken to by one who desires self-purification.

Because of insatiable material desires, I was being carried away by the waves of 
material nature's laws, and thus I was engaging in different activities, 
struggling for existence in various forms of life.

In the course of the evolutionary process, which is caused by fruitive 
activities due to undesirable material sense gratification, I have received this 
human form of life, which can lead to the heavenly planets, to liberation, to 
the lower species, or to rebirth among human beings.

In this human form of life, a man and women unite for the sensual pleasure of 
sex, but by actual experience we have observed that none of them are happy. 
Therefore, seeing the contrary results, I have stopped taking part in 
materialistic activities.

The actual form of life for the living entities is one of spiritual happiness, 
which is real happiness. This happiness can be achieved only when one stops all 
materialistic activities. Material sense enjoyment is simply imagination. 
Therefore, considering this subject matter, I have ceased from all material 
activities and am lying down here.

In this way the conditioned soul living within the body forgets his self-
interest because he identifies himself with the body. Because the body is 
material, his natural tendency is to be attracted by the varieties of the 
material world. Thus the living entity suffers the miseries of material 

Just as a deer, because of ignorance, cannot see the water within a well covered 
by grass, but runs after water elsewhere, the living entity covered by the 
material body does not see the happiness within himself, but runs after 
happiness in the material world.

The living entity tries to achieve happiness and rid himself of the causes of 
distress, but because the various bodies of the living entities are under the 
full control of material nature, all his plans in different bodies, one after 
another, are ultimately baffled.

Materialistic activities are always mixed with three kinds of miserable 
conditions--adhyatmika, adhidaivika and adhibautika. Therefore, even if one 
achieves some success by performing such activities, what is the benefit of this 
success? One is still subjected to birth, death, old age, disease and the 
reactions of his fruitive activities.

The brahmana continued: I am actually seeing how a rich man, who is a victim of 
his senses, is very greedy to accumulate wealth, and therefore suffers from 
insomnia due to fear from all sides, despite his wealth and opulence.

Those who are considered materially powerful and rich are always full of 
anxieties because of governmental laws, thieves and rogues, enemies, family 
members, animals, birds, persons seeking charity, the inevitable time factor and 
even their own selves. Thus they are invariably afraid.

Those in human society who are intelligent should give up the original cause of 
lamentation, illusion, fear, anger, attachment, poverty and unnecessary labor. 
The original cause of all of these is the desire for unnecessary prestige and 

The bee and the python are two excellent spiritual masters who give us exemplary 
instructions regarding how to be satisfied by collecting only a little and how 
to stay in one place and not move.

From the bumblebee I have learned to be unattached to accumulating money, for 
although money is as good as honey, anyone can kill its owner and take it away.

I do not endeavor to get anything, but am satisfied with whatever is achieved in 
its own way. If I do not get anything, I am patient and unagitated like a python 
and lie down in this way for many days.

Sometimes I eat a very small quantity and sometimes a great quantity. Sometimes 
the food is very palatable, and sometimes it is stale. Sometimes prasada is 
offered with great respect, and sometimes food is given neglectfully. Sometimes 
I eat during the day and sometimes at night. Thus I eat what is easily 

To cover my body I use whatever is available, whether it be linen, silk, cotton, 
bark or deerskin, according to my destiny, and I am fully satisfied and 

Sometimes I lie on the surface of the earth, sometimes on leaves, grass or 
stone, sometimes on a pile of ashes, or sometimes, by the will of others, in a 
palace on a first-class bed with pillows.

O my lord, sometimes I bathe myself very nicely, smear sandalwood pulp all over 
my body, put on a flower garland, and dress in fine garments and ornaments. Then 
I travel like a king on the back of an elephant or on a chariot or horse. 
Sometimes, however, I travel naked, like a person haunted by a ghost.

Different people are of different mentalities. Therefore it is not my business 
either to praise them or to blaspheme them. I only desire their welfare, hoping 
that they will agree to become one with the Supersoul, the Supreme Personality 
of Godhead, Krishna.

The mental concoction of discrimination between good and bad should be accepted 
as one unit and then invested in the mind, which should then be invested in the 
false ego. The false ego should be invested in the total material energy. This 
is the process of fighting false discrimination.

A learned, thoughtful person must realize that material existence is illusion. 
This is possible only by self-realization. A self-realized person, who has 
actually seen the truth, should retire from all material activities, being 
situated in self-realization.

Prahlada Maharaja, you are certainly a self-realized soul and a devotee of the 
Supreme Lord. You do not care for public opinion or so-called scriptures. For 
this reason I have described to you without hesitation the history of my self-

Narada Muni continued: After Prahlada Maharaja, the King of the demons, heard 
these instructions from the saint, he understood the occupational duties of a 
perfect person [paramahamsa]. Thus he duly worshiped the saint, took his 
permission and then left for his own home.

Chapter Fourteen : Ideal Family Life

Maharaja Yudhisthira inquired from Narada Muni: O my lord, O great sage, kindly 
explain how we who are staying at home without knowledge of the goal of life may 
also easily attain liberation, according to the instructions of the Vedas.

Narada Muni replied: My dear King, those who stay at home as householders must 
act to earn their livelihood, and instead of trying to enjoy the results of 
their work themselves, they should offer these results to Krishna, Vasudeva. How 
to satisfy Vasudeva in this life can be perfectly understood through the 
association of great devotees of the Lord.

A grhastha must associate again and again with saintly persons, and with great 
respect he must hear the nectar of the activities of the Supreme Lord and His 
incarnations as these activities are described in Srimad-Bhagavatam and other 
Puranas. Thus one should gradually become detached from affection for his wife 
and children, exactly like a man awakening from a dream.

While working to earn his livelihood as much as necessary to maintain body and 
soul together, one who is actually learned should live in human society 
unattached to family affairs, although externally appearing very much attached.

An intelligent man in human society should make his own program of activities 
very simple. If there are suggestions from his friends, children, parents, 
brothers or anyone else, he should externally agree, saying, "Yes, that is all 
right," but internally he should be determined not to create a cumbersome life 
in which the purpose of life will not be fulfilled.

The natural products created by the Supreme Personality of Godhead should be 
utilized to maintain the bodies and souls of all living entities. The 
necessities of life are of three types: those produced from the sky [from 
rainfall], from the earth [from the mines, the seas or the fields], and from the 
atmosphere [that which is obtained suddenly and unexpectedly].

One may claim proprietorship to as much wealth as required to maintain body and 
soul together, but one who desires proprietorship over more than that must be 
considered a thief, and he deserves to be punished by the laws of nature.

One should treat animals such as deer, camels, asses, monkeys, mice, snakes, 
birds and flies exactly like one's own son. How little difference there actually 
is between children and these innocent animals.

Even if one is a householder rather than a brahmacari, a sannyasi or a 
vanaprastha, one should not endeavor very hard for religiosity, economic 
development or satisfaction of the senses. Even in householder life, one should 
be satisfied to maintain body and soul together with whatever is available with 
minimum endeavor, according to place and time, by the grace of the Lord. One 
should not engage oneself in ugra-karma.

Dogs, fallen persons and untouchables, including candalas [dog-eaters], should 
all be maintained with their proper necessities, which should be contributed by 
the householders. Even one's wife at home, with whom one is most intimately 
attached, should be offered for the reception of guests and people in general.

One so seriously considers one's wife to be his own that he sometimes kills 
himself for her or kills others, including even his parents or his spiritual 
master or teacher. Therefore if one can give up his attachment to such a wife, 
he conquers the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is never conquered by 

Through proper deliberation, one should give up attraction to his wife's body 
because that body will ultimately be transformed into small insects, stool or 
ashes. What is the value of this insignificant body? How much greater is the 
Supreme Being, who is all-pervading like the sky?

An intelligent person should be satisfied with eating prasada [food offered to 
the Lord] or with performing the five different kinds of yajna [panca-suna]. By 
such activities, one can give up attachment for the body and so-called 
proprietorship with reference to the body. When one is able to do this, he is 
firmly fixed in the position of a mahatma.

Every day, one should worship the Supreme Being who is situated in everyone's 
heart, and on this basis one should separately worship the demigods, the saintly 
persons, ordinary human beings and living entities, one's forefathers and one's 
self. In this way one is able to worship the Supreme Being in the core of 
everyone's heart.

When one is enriched with wealth and knowledge which are under his full control 
and by means of which he can perform yajna or please the Supreme Personality of 
Godhead, one must perform sacrifices, offering oblations to the fire according 
to the directions of the sastras. In this way one should worship the Supreme 
Personality of Godhead.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krishna, is the enjoyer of sacrificial 
offerings. Yet although His Lordship eats the oblations offered in the fire, my 
dear King, He is still more satisfied when nice food made of grains and ghee is 
offered to Him through the mouths of qualified brahmanas.

Therefore, my dear King, first offer prasada unto the brahmanas and the 
demigods, and after sumptuously feeding them you may distribute prasada to other 
living entities according to your ability. In this way you will be able to 
worship all living entities--or, in other words, the supreme living entity 
within every living entity.

A brahmana who is sufficiently rich must offer oblations to the forefathers 
during the dark-moon fortnight in the latter part of the month of Bhadra. 
Similarly, he should offer oblations to the relatives of the forefathers during 
the mahalaya ceremonies in the month of Asvina.

One should perform the sraddha ceremony on the Makara-sankranti [the day when 
the sun begins to move north] or on the Karkata-sankranti [the day when the sun 
begins to move south]. One should also perform this ceremony on the Mesa-
sankranti day and the Tula-sankranti day, in the yoga named Vyatipata, on that 
day in which three lunar tithis are conjoined, during an eclipse of either the 
moon or the sun, on the twelfth lunar day, and in the Sravana-naksatra. One 
should perform this ceremony on the Aksaya-trtiya day, on the ninth lunar day of 
the bright fortnight of the month of Kartika, on the four astakas in the winter 
season and cool season, on the seventh lunar day of the bright fortnight of the 
month of Magha, during the conjunction of Magha-naksatra and the full-moon day, 
and on the days when the moon is completely full, or not quite completely full, 
when these days are conjoined with the naksatras from which the names of certain 
months are derived. One should also perform the sraddha ceremony on the twelfth 
lunar day when it is in conjunction with any of the naksatras named Anuradha, 
Sravana, Uttara-phalguni, Uttarasadha or Uttara-bhadrapada. Again, one should 
perform this ceremony when the eleventh lunar day is in conjunction with either 
Uttara-phalguni, Uttarasadha or Uttara-bhadrapada. Finally, one should perform 
this ceremony on days conjoined with one's own birth star [janma-naksatra] or 
with Sravana-naksatra.

All of these seasonal times are considered extremely auspicious for humanity. At 
such times, one should perform all auspicious activities, for by such activities 
a human being attains success in his short duration of life.

During these periods of seasonal change, if one bathes in the Ganges, in the 
Yamuna or in another sacred place, if one chants, offers fire sacrifices or 
executes vows, or if one worships the Supreme Lord, the brahmanas, the 
forefathers, the demigods and the living entities in general, whatever he gives 
in charity yields a permanently beneficial result.

O King Yudhisthira, at the time prescribed for reformatory ritualistic 
ceremonies for one's self, one's wife or one's children, or during funeral 
ceremonies and annual death ceremonies, one must perform the auspicious 
ceremonies mentioned above in order to flourish in fruitive activities.

Narada Muni continued: Now I shall describe the places where religious 
performances may be well executed. Any place where a Vaisnava is available is an 
excellent place for all auspicious activities. The Supreme Personality of 
Godhead is the support of this entire cosmic manifestation, with all its moving 
and nonmoving living entities, and the temple where the Deity of the Lord is 
installed is a most sacred place. Furthermore, places where learned brahmanas 
observe Vedic principles by means of austerity, education and mercy are also 
most auspicious and sacred.

Auspicious indeed are the places where there is a temple of the Supreme 
Personality of Godhead, Krishna, in which He is duly worshiped, and also the 
places where there flow the celebrated sacred rivers mentioned in the Puranas, 
the supplementary Vedic literatures. Anything spiritual done there is certainly 
very effective.

The sacred lakes like Puskara and places where saintly persons live, like 
Kuruksetra, Gaya, Prayaga, Pulahasrama, Naimisaranya, the banks of the Phalgu 
River, Setubandha, Prabhasa, Dvaraka, Varanasi, Mathura, Pampa, Bindu-sarovara, 
Badarikasrama [Narayanasrama], the places where the Nanda River flows, the 
places where Lord Ramacandra and mother Sita took shelter, such as Citrakuta, 
and also the hilly tracts of land known as Mahendra and Malaya--all of these are 
to be considered most pious and sacred. Similarly, places outside India where 
there are centers of the Krishna consciousness movement and where Radha-Krishna 
Deities are worshiped must all be visited and worshiped by those who want to be 
spiritually advanced. One who intends to advance in spiritual life may visit all 
these places and perform ritualistic ceremonies to get results a thousand times 
better than the results of the same activities performed in any other place.

O King of the earth, it has been decided by expert, learned scholars that only 
the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, in whom all that is moving or 
nonmoving within this universe is resting and from whom everything is coming, is 
the best person to whom everything must be given.

O King Yudhisthira, the demigods, many great sages and saints including even the 
four sons of Lord Brahma, and I myself were present at your Rajasuya sacrificial 
ceremony, but when there was a question of who should be the first person 
worshiped, everyone decided upon Lord Krishna, the Supreme Person.

The entire universe, which is full of living entities, is like a tree whose root 
is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Acyuta [Krishna]. Therefore simply by 
worshiping Lord Krishna one can worship all living entities.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead has created many residential places like the 
bodies of human beings, animals, birds, saints and demigods. In all of these 
innumerable bodily forms, the Lord resides with the living being as Paramatma. 
Thus He is known as the purusavatara.

O King Yudhisthira, the Supersoul in every body gives intelligence to the 
individual soul according to his capacity for understanding. Therefore the 
Supersoul is the chief within the body. The Supersoul is manifested to the 
individual soul according to the individual's comparative development of 
knowledge, austerity, penance and so on.

My dear King, when great sages and saintly persons saw mutually disrespectful 
dealings at the beginning of Treta-yuga, Deity worship in the temple was 
introduced with all paraphernalia.

Sometimes a neophyte devotee offers all the paraphernalia for worshiping the 
Lord, and he factually worships the Lord as the Deity, but because he is envious 
of the authorized devotees of Lord Vishnu, the Lord is never satisfied with his 
devotional service.

My dear King, of all persons a qualified brahmana must be accepted as the best 
within this material world because such a brahmana, by practicing austerity, 
Vedic studies and satisfaction, becomes the counterpart body of the Supreme 
Personality of Godhead.

My dear King Yudhisthira, the brahmanas, especially those engaged in preaching 
the glories of the Lord throughout the entire world, are recognized and 
worshiped by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the heart and soul of 
all creation. The brahmanas, by their preaching, sanctify the three worlds with 
the dust of their lotus feet, and thus they are worshipable even for Krishna.

Chapter Fifteen : Instructions for Civilized Human Beings

Narada Muni continued: My dear King, some brahmanas are very much attached to 
fruitive activities, some are attached to austerities and penances, and still 
others study the Vedic literature, whereas some, although very few, cultivate 
knowledge and practice different yogas, especially bhakti-yoga.

A person desiring liberation for his forefathers or himself should give charity 
to a brahmana who adheres to impersonal monism [jnana-nistha]. In the absence of 
such an advanced brahmana, charity may be given to a brahmana addicted to 
fruitive activities [karma-kanda].

During the period for offering oblations to the demigods, one should invite only 
two brahmanas, and while offering oblations to the forefathers, one may invite 
three brahmanas. Or, in either case, only one brahmana will suffice. Even though 
one is very opulent, he should not endeavor to invite more brahmanas or make 
various expensive arrangements on those occasions.

If one arranges to feed many brahmanas or relatives during the sraddha ceremony, 
there will be discrepancies in the time, place, respectability and ingredients, 
the person to be worshiped, and the method of offering worship.

When one gets the opportunity of a suitable auspicious time and place, one 
should, with love, offer food prepared with ghee to the Deity of the Supreme 
Personality of Godhead and then offer the prasada to a suitable person--a 
Vaisnava or brahmana. This will be the cause of everlasting prosperity.

One should offer prasada to the demigods, the saintly persons, one's 
forefathers, the people in general, one's family members, one's relatives and 
one's friends, seeing them all as devotees of the Supreme Personality of 

A person fully aware of religious principles should never offer anything like 
meat, eggs or fish in the sraddha ceremony, and even if one is a ksatriya, he 
himself should not eat such things. When suitable food prepared with ghee is 
offered to saintly persons, the function is pleasing to the forefathers and the 
Supreme Lord, who are never pleased when animals are killed in the name of 

Persons who want to advance in superior religion are advised to give up all envy 
of other living entities, whether in relationship to the body, words or mind. 
There is no religion superior to this.

Because of an awakening of spiritual knowledge, those who are intelligent in 
regard to sacrifice, who are actually aware of religious principles and who are 
free from material desires, control the self in the fire of spiritual knowledge, 
or knowledge of the Absolute Truth. They may give up the process of ritualistic 

Upon seeing the person engaged in performing the sacrifice, animals meant to be 
sacrificed are extremely afraid, thinking, "This merciless performer of 
sacrifices, being ignorant of the purpose of sacrifice and being most satisfied 
by killing others, will surely kill us."

Therefore, day by day, one who is actually aware of religious principles and is 
not heinously envious of poor animals should happily perform daily sacrifices 
and those for certain occasions with whatever food is available easily by the 
grace of the Lord.

There are five branches of irreligion, appropriately known as irreligion 
[vidharma], religious principles for which one is unfit [para-dharma], 
pretentious religion [abhasa], analogical religion [upadharma] and cheating 
religion [chala-dharma]. One who is aware of real religious life must abandon 
these five as irreligious.

Religious principles that obstruct one from following his own religion are 
called vidharma. Religious principles introduced by others are called para-
dharma. A new type of religion created by one who is falsely proud and who 
opposes the principles of the Vedas is called upadharma. And interpretation by 
one's jugglery of words is called chala-dharma.

A pretentious religious system manufactured by one who willfully neglects the 
prescribed duties of his order of life is called abhasa [a dim reflection or 
false similarity]. But if one performs the prescribed duties for his particular 
asrama or varna, why are they not sufficient to mitigate all material 

Even if a man is poor, he should not endeavor to improve his economic condition 
just to maintain his body and soul together or to become a famous religionist. 
Just as a great python, although lying in one place, not endeavoring for its 
livelihood, gets the food it needs to maintain body and soul, one who is 
desireless also obtains his livelihood without endeavor.

One who is content and satisfied and who links his activities with the Supreme 
Personality of Godhead residing in everyone's heart enjoys transcendental 
happiness without endeavoring for his livelihood. Where is such happiness for a 
materialistic man who is impelled by lust and greed and who therefore wanders in 
all directions with a desire to accumulate wealth?

For a person who has suitable shoes on his feet, there is no danger even when he 
walks on pebbles and thorns. For him, everything is auspicious. Similarly, for 
one who is always self-satisfied there is no distress; indeed, he feels 
happiness everywhere.

My dear King, a self-satisfied person can be happy even with only drinking 
water. However, one who is driven by the senses, especially by the tongue and 
genitals, must accept the position of a household dog to satisfy his senses.

Because of greed for the sake of the senses, the spiritual strength, education, 
austerity and reputation of a devotee or brahmana who is not self-satisfied 
dwindle, and his knowledge gradually vanishes.

The strong bodily desires and needs of a person disturbed by hunger and thirst 
are certainly satisfied when he eats. Similarly, if one becomes very angry, that 
anger is satisfied by chastisement and its reaction. But as for greed, even if a 
greedy person has conquered all the directions of the world or has enjoyed 
everything in the world, still he will not be satisfied.

O King Yudhisthira, many persons with varied experience, many legal advisers, 
many learned scholars and many persons eligible to become presidents of learned 
assemblies fall down into hellish life because of not being satisfied with their 

By making plans with determination, one should give up lusty desires for sense 
gratification. Similarly, by giving up envy one should conquer anger, by 
discussing the disadvantages of accumulating wealth one should give up greed, 
and by discussing the truth one should give up fear.

By discussing spiritual knowledge one can conquer lamentation and illusion, by 
serving a great devotee one can become prideless, by keeping silent one can 
avoid obstacles on the path of mystic yoga, and simply by stopping sense 
gratification one can conquer envy.

By good behavior and freedom from envy one should counteract sufferings due to 
other living entities, by meditation in trance one should counteract sufferings 
due to providence, and by practicing hatha-yoga, pranayama and so forth one 
should counteract sufferings due to the body and mind. Similarly, by developing 
the mode of goodness, especially in regard to eating, one should conquer sleep.

One must conquer the modes of passion and ignorance by developing the mode of 
goodness, and then one must become detached from the mode of goodness by 
promoting oneself to the platform of suddha-sattva. All this can be 
automatically done if one engages in the service of the spiritual master with 
faith and devotion. In this way one can conquer the influence of the modes of 

The spiritual master should be considered to be directly the Supreme Lord 
because he gives transcendental knowledge for enlightenment. Consequently, for 
one who maintains the material conception that the spiritual master is an 
ordinary human being, everything is frustrated. His enlightenment and his Vedic 
studies and knowledge are like the bathing of an elephant.

The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krishna, is the master of all other 
living entities and of the material nature. His lotus feet are sought and 
worshiped by great saintly persons like Vyasa. Nonetheless, there are fools who 
consider Lord Krishna an ordinary human being.

Ritualistic ceremonies, regulative principles, austerities and the practice of 
yoga are all meant to control the senses and mind, but even after one is able to 
control the senses and mind, if he does not come to the point of meditation upon 
the Supreme Lord, all such activities are simply labor in frustration.

As professional activities or business profits cannot help one in spiritual 
advancement but are a source of material entanglement, the Vedic ritualistic 
ceremonies cannot help anyone who is not a devotee of the Supreme Personality of 

One who desires to conquer the mind must leave the company of his family and 
live in a solitary place, free from contaminated association. To maintain the 
body and soul together, he should beg as much as he needs for the bare 
necessities of life.

My dear King, in a sacred and holy place of pilgrimage one should select a place 
in which to perform yoga. The place must be level and not too high or low. There 
one should sit very comfortably, being steady and equipoised, keeping his body 
straight, and thus begin chanting the Vedic pranava.

While continuously staring at the tip of the nose, a learned yogi practices the 
breathing exercises through the technical means known as puraka, kumbhaka and 
recaka--controlling inhalation and exhalation and then stopping them both. In 
this way the yogi restricts his mind from material attachments and gives up all 
mental desires. As soon as the mind, being defeated by lusty desires, drifts 
toward feelings of sense gratification, the yogi should immediately bring it 
back and arrest it within the core of his heart.

When the yogi regularly practices in this way, in a short time his heart becomes 
fixed and free from disturbance, like a fire without flames or smoke.

When one's consciousness is uncontaminated by material lusty desires, it becomes 
calm and peaceful in all activities, for one is situated in eternal blissful 
life. Once situated on that platform, one does not return to materialistic 

One who accepts the sannyasa order gives up the three principles of 
materialistic activities in which one indulges in the field of household life--
namely religion, economic development and sense gratification. One who first 
accepts sannyasa but then returns to such materialistic activities is to be 
called a vantasi, or one who eats his own vomit. He is indeed a shameless 

Sannyasis who first consider that the body is subject to death, when it will be 
transformed into stool, worms or ashes, but who again give importance to the 
body and glorify it as the self, are to be considered the greatest rascals.

It is abominable for a person living in the grhastha-asrama to give up the 
regulative principles, for a brahmacari not to follow the brahmacari vows while 
living under the care of the guru, for a vanaprastha to live in the village and 
engage in so-called social activities, or for a sannyasi to be addicted to sense 
gratification. One who acts in this way is to be considered the lowest renegade. 
Such a pretender is bewildered by the external energy of the Supreme Personality 
of Godhead, and one should either reject him from any position, or taking 
compassion upon him, teach him, if possible, to resume his original position.

The human form of body is meant for understanding the self and the Supreme Self, 
the Supreme Personality of Godhead, both of whom are transcendentally situated. 
If both of them can be understood when one is purified by advanced knowledge, 
for what reason and for whom does a foolish, greedy person maintain the body for 
sense gratification?

Transcendentalists who are advanced in knowledge compare the body, which is made 
by the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, to a chariot. The senses are 
like the horses; the mind, the master of the senses, is like the reins; the 
objects of the senses are the destinations; intelligence is the chariot driver; 
and consciousness, which spreads throughout the body, is the cause of bondage in 
this material world.

The ten kinds of air acting within the body are compared to the spokes of the 
chariot's wheels, and the top and bottom of the wheel itself are called religion 
and irreligion. The living entity in the bodily concept of life is the owner of 
the chariot. The Vedic mantra pranava is the bow, the pure living entity himself 
is the arrow, and the target is the Supreme Being.

In the conditioned stage, one's conceptions of life are sometimes polluted by 
passion and ignorance, which are exhibited by attachment, hostility, greed, 
lamentation, illusion, fear, madness, false prestige, insults, fault-finding, 
deception, envy, intolerance, passion, bewilderment, hunger and sleep. All of 
these are enemies. Sometimes one's conceptions are also polluted by goodness.

As long as one has to accept a material body, with its different parts and 
paraphernalia, which are not fully under one's control, one must have the lotus 
feet of his superiors, namely his spiritual master and the spiritual master's 
predecessors. By their mercy, one can sharpen the sword of knowledge, and with 
the power of the Supreme Personality of Godhead's mercy one must then conquer 
the enemies mentioned above. In this way, the devotee should be able to merge 
into his own transcendental bliss, and then he may give up his body and resume 
his spiritual identity.

Otherwise, if one does not take shelter of Acyuta and Baladeva, then the senses, 
acting as the horses, and the intelligence, acting as the driver, both being 
prone to material contamination, inattentively bring the body, which acts as the 
chariot, to the path of sense gratification. When one is thus attracted again by 
the rogues of visaya--eating, sleeping and mating--the horses and chariot driver 
are thrown into the blinding dark well of material existence, and one is again 
put into a dangerous and extremely fearful situation of repeated birth and 

According to the Vedas, there are two kinds of activities--pravrtti and nivrtti. 
Pravrtti activities involve raising oneself from a lower to a higher condition 
of materialistic life, whereas nivrtti means the cessation of material desire. 
Through pravrtti activities one suffers from material entanglement, but by 
nivrtti activities one is purified and becomes fit to enjoy eternal, blissful 

The ritualistic ceremonies and sacrifices known as agni-hotra-yajna, darsa-
yajna, purnamasa-yajna, caturmasya-yajna, pasu-yajna and soma-yajna are all 
symptomized by the killing of animals and the burning of many valuables, 
especially food grains, all for the fulfillment of material desires and the 
creation of anxiety. Performing such sacrifices, worshiping Vaisvadeva, and 
performing the ceremony of Baliharana, which all supposedly constitute the goal 
of life, as well as constructing temples for demigods, building resting houses 
and gardens, digging wells for the distribution of water, establishing booths 
for the distribution of food, and performing activities for public welfare--
these are all symptomized by attachment to material desires.

My dear King Yudhisthira, when oblations of ghee and food grains like barley and 
sesame are offered in sacrifice, they turn into celestial smoke, which carries 
one to successively higher planetary systems like the kingdoms of Dhuma, Ratri, 
Krishnapaksa, Daksinam and ultimately the moon. Then, however, the performers of 
sacrifice descend again to earth to become herbs, creepers, vegetables and food 
grains. These are eaten by different living entities and turned to semen, which 
is injected into female bodies. Thus one takes birth again and again.

A twice-born brahmana [dvija] gains his life by the grace of his parents through 
the process of purification known as garbhadhana. There are also other processes 
of purification, until the end of life, when the funeral ceremony [antyesti-
kriya] is performed. Thus in due course a qualified brahmana becomes 
uninterested in materialistic activities and sacrifices, but he offers the 
sensual sacrifices, in full knowledge, into the working senses, which are 
illuminated by the fire of knowledge.

The mind is always agitated by waves of acceptance and rejection. Therefore all 
the activities of the senses should be offered into the mind, which should be 
offered into one's words. Then one's words should be offered into the aggregate 
of all alphabets, which should be offered into the concise form omkara. Omkara 
should be offered into the point bindu, bindu into the vibration of sound, and 
that vibration into the life air. Then the living entity, who is all that 
remains, should be placed in Brahman, the Supreme. This is the process of 

On his path of ascent, the progressive living entity enters the different worlds 
of fire, the sun, the day, the end of the day, the bright fortnight, the full 
moon, and the passing of the sun in the north, along with their presiding 
demigods. When he enters Brahmaloka, he enjoys life for many millions of years, 
and finally his material designation comes to an end. He then comes to a subtle 
designation, from which he attains the causal designation, witnessing all 
previous states. Upon the annihilation of this causal state, he attains his pure 
state, in which he identifies with the Supersoul. In this way the living entity 
becomes transcendental.

This gradual process of elevation for self-realization is meant for those who 
are truly aware of the Absolute Truth. After repeated birth on this path, which 
is known as deva-yana, one attains these consecutive stages. One who is 
completely free from all material desires, being situated in the self, need not 
traverse the path of repeated birth and death.

Even though situated in a material body, one who is fully aware of the paths 
known as pitr-yana and deva-yana, and who thus opens his eyes in terms of Vedic 
knowledge, is never bewildered in this material world.

He who exists internally and externally, at the beginning and end of everything 
and of all living beings, as that which is enjoyable and as the enjoyer of 
everything, superior and inferior, is the Supreme Truth. He always exists as 
knowledge and the object of knowledge, as expression and the object of 
understanding, as darkness and as light. Thus He, the Supreme Lord, is 

Although one may consider the reflection of the sun from a mirror to be false, 
it has its factual existence. Accordingly, to prove by speculative knowledge 
that there is no reality would be extremely difficult.

In this world there are five elements--namely earth, water, fire, air and ether-
-but the body is not a reflection of them, nor a combination or transformation 
of them. Because the body and its ingredients are neither distinct nor 
amalgamated, all such theories are insubstantial.

Because the body is formed of the five elements, it cannot exist without the 
subtle sense objects. Therefore, since the body is false, the sense objects are 
also naturally false or temporary.

When a substance and its parts are separated, the acceptance of similarity 
between one and the other is called illusion. While dreaming, one creates a 
separation between the existences called wakefulness and sleep. It is in such a 
state of mind that the regulative principles of the scriptures, consisting of 
injunctions and prohibitions, are recommended.

After considering the oneness of existence, activity and paraphernalia and after 
realizing the self to be different from all actions and reactions, the mental 
speculator [muni], according to his own realization, gives up the three states 
of wakefulness, dreaming and sleep.

When one understands that result and cause are one and that duality is 
ultimately unreal, like the idea that the threads of a cloth are different from 
the cloth itself, one reaches the conception of oneness called bhavadvaita.

My dear Yudhisthira [Partha], when all the activities one performs with his 
mind, words and body are dedicated directly to the service of the Supreme 
Personality of Godhead, one reaches oneness of activities, called kriyadvaita.

When the ultimate goal and interest of one's self, one's wife, one's children, 
one's relatives and all other embodied living beings is one, this is called 
dravyadvaita, or oneness of interest.

In normal conditions, in the absence of danger, O King Yudhisthira, a man should 
perform his prescribed activities according to his status of life with the 
things, endeavors, process and living place that are not forbidden for him, and 
not by any other means.

O King, one should perform his occupational duties according to these 
instructions, as well as other instructions given in the Vedic literature, just 
to remain a devotee of Lord Krishna. Thus, even while at home, one will be able 
to reach the destination.

O King Yudhisthira, because of your service to the Supreme Lord, all of you 
Pandavas defeated the greatest dangers posed by numerous kings and demigods. By 
serving the lotus feet of Krishna, you conquered great enemies, who were like 
elephants, and thus you collected ingredients for sacrifice. By His grace, may 
you be delivered from material involvement.

Long, long ago, in another maha-kalpa [millennium of Brahma], I existed as the 
Gandharva known as Upabarhana. I was very respected by the other Gandharvas.

I had a beautiful face and a pleasing, attractive bodily structure. Decorated 
with flower garlands and sandalwood pulp, I was most pleasing to the women of my 
city. Thus I was bewildered, always feeling lusty desires.

Once there was a sankirtana festival to glorify the Supreme Lord in an assembly 
of the demigods, and the Gandharvas and Apsaras were invited by the prajapatis 
to take part in it.

Narada Muni continued: Being invited to that festival, I also joined, and, 
surrounded by women, I began musically singing the glories of the demigods. 
Because of this, the prajapatis, the great demigods in charge of the affairs of 
the universe, forcefully cursed me with these words: "Because you have committed 
an offense, may you immediately become a sudra, devoid of beauty."

Although I took birth as a sudra from the womb of a maidservant, I engaged in 
the service of Vaisnavas who were well-versed in Vedic knowledge. Consequently, 
in this life I got the opportunity to take birth as the son of Lord Brahma.

The process of chanting the holy name of the Lord is so powerful that by this 
chanting even householders [grhasthas] can very easily gain the ultimate result 
achieved by persons in the renounced order. Maharaja Yudhisthira, I have now 
explained to you that process of religion.

My dear Maharaja Yudhisthira, you Pandavas are so very fortunate in this world 
that many, many great saints, who can purify all the planets of the universe, 
come to your house just like ordinary visitors. Furthermore, the Supreme 
Personality of Godhead, Krishna, is living confidentially with you in your 
house, just like your brother.

How wonderful it is that the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Parabrahman, 
Krishna, who is sought by great, great sages for the sake of liberation and 
transcendental bliss, is acting as your best well-wisher, your friend, your 
cousin, your heart and soul, your worshipable director, and your spiritual 

Present here now is the same Supreme Personality of Godhead whose true form 
cannot be understood even by such great personalities as Lord Brahma and Lord 
Shiva. He is realized by devotees because of their unflinching surrender. May 
that same Personality of Godhead, who is the maintainer of His devotees and who 
is worshiped by silence, by devotional service and by cessation of material 
activities, be pleased with us.

Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: Maharaja Yudhisthira, the best member of the Bharata 
dynasty, thus learned everything from the descriptions of Narada Muni. After 
hearing these instructions, he felt great pleasure from within his heart, and in 
great ecstasy, love and affection, he worshiped Lord Krishna.

Narada Muni, being worshiped by Krishna and Maharaja Yudhisthira, bade them 
farewell and went away. Yudhisthira Maharaja, having heard that Krishna, his 
cousin, is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, was struck with wonder.

On all the planets within this universe, the varieties of living entities, 
moving and nonmoving, including the demigods, demons and human beings, were all 
generated from the daughters of Maharaja Daksa. I have now described them and 
their different dynasties.

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