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 Hari. 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 simultaneously. 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 annihilation. 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 Urusrava. 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 event. 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 delay. 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 life. 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 capitals. 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 attentively. 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 unhappiness. 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 west. 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 follows. 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 everywhere. 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 protect. 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 wife. 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 life. 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 annihilated. 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 Brahma." 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 manifestations. 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 desires. 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 Godhead. 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 entities. 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 brahmanas. 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 delay. 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 Maharaja. 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 it. 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 enemy. 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 servant. 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 body. 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 Vishnu. 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 value. 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 anxiety. 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 dwindling. 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 matter. 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- yoga. 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 scriptures. 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 perfectly. 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 ignorance. 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 hall. 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 rain. 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 heads. 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 bliss. 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 embarrassed. 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 us. 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 relationship. 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 place. 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 described. 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 anxiety. 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 Danava. 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 source. 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 varnasrama-dharma. 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 Godhead. 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 subjects. 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 circumstances. 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 customs. 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 them. 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 master. 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 sastras. 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 bewildered. 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 Maharloka. 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 faction. 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 unnecessarily. 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 happened. 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 face. 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 existence. 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 money. 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 available. 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 unagitated. 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- realization. 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 anyone. 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 Godhead. 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 sacrifice. 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 ceremonies. 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 distresses? 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 positions. 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 nature. 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 Godhead. 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 activities. 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 person. 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 death. 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 life. 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 sacrifice. 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 everything. 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 master. 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.