Birth of Emperor Pariksit
uttaraya hato garbha
saunakah uvaca--the sage Saunaka said; asvatthamna--of Asvatthama (the son of Drona); upasrstena--by release of; brahma-sirsna--the invincible weapon, brahmastra; uru-tejasa--by high temperature; uttarayah--of Uttara (mother of Pariksit); hatah--being spoiled; garbhah--womb; isena--by the Supreme Lord; ajivitah--brought to life; punah--again.
The sage Saunaka said: The womb of Uttara, mother of Maharaja Pariksit, was spoiled by the dreadful and invincible brahmastra weapon released by Asvatthama. But Maharaja Pariksit was saved by the Supreme Lord.
The sages assembled in the forest of Naimisaranya inquired from Suta Gosvami about the birth of Maharaja Pariksit, but in the course of the narration other topics like the release of the brahmastra by the son of Drona, his punishment by Arjuna, Queen Kuntidevi's prayers, the Pandavas' visit to the place where Bhismadeva was lying, his prayers and thereafter the Lord's departure for Dvaraka were discussed. His arrival at Dvaraka and residing with the sixteen thousand queens, etc., were narrated. The sages were absorbed in hearing such descriptions, but now they wanted to turn to the original topic, and thus the inquiry was made by Saunaka Rsi. So the subject of the release of the brahmastra weapon by Asvatthama is renewed.
tasya janma maha-buddheh
karmani ca mahatmanah
nidhanam ca yathaivasit
sa pretya gatavan yatha
tasya--his (of Maharaja Pariksit); janma--birth; maha-buddheh--of great intelligence; karmani--activities; ca--also; maha-atmanah--of the great devotee; nidhanam--demise; ca--also; yatha--as it was; eva--of course; asit--happened; sah--he; pretya--destination after death; gatavan--achieved; yatha--as it were.
How was the great emperor Pariksit, who was a highly intelligent and great devotee, born in that womb? How did his death take place, and what did he achieve after his death?
The king of Hastinapura (now Delhi) used to be the emperor of the world, at least till the time of the son of Emperor Pariksit. Maharaja Pariksit was saved by the Lord in the womb of his mother, so he could certainly be saved from an untimely death due to the ill will of the son of a brahmana. Because the age of Kali began to act just after the assumption of power by Maharaja Pariksit, the first sign of misgivings was exhibited in the cursing of such a greatly intelligent and devoted king as Maharaja Pariksit. The king is the protector of the helpless citizens, and their welfare, peace and prosperity depend on him. Unfortunately, by the instigation of the fallen age of Kali, an unfortunate brahmana's son was employed to condemn the innocent Maharaja Pariksit, and so the King had to prepare himself for death within seven days. Maharaja Pariksit is especially famous as one who is protected by Visnu, and when he was unduly cursed by a brahmana's son, he could have invoked the mercy of the Lord to save him, but he did not want to because he was a pure devotee. A pure devotee never asks the Lord for any undue favor. Maharaja Pariksit knew that the curse of the brahmana's son upon him was unjustified, as everyone else knew, but he did not want to counteract it because he knew also that the age of Kali had begun and that the first symptom of the age, namely degradation of the highly talented brahmana community, had also begun. He did not want to interfere with the current of the time, but he prepared himself to meet death very cheerfully and very properly. Being fortunate, he got at least seven days to prepare himself to meet death, and so he properly utilized the time in the association of Sukadeva Gosvami, the great saint and devotee of the Lord.
tad idam srotum icchamo
gaditum yadi manyase
bruhi nah sraddadhananam
yasya jnanam adac chukah
tat--all; idam--this; srotum--to hear; icchamah--all willing; gaditum--to narrate; yadi--if; manyase--you think; bruhi--please speak; nah--we; sraddadhananam--who are very much respectful; yasya--whose; jnanam--transcendental knowledge; adat--delivered; sukah--Sri Sukadeva Gosvami.
We all respectfully want to hear about him [Maharaja Pariksit] to whom Sukadeva Gosvami imparted transcendental knowledge. Please speak on this matter.
Sukadeva Gosvami imparted transcendental knowledge to Maharaja Pariksit during the remaining seven days of his life, and Maharaja Pariksit heard him properly, just like an ardent student. The effect of such a bona fide hearing and chanting of Srimad-Bhagavatam was equally shared by both the hearer and the chanter. Both of them were benefited. Out of the nine different transcendental means of devotional service to the Lord prescribed in the Bhagavatam, either all of them, or some of them or even one of them are equally beneficial if properly discharged. Maharaja Pariksit and Sukadeva Gosvami were serious performers of the first two important items, namely the process of chanting and the process of hearing, and therefore both of them were successful in their laudable attempt. Transcendental realization is attained by such serious hearing and chanting and not otherwise. There is a type of spiritual master and disciple much advertised in this age of Kali. It is said that the master injects spiritual force into the disciple by an electrical current generated by the master, and the disciple begins to feel the shock. He becomes unconscious, and the master weeps for his exhausting his store of so-called spiritual assets. Such bogus advertisement is going on in this age, and the poor common man is becoming the victim of such advertisement. We do not find such folk tales in the dealings of Sukadeva Gosvami and his great disciple Maharaja Pariksit. The sage recited Srimad-Bhagavatam in devotion, and the great King heard him properly. The King did not feel any shock of electrical current from the master, nor did he become unconscious while receiving knowledge from the master. One should not, therefore, become a victim of these unauthorized advertisements made by some bogus representative of Vedic knowledge. The sages of Naimisaranya were very respectful in hearing about Maharaja Pariksit because of his receiving knowledge from Sukadeva Gosvami by means of ardent hearing. Ardent hearing from the bona fide master is the only way to receive transcendental knowledge, and there is no need for medical performances or occult mysticism for miraculous effects. The process is simple, but only the sincere party can achieve the desired result.
pitrvad ranjayan prajah
sutah uvaca--Sri Suta Gosvami said; apipalat--administered prosperity; dharma-rajah--King Yudhisthira; pitr-vat--exactly like his father; ranjayan--pleasing; prajah--all those who took birth; nihsprhah--without personal ambition; sarva--all; kamebhyah--from sense gratification; krsna-pada--the lotus feet of Lord Sri Krsna; anusevaya--by dint of rendering continuous service.
Sri Suta Gosvami said: Emperor Yudhisthira administered generously to everyone during his reign. He was exactly like his father. He had no personal ambition and was freed from all sorts of sense gratification because of his continuous service unto the lotus feet of the Lord Sri Krsna.
As mentioned in our introduction, "There is a need for the science of Krsna in human society for all the suffering humanity of the world, and we simply request the leading personalities of all nations to take to the science of Krsna for their own good, for the good of society, and for the good of all the people of the world." So it is confirmed herein by the example of Maharaja Yudhisthira, the personality of goodness. In India the people hanker after Rama-rajya because the Personality of Godhead was the ideal king and all other kings or emperors in India controlled the destiny of the world for the prosperity of every living being who took birth on the earth. Herein the word prajah is significant. The etymological import of the word is "that which is born." On the earth there are many species of life, from the aquatics up to the perfect human beings, and all are known as prajas. Lord Brahma, the creator of this particular universe, is known as the prajapati because he is the grandfather of all who have taken birth. Thus praja is used in a broader sense than it is now used. The king represents all living beings, the aquatics, plants, trees, reptiles, birds, animals and man. Every one of them is a part and parcel of the Supreme Lord (Bg. 14.4), and the king, being the representative of the Supreme Lord, is duty-bound to give proper protection to every one of them. This is not the case with the presidents and dictators of this demoralized system of administration, where the lower animals are given no protection while the higher animals are given so-called protection. But this is a great science which can be learned only by one who knows the science of Krsna. By knowing the science of Krsna, one can become the most perfect man in the world, and unless one has knowledge in this science, all qualifications and doctorate diplomas acquired by academic education are spoiled and useless. Maharaja Yudhisthira knew this science of Krsna very well, for it is stated here that by continuous cultivation of this science, or by continuous devotional service to Lord Krsna, he acquired the qualification of administering the state. The father is sometimes seemingly cruel to the son, but that does not mean that the father has lost the qualification to be a father. A father is always a father because he always has the good of the son at heart. The father wants every one of his sons to become a better man than himself. Therefore, a king like Maharaja Yudhisthira, who was the personality of goodness, wanted everyone under his administration, especially human beings who have better developed consciousness, to become devotees of Lord Krsna so that everyone can become free from the trifles of material existence. His motto of administration was all good for the citizens, for as personified goodness he knew perfectly well what is actually good for them. He conducted the administration on that principle, and not on the raksasi, demonic, principle of sense gratification. As an ideal king, he had no personal ambition, and there was no place for sense gratification because all his senses at all times were engaged in the loving service of the Supreme Lord, which includes the partial service to the living beings, who form the parts and parcels of the complete whole. Those who are busy rendering service to the parts and parcels, leaving aside the whole, only spoil time and energy, as one does when watering the leaves of a tree without watering the root. If water is poured on the root, the leaves are enlivened perfectly and automatically, but if water is poured on the leaves only, the whole energy is spoiled. Maharaja Yudhisthira, therefore, was constantly engaged in the service of the Lord, and thus the parts and parcels of the Lord, the living beings under his careful administration, were perfectly attended with all comforts in this life and all progress in the next. That is the way of perfect management of state administration.
sampadah kratavo loka
mahisi bhrataro mahi
yasas ca tri-divam gatam
sampadah--opulence; kratavah--sacrifices; lokah--future destination; mahisi--the queens; bhratarah--the brothers; mahi--the earth; jambu-dvipa--the globe or planet of our residence; adhipatyam--sovereignty; ca--also; yasah--fame; ca--and; tri-divam--celestial planets; gatam--spread over.
News even reached the celestial planets about Maharaja Yudhisthira's worldly possessions, the sacrifices by which he would attain a better destination, his queen, his stalwart brothers, his extensive land, his sovereignty over the planet earth, and his fame, etc.
Only a rich and great man's name and fame are known all over the world, and the name and fame of Maharaja Yudhisthira reached the higher planets because of his good administration, worldly possessions, glorious wife Draupadi, the strength of his brothers Bhima and Arjuna, and his solid sovereign power over the world, known as Jambudvipa. Here the word lokah is significant. There are different lokas or higher planets scattered all over the sky, both material and spiritual. A person can reach them by dint of his work in the present life, as stated in Bhagavad-gita (9.25). No forceful entrance is allowed there. The tiny material scientists and engineers who have discovered vehicles to travel over a few thousand miles in outer space will not be allowed entrance. That is not the way to reach the better planets. One must qualify himself to enter into such happy planets by sacrifice and service. Those who are sinful in every step of life can expect only to be degraded into animal life to suffer more and more the pangs of material existence, and this is also stated in Bhagavad-gita (16.19). Maharaja Yudhisthira's good sacrifices and qualifications were so lofty and virtuous that even the residents of the higher celestial planets were already prepared to receive him as one of them.
kim te kamah sura-sparha
adhijahrur mudam rajnah
kim--what for; te--all those; kamah--objects of sense enjoyment; sura--of the denizens of heaven; sparhah--aspirations; mukunda-manasah--of one who is already God conscious; dvijah--O brahmanas; adhijahruh--could satisfy; mudam--pleasure; rajnah--of the king; ksudhitasya--of the hungry; yatha--as it is; itare--in other things.
O brahmanas, the opulence of the King was so enchanting that the denizens of heaven aspired for it. But because he was absorbed in the service of the Lord, nothing could satisfy him except the Lord's service.
There are two things in the world which can satisfy living beings. When one is materially engrossed, he is satisfied only by sense gratification, but when one is liberated from the conditions of the material modes, he is satisfied only by rendering loving service for the satisfaction of the Lord.This means that the living being is constitutionally a servitor, and not one who is served. Being illusioned by the conditions of the external energy, one falsely thinks himself to be the served, but actually he is not served; he is servant of the senses like lust, desire, anger, avarice, pride, madness and intolerance. When one is in his proper senses by attainment of spiritual knowledge, he realizes that he is not the master of the material world, but is only a servant of the senses. At that time he begs for the service of the Lord and thus becomes happy without being illusioned by so-called material happiness. Maharaja Yudhisthira was one of the liberated souls, and therefore for him there was no pleasure in a vast kingdom, good wife, obedient brothers, happy subjects and prosperous world. These blessings automatically follow for a pure devotee, even though the devotee does not aspire for them. The example set herein is exactly suitable. It is said that one who is hungry is never satisfied by anything other than food.
The whole material world is full of hungry living beings. The hunger is not for good food, shelter or sense gratification. The hunger is for the spiritual atmosphere. Due to ignorance only they think that the world is dissatisfied because there is not sufficient food, shelter, defense and objects of sense gratification. This is called illusion. When the living being is hungry for spiritual satisfaction, he is misrepresented by material hunger. But the foolish leaders cannot see that even the people who are most sumptuously materially satisfied are still hungry. And what is their hunger and poverty? This hunger is actually for spiritual food, spiritual shelter, spiritual defense and spiritual sense gratification. These can be obtained in the association of the Supreme Spirit, Lord Sri Krsna, and therefore one who has them cannot be attracted by the so-called food, shelter, defense and sense gratification of the material world, even if they are relished by the denizens of the heavenly planets. Therefore, in the Bhagavad-gita (8.16) it is said by the Lord that even in the topmost planet of the universe, namely the Brahmaloka, where the duration of life is multiplied by millions of years by earth calculation, one cannot satisfy his hunger. Such hunger can be satisfied only when the living being is situated in immortality, which is attained in the spiritual sky, far, far above the Brahmaloka, in the association of Lord Mukunda, the Lord who awards His devotees the transcendental pleasure of liberation.
matur garbha-gato virah
sa tada bhrgu-nandana
dadarsa purusam kancid
matuh--mother; garbha--womb; gatah--being situated there; virah--the great fighter; sah--child Pariksit; tada--at that time; bhrgu-nandana--O son of Bhrgu; dadarsa--could see; purusam--the Supreme Lord; kancit--as someone else; dahyamanah--suffering from being burned; astra--the brahmastra; tejasa--temperature.
O son of Bhrgu [Saunaka], when the child Pariksit, the great fighter, was in the womb of his mother, Uttara, and was suffering from the burning heat of the brahmastra [thrown by Asvatthama], he could observe the Supreme Lord coming to him.
Death generally involves remaining in trance for seven months. A living being, according to his own action, is allowed to enter into the womb of a mother by the vehicle of a father's semina, and thus he develops his desired body. This is the law of birth in specific bodies according to one's past actions. When he is awake from trance, he feels the inconvenience of being confined within the womb, and thus he wants to come out of it and sometimes fortunately prays to the Lord for such liberation. Maharaja Pariksit, while in the womb of his mother, was struck by the brahmastra released by Asvatthama, and he was feeling the burning heat. But because he was a devotee of the Lord, the Lord at once appeared Himself within the womb by His all-powerful energy, and the child could see that someone else had come to save him. Even in that helpless condition, the child Pariksit endured the unbearable temperature due to his being a great fighter by nature. And for this reason the word virah has been used.
tadid vasasam acyutam
angustha--by the measure of a thumb; matram--only; amalam--transcendental; sphurat--blazing; purata--gold; maulinam--helmet; apivya--very beautiful; darsanam--to look at; syamam--blackish; tadit--lightning; vasasam--clothing; acyutam--the Infallible (the Lord).
He [the Lord] was only thumb high, but He was all transcendental. He had a very beautiful, blackish, infallible body, and He wore a dress of lightning yellow and a helmet of blazing gold. Thus He was seen by the child.
atmanah sarvato disam
bhramayantam gadam muhuh
srimat--enriched; dirgha--prolonged; catuh-bahum--four-handed; tapta-kancana--molten gold; kundalam--earrings; ksataja-aksam--eyes with the redness of blood; gada-panim--hand with a club; atmanah--own; sarvatah--all; disam--around; paribhramantam--loitering; ulkabham--like shooting stars; bhramayantam--encircling; gadam--the club; muhuh--constantly.
The Lord was enriched with four hands, earrings of molten gold and eyes blood red with fury. As He loitered about, His club constantly encircled Him like a shooting star.
It is said in the Brahma-samhita (Ch. 5) that the Supreme Lord Govinda, by His one plenary portion, enters into the halo of the universe and distributes himself as Paramatma, or the Supersoul, not only within the heart of every living being, but also within every atom of the material elements. Thus the Lord is all-pervading by His inconceivable potency, and thus He entered the womb of Uttara to save His beloved devotee Maharaja Pariksit. In the Bhagavad-gita (9.31) the Lord assured everyone that His devotees are never to be vanquished. No one can kill a devotee of the Lord because he is protected by the Lord, and no one can save a person whom the Lord desires to kill. The Lord is all-powerful, and therefore He can both save and kill as He likes. He became visible to His devotee Maharaja Pariksit even in that awkward position (in the womb of his mother) in a shape just suitable for his vision. The Lord can become bigger than thousands of universes and can become smaller than an atom at the same time. Merciful as He is, He becomes just suitable to the vision of the limited living being. He is unlimited. He is not limited by any measurement of our calculation. He can become bigger than what we can think of, and He can become smaller than what we can conceive. But in all circumstances He is the same all-powerful Lord. There is no difference between the thumblike Visnu in the womb of Uttara and the full-fledged Narayana in the Vaikuntha-dhama, the kingdom of Godhead. He accepts the form of arca-vigraha (worshipable Deity) just to accept service from His different incapable devotees. By the mercy of the arca-vigraha, the form of the Lord in material elements, the devotees who are in the material world can easily approach the Lord, although He is not conceivable by the material senses. The arca-vigraha is therefore an all-spiritual form of the Lord to be perceived by the material devotees; such an arca-vigraha of the Lord is never to be considered material. There is no difference between matter and spirit for the Lord, although there is a gulf of difference between the two in the case of the conditioned living being. For the Lord there is nothing but spiritual existence, and similarly there is nothing except spiritual existence for the pure devotee of the Lord in his intimate relation with the Lord.
niharam iva gopatih
paryaiksata ka ity asau
astra-tejah--radiation of the brahmastra; sva-gadaya--by means of His own club; niharam--drops of dew; iva--like; gopatih--the sun; vidhamantam--the act of vanishing; sannikarse--nearby; paryaiksata--observing; kah--who; iti asau--this body.
The Lord was thus engaged in vanquishing the radiation of the brahmastra, just as the sun evaporates a drop of dew. He was observed by the child, who thought about who He was.
vidhuya tad ameyatma
bhagavan dharma-gub vibhuh
vidhuya--having completely washed off; tat--that; ameyatma--the all-pervading Supersoul; bhagavan--the Personality of Godhead; dharma-gup--the protector of righteousness; vibhuh--the Supreme; misatah--while observing; dasamasasya--of one who is dressed by all directions; tatra eva--then and there; antah--out of sight; dadhe--became; harih--the Lord.
While thus being observed by the child, the Supreme Lord Personality of Godhead, the Supersoul of everyone and the protector of the righteous, who stretches in all directions and who is unlimited by time and space, disappeared at once.
Child Pariksit was not observing a living being who is limited by time and space. There is a gulf of difference between the Lord and the individual living being. The Lord is mentioned herein as the supreme living being unlimited by time and space. Every living being is limited by time and space. Even though a living being is qualitatively one with the Lord, quantitatively there is a great difference between the Supreme Soul and the common individual soul. In the Bhagavad-gita both the living beings and the Supreme Being are said to be all-pervading (yena sarvam idam tatam), yet there is a difference between these two kinds of all-pervasiveness. A common living being or soul can be all-pervading within his own limited body, but the supreme living being is all-pervading in all space and all time. A common living being cannot extend its influence over another common living being by its all-pervasiveness, but the Supreme Supersoul, the Personality of Godhead, is unlimitedly able to exert His influence over all places and all times and over all living beings. And because He is all-pervasive, unlimited by time and space, He can appear even within the womb of the mother of child Pariksit. He is mentioned herein as the protector of the righteous. Anyone who is a surrendered soul unto the Supreme is righteous, and he is specifically protected by the Lord in all circumstances. The Lord is the indirect protector of the unrighteous also, for He rectifies their sins through His external potency. The Lord is mentioned herein as one who is dressed in the ten directions. This means dressed with garments on ten sides, up and down. He is present everywhere and can appear and disappear at His will from everywhere and anywhere. His disappearance from the sight of the child Pariksit does not mean that He appeared on the spot from any other place. He was present there, and even after His disappearance He was there, although invisible to the eyes of the child. This material covering of the effulgent firmament is also something like a womb of the mother nature, and we are all put into the womb by the Lord, the father of all living beings. He is present everywhere, even in this material womb of mother Durga, and those who are deserving can see the Lord.
jajne vamsa-dharah pandor
bhuyah pandur ivaujasa
tatah--thereupon; sarva--all; guna--good signs; udarke--having gradually evolved; sa-anukula--all favorable; grahodaye--constellation of stellar influence; jajne--took birth; vamsa-dharah--heir apparent; pandoh--of Pandu; bhuyah--being; panduh iva--exactly like Pandu; ojasa--by prowess.
Thereupon, when all the good signs of the zodiac gradually evolved, the heir apparent of Pandu, who would be exactly like him in prowess, took birth.
Astronomical calculations of stellar influences upon a living being are not suppositions, but are factual, as confirmed in Srimad-Bhagavatam. Every living being is controlled by the laws of nature at every minute, just as a citizen is controlled by the influence of the state. The state laws are grossly observed, but the laws of material nature, being subtle to our gross understanding, cannot be experienced grossly. As stated in the Bhagavad-gita (3.9), every action of life produces another reaction, which is binding upon us, and only those who are acting on behalf of Yajna (Visnu) are not bound by reactions. Our actions are judged by the higher authorities, the agents of the Lord, and thus we are awarded bodies according to our activities. The law of nature is so subtle that every part of our body is influenced by the respective stars, and a living being obtains his working body to fulfill his terms of imprisonment by the manipulation of such astronomical influence. A man's destiny is therefore ascertained by the birthtime constellation of stars, and a factual horoscope is made by a learned astrologer. It is a great science, and misuse of a science does not make it useless. Maharaja Pariksit or even the Personality of Godhead appear in certain constellations of good stars, and thus the influence is exerted upon the body thus born at an auspicious moment. The most auspicious constellation of stars takes place during the appearance of the Lord in this material world, and it is specifically called jayanti, a word not to be abused for any other purposes. Maharaja Pariksit was not only a great ksatriya emperor, but also a great devotee of the Lord. Thus he cannot take his birth at any inauspicious moment. As a proper place and time is selected to receive a respectable personage, so also to receive such a personality as Maharaja Pariksit, who was especially cared for by the Supreme Lord, a suitable moment is chosen when all good stars assembled together to exert their influence upon the King. Thus he took his birth just to be known as the great hero of Srimad-Bhagavatam. This suitable arrangement of astral influences is never a creation of man's will, but is the arrangement of the superior management of the agency of the Supreme Lord. Of course, the arrangement is made according to the good or bad deeds of the living being. Herein lies the importance of pious acts performed by the living being. Only by pious acts can one be allowed to get good wealth, good education and beautiful features. The samskaras of the school of sanatana-dharma (man's eternal engagement) are highly suitable for creating an atmosphere for taking advantage of good stellar influences, and therefore garbhadhana-samskara, or the first seedling purificatory process prescribed for the higher castes, is the beginning of all pious acts to receive a good pious and intelligent class of men in human society. There will be peace and prosperity in the world due to good and sane population only; there is hell and disturbance only because of the unwanted, insane populace addicted to sex indulgence.
tasya prita-mana raja
jatakam karayam asa
vacayitva ca mangalam
tasya--his; prita-manah--satisfied; raja--King Yudhisthira; vipraih--by the learned brahmanas; dhaumya--Dhaumya; krpa--Krpa; adibhih--and others also; jatakam--one of the purificatory processes performed just after the birth of a child; karayam asa--had them performed; vacayitva--by recitation; ca--also; mangalam--auspicious.
King Yudhisthira, who was very satisfied with the birth of Maharaja Pariksit, had the purificatory process of birth performed. Learned brahmanas, headed by Dhaumya and Krpa, recited auspicious hymns.
There is a need for a good and intelligent class of brahmanas who are expert in performing the purificatory processes prescribed in the system of varnasrama-dharma. Unless such purificatory processes are performed, there is no possibility of good population, and in the age of Kali the population all over the world is of sudra quality or lower for want of this purificatory process. It is not possible, however, to revive the Vedic process of purification in this age, for want of proper facilities and good brahmanas, but there is the Pancaratrika system also recommended for this age. The Pancaratrika system acts on the sudra class of men, supposedly the population of the Kali-yuga, and it is the prescribed purificatory process suitable to the age and time. Such a purificatory process is allowed only for spiritual upliftment and not for any other purpose. Spiritual upliftment is never conditioned by higher or lower parentage.
After the garbhadhana purificatory process, there are certain other samskaras like simantonnayana, sadhabhaksanam, etc., during the period of pregnancy, and when the child is born the first purificatory process is jatakarman. This was performed duly by Maharaja Yudhisthira with the help of good and learned brahmanas like Dhaumya, the royal priest, and Krpacarya, who was not only a priest but also a great general. Both these learned and perfect priests, assisted by other good brahmanas, were employed by Maharaja Yudhisthira to perform the ceremony. Therefore all the samskaras, purificatory processes, are not mere formalities or social functions only, but they are all for practical purposes and can be successfully performed by expert brahmanas like Dhaumya and Krpa. Such brahmanas are not only rare, but also not available in this age, and therefore, for the purpose of spiritual upliftment in this fallen age, the Gosvamis prefer the purificatory processes under Pancaratrika formulas to the Vedic rites.
Krpacarya is the son of the great Rsi Sardban and was born in the family of Gautama. The birth is said to be accidental. By chance, the great Rsi Sardban met Janapadi, a famous society girl of heaven, and the Rsi Sardban discharged semina in two parts. By one part immediately a male child and by the other part a female child were born as twins. The male child was later on known as Krpa, and the female child was known as Krpi. Maharaja Santanu, while engaged in chase in the jungle, picked up the children and brought them up to the brahminical status by the proper purificatory process. Krpacarya later became a great general like Dronacarya, and his sister was married to Dronacarya. Krpacarya later on took part in the Battle of Kuruksetra and joined the party of Duryodhana. Krpacarya helped kill Abhimanyu, the father of Maharaja Pariksit, but he was still held in esteem by the family of the Pandavas due to his being as great a brahmana as Dronacarya. When the Pandavas were sent to the forest after being defeated in the gambling game with Duryodhana, Dhrtarastra entrusted the Pandavas to Krpacarya for guidance. After the end of the battle, Krpacarya again became a member of the royal assembly, and he was called during the birth of Maharaja Pariksit for recitation of auspicious Vedic hymns to make the ceremony successful. Maharaja Yudhisthira, while quitting the palace for his great departure to the Himalayas, entrusted Krpacarya with Maharaja Pariksit as his disciple, and he left home satisfied because of Krpacarya's taking charge of Maharaja Pariksit. The great administrators, kings and emperors were always under the guidance of learned brahmanas like Krpacarya and thus were able to act properly in the discharge of political responsibilities.
hiranyam gam mahim graman
hasty-asvan nrpatir varan
pradat svannam ca viprebhyah
praja-tirthe sa tirthavit
hiranyam--gold; gam--cows; mahim--land; graman--villages; hasti--elephants; asvan--horses; nrpatih--the King; varan--rewards; pradat--gave in charity; su-annam--good food grains; ca--and; viprebhyah--unto the brahmanas; praja-tirthe--on the occasion of giving in charity on the birthday of a son; sah--he; tirtha-vit--one who knows how, when and where charity is to be given.
Upon the birth of a son, the King, who knew how, where and when charity should be given, gave gold, land, villages, elephants, horses and good food grains to the brahmanas.
Only the brahmanas and sannyasis are authorized to accept charity from the householders. In all the different occasions of samskaras, especially during the time of birth, marriage and death, wealth is distributed to the brahmanas because the brahmanas give the highest quality of service in regard to the prime necessity of humankind. The charity was substantial in the shape of gold, land, villages, horses, elephants and food grains, with other materials for cooking complete foodstuff. The brahmanas were not, therefore, poor in the actual sense of the term. On the contrary, because they possessed gold, land, villages, horses, elephants and sufficient grains, they had nothing to earn for themselves. They would simply devote themselves to the well-being of the entire society.
The word tirthavit is significant because the King knew well where and when charity has to be given. Charity is never unproductive or blind. In the sastras charity was offered to persons who deserve to accept charity by dint of spiritual enlightenment. The so-called daridra-narayana, a misconception of the Supreme Lord by unauthorized persons, is never to be found in the sastras as the object of charity. Nor can a wretched poor man receive much munificent charity in the way of horses, elephants, land and villages. The conclusion is that the intelligent men, or the brahmanas specifically engaged in the service of the Lord, were properly maintained without anxiety for the needs of the body, and the King and other householders gladly looked after all their comforts.
It is enjoined in the sastras that as long as a child is joined with the mother by the navel pipe, the child is considered to be of one body with the mother, but as soon as the pipe is cut and the child is separated from the mother, the purificatory process of jatakarman is performed. The administrative demigods and past forefathers of the family come to see a newly born child, and such an occasion is specifically accepted as the proper time for distributing wealth to the right persons productively for the spiritual advancement of society.
tam ucur brahmanas tusta
esa hy asmin praja-tantau
tam--unto him; ucuh--addressed; brahmanah--the learned brahmanas; tustah--very much satisfied; rajanam--unto the King; prasraya-anvitam--very much obliging; esah--this; hi--certainly; asmin--in the chain of; praja-tantau--descending line; purunam--of the Purus; paurava-rsabha--the chief among the Purus.
The learned brahmanas, who were very satisfied with the charities of the King, addressed him as the chief amongst the Purus and informed him that his son was certainly in the line of descent from the Purus.
sukle samstham upeyusi
rato vo 'nugraharthaya
daivena--by supernatural power; apratighatena--by what is irresistible; sukle--unto the pure; samstham--destruction; upeyusi--having been enforced; ratah--restored; vah--for you; anugraha-arthaya--for the sake of obliging; visnuna--by the all-pervasive Lord; prabhavisnuna--by the all-powerful.
The brahmanas said: This spotless son has been restored by the all-powerful and all-pervasive Lord Visnu, the Personality of Godhead, in order to oblige you. He was saved when he was doomed to be destroyed by an irresistible supernatural weapon.
The child Pariksit was saved by the all-powerful and all-pervasive Visnu (Lord Krsna) for two reasons. The first reason is that the child in the womb of his mother was spotless due to his being a pure devotee of the Lord. The second reason is that the child was the only surviving male descendant of Puru, the pious forefather of the virtuous King Yudhisthira. The Lord wants to continue the line of pious kings to rule over the earth as His representatives for the actual progress of a peaceful and prosperous life. After the Battle of Kuruksetra, even up to the next generation of Maharaja Yudhisthira was annihilated, and there were none who could generate another son in the great royal family. Maharaja Pariksit, the son of Abhimanyu, was the only surviving heir apparent in the family, and by the irresistible supernatural brahmastra weapon of Asvatthama, he was forced to be annihilated. Lord Krsna is described herein as Visnu, and this is also significant. Lord Krsna, the original Personality of Godhead, does the work of protection and annihilation in His capacity of Visnu. Lord Visnu is the plenary expansion of Lord Krsna. The all-pervasive activities of the Lord are executed by Him in His Visnu feature. Child Pariksit is described here as spotlessly white because he is an unalloyed devotee of the Lord. Such unalloyed devotees of the Lord appear on the earth just to execute the mission of the Lord. The Lord desires the conditioned souls hovering in the material creation to be reclaimed to go back home, back to Godhead, and thus He helps them by preparing the transcendental literatures like the Vedas, by sending missionaries of saints and sages and by deputing His representative, the spiritual master. Such transcendental literatures, missionaries and representatives of the Lord are spotlessly white because the contamination of the material qualities cannot even touch them. They are always protected by the Lord when they are threatened with annihilation. Such foolish threats are made by the gross materialists. The brahmastra, which was thrown by Asvatthama at the child Pariksit, was certainly supernaturally powerful, and nothing of the material world could resist its force of penetration. But the all-powerful Lord, who is present everywhere, within and without, could counteract it by His all-powerful potency just to save a bona fide servant of the Lord and descendant of another devotee, Maharaja Yudhisthira, who was always obliged by the Lord by His causeless mercy.
tasman namna visnu-rata
iti loke bhavisyati
na sandeho maha-bhaga
tasmat--therefore; namna--by the name; visnu-ratah--protected by Visnu, the Personality of Godhead; iti--thus; loke--in all the planets; bhavisyati--shall become well known; na--no; sandehah--doubts; maha-bhaga--most fortunate; maha-bhagavatah--the first-class devotee of the Lord; mahan--qualified by all good qualities.
For this reason this child will be well known in the world as one who is protected by the Personality of Godhead. O most fortunate one, there is no doubt that this child will become a first-class devotee and will be qualified with all good qualities.
The Lord gives protection to all living beings because He is their supreme leader. The Vedic hymns confirm that the Lord is the Supreme Person amongst all personalities. The difference between the two living beings is that the one, the Personality of Godhead, provides for all other living beings, and by knowing Him one can achieve eternal peace (Katha Upanisad). Such protection is given by His different potencies to different grades of living beings. But as far as His unalloyed devotees are concerned, He gives the protection personally. Therefore, Maharaja Pariksit is protected from the very beginning of his appearance in the womb of his mother. And because he is especially given protection by the Lord, the indication must be concluded that the child would be a first-grade devotee of the Lord with all good qualities. There are three grades of devotees, namely the maha-bhagavata, madhyam-adhikari and the kanistha-adhikari. Those who go to the temples of the Lord and offer worshipful respect to the Deity without sufficient knowledge in the theological science and therefore without any respect for the devotees of the Lord are called materialistic devotees, or kanistha-adhikari, the third-grade devotees. Secondly, the devotees who have developed a mentality of genuine service to the Lord and who thus make friendships only with similar devotees, show favor to the neophytes and avoid the atheists are called the second-grade devotees. But those who see everything in the Lord or everything of the Lord and also see in everything an eternal relation of the Lord, so that there is nothing within their purview of sight except the Lord, are called the maha-bhagavatas, or the first-grade devotees of the Lord. Such first-grade devotees of the Lord are perfect in all respects. A devotee who may be in any of these categories is automatically qualified by all good qualities, and thus a maha-bhagavata devotee like Maharaja Pariksit is certainly perfect in all respects. And because Maharaja Pariksit took his birth in the family of Maharaja Yudhisthira, he is addressed herein as the maha-bhagavata, or the greatest of the fortunates. The family in which a maha-bhagavata takes his birth is fortunate because due to the birth of a first-grade devotee the members of the family, past, present and future up to one hundred generations, become liberated by the grace of the Lord, out of respect for His beloved devotee. Therefore, the highest benefit is done to one's family simply by becoming an unalloyed devotee of the Lord.
apy esa vamsyan rajarsin
anuvartita svid yasasa
sri-raja--the all-good king (Maharaja Yudhisthira); uvaca--said; api--whether; esah--this; vamsyan--family; raja-rsin--of saintly kings; punya-slokan--pious by the very name; maha-atmanah--all great souls; anuvartita--follower; svit--will it be; yasasa--by achievements; sadhu-vadena--by glorification; sat-tamah--O great souls.
The good King [Yudhisthira] inquired: O great souls, will he become as saintly a king, as pious in his very name and as famous and glorified in his achievements, as others who appeared in this great royal family?
The forefathers of King Yudhisthira were all great saintly kings, pious and glorified by their great achievements. They were all saints on the royal throne. And therefore all the members of the state were happy, pious, well behaved, prosperous and spiritually enlightened. Under strict guidance of the great souls and spiritual injunctions, such great saintly kings were trained up, and as a result the kingdom was full of saintly persons and was a happy land of spiritual life. Maharaja Yudhisthira was himself a replica of his ancestors, and he desired that the next king after him become exactly like his great forefathers. He was happy to learn from the learned brahmanas that by astrological calculations the child would be born a first-grade devotee of the Lord, and more confidentially he wanted to know whether the child was going to follow in the footsteps of his great forefathers. That is the way of the monarchical state. The reigning king should be a pious, chivalrous devotee of the Lord and fear personified for the upstarts. He must also leave an heir apparent equally qualified to rule over the innocent citizens. In the modern setup of the democratic states, the people themselves are fallen to the qualities of the sudras or less, and the government is run by their representative, who is ignorant of the scriptural mode of administrative education. Thus the whole atmosphere is surcharged with sudra qualities, manifested by lust and avarice. Such administrators quarrel every day among themselves. The cabinet of ministers changes often due to party and group selfishness. Everyone wants to exploit the state resources till he dies. No one retires from political life unless forced to do so. How can such low-grade men do good to the people? The result is corruption, intrigue and hypocrisy. They should learn from the Srimad-Bhagavatam how ideal the administrators must be before they can be given charge of different posts.
partha prajavita saksad
iksvakur iva manavah
brahmanyah satya-sandhas ca
ramo dasarathir yatha
brahmanah--the good brahmanas; ucuh--said; partha--O son of Prtha (Kunti); praja--those who are born; avita--maintainer; saksat--directly; iksvakuh iva--exactly like King Iksvaku; manavah--son of Manu; brahmanyah--followers and respectful to the brahmanas; satya-sandhah--truthful by promise; ca--also; ramah--the Personality of Godhead Rama; dasarathih--the son of Maharaja Dasaratha; yatha--like Him.
The learned brahmanas said: O son of Prtha, this child shall be exactly like King Iksvaku, son of Manu, in maintaining all those who are born. And as for following the brahminical principles, especially in being true to his promise, he shall be exactly like Rama, the Personality of Godhead, the son of Maharaja Dasaratha.
Praja means the living being who has taken his birth in the material world. Actually the living being has no birth and no death, but because of his separation from the service of the Lord and due to his desire to lord it over material nature, he is offered a suitable body to satisfy his material desires. In doing so, one becomes conditioned by the laws of material nature, and the material body is changed in terms of his own work. The living entity thus transmigrates from one body to another in 8,400,000 species of life. But due to his being the part and parcel of the Lord, he not only is maintained with all necessaries of life by the Lord, but also is protected by the Lord and His representatives, the saintly kings. These saintly kings give protection to all the prajas, or living beings, to live and to fulfill their terms of imprisonment. Maharaja Pariksit was actually an ideal saintly king because while touring his kingdom he happened to see that a poor cow was about to be killed by the personified Kali, whom he at once took to task as a murderer. This means that even the animals were given protection by the saintly administrators, not from any sentimental point of view, but because those who have taken their birth in the material world have the right to live. All the saintly kings, beginning from the King of the sun globe down to the King of the earth, are so inclined by the influence of the Vedic literatures. The Vedic literatures are taught in higher planets also, as there is reference in the Bhagavad-gita (4.1) about the teachings to the sun-god (Vivasvan) by the Lord, and such lessons are transferred by disciplic succession, as it was done by the sun-god to his son Manu, and from Manu to Maharaja Iksvaku. There are fourteen Manus in one day of Brahma, and the Manu referred to herein is the seventh Manu, who is one of the prajapatis (those who create progeny), and he is the son of the sun-god. He is known as the Vaivasvata Manu. He had ten sons, and Maharaja Iksvaku is one of them. Maharaja Iksvaku also learned bhakti-yoga as taught in the Bhagavad-gita from his father, Manu, who got it from his father, the sun-god. Later on the teaching of the Bhagavad-gita came down by disciplic succession from Maharaja Iksvaku, but in course of time the chain was broken by unscrupulous persons, and therefore it again had to be taught to Arjuna on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra. So all the Vedic literatures are current from the very beginning of creation of the material world, and thus the Vedic literatures are known as apauruseya (not made by man). The Vedic knowledge was spoken by the Lord and first heard by Brahma, the first created living being within the universe.
Maharaja Iksvaku: One of the sons of Vaivasvata Manu. He had one hundred sons. He prohibited meat eating. His son Sasada became the next king after his death.
Manu: The Manu mentioned in this verse as the father of Iksvaku is the seventh Manu, of the name Vaivasvata Manu, the son of sun-god Vivasvan, to whom Lord Krsna instructed the teachings of Bhagavad-gita prior to His teaching them to Arjuna. Mankind is the descendant of Manu. This Vaivasvata Manu had ten sons, named Iksvaku, Nabhaga, Dhrsta, Saryati, Narisyanta, Nabhaga, Dista, Karusa, Prsadhra and Vasuman. The Lord's incarnation Matsya (the gigantic fish) was advented during the beginning of Vaivasvata Manu's reign. He learned the principles of Bhagavad-gita from his father, Vivasvan, the sun-god, and he reinstructed the same to his son Maharaja Iksvaku. In the beginning of the Treta-yuga the sun-god instructed devotional service to Manu, and Manu in his turn instructed it to Iksvaku for the welfare of the whole human society.
Lord Rama: The Supreme Personality of Godhead incarnated Himself as Sri Rama, accepting the sonhood of His pure devotee Maharaja Dasaratha, the King of Ayodhya. Lord Rama descended along with His plenary portions, and all of them appeared as His younger brothers. In the month of Caitra on the ninth day of the growing moon in the Treta-yuga, the Lord appeared, as usual, to establish the principles of religion and to annihilate the disturbing elements. When He was just a young boy, He helped the great sage Visvamitra by killing Subahu and striking Marica, the she-demon, who was disturbing the sages in their daily discharge of duties. The brahmanas and ksatriyas are meant to cooperate for the welfare of the mass of people. The brahmana sages endeavor to enlighten the people by perfect knowledge, and the ksatriyas are meant for their protection. Lord Ramacandra is the ideal king for maintaining and protecting the highest culture of humanity, known as brahmanya-dharma. The Lord is specifically the protector of the cows and the brahmanas, and hence He enhances the prosperity of the world. He rewarded the administrative demigods by effective weapons to conquer the demons through the agency of Visvamitra. He was present in the bow sacrifice of King Janaka, and by breaking the invincible bow of Siva, He married Sitadevi, daughter of Maharaja Janaka.
After His marriage He accepted exile in the forest for fourteen years by the order of His father, Maharaja Dasaratha. To help the administration of the demigods, He killed fourteen thousand demons, and by the intrigues of the demons, His wife, Sitadevi, was kidnapped by Ravana. He made friendship with Sugriva, who was helped by the Lord to kill Vali, brother of Sugriva. By the help of Lord Rama, Sugriva became the king of the Vanaras (a race of gorillas). The Lord built a floating bridge of stones on the Indian Ocean and reached Lanka, the kingdom of Ravana, who had kidnapped Sita. Later on Ravana was killed by Him, and Ravana's brother Vibhisana was installed on the throne of Lanka. Vibhisana was one of the brothers of Ravana, a demon, but Lord Rama made him immortal by His blessings. On the expiry of fourteen years, after settling the affairs at Lanka, the Lord came back to His kingdom, Ayodhya, by flower plane. He instructed His brother Satrughna to attack Lavnasura, who reigned at Mathura, and the demon was killed. He performed ten Asvamedha sacrifices, and later on He disappeared while taking a bath in the Sarayu River. The great epic Ramayana is the history of Lord Rama's activities in the world, and the authoritative Ramayana was written by the great poet Valmiki.
esa data saranyas ca
yatha hy ausinarah sibih
yaso vitanita svanam
dausyantir iva yajvanam
esah--this child; data--donor in charity; saranyah--protector of the surrendered; ca--and; yatha--as; hi--certainly; ausinarah--the country named Usinara; sibih--Sibi; yasah--fame; vitanita--disseminator; svanam--of the kinsmen; dausyantih iva--like Bharata, the son of Dusyanta; yajvanam--of those who have performed many sacrifices.
This child will be a munificent donor of charity and protector of the surrendered, like the famous King Sibi of the Usinara country. And he will expand the name and fame of his family like Bharata, the son of Maharaja Dusyanta.
A king becomes famous by his acts of charity, performances of yajnas, protection of the surrendered, etc. A ksatriya king is proud to give protection to the surrendered souls. This attitude of a king is called isvara-bhava, or factual power to give protection in a righteous cause. In the Bhagavad-gita the Lord instructs living beings to surrender unto Him, and He promises all protection. The Lord is all-powerful and true to His word, and therefore He never fails to give protection to His different devotees. The king, being the representative of the Lord, must possess this attitude of giving protection to the surrendered souls at all risk. Maharaja Sibi, the King of Usinara, was an intimate friend of Maharaja Yayati, who was able to reach the heavenly planets along with Maharaja Sibi. Maharaja Sibi was aware of the heavenly planet where he was to be transferred after his death, and the description of this heavenly planet is given in the Mahabharata (Adi-parva 96.6-9). Maharaja Sibi was so charitably disposed that he wanted to give over his acquired position in the heavenly kingdom to Yayati, but he did not accept it. Yayati went to the heavenly planet along with great rsis like Astaka and others. On inquiry from the rsis, Yayati gave an account of Sibi's pious acts when all of them were on the path to heaven. He has become a member of the assembly of Yamaraja, who has become his worshipful deity. As confirmed in the Bhagavad-gita, the worshiper of the demigods goes to the planets of the demigods (yanti deva-vrata devan); so Maharaja Sibi has become an associate of the great Vaisnava authority Yamaraja on that particular planet. While he was on the earth he became very famous as a protector of surrendered souls and a donor of charities. The King of heaven once took the shape of a pigeon-hunter bird (eagle), and Agni, the fire-god, took the shape of a pigeon. The pigeon, while being chased by the eagle, took shelter on the lap of Maharaja Sibi, and the hunter eagle wanted the pigeon back from the King. The King wanted to give it some other meat to eat and requested the bird not to kill the pigeon. The hunter bird refused to accept the King's offer, but it was settled later on that the eagle would accept flesh from the body of the King of the pigeon's equivalent weight. The King began to cut flesh from his body to weigh in the balance equivalent to the weight of the pigeon, but the mystic pigeon always remained heavier. The King then put himself on the balance to equate with the pigeon, and the demigods were pleased with him. The King of heaven and the fire-god disclosed their identity, and the King was blessed by them. Devarsi Narada also glorified Maharaja Sibi for his great achievements, specifically in charity and protection. Maharaja Sibi sacrificed his own son for the satisfaction of human beings in his kingdom. And thus child Pariksit was to become a second Sibi in charity and protection.
Dausyanti Bharata: There are many Bharatas in history, of which Bharata the brother of Lord Rama, Bharata the son of King Rsabha, and Bharata the son of Maharaja Dusyanta are very famous. And all these Bharatas are historically known to the universe. This earth planet is known as Bharata, or Bharata-varsa, due to King Bharata the son of Rsabha, but according to some this land is known as Bharata due to the reign of the son of Dusyanta. So far as we are convinced, this land's name Bharata-varsa was established from the reign of Bharata the son of King Rsabha. Before him the land was known as Ilavati-varsa, but just after the coronation of Bharata, the son of Rsabha, this land became famous as Bharata-varsa.
But despite all this, Bharata, the son of Maharaja Dusyanta was not less important. He is the son of the famous beauty Sakuntala. Maharaja Dusyanta fell in love with Sakuntala in the forest, and Bharata was conceived. After that, Maharaja forgot his wife Sakuntala by the curse of Kanva Muni, and the child Bharata was brought up in the forest by his mother. Even in his childhood he was so powerful that he challenged the lions and elephants in the forest and would fight with them as little children play with cats and dogs. Because of the boy's becoming so strong, more than the so-called modern Tarzan, the rsis in the forest called him Sarvadaman, or one who is able to control everyone. A full description of Maharaja Bharata is given in the Mahabharata, Adi-parva. The Pandavas, or the Kurus, are sometimes addressed as Bharata due to being born in the dynasty of the famous Maharaja Bharata, the son of King Dusyanta.
dhanvinam agranir esa
tulyas carjunayor dvayoh
hutasa iva durdharsah
samudra iva dustarah
dhanvinam--of the great bowmen; agranih--the foreman; esah--this child; tulyah--equally good; ca--and; arjunayoh--of the Arjunas; dvayoh--of the two; hutasah--fire; iva--like; durdharsah--irresistible; samudrah--ocean; iva--like; dustarah--unsurpassable.
Amongst great bowmen, this child will be as good as Arjuna. He will be as irresistible as fire and as unsurpassable as the ocean.
In history there are two Arjunas. One is Karttavirya Arjuna, the King of Haihaya, and the other is the grandfather of the child. Both the Arjunas are famous for their bowmanship, and the child Pariksit is foretold to be equal to both of them, particularly in fighting. A short description of the Pandava Arjuna is given below:
Pandava Arjuna: The great hero of the Bhagavad-gita. He is the ksatriya son of Maharaja Pandu. Queen Kuntidevi could call for any one of the demigods, and thus she called Indra, and Arjuna was born by him. Arjuna is therefore a plenary part of the heavenly King Indra. He was born in the month of Phalguna (February-March), and therefore he is also called Phalguni. When he appeared as the son of Kunti, his future greatness was proclaimed by air messages, and all the important personalities from different parts of the universe, such as the demigods, the Gandharvas, the Adityas (from the sun globe), the Rudras, the Vasus, the Nagas, the different rsis (sages) of importance, and the Apsaras (the society girls of heaven), all attended the ceremony. The Apsaras pleased everyone by their heavenly dances and songs. Vasudeva, the father of Lord Krsna and the maternal uncle of Arjuna, sent his priest representative Kasyapa to purify Arjuna by all the prescribed samskaras, or reformatory processes. His samskara of being given a name was performed in the presence of the rsis, residents of Satasrnga. He married four wives, Draupadi, Subhadra, Citrangada and Ulupi, from whom he got four sons of the names Srutakirti, Abhimanyu, Babhruvahana and Iravan respectively.
During his student life he was entrusted to study under the great professor Dronacarya, along with other Pandavas and the Kurus. But he excelled everyone by his studious intensity, and Dronacarya was especially attracted by his disciplinary affection. Dronacarya accepted him as a first-grade scholar and loved heartily to bestow upon him all the blessings of military science. He was so ardent a student that he used to practice bowmanship even at night, and for all these reasons Professor Dronacarya was determined to make him the topmost bowman of the world. He passed very brilliantly the examination in piercing the target, and Dronacarya was very pleased. Royal families at Manipur and Tripura are descendants of Arjuna's son Babhruvahana. Arjuna saved Dronacarya from the attack of a crocodile, and the Acarya, being pleased with him, rewarded him with a weapon of the name brahmasira. Maharaja Drupada was inimical toward Dronacarya, and thus when he attacked the Acarya, Arjuna got him arrested and brought him before Dronacarya. He besieged a city of the name Ahichhatra, belonging to Maharaja Drupada, and after taking it over he gave it to Dronacarya. The confidential treatment of the weapon brahmasira was explained to Arjuna, and Dronacarya was promised by Arjuna that he would use the weapon if necessary when he (Dronacarya) personally became an enemy of Arjuna. By this, the Acarya forecasted the future battle of Kuruksetra, in which Dronacarya was on the opposite side. Maharaja Drupada, although defeated by Arjuna on behalf of his professor Dronacarya, decided to hand over his daughter Draupadi to his young combatant, but he was disappointed when he heard the false news of Arjuna's death in the fire of a shellac house intrigued by Duryodhana. He therefore arranged for Draupadi's personal selection of a groom who could pierce the eye of a fish hanging on the ceiling. This trick was especially made because only Arjuna could do it, and he was successful in his desire to hand over his equally worthy daughter to Arjuna. Arjuna's brothers were at that time living incognito under agreement with Duryodhana, and Arjuna and his brothers attended the meeting of Draupadi's selection in the dress of brahmanas. When all the ksatriya kings assembled saw that a poor brahmana had been garlanded by Draupadi for her lord, Sri Krsna disclosed his identity to Balarama.
He met Ulupi at Haridvara (Hardwar), and he was attracted by a girl belonging to Nagaloka, and thus Iravan was born. Similarly, he met Citrangada, a daughter of the King of Manipura, and thus Babhruvahana was born. Lord Sri Krsna made a plan to help Arjuna to kidnap Subhadra, sister of Sri Krsna, because Baladeva was inclined to hand her over to Duryodhana. Yudhisthira also agreed with Sri Krsna, and thus Subhadra was taken by force by Arjuna and then married to him. Subhadra's son is Abhimanyu, the father of Pariksit Maharaja, the posthumous child. Arjuna satisfied the fire-god by setting fire to the Khandava Forest, and thus the fire-god gave him one weapon. Indra was angry when the fire was set in the Khandava Forest, and thus Indra, assisted by all other demigods, began fighting with Arjuna for his great challenge. They were defeated by Arjuna, and Indradeva returned to his heavenly kingdom. Arjuna also promised all protection to one Mayasura, and the latter presented him one valuable conchshell celebrated as the Devadatta. Similarly, he received many other valuable weapons from Indradeva when he was satisfied to see his chivalry.
When Maharaja Yudhisthira was disappointed in defeating the King of Magadha, Jarasandha, it was Arjuna only who gave King Yudhisthira all kinds of assurances, and thus Arjuna, Bhima and Lord Krsna started for Magadha to kill Jarasandha. When he went out to bring all other kings of the world under the subjection of the Pandavas, as was usual after the coronation of every emperor, he conquered the country named Kelinda and brought in subjugation King Bhagdutt. Then he traveled through countries like Antagiri, Ulukpur and Modapur and brought under subjugation all the rulers.
Sometimes he underwent severe types of penances, and later on he was rewarded by Indradeva. Lord Siva also wanted to try the strength of Arjuna, and in the form of an aborigine, Lord Siva met him. There was a great fight between the two, and at last Lord Siva was satisfied with him and disclosed his identity. Arjuna prayed to the lord in all humbleness, and the lord, being pleased with him, presented him the pasupata weapon. He acquired many other important weapons from different demigods. He received dandastra from Yamaraja, pasastra from Varuna, and antardhana-astra from Kuvera, the treasurer of the heavenly kingdom. Indra wanted him to come to the heavenly kingdom, the Indraloka planet beyond the moon planet. In that planet he was cordially received by the local residents, and he was awarded reception in the heavenly parliament of Indradeva. Then he met Indradeva, who not only presented him with his vajra weapon, but also taught him the military and musical science as used in the heavenly planet. In one sense, Indra is the real father of Arjuna, and therefore indirectly he wanted to entertain Arjuna with the famous society girl of heaven, Urvasi, the celebrated beauty. The society girls of heaven are lusty, and Urvasi was very eager to contact Arjuna, the strongest human being. She met him in his room and expressed her desires but Arjuna sustained his unimpeachable character by closing his eyes before Urvasi, addressing her as mother of the Kuru dynasty and placing her in the category of his mothers Kunti, Madri and Sacidevi, wife of Indradeva. Disappointed, Urvasi cursed Arjuna and left. In the heavenly planet he also met the great celebrated ascetic Lomasa and prayed to him for the protection of Maharaja Yudhisthira.
When his inimical cousin Duryodhana was under the clutches of the Gandharvas, he wanted to save him and requested the Gandharvas to release Duryodhana, but the Gandharvas refused, and thus he fought with them and got Duryodhana released. When all the Pandavas lived incognito, he presented himself in the court of King Virata as a eunuch and was employed as the musical teacher of Uttara, his future daughter-in-law, and was known in the Virata court as the Brhannala. As Brhannala, he fought on behalf of Uttara, the son of King Virata, and thus defeated the Kurus in the fight incognito. His secret weapons were safely kept in the custody of a somi tree, and he ordered Uttara to get them back. His identity and his brothers' identity were later on disclosed to Uttara. Dronacarya was informed of Arjuna's presence in the fight of the Kurus and the Viratas. Later, on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra, Arjuna killed many great generals like Karna and others. After the Battle of Kuruksetra, he punished Asvatthama, who had killed all the five sons of Draupadi. Then all the brothers went to Bhismadeva.
It is due to Arjuna only that the great philosophical discourses of the Bhagavad-gita were again spoken by the Lord on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra. His wonderful acts on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra are vividly described in the Mahabharata. Arjuna was defeated, however, by his son Babhruvahana at Manipura and fell unconscious when Ulupi saved him. After the disappearance of Lord Krsna, the message was brought by Arjuna to Maharaja Yudhisthira. Again, Arjuna visited Dvaraka, and all the widow wives of Lord Krsna lamented before him. He took them all in the presence of Vasudeva and pacified all of them. Later on, when Vasudeva passed away, he performed his funeral ceremony in the absence of Krsna. While Arjuna was taking all the wives of Krsna to Indraprastha, he was attacked on the way, and he could not protect the ladies in his custody. At last, advised by Vyasadeva, all the brothers headed for Mahaprasthan. On the way, at the request of his brother, he gave up all important weapons as useless, and he dropped them all in the water.
mrgendra iva vikranto
nisevyo himavan iva
sahisnuh pitarav iva
mrgendrah--the lion; iva--like; vikrantah--powerful; nisevyah--worthy of taking shelter; himavan--the Himalaya Mountains; iva--like; titiksuh--forbearance; vasudha iva--like the earth; asau--the child; sahisnuh--tolerant; pitarau--parents; iva--like.
This child will be as strong as a lion, and as worthy a shelter as the Himalaya Mountains. He will be forbearing like the earth, and as tolerant as his parents.
One is compared to the lion when one is very strong in chasing an enemy. One should be a lamb at home and a lion in the chase. The lion never fails in the chase of an animal; similarly, the head of the state should never fail in chasing an enemy. The Himalaya Mountains are famous for all richness. There are innumerable caves to live in, numberless trees of good fruits to eat, good springs to drink water from and profuse drugs and minerals to cure diseases. Any man who is not materially prosperous can take shelter of these great mountains, and he will be provided with everything required. Both the materialist and the spiritualist can take advantage of the great shelter of the Himalayas. On the surface of the earth there are so many disturbances caused by the inhabitants. In the modern age the people have begun to detonate atomic weapons on the surface of the earth, and still the earth is forbearing to the inhabitants, like a mother who excuses a little child. Parents are always tolerant to children for all sorts of mischievous acts. An ideal king may be possessed of all these good qualities, and the child Pariksit is foretold to have all these qualities in perfection.
yatha devo ramasrayah
pitamaha--the grandfather, or Brahma; samah--equally good; samye--in the matter; prasade--in charity or in munificence; girisa--Lord Siva; upamah--comparison of equilibrium; asrayah--resort; sarva--all; bhutanam--of the living beings; yatha--as; devah--the Supreme Lord; rama-asrayah--the Personality of Godhead.
This child will be like his grandfather Yudhisthira or Brahma in equanimity of mind. He will be munificent like the lord of the Kailasa Hill, Siva. And he will be the resort of everyone, like the Supreme Personality of Godhead Narayana, who is even the shelter of the goddess of fortune.
Mental equanimity refers both to Maharaja Yudhisthira and to Brahma, the grandfather of all living beings. According to Sridhara Svami, the grandfather referred to is Brahma, but according to Visvanatha Cakravarti, the grandfather is Maharaja Yudhisthira himself. But in both cases the comparison is equally good because both of them are recognized representatives of the Supreme Lord, and thus both of them have to maintain mental equanimity, being engaged in welfare work for the living being. Any responsible executive agent at the top of administration has to tolerate different types of onslaughts from the very persons for whom he works. Brahmaji was criticized even by the gopis, the highest perfectional devotees of the Lord. The gopis were dissatisfied with the work of Brahmaji because Lord Brahma, as creator of this particular universe, created eyelids which obstructed their seeing Lord Krsna. They could not tolerate a moment's blinking of the eyes, for it kept them from seeing their beloved Lord Krsna. So what to speak of others, who are naturally very critical of every action of a responsible man? Similarly, Maharaja Yudhisthira had to cross over many difficult situations created by his enemies, and he proved to be the most perfect maintainer of mental equanimity in all critical circumstances. Therefore the example of both grandfathers for maintaining equanimity of mind is quite fitting.
Lord Siva is a celebrated demigod who awards gifts to beggars. His name is therefore Asutosa, or one who is pleased very easily. He is also called the Bhutanatha, or the lord of the common folk, who are mainly attached to him because of his munificent gifts, even without consideration of the aftereffects. Ravana was very attached to Lord Siva, and by easily pleasing him, Ravana became so powerful that he wanted to challenge the authority of Lord Rama. Of course, Ravana was never helped by Lord Siva when he fought with Rama, the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the Lord of Lord Siva. To Vrkasura, Lord Siva awarded a benediction which was not only awkward, but also disturbing. Vrkasura became empowered, by the grace of Lord Siva, to vanish anyone's head simply by touching it. Although this was awarded by Lord Siva, the cunning fellow wanted to make an experiment of the power by touching the head of Lord Siva. Thus the lord had to take shelter of Visnu to save himself from trouble, and the Lord Visnu, by His illusory potency, asked Vrkasura to make an experiment with his own head. The fellow did it and was finished himself, and so the world was saved from all sorts of trouble by such a cunning beggar of the demigods. The excellent point is that Lord Siva never denies anyone any sort of gift. He is therefore the most generous, although sometimes some kind of a mistake is made.
Rama means the goddess of fortune. And her shelter is Lord Visnu. Lord Visnu is the maintainer of all living beings. There are innumerable living beings, not only on the surface of this planet but also in all other hundreds of thousands of planets. All of them are provided with all necessities of life for the progressive march towards the end of self-realization, but on the path of sense gratification they are put into difficulty by the agency of maya, the illusory energy, and so travel the path of a false plan of economic development. Such economic development is never successful because it is illusory. These men are always after the mercy of the illusory goddess of fortune, but they do not know that the goddess of fortune can live only under the protection of Visnu. Without Visnu, the goddess of fortune is an illusion. We should therefore seek the protection of Visnu instead of directly seeking the protection of the goddess of fortune. Only Visnu and the devotees of Visnu can give protection to all, and because Maharaja Pariksit was himself protected by Visnu, it was quite possible for him to give complete protection to all who wanted to live under his rule.
esa krsnam anuvratah
yayatir iva dharmikah
sarva-sat-guna-mahatmye--glorified by all godly attributes; esah--this child; krsnam--like Lord Krsna; anuvratah--a follower in His footsteps; rantidevah--Rantideva; iva--like; udarah--in the matter of magnanimity; yayatih--Yayati; iva--like; dharmikah--concerning religion.
This child will be almost as good as Lord Sri Krsna by following in His footsteps. In magnanimity he will become as great as King Rantideva. And in religion he will be like Maharaja Yayati.
The last instruction of Lord Sri Krsna in the Bhagavad-gita is that one should give up everything and should follow in the footsteps of the Lord alone. Less intelligent persons do not agree to this great instruction of the Lord, as ill luck would have it, but one who is actually intelligent catches up this sublime instruction and is immensely benefited. Foolish people do not know that association is the cause of acquiring qualities. Association with fire makes an object hot, even in the material sense. Therefore, association with the Supreme Personality of Godhead makes one qualified like the Lord. As we have discussed previously, one can achieve seventy-eight percent of the godly qualities by the Lord's intimate association. To follow the instructions of the Lord is to associate with the Lord. The Lord is not a material object whose presence one has to feel for such association. The Lord is present everywhere and at all times. It is quite possible to have His association simply by following His instruction because the Lord and His instruction and the Lord and His name, fame, attributes and paraphernalia are all identical with Him, being absolute knowledge. Maharaja Pariksit associated with the Lord even from the womb of his mother up to the last day of his valuable life, and thus he acquired all the essential good qualities of the Lord in all perfection.
Rantideva: An ancient king prior to the Mahabharata period, referred to by Narada Muni while instructing Sanjaya, as mentioned in Mahabharata (Drona-parva 67). He was a great king, liberal for hospitality and distribution of foodstuff. Even Lord Sri Krsna praised his acts of charity and hospitality. He was blessed by the great Vasistha Muni for supplying him cold water, and thus he achieved the heavenly planet. He used to supply fruits, roots and leaves to the rsis, and thus he was blessed by them with fulfillment of his desires. Although a ksatriya by birth, he never ate flesh in his life. He was especially hospitable to Vasistha Muni, and by his blessings only he attained the higher planetary residence. He is one of those pious kings whose names are remembered in the morning and evening.
Yayati: The great emperor of the world and the original forefather of all great nations of the world who belong to the Aryan and Indo-European stock. He is the son of Maharaja Nabusa, and he became the emperor of the world due to his elder brother's becoming a great and liberated saintly mystic. He ruled over the world for several thousands of years and performed many sacrifices and pious activities recorded in history, although his early youth was very lustful and full of romantic stories. He fell in love with Devayani, the most beloved daughter of Sukracarya. Devayani wished to marry him, but at first he refused to accept her because of her being a daughter of a brahmana. According to sastras, a brahmana could marry the daughter of a ksatriya but a ksatriya could not marry the daughter of a brahmana. They were very much cautious about varna-sankara population in the world. Sukracarya amended this law of forbidden marriage and induced Emperor Yayati to accept Devayani. Devayani had a girl friend named Sarmistha, who also fell in love with the emperor and thus went with her friend Devayani. Sukracarya forbade Emperor Yayati to call Sarmistha into his bedroom, but Yayati could not strictly follow his instruction. He secretly married Sarmistha also and begot sons by her. When this was known by Devayani, she went to her father and lodged a complaint. Yayati was much attached to Devayani, and when he went to his father-in-law's place to call her, Sukracarya was angry with him and cursed him to become impotent. Yayati begged his father-in-law to withdraw his curse, but the sage asked Yayati to ask youthfulness from his sons and let them become old as the condition of his becoming potent. He had five sons, two from Devayani and three from Sarmistha. From his five sons, namely (1) Yadu, (2) Turvasu, (3) Druhyu, (4) Anu and (5) Puru, five famous dynasties, namely (1) the Yadu dynasty, (2) the Yavana (Turk) dynasty, (3) the Bhoja dynasty, (4) the Mleccha dynasty (Greek) and (5) the Paurava dynasty, all emanated to spread all over the world. He reached the heavenly planets by dint of his pious acts, but he fell down from there because of his self-advertisement and criticizing other great souls. After his fall, his daughter and grandson bestowed upon him their accumulated virtues, and by the help of his grandson and friend Sibi, he was again promoted to the heavenly kingdom, becoming one of the assembly members of Yamaraja, with whom he is staying as a devotee. He performed more than one thousand different sacrifices, gave in charity very liberally and was a very influential king. His majestic power was felt all over the world. His youngest son agreed to award him his youthfulness when he was troubled with lustful desires, even for one thousand years. Finally he became detached from worldly life and returned the youthfulness again to his son Puru. He wanted to hand over the kingdom to Puru, but his noblemen and the subjects did not agree. But when he explained to his subjects the greatness of Puru, they agreed to accept Puru as the King, and thus Emperor Yayati retired from family life and left home for the forest.
dhrtya bali-samah krsne
prahrada iva sad-grahah
dhrtya--by patience; bali-samah--like Bali Maharaja; krsne--unto Lord Sri Krsna; prahrada--Prahlada Maharaja; iva--like; sat-grahah--devotee of; aharta--performer; esah--this child; asvamedhanam--of Asvamedha sacrifices; vrddhanam--of the old and experienced men; paryupasakah--follower.
This child will be like Bali Maharaja in patience, a staunch devotee of Lord Krsna like Prahlada Maharaja, a performer of many Asvamedha [horse] sacrifices and a follower of the old and experienced men.
Bali Maharaja: One of the twelve authorities in the devotional service of the Lord. Bali Maharaja is a great authority in devotional service because he sacrificed everything to please the Lord and relinquished the connection of his so-called spiritual master who obstructed him on the path of risking everything for the service of the Lord. The highest perfection of religious life is to attain to the stage of unqualified devotional service of the Lord without any cause or without being obstructed by any kind of worldly obligation. Bali Maharaja was determined to give up everything for the satisfaction of the Lord, and he did not care for any obstruction whatsoever. He is the grandson of Prahlada Maharaja, another authority in the devotional service of the Lord. Bali Maharaja and the history of his dealings with Visnu Vamanadeva are described in the Eighth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam (Chapter 11-24).
Prahlada Maharaja: A perfect devotee of Lord Krsna (Visnu). His father, Hiranyakasipu, chastised him severely when he was only five years old for his becoming an unalloyed devotee of the Lord. He was the first son of Hiranyakasipu, and his mother's name was Kayadhu. Prahlada Maharaja was an authority in the devotional service of the Lord because he had his father killed by Lord Nrsimhadeva, setting the example that even a father should be removed from the path of devotional service if such a father happens to be an obstacle. He had four sons, and the eldest son, Virocana, is the father of Bali Maharaja, mentioned above. The history of Prahlada Maharaja's activities is described in the Seventh Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam.
nigrahita kaler esa
bhuvo dharmasya karanat
raja-rsinam--of kings as good as sages; janayita--producer; sasta--chastiser; ca--and; utpatha-gaminam--of the upstarts; nigrahita--molester; kaleh--of the quarrelsome; esah--this; bhuvah--of the world; dharmasya--of religion; karanat--on account of.
This child will be the father of kings who will be like sages. For world peace and for the sake of religion, he will be the chastiser of the upstarts and the quarrelsome.
The wisest man in the world is a devotee of the Lord. The sages are called wise men, and there are different types of wise men for different branches of knowledge. Unless, therefore, the king or the head of the state is the wisest man, he cannot control all types of wise men in the state. In the line of royal succession in the family of Maharaja Yudhisthira, all the kings, without exception, were the wisest men of their times, and so also it is foretold about Maharaja Pariksit and his son Maharaja Janamejaya, who was yet to be born. Such wise kings can become chastisers of upstarts and uprooters of Kali, or quarrelsome elements. As will be clear in the chapters ahead, Maharaja Pariksit wanted to kill the personified Kali, who was attempting to kill a cow, the emblem of peace and religion. The symptoms of Kali are (1) wine, (2) women, (3) gambling and (4) slaughterhouses. Wise rulers of all states should take lessons from Maharaja Pariksit in how to maintain peace and morality by subduing the upstarts and quarrelsome people who indulge in wine, illicit connection with women, gambling and meat-eating supplied by regularly maintained slaughterhouses. In this age of Kali, regular license is issued for maintaining all of these different departments of quarrel. So how can they expect peace and morality in the state? The state fathers, therefore, must follow the principles of becoming wiser by devotion to the Lord, by chastising the breaker of discipline and by uprooting the symptoms of quarrel, as mentioned above. If we want blazing fire, we must use dry fuel. Blazing fire and moist fuel go ill together. Peace and morality can prosper only by the principles of Maharaja Pariksit and his followers.
taksakad atmano mrtyum
mukta-sangah padam hareh
taksakat--by the snake-bird; atmanah--of his personal self; mrtyum--death; dvija-putra--the son of a brahmana; upasarjitat--being sent by; prapatsyate--having taken shelter of; upasrutya--after hearing; mukta-sangah--freed from all attachment; padam--position; hareh--of the Lord.
After hearing about his death, which will be caused by the bite of a snake-bird sent by a son of a brahmana, he will get himself freed from all material attachment and surrender unto the Personality of Godhead, taking shelter of Him.
Material attachment and taking shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord go ill together. Material attachment means ignorance of transcendental happiness under the shelter of the Lord. Devotional service to the Lord, while existing in the material world, is a way to practice one's transcendental relation with the Lord, and when it is matured, one gets completely free from all material attachment and becomes competent to go back home, back to Godhead. Maharaja Pariksit, being especially attached to the Lord from the beginning of his body in the womb of his mother, was continuously under the shelter of the Lord, and the so-called warning of his death within seven days from the date of the curse by the brahmana's son was a boon to him to enable him to prepare himself to go back home, back to Godhead. Since he was always protected by the Lord, he could have avoided the effect of such a curse by the grace of the Lord, but he did not take such undue advantage for nothing. Rather, he made the best use of a bad bargain. For seven days continuously he heard Srimad-Bhagavatam from the right source, and thus he got shelter at the lotus feet of the Lord by that opportunity.
muner vyasa-sutad asau
hitvedam nrpa gangayam
jijnasita--having inquired of; atma-yatharthyah--right knowledge of one's own self; muneh--from the learned philosopher; vyasa-sutat--the son of Vyasa; asau--he; hitva--quitting; idam--this material attachment; nrpa--O King; gangayam--on the bank of the Ganges; yasyati--will go; addha--directly; akutah-bhayam--the life of fearlessness.
After inquiring about proper self-knowledge from the son of Vyasadeva, who will be a great philosopher, he will renounce all material attachment and achieve a life of fearlessness.
Material knowledge means ignorance of the knowledge of one's own self. Philosophy means to seek after the right knowledge of one's own self, or the knowledge of self-realization. Without self-realization, philosophy is dry speculation or a waste of time and energy. Srimad-Bhagavatam gives the right knowledge of one's own self, and by hearing Srimad-Bhagavatam one can get free from material attachment and enter into the kingdom of fearlessness. This material world is fearfulness. Its prisoners are always fearful as within a prison house. In the prison house no one can violate the jail rules and regulations, and violating the rules means another term for extension of prison life. Similarly, we in this material existence are always fearful. This fearfulness is called anxiety. Everyone in the material life, in all species and varieties of life, is full of anxieties, either by breaking or without breaking the laws of nature. Liberation, or mukti, means getting relief from these constant anxieties. This is possible only when the anxiety is changed to the devotional service of the Lord. Srimad-Bhagavatam gives us the chance to change the quality of anxiety from matter to spirit. This is done in the association of a learned philosopher like the self-realized Sukadeva Gosvami, the great son of Sri Vyasadeva. Maharaja Pariksit, after receiving warning of his death, took advantage of this opportunity by association with Sukadeva Gosvami and achieved the desired result.
There is a sort of imitation of this reciting and hearing of Srimad-Bhagavatam by professional men, and their foolish audience thinks that they will get free from the clutches of material attachment and attain the life of fearlessness. Such imitative hearing of Srimad-Bhagavatam is a caricature only, and one should not be misled by such a performance of bhagavatam saptaha undertaken by ridiculous greedy fellows to maintain an establishment of material enjoyment.
iti rajna upadisya
pratijagmuh svakan grhan
iti--thus; rajne--unto the King; upadisya--having advised; viprah--persons well versed in the Vedas; jataka-kovidah--persons expert in astrology and in the performance of birth ceremonies; labdha-apacitayah--those who had received sumptuously as remuneration; sarve--all of them; pratijagmuh--went back; svakan--their own; grhan--houses.
Thus those who were expert in astrological knowledge and in performance of the birth ceremony instructed King Yudhisthira about the future history of his child. Then, being sumptuously remunerated, they all returned to their respective homes.
The Vedas are the storehouse of knowledge, both material and spiritual. But such knowledge aims at perfection of self-realization. In other words, the Vedas are the guides for the civilized man in every respect. Since human life is the opportunity to get free from all material miseries, it is properly guided by the knowledge of the Vedas, in the matters of both material needs and spiritual salvation. The specific intelligent class of men who were devoted particularly to the knowledge of the Vedas were called the vipras, or the graduates of the Vedic knowledge. There are different branches of knowledge in the Vedas, of which astrology and pathology are two important branches necessary for the common man. So the intelligent men, generally known as the brahmanas, took up all the different branches of Vedic knowledge to guide society. Even the department of military education (Dhanur-veda) was also taken up by such intelligent men, and the vipras were also teachers of this section of knowledge, as were Dronacarya, Krpacarya, etc.
The word vipra mentioned herein is significant. There is a little difference between the vipras and the brahmanas. The vipras are those who are expert in karma-kanda, or fruitive activities, guiding the society towards fulfilling the material necessities of life, whereas the brahmanas are expert in spiritual knowledge of transcendence. This department of knowledge is called jnana-kanda, and above this there is the upasana-kanda. The culmination of upasana-kanda is the devotional service of the Lord Visnu, and when the brahmanas achieve perfection, they are called Vaisnavas. Visnu worship is the highest of the modes of worship. Elevated brahmanas are Vaisnavas engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, and thus Srimad-Bhagavatam, which is the science of devotional service, is very dear to the Vaisnavas. And as explained in the beginning of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, it is the mature fruit of Vedic knowledge and is superior subject matter, above the three kandas, namely karma, jnana and upasana.
Amongst the karma-kanda experts, the jataka expert vipras were good astrologers who could tell all the future history of a born child simply by the astral calculations of the time (lagna). Such expert jataka-vipras were present during the birth of Maharaja Pariksit, and his grandfather, Maharaja Yudhisthira, awarded the vipras sufficiently with gold, land, villages, grains and other valuable necessaries of life, which also include cows. There is a need of such vipras in the social structure, and it is the duty of the state to maintain them comfortably, as designed in the Vedic procedure. Such expert vipras, being sufficiently paid by the state, could give free service to the people in general, and thus this department of Vedic knowledge could be available for all.
sa esa loke vikhyatah
pariksid iti yat prabhuh
purvam drstam anudhyayan
parikseta naresv iha
sah--he; esah--in this; loke--world; vikhyatah--famous; pariksit--one who examines; iti--thus; yat--what; prabhuh--O my King; purvam--before; drstam--seen; anudhyayan--constantly contemplating; parikseta--shall examine; naresu--unto every man; iha--here.
So his son would become famous in the world as Pariksit [examiner] because he would come to examine all human beings in his search after that personality whom he saw before his birth. Thus he would come to constantly contemplate Him.
Maharaja Pariksit, fortunate as he was, got the impression of the Lord even in the womb of his mother, and thus his contemplation on the Lord was constantly with him. Once the impression of the transcendental form of the Lord is fixed in one's mind, one can never forget Him in any circumstance. Child Pariksit, after coming out of the womb, was in the habit of examining everyone to see whether he was the same personality whom he first saw in the womb. But no one could be equal to or more attractive than the Lord, and therefore he never accepted anyone. But the Lord was constantly with him by such examination, and thus Maharaja Pariksit was always engaged in the devotional service of the Lord by remembrance.
Srila Jiva Gosvami remarks in this connection that every child, if given an impression of the Lord from his very childhood, certainly becomes a great devotee of the Lord like Maharaja Pariksit. One may not be as fortunate as Maharaja Pariksit to have the opportunity to see the Lord in the womb of his mother, but even if he is not so fortunate, he can be made so if the parents of the child desire him to be so. There is a practical example in my personal life in this connection. My father was a pure devotee of the Lord, and when I was only four or five years old, my father gave me a couple of forms of Radha and Krsna. In a playful manner, I used to worship these Deities along with my sister, and I used to imitate the performances of a neighboring temple of Radha-Govinda. By constantly visiting this neighboring temple and copying the ceremonies in connection with my own Deities of play, I developed a natural affinity for the Lord. My father used to observe all the ceremonies befitting my position. Later on, these activities were suspended due to my association in the schools and colleges, and I became completely out of practice. But in my youthful days, when I met my spiritual master, Sri Srimad Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Gosvami Maharaja, again I revived my old habit, and the same playful Deities became my worshipful Deities in proper regulation. This was followed up until I left the family connection, and I am pleased that my generous father gave the first impression which was developed later into regulative devotional service by His Divine Grace. Maharaja Prahlada also advised that such impressions of a godly relation must be impregnated from the beginning of childhood, otherwise one may miss the opportunity of the human form of life, which is very valuable although it is temporary like others.
sa raja-putro vavrdhe
asu sukla ivodupah
kasthabhir iva so 'nvaham
sah--that; raja-putrah--the royal prince; vavrdhe--grew up; asu--very soon; sukle--waxing moon; iva--like; udupah--the moon; apuryamanah--luxuriantly; pitrbhih--by the parental guardians; kasthabhih--plenary development; iva--like; sah--he; anvaham--day after day.
As the moon, in its waxing fortnight, develops day after day, so the royal prince [Pariksit] very soon developed luxuriantly under the care and full facilities of his guardian grandfathers.
raja labdha-dhano dadhyau
yaksyamanah--desiring to perform; asvamedhena--by the horse sacrifice ceremony; jnati-droha--fighting with kinsmen; jihasaya--for getting free; raja--King Yudhisthira; labdha-dhanah--for getting some wealth; dadhyau--thought about it; na anyatra--not otherwise; kara-dandayoh--taxes and fines.
Just at this time, King Yudhisthira was considering performing a horse sacrifice to get freed from sins incurred from fighting with kinsmen. But he became anxious to get some wealth, for there were no surplus funds outside of fines and tax collection.
As the brahmanas and vipras had a right to be subsidized by the state, the state executive head had the right to collect taxes and fines from the citizens. After the Battle of Kuruksetra the state treasury was exhausted, and therefore there was no surplus fund except the fund from tax collection and fines. Such funds were sufficient only for the state budget, and having no excess fund, the King was anxious to get more wealth in some other way in order to perform the horse sacrifice. Maharaja Yudhisthira wanted to perform this sacrifice under the instruction of Bhismadeva.
tad abhipretam alaksya
dhanam prahinam ajahrur
udicyam disi bhurisah
tat--his; abhipretam--wishes of the mind; alaksya--observing; bhratarah--his brothers; acyuta--the infallible (Lord Sri Krsna); coditah--being advised by; dhanam--riches; prahinam--to collect; ajahruh--brought about; udicyam--northern; disi--direction; bhurisah--sufficient.
Understanding the hearty wishes of the King, his brothers, as advised by the infallible Lord Krsna, collected sufficient riches from the North [left by King Marutta].
Maharaja Marutta: one of the great emperors of the world. He reigned over the world long before the reign of Maharaja Yudhisthira. He was the son of Maharaja Aviksit and was a great devotee of the son of the sun-god, known as Yamaraja. His brother Samvarta was a rival priest of the great Brhaspati, the learned priest of the demigods. He conducted one sacrifice called Sankara-yajna by which the Lord was so satisfied that He was pleased to hand over to him the charge of a mountain peak of gold. This peak of gold is somewhere in the Himalaya Mountains, and modern adventurers may try to find it there. He was so powerful an emperor that at the day's end of sacrifice, the demigods from the other planets like Indra, Candra and Brhaspati used to visit his palace. And because he had the gold peak at his disposal, he had sufficient gold in his possession. The canopy of the sacrificial altar was completely made of gold. in his daily performances of the sacrificial ceremonies, some of the inhabitants of the Vayuloka (airy planets) were invited to expedite the cooking work of the ceremony. And the assembly of the demigods in the ceremony was led by Visvadeva.
By his constant pious work he was able to drive out all kinds of diseases from the jurisdiction of his kingdom. All the inhabitants of higher planets like Devaloka and Pitrloka were pleased with him for his great sacrificial ceremonies. Every day he used to give in charity to the learned brahmanas such things as beddings, seats, conveyances and sufficient quantities of gold. Because of munificent charities and performances of innumerable sacrifices, the King of heaven, Indradeva, was fully satisfied with him and always wished for his welfare. Due to his pious activities, he remained a young man throughout his life and reigned over the world for one thousand years, surrounded by his satisfied subjects, ministers, legitimate wife, sons and brothers. Even Lord Sri Krsna praised his spirit of pious activities. He handed over his only daughter to Maharsi Angira, and by his good blessings, he was elevated to the kingdom of heaven. First of all, he wanted to offer the priesthood of his sacrifices to learned Brhaspati, but the demigod refused to accept the post because of the King's being a human being, a man of this earth. He was very sorry for this, but on the advice of Narada Muni he appointed Samvarta to the post, and he was successful in his mission.
The success of a particular type of sacrifice completely depends on the priest in charge. In this age, all kinds of sacrifice are forbidden because there is no learned priest amongst the so-called brahmanas, who go by the false notion of becoming sons of brahmanas without brahminical qualifications. In this age of Kali, therefore, only one kind of sacrifice is recommended, sankirtana-yajna, as inaugurated by Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
vajimedhais tribhir bhito
yajnaih samayajad dharim
tena--with that wealth; sambhrta--collected; sambharah--ingredients; dharma-putrah--the pious king; yudhisthirah--Yudhisthira; vajimedhaih--by horse sacrifices; tribhih--three times; bhitah--being greatly afraid after the Battle of Kuruksetra; yajnaih--sacrifices; samayajat--perfectly worshiped; harim--the Personality of Godhead.
By those riches, the King could procure the ingredients for three horse sacrifices. Thus the pious King Yudhisthira, who was very fearful after the Battle of Kuruksetra, pleased Lord Hari, the Personality of Godhead.
Maharaja Yudhisthira was the ideal and celebrated pious King of the world, and still he was greatly afraid after the execution of the Battle of Kuruksetra because of the mass killing in the fight, all of which was done only to install him on the throne. He therefore took all the responsibility for sins committed in the warfare, and to get rid of all these sins, he wanted to perform three sacrifices in which horses are offered at the altar. Such a sacrifice is very costly. Even Maharaja Yudhisthira had to collect the necessary heaps of gold left by Maharaja Marutta and the brahmanas who were given gold in charity by King Marutta. The learned brahmanas could not take away all the loads of gold given by Maharaja Marutta, and therefore they left behind the major portion of the gift. And Maharaja Marutta also did not again collect such heaps of gold given away in charity. Besides that, all the golden plates and utensils which were used in the sacrifice were also thrown in the dustbins, and all such heaps of gold remained unclaimed property for a long time, till Maharaja Yudhisthira collected them for his own purposes. Lord Sri Krsna advised the brothers of Maharaja Yudhisthira to collect the unclaimed property because it belonged to the King. The more astonishing thing is that no subject of the state also collected such unclaimed gold for industrial enterprise or anything like that. This means that the state citizens were completely satisfied with all necessities of life and therefore not inclined to accept unnecessary productive enterprises for sense gratification. Maharaja Yudhisthira also requisitioned the heaps of gold for performing sacrifices and for pleasing the Supreme Hari Personality of Godhead. Otherwise he had no desire to collect them for the state treasury.
One should take lessons from the acts of Maharaja Yudhisthira. He was afraid of sins committed on the battlefield, and therefore he wanted to satisfy the supreme authority. This indicates that unintentional sins are also committed in our daily occupational discharge of duties, and to counteract even such unintentional crimes, one must perform sacrifices as they are recommended in the revealed scriptures. The Lord says in Bhagavad-gita (yajnarthat karmano 'nyatra loko 'yam karma-bandhanah) that one must perform sacrifices recommended in the scriptures in order to get rid of commitments of all unauthorized work, or even unintentional crimes which we are apt to commit. By doing so, one shall be freed from all kinds of sins. And those who do not do so but work for self-interest or sense gratification have to undergo all tribulations accrued from committed sins. Therefore, the main purpose of performing sacrifices is to satisfy the Supreme Personality Hari. The process of performing sacrifices may be different in terms of different times, places and persons, but the aim of such sacrifices is one and the same at all times and in all circumstances, viz. , satisfaction of the Supreme Lord Hari. That is the way of pious life, and that is the way of peace and prosperity in the world at large. Maharaja Yudhisthira did all these as the ideal pious king in the world.
If Maharaja Yudhisthira is a sinner in his daily discharge of duties, in royal administration of state affairs, wherein killing of man and animals is a recognized art, then we can just imagine the amount of sins committed consciously or unconsciously by the untrained population of the Kali-yuga who have no way to perform sacrifice to please the Supreme Lord. The Bhagavatam says, therefore, that the prime duty of the human being is to satisfy the Supreme Lord by the performance of one's occupational duty (Bhag. 1.2.13).
Let any man of any place or community, caste or creed be engaged in any sort of occupational duty, but he must agree to perform sacrifices as it is recommended in the scriptures for the particular place, time and person. In the Vedic literatures it is recommended that in Kali-yuga people engage in glorifying the Lord by chanting the holy name of Krsna (kirtanad eva krsnasya mukta-sangah param vrajet) without offense. By doing so one can be freed from all sins and thus can attain the highest perfection of life by returning home, back to Godhead. We have already discussed this more than once in this great literature in different places, especially in the introductory portion by sketching the life of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and still we are repeating the same with a view to bring about peace and prosperity in society.
The Lord has declared openly in Bhagavad-gita how He becomes pleased with us, and the same process is practically demonstrated in the life and preaching work of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. The perfect process of performing yajnas, or sacrifice, to please the Supreme Lord Hari (the Personality of Godhead, who gets us free from all miseries of existence) is to follow the ways of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in this dark age of quarrel and dissension.
Maharaja Yudhisthira had to collect heaps of gold to secure the paraphernalia for the horse sacrifice yajnas in days of sufficiency, so we can hardly think of such performance of yajnas in these days of insufficiency and complete scarcity of gold. At the present moment we have heaps of papers and promises of their being converted into gold by economic development of modern civilization, and still there is no possibility of spending riches like Maharaja Yudhisthira, either individually or collectively or by state patronization. Just suitable, therefore, for the age, is the method recommended by Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu in terms of the sastra. Such a method requires no expenditure at all and yet can award more benefit than other expensive methods of yajna performances.
The horse sacrifice yajna or cow sacrifice yajna performed by the Vedic regulations shouldn't be misunderstood as a process of killing animals. On the contrary, animals offered for the yajna were rejuvenated to a new span of life by the transcendental power of chanting the Vedic hymns, which, if properly chanted, are different from what is understood by the common layman. The Veda-mantras are all practical, and the proof is rejuvenation of the sacrificed animal.
There is no possibility of such methodical chanting of the Vedic hymns by the so-called brahmanas or priests of the present age. The untrained descendants of the twice-born families are no more like their forefathers, and thus they are counted amongst the sudras, or once-born men. The once-born man is unfit to chant the Vedic hymns, and therefore there is no practical utility of chanting the original hymns.
And to save them all, Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu propounded the sankirtana movement or yajna for all practical purposes, and the people of the present age are strongly recommended to follow this sure and recognized path.
ahuto bhagavan rajna
yajayitva dvijair nrpam
uvasa katicin masan
ahutah--being called by; bhagavan--Lord Krsna, the Personality of Godhead; rajna--by the King; yajayitva--causing to be performed; dvijaih--by the learned brahmanas; nrpam--on behalf of the King; uvasa--resided; katicit--a few; masan--months; suhrdam--for the sake of the relatives; priya-kamyaya--for the pleasure.
Lord Sri Krsna, the Personality of Godhead, being invited to the sacrifices by Maharaja Yudhisthira, saw to it that they were performed by qualified [twice-born] brahmanas. After that, for the pleasure of the relatives, the Lord remained a few months.
Lord Sri Krsna was invited by Maharaja Yudhisthira to look into the supervision of the performances of yajna, and the Lord, to abide by the orders of His elderly cousin, caused the performance of yajnas by learned twice-born brahmanas. Simply taking birth in the family of a brahmana does not make one qualified to perform yajnas. One must be twice-born by proper training and initiation from the bona fide acarya. The once-born scions of brahmana families are equal with the once-born sudras, and such brahma-bandhus, or unqualified once-born scions, must be rejected for any purpose of religious or Vedic function. Lord Sri Krsna was entrusted to look after this arrangement, and perfect as He is, He caused the yajnas to be performed by the bona fide twice-born brahmanas for successful execution.
yayau dvaravatim brahman
sarjuno yadubhir vrtah
tatah--thereafter; rajna--by the King; abhyanujnatah--being permitted; krsnaya--as well as by Draupadi; saha--along with; bandhubhih--other relatives; yayau--went to; dvaravatim--Dvarakadhama; brahman--O brahmanas; sa-arjunah--along with Arjuna; yadubhih--by the members of the Yadu dynasty; vrtah--surrounded.
O Saunaka, thereafter the Lord, having bade farewell to King Yudhisthira, Draupadi and other relatives, started for the city of Dvaraka, accompanied by Arjuna and other members of the Yadu dynasty.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the First Canto, Twelfth Chapter, of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, entitled "Birth of Emperor Pariksit."