Chapter Twenty-one

                    Instructions by Maharaja Prthu


                                TEXT 1




                            maitreya uvaca

                      mauktikaih kusuma-sragbhir

                       dukulaih svarna-toranaih

                       maha-surabhibhir dhupair

                       manditam tatra tatra vai




   maitreyah uvaca--the great sage Maitreya continued to speak; mauktikaih--with pearls; kusuma--of flowers; sragbhih--with garlands; dukulaih--cloth; svarna--golden; toranaih--by gates; maha-surabhibhih--highly perfumed; dhupaih--by incense; manditam--decorated; tatra tatra--here and there; vai--certainly.




   The great sage Maitreya told Vidura: When the King entered his city, it was very beautifully decorated to receive him with pearls, flower garlands, beautiful cloth and golden gates, and the entire city was perfumed with highly fragrant incense.




   Real opulence is supplied by natural gifts such as gold, silver, pearls, valuable stones, fresh flowers, trees and silken cloth. Thus the Vedic civilization recommends opulence and decoration with these natural gifts of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Such opulence immediately changes the condition of the mind, and the entire atmosphere becomes spiritualized. King Prthu's capital was decorated with such highly opulent decorations.


                                TEXT 2






                      puspaksata-phalais tokmair

                       lajair arcirbhir arcitam




   candana--sandalwood; aguru--a kind of fragrant herb; toya--the water of; ardra--sprinkled with; rathya--a path for driving a chariot; catvara--small parks; margavat--lanes; puspa--flowers; aksata--unbroken; phalaih--by the fruits; tokmaih--minerals; lajaih--wetted grains; arcirbhih--by lamps; arcitam--decorated.




   Fragrant water distilled from sandalwood and aguru herb was sprinkled everywhere on the lanes, roads and small parks throughout the city, and everywhere were decorations of unbroken fruits, flowers, wetted grains, varied minerals, and lamps, all presented as auspicious paraphernalia.


                                TEXT 3




                      savrndaih kadali-stambhaih

                        puga-potaih pariskrtam


                        sarvatah samalankrtam




   sa-vrndaih--along with fruits and flowers; kadali-stambhaih--by the pillars of banana trees; puga-potaih--by collections of young animals and by processions of elephants; pariskrtam--very nicely cleansed; taru--young plants; pallava--new leaves of mango trees; malabhih--by garlands; sarvatah--everywhere; samalankrtam--nicely decorated.




   At the street crossings there were bunches of fruits and flowers, as well as pillars of banana trees and betel nut branches. All these combined decorations everywhere looked very attractive.


                                TEXT 4




                       prajas tam dipa-balibhih


                       abhiyur mrsta-kanyas ca





   prajah--citizens; tam--to him; dipa-balibhih--with lamps; sambhrta--equipped with; asesa--unlimited; mangalaih--auspicious articles; abhiyuh--came forward to welcome; mrsta--with beautiful bodily luster; kanyah ca--and unmarried girls; mrsta--colliding with; kundala--earrings; manditah--being bedecked with.




   As the King entered the gate of the city, all the citizens received him with many auspicious articles like lamps, flowers and yogurt. The King was also received by many beautiful unmarried girls whose bodies were bedecked with various ornaments, especially with earrings which collided with one another.




   Offerings of natural products such as betel nuts, bananas, newly grown wheat, paddy, yogurt and vermillion, carried by the citizens and scattered throughout the city, are all auspicious paraphernalia, according to Vedic civilization, for receiving a prominent guest like a bridegroom, king or spiritual master. Similarly, a welcome offered by unmarried girls who are internally and externally clean and are dressed in nice garments and ornaments is also auspicious. Kumari, or unmarried girls untouched by the hand of any member of the opposite sex, are auspicious members of society. Even today in Hindu society the most conservative families do not allow unmarried girls to go out freely or mix with boys. They are very carefully protected by their parents while unmarried, after marriage they are protected by their young husbands, and when elderly they are protected by their children. When thus protected, women as a class remain an always auspicious source of energy to man.


                                TEXT 5





                       brahma-ghosena cartvijam

                        vivesa bhavanam virah

                        stuyamano gata-smayah




   sankha--conchshells; dundubhi--kettledrums; ghosena--by the sound of; brahma--Vedic; ghosena--chanting; ca--also; rtvijam--of the priests; vivesa--entered; bhavanam--the palace; virah--the King; stuyamanah--being worshiped; gata-smayah--without pride.




   When the King entered the palace, conchshells and kettledrums were sounded, priests chanted Vedic mantras, and professional reciters offered different prayers. But in spite of all this ceremony to welcome him, the King was not the least bit affected.




   The reception given to the King was full of opulence, yet he did not become proud. It is said, therefore, that great personalities of power and opulence never become proud, and the example is given that a tree which is full of fruits and flowers does not stand erect in pride but instead bends downwards to show submissiveness. This is a sign of the wonderful character of great personalities.


                                TEXT 6




                         pujitah pujayam asa

                        tatra tatra maha-yasah

                      pauran janapadams tams tan

                       pritah priya-vara-pradah




   pujitah--being worshiped; pujayam asa--offered worship; tatra tatra--here and there; maha-yasah--with a background of great activities; pauran--the noble men of the city; jana-padan--common citizens; tan tan--in that way; pritah--being satisfied; priya-vara-pradah--was ready to offer them all benediction.




   Both the important citizens and the common citizens welcomed the King very heartily, and he also bestowed upon them their desired blessings.




   A responsible king was always approachable by his citizens. Generally the citizens, great and common, all had an aspiration to see the king and take benediction from him. The king knew this, and therefore whenever he met the citizens he immediately fulfilled their desires or mitigated their grievances. In such dealings, a responsible monarchy is better than a so-called democratic government in which no one is responsible to mitigate the grievances of the citizens, who are unable to personally meet the supreme executive head. In a responsible monarchy the citizens had no grievances against the government, and even if they did, they could approach the king directly for immediate satisfaction.


                                TEXT 7




                   sa evam adiny anavadya-cestitah

                  karmani bhuyamsi mahan mahattamah

                   kurvan sasasavani-mandalam yasah

                  sphitam nidhayaruruhe param padam




   sah--King Prthu; evam--thus; adini--from the very beginning; anavadya--magnanimous; cestitah--performing various works; karmani--work; bhuyamsi--repeatedly; mahan--great; mahat-tamah--greater than the greatest; kurvan--performing; sasasa--ruled; avani-mandalam--the surface of the earth; yasah--reputation; sphitam--widespread; nidhaya--achieving; aruruhe--was elevated; param padam--to the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord.




   King Prthu was greater than the greatest soul and was therefore worshipable by everyone. He performed many glorious activities in ruling over the surface of the world and was always magnanimous. After achieving such great success and a reputation which spread throughout the universe, he at last obtained the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.




   A responsible king or chief executive has many responsible duties to attend to in ruling over the citizens. The most important duty of the monarch or the government is to perform various sacrifices as enjoined in the Vedic literatures. The next duty of the king is to see that every citizen executes the prescribed duties for his particular community. It is the king's duty to see that everyone perfectly executes the duties prescribed for the varna and asrama divisions of society. Besides that, as exemplified by King Prthu, he must develop the earth for the greatest possible production of food grains.

   There are different types of great personalities--some are positive great personalities, some comparative and some superlative--but King Prthu exceeded all of them. He is therefore described here as mahattamah, greater than the greatest. Maharaja Prthu was a ksatriya, and he discharged his ksatriya duties perfectly. Similarly, brahmanas, vaisyas and sudras can discharge their respective duties perfectly and thus at the ultimate end of life be promoted to the transcendental world, which is called param padam. Param padam, or the Vaikuntha planets, can be achieved only by devotional service. The impersonal Brahman region is also called param padam, but unless one is attached to the personality of Godhead one must again fall down to the material world from the impersonal param padam situation. It is said, therefore, aruhya krcchrena param padam tatah: the impersonalists endeavor very strenuously to achieve the param padam, or impersonal brahmajyoti, but unfortunately, being bereft of a relationship with the Supreme personality of Godhead, they come down again to the material world. If one flies in outer space, he can go very high up, but unless he reaches a planet he must come down again to earth. Similarly, because the impersonalists who reach the param padam of the impersonal brahmajyoti do not enter into the Vaikuntha planets, they come down again to this material world and are given shelter in one of the material planets. Although they may attain Brahmaloka, or Satyaloka, all such planets are situated in the material world.


                                TEXT 8




                              suta uvaca

                   tad adi-rajasya yaso vijrmbhitam

                  gunair asesair gunavat-sabhajitam

                   ksatta maha-bhagavatah sadaspate

                  kausaravim praha grnantam arcayan




   sutah uvaca--Suta Gosvami said; tat--that; adi-rajasya--of the original king; yasah--reputation; vijrmbhitam--highly qualified; gunaih--by qualities; asesaih--unlimited; guna-vat--fittingly; sabhajitam--being praised; ksatta--Vidura; maha-bhagavatah--the great saintly devotee; sadah-pate--leader of the great sages; kausaravim--unto Maitreya; praha--said; grnantam--while talking; arcayan--offering all respectful obeisances.




   Suta Gosvami continued: O Saunaka, leader of the great sages, after hearing Maitreya speak about the various activities of King Prthu, the original king, who was fully qualified, glorified and widely praised all over the world, Vidura, the great devotee, very submissively worshiped Maitreya Rsi and asked him the following question.


                                TEXT 9




                             vidura uvaca

                     so 'bhisiktah prthur viprair


                      bibhrat sa vaisnavam tejo

                      bahvor yabhyam dudoha gam




   vidurah uvaca--Vidura said; sah--he (King Prthu); abhisiktah--when enthroned; prthuh--King Prthu; vipraih--by the great sages and brahmanas; labdha--achieved; asesa--innumerable; sura-arhanah--presentations by the demigods; bibhrat--expanding; sah--he; vaisnavam--who has received through Lord Visnu; tejah--strength; bahvoh--arms; yabhyam--by which; dudoha--exploited; gam--the earth.




   Vidura said: My dear brahmana Maitreya, it is very enlightening to understand that King Prthu was enthroned by the great sages and brahmanas. All the demigods presented him with innumerable gifts, and he also expanded his influence upon personally receiving strength from Lord Visnu. Thus he greatly developed the earth.




   Because Prthu Maharaja was an empowered incarnation of Lord Visnu and was naturally a great Vaisnava devotee of the Lord, all the demigods were pleased with him and presented different gifts to help him in exercising his royal power, and the great sages and saintly persons also joined in his coronation. Thus blessed by them, he ruled over the earth and exploited its resources for the greatest satisfaction of the people in general. This has already been explained in the previous chapters regarding the activities of King Prthu. As will be apparent from the next verse, every executive head of state should follow in the footsteps of Maharaja Prthu in ruling over his kingdom. Regardless of whether the chief executive is a king or president, or whether the government is monarchical or democratic, this process is so perfect that if it is followed, everyone will become happy, and thus it will be very easy for all to execute devotional service to the Supreme personality of Godhead.


                               TEXT 10




                 ko nv asya kirtim na srnoty abhijno

                   yad-vikramocchistam asesa-bhupah

                    lokah sa-pala upajivanti kamam

                   adyapi tan me vada karma suddham




   kah--who; nu--but; asya--King Prthu; kirtim--glorious activities; na srnoti--does not hear; abhijnah--intelligent; yat--his; vikrama--chivalry; ucchistam--remnants; asesa--innumerable; bhupah--kings; lokah--planets; sa-palah--with their demigods; upajivanti--execute livelihood; kamam--desired objects; adya api--up to that; tat--that; me--unto me; vada--please speak; karma--activities; suddham--auspicious.




   Prthu Maharaja was so great in his activities and magnanimous in his method of ruling that all the kings and demigods on the various planets still follow in his footsteps. Who is there who will not try to hear about his glorious activities? I wish to hear more and more about Prthu Maharaja because his activities are so pious and auspicious.




   Saint Vidura's purpose in hearing about Prthu Maharaja over and over again was to set an example for ordinary kings and executive heads, who should all be inclined to hear repeatedly about Prthu Maharaja's activities in order to also be able to rule over their kingdoms or states very faithfully for the peace and prosperity of the people in general. Unfortunately, at the present moment no one cares to hear about Prthu Maharaja or to follow in his footsteps; therefore no nation in the world is either happy or progressive in spiritual understanding, although that is the sole aim and objective of human life.


                               TEXT 11




                            maitreya uvaca

                        ganga-yamunayor nadyor

                        antara ksetram avasan

                         arabdhan eva bubhuje

                        bhogan punya-jihasaya




   maitreyah uvaca--the great saint Maitreya said; ganga--the River Ganges; yamunayoh--of the River Yamuna; nadyoh--of the two rivers; antara--between; ksetram--the land; avasan--living there; arabdhan--destined; eva--like; bubhuje--enjoyed; bhogan--fortunes; punya--pious activities; jihasaya--for the purpose of diminishing.




   The great saintly sage Maitreya told Vidura: My dear Vidura, King Prthu lived in the tract of land between the two great rivers Ganges and Yamuna. Because he was very opulent, it appeared that he was enjoying his destined fortune in order to diminish the results of his past pious activities.




   The terms "pious" and "impious" are applicable only in reference to the activities of an ordinary living being. But Maharaja Prthu was a directly empowered incarnation of Lord Visnu; therefore he was not subject to the reactions of pious or impious activities. As we have already explained previously, when a living being is specifically empowered by the Supreme Lord to act for a particular purpose, he is called a saktyavesa-avatara. Prthu Maharaja was not only a saktyavesa-avatara but also a great devotee. A devotee is not subjected to the reactions resulting from past deeds. In the Brahma-samhita it is said, karmani nirdahati kintu ca bhakti-bhajam: for devotees the results of past pious and impious activities are nullified by the Supreme personality of Godhead. The words arabdhan eva mean "as if achieved by past deeds," but in the case of Prthu Maharaja there was no question of reaction to past deeds, and thus the word eva is used here to indicate comparison to ordinary persons. In Bhagavad-gita the Lord says, avajananti mam mudhah. This means that sometimes people misunderstand an incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead to be an ordinary man. The Supreme Godhead, His incarnations or His devotees may pose themselves as ordinary men, but they are never to be considered as such. Nor should an ordinary man not supported by authorized statements of the sastras and acaryas be accepted as an incarnation or devotee. By the evidence of sastra, Sanatana Gosvami detected Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu to be a direct incarnation of Krsna, the Supreme personality of Godhead, although Lord Caitanya never disclosed the fact. It is therefore generally recommended that the acarya, or guru, should not be accepted as an ordinary man.


                               TEXT 12






                        anyatra brahmana-kulad





   sarvatra--everywhere; askhalita--irrevocable; adesah--order; sapta-dvipa--seven islands; eka--one; danda-dhrk--the ruler who holds the scepter; anyatra--except; brahmana-kulat--brahmanas and saintly persons; anyatra--except; acyuta-gotratah--descendants of the Supreme Personality of Godhead (Vaisnavas).




   Maharaja Prthu was an unrivaled king and possessed the scepter for ruling all the seven islands on the surface of the globe. No one could disobey his irrevocable orders but the saintly persons, the brahmanas and the descendants of the Supreme Personality of Godhead [the Vaisnavas].




   Sapta-dvipa refers to the seven great islands or continents on the surface of the globe: (1) Asia, (2) Europe, (3) Africa, (4) North America, (5) South America, (6) Australia and (7) Oceania. In the modern age people are under the impression that during the Vedic period or the prehistoric ages America and many other parts of the world had not been discovered, but that is not a fact. Prthu Maharaja ruled over the world many thousands of years before the so-called prehistoric age, and it is clearly mentioned here that in those days not only were all the different parts of the world known, but they were ruled by one king, Maharaja Prthu. The country where Prthu Maharaja resided must have been India because it is stated in the eleventh verse of this chapter that he lived in the tract of land between the rivers Ganges and Yamuna. This tract of land, which is called Brahmavarta, consists of what is known in the modern age as portions of Punjab and northern India. It is clear that the kings of India once ruled all the world and that their culture was Vedic.

   The word askhalita indicates that orders by the king could not be disobeyed by anyone in the entire world. Such orders, however, were never issued to control saintly persons or the descendants of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Visnu. The Supreme Lord is known as Acyuta, and Lord Krsna is addressed as such by Arjuna in Bhagavad-gita (senayor ubhayor madhye ratham sthapaya me 'cyuta). Acyuta refers to one who does not fall because He is never influenced by the modes of material nature. When a living entity falls down to the material world from his original position, he becomes cyuta, which means that he forgets his relationship with Acyuta. Actually every living entity is a part and parcel, or a son, of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When influenced by the modes of material nature, a living entity forgets this relationship and thinks in terms of different species of life; but when he again comes to his original consciousness, he does not observe such bodily designations. This is indicated in Bhagavad-gita (5.18) by the words panditah sama-darsinah.

   Material designations create differentiation in terms of caste, color, creed, nationality, etc. Different gotras, or family designations, are distinctions in terms of the material body, but when one comes to Krsna consciousness he immediately becomes one of the Acyuta-gotra, or descendants of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and thus becomes transcendental to all considerations of caste, creed, color and nationality.

   Prthu Maharaja had no control over the brahmana-kula, which refers to the learned scholars in Vedic knowledge, nor over the Vaisnavas, who are above the considerations of Vedic knowledge. It is therefore said:


    arcye visnau sila-dhir gurusu nara-matir vaisnave jati-buddhir

   visnor va vaisnavanam kali-mala-mathane pada-tirthe 'mbu-buddhih

    sri-visnor namni mantre sakala-kalusa-he sabda-samanya-buddhir

     visnau sarvesvarese tad-itara-sama-dhir yasya va naraki sah


   "One who thinks the Deity in the temple to be made of wood or stone, who thinks of the spiritual master in the disciplic succession as an ordinary man, who thinks the Vaisnava in the Acyuta-gotra to belong to a certain caste or creed or who thinks of caranamrta or Ganges water as ordinary water is taken to be a resident of hell." (Padma Purana)

   From the facts presented in this verse, it appears that people in general should be controlled by a king until they come to the platform of Vaisnavas and brahmanas, who are not under the control of anyone. Brahmana refers to one who knows Brahman, or the impersonal feature of the Absolute Truth, and a Vaisnava is one who serves the Supreme Personality of Godhead.


                               TEXT 13




                         ekadasin maha-satra-

                        diksa tatra divaukasam

                        samajo brahmarsinam ca

                        rajarsinam ca sattama




   ekada--once upon a time; asit--took a vow; maha-satra--great sacrifice; diksa--initiation; tatra--in that function; diva-okasam--of the demigods; samajah--assembly; brahma-rsinam--of great saintly brahmanas; ca--also; raja-rsinam--of great saintly kings; ca--also; sat-tama--the greatest of devotees.




   Once upon a time King Prthu initiated the performance of a very great sacrifice in which great saintly sages, brahmanas, demigods from higher planetary systems and great saintly kings known as rajarsis all assembled together.




   In this verse the most significant point is that although King Prthu's residential quarters were in India, between the rivers Ganges and Yamuna, the demigods also participated in the great sacrifice he performed. This indicates that formerly the demigods used to come to this planet. Similarly, great personalities like Arjuna, Yudhisthira and many others used to visit higher planetary systems. Thus there was interplanetary communication via suitable airplanes and space vehicles.


                               TEXT 14




                       tasminn arhatsu sarvesu

                       sv-arcitesu yatharhatah

                        utthitah sadaso madhye

                          taranam udurad iva




   tasmin--in that great meeting; arhatsu--of all those who are worshipable; sarvesu--all of them; su-arcitesu--being worshiped according to their respective positions; yatha-arhatah--as they deserved; utthitah--stood up; sadasah--amongst the assembly members; madhye--within the midst; taranam--of the stars; udu-rat--the moon; iva--like.




   In that great assembly, Maharaja Prthu first of all worshiped all the respectable visitors according to their respective positions. After this, he stood up in the midst of the assembly, and it appeared that the full moon had arisen amongst the stars.




   According to the Vedic system, the reception of great, exalted personalities, as arranged by Prthu Maharaja in that great sacrificial arena, is very important. The first procedure in receiving guests is to wash their feet, and it is learned from Vedic literature that one time when Maharaja Yudhisthira performed a rajasuya-yajna, Krsna took charge of washing the feet of the visitors. Similarly, Maharaja Prthu also arranged for the proper reception of the demigods, the saintly sages, the brahmanas and the great kings.


                               TEXT 15




                        pramsuh pinayata-bhujo

                        gaurah kanjaruneksanah

                       sunasah sumukhah saumyah

                       pinamsah sudvija-smitah




   pramsuh--very tall; pina-ayata--full and broad; bhujah--arms; gaurah--fair-complexioned; kanja--lotuslike; aruna-iksanah--with bright eyes resembling a morning sunrise; su-nasah--straight nose; su-mukhah--with a beautiful face; saumyah--of a grave bodily stature; pina-amsah--shoulders raised; su--beautiful; dvija--teeth; smitah--smiling.




   King Prthu's body was tall and sturdy, and his complexion was fair. His arms were full and broad and his eyes as bright as the rising sun. His nose was straight, his face very beautiful and his personality grave. His teeth were set beautifully in his smiling face.




   Amongst the four social orders (brahmanas, ksatriyas, vaisyas and sudras), the ksatriyas, both men and women, are generally very beautiful. As will be apparent from the following verses, it is to be concluded that not only were Maharaja Prthu's bodily features attractive, as described here, but he had specific all-auspicious signs in his bodily construction.

   As it is said, "The face is the index of the mind." One's mental constitution is exhibited by his facial features. The bodily features of a particular person are exhibited in accordance with his past deeds, for according to one's past deeds, his next bodily features--whether in human society, animal society or demigod society--are determined. This is proof of the transmigration of the soul through different types of bodies.


                               TEXT 16




                      vyudha-vaksa brhac-chronir


                         avarta-nabhir ojasvi

                        kancanorur udagra-pat




   vyudha--broad; vaksah--chest; brhat-sronih--thick waist; vali--wrinkles; valgu--very beautiful; dala--like a leaf of a banyan tree; udarah--abdomen; avarta--coiled; nabhih--navel; ojasvi--lustrous; kancana--golden; uruh--thighs; udagra-pat--arched instep.




   The chest of Maharaja Prthu was very broad, his waist was very thick, and his abdomen, wrinkled by lines of skin, resembled in construction a leaf of a banyan tree. His navel was coiled and deep, his thighs were of a golden hue, and his instep was arched.


                               TEXT 17





                      murdhajah kambu-kandharah

                        maha-dhane dukulagrye

                          paridhayopaviya ca




   suksma--very fine; vakra--curly; asita--black; snigdha--slick; murdhajah--hair on the head; kambu--like a conch; kandharah--neck; maha-dhane--very valuable; dukula-agrye--dressed with a dhoti; paridhaya--on the upper portion of the body; upaviya--placed like a sacred thread; ca--also.




   The black, slick hair on his head was very fine and curly, and his neck, like a conchshell, was decorated with auspicious lines. He wore a very valuable dhoti, and there was a nice wrapper on the upper part of his body.


                               TEXT 18





                        niyame nyasta-bhusanah

                       krsnajina-dharah sriman

                         kusa-panih krtocitah




   vyanjita--indicating; asesa--innumerable; gatra--bodily; srih--beauty; niyame--regulated; nyasta--given up; bhusanah--garments; krsna--black; ajina--skin; dharah--putting on; sriman--beautiful; kusa-panih--having kusa grass on the fingers; krta--performed; ucitah--as it is required.




   As Maharaja Prthu was being initiated to perform the sacrifice, he had to leave aside his valuable dress, and therefore his natural bodily beauty was visible. It was very pleasing to see him put on a black deerskin and wear a ring of kusa grass on his finger, for this increased the natural beauty of his body. It appears that Maharaja Prthu observed all the regulative principles before he performed the sacrifice.


                               TEXT 19





                        samaiksata samantatah

                         ucivan idam urvisah

                        sadah samharsayann iva




   sisira--dew; snigdha--wet; tara--stars; aksah--eyes; samaiksata--glanced over; samantatah--all around; ucivan--began to speak; idam--this; urvisah--highly elevated; sadah--amongst the members of the assembly; samharsayan--enhancing their pleasure; iva--like.




   Just to encourage the members of the assembly and to enhance their pleasure, King Prthu glanced over them with eyes that seemed like stars in a sky wet with dew. He then spoke to them in a great voice.


                               TEXT 20




                      caru citra-padam slaksnam

                       mrstam gudham aviklavam

                        sarvesam upakarartham

                          tada anuvadann iva




   caru--beautiful; citra-padam--flowery; slaksnam--very clear; mrstam--very great; gudham--meaningful; aviklavam--without any doubt; sarvesam--for all; upakara-artham--just to benefit them; tada--at that time; anuvadan--began to repeat; iva--like.




   Maharaja Prthu's speech was very beautiful, full of metaphorical language, clearly understandable and very pleasing to hear. His words were all grave and certain. It appears that when he spoke, he expressed his personal realization of the Absolute Truth in order to benefit all who were present.




   Maharaja Prthu was beautiful in his external bodily features, and his speech was also very glorious in all respects. His words, which were nicely composed in highly metaphorical ornamental language, were pleasing to hear and were not only mellow but also very clearly understandable and without doubt or ambiguity.


                               TEXT 21





                      sabhyah srnuta bhadram vah

                         sadhavo ya ihagatah

                      satsu jijnasubhir dharmam

                        avedyam sva-manisitam




   raja uvaca--the King began to speak; sabhyah--addressing the ladies and gentlemen; srnuta--kindly hear; bhadram--good fortune; vah--your; sadhavah--all great souls; ye--who; iha--here; agatah--present; satsu--unto the noble men; jijnasubhih--one who is inquisitive; dharmam--religious principles; avedyam--must be presented; sva-manisitam--concluded by someone.




   King Prthu said: O gentle members of the assembly, may all good fortune be upon you! May all of you great souls who have come to attend this meeting kindly hear my prayer attentively. A person who is actually inquisitive must present his decision before an assembly of noble souls.




   In this verse the word sadhavah ("all great souls") is very significant. When a person is very great and famous, many unscrupulous persons become his enemies, for envy is the nature of materialists. In any meeting there are different classes of men, and it is to be supposed, therefore, that because Prthu Maharaja was very great, he must have had several enemies present in the assembly, although they could not express themselves. Maharaja Prthu, however, was concerned with persons who were gentle, and therefore he first addressed all the honest persons, not caring for the envious. He did not, however, present himself as a royal authority empowered to command everyone, for he wanted to present his statement in humble submission before the assembly of great sages and saintly persons. As a great king of the entire world, he could have given them orders, but he was so humble, meek and honest that he presented his statement for approval in order to clarify his mature decision. Everyone within this material world is conditioned by the modes of material nature and therefore has four defects. But although Prthu Maharaja was above all these, still, like an ordinary conditioned soul, he presented his statements to the great souls, sages and saintly persons present there.


                               TEXT 22




                        aham danda-dharo raja

                         prajanam iha yojitah

                        raksita vrttidah svesu

                        setusu sthapita prthak




   aham--I; danda-dharah--carrier of the scepter; raja--king; prajanam--of the citizens; iha--in this world; yojitah--engaged; raksita--protector; vrtti-dah--employer; svesu--in their own; setusu--respective social orders; sthapita--established; prthak--differently.




   King Prthu continued: By the grace of the Supreme Lord I have been appointed the king of this planet, and I carry the scepter to rule the citizens, protect them from all danger and give them employment according to their respective positions in the social order established by Vedic injunction.




   A king is supposed to be appointed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead to look after the interests of his particular planet. On every planet there is a predominating person, just as we now see that in every country there is a president. If one is president or king, it should be understood that this opportunity has been given to him by the Supreme Lord. According to the Vedic system, the king is considered a representative of Godhead and is offered respects by the citizens as God in the human form of life. Actually, according to Vedic information, the Supreme Lord maintains all living entities, and especially human beings, to elevate them to the highest perfection. After many, many births in lower species, when a living entity evolves to the human form of life and in particular to the civilized human form of life, his society must be divided into four gradations, as ordered by the Supreme Personality of Godhead in Bhagavad-gita (catur-varnyam maya srstam, etc.). The four social orders--the brahmanas, ksatriyas, vaisyas and sudras--are natural divisions of human society, and as declared by Prthu Maharaja, every man in his respective social order must have proper employment for his livelihood. It is the duty of the king or the government to insure that the people observe the social order and that they are also employed in their respective occupational duties. In modern times, since the protection of the government or the king has been withdrawn, social order has practically collapsed. No one knows who is a brahmana, who is a ksatriya, who is a vaisya or who is a sudra, and people claim to belong to a particular social order by birthright only. It is the duty of the government to reestablish social order in terms of occupational duties and the modes of material nature, for that will make the entire world population actually civilized. If it does not observe the institutional functions of the four social orders, human society is no better than animal society in which there is never tranquillity, peace and prosperity but only chaos and confusion. Maharaja Prthu, as an ideal king, strictly observed the maintenance of the Vedic social order.

   Prajayate iti praja. The word praja refers to one who takes birth. Therefore Prthu Maharaja guaranteed protection for prajanam--all living entities who took birth in his kingdom. Praja refers not only to human beings but also to animals, trees and every other living entity. It is the duty of the king to give all living entities protection and food. The fools and rascals of modern society have no knowledge of the extent of the responsibility of the government. Animals are also citizens of the land in which they happen to be born, and they also have the right to continue their existence at the cost of the Supreme Lord. The disturbance of the animal population by wholesale slaughter produces a catastrophic future reaction for the butcher, his land and his government.


                               TEXT 23




                       tasya me tad-anusthanad

                       yan ahur brahma-vadinah

                       lokah syuh kama-sandoha

                       yasya tusyati dista-drk




   tasya--his; me--mine; tat--that; anusthanat--by executing; yan--that which; ahuh--is spoken; brahma-vadinah--by the experts in Vedic knowledge; lokah--planets; syuh--become; kama-sandohah--fulfilling one's desirable objectives; yasya--whose; tusyati--becomes satisfied; dista-drk--the seer of all destiny.




   Maharaja Prthu said: I think that upon the execution of my duties as king, I shall be able to achieve the desirable objectives described by experts in Vedic knowledge. This destination is certainly achieved by the pleasure of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the seer of all destiny.




   Maharaja Prthu gives special stress to the word brahma-vadinah ("by the experts in the Vedic knowledge"). Brahma refers to the Vedas, which are also known as sabda-brahma, or transcendental sound. Transcendental sound is not ordinary language, although it appears to be written in ordinary language. Evidence from the Vedic literature should be accepted as final authority. In the Vedic literature there is much information, and of course there is information about the execution of a king's duty. A responsible king who executes his appointed duty by giving proper protection to all living entities on his planet is promoted to the heavenly planetary system. This is also dependent upon the pleasure of the Supreme Lord. It is not that if one executes his duty properly he is automatically promoted, for promotion depends upon the satisfaction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It must ultimately be concluded that one can achieve the desired result of his activities upon satisfying the Supreme Lord. This is also confirmed in the First Canto, Second Chapter, of Srimad-Bhagavatam:


                      atah pumbhir dvija-srestha


                       svanusthitasya dharmasya

                       samsiddhir hari-tosanam


   The perfection of one's execution of his appointed duties is the ultimate satisfaction of the Supreme Lord. The word kama-sandohah means "achievement of the desired result." Everyone desires to achieve the ultimate goal of life, but in modern civilization the great scientists think that man's life has no plan. This gross ignorance is very dangerous and makes civilization very risky. People do not know the laws of nature, which are the rulings of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Because they are atheists of the first order, they have no faith in the existence of God and His rulings and therefore do not know how nature is working. This gross ignorance of the mass of people, including even the so-called scientists and philosophers, makes life a risky situation in which human beings do not know whether they are making progress in life. According to Srimad-Bhagavatam (7.5.30), they are simply progressing to the darkest region of material existence. Adanta-gobhir visatam tamisram. The Krsna consciousness movement has therefore been started to give philosophers, scientists, and people in general the proper knowledge about the destiny of life. Everyone should take advantage of this movement and learn the real goal of life.


                               TEXT 24




                        ya uddharet karam raja

                       praja dharmesv asiksayan

                       prajanam samalam bhunkte

                      bhagam ca svam jahati sah




   yah--anyone (king or governor); uddharet--exact; karam--taxes; raja--king; prajah--the citizens; dharmesu--in executing their respective duties; asiksayan--without teaching them how to execute their respective duties; prajanam--of the citizens; samalam--impious; bhunkte--enjoys; bhagam--fortune; ca--also; svam--own; jahati--gives up; sah--that king.




   Any king who does not teach his citizens about their respective duties in terms of varna and asrama but who simply exacts tolls and taxes from them is liable to suffer for the impious activities which have been performed by the citizens. In addition to such degradation, the king also loses his own fortune.




   A king, governor or president should not take the opportunity to occupy his post without also discharging his duty. He must teach the people within the state how to observe the divisions of varna and asrama. If a king neglects to give such instructions and is simply satisfied with levying taxes, then those who share in the collection--namely, all the government servants and the head of the state--are liable to share in the impious activities of the general masses. The laws of nature are very subtle. For example, if one eats in a place which is very sinful, he shares in the resultant reaction of the sinful activities performed there. (It is a Vedic system, therefore, for a householder to call brahmanas and Vaisnavas to eat at ceremonial performances in his house because the brahmanas and Vaisnavas can immunize him from sinful activities. But it is not the duty of rigid brahmanas and Vaisnavas to accept invitations everywhere. There is, of course, no objection to taking part in feasts in which prasada is distributed.) There are many subtle laws which are practically unknown to people in general, but the Krsna consciousness movement is very scientifically distributing all this Vedic knowledge for the benefit of the people of the world.


                               TEXT 25




                     tat praja bhartr-pindartham

                        svartham evanasuyavah


                       tarhi me 'nugrahah krtah




   tat--therefore; prajah--my dear citizens; bhartr--of the master; pinda-artham--welfare after death; sva-artham--own interest; eva--certainly; anasuyavah--without being envious; kuruta--just execute; adhoksaja--the Supreme Personality of Godhead; dhiyah--thinking of Him; tarhi--therefore; me--unto me; anugrahah--mercy; krtah--being done.




   Prthu Maharaja continued: Therefore, my dear citizens, for the welfare of your king after his death, you should execute your duties properly in terms of your positions of varna and asrama and should always think of the Supreme Personality of Godhead within your hearts. By doing so, you will protect your own interests, and you will bestow mercy upon your king for his welfare after death.




   The words adhoksaja-dhiyah, meaning "Krsna consciousness," are very important in this verse. The king and citizens should both be Krsna conscious, otherwise both of them will be doomed to lower species of life after death. A responsible government must teach Krsna consciousness very vigorously for the benefit of all. Without Krsna consciousness, neither the state nor the citizens of the state can be responsible. Prthu Maharaja therefore specifically requested the citizens to act in Krsna consciousness, and he was also very anxious to teach them how to become Krsna conscious. A summary of Krsna consciousness is given in Bhagavad-gita (9.27):


                        yat karosi yad asnasi

                        yaj juhosi dadasi yat

                        yat tapasyasi kaunteya

                       tat kurusva mad-arpanam


   "Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you give in charity and whatever penances you undergo should be done in Krsna consciousness, or for the satisfaction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead." If all the people of the state, including the government servants, are taught the techniques of spiritual life, then although everyone is liable to be punished in different ways by the stringent laws of material nature, they will not be implicated.


                               TEXT 26




                        yuyam tad anumodadhvam

                        pitr-devarsayo 'malah

                       kartuh sastur anujnatus

                     tulyam yat pretya tat phalam




   yuyam--all you respectable persons who are present here; tat--that; anumodadhvam--kindly approve of my proposal; pitr--persons coming from Pitrloka; deva--persons coming from the heavenly planets; rsayah--great sages and saintly persons; amalah--those who are cleansed of all sinful activities; kartuh--the performer; sastuh--the order-giver; anujnatuh--of the supporter; tulyam--equal; yat--which; pretya--after death; tat--that; phalam--result.




   I request all the pure-hearted demigods, forefathers and saintly persons to support my proposal, for after death the result of an action is equally shared by its doer, its director and its supporter.




   The government of Prthu Maharaja was perfect because it was administered exactly according to the orders of the Vedic injunctions. Prthu Maharaja has already explained that the chief duty of the government is to see that everyone executes his respective duty and is elevated to the platform of Krsna consciousness. The government should be so conducted that automatically one is elevated to Krsna consciousness. King Prthu therefore wanted his citizens to cooperate fully with him, for if they assented, they would enjoy the same profit as he after death. If Prthu Maharaja, as a perfect king, were elevated to the heavenly planets, the citizens who cooperated by approving of his methods would also be elevated with him. Since the Krsna consciousness movement going on at the present moment is genuine, perfect and authorized and is following in the footsteps of Prthu Maharaja, anyone who cooperates with this movement or accepts its principles will get the same result as the workers who are actively propagating Krsna consciousness.


                               TEXT 27




                        asti yajna-patir nama

                        kesancid arha-sattamah

                        ihamutra ca laksyante

                     jyotsnavatyah kvacid bhuvah




   asti--there must be; yajna-patih--the enjoyer of all sacrifices; nama--of the name; kesancit--in the opinion of some; arha-sattamah--O most respectable; iha--in this material world; amutra--after death; ca--also; laksyante--it is visible; jyotsna-vatyah--powerful, beautiful; kvacit--somewhere; bhuvah--bodies.




   My dear respectable ladies and gentlemen, according to the authoritative statements of sastra, there must be a supreme authority who is able to award the respective benefits of our present activities. Otherwise, why should there be persons who are unusually beautiful and powerful both in this life and in the life after death?




   Prthu Maharaja's sole aim in ruling his kingdom was to raise the citizens to the standard of God consciousness. Since there was a great assembly in the arena of sacrifice, there were different types of men present, but he was especially interested in speaking to those who were not atheists. It has already been explained in the previous verses that Prthu Maharaja advised the citizens to become adhoksaja-dhiyah, which means God conscious, or Krsna conscious, and in this verse he specifically presents the authority of sastra, even though his father was a number one atheist who did not abide by the injunctions mentioned in the Vedic sastras, who practically stopped all sacrificial performances and who so disgusted the brahmanas that they not only dethroned him but cursed and killed him. Atheistic men do not believe in the existence of God, and thus they understand everything which is happening in our daily affairs to be due to physical arrangement and chance. Atheists believe in the atheistic Sankhya philosophy of the combination of prakrti and purusa. They believe only in matter and hold that matter under certain conditions of amalgamation gives rise to the living force, which then appears as purusa, the enjoyer; then, by a combination of matter and the living force, the many varieties of material manifestation come into existence. Nor do atheists believe in the injunctions of the Vedas. According to them, all the Vedic injunctions are simply theories that have no practical application in life. Taking all this into consideration, Prthu Maharaja suggested that theistic men will solidly reject the views of the atheists on the grounds that there cannot be many varieties of existence without the plan of a superior intelligence. Atheists very vaguely explain that these varieties of existence occur simply by chance, but the theists who believe in the injunctions of the Vedas must reach all their conclusions under the direction of the Vedas.

   In the Visnu Purana it is said that the entire varnasrama institution is meant to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The rules and regulations set up for the execution of the duties of brahmanas, ksatriyas, vaisyas and sudras or brahmacaris, grhasthas, vanaprasthas and sannyasis are all meant to satisfy the Supreme Lord. At the present moment, although the so-called brahmanas, ksatriyas, vaisyas and sudras have lost their original culture, they claim to be brahmanas, ksatriyas, vaisyas and sudras by birthright. Yet they have rejected the proposition that such social and spiritual orders are especially meant for worship of Lord Visnu. The dangerous Mayavada theory set forth by Sankaracarya--that God is impersonal--does not tally with the injunctions of the Vedas. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu therefore described the Mayavadi philosophers as the greatest offenders against the Personality of Godhead. According to the Vedic system, one who does not abide by the orders of the Vedas is called a nastika, or atheist. When Lord Buddha preached his theory of nonviolence, he was obliged to deny the authority of the Vedas, and for this reason he was considered by the followers of the Vedas to be a nastika. But although Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu very clearly enunciated that the followers of Lord Buddha's philosophy are nastikas, or atheists, because of their denial of the authority of the Vedas, He considered the Sankarites, who wanted to establish Vedic authority by trickery and who actually followed the Mayavada philosophy of Buddha's school, to be more dangerous than the Buddhists themselves. The Sankarite philosophers' theory that we have to imagine a shape of God is more dangerous than denial of the existence of God. Notwithstanding all the philosophical theorizing by atheists or Mayavadis, the followers of Krsna consciousness rigidly live according to the injunctions given in Bhagavad-gita, which is accepted as the essence of all Vedic scripture. In Bhagavad-gita (18.46) it is said:


                       yatah pravrttir bhutanam

                        yena sarvam idam tatam

                      sva-karmana tam abhyarcya

                       siddhim vindati manavah


   "By worship of the Lord, who is the source of all beings and who is all-pervading, man can, in the performance of his own duty, attain perfection." This indicates that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the original source of everything, as described in the Vedanta-sutra (janmady asya yatah). The Lord Himself also confirms in Bhagavad-gita, aham sarvasya prabhavah: "I am the origin of everything." The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the original source of all emanations, and at the same time, as Paramatma, He is spread all over existence. The Absolute Truth is therefore the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and every living being is meant to satisfy the Supreme Godhead by performing his respective duty (sva-karmana tam abhyarcya). Maharaja Prthu wanted to introduce this formula amongst his citizens.

   The most important point in human civilization is that while one engages in different occupational duties, he must try to satisfy the Supreme Lord by the execution of such duties. That is the highest perfection of life. Svanusthitasya dharmasya samsiddhir hari-tosanam: by discharging one's prescribed duty, one can become very successful in life if he simply satisfies the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The vivid example is Arjuna. He was a ksatriya, his duty was to fight, and by executing his prescribed duty he satisfied the Supreme Lord and therefore became perfect. Everyone should follow this principle. The atheists, who do not, are condemned in Bhagavad-gita (16.19) by the following statement: tan aham dvisatah kruran samsaresu naradhaman. In this verse it is clearly said that persons who are envious of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are the lowest of mankind and are very mischievous. Under the regulative principles of the Supreme, such mischievous persons are thrown into the darkest region of material existence and are born of asuras, or atheists. Birth after birth, such asuras go still further down, finally to animal forms like those of tigers or similar ferocious beasts. Thus for millions of years they have to remain in darkness without knowledge of Krsna.

   The Supreme personality of Godhead is known as Purusottama, or the best of all living entities. He is a person like all other living entities, but He is the leader or the best of all living beings. That is stated in the Vedas also. Nityo nityanam cetanas cetananam. He is the chief of all eternals, the chief of all living entities, and He is complete and full. He has no need to derive benefit by interfering with the affairs of other living entities, but because He is the maintainer of all, He has the right to bring them to the proper standard so that all living entities may become happy. A father wants all of his children to become happy under his direction. Similarly, God, or Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, has the right to see that all living entities are happy. There is no possibility of becoming happy within this material world. The father and the sons are eternal, but if a living entity does not come to the platform of his eternal life of bliss and knowledge, there is no question of happiness. Although Purusottama, the best of all living entities, has no benefit to derive from the common living entities, He does have the right to discriminate between their right and wrong ways. The right way is the path of activities meant to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as we have already discussed (svanusthitasya dharmasya samsiddhir hari-tosanam). A living entity may engage in any occupational duty, but if he wants to have perfection in his duties, he must satisfy the Supreme Lord. As such, one who pleases Him gets better facilities for living, but one who displeases Him gets involved in undesirable situations.

   It is therefore concluded that there are two kinds of duties--mundane duty and duty performed for the sake of yajna, or sacrifice (yajnarthat karma). Any karma (activity) one performs which is not for the purpose of yajna is a cause of bondage. Yajnarthat karmano'nyatra loko'yam karma-bandhanah: "Work done as a sacrifice for Visnu has to be performed, otherwise work binds one to this material world." (Bg. 3.9) Karma-bandhanah, or the bondage of karma, is administered under the regulations of the stringent laws of material nature. Material existence is a struggle to conquer the impediments put forth by material nature. The asuras are always fighting to overcome these impediments, and by the illusory power of material nature the foolish living entities work very hard within this material world and take this to be happiness. This is called maya. In that hard struggle for existence, they deny the existence of the supreme authority, Purusottama, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

   In order to regulate the activities of the living entities, God has given us codes, just as a king gives codes of law in a state, and whoever breaks the law is punished. Similarly, the Lord has given the infallible knowledge of the Vedas, which are not contaminated by the four defects of human life--namely the tendency to commit mistakes, to be illusioned, to cheat and to have imperfect senses. If we do not take direction from the Vedas but act whimsically according to our own choice, we are sure to be punished by the laws of the Lord, who offers different types of bodies in the 8,400,000 species of forms. Material existence, or the sense gratification process, is conducted according to the type of body we are given by prakrti, or material nature. As such, there must be divisions of pious and impious activities (punya and papa). In Bhagavad-gita (7.28) it is clearly stated:


                      yesam tv anta-gatam papam

                        jananam punya-karmanam

                       te dvandva-moha-nirmukta

                      bhajante mam drdha-vratah


   "One who has completely surpassed the resultant activities of the impious path of life [this is possible only when one engages exclusively in pious activities] can understand his eternal relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus one engages in the Lord's transcendental loving service." This life of engaging always in the loving service of the Lord is called adhoksaja-dhiyah, or a life of Krsna consciousness, which King Prthu meant his citizens to follow.

   The different varieties of life and of material existence do not come about by chance and necessity; they are different arrangements made by the Supreme Lord in terms of the pious and impious activities of the living entities. By performing pious activities one can take birth in a good family in a good nation, one can get a beautiful body or can become very well educated or very rich. We see, therefore, that in different places and in different planets there are different standards of life, bodily features and educational statuses, all awarded by the Supreme personality of Godhead according to pious or impious activities. Varieties of life, therefore, develop not by chance but by prearrangement. There is a plan, which is already outlined in the Vedic knowledge. One has to take advantage of this knowledge and mold his life in such a way that at the end, especially in the human form of life, he may go back home, back to Godhead, by practicing Krsna consciousness.

   The theory of chance can best be explained in the Vedic literature by the words ajnata-sukrti, which refer to pious activities performed without the actor's knowledge. But these are also planned. For example, Krsna comes like an ordinary human being, He comes as a devotee like Lord Caitanya, or He sends His representative, the spiritual master, or pure devotee. This is also the planned activity of the Supreme personality of Godhead. They come to canvass and educate, and thus a person in the illusory energy of the Supreme Lord gets a chance to mix with them, talk with them and take lessons from them, and somehow or other if a conditioned soul surrenders to such personalities and by intimate association with them chances to become Krsna conscious, he is saved from the material conditions of life. Krsna therefore instructs:


                       sarva-dharman parityajya

                        mam ekam saranam vraja

                       aham tvam sarva-papebhyo

                        moksayisyami ma sucah


   "Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction. Do not fear." (Bg. 18.66) The word sarva-papebhyah means "from all sinful activities." A person who surrenders unto Him by utilizing the chance to associate with the pure devotee, spiritual master or other authorized incarnations of Godhead, like Prthu Maharaja, is saved by Krsna. Then his life becomes successful.


                             TEXTS 28-29




                         manor uttanapadasya

                        dhruvasyapi mahipateh

                        priyavratasya rajarser

                       angasyasmat-pituh pituh


                         idrsanam athanyesam

                        ajasya ca bhavasya ca

                        prahladasya bales capi

                        krtyam asti gadabhrta




   manoh--of Manu (Svayambhuva Manu); uttanapadasya--of Uttanapada, the father of Dhruva Maharaja; dhruvasya--of Dhruva Maharaja; api--certainly; mahi-pateh--of the great king; priyavratasya--of Priyavrata, in the family of Maharaja Dhruva; rajarseh--of great saintly kings; angasya--of the name Anga; asmat--my; pituh--of my father; pituh--of the father; idrsanam--of such personalities; atha--also; anyesam--of others; ajasya--of the supreme immortal; ca--also; bhavasya--of the living entities; ca--also; prahladasya--of Maharaja Prahlada; baleh--of Maharaja Bali; ca--also; api--certainly; krtyam--acknowledged by them; asti--there is; gada-bhrta--the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who carries a club.




   This is confirmed not only by the evidence of the Vedas but also by the personal behavior of great personalities like Manu, Uttanapada, Dhruva, Priyavrata and my grandfather Anga, as well as by many other great personalities and ordinary living entities, exemplified by Maharaja Prahlada and Bali, all of whom are theists, believing in the existence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who carries a club.




   Narottama dasa Thakura states that one has to ascertain the right path for his activities by following in the footsteps of great saintly persons and books of knowledge under the guidance of a spiritual master (sadhu-sastra-guru-vakya). A saintly person is one who follows the Vedic injunctions, which are the orders of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The word guru refers to one who gives proper direction under the authority of the Vedic injunctions and according to the examples of the lives of great personalities. The best way to mold one's life is to follow in the footsteps of the authorized personalities like those mentioned herein by Prthu Maharaja, beginning with Svayambhuva Manu. The safest path in life is to follow such great personalities, especially those mentioned in the Srimad-Bhagavatam. The mahajanas, or great personalities, are Brahma, Lord Siva, Narada Muni, Manu, the Kumaras, Prahlada Maharaja, Bali Maharaja, Yamaraja, Bhisma, Janaka, Sukadeva Gosvami and Kapila Muni.


                               TEXT 30




                        dauhitradin rte mrtyoh

                       socyan dharma-vimohitan






   dauhitra-adin--grandsons like my father, Vena; rte--except; mrtyoh--of personified death; socyan--abominable; dharma-vimohitan--bewildered on the path of religion; varga--religion, economic development, sense gratification and liberation; svarga--elevation to the heavenly planets; apavarganam--being freed from material contamination; prayena--almost always; eka--one; atmya--the Supreme Personality of Godhead; hetuna--on account of.




   Although abominable persons like my father, Vena, the grandson of death personified, are bewildered on the path of religion, all the great personalities like those mentioned agree that in this world the only bestower of the benedictions of religion, economic development, sense gratification, liberation or elevation to the heavenly planets is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.




   King Vena, the father of Prthu Maharaja, was condemned by the brahmanas and saintly persons because of his denying the existence of the Supreme personality of Godhead and rejecting the method of satisfying Him by performance of Vedic sacrifice. In other words, he was an atheist, who did not believe in the existence of God, and who consequently stopped all Vedic ritualistic ceremonies in his kingdom. Prthu Maharaja considered King Vena's character abominable because Vena was foolish regarding the execution of religious performances. Atheists are of the opinion that there is no need to accept the authority of the Supreme Personality of Godhead to be successful in religion, economic development, sense gratification or liberation. According to them, dharma, or religious principles, are meant to establish an imaginary God to encourage one to become moral, honest and just so that the social orders may be maintained in peace and tranquillity. Furthermore, they say that actually there is no need to accept God for this purpose, for if one follows the principles of morality and honesty, that is sufficient. Similarly, if one makes nice plans and works very hard for economic development, automatically the result of economic development will come. Similarly, sense gratification also does not depend on the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, for if one earns enough money by any process, one will have sufficient opportunity for sense gratification. Insofar as liberation is concerned, they say that there is no need to talk of liberation because after death everything is finished. Prthu Maharaja, however, did not accept the authority of such atheists, headed by his father, who was the grandson of death personified. Generally, a daughter inherits the qualities of her father, and a son gets the qualities of his mother. Thus Mrtyu's daughter, Sunitha, got all the qualities of her father, and Vena inherited the qualities of his mother. A person who is always subjected to the rules and regulations of repeated birth and death cannot accommodate anything beyond materialistic ideas. Since King Vena was such a man, he did not believe in the existence of God. Modern civilization agrees with the principles of King Vena, but factually if we scrutinizingly study all the conditions of religion, economic development, sense gratification and liberation, we must accept the principles of the authority of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. According to Vedic literature, religion consists only of the codes of law given by God.

   If one does not accept the authority of the Supreme Godhead in matters of religion and morality, one must explain why two persons of the same moral standard achieve different results. It is generally found that even if two men have the same moral standards of ethics, honesty and morality, their positions are still not the same. Similarly, in economic development it is seen that if two men work very hard day and night, still the results are not the same. One person may enjoy great opulence without even working, whereas another person, although working very hard, does not even get two sufficient meals a day. Similarly, in the matter of sense gratification, sometimes one who has sufficient food is still not happy in his family affairs or sometimes is not even married, whereas another person, even though not economically well off, has the greatest opportunity for sense gratification. Even an animal like a hog or a dog may have greater opportunities for sense gratification than a human being. Aside from liberation, even if we consider only the preliminary necessities of life--dharma, artha and kama (religion, economic development and sense gratification)--we will see that they are not the same for everyone. Therefore it must be accepted that there is someone who determines the different standards. In conclusion, not only for liberation must one depend on the Lord, but even for ordinary necessities in this material world. Prthu Maharaja therefore indicated that in spite of having rich parents, children are sometimes not happy. Similarly, in spite of valuable medicine administered by a competent physician, sometimes a patient dies; or in spite of having a big safe boat, sometimes a man drowns. We may thus struggle to counteract impediments offered by material nature, but our attempts cannot be successful unless we are favored by the Supreme Personality of Godhead.


                               TEXT 31




                   yat-pada-sevabhirucis tapasvinam

                   asesa-janmopacitam malam dhiyah

                  sadyah ksinoty anvaham edhati sati

                  yatha padangustha-vinihsrta sarit




   yat-pada--whose lotus feet; seva--service; abhirucih--inclination; tapasvinam--persons undergoing severe penances; asesa--innumerable; janma--birth; upacitam--acquire; malam--dirtiness; dhiyah--mind; sadyah--immediately; ksinoti--destroys; anvaham--day after day; edhati--increasing; sati--being; yatha--as; pada-angustha--the toes of His lotus feet; vinihsrta--emanating from; sarit--water.




   By the inclination to serve the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, suffering humanity can immediately cleanse the dirt which has accumulated in their minds during innumerable births. Like the Ganges water, which emanates from the toes of the lotus feet of the Lord, such a process immediately cleanses the mind, and thus spiritual or Krsna consciousness gradually increases.




   In India, one can actually see that a person who takes a bath in the Ganges waters daily is almost free from all kinds of diseases. A very respectable brahmana in Calcutta never took a doctor's medicine. Even though he sometimes felt sick, he would not accept medicine from the physician but would simply drink Ganges water, and he was always cured within a very short time. The glories of Ganges water are known to Indians and to ourselves also. The River Ganges flows by Calcutta. Sometimes within the water there are many stools and other dirty things which are washed away from neighboring mills and factories, but still thousands of men take baths in the Ganges water, and they are very healthy as well as spiritually inclined. That is the effect of Ganges water. The Ganges is glorified because it emanates from the toes of the lotus feet of the Lord. Similarly, if one takes to the service of the lotus feet of the Lord, or takes to Krsna consciousness, he is immediately cleansed of the many dirty things which have accumulated in his innumerable births. We have seen that in spite of the very black record of their past lives, persons who take to Krsna consciousness become perfectly cleansed of all dirty things and make spiritual progress very swiftly. Therefore Prthu Maharaja advises that without the benediction of the Supreme Lord, one cannot make advancement--either in so-called morality, economic development or sense gratification. One should therefore take to the service of the Lord, or Krsna consciousness, and thus very soon become a perfect man, as confirmed in Bhagavad-gita (ksipram bhavati dharmatma sasvac chantim nigacchati). Being a responsible king, Prthu Maharaja recommends that everyone take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and thus be immediately purified. Lord Sri Krsna also says in Bhagavad-gita that simply by surrendering unto Him one is immediately relieved of all sinful reactions. As Krsna takes away all the sinful reactions of a person immediately upon his surrender unto Him, similarly the external manifestation of Krsna, the representative of Krsna who acts as the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, takes all the resultant actions of the sinful life of the disciple immediately after the disciple's initiation. Thus if the disciple follows the principles instructed by the spiritual master, he remains purified and is not contaminated by the material infection.

   Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu therefore stated that the spiritual master who plays the part of Krsna's representative has to consume all the sinful reactions of his disciple. Sometimes a spiritual master takes the risk of being overwhelmed by the sinful reactions of the disciples and undergoes a sort of tribulation due to their acceptance. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu therefore advised that one not accept many disciples.


                               TEXT 32




                   vinirdhutasesa-mano-malah puman


                  yad-anghri-mule krta-ketanah punar

                  na samsrtim klesa-vaham prapadyate




   vinirdhuta--being specifically cleansed; asesa--unlimited; manah-malah--mental speculation or the dirt accumulated in the mind; puman--the person; asanga--being disgusted; vijnana--scientifically; visesa--particularly; virya-van--being strengthened in bhakti-yoga; yat--whose; anghri--lotus feet; mule--at the root of; krta-ketanah--taken shelter; punah--again; na--never; samsrtim--material existence; klesa-vaham--full of miserable conditions; prapadyate--takes to.




   When a devotee takes shelter at the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he is completely cleansed of all misunderstanding or mental speculation, and he manifests renunciation. This is possible only when one is strengthened by practicing bhakti-yoga. Once having taken shelter at the root of the lotus feet of the Lord, a devotee never comes back to this material existence, which is full of the threefold miseries.




   As stated by Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu in His Siksastaka instructions, by the chanting of the holy name of the Lord--Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare--or by the process of hearing and chanting of the glories of the Lord, one's mind is gradually cleansed of all dirt. Due to our material association since time immemorial, we have accumulated heaps of dirty things in our minds. The total effect of this takes place when a living entity identifies himself with his body and is thus entrapped by the stringent laws of material nature and put into the cycle of repeated birth and death under the false impression of bodily identification. When one is strengthened by practicing bhakti-yoga, his mind is cleansed of this misunderstanding, and he is no longer interested in material existence or in sense gratification.

   Bhakti, or devotional service, is characterized by vairagya and jnana. Jnana refers to understanding that one is not his body, and vairagya means disinterest in sense gratification. These two primary principles of separation from material bondage can be realized on the strength of bhakti-yoga. Thus when a devotee is fixed in the loving service of the lotus feet of the Lord, he will never come back to this material existence after quitting his body, as confirmed in Bhagavad-gita by the Lord (tyaktva deham punar janma naiti mam eti so 'rjuna).

   In this verse the word vijnana is specifically important. Jnana, the knowledge of spiritual identity that one attains when he does not consider himself to be the body, is explained in Bhagavad-gita as brahma-bhuta, the revival of spiritual realization. In the conditioned state of material existence one cannot be spiritually realized because he identifies himself materially. The understanding of the distinction between material existence and spiritual existence is called jnana. After coming to the platform of jnana, or the brahma-bhuta state, one ultimately comes to devotional service, in which he completely understands his own position and the position of the Supreme personality of Godhead. This understanding is explained here as vijnana-visesa. The Lord says, therefore, that knowledge of Him is vijnana, science. In other words, when one is strengthened by scientific knowledge of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, his position of liberation is guaranteed. In Bhagavad-gita (9.2), the science of devotional service is described as pratyaksavagamam dharmyam, direct understanding of the principles of religion by realization.

   By practicing bhakti-yoga, one can directly perceive his advancement in spiritual life. In other practices--like karma-yoga, jnana-yoga and dhyana-yoga--one may not be confident about his progress, but in bhakti-yoga one can become directly aware of his progress in spiritual life, just as a person who eats can understand that his hunger is satisfied. Our false appetite for enjoyment and lordship of the material world is due to a prominence of passion and ignorance. By bhakti-yoga these two qualities are diminished, and one becomes situated in the mode of goodness. Gradually surpassing the mode of goodness, one is situated in pure goodness, which is not contaminated by the material qualities. When thus situated, a devotee no longer has any doubts; he knows that he will not come back to this material world.


                               TEXT 33




                  tam eva yuyam bhajatatma-vrttibhir

                 mano-vacah-kaya-gunaih sva-karmabhih

                  amayinah kama-dughanghri-pankajam





   tam--unto Him; eva--certainly; yuyam--all you citizens; bhajata--worship; atma--own; vrttibhih--occupational duty; manah--mind; vacah--words; kaya--body; gunaih--by the particular qualities; sva-karmabhih--by occupational duties; amayinah--without reservation; kama-dugha--fulfilling all desires; anghri-pankajam--the lotus feet; yatha--as far as; adhikara--ability; avasita-artha--fully convinced of one's interest; siddhayah--satisfaction.




   Prthu Maharaja advised his citizens: Engaging your minds, your words, your bodies and the results of your occupational duties, and being always open-minded, you should all render devotional service to the Lord. According to your abilities and the occupations in which you are situated, you should engage your service at the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead with full confidence and without reservation. Then you will surely be successful in achieving the final objective in your lives.




   As stated in the Eighteenth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita, sva-karmana tam abhyarcya: one has to worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead by one's occupational duties. This necessitates accepting the principle of four varnas and four asramas. Prthu Maharaja therefore says, gunaih sva-karmabhih. This phrase is explained in Bhagavad-gita. Catur-varnyam maya srstam guna-karma-vibhagasah: "The four castes (the brahmanas, ksatriyas, vaisyas and sudras) are created by the Supreme Personality of Godhead according to the material modes of nature and the particular duties discharged in those modes." A person who is situated in the mode of goodness is certainly more intelligent than others. Therefore he can practice the brahminical activities--namely speaking the truth, controlling the senses, controlling the mind, remaining always clean, practicing tolerance, having full knowledge about one's self-identity, and understanding devotional service. In this way, if he engages himself in the loving service of the Lord as an actual brahmana, his aim to achieve the final interest of life is attained. Similarly, the ksatriya's duties are to give protection to the citizens, to give all his possessions in charity, to be strictly Vedic in the management of state affairs and to be unafraid to fight whenever there is an attack by enemies. In this way, a ksatriya can satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead by his occupational duties. Similarly, a vaisya can satisfy the Supreme Godhead by properly executing his occupational duties--engaging himself in producing foodstuffs, giving protection to cows, and trading if necessary when there is an excess of agricultural production. Similarly, because sudras do not have ample intelligence, they should simply engage as workers to serve the higher statuses of social life. Everyone's aim should be to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead by engaging his mind in thinking always of Krsna, his words in always offering prayers to the Lord or preaching about the glories of the Lord, and his body in executing the service required to satisfy the Lord. As there are four divisions within our body--the head, the arms, the belly and the legs--similarly, human society, taken as a whole, is divided into four classes of men according to their material qualities and occupational duties. Thus the brahminical or intelligent men have to execute the duty of the head, the ksatriyas must fulfill the duty of the arms, the vaisya class must fulfill the duty of the belly, and the sudras must fulfill the duty of the legs. In executing the prescribed duties of life, no one is higher or lower; there are such divisions as "higher" and "lower," but since there is actually a common interest--to satisfy the Supreme personality of Godhead--there are no distinctions between them.

   The question may be raised that since the Lord is supposed to be worshiped by great demigods like Lord Brahma, Lord Siva and others, how can an ordinary human being on this planet serve Him? This is clearly explained by Prthu Maharaja by the use of the word yathadhikara, "according to one's ability." If one sincerely executes his occupational duty, that will be sufficient. One does not need to become like Lord Brahma, Lord Siva, Indra, Lord Caitanya or Ramanujacarya, whose capabilities are certainly far above ours. Even a sudra, who is in the lowest stage of life according to the material qualities, can achieve the same success. Anyone can become successful in devotional service provided he displays no duplicity. It is explained here that one must be very frank and open-minded (amayinah). To be situated in a lower status of life is not a disqualification for success in devotional service. The only qualification is that whether one is a brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya or sudra, he must be open, frank and free from reservations. Then, by performing his particular occupational duty under the guidance of a proper spiritual master, he can achieve the highest success in life. As confirmed by the Lord Himself, striyo vaisyas tatha sudras te 'pi yanti param gatim (Bg. 9.32). It does not matter what one is, whether a brahmana, ksatriya, vaisya, sudra or a degraded woman. If one engages himself seriously in devotional service, working with body, mind and intelligence, he is sure to be successful in going back home, back to Godhead. The Lord's lotus feet are described here as kama-dughanghri-pankajam because they have all power to fulfill the desires of everyone. A devotee is happy even in this life because although in material existence we have many needs, all his material needs are satisfied, and when he at last quits his body, he goes back home, back to Godhead, without a doubt.


                               TEXT 34




                   asav ihaneka-guno 'guno 'dhvarah


                 sampadyate 'rthasaya-linga-namabhir

                  visuddha-vijnana-ghanah svarupatah




   asau--the Supreme Personality of Godhead; iha--in this material world; aneka--various; gunah--qualities; agunah--transcendental; adhvarah--yajna; prthak-vidha--varieties; dravya--physical elements; guna--ingredients; kriya--performances; uktibhih--by chanting different mantras; sampadyate--is worshiped; artha--interest; asaya--purpose; linga--form; namabhih--name; visuddha--without contamination; vijnana--science; ghanah--concentrated; sva-rupatah--in His own form.




   The Supreme Personality of Godhead is transcendental and not contaminated by this material world. But although He is concentrated spirit soul without material variety, for the benefit of the conditioned soul He nevertheless accepts different types of sacrifice performed with various material elements, rituals and mantras and offered to the demigods under different names according to the interests and purposes of the performers.




   For material prosperity there are recommendations in the Vedas for various types of yajna (sacrifice). In Bhagavad-gita (3.10) it is confirmed that Lord Brahma created all living entities, including human beings and demigods, and advised them to perform yajna according to their material desires (saha-yajnah prajah srstva). These performances are called yajnas because their ultimate goal is to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Visnu. The purpose of performing yajnas is to get material benefit, but because the aim is to simultaneously satisfy the Supreme Lord, such yajnas have been recommended in the Vedas. Such performances are, of course, known as karma-kanda, or material activities, and all material activities are certainly contaminated by the three modes of material nature. Generally the karma-kanda ritualistic ceremonies are performed in the mode of passion, yet the conditioned souls, both human beings and demigods, are obliged to perform these yajnas because without them one cannot be happy at all.

   Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura comments that these karma-kanda ritualistic ceremonies, although contaminated, contain touches of devotional service because whenever there is a performance of any yajna, Lord Visnu is given a central position. This is very important because even a little endeavor to please Lord Visnu is bhakti and is of great value. A tinge of bhakti purifies the material nature of the performances, which by devotional service gradually come to the transcendental position. Therefore although such yajnas are superficially material activities, the results are transcendental. Such yajnas as Surya-yajna, Indra-yajna and Candra-yajna are performed in the names of the demigods, but these demigods are bodily parts of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The demigods cannot accept sacrificial offerings for themselves, but they can accept them for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, just as a departmental tax collector of a government cannot collect taxes for his personal account but can realize them for the government. Any yajna performed with this complete knowledge and understanding is described in Bhagavad-gita as brahmarpanam, or a sacrifice offered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Since no one but the Supreme Lord can enjoy the results of sacrifice, the Lord says that He is the actual enjoyer of all sacrifices (bhoktaram yajna-tapasam sarva-loka-mahesvaram). Sacrifices should be performed with this view in mind. As stated in Bhagavad-gita (4.24):


                      brahmarpanam brahma havir

                      brahmagnau brahmana hutam

                       brahmaiva tena gantavyam



   "A person who is fully absorbed in Krsna consciousness is sure to attain the spiritual kingdom because of his full contribution to spiritual activities, in which the consummation is absolute and that which is offered is of the same spiritual nature." The performer of sacrifices must always keep in view that the sacrifices mentioned in the Vedas are meant to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Visnur aradhyate panthah (Visnu Purana 3.8.9). Anything material or spiritual done for the satisfaction of the Supreme Lord is understood to be an actual yajna, and by performing such yajnas one gets liberation from material bondage. The direct method of getting liberation from material bondage is devotional service, comprising the nine following methods:


                       sravanam kirtanam visnoh

                        smaranam pada-sevanam

                       arcanam vandanam dasyam

                        sakhyam atma-nivedanam


   (Bhag. 7.5.23)


   This ninefold process is described in this verse as visuddha-vijnana-ghanah, or satisfying the Supreme Personality of Godhead directly by transcendental knowledge concentrated on the form of the Supreme Lord, Visnu. This is the best method for satisfying the Supreme Lord. One who cannot take to this direct process, however, should take the indirect process of performing yajnas for the satisfaction of Visnu, or Yajna. Visnu is therefore called yajna-pati. Sriyah patim yajna-patim jagat-patim (Bhag. 2.9.15).

   The Supreme Personality of Godhead's deep scientific knowledge is concentrated to the supreme point. For example, medical science knows some things superficially, but doctors do not know exactly how things happen in the body. Lord Krsna, however, knows everything in detail. Therefore His knowledge is vijnana-ghana because it does not have any of the defects of material science. The Supreme personality of Godhead is visuddha-vijnana-ghana, concentrated transcendental knowledge; therefore, even though He accepts karma-kandiya materialistic yajnas, He always remains in a transcendental position. Therefore, the mention of aneka-guna refers to the Supreme personality of Godhead's many transcendental qualities, for He is not affected by the material qualities. The different kinds of material paraphernalia or physical elements are also gradually transformed into spiritual understanding because ultimately there is no difference between material and spiritual qualities, for everything emanates from the Supreme Spirit. This is realized by a gradual process of realization and purification. One vivid example of this is Dhruva Maharaja, who took to meditation in the forest to achieve material benefit but ultimately became spiritually advanced and did not want any benediction for material profit. He was simply satisfied with the association of the Supreme Lord. Asaya means "determination." Generally a conditioned soul has the determination for material profit, but when these desires for material profit are satisfied through performance of yajna, one gradually achieves the spiritual platform. Then his life becomes perfect. Srimad-Bhagavatam (2.3.10) therefore recommends:


                         akamah sarva-kamo va

                        moksa-kama udara-dhih

                        tivrena bhakti-yogena

                         yajeta purusam param


   Everyone--whether akama (a devotee), sarva-kama (a karmi) or moksa-kama (a jnani or yogi)--is encouraged to worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead by the direct method of devotional service. In this way one can get both material and spiritual profit simultaneously.


                               TEXT 35





                    sarira esa pratipadya cetanam

                  kriya-phalatvena vibhur vibhavyate

                   yathanalo darusu tad-gunatmakah




   pradhana--material nature; kala--time; asaya--desire; dharma--occupational duties; sangrahe--aggregate; sarire--body; esah--this; pratipadya--accepting; cetanam--consciousness; kriya--activities; phalatvena--by the result of; vibhuh--the Supreme personality of Godhead; vibhavyate--manifested; yatha--as much as; analah--fire; darusu--in the wood; tat-guna-atmakah--according to shape and quality.




   The Supreme Personality of Godhead is all-pervading, but He is also manifested in different types of bodies which arise from a combination of material nature, time, desires and occupational duties. Thus different types of consciousness develop, just as fire, which is always basically the same, blazes in different ways according to the shape and dimension of firewood.




   The Supreme Personality of Godhead constantly lives with the individual soul as Paramatma. The individual soul has awareness in accord with his material body, which he attains by virtue of prakrti, or material nature. The material ingredients are activated by the force of time, and thus the three material modes of nature are manifested. According to his association with the three modes of nature, the living entity develops a particular type of body. In animal life, the material mode of ignorance is so prominent that there is very little chance of realizing the Paramatma, who is also present within the heart of the animal; but in the human form of life, because of developed consciousness (cetanam), one can be transferred from ignorance and passion to goodness by the results of his activities (kriya-phalatvena). A human being is therefore advised to associate with spiritually advanced personalities. The Vedas (Mundaka Upanisad 1.2.12) give the direction tad-vijnanartham sa gurum evabhigacchet: in order to reach the perfection of life or to understand the real constitutional position of the living entity, one must approach the spiritual master. Gurum evabhigacchet--one must; it is not optional. It is imperative that one approach the spiritual master, for by such association one proportionately develops his consciousness toward the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The highest perfection of such consciousness is called Krsna consciousness. According to the body given by prakrti, or nature, one's consciousness is present; according to the development of consciousness, one's activities are performed; and according to the purity of such activities, one realizes the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is present in everyone's heart. The example given herein is very appropriate. Fire is always the same, but according to the size of the fuel or burning wood, the fire appears to be straight, curved, small, big, etc.

   According to the development of consciousness, God realization is present. In the human form of life it is recommended, therefore, that one undergo the different types of penances and austerities described in Bhagavad-gita (karma-yoga, jnana-yoga, dhyana-yoga and bhakti-yoga). Like a staircase, yoga has different steps for reaching the topmost floor, and according to one's position upon the staircase, he is understood to be situated in karma-yoga, jnana-yoga, dhyana-yoga or bhakti-yoga. Of course, bhakti-yoga is the topmost step on the staircase of realization of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In other words, according to one's development in consciousness, one realizes his spiritual identity, and thus when one's existential position is purified fully, he becomes situated in brahmananda, which is ultimately unlimited. Therefore the sankirtana movement contributed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead as Lord Caitanya is the direct and easiest process for coming to the purest form of consciousness--Krsna consciousness, the platform on which the Supreme Personality is fully realized. Directions for performing different types of yajnas are specifically arranged for the highest realization of the Supreme Lord, as confirmed in Bhagavad-gita by the Lord Himself. Ye yatha mam prapadyante tams tathaiva bhajamy aham (Bg. 4.11). The Supreme personality of Godhead is realized according to the proportion of one's surrender. Full surrender, however, occurs when a man is perfectly in knowledge. Bahunam janmanam ante jnanavan mam prapadyate (Bg. 7.19).


                               TEXT 36




                    aho mamami vitaranty anugraham

                 harim gurum yajna-bhujam adhisvaram

                   sva-dharma-yogena yajanti mamaka

                  nirantaram ksoni-tale drdha-vratah




   aho--O all of you; mama--unto me; ami--all of them; vitaranti--distributing; anugraham--mercy; harim--the Supreme Personality of Godhead; gurum--the supreme spiritual master; yajna-bhujam--all the demigods eligible to accept yajna offerings; adhisvaram--the supreme master; sva-dharma--occupational duties; yogena--by dint of; yajanti--worship; mamakah--having a relationship with me; nirantaram--incessantly; ksoni-tale--on the surface of the globe; drdha-vratah--with firm determination.




   The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the master and enjoyer of the results of all sacrifices, and He is the supreme spiritual master as well. All of you citizens on the surface of the globe who have a relationship with me and are worshiping Him by dint of your occupational duties are bestowing your mercy upon me. Therefore, O my citizens, I thank you.




   Maharaja Prthu's advice to his citizens to take to devotional service is now concluded in two ways. He has repeatedly advised persons who are neophytes to engage themselves in devotional service according to the capacities of the different orders of social and spiritual life, but here he specifically thanks those already engaged in such devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is actually the enjoyer of all sacrificial ceremonies and who is also the supreme teacher as antaryami, or Paramatma. There is specific mention of the word gurum, which indicates the Supreme Personality as caitya-guru. The Supreme Godhead in His Paramatma feature is present in everyone's heart, and He is always trying to induce the individual soul to surrender unto Him and to engage in devotional service; therefore He is the original spiritual master. He manifests Himself as spiritual master both internally and externally to help the conditioned soul both ways. Therefore He has been mentioned herein as gurum. It appears, however, that in the time of Maharaja Prthu all the people on the surface of the globe were his subjects. Most of them--in fact, almost all of them--were engaged in devotional service. Therefore he thanked them in a humble way for engaging in devotional service and thus bestowing their mercy upon him. In other words, in a state where the citizens and the head of state are engaged in devotional service unto the Supreme personality of Godhead, they help one another and are mutually benefited.


                               TEXT 37




                ma jatu tejah prabhaven maharddhibhis

                     titiksaya tapasa vidyaya ca

                     dedipyamane 'jita-devatanam

                   kule svayam raja-kulad dvijanam




   ma--never do it; jatu--at any time; tejah--supreme power; prabhavet--exhibit; maha--great; rddhibhih--by opulence; titiksaya--by tolerance; tapasa--penance; vidyaya--by education; ca--also; dedipyamane--upon those who are already glorified; ajita-devatanam--Vaisnavas, or the devotees of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; kule--in the society; svayam--personally; raja-kulat--greater than the royal family; dvijanam--of the brahmanas.




   The brahmanas and Vaisnavas are personally glorified by their characteristic powers of tolerance, penance, knowledge and education. By dint of all these spiritual assets, Vaisnavas are more powerful than royalty. It is therefore advised that the princely order not exhibit its material prowess before these two communities and should avoid offending them.




   Prthu Maharaja has explained in the previous verse the importance of devotional service for both the rulers and the citizens of the state. Now he explains how one can be steadily fixed in devotional service. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, while instructing Srila Rupa Gosvami, has compared the devotional service of the Lord with a creeper. A creeper has a feeble stem and requires the support of another tree to grow, and while growing, it requires sufficient protection so that it may not be lost. While describing the system of protection for the creeper of devotional service, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has especially stressed protection from offenses unto the lotus feet of Vaisnavas. Such offenses are called vaisnava-aparadha. Aparadha means "offense." If one commits vaisnava-aparadhas, all of his progress in devotional service will be checked. Even though one is very much advanced in devotional service, if he commits offenses at the feet of a Vaisnava, his advancement is all spoiled. In the sastras it is found that a very great yogi, Durvasa Muni, committed a vaisnava-aparadha and thus for one full year had to travel all over the universe, even to Vaikunthaloka, to defend himself from the offense. At last, even when he approached the Supreme Personality of Godhead in Vaikuntha, he was refused protection. Therefore one should be very careful about committing offenses at the feet of a Vaisnava. The most grievous type of vaisnava-aparadha is called gurv-aparadha, which refers to offenses at the lotus feet of the spiritual master. In the chanting of the holy name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, this gurv-aparadha is considered the most grievous offense. Guror avajna sruti-sastra-nindanam (Padma Purana). Among the ten offenses committed against the chanting of the holy name, the first offenses are disobedience of the spiritual master and blasphemy of the Vedic literature.

   The simple definition of Vaisnava is given by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu: a person who immediately reminds one of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, is a Vaisnava. In this verse, both Vaisnavas and brahmanas are mentioned. A Vaisnava is a learned brahmana and is therefore designated as brahmana-vaisnava, brahmana-pandita or as a Vaisnava and brahmana. In other words, a Vaisnava is supposed to be a brahmana already, but a brahmana may not be a pure Vaisnava. When a person understands his pure identity, brahma janati, he immediately becomes a brahmana. In the brahmana stage, one's understanding of the Absolute Truth is mainly based on the impersonal view. When a brahmana, however, rises to the platform of personal understanding of the Supreme Godhead, he becomes a Vaisnava. A Vaisnava is transcendental even to a brahmana. In the material conception, the position of a brahmana is the highest in human society, but a Vaisnava is transcendental even to a brahmana. Both the brahmana and Vaisnava are spiritually advanced. A brahmana's qualifications are mentioned in Bhagavad-gita as truthfulness, mental equanimity, control of the senses, the power of tolerance, simplicity, knowledge of the Absolute Truth, firm faith in the scriptures, and practical application of the brahminical qualities in life. In addition to all these qualifications, when one fully engages in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, he becomes a Vaisnava. Prthu Maharaja warns his citizens who are actually engaged in the devotional service of the Lord to take care against offenses to the brahmanas and Vaisnavas. Offenses at their lotus feet are so destructive that even the descendants of Yadu who were born in the family of Lord Krsna were destroyed due to offenses at their feet. The Supreme Personality of Godhead cannot tolerate any offense at the lotus feet of brahmanas and Vaisnavas. Sometimes, due to their powerful positions, princes or government servants neglect the position of brahmanas and Vaisnavas, not knowing that because of their offense they will be ruined.


                               TEXT 38




                   brahmanya-devah purusah puratano

                  nityam harir yac-caranabhivandanat

                    avapa laksmim anapayinim yaso

                  jagat-pavitram ca mahattamagranih




   brahmanya-devah--the Lord of the brahminical culture; purusah--the Supreme Personality; puratanah--the oldest; nityam--eternal; harih--the Personality of Godhead; yat--whose; carana--lotus feet; abhivandanat--by means of worshiping; avapa--obtained; laksmim--opulences; anapayinim--perpetually; yasah--reputation; jagat--universal; pavitram--purified; ca--also; mahat--great; tama--supreme; agranih--foremost.




   The Supreme Personality of Godhead, the ancient, eternal Godhead, who is foremost amongst all great personalities, obtained the opulence of His staunch reputation, which purifies the entire universe, by worshiping the lotus feet of those brahmanas and Vaisnavas.




   The Supreme Person is described herein as brahmanya-deva. Brahmanya refers to the brahmanas, the Vaisnavas or the brahminical culture, and deva means "worshipable Lord." Therefore unless one is on the transcendental platform of being a Vaisnava or on the highest platform of material goodness (as a brahmana), he cannot appreciate the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In the lower stages of ignorance and passion, it is difficult to appreciate or understand the Supreme Lord. Therefore the Lord is described herein as the worshipable Deity for persons in brahminical and Vaisnava culture.


                        namo brahmanya-devaya

                        go-brahmana-hitaya ca

                        jagad-dhitaya krsnaya

                         govindaya namo namah


   (Visnu Purana 1.19.65)


   Lord Krsna, the Supreme personality of Godhead, is the prime protector of brahminical culture and the cow. Without knowing and respecting these, one cannot realize the science of God, and without this knowledge, any welfare activities or humanitarian propaganda cannot be successful. The Lord is purusa, or the supreme enjoyer. Not only is He the enjoyer when He appears as a manifested incarnation, but He is the enjoyer since time immemorial, from the very beginning (puratanah), and eternally (nityam). Yac-caranabhivandanat: Prthu Maharaja said that the Supreme Personality of Godhead attained this opulence of eternal fame simply by worshiping the lotus feet of the brahmanas. In the Bhagavad-gita it is said that the Lord does not need to work to achieve material gain. Since He is perpetually supremely perfect, He does not need to obtain anything, but still it is said that He obtained His opulences by worshiping the lotus feet of the brahmanas. These are His exemplary actions. When Lord Sri Krsna was in Dvaraka, He offered His respects by bowing down at the lotus feet of Narada. When Sudama Vipra came to His house, Lord Krsna personally washed his feet and gave him a seat on His personal bed. Although He is the Supreme personality of Godhead, Lord Sri Krsna offered His respects to Maharaja Yudhisthira and Kunti. The Lord's exemplary behavior is to teach us. We should learn from His personal behavior how to give protection to the cow, how to cultivate brahminical qualities and how to respect the brahmanas and the Vaisnavas. The Lord says in Bhagavad-gita (3.21), yad yad acarati sresthas tat tad evetaro janah: "If the leading personalities behave in a certain manner, others follow them automatically." Who can be more of a leading personality than the Supreme personality of Godhead, and whose behavior could be more exemplary? It is not that He needed to do all these things to acquire material gain, but all of these acts were performed just to teach us how to behave in this material world.

   The Supreme personality of Godhead is described herein as mahattama-agranih. Within this material world, the mahattamas, or great personalities, are Lord Brahma and Lord Siva, but He is above them all. Narayanah paro'vyaktat: the Supreme Personality of Godhead is in a transcendental position, above everything created within this material world. His opulence, His riches, His beauty, His wisdom, His knowledge, His renunciation and His reputation are all jagat-pavitram, universally purifying. The more we discuss His opulences, the more the universe becomes purer and purer. In the material world, the opulences possessed by a material person are never fixed. Today one may be a very rich man, but tomorrow he may become poor; today one is very famous, but tomorrow he may be infamous. Materially obtained opulences are never fixed, but all six opulences perpetually exist in the Supreme Personality of Godhead, not only in the spiritual world, but also in this material world. Lord Krsna's reputation is fixed, and His book of wisdom, Bhagavad-gita, is still honored. Everything pertaining to the Supreme Personality of Godhead is eternally existing.


                               TEXT 39




                   yat-sevayasesa-guhasayah sva-rad

                  vipra-priyas tusyati kamam isvarah

                  tad eva tad-dharma-parair vinitaih

                  sarvatmana brahma-kulam nisevyatam




   yat--whose; sevaya--by serving; asesa--unlimited; guha-asayah--dwelling within the heart of everyone; sva-rat--but still fully independent; vipra-priyah--very dear to the brahmanas and Vaisnavas; tusyati--becomes satisfied; kamam--of desires; isvarah--the Supreme Personality of Godhead; tat--that; eva--certainly; tat-dharma-paraih--by following in the footsteps of the Lord; vinitaih--by humbleness; sarva-atmana--in all respects; brahma-kulam--the descendants of brahmanas and Vaisnavas; nisevyatam--always being engaged in their service.




   The Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is everlastingly independent and who exists in everyone's heart, is very pleased with those who follow in His footsteps and engage without reservation in the service of the descendants of brahmanas and Vaisnavas, for He is always dear to brahmanas and Vaisnavas and they are always dear to Him.




   It is said that the Lord is most pleased when He sees one engage in the service of His devotee. He does not need any service from anyone because He is complete, but it is in our own interest to offer all kinds of services to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. These services can be offered to the Supreme Person not directly but through the service of brahmanas and Vaisnavas. Srila Narottama dasa Thakura sings, chadiya vaisnava-seva nistara payeche keba, which means that unless one serves the Vaisnavas and brahmanas, one cannot get liberation from the material clutches. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura also says, yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasadah: by satisfying the senses of the spiritual master, one can satisfy the senses of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus this behavior is not only mentioned in scriptures but also followed by acaryas. Prthu Maharaja advised his citizens to follow the exemplary behavior of the Lord Himself and thus engage in the service of brahmanas and Vaisnavas.


                               TEXT 40




                    pumal labhetanativelam atmanah

                prasidato 'tyanta-samam svatah svayam

                  yan-nitya-sambandha-nisevaya tatah

                param kim atrasti mukham havir-bhujam




   puman--a person; labheta--can achieve; anati-velam--without delay; atmanah--of his soul; prasidatah--being satisfied; atyanta--the greatest; samam--peace; svatah--automatically; svayam--personally; yat--whose; nitya--regular; sambandha--relationship; nisevaya--by dint of service; tatah--after that; param--superior; kim--what; atra--here; asti--there is; mukham--happiness; havih--clarified butter; bhujam--those who drink.




   By regular service to the brahmanas and Vaisnavas, one can clear the dirt from his heart and thus enjoy supreme peace and liberation from material attachment and be satisfied. In this world there is no fruitive activity superior to serving the brahmana class, for this can bring pleasure to the demigods, for whom the many sacrifices are recommended.




   In Bhagavad-gita (2.65) it is said: prasade sarva-duhkhanam hanir asyopajayate. Unless one is self-satisfied, he cannot be free from the miserable conditions of material existence. Therefore it is essential to render service to the brahmanas and Vaisnavas to achieve the perfection of self-satisfaction. Srila Narottama dasa Thakura therefore says:


                 tandera carana sevi bhakta-sane vasa

                   janame janame haya, ei abhilasa


   "Birth after birth I desire to serve the lotus feet of the acaryas and live in a society of devotees." A spiritual atmosphere can be maintained only by living in a society of devotees and by serving the orders of the acaryas. The spiritual master is the best brahmana. At present, in the age of Kali, it is very difficult to render service to the brahmana-kula, or the brahmana class. The difficulty, according to the Varaha Purana, is that demons, taking advantage of Kali-yuga, have taken birth in brahmana families. Raksasah kalim asritya jayante brahma-yonisu (Varaha Purana). In other words, in this age there are many so-called caste brahmanas and caste Gosvamis who, taking advantage of the sastra and of the innocence of people in general, claim to be brahmanas and Vaisnavas by hereditary right. One will not derive any benefit by rendering service to such false brahmana-kulas. One must therefore take shelter of a bona fide spiritual master and his associates and should also render service to them, for such activity will greatly help the neophyte in attaining full satisfaction. This has been very clearly explained by Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura in his explanation of the verse vyavasayatmika buddhir ekeha kuru-nandana (Bg. 2.41). By actually following the regulative principles of bhakti-yoga as recommended by Srila Narottama dasa Thakura, one can very quickly come to the transcendental platform of liberation, as explained in this verse (atyanta-samam).

   The particular use of the word anativelam ("without delay") is very significant because simply by serving brahmanas and Vaisnavas one can get liberation. There is no need to undergo severe penances and austerities. The vivid example of this is Narada Muni himself. In his previous birth, he was simply a maidservant's son, but he got the opportunity to serve exalted brahmanas and Vaisnavas, and thus in his next life he not only became liberated, but became famous as the supreme spiritual master of the entire Vaisnava disciplic succession. According to the Vedic system, therefore, it is customarily recommended that after performing a ritualistic ceremony, one should feed the brahmanas.


                               TEXT 41




                 asnaty anantah khalu tattva-kovidaih

                sraddha-hutam yan-mukha ijya-namabhih

                   na vai tatha cetanaya bahis-krte

                    hutasane paramahamsya-paryaguh




   asnati--eats; anantah--the Supreme personality of Godhead; khalu--nevertheless; tattva-kovidaih--persons in knowledge of the Absolute Truth; sraddha--faith; hutam--offering fire sacrifices; yat-mukhe--whose mouth; ijya-namabhih--by different names of demigods; na--never; vai--certainly; tatha--as much; cetanaya--by living force; bahih-krte--being bereft of; huta-asane--in the fire sacrifice; paramahamsya--regarding devotees; paryaguh--never goes away.




   Although the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Ananta, eats through the fire sacrifices offered in the names of the different demigods, He does not take as much pleasure in eating through fire as He does in accepting offerings through the mouths of learned sages and devotees, for then He does not leave the association of devotees.




   According to Vedic injunctions, a fire sacrifice is held in order to give food to the Supreme personality of Godhead in the names of the different demigods. While performing a fire sacrifice, one pronounces the word svaha in mantras such as indraya svaha and adityaya svaha. These mantras are uttered to satisfy the Supreme personality of Godhead through demigods such as Indra and Aditya, for the Supreme Personality of Godhead says:


                       naham tisthami vaikunthe

                         yoginam hrdayesu va

                        tatra tisthami narada

                      yatra gayanti mad-bhaktah


   "I am not in Vaikuntha nor in the hearts of the yogis. I remain where My devotees engage in glorifying My activities." It is to be understood that the Supreme Personality of Godhead does not leave the company of His devotees.

   Fire is certainly devoid of life, but devotees and brahmanas are the living representatives of the Supreme Lord. Therefore to feed brahmanas and Vaisnavas is to feed the Supreme Personality of Godhead directly. It may be concluded that instead of offering fire sacrifices, one should offer foodstuffs to brahmanas and Vaisnavas, for that process is more effective than fire yajna. The vivid example of this principle in action was given by Advaita Prabhu. When He performed the sraddha ceremony for His father, He first of all called Haridasa Thakura and offered him food. It is the practice that after finishing the sraddha ceremony, one should offer food to an elevated brahmana. But Advaita Prabhu offered food first to Haridasa Thakura, who had taken his birth in a Muhammadan family. Therefore Haridasa Thakura asked Advaita Prabhu why He was doing something which might jeopardize His position in brahmana society. Advaita Prabhu replied that He was feeding millions of first-class brahmanas by offering the food to Haridasa Thakura. He was prepared to talk with any learned brahmana on this point and prove definitely that by offering food to a pure devotee like Haridasa Thakura, He was equally as blessed as He would have been by offering food to thousands of learned brahmanas. When performing sacrifices, one offers oblations to the sacrificial fire, but when such oblations are offered to Vaisnavas, they are certainly more effective.


                               TEXT 42




                 yad brahma nityam virajam sanatanam


                  samadhina bibhrati hartha-drstaye

                     yatredam adarsa ivavabhasate




   yat--that which; brahma--the brahminical culture; nityam--eternally; virajam--without contamination; sanatanam--without beginning; sraddha--faith; tapah--austerity; mangala--auspicious; mauna--silence; samyamaih--controlling the mind and senses; samadhina--with full concentration; bibhrati--illuminates; ha--as he did it; artha--the real purpose of the Vedas; drstaye--for the purpose of finding out; yatra--wherein; idam--all this; adarse--in a mirror; iva--like; avabhasate--manifests.




   In brahminical culture a brahmana's transcendental position is eternally maintained because the injunctions of the Vedas are accepted with faith, austerity, scriptural conclusions, full sense and mind control, and meditation. In this way the real goal of life is illuminated, just as one's face is fully reflected in a clear mirror.




   Since it is described in the previous verse that feeding a living brahmana is more effective than offering oblations in a fire sacrifice, in this verse it is now clearly described what brahmanism is and who a brahmana is. In the age of Kali, taking advantage of the fact that by feeding a brahmana one obtains a more effective result than by performing sacrifices, a class of men with no brahminical qualifications claim the eating privilege known as brahmana-bhojana simply on the basis of their birth in brahmana families. In order to distinguish this class of men from the real brahmanas, Maharaja Prthu is giving an exact description of a brahmana and brahminical culture. One should not take advantage of his position simply to live like a fire without light. A brahmana must be fully conversant with the Vedic conclusion, which is described in Bhagavad-gita. Vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyah (Bg. 15.15). The Vedic conclusion--the ultimate understanding, or Vedanta understanding--is knowledge of Krsna. Actually that is a fact because simply by understanding Krsna as He is, as described in Bhagavad-gita (janma karma ca me divyam evam yo vetti tattvatah), one becomes a perfect brahmana. The brahmana who knows Krsna perfectly well is always in a transcendental position. This is also confirmed in Bhagavad-gita (14.26):


                       mam ca yo 'vyabhicarena

                         bhakti-yogena sevate

                        sa gunan samatityaitan

                        brahma-bhuyaya kalpate


   "One who engages in full devotional service and who does not fall down in any circumstance at once transcends the modes of material nature and thus comes to the level of Brahman."

   Therefore a devotee of Lord Krsna is actually a perfect brahmana. His situation is transcendental, for he is free from the four defects of conditional life, which are the tendencies to commit mistakes, to be illusioned, to cheat and to possess imperfect senses. A perfect Vaisnava, or Krsna conscious person, is always in this transcendental position because he speaks according to Krsna and His representative. Because Vaisnavas speak exactly according to the tune of Krsna, whatever they say is free from these four defects. For example, Krsna says in Bhagavad-gita that everyone should always think of Him, everyone should become His devotee, offer Him obeisances and worship Him, and ultimately everyone should surrender unto Him. These devotional activities are transcendental and free from mistakes, illusion, cheating and imperfection. Therefore anyone who is a sincere devotee of Lord Krsna and who preaches this cult, speaking only on the basis of Krsna's instructions, is understood to be virajam, or free from the defects of material contamination. A genuine brahmana or Vaisnava therefore depends eternally on the conclusion of the Vedas or Vedic versions presented by the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. Only from Vedic knowledge can we understand the actual position of the Absolute Truth, who, as described in Srimad-Bhagavatam, is manifested in three features--namely impersonal Brahman, localized Paramatma and, at last, the Supreme personality of Godhead. This knowledge is perfect from time immemorial, and the brahminical or Vaisnava culture depends on this principle eternally. One should therefore study the Vedas with faith, not only for one's personal knowledge, but for the sake of spreading this knowledge and these activities through real faith in the words of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the Vedas.

   The word mangala ("auspicious") in this verse is very significant. Srila Sridhara Svami quotes that to do what is good and to reject what is not good is called mangala, or auspicious. To do what is good means to accept everything favorable to the discharge of devotional service, and to reject what is not good means to reject everything not favorable for discharging devotional service. In our Krsna consciousness movement, we accept this principle by rejecting four prohibited items--namely illicit sex life, intoxication, gambling and flesh-eating--and accepting the daily chanting of at least sixteen rounds of the Hare Krsna maha-mantra and daily meditation three times a day by chanting the Gayatri mantra. In this way one can keep his brahminical culture and spiritual strength intact. By following these principles of devotional service strictly, chanting twenty-four hours a day the maha-mantra--Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare--one makes positive progress in spiritual life and ultimately becomes completely fit to see the Supreme personality of Godhead face to face. Because the ultimate goal of studying or understanding the Vedic knowledge is to find Krsna, one who follows the Vedic principles as described above can from the very beginning see all the features of Lord Krsna, the Absolute Truth, very distinctly, as one can see one's own face completely reflected in a clear mirror. The conclusion is, therefore, that a brahmana does not become a brahmana simply because he is a living entity or is born in a brahmana family; he must possess all the qualities mentioned in the sastras and practice the brahminical principles in his life. Thus he ultimately becomes a fully Krsna conscious person and can understand what Krsna is. How a devotee continuously sees Krsna face to face within his heart is described in the Brahma-samhita (5.38) as follows:



                 santah sadaiva hrdayesu vilokayanti

               yam syamasundaram acintya-guna-svarupam

                govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami


   The devotee, by development of pure love for Krsna, constantly sees the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is known as Syamasundara, within his heart. That is the perfectional stage of brahminical culture.


                               TEXT 43




                     tesam aham pada-saroja-renum

                     arya vaheyadhi-kiritam ayuh

                    yam nityada bibhrata asu papam

                   nasyaty amum sarva-guna bhajanti




   tesam--of all of them; aham--I; pada--feet; saroja--lotus; renum--dust; aryah--O respectable persons; vaheya--shall bear; adhi--up to; kiritam--helmet; ayuh--up to the end of life; yam--which; nityada--always; bibhratah--carrying; asu--very soon; papam--sinful activities; nasyati--are vanquished; amum--all those; sarva-gunah--fully qualified; bhajanti--worship.




   O respectable personalities present here, I beg the blessings of all of you that I may perpetually carry on my crown the dust of the lotus feet of such brahmanas and Vaisnavas until the end of my life. He who can carry such dust on his head is very soon relieved of all the reactions which arise from sinful life, and eventually he develops all good and desirable qualities.




   It is said that one who has unflinching faith in the Supreme personality of Godhead, which means unflinching faith in the Vaisnava or the pure devotee of the Supreme Lord, develops all the good qualities of the demigods. Yasyasti bhaktir bhagavaty akincana. sarvair gunais tatra samasate surah (Bhag. 5.18.12). Prahlada Maharaja also said, naisam matis tavad urukramanghrim (Bhag. 7.5.32). Unless one takes the dust of the lotus feet of a pure Vaisnava on one's head, one cannot understand what the Supreme Personality of Godhead is, and unless one knows the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one's life remains imperfect. A great soul who has fully surrendered to the Supreme Lord after understanding Him fully and after repeatedly undergoing austerities and penances for many, many lives is very rare. The crown of a king is simply a big load if the king or head of the state does not actually bear the dust of the lotus feet of brahmanas and Vaisnavas. In other words, if a liberal king like Prthu Maharaja does not follow the instructions of brahmanas and Vaisnavas or does not follow the brahminical culture, he is simply a burden on the state, for he cannot benefit the citizens. Maharaja Prthu is the perfect example of an ideal chief executive.


                               TEXT 44




                   gunayanam sila-dhanam krta-jnam

                 vrddhasrayam samvrnate 'nu sampadah

                   prasidatam brahma-kulam gavam ca

                    janardanah sanucaras ca mahyam




   guna-ayanam--one who has acquired all the good qualities; sila-dhanam--one whose wealth is good behavior; krta-jnam--one who is grateful; vrddha-asrayam--one who takes shelter of the learned; samvrnate--achieves; anu--certainly; sampadah--all opulences; prasidatam--be pleased upon; brahma-kulam--the brahmana class; gavam--the cows; ca--and; janardanah--the Supreme Personality of Godhead; sa--with; anucarah--along with His devotee; ca--and; mahyam--upon me.




   Whoever acquires the brahminical qualifications--whose only wealth is good behavior, who is grateful and who takes shelter of experienced persons--gets all the opulence of the world. I therefore wish that the Supreme Personality of Godhead and His associates be pleased with the brahmana class, with the cows and with me.




   The Supreme Personality of Godhead is worshiped with the prayer namo brahmanya-devaya go-brahmana-hitaya ca. Thus it is clear that the Supreme personality of Godhead respects and protects the brahmanas and brahminical culture, as well as the cows; in other words, wherever there are brahmanas and brahminical culture, there are cows and cow protection. In a society or civilization in which there are no brahmanas or brahminical culture, cows are treated as ordinary animals and slaughtered, at the sacrifice of human civilization. The specific mention of the word gavam by Prthu Maharaja is significant because the Lord is always associated with cows and His devotees. In pictures Lord Krsna is always seen with cows and His associates such as the cowherd boys and the gopis. Krsna, the Supreme personality of Godhead, cannot be alone. Therefore Prthu Maharaja said, sanucaras ca, indicating that the Supreme personality of Godhead is always associated with His followers and devotees.

   A devotee acquires all the good qualities of the demigods; he is gunayanam, the reservoir of all good qualities. His only asset is good behavior, and he is grateful. Gratitude for the mercy of the Supreme personality of Godhead is one of the qualities of brahmanas and Vaisnavas. Everyone should feel grateful to the Supreme personality of Godhead because He is maintaining all living entities and supplying all their necessities. As stated in the Vedas (Katha Upanisad 2.2.13), eko bahunam yo vidadhati kaman: the supreme one is supplying all necessities to the living entities. The living entity who is therefore grateful to the Supreme Personality of Godhead is certainly qualified with good characteristics.

   The word vrddhasrayam is very significant in this verse. Vrddha refers to one who is advanced in knowledge. There are two kinds of old men--he who is advanced in years and he who is experienced in knowledge. One who is advanced in knowledge is actually vrddha (jnana-vrddha); one does not become vrddha simply by advancing in age. Vrddhasrayam, a person who takes shelter of a superior person who is advanced in knowledge, can acquire all the good qualities of a brahmana and be trained in good behavior. When one actually attains good qualities, becomes grateful for the mercy of the Supreme personality of Godhead and takes shelter of a bona fide spiritual master, he is endowed with all opulence. Such a person is a brahmana or Vaisnava. Therefore Prthu Maharaja invokes the blessings and mercy of the Supreme personality of Godhead, with His associates, devotees, Vaisnavas, brahmanas and cows.


                               TEXT 45




                            maitreya uvaca

                         iti bruvanam nrpatim


                        tustuvur hrsta-manasah

                        sadhu-vadena sadhavah




   maitreyah uvaca--the great sage Maitreya continued to speak; iti--thus; bruvanam--while speaking; nr-patim--the King; pitr--the denizens of Pitrloka; deva--the demigods; dvi-jatayah--and the twice-born (the brahmanas and the Vaisnavas); tustuvuh--satisfied; hrsta-manasah--greatly pacified in mind; sadhu-vadena--by expressing congratulations; sadhavah--all the saintly persons present.




   The great sage Maitreya said: After hearing King Prthu speak so nicely, all the demigods, the denizens of Pitrloka, the brahmanas and the saintly persons present at the meeting congratulated him by expressing their good will.




   When a person speaks very nicely at a meeting, he is congratulated by the audience, who express their good will with the words sadhu, sadhu. This is called sadhu-vada. All the saintly persons, Pitas (denizens of Pitrloka) and demigods who were present at the meeting and heard Prthu Maharaja expressed their good will with the words sadhu, sadhu. They all accepted the good mission of Prthu Maharaja, and they were fully satisfied.


                               TEXT 46




                         putrena jayate lokan

                         iti satyavati srutih

                       brahma-danda-hatah papo

                       yad veno 'tyatarat tamah




   putrena--by the son; jayate--one becomes victorious; lokan--all the heavenly planets; iti--thus; satya-vati--becomes true; srutih--the Vedas; brahma-danda--by the curse of brahmanas; hatah--killed; papah--the most sinful; yat--as; venah--the father of Maharaja Prthu; ati--great; atarat--became delivered; tamah--from the darkness of hellish life.




   They all declared that the Vedic conclusion that one can conquer the heavenly planets by the action of a putra, or son, was fulfilled, for the most sinful Vena, who had been killed by the curse of the brahmanas, was now delivered from the darkest region of hellish life by his son, Maharaja Prthu.




   According to the Vedic version, there is a hellish planet called Put, and one who delivers a person from there is called putra. The purpose of marriage, therefore, is to have a putra, or son who is able to deliver his father, even if the father falls down to the hellish condition of put. Maharaja Prthu's father, Vena, was a most sinful person and was therefore cursed to death by the brahmanas. Now all the great saintly persons, sages and brahmanas present in the meeting, after hearing from Maharaja Prthu about his great mission in life, became convinced that the statement of the Vedas had been fully proved. The purpose of accepting a wife in religious marriage, as sanctioned in the Vedas, is to have a putra, a son qualified to deliver his father from the darkest region of hellish life. Marriage is not intended for sense gratification but for getting a son fully qualified to deliver his father. But if a son is raised to become an unqualified demon, how can he deliver his father from hellish life? It is therefore the duty of a father to become a Vaisnava and raise his children to become Vaisnavas; then even if by chance the father falls into a hellish life in his next birth, such a son can deliver him, as Maharaja Prthu delivered his father.


                               TEXT 47




                         hiranyakasipus capi

                        bhagavan-nindaya tamah

                        viviksur atyagat sunoh





   hiranyakasipuh--the father of Prahlada Maharaja; ca--also; api--again; bhagavat--of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; nindaya--by blaspheming; tamah--in the darkest region of hellish life; viviksuh--entered; atyagat--was delivered; sunoh--of his son; prahladasya--of Maharaja Prahlada; anubhavatah--by the influence of.




   Similarly, Hiranyakasipu, who by dint of his sinful activities always defied the supremacy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, entered into the darkest region of hellish life; but by the grace of his great son, Prahlada Maharaja, he also was delivered and went back home, back to Godhead.




   When Prahlada Maharaja was offered benediction by Nrsimhadeva, due to his great devotion and tolerance he refused to accept any benediction from the Lord, thinking that such acceptance was not befitting a sincere devotee. The rendering of service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead in expectation of a good reward is deprecated by Prahlada Maharaja as mercantile business. Because Prahlada Maharaja was a Vaisnava, he did not ask a benediction for his personal self but was very affectionate toward his father. Although his father tortured him and would have killed him had he himself not been killed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Prahlada Maharaja begged pardon for him from the Lord. This favor was immediately granted by the Lord, and Hiranyakasipu was delivered from the darkest region of hellish life, and he returned back home, back to Godhead, by the grace of his son. Prahlada Maharaja is the topmost example of a Vaisnava, who is always compassionate toward sinful persons suffering a hellish life within this material world. Krsna is therefore known as para-duhkha-duhkhi krpambudhih, or one who is compassionate toward others' suffering and who is an ocean of mercy. Like Prahlada Maharaja, all pure devotees of the Lord come to this material world with full compassion to deliver the sinful. They undergo all kinds of tribulations, suffering them with tolerance, because that is another qualification of a Vaisnava, who tries to deliver all sinful persons from the hellish conditions of material existence. Vaisnavas are therefore offered the following prayer:


                       vancha-kalpatarubhyas ca

                        krpa-sindhubhya eva ca

                         patitanam pavanebhyo

                       vaisnavebhyo namo namah


   The chief concern of a Vaisnava is to deliver the fallen souls.


                               TEXT 48




                      vira-varya pitah prthvyah

                        samah sanjiva sasvatih

                       yasyedrsy acyute bhaktih





   vira-varya--the best of the warriors; pitah--the father; prthvyah--of the globe; samah--equal to in years; sanjiva--live; sasvatih--forever; yasya--whose; idrsi--like this; acyute--unto the Supreme; bhaktih--devotion; sarva--all; loka--planets; eka--one; bhartari--maintainer.




   All the saintly brahmanas thus addressed Prthu Maharaja: O best of the warriors, O father of this globe, may you be blessed with a long life, for you have great devotion to the infallible Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the master of all the universe.




   Prthu Maharaja was blessed by the saintly persons present at the meeting to have a long life because of his unflinching faith and his devotion to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Although one's duration of life is limited in years, if by chance one becomes a devotee, he surpasses the duration prescribed for his life; indeed, sometimes yogis die according to their wish, not according to the laws of material nature. Another feature of a devotee is that he lives forever because of his infallible devotion to the Lord. It is said, kirtir yasya sa jivati: "One who leaves a good reputation behind him lives forever." Specifically, one who is reputed as a devotee of the Lord undoubtedly lives forever. When Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu was talking with Ramananda Raya, Caitanya Mahaprabhu inquired, "What is the greatest reputation?" Ramananda Raya replied that a person who is reputed as a great devotee has the greatest reputation, for a devotee not only lives forever in the Vaikuntha planets, but by his reputation he also lives forever within this material world.


                               TEXT 49




                   aho vayam hy adya pavitra-kirte

                   tvayaiva nathena mukunda-nathah

                     ya uttamaslokatamasya visnor

                  brahmanya-devasya katham vyanakti




   aho--oh, goodness; vayam--we; hi--certainly; adya--today; pavitra-kirte--O supreme purity; tvaya--by you; eva--certainly; nathena--by the Lord; mukunda--the Supreme Personality of Godhead; nathah--being the subject of the Supreme; ye--one who; uttama-sloka-tamasya--of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is praised by the nicest verses; visnoh--of Visnu; brahmanya-devasya--of the worshipable Lord of the brahmanas; katham--words; vyanakti--expressed.




   The audience continued: Dear King Prthu, your reputation is the purest of all, for you are preaching the glories of the most glorified of all, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Lord of the brahmanas. Since, due to our great fortune, we have you as our master, we think that we are living directly under the agency of the Lord.




   The citizens declared that through being under the protection of Maharaja Prthu, they were directly under the protection of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This understanding is the proper situation of social steadiness within this material world. Since it is stated in the Vedas that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the maintainer and leader of all living entities, the king or the executive head of the government must be a representative of the Supreme Person. Then he can claim honor exactly like the Lord's. How a king or leader of society can become the representative of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is also indicated in this verse by the statement that because Prthu Maharaja was preaching the supremacy and the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Visnu, he was therefore a proper representative of the Lord. To remain under the jurisdiction or administration of such a king or leader is the perfect status for human society. The primary responsibility of such a king or leader is to protect the brahminical culture and the cows in his state.


                               TEXT 50




                       natyadbhutam idam natha


                         prajanurago mahatam

                        prakrtih karunatmanam




   na--not; ati--very great; adbhutam--wonderful; idam--this; natha--O lord; tava--your; ajivya--source of income; anusasanam--ruling over the citizens; praja--citizens; anuragah--affection; mahatam--of the great; prakrtih--nature; karuna--merciful; atmanam--of the living entities.




   Our dear lord, it is your occupational duty to rule over your citizens. That is not a very wonderful task for a personality like you, who are so affectionate in seeing to the interests of the citizens, because you are full of mercy. That is the greatness of your character.




   A king's duty is to give protection to his citizens and levy taxes from them for his livelihood. Since the Vedic society is divided into four classes of men--the brahmanas, ksatriyas, vaisyas and sudras--their means of livelihood are also mentioned in the scriptures. The brahmanas should live by spreading knowledge and should therefore take contributions from their disciples, whereas a king should give protection to the citizens for their development to the highest standard of life, and he can therefore levy taxes from them; businessmen or mercantile men, because they produce foodstuffs for the whole of society, can take a little profit from this, whereas the sudras, who cannot work as either brahmanas, ksatriyas or vaisyas, should give service to the higher classes of society and be provided by them with a supply of the necessities of life.

   The symptom of a qualified king or political leader is mentioned herein--he must be very merciful and compassionate to the people and see to their prime interest, which is to become elevated devotees of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Great souls are naturally inclined to do good to others, and a Vaisnava especially is the most compassionate and merciful personality in society. Therefore we offer our respects to a Vaisnava leader as follows:


                       vancha-kalpatarubhyas ca

                        krpa-sindhubhya eva ca

                         patitanam pavanebhyo

                       vaisnavebhyo namo namah


   Only a Vaisnava leader can fulfill all the desires of the people (vancha-kalpataru), and he is compassionate because he is the contributor of the greatest benefit to human society. He is patita-pavana, the deliverer of all fallen souls, because if the king or the head of the government follows in the footsteps of the brahmanas and Vaisnavas, who are naturally leaders in missionary work, the vaisyas will also follow in the footsteps of the Vaisnavas and brahmanas, and the sudras will give them service. Thus the entire society becomes a perfect human institution for combined progress to the highest perfection of life.


                               TEXT 51




                        adya nas tamasah paras

                        tvayopasaditah prabho

                      bhramyatam nasta-drstinam

                      karmabhir daiva-samjnitaih




   adya--today; nah--of us; tamasah--of the darkness of material existence; parah--the other side; tvaya--by you; upasaditah--increased; prabho--O lord; bhramyatam--who are wandering; nasta-drstinam--who have lost their goal of life; karmabhih--on account of past deeds; daiva-samjnitaih--arranged by superior authority.




   The citizens continued: Today you have opened our eyes and revealed how to cross to the other side of the ocean of darkness. By our past deeds and by the arrangement of superior authority, we are entangled in a network of fruitive activities and have lost sight of the destination of life; thus we have been wandering within the universe.




   In this verse, the words karmabhir daiva-samjnitaih are very significant. Due to the quality of our actions, we come to the association of the modes of material nature, and by superior arrangement we are given a chance to enjoy the fruitive results of such activities in different types of bodies. In this way, having lost sight of their destinations in life, all living entities are wandering in different species throughout the universe, sometimes getting birth in a lower species and sometimes existence in higher planetary systems; thus we are all wandering since time immemorial. It is by the grace of the spiritual master and the Supreme personality of Godhead that we get the clue of devotional life, and thus progressive success in our life begins. Here this is admitted by the citizens of King Prthu; in full consciousness they admit the benefit they have derived from the activities of Maharaja Prthu.


                               TEXT 52




                        namo vivrddha-sattvaya

                          purusaya mahiyase

                       yo brahma ksatram avisya

                        bibhartidam sva-tejasa




   namah--all obeisances; vivrddha--highly elevated; sattvaya--unto the existence; purusaya--unto the person; mahiyase--unto one who is so glorified; yah--who; brahma--brahminical culture; ksatram--administrative duty; avisya--entering; bibharti--maintaining; idam--this; sva-tejasa--by his own prowess.




   Dear lord, you are situated in your pure existential position of goodness; therefore you are the perfect representative of the Supreme Lord. You are glorified by your own prowess, and thus you are maintaining the entire world by introducing brahminical culture and protecting everyone in your line of duty as a ksatriya.




   Without the spread of brahminical culture and without proper protection from the government, no social standard can be maintained properly. This is admitted in this verse by the citizens of Maharaja Prthu, who could maintain the wonderful situation of his government due to his position in pure goodness. The word vivrddha-sattvaya is significant. In the material world there are three qualities--namely goodness, passion and ignorance. One has to be raised from the platform of ignorance to the platform of goodness by devotional service. There is no other means for elevating one from the lowest stage of life to the highest stage but the execution of devotional service; as advised in the previous chapters of Srimad-Bhagavatam, one can raise himself from the lowest position to the highest simply by associating with devotees and hearing Srimad-Bhagavatam regularly from their mouths.


                      srnvatam sva-kathah krsnah


                     hrdy antah-stho hy abhadrani

                        vidhunoti suhrt satam


   "When one engages in devotional service in the first stages of hearing and chanting, the Lord, who is in everyone's heart, helps the devotee in cleansing his heart." (Bhag. 1.2.17) In the gradual cleansing process, one is relieved of the influence of passion and ignorance and is situated on the platform of goodness. The result of association with the qualities of passion and ignorance is that one becomes lusty and greedy. But when one is elevated to the platform of goodness, he is satisfied in any condition of life and is without lust and greed. This mentality indicates one's situation on the platform of goodness. One has to transcend this goodness and raise himself to the pure goodness called vivrddha-sattva, or the advanced stage of goodness. In the advanced stage of goodness one can become Krsna conscious. Therefore Maharaja Prthu is addressed here as vivrddha-sattva, or one who is situated in the transcendental position. But Maharaja Prthu, although situated in the transcendental position of a pure devotee, came down to the position of brahmana and ksatriya for the benefit of human society and thus gave protection to the entire world by his personal prowess. Although he was a king, a ksatriya, because he was a Vaisnava he was also a brahmana. As a brahmana he could give proper instruction to the citizens, and as a ksatriya he could rightly give protection to all of them. Thus the citizens of Maharaja Prthu were protected in all respects by the perfect king.


Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the Fourth Canto, Twenty-first Chapter, of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, entitled "Instructions by Maharaja Prthu."

Return to Index