Indra Offends His Spiritual Master, Brhaspati.
As related in this chapter, Indra, the King of heaven, committed an offense at the feet of his spiritual master, Brhaspati. Brhaspati therefore left the demigods, who then had no priest. However, at the request of the demigods, Visvarupa, the son of the brahmana Tvasta, became their priest.
Once upon a time, Indra, the King of the demigods, was sitting with his wife Sacidevi and being praised by various demigods like the Siddhas, Caranas and Gandharvas when Brhaspati, the spiritual master of the demigods, entered the assembly. Indra, being too absorbed in material opulence, forgot himself and did not respect Brhaspati, who thus became aware of Indra's pride in his material opulence and immediately disappeared from the assembly to teach him a lesson. Indra became most repentant, understanding that because of his opulence he had forgotten to respect his spiritual master. He left the palace to beg pardon from his spiritual master, but could not find Brhaspati anywhere.
Because of his disrespectful behavior toward his spiritual master. Indra lost all his opulence and was conquered by the demons, who defeated the demigods in a great fight and occupied Indra's throne. King Indra, along with the other demigods, later took shelter of Lord Brahma. Understanding the situation, Lord Brahma chastised the demigods for their offense to their spiritual master. Following Lord Brahma's orders, the demigods accepted Visvarupa, who was a brahmana and the son of Tvasta, as their priest. Then they performed yajnas under the priesthood of Visvarupa and were able to conquer the demons.
kasya hetoh parityakta
etad acaksva bhagavan
chisyanam akramam gurau
sri-raja uvaca--the King inquired; kasya hetoh--for what reason; parityaktah--rejected; acaryena--by the spiritual master, Brhaspati; atmanah--of himself; surah--all the demigods; etat--this; acaksva--kindly describe; bhagavan--O great sage (Sukadeva Gosvami); sisyanam--of the disciples; akramam--the offense; gurau--unto the spiritual master.
Maharaja Pariksit inquired from Sukadeva Gosvami: O great sage, why did the spiritual master of the demigods, Brhaspati, reject the demigods, who were his own disciples? What offense did the demigods commit against their spiritual master? Please describe to me this incident.
Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura comments:
saptame guruna tyaktair
"This Seventh Chapter describes how Brhaspati was offended by the demigods, how he left them and the demigods were defeated, and how the demigods, following the instructions of Lord Brahma, accepted Visvarupa as the priest to perform their sacrifice."
marudbhir vasubhi rudrair
adityair rbhubhir nrpa
visvedevais ca sadhyais ca
stuyamanas ca bharata
yuktas canyaih paramesthyais
sa yada paramacaryam
devanam atmanas ca ha
pasyann api sabhagatam
sri-badarayanih uvaca--Sri Sukadeva Gosvami replied; indrah--King Indra; tri-bhuvana-aisvarya--because of possessing all the material opulences of the three worlds; mada--due to pride; ullanghita--who has transgressed; sat-pathah--the path of Vedic civilization; marudbhih--by the wind demigods, known as the Maruts; vasubhih--by the eight Vasus; rudraih--by the eleven Rudras; adityaih--by the Adityas; rbhubhih--by the Rbhus; nrpa--O King; visvedevaih ca--and by the Visvadevas; sadhyaih--by the Sadhyas; ca--also; nasatyabhyam--by the two Asvini-kumaras; parisritah--surrounded; siddha--by the inhabitants of Siddhaloka; carana--the Caranas; gandharvaih--and the Gandharvas; munibhih--by the great sages; brahmavadibhih--by greatly learned impersonalist scholars; vidyadhara-apsarobhih ca--and by the Vidyadharas and Apsaras; kinnaraih--by the Kinnaras; pataga-uragaih--by the Patagas (birds) and Uragas (snakes); nisevyamanah--being served; maghavan--King Indra; stuyamanah ca--and being offered prayers; bharata--O Maharaja Pariksit; upagiyamanah--being sung before; lalitam--very sweetly; asthana--in his assembly; adhyasana-asritah--situated on the throne; pandurena--white; atapatrena--with an umbrella over the head; candra-mandala-caruna--as beautiful as the circle of the moon; yuktah--endowed; ca anyaih--and by other; paramesthyaih--symptoms of an exalted king; camara--by yak-tail; vyajana-adibhih--fans and other paraphernalia; virajamanah--shining; paulamya--his wife, Saci; saha--with; ardha-asanaya--who occupied half the throne; bhrsam--greatly; sah--he (Indra); yada--when; parama-acaryam--the most exalted acarya, spiritual master; devanam--of all the demigods; atmanah--of himself; ca--and; ha--indeed; na--not; abhyanandata--welcomed; sampraptam--having appeared in the assembly; pratyutthana--by getting up from the throne; asana-adibhih--and by a seat and other greetings; vacaspatim--the priest of the demigods, Brhaspati; muni-varam--the best of all the sages; sura-asura-namaskrtam--who is respected by both the demigods and the asuras; na--not; uccacala--did get up; asanat--from the throne; indrah--Indra; pasyan api--although seeing; sabha-agatam--entering the assembly.
Sukadeva Gosvami said: O King, once upon a time, the King of heaven, Indra, being extremely proud because of his great opulence of the three worlds, transgressed the law of Vedic etiquette. Seated on his throne, he was surrounded by the Maruts, Vasus, Rudras, Adityas, Rbhus, Visvadevas, Sadhyas, Asvini-kumaras, Siddhas, Caranas and Gandharvas and by great saintly persons. Also surrounding him were the Vidyadharas, Apsaras, Kinnaras, Patagas [birds] and Uragas [snakes]. All of them were offering Indra their respects and services, and the Apsaras and Gandharvas were dancing and singing with very sweet musical instruments. Over Indra's head was a white umbrella as effulgent as the full moon. Fanned by yak-tail whisks and served with all the paraphernalia of a great king, Indra was sitting with his wife, Sacidevi, who occupied half the throne, when the great sage Brhaspati appeared in that assembly. Brhaspati, the best of the sages, was the spiritual master of Indra and the demigods and was respected by the demigods and demons alike. Nevertheless, although Indra saw his spiritual master before him, he did not rise from his own seat or offer a seat to his spiritual master, nor did Indra offer him a respectful welcome. Indra did nothing to show him respect.
tato nirgatya sahasa
kavir angirasah prabhuh
ayayau sva-grham tusnim
tatah--thereafter; nirgatya--going out; sahasa--suddenly; kavih--the great learned sage; angirasah--Brhaspati; prabhuh--the master of the demigods; ayayau--returned; sva-grham--to his home; tusnim--being silent; vidvan--having known; sri-mada-vikriyam--deterioration because of madness due to opulence.
Brhaspati knew everything that would happen in the future. Seeing Indra's transgression of etiquette, he completely understood that Indra was puffed up by his material opulence. Although able to curse Indra, he did not do so. Instead, he left the assembly and in silence returned to his home.
tarhy eva pratibudhyendro
garhayam asa sadasi
svayam atmanam atmana
tarhi--then, immediately; eva--indeed; pratibudhya--realizing; indrah--King Indra; guru-helanam--disrespect to the spiritual master; atmanah--his own; garhayam asa--reproached; sadasi--in that assembly; svayam--personally; atmanam--himself; atmana--by himself.
Indra, the King of heaven, could immediately understand his mistake. Realizing he had disrespected his spiritual master, he condemned himself in the presence of all the members of the assembly.
aho bata mayasadhu
krtam vai dabhra-buddhina
guruh sadasi katkrtah
aho--alas; bata--indeed; maya--by me; asadhu--disrespectful; krtam--the action done; vai--certainly; dabhra-buddhina--being of less intelligence; yat--because; maya--by me; aisvarya-mattena--being very proud of material opulence; guruh--the spiritual master; sadasi--in this assembly; kat-krtah--mistreated.
Alas, what a regrettable deed I have committed because of my lack of intelligence and my pride in my material opulences. I failed to show respect to my spiritual master when he entered this assembly, and thus I have insulted him.
ko grdhyet pandito laksmim
yayaham asuram bhavam
nito 'dya vibudhesvarah
kah--who; grdhyet--would accept; panditah--a learned man; laksmim--opulences; tri-pista-pa-pateh api--although I am the King of the demigods; yaya--by which; aham--I; asuram--demoniac; bhavam--mentality; nitah--carried to; adya--now; vibudha--of the demigods, who are in the mode of goodness; isvarah--the King.
Although I am King of the demigods, who are situated in the mode of goodness, I was proud of a little opulence and polluted by false ego. Under the circumstances, who in this world would accept such riches at the risk of falling down ? Alas! I condemn my wealth and opulence.
Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu prayed to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, na dhanam na janam na sundarim kavitam va jagad-isa kamaye: "O my Lord, I do not aspire for material opulence or wealth, nor do I want a great number of followers to accept me as their leader, nor do I want a very beautiful wife to please me." Mama janmani janmanisvare bhavatad bhaktir ahaituki tvayi: "I do not even want liberation. All I want, life after life, is to be a faithful servant of Your Lordship." According to the laws of nature, when one is extremely opulent one becomes degraded, and this is true both individually and collectively. The demigods are situated in the mode of goodness, but sometimes even one who is situated in such an exalted position as King Indra, the king of all the demigods, falls down because of material opulence. We are now actually seeing this in America. The entire American nation has tried to advance in material opulence without striving to produce ideal human beings. The result is that Americans are now regretting the wholesale criminality of American society and are wondering how America has become so lawless and unmanageable. As stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (7.5.31), na te viduh svartha-gatim hi visnum: persons who are unenlightened do not know the aim of life, which is to return home, back to Godhead. Therefore, both individually and collectively, they try to enjoy so-called material comforts, and they become addicted to wine and women. The men produced in such a society are less than fourth class. They are the unwanted population known as varna-sankara, and as stated in Bhagavad-gita, an increase of varna-sankara population creates a hellish society. This is the society in which Americans now find themselves.
Fortunately, however, the Hare Krsna movement has come to America, and many fortunate young men are giving serious attention to this movement, which is creating ideal men of first-class character, men who completely refrain from meat-eating, illicit sex, intoxication and gambling. If the American people are serious about curbing the degraded criminal life of their nation, they must take to the Krsna consciousness movement and try to create the kind of human society advised in Bhagavad-gita (catur-varnyam maya srstam guna-karma-vibhagasah). They must divide their society into first-class men, second-class men, third-class men and fourth-class men. Since they are now creating only men who are less than fourth class, how can they avoid the dangers of a criminal society? Long, long ago, Lord Indra regretted his disrespect to his spiritual master, Brhaspati. Similarly, it is advised that the American people regret their mistaken advancement in civilization. They should take advice from the spiritual master, the representative of Krsna. If they do so, they will be happy, and theirs will be an ideal nation to lead the entire world.
yah paramesthyam dhisanam
adhitisthan na kancana
pratyuttisthed iti bruyur
dharmam te na param viduh
yah--anyone who; paramesthyam--royal; dhisanam--throne; adhitisthan--sitting on; na--not; kancana--anyone; pratyuttisthet--should rise before; iti--thus; bruyuh--those who say; dharmam--the codes of religion; te--they; na--not; param--higher; viduh--know.
If a person says, "One who is situated on the exalted throne of a king should not stand up to show respect to another king or a brahmana," it is to be understood that he does not know the superior religious principles.
Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura says in this regard that when a president or king is sitting on his throne, he does not need to show respect to everyone who comes within his assembly, but he must show respect to superiors like his spiritual master, brahmanas and Vaisnavas. There are many examples of how he should act. When Lord Krsna was sitting on His throne and Narada fortunately entered His assembly, even Lord Krsna immediately stood up with His officers and ministers to offer respectful obeisances to Narada. Narada knew that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and Krsna knew that Narada was His devotee, but although Krsna is the Supreme Lord and Narada is the Lord's devotee, the Lord observed the religious etiquette. Since Narada was a brahmacari, a brahmana and an exalted devotee, even Krsna, while acting as a king, offered His respectful obeisances unto Narada. Such is the conduct visible in the Vedic civilization. A civilization in which the people do not know how the representative of Narada and Krsna should be respected, how society should be formed and how one should advance in Krsna consciousness--a society concerned only with manufacturing new cars and new skyscrapers every year and then breaking them to pieces and making new ones--may be technologically advanced, but it is not a human civilization. A human civilization is advanced when its people follow the catur-varnya system, the system of four orders of life. There must be ideal, first-class men to act as advisors, second-class men to act as administrators, third-class men to produce food and protect cows, and fourth-class men who obey the three higher classes of society. One who does not follow the standard system of society should be considered a fifth-class man. A society without Vedic laws and regulations will not be very helpful to humanity. As stated in this verse, dharmam te na param viduh: such a society does not know the aim of life and the highest principle of religion.
patatam tamasi hy adhah
ye sraddadhyur vacas te vai
majjanty asma-plava iva
tesam--of them (the misleaders); ku-patha-destrnam--who show the path of danger; patatam--themselves falling; tamasi--in darkness; hi--indeed; adhah--down; ye--anyone who; sraddadhyuh--place faith in; vacah--the words; te--they; vai--indeed; majjanti--sink; asma-plavah--boats made of stone; iva--like.
Leaders who have fallen into ignorance and who mislead people by directing them to the path of destruction [as described in the previous verse] are, in effect, boarding a stone boat, and so too are those who blindly follow them. A stone boat would be unable to float and would sink in the water with its passengers. Similarly, those who mislead people go to hell, and their followers go with them.
As stated in the Vedic literature (Bhag. 11.20.17):
nr-deham adyam sulabham sudurlabham
plavam sukalpam guru-karna-dharam
We, the conditioned souls, have fallen in the ocean of nescience, but the human body fortunately provides us a good opportunity to cross the ocean because the human body is like a very good boat. When directed by a spiritual master acting as the captain, the boat can very easily cross the ocean. Furthermore, the boat is helped across by favorable winds, which are the instructions of Vedic knowledge. If one does not take advantage of all these facilities to cross the ocean of nescience, he is certainly committing suicide.
One who boards a boat made of stone is doomed. To be elevated to the stage of perfection, humanity must first give up false leaders who present boats of stone. All of human society is in such a dangerous position that to be rescued it must abide by the standard instructions of the Vedas. The cream of these instructions appears in the form of Bhagavad-gita. One should not take shelter of any other instructions, for Bhagavad-gita gives direct instructions on how to fulfill the aim of human life. Lord Sri Krsna therefore says, sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja: "Give up all other processes of religion and simply surrender to Me." Even if one does not accept Lord Krsna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, His instructions are so exalted and beneficial for humanity that if one follows His instructions one will be saved. Otherwise one will be cheated by unauthorized meditation and gymnastic methods of yoga. Thus one will board a boat of stone. which will sink and drown all its passengers. Unfortunately. although the American people are extremely eager to get out of materialistic chaos, they are sometimes found to patronize the makers of stone boats. That will not help them. They must take the proper boat offered by Krsna in the form of the Krsna consciousness movement. Then they will be easily saved. In this regard Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura comments: asmamayah plavo yesam te yatha majjantam plavam anumajjanti tatheti raja-nity-upadestrsu sva-sabhyesu kopo vyanjitah. If society is guided by political diplomacy, with one nation maneuvering against another, it will certainly sink like a stone boat. political maneuvering and diplomacy will not save human society. People must take to Krsna consciousness to understand the aim of life, to understand God. and to fulfill the human mission.
sirsna tac-caranam sprsan
atha--therefore; aham--I; amara-acaryam--the spiritual master of the demigods; agadha-dhisanam--whose spiritual knowledge is deep; dvijam--the perfect brahmana; prasadayisye--I shall please; nisathah--without duplicity; sirsna--with my head; tat-caranam--his lotus feet; sprsan--touching.
King Indra said: Therefore with great frankness and without duplicity I shall now bow my head at the lotus feet of Brhaspati, the spiritual master of the demigods. Because he is in the mode of goodness, he is fully aware of all knowledge and is the best of the brahmanas. Now I shall touch his lotus feet and offer my obeisances unto him to try to satisfy him.
Coming to his senses, King Indra realized that he was not a very sincere disciple of his spiritual master, Brhaspati. Therefore he decided that henceforward he would be nisatha, nonduplicitous. Nisathah sirsna-tac-caranam sprsan: he decided to touch his head to the feet of his spiritual master. From this example, we should learn this principle enunciated by Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura:
yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasado
yasyaprasadan na gatih kuto 'pi
"By the mercy of the spiritual master one is benedicted by the mercy of Krsna. Without the grace of the spiritual master, one cannot make any advancement." A disciple should never be a hypocrite or be unfaithful to his spiritual master. In Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.17.27), the spiritual master is also called acarya. Acaryam mam vijaniyan: the Supreme Personality of Godhead says that one should respect the spiritual master, accepting him as the Lord Himself. Navamanyeta karhicit: one should not disrespect the acarya at any time. Na martya-buddhyasuyeta: one should never think the acarya an ordinary person. Familiarity sometimes breeds contempt, but one should be very careful in one's dealings with the acarya. Agadha-dhisanam dvijam: the acarya is a perfect brahmana and has unlimited intelligence in guiding the activities of his disciple. Therefore Krsna advises in Bhagavad-gita (4.34):
tad viddhi pranipatena
upadeksyanti te jnanam
"Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized soul can impart knowledge unto you because he has seen the truth." One should fully surrender unto the spiritual master. and with service (sevaya) one should approach him for further spiritual enlightenment.
evam cintayatas tasya
maghono bhagavan grhat
brhaspatir gato 'drstam
evam--thus; cintayatah--while thinking very seriously; tasya--he; maghonah--Indra; bhagavan--the most powerful; grhat--from his home; brhaspatih--Brhaspati; gatah--went; adrstam--invisible; gatim--to a state; adhyatma--due to being highly elevated in spiritual consciousness; mayaya--by his potency.
While Indra, the King of the demigods, thought in this way and repented in his own assembly, Brhaspati, the most powerful spiritual master, understood his mind. Thus he became invisible to Indra and left home, for Brhaspati was spiritually more powerful than King Indra.
guror nadhigatah samjnam
pariksan bhagavan svarat
dhyayan dhiya surair yuktah
guroh--of his spiritual master; na--not; adhigatah--finding; samjnam--trace; pariksan--searching vigorously all around; bhagavan--the most powerful Indra; svarat--independent; dhyayan--meditating; dhiya--by wisdom; suraih--by the demigods; yuktah--surrounded; sarma--peace; na--not; alabhata--obtained; atmanah--of the mind.
Although Indra searched vigorously with the assistance of the other demigods, he could not find Brhaspati. Then Indra thought, "Alas, my spiritual master has become dissatisfied with me, and now I have no means of achieving good fortune." Although Indra was surrounded by demigods, he could not find peace of mind.
tac chrutvaivasurah sarva
devan pratyudyamam cakrur
tat srutva--hearing that news; eva--indeed; asurah--the demons; sarve--all; asritya--taking shelter of; ausanasam--of Sukracarya; matam--the instruction; devan--the demigods; pratyudyamam--action against; cakruh--performed; durmadah--not very intelligent; atatayinah--equipped with arms for fighting.
Hearing of the pitiable condition of King Indra, the demons, following the instructions of their guru, Sukracarya, equipped themselves with weapons and declared war against the demigods.
tair visrstesubhis tiksnair
brahmanam saranam jagmuh
taih--by them (the demons); visrsta--thrown; isubhih--by the arrows; tiksnaih--very sharp; nirbhinna--pierced all over; anga--bodies; uru--thighs; bahavah--and arms; brahmanam--of Lord Brahma; saranam--the shelter; jagmuh--approached; saha-indrah--with King Indra; nata-kandharah--their heads bent downward.
The demigods' heads, thighs and arms and the other parts of their bodies were injured by the sharp arrows of the demons. The demigods, headed by Indra, saw no other course than to immediately approach Lord Brahma with bowed heads for shelter and proper instruction.
tams tathabhyarditan viksya
bhagavan atmabhur ajah
krpaya paraya deva
tan--them (the demigods); tatha--in that way; abhyarditan--afflicted by the weapons of the demons; viksya--seeing; bhagavan--the most powerful; atma-bhuh--Lord Brahma; ajah--who was not born like an ordinary human being; krpaya--out of causeless mercy; paraya--great; devah--Lord Brahma; uvaca--said; parisantvayan--pacifying them.
When the most powerful Lord Brahma saw the demigods coming toward him, their bodies gravely injured by the arrows of the demons, he pacified them by his great causeless mercy and spoke as follows.
aho bata sura-srestha
hy abhadram vah krtam mahat
brahmistham brahmanam dantam
sri-brahma uvaca--Lord Brahma said; aho--alas; bata--it is very astonishing; sura-sresthah--O best of the demigods; hi--indeed; abhadram--injustice; vah--by you; krtam--done; mahat--great; brahmistham--a person fully obedient to the Supreme Brahman; brahmanam--a brahmana; dantam--who has fully controlled the mind and senses; aisvaryat--because of your material opulence; na--not; abhyanandata--welcomed properly.
Lord Brahma said: O best of the demigods, unfortunately, because of madness resulting from your material opulence, you failed to receive Brhaspati properly when he came to your assembly. Because he is aware of the Supreme Brahman and fully in control of his senses, he is the best of the brahmanas. Therefore it is very astonishing that you have acted impudently toward him.
Lord Brahma recognized the brahminical qualifications of Brhaspati, who was the spiritual master of the demigods because of his awareness of the Supreme Brahman. Brhaspati was very much in control of his senses and mind, and therefore he was a most qualified brahmana. Lord Brahma chastised the demigods for not properly respecting this brahmana, who was their guru. Lord Brahma wanted to impress upon the demigods that one's guru should not be disrespected under any circumstances. When Brhaspati entered the assembly of the demigods, they and their king, Indra, took him for granted. Since he came every day, they thought, they did not need to show him special respect. As it is said, familiarity breeds contempt. Being very much displeased, Brhaspati immediately left Indra's palace. Thus all the demigods, headed by Indra, became offenders at the lotus feet of Brhaspati, and Lord Brahma, being aware of this, condemned their neglect. In a song we sing every day, Narottama dasa Thakura says, caksu-dana dila yei, janme janme prabhu sei: the guru gives spiritual insight to the disciple, and therefore the guru should be considered his master, life after life. Under no circumstances should the guru be disrespected, but the demigods, being puffed up by their material possessions, were disrespectful to their guru. Therefore Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.17.27) advises, acaryam mam vijaniyan navamanyeta karhicit. na martya-buddhyasuyeta: the acarya should always be offered respectful obeisances; one should never envy the acarya, considering him an ordinary human being.
parebhyo vah parabhavah
samrddhanam ca yat surah
tasya--that; ayam--this; anayasya--of your ungrateful activity; asit--was; parebhyah--by others; vah--of all of you; parabhavah--the defeat; praksinebhyah--although they were weak; sva-vairibhyah--by your own enemies, who were previously defeated by you; samrddhanam--being yourselves very opulent; ca--and; yat--which; surah--O demigods.
Because of your misbehavior toward Brhaspati, you have been defeated by the demons. My dear demigods, since the demons were weak, having been defeated by you several times, how else could you, who were so advanced in opulence, be defeated by them?
The devas are celebrated for fighting with the asuras perpetually. In such fights the asuras were always defeated, but this time the demigods were defeated. Why? The reason, as stated here, was that they had offended their spiritual master. Their impudent disrespect of their spiritual master was the cause of their defeat by the demons. As stated in the sastras, when one disrespects a respectable superior, one loses his longevity and the results of his pious activities, and in this way one is degraded.
maghavan dvisatah pasya
sampraty upacitan bhuyah
kavyam aradhya bhaktitah
maghavan--O Indra; dvisatah--your enemies; pasya--just see; praksinan--being very weak (formerly); guru-atikramat--because of disrespecting their guru, Sukracarya; samprati--at the present moment; upacitan--powerful; bhuyah--again; kavyam--their spiritual master, Sukracarya; aradhya--worshiping; bhaktitah--with great devotion; adadiran--may take away; nilayanam--the abode, Satyaloka; mama--my; api--even; bhrgu-devatah--who are now strong devotees of Sukracarya, the disciple of Bhrgu.
O Indra, your enemies, the demons, were extremely weak because of their disrespect toward Sukracarya, but since they have now worshiped Sukracarya with great devotion, they have again become powerful. By their devotion to Sukracarya, they have increased their strength so much that now they are even able to easily seize my abode from me.
Lord Brahma wanted to point out to the demigods that by the strength of the guru one can become most powerful within this world, and by the displeasure of the guru one can lose everything. This is confirmed by the song of Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura:
yasya prasadad bhagavat-prasado
yasyaprasadan na gatih kuto 'pi
"By the mercy of the spiritual master one is benedicted by the mercy of Krsna. Without the grace of the spiritual master, one cannot make any advancement." Although the demons are insignificant in comparison to Lord Brahma, because of the strength of their guru they were so powerful that they could even seize Brahmaloka from Lord Brahma. We therefore pray to the spiritual master:
mukam karoti vacalam
pangum langhayate girim
yat-krpa tam aham vande
By the mercy of the guru, even a dumb man can become the greatest orator, and even a lame man can cross mountains. As advised by Lord Brahma, one should remember this sastric injunction if one desires success in his life.
tripistapam kim ganayanty abhedya-
mantra bhrgunam anusiksitarthah
bhavanty abhadrani naresvaranam
tri-pista-pam--all the demigods, including Lord Brahma; kim--what; ganayanti--they care for; abhedya-mantrah--whose determination to carry out the orders of the spiritual master is unbreakable; bhrgunam--of the disciples of Bhrgu Muni like Sukracarya; anusiksita-arthah--deciding to follow the instructions; na--not; vipra--the brahmanas; govinda--the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna; go--the cows; isvaranam--of persons favoring or considering worshipable; bhavanti--are; abhadrani--any misfortunes; nara-isvaranam--or of kings who follow this principle.
Because of their firm determination to follow the instructions of Sukracarya, his disciples, the demons, are now unconcerned about the demigods. In fact, kings or others who have determined faith in the mercy of brahmanas, cows and the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, and who always worship these three are always strong in their position.
From the instructions of Lord Brahma it is understood that everyone should very faithfully worship the brahmanas, the Supreme personality of Godhead and the cows. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is go-brahmana-hitaya ca: He is always very kind to cows and brahmanas. Therefore one who worships Govinda must satisfy Him by worshiping the brahmanas and cows. If a government worships the brahmanas, the cows and Krsna, Govinda, it is never defeated anywhere; otherwise it must always be defeated and condemned everywhere. At the present moment, all over the world, governments have no respect for brahmanas, cows and Govinda, and consequently there are chaotic conditions all over the world. In summary, although the demigods were very powerful in material opulence, the demons defeated them in battle because the demigods had behaved disrespectfully toward a brahmana, Brhaspati, who was their spiritual master.
tad visvarupam bhajatasu vipram
tapasvinam tvastram athatmavantam
sabhajito 'rthan sa vidhasyate vo
yadi ksamisyadhvam utasya karma
tat--therefore; visvarupam--Visvarupa; bhajata--just worship as guru; asu--immediately; vipram--who is a perfect brahmana; tapasvinam--undergoing great austerities and penances; tvastram--the son of Tvasta; atha--as well as; atma-vantam--very independent; sabhajitah--being worshiped; arthan--the interests; sah--he; vidhasyate--will execute; vah--of all of you; yadi--if; ksamisyadhvam--you tolerate; uta--indeed; asya--his; karma--activities (to support the Daityas).
O demigods, I instruct you to approach Visvarupa, the son of Tvasta, and accept him as your guru. He is a pure and very powerful brahmana undergoing austerity and penances. Pleased by your worship, he will fulfill your desires, provided that you tolerate his being inclined to side with the demons.
Lord Brahma advised the demigods to accept the son of Tvasta as their spiritual master although he was always inclined toward the benefit of the asuras.
ta evam udita rajan
rsim tvastram upavrajya
sri-sukah uvaca--Sukadeva Gosvami said; te--all the demigods; evam--thus; uditah--being advised; rajan--O King Pariksit; brahmana--by Lord Brahma; vigata-jvarah--being relieved from the aggrievement caused by the demons; rsim--the great sage; tvastram--to the son of Tvasta; upavrajya--going; parisvajya--embracing; idam--this; abruvan--spoke.
Srila Sukadeva Gosvami continued: Thus advised by Lord Brahma and relieved of their anxiety, all the demigods went to the sage Visvarupa, the son of Tvasta. My dear King, they embraced him and spoke as follows.
vayam te 'tithayah prapta
asramam bhadram astu te
kamah sampadyatam tata
sri-devah ucuh--the demigods said; vayam--we; te--your; atithayah--guests; praptah--arrived at; asramam--your abode; bhadram--good fortune; astu--let there be; te--unto you; kamah--the desire; sampadyatam--let it be executed; tata--O darling; pitrnam--of us, who are just like your fathers; samayocitah--suitable to the present time.
The demigods said: Beloved Visvarupa, may there be all good fortune for you. We, the demigods, have come to your asrama as your guests. Please try to fulfill our desires according to the time, since we are on the level of your parents.
putranam hi paro dharmah
api putravatam brahman
kim uta brahmacarinam
putranam--of sons; hi--indeed; parah--superior; dharmah--religious principle; pitr-susrusanam--the service of the parents; satam--good; api--even; putra-vatam--of those who have sons; brahman--O dear brahmana; kim uta--what to speak; brahmacarinam--of brahmacaris.
O brahmana, the highest duty of a son, even though he has sons of his own, is to serve his parents, and what to speak of a son who is a brahmacari?
acaryo brahmano murtih
pita murtih prajapateh
bhrata marutpater murtir
mata saksat ksites tanuh
dayaya bhagini murtir
agner abhyagato murtih
acaryah--the teacher or spiritual master who instructs Vedic knowledge by his personal behavior; brahmanah--of all the Vedas; murtih--the personification; pita--the father; murtih--the personification; prajapateh--of Lord Brahma; bhrata--the brother; marut-pateh murtih--the personification of Indra; mata--the mother; saksat--directly; ksiteh--of the earth; tanuh--the body; dayayah--of mercy; bhagini--the sister; murtih--the personification; dharmasya--of religious principles; atma--the self; atithih--the guest; svayam--personally; agneh--of the fire-god; abhyagatah--the invited guest; murtih--the personification; sarva-bhutani--all living entities; ca--and; atmanah--of the Supreme Lord Visnu.
The acarya, the spiritual master who teaches all the Vedic knowledge and gives initiation by offering the sacred thread, is the personification of all the Vedas. Similarly, a father personifies Lord Brahma; a brother, King Indra; a mother, the planet earth; and a sister, mercy. A guest personifies religious principles, an invited guest personifies the demigod Agni, and all living entities personify Lord Visnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
According to the moral instructions of Canakya Pandita, atmavat sarva-bhutesu: one should observe all living entities to be on the same level as oneself. This means that no one should be neglected as inferior; because Paramatma is seated in everyone's body, everyone should be respected as a temple of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This verse describes the different ways in which one should respect a guru, a father, a brother, a sister, a guest and so on.
tasmat pitrnam artanam
sandesam kartum arhasi
tasmat--therefore; pitrnam--of the parents; artanam--who are in distress; artim--the grief; para-parabhavam--being defeated by the enemies; tapasa--by the strength of your austerities; apanayan--taking away; tata--O dear son; sandesam--our desire; kartum arhasi--you deserve to execute.
Dear son, we have been defeated by our enemies, and therefore we are very much aggrieved. Please mercifully fulfill our desires by relieving our distress through the strength of your austerities. Please fulfill our prayers.
brahmistham brahmanam gurum
sapatnams tava tejasa
vrnimahe--we choose; tva--you; upadhyayam--as teacher and spiritual master; brahmistham--being perfectly aware of the Supreme Brahman; brahmanam--a qualified brahmana; gurum--the perfect spiritual master; yatha--so that; anjasa--very easily; vijesyamah--we shall defeat; sapatnan--our rivals; tava--your; tejasa--by the power of austerity.
Since you are completely aware of the Supreme Brahman, you are a perfect brahmana, and therefore you are the spiritual master of all orders of life. We accept you as our spiritual master and director so that by the power of your austerity we may easily defeat the enemies who have conquered us.
One must approach a particular type of guru to execute a particular type of duty. Therefore although Visvarupa was inferior to the demigods, the demigods accepted him as their guru to conquer the demons.
na garhayanti hy arthesu
chandobhyo 'nyatra na brahman
vayo jyaisthyasya karanam
na--not; garhayanti--forbid; hi--indeed; arthesu--in acquiring interests; yavistha-anghri--at the lotus feet of a junior; abhivadanam--offering obeisances; chandobhyah--the Vedic mantras; anyatra--apart from; na--not; brahman--O brahmana; vayah--age; jyaisthyasya--of seniority; karanam--the cause.
The demigods continued: Do not fear criticism for being younger than us. Such etiquette does not apply in regard to Vedic mantras. Except in relationship to Vedic mantras, seniority is determined by age, but one may offer respectful obeisances even to a younger person who is advanced in chanting Vedic mantras. Therefore although you are junior in relationship to us, you may become our priest without hesitation.
It is said, vrddhatvam vayasa vina: one may be senior without being advanced in age. Even if one is not old, one gains seniority if he is senior in knowledge. Visvarupa was junior in relationship to the demigods because he was their nephew, but the demigods wanted to accept him as their priest, and therefore he would have to accept obeisances from them. The demigods explained that this should not be a cause for hesitation; he could become their priest because he was advanced in Vedic knowledge. Similarly. Canakya Pandita advises, nicad apy uttamam jnanam: one may accept education from a member of a lower social order. The brahmanas, the members of the most elevated varna, are teachers, but a person in a lower family, such as a family of ksatriyas, vaisyas or even sudras, may be accepted as a teacher if he has knowledge. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu approved of this when He expressed this opinion before Ramananda Raya (Cc. Madhya 8.128):
kiba vipra, kiba nyasi, sudra kene naya
yei krsna-tattva-vetta, sei 'guru' haya
It does not matter whether one is a brahmana, sudra, grhastha or sannyasi. These are all material designations. A spiritually advanced person has nothing to do with such designations. Therefore, if one is advanced in the science of Krsna consciousness, regardless of his position in human society, he may become a spiritual master.
sa visvarupas tan aha
prasannah slaksnaya gira
sri-rsih uvaca--Sukadeva Gosvami continued to speak; abhyarthitah--being requested; sura-ganaih--by the demigods; paurahitye--in accepting the priesthood; maha-tapah--highly advanced in austerity and penances; sah--he; visvarupah--Visvarupa; tan--to the demigods; aha--spoke; prasannah--being satisfied; slaksnaya--sweet; gira--with words.
Sukadeva Gosvami continued: When all the demigods requested the great Visvarupa to be their priest, Visvarupa, who was advanced in austerities, was very pleased. He replied to them as follows.
katham nu mad-vidho natha
sa eva svartha ucyate
sri-visvarupah uvaca--Sri Visvarupa said; vigarhitam--condemned; dharma-silaih--by persons respectful to the religious principles; brahma-varcah--of brahminical strength or power; upavyayam--causes loss; katham--how; nu--indeed; mat-vidhah--a person like me; nathah--O lords; loka-isaih--by the ruling powers of different planets; abhiyacitam--request; pratyakhyasyati--will refuse; tat-sisyah--who is on the level of their disciple; sah--that; eva--indeed; sva-arthah--real interest; ucyate--is described as.
Sri Visvarupa said: O demigods, although the acceptance of priesthood is decried as causing the loss of previously acquired brahminical power, how can someone like me refuse to accept your personal request? You are all exalted commanders of the entire universe. I am your disciple and must take many lessons from you. Therefore I cannot refuse you. I must agree for my own benefit.
The professions of a qualified brahmana are pathana, pathana, yajana, yajana, dana and pratigraha. The words yajana and yajana mean that a brahmana becomes the priest of the populace for the sake of their elevation. One who accepts the post of spiritual master neutralizes the sinful reactions of the yajamana, the one on whose behalf he performs yajna. Thus the results of the pious acts previously performed by the priest or spiritual master are diminished. Therefore priesthood is not accepted by learned brahmanas. Nevertheless, the greatly learned brahmana Visvarupa became the priest of the demigods because of his profound respect for them.
akincananam hi dhanam silonchanam
katham vigarhyam nu karomy adhisvarah
paurodhasam hrsyati yena durmatih
akincananam--of persons who have taken to austerities and penances to become detached from worldly possessions; hi--certainly; dhanam--the wealth; sila--the collecting of grains left in the field; unchanam--and the collecting of grains left in the wholesale marketplace; tena--by that means; iha--here; nirvartita--accomplishing; sadhu--of the exalted devotees; sat-kriyah--all the pious activities; katham--how; vigarhyam--reproachable; nu--indeed; karomi--I shall execute; adhisvarah--O great governors of the planetary systems; paurodhasam--the duty of priesthood; hrsyati--is pleased; yena--by which; durmatih--one who is less intelligent.
O exalted governors of various planets, the true brahmana, who has no material possessions, maintains himself by the profession of accepting silonchana. In other words, he picks up grains left in the field and on the ground in the wholesale marketplace. By this means, householder brahmanas who actually abide by the principles of austerity and penance maintain themselves and their families and perform all necessary pious activities. A brahmana who desires to achieve happiness by gaining wealth through professional priesthood must certainly have a very low mind. How shall I accept such priesthood?
A first-class brahmana does not accept any rewards from his disciples or yajamanas. Practicing austerities and penances, he instead goes to the agricultural field and collects food grains left by the agriculturalists to be collected by brahmanas. Similarly, such brahmanas go to marketplaces where grains are purchased and sold wholesale, and there they collect grains left by the merchants. In this way, such exalted brahmanas maintain their bodies and families. Such priests never demand anything from their disciples to live in opulence, imitating ksatriyas or vaisyas. In other words, a pure brahmana voluntarily accepts a life of poverty and lives in complete dependence on the mercy of the Lord. Not very many years ago, a brahmana in Krsnanagara, near Navadvipa, was offered some help from the local Zamindar, Vraja Krsnacandra. The brahmana refused to accept the help. He said that since he was very happy in his householder life, taking rice given by his disciples and cooking vegetables of tamarind leaves, there was no question of taking help from the Zamindar. The conclusion is that although a brahmana may receive much opulence from his disciples, he should not utilize the rewards of his priesthood for his personal benefit; he must use them for the service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
tathapi na pratibruyam
gurubhih prarthitam kiyat
bhavatam prarthitam sarvam
pranair arthais ca sadhaye
tatha api--still; na--not; pratibruyam--I may refuse; gurubhih--by persons on the level of my spiritual master; prarthitam--request; kiyat--of small value; bhavatam--of all of you; prarthitam--the desire; sarvam--whole; pranaih--by my life; arthaih--by my possessions; ca--also; sadhaye--I shall execute.
All of you are my superiors. Therefore although accepting priesthood is sometimes reproachable, I cannot refuse even a small request from you. I agree to be your priest. I shall fulfill your request by dedicating my life and possessions.
tebhya evam pratisrutya
paurahityam vrtas cakre
sri-badarayanih uvaca--Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said; tebhyah--unto them (the demigods); evam--thus; pratisrutya--promising; visvarupah--Visvarupa; maha-tapah--the most exalted personality; paurahityam--the priesthood; vrtah--surrounded by them; cakre--executed; paramena--supreme; samadhina--with attention.
Sri Sukadeva Gosvami continued: O King, after making this promise to the demigods, the exalted Visvarupa, surrounded by the demigods, performed the necessary priestly activities with great enthusiasm and attention.
The word samadhina is very important. Samadhi means complete absorption with an undiverted mind. Visvarupa, who was a most learned brahmana, not only accepted the request of the demigods, but took their request seriously and performed the activities of priesthood with an undiverted mind. In other words, he accepted the priesthood not for material gain, but to profit the demigods. Such is the duty of a priest. The word purah means "family," and hita means "benefit." Thus the word purohita indicates that the priest is the well-wisher of the family. Another meaning of the word purah is "first." A priest's first duty is to see that his disciples benefit spiritually and materially by all means. Then he is satisfied. A priest should never be interested in performing Vedic rituals for his personal benefit.
sura-dvisam sriyam guptam
vaisnavya vidyaya vibhuh
sura-dvisam--of the enemies of the demigods; sriyam--the opulence; guptam--protected; ausanasya--of Sukracarya; api--although; vidyaya--by the talents; acchidya--collecting; adat--delivered; maha-indraya--unto King Indra; vaisnavya--of Lord Visnu; vidyaya--by a prayer; vibhuh--the most powerful Visvarupa.
The opulence of the demons, who are generally known as the enemies of the demigods, was protected by the talents and tactics of Sukracarya, but Visvarupa, who was most powerful, composed a protective prayer known as the Narayana-kavaca. By this intelligent mantra, he took away the opulence of the demons and gave it to Mahendra, the King of heaven.
The distinction between the demigods (devas) and demons (asuras) is that the demigods are all devotees of Lord Visnu whereas the demons are devotees of demigods like Lord Siva, Goddess Kali and Goddess Durga. Sometimes the demons are also devotees of Lord Brahma. For example, Hiranyakasipu was a devotee of Lord Brahma, Ravana was a devotee of Lord Siva, and Mahisasura was a devotee of Goddess Durga. The demigods are devotees of Lord Visnu (visnu-bhaktah smrto daiva), whereas the demons (asuras tad-viparyayah) are always against the visnu-bhaktas, or Vaisnavas. To oppose the Vaisnavas, the demons become devotees of Lord Siva, Lord Brahma, Kali, Durga, and so on. In the days of yore, many long years ago, there was animosity between the devas and the asuras, and the same spirit still continues, for the devotees of Lord Siva and Goddess Durga are always envious of Vaisnavas, who are devotees of Lord Visnu. This strain between the devotees of Lord Siva and Lord Visnu has always existed. In the higher planetary systems, fights between the demons and the demigods continue for a long, long time.
Herein we see that Visvarupa made for the demigods a protective covering, saturated with a Visnu mantra. Sometimes the Visnu mantra is called Visnu-jvara, and the Siva mantra is called Siva-jvara. We find in the sastras that sometimes the Siva-jvara and Visnu-jvara are employed in the fights between the demons and the demigods.
The word sura-dvisam, which in this verse means "of the enemies of the demigods," also refers to the atheists. Srimad-Bhagavatam elsewhere says that Lord Buddha appeared for the purpose of bewildering the demons or atheists. The Supreme Personality of Godhead always awards His benediction to devotees. The Lord Himself confirms this in Bhagavad-gita (9.31):
na me bhaktah pranasyati
"O son of Kunti, declare it boldly that My devotee never perishes."
yaya guptah sahasrakso
jigye 'sura-camur vibhuh
tam praha sa mahendraya
yaya--by which; guptah--protected; sahasra-aksah--the thousand-eyed demigod, Indra; jigye--conquered; asura--of the demons; camuh--military power; vibhuh--becoming very powerful; tam--that; praha--spoke; sah--he; mahendraya--unto the King of heaven, Mahendra; visvarupah--Visvarupa; udara-dhih--very broad-minded.
Visvarupa, who was most liberal, spoke to King Indra [Sahasraksa] the secret hymn that protected Indra and conquered the military power of the demons.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports to the Sixth Canto, Seventh Chapter, of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, entitled "Indra Offends His Spiritual Master, Brhaspati."