The Transcendental Qualities of Vrtrasura
This chapter describes Vrtrasura's great qualities. When the prominent commanders of the demons fled, not hearing Vrtrasura's advice. Vrtrasura condemned them all as cowards. Speaking very bravely, he stood alone to face the demigods. When the demigods saw Vrtrasura's attitude, they were so afraid that they practically fainted, and Vrtrasura began trampling them down. Unable to tolerate this, Indra, the King of the demigods, threw his club at Vrtrasura, but Vrtrasura was such a great hero that he easily caught the club with his left hand and used it to beat Indra's elephant. Struck by the blow of Vrtrasura, the elephant was pushed back fourteen yards and fell, with Indra on its back.
King Indra had first accepted Visvarupa as his priest and thereafter killed him. Reminding Indra of his heinous activities, Vrtrasura said, "If one is a devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Visnu, and depends on Lord Visnu in every respect, then victory, opulence and peace of mind are all inevitably available. Such a person has nothing for which to aspire in the three worlds. The Supreme Lord is so kind that He especially favors such a devotee by not giving him opulence that will hamper his devotional service. Therefore I wish to give up everything for the service of the Lord. I wish always to chant the glories of the Lord and engage in His service. Let me become unattached to my worldly family and make friendships with the devotees of the Lord. I do not desire to be promoted to the higher planetary systems, even to Dhruvaloka or Brahmaloka, nor do I desire an unconquerable position within this material world. I have no need for such things."
ta evam samsato dharmam
vacah patyur acetasah
sri-sukah uvaca--Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said; te--they; evam--thus; samsatah--praising; dharmam--the principles of religion; vacah--the words; patyuh--of their master; acetasah--their minds being very disturbed; na--not; eva--indeed; agrhnanta--accepted; sambhrantah--fearful; palayana-parah--intent upon fleeing; nrpa--O King.
Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: O King, Vrtrasura, the commander in chief of the demons, advised his lieutenants in the principles of religion, but the cowardly demoniac commanders, intent upon fleeing the battlefield, were so disturbed by fear that they could not accept his words.
tan nivaryaujasa rajan
nirbhartsyedam uvaca ha
visiryamanam--being shattered; prtanam--the army; asurim--of the demons; asura-rsabhah--the best of the asuras, Vrtrasura; kala-anukulaih--following the circumstances presented by time; tridasaih--by the demigods; kalyamanam--being chased; anatha-vat--as if no one were there to protect them; drstva--seeing; atapyata--felt pain; sankruddhah--being very angry; indra-satruh--Vrtrasura, the enemy of Indra; amarsitah--unable to tolerate; tan--them (the demigods); nivarya--blocking; ojasa--with great force; rajan--O King Pariksit; nirbhartsya--rebuking; idam--this; uvaca--said; ha--indeed.
O King Pariksit, the demigods, taking advantage of a favorable opportunity presented by time, attacked the army of the demons from the rear and began driving away the demoniac soldiers, scattering them here and there as if their army had no leader. Seeing the pitiable condition of his soldiers, Vrtrasura, the best of the asuras, who was called Indrasatru, the enemy of Indra, was very much aggrieved. Unable to tolerate such reverses, he stopped and forcefully rebuked the demigods, speaking the following words in an angry mood.
kim va uccaritair matur
dhavadbhih prsthato hataih
na hi bhita-vadhah slaghyo
na svargyah sura-maninam
kim--what is the benefit; vah--for you; uccaritaih--with those like the stool; matuh--of the mother; dhavadbhih--running away; prsthatah--from the back; hataih--killed; na--not; hi--certainly; bhita-vadhah--the killing of a person who is afraid; slaghyah--glorious; na--nor; svargyah--leading to the heavenly planets; sura-maninam--of persons who consider themselves heroes.
O demigods, these demoniac soldiers have taken birth uselessly. Indeed, they have come from the bodies of their mothers exactly like stool. What is the benefit of killing such enemies from behind while they are running in fear? One who considers himself a hero should not kill an enemy who is afraid of losing his life. Such killing is never glorious, nor can it promote one to the heavenly planets.
Vrtrasura rebuked both the demigods and the demoniac soldiers because the demons were running in fear of their lives and the demigods were killing them from behind. The actions of both were abominable. When a fight takes place, the opposing parties must be prepared to fight like heroes. A hero never runs from the field of battle. He always fights face to face, determined to gain victory or lay down his life in the fight. That is heroic. Killing an enemy from behind is also inglorious. When an enemy turns his back and runs in fear of his life, he should not be killed. This is the etiquette of military science.
Vrtrasura insulted the demoniac soldiers by comparing them to the stool of their mothers. Both stool and a cowardly son come from the abdomen of the mother, and Vrtrasura said that there is no difference between them. A similar comparison was given by Tulasi dasa, who commented that a son and urine both come from the same channel. In other words, semen and urine both come from the genitals, but semen produces a child whereas urine produces nothing. Therefore if a child is neither a hero nor a devotee, he is not a son but urine. Similarly, Canakya Pandita also says:
ko 'rthah putrena jatena
yo na vidvan na dharmikah
kanena caksusa kim va
caksuh pidaiva kevalam
"What is the use of a son who is neither glorious nor devoted to the Lord? Such a son is like a blind eye, which simply gives pain but cannot help one see."
yadi vah pradhane sraddha
saram va ksullaka hrdi
agre tisthata matram me
na ced gramya-sukhe sprha
yadi--if; vah--of you; pradhane--in battle; sraddha--faith; saram--patience; va--or; ksullakah--O insignificant ones; hrdi--in the core of the heart; agre--in front; tisthata--just stand; matram--for a moment; me--of me; na--not; cet--if; gramya-sukhe--in sense gratification; sprha--desire.
O insignificant demigods, if you truly have faith in your heroism, if you have patience in the cores of your hearts and if you are not ambitious for sense gratification, please stand before me for a moment.
Rebuking the demigods, Vrtrasura challenged, "O demigods, if you are actually heroes, stand before me now and try to show your prowess. If you do not wish to fight, if you are afraid of losing your lives, I shall not kill you, for unlike you, I am not so evil minded as to kill persons who are neither heroic nor willing to fight. If you have faith in your heroism, please stand before me."
evam sura-ganan kruddho
bhisayan vapusa ripun
yena loka vicetasah
evam--thus; sura-ganan--the demigods; kruddhah--being very angry; bhisayan--terrifying; vapusa--by his body; ripun--his enemies; vyanadat--roared; su-maha-pranah--the most powerful Vrtrasura; yena--by which; lokah--all people; vicetasah--unconscious.
Sukadeva Gosvami said: Vrtrasura, the angry and most powerful hero, terrified the demigods with his stout and strongly built body. When he roared with a resounding voice, nearly all living entities fainted.
tena deva-ganah sarve
nipetur murcchita bhumau
tena--by that; deva-ganah--the demigods; sarve--all; vrtra-visphotanena--the tumultuous sound of Vrtrasura; vai--indeed; nipetuh--fell; murcchitah--fainted; bhumau--on the ground; yatha--just as if; eva--indeed; asanina--by a thunderbolt; hatah--struck.
When all the demigods heard Vrtrasura's tumultuous roar, which resembled that of a lion, they fainted and fell to the ground as if struck by thunderbolts.
mamarda padbhyam sura-sainyam aturam
gam kampayann udyata-sula ojasa
nalam vanam yutha-patir yathonmadah
mamarda--trampled; padbhyam--by his feet; sura-sainyam--the army of the demigods; aturam--who were very afraid; nimilita-aksam--closing their eyes; rana-ranga-durmadah--arrogant on the battlefield; gam--the surface of the globe; kampayan--causing to tremble; udyata-sulah--taking up his trident; ojasa--with his strength; nalam--of hollow bamboo sticks; vanam--a forest; yutha-patih--an elephant; yatha--just as; unmadah--maddened.
As the demigods closed their eyes in fear, Vrtrasura, taking up his trident and making the earth tremble with his great strength, trampled the demigods beneath his feet on the battlefield the way a mad elephant tramples hollow bamboos in the forest.
vilokya tam vajra-dharo 'tyamarsitah
sva-satrave 'bhidravate maha-gadam
ciksepa tam apatatim suduhsaham
jagraha vamena karena lilaya
vilokya--seeing; tam--him (Vrtrasura); vajra-dharah--the carrier of the thunderbolt (King Indra); ati--very much; amarsitah--intolerant; sva--his own; satrave--toward the enemy; abhidravate--running; maha-gadam--a very powerful club; ciksepa--threw; tam--that (club); apatatim--flying toward him; su-duhsaham--very difficult to counteract; jagraha--caught; vamena--with his left; karena--hand; lilaya--very easily.
Seeing Vrtrasura's disposition, Indra, the King of heaven, became intolerant and threw at him one of his great clubs, which are extremely difficult to counteract. However, as the club flew toward him, Vrtrasura easily caught it with his left hand.
sa indra-satruh kupito bhrsam taya
jaghana kumbha-sthala unnadan mrdhe
tat karma sarve samapujayan nrpa
sah--that; indra-satruh--Vrtrasura; kupitah--being angry; bhrsam--very much; taya--with that; mahendra-vaham--the elephant who is the carrier of Indra; gadaya--by the club; uru-vikramah--who is famous for his great strength; jaghana--struck; kumbha-sthale--on the head; unnadan--roaring loudly; mrdhe--in that fight; tat karma--that action (striking the head of Indra's elephant with the club in his left hand); sarve--all the soldiers (on both sides); samapujayan--glorified; nrpa--O King Pariksit.
O King Pariksit, the powerful Vrtrasura, the enemy of King Indra, angrily struck the head of Indra's elephant with that club, making a tumultuous sound on the battlefield. For this heroic deed, the soldiers on both sides glorified him.
vighurnito 'drih kulisahato yatha
apasarad bhinna-mukhah sahendro
muncann asrk sapta-dhanur bhrsartah
airavatah--Airavata, the elephant of King Indra; vrtra-gada-abhimrstah--struck by the club in Vrtrasura's hand; vighurnitah--shaken; adrih--a mountain; kulisa--by a thunderbolt; ahatah--struck; yatha--just like; apasarat--was pushed back; bhinna-mukhah--having a broken mouth; saha-indrah--with King Indra; muncan--spitting; asrk--blood; sapta-dhanuh--a distance measured by seven bows (approximately fourteen yards); bhrsa--very severely; artah--aggrieved.
Struck with the club by Vrtrasura like a mountain struck by a thunderbolt, the elephant Airavata, feeling great pain and spitting blood from its broken mouth, was pushed back fourteen yards. In great distress, the elephant fell, with Indra on its back.
na sanna-vahaya visanna-cetase
prayunkta bhuyah sa gadam mahatma
na--not; sanna--fatigued; vahaya--upon him whose carrier; visanna-cetase--morose in the core of his heart; prayunkta--used; bhuyah--again; sah--he (Vrtrasura); gadam--the club; maha-atma--the great soul (who refrained from striking Indra with the club when he saw Indra morose and aggrieved); indrah--Indra; amrta-syandi-kara--of his hand, which produces nectar; abhimarsa--by the touch; vita--was relieved; vyatha--from pains; ksata--and cuts; vahah--whose carrier elephant; avatasthe--stood there.
When he saw Indra's carrier elephant thus fatigued and injured and when he saw Indra morose because his carrier had been harmed in that way, the great soul Vrtrasura, following religious principles, refrained from again striking Indra with the club. Taking this opportunity, Indra touched the elephant with his nectar-producing hand, thus relieving the animal's pain and curing its injuries. Then the elephant and Indra both stood silently.
sa tam nrpendrahava-kamyaya ripum
vajrayudham bhratr-hanam vilokya
smarams ca tat-karma nr-samsam amhah
sokena mohena hasan jagada
sah--he (Vrtrasura); tam--him (the King of heaven, Indra); nrpa-indra--O King Pariksit; ahava-kamyaya--with a desire to fight; ripum--his enemy; vajra-ayudham--whose weapon was the thunderbolt (made from the bones of Dadhici); bhratr-hanam--who was the killer of his brother; vilokya--seeing; smaran--remembering; ca--and; tat-karma--his activities; nr-samsam--cruel; amhah--a great sin; sokena--with lamentation; mohena--by bewilderment; hasan--laughing; jagada--said.
O King, when the great hero Vrtrasura saw Indra, his enemy, the killer of his brother, standing before him with a thunderbolt in his hand, desiring to fight, Vrtrasura remembered how Indra had cruelly killed his brother. Thinking of Indra's sinful activities, he became mad with lamentation and forgetfulness. Laughing sarcastically, he spoke as follows.
distya bhavan me samavasthito ripur
yo brahma-ha guru-ha bhratr-ha ca
distyanrno 'dyaham asattama tvaya
sri-vrtrah uvaca--the great hero Vrtrasura said; distya--by good fortune; bhavan--Your Lordship; me--of me; samavasthitah--situated (in front); ripuh--my enemy; yah--who; brahma-ha--the killer of a brahmana; guru-ha--the killer of your guru; bhratr-ha--the killer of my brother; ca--also; distya--by good fortune; anrnah--free from debt (to my brother); adya--today; aham--I; asat-tama--O most abominable one; tvaya--through you; mat-sula--by my trident; nirbhinna--being pierced; drsat--like stone; hrda--whose heart; acirat--very soon.
Sri Vrtrasura said: He who has killed a brahmana, he who has killed his spiritual master--indeed, he who has killed my brother--is now, by good fortune, standing before me face to face as my enemy. O most abominable one, when I pierce your stonelike heart with my trident, I shall be freed from my debt to my brother.
yo no 'grajasyatma-vido dvijater
guror apapasya ca diksitasya
visrabhya khadgena siramsy avrscat
pasor ivakarunah svarga-kamah
yah--he who; nah--our; agra-jasya--of the elder brother; atma-vidah--who was fully self-realized; dvi-jateh--a qualified brahmana; guroh--your spiritual master; apapasya--free from all sinful activities; ca--also; diksitasya--appointed as the initiator of your yajna; visrabhya--trustfully; khadgena--by your sword; siramsi--the heads; avrscat--cut off; pasoh--of an animal; iva--like; akarunah--merciless; svarga-kamah--desiring the heavenly planets.
Only for the sake of living in the heavenly planets, you killed my elder brother--a self-realized, sinless, qualified brahmana who had been appointed your chief priest. He was your spiritual master, but although you entrusted him with the performance of your sacrifice, you later mercilessly severed his heads from his body the way one butchers an animal.
sri-hri-daya-kirtibhir ujjhitam tvam
sva-karmana purusadais ca garhyam
asprsta-vahnim samadanti grdhrah
sri--opulence or beauty; hri--shame; daya--mercy; kirtibhih--and glory; ujjhitam--bereft of; tvam--you; sva-karmana--by your own activities; purusa-adaih--by the Raksasas (man-eaters); ca--and; garhyam--condemnable; krcchrena--with great difficulty; mat-sula--by my trident; vibhinna--pierced; deham--your body; asprsta-vahnim--not even touched by fire; samadanti--will eat; grdhrah--the vultures.
Indra, you are bereft of all shame, mercy, glory and good fortune. Deprived of these good qualities by the reactions of your fruitive activities, you are to be condemned even by the man-eaters [Raksasas]. Now I shall pierce your body with my trident, and after you die with great pain, even fire will not touch you; only the vultures will eat your body.
anye 'nu ye tveha nr-samsam ajna
yad udyatastrah praharanti mahyam
tair bhuta-nathan saganan nisata-
anye--others; anu--follow; ye--who; tva--you; iha--in this connection; nr-samsam--very cruel; ajnah--persons unaware of my prowess; yat--if; udyata-astrah--with their swords raised; praharanti--attack; mahyam--me; taih--with those; bhuta-nathan--to such leaders of the ghosts as Bhairava; sa-ganan--with their hordes; nisata--sharpened; tri-sula--by the trident; nirbhinna--separated or pierced; galaih--having their necks; yajami--I shall offer sacrifices.
You are naturally cruel. If the other demigods, unaware of my prowess, follow you by attacking me with raised weapons, I shall sever their heads with this sharp trident. With those heads I shall perform a sacrifice to Bhairava and the other leaders of the ghosts, along with their hordes.
atho hare me kulisena vira
harta pramathyaiva siro yadiha
tatranrno bhuta-balim vidhaya
manasvinam pada-rajah prapatsye
atho--otherwise; hare--O King Indra; me--of me; kulisena--by your thunderbolt; vira--O great hero; harta--you cut off; pramathya--destroying my army; eva--certainly; sirah--head; yadi--if; iha--in this battle; tatra--in that case; anrnah--relieved of all debts in this material world; bhuta-balim--a presentation for all living entities; vidhaya--arranging; manasvinam--of great sages like Narada Muni; pada-rajah--the dust of the lotus feet; prapatsye--I shall achieve.
But if in this battle you cut off my head with your thunderbolt and kill my soldiers, O Indra, O great hero, I shall take great pleasure in offering my body to other living entities [such as jackals and vultures]. I shall thus be relieved of my obligations to the reactions of my karma, and my fortune will be to receive the dust from the lotus feet of great devotees like Narada Muni.
Sri Narottama dasa Thakura sings:
ei chaya gosani yara, mui tara dasa
tan' sabara pada-renu mora panca-grasa
"I am the servant of the six Gosvamis, and the dust of their lotus feet provides my five kinds of food." A Vaisnava always desires the dust of the lotus feet of previous acaryas and Vaisnavas. Vrtrasura was certain that he would be killed in the battle with Indra, because this was the desire of Lord Visnu. He was prepared for death because he knew that after his death he was destined to return home, back to Godhead. This is a great destination, and it is achieved by the grace of a Vaisnava. Chadiya vaisnava-seva nistara payeche keba: no one has ever gone back to Godhead without being favored by a Vaisnava. In this verse, therefore, we find the words manasvinam pada-rajah prapatsye: "I shall receive the dust of the lotus feet of great devotees." The word manasvinam refers to great devotees who always think of Krsna. They are always peaceful, thinking of Krsna, and therefore they are called dhira. The best example of such a devotee is Narada Muni. If one receives the dust of the lotus feet of a manasvi, a great devotee, he certainly returns home, back to Godhead.
suresa kasman na hinosi vajram
purah sthite vairini mayy amogham
ma samsayistha na gadeva vajrah
syan nisphalah krpanartheva yacna
sura-isa--O King of the demigods; kasmat--why; na--not; hinosi--you hurl; vajram--the thunderbolt; purah sthite--standing in front; vairini--your enemy; mayi--at me; amogham--which is infallible (your thunderbolt); ma--do not; samsayisthah--doubt; na--not; gada iva--like the club; vajrah--the thunderbolt; syat--may be; nisphalah--with no result; krpana--from a miserly person; artha--for money; iva--like; yacna--a request.
O King of the demigods, since I, your enemy, am standing before you, why don't you hurl your thunderbolt at me? Although your attack upon me with your club was certainly useless, like a request of money from a miser, the thunderbolt you carry will not be useless. You need have no doubts about this.
When King Indra threw his club at Vrtrasura, Vrtrasura caught it in his left hand and retaliated by using it to strike the head of Indra's elephant. Thus Indra's attack was a disastrous failure. Indeed, Indra's elephant was injured and thrown back fourteen yards. Therefore even though Indra stood with the thunderbolt to hurl against Vrtrasura, he was doubtful, thinking that the thunderbolt might also fail. Vrtrasura, however, being a Vaisnava, assured Indra that the thunderbolt would not fail, for Vrtrasura knew that it had been prepared in accordance with the instructions of Lord Visnu. Although Indra had doubts because he could not understand that Lord Visnu's order never fails, Vrtrasura understood Lord Visnu's purpose. Vrtrasura was eager to be killed by the thunderbolt manufactured according to Lord Visnu's instructions because he was sure that he would thus return home, back to Godhead. He was simply waiting for the opportunity of the thunderbolt's being released. In effect, therefore, Vrtrasura told Indra, "If you want to kill me, since I am your enemy, take this opportunity. Kill me. You will gain victory, and I shall go back to Godhead. Your deed will be equally beneficial for both of us. Do it immediately."
nanv esa vajras tava sakra tejasa
harer dadhices tapasa ca tejitah
tenaiva satrum jahi visnu-yantrito
yato harir vijayah srir gunas tatah
nanu--certainly; esah--this; vajrah--thunderbolt; tava--of yours; sakra--O Indra; tejasa--by the prowess; hareh--of Lord Visnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead; dadhiceh--of Dadhici; tapasa--by the austerities; ca--as well as; tejitah--empowered; tena--with that; eva--certainly; satrum--your enemy; jahi--kill; visnu-yantritah--ordered by Lord Visnu; yatah--wherever; harih--Lord Visnu; vijayah--victory; srih--opulences; gunah--and other good qualities; tatah--there.
O Indra, King of heaven, the thunderbolt you carry to kill me has been empowered by the prowess of Lord Visnu and the strength of Dadhici's austerities. Since you have come here to kill me in accordance with Lord Visnu's order, there is no doubt that I shall be killed by the release of your thunderbolt. Lord Visnu has sided with you. Therefore your victory, opulence and all good qualities are assured.
Vrtrasura not only assured King Indra that the thunderbolt was invincible, but also encouraged Indra to use it against him as soon as possible. Vrtrasura was eager to die with the stroke of the thunderbolt sent by Lord Visnu so that he could immediately return home, back to Godhead. By hurling the thunderbolt, Indra would gain victory and enjoy the heavenly planets, remaining in the material world for repeated birth and death. Indra wanted to gain victory over Vrtrasura and thereby become happy, but that would not at all be happiness. The heavenly planets are just below Brahmaloka, but as stated by the Supreme Lord, Krsna, abrahma-bhuvanal lokah punar avartino 'rjuna: even if one achieves Brahmaloka, he must still fall to the lower planetary systems again and again. However, if one goes back to Godhead, he never returns to this material world. By killing Vrtrasura, Indra would not actually gain; he would remain in the material world. Vrtrasura, however, would go to the spiritual world. Therefore victory was destined for Vrtrasura, not for Indra.
aham samadhaya mano yathaha nah
gatim muner yamy apaviddha-lokah
aham--I; samadhaya--fixing firmly; manah--the mind; yatha--just as; aha--said; nah--our; sankarsanah--Lord Sankarsana; tat-carana-aravinde--at His lotus feet; tvat-vajra--of your thunderbolt; ramhah--by the force; lulita--torn; gramya--of material attachment; pasah--the rope; gatim--the destination; muneh--of Narada Muni and other devotees; yami--I shall achieve; apaviddha--giving up; lokah--this material world (where one desires all kinds of impermanent things).
By the force of your thunderbolt, I shall be freed of material bondage and shall give up this body and this world of material desires. Fixing my mind upon the lotus feet of Lord Sankarsana, I shall attain the destination of such great sages as Narada Muni, just as Lord Sankarsana has said.
The words aham samadhaya manah indicate that the most important duty at the time of death is to concentrate one's mind. If one can fix his mind on the lotus feet of Krsna, Visnu, Sankarsana or any Visnu murti, his life will be successful. To be killed while fixing his mind at the lotus feet of Sankarsana, Vrtrasura asked Indra to release his vajra, or thunderbolt. He was destined to be killed by the thunderbolt given by Lord Visnu; there was no question of its being baffled. Therefore Vrtrasura requested Indra to release the thunderbolt immediately, and he prepared himself by fixing his mind at the lotus feet of Krsna. A devotee is always ready to give up his material body, which is described herein as gramya-pasa, the rope of material attachment. The body is not at all good; it is simply a cause of bondage to the material world. Unfortunately, even though the body is destined for destruction, fools and rascals invest all their faith in the body and are never eager to return home, back to Godhead.
pumsam kilaikanta-dhiyam svakanam
yah sampado divi bhumau rasayam
na rati yad dvesa udvega adhir
madah kalir vyasanam samprayasah
pumsam--unto persons; kila--certainly; ekanta-dhiyam--who are advanced in spiritual consciousness; svakanam--who are recognized by the Supreme Personality of Godhead as His own; yah--which; sampadah--opulences; divi--in the upper planetary systems; bhumau--in the middle planetary systems; rasayam--and in the lower planetary systems; na--not; rati--bestows; yat--from which; dvesah--envy; udvegah--anxiety; adhih--mental agitation; madah--pride; kalih--quarrel; vyasanam--distress due to loss; samprayasah--great endeavor.
Persons who fully surrender at the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and always think of His lotus feet are accepted and recognized by the Lord as His own personal assistants or servants. The Lord never bestows upon such servants the brilliant opulences of the upper, lower and middle planetary systems of this material world. When one possesses material opulence in any of these three divisions of the universe, his possessions naturally increase his enmity, anxiety, mental agitation, pride and belligerence. Thus one goes through much endeavor to increase and maintain his possessions, and he suffers great unhappiness when he loses them.
In Bhagavad-gita (4.11) the Lord says:
ye yatha mam prapadyante
tams tathaiva bhajamy aham
manusyah partha sarvasah
"As devotees surrender unto Me, I reward them accordingly. Everyone follows My path in all respects, O son of Prtha." Both Indra and Vrtrasura were certainly devotees of the Lord, although Indra took instructions from Visnu to kill Vrtrasura. The Lord was actually more favorable to Vrtrasura because after being killed by Indra's thunderbolt, Vrtrasura would go back to Godhead, whereas the victorious Indra would rot in this material world. Because both of them were devotees, the Lord awarded them the respective benedictions they wanted. Vrtrasura never wanted material possessions, for he knew very well the nature of such possessions. To accumulate material possessions, one must labor very hard, and when he gets them he creates many enemies because this material world is always full of rivalry. If one becomes rich, his friends or relatives are envious. For ekanta-bhaktas, unalloyed devotees, Krsna therefore never provides material possessions. A devotee sometimes needs some material possessions for preaching, but the possessions of a preacher are not like those of a karmi. A karmi's possessions are achieved as a result of karma, but those of a devotee are arranged by the Supreme Personality of Godhead just to facilitate his devotional activities. Because a devotee never uses material possessions for any purpose other than the service of the Lord, the possessions of a devotee are not to be compared to those of a karmi.
patir vidhatte purusasya sakra
tato 'numeyo bhagavat-prasado
yo durlabho 'kincana-gocaro 'nyaih
trai-vargika--for the three objectives, namely religiosity, economic development, and satisfaction of the senses; ayasa--of endeavor; vighatam--the ruin; asmat--our; patih--Lord; vidhatte--performs; purusasya--of a devotee; sakra--O Indra; tatah--whereby; anumeyah--to be inferred; bhagavat-prasadah--the special mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; yah--which; durlabhah--very difficult to obtain; akincana-gocarah--within the reach of the unalloyed devotees; anyaih--by others, who aspire for material happiness.
Our Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, forbids His devotees to endeavor uselessly for religion, economic development and sense gratification. O Indra, one can thus infer how kind the Lord is. Such mercy is obtainable only by unalloyed devotees, not by persons who aspire for material gains.
There are four objectives in human life--namely, religiosity (dharma), economic development (artha), sense gratification (kama), and liberation (moksa) from the bondage of material existence. People generally aspire for religiosity, economic development and sense gratification, but a devotee has no other desire than to serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead both in this life and in the next. The special mercy for the unalloyed devotee is that the Lord saves him from hard labor to achieve the results of religion, economic development and sense gratification. Of course, if one wants such benefits, the Lord certainly awards them. Indra, for example, although a devotee, was not much interested in release from material bondage; instead, he desired sense gratification and a high standard of material happiness in the heavenly planets. Vrtrasura, however, being an unalloyed devotee, aspired only to serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore the Lord arranged for him to go back to Godhead after his bodily bondage was destroyed by Indra. Vrtrasura requested Indra to release his thunderbolt against him as soon as possible so that both he and Indra would benefit according to their proportionate advancement in devotional service.
aham hare tava padaika-mula-
dasanudaso bhavitasmi bhuyah
manah smaretasu-pater gunams te
grnita vak karma karotu kayah
aham--I; hare--O my Lord; tava--of Your Lordship; pada-eka-mula--whose only shelter is the lotus feet; dasa-anudasah--the servant of Your servant; bhavitasmi--shall I become; bhuyah--again; manah--my mind; smareta--may remember; asu-pateh--of the Lord of my life; gunan--the attributes; te--of Your Lordship; grnita--may chant; vak--my words; karma--activities of service to You; karotu--may perform; kayah--my body.
O my Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, will I again be; able to be a servant of Your eternal servants who find shelter only at Your lotus feet? O Lord of my life, may I again become their servant so that my mind may always think of Your transcendental attributes, my words always glorify those attributes, and my body always engage in the loving service of Your Lordship?
This verse gives the sum and substance of devotional life. One must first become a servant of the servant of the servant of the Lord (dasanudasa). Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu advised, and He also showed by His own example, that a living entity should always desire to be a servant of the servant of the servant of Krsna, the maintainer of the gopis (gopi-bhartuh pada-kamalayor dasa-dasanudasah). This means that one must accept a spiritual master who comes in the disciplic succession and is a servant of the servant of the Lord. Under his direction, one must then engage one's three properties, namely his body, mind and words. The body should be engaged in physical activity under the order of the master, the mind should think of Krsna incessantly, and one's words should be engaged in preaching the glories of the Lord. If one is thus engaged in the loving service of the Lord, one's life is successful.
na naka-prstham na ca paramesthyam
na sarva-bhaumam na rasadhipatyam
na yoga-siddhir apunar-bhavam va
samanjasa tva virahayya kankse
na--not; naka-prstham--the heavenly planets or Dhruvaloka; na--nor; ca--also; paramesthyam--the planet on which Lord Brahma resides; na--nor; sarva-bhaumam--sovereignty of the whole earthly planetary system; na--nor; rasa-adhipatyam--sovereignty of the lower planetary systems; na--nor; yoga-siddhih--eight kinds of mystic yogic power (anima, laghima, mahima, etc.); apunah-bhavam--liberation from rebirth in a material body; va--or; samanjasa--O source of all opportunities; tva--You; virahayya--being separated from; kankse--I desire.
O my Lord, source of all opportunities, I do not desire to enjoy in Dhruvaloka, the heavenly planets or the planet where Lord Brahma resides, nor do I want to be the supreme ruler of all the earthly planets or the lower planetary systems. I do not desire to be master of the powers of mystic yoga, nor do I want liberation if I have to give up Your lotus feet.
A pure devotee never desires to gain material opportunities by rendering transcendental loving service to the Lord. A pure devotee desires only to engage in loving service to the Lord in the constant association of the Lord and His eternal associates, as stated in the previous verse (dasanudaso bhavitasmi). As confirmed by Narottama dasa Thakura:
tandera carana sevi bhakta-sane vasa
janame janame haya, ei abhilasa
To serve the Lord and the servants of His servants, in the association of devotees, is the only objective of a pure, unalloyed devotee.
ajata-paksa iva mataram khagah
stanyam yatha vatsatarah ksudh-artah
priyam priyeva vyusitam visanna
mano 'ravindaksa didrksate tvam
ajata-paksah--who have not yet grown wings; iva--like; mataram--the mother; khagah--small birds; stanyam--the milk from the udder; yatha--just as; vatsatarah--the young calves; ksudh-artah--distressed by hunger; priyam--the beloved or husband; priya--the wife or lover; iva--like; vyusitam--who is away from home; visanna--morose; manah--my mind; aravinda-aksa--O lotus-eyed one; didrksate--wants to see; tvam--You.
O lotus-eyed Lord, as baby birds that have not yet developed their wings always look for their mother to return and feed them, as small calves tied with ropes await anxiously the time of milking, when they will be allowed to drink the milk of their mothers, or as a morose wife whose husband is away from home always longs for him to return and satisfy her in all respects, I always yearn for the opportunity to render direct service unto You.
A pure devotee always yearns to associate personally with the Lord and render service unto Him. The examples given in this regard are most appropriate. A small baby bird is practically never satisfied except when the mother bird comes to feed it, a small calf is not satisfied unless allowed to suck the milk from the mother's udder, and a chaste, devoted wife whose husband is away from home is never satisfied until she has the association of her beloved husband.
samsara-cakre bhramatah sva-karmabhih
asakta-cittasya na natha bhuyat
mama--my; uttama-sloka-janesu--among devotees who are simply attached to the Supreme Personality of Godhead; sakhyam--friendship; samsara-cakre--in the cycle of birth and death; bhramatah--who am wandering; sva-karmabhih--by the results of my own fruitive activities; tvat-mayaya--by Your external energy; atma--to the body; atma-ja--children; dara--wife; gehesu--and home; asakta--attached; cittasya--whose mind; na--not; natha--O my Lord; bhuyat--may there be.
O my Lord, my master, I am wandering throughout this material world as a result of my fruitive activities. Therefore I simply seek friendship in the association of Your pious and enlightened devotees. My attachment to my body, wife, children and home is continuing by the spell of Your external energy, but I wish to be attached to them no longer. Let my mind, my consciousness and everything I have be attached only to You.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports to the Sixth Canto, Eleventh Chapter, of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, entitled "The Transcendental Qualities of Vrtrasura."