Chapter Seventeen

                   Mother Parvati Curses Citraketu


   The Seventeenth Chapter is summarized as follows. This chapter describes Citraketu's receiving the body of an asura, or demon, because of joking with Lord Siva.

   After personally talking with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, King Citraketu enjoyed life in his airplane with the women of the Vidyadhara planet. Engaging in the congregational chanting of the glories of the Lord, he began flying his plane and traveling in outer space. One day while traveling like this, he wandered into the bowers of Sumeru Mountain, where he came upon Lord Siva embracing Parvati, surrounded by an assembly of Siddhas, Caranas and great sages. Seeing Lord Siva in that situation, Citraketu laughed very loudly, but Parvati became very angry at him and cursed him. Because of this curse, Citraketu later appeared as the demon Vrtrasura.

   Citraketu, however, was not at all afraid of Parvati's curse, and thus he spoke as follows: "Everyone in human society enjoys happiness and distress according to his past deeds and in this way travels in the material world. Therefore no one is responsible for his happiness and distress. One is controlled by the influence of material nature in the material world, yet one thinks himself the doer of everything. In this material world, which is made of the external energy of the Supreme Lord, one is sometimes cursed and sometimes favored, and thus he sometimes enjoys in the upper planetary systems and sometimes suffers in the lower planets, but all these situations are the same because they are within this material world. None of these positions has any factual existence, for all of them are temporary. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the ultimate controller because the material world is created, maintained and annihilated under His control while He nonetheless remains neutral to these different transformations of the material world in time and space. The material, external energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is in charge of this material world. The Lord helps the world by creating situations for the living entities within it."

   When Citraketu spoke in this way, all the members in the great assembly in which Lord Siva and Parvati were present were astonished. Then Lord Siva began speaking about the devotees of the Lord. A devotee is neutral in all conditions of life, whether in the heavenly planets or hellish planets, whether liberated from the material world or conditioned by it, and whether blessed with happiness or subjected to distress. These are all merely dualities created by the external energy. Being influenced by the external energy, the living entity accepts a gross and subtle material body, and in this illusory position he apparently suffers miseries, although everyone is part and parcel of the Supreme Lord. The so-called demigods consider themselves independent lords, and in this way they are misled from understanding that all living entities are part of the Supreme. This chapter concludes by glorifying the devotee and the Supreme Personality of Godhead.


                                TEXT 1




                            sri-suka uvaca

                       yatas cantarhito 'nantas

                       tasyai krtva dise namah

                        vidyadharas citraketus

                         cacara gagane carah




   sri-sukah uvaca--Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said; yatah--in which (direction); ca--and; antarhitah--disappeared; anantah--the unlimited Supreme Personality of Godhead; tasyai--unto that; krtva--after offering; dise--direction; namah--obeisances; vidyadharah--the King of the Vidyadhara planet; citraketuh--Citraketu; cacara--traveled; gagane--in outer space; carah--moving.




   Srila Sukadeva Gosvami said: After offering obeisances to the direction from which Ananta, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, had disappeared, Citraketu began traveling in outer space as the head of the Vidyadharas.


                              TEXTS 2-3




                       sa laksam varsa-laksanam


                         stuyamano maha-yogi

                       munibhih siddha-caranaih




                       reme vidyadhara-stribhir

                        gapayan harim isvaram




   sah--he (Citraketu); laksam--one hundred thousand; varsa--of years; laksanam--one hundred thousand; avyahata--without hindrance; bala-indriyah--whose strength and power of the senses; stuyamanah--being praised; maha-yogi--the great mystic yogi; munibhih--by saintly persons; siddha-caranaih--by the Siddhas and Caranas; kulacalendra-dronisu--within the valleys of the great mountain known as Kulacalendra, or Sumeru; nana-sankalpa-siddhisu--where one becomes perfect in all kinds of mystic power; reme--enjoyed; vidyadhara-stribhih--with the women of the Vidyadhara planet; gapayan--causing to praise; harim--the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari; isvaram--the controller.




   Being praised by great sages and saints and by the inhabitants of Siddhaloka and Caranaloka, Citraketu, the most powerful mystic yogi, wandered about enjoying life for millions of years. With bodily strength and senses free from deterioration, he traveled within the valleys of Sumeru Mountain, which is the place of perfection for various kinds of mystic power. In those valleys he enjoyed life with the women of Vidyadhara-loka by chanting the glories of the Supreme Lord, Hari.




   It is to be understood that Maharaja Citraketu, although surrounded by beautiful women from Vidyadhara-loka, did not forget to glorify the Lord by chanting the holy name of the Lord. It has been proved in many places that one who is not contaminated by any material condition, who is a pure devotee engaged in chanting the glories of the Lord, should be understood to be perfect.


                              TEXTS 4-5




                          ekada sa vimanena

                        visnu-dattena bhasvata

                        girisam dadrse gacchan

                       paritam siddha-caranaih


                        alingyankikrtam devim

                         bahuna muni-samsadi

                        uvaca devyah srnvantya

                        jahasoccais tad-antike




   ekada--one time; sah--he (King Citraketu); vimanena--with his airplane; visnu-dattena--given to him by Lord Visnu; bhasvata--shining brilliantly; girisam--Lord Siva; dadrse--he saw; gacchan--going; paritam--surrounded; siddha--by the inhabitants of Siddhaloka; caranaih--and the inhabitants of Caranaloka; alingya--embracing; ankikrtam--sitting on his lap; devim--his wife, Parvati; bahuna--with his arm; muni-samsadi--in the presence of great saintly persons; uvaca--he said; devyah--while the goddess Parvati; srnvantyah--was hearing; jahasa--he laughed; uccaih--very loudly; tad-antike--in the vicinity.




   One time while King Citraketu was traveling in outer space on a brilliantly effulgent airplane given to him by Lord Visnu, he saw Lord Siva, surrounded by Siddhas and Caranas. Lord Siva was sitting in an assembly of great saintly persons and embracing Parvati on his lap with his arm. Citraketu laughed loudly and spoke, within the hearing of Parvati.




   Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura says in this connection,


                     bhaktim bhutim harir dattva


                       devyah sapena vrtratvam

                      nitva tam svantike 'nayat


   The purport is that the Supreme Personality of Godhead wanted to bring Citraketu to Vaikunthaloka as soon as possible. The Lord's plan was that Citraketu be cursed by Parvati to become Vrtrasura so that in his next life he could quickly return home, back to Godhead. There have been many instances in which a devotee acting as a demon has been brought to the kingdom of God by the mercy of the Lord. For Parvati to be embraced by Lord Siva was natural in a relationship between husband and wife; this was nothing extraordinary for Citraketu to see. Nonetheless, Citraketu laughed loudly to see Lord Siva in that situation, even though he should not have done so. Thus he was eventually cursed, and this curse was the cause of his returning home, back to Godhead.


                                TEXT 6




                           citraketur uvaca

                        esa loka-guruh saksad

                       dharmam vakta saririnam

                      aste mukhyah sabhayam vai

                        mithuni-bhuya bharyaya




   citraketuh uvaca--King Citraketu said; esah--this; loka-guruh--the spiritual master of the people who follow Vedic instructions; saksat--directly; dharmam--of religion; vakta--the speaker; saririnam--for all living entities who have accepted material bodies; aste--sits; mukhyah--the chief; sabhayam--in an assembly; vai--indeed; mithuni-bhuya--embracing; bharyaya--with his wife.




   Citraketu said: Lord Siva, the spiritual master of the general populace, is the best of all living entities who have accepted material bodies. He enunciates the system of religion. Yet how wonderful it is that he is embracing his wife, Parvati, in the midst of an assembly of great saintly persons.


                                TEXT 7




                        jata-dharas tivra-tapa


                       ankikrtya striyam caste

                       gata-hrih prakrto yatha




   jata-dharah--keeping matted locks of hair; tivra-tapah--highly elevated due to undergoing fierce austerities and penances; brahma-vadi--of strict followers of the Vedic principles; sabha-patih--the president of an assembly; ankikrtya--embracing; striyam--a woman; ca--and; aste--sits; gata-hrih--without shame; prakrtah--a person conditioned by material nature; yatha--just as.




   Lord Siva, whose hair is matted on his head, has certainly undergone great austerities and penances. Indeed, he is the president in the assembly of strict followers of Vedic principles. Nonetheless, he is seated with his wife on his lap in the midst of saintly persons and is embracing her as if he were a shameless, ordinary human being.




   Citraketu appreciated the exalted position of Lord Siva, and therefore he remarked at how wonderful it was that Lord Siva was acting like an ordinary human being. He appreciated Lord Siva's position, but when he saw Lord Siva sitting in the midst of saintly persons and acting like a shameless, ordinary man, he was astonished. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura remarks that although Citraketu criticized Lord Siva, he did not offend Lord Siva like Daksa. Daksa considered Lord Siva insignificant, but Citraketu expressed his wonder at Lord Siva's being situated in that way.


                                TEXT 8




                        prayasah prakrtas capi

                       striyam rahasi bibhrati

                        ayam maha-vrata-dharo

                       bibharti sadasi striyam




   prayasah--generally; prakrtah--conditioned souls; ca--also; api--although; striyam--a woman; rahasi--in a solitary place; bibhrati--embrace; ayam--this (Lord Siva); maha-vrata-dharah--the master of great vows and austerities; bibharti--enjoys; sadasi--in an assembly of great saintly persons; striyam--his wife.




   Ordinary conditioned persons generally embrace their wives and enjoy their company in solitary places. How wonderful it is that Lord Mahadeva, although a great master of austerity, is embracing his wife openly in the midst of an assembly of great saints.




   The word maha-vrata-dharah indicates a brahmacari who has never fallen down. Lord Siva is counted among the best of yogis, yet he embraced his wife in the midst of great saintly persons. Citraketu appreciated how great Lord Siva was to be unaffected even in that situation. Therefore Citraketu was not an offender; he merely expressed his wonder.


                                TEXT 9




                            sri-suka uvaca

                       bhagavan api tac chrutva

                       prahasyagadha-dhir nrpa

                        tusnim babhuva sadasi

                       sabhyas ca tad-anuvratah




   sri-sukah uvaca--Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said; bhagavan--Lord Siva; api--also; tat--that; srutva--hearing; prahasya--smiling; agadhadhih--whose intelligence is unfathomed; nrpa--O King; tusnim--silent; babhuva--remained; sadasi--in the assembly; sabhyah--everyone assembled there; ca--and; tat-anuvratah--followed Lord Siva (remained silent).




   Srila Sukadeva Gosvami continued: My dear King, after hearing Citraketu's statement, Lord Siva, the most powerful personality, whose knowledge is fathomless, simply smiled and remained silent, and all the members of the assembly followed the lord by not saying anything.




   Citraketu's purpose in criticizing Lord Siva is somewhat mysterious and cannot be understood by a common man. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura, however, has made the following observations. Lord Siva, being the most exalted Vaisnava and one of the most powerful demigods, is able to do anything he desires. Although he was externally exhibiting the behavior of a common man and not following etiquette, such actions cannot diminish his exalted position. The difficulty is that a common man, seeing Lord Siva's behavior, might follow his example. As stated in Bhagavad-gita (3.21):


                       yad yad acarati sresthas

                        tat tad evetaro janah

                        sa yat pramanam kurute

                         lokas tad anuvartate


   "Whatever action a great man performs, common men follow. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues." A common man might also criticize Lord Siva, like Daksa, who suffered the consequences for his criticism. King Citraketu desired that Lord Siva cease this external behavior so that others might be saved from criticizing him and thus becoming offenders. If one thinks that Visnu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is the only perfect personality whereas the demigods, even such demigods as Lord Siva, are inclined to improper social affairs, he is an offender. Considering all this, King Citraketu was somewhat harsh in his behavior with Lord Siva.

   Lord Siva, who is always deep in knowledge, could understand Citraketu's purpose, and therefore he was not at all angry; rather, he simply smiled and remained silent. The members of the assembly surrounding Lord Siva could also understand Citraketu's purpose. Consequently, following the behavior of Lord Siva, they did not protest; instead, following their master, they remained silent. If the members of the assembly thought that Citraketu had blasphemed Lord Siva, they would certainly have left at once, blocking their ears with their hands.


                               TEXT 10




                        ity atad-virya-vidusi

                        bruvane bahv-asobhanam

                         rusaha devi dhrstaya





   iti--thus; a-tat-virya-vidusi--when Citraketu, who did not know the prowess of Lord Siva; bruvane--spoke; bahu-asobhanam--that which is not up to the standard of etiquette (the criticism of the exalted Lord Siva); rusa--with anger; aha--said; devi--the goddess Parvati; dhrstaya--unto Citraketu, who was quite shameless; nirjita-atma--as one who has controlled his senses; abhimanine--thinking of himself.




   Not knowing the prowess of Lord Siva and Parvati, Citraketu strongly criticized them. His statements were not at all pleasing, and therefore the goddess Parvati, being very angry, spoke as follows to Citraketu, who thought himself better than Lord Siva in controlling the senses.




   Although Citraketu never meant to insult Lord Siva, he should not have criticized the lord, even though the lord was transgressing social customs. It is said, tejiyasam na dosaya: one who is very powerful should be understood to be faultless. For example, one should not find faults with the sun, although it evaporates urine from the street. The most powerful cannot be criticized by an ordinary man, or even by a great personality. Citraketu should have known that Lord Siva, although sitting in that way, was not to be criticized. The difficulty was that Citraketu, having become a great devotee of Lord Visnu, Sankarsana, was somewhat proud at having achieved Lord Sankarsana's favor and therefore thought that he could now criticize anyone, even Lord Siva. This kind of pride in a devotee is never tolerated. A Vaisnava should always remain very humble and meek and offer respect to others.


                          trnad api sunicena

                         taror api sahisnuna

                           amanina manadena

                        kirtaniyah sada harih


   "One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw in the street; one should be more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige and ready to offer all respect to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly." A Vaisnava should not try to minimize anyone else's position. It is better to remain humble and meek and chant the Hare Krsna mantra. The word nirjitatmabhimanine indicates that Citraketu thought himself a better controller of the senses than Lord Siva, although actually he was not. Because of all these considerations, mother Parvati was somewhat angry at Citraketu.


                               TEXT 11




                          sri-parvaty uvaca

                         ayam kim adhuna loke

                      sasta danda-dharah prabhuh

                       asmad-vidhanam dustanam

                       nirlajjanam ca viprakrt




   sri-parvati uvaca--the goddess Parvati said; ayam--this; kim--whether; adhuna--now; loke--in the world; sasta--the supreme controller; danda-dharah--the carrier of the rod of punishment; prabhuh--the master; asmat-vidhanam--of persons like us; dustanam--criminals; nirlajjanam--who have no shame; ca--and; viprakrt--the restrainer.




   The goddess Parvati said: Alas, has this upstart now received a post from which to punish shameless persons like us? Has he been appointed ruler, carrier of the rod of punishment? Is he now the only master of everything?


                               TEXT 12




                   na veda dharmam kila padmayonir

                   na brahma-putra bhrgu-naradadyah

                    na vai kumarah kapilo manus ca

                 ye no nisedhanty ati-vartinam haram




   na--not; veda--knows; dharmam--the religious principles; kila--indeed; padma-yonih--Lord Brahma; na--nor; brahma-putrah--the sons of Lord Brahma; bhrgu--Bhrgu; narada--Narada; adyah--and so on; na--nor; vai--indeed; kumarah--the four Kumaras (Sanaka, Sanat-kumara, Sananda and Sanatana); kapilah--Lord Kapila; manuh--Manu himself; ca--and; ye--who; no--not; nisedhanti--order to stop; ati-vartinam--who is beyond laws and orders; haram--Lord Siva.




   Alas, Lord Brahma, who has taken his birth from the lotus flower, does not know the principles of religion, nor do the great saints like Bhrgu and Narada, nor the four Kumaras, headed by Sanat-kumara. Manu and Kapila have also forgotten the religious principles. I suppose it to be because of this that they have not tried to stop Lord Siva from behaving improperly.


                               TEXT 13




                    esam anudhyeya-padabja-yugmam

                 jagad-gurum mangala-mangalam svayam

                  yah ksatra-bandhuh paribhuya surin

                 prasasti dhrstas tad ayam hi dandyah




   esam--of all these (exalted personalities); anudhyeya--to be constantly meditated upon; pada-abja-yugmam--whose two lotus feet; jagat-gurum--the spiritual master of the whole world; mangala-mangalam--personification of the topmost religious principle; svayam--himself; yah--he who; ksatra-bandhuh--the lowest of the ksatriyas; paribhuya--overriding; surin--the demigods (like Brahma and the others); prasasti--chastises; dhrstah--impudent; tat--therefore; ayam--this person; hi--indeed; dandyah--to be punished.




   This Citraketu is the lowest of ksatriyas, for he has impudently overridden Brahma and the other demigods by insulting Lord Siva, upon whose lotus feet they always meditate. Lord Siva is personified religion and the spiritual master of the entire world, and therefore Citraketu must be punished.




   All the members of the assembly were exalted brahmanas and self-realized souls, but they did not say anything about the conduct of Lord Siva, who was embracing the goddess Parvati on his lap. Citraketu nonetheless criticized Lord Siva, and therefore the opinion of Parvati was that he should be punished.


                               TEXT 14




                       nayam arhati vaikuntha-


                      sambhavita-matih stabdhah

                        sadhubhih paryupasitam




   na--not; ayam--this person; arhati--deserves; vaikuntha-pada-mula-upasarpanam--the approaching of the shelter of Lord Visnu's lotus feet; sambhavita-matih--considering himself highly esteemed; stabdhah--impudent; sadhubhih--by great saintly persons; paryupasitam--worshiped.




   This person is puffed up because of his achievements, thinking, "I am the best." He does not deserve to approach the shelter of Lord Visnu's lotus feet, which are worshiped by all saintly persons, for he is impudent, thinking himself greatly important.




   If a devotee thinks that he is very much advanced in devotional service, he is considered puffed up and unfit to sit beneath the shelter of the Lord's lotus feet. Again, this instruction by Lord Caitanya is applicable:


                          trnad api sunicena

                         taror api sahisnuna

                           amanina manadena

                        kirtaniyah sada harih


   "One should chant the holy name of the Lord in a humble state of mind, thinking oneself lower than the straw in the street; one should be more tolerant than a tree, devoid of all sense of false prestige and ready to offer all respect to others. In such a state of mind one can chant the holy name of the Lord constantly." Unless one is humble and meek, one cannot qualify to sit at the lotus feet of the Lord.


                               TEXT 15




                         atah papiyasim yonim

                         asurim yahi durmate

                        yatheha bhuyo mahatam

                       na karta putra kilbisam




   atah--therefore; papiyasim--most sinful; yonim--to the species of life; asurim--demoniac; yahi--go; durmate--O impudent one; yatha--so that; iha--in this world; bhuyah--again; mahatam--to great personalities; na--not; karta--will commit; putra--my dear son; kilbisam--any offense.




   O impudent one, my dear son, now take birth in a low, sinful family of demons so that you will not commit such an offense again toward exalted, saintly persons in this world.




   One should be very careful not to commit offenses at the lotus feet of Vaisnavas, of whom Lord Siva is the best. While instructing Srila Rupa Gosvami, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu described an offense at the lotus feet of a Vaisnava as hati mata, a mad elephant. When a mad elephant enters a nice garden, it spoils the entire garden. Similarly, if one becomes like a mad elephant and commits offenses at the lotus feet of a Vaisnava, his entire spiritual career is halted. One should therefore be very careful not to commit offenses at the lotus feet of a Vaisnava.

   Mother Parvati was justified in punishing Citraketu, for Citraketu impudently criticized the supreme father, Mahadeva, who is the father of the living entities conditioned within this material world. The goddess Durga is called mother, and Lord Siva is called father. A pure Vaisnava should be very careful to engage in his specific duty without criticizing others. This is the safest position. Otherwise, if one tends to criticize others, he may commit the great offense of criticizing a Vaisnava.

   Because Citraketu was undoubtedly a Vaisnava, he might have been surprised that Parvati had cursed him. Therefore the goddess Parvati addressed him as putra, or son. Everyone is the son of mother Durga, but she is not an ordinary mother. As soon as there is a small discrepancy in a demon's behavior, mother Durga immediately punishes the demon so that he may come to his senses. This is explained by Lord Krsna in Bhagavad-gita (7.14):


                        daivi hy esa guna-mayi

                         mama maya duratyaya

                        mam eva ye prapadyante

                        mayam etam taranti te


   "This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it." To surrender to Krsna means to surrender to His devotees also, for no one can be a proper servant of Krsna unless he is a proper servant of a devotee. Chadiya vaisnava-seva nistara payeche keba: without serving a servant of Krsna, one cannot be elevated to being a servant of Krsna Himself. Therefore mother Parvati spoke to Citraketu exactly like a mother who says to her naughty child, "My dear child, I am punishing you so that you won't do anything like this again." This tendency of a mother to punish her child is found even in mother Yasoda, who became the mother of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Mother Yasoda punished Krsna by binding Him and showing Him a stick. Thus it is the duty of a mother to chastise her beloved son, even in the case of the Supreme Lord. It is to be understood that mother Durga was justified in punishing Citraketu. This punishment was a boon to Citraketu because after taking birth as the demon Vrtrasura, he was promoted directly to Vaikuntha.


                               TEXT 16




                            sri-suka uvaca

                        evam saptas citraketur

                         vimanad avaruhya sah

                         prasadayam asa satim

                       murdhna namrena bharata




   sri-sukah uvaca--Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said; evam--thus; saptah--cursed; citraketuh--King Citraketu; vimanat--from his airplane; avaruhya--coming down; sah--he; prasadayam asa--completely pleased; satim--Parvati; murdhna--by his head; namrena--bent low; bharata--O King Pariksit.




   Sri Sukadeva Gosvami continued: My dear King Pariksit, when Citraketu was cursed by Parvati, he descended from his airplane, bowed before her with great humility and pleased her completely.


                               TEXT 17




                           citraketur uvaca

                        pratigrhnami te sapam

                         atmano 'njalinambike

                     devair martyaya yat proktam

                      purva-distam hi tasya tat




   citraketuh uvaca--King Citraketu said; pratigrhnami--I accept; te--your; sapam--curse; atmanah--my own; anjalina--with folded bands; ambike--O mother; devaih--by the demigods; martyaya--unto a mortal; yat--which; proktam--prescribed; purva-distam--fixed previously according to one's past deeds; hi--indeed; tasya--of him; tat--that.




   Citraketu said: My dear mother, with my own hands folded together I accept the curse upon me. I do not mind the curse, for happiness and distress are given by the demigods as a result of one's past deeds.




   Since Citraketu was a devotee of the Lord, he was not at all disturbed by the curse of mother Parvati. He knew very well that one suffers or enjoys the results of one's past deeds as ordained by daiva-netra--superior authority, or the agents of the Supreme personality of Godhead. He knew that he had not committed any offense at the lotus feet of Lord Siva or the goddess Parvati, yet he had been punished, and this means that the punishment had been ordained. Thus the King did not mind it. A devotee is naturally so humble and meek that he accepts any condition of life as a blessing from the Lord. Tat te 'nukampam susamiksamanah (Bhag. 10.14.8). A devotee always accepts punishment from anyone as the mercy of the Lord. If one lives in this conception of life, he sees whatever reverses occur to be due to his past misdeeds, and therefore he never accuses anyone. On the contrary, he becomes increasingly attached to the Supreme personality of Godhead because of his being purified by his suffering. Suffering, therefore, is also a process of purification.

   Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura says in this connection that one who has developed Krsna consciousness and who exists in love with Krsna is no longer subject to suffering and happiness under the laws of karma. Indeed, he is beyond karma. The Brahma-samhita says, karmani nirdahati kintu ca bhakti-bhajam: a devotee is free from the reactions of his karma because he has taken to devotional service. This same principle is confirmed in Bhagavad-gita (14.26). Sa gunan samatityaitan brahma-bhuyaya kalpate: one who is engaged in devotional service has already been freed from the reactions of his material karma, and thus he immediately becomes brahma-bhuta, or transcendental. This is also expressed in Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.2.21). Ksiyante casya karmani: before attaining the stage of love, one becomes free from all the results of karma.

   The Lord is very kind and affectionate toward His devotees, and therefore a devotee, in any condition, is not subjected to the results of karma. A devotee never aspires for the heavenly planets. The heavenly planets, liberation and hell are nondifferent for a devotee, for he does not discriminate between different positions in the material world. A devotee is always eager to return home, back to Godhead, and remain there as the Lord's associate. This ambition becomes increasingly fervent in his heart, and therefore he does not care about material changes in his life. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura comments that Maharaja Citraketu's being cursed by Parvati should be considered the mercy of the Lord. The Lord wanted Citraketu to return to Godhead as soon as possible, and therefore he terminated all the reactions of his past deeds. Acting through the heart of Parvati, the Lord, who is situated in everyone's heart, cursed Citraketu in order to end all his material reactions. Thus Citraketu became Vrtrasura in his next life and returned home, back to Godhead.


                               TEXT 18




                        samsara-cakra etasmin

                        jantur ajnana-mohitah

                    bhramyan sukham ca duhkham ca

                       bhunkte sarvatra sarvada




   samsara-cakre--in the wheel of material existence; etasmin--this; jantuh--the living entity; ajnana-mohitah--being bewildered by ignorance; bhramyan--wandering; sukham--happiness; ca--and; duhkham--distress; ca--also; bhunkte--he undergoes; sarvatra--everywhere; sarvada--always.




   Deluded by ignorance, the living entity wanders in the forest of this material world, enjoying the happiness and distress resulting from his past deeds, everywhere and at all times. [Therefore, my dear mother, neither you nor I am to be blamed for this incident.]




   As confirmed in Bhagavad-gita (3.27):


                         prakrteh kriyamanani

                       gunaih karmani sarvasah


                         kartaham iti manyate


   "The bewildered soul, under the influence of the three modes of material nature, thinks himself the doer of activities that are in actuality carried out by nature." Actually a conditioned soul is completely under the control of material nature. Wandering here and there--always and everywhere--he is subjected to the results of his past deeds. This is carried out by the laws of nature, but one foolishly thinks himself the doer, which in fact he is not. To get free from the karma-cakra, the wheel of the results of one's karma, one should take to bhakti-marga--devotional service, or Krsna consciousness. That is the only remedy. Sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja.


                               TEXT 19




                        naivatma na paras capi

                      karta syat sukha-duhkhayoh

                       kartaram manyate 'trajna

                         atmanam param eva ca




   na--not; eva--indeed; atma--the spirit soul; na--nor; parah--another (friend or enemy); ca--also; api--indeed; karta--the doer; syat--can be; sukha-duhkhayoh--of happiness and distress; kartaram--the doer; manyate--considers; atra--in this connection; ajnah--a person not aware of the real fact; atmanam--himself; param--another; eva--indeed; ca--also.




   In this material world, neither the living entity himself nor others [friends and enemies] are the cause of material happiness and distress. But because of gross ignorance, the living entity thinks that he and others are the cause.




   In this verse the word ajna is very significant. In the material world, all living entities are ajna, ignorant, in different degrees. This ignorance continues very strongly in the mode of ignorance presented by material nature. One must therefore promote himself to the stage of goodness through his character and behavior and then gradually come to the transcendental platform, or adhoksaja platform, in which he realizes both his position and the position of others. Everything is done under the superintendence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The process by which the results of action are ordained is called niyatam, always working.


                               TEXT 20




                         guna-pravaha etasmin

                      kah sapah ko nv anugrahah

                       kah svargo narakah ko va

                      kim sukham duhkham eva va




   guna-pravahe--in the current of the modes of material nature; etasmin--this; kah--what; sapah--a curse; kah--what; nu--indeed; anugrahah--a favor; kah--what; svargah--elevation to heavenly planets; narakah--hell; kah--what; va--or; kim--what; sukham--happiness; duhkham--distress; eva--indeed; va--or.




   This material world resembles the waves of a constantly flowing river. Therefore, what is a curse and what is a favor? What are the heavenly planets, and what are the hellish planets? What is actually happiness, and what is actually distress? Because the waves flow constantly, none of them has an eternal effect.




   Srila Bhaktivinoda Thakura sings, (miche) mayara vase, yaccha bhese', khaccha habudubu, bhai: "My dear living entities within this material world, why are you being carried away by the waves of the modes of material nature?" (Jiva) krsna-dasa, ei visvasa, karle ta' ara duhkha nai: "If the living entity tries to understand that he is an eternal servant of Krsna, there will no longer be misery for him." Krsna wants us to give up all other engagements and surrender unto Him. If we do so, where will the cause and effect of this material world be? There is nothing like cause and effect for the surrendered soul. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura says in this regard that being put into this material world is like being thrown into a mine of salt. If one falls into a mine of salt, he tastes only salt wherever he goes. Similarly, this material world is full of miseries. The so-called temporary happiness of the world is also misery, but in ignorance we cannot understand this. That is the actual position. When one comes to his senses--when he becomes Krsna conscious--he is no longer concerned with the various conditions of this material world. He is not concerned with happiness or distress, curses or favors, or heavenly or hellish planets. He sees no distinction between them.


                               TEXT 21




                         ekah srjati bhutani

                         bhagavan atma-mayaya

                      esam bandham ca moksam ca

                      sukham duhkham ca niskalah




   ekah--one; srjati--creates; bhutani--different varieties of living entities; bhagavan--the Supreme Personality of Godhead; atma-mayaya--by His personal potencies; esam--of all the conditioned souls; bandham--the conditional life; ca--and; moksam--the liberated life; ca--also; sukham--happiness; duhkham--distresses; ca--and; niskalah--not affected by the material qualities.




   The Supreme Personality of Godhead is one. Unaffected by the conditions of the material world, He creates all the conditioned souls by His own personal potency. Because of being contaminated by the material energy, the living entity is put into ignorance and thus into different conditions of bondage. Sometimes, by knowledge, the living entity is given liberation. In sattva-guna and rajo-guna, he is subjected to happiness and distress.




   The question may be raised why the living entities are situated in different conditions and who has arranged this. The answer is that it has been done by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, without anyone's help. The Lord has His own energies (parasya saktir vividhaiva sruyate), and one of them, namely the external energy, creates the material world and the varieties of happiness and distress for the conditioned souls under the supervision of the Lord. The material world consists of three modes of material nature--sattva-guna, rajo-guna and tamo-guna. By sattva-guna the Lord maintains the material world, by rajo-guna He creates it, and by tamo-guna He annihilates it. After the varieties of living entities are created, they are subject to happiness and distress according to their association. When they are in sattva-guna, the mode of goodness, they feel happiness, when in rajo-guna they are distressed, and when in tamo-guna they have no sense of what to do or what is right and wrong.


                               TEXT 22




                   na tasya kascid dayitah pratipo

                 na jnati-bandhur na paro na ca svah

                    samasya sarvatra niranjanasya

                    sukhe na ragah kuta eva rosah




   na--not; tasya--of Him (the Supreme Lord); kascit--anyone; dayitah--dear; pratipah--not dear; na--nor; jnati--kinsman; bandhuh--friend; na--nor; parah--other; na--nor; ca--also; svah--own; samasya--who is equal; sarvatra--everywhere; niranjanasya--without being affected by material nature; sukhe--in happiness; na--not; ragah--attachment; kutah--from where; eva--indeed; rosah--anger.




   The Supreme Personality of Godhead is equally disposed toward all living entities. Therefore no one is very dear to Him, and no one is a great enemy for Him; no one is His friend, and no one is His relative. Being unattached to the material world, He has no affection for so-called happiness or hatred for so-called distress. The two terms happiness and distress are relative. Since the Lord is always happy, for Him there is no question of distress.


                               TEXT 23




                   tathapi tac-chakti-visarga esam

                     sukhaya duhkhaya hitahitaya

                  bandhaya moksaya ca mrtyu-janmanoh

                    saririnam samsrtaye 'vakalpate




   tathapi--still; tat-sakti--of the Lord's energy; visargah--the creation; esam--of these (conditioned souls); sukhaya--for the happiness; duhkhaya--for the distress; hita-ahitaya--for the profit and loss; bandhaya--for the bondage; moksaya--for the liberation; ca--also; mrtyu--of death; janmanoh--and birth; saririnam--of all those who accept material bodies; samsrtaye--for the repetition; avakalpate--acts.




   Although the Supreme Lord is unattached to our happiness and distress according to karma, and although no one is His enemy or favorite, He creates pious and impious activities through the agency of His material potency. Thus for the continuation of the materialistic way of life He creates happiness and distress, good fortune and bad, bondage and liberation, birth and death.




   Although the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the ultimate doer of everything, in His original transcendental existence He is not responsible for the happiness and distress, or bondage and liberation, of the conditioned souls. These are due to the results of the fruitive activities of the living entities within this material world. By the order of a judge, one person is released from jail, and another is imprisoned, but the judge is not responsible, for the distress and happiness of these different people is due to their own activities. Although the government is ultimately the supreme authority, the justice is administered by the departments of the government, and the government is not responsible for the individual judgments. Therefore the government is equal to all the citizens. Similarly, the Supreme Lord is neutral to everyone, but for the maintenance of law and order His supreme government has various departments, which control the activities of the living entities. Another example given in this regard is that lilies open or close because of the sunshine, and thus the bumblebees enjoy or suffer, but the sunshine and the sun globe are not responsible for the happiness and distress of the bumblebees.


                               TEXT 24




                        atha prasadaye na tvam

                         sapa-moksaya bhamini

                      yan manyase hy asadhuktam

                       mama tat ksamyatam sati




   atha--therefore; prasadaye--I am trying to please; na--not; tvam--you; sapa-moksaya--for being released from your curse; bhamini--O most angry one; yat--which; manyase--you consider; hi--indeed; asadhu-uktam--improper speech; mama--my; tat--that; ksamyatam--let it be excused; sati--O most chaste one.




   O mother, you are now unnecessarily angry, but since all my happiness and distress are destined by my past activities, I do not plead to be excused or relieved from your curse. Although what I have said is not wrong, please let whatever you think is wrong be pardoned.




   Being fully aware of how the results of one's karma accrue by the laws of nature, Citraketu did not want to be released from Parvati's curse. Nonetheless, he wanted to satisfy her because although his verdict was natural, she was displeased with him. As a matter of course, Maharaja Citraketu begged pardon from Parvati.


                               TEXT 25




                            sri-suka uvaca

                         iti prasadya girisau

                         citraketur arindama

                         jagama sva-vimanena

                       pasyatoh smayatos tayoh




   sri-sukah uvaca--Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said; iti--thus; prasadya--after satisfying; girisau--Lord Siva and his wife, Parvati; citraketuh--King Citraketu; arim-dama--O King Pariksit, who are always able to subdue the enemy; jagama--went away; sva-vimanena--by his own airplane; pasyatoh--were watching; smayatoh--were smiling; tayoh--while Lord Siva and Parvati.




   Sri Sukadeva Gosvami continued: O King Pariksit, subduer of the enemy, after Citraketu satisfied Lord Siva and his wife, Parvati, he boarded his airplane and left as they looked on. When Lord Siva and Parvati saw that Citraketu, although informed of the curse, was unafraid, they smiled, being fully astonished by his behavior.


                               TEXT 26




                       tatas tu bhagavan rudro

                        rudranim idam abravit


                        parsadanam ca srnvatam




   tatah--thereafter; tu--then; bhagavan--the most powerful; rudrah--Lord Siva; rudranim--unto his wife, Parvati; idam--this; abravit--said; devarsi--while the great sage Narada; daitya--the demons; siddhanam--and the inhabitants of Siddhaloka, who are expert in yogic power; parsadanam--his personal associates; ca--also; srnvatam--were listening.




   Thereafter, in the presence of the great sage Narada, the demons, the inhabitants of Siddhaloka, and his personal associates, Lord Siva, who is most powerful, spoke to his wife, Parvati, while they all listened.


                               TEXT 27




                           sri-rudra uvaca

                        drstavaty asi susroni

                        harer adbhuta-karmanah

                      mahatmyam bhrtya-bhrtyanam

                        nihsprhanam mahatmanam




   sri-rudrah uvaca--Lord Siva said; drstavati asi--have you seen; su-sroni--O beautiful Parvati; hareh--of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; adbhuta-karmanah--whose acts are wonderful; mahatmyam--the greatness; bhrtya-bhrtyanam--of the servants of the servants; nihsprhanam--who are without ambitions for sense gratification; mahatmanam--great souls.




   Lord Siva said: My dear beautiful Parvati, have you seen the greatness of the Vaisnavas? Being servants of the servants of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, they are great souls and are not interested in any kind of material happiness.




   Lord Siva, the husband of Parvati, told his wife, "My dear Parvati, you are very beautiful in your bodily features. Certainly you are glorious. But I do not think that you can compete with the beauty and glory of devotees who have become servants of the servants of the Supreme Personality of Godhead." Of course, Lord Siva smiled when he joked with his wife in that way, for others cannot speak like that. "The Supreme Lord," Siva continued, "is always exalted in His activities, and here is another example of His wonderful influence upon King Citraketu, His devotee. Just see, although you cursed the King, he was not at all afraid or sorry. Rather, he offered respect to you, called you mother and accepted your curse, thinking himself faulty. He did not say anything in retaliation. This is the excellence of a devotee. By mildly tolerating your curse, he has certainly excelled the glory of your beauty and your power to curse him. I can impartially judge that this devotee, Citraketu, has defeated you and your excellence simply by becoming a pure devotee of the Lord." As stated by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, taror api sahisnuna. Just like a tree, a devotee can tolerate all kinds of curses and reversals in life. This is the excellence of a devotee. Indirectly, Lord Siva forbade Parvati to commit the mistake of cursing a devotee like Citraketu. He indicated that although she was powerful, the King, without showing any power, had excelled her power by his tolerance.


                               TEXT 28




                         narayana-parah sarve

                        na kutascana bibhyati


                        api tulyartha-darsinah




   narayana-parah--pure devotees, who are interested only in the service of Narayana, the Supreme Personality of Godhead; sarve--all; na--not; kutascana--anywhere; bibhyati--are afraid; svarga--in the higher planetary systems; apavarga--in liberation; narakesu--and in hell; api--even; tulya--equal; artha--value; darsinah--who see.




   Devotees solely engaged in the devotional service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana, never fear any condition of life. For them the heavenly planets, liberation and the hellish planets are all the same, for such devotees are interested only in the service of the Lord.




   Parvati might naturally have inquired how devotees become so exalted. Therefore this verse explains that they are narayana-para, simply dependent on Narayana. They do not mind reverses in life because in the service of Narayana they have learned to tolerate whatever hardships there may be. They do not care whether they are in heaven or in hell: they simply engage in the service of the Lord. This is their excellence. Anukulyena krsnanusilanam: they are liberally engaged in the service of the Lord, and therefore they are excellent. By using the word bhrtya-bhrtyanam, Lord Siva pointed out that although Citraketu provided one example of tolerance and excellence, all the devotees who have taken shelter of the Lord as eternal servants are glorious. They have no eagerness to be happy by being placed in the heavenly planets, becoming liberated or becoming one with Brahman, the supreme effulgence. These benefits do not appeal to their minds. They are simply interested in giving direct service to the Lord.


                               TEXT 29




                        dehinam deha-samyogad


                      sukham duhkham mrtir janma

                         sapo 'nugraha eva ca




   dehinam--of all those who have accepted material bodies; deha-samyogat--because of contact with the material body; dvandvani--dualities; isvara-lilaya--by the supreme will of the Lord; sukham--happiness; duhkham--distress; mrtih--death; janma--birth; sapah--curse; anugrahah--favor; eva--certainly; ca--and.




   Because of the actions of the Supreme Lord's external energy, the living entities are conditioned in contact with material bodies. The dualities of happiness and distress, birth and death, curses and favors, are natural by-products of this contact in the material world.




   In Bhagavad-gita we find, mayadhyaksena prakrtih suyate sa-caracaram: the material world works under the direction of the goddess Durga, the material energy of the Lord, but she acts under the direction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is also confirmed in the Brahma-samhita (5.44):


               srsti-sthiti-pralaya-sadhana-saktir eka

                chayeva yasya bhuvanani bibharti durga


   Durga--the goddess Parvati, the wife of Lord Siva--is extremely powerful. She can create, maintain and annihilate any number of universes by her sweet will, but she acts under the direction of the Supreme personality of Godhead, Krsna, not independently. Krsna is impartial, but because this is the material world of duality, such relative terms as happiness and distress, curses and favors, are created by the will of the Supreme. Those who are not narayana-para, pure devotees, must be disturbed by this duality of the material world, whereas devotees who are simply attached to the service of the Lord are not at all disturbed by it. For example, Haridasa Thakura was beaten with cane in twenty-two bazaars, but he was never disturbed; instead, he smilingly tolerated the beating. Despite the disturbing dualities of the material world, devotees are not disturbed at all. Because they fix their minds on the lotus feet of the Lord and concentrate on the holy name of the Lord, they do not feel the so-called pains and pleasures caused by the dualities of this material world.


                               TEXT 30




                         aviveka-krtah pumso

                       hy artha-bheda ivatmani

                        guna-dosa-vikalpas ca

                       bhid eva srajivat krtah




   aviveka-krtah--done in ignorance, without mature consideration; pumsah--of the living entity; hi--indeed; artha-bhedah--differentiation of value; iva--like; atmani--in himself; guna-dosa--of quality and fault; vikalpah--imagination; ca--and; bhit--difference; eva--certainly; sraji--in a garland; vat--like; krtah--male.




   As one mistakenly considers a flower garland to be a snake or experiences happiness and distress in a dream, so, in the material world, by a lack of careful consideration, we differentiate between happiness and distress, considering one good and the other bad.




   The happiness and distress of the material world of duality are both mistaken ideas. In the Caitanya-caritamrta (Antya 4.176) it is said:


          "dvaite" bhadrabhadra-jnana, saba----"manodharma"

              "ei bhala, ei manda",----ei saba "bhrama"


   The distinctions between happiness and distress in the material world of duality are simply mental concoctions, for the so-called happiness and distress are actually one and the same. They are like the happiness and distress in dreams. A sleeping man creates his happiness and distress by dreaming, although actually they have no existence.

   The other example given in this verse is that a flower garland is originally very nice, but by mistake, for want of mature knowledge, one may consider it a snake. In this connection there is a statement by Prabodhananda Sarasvati: visvam purna-sukhayate. Everyone in this material world is distressed by miserable conditions, but Srila Prabodhananda Sarasvati says that this world is full of happiness. How is this possible? He answers, yat-karunya-kataksa-vaibhavavatam tam gauram eva stumah. A devotee accepts the distress of this material world as happiness only due to the causeless mercy of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. By His personal behavior, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu showed that He was never distressed but always happy in chanting the Hare Krsna maha-mantra. One should follow in the footsteps of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu and engage constantly in chanting the maha-mantra--Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna, Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare. Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Then he will never feel the distresses of the world of duality. In any condition of life one will be happy if he chants the holy name of the Lord.

   In dreams we sometimes enjoy eating sweet rice and sometimes suffer as if one of our beloved family members had died. Because the same mind and body exist in the same material world of duality when we are awake, the so-called happiness and distress of this world are no better than the false, superficial happiness of dreams. The mind is the via medium in both dreams and wakefulness, and everything created by the mind in terms of sankalpa and vikalpa, acceptance and rejection, is called manodharma, or mental concoction.


                               TEXT 31




                          vasudeve bhagavati

                       bhaktim udvahatam nrnam


                       na hi kascid vyapasrayah




   vasudeve--to Lord Vasudeva, Krsna; bhagavati--the Supreme personality of Godhead; bhaktim--love and faith in devotional service; udvahatam--for those who are carrying; nrnam--men; jnana-vairagya--of real knowledge and detachment; viryanam--possessing the powerful strength; na--not; hi--indeed; kascit--anything; vyapasrayah--as interest or shelter.




   Persons engaged in devotional service to Lord Vasudeva, Krsna, have naturally perfect knowledge and detachment from this material world. Therefore such devotees are not interested in the so-called happiness or so-called distress of this world.




   Here is the distinction between a devotee and a philosopher who speculates on the subject matter of transcendence. A devotee does not need to cultivate knowledge to understand the falsity or temporary existence of this material world. Because of his unalloyed devotion to Vasudeva, this knowledge and detachment are automatically manifested in his person. As confirmed elsewhere in Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.2.7):


                          vasudeve bhagavati

                       bhakti-yogah prayojitah

                        janayaty asu vairagyam

                       jnanam ca yad ahaitukam


   One who engages in unalloyed devotional service to Vasudeva, Krsna, automatically becomes aware of this material world, and therefore he is naturally detached. This detachment is possible because of his high standard of knowledge. The speculative philosopher tries to understand that this material world is false by cultivating knowledge, but this understanding is automatically manifested in the person of a devotee, without separate endeavor. The Mayavadi philosophers may be very proud of their so-called knowledge, but because they do not understand Vasudeva (vasudevah sarvam iti), they do not understand the world of duality, which is a manifestation of Vasudeva's external energy. Therefore, unless the so-called jnanis take shelter of Vasudeva, their speculative knowledge is imperfect. Ye 'nye 'ravindaksa vimukta-maninah. They simply think of becoming free from the contamination of the material world, but because they do not take shelter at the lotus feet of Vasudeva, their knowledge is impure. When they actually become pure, they surrender to the lotus feet of Vasudeva. Therefore, the Absolute Truth is easier to understand for a devotee than for jnanis who simply speculate to understand Vasudeva. Lord Siva confirms this statement in the following verse.


                               TEXT 32




                   naham virinco na kumara-naradau

                   na brahma-putra munayah suresah

                    vidama yasyehitam amsakamsaka

                  na tat-svarupam prthag-isa-maninah




   na--not; aham--I (Lord Siva); virincah--Lord Brahma; na--nor; kumara--the Asvini-kumaras; naradau--the great saint Narada; na--nor; brahma-putrah--the sons of Lord Brahma; munayah--great saintly persons; sura-isah--all the great demigods; vidama--know; yasya--of whom; ihitam--activity; amsaka-amsakah--those who are parts of the parts; na--not; tat--His; sva-rupam--real personality; prthak--separate; isa--rulers; maninah--who consider ourselves to be.




   Neither I [Lord Siva], nor Brahma, nor the Asvini-kumaras, nor Narada or the other great sages who are Brahma's sons, nor even the demigods can understand the pastimes and personality of the Supreme Lord. Although we are part of the Supreme Lord, we consider ourselves independent, separate controllers, and thus we cannot understand His identity.




   Brahma-samhita (5.33) states:


                 advaitam acyutam anadim ananta-rupam

                adyam purana-purusam nava-yauvanam ca

               vedesu durlabham adurlabham atma-bhaktau

                govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami


   "I worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Govinda, who is the original person. He is absolute, infallible and beginningless, and although expanded into unlimited forms, He is still the same original person, the oldest person, who always appears as a fresh youth. The eternal, blissful, all-knowing forms of the Lord can not be understood even by the best Vedic scholars, but they are always manifest to pure, unalloyed devotees." Lord Siva places himself as one of the nondevotees, who cannot understand the identity of the Supreme Lord. The Lord, being ananta, has an unlimited number of forms. Therefore, how is it possible for an ordinary, common man to understand Him? Lord Siva, of course, is above the ordinary human beings, yet be is unable to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Lord Siva is not among the ordinary living entities, nor is he in the category of Lord Visnu. He is between Lord Visnu and the common living entity.


                               TEXT 33




                     na hy asyasti priyah kascin

                      napriyah svah paro 'pi va

                       atmatvat sarva-bhutanam

                       sarva-bhuta-priyo harih




   na--not; hi--indeed; asya--of the Lord; asti--there is; priyah--very dear; kascit--anyone; na--nor; apriyah--not dear; svah--own; parah--other; api--even; va--or; atmatvat--due to being the soul of the soul; sarva-bhutanam--of all living entities; sarva-bhuta--to all living entities; priyah--very, very dear; harih--Lord Hari.




   He holds no one as very dear and no one as inimical. He has no one for His own relative, and no one is alien to Him. He is actually the soul of the soul of all living entities. Thus He is the auspicious friend of all living beings and is very near and dear to all of them.




   The Supreme Personality of Godhead, in His second feature, is the Supersoul of all living entities. As one's self is extremely dear, the Superself of the self is still more dear. No one can be the enemy of the friendly Superself, who is equal to everyone. Relationships of dearness or enmity between the Supreme Lord and the living beings are due to the intervention of the illusory energy. Because the three modes of material nature intervene between the Lord and the living beings, these different relationships appear. Actually, the living entity in his pure condition is always very near and dear to the Lord, and the Lord is dear to him. There is no question of partiality or enmity.


                             TEXTS 34-35




                       tasya cayam maha-bhagas

                       citraketuh priyo 'nugah

                       sarvatra sama-drk santo

                      hy aham caivacyuta-priyah


                      tasman na vismayah karyah

                          purusesu mahatmasu


                         santesu sama-darsisu




   tasya--of Him (the Lord); ca--and; ayam--this; maha-bhagah--the most fortunate; citraketuh--King Citraketu; priyah--beloved; anugah--most obedient servant; sarvatra--everywhere; sama-drk--sees equally; santah--very peaceful; hi--indeed; aham--I; ca--also; eva--certainly; acyuta-priyah--very dear to Lord Krsna, who never fails; tasmat--therefore; na--no; vismayah--wonder; karyah--to be done; purusesu--among persons; maha-atmasu--who are exalted souls; maha-purusa-bhaktesu--devotees of Lord Visnu; santesu--peaceful; sama-darsisu--equal to everyone.




   This magnanimous Citraketu is a dear devotee of the Lord. He is equal to all living entities and is free from attachment and hatred. Similarly, I am also very dear to Lord Narayana. Therefore, no one should be astonished to see the activities of the most exalted devotees of Narayana, for they are free from attachment and envy. They are always peaceful, and they are equal to everyone.




   It is said, vaisnavera kriya, mudra vijneha na bujhaya: one should not be astonished to see the activities of exalted, liberated Vaisnavas. As one should not be misled by the activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one should also not be misled by the activities of His devotees. Both the Lord and His devotees are liberated. They are on the same platform, the only difference being that the Lord is the master and the devotees are servants. Qualitatively, they are one and the same. In Bhagavad-gita (9.29) the Lord says:


                       samo 'ham sarva-bhutesu

                     na me dvesyo 'sti na priyah

                      ye bhajanti tu mam bhaktya

                        mayi te tesu capy aham


   "I envy no one, nor am I partial to anyone. I am equal to all. But whoever renders service unto Me in devotion is a friend, is in Me, and I am also a friend to him." From this statement by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, it is clear that the devotees of the Lord are always extremely dear to Him. In effect, Lord Siva told Parvati, "Both Citraketu and I are always very dear to the Supreme Lord. In other words, both he and I are on the same level as servants of the Lord. We are always friends, and sometimes we enjoy joking words between us. When Citraketu loudly laughed at my behavior, he did so on friendly terms, and therefore there was no reason to curse him." Thus Lord Siva tried to convince his wife, Parvati, that her cursing of Citraketu was not very sensible.

   Here is a difference between male and female that exists even in the higher statuses of life--in fact, even between Lord Siva and his wife. Lord Siva could understand Citraketu very nicely, but Parvati could not. Thus even in the higher statuses of life there is a difference between the understanding of a male and that of a female. It may be clearly said that the understanding of a woman is always inferior to the understanding of a man. In the Western countries there is now agitation to the effect that man and woman should be considered equal, but from this verse it appears that woman is always less intelligent than man.

   It is clear that Citraketu wanted to criticize the behavior of his friend Lord Siva because Lord Siva was sitting with his wife on his lap. Then, too, Lord Siva wanted to criticize Citraketu for externally posing as a great devotee but being interested in enjoying with the Vidyadhari women. These were all friendly jokes; there was nothing serious for which Citraketu should have been cursed by Parvati. Upon hearing the instructions of Lord Siva, Parvati must have been very much ashamed for cursing Citraketu to become a demon. Mother Parvati could not appreciate Citraketu's position, and therefore she cursed him, but when she understood the instructions of Lord Siva she was ashamed.


                               TEXT 36




                            sri-suka uvaca

                        iti srutva bhagavatah


                       babhuva santa-dhi rajan

                         devi vigata-vismaya




   sri-sukah uvaca--Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said; iti--thus; srutva--hearing; bhagavatah--of the most powerful demigod; sivasya--of Lord Siva; uma--Parvati; abhibhasitam--instruction; babhuva--became; santa-dhih--very peaceful; rajan--O King Pariksit; devi--the goddess; vigata-vismaya--released from astonishment.




   Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: O King, after hearing this speech by her husband, the demigoddess [Uma, the wife of Lord Siva] gave up her astonishment at the behavior of King Citraketu and became steady in intelligence.




   Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura remarks that the word santa-dhih means sviya-purva-svabhava-smrtya. When Parvati remembered her former behavior in cursing Citraketu, she became very much ashamed and covered her face with the skirt of her sari, admitting that she was wrong in cursing Citraketu.


                               TEXT 37




                         iti bhagavato devyah

                        pratisaptum alantamah

                       murdhna sa jagrhe sapam

                        etavat sadhu-laksanam




   iti--thus; bhagavatah--the most exalted devotee; devyah--of Parvati; pratisaptum--to make a counter-curse; alantamah--able in all respects; murdhna--with his head; sah--he (Citraketu); jagrhe--accepted; sapam--the curse; etavat--this much; sadhu-laksanam--the symptom of a devotee.




   The great devotee Citraketu was so powerful that he was quite competent to curse mother Parvati in retaliation, but instead of doing so he very humbly accepted the curse and bowed his head before Lord Siva and his wife. This is very much to be appreciated as the standard behavior of a Vaisnava.




   Upon being informed by Lord Siva, mother Parvati could understand that she was wrong in cursing Citraketu. King Citraketu was so exalted in his character that in spite of being wrongly cursed by Parvati, he immediately descended from his airplane and bowed his head before the mother, accepting her curse. This has already been explained: narayana-parah sarve na kutascana bibhyati. Citraketu very sportingly felt that since the mother wanted to curse him, he could accept this curse just to please her. This is called sadhu-laksanam, the characteristic of a sadhu, or a devotee. As explained by Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, trnad api sunicena taror api sahisnuna. A devotee should always be very humble and meek and should offer all respect to others, especially to superiors. Being protected by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, a devotee is always powerful, but a devotee does not wish to show his power unnecessarily. However, when a less intelligent person has some power, he wants to use it for sense gratification. This is not the behavior of a devotee.


                               TEXT 38




                      jajne tvastur daksinagnau

                        danavim yonim asritah

                        vrtra ity abhivikhyato





   jajne--was born; tvastuh--of the brahmana known as Tvasta; daksina-agnau--in the fire sacrifice known as daksinagni; danavim--demoniac; yonim--species of life; asritah--taking shelter of; vrtrah--Vrtra; iti--thus; abhivikhyatah--celebrated; jnana-vijnana-samyutah--fully equipped with transcendental knowledge and practical application of that knowledge in life.




   Being cursed by mother Durga [Bhavani, the wife of Lord Siva], that same Citraketu accepted birth in a demoniac species of life. Although still fully equipped with transcendental knowledge and practical application of that knowledge in life, he appeared as a demon at the fire sacrifice performed by Tvasta, and thus he became famous as Vrtrasura.




   The word yoni is generally understood to mean jati--family, group or species. Although Vrtrasura appeared in a family of demons, it is clearly said that his knowledge of spiritual life still existed. Jnana-vijnana-samyutah: his spiritual knowledge and the practical application of that knowledge in life were not lost. Therefore it is said that even if a devotee falls down for some reason, he is still not lost.


                 yatra kva vabhadram abhud amusya kim

                ko vartha apto 'bhajatam sva-dharmatah


   (Bhag. 1.5.17)


   Once one is advanced in devotional service, his spiritual assets are never lost under any circumstances. Whatever spiritual advancement he has achieved continues. This is confirmed in Bhagavad-gita. Even if a bhakti-yogi falls, he takes birth in a rich family or family of brahmanas, in which he again starts devotional activities from the point where he left off. Although Vrtrasura was known as an asura, or demon, he did not lose his consciousness of Krsna or devotional service.


                               TEXT 39




                       etat te sarvam akhyatam

                      yan mam tvam pariprcchasi

                        vrtrasyasura-jates ca

                        karanam bhagavan-mateh




   etat--this; te--unto you; sarvam--all; akhyatam--explained; yat--which; mam--me; tvam--you; pariprcchasi--asked; vrtrasya--of Vrtrasura; asura-jateh--whose birth was in a species of asuras; ca--and; karanam--the cause; bhagavat-mateh--of exalted intelligence in Krsna consciousness.




   My dear King Pariksit, you inquired from me how Vrtrasura, a great devotee, took birth in a demoniac family. Thus I have tried to explain to you everything about this.


                               TEXT 40




                         itihasam imam punyam

                        citraketor mahatmanah

                      mahatmyam visnu-bhaktanam

                       srutva bandhad vimucyate




   itihasam--history; imam--this; punyam--very pious; citraketoh--of Citraketu; maha-atmanah--the exalted devotee; mahatmyam--containing glory; visnu-bhaktanam--from the devotees of Visnu; srutva--hearing; bandhat--from bondage or conditional, material life; vimucyate--is freed.




   Citraketu was a great devotee [mahatma]. If one hears this history of Citraketu from a pure devotee, the listener also is freed from the conditional life of material existence.




   The historical incidents in the puranas, such as the history of Citraketu explained in the Bhagavata purana, are sometimes misunderstood by outsiders, or nondevotees. Therefore Sukadeva Gosvami advised that the history of Citraketu be heard from a devotee. Anything about devotional service or the characteristics of the Lord and His devotees must be heard from a devotee, not from a professional reciter. This is advised herein. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu's secretary also advised that one learn the history of Srimad-Bhagavatam from a devotee: yaha, bhagavata pada vaisnavera sthane. One should not hear the statements of Srimad-Bhagavatam from professional reciters, or else they will not be effective. Quoting from padma purana, Sri Sanatana Gosvami has strictly forbidden us to hear about the activities of the Lord and His devotees from the mouths of nondevotees:



                        putam hari-kathamrtam

                       sravanam naiva kartavyam

                      sarpocchistam yatha payah


   "One should not hear anything about Krsna from a non-Vaisnava. Milk touched by the lips of a serpent has poisonous effects; similarly, talks about Krsna given by a non-Vaisnava are also poisonous." One must be a bona fide devotee, and then he can preach and impress devotional service upon his listeners.


                               TEXT 41




                        ya etat pratar utthaya

                      sraddhaya vag-yatah pathet

                        itihasam harim smrtva

                        sa yati paramam gatim




   yah--any person who; etat--this; pratah--early in the morning; utthaya--rising; sraddhaya--with faith; vak-yatah--controlling the mind and words; pathet--may read; itihasam--history; harim--the Supreme Lord; smrtva--remembering; sah--that person; yati--goes; paramam gatim--back home, back to Godhead.




   One who rises from bed early in the morning and recites this history of Citraketu, controlling his words and mind and remembering the Supreme Personality of Godhead, will return home, back to Godhead, without difficulty.


Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the Sixth Canto, Seventeenth Chapter, of the Srimad-Bhagavatam  entitled, "Mother Parvati Curses Citraketu."

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