Chapter Seven

           Lord Siva Saves the Universe by Drinking Poison


   The summary of the Seventh Chapter is as follows. As described in this chapter, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, appearing in His incarnation as a tortoise, dove deep into the ocean to carry Mandara Mountain on His back. At first the churning of the ocean produced kalakuta poison. Everyone feared this poison, but Lord Siva satisfied them by drinking it.

   With the understanding that when the nectar was generated from the churning they would share it equally, the demigods and the demons brought Vasuki to be used as the rope for the churning rod. By the expert arrangement of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the demons held the snake near the mouth, whereas the demigods held the tail of the great snake. Then, with great endeavor, they began pulling the snake in both directions. Because the churning rod, Mandara Mountain, was very heavy and was not held by any support in the water, it sank into the ocean, and in this way the prowess of both the demons and the demigods was vanquished. The Supreme Personality of Godhead then appeared in the form of a tortoise and supported Mandara Mountain on His back. Then the churning resumed with great force. As a result of the churning, a huge amount of poison was produced. The prajapatis, seeing no one else to save them, approached Lord Siva and offered him prayers full of truth. Lord Siva is called Asutosa because he is very pleased if one is a devotee. Therefore he easily agreed to drink all the poison generated by the churning. The goddess Durga, Bhavani, the wife of Lord Siva, was not at all disturbed when Lord Siva agreed to drink the poison, for she knew Lord Siva's prowess. Indeed, she expressed her pleasure at this agreement. Then Lord Siva gathered the devastating poison, which was everywhere. He took it in his hand and drank it. After he drank the poison, his neck became bluish. A small quantity of the poison dropped from his hands to the ground, and it is because of this poison that there are poisonous snakes, scorpions, toxic plants and other poisonous things in this world.


                                TEXT 1




                            sri-suka uvaca

                        te naga-rajam amantrya

                        phala-bhagena vasukim

                        pariviya girau tasmin

                       netram abdhim mudanvitah

                         arebhire sura yatta

                         amrtarthe kurudvaha




   sri-sukah uvaca--Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said; te--all of them (the demigods and the demons); naga-rajam--the king of the Nagas, snakes; amantrya--inviting, or requesting; phala-bhagena--by promising a share of the nectar; vasukim--the snake Vasuki; pariviya--encircling; girau--Mandara Mountain; tasmin--unto it; netram--the churning rope; abdhim--the ocean of milk; muda anvitah--all surcharged with great pleasure; arebhire--began to act; surah--the demigods; yattah--with great endeavor; amrta-arthe--for gaining nectar; kuru-udvaha--O King Pariksit, best of the Kurus.




   Sukadeva Gosvami said: O best of the Kurus, Maharaja Pariksit, the demigods and demons summoned Vasuki, king of the serpents, requesting him to come and promising to give him a share of the nectar. They coiled Vasuki around Mandara Mountain as a churning rope, and with great pleasure they endeavored to produce nectar by churning the ocean of milk.


                                TEXT 2




                        harih purastaj jagrhe

                      purvam devas tato 'bhavan




   harih--the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Ajita; purastat--from the front; jagrhe--took; purvam--at first; devah--the demigods; tatah--thereafter; abhavan--took the front portion of Vasuki.




   The Personality of Godhead, Ajita, grasped the front portion of the snake, and then the demigods followed.


                                TEXT 3




                      tan naicchan daitya-patayo


                       na grhnimo vayam puccham

                         aher angam amangalam


                      prakhyata janma-karmabhih




   tat--that arrangement; na aicchan--not liking; daitya-patayah--the leaders of the demons; maha-purusa--of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; cestitam--attempt; na--not; grhnimah--shall take; vayam--all of us (the Daityas); puccham--the tail; aheh--of the serpent; angam--part of the body; amangalam--inauspicious, inferior; svadhyaya--with Vedic study; sruta--and Vedic knowledge; sampannah--fully equipped; prakhyatah--prominent; janma-karmabhih--by birth and activities.




   The leaders of the demons thought it unwise to hold the tail, the inauspicious portion of the snake. Instead, they wanted to hold the front, which had been taken by the Personality of Godhead and the demigods, because that portion was auspicious and glorious. Thus the demons, on the plea that they were all highly advanced students of Vedic knowledge and were all famous for their birth and activities, protested that they wanted to hold the front of the snake.




   The demons thought that the front of the snake was auspicious and that catching hold of that portion would be more chivalrous. Moreover, Daityas must always do the opposite of the demigods. That is their nature. We have actually seen this in relation to our Krsna consciousness movement. We are advocating cow protection and encouraging people to drink more milk and eat palatable preparations made of milk, but the demons, just to protest such proposals, are claiming that they are advanced in scientific knowledge, as described here by the words svadhyaya-sruta-sampannah. They say that according to their scientific way, they have discovered that milk is dangerous and that the beef obtained by killing cows is very nutritious. This difference of opinion will always continue. Indeed, it has existed since days of yore. Millions of years ago, there was the same competition. The demons, as a result of their so-called Vedic study, preferred to hold the side of the snake near the mouth. The Supreme Personality of Godhead thought it wise to catch hold of the dangerous part of the snake and allow the demons to hold the tail, which was not dangerous, but because of a competitive desire, the demons thought it wise to hold the snake near the mouth. If the demigods were going to drink poison, the demons would resolve, "Why should we not share the poison and die gloriously by drinking it?"

   In regard to the words svadhyaya-sruta-sampannah prakhyata janma-karmabhih, another question may be raised. If one is actually educated in Vedic knowledge, is famous for performing prescribed activities and has been born in a great aristocratic family, why should he be called a demon? The answer is that one may be highly educated and may have been born in an aristocratic family, but if he is godless, if he does not listen to the instructions of God, then he is a demon. There are many examples in history of men like Hiranyakasipu, Ravana and Kamsa who were well educated, who were born in aristocratic families and who were very powerful and chivalrous in fighting, but who, because of deriding the Supreme Personality of Godhead, were called Raksasas, or demons. One may be very well educated, but if he has no sense of Krsna consciousness, no obedience to the Supreme Lord, he is a demon. That is described by the Lord Himself in Bhagavad-gita (7.15):


                       na mam duskrtino mudhah

                        prapadyante naradhamah


                        asuram bhavam asritah


   "Those miscreants who are grossly foolish, lowest among mankind, whose knowledge is stolen by illusion, and who partake of the atheistic nature of demons, do not surrender unto Me." Asuram bhavam refers to not accepting the existence of God or the transcendental instructions of the Personality of Godhead. Bhagavad-gita clearly consists of transcendental instructions imparted directly by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. But asuras, instead of accepting these instructions directly, make commentaries according to their own whimsical ways and mislead everyone, without profit even for themselves. One should therefore be very careful of demoniac, godless persons. According to the words of Lord Krsna, even if a godless demon is very well educated, he must be considered a mudha, naradhama and mayayapahrta jnana.


                                TEXT 4




                      iti tusnim sthitan daityan

                         vilokya purusottamah

                        smayamano visrjyagram

                       puccham jagraha samarah




   iti--thus; tusnim--silently; sthitan--staying; daityan--the demons; vilokya--seeing; purusa-uttamah--the Personality of Godhead; smayamanah--smiling; visrjya--giving up; agram--the front portion of the snake; puccham--the rear portion; jagraha--grasped; sa-amarah--with the demigods.




   Thus the demons remained silent, opposing the desire of the demigods. Seeing the demons and understanding their motive, the Personality of Godhead smiled. Without discussion, He immediately accepted their proposal by grasping the tail of the snake, and the demigods followed Him.


                                TEXT 5




                       krta-sthana-vibhagas ta

                        evam kasyapa-nandanah

                       mamanthuh paramam yatta

                        amrtartham payo-nidhim




   krta--adjusting; sthana-vibhagah--the division of the places they were to hold; te--they; evam--in this way; kasyapa-nandanah--the sons of Kasyapa (both the demigods and the demons); mamanthuh--churned; paramam--with great; yattah--endeavor; amrta-artham--for getting nectar; payah-nidhim--the ocean of milk.




   After thus adjusting how the snake was to be held, the sons of Kasyapa, both demigods and demons, began their activities, desiring to get nectar by churning the ocean of milk.


                                TEXT 6




                      mathyamane 'rnave so 'drir

                        anadharo hy apo 'visat

                       dhriyamano 'pi balibhir

                        gauravat pandu-nandana




   mathyamane--while the churning was going on; arnave--in the ocean of milk; sah--that; adrih--hill; anadharah--without being supported by anything; hi--indeed; apah--in the water; avisat--drowned; dhriyamanah--captured; api--although; balibhih--by the powerful demigods and demons; gauravat--from being very heavy; pandu-nandana--O son of Pandu (Maharaja Pariksit).




   O son of the Pandu dynasty, when Mandara Mountain was thus being used as a churning rod in the ocean of milk, it had no support, and therefore although held by the strong hands of the demigods and demons, it sank into the water.


                                TEXT 7




                        te sunirvinna-manasah


                        asan sva-pauruse naste





   te--all of them (the demigods and demons); sunirvinna-manasah--their minds being very disappointed; parimlana--dried up; mukha-sriyah--the beauty of their faces; asan--became; sva-pauruse--with their own prowess; naste--being lost; daivena--by a providential arrangement; ati-baliyasa--which is always stronger than anything else.




   Because the mountain had been sunk by the strength of providence, the demigods and demons were disappointed, and their faces seemed to shrivel.


                                TEXT 8




                  vilokya vighnesa-vidhim tadesvaro

                   duranta-viryo 'vitathabhisandhih

                 krtva vapuh kacchapam adbhutam mahat

                    pravisya toyam girim ujjahara




   vilokya--observing; vighna--the obstruction (the sinking of the mountain); isa-vidhim--by the providential arrangement; tada--then; isvarah--the Supreme Personality of Godhead; duranta-viryah--inconceivably powerful; avitatha--infallible; abhisandhih--whose determination; krtva--expanding; vapuh--body; kacchapam--tortoise; adbhutam--wonderful; mahat--very great; pravisya--entering; toyam--the water; girim--the mountain (Mandara); ujjahara--lifted.




   Seeing the situation that had been created by the will of the Supreme, the unlimitedly powerful Lord, whose determination is infallible, took the wonderful shape of a tortoise, entered the water, and lifted the great Mandara Mountain.




   Here is evidence that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the supreme controller of everything. As we have previously described, there are two classes of men--the demons and the demigods--but neither of them are supremely powerful. Everyone has experienced that hindrances are imposed upon us by the supreme power. The demons regard these hindrances as mere accidents or chance, but devotees accept them to be acts of the supreme ruler. When faced with hindrances, therefore, devotees pray to the Lord. Tat te 'nukampam susamiksamano bhunjana evatma-krtam vipakam. Devotees endure hindrances, accepting them to be caused by the Supreme Personality of Godhead and regarding them as benedictions. Demons, however, being unable to understand the supreme controller, regard such hindrances as accidental. Here, of course, the Supreme Personality of Godhead was present personally. It was by His will that there were hindrances, and by His will those hindrances were removed. The Lord appeared as a tortoise to support the great mountain. Ksitir iha vipulatare tava tisthati prsthe. The Lord held the great mountain on His back. Kesava dhrta-kurma-sarira jaya jagadisa hare. Dangers can be created by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and they can also be removed by Him. This is known to devotees, but demons cannot understand it.


                                TEXT 9




                 tam utthitam viksya kulacalam punah

                   samudyata nirmathitum surasurah

                  dadhara prsthena sa laksa-yojana-

                    prastarina dvipa ivaparo mahan




   tam--that mountain; utthitam--lifted; viksya--observing; kulacalam--known as Mandara; punah--again; samudyatah--enlivened; nirmathitum--to churn the ocean of milk; sura-asurah--the demigods and the demons; dadhara--carried; prsthena--by the back; sah--the Supreme Lord; laksa-yojana--one hundred thousand yojanas (eight hundred thousand miles); prastarina--extending; dvipah--a big island; iva--like; aparah--another; mahan--very big.




   When the demigods and demons saw that Mandara Mountain had been lifted, they were enlivened and encouraged to begin churning again. The mountain rested on the back of the great tortoise, which extended for eight hundred thousand miles like a large island.


                               TEXT 10




                  surasurendrair bhuja-virya-vepitam

                 paribhramantam girim anga prsthatah

                  bibhrat tad-avartanam adi-kacchapo

                    mene 'nga-kanduyanam aprameyah




   sura-asura-indraih--by the leaders of the demons and the demigods; bhuja-virya--by the strength of their arms; vepitam--moving; paribhramantam--rotating; girim--the mountain; anga--O Maharaja Pariksit; prsthatah--on His back; bibhrat--bore; tat--of that; avartanam--the rotating; adi-kacchapah--as the supreme original tortoise; mene--considered; anga-kanduyanam--as pleasing scratching of the body; aprameyah--unlimited.




   O King, when the demigods and demons, by the strength of their arms, rotated Mandara Mountain on the back of the extraordinary tortoise, the tortoise accepted the rolling of the mountain as a means of scratching His body, and thus He felt a pleasing sensation.




   The Supreme Personality of Godhead is always the unlimited. Although the Supreme Personality of Godhead, in His body as a tortoise, held on His back the largest of mountains, Mandara-parvata, He did not feel any inconvenience. On the contrary, He apparently felt some itching, and thus the rotation of the mountain was certainly very pleasing.


                               TEXT 11




                      tathasuran avisad asurena

                   rupena tesam bala-viryam irayan

                   uddipayan deva-ganams ca visnur

                    daivena nagendram abodha-rupah




   tatha--thereafter; asuran--unto the demons; avisat--entered; asurena--by the quality of passion; rupena--in such a form; tesam--of them; bala-viryam--strength and energy; irayan--increasing; uddipayan--encouraging; deva-ganan--the demigods; ca--also; visnuh--Lord Visnu; daivena--by the feature of goodness; naga-indram--unto the King of the serpents, Vasuki; abodha-rupah--by the quality of ignorance.




   Thereafter, Lord Visnu entered the demons as the quality of passion, the demigods as the quality of goodness, and Vasuki as the quality of ignorance to encourage them and increase their various types of strength and energy.




   Everyone in this material world is under the different modes of material nature. There were three different parties in the churning of Mandara Mountain--the demigods, who were in the mode of goodness, the demons, who were in the mode of passion, and the snake Vasuki, who was in the mode of ignorance. Since they were all becoming tired (Vasuki so much so that he was almost going to die), Lord Visnu, to encourage them to continue the work of churning the ocean, entered into them according to their respective modes of nature--goodness, passion and ignorance.


                               TEXT 12




                    upary agendram giri-rad ivanya

                    akramya hastena sahasra-bahuh

                tasthau divi brahma-bhavendra-mukhyair

                   abhistuvadbhih sumano-'bhivrstah




   upari--on the top of; agendram--the big mountain; giri-rat--the king of mountains; iva--like; anyah--another; akramya--catching; hastena--by one hand; sahasra-bahuh--exhibiting thousands of hands; tasthau--situated; divi--in the sky; brahma--Lord Brahma; bhava--Lord Siva; indra--the King of heaven; mukhyaih--headed by; abhistuvadbhih--offered prayers to the Lord; sumanah--by flowers; abhivrstah--being showered.




   Manifesting Himself with thousands of hands, the Lord then appeared on the summit of Mandara Mountain, like another great mountain, and held Mandara Mountain with one hand. In the upper planetary systems, Lord Brahma and Lord Siva, along with Indra, King of heaven, and other demigods, offered prayers to the Lord and showered flowers upon Him.




   To balance Mandara Mountain while it was being pulled from both sides, the Lord Himself appeared on its summit like another great mountain. Lord Brahma, Lord Siva and King Indra then expanded themselves and showered flowers on the Lord.


                               TEXT 13




                  upary adhas catmani gotra-netrayoh

                    parena te pravisata samedhitah

                  mamanthur abdhim tarasa madotkata

                   mahadrina ksobhita-nakra-cakram




   upari--upward; adhah ca--and downward; atmani--unto the demons and demigods; gotra-netrayoh--unto the mountain and Vasuki, who was used as a rope; parena--the Supreme Personality of Godhead; te--they; pravisata--entering them; samedhitah--sufficiently agitated; mamanthuh--churned; abdhim--the ocean of milk; tarasa--with great strength; mada-utkatah--being mad; maha-adrina--with the great Mandara Mountain; ksobhita--agitated; nakra-cakram--all the alligators in the water.




   The demigods and demons worked almost madly for the nectar, encouraged by the Lord, who was above and below the mountain and who had entered the demigods, the demons, Vasuki and the mountain itself. Because of the strength of the demigods and demons, the ocean of milk was so powerfully agitated that all the alligators in the water were very much perturbed. Nonetheless the churning of the ocean continued in this way.


                               TEXT 14





                  svasagni-dhumahata-varcaso 'surah


                   davagni-dagdhah sarala ivabhavan




   ahindra--of the King of serpents; sahasra--by thousands; kathora--very, very hard; drk--all directions; mukha--by the mouth; svasa--breathing; agni--fire coming out; dhuma--smoke; ahata--being affected; varcasah--by the rays; asurah--the demons; pauloma--Pauloma; kaleya--Kaleya; bali--Bali; ilvala--Ilvala; adayah--headed by; dava-agni--by a forest fire; dagdhah--burned; saralah--sarala trees; iva--like; abhavan--all of them became.




   Vasuki had thousands of eyes and mouths. From his mouths he breathed smoke and blazing fire, which affected the demons, headed by Pauloma, Kaleya, Bali and Ilvala. Thus the demons, who appeared like sarala trees burned by a forest fire, gradually became powerless.


                               TEXT 15




               devams ca tac-chvasa-sikha-hata-prabhan


                  samabhyavarsan bhagavad-vasa ghana

                  vavuh samudrormy-upagudha-vayavah




   devan--all the demigods; ca--also; tat--of Vasuki; svasa--from the breathing; sikha--by the flames; hata--being affected; prabhan--their bodily luster; dhumra--smoky; ambara--dress; srak-vara--excellent garlands; kancuka--armaments; ananan--and faces; samabhyavarsan--sufficiently rained; bhagavat-vasah--under the control of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; ghanah--clouds; vavuh--blew; samudra--of the ocean of milk; urmi--from the waves; upagudha--bearing fragments of water; vayavah--breezes.




   Because the demigods were also affected by the blazing breath of Vasuki, their bodily lusters diminished, and their garments, garlands, weapons and faces were blackened by smoke. However, by the grace of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, clouds appeared on the sea, pouring torrents of rain, and breezes blew, carrying particles of water from the sea waves, to give the demigods relief.


                               TEXT 16




                      mathyamanat tatha sindhor


                         yada sudha na jayeta

                       nirmamanthajitah svayam




   mathyamanat--sufficiently being churned; tatha--in this way; sindhoh--from the ocean of milk; deva--of the demigods; asura--and the demons; varutha-paih--by the best; yada--when; sudha--nectar; na jayeta--did not come out; nirmamantha--churned; ajitah--the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Ajita; svayam--personally.




   When nectar did not come from the ocean of milk, despite so much endeavor by the best of the demigods and demons, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Ajita, personally began to churn the ocean.


                               TEXT 17




          megha-syamah kanaka-paridhih karna-vidyota-vidyun

        murdhni bhrajad-vilulita-kacah srag-dharo rakta-netrah

        jaitrair dorbhir jagad-abhaya-dair dandasukam grhitva

          mathnan mathna pratigirir ivasobhatatho dhrtadrih




   megha-syamah--blackish like a cloud; kanaka-paridhih--wearing yellow garments; karna--on the ears; vidyota-vidyut--whose earrings shone like lightning; murdhni--on the head; bhrajat--gleaming; vilulita--disheveled; kacah--whose hair; srak-dharah--wearing a flower garland; rakta-netrah--with red eyes; jaitraih--with victorious; dorbhih--with arms; jagat--to the universe; abhaya-daih--which give fearlessness; dandasukam--the snake (Vasuki); grhitva--after taking; mathnan--churning; mathna--by the churning rod (Mandara Mountain); pratigirih--another mountain; iva--like; asobhata--He appeared; atho--then; dhrta-adrih--having taken the mountain.




   The Lord appeared like a blackish cloud. He was dressed with yellow garments, His earrings shone on His ears like lightning, and His hair spread over His shoulders. He wore a garland of flowers, and His eyes were pinkish. With His strong, glorious arms, which award fearlessness throughout the universe, He took hold of Vasuki and began churning the ocean, using Mandara Mountain as a churning rod. When engaged in this way, the Lord appeared like a beautifully situated mountain named Indranila.


                               TEXT 18




                  nirmathyamanad udadher abhud visam

                   maholbanam halahalahvam agratah






   nirmathyamanat--while the activities of churning were going on; udadheh--from the ocean; abhut--there was; visam--poison; maha-ulbanam--very fierce; halahala-ahvam--by the name halahala; agratah--at first; sambhranta--agitated and going here and there; mina--various kinds of fish; unmakara--sharks; ahi--different kinds of snakes; kacchapat--and many kinds of tortoises; timi--whales; dvipa--water elephants; graha--crocodiles; timingila--whales that can swallow whales; akulat--being very much agitated.




   The fish, sharks, tortoises and snakes were most agitated and perturbed. The entire ocean became turbulent, and even the large aquatic animals like whales, water elephants, crocodiles and timingila fish [large whales that can swallow small whales] came to the surface. While the ocean was being churned in this way, it first produced a fiercely dangerous poison called halahala.


                               TEXT 19




                 tad ugra-vegam disi disy upary adho

                   visarpad utsarpad asahyam aprati

                  bhitah praja dudruvur anga sesvara

                    araksyamanah saranam sadasivam




   tat--that; ugra-vegam--very fierce and potent poison; disi disi--in all directions; upari--upward; adhah--downward; visarpat--curling; utsarpat--going upward; asahyam--unbearable; aprati--uncontrollable; bhitah--being very much afraid; prajah--the residents of all the worlds; dudruvuh--moved here and there; anga--O Maharaja Pariksit; sa-isvarah--with the Supreme Lord; araksyamanah--not being protected; saranam--shelter; sadasivam--unto the lotus feet of Lord Siva.




   O King, when that uncontrollable poison was forcefully spreading up and down in all directions, all the demigods, along with the Lord Himself, approached Lord Siva [Sadasiva]. Feeling unsheltered and very much afraid, they sought shelter of him.




   One may question that since the Supreme Personality of Godhead was personally present, why did He accompany all the demigods and people in general to take shelter of Lord Sadasiva, instead of intervening Himself. In this connection Srila Madhvacarya warns:


                       rudrasya yasaso 'rthaya

                      svayam visnur visam vibhuh

                       na sanjahre samartho 'pi

                        vayum coce prasantaye


   Lord Visnu was competent to rectify the situation, but in order to give credit to Lord Siva, who later drank all the poison and kept it in his neck, Lord Visnu did not take action.


                               TEXT 20




                   vilokya tam deva-varam tri-lokya

                    bhavaya devyabhimatam muninam

                     asinam adrav apavarga-hetos

                   tapo jusanam stutibhih pranemuh




   vilokya--observing; tam--him; deva-varam--the best of the demigods; tri-lokyah--of the three worlds; bhavaya--for the flourishing; devya--with his wife, Bhavani; abhimatam--accepted by; muninam--great saintly persons; asinam--sitting together; adrau--from the top of Kailasa Hill; apavarga-hetoh--desiring liberation; tapah--in austerity; jusanam--being served by them; stutibhih--by prayers; pranemuh--offered their respectful obeisances.




   The demigods observed Lord Siva sitting on the summit of Kailasa Hill with his wife, Bhavani, for the auspicious development of the three worlds. He was being worshiped by great saintly persons desiring liberation. The demigods offered him their obeisances and prayers with great respect.


                               TEXT 21




                         sri-prajapataya ucuh

                         deva-deva maha-deva

                       bhutatman bhuta-bhavana

                       trahi nah saranapannams

                       trailokya-dahanad visat




   sri-prajapatayah ucuh--the prajapatis said; deva-deva--O Lord Mahadeva, best of the demigods; maha-deva--O great demigod; bhuta-atman--O life and soul of everyone in this world; bhuta-bhavana--O the cause of the happiness and flourishing of all of them; trahi--deliver; nah--us; sarana-apannan--who have taken shelter at your lotus feet; trailokya--of the three worlds; dahanat--which is causing the burning; visat--from this poison.




   The prajapatis said: O greatest of all demigods, Mahadeva, Supersoul of all living entities and cause of their happiness and prosperity, we have come to the shelter of your lotus feet. Now please save us from this fiery poison, which is spreading all over the three worlds.




   Since Lord Siva is in charge of annihilation, why should he be approached for protection, which is given by Lord Visnu? Lord Brahma creates, and Lord Siva annihilates, but both Lord Brahma and Lord Siva are incarnations of Lord Visnu and are known as saktyavesa-avataras. They are endowed with a special power like that of Lord Visnu, who is actually all-pervading in their activities. Therefore whenever prayers for protection are offered to Lord Siva, actually Lord Visnu is indicated, for otherwise Lord Siva is meant for destruction. Lord Siva is one of the isvaras, or the controllers known as saktyavesa-avataras. Therefore he can be addressed as having the qualities of Lord Visnu.


                               TEXT 22




                        tvam ekah sarva-jagata

                        isvaro bandha-moksayoh

                       tam tvam arcanti kusalah

                       prapannarti-haram gurum




   tvam ekah--Your Lordship is indeed; sarva-jagatah--of the three worlds; isvarah--the controller; bandha-moksayoh--of both bondage and liberation; tam--that controller; tvam arcanti--worship you; kusalah--persons who want good fortune; prapanna-arti-haram--who can mitigate all the distresses of a sheltered devotee; gurum--you who act as a good advisor to all fallen souls.




   O lord, you are the cause of bondage and liberation of the entire universe because you are its ruler. Those who are advanced in spiritual consciousness surrender unto you, and therefore you are the cause of mitigating their distresses, and you are also the cause of their liberation. We therefore worship Your Lordship.




   Actually Lord Visnu maintains and accomplishes all good fortune. If one has to take shelter of Lord Visnu, why should the demigods take shelter of Lord Siva? They did so because Lord Visnu acts through Lord Siva in the creation of the material world. Lord Siva acts on behalf of Lord Visnu. When the Lord says in Bhagavad-gita (14.4) that He is the father of all living entities (aham bija-pradah pita), this refers to actions performed by Lord Visnu through Lord Siva. Lord Visnu is always unattached to material activities, and when material activities are to be performed, Lord Visnu performs them through Lord Siva. Lord Siva is therefore worshiped on the level of Lord Visnu. When Lord Visnu is untouched by the external energy He is Lord Visnu, but when He is in touch with the external energy, He appears in His feature as Lord Siva.


                               TEXT 23




                       guna-mayya sva-saktyasya

                      sarga-sthity-apyayan vibho

                      dhatse yada sva-drg bhuman





   guna-mayya--acting in three modes of activity; sva-saktya--by the external energy of Your Lordship; asya--of this material world; sarga-sthiti-apyayan--creation, maintenance and annihilation; vibho--O lord; dhatse--you execute; yada--when; sva-drk--you manifest yourself; bhuman--O great one; brahma-visnu-siva-abhidham--as Lord Brahma, Lord Visnu or Lord Siva.




   O lord, you are self-effulgent and supreme. You create this material world by your personal energy, and you assume the names Brahma, Visnu and Mahesvara when you act in creation, maintenance and annihilation.




   This prayer is actually offered to Lord Visnu, the purusa, who in His incarnations as the guna-avataras assumes the names Brahma, Visnu and Mahesvara.


                               TEXT 24




                      tvam brahma paramam guhyam


                        nana-saktibhir abhatas

                       tvam atma jagad-isvarah




   tvam--Your Lordship; brahma--impersonal Brahman; paramam--supreme; guhyam--confidential; sat-asat-bhava-bhavanam--the cause of varieties of creation, its cause and effect; nana-saktibhih--with varieties of potencies; abhatah--manifest; tvam--you are; atma--the Supersoul; jagat-isvarah--the Supreme Personality of Godhead.




   You are the cause of all causes, the self-effulgent, inconceivable, impersonal Brahman, which is originally Parabrahman. You manifest various potencies in this cosmic manifestation.




   This prayer is offered to the impersonal Brahman, which consists of the effulgent rays of Parabrahman. Parabrahman is the Supreme Personality of Godhead (param brahma param dhama pavitram paramam bhavan). When Lord Siva is worshiped as Parabrahman, the worship is meant for Lord Visnu.


                               TEXT 25




                   tvam sabda-yonir jagad-adir atma

                  pranendriya-dravya-gunah svabhavah

                 kalah kratuh satyam rtam ca dharmas

                  tvayy aksaram yat tri-vrd-amananti




   tvam--Your Lordship; sabda-yonih--the origin and source of Vedic literature; jagat-adih--the original cause of material creation; atma--the soul; prana--the living force; indriya--the senses; dravya--the material elements; gunah--the three qualities; sva-bhavah--material nature; kalah--eternal time; kratuh--sacrifice; satyam--truth; rtam--truthfulness; ca--and; dharmah--two different types of religion; tvayi--unto you; aksaram--the original syllable, omkara; yat--that which; tri-vrt--consisting of the letters a, u and m; amananti--they say.




   O lord, you are the original source of Vedic literature. You are the original cause of material creation, the life force, the senses, the five elements, the three modes and the mahat-tattva. You are eternal time, determination and the two religious systems called truth [satya] and truthfulness [rta]. You are the shelter of the syllable om, which consists of three letters a-u-m.


                               TEXT 26




                   agnir mukham te 'khila-devatatma

                ksitim vidur loka-bhavanghri-pankajam

                  kalam gatim te 'khila-devatatmano

                   disas ca karnau rasanam jalesam




   agnih--fire; mukham--mouth; te--of Your Lordship; akhila-devata-atma--the origin of all demigods; ksitim--the surface of the globe; viduh--they know; loka-bhava--O origin of all planets; anghri-pankajam--your lotus feet; kalam--eternal time; gatim--progress; te--of Your Lordship; akhila-devata-atmanah--the total aggregate of all the demigods; disah--all directions; ca--and; karnau--your ears; rasanam--taste; jala-isam--the demigod controller of the water.




   O father of all planets, learned scholars know that fire is your mouth, the surface of the globe is your lotus feet, eternal time is your movement, all the directions are your ears, and Varuna, master of the waters, is your tongue.




   In the sruti-mantras it is said, agnih sarva-devatah: "Fire is the aggregate of all demigods." Agni is the mouth of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is through Agni, or fire, that the Lord accepts all sacrificial oblations.


                               TEXT 27




                 nabhir nabhas te svasanam nabhasvan

                  suryas ca caksumsi jalam sma retah

                     paravaratmasrayanam tavatma

                  somo mano dyaur bhagavan siras te




   nabhih--navel; nabhah--the sky; te--of Your Lordship; svasanam--breathing; nabhasvan--the air; suryah ca--and the sun globe; caksumsi--your eyes; jalam--the water; sma--indeed; retah--semen; para-avara-atma-asrayanam--the shelter of all living entities, low and high; tava--your; atma--self; somah--the moon; manah--mind; dyauh--the higher planetary systems; bhagavan--O Your Lordship; sirah--head; te--of you.




   O lord, the sky is your navel, the air is your breathing, the sun is your eyes, and the water is your semen. You are the shelter of all kinds of living entities, high and low. The god of the moon is your mind, and the upper planetary system is your head.


                               TEXT 28




                  kuksih samudra girayo 'sthi-sangha

                    romani sarvausadhi-virudhas te

                 chandamsi saksat tava sapta dhatavas

                 trayi-mayatman hrdayam sarva-dharmah




   kuksih--abdomen; samudrah--the oceans; girayah--the mountains; asthi--bones; sanghah--combination; romani--the hairs of the body; sarva--all; ausadhi--drugs; virudhah--plants and creepers; te--your; chandamsi--Vedic mantras; saksat--directly; tava--your; sapta--seven; dhatavah--layers of the body; trayi-maya-atman--O three Vedas personified; hrdayam--core of the heart; sarva-dharmah--all kinds of religion.




   O lord, you are the three Vedas personified. The seven seas are your abdomen, and the mountains are your bones. All drugs, creepers and vegetables are the hairs on your body, the Vedic mantras like Gayatri are the seven layers of your body, and the Vedic religious system is the core of your heart.


                               TEXT 29




                    mukhani pancopanisadas tavesa

                 yais trimsad-astottara-mantra-vargah

                 yat tac chivakhyam paramatma-tattvam

                   deva svayam-jyotir avasthitis te




   mukhani--faces; panca--five; upanisadah--Vedic literatures; tava--your; isa--O lord; yaih--by which; trimsat-asta-uttara-mantra-vargah--in the category of thirty-eight important Vedic mantras; yat--that; tat--as it is; siva-akhyam--celebrated by the name Siva; paramatma-tattvam--which ascertain the truth about Paramatma; deva--O lord; svayam-jyotih--self-illuminated; avasthitih--situation; te--of Your Lordship.




   O lord, the five important Vedic mantras are represented by your five faces, from which the thirty-eight most celebrated Vedic mantras have been generated. Your Lordship, being celebrated as Lord Siva, is self-illuminated. You are directly situated as the supreme truth, known as Paramatma.




   The five mantras mentioned in this connection are as follows: (1) Purusa, (2) Aghora, (3) Sadyojata, (4) Vamadeva, and (5) Isana. These five mantras are within the category of thirty-eight special Vedic mantras chanted by Lord Siva, who is therefore celebrated as Siva or Mahadeva. Another reason why Lord Siva is called Siva, which means "all-auspicious," is that he is self-illuminated, exactly like Lord Visnu, who is the Paramatma. Because Lord Siva is directly an incarnation of Lord Visnu, he is situated as Lord Visnu's direct representative. This fact is corroborated by a Vedic mantra: patim visvasyatmesvaram sasvatam. sivam acyutam. The Supersoul is called by many names, of which Mahesvara, Siva and Acyuta are especially mentioned.


                               TEXT 30




                  chaya tv adharmormisu yair visargo

                  netra-trayam sattva-rajas-tamamsi

                  sankhyatmanah sastra-krtas taveksa

                     chandomayo deva rsih puranah




   chaya--shadow; tu--but; adharma-urmisu--in the waves of irreligion, like kama, krodha, lobha and moha; yaih--by which; visargah--so many varieties of creation; netra-trayam--three eyes; sattva--goodness; rajah--passion; tamamsi--and darkness; sankhya-atmanah--the origin of all Vedic literatures; sastra--scriptures; krtah--made; tava--by you; iksa--simply by glancing; chandah-mayah--full of Vedic verses; deva--O lord; rsih--all Vedic literatures; puranah--and the puranas, the supplementary Vedas.




   O lord, your shadow is seen in irreligion, which brings about varieties of irreligious creations. The three modes of nature--goodness, passion and ignorance--are your three eyes. All the Vedic literatures, which are full of verses, are emanations from you because their compilers wrote the various scriptures after receiving your glance.


                               TEXT 31




                    na te giri-trakhila-loka-pala-


                  jyotih param yatra rajas tamas ca

                 sattvam na yad brahma nirasta-bhedam




   na--not; te--of Your Lordship; giri-tra--O King of the mountains; akhila-loka-pala--all the directors of departments of material activities; virinca--Lord Brahma; vaikuntha--Lord Visnu; sura-indra--the King of heaven; gamyam--they can understand; jyotih--effulgence; param--transcendental; yatra--wherein; rajah--the mode of passion; tamah ca--and the mode of ignorance; sattvam--the mode of goodness; na--not; yat brahma--which is impersonal Brahman; nirasta-bhedam--without distinction between demigods and human beings.




   O Lord Girisa, since the impersonal Brahman effulgence is transcendental to the material modes of goodness, passion and ignorance, the various directors of this material world certainly cannot appreciate it or even know where it is. It is not understandable even to Lord Brahma, Lord Visnu or the King of heaven, Mahendra.




   The brahmajyoti is actually the effulgence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As stated in Brahma-samhita (5.40):


               yasya prabha prabhavato jagad-anda-koti-

                kotisv asesa-vasudhadi-vibhuti-bhinnam

               tad brahma niskalam anantam asesa-bhutam

                govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami


   "I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, who is endowed with great power. The glowing effulgence of His transcendental form is the impersonal Brahman, which is absolute, complete and unlimited and which displays the varieties of countless planets, with their different opulences, in millions and millions of universes." Although the impersonal feature of the Absolute is an expansion of the rays of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He does not need to take care of the impersonalists who enter the brahmajyoti. Krsna says in Bhagavad-gita (9.4), maya tatam idam sarvam jagad avyakta-murtina: "In My impersonal feature I pervade this entire universe." Thus the avyakta-murti, the impersonal feature, is certainly an expansion of Krsna's energy. Mayavadis, who prefer to merge into this Brahman effulgence, worship Lord Siva. The mantras referred to in text 29 are called mukhani pancopanisadas tavesa. Mayavadis take all these mantras seriously in worshiping Lord Siva. These mantras are as follows: (1) tat purusaya vidmahe santyai, (2) maha-devaya dhimahi vidyayai, (3) tan no rudrah pratisthayai, (4) pracodayat dhrtyai, (5) aghorebhyas tama. ..,  (6) atha ghorebhyo moha. .., (7) aghorebhyo raksa. .., (8) aghoratarebhyo nidra. .., (9) sarvebhyah sarva-vyadhyai, (10) sarva-sarvebhyo mrtyave, (11) namas te 'stu ksudha. .., (12) rudra-rupebhyas trsna. .., (13) vamadevaya raja. .., (14) jyesthaya svaha. .., (15) sresthaya ratyai, (16) rudraya kalyanyai, (17) kalaya kama. .., (18) kala-vikaranaya sandhinyai, (19) bala-vikaranaya kriya. ..,  (20) balaya vrddhyai, (21) balacchaya. ..,  (22) pramathanaya dhatryai, (23) sarva-bhuta-damanaya bhramanyai, (24) manah-sosinyai, (25) unmanaya jvara. .., (26) sadyojatam prapadyami siddhyai, (27) sadyojataya vai namah rddhyai, (28) bhave dityai, (29) abhave laksmyai, (30) natibhave medha. ..,  (31) bhajasva mam kantyai, (32) bhava svadha. .., (33) udbhavaya prabha. ..,  (34) isanah sarva-vidyanam sasinyai, (35) isvarah sarva-bhutanam abhaya-da. ..,  (36) brahmadhipatir brahmanodhipatir brahman brahmesta-da. .., (37) sivo me astu maricyai,  (38) sadasivah jvalinyai.

   The impersonal Brahman is unknown even to the other directors of the material creation, including Lord Brahma, Lord Indra and even Lord Visnu. This does not mean, however, that Lord Visnu is not omniscient. Lord Visnu is omniscient, but He does not need to understand what is going on in His all-pervading expansion. Therefore in Bhagavad-gita the Lord says that although everything is an expansion of Him (maya tatam idam sarvam), He does not need to take care of everything (na caham tesv avasthitah), since there are various directors like Lord Brahma, Lord Siva and Indra.


                               TEXT 32





              bhuta-druhah ksapayatah stutaye na tat te

             yas tv anta-kala idam atma-krtam sva-netra-

               vahni-sphulinga-sikhaya bhasitam na veda




   kama-adhvara--sacrifices for sense gratification (like Daksa-yajna, the sacrifices performed by Daksa); tripura--the demon named Tripurasura; kalagara--Kalagara; adi--and others; aneka--many; bhuta-druhah--who are meant for giving trouble to the living entities; ksapayatah--being engaged in their destruction; stutaye--your prayer; na--not; tat--that; te--speaking to you; yah tu--because; anta-kale--at the time of annihilation; idam--in this material world; atma-krtam--done by yourself; sva-netra--by your eyes; vahni-sphulinga-sikhaya--by the sparks of fire; bhasitam--burned to ashes; na veda--I do not know how it is happening.




   When annihilation is performed by the flames and sparks emanating from your eyes, the entire creation is burned to ashes. Nonetheless, you do not know how this happens. What then is to be said of your destroying the Daksa-yajna, Tripurasura and the kalakuta poison? Such activities cannot be subject matters for prayers offered to you.




   Since Lord Siva considers the great acts he performs to be very unimportant, what was to be said of counteracting the strong poison produced by the churning? The demigods indirectly prayed that Lord Siva counteract the kalakuta poison, which was spreading throughout the universe.


                               TEXT 33




             ye tv atma-rama-gurubhir hrdi cintitanghri-

               dvandvam carantam umaya tapasabhitaptam

                katthanta ugra-parusam niratam smasane

                te nunam utim avidams tava hata-lajjah




   ye--persons who; tu--indeed; atma-rama-gurubhih--by those who are self-satisfied and who are considered to be spiritual masters of the world; hrdi--within the heart; cintita-anghri-dvandvam--thinking of your two lotus feet; carantam--moving; umaya--with your consort, Uma; tapasa abhitaptam--highly advanced through practice of austerity and penance; katthante--criticize your acts; ugra-parusam--not a gentle person; niratam--always; smasane--in the crematorium; te--such persons; nunam--indeed; utim--such activities; avidan--not knowing; tava--your activities; hata-lajjah--shameless.




   Exalted, self-satisfied persons who preach to the entire world think of your lotus feet constantly within their hearts. However, when persons who do not know your austerity see you moving with Uma, they misunderstand you to be lusty, or when they see you wandering in the crematorium they mistakenly think that you are ferocious and envious. Certainly they are shameless. They cannot understand your activities.




   Lord Siva is the topmost Vaisnava (vaisnavanam yatha sambhuh). It is therefore said, vaisnavera kriya-mudra vijne na bujhaya. Even the most intelligent person cannot understand what a Vaisnava like Lord Siva is doing or how he is acting. Those who are conquered by lusty desires and anger cannot estimate the glories of Lord Siva, whose position is always transcendental. In all the activities associated with lusty desires, Lord Siva is an implement of atma-rama. Ordinary persons, therefore, should not try to understand Lord Siva and his activities. One who tries to criticize the activities of Lord Siva is shameless.


                               TEXT 34




               tat tasya te sad-asatoh paratah parasya

              nanjah svarupa-gamane prabhavanti bhumnah

               brahmadayah kim uta samstavane vayam tu

               tat-sarga-sarga-visaya api sakti-matram




   tat--therefore; tasya--of that; te--of Your Lordship; sat-asatoh--of the living entities, moving and not moving; paratah--transcendentally situated; parasya--very difficult to understand; na--nor; anjah--as it is; svarupa-gamane--to approach your reality; prabhavanti--it is possible; bhumnah--O great one; brahma-adayah--even such persons as Lord Brahma; kim uta--what to speak of others; samstavane--in offering prayers; vayam tu--as far as we are concerned; tat--of you; sarga-sarga-visayah--creations of the creation; api--although; sakti-matram--to our ability.




   Even personalities like Lord Brahma and other demigods cannot understand your position, for you are beyond the moving and nonmoving creation. Since no one can understand you in truth, how can one offer you prayers? It is impossible. As far as we are concerned, we are creatures of Lord Brahma's creation. Under the circumstances, therefore, we cannot offer you adequate prayers, but as far as our ability allows, we have expressed our feelings.


                               TEXT 35




                        etat param prapasyamo

                        na param te mahesvara

                         mrdanaya hi lokasya

                     vyaktis te 'vyakta-karmanah




   etat--all these things; param--transcendental; prapasyamah--we can see; na--not; param--the actual transcendental position; te--of Your Lordship; maha-isvara--O great ruler; mrdanaya--for the happiness; hi--indeed; lokasya--of all the world; vyaktih--manifested; te--of Your Lordship; avyakta-karmanah--whose activities are unknown to everyone.




   O greatest of all rulers, your actual identity is impossible for us to understand. As far as we can see, your presence brings flourishing happiness to everyone. Beyond this, no one can appreciate your activities. We can see this much, and nothing more.




   When the demigods offered these prayers to Lord Siva, their inner purpose was to please him so that he would rectify the disturbing situation created by the halahala poison. As stated in Bhagavad-gita (7.20), kamais tais tair hrta jnanah prapadyante 'nya-devatah: when one worships demigods, this is certainly because of deep-rooted desires he wants fulfilled by the mercy of those demigods. People are generally attached to the worship of demigods for some motive.


                               TEXT 36




                            sri-suka uvaca

                      tad-viksya vyasanam tasam

                         krpaya bhrsa-piditah

                        sarva-bhuta-suhrd deva

                        idam aha satim priyam




   sri-sukah uvaca--Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said; tat--this situation; viksya--seeing; vyasanam--dangerous; tasam--of all the demigods; krpaya--out of compassion; bhrsa-piditah--greatly aggrieved; sarva-bhuta-suhrt--the friend of all living entities; devah--Mahadeva; idam--this; aha--said; satim--unto Satidevi; priyam--his very dear wife.




   Srila Sukadeva Gosvami continued: Lord Siva is always benevolent toward all living entities. When he saw that the living entities were very much disturbed by the poison, which was spreading everywhere, he was very compassionate. Thus he spoke to his eternal consort, Sati, as follows.


                               TEXT 37




                            sri-siva uvaca

                        aho bata bhavany etat

                       prajanam pasya vaisasam


                         kalakutad upasthitam




   sri-sivah uvaca--Sri Siva said; aho bata--how pitiable; bhavani--my dear wife, Bhavani; etat--this situation; prajanam--of all living entities; pasya--just see; vaisasam--very dangerous; ksira-uda--of the ocean of milk; mathana-udbhutat--produced by the churning; kalakutat--because of the production of poison; upasthitam--the present situation.




   Lord Siva said: My dear Bhavani, just see how all these living entities have been placed in danger because of the poison produced from the churning of the ocean of milk.


                               TEXT 38




                        asam prana-paripsunam

                        vidheyam abhayam hi me

                       etavan hi prabhor artho

                         yad dina-paripalanam




   asam--all of these living entities; prana-paripsunam--very strongly desiring to protect their lives; vidheyam--something must be done; abhayam--safety; hi--indeed; me--by me; etavan--this much; hi--indeed; prabhoh--of the master; arthah--duty; yat--that which; dina-paripalanam--to give protection to suffering humanity.




   It is my duty to give protection and safety to all living entities struggling for existence. Certainly it is the duty of the master to protect his suffering dependents.


                               TEXT 39




                     pranaih svaih praninah panti

                      sadhavah ksana-bhanguraih

                        baddha-vairesu bhutesu

                         mohitesv atma-mayaya




   pranaih--by lives; svaih--their own; praninah--other living entities; panti--protect; sadhavah--devotees; ksana-bhanguraih--temporary; baddha-vairesu--unnecessarily engaged in animosity; bhutesu--unto living entities; mohitesu--bewildered; atma-mayaya--by the external energy of the Lord.




   People in general, being bewildered by the illusory energy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, are always engaged in animosity toward one another. But devotees, even at the risk of their own temporary lives, try to save them.




   This is the characteristic of a Vaisnava. Para-duhkha-duhkhi: a Vaisnava is always unhappy to see the conditioned souls unhappy. Otherwise, he would have no business teaching them how to become happy. In materialistic life, people must certainly engage in activities of animosity. Materialistic life is therefore compared to samsara-davanala, a blazing forest fire that automatically takes place. Lord Siva and his followers in the parampara system try to save people from this dangerous condition of materialistic life. This is the duty of devotees following the principles of Lord Siva and belonging to the Rudra-sampradaya. There are four Vaisnava sampradayas, and the Rudra-sampradaya is one of them because Lord Siva (Rudra) is the best of the Vaisnavas (vaisnavanam yatha sambhuh). Indeed, as we shall see, Lord Siva drank all the poison for the benefit of humanity.


                               TEXT 40




                        pumsah krpayato bhadre

                        sarvatma priyate harih

                        prite harau bhagavati

                        priye 'ham sacaracarah

                       tasmad idam garam bhunje

                       prajanam svastir astu me




   pumsah--with a person; krpayatah--engaged in benevolent activities; bhadre--O most gentle Bhavani; sarva-atma--the Supersoul; priyate--becomes pleased; harih--the Supreme Personality of Godhead; prite--because of His pleasure; harau--the Supreme Lord, Hari; bhagavati--the Personality of Godhead; priye--also become pleased; aham--I; sa-cara-acarah--with all others, moving and nonmoving; tasmat--therefore; idam--this; garam--poison; bhunje--let me drink; prajanam--of the living entities; svastih--welfare; astu--let there be; me--by me.




   My dear gentle wife Bhavani, when one performs benevolent activities for others, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Hari, is very pleased. And when the Lord is pleased, I am also pleased, along with all other living creatures. Therefore, let me drink this poison, for all the living entities may thus become happy because of me.


                               TEXT 41




                            sri-suka uvaca

                        evam amantrya bhagavan

                       bhavanim visva-bhavanah

                       tad visam jagdhum arebhe





   sri-sukah uvaca--Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said; evam--in this way; amantrya--addressing; bhagavan--Lord Siva; bhavanim--Bhavani; visva-bhavanah--the well-wisher of all the universe; tat visam--that poison; jagdhum--to drink; arebhe--began; prabhava-jna--mother Bhavani, who perfectly knew the capability of Lord Siva; anvamodata--gave her permission.




   Srila Sukadeva Gosvami continued: After informing Bhavani in this way, Lord Siva began to drink the poison, and Bhavani, who knew perfectly well the capabilities of Lord Siva, gave him her permission to do so.


                               TEXT 42




                         tatah karatali-krtya

                        vyapi halahalam visam

                        abhaksayan maha-devah

                        krpaya bhuta-bhavanah




   tatah--thereafter; karatali-krtya--taking in his hand; vyapi--widespread; halahalam--called halahala; visam--poison; abhaksayat--drank; maha-devah--Lord Siva; krpaya--out of compassion; bhuta-bhavanah--for the welfare of all living entities.




   Thereafter, Lord Siva, who is dedicated to auspicious, benevolent work for humanity, compassionately took the whole quantity of poison in his palm and drank it.




   Although there was such a great quantity of poison that it spread all over the universe, Lord Siva had such great power that he reduced the poison to a small quantity so that he could hold it in his palm. One should not try to imitate Lord Siva. Lord Siva can do whatever he likes, but those who try to imitate Lord Siva by smoking ganja and other poisonous things will certainly be killed because of such activities.


                               TEXT 43




                         tasyapi darsayam asa

                       sva-viryam jala-kalmasah

                        yac cakara gale nilam

                       tac ca sadhor vibhusanam




   tasya--of Lord Siva; api--also; darsayam asa--exhibited; sva-viryam--its own potency; jala-kalmasah--that poison born of the water; yat--which; cakara--made; gale--on the neck; nilam--bluish line; tat--that; ca--also; sadhoh--of the saintly person; vibhusanam--ornament.




   As if in defamation, the poison born from the ocean of milk manifested its potency by marking Lord Siva's neck with a bluish line. That line, however, is now accepted as an ornament of the Lord.


                               TEXT 44




                         tapyante loka-tapena

                        sadhavah prayaso janah

                        paramaradhanam tad dhi





   tapyante--voluntarily suffer; loka-tapena--because of the suffering of people in general; sadhavah--saintly persons; prayasah--almost always; janah--such persons; parama-aradhanam--the topmost method of worshiping; tat--that activity; hi--indeed; purusasya--of the Supreme Person; akhila-atmanah--who is the Supersoul of everyone.




   It is said that great personalities almost always accept voluntary suffering because of the suffering of people in general. This is considered the highest method of worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is present in everyone's heart.




   Here is an explanation of how those engaged in activities for the welfare of others are very quickly recognized by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Lord says in Bhagavad-gita (18.68-69), ya idam paramam guhyam mad-bhaktesv abhidhasyati. .. na ca tasman manusyesu kascin me priya-krttamah: "One who preaches the message of Bhagavad-gita to My devotees is most dear to Me. No one can excel him in satisfying Me by worship." There are different kinds of welfare activities in this material world, but the supreme welfare activity is the spreading of Krsna consciousness. Other welfare activities cannot be effective, for the laws of nature and the results of karma cannot be checked. It is by destiny, or the laws of karma, that one must suffer or enjoy. For instance, if one is given a court order, he must accept it, whether it brings suffering or profit. Similarly, everyone is under obligations to karma and it reactions. No one can change this. Therefore the sastra says:


                   tasyaiva hetoh prayateta kovido

                na labhyate yad bhramatam upary adhah


   (Bhag. 1.5.18)


   One should endeavor for that which is never obtained by wandering up and down the universe as a result of the reactions of karma. What is that? One should endeavor to become Krsna conscious. If one tries to spread Krsna consciousness all over the world, he should be understood to be performing the best welfare activity. The Lord is automatically very pleased with him. If the Lord is pleased with him, what is left for him to achieve? If one has been recognized by the Lord, even if he does not ask the Lord for anything, the Lord, who is within everyone, supplies him whatever he wants. This is also confirmed in Bhagavad-gita (tesam nityabhiyuktanam yoga-ksemam vahamy aham). Again, as stated here, tapyante loka-tapena sadhavah prayaso janah. The best welfare activity is raising people to the platform of Krsna consciousness, since the conditioned souls are suffering only for want of Krsna consciousness. The Lord Himself also comes to mitigate the suffering of humanity.


                        yada yada hi dharmasya

                        glanir bhavati bharata

                       abhyutthanam adharmasya

                        tadatmanam srjamy aham


                         paritranaya sadhunam

                         vinasaya ca duskrtam


                         sambhavami yuge yuge


   "Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion--at that time I descend Myself. To deliver the pious and to annihilate the miscreants, as well as to reestablish the principles of religion, I advent Myself millennium after millennium." (Bg. 4.7-8) All the sastras conclude, therefore, that spreading the Krsna consciousness movement is the best welfare activity in the world. Because of the ultimate benefit this bestows upon people in general, the Lord very quickly recognizes such service performed by a devotee.


                               TEXT 45




                      nisamya karma tac chambhor

                        deva-devasya midhusah

                        praja daksayani brahma

                       vaikunthas ca sasamsire




   nisamya--after hearing; karma--the act; tat--that; sambhoh--of Lord Siva; deva-devasya--who is worshipable even for the demigods; midhusah--he who bestows great benedictions upon people in general; prajah--the people in general; daksayani--Bhavani, the daughter of Daksa; brahma--Lord Brahma; vaikunthah ca--Lord Visnu also; sasamsire--praised very much.




   Upon hearing of this act, everyone, including Bhavani [the daughter of Maharaja Daksa], Lord Brahma, Lord Visnu, and the people in general, very highly praised this deed performed by Lord Siva, who is worshiped by the demigods and who bestows benedictions upon the people.


                               TEXT 46




                       praskannam pibatah paner

                      yat kincij jagrhuh sma tat


                        dandasukas ca ye 'pare




   praskannam--scattered here and there; pibatah--of Lord Siva while drinking; paneh--from the palm; yat--which; kincit--very little; jagrhuh--took the opportunity to drink; sma--indeed; tat--that; vrscika--the scorpions; ahi--the cobras; visa-ausadhyah--poisonous drugs; dandasukah ca--and animals whose bites are poisonous; ye--who; apare--other living entities.




   Scorpions, cobras, poisonous drugs and other animals whose bites are poisonous took the opportunity to drink whatever little poison had fallen and scattered from Lord Siva's hand while he was drinking.




   Mosquitoes, jackals, dogs and other varieties of dandasuka, or animals whose bites are poisonous, drank the poison of the samudra-manthana, the churned ocean, since it was available after it fell from the palms of Lord Siva.


Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the Eighth Canto, Seventh Chapter, of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, entitled "Lord Siva Saves the Universe by Drinking Poison."

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