The Advent of Lord Krsna: Introduction
The summary of the First Chapter is as follows. This chapter describes how Kamsa, frightened by hearing an omen about his being killed by the eighth son of Devaki, killed Devaki's sons one after another.
When Sukadeva Gosvami finished describing the dynasty of Yadu, as well as the dynasties of the moon-god and sun-god, Maharaja Pariksit requested him to describe Lord Krsna, who appeared with Baladeva in the Yadu dynasty, and how Krsna performed His activities within this world. Krsna is transcendental, the King said, and therefore to understand His activities is the occupation of liberated persons. Hearing of krsna-lila is the boat by which to achieve the ultimate goal of life. Except for an animal killer or one who is following a policy of suicide, every intelligent person must strive to understand Krsna and His activities.
Krsna was the only worshipable Deity for the Pandavas. When Maharaja Pariksit was in the womb of his mother, Uttara, Krsna saved him from the attack of the brahma-sastra. Now Maharaja Pariksit asked Sukadeva Gosvami how His Lordship Baladeva, the son of Rohini, could have appeared in the womb of Devaki. Why did Krsna transfer Himself from Mathura to Vrndavana, King Pariksit asked, and how did He live there with His family members? What did Krsna do in Mathura and Vrndavana, and why did He kill His maternal uncle Kamsa? For how many years did Krsna reside in Dvaraka, and how many queens did He have? Maharaja Pariksit asked Sukadeva Gosvami all these questions. He also requested Sukadeva Gosvami to describe other activities of Krsna about which he could not inquire.
When Sukadeva Gosvami began to speak about Krsna consciousness, Maharaja Pariksit forgot the fatigue brought about by his fasting. Enthusiastic to describe Krsna, Sukadeva Gosvami said, "Like the waters of the Ganges, descriptions of the activities of Krsna can purify the entire universe. The speaker, the inquirer and the audience all become purified."
Once when the entire world was overburdened by the increasing military power of demons in the form of kings, mother earth assumed the shape of a cow and approached Lord Brahma for relief, Sympathetic to mother earth's lamentation, Brahma, accompanied by Lord Siva and other demigods, took the cow-shaped mother earth to the shore of the milk ocean, where he offered prayers to please Lord Visnu, who lay there on an island in transcendental ecstasy. Brahma thereafter understood the advice of Maha-Visnu, who informed him that He would appear on the surface of the earth to mitigate the burden created by the demons. The demigods, along with their wives, should appear there as associates of Lord Krsna in the family of Yadu to increase the sons and grandsons in that dynasty. By the will of Lord Krsna, Anantadeva would appear first, as Balarama, and Krsna's potency, yogamaya, would also appear. Brahma informed mother earth about all this, and then he returned to his own abode.
After marrying Devaki, Vasudeva was returning home with her on a chariot driven by Kamsa, her brother, when an ominous voice addressed Kamsa, warning him that Devaki's eighth son would kill him. Upon hearing this omen, Kamsa was immediately ready to kill Devaki, but Vasudeva diplomatically began to instruct him. Vasudeva stressed that it would not be good for Kamsa to kill his younger sister, especially at the time of her marriage. Anyone who possesses a material body must die, Vasudeva advised him. Every living entity lives in a body for some time and then transmigrates to another body, but one is unfortunately misled into accepting the body as the soul. If a person under this mistaken conception wants to kill another body, he is condemned as hellish.
Because Kamsa was not satisfied by Vasudeva's instructions, Vasudeva devised a plan. He offered to bring Kamsa all of Devaki's children so that Kamsa could kill them. Why then should Kamsa kill Devaki now? Kamsa was satisfied by this proposal. In due course of time, when Devaki gave birth to a child, Vasudeva brought the newborn baby to Kamsa, who, upon seeing Vasudeva's magnanimity, was struck with wonder. When Vasudeva gave Kamsa the child, Kamsa, showing some intelligence, said that since he was to be killed by the eighth child, why should he kill the first? Although Vasudeva did not trust him, Kamsa requested Vasudeva to take the child back. Later, however, after Narada approached Kamsa and disclosed to him that the demigods were appearing in the Yadu and Vrsni dynasties and conspiring to kill him, Kamsa decided to kill all the children born in these families, and he also decided that any child born from the womb of Devaki must be killed. Thus he arrested and imprisoned both Devaki and Vasudeva and killed six of their sons, one after another. Narada had also informed Kamsa that in his previous birth Kamsa was Kalanemi, a demon killed by Visnu. Consequently, Kamsa became a great enemy to all the descendants of the yadu-vamsa, the Yadu dynasty. He even arrested and imprisoned his own father, Ugrasena, for Kamsa wanted to enjoy the kingdom alone.
Krsna has threefold pastimes--the Vraja-lila, Mathura-lila and Dvaraka-lila. As already mentioned, in the Tenth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam there are ninety chapters, which describe all these lilas. The first four chapters describe Brahma's prayers for the relief of the earth's burden, and they also describe the appearance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Chapters Five through Thirty-nine recount Krsna's pastimes in Vrndavana. The Fortieth Chapter describes how Krsna enjoyed in the water of the Yamuna and how Akrura offered prayers. Chapters Forty-one through Fifty-one, eleven chapters, tell of Krsna's pastimes in Mathura, and Chapters Fifty-two through Ninety, thirty-nine chapters, relate Krsna's pastimes in Dvaraka.
Chapters Twenty-nine through Thirty-three describe Krsna's dancing with the gopis, known as the rasa-lila. Therefore these five chapters are known as rasa-pancadhyaya. The Forty-seventh Chapter of the Tenth Canto is a description known as the bhramara-gita.
sri-raja uvaca--King Pariksit said; kathitah--has already been described; vamsa-vistarah--a broad description of the dynasties; bhavata--by Your Lordship; soma-suryayoh--of the moon-god and the sun-god; rajnam--of the kings; ca--and; ubhaya--both; vamsyanam--of the members of the dynasties; caritam--the character; parama--exalted; adbhutam--and wonderful.
King Pariksit said: My dear lord, you have elaborately described the dynasties of both the moon-god and the sun-god, with the exalted and wonderful character of their kings.
At the end of the Ninth Canto, Twenty-fourth Chapter, Sukadeva Gosvami summarized the activities of Krsna. He spoke of how Krsna had personally appeared to reduce the burden on the earth, how He had manifested His pastimes as a householder, and how, soon after His birth, He had transferred Himself to His Vrajabhumi-lila. Pariksit Maharaja, being naturally a devotee of Krsna, wanted to hear more about Lord Krsna. Therefore, to encourage Sukadeva Gosvami to continue speaking about Krsna and give further details, he thanked Sukadeva Gosvami for having described the activities of Krsna in brief. Sukadeva Gosvami had said:
jato gatah pitr-grhad vrajam edhitartho
hatva ripun suta-satani krtorudarah
utpadya tesu purusah kratubhih samije
atmanam atma-nigamam prathayan janesu
"The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna, known as lila-purusottama, appeared as the son of Vasudeva but immediately left His father's home and went to Vrndavana to expand His loving relationships with His confidential devotees. In Vrndavana the Lord killed many demons, and afterward He returned to Dvaraka, where according to Vedic principles He married many wives who were the best of women, begot through them hundreds of sons, and performed sacrifices for His own worship to establish the principles of householder life." (Bhag. 9.24.66)
The Yadu dynasty belonged to the family descending from Soma, the moon-god. Although the planetary systems are so arranged that the sun comes first, before the moon, Pariksit Maharaja gave more respect to the dynasty of the moon-god, the soma-vamsa, because in the Yadava dynasty, descending from the moon, Krsna had appeared. There are two different ksatriya families of the royal order, one descending from the king of the moon planet and the other descending from the king of the sun. Whenever the Supreme Personality of Godhead appears, He generally appears in a ksatriya family because He comes to establish religious principles and the life of righteousness. According to the Vedic system, the ksatriya family is the protector of the human race. When the Supreme Personality of Godhead appeared as Lord Ramacandra, He appeared in the surya-vamsa, the family descending from the sun-god, and when He appeared as Lord Krsna, He did so in the Yadu dynasty, or yadu-vamsa, whose descent was from the moon-god. In the Ninth Canto, Twenty-fourth Chapter, of Srimad-Bhagavatam, there is a long list of the kings of the yadu-vamsa. All the kings in both the soma-vamsa and surya-vamsa were great and powerful, and Maharaja Pariksit praised them very highly (rajnam cobhaya-vamsyanam caritam paramadbhutam). Nonetheless, he wanted to hear more about the soma-vamsa because that was the dynasty in which Krsna had appeared.
The supreme abode of the Personality of Godhead, Krsna, is described in Brahma-samhita as the abode of cintamani: cintamani-prakara-sadmasu kalpa-vrksa-laksavrtesu surabhir abhipalayantam. The Vrndavana-dhama on this earth is a replica of that same abode. As stated in Bhagavad-gita (8.20), in the spiritual sky there is another, eternal nature, transcendental to manifested and unmanifested matter. The manifested world can be seen in the form of many stars and planets such as the sun and moon, but beyond this is the unmanifested, which is imperceptible to those who are embodied. And beyond this unmanifested matter is the spiritual kingdom, which is described in Bhagavad-gita as supreme and eternal. That kingdom is never annihilated. Although material nature is subject to repeated creation and annihilation, that spiritual nature remains as it is eternally. In the Tenth Canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam, that spiritual nature, the spiritual world, is described as Vrndavana, Goloka Vrndavana or Vraja-dhama. The elaborate description of the above-mentioned sloka from the Ninth Canto--jato gatah pitr-grhad--will be found here, in the Tenth Canto.
yados ca dharma-silasya
visnor viryani samsa nah
yadoh--of Yadu or the Yadu dynasty; ca--also; dharma-silasya--who were strictly attached to religious principles; nitaram--highly qualified; muni-sattama--O best of all munis, king of the munis (Sukadeva Gosvami); tatra--in that dynasty; amsena--with His plenary expansion Baladeva; avatirnasya--who appeared as an incarnation; visnoh--of Lord Visnu; viryani--the glorious activities; samsa--kindly describe; nah--unto us.
O best of munis, you have also described the descendants of Yadu, who were very pious and strictly adherent to religious principles. Now, if you will, kindly describe the wonderful, glorious activities of Lord Visnu, or Krsna, who appeared in that Yadu dynasty with Baladeva, His plenary expansion.
The Brahma-samhita (5.1) explains that Krsna is the origin of the visnu-tattva.
isvarah paramah krsnah
anadir adir govindah
"Krsna, who is known as Govinda, is the supreme controller. He has an eternal, blissful, spiritual body. He is the origin of all. He has no other origin, for He is the prime cause of all causes."
jivanti loma-vilaja jagad-anda-nathah
visnur mahan sa iha yasya kala-viseso
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
"The Brahmas, the heads of the innumerable universes, live only for the duration of one breath of Maha-Visnu. I worship Govinda, the original Lord, of whom Maha-Visnu is but a portion of a plenary portion." (Brahma-samhita 5.48)
Govinda, Krsna, is the original Personality of Godhead. Krsnas tu bhagavan svayam. Even Lord Maha-Visnu, who by His breathing creates many millions upon millions of universes, is Lord Krsna's kala-visesa, or plenary portion of a plenary portion. Maha-Visnu is a plenary expansion of Sankarsana, who is a plenary expansion of Narayana. Narayana is a plenary expansion of the catur-vyuha, and the catur-vyuha are plenary expansions of Baladeva, the first manifestation of Krsna. Therefore when Krsna appeared with Baladeva, all the visnu-tattvas appeared with Him.
Maharaja Pariksit requested Sukadeva Gosvami to describe Krsna and His glorious activities. Another meaning may be derived from this verse as follows, Although Sukadeva Gosvami was the greatest muni, he could describe Krsna only partially (amsena), for no one can describe Krsna fully. It is said that Anantadeva has thousands of heads, but although He tries to describe Krsna with thousands of tongues, His descriptions are still incomplete.
avatirya yador vamse
krtavan yani visvatma
tani no vada vistarat
avatirya--after descending; yadoh vamse--in the dynasty of Yadu; bhagavan--the Supreme Personality of Godhead; bhuta-bhavanah--who is the cause of the cosmic manifestation; krtavan--executed; yani--whatever (activities); visva-atma--the Supersoul of the entire universe; tani--all of those (activities); nah--unto us; vada--kindly say; vistarat--elaborately.
The Supersoul, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna, the cause of the cosmic manifestation, appeared in the dynasty of Yadu. Please tell me elaborately about His glorious activities and character, from the beginning to the end of His life.
In this verse the words krtavan yani indicate that all the different activities Krsna performed while present on earth are beneficial to human society. If religionists, philosophers and people in general simply hear the activities of Krsna, they will be liberated. We have described several times that there are two kinds of krsna-katha, represented by Bhagavad-gita, spoken personally by Krsna about Himself, and Srimad-Bhagavatam, spoken by Sukadeva Gosvami about the glories of Krsna. Anyone who becomes even slightly interested in krsna-katha is liberated. Kirtanad eva krsnasya mukta-sangah param vrajet (Bhag. 12.3.51). Simply by chanting or repeating krsna-katha, one is liberated from the contamination of Kali-yuga. Caitanya Mahaprabhu therefore advised, yare dekha, tare kaha 'krsna'-upadesa (Cc. Madhya 7.128). This is the mission of Krsna consciousness: to hear about Krsna and thus be liberated from material bondage.
puman virajyeta vina pasughnat
nivrtta--released from; tarsaih--lust or material activities; upagiyamanat--which is described or sung; bhava-ausadhat--which is the right medicine for the material disease; srotra--the process of aural reception; manah--the subject matter of thought for the mind; abhiramat--from the pleasing vibrations from such glorification; kah--who; uttamasloka--of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; guna-anuvadat--from describing such activities; puman--a person; virajyeta--can keep himself aloof; vina--except; pasu-ghnat--either a butcher or one who is killing his own personal existence.
Glorification of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is performed in the parampara system; that is, it is conveyed from spiritual master to disciple. Such glorification is relished by those no longer interested in the false, temporary glorification of this cosmic manifestation. Descriptions of the Lord are the right medicine for the conditioned soul undergoing repeated birth and death. Therefore, who will cease hearing such glorification of the Lord except a butcher or one who is killing his own self?
In India it is the practice among the general populace to hear about Krsna, either from Bhagavad-gita or from Srimad-Bhagavatam, in order to gain relief from the disease of repeated birth and death. Although India is now fallen, when there is a message that someone will speak about Bhagavad-gita or Srimad-Bhagavatam, thousands of people still gather to hear. This verse indicates, however, that such recitation of Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam must be done by persons completely freed from material desires (nivrtta-tarsaih). Everyone within this material world, beginning from Brahma down to the insignificant ant, is full of material desires for sense enjoyment, and everyone is busy in sense gratification, but when thus engaged one cannot fully understand the value of krsna-katha, either in the form of Bhagavad-gita or in Srimad-Bhagavatam.
If we hear the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead from liberated persons, this hearing will certainly free us from the bondage of material activities, but hearing Srimad-Bhagavatam spoken by a professional reciter cannot actually help us achieve liberation. Krsna-katha is very simple. In Bhagavad-gita it is said that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As He Himself explains, mattah parataram nanyat kincid asti dhananjaya: "O Arjuna, there is no truth superior to Me." (Bg. 7.7) Simply by understanding this fact--that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead--one can become a liberated person. But, especially in this age, because people are interested in hearing Bhagavad-gita from unscrupulous persons who depart from the simple presentation of Bhagavad-gita and distort it for their personal satisfaction, they fail to derive the real benefit. There are big scholars, politicians, philosophers and scientists who speak on Bhagavad-gita in their own polluted way, and people in general hear from them, being uninterested in hearing the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead from a devotee. A devotee is one who has no other motive for reciting Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam than to serve the Lord. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has therefore advised us to hear the glories of the Lord from a realized person (bhagavata paro diya bhagavata sthane). Unless one is personally a realized soul in the science of Krsna consciousness, a neophyte should not approach him to hear about the Lord, for this is strictly forbidden by Srila Sanatana Gosvami, who quotes from the padma purana:
sravanam naiva kartavyam
sarpocchistam yatha payah
One should avoid hearing from a person not situated in Vaisnava behavior. A Vaisnava is nivrtta-trsna; that is, he has no material purpose, for his only purpose is to preach Krsna consciousness. So-called scholars, philosophers and politicians exploit the importance of Bhagavad-gita by distorting its meaning for their own purposes. Therefore this verse warns that krsna-katha should be recited by a person who is nivrtta-trsna. Sukadeva Gosvami epitomizes the proper reciter for Srimad-Bhagavatam, and Pariksit Maharaja, who purposefully left his kingdom and family prior to meeting death, epitomizes the person fit to hear it. A qualified reciter of Srimad-Bhagavatam gives the right medicine (bhavausadhi) for the conditioned souls. The Krsna consciousness movement is therefore trying to train qualified preachers to recite Srimad-Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-gita throughout the entire world, so that people in general in all parts of the world may take advantage of this movement and thus be relieved of the threefold miseries of material existence.
The instructions of Bhagavad-gita and the descriptions of Srimad-Bhagavatam are so pleasing that almost anyone suffering from the threefold miseries of material existence will desire to hear the glories of the Lord from these books and thus benefit on the path of liberation. Two classes of men, however, will never be interested in hearing the message of Bhagavad-gita and Srimad-Bhagavatam--those who are determined to commit suicide and those determined to kill cows and other animals for the satisfaction of their own tongues. Although such persons may make a show of hearing Srimad-Bhagavatam at a Bhagavata-saptaha, this is but another creation of the karmis, who cannot derive any benefit from such a performance. The word pasu-ghnat is important in this connection. pasu-ghna means "butcher." Persons fond of performing ritualistic ceremonies for elevation to the higher planetary systems must offer sacrifices (yajnas) by killing animals. Lord Buddhadeva therefore rejected the authority of the Vedas because his mission was to stop animal sacrifices, which are recommended in Vedic ritualistic ceremonies.
nindasi yajna-vidher ahaha sruti-jatam
kesava dhrta-buddha-sarira jaya jagadisa hare
Even though animal sacrifices are sanctioned in Vedic ceremonies, men who kill animals for such ceremonies are considered butchers. Butchers cannot be interested in Krsna consciousness, for they are already materially allured. Their only interest lies in developing comforts for the temporary body.
samadhau na vidhiyate
"In the minds of those who are too attached to sense enjoyment and material opulence, and who are bewildered by such things, the resolute determination of devotional service to the Supreme Lord does not take place." (Bg. 2.44) Srila Narottama dasa Thakura says:
manusya-janama paiya, radha-krsna na bhajiya,
janiya suniya visa khainu
Anyone who is not Krsna conscious and who therefore does not engage in the service of the Lord is also pasu-ghna, for he is willingly drinking poison. Such a person cannot be interested in krsna-katha because he still has a desire for material sense gratification; he is not nivrtta-trsna. As it is said, traivargikas te purusa vimukha hari-medhasah. Those interested in trivarga--that is, in dharma, artha and kama--are religious for the sake of achieving a material position with which to gain better facilities for sense gratification. Such persons are killing themselves by willingly keeping themselves in the cycle of birth and death. They cannot be interested in Krsna consciousness.
For krsna-katha, topics about Krsna consciousness, there must be a speaker and a hearer, both of whom can be interested in Krsna consciousness if they are no longer interested in material topics. One can actually see how this attitude automatically develops in persons who are Krsna conscious. Although the devotees of the Krsna consciousness movement are quite young men, they no longer read materialistic newspapers, magazines and so on, for they are no longer interested in such topics (nivrtta-tarsaih). They completely give up the bodily understanding of life. For topics concerning Uttamasloka, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the spiritual master speaks, and the disciple hears with attention. Unless both of them are free from material desires, they cannot be interested in topics of Krsna consciousness. The spiritual master and disciple do not need to understand anything more than Krsna because simply by understanding Krsna and talking about Krsna, one becomes a perfectly learned person (yasmin vijnate sarvam evam vijnatam bhavati). The Lord sits within everyone's heart, and by the grace of the Lord the devotee receives instructions directly from the Lord Himself, who says in Bhagavad-gita (15.15):
sarvasya caham hrdi sannivisto
mattah smrtir jnanam apohanam ca
vedais ca sarvair aham eva vedyo
vedanta-krd veda-vid eva caham
"I am seated in everyone's heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness. By all the Vedas, I am to be known; indeed, I am the compiler of Vedanta, and I am the knower of the Vedas." Krsna consciousness is so exalted that one who is perfectly situated in Krsna consciousness, under the direction of the spiritual master, is fully satisfied by reading krsna-katha as found in Srimad-Bhagavatam, Bhagavad-gita and similar Vedic literatures. Since merely talking about Krsna is so pleasing, we can simply imagine how pleasing it is to render service to Krsna.
When discourses on krsna-katha take place between a liberated spiritual master and his disciple, others also sometimes take advantage of hearing these topics and also benefit. These topics are the medicine to stop the repetition of birth and death. The cycle of repeated birth and death, by which one takes on different bodies again and again, is called bhava or bhava-roga. If anyone, willingly or unwillingly, hears krsna-katha, his bhava-roga, the disease of birth and death, will certainly stop. Therefore krsna-katha is called bhavausadha, the remedy to stop the repetition of birth and death. Karmis, or persons attached to material sense enjoyment, generally cannot give up their material desires, but krsna-katha is such a potent medicine that if one is induced to hear krsna-kirtana, he will certainly be freed from this disease. A practical example is Dhruva Maharaja, who at the end of his tapasya was fully satisfied. When the Lord wanted to give Dhruva a benediction, Dhruva refused it. Svamin krtartho'smi varam na yace. "My dear Lord," he said, "I am fully satisfied. I do not ask for any benediction for material sense gratification." We actually see that even young boys and girls in the Krsna consciousness movement have given up their long practice of bad habits like illicit sex, meat-eating, intoxication and gambling. Because Krsna consciousness is so potent that it gives them full satisfaction, they are no longer interested in material sense gratification.
pitamaha me samare 'maranjayair
krtvataran vatsa-padam sma yat-plavah
drauny-astra-viplustam idam mad-angam
jugopa kuksim gata atta-cakro
matus ca me yah saranam gatayah
antar bahih purusa-kala-rupaih
prayacchato mrtyum utamrtam ca
maya-manusyasya vadasva vidvan
pitamahah--my grandfathers, the five Pandavas (Yudhisthira, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadeva); me--my; samare--on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra; amaram jayaih--with fighters who could gain victory over the demigods on the battlefield; devavrata-adya--Bhismadeva and others; atirathaih--great commanders in chief; timingilaih--resembling great timingila fish, which can easily eat large sharks; duratyayam--very difficult to cross; kaurava-sainya-sagaram--the ocean of the assembled soldiers of the Kauravas; krtva--considering such an ocean; ataran--crossed it; vatsa-padam--exactly as one steps over a small hoofprint of a calf; sma--in the past; yat-plavah--the shelter of the boat of Krsna's lotus feet; drauni--of Asvatthama; astra--by the brahmastra; viplustam--being attacked and burned; idam--this; mat-angam--my body; santana-bijam--the only seed left, the last descendant of the family; kuru-pandavanam--of the Kurus and the Pandavas (because no one but me lived after the Battle of Kuruksetra); jugopa--gave protection; kuksim--within the womb; gatah--being placed; atta-cakrah--taking in hand the disc; matuh--of my mother; ca--also; me--my; yah--the Lord who; saranam--the shelter; gatayah--who had taken; viryani--the glorification of the transcendental characteristics; tasya--of Him (the Supreme Personality of Godhead); akhila-deha-bhajam--of all the materially embodied living entities; antah bahih--inside and outside; purusa--of the Supreme Person; kala-rupaih--in the forms of eternal time; prayacchatah--who is the giver; mrtyum--of death; uta--it is so said; amrtam ca--and eternal life; maya-manusyasya--of the Lord, who appeared as an ordinary human being by His own potency; vadasva--kindly describe; vidvan--O learned speaker (Sukadeva Gosvami).
Taking the boat of Krsna's lotus feet, my grandfather Arjuna and others crossed the ocean of the Battlefield of Kuruksetra, in which such commanders as Bhismadeva resembled great fish that could very easily have swallowed them. By the mercy of Lord Krsna, my grandfathers crossed this ocean, which was very difficult to cross, as easily as one steps over the hoofprint of a calf. Because my mother surrendered unto Lord Krsna's lotus feet, the Lord, Sudarsana-cakra in hand, entered her womb and saved my body, the body of the last remaining descendant of the Kurus and the Pandavas, which was almost destroyed by the fiery weapon of Asvatthama. Lord Sri Krsna, appearing within and outside of all materially embodied living beings by His own potency in the forms of eternal time--that is, as Paramatma and as virat-rupa--gave liberation to everyone, either as cruel death or as life. Kindly enlighten me by describing His transcendental characteristics.
As stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (10.14.58):
samasrita ye pada-pallava-plavam
mahat-padam punya-yaso murareh
bhavambudhir vatsa-padam param padam
padam padam yad vipadam na tesam
"For one who has accepted the boat of the lotus feet of the Lord, who is the shelter of the cosmic manifestation and is famous as Murari, or the enemy of the Mura demon, the ocean of the material world is like the water contained in a calf's hoofprint. His goal is param padam, or Vaikuntha, the place where there are no material miseries, not the place where there is danger at every step."
One who seeks shelter at the lotus feet of Lord Krsna is immediately protected by the Lord. As the Lord promises in Bhagavad-gita (18.66), aham tvam sarva-papebhyo moksayisyami ma sucah: "I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear." By taking shelter of Lord Krsna, one comes under the safest protection. Thus when the Pandavas took shelter at the lotus feet of Krsna, all of them were on the safe side of the Battlefield of Kuruksetra. Pariksit Maharaja, therefore, felt obliged to think of Krsna in the last days of his life. This is the ideal result of Krsna consciousness: ante narayana-smrtih. If at the time of death one can remember Krsna, one's life is successful. Pariksit Maharaja, therefore, because of his many obligations to Krsna, intelligently decided to think of Krsna constantly during the last days of his life. Krsna had saved the Pandavas, Maharaja Pariksit's grandfathers, on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra, and Krsna had saved Maharaja Pariksit himself when he was attacked by the brahmastra of Asvatthama. Krsna acted as the friend and worshipable Deity of the Pandava family. Moreover, apart from Lord Krsna's personal contact with the Pandavas, Krsna is the Supersoul of all living entities, and He gives everyone liberation, even if one is not a pure devotee. Kamsa, for example, was not at all a devotee, yet Krsna, after killing him, gave him salvation. Krsna consciousness is beneficial to everyone, whether one is a pure devotee or a nondevotee. This is the glory of Krsna consciousness. Considering this, who will not take shelter at the lotus feet of Krsna. Krsna is described in this verse as maya-manusya because He descends exactly like a human being. He is not obliged to come here, like karmis, or ordinary living beings; rather, He appears by His own internal energy (sambhavamy atma-mayaya) just to show favor to the fallen conditioned souls. Krsna is always situated in His original position as sac-cid-ananda-vigraha, and anyone who renders service to Him is also situated in his original, spiritual identity (svarupena vyavasthitih). This is the highest perfection of human life.
rohinyas tanayah prokto
ramah sankarsanas tvaya
kuto dehantaram vina
rohinyah--of Rohinidevi, the mother of Baladeva; tanayah--the son; proktah--is well known; ramah--Balarama; sankarsanah--Balarama is none other than Sankarsana, the first Deity in the quadruple group (Sankarsana, Aniruddha, Pradyumna and Vasudeva); tvaya--by you (it is so said); devakyah--of Devaki, the mother of Krsna; garbha-sambandhah--connected with the womb; kutah--how; deha-antaram--transferring bodies; vina--without.
My dear Sukadeva Gosvami, you have already explained that Sankarsana, who belongs to the second quadruple, appeared as the son of Rohini named Balarama. If Balarama was not transferred from one body to another, how is it possible that He was first in the womb of Devaki and then in the womb of Rohini? Kindly explain this to me.
Here is a question particularly directed at understanding Balarama, who is Sankarsana Himself. Balarama is well known as the son of Rohini, yet it is also known that He was the son of Devaki. Pariksit Maharaja wanted to understand the mystery of Balarama's being the son of both Devaki and Rohini.
kasman mukundo bhagavan
pitur gehad vrajam gatah
kva vasam jnatibhih sardham
krtavan satvatam patih
kasmat--why; mukundah--Krsna, who can award liberation to everyone; bhagavan--the Supreme Personality of Godhead; pituh--of His father (Vasudeva); gehat--from the house; vrajam--to Vrajadhama, Vrajabhumi; gatah--went; kva--where; vasam--placed Himself to live; jnatibhih--His relatives; sardham--with; krtavan--did so; satvatam patih--the master of all Vaisnava devotees.
Why did Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, leave the house of His father, Vasudeva, and transfer Himself to the house of Nanda in Vrndavana? Where did the Lord, the master of the Yadu dynasty, live with His relatives in Vrndavana?
These are inquiries about the itinerary of Krsna. Just after His birth in the house of Vasudeva in Mathura, Krsna transferred Himself to Gokula, on the other side of the Yamuna, and after some days He moved with His father, mother and other relatives to Nanda-grama, Vrndavana. Maharaja Pariksit was very much eager to hear about Krsna's activities in Vrndavana. This entire canto of Srimad-Bhagavatam is full of activities performed in Vrndavana and Dvaraka. The first forty chapters describe Krsna's Vrndavana affairs, and the next fifty describe Krsna's activities in Dvaraka. Maharaja Pariksit, to fulfill his desire to hear about Krsna, requested Sukadeva Gosvami to describe these activities in full detail.
vraje vasan kim akaron
madhupuryam ca kesavah
bhrataram cavadhit kamsam
vraje--at Vrndavana; vasan--while residing; kim akarot--what did He do; madhupuryam--in Mathura; ca--and; kesavah--Krsna, the killer of Kesi; bhrataram--the brother; ca--and; avadhit--killed; kamsam--Kamsa; matuh--of His mother; addha--directly; a-tat-arhanam--which was not at all sanctioned by the sastras.
Lord Krsna lived both in Vrndavana and in Mathura. What did He do there? Why did He kill Kamsa, His mother's brother? Such killing is not at all sanctioned in the sastras.
One's maternal uncle, the brother of one's mother, is on the level of one's father. When a maternal uncle has no son, his nephew legally inherits his property. Therefore, why did Krsna directly kill Kamsa, the brother of His mother? Maharaja Pariksit was very much inquisitive about the facts in this regard.
deham manusam asritya
kati varsani vrsnibhih
patnyah katy abhavan prabhoh
deham--body; manusam--exactly like a man; asritya--accepting; kati varsani--how many years; vrsnibhih--in the company of the Vrsnis, those who were born in the Vrsni family; yadu-puryam--in Dvaraka, in the residential quarters of the Yadus; saha--with; avatsit--the Lord lived; patnyah--wives; kati--how many; abhavan--were there; prabhoh--of the Lord.
Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, has no material body, yet He appears as a human being. For how many years did He live with the descendants of Vrsni? How many wives did He marry, and for how many years did He live in Dvaraka?
In many places the Supreme Personality of Godhead is described as sac-cid-ananda-vigraha, possessing a spiritual, blissful body. His bodily feature is narakrti, that is, exactly like that of a human being. Here the same idea is repeated in the words manusam asritya, which indicate that He accepts a body exactly like that of a man. Everywhere it is confirmed that Krsna is never nirakara, or formless. He has His form, exactly like that of a human being. There is no doubt about this.
etad anyac ca sarvam me
vaktum arhasi sarvajna
etat--all these details; anyat ca--and others also; sarvam--everything; me--unto me; mune--O great sage; krsna-vicestitam--the activities of Lord Krsna; vaktum--to describe; arhasi--you are able; sarva-jna--because you know everything; sraddadhanaya--because I am not envious but have all faith in Him; vistrtam--in full detail.
O great sage, who know everything about Krsna, please describe in detail all the activities of which I have inquired and also those of which I have not, for I have full faith and am very eager to hear of them.
naisatiduhsaha ksun mam
tyaktodam api badhate
na--not; esa--all this; ati-duhsaha--extremely difficult to bear; ksut--hunger; mam--unto me; tyakta-udam--even after giving up drinking water; api--also; badhate--does not hinder; pibantam--while drinking; tvat-mukha-ambhoja-cyutam--emanating from your lotus mouth; hari-katha-amrtam--the nectar of topics concerning Krsna.
Because of my vow on the verge of death, I have given up even drinking water, yet because I am drinking the nectar of topics about Krsna, which is flowing from the lotus mouth of Your Lordship, my hunger and thirst, which are extremely difficult to bear, cannot hinder me.
To prepare to meet death in seven days, Maharaja Pariksit gave up all food and drink. As a human being, he was certainly both hungry and thirsty, and therefore Sukadeva Gosvami might have wanted to stop narrating the transcendental topics of Krsna; but despite his fast, Maharaja Pariksit was not at all fatigued. "The hunger and thirst from my fast do not disturb me," he said. "Once when I felt very thirsty, I went to the asrama of Samika Muni to drink water, but the muni did not supply it. I therefore wrapped a dead snake over his shoulder, and that is why I was cursed by the brahmana boy. Now, however, I am quite fit. I am not at all disturbed by my hunger and thirst." This indicates that although on the material platform there are disturbances from hunger and thirst, on the spiritual platform there is no such thing as fatigue.
The entire world is suffering because of spiritual thirst. Every living being is Brahman, or spirit soul, and needs spiritual food to satisfy his hunger and thirst. Unfortunately, however, the world is completely unaware of the nectar of krsna-katha. The Krsna consciousness movement is therefore a boon to philosophers, religionists and people in general. There is certainly a charming attraction in Krsna and krsna-katha. Therefore the Absolute Truth is called Krsna, the most attractive.
The word amrta is also an important reference to the moon, and the word ambuja means "lotus." The pleasing moonshine and pleasing fragrance of the lotus combined to bring pleasure to everyone hearing krsna-katha from the mouth of Sukadeva Gosvami. As it is said:
matir na krsne paratah svato va
mitho 'bhipadyeta grha-vratanam
adanta-gobhir visatam tamisram
punah punas carvita-carvananam
"Because of their uncontrolled senses, persons too addicted to materialistic life make progress toward hellish conditions and repeatedly chew that which has already been chewed. Their inclinations toward Krsna are never aroused, either by the instructions of others, by their own efforts, or by a combination of both." (Bhag. 7.5.30) At the present moment, all of human society is engaged in the business of chewing the chewed (punah punas carvita-carvananam). People are prepared to undergo mrtyu-samsara-vartmani, taking birth in one form, dying, accepting another form and dying again. To stop this repetition of birth and death, krsna-katha, or Krsna consciousness, is absolutely necessary. But unless one hears krsna-katha from a realized soul like Sukadeva Gosvami, one cannot relish the nectar of krsna-katha, which puts an end to all material fatigue, and enjoy the blissful life of transcendental existence. In relation to the Krsna consciousness movement, we actually see that those who have tasted the nectar of krsna-katha lose all material desires, whereas those who cannot understand Krsna or krsna-katha regard the Krsna conscious life as "brainwashing" and "mind control." While the devotees enjoy spiritual bliss, the nondevotees are surprised that the devotees have forgotten material hankerings.
evam nisamya bhrgu-nandana sadhu-vadam
vaiyasakih sa bhagavan atha visnu-ratam
pratyarcya krsna-caritam kali-kalmasa-ghnam
vyahartum arabhata bhagavata-pradhanah
sutah uvaca--Suta Gosvami said; evam--thus; nisamya--hearing; bhrgu-nandana--O son of the Bhrgu dynasty, Saunaka; sadhu-vadam--pious questions; vaiyasakih--Sukadeva Gosvami, the son of Vyasadeva; sah--he; bhagavan--the most powerful; atha--thus; visnu-ratam--unto Pariksit Maharaja, who was always protected by Visnu; pratyarcya--offering him respectful obeisances; krsna-caritam--topics of Lord Krsna; kali-kalmasa-ghnam--which diminish the troubles of this age of Kali; vyahartum--to describe; arabhata--began; bhagavata-pradhanah--Sukadeva Gosvami, the chief among the pure devotees.
Suta Gosvami said: O son of Bhrgu [Saunaka Rsi], after Sukadeva Gosvami, the most respectable devotee, the son of Vyasadeva, heard the pious questions of Maharaja Pariksit, he thanked the King with great respect. Then he began to discourse on topics concerning Krsna, which are the remedy for all sufferings in this age of Kali.
In this verse the words krsna-caritam kali-kalmasa-ghnam indicate that the activities of Lord Krsna are certainly the greatest panacea for all miseries, especially in this age of Kali. It is said that in Kali-yuga people have only short lives, and they have no culture of spiritual consciousness. If anyone is at all interested in spiritual culture, he is misled by many bogus svamis and yogis who do not refer to krsna-katha. Therefore most people are unfortunate and disturbed by many calamities. Srila Vyasadeva prepared Srimad-Bhagavatam at the request of Narada Muni in order to give relief to the suffering people of this age (kali-kalmasa-ghnam). The Krsna consciousness movement is seriously engaged in enlightening people through the pleasing topics of Srimad-Bhagavatam. All over the world, the message of Srimad-Bhagavatam and Bhagavad-gita is being accepted in all spheres of life, especially in advanced, educated circles.
Srila Sukadeva Gosvami is described in this verse as bhagavata-pradhanah, whereas Maharaja Pariksit is described as visnu-ratam. Both words bear the same meaning; that is, Maharaja Pariksit was a great devotee of Krsna, and Sukadeva Gosvami was also a great saintly person and a great devotee of Krsna. Combined together to present krsna-katha, they give great relief to suffering humanity.
"The material miseries of the living entity, which are superfluous to him, can be directly mitigated by the linking process of devotional service. But the mass of people do not know this, and therefore the learned Vyasadeva compiled this Vedic literature, Srimad-Bhagavatam, which is in relation to the Supreme Truth." (Bhag. 1.7.6) People in general are unaware that the message of Srimad-Bhagavatam can give all of human society relief from the pangs of Kali-yuga (kali-kalmasa-ghnam).
samyag vyavasita buddhis
yaj jata naisthiki ratih
sri-sukah uvaca--Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said; samyak--completely; vyavasita--fixed; buddhih--intelligence; tava--of Your Majesty; raja-rsi-sattama--O best of rajarsis, saintly kings; vasudeva-kathayam--in hearing about the topics of Vasudeva, Krsna; te--your; yat--because; jata--developed; naisthiki--without cessation; ratih--attraction or ecstatic devotional service.
Srila Sukadeva Gosvami said: O Your Majesty, best of all saintly kings, because you are greatly attracted to topics of Vasudeva, it is certain that your intelligence is firmly fixed in spiritual understanding, which is the only true goal for humanity. Because that attraction is unceasing, it is certainly sublime.
Krsna-katha is compulsory for the rajarsi, or executive head of government. This is also mentioned in Bhagavad-gita (imam rajarsayo viduh). Unfortunately, however, in this age the governmental power is gradually being captured by third-class and fourth-class men who have no spiritual understanding, and society is therefore very quickly becoming degraded. Krsna-katha must be understood by the executive heads of government, for otherwise how will people be happy and gain relief from the pangs of materialistic life? One who has fixed his mind in Krsna consciousness should be understood to have very sharp intelligence in regard to the value of life. Maharaja Pariksit was rajarsi-sattama, the best of all saintly kings, and Sukadeva Gosvami was muni-sattama, the best of munis. Both of them were elevated because of their common interest in krsna-katha. The exalted position of the speaker and the audience will be explained very nicely in the next verse. Krsna-katha is so enlivening that Maharaja Pariksit forgot everything material, even his personal comfort in relation to food and drink. This is an example of how the Krsna consciousness movement should spread all over the world to bring both the speaker and the audience to the transcendental platform and back home, back to Godhead.
purusams trin punati hi
vaktaram pracchakam srotrms
vasudeva-katha-prasnah--questions about the pastimes and characteristics of Vasudeva, Krsna; purusan--persons; trin--three; punati--purify; hi--indeed; vaktaram--the speaker, such as Sukadeva Gosvami; pracchakam--and an inquisitive hearer like Maharaja Pariksit; srotrn--and, between them, the listeners hearing about the topics; tat-pada-salilam yatha--exactly as the entire world is purified by the Ganges water emanating from the toe of Lord Visnu.
The Ganges, emanating from the toe of Lord Visnu, purifies the three worlds, the upper, middle and lower planetary systems. Similarly, when one asks questions about the pastimes and characteristics of Lord Vasudeva, Krsna, three varieties of men are purified: the speaker or preacher, he who inquires, and the people in general who listen.
It is said, tasmad gurum prapadyeta jijnasuh sreya uttamam (Bhag. 11.3.21). Those interested in understanding transcendental subject matters as the goal of life must approach the bona fide spiritual master. Tasmad gurum prapadyeta. One must surrender to such a guru, who can give right information about Krsna. Herein, Maharaja Pariksit has surrendered to the right personality, Sukadeva Gosvami, for enlightenment in vasudeva-katha. Vasudeva is the original Personality of Godhead, who has unlimited spiritual activities. Srimad-Bhagavatam is a record of such activities, and Bhagavad-gita is the record of Vasudeva speaking personally. Therefore, since the Krsna consciousness movement is full of vasudeva-katha, anyone who hears, anyone who joins the movement and anyone who preaches will be purified.
brahmanam saranam yayau
bhumih--mother earth; drpta--puffed up; nrpa-vyaja--posing as kings, or the supreme power personified in the state; daitya--of demons; anika--of military phalanxes of soldiers; sata-ayutaih--unlimitedly, by many hundreds of thousands; akranta--being overburdened; bhuri-bharena--by a burden of unnecessary fighting power; brahmanam--unto Lord Brahma; saranam--to take shelter; yayau--went.
Once when mother earth was overburdened by hundreds of thousands of military phalanxes of various conceited demons dressed like kings, she approached Lord Brahma for relief.
When the world is overburdened by unnecessary military arrangements and when various demoniac kings are the executive heads of state, this burden causes the appearance of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As the Lord says in Bhagavad-gita (4.7):
yada yada hi dharmasya
glanir bhavati bharata
tadatmanam srjamy aham
"Whenever and wherever there is a decline in religious practice, O descendant of Bharata, and a predominant rise of irreligion--at that time I appear Myself." When the residents of this earth become atheistic and godless, they descend to the status of animals like dogs and hogs, and thus their only business is to bark among themselves. This is dharmasya glani, deviation from the goal of life. Human life is meant for attaining the highest perfection of Krsna consciousness, but when people are godless and the presidents or kings are unnecessarily puffed up with military power, their business is to fight and increase the military strength of their different states. Nowadays, therefore, it appears that every state is busy manufacturing atomic weapons to prepare for a third world war. Such preparations are certainly unnecessary; they reflect the false pride of the heads of state. The real business of a chief executive is to see to the happiness of the mass of people by training them in Krsna consciousness in different divisions of life. Catur-varnyam maya srstam guna-karma-vibhagasah (Bg. 4.13). A leader should train the people as brahmanas, ksatriyas, vaisyas and sudras and engage them in various occupational duties, thus helping them progress toward Krsna consciousness. Instead, however, rogues and thieves in the guise of protectors arrange for a voting system, and in the name of democracy they come to power by hook or crook and exploit the citizens. Even long, long ago, asuras, persons devoid of God consciousness, became the heads of state, and now this is happening again. The various states of the world are preoccupied with arranging for military strength. Sometimes they spend sixty-five percent of the government's revenue for this purpose. But why should people's hard-earned money be spent in this way? Because of the present world situation, Krsna has descended in the form of the Krsna consciousness movement. This is quite natural, for without the Krsna consciousness movement the world cannot be peaceful and happy.
gaur bhutvasru-mukhi khinna
krandanti karunam vibhoh
gauh--the shape of a cow; bhutva--assuming; asru-mukhi--with tears in the eyes; khinna--very much distressed; krandanti--weeping; karunam--piteously; vibhoh--of Lord Brahma; upasthita--appeared; antike--in front; tasmai--unto him (Lord Brahma); vyasanam--her distress; samavocata--submitted.
Mother earth assumed the form of a cow. Very much distressed, with tears in her eyes, she appeared before Lord Brahma and told him about her misfortune.
saha devais taya saha
brahma--Lord Brahma; tat-upadharya--understanding everything rightly; atha--thereafter; saha--with; devaih--the demigods; taya saha--with mother earth; jagama--approached; sa-tri-nayanah--with Lord Siva, who has three eyes; tiram--the shore; ksira-payah-nidheh--of the ocean of milk.
Thereafter, having heard of the distress of mother earth, Lord Brahma, with mother earth, Lord Siva and all the other demigods, approached the shore of the ocean of milk.
After Lord Brahma understood the precarious condition of the earth, he first visited the demigods headed by Lord Indra, who are in charge of the various affairs of this universe, and Lord Siva, who is responsible for annihilation. Both maintenance and annihilation go on perpetually, under the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As stated in Bhagavad-gita (4.8), paritranaya sadhunam vinasaya ca duskrtam. Those who are obedient to the laws of God are protected by different servants and demigods, whereas those who are undesirable are vanquished by Lord Siva. Lord Brahma first met all the demigods, including Lord Siva. Then, along with mother earth, they went to the shore of the ocean of milk, where Lord Visnu lies on a white island, Svetadvipa.
tatra gatva jagannatham
tatra--there (on the shore of the ocean of milk); gatva--after going; jagannatham--unto the master of the entire universe, the Supreme Being; deva-devam--the Supreme God of all gods; vrsakapim--the Supreme Person, Visnu, who provides for everyone and diminishes everyone's suffering; purusam--the Supreme Person; purusa-suktena--with the Vedic mantra known as purusa-sukta; upatasthe--worshiped; samahitah--with full attention.
After reaching the shore of the ocean of milk, the demigods worshiped the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Visnu, the master of the whole universe, the supreme God of all gods, who provides for everyone and diminishes everyone's suffering. With great attention, they worshiped Lord Visnu, who lies on the ocean of milk, by reciting the Vedic mantras known as the Purusa-sukta.
The demigods, such as Lord Brahma, Lord Siva, King Indra, Candra and Surya, are all subordinate to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Aside from the demigods, even in human society there are many influential personalities supervising various businesses or establishments. Lord Visnu, however, is the God of gods (paramesvara). He is parama-purusa, the Supreme Being, Paramatma. As confirmed in the Brahma-samhita (5.1), isvarah paramah krsnah sac-cid-ananda-vigrahah: "Krsna, known as Govinda, is the supreme controller. He has an eternal, blissful, spiritual body." No one is equal to or greater than the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and therefore He is described here by many words: jagannatha, deva-deva, vrsakapi and purusa. The supremacy of Lord Visnu is also confirmed in Bhagavad-gita (10.12) in this statement by Arjuna:
param brahma param dhama
pavitram paramam bhavan
purusam sasvatam divyam
adi-devam ajam vibhum
"You are the Supreme Brahman, the ultimate, the supreme abode and purifier, the Absolute Truth and the eternal divine person. You are the primal God, transcendental and original, and You are the unborn and all-pervading beauty." Krsna is adi-purusa, the original Personality of Godhead (govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami). Visnu is a plenary expansion of Lord Krsna, and all the visnu-tattvas are paramesvara, deva-deva.
giram samadhau gagane samiritam
nisamya vedhas tridasan uvaca ha
gam paurusim me srnutamarah punar
vidhiyatam asu tathaiva ma ciram
giram--a vibration of words; samadhau--in trance; gagane--in the sky; samiritam--vibrated; nisamya--hearing; vedhah--Lord Brahma; tridasan--unto the demigods; uvaca--said; ha--oh; gam--the order; paurusim--received from the Supreme Person; me--from me; srnuta--just hear; amarah--O demigods; punah--again; vidhiyatam--execute; asu--immediately; tatha eva--just so; ma--do not; ciram--delay.
While in trance, Lord Brahma heard the words of Lord Visnu vibrating in the sky. Thus he told the demigods: O demigods, hear from me the order of Ksirodakasayi Visnu, the Supreme Person, and execute it attentively without delay.
It appears that the words of the Supreme Personality of Godhead can be heard in trance by competent persons. Modern science gives us telephones, by which one can hear sound vibrations from a distant place. Similarly, although other persons cannot hear the words of Lord Visnu, Lord Brahma is able to hear the Lord's words within himself. This is confirmed in the beginning of Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.1.1): tene brahma hrda ya adi-kavaye. Adi-kavi is Lord Brahma. In the beginning of the creation, Lord Brahma received the instructions of Vedic knowledge from Lord Visnu through the medium of the heart (hrda). The same principle is confirmed herewith. While Brahma was in trance, he was able to hear the words of Ksirodakasayi Visnu, and he carried the Lord's message to the demigods. Similarly, in the beginning, Brahma first received the Vedic knowledge from the Supreme Personality of Godhead through the core of the heart. In both instances the same process was used in transmitting the message to Lord Brahma. In other words, although Lord Visnu was invisible even to Lord Brahma, Lord Brahma could hear Lord Visnu's words through the heart. The Supreme Personality of Godhead is invisible even to Lord Brahma, yet He descends on this earth and becomes visible to people in general. This is certainly an act of His causeless mercy, but fools and nondevotees think that Krsna is an ordinary historical person. Because they think that the Lord is an ordinary person like them, they are described as mudha (avajananti mam mudhah). The causeless mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is neglected by such demoniac persons, who cannot understand the instructions of Bhagavad-gita and who therefore misinterpret them.
puraiva pumsavadhrto dhara-jvaro
bhavadbhir amsair yadusupajanyatam
sa yavad urvya bharam isvaresvarah
sva-kala-saktya ksapayams cared bhuvi
pura--even before this; eva--indeed; pumsa--by the Supreme Personality of Godhead; avadhrtah--was certainly known; dhara-jvarah--the distress on the earth; bhavadbhih--by your good selves; amsaih--expanding as plenary portions; yadusu--in the family of King Yadu; upajanyatam--take your birth and appear there; sah--He (the Supreme Personality of Godhead); yavat--as long as; urvyah--of the earth; bharam--the burden; isvara-isvarah--the Lord of lords; sva-kala-saktya--by His own potency the time factor; ksapayan--diminishing; caret--should move; bhuvi--on the surface of the earth.
Lord Brahma informed the demigods: Before we submitted our petition to the Lord, He was already aware of the distress on earth. Consequently, for as long as the Lord moves on earth to diminish its burden by His own potency in the form of time, all of you demigods should appear through plenary portions as sons and grandsons in the family of the Yadus.
As stated in the Brahma-samhita (5.39):
ramadi-murtisu kala-niyamena tisthan
nanavataram akarod bhuvanesu kintu
krsnah svayam samabhavat paramah puman yo
govindam adi-purusam tam aham bhajami
"I worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Govinda, who is always situated in various incarnations such as Rama, Nrsimha and many sub-incarnations as well, but who is the original personality of Godhead, known as Krsna, and who incarnates personally also."
In this verse from Srimad-Bhagavatam we find the words puraiva pumsavadhrto dhara jvarah. The word pumsa refers to Krsna, who was already aware of how the whole world was suffering because of the increase of demons. Without reference to the supreme power of the Personality of Godhead, demons assert themselves to be independent kings and presidents, and thus they create a disturbance by increasing their military power. When such disturbances are very prominent, Krsna appears. At present also, various demoniac states all over the world are increasing their military power in many ways, and the whole situation has become distressful. Therefore Krsna has appeared by His name, in the Hare Krsna movement, which will certainly diminish the burden of the world. Philosophers, religionists, and people in general must take to this movement very seriously, for man-made plans and devices will not help bring peace on earth. The transcendental sound Hare Krsna is not different from the person Krsna.
nama cintamanih krsnas
purnah suddho nitya-mukto
There is no difference between the sound Hare Krsna and Krsna the person.
bhagavan purusah parah
vasudeva-grhe--in the house of Vasudeva (who would be the father of Krsna when the Lord appeared); saksat--personally; bhagavan--the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who has full potency; purusah--the original person; parah--who is transcendental; janisyate--will appear; tat-priya-artham--and for His satisfaction; sambhavantu--should take birth; sura-striyah--all the wives of the demigods.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Sri Krsna, who has full potency, will personally appear as the son of Vasudeva. Therefore all the wives of the demigods should also appear in order to satisfy Him.
In Bhagavad-gita (4.9) the Lord says, tyaktva deham punar janma naiti mam eti: after giving up the material body, the devotee of the Lord returns home, back to Godhead. This means that the devotee is first transferred to the particular universe where the Lord is at that time staying to exhibit His pastimes. There are innumerable universes, and the Lord is appearing in one of these universes at every moment. Therefore His pastimes are called nitya-lila, eternal pastimes. The Lord's appearance as a child in the house of Devaki takes place continuously in one universe after another. Therefore, the devotee is first transferred to that particular universe where the pastimes of the Lord are current. As stated in Bhagavad-gita, even if a devotee does not complete the course of devotional service, he enjoys the happiness of the heavenly planets, where the most pious people dwell, and then takes birth in the house of a suci or sriman, a pious brahmana or a wealthy vaisya (sucinam srimatam gehe yoga-bhrasto 'bhijayate). Thus a pure devotee, even if unable to execute devotional service completely, is transferred to the upper planetary system, where pious people reside. From there, if his devotional service is complete, such a devotee is transferred to the place where the Lord's pastimes are going on. Herein it is said, sambhavantu sura-striyah. Sura-stri, the women of the heavenly planets, were thus ordered to appear in the Yadu dynasty in Vrndavana to enrich the pastimes of Lord Krsna. These sura-stri, when further trained to live with Krsna, would be transferred to the original Goloka Vrndavana. During Lord Krsna's pastimes within this world, the sura-stri were to appear in different ways in different families to give pleasure to the Lord, just so that they would be fully trained before going to the eternal Goloka Vrndavana. With the association of Lord Krsna, either at Dvaraka-puri, Mathura-puri or Vrndavana, they would certainly return home, back to Godhead. Among the sura-stri, the women of the heavenly planets, there are many devotees, such as the mother of the Upendra incarnation of Krsna. It was such devoted women who were called for in this connection.
agrato bhavita devo
vasudeva-kala anantah--the plenary expansion of Lord Krsna known as Anantadeva or Sankarsana Ananta, the all-pervasive incarnation of the Supreme Lord; sahasra-vadanah--having thousands of hoods; svarat--fully independent; agratah--previously; bhavita--will appear; devah--the Lord; hareh--of Lord Krsna; priya-cikirsaya--with the desire to act for the pleasure.
The foremost manifestation of Krsna is Sankarsana, who is known as Ananta. He is the origin of all incarnations within this material world. Previous to the appearance of Lord Krsna, this original Sankarsana will appear as Baladeva, just to please the Supreme Lord Krsna in His transcendental pastimes.
Sri Baladeva is the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself. He is equal in supremacy to the Supreme Godhead, yet wherever Krsna appears, Sri Baladeva appears as His brother, sometimes elder and sometimes younger. When Krsna appears, all His plenary expansions and other incarnations appear with Him. This is elaborately explained in Caitanya-caritamrta. This time, Baladeva would appear before Krsna as Krsna's elder brother.
visnor maya bhagavati
yaya sammohitam jagat
visnoh maya--the potency of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Visnu; bhagavati--as good as Bhagavan and therefore known as Bhagavati; yaya--by whom; sammohitam--captivated; jagat--all the worlds, both material and spiritual; adista--being ordered; prabhuna--by the master; amsena--with her different potential factors; karya-arthe--for executing business; sambhavisyati--would also appear.
The potency of the Lord, known as visnu-maya, who is as good as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, will also appear with Lord Krsna. This potency, acting in different capacities, captivates all the worlds, both material and spiritual. At the request of her master, she will appear with her different potencies in order to execute the work of the Lord.
Parasya saktir vividhaiva sruyate (Svetasvatara Upanisad 6.8). In the Vedas it is said that the potencies of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are called by different names, such as yogamaya and mahamaya. Ultimately, however, the Lord's potency is one, exactly as electric potency is one although it can act both to cool and to heat. The Lord's potency acts in both the spiritual and material worlds. In the spiritual world the Lord's potency works as yogamaya, and in the material world the same potency works as mahamaya, exactly as electricity works in both a heater and a cooler. In the material world, this potency, working as mahamaya, acts upon the conditioned souls to deprive them more and more of devotional service. It is said, yaya sammohito jiva atmanam tri-gunatmakam. In the material world the conditioned soul thinks of himself as a product of tri-guna, the three modes of material nature. This is the bodily conception of life. Because of associating with the three gunas of the material potency, everyone identifies himself with his body. Someone is thinking he is a brahmana, someone a ksatriya, and someone a vaisya or sudra. Actually, however, one is neither a brahmana, a ksatriya, a vaisya nor a sudra; one is part and parcel of the Supreme Lord (mamaivamsah), but because of being covered by the material energy, mahamaya, one identifies himself in these different ways. When the conditioned soul becomes liberated, however, he thinks himself an eternal servant of Krsna. Jivera 'svarupa' haya--krsnera 'nitya-dasa.' When he comes to that position, the same potency, acting as yogamaya, increasingly helps him become purified and devote his energy to the service of the Lord.
In either case, whether the soul is conditioned or liberated, the Lord is supreme. As stated in Bhagavad-gita (9.10), mayadhyaksena prakrtih suyate sa-caracaram: it is by the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead that the material energy, mahamaya, works upon the conditioned soul.
gunaih karmani sarvasah
kartaham iti manyate
"The bewildered spirit soul, under the influence of the three modes of material nature, thinks himself to be the doer of activities which are in actuality carried out by nature." (Bg. 3.27) Within conditioned life, no one has freedom, but because one is bewildered, being subject to the rule of mahamaya, one foolishly thinks himself independent (ahankara-vimudhatma kartaham iti manyate). But when the conditioned soul becomes liberated by executing devotional service, he is given a greater and greater chance to relish a relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead in different transcendental statuses, such as dasya-rasa, sakhya-rasa, vatsalya-rasa and madhurya-rasa.
Thus the Lord's potency, visnu-maya, has two features--avaranika and unmukha. When the Lord appeared, His potency came with Him and acted in different ways. She acted as yogamaya with Yasoda, Devaki and other intimate relations of the Lord, and she acted in a different way with Kamsa, Salva and other asuras. By the order of Lord Krsna, His potency yogamaya came with Him and exhibited different activities according to the time and circumstances. Karyarthe sambhavisyati. Yogamaya acted differently to execute different purposes desired by the Lord. As confirmed in Bhagavad-gita (9.13), mahatmanas tu mam partha daivim prakrtim asritah. The mahatmas, who fully surrender to the lotus feet of the Lord, are directed by yogamaya, whereas the duratmas, those who are devoid of devotional service, are directed by mahamaya.
asvasya ca mahim girbhih
sva-dhama paramam yayau
sri-sukah uvaca--Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said; iti--thus; adisya--after informing; amara-ganan--all the demigods; prajapati-patih--Lord Brahma, the master of the Prajapatis; vibhuh--all-powerful; asvasya--after pacifying; ca--also; mahim--mother earth; girbhih--by sweet words; sva-dhama--his own planet, known as Brahmaloka; paramam--the best (within the universe); yayau--returned.
Sukadeva Gosvami continued: After thus advising the demigods and pacifying mother earth, the very powerful Lord Brahma, who is the master of all other Prajapatis and is therefore known as Prajapati-pati, returned to his own abode, Brahmaloka.
mathuram avasan purim
mathuran churasenams ca
visayan bubhuje pura
surasenah--King Surasena; yadu-patih--the chief of the Yadu dynasty; mathuram--at the place known as Mathura; avasan--went to live; purim--in that city; mathuran--at the place known as the Mathura district; surasenan ca--and the place known as Surasena; visayan--such kingdoms; bubhuje--enjoyed; pura--formerly.
Formerly, Surasena, the chief of the Yadu dynasty, had gone to live in the city of Mathura. There he enjoyed the places known as Mathura and Surasena.
rajadhani tatah sabhut
mathura bhagavan yatra
nityam sannihito harih
rajadhani--the capital; tatah--from that time; sa--the country and the city known as Mathura; abhut--became; sarva-yadava-bhubhujam--of all the kings who appeared in the Yadu dynasty; mathura--the place known as Mathura; bhagavan--the Supreme personality of Godhead; yatra--wherein; nityam--eternally; sannihitah--intimately connected, living eternally; harih--the Lord, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Since that time, the city of Mathura had been the capital of all the kings of the Yadu dynasty. The city and district of Mathura are very intimately connected with Krsna, for Lord Krsna lives there eternally.
It is understood that Mathura City is the transcendental abode of Lord Krsna; it is not an ordinary material city, for it is eternally connected with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Vrndavana is within the jurisdiction of Mathura, and it still continues to exist. Because Mathura and Vrndavana are intimately connected with Krsna eternally, it is said that Lord Krsna never leaves Vrndavana (vrndavanam parityajya padam ekam na gacchati). At present, the place known as Vrndavana, in the district of Mathura, continues its position as a transcendental place, and certainly anyone who goes there becomes transcendentally purified. Navadvipa-dhama is also intimately connected with Vrajabhumi. Srila Narottama dasa Thakura therefore says:
sri gauda-mandala-bhumi, yeba jane cintamani,
ta'ra haya vrajabhume vasa
"Vrajabhumi" refers to Mathura-Vrndavana, and Gauda-mandala-bhumi includes Navadvipa. These two places are nondifferent. Therefore, anyone living in Navadvipa-dhama, knowing Krsna and Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu to be the same personality, lives in Vrajabhumi, Mathura-Vrndavana. The Lord has made it convenient for the conditioned soul to live in Mathura, Vrndavana and Navadvipa and thus be directly connected with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Simply by living in these places, one can immediately come in contact with the Lord. There are many devotees who vow never to leave Vrndavana and Mathura. This is undoubtedly a good vow, but if one leaves Vrndavana, Mathura or Navadvipa-dhama for the service of the Lord, he is not disconnected from the Supreme Personality of Godhead. At any rate, we must understand the transcendental importance of Mathura-Vrndavana and Navadvipa-dhama. Anyone who executes devotional service in these places certainly goes back home, back to Godhead, after giving up his body. Thus the words mathura bhagavan yatra nityam sannihito harih are particularly important. A devotee should fully utilize this instruction to the best of his ability. Whenever the Supreme Lord personally appears, He appears in Mathura because of His intimate connection with this place. Therefore although Mathura and Vrndavana are situated on this planet earth, they are transcendental abodes of the Lord.
tasyam tu karhicic chaurir
devakya suryaya sardham
prayane ratham aruhat
tasyam--in that place known as Mathura; tu--indeed; karhicit--some time ago; saurih--the demigod, descendant of Sura; vasudevah--who appeared as Vasudeva; krta-udvahah--after being married; devakya--Devaki; suryaya--his newly married wife; sardham--along with; prayane--for returning home; ratham--the chariot; aruhat--mounted.
Some time ago, Vasudeva, who belonged to the demigod family [or to the Sura dynasty], married Devaki. After the marriage, he mounted his chariot to return home with his newly married wife.
rasmin hayanam jagraha
raukmai ratha-satair vrtah
ugrasena-sutah--the son of Ugrasena; kamsah--by the name Kamsa; svasuh--of his own sister Devaki; priya-cikirsaya--to please her on the occasion of her marriage; rasmin--the reins; hayanam--of the horses; jagraha--took; raukmaih--made of gold; ratha-sataih--by hundreds of chariots; vrtah--surrounded.
Kamsa, the son of King Ugrasena, in order to please his sister Devaki on the occasion of her marriage, took charge of the reins of the horses and became the chariot driver. He was surrounded by hundreds of golden chariots.
asvanam ayutam sardham
rathanam ca tri-sat-satam
dve sate samalankrte
duhitre devakah pradad
catuh-satam--four hundred; paribarham--dowry; gajanam--of elephants; hema-malinam--decorated with garlands of gold; asvanam--of horses; ayutam--ten thousand; sardham--along with; rathanam--of chariots; ca--and; tri-sat-satam--three times six hundred (eighteen hundred); dasinam--of maidservants; su-kumarinam--very young and beautiful unmarried girls; dve--two; sate--hundred; samalankrte--fully decorated with ornaments; duhitre--unto his daughter; devakah--King Devaka; pradat--gave as a gift; yane--while going away; duhitr-vatsalah--who was very fond of his daughter Devaki.
Devaki's father, King Devaka, was very much affectionate to his daughter. Therefore, while she and her husband were leaving home, he gave her a dowry of four hundred elephants nicely decorated with golden garlands. He also gave ten thousand horses, eighteen hundred chariots, and two hundred very beautiful young maidservants, fully decorated with ornaments.
The system of giving a dowry to one's daughter has existed in Vedic civilization for a very long time. Even today, following the same system, a father who has money will give his daughter an opulent dowry. A daughter would never inherit the property of her father, and therefore an affectionate father, during the marriage of his daughter, would give her as much as possible. A dowry, therefore, is never illegal according to the Vedic system. Here, of course, the gift offered as a dowry by Devaka to Devaki was not ordinary. Because Devaka was a king, he gave a dowry quite suitable to his royal position. Even an ordinary man, especially a high-class brahmana, ksatriya or vaisya, is supposed to give his daughter a liberal dowry. Immediately after the marriage, the daughter goes to her husband's house, and it is also a custom for the brother of the bride to accompany his sister and brother-in-law to exhibit affection for her. This system was followed by Kamsa. These are all old customs in the society of varnasrama-dharma, which is now wrongly designated as Hindu. These long-standing customs are nicely described here.
nedur dundubhayah samam
sankha--conchshells; turya--bugles; mrdangah--drums; ca--also; neduh--vibrated; dundubhayah--kettledrums; samam--in concert; prayana-prakrame--at the time of departure; tata--O beloved son; vara-vadhvoh--of the bridegroom and the bride; su-mangalam--for the purpose of their auspicious departure.
O beloved son, Maharaja Pariksit, when the bride and bridegroom were ready to start, conchshells, bugles, drums and kettledrums all vibrated in concert for their auspicious departure.
pathi pragrahinam kamsam
asyas tvam astamo garbho
hanta yam vahase 'budha
pathi--on the way; pragrahinam--who was managing the reins of the horses; kamsam--unto Kamsa; abhasya--addressing; aha--said; a-sarira-vak--a voice coming from someone whose body was invisible; asyah--of this girl (Devaki); tvam--you; astamah--the eighth; garbhah--pregnancy; hanta--killer; yam--her whom; vahase--you are carrying; abudha--you foolish rascal.
While Kamsa, controlling the reins of the horses, was driving the chariot along the way, an unembodied voice addressed him, "You foolish rascal, the eighth child of the woman you are carrying will kill you!"
The omen spoke of astamo garbhah, referring to the eighth pregnancy, but did not clearly say whether the child was to be a son or a daughter. Even if Kamsa were to see that the eighth child of Devaki was a daughter, he should have no doubt that the eighth child was to kill him. According to the Visva-kosa dictionary, the word garbha means "embryo" and also arbhaka, or "child." Kamsa was affectionate toward his sister, and therefore he had become the chariot driver to carry her and his brother-in-law to their home. The demigods, however, did not want Kamsa to be affectionate toward Devaki, and therefore, from an unseen position, they encouraged Kamsa to offend her. Moreover, the six sons of Marici had been cursed to take birth from the womb of Devaki, and upon being killed by Kamsa they would be delivered. When Devaki understood that Kamsa would be killed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who would appear from her womb, she felt great joy. The word vahase is also significant because it indicates that the ominous vibration condemned Kamsa for acting just like a beast of burden by carrying his enemy's mother.
ity uktah sa khalah papo
bhaginim hantum arabdham
khadga-panih kace 'grahit
iti uktah--thus being addressed; sah--he (Kamsa); khalah--envious; papah--sinful; bhojanam--of the Bhoja dynasty; kula-pamsanah--one who can degrade the reputation of his family; bhaginim--unto his sister; hantum arabdham--being inclined to kill; khadga-panih--taking a sword in his hand; kace--hair; agrahit--took up.
Kamsa was a condemned personality in the Bhoja dynasty because he was envious and sinful. Therefore, upon hearing this omen from the sky, he caught hold of his sister's hair with his left hand and took up his sword with his right hand to sever her head from her body.
Kamsa was driving the chariot and controlling the reins with his left hand, but as soon as he heard the omen that his sister's eighth child would kill him, he gave up the reins, caught hold of his sister's hair, and with his right hand took up a sword to kill her. Before, he had been so affectionate that he was acting as his sister's chariot driver, but as soon as he heard that his self-interest or his life was at risk, he forgot all affection for her and immediately became a great enemy. This is the nature of demons. No one should trust a demon, despite any amount of affection. Aside from this, a king, a politician or a woman cannot be trusted, since they can do anything abominable for their personal interest. Canakya Pandita therefore says, visvaso naiva kartavyah strisu raja-kulesu ca.
tam--unto him (Kamsa); jugupsita-karmanam--who was ready to commit such an offensive act; nrsamsam--very cruel; nirapatrapam--shameless; vasudevah--Vasudeva; maha-bhagah--the greatly fortunate father of Vasudeva; uvaca--said; parisantvayan--pacifying.
Wanting to pacify Kamsa, who was so cruel and envious that he was shamelessly ready to kill his sister, the great soul Vasudeva, who was to be the father of Krsna, spoke to him in the following words.
Vasudeva, who was to be the father of Krsna, is described here as maha-bhaga, a very upright and sober personality, because although Kamsa was ready to kill Vasudeva's wife, Vasudeva remained sober and unagitated. In a peaceful attitude, Vasudeva began to address Kamsa by putting forward reasonable arguments. Vasudeva was a great personality because he knew how to pacify a cruel person and how to forgive even the bitterest enemy. One who is fortunate is never caught, even by tigers or snakes.
sa katham bhaginim hanyat
sri-vasudevah uvaca--the great personality Vasudeva said; slaghaniya-gunah--a person who possesses praiseworthy qualities; suraih--by great heroes; bhavan--your good self; bhoja-yasah-karah--a brilliant star in the Bhoja dynasty; sah--one such as your good self; katham--how; bhaginim--your sister; hanyat--can kill; striyam--especially a woman; udvaha-parvani--at the time of the marriage ceremony.
Vasudeva said: My dear brother-in-law Kamsa, you are the pride of your family, the Bhoja dynasty, and great heroes praise your qualities. How could such a qualified person as you kill a woman, your own sister, especially on the occasion of her marriage?
According to Vedic principles, a brahmana, an old man, a woman, a child or a cow cannot be killed under any circumstances. Vasudeva stressed that Devaki was not only a woman but a member of Kamsa s family. Because she was now married to Vasudeva, she was para-stri, another man's wife, and if such a woman were killed, not only would Kamsa be implicated in sinful activities, but his reputation as king of the Bhoja dynasty would be damaged. Thus Vasudeva tried in many ways to convince Kamsa in order to stop him from killing Devaki.
mrtyur janmavatam vira
dehena saha jayate
adya vabda-satante va
mrtyur vai praninam dhruvah
mrtyuh--death; janma-vatam--of the living entities who have taken birth; vira--O great hero; dehena saha--along with the body; jayate--is born (one who has taken birth is sure to die); adya--today; va--either; abda-sata--of hundreds of years; ante--at the end; va--or; mrtyuh--death; vai--indeed; praninam--for every living entity; dhruvah--is assured.
O great hero, one who takes birth is sure to die, for death is born with the body. One may die today or after hundreds of years, but death is sure for every living entity.
Vasudeva wanted to impress upon Kamsa that although Kamsa feared dying and therefore wanted to kill even a woman, he could not avoid death. Death is sure. Why then should Kamsa do something that would be detrimental to his reputation and that of his family? As confirmed in Bhagavad-gita (2.27):
jatasya hi dhruvo mrtyur
dhruvam janma mrtasya ca
tasmad apariharye 'rthe
na tvam socitum arhasi
"For one who has taken his birth, death is certain; and for one who is dead, birth is certain. Therefore, in the unavoidable discharge of your duty, you should not lament." One should not fear death. Rather, one should prepare oneself for the next birth. One should utilize one's time in this human form to end the process of birth and death. It is not that to save oneself from death one should entangle oneself in sinful activities. This is not good.
dehe pancatvam apanne
dehi karmanugo 'vasah
praktanam tyajate vapuh
dehe--when the body; pancatvam apanne--turns into five elements; dehi--the proprietor of the body, the living being; karma-anugah--following the reactions of his own fruitive activities; avasah--spontaneously, automatically; deha-antaram--another body (made of material elements); anuprapya--receiving as a result; praktanam--the former; tyajate--gives up; vapuh--body.
When the present body turns to dust and is again reduced to five elements--earth, water, fire, air and ether--the proprietor of the body, the living being, automatically receives another body of material elements according to his fruitive activities. When the next body is obtained, he gives up the present body.
This is confirmed in Bhagavad-gita, which presents the beginning of spiritual understanding.
dehino 'smin yatha dehe
kaumaram yauvanam jara
dhiras tatra na muhyati
"As the embodied soul continually passes, in this body, from boyhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. The self-realized soul is not bewildered by such a change." (Bg. 2.13) A person or an animal is not the material body; rather, the material body is the covering of the living being. Bhagavad-gita compares the body to a dress and elaborately explains how one changes dresses one after another. The same Vedic knowledge is confirmed here. The living being, the soul, is constantly changing bodies one after another. Even in the present life, the body changes from childhood to boyhood, from boyhood to youth, and from youth to old age; similarly, when the body is too old to continue, the living being gives up this body and, by the laws of nature, automatically gets another body according to his fruitive activities, desires and ambitions. The laws of nature control this sequence, and therefore as long as the living entity is under the control of the external, material energy, the process of bodily change takes place automatically, according to one's fruitive activities. Vasudeva therefore wanted to impress upon Kamsa that if he committed this sinful act of killing a woman, in his next life he would certainly get a material body still more conditioned to the sufferings of material existence. Thus Vasudeva advised Kamsa not to commit sinful activities.
One who commits sinful activities because of ignorance, tamo-guna, obtains a lower body. Karanam guna-sango 'sya sad-asad-yoni janmasu (Bg. 13.22). There are hundreds and thousands of different species of life. Why are there higher and lower bodies? One receives these bodies according to the contaminations of material nature. If in this life one is contaminated by the mode of ignorance and sinful activities (duskrti), in the next life, by the laws of nature, one will certainly get a body full of suffering. The laws of nature are not subservient to the whimsical desires of the conditioned soul. Our endeavor, therefore, should be to associate always with sattva-guna and not indulge in rajo-guna or tamo-guna (rajas-tamo-bhavah). Lusty desires and greed keep the living entity perpetually in ignorance and prevent him from being elevated to the platform of sattva-guna or suddha-sattva-guna. One is advised to be situated in suddha-sattva-guna, devotional service, for thus one is immune to the reactions of the three modes of material nature.
vrajams tisthan padaikena
dehi karma-gatim gatah
vrajan--a person, while traveling on the road; tisthan--while standing; pada ekena--on one foot; yatha--as; eva--indeed; ekena--by another foot; gacchati--goes; yatha--as; trna-jalauka--a worm on a vegetable; evam--in this way; dehi--the living entity; karma-gatim--the reactions of fruitive activities; gatah--undergoes.
Just as a person traveling on the road rests one foot on the ground and then lifts the other, or as a worm on a vegetable transfers itself to one leaf and then gives up the previous one, the conditioned soul takes shelter of another body and then gives up the one he had before.
This is the process of the soul's transmigration from one body to another. At the time of death, according to his mental condition, the living being is carried by the subtle body, consisting of mind, intelligence and ego, to another gross body. When higher authorities have decided what kind of gross body the living entity will have, he is forced to enter such a body, and thus he automatically gives up his previous body. Dull-minded persons who do not have the intelligence to understand this process of transmigration take for granted that when the gross body is finished, one's life is finished forever. Such persons have no brains with which to understand the process of transmigration. At the present moment there is great opposition to the Hare Krsna movement, which is being called a "brainwashing" movement. But actually the so-called scientists, philosophers and other leaders in the Western countries have no brains at all. The Hare Krsna movement is trying to elevate such foolish persons by enlightening their intelligence so that they will take advantage of the human body. Unfortunately, because of gross ignorance, they regard the Hare Krsna movement as a brainwashing movement. They do not know that without God consciousness one is forced to continue transmigrating from one body to another. Because of their devilish brains, they will next be forced to accept an abominable life and practically never be able to liberate themselves from the conditional life of material existence. How this transmigration of the soul takes place is very clearly explained in this verse.
svapne yatha pasyati deham idrsam
prapadyate tat kim api hy apasmrtih
svapne--in a dream; yatha--as; pasyati--one sees; deham--the kind of body; idrsam--similarly; manorathena--by mental speculation; abhinivista--is fully absorbed; cetanah--he whose consciousness; drsta--by whatever has been experienced by seeing with the eyes; srutabhyam--and by hearing a description of something else; manasa--by the mind; anucintayan--thinking, feeling and willing; prapadyate--surrenders; tat--to that situation; kim api--what to speak of; hi--indeed; apasmrtih--experiencing forgetfulness of the present body.
Having experienced a situation by seeing or hearing about it, one contemplates and speculates about that situation, and thus one surrenders to it, not considering his present body. Similarly, by mental adjustments one dreams at night of living under different circumstances, in different bodies, and forgets his actual position. Under this same process, one gives up his present body and accepts another [tatha dehantara-praptih].
Transmigration of the soul is very clearly explained in this verse. One sometimes forgets his present body and thinks of his childhood body, a body of the past, and of how one was playing, jumping, talking and so on. When the material body is no long workable, it becomes dust: "For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." But when the body again mixes with the five material elements--earth, water, fire, air and ether--the mind continues to work. The mind is the subtle substance in which the body is created, as we actually experience in our dreams and also when we are awake in contemplation. One must understand that the process of mental speculation develops a new type of body that does not actually exist. If one can understand the nature of the mind (manorathena) and its thinking, feeling and willing, one can very easily understand how from the mind different types of bodies develop.
The Krsna consciousness movement, therefore, offers a process of transcendental activities wherein the mind is fully absorbed in affairs pertaining to Krsna. The presence of the soul is perceived by consciousness, and one must purify his consciousness from material to spiritual, or, in other words, to Krsna consciousness. That which is spiritual is eternal, and that which is material is temporary. Without Krsna consciousness, one's consciousness is always absorbed in temporary things. For everyone, therefore, Krsna recommends in Bhagavad-gita (9.34), man-mana bhava mad-bhakto mad-yaji mam namaskuru. One should always be absorbed in thought of Krsna, one should become His devotee, one should always engage in His service and worship Him as the supreme great, and one should always offer Him obeisances. In the material world one is always a servant of a greater person, and in the spiritual world our constitutional position is to serve the Supreme, the greatest, param brahma. This is the instruction of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. Jivera 'svarupa' haya--krsnera 'nitya-dasa' (Cc. Madhya 20.108).
To act in Krsna consciousness is the perfection of life and the highest perfection of yoga. As Lord Krsna says in Bhagavad-gita (6.47):
yoginam api sarvesam
sraddhavan bhajate yo mam
sa me yuktatamo matah
"Of all yogis, he who always abides in Me with great faith, worshiping Me in transcendental loving service, is most intimately united with Me in yoga and is the highest of all."
The condition of the mind, which flickers between sankalpa and vikalpa, accepting something and rejecting it, is very important in transferring the soul to another material body at the time of death.
yam yam vapi smaran bhavam
tyajaty ante kalevaram
tam tam evaiti kaunteya
"Whatever state of being one remembers when he quits his body, that state he will attain without fail." (Bg. 8.6) Therefore one must train the mind in the system of bhakti-yoga, as did Maharaja Ambarisa, who kept himself always in Krsna consciousness. Sa vai manah krsna-padaravindayoh. One must fix the mind at the lotus feet of Krsna twenty-four hours a day. If the mind is fixed upon Krsna's lotus feet, the activities of the other senses will be engaged in Krsna's service. Hrsikena hrsikesa-sevanam bhaktir ucyate: to serve Hrsikesa, the master of the senses, with purified senses is called bhakti. Those who constantly engage in devotional service are situated in a transcendental state, above the material modes of nature. As Krsna says in Bhagavad-gita (14.26):
mam ca yo 'vyabhicarena
sa gunan samatityaitan
"One who engages in full devotional service, who does not fall down in any circumstance, at once transcends the modes of material nature and thus comes to the level of Brahman." One must learn the secret of success from the Vedic literatures, especially when the cream of Vedic knowledge is presented by Bhagavad-gita as it is.
Because the mind is ultimately controlled by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, the word apasmrtih is significant. Forgetfulness of one's own identity is called apasmrtih. This apasmrtih can be controlled by the Supreme Lord, for the Lord says, mattah smrtir jnanam apohanam ca: "From Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness." Instead of allowing one to forget one's real position, Krsna can revive one's original identity at the time of one's death, even though the mind may be flickering. Although the mind may work imperfectly at the time of death, Krsna gives a devotee shelter at His lotus feet. Therefore when a devotee gives up his body, the mind does not take him to another material body (tyaktva deham punar janma naiti mam eti); rather, Krsna takes the devotee to that place where He is engaged in His pastimes (mam eti), as we have already discussed in previous verses. One's consciousness, therefore, must always be absorbed in Krsna, and then one's life will be successful. Otherwise the mind will carry the soul to another material body. The soul will be placed in the semen of a father and discharged into the womb of a mother. The semen and ovum create a particular type of body according to the form of the father and mother, and when the body is mature, the soul emerges in that body and begins a new life. This is the process of transmigration of the soul from one body to another (tatha dehantara-praptih). Unfortunately, those who are less intelligent think that when the body disappears, everything is finished. The entire world is being misled by such fools and rascals. But as stated in Bhagavad-gita (2.20), na hanyate hanyamane sarire. The soul does not die when the body is destroyed. Rather, the soul takes on another body.
yato yato dhavati daiva-coditam
mano vikaratmakam apa pancasu
gunesu maya-rocitesu dehy asau
prapadyamanah saha tena jayate
yatah yatah--from one place to another or from one position to another; dhavati--speculates; daiva-coditam--impelled by accident or deliberation; manah--the mind; vikara-atmakam--changing from one type of thinking, feeling and willing to another; apa--at the end, he obtains (a mentality); pancasu--at the time of death (when the material body turns totally into matter); gunesu--(the mind, not being liberated, becomes attached) to the material qualities; maya-rocitesu--where the material energy creates a similar body; dehi--the spirit soul who accepts such a body; asau--he; prapadyamanah--being surrendered (to such a condition); saha--with; tena--a similar body; jayate--takes birth.
At the time of death, according to the thinking, feeling and willing of the mind, which is involved in fruitive activities, one receives a particular body. In other words, the body develops according to the activities of the mind. Changes of body are due to the flickering of the mind, for otherwise the soul could remain in its original, spiritual body.
One can very easily understand that the mind is constantly flickering, changing in the quality of its thinking, feeling and willing. This is explained by Arjuna in Bhagavad-gita (6.34):
cancalam hi manah krsna
pramathi balavad drdham
tasyaham nigraham manye
vayor iva suduskaram
The mind is cancala, flickering, and it changes very strongly. Therefore Arjuna admitted that controlling the mind is not at all possible; this would be as difficult as controlling the wind. For example, if one were in a boat moving according to the wind on a river or the sea, and the wind were uncontrollable, the tilting boat would be very much disturbed and extremely difficult to control. It might even capsize. Therefore, in the bhava-samudra, the ocean of mental speculation and transmigration to different types of bodies, one must first control the mind.
By regulative practice one can control the mind, and this is the purpose of the yoga system (abhyasa-yoga-yuktena). But there is a chance of failure with the yoga system, especially in this age of Kali, because the yoga system uses artificial means. If the mind is engaged in bhakti-yoga, however, by the grace of Krsna one can very easily control it. Therefore Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has recommended, harer nama harer nama harer namaiva kevalam. One should chant the holy name of the Lord constantly, for the holy name of the Lord is nondifferent from Hari, the Supreme Person.
By chanting the Hare Krsna mantra constantly, one can fix the mind on the lotus feet of Krsna (sa vai manah krsna-padaravindayoh) and in this way achieve the perfection of yoga. Otherwise, the flickering mind will hover on the platform of mental speculation for sense enjoyment, and one will have to transmigrate from one type of body to another because the mind is trained only in relation to the material elements, or, in other words, to sense gratification, which is false. Maya-sukhaya bharam udvahato vimudhan (Bhag. 7.9.43). Rascals (vimudhan), being controlled by mental speculation, make huge arrangements by which to enjoy life temporarily, but they must give up the body at the time of death, when everything is taken away by Krsna's external energy (mrtyuh sarva-haras caham). At that time, whatever one has created in this life is lost, and one must automatically accept a new body by the force of material nature. In this life one may have constructed a very tall skyscraper, but in the next life, because of one's mentality, one may have to accept a body like that of a cat, a dog, a tree or perhaps a demigod. Thus the body is offered by the laws of material nature. Karanam guna-sango 'sya sad-asad-yoni janmasu (Bg. 13.22). The spirit soul takes birth in higher and lower species of life only because of his association with the three qualities of material nature.
urdhvam gacchanti sattva-stha
madhye tisthanti rajasah
adho gacchanti tamasah
"Those situated in the mode of goodness gradually go upward to the higher planets; those in the mode of passion live on the earthly planets; and those in the mode of ignorance go down to the hellish worlds." (Bg. 14.18)
In conclusion, the Krsna consciousness movement offers the topmost welfare activity for human society. The saner section of human society must therefore take this movement very seriously for the benefit of all humanity. To save oneself from the repetition of birth and death, one must purify his consciousness. Sarvopadhi-vinirmuktam tat-paratvena nirmalam. One must be freed from all designations--"I am American," "I am Indian," "I am this," "I am that"--and come to the platform of understanding that Krsna is the original master and we are His eternal servants. When the senses are purified and engaged in Krsna's service, one achieves the highest perfection. Hrsikena hrsikesa-sevanam bhaktir ucyate. The Krsna consciousness movement is a movement of bhakti-yoga. Vairagya-vidya-nija-bhakti-yoga. By following the principles of this movement, one becomes disassociated from material mental concoctions and is established on the original platform of the eternal relationship between the living entity and the Supreme Personality of Godhead as servant and master. This, in summary, is the purpose of the Krsna consciousness movement.
jyotir yathaivodaka-parthivesv adah
evam sva-maya-racitesv asau puman
gunesu raganugato vimuhyati
jyotih--the luminaries in the sky, such as the sun, the moon and the stars; yatha--as; eva--indeed; udaka--in water; parthivesu--or in other liquids, like oil; adah--directly; samira-vega-anugatam--being forced by the movements of the wind; vibhavyate--appear in different shapes; evam--in this way; sva-maya-racitesu--in the situation created by one's mental concoctions; asau--the living entity; puman--person; gunesu--in the material world, manifested by the modes of nature; raga-anugatah--according to his attachment; vimuhyati--becomes bewildered by identification.
When the luminaries in the sky, such as the moon, the sun and the stars, are reflected in liquids like oil or water, they appear to be of different shapes--sometimes round, sometimes long, and so on--because of the movements of the wind. Similarly, when the living entity, the soul, is absorbed in materialistic thoughts, he accepts various manifestations as his own identity because of ignorance. In other words, one is bewildered by mental concoctions because of agitation from the material modes of nature.
This verse gives a very good example by which to understand the different positions of the eternal spiritual soul in the material world and how the soul takes on different bodies (dehantara-praptih). The moon is stationary and is one, but when it is reflected in water or oil, it appears to take different shapes because of the movements of the wind. Similarly, the soul is the eternal servant of Krsna, the Supreme personality of Godhead, but when put into the material modes of nature, it takes different bodies, sometimes as a demigod, sometimes a man, a dog, a tree and so on. By the influence of maya, the illusory potency of the Supreme personality of Godhead, the living entity thinks that he is this person, that person, American, Indian, cat, dog, tree or whatever. This is called maya. When one is freed from this bewilderment and understands that the soul does not belong to any shape of this material world, one is situated on the spiritual platform (brahma-bhuta).
This realization is sometimes explained as nirakara, or formlessness. This formlessness, however, does not mean that the soul has no form. The soul has form, but the external, agitating form he has acquired because of material contamination is false. Similarly, God is also described as nirakara, which means that God has no material form but is sac-cid-ananda-vigraha. The living entity is part and parcel of the supreme sac-cid-ananda-vigraha, but his material forms are temporary, or illusory. Both the living entity and the Supreme Lord have original, spiritual forms (sac-cid-ananda-vigraha), but the Lord, the Supreme, does not change His form. The Lord appears as He is, whereas the living entity appears because material nature forces him to accept different forms. When the living entity receives these different forms, he identifies with them, and not with his original, spiritual form. As soon as the living entity returns to his original, spiritual form and understanding, he immediately surrenders to the supreme form, the Personality of Godhead. This is explained in Bhagavad-gita (7.19). Bahunam janmanam ante jnanavan mam prapadyate. When the living entity, after many, many births in different forms, returns to his original form of Krsna consciousness, he immediately surrenders unto the lotus feet of the supreme form, Krsna. This is liberation. As the Lord says in Bhagavad-gita (18.54):
na socati na kanksati
samah sarvesu bhutesu
mad-bhaktim labhate param
"One who is thus transcendentally situated at once realizes the Supreme Brahman and becomes fully joyful. He never laments nor desires to have anything; he is equally disposed to every living entity. In that state he attains pure devotional service unto Me." Surrender unto the supreme form is the result of bhakti. This bhakti, or understanding of one's own position, is the complete liberation. As long as one is under an impersonal understanding of the Absolute Truth, he is not in pure knowledge, but must still struggle for pure knowledge. Kleso 'dhikataras tesam avyaktasakta-cetasam (Bg. 12.5). Although one may be spiritually advanced, if one is attached to the impersonal feature of the Absolute Truth one must still work very hard, as indicated by the words kleso 'dhikatarah, which mean "greater suffering." A devotee, however, easily attains his original position as a spiritual form and understands the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His original form.
Krsna Himself explains the forms of the living entities in the Second Chapter of Bhagavad-gita, where He clearly says to Arjuna that He, Arjuna and all other living entities, who were previously in their original forms, are separate individual identities. They were individuals in the past, they are now situated in individuality, and in the future they will all continue to maintain their individual forms. The only difference is that the conditioned living entity appears in various material forms, whereas Krsna appears in His original, spiritual form. Unfortunately, those who are not advanced in spiritual knowledge think that Krsna is like one of them and that His form is like their material forms. Avajananti mam mudha manusim tanum asritam (Bg. 9.11). Krsna is never puffed up by material knowledge and is therefore called acyuta, whereas the living entities fall down and are agitated by material nature. This is the difference between the Supreme Lord and the living entities.
In this connection it is to be noted that Vasudeva, who was situated in a transcendental position, advised Kamsa not to commit further sinful activities. Kamsa, a representative of the demons, was always ready to kill Krsna, or God, whereas Vasudeva represents a transcendentally situated person to whom Krsna is born (Vasudeva is the son of Vasudeva). Vasudeva wanted his brother-in-law Kamsa to refrain from the sinful act of killing his sister, since the result of being agitated by material nature would be that Kamsa would have to accept a body in which to suffer again and again. Elsewhere in Srimad-Bhagavatam (5.5.4), Rsabhadeva also says:
na sadhu manye yata atmano 'yam
asann api klesada asa dehah
As long as the living entity is entangled in the fruitive activities of so-called happiness and distress, he will receive a particular type of body in which to endure the three kinds of suffering due to material nature (tri-tapa-yantrana). An intelligent person, therefore, must free himself from the influence of the three modes of material nature and revive his original, spiritual body by engaging in the service of the Supreme Person, Krsna. As long as one is materially attached, one must accept the process of birth, death, old age and disease. One is therefore advised that an intelligent person, instead of being entangled in so-called good and bad fruitive activities, should engage his life in advancing in Krsna consciousness so that instead of accepting another material body (tyaktva deham punar janma naiti), he will return home, back to Godhead.
tasman na kasyacid droham
acaret sa tatha-vidhah
atmanah ksemam anvicchan
drogdhur vai parato bhayam
tasmat--therefore; na--not; kasyacit--of anyone; droham--envy; acaret--one should act; sah--a person (Kamsa); tatha-vidhah--who has been advised in such a way (by Vasudeva); atmanah--his own; ksemam--welfare; anvicchan--if he desires; drogdhuh--of one who is envious of others; vai--indeed; paratah--from others; bhayam--there is a cause of fear.
Therefore, since envious, impious activities cause a body in which one suffers in the next life, why should one act impiously? Considering one's welfare, one should not envy anyone, for an envious person must always fear harm from his enemies, either in this life or in the next.
Instead of being inimical toward other living entities, one should act piously by engaging in the service of the Supreme Lord, thus avoiding a fearful situation both in this life and in the next. In this regard, the following moral instruction by the great politician Canakya Pandita is very meaningful:
kuru punyam aho ratram
smara nityam anityatam
One should give up the company of devils, demons and nondevotees and should always associate with devotees and saintly persons. One should always act piously, thinking that this life is temporary, and not be attached to temporary happiness and distress. The Krsna consciousness movement is teaching all of human society this principle of becoming Krsna conscious and thus solving the problems of life forever (tyaktva deham punar janma naiti mam eti so 'rjuna).
esa tavanuja bala
hantum narhasi kalyanim
imam tvam dina-vatsalah
esa--this; tava--your; anuja--younger sister; bala--innocent woman; krpana--completely dependent on you; putrika-upama--exactly like your own daughter; hantum--to kill her; na--not; arhasi--you deserve; kalyanim--who is under your affection; imam--her; tvam--you; dina-vatsalah--very compassionate to the poor and innocent.
As your younger sister, this poor girl Devaki is like your own daughter and deserves to be affectionately maintained. You are merciful, and therefore you should not kill her. Indeed, she deserves your affection.
evam sa samabhir bhedair
bodhyamano 'pi darunah
na nyavartata kauravya
sri-sukah uvaca--Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said; evam--in this way; sah--he (Kamsa); samabhih--by attempts to pacify him (Kamsa); bhedaih--by moral instructions that one should not be cruel to anyone else; bodhyamanah api--even being pacified; darunah--he who was the most fiercely cruel; na nyavartata--could not be stopped (from the grievous act); kauravya--O Maharaja Pariksit; purusa-adan--the Raksasas, man-eaters; anuvratah--following in their footsteps.
Sukadeva Gosvami continued: O best of the Kuru dynasty, Kamsa was fiercely cruel and was actually a follower of the Raksasas. Therefore he could be neither pacified nor terrified by the good instructions given by Vasudeva. He did not care about the results of sinful activities, either in this life or in the next.
nirbandham tasya tam jnatva
praptam kalam prativyodhum
nirbandham--determination to do something; tasya--of him (Kamsa); tam--that (determination); jnatva--understanding; vicintya--thinking deeply; anakadundubhih--Vasudeva; praptam--had arrived; kalam--imminent danger of death; prativyodhum--to stop him from such activities; idam--this; tatra--thereupon; anvapadyata--thought of other ways.
When Vasudeva saw that Kamsa was determined to kill his sister Devaki, he thought to himself very deeply. Considering the imminent danger of death, he thought of another plan to stop Kamsa.
Although Vasudeva saw the imminent danger that his wife Devaki would be killed, he was convinced of his welfare because at his birth the demigods had played drums and kettledrums. He therefore attempted another way to save Devaki.
yady asau na nivarteta
naparadho 'sti dehinah
mrtyuh--death; buddhi-mata--by an intelligent person; apohyah--should be avoided; yavat--as long as; buddhi-bala-udayam--intelligence and bodily strength are present; yadi--if; asau--that (death); na nivarteta--cannot be checked; na--not; aparadhah--offense; asti--there is; dehinah--of the person in danger of death.
As long as he has intelligence and bodily strength, an intelligent person must try to avoid death. This is the duty of every embodied person. But if death cannot be avoided in spite of one's endeavors, a person facing death commits no offense.
It is natural for a person facing untimely death to try his best to save himself. This is one's duty. Although death is sure, everyone should try to avoid it and not meet death without opposition because every living soul is by nature eternal. Because death is a punishment imposed in the condemned life of material existence, the Vedic culture is based on avoiding death (tyaktva deham punar janma naiti). Everyone should try to avoid death and rebirth by cultivating spiritual life and should not submit to death without struggling to survive. One who is not trying to stop death is not an intelligent human being. Because Devaki was face to face with imminent death, it was Vasudeva's duty to save her, as he was trying his best to do. He therefore considered another way to approach Kamsa so that Devaki would be saved.
pradaya mrtyave putran
mocaye krpanam imam
suta me yadi jayeran
mrtyur va na mriyeta cet
viparyayo va kim na syad
gatir dhatur duratyaya
nivrttah punar apatet
pradaya--promising to deliver; mrtyave--unto Kamsa, who is death personified for Devaki; putran--my sons; mocaye--I am releasing her from imminent danger; krpanam--innocent; imam--Devaki; sutah--sons; me--my; yadi--whether; jayeran--should take birth; mrtyuh--Kamsa; va--or; na--not; mriyeta--should die; cet--if; viparyayah--just the opposite; va--or; kim--whether; na--not; syat--it may happen; gatih--the movement; dhatuh--of providence; duratyaya--very difficult to understand; upasthitah--that which is presently obtained; nivarteta--may stop; nivrttah--Devaki's death being stopped; punah apatet--in the future it may happen again (but what can I do).
Vasudeva considered: By delivering all my sons to Kamsa, who is death personified, I shall save the life of Devaki. Perhaps Kamsa will die before my sons take birth, or, since he is already destined to die at the hands of my son, one of my sons may kill him. For the time being, let me promise to hand over my sons so that Kamsa will give up this immediate threat, and if in due course of time Kamsa dies, I shall have nothing to fear.
Vasudeva wanted to save the life of Devaki by promising to deliver his sons to Kamsa. "In the future," he thought, "Kamsa may die, or I may not beget any sons. Even if a son is born and I deliver him to Kamsa, Kamsa may die at his hands, for by providence anything could happen. It is very difficult to understand how things are managed by providence." Thus Vasudeva decided that he would promise to deliver his sons to the hands of Kamsa in order to save Devaki from the imminent danger of death.
agner yatha daru-viyoga-yogayor
adrstato 'nyan na nimittam asti
evam hi jantor api durvibhavyah
agneh--of a fire in the forest; yatha--as; daru--of wood; viyoga-yogayoh--of both the escaping and the capturing; adrstatah--than unseen providence; anyat--some other reason or accident; na--not; nimittam--a cause; asti--there is; evam--in this way; hi--certainly; jantoh--of the living being; api--indeed; durvibhavyah--cannot be found out; sarira--of the body; samyoga--of the accepting; viyoga--or of the giving up; hetuh--the cause.
When a fire, for some unseen reason, leaps over one piece of wood and sets fire to the next, the reason is destiny. Similarly, when a living being accepts one kind of body and leaves aside another, there is no other reason than unseen destiny.
When there is a fire in a village, the fire sometimes jumps over one house and burns another. Similarly, when there is a forest fire, the fire sometimes jumps over one tree and catches another. Why this happens, no one can say. One may set forth some imaginary reason why the nearest tree or house did not catch fire whereas a tree or house in a distant place did, but actually the reason is destiny. This reason also applies to the transmigration of the soul, by which a prime minister in one life may become a dog in the next. The work of unseen destiny cannot be ascertained by practical experimental knowledge, and therefore one must be satisfied by reasoning that everything is done by supreme providence.
evam vimrsya tam papam
pujayam asa vai saurir
evam--in this way; vimrsya--after contemplating; tam--unto Kamsa; papam--the most sinful; yavat--as far as possible; atmani-darsanam--with all the intelligence possible within himself; pujayam asa--praised; vai--indeed; saurih--Vasudeva; bahu-mana--offering all respect; purahsaram--before him.
After thus considering the matter as far as his knowledge would allow, Vasudeva submitted his proposal to the sinful Kamsa with great respect.
vihasann idam abravit
prasanna-vadana-ambhojah--Vasudeva, who externally presented himself as if very happy; nrsamsam--unto the most cruel; nirapatrapam--shameless Kamsa; manasa--with the mind; duyamanena--which was full of anxiety and sorrow; vihasan--smiling externally; idam abravit--and spoke as follows.
Vasudeva's mind was full of anxiety because his wife was facing danger, but in order to please the cruel, shameless and sinful Kamsa, he externally smiled and spoke to him as follows.
Sometimes one must act duplicitously in a dangerous position, as Vasudeva did to save his wife. The material world is complicated, and to execute one's duties, one cannot avoid adopting such diplomacy. Vasudeva did everything possible to save his wife for the sake of begetting Krsna. This indicates that one may act duplicitously for the purpose of saving Krsna and His interests. According to the arrangement already foretold, Krsna was to appear through Vasudeva and Devaki to kill Kamsa. Vasudeva, therefore, had to do everything to save the situation. Although all the events were prearranged by Krsna, a devotee must try his best to serve the purpose of Krsna. Krsna Himself is all-powerful, but it is not that a devotee should therefore sit idly and leave everything to Him. This instruction is also found in Bhagavad-gita. Although Krsna was doing everything for Arjuna, Arjuna never sat down idly as a nonviolent gentleman. Rather, he tried his best to fight the battle and be victorious.
na hy asyas te bhayam saumya
yad vai sahasarira-vak
putran samarpayisye 'sya
yatas te bhayam utthitam
sri-vasudevah uvaca--Sri Vasudeva said; na--not; hi--indeed; asyah--from Devaki; te--of you; bhayam--fear; saumya--O most sober; yat--which; vai--indeed; sa--that omen; aha--dictated; a-sarira-vak--a vibration without a body; putran--all my sons; samarpayisye--I shall deliver to you; asyah--of her (Devaki); yatah--from whom; te--your; bhayam--fear; utthitam--has arisen.
Vasudeva said: O best of the sober, you have nothing to fear from your sister Devaki because of what you have heard from the unseen omen. The cause of death will be her sons. Therefore I promise that when she gives birth to the sons from whom your fear has arisen, I shall deliver them all unto your hands.
Kamsa feared Devaki's existence because after her eighth pregnancy she would give birth to a son who would kill him. Vasudeva, therefore, to assure his brother-in-law the utmost safety, promised to bring him all the sons. He would not wait for the eighth son, but from the very beginning would deliver to the hands of Kamsa all the sons to which Devaki would give birth. This was the most liberal proposition offered by Vasudeva to Kamsa.
svasur vadhan nivavrte
vasudevo 'pi tam pritah
prasasya pravisad grham
sri-sukah uvaca--Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said; svasuh--of his sister (Devaki); vadhat--from the act of killing; nivavrte--stopped for the time being; kamsah--Kamsa; tat-vakya--the words of Vasudeva; sara-vit--knowing to be perfectly correct; vasudevah--Vasudeva; api--also; tam--to him (Kamsa); pritah--being satisfied; prasasya--pacifying more; pravisat grham--entered his own house.
Srila Sukadeva Gosvami continued: Kamsa agreed to the logical arguments of Vasudeva, and, having full faith in Vasudeva's words, he refrained from killing his sister. Vasudeva, being pleased with Kamsa, pacified him further and entered his own house.
Although Kamsa was a sinful demon, he believed that Vasudeva would never deviate from his word. The character of a pure devotee like Vasudeva is such that even so great a demon as Kamsa firmly believed in his words and was satisfied. Yasyasti bhaktir bhagavaty akincana sarvair gunais tatra samasate surah (Bhag. 5.18.12). All good attributes are present in a devotee, so much so that even Kamsa believed in Vasudeva's words without a doubt.
atha kala upavrtte
putran prasusuve castau
atha--thereafter; kale--in due course of time; upavrtte--when it was ripe; devaki--Devaki, the wife of Vasudeva, Krsna's father; sarva-devata--Devaki, to whom all the demigods and God Himself appeared; putran--sons; prasusuve--gave birth to; ca--and; astau--eight; kanyam ca--and one daughter named Subhadra; eva--indeed; anuvatsaram--year after year.
Each year thereafter, in due course of time, Devaki, the mother of God and all the demigods, gave birth to a child. Thus she bore eight sons, one after another, and a daughter named Subhadra.
The spiritual master is sometimes glorified as sarva-devamayo guruh (Bhag. 11.7.27). By the grace of the guru, the spiritual master, one can understand the different kinds of devas. The word deva refers to God, the Supreme personality of Godhead, who is the original source of all the demigods, who are also called devas. In Bhagavad-gita (10.2) the Lord says, aham adir hi devanam: "I am the source of all the devas." The Supreme Lord, Visnu, the Original person, expands in different forms. Tad aiksata bahu syam (Chandogya Upanisad 6.2.3). He alone has expanded into many. Advaitam acyutam anadim ananta-rupam (Brahma-samhita 5.33). There are different grades of forms, known as svamsa and vibhinnamsa. The svamsa expansions, or visnu-tattva, are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whereas the vibhinnamsa are jiva-tattva, who are part and parcel of the Lord (mamaivamso jiva-loke jiva-bhutah sanatanah). If we accept Krsna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead and worship Him, all the parts and expansions of the Lord are automatically worshiped. Sarvarhanam acyutejya (Bhag. 4.31.14). Krsna is known as Acyuta (senayor ubhayor madhye ratham sthapaya me 'cyuta). By worshiping Acyuta, Krsna, one automatically worships all the demigods. There is no need of separately worshiping either the visnu-tattva or jiva-tattva. If one concentrates upon Krsna, one worships everyone. Therefore, because mother Devaki gave birth to Krsna, she is described here as sarva-devata.
arpayam asa krcchrena
so 'nrtad ativihvalah
kirtimantam--by the name Kirtiman; prathama-jam--the first-born baby; kamsaya--unto Kamsa; anakadundubhih--Vasudeva; arpayam asa--delivered; krcchrena--with great pain; sah--he (Vasudeva); anrtat--from the breaking of the promise, or from fear of being a liar; ati-vihvalah--was very much disturbed, being afraid.
Vasudeva was very much disturbed by fear of becoming a liar by breaking his promise. Thus with great pain he delivered his first-born son, named Kirtiman, into the hands of Kamsa.
In the Vedic system, as soon as a child is born, especially a male child, the father calls for learned brahmanas, and according to the description of the child's horoscope, the child is immediately given a name. This ceremony is called nama-karana. There are ten different samskaras, or reformatory methods, adopted in the system of varnasrama-dharma, and the name-giving ceremony is one of them. Although Vasudeva's first son was to be delivered into the hands of Kamsa, the nama-karana ceremony was performed, and thus the child was named Kirtiman. Such names are given immediately after birth.
kim duhsaham nu sadhunam
vidusam kim apeksitam
kim akaryam kadaryanam
dustyajam kim dhrtatmanam
kim--what is; duhsaham--painful; nu--indeed; sadhunam--for saintly persons; vidusam--of learned persons; kim apeksitam--what is dependence; kim akaryam--what is forbidden work; kadaryanam--of persons in the lowest grade; dustyajam--very difficult to give up; kim--what is; dhrta-atmanam--of persons who are self-realized.
What is painful for saintly persons who strictly adhere to the truth? How could there not be independence for pure devotees who know the Supreme Lord as the substance? What deeds are forbidden for persons of the lowest character? And what cannot be given up for the sake of Lord Krsna by those who have fully surrendered at His lotus feet?
Since the eighth son of Devaki was to kill Kamsa, one might ask what the need was for Vasudeva to deliver the first-born child. The answer is that Vasudeva had promised Kamsa that he would deliver all the children born of Devaki. Kamsa, being an asura, did not believe that the eighth child would kill him; he took it for granted that he might be killed by any of the children of Devaki. Vasudeva, therefore, to save Devaki, promised to give Kamsa every child, whether male or female. From another point of view, Vasudeva and Devaki were very pleased when they understood that the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna, would come as their eighth son. Vasudeva, a pure devotee of the Lord, was eager to see Krsna appear as his child from the eighth pregnancy of Devaki. Therefore he wanted to deliver all the children quickly so that the eighth turn would come and Krsna would appear. He begot one child every year so that Krsna's turn to appear would come as soon as possible.
drstva samatvam tac chaureh
satye caiva vyavasthitim
kamsas tusta-mana rajan
prahasann idam abravit
drstva--by seeing; samatvam--being equipoised, undisturbed in distress or happiness; tat--that; saureh--of Vasudeva; satye--in truthfulness; ca--indeed; eva--certainly; vyavasthitim--the firm situation; kamsah--Kamsa; tusta-manah--being very satisfied (with Vasudeva's behavior in delivering the first child to keep his promise); rajan--O Maharaja Pariksit; prahasan--with a smiling face; idam--this; abravit--said.
My dear King Pariksit, when Kamsa saw that Vasudeva, being situated in truthfulness, was completely equipoised in giving him the child, he was very happy. Therefore, with a smiling face, he spoke as follows.
The word samatvam is very significant in this verse. Samatvam refers to one who is always equipoised, unaffected by either happiness or distress. Vasudeva was so steadily equipoised that he did not seem in the least agitated when delivering his first-born child into the hands of Kamsa to be killed. In Bhagavad-gita (2.56) it is said, duhkhesv anudvigna-manah sukhesu vigata-sprhah. In the material world, one should not be very eager to be happy, nor should one be very much disturbed by material distress. Lord Krsna advised Arjuna:
matra-sparsas tu kaunteya
tams titiksasva bharata
"O son of Kunti, the nonpermanent appearance of happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception, O scion of Bharata, and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed." (Bg. 2.14) The self-realized soul is never disturbed by so-called distress or happiness, and this is especially true of an exalted devotee like Vasudeva, who showed this by his practical example. Vasudeva was not at all disturbed when delivering his first child to Kamsa to be killed.
pratiyatu kumaro 'yam
na hy asmad asti me bhayam
astamad yuvayor garbhan
mrtyur me vihitah kila
pratiyatu--my dear Vasudeva, take back your child and go home; kumarah--newborn child; ayam--this; na--not; hi--indeed; asmat--from him; asti--there is; me--my; bhayam--fear; astamat--from the eighth; yuvayoh--of both you and your wife; garbhat--from the pregnancy; mrtyuh--death; me--my; vihitah--has been ordained; kila--indeed.
O Vasudeva, you may take back your child and go home. I have no fear of your first child. It is the eighth child of you and Devaki I am concerned with because that is the child by whom I am destined to be killed.
tatheti sutam adaya
tatha--very well; iti--thus; sutam adaya--taking back his child; yayau--left that place; anakadundubhih--Vasudeva; na abhyanandata--did not very much value; tat-vakyam--the words (of Kamsa); asatah--who was without character; avijita-atmanah--and without self-control.
Vasudeva agreed and took his child back home, but because Kamsa had no character and no self-control, Vasudeva knew that he could not rely on Kamsa's word.
nandadya ye vraje gopa
yas camisam ca yositah
sarve vai devata-praya
ubhayor api bharata
ye ca kamsam anuvratah
nanda-adyah--beginning from Nanda Maharaja; ye--all of which persons; vraje--in Vrndavana; gopah--the cowherd men; yah--which; ca--and; amisam--of all those (inhabitants of Vrndavana); ca--as well as; yositah--the women; vrsnayah--members of the Vrsni family; vasudeva-adyah--headed by Vasudeva; devaki-adyah--headed by Devaki; yadu-striyah--all the women of the Yadu dynasty; sarve--all of them; vai--indeed; devata-prayah--were inhabitants of heaven; ubhayoh--of both Nanda Maharaja and Vasudeva; api--indeed; bharata--O Maharaja Pariksit; jnatayah--the relatives; bandhu--friends; suhrdah--well-wishers; ye--all of whom; ca--and; kamsam anuvratah--even though apparently followers of Kamsa.
The inhabitants of Vrndavana, headed by Nanda Maharaja and including his associate cowherd men and their wives, were none but denizens of the heavenly planets, O Maharaja Pariksit, best of the descendants of Bharata, and so too were the descendants of the Vrsni dynasty, headed by Vasudeva, and Devaki and the other women of the dynasty of Yadu. The friends, relatives and well-wishers of both Nanda Maharaja and Vasudeva and even those who externally appeared to be followers of Kamsa were all demigods.
As previously discussed, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Visnu, informed Lord Brahma that Lord Krsna would personally descend to mitigate the suffering on the earth. The Lord ordered all the denizens of the heavenly planets to take birth in different families of the Yadu and Vrsni dynasties and in Vrndavana. Now this verse informs us that all the family and friends of the Yadu dynasty, the Vrsni dynasty, Nanda Maharaja and the gopas descended from the heavenly planets to see the pastimes of the Lord. As confirmed in Bhagavad-gita (4.8), the Lord's pastimes consist of paritranaya sadhunam vinasaya ca duskrtam--saving the devotees and killing the demons. To demonstrate these activities, the Lord called for devotees from different parts of the universe.
There are many devotees who are elevated to the higher planetary systems.
prapya punya-krtam lokan
usitva sasvatih samah
sucinam srimatam gehe
"The unsuccessful yogi, after many, many years of enjoyment on the planets of the pious living entities, is born into a family of righteous people, or into a family of rich aristocracy." (Bg. 6.41) Some devotees, having failed to complete the process of devotional service, are promoted to the heavenly planets, to which the pious are elevated, and after enjoying there they may be directly promoted to the place where the Lord's pastimes are going on. When Lord Krsna was to appear, the denizens of the heavenly planets were invited to see the pastimes of the Lord, and thus it is stated here that the members of the Yadu and Vrsni dynasties and the inhabitants of Vrndavana were demigods or almost as good as demigods. Even those who externally helped the activities of Kamsa belonged to the higher planetary systems. The imprisonment and release of Vasudeva and the killing of various demons were all manifestations of the pastimes of the Lord, and because the devotees would be pleased to see these activities personally, they were all invited to take birth as friends and relatives of these families. As confirmed in the prayers of Kunti (Bhag. 1.8.19), nato natya-dharo yatha. The Lord was to play the part of a demon-killer, and a friend, son and brother to His devotees, and thus these devotees were all summoned.
etat kamsaya bhagavan
daityanam ca vadhodyamam
etat--all these words about the Yadu family and Vrsni family; kamsaya--unto King Kamsa; bhagavan--the most powerful representative of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; sasamsa--informed (Kamsa, who was in doubt); abhyetya--after approaching him; naradah--the great sage Narada; bhumeh--on the surface of the earth; bharayamananam--of those who were a burden; daityanam ca--and of the demons; vadha-udyamam--the endeavor to kill.
Once the great saint Narada approached Kamsa and informed him of how the demoniac persons who were a great burden on the earth were going to be killed. Thus Kamsa was placed into great fear and doubt.
It has already been discussed that mother earth implored Lord Brahma to give her relief from the distress created by the burdensome demons and that Lord Brahma informed her that Lord Krsna Himself was going to appear. Krsna says in Bhagavad-gita (4.8):
vinasaya ca duskrtam
sambhavami yuge yuge
Whenever there is a burden created by the demons and whenever the innocent devotees are distressed by demoniac rulers, the Lord appears in due course of time to kill the demons with the assistance of His real representatives, who are technically called demigods. In the Upanisads it is stated that the demigods are different parts of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As it is the duty of the parts of the body to serve the whole, it is the duty of Krsna's devotees to serve Krsna as He wants. Krsna's business is to kill the demons, and therefore this should be a devotee's business also. Because the people of Kali-yuga are fallen, however, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, out of kindness for them, did not bring any weapon to kill them. Rather, by spreading Krsna consciousness, love of Krsna, He wanted to kill their nefarious, demoniac activities. This is the purpose of the Krsna consciousness movement. Unless the demoniac activities on the surface of the world are diminished or vanquished, no one can be happy. The program for the conditioned soul is fully described in Bhagavad-gita, and one simply has to follow these instructions to become happy. Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has therefore prescribed:
harer nama harer nama
harer namaiva kevalam
kalau nasty eva nasty eva
nasty eva gatir anyatha
Let people chant the Hare Krsna mantra constantly. Then their demoniac tendencies will be killed, and they will become first-class devotees, happy in this life and in the next.
rser vinirgame kamso
yadun matva suran iti
visnum ca sva-vadham prati
devakim vasudevam ca
nigrhya nigadair grhe
jatam jatam ahan putram
rseh--of the great sage Narada; vinirgame--on the departure (after giving information); kamsah--Kamsa; yadun--all the members of the Yadu dynasty; matva--thinking of; suran--as demigods; iti--thus; devakyah--of Devaki; garbha-sambhutam--the children born from the womb; visnum--(accepting) as Visnu; ca--and; sva-vadham prati--fearing his own death from Visnu; devakim--Devaki; vasudevam ca--and her husband, Vasudeva; nigrhya--arresting; nigadaih--by iron shackles; grhe--confined at home; jatam jatam--each one who was born, one after another; ahan--killed; putram--the sons; tayoh--of Vasudeva and Devaki; ajana-sankaya--with the doubt that they would be Visnu.
After the departure of the great saint Narada, Kamsa thought that all the members of the Yadu dynasty were demigods and that any of the children born from the womb of Devaki might be Visnu. Fearing his death, Kamsa arrested Vasudeva and Devaki and chained them with iron shackles. Suspecting each of the children to be Visnu, Kamsa killed them one after another because of the prophecy that Visnu would kill him.
Srila Jiva Gosvami, in his notes on this verse, has mentioned how Narada Muni gave Kamsa this information. This incident is described in the Hari-vamsa. Narada Muni went to see Kamsa by providence, and Kamsa received him very well. Narada, therefore, informed him that any one of the sons of Devaki might be Visnu. Because Visnu was to kill him, Kamsa should not spare any of Devaki's children, Narada Muni advised. Narada's intention was that Kamsa, by killing the children, would increase his sinful activities so that Krsna would soon appear to kill him. Upon receiving the instructions of Narada Muni, Kamsa killed all the children of Devaki one after another.
The word ajana-sankaya indicates that Lord Visnu never takes birth (ajana) and that He therefore appeared as Krsna, taking birth just like a human being (manusim tanum asritam). Kamsa attempted to kill all the babies born of Devaki and Vasudeva, although he knew that if Visnu were born, He would not be killed. Actually it came to pass that when Visnu appeared as Krsna, Kamsa could not kill Him; rather, as foretold, it was He who killed Kamsa. One should know in truth how Krsna, who takes His birth transcendentally, acts to kill the demons but is never killed. When one perfectly understands Krsna in this way, through the medium of sastra, one becomes immortal. As the Lord says in Bhagavad-gita (4.9):
janma karma ca me divyam
evam yo vetti tattvatah
tyaktva deham punar janma
naiti mam eti so 'rjuna
"One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna."
mataram pitaram bhratrn
sarvams ca suhrdas tatha
ghnanti hy asutrpo lubdha
rajanah prayaso bhuvi
mataram--unto the mother; pitaram--unto the father; bhratrn--unto brothers; sarvan ca--and anyone else; suhrdah--friends; tatha--as well as; ghnanti--they kill (as it is practically seen); hi--indeed; asu-trpah--those who envy the lives of others for their personal sense gratification; lubdhah--greedy; rajanah--such kings; prayasah--almost always; bhuvi--on the earth.
Kings greedy for sense gratification on this earth almost always kill their enemies indiscriminately. To satisfy their own whims, they may kill anyone, even their mothers, fathers, brothers or friends.
We have seen in the history of India that Aurangzeb killed his brother and nephews and imprisoned his father to fulfill political ambitions. There have been many similar instances, and Kamsa was the same type of king. Kamsa did not hesitate to kill his nephews and imprison his sister and his father. For demons to do such things is not astonishing. Nonetheless, although Kamsa was a demon, he was aware that Lord Visnu cannot be killed, and thus he attained salvation. Even partial understanding of the activities of Lord Visnu makes one eligible for salvation. Kamsa knew a little about Krsna--that He could not be killed--and therefore he attained salvation although he thought of Visnu, Krsna, as an enemy. What then is to be said of one who knows Krsna perfectly from the descriptions of sastras like Bhagavad-gita? It is therefore the duty of everyone to read Bhagavad-gita and understand Krsna perfectly. This will make one's life successful.
atmanam iha sanjatam
janan prag visnuna hatam
yadubhih sa vyarudhyata
atmanam--personally; iha--in this world; sanjatam--born again; janan--understanding well; prak--previously, before this birth; visnuna--by Lord Visnu; hatam--was killed; maha-asuram--a great demon; kalanemim--by the name Kalanemi; yadubhih--with the members of the Yadu dynasty; sah--he (Kamsa); vyarudhyata--acted inimically.
In his previous birth, Kamsa had been a great demon named Kalanemi and been killed by Visnu. Upon learning this information from Narada, Kamsa became envious of everyone connected with the Yadu dynasty.
Persons who are demons, enemies of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, are called asuras. As stated in Bhagavad-gita, the asuras, because of their enmity toward the Supreme Personality of Godhead, take birth after birth in asura families and therefore glide down to the darkest hellish regions.
ugrasenam ca pitaram
svayam nigrhya bubhuje
ugrasenam--unto Ugrasena; ca--and; pitaram--who was his own father; yadu--of the Yadu dynasty; bhoja--of the Bhoja dynasty; andhaka--of the Andhaka dynasty; adhipam--the king; svayam--personally; nigrhya--subduing; bubhuje--enjoyed; surasenan--all the states known as Surasena; maha-balah--the extremely powerful Kamsa.
Kamsa, the most powerful son of Ugrasena, even imprisoned his own father, the King of the Yadu, Bhoja and Andhaka dynasties, and personally ruled the states known as Surasena.
The state known as Mathura was also included within the states known as Surasena.
ADDITIONAL NOTES FOR THIS CHAPTER
Regarding transmigration of the soul, Srila Madhvacarya gives the following notes. When one is awake, whatever one sees or hears is impressed upon the mind, which later works in dreams to show one different experiences, although in dreams one appears to accept a different body. For example, when one is awake one does business and talks with customers, and similarly in dreams one meets various customers, talks about business and gives quotations. Madhvacarya says, therefore, that dreams take place according to what one sees, hears and remembers. When one reawakens, of course, one forgets the body of the dream. This forgetfulness is called apasmrti. Thus we are changing bodies because we are sometimes dreaming, sometimes awake and sometimes forgetful. Forgetfulness of our previously created body is called death, and our work in the present body is called life. After death, one cannot remember the activities of one's previous body, whether imaginary or factual.
The agitated mind is compared to agitated water reflecting the sun and the moon. Actually the sun and moon reflected on the water do not exist there; nonetheless, they are reflected according to the movements of the water. Similarly, when our minds are agitated, we wander in different material atmospheres and receive different types of bodies. This is described in Bhagavad-gita as guna-sanga. Karanam guna-sango 'sya. Madhvacarya says, guna-nubaddhah san. And Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu says, brahmanda bhramite kona bhagyavan jiva (Cc. Madhya 19.151). The living entity rotates up and down throughout the universe, sometimes in the upper planetary system, sometimes in the middle and lower planetary systems, sometimes as a man, sometimes a god, a dog, a tree and so on. This is all due to the agitation of the mind. The mind must therefore be steadily fixed. As it is said, sa vai manah krsna-padaravindayoh. One should fix one's mind at the lotus feet of Krsna, and then one will become free from agitation. This is the instruction of the Garuda Purana, and in the Naradiya purana the same process is described. As stated in Bhagavad-gita, yanti deva-vrata devan. The agitated mind goes to different planetary systems because it is attached to different kinds of demigods, but one does not go to the abode of the Supreme Personality of Godhead by worshiping the demigods, for this is not supported by any Vedic literature. Man is the architect of his own fortune. In this human life one has the facility with which to understand one's real situation, and one can decide whether to wander around the universe forever or return home, back to Godhead. This is also confirmed in Bhagavad-gita (aprapya mam nivartante mrtyu-samsara-vartmani).
There is no such thing as chance. When a tree is burning in a forest fire and although the nearest tree is spared a distant tree catches fire, this may appear to be chance. Similarly, one may seem to get different types of bodies by chance, but actually one receives these bodies because of the mind. The mind flickers between accepting and rejecting, and according to the acceptance and rejection of the mind, we receive different types of bodies, although we superficially seem to obtain these bodies by chance. Even if we accept the theory of chance, the immediate cause for the change of body is the agitation of the mind.
Notes on amsa. This chapter describes that Krsna appeared amsena, with His parts and parcels or His partial manifestation. In this connection, Sridhara Svami says that Krsna is one hundred percent Bhagavan (krsnas tu bhagavan svayam). Because of our imperfections, however, we cannot appreciate Krsna in fullness, and therefore whatever Krsna exhibited when present on earth was but a partial manifestation of His opulence. Again, Krsna appeared with His plenary expansion Baladeva. Krsna, however, is full; there is no question of His appearing partially. In the Vaisnava-tosani, Srila Sanatana Gosvami says that to accept that Krsna was partially manifested would contradict the statement krsnas tu bhagavan svayam. Srila Jiva Gosvami says that the word amsena means that Krsna appeared with all His plenary expansions. The words amsena visnoh do not mean that Krsna is a partial representative of Visnu. Rather, Krsna appeared in fullness, and He manifests Himself partially in the Vaikunthalokas. In other words, Lord Visnu is a partial representation of Krsna; Krsna is not a partial representation of Visnu. In the Caitanya-caritamrta, Adi-lila, Chapter Four, this subject matter is explained very clearly. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura also notes that no one can describe Krsna in fullness. Whatever descriptions we find in Srimad-Bhagavatam are partial explanations of Krsna. In conclusion, therefore, the word amsena indicates that Lord Visnu is a partial representation of Krsna, not that Krsna is a partial representation of Visnu.
Srila Sanatana Gosvami's Vaisnava-tosani has explained the word dharma-silasya. The exact meaning of dharma-sila is "an unadulterated devotee." Real dharma consists of full surrender to Krsna (sarva-dharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja). One who has fully surrendered to Krsna is actually religious. One such religious person was Maharaja Pariksit. Anyone who accepts the principle of surrender to the lotus feet of the Lord, giving up all other systems of religion, is actually dharma-sila, perfectly religious.
The word nivrtta-tarsaih refers to one who no longer has any material desires (sarvopadhi-vinirmuktam). One may have many material desires because of contamination in this material world, but when one is completely free from all material desires, he is called nivrtta-trsna, which indicates that he no longer has any thirst for material enjoyment. Svamin krtartho 'smi varam na yace (Hari-bhakti-sudhodaya). Materialistic persons want some material profit from executing devotional service, but this is not the purpose of service. The perfection of devotional service lies in complete surrender unto the lotus feet of Krsna, with no material desires. One who surrenders in this way is already liberated. Jivan-muktah sa ucyate. One who is always busy serving Krsna, in whatever condition he may live, is understood to be liberated even in this life. Such a person, who is a pure devotee, does not need to change his body; indeed, he does not possess a material body, for his body has already been spiritualized. An iron rod kept constantly within a fire will ultimately become fire, and whatever it touches will burn. Similarly, the pure devotee is in the fire of spiritual existence, and therefore his body is cin-maya; that is, it is spiritual, not material, because the pure devotee has no desire but the transcendental desire to serve the Lord. In text four the word upagiyamanat is used: nivrtta-tarsair upagiyamanat. Who will chant the glories of the Lord unless he is a devotee? Therefore the word nivrtta-tarsaih indicates the devotee, and no one else. These are the remarks of acaryas like Viraraghava Acarya and Vijayadhvaja. To desire anything other than devotional service will diminish one's freedom from material desires, but when one is free from all such desires one is called nivrtta-tarsaih.
Vina pasu-ghnat. The word pasu means "animal." An animal killer, pasu-ghna, cannot enter into Krsna consciousness. In our Krsna consciousness movement, therefore, animal killing is completely prohibited.
Uttamasloka-gunanuvadat. The word uttamasloka means "one who is famous as the best of those who are good." The Lord is good in all circumstances. That is His natural reputation. His goodness is unlimited, and He uses it unlimitedly. A devotee is also sometimes described as uttamasloka, meaning that he is eager to glorify the Supreme Personality of Godhead or the Lord's devotees. Glorifying the Lord and glorifying the Lord's devotees are the same. Or, rather, glorifying the devotee is more important than glorifying the Lord directly. Narottama dasa Thakura explains this fact: chadiya vaisnava-seva, nistara payeche keba. One cannot be liberated from material contamination without sincerely serving a devotee of Krsna.
Bhavausadhat means "from the universal remedy." Chanting the holy name and glorifying the Supreme Lord are the universal remedy for all the miseries of materialistic life. Persons who desire to be freed from this material world are called mumuksu. Such persons can understand the miseries of materialistic life, and by glorifying the activities of the Lord they can be released from all these miseries. The transcendental sound vibrations concerning the Lord's name, fame, form, qualities and paraphernalia are all nondifferent from the Lord. Therefore the very sound vibration of the Lord's glorification and name are pleasing to the ears, and by understanding the absolute nature of the Lord's name, form and qualities the devotee becomes joyful. Even those who are not devotees, however, enjoy the pleasing narrations of the Lord's transcendental activities. Even ordinary persons not very much advanced in Krsna consciousness take pleasure in describing the narrations depicted in Srimad-Bhagavatam. When a materialistic person is purified in this way, he engages in hearing and chanting the glories of the Lord. Because glorification of the Lord's pastimes is very pleasing to the ear and heart of the devotee, it is simultaneously his subject and object.
In this world there are three kinds of men: those who are liberated, those trying to be liberated, and those entangled in sense enjoyment. Of these three, those who are already liberated chant and hear the holy name of the Lord, knowing perfectly that to glorify the Lord is the only way to keep oneself in a transcendental position. Those who are trying to be liberated, the second class, may regard the chanting and hearing of the Lord's holy name as a process of liberation, and they too will feel the transcendental pleasure of this chanting. As for karmis and persons engaged in sense gratification, they also may take pleasure in hearing the pastimes of the Lord, like His fighting on the Battlefield of Kuruksetra and His dancing in Vrndavana with the gopis.
The word uttamasloka-gunanuvada refers to the transcendental qualities of the Supreme Lord, such as His affection for mother Yasoda and His friends the cowherd boys and His loving attitude toward the gopis. The Lord's devotees like Maharaja Yudhisthira are also described by the qualification uttamasloka-gunanuvada. The word anuvada refers to describing the qualities of the Supreme Lord or His devotees. When these qualities are described, other devotees are interested in hearing them. The more one is interested in hearing about these transcendental qualities, the more one transcendentally enjoys. Everyone, therefore, including the mumuksus, the vimuktas and the karmis, should chant and hear the glories of the Lord, and in this way everyone will benefit.
Although the sound vibration of the transcendental qualities of the Lord is equally beneficial to all, for those who are muktas, liberated, it is especially pleasing. As described in Srimad-Bhagavatam, Eighth Canto, Third Chapter, verse twenty, because pure devotees, who no longer have any material desires, surrender fully to the lotus feet of the Lord, they always merge in the ocean of bliss by chanting and hearing the Lord's holy name. According to this verse, devotees like Narada and other residents of Svetadvipa are seen always engaged in chanting the holy name of the Lord because by such chanting they are always externally and internally blissful. The mumuksus, persons desiring to be liberated, do not depend on the pleasures of the senses; instead, they concentrate fully on becoming liberated by chanting the holy name of the Lord. Karmis like to create something pleasing to their ears and hearts, and although they sometimes like to chant or hear the glories of the Lord, they do not do it openly. Devotees, however, always spontaneously hear, chant about and remember the activities of the Lord, and by this process they are fully satisfied, even though these may seem like topics of sense gratification. Simply by hearing the transcendental narrations of the Lord's activities, Pariksit Maharaja was liberated. He was therefore srotramano-'bhirama; that is, he glorified the process of hearing. This process should be accepted by all living entities.
To distinguish persons who are bereft of these transcendental pleasures, Pariksit Maharaja has used the words virajyeta puman. The word puman refers to any person, whether man, woman or in-between. Because of the bodily conception of life, we are subject to lamentation, but one who has no such bodily conceptions can take pleasure in transcendental hearing and chanting. Therefore a person fully absorbed in the bodily concept of life is surely killing himself by not making spiritual progress. Such a person is called pasu-ghna. Especially excluded from spiritual life are the animal hunters, who are not interested in hearing and chanting the holy name of the Lord. Such hunters are always unhappy, both in this life and in the next. It is therefore said that a hunter should neither die nor live because for such persons both living and dying are troublesome. Animal hunters are completely different from ordinary karmis, and thus they have been excluded from the process of hearing and chanting. Vina pasu-ghnat. They cannot enter into the transcendental pleasure of chanting and hearing the holy name of the Lord.
The word maha-ratha refers to a great hero who can fight alone against eleven thousand other heroes, and the word atiratha, as found in text five, refers to one who can fight against an unlimited number. This is mentioned in the Mahabharata as follows:
yodhayed yas tu dhanvinam
maha-ratha iti smrtah
amitan yodhayed yas tu
samprokto 'tirathas tu sah
This is the description given in the Brhad-vaisnava-tosani by Srila Sanatana Gosvami.
Maya-manusyasya (10.1.17). Because of being covered by yogamaya (naham prakasah sarvasya yogamaya-samavrtah), Krsna is sometimes called maya-manusya, indicating that although He is the Supreme personality of Godhead, He appears like an ordinary person. A misunderstanding arises because yogamaya covers the vision of the general public. The Lord's position is actually different from that of an ordinary person, for although He appears to act like an ordinary man, He is always transcendental. The word maya also indicates "mercy," and sometimes it also means "knowledge." The Lord is always full of all transcendental knowledge, and therefore although He acts like a human being, He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, full of knowledge. In His original identity, the Lord is the controller of maya (mayadhyaksena prakrtih suyate sa-caracaram). Therefore the Lord may be called maya-manusya, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead playing like an ordinary human being, although He is the controller of both the material and spiritual energies. The Lord is the Supreme Person, Purusottama, but because we are deluded by yogamaya, He appears to be an ordinary person. Ultimately, however, yogamaya induces even a nondevotee to understand the Lord as the Supreme Person, Purusottama. In Bhagavad-gita we find two statements given by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. For the devotees, the Lord says:
dadami buddhi-yogam tam
yena mam upayanti te
"To those who are constantly devoted and worship Me with love, I give the understanding by which they can come to Me." (Bg. 10.10) Thus for the willing devotee the Lord gives intelligence by which to understand Him and return home, back to Godhead. For others, for nondevotees, the Lord says, mrtyuh sarva-haras caham: "I am all-plundering, inevitable death." A devotee like Prahlada enjoys the activities of Lord Nrsimhadeva, whereas nondevotees like Prahlada's father, Hiranyakasipu, meet death before Lord Nrsimhadeva. The Lord therefore acts in two ways, by sending some onto the path of repeated birth and death and sending others back home, back to Godhead.
The word kala, meaning "black," indicates the color of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna. Lord Krsna and Lord Ramacandra, who both look blackish, give liberation and transcendental bliss to Their devotees. Among persons possessing material bodies, sometimes someone is able to subject death to his own will. For such a person, death is almost impossible because no one wants to die. But although Bhismadeva possessed this power, Bhisma, by the supreme will of the Lord, died very easily in the Lord's presence. There have also been many demons who had no hope of salvation, yet Kamsa attained salvation by the supreme will of the Lord. Not to speak of Kamsa, even Putana attained salvation and reached the level of the Lord's mother. Pariksit Maharaja, therefore, was very eager to hear about the Lord, who has inconceivable qualities by which to give liberation to anyone. Pariksit Maharaja, at the point of his death, was certainly interested in his liberation. When such a great and exalted personality as the Lord behaves like an ordinary human being although possessing inconceivable qualities, His behavior is called maya. Therefore the Lord is described as maya-manusya. This is the opinion of Srila Jiva Gosvami. Mu refers to mukti, or salvation, and ku refers to that which is bad or very obnoxious. Thus muku refers to the Supreme personality of Godhead, who saves one from the bad condition of material existence. The Lord is called mukunda because He not only saves the devotee from material existence but offers him transcendental bliss in love and service.
As for Kesava, ka means Brahma, and isa means Lord Siva. The personality of Godhead captivates both Lord Brahma and Lord Mahadeva, or Siva, by His transcendental qualities. Therefore He is called Kesava. This opinion is given by Sanatana Gosvami in his Vaisnava-tosani commentary.
It is said that all the demigods, accompanied by Tri-nayana, Lord Siva, went to the shore of the ocean of milk and offered their prayers through the mantra known as purusa-sukta. From this statement it is understood that the demigods cannot directly approach Lord Visnu, who lies on the ocean of milk, or enter His abode. This is also clearly stated in the Mahabharata, Moksa-dharma, and the next chapter of Srimad-Bhagavatam. Krsna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, has His abode in Goloka (goloka-namni nija-dhamni tale ca tasya). From Lord Krsna come the catur-vyuha, the quadruple expansions Sankarsana, Aniruddha, Pradyumna and Vasudeva. There are innumerable brahmandas, all of which emanate from the pores of Karanodakasayi Visnu, and in every brahmanda there is a Garbhodakasayi Visnu, who is a partial expansion of Aniruddha. This Aniruddha is a partial expansion of Pradyumna, who is partially represented as Ksirodakasayi Visnu, the Supersoul of all living entities. These Visnu expansions are different from Krsna, who resides in Goloka Vrndavana. When it is said that the demigods offered prayers to the Lord by chanting the purusa-sukta, this indicates that they pleased the Lord by enunciating prayers of bhakti.
The word vrsakapi refers to one who satisfies His devotee in every way and frees His devotee from all material anxieties. Vrsa refers to religious performances like sacrifices. Even without the execution of sacrifices, the Lord can still enjoy the supermost comforts of the heavenly planets. The statement that Purusottama, Jagannatha, would appear in the house of Vasudeva distinguishes the Supreme Personality of Godhead from ordinary persons. The statement that He personally appeared indicates that He did not send His plenary expansion. The word priyartham indicates that the Lord appeared to please Rukmini and Radharani. Priya means "the most beloved."
In the commentary of Sri Viraraghava Acarya, the following extra verse is accepted after text twenty-three:
rsayo 'pi tad-adesat
visnum tarpayitum surah
"O demigods, even great sages, following the order of Visnu, appeared in the forms of cows and calves to please the Supreme Personality of Godhead by delivering milk."
Ramanujacarya sometimes accepts Baladeva as a saktyavesa-avatara, but Srila Jiva Gosvami has explained that Baladeva is an expansion of Krsna and that a part of Baladeva is Sankarsana. Although Baladeva is identical with Sankarsana, He is the origin of Sankarsana. Therefore the word svarat has been used to indicate that Baladeva always exists in His own independence. The word svarat also indicates that Baladeva is beyond the material conception of existence. Maya cannot attract Him, but because He is fully independent, He can appear by His spiritual potency wherever He likes. Maya is fully under the control of Visnu. Because the material potency and yogamaya mingle in the Lord's appearance, they are described as ekanamsa. Sometimes ekanamsa is interpreted to mean "without differentiation." Sankarsana and Sesa-naga are identical. As stated by Yamunadevi, "O Rama, O great-armed master of the world, who have extended Yourself throughout the entire universe by one plenary expansion, it is not possible to understand You fully." Therefore ekamsa refers to Sesa-naga. In other words, Baladeva, merely by His partial expansion, sustains the entire universe.
The word karyarthe refers to one who attracted the pregnancy of Devaki and bewildered mother Yasoda. These pastimes are very confidential. The Supreme personality of Godhead ordered yogamaya to bewilder His associates in His pastimes and bewilder demons like Kamsa. As stated previously, yogamayam samadisat. To give service to the Lord, yogamaya appeared along with mahamaya. Mahamaya refers to yaya sammohitam jagat, "one who bewilders the entire material world." From this statement it is to be understood that yogamaya, in her partial expansion, becomes mahamaya and bewilders the conditioned souls. In other words, the entire creation has two divisions--transcendental, or spiritual, and material. Yogamaya manages the spiritual world, and by her partial expansion as mahamaya she manages the material world. As stated in the Narada-pancaratra, mahamaya is a partial expansion of yogamaya. The Narada-pancaratra clearly states that the Supreme Personality has one potency, which is sometimes described as Durga. The Brahma-samhita says, chayeva yasya bhuvanani bibharti durga. Durga is not different from yogamaya. When one understands Durga properly, he is immediately liberated, for Durga is originally the spiritual potency, hladini-sakti, by whose mercy one can understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead very easily. Radha krsna-pranaya-vikrtir hladini-saktir asmad. The mahamaya-sakti, however, is a covering of yogamaya, and she is therefore called the covering potency. By this covering potency, the entire material world is bewildered (yaya sammohitam jagat). In conclusion, bewildering the conditioned souls and liberating the devotees are both functions belonging to yogamaya. Transferring the pregnancy of Devaki and keeping mother Yasoda in deep sleep were both done by yogamaya; mahamaya cannot act upon such devotees, for they are always liberated. But although it is not possible for mahamaya to control liberated souls or the Supreme Personality of Godhead, she did bewilder Kamsa. The action of yogamaya in presenting herself before Kamsa was the action of mahamaya, not yogamaya. Yogamaya cannot even see or touch such polluted persons as Kamsa. In Candi, in the Markandeya Purana, Eleventh Chapter, Mahamaya says, "During the twenty-eighth yuga in the period of Vaivasvata Manu, I shall take birth as the daughter of Yasoda and be known as Vindhyacala-vasini."
The distinction between the two mayas--yogamaya and maha-maya--is described as follows. Krsna's rasa-lila with the gopis and the gopis' bewilderment in respect to their husbands, fathers-in-law and other such relatives were arrangements of yogamaya in which mahamaya had no influence. The Bhagavatam gives sufficient evidence of this when it clearly says, yogamayam upasritah. On the other hand, there were asuras headed by Salva and ksatriyas like Duryodhana who were bereft of devotional service in spite of seeing Krsna's carrier Garuda and the universal form, and who could not understand Krsna to be the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This was also bewilderment, but this bewilderment was due to mahamaya. Therefore it is to be concluded that the maya which drags a person from the Supreme Personality of Godhead is called jadamaya, and the maya which acts on the transcendental platform is called yogamaya. When Nanda Maharaja was taken away by Varuna, he saw Krsna's opulence, but nonetheless he thought of Krsna as his son. Such feelings of parental love in the spiritual world are acts of yogamaya, not of jadamaya, or mahamaya. This is the opinion of Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura.
Surasenams ca. The son of Kartaviryarjuna was Surasena, and the countries he ruled were also called Surasena. This is noted by Sanatana Gosvami in his Vaisnava-tosani commentary.
In regard to Mathura, we find this quotation:
mathyate tu jagat sarvam
brahma-jnanena yena va
tat-sara-bhutam yad yasyam
mathura sa nigadyate
When a self-realized soul acts in his transcendental position, his situation is called Mathura. In other words, when one acts in the process of bhakti-yoga, he may live anywhere, but actually he lives in Mathura, Vrndavana. Devotion to Krsna, the son of Nanda Maharaja, is the essence of all knowledge, and wherever such knowledge is manifested is called Mathura. Also, when one establishes bhakti-yoga, excluding all other methods, one's situation is called Mathura. Yatra nityam sannihito harih: the place where Hari, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, lives eternally is called Mathura. The word nitya indicates eternality. The Supreme Lord is eternal, and His abode is also eternal. Goloka eva nivasaty akhilatma-bhutah. Although the Lord is always stationed in His abode, Goloka Vrndavana, He is present everywhere in fullness. This means that when the Supreme Lord descends on the surface of the world, His original abode is not vacant, for He can remain in His original abode and simultaneously descend upon Mathura, Vrndavana, Ayodhya and other places. He does not need to descend, since He is already present there; He simply manifests Himself.
Srila Sukadeva Gosvami has addressed Maharaja Pariksit as tata, or "beloved son." This is due to parental love in the heart of Sukadeva Gosvami. Because Krsna was soon coming as the son of Vasudeva and Devaki, out of parental affection Sukadeva Gosvami addressed Maharaja Pariksit as tata, "my dear son."
In the Visva-kosa dictionary, the word garbha is explained: garbho bhrune arbhake kuksav ity adi. When Kamsa was about to kill Devaki, Vasudeva wanted to dissuade him by the diplomacy of sama and bheda. Sama means "pacifying." Vasudeva wanted to pacify Kamsa by indicating relations, gain, welfare, identity and glorification. Reference to these five concerns constitutes sama, and Vasudeva's presentation of fear in two situations--in this life and the next--is called bheda. Thus Vasudeva used both sama and bheda to pacify Kamsa. praising Kamsa's qualifications was glorification, and praising him as a descendant of the bhoja-vamsa appealed to sambandha, relationship. Speaking of "your sister" was an appeal to identity. Speaking about killing a woman raises questions about fame and welfare, and arousing fear of the sinful act of killing one's sister during her marriage ceremony is an aspect of bheda. The Bhoja dynasty refers to those who were simply interested in sense gratification and were therefore not very aristocratic. Another meaning of bhoja is "fighting." These were indications of defamation for Kamsa. When Vasudeva addressed Kamsa as dina-vatsala, this was excessive praise. Kamsa would accept calves as a form of revenue from his poor constituents, and therefore he was called dina-vatsala. Vasudeva knew very well that he could not by force rescue Devaki from the imminent danger. Devaki was actually the daughter of Kamsa's uncle, and therefore she is described as suhrt, meaning "relative." It is stated that Kamsa refrained from killing his close relation Devaki because if he had killed her, a great fight would have ensued among the other members of the family. Kamsa refrained from provoking this great danger of a family fight, for it would have caused many persons to lose their lives.
Formerly an asura named Kalanemi had six sons, named Hamsa, Suvikrama, Kratha, Damana, Ripurmardana and Krodhahanta. They were known as the sad-garbhas, or six garbhas, and they were all equally powerful and expert in military affairs. These sad-garbhas gave up the association of Hiranyakasipu, their grandfather, and underwent great austerities to satisfy Lord Brahma, who, upon being satisfied, agreed to give them whatever benediction they might desire. When asked by Lord Brahma to state what they wanted, the sad-garbhas replied, "Dear Lord Brahma, if you want to give us a benediction, give us the blessing that we will not be killed by any demigod, maha-roga, Yaksa, Gandharva-pati, Siddha, Carana or human being, nor by great sages who are perfect in their penances and austerities." Brahma understood their purpose and fulfilled their desire. But when Hiranyakasipu came to know of these events, he was very angry at his grandsons. "You have given up my association and have gone to worship Lord Brahma," he said, "and therefore I no longer have any affection for you. You have tried to save yourselves from the hands of the demigods, but I curse you in this way: Your father will take birth as Kamsa and kill all of you because you will take birth as sons of Devaki." Because of this curse, the grandsons of Hiranyakasipu had to take birth from the womb of Devaki and be killed by Kamsa, although he was previously their father. This description is mentioned in the Hari-vamsa, Visnu-parva, Second Chapter. According to the comments of the Vaisnava-tosani, the son of Devaki known as Kirtiman was the third incarnation. In his first incarnation he was known as Smara and was the son of Marici, and later he became the son of Kalanemi. This is mentioned in the histories.
An additional verse in this chapter of Srimad-Bhagavatam is accepted by the Madhvacarya-sampradaya, represented by Vijayadhvaja Tirtha. The verse is as follows:
atha kamsam upagamya
vakyam etad uvaca ha
atha--in this way; kamsam--unto Kamsa; upagamya--after going; naradah--the great sage Narada; brahma-nandanah--who is the son of Brahma; ekantam upasangamya--after going to a very solitary place; vakyam--the following instruction; etat--this; uvaca--said; ha--in the past.
Translation: "Thereafter, Narada, the mental son of Lord Brahma, approached Kamsa and, in a very solitary place, informed him of the following news."
The great saint Narada descended from the heavenly planets to the forest of Mathura and sent his messenger to Kamsa. When the messenger approached Kamsa and informed him of Narada's arrival, Kamsa, the leader of the asuras, was very happy and immediately came out of his palace to receive Narada, who was as bright as the sun, as powerful as fire, and free from all tinges of sinful activities. Kamsa accepted Narada as his guest, offered him respectful obeisances and gave him a golden seat, brilliant like the sun. Narada was a friend of the King of heaven, and thus he told Kamsa, the son of Ugrasena, "My dear hero, you have satisfied me with a proper reception, and therefore I shall tell you something secret and confidential. While I was coming here from Nandakanana through the Caitraratha forest, I saw a great meeting of the demigods, who followed me to Sumeru Parvata. We traveled through many holy places, and finally we saw the holy Ganges. While Lord Brahma was consulting the other demigods at the top of Sumeru Hill, I was also present with my stringed instrument, the vina. I shall tell you confidentially that the meeting was held just to plan to kill the asuras, headed by you. You have a younger sister named Devaki, and it is a fact that her eighth son will kill you." (reference: Hari-vamsa, Visnu-parva 1.2-16)
No one can blame Naradaji for encouraging Kamsa to kill the sons of Devaki. The saint Narada is always a well-wisher for human society, and he wanted the Supreme personality of Godhead, Krsna, to descend to this world as soon as possible so that the society of demigods would be pleased and would see Kamsa and his friends killed by Krsna. Kamsa would also attain salvation from his nefarious activities, and this too would very much please the demigods and their followers. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura remarks in this connection that Narada Muni sometimes did things that were beneficial to the demigods and the demons simultaneously. Sri Viraraghava Acarya, in his commentary, has included the following half-verse in this regard: asurah sarva evaita lokopadrava-karinah. Asuras are always disturbing elements for human society.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the Tenth Canto, First Chapter, of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, entitled "The Advent of Lord Krsna: Introduction."