Ajamila Delivered by the Visnudutas
In this chapter the messengers from Vaikuntha explain to the Yamadutas the glories of chanting the holy name of the Lord. The Visnudutas said, "Now impious acts are being performed even in an assembly of devotees, for a person who is not punishable is going to be punished in the assembly of Yamaraja. The mass of people are helpless and must depend upon the government for their safety and security, but if the government takes advantage of this to harm the citizens, where will they go? We see perfectly that Ajamila should not be punished, although you are attempting to take him to Yamaraja for punishment."
It was due to Ajamila's glorifying the holy name of the Supreme Lord that he was not punishable. The Visnudutas explained this as follows: "Simply by once chanting the holy name of Narayana, this brahmana has become free from the reactions of sinful life. Indeed, he has been freed not only from the sins of this life, but from the sins of many, many thousands of other lives. He has already undergone true atonement for all his sinful actions. If one atones according to the directions of the sastras, one does not actually become free from sinful reactions, but if one chants the holy name of the Lord, even a glimpse of such chanting can immediately free one from all sins. Chanting the glories of the Lord's holy name awakens all good fortune. Therefore there is no doubt that Ajamila, being completely free from all sinful reactions, should not be punished by Yamaraja."
As they were saying this, the Visnudutas released Ajamila from the ropes of the Yamadutas and left for their own abode. The brahmana Ajamila, however, offered his respectful obeisances to the Visnudutas. He could understand how fortunate he was to have chanted the holy name of Narayana at the end of his life. Indeed, he could realize the full significance of this good fortune. Having thoroughly understood the discussion between the Yamadutas and the Visnudutas, he became a pure devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He lamented very much for how very sinful he had been, and he condemned himself again and again.
Finally, because of his association with the Visnudutas, Ajamila, his original consciousness aroused, gave up everything and went to Hardwar, where he engaged in devotional service without deviation, always thinking of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus the Visnudutas went there, seated him on a golden throne and took him away to Vaikunthaloka.
In summary, although the sinful Ajamila meant to call his son, the holy name of Lord Narayana, even though chanted in the preliminary stage, namabhasa, was able to give him liberation. Therefore one who chants the holy name of the Lord with faith and devotion is certainly exalted. He is protected even in his material, conditional life.
evam te bhagavad-duta
upadharyatha tan rajan
sri-badarayanih uvaca--Sukadeva Gosvami, the son of Vyasadeva, said; evam--thus; te--they; bhagavat-dutah--the servants of Lord Visnu; yamaduta--by the servants of Yamaraja; abhibhasitam--what was spoken; upadharya--hearing; atha--then; tan--unto them; rajan--O King; pratyahuh--replied properly; naya-kovidah--being conversant in good arguments or good logic.
Sukadeva Gosvami said: My dear King, the servants of Lord Visnu are always very expert in logic and arguments. After hearing the statements of the Yamadutas, they replied as follows.
aho kastam dharma-drsam
adharmah sprsate sabham
dando yair dhriyate vrtha
sri-visnudutah ucuh--the Visnudutas said; aho--alas; kastam--how painful it is; dharma-drsam--of persons interested in maintaining religion; adharmah--irreligion; sprsate--is affecting; sabham--the assembly; yatra--wherein; adandyesu--upon persons not to be punished; apapesu--who are sinless; dandah--punishment; yaih--by whom; dhriyate--is being allotted; vrtha--unnecessarily.
The Visnudutas said: Alas, how painful it is that irreligion is being introduced into an assembly where religion should be maintained. Indeed, those in charge of maintaining the religious principles are needlessly punishing a sinless, unpunishable person.
The Visnudutas accused the Yamadutas of violating the religious principles by attempting to drag Ajamila to Yamaraja for punishment. Yamaraja is the officer appointed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead to judge religious and irreligious principles and to punish people who are irreligious. However, if completely sinless people are punished, the entire assembly of Yamaraja is contaminated. This principle applies not only in the assembly of Yamaraja, but throughout human society also.
In human society, properly maintaining religious principles is the duty of the king's court or the government. Unfortunately, in this yuga, Kali-yuga, the religious principles are tampered with, and the government cannot properly judge who is to be punished and who is not. It is said that in the Kali-yuga if one cannot spend money in court, one cannot get justice. Indeed, in courts of justice it is often found that magistrates are bribed for favorable judgments. Sometimes religious men who preach the Krsna consciousness movement for the benefit of the entire populace are arrested and harassed by the police and courts. The Visnudutas, who are Vaisnavas, lamented for these very regrettable facts. Because of their spiritual compassion for all the fallen souls, Vaisnavas go out to preach according to the standard method of all religious principles, but unfortunately, because of the influence of Kali-yuga, Vaisnavas who have dedicated their lives to preaching the glories of the Lord are sometimes harassed and punished by courts on false charges of disturbing the peace.
prajanam pitaro ye ca
sastarah sadhavah samah
yadi syat tesu vaisamyam
kam yanti saranam prajah
prajanam--of the citizens; pitarah--protectors, guardians (kings or government servants); ye--they who; ca--and; sastarah--give instructions concerning law and order; sadhavah--endowed with all good qualities; samah--equal to everyone; yadi--if; syat--there is; tesu--among them; vaisamyam--partiality; kam--what; yanti--will go to; saranam--shelter; prajah--the citizens.
A king or governmental official should be so well qualified that he acts as a father, maintainer and protector of the citizens because of affection and love. He should give the citizens good advice and instructions according to the standard scriptures and should be equal to everyone. Yamaraja does this, for he is the supreme master of justice, and so do those who follow in his footsteps. However, if such persons become polluted and exhibit partiality by punishing an innocent, blameless person, where will the citizens go to take shelter for their maintenance and security?
The king, or in modern times the government, should act as the guardian of the citizens by teaching them the proper goal of life. The human form of life is especially meant for realization of one's self and one's relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead because this cannot be realized in animal life. The duty of the government, therefore, is to take charge of training all the citizens in such a way that by a gradual process they will be elevated to the spiritual platform and will realize the self and his relationship with God. This principle was followed by kings like Maharaja Yudhisthira, Maharaja Pariksit, Lord Ramacandra, Maharaja Ambarisa and Prahlada Maharaja. The leaders of the government must be very honest and religious because otherwise all the affairs of the state will suffer. Unfortunately, in the name of democracy, rogues and thieves are electing other rogues and thieves to the most important posts in the government. Recently this has been proven in America, where the president had to be condemned and dragged down from his post by the citizens. This is only one case, but there are many others. Because of the importance of the Krsna consciousness movement, people should be Krsna conscious and should not vote for anyone who is not Krsna conscious. Then there will be actual peace and prosperity in the state. When a Vaisnava sees mismanagement in the government, he feels great compassion in his heart and tries his best to purify the situation by spreading the Hare Krsna movement.
yad yad acarati sreyan
itaras tat tad ihate
sa yat pramanam kurute
lokas tad anuvartate
yat yat--whatever; acarati--executes; sreyan--a first-class man with full knowledge of religious principles; itarah--the subordinate man; tat tat--that; ihate--performs; sah--he (the great man); yat--whatever; pramanam--as evidence or as the right thing; kurute--accepts; lokah--the general public; tat--that; anuvartate--follows.
The mass of people follow the example of a leader in society and imitate his behavior. They accept as evidence whatever the leader accepts.
Although Ajamila was not punishable, the Yamadutas were insisting on taking him away to Yamaraja for punishment. This was adharma, contrary to religious principles. The Visnudutas feared that if such irreligious acts were allowed, the management of human society would be spoiled. In modern times, the Krsna consciousness movement is trying to introduce the right principles of management for human society, but unfortunately the governments of Kali-yuga do not properly support the Hare Krsna movement because they do not appreciate its valuable service. The Hare Krsna movement is the right movement for ameliorating the fallen condition of human society, and therefore governments and public leaders in every part of the world should support this movement to completely rectify humanity's sinful condition.
yasyanke sira adhaya
lokah svapiti nirvrtah
svayam dharmam adharmam va
na hi veda yatha pasuh
sa katham nyarpitatmanam
saghrno dogdhum arhati
yasya--of whom; anke--on the lap; sirah--the head; adhaya--placing; lokah--the general mass of people; svapiti--sleep; nirvrtah--in peace; svayam--personally; dharmam--religious principles or the goal of life; adharmam--irreligious principles; va--or; na--not; hi--indeed; veda--know; yatha--exactly like; pasuh--an animal; sah--such a person; katham--how; nyarpita-atmanam--unto the living entity who has fully surrendered; krta-maitram--endowed with good faith and friendship; acetanam--with undeveloped consciousness, foolish; visrambhaniyah--deserving to be the object of faith; bhutanam--of the living entities; sa-ghrnah--who has a soft heart for the good of all people; dogdhum--to give pain; arhati--is able.
People in general are not very advanced in knowledge by which to discriminate between religion and irreligion. The innocent, unenlightened citizen is like an ignorant animal sleeping in peace with its head on the lap of its master, faithfully believing in the master's protection. If a leader is actually kindhearted and deserves to be the object of a living entity's faith, how can he punish or kill a foolish person who has fully surrendered in good faith and friendship?
The Sanskrit word visvasta-ghata refers to one who breaks faith or causes a breach of trust. The mass of people should always feel security because of the government's protection. Therefore, how regrettable it is for the government itself to cause a breach of trust and put the citizens in difficulty for political reasons. We actually saw during the partition days in India that although Hindus and Muslims were living together peacefully, manipulation by politicians suddenly aroused feelings of hatred between them, and thus the Hindus and Muslims killed one another over politics. This is a sign of Kali-yuga. In this age, animals are kept nicely sheltered, completely confident that their masters will protect them, but unfortunately as soon as the animals are fat, they are immediately sent for slaughter. Such cruelty is condemned by Vaisnavas like the Visnudutas. Indeed, the hellish conditions already described await the sinful men responsible for such suffering. One who betrays the confidence of a living entity who takes shelter of him in good faith, whether that living entity be a human being or an animal, is extremely sinful. Because such betrayals now go unpunished by the government, all of human society is terribly contaminated. The people of this age are therefore described as mandah sumanda-matayo manda-bhagya hy upadrutah. As a consequence of such sinfulness, men are condemned (mandah), their intelligence is unclear (sumanda-matayah), they are unfortunate (manda-bhagyah), and therefore they are always disturbed by many problems (upadrutah). This is their situation in this life, and after death they are punished in hellish conditions.
ayam hi krta-nirveso
yad vyajahara vivaso
nama svasty-ayanam hareh
ayam--this person (Ajamila); hi--indeed; krta-nirvesah--has undergone all kinds of atonement; janma--of births; koti--of millions; amhasam--for the sinful activities; api--even; yat--because; vyajahara--he has chanted; vivasah--in a helpless condition; nama--the holy name; svasti-ayanam--the means of liberation; hareh--of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Ajamila has already atoned for all his sinful actions. Indeed, he has atoned not only for sins performed in one life but for those performed in millions of lives, for in a helpless condition he chanted the holy name of Narayana. Even though he did not chant purely, he chanted without offense, and therefore he is now pure and eligible for liberation.
The Yamadutas had considered only the external situation of Ajamila. Since he was extremely sinful throughout his life, they thought he should be taken to Yamaraja and did not know that he had become free from the reactions of all his sins. The Visnudutas therefore instructed that because he had chanted the four syllables of the name Narayana at the time of his death, he was freed from all sinful reactions. In this regard Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura quotes the following verses from the smrti-sastra:
namno hi yavati saktih
tavat kartum na saknoti
patakam pataki narah
"Simply by chanting one holy name of Hari, a sinful man can counteract the reactions to more sins than he is able to commit." (Brhad-visnu Purana)
puman vimucyate sadyah
simha-trastair mrgair iva
"If one chants the holy name of the Lord, even in a helpless condition or without desiring to do so, all the reactions of his sinful life depart, just as when a lion roars, all the small animals flee in fear." (Garuda Purana)
sakrd uccaritam yena
harir ity aksara-dvayam
moksaya gamanam prati
"By once chanting the holy name of the Lord, which consists of the two syllables ha-ri, one guarantees his path to liberation." (Skanda Purana)
These are some of the reasons why the Visnudutas objected to the Yamadutas' taking Ajamila to the court of Yamaraja.
etenaiva hy aghono 'sya
krtam syad agha-niskrtam
etena--by this (chanting); eva--indeed; hi--certainly; aghonah--who possesses sinful reactions; asya--of this (Ajamila); krtam--performed; syat--is; agha--of sins; niskrtam--complete atonement; yada--when; narayana--O Narayana (the name of his son); aya--please come; iti--thus; jagada--he chanted; catuh-aksaram--the four syllables (na-ra-ya-na).
The Visnudutas continued: Even previously, while eating and at other times, this Ajamila would call his son, saying, "My dear Narayana, please come here." Although calling the name of his son, he nevertheless uttered the four syllables na-ra-ya-na. Simply by chanting the name of Narayana in this way, he sufficiently atoned for the sinful reactions of millions of lives.
Previously, when engaged in sinful activities to maintain his family, Ajamila chanted the name of Narayana without offenses. To chant the holy name of the Lord just to counteract one's sinful activities, or to commit sinful activities on the strength of chanting the holy name, is offensive (namno balad yasya hi papa-buddhih). But although Ajamila engaged in sinful activities, he never chanted the holy name of Narayana to counteract them; he simply chanted the name Narayana to call his son. Therefore his chanting was effective. Because of chanting the holy name of Narayana in this way, he had already vanquished the accumulated sinful reactions of many, many lives. In the beginning he was pure, but although he later committed many sinful acts, he was offenseless because he did not chant the holy name of Narayana to counteract them. One who always chants the holy name of the Lord without offenses is always pure. As confirmed in this verse Ajamila was already sinless, and because he chanted the name of Narayana he remained sinless. It did not matter that he was calling his son; the name itself was effective.
stenah sura-po mitra-dhrug
ye ca patakino 'pare
sarvesam apy aghavatam
idam eva suniskrtam
yatas tad-visaya matih
stenah--one who steals; sura-pah--a drunkard; mitra-dhruk--one who turns against a friend or relative; brahma-ha--one who kills a brahmana; guru-talpa-gah--one who indulges in sex with the wife of his teacher or guru; stri--women; raja--king; pitr--father; go--of cows; hanta--the killer; ye--those who; ca--also; patakinah--committed sinful activities; apare--many others; sarvesam--of all of them; api--although; agha-vatam--persons who have committed many sins; idam--this; eva--certainly; su-niskrtam--perfect atonement; nama-vyaharanam--chanting of the holy name; visnoh--of Lord Visnu; yatah--because of which; tat-visaya--on the person who chants the holy name; matih--His attention.
The chanting of the holy name of Lord Visnu is the best process of atonement for a thief of gold or other valuables, for a drunkard, for one who betrays a friend or relative, for one who kills a brahmana, or for one who indulges in sex with the wife of his guru or another superior. It is also the best method of atonement for one who murders women, the king or his father, for one who slaughters cows, and for all other sinful men. Simply by chanting the holy name of Lord Visnu, such sinful persons may attract the attention of the Supreme Lord, who therefore considers, "Because this man has chanted My holy name, My duty is to give him protection."
na niskrtair uditair brahma-vadibhis
tatha visuddhyaty aghavan vratadibhih
yatha harer nama-padair udahrtais
na--not; niskrtaih--by the processes of atonement; uditaih--prescribed; brahma-vadibhih--by learned scholars such as Manu; tatha--to that extent; visuddhyati--becomes purified; agha-van--a sinful man; vrata-adibhih--by observing the vows and regulative principles; yatha--as; hareh--of Lord Hari; nama-padaih--by the syllables of the holy name; udahrtaih--chanted; tat--that; uttamasloka--of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; guna--of the transcendental qualities; upalambhakam--reminding one.
By following the Vedic ritualistic ceremonies or undergoing atonement, sinful men do not become as purified as by chanting once the holy name of Lord Hari. Although ritualistic atonement may free one from sinful reactions, it does not awaken devotional service, unlike the chanting of the Lord's names, which reminds one of the Lord's fame, qualities, attributes, pastimes and paraphernalia.
Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura comments that the chanting of the holy name of the Lord has special significance that distinguishes it from the Vedic ritualistic ceremonies of atonement for severe, more severe or most severe sinful actions. There are twenty types of religious scriptures called dharma-sastras, beginning with the Manu-samhita and parasara-samhita, but herein it is stressed that although one may become free from the reactions of the most sinful activities by following the religious principles of these scriptures, this cannot promote a sinful man to the stage of loving service to the Lord. On the other hand, chanting the holy name of the Lord even once not only frees one immediately from the reactions of the greatest sins, but also raises one to the platform of rendering loving service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is described as uttamasloka because He is famous for His glorious activities. Thus one serves the Lord by remembering His form, His attributes and pastimes. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura explains that this is all possible simply by chanting the Lord's holy name because of the Lord's omnipotence. What cannot be achieved through the performance of Vedic rituals can be easily achieved through the chanting of the Lord's holy name. To chant the holy name and dance in ecstasy is so easy and sublime that one can achieve all the benefits of spiritual life simply by following this process. Therefore Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu declares, param vijayate sri-krsna-sankirtanam: "All glories to Sri Krsna sankirtana!" The sankirtana movement we have started offers the best process for becoming purified of all sinful reactions and coming immediately to the platform of spiritual life.
naikantikam tad dhi krte 'pi niskrte
manah punar dhavati ced asat-pathe
tat karma-nirharam abhipsatam harer
gunanuvadah khalu sattva-bhavanah
na--not; aikantikam--absolutely cleansed; tat--the heart; hi--because; krte--very nicely performed; api--although; niskrte--atonement; manah--the mind; punah--again; dhavati--runs; cet--if; asat-pathe--on the path of material activities; tat--therefore; karma-nirharam--cessation of the fruitive reactions of material activities; abhipsatam--for those who seriously want; hareh--of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; guna-anuvadah--constant chanting of the glories; khalu--indeed; sattva-bhavanah--actually purifying one's existence.
The ritualistic ceremonies of atonement recommended in the religious scriptures are insufficient to cleanse the heart absolutely because after atonement one's mind again runs toward material activities. Consequently, for one who wants liberation from the fruitive reactions of material activities, the chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra, or glorification of the name, fame and pastimes of the Lord, is recommended as the most perfect process of atonement because such chanting eradicates the dirt from one's heart completely.
The statements in this verse have been confirmed previously in Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.2.17):
srnvatam sva-kathah krsnah
hrdy antah-stho hy abhadrani
vidhunoti suhrt satam
"Sri Krsna, the Personality of Godhead, who is the Paramatma [Supersoul] in everyone's heart and the benefactor of the truthful devotee, cleanses desire for material enjoyment from the heart of the devotee who relishes His messages, which are in themselves virtuous when properly heard and chanted." It is the special mercy of the Supreme Lord that as soon as He knows that one is glorifying His name, fame and attributes, He personally helps cleanse the dirt from one's heart. Therefore simply by such glorification one not only becomes purified, but also achieves the results of pious activities (punya-sravana-kirtana). Punya-sravana-kirtana refers to the process of devotional service. Even if one does not understand the meaning of the Lord's name, pastimes or attributes, one is purified simply by hearing or chanting of them. Such purification is called sattva-bhavana.
One's main purpose in human life should be to purify his existence and achieve liberation. As long as one has a material body, one is understood to be impure. In such an impure, material condition, one cannot enjoy a truly blissful life, although everyone seeks it. Therefore Srimad-Bhagavatam (5.5.1) says, tapo divyam putraka yena sattvam suddhyet: one must perform tapasya, austerity, to purify his existence in order to come to the spiritual platform. The tapasya of chanting and glorifying the name, fame and attributes of the Lord is a very easy purifying process by which everyone can be happy. Therefore everyone who desires the ultimate cleansing of his heart must adopt this process. Other processes, such as karma, jnana and yoga, cannot cleanse the heart absolutely.
yad asau bhagavan-nama
atha--therefore; enam--him (Ajamila); ma--do not; apanayata--try to take; krta--already done; asesa--unlimited; agha-niskrtam--atonement for his sinful actions; yat--because; asau--he; bhagavat-nama--the holy name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; mriyamanah--while dying; samagrahit--perfectly chanted.
At the time of death, this Ajamila helplessly and very loudly chanted the holy name of the Lord, Narayana. That chanting alone has already freed him from the reactions of all sinful life. Therefore, O servants of Yamaraja, do not try to take him to your master for punishment in hellish conditions.
The Visnudutas, who are superior authorities, gave orders to the Yamadutas, who did not know that Ajamila was no longer subject to tribulation in hellish life for his past sins. Although he had chanted the holy name Narayana to indicate his son, the holy name is so transcendentally powerful that he was automatically freed because he had chanted the holy name while dying (ante narayana-smrtih). As Krsna confirms in Bhagavad-gita (7.28):
yesam tv anta-gatam papam
bhajante mam drdha-vratah
"Persons who have acted piously in previous lives and in this life, whose sinful actions are completely eradicated and who are freed from the duality of delusion, engage themselves in My service with determination." Unless one is freed from all sinful reactions, one cannot be promoted to the platform of devotional service. Elsewhere in Bhagavad-gita (8.5) it is stated:
anta-kale ca mam eva
smaran muktva kalevaram
yah prayati sa mad-bhavam
yati nasty atra samsayah
If one remembers Krsna, Narayana, at the time of death, one is certainly eligible to return immediately home, back to Godhead.
sanketyam parihasyam va
stobham helanam eva va
sanketyam--as an assignation; parihasyam--jokingly; va--or; stobham--as musical entertainment; helanam--neglectfully; eva--certainly; va--or; vaikuntha--of the Lord; nama-grahanam--chanting the holy name; asesa--unlimited; agha-haram--neutralizing the effect of sinful life; viduh--advanced transcendentalists know.
One who chants the holy name of the Lord is immediately freed from the reactions of unlimited sins, even if he chants indirectly [to indicate something else], jokingly, for musical entertainment, or even neglectfully. This is accepted by all the learned scholars of the scriptures.
patitah skhalito bhagnah
sandastas tapta ahatah
harir ity avasenaha
puman narhati yatanah
patitah--fallen down; skhalitah--slipped; bhagnah--having broken his bones; sandastah--bitten; taptah--severely attacked by fever or similar painful conditions; ahatah--injured; harih--Lord Krsna; iti--thus; avasena--accidentally; aha--chants; puman--a person; na--not; arhati--deserves; yatanah--hellish conditions.
If one chants the holy name of Hari and then dies because of an accidental misfortune, such as falling from the top of a house, slipping and suffering broken bones while traveling on the road, being bitten by a serpent, being afflicted with pain and high fever, or being injured by a weapon, one is immediately absolved from having to enter hellish life, even though he is sinful.
As stated in Bhagavad-gita (8.6):
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." If one practices chanting the Hare Krsna mantra, he is naturally expected to chant Hare Krsna when he meets with some accident. Even without such practice, however, if one somehow or other chants the holy name of the Lord (Hare Krsna) when he meets with an accident and dies, he will be saved from hellish life after death.
gurunam ca laghunam ca
guruni ca laghuni ca
gurunam--heavy; ca--and; laghunam--light; ca--also; guruni--heavy; ca--and; laghuni--light; ca--also; prayascittani--the processes of atonement; papanam--of sinful activities; jnatva--knowing perfectly well; uktani--have been prescribed; maha-rsibhih--by great sages.
Authorities who are learned scholars and sages have carefully ascertained that one should atone for the heaviest sins by undergoing a heavy process of atonement and one should atone for lighter sins by undergoing lighter atonement. Chanting the Hare Krsna mantra, however, vanquishes all the effects of sinful activities, regardless of whether heavy or light.
In this regard, Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura describes an incident that took place when Samba was rescued from the punishment of the Kauravas. Samba fell in love with the daughter of Duryodhana, and since according to ksatriya custom one is not offered a ksatriya's daughter unless he displays his chivalrous valor, Samba abducted her. Consequently Samba was arrested by the Kauravas. Later, when Lord Balarama came to rescue him, there was an argument about Samba's release. Since the argument was not settled, Balarama showed His power in such a way that all of Hastinapura trembled and would have been vanquished as if by a great earthquake. Then the matter was settled, and Samba married Duryodhana's daughter. The purport is that one should take shelter of Krsna-Balarama, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose protective power is so great that it cannot be equaled in the material world. However powerful the reactions of one's sins, they will immediately be vanquished if one chants the name of Hari, Krsna, Balarama or Narayana.
tais tany aghani puyante
taih--by those; tani--all those; aghani--sinful activities and their results; puyante--become vanquished; tapah--austerity; dana--charity; vrata-adibhih--by vows and other such activities; na--not; adharma-jam--produced from irreligious actions; tat--of that; hrdayam--the heart; tat--that; api--also; isa-anghri--of the lotus feet of the Lord; sevaya--by service.
Although one may neutralize the reactions of sinful life through austerity, charity, vows and other such methods, these pious activities cannot uproot the material desires in one's heart. However, if one serves the lotus feet of the Personality of Godhead, he is immediately freed from all such contaminations.
As stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (11.2.42), bhaktih paresanubhavo viraktir anyatra ca: devotional service is so powerful that one who performs devotional service is immediately freed from all sinful desires. All desires within this material world are sinful because material desire means sense gratification, which always involves action that is more or less sinful. Pure bhakti, however, is anyabhilasita-sunya; in other words, it is free from material desires, which result from karma and jnana. One who is situated in devotional service no longer has material desires, and therefore he is beyond sinful life. Material desires should be completely stopped. Otherwise, although one's austerities, penances and charity may free one from sin for the time being, one's desires will reappear because his heart is impure. Thus he will act sinfully and suffer.
ajnanad athava jnanad
sankirtitam agham pumso
dahed edho yathanalah
ajnanat--out of ignorance; athava--or; jnanat--with knowledge; uttamasloka--of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; nama--the holy name; yat--that which; sankirtitam--chanted; agham--sin; pumsah--of a person; dahet--burns to ashes; edhah--dry grass; yatha--just as; analah--fire.
As a fire burns dry grass to ashes, so the holy name of the Lord, whether chanted knowingly or unknowingly, burns to ashes, without fail, all the reactions of one's sinful activities.
Fire will act, regardless of whether handled by an innocent child or by someone well aware of its power. For example, if a field of straw or dry grass is set afire, either by an elderly man who knows the power of fire or by a child who does not, the grass will be burned to ashes. Similarly, one may or may not know the power of chanting the Hare Krsna mantra, but if one chants the holy name he will become free from all sinful reactions.
ajanato 'py atma-gunam
kuryan mantro 'py udahrtah
yatha--just like; agadam--medicine; virya-tamam--very powerful; upayuktam--properly taken; yadrcchaya--somehow or other; ajanatah--by a person without knowledge; api--even; atma-gunam--its own potency; kuryat--manifests; mantrah--the Hare Krsna mantra; api--also; udahrtah--chanted.
If a person unaware of the effective potency of a certain medicine takes that medicine or is forced to take it, it will act even without his knowledge because its potency does not depend on the patient's understanding. Similarly, even though one does not know the value of chanting the holy name of the Lord, if one chants knowingly or unknowingly, the chanting will be very effective.
In the Western countries, where the Hare Krsna movement is spreading, learned scholars and other thoughtful men are realizing its effectiveness. For example, Dr. J. Stillson Judah, a learned scholar, has been very much attracted to this movement because he has actually seen that it is turning hippies addicted to drugs into pure Vaisnavas who voluntarily become servants of Krsna and humanity. Even a few years ago, such hippies did not know the Hare Krsna mantra, but now they are chanting it and becoming pure Vaisnavas. Thus they are becoming free from all sinful activities, such as illicit sex, intoxication, meat-eating and gambling. This is practical proof of the effectiveness of the Hare Krsna movement, which is supported in this verse. One may or may not know the value of chanting the Hare Krsna mantra, but if one somehow or other chants it, he will immediately be purified, just as one who takes a potent medicine will feel its effects, regardless of whether he takes it knowingly or unknowingly.
ta evam suvinirniya
dharmam bhagavatam nrpa
tam yamya-pasan nirmucya
vipram mrtyor amumucan
sri-sukah uvaca--Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said; te--they (the order carriers of Lord Visnu); evam--thus; su-vinirniya--perfectly ascertaining; dharmam--real religion; bhagavatam--in terms of devotional service; nrpa--O King; tam--him (Ajamila); yamya-pasat--from the bondage of the order carriers of Yamaraja; nirmucya--releasing; vipram--the brahmana; mrtyoh--from death; amumucan--rescued.
Sri Sukadeva Gosvami continued: My dear King, having thus perfectly judged the principles of devotional service with reasoning and arguments, the order carriers of Lord Visnu released the brahmana Ajamila from the bondage of the Yamadutas and saved him from imminent death.
iti pratyudita yamya
duta yatva yamantikam
yama-rajne yatha sarvam
iti--thus; pratyuditah--having been replied to (by the order carriers of Visnu); yamyah--the servants of Yamaraja; dutah--the messengers; yatva--going; yama-antikam--to the abode of Lord Yamaraja; yama-rajne--unto King Yamaraja; yatha--duly; sarvam--everything; acacaksuh--informed in full detail; arindama--O subduer of the enemies.
My dear Maharaja Pariksit, O subduer of all enemies, after the servants of Yamaraja had been answered by the order carriers of Lord Visnu, they went to Yamaraja and explained to him everything that had happened.
In this verse the word pratyuditah is very significant. The servants of Yamaraja are so powerful that they can never be hindered anywhere, but this time they were baffled and disappointed in their attempt to take away a man they considered sinful. Therefore they immediately returned to Yamaraja and described to him everything that had happened.
dvijah pasad vinirmukto
gata-bhih prakrtim gatah
vavande sirasa visnoh
dvijah--the brahmana (Ajamila); pasat--from the noose; vinirmuktah--being released; gata-bhih--freed from fear; prakrtim gatah--came to his senses; vavande--offered his respectful obeisances; sirasa--by bowing his head; visnoh--of Lord Visnu; kinkaran--unto the servants; darsana-utsavah--very pleased by seeing them.
Having been released from the nooses of Yamaraja's servants, the brahmana Ajamila, now free from fear, came to his senses and immediately offered obeisances to the Visnudutas by bowing his head at their lotus feet. He was extremely pleased by their presence, for he had seen them save his life from the hands of the servants of Yamaraja.
Vaisnavas are also Visnudutas because they carry out the orders of Krsna. Lord Krsna is very eager for all the conditioned souls rotting in this material world to surrender to Him and be saved from material pangs in this life and punishment in hellish conditions after death. A Vaisnava therefore tries to bring conditioned souls to their senses. Those who are fortunate like Ajamila are saved by the Visnudutas, or Vaisnavas, and thus they return back home, back to Godhead.
tam vivaksum abhipretya
sahasa pasyatas tasya
tam--him (Ajamila); vivaksum--desiring to speak; abhipretya--understanding; mahapurusa-kinkarah--the order carriers of Lord Visnu; sahasa--suddenly; pasyatah tasya--while he looked on; tatra--there; antardadhire--disappeared; anagha--O sinless Maharaja Pariksit.
O sinless Maharaja Pariksit, the order carriers of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Visnudutas, saw that Ajamila was attempting to say something, and thus they suddenly disappeared from his presence.
The sastras say:
papistha ye duracara
akale maranam dhruvam
"For persons who are papistha, very sinful, and duracara, misbehaved or very unclean in their habits, who are against the existence of God, who disrespect Vaisnavas and brahmanas, and who eat anything and everything, untimely death is sure." It is said that in Kali-yuga one has a maximum lifetime of one hundred years, but as people become degraded, the duration of their lives decreases (prayenalpayusah). Because Ajamila was now free from all sinful reactions, his lifetime was extended, even though he was to have died immediately. When the Visnudutas saw Ajamila trying to say something to them, they disappeared to give him a chance to glorify the Supreme Lord. Since all his sinful reactions had been vanquished, he was now prepared to glorify the Lord. Indeed, one cannot glorify the Lord unless one is completely free from all sinful activities. This is confirmed by Krsna Himself in Bhagavad-gita (7.28):
yesam tv anta-gatam papam
bhajante mam drdha-vratah
"Persons who have acted piously in previous lives and in this life, whose sinful actions are completely eradicated and who are freed from the duality of delusion, engage themselves in My service with determination." The Visnudutas made Ajamila aware of devotional service so that He might immediately become fit to return home, back to Godhead. To increase his eagerness to glorify the Lord, they disappeared so that he would feel separation in their absence. In the mode of separation, glorification of the Lord is very intense.
ajamilo 'py athakarnya
dharmam bhagavatam suddham
trai-vedyam ca gunasrayam
bhaktiman bhagavaty asu
anutapo mahan asit
smarato 'subham atmanah
ajamilah--Ajamila; api--also; atha--thereafter; akarnya--hearing; dutanam--of the order carriers; yama-krsnayoh--of Yamaraja and Lord Krsna; dharmam--actual religious principles; bhagavatam--as described in Srimad-Bhagavatam, or concerning the relationship between the living being and the Supreme Personality of Godhead; suddham--pure; trai-vedyam--mentioned in three Vedas; ca--also; guna-asrayam--material religion, under the modes of material nature; bhakti-man--a pure devotee (cleansed of the modes of material nature); bhagavati--unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead; asu--immediately; mahatmya--glorification of the name, fame, etc.; sravanat--because of hearing; hareh--of Lord Hari; anutapah--regret; mahan--very great; asit--there was; smaratah--remembering; asubham--all the inglorious activities; atmanah--done by himself.
After hearing the discourses between the Yamadutas and the Visnudutas, Ajamila could understand the religious principles that act under the three modes of material nature. These principles are mentioned in the three Vedas. He could also understand the transcendental religious principles, which are above the modes of material nature and which concern the relationship between the living being and the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Furthermore, Ajamila heard glorification of the name, fame, qualities and pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He thus became a perfectly pure devotee. He could then remember his past sinful activities, which he greatly regretted having performed.
In Bhagavad-gita (2.45) Lord Krsna told Arjuna:
"The Vedas mainly deal with the subject of the three modes of material nature. Rise above these modes, O Arjuna. Be transcendental to all of them. Be free from all dualities and from all anxieties for gain and safety, and be established in the Self." The Vedic principles certainly prescribe a gradual process for rising to the spiritual platform, but if one remains attached to the Vedic principles, there is no chance of his being elevated to spiritual life. Krsna therefore advised Arjuna to perform devotional service, which is the process of transcendental religion. The transcendental position of devotional service is also confirmed in Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.2.6). Sa vai pumsam paro dharmo yato bhaktir adhoksaje. Bhakti, devotional service, is paro dharmah, transcendental dharma; it is not material dharma. People generally think that religion should be pursued for material profit. This may be suitable for persons interested in material life, but one who is interested in spiritual life should be attached to paro dharmah, the religious principles by which one becomes a devotee of the Supreme Lord (yato bhaktir adhoksaje). The bhagavata religion teaches that the Lord and the living entity are eternally related and that the duty of the living entity is to surrender to the Lord. When one is situated on the platform of devotional service, one is freed from impediments and completely satisfied (ahaituky apratihata yayatma suprasidati). Having been elevated to that platform, Ajamila began to lament for his past materialistic activities and glorify the name, fame, form and pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
aho me paramam kastam
yena viplavitam brahma
aho--alas; me--my; paramam--extreme; kastam--miserable condition; abhut--became; avijita-atmanah--because my senses were uncontrolled; yena--by which; viplavitam--destroyed; brahma--all my brahminical qualifications; vrsalyam--through a sudrani, a maidservant; jayata--being born; atmana--by me.
Ajamila said: Alas, being a servant of my senses, how degraded I became! I fell down from my position as a duly qualified brahmana and begot children in the womb of a prostitute.
The men of the higher classes--the brahmanas, ksatriyas and vaisyas--do not beget children in the wombs of lower-class women. Therefore the custom in Vedic society is to examine the horoscopes of a girl and boy being considered for marriage to see whether their combination is suitable. Vedic astrology reveals whether one has been born in the vipra-varna, ksatriya-varna, vaisya-varna or sudra-varna, according to the three qualities of material nature. This must be examined because a marriage between a boy of the vipra-varna and a girl of the sudra-varna is incompatible; married life would be miserable for both husband and wife. Consequently a boy should marry a girl of the same category. Of course, this is trai-gunya, a material calculation according to the Vedas, but if the boy and girl are devotees there need be no such considerations. A devotee is transcendental, and therefore in a marriage between devotees, the boy and girl form a very happy combination.
dhin mam vigarhitam sadbhir
hitva balam satim yo 'ham
sura-pim asatim agam
dhik mam--all condemnation upon me; vigarhitam--condemned; sadbhih--by honest men; duskrtam--who has committed sinful acts; kula-kajjalam--who has defamed the family tradition; hitva--giving up; balam--a young wife; satim--chaste; yah--who; aham--I; surapim--with a woman accustomed to drinking wine; asatim--unchaste; agam--I had sexual intercourse.
Alas, all condemnation upon me! I acted so sinfully that I degraded my family tradition. Indeed, I gave up my chaste and beautiful young wife to have sexual intercourse with a fallen prostitute accustomed to drinking wine. All condemnation upon me!
This is the mentality of one who is becoming a pure devotee. When one is elevated to the platform of devotional service by the grace of the Lord and the spiritual master, one first regrets his past sinful activities. This helps one advance in spiritual life. The Visnudutas had given Ajamila the chance to become a pure devotee, and the duty of a pure devotee is to regret his past sinful activities in illicit sex, intoxication, meat-eating and gambling. Not only should one give up his past bad habits, but he must always regret his past sinful acts. This is the standard of pure devotion.
vrddhav anathau pitarau
aho mayadhuna tyaktav
vrddhau--old; anathau--who had no other person to look after their comforts; pitarau--my father and mother; na anya-bandhu--who had no other friend; tapasvinau--who underwent great difficulties; aho--alas; maya--by me; adhuna--at that moment; tyaktau--were given up; akrta-jnena--ungrateful; nica-vat--like the most abominable low-class person.
My father and mother were old and had no other son or friend to look after them. Because I did not take care of them, they lived with great difficulty. Alas, like an abominable lower-class man, I ungratefully left them in that condition.
According to Vedic civilization, everyone has the responsibility for taking care of brahmanas, old men, women, children and cows. This is the duty of everyone, especially an upper-class person. Because of his association with a prostitute, Ajamila abandoned all his duties. Regretting this, Ajamila now considered himself quite fallen.
so 'ham vyaktam patisyami
dharma-ghnah kamino yatra
sah--such a person; aham--I; vyaktam--it is now clear; patisyami--will fall down; narake--in hell; bhrsa-darune--most miserable; dharma-ghnah--they who break the principles of religion; kaminah--who are too lusty; yatra--where; vindanti--undergo; yama-yatanah--the miserable conditions imposed by Yamaraja.
It is now clear that as a consequence of such activities, a sinful person like me must be thrown into hellish conditions meant for those who have broken religious principles and must there suffer extreme miseries.
kim idam svapna aho svit
saksad drstam ihadbhutam
kva yata adya te ye mam
kim--whether; idam--this; svapne--in a dream; aho svit--or; saksat--directly; drstam--seen; iha--here; adbhutam--wonderful; kva--where; yatah--have gone; adya--now; te--all of them; ye--who; mam--me; vyakarsan--were dragging; pasa-panayah--with ropes in their hands.
Was this a dream I saw, or was it reality? I saw fearsome men with ropes in their hands coming to arrest me and drag me away. Where have they gone?
atha te kva gatah siddhas
baddhva pasair adho bhuvah
atha--thereafter; te--those persons; kva--where; gatah--went; siddhah--liberated; catvarah--four personalities; caru-darsanah--extremely beautiful to see; vyamocayan--they released; niyamanam--me, who was being carried away; baddhva--being arrested; pasaih--by ropes; adhah bhuvah--downward to the hellish region.
And where have those four liberated and very beautiful persons gone who released me from arrest and saved me from being dragged down to the hellish regions?
As we have learned from the descriptions in the Fifth Canto, the hellish planets are situated in the lower portions of this universe. Therefore they are called adho bhuvah. Ajamila could understand that the Yamadutas had come from that region.
athapi me durbhagasya
yenatma me prasidati
atha--therefore; api--although; me--of me; durbhagasya--so unfortunate; vibudha-uttama--exalted devotees; darsane--because of seeing; bhavitavyam--there must be; mangalena--auspicious activities; yena--by which; atma--self; me--my; prasidati--actually becomes happy.
I am certainly most abominable and unfortunate to have merged in an ocean of sinful activities, but nevertheless, because of my previous spiritual activities, I could see those four exalted personalities who came to rescue me. Now I feel exceedingly happy because of their visit.
As stated in Caitanya-caritamrta (Madhya 22.54):
'sadhu-sanga', 'sadhu-sanga'----sarva-sastre kaya
lava-matra sadhu-sange sarva-siddhi haya
"Association with devotees is recommended by all the sastras because by even a moment of such association one can receive the seed for all perfection." In the beginning of his life Ajamila was certainly very pure, and he associated with devotees and brahmanas; because of that pious activity, even though he was fallen, he was inspired to name his son Narayana. Certainly this was due to good counsel given from within by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As the Lord says in Bhagavad-gita (15.15), sarvasya caham hrdi sannivisto mattah smrtir jnanam apohanam ca: "I am seated in everyone's heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness." The Lord, who is situated in everyone's heart, is so kind that if one has ever rendered service to Him, the Lord never forgets him. Thus the Lord, from within, gave Ajamila the opportunity to name his youngest son Narayana so that in affection he would constantly call "Narayana! Narayana!" and thus be saved from the most fearful and dangerous condition at the time of his death. Such is the mercy of Krsna. Guru-krsna-prasade paya bhakti-lata-bija: by the mercy of the guru and Krsna, one receives the seed of bhakti. This association saves a devotee from the greatest fear. In our Krsna consciousness movement we therefore change a devotee's name to a form that reminds him of Visnu. If at the time of death the devotee can remember his own name, such as Krsnadasa or Govinda dasa, he can be saved from the greatest danger. Therefore the change of names at the time of initiation is essential. The Krsna consciousness movement is so meticulous that it gives one a good opportunity to remember Krsna somehow or other.
jihva vaktum iharhati
anyatha--otherwise; mriyamanasya--of a person who is just ready for death; na--not; asuceh--most unclean; vrsali-pateh--the keeper of a prostitute; vaikuntha--of the Lord of Vaikuntha; nama-grahanam--the chanting of the holy name; jihva--the tongue; vaktum--to speak; iha--in this situation; arhati--is able.
Were it not for my past devotional service, how could I, a most unclean keeper of a prostitute, have gotten an opportunity to chant the holy name of Vaikunthapati when I was just ready to die? Certainly it could not have been possible.
The name Vaikunthapati, which means "the master of the spiritual world," is not different from the name Vaikuntha. Ajamila, who was now a realized soul, could understand that because of his past spiritual activities in devotional service, he had gotten this opportunity to chant the holy name of Vaikunthapati in his horrible condition at the time of death.
kva caham kitavah papo
kva ca narayanety etad
kva--where; ca--also; aham--I; kitavah--a cheater; papah--all sins personified; brahma-ghnah--the killer of my brahminical culture; nirapatrapah--shameless; kva--where; ca--also; narayana--Narayana; iti--thus; etat--this; bhagavat-nama--the holy name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead; mangalam--all-auspicious.
Ajamila continued: I am a shameless cheater who has killed his brahminical culture. Indeed, I am sin personified. Where am I in comparison to the all-auspicious chanting of the holy name of Lord Narayana?
Those engaged in broadcasting the holy name of Narayana, Krsna, through the Krsna consciousness movement should always consider what our position was before we came and what it is now. We had fallen into abominable lives as meat-eaters, drunkards and woman hunters who performed all kinds of sinful activities, but now we have been given the opportunity to chant the Hare Krsna mantra. Therefore we should always appreciate this opportunity. By the grace of the Lord we are opening many branches, and we should use this good fortune to chant the holy name of the Lord and serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead directly. We must be conscious of the difference between our present and past conditions and should always be very careful not to fall from the most exalted life.
so 'ham tatha yatisyami
yatha na bhuya atmanam
andhe tamasi majjaye
sah--such a person; aham--I; tatha--in that way; yatisyami--I shall endeavor; yata-citta-indriya--controlling the mind and senses; anilah--and the internal airs; yatha--so that; na--not; bhuyah--again; atmanam--my soul; andhe--in darkness; tamasi--in ignorance; majjaye--I drown.
I am such a sinful person, but since I have now gotten this opportunity, I must completely control my mind, life and senses and always engage in devotional service so that I may not fall again into the deep darkness and ignorance of material life.
Every one of us should have this determination. We have been elevated to an exalted position by the mercy of Krsna and the spiritual master, and if we remember that this is a great opportunity and pray to Krsna that we will not fall again, our lives will be successful.
vimucya tam imam bandham
maitrah karuna atmavan
mocaye grastam atmanam
vimucya--having become free from; tam--that; imam--this; bandham--bondage; avidya--due to ignorance; kama--due to lusty desire; karma-jam--caused by activities; sarva-bhuta--of all living entities; suhrt--friend; santah--very peaceful; maitrah--friendly; karunah--merciful; atma-van--self-realized; mocaye--I shall disentangle; grastam--encaged; atmanam--my soul; yosit-mayya--in the form of woman; atma-mayaya--by the illusory energy of the Lord; vikriditah--played with; yaya--by which; eva--certainly; aham--I; krida-mrgah--a controlled animal; iva--like; adhamah--so fallen.
Because of identifying oneself with the body, one is subjected to desires for sense gratification, and thus one engages in many different types of pious and impious action. This is what constitutes material bondage. Now I shall disentangle myself from my material bondage, which has been caused by the Supreme Personality of Godhead's illusory energy in the form of a woman. Being a most fallen soul, I was victimized by the illusory energy and have become like a dancing dog led around by a woman's hand. Now I shall give up all lusty desires and free myself from this illusion. I shall become a merciful, well-wishing friend to all living entities and always absorb myself in Krsna consciousness.
This should be the standard of determination for all Krsna conscious persons. A Krsna conscious person should free himself from the clutches of maya, and he should also be compassionate to all others suffering in those clutches. The activities of the Krsna consciousness movement are meant not only for oneself but for others also. This is the perfection of Krsna consciousness. One who is interested in his own salvation is not as advanced in Krsna consciousness as one who feels compassion for others and who therefore propagates the Krsna consciousness movement. Such an advanced devotee will never fall down, for Krsna will give him special protection. That is the sum and substance of the Krsna consciousness movement. Everyone is like a play toy in the hands of the illusory energy and is acting as she moves him. One should come to Krsna consciousness to release oneself and also to release others.
mamaham iti dehadau
dhasye mano bhagavati
mama--my; aham--I; iti--thus; deha-adau--in the body and things related to the body; hitva--giving up; amithya--not false; artha--on values; dhih--with my consciousness; matim--the attitude; dhasye--I shall engage; manah--my mind; bhagavati--on the Supreme Personality of Godhead; suddham--pure; tat--His name; kirtana-adibhih--by chanting, hearing and so on.
Simply because I chanted the holy name of the Lord in the association of devotees, my heart is now becoming purified. Therefore I shall not fall victim again to the false lures of material sense gratification. Now that I have become fixed in the Absolute Truth, henceforward I shall not identify myself with the body. I shall give up false conceptions of "I" and "mine" and fix my mind on the lotus feet of Krsna.
How a living entity becomes a victim of the material condition is lucidly explained in this verse. The beginning is to misidentify the body as one's self. Therefore Bhagavad-gita begins with the spiritual instruction that one is not the body, but is within the body. This consciousness can be possible only if one chants the holy name of Krsna, the Hare Krsna maha-mantra, and always keeps oneself in the association of devotees. This is the secret of success. Therefore we stress that one should chant the holy name of the Lord and keep oneself free from the contaminations of this material world, especially the contaminations of lusty desires for illicit sex, meat-eating, intoxication and gambling. With determination, one should vow to follow these principles and thus be saved from the miserable condition of material existence. The first necessity is to become freed from the bodily concept of life.
iti--thus; jata-sunirvedah--(Ajamila) who had become detached from the material conception of life; ksana-sangena--by a moment's association; sadhusu--with devotees; ganga-dvaram--to Hardwar (hari-dvara), the doorway to Hari (because the Ganges begins there, Hardwar is also called ganga-dvara); upeyaya--went; mukta--being freed from; sarva-anubandhanah--all kinds of material bondage.
Because of a moment's association with devotees [the Visnudutas], Ajamila detached himself from the material conception of life with determination. Thus freed from all material attraction, he immediately started for Hardwar.
The word mukta-sarvanubandhanah indicates that after this incident, Ajamila, not caring for his wife and children, went straight to Hardwar for further advancement in his spiritual life. Our Krsna consciousness movement now has centers in Vrndavana and Navadvipa so that those who want to live a retired life, whether they be devotees or not, can go there and with determination give up the bodily concept of life. One is welcome to live in those holy places for the rest of his life in order to achieve the highest success by the very simple method of chanting the holy name of the Lord and taking prasada. Thus one may return home, back to Godhead. We do not have a center in Hardwar, but Vrndavana and Sridhama Mayapur are better for devotees than any other places. The Caitanya Candrodaya temple offers one a good opportunity to associate with devotees. Let us all take advantage of this opportunity.
sa tasmin deva-sadana
asino yogam asthitah
yuyoja mana atmani
sah--he (Ajamila); tasmin--at that place (Hardwar); deva-sadane--in one Visnu temple; asinah--being situated; yogam asthitah--performed bhakti-yoga; pratyahrta--withdrawn from all activities of sense gratification; indriya-gramah--his senses; yuyoja--he fixed; manah--the mind; atmani--on the self or the Supersoul, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
In Hardwar, Ajamila took shelter at a Visnu temple, where he executed the process of bhakti-yoga. He controlled his senses and fully applied his mind in the service of the Lord.
The devotees who have joined the Krsna consciousness movement may live comfortably in our many temples and engage in the devotional service of the Lord. Thus they can control the mind and senses and achieve the highest success in life. This is the process descending from time immemorial. Learning from the life of Ajamila, we should vow with determination to do what is necessary to follow this path.
tato gunebhya atmanam
tatah--thereafter; gunebhyah--from the modes of material nature; atmanam--the mind; viyujya--detaching; atma-samadhina--by being fully engaged in devotional service; yuyuje--engaged; bhagavat-dhamni--in the form of the Lord; brahmani--which is Parabrahman (not idol worship); anubhava-atmani--which is always thought of (beginning from the lotus feet and gradually progressing upward).
Ajamila fully engaged in devotional service. Thus he detached his mind from the process of sense gratification and became fully absorbed in thinking of the form of the Lord.
If one worships the Deity in the temple, one's mind will naturally be absorbed in thought of the Lord and His form. There is no distinction between the form of the Lord and the Lord Himself. Therefore bhakti-yoga is the most easy system of yoga. Yogis try to concentrate their minds upon the form of the Supersoul, Visnu, within the heart, but this same objective is easily achieved when one's mind is absorbed in the Deity worshiped in the temple. In every temple there is a transcendental form of the Lord, and one may easily think of this form. By seeing the Lord during arati, by offering bhoga and by constantly thinking of the form of the Deity, one becomes a first-class yogi. This is the best process of yoga, as confirmed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead 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 first-class yogi is he who controls his senses and detaches himself from material activities by always thinking of the form of the Lord.
yarhy uparata-dhis tasminn
adraksit purusan purah
vavande sirasa dvijah
yarhi--when; uparata-dhih--his mind and intelligence were fixed; tasmin--at that time; adraksit--had seen; purusan--the persons (the order carriers of Lord Visnu); purah--before him; upalabhya--getting; upalabdhan--who were gotten; prak--previously; vavande--offered obeisances; sirasa--by the head; dvijah--the brahmana.
When his intelligence and mind were fixed upon the form of the Lord, the brahmana Ajamila once again saw before him four celestial persons. He could understand that they were those he had seen previously, and thus he offered them his obeisances by bowing down before them.
The Visnudutas who had rescued Ajamila came before him again when his mind was firmly fixed upon the form of the Lord. The Visnudutas had gone away for some time to give Ajamila a chance to become firmly fixed in meditation upon the Lord. Now that his devotion had matured, they returned to take him. Understanding that the same Visnudutas had returned, Ajamila offered them his obeisances by bowing down before them.
hitva kalevaram tirthe
gangayam darsanad anu
sadyah svarupam jagrhe
hitva--giving up; kalevaram--the material body; tirthe--in the holy place; gangayam--on the bank of the Ganges; darsanat anu--after seeing; sadyah--immediately; sva-rupam--his original spiritual form; jagrhe--he assumed; bhagavat-parsva-vartinam--which is fit for an associate of the Lord.
Upon seeing the Visnudutas, Ajamila gave up his material body at Hardwar on the bank of the Ganges. He regained his original spiritual body, which was a body appropriate for an associate of the Lord.
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."
The result of perfection in Krsna consciousness is that after giving up one's material body, one is immediately transferred to the spiritual world in one's original spiritual body to become an associate of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Some devotees go to Vaikunthaloka, and others go to Goloka Vrndavana to become associates of Krsna.
sakam vihayasa vipro
haimam vimanam aruhya
yayau yatra sriyah patih
sakam--along; vihayasa--by the path in the sky, or the airways; viprah--the brahmana (Ajamila); mahapurusa-kinkaraih--with the order carriers of Lord Visnu; haimam--made of gold; vimanam--an airplane; aruhya--boarding; yayau--went; yatra--where; sriyah patih--Lord Visnu, the husband of the goddess of fortune.
Accompanied by the order carriers of Lord Visnu, Ajamila boarded an airplane made of gold. Passing through the airways, he went directly to the abode of Lord Visnu, the husband of the goddess of fortune.
For many years, material scientists have tried to go to the moon, but they are still unable to go there. However, the spiritual airplanes from the spiritual planets can take one back home, back to Godhead, in a second. The speed of such a spiritual plane can only be imagined. Spirit is finer than the mind, and everyone has experience of how swiftly the mind travels from one place to another. Therefore one can imagine the swiftness of the spiritual form by comparing it to the speed of the mind. In less than even a moment, a perfect devotee can return home, back to Godhead, immediately after giving up his material body.
evam sa viplavita-sarva-dharma
dasyah patih patito garhya-karmana
nipatyamano niraye hata-vratah
sadyo vimukto bhagavan-nama grhnan
evam--in this way; sah--he (Ajamila); viplavita-sarva-dharmah--who gave up all religious principles; dasyah patih--the husband of a prostitute; patitah--fallen; garhya-karmana--by being engaged in abominable activities; nipatyamanah--falling; niraye--in hellish life; hata-vratah--who broke all his vows; sadyah--immediately; vimuktah--liberated; bhagavat-nama--the holy name of the Lord; grhnan--chanting.
Ajamila was a brahmana who because of bad association had given up all brahminical culture and religious principles. Becoming most fallen, he stole, drank and performed other abominable acts. He even kept a prostitute. Thus he was destined to be carried away to hell by the order carriers of Yamaraja, but he was immediately rescued simply by a glimpse of the chanting of the holy name Narayana.
natah param karma-nibandha-krntanam
na yat punah karmasu sajjate mano
rajas-tamobhyam kalilam tato 'nyatha
na--not; atah--therefore; param--better means; karma-nibandha--the obligation to suffer or undergo tribulations as a result of fruitive activities; krntanam--that which can completely cut off; mumuksatam--of persons desiring to get out of the clutches of material bondage; tirtha-pada--about the Supreme Personality of Godhead, at whose feet all the holy places stand; anukirtanat--than constantly chanting under the direction of the bona fide spiritual master; na--not; yat--because; punah--again; karmasu--in fruitive activities; sajjate--becomes attached; manah--the mind; rajah-tamobhyam--by the modes of passion and ignorance; kalilam--contaminated; tatah--thereafter; anyatha--by any other means.
Therefore one who desires freedom from material bondage should adopt the process of chanting and glorifying the name, fame, form and pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, at whose feet all the holy places stand. One cannot derive the proper benefit from other methods, such as pious atonement, speculative knowledge and meditation in mystic yoga, because even after following such methods one takes to fruitive activities again, unable to control his mind, which is contaminated by the base qualities of nature, namely passion and ignorance.
It has actually been seen that even after achieving so-called perfection, many karmis, jnanis and yogis become attached to material activities again. Many so-called svamis and yogis give up material activities as false (jagan mithya), but after some time they nevertheless resume material activities by opening hospitals and schools or performing other activities for the benefit of the public. Sometimes they participate in politics, although still falsely declaring themselves sannyasis, members of the renounced order. The perfect conclusion, however, is that if one actually desires to get out of the material world, he must take to devotional service, which begins with sravanam kirtanam visnoh: chanting and hearing the glories of the Lord. The Krsna consciousness movement has actually proved this. In the Western countries, many young boys who were addicted to drugs and who had many other bad habits, which they could not give up, abandoned all those propensities and very seriously engaged in chanting the glories of the Lord as soon as they joined the Krsna consciousness movement. In other words, this process is the perfect method of atonement for actions performed in rajah and tamah (passion and ignorance). As stated in Srimad-Bhagavatam (1.2.19):
kama-lobhadayas ca ye
ceta etair anaviddham
sthitam sattve prasidati
As a result of rajah and tamah, one becomes increasingly lusty and greedy, but when one takes to the process of chanting and hearing, one comes to the platform of goodness and becomes happy. As he advances in devotional service, all his doubts are completely eradicated (bhidyate hrdaya-granthis chidyante sarva-samsayah). Thus the knot of his desire for fruitive activities is cut to pieces.
ya etam paramam guhyam
srnuyac chraddhaya yukto
yas ca bhaktyanukirtayet
na vai sa narakam yati
yady apy amangalo martyo
yah--anyone who; etam--this; paramam--very; guhyam--confidential; itihasam--historical narration; agha-apaham--which frees one from all reactions to sins; srnuyat--hears; sraddhaya--with faith; yuktah--endowed; yah--one who; ca--also; bhaktya--with great devotion; anukirtayet--repeats; na--not; vai--indeed; sah--such a person; narakam--to hell; yati--goes; na--not; iksitah--is observed; yama-kinkaraih--by the order carriers of Yamaraja; yadi api--although; amangalah--inauspicious; martyah--a living entity with a material body; visnu-loke--in the spiritual world; mahiyate--is welcomed and respectfully received.
Because this very confidential historical narration has the potency to vanquish all sinful reactions, one who hears or describes it with faith and devotion is no longer doomed to hellish life, regardless of his having a material body and regardless of how sinful he may have been. Indeed, the Yamadutas, who carry out the orders of Yamaraja, do not approach him even to see him. After giving up his body, he returns home, back to Godhead, where he is very respectfully received and worshiped.
mriyamano harer nama
ajamilo 'py agad dhama
kim uta sraddhaya grnan
mriyamanah--at the time of death; hareh nama--the holy name of Hari; grnan--chanting; putra-upacaritam--indicating his son; ajamilah--Ajamila; api--even; agat--went; dhama--to the spiritual world; kim uta--what to speak of; sraddhaya--with faith and love; grnan--chanting.
While suffering at the time of death, Ajamila chanted the holy name of the Lord, and although the chanting was directed toward his son, he nevertheless returned home, back to Godhead. Therefore if one faithfully and inoffensively chants the holy name of the Lord, where is the doubt that he will return to Godhead?
At the time of death one is certainly bewildered because his bodily functions are in disorder. At that time, even one who throughout his life has practiced chanting the holy name of the Lord may not be able to chant the Hare Krsna mantra very distinctly. Nevertheless, such a person receives all the benefits of chanting the holy name. While the body is fit therefore, why should we not chant the holy name of the Lord loudly and distinctly? If one does so, it is quite possible that even at the time of death he will be properly able to chant the holy name of the Lord with love and faith. In conclusion, one who chants the holy name of the Lord constantly is guaranteed to return home, back to Godhead, without a doubt.
Supplementary note to this chapter.
Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura's commentary to texts nine and ten of this chapter form a dialogue concerning how one can become free from all sinful reactions simply by chanting the holy name of the Lord.
Someone may say, "It may be accepted that by chanting the holy name of the Lord one becomes freed from all the reactions of sinful life. However, if one commits sinful acts in full consciousness, not only once but many, many times, he is unable to free himself from the reactions of such sins even after atoning for them for twelve years or more. How is it possible, then, that simply by once chanting the holy name of the Lord one immediately becomes freed from the reactions of such sins?"
Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura replies by quoting verses nine and ten of this chapter: "The chanting of the holy name of Lord Visnu is the best process of atonement for a thief of gold or other valuables, for a drunkard, for one who betrays a friend or relative, for one who kills a brahmana, or for one who indulges in sex with the wife of his guru or another superior. It is also the best method of atonement for one who murders women, the king or his father, for one who slaughters cows, and for all other sinful men. Simply by chanting the holy name of Lord Visnu, such sinful persons may attract the attention of the Supreme Lord, who therefore considers "Because this man has chanted My holy name, My duty is to give him protection.' "
One may atone for sinful life and vanquish all sinful reactions by chanting the holy name, although this is not called atonement. Ordinary atonement may temporarily protect a sinful person, but it does not completely cleanse his heart of the deep-rooted desire to commit sinful acts. Therefore atonement is not as powerful as the chanting of the holy name of the Lord. In the sastras it is said that if a person only once chants the holy name and completely surrenders unto the lotus feet of the Lord, the Lord immediately considers him His ward and is always inclined to give him protection. This is confirmed by Sridhara Svami. Thus when Ajamila was in great danger of being carried off by the order carriers of Yamaraja, the Lord immediately sent His personal order carriers to protect him, and because Ajamila was freed from all sinful reactions, the Visnudutas spoke on his behalf.
Ajamila had named his son Narayana, and because he loved the boy very much, he would call him again and again. Although he was calling for his son, the name itself was powerful because the name Narayana is not different from the Supreme Lord Narayana. When Ajamila named his son Narayana, all the reactions of his sinful life were neutralized, and as he continued calling his son and thus chanting the holy name of Narayana thousands of times, he was actually unconsciously advancing in Krsna consciousness.
One may argue, "Since he was constantly chanting the name of Narayana, how was it possible for him to be associating with a prostitute and thinking of wine?" By his sinful actions he was bringing suffering upon himself again and again, and therefore one may say that his ultimate chanting of Narayana was the cause of his being freed. However, his chanting would then have been a nama-aparadha. Namno balad yasya hi papa-buddhih: one who continues to act sinfully and tries to neutralize his sins by chanting the holy name of the Lord is a nama-aparadhi, an offender to the holy name. In response it may be said that Ajamila's chanting was inoffensive because he did not chant the name of Narayana with the purpose of counteracting his sins. He did not know that he was addicted to sinful actions, nor did he know that his chanting of the name of Narayana was neutralizing them. Thus he did not commit a nama-aparadha, and his repeated chanting of the holy name of Narayana while calling his son may be called pure chanting. Because of this pure chanting, Ajamila unconsciously accumulated the results of bhakti. Indeed, even his first utterance of the holy name was sufficient to nullify all the sinful reactions of his life. To cite a logical example, a fig tree does not immediately yield fruits, but in time the fruits are available. Similarly, Ajamila's devotional service grew little by little, and therefore although he committed very sinful acts, the reactions did not affect him. In the sastras it is said that if one chants the holy name of the Lord even once, the reactions of past, present or future sinful life do not affect him. To give another example, if one extracts the poison fangs of a serpent, this saves the serpent's future victims from poisonous effects, even if the serpent bites repeatedly. Similarly, if a devotee chants the holy name even once inoffensively, this protects him eternally. He need only wait for the results of the chanting to mature in due course of time.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the Sixth Canto, Second Chapter, of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, entitled "Ajamila Delivered by the Visnudutas."