Vrtrasura's Glorious Death
This chapter describes how Indra, the King of heaven, killed Vrtrasura despite great reluctance.
After Vrtrasura finished speaking, he released his trident against King Indra with great anger, but Indra, using his thunderbolt, which was many times more powerful than the trident, broke the trident to pieces and cut off one of Vrtrasura's arms. Nevertheless, Vrtrasura used his remaining arm to strike Indra with an iron mace, making the thunderbolt fall from Indra's hand. Indra, being very ashamed of this, did not pick up the thunderbolt from the ground, but Vrtrasura encouraged King Indra to pick it up and fight. Vrtrasura then spoke to King Indra as follows, instructing him very well.
"The Supreme Personality of Godhead," he said, "is the cause of victory and defeat. Not knowing that the Supreme Lord is the cause of all causes, fools and rascals try to take credit for victory or defeat themselves, but everything is actually under the control of the Lord. No one but Him has any independence. The purusa (the enjoyer) and prakrti (the enjoyed) are under the control of the Lord, for it is by His supervision that everything works systematically. Not seeing the hand of the Supreme in every action, a fool considers himself the ruler and controller of everything. When one understands, however, that the real controller is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he is freed from the relativities of the world, such as distress, happiness, fear and impurity." Thus Indra and Vrtrasura not only fought, but also engaged in philosophical discourses. Then they began to fight again.
This time Indra was more powerful, and he severed Vrtrasura's remaining arm. Vrtrasura then assumed a gigantic form and swallowed King Indra, but Indra, being protected by the talisman known as Narayana-kavaca, was able to protect himself even within Vrtrasura's body. Thus he emerged from Vrtrasura's abdomen and severed the demon's head from his body with his powerful thunderbolt. Severing the demon's head took one complete year to accomplish.
evam jihasur nrpa deham ajau
mrtyum varam vijayan manyamanah
sulam pragrhyabhyapatat surendram
yatha maha-purusam kaitabho 'psu
sri-rsih uvaca--Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said; evam--thus; jihasuh--very eager to give up; nrpa--O King Pariksit; deham--the body; ajau--in battle; mrtyum--death; varam--better; vijayat--than victory; manyamanah--thinking; sulam--trident; pragrhya--taking up; abhyapatat--attacked; sura-indram--the King of heaven, Indra; yatha--just as; maha-purusam--the Supreme Personality of Godhead; kaitabhah--the demon Kaitabha; apsu--when the whole universe was inundated.
Sukadeva Gosvami said: Desiring to give up his body, Vrtrasura considered death in the battle preferable to victory. O King Pariksit, he vigorously took up his trident and with great force attacked Lord Indra, the King of heaven, just as Kaitabha had forcefully attacked the Supreme Personality of Godhead when the universe was inundated.
Although Vrtrasura repeatedly encouraged Indra to kill him with the thunderbolt, King Indra was morose at having to kill such a great devotee and was hesitant to throw it. Vrtrasura, disappointed that King Indra was reluctant despite his encouragement, took the initiative very forcefully by throwing his trident at Indra. Vrtrasura was not at all interested in victory; he was interested in being killed so that he could immediately return home, back to Godhead. As confirmed in Bhagavad-gita (4.9), tyaktva deham punar janma naiti: after giving up his body, a devotee immediately returns to Lord Krsna and never returns to accept another body. This was Vrtrasura's interest.
avidhya sulam tarasasurendrah
ksiptva mahendraya vinadya viro
hato 'si papeti rusa jagada
tatah--thereafter; yuga-anta-agni--like the fire at the end of every millennium; kathora--sharp; jihvam--possessing points; avidhya--twirling; sulam--the trident; tarasa--with great force; asura-indrah--the great hero of the demons, Vrtrasura; ksiptva--throwing; maha-indraya--unto King Indra; vinadya--roaring; virah--the great hero (Vrtrasura); hatah--killed; asi--you are; papa--O sinful one; iti--thus; rusa--with great anger; jagada--be cried out.
Then Vrtrasura, the great hero of the demons, whirled his trident, which had points like the flames of the blazing fire at the end of the millennium. With great force and anger he threw it at Indra, roaring and exclaiming loudly, "O sinful one, thus shall I kill you!"
kha apatat tad vicalad graholkavan
niriksya duspreksyam ajata-viklavah
vajrena vajri sata-parvanacchinad
bhujam ca tasyoraga-raja-bhogam
khe--in the sky; apatat--flying toward him; tat--that trident; vicalat--rotating; graha-ulka-vat--like a falling star; niriksya--observing; duspreksyam--unbearable to see; ajata-viklavah--not afraid; vajrena--with the thunderbolt; vajri--Indra, the holder of the thunderbolt; sata-parvana--possessing one hundred joints; acchinat--cut; bhujam--the arm; ca--and; tasya--of him (Vrtrasura); uraga-raja--of the great serpent Vasuki; bhogam--like the body.
Flying in the sky, Vrtrasura's trident resembled a brilliant meteor. Although the blazing weapon was difficult to look upon, King Indra, unafraid, cut it to pieces with his thunderbolt. Simultaneously, he cut off one of Vrtrasura's arms, which was as thick as the body of Vasuki, the King of the serpents.
chinnaika-bahuh parighena vrtrah
samrabdha asadya grhita-vajram
hanau tatadendram athamarebham
vajram ca hastan nyapatan maghonah
chinna--cut off; eka--one; bahuh--whose arm; parighena--with a mace of iron; vrtrah--Vrtrasura; samrabdhah--being very angry; asadya--reaching; grhita--taking up; vajram--the thunderbolt; hanau--on the jaw; tatada--struck; indram--Lord Indra; atha--also; amara-ibham--his elephant; vajram--the thunderbolt; ca--and; hastat--from the hand; nyapatat--fell; maghonah--of King Indra.
Although one of his arms was severed from his body, Vrtrasura angrily approached King Indra and struck him on the jaw with an iron mace. He also struck the elephant that carried Indra. Thus Indra dropped the thunderbolt from his hand.
vrtrasya karmati-mahadbhutam tat
apujayams tat puruhuta-sankatam
niriksya ha heti vicukrusur bhrsam
vrtrasya--of Vrtrasura; karma--the accomplishment; ati--very; maha--greatly; adbhutam--wonderful; tat--that; sura--the demigods; asurah--and the demons; carana--the Caranas; siddha-sanghah--and the society of Siddhas; apujayan--glorified; tat--that; puruhuta-sankatam--the dangerous position of Indra; niriksya--seeing; ha ha--alas, alas; iti--thus; vicukrusuh--lamented; bhrsam--very much.
The denizens of various planets, like the demigods, demons, Caranas and Siddhas, praised Vrtrasura's deed, but when they observed that Indra was in great danger, they lamented, "Alas! Alas!"
indro na vajram jagrhe vilajjitas
cyutam sva-hastad ari-sannidhau punah
tam aha vrtro hara atta-vajro
jahi sva-satrum na visada-kalah
indrah--King Indra; na--not; vajram--the thunderbolt; jagrhe--took up; vilajjitah--being ashamed; cyutam--fallen; sva-hastat--from his own hand; ari-sannidhau--in front of his enemy; punah--again; tam--unto him; aha--said; vrtrah--Vrtrasura; hare--O Indra; atta-vajrah--taking up your thunderbolt; jahi--kill; sva-satrum--your enemy; na--not; visada-kalah--the time for lamentation.
Having dropped the thunderbolt from his hand in the presence of his enemy, Indra was practically defeated and was very much ashamed. He dared not pick up his weapon again. Vrtrasura, however, encouraged him, saying, "Take up your thunderbolt and kill your enemy. This is not the time to lament your fate."
yuyutsatam kutracid atatayinam
jayah sadaikatra na vai paratmanam
sarvajnam adyam purusam sanatanam
yuyutsatam--of those who are belligerent; kutracit--sometimes; atatayinam--armed with weapons; jayah--victory; sada--always; ekatra--in one place; na--not; vai--indeed; para-atmanam--of the subordinate living entities, who work only under the direction of the Supersoul; vina--except; ekam--one; utpatti--of the creation; laya--annihilation; sthiti--and maintenance; isvaram--the controller; sarva-jnam--who knows everything (past, present and future); adyam--the original; purusam--enjoyer; sanatanam--eternal.
Vrtrasura continued: O Indra, no one is guaranteed of being always victorious but the original enjoyer, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Bhagavan. He is the cause of creation, maintenance and annihilation, and He knows everything. Being dependent and being obliged to accept material bodies, belligerent subordinates are sometimes victorious and sometimes defeated.
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." When two parties fight, the fighting actually goes on under the direction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is Paramatma, the Supersoul. Elsewhere in the Gita (3.27) the Lord says:
gunaih karmani sarvasah
kartaham iti manyate
"The bewildered spirit soul, under the influence of the three modes of material nature, thinks himself the doer of activities that are in actuality carried out by nature." The living entities work only under the direction of the Supreme Lord. The Lord gives orders to material nature, and she arranges facilities for the living entities. The living entities are not independent, although they foolishly think themselves the doers (karta).
Victory is always with the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As for the subordinate living entities, they fight under the arrangement of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Victory or defeat is not actually theirs; it is an arrangement by the Lord through the agency of material nature. Pride in victory, or moroseness in defeat, is useless. One should fully depend on the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is responsible for the victory and defeat of all living entities. The Lord advises, niyatam kuru karma tvam karma jyayo hy akarmanah: "Perform your prescribed duty, for action is better than inaction." The living entity is ordered to act according to his position. Victory or defeat depends on the Supreme Lord. Karmany evadhikaras te ma phalesu kadacana: "You have a right to perform your prescribed duty, but you are not entitled to the fruits of actions." One must act sincerely, according to his position. Victory or defeat depends on the Lord.
Vrtrasura encouraged Indra, saying, "Don't be morose because of my victory. There is no need to stop fighting. Instead, you should go on with your duty. When Krsna desires, you will certainly be victorious." This verse is very instructive for sincere workers in the Krsna consciousness movement. We should not be jubilant in victory or morose in defeat. We should make a sincere effort to implement the will of Krsna, or Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu, and we should not be concerned with victory and defeat. Our only duty is to work sincerely, so that our activities may be recognized by Krsna.
lokah sapala yasyeme
svasanti vivasa vase
dvija iva sica baddhah
sa kala iha karanam
lokah--the worlds; sa-palah--with their chief deities or controllers; yasya--of whom; ime--all these; svasanti--live; vivasah--fully dependent; vase--under the control; dvijah--birds; iva--like; sica--by a net; baddhah--bound; sah--that; kalah--time factor; iha--in this; karanam--the cause.
All living beings in all the planets of this universe, including the presiding deities of all the planets, are fully under the control of the Lord. They work like birds caught in a net, who cannot move independently.
The difference between the suras and the asuras is that the suras know that nothing can happen without the desire of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whereas the asuras cannot understand the supreme will of the Lord. In this fight, Vrtrasura is actually the sura, whereas Indra is the asura. No one can act independently; rather, everyone acts under the direction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore victory and defeat come according to the results of one's karma, and the judgment is given by the Supreme Lord (karmana-daiva-netrena). Since we act under the control of the Supreme according to our karma, no one is independent, from Brahma down to the insignificant ant. Whether we are defeated or victorious, the Supreme Lord is always victorious because everyone acts under His directions.
ojah saho balam pranam
amrtam mrtyum eva ca
tam ajnaya jano hetum
atmanam manyate jadam
ojah--the strength of the senses; sahah--the strength of the mind; balam--the strength of the body; pranam--the living condition; amrtam--immortality; mrtyum--death; eva--indeed; ca--also; tam--Him (the Supreme Lord); ajnaya--without knowing; janah--a foolish person; hetum--the cause; atmanam--the body; manyate--considers; jadam--although as good as stone.
Our sensory prowess, mental power, bodily strength, living force, immortality and mortality are all subject to the superintendence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Not knowing this, foolish people think the dull material body to be the cause of their activities.
yatha darumayi nari
yatha patramayo mrgah
evam bhutani maghavann
isa-tantrani viddhi bhoh
yatha--just as; daru-mayi--made of wood; nari--a woman; yatha--just as; patra-mayah--made of leaves; mrgah--an animal; evam--thus; bhutani--all things; maghavan--O King Indra; isa--the Supreme Personality of Godhead; tantrani--depending upon; viddhi--please know; bhoh--O sir.
O King Indra, as a wooden doll that looks like a woman or as an animal made of grass and leaves cannot move or dance independently, but depends fully on the person who handles it, all of us dance according to the desire of the supreme controller, the Personality of Godhead. No one is independent.
This is confirmed in Caitanya-caritamrta (Adi 5.142):
ekale isvara krsna, ara saba bhrtya
yare yaiche nacaya, se taiche kare nrtya
"Lord Krsna alone is the supreme controller, and all others are His servants. They dance as He makes them do so." We are all servants of Krsna; we have no independence. We are dancing according to the desire of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but out of ignorance and illusion we think we are independent of the supreme will. Therefore it is said:
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." (Brahma-samhita 5.1)
purusah prakrtir vyaktam
saknuvanty asya sargadau
na vina yad-anugrahat
purusah--the generator of the total material energy; prakrtih--the material energy or material nature; vyaktam--the principles of manifestation (mahat-tattva); atma--the false ego; bhuta--the five material elements; indriya--the ten senses; asayah--the mind, intelligence and consciousness; saknuvanti--are able; asya--of this universe; sarga-adau--in the creation, etc.; na--not; vina--without; yat--of whom; anugrahat--the mercy.
The three purusas--Karanodakasayi Visnu, Garbhodakasayi Visnu and Ksirodakasayi-Visnu--the material nature, the total material energy, the false ego, the five material elements, the material senses, the mind, the intelligence and consciousness cannot create the material manifestation without the direction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
As confirmed in the Visnu Purana, parasya brahmanah saktis tathedam akhilam jagat: whatever manifestations we experience are nothing but various energies of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. These energies cannot create anything independently. This is also confirmed by the Lord Himself in Bhagavad-gita (9.10): mayadhyaksena prakrtih suyate sa-caracaram. "This material nature is working under My direction, O son of Kunti, and it is producing all moving and unmoving living beings." Only under the direction of the Lord, the Supreme Person, can prakrti, which is manifested in twenty-four elements, create different situations for the living entity. In the Vedas the Lord says:
madiyam mahimanam ca
vetsyasy anugrhitam me
samprasnair vivrtam hrdi
"Since everything is a manifestation of My energy, I am known as Parabrahman. Therefore everyone should hear from Me about My glorious activities." The Lord also says in Bhagavad-gita (10.2), aham adir hi devanam: "I am the origin of all the demigods." Therefore the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the origin of everything, and no one is independent of Him. Srila Madhvacarya also says, anisa jiva-rupena: the living entity is anisa, never the controller, but is always controlled. Therefore when a living entity becomes proud of being an independent isvara, or god, that is his foolishness. Such foolishness is described in the following verse.
avidvan evam atmanam
manyate 'nisam isvaram
bhutaih srjati bhutani
grasate tani taih svayam
avidvan--one who is foolish, without knowledge; evam--thus; atmanam--himself; manyate--considers; anisam--although totally dependent on others; isvaram--as the supreme controller, independent; bhutaih--by the living entities; srjati--He (the Lord) creates; bhutani--other living entities; grasate--He devours; tani--them; taih--by other living beings; svayam--Himself.
A foolish, senseless person cannot understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Although always dependent, he falsely thinks himself the Supreme. If one thinks, "According to one's previous fruitive actions, one's material body is created by the father and mother, and the same body is annihilated by another agent, as another animal is devoured by a tiger," this is not proper understanding. The Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself creates and devours the living beings through other living beings.
According to the conclusion of the philosophy known as karma-mimamsa, one's karma, or previous fruitive activity, is the cause of everything, and therefore there is no need to work. Those who arrive at this conclusion are foolish. When a father creates a child, he does not do so independently; he is induced to do so by the Supreme Lord. As the Lord Himself says in Bhagavad-gita (15.15), sarvasya caham hrdi sannivisto mattah smrtir jnanam apohanam ca: "I am in everyone's heart, and from Me come remembrance, knowledge and forgetfulness." Unless one receives dictation from the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who sits within everyone's heart, one cannot be induced to create anything. Therefore the father and mother are not the creators of the living entity. According to the living entity's karma, fruitive activities, he is put into the semen of the father, who injects the living entity into the womb of the mother. Then according to the body of the mother and father (yatha-yoni yatha-bijam), the living entity accepts a body and takes birth to suffer or enjoy. Therefore the Supreme Lord is the original cause of one's birth. Similarly, the Supreme Lord is the cause of one's being killed. No one is independent; everyone is dependent. The true conclusion is that the only independent person is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
ayuh srih kirtir aisvaryam
asisah purusasya yah
bhavanty eva hi tat-kale
ayuh--longevity; srih--opulence; kirtih--fame; aisvaryam--power; asisah--benedictions; purusasya--of the living entity; yah--which; bhavanti--arise; eva--indeed; hi--certainly; tat-kale--at that proper time; yatha--just as; anicchoh--of one not desiring; viparyayah--reverse conditions.
Just as a person not inclined to die must nonetheless give up his longevity, opulence, fame and everything else at the time of death, so, at the appointed time of victory, one can gain all these when the Supreme Lord awards them by His mercy.
It is not good to be falsely puffed up, saying that by one's own effort one has become opulent, learned, beautiful and so on. All such good fortune is achieved through the mercy of the Lord. From another point of view, no one wants to die, and no one wants to be poor or ugly. Therefore, why does the living entity, against his will, receive such unwanted troubles? It is due to the mercy or chastisement of the Supreme Personality of Godhead that one gains or loses everything material. No one is independent; everyone is dependent on the mercy or chastisement of the Supreme Lord. There is a common saying in Bengal that the Lord has ten hands. This means that He has control everywhere--in the eight directions and up and down. If He wants to take everything away from us with His ten hands, we cannot protect anything with our two hands. Similarly, if He wants to bestow benedictions upon us with His ten hands, we cannot factually receive them all with our two hands; in other words, the benedictions exceed our ambitions. The conclusion is that even though we do not wish to be separated from our possessions, sometimes the Lord forcibly takes them from us; and sometimes He showers such benedictions upon us that we are unable to receive them all. Therefore either in opulence or in distress we are not independent; everything is dependent on the sweet will of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
samah syat sukha-duhkhabhyam
tasmat--therefore (because of being fully dependent on the pleasure of the Supreme Personality of Godhead); akirti--of defamation; yasasoh--and fame; jaya--of victory; apajayayoh--and defeat; api--even; samah--equal; syat--one should be; sukha-duhkhabhyam--with the distress and happiness; mrtyu--of death; jivitayoh--or of living; tatha--as well as.
Since everything is dependent on the supreme will of the Personality of Godhead, one should be equipoised in fame and defamation, victory and defeat, life and death. In their effects, represented as happiness and distress, one should maintain oneself in equilibrium, without anxiety.
sattvam rajas tama iti
prakrter natmano gunah
tatra saksinam atmanam
yo veda sa na badhyate
sattvam--the mode of goodness; rajah--the mode of passion; tamah--the mode of ignorance; iti--thus; prakrteh--of the material nature; na--not; atmanah--of the spirit soul; gunah--the qualities; tatra--in such a position; saksinam--an observer; atmanam--the self; yah--anyone who; veda--knows; sah--he; na--not; badhyate--is bound.
One who knows that the three qualities--goodness, passion and ignorance--are not qualities of the soul but qualities of material nature, and who knows that the pure soul is simply an observer of the actions and reactions of these qualities, should be understood to be a liberated person. He is not bound by these qualities.
As the Lord explains in Bhagavad-gita (18.54):
na socati na kanksati
samah sarvesu bhutesu
mad-bhaktim labhate param
"One who is transcendentally situated at once realizes the Supreme Brahman and becomes fully joyful. He never laments or desires to have anything; he is equally disposed to every living entity. In that state he attains pure devotional service unto Me." When one attains self-realization, the brahma-bhuta stage, one knows that whatever happens during his life is due to the contamination of the modes of material nature. The living being, the pure soul, has nothing to do with these modes. In the midst of the hurricane of the material world, everything changes very quickly, but if one remains silent and simply observes the actions and reactions of the hurricane, he is understood to be liberated. The real qualification of the liberated soul is that he remains Krsna conscious, undisturbed by the actions and reactions of the material energy. Such a liberated person is always jubilant. He never laments or aspires for anything. Since everything is supplied by the Supreme Lord, the living entity, being fully dependent on Him, should not protest or accept anything in terms of his personal sense gratification; rather, he should receive everything as the mercy of the Lord and remain steady in all circumstances.
pasya mam nirjitam satru
pasya--look; mam--at me; nirjitam--already defeated; satru--O enemy; vrkna--cut off; ayudha--my weapon; bhujam--and my arm; mrdhe--in this fight; ghatamanam--still trying; yatha-sakti--according to my ability; tava--of you; prana--the life; jihirsaya--with the desire to take away.
O my enemy, just look at me. I have already been defeated, for my weapon and arm have been cut to pieces. You have already overwhelmed me, but nonetheless, with a desire to kill you, I am trying my best to fight. I am not at all morose, even under such adverse conditions. Therefore you should give up your moroseness and continue fighting.
Vrtrasura was so great and powerful that in effect he was acting as the spiritual master of Indra. Although Vrtrasura was on the verge of defeat, he was not at all affected. He knew that he was going to be defeated by Indra, and he voluntarily accepted that, but since he was supposed to be Indra's enemy, he tried his best to kill Indra. Thus he performed his duty. One should perform his duty under all circumstances, even though one may know what the result will be.
prana-glaho 'yam samara
atra na jnayate 'musya
jayo 'musya parajayah
prana-glahah--life is the stake; ayam--this; samarah--battle; isu-aksah--the arrows are the dice; vahana-asanah--the carriers such as the horses and elephants are the game board; atra--here (in this gambling match); na--not; jnayate--is known; amusya--of that one; jayah--victory; amusya--of that one; parajayah--defeat.
O my enemy, consider this battle a gambling match in which our lives are the stakes, the arrows are the dice, and the animals acting as carriers are the game board. No one can understand who will be defeated and who will be victorious. It all depends on providence.
indro vrtra-vacah srutva
tam aha gata-vismayah
sri-sukah uvaca--Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said; indrah--King Indra; vrtra-vacah--the words of Vrtrasura; srutva--hearing; gata-alikam--without duplicity; apujayat--worshiped; grhita-vajrah--taking up the thunderbolt; prahasan--smiling; tam--unto Vrtrasura; aha--said; gata-vismayah--giving up his wonder.
Sukadeva Gosvami said: Hearing the straightforward, instructive words of Vrtrasura, King Indra praised him and again took the thunderbolt in his hand. Without bewilderment or duplicity, he then smiled and spoke to Vrtrasura as follows.
King Indra, the greatest of the demigods, was astonished to hear the instructions of Vrtrasura, who was supposed to be a demon. He was struck with wonder that a demon could speak so intelligently. Then he remembered great devotees like Prahlada Maharaja and Bali Maharaja, who had been born in the families of demons, and thus he came to his senses. Even so-called demons sometimes have exalted devotion for the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Therefore Indra smiled reassuringly at Vrtrasura.
aho danava siddho 'si
yasya te matir idrsi
indrah uvaca--Indra said; aho--hello; danava--O demon; siddhah asi--you are now perfect; yasya--whose; te--your; matih--consciousness; idrsi--such as this; bhaktah--a great devotee; sarva-atmana--without diversion; atmanam--to the Supersoul; suhrdam--the greatest friend; jagat-isvaram--to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Indra said: O great demon, I see by your discrimination and endurance in devotional service, despite your dangerous position, that you are a perfect devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Supersoul and friend of everyone.
As stated in Bhagavad-gita (6.22):
yam labdhva caparam labham
manyate nadhikam tatah
yasmin sthito na duhkhena
"Established in Krsna consciousness, one never departs from the truth, and upon gaining this he thinks there is no greater gain. Being situated in such a position, one is never shaken, even in the midst of the greatest difficulty." An unalloyed devotee is never disturbed by any kind of trying circumstance. Indra was surprised to see that Vrtrasura, undisturbed, was fixed in devotional service to the Lord, for such a mentality is impossible for a demon. However, by the grace of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, anyone can become an exalted devotee (striyo vaisyas tatha sudras te 'pi yanti param gatim). An unalloyed devotee is sure to return home, back to Godhead.
bhavan atarsin mayam vai
yad vihayasuram bhavam
bhavan--your good self; atarsit--has surmounted; mayam--the illusory energy; vai--indeed; vaisnavim--of Lord Visnu; jana-mohinim--which deludes the mass of people; yat--since; vihaya--giving up; asuram--of the demons; bhavam--the mentality; maha-purusatam--the position of an exalted devotee; gatah--obtained.
You have surmounted the illusory energy of Lord Visnu, and because of this liberation, you have given up the demoniac mentality and have attained the position of an exalted devotee.
Lord Visnu is the maha-purusa. Therefore one who becomes a Vaisnava attains the position of a maha-paurusya. This position was attained by Maharaja Pariksit. It is said in the Padma Purana that the distinction between a demigod and a demon is that a demigod is a devotee of Lord Visnu whereas a demon is just the opposite: visnu-bhaktah smrto daiva asuras tad-viparyayah. Vrtrasura was considered a demon, but actually he was more than qualified as a devotee, or maha-paurusya. If one somehow becomes a devotee of the Supreme Lord, whatever his position, he can be brought to the position of a perfect person. This is possible if an unalloyed devotee tries to serve the Lord by delivering him in this way. Therefore Sukadeva Gosvami says in Srimad-Bhagavatam (2.4.18):
abhira-sumbha yavanah khasadayah
ye 'nye ca papa yad-apasrayasrayah
sudhyanti tasmai prabhavisnave namah
"Kiratas, Hunas, Andhras, Pulindas, Pulkasas, Abhiras, Sumbhas, Yavanas and members of the Khasa races, and even others addicted to sinful acts can be purified by taking shelter of the devotees of the Lord, for He is the supreme power. I beg to offer my respectful obeisances unto Him." Anyone can be purified if he takes shelter of a pure devotee and molds his character according to the pure devotee's direction. Then, even if one is a Kirata, Andhra, Pulinda or whatever, he can be purified and elevated to the position of a maha-paurusya.
khalv idam mahad ascaryam
yad rajah-prakrtes tava
sattvatmani drdha matih
khalu--indeed; idam--this; mahat ascaryam--great wonder; yat--which; rajah--influenced by the mode of passion; prakrteh--whose nature; tava--of you; vasudeve--in Lord Krsna; bhagavati--the Supreme Personality of Godhead; sattva-atmani--who is situated in pure goodness; drdha--firm; matih--consciousness.
O Vrtrasura, demons are generally conducted by the mode of passion. Therefore, what a great wonder it is that although you are a demon, you have adopted the mentality of a devotee and have fixed your mind on the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vasudeva, who is always situated in pure goodness.
King Indra wondered how Vrtrasura could have been elevated to the position of an exalted devotee. As for Prahlada Maharaja, he was initiated by Narada Muni, and therefore it was possible for him to become a great devotee, although he was born in a family of demons. For Vrtrasura, however, Indra could not detect such causes. Therefore he was struck with wonder that Vrtrasura was such an exalted devotee that he could fix his mind without deviation upon the lotus feet of Lord Krsna, Vasudeva.
yasya bhaktir bhagavati
kim ksudraih khatakodakaih
yasya--of whom; bhaktih--devotional service; bhagavati--to the Supreme Personality of Godhead; harau--Lord Hari; nihsreyasa-isvare--the controller of the supreme perfection of life, or supreme liberation; vikridatah--swimming or playing; amrta-ambhodhau--in the ocean of nectar; kim--what is the use; ksudraih--with small; khataka-udakaih--ditches of water.
A person fixed in the devotional service of the Supreme Lord, Hari, the Lord of the highest auspiciousness, swims in the ocean of nectar. For him what is the use of the water in small ditches?
Vrtrasura has formerly prayed (Bhag. 6.11.25), na naka-prstham na ca paramesthyam na sama-bhaumam na rasadhipatyam. "I do not want the facilities for happiness on Brahmaloka, Svargaloka or even Dhruvaloka, not to speak of this earth or the lower planets. I simply want to return home, back to Godhead." This is the determination of a pure devotee. A pure devotee is never attracted to any exalted position within this material world. He simply wants to associate with the Supreme Personality of Godhead like the inhabitants of Vrndavana--Srimati Radharani, the gopis, Krsna's father and mother (Nanda Maharaja and Yasoda), Krsna's friends and Krsna's servants. He wants to associate with Krsna's atmosphere of Vrndavana's beauty. These are the highest ambitions of a devotee of Krsna. Devotees of Lord Visnu may aspire for a position in Vaikunthaloka, but a devotee of Krsna never aspires even for the facilities of Vaikuntha; he wants to return to Goloka Vrndavana and associate with Lord Krsna in His eternal pastimes. Any material happiness is like water in a ditch, whereas the spiritual happiness eternally enjoyed in the spiritual world is like an ocean of nectar in which a devotee wants to swim.
iti bruvanav anyonyam
indra-vrtrau yudham pati
sri-sukah uvaca--Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said; iti--thus; bruvanau--speaking; anyonyam--to one another; dharma-jijnasaya--with a desire to know the supreme, ultimate religious principle (devotional service); nrpa--O King; yuyudhate--fought; maha-viryau--both very powerful; indra--King Indra; vrtrau--and Vrtrasura; yudham pati--both great military commanders.
Sri Sukadeva Gosvami said: Vrtrasura and King Indra spoke about devotional service even on the battlefield, and then as a matter of duty they again began fighting. My dear King, both of them were great fighters and were equally powerful.
avidhya parigham vrtrah
indraya prahinod ghoram
avidhya--whirling; parigham--the club; vrtrah--Vrtrasura; karsna-ayasam--made of iron; arim-damah--who was competent to subdue his enemy; indraya--at Indra; prahinot--threw; ghoram--very fearful; vama-hastena--with his left hand; marisa--O best of kings, Maharaja Pariksit.
O Maharaja Pariksit, Vrtrasura, who was completely able to subdue his enemy, took his iron club, whirled it around, aimed it at Indra and then threw it at him with his left hand.
sa tu vrtrasya parigham
karam ca karabhopamam
ciccheda yugapad devo
sah--he (King Indra); tu--however; vrtrasya--of Vrtrasura; parigham--the iron club; karam--his hand; ca--and; karabha-upamam--as strong as the trunk of an elephant; ciccheda--cut to pieces; yugapat--simultaneously; devah--Lord Indra; vajrena--with the thunderbolt; sata-parvana--having one hundred joints.
With his thunderbolt named Sataparvan, Indra simultaneously cut to pieces Vrtrasura's club and his remaining hand.
babhau rakta-sravo 'surah
chinna-pakso yatha gotrah
khad bhrasto vajrina hatah
dorbhyam--from the two arms; utkrtta-mulabhyam--cut from the very root; babhau--was; rakta-sravah--profusely discharging blood; asurah--Vrtrasura; chinna-paksah--whose wings are cut; yatha--just as; gotrah--a mountain; khat--from the sky; bhrastah--falling; vajrina--by Indra, the carrier of the thunderbolt; hatah--struck.
Vrtrasura, bleeding profusely, his two arms cut off at their roots, looked very beautiful, like a flying mountain whose wings have been cut to pieces by Indra.
It appears from the statement of this verse that sometimes there are flying mountains and that their wings are cut by the thunderbolt of Indra. Vrtrasura's huge body resembled such a mountain.
maha-sarpa iva dvipam
krtvadharam hanum bhumau
daityo divy uttaram hanum
grasann iva jagat-trayam
aksipams tarasa girin
padbhyam nirjarayan mahim
jagrasa sa samasadya
maha-pranah--very great in bodily strength; maha-viryah--showing uncommon prowess; maha-sarpah--the biggest snake; iva--like; dvipam--an elephant; krtva--placing; adharam--the lower; hanum--jaw; bhumau--on the ground; daityah--the demon; divi--in the sky; uttaram hanum--the upper jaw; nabhah--like the sky; gambhira--deep; vaktrena--with his mouth; leliha--like a snake; ulbana--fearful; jihvaya--with a tongue; damstrabhih--with teeth; kala-kalpabhih--exactly like the time factor, or death; grasan--devouring; iva--as if; jagat-trayam--the three worlds; ati-matra--very high; maha-kayah--whose great body; aksipan--shaking; tarasa--with great force; girin--the mountains; giri-rat--the Himalaya Mountains; pada-cari--moving on foot; iva--as if; padbhyam--by his feet; nirjarayan--crushing; mahim--the surface of the world; jagrasa--swallowed; sah--he; samasadya--reaching; vajrinam--Indra, who carries the thunderbolt; saha-vahanam--with his carrier, the elephant.
Vrtrasura was very powerful in physical strength and influence. He placed his lower jaw on the ground and his upper jaw in the sky. His mouth became very deep, like the sky itself, and his tongue resembled a large serpent. With his fearful, deathlike teeth, he seemed to be trying to devour the entire universe. Thus assuming a gigantic body, the great demon Vrtrasura shook even the mountains and began crushing the surface of the earth with his legs, as if he were the Himalayas walking about. He came before Indra and swallowed him and Airavata, his carrier, just as a big python might swallow an elephant.
vrtra-grastam tam alokya
ha kastam iti nirvinnas
vrtra-grastam--swallowed by Vrtrasura; tam--him (Indra); alokya--seeing; sa-prajapatayah--with Lord Brahma and other prajapatis; surah--all the demigods; ha--alas; kastam--what a tribulation; iti--thus; nirvinnah--being very morose; cukrusuh--lamented; sa-maha-rsayah--with the great sages.
When the demigods, along with Brahma, other prajapatis and other great saintly persons, saw that Indra had been swallowed by the demon, they became very morose. "Alas," they lamented. "What a calamity ! What a calamity !"
nigirno 'py asurendrena
na mamarodaram gatah
nigirnah--swallowed; api--although; asura-indrena--by the best of the demons, Vrtrasura; na--not; mamara--died; udaram--the abdomen; gatah--reaching; maha-purusa--by the armor of the Supreme Lord, Narayana; sannaddhah--being protected; yoga-maya-balena--by the mystic power that Indra himself possessed; ca--also.
The protective armor of Narayana, which Indra possessed, was identical with Narayana Himself, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Protected by that armor and by his own mystic power, King Indra, although swallowed by Vrtrasura, did not die within the demon's belly.
bhittva vajrena tat-kuksim
niskramya bala-bhid vibhuh
uccakarta sirah satror
bhittva--piercing; vajrena--by the thunderbolt; tat-kuksim--the abdomen of Vrtrasura; niskramya--getting out; bala-bhit--the slayer of the demon Bala; vibhuh--the powerful Lord Indra; uccakarta--cut off; sirah--the head; satroh--of the enemy; giri-srngam--the peak of a mountain; iva--like; ojasa--with great force.
With his thunderbolt, King Indra, who was also extremely powerful, pierced through Vrtrasura's abdomen and came out. Indra, the killer of the demon Bala, then immediately cut off Vrtrasura's head, which was as high as the peak of a mountain.
vajras tu tat-kandharam asu-vegah
krntan samantat parivartamanah
nyapatayat tavad ahar-ganena
yo jyotisam ayane vartra-hatye
vajrah--the thunderbolt; tu--but; tat-kandharam--his neck; asu-vegah--although very fast; krntan--cutting; samantat--all around; parivartamanah--revolving; nyapatayat--caused to fall; tavat--so many; ahah-ganena--by days; yah--which; jyotisam--of the luminaries like the sun and moon; ayane--in moving to both sides of the equator; vartra-hatye--at the time suitable for killing Vrtrasura.
Although the thunderbolt revolved around Vrtrasura's neck with great speed, separating his head from his body took one complete year--360 days, the time in which the sun, moon and other luminaries complete a northern and southern journey. Then, at the suitable time for Vrtrasura to be killed, his head fell to the ground.
tada ca khe dundubhayo vinedur
vartra-ghna-lingais tam abhistuvana
mantrair muda kusumair abhyavarsan
tada--at that time; ca--also; khe--in the higher planetary systems in the sky; dundubhayah--the kettledrums; vineduh--sounded; gandharva--the Gandharvas; siddhah--and the Siddhas; sa-maharsi-sanghah--with the assembly of saintly persons; vartra-ghna-lingaih--celebrating the prowess of the killer of Vrtrasura; tam--him (Indra); abhistuvanah--praising; mantraih--by various mantras; muda--with great pleasure; kusumaih--with flowers; abhyavarsan--showered.
When Vrtrasura was killed, the Gandharvas and Siddhas in the heavenly planets beat kettledrums in jubilation. With Vedic hymns they celebrated the prowess of Indra, the killer of Vrtrasura, praising Indra and showering flowers upon him with great pleasure.
vrtrasya dehan niskrantam
vrtrasya--of Vrtrasura; dehat--from the body; niskrantam--coming out; atma-jyotih--the spirit soul, which was as brilliant as the effulgence of Brahman; arim-dama--O King Pariksit, subduer of enemies; pasyatam--were watching; sarva-devanam--while all the demigods; alokam--the supreme abode, filled with the Brahman effulgence; samapadyata--achieved.
O King Pariksit, subduer of enemies, the living spark then came forth from Vrtrasura's body and returned home, back to Godhead. While all the demigods looked on, he entered the transcendental world to become an associate of Lord Sankarsana.
Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti Thakura explains that Indra, not Vrtrasura, was actually killed. He says that when Vrtrasura swallowed King Indra and his carrier, the elephant, he thought, "Now I have killed Indra, and therefore there is no more need of fighting. Now let me return home, back to Godhead." Thus he stopped all his bodily activities and became situated in trance. Taking advantage of the silence of Vrtrasura's body, Indra pierced the demon's abdomen, and because of Vrtrasura's trance, Indra was able to come out. Now, Vrtrasura was in yoga-samadhi, and therefore although King Indra wanted to cut his days to cut it to pieces. Actually it was the body left by Vrtrasura that was cut to pieces by Indra; Vrtrasura himself was not killed. In his original consciousness, Vrtrasura returned home, back to Godhead, to become an associate of Lord Sankarsana. Here the word alokam means the transcendental world, Vaikunthaloka, where Sankarsana eternally resides.
Thus end the Bhaktivedanta purports of the Sixth Canto, Twelfth Chapter, of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, entitled "Vrtrasura's Glorious Death."