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This Khanda begins with a story that took place in a previous kalpa, or millenium, at Dvaraka. There, lived a great devtoee of Lord Vishnu named Shivasharman. He had five sons, who were all greatly devoted to him. Understanding this, Shivasharman thought, "These intelligent boys do not have the understanding that human life is meant for self-realization, and not simply for family attachment."
Thus, Shivasharman, who possessed all mystic powers, conceived of a plan. The brahmana made it seem as if his wife had died of a high fever. Upon seeing their supposedly dead mother, the boys lamented, "Dear father, she who had nourished us within her womb has left aside her body and gone to heaven. What can we do?Shivasharma told his eldest son, Yajnasharman, "With this very sharp weapon, cut off her limbs and throw them here and there.This son did as he was told and then returned to his father, saying, "I have accomplished everything that you have ordered. Now, give me something else to do. I will accomplish whatever you ask of me, even if it is very difficult."Shivasharman then called his second son, Vedasharman, and said, "Being lusty by nature, I cannot remain without a woman by my side." With his mystic powers, Shivasharman showed his son the woman he desired, and then said, "Bring her to me."The boy replied, "I shall do it" and then went to where that woman was staying. He said, "Excellent lady, my father, being tormented by love, seeks your company. Please comply.The woman, who had been created by Shivasharman's mystic power, answered, "I do not at all desire the companionship of your father because he is old, feeble and diseased. Instead, my dear, I would like to enjoy with you. Rest assured that I will do whatever pleases you. You are so handsome, strong and virtuous. What is the use of your old father? Your real benefit will be gained by enjoying my body!"Upon hearing these words, which he found to be disagreeable and wicked, Vedasharman replied, "Respectable lady, your words are im¬proper and sinful. Do not speak like this to me, for I am devoted to my father and I am innocent. Just do as I say and come to see my father. If you do so, I shall give you whatever you desire, within the three worlds."The woman said, "If you are really capable of doing this, then show me today the demigods, headed by Indra. 1 want to see what powers you possess."Vedasharman announced, "Just see the prowess of my penance! Being invited by me, Indra and the demigods have arrived!"The demigods said, "O brahmana, what shall we do? What is your desire?"
Vedasharman said, "If you are pleased with me and inclined to favor me, then award me pure devotion to my father.Saying, "So be it", the demigods departed. The woman then ad¬mitted, "I have witnessed your power of penance. But, I have nothing to do with the devas. If you want me to go to your father, then give me what I desire. Cut off your head with your own hands and give it to
me.Vedasharman then cut off his head and, while laughing, presented it to the woman. Covered with blood, she took it to Shivasharman and said, "Your son, Vedasharman has cut off his own head. Take it, for it is for your sake that he has done this. Now, you can enjoy me as you like."Upon witnessing this ghastly and bold act of their brother, the other sons of Shivasharman trembled and said amonst themselves, "First, our mother died. Now, for the sake of our father, our brother has died by cutting off his own head!"Upon hearing this, Shivasharman told his son, Devasharman,"Take this head."Devasharman took the head and departed, and later on, by the power of his devotion to his father, he was able to call Yamaraja. Yama asked, "Why did you summon me? Tell me and I shall acommplish yourtask without fail."Dharmasharman replied, "If I have truly served my elders with devotion, then let my brother, Vedasharman, be restored to life."Dharmaraja said, "Because of your truthfulness, your purity and your devotion, your brother's life will be restored. In addition, please take another benediction from me, for I am very pleased with you."Dharmasharman replied, "Pleae give me steady devotion to my father, as well as an attraction for piety and salvation."Yamaraja said, "All this will take place."As soon as this was said, Vedasharman rose from the dead, as if awakening from a long sleep, and said, "My dear brother, where has that woman gone? And, where is our father?"Thereafter, both brothers returned to their father. Devasharman then informed his father about how Vedasharman had been brought back to life. Being delighted, Shivasharman said to another son, Vishnusharman, "Child, please do as I say. Today, go to heaven and bring nectar. I will now stay with this woman, for she desires me. Bring the nectar quickly, for it will restore my health. Without it, this woman may leave me for another."Vishnusharman replied, "I shall do as you ask."Thereafter, Vishnusharman entered heaven. Indra saw him and knew of his purpose, and so he decided to put an obstacle in his path. He told the Apsara, Menaka, "Distract this young brahmana so that he will not come to my palace."
Menaka then went and sat on a swing in Indra's garden, and she began to sing. Vishnusharman could understand Indra's intentions, and so he quickly went to see him. As he approached the palace, Menaka asked him, "O highly intelligent one, where are you going?"Vishnusharman replied, "Carrying out the order of my father, I have come to see the King of heaven."Menaka said, "Being pierced by Cupid's arrows, I am taking shel¬ter of you. Upon seeing you, my mind has become overwhelmed by the passion of love. Indeed, I am tormented by love, please favor me."Vishnusharman said, "You possess a very beautiful face, but I know your character very well. I am not one such as Vishvamitra, to be de¬luded by your beauty. From the very beginning of my life, I have avoided all desires for sensual enjoyment. You should select someone else, for I am on my way to see Indra."In this way, Menaka failed in her mission. Indeed, again and again, Indra put obstacles on Vishnusharman's path, but each one failed. Understanding that Indra was trying hard to impede him, Vishnusharman became very angry. He said, "Today, I shall cause Indra to fall from heaven! Then, I shall appoint someone else as king of the demigods."At this moment, Indra arrived there. After glorifying the brahmana, Indra begged for forgiveness and offered a benediction.Vishnudharman said, "You should never offend a brahmana, be¬cause their wrath can destroy an entire dynasty. Had you not come to me now, I would have taken away your kingdom and awarded it to someone else. If you desire to give me a benediction, this is what I want: Please give me some nectar, as well as steady devotion to my father."Indra delivered some nectar to Vishnudharman, who then returned home to his father. After receiving the nectar, Shivasharman called for all of his sons and said, "You are all so devoted to me. Whatever I order, you carry out. Now, I will offer you a benediction, even if it may be very difficult to obtain."
After thinking over the matter carefully, the sons said to their father, "Bring back to life our mother, who has gone to the abode of Yamaraja. By your mercy, let her have good health. Let her be your wife, birth after birth, and let us also be your sons.Shivasharman replied, "Today, your mother will certainly come back to life.Indeed, as soon as this was said, the mother arrived there, glorify¬ing her sons. Shivasharman said, "This is my benediction- may my sons enjoy inexhaustible pleasure."The sons said, "Father, if you are pleased and wish to give us our desired benediction then send us to Goloka, the abode of Lord Vishnu, which is free from all kinds of material miseries."Shivasharman gave his consent and just then, Lord Vishnu came there, riding on the back of Garuda. Holding the conch, disc, club and lotus in His four hands, Lord Vishnu said, "I am very pleased with you. Today, all of you- father, mother and sons, will attain My supreme abode."Shivasharman said, "May these four sons go to Your abode today. I would like to pass some more time on this earth, along with my wife and youngest son, Somasharman."Instantly, Somasharman's four brothers attained four-handed Vaikuntha forms and ascended to Lord Vishnu's eternal abode, as the father looked on.Shivasharman then said to Somasharman, "Please carefully pro¬tect the pitcher of nectar. I am going on a tour of pilgrimage with my wife.Somasharman carefully protected the nectar, day and night, until his father returned, ten years later. Using his mystic power, Shivasharman made his wife and himelf appear to be lepers. In fact, they appeared no better than two lumps of flesh. Seeing his parents like this, Somasharman felt great compassion. After touching their feet, he said, "What has happened? How did you get this terrible disease?"
Shivasharman replied, "My dear son, do not be sorry. Everyone suffers and enjoys the results of his past activities. Now, if you desire to do what is meritorious, clean our bodies and nurse us."
After gladly giving his consent, Somasharman began to engage in the menial service of his parents by cleaning up their stool and urine, and cleansing their bodies of all the pus. Indeed, by placing them on his shoulders, Somasharman took his parents on a tour of holy places. In return, however, Shivasharman chastised his son repeatedly and even beat him in the presence of the sages. And yet, Somasharman never became disturbed or angry.In this way, Shivasharman tested his son and thus became very pleased with him. "Now, I shall reward him for his righteousness." Thinking in this way, Shivasharman used his mystic power to empty the pitcher of nectar. He then called Somasharman and said, "I had entrusted this pitcher of nectar to you. Now, give it to me quickly, for it will cure me of my disease."Somasharman went to get the nectar. When he saw that the pitcher was empty, he thought, "Which sinful person has done this, causing me great harm?"Being very worried, he thought, "If I tell my father that the nec¬tar is gone, he will surely be very angry."For a long time, Somasharman thought to himself, "If I really possess truthfulness and good behavior, and if I have earnestly served my elders, then the pitcher will have nectar in it. There is no doubt of this."When the virtuous Somasharman looked again, the pitcher was ndeed filled with nectar. He happily took it to his father. Being very leased, Shivasharman reverted to his normal, healthy condition, hivasharman and his wife then left their son, going back home, back o Godhead- the eternal abode of Lord Vishnu.Somasharman continued performing austerities for many years.At last, when the time of death arrived, demons came before him. As the loud sounds of the demons entered his ears, Somasharman died of fright.
He next appeared as the son of Hiranyakashipu, named Prahlada. Later on, while fighting with the demigods, he was killed by Lord Vishnu. While Prahlada's mother was grieving, Narada came to her. He assured her that Prahlada would be born again, would have the same name, and would be a great devotee of the Lord. In other words, Prahlada, in a previous millenium, was killed by Lord Vishnu and then appeared, in the present millenium, as the devotee son of Hiranyakasipu.
In a previous kalpa, Somasharman had been born as a brahmana in the dynasty of Kaushika. His wife was named Sumana. Being with¬out a son and being very poor, he always thought about acquiring wealth and a good son.One day, upon seeing her husband sitting with his head hung down, Sumana said, "Your mind is overwhelmed by anxiety. Tell me what is bothering you. Anxiety is a great enemy, for it dries up the entire body. He who gives up all worries lives happily.Somasharman replied, "Thoughts come from desires. Too much thinking is the cause of grief. I don't know what sin I previously com¬mitted so that now, I am without a son or wealth. This is the cause of my anxiety."Sumana said, "Greed is the seed of sin, and delusion is the root. Falsehood is the trunk and deceit is the main branch. Religious hypoc¬risy is the leaves, and perverse intellect is the flowers. Deception is the fragrance of those flowers, and ignorance is the fruit. The juice of that fruit is sinfulness. The cruel birds of dishonesty, blasphemy, theft and envy are sitting on the branches of that tree. Nourished by the water of desires, the tree of faithlessness grows.""The man who takes shelter in the shade of this tree, eating every day the ripe fruit, and thus becoming nourished by the juice, becomes pleased even though he is heading for a terrible falldown.""Therefore, a man should give up greed and stop worrying about wealth, wife and sons. Even a man of knowledge, if he has not learned this lesson, trods the path of fools, thinking, 'How can I get some money? How can I enjoy a beautiful woman? How can I get a son?' Being deluded, he thinks like this, day and night. During his endless period of anxiety, only for a few minutes does he enjoy so-called pleasure. The truth is, no one has any real connection with anyone else in this mate¬rial life. Friends, relatives, sons, father and mother, servants and wives come to establish a temporary relationship with a man, due to their past activities. Again, due to present activities, all of these depart for separate destinations."Somasharman said, "Please explain this fascinating subject to me in more detail. Tell me how it is that father, sons and wealth become related."Sumana replied, "Relationships are established on the basis of these four- some through debt, some through theft, some through help¬fulness, and some through indifference. Sons, friends, and wives are born in accordance with their previous connection with a person."
"For example, a person may invest money with someone, and then that person may keep it unlawfully. In the next life, the person who was cheated out of his money will become the cheater's son. There is no doubt of this. In his last life, that father had given his son great grief by stealing his money. Now, that person has become his son. The boy squanders his father's hard-earned money and in this way, recovers what he had previously lost. Or, he may be a cute, good boy, very obedi¬ent to his father. And yet, he may die prematurely, causing his father to lament terribly."So, who is actually a son, and who is actually a father? Here is another example. A man may borrow money from someone and then not pay it back at the proper time. Finally, the one who lent the money dies, and he is born again as the borrower's cruel son, or cruel friend. He acts very roughly and doesn't care for others. He forcibly takes away the wealth of his father or friend, who in the last life he lent money to."
"A very good son is obtained as a result of a previous relationship that was helpful. Similarly, an indifferent son is born to one as a result of having such a relationship in the last life. This is true for not only the son, but for the husband, wife, father, mother and other realatives. I have only given some examples of sons.Sumana concluded her talks, saying, "My dear husband, just see £he ephemeral nature of the relationships that we establish in this material world."
Somiasharman replied, "My dear wife, what you say is certainly true. Still,, I have a desire for a son and for wealth. I shall produce these somehow, by this or that means."Surruana said, "It is true that a man becomes delivered by his good son. A single good son is more valuable that numerous worthless ones. A good son can liberate his entire family, while a bad son simply causes torment. Due to great religious merit, one certainly receives a very good son. Therefore, my good husband, engage yourself in practices that will award you great religious merit.Somiasharman requested, "My dear wife, describe to me the prac¬tices that award one great religious merit. What are the characteristics of a man who is engaged in such activities?Sumana said, "One should practice piety, which consists of ten components- celibacy, truthfulness, performance of sacrifice, charity, self-restraint, forbearance, purity, non-violence, honesty and freedom from anger. The performance of these ten gives one great satisfaction, just as eating relieves one of hunger.While continuing to describe religious merit, Sumana narrated the following history:Once, the brahmana, Dattatreya (the son of Anasuya and Atri), along with Durvasa Muni, performed austerities for many thousands of years. Due to the severity of his austerities, Durvasa felt tormented, and this caused him to become angry with Dharma.Dharma appeared before Durvasa Muni, and he was accompa¬nied by Truthfulness, Charity, Forbearance, Shame, Nonviolence, In¬tellect, and Faith, all having female forms, as well as other good quali¬ties, having the forms of brahmanas. In this way, Dharma came there, along with his entourage.Dharma inquired, "O brahmana, why are you angry? Aren't you afraid that anger will destroy your acquired stock of ascetic merit? Indeed, anger destroys all good qualities. For this reason, a wise person carefully avoids becoming angry."Durvasa said, "Who are you, that has come here, along with seven beautiful women?"Dharma introduced himself and his associates. Durvasa then asked, "If you are really Dharma, then for what reason have you come here?"Dharma replied, "Again, I ask, what is the cause of your anger?"
Durvasa said, "I have practiced austerities for thousands of years and yet I find that you are devoid of compassion. For this reason, I will curse you.Dharma replied, "O sage, if I perish, then the entire world will meet with destruction. One who depends upon material happiness is a sinner. The wealth of piety is achieved by pain, and it is this that awards one happiness in his next life."Durvasa then argued that his performance of austerity, which was very painful to perform, should result in happiness in this life- not just the promise of happiness in a future life. He then proceeded to curse Dharma three times.Dharma then requested, "If you cannot forgive me, make me the son of a maidservant, make me a king, and also a Chandala, as the results of your curses.Durvasa Muni agreed to this and then departed. In this way, Dharma had to be born as Maharaja Yudhisthira, as Vidura, and as a chandala that was formerly King Harischandra.Thus it is seen that even Dharma himself had to suffer the results of his activities.Somasharman said, "Dear wife, tell me how I can get a son who is endowed with all virtues."Sumana replied, "Go to the sage, Vasishtha. He will be able to tell you how to get such a son."Somasharman quickly went to Vasishtha's ashram, which was situated by the side of the Ganga. After falling down before the sage, to offer obeisances, Somasharman was welcomed by him. Somasharman then introduced himself and explained how his wife had advised him to come there.Then, while conversing, Vasishtha said, "In your last life, you were a shudra, an ignorant farmer. You were very greedy, you had many sons, and you never gave anything in charity. You had no idea of piety, and you never visited a holy place of pilgrimage.""You took care of many animals- cows, buffaloes and horses. Through greed, you collected much wealth, but you never spent it for a good purpose. Upon seeing one in distress, you never displayed any compassion.""In fact, all you thought about was money, money, money. You even used to dream of wealth at night. Upon waking up, you simply thought, 'When will there be a thousand gold coins? When will there be a lakh, a million, a crore, a billion?' Even though so much was col¬lected, greed never left you.""Finally, you had to abandon your body and go to the abode of Yamaraja. It is because of your past deeds that you have now become poor, and without a son."
Somasharman asked, "Great sage, how is it that I became a brahmana, even though before, I was a lowly shudra?"Vasishtha said, "I shall now explain the pious act that you per¬formed in your previous life. Once, a learned brahmana, after wander¬ing to all the holy places, came to your house. When he requested you for a place to spend the night, you and your wife obliged. At that time, you said, 'My dear brahmana, come and happily reside in my house.' You honored that brahmana greatly and then you showed him where he would stay, in your cowshed. You massaged his body and washed his feet. You even bathed with the water that had washed the brahmana's feet. You gave ghee, dahi and milk to him. In this way, you pleased the brahmana, Lord Vishnu's devotee.""The next day was Ekadashi, and the brahmana continued to stay at your house, fasting. Along with your wife and son, you listened to the brahmana's discourses. In fact, you observed Ekadashi at the urging of that brahmana, as well as at the request of your wife and your son. After bathing in the river, you worshiped Lord Vishnu. That night, you stayed awake, while singing and dancing. At last,when the brahmana was about to depart, you gave him nice presents.""It is because of this that you have taken your birth as a brahmana, but due to other sinful acts, you remain sonless. Now, you should fully engage yourself in the devotional service of the Lord. That will bring you future auspiciousness."Thereafter, Somasharman returned home. He told his wife, Sumana, "The great sage has destroyed my delusion. I shall now wor¬ship Lord Vishnu, so that I can obtain the highest destination."Feeling very pleased, Sumana said, "It is your great fortune that you were so advised by the great sage."Thereafter, Somasharman went to the side of a river, to medi¬tate upon Lord Vishnu. He was always very respectfully served by his faithful wife. Various obstacles then came to distract him from hi meditation. Big black serpents with poisonous fangs approached him Lions and tigers came nearby. Demons and ghosts also came to harras him, but still, Somasharman was not distracted from his meditatioi upon Lord Vishnu.Sometimes, there were strong winds, and sometimes, there wert heavy showers of rain. Sometimes, it was unbearably hot and some times, it was freezing cold. Still, Somasharman simply prayed, "My deai Lord, you are affectionate to those who seek Your shelter. What ther do I need to fear? I have taken refuge of Him, from whom all fearfu things have sprung. I have surrendered to Him, of whom all the demons are greatly afraid. I have turned my attention toward the Lord, whc destroys the sinful reactions of His devotees, which are the causes of al kinds of suffering."Finally, being very pleased, Lord Vishnu personally appeared be¬fore the meditating Somasharman, and asked him to accept a benedic¬tion. Upon opening his eyes, Somasharman saw Lord Vishnu before him, dark like a cloud and mounted upon Garuda. Along with his wife Somasharman stood up with joined hands and offered nice prayers tc the Lord. He conluded by saying, "My Lord, Brahma does not know You, Rudra does not know You, and Indra does not properly know you. Who then am I to praise You? Please forgive me for my inadequate words. I am Your eternal servant. Kindly forgive me, birth after birth."
Finally, being encouuraged once more to accept a benediction, Somasharman asked to be given a devotee son. Lord Vishnu gave His consent and then suddenly vanished, as if He had been seen in a dream.After continuing his devotional practices for a long time, Somasharman set out for home, along with his wife. While going, he saw a huge, effulgent white elephant in front of him, and seated upon the elephant was a celestial being, who was being praised by hosts of Siddhas and Gandharvas.Somasharman thought, "Who is this divine person, going along this path?"While wondering this, Somasharman came to his house and he saw the divine personality entering the front door. With great excite¬ment, Somasharma entered the house, but instead of seeing that diving being, he saw flowers scattered here and there, and sandalwood paste
smeared all around. Being astonished, he also saw his wife, Sumana, appearing like a goddess of heaven. He asked, "Who gave you all of these divine ornaments?"Sumana replied, "My dear husband, a celestial being came here, riding upon a big, white elephant. He showered flowers and gems all over the courtyard, and then had brahmanas seat me on an excellent chair. They gave me nice garments and jewellry, promising to always dwell in my house. After speaking, however, they suddenly disappeared.This is all that I saw."Somasharman then considered, "All this has been brought about
by the merciful Lord.Thereafter, Sumana became pregnant, and later on, gave birth to a son of golden complexion. At that time, drums could be heard in heaven. Conchshells blew while the Apsaras danced and the Gandharvas sang.Lord Brahma then came there, surrounded by all the demigods, and he gave the boy the name Suvrata. After naming the child, the demigods departed. Along with the birth of Suvrata, great prosperity appeared in Somasharman's house. When Suvrata grew up, Somasharman performed his marriage and thereafter, his grandsons were born. Even though many years passed, Somasharman enjoyed life, free from old age and disease. Sumana also was endowed with youth, so that she looked like a sixteen-year-old girl.Suvrata grew up to be a great devotee of Lord Vishnu. Indeed, even in his childhood, Suvrata used to call all his friends by the names of the Lord, such as, "O Keshava, come here. O Purushottama, play with me. Madhusudana, let us go together."
In this way, Suvrata simply chanted the holy names of the Lord, while playing, laughing, resting, sitting or walking. Wherever he went, Suvrata saw Lord janardana only, and so he talked with Him like a friend. When his mother would call him for lunch, Suvrata would re¬ply, "I am satisfied with the nectar of chanting the holy names of the Lord."While hearing this narration, Vyasadeva inquired, "What was Suvrata's previous birth? What were his religious practices? Lord Brahma replied by narrating as follows: In the city of Vaidisha, there lived King Ritadhvaja. His son was Rukmabhushana, and his son's wife was Sandhyavati. Their son was named Dharmangada, who was very devoted to his father.
Being very pleased with Dharmangada, Lord Vishnu personally came and took him to His eternal abode, Vaikuntha. After remaining there for a very long time, by the favor of Lord Vishnu, he was born on Earth as the eldest son of Somasharman and Sumana, named Suvrata.As a youth, while Suvrata was engaged in meditation, Lord Vishnu appeared before him, desiring to give him a benediction. Suvrata said, "My Lord, the ocean of mundane existence is full of waves,causing very great grief. Through my vices and virtues I am now merged within that ocean. Quickly pick me up, for I am helpless. I am fully surren¬dered unto You, and my only meditation is upon Your lotus feet.""My Lord, if You wish to grant me a benediction, kindly take me, along with my parents, in our present bodies, to Your supreme abode."Being very pleased with Suvrata's devotion, the Lord assured him of the fulfillment of his desire. Thus it came to be that Suvrata, Somasharman and Sumana all went back home, back to Vaikuntha. Later on, Suvrata once again took birth in the material world, by the order of Lord Vishnu, so that he could serve His mission by assuming the post of Indra.Vyasadeva asked, "The powerful Dharmangada, the son of Rukmangada, was Indra at the time of creation in the first Krita-yuga. How is it that there was another Dharmangada, the son of another king Rukmangada, born on the Earth? Kindly remove this doubt from my mind."Lord Brahma explained, "Just as days, fortnights, months, sea¬sons, years and lifetimes of Manu pass- in the same way, yugas come and go, again and again. Then comes a new kalpa, and finally, I myself merge into the existence of Lord Vishnu. Thereafter, the Lord recreates the universe as before, and again I am born. A wise man should not be confused by all this. In a former kalpa, King Rukmangada was born, as was his son, Dharmangada. They were again born in the present millenium. In this way, the devas, and even the Vedas, come an go.After relating the pastimes of King Prithu, which are not repeated here because they are nicely described in the fourth Canto of Shrimad-Bhagavatam, Suta Gosvami begins discussing the wicked King Vena, as follows:
The daughter of Mrityu, the lord of death, was Sunitha. Once, along with her many friends, Sunitha came to a charming forest. There, she saw the son of a Gandharava, named Sushankha, engaged in per¬forming austerities, while worshiping the goddess Sarasvati, for the purpose of attaining proficiency in music.Just to disturb Sushankha, Sunitha and her friends made loud noises and chaotic music, nearby. Indeed, every day, she came there and disturbed the boy in that way. Sushankha would shout, "Go away", but he would not become angry, desiring to pardon the girls.Still, Sunitha only thought of troubling him. After Sushankha had told her to go away, Sunitha once became angry and hit him. This made the Gandharva a little angry, as well. He said, "Sinful one, why are you obstructing my penance? Great persons do not strike back a person who hits them."The immature Sunitha replied, "My father is the destroyer of all the residents of the three worlds."Saying this, she returned home and then explained to her father, "In the forest, I beat a Gandharva's son, who is practicing penance in a secluded place, and is free from desire and anger. He told me that he would not retaliate against one who strikes him. Why did he say this?" Upon hearing this, Mrityu remained silent. The next day, Sunitha returned to the forest and again beat Sushankha with her hands. This time, the Gandharva angrily cursed her, saying, "Later on, after you marry, you will beget a son of evil conduct, who will be critical of the sages and demigods."After saying this, Sushankha departed, and then Sunitha went home, her mind burning with anger. Mrityu listened to his daughter's story and then asked, "Why did you harm a person who was innocent and was practicing austerities? My daughter, you have done a great wrong by striking a faultless person."One day, Anga, the son of Atri Muni, came to the Nandana gar¬den, where he saw King Indra engaged in amorous pastimes, surrounded by numerous attendents. Anga thought, "How fortunate this person is, to be enjoying so much, as the result of his past penance. When shall I get such a son as this?"While thinking such things, Anga returned home. He then said to his father, Atri, who is the son of Brahma, "Who is it that can become Indra, as a result of his pious deeds? What austerities must be per¬formed, and what lord must be gratified?"
In reply, Atri Muni explained how previously, the brahmana, Suvrata, had worshiped Lord Krishna, and as a result, he was born as the son of Kashyapa and Aditi, and thus became Indra.Anga then asked, "How could I obtain such a son?In reply, Atri Muni told in more detail how Suvrata had satisfied the Supreme Lord, Hari.After hearing everything from his father, Anga departed and went to the summit of Mount Meru. There, he saw gold and jewels on all sides. There were many sages performing meditation and austerities, and the Gandhavas were seen, here and there, singing very delighfully. Everywhere could be heard the chanting of the Vedas, which destroys sinful reactions. Groups of Apsaras wandered about.Anga entered a cave near the shore of the Ganga, and began meditating upon Lord Krishna. As a result, it came to be that Anga could see how the Lord is present in all beings, and all beings are situated within Him. Although he became emaciated from his perfor¬mance of austerities, Anga's lustre shone like fire. Finally, the Supreme Lord appeared before Anga and asked him to accept a benediction.After glorifying the Lord with suitable prayers, the son of Atri said, "Be gracious to me in my upcoming births. Sprinkle me with the water of knowledge, who am burnt with the heat of the fierce fire of material existence. If you desire to give me a benediction, then award me a son like Indra."In reply, Lord Vasudeava assured Anga that he would have such a son, after marrying. When He finished speaking, Lord Krishna van¬ished from that place.Meanwhile, Mrityu chastised his daughter for her having beaten an innocent person. He asked, "Why did you act in a manner that is contrary to the ways of the world?"Mrityu advised his daughter to associate with saintly persons, who can be compared with water. He said, "Water is calm, pleasing to the touch, clear, tasty, and it removes dirt. You should know that pure devo¬tees are just like that, and so you should serve them with great care and attention. Just as gold loses it's impurities when in contact with fire, a man gets freed from all sins by associating with saintly persons."
After being advised in this way by her father, Sunitha went to a lonely forest. Abandoning her childish mentality, as well as the propen¬sity for harrassing others, she began a life of penance and meditation.One day, her friends came to that forest and saw her engaged in meditation. Seeing her anxiety, they inquired about the cause. In reply, Sunitha explained about the Gandharva's curse, and also told them how her father had desired to marry her to a pious sage or demigod. After being petitioned in this way by Mrityu, Indra had replied, "Your daughter has many good qyalities, but there is one grievous fault, the curse upon her.""As a result, she will bear a sinful son. just as a drop of liquor poured into a pot of water, contaminates the entire contents, so one degraded member destroys the reputation of an entire family. Now,please offer your daughter to someone else."Sunitha's friends then told her to give up her grief, explaining that many great personalities in the past had performed sinful activi¬ties and yet had remained in an exalted position. They gave the ex¬ample of Maharaja Yudhisthira, who had lied so that his teacher could be killed. Indeed, Sunitha's friends assured her that they would help her find a suitable husband. They then gave her a powerful mantra, the chanting of which would attract any man who was thought of.Thereafter, Sunitha wandered over the Earth with her friends, looking at men. While doing so, they came to Indra's abode. There, on the banks of the Ganga, they saw Anga engaged in meditation, appear¬ing as if he were a second god of love.Upon seeing him, Sunitha asked Rambha, her good friend, about the handsome man's identity. Rambha explained, "Atri is the son of Brahma. His son, Anga, desiring a glorious son, worshiped Lord Krishna. When the Lord became pleased, He granted Anga this benediction. Since that time, he has been hoping to find a suitable wife.""Sunitha, this man is just right for you. When you get a son from this man's semen, surely you will become happy. A farmer sows his seeds with great endeavor. Then, he enjoys the fruit of his labor, after some time. It shall never be otherwise. This noble man possesses great merit. A son born from his semen will be the best among human beings."Sunitha replied, "Dear friends, you have spoken well. I shall allure this man by chanting my mantra. You please help me when the time is right."
Giving her consent, Rambha used her mystic powers to help Sunitha assume a very beautiful form. Mrityu's daughter then sat down n a swing and began to sing very sweetly. When he heard that lovely sound, Anga became distracted from his meditation upon Lord Krishna. Opening his eyes, Anga saw the incomparably beautiful Sunitha, her "ace resembling the full moon.Indeed, while viewing Sunitha's beauty, Anga became infatuated, so that his entire body trembled. He got up from his seat and came before her, saying, "Beautiful lady, who are you? To whom do you be¬long? Surrounded by your friends, why have you come to this forest? Your wonderful lustre is illuminating all directions. Kindly speak to me.Anga was fully under the sway of Cupid. Sunitha then motioned for Rambha to speak. Rambha replied, "This noble one is the daughter of Mrityu, and she is looking for a suitable husband."Anga then said, "1 had worshiped Lord Krishna, and being pleased, He awarded me the benediction of having a son. Since that time, 1 have been hoping for a suitable bride. Let this beautiful daughter of Mrityu accept me as her husband. I will do for her whatever she asks. Indeed, if I can have her as my loving wife, I will provide even that which is normally considered impossible to achieve."Rambha said, "O sage, listen to the promise you must make. This girl must never be abandoned by you. And, you must now act in such a way that we are convinced that you have really accepted her as your wife."Anga replied, "So be it. I now give my hand to her, so let there be no doubt of my sincerity."In this way, Anga married Sunitha in the Gandharva style (by agreement only). Thereafter, Rambha and the other girls returned home. Anga enjoyed with his new wife, and in due course of time, a son was born. They named the boy "Vena". As he grew up, Vena mastered the Vedas, and because he displayed the nature of a ksatriya, he also be¬came a master of the bow.Later on, it came to be that there was no one to rule over the Earth, and so the sages, upon seeing the heroic Vena, decided to install him as the Emperor. Remembering her former curse, and thus being afraid, Sunitha daily instructed her son in the practice of righteousness. Thus, the citizens experienced great satisfaction during the reign of the pious Vena.At this point in the narration, the sages asked, "How was it that Vena gave up righteous conduct and became a wicked-minded king?"
Suta Gosvami continued: As Vena was ruling the Earth, one day, a naked man came before him. Having a huge body, and with a shaved head, this man of great effulgence held a broom made of peackcock feathers under his armpit. He was engaged in reciting atheistic philoso¬phy, as well as blasphemy of the Vedas. In this way, he entered Vena's royal court.Vena asked him, "Who are you, that has assumed such a form? Why have you come to me? What is your name? What faith do you adhere to? What are your religious practices? What powers do you pos¬sess? Tell me the truth about all of this."That sinful man replied, "We are followers of Arhat. Compassion is the best means of salvation. We perform no sacrifices, we reject the Vedas, there is no penance, and there is no charity. Our only worship is to the Jain mendicants, and our meditation is upon Arhat."Vena said, "Your lifestyle seems devoid of anything pious, except the practice of compassion. Tell me what life you lead, based upon compassion."The sinful one explained, "A living being is a combination of the five elements- earth, water, fire, air and space. Our life appears for a few days and then disappears, just as bubbles are formed on the surface of the ocean, and then break.""While living amongst each other, the living entities act very fool¬ishly, being confounded by ignorance. It is only out of folly that a person performs the sraddha ceremony, offering oblations to his de¬parted ancestors. Where is the dead person and how will he eat? Who can see what kind of body the dead person has got? Thus, the Vedic faith is but foolishness! And, just consider the horrible killing of so many animals while performing the variety of Vedic sacrifices. What pious credit can one hope to achieve by killing animals? How can you claim that the followers of the Vedas have any compassion? Giving up all this Vedic nonesense is the beginning of real compassion!"Vena said, "Going to the holy places and bathing in the sacred rivers is considered to be an exhibition of great piety. What do you think?"
The sinful man replied, "If a bath in the Ganga is considered to ive one great religious merit, then what about the fish that are swing¬ing in that river? These fish must be the most purified souls!"
After listening to that sinful man, Vena's mind became polluted and he adopted a sinful nature. Abandoning his faith in the Vedas, he offered his obeisances to that sinful man. Thereafter, King Vena or¬dered all sacrifices to be curtailed within his kingdom. Recitation of the Vedas also ceased, and indeed, Vedic study was abandoned by the brahmanas.King Vena also gave up offering respect to his mother and father, and to the brahmanas as well. He became excessively proud, thinking, "Only I am truly heroic!"Upon seeing how his son had become sinfully inclined, Anga asked Sunitha, "Dear one, tell me the truth. Due to whose fault has our son become like this?"Sunitha then explained how, in her childhood, she had offended the brahmana, Sushankha, so that he had cursed her, saying, "Your son will become very wicked!"After hearing this, Anga took his wife and retired to the forest. The sapta-rishis then went to see Vena, and advised him to mend his evil ways. Upon hearing this, Vena laughed heartily and replied, "I lone am the support of religion. It is I alone that is indicated in the Vedas. I am the embodiment of the ancient Jain religion. Now, you sages should take shelter of me."
The sages replied, "You had better take to the path of righteousness, for sin is the cause of destruction. In the Kali-yuga, men will abandon Vedic practices and take to atheistic faiths, like the Jains. There is no doubt that the Jain religion and other such religions, are the roots of all sin. At the end of the age of Kali, Lord Vishnu will appear as Kalki, to destroy all these Mlecchas. There is no doubt about it."Vena then said, "I am the best among the wise. Anyone who deviates from my instructions will be punished by me!"The sons of Brahma (the sapta-rishis) became very angry, upon hearing this. Fearfully, Vena hid himself in an anthill. The sages un¬derstood this and they forcibly brought him out. Thereafter, when the sages churned Vena's left hand, out sprang a very short, terrible bar¬barian. His complexion was black and his eyes were red. This person became the king of all sinful Nishadas, especially the Mlecchas.
Next, the sages churned Vena's right hand, and out sprang the pious King Prithu, who milked the Earth. In this way, all the sin went out of Vena's body. Thereafter, being freed from all desire and attach¬ment, Vena practiced penance for one hundred years at Trinabindu's ashram. Being pleased, Lord Vishnu appeared to Vena and offered him a benediction.Vena replied, "O Lord, I desire to go, along with my mother and father, to Your eternal abode."Lord Krishna gave His consent and thus it came to be that the wicked King Vena ultimately went back home, back to Godhead.While Vena was talking to Lord Krishna, he had requested, "Tell me how a son, wife, fSther, or mother is considered to be a holy place." Lord Krishna then narrated this story: A pious vaishya named Krikala formerly lived in Varanasi. His wife was the virtuous and beau¬tiful Sukala. She was very chaste and completely devoted to her hus¬band.Once, her husband decided to go with a group of brahmanas on an extensive tour of holy places. Becoming afraid of separation from her husband, who was her life and soul, Sukala begged him to take her with him. At this, Krikala thought, "My beautiful wife is the abode of my pleasure. She is my very life. If she were to perish, I would also die. She is the ruler of my life. In the forest, life is very harsh. How will she be able to tolerate sleeping on the ground, and the inevitable hunger and thirst. Her beautiful body will wither under such conditions. I must go alone."But, again and again, Sukala begged her husband to take her. At last, Krikala said, "Do not worry- 1 shall never abandon you."He then left Varanasi, with the brahmanas, secretly at night. The next day, when Sukala could not find her husband, she inquried from neighbors and thus learned the truth of the matter. Being highly aggrieved, Sukala continually wept. She practically gave up eating, and she slept on the bare floor. Thus, she became emaciated and dirty. Her friends advised her to give up her grief, assuring her that her husband would return.In reply, Sukala explained that the husband is the wife's holy place of pilgrimage. She said, "If a wife, after the death of her husband, or in his absense, dresses herself nicely, people consider her to be like a prostitute. For this reason, a woman should never remain without her husband.Sukala then narrated the following story to her friends: Once, the son of Manu, King Iksvaku, went to the forest to hunt, along with his wife, Sudeva. While killing numerous animals, he came to a place where a great clan of wild boar lived. Thus it came to be that the king of the boars, a very heroic warrior, fought with Iksvaku and died. At this, his aggrieved wife also attacked the king.When the female boar became fatally wounded, Sudeva went to her and sprinkled holy water on her body. The female hog thanked the queen. Surprised, Sudeva asked, "How are you able to speak so elo¬quently, in Sanskrit, like a human being?"Indeed, the queen went and informed her husband of this. Maha¬raja Iksvaku then had his wife ask the female boar to disclose her and her husband's actual identities.n reply, the female boar expained as follows: The male boar, in his last life, was the Gandharva, Rangavidyadhara. At this time, the great sage Pulastya once came to Mount Meru, to perform austerities.
The Gandharva also happened to come there, to practice singing. This distracted Pulastya, however, and so he requested, "Your lovely singing enchants the minds of the devas, and so, what to speak of me. Because you are disturbing my meditation, kindly go elsewhere."The Gandharva replied, "Music is also a spiritual path. 1 have never harmed anyone in my life. Indeed, my music brings people happi¬ness. The Vedas become more delightful when sung. You are therefore criticizing me unnecessarily. Why should I leave this place?"Pulastya said, "You have spoken rightly. I am not criticizing your singing. I honor music greatly. I am only requesting you to leave be¬cause my meditation is disturbed, thus making me prone to thoughts of sense gratification. It is because of this that sages go to secluded places, where there are no beautiful sounds and there are no forms of young women. Therefore, either you must leave or else, I must go to another place."The Gandharva countered, "One who, while meditating, is notdisturbed by any sound or form, is certainly a true yogi and will beuaranteed success. This forest is the playground of devas and all kinds of animals. It is mine just as much as it is yours. You may go or you may stay, but I shall not depart.Thinking over the matter carefully, the sage, Pulastya, decided to forgive the Gandharva and go elsewhere. After the departure of the sage, the Gandharva thought to himself, "1 wonder what the son of Brahma (Pulastya) is now doing. What are his practices? Where is he?" Being curious, the Gandharva took the form of a boar and went to where Pulastya was performing austerities. Going to Pulastya's ashram, the boar went and touched the meditating sage with his tusks. Still, Pulastya forgave the beast. But then, the boar came and passed stool and urine near the sage, and after doing so, he began to dance and play. Still, considering that he was a mere animal, the sage let him go. After some time, the boar returned, laughing loudly, and then began singing in a very melodious voice. At this, Pulastya began to consider, "Maybe this is not a mere boar. Perhaps it is the Gandharva who disturbed me at Mount Meru."When Pulastya understood that this must be true, he angrily cursed the boar, saying, "Because you have assumed the form of a boar, to continue disturbing me, you will soon have to take birth as a boar on the earth."
After being cursed, the Gandharva went to Indra and said, "O lord of the devas, 1 have carried out your mission by disturbing the sage, but as a result, I have been cursed byhim. Please protect me from being born as an animal."Indra then went to Pulastya and begged him to retract the curse. Pulastya was pleased with Indra and so he assured him that the Gandharva would be reinstated in heaven, aftef being killed by the son of Manu.The female boar concluded, "Thus 1 have told you about my husband's previous life, and how he came to be a boar. Now I shall speak about the terrible sin that I formerly committed."This story is narrated as follows: In the city of Shripura, within the kingdom of Kalinga, there lived a brahmana named Vasudatta. The female boar was formerly his daugher, Sudeva. Being very charm¬ing and beautiful, the girl became very proud. She received innumer¬able proposals from the brahmana community, but her father refused them all, because he was deluded by affection for her. The girl's mother became disturbed because of this, however, and so she repeatedly urged her husband to get her daughter married quickly.Vasudatta replied, "Noble woman, please try to understand. I am deluded by a great fascination for my daughter. Indeed, Sudeva is dear to me like my own life.One day, a very handsome and educated brahmana, who was be¬reft of his father and mother, came to Vasudatta's door to beg alms. Being inquisitive, Vasudatta asked the brahmana about his lineage and his practices.The brahmana replied, "My name is Shivasharman, born in the dynasty of Kaushika. I have mastered the Vedas and the Vedangas, but I am an orphan. I have four brothers."Thus it came to be that, on an auspicious day, the marriage took place between Shivasharman and Sudeva. However, being very attached to her father and his wealth, Sudeva, while remaining with Shivasharman in her father's house, failed to properly serve him. In¬deed, due to association with unchaste women, Sudeva gradually gave up the service of her parents as well, and began spending her time roaming, here and there.Upon observing such wicked behavior in his wife, Shivasharman felt very pained. Still, out of respect for his father-n-law and mother-in-law, he remained silent and did not chastise her.
Finally, though, Shivasharman could tolerate it no longer and so he left Vasudatta's house and travelled to a far-off kingdom. At this, Vasudatta became very aggrieved, blaming his wicked daughter for the calamity. While conversing with him, his wife told Vasudatta, "The wickedness of your daughter is caused by your unnatural affection for her. Because of this, she was spoiled. Of course, affection for children is natural, but more important is the responsibility of teaching them a sense of virtue."The father should keep his daughter in his house until she be¬comes eight years old. Both parents get the reaction for a sin a daugh¬ter commits while living in her father's house. She should be given to a virtuous man, and she should learn to win over her husband by sincere service. While living with the husband, he will suffer the results of any sin she commits."To illustrate this, Vasudatta's wife narrated the following story:When the 28th Dvapara yuga of the present Manvantara arrived, there was a king name Ugrasena, residing at Mathura, born into the Yadu dynasty.At this time, there lived a king named Satyaketu, in the kingdom of Vidarbha. His glorious daughter, having a face like a lotus and eyes like lotus petals, was named Padmavati. It so happened that Ugrasena married her. Gradually, the fortunate Padmavati became very dear to the king, more so than his own life. He would only eat with her, and he never enjoyed anything without her.After some time, though, King Satyaketu began to miss his daugh¬ter and so he sent a messenger to Mathura, requesting Ugrasena to allow her to come for a visit. Out of respect for his father-in-law, Ugrasena complied, and so sent Padmavati back to Vidarbha.Satyaketu was overjoyed to see his daughter, and she remained with him very happily for some time. Indeed, Padmavati sported with her friends, so that she felt as if she had again become a young, unmar¬ried girl.
Once, Padmavati went to a mountain, to play with her friends. There, they swam in a lake. At that time, a servant of Kuvera, a demon named Gobhila, was passing overhead in his airplane. When he saw the lustrous and beautiful Padmavati, Gobhila became greatly attracted. He thought, "This beautiful woman shines amongst her friends like the full moon amongst the stars. Who is this woman, having round, beau¬tiful breasts? To whom does she belong?"Then, through introspection, the demon, Gobhila, could under¬stand that she was Padmavati, the daughter of the Vidarbha king and wife of Ugrasena. He thought, "Ugrasena, who has sent this woman to her father's house, is a great fool! Maybe he is impotent. For what other reason would he be able to live without her?"He further considered, "Seeing her, I have become completely en¬amored. How will I be able to approach her? I am terribly afflicted by lust! If I leave here, without having enjoyed her, I shall surely die. There is no doubt of this, for lust is very powerful."At last, Gobhila thought of a plan, and then took an illusory form of Ugrasena. He not only looked like the king, but everything- his gait, his voice, his choice of language, and his clothes, appeared exactly the same as his.Gobhila then went to the top of the mountain and stood in the shade of a tree. There, he began singing very melodiously. When Padmavati heard the singing, she wondered about the identity of the musician. Thus, she went there, along with her friends, and came to where Gobhila was standing, after having taken the form of Ugrasena.Padmavati wondered, "How is it that my husband came here, leav¬ing behind his prosperous kingdom?"While she was thinking this, Gobhila called, "Come on, my dar-ling."Still, Padmavati was doubtful as to how her husband could have come there. She hung her head down in shame, but then thought, "What am I doing? My husband will be angry with me."While she was thus thinking, Gobhila called her again, saying, "Come, my darling. I long for your love. I was unable to live without you.
Thus it came to be that Gobhila embraced Padmavati. After tak¬ing her to a secluded place, he enjoyed her as he desired. But, it so happened that Ugrasena had a mark on his testicle. Padmavati did not notice it on the person who had just made love to her. Picking up her clothes, she angrily said, "Who are you that has acted so wickedly?"With tears in her eyes, Padmavati prepared to curse Gobhila, say¬ing, "O wicked one, having come in the guise of my husband, you have destroyed my chastity, which was my best virtue. Now, witness the prowess of my curse."Gobhila said, "Why should you curse me? I am the demon, Gobhila, a servant of Kuvera. I know the Vedas and am skilled in the arts. Being a demon, I take the wealth and wives of others by force. This is the only way of life known to the demons. Every day, we observe the faults of the brahmanas, and then destroy their penances. We also delight in defiling the sacrifices to the demigods. I roam the world, living the life of a demon. What is my fault?"Padmavati replied, "You have destroyed my chastity. I am a virtu¬ous woman, a lover of my husband. You have defiled me by means of deceit. Therefore, I will curse you."Gobhila explained, "We, the demons and evil spirits, were created by Brahma for a purpose. We know all about dharma, but we do not practice it. Those who pretend to be righteous, but act in an opposite
way, are punished by demons and evil spirits. That is our job.""You have done a terrible and cruel act. Why, abandoning your duties as a housewife, did you come here! Having left your husband, you are now dressing in a very attractive way, with nice jewelry. Why are you doing this? Can you tell me? You are an unchaste woman. When a woman occupies a separate bed, not sleeping with her husband, she is viewed as unchaste. A woman who leaves her husband, desiring to work for some¬one else, is viewed as an unchaste woman. People say that such a woman, who enjoys pleasure and decorates herself nicely, when her husband has gone to another place, is unchaste. Your husband is far away from here. What kind of chaste woman are you?"Padmavati said, "Cruel demon, just listen. My father brought me here, out of affection. 1 have thus not left my husband out of lust or greed. It is you, who have taken the guise of my husband, who has acted deceitfully. 1 will reduce you to ashes with my curse."Gobhila said, "How can a blind person see the truth? When the desire to visit your father arose in your mind, at that time, you forgot all about your husband. Unchaste woman, I am not afraid of you.Why are you trembling? Come to my house and enjoy pleasures with me."Padmavati remained adamant about her chastity. She simply sat on the ground in that secluded place. Gobhila then said, "I have depos¬ited my seed within your womb. From it will spring a son who will agitate the three worlds."
After saying this, the demon left. The princess, full of grief, wept. Padmavati's friends then came there and asked her about the cause of her sadness. In response, she told them the whole story. They then took Padmavati to her father's house. Padmavati's friends told her mother all that had taken place. The Queen went and told everything to her husband. Thus, soon it was arranged that Padmavati was sent back to Mathura.King Ugrasena was very glad to see the return of his wife. There¬after, the foetus within Padmavati's womb continued to grow, causing fear to the three worlds. Padmavati began to make inquiries about an herb that would cause a miscarriage. Indeed, every day she tried differ¬ent remedies.The fierce foetus then said, "Mother, why are you trying to kill me. All living beings have a fixed span of life, determined according to their past good and bad activities. Actually, you do not know who 1 am. Formerly, Lord Vishnu had killed the great demon, Kalanemi. To take revenge, I am now being born as your son."After hearing this, Padmavati gave up all attempts to kill her embryo. Thus, it came to be that Kansa was born as the son of Ugrasena. After Vasudatta heard this story from his wife, he determined to make his wicked daughter leave the house. Calling Sudeva, he said, "Go to where your husband is staying. 1 don't want to keep you here any longer."Thus it came to be that Sudeva left her father's house, wandering from one place to another while maintaining herself by begging. Fi¬nally, she arrived at Saurashtra, in Gujarat, and went begging, door to door. It was with great difficulty that she got food, for people reproached her as being unchaste. At last, she came to a house where many brahmanas resided.Indeed, this was the house of her husband, Shivasharman. She said, "Give me alms" and so the righteous brahmana told his beautiful wife, "Take this woman and give her some food."Mangala said that she would do this, and then gave Sudeva nice food. Shivasharman asked her, "Who are you that has come here? Why are you roaming like this?"Upon hearing his voice, Sudeva recognized the brahmana to be her husband, Shivasharman, and thus she hung her head in shame. Mangala asked her husband, "Who is this woman? Why is she feeling shame after speaking to you?"In reply, Shivasharman explained how the woman was the daugh¬ter of Vasudatta- his wife. When the pious Mangala heard the whole story, she very respectfully made arrangements for Sudeva's bath, and gave her nice clothes.The female boar then explained that in her last life, she had been Sudeva, the wife of Shivasharman. Although greatly honored by her husband, and his second wife, her heart remained filled with grief, on account of always remembering her bad behavior. Thus it came to be that, out of grief, she gave up her life. After being dragged into the presence of Yamaraja by his servants, she was forced to suffer hellish torments and then placed into beastly bodies, until at last, she got the body of the female boar.
Sudeva, the wife of Iksvaku, was very pleased with the female boar and so she asked what she might do to benefit her. The female boar then requested her to give even one day of the merit that she had earned by faithfully adhering to her husband. Sudeva gave her the merit earned from one year, and instantly, the female boar attained a lustrous, divine form. She boarded a celestial airplane and departed for higher regions.As previously stated, these stories were being narrated by Sukala to her friends, after her husband had left without informing her. The friends praised Sukala highly after hearing her wonderful discourse.At that time, Indra seriously considered the firm devotion Sukala displayed toward her husband. He thought, "I shall certainly shake her fortitude. Let us see the true Worth of her so-called love for her husband!" Indra then remembered Kamadeva, and as soon as he was thought of, the god of love appeared there, flower-bow in his hands. He was accompanied by his wife, Rati. Indra then explained about Sukala, and her firm devotion to her husband. The king of heaven asked Kamadeva to make Sukala fall away from her vow.Kamadeva assured Indra of his success, saying, "I live in the limbs of women. I reside in their foreheads, eyes, on the tips of their breasts, in their navels, waists, back, buttocks, the area of the vagina, and lips." "Truthfully, a woman is my abode. While living there, I slay many men. A woman is weak by nature and, tormented by my arrows, when she sees a handsome man, she becomes disturbed. There is no doubt of this. She does not even consider the consequences. The lips of a woman's vagina, as well as her nipples, swell under my influence. They do not have any patience. Do not worry. I shall undoubtedly spoil Sukala's devotion for her husband."- Indra said, "I myself will turn into a handsome, virtuous and wealthy man, just to attract this woman. Your job is to help me infatu¬ate her."After transforming himself, Indra went to where Sukala was stay¬ing. But, the woman didn't even glance at him. Wherever Sukala went, Indra followed, casting his lustful glance upon her, again and again. Indra then sent a female messenger to Sukala.She said, "Great is your courage, charm and forbearance. In this world, there is none as beautiful as you. Who are you? Whose wife are you? That man is surely blessed!"In reply, Sukala explained that she was the wife of Krikala, who had left home on a tour of pilgrimage, three years ago.In reply to Sukala's inquiry, the messenger then said, "Listen care¬fully, and I shall tell you of my mission. Your merciless husband has abandoned you. What do you have to do with him, who has been so cruel to you? You are lamenting in vain. Why should you destroy your lovely body by performing austerities? Youth is the time for enjoyment. In old age, what can anyone accomplish? The arrows of Cupid are now burning your body. See the young man who is standing nearby. He is full of love for you."
Sukala replied, "For the soul, there is no childhood or youth. Nor does he have old age. Indeed, the soul is immortal and everlasting.""Why describe the body as handsone? It is full of stool and urine, and it exudes perspiration. It exists like a bubble on the surface of the water. Within the body are worms and germs, causing disease. In youth, there is apparently some beauty, but where does it go? In old age, the teeth fall out, the ears do not hear properly, the eyes do not see properly and the legs do not carry one quickly.""The genitals of the male and female become excited. Then the male and the female, being inflamed by passion, unite. The body of the male and the body of the female rub together for some time. Due to intercourse, momentary pleasure is produced. Than again, the itching resumes. Such a condition is observed everywhere, not only in human society.""O messenger, return to your own place. There is nothing wonder¬ful about all this. There is nothing I desire from you."
The female messenger returned to Indra, thinking, "What other woman would speak like this, so plain and truthful?"After hearing from the messenger, Indra told Cupid, "I will go with you to see this woman."Being proud of his prowess, Cupid said, "I shall easily destroy this lady's self-respect, truthfulness and loyalty to her husband. Who is she in comparison to me?"Indra replied, "Simply talking is of no use. This woman is strong and devoted. I think Sukala is inconquerable. Your power is of no use against her." Upon hearing this, Cupid angrily said, "I have destroyed the power of numerous sages and gods. Why are you criticizing me, who can sub¬due to whole world?"Indra said, "Alright, let us go and see the extent of your prowess." As Indra once again approached Sukala, he tried his best to at¬tract her. With Cupid's help, he seemed to be irresistible and yet, Sukala remained disinterested, due to the power of her meditation. Indra then once again taunted Cupid, reminding him of how he had formely been burnt by Lord Shiva. He said, "The chastity of the best of women is beyond compare. Just remember how Savitri, the daughter of Dyumatsena, brought her husband, Satyavan, the son of Ashvapati, back from the clutches of Yamaraja.- Who except a fool would tie stones around his neck and then try to swim across the ocean? Who would try to deviate such a chaste woman, who is free from all unwanted mate¬rial attachment?"Kamadeva replied, "I came here under your order. Having given up patience and manliness, you are speaking like one who is afraid. At least I do not want to spoil my reputation, and become a laughing stock in heaven. Come with me. I will enable you to destroy this woman's chastity."Cupid first of all sent Rati to try and win Sukala over. At this time, Satya (Truth) said to Dharma, "Just see what the wicked Cupid is attempting. A brahmana performing penance, a chaste woman who is true to her husband, and a truthful king are my residences. This rascal is trying to destroy my abode."
"O Dharma, we must act in such a way that the lusty Indra, along with Kama, do not strike down the chaste Sukala."Dharmaraja said, "I have a plan. We will send Prajna, in the form of a bird, to announce from the sky that Sukala's husband is returning. Upon hearing this omen, Sukala will remain steady in her determination."Prajna then went and announced to Sukala that her husband would return home, in just seven days. Upon hearing this, Sukala be¬came very glad. Rati then took the form of a chaste lady and ap¬proached Sukala. Rati spoke to Sukala words full of deceit. She said, "My wise, learned and handsome husband has gone away, leaving me." Feeling sympathetic, Sukala inquired, "Why did your husband abandon you? Tell me the truth."Rati replied, "I was always engaged in doing that which was agree¬able to my husband. It must be the fruit of something done in my past life that makes me suffer at present. Now, I don't know how I can go on living without my husband."
Sukala believed Rati's talks, and so she told her about her own misfortune. In this way, they consoled one another. Rati then invited Sukala to enter the nearby charming forest. They went, and indeed, the forest looked extremely alluring, because the scene had been ar¬ranged by the art of Cupid, for the purpose of alluring Sukala.Indra also entered that forest, along with Cupid. Indra told him, "There she is, standing before you. Strike her at once and display your prowess."Cupid replied, "Show her your charming form, and then I will do my best."Indra retorted, "What kind of valor is this, that you need my support to afflict this woman?"Cupid said, "After being burnt by Mahadeva, I remained form¬less. Thus, I can only act after entering someone else. It is for this reason that I wish to enter you, as you stand before this woman."Meanwhile, Rati was glorifying the forest, and while doing so, she smelled the wonderful fragrance. In this way, Cupid easily entered her nostrils. But, Sukala did not smell the fragrance of the breeze and so she remained undisturbed. Sukala thus defeated Cupid's friend, the wind.Rati went to Cupid and informed him that Sukala appeared to be invincible. Cupid replied, "If she simply looks at Indra, I shall certainly e able to conquer her."Indra then went to Sukala and said, "Formerly, I sent a messenger o you. Why do you not favor me? I am overwhelmed by longing for Sukala said, "I am not alone. I am protected by my sons and ompanions. I do not have much time to talk. Do you not feel ashamed o dally here? Are you not even afraid of death?"
Indra replied, "I saw you enter this grove alone. How can I see the ns you speak about?"Sukala said, "Truth, along with Courage, Resolution, Fate and In-elligence always protect me. Dharma also protects me and Knowledge never leaves me. Why are you soliciting me against my will? Indra him¬self could not win me over. Even if Cupid were to come here, I am protected by the armor of truth. There is no doubt that his arrows would prove futile. Go away. If you stay here, you will surely be reduced to ashes."
After hearing this, Indra and Cupid went back to the place from where they had come. Sukala returned home.Meanwhile, after having toured all the holy places of pilgrimage, Krikala started the journey home. At this time, Dharma came to Krikala and said, "You have not received the fruit of touring the holy places. Indeed, you have labored in vain."Krikala asked, "Who are you that is talking to me like this? What was my fault? How is it that my pilgrimage is not fruitful? Tell me everything clearly."Dharma replied, "The entire merit obtained by going on pilgrim¬age is not gained by one who goes without his devoted wife. For a householder, religious practices performed without the wife become fruit¬less."When Krikala asked what he should do, Dharma advised, "Go home. Your wife is suffering in your absense. Perform the Shraddha ceremoney with her, while remembering all the holy places you vis¬ited."Having said this, Dharma vanished. Krikala returned home and met his faithful wife. When husband and wife performed the Shraddha ceremony together, their departed ancestors appeared overhead in ce¬lestial airplanes. The demigods also came and praised Krikala and Sukala. Suta Gosvami next narrated this story: In the region of Kuruksetra, there once lived a brahmana named Kundala. His pious son was Sukarman. Seeing that his righteous parents had become very old, Sukarman served them faithfully, day and night. Indeed, he bathed them, fed them and massaged them with great care and attention.At this time, there lived a brahmana descendent of Kasyapa, named Pippala. He was devoid of passion, free of envy, full of compas¬sion for others, and his anger was fully subjugated. Pippala performed austerities, without eating anything, at a place called Dasharanya. Due to the power of Pippala's penance, all living beings in that forest gave up enmity, so that they lived as if sharing the same womb.
Upon seeing this, the other sages in the region were astonished. Even the demigods, headed by Indra, were amazed. They exclaimed, "How great is this one's tranquility and restraint!"While seated immovibly, Pippala meditated upon the Supreme Lord, his face reflecting the transcendental happiness that he experi¬enced. Indeed, his practice was so rigid that he appeared like a post stuck in the ground. One thousand years past, as he remained rapt in meditation, and around him the ants constructed their anthill. Still, he remained motionless. On all sides, he was surrounded by black, poison¬ous serpents. One of the serpents bit Pippala, but the poison had no effect. Finally, by his influence, even those serpents became peaceful. From Pippala's body arose a fierce effulgence. As the sun, although hidden behind clouds, illumates the sky, Pippala shone with great lus¬tre, even though within the anthill. In appreciation for his wonderful penance, the demgods showered flowers on Pippala's head, while assur¬ing him that he would achieve the fulfillment of his desires.Pippala replied, "O devas, please arrange things so that the entire world will come under my control. I would like to be a Vidyadhara."The demigods consented and then departed. Having achieved the status of a Vidyadhara, Pippala gave up his austerities. He continually thought, "I am now the best of brahmanas. How shall I exert my influ¬ence over others?"Being eager to ascertain the validity of his newfound, prowess, Pippala exuded great confidence. Understanding this, a crane that was standing by the side of the lake said to him, "Why do you have such great pride? I do not think that you have the power to bring everything under your control. In my opinion, you are deluded. I think that your performance of austerity was in vain.""Sukarman, the son of Kundala, actually has the entire world under his control. Indeed, there is no one as wise as he. You are nothing in comparison to Sukarman! He never performed austerities, he never gave in charity, he never performed sacrifices, and he never went on Pilgrimage. His entire religious merit rests upon his devotion to his aged Parents. You do not even have the knowledge that Sukarman had as a child!"Pippala asked, "Who are you, in the form of a bird, criticizing me? How have you become so smart? Tell me- are you Brahma, Vishnu or Shiva?"The crane replied, "Your penance was nil and you will obtain no fruit. Go to Sukarman and ask him about my identity. He will explain everything to you."After hearing this, Pippala quickly went to the ashram of Kundala. There, he saw Sukarman serving his parents. Upon seeing the arrival of Pippala (the Vidyadhara), Sukarman provided him with a warm welcome. At that time, Sukarman said, "I know all about the reason for your coming here. I know that you performed austerities for one thou¬sand years, and then received the benediction of the demigods. At that time, a crane spoke to you about me."Pippala asked, "Who is that crane?"
Sukarman replied, "That crane is actually Lord Brahma. What else do you want to know?"
Pippala said, "I have heard that the entire world is under your control. Kindly give me a demonstration of this power."At this, Sukarman summoned the demigods so that quickly, the Lokapalas and others arrived, saying, "O brahmana, tell us the reason why you have thought of us."Sukarman explained, "This is Pippala. Just to show him my pow¬ers of control, 1 have called you. Now, you can all return to your respec¬tive abodes."The demigods said, "Your seeing us will not be fruitless. Ask for a benediction and we shall grant it."Sukarman requested, "Grant that I might always have firm devo¬tion for my parents. And, may my father and mother go back to the supreme abode of the Lord, Vaikuntha, after death. This is my wish." The demigods replied, "Due to the sincere devotion you have for your parents, we are always pleased with you."After the departure of the demigods, Pippala requested Sukarman to speak on the subject of the Absolute Truth, the cause of all causes. Sukarman said, "The Supreme Lord is difficult to be seen, and so the Vedas describe Him as follows: 'Although without ears, He hears every¬thing. Although without legs, He can be instantly present at any place. Although without hands, He is capable of accepting His devotees' of¬ferings. Although without eyes, he. sees everything within the creation. Indeed, His transcendental form is eternal, fully cognizant, and com¬pletely blissful.' Now that I have explained the nature of the most ancient One, what else do you wish to know?
"Pippala asked, "By what means did you acquire such knowledge?"
Sukarman said, "I do not perform penance or sacrifice, and 1 never travel to holy places. All I know is devotion to my parents. I believe that a person who every day washes the feet of his mother and father,achieves the merit of daily bathing in the Ganga."After hearing the glories of serving one's parents, Pippala desired to hear about Nahusha. Sukarman narrated the story as follows: As the result of his pious acts, Nahusha attained the abode of Indra, after installing his son, Yayati, upon the throne.Yayati had four sons, Turu, Puru, Kuru and Yadu. One day, Narada Muni came to Indra's court. Being questioned by the king of heaven, the Devarshi explained, "I have come here after having seen King Yayati, the son of Nahusha."Narada Muni continued to glorify Yayati as a very pious and capable monarch. He said, "Just as you are ruling in heaven, so Yayati, the son of Nahusha, has protected the citizens of the Earth for eighty thousand years."After hearing about Yayati's performance of numerous sacrifices, Indra thought to himself, "Formerly, Nahusha attained my position, as a result of performing one hundred sacrifices. Fortunately, he fell from heaven as a result of his trying to enjoy my wife. Now, his son is sure to obtain my position, as well.Being thus afraid, Indra finally sent Matali, for the purpose of bringing Yayati to heaven. After arriving in Yayati's royal assembly, Matali said, "I have been sent by the king of heaven to take you to his abode. Please install your son upon the throne and perform your final sacrifice, before departing. Many illustrious kings from bygone ages are residing with Indra, such as Pururava, Viprachitti, Shibi, Shantanu, Bharata and Sagara. Come now and enjoy life in heaven."King Yayati asked, "By what good fortune am I being called to the court of Indra?"Matali replied, "O king, you have given many gifts in charity, and you have performed sacrifices for thousands of years. It is the fruit of these acts that is carrying you to heaven. Leave your body here.After assuming a divine form, you can go and make friendship with the king of the devas. The enjoyment that one receives in heaven is measured out exactly according to the pious acts that were executed on Earth."Yayati asked, "One performs good or bad deeds with the help of his body. Why then is the body left behind when one goes to the next world?"Matali said, "Some men go to heaven, after leaving the body with which he performed pious acts. Others go to hell, after leaving the body with which he performed sinful activities."
Yayati asked, "Either way, by sinful or by pious acts, one has to relinquish his material body, composed of five elements. What then, is the difference between sinful and pious deeds, since both give the same result- the death of the material body. The body is the friend of the soul. Why, after performing good deeds with the help of the body, does the soul have to leave it behind?"Matali said, "Actually, there is no real connection between the soul and the body. Still, it is a fact that one who acts piously, by observ¬ing vows and performing sacrifices, is never attacked by old age. Old age attacks the body by means of sin."Yayati requested, "Tell me about old age. How did it come to be? Why does it trouble the body?"Matali said, "The body is composed of five elements. When the soul leaves the body, it is burnt. From the burning body, which is full of fluids, smoke is produced. From that smoke, clouds are formed. Later on, water pours from those clouds. From the rain, food is produced from the earth. After eating this food, the body produces semen. Within the body is the element of fire, which is produced from fluids.""As long as there is adequate fluid in the body, it remains tran¬quil. Too much fire in the body produces hunger. This fire consumes the food it receives, and it also consumes blood and semen. Too much fire causes disease, but the fire is lessened by sufficient fluids within the body. When fire increases, however, the semen is agitated, producing lust, which pierces the heart like a dart.""Being oppressed by lust, one searches for a female and, as a re¬sult, he become addicted to sexual intercourse. Due to sexual excesses, one becomes weak and devoid of lustre. Indeed, the body becomes more and more weak as the fire consumes the blood and semen. This causes a person to become dispirited. Thus, the frustrated person becomes pale, aggrieved and feeble-minded. This brings on the appearance of old age.""While lusting after women, a man becomes older, day by day. As a miserly man always thinks of money, the lusty man constantly dreams of sexual intercourse, and thus loses his lustre and strength. From lust, the material body was produced, and by lust, it perishes. Finally, the fire within the body produces a terrible fever and one dies. From earth the body is assembled, and to earth the body again goes, after death. For one who goes to hell, the next body is produced from the five elements almost instantly, as the result of his impious activities. For one who goes to heaven, the celestial body is immediately produced from the essence of the five elements."
Matali proceeded to give an elaborate description of life within the womb and the distresses experienced after birth. This resembles the descriptions given by Lord Kapila in the third canto of Shrimad-Bhagavatam, and so it will not be repeated here.Matali described the impure nature of the material body as fol¬lows: The impure body is the residence of the soul, having been pro¬duced as the result of his past deeds. It always contains stool and urine, and so the body is always to be considered impure. Pure and nice food quickly becomes impure, after being consumed by the body.
What can be more impure than the material body? Don't you see how, every day, stool and urine are coming out of it? Even if cleansed by all the water of the Ganga, the body can never become pure. And yet, still, men do not become detached from it. After smelling the bad odor of his body, and seeing the stool coming out of it, a man still doesn't become disinclined towad it. Just see the power of attachment, which deludes the entire world of men!The body of a man, whose mind is impure, does not become puri¬fied by numerous baths at holy places. The best purification is purifica¬tion of the mind. Within the mother's womb, and at the time fo birth, the living entity suffers terribly. Attachment to the body is only made possible by the pain of birth, which causes one to completely forget these horrible experiences.As an infant, one suffers greatly. Although wanting to speak, he cannot do so. The cutting of his teeth is very painful. Diseases and ghosts always plague small children. A small child might even eat stool, out of ignorance. What happiness is there in this? When he grows up a little, a child is beaten by his parents. suffers while learning to read and write, and he is often chastised by his teachers. How can there be happiness in youth, when one is greatly disturbed by lust? There is so much pain caused by jealousy. Being dis¬turbed by lust, the young man cannot even sleep peacefully at night. During the day, how can there be happiness when one is always han¬kering for money?There is a great struggle to earn money and there is anxiety while trying to preserve it. When money is lost, stolen or spent, there is only grief. How can one imagine that he will become happy by possessing wealth? Just as a man always fears death, a wealthy person is afraid of thieves, flood, fire, kinsmen, and governments. Indeed, a wealthy per¬son is forever eaten up by the people surrounding him, just as a piece of flesh is devoured by wild animals. Wealth causes pain while being earned, it deludes a man in prosperity, and it gives great affliction when lost. What happiness is actually derived from wealth?
Who is more foolish than the person who does not become de¬tached from the material body, even after seeing other persons lying helplessly upon their deathbeds, smeared with blood, stool and urine? When one becomes old, he is treated with contempt, because of his inability to provide as he had previously done. Therefore, starting from a young age, one should practice piety.
Matali concluded his talks to Yayati by saying, "I have come to you by the order of Indra. First, go to Indraloka. From there, you can attain the realm of Brahma, and after that you can ascend to Shivaloka. At last, being freed of all material attachment, you can go back home,back to Godhead."King Yayati said, "I shall not abandon my body. Even after hear¬ing such vivid discriptions of the material miseries, I will not go to heaven without my body. Tell this to Indra, 'The body cannot remain without the presence of the soul, and the soul cannot accomplish any¬thing in this world without his body. I shall not destroy that body which enabled me to attain heavenly happiness.' Matali, although I am now fifty years old, my body is still as fit as when I was sixteen.""By performing devotional service to Lord Vishnu, and by chant¬ing the holy names of the Lord, all of my material contaminations have become cleansed. There is no better medicine than the chanting of the holy name of the Lord! Due to that medication, my body is healthy. Diseases and suffering come to those who are sinful. By ren¬dering devotional service to the Lord, one's material body becomes spiri¬tualized. Internal and external purity are thus achieved, and there is no more foul odor. For this reason, I do not want to give up my body and go to heaven. Due to my Krishna consciousness, my life on Earth is better than a life in heaven. Go back and convey all this to Indra."Matali returned to heaven and told the king of the devas all that had taken place. Yayati then called for messengers, and ordered them as follows: "Travel all over the world and carry this order of mine- 'Give up all thoughts of worldly enjoyment and take to the devotional ser¬vice of Lord Vishnu. By acting in this way, you will soon become free from all material contamination.' That shameless man who, through greed or folly, does not obey this order, will surely be punished by me."
Thus, the messengers went all over the Earth, informing the people of the king's order and requesting them to chant the holy names of the Lord. Thus it came to be that all men, women, and old people, as well as unmarried girls and boys began chanting the holy names of Lord Krishnna. They chanted, "Krishna, Hari, Rama, Mukunda, Madhusudana, Narayana, Narasimha, Achyuta, Keshava, Padmanabha, Vasudeva, Vamana, Varaha, Matsya, Hrishikesha, Vishvarupa, Ananta, Shripati, Shrinivasa and Madhava."Day and night, the people of the world chanted the holy names of the Lord, even while performing their work, while eating, while ly¬ing down and while meeting one another. In this way, under the rule of the devotee king, Yayati, the Earth became like Vaikuntha.Here, there is a description of the devotees of Lord Vishnu, and this verse is quoted by Shrila Prabhupada in the Nectar of Devotion, as follows:"In the Padma Purana there is a statement describing how a Vaishnava should decorate his body with tilaka and beads: 'Persons who put tulasi beads on the neck, who mark twelve places of their bodies as Vishnu temples with Vishnu's symbolic representations [the four items held in the four hands of Lord Vishnu—conch, mace, disc and lotus], and who have vishnu-tilaka on their foreheads, are to be understood as the devotees of Lord Vishnu in this world. Their pres¬ence makes the world purified, and anywhere they remain, they make that place as good as Vaikuntha.' "
There was no longer fear of old age or disease. People became free from death. Everyone was kind to others and gifts were constantly being given in charity.Being deprived of their jobs, the Yamadutas went to Yamaraja and complained about Yayati. After hearing this, Yamaraja took his servants and went to see Indra. He explained, "The noble king, Yayati,the son of Nahusha, has made everyone a devotee of Lord Vishnu, thus converting the world into Vaikuntha. There is no more old age, there are no more diseases, and there is no more sinful activity. The people do not even tell lies! They are free from lust and anger, and so there is no more greed or delusion. For this reason, I no longer have anything to do. I am sitting idly. Now, kindly do that which would be beneficial for me."Indra replied, "I know all this. I had sent my messenger, Matali, but after hearing from him, Yayati had said, 'I don't want to go to heaven. I will make this world as good as heaven!' Because of this, I also feel threatened."Dharmaraja (Yama) then said, "Take my advice. You must bring Yayati to heavan by any means."Finally, after deliberating for quite some time, Indra called for Cupid, Rati, the Gandharvas and the cuckoo. He told them, "Do what you must do, to bring Yayati here. Let there be no hesitation about executing this order of mine."Kama gave his assurances and then departed, along withi his wife, Rati, and other associates. They appeared before Yayati, disguised as actors, and so the king arranged for them to perform a drama. Thereaf¬ter, the king saw the actors perform the pastimes of Lord Vamana. An exceptionally beautiful woman then portrayed Jara (old age) and sang an enchanting song. It so happened that because of the woman's sweet smile, her melodious singing, and her graceful mannerisms, as well as because of the influce of Kamadeva, King Yayati became attracted.Indeed, Cupid was the principal actor in the drama, and he was also the stage manager. Spring was his assistant, and Rati became the main heroine. Actually, it was Rati who played the part of Jara. When Yayati had gone to the toilet, he had not washed his feet after evacuat¬ing. Taking advantage of this, Jara was able to influence the king-When the drama was over and the actors bad left, it was found that the king had become overwhelmed by old age, and he was also attached to lust.
One day soon thereafter, the king went to the forest to hunt. At that time, a wonderful golden deer with green spots and four horns appeared before him. Considering the deer to be a demon, Yayati gave chase. The deer ran very fast, however, and after leading the king far astray, it suddenly disappeared.
Being exhausted, King Yayati found himself in an enchanting forest, filled with sandalwood trees, as well as innumerable others, bear¬ing fruit and flowers. While going along the path, the king finally came to a lake, crowded with swans and ducks, as well as red and golden lotuses. Being very tired, he got down from his chariot and sat beneath a mango tree.After bathing and drinking the water of the lake, which bore the fragrance of lotuses, Yayati heard the sound of someone singing, far away. Being a lover of music, the king thought that a damsel of heaven must be staying nearby. As he was thinking in this way, Yayati became astonished to see a woman approach him, through the forest.As the beautiful, amply endowed woman stood before him, Ma¬haraja Yayati inquired, "Who are you? To whom do you belong? For what reason have you come here?"Without giving a reply, that fair-faced woman simply laughed and then quickly departed. Being truly amazed, the king thought, "This woman must be another form of the same demon who had led me astray, as a deer."Once again, the king heard the woman singing in the distance. He walked in that direction and then saw within the water a lotus having a thousand petals. On that lotus was the beautiful woman, and in her hand she held a vina. Next to her, stood another girl. Upon seeing her celestial beauty, the king thought, "Within the three worlds, there is none other like her!"Formerly, Cupid had entered Yayati's body. Now, as the king gazed at this woman, Cupid's influence became more strongly manifest. Thus, the king became overwhelmed by passionate desires, and longed for that woman terribly.He thought, "How can I make this girl mine? How can I make her attracted to me? My life will become fruitful when this girl embraces me!"
Maharaja Yayati then said, "1 am seeing you once again. Who are you? Who is the girl next to you? I am the son of Nahusha, and I am the emperor of the entire world, consisting of seven islands. My heart has a strong desire to be with you. I am greatly harrassed by love for you. Please protect me, who have sought your shelter. For having your love, I am ready to sacrifice my kingdom, and even my body."That girl with a lotus-like face said to her friend, Vishala, "Tell this king my name, my place of birth, and the names of my mother and father. Also, tell him about my love for him."Vishala sweetly said, "Cupid was formerly burnt by Lord Shiva. His wife, Rati, being deprived of her husband, wept grievously. Rati continued to live in this lake, and upon hearing her loud wailing, the demigods became compassionate. Approaching Lord Shiva, they begged him to revive Cupid.""In reply, Lord Shiva said, 'I shall bring Cupid back to life, but without a gross material body. From now on, he shall live in a celestial form.' Thus it so happened that Cupid came to this lake, and for this reason, it is called Kamasaras.""When Cupid returned to her, Rati was overjoyed. From her tears of happiness, this lotus grew, and upon it, the beautiful daughter of Rati, named Ashrubindumati. I am the daughter of Varuna, named Vishala, and I am the dear friend of Rati's daughter. Desiring a good huband, she has been engaged in performing austerities at this place." King Yayati replied, "I have understood everything. Now, let this beautiful daughter of Rati choose me. I shall give her all that she de¬sires."
Vishala said, "I will tell you what kind of man she wants. He should be young, strong and handsome. He should be brave, very intel¬ligent and fully conversant with religious principles. He should be chari¬table and he should be the performer of many sacrifices. He should be dear to the devas and brahmanas, and indeed, he should be like a sec¬ond Indra among men."Maharaja Yayati replied, "I am such a person. Know for certain that the Creator has made me as a suitable husband for your friend." Vishala said, "What you say is true. You possess all the qualitites that I mentioned. But, there is one fault in you that makes Rati's daughter not think so highly of you."
Yayati requested, "Tell me what that fault is", and so Vishala explained, "You do not know this? You are an old man and that is why she does not cherish you.Being very aggrieved upon hearing this, King Yayati said, "Auspi¬cious girl, I do not know how this old age suddenly came upon me. Whatever this girl desires, I will provide her. Just tell me what it is.Vishala said, "When you will be free of old age, then she will be happy to be your beloved wife. I am telling you the truth. I suggest that you give your old age to your son, brother or servant, in exchange for his youth. This would certainly award that person with great religious merit.""O king, after you have obtained the youth of another, come back here and enjoy the beautiful daughter of Rati."King Yayati assured Vishala that he would accomplish this, and then he returned home. He called for his sons- Turu, Puru, Kuru and Yadu, and asked them to fulfill his request. In reply, the sons said, "The order of the father must be executed by his sons, whether it be good or ad."Yayati then said, "The wise one among you should accept my old ge, which is giving me pain, in exchange for his own youth. I have ecome very attached to a woman, and oniy with your youth shall I be able to enjoy her. Kindly comply."The sons replied, "Father, you are a pious king who rules his sub¬jects faithfully. How has this idea of enjoying a woman come upon you?"In response, Yayati explained how he had formerly been allured by Cupid, causing his body to become afflicted with old age. He also told how he met the beautiful girl in the forest, while hunting.Turu then said, "Dear father, now I am young and so it is the time for enjoying my senses. In old age, the time for enjoying the senses has passed. Even if I were to give you my youth, you would not live for long, ror this reason, I do not like the idea of exchanging my youth for your old age."Upon hearing this, Yayati angrily cursed Turu, saying, "You will become excluded from all civilized societies. You will become devoid of a'l religious practices and without any manners. You will be a drunkard, a killer of brahmanas, and a killer of cows. Without any truthfulness,you will be a very cruel man. You will be deformed, you will try to enjoy the wives of others, and indeed, your descendents will become barbarians."
Having said this, Yayati next asked Yadu to take his old age in exchange for his youth. Yadu pleaded, "O father, I would not be able to bear your old age. Kindly excuse me. There are five causes of old age-impotence, too much traveling, bad food, being the consort of an old or ugly woman, and disinclination of mind. Now that 1 am used to being young, I cannot bear the thought of being old. Please excuse me."At this, Yayati angrily cursed Yadu, saying, "Your descendents will not be worthy of being called kings. They will be devoid of good quali¬ties and without the practices of kshatriyas."
Yadu begged, "Father, I am faultless. Why have you cursed me? Please favor me."Yayati then said, "When the Supreme Lord incarnates within your dynasty, it will become purified of all faults."
Because Kuru was still a child, Maharaja Yayati did not ask him to accept his old age in exchange for his youth. Then, to Puru, the son of Sharmishtha, he said, "Take my old age and enjoy this expansive
kingdom."Puru replied, "1 shall obey your order. Give me your old age in exchange for my youth. Today, become handsome and enjoy life with that girl, as much as you desire."Thus it came to be that Yayati regained his youthful body, as if he were sixteen years old. After giving everything to Puru, Yayati pro¬ceeded to the Kamasaras lake, where Ashrubindumati was staying. Upon seeing that beautiful girl, with large, firm breasts, the king said to Vishala, "I have given up my old age and am now endowed with youth. Let this young maiden be mine. I shall do whatever she desires."Vishala replied, "It is true that you have abandoned your old age, but still, there is one fault in you that causes her not to cherish you." Yayati said, "Tell me what that fault is, and 1 shall certainly aban¬don it at once."Vishala explained, "The fault is that you already have two wives, Sharmishtha and Devayani. Already enjoying two women, how are you fascinated with a third? Just as a sandalwood tree is encircled by snakes, you are surrounded by serpents in the form of co-wives. It is better to enter fire or fall from a mountain than marry a man with two wives, even though he may be rich and handsome. It is for this reason that she does not desire you as her lover."Yayati said, "Beautiful girl, I have nothing more to do with Sharmishtha and Devayani. Please believe me."Ashrubindumati said, "O king, if you agree to do whatever I say, I shall accept you. Give me your hand."Maharaja Yayati once again assured her that she would be his only love. Ashrubindumati said, "On the basis of your promise, I will become your wife."
Thus they were married in the Gandharva style. Thereafter, the king enjoyed with Ashrubindumati on the beaches, in the forests and in gardens. In this way, twenty thousand years past.It must be remembered that this story is being told by Sukarman, to Pippala. Sukarman said, "Thus it came to be that Yayati was de¬luded, for the sake of Indra."The story continues: When Yayati returned home with his new wife, Sharmishtha and Devayani became very angry and jealous. While talking to each other, they said, "For her sake, with his mind overcome by lust and anger, he cursed two of his sons!"
When he understood the nature of the rivalry between his wives, King Yayati called Yadu and ordered, "Go and kill Sharmishtha and Devayani, if you care to do that which is pleasing to me."Yadu replied, "Proud father, I shall not kill my two mothers. That would be a terrible sin."At this time, Ashrubindumati said to Yayati, "There is a desire in my heart I would like you to satisfy. I want to see the abodes of Indra, Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu. Kindly enable me to do so."Yayati replied, "Noble one, what you ask is unattainable, even for a person who gives charity, performs sacrifices and studies the Vedas. Please ask me for something else."Ashrubindumati replied, "What you say is true for others, but not for you. I am telling you the truth. Therefore, you should satisfy my desire."Meanwhile, always being afraid of Yayati, Indra called for Menaka and told her, "Go and relay this message to Cupid's daughter (Ashrubindumati), 'Bring the king here by any means possible.' "After approaching Rati's daughter and giving her the king of heaven's message, Menaka returned to Indra. Ashrubindumati then re¬minded her husband, "At the time of our marriage, you had promised to fulfill all of my desires. If you fail to do as I ask, I shall abandon you and return to my father."Yayati replied, "Ask for anything possible. But, leave aside that which is unattainable."Cupid's daughter then said, "I married you because I knew that you were the best among Lord Vishnu's devotees. I knew that one who has received the Lord's favor can travel anywhere within the three worlds, without restriction. By the grace of Lord Vishnu, you can travel in the sky. Having come to this mortal world, you have made the citi¬zens free from old age, grey hair, and death. All this was accomplished by you, inspite of opposition from Indra and Yama. Indeed, by your prowess, you have transformed the Earth into another heaven."King Yayati said, "Good woman, you have spoken the truth. There is nothing unattainable for me, by the grace of the Lord. Now I will disclose to you the reason why I don't want to go to heaven. If I go to heaven, then all of my subjects will have to face death, in my absense." Ashrubindumati said, "After seeing the divine worlds, you could once again return to Earth. Please fulfill my desire."
The king replied, "I shall certainly do so" but then thought as follows: "When Matali came to take me to heaven, 1 did not go. But now, I will have to go because I am bound by my promise to this beau¬tiful woman. Such is the strength of destiny!"While thinking in this way, Maharaja Yayati took shelter of Lord Krishna, praying, "O Lord, kindly protect me."Yayati called for his son, Puru, and said, "You have ruled the king¬dom very well, under my direction. Now, I want you to return my old age and take back your youth. After doing this, continue to protect the citizens as before."Having once again accepted his old age, the king spoke to the assembled citizens as follows: "I am going to visit the abodes of Indra, Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu. The wise and virtuous Puru will continue to rule the kingdom."The citizens then told the king that they wanted to accomany him, and so he agreed. Thus, as Yayati proceeded to heaven upon his chariot, the citizens followed him, riding upon chariots, horses and elephants. All of the citizens were devotees of Lord Vishnu, and while going, they were fully absorbed in meditation upon Him.Upon arriving in heaven, Indra came and welcomed Yayati. In¬deed, Indra invited the king to stay for some time, but he said, "I just came here to offer you my obeisances, before going to the abode of Lord Brahma."In this way, Yayati went to the abode of Brahma, and then the abode of Shiva. Finally, King Yayati proceeded to Lord Vishnu's tran¬scendental abode, while being praised by Gandharvas, Kinnaras, Siddhas, Sadhyas, Vidyadharas, Maruts and Vasus. Upon arriving at Vaikuntha, Yayati saw a wonderful city full of golden vehicles and hundred-story palaces. There, he saw Lord Vishnu, mounted upon Garuda. Along with his wife, King Yayati went and offered his obei¬sances to the Lord.Being very pleased with Yayati, Lord Vishnu offered him a bene¬diction. The king replied, "O Madhusudana, if you are pleased, then grant this request. May I always remain your eternal servant, in this life, as well as birth after birth."Sukarman said, "Pippala, I have thus narrated to you this won¬derful story. You should know that even while sitting here, I can under¬stand the movements of all persons. O best of the Vidyadharas, the three worlds have thus come under my control. My advice to you is that you should devote all your time to wholeheartedly worshiping Lord Vishnu."After hearing this, Pippala returned home.The great sage, Chyavana, was born in the family of Bhrigu Muni. Desiring to attain transcendental knowledge, he decided to go to a holy place. Leaving his wife, son, house, land and wealth, Chyavana wan¬dered about on his pilgrim's journey. Being purified by his spiritual practices, the sage glowed with great lustre.
One day, Chyavana came to Amarakantaka, on the banks of the River Narmada. While sitting in the shade of a banyan tree, he heard the sound of a bird nearby.There was a parrot who had lived in that tree for a long time. His name was Kunjala. He had a wife and four sons. The eldest son was named Ujjvala, and the others were called Samujjvala, Vijjvala, and Kapinjala. These sons were very devoted to their pious father and mother.Indeed, they used to fan their parents with their wings when it was hot.As Chyavana was watching, the four birds returned to their nest in that tree. They offered their respects to their parents, and gave them the food that they had collected. The father, Kunjala, asked, "My dear son, Ujjvala, where did you go today. What wonderful thing did you see?"Ujjvala replied, "Every day I fly to Plakshadvipa, to get food. The people there are very pious, and they live happily. In the Plaksha island there lives a man named Divodasa, whose incomparable daughter is Divyadevi."
Upon seeing that his beautiful daughter had grown up, Divodasa thought, "To which noble and pious man should she be given?"At last, he decided upon Chitrasena, the king of Rupadesha. But, it so happened that on the day of the marriage, Chitrasena died, since his alloted time had expired. Divodasa then asked some brahmanas, "Now, what will be the fate of my daughter?"The brahmanas cited examples from shastra and then advised Divodasa to find another husband for Divyadevi. Next, Divodasa ar¬ranged for the marriage of his daughter with King Rupasena. And yet it so happened that once again, on the day of the marriage, the king died. In this way, twenty-one marriages were arranged, and twenty-one kings died.Divodasa became very unhappy because of this turn of events. He then consulted his ministers so that, at last, a svayamvara was ar¬ranged. All the kings of Plakshadvipa were invited. Being deluded by the girl's beauty and prompted by Destiny, these foolish kings fought with one another and died on the battlefield.Being very depressed, Divyadevi went to a cave in the forest and wept bitterly.Ujjvala, the parrot, concluded, "Father, 1 witnessed this while in Plakshadvipa today. Can you tell me the reason why that girl cannot get a husband?"
Kunjala said, "I will tell you about Divyadevi's former birth. There once was a man named Suvira, who lived at Varanasi. He was a vaishya and possessed great wealth. His wife, Chitra, gave up all sense of pro¬priety and began to act in a most shameless manner. She did not care for her husband- she always criticized him. In fact, she loved to quarrel. Roaming about, she would often be seen to stay in the houses of other men."Knowing Chitra to be sinful, her husband finally abandoned her and then married the daughter of a vaishya. Having been kicked out of her house, the bold Chitra wandered over the Earth, associating with sinful men. Finally, she became a supplier of women to lusty men and in this way, she spoiled many good families. She would meet chaste women and then lure them into sinful alliances. She would talk to men, exciting their lust, so that she could make a good profit by supply¬ing women to them.Finally, Chitra died and was thrown into hell by Yamaraja. In¬deed, she experienced the painful results of all her sinful activities. Because she broke up one hundred good families, she had to suffer simi¬lar grief as the result. After suffering in hell, she was born as the daugh¬ter of Divodasa, and thus suffered because of the deaths of her prospec¬tive husbands.Ujjvala asked, "How could such a sinful person as Chitra, attain birth in a pious family, like that of Divodasa.This is my doubt."Kunjala said, "I shall tell you about the pious acts that Chitra formerly performed. One day, a mendicant came to Chitra's door. He was only wearing a loincloth, he had a staff in his hand, he was clean¬shaven, and he was very hungry and fatigued due to travelling. Chitra provided him with a comfortable seat, gave him cold water and nice food, and even massaged his body, to relieve his fatigue. Being very pleased, the mendicant rested for awile and then continued to wander at will. It was just after this that Chitra died. It is because of this pious act that Chitra was born in Divodasa's family, after suffering the tor¬ments of hell."Ujjvala next requested his father to speak about acts that are performed in deovtional service to Lord Vishnu. After describing to his son the various devotional practices, Kunjala said, "Go now and impart these instructions to Divyadevi. By engaging in devotional service to Lord Vishnu, she will surely attain His eternal abode."Ujjvala quickly went to Plakshadvipa and there, he saw Divyadevi weeping. When requested by Ujjvala, Divyadevi explained the cause of her grief. After hearing her story, Ujjvala informed Divyadevi that his father had told him about her previous life. When Divyadevi asked Ujjvala to explain the process whereby she could atone for her past sins, he imparted to her knowledge of devotional service to Lord Vishnu.
Ujjvala said that four practices would free her of her past sins. These are- meditation upon Lord Krishna, chanting the Lord's one hundred names, cultivation of transcendental knowledge, and the ex¬ecution of certain vows.Divyadevi remained in a solitary forest and executed devotional service to the Lord with great determination. After four years of such sadhana, Lord Vishnu appeared before her.Trembling, being overwhelmed by ecstasy, Divyadevi fell to the ground like a rod, to offer obeisances. When the Lord offered her a benediction, Divyadevi asked that she may be recognized by the Lord as His eternal servant. At that time, Divyadevi attained a transcendental form. Free from all material contamination, she went back home, back to Godhead.Next, Kunjala related this story: In the kingdom of the Panchalas lived a kshatriya named Vidura. Although without a sikha, tilak or sacred thread, he used to wander about begging. He would tell the people he met, "I am a drunkard and the killer of a brahmana. Kindly give me alms."In this way, Vidura used to go house to house, begging. He trav¬elled to the holy places, but still, the sin of killing a brahmana did not leave him. Being very aggrieved, he sat in the shade of a large tree.At this time, there lived in the kingdom of Magadha, a brahmana named Chandrasharman. Being deluded, he had killed his preceptor. Because of this, that wicked brahmana was deserted by his friends and relatives. It just so happened that Chandrasharman passed by the place where Vidura was seated. He was also without tilak, sacred thread or sikha.
Vidura asked, "Who are you? You look miserable! What are you doing here?"In reply, Chandrasarman explained how he had killed his guru, and was thus tormented with guilt. He asked Vidura, "Who are you? You also look quite miserable."Vidura told about himself, in brief. At that time, another brahmana arrived there, named Vedasharman. He was emaciated, due to the grief caused by his sinful life. The two asked him, "Who are you? Why are you so distressed? Please tell us."Vedasharman replied by telling all about his life. He said, "I had illicit sex, and so I came to be despised by my relatives, and even the people in general. Being polluted by that sin, I am wandering over the Earth."
Next, a vaishya named Vanjula arrived there. He was a drunkard and he ate cow's meat. When asked by the three, Vanjula told his life story, in brief. Although they talked with one another, none of these four sinful men shared their food, nor did they show any other signs of friendship, such as sitting closely together, or resting side by side. They had travelled to many holy places, but their sins did not perish. Holy places do not have the power to destroy very serious sinful reactions.Thereafter, the four travelled to the Kalanjara mountain. They appeared very miserable, due to being tormented by their previous sins. There, they met a very wise Siddha, who asked, "For what reason are you so unhappy?"The four briefly described their sinful lives and upon hearing this, the Siddha felt great compassion. He said, "Because you are contami¬nated by sin, you should travel to these four holy places- Prayaga, Pushkara, Arghatirtha, and Varanasi. By bathing in the Ganga, you will become freed from all sinful reactions."Heeding this advice, Vidura, Chandrasharman, Vedasharman and Vanjula first went to Varanasi, then to Prayaga, then to Pushkara, and finally, to Arghatirtha. Just by bathing in the Ganga, they become free from the reactions to their terrible sins. But, as a result, these four places became contaminated by their grievous sins. All became black and began roaming over the Earth, in the form of swans. They bathed at many holy places, but still, their blackness did not depart. Indeed, sins, in the form of women, were seen surrounding these black swans.When the swans bathed in the Manasasarovara, the lake became contaminated, taking the form of a black swan. It was only when these five swans bathed in the Reva river, that they were freed from all sinful reactions, as well as their black color. Indeed, the women who were previously seen, surrounding the swans, also disappeared.Kunjala had discussions with all of his sons, while asking them about the wonderful things they had witnessed during their travels. During one such discussion, the son of Kunjala, Kapinjala, said, "Fa¬ther, 1 saw a beautiful lady weeping by the side of the Ganga. As her tears fell into the water, they became divine, fragrant lotuses. A bearded man, whose body seemed to consist of but skin and bones, collected those golden lotuses and used them in the worship of Lord Shiva.""Dear father, if you are able, tell me- who is that woman and who is that man? Why did he appear to lament, after worshiping Lord Shiva?" Kunjala replied to his son by narrating the following story: The demon, Hunda, had been killed by King Nahusha, the son of Ayu, in battle. Hunda's son, Vihunda, angrily practiced austerities, for the pur¬pose of gaining revenge.Knowing of the demon's great prowess, which was being enhanced by his practice of penance, the demigods thought, "Vihunda, the son of Hunda, is out to destroy the three worlds."Vihunda thought, "I shall gain revenge for the death of my father by killing all of the human beings and demigods."
Finally, being scorched by Vihunda's terrible effulgence, the demi¬gods, headed by Indra, went and took shelter of Lord Vishnu. In re¬sponse to their prayers, the Lord assured the demigods that He would destroy the powerful Vihunda.Lord Vishnu then created a very wonderful female form from His external energy, Maya. Thereafter, as Vihunda was ascending to heaven, for the purpose of killing the demigods, he saw this form of illusion in the Nandana garden. Becoming captivated by her astonishing beauty and charm, the demon did not realize that she had been created for his
destruction.Vihunda asked, "Who are you? To whom do you belong? O beau¬tiful one, the torturer of my heart, give me company. I shall provide for you even what is difficult to obtain by demigods and demons what¬ever you ask."Maya replied, "O demon, if you wish to enjoy me, give me what I want. Worship Lord Shiva with seven crores of flowers from the Kamoda tree.Then, place a garland of these flowers around my neck. If you do this, I shall become your dear wife."Vihunda said, "Respectable lady, I shall do as you ask."Overpowered by love, the demon wandered through many heav¬enly gardens, but failed to find a Kamoda tree. Finally, he approached Shukra and asked, "Tell me about the tree called Kamoda, which is full of flowers."Shukra said, "O demon, there is no tree called Kamoda, but there is a lady with that name. When she is delighted by some incident, she laughes. From her laughter, fragrant flowers are produced. These flow¬ers are called Kamoda. They are yellow and have a divine fragrance. Lord Shiva fulfills the desires of a person who worships him with even a single Kamoda flower. From this woman's tears, a red flower is also produced, but they have no fragrance. You should avoid them."After hearing this, Vihunda asked, "Where can I find this woman?"Shukra replied, "At Gangadvara, a city named Kamoda was con¬structed by the architect of the demigods. That lady lives in this city. Go there, and while worshiping this lady, somehow make her laugh."Kapinjala wanted to hear more about the woman, Kamoda, and so Kunjala told him about her origin, as follows:Formerly, when the demigods and demons had churned the Milk Ocean, to produce nectar, four divine maidens were manifested. These were Sulakshmi, Varuni, Jyeshtha, and Kamoda. The goddess Kamoda, thereafter, became manifest as Tulasi devi, for the satisfaction of Lord Vishnu.When the charming Kamoda laughs, fragrant flowers fall from her mouth. One who worships Lord Brahma, Lord Shiva, or Lord Vishnu with these flowers, experiences the fulfillment of his desires.When Kamoda weeps, flowers are produced from her tears, but these are without fragrance. He who worships Lord Shiva with these flowers, comes to experience only sorrow.Lord Krishna then sent Narada Muni to Vihunda, for the purpose of bewildering the demon. Thus, Vihunda, who was on his way to meet Kamoda, was intercepted by Devarshi Narada. Narada inquired, "Where are you going, in such a hurry? What work are you hoping to accom¬plish? Who has instructed you to do this?"Vihunda replied, with joined hands, "O best of brahmanas, I am on my way to get Kamoda flowers."Narada said, "What will you do with these flowers?"In reply, Vihunda explained how he had met a woman in the
Nandana garden and she had instructed him to worship Lord Shiva with Kamoda flowers. He said, "When I meet the goddess Kamoda, from her laughter will come the flowers 1 desire."
Narada said, "O demon, do not go to the city of Kamoda.- Lord Vishnu, the destroyer of demons, stays there. Now, let me tell you how you can obtain the Kamoda flowers you require. Just go to the shore of the Ganga, and you will find them floating in the water, so that you can collect as many as you like. Kindly believe my words."After instructing Vihunda in this way, Narada thought, "How can I make Kamoda aggrieved, so that she will shed tears?"After making up his mind, Narada went to the city of Kamoda. Upon entering Kamoda's house, he saw the goddess there. Kamoda wel¬comed Narada Muni, with great respect. Narada then inquired, "Dear lady, sprung from Vishnu's effulgence, are you living happily?"Kamoda replied, "By your grace, and the grace of Lord Vishnu, 1 am living quite happily. Now, tell me the purpose of your visit.""O sage, a great delusion now dwells in my body. It is causing me grief and it is pervading the entire world. From this delusion, sleep is generated, and it abides in all mortals. Last night, as I was sleeping, I saw a fearful dream. Someone came before me and said, 'Lord Vishnu, although transcendental, will desire to have contact with worldly ex¬istence.' Because of that dream, 1 always feel uneasy. O sage, tell me the reason, for you are the best among those who possess knowledge."Narada said, "Good lady, neither sleep nor dreams exist among the demigods. Nor is there any sleep nor dream for the pure soul. The best dreams are seen at the time of sunrise. During sleep, the subtle body remembers former lives and because of this, dreams are created. Anyway, the science of dreams is very complicated and difficullt to understand. The dream you saw might have been created by an excess of mucus within your body. Do not be overly concerned with it."Kamoda inquired, "For what reason would Lord Vishnu come into material existence? A conditioned soul, being bound by sinful and pi¬ous acts, moves on the path of worldy existence. Why then would Lord Vishnu come into this material world?"Narada said, "Once, Lord Vishnu had promised Bhrigu Muni that He would protect his sacrifice. But, during the sacrifice, Lord Vishnu left to fight with the demons, on behalf of Indra. While the Lord was absent, the demons came and destroyed that sacrifice. For this reason, Bhrigu cursed Lord Vishnu, saying, 'May you have ten births within the material world.' It is for this reason that you experienced the bad dream."Narada departed, while Kamoda sat down by the side of the Ganga. Being very afflicted by Lord Vishnu's plight, she wept, and from those tears, lotuses were formed. Those lotus flowers drifted downstream and Vihunda saw them. Being tricked by Narada, he did not realize that those lotus flowers had been caused by grief. The demon collected the flowers with great enthusiasm and used them to worship Lord Shiva.At this time, Parvati said to Lord Shiva, "Just see the impious act of this demon! With his mind overpowered by passion, he is worshiping you with lotus flowers that cause only pain and frustration. How is it that he is doing this?"
In response, Lord Shiva ordered Parvati to kill the wicked demon. Taking the form of a magnanimous brahmana, Parvati went to where Vihunda was engaged in worshiping Lord Shiva. She saw that the demon's tears were continually falling upon the Shiva-linga, and so she asked, "Who are you, whose mind appears to be full of grief? Your tears, which are impure, due to grief, are falling upon the head of Lord Shiva. Why are you worshiping like this?"In reply, Vihunda explained how he had met a divine woman and had been ordered by her to perform this wordhip. Parvati then said, "What kind of devotion is this, you rascal? Where did you get these Kamoda flowers, that had sprung from the goddess' laughter?"Vihunda said, "I got these flowers that were floating on the water of the Ganga. Shukra told me to worship Lord Shiva in this way."Parvati said, "Wicked demon, you are worshiping the Shiva-linga with flowers that sprung from Kamoda's weeping, due to grief. This is a terrible sin and so I will punish you. Enjoy the fruit of your deed!"Vihunda reaponded, "You are the wicked one, trying to spoil my worship. Watch as I kill you with my sword!"Taking out his sword, Vihunda came close to Parvati (in the form of a brahmana). Becoming enraged, the goddess uttered the sound, "hum", causing the demon to fall to the ground, dead. As soon as this was done, all created beings within the universe experienced peace.After narrating this much, the parrot, Kunjala, remained silent. It may be remembered that Chyavana Muni was sitting beneath a large tree, listening to the parrots speak. At this time, he said, "Who are you that are explaining dharma, in the form of a parrot? Are you a demi¬god, Gandharva, or Vidyadhara? Due to whose curse did you obtain this sinful birth? How is it that you possess knowledge that is beyond the reach of the senses? Of what religious practice is this the fruit? Kindly explain all this to me."Kunjala said, "O brahmana, I know your name and your excellent family. You are Chyavana, born in the family of Bhrigu Muni. 1 am not a deva, a Gandharva or a Vidyadhara. Now, listen carefully to what I have to say."Kunjala narrated the history as follows: "Once, there was a brahmana, born in the family of Kashyapa. He was known to be a Vidyadhara. He had three sons- Vasusharman, Namasharman, and Dharmasharman. 1 was that youngest son, harmasharman, devoid of all virtues. My other two brothers were very pious and learned, however. I alone was a great fool. My father thought, 'The name of my son is inappropriate.' Thinking like this, he said to me, 'Go to the house of our preceptor and acquire some learning.' "Dharmasharman replied, "Father, 1 will not go to the gurukula. Life there is very harsh! The guru is so serious and he beats his students every day. There is hardly any food and there is absolutely no enter¬tainment. 1 just want to stay home and play with my friends."Being very aggrieved, the father, Vidyadhara, replied, "Don't be a fool! Exert yourself to attain knowledge. Only by proper understanding are heaven and salvation attained. Education may be painful in the beginning, but at the end, it will provide great happiness. Therefore, go and enroll in the gurukula."Kunjala continued, "1 did not follow my father's advice. Instead, 1 used to wander here and there, squandering whatever money 1 had. Because of this, people used to ridicule me. Finally, 1 became ashamed of myself and so began to consider which preceptor I should approach. In this way, I was always in anxiety. In fact, while thinking and think¬ing about how I could acquire transcendental knowledge, old age finally came upon me."
One day, being very aggrieved, I sat down within a temple. Being impelled by Destiny, a Siddha came there. Althoug hungry and without any shelter, he was joyful and unencumbered by any material hankering. Indeed, he preferred to wander alone, aborbed in meditation. Upon seeing this exalted soul, I took shelter of him. After bowing down to offer my obeisances, I stood before him."
The Siddha asked, "Why are you suffering?"Kunjala said, "In reply, I told him the story of my life. Then I asked him how it would be possible for me to become omniscient. I explained that for lack of that understanding, I was suffering. In re¬sponse, that great soul instructed me, as follows."The Siddha said, "Knowledge manifests in the heart of a person who has achieved tranquility by discarding desires for sensual enjoy¬ment at a great distance. Treat friend and enemy equally. Eat frugally and control your senses. You should not make friends with anyone, and enmity should be cast off at a great distance. Being without material attachment, live in a secluded place. If you do this, transcendental understanding will awaken within your heart. By my grace, even though you remain in one place, you will come to know everything that is taking place within the three worlds."Kunjala said, "In this way, the Siddha initiated me. From that time onward, I strictly followed his instructions. It if for this reason, and by his favor, that although seated in one place, I know everything happening within the universe."Chyavana asked, "How did you become a parrot? Please tell me that."Kunjuala said, "One day, a brahmana purchased a baby parrot from a hunter who had caught it and put it in a cage. Out of affection, that brahmana gave it to me as a present. I used to pass the entire day, absorbed in meditation. That baby parrot would come and perch on my hand. Because of this, I gradually came to love that parrot dearly, just as if it were my little son. The parrot used to talk to me, saying, 'Father, now is the time for you to go and bathe.' But, because of my affection for the bird, I gradually gave up my religious practices."
"One day, I went to the forest, to collect some flowers. At that time, a cat came and killed my parrot. When I returned home, this was told to me by my neighbors. At this, I became extremely unhappy. Be¬ing bewildered, I cried piteably, while remembering my former pastimes ith the parrot. Indeed, I died of grief, and because my thoughts at the irne of death were of the parrot, in my next life, I was born as a parrot.Still, I could remember the events of my past life, by the mercy of my spiritual master.""O brahmana, it is a fact that the thoughts of a dying man carry him to the womb of his next mother, thus determining the kind of body and personality he receives. It is only by the mercy of my guru, that my transcendental knowledge has not perished, inspite of my low birth. For this reason, there is no holy place like the preceptor."