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Shrila Vyasadeva, while describing the structure of the universe, said, "That place is called Bharata which gives auspicious and inauspiŽcious fruits. It lies south of the Hema mountain and north of the Vindhya mountain. In Bharata-varsha, the people suffer or enjoy the fruits of their good or bad acts. One who is born in Bharata, having come to the land of karma, and engages himself in pious activities, has lived his life well."He who has no inclination to serve Lord Vishnu lives in vain. Firm devotion to Lord Vishnu is gained by means of the religious merit that had been earned during millions of previous lives.""That place where there are no devotees of Lord Vishnu residing should be abandoned. A small or great sin committed during a past life perishes the moment one sees a pure devotee of Lord Vishnu. He who associates with a pure devotee of Lord Vishnu, even for a short while, is freed from all sins. That place where devotees of Lord Vishnu reside is truly a holy place."
"The human body is very difficult to obtain. Therefore, a wise man should practice yoga, for the purpose of liberation. There are two kinds of yoga- the yoga of action, and the yoga of meditation. Worship of the Ganga, worship of Lord Vishnu, giving in charity, following the Ekadashi vow, devotion to Tulasi devi, and the honoring of guests are said to constitute the yoga of acts (Kriya-yoga). Without the yoga of action, the yoga of meditation alone does not produce success."Shrila Vyasadeva then narrated this story:Long ago, there was a powerful king named Manobhadra, born in the Soma dynasty. His queen was Hemaprabha. She was a very loyal wife. This king ruled the entire Earth. Once, Manobhadra assembled his ministers and said, "All of my enemies have been killed, and so I rule the entire Earth. I have looked after my family and have performed numerous sacrifices. But, my strength is being taken away by old age. I no longer feel strong enough to maintain my position, and so I would like to divide my kingdom among my sons, if you are agreeable."The ministers gave their consent and so the king handed over his kingdom to his sons, Virabhadra and Yashobhadra. At this time, a vulture and his mate came and sat in the royal assembly.
The king said, "What is the purpose of your auspicious arrival?"The vulture replied, "I have come to see the good fortune of your sons.These two had faced a great calamity in their previous birth."
Being astonished, the king said, "Vulture, how is it that you know about their past lives? If you really know this, then tell me about it, in full.The vulture said, "In the Dvapara-yuga, these two were chandalas, the sons of Satyaghosha. Their names were Gara and Sangara. They died at home and the Yamadutas took them to the abode of Yamaraja."Yamaraja said, "Chitagupta, tell me the account of these two."Chitragupta said, "These two are actually great-hearted men, the performers of meritorious vows. Their only fault is that they never gave charity to a brahmana. It is for this reason alone that they have come here."The Yamadutas then threw the two into a terrible hell.The vulture continued, "On the same day, the Yamadutas took me and my wife before their master. Formerly, I was a brahmana named Sarvaga, living in Saurashtra. My wife was named Manjukasha. I was very proud, because of my education, beauty and wealth. Once, as a youth, I mentally disrespected my parents, thinking, 'I am worthy of being praised in an assembly of learned men. I am pious. I am rich. I am handsome. I am wise. I maintain my family. But, even though I am such a great personality, my parents are attached to sinful activities. They are talkative. They are cruel. They keep the association of atheŽists.' Repeated thinking in this way, I gave up serving my parents, and it is for that reason I was put into the same hell as the two aforemenŽtioned sinners.""O king, I, along with my wife, experienced great misery in hell for thousands of crores of yugas. After that, we were born as vultures, eating the flesh of dead bodies. These two (your sons), after suffering in hell were born as locusts."
Once, there was a big storm and the wind made them fly up into the sky and then fall into the Ganga. Thus they instantly met with death and became freed from their past sins. Their next birth was in heaven and now they have appeared as your sons. Normally, for one who dies in the Ganga, there is no rebirth. But these two have been born so that they can enjoy sovereignty over the entire Earth."
"After enjoying the Earth for a very long time, along with their sons and grandsons, they will meet with death in the Ganga and go back home, back to Godhead.The vulture concluded his talk, saying, "Due to my power of recolŽlection, 1 have told you all this. I don't know my fate, however, for my sin of disrespecting my parents is very severe. I think that the killing of a brahmana is better because there is possible atonement. But this misŽery is practically eternal."As the vulture was speaking in this way, drums were suddenly heard, along with the singing of Gandharvas. Flowers showered from the sky. The vulture and his wife then boarded a transcendental chariot and went to Lord Vishnu's abode. This was all the result of the vulture's having glorified the Ganga. After seeing this, and after having heard the talks of the vulture, the king and his wife, along with their sons, became exclusively devoted to worshiping the Ganga.There was once a wealthy and pious vaishya named Pranidhi. His wife, Padmavati, was chaste, loyal, and beautiful as well. One day, Pranidhi, taking much wealth, went to another town on business.Piety springs from wealth. What would take place without wealth? Even friends run away from a man who is without wealth. A man, without wealth, although living, is like a dead man. He whose mind turns away from attaining religious merit, wealth, and knowledge should be known as a great fool. Piety should always be practiced. Wealth should always be earned. Knowledge should always be gotten. Wealth and knowledge increase every day, by giving them to others.
Before leaving home, Pranidhi put his wife in someone's house. One day, Padmavati went with her friends to bathe in the river. A chandaia named Dhanurdhvaja, who was a resting place for sins, passed by and saw Padmavati. He very highly appreciated her lotus-like face, her doe-like eyes, and her large and charming breasts.
Being captivated, the chandaia said, "O auspicious one, your hips are large and your smile is charming. Beautiful one, who are you, that has stolen my mind? O slender one, you should enjoy happiness with me.Upon hearing this, Padmavati's friends angrily replied, "Wicked fool of low birth, this woman will not even give her foot to kick you! She is a loyal wife. Those who desire their own welfare do not look lustily at others' wives. Those who are foolish and afflicted with the fire of passion become mad upon seeing the beauty of another's wife, and another's wealth. Sinful man, go away."Dhanurdhvaja said, "To hell with the concept of caste, for you have disrespected me simply because I am a chandala. Who would not take gold and jewels from a dirty place? Now, please act in such a way that I will secure this young lady."Padmavati's friends said, "Wicked one, if you long for this woman then give up your body by drowning at the confluence of the Ganga and Yamuna."
Looking at one another's faces and laughing, these ladies took Padmavati and returned home. Then it so happened that the chandala, who had killed thousands of brahmanas, and who possessed a terrible hankering for the beautiful Padmavati, entered the confluence of the Ganga and Yamuna, and gave up his life.Miraculously, he immediately obtained a strong body exactly reŽsembling that of the vaishya, Pranidhi- and his personality was also similar. Soon thereafter, when he finished his business, Pranidhi reŽturned home and at the same time, the former chandala also entered his house.
Upon seeing two persons exactly resembling one another in terms of age, form and qualities, Padmavati thought, "Which is my husband?"Being confused and astonished, upon seeing a pair of husbands, Padmavati took shelter of Lord Krishna, offering Him nice prayers. She concluded by saying, "O Lord of the gopis, I am forever wandering, being deluded by You, in this astonishing cosmic manifestation, which posssesses both the darkness of ignorance and the lamp of knowledge. Even Brahma and other demigods cannot understand Your Maya, and so what to speak of me? Kindly remove this delusion now placed before me."
Being merciful to His devotee, Lord Vishnu suddenly appeared there. After touching the Lord's lotus feet, Padmavati said, "Kindly remove the confusion about my husband, for I am ignorant."
Lord Vishnu said, "Give up your confusion. Both are your husbands. You should always serve them with devotion. Pranidhi has become two, just to doubly enjoy pleasure in your association. Therefore, you should enjoy life with both."Padmavati replied, "Society does not approve of a woman having two husbands. Merciful Lord, please save me, who has sunk into the ocean of shame."
The Lord said, "Chaste lady, because you are afraid of obtaining infamy on this Earth, come with your husbands to My abode."A transcendental vehicle suddenly appeared overhead, and so Padmavati and her two husbands traversed the path to Vaikuntha. While going, she saw someone in a chariot, accompanied by a lady, and they were seated beside some Vishnudutas. Padmavati asked those four-armed Vishnudutas, "Who is this man?"The Vishnudutas laughed while replying, "This is the demon, Brihaddvaja. He used to kidnap others' wives, steal their wealth, eat cows' flesh, and blaspheme the Lord. You could not even dream of the sinful acts that he had performed.""Being tormented by lust, he used to mount his chariot and then embrace whatever young and beautiful woman caught his fancy. One day, he saw the wife of King Bhimakesha, playing in a garden. He approached her and inquired of her identity."She replied, "I am Keshini. I am very adept at the art of sexual enjoyment and I am the wife of King Bhimakesha. Unfortunately, the king hardly pays attention to me, even though I take great delight in sensual play. For this reason, I am morose and I stay at this place, feeling separation from my husband. Who are you?"Brihaddhvaja replied, "I am a demon and I have come here to embrace you. Give up your foolish husband, who finds fault with you. I will provide you with excellent pleasures!"At this, Keshini embraced the demon and kissed him passionately. The demon then took her into his chariot and ascended into the sky. While going, he pointed out, "Here is where the Ganga flows into the sea.
The Vishnudutas continued, saying, "Because of the ride, the lady suddenly died of fright. Upon seeing this, the demon lamented much, and then gave up his life by drowning in the Ganga. By Lord Visnu's order, we are now taking them to Vaikuntha.There was once a pious king named Vikrama, who ruled from his city, Taladhvaja. He had many wives, but he only cared for one. Her name was Haravati. She gave birth to a son and the king named him Madhava. After his education was completed, Madhava was installed by the king as heir-apparent to the throne.One day, Madhava went with his army to the forest to hunt. After killing many animals, when Madhava was returning to the city, he happened to see a young woman bathing in a lake. Due to her thin garment, her beautiful bodily features were clearly visible. Upon seeing such an exceptionally beautiful woman bathing in a remote forest, which man would not become influenced by the upsurging of lust?The son of Vikrama thought, "I have never before seen such a beautiful woman! I shall make my life successful by embracing her here. I am the foremost of young men. Even if she is married, who would dare blame me for kidnapping her? After all, I am the king's son."Keeping his soldiers at a distance, Madhava went to where the woman was bathing. There is no wonder that in this world, three things-wealth, arrogance, and the desire for sexual gratification- destroy a person's power of discrimination.Upon seeing Madhava hastily approach her, the woman became afraid and so began running away. Still, the powerful Madhava easily caught up with her. Blocking her path, he said, "Beautiful one, you have snatched my heart by the power of your youth. I am tormented by attraction for you. What is your name? Who is your husband? Have you come here from heaven? How is it that you are carrying a pot of water, like a maidservant? Put down that pot and let us enjoy the pleasures of love.
"I am Madhava, the son of King Vikrama. With full dedication, I shall be yours. In the midst of my wives, you will be my favorite. Even if, due to pride, you do not accept me, I shall not let you go, for I am the son of the king.After hearing this, the woman stood with her head hung in shame. Then she slowly replied, "I am the wife of the kshatriya Subahu. My name is Chandrakala. I came here to bathe and worship the devas. Your speech does not become your good family. I am a woman, alone in the forest. You are a powerful prince. What glory will you obtain by embracing me forcibly? You will only receive momentary pleasure but after that, there will be infamy for all time.""This is a holy place and so religious acts should be performed here. Why do you want to kidnap another man's wife? Desire for sensual enjoyment comes from greed. Sin comes from the desire for sensual enjoyment. Death comes from sin and hell is the result of sinful life.""All your so-called virtues are in vain. Indeed, your very existence is fruitless because you lust after another man's wife. Are you not afraid of a bad reputation? My body is made of flesh, fat, bones stool and urine- and still you are influenced by Cupid? Do you not see the Yamadutas standing nearby? Fish bite the hook due to ignorance. How is it that you, being wise, are still biting the fish-hook? For a human being, discrimination is the greatest wealth. Indiscrimination is the abode of all miseries."Madava, being deluded by passion, humbly said, "Dear one, protect me, whose mind is shattered by the onslaught of your glances. I am seeking your refuge. A woman is most dear when she is very young. I am your servant, please protect me. By hearing your words, my heart breaks."Chandrakala said, "Great hero, give up your grief and listen to my words. In Plakshdvipa, in the city of Vikhyata, there is a virtuous king named Gunakara. His wife is Sushila and she is endowed with all good qualities. By her service, she has won her husband's heart. Her daughter, Sulochana, is the most beautiful among girls. I was her maidŽservant, but due to some misfortune, I came to your kingdom. There is no other beautiful girl like Sulochana, and there is no other handsome man like you. If you desire heavenly happiness, then accept her hand in marriage."
Madhava said, "Lotus-eyed woman, how will 1 find that girl? How will I be able to cross the ocean to reach Plakshadvipa? How will I be able to enter the palace, so that I can meet this princess?"
Chandrakala said, "On her left hip is a mark resembling a sesame seed. In your stable is a horse who is the son of Ucchaihshrava. That horse can carry you quickly across the ocean.Thereafter, Madhava returned home with his army. Chandrakala also went to her house. While remembering her words, the prince went to the stable. He said to the horses, "Which of you is able to cross the ocean?"
While the others hung their heads down, one horse came forward and said, "I can surely take you across the ocean. But first, listen to sorrow: I only eat the remnants of others. Even in dreams, I have not see grains. How can one act heroically without being given respect? How can fire be produced without wood? All the other horses are well cared for. But after all, even if dogs are decorated with fine ornaments, they don't become lions! O king, in a moment 1 can circumambulate the entire earth- with all it's mountain, islands and oceans."Madhava replied, "My dear horse, forgive all these offenses. From today you shall be my number one horse! Give up your grief- just as water, although heated, soon becomes cool again."Thereafter, Madava mounted the horse and crossed the ocean, taking with him a servant named Pracheshta. Soon they arrived at V'.khyata. Upon seeing a female gardener, Madava smiled and said, "Noble lady, I am a traveller. I would like to stay at your house for a day.
That woman, who was also a seller of perfumes, took Madhava as a guest, and he passed the night there. In the morning, he told the gardener of his mission. It so happened that on that very day, the queen arranged for Sulochana to be anointed with perfumes, as a preliminary ritual for marriage.When he heard about this, Madava became depressed. Then, afŽter thinking over the matter carefully, he wrote a loveletter and put it in a bouquet of flowers. He gave it to the perfume seller and told her to deliver it to Sulochana. The letter said, "I am Madhava, the son of king Vikrama, the magnanimous emperor of Taladhvaja. Your servant, Chandrakala, lives in my kingdom, and it is she who has told me all about you. With my heart attached to your wonderful qualities, I came here upon my horse, having crossed the ocean. Sulochana, please choose me as your husband."
Placing a gold ring in this letter, he gave it to the female gardener. She put it into a bouquet of flowers and went to see the princess. After giving her the flowers, she retreated to a distance out of fear.
The clever princess saw the letter and read it. Being somewhat astonished, she wrote this reply on the back: "Prince, I have read your letter. Today will take place a ceremony with perfume, and tomorrow will surely be my marriage. Now, listen to the means by which you will be able to obtain me. A Vidyadhara has been chosen to be my husband-If, when I approach the Vidyadhara at the time of marriage, someone takes me away by force, that person will be my husband. Know this to be the truth.The gardener returned with the letter, giving it to Madhava. AfŽter reading the reply, he impatiently wrote another letter and the garŽdener went again and gave it to Sulochana. The letter read, "What you have said was also my thought. There is no doubt about it."When the princess received the letter, she was delighted to know that the prince had accepted her suggestion. She thought, "A husband is always a receptacle of love in this world. Even without seeing him, he is accepted by me as my husband."Sulochana then went with her friends to the perfume seller's house, on the pretext of taking a bath. Taking her by the hand, the perfume seller took Sulochana and brought her to Madhava, who was sleeping. When she saw the handsome prince, whatever part of his body her eyes rested upon, they did not want to go anywhere else. She thought, "He must be Cupid, Devaki's son, or esle Mahadeva, the lord of Parvati. From today onward, he is my master. Of this there is no doubt."Thinking in this way, the princess decided to return home. The perfume seller then said, "A man does not look as handsome when he is asleep, as when he is awake."The lady touched Madhava's hand and said, "The princess has courageously come here to see you."Upon hearing this, Madhva got up and said, "My life has become successful now that I have seen your lotus-like face! Please choose me as your husband. No one else is suitable for you."Sulochana said, "Fortunate one, I am so lucky that you are going to be my husband."
The princess returned home. Meanwhile, preparations were made for the wedding. The city was nicely decorated and singing could be heard at various places. The atmosphere was surcharged with a festive mood.Sulochana went to the marriage arena, but at that time, due to misfortune, Madhava was asleep, not knowing that the wedding would take place soon. Those who are deluded by the tricks of Maya are not happy in this world. Forgetting his purpose, Madhava slept peacefully. What is destined cannot be avoided. Pain and pleasure come of their own accord. For this reason, pain often comes when pleasure is expected, and vice versa.The prince's servant, Pracheshta, thought, "To hell with this man! Deluded by Destiny's trick, he forgets his purpose and sleeps! What will she feel, if the princess has to marry the Vidyadhara? All her plans will become a failure! Fool, remain here asleep. Mounting upon the horse, I will kidnap Sulochana. It is with great difficulty that one obtains such a woman! What is the use of serving this wicked Madhava? One serves the king for money. If money comes of it's own, why serve anyone?"Pracheshta then went to where Sulochana was standing, near the Vidyadara. Grabbing her by the hand, the powerful Pracheshta put her on the horse's back. He quickly took her to the city of Kanchi and said, "See this lovely place, near the seashore. Here, there is no fear of Madhava or the Vidyadhara. Beautiful one, by means of your hands and lovely breasts, extinguish the fire of lust that is burning in my heart. The bee of my mouth desires to drink the honey from the charmŽing lotus of your mouth. Why wait for someone you don't even know? The god of love strikes me with his arrows because of my contact with your charming body.Full of anger, Sulochana thought, "Is this fool destined to be my husband? 1 am doomed! Where are my mother, father and the Vidyadhara? I must be courageous."She then said, "Hero, make your mind steady. Accept me after being properly married. I shall serve you, for you are my life and soul. Bring all the paraphernalia necessary for the marriage, lazy fellow!"Hearing these words, the fool felt delighted. Leaving Sulochana with the horse, he went into the city to bring the necessary articles. She then thought, "Since that fool has now left me, what should 1 do? Where should I go? If 1 remain here 1 will be doomed. I will go to a holy place and thus gain an auspicious next birth after death. If 1 die, then the three fools- Madhava, the Vidyadhara, and Prechashta will also die. If I live, they will also live."
Having made up her mind in this way, Sulochana mounted the horse and went to where the Ganga meets the sea. At that place lived Sushena, a king of the Soma dynasty. Sulochana wanted to go to the king's assembly, but she thought that she would look odd, riding a horse and wearing ornaments that indicated her impending marriage.
Finally, using mystic powers, Sulochana turned herself into a man and entered the king's assembly. Seeing "him" mounted upon a horse,the king wondered, "Who is this? From where has he come?"
Sulochana, in the form of a man, then said, "I am the son of aking, named Viravara. I have come here to earn my livlihood. I shall dowhatever you ask of me, even the so-called impossible. When I am
there, you will never be defeated."The King replied, "Stay here within my kingdom. I will provide your livlihood."Viravara thus stayed at that place. One day, a rhinoceros named Bhimanada came and harrassed the subjects. The king then sent Viravara to kill the rhino. He went to where the rhinoceros was sleeping on the ground, the beast looked as large as a mountain.Making his horse ascend to the sky, Viravara said, "Wicked one, your sins have finally fructified. In Yama's abode, you will see all the creatures you had devoured. Get up and look at me, your killer. What is the use of this sleep? Soon you will have the 'great sleep' (death). "Bhimanada got up and replied, "Evil one, do not be so proud. Very little of your life remains. As a moth falls into a flame, you will fall into the fire of my anger."
Then, simply by uttering "hum", Viravara made the rhino fall dead onto the ground. Thereafter, while returning to the king, Viravara came upon a chariot carrying a man who was accompanied by Vishnudutas. Viravara asked, "Who are you? Where are you going?"The man said, "O girl who has put on a man's dress, listen to my story. Formerly I was a king of the Chaura dynasty. My name was Dharmabuddhi. I performed sacrifices and gave much in charity. But, I came under the influence of an atheist and as a result, I usurped a brahmana's land. Because of that offense, Lord Vishnu personally came and removed me from the throne.""After a few days, I died and went to Yamaraja's abode. Finally, after suffering in hell, I was born as a rhinoceros. I then killed numerŽous cows and brahmanas. It is my good luck that you killed me where the Ganga meets the sea. Don't worry, you will soon see your husband." As Viravara watched, the former King Dharmabuddhi ascended a chariot and went to heaven. Viravara returned to the king's assembly and informed the ruler that the rhino had been killed. Being pleased, the king gave Viravara his daughter, Jayanti, in marriage.Thereafter, Viravara decided to perform austerities at the place where the Ganga encers the sea. After bathing there, he worshiped Lord Narayana and ate very frugally.
Meanwhile, Pracheshta thought, "Who, seeing her all alone, has taken Sulochana? Or, did that lady think me unfit? Did she ride on the horse to another kingdom? Did she die in separation from Madhava or the Vidyadhara- being unwilling to accept another man?Thinking in that way, Pracheshta roamed at will, greatly lamentŽing his fate. Finally, deciding to give up his life, he came to where the Ganga meets the sea. After bathing in that place, he offered this prayer to Gangadevi, "O mother, I shall now cast off my body in your water. Please make Sulochana my wife in my next birth.Seeing him speaking like this, the king's servants arrested Pracheshta and brought him to the royal court. Then, by Viravara's order, he was punished severely and thrown into jail.Meanwhile, Sulochana's father, King Gunakara, heard how his daughter had been kidnapped at her marriage arena. He quickly orŽdered his soldiers to search in all directions for the culprit. When no clue was found, the king questioned his ministers, saying, "What actuŽally has happened?"The ministers replied, "O lord, we cannot understand how the intruder could escape with so many men watching."Someone then said, "Coming to the Earth, due to Lakshmi's curse, that lovely girl has now left of her own accord."Another said, "Full of tricks, she has run away." Someone else said, "O king, you had vanquished all directions. Now, your daughter has gone to heaven to conquer the celestial damŽsels by her beauty."In this way, the ministers offered various theories. The king cried, "Sulochana, leaving me, where have you gone?" and then fell to the floor unconscious. The ministers took the king back to his palace.The Vidyadhara embraced Sulochana's chair and wept piteously. Finally, making up his mind to end his life, the Vidyadhara went to where the Ganga enters the ocean. There, he bathed and *hen offered this prayer, "O Ganga, 1 am casting off my body in your pure water. Do that by which I can gain Sulochana in my next life."The Vidyadhara was then arrested by the king's servants. When asked, he explained all that had happened, in the royal court. Viravarathen chastised the Vidyadhara severely, calling him a fool for trying to obtain that which was not destined for him.
Meanwhile, the female perfumer went home and saw Madhava sleeping. She woke him up and said, "Wicked-minded one, your plans were useless. That maiden has disappered of her own accord, at the time of her marriage.Hearing this, Madhava being overwhelmed by grief, began rolling on the floor. While doing so, he spoke as follows: "This is all my fault. The Creator does not give happiness to men who associate with wicked persons. A wise man will not remain in the association of evil-minded persons even for a moment.""To obtain Sulochana in my next life, I will abandon my life at the place where the Ganga meets the sea."Having made up his mind in this way, Madava set out. After a few days, he arrived at the Ganga and there, he worshiped Lord Vishnu. He then prayed, "O goddess, I am suffering great grief. I will quit my body so that you may give me that beautiful girl in my next life."Viravara then seized Madhava by the neck, and brought him into the king's assembly. There, in answer to Viravara's questions, Madava narrated all that had taken place. Viravara then went to the ladies' quarters and put 01. a woman's dress. After doing this, she sent her maidservant to bring Madhava.When Madhava entered the ladies' quarters, he was very surŽprised and delighted to see Sulochana. She rose from her seat and ofŽfered respects at his feet. Indeed, the two were married then and there Gandharva style. Madhava then spent the night with her at that place. The next morning, Sulochana told Madhava the whole story. Then, taking Jayanti and Madhava with her, Sulochana went to King Sushena's royal assembly. Being very pleased, the king gave Madhava half of his kingdom, as dowry.Madhava then brought Pracheshta into the royal assembly, thinkŽing, "This fool is actually my greatest enemy. A cruel man, even when treated nicely by being given wealth and nice food, acts as an enemy when he gets the opportunity. Such a man, after becoming prosperous, would cut off the head of his master with the same hand by which, in adversity, he took the dust of his master's feet."Thinking like this, Madhava drove Pracheshta out of hiskingdom. Then, with the two ladies, Sulochana and jayanti, Madava lived happily for some time. From Sulochana, one hundred sons were born, and from Jayanti, two hundred sons.After some time, Madhava began to think as follows: "Who am I really? From where have 1 come? To whom do I belong? Who created me? Where will I go after death? ""I have passed my life, enjoying my senses, without achieving any tangible religious merit. One who has not satisfied the Supreme Lord, Vishnu, should be known as the killer of his own self. Birth and death will repeatedly take place for him. Abandoning everything, let me worŽship Lord Vishnu."
Thinking like this, he called for Vishvakarma and said, "Please make me a stone Deity of Lord Vishnu."Vishvakarma did this, and the Deity was installed by Madhava and worshiped by him, three times a day. After many such years, Lord Vishnu became pleased and so appered before Madhava.After glorifying the Lord with very nice prayers, Madhava said, "O Narayana, full of compassion for the conditioned souls, save me who am fallen into the ocean of material existence."Madhava washed Lord Vishnu's lotus feet and then prostrated himself before the Lord, to offer obeisances. The Lord said, "Madhava, please ask for a benediction. Would you like to attain My abode, or that of Lord Shiva, or that of Indra?"Madhava replied, "My Lord, I have already obtained everything, because I am seeing You. Although I am unfit, 1 only ask that I be given unflinching devotion unto Your lotus feet."The Lord said, "I am pleased by your devotion for Me. Tell Me what thing I can give you, so as to free Myself from your debt."Saying this, Lord Vishnu embraced Madhava, just as a father might affectionately embrace his son. He then said, "By the power of this embrace, I am now freed of My debt."
Lord Vishnu then vanished from that place. Finally, after quiting his body, Madhava went back to the supreme abode of the Lord, Vaikuntha.Once, Indra went with a young woman named Padmagandha to a palace built especially for pleasure. There, Padmagandha gave great delight to the king of heaven. Indra's wife, Shachi, then came there, and when she saw her husband seated upon her bed with another woman, she became very angry.Shachi said, "O king of the gods, what are you doing with my maidservant? All the devas come and touch your feet. How then are you seated at the feet of this woman?"Addressing Padmagandha, she said, "Wicked woman, go away. PreŽtending to be a goddess, lying on the bed with Indra at your feet!"Padmagandha replied, "Indra knows very well of my virtues. What right do you have to come here and criticize me? You are talking nonesense and are devoid of all virtue. If I am not good enough, then let your husband enjoy with you."Saying this, Padmagandha angrily got up from the bed. Indra said, "Dear one, where are you going? What offense have I committed? I am your servant, and the wife of a servant is a maidservant."Indra then put Padmagandha upon his lap. Shachi said, "Female crane, your life is fruitful whereas my life is pointless. You are loved by the lord, whereas I am always disliked by him. Anyway, you will enjoy like this only for as long as your previously acquired religious merit allows. Enjoy as you like, for it is only for a few more days."Upon hearing this, Padmagandha gave up her envy and offered obeisances to Shachi. She then said, "O daughter of Puloma, I am imŽpressed by your speech. Tell me how I am a female crane."Shachi explained, "Padmagandha, formerly you were born as a female crane, and you subsisted upon rotten flesh and insects. On the shore of the Ganga was a fig tree. You had built your nest there.
Once, a black serpent came to that tree and bit you, causing your death. The serpent then ate your flesh, so that only your bones remained. Later on, the tree was knocked down by a strong wind and fell into the Ganga. In this way, your bones were submerged in the water. For as long as your bones remain within the water of the Ganga, you will be able to enjoy with the king of heaven."
"Padmagandha, I have told you everything about the religious merit that allows you to keep Indra under your thumb.Shachi, having been insulted by Indra, returned home, while Padmagandha remained on the lap of her husband.One day, later on, Indra told Padmagandha, "Virtuous lady, I am pleased with you. Ask me for a benediction."Padmagandha said, "You are the lord of the devas, and the lord of millions of women. Still, you are under my influence. What then is the use of any other benediction? Still, if you are prepared to favor me, how can I refuse? I want you to make a promise before me."
Indra replied, "Beautiful lady, order me. I am prepared to give you my life, weakh, kingdom, and servants. I promise to give you whatever you desire."Padmagandha said, "O lord of the three worlds, if you are indeed pleased with me, give me the benediction that I will immediatly be born as an elephant."Indra said, "Beautiful lady, I become unhappy even when I don't see you for a few moments. How then will I be able to bear separation from you for a long time? If you have compassion for me, then please stay with me for some more time."Being thus petitioned, that chaste woman remained in Indra's house for many years. Then one day, she said, "Kindly allow me to go to the land of Bharatavarsha."Indra replied, "Please wait for a few more days." Padmagandha remained there, enjoying pastimes of love for many more years, Then one day, she said, "Give me permission to go to Earth." Indra said, "Beautiful one, I can not give you up. Please stay with me, for you are more important to me than my own life.Padmagandha said, "O lord, when my religious merit is exhausted, I will have to return to Earth. Then, your separation from me will be for a long time. After that period of separation, I would like to come back to heaven. When I go to the land of religious practices, I will employ that means by which I shall never again be separated from you.
Indra said, "May you soon return" and embraced Padmagandha. Thus, with Indra's permission, she went to Bharatavarsha. Being born as a female elephant, Padmavati remembered her previous life. She went to the shore of the Ganga. There, she smeared her body with mud from the river. Then, while chanting, "Ganga, Ganga", she entered deep within the water and gave up her life.Indra quickly came to that place, surrounded by the demigods, and took her upon his celestial carrier. While returning to heaven, the king of heaven repeatedly told Padmagandha about the pain that he had suffered due to separation. After arriving at Indrapuri, the king of heaven dismissed Shachi, Urvashi and other Apsaras, so that he could be alone with Padmagandha. She continued to dwell in heaven for as long as her bones remained within the water of the Ganga.While speaking to Jaimini, Shrila Vyasadeva said, "There is no other flower like the lotus. Even a sinful man attains liberation by offering a lotus flower to Lord Vishnu. To illustrate the greatness of the lotus flower, I shall relate to you the following history. Listen careŽfully."There was a brahmana named Praja, who was fully surrenedered at the lotus feet of Lord Vishnu. For him, the wealth of others was like poison. He treated the wives of others like mothers. He treated friend and enemy equally. Desiring to cross over the ocean of material existŽence, Praja performed many sacrifices and executed many vows.One day, he thought, "Who am I really? What was I formerly? How is it that I received this birth as a brahmana? What will my next life be?"Thinking like this, Praja went to a holy place of Lord Shiva. There, he prayed to Mahadeva with great devotion. Being pleased, Lord Shiva personally appeared to Praja. The brahmana offered his obeiŽsances at the lord's feet and then praised him with select verses.When Lord Shiva told Praja that he desired to offer him a beneŽdiction, the brahmana said, "I am now seeing you, who can rarely be seen by the devas. What then is the use of any other benediction? Still, I would like to ask- who was I in my last life? What acts did I perform? How have I fallen into the ocean of repeated birth and death? What did I do, so that I now have to experience the three-fold miseries?"
"O Shankara, material life is the root of all sins. Material life is the cause of all miseries. By what act, performed by me in the past, am I repeatedly tormented by the digestive fire in my mother's womb, surŽrounded by stool and urine? In material existence, no ether affliction is said to be equal to remaining in the mother's womb. How have I fallen into this very fierce and worthless mundane existence- which is full of various miseries- which places one under the delusion of Lord Vishnu's Maya-which is difficult to cross- which is full of desire for sexual union-which is full of anger- which causes great attachment- and which awards one birth and death? O lord, if you favor me then tell me about all this.Mahadeva said, "O best of brahmanas, although this is very conŽfidential knowledge (very secret), and is not to be divulged-still, I will tell you, my devotee.""Formerly, you were born in a family that resided upon a mounŽtain. Your name was Dandapani and you lived by giving trouble to others. Having abandoned all discrimination, as well as fear of the next life, you were a bandit. Following your example, your brothers also became thieves. Their names were Dandin, Dandayudha, Dattavan, Dattabhu, Sudanda, and Dandaketu.""Along with your brothers, you waylaid thousands of travellers on desolate roads, killing and robbing them. While living in the forest, you killed many cows and ate their raw flesh, while drinking liquor. Because of you, merchants gave up travelling along the forest paths. Because of you, the wealth of a man did not remain his wealth. The house of a man did not remain his house. The wife of a man did not remain his wife."One day, after becoming tired from such hard work, you and your brothers came to a lake and bathed. Being hungry, you ate the stalks of the lotuses that were growing there, and you drank the water.
At that time, a brhamana named Sarvavedas also came there to bathe. Desiring to worship Lord Vishnu, he very politely asked you for one of your lotuses.""With great respect, you gave the brahmana a very nice lotus, and so he was pleased. Immediately, he began worshiping Lord Visnu, offerŽing that lotus flower. At that time, you also offered your obeisances unto the Lord. When the brahmana finished his worship, he returned home.""My dear Praja, due to your gift of that lotus, and because of seeing the worship of Lord Vishnu, all of your sins perished. After a few days, you died in that forest. As a result of this devotional service, you enjoyed life in heaven for a long time, before being born again on Earth, in a brahmana family. In this birth, you gained steady devotion for Lord Vishnu. As a result, you will attain liberation from material existence at the end of this life. Being thus assured, you should now return home."After saying this, Lord Shiva suddenly vanished from view. The brahmana, Praja, returned home, and from that time onward, he very diligently worshiped Lord Vishnu with lotus flowers, morning and evening. Indeed, he only accepted that which was favorable for his execution of Krishna consciousness. This verse was often referred to by Shrila Prabhupada: One example is as follows:"As stated in Padma Purana, smartavyah satatam vishnuh: we should always remember Lord Vishnu. Vismartavyo na jatuchit: we should never forget the Lord. This is the perfection of life."Formerly, in the Krita-yuga there lived a vaishya named Parashu. Unfortunately, he died in his youth, of asthma. His beautiful, slender-waisted wife was named Jivanti. She went to her father's house after the death of her husband. Being very proud of her youth and beauty, Jivanti soon established relationships with numerous paramours. Being blinded by lust, she gave up all domestic and religious duties.Her pious father, upon seeing her bad character, became afraid of getting a bad reputation. He angrily said, "Wicked Jivanti, having seŽcured a birth in my family, why do you commit sins? If you continue in this way, I will not feed you. Better you leave my house at once!"
Her eyes red with anger, Jivanti left her father's house and wanŽdered about as she pleased. Desiring a paramour, she gave up all sense of shame and came to live the life of a prostitute. Indeed, she would glandly accept even a chandala as her lover and enjoy with him. She never gave a thought of what might happen in her next life.
One day, a man came to her door, selling parrots. Jivanti purŽchased a baby parrot and because she had no children, she brought it up just like a son. Indeed, the parrot also came to treat Jivanti with great affection. She taught the parrot to recite the name "Rama", and it came to be that it delighted in doing so. Thus, by constantly chantŽing the name "Rama", the parrot became freed from all sinful reacŽtions, as did the prostitute.It so happened that the prostitute and the parrot died at the same time. Yamaraja sent his servants to bring them, because they had previŽously performed all kinds of sinful activities. As the Yamadutas were binding them, the Vishnudutas appeared on the scene, saying, "How is it that these devotees of Lord Vishnu are being punished by you?"The Vishnudutas cut the Yamaduta's ropes with their chakras. This angered the Yamadutas and so they challenged the Vishnudutas to fight. Thereafter, a fierce battle took place, so that soon, many of the Yamaduta's feet, hands and heads were severed, forcing the surviŽvors to flee.The leader of the Yamadutas, named Chanda, continued fighting vigorously, making the Vishnudutas take shelter behind their leader, Suprakasha. A terrible duel followed, between Chanda and Suprakasha. Finally, being severely struck by Suprakasha's mace, Chanda fell unŽconscious to the ground. The Yamadutas then carried him into the presence of Yamaraja.They said, "We are your obedient servants. The Vishnudutas have defeated us. Although we arrested the two sinners, the prostitute and the parrot, they have gone to Lord Vishnu's abode, due to their chantŽing the holy name of Lord Rama. Even wicked sinners who are fit to be punished go to the abode of the Lord. What then is your authority?"Yamaraja replied, "Anyone who chants the holy name of the Lord is not to be punished by me. There is no sin in this world that is not instantly and thoroughly destroyed by chanting the holy name of Lord Rama."Yamaraja continued to speak at great length about the glories of Lord Vishnu's devotees. He concluded by saying, "A man gets the same result by chanting Rama's name as he gets by reciting the thousand names of Vishnu. How wonderful it is that wicked-hearted men never want to chant the holy name of the Lord. Chanting the holy name requires no effort or cost, and it is very pleasing to the heart. Still, wicked-hearted people do not chant, 'Rama, Rama'."There is a verse from this section that is included in Shri Chaitanya-charitamrita. This verse was often quoted by Shrila Prabhupada:"In the Padma Purana it is said:
ramante yogino nante I satyanande cid-atmani
iti rama-padenasau / param brahmabhidhiyate"
The mystics derive unlimited transcendental pleasures from the Absolute Truth, and therefore the Supreme Absolute Truth, the PerŽsonality of Godhead, is also known as Rama."After narrating this story, Shrila Vyasadeva said, "A brahmana who is not a devotee of Lord Vishnu, should be known as inferior to a chandala, while a chandala who is devoted to Lord Vishnu should be known as superior to a brahmana. How can he who is without devoŽtion for Lord Vishnu be a brahmana? How can he who has devotion for Lord Vishnu be a chandala?"There is an important verse in this section, which is often reŽferred to by Shrila Prabhupada. It warns one to never consider a devoŽtee of Lord Vishnu as belonging to a particular caste:
arcye vishnau shila-dhir gurushu nara-matir vaishnave jati-buddhir
vishnor va vaishnavanam kali-mala-mathane pada-tirthe 'mbu-buddhih
shri-vishnor namni mantre sakala-kalusha-he shabda-samanya-buddhir
vishnau sarveshvareshe tad-itara-sama-dhir yasya va naraki sah
"One who thinks the Deity in the temple to be made of wood or stone, who thinks of the spiritual master in the disciplic succession as an ordinary man, who thinks the Vaishnava in the Acyuta-gotra to belong to a certain caste or creed or who thinks of charanamrita or Ganges water as ordinary water is taken to be a resident of hell." (Padma Purana)He then related the following history: Formerly, in the Dvapara-yuga, there lived a man of low birth named Charika. Although he was poor and worked in others' agricultural fields for a living, he was learned and pure-hearted. Every day he would spend much of his time chanting the holy names of the Lord, Hari, Keshava, Govinda, Vasudeva, Janardana, etc.Charika had devotion for Lord Vishnu, but because of his low birth, he had no discrimination. Living in the mountains, he used to eat a lot of fruit. If Charika found it to be sweet, he would take it out of his mouth and offer it to Lord Vishnu. He did not understand what is purity, and what is not pure. The habit obtained by one's social upbringing becomes deeply rooted and is therefore not easily changed. Once, while roaming in the forest, Charika found a ripe priyala fruit. Being delighted, he quickly put it in his mouth, but it so happened that it stuck in his throat. With his left hand, Charika kept the fruit from going down into his stomach. He thought, "If I do not offer this fruit to Lord Vishnu, then I will be the most sinful of sinners!In this way, he decided to offer the fruit to Lord Vishnu but still, it did not come out of his throat. So, at last, he cut his throat with his axe and removed the fruit and offered it to the Lord. But, being drenched in blood, Charika fell to the ground. In this way, he died.
Lord Vishnu, being pleased with Charika's devotion, was on His way to see His devotee. Now, upon seeing him dead, Lord Vishnu felt distressed, thinking, "There is no other devotee like him, for he had cut his own throat to please Me. What can I do to free myself from the debt that I owe this devotee, who has performed such an act? He sacrificed his life to please me!Lord Vishnu then touched Charika's head, causing him to rise up with renewed strength. The Lord wiped the dust from his body with His garment. Upon seeing Lord Vishnu before him, Charika bent his head and joined his hands. He then offered many prayers in praise of the Lord.Being pleased, Lord Vishnu asked Charika to accept a benedicŽtion. Charika said, "Being born in a low family, I am excluded from attending religious functions. And yet, I am now able to see you! What more could I desire? My only request would be this- let my heart remain fixed upon You, and let me not become degraded for lack of Your favor." Upon hearing this, Lord Vishnu embraced His dear devotee, asŽsuring him that his wish would be fulfilled. The Lord then vanished from view. Thereafter, Charika went to live at Dvaraka, and after quitting his material body, he went back home, back to Godhead. From this story we can understand that Lord Vishnu is only pleased by devoŽtion, and not merely by praise, offerings of wealth, or austerities.jaimini said, "My preceptor, describe to me more about the greatŽness of Lord Vishnu. Who is satisfied after drinking the nectar of the Lord's pastimes?"Vyasa said, "There is no one superior to you in this world because you desire to repeatedly hear the glories of Lord Vishnu. O best of brahmanas, the narration of the Lord's pastimes purifies the listener, the questioner and the speaker. Now, hear another ancient history."Once there lived a brahmana named Bhadratanu, at Purushottama (Jagannatha Puri). He was handsome, he spoke politely, and he was born in a cultured family. But, upon attaining maturity, Bhadratanu became deluded by the passion of love. Indeed, he became attached to a prostitute and discontinued his study of the Vedas. Due to the associaŽtion of atheists, he gave up reciting the Gayatri mantra. In this way, he abandoned his duties as a brahmana, and became more and more at-tached to sinful activities.
Once, that brahmana performed the Shraddha ceremony, withŽout any faith. Then, going to the prostitute's house that night he said, "Today is the day for performing the Shraddha ceremony, but I have come to you ,instead of completing it. Just see what a fearful night it is! It's raining hard and the wind is blowing terribly! It is with great diffiŽculty that I have come here, being attracted by your beauty. What do I care for a holy bath? Sprinkled with the water of your love, I have reached heaven! Why should I perform austerities to attain heaven in my next life? I am enjoying heaven right here in your arms!""I performed the Shraddha ceremony our of fear of getting a bad name if I didn't. I don't actually have any faith in it. You are my god, please order me."Sumadhyama replied, "Having you as his son, your father is as if sonless! You want to have sex even on the day of performing the Shradda ceremony! By doing so, your forefathers will be forced to drink semen on this day!""You have no fear of Yama's punishments, but you should know that our material life is just like a bubble on the surface of the ocean. It perishes in a moment. How wonderful is Lord Vishnu's Maya!"After hearing this, the brahmana thought, "To hell with me, a great sinner. My understanding is not even on the level with this prosŽtitute! How can I continue to commit sins when death is immanent and Yamaraja is waiting for me? Having abandoned my Krishna conŽsciousness, what will be my fate after death?"While Bhadratanu was thinking like this, the great rishi, Markandeya, arrived there. After offering him great respect, the brahmana said, "I am the greatest sinner. I am always interested in others' wives. I have never performed any pious acts. How can I, a great sinner, cross over the fearful ocean of worldly existence, which causes one unlimited pain?"Markandeya said, "O brahmana, even if you have committed sins, you are still the best among men, because this understanding of the transcience of material life has arisen within your heart. They are considered the best, who first commit sins but later on, turn away from them. Such a person has surely worshiped Lord Vishnu in former lives. Rest assured that soon, good fortune will be yours."I cannot remain here any longer, to answer your question, and so I advise you to go and see the brahmana, Danta, at his ashram. He will tell you all that you desire."
Being so advised, Bhadratanu went to Danta's hermitage. After being welcomed by the sage, Bhadratanu inquired, "How can I, a sinŽner, cross over the ocean of nescience?"Danta replied, "O brahmana, give up the association of non-devoŽtees and remain in the company of devotees. Give up lust, anger, deluŽsion, greed, pride and jealousy. Avoid telling lies and doing harm to others. Engage youself in always chanting the holy names of the Lord. Worship the Lord in the temple and listen to His pastimes. By doing all that 1 have told, you will surely attain liberation."Bhadratanu asked Danta to explain this in more detail. In reply, the sage said, "The constant longing for women and wealth is said to be kama, the desire for sensual enjoyment. The torment that is proŽduced in one's heart after hearing criticism is known as anger. It deŽstroys all virtue. The desire to acquire the wealth of others upon seeing it is called greed. The feeling of possessiveness, such as 'This is my mother. This is my father. This is my wife. This is my house.' is called moha. The feeling of 'I am rich. I am noble. Nobody on Earth is like me.' is called pride. Thoughts such as, 'To hell with life! People always give me trouble!' are due to matsara.""The desire to remove the afflictions of others is called compasŽsion or pity. Satisfaction of heart is called tranquility. Self-control means the taking away of the heart from thoughts of doing something forbidŽden."After instructing Bhadratanu at great length, Danta once again assured him, "If you satisfy Lord Vishnu in the manner I have preŽscribed, you will surely obtain the highest happiness."Thereafter, Bhadratanu worshiped Lord Vishnu as directed by the sage, Danta. It so happened that the Lord became very pleased, and so appeared before him. Feeling great ecstasy, Bhadratanu bowed his head, offering obeisances, and then stood before the Lord with joined hands. He offered very nice prayers, glorifying the Lord, and then adŽmitted his numerous sins, while begging to be excused.When he finished speaking, Lord Vishnu said, "My dear brahmana, please get up. I am very pleased with your devotion. Tell me what you desire. I shall certainly give that to you."Bhadratanu replied, "O Lord, may I always have firm devotion to you, in all of my upcoming births. And, if You are pleased, let everyŽthing desired be given to anyone who recites these prayers that were composed by me.
Lord Vishnu agreed and then said, "O brahmana, I desire that you be My friend. I do not think of you as a servant, for your dealings are like those of a true friend."Saying this, Lord Vishnu embraced Bhadratanu, and then sudŽdenly vanished from view. From that day onward, Lord Vishnu came to that holy place, Purushottama, and played with Bhadratanu, with a ball.Once day, seeing His friend to be very weak, the Lord said, "How have you become so frail? Who has taken your wealth? What is the anxiety in your mind? Please tell Me."Bhadratanu replied, "My Lord, evrey day I practice austerities, to please You. For that reason, I have become weak."Lord Vishnu then said, "I am more pleased with you than anyone else. Why are you troubling your body in this way? Actually, this is giving Me anxiety. Give up these troublesome austerities."Lord Vishnu then took the crown from His head and placed it upon the brahmana's head. He took the various ornaments from his body and decorated Bhadratanu with them. They then continued to play with the ball.One day, the sage, Danta, saw Bhadratanu wearing all these orŽnaments, and even the garments of the Lord.He said, "Bhadratanu, you still have not given up your sinful noŽtions! Upon seeing you like this, the people condemn you. Actually, you are my disciple and so all of these ornaments belong to me. A wise spiritual master should accept a disciple only after ascertaining his excellent character. Wicked disciples bring disgrace upon their guru!"Bhadratanu replied, "What you say is true. But, don't worry, you will never be disgraced because of me. Whatever you instructed, I have accomplished."Danta said, "What did you accomplish? Why did you stop pracŽticing austerities?"Bhadratanu responded, "Lord Vishnu ordered me to give up my penance. 1 was able to see Him personally! Being very pleased with me, He gave me these garments and ornaments. Indeed, He has become my very dear friend, and every day I play with Him."
Danta said, "Lord Vishnu did not appear before me, even though I practiced penance for seven thousand years. You had His darshana after worshiping Him for only five days. What great fortune is yours! Please tell me why it is so diffibult for me to see Lord Vishnu?"
Bhadratanu returned home. The next day, while playing with the ball, he told Lord Vishnu, "My preceptor desires to see You. He is very devoted to You, so please appear before him.The Lord replied, "You worshiped Me in many previous births and it is for that reason I have appeared before you. Don't worry, your preceptor is also My devotee, and he will soon be able to see Me."Bhadratanu then requested, "My Lord, if You truly favor me, then appear to my preceptor in my presence. He has asked that Your darshana be his preceptoral fee. My Lord, please protect me."The Lord said, "Alright, bring your guru here to see Me." Bhadratanu went to his guru's hermitage. Danta joyfully accomŽpanied his disciple, and thus he attained his long-awaited audience with the Lord. Danta offered his prayers, and he concluded by saying, "O master of the universe, 1 will be pleased if you make me even the servant of the servant of Your servant."In response, Lord Vishnu affectionately embraced both brahmanas. After doing so, He suddenly dissapeared. Remaining at Purushottama, the two brahmanas worshiped Lord Vishnu without deviation and at the end, they returned to His supreme abode, Vaikuntha.Shrila Vyasadeva said, "Listen to the greatness of Purushottama. It is situated on the shore of the ocean, and it is more difficult to obtain than heaven. Because Purushottama (the Supreme Lord) lives in that town, it is therefore called Purushottama. The demigods see those who are living there as four-armed. Indeed, while entering that holy place, one obtains a Vaikuntha form. The wise should not doubt this." "Those men who see the Deities of Lord Jagganatha, Subhadra, and Lord Balarama will obtain the fulfillment of their desires. The prasada of the Deities should be accepted without reservation, even if offered to a brahmana by a chandala, in that most holy place. Indeed, the prasada of the Lord should be accepted without any material considerations.The next verses are quoted in Shri Chaitanya-charitamrita. Once, Lord Chaitanya brought Jagannatha prasada to Sarvabhauma Bhattacharya, early in the morning. The Bhattacharya accepted it immediately, even without first bathing or brushing his teeth. This was appreciated by the Lord and in response, the Bhattacharya quoted these verses from Padma Purana:
suskam paryusitam vapi / nitam va dura-desatah
prapti-matrena bhoktavyah / natra kala-vicarana
"The Bhattacarya said, 'One should eat the maha-prasadam of the Lord immediately upon receiving it, even though it is dried up, stale or brought from a distant country. One should consider neither time nor place.'"
na desa-niyamas tatra I na kala-niyamas tatha
praptam annam drutah sistair / bhoktavyam harir abravit
TRANSLATION: " 'The prasadam of Lord Krsna is to be eaten by gentlemen as soon as it is received; there should be no hesitation. There are no regulative principles concerning time and place. This is the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
PURPORT:"These verses are quoted from the Padma Purana." Vyasadeva concluded by saying, "The devas are always afraid of losing their religious merit and falling down. Thus, they say to one another, 'When shall we again go to Bharatavarsha and worship the Lord of Lakshmi? The people of Bharatavarsha are more fortunate than us, because of their worship of Lord Vishnu. Only by worshiping the Lord in Bharatavarsha did we get the chance to come to heaven!' In this way, the residents of heaven converse with one another."There is no doubt that if one sees Lord Jagannatha- seating upon his chariot, going along with Subhadra and Lord Balarama, to the Gundicha temple- he will not again be born in the material world."Jaimini said, "Preceptor, I have heard many narrations from you, glorifying the prowess of the Ganga, of the various holy place, and of the brahmanas. Now, I desire to hear about the following of Ekadashi, which destroys all sinful reactions. Why is the Ekadashi vow thegreatest observance? How is it performed and what is its fruit? What happens when one does not follow Ekadashi? I wish to hear all of this." Vyasadeva said, "O brahmana, only Lord Vishnu could properly describe the greatness of Ekadashi, but still, I will tell you whatever I know. Listen to the following narration:In the beginning, after creating all moving and non-moving entiŽties, the Lord created Sin personified, for the purpose of controlling them.His head was the murder of a brahmana. His eyes were liquor. His face was the theft of gold. His ears were sexual enjoyment with the preceptor's wife. His nose was murder of women. His arms were the killing of cows. His neck was the stealing of invested money. His throat was the causing of abortions. His heart was adultery. His belly was the murder of friends. His navel was the murder of those who sought shelŽter. His thighs were the guru's displeasure. His penis was the sale of one's daughter. His anus was the divulgence of confidential matters. The hair on his body was all kinds of misfortune. His body was huge and fierce, and his complexion was very dark. He gave great pain to those who sought his shelter.After seeing Sin personified, the Lord thought, "For regulating My creation, I have created this wicked man. Now, I shall create the means of controlling him."Lord Vishnu then Himself became Yamaraja, and created hells for the punishment of sinners.One day, Lord Vishnu mounted upon Garuda and went to the abode of Yamaraja. Being very pleased, the lord of death worshiped the Supreme Lord and had Him seated upon a golden throne. When He heard the loud sound of crying, the Lord asked, "Wherefrom is that sound of wailing coming?"
Yamaraja replied, "Sinful mortals come here to suffer in hell. My Lord, it is extremely painful to eat the fruit from the tree of sins. ThereŽfore, the sinners are crying grievously.Lord Vishnu then went to where the sinners were crying, and upon seeing them, He felt great compassion. Indeed, out of that pity for the sufferings of the sinful conditioned souls, Lord Vishnu manifested Himself in the form of Ekadashi. Thus it should be known that Ekadashi is the embodiment of Lord Vishnu. Being afraid, Sin personified approached Lord Vishnu and praised Him. Being satisfied, Lord Vishnu said, "Tell Me what you desire."Sin personified replied, "O Vishnu, you had created me, but now, by the power of Ekadashi, I am perishing. If I die, all conditioned souls will become liberated from material existence. Therefore, please proŽtect me from Ekadashi. Tell me where I can live without fear on the Ekadashi day."Lord Vishnu said, "Give up your fear. Here is the place I assign for you on Ekadashi. When Ekadashi arrives, you should take shelter in grains. Once there, Ekadashi cannot harm you."After saying this, Lord Vishnu disappeared from view and Sin personified, being satisfied, also departed.
Shrila Vyasadeva said, "It is for this reason that persons desiring their welfare should never eat grains on Ekadashi. Those who eat grains on Ekadashi should be known as the greatest sinners. Just as Lord Vishnu is the greatest of all lords, so the vow of Ekadashi is the greatest of all vows."Shrila Vyasadeva then narrated this story: Formerly, there was a king named Kocharasha. He was truthful, devoid of anger and he was a master of the art of statesmanship. He was very devoted to Lord Narayana, always being engaged in His service. His queen was Suprajna. She was a very faithful wife, having all desirable qualities. She could remember her past lives, and she followed the Ekadashi vow.One Ekadashi, as the king and queen were staying awake all night, a brahmana named Shauri came to them. Being delighted, the king offered him water for washing his feet and other articles for a nice reception. The brahmana saw how the king and his associates were observing Ekadashi, while worshiping Lord Vishnu with various paraŽphernalia.The king and queen then sang a song in glorification of the Lord, and while doing so, they danced. At this time, Shauri spoke to them, as follows: "You are most fortunate. Such auspicious behavior is rarely seen. You are both such nice devotees. How did you gain such pure devotion?"
Suprajna replied, "O brahmana, we were actually very great sinŽners, who were freed by Yamaraja because of our observing Ekadashi. I can remember my past lives, and so we are now observing Ekadashi,hoping to attain the Lord's supreme abode."Shauri said, "If you know your former birth, tell me about it. 1 am very curious to know this."Suprajna explained, "Formerly, I was a prostitute, and I commitŽted a great number of terrible sins. This king was a shudra named Nityodaya. Giving up the duties of his varna, he kidnapped others' wives and stole their wealth. He drank liquor, killed his friends, and performed abortions. Being very proud, he criticized those who acted piously.""Once, Nityodaya came to my house. He was very handsome and so I gladly pleased him by means of sexual pleasures. He liked me much and so asked if he could stay with me. Thus, we stayed together. Then, on an Ekadashi day, I became very sick. Having a high fever, I did not even drink water, and so what to speak of eating food. Out of love for me, Nityodaya also abstained from food and drink. That night, I stayed awake, chanting, 'O Narayana, O Krishna'. Due to the efficacy of that fast, all of our sins perished. The next morning, I died of fever, and my lover, feeling dejected, committed suicide.""Being bound by the Yamadutas, we were taken to the court of Yamaraja by a very difficult path. At Yama's request, Chitragupta then said, 'Even though these two are the greatest of sinners, they became freed from all sinful reactions due to fasting on Ekadashi. It is a fact that even if one fasts on Ekadashi unintentionally, he becomes freefrom all sins.' "Suprajna continued, "Hearing this, Yamaraja got up from his seat and offered us sandalwood paste, incense and flowers- as well as golden ornaments. He then fed us with fruit and sweets that tased just like nectar. While praising us, he then put us in a celestial chariot. He said, 'You are now freed from all sins. Go to the abode of Lord Vishnu.' Before departing, we requested Yamaraja to show us all the hells, and so he arranged a tour.""Finally, after seeing all the hellish conditions, we ascended to Lord Vishnu's abode. We remained there for a very long time before being again born on Earth in ksatriya families. After enjoying royal opulence for a long while, we will go back home, back to Godhead.""My dear brahmana, in the three worlds, there is no other vow like Ekadashi. Just see what we achieved after performing the vow unintentionally. I cannot even imagine the result awaiting a person who observes Ekadashi with great devotion."
Finally, Jaimini asked, "O Vyasa, tell me how the people will beŽhave when the terrible Kali age arrives."Vyasa said, "Kali-yuga is the abode of all sins. In this age, people are very sensuous and cruel. They criticize the Vedas and indulge in gambling and stealing.""Brahmanas will follow the practices of shudras, and one will become a sadhu simply by putting on orange cloth. Wealth will be the only measure of one's status in society.""In Kali-yuga, men will sell their daughters. All men will be subŽjugated by women. Rain will be deficient and it will shower at the wrong time. Cows will eat feces and give little milk. Everyone will be fond of praising themselves and criticizing others. People will be wicked, and when they see the devotees of Lord Vishnu, they will laugh.""In the age of Kali, people will only be able to prosper by cruel means. All people will be addicted to sins. All will hanker after gifts, but none will like to give. Mlecchas will become kings, and people will be of one caste only."
"In the beginning of Kali-yuga, men will blaspheme Lord Vishnu, but later on, they will chant the Lord's holy name. Although Kali-yuga is very degraded, it has one great quality. Simply by chanting the holy name of the Lord, one obtains spiritual perfection. This is the truth- let there be no doubt about it."Suta Gosvami said, "May this Purana, which is very confidential, and which emanated from the mouth of Shrila Vyasadeva, give delight to the Supreme Lord, Vishnu, and may it also please His devotees.