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This khanda mostly deals with the pastimes of Lord Ramachandra. Because the life of Lord Rama is most authoritatively described by Valmiki in his Ramayana, I will not duplicate those pastimes here. In the Ramayana of Valmiki there is mention that Lord Rama performed the horse-sacrifice, but here, in Padma Purana, it is described very elaborately.After the killing of Ravana, Lord Rama had returned to Ayodhya, along with Sita and Lakshman. There, He ruled the kingdom for 11,000 years, in an ideal manner.One day, the great sage, Agastya, came to see Lord Rama at His royal court. During their conversation, Lord Rama expressed His great unhappiness at having killed Ravana, due to his being the son of a brahmana. Agastya assured Lord Rama that there was no fault on His part, but still, he suggested that He perform the ashvamedha-yajna.Rama agreed to this proposal and then asked Agastya to go to His stables and select a suitable horse. Thereafter, all of the necessary paraphernalia was collected. Rama then accompanied Agastya Rishi to the banks of the River Sarayu. There, Rama used a golden plough to pre¬pare the sacrificial arena, and many palatial buildings were constructed. All of the great sages were then invited. Being extremely eager to see Lord Rama- Narada, Asita, Parvata, Kapila, Angira, Vyasa, Atri, Yajnavalkya, and Sukadeva, as well as numerous others, soon arrived at Ayodhya. Lord Rama gave them all gifts of cows and gold.Later, as they were all seated together, Lord Rama questioned the great sages, and they, in turn, gave Him instructions on various subjects.After some days, Vasishtha Muni informed Rama that the proper time for releasing the challenge-horse had arrived. Rama then ordered Lakshman to bring a suitable horse. In turn, Lakshmana spoke to the military commanders, instructing them to be ready to depart, for the Protection of the challenge-horse.The commander-in-chief, Kalajit, then brought the horse to be sacrificed. This horse was decorated very nicely, and the necessary rituals were performed.Shatrughna was appointed the protector of the horse, as it would roam at will over the Earth. Finally, the horse was let loose. Rama ordered Shatrughna to follow the horse, and defeat anyone who would attempt to capture it.
Bharata's son, Pushkala, accepted a sword from Lord Rama's hand and took up his position, guarding Shatrughna's rear. At this time, Rama requested Hanuman to also go and protect Shatrughna. The challenge-horse went toward the East. As it passed through numerous kingdoms, no one tried to capture it, out of respect for Lord Rama's prowess. At last, the challenge-horse reached the city, Ahicchatra, which was ruled by King Sumada. The horse entered a beautiful garden there, and Shatrughna followed it.Within the garden, Shatrughna saw a lovely temple. He questioned his minister, Sumati, about this. In reply, Sumati explained that it was a temple of Kamakshi, who had been worshiped by King Sumada, and thus resided there to protect his city.The minister suggested that Shatrughna offer his respects to the goddess.Shatrughna asked Sumati to tell him about King Sumada, and so the minister related the following account: After his parents had been killed by rival kings, Sumada went to the forest and performed severe austerities, while meditating upon Goddess Bhavani (the wife of LordShiva).Being afraid of the strength of his tapasya, Indra sent Cupid, along with many Apsaras, to obstruct him. But, it came to be that, even in the presence of the celestial damsels, the king did not waver in his determination. At last, goddess Kamakshi appeared to the king and advised him that, in the future, when Lord Rama's brother would come to his kingdom, while following a challenge-horse, he should accompany him.Shatrughna was delighted to hear this. Meanwhile, seated in his court, King Sumada heard from a messenger that a challenge-horse had come to his city. The king had always been thinking,When will the challenge-horse of Lord Rama come here, as predicted by goddess Kamakshi?The king arranged for a very royal reception for Shatrughna and his entourage. When they met, King Sumada placed Shatrughna and Pushkala on an elephant, so that they could enter the city in style.
After remaining for three nights, Shatrughna again set out,
following the challenge-horse. The horse proceeded through areas inhabited by
numerous sages, and so Shatrughna could hear everywhere the glories of his elder brother being
sung.One day, the horse entered the ashram of Cyavana Muni. When Shatrughna
entered the hermitage, he saw Cyavana, seated next to Sukanya. Shatrughna introduced himself as the brother of Lord
Rama. In the course of their conversation, Shatrughna invited Cyavana to Rama's
ashvamedha-yajna, and he ordered Hanuman to carry the sage to Ayodhya.
Thereafter, the wandering challenge-horse reached the Nila mountain. A king's son named Damana was hunting there. When he saw the horse, the prince had his men capture it. Damana read the note on the horse's head, which said, "There was a king named Dasharatha. Ramabhadra is his son and He is unparalleled in the use of the bow. He has released this horse, and his brother, Shatrughna, is protecting it. Those who consider themselves to be great warriors can seize the horse, but rest assured that Shatrughna will easily set it free. Otherwise, bow down at Ramachandra's feet, without a fight.The prince thought, "Only Rama is an expert bowman, and we are nothing?" He ordered his commanders to make the army ready to fight, and had the challenge-horse brought into his city. Just then,the horse's protectors arrived at that place.Pratapagrya, a king who had accompanied Shatrughna,took up the challenge of the opposing army.A fierce duel ensued with Damana facing Pratapagrya. Finally, Damana pierced Pratapagrya in the heart with his arrow, so that the uncon¬scious king had to be taken from the battlefield by his driver.After defeating the king, Damana waited for Shatrughna to arrive. Shatrughna became enraged, after seeing the slaughter of his army, and so he first sent Bharata's son, Pushkala, to confront Damana. After a fierce battle,Pushkala managed to pierce Damana in the heart with his arrow. Seeing him lose consciousness, the driver took Damana away from the battlefield, and so his soldiers fled back to the safety of the city.The king, Subahu, then entered the battlefield. He fought Valliantly, but in the end, he was defeated, and so he surrendered to Shatrughna.
As the challenge-horse continued to wander over the Earth, Shatrughna and his companions had to fight with many Rakshasas, headed by Vidyunmali, who had been a friend of Ravana's and so wanted to gain revenge.Then, one day, after coming to the shore of the River Reva, the horse jumped into the water and did not again come to the surface.The guardians of the horse were confused about what to do. Finally,Shatrughna arrived there. After hearing about what had happened, he entered the water, along with Pushkala and Hanuman.There, within the river, Shatrughna saw a beautiful city, having many nice gardens. He also saw Rama's horse, tied to a golden stake.Nearby was seen many excellent ladies, waiting upon another lady, who was seated upon a couch. When they saw Shatrughna and his companions, the ladies said to the queen, "These three will make excel¬lent food for you. They are well-nourished, and so their blood will certainly be very sweet.Upon hearing this, the queen laughed. The three then approached the ladies, who shone brilliantly, and offered their respects. The queen said, "Who are you, that have come here? My place is inaccessible, even to the demigods. One who comes here never returns. To whom does this horse belong? Please tell me everything.Hanuman replied, "We are servants of the king, Lord Ramabhadra, to whom this horse belongs. The king is reparing to perform a horse-sacrifice. Now, you must release the horse. We are all skilled in the use of weapons and we are prepared to kill anyone who obstructs the horse's journey.The queen laughed and said, "No one will be able to free this horse, kept by me. But, don't worry, for 1 am also a servant of Lord Rama. Since I now understand that the horse belongs to Rama, 1 consider myself to be an offender. 1 pray that Lord Rama will pardon me. Now, you can ask for a benediction, so that your king will be pleased with me.Hanuman replied, "By Lord Rama's mercy, we find everything very nice. Still, 1 will ask this benediction. May we have Rama as our Lord, birth after birth.Again the lady laughed and then said, "Whatever you desire will surely take place. Later on, King Viramani, under the protection of
Lord Shiva, will seize your horse. Now, you may take a wonderful weapon from me that will enable you to conquer that king. Shatrughna, you should fight with Viramani in a single combat, riding upon chariots. When you release this weapon, the king will realize Rama's true posi¬tion and so voluntarily return the horse to you.Shatrughna received that wonderful weapon from the queen. Thereafter, he took the challenge-horse and rose out of the water, onto the shore. Upon seeing this, all of the soldiers, who had waited by the side of the river, were highly delighted.After wandering at will for some time,the horse arrived at the vicinity of Devapura.This city was so opulent that even the houses of the ordinary citizens were made of silver.The king was named Viramani,and his son was Rukmangada.One day, Rukmangada went to the forest, surrounded by many beautiful women. In that enchanting atmosphere, some women pleased the prince by their dancing, others by their singing, and others by their affectionate embraces. Just at this time, the challenge-horse arrived there. Upon seeing the horse, the women requested, "My dear prince, capture this lovely horse. Look, there is a golden note on it's forehead." Rukmangada easily caught the horse with one hand, and then read the note to the ladies. After doing so, he said, "Who is this Rama? My father is the most powerful king, and he is protected by Lord Shiva. Take this horse to our stables, so that my father can perform the ashvamedha-yaj na.Thereafter, the prince returned to the city, along with his wives, and then presented the horse to his father. Upon hearing of what had happened, King Viramani, being very intelligent, did not approve of the act. Indeed, the king thought that his son had acted like a thief.
Taking the horse, Viramani then went to consult Lord Shiva. Mahadeva told the king, "Your son has done well. Today, there will be a great war, enabling me to see my Lord Rama, upon whom I always Meditate. Even though Rama is my Lord, I am still confident that even tne thirty-three crore devas would not be able to take the horse from y°u, because I am your protector.Meanwhile, Shatrughna could not find the challenge-horse. He thus inquired from his minister, Sumati, who then informed him that '¦he king of the region was Viramani. He also warned Shatrughna that the king was being personally protected by Lord Shiva.
While Sumati was thus speaking, King Viramani arranged his army,getting ready to fight with Shatrughna.Soon thereafter,Shatrughna saw the vast army approaching for battle.Sumati advised Shatrughna that Pushkala should fight with the king, so that he could engage with Lord Shiva.First, Rukmangada fought with Pushkala. After a fierce fight, Pushkala discharged a weapon that burnt Rukmangada's chariot and made the prince fall unconscious onto the battlefield. After witnessing his son's defeat, Viramani angrily approached Pushkala, desiring revenge. Hanuman rushed at Viramani, but Pushkala stopped him, saying that this enemy was too insignificant to worry about. Thus, Hanuman desisted and Pushkala went to encounter Viramani.The king said, "You are but a child. Do not try to fight with me, for I am very angry and 1 am invincible in battle!Pushkala replied, "You say that 1 am a child, but 1 say that you are an old man. 1 have already defeated your son, and now 1 shall knock you down from your chariot with my weapons.A terrible battle ensued, with innumerable casualties on both sides. Pushkala and Viramani greatly afflicted one another with their weap¬ons but at last, the king was struck in the chest with a powerful arrow, causing him to fall unconscious from his chariot. In this way, Pushkala again attained victory.Upon seeing the defeat of his devotees, Lord Shiva sent Virabhadra to fight with Pushkala, and Nandi to fight with Hanuman.After an intense fight, when Virabhadra broke his chariot, Pushkala dismounted. The two great warriors then fought with their fists. In¬deed, the fight went on for many days, continuing throughout the day and night.On the fifth day, Virabhadra grabbed Pushkala and ascended to the sky, where the battle continued. Finally, Virabhadra threw Pushkala to the ground and then cut off his head with his trident.At this, Lord Shiva challenged Shatrughna to fight. Thus, a great battle was fought between the two, and it continued for eleven days. On the twelfth day, Shatrughna discharged a brahmastra, but in retaliation, Lord Shiva sent a fierce arrow into his chest. At this, Shatrughna became unconscious, and so Hanuman angrily came to fight with Lord Shiva.
Hanuman said, "Rudra, you are acting against religious principles. Formerly, I had heard that you always meditate upon the lotus feet of Lord Rama. Now, I see that this is simply false propaganda! For this deceit, I shall make you fall onto the battlefield this very day.After saying this, Hanuman hurled a huge boulder, smashing Lord Shiva's chariot. At this, Nandi came and requested Lord Shiva to sit on his back. Lord Shiva then hurled a trident, but Hanuman caught it and broke it to pieces. The battle continued with both discharging a barrage of missies. Finally, Hanuman encircled Lord Shiva with his tail while assaulting him with stones, mountains and trees. At this, Nandi be¬came frightened, and Lord Shiva also became confused.Lord Shiva told Hanuman, "You have accomplished a great feat! I am very pleased with you, and so I wish that you ask me for a benediction.Hanuman smilingly replied, "By the grace of Lord Rama, I have all that I need. Still, I will ask for this: Pushkala has died and Shatrughna is unconscious. Please protect all of the fallen heroes so that no ghosts, vultures or animals may drag their bodies away and eat them. 1 will now go and bring the Drona mountain, which is full of life-restoring herbs.Lord Shiva gave his assent. Hanuman then quickly went to the Ocean of Milk, picked up the Drona mountain, and returned to the battlefield.The devas protecting the Drona mountain angily attacked Hanuman, showering their weapons upon him. Hanuman easily drove them off, however, and so they went to the shelter of Indra. When the king of heaven heard of Hanuman's exploits, he rallied the demigods and ordered them to go and, after binding the collosal monkey, bring him as a prisoner.Thereafter, the demigods attacked Hanuman, but very easily they were vanquished. When they returned to Indra and told him what had happened, the King of heaven became afraid. He then went to Brihaspati and asked about the monkey's identity.Brihaspati informed Indra, "He is the servant of the One who killed Ravana and Kumbhakarna. He is Hanuman, who burnt Lanka with his tail. He wants to take the Drona mountain so that he can revive those who were killed in battle. Even if you fight with Hanumanfor one hundred years, you will not be able to defeat him. You should give him the herbs that he requires.
Upon hearing all this, Indra gave up his fear. Thereafter, Brihaspati, surrounded by Indra and the demigods, went to Hanuman. Brihaspati apologized, on behalf of the demigods, and then requested Hanuman to give up his anger.When Hanuman returned to the battlefield, he went to Pushkala and put herbs on his chest, praying to Lord Rama that he would be revived. Pushkala then got up and angrily asked where Virabhadra could be found.Next, Hanuman went to Shatrughna and put herbs on his chest while again offering a prayer. Instantly, Shatrughna rose up, asking.Where is Lord Shiva?
Thereafter, Hanuman revived all of the wounded and dead sol¬diers. At last, the battle recommenced. Pushkala attacked Virabhadra, Hanuman fought with Nandi, and Shatrughna again battled Lord Shiva. King Viramani came and intercepted Shatrughna as he was ap¬proaching Lord Shiva. During the terrible battle that took place, Shatrughna finally remembered the weapon given to him by the fe¬male devotee of Lord Rama. This wonderful weapon hit Viramani's chest, making him fall unconscious. When Lord Shiva came to the king's aid, Shatrughna attacked him.A wonderful battle took place, with the releasing of weapons and counter-weapons, as was never seen even between the devas and asuras. Finally, Shatrughna became very afflicted. Hanuman then advised Shatrughna to meditate upon Lord Rama. Shatrughna prayed, "O my Lord, My brother, Lord Shiva is sntaching away my life in this battle. With Your bow, kindly protect me.O Rama, many devotees have crossed the ocean of birth and death, simply by chanting Your holy name.just then, Lord Rama became visible on the battlefield. Seeing his elder brother, Shatrughna was amazed. Lord Shiva came and fell at Lord Rama's lotus feet, offering his prayers. Lord Shiva begged for forgiveness because he had fought for the sake of his devotees, and he assured Lord Rama that King Viramani would now return the challengehorse.Lord Rama replied, "It is the duty of the devas to protect their devotees, so what you have done is not wrong. O Shiva, you are in My heart, and I am in yours. There is no distinction between us. Only wicked-minded fools make such a distinction.Rama then revived King Viramani by touching him. Thereafter, the king returned the challenge-horse and indeed, at Lord Shiva's urg¬ing, he offered his entire kingdom for the service of Lord Rama. After being praised, Lord Rama suddenly disappeared.
As the challenge-horse continued to wander over the Earth, King Viramani accompanied Shatrughna, along with his army. Then, one day, something wonderful occured. The challenge-horse suddenly became stiff, like a statue, and thus did not move. The guards beat the horse with whips, and yet it still remained immovable. When Shatrughna was informed of this, he had Pushkala lift up the horse. Still, the horse remained stiff. Hanuman then went and dragged the horse, and yet, it remained like a statue.Shatrughna approached his minister, Sumati, and inquired as to the cause of this wonderful occurance. Sumati suggested that this must be the work of a powerful sage. Soldiers were sent to search for this mendicant and finally, at a great distance, a hermitage was discovered. Shatrughna was informed that the ashram of the sage Shaunaka was nearby. Along with Hanuman, Pushkala and some others, he went there. The sage gave Shatrughna a nice reception and asked about the purpose of his visit. In response, Shatrughna explained how his chal¬lenge-horse had miraculously become paralyzed.After contemplating for a moment, Pushkala replied, "There was a great sage named Sattvika, who practiced penance on the banks of the River Kaveri. One day, death appeared before Sattvika and took him to the peak of Mount Meru. A great Jambu tree was there, and a river called Jambabati. There, Sattvika enjoyed the company of many celestial girls, according to his desire.Being very proud of himself, however, he arrogantly disrespected those girls, and as a result, he was cursed by sages to become a demon. When he begged for forgiveness, the sages told him, 'When you make Rama's challenge-horse stiff, you will be able to hear Rama's pastimes. After that, you will become freed from our curse.Shaunaka thus urged Shatrughna to go and narrate Rama's pas¬times to the demon, thus freeing him from the sages' curse. Shatrughna went and narrated Rama's pastimes near the challenge-horse, and while doing so, he suddenly saw a divine being, ascending to heaven in an airplane. That being then said, "I have become released from the sages' curse by hearing Rama's astimes. i am returning to my celestial abode, by your mercy.At that time, the horse became free from stiffness, and thus pro¬ceed to wander over the Earth. Finally, after seven months were com¬pleted, the horse came to the kingdom of Suratha, who was a great devotee of Lord Rama. When the king's servants spotted the challenge-horse, they reported the matter to their master. They said, "This horse belongs to Rama, the king at Ayodhya. Why don't you seize it? It is very charming.Suratha ordered.
It is our great fortune thtat we shall be able to see Lord Rama. 1 will capture the horse and then release it when Rama comes here. In this way, my goal of life will be achieved.The king's servants caught the challenge-horse. When he came to know of this, Shatrughna questioned Sumati about the king of that region. In response, Sumati described King Suratha as Rama's loyal devotee, and he advised Shatrughna to send Angada as an envoy.Angada thus went to Suratha's assembly, and advised him to re¬turn the challenge-horse.King Suratha replied, "I have knowingly seized Lord Rama's horse. I will not release it from fear of Shatrughna, however. Only if Rama personally comes here will I not only return the horse, but also offer my entire kingdom in His service. If Rama does not come, then I will easily defeat Shatrughna and his followers.Upon hearing this, Angada laughed and said, "You have become senile with old age! You greatly underestimate Shatrughna, and his brother's son, Pushkala. What then to speak of Hanuman? Compared to them, you are but a mosquito! You must return the horse if you at all desire your welfare, and that of your sons.King Suratha remained adamant, however, considering himself to be more powerful than even Hanuman. Angada returned to Shatrughna and informed him of all that had taken place.Thereafter, a great battle commenced. Suratha's son, Champaka, fought with Pushkala. After a heroic fight, Champaka released an ar¬row that struck Pushkala in the chest and bound him. Champaka then took Pushkala on his chariot. Upon seeing this, Shatrughna ordered Hanuman to free Pushkala. In the fight that followed, Champaka sur¬prisingly foiled all of Hanuman's attacks.The enraged Hanuman then grabbed Champaka by the arm and took him into the sky. Even there, Champaka fought bravely, but fi¬nally, Hanuman grabbed him by the foot and threw him to the ground, causing the prince to faint. After accompishing this feat, Hanuman freed Pushkala from Champaka's nooses.Suratha angrily challenged Hanuman, and proceeded to pierce him with numerous arrows. Hanuman then went and grabbed Suratha's bow and broke it to pieces. Indeed, again and again, Suratha picked up a new bow, and again and again, Hanuman broke each one. In this way, eighty bows were destroyed.Suratha then struck Hanuman with a shakti weapons. In retalia¬tion, Hanuman picked up the king's chariot and began carrying him toward the sea. Suratha struck Hanuman severely on the chest with his club and so the chariot fell from his hands and broke. Suratha mounted another chariot but again, Hanuman shattered it to pieces. Indeed, forty-nine chariots were smashed in this way.
King Suratha then angrily relased the Pashupata weapon, causing countless ghosts, witches, and fiends to suddenly appear. Indeed, Hanuman was bound by that weapon of Lord Shiva. However, while remembering Lord Rama, Hanuman easily broke his bonds.Finally, Suratha put the weapon of Lord Rama upon his bow. Being bound by that weapon, Hanuman did not even try to free him¬self, out of respect for his master. Pushkala then came and attacked Suratha. After a breathtaking battle, Suratha made Pushkala faint upon the battlefield. At this, Shatrughna finally came and challenged Suratha. After a fierce fight, Suratha released an arrow that fell upon Shatrughna's chest, making him fall unconscious. Seeing this, the other warriors supporting Shatrughna fled. Sugriva then challenged King Suratha. Soon, Suratha was able to bind Sugriva with the weapon presided over by Lord Rama.Thereafter, in his court, Suratha told Hanuman, "Kindly remem¬ber Lord Rama, the protector of His devotees, so that He will come nere and release you. Otherwise, I will not free you, even after many, many years.Hanuman offered prayers to Lord Rama, begging for his release. He concluded by saying, "O Lord, I have been bound by Suratha's nooses. If You do not come and release me, the people of this world will joke about us. For this reason, please do not delay.Lord Rama immediatley came, accompanied by Lakshman and Bharata, riding upon the Pushpaka chariot. Suratha offered his obei¬sances, hundreds of times. Rama then came and embraced the king. After doing so, He freed his dear devotees from their bondage. Indeed, all of the unconscious warriors quickly regained consciousness. After this was accomplished, Suratha gladly presented the challenge-horse to Rama, and begged for His forgiveness. After staying in Suratha's palace for three days, Lord Rama returned to Ayodhya in the Pushpaka chariot. Putting Champaka in charge of the city, Suratha accompanied Shatrughna on his journey, protecting Rama's challenge-horse. After wandering at will, the horse finally came to the ashram of Valmiki Muni.Meanwhile, Sita's son, Lava, along with many sages, were collect¬ing firewood in the forest, when they happened to see the horse. Lava went up to the horse and read the note on it's forehead. After reading it, Lava angrily said to the sages, "Just see the audacity of this ksatriya! Who is this Rama/ Who is Shatrughna? They are like insects of little strength!After saying this, Lava seized the horse. Soon, the horse's guards arrived upon the scene and discovered that someone had captured it. Lava drove off these guards, with a shower of arrows, and so they went to the shelter of Shatrughna.
At this point m the narration, it is described how Sita was ban¬ished to the forest after Rama heard criticisms from the citizens.Rama had sent out spies in the evening to find out what His subjects were saying about Him. One spy went to a rich man's house. There, they saw a beautiful woman offering her breast milk to her child. She said, "My son, drink as much milk as you like, for later, it will be difficult to obtain. Rama is the Lord of our city. Those who live here will not be reborn in this world. In the absense of rebirth, where will be mother's milk? Those who always think of Lord Rama will not have the chance to drink their mother's milk again! A second spy, having gone to another house, saw a beautiful lady, seated upon a couch. She said to her husband, "You look to me like a second Rama! You are so handsome, your eyes are like lotus petals, and your chest is broad and strong.The husband replied, "O chaste lady, you have spoken in a way that is just suitable for a loyal wife. But, who am I, compared to Rama? Compared to him, I am but a mere insect. How can you compare a rabbit with a lion? How can the Ganga be compared to muddy water in the street?The faithful wife then fondly embraced her husband. A third spy went to a house where he saw a lady making ready her bed by placing flower petals on it, and smearing it with sandalwood paste and cam¬phor. When the bed was thus ready for the act of love, she said to her husband, "Please lie down on the bed, for it is now fit for enjoyment. People like you always deserve happiness, but not those who are adverse to Lord Rama. Enjoy now that which is obtained through His grace. A loving wife like me, and this bed strewn with flowers- all this is due to Rama's grace.The husband replied, "You are right. Whatever I have is by the mercy of Lord Rama.A fourth spy entered a house and saw a lady playing a musical instrument while her husband sang the glories of Lord Rama. She said, "We are so fortunate to be living in Rama's city, for He protects His subjects as if they were His own children.The husband said, "Being requested by Lord Brahma, the Lord appeared as the son of Kaushalya, as a human being. Actually, He is the Lord of the three worlds. We are lucky that we can see Rama's lotus-like face. Even demigods like Brahma are able to see the Lord but rarely.A fifth spy, after entering a house, saw a husband and wife play¬ing dice. She said, "I have won everything! What will you do now?Saying this, she joyfully embraced her husband. The husband re¬plied, "Charming one, of beautiful body, it is I alone who have won. I always remember Lord Rama. Just now watch as I vanquish you.Saying this, he rolled the dice and won. Being delighted, he said, "I have defeated you. One who remembers Lord Rama has no need of fearing any enemy.
That loving husband, longing for his wife, tightly embraced her.The sixth spy entered a house and saw a washerman, his eyes red with anger, kicking his wife because she had spent the night at another
man's house. He said, "You can go and live with that other man. I shall no longer accept you.The washerman's mother begged, "Do not abandon your wife! She has not committed any fault.The angry washerman replied,1 am not as great as Rama,so that I can take back my wife,after she has stayed at another man's house!Being the king,He can do as He likes,but I will not accept such a wife.Upon hearing this, the spy became enraged. Taking his sword, he prepared to kill the washerman. But then, he remembered Rama's in¬structions: "None of My subjects should be killed. Thus, he put away his sword and went to where the other spies were waiting.The next morning, after entering the royal assembly, Rama asked the spies to disclose what they had heard from the subjects, the previous evening. With great reluctance, and after being repeatedly asked to do so, the sixth spy finally informed Rama of what the washernan had said.Rama was greatly shocked to hear this report. Indeed, He fainted onto the floor. After regaining His composure, Rama called for Bharata and confided in him all that had happened. Rama asked Bharata, "What should I do? Should I kill Myself? Should I abandon Sita?"
Enraged, Bharata was ready to go and kill the washerman. With great endeavor, he tried to convince Rama of Sita's purity. Rama then said, "I know that My wife is pure and uncontaminated, but still, I will abandon her, for I am afraid of public scandal. Take your sharp sword and cut off My head- or else abandon Sita in the forest.Upon hearing this, Bharata lost consciousness and fainted. At this point in the narration, there is the story of who the washerman was in his last life: Sita appeared from a furrow, as the land was being plowed by King Janaka, in preparation for the performance of a sacrifice. He happily accepted the girl as his daughter. Once, when Sita was playing in a garden, along with her friends, she saw a charming pair of parrots.The male and female parrots were conversing with great affection,talking about a girl named Sita and a man named Rama. Suspecting that the parrots were talking about her, Sita ordered her friends to catch them. The girls caught the birds and then Sita asked,Who are the Sita and Rama that you speak of? From where did you learn about them?The parrots explained how they had repeatedly heard the future pastimes of Lord Rama at Valmiki Muni's ashram.
They informed Sita that, in the future, she would become the wife of Lord Rama. The parrots then narrated the pastimes of Lord Rama, for her pleasure.Sita asked the parrots to remain with her, but they declined, say¬ing that they were used to having the freedom of living in the forest. The female parrot then informed Sita that she was pregnant. She prom¬ised to return after the birth of her children. Still, Sita would not re¬lease the parrot. The male parrot then implored Sita to release his wife. In reply, Sita gave permission for the male parrot to depart, but said that she would keep the female parrot as a pet.The male parrot refused to depart without his wife. The female parrot then cursed Janaki, saying, "As you are separating me from my husband, in the same way, you will be separated from Rama, when you are pregnant.Indeed, while saying this and remembering Rama, the female parrot gave up her life. Being greatly distressed, the male parrot then fell into the Ganga while saying,In Rama's city, I will be born as a shudra. It will be because of my words that Sita will experience separation from her husband.Because the male parrot had died while insulting Sita, he was next born as a washerman named Krodhana.Meanwhile, back in Ayodhya, when He saw Bharata unconscious, Rama asked the doorman to summon Shatrughna. Rama then told Shatrughna about His determination to abandon Sita. Upon hearing of this, Shatrughna also fainted. Finally, when he regained conscious¬ness, Shatrughna again and again tried to persuade Rama to give up his intention to abandon Sita. When Rama remained adamant, Shatrughna fainted again.Rama next summoned Lakshman and informed him of the situa¬tion, concluding with the words, "Leave this chaste lady in the forest, °r else kill Me with your sword.Lakshman finally said, "What ought not to be done should be done because an elderly person's order must not be violated. Therefore,I shall do as You say.Thus, it came to be that Sita was abandoned in the forest by Lakshman. She finally came to Valmiki's ashram and there, she gave birth to twins, Lava and Kusha. These twins were initiated by Valmiki, who taught them use of the bow, along with the Vedas and Ramayana.When Shatrughna heard from his guards about how the chal¬lenge-horse had been captured by a boy who had the likeness of Rama, he quickly had his commander, Kalajit, array the army and set out. Thus, Kalajit went and challenged Lava.After a fierce battle, Lava cut off Kalajit's head with his sword. The survivors went and informed Shatrughna of their commander's death, and the defeat of the army. Shatrughna next sent Pushkala to fight.
After an intense duel, Pushkala fell from his chariot, unconscious, onto the battlefield, having been pierced in the chest by Lava's arrow. Next, Hanuman came to challenge the enemy. Thereafter, while fight¬ing, Hanuman found Lava to be unconquerable by him and so he de¬cided to pretend to faint, so that Shatrughna could take his place.Coming before Lava, Shatrughna saw that he appeared just like Rama, in His childhood. During the fight that followed, Lava made Shatrughna fall unconscious onto the floor of his chariot, and so the kings, Suratha and Viramani, as well as others, entered the fray. Soon thereafter, when Shatrughna regained consciousness, he again ap¬proached Lava to fight.When Shatrughna put a blazing arrow upon his bowstring, Lava remembered his brother, Kusha, thinking, "If my brother were here, I would not be humbled by this Shatrughna.That arrow struck Lava in the chest and made him fall uncon¬scious. Shatrughna went and took the unconscious Lava onto his chariot. Some students of Valmiki went and told Sita about all that had hap¬pened. Upon hearing how her son had been arrested, she fell to the ground, weeping.Just at this time, Kusha returned to Valmiki's ashram, having gone with some sages to a place of pilgrimage. Upon seeing his mother overcome with grief, Kusha inquired about the cause. After hearing every¬thing from his mother, Kusha set out to encounter the enemies.Soon thereafter, Shatrughna engaged in fighting with Kusha. Be¬fore long, a powerful arrow struck his chest, making Shatrughna fall unconscious onto the battlefield. Hanuman came to fight with Kusha but he also soon lost consciousness. Sugriva fought next, but was bound by Kusha's weapon.Lava and Kusha then tied Hanuman and Sugriva together, and 'ragged them back to Valmiki's ashram. Later, when Sita saw how "anuman and Sugriva were bound up by her sons, she laughed at them, he told her sons, "Untie these monkeys immediately. They will die if hey see me laughing at them. This is Hanuman and this is Sugriva." Sita told Lava and Kusha that they should not have captured Rama's challenge-horse. She informed them that Rama was their fa¬ther. In reply, Lava and Kusha said that for ksatriyas, there could be no question of sin, even if sons fight with their father, or disciples fight with their preceptor.Still, Lava and Kusha obeyed their mother by releasing Hanuman and Sugriva, as well as the challenge-horse. Sita then prayed to Rama that Shatrughna would regain consciousness, and quickly this was ac¬complished.Sumati then advised Shatrughna that, since the horse was now free,they should return to Ayodhya as quickly as possible. When He heard of the arrival of the challenge-horse and it's protectors, Rama sent Lakshman to welcome His brother.Thereafter, Rama happily embraced Shatrughna and Pushkala, who had fallen at His lotus feet. Finally, at Rama's request, Sumati narrated to Him all that had happened as the challenge-horse wandered over the Earth.
As a result of hearing this narration, Rama came to understand that the two boys residing at Valmiki's ashram were His sons. Rama then went to Valmiki and asked about the boys. In reply, Valmiki said,
How is it that You, who live within the hearts of all men, do not know about this without asking?Valmiki related to Rama all that had happened after Lakshman nad abandoned Sita in the forest. He also explained how he had com¬posed the Ramayana and then taught it to Lava and Kusha.Valmiki requested Rama to take Sita back to Ayodhya, along with Lava and Kusha. Thus it came to be that Rama sent Lakshman to bring Sita back, and so she came and sat next to Him for the performance of the horse-sacrifice.The sage, Agastya, handed Rama the consecrated sword and in¬stantaneously, as the sword touched his neck, the horse assumed a di¬vine form and got onto a celestial airplane. When questioned by Rama, that divine person explained, "In my last life, 1 was a righteous brahmana but later on, I acted in a manner opposed to the Vedas. Indeed, I be¬came hypocrisy personified, for I practiced religion duplicitly.Once, Durvasa Muni came to the riverbank where I was practic¬ing my so-called austerities with the intent of fooling the people. I did not offer the sage any words of welcome, and nothing for his worship. Becoming angry, Durvasa cursed me, saying, 'You hypocrite. May you become an animal!' Upon hearing this, I came to my senses and caught hold of the sage's feet. He then told me, "You will become a horse at the sacrifice of Lord Rama. As soon as He touches you, you will attain a divine form.After saying this, that divine person ascended to heaven. The sages said, "We have heard from you the description of Lord Rama's horse-sacrifice. Now, kindly describe the glories of Lord Krishna." Suta Gosvami said, "I shall relate to you the following conversa¬tion between Parvati and Lord Shiva, in which the greatness of Lord Krishna is nicely delineated.Lord Shiva described the abode of Lord Krishna as follows: The most confidential abode of the Lord is known as Vrindavana. Vaikuntha is just a portion of this supreme abode of Lord Krishna. What exists in Goloka Vrindavana is manifested on the Earth, in Gokula. Whatever exists in Vaikuntha, is seen in Dvaraka. Because of this, of all the places within the three worlds, the Earth is considered to be the mostauspicious.Vrindavana consists of twelve forests- Bhadra, Shri, Loha, Bhandira, Maha, Tala, Khadiraka, Bakula, Kumuda, Kamya> Madhuvana, and Vrindavana. Seven are on the western bank of the Kalindi river, and five are on the eastern bank.
Gokula is in the shape of a thousand-petal lotus. The pastimes ot Lord Krishna take place in each of these petals.In the pericarp, Lord Govinda is seen seated upon a golden throne. This abode is also called the yoga-pitha, and the description found here is quoted by Shrila Prabhupada, as follows:"In the Padma Purana, there is a full description of the yoga-pitha, or the particular place where the Lord is in audience to His eternal devotees. In that yoga-pitha, the personifications of religion, knowledge, opulence and renunciation are all seated at the lotus feet of the Lord. The four Vedas, namely Rk, Sama, Yajur and Atharva, are present there personally to advise the Lord. The sixteen energies headed by Chanda are all present there. Chanda and Kumuda are the first two doorkeepers, at the middle door are the doorkeepers named Bhadra and Subhadra, and at the last door are Jaya and Vijaya. There are other doorkeepers also, named Kumuda, Kumudaksha, Pundarika, Vamana, Shankukarna, Sarvanetra, Sumukha, etc. The Lord's palace is well deco¬rated and protected by the above-mentioned doorkeepers.The first petal is considered to be the best, and it is situated toward the South. The second petal is situated toward the South-east, and two small cottages are found there. The third petal is toward the East. The fourth petal is in the North-east. A gopi attains Krishna as her husband by worshiping Goddess Katyayani at that place. This is also where Lord Krishna had stolen the gopis' garments.In the North is the fifth petal. It is called Dvadashaditya. The sixth petal is toward the North-west. The lake where Krishna chastised Kaliya is situated there. In the West is the seventh petal. Here, Lord Brahma had stolen Krishna's cows and friends. In the South-west is the eighth petal. The killing of Shankhachuda took place there.In this way, each of the petals are described as the places where Lord Krishna's various pastimes were enacted. The Vrindavana on Earth is a most confidential abode of the Lord. It is non-diffferent from Lord Krishna's body. One gains liberation simply by touching the dust of Vrindavana.It is said that Cupid was created from just one ten-millionth part °f a ten-millionth part of the luster of Lord Krishna's body. Indeed, the mfinite brahmajyoti has been manifested from the lustre emanating rrom the nails of His two lotus feet. Radha is the original expansion of Lord Krishna's pleasure potency, and Durga is but one ten-millionth Part of one ten-millionth part of her.
Lord Govinda, along with Radha are seated upon a golden throne. His lovliness surpasses millions of Cupids as He stands in His three¬fold bending form, while playing upon His flute. Other gopis are sur¬rounding Them, and they are all portions of Radha.Shrila Prabhupada has written: "The Padma Purana confirms that Sri Radha is the foremost of the gopis:
yatha radha priya visnos I tasyah kundam priyam tatha
sarva-gopisu saivaika I visnor atyanta-vallabha
Just as Srimati Radharani is most dear to Krsna, Her bathing pond is similarly dear. Of all the gopis, She is the most beloved of the Lord.While continuing to speak to Parvati, Lord Shiva narrated this incident: Knowing of the descent of Lord Krishna, Narada came one day to the village of Nanda Maharaja. There, he saw the Supreme Lord acting as a small child. He was seated upon a cloth that had been placed on a couch. His body appeared to be extremely delicate, His hair was dishevelled, and His sweet smile displayed His lovely teeth. The Lord was naked,and He appeared very blessful.Approaching Nanda, Narada said, "To get birth as an associate of Lord Narayana is very difficult in this world. Even Brahma and Shiva aspire for such a birth. The activities of this boy will give delight to all pious people. Everyone will come to dearly love your son, whose powers are inconceivable.O best of the cowherds, give up all other desires and with single-minded devotion, love this child.After leaving Nanda's house, Narada thought, "The Lord's be¬loved consort, Lakshmi, certainly must have appeared somewhere nearby, as a cowherd girl, so that she can enjoy pastimes with Him.Today, 1 shall look for her in every house of Vraja.Narada Muni went into every house, and everyone respected him greatly. Finally, in the house of one cowherd, he saw a girl of very fair complexion. He thought, "This must be Lakshmi.Later, Narada entered the house of a cowherd man named Bhanu, who was Nanda Maharaja's friend. When Narada inquired as to whether Bhanu had any children, the cowherd man brought his son and made him bow down, to offer obeisances. Upon seeing that handsome boy,whose eyes were like lotus petals, Narada embraced him.The Devarshi said, "Bhanu, this boy of yours will be a good friend of Krishna's and Balarama's. You must take care of him, because he will play with Them, day and night.When Narada was about to depart, Bhanu informed him, "I also have a daughter. She is younger than this boy and she resembles the goddesses of heaven. The problem is that she is deaf and blind, and she seems to be mentally disturbed. O Devarshi, kindly bless me in such a way that this girl will become glorious.
Narada went into the next room and saw the girl, rolling on the floor. Narada lifted her up and placed her upon his lap.Becoming enchanted by the girl's beauty, Narada went into a trance of meditation. Finally, when he regained his composure, Narada thought, with astonishment, "I wander throughout the three worlds, but I have never seen such a beautiful girl as this! Even I have seen the illusory energy personified, the goddess Parvati, but her beauty cannot be compared to even a fraction of that possessed by this girl. I am feeling the same degree of love for her that I feel toward the Supreme Lord, Govinda. I am sure that she will give great delight to Lord Krishna.Narada sent Bhanu on an errand and then took the girl to a secluded place. He offered many nice prayers to the girl, addressing her as the Supreme Lord's internal potency. After much glorification, Narada requested the girl to assume the form by which she would entice Lord Krishna in the near future.As Narada continued to describe the glories of Lord Krishna to her, the girl suddenly manifested a very charming form of a fourteen-year-old girl. At that time, all of the other gopis came and surrounded her. Upon seeing all this, Narada became stunned with wonder.Out of compassion, the gopis sprinkled water upon Narada, thus reviving him. They told him, "This divine girl, who is very difficult to approach for even Brahma and Shiva, is now seen by you. This is certainly your great, inconceivable fortune. In Vrindavana, there is an auspicious Ashoka tree, at the foot of Govardhana Hill. Tonight, you shall be able to see all of us there.Narada Muni then went to Bhanu and told him about the glories °f his daughter while requesting him to take very good care of her.Thereafter, Narada went to the Ashoka tree at the base of Govardhana Hill. There, he waited for the arrival of Bhanu's daughter.
At midnight, Narada saw all of the gopis and so he fell down to offer his obeisances. Desiring to speak, Narada could not do so, however, for he was speechless, due to astonishment.The presiding deity of the Ashoka grove, Ashokamalini, then came to him and said, "I reside here, dressed in red garments and decorated with red ornaments. You had desired to see the girl who would become the consort of Lord Krishna. Please listen now as I describe to you how it came to be that various fortunate souls were born in the land of Vraja, as daughters of the cowherd men.There was a sage known as Chandraprabha, who had a charming son named Chitradhvaja. This boy was a great devotee of Lord Krishna from childhood.One day, the boy went to Lord Vishnu's temple. While there, he thought as follows: "How shall I worship Lord Krishna, who fascinates the cowherd girls of Vrindavana? Indeed, the Lord is always engaged in pastimes with them, in the forest and by the side of the River Yamuna."
That night, the boy had a dream. He saw before him the beautiful form of Lord Krishna. It was a Deity made of stone, and was placed upon a golden throne. The Lord was standing in His charming three¬fold bending posture, and He was playing His flute. On His two sides, the Lord was being served by two of the best of gopis. Indeed, infatu¬ated with love, the gopis were embracing and kissing their Lord.Lord Krishna then said to the gopi on His right, "Lotus-eyed one, you will manifest a wonderful female form, who is very bashful in behavior. Touched by the lustre of your body, that form will resemble yours.That gopi then approached Chitradhvaja, so that the lustre of 1 ei body filled his body. From the lustre of her breasts, two stout breasts were produced. From the lustre of her hips, charming round hips be¬came manifested. In this way, a female form came into being, decorated with garlands and ornaments. It was as if from one lamp, another lamp was lit. The gopi took that girl's hand and led her to Govinda's side, saying, "My Lord, this is Your female servant. Kindly tell her what service she should perform.The gopi then named her Chitrakala and instructed, "Always stay near the Lord and sing in accompaniment to His flute.Chitrakala touched the lotus feet of the Lord, taking the dust and placing it upon her head. She then began to sing, giving pleasure to Lord Krishna and the gopis. The Lord then lovingly embraced her.At this point in the dream, Chitradhvaja woke up. Remembering his dream and the sweetness of Lord Krishna, he wept. From that time on, being determined to think of Krishna only, he gave up all material enjoyment and remained silent, even when addressed by his father. In this way, he remained at home for one month.After that, he went to the forest and practiced austerities that were difficult to perform. Some time later on, he gave up his material body and was then born as Chitrakala, the daughter of the cowherd, Viragupta.Shrila Prabhupada has quoted a verse from this section: "This same fourfold categorization of the gopis is given in the Padma Purana:
gopyas tu srutayo jneya / rsi-ja gopa-kanyakah
deva-kanyas ca rajendra I na manusyah kathancana
It is understood that some of the gopis are personified Vedic literatures, while others are reborn sages, daughters of cowherds, or demigod maidens. But by no means, my dear King, are any of them ordinary humans.Once, Lord Vishnu said to Brahma, "Some call Me Prakriti (the primordial matter) and some call Me Purusha (the Lord). Some call Me Dharma, some call Me wealth, and some call Me Moksha (salvation). Some say I am void. Some call Me devotion. Some call Me Sadashiva. Some say that I am the origin of the Vedas, without change, the form of goodness, etc. Today, I shall show you My real form, which is con¬cealed by the Vedas.Brahma then saw a boy, who was dark, like a monsoon cloud. He was laughing, while seated at the base of a Kadamba tree, along with many cowherd boys. He was wearing yellow garments, and He looked wonderful.Brahma then saw the forest of Vrindavana, and the River Kalindi. He also saw Govardhana Hill. Next, he saw Lord Krishna, playing His flute, and surrounded by the gopis. The Lord said to Brahma, "There is no greater form of Mine that this. You should know that this Vrindavana is eternal. Do not have any doubt about it.Lord Brahma asked, "Who are these gopis? Who are these cow¬herd boys? Who are these cuckoos? Who is this Kadamba tree?The Lord replied, "The gopis are the Vedas personified. The daugh¬ters of the cowherd men are rishis. All the cowherd boys are sages. This Kadamba is a desire-tree (kalpa vriksha). The cuckoos are Siddhas, Sadhyas and Gandharavas.Once, Arj una was seated beneath a tree, along with Lord Krishna, on the banks of the River Yamuna. Arjuna said, "O Lord, please tell me something which is unknown even to Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva. The wives of the cowherds are very dear to You. How many are there, and of how many different kinds? Where do they stay and what are their activities? Where do You eternally engage in pastimes with them?" Lord Krishna replied, "How can you expect to understand such things, which are unknown to even Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva? Therefore, you should desist from your questions.Upon hearing this, Arjuna fell at the Lord's lotus feet, begging forgiveness. Lord Krishna then affectionately lifted Arjuna up and embraced him, saying, "What use is there in My telling you these things?Now, you will directly experience them! First, you must worship the goddess Yogamaya. Without her, I cannot show you what you desire.Thus, Arjuna approached the goddess Yogamaya, seated upon a golden throne. The goddess told Arjuna to go with her female attendent and bathe in a certain lake, and then return. Arjuna did as he was told,and after coming back, the goddess had him recite some mantras and perform some rituals. She told him, "Worship me as I have directed.Only after 1 am pleased, will you be able to sport with Lord Krishna as you desire.Arjuna continued the worship of Goddess Yogamaya. After some time, the she told him, "Now go into the interior of that house, along with this girl.Thus it came to be that Arjuna entered Vrindavana, the abode of Lord Krishna, in which the festival of rasa-lila was continually going on. Feeling indescribable ecstasy, Arjuna fainted. Thereafter, when he regained consciousness, Arjuna asked the girl what else he should do.The girl then took Arjuna by the hand and led him to the south.
They came to a beautiful garden, and the girl told Arjuna to bathe in the lake there. Upon plunging into the lake, which was decorated with various kinds of lotuses, Arjuna found himself transformed into a beau¬tiful girl, in the prime of her youth. Indeed, he completely forgot about his former masculine body.Coming out of the water, Arjuna stood there, not knowing what to do. A voice from the sky then said, "Go along this path and you will find your friends there. They will help you fulfill your desire.After walking some distance, she (Arjuna) saw a group of young girls, all of whom were fascinating in appearance, speech and manner¬isms. One of the girls, Priyamuda, came and asked, "Who are you? Whose daughter are you? Who brought you here? Whose beloved are you?Arjuna replied, "I do not know who 1 am, or whose daughter 1 am. I came here on my own, being sent by a goddess. Who are you, and whose daughters are you?Priyamuda said, "We are daughers of cowherd men and we are the beloved of Lord Krishna.Priyamuda then introduced many of the gopis. She took Arjuna (now called Arjuni) to a lake and made her bathe, and then gave her a mantra to chant. The goddess Radhika then appeared, and Arjuni fell at her lotus feet to offer obeisances. The goddess had a gopi, Priyamvada, bring Arjuni close, so that she could further instruct her in the science of pure devotion.They next went to where Lord Krishna was staying, and it so happened that the Lord called for Arjuni. Arjuni approached the Lord and fell to the ground, to offer obeisances. Finally, after opening his eyes with difficulty, Arjuni saw himself in a wonderfully beautiful place.There was a desire-tree, and under it was a jewelled throne. On that seat was an eight-petaled lotus. On the left and right were Shanka and Padma. In the four directions were desire-yielding cows (kamadhenu), The breeze was scented by lovely flowers of all kinds and was cool because of containing drops of honey. The humming of intoxicated bees could be heard, as they swarmed to taste that honey. There was also the sounds of parrots, cuckoos and other birds. Here and there were dancing peacocks.
Arjuni saw Lord Krishna, whose black hair was very glossy and curly. On His head was a peacock feather. His cheeks shone like mir-tors, and His forehead was decorated with tilak. His lips were charming
like bimba fruits, and His gentle smile inflamed the passion of love. A nice garland of flowers hung on His broad shoulders, and a Kaustubha jewel hung on His powerful chest, which was also adorned with the mark of Shrivatsa. His arms reached to His knees, and His navel was very deep. The Lord was decorated with many ornaments, and He was dressed in yellow garments. Indeed, His lovliness seemed to conquer millions of Cupids.
Lord Krishna, the knower of everything, then seized Arjuniya by the hand and began sporting with her in an isolated forest. Finally, putting His arm on her shoulder, the Lord told the gopi, Sharada, "Have this lady, who is fatigued, bathe in the western lake.After bathing, when she came out of the water, Arjuniya found that she was once again a male. Seeing Arjuna dejected, Lord Krishna touched his hand and said, "Dhananjaya, you are My dear friend. There is no one else in the three worlds who knows this confidential secret of Mine. Do not reveal your experience to anyone else!Being highly delighted, Arjuna thereafter returned home, remem¬bering his pastimes with Lord Krishna.Once, desiring to disclose the truth about Vrindavana to his son, Narada, Lord Brahma took him to see Lord Maha-Vishnu.After hearing about Brahma's desire, Lord Maha-Vishnu told him, "Take Narada and arrange for his bath in the lake called Amrita.Thereafter, when Narada bathed in Lake Amrita, he found that he had been transformed into a woman. On the shore of the lake, she saw many other girls. They came to her and inquired, "Who are you, and from where have you come?Narada, in the form of a woman, replied, "I don't know how I assumded this form. Am I dreaming?One of the women replied, "This is the town of Vrinda, which is very dear to Lord Krishna. I am the goddess, Lalita. Now, come with me.They went to where Lord Krishna eternally resides. There, Narada, in the form of a woman, saw the Lord, and enjoyed pastimes with Him for one year.Lord Krishna then told Radhika, "Take her to the Amrita lake and arrange for her bath.After bathing in the lake, the girl immediately regained her masculine form as Narada. After bidding Lord Brahma farewell, Narada went to an assembly of great sages, but did not disclose this wonderful experience.After Lord Krishna had killed Shishupala in the arena of Maha¬raja Yudhisthira's Rajasuya sacrifice, Dantavakra came to Mathura, seeking revenge. Hearing of this, Lord Krishna mounted His chariot and came out of the city to fight.After killing Dantavakra, Lord Krishna crossed the Yamuna river and went to Nanda Maharaja's house. There, He offered His respects to His parents and consoled them. In turn, they embraced their son with great affection.
The Lord then went and embraced all of the old cowherd men and pleased them by giving many garments and ornaments.On the banks of the River Yamuna, Lord Krishna enjoyed, for three days and nights, pastimes with the gopis. Thereafter, all the residents of Vrindavana, assuming their original, spiritual bodies, boarded transcendental airplanes and ascended to the spiritual world. Thereafter, Lord Krishna returned to Dvaraka.Parvati asked Lord Shiva, "How can one attain success in life, during the terrible age of Kali?Lord Shiva replied, "Kali does not harrass one who always chants Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare/ Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. While doing his work, a man should continuously chant, 'Krishna, Krishna, Krishna...' Whether pure or impure, one who constantly remembers the Lord becomes freed from material existence.In the age of Kali, these two are most auspicious- bathing in the Ganga and chanting the name of Krishna.Lord Krishna has the mark of a disc at the root of His right thumb. He has the mark of a lotus at the root of His middle finger.Below the lotus is the mark of a flag.At the root of His small finger is the mark of a diamond. At the side of His hand is the mark of a goad. At the joint of the thumb there is the mark of barley-corn. At the root °f the thumb there is the mark of a mace.Lord Shiva next discussed the necessary qualifications for both a spiritual master and a disciple:An intelligent person realizes that all experiences in this world are temporary. He sees how miserable life in this material world is. When he decides to become detached from all material desires, he should search for a bona-fide spiritual master.Such a spiritual master is peaceful in mind, free from jealousy and fully devoted to Lord Krishna. Being free from lust and greed, the spiritual master's only aim in life is to engage in the Lord's devotional service. Such a guru has received full knowledge from his spiritual master, and in turn, tries to educate his disciples in the same way, following in the footsteps of the previous acharyas.A disciple is one whose desire in life is to serve his spiritual mater's lotus feet. When the spiritual master initiates a bona-fide student, he gives him a new name, along with the word dasa.Just as a woman who is devoted to her husband always thinks of him with love when he is away from home, while on a journey, so in the same way, a devotee should meditate upon the qualities and pastimes of Lord Krishna, in a mood of separation.When Narada desired to hear about Lord Krishna's pastimes with the gopis in Vrindavana, Lord Shiva suggested that he go see Vrindadevi. Thus it was that Narada approached Vrinda and inquired from her. In response, Vrinda spoke as follows: Within a grove of desire trees, Radha and Krishna had rested in the afternoon. Indeed, the two re¬mained embracing one another, not wanting to be disturbed.By Vrinda's order, birds then began to sing nearby, awaking the divine couple.
At this time, the assisting gopis entered the bower and offered appropriate services. Thereafter, Radha and Krishna returned to Their respective homes.The next morning, Krishna, being awakened by His mother, quickly got up. After cleaning His teeth, Krishna, along with Balarama, went to the cow sheds.Radha, too, being awakened by her friends, first of all cleaned her teeth. After being bathed by her friends, Radha was dressed and deco¬rated very nicely. Thereafter, she was invited by Mother Yashoda to come and cook.At this point, Narada asked, "When at Yashoda's house there was already the foremost of cooks, like Rohini, why was Radharani invited to cook?Vrinda continued the narration, as follows: Long ago, Radha received a benediction from Durvasa Muni that whatever she cooked would become as sweet as nectar, and would increase the lifespan of anyone eating it. For this reason, Mother Yashoda invited Radharani to cook. Thus, with her mother-in-law's permission, she would daily go to Nanda Maharaja's house.Thereafter, Krishna would return home, after milking the cows. First, He would be bathed by His servants. Then, He would put on new garments and have His body smeared with sandalwood pulp. While holding Baladeva's hand, and being followed by His friends, Lord Krishna would enter the dining room, after being repeatedly called by His mother. Then, in the company of His friends, Lord Krishna would joke and laugh while eating. When His meal was finished, Krishna would lie down and rest for awhile. After getting up, He would then go out to tend the cows in the pasturing grounds.After entering the forest, along with His friends, Lord Krishna would play for awhile. Then, by deceiving his friends, He would leave them, taking only two or three associates, and go to meet Radha. She too, after deceiving her elders, under the pretext of some kind of demigod worship or collecting flowers, would go to the forest to meet her lover.Thus, Radha and Krishna, with much endeavor, would meet in the forest, and then spend the rest of the day together. Sometimes, They would sit on a swing, as their friends surrounded them, perform¬ing various services. Sometimes, Radha would hide Krishna's flute, caus¬ing Him to search for it, here and there. Sometimes, They would enter the river and enjoy by splashing water upon one another.Then, being tired, They would enter a grove of trees. Sitting at he base of a large tree, They would become intoxicated by drinking a ind of liquor. With Their eyes closing, due to sleep, They would hold ach other's hands and then go to lie down. Being intoxicated, the other gopis would also lie down in the bowers, and Krishna would ex¬pand Himself so that He could lie down with each of them.After waking up, Radha and Krishna would go to sport in a nearby lake. After playing in the water, They partake of fruits and sweets, given by Their servants. Afterwards, Krishna and the gopis would play and joke in various ways. They would sometimes play with dice, and the wager was in the form of kisses and embraces. If Radha would win.
Lord Krishna would say, "I am defeated, and so accept from me what was wagered (kisses).Thereafter, Krishna would return to the cows, while Radha would return home. After some time, Krishna would also go home. Nanda and the others- women and children- upon hearing the sound of Krishna's flute, would assemble to see Him enter the village. As Krishna passed by, He would smile at some, touch others, glance at some others, speak to some elderly cowherds, and offer His respects to His parents.After returning the cows to their sheds, Krishna would bathe and then eat. Afterwords, he would return to the sheds to milk the cows. At that time, Radha would send various kinds of food to Nanda Maharaja's house.Radha's friends would then return to her with remnants of the food that was eaten by Lord Krishna, as well as other food given by Mother Yashoda. She would then prepare to meet Krishna again that night, as prearranged.Somehow, Radha would go to the bank of the Yamuna, along with her friends. Understanding this, Krishna would go with His mother to a friend's house. After His mother had returned home, Krishna would slip out unnoticed, to meet His beloved. Thus, Krishna would dance with the gopis, to the accompaniment of music. After dancing half of the night, the Two would sleep within a bower on a bed made of flow¬ers.After hearing all this from Vrinda, Narada exclaimed, "O goddess, 1 am blessed! 1 have been favored by you so that 1 have heard about the divine pastimes of Radha and Krishna.Next, there are lengthy discussions of pious and impious activities, and their results. In the course of such talks, Narada said, "The ways of morality are very subtle! Even the learned are often bewildered in this regard.Just consider these examples: Ajamila had abandoned his wife, and had become the husband of a prostitute. He gave up all his religious practices, remaining fixed on the path of sin. And yet, just by calling for his son, Narayana, at the time of death, he attained an exalted position.The sons of Pandu were born of Kunti and Madri, but from A various demigods and not from their father. And, all five Pandavas shared the same wife! Still, their fame is spread over the three worlds.
Therefore it must be concluded that the ways of morality and immorality are very subtle, and sometimes very difficult to ascertain. Strange are the actions of men! Strange are the potencies of those acts! A good deed, even performed hidingly, will one day fructify, giving an auspicious result. The result of a certain auspicious act, even though covered with sins, comes from some unknown place and gives benefit." Sometimes, even a seemingly small auspicious act can free one from the results of a huge amount of sins. Generally, it is supposed that a big thing consumes a smaller one, as a lion might eat a rabbit. But, the opposite is often true. Just consider how a great heap of dry grass is consumed by a small spark of fire!Shrila Prabhupada quotes from this section of Padma Purana, in his purports to the 9th chapter of Bhagavad-gita:"In the Padma Purana, man's sinful activities have been analyzed and are shown to be the results of sin after sin. Those who are engaged in fruitive activities are entangled in different stages and forms of sinful reactions.For instance, when the seed of a particular tree is sown, the tree does not appear immediately to grow; it takes some time.It is first a small, sprouting plant, then it assumes the form of a tree, then it flow¬ers and bears fruit, and, when it is complete, the flowers and fruits are enjoyed by persons who have sown the seed of the tree. Similarly, a man performs a sinful act, and like a seed it takes time to fructify.There are different stages. The sinful action may have already stopped within the individual, but the results or the fruit of that sinful action are still to be enjoyed. There are sins which are still in the form of a seed, and there are others which are already fructified and are giving us fruit, which we are enjoying as distress and pain.
Long ago, there was dog who wandered through the kingdom of Mithila, being greatly afflicted with hunger. One hundred births previ¬ously, he had been a sinful brahmana.In his youth, the brahmana had been very devoted to the study of the Vedas. One day, after bathing in the Ganga, he entered the city of Prattalika and took shelter in a brahmana's house. In that house, there Was staying the youthful daughter of a kshatriya. Her husband hadbeen killed in battle, and thus she had lost her wealth and kingdom.
That night, as the brahmana was sleeping in his room, that woman came to him and said, "O brahmana, from where do you come? Where are you headed?The brahmana woke up and replied, "Your coming here will cer¬tainly create suspicion in the minds of the people. We are both young, and so our talking together is not proper.The ksatriya woman replied, "Talks between a young man and woman are not wrong if a story is being told, if it happens while on pilgrimage, or at a sacred place, or when there is some disaster, such as a fire or famine. For this reason, no one will be suspicious."
The brahmana said, "Please go from here." The ksatriya woman then thought to herself, "I must somehow be lovingly embraced by this man! 1 will cry, so that he consoles me. In this way, he will lift me up into his arms. At this time, I'll put my arms around his neck. Then, pretending to faint, I will press my breasts against his body.He will sit down, placing me upon his lap. Then, while weeping, I will displace my garments, exposing my private part, which is in the shape of an ashvattha leaf, which is free from hair and is very lovely, and which is the fragrant abode of Cupid. In this way, I shall bring the brahmana under my control. What mind of a man does not become excited while seeing a woman's breasts, and watchomg while she touches her vagina?Thinking in this way, the ksatriya woman left the brahmana's room and then began to weep. Upon seeing this, the brahmana thought, "The grief of a woman, a child, an old man, an invalid person, a king, and a mendicant should always be removed by any means.The brahmana thus approached the woman and said, "Enough of this grief. Unhappiness simply dries up the body, and harms the mind as well. There is no use in grieving. Why are you crying?Without replying, the woman suddenly fell to the ground, as if fainting. The pious brahmana picked her up, but again she fell to the floor. Finally, the brahmana placed the woman upon his lap and wiped her eyes.Then, as if making herself comfortable, the woman removed her garment, thus revealing her breasts and genitals. As she clung to his neck, the woman pressed her breasts against the brahmana's body. The moonlight was bright and there was a gentle breeze.
The brahmana thought to himself, "I should not be doing this. This is the work of her mother, father, husband or guru. To me, an ordinary conditioned soul, this appears very inauspicious.Cupid arrived there, as the two were thus seated in a secluded place. He struck the brahmana with his sharp arrows. Becoming lusty, the brahmana thought, "This woman is very beautiful, and she also seems to be lusty. I will know the truth of the matter when I touch her breasts.As the brahmana proceeded to touch the woman's breasts and vagina, he could see that she had a smile on her face, although pretend¬ing to be unconscious. Suddenly, the woman tightly embraced the brahmana, and kissed him repeatedly on the mouth. Thus it so hap¬pened that the ksatriya woman and the brahmana became united in a sexual relationship for many years.Then, one morning, the brahmana went to bathe in a nearby river, and the ksatriya woman accompanied him. Present there was another brahmana who was reciting the Puranas. Upon hearing this verse: "He who kills a brahmana, who drinks liquor, who is a thief, and who has sexual relations with his preceptor's wife, becomes free from all sins just by listening to this Purana.The consort of the kshatriya woman asked the brahmana who was reciting the Puranas, "The forbidden acts that I have committed are countless. Tell me- what could I do, that would destroy my heap of sins.In response, the learned brahmana advised, "Worship Lord Shiva, for when he is pleased, all of your sins will be vanquished.Taking this advice seriously, the brahmana left that ksatriya woman and regularly went to a temple of Lord Shiva, to perform wor¬ship. Once, however, whle eating outside the temple, he took ghee from the lamp there, and mixed it with his food. After some time, he met with death, and so was taken to Yamaraja's abode.Yamaraja said, "Due to your worship of Lord Shiva, some of your sins have perished. But, others remain, and as a result, you will have to reside in hell for twenty million years. After that, you will have one hundred births as a dog. Due to the act of stealing ghee from a lamp at a temple of Lord Shiva, a man must suffer in hell for a hundred years.
He then becomes wood in the Kumbhipaka hell, and as a result, he exists as ash for ten years. He then becomes an insect for another ten years. Then he becomes the wick of a lamp full of pus, stool, urine and semen. After partking of all these punishments in hell, he gets one hundred births as a dog.Meanwhile, Narada came to where that former consort of a kshatriya's brahmana wife, Avyaya, was lamenting. Narada informed her that her husband had died, and he asked her to go to where the body was lying and then enter his funeral pyre. Narada explained that her husand's body was very far away, and would be burnt the next day. When she agreed to do this, Narada took her upon his vina and transported her to that place, in a moment. He then told her, "By en¬tering the fire, all of your sins will be nullified, even if you have en¬joyed the embraces of a man other than your husband.Avyaya asked, "What must I do before entering the fire?" Narada explained how she must decorate herself and apply tumeric and other substances, as well as nice jewelry. She said, "I don't have tumeric or ornaments, so please give them to me.In a moment, Narada travelled to Mount Kailash. There, he saw Parvati, and requested, "Mother, kindly give me some ornaments and tumeric.Parvati replied, "How can I give these things to a widow?" Narada explained, "Until the body of her husband is burnt, a woman is not considered to be a widow.Parvati said, "Whatever I possess should be used by me alone.Please go to my servant, Jayanti.Thus, Narada approached Jayanti and then returned to Avyaya
with the required ornaments and tumeric. Narada then asked, "Who will perform the funeral rites?Avyaya replied, "You shall do so, for you are like my father." Narada burned the brahmana's body and told Avyaya, "Enter the fire, if you so desire.She first circumambulated the funeral pyre three times, offered some prayers, and then entered the fire. Immediately, she saw a celes¬tial airplane and so boarded it and ascended to heaven.Devavrata's very beautiful and young daughter was the wife °' Shona. The two, husband and wife, were very pious. Once, having gone to bathe in the Ganga, they found a silver pitcher within the water.Shona asked his wife, Kala, "What should we do with this treasure?She replied, "A man should not undertake any endeavor by de¬pending upon the advice of a woman. If one gets something of value, while in the presence of women, he should speak to them in such a way that they will be deived (so that they will not undertand that the thing of value is actually his). If a man is not cautious, great trouble may come to him.
"You should never put your complete trust in a woman. After all, a woman's love can go toward any young man she sees. If she is at¬tracted, a woman may approach any man and speak to him. That can easily lead to sexual enjoyment between them. If a woman enjoys one man and then, later on, enjoys another- to whom will she actually be loyal?If a wife is attached to another man, she may use the wealth of her husband to impress him. Indeed, it sometimes happens that a par¬amour kills a woman's husband, so that he can also enjoy her wealth.After becoming a widow, when such a woman feels the desire for sex, day or night, she may go to a secluded place and remove her clothes. Putting her hand on her genital, she may curse her condition by saying, 'Vagina, why are you troubling me so? What sin have you committed? Or, is this torment the result of the sins of the men that had entered you?To satisfy her itching, she will do strange things with her hands, while repeatedly shaking her legs and embracing pillows. Still, being frustrated, she might go into the streets at night, ready to be enjoyed by anyone. Going to an unknown man's house, she would gratify her lust with him. All this is what can be expected when wealth is obtained in we presence of a woman. Therefore, there is no need for you to consult «ie in this matter.Saying, "It is certainly true, just as you say", Shona asked his wife to go pass stool in the field, while he waited for her return. Kala went and then Sona dug a hole in the ground and buried the pitcher. When his wife returned, he told her to return home alone.Knowing of this, a demon named Maricha assumed the form of "er husband and then approached Kala. Maricha said, "On the banks of the river, there is a nice grove that is just suitable for enjoyment.Come on, let's go there.Kala replied, "Why are you telling me this? To change your plans like this is not approved by those who are wise.Maricha said,It is the wife's duty to obey her husband. Just tell me- are you coming or not?The chaste woman remained silent and accompanied the demon to the forest. Then, she said, "It is midday, you should perform your religious duties.The demon replied, "This is not a proper place. We shall go some¬where else.When they came to a cave near a lake, Maricha said, "This is a good place. I shall bathe first.The demon dove in the lake and then ate some fruit.At this time, Kala meditated upon goddess Uma, wondering whether this was her husband or not. Finally,by dint of her meditation, she could understand that the man accompanying her was actually an imposter, and so she became frightened.Crying out, "A great disaster has befallen me!", she fell to the ground. At this time, the demon tried to forcibly rape Kala but was not able to,because she had somehow made a garment out of stones that covered.her, from her knees up to her waist. Upon seeing this, the demon thought, "I shall kill her and eat her up!As the demon reached for his sword, Kala said, "My husband will curse you for this." But, nonetheless, he cut off her head. At that time, the servants of Lord Shiva came there and put Kala onto a celestial airplane, to take her to their master's abode.Thereafter, Kala was welcomed by Uma, who said, "I am pleased by your devotion to your husband. 1 am prepared to give you whatever you desire.Kala replied, "I would just like to be your menial servant. What is the use of other things?Parvati gave her consent and meanwhile, Shona reached home. Not finding his wife there, he became engrossed in thought. Finally, through his eye of introspection, he could see that she had been taken away by a demon and killed, thus enabling her to reach Lord Shiva's abode.
Being aggrieved, Shona went to the house of his father-in-law, Devarata, and reported the matter to him. The two then went to se Vishvamitra, who then took them to see Vasishtha Muni.Thereafter, they all journeyed to Lord Shiva's abode. Being greeted by Virabhadra, they explained how Shona's wife had been kidnapped. Lord Shiva was informed of the situation, and he told the sages, I already knew of all this. Kala's death was untimely and her allotted life-span is one hundred years more. She will regain her life and then give birth to ten sons. Because she had uttered my name while dying, all her accounts with Yamaraja were erased, and she came to me. You should all go and tell your story to Parvati.When the sages approached Lord Shiva's wife, Vishvamitra said, "This Kala is my rand-daughter. What can I do to get her back. 1 desire to eat food that is cooked by her.Parvati replied, "She desires to remain with me, and 1 also cannot part with her.Shona then said, "1 love this wife only. If I do not get her back, I will surely die.Parvati responded, "Husband and wife should be equally qualified and suitable for one another. This woman is not proper for you. I shall give you another woman who is just right for you. I cannot abandon one who has taken shelter of me.Shona said, "If you will not return my wife, then give me another woman who will become dear to me. Also, grant me a kingdom, as well as firm devotion to Lord Shiva.Parvati replied, "You shall enjoy in my house for three days. There¬after, you must execute the mode of worship that I prescribe. This practice will award you with the fulfillment of your desires. Most impor¬tantly, you must honor the brahmanas, in the manner that will be described by me.After hearing this, Shona and the sages gave their consent, and then went to the Ganga to perform their worship. Thereafter, they returned to Parvati's house and offered their obeisances. Thereafter,worship of the brahmanas was arranged.When panchagandha (musk, sandalwood paste, camphor, and two portions of aguru) was being applied to the bodies of the brahmanas, there came into the assembly an old, weak brhamana, who appeared like a madman. Indeed, the bald brahmana was naked, he was coughing badly, and he was very hungry. Saliva poured from his mouth. Being invalid, he walked in a hesitating manner. The old brahmana was ac¬companied by a sixteen-year-old girl.
This girl was exceptionally beautiful, and as she came into the assembly, she glanced at all the men. She was singing and dancing, and while looking at her husband, she laughed. Indeed,she continually troubled him, saying, "You weak, cruel man, come quickly! What is the use of all my possessions? After all- jewelry, clothes, fragrances, gar¬lands, singing, laughter, a good house, and wealth, are all simply meant for augmenting the enjoyment of sex, and nothing else.Sex alone is the purpose of all desires. Indeed, if all the pleasures of the world wre placed together on one side of a scale, and the pleasure of sex were placed on the other, sexual pleasure would be found to weigh a hundred times more than all of the others.Having obtained a husband like you, what is a woman like me supposed to do?The girl said all this while holding her husband's hand. He re¬plied, "What can we do? Our destiny is like this! Knowing what I am, you should not pierce me with such sharp words!Kala, along with Arundhati and Anasuya, fed that naked brahmana, and he ate everything in a moment. Indeed, he ate so much that there was nothing remaining for the other brahmanas. Parvati herself then began serving the naked brahmana, but still, he continued to eat everything.Parvati, without becoming angry, then said, "Let this food be in¬exhaustible.Thus, at last, realizing that he could not finish all the food, the naked brahmana got up and washed his mouth and hands. He told Parvati, "I am pleased with you. Ask for a benediction.Parvati replied, "Even if you are capable of benedicting me, what would be the use? After all, Lord Shiva is my husband!The brahmana said, "Is this Shankara suitable for you, or not? Handsomeness and cleverness are liked by women. For what other rea¬son would you have come under my influence?" Parvati replied,This is not true!" The brahmana said, "I shall tie your braid. Come and sit on my lap. If your mind becomes agitated, then how can you be considered as chaste?Parvati responded, "It is my vow to sit on the lap of my husband, and no one else.Thus understanding the mind of Parvati, Lord Shiva next be¬came a sixteen-year-old youth. His charming eyes were full of affec¬tion. His body was very fair and more beautiful than thousands of Cupids. He went and put his hands on the sixteen-year-old girl's shoul¬ders, while singing and dancing with her.Indeed, it was Parvati herself who had manifested as that girl. Thereafter, the brahmanas worshiped Lord Shiva and then departed. Kala was given back to Shona, and they continued to live a very pleasurable life on Earth, for a long time. After death, they attained the realm of Lord Shiva.