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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Compiled and Imp Scriptures > Shrimad Bhagavatam > Canto-4 > King Prachinabarhi. The story of Puranjana. The Prachetas



      King Prachinabarhi. The Story of Puranjana.  The Prachetas.



     Vijitashva became the emperor of the world, and he appointed his four younger brothers as governors of the different directions. At the time when Indra had invisibly stolen King Prithu’s sacrificial horse, Vijitashva had seen this but had refrained from attacking him out of respect for such a great personality. Indra very much appreciated this, and so he gave him the mystic power of appearing and disappearing at will, and for this reason, the eldest son of King Prithu also became known as Antardhana.

     Through his wife, Shikhandini, Maharaja Antardhana begot three sons- Pavaka, Pavamana, and Suchi, who were formerly fire-gods that had to take birth as human beings due to Vasishtha’s curse. After attaining perfection in mystic yoga, these three sons of Vijitashva became reinstated in their original positions. By another wife, named Nabhasvati, Maharaja Antardhana begot a fourth son named Havirdhana.

     Because Maharaja Antardhana was unwilling to exact taxes or punish the citizens, he retired from his royal duties at an early age, on the plea of wanting to perform various sacrifices. Although the king engaged in these fruitive activities, since he was a self-realized devotee, he simultaneously executed the process of pure devotional service by hearing and chanting the glories of the Supreme Lord. In this way, he very easily attained the ultimate goal of life by going home, back to Godhead.

     Through his wife, Havirdhani, King Havirdhana begot six sons, named Barhishat, Gaya, Shukla, Krishna, Satya and Jitavrata. The powerful Maharaja Barhishat, who was also called Prachinabarhi, was very expert in performing various kinds of fruitive sacrifices, as well as the mystic yoga system, and thus he became posted as one of the prajapatis. By the order of Lord Brahma, Prachinabarhi married the daughter of the Ocean, named Shatadruti, who was very young and exquisitely beautiful.

     After being very gorgeously dressed and ornamented, when Shatadruti entered the marriage arena and began circumambulating the sacrificial fire, Agni became very attracted to her, just as he had formerly desired to enjoy the company of Suki. Indeed, all of the demigods, demons and great sages that were present there became captivated simply by hearing the tinkling of Shatadruti’s ankle-bells.

     Thereafter, King Prachinabarhi begot ten sons in the womb of his wife, and they became known as the Prachetas. It being Satya-yuga, when their father ordered them to marry and beget children, the Prachetas first of all left home to engage in the performance of austerities for 10,000 years. While traveling, the Prachetas came to a great lake that was very calm and quiet, like the mind of a great soul, and even the aquatics living within the water appeared to be very peaceful and happy. Lotus flowers of various colors grew in the water, and on the shore could be seen numerous swans, chakravakas, karandavas and other water birds. Flowering trees bordered the lake, and the humming sound of maddened bumblebees filled the air.

     While appreciating this heavenly atmosphere, the Prachetas were also surprised to hear the sounds of various drums and other musical instruments, as if coming from somewhere nearby. Suddenly, Lord Shiva emerged from the water, along with his associates, including numerous musicians that were engaged in glorifying him. Lord Shiva’s bodily luster was like molten gold, although his throat was bluish, and he had three eyes that mercifully glanced at his devotees. Upon seeing Lord Shiva before them, the astonished Prachetas offered their obeisances by falling down at his lotus feet.

     Lord Shiva was very pleased with the princes, and while smiling graciously, he spoke to them as follows: “O sons of Prachinabarhi, I wish all good fortune for you. I know your purpose in coming here, and thus I have appeared before you just to show you mercy. You should know that anyone who is a surrendered soul unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krishna, is very dear to me.”

“One who properly executes his duties in the varnashram system becomes qualified to occupy the post of Brahma, and after becoming still more qualified, he can approach me. However, anyone who directly engages in the unalloyed devotional service of Lord Vishnu is immediately promoted to the spiritual world. You are all devotees of the Supreme Lord, and so please listen very carefully and attentively as I chant a mantra that is the best prayer for anyone who aspires to attain the ultimate goal of life.”

     As the Prachetas stood before him with folded hands, Lord Shiva recited the prayer as follows: “O Supreme Personality of Godhead, all glories unto You, for You are the supreme living being, the Supreme Soul, and thus You are worshipable by all. You are the origin of the subtle material ingredients, from which this creation has become manifest, and You are the all-pervading Lord Vasudeva, who expands Himself as Sankarshana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha. You are inclination, disinclination, and their resultant activities, and You are the topmost of all  those who bestow benedictions.”

     “My dear Lord, I wish to see You in Your original form, which is very dear to the devotees, for only by visualizing that form can all the demands of the senses become perfectly satisfied. The Lord’s complexion resembles a dark cloud during the monsoon season, and just as the rainfall glistens, His bodily features appear to sparkle. The Lord’s exquisitely lovely face is adorned with eyes like lotus petals; a beautiful, highly raised nose; and an enchanting smile that captivates the mind of the beholder. The Lord’s black hair is curly and the superexcellent beauty of His face becomes enhanced by His sidelong glances. The Lord’s garments, which wave in the wind, as well as His glittering earrings, shining helmet, bangles, garland, ankle-bells, the sash around His waist, and other bodily ornaments, combine to increase His natural beauty.” 

     “The Lord’s shoulders are broad like a lion’s, and upon His chest hangs the Kaustubha-mani. The glittering curls of golden hair upon the Lord’s chest, called Shrivatsa, excels the beauty of the golden streaks that are found on the black stone that is used for testing the quality of gold. The Lord’s abdomen is very beautiful due to it’s three ripples of flesh, and because it is so round, it resembles the leaf of a banyan tree. When He inhales and exhales, the movement of those ripples appears fascinatingly beautiful. The folds within the Lord’s navel are so deep, that it seems as if the entire universe had sprouted out of it and also wishes to return there. The Lord’s hips are covered by a sash that is decorated with golden embroidery. His symmetrical lotus feet, calves, thighs, and knees are also extremely beautiful, and thus His entire body appears to be very well built.”

“My dear Lord, Your two lotus feet are like two blossoming lotus petals and the nails of Your lotus feet emanate such a great effulgence that the darkness within the heart of Your devotee immediately becomes dissipated by meditating upon them. For this reason, those who desire to purify their existence must always meditate upon Your lotus feet while engaging in the process of bhakti-yoga. Only by the execution of pure devotional service do You become satisfied. Considering this, who would take to any other process of self-realization if he is actually serious about achieving the perfection of life?”

     “Simply by the expansion of his eyebrows, invincible Time can vanquish the entire universe. However, formidable Time does not approach the devotee who has taken complete shelter of Your lotus feet. Even a fraction of a moment’s association with a pure devotee can award blessings that cannot be compared to heavenly elevation or even liberation, and thus I beg Your Lordship to benedict me with such association.”

     “My dear Lord, Your absolute authority cannot be directly experienced, but one can guess of it by seeing how everything in this world is being destroyed in due course of time. As the wind invisibly scatters clouds in the sky, so time imperceptibly scatters everything, and thus one can indirectly feel the presence of Your hand. Everyone in this material world is mad after making plans due to uncontrollable greed. However, Your Lordship is always alert, and in due course of time, You strike one down, just as a snake seizes a mouse and very easily swallows him. For this reason, a learned man is one who knows that unless he worships You, his entire life is spoiled.”

     Lord Shiva then instructed the Prachetas, “My dear princes, you should chant this prayer while fixing your minds upon the lotus feet of the Lord. Being situated within your hearts, the Lord will soon become very pleased with you if you faithfully follow this process. This prayer was first spoken by Lord Brahma to us, the Prajapatis, when we were ordered by him to create progeny. By chanting this prayer in praise of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, we became completely free from all kinds of ignorance. Any devotee of the Lord who chants this prayer with great attention and reverence, with mind absorbed in Him, will achieve the greatest perfection of life without delay.”    

     After receiving instructions from Lord Shiva, the Prachetas worshiped him with great respect and devotion. Then, after Lord Shiva’s departure, the princes entered the water, and while standing there for 10,000 years, they regularly recited the prayer that had been given to them.

     Meanwhile, as their father, Prachinabarhi, was performing various kinds of fruitive activities, the great sage Narada became compassionate, and then appeared before him to impart instructions about spiritual life.

After being properly received by Prachinabarhishat, Narada inquired, “My dear King, what do you hope to achieve by performing these fruitive activities? The chief aim of life is to get rid of all miseries and enjoy perfect happiness, but his cannot be attained by such fruitive endeavors.”

     The King replied, “O great soul, Narada, because my intelligence is entangled in fruitive activities, I do not know what is the ultimate goal of life. Therefore, kindly instruct me in pure knowledge so that I can get out of the entanglement of household life, wherein one takes wealth and women to be of prime importance.”

     Narada then said, “My dear King, by utilizing my mystic power I will show you the animals that you have mercilessly killed in the sacrificial arena. Look up into the sky and see how they are awaiting your death so that they can gain revenge by piercing your body with their iron horns. Those animals that are sacrificed properly can immediately be promoted to the human form of life, but when there are discrepancies, the performer of the sacrifice becomes liable for such punishment. Now, in order to instruct you, I will relate a very old history about King Puranjana, and so please try to hear me with great attention.”

     The story that was then narrated by Narada was actually nothing other than the life of King Prachinabarhishat, told in an allegorical way. The word puranjana literally means, “one who enjoys within a body”.

     Once, there lived a king of the Panchala country, named Puranjana, who was very famous because of his heroic activities. He had a friend named Avigyata (the unknown one, the Paramatma), whose activities could not be understood by anyone. With the desire to find a suitable place to live, King Puranjana travelled all over the world, and yet, he still could not find a residence to his liking. Although he had tried to find a place for fulfilling his unlimited desires for sense gratification, he finally became morose and disappointed because he experienced insufficiency everywhere.

     Then, once, while wandering, Puranjana came to a place called Bharata-varsha, on the southern side of the Himalayas. There, he saw a city having nine gates and containing all auspicious facilities (a human birth in India). Surrounding the city were walls (skin) and parks (hair), and within were towers (raised parts, such as the head and nose), canals (wrinkles and depressions), and houses whose domes were made of gold, silver and iron (the three modes of material nature). Within the houses, the floors were made of sapphire, crystal, diamonds, pearls, emeralds and rubies (desires for material enjoyment within the heart), and thus the city resembled Bhogavati, the capital of the Nagas (the heart is considered to be the capital of the body). Within the city there were also many nice assembly houses (the heart of the body, where the atma and Paramatma reside), restaurants, market places, resting places, streets (airs blowing within the body), and beautiful parks. 

        On the outskirts of the city was a nice lake, encircled by many beautiful trees and creepers. The humming of bees and singing of birds combined to make the whole atmosphere very pleasing. (Such lakes and gardens refer to those parts of the body that incite sexual impulses.) The branches of the trees received particles of water that were being carried by the spring air from waterfalls coming down from the icy mountain. (The waterfall represents the sexual mellow, the spring air represents Cupid. When they come in contact, one becomes agitated.)

In such a nice atmosphere, even the forest animals were nonviolent and non-envious, like great sages. (The serene atmosphere is compared to a peaceful family life, and the animals represent the children.) Above all other sounds could be heard the cooing of the cuckoos. (In family life, even the turmoil that is created by the wife and children appear to one just like the cooing of cuckoos.) Anyone who came to this nice park would be invited to take rest by the very pleasing atmosphere.

     While wandering here and there in that garden (the body), King Puranjana suddenly saw a very beautiful woman who was walking there, without any particular engagement. (In youth, when the sex impulse is awakened, a man searches after the opposite sex by the use of intelligence, either actively or in his imagination.) She was accompanied by ten servants (five knowledge acquiring and five working senses), and each of them was followed by hundreds of wives (desires of the senses).

The beautiful young woman was being protected on all sides by a five-hooded snake. (The vital force, which includes five kinds of air, is likened to a bodyguard, for without it, one could not live for a moment.) She appeared very anxious to find a suitable husband. (The woman represents intelligence, which cannot act without consciousness, the husband. she is described as very young, indicating that intelligence must be very fresh.) Her nose, teeth, and forehead were very lovely, as were her ears, which were adorned with dazzling earrings. (In material life, one utilizes the body of intelligence to enjoy the objects of sense gratification.) The girl’s waist and hips were exquisitely formed, and she wore a yellow sari with a golden sash. Due to shyness, she repeatedly tried to cover her well-rounded breasts with the end of her sari, and as she walked, her ankle-bells tinkled. (These descriptions express the mind’s joyfulness at seeing a beautiful young girl. The two breasts represent attachment and envy, which are but opposite sides of the same coin, and thus non-different.)

     The great hero, Puranjana (When one chooses to be a servant of the senses, he can become a great material hero. If one chooses to resist the attraction of beautiful women, thus becoming a controller of the senses, a gosvami, he can become a great spiritual hero.) was very attracted by the woman’s shyly smiling face, and his heart became pierced by the arrows of her lusty glances. 

     Being captivated, Puranjana could not resist addressing her as follows: “My dear lotus-eyed one, please tell me who you are, from where you have come, who is your father, and what is your purpose in coming here? (In the human form of life, one should utilize his intelligence to inquire about self-realization.) Who are these eleven strong bodyguards that accompany you, (the mind and the senses) and who are the women that are following them? Who is the snake that precedes you?”

“My dear beautiful girl, you appear to be exactly like the goddess of fortune, Lakshmi; the goddess of learning, Sarasvati; or Uma, the wife of Lord Shiva. And yet, on the other hand, you seem to be loitering in this forest as if in search of a husband.”

     “You appear to be the goddess of fortune, but because I do not see a lotus flower in your hand, I wonder where you may have thrown it. (Puranjana knew very well that the goddess of fortune cannot be enjoyed by anyone except Lord Vishnu.) Then again, it appears that you must be a woman of this planet, and not any of the above-mentioned goddesses, for your feet are seen to touch the ground. Still, just like the goddess of fortune, who increases the beauty of the Vaikuntha planets, you can enhance the beauty of my city by associating with me.”

      “You should know that I am a very famous, powerful, and heroic king, and I possess all kinds of opulence. (Because every woman wants such a husband, Puranjana introduced himself in this way.) By your glances you have greatly excited my mind. Your smile, which is full of shyness, but is at the same time very lusty, has agitated the cupid within me.”

“My dear girl, your face is so beautiful and your voice so sweet, but you are so shy that you do not look me directly in the eye. Please be merciful and raise your smiling face so that you can see me.”

     Puranjana spoke in this way because he was eager to see the complete feature of maya. Because he was so eager to touch and enjoy the young girl, he wooed her very aggressively, and as a result, she also became attracted to him.

Having thus become captivated, the woman accepted Puranjana’s request by smiling, and then she replied, “O best of human beings, I do not know who has begotten me, nor do I know the names or origin of my associates (this is the ignorance of the conditioned soul in material existence). I only know that I am existing in this place, and I have no idea about what will become of me hereafter. Indeed, I am so foolish that I do not even care to understand who has created this beautiful place for my residence. All I know is that these men and women are my friends, and the snake that always remains awake protects this city even during my sleep (even during sleep, the breathing process goes on).”

     “O great hero, it is my good fortune that you have somehow or other come here. I know that you have a great desire to satisfy your senses, and so I, and all of my friends will try our best to gratify you in all respects. (The woman represents intelligence, which is given by the Supreme Soul; and Puranjana, the conditioned soul, utilizes the direction of intelligence for gratifying his senses to the best of his ability.) I have arranged this city of nine gates so that you may live here for one hundred years and enjoy all kinds of sense gratification to your full satisfaction.”

     “How could I desire to unite with anyone other than you- especially those who are not self-centered householders (grihamedhi) and followers of the pravrti-marga (the path of increasing attachment)? Such persons are no better than plants (having no facility for sexual intercourse) or animals (being without knowledge of how to really enjoy sex-life). On the other hand, householders can attain success in terms of dharma, artha, and kama, which culminates in heavenly elevation. Indeed, the poor brahmacharis, vanaprasthas and sannyasis, as well as the lower forms of life, can hardly imagine the happiness that is enjoyed in household life, centered around sex.”

     “Household life is so glorious because it is not only pleasing to oneself, but also to the forefathers, the demigods, the great sages, and people in general.” (Householders may, in fact, fulfill all kinds of material obligations, but they usually neglect their real duty, which is to satisfy Mukunda, the Supreme Lord.)

“My dear hero, who would not accept a husband like you, who is so famous, magnanimous, handsome, and easily gotten? Who would not become attracted by your arms that are just like the bodies of serpents? I think that you travel all over the earth just to relieve the distress of husbandless women like ourselves, with your attractive smile and aggressive mercy.”

     Thereafter, King Puranjana and the woman, supporting one another with their mutual understanding, entered the city and continued to enjoy life for one hundred years. Numerous professional singers were engaged in describing the king’s glorious activities, and when it was too hot in the summer, he would enter a nice lake and enjoy the company of many women. Through two gates on the eastern side of the city, named Khadyota (“glowworm”, the weaker left eye) and Avirmukhi (“torchlight”, the stronger right eye) the king used to go to the city of Vibhrajita (clear vision, or form), accompanied by a friend named Dyuman (the sun).

     Through another two gates on the eastern side named Nalini and Nalini (nostrils), the king used to go to the city of Saurabha (aroma), accompanied by a friend named Avadhuta (air, or the sense of smell). Through the fifth gate on the eastern side named Mukhya (the mouth, which was the chief gate), the king used to visit two places named Bahudana (varieties of food) and Apana (speech), accompanied by two friends named Rasagya (the tongue, or sense of taste) and Vipana (the faculty of speech).

Through the southern gate named Pitrihu (the right ear, which is used for karma-kandiya activities), the king used to visit the city named Dakshina-panchala (higher planets such as the Pitriloka, or the scriptures that prescribe the pravritti-marga), accompanied by his friend Shrutadhara. Through the northern gate named Devahu (the left ear, which is used for taking spiritual initiation), the king used to go to Uttara-panchala (still higher planets and ultimately, Vaikuntha, or the scriptures that describe the nivritti-marga), along with his friend, Srutadhara.

     Through the gate on the western side named Asuri (the genitals, which are especially meant for the asuras), the king used to go to the city of Gramaka (the place where sex is indulged in to a great extent), accompanied by his friend Durmada (the faculty for procreation. dur means “sinful” and mada means “madness”. one who engages in sense gratification must accept this friend, Durmada). Through another gate on the western side, named Nirriti (the anus, or painful gate. A gluttonous person passes stool painfully, and an ordinary person leaves his body painfully through the rectum), the king used to go to the place known as Vaishas (hell), along with his friend Lubdhaka (greed).

     The king also used to associate with two blind men named Nirvak and Peshaskrit (the arms and legs, which cannot speak or see), and in their company he would go here and there to perform his various activities. Sometimes he would go to a private house, along with one of his chief servants, named Visuchina (meaning “going everywhere”, the mind), and in the association of his wife and children he would sometimes feel illusioned, sometimes materially satisfied, and sometimes actually happy (the results of ignorance, passion and goodness, respectively).

     Becoming entangled in fruitive activities, which arise from mental concoction, Puranjana came completely under the control of material intelligence, and thus he was cheated. Indeed, his entire life was spent in fulfilling the desires of his wife, the queen (material intelligence).

When the queen drank, Puranjana drank- and when she dined, he also ate along with her. When the queen sang, Puranjana also sang- and when she cried, he cried too. When the queen laughed, Puranjana would laugh- and when she walked, he walked behind her. When she stood still, he stood still- and when she would lay down in bed, he would lay down beside her. When the queen would hear something, he would hear the same thing- and when she saw something, he would also look at it. When the queen felt enjoyment, Puranjana also enjoyed- and when she lamented, the poor king had to follow her in her sorrow (the soul is situated in the mind, and the mind is conducted by intelligence. thus, the living entity follows his intelligence, just as the king followed his queen. only by taking help of spiritual intelligence can one come out of this entanglement).

     One day, King Puranjana took his great bow and quiver of unlimited arrows (attachment and hatred), and after encasing himself in golden armor (his great pride), he mounted upon his chariot (the body). Accompanied by his eleven military commanders, (the ten senses and the mind) King Puranjana departed for the forest called Pancha-prastha. (five destinations, or the five sense objects. Going to the forest represents how one engages in sinful life, being impelled by ignorance.)

Puranjana’s chariot was driven by five swift horses (the five knowledge-acquiring senses, which go on running, year after year, without making any progress), and had two wheels (religious and sinful life, which are two facilities for progressing to one’s destination) mounted upon one axle. The chariot had three flags (the three modes of nature), one rein (the mind), a driver (the Paramatma, or intelligence), one sitting place (the heart), two poles onto which the harness was fixed (the dualities, or lamentation and illusion, which are two causes of bondage), and seven coverings (skin, muscle, fat, blood, marrow, bone and semen). The king placed two explosive arrows upon the chariot (the two attitudes of false ego, “I” and “mine”), which moved in five different styles (the activities of the five working senses), had five obstacles placed before it (the five airs within the body), and had golden decorations (indicating that Puranjana was highly influenced by the mode of passion).

This describes how the living entity is caged within the material body and is thus conducted by the three modes of material nature. Narada wanted to prove to King Prachinabarhishat that, although he was supposed to be a very religious man, he was actually under the influence of ignorance, especially in the matter of performing animal sacrifices.

     Normally, it was almost impossible for King Puranjana to give up the association of his queen for even a moment, but when he became inspired to go hunting, he left for the forest without even caring for her (in other words, Puranjana went woman-hunting). Coming under the influence of demoniac propensities, due to excessive pride and passion, Puranjana’s heart became very hard and merciless, and thus, with his sharp arrows, he began killing many innocent animals without consideration.

     Of course, kshatriyas are allowed to kill some animals and then eat their flesh, after offering it in sacrifice. However, it is understood that such regulation is actually meant to curb the extravagant violence of foolish men in the modes of passion and ignorance. When people who were merciful by nature saw how King Puranjana was causing unnecessary pain by killing animals unrestrictedly, they became very unhappy.

Finally, after killing innumerable rabbits, boar, buffalo, black deer, porcupines and other animals, King Puranjana became very fatigued, thirsty and hungry, and so he decided to return to his palace (when a person comes to his senses, and understands that he is engaging in sinful activities, he returns to his good conscience). 

     After coming home, Puranjana bathed, ate a nice dinner and then rested. (After becoming tired of sinful life, one should retire from it and purify himself by accepting a bona-fide spiritual master and hearing from him.) Thereafter, the king dressed very nicely and decorated himself with ornaments and garlands and smeared Sandalwood paste over his body (this represents adorning oneself with knowledge of religion and the self). Having become completely refreshed, Puranjana began to look for his queen (his original consciousness, Krishna consciousness).

Actually, after having eaten and rested, instead of becoming elevated to a higher consciousness, King Puranjana once again became captivated by Cupid. Thus, he searched for his wife, who had kept him satisfied in household life. (Sometimes an initiated devotee, in the name of prasada, eats voraciously and then falls down due to becoming attracted by Cupid.)

     Becoming very anxious, the king inquired from the household ladies, “My dear beautiful women, are you and your mistress all very happy like before, or not? (After becoming refreshed by the association of devotees, one consults his mind as to how he can return to his original, steady consciousness.) I do not understand why all of my household paraphernalia does not attract me like before. It seems that if there is neither a mother nor a devoted wife at home, it becomes like a chariot without wheels. Where is the fool who would sit upon such a useless chariot? Please tell me where I can find that beautiful woman who always saved me when I was drowning in the ocean of danger by giving me good intelligence at every step (a good wife enables one to keep his good intelligence and thus avoid the dangerous conditions of material existence).”

     The palace women replied, “O master of the citizens, kindly look- your wife is lying down on the bare ground, and we cannot understand why.”

     When Puranjana saw how his queen was lying upon the ground like a mendicant, he became very bewildered in mind (He repented for having neglected his good intelligence so that he could engage in sinful activities).  Being very aggrieved, he tried his best to pacify her with pleasing words. Surprisingly, she did not display any symptoms of anger, which is the natural characteristic of a woman in love when she is neglected. Being very expert in flattery, however, King Puranjana remained undaunted, and continued to pacify his wife, step by step.

     First of all he touched her feet, and then he embraced her warmly. Finally, after seating her upon his lap, he said, (After genuinely regretting one’s former sinful life, one must raise himself to the platform of Krishna consciousness by touching the feet of the guru and then pleasing him with the execution of devotional service.)  “My dear beautiful wife, when a master accepts a servant, but does not punish him for his offenses, that servant must be considered as most unfortunate. When chastised by his master, the servant should take it as great mercy, and therefore not become angry.” (An effeminate husband, being attracted by the external beauty of his wife, tries to become her most obedient servant.)

     “My dear wife, kindly give up your anger and be merciful by smiling upon me with loving attachment. When I see your beautiful, smiling face and hear your sweet talk, I become very attracted and obliged to you. (Puranjana is trying to revive his wife’s original beauty, just as one tries to revive his original Krishna consciousness, which is very beautiful.) If someone has offended you, then I am prepared to punish him, provided that he is not a brahmana or a Vaishnava.”

“My dear wife, I have never seen your face without tilak or cosmetics, nor have I seen you so morose and lusterless. (When one’s consciousness is not decorated with thoughts of Krishna, it becomes morose and without luster.) Due to my sinful desires, I went to the forest without your permission, and thus I have certainly offended you. Now, please consider me to be your most intimate subordinate, and become pleased with me. I am very much bereaved, and due to being pierced by Cupid’s arrows, I feel very lusty. Where is the beautiful woman who would give up her lusty husband and refuse to unite with him?”

     After thus bewildering her husband and bringing him under control, the queen bathed, dressed herself very nicely, ate her meal, and then returned to him. Upon seeing her beautifully decorated face, King Puranjana very respectfully welcomed his queen, and in return, she fondly embraced him.

Thereafter, in a secluded place, the queen gave King Puranjana full satisfaction by enjoying sex-life with him to his heart’s content. (When one’s intelligence is properly utilized, the intellect and the intelligent person enjoy each other with great satisfaction.) Being captivated by his beautiful wife, Puranjana lost all good sense, and thus he forgot how the days and nights were passing in such a way that his duration of life was being reduced without profit. (After hunting in the forest, which represents sinful life, King Puranjana returned home to a religious household life, whereby one can advance towards Krishna consciousness. However, if in household life one simply becomes attracted by sex, then he sinks down deeper into material life.)

     Becoming increasingly overwhelmed by illusion, Puranjana remained always lying down with his head on the pillow of his wife’s arms. Due to considering a woman to be his very life and soul, he could not understand the meaning of self-realization. (A woman is called pramada, which means “enlivening” as well as “maddening”. In other words, a beautiful wife can be enlivening, as well as the cause of degradation.)

His heart filled with lust, King Puranjana begot 1100 sons and 110 daughters in the womb of his wife, Puranjani, and in this way, his youthful life passed as if it had been just a moment. Then, to increase his dynasty, Puranjana got all of his children married, so that gradually the whole city of Panchala became overcrowded with his grandchildren. (The city represents Puranjana’s body, and his sons and grandsons represent the reactions of his pious and impious actions. In other words, when the living entity is inclined toward sexual activity, he becomes involved in hundreds and thousands of actions and reactions.) As they grew up, the sons and grandsons gradually became plunderers of King Puranjana’s wealth and possessions, to which he had become very attached.

     Narada continued, “My dear King Prachinabarhishat, like you, King Puranjana became implicated in so many material desires. As a result, he worshiped various demigods by the performance of sacrifices that were all ghastly due to the necessity of killing animals.”

     Being a Vaishnava, Narada wanted to stop the king’s animal killing in the name of performing sacrifices. Such rituals are in the mode of ignorance and not transcendental religion, and so by performing them, one forgets the goal of life.

     Finally, while remaining attached to fruitive activities, as well as to his family, King Puranjana arrived at the stage of life that is not very much liked by those who are overly attached to material things. There is a Gandharva king named Chandavega, (chandavega means “very swiftly passing” and thus represents time) who employs 360 powerful soldiers (days) and as many Gandharvis (nights) to constantly plunder one’s duration of life and attendant facility for sense enjoyment.

     When Chandavega and his followers began attacking Puranjana’s city, the five-hooded snake defended it. Being the superintendent and protector of the city, the serpent fought with the 720 Gandharvas single-handedly, and so gradually he became very weak. When King Puranjana and his friends and citizens (the bodily limbs) saw this, they became overwhelmed with anxiety.

      Meanwhile, the daughter of time, named Jara, was searching for a husband throughout the three worlds. Although no one would agree to accept her, she was anxious to marry anyone.

Narada informed King Prachinabarhishat, “Once, as I was coming to the earth from Brahmaloka, Jara happened to meet me. Knowing that I am an avowed brahmachari, she became very lusty and begged me to accept her. But, when I refused her request, Jara very angrily cursed me, saying, ‘You will never be able to stay in one place for a long time.’ Then, at my suggestion, she approached the Yavana king, Bhaya, and requested him to become her husband.”

      After meeting Bhaya, Jara said, “My dear hero, you are the best of the untouchables. I am in love with you and so I want you to accept me as your wife. One who does not give or accept charity according to the injunctions of shastra is certainly foolish and will have to lament later on. Here I am present before you and ready to serve you. Please be merciful and accept me, for it is the duty of a gentleman to be compassionate towards one who is distressed.”

     The king of the Yavanas smiled, and after much consideration, he replied, “On behalf of providence, I will engage you in imperceptively attacking all people, along with my soldiers. Here is my elder brother, Prajvara,  (the 107 degree faranheit fever sent by Lord Vishnu) whom you may accept as your husband.”

     To make the best use of a bad bargain, the Yavana king wanted to serve Lord Krishna by introducing Jara (Kalakanya) everywhere. In old age, when one is attacked by invalidity, he becomes afraid of death, and thus Jara serves as an impetus for spiritual life.

Thereafter, Yavana-raja (Bhaya, or the lord of death, Yamaraja) began traveling all over the world along with Prajvara, Kalakanya, and his soldiers, and when they came to Puranjana’s city, they attacked it very forcefully. Due to Puranjana’s having lived a life of sense gratification, the old serpent that protected his city had become very weak. When Kalakanya attacked the city, she soon rendered the citizens useless for all purposes, (in old age, the bodily limbs become useless) and the soldiers of Yavana-raja, by entering the nine gates, gave her support (in old age, diseases manifest at the nine gates).

     Due to being embraced by Kalakanya, King Puranjana gradually lost all of his beauty, intelligence, and opulence, and thus the Gandharvas and Yavanas easily conquered him. While observing how everything in his city was becoming scattered, Puranjana also found that his wife, sons, grandsons, servants and ministers had become cold and indifferent, so that they no longer hesitated to oppose him. (During old age, the senses and organs become weak, so that instead of being under a person’s control, they oppose him. We want to use our senses for sense gratification, and they must receive strength from the body. In the same way, one keeps family members for enjoyment, while they also demand enjoyment from the head of the family. When the old man cannot supply sufficient money, the family members turn against him.)

     This certainly made King Puranjana very anxious, but still, he could not counteract the situation, being overwhelmed by Kalakanya. Due to her influence, the objects of sense enjoyment had become tasteless, although Puranjana’s lusty desires continued to bind him with affection for his wife and children. In this way, King Puranjana became very poor-hearted and completely devoid of an understanding of life’s real aim.

Finally, although he had no desire to do so, King Puranjana was forced to leave his city because it had been completely smashed by Kalakanya. (Even a worm in the stool does not want to give up its position. Especially if one has no information about the next life, or the kingdom of God, he will not want to give up his body, even after it has become old and useless)   

     At this time, Prajvara set fire to Puranjana’s city, to please his younger brother. (At the time of death, the temperature is raised to 107 degrees Faranheit.) When King Puranjana saw how all of his family members, servants, and citizens were being consumed in the conflagration, he became very morose. The city’s police superintendent, the serpent, (the subtle body and life-air) also became very aggrieved to see how his residence had been set ablaze, and due to the severe heat he wanted to leave the city, just as a snake living within the cavity of a tree hopes to escape when there is a forest fire. However, when the serpent attempted to leave the city, he was checked by the enemy, and so he began to cry out loudly in anguish. (At the time of death, the gates of the body become choked up and so one cannot clearly express his difficulties to others.)

     King Puranjana was overly attached to his family, due to having the false conception of “I” and “mine”, so that at the time of separation, he became very sorry. In great anxiety he thought, “My poor wife is encumbered by so many children. After I leave this body, who will take care of her, and how will she maintain her dependents?”

     Puranjana began thinking of his past dealings with his wife- how she would never eat nor bathe until he had done so, how much attached she had been to him, and how she used to pout when he would sometimes chastise her. He thought of how she used to give him good advice, and how she became very aggrieved when he was away from home. As part and parcel of Lord Krishna, Puranjana should have been thinking of Him. Instead, he was absorbed in thinking of a woman, and then, as he lamented over the fate of his wife and children, Yavana-raja came there to arrest him.

     As the Yavanas were binding Puranjana like an animal, to take him away to the place of judgement, his followers became very aggrieved, and in that state, they were also forced to accompany their master. (When the Yamadutas take away a living entity, the life-air, senses, desires, and the reactions to his past activities all follow him.)

As soon as the king and his subjects were out of the city, it immediately became dismantled and smashed to dust. And yet, even as he was being dragged away by the Yavana king, due to ignorance, Puranjana could not remember his friend and well-wisher, the Supreme Soul. Taking advantage of the cruel Puranjana’s helpless condition, all of the animals that he had killed in sacrifice came and pierced him with their horns, and thus it felt to him as if he were being hacked to pieces with axes.

     As a result of having quit his body while remembering his wife, Puranjana took his next birth as the very beautiful daughter of the king of Vidarbha (he was well-placed due to his past pious work). After coming of age, it was arranged that Vaidarbhi would marry King Malayadhvaja of the Pandu country. (The king’s name indicates that he was a great devotee who stood as firm as the Malaya Hill. With his devotional flag unfurled, he stood fast in order to conquer all other spiritual conceptions and thus convert others to become as fixed-up in devotional service as himself.)

     King Malayadhvaja begot a black-eyed (signifying that her eyes were always fixed upon Krishna) daughter through his wife, Vaidarbhi, as well as seven sons (representing the seven processes of devotional service in practice) who later on became kings of Dravida-desha. The sons of Malayadhvaja gave birth to many thousands of children, and they ruled the earth up until the end of Manu’s life and even beyond.

The great sage Agastya (meaning “the mind, which controls the senses”) married Malayadhvaja’s daughter,  (who represents the path of devotional service) and their son was named Dridhachyuta, (by great determination, one never falls down) who later on begot a son named Idhmavaha. (one who carries wood for his spiritual master. In other words, when devotional service is performed with controlled senses, one becomes fixed in his determination to satisfy the spiritual master.)

     After some time, King Malayadhvaja divided the kingdom amongst his sons, and then, so that he could worship Lord Krishna with full attention, he retired to a secluded place known as Kulachala. (When his disciples are grown-up and able to preach, the spiritual master should divide the world amongst them and then retire so that he can write books and execute nirjana-bhajana, the silent worship of the Lord.) In spite of having children, Queen Vaidarbhi also gave up the comforts of home-life and followed her husband to the forest. (Similarly, some of the advanced disciples should follow the spiritual master, to serve him as he executes nirjana-bhajana.)

     By bathing in the Rivers Chandravasa, Tamraparni, and Vatodaka, which flowed through the Kulachala province, Malayadhvaja became purified externally and internally. Because of performing austerities while eating only bulbs, seeds, leaves, flowers, roots, fruit and grass, the king eventually became very skinny. But at the same time he conquered over the dualities of heat and cold, and happiness and distress, as well as the pangs of hunger, thirst, and the onslaughts of nature.

     In this way, Malayadhvaja controlled his life-air and senses, so that he could fix his mind in meditation upon the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Finally, after remaining at Kulachala for one hundred celestial years (36,000 solar years), the king attained the perfectional stage of life, pure devotional service. Indeed, Malayadhvaja could observe the Supreme Soul sitting by his side, and due to being fully instructed by the Lord, he could understand everything from all angles of vision. In full Krishna consciousness, he completely ceased from engaging in all kinds of activities based on the concept of separate interest from the Lord, for he knew them to be unnecessary and illusory.

     Queen Vaidarbhi accepted her husband as her everything, and thus she gave up all personal comforts to engage in his service and follow his path of austerity. (Malayadhvaja represents the guru, and Vaidarbhi the disciple) She wore old, torn clothes, her uncombed hair became matted, and due to her austerity, she became very lean. Although she always remained near to her husband, she was silent and unagitated, like a flame in a windless place. Indeed, as her husband remained seated in a fixed posture, she continually served him, until at last she could ascertain that he had passed away from his body. 

     While massaging her husband’s legs, she could feel that his feet were no longer warm, and thus she could understand that he had already gone away. At first, Vaidarbhi felt great anxiety upon being left alone.       

While shedding incessant tears, (a disciple should cry like this upon the disappearance of his spiritual master) she cried out, “O best of kings, please get up! Just see how the world has become infested with rogues. The inhabitants of the earth are very much afraid, and it is your duty to protect them.” (An acharya establishes the real principles of religion, but upon his disappearance, the rogues and non-devotees, guised as so-called svamis and yogis, take advantage of the situation to introduce unauthorized principles. Therefore, the perfect disciple must relieve the situation by sincerely following the instructions of his spiritual master.)

     Finally, after getting up from the feet of her dead husband, the most obedient wife prepared a funeral pyre and then placed the lifeless body upon it. While lamenting grievously, she prepared herself to enter the blazing fire and thus perish along with her husband. (A devotee’s wife must be prepared to act in this way. Similarly, a devoted disciple would rather die along with his spiritual master than fail to execute his mission.)

     At that time, a brahmana who had been an old friend of King Puranjana, came there and began to pacify the queen with sweet words. (The brahmana represents the Paramatma, who gives the living entity the chance for material enjoyment. Also, however, when there is the opportunity, the Paramatma gives good council by advising him to give up such illusory happiness and turn to Him. The Lord’s appearance as a brahmana indicates that unless one is very highly elevated, he cannot see the Supreme Personality of Godhead directly. Still, one’s serious resolution to follow the mission of the spiritual master is tantamount to seeing the Supreme Lord. In other words, he meets the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the spiritual master’s instructions.)

     The brahmana inquired, “Whose wife or daughter are you? Who is the man lying here? It appears that you are lamenting for this dead body.”  (The woman replied that this was her spiritual master, and that in his absence she was perplexed about what to do. In such circumstances, if a devotee is sincere and purified, due to having followed the directions of the spiritual master, the Paramatma certainly gives him direct instruction from within his heart.)

     “Don’t you recognize Me? I am your eternal friend, Whom you consulted many times in the past. Even if you do not recognize Me, can’t you remember that you used to have a very intimate friend? Unfortunately, you gave up My company so that you could accept the position of an enjoyer in this material world.”

“My dear gentle friend, you and I are like two swans who live together in the Manasa Lake, or the same heart. And yet, although we have been living together for so many thousands of years, we are still far away from our original home. Since you have left Me, you have become more and more materialistic while traveling in different forms throughout this material world, which was created by some woman.” (the external nature)

     “Within the city of the material body there are five gardens (the five objects of sense enjoyment), nine gates, one protector (the life-air, which passes through the nine gates), three apartments (the chief ingredients- earth, water and fire. These combine together to form flesh, bone, blood, etc. which can be likened to various apartments within the body), six families (the mind and the five senses), five stores (the five working senses), five material elements, and one woman who is the lord of the house (intelligence).”

     “My dear friend, when you enter such a body, along with the woman of material desires, you become overly absorbed in sense enjoyment and thus forget your spiritual identity. Actually, you are not the daughter of the Vidarbha king, nor is this man your husband, nor were you the husband of Puranjani.

Being captivated by the body, you sometimes think of yourself as a man, sometimes as a woman, and sometimes as a eunuch. This is all due to identifying with the body, which is a creation of My illusory energy. Actually, both you and I have pure, spiritual identities, and thus there is no qualitative difference between us. A person sees his reflection in a mirror to be one with himself, whereas others see two distinct bodies. Similarly, when the living being is materially conditioned, he sees a difference between himself and God.”

     Narada then informed King Prachinabarhi, “I narrated this story of Puranjana to you for the purpose of self-realization, and it is meant for indirectly understanding the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” (The factual method of understanding the Supreme Personality of Godhead is bhakti-yoga, which entails hearing directly about the pastimes of the Lord. For persons who have not developed an interest in, or cannot understand the Lord’s pastimes, these stories of the Puranas, some of which are real historical facts and some of which are fables, are easily understandable. Whether historical or allegorical, however, it is the purport of these stories that should be understood, and by doing so, the conditioned soul engages in devotional service)

     King Prachinabarhi replied, “My dear lord, I could not fully appreciate the purport of the allegorical story of King Puranjana. For persons like us, who are overly attached to fruitive activities, it is very difficult to realize the meaning of such instructions.”

     Narada then explained, “You should understand that Puranjana (the living entity) transmigrates according to his own work, to different types of bodies that may be one-legged (ghosts), two-legged, three-legged (old men, who walk with the help of a cane), four-legged, many-legged or legless (serpents). The unknown friend of the living entity is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When the conditioned soul wants to enjoy the modes of nature in their entirety (when he wishes to enjoy the gratification of all the senses) he prefers the human or demigod form.

     The word pramada refers to material intelligence (ignorance) because when one takes shelter of such intelligence, he identifies himself with the material body and then enjoys and suffers a life of sense gratification. The ten senses are male friends of Puranjani, and their engagements are considered to be their girl friends. The serpent is the life-air, acting within the five circulatory processes. (The living entity is merged within the life-air, which functions in a five-fold way for circulation.)

The eleventh commander (the mind) is the leader of the senses (In conditional existence, one gives power of attorney to his mind, just as one may let the affairs of his estate be executed by a manager. According to training, the mind can be one’s friend or enemy. If one gets a good manager, his estate will be maintained nicely, but if the manager is a thief, everything will be spoiled.) and the Panchala kingdom is the atmosphere in which the five sense objects are enjoyed. Within the Panchala kingdom is the city of the body, having nine gates.”

     Narada continued by explaining to King Prachinabarhi how the living entity goes through the nine gates so that he can enjoy the external, material world and how the embodied condition of the living entity is compared to a chariot. Narada then described how Kalakanya, the sister of death  (who represents old age) attacks the living entity when his end is approaching, accompanied by soldiers that create various types of disturbances to the body and mind.

     Narada concluded, “By misusing his minute independence, when the living entity forgets his supreme master, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he comes under the influence of the modes of material nature. Due to identifying with the body, he acts fruitively under the direction of the modes, and as a result, he is put into various conditions of life, one after another. In this way, he is just like a hungry dog that goes from door to door, begging for food. According to his destiny, he sometimes is beaten and driven out, and at other times he gets a little food to eat. The living entity, under the influence of his desires, wanders in different species and thus sometimes finds himself in a high position, and sometimes in a very low one.”

      “In the hard struggle for existence, one may try to employ various means to counteract life’s miseries, but these simply bring on more suffering. It is like a man who shifts the burden that he is carrying upon his head onto his shoulder, in the hopes of gaining relief. This does not at all relieve the burden but simply shifts it from one place to another.”

“When we have a troublesome dream, we can only counteract it by awakening. In the same way, we can be relieved of our ignorant condition of material existence only if we awaken to Krishna consciousness, by surrendering unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead and engaging in His devotional service. Indeed, the faithful devotee who cultivates Krishna consciousness while always hearing the glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, very soon becomes eligible to see the Supreme Lord, face to face.”

     “My dear King Barhisman, you should not think that the fruitive rituals that are mentioned in the Vedas are life’s ultimate goal. The surface of the earth has become covered with kusha grass due to your sacrificial performances, and thus you have become very proud of killing so many animals. Due to your foolishness, you cannot understand that devotional service is the only means of satisfying the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Supreme Lord is the supreme controller and the best friend of everyone. Therefore, one should take shelter of His lotus feet, to make his life auspicious.”

     “O great King, I have explained to you everything in regards to your inquiries. Now, please hear from me another allegorical narration, which is accepted by saintly persons and is very confidential.” (It is meant to induce the king to give up his materialistic family life.)

“My dear King, there was once a deer who was engaged in eating grass within a very nice flower garden, along with his wife. Since the deer was thoroughly engrossed in eating and hearing the sweet singing of the bumblebees, he was unaware of the tiger (time) standing before him, and the hunter (death) with his bow and arrow who was approaching from behind.” (A materialistic man, although threatened from all sides, enjoys in the garden of family life, and the talks of his children are like the sweet humming of bumblebees.)

     “O Prachinabarhi, a woman is very attractive in the beginning, but later on she becomes the opposite, just like a flower that is beautiful when picked but detestable after it withers. In the association of a woman one becomes entangled with lusty desires and thus enjoys sex-life just as one relishes the aroma of a flower. By gratifying his tongue and genitals to the best of his ability, the illusioned householder remains satisfied within the circle of his family. He feels great pleasure in hearing the talks of his wife and children, and while remaining absorbed in such happiness, he forgets how time stands before him, imperceptibly taking away his life span of passing days and nights. In such forgetfulness he also does not care about the superintendent of death, who is trying to kill him from behind.”

     “My dear King, you should try to understand that you are in a precarious position, just like this, and are being threatened on all sides. You should give up the aspiration of becoming elevated to the heavenly planets by means of fruitive activities. Give up your materialistic household life, which is simply based on luxurious eating and sex pleasure, and take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”

     King Prachinabarhi replied, “My dear brahmana, I have heard all that you have said with rapt attention. After carefully considering the subject matter, I have concluded that the acharyas who had engaged me in fruitive activities were ignorant of this confidential knowledge of Krishna consciousness. Otherwise, why did they not explain it to me?”

“All the doubts that I had regarding the Vedic conclusion have been dispelled by you, and I can now understand that even great sages are generally bewildered about the real purpose of life. There is, however, one more question that I would like to put before you. It is said that the results of all that one does in this life are enjoyed in the next. And yet, at the time of death, the present body is given up and a new one is accepted. How is it possible for one to suffer or enjoy the reactions of work that had been performed in a different body?”

     Narada said, “The gross body is only an instrumental outer covering that is utilized to fulfill the activities of the subtle body within. The subtle body, consisting of mind, intelligence and ego is the real root of the gross body. After the destruction of the present gross body, the subtle body continues to exist, and by its activities, another situation is created for the conditioned soul to suffer or enjoy in his next gross body.”

     “We practically experience how one gives up the use of his gross body while dreaming, and then acts in a different body. Thus, it can be concluded that it is through the medium of the subtle body that one suffers and enjoys. According to the karma (aggregate of fruitive activities conducted to make this body comfortable or uncomfortable) of this life, one is awarded his next gross body, and the Paramatma reminds him of the unfinished plans of his last life, which he forgot. One can judge the mentality or consciousness of a person by viewing his external activities. In the same way, by seeing the mental condition or consciousness of a person, one can understand his position in the previous life, and also what awaits him in the future.”

     “The mind is the storehouse for all kinds of thoughts and experiences from previous lives. Because of this, one may suddenly think of, or dream about something that he has no experience of in this life. This is the proof that it was experienced in a past life, for there is no possibility of concocting anything mentally unless one has perceived it in either this or previous lives.”

“Of course, the mind can combine separate occurrences to create something that has never before been experienced. For example, one may have seen a mountain, and separately, one may have seen gold. Then, at night, under the influence of illusion, the mind can create the image of a golden mountain in one’s dream. As long as the living entity acts for sense gratification, he must remain entrapped within the cycle of repeated birth and death. Therefore, an enlightened person should always engage himself in the devotional service of the Supreme Lord so that he can get out of the bondage of gross and subtle material coverings.”

     After instructing Prachinabarhi, Narada extended an invitation to the king, and then departed for Siddhaloka, which is a satellite in the planetary system of Brahmaloka. King Prachinabarhi then called for his ministers and instructed them how the kingdom should be handed over to his sons, the Prachetas, upon their return from performing austerities. Having thus become freed from all responsibilities, King Prachinabarhi left home so that he could perform austerities at the holy place, Kapilashram (Ganga-sagara). After having attained perfection in devotional service, King Prachinabarhi gave up his material body, and went back home, back to Godhead.

     Maitreya then told Vidura, “Anyone who hears this narration, as described by the great sage, Narada, or who relates it to others, will become liberated from the bodily conception of life. Due to becoming liberated from all material bondage, he will no longer have to wander within the various conditions of this material world.”

     Meanwhile, as they underwent austerities within the water, the Prachetas were able to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Vishnu, by chanting the mantras that had been given to them by Lord Shiva. At the end of 10,000 years, the Supreme Lord appeared before them, to reward their long engagement in the execution of their vows. Upon seeing the very pleasing form of Lord Vishnu, the Prachetas felt extremely satisfied at heart, so that their hard labor of austerity became fully mitigated.

     While riding on the shoulders of Garuda, the Lord appeared to be like a cloud resting upon the summit of Mount Meru. The Lord’s face appeared very beautiful, and upon His head was a dazzling helmet. He held various weapons in His eight hands, and His bodily effulgence dissipated all of the darkness within the universe. Garuda appeared like an inhabitant of the Kinnara planet (whose bodily features resemble his) and by flapping his wings, he vibrated the Vedic hymns in glorification of the Lord.

     Being surrounded by all of the demigods, great sages, and other associates, the Lord glanced mercifully at the Prachetas. Then, He spoke to them in a voice that was as deep as thunder: “My dear princes, I am very happy to see how you are all engaged in one occupation, devotional service, and that you are cooperating in a very friendly relationship. I am so pleased with your mutual friendship that I wish you all good fortune. Furthermore, I request that you ask Me for a benediction. Those persons who remember you every evening shall become just as friendly towards, not only their own brothers, but all other living entities as well. In addition, those who offer Me the prayers that were composed by Lord Shiva, every morning and evening, will receive My benediction so that they can fulfill their desires, and at the same time attain good intelligence.”

     “Because you have sincerely accepted your father’s orders and executed them very faithfully, your attractive qualities will be celebrated throughout the world. In the future, you will have a very nice son, who will not be inferior to Lord Brahma in any respect. He will become very famous, and his descendents will fill the entire three worlds.”

     “O sons of King Prachinabarhishat, the Apsara named Pramlocha kept her lotus-eyed daughter, by the sage Kandu, in the care of the trees and then returned to heaven. Thereafter, when the child began to cry due to hunger, the lord of the forest, Soma compassionately put his finger in her mouth. In this way, the nectar that came from the moon-god’s finger nourished the child, and as a result, she has become very beautiful and endowed with all good qualities. Because you are all very obedient to My commands, I wish that you marry this girl and then beget progeny through her as ordered by your father. You brothers are all of the same nature, and since this girl is also just like you, she will be very dedicated to you.”

     “My dear princes, by My mercy you will be able to enjoy all of the facilities of this world, without hindrance or diminution of strength, for one million celestial years. Thereafter, you will develop pure devotional service unto Me and thus become freed from all material contamination. At that time, you will be able to return to My supreme abode in the spiritual sky.”

     After hearing this, the Prachetas began to offer their prayers with voices that faltered due to transcendental ecstasy:  “Dear Lord, we beg to offer our obeisances unto You, for by Your presence here, we feel that we have become fully purified. When one fixes his mind upon Your Lordship, the world of duality, although a place for material enjoyment, appears to be meaningless due to its impermanence.”

“My dear Lord, when, out of Your natural compassion, You think of Your devotee, simply by that act all of his desires become fulfilled. You are situated in everyone’s heart, no matter how insignificant a living entity may be, and thus You know all of his desires.”

       “O Lord, although we are certainly very insignificant, why should You not know of our desires?”

“O Lord of the universe, we are satisfied simply by knowing You as the ultimate goal of our lives, and we pray that You will also be satisfied with us. This is the only benediction that we desire. When a bee approaches a heavenly Parijata tree, it certainly does not leave it, because there is no reason for it to do so. Similarly, now that we have seen Your lotus feet and have taken shelter of them, what further benediction could we desire to ask for? Our only request is that as long as we have to remain wandering from one body to another, and from one planet to another within this material world, may we have the association of persons who are always engaged in discussing Your pastimes.”

     “Just a moment’s association with a pure devotee is unlimitedly more valuable than heavenly elevation or liberation by merging into the Brahman effulgence, and such a great personality can purify even the holy places of pilgrimage. As soon as there is discussion about the topics of the transcendental world, the hearers forget the miseries of material existence and their natural enmity towards one another. Indeed, You are personally present where the unalloyed devotees are engaged in hearing and chanting about Your glories.”

“Dear Lord, we know that it is due to just a moment’s association with Lord Shiva that we became fortunate enough to see You. And yet, even such exalted personalities as Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva cannot fully understand Your glories, and so they offer their prayers unto You according to their capacities. In the same way, although we are far inferior, we have also attempted to offer our prayers unto You.”

     The Supreme Lord replied, “May whatever you have prayed for be fulfilled” and then He departed, although the princes were unhappy to accept such separation, for they had not seen the Lord to their full satisfaction.

Thereafter, when the Prachetas emerged from the water, they saw how the trees had grown very tall, as if blocking the path to heaven. Because of the king’s absence, agriculture had been practically neglected, and so trees had covered the entire surface of the earth. Upon seeing this, the Prachetas became very angry, and like Lord Shiva at the time of devastation, they began to emit fire and wind from their mouths, to make the earth treeless. 

     When Lord Brahma saw how the trees were being reduced to ashes, he immediately approached the sons of King Barhisman and pacified them with words full of logic and reason. Then, at the advice of Lord Brahma, the remaining trees fearfully delivered their daughter, Marisha, to the Prachetas and the princes accepted her as their wife.

Later on, from the womb of Marisha, Brahma’s son, Daksha, although originally a brahmana, was born as a kshatriya, as a result of his having offended Lord Shiva. Daksha’s bodily luster surpassed all others, and since he was very expert in performing fruitive activities, Lord Brahma once again appointed him as a prajapati so that he could generate living entities during the Chakshusha manvantara. The Daksha-yagya had taken place during the Svayambhuva-manvantara. Thereafter, during the Raivata-manvantara (the fifth), Daksha had undergone severe austerities, so that at the beginning of the Chakshusha-manvantara (the sixth), he regained his former opulence by the mercy of Lord Shiva.

     After returning home, the Prachetas ruled the earth for thousands of celestial years. Finally, however, they remembered the blessings of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and so they decided to leave home, after putting Daksha in charge of their wife. The ten Prachetas then went to the seashore, where the liberated sage, Jajali, was residing, and there, they practiced mystic yoga as a means of becoming perfect in Krishna consciousness. At that time, Narada came to see the Prachetas, and as soon as they saw the great sage, they got up from their sitting postures to offer him obeisances.

     After worshiping Narada and seeing that he was properly seated, the Prachetas addressed him as follows:  “O great brahmana, it is our good fortune that we are able to see you here. Just as the sun relieves people from the fear of night by his traveling, you drive away the fears of those who meet you in the course of your wanderings.”

“O spiritual master, due to having become overly attached to family life, we have almost forgotten the instructions that we had received from Lord Shiva and Lord Vishnu. Therefore, kindly enlighten us once again with the torchlight of transcendental knowledge, so that we may cross over the darkness of material existence.”

     Narada replied, “A civilized human being has three kinds of births- by seminal discharge (sukra), by initiation from the spiritual master (savitra), and by the brahminical initiation whereby he gets the chance to worship Lord Vishnu (yagyika). In spite of having received these opportunities, if one does not actually engage in the service of the Lord, his activities are to be considered useless. Without devotional service, or satisfying the Supreme Lord, what is the meaning of austerity, cultivation of knowledge, or sensual prowess? All types of transcendental practices are useless if they do not help one to ultimately realize the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the real goal of self-realization.”

     “As pouring water on the root of a tree nourishes the trunk, branches, twigs and leaves- and as supplying food to the stomach gives strength to all of the bodily limbs and senses- so simply by worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead, all of the demigods, who are His parts and parcels, become satisfied. Just as the sun creates rain-giving clouds and then once again evaporates the water during the summer- and as the bodies of all living entities are made from the earth and then later on return to dust, so everything emanates from the Supreme Personality of Godhead and then again enters Him in due course of time. Just as sunshine is non-different from the sun, this cosmic manifestation is non-different from the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”

     “During wakefulness, the senses are seen to work as parts and parcels of the whole body, whereas during sleep they seem to be unmanifest. Similarly, the whole manifest and non-manifest creation is simultaneously one with and different from the Supreme Lord. In the sky, we sometimes see illumination, sometimes clouds, and sometimes darkness. In the same way, the three modes of material nature variously manifest themselves as energies of the Supreme Absolute, but He remains unchanging.”

     “My dear princes, just engage yourselves in the devotional service of the Supreme Lord. By showing mercy to all living entities, by remaining satisfied, and by controlling your senses you can very easily satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Janardana.”

     After instructing the Prachetas, Narada Muni departed for Brahmaloka, and by hearing from the great sage, the sons of King Barhishat became firmly attached to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Ultimately, while absorbing themselves in meditation upon the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord, the Prachetas attained life’s ultimate destination by going back home, back to Godhead.

     Shukadeva Gosvami said to Maharaja Parikshit, “O best of Kings, I have now finished describing the descendents of Svayambhuva Manu’s first son, Uttanapada. Next, I shall tell you about the activities of King Priyavrata and his descendents.”

      After hearing all of these topics from the great sage Maitreya, Vidura became overwhelmed with feelings of ecstasy. As tears fell from his eyes, Vidura prostrated himself at the lotus feet of his spiritual master and declared, “O great mystic and devotee, by your causeless mercy I have been shown the path of liberation from this world of darkness, which leads one back to the spiritual world.”

After offering his obeisances, Vidura took permission and then departed for Hastinapura, so that he could share the spiritual benefit he had received with his relations.