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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > Compiled and Imp Scriptures > Shrimad Bhagavatam > Canto-6 > King Chitraketu



 King Chitraketu.



      Maharaja Parikshit inquired, “O learned brahmana, demons are generally sinful due to being absorbed in the modes of passion and ignorance. How then could Vritrasura have attained to such an exalted state of love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead? In spite of being situated in the mode of goodness, even great rishis and demigods hardly ever render pure devotional service unto the Lord.”

“Among the living entities within the material world, who are as numerous as atoms, a very few are human beings, and among them only a few are interested in following religious principles. Out of many persons who are following religious principles, only a few desire liberation from the bondage of material existence. Among many thousands of these, one may become actually liberated by having given up all attachment to society, friendship, love, country, wife and children. Among many, many millions of liberated persons, and those who are perfect in knowledge, one may be found who is an unalloyed devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayana, for such devotees are extremely rare. How could such a sinful demon like Vritrasura, who always gave trouble and anxiety to others, become so advanced in Krishna consciousness?”

     Shukadeva Gosvami replied, “O King, I shall now narrate to you the following history that I formerly heard from the great sages, Vyasadeva, Narada and Devala. Please listen with great care and attention.”

There was once a king named Chitraketu, who ruled the entire earth from his capital within the province, Shurasena. Maharaja Chitraketu had ten million wives, and yet the astonishing fact was that he had no children, although he himself was not impotent. By chance, all of his wives were barren. King Chitraketu was very young, handsome and magnanimous. He was born in an aristocratic family, he was very highly educated, and he possessed unrivalled opulence. Nevertheless, in spite of these assets, King Chitraketu was full of anxiety because he did not have a son. Even his queens, who were all very beautiful, with lotus-like faces and pretty eyes, could not give him any happiness.

        One day, the great sage Angira, a mind-born son of Lord Brahma, arrived at Chitraketu’s palace in the course of his wanderings, and so the king immediately got up from his throne to properly welcome him. After worshiping Angira Rishi and offering him food and drink, when the great sage was comfortably seated, King Chitraketu sat down next to him on the floor, while carefully restraining his mind and senses.

        Upon seeing Chitraketu Maharaja take such a submissive position, his head bent low in humility, Angira Rishi congratulated him for his hospitality. 

Angira then said, “My dear King, I hope that you are healthy in body and mind, and that your seven protectors are also well and in proper order (the king’s guru, ministers, kingdom, fortifications, treasury, system of law and order, and his friends and allies). When a king also depends upon his associates, sometimes following their instructions, he is happy. Similarly, when the king’s associates spontaneously offer their gifts and services unto him, and follow his order obediently, they are happy.”

     “O King, are your wives, citizens, servants, and the merchants under your control? Are you in control of your ministers, the palace residents, the provincial governors, as well as your sons and dependents? If the king’s mind is under control, then all of these grades of persons will also remain willingly subordinate to him.”

     “O King Chitraketu, I can see that your mind is displeased and disturbed, as if you have not achieved your desired goal of life. Your pale face reflects your deep anxiety- is the cause to be found in yourself, or has someone else put you into difficulty?”

     Maharaja Chitraketu replied, while bending low with great humility, “O great soul, due to being freed from the reactions of sinful life, you can understand everything external and internal regarding the embodied conditioned souls like us. And yet, you have inquired from me about the cause of my anxiety.

“As a person afflicted by hunger and thirst cannot be satisfied by offerings of flower garlands and Sandalwood paste, I am not pleased with my empire or possessions, due to not having a son. O great sage, please save my forefathers, as well as myself from hellish life by enabling me to have a son.”

     Being very merciful to the king, Angira Rishi performed a particular sacrifice wherein sweetrice is offered to the demigod, Tvasta. The prasada was given to the first and most qualified of Chitraketu’s queens, Kritadyuti. Angira then informed the king, “You will receive a son who will be the cause of both harsha (jubilation) and shoka (lamentation)” Then, without even waiting for Maharaja Chitraketu’s response, the great sage disappeared then and there.

     Having eaten the sacrificial sweetrice, when Queen Kritadyuti received the semen of Maharaja Chitraketu, she became pregnant. In due course of time, she gave birth to a son whom the king named Harshashoka. When they heard the news, all of the citizens in the state of Shurasena became extremely pleased, and the king himself was the most overjoyed.

     After bathing and dressing very nicely, Maharaja Chitraketu engaged the learned brahmanas in performing the birth ceremony and offering the child their benedictions. Thereafter, the king gave vast amounts of gold, silver, garments, ornaments and villages in charity to the brahmanas, as well as 600 million cows. Indeed, as a cloud indiscriminately pours water upon the earth, King Chitraketu distributed all kinds of desirable objects to everyone, just to increase the reputation, opulence and longevity of his newborn son.

     When Angira Rishi had informed Chitraketu that his son would become the cause of jubilation as well as lamentation, the king did not really understand the significance of the statement. Due to being overjoyed simply by the prospect of getting a son, Chitraketu thought, “There will certainly be jubilation upon his birth, but due to being an only child, he will no doubt become very proud of his position. Because of this, my son may not be very obedient, but never mind, for a disobedient son is better than no son at all.”

     When a poor man gets some money after going through much difficulty, his affection for his wealth increases daily. In the same way, when King Chitraketu and Queen Kritadyuti finally received a son, their love for the child grew excessively, day by day. Upon seeing Kritadyuti’s son, however, the millions of co-wives became very agitated with the desire to have sons of their own, and thus they appeared to be suffering from high fevers.

      As King Chitraketu very carefully raised his small son, his affection for Kritadyuti also increased, so that he simultaneously lost interest in his other wives, who had no sons. In their distress, which was caused by envy, the barren queens lamented, “We are condemned! A wife who has no sons is neglected by her husband and dishonored by her co-wives, who treat her just like a maidservant.”

     Being neglected by their husband, and seeing Kritadyuti’s great fortune, these co-wives’ burning envy became increasingly strong, so that gradually they lost all good intelligence. Being extremely hard-hearted and intolerant, they finally vented their pent-up anger and envy by poisoning the small boy.

     Some time later in the day, while walking within the palace, Queen Kritadyuti thought, “My son has been sleeping for such a long time” and so she ordered her nurse to bring him. When the maidservant approached the so-called sleeping child, however, she saw that his eyes were turned upwards and his body was devoid of any other signs of life. When she understood that the child was dead, the maidservant cried out, “Now I am doomed!” and fell onto the floor, while beating her breasts with both hands.

     After hearing the maidservant’s loud cries, Kritadyuti came running, and when she saw that her dear son had died, she immediately fell unconscious onto the floor so that her hair and dress became disarrayed. The palace residents could hear Kritadyuti wailing loudly, and so they all quickly arrived at the spot. When they saw that the young prince had unexpectedly died, they also began to cry very piteously, although the queens that had given the child poison did so just to make a show.

     When King Chitraketu heard that his son had died from some unknown cause, he became practically blind due to the grief that raged in his heart, like a blazing fire. While rushing to see the dead child, he kept stumbling, and thus he repeatedly fell onto the floor. Surrounded by learned brahmanas, his ministers, and other government officials, King Chitraketu fell unconscious at the feet of his son, his hair and dress scattered.

After regaining consciousness, the king remained speechless for some time and while breathing heavily, tears poured from his eyes. Upon seeing her husband’s pitiable condition, the queen began lamenting very sorrowfully, and this served to increase the pain within the hearts of the brahmanas, ministers, and the king’s other well-wishers. Kritadyuti’s tears melted the black ointment that decorated her eyes, and then moistened her breasts, which were covered with kunkuma powder.

     As she lamented, the Queen’s loud crying resembled the sweet sound of a kurari bird: “O Providence, O Creator, You are certainly inexperienced, for during the lifetime of a father, You have caused the death of his son. By thus acting in opposition to Your creative laws, You have proved Yourself to be the enemy of the living entities, and never merciful.”

“My Lord, You may argue that since everyone lives and dies according to his own fruitive activity, there is no law that a father must die within the lifetime of his son. However, if it is a fact that karma is so strong that even birth and death depend upon it, then there is no need for a God or Controller. Again, You may argue that God is necessary, since the material nature has no power to act independently. However, it can be counter-argued that since the family ties that You have created are disrupted by fruitive activity, everyone will cease from raising their children with affection, but will instead, neglect them.”

     “My dear son, since I am helpless and aggrieved, you should not give up my company. Just look at your poor father. Because we are now without a son, we will have to suffer in the darkest regions of hell. You were our only hope of being rescued from such hellish conditions, and so please do not go any further with the merciless Yamaraja.”

“My dear son, you have slept for such a long time. Now, please get up, for your playmates are calling you. You must be very hungry. Kindly rise and suck my breast, so that our lamentation will become dissipated. I am certainly most unfortunate, for your eyes have closed forever, and thus I can only conclude that you have gone away, never to return here again.”

     While hearing his wife lament in this way, King Chitraketu began crying loudly and so all of the citizens joined in, with great grief. Understanding that the king had become almost bereft of life, due to being merged into the ocean of lamentation, the great sage Angira came there along with Narada Rishi.

      While Maharaja Chitraketu remained lying practically like a dead man beside the body of his departed son, the two rishis instructed him as follows: “O King, what relationship does this dead body have with you? You may say that you are related as father and son, but do you think that this relationship existed before, or will continue to exist in the future? Does it actually exist now?”

     “As pieces of seaweed come together on the surface of the ocean and then are separated by the force of the waves, so the living entities who have accepted material bodies come together and then are again separated by the force of time. When seeds are sown in the ground, they sometimes grow into plants, and sometimes, if the ground is not fertile, they do not fructify. Similarly, being impelled by the energy of the Lord, a prospective father can sometimes beget a child, but then again, sometimes conception does not take place. Therefore, one should not lament over the artificial relationship of parenthood, which is ultimately controlled by the Supreme Lord.”

     “Every living being is in a temporary situation, and so is the entire cosmic manifestation. Thus, all varieties of material manifestation are not factual, although they cannot be considered as nonexistent or unreal.”

 “The Supreme Personality of Godhead is not personally interested in this temporary cosmic manifestation. Nonetheless, just as a boy on the beach builds sand castles that have no intrinsic value- the Lord creates by engaging a father to beget a son- he maintains by engaging a king to see to the public’s welfare- and he annihilates through agents for killing, such as snakes. Although these instruments of creation, maintenance and annihilation have no independence- due to the spell of the illusory energy, one thinks himself to be the creator, maintainer, and destroyer. As one seed is generated from another seed, from one body (the father) through another body (the mother) a third body (the child) is produced. Divisions of generalization and specification, such as nationality and individuality, are the imaginations of persons who are not advanced in knowledge.”

     King Chitraketu was destined not to get a son, so that even though he married many thousands of wives, all of them proved barren. Due to the blessings of Angira Rishi, a son was sent by the grace of maya, but the child was not to live for long. Knowing this, Angira had informed the king that he would beget a son who would cause him both jubilation and lamentation. Now, after hearing the instructions of Angira and Narada, King Chitraketu became enlightened, and thus he was relieved from his false lamentation.

     Becoming enlivened with a new hope, Maharaja Chitraketu wiped away the tears from his face and addressed the two rishis as follows: “You have come here dressed as avadhutas, just to cover your real identities. Still, I can understand that you are the knowers of everything, and thus the most exalted of all personalities.”

“Sometimes, just to benefit materialistic persons like us, who are always absorbed in sense gratification, great devotees dress like madmen and wander over the surface of the earth, according to their own desire. I am foolish, just like an animal, but I am confident that you can impart to me real understanding. Therefore, please ignite the torch of knowledge, and thus save me from the darkness of ignorance.”

     Angira Rishi replied, “My dear King, when you had desired to have a son, I approached you. I am the same Angira Rishi who enabled you to have this child, and this is the great sage, Narada, the direct son of Lord Brahma.”

“My dear King, it is very unsuitable for an advanced devotee of the Lord like yourself to become absorbed in lamentation over the loss of something material. Therefore, we have come here to relieve you of this false grief, which is born of ignorance.”

     “When I first came to visit you, I could have given you the supreme transcendental knowledge, but because you were so materially absorbed, I only gave you a son. Now, however, you are actually experiencing the misery of a person who has sons and daughters. Because they are all temporary, one’s wife, friends, relatives, palace, kingdom, treasury, military power, and all other opulence and objects of sense perception are causes of fear, illusion, lamentation and distress. Because of their impermanence, they are no better than a gandharva-nagara, dreams, or mental concoctions. Only because of our past actions, do we create the temporary mental concoctions of wife, children and property, and on the basis of these dreams, we perform further activities.”

“My dear King, please consider who you really are- are you the body, the mind, or the soul? Try to understand where you have come from, where you are headed, and why you have been put under the spell of material lamentation. By understanding your true position, you will be able to give up your unnecessary material attachment, and thus attain real peace.”

     When Angira had first come to King Chitraketu, he did not bring Narada Muni with him. But, after the death of the king’s son, Angira had Narada accompany him, so that he could instruct Chitraketu about bhakti-yoga. The difference was that, in the beginning, Chitraketu was not in a mood of renunciation. After the death of his son, however, the king became overwhelmed by grief and thus could easily be awakened to the platform of renunciation, by receiving instructions about the falsity of this material world. Only when one is at this stage can he be instructed in bhakti-yoga, for as long as one is overly attached to material enjoyment, the science of devotional service cannot be understood.

     Thereafter, by utilizing his mystic power, Narada Muni brought the departed son of Chitraketu into the vision of all the lamenting relatives. Narada then said,  “O living entity, just see how your mother, father, friends and relatives are overwhelmed with grief because of your having passed away. Because you have died untimely, you can still re-enter your body and enjoy the remainder of your lifetime, surrounded by your friends and relatives, and accept the royal throne from your father.”

     The living entity re-entered his former body and replied, “According to the results of my fruitive activities, I (the living being, the jiva soul) transmigrate from one body to another. Thus, I sometimes appear in the society of demigods, sometimes in the human species, and sometimes as a lower animal or plant. In which birth were these my mother and father? Because no one is my actual mother and father, how can I accept these two persons as my parents?”

     “This material world carries one away like a river, and thus all people become friends, relatives and enemies in due course of time. The living entity wanders throughout the universe, being injected into various bodies by one father after another, and thus he is just like gold that changes hands again and again, along with the sense of proprietorship.”

“After remaining in a man’s custody for some time, when an animal is sold to another person, the former owner loses all sense of proprietorship. And yet, in spite of these temporary relationships that are based upon the perishable material body, the actual living being is eternal, and thus devoid of an intrinsic parental relationship with others. Being part and parcel of the Supreme Soul, the living entity is only an observer or witness of the material qualities, and is unaffected by them in all circumstances. Therefore, no one should become disturbed by lamentation in the face of loss in this material world.” 

     It is our practical experience in this world that today’s friend may become tomorrow’s enemy. Thus, instead of lamenting for his dead son, King Chitraketu could have rightly thought, “This living entity was my enemy in my last life, and has now appeared as my son to give me further pain.” Thus, instead of lamenting, he could have felt jubilation due to his enemy’s death. If one questions, “How could Chitraketu love his enemy so much?” the following example can be given. When one’s wealth falls into the hands of an enemy, it becomes that person’s friend. Because the money can be used to harm the previous owner, to who does it really belong?

     After the jiva (soul) finished speaking, he departed, and by hearing his words, Maharaja Chitraketu and his other relatives were astonished. By cutting off the shackles of affection, which had been based upon their illusory relationship with him, all of the boy’s relatives gave up their false lamentation, performed the necessary funeral ceremonies, and then burned the dead body. The queens that had poisoned the child lost their entire bodily luster, due to shame, and by remembering Angira’s instructions, they gave up their ambition to bear children.  

     Under the direction of the brahmanas, they went to the banks of the River Yamuna to bathe and atone for their sinful killing of the child. As a result of hearing from the two great rishis, Chitraketu became fully enlightened with spiritual knowledge, and thus he was able to come out of the dark well of family life, just as an elephant emerges from a muddy reservoir of water. After bathing in the Yamuna, King Chitraketu offered oblations of water to his forefathers and then worshiped the two sons of Brahma.

     Thereafter, being very pleased with Chitraketu, Narada addressed him as follows: “My dear King, please receive from me this mantra with great attention, for it is most auspicious. By very carefully chanting this mantra, in seven nights you will be able to see the Supreme Personality of Godhead, face to face: ‘O Supreme Lord, Who is addressed by the omkara (pranava), I offer my respectful obeisances unto You. O Ultimate Truth, One without a Second, You are the greatest, and are self-sufficient and thus I offer my respectful obeisances unto You.’ ”

“ ‘The words and mind of the conditioned soul cannot approach You, for material names and forms are not applicable to You, Who are entirely spiritual, beyond the conception of gross and subtle forms. As pots made of earth are situated on the earth and then are transformed back into earth when broken, this cosmic manifestation is caused by the Supreme Brahman, remains situated in the Supreme Brahman, and then at last merges into the same Supreme Brahman. Since You, the Supreme Lord, are the cause of Brahman, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You. The Supreme Brahman emanates from the Supreme Personality of Godhead and expands like the sky. Although untouched by anything material, it exists everywhere, within and without.’ ”

     “ ‘As iron has the power to burn by the association of fire- so the body, senses, living force, mind and intelligence, although merely lumps of matter, can function when infused with a particle of consciousness by the Supreme Lord. O my Lord, Your lotus feet are always being massaged by a multitude of the greatest devotees with their lotus-bud hands. You are full of six opulences, and are the Supreme Person mentioned in the Purusha-sukta prayers. Therefore, let me offer my respectful obeisance unto You.’ ”

     Having become Maharaja Chitraketu’s spiritual master, Narada gave him these instructions and then departed for Brahmaloka, along with the great sage, Angira. For one week, King Chitraketu fasted, drinking only water, and with great care and attention he continuously chanted the mantra that had been given to him by Narada. After just one week, Chitraketu was awarded the rule of the Vidyadhara planet, as an intermediate by-product of his spiritual advancement.

     Then, just a few days later, by the influence of the same mantra, King Chitraketu attained shelter at the lotus feet of Lord Anantadeva. Chitraketu saw Lord Sesha’s complexion to be as white as the fibers of a lotus flower, and He was dressed in bluish garments. His face was smiling and His eyes were tinged with a beautiful reddish color. Surrounding the Lord were exalted liberated souls, such as Sanat-kumara.

     As soon as he saw the Supreme Lord, King Chitraketu became cleansed of all material contamination and thus he became situated in his original Krishna consciousness. While he remained silent and grave, tears fell from Chitraketu’s eyes and the hair on his body stood up on end due to ecstatic love for the Lord. As he offered his obeisances, Maharaja Chitraketu’s tears of love wetted the place where the Lord’s lotus feet rested, and because his voice was choked up due to ecstasy, he was unable to speak for a considerable time.

Finally, after pacifying his mind by means of intelligence, King Chitraketu offered his prayers as follows: “O my Lord, although You cannot be conquered by anyone, You are certainly conquered by devotees who have control over their mind and senses. Such devotees can keep You under control because You are causelessly merciful to those who have no desire to obtain material profit from You. By giving Yourself to the devotees, You captivate their hearts, and thus also gain full control over them.”

     “My dear Lord, since the demigods, headed by Lord Brahma, are nothing but small portions of a portion of You, their partial creative power does not make them God. Consequently, their conceptions of themselves as separate lords is merely false prestige and not factual.”

“O Supreme Lord, unintelligent persons who thirst for sense enjoyment and thus worship the various demigods are no better than animals in human form. Because of their animalistic propensities, they fail to worship Your Lordship, but instead worship the insignificant demigods, who are but small sparks of Your glory. With the destruction of the universe, the demigods and their benedictions also vanish, just as the nobility ceases to exist as soon as the king is no longer in power. However, if persons who are obsessed with material desires worship You, Who are transcendental and eternal, they can become immune to rebirth, just as sterilized or fried seeds do not fructify into plants. Living entities are subjected to the repetition of birth and death due to being conditioned by material nature. However, one who is inclined to associate with You in transcendence escapes the conditions of material existence.”

     “O Unconquerable One, You are the propounder of bhagavata-dharma, which is the uncontaminated religioius system for achieving shelter at Your lotus feet. Bhagavata-dharma entails serving the Supreme Personality of Godhead without personal desires, and thus dualistic conceptions such as ‘your religion’ and ‘my religion’ are completely absent. God is one, and God is for everyone. There is no question of ‘what you believe’ and ‘what I believe’. The followers of religious systems without a clear conception of God have always fought amongst themselves, but bhagavat-dharma is not a concocted, sectarian belief.”

     “Those who are actually Krishna conscious cannot have any enemies, for their only engagement is to induce others to surrender to God. All forms of religion except bhagavat-dharma are followed by ignorant persons who work for the attainment of fruitive results, under the conception that there is a distinction between ‘you’ and ‘I’, and ‘yours’ and ‘mine’. Krishna conscious persons, however, know that they are Krishna’s, and Krishna is theirs.”

     “There are other low-class religious systems that persons engage in for the purpose of killing their enemies, or gaining mystic powers, but since these are all full of passion and envy, they are actually irreligious. By causing pain to one’s own self due to self-envy, and by causing pain to others, one arouses the anger of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. On the other hand, those who follow the instructions of Shrimad-Bhagavatam are equal to all living entities, without consideration of high and low, and such persons are called Aryans.”

     “My dear Lord, it is not impossible for one to become immediately freed from all material contamination, simply by seeing You. Not to speak of seeing You personally, merely by hearing Your holy name only once, even chandalas, the lowest class of men can become freed from all material contamination.”

“My dear Lord, because of seeing You, the contamination of sinful activities and the resultant lusty desires and material attachment that had always filled my mind and the core of my heart has been wiped away. Whatever is predicted by the great sage Narada cannot be otherwise, and thus I have attained Your audience as a result of his mercy.”

“O unlimited Lord, as the Paramatma You are the knower of everything. In the presence of the sun, there is nothing to be revealed by the light of a glow-worm. Similarly, in Your presence there is nothing for me to make known.”

“O Lord, Who holds all of the universes upon Your thousands of hoods, like so many mustard seeds, I offer my respectful obeisances unto You.”

     The Lord was very pleased by King Chitraketu’s prayers, and so He replied to him as follows: “O King, due to having accepted the instructions of the great sages Narada and Angira, you have become completely aware of transcendental knowledge. As a result of this, you have been able to see Me face to face, and thus it is to be understood that your life has become completely perfect.”

     “When a living entity forgets his spiritual identity, due to thinking of himself as different from Me, his conditional life begins. In other words, instead of identifying his interest with Mine, he becomes interested in his bodily expansions- such as wife, children, and possessions. In this way, by the influence of his fruitive actions, one body comes from another, and after one death, another death takes place. By remembering the great trouble that one has experienced in the field of fruitive activities, and by remembering how one invariably receives the opposite of the desired result, an intelligent person should cease from desiring such material gain.”

     “Knowing that one can achieve the highest goal of life and freedom from material miseries by engaging in the devotional service of the Lord, one should give up fruitive desires. By getting married, a man and a woman plan to attain happiness and decrease unhappiness by their mutual efforts. And yet, due to having so many material desires, the activities performed by the husband and wife simply lead them on the path of great unhappiness. After experiencing this, one should give up the desire for fruitive results and become My devotee, knowing himself to be My eternal part and parcel, or in other words, My eternal servant.”

“O King, if you accept this conclusion, while remaining unattached to material enjoyment, adhering to Me with great faith, then you will be able to achieve the highest perfection in life, by attaining My eternal association.”

After instructing Chitraketu, and assuring him of his perfection, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Sankarshana, Who is the Supreme Spiritual Master and Supreme Soul disappeared from that place, as the King looked on in wonder. After offering his obeisances in the direction that the Lord had departed, Chitraketu began traveling all over the universe as the head of the Vidyadharas, in a brilliantly effulgent airplane that had been given to him by Lord Vishnu. While being praised by Siddhas, Charanas and great rishis, Chitraketu took pleasure in chanting the glories of the Supreme Lord, surrounded by the Vidyadhara women. Possessing all mystic powers, great bodily strength, and senses that were free from deterioration, Maharaja Chitraketu enjoyed life for millions of years within the valleys of Mount Sumeru.

     Once upon a time, while traveling through the sky, Chitraketu saw Lord Shiva in an assembly of great sages, embracing Parvati with his arms as she was sitting upon his lap. Being very astonished, Chitraketu laughed loudly and then exclaimed within the hearing of all, “Lord Shiva is the spiritual master of the whole world, the best of all performers of austerities, and the foremost of strict followers of the Vedic principles. Nonetheless, he is seated with his wife upon his lap, in the midst of saintly persons, embracing her as if he were a shameless human being! Ordinary persons enjoy the company of their wives in a solitary place, and yet Lord Shiva, even though he is a master of austerity, is embracing his wife openly in an assembly of great rishis!”

     Upon hearing Chitraketu’s statement, Lord Shiva simply smiled and remained silent and so all of the great sages who were assembled there followed his example. Lord Shiva and the rishis knew that Chitraketu was merely appreciating the exalted position of Lord Shiva and not blaspheming him as Daksha had done. Still, it was highly improper for Chitraketu to criticize Lord Shiva in this way.

      When the goddess Parvati heard the king’s displeasing words, however, she angrily reproached him as follows: “Oh, has this upstart been awarded a post whereby he can punish shameless persons like us? Is he now the only master of everything? It is a shame that Lord Brahma, the four Kumaras, Narada, Manu, and other such exalted personalities are ignorant of the principles of religion. They must have forgotten the rules of etiquette because they have never tried to stop Lord Shiva from behaving improperly.”

     “This Chitraketu is the lowest of kshatriyas, for he has impudently stepped over the heads of higher authorities to insult Lord Shiva, who is religion personified and the spiritual master of the whole world. For this reason, he must be punished. Because he is puffed-up, thinking, ‘I am the best’ he does not deserve to approach the shelter of Lord Vishnu’s lotus feet.”

“O impudent one, my dear son, you must now take birth in a low, sinful family of demons, so that you will learn not to ever again commit such an offense against exalted personalities.”

     Chitraketu had become somewhat proud of the fact that he had received the favor of Lord Sankarshana, and thus he thought himself to be a superior controller of the senses and thus able to criticize all others. Immediately upon being cursed, however, Chitraketu descended from his airplane and bowed down before Parvati with great humility.

He then said,  “My dear mother, I accept your curse with folded hands. Knowing that happiness and distress are awarded to me by the demigods, as a result of my past deeds, I do not mind receiving whatever I may deserve.”

     “This material world resembles the waves of a constantly flowing river, and thus different conditions are manifested, one after another. Because all such material conditions are miserable and temporary, what is a curse, and what is a favor? What are the heavenly planets, and what is hell? What is actually happiness and what is distress?”

     “O mother, you have become unnecessarily angry, but I do not blame you, for I know that whatever happiness and distress I receive is destined due to my past activities. Although I did not speak wrongly, I do not beg to become relieved from your curse. Instead, I wish that whatever wrong you think I have committed may be excused by you.”

     Chitraketu knew that he had not acted offensively towards Lord Shiva, and so he considered that higher authority must have ordained his punishment. Actually, the Lord wanted Chitraketu to return back home, back to Godhead as soon as possible. By acting through the heart of Parvati, the Lord cursed Chitraketu to become a demon so that all of his sinful reactions would be quickly terminated, thus clearing his path to liberation.

      After pacifying Parvati, Chitraketu boarded his airplane and then departed while the assembly looked on. When Lord Shiva and Parvati saw how Chitraketu had remained unafraid, in spite of being cursed, they smiled in astonishment.

Thereafter, in the presence of the great sages, headed by Narada, as well as his personal associates, Lord Shiva addressed his wife as follows: “My dear beautiful Parvati, have you understood the greatness of the Vaishnavas? Such servants of the servants of the Supreme Lord are not at all interested in any kind of material happiness. Such devotees, whose sole interest is the service of the Lord, never fear any condition of life, and thus for them- heaven, hell, and liberation are all the same.”

     “Actually, King Chitraketu is a dear devotee of the Lord. He is equal to all living entities, and is free from attachment and hatred. I am also dear to Lord Narayana, and thus no one should be astonished by our activities, which are always free from attachment and envy.”

     Just as Chitraketu criticized the behavior of his friend, Lord Shiva, for sitting with his wife on his lap, Lord Shiva would have liked to criticize Chitraketu for externally posing as a great devotee, while at heart being interested in enjoying the Vidyadhara women. Being a less-intelligent woman, Parvati had not understood this joking relationship between the two devotees. However, after hearing her husband’s speech, she became very ashamed for having cursed Chitraketu and thus, while admitting her fault, she covered her face with the border of her sari.

     Thereafter, the same Chitraketu appeared as a demon from the sacrificial fire of Tvasta, and became known as Vritrasura. Still, despite his birth in a demoniac species, Chitraketu remained fully equipped with transcendental knowledge, and thus was never out of touch with Krishna consciousness.