Jagannātha Miśra had a number of daughters by his wife, Śrīmatī Śacīdevī, but they all expired at an early age. The two surviving sons, Śrī Viśvarūpa and Viśvambhara, became at last the object of their parental affection. The tenth child and youngest son, who was named Viśvambhara, later became known as Nimāi Paṇḍita and then, after accepting the renounced order of life, Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
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Affection (SB cantos 1 - 6)
SB Preface and Introduction
The Lord had a very high estimation of the affections of the damsels of Vrajabhūmi (Vṛndāvana) for Kṛṣṇa, and in appreciation of their unalloyed service to the Lord, once Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu chanted the holy names of the gopīs (cowherd girls) instead of the names of the Lord. At this time some of His students, who were also disciples, came to see Him, and when they saw that the Lord was chanting the names of the gopīs, they were astonished. Out of sheer foolishness they asked the Lord why He was chanting the names of the gopīs and advised Him to chant the name of Kṛṣṇa. The Lord, who was in ecstasy, was thus disturbed by these foolish students. He chastised them and chased them away.
Later it was disclosed that Bhaṭṭācārya also came from the Navadvīpa area, and it was understood from him that Nīlāmbara Cakravartī, the maternal grandfather of Lord Caitanya, happened to be a class fellow of the father of Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya. In that sense, the young sannyāsī Lord Caitanya evoked paternal affection from Bhaṭṭācārya. Bhaṭṭācārya was the professor of many sannyāsīs in the order of the Śaṅkarācārya-sampradāya, and he himself also belonged to that cult. As such, the Bhaṭṭācārya desired that the young sannyāsī Lord Caitanya also hear from him about the teachings of Vedānta.
3. By further development of the dāsya stage, a respectful fraternity with the Lord develops, and above that a feeling of friendship on equal terms becomes manifest. Both these stages are called sākhya stage, or devotional service in friendship.
4. Above this is the stage of paternal affection toward the Lord, and this is called the vātsalya stage.
5. And above this is the stage of conjugal love, and this stage is called the highest stage of love of God, although there is no difference in quality in any of the above stages. The last stage, conjugal love of God, is called the mādhurya stage.
SB Canto 1
The sum total of all these rasas is called affection or love. Primarily, such signs of love are manifested in adoration, service, friendship, paternal affection, and conjugal love. And when these five are absent, love is present indirectly in anger, wonder, comedy, chivalry, fear, shock and so on. For example, when a man is in love with a woman, the rasa is called conjugal love. But when such love affairs are disturbed there may be wonder, anger, shock, or even horror. Sometimes love affairs between two persons culminate in ghastly murder scenes. Such rasas are displayed between man and man and between animal and animal. There is no possibility of an exchange or rasa between a man and an animal or between a man and any other species of living beings within the material world. The rasas are exchanged between members of the same species. But as far as the spirit souls are concerned, they are one qualitatively with the Supreme Lord. Therefore, the rasas were originally exchanged between the spiritual living being and the spiritual whole, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The spiritual exchange or rasa is fully exhibited in spiritual existence between living beings and the Supreme Lord.
The principles of knowledge and detachment are two important factors on the path of transcendental realization. The whole spiritual process leads to perfect knowledge of everything material and spiritual, and the results of such perfect knowledge are that one becomes detached from material affection and becomes attached to spiritual activities. Becoming detached from material things does not mean becoming inert altogether, as men with a poor fund of knowledge think. Naiṣkarma means not undertaking activities that will produce good or bad effects. Negation does not mean negation of the positive.
The puruṣa, after creating innumerable universes in the mahat-tattva, entered in each of them as the second puruṣa, Garbhodakaśāyī Viṣṇu. When He saw that within the universe there was only darkness and space, without a resting place, He filled half of the universe with water from His own perspiration and laid Himself down on the same water. This water is called Garbhodaka. Then from His navel the stem of the lotus flower sprouted, and on the flower petals the birth of Brahmā, or the master engineer of the universal plan, took place. Brahmā became the engineer of the universe, and the Lord Himself took charge of the maintenance of the universe as Viṣṇu. Brahmā was generated from rajo-guṇa of prakṛti, or the mode of passion in nature, and Viṣṇu became the Lord of the mode of goodness. Viṣṇu, being transcendental to all the modes, is always aloof from materialistic affection.
Those who are rendering service indirectly, being forced by the illusory agent of the Lord, are rendering service unto Him unfavorably. But those who are rendering service unto Him directly under the direction of His beloved agent are rendering service unto Him favorably. Such favorable servitors are devotees of the Lord, and by the grace of the Lord they can enter into the mysterious region of transcendence by the mercy of the Lord. But the mental speculators remain in darkness all the time. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā, the Lord Himself guides the pure devotees toward the path of realization due to their constant engagement in the loving service of the Lord in spontaneous affection. That is the secret of entering into the kingdom of God. Fruitive activities and speculation are no qualifications for entering.
Bhakti-yoga is considered by some to be another form of karma. But factually bhakti-yoga is above both karma and jñāna. Bhakti-yoga is independent of jñāna or karma; on the other hand, jñāna and karma are dependent on bhakti-yoga. This kriyā-yoga or karma-yoga, as recommended by Śrī Nārada to Vyāsa, is specifically recommended because the principle is to satisfy the Lord. The Lord does not want His sons, the living beings, to suffer the threefold miseries of life. He desires that all of them come to Him and live with Him, but going back to Godhead means that one must purify himself from material infections. When work is performed, therefore, to satisfy the Lord, the performer becomes gradually purified from the material affection. This purification means attainment of spiritual knowledge. Therefore knowledge is dependent on karma, or work, done on behalf of the Lord. Other knowledge, being devoid of bhakti-yoga or satisfaction of the Lord, cannot lead one back to the kingdom of God, which means that it cannot even offer salvation, as already explained in connection with the stanza naiṣkarmyam apy acyuta-bhāva-varjitam (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.5.12).
I was the only son of my mother, who was not only a simple woman but a maidservant as well. Since I was her only offspring, she had no other alternative for protection: she bound me with the tie of affection.
When I was a mere child of five years, I lived in a brāhmaṇa school. I was dependent on my mother's affection and had no experience of different lands.
The Personality of Godhead is described in the Bhagavad-gītā as the most pure, the Supreme and the Absolute Truth. There is no trace of a tinge of materiality in His person, and thus one who has the slightest tinge of material affection cannot approach Him. The beginning of devotional service starts from the point when one is freed from at least two forms of material modes, namely the mode of passion and the mode of ignorance. The result is exhibited by the signs of being freed from kāma (lust) and lobha (covetousness). That is to say, one must be freed from the desires for sense satisfaction and avarice for sense gratification.
To be fully absorbed in the thought of Kṛṣṇa means clearance of material dirts or hankerings. As a very rich man has no hankerings for small petty things, so also a devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa, who is guaranteed to pass on to the kingdom of God, where life is eternal, fully cognizant and blissful, naturally has no hankerings for petty material things, which are like dolls or shadows of the reality and are without permanent value. That is the sign of spiritually enriched persons. And in due course of time, when a pure devotee is completely prepared, all of a sudden the change of body occurs which is commonly called death. And for the pure devotee such a change takes place exactly like lightning, and illumination follows simultaneously. That is to say a devotee simultaneously changes his material body and develops a spiritual body by the will of the Supreme. Even before death, a pure devotee has no material affection, due to his body's being spiritualized like a red-hot iron in contact with fire.
Śrīla Vyāsadeva saw the all-perfect Personality of Godhead. This statement suggests that the complete unit of the Personality of Godhead includes His parts and parcels also. He saw, therefore, His different energies, namely the internal energy, the marginal energy and the external energy. He also saw His different plenary portions and parts of the plenary portions, namely His different incarnations also, and he specifically observed the unwanted miseries of the conditioned souls, who are bewildered by the external energy. And at last he saw the remedial measure for the conditioned souls, namely, the process of devotional service. It is a great transcendental science and begins with the process of hearing and chanting the name, fame, glory, etc., of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Revival of the dormant affection or love of Godhead does not depend on the mechanical system of hearing and chanting, but it solely and wholly depends on the causeless mercy of the Lord. When the Lord is fully satisfied with the sincere efforts of the devotee, He may endow him with His loving transcendental service. But even with the prescribed forms of hearing and chanting, there is at once mitigation of the superfluous and unwanted miseries of material existence. Such mitigation of material affection does not wait for development of transcendental knowledge. Rather, knowledge is dependent on devotional service for the ultimate realization of the Supreme Truth.
The ultimate result of devotional service is to develop genuine love for the Supreme Personality. Love is a word which is often used in relation with man and woman. And love is the only word that can be properly used to indicate the relation between Lord Kṛṣṇa and the living entities. The living entities are mentioned as prakṛti in the Bhagavad-gītā, and in Sanskrit prakṛti is a feminine object. The Lord is always described as the parama-puruṣa, or the supreme male personality. Thus the affection between the Lord and the living entities is something like that between the male and the female. Therefore the term love of Godhead is quite appropriate.
Loving devotional service to the Lord begins with hearing about the Lord. There is no difference between the Lord and the subject matter heard about Him. The Lord is absolute in all respects, and thus there is no difference between Him and the subject matter heard about Him. Therefore, hearing about Him means immediate contact with Him by the process of vibration of the transcendental sound. And the transcendental sound is so effective that it acts at once by removing all material affections mentioned above. As mentioned before, a living entity develops a sort of complexity by material association, and the illusory encagement of the material body is accepted as an actual fact. Under such false complexity, the living beings under different categories of life become illusioned in different ways. Even in the most developed stage of human life, the same illusion prevails in the form of many isms and divides the loving relation with the Lord and thereby divides the loving relation between man and man.
Unalloyed devotional service of the Lord progresses in different stages. Practice of devotional service in the material field is of eighty-one different qualities, and above such activities is the transcendental practice of devotional service, which is one and is called sādhana-bhakti. When unalloyed practice of sādhana-bhakti is matured into transcendental love for the Lord, the transcendental loving service of the Lord begins gradually developing into nine progressive stages of loving service under the headings of attachment, love, affection, feelings, affinity, adherence, following, ecstasy, and intense feelings of separation.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī was already situated in the liberated stage, yet he was attracted by the pastimes of the Lord. This proves that the quality of His pastimes has nothing to do with material affinity. Similarly, the young cowherd damsels were attracted by the bodily features of the Lord, and Rukmiṇī was attracted by hearing about the glories of the Lord. Lord Kṛṣṇa attracts even the mind of the goddess of fortune. He attracts, in special cases, the minds of all young girls. He attracts the minds of the elderly ladies by paternal affection. He attracts the mind of the male in the humors of servitude and friendship.
As long as we are in the material world, our duty is to follow the orders of the Lord, and if by the grace of the Lord we are liberated from the clutches of the material world, then in our liberated stage also we can render transcendental loving service unto the Lord. In our material stage we can see neither ourselves nor the Lord for want of spiritual vision. But when we are liberated from material affection and are situated in our original spiritual form we can see both ourselves and the Lord face to face. Mukti means to be reinstated in one's original spiritual status after giving up the material conception of life. Therefore, human life is specifically meant for qualifying ourselves for this spiritual liberty. Unfortunately, under the influence of illusory material energy, we accept this spot-life of only a few years as our permanent existence and thus become illusioned by possessing so-called country, home, land, children, wife, community, wealth, etc., which are false representations created by māyā (illusion).
In the Rāma incarnation He remained a king's son from His very childhood, but in the incarnation of Kṛṣṇa, although He was the son of a king, He at once left the shelter of His real father and mother (King Vasudeva and Queen Devakī) just after His appearance and went to the lap of Yaśodāmāyī to play the part of an ordinary cowherd boy in the blessed Vrajabhūmi, which is very sanctified because of His childhood pastimes. Therefore Lord Kṛṣṇa is more merciful than Lord Rāma. He was undoubtedly very kind to Kuntī's brother Vasudeva and the family. Had He not become the son of Vasudeva and Devakī, Queen Kuntī could not claim Him to be her nephew and thus address Kṛṣṇa in parental affection. But Nanda and Yaśodā are more fortunate because they could relish the Lord's childhood pastimes, which are more attractive than all other pastimes. There is no parallel to His childhood pastimes as exhibited at Vrajabhūmi, which are replicas of His eternal affairs in the original Kṛṣṇaloka, described as the cintāmaṇi-dhāma in the Brahma-saṁhitā (Bs. 5.29).
The Supreme Lord is the Supreme in all circumstances, as already explained. Here is a specific example of the Lord's being the Supreme and at the same time a plaything in the presence of His pure devotee. The Lord's pure devotee renders service unto the Lord out of unalloyed love only, and while discharging such devotional service the pure devotee forgets the position of the Supreme Lord. The Supreme Lord also accepts the loving service of His devotees more relishably when the service is rendered spontaneously out of pure affection, without anything of reverential admiration. Generally the Lord is worshiped by the devotees in a reverential attitude, but the Lord is meticulously pleased when the devotee, out of pure affection and love, considers the Lord to be less important than himself. The Lord's pastimes in the original abode of Goloka Vṛndāvana are exchanged in that spirit. The friends of Kṛṣṇa consider Him one of them.
A pure devotee of the Lord is ashamed to ask anything in self-interest from the Lord. But the householders are sometimes obliged to ask favors from the Lord, being bound by the tie of family affection. Śrīmatī Kuntīdevī was conscious of this fact, and therefore she prayed to the Lord to cut off the affectionate tie from her own kinsmen, the Pāṇḍavas and the Vṛṣṇis. The Pāṇḍavas are her own sons, and the Vṛṣṇis are the members of her paternal family. Kṛṣṇa was equally related to both the families. Both the families required the Lord's help because both were dependent devotees of the Lord. Śrīmatī Kuntīdevī wished Śrī Kṛṣṇa to remain with her sons the Pāṇḍavas, but by His doing so her paternal house would be bereft of the benefit.
To cut off all family affection means to broaden the field of activities. Without doing this, no one can be qualified as a brāhmaṇa, a king, a public leader or a devotee of the Lord. The Personality of Godhead, as an ideal king, showed this by example.
Such personalities as a brāhmaṇa, a devotee, a king or a public leader must be very broadminded in discharging their respective duties. Śrīmatī Kuntīdevī was conscious of this fact, and being weak she prayed to be free from such bondage of family affection. The Lord is addressed as the Lord of the universe, or the Lord of the universal mind, indicating His all-powerful ability to cut the hard knot of family affection. Therefore, it is sometimes experienced that the Lord, out of His special affinity toward a weak devotee, breaks the family affection by force of circumstances arranged by His all-powerful energy. By doing so He causes the devotee to become completely dependent on Him and thus clears the path for his going back to Godhead.
Perfection of pure devotional service is attained when all attention is diverted towards the transcendental loving service of the Lord. To cut off the tie of all other affections does not mean complete negation of the finer elements, like affection for someone else. This is not possible.
Sometimes service to the devotee is more valuable than service to the Lord. But here the affection of Kuntīdevī for the Pāṇḍavas and the Vṛṣṇis was due to family relation. This tie of affection in terms of material relation is the relation of māyā because the relations of the body or the mind are due to the influence of the external energy. Relations of the soul, established in relation with the Supreme Soul, are factual relations. When Kuntīdevī wanted to cut off the family relation, she meant to cut off the relation of the skin. The skin relation is the cause of material bondage, but the relation of the soul is the cause of freedom. This relation of the soul to the soul can be established by the via medium of the relation with the Supersoul. Seeing in the darkness is not seeing. But seeing by the light of the sun means to see the sun and everything else which was unseen in the darkness. That is the way of devotional service.
No one could make Lord Kṛṣṇa stay at Hastināpura when He decided to start for Dvārakā, but the simple request of King Yudhiṣṭhira that the Lord remain there for a few days more was immediately effective. This signifies that the power of King Yudhiṣṭhira was loving affection, which the Lord could not deny. The almighty God is thus conquered only by loving service and nothing else. He is fully independent in all His dealings, but He voluntarily accepts obligations by the loving affection of His pure devotees.
King Yudhiṣṭhira, son of Dharma, overwhelmed by the death of his friends, was aggrieved just like a common, materialistic man. O sages, thus deluded by affection, he began to speak.
King Yudhiṣṭhira, though he was not expected to become aggrieved like a common man, became deluded by worldly affection by the will of the Lord (just as Arjuna was apparently deluded). A man who sees knows well that the living entity is neither the body nor the mind, but is transcendental to the material conception of life. The common man thinks of violence and nonviolence in terms of the body, but that is a kind of delusion. Everyone is duty-bound according to one's occupational duties. A kṣatriya is bound to fight for the right cause, regardless of the opposite party. In such discharge of duty, one should not be disturbed by annihilation of the material body, which is only an external dress of the living soul.
When Mahārāja Pāṇḍu died, his sons were all small children, and naturally they were brought up under the affection of elderly members of the royal family, specifically by Bhīṣmadeva. Later on, when the Pāṇḍavas were grown up, they were cheated by cunning Duryodhana and company, and Bhīṣmadeva, although he knew that the Pāṇḍavas were innocent and were unnecessarily put into trouble, could not take the side of the Pāṇḍavas for political reasons. At the last stage of his life, when Bhīṣmadeva saw his most exalted grandsons, headed by Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira, sitting very gently at his side, the great warrior-grandfather could not check his loving tears, which were automatically flowing from his eyes.
The Lord is the absolute form of eternity, bliss and knowledge. As such, transcendental loving service to the Lord in one of the five principal relations, namely śānta, dāsya, sakhya, vātsalya and mādhurya, i.e., neutrality, servitorship, fraternity, filial affection and conjugal love, is graciously accepted by the Lord when offered to the Lord in genuine love and affection. Śrī Bhīṣmadeva is a great devotee of the Lord in the relation of servitorship. Thus his throwing of sharp arrows at the transcendental body of the Lord is as good as the worship of another devotee who throws soft roses upon Him.
The Battle of Kurukṣetra was fought on military principles but at the same time in a sporting spirit, like a friend's fight with another friend. Duryodhana criticized Bhīṣmadeva, alleging that he was reluctant to kill Arjuna because of paternal affection. A kṣatriya cannot tolerate insults on the principle of fighting. Bhīṣmadeva therefore promised that the next day he would kill all five Pāṇḍavas with special weapons made for the purpose. Duryodhana was satisfied, and he kept the arrows with him to be delivered the next day during the fight. By tricks Arjuna took the arrows from Duryodhana, and Bhīṣmadeva could understand that this was the trick of Lord Kṛṣṇa. So he took a vow that the next day Kṛṣṇa would have to take up weapons Himself, otherwise His friend Arjuna would die. In the next day's fighting Bhīṣmadeva fought so violently that both Arjuna and Kṛṣṇa were in trouble.
A pure devotee of the Lord constantly sees the presence of the Lord within himself because of being transcendentally related by loving service. Such a pure devotee cannot forget the Lord for a moment. This is called trance. The mystic (yogī) tries to concentrate upon the Supersoul by controlling the senses from all other engagements, and thus he ultimately attains samādhi. A devotee more easily attains samādhi, or trance, by constantly remembering the Lord's personal feature along with His holy name, fame, pastimes, etc. Therefore, the concentration of the mystic yogī and that of the devotee are not on the same level. The concentration of the mystic is mechanical, whereas that of the pure devotee is natural in pure love and spontaneous affection. Bhīṣmadeva was a pure devotee, and as a military marshal he constantly remembered the battlefield feature of the Lord as Pārtha-sārathi, the chariot driver of Arjuna. Therefore, the Lord's pastime as Pārtha-sārathi is also eternal.
The material energy of the Lord, called Durgā-śakti, or the superintendent of the prison house, takes charge of the disintegrated parts and parcels, and thus they undergo a conditioned life under the laws of material nature. When the living being becomes conscious of this fact, he tries to go back home, back to Godhead, and thus the spiritual urge of the living being begins. This spiritual urge is called brahma-jijñāsā, or inquiry about Brahman. Principally this brahma-jijñāsā is successful by knowledge, renunciation and devotional service to the Lord. Jñāna, or knowledge, means knowledge of everything of Brahman, the Supreme; renunciation means detachment of material affection, and devotional service is the revival by practice of the original position of the living being. The successful living beings who are eligible to enter into the realm of the Absolute are called the jñānīs, the yogīs and the bhaktas. The jñānīs and yogīs enter into the impersonal rays of the Supreme, but the bhaktas enter into the spiritual planets known as the Vaikuṇṭhas. In these spiritual planets the Supreme Lord as Nārāyaṇa predominates, and the healthy, unconditioned living beings live there by rendering loving service to the Lord in the capacity of servant, friend, parents and fiancee.
Bhīṣmadeva was not only a great family head of Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira, but also he was a great philosopher and friend to him, his brothers and his mother. Since Mahārāja Pāṇḍu, the father of the five brothers headed by Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira, had died, Bhīṣmadeva was the most affectionate grandfather of the Pāṇḍavas and caretaker of the widow daughter-in-law Kuntīdevī. Although Mahārāja Dhṛtarāṣṭra, the elder uncle of Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira, was there to look after them, his affection was more on the side of his hundred sons, headed by Duryodhana. Ultimately a colossal clique was fabricated to deprive the five fatherless brothers of the rightful claim of the kingdom of Hastināpura. There was great intrigue, common in imperial palaces, and the five brothers were exiled to the wilderness. But Bhīṣmadeva was always a sincerely sympathetic well-wisher, grandfather, friend and philosopher to Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira, even up to the last moment of his life.
Out of a loving desire to see the Lord, the royal ladies of the Kurus got up on top of the palace, and smiling with affection and shyness, they showered flowers upon the Lord.
Natural defensive measures are horses and elephants combined with chariots and men. Horses and elephants are trained to move to any part of the hills or forests and plains. The charioteers could fight with many horses and elephants by the strength of powerful arrows, even up to the standard of the brahmāstra (similar to modern atomic weapons). Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira knew well that Kṛṣṇa is everyone's friend and well-wisher, and yet there were asuras who were by nature envious of the Lord. So out of fear of attack from others and out of affection also, he engaged all varieties of defensive forces as bodyguards of Lord Kṛṣṇa. If required, Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself was sufficient to defend Himself from the attack of others who counted the Lord as their enemy, but still He accepted all the arrangements made by Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira because He could not disobey the King, who was His elder cousin.
The Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa is described herein as ātmārāma. He is self-sufficient, and there is no need for Him to seek happiness from anything beyond Himself. He is self-sufficient because His very transcendental existence is total bliss. He is eternally existent; He is all-cognizant and all-blissful. Therefore, any presentation, however valuable it may be, is not needed by Him. But still, because He is the well-wisher for one and all, He accepts from everyone everything that is offered to Him in pure devotional service. It is not that He is in want for such things, because the things are themselves generated from His energy. The comparison is made herein that making offerings to the Lord is something like offering a lamp in the worship of the sun-god. Anything fiery and illuminating is but an emanation of the energy of the sun, and yet to worship the sun-god it is necessary to offer him a lamp. In the worship of the sun, there is some sort of demand made by the worshiper, but in the case of devotional service to the Lord, there is no question of demand from either side. It is all a sign of pure love and affection between the Lord and the devotee.
They hastened toward the Lord on chariots with brāhmaṇas bearing flowers and other auspicious items. Before them were elephants, emblems of good fortune. Conchshells and bugles were sounded, and Vedic hymns were chanted. Thus they offered their respects, which were saturated with affection.
The Vedic way of receiving a great personality creates an atmosphere of respect, which is saturated with affection and veneration for the person received. The auspicious atmosphere of such a reception depends on the paraphernalia described above, including conchshells, flowers, incense, decorated elephants, and the qualified brāhmaṇas reciting verses from the Vedic literatures. Such a program of reception is full of sincerity, on the part of both the receiver and the received.
The mothers, after embracing their son, sat Him on their laps. Due to pure affection, milk sprang from their breasts. They were overwhelmed with delight, and the tears from their eyes wetted the Lord.
When Lord Kṛṣṇa was at Vṛndāvana even the cows would become moistened by affection towards Him, and He would draw milk from the nipples of every affectionate living being, so what to speak of the stepmothers who were already as good as His own mother.
Lord Śiva, who is considered to be most tolerant, was also struck by Cupid's arrow because he also became mad after the Mohinī incarnation of the Lord and acknowledged himself to be defeated. Cupid, however, was himself captivated by the grave and exciting dealings of the goddesses of fortune, and he voluntarily gave up his bow and arrow in a spirit of frustration. Such was the beauty and attraction of the queens of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Yet they could not disturb the transcendental senses of the Lord. This is because the Lord is all-perfect ātmārāma, or self-sufficient. He does not require anyone's extraneous help for His personal satisfaction. Therefore, the queens could not satisfy the Lord by their feminine attractiveness, but they satisfied Him by their sincere affection and service. Only by unalloyed transcendental loving service could they satisfy the Lord, and the Lord was pleased to treat them as wives in reciprocation. Thus being satisfied by their unalloyed service only, the Lord reciprocated the service just like a devout husband. Otherwise He had no business becoming the husband of so many wives. He is the husband of everyone, but to one who accepts Him as such, He reciprocates.
In the Vedas and Vedic literatures (śruti and smṛti) it is affirmed that in the Divinity there is no influence of the material modes. He is simply the transcendental (nirguṇa) witness, the supreme cognizant. Hari, or the Personality of Godhead, is the supreme transcendental person situated beyond the range of material affection. These statements are also confirmed even by Ācārya Śaṅkara. One may argue that His relation with the goddesses of fortune may be transcendental, but what about His relation with the Yadu dynasty, being born in that family, or His killing the nonbelievers like Jarāsandha and other asuras directly in contact with the modes of material nature. The answer is that the divinity of the Personality of Godhead is never in contact with the qualities of material nature in any circumstances.
During his student life he was entrusted to study under the great professor Droṇācārya, along with other Pāṇḍavas and the Kurus. But he excelled everyone by his studious intensity, and Droṇācārya was especially attracted by his disciplinary affection. Droṇācārya accepted him as a first-grade scholar and loved heartily to bestow upon him all the blessings of military science. He was so ardent a student that he used to practice bowmanship even at night, and for all these reasons Professor Droṇācārya was determined to make him the topmost bowman of the world. He passed very brilliantly the examination in piercing the target, and Droṇācārya was very pleased. Royal families at Maṇipur and Tripura are descendants of Arjuna's son Babhruvāhana.
Due to anxieties and long separation, they all cried out of affection. King Yudhiṣṭhira then arranged to offer sitting accommodations and a reception.
Thus Mahārāja Dhṛtarāṣṭra, the scion of the family of Ajamīḍha, firmly convinced by introspective knowledge (prajñā), broke at once the strong network of familial affection by his resolute determination. Thus he immediately left home to set out on the path of liberation, as directed by his younger brother Vidura.
Mahārāja Dhṛtarāṣṭra was tightly bound in a network of material affinities related to politics, economy and family attachment, and he did everything in his power to achieve so-called success in his planned projects, but he was frustrated from the beginning to the end so far as his material activities were concerned. And yet, despite his life of failure, he achieved the greatest of all success in self-realization by the forceful instructions of a pure devotee of the Lord, who is the typical emblem of a sādhu. The scriptures enjoin, therefore, that one should associate with sādhus only, rejecting all other kinds of association, and by doing so one will have ample opportunity to hear the sādhus, who can cut to pieces the bonds of illusory affection in the material world. It is a fact that the material world is a great illusion because everything appears to be a tangible reality but at the next moment evaporates like the dashing foam of the sea or a cloud in the sky. A cloud in the sky undoubtedly appears to be a reality because it rains, and due to rains so many temporary green things appear, but in the ultimate issue, everything disappears, namely the cloud, rain and green vegetation, all in due course. But the sky remains, and the varieties of sky or luminaries also remain forever. Similarly, the Absolute Truth, which is compared to the sky, remains eternally, and the temporary cloudlike illusion comes and goes away. Foolish living beings are attracted by the temporary cloud, but intelligent men are more concerned with the eternal sky with all its variegatedness.
O King, in all circumstances, whether you consider the soul to be an eternal principle, or the material body to be perishable, or everything to exist in the impersonal Absolute Truth, or everything to be an inexplicable combination of matter and spirit, feelings of separation are due only to illusory affection and nothing more.
On the banks at Saptasrota, Dhṛtarāṣṭra is now engaged in beginning aṣṭāṅga-yoga by bathing three times daily, in the morning, noon and evening, by performing the Agni-hotra sacrifice with fire and by drinking only water. This helps one control the mind and the senses and frees one completely from thoughts of familial affection.
By brahminical culture, the development of the dormant qualities of goodness, namely truthfulness, equanimity, sense control, forbearance, simplicity, general knowledge, transcendental knowledge, and firm faith in the Vedic wisdom, one can become a brāhmaṇa and thus see the Lord as He is. And after surpassing the brahminical perfection, one has to become a devotee of the Lord so that His loving affection in the form of proprietor, master, friend, son and lover can be transcendentally achieved. The stage of a devotee, which attracts the transcendental affection of the Lord, does not develop unless one has developed the qualities of a brāhmaṇa as above mentioned. The Lord is inclined to a brāhmaṇa of quality and not of false prestige. Those who are less than a brāhmaṇa by qualification cannot establish any relation with the Lord, just as fire cannot be kindled from the raw earth unless there is wood, although there is a relation between wood and the earth. Since the Lord is all-perfect in Himself, there could not be any question of His welfare, and Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira refrained from asking this question. He simply inquired about His residential place, Dvārakā Purī, where pious men assemble. The Lord stays only where pious men assemble and takes pleasure in their glorifying the Supreme Truth. Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira was anxious to know about the pious men and their pious acts in the city of Dvārakā.
Wherever the King visited, he continuously heard the glories of his great forefathers, who were all devotees of the Lord, and also of the glorious acts of Lord Kṛṣṇa. He also heard how he himself had been protected by the Lord from the powerful heat of the weapon of Aśvatthāmā. People also mentioned the great affection between the descendants of Vṛṣṇi and Pṛthā due to the latter's great devotion to Lord Keśava. The King, being very pleased with the singers of such glories, opened his eyes in great satisfaction. Out of magnanimity he was pleased to award them very valuable necklaces and clothing.
By the grace of the Lord, each and every planet is created fully equipped. So not only is this earth fully equipped with all the riches for the maintenance of its inhabitants, but also when the Lord descends on the earth the whole earth becomes so enriched with all kinds of opulences that even the denizens of heaven worship it with all affection. But by the will of the Lord, the whole earth can at once be changed. He can do and undo a thing by His sweet will. Therefore no one should consider himself to be self-sufficient or independent of the Lord.
As referred to above, philosophers like Jaimini and his followers establish that fruitive activity is the root cause of all distress and happiness, and that even if there is a superior authority, some superhuman powerful God or gods, He or they are also under the influence of fruitive activity because they reward result according to one's action. They say that action is not independent because action is performed by some performer; therefore, the performer himself is the cause of his own happiness or distress. In the Bhagavad-gītā (6.5) also it is confirmed that by one's mind, freed from material affection, one can deliver himself from the sufferings of material pangs. So one should not entangle oneself in matter by the mind's material affections. Thus one's own mind is one's friend or enemy in one's material happiness and distress.
The Supreme Lord never forgets His pure devotee, even though he may be engaged in so-called worldly affairs. Sometimes He creates an awkward situation, and the devotee becomes obliged to renounce all worldly affairs. The devotee can understand by the signal of the Lord, but others take it to be unfavorable and frustrating. Mahārāja Parīkṣit was to become the medium for the revelation of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam by Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, as his grandfather Arjuna was the medium for the Bhagavad-gītā. Had Arjuna not been taken up with an illusion of family affection by the will of the Lord, the Bhagavad-gītā would not have been spoken by the Lord Himself for the good of all concerned. Similarly, had Mahārāja Parīkṣit not been fatigued, hungry and thirsty at this time, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam would not have been spoken by Śrīla Śukadeva Gosvāmī, the prime authority of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. So this is a prelude to the circumstances under which Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam was spoken for the benefit of all concerned. The prelude, therefore, begins with the words "once upon a time."
A pure and exclusive devotee of the Lord serves his family interest more dexterously than others, who are attached to illusory family affairs. Generally people are attached to family matters, and the whole economic impetus of human society is moving under the influence of family affection. Such deluded persons have no information that one can render better service to the family by becoming a devotee of the Lord. The Lord gives special protection to the family members and descendants of a devotee, even though such members are themselves nondevotees! Mahārāja Prahlāda was a great devotee of the Lord, but his father, Hiraṇyakaśipu, was a great atheist and declared enemy of the Lord. But despite all this, Hiraṇyakaśipu was awarded salvation due to his being the father of Mahārāja Prahlāda. The Lord is so kind that he gives all protection to the family members of His devotee, and thus the devotee has no need to bother about his family members, even if one leaves such family members aside to discharge devotional service.
SB Canto 2
They say that the Vedic hymns are the cerebral passage of the Lord, and His jaws of teeth are Yama, god of death, who punishes the sinners. The art of affection is His set of teeth, and the most alluring illusory material energy is His smile. This great ocean of material creation is but the casting of His glance over us.
A householder attached to family life can easily give up such a life of sex indulgence if he has been trained in the principles of the life of a brahmacārī. A householder is recommended to quit home at the end of fifty years (pañcaśordhvaṁ vanaṁ vrajet) and live a life in the forest; then, being fully detached from family affection, he may accept the order of renunciation as a sannyāsī fully engaged in the service of the Lord. Any form of religious principles in which the followers are trained to pursue the vow of celibacy is good for the human being because only those who are trained in that way can end the miserable life of material existence. The principles of nirvāṇa, as recommended by Lord Buddha, are also meant for ending the miserable life of material existence. And this process, in the highest degree, is recommended here in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, with clear perception of ideal perfection, although basically there is no difference between the process of Buddhists, Śaṅkarites and Vaiṣṇavites.
The Lord accepted his prayer, and He gave Himself as the son of Atri. Such a relation of sonhood between the Lord and His pure devotees can be cited in many instances. And because the Lord is unlimited, He has an unlimited number of father-devotees. Factually the Lord is the father of all living entities, but out of transcendental affection and love between the Lord and His devotees, the Lord takes more pleasure in becoming the son of a devotee than in becoming one's father. The father actually serves the son, whereas the son only demands all sorts of services from the father; therefore a pure devotee who is always inclined to serve the Lord wants Him as the son, and not as the father. The Lord also accepts such service from the devotee, and thus the devotee becomes more than the Lord. The impersonalists desire to become one with the Supreme, but the devotee becomes more than the Lord, surpassing the desire of the greatest monist.
Out of many types of mystic performances for self-realization, the process of jaḍa-yoga is also one accepted by authorities. This jaḍa-yoga involves practicing becoming like a dumb stone and not being affected by material reactions. Just as a stone is indifferent to all kinds of attacks and reattacks of external situations, similarly one practices jaḍa-yoga by tolerating voluntary infliction of pain upon the material body. Such yogīs, out of many self-infliction methods, practice plucking out the hairs on their heads, without shaving and without any instrumental help. But the real purpose of such jaḍa-yoga practice is to get free from all material affection and to be completely situated in the self. At the last stage of his life, Emperor Ṛṣabhadeva wandered like a dumb madman, unaffected by all kinds of bodily mistreatment. Seeing him like a madman, wandering naked with long hair and a long beard, less intelligent children and men in the street used to spit on him and urinate on his body.
The Supreme Lord is the Supreme Soul of everything, and therefore in the supreme conception affection is realized. The conception of affection is due to the relationship of soul to soul. A father is affectionate to his son because there is some relationship of nearness between the son and the father. But that sort of affection in the material world is full of inebriety. When the Personality of Godhead is met, the fullness of affection becomes manifested because of the reality of the affectionate relationship. He is not the object of affection by material tinges of body and mind, but He is the full, naked, uncontaminated object of affection for all living entities because He is the Supersoul, or Paramātmā, within everyone's heart. In the liberated state of affairs, the full-fledged affection for the Lord is awakened.
By sincere efforts to hear Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam one realizes his constitutional relationship with the Lord in the transcendental humor of servitude, friendship, paternal affection or conjugal love, and by such self-realization one becomes situated at once in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. Not only were all the pure devotees like Nārada self-realized souls, but they were engaged in preaching work automatically by spiritual impetus, and thus they delivered many poor souls entangled in the material modes. They became so powerful because they sincerely followed the Bhāgavatam principles by regular hearing and worshiping. By such actions the accumulated material lusts, etc., become cleansed by the personal endeavor of the Lord within the heart. The Lord is always within the heart of the living being, but He becomes manifested by one's devotional service.
The example set herein is very appropriate. A traveler leaves home to search for wealth in far distant places, sometimes in the forest and sometimes on the ocean and sometimes on hilltops. Certainly there are many troubles for the traveler when he is in such unknown places. But all such troubles are at once mitigated as soon as the sense of his family affection is remembered, and as soon as he returns home he forgets all such troubles on the way.
The different positions of the living entities in the material world under multifarious manifestations of bodies are due to the misconception of "mine" and "I." The karmī thinks of this world as "mine," and the jñānī thinks "I am" everything. The whole material conception of politics, sociology, philanthropy, altruism, etc., conceived by the conditioned souls is on the basis of this misconceived "I" and "mine," which are products of a strong desire to enjoy material life. Identification with the body and the place where the body is obtained under different conceptions of socialism, nationalism, family affection, and so on and so forth is all due to forgetfulness of the real nature of the living entity, and the whole misconception of the bewildered living entity can be removed by the association of Śukadeva Gosvāmī and Mahārāja Parīkṣit, as all this is explained in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.
SB Canto 3
The nine different modes of devotional service, such as hearing, chanting and remembering, are the beginning of the process. By regular hearing of the glories and pastimes of the Lord, the impurities in the student's heart begin to be washed off. The more one is cleansed of impurities, the more one becomes fixed in devotional service. Gradually the activities take the forms of steadiness, firm faith, taste, realization and assimilation, one after another. These different stages of gradual development increase love of God to the highest stage, and in the highest stage there are still more symptoms, such as affection, anger and attachment, gradually rising in exceptional cases to the mahā-bhāva stage, which is generally not possible for the living entities. All these were manifested by Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the personification of love of God.
In His boyhood at Vṛndāvana, Lord Kṛṣṇa was notorious as a teasing friend in transcendental love to all the girls His age. His love for them was so intense that there is no comparison to that ecstasy, and the damsels of Vraja were so much attached to Him that their affection excelled that of the great demigods like Brahmā and Śiva. Lord Kṛṣṇa finally admitted His defeat before the transcendental affection of the gopīs and declared that He was unable to repay them for their unalloyed affection. Although the gopīs were seemingly anguished by the Lord's teasing behavior, when Kṛṣṇa would leave them they could not tolerate the separation and used to follow Him with their eyes and minds. They were so stunned by the situation that they could not finish their household duties. No one could excel Him even in the dealing of love exchanged between boys and girls.
It appears that Lord Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva were both very greatly afraid of Kaṁsa, and therefore They had to hide Themselves. But if Lord Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, how was it possible that They were afraid of Kaṁsa? Is there any contradiction in such statements? Vasudeva, due to his great appreciation for Kṛṣṇa, wanted to give Him protection. He never thought that Kṛṣṇa was the Supreme Lord and could protect Himself; he thought of Kṛṣṇa as his son. Because Vasudeva was a great devotee of the Lord, he did not like to think that Kṛṣṇa might be killed like his other children. Morally, Vasudeva was bound to deliver Kṛṣṇa to the hands of Kaṁsa because he had promised to turn over all his children. But out of his great love for Kṛṣṇa he broke his promise, and the Lord was very pleased with Vasudeva for his transcendental mentality. He did not want to disturb the intense affection of Vasudeva, and thus He agreed to be carried by His father to the house of Nanda and Yaśodā. And just to test the intense love of Vasudeva, Lord Kṛṣṇa fell down in the waters of the Yamunā while His father was crossing the river. Vasudeva became mad after his child as he tried to recover Him in the midst of the rising river.
The Lord's personal abode is called Goloka Vṛndāvana, and the abodes where His plenary expansions reside are called the Vaikuṇṭhas, where the Lord is present as Nārāyaṇa. Love of Godhead is dormant in every living entity, and the entire process of devotional service unto the Lord is meant for awakening this dormant, eternal love of Godhead. But there are degrees of such transcendental awakening. Those whose love of God is awakened to the fullest extent go back to the Goloka Vṛndāvana planet in the spiritual sky, whereas persons who have just awakened to love of Godhead by accident or association are transferred to the Vaikuṇṭha planets. Essentially there is no material difference between Goloka and Vaikuṇṭha, but in the Vaikuṇṭhas the Lord is served in unlimited opulence, whereas in Goloka the Lord is served in natural affection.
King Kaṁsa's death is only briefly described here because such pastimes are vividly and elaborately described in the Tenth Canto. The Lord proved to be a worthy son of His parents even at the age of sixteen years. Both brothers, Lord Kṛṣṇa and Lord Baladeva, went to Mathurā from Vṛndāvana and killed Their maternal uncle, who had given so much trouble to Their parents, Vasudeva and Devakī. Kaṁsa was a great giant, and Vasudeva and Devakī never thought that Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma (Baladeva) would be able to kill such a great and strong enemy. When the two brothers attacked Kaṁsa on the throne, Their parents feared that now Kaṁsa would finally get the opportunity to kill their sons, whom they had hidden for so long in the house of Nanda Mahārāja. The parents of the Lord, due to parental affection, felt extreme danger, and they almost fainted. Just to convince them that They had actually killed Kaṁsa, Kṛṣṇa and Baladeva pulled Kaṁsa's dead body along the ground to encourage them.
The Lord and His associates appear and disappear by the will of the Lord. They are not subjected to the laws of material nature. No one was able to kill the family of the Lord, nor was there any possibility of their natural death by the laws of nature. The only means, therefore, for their disappearance was the make-show of a fight amongst themselves, as if brawling in intoxication due to drinking. That so-called fighting would also take place by the will of the Lord, otherwise there would be no cause for their fighting. Just as Arjuna was made to be illusioned by family affection and thus the Bhagavad-gītā was spoken, so the Yadu dynasty was made to be intoxicated by the will of the Lord, and nothing more. The devotees and associates of the Lord are completely surrendered souls. Thus they are transcendental instruments in the hands of the Lord and can be used in any way the Lord desires. The pure devotees also enjoy such pastimes of the Lord because they want to see Him happy. Devotees of the Lord never assert independent individuality; on the contrary, they utilize their individuality in pursuit of the desires of the Lord, and this cooperation of the devotees with the Lord makes a perfect scene of the Lord's pastimes.
All the above-mentioned activities of the Yadus and Bhojas were executed by the internal potency of the Lord because He wanted them to be dispatched to their respective abodes after He had finished His mission of descent. They were all His sons and grandsons and were given complete protection by the paternal affection of the Lord. How they could be vanquished in the presence of the Lord is answered in this verse: everything was done by the Lord Himself (svātma-māyāyāḥ). The Lord's family members were either incarnations of His plenary expansions or demigods from the heavenly planets, and thus before His departure He separated them by His internal potency. Before being dispatched to their respective abodes, they were sent to the holy place of Prabhāsa, where they performed pious activities and took food and drink to their heart's content.
Uddhava said: O Vidura, when I was thus favored at every moment by the Supreme Personality of Godhead and addressed by Him with great affection, my words failed in tears, and the hairs on my body erupted. After smearing my tears, I, with folded hands, spoke like this.
While Uddhava, the chief and most confidential amongst the devotees of the Lord, was going away, Vidura, in affection and confidence, questioned him.
Who in human society can be satisfied without hearing sufficient talk of the Lord, whose lotus feet are the sum total of all places of pilgrimage and who is worshiped by great sages and devotees? Such topics can cut off one's bondage to family affection simply by entering the holes of one's ears.
Kṛṣṇa-kathā is so powerful that simply by entering into a person's ear it can at once give deliverance from the bondage of family affection. Family affection is an illusory manifestation of the external energy, and it is the only impetus for all mundane activities. As long as there is mundane activity and the mind is absorbed in such engagement, one has to undergo the repetition of birth and death in the current material nescience. People are most influenced by the mode of ignorance, and some are influenced by the passionate mode of material nature, and under the spell of these two modes a living being is actuated by the material conception of life. The mundane qualities do not allow a living entity to understand his real position. The qualities of both ignorance and passion strongly bind one to the illusory bodily conception of the self. The best among the fools who are thus deluded are those who engage in altruistic activities under the spell of the material mode of passion.
The miracles of meditating on the lotus feet of the Lord with eagerness and devotion are so great that no other process can compare to it. The minds of materialistic persons are so disturbed that it is almost impossible for them to search after the Supreme Truth by personal regulative endeavors. But even such materialistic men, with a little eagerness for hearing about the transcendental name, fame, qualities, etc., can surpass all other methods of attaining knowledge and detachment. The conditioned soul is attached to the bodily conception of the self, and therefore he is in ignorance. Culture of self-knowledge can bring about detachment from material affection, and without such detachment there is no meaning to knowledge. The most stubborn attachment for material enjoyment is sex life. One who is attached to sex life is to be understood as devoid of knowledge. Knowledge must be followed by detachment. That is the way of self-realization.
The impetus for lording it over material nature is the sense of "mine" and "I." "I am the lord of all that I survey. So many things I possess, and I shall possess more and more. Who can be richer than I in wealth and education? I am the master, and I am God. Who else is there but me?" All these ideas reflect the philosophy of ahaṁ mama, the conception that "I am everything." Persons conducted by such a conception of life can never get liberation from material bondage. But even a person perpetually condemned to the miseries of material existence can get relief from bondage if he simply agrees to hear only kṛṣṇa-kathā. In this age of Kali, the process of hearing kṛṣṇa-kathā is the most effective means to gain release from unwanted family affection and thus find permanent freedom in life. The age of Kali is full of sinful reactions, and people are more and more addicted to the qualities of this age, but simply by hearing and chanting of kṛṣṇa-kathā one is sure to go back to Godhead. Therefore, people should be trained to hear only kṛṣṇa-kathā—by all means—in order to get relief from all miseries.
All religious activities are meant ultimately to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Lord is the father of all religious principles. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (7.16), four kinds of pious men—the needy, the distressed, the enlightened and the inquisitive—approach the Lord in devotional service, and their devotion is mixed with material affection. But above them are the pure devotees, whose devotion is not tainted by any material tinges of fruitive work or speculative knowledge. Those who are only miscreants throughout their lives are compared to demons (BG 7.15). They are bereft of all knowledge, in spite of any academic educational career they may pursue. Such miscreants are never candidates for satisfying the Lord.
The four Kumāras, headed by Sanat-kumāra, who all knew the transcendental pastimes of the Lord, glorified the Lord in rhythmic accents with selected words full of affection and love. At that time Lord Saṅkarṣaṇa, with His thousands of raised hoods, began to radiate an effulgence from the glowing stones on His head.
The Lord is sometimes addressed as uttamaśloka, which means "one who is worshiped with selected words by devotees." A profusion of such selected words comes from a devotee who is fully absorbed in affection and love for the devotional service of the Lord. There are many instances in which even a small boy who was a great devotee of the Lord could offer excellent prayers in the choicest words for glorification of the pastimes of the Lord. In other words, without the development of fine affection and love, one cannot offer prayers to the Lord very suitably.
Pure devotees are not desirous of any material enjoyment, nor are they averse to it. They completely dovetail their desires with the desires of the Lord and perform nothing on their personal account. Arjuna is a good example. On his own sentiment, due to family affection, Arjuna did not want to fight, but finally, after hearing Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā, he agreed to fight in the interests of the Lord. Therefore, the Lord is very much satisfied with pure devotees because they do not act for sense gratification but only in terms of the Lord's desire. As Paramātmā, or Supersoul, He is situated in everyone's heart, always giving everyone the chance of good counsel. Thus everyone should take the opportunity and render transcendental loving service to Him wholly and solely.
The Supreme Lord, Puruṣottama, or Śrī Kṛṣṇa, is the maintainer of all, in both the transcendental and material worlds. He is the life and friend of all because there is eternally natural affection and love between the living entities and the Lord. He is the one friend and well-wisher for all, and He is one without a second. The Lord maintains all the living entities everywhere by His six transcendental opulences, for which He is known as bhagavān, or the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Lord Brahmā prayed for His mercy so that he might be able to create the universal affairs as he did before; only by the Lord's causeless mercy could he create both material and spiritual personalities like Marīci and Nārada respectively. Brahmā prayed to the Lord because He is very much dear to the surrendered soul. The surrendered soul knows nothing but the Lord, and therefore the Lord is very affectionate towards him.
In the matter of material creation, maintenance and destruction, there are three incarnations of the material modes of nature—Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśvara. But the Lord's incarnation as Viṣṇu, in His internal potency, is the supreme energy for the total activities. Brahmā, who is only an assistant in the modes of creation, wanted to remain in his actual position as an instrument of the Lord instead of becoming puffed up by the false prestige of thinking himself the creator. That is the way of becoming dear to the Supreme Lord and receiving His benediction. Foolish men want to take credit for all creations made by them, but intelligent persons know very well that not a blade of grass can move without the will of the Lord; thus all the credit for wonderful creations must go to Him. By spiritual consciousness only can one be free from the contamination of material affection and receive the benedictions offered by the Lord.
Every person engaged in the transcendental loving service of the Lord in this material world is prone to so many material activities, and if one is not strong enough to protect himself against the onslaught of material affection, he may be diverted from the spiritual energy. In the material creation Brahmā has to create all kinds of living entities with bodies suitable to their material conditions. Brahmā wants to be protected by the Lord because he has to contact many, many vicious living entities. An ordinary brāhmaṇa may fall from the brahma-tejas, or the power of brahminical excellence, due to his association with many fallen, conditioned souls. Brahmā, as the supermost brāhmaṇa, is afraid of such a falldown, and therefore he prays to the Lord for protection. This is a warning for one and all in the spiritual advancement of life.
Unless one is sufficiently protected by the Lord, he may fall down from his spiritual position; therefore one has to pray constantly to the Lord for protection and the blessing to carry out one's duty. Lord Caitanya also entrusted His missionary work to His devotees and assured them of His protection against the onslaught of material affection. The path of spiritual life is stated in the Vedas to be like the edge of a sharpened razor. A little inattentiveness may at once create havoc and bloodshed, but one who is a completely surrendered soul, always seeking protection from the Lord in the discharge of his entrusted duties, has no fear of falling into material contamination.
The fire kindled in wood is always the same, although the wood may be of different types. Similarly, the bodies within the material creation may be specifically different according to shape and quality, but the spirit souls within them are not different from one another. The quality of fire, warmth, is the same everywhere, and the spiritual spark, or part and parcel of the Supreme Spirit, is the same in every living being; thus the potency of the Lord is distributed all over His creation. This transcendental knowledge alone can save one from the contamination of material illusion. Since the Lord's potency is distributed everywhere, a pure soul, or devotee of the Lord, can see everything in relationship with the Lord, and therefore he has no affection for the outer coverings. That pure spiritual conception makes him immune to all contamination of material association. The pure devotee never forgets the touch of the Lord in all circumstances.
The conditioned souls, who do not have self-realization, accept the material body as the dearmost. The idea of the dearmost is then spread all over the body, both concentrated and extended. The attachment for one's own body and its extensions like children and relatives is actually developed on the basis of the real living entity. As soon as the real living entity is out of the body, even the body of the most dear son is no longer attractive. Therefore the living spark, or eternal part of the Supreme, is the real basis of affection, and not the body. Because the living entities are also parts of the whole living entity, that supreme living entity is the factual basis of affection for all.
Without possessing affection for the sun, the eyes cannot bear the rays of the sun; or, in other words, such eyes have no capacity to understand the utility of the sun's rays. Similarly, the empiric philosophers, despite their theoretical knowledge of Brahman, cannot utilize the mercy of the Supreme Brahman because they lack affection. So many impersonal philosophers remain everlastingly under the influence of māyā Because, although they indulge in theoretical knowledge of Brahman, they do not develop affection for Brahman nor do they have any scope for development of affection because of their defective method. A devotee of the sun-god, even though devoid of eyesight, can see the sun-god as he is even from this planet, whereas one who is not a devotee of the sun cannot even bear the glaring sunlight.
A devotee is attached to a particular form, and it is that form which he worships. We have just described the first appearance of the boar within this universe. There are innumerable universes, and somewhere or other the boar form is now existing. All the forms of the Lord are eternal. It is the devotee's inclination to worship a particular form, and he engages in devotional service to that form. In a verse in the Rāmāyaṇa, Hanumān, the great devotee of Rāma, said, "I know that there is no difference between the Sītā-Rāma and Lakṣmī-Nārāyaṇa forms of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but nevertheless, the form of Rāma and Sītā has absorbed my affection and love. Therefore I want to see the Lord in the forms of Rāma and Sītā." Similarly, the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava loves the forms of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa, and Kṛṣṇa and Rukmiṇī at Dvārakā.
Maitreya resumed: Sincerely extolled in these words, Lord Viṣṇu, shining very beautifully on the shoulders of Garuḍa, replied with words as sweet as nectar. His eyebrows moved gracefully as He looked at the sage with a smile full of affection.
The sound of the spiritual world is nectarean and eternal, whereas the sound of the material world is hackneyed and subject to end. The sound of the holy name—Hare Kṛṣṇa, Hare Kṛṣṇa, Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa, Hare Hare—everlastingly increases the enthusiasm of the chanter. If one repeats monotonous material words, he will feel exhausted, but if he chants Hare Kṛṣṇa twenty-four hours a day, he will never feel exhausted; rather, he will feel encouraged to continue chanting more and more. When the Lord replied to the sage Kardama, the word vacasāmṛtena is specifically mentioned, since He spoke from the transcendental world. He replied in transcendental words, and when He spoke His eyebrows moved with great affection. When a devotee praises the glories of the Lord, the Lord is very satisfied, and He bestows His transcendental benediction upon the devotee without reservation because He is always causelessly merciful toward His devotee.
The word amba is significant. A father sometimes addresses his daughter in affection as "mother" and sometimes as "my darling." The feeling of separation occurs because until the daughter is married she remains the daughter of the father, but after her marriage she is no longer claimed as a daughter in the family; she must go to the husband's house, for after marriage she becomes the property of the husband. According to Manu-saṁhitā, a woman is never independent. She must remain the property of the father while she is not married, and she must remain the property of the husband until she is elderly and has grown-up children of her own. In old age, when the husband has taken sannyāsa and left home, she remains the property of the sons.
Although Devahūti was a princess coming from a very great royal family, fortunately she was under the supervision of her great husband, Kardama Muni, who offered her the best gift which can be bestowed in human life—the grace of the Lord, or love of God. This grace of the Lord was achieved by Devahūti by the good will and satisfaction of her husband. She served her husband, who was a great devotee and saintly person, with great sincerity, love, affection and service, and Kardama Muni was satisfied. He willingly gave love of God, and he recommended that she accept it and enjoy it because he had already achieved it.
The explanation was given by Lord Ṛṣabha to His sons that this material world is an atmosphere of attraction between male and female. That attraction takes the shape of a knot in the heart, and by material affection it becomes still more tight. For people who hanker after material possessions, society, friendship and love, this knot of affection becomes very strong. It is only by brahma-bhāvana—the instruction by which spiritual knowledge is enhanced—that the knot in the heart is cut to pieces. No material weapon is needed to cut this knot, but it requires bona fide spiritual instruction. Kardama Muni instructed his wife, Devahūti, that the Lord would appear as her son and disseminate spiritual knowledge to cut the knot of material identification.
Lord Nṛsiṁha appeared from the pillar of Hiraṇyakaśipu's palace, Lord Varāha appeared from the nostril of Brahmā, and Lord Kapila appeared from the semen of Kardama, but this does not mean that the nostril of Brahmā or the pillar of Hiraṇyakaśipu's palace or the semen of Kardama Muni is the source of the appearance of the Lord. The Lord is always the Lord. Bhagavān madhusūdanaḥ—He is the killer of all kinds of demons, and He always remains the Lord, even if He appears as the son of a particular devotee. The word kārdamam is significant, for it indicates that the Lord had some devotional affection or relationship in devotional service with Kardama and Devahūti. But we should not mistakenly understand that He was born just like an ordinary living entity from the semen of Kardama Muni in the womb of Devahūti.
Thus he gradually became unaffected by the false ego of material identity and became free from material affection. Undisturbed, equal to everyone and without duality, he could indeed see himself also. His mind was turned inward and was perfectly calm, like an ocean unagitated by waves.
Family attraction is so strong that even if one is neglected by family members in his old age, he cannot give up family affection, and he remains at home just like a dog. In the Vedic way of life one has to give up family life when he is strong enough. It is advised that before getting too weak and being baffled in material activities, and before becoming diseased, one should give up family life and engage oneself completely in the service of the Lord for the remaining days of his life. It is enjoined, therefore, in the Vedic scriptures, that as soon as one passes fifty years of age, he must give up family life and live alone in the forest. After preparing himself fully, he should become a sannyāsī to distribute the knowledge of spiritual life to each and every home.
In Bhagavad-gītā it is said that at the time of death one will be absorbed in the thoughts which he cultivated during his lifetime. A person who had no other idea than to properly maintain his family members must have family affairs in his last thoughts. That is the natural sequence for a common man. The common man does not know the destiny of his life; he is simply busy in his flash of life, maintaining his family. At the last stage, no one is satisfied with how he has improved the family economic condition; everyone thinks that he could not provide sufficiently. Because of his deep family affection, he forgets his main duty of controlling the senses and improving his spiritual consciousness. Sometimes a dying man entrusts the family affairs to either his son or some relative, saying, "I am going. Please look after the family." He does not know where he is going, but even at the time of death he is anxious about how his family will be maintained.
Anyone who once meditates upon Me with faith and affection, who hears and chants about Me, surely goes back home, back to Godhead.
SB Canto 4
Those who are under the spell of the external energy accept this manifestation to be fact, whereas those who are advanced in spiritual realization know that it is illusion. Actual reality is elsewhere, in the spiritual world. "But as far as I am concerned," Sati said, "I do not have much knowledge about self-realization. I am poor because I do not know the actual facts. I am attracted by my birthplace, and I want to see it." One who has attraction for his birthplace, for his body, and for other such items mentioned in the Bhāgavatam is considered to be like an ass or a cow. Satī might have heard all this many times from her husband, Lord Śiva, but because she was a woman, yoṣit, she still hankered after the same material objects of affection. The word yoṣit means "one who is enjoyed." Therefore woman is called yoṣit. In spiritual advancement, association with yoṣit is always restricted because if one is like a play doll in the hands of yoṣit, then all his spiritual advancement is at once stopped. It is said, "Those who are just like playthings in the hands of a woman (yoṣit-krīḍā-mṛgeṣu) cannot make any advancement in spiritual realization."
Thereafter Satī left her husband, Lord Śiva, who had given her half his body due to affection. Breathing very heavily because of anger and bereavement, she went to the house of her father. This less intelligent act was due to her being a weak woman.
The mother and sisters of Satī could not follow the others, who did not receive Satī very well. Due to natural affection, they immediately embraced her with tears in their eyes and with loving feelings. This shows that women as a class are very softhearted; their natural affection and love cannot be checked by artificial means. Although the men present were very learned brāhmaṇas and demigods, they were afraid of their superior, Dakṣa, and because they knew that their welcoming Satī would displease him, although in their minds they wanted to receive her, they could not do so. Women are naturally softhearted, but men are sometimes very hardhearted.
Satī did not accept the greetings offered by her sisters and mother, for she was not at all satisfied by her father's silence. Satī was the youngest child of Dakṣa, and she knew that she was his pet. But now, because of her association with Lord Śiva, Dakṣa forgot all his affection for his daughter, and this very much aggrieved her. The material bodily conception is so polluted that even upon slight provocation all our relationships of love and affection are nullified. Bodily relationships are so transient that even though one is affectionate towards someone in a bodily relationship, a slight provocation terminates this intimacy.
The demigods saw Lord Śiva situated in his perfection as the master of the senses, knowledge, fruitive activities and the path of achieving perfection. He was the friend of the entire world, and by virtue of his full affection for everyone, he was very auspicious.
Although the polestar existed before its occupation by Dhruva Mahārāja, it had no predominating deity. Dhruvaloka, our polestar, is the center for all other stars and solar systems, for all of them circle around Dhruvaloka just as a bull crushes grains by walking around and around a central pole. Dhruva wanted the best of all planets, and although it was a childish prayer, the Lord satisfied his demand. A small child may demand something from his father which his father has never given to anyone else, yet out of affection the father offers it to the child; similarly, this unique planet, Dhruvaloka, was offered to Mahārāja Dhruva. The specific significance of this planet is that until the entire universe is annihilated this planet will remain, even during the devastation which takes place during the night of Lord Brahmā. There are two kinds of dissolutions, one during the night of Lord Brahmā and one at the end of Lord Brahmā's life. At the end of Brahmā's life, selected personalities go back home, back to Godhead.
Upon seeing Dhruva Mahārāja approaching the neighboring small forest, King Uttānapāda with great haste got down from his chariot. He had been very anxious for a long time to see his son Dhruva, and therefore with great love and affection he went forward to embrace his long-lost boy. Breathing very heavily, the King embraced him with both arms. But Dhruva Mahārāja was not the same as before; he was completely sanctified by spiritual advancement due to having been touched by the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
The two brothers Uttama and Dhruva Mahārāja also exchanged their tears. They were overwhelmed by the ecstasy of love and affection, and when they embraced one another, the hair on their bodies stood up.
Thus as Dhruva Mahārāja passed on the road, from every place in the neighborhood all the gentle household ladies assembled to see him, and out of maternal affection they offered their blessings, showering him with white mustard seed, barley, curd, water, newly grown grass, fruits and flowers. In this way Dhruva Mahārāja, while hearing the pleasing songs sung by the ladies, entered the palace of his father.
A devotee, who is already liberated, does not see differentiation in terms of the outward body; he sees all living entities as spirit souls, eternal servants of the Lord. Dhruva Mahārāja was advised by Lord Manu to see with that vision. He was specifically advised to do so because he was a great devotee and should not have looked upon other living entities with ordinary vision. Indirectly Manu pointed out to Dhruva Mahārāja that out of material affection Dhruva thought of his brother as his kin and the Yakṣas as his enemies. Such observation of differentiation subsides as soon as one is situated in his original position as an eternal servant of the Lord.
The great sage Maitreya continued: When King Pṛthu was thus advised by the supreme teacher, Lord Brahmā, he abandoned his eagerness to perform yajñas and with great affection concluded a peace with King Indra.
Lord Viṣṇu told King Pṛthu: My dear King, the constant change of this material world is due to the interaction of the three modes of material nature. The five elements, the senses, the demigods who control the senses, as well as the mind, which is agitated by the spirit soul—all these taken together comprise the body. Since the spirit soul is completely different from this combination of gross and subtle material elements, My devotee who is connected with Me in intense friendship and affection, being completely in knowledge, is never agitated by material happiness and distress.
In his bodily beauty he was just like Cupid, and in his thoughtfulness he was like a lion. In his affection he was just like Svāyambhuva Manu, and in his ability to control he was like Lord Brahmā.
According to Vedic civilization, domestic animals and servants are treated exactly like one's own children. Animals and children are sometimes punished not out of vengeance but out of love. Similarly, a master sometimes punishes his servant, not out of vengeance but out of love, to correct him and bring him to the right point. Thus King Purañjana took his punishment dealt by his wife, the Queen, as mercy upon him. He considered himself the most obedient servant of the Queen. She was angry at him for his sinful activities—namely, hunting in the forest and leaving her at home. King Purañjana accepted the punishment as actual love and affection from his wife. In the same way, when a person is punished by the laws of nature, by the will of God, he should not be disturbed. A real devotee thinks in this way. When a devotee is put into an awkward position, he takes it as the mercy of the Supreme Lord.
My dear wife, until this day I have never seen your face without tilaka decorations, nor have I seen you so morose and without luster or affection. Nor have I seen your two nice breasts wet with tears from your eyes. Nor have I ever before seen your lips, which are ordinarily as red as the bimba fruit, without their reddish hue.
"I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, the first progenitor, who is tending the cows, yielding all desires, in abodes built with spiritual gems and surrounded by millions of purpose trees. He is always served with great reverence and affection by hundreds of thousands of lakṣmīs, or gopīs." Because this prayer was offered by Lord Brahmā, we follow him by reciting this prayer. That is the easiest way to satisfy the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The pure devotee never attempts to reach the Supreme Lord directly. The most important way to worship the Lord is to go through the disciplic succession of devotees. The prayers offered by Lord Śiva to the Supreme Personality of Godhead were thus repeated by the Pracetās, who were thus very successful in pleasing the Supreme Lord.
SB Canto 5
In this chapter, the character of Mahārāja Āgnīdhra is described. When Mahārāja Priyavrata went off for spiritual realization, his son Āgnīdhra became the ruler of Jambūdvīpa, in accordance with Mahārāja Priyavrata's instructions, and maintained its residents with the same affection a father feels for his sons. Once Mahārāja Āgnīdhra desired to have a son, and therefore he entered a cave of Mandara Mountain to practice austerity. Understanding his desire, Lord Brahmā sent a celestial girl named Pūrvacitti to Āgnīdhra's hermitage. After dressing herself very attractively, she presented herself before him with various feminine movements, and Āgnīdhra was naturally attracted to her. The girl's actions, expressions, smile, sweet words and moving eyes were fascinating to him. Āgnīdhra was expert in flattery. Thus he attracted the celestial girl, who was pleased to accept him as her husband because of his mellifluous words. She enjoyed royal happiness with Āgnīdhra for many years before returning to her abode in the heavenly planets. In her womb Āgnīdhra begot nine sons-Nābhi, Kiṁpuruṣa, Harivarṣa, Ilāvṛta, Ramyaka, Hiraṇmaya, Kuru, Bhadrāśva and Ketumāla.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead has nothing to do with material perception. Even the impersonalist Śaṅkarācārya says. nārāyaṇaḥ paro 'vyaktāt: "Nārāyaṇa. the Supreme Personality of Godhead, is beyond the material conception." We cannot concoct the form and attributes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. We must simply accept the description given in Vedic literatures about the Lord's form and activities. As stated in Brahma-saṁhitā (5.29):
- cintāmaṇi-prakara-sadmasu kalpa-vṛkṣa-
- lakṣāvṛteṣu surabhīr abhipālayantam
- govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
"I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, the first progenitor, who is tending the cows, yielding all desires, in abodes built with spiritual gems and surrounded by millions of purpose trees. He is always served with great reverence and affection by hundreds and thousands of goddesses of fortune." We can have some conception of the Absolute Truth, His form and His attributes simply by reading the descriptions given in Vedic literatures and authoritative statements given by exalted personalities like Brahmā, Nārada, Śukadeva Gosvāmī and others.
Due to getting a perfect son according to his desire, King Nābhi was always overwhelmed with transcendental bliss and was very affectionate to his son. It was with ecstasy and a faltering voice that he addressed Him, "My dear son, my darling." This mentality was brought about by yogamāyā, whereby he accepted the Supreme Lord, the supreme father, as his own son. Out of His supreme good will, the Lord became his son and dealt with everyone as if He were an ordinary human being. Thus King Nābhi began to raise his transcendental son with great affection, and he was overwhelmed with transcendental bliss, joy and devotion.
No one likes to possess anything that is like a will-o'-the-wisp or a flower in the sky, for everyone knows very well that such things do not exist. When Lord Ṛṣabhadeva ruled this planet of Bhāratavarṣa, even common men did not want to ask for anything, at any time or by any means. No one ever asks for a will-o'-the-wisp. In other words, everyone was completely satisfied, and therefore there was no chance of anyone's asking for anything. The people were absorbed in great affection for the King. Since this affection was always expanding, they were not inclined to ask for anything.
The Lord always exists in different transcendental forms. As stated in Brahma-saṁhitā (5.39):
- rāmādi-mūrtiṣu kalā-niyamena tiṣṭhan
- nānāvatāram akarod bhuvaneṣu kintu
- kṛṣṇaḥ svayaṁ samabhavat paramaḥ pumān yo
- govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
The Lord is situated as Himself, Lord Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and He is accompanied by His expansions like Lord Rāma, Baladeva, Saṅkarṣaṇa, Nārāyaṇa, Mahā-viṣṇu and so forth. The devotees worship all these forms according to their liking, and the Lord, out of His affection, presents Himself as arcā-vigraha. He sometimes presents Himself personally before the devotee out of reciprocation or affection. A devotee is always fully surrendered to the loving service of the Lord, and the Lord is visible to the devotee according to the devotee's desires. He may be present in the form of Lord Rāma, Lord Kṛṣṇa, Lord Nṛsiṁha-deva and so on. Such is the exchange of love between the Lord and His devotees.
Due to attachment for the deer, Mahārāja Bharata lay down with it, walked about with it, bathed with it and even ate with it. Thus his heart became bound to the deer in affection.
How Mahārāja Bharata increased his affection for the deer is described herein. Even such an exalted personality as Bharata Mahārāja, who had attained loving affection for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, fell down from his position due to his affection for some animal. Consequently, as will be seen, he had to accept the body of a deer in his next life. Since this was the case with Bharata Mahārāja, what can we say of those who are not advanced in spiritual life but who become attached to cats and dogs? Due to their affection for their cats and dogs, they have to take the same bodily forms in the next life unless they clearly increase their affection and love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Unless we increase our faith in the Supreme Lord, we shall be attracted to many other things. That is the cause of our material bondage.
When entering the forest, the animal would appear very attractive to Mahārāja Bharata due to its childish behavior. Mahārāja Bharata would even take the deer on his shoulders and carry it due to affection. His heart was so filled with great love for the deer that he would sometimes keep it on his lap or, when sleeping, on his chest. In this way he felt great pleasure in fondling the animal.
Mahārāja Bharata left his home, wife, children, kingdom and everything else to advance his spiritual life in the forest, but again he fell victim to material affection due to his attachment to an insignificant pet deer. What, then, was the use of his renouncing his family? One who is serious in advancing his spiritual life should be very cautious not to become attached to anything but Kṛṣṇa. Sometimes, in order to preach, we have to accept many material activities, but we should remember that everything is for Kṛṣṇa. If we remember this, there is no chance of our being victimized by material activities.
Because his attraction for the deer was so intense, Bharata Mahārāja could not concentrate upon worshiping the Lord or performing his ritualistic ceremonies. Even though he was engaged in worshiping the Deity, his mind was restless due to his inordinate affection. While trying to meditate, he would simply think of the deer, wondering where it had gone. In other words, if one's mind is distracted from worship, a mere show of worship will not be of any benefit. The fact that Bharata Mahārāja had to get up at intervals to look for the deer was simply a sign that he had fallen down from the spiritual platform.
Out of strong affection, the King accepted the small deer as if it were a prince. This is called moha. Due to his anxiety over the deer's absence, the King addressed the animal as though it were his son. Out of affection, anyone can be addressed as anything.
Due to ignorance of the real existence of the Lord, the conditioned soul imagines many things. Influenced by fruitive activity, he comes together with his relatives, fathers, sons and grandfathers, exactly as straws gather together in a moving stream. In a moment the straws are thrown everywhere, and they lose contact. In conditional life, the living entity is temporarily with many other conditioned souls. They gather together as family members, and the material affection is so strong that even after a father or grandfather passes away, one takes pleasure in thinking that they return to the family in different forms. Sometimes this may happen, but in any case the conditioned soul likes to take pleasure in such concocted thoughts.
Jayadeva Gosvāmī's ten prayers worshiping the incarnations of Lord Kṛṣṇa (Keśava) contain His name in every stanza. For example, keśava dhṛta-nara-hari-rūpa jaya jagad-īśa hare, keśava dhṛta-mīna-śarīra jaya jagad-īśa hare, and keśava dhṛta-vāmana-rūpa jaya jagad-īśa hare. The word jagad-īśa refers to the proprietor of all the universes. His original form is the two-handed form of Lord Kṛṣṇa, standing with a flute in His hands and engaged in tending the cows. As stated in Brahma-saṁhitā:
- cintāmaṇi-prakara-sadmasu kalpa-vṛkṣa-
- lakṣāvṛteṣu surabhīr abhipālayantam
- govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi
- (Bs. 5.29)
"I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, the first progenitor, who is tending the cows, yielding all desires, in abodes built with spiritual gems and surrounded by millions of purpose trees. He is always served with great reverence and affection by hundreds and thousands of goddesses of fortune." From this verse we learn that Govinda, or Kṛṣṇa, is the ādi-puruṣa (the original person). The Lord has innumerable incarnations, exactly like the innumerable waves of a flowing river, but the original form is Kṛṣṇa, or Keśava.
The word māyāmayam used in this verse should not be understood according to the interpretations of the Māyāvādīs. Māyā means affection as well as illusion. When a mother deals with her child affectionately, she is called māyāmaya. In whatever form the Supreme Lord Viṣṇu appears, He is always affectionate toward His devotees. Thus the word māyāmayam is used here to mean "very affectionate toward the devotees." Śrīla Jīva Gosvāmī writes in this regard that māyāmayam can also mean kṛpā-pracuram, deeply merciful. Similarly, Śrīla Vīrarāghava says, māyā-pracuranātmīya-saṅkalpena parigṛhītam ity arthaḥ jñāna-paryāyo'tra māyā-śabdaḥ: when one is very affectionate due to an intimate relationship, one is described as māyāmaya. Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura explains māyāmayam by dividing it into the words māyā and āmayam. He explains these words to indicate that because the living entity is covered by the disease of illusion, the Lord is always eager to deliver His devotee from the clutches of māyā and cure him of the disease caused by the illusory energy.
SB Canto 6
A king or governmental official should be so well qualified that he acts as a father, maintainer and protector of the citizens because of affection and love. He should give the citizens good advice and instructions according to the standard scriptures and should be equal to everyone. Yamarāja does this, for he is the supreme master of justice, and so do those who follow in his footsteps. However, if such persons become polluted and exhibit partiality by punishing an innocent, blameless person, where will the citizens go to take shelter for their maintenance and security?
The Lord, who is situated in everyone's heart, is so kind that if one has ever rendered service to Him, the Lord never forgets him. Thus the Lord, from within, gave Ajāmila the opportunity to name his youngest son Nārāyaṇa so that in affection he would constantly call "Nārāyaṇa! Nārāyaṇa!" and thus be saved from the most fearful and dangerous condition at the time of his death. Such is the mercy of Kṛṣṇa. Guru-kṛṣṇa-prasāde pāya bhakti-latā-bīja: (CC Madhya 19.151) by the mercy of the guru and Kṛṣṇa, one receives the seed of bhakti. This association saves a devotee from the greatest fear. In our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement we therefore change a devotee's name to a form that reminds him of Viṣṇu. If at the time of death the devotee can remember his own name, such as Kṛṣṇadāsa or Govinda dāsa, he can be saved from the greatest danger. Therefore the change of names at the time of initiation is essential. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement is so meticulous that it gives one a good opportunity to remember Kṛṣṇa somehow or other.
Nārada Muni encouraged Prajāpati Dakṣa's second group of sons by awakening their natural affinity for their brothers. He urged them to follow their older brothers if they were at all affectionate toward them. Family affection is very strong, and therefore Nārada Muni followed this tactic of reminding them of their family relationship with the Haryaśvas. Generally the word nigama refers to the Vedas, but here nigama refers to the instructions contained in the Vedas. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam says, nigama-kalpa-taror galitaṁ phalam: (SB 1.1.3) the Vedic instructions are like a tree, of which Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the ripened fruit. Nārada Muni is engaged in distributing this fruit, and therefore he instructed Vyāsadeva to write this Mahā-Purāṇa, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, for the benefit of ignorant human society.
When the Aśvinī-kumāras beg for Dadhyañca's body on your behalf, he will surely give it because of affection. Do not doubt this, for Dadhyañca is very experienced in religious understanding. When Dadhyañca awards you his body, Viśvakarmā will prepare a thunderbolt from his bones. This thunderbolt will certainly kill Vṛtrāsura because it will be invested with My power.
Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī said: After hearing Mahārāja Parīkṣit's very intelligent question, Śukadeva Gosvāmī, the most powerful sage, began answering his disciple with great affection.
My Lord, You may say that there is no law that a father must die in the lifetime of his son and that a son must be born in the lifetime of his father, since everyone lives and dies according to his own fruitive activity. However, if fruitive activity is so strong that birth and death depend upon it, there is no need of a controller, or God. Again, if You say that a controller is needed because the material energy does not have the power to act, one may answer that if the bonds of affection You have created are disturbed by fruitive action, no one will raise children with affection; instead, everyone will cruelly neglect his children. Since You have cut the bonds of affection that compel a parent to raise his child, You appear inexperienced and unintelligent.
Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued: When the conditioned soul (jīva) in the form of Mahārāja Citraketu's son had spoken in this way and then left, Citraketu and the other relatives of the dead son were all astonished. Thus they cut off the shackles of their affection, which was due to their relationship with him, and gave up their lamentation.
After the relatives had discharged their duties by performing the proper funeral ceremonies and burning the dead child's body, they gave up the affection that leads to illusion, lamentation, fear and pain. Such affection is undoubtedly difficult to give up, but they gave it up very easily.
If one simply engages in Kṛṣṇa consciousness to understand Kṛṣṇa, he surely becomes immune to the process of repeated birth and death. As clearly stated in Bhagavad-gītā, tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti: (BG 4.9) such a person, simply by engaging in Kṛṣṇa consciousness or understanding the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, becomes quite fit to return home, back to Godhead. Even those who are obsessed with material desires may also come to worship the Supreme Personality of Godhead so steadily that they go back to Godhead. The fact is that if one comes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness, although he may have many material desires, he becomes increasingly attracted to the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa through associating with the Supreme Lord by chanting His holy name. The Supreme Lord and His holy name are identical. Thus he becomes uninterested in attachment to material enjoyment. The perfection of life is to be uninterested in material enjoyment and interested in Kṛṣṇa. If one comes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness somehow or other, even for material gain, the result is that he will be liberated. Kāmād dveṣād bhayāt snehāt. Whether for the satisfaction of material desires, because of the influence of envy, because of fear, because of affection or because of any other reason, if one comes to Kṛṣṇa, his life is successful.