Being thus deputed, the great sage Bhṛgu Muni first of all went to his father’s residence in Brahmaloka. The three deities are the controllers of the three material qualities, namely the qualities of goodness, passion and ignorance. The plan decided upon by the sages was for Bhṛgu to test which one of the predominating deities possesses the quality of goodness in full. Therefore, when Bhṛgu Muni reached his father, Lord Brahmā, because Bhṛgu wanted to test whether Brahmā had the quality of goodness, he purposely did not offer his respects to his father, either by offering obeisances or by offering prayers. It is the duty of a son or a disciple to offer respects and recite suitable prayers when he approaches his father or spiritual master. But Bhṛgu Muni purposely failed to offer respects, just to see Lord Brahmā’s reaction to this negligence. Lord Brahmā was very angry at his son’s impudence, and he showed signs which definitely proved this to be so. He was even prepared to condemn Bhṛgu by cursing him, but because Bhṛgu was his son, Lord Brahmā controlled his anger with his great intelligence. This means that although the quality of passion was prominent in Lord Brahmā, he had the power to control it. Lord Brahmā’s anger and his controlling his anger are likened to fire and water. Water is produced from fire at the beginning of creation, but fire can be extinguished with water. Similarly, although Lord Brahmā was very angry due to his quality of passion, he could still control his passion because Bhṛgu Muni was his son.
After testing Lord Brahmā, Bhṛgu Muni went directly to the Mount Kailāsa, where Lord Śiva resides. Bhṛgu Muni happened to be Lord Śiva’s brother. Therefore, as soon as Bhṛgu Muni approached, Lord Śiva was very glad and personally rose to embrace him. But when Lord Śiva approached, Bhṛgu Muni refused to embrace him. “My dear brother,” he said, “you are always very impure. Because you smear your body with ashes, you are not very clean. Please do not touch me.” When Bhṛgu Muni refused to embrace his brother, saying that Lord Śiva was impure, the latter became very angry with him. It is said that an offense can be committed either with the body, with the mind or by speech. Bhṛgu Muni’s first offense, committed toward Lord Brahmā, was an offense with the mind. His second offense, committed toward Lord Śiva by insulting him, criticizing him for unclean habits, was an offense by speech. Because the quality of ignorance is prominent in Lord Śiva, when he heard Bhṛgu’s insult his eyes immediately became red with anger. With uncontrollable rage, he took up his trident and prepared to kill Bhṛgu Muni. At that time Lord Śiva’s wife, Pārvatī, was present. Her personality, like Lord Śiva’s, is a mixture of the three qualities, and therefore she is called Triguṇamayī. In this case, she saved the situation by evoking Lord Śiva’s quality of goodness. She fell down at the feet of her husband, and with her sweet words she talked him out of killing Bhṛgu Muni.
After being saved from the anger of Lord Śiva, Bhṛgu Muni went directly to the planet Śvetadvīpa, where Lord Viṣṇu was lying on a bed of flowers in the company of His wife, the goddess of fortune, who was engaged in massaging His lotus feet. There Bhṛgu Muni purposely committed the greatest sin by offending Lord Viṣṇu by his bodily activities. The first offense committed by Bhṛgu Muni was mental, the second offense was vocal, and the third offense was corporal. These different offenses are progressively greater in degree. An offense committed within the mind is a positive offense, the same offense committed verbally is comparatively more grave, and when committed by bodily action it is superlative in offensiveness. So Bhṛgu Muni committed the greatest offense by kicking the chest of the Lord with his foot in the presence of the goddess of fortune. Of course, Lord Viṣṇu is all-merciful. He did not become angry at the activities of Bhṛgu Muni, for Bhṛgu Muni was a great brāhmaṇa. A brāhmaṇa is to be excused even if he sometimes commits an offense, and Lord Viṣṇu set the example. Yet it is said that from the time of this incident the goddess of fortune, Lakṣmī, has not been very favorably disposed toward the brāhmaṇas, and therefore, because the goddess of fortune withholds her benedictions from them, the brāhmaṇas are generally very poor. Bhṛgu Muni’s kicking the chest of Lord Viṣṇu with his foot was certainly a great offense, but Lord Viṣṇu is so great that He did not care. The so-called brāhmaṇas of the Kali-yuga are sometimes very proud that a great brāhmaṇa like Bhṛgu Muni could touch the chest of Lord Viṣṇu with his foot. But in fact when Bhṛgu Muni kicked the chest of Lord Viṣṇu it was the greatest offense, although Lord Viṣṇu, being greatly magnanimous, did not take it very seriously.