Śrīmad Bhāgavatam|Canto 10 Chapter 89
Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna Retrieve a Brāhmaṇa’s Sons
sarasvatyās taṭe rājann
ṛṣayaḥ satram āsata
vitarkaḥ samabhūt teṣāṁ
triṣv adhīśeṣu ko mahān
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca — Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; sarasvatyāḥ — of the river Sarasvatī; taṭe — on the bank; rājan — O King (Parīkṣit); ṛṣayaḥ — sages; satram — a Vedic sacrifice; āsata — were performing; vitarkaḥ — a disagreement; samabhūt — arose; teṣām — among them; triṣu — among the three; adhīśeṣu — chief lords; kaḥ — who; mahān — the greatest.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: Once, O King, as a group of sages were performing a Vedic sacrifice on the banks of the Sarasvatī River, a controversy arose among them as to which of the three chief deities is supreme.
tasya jijñāsayā te vai
bhṛguṁ brahma-sutaṁ nṛpa
taj-jñaptyai preṣayām āsuḥ
so ’bhjagād brahmaṇaḥ sabhām
tasya — about this; jijñāsayā — with the desire of knowing; te — they; vai — indeed; bhṛgum — Bhṛgu Muni; brahma-sutam — son of Brahmā; nṛpa — O King; tat — this; jñaptyai — to find out; preṣayām āsuḥ — they sent; saḥ — he; abhyagāt — went; brahmaṇaḥ — of Lord Brahmā; sabhām — to the court.
Eager to resolve this question, O King, the sages sent Lord Brahmā’s son Bhṛgu to find the answer. First he went to his father’s court.
na tasmai prahvaṇaṁ stotraṁ
tasmai cukrodha bhagavān
prajvalan svena tejasā
na — not; tasmai — to him (Brahmā); prahvaṇam — bowing down; stotram — recitation of prayers; cakre — made; sattva — his situation in the mode of goodness; parīkṣayā — with the aim of testing; tasmai — at him; cukrodha — became angry; bhagavān — the lord; prajvalan — becoming inflamed; svena — with his own; tejasā — passion.
To test how well Lord Brahmā was situated in the mode of goodness, Bhṛgu failed to bow down to him or glorify him with prayers. The lord became angry at him, inflamed into fury by his own passion.
sa ātmany utthitam manyum
aśīśamad yathā vahniṁ
saḥ — he; ātmani — within himself; utthitam — risen; manyum — anger; ātma-jāya — toward his son; ātmanā — by his own intelligence; prabhuḥ — the lord; aśīśamat — subdued; yathā — just as; vahnim — fire; sva — itself; yonyā — whose origin; vāriṇā — by water; ātma-bhūḥ — self-born Brahmā.
Though anger toward his son was now rising within his heart, Lord Brahmā was able to subdue it by applying his intelligence, in the same way that fire is extinguished by its own product, water.
tataḥ kailāsam agamat
sa taṁ devo maheśvaraḥ
utthāya bhrātaraṁ mudā
tataḥ — then; kailāsam — to Mount Kailāsa; agamat — went; saḥ — he (Bhṛgu); tam — him; devaḥ mahā-īśvaraḥ — Lord Śiva; parirabdhum — to embrace; samārebhe — attempted; utthāya — standing up; bhrātaram — his brother; mudā — with pleasure.
Bhṛgu then went to Mount Kailāsa. There Lord Śiva stood up and happily came forward to embrace his brother.
naicchat tvam asy utpatha-ga
iti devaś cukopa ha
śūlam udyamya taṁ hantum
patitvā pādayor devī
sāntvayām āsa taṁ girā
atho jagāma vaikuṇṭhaṁ
yatra devo janārdanaḥ
na aicchat — he did not desire this (embrace); tvam — you; asi — are; utpatha-gaḥ — a transgressor of the path (of religion); iti — so saying; devaḥ — the lord (Śiva); cukopa ha — became angry; śūlam — his trident; udyamya — raising; tam — him (Bhṛgu); hantum — to kill; ārebhe — was about; tigma — fierce; locanaḥ — whose eyes; patitvā — falling; pādayoḥ — at (Lord Śiva’s) feet; devī — Goddess Devī; sāntvayām āsa — pacified; tam — him; girā — with words; atha u — then; jagāma — (Bhṛgu) went; vaikuṇṭham — to the spiritual planet of Vaikuṇṭha; yatra — where; devaḥ janārdanaḥ — Lord Janārdana (Viṣṇu).
But Bhṛgu refused his embrace, telling him, “You are a deviant heretic.” At this Lord Śiva became angry, and his eyes burned ferociously. He raised his trident and was about to kill Bhṛgu when Goddess Devī fell at his feet and spoke some words to pacify him. Bhṛgu then left that place and went to Vaikuṇṭha, where Lord Janārdana resides.
śayānaṁ śriya utsaṅge
padā vakṣasy atāḍayat
tata utthāya bhagavān
saha lakṣmyā satāṁ gatiḥ
nanāma śirasā munim
āha te svāgataṁ brahman
ajānatām āgatān vaḥ
kṣantum arhatha naḥ prabho
śayānam — who was lying down; śriyaḥ — of the goddess of fortune; utsaṅge — on the lap; padā — with his foot; vakṣasi — on His chest; atāḍayat — he kicked; tataḥ — then; utthāya — standing up; bhagavān — the Personality of Godhead; saha lakṣmyā — together with Goddess Lakṣmī; satām — of pure devotees; gatiḥ — the destination; sva — His; talpāt — from the bed; avaruhya — climbing down; atha — then; nanāma — He bowed down; śirasā — with His head; munim — to the sage; āha — He said; te — to you; su-āgatam — welcome; brahman — O brāhmaṇa; niṣīda — please sit; atra — in this; āsane — seat; kṣaṇam — for a moment; ajānatām — who were unaware; āgatān — arrived; vaḥ — of you; kṣantum — forgive; arhatha — you should please; naḥ — us; prabho — O master.
There he went up to the Supreme Lord, who was lying with His head on the lap of His consort, Śrī, and kicked Him on the chest. The Lord then rose, along with Goddess Lakṣmī, as a sign of respect. Coming down from His bedstead, that supreme goal of all pure devotees bowed His head to the floor before the sage and told him, ‘Welcome, brāhmaṇa. Please sit in this chair and rest awhile. Kindly forgive us, dear master, for not noticing your arrival.’
punīhi saha-lokaṁ māṁ
loka-pālāṁś ca mad-gatān
adyāhaṁ bhagavaḻ lakṣmyā
vatsyaty urasi me bhūtir
punīhi — please purify; saha — along with; lokam — My planet; mām — Me; loka — of various planets; pālān — the rulers; ca — and; mat-gatān — who are devoted to Me; pāda — (which has washed) the feet; udakena — by the water; bhavataḥ — of your good self; tīrthānām — of holy places of pilgrimage; tīrtha — their sacredness; kāriṇā — which creates; adya — today; aham — I; bhagavan — O My lord; lakṣmyāḥ — of Lakṣmī; āsam — have become; eka-anta — exclusive; bhājanam — the shelter; vatsyati — will reside; urasi — on the chest; me — My; bhūtiḥ — the goddess of fortune; bhavat — your; pāda — by the foot; hata — eradicated; aṁhasaḥ — whose sinful reactions.
“Please purify Me, My realm and the realms of the universal rulers devoted to Me by giving us the water that has washed your feet. This holy water is indeed what makes all places of pilgrimage sacred. Today, my lord, I have become the exclusive shelter of the goddess of fortune, Lakṣmī; she will consent to reside on My chest because your foot has rid it of sins.”
evaṁ bruvāṇe vaikuṇṭhe
bhṛgus tan-mandrayā girā
nirvṛtas tarpitas tūṣṇīṁ
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca — Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; evam — in this way; bruvāṇe — having spoken; vaikuṇṭhe — Lord Viṣṇu; bhṛguḥ — Bhṛgu; tat — His; mandrayā — solemn; girā — by the words; nirvṛtaḥ — delighted; tarpitaḥ — gratified; tūṣṇīm — was silent; bhakti — with devotion; utkaṇṭhaḥ — overwhelmed; aśru — tears; locanaḥ — in whose eyes.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: Bhṛgu felt satisfied and delighted to hear the solemn words spoken by Lord Vaikuṇṭha. Overwhelmed with devotional ecstasy, he remained silent, his eyes brimming with tears.
punaś ca satram āvrajya
rājan bhṛgur avarṇayat
punaḥ — again; ca — and; satram — to the sacrifice; āvrajya — going; munīnām — of the sages; brahma-vādinām — who were expert in knowledge of the Vedas; sva — by himself; anubhūtam — experienced; aśeṣeṇa — in full; rājan — O King (Parīkṣit); bhṛguḥ — Bhṛgu; avarṇayat — described.
O King, Bhṛgu then returned to the sacrificial arena of the wise Vedic authorities and described his entire experience to them.
tan niśamyātha munayo
bhūyāṁsaṁ śraddadhur viṣṇuṁ
yataḥ śāntir yato ’bhayam
dharmaḥ sākṣād yato jñānaṁ
vairāgyaṁ ca tad-anvitam
aiśvaryaṁ cāṣṭadhā yasmād
yam āhuḥ paramāṁ gatim
sattvaṁ yasya priyā mūrtir
brāhmaṇās tv iṣṭa-devatāḥ
bhajanty anāśiṣaḥ śāntā
yaṁ vā nipuṇa-buddhayaḥ
tat — this; niśamya — hearing; atha — then; munayaḥ — the sages; vismitāḥ — amazed; mukta — freed; saṁśayāḥ — from their doubts; bhūyāṁsam — as the greatest; śraddadhuḥ — they put their faith; viṣṇum — in Lord Viṣṇu; yataḥ — from whom; śāntiḥ — peace; yataḥ — from whom; abhayam — fearlessness; dharmaḥ — religion; sākṣāt — in its direct manifestations; yataḥ — from whom; jñānam — knowledge; vairāgyam — detachment; ca — and; tat — it (knowledge); anvitam — including; aiśvaryam — the mystic power (gained by practice of yoga); ca — and; aṣṭadhā — eightfold; yasmāt — from whom; yaśaḥ — His fame; ca — also; ātma — of the mind; mala — the contamination; apaham — which eradicates; munīnām — of the sages; nyasta — who have given up; daṇḍānām — violence; śāntānām — peaceful; sama — equipoised; cetasām — whose minds; akiñcanānām — selfless; sādhūnām — saintly; yam — whom; āhuḥ — they call; paramām — the supreme; gatim — destination; sattvam — the mode of goodness; yasya — whose; priyā — favorite; mūrtiḥ — embodiment; brāhmaṇāḥ — brāhmaṇas; tu — and; iṣṭa — worshiped; devatāḥ — deities; bhajanti — they worship; anāśiṣaḥ — without ulterior desires; śāntāḥ — those who have attained spiritual peace; yam — whom; vā — indeed; nipuṇa — expert; buddhayaḥ — whose faculties of intelligence.
Amazed upon hearing Bhṛgu’s account, the sages were freed from all doubts and became convinced that Viṣṇu is the greatest Lord. From Him come peace; fearlessness; the essential principles of religion; detachment with knowledge; the eightfold powers of mystic yoga; and His glorification, which cleanses the mind of all impurities. He is known as the supreme destination for those who are peaceful and equipoised — the selfless, wise saints who have given up all violence. His most dear form is that of pure goodness, and the brāhmaṇas are His worshipable deities. Persons of keen intellect who have attained spiritual peace worship Him without selfish motives.
rākṣasā asurāḥ surāḥ
guṇinyā māyayā sṛṣṭāḥ
sattvaṁ tat tīrtha-sādhanam
tri-vidha — of three kinds; ākṛtayaḥ — forms; tasya — of His; rākṣasāḥ — the ignorant spirits; asurāḥ — the demons; surāḥ — and the demigods; guṇinyāḥ — qualified by the material modes; māyayā — by His material energy; sṛṣṭāḥ — created; sattvam — the mode of goodness; tat — among them; tīrtha — of success in life; sādhanam — the means of attainment.
The Lord expands into three kinds of manifest beings — the Rākṣasas, the demons and the demigods — all of whom are created by the Lord’s material energy and conditioned by her modes. But among these three modes, it is the mode of goodness which is the means of attaining life’s final success.
itthaṁ sārasvatā viprā
sevayā tad-gatiṁ gatāḥ
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca — Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; ittham — in this way; sārasvatāḥ — living along the Sarasvatī River; viprāḥ — the learned brāhmaṇas; nṛṇām — of people in general; saṁśaya — the doubts; nuttaye — to dispel; puruṣasya — of the Supreme Person; pada-ambhoja — of the lotus feet; sevayā — by service; tat — His; gatim — destination; gataḥ — attained.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: The learned brāhmaṇas living along the river Sarasvatī came to this conclusion in order to dispel the doubts of all people. Thereafter they rendered devotional service to the Supreme Lord’s lotus feet and attained His abode.
ity etan muni-tanayāsya-padma-gandha
pīyūṣaṁ bhava-bhaya-bhit parasya puṁsaḥ
su-ślokaṁ śravaṇa-puṭaiḥ pibaty abhīkṣṇam
pāntho ’dhva-bhramaṇa-pariśramaṁ jahāti
śrī-sūtaḥ uvāca — Śrī Suta said; iti — thus spoken; etat — this; muni — of the sage (Vyāsadeva); tanaya — of the son (Śukadeva); āsya — from the mouth; padma — (which is just like) a lotus; gandha — with the fragrance; pīyūṣam — the nectar; bhava — of material life; bhaya — fear; bhit — which shatters; parasya — of the supreme; puṁsaḥ — Personality of Godhead; su-ślokam — glorious; śravaṇa — of the ears; puṭaiḥ — through the cavities; pibati — drinks; abhīkṣṇam — constantly; pānthaḥ — a traveler; adhva — on the road; bhramaṇa — from his wandering; pariśramam — the fatigue; jahāti — gives up.
Śrī Sūta Gosvāmī said: Thus did this fragrant nectar flow from the lotus mouth of Śukadeva Gosvāmī, the son of the sage Vyāsadeva. This wonderful glorification of the Supreme Person destroys all fear of material existence. A traveler who constantly drinks this nectar through his ear-holes will forget the fatigue brought on by wandering along the paths of worldly life.
ekadā dvāravatyāṁ tu
jāta-mātro bhuvaṁ spṛṣṭvā
mamāra kila bhārata
śrī-śukaḥ uvāca — Śukadeva Gosvāmī said; ekadā — once; dvāravatyām — in Dvārakā; tu — and; vipra — a brāhmaṇa’s; patnyāḥ — of the wife; kumārakaḥ — the infant son; jāta — born; mātraḥ — only; bhuvam — the ground; spṛṣṭvā — touching; mamāra — died; kila — indeed; bhārata — O descendant of Bharata (Parīkṣit Mahārāja).
Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: Once, in Dvārakā, a brāhmaṇa’s wife gave birth to a son, but the newborn infant died as soon as he touched the ground, O Bhārata.
vipro gṛhītvā mṛtakaṁ
rāja-dvāry upadhāya saḥ
idaṁ provāca vilapann
vipraḥ — the brāhmaṇa; gṛhītvā — taking; mṛtakam — the corpse; rāja — of the King (Ugrasena); dvāri — at the door; upadhāya — presenting it; saḥ — he; idam — this; provāca — said; vilapan — lamenting; āturaḥ — agitated; dīna — depressed; mānasaḥ — whose mind.
The brāhmaṇa took the corpse and placed it at the door of King Ugrasena’s court. Then, agitated and lamenting miserably, he spoke the following.
pañcatvaṁ me gato ’rbhakaḥ
brahma — against brāhmaṇas; dviṣaḥ — hateful; śaṭha — duplicitous; dhiyaḥ — whose mentality; lubdhasya — avaricious; viṣaya-ātmanaḥ — addicted to sense gratification; kṣatra-bandhoḥ — of an unqualified kṣatriya; karma — in the performance of duties; doṣāt — because of discrepancies; pañcatvam — death; me — my; gataḥ — met; arbhakaḥ — son.
[The brāhmaṇa said:] This duplicitous, greedy enemy of brāhmaṇas, this unqualified ruler addicted to sense pleasure, has caused my son’s death by some discrepancies in the execution of his duties.
prajā bhajantyaḥ sīdanti
hiṁsā — violence; vihāram — whose sport; nṛ-patim — this King; duḥśīlam — wicked; ajita — unconquered; indriyam — whose senses; prajāḥ — the citizens; bhajantyaḥ — serving; sīdanti — suffer distress; daridrāḥ — poverty-stricken; nitya — always; duḥkhitāḥ — unhappy.
Citizens serving such a wicked king, who takes pleasure in violence and cannot control his senses, are doomed to suffer poverty and constant misery.
evaṁ dvitīyaṁ viprarṣis
tṛtīyaṁ tv evam eva ca
visṛjya sa nṛpa-dvāri
tāṁ gāthāṁ samagāyata
evam — in the same manner; dvitīyam — a second time; vipra-ṛṣiḥ — the wise brāhmaṇa; tṛtīyam — a third time; tu — and; evam eva ca — just the same way; visṛjya — leaving (his dead son); saḥ — he; nṛpa-dvāri — at the King’s door; tām — the same; gāthām — song; samagāyata — he sang.
The wise brāhmaṇa suffered the same tragedy with his second and third child. Each time, he left the body of his dead son at the King’s door and sang the same song of lamentation.
tām arjuna upaśrutya
parete navame bāle
kiṁ svid brahmaṁs tvan-nivāse
iha nāsti dhanur-dharaḥ
rājanya-bandhur ete vai
brāhmaṇāḥ satram āsate
tām — that (lamentation); arjunaḥ — Arjuna; upaśrutya — happening to hear; karhicit — once; keśava — of Lord Kṛṣṇa; antike — in the proximity; parete — having died; navame — the ninth; bāle — child; brāhmaṇam — to the brāhmaṇa; samabhāṣata — he said; kim svit — whether; brahman — O brāhmaṇa; tvat — your; nivāse — at the home; iha — here; na asti — there is not; dhanuḥ-dharaḥ — holding his bow in his hand; rājanya-bandhuḥ — a fallen member of the royal order; ete — these (kṣatriyas); vaḥ — indeed; brāhmaṇāḥ — (like) brāhmaṇas; satre — at a major fire sacrifice; āsate — are present.
When the ninth child died, Arjuna, who was near Lord Keśava, happened to overhear the brāhmaṇa lamenting. Thus Arjuna addressed the brāhmaṇa: “What is the matter, my dear brāhmaṇa? Isn’t there some lowly member of the royal order here who can at least stand before your house with a bow in his hand? These kṣatriyas are behaving as if they were brāhmaṇas idly engaged in fire sacrifices.
yatra śocanti brāhmaṇāḥ
te vai rājanya-veṣeṇa
naṭā jīvanty asum-bharāḥ
dhana — from wealth; dāra — wives; ātmaja — and children; apṛktāḥ — separated; yatra — in which (situation); śocanti — lament; brāhmaṇāḥ — brāhmaṇas; te — they; vai — indeed; rājanya-veṣeṇa — disguised as kings; naṭāḥ — actors; jīvanti — they live; asum-bharāḥ — earning their own livelihood.
“The rulers of a kingdom in which brāhmaṇas lament over lost wealth, wives and children are merely imposters playing the role of kings just to earn their livelihood.
ahaṁ prajāḥ vāṁ bhagavan
rakṣiṣye dīnayor iha
aham — I; prajāḥ — the offspring; vām — of you two (you and your wife); bhagavan — O lord; rakṣiṣye — will protect; dīnayoḥ — who are wretched; iha — in this matter; anistīrṇa — failing to fulfill; pratijñaḥ — my promise; agnim — fire; pravekṣye — I will enter; hata — destroyed; kalmaṣaḥ — whose contamination.
“My lord, I will protect the progeny of you and your wife, who are in such distress. And if I fail to keep this promise, I will enter fire to atone for my sin.”
pradyumno dhanvināṁ varaḥ
na trātuṁ śaknuvanti yat
tat kathaṁ nu bhavān karma
tvaṁ cikīrṣasi bāliśyāt
tan na śraddadhmahe vayam
śrī-brāhmaṇaḥ uvāca — the brāhmaṇa said; saṅkarṣaṇaḥ — Lord Saṅkarṣaṇa (Balarāma); vāsudevaḥ — Lord Vāsudeva (Kṛṣṇa); pradyumnaḥ — Pradyumna; dhanvinām — of bowmen; varaḥ — the greatest; aniruddhaḥ — Aniruddha; aprati-rathaḥ — unrivaled as a chariot fighter; na — not; trātum — to save; śaknuvanti — were able; yat — inasmuch; tat — thus; katham — why; nu — indeed; bhavān — you; karma — feat; duṣkaram — impossible to be performed; jagat — of the universe; īśvaraiḥ — by the Lords; tvam — you; cikīrṣasi — intend to do; bāliśyāt — out of naivete; tat — therefore; na śraddadhmahe — do not believe; vayam — we.
The brāhmaṇa said: Neither Saṅkarṣaṇa; Vāsudeva; Pradyumna, the best of bowmen; nor the unequaled warrior Aniruddha could save my sons. Then why do you naively attempt a feat that the almighty Lords of the universe could not perform? We cannot take you seriously.
nāhaṁ saṅkarṣaṇo brahman
na kṛṣṇaḥ kārṣṇir eva ca
ahaṁ vā arjuno nāma
gāṇḍīvaṁ yasya vai dhanuḥ
śrī-arjunaḥ uvāca — Śrī Arjuna said; na — not; aham — I; saṅkarṣaṇaḥ — Lord Balarāma; brahman — O brāhmaṇa; na — not; kṛṣṇaḥ — Lord Kṛṣṇa; kārṣṇiḥ — a descendant of Lord Kṛṣṇa; eva ca — even; aham — I; vai — indeed; arjunaḥ nāma — the one known as Arjuna; gāṇḍīvam — Gāṇḍīva; yasya — whose; vai — indeed; dhanuḥ — bow.
Śrī Arjuna said: I am neither Lord Saṅkarṣaṇa, O brāhmaṇa, nor Lord Kṛṣṇa, nor even Kṛṣṇa’s son. Rather, I am Arjuna, wielder of the Gāṇḍīva bow.
māvamaṁsthā mama brahman
mṛtyuṁ vijitya pradhane
āneṣye te prajāḥ prabho
mā avamaṁsthāḥ — do not belittle; mama — my; brahman — O brāhmaṇa; vīryam — prowess; tri-ambaka — Lord Śiva; toṣaṇam — which satisfied; mṛtyum — death personified; vijitya — defeating; pradhane — in battle; āneṣye — I will bring back; te — your; prajāḥ — children; prabho — O master.
Do not minimize my ability, which was good enough to satisfy Lord Śiva, O brāhmaṇa. I will bring back your sons, dear master, even if I have to defeat Death himself in battle.
evaṁ viśrambhito vipraḥ
jagāma sva-gṛhaṁ prītaḥ
evam — thus; viśrambhitaḥ — given faith; vipraḥ — the brāhmaṇa; phālgunena — by Arjuna; param — of enemies; tapa — O tormentor (Parīkṣit Mahārāja); jagāma — he went; sva — to his own; gṛham — house; prītaḥ — satisfied; pārtha — of the son of Pṛthā; vīryam — of the prowess; niśāmayan — hearing.
Thus convinced by Arjuna, O tormentor of enemies, the brāhmaṇa went home, satisfied by having heard Arjuna’s declaration of his prowess.
pāhi pāhi prajāṁ mṛtyor
ity āhārjunam āturaḥ
prasūti — of giving birth; kāle — the time; āsanne — being imminent; bhāryāyāḥ — of his wife; dvija — the brāhmaṇa; sat-tamaḥ — most elevated; pāhi — please save; pāhi — please save; prajām — my child; mṛtyoḥ — from death; iti — thus; āha — he said; arjunam — to Arjuna; āturaḥ — distraught.
When the wife of the elevated brāhmaṇa was again about to give birth, he went to Arjuna in great anxiety and begged him, “Please, please protect my child from death!”
sa upaspṛśya śucy ambho
divyāny astrāṇi saṁsmṛtya
sajyaṁ gāṇḍīvam ādade
saḥ — he (Arjuna); upaspṛśya — touching; śuci — pure; ambhaḥ — water; namaḥ-kṛtya — offering obeisances; mahā-īśvaram — to Lord Śiva; divyāni — celestial; astrāṇi — his missile weapons; saṁsmṛtya — remembering; sajyam — the bowstring; gāṇḍīvam — to his bow Gāṇḍīva; ādade — he fixed.
After touching pure water, offering obeisances to Lord Maheśvara and recollecting the mantras for his celestial weapons, Arjuna strung his bow Gāṇḍīva.
tiryag ūrdhvam adhaḥ pārthaś
nyaruṇat — he enveloped; sūtikā-āgāram — the house where the birth was taking place; śaraiḥ — with arrows; nānā — various; astra — to missiles; yojitaiḥ — attached; tiryak — horizontally; ūrdhvam — upwards; adhaḥ — downwards; pārthaḥ — Arjuna; cakāra — made; śara — of arrows; pañjaram — a cage.
Arjuna fenced in the house where the birth was taking place by shooting arrows attached to various missiles. Thus the son of Pṛthā constructed a protective cage of arrows, covering the house upwards, downwards and sideways.
tataḥ kumāraḥ sañjāto
vipra-patnyā rudan muhuḥ
sadyo ’darśanam āpede
tataḥ — then; kumāraḥ — the infant; sañjātaḥ — born; vipra — the brāhmaṇa’s; patnyāḥ — of the wife; rudan — crying; muhuḥ — for some time; sadyaḥ — suddenly; adarśanam āpede — he disappeared; sa — along with; śarīraḥ — his body; vihāyasā — through the sky.
The brāhmaṇa’s wife then gave birth, but after the newborn infant had been crying for a short time, he suddenly vanished into the sky in his selfsame body.
tadāha vipro vijayaṁ
mauḍhyaṁ paśyata me yo ’haṁ
tadā — then; āha — said; vipraḥ — the brāhmaṇa; vijayam — to Arjuna; vinindan — criticizing; kṛṣṇa-sannidhau — in the presence of Lord Kṛṣṇa; mauḍhyam — foolishness; paśyata — just see; me — my; yaḥ — who; aham — I; śraddadhe — trusted; klība — of an impotent eunuch; katthanam — the boasting.
The brāhmaṇa then derided Arjuna in front of Lord Kṛṣṇa: “Just see how foolish I was to put my faith in the bragging of a eunuch!
na pradyumno nāniruddho
na rāmo na ca keśavaḥ
yasya śekuḥ paritrātuṁ
ko ’nyas tad-aviteśvaraḥ
na — not; pradyumnaḥ — Pradyumna; na — not; aniruddhaḥ — Aniruddha; na — not; rāmaḥ — Balarāma; na — not; ca — also; keśavaḥ — Kṛṣṇa; yasya — whose (infants); śekuḥ — were able; paritrātum — to save; kaḥ — who; anyaḥ — else; tat — in this situation; avitā — as a protector; īśvaraḥ — capable.
“When neither Pradyumna, Aniruddha, Rāma nor Keśava can save a person, who else can possibly protect him?
dhig arjunaṁ mṛṣā-vādaṁ
dhig ātma-ślāghino dhanuḥ
daivopasṛṣṭaṁ yo mauḍhyād
dhik — damnation; arjunam — on Arjuna; mṛṣā — false; vādam — whose speech; dhik — damnation; ātma — of himself; ślāghinaḥ — of the glorifier; dhanuḥ — on the bow; daiva — by fate; upasṛṣṭam — taken; yaḥ — who; mauḍhyāt — out of delusion; āninīṣati — intends to bring back; durmatiḥ — unintelligent.
“To hell with that liar Arjuna! To hell with that braggart’s bow! He is so foolish that he has deluded himself into thinking he can bring back a person whom destiny has taken away.”
evaṁ śapati viprarṣau
vidyām āsthāya phālgunaḥ
yayau saṁyamanīm āśu
yatrāste bhagavān yamaḥ
evam — thus; śapati — as he cursed him; vipra-ṛṣau — the wise brāhmaṇa; vidyām — a mystic incantation; āsthāya — resorting to; phālgunaḥ — Arjuna; yayau — went; saṁyamanīm — to the heavenly city Saṁyamanī; asu — immediately; yatra — where; āste — lives; bhagavān yamaḥ — Lord Yamarāja.
While the wise brāhmaṇa continued to heap insults upon him, Arjuna employed a mystic incantation to go at once to Saṁyamanī, the city of heaven where Lord Yamarāja resides.
tata aindrīm agāt purīm
āgneyīṁ nairṛtīṁ saumyāṁ
vāyavyāṁ vāruṇīm atha
dhiṣṇyāny anyāny udāyudhaḥ
agniṁ vivikṣuḥ kṛṣṇena
vipra — of the brāhmaṇa; apatyam — the child; acakṣāṇaḥ — not seeing; tataḥ — from there; aindrīm — of Lord Indra; agāt — he went; purīm — to the city; āgneyīm — the city of the fire-god; nairṛtīm — the city of the subordinate god of death (Nirṛti, who is distinct from Lord Yama); saumyam — the city of the moon-god; vāyavyām — the city of the wind-god; vāruṇīm — the city of the god of the waters; atha — then; rasātalam — the subterranean region; nāka-pṛṣṭham — the roof of heaven; dhiṣṇyāni — domains; anyāni — others; udāyudhaḥ — with weapons held ready; tataḥ — from them; alabdha — failing to obtain; dvija — of the brāhmaṇa; sutaḥ — the son; hi — indeed; anistīrṇa — not having fulfilled; pratiśrutaḥ — what he had promised; agnim — fire; vivikṣuḥ — about to enter; kṛṣṇena — by Lord Kṛṣṇa; pratyuktaḥ — opposed; pratiṣedhatā — who was trying to convince him to desist.
Not seeing the brāhmaṇa’s child there, Arjuna went to the cities of Indra, Agni, Nirṛti, Soma, Vāyu and Varuṇa. With weapons at the ready he searched through all the domains of the universe, from the bottom of the subterranean region to the roof of heaven. Finally, not having found the brāhmaṇa’s son anywhere, Arjuna decided to enter the sacred fire, having failed to keep his promise. But just as he was about to do so, Lord Kṛṣṇa stopped him and spoke the following words.
darśaye dvija-sūnūṁs te
ye te naḥ kīrtiṁ vimalāṁ
darśaye — I will show; dvija — of the brāhmaṇa; sūnūn — the sons; te — to you; mā — please do not; avajña — belittle; ātmānam — yourself; ātmanā — by your mind; ye — who; te — these (critics); naḥ — of us both; kīrtim — the fame; vimalām — spotless; manuṣyāḥ — men; sthāpayiṣyanti — are going to establish.
[Lord Kṛṣṇa said:] I will show you the brāhmaṇa’s sons, so please don’t despise yourself like this. These same men who now criticize us will soon establish our spotless fame.
iti sambhāṣya bhagavān
divyaṁ sva-ratham āsthāya
pratīcīṁ diśam āviśat
iti — thus; sambhāṣya — conferring; bhagavān — the Personality of Godhead; arjunena saha — with Arjuna; īśvaraḥ — the Supreme Lord; divyam — divine; sva — His; ratham — chariot; āsthāya — mounting; pratīcīm — western; diśam — the direction; āviśat — He entered.
Having thus advised Arjuna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead had Arjuna join Him on His divine chariot, and together they set off toward the west.
sapta dvīpān sa-sindhūṁś ca
sapta sapta girīn atha
viveśa su-mahat tamaḥ
sapta — seven; dvīpān — islands; sa — with; sindhūn — their oceans; ca — and; sapta sapta — seven each; girīn — mountains; atha — then; loka-alokam — the mountain range separating light from darkness; tathā — also; atītya — crossing; viveśa — He entered; su-mahat — vast; tamaḥ — darkness.
The Lord’s chariot passed over the seven islands of the middle universe, each with its ocean and its seven principal mountains. Then it crossed the Lokāloka boundary and entered the vast region of total darkness.
tān dṛṣṭvā bhagavān kṛṣṇo
sva-cakraṁ prāhiṇot puraḥ
tatra — at that place; aśvāḥ — the horses; śaibya-sugrīva-meghapuṣpa-balāhakāḥ — named Śaibya, Sugrīva, Meghapuṣpa and Balāhaka; tamasi — in the darkness; bhraṣṭa — having lost; gatayaḥ — their way; babhūvuḥ — became; bharata-ṛṣabha — O best of the Bhāratas; tān — them; dṛṣṭvā — seeing; bhagavān — the Personality of Godhead; kṛṣṇaḥ — Kṛṣṇa; mahā — supreme; yoga-īśvara — of masters of yoga; īśvaraḥ — the master; sahasra — a thousand; āditya — suns; saṅkāśam — comparable to; sva — His personal; cakram — disc weapon; prāhiṇot — sent; puraḥ — in front.
In that darkness the chariot’s horses — Śaibya, Sugrīva, Meghapuṣpa and Balāhaka — lost their way. Seeing them in this condition, O best of the Bhāratas, Lord Kṛṣṇa, the supreme master of all masters of yoga, sent His Sudarśana disc before the chariot. That disc shone like thousands of suns.
tamaḥ su-ghoraṁ gahanaṁ kṛtaṁ mahad
vidārayad bhūri-tareṇa rociṣā
mano-javaṁ nirviviśe sudarśanaṁ
guṇa-cyuto rāma-śaro yathā camūḥ
tamaḥ — the darkness; su — very; ghoram — fearsome; gahanam — dense; kṛtam — a manifestation of the material creation; mahat — immense; vidārayat — cutting through; bhūri-tareṇa — extremely extensive; rociṣā — with its effulgence; manaḥ — of the mind; javam — having the speed; nirviviśe — entered; sudarśanam — the Sudarśana disc; guṇa — from His bowstring; cyutaḥ — shot; rāma — of Lord Rāmacandra; śaraḥ — an arrow; yathā — as if; camūḥ — at an army.
The Lord’s Sudarśana disc penetrated the darkness with its blazing effulgence. Racing forward with the speed of the mind, it cut through the fearsome, dense oblivion expanded from primeval matter, as an arrow shot from Lord Rāma’s bow cuts through His enemy’s army.
dvāreṇa cakrānupathena tat tamaḥ
paraṁ paraṁ jyotir ananta-pāram
samaśnuvānaṁ prasamīkṣya phālgunaḥ
pratāḍitākṣo pidadhe ’kṣiṇī ubhe
dvāreṇa — by the path; cakra — the Sudarśana disc; anupathena — following; tat — that; tamaḥ — darkness; param — beyond; param — transcendental; jyotiḥ — light; ananta — unlimited; pāram — whose expanse; samaśnuvānam — all-pervasive; prasamīkṣya — beholding; phālgunaḥ — Arjuna; pratāḍita — pained; akṣaḥ — whose eyes; apidadhe — he closed; akṣiṇī — his eyes; ubhe — both.
Following the Sudarśana disc, the chariot went beyond the darkness and reached the endless spiritual light of the all pervasive brahmajyoti. As Arjuna beheld this glaring effulgence, his eyes hurt, and so he shut them.
tataḥ praviṣṭaḥ salilaṁ nabhasvatā
tatrādbhutaṁ vai bhavanaṁ dyumat-tamaṁ bhrājan-maṇi-stambha-sahasra-śobhitam
tataḥ — from that; praviṣṭaḥ — entered; salilam — water; nabhasvatā — by wind; balīyasā — mighty; ejat — made to move about; bṛhat — huge; ūrmi — waves; bhūṣaṇam — whose ornaments; tatra — therein; adbhutam — wondrous; vai — indeed; bhavanam — abode; dyumat-tamam — supremely effulgent; bhrājat — brilliantly shining; maṇi — with gems; stambha — of columns; sahasra — with thousands; śobhitam — made beautiful.
From that region they entered a body of water resplendent with huge waves being churned by a mighty wind. Within that ocean Arjuna saw an amazing palace more radiant than anything he had ever seen before. Its beauty was enhanced by thousands of ornamental pillars bedecked with brilliant gems.
tasmin mahā-bhogam anantam adbhutaṁ
tasmin — there; mahā — huge; bhogam — a serpent; anantam — Lord Ananta; adbhutam — amazing; sahasra — thousand; mūrdhanya — on His heads; phaṇā — upon the hoods; maṇi — of the gems; dyubhiḥ — with the rays of effulgence; vibhrājamānam — shining; dvi — twice; guṇa — as many; īkṣaṇa — whose eyes; ulbaṇam — frightening; sita — white; acala — the mountain (namely Kailāsa); ābham — whose resemblance; śiti — dark blue; kaṇṭha — whose necks; jihvam — and tongues.
In that palace was the huge, awe-inspiring serpent Ananta Śeṣa. He shone brilliantly with the radiance emanating from the gems on His thousands of hoods and reflecting from twice as many fearsome eyes. He resembled white Mount Kailāsa, and His necks and tongues were dark blue.
dadarśa tad-bhoga-sukhāsanaṁ vibhuṁ
cakrādibhir mūrti-dharair nijāyudhaiḥ
puṣṭyā śrīyā kīrty-ajayākhilardhibhir
niṣevyamānaṁ parameṣṭhināṁ patim
dadarśa — (Arjuna) saw; tat — that; bhoga — serpent; sukha — comfortable; āsanam — whose seat; vibhum — all-pervasive; mahā-anubhāvam — almighty; puruṣa-uttama — of Personalities of Godhead; uttamam — the supreme; sāndra — dense; ambuda — a cloud; ābham — resembling (with His blue complexion); su — beautiful; piśaṅga — yellow; vāsasam — whose dress; prasanna — pleasing; vaktram — whose face; rucira — attractive; āyata — broad; īkṣaṇam — whose eyes; mahā — great; maṇi — of jewels; vrāta — with clusters; kirīṭa — of His crown; kuṇḍala — and earrings; prabhā — with the reflected brilliance; parikṣipta — scattered about; sahasra — thousands; kuntalam — whose locks of hair; pralamba — long; cāru — handsome; aṣṭa — eight; bhujam — whose arms; sa — having; kaustubham — the Kaustubha gem; śrīvatsa-lakṣmam — and displaying the special mark known as Śrīvatsa; vana — of forest flowers; mālayā — by a garland; āvṛtam — embraced; sunanda-nanda-pramukhaiḥ — headed by Sunanda and Nanda; sva-pārṣadaiḥ — by His personal associates; cakra-ādibhiḥ — the disc and so on; mūrti — personal forms; dharaiḥ — manifesting; nija — His own; āyudhaiḥ — by the weapons; puṣṭyā śriyā kīrti-ajayā — by His energies Puṣṭi, Śrī, Kīrti and Ajā; akhila — all; ṛdhibhiḥ — by His mystic powers; niṣevyamānam — being served; parameṣṭhinam — of universal rulers; patim — the chief.
Arjuna then saw the omnipresent and omnipotent Supreme Personality of Godhead, Mahā-Viṣṇu, sitting at ease on the serpent bed. His bluish complexion was the color of a dense rain cloud, He wore a beautiful yellow garment, His face looked charming, His broad eyes were most attractive, and He had eight long, handsome arms. His profuse locks of hair were bathed on all sides in the brilliance reflected from the clusters of precious jewels decorating His crown and earrings. He wore the Kaustubha gem, the mark of Śrīvatsa and a garland of forest flowers. Serving that topmost of all Lords were His personal attendants, headed by Sunanda and Nanda; His cakra and other weapons in their personified forms; His consort potencies Puṣṭi, Śrī, Kīrti and Ajā; and all His various mystic powers.
vavanda ātmānam anantam acyuto
jiṣṇuś ca tad-darśana-jāta-sādhvasaḥ
tāv āha bhūmā parameṣṭhināṁ prabhur
beddhāñjalī sa-smitam ūrjayā girā
vavanda — paid homage; ātmānam — to Himself; anantam — in His boundless form; acyutaḥ — infallible Lord Kṛṣṇa; jiṣṇuḥ — Arjuna; ca — also; tat — of Him; darśana — by the sight; jāta — arising; sādhvasaḥ — whose astonishment; tau — to the two of them; āha — spoke; bhūmā — the almighty Lord (Mahā-Viṣṇu); parame-sthinām — of the rulers of the universe; prabhuḥ — the master; baddha-añjalī — who had joined their palms in supplication; sa — with; smitam — a smile; ūrjayā — potent; girā — in a voice.
Lord Kṛṣṇa offered homage to Himself in this boundless form, and Arjuna, astonished at the sight of Lord Mahā-Viṣṇu, bowed down as well. Then, as the two of them stood before Him with joined palms, the almighty Mahā-Viṣṇu, supreme master of all rulers of the universe, smiled and spoke to them in a voice full of solemn authority.
dvijātmajā me yuvayor didṛkṣuṇā
mayopanītā bhuvi dharma-guptaye
kalāvatīrṇāv avaner bharāsurān
hatveha bhūyas tvarayetam anti me
dvija — of the brāhmaṇa; ātma-jāḥ — the sons; me — My; yuvayoḥ — you two; didṛkṣuṇā — who wanted to see; mayā — by Me; upanītāḥ — brought; bhuvi — on the earth; dharma — of the principles of religion; guptaye — for the protection; kalā — (as My) expansions; avatīrṇau — descended; avaneḥ — of the earth; bhara — who are burdens; asurān — the demons; hatvā — after killing; iha — here; bhūyaḥ — again; tvarayā — quickly; itam — come; anti — to the proximity; me — My.
[Lord Mahā-Viṣṇu said:] I brought the brāhmaṇa’s sons here because I wanted to see the two of you, My expansions, who have descended to the earth to save the principles of religion. As soon as you finish killing the demons who burden the earth, quickly come back here to Me.
pūrṇa-kāmāv api yuvāṁ
dharmam ācaratāṁ sthityai
pūrṇa — full; kāmau — in all desires; api — although; yuvām — you two; nara-nārāyaṇau ṛṣī — as the sages Nara and Nārāyaṇa; dharmam — the principles of religion; ācaratām — should execute; sthityai — for its maintenance; ṛṣabhau — the best of all persons; loka-saṅgraham — for the benefit of the general populace.
Although all your desires are completely fulfilled, O best of exalted personalities, for the benefit of the people in general you should continue to exemplify religious behavior as the sages Nara and Nārāyaṇa.
ity ādiṣṭau bhagavatā
tau kṛṣṇau parame-ṣṭhinā
om ity ānamya bhūmānam
nyavartetāṁ svakaṁ dhāma
viprāya dadatuḥ putrān
iti — with these words; ādiṣṭau — instructed; bhagavatā — by the Personality of Godhead; tau — they; kṛṣṇau — the two Kṛṣṇas (Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna); parame-ṣṭhinā — by the Lord of the supreme kingdom; om iti — chanting om to signify their agreement; ānamya — bowing down; bhūmānam — to the almighty Lord; ādāya — and taking; dvija — of the brāhmaṇa; dārakān — the sons; nyavartetām — they returned; svakam — their own; dhāma — to the abode (Dvārakā); samprahṛṣṭau — elated; yathā — in the same way; gatam — as they came; viprāya — to the brāhmaṇa; dadatuḥ — they gave; putrān — his sons; yathā — in the same; rūpam — forms; yathā — with the same; vayaḥ — age.
Thus instructed by the Supreme Lord of the topmost planet, Kṛṣṇa and Arjuna assented by chanting om, and then they bowed down to almighty Lord Mahā-Viṣṇu. Taking the brāhmaṇa’s sons with them, they returned with great delight to Dvārakā by the same path along which they had come. There they presented the brāhmaṇa with his sons, who were in the same infant bodies in which they had been lost.
niśāmya vaiṣṇavaṁ dhāma
yat kiñcit pauruṣaṁ puṁsāṁ
niśāmya — havīng seen; vaiṣṇavam — of Lord Viṣṇu; dhāma — the abode; pārthaḥ — Arjuna; parama — supremely; vismitaḥ — astonished; yat kiñcit — whatever; pauruṣam — special power; puṁsām — belonging to living beings; mene — He concluded; kṛṣṇa — of Kṛṣṇa; anukampitam — the mercy shown.
Having seen the domain of Lord Viṣṇu, Arjuna was totally amazed. He concluded that whatever extraordinary power a person exhibits can only be a manifestation of Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s mercy.
bubhuje viṣayān grāmyān
īje cāty-urjitair makhaiḥ
iti — thus; īdṛśāni — like this; anekāni — many; vīryāṇi — feats of valor; iha — in this world; pradarśayan — exhibiting; bubhuje — (Lord Kṛṣṇa) enjoyed; viṣayān — objects of sense pleasure; grāmyān — ordinary; īje — He performed worship; ca — and; ati — extremely; urjitaiḥ — potent; makhaiḥ — with Vedic fire sacrifices.
Lord Kṛṣṇa exhibited many other, similar heroic pastimes in this world. He apparently enjoyed the pleasures of ordinary human life, and He performed greatly potent fire sacrifices.
bhagavān śraiṣṭhyam āsthitaḥ
pravavarṣa — He rained down; akhilān — all; kāmān — desired things; prajāsu — upon His subjects; brāhmaṇa-ādiṣu — beginning with the brāhmaṇas; yathā-kālam — at the suitable times; yathā eva — in the same way; indraḥ — (as) Indra; bhagavān — the Personality of Godhead; śraiṣṭhyam — in His supremacy; āsthitaḥ — situated.
The Lord having demonstrated His supremacy, at suitable times He showered down all desirable things upon the brāhmaṇas and His other subjects, just as Indra pours down his rain.
hatvā nṛpān adharmiṣṭhān
añjasā vartayām āsa
hatvā — having killed; nṛpān — kings; adharmiṣṭhān — most irreligious; ghātayitvā — having them killed; arjuna-ādibhiḥ — by Arjuna and others; añjasā — easily; vartayām āsa — He caused to be carried out; dharmam — the principles of religion; dharma-suta-ādibhiḥ — by Yudhiṣṭhira (the son of Dharma) and others.
Now that He had killed many wicked kings and engaged devotees such as Arjuna in killing others, the Lord could easily assure the execution of religious principles through the agency of such pious rulers as Yudhiṣṭhira.