SB Canto 4
My dear Vidura, I have summarily explained the causes of devastation. One who hears this description three times attains piety and washes the sinful contamination from his soul.
The great sage Maitreya recommended: One should chant of the character and activities of Dhruva Mahārāja both in the morning and in the evening, with great attention and care, in a society of brāhmaṇas or other twice-born persons.
It is said that only in the association of devotees can one understand the importance of the character and pastimes of the Supreme Personality of Godhead or His devotees. In this verse it is especially recommended that Dhruva Mahārāja’s character be discussed in a society of the twice-born, which refers to the qualified brāhmaṇas, kṣatriyas and vaiśyas. One should especially seek the society of brāhmaṇas who are elevated to the position of Vaiṣṇavas. Thus discussion of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, which describes the character and pastimes of devotees and the Lord, is very quickly effective. The International Society for Krishna Consciousness has been organized for this purpose. In every center of this Society—not only in the morning, evening or noon, but practically twenty-four hours a day—there is continuous devotional service going on. Anyone who comes in contact with the Society automatically becomes a devotee. We have actual experience that many karmīs and others come to the Society and find a very pleasing and peaceful atmosphere in the temples of ISKCON. In this verse the word dvi janmanām means “of the twice-born.” Anyone can join the International Society for Krishna Consciousness and be initiated to become twice-born. As recommended by Sanātana Gosvāmī, by the process of initiation and authorized training, any man can become twice-born. The first birth is made possible by the parents, and the second birth is made possible by the spiritual father and Vedic knowledge. Unless one is twice-born one cannot understand the transcendental characteristics of the Lord and His devotees. Study of the Vedas is therefore forbidden for śūdras. Simply by academic qualifications a śūdra cannot understand the transcendental science. At the present moment, throughout the entire world the educational system is geared to produce śūdras. A big technologist is no more than a big śūdra. Kalau śūdra-sambhavaḥ: in the age of Kali, everyone is a śūdra. Because the whole population of the world consists only of śūdras, there is a decline of spiritual knowledge, and people are unhappy. The Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement has been started especially to create qualified brāhmaṇas to broadcast spiritual knowledge all over the world, for thus people may become very happy.
Persons who have completely taken shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord should recite this narration of Dhruva Mahārāja without taking remuneration. Specifically, recitation is recommended on the full moon or dark moon day, on the day after Ekādaśī, on the appearance of the Śravaṇa star, at the end of a particular tithi, or the occasion of Vyatīpāta, at the end of the month, or on Sunday. Such recitation should of course be performed before a favorable audience. When recitation is performed this way, without professional motive, the reciter and audience become perfect.
Professional reciters may ask money to extinguish the blazing fire within their bellies, but they cannot make any spiritual improvement or become perfect. It is therefore strictly forbidden to recite Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam as a profession to earn a livelihood. Only one who is completely surrendered at the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, depending fully on Him for personal maintenance or even for maintenance of his family, can attain perfection by recitation of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, which is full of narrations of the pastimes of the Lord and His devotees. The process can be summarized as follows: the audience must be faithfully receptive to the Bhāgavata message, and the reciter should completely depend on the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Bhāgavata recitation must not be a business. If done in the right way, not only does the reciter achieve perfect satisfaction, but the Lord also is very satisfied with the reciter and the audience, and thus both are liberated from material bondage simply by the process of hearing.
Any person who describes the great characteristics of King Pṛthu with faith and determination—whether he reads or hears of them himself or helps others to hear of them—is certain to attain the very planet which Mahārāja Pṛthu attained. In other words, such a person also returns home to the Vaikuṇṭha planets, back to Godhead.
It does not matter whether one is a man or woman. Anyone who, with great respect, hears this narration of Mahārāja Pṛthu will become the father of many children if he is without children and will become the richest of men if he is without money.
Also, one who hears this narration three times will become very reputable if he is not recognized in society, and he will become a great scholar if he is illiterate. In other words, hearing of the narrations of Pṛthu Mahārāja is so auspicious that it drives away all bad luck.
By hearing the narration of Pṛthu Mahārāja, one can become great, increase his duration of life, gain promotion to the heavenly planets and counteract the contaminations of this age of Kali. In addition, one can promote the causes of religion, economic development, sense gratification and liberation. Therefore from all sides it is advisable for a materialistic person who is interested in such things to read and hear the narrations of the life and character of Pṛthu Mahārāja.
By reading and hearing the narrations of the life and character of Pṛthu Mahārāja, one naturally becomes a devotee, and as soon as one becomes a devotee, his material desires automatically become fulfilled. Therefore it is recommended in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (2.3.10):
- akāmaḥ sarva-kāmo vā
- mokṣa-kāma udāra-dhīḥ
- tīvreṇa bhakti-yogena
- yajeta puruṣaṁ param
If a person wants to return home, back to Godhead, or wants to become a pure devotee (akāma), or wants some material prosperity (sakāma or sarva-kāma), or wants to merge into the existence of the Supreme Brahman effulgence (mokṣa-kāma), he is recommended to take to the path of devotional service and hear and chant of Lord Viṣṇu or of His devotee. This is the sum and substance of all Vedic literatures. Vedaiś ca sarvair aham eva vedyaḥ (BG 15.15). The purpose of Vedic knowledge is to understand Kṛṣṇa and His devotees. Whenever we speak of Kṛṣṇa, we refer to His devotees also, for He is not alone. He is never nirviśeṣa or śūnya, without variety, or zero. Kṛṣṇa is full of variety, and as soon as Kṛṣṇa is present, there cannot be any question of void.
If a king, who is desirous of attaining victory and ruling power, chants the narration of Pṛthu Mahārāja three times before going forth on his chariot, all subordinate kings will automatically render all kinds of taxes unto him—as they rendered them unto Mahārāja Pṛthu—simply upon his order.
Whoever, with great reverence and adoration, regularly reads, chants and describes the history of Mahārāja Pṛthu’s activities will certainly increase unflinching faith and attraction for the lotus feet of the Lord. The Lord’s lotus feet are the boat by which one can cross the ocean of nescience.
The word bhava-sindhu-pota-pāde is significant in this verse. The lotus feet of the Lord are known as mahat-padam; this means that the total source of material existence rests on the lotus feet of the Lord. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (10.8), ahaṁ sarvasya prabhavaḥ: everything is emanating from Him. This cosmic manifestation, which is compared to an ocean of nescience, is also resting on the lotus feet of the Lord. As such, this great ocean of nescience is minimized by a person who is a pure devotee. One who has taken shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord need not cross over the ocean, for he has already crossed it by virtue of his position at the Lord’s lotus feet. By hearing and chanting of the glories of the Lord or the Lord’s devotee, one can become firmly fixed in the service of the lotus feet of the Lord. This position can also be achieved very easily by narrating the history of the life of Pṛthu Mahārāja regularly every day. The word vimukta-saṅgaḥ is also significant in this connection. Because we associate with the three qualities of material nature, our position in this material world is full of dangers, but when we engage in the devotional service of the Lord by the process of śravaṇam and kīrtanam, we immediately become vimukta-saṅga, or liberated.
My dear sons of the King, just execute your occupational duty as kings with a pure heart. Just chant this prayer fixing your mind on the lotus feet of the Lord. That will bring you all good fortune, for the Lord will be very much pleased with you
My dear princes, in the form of a prayer I have delineated the yoga system of chanting the holy name. All of you should take this important stotra within your minds and promise to keep it in order to become great sages. By acting silently like a great sage and by giving attention and reverence, you should practice this method.
A devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa whose mind is always absorbed in Him, who with great attention and reverence chants this stotra (prayer), will achieve the greatest perfection of life without delay.
Although rendering devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead and worshiping Him are very difficult, if one vibrates or simply reads this stotra (prayer) composed and sung by me, he will very easily be able to invoke the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the dearmost objective of all auspicious benedictions. A human being who sings this song sung by me can please the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Such a devotee, being fixed in the Lord’s devotional service, can acquire whatever he wants from the Supreme Lord.
A devotee who rises early in the morning and with folded hands chants these prayers sung by Lord Śiva and gives facility to others to hear them certainly becomes free from all bondage to fruitive activities.
My dear sons of the King, the prayers I have recited to you are meant for pleasing the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Supersoul. I advise you to recite these prayers, which are as effective as great austerities. In this way, when you are mature, your life will be successful, and you will certainly achieve all your desired objectives without fail
The Lord continued: Those who remember you every evening of every day will become friendly with their brothers and with all other living entities.
Those who will offer Me the prayers composed by Lord Śiva, both in the morning and in the evening, will be given benedictions by Me. In this way they can both fulfill their desires and attain good intelligence.
SB Canto 5
Lord Brahmā, the father of Nārada Muni, is the supreme person within this universe. As soon as Nārada saw the great swan, he could understand that Lord Brahmā had arrived. Therefore he immediately stood up, along with Svāyambhuva Manu and his son Priyavrata, whom Nārada was instructing. Then they folded their hands and began to worship Lord Brahmā with great respect.
Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued: After thus being fully instructed by Lord Brahmā, who is the spiritual master of the three worlds, Priyavrata, his own position being inferior, offered obeisances, accepted the order and carried it out with great respect.
Śrī Priyavrata was the grandson of Lord Brahmā. Therefore according to social etiquette, his position was inferior. It is the duty of the inferior to carry out the order of the superior with great respect. Priyavrata therefore immediately said, “Yes, sir. I shall carry out your order.” Priyavrata is described as a mahā-bhāgavata, a great devotee. The duty of a great devotee is to carry out the order of the spiritual master, or the spiritual master of the spiritual master in the paramparā system. As described in Bhagavad-gītā (4.2), evaṁ paramparā prāptam: one has to receive the instructions of the Supreme Lord through the disciplic chain of spiritual masters. A devotee of the Lord always considers himself a servant of the servant of the servant of the Lord (CC Madhya 13.80).
SB Canto 6
In the assembly of Raghunātha dāsa Gosvāmī’s father, Haridāsa Ṭhākura confirmed that simply by chanting the holy name of the Lord one is liberated, even if he does not chant completely inoffensively. Smārta-brāhmaṇas and Māyāvādīs do not believe that one can achieve liberation in this way, but the truth of Haridāsa Ṭhākura’s statement is supported by many quotations from Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam.
In his commentary on this verse, for example, Śrīdhara Svāmī gives the following quotation:
- sāyaṁ prātar gṛṇan bhaktyā
- duḥkha-grāmād vimucyate
“If one always chants the holy name of the Lord with great devotion in the evening and in the morning, one can become free from all material miseries.” Another quotation confirms that one can achieve liberation if one hears the holy name of the Lord constantly, every day with great respect (anudinam idam ādareṇa śṛṇvan).
This chapter describes how Indra, the King of heaven, was victorious over the soldiers of the demons, and it also describes the shield of the Viṣṇu mantra.
To take protection from this shield, one must first touch kuśa grass and wash one’s mouth with ācamana-mantras. One should observe silence and then place the eight-syllable Viṣṇu mantra on the parts of his body and place the twelve-syllable mantra on his hands. The eight-syllable mantra is oṁ namo nārāyaṇāya. This mantra should be distributed all over the front and back of the body. The twelve-syllable mantra, which begins with the praṇava, oṁkāra, is oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. One syllable should be placed on each of the fingers and should be preceded by the praṇava, oṁkāra. Thereafter, one must chant oṁ viṣṇave namaḥ, which is a six-syllable mantra. One must progressively place the syllables of the mantra on the heart, the head, between the two eyebrows, on the śikhā and between the eyes, and then one should chant maḥ astrāya phaṭ and with this mantra protect himself from all directions. Nādevo devam arcayet: one who has not risen to the level of a deva cannot chant this mantra. According to this direction of the śāstra, one must think himself qualitatively nondifferent from the Supreme.
After finishing this dedication, one must offer a prayer to the eight-armed Lord Viṣṇu, who sits on the shoulders of Garuḍadeva. One also has to think of the fish incarnation, Vāmana, Kūrma, Nṛsiṁha, Varāha, Paraśurāma, Rāmacandra (the elder brother of Lakṣmaṇa). Nara-Nārāyaṇa, Dattātreya (an empowered incarnation), Kapila, Sanat-kumāra, Hayagrīva, Nāradadeva (the incarnation of a devotee). Dhanvantari, Ṛṣabhadeva, Yajña, Balarāma, Vyāsadeva, Buddhadeva and Keśava. One should also think of Govinda, the master of Vṛndāvana, and one should think of Nārāyaṇa, the master of the spiritual sky. One should think of Madhusūdana, Tridhāmā, Mādhava, Hṛṣīkeśa, Padmanābha, Janārdana, Dāmodara and Viśveśvara, as well as the Supreme Personality of Godhead Kṛṣṇa Himself. After offering prayers to the Lord’s personal expansions known as the svāṁśa and śaktyāveśa-avatāras, one should pray to the weapons of Lord Nārāyaṇa, such as the Sudarśana, gadā, śaṅkha, khaḍga and bow.
Śrī Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: My dear Mahārāja Parīkṣit, one who employs this armor or hears about it with faith and veneration when afraid because of any conditions in the material world is immediately freed from all dangers and is worshiped by all living entities.
SB Canto 7
Thus the demons, being fond of disastrous activities, took Hiraṇyakaśipu’s instructions on their heads with great respect and offered him obeisances. According to his directions, they engaged in envious activities directed against all living beings.
It is the duty of all householders to offer food grains to all their departed forefathers, but during the time of Hiraṇyakaśipu this process was stopped; no one would offer śrāddha oblations of food grains to the forefathers with great respect. Thus when there is a demoniac rule, everything concerning the Vedic principles is turned upside down, all the religious ceremonies of yajña are stopped, the resources meant to be spent for yajña are taken away by the demoniac government, everything becomes chaotic, and consequently the entire world becomes hell itself. When the demons are killed by the presence of Nṛsiṁhadeva, everyone feels comfortable, irrespective of the planet upon which he lives.
Sometimes I eat a very small quantity and sometimes a great quantity. Sometimes the food is very palatable, and sometimes it is stale. Sometimes prasāda is offered with great respect, and sometimes food is given neglectfully. Sometimes I eat during the day and sometimes at night. Thus I eat what is easily available.
A gṛhastha must associate again and again with saintly persons, and with great respect he must hear the nectar of the activities of the Supreme Lord and His incarnations as these activities are described in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam and other Purāṇas. Thus one should gradually become detached from affection for his wife and children, exactly like a man awakening from a dream.
SB Canto 8
The demigods observed Lord Śiva sitting on the summit of Kailāsa Hill with his wife, Bhavānī, for the auspicious development of the three worlds. He was being worshiped by great saintly persons desiring liberation. The demigods offered him their obeisances and prayers with great respect.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead welcomed Lord Śiva and Umā with great respect, and after being seated comfortably, Lord Śiva duly worshiped the Lord and smilingly spoke as follows.
SB Canto 9
Thereupon, after offering obeisances to Lord Śiva, Nābhāga said: O worshipable lord, everything in this arena of sacrifice is yours. This is the assertion of my father. Now, with great respect, I bow my head before you, begging your mercy.
With great respect, King Rantideva offered the balance of the food to the dogs and the master of the dogs, who had come as guests. The King offered them all respects and obeisances.
SB Canto 10.1 to 10.13
Sūta Gosvāmī said: O son of Bhṛgu (Śaunaka Ṛṣi), after Śukadeva Gosvāmī, the most respectable devotee, the son of Vyāsadeva, heard the pious questions of Mahārāja Parīkṣit, he thanked the King with great respect. Then he began to discourse on topics concerning Kṛṣṇa, which are the remedy for all sufferings in this age of Kali.
After thus considering the matter as far as his knowledge would allow, Vasudeva submitted his proposal to the sinful Kaṁsa with great respect.
As stated by Caitanya Mahāprabhu (CC Madhya 22.54):
- ‘sādhu-saṅga,’ ‘sādhu-saṅga’—sarva-śāstre kaya
- lava-mātra sādhu-saṅge sarva-siddhi haya
If by chance one meets a sādhu, a devotee, one’s life is immediately successful, and one is freed from material bondage. It may be argued that whereas someone may receive a sādhu with great respect, someone else may not receive a sādhu with such respect. A sādhu, however, is always equipoised toward everyone. Because of being a pure devotee, a sādhu is always ready to deliver Kṛṣṇa consciousness without discrimination. As soon as one sees a sādhu, one naturally becomes free. Nonetheless, persons who are too much offensive, who commit vaiṣṇava-aparādhas, or offenses to a sādhu, will have to take some time before being rectified. This is also indicated herein.
SB Cantos 10.14 to 12 (Translations Only)
(Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued:) Having heard Nanda Mahārāja relate the statements of Garga Muni, the residents of Vṛndāvana became enlivened. Their perplexity was gone, and they worshiped Nanda and Lord Kṛṣṇa with great respect.
The almighty Lord Balarāma presented Akrūra with the gift of a cow, massaged his feet to relieve him of fatigue and then with great respect and faith fed him suitably prepared food of various fine tastes.
These two sages, Nara and Nārāyaṇa, were the direct personal forms of the Supreme Lord. When Mārkaṇḍeya Ṛṣi saw Them, he immediately stood up and then with great respect offered Them obeisances by falling down flat on the ground like a stick.
O best of the Bhṛgus, this account concerning Mārkaṇḍeya Ṛṣi conveys the transcendental potency of the Supreme Lord. Anyone who properly narrates or hears it will never again undergo material existence, which is based on the desire to perform fruitive activities.