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.
Instead of being angry or cursing Bhṛgu Muni, Lord Viṣṇu immediately got up from His bed along with His wife, the goddess of fortune, and offered respectful obeisances to the brāhmaṇa. He addressed Bhṛgu Muni as follows: “My dear brāhmaṇa, it is My greatest fortune that you have come here. Please, therefore, sit down on this cushion for a few minutes. My dear brāhmaṇa, I am very sorry that when you first entered My home I could not receive you properly. It was a great offense on My part, and I beg you to pardon Me. You are so pure and great that the water which washes your feet can purify even the places of pilgrimage. Therefore, I request you to purify the Vaikuṇṭha planet where I live with My associates. My dear father, O great sage, I know that your feet are very soft, like a lotus flower, and that My chest is as hard as a thunderbolt. I am therefore afraid that you may have felt some pain by kicking My chest. Let Me touch your feet to relieve the pain you have suffered.” Lord Viṣṇu then began to massage the feet of Bhṛgu Muni.
The Lord continued to address Bhṛgu Muni. “My dear lord,” He said, “My chest has now become sanctified because of the touch of your feet, and I am now assured that the goddess of fortune, Lakṣmī, will be very glad to live there perpetually.” Another name for Lakṣmī is Cañcalā, indicating that she does not stay in one place for a long time. Therefore, we see that a rich man’s family sometimes becomes poor after a few generations, and sometimes we see that a poor man’s family becomes very rich. Lakṣmī, the goddess of fortune, is Cañcalā in this material world, whereas in the Vaikuṇṭha planets she eternally lives at the lotus feet of the Lord. Because Lakṣmī is famous as Cañcalā, Lord Nārāyaṇa indicated that she might not have been living perpetually by His chest, but because His chest had been touched by the feet of Bhṛgu Muni, it was now sanctified, and there was no chance that the goddess of fortune would leave. Bhṛgu Muni, however, could understand his position and that of the Lord, and he was struck with wonder at the behavior of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Because of his gratitude, his voice choked up, and he was unable to reply to the words of the Lord. Tears glided from his eyes, and he could not say anything. He simply stood silently before the Lord.