Upon receiving Ṛṣabhadeva, who is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as his son, King Nābhi began to raise Him very carefully. After that, he entrusted the ruling power to Him and, retiring from family life, lived at Badarikāśrama completely engaged in the worship of Vāsudeva, the Supreme Lord.
- 1 Srimad-Bhagavatam
- 2 Sri Caitanya-caritamrta
- 3 Other Books by Srila Prabhupada
- 4 Lectures
SB Canto 1
Once upon a time he (Vyāsadeva), as the sun rose, took his morning ablution in the waters of the Sarasvatī and sat alone to concentrate.
The River Sarasvatī is flowing in the Badarikāśrama area of the Himalayas. So the place indicated here is Śamyāprāsa in Badarikāśrama, where Śrī Vyāsadeva is residing.
SB Canto 3
The Lord is the vanquisher of the distresses of one who is surrendered unto Him. Thus He who desired to destroy His family told me previously to go to Badarikāśrama.
While at Dvārakā, Uddhava was warned to avoid the distresses which were to follow the disappearance of the Lord and the destruction of the Yadu dynasty. He was advised to proceed to Badarikāśrama because there he could associate with the devotees of Nara-Nārāyaṇa, and in their association of devotional service he could increase his eagerness for chanting, hearing, knowledge and detachment.
My dear Vidura, now I am mad for want of the pleasure of seeing Him, and just to mitigate this I am now proceeding to Badarikāśrama in the Himalayas for association, as I have been instructed by Him.
A pure devotee of the Lord of the standard of Uddhava constantly associates with the Lord in the double perception of simultaneous separation and meeting. The pure devotee is not for a moment unengaged in the transcendental service of the Lord. Execution of the Lord's service is the main occupation of the pure devotee. Uddhava's separation from the Lord was unbearable, and therefore he started to Badarikāśrama in obedience to the Lord's order because the order of the Lord and the Lord Himself are identical. As long as one is engaged in the execution of the order of the Lord, there is no factual separation from Him.
There in Badarikāśrama the Personality of Godhead, in His incarnation as the sages Nara and Nārāyaṇa, has been undergoing great penance since time immemorial for the welfare of all amiable living entities.
Badarikāśrama in the Himalayas, the abode of the Nara-Nārāyaṇa sages, is a great place of pilgrimage for the Hindus. Even up to the present, hundreds and thousands of pious Hindus go to pay respects to the incarnation of Godhead Nara-Nārāyaṇa. It appears that even five thousand years ago this holy place was being visited by such a holy being as Uddhava, and even at that time the place was known to be very, very old. This particular pilgrimage site is very difficult to visit for ordinary men because of its difficult situation in the Himalayas in a place which is covered by ice almost all year. A few months during the summer season people can visit this place at great personal inconvenience. There are four dhāmas, or kingdoms of God, which represent the planets of the spiritual sky, which consists of the brahmajyoti and the Vaikuṇṭhas. These are Badarikāśrama, Rameśvara, Jagannātha Purī and Dvārakā. Faithful Hindus still visit all these holy places for perfection of spiritual realization, following in the footsteps of devotees like Uddhava.
Lord Kṛṣṇa ordered Uddhava by signal to go to Badarikāśrama after His departure, and Uddhava, as a pure devotee of the Lord, carried out the order more faithfully than going back to Godhead, or the abode of the Lord. That was the cause of his remaining alone even after the departure of the Lord from the face of the earth.
Uddhava was considered to be the best amongst all devotees of that time, and therefore he was directly instructed by the Lord's grace, so that people might take advantage of Uddhava's knowledge after the disappearance of the Lord from the vision of the world. This is one of the reasons why Uddhava was advised to go to Badarikāśrama, where the Lord is personally represented by the Nara-Nārāyaṇa Deity. One who is transcendentally advanced can gain direct inspiration from the temple Deity, and thus a devotee of the Lord always takes shelter of a recognized temple of the Lord in order to make tangible advancement in transcendental knowledge by the grace of the Lord.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī informed the King that Uddhava, being thus instructed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who is the source of all Vedic knowledge and the spiritual master of the three worlds, reached the pilgrimage site of Badarikāśrama and engaged himself there in trance to satisfy the Lord.
Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is factually the spiritual master of the three worlds, and He is the original source of all Vedic knowledge. It is very difficult, however, to understand the personal feature of the Absolute Truth, even from the Vedas. His personal instructions are needed in order to understand the Personality of Godhead as the Supreme Absolute Truth. Bhagavad-gītā is the evidence of such transcendental knowledge in gist. One cannot know the Supreme Lord unless one is graced by the Lord Himself. Lord Kṛṣṇa exhibited this specific mercy towards Arjuna and Uddhava while He was in the material world.
Undoubtedly Bhagavad-gītā was spoken by the Lord on the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra just to encourage Arjuna to fight, and yet to complete the transcendental knowledge of Bhagavad-gītā, the Lord instructed Uddhava. The Lord wanted Uddhava to fulfill His mission and disseminate knowledge which He had not spoken even in Bhagavad-gītā. Persons who are attached to the words of the Vedas may also know from this verse that the Lord is the source of all Vedic knowledge. One who is unable to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead by going through the pages of the Vedas may take shelter of one of the Lord's devotees, such as Uddhava, in order to advance further in knowledge of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Brahma-saṁhitā says that it is very difficult to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead from the Vedas, but He is easily understood from a pure devotee like Uddhava. Taking mercy on the great sages who lived at Badarikāśrama, the Lord authorized Uddhava to speak on His behalf. Unless one has such authorization, one cannot understand or preach the devotional service of the Lord.
While present on this earth, the Lord executed many uncommon activities, even traveling in space to bring down the pārijāta from heaven and recovering the son of His teacher (Sāndīpani Muni) from the regions of death. Uddhava was certainly informed of the conditions of life on other planets, and all the sages were anxious to know of them, just as we are anxious to know about the planets in space. Uddhava was particularly deputed to carry a message to Badarikāśrama, not only to the sages of that place of pilgrimage but also to the Nara-Nārāyaṇa Deities. Such a message must have been more confidential than the knowledge described in the pages of the Vedas.
The Lord is undoubtedly the source of all knowledge, and the messages dispatched through Uddhava to Nara-Nārāyaṇa and other sages were also part of the Vedic knowledge, but they were more confidential and could be sent or understood only through such a pure devotee as Uddhava. Since such confidential knowledge was known only to the Lord and Uddhava, it is said that Uddhava was as good as the Lord Himself. Every living entity can, like Uddhava, also become a confidential messenger on the same level as the Lord, provided he becomes confidential himself by dint of loving devotional service. Such confidential knowledge is entrusted, as confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā only to pure devotees like Uddhava and Arjuna, and one has to learn the mystery through them, and not otherwise. One cannot understand Bhagavad-gītā or Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam without the help of such confidential devotees of the Lord. According to Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura, that confidential message must have concerned the mystery of His departure and the annihilation of His dynasty after the end of His appearance in the mundane world for one hundred years. Everyone must have been very anxious to know about the mystery of the annihilation of the Yadu dynasty, and that message must have been explained by the Lord to Uddhava and dispatched to Badarikāśrama for the information of Nara-Nārāyaṇa and other pure devotees of the Lord.
SB Canto 4
Thus Dhruva Mahārāja, at the end, left his kingdom, which extended all over the earth and was bounded by the great oceans. He considered his body, his wives, his children, his friends, his army, his rich treasury, his very comfortable palaces and his many enjoyable pleasure-grounds to be creations of the illusory energy. Thus in due course of time he retired to the forest in the Himalayas known as Badarikāśrama.
In Badarikāśrama Dhruva Mahārāja's senses became completely purified because he bathed regularly in the crystal-clear purified water. He fixed his sitting position and by yogic practice controlled the breathing process and the air of life; in this way his senses were completely withdrawn. Then he concentrated his mind on the arcā-vigraha form of the Lord, which is the exact replica of the Lord and, thus meditating upon Him, entered into complete trance.
Here is a description of the aṣṭāṅga-yoga system, to which Dhruva Mahārāja was already accustomed. Aṣṭāṅga-yoga was never meant to be practiced in a fashionable city. Dhruva Mahārāja went to Badarikāśrama, and in a solitary place, alone, he practiced yoga. He concentrated his mind on the arcā-vigraha, the worshipable Deity of the Lord, which exactly represents the Supreme Lord, and thus thinking constantly of that Deity, he became absorbed in trance.
The great sage Maitreya continued: Mahārāja Dhruva was very dear to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When he heard the sweet speeches of the Lord's chief associates in the Vaikuṇṭha planet, he immediately took his sacred bath, dressed himself with suitable ornaments, and performed his daily spiritual duties. Thereafter he offered his respectful obeisances to the great sages present there and accepted their blessings.
We should mark how dutiful Dhruva Mahārāja was in his devotional service, even at the time he left this material world. He was constantly alert in the performance of devotional duties. Every devotee should take his bath early in the morning and decorate his body with tilaka. In Kali-yuga one can hardly acquire gold or jeweled ornaments, but the twelve tilaka marks on the body are sufficient as auspicious decorations to purify the body. Since Dhruva Mahārāja was living at that time at Badarikāśrama, there were other great sages there. He did not become puffed up because the airplane sent by Lord Viṣṇu was waiting for him; as a humble Vaiṣṇava, he accepted blessings from all the sages before riding on the plane brought by the chief of the Vaikuṇṭha associates.
SB Canto 5
King Nābhi understood that his son, Ṛṣabhadeva, was very popular among the citizens and among government officers and ministers. Understanding the popularity of his son, Mahārāja Nābhi enthroned Him as the emperor of the world to give protection to the general populace in terms of the Vedic religious system. To do this, he entrusted Him into the hands of learned brāhmaṇas, who would guide Him in administrating the government. Then Mahārāja Nābhi and his wife, Merudevī, went to Badarikāśrama in the Himalaya Mountains, where the King engaged Himself very expertly in austerities and penances with great jubilation. In full samādhi he worshiped the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Nara-Nārāyaṇa, who is Kṛṣṇa in His plenary expansion. By doing so, in course of time Mahārāja Nābhi was elevated to the spiritual world known as Vaikuṇṭha.
Mahārāja Nābhi, although still a king. retired from family life and went with his wife to a place called Badarikāśrama in the Himalayas, where the Deity Nara-Nārāyaṇa is worshiped. The words prasanna-nipuṇena tapasā indicate that the King accepted all kinds of austerity very expertly and jubilantly. He did not at all mind leaving his comfortable life at home, although he was the emperor. Despite undergoing severe austerities and penances, he felt very pleased at Badarikāśrama, and he did everything there expertly. In this way, being fully absorbed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness (samādhi-yoga). always thinking of Kṛṣṇa, Vāsudeva, Mahārāja Nābhi attained success at the end of his life and was promoted to the spiritual world, Vaikuṇṭhaloka.
After Nābhi Mahārāja departed for Badarikāśrama, the Supreme Lord, Ṛṣabhadeva, understood that His kingdom was His field of activities. He therefore showed Himself as an example and taught the duties of a householder by first accepting brahmacarya under the direction of spiritual masters. He also went to live at the spiritual masters' place, gurukula. After His education was finished, He gave gifts (guru-dakṣiṇā) to His spiritual masters and then accepted the life of a householder. He took a wife named Jayantī and begot one hundred sons who were as powerful and qualified as He Himself. His wife Jayantī had been offered to Him by Indra, the King of heaven. Ṛṣabhadeva and Jayantī performed householder life in an exemplary way, carrying out ritualistic activities ordained by the śruti and smṛti śāstra.
(Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued:) The glories of the Supreme Personality of Godhead are inconceivable. He has appeared in the form of Nara-Nārāyaṇa in the land of Bhārata-varṣa, at the place known as Badarikāśrama, to favor His devotees by teaching them religion, knowledge, renunciation, spiritual power, sense control and freedom from false ego. He is advanced in the opulence of spiritual assets, and He engages in executing austerity until the end of this millennium. This is the process of self-realization.
People in India may visit the temple of Nara-Nārāyaṇa at Badarikāśrama just to learn how the Supreme Personality of Godhead in His incarnation as Nara-Nārāyaṇa engages in austerities to teach the people of the world how to achieve self-realization. It is impossible to realize oneself simply by absorbing oneself in speculation and material activities. One must be very serious about self-realization and the practice of austerity.
SB Canto 7
Lord Nārāyaṇa, along with His partial manifestation Nara, appeared in this world through the daughter of Dakṣa Mahārāja known as Mūrti. He was begotten by Dharma Mahārāja for the benefit of all living entities. Even now, He is still engaged in executing great austerities near the place known as Badarikāśrama.
The sacred lakes like Puṣkara and places where saintly persons live, like Kurukṣetra, Gayā, Prayāga, Pulahāśrama, Naimiṣāraṇya, the banks of the Phālgu River, Setubandha, Prabhāsa, Dvārakā, Vārāṇasī, Mathurā, Pampā, Bindu-sarovara, Badarikāśrama (Nārāyaṇāśrama), the places where the Nandā River flows, the places where Lord Rāmacandra and mother Sītā took shelter, such as Citrakūṭa, and also the hilly tracts of land known as Mahendra and Malaya—all of these are to be considered most pious and sacred. Similarly, places outside India where there are centers of the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement and where Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa Deities are worshiped must all be visited and worshiped by those who want to be spiritually advanced. One who intends to advance in spiritual life may visit all these places and perform ritualistic ceremonies to get results a thousand times better than the results of the same activities performed in any other place.
SB Canto 9
Śaryāti later had three sons, named Uttānabarhi, Ānarta and Bhūriṣeṇa. Ānarta had one son, whose name was Revata. Revata had one hundred sons, of whom the eldest was Kakudmī. Kakudmī was advised by Lord Brahmā to offer his beautiful daughter, Revatī, to Baladeva, who belongs to the viṣṇu-tattva category. After doing this, Kakudmī retired from family life and entered the forest of Badarikāśrama to execute austerities and penances.
Thereafter, the King gave his most beautiful daughter in charity to the supremely powerful Baladeva and then retired from worldly life and went to Badarikāśrama to please Nara-Nārāyaṇa.
SB Cantos 10.14 to 12 (Translations Only)
There he arrived at Badarikāśrama, the abode of Lord Nara-Nārāyaṇa, where, remaining tolerant of all dualities, he peacefully worshiped the Supreme Lord Hari by performing severe austerities.
King Indra became fearful, thinking that Nara-Nārāyaṇa Ṛṣi would become very powerful by His severe penances and seize Indra's heavenly kingdom. Thus Indra, not knowing the transcendental glories of the incarnation of the Lord, sent Cupid and his associates to the Lord's residence in Badarikāśrama. As the charming breezes of spring created a most sensuous atmosphere, Cupid himself attacked the Lord with arrows in the form of the irresistible glances of beautiful women.
Thereupon, placing the Lord deeply within his heart, the great devotee Uddhava went to Badarikāśrama. By engaging there in austerities, he attained to the Lord's personal abode, which had been described to him by the only friend of the universe, Lord Kṛṣṇa Himself.
Sūta Gosvāmī said: O wise Śaunaka, thus satisfied by Mārkaṇḍeya's praise and worship, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, smiling, replied, "So be it," and then departed for His hermitage at Badarikāśrama.
Before one enters sannyāsa, he has one of the various names for a brahmacārī, the assistant to a sannyāsī. Sannyāsīs with the titles Tīrtha and Āśrama generally stay at Dvārakā, and their brahmacārī name is Svarūpa. Those known by the names Vana and Araṇya stay at Puruṣottama, or Jagannātha Purī, and their brahmacārī name is Prakāśa. Those with the names Giri, Parvata and Sāgara generally stay at Badarikāśrama, and their brahmacārī name is Ānanda. Those with the titles Sarasvatī, Bhāratī and Purī usually live at Śṛṅgerī in South India, and their brahmacārī name is Caitanya.
Śaṅkarācārya had four principal disciples, and he established four centers under their management. In North India at Badarikāśrama, the monastery named Jyotir-maṭha was established. At Puruṣottama, the Bhogavardhana or Govardhana monastery was established. In Dvārakā, the Sāradā monastery was established. And the fourth monastery, established in South India, is known as Śṛṅgeri-maṭha. In the Śṛṅgeri-maṭha, the sannyāsīs assume the designations Sarasvatī, Bhāratī and Purī.
When Śaṅkarācārya was only eight years old, he completed his study of all scriptures and took sannyāsa from Govinda, who was residing on the banks of the Narmadā. After accepting sannyāsa, Śaṅkarācārya stayed with his spiritual master for some days. He then took his permission to go to Vārāṇasī, and from there he went to Badarikāśrama, where he stayed until his twelfth year. While there, he wrote a commentary on the Brahma-sūtra, as well as on ten Upaniṣads and the Bhagavad-gītā. He also wrote Sanat-sujātīya and a commentary on the Nṛsiṁha-tāpanī.
Upon receiving sannyāsa from Acyuta Prekṣa, he received the name Pūrṇaprajña Tīrtha. After traveling all over India, he finally discussed scriptures with Vidyāśaṅkara, the exalted leader of Śṛṅgeri-maṭha. Vidyāśaṅkara was actually diminished in the presence of Madhvācārya. Accompanied by Satya Tīrtha, Madhvācārya went to Badarikāśrama. It was there that he met Vyāsadeva and explained his commentary on the Bhagavad-gītā before him. Thus he became a great scholar by studying before Vyāsadeva.
By the time he came to the Ānanda-maṭha from Badarikāśrama, Madhvācārya had finished his commentary on the Bhagavad-gītā. His companion Satya Tīrtha wrote down the entire commentary. When Madhvācārya returned from Badarikāśrama, he went to Gañjāma, which is on the bank of the river Godāvarī. There he met with two learned scholars named Śobhana Bhaṭṭa and Svāmī Śāstrī. Later these scholars became known in the disciplic succession of Madhvācārya as Padmanābha Tīrtha and Narahari Tīrtha.
Madhvācārya then for the second time visited Badarikāśrama. While he was passing through Maharashtra, the local king was digging a big lake for the public benefit. As Madhvācārya passed through that area with his disciples, he was also obliged to help in the excavation. After some time, when Madhvācārya visited the king, he engaged the king in that work and departed with his disciples.
Other Books by Srila Prabhupada
Krsna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead
When Mucukunda, the celebrated descendant of the Ikṣvāku dynasty, was favored by Lord Kṛṣṇa, he circumambulated the Lord within the cave and then came out. On coming out of the cave, Mucukunda saw that the human species had surprisingly been reduced in stature to pygmy size. Similarly, the trees had also been far reduced in size, and Mucukunda could immediately understand that the current age was Kali-yuga. Therefore, without diverting his attention, he began to travel north. Eventually he reached the mountain known as Gandhamādana, where there were many trees, such as sandalwood and other flowering trees, whose fragrance made anyone who reached them joyful. He decided to remain in that Gandhamādana Mountain region to execute austerities and penances for the rest of his life. It appears that this place is situated in the northernmost part of the Himalayan Mountains, where the abode of Nara-Nārāyaṇa is situated. This place is still existing and is called Badarikāśrama. In Badarikāśrama he engaged himself in the worship of Lord Kṛṣṇa, tolerating all kinds of pains and pleasures and the other dualities of this material world.
Śukadeva Gosvāmī continued to speak to Parīkṣit Mahārāja. "My dear King," he said, "in this regard I shall narrate a nice story. This story is important because it is in connection with Nārāyaṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This narration is a conversation between Nārāyaṇa Ṛṣi and the great sage Nārada." Nārāyaṇa Ṛṣi still resides in Badarīkāśrama and is accepted as an incarnation of Nārāyaṇa. Badarīkāśrama is situated in the northernmost part of the Himalayan Mountains and is always covered with snow. Religious Indians still go to visit this place during the summer season, when the snowfall is not very severe.
Once when Nārada, the great devotee and ascetic amongst the demigods, was traveling among different planets, he desired to meet the ascetic Nārāyaṇa personally in Badarīkāśrama and offer Him respects. This great sage incarnation of Godhead, Nārāyaṇa Ṛṣi, has been undergoing great penances and austerities from the very beginning of the creation to teach the inhabitants of Bhārata-varṣa how to attain the highest perfectional stage of going back to Godhead.
It is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā that the paramparā system, or the disciplic succession, begins with Kṛṣṇa Himself. Similarly, here, in the prayers of the personified Vedas, it is to be understood that the paramparā system begins with the Personality of Godhead Nārāyaṇa Ṛṣi. We should remember that this Veda-stuti is narrated by Kumāra Sanandana, and the narration is repeated by Nārāyaṇa Ṛṣi in Badarīkāśrama. Nārāyaṇa Ṛṣi is the incarnation of Kṛṣṇa for showing us the path of self-realization by undergoing severe austerities. In this age Lord Caitanya demonstrated the path of pure devotional service by putting Himself in the role of a pure devotee.
Renunciation Through Wisdom
Śrīla Vyāsadeva went to Badarikāśrama, and in the nearby place called Śamyāprāsa, went into samādhi and saw the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He also saw māyā, the divine potency of the Lord that deludes the conditioned souls. In this realized consciousness Śrīla Vyāsadeva described the Absolute Truth, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as fully independent and transcendental.
"As soon as people are misled in their occupational duty, I will take my incarnation." So Nara-nārāyaṇa, They are incarnation of God, but They underwent severe penances. The Nara-nārāyaṇa temple is there in Badarikāśrama in the Himalayas. People still go there to show their respects to Nara-nārāyaṇa Ṛṣi. So God or His representative comes always to help us, to deliver us from the wrong path of sense gratification.
Sri Isopanisad Lectures
So when they see that Swamijī introduced the things which they have rejected in India, so they are surprised. So I also came for that purpose, because our modern India has rejected spiritual knowledge. They are thinking that if they can imitate Westernized technology, then they will be happy. This is māyā. They do not see that those who are advanced three hundred times more than us in technology, what they have got? They do not see that. India cannot advance in technology like America or Europe at least for three hundred years more, because in these Western countries they have taken this business since a very long time, but Indian culture, beginning from the creation, is spiritual culture. Vyāsadeva... Just see Vyāsadeva. He is the original guru, spiritual master, of Vedic knowledge. How he was living? In a cottage in Badarikāśrama. But just see his knowledge. He has written so many Purāṇas, and Bhāgavata-Purāṇa is one of them. The Vedānta philosophy, Mahābhārata, each and every verse if you study, you can study for the whole life.