The seventh Manu, who is the son of Vivasvān, is known as Śrāddhadeva. He has ten sons, named Ikṣvāku, Nabhaga, Dhṛṣṭa, Śaryāti, Nariṣyanta, Nābhāga, Diṣṭa, Tarūṣa, Pṛṣadhra and Vasumān. In this manvantara, or reign of Manu, among the demigods are the Ādityas, Vasus, Rudras, Viśvedevas, Maruts, Aśvinī-kumāras and Ṛbhus. The king of heaven, Indra, is known as Purandara, and the seven sages are known as Kaśyapa, Atri, Vasiṣṭha, Viśvāmitra, Gautama, Jamadagni and Bharadvāja. During this period of Manu, the Supreme Personality of Godhead Viṣṇu appears from the womb of Aditi in His incarnation as the son of Kaśyapa.
- 1 Bhagavad-gita As It Is
- 2 Srimad-Bhagavatam
- 3 Sri Caitanya-caritamrta
- 4 Other Books by Srila Prabhupada
Bhagavad-gita As It Is
BG Chapters 1 - 6
There are many learned sages, philosophers and transcendentalists who try to conquer the senses, but in spite of their endeavors, even the greatest of them sometimes fall victim to material sense enjoyment due to the agitated mind. Even Viśvāmitra, a great sage and perfect yogī, was misled by Menakā into sex enjoyment, although the yogī was endeavoring for sense control with severe types of penance and yoga practice. And, of course, there are so many similar instances in the history of the world. Therefore, it is very difficult to control the mind and senses without being fully Kṛṣṇa conscious. Without engaging the mind in Kṛṣṇa, one cannot cease such material engagements.
Everyone has to cleanse his heart by a gradual process, not abruptly. However, when one transcends the modes of material nature and is fully situated in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, he can perform anything and everything under the direction of a bona fide spiritual master. In that complete stage of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, the kṣatriya may act as a brāhmaṇa, or a brāhmaṇa may act as a kṣatriya. In the transcendental stage, the distinctions of the material world do not apply. For example, Viśvāmitra was originally a kṣatriya, but later on he acted as a brāhmaṇa, whereas Paraśurāma was a brāhmaṇa but later on he acted as a kṣatriya. Being transcendentally situated, they could do so; but as long as one is on the material platform, he must perform his duties according to the modes of material nature. At the same time, he must have a full sense of Kṛṣṇa consciousness.
SB Canto 1
Yoga aims at controlling the senses. By practice of the mystic process of bodily exercise in sitting, thinking, feeling, willing, concentrating, meditating and at last being merged into transcendence, one can control the senses. The senses are considered like venomous serpents, and the yoga system is just to control them. On the other hand, Nārada Muni recommends another method for controlling the senses in the transcendental loving service of Mukunda, the Personality of Godhead. By his experience he says that devotional service to the Lord is more effective and practical than the system of artificially controlling the senses. In the service of the Lord Mukunda, the senses are transcendentally engaged. Thus there is no chance of their being engaged in sense satisfaction. The senses want some engagement. To check them artificially is no check at all because as soon as there is some opportunity for enjoyment, the serpentlike senses will certainly take advantage of it. There are many such instances in history, just like Viśvāmitra Muni's falling a victim to the beauty of Menakā. But Ṭhākura Haridāsa was allured at midnight by the well-dressed Māyā, and still she could not induce that great devotee into her trap.
Vasiṣṭha: The great celebrated sage among the brāhmaṇas, well known as the Brahmarṣi Vasiṣṭhadeva. He is a prominent figure in both the Rāmāyaṇa and Mahābhārata periods. He celebrated the coronation ceremony of the Personality of Godhead Śrī Rāma. He was present also on the Battlefield of Kurukṣetra. He could approach all the higher and lower planets, and his name is also connected with the history of Hiraṇyakaśipu. There was a great tension between him and Viśvāmitra, who wanted his kāmadhenu, wish-fulfilling cow. Vasiṣṭha Muni refused to spare his kāmadhenu, and for this Viśvāmitra killed his one hundred sons. As a perfect brāhmaṇa he tolerated all the taunts of Viśvāmitra. Once he tried to commit suicide on account of Viśvāmitra's torture, but all his attempts were unsuccessful. He jumped from a hill, but the stones on which he fell became a stack of cotton, and thus he was saved. He jumped into the ocean, but the waves washed him ashore. He jumped into the river, but the river also washed him ashore. Thus all his suicide attempts were unsuccessful. He is also one of the seven ṛṣis and husband of Arundhatī, the famous star.
As it is stated in Bhagavad-gītā, the Lord can be known in His real nature by dint of pure devotional service only. So it is stated here that only the great devotees of the Lord who are able to clear the mind of all material dust by rigid devotional service can experience the Lord as He is. Jitendriya means one who has full control over the senses. The senses are active parts of the body, and their activities cannot be stopped. The artificial means of the yogic processes to make the senses inactive has proved to be abject failure, even in the case of great yogīs like Viśvāmitra Muni. Viśvāmitra Muni controlled the senses by yogic trance, but when he happened to meet Menakā (a heavenly society woman), he became a victim of sex, and the artificial way of controlling the senses failed. But in the case of a pure devotee, the senses are not at all artificially stopped from doing anything, but they are given different good engagements. When the senses are engaged in more attractive activities, there is no chance of their being attracted by any inferior engagements.
Lord Rāma: The Supreme Personality of Godhead incarnated Himself as Śrī Rāma, accepting the sonhood of His pure devotee Mahārāja Daśaratha, the King of Ayodhyā. Lord Rāma descended along with His plenary portions, and all of them appeared as His younger brothers. In the month of Caitra on the ninth day of the growing moon in the Tretā-yuga, the Lord appeared, as usual, to establish the principles of religion and to annihilate the disturbing elements. When He was just a young boy, He helped the great sage Viśvāmitra by killing Subahu and striking Mārīca, the she-demon, who was disturbing the sages in their daily discharge of duties. The brāhmaṇas and kṣatriyas are meant to cooperate for the welfare of the mass of people. The brāhmaṇa sages endeavor to enlighten the people by perfect knowledge, and the kṣatriyas are meant for their protection. Lord Rāmacandra is the ideal king for maintaining and protecting the highest culture of humanity, known as brahmaṇya-dharma. The Lord is specifically the protector of the cows and the brāhmaṇas, and hence He enhances the prosperity of the world. He rewarded the administrative demigods by effective weapons to conquer the demons through the agency of Viśvāmitra. He was present in the bow sacrifice of King Janaka, and by breaking the invincible bow of Śiva, He married Sītādevī, daughter of Mahārāja Janaka.
In the scriptures there is mention of āpad-dharma, or occupational duty at times of extraordinary happenings. It is said that sometimes the great sage Viśvāmitra had to live on the flesh of dogs in some extraordinary dangerous position. In cases of emergency, one may be allowed to live on the flesh of animals of all description, but that does not mean that there should be regular slaughterhouses to feed the animal-eaters and that this system should he encouraged by the state. No one should try to live on flesh in ordinary times simply for the sake of the palate. If anyone does so, the king or the executive head should punish him for gross enjoyment.
From different parts of the universe there arrived great sages like Atri, Cyavana, Śaradvān, Ariṣṭanemi, Bhṛgu, Vasiṣṭha, Parāśara, Viśvāmitra, Aṅgirā, Paraśurāma, Utathya, Indrapramada, Idhmavāhu, Medhātithi, Devala, Ārṣṭiṣeṇa, Bhāradvāja, Gautama, Pippalāda, Maitreya, Aurva, Kavaṣa, Kumbhayoni, Dvaipāyana and the great personality Nārada.
Gādhi-suta, or Viśvāmitra: A great sage of austerity and mystic power. He is famous as Gādhi-suta because his father was Gādhi, a powerful king of the province of Kanyākubja (part of Uttara Pradesh). Although he was a kṣatriya by birth, he became a brāhmaṇa in the very same body by the power of his spiritual achievements. He picked a quarrel with Vasiṣṭha Muni when he was a kṣatriya king and performed a great sacrifice in cooperation with Maṭaṅga Muni and thus was able to vanquish the sons of Vasiṣṭha. He became a great yogī, and yet he failed to check his senses and thus was obliged to become the father of Śakuntalā, the beauty queen of world history. Once, when he was a kṣatriya king, he visited the hermitage of Vasiṣṭha Muni, and he was given a royal reception. Viśvāmitra wanted from Vasiṣṭha a cow named Nandinī, and the Muni refused to deliver it. Viśvāmitra stole the cow, and thus there was a quarrel between the sage and the King. Viśvāmitra was defeated by the spiritual strength of Vasiṣṭha, and thus the King decided to become a brāhmaṇa. Before becoming a brāhmaṇa he underwent severe austerity on the bank of the Kauśika. He was also one who tried to stop the Kurukṣetra war.
SB Canto 2
The first process of spiritualizing the mind by mechanical chanting of the praṇava (oṁkāra) and by control of the breathing system is technically called the mystic or yogic process of prāṇāyāma, or fully controlling the breathing air. The ultimate state of this prāṇāyāma system is to be fixed in trance, technically called samādhi. But experience has proven that even the samādhi stage also fails to control the materially absorbed mind. For example, the great mystic Viśvāmitra Muni, even in the stage of samadhi, became a victim of the senses and cohabited with Menakā. History has already recorded this. The mind, although ceasing to think of sensual activities at present, remembers past sensual activities from the subconscious status and thus disturbs one from cent percent engagement in self-realization. Therefore, Śukadeva Gosvāmī recommends the next step of assured policy, namely to fix one's mind in the service of the Personality of Godhead. Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, also recommends this direct process in the Bhagavad-gītā (6.47). Thus, the mind being spiritually cleansed, one should at once engage himself in the transcendental loving service of the Lord by the different devotional activities of hearing, chanting, etc. If performed under proper guidance, that is the surest path of progress, even for the disturbed mind.
SB Canto 3
Of the four orders of human society—the student, or brahmacārī order, the householder, or gṛhastha order, the retired, or vānaprastha order, and the renounced, or sannyāsī order—the householder is on the safe side. The bodily senses are considered plunderers of the fort of the body. The wife is supposed to be the commander of the fort, and therefore whenever there is an attack on the body by the senses, it is the wife who protects the body from being smashed. The sex demand is inevitable for everyone, but one who has a fixed wife is saved from the onslaught of the sense enemies. A man who possesses a good wife does not create a disturbance in society by corrupting virgin girls. Without a fixed wife, a man becomes a debauchee of the first order and is a nuisance in society—unless he is a trained brahmacārī, vānaprastha or sannyāsī. Unless there is rigid and systematic training of the brahmacārī by the expert spiritual master, and unless the student is obedient, it is sure that the so-called brahmacārī will fall prey to the attack of sex. There are so many instances of falldown, even for great yogīs like Viśvāmitra. A gṛhastha is saved, however, because of his faithful wife. Sex life is the cause of material bondage, and therefore it is prohibited in three āśramas and is allowed only in the gṛhastha-āśrama. The gṛhastha is responsible for producing first-quality brahmacārīs, vānaprasthas and sannyāsīs.
There are different kinds of mystic yoga systems aiming for different phases of the Absolute Truth. The jñāna-yoga system aims at the impersonal Brahman effulgence, and the haṭha-yoga system aims at the localized personal aspect, the Paramātmā feature of the Absolute Truth, whereas bhakti-yoga, or devotional service, which is executed in nine different ways, headed by hearing and chanting, aims at complete realization of the Supreme Lord. There are different methods of self-realization. But here Devahūti especially refers to the bhakti-yoga system, which has already been primarily explained by the Lord. The different parts of the bhakti-yoga system are hearing, chanting, remembering, offering prayers, worshiping the Lord in the temple, accepting service to Him, carrying out His orders, making friendship with Him and ultimately surrendering everything for the service of the Lord. The word nirvāṇātman is very significant in this verse. Unless one accepts the process of devotional service, one cannot end the continuation of material existence. As far as jñānīs are concerned, they are interested in jñāna-yoga, but even if one elevates oneself, after a great performance of austerity, to the Brahman effulgence, there is a chance of falling down again to the material world. Therefore, jñāna-yoga does not actually end material existence. Similarly, regarding the haṭha-yoga system, which aims at the localized aspect of the Lord, Paramātmā, it has been experienced that many yogīs, such as Viśvāmitra, fall down. But bhakti-yogīs, once approaching the Supreme Personality of Godhead, never come back to this material world, as it is confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā. Yad gatvā na nivartante: (BG 15.6) upon going, one never comes back. Tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti: (BG 4.9) after giving up this body, he never comes back again to accept a material body. Nirvāṇa does not finish the existence of the soul. The soul is ever existing. Therefore nirvāṇa means to end one's material existence, and to end material existence means to go back home, back to Godhead.
As soon as one engages in such serious devotional service of the Lord, naturally the propensity to falsely claim lordship over material nature disappears. That detachment is called vairāgya. Instead of being absorbed in so-called material lordship, one engages in Kṛṣṇa consciousness; that is control of consciousness. The yoga process necessitates controlling the senses. Yoga indriya-saṁyamaḥ. Since the senses are always active, their activities should be engaged in devotional service—one cannot stop their activities. If one wants to artificially stop the activities of the senses, his attempt will be a failure. Even the great yogī Viśvāmitra, who was trying to control his senses by the yoga process, fell victim to the beauty of Menakā. There are many such instances. Unless one's mind and consciousness are fully engaged in devotional service, there is always the opportunity for the mind to become occupied with desires for sense gratification.
SB Canto 4
Everyone in human society is engaged for the ultimate benefit of life, but persons who are in the bodily conception cannot achieve the ultimate goal, nor can they understand what it is. The ultimate goal of life is described in Bhagavad-gītā (2.59). paraṁ dṛṣṭvā nivartate. When one finds out the supreme goal of life, he naturally becomes detached from the bodily concept. Here in this verse the indication is that one has to steadfastly increase attachment for the Transcendence (brahmaṇi). As confirmed in the Vedānta-sūtra (1.1.1), athāto brahma jijñāsā: without inquiry about the Supreme, or the Transcendence, one cannot give up attachment for this material world. By the evolutionary process in 8,400,000 species of life, one cannot understand the ultimate goal of life because in all those species of life, the bodily conception is very prominent. Athāto brahma jijñāsā means that in order to get out of the bodily conception, one has to increase attachment to or inquiry about Brahman. Then he can be situated in the transcendental devotional service—śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ (SB 7.5.23). To increase attachment for Brahman means to engage in devotional service. Those who are attached to the impersonal form of Brahman cannot remain attached for very long. Impersonalists, after rejecting this world as mithyā, or false (jagan mithyā), come down again to this jagan mithyā, although they take sannyāsa to increase their attachment for Brahman. Similarly, many yogīs who are attached to the localized aspect of Brahman as Paramātmā—great sages like Viśvāmitra—also fall down as victims of women. Therefore increased attachment for the Supreme Personality of Godhead is advised in all śāstras. That is the only way of detachment from material existence and is explained in Bhagavad-gītā (2.59) as paraṁ dṛṣṭvā nivartate. One can cease material activities when he actually has the taste for devotional service. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu also recommended love of Godhead as the ultimate goal of life (premā pum-artho mahān). Without increasing love of Godhead, one cannot achieve the perfectional stage of the transcendental position.
Generally a woman becomes more beautiful when, after an early marriage, she gives birth to a child. To give birth to a child is the natural function of a woman, and therefore a woman becomes more and more beautiful as she gives birth to one child after another. In the case of Śatadruti, however, she was so beautiful that she attracted the whole universe at her marriage ceremony. Indeed, she attracted all the learned and exalted demigods simply by the tinkling of her ankle bells. This indicates that all the demigods wanted to see her beauty completely, but they were not able to see it because she was fully dressed and covered with ornaments. Since they could only see the feet of Śatadruti, they became attracted by her ankle bells, which tinkled as she walked. In other words, the demigods became captivated by her simply by hearing the tinkling of her ankle bells. They did not have to see her complete beauty. It is sometimes understood that a person becomes lusty just by hearing the tinkling of bangles on the hands of women or the tinkling of ankle bells, or just by seeing a woman's sari. Thus it is concluded that woman is the complete representation of māyā. Although Viśvāmitra Muni was engaged in practicing mystic yoga with closed eyes, his transcendental meditation was broken when he heard the tinkling of bangles on the hands of Menakā. In this way Viśvāmitra Muni became a victim of Menakā and fathered a child who is universally celebrated as Śakuntalā. The conclusion is that no one can save himself from the attraction of woman, even though he be an exalted demigod or an inhabitant of the higher planets. Only a devotee of the Lord, who is attracted by Kṛṣṇa, can escape the lures of woman. Once one is attracted by Kṛṣṇa, the illusory energy of the world cannot attract him.
Whenever a great sage undergoes severe austerities for material power, the King of heaven, Indra, becomes very envious. All the demigods have responsible posts for the management of universal affairs and are very highly qualified with pious activities. Although they are ordinary living entities, they are able to attain responsible posts, like Lord Brahmā, Indra, Candra and Varuṇa. As is the nature of this material world, the King of heaven, Indra, is very anxious if a great sage undergoes severe austerities. The whole material world is filled with such envy that everyone becomes afraid of his neighbors. Every businessman is afraid of his associates because this material world is the field of activities for all kinds of envious people who have come here to compete with the opulence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus Indra was very much afraid of the severe austerities performed by the great sage Kaṇḍu, and he sent Pramlocā to break his vows and austerities. A similar incident took place in the case of Viśvāmitra. From other incidents in the śāstras, it appears that Indra has always been envious. When King Pṛthu was celebrating various sacrifices, outdoing Indra, Indra became very envious, and he disturbed King Pṛthu's sacrifice. This has already been discussed in previous chapters. King Indra became successful in breaking the vow of the great sage Kaṇḍu, who became attracted by the beauty of the heavenly society girl Pramlocā and begot a female child. This child is described herein as lotus-eyed and very beautiful. Being thus successful in her mission, Pramlocā returned to the heavenly planets, leaving the newborn child to the care of the trees. Fortunately, the trees accepted the child and agreed to raise her.
SB Canto 5
Although Āgnīdhra, the son of Priyavrata, was practicing mystic yoga and trying to control his senses, the tinkling sound of Pūrvacitti's ankle bells disturbed his practice. Yoga indriya-saṁyamaḥ: actual yoga practice means controlling the senses. One must practice mystic yoga, to control the senses, but the sense control of a devotee who fully engages in the service of the Lord with his purified senses (hṛṣīkeṇa hṛṣīkeśa-sevanam (CC Madhya 19.170)) can never be disturbed. Śrīla Prabodhānanda Sarasvatī therefore stated, durdāntendriya-kāla-sarpa-paṭalī protkhāta-daṁṣṭra-yate (Caitanya-candrāmṛta 5). The practice of yoga is undoubtedly good because it controls the senses, which are like venomous serpents. When one engages in devotional service, however, completely employing all the activities of the senses in the service of the Lord, the venomous quality of the senses is completely nullified. It is explained that a serpent is to be feared because of its poison fangs, but if those fangs are broken. the serpent, although it seems fearsome, is not at all dangerous. Devotees, therefore, may see hundreds and thousands of beautiful women with fascinating bodily movements and gestures but not be allured, whereas such women would make ordinary yogīs fall. Even the advanced yogī Viśvāmitra broke his mystic practice to unite with Menakā and beget a child known as Śakuntalā. The practice of mystic yoga, therefore, is not sufficiently strong to control the senses. Another example is Prince Āgnīdhra, whose attention was drawn to the movements of Pūrvacitti, the Apsarā, simply because he heard the tinkling of her ankle bells. In the same way that Viśvāmitra Muni was attracted by the tinkling bangles of Menakā, Prince Āgnīdhra, upon hearing the tinkling bangles of Pūrvacitti, immediately opened his eyes to see her beautiful movements as she walked. The prince was also very handsome. As described herein, his eyes were just like the buds of lotus flowers. As he opened his lotuslike eyes, he could immediately see that the Apsarā was present by his side.
There are many instances in which Apsarās, heavenly angels, have descended to this earth by the order of a superior demigod like Lord Brahmā or Lord Indra, have followed the demigod's order by marrying someone and giving birth to children, and have then returned to their celestial homes. For example, after Menakā, the celestial woman who had come to delude Viśvāmitra Muni, gave birth to the child Śakuntalā, she left both the child and her husband and returned to the heavenly planets. Pūrvacitti did not remain permanently with Mahārāja Āgnīdhra. After cooperating in his household affairs, she left Mahārāja Āgnīdhra and all nine sons and returned to Brahmā to worship him.
Through the disciplic succession the royal order was on the same platform as great saintly persons (rāja-ṛṣis). Formerly they could understand the philosophy of life and knew how to train the citizens to come to the same standard. In other words, they knew how to deliver the citizens from the entanglement of birth and death. When Mahārāja Daśaratha ruled Ayodhyā, the great sage Viśvāmitra once came to him to take away Lord Rāmacandra and Lakṣmaṇa to the forest to kill a demon. When the saintly person Viśvāmitra came to the court of Mahārāja Daśaratha, the King, in order to receive the saintly person, asked him, aihiṣṭaṁ yat tat punar janma jayāya. He asked the sage whether everything was going on well in his endeavor to conquer the repetition of birth and death. The whole process of Vedic civilization is based on this point.
Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has perfectly enunciated and broadcast the process of bhakti-yoga. Consequently, for one who has taken shelter at the lotus feet of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, the highest perfection of the Māyāvādīs, kaivalya, or becoming one with the Supreme, is considered hellish, to say nothing of the karmīs' aspiration to be promoted to the heavenly planets. Devotees consider such goals to be worthless phantasmagoria. There are also yogīs, who try to control their senses, but they can never succeed without coming to the stage of devotional service. The senses are compared to poisonous snakes, but the senses of a bhakta engaged in the service of the Lord are like snakes with their poisonous fangs removed. The yogī tries to suppress his senses, but even great mystics like Viśvāmitra fail in the attempt. Viśvāmitra was conquered by his senses when he was captivated by Menakā during his meditation. She later gave birth to Śakuntalā.
SB Canto 6
Woman is now depicted very well from the materialistic point of view by Kaśyapa Muni. Women are generally known as the fair sex, and especially in youth, at the age of sixteen or seventeen, women are very attractive to men. Therefore a woman's face is compared to a blooming lotus flower in autumn. Just as a lotus is extremely beautiful in autumn, a woman at the threshold of youthful beauty is extremely attractive. In Sanskrit a woman's voice is called nārī-svara because women generally sing and their singing is very attractive. At the present moment, cinema artists, especially female singers, are especially welcome. Some of them earn fabulous amounts of money simply by singing. Therefore, as taught by Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, a woman's singing is dangerous because it can make a sannyāsī fall a victim to the woman. Sannyāsa means giving up the company of women, but if a sannyāsī hears the voice of a woman and sees her beautiful face, he certainly becomes attracted and is sure to fall down. There have been many examples. Even the great sage Viśvāmitra fell a victim to Menakā. Therefore a person desiring to advance in spiritual consciousness must be especially careful not to see a woman's face or hear a woman's voice. To see a woman's face and appreciate its beauty or to hear a woman's voice and appreciate her singing as very nice is a subtle falldown for a brahmacārī or sannyāsī. Thus the description of a woman's features by Kaśyapa Muni is very instructive.
SB Canto 7
The word śunaḥ means "of a dog," and śepa means "tail." The example is ordinary. However one may try to straighten a dog's tail, it is never straight but always curved. Śunaḥ śepa is also the name of the second son of Ajīgarta. He was sold to Hariścandra, but he later took shelter of Viśvāmitra, Hariścandra's enemy, and never left his side.
SB Canto 8
Kaśyapa, Atri, Vasiṣṭha, Viśvāmitra, Gautama, Jamadagni and Bharadvāja are known as the seven sages.
SB Canto 9
The most prominent son of Māndhātā was Ambarīṣa, his son was Yauvanāśva, and Yauvanāśva's son was Hārīta. These three personalities were the best in the dynasty of Māndhātā. Purukutsa, another son of Māndhātā, married the sister of the snakes (sarpa-gaṇa) named Narmadā. The son of Purukutsa was Trasaddasyu, whose son was Anaraṇya. Anaraṇya's son was Haryaśva, Haryaśva's son was Prāruṇa, Prāruṇa's son was Tribandhana, and Tribandhana's son was Satyavrata, also known as Triśaṅku. When Triśaṅku kidnapped the daughter of a brāhmaṇa, his father cursed him for this sinful act, and Triśaṅku became a caṇḍāla, worse than a śūdra. Later, by the influence of Viśvāmitra, he was brought to the heavenly planets, but by the influence of the demigods he fell back downward. He was stopped in his fall, however, by the influence of Viśvāmitra. The son of Triśaṅku was Hariścandra. Hariścandra once performed a Rājasūya-yajña, but Viśvāmitra cunningly took all of Hariścandra's possessions as a dakṣiṇa contribution and chastised Hariścandra in various ways. Because of this, a quarrel arose between Viśvāmitra and Vasiṣṭha. Hariścandra had no sons, but on the advice of Nārada he worshiped Varuṇa and in this way got a son named Rohita. Hariścandra promised that Rohita would be used to perform a Varuṇa-yajña. Varuṇa reminded Hariścandra repeatedly about this yajña, but the King, because of affection for his son, gave various arguments to avoid sacrificing him. Thus time passed, and gradually the son grew up. To safeguard his life, the boy then took bow and arrows in hand and went to the forest. Meanwhile, at home, Hariścandra suffered from dropsy because of an attack from Varuṇa. When Rohita received the news that his father was suffering, he wanted to return to the capital, but King Indra prevented him from doing so. Following the instructions of Indra, Rohita lived in the forest for six years and then returned home. Rohita purchased Śunaḥśepha, the second son of Ajīgarta, and gave him to his father, Hariścandra, as the sacrificial animal. In this way, the sacrifice was performed, Varuṇa and the other demigods were pacified, and Hariścandra was freed from disease. In this sacrifice, Viśvāmitra was the hotā priest, Jamadagni was the adhvaryu, Vasiṣṭha was the brahmā, and Ayāsya was the udgātā. King Indra, being very satisfied by the sacrifice, gave Hariścandra a golden chariot, and Viśvāmitra gave him transcendental knowledge. Thus Śukadeva Gosvāmī describes how Hariścandra achieved perfection.
The son of Tribandhana was Satyavrata, who is celebrated by the name Triśaṅku. Because he kidnapped the daughter of a brāhmaṇa when she was being married, his father cursed him to become a caṇḍāla, lower than a śūdra. Thereafter, by the influence of Viśvāmitra, he went to the higher planetary system, the heavenly planets, in his material body, but because of the prowess of the demigods he fell back downward. Nonetheless, by the power of Viśvāmitra, he did not fall all the way down; even today he can still be seen hanging in the sky, head downward.
The son of Triśaṅku was Hariścandra. Because of Hariścandra there was a quarrel between Viśvāmitra and Vasiṣṭha, who for many years fought one another, having been transformed into birds.
Viśvāmitra and Vasiṣṭha were always inimical. Formerly, Viśvāmitra was a kṣatriya, and by undergoing severe austerities he wanted to become a brāhmaṇa, but Vasiṣṭha would not agree to accept him. In this way there was always disagreement between the two. Later, however, Vasiṣṭha accepted him because of Viśvāmitra's quality of forgiveness. Once Hariścandra performed a yajña for which Viśvāmitra was the priest, but Viśvāmitra, being angry at Hariścandra, took away all his possessions, claiming them as a contribution of dakṣiṇā. Vasiṣṭha, however, did not like this, and therefore a fight arose between Vasiṣṭha and Viśvāmitra. The fighting became so severe that each of them cursed the other. One of them said, "May you become a bird," and the other said, "May you become a duck." Thus both of them became birds and continued fighting for many years because of Hariścandra. We can see that such a great mystic yogī as Saubhari became a victim of sense gratification, and such great sages as Vasiṣṭha and Viśvāmitra became birds. This is the material world. Ābrahma-bhuvanāl lokāḥ punar āvartino 'rjuna (BG 8.16). Within this material world, or within this universe, however elevated one may be in material qualities, one must suffer the conditions of birth, death, old age and disease (janma-mṛtyu jarā-vyādhi (BG 13.9)). Therefore Kṛṣṇa says that this material world is simply miserable (duḥkhālayam aśāśvatam (BG 8.15)). The Bhāgavatam says, padaṁ padaṁ yad vipadām: (SB 10.14.58) at every step here there is danger. Therefore, because the Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement provides the opportunity for the human being to get out of this material world simply by chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra, this movement is the greatest benediction in human society.
In that great human sacrifice, Viśvāmitra was the chief priest to offer oblations, the perfectly self-realized Jamadagni had the responsibility for chanting the mantras from the Yajur Veda, Vasiṣṭha was the chief brahminical priest, and the sage Ayāsya was the reciter of the hymns of the Sāma Veda.
King Indra, being very pleased with Hariścandra, offered him a gift of a golden chariot. Śunaḥśepha's glories will be presented along with the description of the son of Viśvāmitra.
The great sage Viśvāmitra saw that Mahārāja Hariścandra, along with his wife, was truthful, forbearing and concerned with the essence. Thus he gave them imperishable knowledge for fulfillment of the human mission.
Lord Rāmacandra went with Viśvāmitra and killed Rākṣasas like Mārīca. After breaking the stout and strong bow known as Haradhanu, the Lord married mother Sītā and cut down the prestige of Paraśurāma. To obey the order of His father, He entered the forest, accompanied by Lakṣmaṇa and Sītā. There He cut off the nose of Śūrpaṇakhā and killed the associates of Rāvaṇa, headed by Khara and Dūṣaṇa. Rāvaṇa's kidnapping of Sītādevī was the beginning of this demon's misfortune. When Mārīca assumed the form of a golden deer, Lord Rāmacandra went to bring the deer to please Sītādevī, but in the meantime Rāvaṇa took advantage of the Lord's absence to kidnap her. When Sītādevī was kidnapped, Lord Rāmacandra, accompanied by Lakṣmaṇa, searched for her throughout the forest.
In the arena of the sacrifice performed by Viśvāmitra, Lord Rāmacandra, the King of Ayodhyā, killed many demons, Rākṣasas and uncivilized men who wandered at night in the mode of darkness. May Lord Rāmacandra, who killed these demons in the presence of Lakṣmaṇa, be kind enough to give us protection.
King Gādhi had a daughter named Satyavatī, whom a brāhmaṇa sage named Ṛcīka requested from the King to be his wife. King Gādhi, however, regarded Ṛcīka as an unfit husband for his daughter, and therefore he told the brāhmaṇa, "My dear sir, I belong to the dynasty of Kuśa. Because we are aristocratic kṣatriyas, you have to give some dowry for my daughter. Therefore, bring at least one thousand horses, each as brilliant as moonshine and each having one black ear, whether right or left."
The son of King Gādhi was Viśvāmitra, who was said to be a brāhmaṇa and kṣatriya combined. Viśvāmitra attained the status of a brahmarṣi, as explained later. From the marriage of Satyavatī with Ṛcīka Muni would come a son with the spirit of a kṣatriya. King Gādhi demanded that an uncommon request be fulfilled before the brāhmaṇa Ṛcīka could marry his daughter.
When Jamadagni was killed by the sons of Kārtavīryārjuna, as described in this chapter, Paraśurāma rid the entire world of kṣatriyas twenty-one times. This chapter also describes the descendants of Viśvāmitra.
When Jamadagni's wife, Reṇukā, went to bring water from the Ganges and saw the King of the Gandharvas enjoying the company of Apsarās, she was captivated, and she slightly desired to associate with him. Because of this sinful desire, she was punished by her husband. Paraśurāma killed his mother and brothers, but later, by dint of the austerities of Jamadagni, they were revived. The sons of Kārtavīryārjuna, however, remembering the death of their father, wanted to take revenge against Lord Paraśurāma, and therefore when Paraśurāma was absent from the āśrama, they killed Jamadagni, who was meditating on the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When Paraśurāma returned to the āśrama and saw his father killed, he was very sorry, and after asking his brothers to take care of the dead body, he went out with determination to kill all the kṣatriyas on the surface of the world. Taking up his axe, he went to Māhiṣmatī-pura, the capital of Kārtavīryārjuna, and killed all of Kārtavīryārjuna's sons, whose blood became a great river. Paraśurāma, however, was not satisfied with killing only the sons of Kārtavīryārjuna; later, when the kṣatriyas became disturbing, he killed them twenty-one times, so that there were no kṣatriyas on the surface of the earth. Thereafter, Paraśurāma joined the head of his father to the dead body and performed various sacrifices to please the Supreme Lord. Thus Jamadagni got life again in his body, and later he was promoted to the higher planetary system known as Saptarṣi-maṇḍala. Paraśurāma, the son of Jamadagni, still lives in Mahendra-parvata. In the next manvantara, he will become a preacher of Vedic knowledge.
In the dynasty of Gādhi, the most powerful Viśvāmitra took birth. By dint of his austerity and penance, he became a brāhmaṇa. He had 101 sons, who were celebrated as the Madhucchandās. In the sacrificial arena of Hariścandra, the son of Ajīgarta named Śunaḥśepha was meant to be sacrificed, but by the mercy of the Prajāpatis he was released. Thereafter, he became Devarāta in the dynasty of Gādhi. The fifty elder sons of Viśvāmitra, however, did not accept Śunaḥśepha as their elder brother, and therefore Viśvāmitra cursed them to become mlecchas, unfaithful to the Vedic civilization. Viśvāmitra's fifty-first son, along with his younger brothers, then accepted Śunaḥśepha as their eldest brother, and their father, Viśvāmitra, being satisfied, blessed them. Thus Devarāta was accepted in the dynasty of Kauśika, and consequently there are different divisions of that dynasty.
Thus Jamadagni, being worshiped by Lord Paraśurāma, was brought back to life with full remembrance, and he became one of the seven sages in the group of seven stars.
The seven stars revolving around the polestar at the zenith are called saptarṣi-maṇḍala. On these seven stars, which form the topmost part of our planetary system, reside seven sages: Kaśyapa, Atri, Vasiṣṭha, Viśvāmitra, Gautama, Jamadagni and Bharadvāja. These seven stars are seen every night, and they each make a complete orbit around the polestar within twenty-four hours. Along with these seven stars, all the others stars also orbit from east to west. The upper portion of the universe is called the north, and the lower portion is called the south. Even in our ordinary dealings, while studying a map, we regard the upper portion of the map as north.
Viśvāmitra, the son of Mahārāja Gādhi, was as powerful as the flames of fire. From the position of a kṣatriya, he achieved the position of a powerful brāhmaṇa by undergoing penances and austerities.
Now, having narrated the history of Lord Paraśurāma, Śukadeva Gosvāmī begins the history of Viśvāmitra. From the history of Paraśurāma we can understand that although Paraśurāma belonged to the brahminical group, he circumstantially had to work as a kṣatriya. Later, after finishing his work as a kṣatriya, he again became a brāhmaṇa and returned to Mahendra-parvata. Similarly, we can see that although Viśvāmitra was born in a kṣatriya family, by austerities and penances he achieved the position of a brāhmaṇa. These histories confirm the statements in śāstra that a brāhmaṇa may become a kṣatriya, a kṣatriya may become a brāhmaṇa or vaiśya, and a vaiśya may become a brāhmaṇa, by achieving the required qualities. One's status does not depend upon birth.
O King Parīkṣit, Viśvāmitra had 101 sons, of whom the middle one was known as Madhucchandā. In relation to him, all the other sons were celebrated as the Madhucchandās.
In this connection, Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura quotes this statement from the Vedas: tasya ha viśvāmitrasyaika-śataṁ putrā āsuḥ pañcāśad eva jyāyāṁso madhucchandasaḥ pañcāśat kanīyāṁsaḥ. "Viśvāmitra had 101 sons. Fifty were older than Madhucchandā and fifty younger."
Viśvāmitra accepted the son of Ajīgarta known as Śunaḥśepha, who was born in the Bhṛgu dynasty and was also known as Devarāta, as one of his own sons. Viśvāmitra ordered his other sons to accept Śunaḥśepha as their eldest brother.
When requested by their father to accept Śunaḥśepha as the eldest son, the elder fifty of the Madhucchandās, the sons of Viśvāmitra, did not agree. Therefore Viśvāmitra, being angry, cursed them. "May all of you bad sons become mlecchas," he said, "being opposed to the principles of Vedic culture."
In Vedic literature there are names like mleccha and yavana. The mlecchas are understood to be those who do not follow the Vedic principles. In former days, the mlecchas were fewer, and Viśvāmitra Muni cursed his sons to become mlecchas. But in the present age, Kali-yuga, there is no need of cursing, for people are automatically mlecchas. This is only the beginning of Kali-yuga, but at the end of Kali-yuga the entire population will consist of mlecchas because no one will follow the Vedic principles. At that time the incarnation Kalki will appear. Mleccha-nivaha-nidhane kalayasi kara-bālam. He will kill all the mlecchas indiscriminately with his sword.
Thus the younger Madhucchandās accepted Śunaḥśepha as their eldest brother and told him, "We shall follow your orders." Viśvāmitra then said to his obedient sons, "Because you have accepted Śunaḥśepha as your eldest brother, I am very satisfied. By accepting my order, you have made me a father of worthy sons, and therefore I bless all of you to become the fathers of sons also."
Of the one hundred sons, half disobeyed Viśvāmitra by not accepting Śunaḥśepha as their eldest brother, but the other half accepted his order. Therefore the father blessed the obedient sons to become the fathers of sons. Otherwise they too would have been cursed to be sonless mlecchas.
Viśvāmitra said, "O Kuśikas (descendants of Kauśika), this Devarāta is my son and is one of you. Please obey his orders." O King Parīkṣit, Viśvāmitra had many other sons, such as Aṣṭaka, Hārīta, Jaya and Kratumān.
Viśvāmitra cursed some of his sons and blessed the others, and he also adopted a son. Thus there were varieties in the Kauśika dynasty, but among all the sons, Devarāta was considered the eldest.
While hunting in the forest, Duṣmanta once approached the āśrama of Mahāṛṣi Kaṇva, where he saw an extremely beautiful woman and became attracted to her. That woman was the daughter of Viśvāmitra, and her name was Śakuntalā. Her mother was Menakā, who had left her in the forest, where Kaṇva Muni found her. Kaṇva Muni brought her to his āśrama, where he raised and maintained her. When Śakuntalā accepted Mahārāja Duṣmanta as her husband, he married her according to the gāndharva-vidhi. Śakuntalā later became pregnant by her husband, who left her in the āśrama of Kaṇva Muni and returned to his kingdom.
Śakuntalā said: I am the daughter of Viśvāmitra. My mother, Menakā, left me in the forest. O hero, the most powerful saint Kaṇva Muni knows all about this. Now let me know, how may I serve you?
Śakuntalā informed Mahārāja Duṣmanta that although she never saw or knew her father or mother, Kaṇva Muni knew everything about her, and she had heard from him that she was the daughter of Viśvāmitra and that her mother was Menakā, who had left her in the forest.
King Duṣmanta replied: O Śakuntalā, with beautiful eyebrows, you have taken your birth in the family of the great saint Viśvāmitra, and your reception is quite worthy of your family. Aside from this, the daughters of a king generally select their own husbands.
SB Cantos 10.14 to 12 (Translations Only)
He selected Kṛṣṇa-dvaipāyana, Bharadvāja, Sumantu, Gotama and Asita, along with Vasiṣṭha, Cyavana, Kaṇva, Maitreya, Kavaṣa and Trita. He also selected Viśvāmitra, Vāmadeva, Sumati, Jaimini, Kratu, Paila and Parāśara, as well as Garga, Vaiśampāyana, Atharvā, Kaśyapa, Dhaumya, Rāma of the Bhārgavas, Āsuri, Vītihotra, Madhucchandā, Vīrasena and Akṛtavraṇa.
As the women thus talked among themselves and the men among themselves, a number of great sages arrived there, all of them eager to see Lord Kṛṣṇa and Lord Balarāma. They included Dvaipāyana, Nārada, Cyavana, Devala and Asita, Viśvāmitra, Śatānanda, Bharadvāja and Gautama, Lord Paraśurāma and his disciples, Vasiṣṭha, Gālava, Bhṛgu, Pulastya and Kaśyapa, Atri, Mārkaṇḍeya and Bṛhaspati, Dvita, Trita, Ekata and the four Kumāras, and Aṅgirā, Agastya, Yājñavalkya and Vāmadeva.
The sages Viśvāmitra, Asita, Kaṇva, Durvāsā, Bhṛgu, Aṅgirā, Kaśyapa, Vāmadeva, Atri and Vasiṣṭha, along with Nārada and others, once performed fruitive rituals that award abundant pious results, bring great happiness and take away the sins of Kali-yuga for the whole world by merely being recounted. The sages duly executed these rituals in the home of the chief of the Yadus, Vasudeva, the father of Lord Kṛṣṇa. After Lord Kṛṣṇa, who was staying in Vasudeva's house as time personified, respectfully sent the sages off at the conclusion of the ceremonies, they went to the holy place called Piṇḍāraka.
Viṣṇu as the sun-god, Aśvatara as the Nāga, Rambhā as the Apsarā, Sūryavarcā as the Gandharva, Satyajit as the Yakṣa, Viśvāmitra as the sage and Makhāpeta as the Rākṣasa rule the month of Ūrja.
When the Lord and Lakṣmīdevī met, their relationship awakened, having already been settled, and coincidentally the marriage-maker Vanamālī came to see Śacīmātā.
Vanamālī Ghaṭaka, a resident of Navadvīpa and a brāhmaṇa by caste, arranged the marriage of the Lord to Lakṣmīdevī. He was formerly Viśvāmitra, who negotiated the marriage of Lord Rāmacandra, and later he was the brāhmaṇa who negotiated the marriage of Lord Kṛṣṇa with Rukmiṇī. That same brāhmaṇa acted as the marriage-maker of the Lord in caitanya-līlā.
The Apsarās, denizens of the heavenly planets, are generally known as dancing girls. The girls in the heavenly planets are exquisitely beautiful, and if a woman on earth is found to be very beautiful, she is compared to the Apsarās. There were five Apsarās named Latā, Budbudā, Samīcī, Saurabheyī and Varṇā. It is said that these five beautiful dancing girls were sent by Indra to break the severe austerity of a saintly person called Acyuta Ṛṣi. This action was typical of Indra, the King of heaven. Whenever Indra discovered someone undergoing severe austerities, he would begin to fear for his post. Indra was always anxious about his position, fearing that if someone became more powerful than he was, he would lose his elevated position. Thus as soon as he would see a saint undergoing severe austerities, he would send dancing girls to distract him. Even the great saint Viśvāmitra Muni fell victim to his plan.
Other Books by Srila Prabhupada
Krsna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead
"My dear King," Lord Kṛṣṇa continued, "I offered to give you any kind of benediction just to test how much you have advanced in devotional service. Now I can see that you are on the platform of the pure devotees, for your mind is not disturbed by any greedy or lusty desires of this material world. The yogīs who try to elevate themselves by controlling the senses and who meditate upon Me by practicing the breathing exercise of prāṇāyāma are not so thoroughly freed from material desires. It has been seen in several cases that as soon as there is allurement, such yogīs again come down to the material platform."
The vivid example verifying this statement is Viśvāmitra Muni. Viśvāmitra Muni was a great yogī who practiced prāṇāyāma, a breathing exercise, but when he was visited by Menakā, a society woman of the heavenly planets, he lost all control and begot in her a daughter named Śakuntalā. But the pure devotee Haridāsa Ṭhākura was never disturbed, even when all such allurements were offered by a prostitute.
After satisfying Kṛṣṇa in this way, King Yudhiṣṭhira arranged to perform the Rājasūya sacrifice. He invited all the qualified brāhmaṇas and sages to take part and appointed them to different positions as priests in charge of the sacrificial arena. He invited the most expert brāhmaṇas and sages, whose names are as follows: Kṛṣṇa-dvaipāyana Vyāsadeva, Bharadvāja, Sumantu, Gautama, Asita, Vasiṣṭha, Cyavana, Kaṇva, Maitreya, Kavaṣa, Trita, Viśvāmitra, Vāmadeva, Sumati, Jaimini, Kratu, Paila, Parāśara, Garga, Vaiśampāyana, Atharvā, Kaśyapa, Dhaumya, Paraśurāma, Śukrācārya, Āsuri, Vītihotra, Madhucchandā, Vīrasena and Akṛtavraṇa. Besides all these brāhmaṇas and sages, he invited such respectable old men as Droṇācārya, Bhīṣma (the grandfather of the Kurus), Kṛpācārya and Dhṛtarāṣṭra. He also invited all the sons of Dhṛtarāṣṭra, headed by Duryodhana, and also the great devotee Vidura. Kings from different parts of the world, along with their ministers and secretaries, were also invited to see the great sacrifice performed by King Yudhiṣṭhira, and the citizens, comprising learned brāhmaṇas, chivalrous kṣatriyas, well-to-do vaiśyas and faithful śūdras, all visited the ceremony.
While the women were engaged in conversations among themselves and the men were similarly engaged in conversation, there arrived from all directions almost all the important sages and ascetics, who had come for the purpose of seeing Lord Kṛṣṇa and Balarāma. Chief among the sages were Kṛṣṇa-dvaipāyana Vyāsa, the great sage Nārada, Cyavana, Devala, Asita, Viśvāmitra, Śatānanda, Bharadvāja, Gautama, Lord Paraśurāma (along with his disciples), Vasiṣṭha, Gālava, Bhṛgu, Pulastya, Kaśyapa, Atri, Mārkaṇḍeya, Bṛhaspati, Dvita, Trita, Ekata, the four Kumāra sons of Brahmā (Sanaka, Sanandana, Sanātana and Sanat-kumāra), Aṅgirā, Agastya, Yājñavalkya and Vāmadeva.
Actually, ecstatic samādhi, or absorption in the Supreme Personality of Godhead, can be achieved by constant engagement in His service, and this constant engagement in devotional service can be performed only when one works under the direction of a bona fide spiritual master. The Vedas therefore instruct that in order to know the science of devotional service one has to submit himself unto the bona fide spiritual master. The bona fide spiritual master is he who knows the science of devotional service in disciplic succession. This disciplic succession is called śrotriya. The prime symptom of one who has become a spiritual master in disciplic succession is that he is one hundred percent fixed in bhakti-yoga. Sometimes people neglect to accept a spiritual master, and instead they endeavor for self-realization by mystic yoga practice, but there are many instances of failure, even by great yogīs like Viśvāmitra. Arjuna said in the Bhagavad-gītā that controlling the mind is as impractical as stopping the blowing of a hurricane. Sometimes the mind is compared to a maddened elephant. Without following the direction of a spiritual master one cannot control the mind and the senses. In other words, if one practices yoga mysticism and does not accept a bona fide spiritual master, he will surely fail.