Pleased with the prayers offered by Prithu, the first king in this creation, the Supreme Lord said,
“O King, may you always be blessed with such firm devotion towards me! Purely due to God’s grace you were able to acquire such selfless devotion towards me. With this wisdom, you will be able to cross over my illusion, which otherwise is impossible to transcend.
Mad-ādeśa-karo lokaḥ sarvatrāpnoti śobhanam – With absolute dedication complete the duties that I have assigned to you. The person who diligently abides by My orders will obtain auspiciousness in all the worlds!”
In this way Lord Srihari appreciated Prithu and accepted his prayers. He then got ready to leave for Vaikunta.
Prithu considered all the Devatas, Saints, Gandharvas, accomplished siddhas, cāranās, nāgās, kinnaras, apsarasās, humans, birds and all other species of living beings, who had contributed and participated in the Yagna to be forms of the Supreme Lord. He folded his hands and with total dedication offered obeisance to them. He greeted and duly honoured them all. With great satisfaction all of them left for their respective abodes.
As Prithu, together with the priests, was watching Him in great joy, Lord Srihari departed to Vaikunta.
Adṛṣṭāya namaskṛtya nṛpaḥ sandarśitātmane
Avyaktāya ca devānāṁ devāya sva-puraṁ yayau
The formless Lord Srihari, who is not visible to the senses, revealed himself to Prithu in a form that was visible to the eyes. Prithu delighted in observing the Lord as long as He was visible. Thereafter he mentally offered obeisance to the Lord and returned to his capital city.
With this the twentieth chapter of the fourth canto comes to an end.
Fourth Canto Chapter Twenty-one
In this chapter, the message given by Emperor Prithu to his subjects is covered.
Maitreya Maharishi continued, “The citizens who came to know that the king was returning to the city excitedly decorated all doorways with exquisite pearl chains, flower garlands and beautiful clothing. Incense sticks which emitted delightful fragrances were arranged at every junction. They ensured that the fragrance permeated the entire area. They sprinkled sandalwood and agaru water on all the royal paths as well as the smaller roads.
They decorated the pathways with flowers, fruits, coloured rice (akshata), herbs, parched grain, lamps and other auspicious materials. Every junction was decorated with flowering banana plants, areca palm trees replete with nuts and bunches of many other fruits as well as flower garlands.
As the emperor entered the city young maidens wearing glittering earrings welcomed him. Holding lamps, puja materials and other auspicious items, the citizens came forward and received him warmly.
Emperor Prithu was a warrior who had crushed his ego. Professional singers were singing his praises. As a sign of welcome, the citizens blew conches. Royal attendants were beating kettle drums. As the priests were chanting Vedic hymns, the king entered the palace.
At every junction people worshipped the king, who was very famous and who always fulfilled the desires of the citizens. Prithu was very pleased with this welcome. In turn, he too offered respects and worshiped all the village leaders.
Due to his limitless meritorious deeds, Prithu was that exemplary person who was worthy of worship. He performed many good deeds for welfare of the people. In this way, he ruled the entire earth. After obtaining great success and fame, he reached the abode of the Supreme Lord. He was the first king in the creation. Due to his divine qualities, his fame further multiplied. All noble persons extolled his divine qualities” said Maitreya Maharishi.
Vidura, the supreme devotee of the Lord, reverentially worshipped Maitreya Maharishi, who was describing the greatness of Prithu, and enquired,
“When Maharishis appointed Prithu as the king, all the Devatas gifted him auspicious objects. He retained Vishnu’s sustenance power in his arms and extracted from the earth all the ingredients essential for sustenance. Even to-date all the kings, rulers and guardian deities are freely enjoying the remnants that were left after his extraction. Therefore, is it possible for any wise person to abstain from hearing the glories of this great king? Please enlighten me more about his disciplines and pious activities”.
Maitreya Maharishi then replied, “Prithu resided in the land located between Rivers Ganga and Yamuna. In his opinion, even merit (punya) was bondage. In order to free himself from this bondage i.e. in order to finish this merit, he enjoyed the royal luxuries, which had come to him on account of his past meritorious deeds (prarabdha).
He was the sole king for all the seven continents. Barring Vedic scholars and ardent devotees of Vishnu none could go against his dictates. With such authority he ruled his subjects.
Once he decided to conduct a great satra yāga. All Devatas, Brahmarishis, Devarishis and Rajarishis attended this Yāga. Emperor Prithu welcomed and honoured them. Standing amidst them all in that great assembly, he shone like the moon which is situated amidst the stars.
Prithu was of fair complexion. His hands and feet were long, strong and sturdy. His eyes are of reddish colour like the lotus. His nose is beautifully shaped. His charming, pleasant face bestows joy upon those who look at him. With proportionate, beautiful shoulders and with lovely rows of teeth he looks handsome.
With his broad chest and narrow abdomen he resembles a banyan leaf. His abdomen is wrinkled. His waist is wide. His thighs are golden complexioned. His navel was like a deep whirlpool. His feet were arched. His neck resembled a conch. He had thick, curly black hair. He was wearing a costly upper garment.
Following the disciplines for the rituals, he was not wearing any ornaments on his body. He was wearing a black deer skin.