Namo vivṛddha-sattvāya puruṣāya mahīyase
Yo brahma kṣatram āviśya bibhartīdaṁ sva-tejasā
Obeisance to Srihari the embodiment of goodness (sattva) and the most supreme amongst all beings (Purusottama)! He has retained his illumination within Brahmins and Kshatriyas and through them He is protecting this universe.
With this the twenty-first chapter of the fourth canto comes to an end.
Fourth Canto Chapter Twenty-two
In this chapter, the meeting between Emperor Prithu and the four Kumāras is covered.
Maitreya Maharishi said to Vidura, “While the citizens were extolling King Prithu, the valourous noble being, four Maharishis who resembled the Sun in brightness arrived.
Prithu along with his attendants noticed them who were descending from heaven and who, with their gazes were purifying all those present in the assembly. Looking at the brightness on their faces, King Prithu recognized them.
As anxiously as the mind, the leader of the senses, tries to pull back into itself the life-force and sense perceptions that are departing from the body, Prithu stood up. Instantly his attendants and all assembled guests also stood up.
Prithu who had deep regard and reverence for these saints was immediately predisposed towards them. With great humility he reverentially bowed before them, offered them customary water offerings and seats to sit. After they accepted their seats and sat comfortably on them, Prithu worshipped them. He washed their feet and sprinkled that holy water on his head such that his hair was drenched. Through his supreme actions he taught people how the attitude and behavior of noble beings should be.
Sanaka and other Maharishis are the brothers of Lord Rudra. When they sat on their golden seats they shone like the fire in the sacrificial fire-pit. Prithu who was totally dedicated towards them was extremely pleased with their arrival. He addressed them and said,
“How fortunate we are! O supreme saints your arrival symbolizes auspiciousness. I have no idea what kind of meritorious deeds I would have performed to be blessed with your darshan, which is impossible for even great saints.
There is nothing which a person, who has pleased Vedic scholars, Shiva and Vishnu together with their attendants, cannot get in this world or in the next. In other words, he can obtain everything in this world and next if he pleases Shiva, Vishnu and Vedic scholars.
Human beings are unable to recognize the Self, which is the witness that resides within. They are unable to understand about Mahat and other principles that are responsible for this creation. Similarly, although you travel across all the planes, ordinary persons are unable to recognize you.
Adhanā api te dhanyāḥ sādhavo gṛha-medhinaḥ
Yad-gṛhā hy arha-varyāmbu- tṛṇa-bhūmīśvarāvarāḥ
Householders are very happy when Mahatmas visit their house and drink water offered to them. Together with their servants they take great pleasure in offering services to Mahatmas who are seated in their homes. Such householders become fortunate even though they may be poor.
Ganga was born from the lotus feet of Lord Srihari. A home could be filled with all types of opulence but if the feet of Lord Srihari’s devotees are not washed in that home, it is like a tree in which snakes reside. No one approaches a tree on which snakes live. No one dares to pluck its fruits. The tree could be vast and could provide adequate shelter. It could be replete with fruits. But yet, as none utilize these benefits, its existence is a sheer waste.
O great saints, I welcome you reverentially. You are supremely knowledgeable. Right from infancy you have shown great inclination towards liberation and have taken up intense austerities.
O great saints, we are deluded into believing that enjoying sensory pleasures is the only goal of life. To us, such sensory pleasures themselves are the four-fold aims of life (puruśārthas). Engaging in fruitive actions and reaping their resultant benefits, we are trapped in this bondage known as repeated births and deaths. Life is nothing but a storehouse of grief. Is there any hope of liberation for us, who are totally submerged in these bondages?
O great saints, you are totally established in the Self. You eternally enjoy inner bliss. It is not apt to enquire about your welfare because segregations such as ‘this is auspicious; that is inauspicious’ do not exist in your mind. You are those supreme personalities who come to the aid of the down trodden. Therefore, with implicit faith in you, I am putting forth my doubt.
Sampṛcche bhava etasmin kṣemaḥ kenāñjasā bhavet – What is the shortest and easiest route for an individual to obtain auspiciousness in this world?
Supreme Lord Srihari is birthless. Even though He exists as the Self within all living beings, He makes himself visible only to those valourous persons who have the actual experiential knowledge of permanent and impermanent objects in this creation. Only they realize Him to be the inner Self.
In order to bless devotees such Lord Srihari moves everywhere in the form of accomplished beings like you. This is undoubtedly true.”
In this way, Emperor Prithu in a grave voice uttered melodious, friendly and pleasant words. Hearing this, Maharishi Sanat-kumara with a charming pleasant face that was filled with affection, addressed Emperor Prithu and said,
“sādhu pṛṣṭaṁ mahārāja sarva-bhūta-hitātmanā
bhavatā viduṣā cāpi sādhūnāṁ matir īdṛśī