Category: SrimadBhagavatam

Collection of discourses by Sri Swamiji on Srimad Bhagavatam. These are rare gems, and covers Bhagavatam 'moolam' (core) which cannot be found elsewhere.

Bhagawatam 241: Pracetās begin penance; Maharishi Nārada visits King Barhiśat; story of Puranjana

Keshavāya namah

“Śreyasām iha sarveṣāṁ jñānaṁ niśreyasa param

Sukhaṁ tarati dupāraṁ jñāna-naur vyasanārṇavam

Obtaining Self-knowledge is the ultimate auspiciousness that can be obtained in this world! It is the highest and best! The person who seeks refuge in the boat called Self-knowledge will easily cross this ocean of sorrows which otherwise is impossible to cross.


Worshipping Srihari is not an easy task. Nevertheless, the person who, with absolute dedication, chants this hymn sung by me now will easily worship Srihari. By chanting this hymn he will accomplish the otherwise impossible task.

With an absolute firm mind I have chanted this hymn. Srihari is the repository of every form of auspiciousness. He will be extremely pleased with the person who extols him through this hymn. He will fulfill all the desires of such devotee.

Idaṁ yaḥ kalya utthāya prāñjaliḥ śraddhayānvita

Śṛṇuyāc chrāvayen martyo mucyate karma-bandhanaiḥ


The person who, soon upon waking up, folds his hands listens to this hymn with absolute dedication or explains it to others will be freed from these repeated cycles of births and deaths i.e. worldly bondages.

O princes! Srihari is the supreme Parabrahma. He resides within the individual in the form of the Self. Meditating upon this hymn sung now by me, undertake your austerities with absolute dedication and concentration. When your penance fructifies, Srihari will fulfill your desire” said Rudra.

With this the twenty fourth chapter of the fourth canto comes to an end.



Fourth Canto Chapter Twenty-five

In this chapter, in accordance to Rudra’s initiation the Pracetās get ready to undertake penance; Maharishi Nārada visits their father Prācinabarhi and Puranjanopākhyanam has been explained.

Maitreya Maharishi said to Vidura, “Lord Shiva thus initiated Pracetās, the sons of Emperor Barhiśat. As they were watching, he vanished from there.

Meditating upon the mantra taught to them by Shiva, Pracetās stood in the waters of the ocean for 10,000 years and worshipped Lord Srihari. Meanwhile the ever-compassionate Maharishi Nārada observed that their father Emperor Barhiśat was totally engrossed in performing fruitive actions. He decided that the king should undergo spiritual awakening.

The Self-realized Maharishi Nārada approached Emperor Barhiśat and preached as follows,

“O emperor! You are walking on the path of fruitive action. What is it that you seek as a result of your actions? The welfare of the person takes place only when sorrows are dispelled leading to a surge in happiness. Learned scholars do not agree with the theory that such welfare can be obtained through the path of action. Are you not aware of this fact?”

Emperor Barhiśat replied, “O great saint, I am actually fed up with performance of fruitive actions. Because of this total involvement in fruitive actions I have not actually understood about liberation. It is my great fortune that you have come here to bless me. Please initiate me into that knowledge which is free from every form of impurity and thereby please dispel my ignorance. Please relieve me from fruitive actions.

Gṛheṣu kūṭa-dharmeṣu putra-dāra-dhanārtha-dhīḥ

Na paraṁ vindate mūho bhrāmyan saṁsāra-vartmasu

A house-holder assumes that his wife, children property etc. are the only aims of life. Hence he sinks into the mire called delusion. Such person engages in performance of worthless fruitive actions which only further worldly bondages and lead to more re-births (samsāra). Thus he continues to endlessly rotate in this cycle of repeated births and deaths. Such person can never attain liberation from these re-births”.

Maharishi Nārada said, “O Prajāpati, you have conducted Yagnas without any compassion towards other living beings. For the purposes of these Yagnas you have killed and sacrificed innumerable goats and other animals. Recollect the various animal sacrifices you have performed so far.

All those animals remember the horrible treatment you have meted out to them. In great fury they are eagerly waiting for your death so that they can, with their iron horns, rip you apart. In this connection I will narrate to you the ancient story of Puranjana. Listen to me attentively.

O king, there lived a king in the ancient past who became famous by the name Puranjana. He had a dear friend named Avijnāta. Avijnāta means whose name is unknown or the secretive one. Just as the name indicated, Avijnāta’s activities were totally secretive.

King Puranjana once travelled across the entire earth searching a suitable residence. However, he could not find a suitable place that he liked. With this he was agitated. He felt dejected and depressed.

Although the earth was filled with innumerable towns and cities, this king, who had innumerable desires, could not find a suitable location. His desires were endless. None of the places he visited were adequately equipped to fulfill all his limitless sensory desires.

The king did not give up this search for a suitable residence. While he was thus travelling, once he came across a beautiful city located in the southern side of the Himalayas. With 9 gates and many other auspicious signs, this city was extraordinarily beautiful. It was glowing with exquisite gardens, boundary walls and towers. The tall buildings in this city, which resembled huge towers, were made of gold, silver and iron. Each house had many doors and windows.

Narayanaya namah

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Bhagawatam 240: Rudra imparts Spiritual Knowledge in the form of a prayer to Lord Srihari

Lord Rudra continued, “O Lord, the five gross elements, senses and mind enable the person to see Your manifested form i.e. world which is subject to transformations such as creation, sustenance and annihilation. In other words, through this visible world You, the cause of this creation, are visible.

Only devotees who selflessly perform non-fruitive actions and who dedicatedly, extensively and devotionally worship You through pujas and varied other rituals understand the real purport of the Vedas and Shastras.

O Lord, You are non-dual. You are the cause for everything. You are a form of completeness. In You, the illusory power is latent. Through the medium of this illusory power, You are the cause for the entire creation. This world is absorbed back into You at time of dissolution.

At the beginning of creation, an imbalance occurred in the triguṇās. From this the Mahat tattva (cosmic intelligence), ahamkara (egoism), 5 gross elements of space etc., and this visible world full of Devatas, Maharishis, human beings and all forms of life, emerged.

Using His illusory power, the Lord created four kinds of living beings viz., Jarāyuja (those born from womb such as human beings, lion), anḍāyuja (living entities which hatch from an egg such as birds), swedāyuja (living beings born from sweat such are insects and worms) and udbija (which emerge from trees and plants).

The Lord then entered into these four kinds of living entities He had created. He considered each of them to be an aspect of supreme illumination. In this way, each living entity is a residence for the Lord who dwells in it.

For this reason, eminent scholars address the Lord as Puruśa i.e. one who dwells within a Pura (town). Due to spiritual ignorance, the Lord who has entered this house is now enjoying trivial material luxuries through the medium of the senses just like honeybees enjoy honey collected in the honey comb.

Your illusory power moves at unimaginable speeds. Just as winds of destruction scatter the clouds, You scatter space and other basic elements. Through this You cause destruction of the creation.

The human being is engrossed in various actions and he increases his attachment towards wealth and other worldly comforts. In other words, he demonstrates a very careless attitude in understanding His real form”.

Needless to say, the ignorant human being is very vigilant in matters pertaining to his body and health. Every pain he attends to instantly. However, he is negligent in matters pertaining to the real Self that resides within. His attempts towards understanding his Self are poor. He says, ‘O Paramatma, you take care of the inner dweller. It is not my responsibility. I am busy looking after this body. I need to experience heat-cold and joys-sorrows that come in life. Falling in attachments I need to be re-born as insects and worms. I have to swim in this dirty mire. But all those topics about Self, atma, Paramatma etc. – I have no time to attend to them all. I offer them to you’.

“Just as a hungry snake swallows a rat, You suddenly pounce upon such persons in the form of time and swallow them up. The person who is negligent in his efforts to understand You, has wasted his body. The intelligent person who understands this great truth will never let go of Your lotus feet.

Our father, Lord Brahma ardently worships You before time swallows him up. The 14 Manus also worship Your lotus feet with a selfless attitude.

O Parabrahma, O Paramatma! The world fears Rudra, the embodiment of time, who will destroy it in entirety. Therefore, intelligent persons like us who have sought shelter completely under You are absolutely fearless. We do not fear anything”.

Lord Rudra continued, “My dear princes, with pure mind strictly adhere to Your swadharma. Fix your mind completely upon the Supreme Lord and chant this mantra with dedication. You will be blessed with auspiciousness.

Srihari resides in the cave called the intellect of every living being in the form of the Self. Unfailingly with absolute dedication worship and meditate upon Him. Sing His glories. This stotra will become famous as Yogādeśam. It means ‘the initiation given by Rudra for the purposes of obtaining liberation’. Retain this initiation constantly in your mind. Relentlessly recapitulate this initiation. With absolute concentration of mind, chant this stotram at all times.

Previously Lord Brahma, the leader of all Prajāpatis, decided to begin creation. To ensure that the creation proceeds smoothly, he initiated Brighu and other sons like us into this hymn (stotram). When he ordered us to continue creation, we chanted this stotra and created innumerable types of living beings.

Therefore the person who seeks shelter under Vāsudeva and whose sole aim in life is to obtain Him, should, with absolute concentration of mind chant this stotram. The person who adheres to this will very quickly obtain auspiciousness”.

Haraye namah

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Bhagawatam 239: Rudra glorifies Srihari through a hymn

Krishnāya namah

Lord Rudra continued, “Srihari’s elongated and beautiful eyes resemble lotus petals. His equally proportioned, exquisitely decorated ears add to the beauty of His face.

His face is illumined by His charming smile filled with affection, His tender gaze, the shining black curly locks and the glistening golden earrings. He wears golden-yellow soft clothing that glows like the lotus pollen.

His long shoulders decorated with many golden ornaments resemble the lion’s shoulders. The glow on His chest is further multiplied due to the presence of the Kausthuba gem. On His chest, Goddess Lakshmi eternally resides in the form of golden rays. The radiance of His chest puts to shame the glittering touchstone.

With its three folds, His abdomen resembles a fig leaf. When He inhales and exhales the three folds look beautiful. His deep navel resembles a whirlpool. Its illumination makes one wonder if it is ready to withdraw into itself the world that had emerged from it.

His waist is of bluish-black complexion. It glows with the golden silken waistband. His feet, ankles and calf muscles are symmetrical and beautiful. His knees are proportionate and not raised. For all these reasons, His form is delightful to the eyes.

Padā śarat-padma-palāśa-rociṣā nakha-dyubhir no ’ntar-aghaṁ vidhunvatā

Pradarśaya svīyam apāsta-sādhvasaṁ padaṁ guro mārga-gurus tamo-juām

O father! You are the Guru who shows the way to those who are trapped in this darkness known as spiritual ignorance. Your toe nails, which glitter like the winter lotuses, wash away the dirt that has accumulated in our mind. These lotus feet drive away from us the fear of worldly bondages. Please bless us with Your darshan.

Devotees who are desirous of purifying their mind should eternally focus on this form of the Lord. The path of devotion (bhakti yoga) shows the way to those who diligently abide by their own dharma (swadharma).

Bhavān bhaktimatā labhyo durlabhaḥ sarva-dehinām

Svārājyasyāpy abhimata ekāntenātma-vid-gatiḥ

It is not possible for every living entity to reach You.  Even Indra, the Lord of heaven, is desirous of obtaining You.  Through obtaining absolute oneness with You, Self-realized persons alone reach You! You are obtained only by such steadfast devotees.

Those who are totally inclined towards these worldly desires find it impossible to worship Srihari. Even noble persons find it very difficult to develop firm steadfast devotion towards Him. Why will a person, who really serves You with total devotion, ever seek any external worldly pleasure? He will seek nothing except Your holy lotus feet!

O Lord, in the amount of time Yama takes to blink his eyelids, You destroy the entire creation! Such is Your prowess! Even then You never show Your might against that ardent devotee, who has whole-heartedly surrendered to You.

Kṣaṇārdhenāpi tulaye na svargaṁ nāpunar-bhavam

Bhagavat-saṅgi-sagasya martyānāṁ kim utāśia

The person who spends even a quarter of a second associating with supreme devotees considers that time to be far more superior to heavenly comforts or even liberation. This being the case, should we specifically mention that trivial worldly desires fade in front of pure satsang? They can never be equal to satsang.

Your lotus feet have earned the reputation that they destroy all sins. Holy saints mentally recollect Your glory as they bathe in the holy Ganga, which was born from Your holy lotus feet. Through this they wash away their impurities, develop a pure mind, a noble character and compassion towards all forms of life. O Lord, bless us to be always associated with such noble saints! This is the blessing that we seek from You.

The spiritual aspirant should, while chanting divine names, develop bhakti and ensure that his inner mind is purified. His mind should not be enchanted by the external world. This means his mind should not be filled with traits of passion (rajo guna). Simultaneously he should vigilantly guard himself from falling into the deep pit called spiritual ignorance. This means, he should ensure that his mind is not filled with traits of ignorance and inertia (tamo guna).

The moment the aspirant develops such a pure mind he will clearly and easily experience Your divine essence! This is definite.

Yatredaṁ vyajyate viśvaṁ viśvasminn avabhāti yat

Tat tvaṁ brahma para jyotir ākāśam iva vistṛtam

This entire world is illumined by the Self’s consciousness (atma chaitanya). Within this, consciousness pervades everything like the sky and inherently illumines. O Lord, You are the Parabrahma who inherently pervade everything and illumine inherently.

O Lord, illusory energy (māya) cannot captivate You despite its many forms. You do not undergo any transformation. Nevertheless, through the help of this illusory power You create, sustain and annihilate the entire universe. Due to the influence of this illusory energy, the people consider all these seen differences as real. However You have an independent existence which is over and beyond the scope of illusion”.

Srikrishnāya namah

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Bhagawatam 238: Rudra prays to the Supreme Lord Srihari

Haraye namah

Lord Rudra continued,

“I am now going to initiate you into a song (Geeta). With absolute concentration please listen to it. Without even the slightest deviation or mistake please chant this mantra” said Lord Shiva, the ever-compassionate Lord who is always inclined towards Lord Srihari, to the Pracetās.

He then praised the Supreme Lord as follows, “O best among the Self-realized, You have manifested so as to bless Self-realized persons with supreme bliss (ātmānanda). O Lord, I should also be blessed with auspiciousness. You eternally rejoice in the Self. You are the Self who resides within every living being. You are all-pervading. You manifest as all the forms seen in the creation. I offer obeisance to You.

Namaḥ paṅkaja-nābhāya bhūta-sūkṣmendriyātmane

Vāsudevāya śāntāya kūṭa-sthāya sva-rociṣe 

I offer obeisance to Lord Vasudeva, from whose navel a lotus sprouts. He is the Lord who controls the senses and the subtle elements of every living being in the creation. He is an embodiment of peace, is devoid of transformations, and is Self-illuminating.

Saṅkarṣaṇāya sūkṣmāya durantāyāntakāya ca

Namo viśva-prabodhāya pradyumnāyāntar-ātmane

I offer obeisance to Lord Sankarshana, who is unmanifest, indestructible, and who is responsible for destruction of all universes. As the Lord of consciousness (chaitanya), he causes knowledge of all different forms to sprout in the individual’s mind. I also offer obeisance to Pradyumna who is the Self that exists within all living beings.

Namo namo ’niruddhāya hṛṣīkeśendriyātmane

Namaḥ paramahasāya pūrṇāya nibhtātmane

I offer obeisance to Aniruddha, the Lord of the sense organs, who manifests in the form of mind.  I offer obeisance to Srihari who in the radiant form of the huge star called Sun dispels the darkness that envelops the creation. Srihari is complete in every aspect. Transformations such as growth or decay do not exist in Him. I offer obeisance to such Lord Srihari.

I offer obeisance to Srihari who is worshipped in every noble heart. He is the doorway to heaven and to liberation. He possesses infinite radiant energies. He resides in the hearts of the noble priests known as hota, udghāta, adhvaryu and Brahma and is worshipped by them in the form of home-fire.

The Lord of fire (Agni deva) rewards those who worship him seeking fulfillment of desires with higher heavenly planets. He purifies the minds of those who worship him without any expectations and thereby ensures that they are blessed with liberation.  I worship Srihari, who thus manifests as Agni and furthers the performance of action.

The Moon blesses fore-fathers with food known as urja and Devatas with food called Iśa. He showers upon human beings the fruits for the Yagna performed by them. I offer obeisance to Lord Srihari who manifests as the Moon and who is the Lord for the 3 Vedas which are the root for all actions. He exists as water which quenches the thirst of all living beings.

He is the body of all living entities. He manifests in the form of earth. Manifesting as the universal form He controls all the three worlds. He manifests as the wind which blesses the living entity with physical strength, mental strength and sense-strength. I offer obeisance to such Lord Srihari.

Space the fundamental principle for the concept of within and without. It is also the basis for differentiating between objects. Space is nothing but one of the forms of Srihari. Due to merit (punya) the living being is blessed with heaven and other higher realms. All of them are forms of Srihari. I offer obeisance to such Lord Srihari.

Actions are of two types viz., Pravṛtti (path of expansion) and Nivṛtti (path of return). As a result of these actions, the person is rewarded with either the abode of the fore-fathers (pitr-loka) or the heavenly planets. All these higher planets are the forms of Lord Srihari. Those who walk on the path of unrighteousness suffer piteously after death. Death, hell and the hellish conditions experienced are forms of Lord Srihari. I offer obeisance to Lord Srihari who manifests in the form of both the higher and lower planes of existence.

Namas ta āśiṣām īśa manave kāraṇātmane

Namo dharmāya bṛhate kṛṣṇāyākuṇṭha-medhase

Puruṣāya purāāya sāṅkhya-yogeśvarāya ca

O Lord! You are the one who bestows results for fruitive actions performed by the individual. Through these results you actually fulfill the desires of the human beings. You are omniscient. Mantra is another of Your forms. You incarnated as Svāyambhuva Manu. You manifest in the form of dharma (rules of righteousness). You are Parabrahma. You are none other than Srikrishna, who with undisputable intelligence preached the philosophy of Sānkhya and Karma-yoga to this world. You who are birthless, reside as the inner witness within every living entity. You are an embodiment of completeness. I offer my respectful obeisance to You!

The performer of action is called ‘karta’. The action is ‘Kriya’. The tool for performance of action is ‘karaṇa’. I offer obeisance to Srihari who manifests as Rudra, the egoism (ahamkara, I-ness) within the three energies, to fulfill the desires of the devotees.

Due to emergence of the knowledge of creation Brahma, whose speech is Veda, is able to create innumerable varied entities. I offer obeisance to Lord Srihari who manifests as Brahma.

Srihari resides in the form of sound within the living beings and passes through its four stages called para, paśyanti, madhyama and vaikhari. I offer obeisance to You, O Lord, who exist as the life-force within all entities.

Darśanaṁ no didṛkṣūṇāṁ dehi bhāgavatārcitam

Rūpaṁ priyatama svānāṁ sarvendriya-guṇāñjanam

O Lord, Your form is very dear to the devotees. Due to its supremacy, Your form enthralls our senses. O Lord, we are desirous of seeing that enthralling form of Yours. Please be merciful.

During monsoons, the dark black clouds gather together in the sky. Likewise, all beauty in entirety has gathered together to take on the form of Lord Srihari. He has four long beautiful arms. His face is enchanting and pleasant. The beautiful eyebrows, long raised nose, shining teeth and lovely cheeks add to His beauty”.

Haraye namah

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Bhagawatam 237: Lord Rudra blesses the Pracetās and imparts them Supreme Knowledge

Vidura asked, “O Maitreya Maharishi! Why did Rudra, the Lord of Kailasa, bless Pracetās with His darshan? What was the reason for Him to be pleased with the Pracetās? Where and why did this meeting take place? What was the knowledge preached by Rudra? Please be kind enough to explain this to me.

Saṅgamaḥ khalu viprarṣe śiveneha śarīriṇām

Durlabho munayo dadhyur asaṅgād yam abhīpsitam


O Maharishi! In this creation, it is almost impossible for a living entity to meet Shiva. Great saints who have given up all worldly desires and who eternally meditate upon Shiva, with the intent of meeting Him personally, find it difficult.

Ātmārāmo ’pi yas tv asya loka-kalpasya rādhase

Śaktyā yukto vicarati ghorayā bhagavān bhavaḥ

Lord Shiva is eternally soaked in the Self’s bliss. He is permanently established in the Self. In order to protect the created world He eternally wanders along with his powerful and fearful energies (śakti)”.

Maitreya Maharishi replied, “Desirous of fulfilling their father’s command, Pracetās travelled in the western direction. They had deep regard for penance. As they were thus travelling they came across a lake that was as huge as an ocean. Its water was crystal clear and pure just like the minds of great Mahatmas.

The aquatic animals in the pond were calm and composed. The pond was filled with black water-lilies. The many lilies and lotuses that were a mixture of bluish- black colours, the plentiful fragrant red lotuses and black lilies could be seen everywhere. Swans, cranes and ducks filled the lake. The entire lake reverberated with the melodious chirping of the birds.

Intoxicated bees were melodiously buzzing as they flew about freely. It appeared as if the tender glowing shoots of the climbers, which were leaning on to the trees for support, had developed goose-bumps upon listening to this melodious buzzing! It appeared as if the lake was sprinkling the saffron from its lotuses into the air and thus showing its excitement.

Pracetās, the 10 brothers, were deeply astonished to hear melodious divine singing replete with many varied notes accompanied by kettle-drums and other instruments. Exactly at that moment Lord Rudra together with his attendants arose from the waters of that lake.

Rudra is the supreme-most amongst Devatas. Gandharvas, who always follow the footsteps of the Devatas, were profusely extolling Him. At that moment, Lord Shiva, who is famous as Neelakanta due to his bluish-black neck, was shining like polished gold. His charming and pleasant face was ready to shower blessings upon His devotees.

In full anxiety and excitement, Pracetās bowed reverentially before Him. Lord Shiva always dispels difficulties of those who seek shelter in Him. He loves righteousness. Pracetās were well-versed in the rules of righteousness. In addition, they were filled with good, noble qualities. They were extremely happy to be blessed with the Lord’s darshan.

Pleased with them Lord Rudra said,

“Yūyaṁ vediṣadaḥ putrā viditaṁ vaś cikīritam

Anugrahāya bhadraṁ va evaṁ me darśana ktam

I am aware that you all are great Vedic scholars. I am also aware that you are the sons of King Prācinabarhi, who is also an exponent in Vedas. I also know your intentions. May you all be blessed with auspiciousness! Purely with the intention of blessing you all, I have arrived here.

The Supreme Lord Vāsudeva is beyond even the subtle principle of Nature (Prakriti) and its three attributes (trigunas). He is also beyond the life-principle (jeeva-tattva). The person who has totally surrendered unto Him is always dear to me.

The person who strictly abides by his dharmic duties for a hundred births obtains the position of Brahma. The person who obtains more merit (punya) than this i.e. one who acquires even more qualification reaches My abode. However the devotee of Lord Srihari reaches the supreme abode called Vaikunta (vaishnava dhāma). All Gods including me will, after the completion of the duties allotted to us and after the destruction of our subtle bodies, reach the same supreme abode which is beyond this creation.

Atha bhāgavatā yūyaṁ priyāḥ stha bhagavān yathā

Na mad bhāgavatānāṁ ca preyān anyo ’sti karhicit

All of you are devoted towards that Supreme Lord. I love you all as much as I love that Supreme Lord. At any point of time, the devotees of the Lord are dearer to me than they are to others.

I will impart to you that knowledge which is very pure, which bestows auspiciousness and which blesses the person with everything including liberation. Please be attentive”.

Haraye namah

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