Bhagawatam 057: Parikshit arrests Kali purusha (the presiding Lord of this eon Kali)

Addressing King Parikshit, who had offered it protection, Dharma, the Lord of righteousness said:

“Pandavas due to their devotion and supremely noble qualities became very dear to Lord Srikrishna so much so that they became capable of entrusting to Him tasks such as becoming their envoy and so on. Offering protection to a living being who is in dire need indeed truly befits you, who are born in the lineage of the Pandavas!

We, who are deluded on account of the philosophers who argue giving varied opinions on philosophical matters, are unable to trace the root for all our troubles and difficulties. This is due to our lack of complete knowledge about Paramatma.

Great saints opine that we are responsible for all the pleasure and pain that we experience. Some others declare that joys and sorrows experienced by us are the outcome of our past actions. There are others who believe that happiness and sorrows come on their own accord.  Some philosophers state that Paramātma, who is beyond the grasp of the mind and intellect, is responsible for all the pleasure and pain suffered by the beings. O Saintly King! Now you contemplate on this matter and using your intelligence, decide for yourself what is right.”

Hearing these words spoken by Dharma, Parikshit was totally absolved of all his grief. He was calm. With total concentration he looked at Dharma and said, “O master of dharma (dharmajna)! In accordance with the rule of righteousness the punishment in hell that awaits a criminal who has indulged in an unrighteous deed, also awaits the person who gossips about this criminal. As you are aware of these minute rules, you have spoken aptly. From this I conclude that You are the Lord of righteousness appearing here in the form of a bull!

Your statement that the primary root for happiness and sufferings experienced cannot be traced does not surprise me in the least. This is because, it is impossible to know when the Supreme Lord’s grace would fall on a being and when it would trap him in illusion. The influence of His illusory power (maya shakti) cannot even be grasped using the mind. Neither can it be experienced in words.

Maharishis have declared that penance (tapas), cleanliness, compassion (daya) and truthfulness are the four legs of Dharma. The aspects of unrighteousness (adharma) such as infatuation, association with the wicked and arrogance have destroyed its first 3 legs i.e. penance, cleanliness and compassion. Hence you are standing only on one leg i.e. truthfulness (satya). It alone remains. Only through this fourth leg called truthfulness, a human being is able to obtain you.

But this Kali Puruṣa, who is a personification of unrighteousness, is trying his best to break even this leg called truthfulness. Lord Srikrishna reduced the burden of this Mother Earth, who is here in the form of a cow. She now shines resplendently as a form of auspiciousness, due to the imprints of the Lord’s feet upon her body.

Now that the Lord has left her and gone, this Mother Earth laments that in future she will be ruled by kings who despise Brahmins and sacred texts and who will discard the rules of dharma that applies to them (swadharma). She grieves that they will enjoy her. For this reason she is weeping”.

In this manner, Parikshit consoled Dharma and Mother Earth. With the intent of destroying unrighteousness, he raised his sword so as to kill Kali Puruṣa.

Kali who realized that Parikshit was about to kill him began to tremble in fear. Instantly he threw away the dress of a king that he was wearing and falling at the King’s feet, bowed down and offered obeisance to him.

Parikshit had the reputation for showing mercy and offering protection to those who had sought shelter in him. True to these qualities, Parikshit, out of compassion, did not kill Kali. Instead addressing him with a smile, he said, “As you have sought shelter from us, who has obtained the same renown as that of Arjuna, you definitely have no fear henceforth. Nevertheless, you, who are closely related to unrighteousness, should not reside in my kingdom under any circumstances.

When you enter the body of a king, traits of unrighteousness (adharma) such as miserliness, untruthfulness, stealing wealth belonging to others, wicked behavior, discarding the rules of dharma that apply to them, cheating, avarice, quarrel, pretending to adhere to dharma and other such traits take control over him. They make him tread the path of adharma.

O friend of unrighteousness! You have no permission to reside in this holy place of Brahmavarta, where righteousness and truthfulness prevail. In this place, exponents in the field of Yagnas, who possess in-depth knowledge about the science of yagnas (sacrificial rituals) reside. They worship the Supreme Lord Yagneshwara through the medium of yagnas.

The Supreme Lord, who is worshipped in this manner through the medium of Yagnas, fulfills their desires and ensures their well-being. Like the air, He who is the Self (atma) within every being, pervades inside and outside this entire creation consisting of living and non-living objects”.

Parikshit, who was speaking authoritatively in this manner, appeared like Lord Yama, the Lord of death! Seeing him in this manner, Kali began to tremble profusely.

Addressing Parikshit, Kali said, “O great emperor! Based on your command, no matter where I reside, I shall only always see you, equipped with your bows and arrows ready to fight me. Therefore please be compassionate to me and reveal to me the places where I should live henceforth.

I carry the load of untruthfulness. I am closely associated with all bad habits. Where then should I live? You are driving me out of this place. Wherever I go and try to increase my influence, I will find that you are already there, ready to tackle me. Equipped with your bow and arrows you will appear in front of my eyes, ready to kill me. It is better that you tell me where I should live henceforth. Abiding by your command, I will live permanently only in those places”.

Upon hearing this request put forth by Kali, Parikshit permitted him to reside in places where gambling, drinking, prostitution, animal slaughtering activities are conducted. These were the four places allotted to him.

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