Bhagawatam 081: Special incarnations of Lord Srihari

Lord Brahma is explaining about the Universal form of the Lord. He continued,

“O Narada Maharishi! The Supreme Lord accepted various incarnations and through them brought to light his divine pastimes. Learned scholars have picked a few amongst those innumerable incarnations and have explained them in minute detail. Listening to these divine stories cleanses the ear of all its accumulated dirt. I will narrate to you these wonderous incarnations one after another” said Lord Brahma.

With this the sixth chapter of the second Canto comes to an end.

Second Canto Seventh Chapter

In this chapter, the specialties in the Srihari’s incarnation, as explained by Lord Brahma, are covered.

  • Incarnation as Yagna-varāha:

Lord Brahma said, “O Nārada! Lord Srihari, for the purposes of uplifting and rescuing Earth, incarnated as the boar (varāha), which was the form of all Yagnas (sacrificial rituals). When the ill-famed Demon Hiranyaksha, the elder son of Diti, attacked Him in the middle of the vast oceans, Srihari, who was in the form of a boar, tore him apart using his tusk just as Lord Indra had chopped off the wings of the mountains using his thunderbolt.

2) Incarnation as Suyagna:

The Supreme Lord incarnated as the son of the saintly couple Ruci and Ākuti. He became famous as Suyagna. He married a girl by name Dakshina. From the womb of Dakshina, Suyama Devatas were born. Thereafter Suyama became the Lord for all these Devatas and alleviated the sufferings of entities in all the three planes of existence. For having alleviated the sufferings, Svayambhuva Manu, in a later period of time, addressed Him as Hari. Hari means ‘He who drives away sufferings and sins’.

3) Kapila:

Nārada! The Supreme Lord incarnated as the son of the holy couple Prajapati Kardama and his wife Devahuti. He was born to this couple after the birth of 9 girls. He became famous as Kapila. He initiated his mother Devahuti into the Supreme Knowledge. With this initiation she was able to wash away the slime called attachment with trigunas (the three modes of Nature) and all other impurities from her intellect and attain Self-realization. In that birth itself she attained liberation.

4) Datta:

Atrer apatyam abhikāṅkṣata āha tuṣṭo

Datto mayāham iti yad bhagavān sa dattaḥ


Yogarddhim āpur ubhayīṁ yadu-haihayādyā

Maharishi Atri performed severe austerities seeking the birth of a child. Pleased with his austerities the Supreme Lord appeared before him and said, “I offer myself to you”. Thereafter the Supreme Lord incarnated as the son of Maharishi Atri and became famous as ‘Dattātreya’. Emperor Yadu, Emperor Kartaviryarjuna and others purified themselves by applying the dust from the lotus feet of Lord Datta. With His blessings, not only did they attain the 8 supernatural powers such as Anima etc. while they were living on earth, but they also attained liberation after leaving this body. ‘Datta’ means ‘He who gives’ or ‘he who has been given away’.

5) Maharishis Sanaka and others:

O Nārada! Prior to the creation of this universe, I performed severe austerities for the purpose of creating hordes of universes and then offered that penance to Lord Srihari. Srihari, who was pleased with this offering of mine, incarnated in the form of 4 divine sages. They were Sanaka, Sananda, Sanat-kumara and Sanat-sujata. In the form of those four divine sages, He explained the knowledge of the Self, which had become invisible towards the end of the prior creation. With this initiation, sages were able to visualize the Self clearly within them and they attained Self-realization.

6) Incarnation as Nara- Narayana:

To the holy couple Dharma and Murti, who was the daughter of Daksha, Lord Srihari was born as sons Nara and Nārāyaṇa. The two brothers Nara and Nārāyaṇa performed supreme unparalleled austerities. There was none who could match their level of austerities. Manmatha, the Lord of desire, arrived along with celestial damsels at the spot where they were performing penance, in order to disrupt the austerities of Maharishi Nārāyaṇa, who resides within everyone in the form of the Self. Ironically he failed miserably in his attempts and had to face terrible defeat in the hands of these revered saints. In front of their eyes, Maharishi Nārāyaṇa created from his thighs, the beautiful damsel Urvashi, who resembled the celestial damsels in every way but yet far surpassed them in beauty.

Rudra and other Mahatmas, can with their fiery red eyes filled with anger, burn this Manmatha (Lord of desire) into ashes. Even such Lords are however unable to control the blazing anger that arises within their hearts and which burns everything. It is very difficult to withstand this fiery anger as it moves in unimaginable speeds. But yet, even such anger was afraid to enter into the minds of the pleasant and pure heated Maharishis Nara and Narayana and it shivered and trembled in their presence. This being the case, how could feelings of lust ever arise in their hearts? It was impossible.

Not knowing this great fact, Manmatha brought the celestial damsels and tried to put these Maharishis Nara and Narayana into the trap of infatuation. But he ended falling into their trap.

7) Srihari, the protector of Dhruva:

Dhruva, the son of King Uttanapada, was offended with the insults heaped upon him by his step-mother. Although he was very young, he went into the forests and undertook severe penance aimed at pleasing Lord Srihari. Impressed with his austerities, Srihari appeared before him. At that point Dhruva praised him profusely with many hymns. Srihari, who was immensely happy with the boy, rewarded him by blessing him with the position of the Pole star (Dhruva star). The sacredness of this Dhruva star can be understood from the fact that great sages such as Bhrigu and others, who are situated in planets above this Pole star as well as the Saptarishis (the seven great sages) who are in constellations below the Pole star, worship this Pole star.

8) Incarnation as Pṛthu:

Emperor Vena who was an unrighteous ruler was, like a thunderbolt, hit by the curse uttered by Brahmins. This curse drained away from him auspiciousness in totality. Vena, who had treaded the path of unrighteousness (adharma) was about to fall into hell. The sages who observed this prayed to Lord Srihari. Srihari took birth as Vena’s son (putra) and was named Pṛthu. By being born as his son, He prevented Vena from landing in hell.

‘Putra’ (son) means ‘he who saves from the hell called Punnama’.

In this incarnation as Pṛthu, the Supreme Lord milked from mother earth, who was in the form of a cow, all its riches and brought about the well-being of the world. In other words, he extracted from earth all its riches/ produce.

9) Incarnation as Ŗshabha:

Ŗshabha was born as the son of the couple Nabha and Sudevi. He had the Supreme Knowledge that Brahma is the only real existence and that this world is illusory (Brahma satya, Jagat mithya). Due to this knowledge he had absolutely no inclination towards worldly comforts. He could turn his senses away from worldly comforts and fix them totally upon the Supreme Essence. Remaining eternally in a state of perfect meditation, he appeared immobile. The world addressed him as Ŗshabha Yogendra. Maharishis declared that he belonged to supreme cadre of saints called Paramahamsas. Learning from him, they adopted those practices in their daily life.

Srihari! Krishna!

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