Episode 2: Discussion between Narada Maharishi and Bhakti devi


Nārada Maharishi continued, “Forget about Jnana and vairagya (supreme knowledge, dispassion) in this Kali Yuga, even devotion has diminished in people. This is the reason why the three of you turned old. It is your great fortune that you have reached Brindavan. Due to the merit of this land, O bhakti, you could regain your youth. In this Brindavan, devotion (bhakti) reigns.

But no one is bothered about attaining Supreme Knowledge and dispassion (jnana, vairagya). As a result, even though you regained your youth your sons continue to remain old. However due to the merit of this sacred land, after a long time at least now they are able to sleep comfortably”.

Hearing this Bhakti devi asked, “O Maharishi, how is it that Emperor Parikshit worshipped the impure Kali (yuga)? How, why did he establish Kali Yuga? What happened to the essence of Dharma (righteousness) when Kali Yuga started? Where did it disappear? Why does the Supreme Lord Hari, the personification of compassion, tolerate this (sinful) Kali? Please be kind enough to explain this to me.”

To this Maharishi Nārada replied, “O young lady, I will tell you something which will dispel your doubts as well as your difficulties. Kali Yuga established itself on earth the moment Lord Krishna left earth to return back to His abode. Emperor Parikshit came across Kali Puruśa (the presiding Lord of Kali Yuga), when he was on his victory tour (digvijay yatra). Kali Puruśa tearfully rushed forward, fell at the emperor’s feet and sought refuge. Initially Parikshit wanted to kill Kali, but then he began to think on the following lines-

‘Yat phalam nāsti tapasā na yōgena samādhi nām

Tat phalam labhate samyak kalou keśava keertanāt

Meaning: That result which penance (tapas), yoga and samādhi could not give in the Kṛta, Treta and Dwāpara (the first three eons) Yugas, can be attained in Kali Yuga merely by chanting the name of Hari.

Parikshit thought that the benefit of Kali cannot be attained unless Kali, who presently was in a single form and in a single place, is divided into many. This was because essence (sāram) had been eroded from temples, rivers, schools and sacred places. This was happening because the presiding Lord of this Kali Yuga was in a single form. In this however there was no fault of his. This is was Yuga dharma (aspect of righteousness applicable to the particular eon).

‘What was Kali’s fault in all this? Therefore there is no point in killing him, I will just divide him’, thought Parikshit. He immediately divided Kali.” Thus Nārada completed the story of Kali.

Bhakti then extolled Nārada Maharishi and sang his praises. Lord Nārada then said,

“Vrthā kherayase bāle aho chintāturā katham

Sri Krishna caranām bhojam smara duḥkham gamiśyati

Meaning: O young lady, why do you unnecessarily grieve? Think of the lotus feet of Lord Krishna. Your sorrows will be dispelled.

He protected Draupadi from the Kauravas. He protected the Gopikas. O bhakti, you are very dear to Lord Vishnu. He will definitely come if you call out to Him. In the Kṛta, Treta and Dwāpara Yugas, Jnana (supreme knowledge) and vairagya (dispassion) were tools that granted liberation. Kalou tu kevalā bhaktir brahma sāyujya kārini – which means-  in Kali Yuga only bhakti (devotion) can grant liberation.  

With this intention, the Supreme Lord created you. He has also entrusted you the responsibility of nurturing devotees. You have also consented to this. He has made liberation (mukti) your servant. Jnana and vairagya (Supreme Knowledge and dispassion) were given as your sons. Your real form exists in Vaikunṭha (abode of Lord Vishnu). That which exists here is only your shadow. Until Dwāpara Yuga (the third eon) you were always happy. In Kali Yuga, liberation has weakened and diminished. It has gone back to Vaikunṭha. Now, only if you intend, liberation will descend from Heaven.

Until now you have protected these sons of yours called knowledge and dispassion. But people in this Kali Yuga do not respect them. For this reason, they have turned old.

Even then you should not be disheartened. Remember that there is no other period which is equal to Kali in status! In this Kali Yuga, I will establish you in every household. From this day onwards, this is my determined intention (sankalpa).

Through the medium of devotion, people in this Kali Yuga will wash away their sins. Even demons, ghosts etc. will, with devotion, think about Lord Hari. Lord Srihari can be very easily attained through proper devotion. He cannot be as easily attained through any other means as easily as He is attained through devotion. Only devotion (bhakti) can grant liberation (mukti)”. In this manner Nārada Maharishi instilled confidence in Bhakti devi.

Hearing these words of the great saint, bhakti devi was absolved of all sorrows. But the old age of her sons still remained intact. She now prayed that even this sorrow of hers should be washed away.

Nārada Maharishi then held the ears of both her sons and initiated them. Both of them slowly opened their eyes, sat down, feebly looked at Nārada Maharishi and then slipped back into slumber once again. Seeing this, Nārada Maharishi repeatedly initiated them but they did not even move a little. His efforts were in vain. Now Nārada began to get worried.

Just then they heard a celestial announcement from the sky (ākasa vani)- “O Maharishi, do not grieve. Your efforts will be rendered successful. You complete your task of spreading devotion (bhakti) in this world. With this not only will bhakti be extremely happy, but also her sons, spiritual knowledge and dispassion, will be rid of their old age. They will shine in full resplendence once again”.

Hearing this voice from the sky, Nārada Maharishi thought as follows- Om Namo Nārāyaṇāya!

Permanent link to this article: https://puttugam.com/srimad-bhagavatam-episode-2/

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