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Fourth Skanda

Chapter 29: The conversation of Nârada and King Prâcînabarhi

(1) King Prâcînabarhi said: ‘O my Lord, your words never perfectly arrive in our minds; those who are expert can understand what they really mean, but we who are enchanted by fruitive activities never come to the full understanding of them.’

(2) Nârada said: ‘The person of Purañjana [‘he who enjoys the city that is the body’] should be seen as the creator of his own situation of dwelling in a one- [a ghost], two-, three- [as with having a stick] or four legged body or a body with many legs or no legs at all. (3) The eternal friend and master of the person is He, who I described as unknown because by the living entities He is never [fully] understood by names or activities and qualities [compare Adhokshaja]. (4) As the person desired to enjoy the modes of material nature in their totality, he then thought that having nine gates, two legs and two hands would thus be very good. (5) The intelligence then one should know as the young woman [pramadâ or Purañjanî] that is responsible for the ‘I’ and ‘mine’ of its operation in taking to the shelter of the body that this living being, by the senses to the modes of material nature, suffers and enjoys. (6) Her male friends are what is done by the senses of knowledge and action, the female friends are what the senses are engaged in [form, taste, sound, smell and touch], while the life-air in its five forms [upgoing air (udana), downgoing (apâna), expanding (vyâna), balanced (samâna) and the breath held high (prânavâyu)] is like the serpent. (7) The mind should be known as the very powerful leader of the two groups of the senses and the kingdom of Pañcâla as the five realms of the senses in the midst of which the city with the nine apertures is found. (8) The two eyes, two nostrils, two ears, the mouth, the genitals and rectum are thus the two by two gates leading outside that one, accompanied by the senses, passes. (9) The two eyes, the nostrils and the mouth are thus understood as the five gates at the front [the east], with the right ear as the gate at the south and the left ear as the gate at the north, while downward at the west there are said to be the two gates of the rectum and the genital. (10) The ones named Khadyotâ and Âvirmukhî that were created at one place are the eyes by which the master can perceive with his sense of sight the form called Vibhrâjita [‘the clearly seen’, see 4.25: 47]. (11) The ones named Nalinî and Nâlinî represent the two nostrils to the aroma of what was called Saurabha. The Avadhûta was the sense of smell. Mukhyâ was the mouth with the faculty of speech named Vipana and the sense of taste that was named Rasajña [see 4.25: 48-49]. (12) Âpana was the business of the tongue and Bahûdana the variety of eatables, with the right ear having the name Pitrihû and the left being called Devahû [see 4.25: 49-51]. (13) By going to [the southern and northern of] Pañcâla with the companion of hearing called S’rutadhara, can one be elevated to Pitriloka and to Devaloka by [respectively] the process of sense enjoyment and detachment according the scriptures. (14) With the gate of the rectum called Nirriti is the genital called Âsurî as the gate for the nonsense and the lust minded common man [living in Grâmaka] who, with the one called Durmada, feels attracted to the procreative [see 4.25: 52-53]. (15) Vais’asa means hell with the one named Lubdhaka and the blind, you next heard about from me, are the legs and hands with which the people engage in their work [see 4.25: 53-54]. (16) So, following, is the private residence the heart and is the servant named Visûcîna the mind with which there is, to the material of nature, said to be the illusion, satisfaction or jubilation belonging to it. (17) Just as the mind is agitated acting in connection to the modes, does it [like Purañjana following his queen, see 4.25: 56] in order to be alike, imitate the occupations of the intelligence of the soul that is the observer.

(18-20) The body is but the chariot, the senses are for the years of one’s life the horses that in fact do not advance, the two wheels are the activities of profit and piety, the flags the three modes of nature and the five airs are the bondage. The rein is the mind, the intelligence the chariot driver, the sitting place is the heart, the duality is formed by the posts for the harnesses, the five sense-objects are the weapons and the seven coverings are the physical elements [of nails, skin, fat, flesh, blood, bone and marrow]. The five intentions are the external processes after which the eleven soldiers of the senses [the mind and the five organs of action and perception] are running in false aspiration and envy of going for the pleasurable [see again: 4.26: 1-3]. (21) The time of year was called Candavega to which the passing of the threehundred and sixty men and women from heaven symbolized the days and nights one has on this earth that reduce one’s lifespan [see 4.27: 13]. (22) The old age of all living beings figured as the daughter of Time who was welcome to no one and who by the king of the Yavanas, who was for death and destruction, was accepted as his sister-in-law [see 4.7: 19-30]. (23-25) His followers, the Yavana soldiers represent the disturbances of the mind and body that, at times of distress of the living beings, very quickly rise to power with Prajvâra in the form of two kinds of fever [hot and cold, physical and mental conflict]. Thus is the one residing in the body, that is moved by the material world, for a hundred years subject to different sorts of tribulations caused by nature, other living beings and himself. Wrongly attributing to the soul the characteristics of the life force, the senses and the mind, does he, although transcendental of nature, abide by the fragmentary of sense enjoyment, meditating on the ‘I’ and ‘mine’ of himself as being the actor. (26-27) When the person forgets the Supreme Soul, the Almighty Lord that is the highest teacher, he next surrenders himself to the modes of matter to find therein his well-being. Driven by the modes is he, thereupon taking to lives according his karma, thereby naturally occupied in the performance of fruitive activities that are of a white [a-karma or service in goodness], black [vi-karma or ill deeds in ignorance] or red nature [regular karma or work passionate after the profit; compare B.G. 13: 22 and 4: 17]. (28) Sometimes characterized by the light of goodness one reaches better worlds, sometimes one ends up in distress with the passion for labor and sometimes indulging in darkness one finds oneself in lamentation [see B.G. 18a: 37-39]. (29) Sometimes male and sometimes female and sometimes neither of both; sometimes blind in intelligence, sometimes a human being, sometimes a God and sometimes an animal, exists one of one’s activities to the modes of nature, born according one’s karma. (30-31) Like a poor dog overcome by hunger that wanders from one house to the other to either be rewarded or be punished according its destiny, does similarly the living entity in pursuing different types of high and low desires wander high or low, or the middle of the road, reaching according his destiny that what is pleasing or not so pleasing. (32) Although counteracting, being faced with certain kinds of misery as caused by nature, others or oneself, is it for the living being not possible to stop them. (33-34) As one can see with a man who, carrying a heavy burden on his head, is shifting it to his shoulder, is that all he really does because one, o sinless one, in illusion thinks that one can place a dream against a dream. There is no single solution in counteracting one activity with the other, only by counteracting the both of them. (35) Like that not present what in the mind by the subtle self is enacted in a dream, is also the endless game one plays in the material world a notion one must turn away from. (36-37) Therefore is it the soul its real interest to be of unalloyed devotional service to that what is of the spiritual teacher, otherwise will the train of unwanted things in material life not find its end; it is in the practice of bhakti-yoga towards the Supreme Lord Vâsudeva that the result is found of the complete of knowledge and detachment. (38) That, o best of kings, will come about depending on the cultivation of one’s constant and faithful listening to the narrations about the Infallible One.

(39-40) From that place where one finds the great devotees, the broad-minded saintly people whose consciousness is bent upon the regular reciting of and hearing about the qualities of the Supreme Lord, o King, flow in all directions thereabout, emanating from the mouths of the great, the countless streams of nectar concerning the exploits of the killer of Madhu from which one drinking is never sated. With the attention of their hearing is one never plagued by hunger, thirst, fear, lamentation or illusion [compare 3.25: 25]. (41) But, the soul, in the conditioning to its natural place in the world disturbed by those things, does in this ocean not get attached to the nectarean words of the Lord. (42-44) The father of fathers Brahmâ and directly the most powerful ones like Lord S’iva, Manu, and the rulers of mankind headed by Daksha, and the strong celibates led by Sanaka, Marîci, Atri and Angirâ, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Bhrigu and Vasishthha with me closing the ranks, are so all led by the knowledge of the Absolute. Even though we, to the present day, by meditation are masters of speech in our observing the austerities and the knowledge, do we not see the Seer Himself, the Controller in the beyond. (45) Engaged in listening to the unlimited of the spiritual knowledge and with mantras singing the glories of the greatly extended of the partial powers [the demigods], does one not know the Supreme. (1a, 1b) [see footnote 1] What then would the difference be between animals and human beings when the intelligence of all depends upon the animal maintenance of the body? After so many births having attained a human life here, will, after giving up the incorrect perception of being a gross or subtle body, on the path of spiritual knowledge having forsaken that physicality, then the individual soul become prominent. (46) When He who favors by causeless mercy, the Supreme Lord, by a soul is realized does such a one, thus also fixed on the vedic, give up his intentions towards the world.

(47) O dear Prâcînabarhishat, do therefore never ignorantly give in to the harmful advantage of fruitive action thinking that to be the aim of life and never just try to please the ear without touching the real interest [compare B.G. 2: 42-43]. (48) Not in touch with the Reality do the less intelligent speak of the four Vedas that are full of ritual and ceremony; such people never know for sure where their home, God, Janârdana [Vishnu, Krishna as the conqueror of wealth] is. (49) With your [you and your sons the Pracetâs] altogether having covered the face of the world with the kus’a grass pointing eastward [see 4.24: 10], do you take great pride in all the killing [of the sacrificial animals] and do you think of yourself as being very important, but you do not know what work to perform, what labor would be satisfying that Supreme Personality of God, the reality by which one finds the guidance that brings sense. (50) The Supreme Personality is Himself the Supersoul of all who adopted a material appearance; He is the controller of the material nature; His feet form the shelter from which all men in this world find their fortune. (51) He to whom the Supreme Soul is the most dear, to whom the One from whom one has not even the smallest fear comes first, is thus someone who surely is educated; he who is thus formed is a spiritual master as good as the Lord.’

(52) Nârada said: ‘Thus I am sure to have answered your questions, o man of wisdom, now listen to the perfect realization that I am going to confide to you. (53) Think of a deer safely grazing grass in a field of flowers. It is attached in its being united with its wife. In its ears it has the charm of the song of bumblebees, but it is negligent of the fact that in front of it there are tigers living at the cost of others and that behind there is a hunter that threatens to pierce the deer with arrows. (54) The flowers are just like women in general to which the sweet aroma of the flowers is like the shelter of a household life that is most salient for the fragmentary nature of its sense gratification. One thus has, beginning with one’s wife and always absorbed in thoughts of one’s appetite for sex, one’s desires fulfilled. The gentle sounds of the lots of bumblebees that are so very attractive to its ears are alike the talks one hears from others starting with the wife again. The group of tigers in front of it are like all the moments of the days and nights that, unnoticed in one’s enjoying the household, take away one’s span of life. And from the back sure not to be seen follows behind the hunter, the superintendent of death whose arrow in this world pierces one’s heart. You should in this see yourself as the one whose heart is pierced, o King. (55) Think of yourselves in the consciousness of that deer in action and give it up to be fixed in what you attend to in your heart. Give up that idea of a household life that is so abominably full of sexual concerns and go only for the swanlike shelter [of the self-realized], gradually becoming detached.’

(56) The king said: ‘O greatest brahmin, considering that what I heard you speak about, I must say I had no clue; why is it so that my preceptors, if they understood it, didn’t tell me about this? (57) But my doubts about this, o brahmin, you have cleared so doing. Even the experienced are indeed bewildered about things not concerning the activities of the senses. (58) A person giving up his body to enjoy another one in a next life, has to face the consequences of the profit-minded work he initiated in this life. (59) Thus one hears the thesis of the learned which says that, of whatever one is all so sure about to do in life, one doesn’t immediately see and know the consequence.’

(60) Nârada said: ‘From the karma a person takes up is the consequence to be faced in a next life, because to that what is his own, his proof of character [the subtle body or linga] and mind about it, nothing has changed. (61) The way a person, lying in bed and breathing, letting go [dreaming] in the mind has to experience the actions he was engaged in, so too he fares in another similar body or in another kind of embodiment [being reincarnated as a dog or hog maybe]. (62) Whatever all this ‘my’ of the mind might be in acceptance of an ‘I’, does the entity take along with him as the workload achieved by which it again enters the material existence. (63) The way one derives a state mind from one’s sensual experiences and one’s actions thereto, is one likewise mentally characterized by propensities as a consequence of the actions of a body in a previous life. (64) Sometimes pop up before one’s mind’s eye forms of whatever nature; that may happen at any moment with those images without ever having been heard, seen or experienced before. (65) Therefore o King believe me when I tell you that to a living being, with its proof of life produced in a previous body, not a single thing is able to manifest in the mind which hasn’t been tried, experienced or understood before. (66) For sure does the mind of a man indicate what forms he had in the past as well as, wishing you all the best, what birth he will next take and thus with certainty also what he will not be born into. (67) According the vision one at times has in the mind, of things never seen and heard of in this life, can one’s action depending the place and time [in the past and future] be understood. (68) Each thing that by all embodied beings endowed with a mind is perceived through the senses, may in different ways of sequential ordering [or types of logic or individual perspectives] pop up [in the mind] and vanish again. (69) Being singleminded of goodness in devotion to the Fortunate One, stands one constantly at His side [though], like one still has a moon even though it is eclipsed, and becomes, thus connected [in relation to the obscure of matter], the splendor of this world manifest. (70) This thereto not ‘I’ and ‘mine’ of the consciousness is separate from the person as long as the eternal indweller [in the form of the subtle body] forms a distinct structure of material qualities of intelligence, mind, senses and sense objects. (71) In deep sleep, when one faints or is in great shock with the arrest of one’s breathing one does not think of an ‘I’; nor is there such a notion when one has a high fever or when one dies. (72) Also in the womb and during one’s childhood is, because of immaturity, the ego [subtle body] in the form of the ten senses and the mind not witnessed by that youngster, just like the moon isn’t when it is new. (73) Sure enough does, with the sense objects not known by the mind, the material universe not cease to exist when a living being is meditating them in a dream as an appearance of unwanted things. (74) The conditioned [individual] soul is understood as the combination of the life force with the in sixteen expanded proof of life [the linga] of the five forms [the five objects of the senses, the five working and knowing senses and the mind] under the influence of the three modes. (75) Being so does the person, acquiring material bodies and giving them up again, by the gross of the form, find as well enjoyment, lamentation, fear, misery as happiness [compare B.G. 2: 13]. (76-77) Like with a caterpillar, that does not leave finding its end when it even has to give up its identification with the body [to become a butterfly], does a man not get another mind by the termination of his fruitive activities, for the mind is the ruler of man, the cause of the material existence of all living beings. (78) When one thinks of the pleasures enjoyed by the senses, are, with the continuation of material affairs, the activities performed always subject to the illusion of being bound in karma of the material body [see B.G. 3: 9]. (79) Therefore counteract that by engaging in devotional service unto the Lord with all that is in you, seeing the cosmic manifestation as being under the control of the One from whom one has maintenance, creation and annihilation. [see footnote 2] (1a) In devotion unto Krishna, of mercy towards others and in perfect knowledge of the True Self, will it be so that thereafter the liberation from the bondage of material life will sprout. (1b) The great mystery of it all is that, with what is directly seen and remains to be seen, the material existence is vanquished like during one’s sleep; in other words, that what has happened, the present and the future is a dream itself.’

(80) Maitreya said: ‘After the most powerful, chief devotee Nârada had expounded on the position of the Pure and the life about it, left he him [the king] behind to depart for the world of the perfected [Siddhaloka]. (81) Prâcînabarhi, the wise king, after leaving orders that his sons should protect the common people, then departed for the spiritual resort of Kapila for his austerities [at Gangâ-sâgara, where the Ganges flows into the bay of Bengal, see for Kapila Canto 3.24-33]. (82) There, with a one-pointed mind living sober at the lotus feet of Govinda he, continuously chanting, freed himself from his attachments, by his devotion achieving sameness in the Reality. (83) O spotless one, anyone who hears or might describe this authoritative spiritual discourse as narrated by Nârada, will be delivered from the bodily concept of life. (84) It, taken from the mouth of the chief divinity of wisdom, will, once uttered, purify the heart of anyone, as it sanctifies this world with the fame of the Lord of Liberation, Mukunda. He who chants it will return to the spiritual world and, freed from all bondage, being liberated no longer wander around in this material world. (85) The wonderful and spiritual of this mystery you heard about from me, and which is about a person [Purañjana] who took shelter of his wife, puts an end to all doubts about a life after death.’