Srimad Bhagavatam 10.72.20-21 - Sacrifice Powerful theme of this World (download mp3)
by Shubha Vilas Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty
yo ’nityena sarirena
satam geyam yaso dhruvam
nacinoti svayam kalpah
sa vacyah socya eva sah
He indeed is to be censured and pitied who, though able to do so, fails to achieve with his temporary body the lasting fame glorified by great saints.
uñchavrttih sibir balih
vyadhah kapoto bahavo
hy adhruvena dhruvam gatah
Hariscandra, Rantideva, Uñchavrtti Mudgala, Sibi, Bali, the legendary hunter and pigeon, and many others have attained the permanent by means of the impermanent.
Here Lord Krsna and the two Pandavas are pointing out to Jarasandha that one can use the temporary material body to achieve a permanent situation in life. Because Jarasandha was a materialist, they appealed to his natural interest in the heavenly planets, where life lasts so long that it appears permanent to people on earth.
Srila Sridhara Svami briefly summarizes the history of the personalities mentioned in this verse: “To pay off his debts to Visvamitra, Hariscandra sold everything he had, including his wife and children. Yet even after attaining the status of a candala, he did not become discouraged; thus he went to heaven, together with all the inhabitants of Ayodhya. Rantideva, after going without even water for forty-eight days, somehow obtained some food and water, but then some beggars came and he gave it all away to them. In this way he attained Brahmaloka. Mudgala followed the practice of gathering grains left behind in the fields after the harvest. Yet still he was hospitable toward uninvited guests, even after his family had been suffering in poverty for six months. Thus he also went to Brahmaloka.
“To protect a pigeon who had taken shelter of him, King Sibi gave his own flesh to a hawk and attained heaven. Bali Maharaja gave all his property to Lord Hari when the Lord disguised Himself as a dwarf brahmana (Vamanadeva), and so Bali gained the Lord’s personal association. The pigeon and his mate gave their own flesh to a hunter as a show of hospitality, and thus they were taken to heaven in a celestial airplane. When the hunter understood their situation in the mode of goodness, he also became renounced, and thus he gave up hunting and went off to perform severe austerities. Because he was freed of all sins, after his body burned to death in a forest fire he was elevated to heaven. Thus many personalities have attained enduring life on higher planets by means of the temporary material body.”