Srimad Bhagavatam 10.88.17-26 - Spiritual Embassy in this World (download mp3)
by Sridama Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty
ity adistas tam asura
juhvano gni-mukham haram
[Sukadeva Gosvami continued:] Thus advised, the demon proceeded to worship Lord Siva at Kedaranatha by taking pieces of flesh from his own body and offering them as oblations into the sacred fire, which is Lord Siva’s mouth.
nirvedat saptame ’hani
siro ’vrscat sudhitina
tada maha-karuniko sa dhurjatir
yatha vayam cagnir ivotthito ’nalat
nigrhya dorbhyam bhujayor nyavarayat
tat-sparsanad bhuya upaskrtakrtih
Vrkasura became frustrated after failing to obtain a vision of the lord. Finally, on the seventh day, after dipping his hair into the holy waters at Kedaranatha and leaving it wet, he took up a hatchet and prepared to cut off his head. But at that very moment the supremely merciful Lord Siva rose up out of the sacrificial fire, looking like the god of fire himself, and grabbed both arms of the demon to stop him from killing himself, just as we would do. By Lord Siva’s touch, Vrkasura once again became whole.
tam aha cangalam alam vrnisva me
yathabhikamam vitarami te varam
priyeya toyena nrnam prapadyatam
aho tvayatma bhrsam ardyate vrtha
Lord Siva said to him: My friend, please stop, stop! Ask from me whatever you want, and I will bestow that boon upon you. Alas, you have subjected your body to great torment for no reason, since I am pleased with a simple offering of water from those who approach me for shelter.
devam sa vavre papiyan
yasya yasya karam sirsni
dhasye sa mriyatam iti
[Sukadeva Gosvami continued:] The benediction sinful Vrka chose from the lord would terrify all living beings. Vrka said, “May death come to whomever I touch upon the head with my hand.”
tac chrutva bhagavan rudro
durmana iva bharata
om iti prahasams tasmai
dade ’her amrtam yatha
Upon hearing this, Lord Rudra seemed somewhat disturbed. Nonetheless, O descendant of Bharata, he vibrated om to signify his assent, granting Vrka the benediction with an ironic smile, as if giving milk to a poisonous snake.
sambhor murdhni kilasurah
sva-hastam dhatum arebhe
so ’bibhyat sva-krtac chivah
To test Lord Sambhu’s benediction, the demon then tried to put his hand on the Lord’s head. Thus Siva was frightened because of what he himself had done.
yavad antam divo bhumeh
kasthanam udagad udak
As the demon pursued him, Lord Siva fled swiftly from his abode in the north, shaking with terror. He ran as far as the limits of the earth, the sky and the corners of the universe.
tusnim asan suresvarah
tato vaikuntham agamad
bhasvaram tamasah param
yatra narayanah saksan
nyasinam paramo gatih
yato navartate gatah
The great demigods could only remain silent, not knowing how to counteract the benediction. Then Lord Siva reached the luminous realm of Vaikuntha, beyond all darkness, where the Supreme Lord Narayana is manifest. That realm is the destination of renunciants who have attained peace and given up all violence against other creatures. Going there, one never returns.
According to Srila Sridhara Svami, Lord Siva entered the planet of Svetadvipa, a special outpost of the spiritual world within the confines of the material universe. There, on a beautiful white island surrounded by the celestial Ocean of Milk, Lord Visnu rests on the serpent bed of Ananta Sesa, making Himself available to the demigods when they need His help.