Srimad Bhagavatam 11.07.57-74 - Being Detached But Responsible in Family Life (download mp3)
by Srivas Thakur Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty
kapoti prathamam garbham
grhnanti kala agate
andani susuve nide
sta-patyuh sannidhau sati
Then the female pigeon experienced her first pregnancy. When the time arrived, the chaste lady delivered a number of eggs within the nest in the presence of her husband.
tesu kale vyajayanta
When the time was ripe, baby pigeons, with tender limbs and feathers created by the inconceivable potencies of the Lord, were born from those eggs.
prajah pupusatuh pritau
srnvantau kujitam tasam
The two pigeons became most affectionate to their children and took great pleasure in listening to their awkward chirping, which sounded very sweet to the parents. Thus with love they began to raise the little birds who were born of them.
tasam patatraih su-sparsaih
pitarau mudam apatuh
The parent birds became very joyful by observing the soft wings of their children, their chirping, their lovely innocent movements around the nest and their attempts to jump up and fly. Seeing their children happy, the parents were also happy.
sisun pupusatuh prajah
Their hearts bound to each other by affection, the foolish birds, completely bewildered by the illusory energy of Lord Visnu, continued to take care of the young offspring who had been born to them.
ekada jagmatus tasam
annartham tau kutumbinau
paritah kanane tasminn
arthinau ceratus ciram
One day the two heads of the family went out to find food for the children. Being very anxious to feed their offspring properly, they wandered all over the forest for a long time.
drstva tan lubdhakah kascid
jagrhe jalam atatya
At that time a certain hunter who happened to be wandering through the forest saw the young pigeons moving about near their nest. Spreading out his net he captured them all.
kapotas ca kapoti ca
gatau posanam adaya
The pigeon and his wife were always anxious for the maintenance of their children, and they were wandering in the forest for that purpose. Having obtained proper food, they now returned to their nest.
kapoti svatmajan viksya
tan abhyadhavat krosanti
When the lady pigeon caught sight of her own children trapped within the hunter’s net, she was overwhelmed with anguish, and crying out, she rushed toward them as they cried out to her in return.
svayam cabadhyata sica
baddhan pasyanty apasmrtih
The lady pigeon had always allowed herself to be bound by the ropes of intense material affection, and thus her mind was overwhelmed by anguish. Being in the grip of the illusory energy of the Lord, she completely forgot herself, and rushing forward to her helpless children, she was immediately bound in the hunter’s net.
kapotah svatmajan baddhan
atmano ’py adhikan priyan
bharyam catma-samam dino
Seeing his own children, who were more dear to him than life itself, fatally bound in the hunter’s net along with his dearmost wife, whom he considered equal in every way to himself, the poor male pigeon began to lament wretchedly.
aho me pasyatapayam
grhas trai-vargiko hatah
The male pigeon said: Alas, just see how I am now destroyed! I am obviously a great fool, for I did not properly execute pious activities. I could not satisfy myself, nor could I fulfill the purpose of life. My dear family, which was the basis of my religiosity, economic development and sense gratification, is now hopelessly ruined.
Srila Sridhara Svami explains that the word atrptasya indicates that the pigeon was not satisfied with the sense gratification he had achieved. Although he was completely attached to his wife, children and nest, he could not sufficiently enjoy them since there is ultimately no satisfaction in such things. Akrtarthasya indicates that his hopes and dreams for future expansion of his sense gratification were now also ruined. People commonly refer to their “home, sweet home” as their nest, and money put aside for future sense gratification is called a nest egg. Therefore, all of the love birds of the material world should clearly note how their so-called wife, children and fortune will all be dragged away in the hunter’s net. In other words, death will finish everything.
yasya me pati-devata
sunye grhe mam santyajya
putraih svar yati sadhubhih
My wife and I were an ideal match. She always faithfully obeyed me and in fact accepted me as her worshipable deity. But now, seeing her children lost and her home empty, she has left me behind and gone to heaven with our saintly children.
so ’ham sunye grhe dino
jijivise kim artham va
Now I am a wretched person living in an empty home. My wife is dead; my children are dead. Why should I possibly want to live? My heart is so pained by separation from my family that life itself has become simply suffering.
tams tathaivavrtan sigbhir
svayam ca krpanah siksu
pasyann apy abudho ’patat
As the father pigeon wretchedly stared at his poor children trapped in the net and on the verge of death, pathetically struggling to free themselves, his mind went blank, and thus he himself fell into the hunter’s net.
tam labdhva lubdhakah krurah
kapotakan kapotim ca
siddharthah prayayau grham
The cruel hunter, having fulfilled his desire by capturing the head pigeon, his wife and all of their children, set off for his own home.
evam kutumby asantatma
pusnan kutumbam krpanah
In this way, one who is too attached to family life becomes disturbed at heart. Like the pigeon, he tries to find pleasure in mundane sex attraction. Busily engaged in maintaining his own family, the miserly person is fated to suffer greatly, along with all his family members.
yah prapya manusam lokam
grhesu khaga-vat saktas
tam arudha-cyutam viduh
The doors of liberation are opened wide to one who has achieved human life. But if a human being simply devotes himself to family life like the foolish bird in this story, then he is to be considered as one who has climbed to a high place only to trip and fall down.
Thus end the purports of the humble servants of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada to the Eleventh Canto, Seventh Chapter, of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, entitled “Lord Krsna Instructs Uddhava.”