Following Spiritual Authority Is Better Than Physical Connection

Srimad Bhagavatam 09.01.33-39 - Following Spiritual Authority Is Better Than Physical Connection (download mp3)
by Radhika Vallabha Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty

 SB 9.1.33
tata urdhvam vanam tad vai
purusa varjayanti hi
sa canucara-samyukta
vicacara vanad vanam

Since that time, no male had entered that forest. But now King Sudyumna, having been transformed into a female, began to walk with his associates from one forest to another.

In Bhagavad-gita (2.22) it is said:

vasamsi jirnani yatha vihaya
navani grhnati naro 'parani
tatha sarirani vihaya jirnany
anyani samyati navani dehi

"As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, the soul accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones."

The body is just like a dress, and here this is proved. Sudyumna and his associates were all male, which means that their souls were covered by male dress, but now they became female, which means that their dress was changed. The soul, however, remains the same. It is said that by modern medical treatment a male can be transformed into a female, and a female into a male. The body, however, has no connection with the soul. The body can be changed, either in this life or the next. Therefore, one who has knowledge of the soul and how the soul transmigrates from one body to another does not pay attention to the body, which is nothing but a covering dress. Panditah sama-darsinah [Bg. 5.18]. Such a person sees the soul, which is part and parcel of the Supreme Lord. Therefore he is a sama-darsi, a learned person.

SB 9.1.34
atha tam asramabhyase
carantim pramadottamam
stribhih parivrtam viksya
cakame bhagavan budhah

Sudyumna had been transformed into the best of beautiful women who excite sexual desire and was surrounded by other women. Upon seeing this beautiful woman loitering near his asrama, Budha, the son of the moon, immediately desired to enjoy her.

SB 9.1.35
sapi tam cakame subhruh
somaraja-sutam patim
sa tasyam janayam asa
pururavasam atmajam

The beautiful woman also desired to accept Budha, the son of the king of the moon, as her husband. Thus Budha begot in her womb a son named Pururava.

SB 9.1.36
evam stritvam anupraptah
sudyumno manavo nrpah
sasmara sa kulacaryam
vasistham iti susruma

I heard from reliable sources that King Sudyumna, the son of Manu, having thus achieved femininity, remembered his familial spiritual master, Vasistha.

SB 9.1.37
sa tasya tam dasam drstva
krpaya bhrsa-piditah
sudyumnasyasayan pumstvam
upadhavata sankaram

Upon seeing Sudyumna's deplorable condition, Vasistha was very much aggrieved. Desiring for Sudyumna to regain his maleness, Vasistha again began to worship Lord Sankara [Siva].

tustas tasmai sa bhagavan
rsaye priyam avahan
svam ca vacam rtam kurvann
idam aha visampate
masam puman sa bhavita
masam stri tava gotrajah
ittham vyavasthaya kamam
sudyumno 'vatu medinim

O King Pariksit, Lord Siva was pleased with Vasistha. Therefore, to satisfy him and to keep his own word to Parvati, Lord Siva said to that saintly person, "Your disciple Sudyumna may remain a male for one month and a female for the next. In this way he may rule the world as he likes."

The word gotrajah is significant in this connection. Brahmanas generally act as spiritual masters of two dynasties. One is their disciplic succession, and the other is the dynasty born of their semen. Both descendants belong to the same gotra, or dynasty. In the Vedic system we sometimes find that both brahmanas and ksatriyas and even vaisyas come in the disciplic succession of the same rsis. Because the gotra and dynasty are one, there is no difference between the disciples and the family born of the semen. The same system still prevails in Indian society, especially in regard to marriage, for which the gotra is calculated. Here the word gotrajah refers to those born in the same dynasty, whether they be disciples or members of the family.