Slightest Provocation Can Also Cause Havoc

Srimad Bhagavatam 09.18.06-16 - Slightest Provocation Can Also Cause Havoc (download mp3)
by Adi Keshava Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty

 SB 9.18.6-7
sri-suka uvaca
ekada danavendrasya
sarmistha nama kanyaka
guru-putrya ca bhamini
devayanya purodyane
vyacarat kala-gitali-
nalini-puline 'bala

Sukadeva Gosvami said: One day Vrsaparva's daughter Sarmistha, who was innocent but angry by nature, was walking with Devayani, the daughter of Sukracarya, and with thousands of friends, in the palace garden. The garden was full of lotuses and trees of flowers and fruits and was inhabited by sweetly singing birds and bumblebees.

SB 9.18.8
ta jalasayam asadya
kanyah kamala-locanah
tire nyasya dukulani
vijahruh siñcatir mithah

When the young, lotus-eyed girls came to the bank of a reservoir of water, they wanted to enjoy by bathing. Thus they left their clothing on the bank and began sporting, throwing water on one another.

SB 9.18.9
viksya vrajantam girisam
saha devya vrsa-sthitam
sahasottirya vasamsi
paryadhur vriditah striyah

While sporting in the water, the girls suddenly saw Lord Siva passing by, seated on the back of his bull with his wife, Parvati. Ashamed because they were naked, the girls quickly got out of the water and covered themselves with their garments.

SB 9.18.10
sarmisthajanati vaso
guru-putryah samavyayat
sviyam matva prakupita
devayanidam abravit

Sarmistha unknowingly put Devayani's dress on her own body, thus angering Devayani, who then spoke as follows.

SB 9.18.11
aho niriksyatam asya
dasyah karma hy asampratam
asmad-dharyam dhrtavati
suniva havir adhvare

Oh, just see the activities of this servant-maid Sarmistha! Disregarding all etiquette, she has put on my dress, just like a dog snatching clarified butter meant for use in a sacrifice.

SB 9.18.12-14
yair idam tapasa srstam
mukham pumsah parasya ye
dharyate yair iha jyotih
sivah panthah pradarsitah
yan vandanty upatisthante
loka-nathah suresvarah
bhagavan api visvatma
pavanah sri-niketanah
vayam tatrapi bhrgavah
sisyo 'sya nah pitasurah
asmad-dharyam dhrtavati
sudro vedam ivasati

We are among the qualified brahmanas, who are accepted as the face of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The brahmanas have created the entire universe by their austerity, and they always keep the Absolute Truth within the core of their hearts. They have directed the path of good fortune, the path of Vedic civilization, and because they are the only worshipable objects within this world, they are offered prayers and worshiped even by the great demigods, the directors of the various planets, and even by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the Supersoul, the supreme purifier, the husband of the goddess of fortune. And we are even more respectable because we are in the dynasty of Bhrgu. Yet although this woman's father, being among the demons, is our disciple, she has put on my dress, exactly like a sudra taking charge of Vedic knowledge.

SB 9.18.15
evam ksipantim sarmistha
guru-putrim abhasata
rusa svasanty urangiva
dharsita dasta-dacchada

Sukadeva Gosvami said: When thus rebuked in cruel words, Sarmistha was very angry. Breathing heavily like a serpent and biting her lower lip with her teeth, she spoke to the daughter of Sukracarya as follows.

SB 9.18.16
atma-vrttam avijñaya
katthase bahu bhiksuki
kim na pratiksase 'smakam
grhan balibhujo yatha

You beggar, since you don't understand your position, why should you unnecessarily talk so much? Don't all of you wait at our house, depending on us for your livelihood like crows?

Crows have no independent life; they fully depend on the remnants of foodstuffs thrown by householders into the garbage tank. Therefore, because a brahmana depends on his disciples, when Sarmistha was heavily rebuked by Devayani she charged Devayani with belonging to a family of crowlike beggars. It is the nature of women to fight verbally at even a slight provocation. As we see from this incident, this has been their nature for a long, long time.