Srimad Bhagavatam 12.08.06-44 - Power of Lust (download mp3)
by Radheshlal Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty
praśnas tvayā maharṣe ’yaṁ
Sūta Gosvāmī said: O great sage Śaunaka, your very question will help remove everyone’s illusion, for it leads to the topics of Lord Nārāyaṇa, which cleanse away the contamination of this Kali age.
mārkaṇḍeyaḥ pituḥ kramāt
chandāṁsy adhītya dharmeṇa
bibhrat kamaṇḍaluṁ daṇḍam
kuśāṁś ca niyamarddhaye
arcayan sandhyayor harim
sāyaṁ prātaḥ sa gurave
bhaikṣyam āhṛtya vāg-yataḥ
sakṛn no ced upoṣitaḥ
jigye mṛtyuṁ su-durjayam
After being purified by his father’s performance of the prescribed rituals leading to Mārkaṇḍeya’s brahminical initiation, Mārkaṇḍeya studied the Vedic hymns and strictly observed the regulative principles. He became advanced in austerity and Vedic knowledge and remained a lifelong celibate. Appearing most peaceful with his matted hair and his clothing made of bark, he furthered his spiritual progress by carrying the mendicant’s waterpot, staff, sacred thread, brahmacārī belt, black deerskin, lotus-seed prayer beads and bundles of kuśa grass. At the sacred junctures of the day he regularly worshiped the Supreme Personality of Godhead in five forms — the sacrificial fire, the sun, his spiritual master, the brāhmaṇas and the Supersoul within his heart. Morning and evening he would go out begging, and upon returning he would present all the food he had collected to his spiritual master. Only when his spiritual master invited him would he silently take his one meal of the day; otherwise he would fast. Thus devoted to austerity and Vedic study, Mārkaṇḍeya Ṛṣi worshiped the supreme master of the senses, the Personality of Godhead, for countless millions of years, and in this way he conquered unconquerable death.
brahmā bhṛgur bhavo dakṣo
brahma-putrāś ca ye ’pare
Lord Brahmā, Bhṛgu Muni, Lord Śiva, Prajāpati Dakṣa, the great sons of Brahmā, and many others among the human beings, demigods, forefathers and ghostly spirits — all were astonished by the achievement of Mārkaṇḍeya Ṛṣi.
dadhyāv adhokṣajaṁ yogī
In this way the devotional mystic Mārkaṇḍeya maintained rigid celibacy through penance, study of the Vedas and self-discipline. With his mind thus free of all disturbances, he turned it inward and meditated on the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who lies beyond the material senses.
tasyaivaṁ yuñjataś cittaṁ
vyatīyāya mahān kālo
While the mystic sage thus concentrated his mind by powerful yoga practice, the tremendous period of six lifetimes of Manu passed by.
etat purandaro jñātvā
saptame ’smin kilāntare
O brāhmaṇa, during the seventh reign of Manu, the current age, Lord Indra came to know of Mārkaṇḍeya’s austerities and became fearful of his growing mystic potency. Thus he tried to impede the sage’s penance.
munaye preṣayām āsa
To ruin the sage’s spiritual practice, Lord Indra sent Cupid, beautiful celestial singers, dancing girls, the season of spring and the sandalwood-scented breeze from the Malaya Hills, along with greed and intoxication personified.
te vai tad-āśramaṁ jagmur
himādreḥ pārśva uttare
puṣpabhadrā nadī yatra
citrākhyā ca śilā vibho
O most powerful Śaunaka, they went to Mārkaṇḍeya’s hermitage, on the northern side of the Himālaya Mountains where the Puṣpabhadrā River passes by the famous peak Citrā.
vāyuḥ praviṣṭa ādāya
vavāv uttambhayan smaram
Groves of pious trees decorated the holy āśrama of Mārkaṇḍeya Ṛṣi, and many saintly brāhmaṇas lived there, enjoying the abundant pure, sacred ponds. The āśrama resounded with the buzzing of intoxicated bees and the cooing of excited cuckoos, while jubilant peacocks danced about. Indeed, many families of maddened birds crowded that hermitage. The springtime breeze sent by Lord Indra entered there, carrying cooling drops of spray from nearby waterfalls. Fragrant from the embrace of forest flowers, that breeze entered the hermitage and began evoking the lusty spirit of Cupid.
Springtime then appeared in Mārkaṇḍeya’s āśrama. Indeed, the evening sky, glowing with the light of the rising moon, became the very face of spring, and sprouts and fresh blossoms virtually covered the multitude of trees and creepers.
Cupid, the master of many heavenly women, then came there holding his bow and arrows. He was followed by groups of Gandharvas playing musical instruments and singing.
These servants of Indra found the sage sitting in meditation, having just offered his prescribed oblations into the sacrificial fire. His eyes closed in trance, he seemed invincible, like fire personified.
nanṛtus tasya purataḥ
striyo ’tho gāyakā jaguḥ
vādyaṁ cakrur mano-ramam
The women danced before the sage, and the celestial singers sang to the charming accompaniment of drums, cymbals and vīṇās.
sandadhe ’straṁ sva-dhanuṣi
kāmaḥ pañca-mukhaṁ tadā
madhur mano rajas-toka
While the son of passion [greed personified], spring and the other servants of Indra all tried to agitate Mārkaṇḍeya’s mind, Cupid drew his five-headed arrow and fixed it upon his bow.
itas tato bhramad-dṛṣṭeś
calantyā anu kandukam
vāyur jahāra tad-vāsaḥ
The Apsarā Puñjikasthalī made a show of playing with a number of toy balls. Her waist seemed weighed down by her heavy breasts, and the wreath of flowers in her hair became disheveled. As she ran about after the balls, glancing here and there, the belt of her thin garment loosened, and suddenly the wind blew her clothes away.
visasarja tadā bāṇaṁ
matvā taṁ sva-jitaṁ smaraḥ
sarvaṁ tatrābhavan mogham
Cupid, thinking he had conquered the sage, then shot his arrow. But all these attempts to seduce Mārkaṇḍeya proved futile, just like the useless endeavors of an atheist.
ta ittham apakurvanto
munes tat-tejasā mune
O learned Śaunaka, while Cupid and his followers tried to harm the sage, they felt themselves being burned alive by his potency. Thus they stopped their mischief, just like children who have aroused a sleeping snake.
dharṣito ’pi mahā-muniḥ
yan nāgād ahamo bhāvaṁ
na tac citraṁ mahatsu hi
O brāhmaṇa, the followers of Lord Indra had impudently attacked the saintly Mārkaṇḍeya, yet he did not succumb to any influence of false ego. For great souls such tolerance is not at all surprising.
dṛṣṭvā nistejasaṁ kāmaṁ
sa-gaṇaṁ bhagavān svarāṭ
vismayaṁ samagāt param
The mighty King Indra was most astonished when he heard of the mystic prowess of the exalted sage Mārkaṇḍeya and saw how Cupid and his associates had become powerless in his presence.
tasyaivaṁ yuñjataś cittaṁ
Desiring to bestow His mercy upon the saintly Mārkaṇḍeya, who had perfectly fixed his mind in self-realization through penance, Vedic study and observance of regulative principles, the Supreme Personality of Godhead personally appeared before the sage in the forms of Nara and Nārāyaṇa.
tau śukla-kṛṣṇau nava-kañja-locanau
pavitra-pāṇī upavītakaṁ tri-vṛt
kamaṇḍaluṁ daṇḍam ṛjuṁ ca vaiṇavam
padmākṣa-mālām uta jantu-mārjanaṁ
vedaṁ ca sākṣāt tapa eva rūpiṇau
prāṁśū dadhānau vibudharṣabhārcitau
One of Them was of a whitish complexion, the other blackish, and They both had four arms. Their eyes resembled the petals of blooming lotuses, and They wore garments of black deerskin and bark, along with the three-stranded sacred thread. In Their hands, which were most purifying, They carried the mendicant’s waterpot, straight bamboo staff and lotus-seed prayer beads, as well as the all-purifying Vedas in the symbolic form of bundles of darbha grass. Their bearing was tall and Their yellow effulgence the color of radiant lightning. Appearing as austerity personified, They were being worshiped by the foremost demigods.
te vai bhagavato rūpe
These two sages, Nara and Nārāyaṇa, were the direct personal forms of the Supreme Lord. When Mārkaṇḍeya Ṛṣi saw Them, he immediately stood up and then with great respect offered Them obeisances by falling down flat on the ground like a stick.
na sehe tāv udīkṣitum
The ecstasy of seeing Them completely satisfied Mārkaṇḍeya’s body, mind and senses and caused the hairs on his body to stand on end and his eyes to fill with tears. Overwhelmed, Mārkaṇḍeya found it difficult to look at Them.
utthāya prāñjaliḥ prahva
autsukyād āśliṣann iva
namo nama itīśānau
Standing with his hands folded in supplication and his head bowed in humility, Mārkaṇḍeya felt such eagerness that he imagined he was embracing the two Lords. In a voice choked with ecstasy, he repeatedly said, “I offer You my humble obeisances.”
tayor āsanam ādāya
pādayor avanijya ca
He gave Them sitting places and washed Their feet, and then he worshiped Them with presentations of arghya, sandalwood pulp, fragrant oils, incense and flower garlands.
sukham āsanam āsīnau
punar ānamya pādābhyāṁ
gariṣṭhāv idam abravīt
Mārkaṇḍeya Ṛṣi once again bowed down at the lotus feet of those two most worshipable sages, who were sitting at ease, ready to bestow all mercy upon him. He then addressed Them as follows.
kiṁ varṇaye tava vibho yad-udīrito ’suḥ
saṁspandate tam anu vāṅ-mana-indriyāṇi
spandanti vai tanu-bhṛtām aja-śarvayoś ca
svasyāpy athāpi bhajatām asi bhāva-bandhuḥ
Śrī Mārkaṇḍeya said: O Almighty Lord, how can I possibly describe You? You awaken the vital air, which then impels the mind, senses and power of speech to act. This is true for all ordinary conditioned souls and even for great demigods like Brahmā and Śiva. So it is certainly true for me. Nevertheless, You become the intimate friend of those who worship You.
mūrtī ime bhagavato bhagavaṁs tri-lokyāḥ
kṣemāya tāpa-viramāya ca mṛtyu-jityai
nānā bibharṣy avitum anya-tanūr yathedaṁ
sṛṣṭvā punar grasasi sarvam ivorṇanābhiḥ
O Supreme Personality of Godhead, these two personal forms of Yours have appeared to bestow the ultimate benefit for the three worlds — the cessation of material misery and the conquest of death. My Lord, although You create this universe and then assume many transcendental forms to protect it, You also swallow it up, just like a spider who spins and later withdraws its web.
tasyāvituḥ sthira-careśitur aṅghri-mūlaṁ
yat-sthaṁ na karma-guṇa-kāla-rajaḥ spṛśanti
yad vai stuvanti ninamanti yajanty abhīkṣṇaṁ
dhyāyanti veda-hṛdayā munayas tad-āptyai
Because You are the protector and the supreme controller of all moving and nonmoving beings, anyone who takes shelter of Your lotus feet can never be touched by the contamination of material work, material qualities or time. Great sages who have assimilated the essential meaning of the Vedas offer their prayers to You. To gain Your association, they bow down to You at every opportunity and constantly worship You and meditate upon You.
nānyaṁ tavāṅghry-upanayād apavarga-mūrteḥ
kṣemaṁ janasya parito-bhiya īśa vidmaḥ
brahmā bibhety alam ato dvi-parārdha-dhiṣṇyaḥ
kālasya te kim uta tat-kṛta-bhautikānām
My dear Lord, even Lord Brahmā, who enjoys his exalted position for the entire duration of the universe, fears the passage of time. Then what to speak of those whom Brahmā creates, the conditioned souls. They encounter fearful dangers at every step of their lives. I do not know of any relief from this fear except shelter at Your lotus feet, which are the very form of liberation.
tad vai bhajāmy ṛta-dhiyas tava pāda-mūlaṁ
hitvedam ātma-cchadi cātma-guroḥ parasya
dehādy apārtham asad antyam abhijña-mātraṁ
vindeta te tarhi sarva-manīṣitārtham
Therefore I worship Your lotus feet, having renounced my identification with the material body and everything else that covers my true self. These useless, insubstantial and temporary coverings are merely presumed to be separate from You, whose intelligence encompasses all truth. By attaining You — the Supreme Godhead and the master of the soul — one attains everything desirable.
One who falsely identifies himself as the material body or mind automatically feels entitled to exploit the material world. But when we realize our eternal spiritual nature and Lord Kṛṣṇa’s supreme proprietorship over all that be, we renounce our false enjoying propensity by the strength of spiritual knowledge.