sábado, 17 de abril de 2010


Contenido - Contents

Fotos de KRISHNA I LOVE YOU!!!!!!! - Fotos del muro

Dedicated to Romapada swami
"Most artwork courtesy of the Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International. www.krishna.com"

Añadida el 26 de febrero

Añadida el 05 de abril

is true that we are not seeing Krsna, but He sees us, and He may hear
what we say to Him. We do not hear what He is telling us, and we do not
hear His calling us by playing His flute, but our call is heard by Krsna
who is very kind and causelessly merciful. He has sent all our
guru-parampara (lineage) acaryas, He ha...s
also sent Jesus, and sometimes He Himself descends with all His
associates – only because He loves us. He is calling us saying, "Come,
come My sons and daughters. Chant this mantra: Hare Krsna, Hare Krsna,
Krsna Krsna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Chant even one time. I will take you to Goloka Vrndavana and you will be
transcendentally happy forever."
Añadida el 05 de agosto

As soon as you offer yourself to be enjoyed by
Krishna as servant, according to His order you serve, then immediately
you are in the spiritual world. If you want to remain in the spiritual
world, this temple is the spiritual world. We are not living in
Melbourne. This temple is not Melbourne. It is Vaikuntha. It is
Vrndavana. So if you stick to this temple service, Krishna’s service,
then you are not in this material world.

Melbourne, June 25, 1974
Añadida el 05 de agosto

If the wife is helpful in the spiritual progress of
life, she is the best friend and philosopher. So in krsna Consciousness
the wife is never a burden, but she is completely a counterpart.

Letter to Vrndavana Candra, June 24, 1970
Añadida el 06 de agosto

is the difference between love and attachment? There is so much
difference. It is like the difference between Heaven and Earth or the
Sky and Hell (Akash and Patala). Attachment is lust, and love is pure.
Love and affection means ‘for the spiritual benefit of one’s beloved.’
Attachment means ‘for one’s personal sense gratification.’
Añadida el 07 de agosto

The disciple’s duty is to be ready always to serve the spiritual master, at any cost.

Los Angeles, June 23, 1972
Añadida el 08 de agosto

A Spiritual Master is always liberated. In any condition of His life He
should not be mistaken as ordinary human being. This position of a
Spiritual Master is achieved by three processes: Sadhana siddha —one who
is liberated by executing the regulative principle of devotional
service; Krpa siddha—one who is liberated by the mercy of Krsna or His
devotee; Nitya siddha—one who is never forgetful of Krsna throughout his
whole life. These are the three features of the perfection of life.

Letter to Tamala Krsna, June 21, 1970
Añadida el 08 de agosto

In Vrndavana, when we walk on the street, the cartsmen, the milkmen
carrying milk, immediately they’ll off namaskare, Swamiji. The other day
we were walking and we entered one field, just for walking. So the
villagers, the cultivators, they came to congratulate us and receive us.
Swamiji, it is our great fortune that you have come to our field. But
in your country if I would have entered in another’s place, perhaps they
would have brought charge of trespass or might have shot us down. So
that is the different system. That by birthright they are Krishna
conscious in Vrindavan.

Toronto, June 20, 1976
Añadida el 09 de agosto


Antaryami: (sáns. vaiëòava). el Señor o la Superalma que mora en el corazón y que guía las actividades de todas las entidades vivientes.

Indice: AP 01, AP 02, AP 03, AP 04, AP 05, AP 06, AP 07, AP 08, AP 09, AP 10, AP 11, AP 12, AP 13, AP 14, AP 15, AP 16, AP 17, AP 18, AP 19, AP 20, AP 21, AP 22, AP 23, AP 24, AP 25, AP 26, AP 27, AP 28, AP 29, AP 30, AP 31, AP 32, AP 33, AP 34, AP 35, AP 36, AP 37, AP 38, AP 39

1 - Adi Parva AP08 - AP36

AP 08

Suta Goswami said:

Cyavana, the son of Bhrgu, begot in the womb of Sukanya the great soul Pramati of fiery power. Pramati in turn begot Ruru in the womb of Ghrtaci, and Ruru begot Sanuka upon his wife Pramadvara. Dear brahmana, I shall describe in detail the activities of the greatly powerful Ruru. Please hear the story to its conclusion.

Once there was a noble sage of tremendous austerity and wisdom who was always dedicated to the welfare of all creatures. His name was Sthulakesa, or "one of coarse hair." At that time, O learned sage, the Gandharva king Visvavasu was known to have had intercourse with the celestial Menaka, who abandoned the infant born to her in due course of time. Leaving her infant daughter on a riverbank near the asrama of Sthulakesa, Menaka departed.

That great and mighty sage saw the infant girl shining with the beauty of a young goddess as she lay helpless and uncared for on the deserted riverbank. Seeing the child in such a condition, that best of brahmanas Sthulakesa was filled with compassion and took the child home and cared for her at his asrama until she grew into a shapely and beautiful young woman. Recognizing her to be the most enchanting of women, endowed with full beauty and character, the great sage named his daughter Pramadvara, "the finest of charming ladies."

The religious Ruru beheld Pramadvara at Sthulakesa's asrama and fell completely in love with her. Together with his friends, he encouraged his father to request the girl's hand, and thus Pramati went to see the famous Sthulakesa. The sage awarded his daughter Pramadvara to Ruru and immediately set the wedding date for the time when the moon passes through the constellation known as as Uttara-phalguni, a date known to confer happiness upon lovers.

A few days before the wedding, the young bride of lovely complexion, while playing with her girlfriends, did not see a sleeping snake stretched out before her. Thus impelled by time and destined to die, she trampled it with her foot, and the serpent, likewise driven by deadly time, plunged its venom-smeared fangs deep into the body of that most careless girl. No sooner bitten, she fell to the ground unconscious and lifeless. She who had possessed such a beautiful form was now unattractive to look upon. But as she lay on the earth, lost in dreamless sleep, the tender-waisted virgin, felled by a serpent's venom, again became most beautiful.

Her own father and other ascetics saw her there, fallen and unmoving on the earth yet somehow bright like a lotus. Then all the important brahmanas, deeply compassionate, quickly assembled there. Svastyatreya, Mahajanu, Kusika, Sankhamekhala, Bharadvaja, Kaunakutsa, Arstisena, Gautama, Pramati with his son, and other forest dwellers all arrived on the spot. Seeing the lifeless young girl, felled by a serpent's poison, they cried out in heartfelt grief, and Ruru fled in anguish.

AP 09 (10,11,12)

Suta Goswami continued:

As the brahmanas sat there together, Ruru went deep into the forest and cried out in pain. Griefstricken and wailing piteously again and again, Ruru remembered his beloved Pramadvara and spoke these mournful words: "That delicate girl who lies on the earth arouses such grief in me and in all her relatives! What pain is there beyond this? If I have given charity in my life and practiced austerities, or indeed if ever I properly worshiped my elders and teachers, then by all the merit I possess let my beloved come back to life. From my very birth I have controlled myself and remained faithful to my vows, so in return for all that, may my lovely Pramadvara rise up once more on this very day."

A messenger of the gods then spoke:

O Ruru, the words you speak out of sorrow are in vain, O virtuous one, for a mortal whose lifetime has passed can have no extension of that life. The life of that poor girl, born of a Gandharva and an Apsara, is now gone. Therefore, my dear son, do not in any way abandon your mind to grief.

Nevertheless, the gods, who are great souls, have already arranged a solution to this problem, and if you accept it you will regain Pramadvara.

Ruru said:

What solution have the gods arranged? Tell me in truth, O sky-traveler, and I shall do as you say. You must help me!

The messenger of the gods said:

O Ruru, scion of Bhrgu, offer half of your own life to that girl, and your bride Pramadvara shall again rise up.

Ruru said:

O most excellent sky-traveller, I do hereby offer half my life to this chaste girl, so finely dressed in the garments of love. Now please let my dear one arise! Suta Goswami said:

Thereupon the Gandharva king and the celestial messenger, both most noble souls, approached the Lord of Justice and spoke to him these words: "O Lord of Justice, if you so approve, may Ruru's fair and noble wife Pramadvara, though dead, arise again with half of Ruru's duration of life."

The Lord of Justice said:

Messenger of the gods, if you so desire then may Pramadvara, the wife of Ruru, awaken endowed with half the duration of his life.

Suta Goswami said:

As soon as the Lord of Justice had thus spoken, the lovely and chaste young Pramadvara arose as if from sleep, endowed with half of Ruru's life. In fact, through his austerities, the very powerful Ruru had accumulated an excessive duration of life, and thus it was pre-ordained (by the cosmic rulers) that in the future his life would be diminished by half for his wife's sake.

On the eagerly awaited day the fathers of the bride and groom happily performed the marriage and rejoiced, each wishing the other well. After so much anguish, Ruru, obtained a wife who was as delicate as the filaments of a lotus. Remembering his pain, he vowed with firm determination to annihilate the snakes for their crooked ways. Any snake he saw filled him with cold fury, and picking up a weapon, he would always kill any snake that came within his range.

Once the learned brahmana Ruru, having come to a great forest, saw lying before him an aged lizard. Raising a stick like the staff of Death, the furious brahmana struck the lizard, but the lizard cried out, "I've done you no wrong today, ascetic! Why then are you so enraged? Why angrily strike me, you whose wealth is austerity?"

AP 10

Ruru said:

My wife, whom I hold as dear to me as my own life, was once bitten by a snake, and thereafter I uttered this terrible vow: "I swear that I shall kill any snake I see!" Therefore I am going to kill you now. You shall give up your life!

The lizard replied:

O brahmana, snakes that bite human beings are a different species altogether. You should not attack lizards, thinking them to be serpents. Lizards and snakes share the same troubles, but their purposes are different. They share identical sorrows, but their pleasures are different. You should therefore recognize the principles of justice and refrain from attacking lizards.

Suta Goswami said:

When Ruru heard these words, he thought the lizard to be a sage in disguise and became quite wary of striking it. In a most conciliatory manner, the exalted Ruru said to the lizard, "O reptile, kindly tell me who you really are dressed in this lizard's body."

The lizard said:

Formerly, Ruru, I was a sage named Sahasrapat, but because of a brahmana's curse I was forced to accept the body of a lizard.

Ruru said:

O excellent reptile, why was that brahmana so angry that he cursed you? And for how long must you retain this body?

AP 11

The lizard said:

Once, dear friend, I had a brahmana friend named Khagama, who was accustomed to speaking sharply, being full of strength from his austerities. One day, while we were both still in our youth, I playfully fashioned a snake out of straw, and as Khagama sat absorbed in a fire sacrifice I frightened him with it, and he fainted away on the spot. My friend was a true ascetic who ever spoke the truth, being terribly strict in his vows, and thus when he regained consciousness his anger nearly burned me to ashes.

"Because you made this impotent snake just to frighten me," he raged, "so by my anger become yourself an impotent snake!"

O ascetic, my heart was in utter turmoil, for I knew well the power of his austerities. In great confusion I stood before him, devastated, my hands folded in submission.

"My friend," I cried, "whatever I did to you was just to have a laugh; it was only a joke. O brahmana, you must forgive me! I beg you to take back your curse!"

Seeing that my mind was lost in fear, he sighed deeply again and again, and in much anxiety said to me, "That which I have already spoken can never prove false. It shall come to pass regardless. But hear from me, you who are strict in your vows, that which I now speak. May these words remain in your heart, for you are a fellow ascetic whose only wealth is austerity.

"There shall arise from Pramati a righteous son named Ruru. Upon seeing him, you shall be quickly freed of this curse."

You are that very Ruru, the righteous son of Pramati, and in fact (even as I speak) I have now regained my original form. I will tell you then, for your own happiness, that non-aggression is the highest moral law for all living beings. A brahmana, therefore, should never injure any living thing.

My friend, the scriptures declare emphatically that a brahmana is born in this world to be always kind to others, to learn the Veda and its supplements, and to lead all creatures to freedom from fear. The duty of a warrior is not at all prescribed for you, because a warrior must wield the rod of punishment, spell dread for the wicked, and physically protect all creatures. Hear from me, O virtuous Ruru, about the actual work of a ksatriya. In the past King Janamejaya was attempting to kill all the snakes in a sacrifice until finally the terrified serpents were saved by none other than a brahmana, who was powerfully austere and in full command of the Vedas and their supplements. The name of that sage was Astika, O excellent brahmana.

AP 12

Ruru said:

O best of the twice-born, how did King Janamejaya kill the snakes, and for what reason were they killed? Tell me also for what reason the brahmana Astika saved the serpents. I want to hear the whole story.

The sage said:

You shall hear all of the great story of Astika, O Ruru, from the brahmanas who narrate it.

Suta Goswami said:

Thus speaking, the sage vanished. Anxious to find the sage, Ruru ran all about the forest searching, until at last he fell exhausted upon the earth and slept. When he awoke, he returned home and narrated the incident to his father and asked for an explanation. Ruru's father, when thus requested, explained the entire story.

AP 13,14

Saunaka said:

Please tell me why that tiger among kings, Maharaja Janamejaya, tried to kill all the snakes in a snake sacrifice. And why did that excellent chanter of mantras, Astika, the best of the twice-born, liberate the snakes from the sacrificial fire? Whose son was that king who performed the snake sacrifice? And please tell me whose son was Astika, the best of the twice-born?

Suta Goswami said:

O best of speakers, hear from me the great story of Astika, in which all your questions will be fully answered.

Saunaka said:

I want to hear in detail this fascinating story of Astika, the illustrious brahmana of old.

Suta Goswami said:

The elders who dwell here in Naimisaranya relate this ancient history narrated by Srila Vyasa. My own father, Romaharsana Suta, a learned disciple of Vyasa, formerly narrated this story at the request of the brahmanas. Because you have similarly requested me, Saunaka, I will narrate the story of Astika exactly as I heard it.

Astika's father was a powerful sage, equal in strength to the praja-patis, the progenitors who rule mankind. He was celibate, strictly controlling his senses, and he always engaged in performing severe austerities. Known as Jaratkaru, he elevated his seminal power and nourished his brain, thus becoming a great sage. This eminent religious scholar, unflinching in his vows, was a descendant of the family of Yayavara.

Once while walking about he saw his own forefathers hanging upside down over a great hole. Seeing them in such a condition, Jaratkaru asked, "Who are you, dear sirs, and why are you hanging face down over this hole? You are held by a mere clump of grass, which is being eaten away on all sides by an elusive rat who always stays in the hole."

The forefathers said:

We are the Yayavaras, sages strict in our vows. By the destruction of our family line, O brahmana, we are now forced to enter into the earth. Our last living descendant is known as Jaratkaru, but we are so unfortunate that our unlucky descendent cares only for the ascetic life. That foolish one does not want to take a wife and beget good children, preferring rather to allow our family line to perish.up6 \chftn rootnote rs20 rs18up6 \chftn Good children are necessary to continue the family line to ensure that pinda or santified food will be offered to those forefathers who, due to sinful activities, are residing in ghostly bodies or in hell. By offering them food and water which has been first offered to Visnu, they are released from their suffering condition. If there are no children to make this offering then the forefathers must suffer fully the reactions to their activities. Therefore we are hanging over this hole. Because of such a guardian of our family tradition we must hang here helpless like common criminals. Who are you, noble sir, and why do you worry about us as if you were our own kin? We want to know, dear brahmana, who are you who stands here before us? Why should you be so kind to wretched persons like us?

Jaratkaru said:

You are indeed my own forebears---my fathers and grandfathers. Tell me what I may do for you now, for I myself am Jaratkaru!

The forefathers said:

For your own sake and for ours as well, strive with great effort, dear boy, to preserve our family line. That, O lord, is your actual duty. In this world, O son, neither by the fruits of virtue nor by heaps of austerities can one attain the rewards earned by the parents of good children. Dear child, by our order, put all your effort into finding a wife and make up your mind to continue our family. That for us is the highest benefit.

Jaratkaru said:

Although my mind has always been fixed on never taking a wife, for your welfare I will marry. I shall do so, however, only if I find a wife under certain conditions, and not otherwise. I shall accept with proper rites a virgin girl bearing my same name and only one who is happily given by her family in charity. I doubt that anyone would entrust a wife to one as poor as I am. But if someone will do it, I shall accept the offering of alms. My dear forefathers, I shall continuously endeavor to find a wife according to this stipulation, and not otherwise. Surely a child born from such a marriage will deliver all of you. Attaining then the eternal abode, may my forefathers rejoice!

Suta Goswami said:

That brahmana, strict in his vows, then wandered about the earth searching for a wife with whom to share a home. But he could not find a suitable woman. Once, entering a forest and recalling the words of his forefathers, he slowly cried out three times, "I am begging a wife in charity!"

At that time, the serpent Vasuki offered his sister to Jaratkaru, but he did not accept her, naturally assuming that she had a different name. "I can only take a wife who has my same name and who is offered freely," thought the great soul Jaratkaru, his mind fixed. The very wise ascetic then said to Vasuki, "Tell me the truth, O serpent, what is your sister's name?"

Vasuki said:

My dear Jaratkaru, Jaratkaru is also the name of my young sister, whom we have been keeping for you. O best of the twice-born, please accept her!

Suta Goswami said:

O best of Vedic scholars, the snakes had been cursed earlier by their mother, who had declared, "Driven by the wind, the sacred fire shall burn you all at Janamejaya's sacrifice."

To appease that same curse the greatest of the serpents presented his sister to the ascetic sage, who faithfully kept his vows. And thus Jaratkaru married her according to the authorized rites. A son of the name Astika was born of the woman and her exalted husband. That great-souled child was to become both an ascetic and a great master of the Vedic scriptures. Fair-minded and equal to all, he drove away his parents' fear.

We hear from authorities that long, long after the race of snakes had been cursed by their own mother, the descendant of Pandu, King Janamejaya, commenced a great offering known as the Sacrifice of Snakes. But when the sacrifice meant to annihilate all serpents was proceeding, the widely celebrated Astika freed the snakes from their curse. He saved the Nagas, his maternal uncles, and many other snakes who were related to him through his mother, and he also rescued his father's relatives by continuing their family line. By his austerities, his religious vows, and his profound Vedic studies, he became free of his many obligations. He satisfied the demigods with sacrifices of diverse remuneration, the sages by his celibacy and study, and his forefathers with progeny. Having removed the heavy burden carried by his forefathers, Jaratkaru, resolute of vow, thereafter accompanied them to the heavenly planets. Having thus obtained Astika as his son and having accumulated unequalled religious merit, the thoughtful Jaratkaru went to the heavenly abode after a very long life. Thus have I duly recounted the story of Astika. O tiger of the Bhrgus, what is to be narrated next?

AP 14

Saunaka said:

O Suta, please recite again in detail this story of the intelligent saint Astika for we yearn to hear it. You recite these histories so nicely and with such graceful sounds and language that we are all very pleased, my son, with your presentation. You are a gentle man and speak just like your father. Indeed, your sire spoke in a way that always satisfied our desire to hear. So now, please speak as your father did!

Suta Goswami continued:

O long-lived Saunaka, I shall tell you the story of Astika exactly as my father recited it in my presence.

Long ago, in the godly millennium, Prajapati Daksa had two brilliant and sinless daughters, amazing sisters who were gifted with great beauty. Named Kadru and Vinata, they both became wives of the primordial sage Kasyapa, a husband who was equal in glory to the Prajapati. Being pleased with his religious wive, Kasyapa, with much happines, offered them both a boon. Hearing of Kasyapa's joyful intention to let them choose an extraordinary boon, the two excellent women felt an incomparable joy.

Kadru chose to create one thousand serpent sons, all of equal strength, and Vinata hankered to have two sons who would exceed all of Kadru's sons in stamina, strength, valor, and spiritual influence. Her husband awarded her only one and a half of these desired sons, knowing that she could not have more. Vinata then said to Kasyapa, "Let me have at least one superior son."

Vinata felt that her purpose was satisfied and that somehow both sons would be of superior strength. Kadru too felt her purpose fulfilled, since she would have one thousand sons of equal prowess. Both wives were delighted with their boons. Then Kasyapa, that mighty ascetic, urging them to carry their embryos with utmost care, retired to the forest.

After a long time Kadru produced one thousand eggs, O leader of brahmanas, and Vinata produced two eggs. Their delighted assistants placed the two sisters' eggs in moist vessels, where they remained for five hunred years. When the years had passed, the sons of Kadru hatched from their eggs, but from Vinata's two eggs her two sons were not to be seen. That austere and godly woman, anxious to have children, was ashamed. Thus Vinata broke open one egg and saw therein her son. Authorities say that the upper half of the child's body was fully developed, but the lower half was not yet well formed.

Furious that his natural growth had been thus interrupted, the son cursed his mother, Vinata: "You were so greedy for a son, mother, that you have caused me to be deformed and weak. Therefore you shall lose your freedom and for five hunred years remain the maidservant of the very woman you sought to rival. Your other son will free you from servitude---that is, mother, if you don't break his egg and ruin his body and limbs, as you did mine. If you truly desire to get a son of unique prowess, then you must patiently await his birth, which will come after another five hunred years."

Having thus cursed his mother, Vinata, the son flew into outer space, where he is always seen, O brahmana, as Aruna, the reddish light of dawn. In due course of time the mighty Garuda, consumer of snakes, took birth. As soon as he appeared, O tiger of the Bhrgus, he left Vinata and flew up into the sky, famished, ready to take his meal of eatables as ordained by the creator.

AP15 (16)

Suta Goswami continued:

O sage rich in austerity, at this time the two sisters saw coming towards them the stallion Uccaihsrava, whom all the gods joyfully honor, the supreme jewel among horses, born from the churning of nectar. That ageless celestial steed, who bore all the auspicious marks, was beautiful and immensely powerful, indeed the finest of horses and the best of the swift.

Saunaka said:

How and where did the demigods churn this nectar from which the king of horses, of such unusual strength and luster, took birth? Please tell us!

Suta Goswami replied:

There is a glowing mountain called Meru, which is bathed in its own radiance. Fine beyond all other mountains, it subdues the sun's own light with its dazzling golden peaks. Indeed, it is like a wondrous golden ornament. Popular with gods and Gandharvas, it is immeasurable and can be approached only by those who are abundantly righteous. Awesome beasts of prey frequent that great mountain, and heavenly herbs illumine it. Standing tall, it spreads up and over the vault of heaven. Unattainable by most, lying beyond even their imagination, this mountain, rich in rivers and forests, resounds with the songs of the most charming varieties of birds.

Scaling its bright and gem-studded peak, which rises almost forever upward, all the mighty demigods once met atop the Meru Mount. The inhabitants of heaven came together and, seated in council, began to discuss how they might obtain the celestial nectar. To evoke blessings on their cause they rigidly observed religious rules and austerities. As the gods thus meditated and discussed the matter in every conceivable way, the Supreme Lord Narayana spoke to Lord Brahma: "The demigods and demons together must churn the waters of the ocean basin, for only when the great ocean is churned will the immortal nectar come forth. Churn the ocean, O gods, and you will certainly obtain every healing herb and all manner of jewels, and in the end you shall have nectar."

AP 16

Suta Goswami said:

Having decided to use the Mandara Mountain as a churning rod, the gods thereupon went to that excellent mountain, which was adorned with soaring peaks and crowds of towering clouds. Lush with tangled creepers, vibrating with the songs of many types of birds, and alive with many species of tusked and toothy beasts, Mandara mountain was a popular resort for the Kinnaras, Apsaras, and even the gods themselves. It stretches up to a height of eleven thousand yojanas, or eighty-eight thousand miles, and its foundations extend just as many miles below the earth. The demigods wanted to take that mountain to use as a churning rod, but together they could not lift it. So they approached the seated Lord Visnu and Lord Brahma and said to them, "May you two Lords kindly fix your good minds on our ultimate welfare, and for our sake let an effort be made to lift Mandara Mountain!"

"So be it!" said Lord Visnu, and Lord Brahma agreed, O Bhargava. Encouraged by Lord Brahma and ordered by Lord Narayana, the mighty Ananta then rose up to assume the great task. O brahmana, by His own strength the mighty Ananta lifted up that lord of mountains with all its forests and forest creatures. The gods then accompanied Lord Ananta to the ocean and said to the mighty sea, "We shall churn your waters to obtain immortal nectar."

The lord of waters replied, "If you save me a portion of the nectar I shall be able to tolerate the heavy pounding of the twisting churning rod, Mount Mandara."

The gods and demons together then said to the tortoise king, Akupara, "the unlimited," "You, sir, should kindly serve as the resting place for Mount Mandara."

The tortoise agreed and freely offered his back. Lord Indra then pressed down the mountain's peak with a tool, and fashioning Mount Mandara into a churning rod and using the celestial serpent Vasuki as a churning rope, the gods began to churn the vast waters of the sea. The Daityas and Danavas were also anxious to drink the nectar, O brahmana, and thus they too began to churn. The great demons held one end of Vasuki, the king of serpents, and, joining together, the demigods stood at the tail.

Lord Ananta, a plenary expansion of the Personality of Godhead, stood by Lord Narayana, who is also a plenary manifestation of the Supreme Godhead. Again and again Lord Ananta lifted the serpent's head and threw it down. Being forcefully pulled up and down by the demigods as well, Vasuki repeatedly belched fire and smoke. The billows of smoke turned into clouds and poured rain and lightning upon the demigods, who were already weak from the heat of their labors. From the highest peak on the mountain, showers of flowers rained down and scattered garlands everywhere, on gods and demons alike.

Then, as the gods and demons churned the ocean with Mount Mandara, a deep sound arose from within the sea like the mighty rumbling of thunder in the clouds. All manner of sealife were crushed by the great mountain, and by the hundreds they gave up their bodies in the nectar-filled sea. Yet, by the strength of that mountain, which had been touched and lifted by the Supreme Lord Ananta, varieties of sea creatures (otherwise condemned to dwell in lower species of life) were freed of their dull acquatic bodies. As the mountain continued to whirl, huge trees, stocked with birds, crashed into one another and tumbled down from its peaks. The friction from the falling trees generated a fire, whose swift tongues of flame swarmed Mandara Mountain like electric bolts of lightning surrounding bluish rainclouds.

The fire burned even the mighty elephants and lions, who fled its flames. All kinds of creatures gave up their mortal bodies in that blaze. As the fire burned all around, the best of the demigods, Lord Indra, extinguished it with rain showers. Thereupon, varieties of herbal juices and resins from mighty trees flowed from Mount Mandara into the ocean. Indeed from the milk of these juices, endowed with the virility of nectar, and from the flowing of molten gold, the gods would attain immortal status. But now the water of the ocean mixed with the finest of juices and turned into milk, and from that milk came butter.

The demigods then spoke to Lord Brahma, the boon-giver, who was sitting before them, "We are utterly exhausted, and still the divine nectar does not come out of the sea. Except for God, Narayana, all of us, including the Daityas and the strongest Nagas, have no more strength. We have been churning the ocean for so very long."

Brahma then spoke these words to Lord Narayana, "My dear Lord Visnu, please grant them strength, for You are their only shelter."

Lord Visnu replied:

I do hereby grant strength to all who have seriously undertaken this task. Let everyone shake the waters! Let everyone whirl the Mandara Mountain round!

Suta Goswami said:

Hearing the words of Lord Narayana, everyone's strength was renewed, and, joining together, they powerfully churned the milk of the great ocean. Thereupon the cool-rayed moon, shining with a sublime effulgence, rose up from the ocean like a second sun with hundreds and thousands of rays.

Next the Goddess of Fortune, clad in white garments, arose from the clarified butter of the milk ocean, and then the goddess Liquor, and then a swift white steed. And the divine Kaustubha gem, gorgeous and radiant, was born from the nectar, meant for the chest of Lord Narayana. The Goddess of Fortune, the goddess of Liquor, the moon, and the white horse, who was as fast as the mind, all went on the path of the sun, to where the gods stood.

Then the handsome Lord Dhanvantari rose up from the ocean carrying a white Kamandalu pot, which held the immortal nectar. Seeing this great wonder, loud shouts arose from the demons.

"It's mine! It's mine!" they cried, clamoring for the nectar, but Lord Narayana engaged His mystic potency and assumed a stunningly beautiful feminine form and boldly went amid the demons. The Lord's enchanting feminine incarnation, Mohini-murti, bewildered the minds of the demons, and thus all the Daityas and Danavas became so attached to Her that without hestiation they presented Her the nectar.

AP 17

Suta Goswami said:

-[Then, realizing they had been tricked,] the allied Daityas and Danavas grabbed their finest shields and different kinds of weapons and rushed the demigods. But the almighty Godhead, Visnu, having removed the nectar from the best of the Danavas, successfully held it with the help of Nara (the Lord's eternal friend and devotee), and the hosts of demigods, having obtained the immortal nectar from the hands of the Lord, drank it in the midst of a bewildering uproar.

Yet as the demigods drank the nectar they had longed for, the Danava Rahu, disguised as a demigod, also began gulping it down. When the nectar reached the Danava's throat, the Sun and Moon, anxious to save the demigods, sounded the alarm. Even as Rahu imbibed the nectar, therefore, the blessed Lord, who wields the disc weapon, forcefully sliced off his decorated head with that whirling disc. The great head of the Danava, severed by the disc, fell to the ground like a granite mountain peak, shaking the earth's surface. Since that time, there has existed a persistent enmity between Rahu's head, which subsequently became a planet in the sky, and the Sun and Moon. Thus even to the present day, during lunar and solar eclipses, the planet Rahu is attempting to swallow his two longstanding rivals.

Lord Hari Himself then relinquished His unique feminine form and in His original spiritual body caused the Danavas to shake and tremble with His many awesome weapons. Near the ocean's shore a great battle, more frightening than any other, then ensued between the gods and the demons. Broad-bladed missles and razor-barbed darts fell in cascades by the thousands and found their marks. So also did razor-tipped javelins, swords, knives, and variegated tools of destruction. Slashed by the Lord's disc and wounded by swords, spears, and clubs, the Asuras fell to the ground, vomiting blood profusely. In that ferocious fight, trident--severed heads fell continuously on the battlefield like streams of molten gold. The stalwart demons, their limbs smeared with blood, lay crushed on the battlefield like mountain peaks oozing the dyes and pigments of minerals. Cries of distress arose everywhere as the foes cut each other to pieces with slashing weapons beneath a reddened sun. As they slayed one another on the battlefield with bronze and iron bludgeons, and at close quarters with fists, the uproar ascended to the heavens.

"Cut them! Pierce him! Rush them! Bring them down! Charge now!" were the terrifying sounds heard all around. Just as the battle reached its deadliest and most tumultuous intensity, Lords Nara and Narayana charged into the fray.

Lord Visnu, Narayana, seeing his blessed devotee Nara wield his celestial bow, at once invoked His own disc, which devastates the demons. No sooner did He remember His weapon, than there came from the sky a second sun, the great light of the disc, the razor-rimmed Sudarsana, tormenting the foe, awesome, invincible, and supreme. It entered the Lord's infallible hand, the flaming disc of terrifying effulgence, and with His arms, like the trunks of elephants, the Lord released it. It hovered eerily in the air, shining greatly, then suddenly rushed with heart-stopping speed into the thickest ranks of the enemy and shattered them to oblivion.

Sudarsana Cakra shone like death's own special blaze. Again and again it fiercely fell upon the foe and ripped to shreds by the thousands the demonic offspring of Diti and Danu. For in this battle it sprang from the hand of the Supreme Personality Himself.

All around it burned and licked like fire and forcibly cut down the demonic legions. Hurtling through sky and earth like a luminous spectre, the Cakra drank the blood of battle.

Still the demons would not relent, and with their awesome strength they took to the skies, wherein they shone like white clouds, and punished the gods by hurling mountains upon them. Like masses of clouds great forested mountains came hurtling down from the sky, breeding panic and terror as they collided tumultuously, spraying their severed peaks and ridges.

With huge mountains crashing down all over her surface, the earth with all her forests shook and trembled as both sides stormed each other unceasingly on the raging field of battle.

Then with mighty arrows tipped in the finest gold, Nara began to shatter the plummeting mountain peaks, darkening the skies with his deadly feathered shafts. A great fear spread among the demonic armies. And hearing the furious Sudarsana disc storming the sky, the battered leaders of the Asuras entered within the earth or dived deeply into the salty sea. The demigods, having won the coveted nectar and defeated their enemies, returned Mount Mandara with all honor to its own land. And the water-bearing clouds, thundering pleasantly in sky and space and all around, sailed away as they had come.

The demigods then carefully hid the nectar and celebrated their victory with the greatest of joy. Thereafter, Lord Indra and the other demigods entrusted the nectar to Lord Visnu, for it was won by His strength and He alone could protect it.

AP 18 (19,20,21,22)

Suta Gosvami said:

I have now fully explained to you how by churning, nectar was derived and an illustrious horse of unequaled prowess took birth. Observing the horse, Kadru said to Vinata, "My dear sister, tell me at once--- what color is the horse Uccaih-srava?"

Vinata said:

Why, the king of horses is certainly white! What do you think, my fair sister? Say what color you think he is, and we shall set a wager upon it.

Kadru replied:

I think that horse has a black tail, my sweetly smiling sister. Let's bet on it, O passionate woman, and then we shall see for ourselves. And the loser will become the menial servant of the winner.

Suta Goswami said:

Thus agreeing on the terms of the wager--- that the loser would be the servant of the winner--- they returned to their home remarking, "Tomorrow we shall go and see!"

However Kadru, thinking to engage her thousand sons in a corrupt scheme, issued this order to them: "Take the form of horsehairs, as shiny black as pigment, and quickly enter the horse's tail, so that I will not be forced to become a maidservant." But her sons, the race of snakes, did not obey her command, and therefore she cursed them: "When the wise and saintly King Janamejaya, born in the Pandu line, performs a snake sacrifice, the fire of that sacrifice will burn you all!"

So cruel was the curse uttered by Kadru, beyond even what fate had ordained, that Brahma himself took note of it. But the great grandsire and the hosts of demigods as well, desiring the best for all creatures, allowed her word to stand, for they observed how numerous indeed were the snakes. With their penetrating and virulent poison, the serpents were always inclined to bite others and possessed great strength. Seeing that snakes were so highly poisonous, and simultaneously wishing to help all creatures, Lord Brahma then bestowed upon the great soul Kasyapa the knowledge of counteracting snake poison.

AP 19

Suta Goswami said:

When night had turned to dawn and the rising sun had ushered in the new day, the two sisters Kadru and Vinata, having wagered their personal freedom, went in a very nervous and irritable mood to see the horse Uccaihsrava, who was standing not far away. As they came toward him, they beheld the vast sea teeming with sharks and timingilas (enormous acquatics that swallow whales), and thick with many thousands of beings of every form and shape. Crowded with giant turtles and fierce crocodiles, the sea is a dangerous place, yet it is a reservoir of jewels and a charming abode for the demigod Varuna and the Nagas. It is the master of the rivers, the dwelling place of the underground fire, and a prison for the demons. Frightening to all creatures is the foaming sea, the treasurehouse of the waters.

Celestial, glistening, the source of nectar for the gods, those sacred and wondrous waters of the sea are immeasureable and inconceivable. And yet the sea can be ghastly with its deep and swirling currents, which seem to shriek with the awesome, fierce cries of those who move within its waves. Thus the sea holds all beings in awe.

Whipped by the winds that assault its shore, the sea is aroused and shakes. As its handlike waves toss and turn, the sea appears everywhere to be dancing. Controlled by the waxing and waning moon, the sea waves rise up and cannot be approached. The greatest source of jewels, the sea gave birth to the Lord's own conch, Pancajanya.

When the Supreme Personality, Govinda, He of immeasurable prowess, assumed the form of a great boar and lifted the lost earth from within the sea, He left its waters shaking and turbid. Yet even after a hunred years of austerity the illumined sage Atri could not approach the lowest and final depths of the inexhaustible sea.

At the beginning of the millennium, when Lord Visnu of immeasurable prowess enters His transcendental mystic slumber, He lies down on the sea. That sacred ocean, the lord of the rivers, stretches immeasureably to uncharted shores and offers oblations of water to the fire that flames from the mouth of the Ocean-mare.

Kadru and Vinata gazed at the great foaming sea, to which thousands of great rivers came constantly flowing in a flood of rivaling currents. It was deep and crowded with sharks and whale-swallowing timingilas, roaring with the terrible cries of its water-going denizens. That vast reflector of the sky was unending, a boundless and awesome storehouse of all the world's waters. Having thus seen the ocean crowded with fish, sharks, and waves, deep and wide as the sky and glowing with the flames of its submarine fires, the sisters, Kadru and Vinata then quickly flew across it.

AP 20

Suta Goswami continued:

Moving swiftly, Kadru crossed over the sea with her sister Vinata and quickly alighted near the celestial horse. Seeing the many black hairs in the horse's tail, Kadru at once placed Vinata, whose face was downcast with grief, in a state of menial servitude. Poor Vinata was tormented by misery, for having lost the wager she was now bound to the life of a lowly servant.

Meanwhile, Vinata's second son, Garuda, whose time had come, broke his shell without his mother's help, and thus the mighty one took birth. Shining forth like a blazing mass of fire, that terrifying bird suddenly grew to an enormous size and took to the sky. Upon seeing him, demigods and all the creatures took shelter of the god of fire, who (in the person of Garuda) sat before them in his cosmic form. Prostrating themselves, they said, "Dear Fire, do not grow so fierce! Would you burn us all to ashes? Your great, blazing mass is coming close!"

Fire said:

My dear demigods, subduers of the demons, it is not as you think. What you are seeing is the powerful Garuda, who is equal to me in fiery strength.

Suta Goswami said:

Thus addressed by Fire, the demigods and sages went up to Garuda and praised him with eloquent words.

"You are an exalted sage, the lord of birds! As powerful and fiery as the sun, you are our greatest means of deliverance.

"You possess waves of power, yet you are fair and just and never mean or weak. Because your strength is irresistible, you are always successful. The world has heard all about your fiery power, for your past and future glory is not at all meager.

"How extraordinary you are, illuminating all the world and its creatures by your effulgent rays as if you were the sun. Indeed, you surpass the radiant sun. You are as strong as death, surpassing all that is fixed and fleeting in this world. As the sun when angered can scorch all creatures, so can you burn all beings, like the sacred fire consuming the offering of butter. Your ascent is fearful, like the fire of annihilation, and you can stop the cycle of cosmic ages.

"O lord of birds, we have come for shelter to you, who are so greatly powerful and can dispel darkness, who touch the clouds with his great strength. We come before you, O courageous, sky-going Garuda, who soar both near and far, who are magnanimous and unconquerable."

Thus praised by the demigods and hosts of sages, the fair-winged Garuda withdrew his frightening potency within himself.

AP 21

Suta Goswami continued:

Then Garuda, the bird of great stamina and strength, who traveled wherever he desired, crossed to the far side of the great ocean and approached his mother. Having lost her wager and become a menial servant, Vinata was tormented with grief.

Then once upon a time, Kadru called for Vinata, who was bowed in servitude, and said to her in the presence of her son, "My dear sister, the Nagas live on a most gorgeous and secluded island called Ramaniyaka, which lies on an ocean bay. O Vinata, take me there!"

Vinata then carried her sister Kadru, who was mother of the snakes; and Garuda, at his mother's request, carried all the snakes. The flying son of Vinata began to fly up towards the fiery sun, and the serpents, overwhelmed by the sun's burning rays, all fainted. Seeing her children in a dangerous condition, Kadru at once prayed to Lord Indra, "My obeisances to you, O lord of the demigods! My obeisances to you, O destroyer of armies! I bow to you, the slayer of Namuci, O thousand-eyed one, husband of Saci. Let your waters swell and carry to safety the serpents who are now tormented by the fiery sun. You alone can save us from all danger, O best of the immortals!

"You devastate the cities of your foes, and you possess the power to release abundant waters. You alone are the cloud, the wind, and the flash of lightning in the sky. You toss and scatter the hosts of clouds, for the clouds are resting on you.

"You are the awesome thunderbolt, which you wield as your matchless weapon. You are the roaring rain cloud, the creator and destroyer of planets, he whom no one else can conquer. You are the light of all creatures, for you control the sun and fire. You are the great and wonderful being! You are the king and the best of immortals! You represent Lord Visnu in this world, you of a thousand eyes, and you are the god unto whom I take shelter.

"O divine one, you are everything to us, the owner of nectar and lord of the moon, he who is adored and worshiped by the mightiest. Thus you are the lunar day, the hour, the bright and dark fortnight of the lunar month, the instant, and the twinkling of an eye. You are the very smallest measurements of time, as well as the years, seasons, months, days and nights.

"You are the excellent and abundant earth with its forests and hills. You are the sun-filled sky, dispelling darkness, and you are the great sea, that host of fish, with its huge waves, its sharks, and its whales and timingalas, who are swallowers of whales.

"Great is your fame! Honored by the wise and praised by illustrious sages, you joyfully drink the sacrificial Soma and the oblations duly offered you for the world's benefit. For their good the learned brahmanas ever worship you, for with your matchless flood of might you are recommended in the Vedic hymns. Because of you the twice-born men, sworn to holy sacrifice, study all the Vedas and their supplements."

AP 22

Suta Goswami said:

Thus praised by Kadru, Lord Indra, who is carried by bay horses, then covered the entire sky with masses of blue clouds ablaze with lightning; and they poured down huge quantities of water and thundered constantly in the sky as if roaring at one another. Rain fell as never before, and the sky filled up with the most extraordinary clouds which roared with the greatest of sounds. Space itself seemed to be dancing in the frightening waves of water and wind, as the heavens thundered with the sound of the clouds.

As Indra poured down rain, the snakes became jubilant, for the very earth was being filled on all sides with water.

AP 23 (24)

Suta Goswami said:

Carried by Garuda, the serpents quickly reached a land surrounded by ocean water and vibrant with the songs of birds. Lush with variegated forests of fruit-and flower-bearing trees, that land was well developed with charming houses and colorfully adorned with lotus-filled lakes of the most refreshing water. Celestial scents wafted about the land, carried on bracing breezes of the cleanest air. Stirred by the wind, fragrant sandalwood trees painted the sky with showers of blossoms, and as the sweet flowers were strewn about in the air they fell like rain upon all the snakes who had amassed there.

That sacred island was dear to the Gandharvas, who entertain the gods with their music and songs, and also to the Apsaras, who are courtesans to the gods. Alive with the songs of many birds, the charming land gladdened the heart and gave great joy to the sons of Kadru.

Entering the lovely woods, the serpents sported with great pleasure and then said to the mighty Garuda, the best of birds, "Soaring here and there, sky-goer, you see many charming places. Therefore take us to yet another island that is most charming and full of fresh water."

Garuda thought over the matter and then said to his mother, Vinata, "For what reason, mother, must I do what the serpents order me?"

Vinata replied, "O best of birds, I made a wager with my sister, but her serpent sons cheated me with their trickery and I became the maidservant to that uncivilized woman."

Suta Goswami said:

After his mother explained the reason for their joint servitude, Garuda, saddened by her unhappiness, spoke these words to the serpents: "What must I obtain or learn, what feat must I perform, to free myself from my bondage to you? All of you, speak the truth, serpents!"

Hearing these words the serpents said, "Bring nectar by your own strength, O sky-goer, and you shall then be free of our service."

AP 24

Suta Goswami said:

Thus addressed by the serpents, Garuda said to his mother, "I am going to garner nectar, and thus I want to know what foods are proper for me to eat."

Vinata replied:

On a secluded ocean shore is the chief residence of the Nisadas, who are wild and degraded tribes that live by harassing and plundering innocent people. There you will find many thousands of them. You may eat them for your food and then bring back the nectar. But you are never to harm a brahmana! Don't ever, in any circumstance, even consider such an act! A brahmana is never to be killed by any creature, for brahmanas are as pure as fire and just as deadly. Indeed, a brahmana when angered is like the sun or poison or a deadly weapon. When food is served, a brahmana eats before all other creatures. He is the most important member of society, for he is the father and spiritual guide to the people.

Garuda questioned further:

Please tell me, mother, that I may understand clearly, by what auspicious signs do I recognize a brahmana?

Vinata said:

If you swallow someone and he tears at your throat like a barbed hook and burns like a red--hot charcoal, then, my son, you should understand him to be an exalted brahmana.

Suta Goswami said:

Although she knew of her son's matchless strength, Vinata, out of affection, blessed him with these words: "Let the wind guard your wings! Let the moon guard your back, dear son! Let fire guard your head! Let the sun guard you all around! My child, I am ever devoted to your peace and well-being. Travel a safe path, dear son, so that you may be successful in your endeavor!"

Upon hearing his mother's words, the powerful Garuda lifted his wings and flew up into the sky. He headed hungrily for the wicked Nisadas, coming upon them like the great force of time, which ends all worldly things. Gathering together all the Nisadas, Garuda stirred great clouds of dust up into the sky and dried up the water in the ocean bay, shaking the nearby hills. The king of birds greatly expanded his face and blocked all escape by the Nisadas, those voracious fish-eaters, who quickly fled the mouth of that great snake-eating bird. But so wide was his mouth that the Nisadas, confused by the dust and wind, rushed into it by the thousands, like birds in a gale-shaken forest flying desperately into the sky. The mighty and ever--moving bird, the tormentor of his foes and ruler of the sky, then hungrily closed his mouth and destroyed the Nisadas.

AP 25

Suta Goswami continued:

A brahmana and his wife had also entered Garuda's mouth and the saintly one began to burn Garuda's throat like a flaming coal. So space-traveling Garuda said to the brahmana, "O best of brahmanas, please come out quickly! I am opening my mouth for you. I can never kill a brahmana, even if he has fallen from his vows and is engaged in sin."

As Garuda urged him in this way, the brahmana replied, "My wife is a Nisada woman, but she must be allowed to come out with me."

Garuda answered:

Take your Nisada lady with you and come out as fast as you can! Quickly, save yourself lest the fire of my belly digest you!

Suta Goswami said:

The learned brahmana and his Nisada wife promptly came out, and after gratefully blessing Garuda with ever-increasing fortune, he departed for his chosen land. When the brahmana and his wife were out of his mouth, that lord of birds streched his wings and flew into the sky at the speed of mind.

Garuda next encountered his father, who asked him if he was faring well, whereupon he explained to his father the following:

"The serpents have sent me to fetch nectar and I am determined to do it in order to free my mother from her bondage. Indeed, I shall fetch the nectar this very day. Mother instructed me to eat the Nisadas, but after eating thousands of them I still am not satisfied. Therefore, my lord, please point out another type of food I may eat, so that I shall have sufficient strength to bring the nectar."

Kasyapa replied:

There once lived an exalted sage named Vibhavasu, who was extremely ill-tempered, and his younger brother Supratika, who was a great ascetic. Supratika did not like that the two brothers held their wealth in common, and he constantly recommended dividing it, until Vibhavasu said to his brother Supratika, "There are many who out of foolishness ever wish to divide their property, but once wealth is divided people become enchanted by their riches and fail to respect one another. When wealth is divided, each man cares only for his own riches, and people thus become separated by holding separate wealth. Then foes in the guise of friends, understanding the situation, begin to create conflict and divide the community against itself.

"Realizing that people are now divided, still others take advantage and prey upon the community. Thus a divided people soon come to utter ruination.

"Therefore, dear brother, the wise do not encourage the division of wealth among those who strictly follow their holy teachers and scriptures and who sincerely wish each other well. Yet still you would have personal wealth, even at the cost of dividing our family! You are so stubborn, Supratika, that you cannot be restrained. I therefore curse you to become an elephant."

Thus cursed, Supratika said to his brother Vibhavasu, "And you shall become a sea-going tortoise!"

Thus the two brothers Supratika and Vibhavasu, their minds bewildered by greed, cursed one another and were forced to become an elephant and tortoise. Their wicked anger caused them to take birth as animals, and proud of their new size and strength they continued their mutual enmity. Here in this very lake, in fact, those two huge--bodied foes go on continuously with their old feud. One of them is that large and handsome elephant now coming towards us. As soon as he gives his mighty roar, the gigantic tortoise lying within the water rises up and causes the entire lake to tremble. Seeing him thus, the powerful elephant curls his trunk, and with all the combined force and fury of his tusks, trunk, tail, and feet he falls upon the tortoise. As the elephant thrashes about in the lake, which is filled with many fish, the mighty tortoise raises his head and charges to do battle with the elephant.

The elephant is about fourty-eight miles high and twice as long, and the tortoise is about twenty-four miles high and eighty miles in circumference. These two have gone completely mad from their constant fighting, each struggling to conquer the other. You should immediately consume them both and free them from this useless plight, and then carry out your own mission.

Suta Goswami said:

Thus hearing his father's words, that space-roaming bird of terrifying strength clamped down on the elephant with one claw and the tortoise with the other, and holding them fast rose up high into the sky. Flying to the sacred land of Alamba, he started to alight on its celestial trees, but the strong winds from his wings made those very trees tremble, and in fear they cried out to him, "Please don't break us!"

Seeing the branches shake on those trees, whose roots and shoots could fulfill all desires, Garuda the sky-goer then approached some gigantic trees of most handsome colors and shapes, trees with jeweled branches that bore gold and silver fruits. Among those shining trees that stood surrounded by the waters of the sea, one very grand and elderly banyan tree said to Garuda, the best of birds, who flew towards him at the speed of the mind, "See here my great branch that stretches for eight hunred miles. You should sit on that branch and then eat the elephant and the tortoise."

But as the powerful leader of birds alighted upon the tree, which hosted thousands of birds on its mountainous form, even that great tree began to tremble, and its mighty branch, covered with so many leaves, broke under Garuda's extraordinary weight.


Suta Goswami said:

As soon as Garuda touched that very strong branch of the tree with his two feet, it snapped, but Garuda held on to it, and as he smilingly looked upon that huge broken branch he observed the celestial Valakhilyas hanging from it face-down. Fearful of harming them, that ruler of birds then swooped down and grabbed the branch in his mouth. Anxious to set them down safely, Garuda flew about the skies as gently as possible, but whenever he tried to land in that mountainous region he would break the mountains to pieces. Thus out of compassion for the Valakhilyas, Garuda flew to many lands, still holding the elephant and the tortoise, but he found no place to alight.

Garuda finally approached the best of mountains, the unperishing peak known as Gandha-madana. There he saw his father, Kasyapa, engaged in austerities. Kasyapa saw his sky-going son, who shone with divine beauty; who was filled with fiery and heroic strength, moving as swiftly as the mind and with the power of the wind; who appeared like a great mountain peak, rearing his head like the staff of Brahma; who was inconceivable, unapproachable, and frightening to all creatures; who wielded mystic potency in his person, as relentless as blazing fire; who could not be threatened or conquered by the gods or demons; who was a cleaver of mountain peaks; who could dry up the rivers and make the worlds tremble by his glance, which was as frightening as the face of death.

Witnessing the arrival of his son, and understanding his intentions, the exalted Kasyapa spoke these words: "Son, don't do anything rash, lest you suddenly find yourself in trouble. Don't enrage the Valakhilyas, who live by absorbing light, lest they burn you."

Kasyapa, for his son's sake, appeased the Valakhilyas, who achieved perfection through austerity, pointing out to them the cause of his son's behavior.

"O ascetics, whose wealth is austerity, Garuda's actions are ultimately meant for the good of all creatures. So won't you please allow him to carry out his mission?"

At these words of glorious Kasyapa, the sages gave up the branch and departed together for the pure Himalayan range in search of austerities. When they had gone, the son of Vinata, his full mouth stretched by the branch, said to his father, Kasyapa, "My lord, where can I leave this branch? Tell me, my lord, of a land where there are no brahmanas."

Thereupon, Kasyapa told his son of an uninhabitated mountain, whose valleys and caves are completely blocked off by snow, where other livings beings cannot go, even in their minds. Garuda first entered that great mountainous region with his mind and then speedily flew there with the branch, elephant, and tortoise. Even a long, thin strap cut from a hunred hides could not bind round the mighty branch Garuda carried as he flew.

In a short time, Garuda, the best of those who fly, had come a distance of 800,000 miles. As if in a single moment, he had reached the mountain described by his father, and from the sky he released the great branch and it fell with a loud sound.

Struck by the winds from Garuda's wings, that king of mountains shook; its trees came tumbling down, releasing showers of flowers. Lofty mountain peaks, rich with jewels, gold, and minerals, crumbled in all directions, making the great mountain sparkle. Many trees whose branches were bedecked with golden flowers were struck by the falling branch and shook and flashed like rainclouds flashing with lightning. Resplendent as gold, brilliantly mixed with the minerals of the mountain, those trees shone forth as if stained with the reddish rays of the rising sun.

Then standing on that mountain peak, the best of sky-goers, Garuda, ate both the elephant and the tortoise, and flew up from the very top of the mountain at the speed of the mind. At that moment, ill omens appeared, signaling danger for the demigods. Indra's cherished thunderbolt weapon was disturbed and flashed with pain. Meteors, smoking and flaming, plummeted from the skies in broad daylight. All the personal weapons of the Vasus, Rudras, Adityas, Sadhyas, Maruts, and all other gods began to attack one another. This had never happened before, even in the great wars between the gods and the demons. Cyclonic winds whipped the world, and meteors fell everywhere.

The cloudless sky roared menacingly, and Indra, god of gods, could only rain down blood. The garlands of the gods withered, and their fiery power was extinguished. Ill-boding angry clouds thickly showered blood, and swirling dust damaged the upraised crowns of the heavenly rulers.

Even Lord Indra, who performed a hunred great sacrifices, was disturbed and frightened upon seeing these dangerous omens, and along with the other gods he went and spoke to the heavenly priest, Brhaspati.

"My lord," he said, "why have these great and ghastly omens suddenly arisen. I do not see an emeny who could overcome us in battle."

Brhaspati said:

O best of the gods, it is by your fault and carelessness--you who performed one hunred sacrifices---and by the austerities of the Valakhilyas, that a wonderful being has taken birth. He is the son of Kasyapa Muni and Vinata, a mighty sky-going creature who can take any shape at will, and who has now come to take away the heavenly Soma juice. That winged being is the best of the strong, and he is capable of stealing the Soma juice. Indeed, I think anything is possible for him. He can accomplish the impossible.

Suta Goswami said:

Hearing these words, Lord Indra then declared to the guardians of the celestial nectar, "A bold and powerful bird is trying to steal the Soma! I'm clearly warning you so that he doesn't take it by force. Brhaspati has told me that our foe possesses incomparable strength."

Hearing this command, the demigods were amazed, and in a determined effort they stood at their posts, surrounding the prized nectar. Indra himself stood with them, wielding his thunderbolt. Wearing invaluable golden armor variously embellished with jewels, the skillful gods raised up by the thousands their finely-honed razor-edged weapons. They siezed all of their glaring, flaming weapons which sizzled and smoked with power. They raised whirling discs, and bludgeons, tridents, battle axes, and all manner of burning spears, and flawless swords, along with fighting clubs of awesome look. Every weapon was handsomely fitted to its owner's body.

Holding all these glowing weapons, the shining hosts of gods, adorned with celestial jewels, stood fearlessly with pure, brave hearts. Fixed in their resolve to guard the nectar, unique in their strength, courage, and power, those celestial beings, who had shattered the cities of the godless, stood with bodies shining like kindled fire.

Thus the demigods made their stand on that grand battlefield that spread beyond the horizon, crowding it with their hundreds and thousands of devastating clubs, so that it shone brightly in the pleasant rays of the sun.

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Saunaka said:

O son of Romaharsana, what was Indra's fault, and how was he so careless that by the austerities of the Valakhilyas, Garuda, king of birds, took birth as the son of sage Kasyapa? How did Garuda become so invincible that no living being can slay him? How does that great airborne creature take any shape he wills? How does his power grow at his mere wish? If the answers to these questions are to be found in the ancient Puranic histories, I would like to hear them.

Suta Goswami said:

The topic on which you question me is indeed found in the Puranas. Please attend, O brahmana, as I summarize the entire story.

Once the progenitor Kasyapaup6 \chftn rootnote rs20 rs18up6 \chftn Kasyapa is the father of Indra and other demigods., desiring a son, was engaged in offering a sacrifice, and the sages, demigods, and Gandharvas were assisting him. Kasyapa employed Lord Indra in bringing wood for the sacred fire, and the sages known as the Valakhilyas were also engaged, as were other demigods.

The powerful Indra lifted a load befitting his might and thus without difficulty brought what appeared to be a mountain of firewood. He then saw on the road a group of sages, each of whom was as small as the curved joint at the base of a thumb. Together they were carrying one small leaf and stem, but because of having fasted, the tiny ascetics had almost sunk into their own limbs, and thus weakened, they struggled in the water that filled a cow's hoofprint.

Intoxicated with his own power and filled with pride, the mighty Indra laughed at them and then insulted them by quickly stepping over their heads. A terrible anger arose within the sages, and at once they gave full expression to their fury, undertaking a mighty effort that would bring fear to proud Indra. The accomplished ascetics chanted with precision a variety of mantras, offering them into the sacrificial fire. Hear from me what those learned ones wished to achieve:

"Let there be another Indra," vowed the sages with determination, "a new ruler for all the gods, endowed with all the strength he desires, one who can go where he wishes, bringing fear to the celestial king. Swift as the mind, bearing one hunred times the valor and strength of Indra, may that dreaded being arise today by the fruit of our austerity!"

When he learned of this solemn oath, the king of the gods, performer of a hunred sacrifices, was much disturbed and went at once to Kasyapa, of rigid vows. After hearing from the celestial king, the progenitor Kasyapa approached the Valakhilyas forthwith and asked them if their sacrifice was succeeding.

The honest Valakhilyas replied to him, "Succeed it must!"

The progenitor Kasyapa, hoping to pacify them, said, "It is by the order of Brahma that this current Indra occupies his post. Yet all of you ascetics are endeavoring to create another Indra. O pious ones, you should not render false the word of Brahma; yet, your own determined plan should likewise not prove false. Let there thus arise among the race of birds a great being of exceeding strength and glory, an Indra of the winged creatures, and let there be mercy toward the king of the gods, who begs for it."

Thus requested by Kasyapa, the Valakhilyas, rich with austerities, honored that best of sages, and said to him: "O progenitor, our endeavor to produce another Indra was also meant to bring you a son. Therefore, please take command of this powerful sacrifice and do as you think proper."

At that very time, Daksa's lovely daughter Vinata, of high reputation and kindly nature, longed to have a son and she performed austerities with great devotion and observed the fast called Pumsavana (in which a wife who seeks progeny takes a vow to subsist temporarily on whole milk alone). She then cleansed her body and in a purified state approached her husband.

Kasyapa told her, "O goddess, you shall achieve your desire, for you will be the mother of two heroic sons who will rule the three worlds. It is by the austerities of the Valakhilyas as well as my own desire that you will have two exalted sons who will be honored by all people."

The great Kasyapa, son of Marici, then spoke to her again: "Bear these twin embryos with great care, for they are meant for glory. One of your sons shall make himself chief (Indra) of all winged creatures. As he soars through the heavens, growing in power by his very will, your heroic son will be revered by all the world."

The progenitor Kasyapa then said to Lord Indra, "These two birds shall assist you as your brothers. No wrong will come to you by contact with them. O destroyer of hostile cities, let your worries be dispelled; you alone shall be Indra. But never again can you thus insult sages learned in the Absolute, or deride them out of pride, for when they are angered their wrath is fierce and their words burn like poison."

Hearing these words, Indra was relieved of his anxiety and returned to his celestial home, and Vinata, her wish fulfilled, became joyous and gave birth to two sons, Aruna and Garuda. Of the two, Aruna was crippled and became the dawn that heralds the sun. Garuda, however, was annointed as the chief ruler, the Indra himself, of all winged creatures. O child of the Bhrgu race, hear now of his most extraordinary deeds.

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Thereafter, O best of the twice-born, in the midst of all this excitement, the king of birds, Garuda, came swiftly upon the demigods. As the demigods spied his approach and noted his surpassing strength, they became utterly shaken and began to clasp one another and take hold of all their weapons. Among them stood Visvakarma, mighty beyond imagining and as brilliant as lightning or fire, who with his most unusual strength protected the heavenly nectar. He fought a matchless battle against that lord of birds, but after fighting for a short time he was laid low, wounded by the wings, beak, and talons of Garuda.

By the winds from his wings the great bird stirred up huge dust clouds that darkened the worlds and covered the gods. Covered with dust, blinded and bewildered, the demigods could not see the attacking bird, and in that tumult, the guardians of the nectar were separated from one another. Thus did Garuda throw the very heavens into disorder, and he tore at the gods with his wings, beak, and talons.

Then Lord Indra, with his thousands of eyes, quickly commanded the Wind, "Dispel this shower of dust, O Maruta! Be that your task!"

The mighty wind at once drove away the dust, and the darkness now removed, the gods pressed in hard upon Garuda. Yet even as the legions of gods were attacking the great bird, he let loose a powerful roar, like the thundering of clouds, and struck fear into the hearts of all creatures. The king of birds, slayer of great foes, flew high into the sky and hovered above the gods, bristling with powerful might. Clad in armor, the celestial denizens proceded to shower every variety of weapon upon him, attacking Garuda on all sides with spears, iron bludgeons, tridents, clubs, and flaming, razor-sharp discs that sped like the sun. But the king of birds was not to be shaken, and he fought back with wild vengeance. The fierce and fiery son of Vinata roared in the sky and hurled the gods all around with the power of his wings and breast.

Harassed and thrown here and there by Garuda, the gods took to flight, wounded by his nails and beak, spilling their blood profusely. Thus routed by the Indra of birds, the Sadhyas and Gandharvas fled to the East, and the Vasus and Rudras to the South. The Adityas ran to the West and the Asvinis to the North, and as they all ran they repeatedly gazed back upon the great and powerful being with whom they were locked in battle.

The sky-ranging Garuda then did full battle with the brave Asva-kranda, with the winged Renuka, with the heroic Sura, then with Tapana, Uluka, and Svasana, with the winged Nimesa; and then with Praruja and Praliha. Vainateyaup6 \chftn rootnote rs20 up6 \chftn Garuda, the son of Vinata ripped apart his foes with his wings, talons, and pointed beak, raging like the mighty Siva at the moment when the millenium comes to an end and everything is annihilated. Great in potency and in spirit, the celestial guards were nonetheless severely wounded by their mighty foe and poured out their blood like bursting clouds.

The best of all who fly, having brought these great warriors to the ends of their lives, stepped over them to pursue the nectar, but he then saw fire all around, with a fearful wind whipping the sharp, cutting blaze. The great fire covered the skies and appeared to burn the very heavens with its flames.

The great soul Garuda instantly made for himself ninety times ninety mouths and with these mouths very swiftly drank up many rivers and then speedily moved upon the fire. Propelled by powerful wings, this tormentor of foes extinguished the blazing conflagration with the river waters and then reduced his body to an extremely small size. For with the fire now extinguished, Garuda wished to enter the storehouse of the celestial nectar.

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Suta Goswami said:

As river waters push their way into the sea, so Garuda, whose golden body glowed with the radiance of the sun and moon, forcibly entered the well-guarded sanctuary where the nectar was housed. Therein he beheld an ever-whirling iron wheel, rimmed all around with razor-sharp blades. Fiery as the sun, and unspeakably dangerous, the horrible device had been well built by the gods to slice to pieces any who would steal the nectar.

But the great bird saw a way through the wheel, and shrinking his body he spun in time with the deadly wheel and suddenly dashed through its spokes. Yet behind the wheel lurked two extraordinary serpents of exceeding strength, shining like a blazing fire, with fiery faces, fiery eyes, and tongues like bolts of lightning. Indeed, they could spew mortal poison with their very eyes. Always staring furiously with ranging, unblinking eyes, they were so deadly that if even one of them merely beheld an intruder, the luckless person would be instantly burned to ashes.

Garuda gazed upon the two guardians of nectar and before they could see him, covered their eyes with dust. Unseen, he rushed hard upon the snakes, driving and battering them from all sides. The son of Vinata trampled them under his talons and immediately tore them to pieces then rushed in where the nectar lay. The mighty and heroic son of Vinata carefully lifted the nectar and then, wrecking the razor-edged wheel, he took to the sky in great haste. Without drinking a drop of nectar, the heroic bird carried it quickly away and flew untiringly through the heavens, withholding the sunlight with his great wings.

As he cruised through the skies, Garuda suddenly came upon the imperishable Lord Visnu, who was pleased with him for his unique accomplishment and selfless act. [Garuda did not desire the nectar for hmself.] The Lord thus said to the great bird, "I shall give you whatever you desire"

The high-flying bird chose his benediction and said, "May I ever remain above you."

[Garuda did not fully understand the identity of Lord Visnu, and therefore he asked to stay above the Lord, though he did appreciate the Lord's immense power,] and thus he again spoke to Lord Narayana these words: "May I be ageless and immortal even without taking the nectar."

These boons were granted, and after accepting them Garuda addressed Lord Visnu: "I now offer a benediction to You. Even though you are the Lord, please select a boon."

Lord Krsna selected the mighty Garuda himself as His personal carrier. The Lord then placed the image of Garuda upon His chariot flag, so that Garuda could indeed remain above Him. The Lord thus fulfilled His promise.

Garuda thereafter continued on his course, and Lord Indra, considering him an enemy of the gods for having forcibly stolen the celestial nectar, struck him with a devastating thunderbolt. Soundly struck by the thunderbolt of Indra, Garuda, the best of airborne beings, shouted out fiercely and then smiled and addressed Lord Indra in a gentle tone.

"O Indra, since your thunderbolt was produced from the bones of a great sageup6 \chftn rootnote rs20 rs18up6 \chftn \plain \plain r228 Refer to Srimad Bhagavatam 6th canto. (sage Dadichi), I shall pay homage to that sage, to the thunderbolt, and to you. Thus I cast off a single feather, the limits of which you shall not be able to perceive. Nor can I ever feel pain from the blows of your thunderbolt."

And all creatures declared, "Let this bird be known as Suparna, he of beautiful feathers!" for they were amazed to behold the most handsome feather cast off by Garuda.

Beholding such a wonder, even the mighty Indra, who has thousands of eyes, thought to himself, "This bird is a magnificent being!" and said to Garuda, "I wish to comprehend the limits of your great and unparalleled strength, O best of birds, and I desire your eternal friendship."

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Sri Garuda said:

My dear Lord Indra, let there be friendship between us as you desire. Regarding the extent of my power, know that my prowess is great and irresistible. Yet the saintly do not approve of the desire to glorify one's own strenth and to advertise one's own good qualities. I shall reply to your question only because I have accepted you as my friend; otherwise I would never speak my own praises without reason. I will simply say that all this world, with its mountains, forests, and seas, and including you, Indra--- everything could hang from but a single quill of one of my feathers. Or you may understand my great strength in this way: if all the worlds were joined together, along with their moving and unmoving beings, I could carry them all without feeling any fatigue.

Suta Goswami said:

O Saunaka, wearing his royal helmet, Indra, the lord of the gods, dedicated to the welfare of all creatures and himself the most opulent among of all beautiful and illustrious personalities, then addressed the heroic Garuda, who had thus spoken to him.

"May we always be the best of friends. Now, since you have no actual need of this nectar, it should be given to me, for those to whom you would deliver it would do us harm."

Garuda said:

I brought the nectar for good reason, but I shall not give it to anyone to drink. O thousand-eyed one, when I put the nectar down, you should immediately come and steal it away."

Indra said:

I am satisfied by these words you have spoken, O Garuda. Please take from me whatever boon you desire."

Suta Goswami said:

Thus addressed, Garuda began to remember the sons of Kadru, and he recalled especially the trickery by which they had turned his innocent mother into a slave. And so he replied, "Although I am the lord of all, yet I shall beg from you this boon, that the mighty serpents become my food!"

"So be it!" said Indra, destroyer of the Danavas, and he thus began to follow Garuda, repeatedly telling him, "When you put down the nectar I shall take it."

Garuda, celebrated as Suparna, quickly reached the place where his mother awaited him and with great jubilation said to all the serpents, "I have brought this nectar, and I shall place it for you on a covering of Kusa- grass. O serpents, after you have bathed and performed all the auspicious rituals, you may then drink it.

"From today on my mother shall be free of servitude, for I have fulfilled the promise you asked of me."

"So be it!" replied the serpents to Garuda, and as they left to take their baths Lord Indra at once grabbed the nectar and returned with it to his celestial kingdom.

In the meantime, the serpents took their bath and chanted the necessary sacred hymns. Completing all the auspicious rites, they eagerly returned to that spot to claim the nectar. Realizing that the entire stock of nectar had been stolen by counter-deception, they at once licked the Darbha grass where the nectar had stood. By that act, the tongues of snakes were thenceforth forked, and by the touch of celestial nectar Darbha grass became pure and sacred.

The fair-winged Suparna experienced supreme happiness and celebrated with his mother in that sublime forest. Offered the highest worship by all creatures of the sky, authorized to feed on snakes, and enjoying most noble fame, Garuda brought joy back to the life of his mother, Vinata.

The glories of the great soul Garuda are so great that any person who regularly hears this story of the lord of the birds, recited in an assembly of spiritually educated people, undoubtedly attains to the heavenly abode, having earned the merit and fruit of true piety.

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Sri Saunaka said:

O son of Romaharsana, you have explained why the serpents were cursed by their mother and why Vinata was cursed by her son. You also related how the sage Kasyapa gave a boon to his two wives, Kadru and Vinata, and you revealed the names of the two great birds who took birth as the sons of Vinata. But you have not given us the names of the serpents, O Suta, and we are eager to hear at least the names of the most important amoung them.

Sri Suta Goswami said:

O learned ascetic, I have not told you the names of all the serpents because they are so numerous. But listen now as I name the most important of them.

The first born is Sesa, and after him Vasuki, Airavata, and Taksaka. Then come Karkotaka and Dhananjaya. Then there are Kaliya, Mani-naga, and Apurana; Pinjaraka, Elapatra, and Vamana; Nila, Anila, Kalmasa, Sabala, Aryaka, Adika, and Sala-potaka; Sumano-mukha, Dadhi-mukha, and Vimala-pindaka; then Apta, Kotanaka, Sanka, Vali-sikha, Nisthyunaka, Hema-guha, Nahusa, and Pingala; Bahya-karna, Hasti-pada, Mudgara-pindaka, Kambala, and Asvatara; and then Kaliyaka, Vrtta, Samvartaka, and the two snakes known as Padma; Sankha-naka and Spandaka, Ksemaka, Pindaraka, Kara-vira, Puspa-damstra, Elaka, Bilva-panduka, Musakada, Sankha-siras, Purna-damstra; and Haridraka, Aparajita, Jyotika, and Sri-vaha; Kauravya and Dhrta-rastra; Puskara and Salyaka; Virajas, Subahu, and the powerful Sali-pinda; Hasti-bhadra, Pitharaka, Kumuda, Kumudaksa, Tittiri, and Halika; then Karkara and Akarkara; Mukhara, Kona-vasana, Kunjara, Kurara, Prabha-kara, and Kundodara and Mahodara.

O best of the twice-born, the most prominent snakes have now been described. The names of the other serpents will not be announced here because they are so numerous. Their children and the descendants of their children are innumerable, and for this reason I shall not recount them, O most excellent among the twice-born. Indeed, my dear ascetic, it is not possible to count the many thousands, the millions, indeed the tens of millions of serpents in this world.

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Sri Saunaka said:

My dear Suta, from birth the serpents were powerful and difficult to subdue. Upon realizing the gravity of their mother's curse, what did they proceed to do?

Sri Suta Goswami said:

Among those serpents was the widely renowned Lord Sesa, an incarnation of Godhead, who immediately left His mother Kadru and took to very severe austerities. So strict were His disciplinary vows that He ate nothing but air.

Lord Sesa first went to the Gandha-madana mountain and there practiced austerities, journeying thence to the holy places known as Badari and Gokarna. Finally, on the slopes of the Himalayas, He came to the lotus forest known as Puskararanya. In all these holy regions and sanctuaries He devoted himself exclusively to the spiritual path, keeping His senses constantly under control.

Once as Lord Sesa was practicing his awesome austerities, with His flesh, skin, and muscle now emaciated, and covered with long, matted locks and torn clothing, the universal Grandfather, Lord Brahma, happened to spot Him. Even as He performed his penances, devoted to the highest truth, the Grandfather said to Him, "O Sesa, what is this You are doing? You should rather do something that will benefit all creatures. O sinless one, tell me, if you like, what is in your heart that is troubling you for so long, for by the fire of your fierce austerity, you are troubling the creatures of this world."

Sesa replied:

My lord, all My brothers, the serpents, are so dull-minded! Grant that I shall never again have to live with them, for I find them intolerable. They are forever envious of one another, as if enemies. Therefore I perform my austerities in seclusion, that I shall not have to see them.

O Grandfather, they can never accept Vinata and her son, even though Garuda is our own brother. They utterly despise Garuda, that great soul endowed with such mighty strength by the blessing of his father, Kasyapa. Naturally the powerful Garuda has no affection for them. Therefore, by dedicating Myself completely to austerity I shall be free of this body (from such bad association)--- but how shall I avoid contact with serpents in My future lives?

Lord Brahma said:

My dear Sesa, I know all about the conduct of Your brothers, and I also know their great fear because of their mother's offensive curse. Yet You need not grieve for Your brothers, for in the past a solution to this problem was arranged.

My dear Sesa, take a boon from me--- that which You desire most--- for I am so pleased with You that I wish to bestow upon You a benediction this very day. O best of the serpents, Your keen intelligence is blessed to be always absorbed in virtue, and therefore I further bless You that Your unwavering mind will be increasingly fixed on such virtue.

Lord Sesa said:

O Grandfather, this is the blessings I desire today, that My thoughts may ever take pleasure in goodness, tranquility, and austerity.

Lord Brahma said:

O Sesa, pleased by Your discipline and serenity, I now request You to carry out my command, which is meant for the welfare of all creatures. Sesa, You must bear this earth, with all its mountains, forests, seas, mineral reservoirs, and cities. Arise! Hold the world in place so that life be not disturbed!

Lord Sesa said:

As the boon-granting god, lord of creatures, master of the earth and universe has spoken, so shall I act. I shall indeed sustain the earth and keep it unwavering. O lord of all creatures, you may deliver the world upon My head.

Lord Brahma said:

O very best of serpents, Go now beneath the earth, for she herself will grant You passage. Sesa, by thus sustaining the world You will give me great happiness.

Sri Suta Goswami said:

And so in obedience to Brahma's command, the earth opened wide, giving passage to Lord Sesa, the first-born and greatest of all serpents. There He stands, holding the earth and all its circling seas upon His head.

Lord Brahma said:

O finest of serpents, O Lord of virtue, You alone are the celebrated Sesa. You alone, with your limitless coils, take the entire burden of this world, and thus sustain it, as do I myself or Indra, the slayer of Bala.

Sri Suta Goswami said:

The great snake Ananta Sesa thus resides beneath the earth, and by His unlimited might He alone sustains the world in obedience to the order of Brahma. Lord Brahma, the best of the demigods and grandfather of this universe, then granted Ananta friendship with Suparna, the son of Vinata.

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Sri Suta Goswami said:

Hearing his mother pronounce a curse on each of her serpent sons, the exalted serpent Vasuki at once began to reflect, "How can this curse be avoided?" He discussed all aspects of the matter with those brothers, headed by Airavata, who were dedicated to virtue.

Sriman Vasuki said:

We are all quite aware of the curse that has now been directed against us, and by discussing it together we shall try to find a way to save ourselves from it. There is a process of counteracting every curse--- but, my fellow serpents, when a curse is uttered by one's own mother there may be no way to nullify it. The same holds true when a curse is pronounced (and allowed) in the presence of Lord Brahma, the untiring and immeasurable creator, who is dedicated to truth.

Therefore, my sinless brothers, when I heard our own mother curse us in the presence of the lord, my heart began to tremble. For even as she declared our utter ruin, the inexhaustible lord did not forbid or restrain her.

We are therefore gathered here in council for the very salvation of the serpent race. Let not the time run out! By our discussion, we must find a way to save ourselves, as did the gods in ancient times when Agni was lost, having concealed himself in a cave. We must find a way to stop the sacrifice of Janamejaya, which is meant to destroy the serpents. Either the sacrifice must not occur or, if it does, it must fail in its purpose.

Sri Suta Goswami said:

The sons of Kadru who had gathered there gave their assent, and being masters of political strategy they at once began to formulate a practical plan. Some suggested, "Assuming the appearence of learned brahmanas, we snakes will beg a boon from Janamejaya, and when he agrees to grant it we shall say, 'May you not perform this sacrifice!"'

But other serpents, thinking themselves wise, replied, "Being learned, all of us shall become the king's most respected advisors. He will naturally request our conclusive judgment in all affairs, and thus we shall advise him in such a way that the sacrifice will be stopped. Holding us in high regard, the learned king will question us about the value of such a sacrifice, and we shall reply that clearly there is none. With logic and reason we shall establish the priniciple that such a ritual would involve the king in many dangers and evils, both in this life and in the next, and that there should thus be no sacrifice.

"Or else, having identified the leading priest at the ceremony, he who knows the intricacies of a snake sacrifice and is bent on helping the king, a serpent will strike and kill this priest. When the priest conducting the sacrifice is killed, there can be no sacrifice. The king will have other priests who know how to perform a snake sacrifice, but we shall bite every one of them. In this way we shall surely accomplish our purpose."

Hearing this, other snakes who were sworn to virtue then advised, "Your plan is unwise. Murdering brahmanas is not at all intelligent. In times of calamity, justice and virtue are the basis for achieving the highest peace; activity based on injustice casts the whole world into grief."

Other snakes said, "Then let us take the form of clouds, flashing with lightning, and by releasing torrents of rain extinguish the sacrificial fire, even as it blazes."

There were other prominent serpents who suggested, "Let us go to the sacrificial arena under cover of night and as soon as the priests are inattentive, immediately steal the sacrificial ladle, thus impeding the ceremony. Or during the sacrifice hundreds and thousands of snakes can bite everyone present and create panic. Or perhaps the serpents should contaminate all of the sanctified food with their own stool and urine."

Then other snakes insisted, "We ourselves should become the king's priests for the sacrifice, and we can then impede the ceremony by demanding payment for our services. Having come under our control, the king will do as we desire."

Others said, "When the king is sporting in the water, we should carry him to our palace and bind him. Thus the sacrifice will not take place."

Other serpents, eager to help their race, offered this counsel, "We should immediately sieze the king and bite him. Then our work will be done. When the king is dead, all our problems will be cut off at their root."

This last definitive strategy was heartily approved by all the snakes, and they said to their leader, Vasuki, "O king, if you approve this plan, let us immediately make the necessary arrangements."

Having spoken thus, they respectfully fixed their gaze on Vasuki, ruler of the serpents. Carefully considering the matter, Vasuki said to the assembled snakes, "O serpents, I can not approve your plan, and I do not think it should be executed. Even though all assembled snakes have come to this conclusion, it does not appeal to me. And yet something must be done to save you, a fact that causes me great anxiety. For whatever we do, good or evil, now depends on me."

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\plain r228

Sri Suta Goswami said:

After patiently hearing the statements of all the serpents, who expressed their different views, and hearing Vasuki's response, Elapatra spoke these words:

"Do not waste your time thinking that there will be no sacrifice, or that we can eliminate King Janamejaya, who is the cause of our great fear. Have you forgotten that he is a direct descendent of the Pandavas, and that he fights with the strength of his forefathers?

"My dear King Vasuki, we should rather recall that excellent wisdom which states that a man who is assailed by divine providence has no other recourse but to take shelter of that very same divine providence. It is by the will of providence that danger threatens us, and thus we shall only find our refuge in that same divine will. O best of the serpents, please hear my words.

"When the curse was being cast, I was frightened, and I crawled onto the lap of our mother. From there, my lord, I heard the gods speaking to themselves, for they were stunned and aggrieved by our mother's curse upon us. Approaching Lord Brahma on our behalf, they said `Fiery are these lordly snakes, and fiery too is their mother!'

The gods then said to Lord Brahma:

Grandfather, what manner of woman, after obtaining such dear sons, would curse them like this? None but the cruel Kadru, O lord of lords, and in your very presence!

Morever you have now agreed to what she said, Grandfather, and we are anxious to know for what reason you did not restrain her from such cursing.

Lord Brahma said:

There are many snakes of frightening strength, who are cruel and filled with poison. Because I desire the welfare of all creatures, I did not stop Kadru from uttering her curse. Those serpents who are mordacious, vile, sinful, and ever poisononous will be destroyed, but not those who practice the rule of virtue --- the virtuous snakes will be saved. Now please learn from me how such virtuous serpents will be saved from calamity when the fated time arrives.

There will appear a wise and noble sage named Jarat-karu in the family of the Yayavaras. He will be as potent as fire and in full control of his senses. A great ascetic by the name Astika will take birth as the son of Jarat-karu, and that boy will stop the sacrifice of snakes. Thereby will all the virtuous serpents be saved.

The gods replied:

O lord, in union with what woman will that excellent sage, the great and powerful ascetic of the name Jarat-karu, beget his exalted son?

Lord Brahma said:

That potent jewel of the twice-born, Jarat-karu, will beget his powerful son in a virgin girl of the same name.

Elapatra said:

"This is a proper solution!" said the gods to the Grandfather, and having thus spoken, they went on their way and Lord Brahma too took his leave. O Vasuki, I see now that your sister is named Jarat-karu, and so to avoid this danger, you must give her in charity to that sage of strict vows when he comes to request her hand. I have heard from authorities that this arrangement will be our salvation.

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Srila Suta Goswami said:

O best of the twice-born, hearing the words of Elapatra all the serpents were filled with joy and they honored him by crying out, "sadhu! sadhu!"

Thenceforth Vasuki, his heart filled with joy, carefully protected his sister Jarat-karu. Shortly threafter all the gods and demons churned Varuna's great ocean, and the mighty serpent Vasuki became the churning rope. Having thus accomplished their work, the gods, along with Vasuki, went to see the Grandsire, Lord Brahma, and said to him, "Dear lord, Vasuki fears his mother's curse and therefore he suffers greatly. He is very worried about his brother serpents, for the curse against them is like a thorn in his heart. O lord, please remove this painful thorn. This lord of the snakes, Vasuki, is always kind to us and always ready to help the gods. O lord of lords, show him your mercy and calm the fever in his mind."

Lord Brahma said:

My dear gods, it was I alone who previously entered the mind of the serpent Elapatra and inspired him to speak encouraging words to his fellow serpents. When the appointed time comes, this lord of serpents, Vasuki, must act to fulfill those words of Elapatra. For as Elapatra has declared, all the sinful serpents shall perish, but not those who are righteous.

The sage Jarat-karu is born, and he is dedicated to the most severe austerities. In due time, Vasuki must offer his sister, who is also named Jarat-karu, to the sage. O gods, the salvation of the serpents shall come as the serpent Elapatra predicted, and not otherwise.

Srila Suta Goswami said:

Hearing the words of the Grandfather, Vasuki, lord of the snakes, assigned numerous qualified serpents to constantly observe the sage Jarat-karu, commanding them, "As soon as the great sage Jarat-karu desires to select a wife, you are to come at once and inform me, for this will be our salvation."

AP 36

Sri Saunaka said:

O son of Romaharsana, I would like to hear about the sage Jarat-karu, that great soul of whom you speak. He is celebrated in this world by the name Jarat-karu, but how did he get that name and what exactly does it signify? Kindly explain.

Sri Suta Goswami replied:

Jara is said to mean "weakening" or "destruction", and karu comes from the word daruna, meaning "frightening" or "terrible." The learned sage gradually emaciated his body with fierce austerities, until it became a fright to see, and thus, O brahmana, he became known as Jarat-karu. And Vasuki's sister received the same name for the very same reason.

Upon hearing this, the devoted Saunaka could not help laughing and complimented Ugra-srava (Suta) for his clever explanation, saying, "Yes, that sounds right!"

Sri Suta Goswami continued:

For a very long time that learned sage, strict in his vows, devoted himself to austerities and did not hanker for a wife. Fixed in austerity, learned in the holy texts, free of fatigue and fear, Jarat-karu remained perfectly celibate and raised his seminal fluid to the brain, thus nourishing his spiritual intellect. In this way, the great soul wandered all over the earth, never hankering to have a wife, for the very thought could not enter his mind.

Then, when another time had come, there lived a celebrated king named Pariksit, who carried the glory of the Kuru dynasty. Like his great-grandfather Pandu, this mighty-armed king was the greatest bowman in the world and enjoyed going on the hunt, as did Pandu in the days of yore.

Once that lord of the earth wandered about the forest, piercing deer, boars, hyena, buffalo, and other kinds of wild creatures. At a particular moment, he pierced a deer with a polished shaft and taking his bow on his back, followed the wounded animal into the deep woods. Holding his bow, he followed the stag all over the forest, and thus he resembled the mighty Lord Siva, who shot a sacrificial deer and followed it throughout the heavens. Never before had a deer shot by the king escaped with its life into the forest; this incident was surely an act of providence to bring the king back to heaven.

The deer led the king far away into the deep forest, until, extremely fatigued and afflicted by thirst, he approached a forest sage who sat in a cow pasture, living off the abundant milk foam left by the calves who drank their mother's milk. The king, pained by hunger and exhausted, ran desperately up to the sage, who was strict in his vows, and holding up his bow, inquired from the saintly one, "Good brahmana, I am the King, Pariksit, the son of Abhimanyu. I shot a deer, but then it escaped me. Have you seen it?"

The sage was fixed in a religious vow of silence and did not speak a single word in reply. Angered by this, the king raised up a dead snake with the tip of his bow, draped it on the shoulder of the sage, and stared at the holy man. But the sage would not speak a word, whether good or bad. Having released his anger, and seeing the condition of the sage, the king's mind became aggrieved. He then returned to his city, and the brahmana remained there in that very state.

The sage had a son who, although young, possessed terrible strength, which he had developed by great austerities. The boy's name was Srngi. Although strict in his vows, he had a terrible temper that made him merciless. Srngi had been regularly engaged in worshiping the principal god, Lord Brahma, who is kind to all creatures, until finally after receiving Brahma's permission, young Srngi returned to his home. He was a haughty and ill-tempered boy whose anger could be as deadly as poison. One day, O brahmana, when he was playing and joking with his friend Krsa, also a sage's son, Krsa said to him, "You are certainly powerful and a great ascetic, but don't be proud, Srngi, because you father now wears a corpse around his shoulders. Do not say a single word when you are sporting with people of our calibre, who are perfect and self-realized sons of sages. To what avail are your so-called manliness and your proud words when you will soon behold your own father wearing a corpse?"

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