(The Search For the Lord's Mercy)
Chapter Four: Bhakta Nama (The Devotees)
1 Sri Pariksit said: After hearing these very wonderful words of Lord Shiva, Narada Muni became eager to see Prahlad. By mystic power the sage, within a moment, flew to Sutaloka and entered the city of the Asuras.
2 At that moment Prahlad, the best of the devotees, was sitting in a secluded place, his mind rapt in loving meditation on the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When he saw Narada in the distance, Prahlad at once stood up, and when the brahmana Narada approached him, Prahlad bowed down to offer his respects.
3 Prahlad carefully seated Narada on a throne and began to worship him with elaborate, ancient ritual. Agitated at heart, Narada suddenly embraced Prahlad. Showering many tears of joy, and embracing him again and again, Narada said to Prahlad:
4 Sri Narada said: Now, after a very long time, I am able to see your lordship. Now the great trouble I took to come here has borne its fruit. You are the object of the great mercy of Lord Krishna. Since earliest childhood you have possessed a devotion for Lord Krishna so pure it cannot be seen in any other person.
5 When your own father tried to torture and kill you in a thousand ways, you thwarted all his attempts. By your influence all the demons have now become devotees.
6 Rapt in thoughts of Lord Krishna, you appear like a madman singing, dancing, trembling, and crying. You rescue everyone from the cycle of repeated birth and death. You give them pure devotional service for Lord Vishnu. In this way you fill them with transcendental bliss.
7 Lord Krishna appeared on the shore of the great ocean, placed you on His lap, and caressed you as a mother. Although Brahma, Shiva and all the demigods were reciting many prayers, and although the goddess of fortune was worshipping Him, He ignored them all.
8 Although frightened Brahma offered prayers from far away, you approached the Lord and fell down before His splendid lotus feet. Lord Nrsimha then picked you up, placed His lotus hand on your head, and licked your body.
9 With great eloquence and very wonderful persistence, Brahma and the other demigods repeatedly pray for liberation and entrance in the transcendental realm. When Lord Hari offered that liberation to you as a gift, you ignored His offer and prayed only for pure devotional service birth after birth.
10 In order to please your Lord, and because in your prayers to Lord Nrsimha you prayed for the deliverance of all living entities, you accepted from Him the kingdom of your father. That is why you remain here, rapt in meditation on your Lord.
11 One time, as you were going to Naimisaranya forest to see the lotus feet of Lord Narayana, who wears yellow garments, you accidentally met Him on the path. He challenged you to a fight, and when He was finally pleased by your strength in battle, He declared: "I am always defeated by you."
Note: This pastime is narrated in the Vamana Purana.
12 As he spoke these words, Narada became plunged in the nectar ocean of pure devotional love for Lord Hari. Narada, the confidential servant of the Lord, danced and called out, "We have defeated Him!"
13 Sri Narada said: O best of the Vaishnavas, the Supreme Personality of Godhead was defeated by you! What more need I say? It was because of your mercy that Lord Mukunda was defeated by your grandson Bali, the king of the demons, and became a guard standing at Bali's gate.
14 From now on I shall always stay here. Your power has enabled me to counteract the curses of Daksa and many others.
Note: Daksa and others cursed Narada always to travel, unable to stay for long in any one place.
15 Sri Pariksit said: Unable to bear hearing himself praised, Prahlad lowered his head in embarrassment. He bowed down before Narada and slowly and respectfully said:
16 Sri Prahlad said: O my lord, O my spiritual master, please consider how it was that in my childhood I learned about pure devotional service to Lord Krishna.
17-18 When a person is instructed by great pure devotees of Lord Hari, he naturally becomes glorious. He is never defeated by any obstacles, he has the power to preach the truth of spiritual life even to children, he is compassionate to the suffering conditioned souls, and he easily rejects impersonal liberation and all other material benedictions.
19 The great souls know that these things are not the real signs of Lord Krishna's mercy. O noble one, Lord Krishna's mercy is given only to those who engage in devotional service.
20 I never rendered direct service to the Lord as Hanuman and many others did. I simply meditated on the Lord when my heart was troubled.
21 You may praise the Lord's affectionately embracing me, but some say that embrace was only a feature of the Lord's illusory potency, and others think it was only a pastime of the Lord.
22 Great souls like yourself may consider the Lord's embracing me to be a sign of His genuine love. For myself I consider it like a dream, or, even if it is true, it is not a sign of the Lord's mercy to me.
23 Saintly persons consider that the wonderful gift of direct devotional service the Lord gave to Hanuman and other devotees to be His real kindness. They do not consider anything else to be the display of the Lord's mercy.
24 Lord Nrsimha's pastimes were not performed to show mercy to me. They were meant for the protection of the devotee demigods and the deliverance of the Lord's two eternal associates (Jaya and Vijaya).
25 They were meant to establish the truthfulness of the words of Brahma and his sons the Kumaras. They were meant to show the great glory of pure devotional service.
26 O best of the great saints who have taken a vow of poverty, when the Lord gave me a kingdom I could understand that He was not merciful to me.
27 The Lord has said (Srimad Bhagavatam 10.27.16): "When I desire to show mercy to someone I take away his material wealth and opulence." The instructions of the great devotees also bear witness to these words of the Lord.
28 Look at me! I am so absorbed in ruling my kingdom and so much surrounded by friends, relatives, and servants, that I have now completely given up the worship of the Lord! Fie on me! Fie! I do not even lament for my own misfortune!
29 If this were not so then why would I, who am trapped in this world of repeated birth and death, have personally fought with the glorious Supreme Personality of Godhead at Visala-tirtha?
30 When I preached the truth of spiritual life I mingled with many miseducated demons, and by their association I became infected with a host of dry, non-devotional theories. Even today not a single wretched fragment of those false theories has left me.
31 By pure devotion one attains the mercy of the Lord. What pure devotion do I have? As I meditate on the misdeeds of Bana I can see the clear signs of my own lack of devotion.
32 I have heard that the Lord bound Bali, imprisoned him, and now stands at the door to prevent his escape. What is his fate now? I do not know.
33 Ravana and others have seen the Lord there as the gatekeeper, and Durvasa has also seen Him. From devotional faith the sight of the Lord is obtained.
34 One who yearns to attain the Lord may attain Him in any place. He need not travel to the Lord's abode.
35 If the Lord always stays at Bali's gate, then why did I travel so far to Naimisaranya to see Him, the Lord who wears yellow garments?
36 By your lordship's mercy the Supreme Personality of Godhead may have some affection for me. Still, the glory of that affection is very insignificant in comparison to the great mercy received by even the newest devotees.
37 O lord whose heart melts with limitless mercy, why should I make you suffer by describing my own great misfortune? Better that you place your glance on the great mercy the Lord has given to the Kimpurusa Hanuman.
38 O lord, please know that when the Supreme Personality of Godhead appeared in His half-man half-lion form to kill my father, He very quickly did His work and then disappeared again.
39 I was not able to see the Lord to my heart's content. On the shore of the great ocean I saw Him for only a moment. It was like a flickering dream.
40 Hanuman was very fortunate. He was able to enjoy the happiness of directly serving the Lord for many thousands of years without obstruction.
41 Even in his childhood he was extremely strong. By the mercy of the demigods he received many benedictions. He is always free from old-age and death.
42 He is completely fearless, a follower of austere vows, saintly, a heroic fighter, and the uncommon servant of Lord Ramacandra.
43 He casually jumped over the fathomless, eight-hundred mile wide ocean. He expertly comforted the distressed Sita captive in the palace of the king of raksasas.
44 He taunted his enemy, burned Lanka, destroyed its fortifications, returned with news of Sita, and was firmly embraced by his master.
45 He was the great carrier of his master. His tail became a white parasol shading his master, and his broad back became a comfortable seat for his master. He was the leader of those engaged in building the bridge at Setubandha.
46 He fulfilled the needs of Vibhisana, broke the strength of the raksasas, and, with his great strength, brought the medicinal herb visalya-karini.
47 He brought life again to the army. He greatly pleased both his master and his master's younger brother. He became the devoted carrier of both his master and Sri Laksmana.
48 With very intelligent tactics he attacked and defeated the enemy. He chanted the transcendental glories of his master, the killer of the raksasa king.
49 He brought great happiness to Sita. He is the object of the great transcendental mercy of his master. Even though he is not able to bear separation from his master, he remains in this world by His order.
50 He sustains himself by always hearing the glories of his master. Even today he stands beside the transcendental Deity form of his master as he had always stood by Him in the past.
51 My lord, the scriptures declare: "The monkey-king Hanuman attained perfection by serving the Supreme Lord." In this way Hanuman's glory is famous in this world. His service brought him the Lord's mercy.
52 I offer my respectful obeisances to Hanuman. Even if it were to come to him of its own accord, he has no desire to accept any kind of liberation that would check his service to Lord Vishnu, the son of Maharaj Dasaratha.
53 I have left much unsaid, still, your lordship knows his glorious position very well. Please go now to Kimpurusa-varsha. See him and become happy.
54 Sri Pariksit said: O mother, Narada then exclaimed: "Ah! This is very auspicious! Ah! This is very auspicious!" He then rose from his seat, and travelled through outer space to Kimpurusa-varsa.
55 There he saw Hanuman devotedly worshipping the lotus feet of the Deity of Lord Ramacandra with wonderful offerings taken from the forest as if the Lord were directly present before him.
56 Hearing the nectarean story of the Ramayana sung by the Gandharvas and other celestial singers, Hanuman became full of bliss. He trembled and shed tears. The hairs of his body stood erect.
57 Hanuman was himself reciting many wonderful and splendid prayers in prose and verse, and he was also falling down like a stick to offer respectful obeisances to his Lord.
58 Narada then jubilantly called out: O Lord of the Raghavas, all glories to You! O husband of Sita, all glories to You! O elder brother of Laksmana, all glories to You!
59 Hanuman became filled with joy to hear the chanting of the holy names of his worshipable Lord. He at once jumped into the sky and embraced Narada, placing his arms around his neck.
60 As he stood in the sky, Narada Muni jubilantly danced moving his feet to and fro, and at the same time wiped away the stream of Hanuman's tears of ecstatic love with his hands. Filled with ecstatic love, Narada loudly said:
61 Sri Narada said: O noble sir, you are very dear to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. By seeing you I have now also become very dear to Him.
62 Sri Pariksit said: Within a moment Hanuman composed himself and then respectfully bowed down before Devarsi Narada. Then he took Narada to the temple where he could bow down before Lord Ramacandra, the hero of the Raghu dynasty.
63 Narada Muni bowed down before the Deity and then sat in a seat carefully arranged by Hanuman. Narada, wealthy with the wonderful opulence of pure devotional love, sounded his vina and said:
64 Sri Narada said: You are in truth the object of the incomparable great mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. You are always plunged in the very wonderful nectar ocean of pure devotional service to the Supreme Lord.
65 You are the Lord's servant, friend, chariot, sitting place, flag, parasol, awning, fan, poet to offer prayers, counsellor, military commander, and most helpful assistant. You always chant the Lord's transcendental glories.
66 You have offered yourself to Lord Ramacandra without any reservation. You are the object of His great mercy. The narration of His glories is your life and soul. You bring great transcendental bliss to the devotees who have taken shelter of Him. You are eternally more glorious than Garuda and all the other devotees of the Lord.
67 Because you are a pure devotee, and because you do not consider anything better than the happiness of pure devotional service, you spoke to the Supreme Lord, who is the crest jewel of all generous philanthropists, the following words, which bring great happiness to the devotees:
68 O Lord, You are the master, and I am Your servant. I do not desire any liberation from the bonds of repeated birth and death that will also break our relationship.
69 Sri Pariksit said: For Hanuman, hearing this description of the great mercy of the Lord's lotus feet became a spark that ignited a great fire of the pain of separation from the Lord. Hanuman lamented and cried. Narada Muni comforted him. Hanuman then said:
70 I am very unhappy because I no longer have the lotus feet of Lord Ramacandra. O best of the sages, why do you make me cry by reminding me of His cruelty to me?
71 If I am His servant, then why did He abandon me when He took Sugriva, the residents of Ayodhya, and many other dear devotees to His side?
72 Because you are very affectionate to me you think that because I had the good fortune to serve the Supreme Lord directly, therefore He is very merciful to me.
73-4 Now the supreme opulent and powerful Lord has descended to Mathura City, where He gives His mercy to the great Pandavas. The mercy He gives to me cannot be compared to even the smallest fragment of that mercy. It is like a pebble compared to Mount Sumeru.
75 By sending them so many troubles since their early childhood, the Lord has shown to the world their patience, adherence to religious principles, fame, transcendental knowledge, pure devotion, and spiritual love for the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
76 The Supreme Personality of Godhead became their chariot-driver, companion, servant, counsellor, messenger, guard, and follower. The Lord even offered prayers to them and bowed down before them.
77 The Supreme Lord is overcome with love for them. What will He not do for them. He has become their servant, friend, and most affectionate well-wisher.
78 Because the Lord always resides with them, their capitol has become like a sacred forest where great sages perform austerities. Residence in their capitol now brings the results of all austerities.
79 Sri Pariksit said: As Sri Narada heard these words he yearned to reside eternally in Dvaraka and always stay by the lotus feet of Lord Krishna. Narada loudly shouted, rose again and again into the sky, and danced with joy in his heart.
80 Hanuman became blissful by seeing Narada dance. His heart plunged in the nectar of the Pandavas' story. Hanuman again and again described their glories.
81 Sri Hanuman said: The host of calamities that befell the Pandavas were very auspicious for them. These calamities made Lord Krishna anxious for the safety of the Pandavas, and at once brought Lord Krishna into their company.
82 O Pandavas, you have now become overpowered by love and no longer know how to do what is right. You have made my Lord into your messenger and chariot-driver.
83 O Pandavas, you must know a very powerful magic spell or possess a very powerful potion to bring others under your control.
84-8 Sri Pariksit said: O mother, O celebrated wife of Abhimanyu, after speaking these words, Hanuman began to jump again and again. For a long time he danced with Narada Muni. Then he said:
89 Sri Hanuman said: O Supreme Personality of Godhead, O Lord overwhelmed with love for Your devotees, O Lord whose transcendental activities attract your devotees' hearts, this is the way You act.
90 It is my great good fortune that in the middle of the sons of Kunti (the Pandavas) is my dear younger brother Bhimasena.
91 Out of kindness and friendship the Lord gave His own sister in marriage to Arjuna, who carries a flag whose insignia is a likeness of me.
92 Without the transcendental mercy of they who are very dear to the Lord, the loving service of the Lord's servants will not be successful. That service will not bear any good fruit.
93 O best of the devotees, O most dear favourite of the Lord, let us go there to see them.
94-5 The transcendental opulence, sweetness, and wonder that is very difficult for Brahma, Shiva and the other demigods to understand, that increases the love of the devotees, and that had not been revealed when the Lord appeared in Ayodhya, is now displayed in Mathura and Dvaraka.
96 Sri Narada said: This sweetness and opulence is not manifested even in Vaikuntha, what to speak of Ayodhya. Rise! Rise! Friend, let us quickly go there.
97 At that moment Hanuman became as grave as the ocean. He reflected within himself for a moment, sighed, bowed down, and then said to Narada:
98 Sri Hanuman said: It is right for us to go to see and serve the most dear devotees of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
99 The sweetness of great mercy the Lord displays now is greater and more profound than what He had shown in the past.
100 The supremely charming and wonderful waves of the Lord's present transcendental pastimes have bewildered even the most learned and intelligent of the sages.
101 Even Brahma, the father of you and your exalted brothers, the grandfather of all the worlds, and the original teacher of the Vedas, is bewildered by these pastimes.
102 If even he becomes bewildered, then what can be said about unintelligent monkeys like myself. You can easily understand the Lord's activities, but I fear I will commit an offense.
103 The Lord's wonderful transcendental pastimes increase the love and devotion of the devotees. These pastimes are the final destination of they who repose all their love in the Lord alone and in no one else.
104-8 I pray that for Lord Ramacandra, whose heart is naturally soft with sincere compassion, who is honest and righteous, who has taken a vow to accept only one wife, whose face and eyes are always bowed down with great humility and shyness, whose good character delights the world, who is the monarch of Ayodhya City, who is the greatest of all kings, who is served by Sita and Laksmana, who is the elder brother of Bharata, who is the dear friend of Sugriva, who is the ruler of the monkeys, who is the shelter of Vibhisana, who holds a bow in His hand, who is the son of Dasaratha and Kausalya, and who is the great king of the Raghu dynasty, may my devotional love always increase.
109 I shall simply stay here, gaze at the Deity form of Lord Rama, and drink the nectar of His pastimes.
110-1 When Lord (Krishna), out of His great mercy, may call me to give me the great transcendental happiness of the opportunity to serve Him, will He, out of love for me, show me the form (of Lord Rama) that is more dear to me than life?
112-3 When the Lord reveals Himself as Ramacandra I shall go to Him at once. Now you please go to the Pandavas, and in their palace see the Supreme Brahman, whose transcendental form is like that of a human being, who is full of transcendental bliss, who is beyond the touch of the words and thoughts of the sages, who is very charming and who is a great jewel mine of the sweetnesses of wonderful transcendental pastimes.
114 Don't become an offender, thinking "We are celibate brahmacaris, and they are only householder ksatriyas ruling a kingdom."
115 By serving the lotus feet of Lord Krishna they have become free from all desire for material sense-gratification. Their lotus feet are worshipped by the leaders of the swan-like devotees.
116 The eldest Pandava, with the pleasure of the Supreme Personality of Godhead as his only motive, now rules the kingdom. He is the master of a great variety of royal opulences rare even among the demigods.
117 By amassing great pious credits in the performance of rajasuya-yajnas, asvamedha-yajnas, and other religious rituals, he attained the spiritual world of Vishnuloka. Even within this material realm he became king of the entire earth.
118-9 His pure fame is spread throughout the three worlds. His faultless royal opulences, envied by even the demigods, and granted to him by the mercy of Lord Krishna, he has offered back to Lord Krishna. These opulences were never able to actually please the king.
120 His heart is on fire with pure love for Lord Krishna. He is like a man burning with hunger who cannot be pleased by sweet scented flower-garlands, sandalwood, or perfume.
121 Ah, what more shall I say? Srimati Draupadi is his exalted queen. Sri Bhimasena, Sri Arjuna and his other brothers are all as noble and exalted as he.
122 They are not dear to him because of their bodily relation. They are not dear to him as assistants in the quest for material piety, wealth, sense-gratification, or liberation. They are dear to him because they love the lotus feet of Lord Krishna.
123 I am a monkey. How can I describe their great glories? O lord, you know how great they are.