SHRIMAD DEVI BHAGAVATAM | BOOK 9 CHAPTER 18

THE NINTH BOOK

Chapter XVIII

On the union of Śankhachūḍa with Tulasī

1-26. Nārāyaṇa said:

Thus highly pleased, Tulasī went to sleep with a gladdened heart.

She, the daughter of Vriṣadhvaja, was then in her blooming youth and while asleep, the Cupid, the God of five arrows, shot at her five arrows (by which one gets enchanted and swooned).

Though the Devī was smeared with sandal paste and She slept on a bed strewn with flowers, her body was felt as if being burnt.

Out of joy, the hairs stood on their ends all over her body; her eyes were reddened and her body began to quiver.

Sometimes She felt uneasiness, sometimes dryness; sometimes She got faint; sometimes drowsiness and sometimes again pleasantness; sometimes she became conscious, sometimes sorrowful.

Sometimes she got up from her bed; sometimes she sat; and sometimes she fell again to sleep. The flower-bed, strewn with sandal-paste, appeared to her full of thorns; nice delicious fruits and cold water appeared to her like poison.

Her house appeared to her like a hole in a ground and her fine garments seemed to her like fire. The mark of Sindūra on her forehead appeared, as it were a boil, a sore.

She began to see in her dreams that one beautiful, well clothed, humorous, young man with smile in his lips, appeared to her.

His body was besmeared with sandal-paste and decked with excellent jewels; garlands of forest flowers were hanging from his neck.

Coming there, he was drinking the honey of her lotus face. He was speaking on love themes and on various other sweet topics. As if he was embracing amorously and enjoying the pleasures of intercourse. After the intercourse he was going away; again he was coming near.

The lady was addressing him:

“O Darling! O Lord of my heart! Where do you go? Come close.”

Again when she became conscious, she began to lament bitterly.

Thus on entering in her youth, the Devī Tulasī began to live in the hermitage of Badari (Plum fruit, it may signify womb. Those who visit Badari are not to enter again in any womb).

On the other hand the great Yogi Śankhachūḍa obtained the Kṛṣṇa Mantra from Mahāṛṣi Jaigīṣavya and got siddhi (success) in Puṣkara Tīrtha (sacred place of pilgrimage where one crosses the world).

Holding on his neck the Kavācha named Sarvamangala Māyā and obtaining the boon from Brahmā as he desired, he arrived at Badari, by Brahmā’s command.

The signs of the blooming youth had just begun to be visible in the body of Śankhachūḍa as if the God of Love incarnated in his body; his colour resembled that of white Champakas and all his body was decked with jewelled ornaments.

His face resembled the autumnal full moon; his eyes were extended like the lotus leaves. The beautiful form was seen to sit in an excellent aerial car, made of pearls and jewels.

Two jewel earrings, nice and elegant, suspended up to his cheek; his neck was adorned with Parijāta flower garlands; and his body was smeared with Kumkum and scented sandal-paste.

O Nārada! Seeing Śankhachūḍa coming near to her, Tulasī covered her face by her clothing and she, with a smiling countenance, cast repeatedly sidelong glances at him and bent her head low abashed in the expectation of a fresh intercourse.

How beautiful was that clear face of her! It put down the autumnal moon in the background. The invaluable jewelled ornaments were on her toes.

Her braid of hair was surrounded by sweet scented Mālatī garlands. The invaluable jewelled wonderful earrings like the shape of a shark were hanging up to her cheek.

Extraordinarily beautiful necklaces were seen being suspended to the middle of her breasts and added to the beauty thereof; on her arms and hands were jewelled bangles and conch ornaments; jewelled armlets and on fingers excellent jewelled rings were seen.

O Muni! Seeing that lovely beautiful chaste woman of good nature, Śankhachūḍa came to her and taking his seat addressed her as follows:

27. “O Proud One! O Auspicious One! Who are you? Whose daughter are you? You look fortunate and blessed among women. I am your silent slave. Talk with me.”

28-30. That beautiful eyed Tulasī, full of love, replied to Śankhachūḍa with smiling countenance and face bent low:

“I am the daughter of the great king Vriṣadhvaja. I have come to this forest for tapasyā and am engaged in this.

Who are you? What business have you to talk with me? You can go away wherever you like. I have heard in the Śāstras that persons born of a noble family never speak with ladies of a respectable family in privacy.

31-71. Only those that are lewd, void of any knowledge in the Dharma Śāstras, void of the Vedic knowledge and who are not Kulīnas, like to speak with women in privacy.

And those woman, too, that look externally beautiful but very passionate and the Death of males, who are sweet tongued but filled with venom in their hearts,

those who are sweet externally but like a sword internally, those that are always bent in achieving their own selfish ends and those that become obedient to their husbands for their own selfish ends otherwise behaving as they like,

those that are filled inside with dirty things and outside looking pleasant in their faces and eyes, whose characters are pronounced as defiled, what intelligent, learned and noble-minded man can trust them?

Those women do not discriminate who are their friends or who are their enemies; they want always new persons.

Whenever they see a man well dressed, they want to satisfy their own passions. And they pretend with great care that they are very chaste.

They are the vessels of passion; they always attract the minds of others and they are very enthusiastic in satisfying their own lust.

They verbally show that they want other men to go away but at hearts, feelings for intercourse remain preponderant; whenever they see their paramours in private, they laugh and become very glad but externally their shame, knows no bounds.

When they do not have their intercourses with their paramours, they become self-conceited; their bodies burn with anger and they begin to quarrel.

When their passions are satisfied fully, they become glad and when there is a deficiency in that, they become sorrowful.

For the sake of good and sweet food and cold drinks, they want beautiful young persons, qualified and humorous. They consider witty young persons clever in holding intercourses, more dearly than their sons.

And if that beloved one becomes incapable or aged, then he is considered as an enemy. Quarrels and anger then ensue. They devour these men as serpents eat rats.

They are boldness personified and they are the source of all evils and vices. Even Brahmā, Viṣṇu and Maheśa remain deluded before them. They cannot find out any clue of their minds.

They are the greatest obstacle in the path of tapasyā and the closed doors for liberation. Devotion to Hari cannot reach those women. They are the repositories of Māyā and they hold men fast by iron chains in this word.

They are like magicians and false like dreams. They enchant others by external beauty; their lower parts are very ugly and filled with excrements, faeces, of foul scent and very unholy and smeared with blood.

The Creator Bhagavān has created them as such, the Māyā to the Māyāvis and the venom to those who want liberation, and as invisible to those that want to have them.”

Thus saying Tulasī stopped.

O Nārada! Śankhachūḍa, then smilingly addressed her as follows:

“O Devī! What you have spoken is not wholly false; partly it is true and partly it is false. Now hear:

The Creator has created this all- enchanting female form into two parts. One is praiseworthy and the other is not.

He has created Lakṣmī, Saraswatī, Durgā, Sāvitrī and Rādhā and others as the primary causes of creation; so there are the prime creations:

Those women that are born of their parts, are auspicious, glorious and much praiseworthy:

 Śatarūpā, Devahūtī, Svadhā, Svāhā, Dakṣiṇā Chhāyāvatī, Rohiṇī, Varuṇānī, Śachi, the wife of Kubera, Diti, Aditi, Lopāmudrā, Anasūyā, Kauṭabhī (Koṭarī), Tulasī, Ahalyā, Arundhati,

Mena, Tārā, Mandodarī, Damayantī, Vedavatī, Gangā, Mānasa, Puṣṭī, Tuṣṭī, Smriti, Medhā, Kālikā, Vasundhara, Ṣaṣṭhī, Mangala Chaṇḍī, Mūrti, wife of Dharma. Svasti, Śraddhā;

Śānti, Kānti, Kṣānti, Nidrā, Tandrā, Kṣudhā, Pipāsā, Sandhyā, Rātri, Diva, Sampattī, Dhriti, Kīrti, Kriya, Śobhā, Prabhā, Śiva, and other women born of the Prime Prakritis, all are excellent in every Yuga.

The prostitutes of the heavens are also born of the above women in their parts and parts of parts. They are not praiseworthy in the universe; they are all regarded as unchaste women.

Those women that are of Sattva Guṇas are all excellent and endowed with influence. In the universe they are good, chaste and praiseworthy. This is not false. The Pandits declare them excellent.

Those that are of Rajo Guṇas, and Tamo Guṇas are not so praiseworthy.

Those women that are of Rajo Guṇas are known as middling. They are always fond of enjoyments, yield to them, and always ready to achieve their own ends.

These women are generally insincere, delusive, and outside the pale of religious duties. Therefore they are generally unchaste. The Pandits consider them as middling.

Those women that are of Tamo Guṇas are considered as worst. Those born of noble families can never speak with other wives in a private place or when they are alone.

By Brahmā’s command I have come to you. O Fair One! I will marry you now according to the Gandharva method. My name is Śankhachūḍa. The Devas fly away from me out of terror.

Earlier I was the intimate Śākhā (friend) of Śrī Hari, by the name of Sudāmā. Now, by Rādhikā’s curse I am born in the family of the Dānavas.

I was a Pāriṣad (attendant) of Śrī Kṛṣṇa and the chief of the eight Gopas. Now, by Rādhikā’s curse I am born as Śankhachūḍa, the Indra of the Dānavas.

By Śrī Kṛṣṇa’s grace and by His mantra, I am Jātismarā (know of my past births). You, too, are Jātismarā Tulasī. Śrī Kṛṣṇa enjoyed you before. By Rādhikā’s anger, you are now born in Bhārata. I was very eager to enjoy you then; out of Rādhikā’s fear I could not.”

72-87. Thus saying, Śankhachūḍa stopped.

Then Tulasī gladly and smilingly replied:

“Such persons (like you) are famous in this world; good women desire such husbands. Really, I am now defeated by you in argument.

The man who is conquered by woman is very impure and blamed by the community. The Pitri Lokas, the Deva Lokas, and the Gandharva Loka, too, look upon men, overpowered by women, as mean, despicable. Even father, mother, brother, etc., hate them mentally.

It is said in the Vedas that the impurities during birth and death are expiated by a ten days observances for the Brāhmaṇas, by twelve days observances for the Kṣattriyas, by fifteen days observances for the Vaiṣyas and by one month’s observances for the Śudras and other low castes.

But the impurity of the man who is conquered by women cannot be expiated by any other means except (his dead body) is burned in the funeral pyre.

The Pitris never accept willingly the Piṇḍas and offerings of water (Tarpaṇas) offered by the women-conquered men. So much so that the Devas even hesitate to accept flowers, water, etc., offered by them on their names.

Those whose hearts are entirely subdued by men, do not acquire any fruits from their knowledge, Tapasyā, Japam, fire sacrifices, worship, learning and fame.

I tested you to ascertain your strength in learning. It is highly advisable to choose one’s husband by examining his merits and defects.

Sin equivalent to the murder of a Brāhmin is committed if one gives in marriage one’s daughter to one void of all qualifications, to an old man, to one who is ignorant, to a poor, illiterate, diseased, ugly, very angry, very harsh, lame, devoid of limbs, deaf, dumb, inanimate like, and who is impotent.

If one gives in marriage a daughter to a young man of good character, learned, well qualified and of a peaceful temper, one acquires the fruits of performing ten horse sacrifices.

If one nourishes a daughter and sells her out of greed for money, one falls to the Kumbhīpāka hell. That sinner drinks the urine and eats the excrements of that daughter, remaining in that hell.

For a period equal to the fourteen Indra’s life-periods they are bitten by worms and crows. At the expiry of this period, they will have to be born in this world of men as diseased persons. In their human births they will have to earn their livelihood by selling flesh and carrying flesh.”

88-100. Thus saying, when Tulasī stopped, Brahmā appeared on the scene and addressed Śankhachūḍa:

O Śankhachūḍa! Why are you spending uselessly your time in vain talks with Tulasī? Marry her soon by the Gandharva method.

As you are a gem amongst males, so She is a gem amongst females. It is a very happy union between a humorous lover and a humorous beloved.

O King! Who despises the great happiness when it is at one’s hand! He who forsakes the pleasure is worse than a beast in this world.

O Tulasī! And what for are you testing the nobly qualified person who is the tormentor of the Devas, Asuras and Dānavas.

O Child! As Lakṣmī Devī is of Nārāyaṇa, as Rādhikā is of Kṛṣṇa; as is My Sāvitrī, as Bhava’s is Bhavānī, as Boar's is Earth, as Yajña’s is Dakṣiṇā, Atri’s Anasūyā, Gautama’s Ahalyā, Moon’s Rohiṇī, Brihaspati’s Tārā,

Manu’s Śatarūpā, Kandarpa’s Rati, Kaśyapa’s Aditi, Vaṣiṣṭha’s Arundhati, Karddama’s Devahūtī, Fire’s Svāhā, Indra’s Śachi, Gaṇeśa’s Puṣṭī, Skanda’s Devasenā, and Dharma’s Mūrti, so let you be the dear wife of Śankhachūḍa.

Let you remain with Śankhachūḍa, beautiful as he is, for a long time, and enjoy with him in various places as you like.

When Śankhachūḍa will quit his mortal frame, you would go to Goloka and enjoy easily with the two-armed Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and in Vaikuṇṭha with the four-armed Kṛṣṇa and with great gladness.

Here ends the Eighteenth Chapter of the Ninth Book on the union of Śankhachūḍa with Tulasī in the Mahāpurāṇam Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam of 18,000 verses by Mahāṛṣi Veda Vyāsa.