SHRIMAD DEVI BHAGAVATAM | BOOK 9 CHAPTER 40
THE NINTH BOOK
On the birth of Lakṣmī in the discourse of Nārada and Nārāyaṇa
1-2. Nārada said:
“O Lord! How did the eternal Devī Mahā Lakṣmī the dweller in Vaikuṇṭha, the beloved of Nārāyaṇa, the Presiding Deity of Vaikuṇṭha, come down to the earth and how She, became the daughter of the ocean? By whom was She first praised?
Kindly describe all these in detail to me and oblige.”
3-10. Nārāyaṇa said:
O Nārada! In ancient days when on Durvāsa’s curse, Indra was dispossessed of his kingdom, all the Devas came down to earth. Lakṣmī, too, getting angry, quitted the Heavens, out of pain and sorrow and went to Vaikuṇṭha and took the shelter of Nārāyaṇa.
The Devas, then, went to Brahmā with their hearts full of sorrow and, taking Him from there, they all went to Nārāyaṇa in Vaikuṇṭha.
Going there they all took refuge of the Lord of Vaikuṇṭha. They were very much distressed and their throats, palate and lips were quite dry.
At that time Lakṣmī, the wealth and prosperity of all, came down on earth by the command of Nārāyaṇa and became born in part as the daughter of the ocean.
The Devas, then with the Daityas churned the Kṣīroda Ocean and, out of that, Mahā Lakṣmī appeared. Viṣṇu looked on Her. Her joy knew no bounds. She smiling, granted boons to the Devas and then offered a garland of flowers on the neck of Nārāyaṇa (as a symbol of marriage celebrated).
O Nārada! the Devas, on the other hand, got back their kingdoms from the Asuras. They then worshipped and chanted hymns to Mahā Lakṣmī and since then they became free from further dangers and troubles.
11-12. Nārada said:
“O Bhagavān! Durvāsā was the best of the Munis; he was attached to Brahmā and had spiritual knowledge.
Why did he curse Indra? What offence had he committed? How did the Devas and Daityas churn the ocean? How, and by what hymns Lakṣmī became pleased and appeared before Indra? What passed on between them?
Say all this, O Lord!”
13-25. Nārāyaṇa said:
In ancient days, Indra the Lord of the three worlds, intoxicated with wine and becoming lustful and shameless, began to enjoy Rambhā in a lonely grove. After having enjoyed her, he became attracted to her; with his mind being wholly drawn to her he remained there in that forest, his mind becoming very passionate.
Indra then saw the Muni Durvāsā on his way from Vaikuṇṭha to Kailāśa burning with the fire of Brahmā. From the body of the Ṛiṣi, emitted, as it were, the rays of the thousand midday Suns.
On his head was the golden matted hair. On his breast there was the hoary holy thread; he wore torn clothes; on his hands there was the Daṇḍa and Kamaṇḍalu; on his forehead there was the bright Tilaka in the form of the Crescent Moon. (Tilaka - a sectarian mark on the forehead made with coloured earth or sandalpaste.)
One hundred thousand disciples, thoroughly-versed in the Vedas and the Vedāngas, were attending him.
The intoxicated Purandara, seeing him, bowed down to him and he began to chant with devotion hymns to his disciples also. They were very glad. The Ṛiṣi with his disciples then blessed Indra and gave him a Parijāta flower.
When the Muni was returning from the region of Vaikuṇṭha, Viṣṇu gave him that beautiful Parijāta flower. Old age, death, disease, sorrows, etc., all are removed by the influence of the flower; and the final liberation is also attained.
The Devendra was intoxicated with his wealth; so taking the flower given by the Ṛiṣi, he threw it on the head of the elephant Airāvata.
No sooner the elephant touched the flower, than he became suddenly like Viṣṇu, as it were, in beauty, form, qualities, fire and age. The elephant, then, forsook Indra and entered into a dense forest. The Lord of the Devas could, in no way, get him under his control.
On the other hand, the Muni Durvāsā seeing that Mahendra had thus dishonoured the flower, became inflamed with rage and cursed him saying:
“O Indra! You are so mad with wealth that you have dishonoured me. The flower that I gave you so lovingly, you have thrown that, out of vanity, on the elephant’s head!
26-46. No sooner one gets the food, water, fruits that had been offered to Viṣṇu, one should eat that at once. Otherwise one incurs the sin of Brahmāhatyā.
If anybody forsakes the things offered to Viṣṇu, that he has got perchance, he becomes destitute of wealth, prosperity, intelligence, and his kingdom.
And if he eats the food already offered to Viṣṇu with devotion, he then elevates his hundred families passed before him and he himself becomes liberated while living.
If anybody daily eats Viṣṇu’s Naivedyam (food offered to Viṣṇu) and bow down before Him or worships Hari with devotion and chants hymns to Him, he becomes like Viṣṇu in energy and wealth.
By mere touch with the air round his body, the places of pilgrimage become all purified. O You Stupid! The earth becomes purified by the contact of the dust of the feet of such a one devoted to Viṣṇu.
If anybody eats the food unoffered to Hari and flesh that is not offered to any Deity; if he eats the food of any unchaste woman, any woman without husband and sons,
the food offered at any Śūdrā’s Śrādh (funeral) ceremony, the food offered by a Brāhmaṇa, who is a priest to the Śudras in honour of a Śiva Lingam, the food of a Brāhman priest who subsists on the presents of a temple,
the food of one who sells his daughter, the food of one who subsists on dealing with womb concerns, the leavings of others, the stale food left after all others had eaten,
the food of the husband of an unmarried girl (twelve years old in whom menstruation has commenced), the driver of oxen, the food of one uninitiated in one’s Iṣṭā mantram,
of one who burns a corpse, of a Brāhmin who goes to one not fit for going, the food of a rebel against friends, of one who is faithless, treacherous, who gives false evidence, the food of a Brāhmin who accepts offerings in a sacred place of pilgrimage,
all his sins (incurred in the ways above-mentioned) will be removed if he eats the Prasādam of Viṣṇu, i.e., the food offered to Viṣṇu.
Even if a Chaṇḍāla be attached to the service of Viṣṇu, he sanctifies his millions of persons born in his family before him. And the man who is devoid of the devotion to Hari is not able even to save himself.
If anybody takes unknowingly the remains of an offering (such as flowers) made to Viṣṇu, he will certainly be freed from all the sins incurred in his seven births.
And if he does this knowingly and with intense devotion, he will certainly be freed of all sorts of sins incurred in his Koṭi births.
So, O Indra! I am a devotee of Śrī Hari. And when you have cast away the Parijāta to flower offered by me on the elephant’s head, then I say unto you that the Mahā Lakṣmī will leave you and She will go back to Nārāyaṇa.
I am highly devoted to Nārāyaṇa; so I do not fear anybody, I don’t fear neither the Creator, neither Kāla, the Destroyer, neither old age, nor death; what to speak of other petty persons!
I do not fear your father Prajāpati Kaśyapa nor do I fear your family priest Brihaspati.
Now he, on whose head there lies the flower Parijāta offered by me, verily he should be worshipped by all means.”
Hearing these words of Durvāsā, Indra became bewildered with fear, and being greatly distressed and holding the feet of Muni, cried out loudly. He said:
“The curse is now well inflicted on me; and it has caused my delusion to vanish. Now I do not want back my Rāja Lakṣmī from you; instruct me on knowledge.
This wealth is the source of all coils; it is the cause of the veil to all knowledge, it hides the final liberation and it is a great obstacle on the way to get the highest devotion. ”
47-67. The Muni said:-
“This birth, death, old age, disease, and afflictions, all come from wealth and the manipulation of great power. Being blind by the darkness of wealth, he does not see the road to Mukti.
The stupid man that is intoxicated with wealth is like the one that is intoxicated with wine. Surrounded by many friends, he is surrounded by the unbreakable bondage.
The man that is intoxicated with wealth, blind with property and overwhelmed with these things has no thought for the real knowledge. He who is Rājasic, is very much addicted to passions and desires; he never sees the path to Sattva Guṇa.
The man that is blind with sense-objects is of two kinds, firstly, Rājasic and secondly Tāmasic. He who has no knowledge of the Śāstras is Tāmasic and he who has the knowledge of the Śāstras is Rājasic.
O Child of the Devas! Two paths are mentioned in the Śāstras; one is Pravritti, going towards the sense objects and the other is Nivritti, going away from them.
The Jīvas first follow the path of Pravritti, the path that is painful, gladly and of their own accord like a mad man.
As bees, blind with the desire of getting honey, go to the lotus bud and get themselves entangled there, so the Jīvas, the embodied souls, desirous first of getting enjoyments come to this very painful circle of births and deaths, this worldly life, which in the end is realised as vapid and the only cause of old age, death, and sorrow and get themselves enchained there.
For many births he travels gladly in various wombs, ordained by his own Karmas, till at last by the favour of gods, he comes in contact with the saints. Thus one out of a thousand or out of a hundred finds means to cross this terrible ocean of world.
When the saintly persons kindle the lamp of knowledge and show the way to Mukti, then the Jīva makes an attempt to sever this bondage to the world.
After many births, many austerities and many fasts, he then finds safely the way to Mukti, leading to the highest happiness.
O Indra! What you asked me, I thus heard from my Guru.
O Nārada, hearing the words of the Muni Durvāsā Indra became dispassionate towards the Samsāra. Day by day his feeling of dispassion increased.
One day, when he returned to his own home from the hermitage of the Muni, he saw the Heavens overspread by the Daityas and it had become terrible.
At some places outrage and oppression knew no bounds; some places were devoid of friends; at some places, some persons had lost their fathers, mothers, wives, relations; so no rest and repose could be found.
Thus, seeing the Heavens in the hands of enemies, Indra went out in quest of Brihaspati, the family preceptor of the Devas.
Seeking to and fro Indra ultimately went to the banks of the Mandākinī and saw that the Guru Deva had bathed in the waters of the Mandākinī and sitting with his face turned towards the East towards the Sun, was meditating on Para Brahmā, Who has His faces turned everywhere.
Tears were flowing from his eyes and the hairs of the body stood erect with delight. He was elderly in knowledge; the spiritual Teacher of all, religious, served by all great men; he was held as most dear to all the friends.
Those who are Jñānins regard him as their Guru. He was the eldest of all his brothers; he was considered as very unpopular to the enemies of the Devas.
Seeing the family priest Brihaspati merged in that state of meditation, Indra waited there. When after one Prahara (three hours), the Guru Deva got up, Indra bowed down to his feet and began to weep and cry out repeatedly.
Then he informed his Guru about his curse from a Brāhmin, his acquiring the true knowledge as so very rare, and the wretched state of Amarāvati, wrought by the enemies.
68-92. O Best of Brāhmaṇas! Hearing thus the words of the disciple, the intelligent speaker Brihaspati spoke with his eyes reddened out of anger:
“O Lord of the Devas! I have heard everything that you said; do not cry; have patience; hear attentively what I say:
The wise politicians of good behaviour, with moral precepts, never lose their heads and get themselves distressed in times of danger. Nothing is everlasting; whether property or adversity; all are transient; they only give troubles.
All are under one’s own Karma; one is master of one’s own Karma. What had been done in previous births, so one will have to reap the fruits afterwards. (Therefore property or adversity, all are due to one’s own Karma.)
This happens to all persons eternally, births after births. Pain and happiness are like the ring of a rolling wheel. So what pain is there? It is already stated that one’s own Karma must be enjoyed in this Holy Bhārata.
The man enjoys the effects of his own Karmas, auspicious or inauspicious. Never the Karma gets exhausted in one hundred Koṭi Kalpas, without their effects being enjoyed.
The Karma, whether auspicious or inauspicious, must be enjoyed. Thus it is stated in the Vedas and as well by Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Spirit.
Bhagavān Śrī Kṛṣṇa addressed Brahmā, the lotus-born, in the Sama Veda Śākhā that all persons acquire their births, whether, in Bhārata or in any other country, according to the Karma that he had done.
The course of a Brāhmaṇa comes though this Karma; and the blessings of a Brāhmaṇa come again by this Karma. By Karma one gets great wealth and prosperity and by Karma again one gets poverty.
You may take one hundred Koṭi births; the fruit of Karma must follow you. O Indra! The fruit of Karma follows one like one’s shadow. Without enjoyment, that can never die.
The effects of Karma become increased or decreased according to time, place, and the person concerned. As you will give away anything to persons, of different natures, in different times and in different places, your merit acquired will also vary accordingly.
Gifts made on certain special days bring in Koṭi times the fruits (merits, Puṇyam) or infinite times or even more than that. Again gifts, similar in nature, made in similar paces yield Puṇyam the same, in character too.
Gifts made in different countries yield Puṇyams Koṭi times, infinite times or even more than that. But similar things given to similar persons yield similar Puṇyams.
As the grains vary in their natures as the fields differ, so gifts made to different persons yield different grades of Puṇyams infinitely superior or infinitely inferior as the case may be.
Giving things to a Brāhmaṇa on any ordinary day yields simple puṇya only. But if the gift be made to a Brāhman on an Amāvasyā day (new moon day) or on a Samkranti day (the day when the Sun enters another’s sign) then hundred times more Puṇyam is acquired.
Again charities made on the Chāturmāsya period (the vow that lasts for four months in the rainy season) or on the full moon day, yield infinite Puṇyams.
So charities made on the occasion of the lunar eclipses yield Koṭi times the result and if made on the occasion of the solar eclipse yields ten times more Puṇyams.
Charities made on Akṣyayā Tritīyā or the Navamī day yield infinite and endless results. So charities on other holy days yield religious merits higher than those made on ordinary days.
As charities made on holy days yield religious merits so bathing, reciting mantrams, and other holy acts yield meritorious results. As superior results are obtained by pious acts; inferior results are obtained by impious acts.
As an earthen potter makes pots, jars, etc., out of the earth with the help of rod, wheel, earthen cups or plates and motion, so the Creator awards respective fruits to different persons, by the help of this thread (continuity) of Karma.
Therefore if you want to have cessation of this fruition of Karma, then worship Nārāyaṇa, by whose command all these things of Nature are created.
He is the Creator of even Brahmā, the Creator, the Preserver of Viṣṇu, the Preserver, the Destroyer of Śiva, the Destroyer and the Kāla (the great Time) of Kāla (the Time).
Śankara has said:
He who remembers Madhusūdana (a name of Viṣṇu) in great troubles, his dangers cease and happiness begins.”
O Nārada! The wise Brihaspati thus advised Indra and then embraced him and gave him his hearty blessings and good wishes.
Here ends the Fortieth Chapter of the Ninth Book on the birth of Lakṣmī in the discourse of Nārada and Nārāyaṇa in the Mahā Purāṇam Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam of 18,000 verses by Mahāṛṣi Veda Vyāsa.