Fifth Skanda

The Creative Impetus:

S’uka continues on Priyavrata, Rishabha, Bharata
and the Structure of the Universe

Chapter 1: The Activities of Mahârâja Priyavrata

(1) The King said: ‘Why, o sage, was Priyavrata, the great devotee of contentment with the soul, so happy to stay at home, that place which is the root cause of bondage in karma and the betrayal of transcendence? (2) Such a thing as indulgence in family-affairs, o wisest of the twiceborn, is for sure not possible with persons who are free from attachments. (3) It suffers no doubt that the consciousness of great souls that is satiated by the shade of the feet of the Lord praised in the verses, is there never in attachment to kith and kin. (4) This I greatly doubt, o brahmin: how can on account of the forces of wife, home, children and so on, perfection and an unfailing determination unto Krishna come about?’

(5) S’rî S’uka said: ‘What you said about the nectarean honey of the glorification of the lotuslike feet of the Lord of the scriptures, the pleasing in which the hearts of liberated persons and the devotees are absorbed, is correct; even though they’re sometimes checked by impediments, do they as good as never give up their most exalted position. (6) Because, indeed, o King, prince Priyavrata was a supreme devotee became he, in service of Nârada’s feet, quickly aware of the complete truth of the transcendental subject matter, continuously discussing the spiritual in dedicated zeal without deviating from the sum total of the highest qualities as directed in the scriptures. He was asked by his father to rule over the surface of the earth, but because of having such a love for the with all his senses and actions in yoga being absorbed in the all-pervading of the Supreme Lord, did he not welcome it, although that post for no reason could be refused by him as surely deterioration could be foreseen if he would deal any other way with the untrue. (7) So it happened that the Lord and first among the demigods [Brahmâ] surrounded by all his personal associates and the Vedas, descended from his abode; he who is always thinking of the welfare of the whole of this universal creation of the three modes and of whom one knows the ultimate purpose of the Universe as being the Supreme Soul from which he himself found his existence. (8) When he reached the vicinity of the Gandhamâdana Mountains [where Priyavrata was meditating] was he, under the cover of the sky, alike the moon illumined by the stars, left and right flanked by the leaders of the demigods, who from their heavenly carriers worshiped him all the way, as also one after the other in groups did the perfect ones, the inhabitants of heaven, the refined, the singers and the sages [respectively the Siddhas, the Gandharvas, the Câranas, the Sâdhyas and the Munis]. (9)There rose the devarishi [Nârada], recognizing the swan-carrier of his almighty father Lord Hiranyagarbha [Brahmâ], together with Priyavrata and his father immediately to their feet to worship him with respect with their hands folded and with all the paraphernalia. (10) O son of Bhârata, as the Lord was confronted with all the articles of worship according the customs and as his qualities were praised in high language in gratitude for the glory of his descend, addressed he, the original person of the universe, Priyavrata, with a compassionate smile looking at him.

(11) The great Lord said: ‘Pay attention to the true I’m telling you, you should not be jealous with the Godhead who is beyond our powers of control; we, Lord S’iva, your father and this great Rishi [Nârada], all, not being able to deviate, carry out His orders. (12) No living entity in acceptance of a material body can escape His order; not by austerity, nor by education, not by yoga, nor by one’s strength or intelligence and for sure never either by one’s opulence, the virtue of one’s duty, by an external power or by any personal endeavor. (13) Directed by the unseen, do the living entities accept it with a material body to be bound to birth, death, sadness, illusion, constant fear, happiness and distress and to whatever they should do according their karma. (14) In our being tied to the modes and the fruitive labor so difficult to avoid [within the varnâs’rama system], my son, are we, like the four-legged ones [like bulls] by the nose bound to the two-legged [driver], tied to the long rope of vedic instruction and all engaged in carrying out the orders meant to please the Controller. (15) Like blind men led by someone with eyes do we, my dearest, inevitably have to accept the distress or happiness associated with the qualities and the work that belong to the condition we are situated in with the body that our Protector gave us. (16) Even a liberated person must for the time of his life maintain his body that was obtained as a result of the past, accepting unmistaken that what he went through as one who has awakened from sleep; but for another material body [a repeated birth] he would never give in to the material qualities. (17) When even residing in the forest there must be the fear of being bewildered because of living with the six co-wives [of the mind and the five senses], what harm indeed could household life then do to such a self-satisfied, learned one who has conquered the senses? (18) Anyone who has entered a householder’s life must first of all eagerly try to conquer the six adversaries so that, as soon as – as from a fortified place – he has decreased the very strong enemies of the lusty desires, he as a man of experience can go wherever he likes. (19) You then, having taken to the shelter of the stronghold of the cavity of the lotus feet of Him whose navel is alike a lotus, and having conquered the six enemies, enjoy in this world everything there is to be enjoyed, finding yours in being liberated from attachments in your position, through these special orders of the Original Person.’

(20) S’rî S’uka said: ‘The great devotee of the mighty Lord who is the spiritual master of the three worlds, thus fully instructed, as a subordinate soul bowed his head down upon his order and said: ‘Yes sir, so will it, with all respect, be carried out’. (21) The great Lord, also by Manu duly respected as he deserves, with Priyavrata and Nârada in peace taking notice, then returned to his abode, departing for the place above all places which is indescribable and unfatomable. (22) Manu thus, also with his support, executed what he had in mind and with the permission of Nârada by his son establishing the maintenance of the protection of all worlds in the entire universe, found he personally relief from the desires of the so very dangerous, poisonous ocean of material affairs. (23) So indeed as ordered by the Controller, was he [Manu’s son, Priyavrata], fully engaged in material affairs as the emperor of the universe, by constant meditation on the two lotus feet of the Supreme Lord, the Original Person of whom the influence of transcendence destroys all bondage, fully engaged in material affairs as the emperor of the universe completely pure with all dirt washed out of his heart and ruled he the material world just to honor the great ones. (24) He afterwards also married the daughter Barhishmatî of Vis’vakarmâ, one of the founding fathers and begot in her gloriously a daughter who as the youngest of all carried the name Ûrjasvatî, as well as ten sons, whose magnanimity was exactly alike his in character, qualities, course of action, beauty and prowess. (25) The sons all got the names of Agni, the god of fire: Âgnîdhra, Idhmajihva, Yajñabâhu, Mahâvîra, Hiranyaretâ, Ghritaprishthha, Savana, Medhâtithi, Vîtihotra and Kavi. (26) Three of them, Kavi, Mahâvîra and Savana were celibates from the inner drive who, living in transcendental knowledge right from the beginning of their childhood, were well conversant with the highest spiritual perfection, of wich they free from doubts kept the order [the paramahamsa-âs’rama]. (27) In that so confidently kept renounced order of life (*) resides the sum total of all great sages who are there for the individual souls who, anxious about their material existence, take to the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord Vâsudeva who is the only shelter. In constant remembrance perceived they, by virtue of the supreme of the yoga of devotion, free from contaminations purified, within their hearts the Supreme Lord of all beings as situated within themselves, thereby directly realizing their souls as being qualitatively equal, as being non-different from the Supersoul. (28) It was in another wife that he also begot three sons named Uttama, Tâmasa and Raivata who so became rulers of the Manu period [that is 71 mahâyugas long]. (29) Endowed with powerful arms of prowess and strength who together pulled the bowstring loudly defeating all who opposed the righteous rule, became they, all his well qualified sons, masters of the universe and thus was there without interruption for a 110 million years the expansion of Priyavrata’s rule as a great soul, a soul who of his wife Barhishmatî her amiability, femininity, shyness, coy, laughs and glances and exchanges of love [in his repeated births] enjoyed a life of pleasure; but in his true knowledge was he defeated by it like a less intelligent one. (30) Not appreciating that the sungod, as long as he circumambulated mount Meru, lit up one side of the earth and left the other half in the dark, said he who in his worship of the Fortunate One was of a superhuman power: ‘I’ll make the night as brilliant as the day’, and to that he followed in a chariot the orbit of the sun, which he, like a second sun, performed ecactly seven times and with the same speed. (31) His proceeding that way with the wheels of his chariot was, making trenches with the rims, responsible for bringing about the seven oceans which divided the heavenly sphere around the earth [Bhû-mandala] in the seven islands [the realms of planetary interest]. (32) Known as Jambû, Plaksha, S’âlmali, Kus’a, Krauñca, S’âka and Pushkara measures each of them twice the size of the preceding one and was there, all around outside of them, that what they produced. (33) The seven oceans that like trenches to the seven islands inside of them were filled with salt water, sugercane-juice, liquor, fluid butter, milk, fluid yogurt and sweet water, were of an equal proportion to the islands they enclosed at the outside, the separate islands that one after the other to the number of seven were situated in a row all around. To each of the islands installed the husband of Barhishmatî as their rulers one of his faithful sons of which there were also seven: Âgnîdhra, Idhmajihva, Yajñabâhu, Hiranyaretâ, Ghritaprishthha, Medhâtithi and Vîtihotra.

(34) What he also did was to give the daughter named Ûrjasvatî to the great sage Us’anâ [S’ukrâcârya] unto whom was born a daughter named Devayânî. (35) Of no surprise is to the devotees the personal influence of the One of the Great Steps [Urukrama, see 1.3: 19], by the lotus feet of whom the sixfold material whip [of hunger, thirst, lamentation, illusion, old age and death] is conquered, when a fifth-class person [an outcaste] only once uttering His holy name immediately gives up his material bondage. (36) He [Priyavrata] thus unparalleled in strength and influence, who once surrendered himself to the feet of the devarishi [Nârada] but thereafter fell down because of his concerns with the modes of matter not finding satisfaction [compare 1-5: 17], then, thinking about himself, in a spirit of renunciation said this: (37) ‘Alas, I did wrong for I was completely absorbed by the nescience of a sensual life; the dark well of material pleasure made me guilty of a lot of distress making me look like a dancing monkey, insignificant and of no importance, in the hands of my wife; doomed and damned I am indeed!’, thus he criticized himself. (38) By the selfrealization obtained through the mercy of the God Beyond, handing over the earth to his sons who followed him exactly, dividing the inheritance he enjoyed in so many ways, with the queen and the great opulence giving up the deadness of his body and with himself in his heart in perfect surrender taking to the renunciation, he with that attitude was sure to again put himself on the right track in combination with the stories of the Lord at the feet of that greatest of saints Nârada. (39) To him apply all these verses: ‘What was done by Priyavrata no one could have done except for the Supreme Controller’, ‘By the impressions of the rims of the wheels of his chariot he dissipated the darkness, creating the seven seas’. (40) ‘To stop the fighting of the different nations on the various continents was it he who created the situation in the world of the separation by means of rivers, mountain ranges and forests [compare 4.14: 45-46] and such.’ (41) ‘He was the one most dear on the path after the Original Person; he was the one to whom all opulence of the lower worlds, the heavens or the earth, as acquired by fruitive action and the power of yoga, was just like hell.’