Srimad Bhagavatam class in Mayapur 9.15. 16-24
From Sri Mayapur Chandrodaya Mandir Date: February 3, 2019
Speaker: HH Bhakti Caru Swami
Subject: Srimad Bhagavatam 9.15 16-24
kiṁ tad aṁho bhagavato
kṛtaṁ yena kulaṁ naṣṭaṁ
King Parīkṣit inquired from Śukadeva Gosvāmī: What was the offense that the kṣatriyas who could not control their senses committed before Lord Paraśurāma, the incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, for which the Lord annihilated the kṣatriya dynasty again and again?
bāhūn daśa-śataṁ lebhe
lokeṣu pavano yathā
Śukadeva Gosvāmī said: The best of the kṣatriyas, Kārtavīryārjuna, the King of the Haihayas, received one thousand arms by worshiping Dattātreya, the plenary expansion of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Nārāyaṇa. He also became undefeatable by enemies and received unobstructed sensory power, beauty, influence, strength, fame and the mystic power by which to achieve all the perfections of yoga, such as aṇimā and laghimā. Thus having become fully opulent, he roamed all over the universe without opposition, just like the wind.
strī-ratnair āvṛtaḥ krīḍan
vaijayantīṁ srajaṁ bibhrad
rurodha saritaṁ bhujaiḥ
Once while enjoying in the water of the River Narmadā, the puffed-up Kārtavīryārjuna, surrounded by beautiful women and garlanded with a garland of victory, stopped the flow of the water with his arms.
nāmṛṣyat tasya tad vīryaṁ
Because Kārtavīryārjuna made the water flow in the opposite direction, the camp of Rāvaṇa, which was set up on the bank of the Narmadā near the city of Māhiṣmatī, was inundated. This was unbearable to the ten-headed Rāvaṇa, who considered himself a great hero and could not tolerate Kārtavīryārjuna’s power.
Rāvaṇa was out touring to gain victory over all other countries (dig-vijaya), and he had camped on the bank of the Narmadā River near the city of Māhiṣmatī.
gṛhīto līlayā strīṇāṁ
mukto yena kapir yathā
When Rāvaṇa attempted to insult Kārtavīryārjuna in the presence of the women and thus offended him, Kārtavīryārjuna easily arrested Rāvaṇa and put him in custody in the city of Māhiṣmatī, just as one captures a monkey, and then released him neglectfully.
sa ekadā tu mṛgayāṁ
vicaran vijane vane
Once while Kārtavīryārjuna was wandering unengaged in a solitary forest and hunting, he approached the residence of Jamadagni.
Kārtavīryārjuna had no business going to the residence of Jamadagni, but because he was puffed-up by his extraordinary power, he went there and offended Paraśurāma. This was the prelude to his being killed by Paraśurāma for his offensive act.
tasmai sa naradevāya
munir arhaṇam āharat
The sage Jamadagni, who was engaged in great austerities in the forest, received the King very well, along with the King’s soldiers, ministers and carriers. He supplied all the necessities to worship these guests, for he possessed a kāmadhenu cow that was able to supply everything.
The Brahma-saṁhitā informs us that the spiritual world, and especially the planet Goloka Vṛndāvana, where Kṛṣṇa lives, is full of surabhi cows (surabhīr abhipālayantam [Bs. 5.29]). The surabhi cow is also called kāmadhenu. Although Jamadagni possessed only one kāmadhenu, he was able to get from it everything desirable. Thus he was able to receive the King, along with the King’s great number of followers, ministers, soldiers, animals and palanquin carriers. When we speak of a king, we understand that he is accompanied by many followers. Jamadagni was able to receive all the King’s followers properly and feed them sumptuously with food prepared in ghee. The King was astonished at how opulent Jamadagni was because of possessing only one cow, and therefore he became envious of the great sage. This was the beginning of his offense. Paraśurāma, the incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, killed Kārtavīryārjuna because Kārtavīryārjuna was too proud. One may possess unusual opulence in this material world, but if one becomes puffed up and acts whimsically he will be punished by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This is the lesson to learn from this history, in which Paraśurāma became angry at Kārtavīryārjuna and killed him and rid the entire world of kṣatriyas twenty-one times.
HH Bhakti Caru Swami:
So actually we are covering eight verses here, and it gives us a very detailed history about what happened. Pariksit Maharaj asked from Sukadeva Goswami, “What was the offense that the ksatriyas who could not control their senses committed before Lord Parasurama, the incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead for which the Lord annihilated the ksatriya dynasties again and again?”
In response to that question, Pariksit Maharaj was informed that Parasurama, which is an incarnation of the Lord, shaktiavesh avatar of the Lord, He annihilated the ksatriyas 21 times. So his inquiry was what did the ksatriyas do that Parasurama became so angry with them and annihilated them?
Jayadeva Goswami in Dasavatar Stotram actually mentions that also “kshatriya-rudhira-maye jagad-apagata-papam
snapayasi payasi samita-bhava-tapam” the world became filled with sinful activities. He washed away those sinful activities with the blood of the ksatriyas.
The ksatriyas are meant to function under the authority and the guidance of the Brahmanas. If the ksatriyas become independent then they become tyrannical. They become despots. Whimsical, tyrannical kings. And that’s what must have happened at that time. It started with the offense committed by Kartaviryarjuna.
Kartaviryarjuna was a very, very powerful king. He worshipped Dattatreya, who is also an incarnation of the Lord, the son of Atri, or, Brahma’s grandson. Brahma’s son was Pulastya , Pulaha Atri, Marichi, Angiras. So Atri Muni’s son was Dattatreya. He was an incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
The history is there in Mahabharata in more and more detail that when Kartaviryarjuna’s father died, he was quite young. In vedic culture, the son gets the name according to the father often, not always. Just like, for example, Dritarastha’s sons are known as 18.49. Similarly, Krithavija’s son was known as Kartavija. His actual name was Arjuna, but he was called Kartaviryarjuna because he was the son of Krithavija.
Krithavija was a very powerful king and when he died, he had three brothers. The consideration was who would ascend to king, who would inherit the kingdom.This is the chandravamsa, the moon dynasty. In this dynasty, Krishna was to appear. Therefore the priest of the dynasty was Gargamuni since the beginning. So Gargamuni suggested that Karthavija, although he was young, let him be king. Karthavija refused, you can see that he was such a nobel person. He said look, I am not qualified, I do not know how to take care of the citizens. Then Gargamuni suggested, you go to Dattatreya and study under him. Serve him, and get the wisdom from him.
He went to Dattatreya and served him very nicely. As a result of that, when he finished his study Dattatreya wanted to give him six boons and he asked for those six boons. His first boon was to please give me the ability that I can take care of my citizens properly. This is the qualification of a proper king. His first consideration is to take care of his citizens properly. Then he asked, because he was ksatriya, he wanted immense power and he wanted a thousand arms. So that’s actually how he got a thousand arms. He also asked that these thousand arms not become a liability to my body, but become a strength to my body. He also asked that he never be defeated by anybody. In this way he asked for six boons. Dattatreya was so pleased with him for the way that he asked for these six boons appropriately, that he wanted to give him two more boons. One of the last boons out of the two was to allow him to die with someone who is greater than me.
You can see that Karthavija was actually a very nobel person. But as Srila Prabhupada was pointing out in the purport, when one gets power, no matter who he may be, there is a tendency to become arrogant, to become puffed up.
As it has been described here, Kartaviryarjuna was hunting in the forest, the king used to go to the forest hunting with his entire entourage, his ministers, his generals, his army, his servants. He came to Jamadagni’s ashram, very tired. Jamadagni said, ok, go and take a bath, I’ll make arrangements for your food. In the forest, in the ashram of the sage, what could he expect? But when he came back he found that an elaborate arrangement has been made to feed him. He was surprised. How did you make this arrangement in such a short time in a remote place like this. Jamadagni told that he has a cow, and this cow can supply anything that he wants. He said, give me that cow, mine need is greater than thine. Jamadagni refused and an argument ensued. He was trying to reason with him, why do you need this cow? I’ll give you many many cows if you need ghee, etc. for your worship and things. Jamadagni refused. Ultimately, he became so angry that he pulled out his sword and chopped his head off.
Parasurama is not there. Parasurama is the son of Jamadagni. So when he came back, he saw what happened. His mother told him what happened. Parasurama just went to confront him. Kartaviryarjuna, with his seventeen akshauhini soldiers, attacked Parasurama. Parasurama wiped them all out.
How is it possible? The question that naturally comes is, how can one man, one person, annihilate millions of soldiers in this way? Not only are they not ordinary soldiers, they are very valiant and expert warriors. We have to understand that these personalities are not ordinary personalities. They are endowed with super power, celestial, divine power. An example can be given in that respect. Is it possible for a human being to kill twenty-five million ants? He can crush them in no time. These personalities are so powerful that compared to their power, these soldiers and all were just like a bunch of ants.
Parasurama did that with his weapon, which was only two things. One was an axe and the other was a bow. The bow was given by Lord Siva that he received from the Lord to give to Tripurasura. This is history, therefor we see that all of these happenings are interrelated. It actually reminds me of how Kamsa actually encountered Parasurama. Parasurama lives in a mountain called Mahendraparvata.
Kamsa, sometimes to show his prowess, he used to lift mountains. Parasurama became disturbed because he was there meditating on the mountain. Parasurama was very angry and said you are not a ksatriya. So he was about to take care of Kamsa. Kamsa said no I’m not a ksatriya, I’m a rakshasha. So Parasurama spared him. He said, but still, let me see how strong you are. So Kamsa lifted the mountain a hundred and times and set it down. Parasurama was so pleased with him that he gave him a boon. That is actually why Kamsa had the boon that he had it to have a yagna that anybody who could string the bow, he would give him half the kingdom. Parasurama at the time told him also that when somebody will come and break the bow, you will become confused and know the time has come for you to die. It actually happened that Krishna came and broke the bow and killed Kamsa.
To go back to that point, Parasurama annihilated seventeen akshauhini of Kartaviryarjuna, then Kartaviryarjuna himself came to fight with Parasurama. Parasurama chopped off all of his thousand arms and choBrahmanaspped off his head. Parasurama became so upset with the arrogance of the ksatriyas for twenty-one times he annihilated the ksatriyas from this planet.
The question arises that if all of the ksatriyas were killed then how did their offspring and the next generation come. The ksatriyas were killed but their wives were actually spared. In vedic culture no one actually hurts or offends a woman. They received their offspring from the Brahmanas. This is actually custom in the time of emergency, the Brahmanas can impregnate the ksatriya women.
Twenty-one times they did that. Every ten years he would wipe out all of the ksatriyas. In this way for two hundred and ten years, he wiped out the ksatriyas from this planet twenty-one times. Finally Parasurama confronted Lord Ramachandra. When Ramachandra broke the bow of Lord Siva and won Sita for his wife, when he was returning home, Parasurama confronted him.
It is described in the Ramayana that all of a sudden they observed some ominous signs. The animals were moving in a certain direction, there was barking and howling. All of a sudden the sky became overcast without any reason. Then they saw this fiery personality. His hair and beard was the color of burnt fire and he came with a bow in his hand. They could recognize that this was Parasurama and everybody was very worried.
Parasurama confronted Ramachandra. So, I heard that you broke the bow of Lord Siva. Let me see if you can string my bow. Lord Ramachandra extended his hand and took the bow. At that time, Parasurama’s body became black. The power that was invested unto him by the Lord, the shaktiavesha empowered incarnation, the power that the Lord invested in Parasurama, he took that power away from him. The idea is that the mission has been accomplished, the world has been freed from the tyrannical ksatriyas twenty-one times, the earth has become freed from all of those sinful activities, and now that Lord Ramachandra has come, there is no need for Parasurama, so the power has been withdrawn from him. This is how Parasurama actually became devoid of this. Parasurama is still there in Mahendra Mountain.
This is the history. It is so unfortunate that today, especially in India, that people think these are fairy tales, concocted stories. No, these are not concocted stories, these are historical facts. This chapter is actually describing the line. The moon god, Soma, he had a son, Budha. Budha’s son was Pururava. Pururava was so beautiful that Urvasi, the celestial apsara, became attracted to him. She married Puruvara. From them came six sons. One of the sons was Vijaya. Vijaya had a son, Bhima. Not Pandava Bhima. In that line came Jahnu Muni, the one who drank Ganga in one sip. From Jahnu Muni came this line.
Another incident which is also mentioned here, we can briefly discus that. Ravana had an encounter with Kartaviryarjuna. He was so powerful that he defeated Ravana. Kartaviryarjuna was bathing in Narmada River, another big river with his one thousand wives. One of his wives jokingly said, let’s see how powerful you are. Can you stop the movement of the river? Kartaviryarjuna said, ok, fine. He sat in the middle of the river and with his thousand arms he stopped the flow of Narmada. When the flow of the river stopped, the water started to flood the bank upstream. The river started to flow upstream instead of downstream.
At that time, Ravana had his camp on the bank of Narmada. His whole camp got washed away. He was another arrogant person. He said, what has happened that the river is flowing this way? He sent his ministers to find out what happened. His ministers returned and said that there is one person who is stretching his thousand arms and he has stopped the flow of the Narmada. Ravana said oh, such an arrogant person trying to display his power? So he went in front of his wives and started to insult Kartaviryarjuna.
Ravana is also another very arrogant person. He was an extremely powerful person who had defeated all of the demigods. Kartaviryarjuna fought with him. With one stroke of his mace, Ravana became unconscious. He then tied up Ravana’s hands and feet, put him in a cage, and placed it in the city so that everybody could watch. It has been said, like a monkey. Sometimes a monkey is put in a cage for peoples entertainment, so Ravana was put in that way. Ravana’s pride was completely shattered. Then Ravana’s grandfather, another son of Brahma, Pulastya, his son was Visravas, and his son was Ravana. So Pulastya came and appealed to Kartaviryarjuna to please release him. Kartaviryarjuna let him go.
These are not fairy tales or mythology. They are a factual thing. We can see the entire line is there described. This ninth canto is describing them so beautifully. It is there and in so many other puranas and they are not contradicting. They are all saying the same thing. In all of the scriptures we will find that Ravana’s father is Visrava. And who is Visrava? The son of Pulastva. Who is Pulastva? The son of Brahma. Brahma created ten sons out of his mind. One of them is Pulastva. The youngest of them all was Narada Muni.
These are facts. People think that this is mythology or whatever because they never read them. They never read the scriptures but they will say that these are all fairy tales. Another thing is that it’s not just by reading the books that they understand. They will need a teacher to reveal those scriptures. We are so fortunate that we came across Srila Prabhupada’s teachings. That is how we get to know what the scriptures are and what they are saying.
I’ll leave some time for questions and answers.
Yes, Prabhu, thank you.
So, twenty-one times Parasurama killed the ksatriyas for the offense of Kartaviryarjuna. It really sounds like overkill. Is this discussed anywhere in the sastras why twenty-one times for the offense of one ksatriya?
I don’t know the secret behind that.
Also, Rudra did that too to the yakshas, someone had to come and stop him. But you don’t know if that might be discussed?
One thing can be related to that, you can say. When Parasurama killed Kartaviryarjuna, he assured him that for three generations he would kill his descendants. Each one had seventy years to stay. Three sevens are twenty-one. He was annihilating them every ten years, so twenty-one times. When Kartaviryarjuna’s third generation was annihilated, then he considered that now the ksatriyas have now become disciplined.
Yes, Hare Krishna.
Maharaj, from these wonderful and historical events that you have so beautifully narrated to us, what special lesson can we take from all of this that will be helpful to us on our path of devotion?
Well, the first thing that comes to my mind is that we get to know about real leaders of the society, real role models. That’s one thing. Another thing is the option that we have of either becoming virtuous or sinful. It is better to become virtuous than sinful, and realizing that real virtue is to surrender unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
These are the lessons that the scriptures are always pointing out, never deviate from the path of dharma. Dharma is the law given by the Supreme Personality of Godhead in order to make everyone submissive unto him. Since he is the Supreme Lord, being submissive unto him is the goal of life. Those who go against the Supreme Personality of Godhead, they meet an unfortunate end.
Very nice, thank you.
Yes, Hare Krishna Maharaj.
(…no mic)…They all have this father and this son was here and low and behold there was a mountain there. I mean, you’ve got thousands of years, you could put the history together and fabricate and co-relate where overtime you get seamless scenarios. Just because there is a list that fits together, I have to believe there was a guy with a thousand arms? I’m just doing my job.
Ok, response. If an insect like a centipede can have a hundred legs, why can’t a human being have a thousand arms?
Were you saving that Maharaj for me or what?!
Last question, there was a warning. The class must end at nine o’clock.
The Hare Krishna mantra is the most powerful. In the present day, all of the government leaders are so sinful and whimsical. Does it mean that at sometime the devotees will take over and topple the whole situation? Can it be predicted that this whole situation will be corrected by the devotees?
This is the age of Kali. As the time progresses, the world becomes more and more sinful. In the age of Kali, the people are most sinful. It is a sinful age. In this age adharma will be established. Adharma means that everything will turn upside down. Like, there is one condition that will happen in the age of Kali: the lamps will burn with the wicks pointing downwards. Everything turns upside down in this age. But, as you rightly said, the sankirtan movement has started and Satyayuga will be established. We are just going through the beginning phase.
Caitanya Mahaprabhu came 500 years ago. His teachings and dhams disappeared. But then came Bhaktivinoda Thakura to revive, Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati Thakura established the movement. Srila Prabhupada came and took this mission all over the world. This is the beginning. Srila Prabhupada’s coming and establishing Krishna Consciousness and fulfilling that, the prediction of Lord Caitanya Mahaprabhu was just the beginning. We can’t even imagine what is going to happen in the course of time. Satyayuga will be established.
Thank you. Hare Krishna All glories to Srila Prabhupada. Gaura premanande.