Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.5.23 , Vṛndāvana , 1974-08-04
Pradyumna: Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. Oṁ namo bhagavate vāsudevāya. [devotees repeat] [leads chanting of verse, etc.]
dāsyās tu kasyāścana veda-vādinām
nirūpito bālaka eva yogināṁ
śuśrūṣaṇe prāvṛṣi nirvivikṣatām
"In the last millennium I was born as the son of a certain maidservant engaged in the service of brāhmaṇas, who were following the principles of Vedānta. When they were living together during the four months of the rainy season, I was engaged in their personal service."
dāsyās tu kasyāścana veda-vādinām
nirūpito bālaka eva yogināṁ
śuśrūṣaṇe prāvṛṣi nirvivikṣatām
So this is the previous life history of Nārada Muni. Nārada Muni is explaining about his previous life to Vyāsadeva. What was the previous life? The son of a maidservant. Maidservant means śūdrāṇī, not born of a brāhmaṇa family. Low class, maidservant. So from this position, Nārada Muni became the greatest muni. He is describing his own life.
This is most important point, that even... First of all, he was a boy, three-, four- or five-years-old boy, no knowledge. And second point is that he was not born in a very high-grade family, aristocratic family, rich family. No. Maidservant's son. He did not give any information of his father also. Dāsyāḥ. Dāsyāḥ means there is no certainty who is father. Dāsī. Dāsī-putra. The... Formerly, big, big men, especially kṣatriyas... Just like when Vasudeva was married with Devakī, so with Devakī many hundreds maidservants were given, with Vasudeva. That is the system, especially among the kṣatriyas. When a kṣatriya king is married, then along with the queen, many girlfriends of the queen, they are also taken away. This is also nice solution of social problem. Yes. Because female population is always greater than the male population. And... Therefore, the royal order, they would accept all these girls as associates. And sometimes they would be pregnant, and there will be son. They were called dāsī-putra. They were not neglected. They were equally taken care of. But they were not heir to the throne. Only the married wife's son... Just like Vidura. Vidura's birth was like that. Vidura was not born of the queen, but maidservant. And Dhṛtarāṣṭra, he took him as his brother. There was no discrimination because one is born of the maidservant... No. Equal treatment. Only the restriction was that he would not inherit the throne. That was the system.
So here... Of course, it appears that Nārada Muni was not of that kind of dāsī-putra. Ordinary dāsī-putra. Because the such dāsī, or the maidservant, they do not come out for common service. They remain within the palace. So the point is that Nārada Muni in his previous life was not very recognized family, neither brāhmaṇa nor nothing of the sort. Still, he became next life the Nārada Muni. And what is the cause? What... The cause is, nirūpito bālaka eva yoginām: "I was appointed a boy servant of the devotees." The importance is that devotee is so important that if anyone renders a little service, then he becomes elevated to the spiritual life. What bālaka... Bālaka means there was a boy. "You, boy, bring me this," or "Do this. Just wash my cloth," or "Just set up my bedding." Like that. This much servant. Or "Wash this dish." So the devotional service is so powerful, by doing this... This will be described later on, that simply by doing this little service to the yoginām, he was so blessed that next life he became Nārada. This point is very important point. That is being explained.
Another point is that when one is situated... Nārada, after this life, he became situated in his spiritual life. In the spiritual life, therefore, he was able to go anywhere. Nārada is traveling all over the universe---not only within this material world, in the spiritual world also. He goes to see Nārāyaṇa in the spiritual world. [aside:] This boy is sleeping. You can... You go back side. Those who will sleep can go back side. So this is one point, that in spiritual life one is free to move. There is no requisition of this aeroplane or... Even in this material world, those who are very highly elevated, that is called... They live in the Siddhaloka. There is a... That is described in the Second Canto of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, Siddhaloka. Now, Siddhaloka, the inhabitants of the Siddhaloka, they don't require any plane. They can go... Because siddha means the inhabitants in that planet, they are all perfect in aṣṭa-siddhi-yoga. By yogic perfection, one can travel in the space. Just like Durvāsā Muni = he traveled in the space. When there was chasing by the Sudarśana-cakra, he, by yogic power, he fled from one place to another, one place... He even entered the spiritual nature and saw Viṣṇu personally. Still he was condemned. The Sudarśana-cakra was after him, chasing. He tried to insult Ambarīṣa Mahārāja, Vaiṣṇava. So... He wanted to kill. Not only insult, but he wanted to kill him. A demon was immediately produced by his hair. The yogīs can do that. Aṇimā... Aṇimā, laghimā, prāpti-siddhi... Whatever they like. Immediately he brought one demon. So... But Vaiṣṇava, Mahārāja Ambarīṣa, he was neither yogī nor he could display any yogic perfection. But he was protected by Kṛṣṇa, by the Sudarśana-cakra.
This is Vaiṣṇava's... Vaiṣṇavas do not require to practice any yogic power to become materially powerful. He doesn't require. Simply his surrender to Kṛṣṇa makes him all-powerful. This is the position of Vaiṣṇava. Vaiṣṇavas, they do not care for all these yogic power. They depend on Kṛṣṇa. And who can be... Kṛṣṇa is the yogeśvara, all, master. Yatra kṛṣṇo... Yatra yogeśvaraḥ kṛṣṇaḥ [Bg. 18.78]. So if one takes shelter of the Yogeśvara, the master of all mystic power, why he should bother about this yogic power? A poor man may try to earn money by hard labor, but one who is a very, very rich man's son, why should he labor? The father's money is sufficient. Similarly, a devotee, a sincere devotee, he is under the protection of Kṛṣṇa. And under the protection of Kṛṣṇa means under the protection of all six kinds of opulences = riches, then strength, then reputation, wisdom, renunciation, beauty---the six kinds of opulence.
Kṛṣṇa, under... Yaṁ labdhvā cāparaṁ lābhaṁ manyate nādhikaṁ tataḥ [Bg. 6.22]. This is stated here. Because if you get somehow or other Kṛṣṇa's favor, then there is no question of any more profit. Sufficient profit. You have got everything. Simply be sincere to the service of Kṛṣṇa. Then you have got everything. There is no need of trying for this or that. Yasmin sthite guruṇāpi duḥkhena na vicālyate [Bg. 6.23]. If one is situated under the shelter of Kṛṣṇa's lotus feet, then guruṇāpi duḥkhena na vicālyate. If there is dangerous type of inconvenience, then he's not disturbed. He knows... Just like Ambarīṣa Mahārāja, Prahlāda Mahārāja. There are many instances. His father, Hiraṇyakaśipu, was giving him trouble, chastising. He was patient, not disturbed. So be sure that if you are..., if you have actually taken shelter of the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa, there is no question of danger. Kaunteya pratijānīhi na me bhaktaḥ praṇaśyati [Bg. 9.31]. And Kṛṣṇa confirms it = "Kaunteya, My dear Arjuna, you declare to the world that My devotee will be never vanquished by any enemy." That is Kṛṣṇa's assurance.
So why should we try to... Of course, if Kṛṣṇa's order is there, that is another thing. Just like Arjuna. Arjuna was ordered by Kṛṣṇa, "You fight." When Kṛṣṇa says, "You fight," you must fight. Not that Kṛṣṇa says, "You fight," and you say, "No, I have taken Your shelter. Why I..., shall I fight?" No, that is not. That is disobedience. When Kṛṣṇa says, "You fight," you must fight. When... Our life should be that whatever Kṛṣṇa says. That is full surrender. Or His representative says, that is my life. Viśvanātha Cakravartī has explained in the Bhagavad-gītā.
bahu-śākhā hy anantāś ca
So our... We should be fixed up on the order of Kṛṣṇa coming through the spiritual master. Then our life is successful. This is the secret of success in spiritual life. Yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādaḥ. This is assured. We have to please the spiritual master. And if he's pleased, then Kṛṣṇa is pleased. The argument that "We do not see Kṛṣṇa personally. How we can satisfy Him?"... You satisfy your spiritual master, then Kṛṣṇa is pleased. Yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādo yasyāprasādāt.... And if you want to please directly Kṛṣṇa, and show your spiritual master plantain[?], then na gatiḥ kuto 'pi, it will be all useless. Yasya prasādād bhagavat-prasādo yasyāprasādān na gatiḥ kuto 'pi.
So this Nārada Muni's history is very interesting, that he was not educated, a boy, and not coming from cultured family---maidservant's son. The only qualification was that nirūpito bālaka eva yoginām. He was engaged as a boy servant to the yogīs. So how he got this opportunity? That is here = śuśrūṣaṇe. Śuśrūṣaṇe means in service; prāvṛṣi, during the rainy season. Because saintly persons, mendicants, sannyāsīs, their business is to travel. Travel. When, of course, something established, then a sannyāsī can rest, paramahaṁsa stage. When there are many disciples, workers, it is going on, then he can take rest. Otherwise, it is the business of the sannyāsī to travel.
So these yogīs, or the sannyāsīs, they were traveling all over the world or all over the country or all over the province... Their business is traveling. But during rainy season, because it is very difficult... Formerly, there was no aeroplane. Or might be, but they were not traveling; walking. So for these four months, rainy season, they used to take shelter at a nice place in a pilgrimage and wait. Until the rainy season is finished, they would not go out. That is called cāturmāsya. This is the meaning of cāturmāsya. So Nārada Muni got this opportunity. Now, you can calculate. This is knowledge. Then he had the opportunity to serve these yogīs for four months only---not more than that---and he became Nārada. Just understand how much powerful is service to the Vaiṣṇava, devotees. And that is also confirmed in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam:
ābhīra-śumbhā yavanāḥ khasādayaḥ
ye 'nye ca pāpā yad-apāśrayāśrayāḥ
Yad-apāśrayāśrayāḥ means if anyone takes the shelter of the devotee, apāśrayāśrayāḥ... A devotee takes the shelter of Kṛṣṇa's lotus feet, and if somebody else takes the shelter of the lotus feet of the devotee---śudhyanti, becomes purified. This is our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement.
And who becomes purified? Kirāta-hūṇāndhra-pulinda-pulkaśā ābhīra-śumbhā ya..., all the people who are less than the śūdras. They are called pañcamas, fifth grade. First grade, brāhmaṇa; second grade, kṣatriya; third grade, vaiśya; fourth grade, śūdra; and all others---fifth grade. They are called caṇḍālas. The caṇḍālas: the sweeper, the cobbler, and the... Low grade. Still, in India, these fifth-grade persons only, they eat meat---pigs, and sometimes cows. Fifth grade. Now it has become a practice, and he's a first-grade man. So just see. What was the business of the fifth-grade men, that has become the business of the so-called politicians. You see? So if you are ruled by the fifth-grade men, then how you can be happy? That is not possible. How there can be any social tranquillity? That is not possible. But even the fifth-grade man, he can be purified by Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Therefore there is great need of this movement. Because at the present moment there is no first-class men, no first-grade men, no second-grade men. Maybe third grade, fourth grade, fifth grade, sixth grade, like that. But they can be purified. That is... The only process is this Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement. Anyone can be purified. Māṁ hi pārtha vyapāśritya ye 'pi syuḥ pāpa-yonayaḥ [Bg. 9.32]. They are called pāpa-yoni, born in low-grade, sinful family. Pāpa-yoni. Kṛṣṇa says, ye 'pi syuḥ pāpa-yonayaḥ. "Never mind what kind of pāpa-yoni," māṁ hi pārtha vyapā... "If he takes shelter of Me, then..." That shelter can be taken because Kṛṣṇa's representative is canvassing.
So there is no scarcity. Simply one has to take shelter of him. That's all. Just like Caitanya Mahāprabhu's mission is to create this canvasser = "Go everywhere." Āmāra ājñāya guru hañā tāra' ei deśa [Cc. Madhya 7.128]. "Go." He used to send Nityānanda Prabhu, Haridāsa Ṭhākura and..., to canvass, "Please chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. Please chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. Please surrender to Kṛṣṇa." Also, there was a crowd on the street. Nityānanda Prabhu and Haridāsa Ṭhākura saw, and they asked, "What is this crowd?" "No, there are two brothers, Jagāi and Mādhāi, very troublesome. They are drunkards, woman-hunters and meat-eaters, and they are..., create always trouble." So Nityānanda Prabhu immediately decided, "Why not deliver these person first? Then My Lord's name will be glorified. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's name will be glorified." This is the business of the disciple, how to glorify the spiritual master, paramparā. I glorify my spiritual master, you glorify your spiritual master. If we simply do that, glorify, then Kṛṣṇa is glorified. That was the decision of Nityānanda Prabhu, that "Why not deliver these fallen souls first?" Because Caitanya Mahāprabhu's incarnation is to deliver the fallen souls. And in... And there is no scarcity of fallen souls in this age.
mo sama patita prabhu nā pāibe āra
Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura is placing himself to the lotus feet of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu, that "My dear Lord, Your incarnation is to reclaim all these fallen souls. But I am the lowest of the fallen souls, so my claim is first. Kindly deliver me." Mo sama patita prabhu nā pāibe āra. "You are..., Your determination is to deliver the fallen. So I am the first-class fallen. Please accept me."
So Kali-yuga, people are suffering. They're all fallens, all meat-eaters, all drunkards, all fifth-grade, sixth-grade men. They are puffed-up, but actually they are fifth-, sixth- and tenth-grade men, not even gentlemen. Therefore my Guru Mahārāja used to say that "No gentleman can live here. The society is so polluted." And... But the, there is opportunity of serving Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Because the society is so fallen, therefore there is good opportunity to serve Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu. Because Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu's incarnation is to reclaim these fallen souls. So you have got the opportunity to serve Śrī Caitan..., to please Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu because He wanted the fallen souls to be delivered. Kṛṣṇa also wanted. Yadā yadā hi glānir bhavati bhārata, dharmasya glānir bhavati bhārata [Bg. 4.7]. Kṛṣṇa comes... This is... God's business is going on like that. He's very anxious to reclaim all these rascals rotting in this material world. Kṛṣṇa is always anxious. He comes Himself. He comes as devotee. He comes..., sends His bona fide servant, bona fide son.
So this is Kṛṣṇa's concern, to reclaim all these fallen souls. Therefore these are the opportunity. The yoginī, the yoginaḥ, they are traveling all over the world. Only during the rainy season they were resting. Not that in other seasons eating, sleeping only. No. Because in the rainy season, to travel, there is inconvenience; therefore only four months. So during the four months, wherever they stay, simply being served by somebody as..., like a boy servant, they become delivered. There was no question of preaching. Simply giving the opportunity to serve, the fallen souls become delivered. But you must be competent; not to take service for nothing. Then you'll go to hell. If you are actually in spiritual position, then by giving others little opportunity to serve you, he'll be delivered. No question of understanding the philosophy. A devotee must be so perfect. The system is, therefore, as soon as one sees a devotee, he falls down and takes the..., touches the feet. This is the system. Because by touching the feet... Mahat-pāda-rajo-'bhiṣekam [SB 5.12.12]. If one is actually elevated to the spiritual life and he is, mean, takes..., the people takes the opportunity of touching his lotus feet, then he becomes devotee. This is the process.
So here, how he became Nārada Muni will be described. But here it is said... One thing is that when you are liberated... Just like in the Bhagavad-gītā it is said that tyaktvā dehaṁ punar janma naiti mām eti [Bg. 4.9]. You become an associate of Nārāyaṇa, Kṛṣṇa, Viṣṇu, then you can remember your past lives. Remember your past lives. Just like you can remember your dreams, "I was dreaming like that." So this is all dream. Our this life, at the present moment, because this body is false, so whatever we are acting, it is just like dream. Just like in dream at night we also work. So this is gross dream and that is subtle dream. But real life is spiritual life. But we foolish people, we are taking this life as permanent life, permanent settlement. It is not permanent settlement. Here is..., Nārada Muni's saying, ahaṁ purā atīta-bhave abhavam. Atīta-bhave. This nature... Just like everything material, bhūtvā bhūtvā pralīyate [Bg. 8.19], it appears for some time like bubbles in the ocean, few seconds; again finished. The whole cosmic manifestation in which we are, millions and millions of years, it is just like a bubble in the ocean. It is just like a bubble. Bhūtvā bhūtvā pralīyate, it is said in the Bhagavad-gītā.
So Nārada Muni confirms that "Formerly, in the millennium..." That is Brahmā's night. When Brahmā's night comes, everything becomes devastated in water. Sahasra-yuga-paryantam ahar yad brahmaṇo viduḥ [Bg. 8.17]. First of all, sahasra-yuga. One yuga means forty-three hundred thousands of years. Multiply it by one thousand, that is the period of manifestation. Now, what is the period? Forty-three lakhs of years, and multiply it by a thousand. How many years?
Devotee: Four billion.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Four point three billions.
Svarūpa Dāmodara: Four point three billions.
Prabhupāda: Four point three billions of years this thing will go on. And then again, for... This is kṣaṇa-pralaya.[?] Kṣaṇa-pralaya means when Brahmā's day and night. But there is mahā-pralaya. That will stay..., we do not know how many millions of years. So this is called millennium. So Nārada Muni remembers this. Therefore he says, ahaṁ purā atīta-bhave. This is called bhava. Bhava. Bhava means to come into existence and again finish. Just like this bhava-saṁsāra. It is called bhava-saṁsāra. Bhava-saṁsāra means I have got this body, and it will be finished. Again I shall get another body; again it will be finished. So where is the science to understand these things? Who can explain? Where is the scientist? Purā atīta-bhave. Is there any scientist? Is there? So, what is their knowledge? Very meager knowledge. "Two plus two." That's all. [laughs] And they're very much proud. Who can explain this, purā atīta-bhave? They do not know purā, they do not know atīta, bhave. And abhavam. And "I existed. And I can remember." Is that perfection possible? But this is a fact. It is a fact; one may believe or not believe. They are making research institute, big, big... Yesterday Bon Mahārāja was speaking... What is this research? Research here. And Nārada Muni says that "In my previous life I was like this." Where is..., where is the research?
So comparing this or comparing that, real research is here. If actually one is research scholar, "Now, what does this Bhāgavata says? Purā atīta-bhave. What is this?" Go on researching. That is required. That is real research work. So purā atīta-bhave abhavaṁ mune [SB 1.5.23]. Mune. He's addressing Vyāsadeva, mune. "So I was the son of a maidservant, and I was engaged as the boy servant of yogīs, and they were taking rest for four months. So I had the opportunity of serving them four months as their boy servant---just to take, whatever they left, prasādam, I used to take; to wash their dishes or to wash their cloth." In this way he got the opportunity of serving perfect devotees for four months, and he became Nārada. This is the importance. This is the importance, that simply by rendering... Svalpam apy asya dharmasya trāyate mahato bhayāt [Bg. 2.40]. He became Nārada means he was saved from the mahato bhayāt, very great, fearful, dangerous position.
What is that fearful, dangerous position? They do not care. We are so fool that we are always on the brink of dangerous position. If we don't utilize this life properly, I may fall down again to the cycle of birth and death. Tathā dehāntara-prāptiḥ [Bg. 2.13]. I shall get another body. There is no guarantee what kind of body I am going to get. I do not know. This foolish civilization is going. Save them by this Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is the best welfare activity.
Thank you very much.
Devotees: Jaya Śrīla Prabhupāda. [end]