Om Vishnupad 108 Tridandi Swami Sri Srimat Bhakti Sravan Tirtha Goswami Maharaj ki Jai !!

(Reproduced from The Harmonist, Guru Purnima issue 2002)


It was a wintry morning in the month of Magh. After their early morning bath, many sages assembled before Sri Madhav praising each other as ‘the blessed one’. Soon there appeared a wealthy devout Brahmin and his family. They proceed to worship Sri Krishna as a shaligam in a most elaborate and opulent manner. Thereafter they sumptuously fed all the sages, priests, ordinary people down to beggers and animals. All were satisified. The Brahmin then offered the results of his holy work at the lotus feet of Bhagawan Sri Krishna.

Now there arrived Devarishi Narad. He addressed the Brahmin, “You are truly blessed. Your worship and offering of the fruits of your actions to Sri Hari is really commendable in this world.” The Brahmin replied, “O Holy One, really, I do not deserve such praise. If you could but visit the Southern King and witness his devotion then you will understand.”

Devarishi Narad proceeded to the southern kingdom. The King was engaged in a grand and lavish worship of Sri Krishna. Everywhere people were praising the scale and style of the anushthan and the great devotion of the King. The entire atmosphere of the capital was surcharged with devotional fervour.

Sri Narad praised the king enthusiastically. The King replied, “O devarishi, I am not at all the deserving one. We are constantly harassed by physical, spiritual and fate-ordained difficulties. Can we ever worship the Supreme Lord properly and well? If you ask me, it is the Devas of Heaven who are the lucky ones. And particularly Indra, their King. Don’t forget, the Lord accepted to become his younger brother as Vaman.”

Narad rishi immediately departed for the heavenly realm. The Devas were worshiping Bhagavan Vaman with beautiful lamps, fine clothes and perfumes, ornaments and delectable pure food offerings. Sacred hymns in praise of Sri Vishnu were heard everywhere. King Indra was shedding tears of happiness praying to Lord Vishnu. Then Narad ji saw Bhagavan Vaman accept the offerings and disappear. Awed, he praised the good fortune of Devendra.

Indra was embarassed. He said in a low voice, “O Devrishi, please do not satire me. Don’t you know the circumstances in Heaven? All the time we are afraid that the Daityas will attack us. Earlier on several occasions, we even fled this region due to them and ran to Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva to save us from the asuras. In my opinion, Lord Brahma is the favourite of the Lord being empowered specifically by Sri Narayan with the task of creation.”

Narad ji reached Brahmalok – the abode of his father. Many saintly sages were conducting a holy yagna. Lord Brahma sat with folded hands praying to Lord Vishnu effusively. Sri Vishnu manifested along with Lakshmi devi and blessed them and accepted their offerings.

Narad ji was all praise. “O Father! I see that you are indeed the Blessed One. You are the creator of the Universe with all its bewildering diversity. You are empowered like none else and the Lord Himself appears before you to accept your offerings. Therefore you truly are the dearest devotee of the Lord!”

Lord Brahma listened attentively and after Narad ji had finished, he closed his ears with his hands and replied sharply, “Dear Son, it appears you are too easily impressed. How many times have I told you that I am only one of the humble servants of Sri Krishna. His power as Mahamaya actually creates everything. I am merely the means. In truth, I am always running to Lord Shiva or Lord Vishnu as soon as there is any trouble in creation.

Actually, I have committed serious offences to Lord Hari by stealing and hiding all the cowherd boys and all the cattle in Vrindavan. I am by no means the most dear to the Lord. But behold Lord Mahadev! Now there is a Blessed One. He is an intimate devotee of Lord Krishna. Always engrossed in deep meditation on the sweet nectarine pastimes of the Lord, he is supremely detached and holds Ganga, the sacred water emenating from the lotus feet of Sri Krishna, on his head. He rendered such sterling service to Sri Hari during the time of samudra-manthan by swallowing the deadly Halaahal poison and thus saved all of creation.”

Accepting the logic of Lord Brahma’s argument, Narad ji playing on his veena meditated on Lord Shiva and soon appeared on Mount Kailash. He then glorified Lord Mahadev in sweet verses and sang a beautiful prayer, “You are so detached and beyond praise and criticism. Immersed in Sri Rama’s devotion, you renounced even your divine spouse. Truly, there is none more dear Sri Hari than you.”

Lord Shiva was aghast. “O Sage! What has come over you today? Please do not make fun of me by praising me thus. I am not at all worthy of such a title. You are looking at one who fought battles with Lord Krishna during the theft of the heavenly Parijaat and the kidnapping of Usha, daughter of the asura king Banasura. Again, the Lord ordered me to appear in the mortal world and expound the philosophy of supreme knowledge and tantric rituals instead of pure devotion to His lotus feet.

O Devrishi, only those living near the Lord in Vaikuntha are the true devotees. Those who have given up everything and with single-minded devotion worship Sri Hari renouncing all selfish motives – their achievement is unparalled.”

Thereupon Goddess Parvati added, “Oh Narad, Sri Lakshmi devi is extremely dear to Sri Hari. The Lord seats her on His lap and always embraces her to His chest.”

On hearing this, Narad muni started for Vaikuntha. Lord Shiva stopped him, “In search of the most dear devotee, have you forgotten that Sri Krishna is now in Dwarka and Sri Mahalakshmi is there with Him as Rukmini, his wife”.

“Don’t be in such a hurry. I will share a secret with you. Bhakta Prahlada is the most blessed devotee of Sri Krishna. Remember the words of the Lord, ‘My own Self, even Sri Lakshmi is not so dear to me as my devotees who have dedicated their all to Me.’ Among all the devotees Prahlada Maharaj is the luckiest one.”

Narad ji now proceeded to Sutala. Foremost among the Vaishnavas, Prahlada Maharaj was engrossed in meditation on the Supreme Lord. As Narad ji appeared, he arose from his seat and prostrated at his lotus feet and worshipped him. Sri Narad embraced him happily, his eyes filling with tears of joy. He praised Prahlada Maharaj saying, “O dear son, you are the most blessed one dearest to Lord Krishna. Even while still in your mother’s womb, you surrendered to Him and serenely bore all the cruelty heaped on you by your own father, reposing your absolute faith in Lord Hari. Devotion such as yours is difficult to find anywhere else. Once Lord Narayana even performed the pastime of engaging in a mock fight with you. Being satisfied, he declared, ‘Oh Prahlada, I am always defeated by you. O Supreme Vaishnava, you won over Mukunda. Out of gratitude for your devotion, Lord Vishnu accepted to be the gatekeeper of Maharaj Bali your grandson.”

In stunned silence, Prahlada Maharaj listened. In an apologetic voice, he pleaded, “Oh Gurudeva! Please do not mock me. Knowledge about Sri Bhagavan does not mature in childhood. Great sages have rightly said that those who have served the Lord their entire life are the blessed ones. Think of Sri Hanuman. His service and devotion are unparalled. I could never serve like him. Rather I remembered Lord Krishna in my own difficulties. When the Lord offered me the Kingdom, I realised that I am not truly blessed. By the Lord’s Grace, worldly bondage disappears and detachment comes. But I was made King! Clearly, Hanuman is more blessed than me.”

Without any protest, Narad rishi proceed to the land of Kimpurush-varsha high in an inaccessible region of the Himalayas. There he saw Sri Hanuman, totally absorbed in worshipping Lord Rama. Gandharvas were reciting the Ramayana. Signs of devotional ecstasy, trembling, tears, goose-pimples appeared simultaneously on Sri Hanuman’s body. Narad ji was very pleased. He exclaimed “Jai Sri Ram!” On hearing this, Hanuman jumped up and embraced Narad ji.

Narad ji proceeded to glorify Hanuman ji. “You are the most blessed devotee of the Lord. You are His servant, friend, carrier – everything of Sri Ram. The degree of your surrender is the highest!”

Sri Hanuman cried, “Narad ji, what are you saying?! If I was so dear to Him then why have I been removed from the vicinity of His lotus feet? At this time, the Lord has incarnated in Mathura. He has descended in all his power and glory, in his full opulences – pari-poorna avatar. The grace He has bestowed on the Pandava brothers is immeasurable. Before them, I am just a speck, a vanara.”

Consoling Hanuman, Narad ji arrived in the capital city of the Pandavas. King Yudhisthira bowed reverently at his feet and welcomed him royally, washing his feet and seating Narad ji on his throne. Pleased, Narad ji said, “I can see why the Lord has blessed you especially. Your humility, your virtuous demeanour are deserving of the Lord’s grace. You are most dear to the Lord because the Supreme Lord Sri Krishna is your protector, relative, friend, ambassador, so much so that he even became your brother’s chariot driver in the battle of Kurukshetra. You have attained what no one else before you ever has.”

The wise King Yudhisthira listened with all humility in silence. He analysed Narad rishi’s statement and sighed. Then in the presence of all family members, he pleaded, “O worshipful sage, seeing our dire condition, I fear common people will lose faith in Lord Krishna!”

“Just as a fish cannot live without water, we cannot live without Sri Krishna. He is our very life. By his guidance, we vanquished our enemies and won the Kingdom. But this has not necessarily diminished our grief. Our honourable gurudeva Dronacharya, our great-grandsire Bhishma have all perished in this war. We lost our dear son Abhimanyu and many near and dear ones. At this juncture Sri Krishna has left us and returned to Dwarka. We are certainly not enjoying a moment of peace nor the royal pleasures. How then could we be the most blessed ones?

At present, Sri Krishna is in Dwarka among his nearest and dearest relatives. Those lucky Yadavas are the really blessed ones. The Lord is at their beck and call.” So saying, King Yudhisthira fell silent.

Our omnimobile sage is soon in the magnificent Sudhanya Hall, the royal assembly of the Yadavas. Under the leadership of King Ugrasena, all the leading personalities of Krishna’s Yadava and Vrishni clan are awaiting Sri Krishna’s arrival.

Click here for Part II

Jai Sri Radhey

Jai Gurudev