Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto 3, Chapter 24, The Renunciation Of Kardama Muni, Text 40

Srimad-Bhagavatam, Canto 3, Chapter 24, The Renunciation Of Kardama Muni, Text 40


Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya
Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya
Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya

Srimad Bhagavatam, third Canto, chapter twenty four, ‘The Renunciation of Kardama Muni’, text 40.

matra adhyatmikim vidyam

samanim sarva-karmanam

vitarisye yaya casau

bhayam catitarisyati


matre — to My mother; adhyatmikim — which opens the door of spiritual life; vidyam — knowledge; samanim — ending; sarva-karmanam — all fruitive activities; vitarisye — I shall give; yaya — by which; ca — also; asau — she; bhayam — fear; ca — also; atitarisyati — will overcome.


I shall also describe this sublime knowledge, which is the door to spiritual life, to My mother, so that she also can attain perfection and self-realization, ending all reactions to fruitive activities. Thus she also will be freed from all material fear.


Kardama Muni was anxious about his good wife, Devahuti, while leaving home, and so the worthy son promised that not only would Kardama Muni be freed from the material entanglement, but Devahuti would also be freed by receiving instruction from her son. A very good example is set here: the husband goes away, taking the sannyasa order for self-realization, but his representative, the son, who is equally educated, remains at home to deliver the mother. A sannyasi is not supposed to take his wife with him. At the vanaprastha stage of retired life, or the stage midway between householder life and renounced life, one may keep his wife as an assistant without sex relations, but in the sannyasa order of life one cannot keep his wife with him. Otherwise, a person like Kardama Muni could have kept his wife with him, and there would have been no hindrance to his prosecution of self-realization.

Kardama Muni followed the Vedic injunction that no one in sannyasa life can have any kind of relationship with women. But what is the position of a woman who is left by her husband? She is entrusted to the son, and the son promises that he will deliver his mother from entanglement. A woman is not supposed to take sannyasa. So-called spiritual societies concocted in modern times give sannyasa even to women, although there is no sanction in the Vedic literature for a woman’s accepting sannyasa. Otherwise, if it were sanctioned, Kardama Muni could have taken his wife and given her sannyasa. The woman must remain at home. She has only three stages of life: dependency on the father in childhood, dependency on the husband in youth and, in old age, dependency on the grown-up son, such as Kapila. In old age the progress of woman depends on the grown-up son. The ideal son, Kapila Muni, is assuring His father of the deliverance of His mother so that His father may go peacefully without anxiety for his good wife.

[End of Purport]

matra adhyatmikim vidyam

samanim sarva-karmanam

vitarisye yaya casau

bhayam catitarisyati

I shall also describe this sublime knowledge, which is the door to spiritual life, to My mother, so that she also can attain perfection and self-realization, ending all reactions to fruitive activities. Thus she also will be freed from all material fear.

In yesterday’s verse Prabhupada explained the importance of following the Vedic injunctions and how an exalted personality, how a mahatma always sets the right example. That’s why mahajano yena gatah sa panthah, the footsteps of the mahajanas should be followed. Although at a very advanced stage, at the stage which is the stage of paramahamsa stage, which is also called avadhuta stage, in the avadhuta stage one does not have any external consciousness. At the avadhuta stage one acts like a madman but that example cannot be followed. An uttama adhikari, an avadhuta or paramahamsa cannot be imitated. Their activities, just like Lord Shiva’s activities…in a way Lord Shiva is also an avadhuta. He is completely lost in Krishna consciousness. Due to His love for Krishna He has lost all His external consciousness. That’s why He behaves in such a way. He doesn’t have any external consciousness.

Materialistic people, those who are simply concerned about the material welfare they cannot understand those people, their activities. Like Daksa couldn’t understand the activities of Lord Shiva. Lord Shiva’s activities are very special. Similarly another person is Lord Risabhadeva. They are all avadhutas. For example, Lord Shiva, He lives in a crematorium. He moves about without wearing anything. He is Digambara, He is completely naked. He is wearing a garland, not of flowers. What kind of garland does Lord Shiva wear? He wears a garland of human skulls. Now, those activities, can the activities of Lord Shiva be imitated? No. Like, if one wants to, if one tries to imitate the activities of Lord Shiva that will become very, very dangerous. Just like Lord Shiva drank an ocean of poison. You see, if somebody drinks poison then what will happen? He’ll die. So we have to recognize that these are all very exalted personalities. And with a respectful attitude we should just offer obeisances to them.

Similarly Risabhadeva, He used to move about also naked. No external consciousness. He used to just wander around. Sometimes some people imitate those activities but they are not advised in the scriptures. The scriptures say that one must follow the very strict standard of sadhana bhakti. These are not the part of sadhana, to move about leg naked, it’s not part of sadhana. To live in a crematorium is not a part of sadhana but some people mistake that. There are groups of tantriks. They live in the crematorium. They drink liquor, alcohol, and they indulge in all kinds of abominable activities. So those activities are not going to help one to make spiritual advancement.

For spiritual advancement we need to follow the instructions of the scriptures and the instructions of the scriptures are very, very clear. First is brahmacari life, then householder life. Catur-varnyam maya sristam guna-karma-vibhagasah [Bg 4.13] Everyone is under the influence of the modes of material nature. There are three modes of material nature and accordingly there are four varnas. Those who are in the mode of goodness, there are some people, those who are in the mode of goodness, they are brahmanas. Some people, those who are in the mode of passion, they’re kshatriyas. Some people, those who are in the mixed mode of passion and ignorance, they’re vaishyas. And those who are in the mode of ignorance they are sudras. So very clearly Krishna defined how the human society should be divided.

Everybody, every civilized individual, falls in these four varnas. According to the influence of the modes there are different types of engagements. Those who are influenced by the mode of goodness, their nature is in a certain way. The brahmanas, those who are influenced by the mode of goodness they are not interested in materialistic affairs. Therefore, they are withdrawn from material life, the materialistic way of life. But those who are in the mode of passion they’re very materially involved, very materially involved. In one hand they are very materially involved and at the same time they are very powerful. That is the influence of the mode of passion. Like the perfect example of the influence of the mode of passion is the lion. Of all the animals the lion is the most powerful. Lion is even more powerful than an elephant. Although elephant is very big but a lion is even more powerful. The lion doesn’t have any fear. Similarly, kshatriyas are like lions. They’re fearless, they’re extremely powerful and at the same time they are not affected by bodily consciousness.

That is another characteristic of a kshatriya. At the seminar of Mahabharata we will see. Like, during the battle of Kurukshetra there have been arrows piercing the kshatriyas. Not only over the body, between the eyebrows. That means the brain is…but they are not affected. They just got affected for the time being but they kept on fighting. Sometimes they have been pierced by so many arrows that they looked like a big porcupine. A porcupine has the needles all over his body. So they had so many arrows pierce their body that they looked like a porcupine. The arrows were sticking out all over and still they were fighting. There had been cases like when the arrow just went through their body and came out of their body, through the chest. They kept on fighting! Is this fairy tale? No, this is real. The scriptures are not telling a single lie. These are all real. And this is a kshatriya. A kshatriya could fight with thousands of people and they could kill also thousands of people. Dronacarya assured Duryodhana that every day he would kill ten thousand enemies. Ten thousand every day. But sometimes he killed even more. How is it possible? Ramacandra single handedly killed fourteen thousand rakshasa soldiers. They were so powerful that they could even fight with the demigods. When Khara and Dushana came with fourteen thousand rakshasa soldiers Ramacandra wiped them out singe handedly. Of course, Ramacandra is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He can, but these are the living entities. Arjuna is not the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Dronacarya is not the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Bhishma is not the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Ashvatthama is not the Supreme Personality of Godhead. They are all jivas, living entities. They are so powerful!

Why are they like that? Because they are in the mode of passion. This is the nature of the mode of passion. And we can see the influence of the mode of passion: the lion. Now, are all the animals like the lion? No, there are jackals also. There are dogs. There are cats. At the same time there are cows. The cows are in the mode of goodness. Look at the cow’s nature. A lion’s nature and a cow’s nature are completely different. The lion is so ferocious but the cow is so gentle. And the cow is always benefiting everybody. The cow takes a little grass and gives milk, doesn’t demand anything, very, very peaceful, very gentle. You beat the cow still she gives milk. And by nature it is so loving, so caring, and everything about the cow is beneficial. Not only cow’s milk, cow’s urine is beneficial, cow’s dung is beneficial. Everything about the cow is beneficial. And even after the cow dies her skin is used for making mridangas. So everything about a cow is beneficial.

So this is how the human society also has been divided according to the influence of the modes. And the scriptures give injunctions how one should act. How should a brahmana act, how should a kshatriya act, how should a vaishya act, how should a sudra act. Brahmana’s instruction is that he must cultivate spiritual life. That’s his nature.

samo damas tapah saucam

kshantir arjavam eva ca

jnanam vijnanam astikyam

brahma-karma svabhava-jam

[Bg 18.42]

Brahma-karma svabhava-jam. Svabhava means natural characteristic. Svabhava. That is his svabhava, natural characteristic of the brahmana. Whereas the characteristic of a kshatriya, who remembers the qualities of a kshatriya? Sauryam tejo dhritir daksyam yuddhe capy apalayanam [Bg 18.43] Saurya means he is heroic. He is very, very heroic and he is powerful, as I just mentioned. And he is generous. He is merciful also. He is caring, and he is yuddhe capy apalayanam, he doesn’t run away from the battlefield. A kshatriya would die but he wouldn’t run away. And what does the scripture say? If a kshatriya dies in the battlefield then he’ll go back to heavenly planet.

Brahmanas become elevated to heavenly planets after performing great austerities. For years, for hundreds of years, for thousands of years brahmanas would perform austerities. And the result of that is that they will be elevated to the heavenly planets. It would happen. Like, the ordinary brahmanas, after performing great austerity, then the chariot would come from the heavenly planet to take them. There are many such instances. Like after performing great austerities…because generally the Vedic understanding is to be elevated to the heavenly planet. It’s a mystery that is kept, a secret. Only through the bona fide guru one could understand that the goal of life is not the heavenly planet. The goal of life is to achieve, to attain the Vaikuntha planets, the spiritual sky.

As I was discussing the other day that one sage, the chariot came to take him to the heavenly planet and Indra’s representative came to tell him. What is there in the heavenly planet? So he described all the facilities in the heavenly planets. Then he asked, “What are the disadvantages of the heavenly planet?” Then he described that in heavenly planet one cannot generate new karma, new punya. One can only exhaust his punya. With the punya one is elevated to the heavenly planet but there they cannot generate anything. And if one enjoys in the heavenly planet then gradually his punya will be exhausted. And when his punya is exhausted then he’ll fall down to the earth. As it is described in Bhagavad Gita that kshine punye martya-lokam visanti [Bg 9.21] When the punya becomes exhausted he comes to the earth planet again, martya-lokam visanti. So then his reaction was that, “Then what’s the point in going to the heavenly planet? If I’ll fall down again, if I have to come back to the earth planet, if there is the possibility of coming back here again, then why go there after making so much effort? Is there any place where when one goes there from there one doesn’t have to come back?” And he said, “Yes, there is a place.” What is that? That is Vaikuntha. Now the secret about that is, with punya one can go to the heavenly planet but with punya one cannot go to Vaikuntha. The way to go to Vaikuntha planet or spiritual sky is to surrender to the Supreme Personality of Godhead through His devotees. One cannot directly surrender also to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. One cannot directly surrender to the Lord. It has to be done through the agency.

So that is the difference. With punya you can go to heavenly planet and have enjoyment but then you’ll come back. Going to the heavenly planet, it’s something like you work for a long time, you work and then go for a vacation. Where you go for a vacation there you can’t earn any money. Like people, especially in summertime in Europe, they go to the southern countries like Italy, Spain. Mainly to Italy and Spain. Actually about that in Italy there is a joke, there is a saying, humorous saying, that the Italians make the Germans work throughout the year, they make the Germans work very hard throughout the year and then make them come to Italy and pay all their money. [laughs] So whatever they have accumulated for eleven months of hard work they come to Italy for one month and spend all their money. And when the money is finished then they have to go back to Germany again and start working.

So going to the heavenly planet is also something like that. You work hard on the earth planet, acquire your money, acquire your wealth and then go to the heavenly planet to have an enjoyment for some time and when that enjoyment is over then again you have to come back to the earth. Kshine punye martya-lokam visanti. But when one surrenders to Krishna, when one becomes a Vaishnava and develops his attachment to Krishna then he goes to the spiritual sky. And the description about the spiritual sky is yad gatva na nivartante tad dhama paramam mama. [Bg 15.6] From there nobody has to come back. From heavenly planet kshine punye martya-lokam visanti, but from the spiritual sky yad gatva na nivartante tad dhama paramam mama. So where should an intelligent person go? Should an intelligent person go to the heavenly planet? Where should the intelligent person go? Where do you want to go? [audience member: inaudible] Okay, very good! I didn’t go that far! [laughs] I went only up to Vaikuntha but I can see that not only are you intelligent, you are very intelligent. So the destination is the spiritual sky. Again Spiritual sky also has different regions. The spiritual sky has different regions, like one is Goloka and Vaikuntha.

Anyway, the point that has been made in this particular verse by Kapiladeva is that in one hand he is instructing his father to follow the Vedic injunction. “Yes, go to the forest taking vanaprastha and eventually sannyasa. And don’t worry about your wife.” Kapiladeva assured him that He will take care of His mother, Devahuti, and told that, “I will give her the instruction.” And in this way Kapiladeva made His mother also become situated on the transcendental platform. And what is the characteristic of transcendental platform? That has been very beautifully described that freedom from material fear, bhayam atitarisyati. Bhayam ca atitarisyati. Material life is full of anxiety, full of fear. Everyone is always in anxiety. Kuntha, bhaya, shoka, these are the characteristics of the material nature. Time and time again it has been described. Dukhalayam asashvatam [Bg 8.15] Shokam. Bhaya, shoka, moha, these are the characteristics of material nature. Bhaya is fear, shoka is lamentation and moha is illusion. Material nature is filled with fear, anxiety and illusion. But the spiritual nature is just the opposite. There is no bhaya, abhaya. No kuntha, Vaikuntha. Vigata-kuntha iti Vaikuntha, where there is no kuntha, there is no anxiety. It is abhaya pada, a place of fearlessness. It is a place of freedom from anxiety and it is a place beyond the duality of material nature and situated in Absolute Truth. Therefore moha also is removed. No illusion, no anxiety, no fear.

So information about that world is there and when one becomes situated in spiritual knowledge and acts according to that, just knowledge is not enough, knowledge is not enough, to perform, to act on that knowledge is what is important. One may have a lot of knowledge about food. He may be expert in cooking food, making all kinds of delicious preparations. He may know how to make them but when he is hungry will this knowledge fill his stomach? No, he has to eat the food. So the practical application of knowledge is in proper application of that knowledge. He is acting according to that knowledge. So just knowledge is not enough. Similarly, in devotional service we have to act. Just knowledge is not enough. We have to act according to that knowledge.  Then only there will be result. And what will be the result? The result is the heart will become completely satisfied.

bhidyate hridaya-granthis

chidyante sarva-samsayah

ksiyante casya karmani

drsta evatmanisvare

[SB 1.2.21]

evam prasanna-manaso


[SB 1.2.20]

That is the application. When the proper application is there then the result will be there. The result is the heart will become completely satisfied. Then there won’t be any anxiety, no hankering, no lamentation. When one becomes properly situated in spiritual life, then he won’t have any anxiety or lamentation. Why? Because he knows Krishna is the Supreme Controller and Krishna is taking care. We are in so much anxiety what will happen, but when we look back we can see that Krishna has taken care of everything. I had food to eat. I had water to drink. I had oxygen to breath. I had a shelter to sleep. Did you have any problem? Although we may be thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, seventy years old, all this life did we have any problem? When we look back we see that there was no problem but still we get into anxiety thinking about the future. What will happen tomorrow? We don’t see that how everything has been so wonderfully taken care of for the last forty, fifty, sixty years. We don’t think about that but we think what will happen tomorrow. Since Krishna took care of us for seventy years Krishna will also take care of tomorrow, the day after tomorrow and all the time that is there to come. And eventually we have to leave the body. That is also Krishna’s arrangement. And we have to recognize that Krishna is giving us an opportunity to become a devotee. We got the human form of life. So let’s take full advantage of it. An intelligent person will consider that this is such a golden opportunity.

Now human form of life is providing two opportunities. One is a very sophisticated enjoyment in the material nature. Human beings can indulge in a very sophisticated enjoyment. But at the same time a human being has the opportunity to wash up all his business and go back to the spiritual sky. These two opportunities we have. You have the opportunity to enjoy in this material nature or you have the opportunity to go back to the spiritual sky. Out of these two opportunities which one is more desirable? Which one is better? [devotee: go back to Krishna] Very good! [laughs] So, we have to do that. Take advantage of this opportunity to finish off all business here and go back to the spiritual sky. Just go back to the spiritual sky where you came from, very simple understanding. We don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand this. Even a child can understand. So this is the advantage, this is the opportunity we have and we have to consider that these two possibilities are there and we have come to a situation where we have the ability to take advantage of this ultimate goal of life.

Not that everybody gets this opportunity. There are many people who do not know that human life is providing the facility to go back to Godhead, to go back to the spiritual sky. There are so many people who are in ignorance. We can consider that there was a time when we also were in ignorance. We also didn’t know, we also didn’t know that. But somehow or other by Prabhupada’s mercy we have become aware of it. We are so fortunate. Just consider, all these exalted sages, rishis, munis, they didn’t have the information of the spiritual sky. That’s why they are thinking that the goal of life is to get out of this earth planet and go to the heavenly planet. That’s why they undertake so many difficulties, so many austerities. Similarly, in one hand the kshatriyas are enjoying but along with that enjoyment comes the danger of losing life at any moment, losing everything at any moment. Like, when a kshatriya would go to a war there was no guarantee that he would come back. In one hand they have all these luxurious arrangements, beautiful palaces surrounded by beautiful environment, beautiful wives, so much opulence, so many facilities for enjoyment, but he goes to a battle, fights, sometimes he dies. Just imagine young queen. She is beautiful. She is coming from such an aristocratic background and then one day they just bring the body of her husband to her. So that is the life of a kshatriya, full of danger all the time. Full of danger. A kshatriya is prepared, he knows that he may die at any time. Any moment he can die. But he has a consolation that if he dies in the battlefield he’ll be elevated to the heavenly planet. So everyone is just thinking that the heavenly planet is the…or a kshatriya acts in a very righteous way because he knows that if he acts in a wrong way then his possibility of going to the heavenly planet will be lost. Therefore the kshatriyas are very virtuous. In one hand they are very powerful but at the same time they are very virtuous, they are very righteous. So that is a kshatriya.

So everybody brahmana, kshatriya, vaishya…Vaishyas they know that for them to go to the heavenly planet is difficult but they have to give in charity and in this way they have to generate their…and a sudra thinks he has to have a higher birth to go to the heavenly planet therefore he serves the higher classes of people. Why this kind of understanding? Because they didn’t have the understanding of Krishna consciousness. Now what does Krishna consciousness tell us? Whether you are a brahmana, you are a kshatriya, you are a vaishya or a sudra you become a devotee and you’ll go back to Godhead! Such wonderful opportunities for everyone! What to speak of a sudra, if you are an ‘antaja’, if you are even a candala, still you can go back to the spiritual sky. Just surrender to Krishna.

Now, mind you, this information was not available before. This information was not available. Only in this age this information has become available to everyone. This information was kept as a secret in other ages. A deep secret, only some very limited individuals had this information. Like when somebody came across a personality like Narada Muni. Here we see that is happening. Narada Muni came across Mrigari, a hunter, a very cruel hunter, a very sinful person. And what information Narada Muni gave him? Did Narada Muni tell him to perform austerities and go to heaven? No, Narada Muni said surrender unto Krishna and make your life successful. Even a sinful hunter became a Vaishnava. Vritrasura, a demon, he is such an exalted devotee of the Lord, also by the mercy of Narada Muni and Angira rishi, mainly Narada Muni.

Anyway, we have to remember that we got such a wonderful opportunity. It’s such a good fortune that we came at this time when Prabhupada distributed Krishna consciousness. ISKCON is there to protect us from any spiritual difficulty. And take advantage and go back to Godhead.

Gaura Premanande Hari Haribol!

Does anybody have any question?

Devotee: [paraphrased] All are the exalted personalities living in the heavenly planet like Brahma, Devarsi Narada Muni, Brihaspati using up there punya by staying in the heavenly planet?

BCS: You see, Brahma is a pure devotee of the Lord. He is our parama guru. From him came the thing but Brahma is stuck: he has the responsibility of taking care of the universe. So as long as the universe is there Brahma will have to take care of that. But Brahma is not going out of his way to give this information to everyone. He gave only to Narada Muni. Narada Muni became qualified. Narada Muni asked Brahma. While others thought that Brahma is the Supreme, Narada Muni realized that there is somebody higher than Brahma. So he inquired from his father, who is that person? And then Brahma told him about Him. And Brihaspati, although he knows Krishna, but he is again duty bound. Demigods are duty bound. For example, what does a devotee ultimately do? The devotee’s mentality is that, “Well, Krishna wants me to be here and do something.” So, many of the sages are acting according to that understanding. Like Brihaspati: “I have to instruct the demigods, guide them.” And the demigods have their responsibility. The demigods cannot retire untimely. So Brihaspati has to keep them engaged in that responsibility.

Devotee: They directly go back to Krishnaloka?

BCS: At the time of annihilation. The way to Krishnaloka or Vaikunthaloka is via the earth planet. That’s why when Krishna comes or when Ramacandra came, They instructed the demigods to take birth in the earth planet to help, to assist Him. And by assisting Him in His pastimes they get a chance to become associated with Him.


Devotee: Guru Maharaja, as you were mentioning that this information regarding the higher planter system was not available to the rishis also

BCS: Not higher planetary system, spiritual sky. Many of the rishis, yes.

Devotee: The same thing when I was reading the biography of His Holiness Radhanatha Swami]. He went to so many places in his pastimes before coming to ISKCON. He went to so many different people, who had some knowledge with them, spent some time with them. So all those people that did not have any knowledge about Krishna. And ultimately because he was destined to come to Prabhupada Maharaja, how Krishna’s plan was made successful and he came and joined ISKCON. I wanted to inform that if you read that then you realize that bhakti has saved him [?]. You can very well practically see also he did not surrender to anyone but only came and surrendered to Srila Prabhupada.

BCS: Right. Very good, yeah.

Any other question? Okay.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.


 Ttranscription : Her Grace Ranga Radhika Dasi

Editing : Ramananda Raya Dasa

Audio reference: click here