65. The Deliverance of Paundraka and the King of Kasi
11 / The Deliverance of Pauëòraka and the King of Käçé
The story of King Pauëòraka is very interesting because there have always been many rascals and fools who have considered themselves to be God. Even in the presence of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kåñëa, there was such a foolish person. His name was Pauëòraka, and he wanted to declare himself to be God. While Lord Balaräma was absent in Våndävana, this King Pauëòraka, the King of the Karüña province, being foolish and puffed up, sent a messenger to Lord Kåñëa. Lord Kåñëa is accepted as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and King Pauëòraka directly challenged Kåñëa through the messenger, who stated that Pauëòraka, and not Kåñëa, was Väsudeva. In the present day there are many foolish followers of such rascals. Similarly, in his day, many foolish men accepted Pauëòraka as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Because he could not estimate his own position, Pauëòraka falsely thought himself to be Lord Väsudeva. Thus the messenger declared to Kåñëa that out of his causeless mercy, King Pauëòraka, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, had descended on the earth just to deliver all distressed persons.
Surrounded by many other foolish persons, this rascal Pauëòraka had actually concluded that he was Väsudeva, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This kind of conclusion is certainly childish. When children are playing, they sometimes create a king amongst themselves, and the child who is selected thinks that he is the king. Similarly, many foolish persons, due to ignorance, select another fool as God, and then the rascal considers himself God, as if God could be created by childish play or by the votes of men. Under this false impression, thinking himself the Supreme Lord, Pauëòraka sent his messenger to Dvärakä to challenge the position of Kåñëa. The messenger reached the royal assembly of Kåñëa in Dvärakä and conveyed the message given by his master, Pauëòraka. The message contained the following statements.
"I am the only Supreme Personality of Godhead, Väsudeva. There is no man who can compete with me. I have descended as King Pauëòraka, taking compassion on the distressed conditioned souls out of my unlimited causeless mercy. You have falsely taken the position of Väsudeva without authority, but You should not propagate this false idea. You must give up Your position. O descendant of the Yadu dynasty, please give up all the symbols of Väsudeva which You have falsely assumed. And after giving up this position, come and surrender unto me. If out of Your gross impudence You do not care for my words, then I challenge You to fight. I am inviting You to a battle in which the decision will be settled."
When all the members of the royal assembly, including King Ugrasena, heard this message sent by Pauëòraka, they laughed very loudly for a considerable time. After enjoying the loud laughter of all the members of the assembly, Kåñëa replied to the messenger as follows: "O messenger of Pauëòraka, you may carry My message to your master: He is a foolish rascal. I directly call him a rascal, and I refuse to follow his instructions. I shall never give up the symbols of Väsudeva, especially My disc. I shall use this disc to kill not only King Pauëòraka but all his followers also. I shall destroy Pauëòraka and his foolish associates, who merely constitute a society of cheaters and cheated. When this action is taken, foolish King, you will have to conceal your face in disgrace, and when your head is severed from your body by My disc, it will be surrounded by meat-eating birds like vultures, hawks and eagles. At that time, instead of becoming My shelter as you have demanded, you will be subjected to the mercy of these low-born birds. At that time your body will be thrown to the dogs, who will eat it with great pleasure."
The messenger carried the words of Lord Kåñëa to his master, Pauëòraka, who patiently heard all these insults. Without waiting longer, Lord Çré Kåñëa immediately started out on His chariot to punish the rascal Pauëòraka. Because at that time the King of Karüña was living with his friend the King of Käçé, Kåñëa surrounded the whole city of Käçé.
King Pauëòraka was a great warrior, and as soon as he heard of Kåñëa's attack, he came out of the city along with two akñauhiëé divisions of soldiers. The King of Käçé was also a friend to King Pauëòraka, and he came out with three akñauhiëé divisions. When the two kings came before Lord Kåñëa to oppose Him, Kåñëa saw Pauëòraka face to face for the first time. Kåñëa saw that Pauëòraka had decorated himself with the symbols of the conchshell, disc, lotus and club. He carried the Çärìga bow, and on his chest was the insignia of Çrévatsa. His neck was decorated with a false Kaustubha jewel, and he wore a flower garland in exact imitation of Lord Väsudeva. He was dressed in yellow colored silken garments, and the flag on his chariot carried the symbol of Garuòa, exactly imitating Kåñëa's. He had a very valuable helmet on his head, and his earrings, like swordfish, glittered brilliantly. On the whole, however, his dress and makeup were clearly imitation. Anyone could understand that he was just like someone onstage playing the part of Väsudeva in false dress. When Lord Çré Kåñëa saw Pauëòraka imitating His posture and dress, He could not check His laughter, and thus He laughed with great satisfaction.
The soldiers on the side of King Pauëòraka began to shower their weapons upon Kåñëa. The weapons, including various kinds of tridents, clubs, poles, lances, swords, daggers and arrows, came flying in waves, and Kåñëa counteracted them. He smashed not only the weapons but also the soldiers and assistants of Pauëòraka, just as during the dissolution of this universe the fire of devastation burns everything to ashes. The elephants, chariots, horses, and infantry belonging to the opposite party were scattered by the weapons of Kåñëa. The whole battlefield became scattered with the bodies of animals and chariots. There were fallen horses, elephants, men, asses and camels. Although the devastated battlefield appeared like the dancing place of Lord Çiva at the time of the dissolution of the world, the warriors who were on the side of Kåñëa were very much encouraged by seeing this, and they fought with greater strength.
At this time, Lord Kåñëa told Pauëòraka, "Pauëòraka, you requested Me to give up the symbols of Lord Viñëu, specifically My disc. Now I will give it up to you. Be careful! You falsely declare yourself to be Vasudeva, imitating Myself. Therefore no one is a greater fool than you." From this statement of Kåñëa's it is clear that any rascal who advertises himself as God is the greatest fool in human society. Kåñëa continued: "Now, Pauëòraka, I shall force you to give up this false representation. You wanted Me to surrender unto you. Now this is your opportunity. We shall now fight, and if I am defeated and you become victorious, I shall certainly surrender unto you." In this way, after chastising Pauëòraka very severely, He smashed his chariot to pieces by shooting an arrow. With the help of His disc He separated the head of Pauëòraka from his body, just as Indra shaves off the peaks of mountains by striking them with his thunderbolt. Similarly, He also killed the King of Käçé with His arrows. Lord Kåñëa specifically arranged to throw the head of the King of Käçé into the city of Käçé itself so that his relatives and family members could see it. This was done by Kåñëa just as a hurricane carries a lotus petal here and there. Lord Kåñëa killed Pauëòraka and his friend Käçéräja on the battlefield, and then He returned to His capital city, Dvärakä.
When Lord Kåñëa returned to the city of Dvärakä, all the Siddhas from the heavenly planets were singing the glories of the Lord. As far as Pauëòraka was concerned, somehow or other he was always thinking of Lord Väsudeva by falsely dressing himself in that way, and therefore Pauëòraka achieved särüpya, one of the five kinds of liberation, and was thus promoted to the Vaikuëöha planets, where the devotees have the same bodily features as Viñëu, with four hands holding the four symbols. Factually, his meditation was concentrated on the Viñëu form, but because he thought himself to be Lord Viñëu, it was offensive. After being killed by Kåñëa, however, that offense was also mitigated. Thus he was given särüpya liberation, and he attained the same form as the Lord.
When the head of the King of Käçé was thrown through the city gate, people gathered and were astonished to see that wonderful thing. When they found out that there were earrings on it, they could understand that it was someone's head. They conjectured as to whose head it might be. Some thought it was Kåñëa's head because Kåñëa was the enemy of Käçéräja, and they calculated that the King of Käçé might have thrown Kåñëa's head into the city so that the people might take pleasure that the enemy was killed. But it was finally detected that the head was not Kåñëa's, but that of Käçéräja himself. When it was so ascertained, the queens of the King of Käçé immediately approached and began to lament the death of their husband. "Our dear lord," they cried, "upon your death, we have become just like dead bodies."
The King of Käçé had one son whose name was Sudakñiëa. After observing the ritualistic funeral ceremonies, he took a vow that since Kåñëa was the enemy of his father, he would kill Kåñëa and in this way liquidate his debts to his father. Therefore, accompanied by a learned priest qualified to help him, he began to worship Mahädeva, Lord Çiva. The lord of the kingdom of Käçé is Viçvanätha (Lord Çiva). The temple of Lord Viçvanätha is still existing in Väräëasé, and many thousands of pilgrims still gather daily in that temple. By the worship of Sudakñiëa, Lord Çiva was very much pleased, and he wanted to give a benediction to his devotee. Sudakñiëa's purpose was to kill Kåñëa, and therefore he prayed for a specific power by which he could kill Him. Lord Çiva advised that Sudakñiëa, assisted by the brähmaëas, execute the ritualistic ceremony for killing one's enemy. This ceremony is also mentioned in some of the Tantras. Lord Çiva informed Sudakñiëa that if such a black ritualistic ceremony were performed properly, then the evil spirit named Dakñiëägni would appear to carry out any order given to him. He would have to be employed, however, to kill someone other than a qualified brähmaëa. In such a case he would be accompanied by Lord Çiva's ghostly companions, and the desire of Sudakñiëa to kill his enemy would be fulfilled.
When Sudakñiëa was encouraged by Lord Çiva in that way, he became assured that he would be able to kill Kåñëa. With a determined vow of austerity, he began to execute the black art of chanting mantras, assisted by the priests. After this, out of the fire came a great demonic form, whose hair, beard and moustache were exactly the color of hot copper. This form was very big and fierce. As the demon arose from the fire, cinders of fire emanated from the sockets of his eyes. The giant fiery demon appeared still more fierce due to the movements of his eyebrows. He exhibited long sharp teeth and, sticking out his long tongue, licked both sides of his lips. He was naked, and he carried a big trident, which was blazing like fire. After appearing from the fire of sacrifice, he stood wielding the trident in his hand. Instigated by Sudakñiëa, the demon proceeded toward the capital city, Dvärakä, along with many hundreds of ghostly companions, and it appeared that he was going to burn all outer space to ashes. The surface of the earth trembled because of his striking steps. When he entered the city of Dvärakä, all the residents panicked, just like animals at the time of a forest fire.
At that time Kåñëa was engaged in playing chess in the royal assembly council hall. All the residents of Dvärakä approached and addressed Him, "Dear Lord of the three worlds, there is a great fiery demon ready to burn the whole city of Dvärakä! Please save us!" Thus, after approaching Lord Kåñëa, all the inhabitants of Dvärakä began to appeal to Him for protection from the fiery demon who had just appeared in Dvärakä to devastate the whole city.
Lord Kåñëa, who specifically protects His devotees, saw that the whole population of Dvärakä was most perturbed by the presence of the great fiery demon. He immediately began to smile and assured them, "Don't worry. I shall give you all protection." The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kåñëa, is all-pervading. He is within everyone's heart, and He is without also in the form of the cosmic manifestation. He could understand that the fiery demon was a creation of Lord Çiva, and in order to vanquish him He took His Sudarçana-cakra and ordered him to take the necessary steps. The Sudarçana-cakra appeared with the effulgence of millions of suns, his temperature being as powerful as the fire created at the end of the cosmic manifestation. By his own effulgence, the Sudarçana-cakra began to illuminate the entire universe, on the surface of the earth as well as in outer space. Then the Sudarçana-cakra began to freeze the fiery demon created by Lord Çiva. In this way, the fiery demon was checked by the Sudarçana-cakra of Lord Kåñëa, and being defeated in his attempt to devastate the city of Dvärakä, he turned back.
Having failed to set fire to Dvärakä, he went back to Väräëasé, the kingdom of Käçéräja. As a result of his return, all the priests who had helped instruct the black art of mantras, along with their employer, Sudakñiëa were burned into ashes by the glaring effulgence of the fiery demon. According to the methods of black art mantras instructed in the Tantra, if the mantra fails to kill the enemy, then, because it must kill someone, it kills the original creator. Sudakñiëa was the originator, and the priests assisted him; therefore all of them were burned to ashes. This is the way of the demons: the demons create something to kill God, but by the same weapon the demons themselves are killed.
Following just behind the fiery demon, the Sudarçana-cakra also entered Väräëasé. This city of Väräëasé had been very opulent and great for a very long time. Even now, the city of Väräëasé is very opulent and famous, and it is one of the important cities of India. There were then many big palaces, assembly houses, marketplaces and gates, with very important large monuments by the palaces and gates. Lecturing platforms could be found at each and every crossing of the roads. There was a treasury house, and elephant heads, horse heads, chariots, granaries and places for distribution of foodstuff. The city of Väräëasé had been filled with all these material opulences for a very long time, but because the King of Käçé and his son Sudakñiëa were against Lord Kåñëa, the Viñëu-cakra Sudarçana (the disc weapon of Lord Kåñëa) devastated the whole city by burning all these important places. This excursion was more ravaging than modern bombing. The Sudarçana-cakra, having thus finished his duty, came back to his Lord Çré Kåñëa at Dvärakä.
This narration of the devastation of Väräëasé by Kåñëa's disc weapon, the Sudarçana-cakra, is transcendental and auspicious. Anyone who narrates this story or anyone who hears this story with faith and attention will be released from all reaction to sinful activities. This is the assurance of Çukadeva Gosvämé who narrated this story to Parékñit Mahäräja.
Thus ends the Bhaktivedanta purport of the Second Volume, Eleventh Chapter, of Kåñëa, "Deliverance of Pauëòraka and the King of Käçé."