73. The Deliverance of Sisupala
19 / The Deliverance of Çiçupäla
King Yudhiñöhira became very happy after hearing the details of the Jaräsandha episode, and he spoke as follows: "My dear Kåñëa, O eternal form of bliss and knowledge, all the exalted directors of the affairs of this material world, including Lord Brahmä, Lord Çiva and King Indra, are always anxious to receive and carry out orders from You, and whenever they are fortunate enough to receive such orders, they immediately take them and keep them in their hearts. O Kåñëa, You are unlimited, and although we sometimes think of ourselves as royal kings and rulers of the world and become puffed up over our paltry positions, we are very poor in heart. Actually, we are fit to be punished by You, but the wonder is that instead of punishing us, You so kindly and mercifully accept our orders and carry them out properly. Others are very surprised that Your Lordship can play the part of an ordinary human, but we can understand that You are performing these activities just like a dramatic artist. Your real position is always exalted, exactly like that of the sun, which always remains at the same temperature both during the time of its rising and the time of its setting. Although we feel the difference in temperature between the rising and the setting sun, the temperature of the sun never changes. You are always transcendentally equipoised, and thus You are neither pleased nor disturbed by any condition of material affairs. You are the Supreme Brahman, the Personality of Godhead, and for You there are no relativities. My dear Mädhava, You are never defeated by anyone. Material distinctions--'This is me.' 'This is you.' 'This is mine.' 'This is yours.'--are all conspicuous by dint of their absence in You. Such distinctions are visible in the lives of everyone, even the animals, but those who are pure devotees are freed from these false distinctions. Since these distinctions are absent in Your devotees, they cannot possibly be present in You."
After satisfying Kåñëa in this way, King Yudhiñöhira arranged to perform the Räjasüya sacrifice. He invited all the qualified brähmaëas and sages to take part and appointed them to different positions as priests in charge of the sacrificial arena. He invited the most expert brähmaëas and sages, whose names are as follows: Kåñëa-dvaipäyana Vyäsadeva, Bharadväja, Sumantu, Gautama, Asita, Vasiñöha, Cyavana, Kaëva, Maitreya, Kavaña, Trita, Viçvämitra, Vämadeva, Sumati, Jaimini, Kratu, Paila, Paräçara, Garga, Vaiçampäyana, Atharvä, Kaçyapa, Dhaumya, Paraçuräma, Çukräcärya, Äsuri, Vétihotra, Madhucchandä, Vérasena and Akåtavraëa. Besides all these brähmaëas and sages, he invited such respectable old men as Droëäcärya, Bhéñma (the grandfather of the Kurus), Kåpäcärya, and Dhåtaräñöra. He also invited all the sons of Dhåtaräñöra, headed by Duryodhana, and the great devotee Vidura was also invited. Kings from different parts of the world, along with their ministers and secretaries, were also invited to see the great sacrifice performed by King Yudhiñöhira, and the citizens, comprising learned brähmaëas, chivalrous kñatriyas, well-to-do vaiçyas, and faithful çüdras, all visited the ceremony.
The brähmaëa priests and sages in charge of the sacrificial ceremony constructed the sacrificial arena as usual with a plow of gold, and they initiated King Yudhiñöhira as the performer of the great sacrifice, in accordance with Vedic rituals. Long years ago, when Varuëa performed a similar sacrifice, all the sacrificial utensils were made of gold. Similarly, in the Räjasüya sacrifice of King Yudhiñöhira, all the utensils required for the sacrifice were golden.
In order to participate in the great sacrifice performed by King Yudhiñöhira, all the exalted demigods like Lord Brahmä, Lord Çiva, and Indra the King of heaven, accompanied by their associates, as well as the predominating deities of higher planetary systems like Gandharvaloka, Siddhaloka, Janoloka, Tapoloka, Nägaloka, Yakñaloka, Räkñasaloka, Pakñiloka and Cäraëaloka, as well as famous kings and their queens, were all present by the invitation of King Yudhiñöhira. All the respectable sages, kings and demigods who assembled there unanimously agreed that King Yudhiñöhira was quite competent to take the responsibility of performing the Räjasüya sacrifice; no one was in disagreement on this fact. All of them knew thoroughly the position of King Yudhiñöhira; because he was a great devotee of Lord Kåñëa, no accomplishment was extraordinary for him. The learned brähmaëas and priests saw to it that the sacrifice by Mahäräja Yudhiñöhira was performed in exactly the same way as in bygone ages by the demigod Varuëa. According to the Vedic system, whenever there is an arrangement for sacrifice, the members participating in the sacrifice are offered the juice of the soma plant. The juice of the soma plant is a kind of life-giving beverage. On the day of extracting the soma juice, King Yudhiñöhira very respectfully received the special priest who had been engaged to detect any mistake in the formalities of sacrificial procedures. The idea is that the Vedic mantras must be enunciated perfectly and chanted with the proper accent; if the priests who are engaged in this business commit any mistake, the checker or referee priest immediately corrects the procedure, and thus the ritualistic performances are perfectly executed. Unless it is perfectly executed, a sacrifice cannot yield the desired result. In this age of Kali there is no such learned brähmaëa or priest available; therefore, all such sacrifices are forbidden. The only sacrifice recommended in the çästras is the chanting of the Hare Kåñëa mantra.
Another important procedure is that the most exalted personality in the assembly of such a sacrificial ceremony is first offered worship. After all arrangements were made for Yudhiñöhira's sacrifice, the next consideration was who should be worshiped first in the ceremony. This particular ceremony is called Agrapüjä. Agra means first, and püjä means worship. This Agrapüjä is similar to election of the president. In the sacrificial assembly, all the members were very exalted. Some proposed to elect one person as the perfect candidate for accepting Agrapüjä, and others proposed someone else.
When the matter remained undecided, Sahadeva began to speak in favor of Lord Kåñëa. He said, "Lord Kåñëa, the best amongst the members of the Yadu dynasty and the protector of His devotees, is the most exalted personality in this assembly. Therefore I think that He should without any objection be offered the honor of being worshiped first. Although demigods such as Lord Brahmä, Lord Çiva, Indra, the King of heavenly planets, and many other exalted personalities are present in this assembly, no one can be equal to or greater than Kåñëa in terms of time, space, riches, strength, reputation, wisdom, renunciation or any other consideration. Anything which is considered opulent is present originally in Kåñëa. As an individual soul is the basic principle of the growth of his material body, similarly Kåñëa is the Supersoul of this cosmic manifestation. All kinds of Vedic ritualistic ceremonies, such as the performance of sacrifices, the offering of oblations in the fire, the chanting of the Vedic hymns and the practice of mystic yoga--all are meant for realizing Kåñëa. Whether one follows the path of fruitive activities or the path of philosophical speculation, the ultimate destination is Kåñëa; all bona fide methods of self-realization are meant for understanding Kåñëa. Ladies and gentlemen, it is superfluous to speak about Kåñëa, because every one of you exalted personalities know the Supreme Brahman, Lord Kåñëa, for whom there are no material differences between body and soul, between energy and the energetic, or between one part of the body and another. Since everyone is a part and parcel of Kåñëa, there is no qualitative difference between Kåñëa and all living entities. Everything is an emanation of Kåñëa's energies, the material and spiritual energies. Kåñëa's energies are like the heat and light of the fire; there is no difference between the quality of heat and light and the fire itself.
"Also, Kåñëa can do anything He likes with any part of His body. We can execute a particular action with the help of a particular part of our body, but He can do anything and everything with any part of His body. And because His transcendental body is full of knowledge and bliss in eternity, He doesn't undergo the six kinds of material changes--birth, existence, growth, fruitive action, dwindling and vanishing. Unforced by any external energy, He is the supreme cause of the creation, maintenance and dissolution of everything that be. By the grace of Kåñëa only, everyone is engaged in the practice of religiousness, the development of economic conditions, the satisfaction of the senses and, ultimately, the achievement of liberation from material bondage. These four principles of progressive life can be executed by the mercy of Kåñëa only. He should therefore be offered the first worship of this great sacrifice, and no one should disagree. As by watering the root, the watering of the branches, twigs, leaves and flowers is automatically accomplished, or as by supplying food to the stomach, the nutrition and metabolism of all parts of the body are automatically established, so by offering the first worship to Kåñëa, everyone present in this meeting--including the great demigods--will be satisfied. If anyone is charitably disposed, it will be very good for him to give in charity only to Kåñëa, who is the Supersoul of everyone, regardless of his particular body or individual personality. Kåñëa is present as the Supersoul in every living being, and if we can satisfy Him, then automatically every living being becomes satisfied."
Sahadeva was fortunate to know of the glories of Kåñëa, and after describing them in brief, he stopped speaking. After this speech was delivered, all the members present in that great sacrificial assembly applauded, confirming his words continuously by saying, "Everything that you have said is completely perfect. Everything that you have said is completely perfect." King Yudhiñöhira, after hearing the confirmation of all present, especially of the brähmaëas and learned sages, worshiped Lord Kåñëa according to the regulative principles of the Vedic injunctions. First of all, King Yudhiñöhira--along with his brothers, wives, children, other relatives and ministers--washed the lotus feet of Lord Kåñëa and sprinkled the water on their heads. After this, Lord Kåñëa was offered various kinds of silken garments of yellow color, and heaps of jewelry and ornaments were presented before Him for His use.
King Yudhiñöhira felt such ecstasy by honoring Kåñëa, who was his only lovable object, that tears glided down from his eyes, and although he wanted to, he could not see Lord Kåñëa very well. Lord Kåñëa was thus worshiped by King Yudhiñöhira. At that time all the members present in that assembly stood up with folded hands and began to chant, "Jaya! Jaya! Namaù! Namaù! " When all joined together to offer their respectful obeisances to Kåñëa, there were showers of flowers from the sky.
In that meeting, King Çiçupäla was also present. He was an avowed enemy of Kåñëa for many reasons, especially because of Kåñëa's having stolen Rukmiëé from the marriage ceremony; therefore, he could not tolerate such honor to Kåñëa and glorification of His qualities. Instead of being happy to hear the glories of the Lord, he became very angry. When everyone offered respect to Kåñëa by standing up, Çiçupäla remained in his seat, but when he became angry at Kåñëa's being honored, Çiçupäla stood up suddenly, and, raising his hand, began to speak very strongly and fearlessly against Lord Kåñëa. He spoke in such a way that Lord Kåñëa could hear him very distinctly.
"Ladies and gentlemen, I can appreciate now the statement of the Vedas that, after all, time is the predominating factor. In spite of all endeavors to the contrary, the time element executes its own plan without opposition. For example, one may try his best to live, but when the time for death comes, no one can check it. I see here that although there are many stalwart personalities present in this assembly, the influence of time is so strong that they have been misled by the statement of a boy who has foolishly spoken about Kåñëa. There are many learned sages and elderly persons present, but still they have accepted the statement of a foolish boy. This means that by the influence of time, even the intelligence of such honored persons as are present in this meeting can be misdirected. I fully agree with the respectable persons present here that they are competent enough to select the personality who can be first worshiped, but I cannot agree with the statement of a boy like Sahadeva, who has spoken so highly about Kåñëa and has recommended that Kåñëa is fit to accept the first worship in the sacrifice. I can see that in this meeting there are many personalities who have undergone great austerities, who are highly learned, and who have performed many penances. By their knowledge and direction, they can deliver many persons who are suffering from the pangs of material existence. There are great åñis here whose knowledge has no bounds, as well as many self-realized persons and brähmaëas also, and therefore I think that any one of them could have been selected for the first worship because they are worshipable even by the great demigods, kings and emperors. I cannot understand how you could have selected this cowherd boy, Kåñëa, and have left aside all these other great personalities. I think Kåñëa to be no better than a crow--how can He be fit to accept the first worship in this great sacrifice?
"We cannot even ascertain as yet to which caste this Kåñëa belongs or what His actual occupational duty is." Actually, Kåñëa does not belong to any caste, nor does He have to perform any occupational duty. It is stated in the Vedas that the Supreme Lord has nothing to do as His prescribed duty. Whatever has to be done on His behalf is executed by His different energies.
Çiçupäla continued: "Kåñëa does not belong to a high family. He is so independent that no one knows His principles of religious life. It appears that He is outside the jurisdiction of all religious principles. He always acts independently, not caring for the Vedic injunctions and regulative principles. Therefore He is devoid of all good qualities." Çiçupäla indirectly praised Kåñëa by saying that He is not within the jurisdiction of Vedic injunction. This is true because He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That He has no qualities means that Kåñëa has no material qualities, and because He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead, He acts independently, not caring for conventions or social or religious principles.
Çiçupäla continued: "Under these circumstances, how can He be fit to accept the first worship in the sacrifice? Kåñëa is so foolish that He has left Mathurä, which is inhabited by highly elevated persons following the Vedic culture, and He has taken shelter in the ocean, where there is not even talk of the Vedas. Instead of living openly, He has constructed a fort within the water and is living in an atmosphere where there is no discussion of Vedic knowledge. And whenever He comes out of the fort, He simply harasses the citizens like a dacoit, thief or rogue."
Çiçupäla went crazy because of Kåñëa's being elected the supreme first-worshiped person in that meeting, and he spoke so irresponsibly that it appeared that he had lost all his good fortune. Being overcast with misfortune, Çiçupäla continued to insult Kåñëa further, and Lord Kåñëa patiently heard him without protest. Just as a lion does not care when a flock of jackals howl, Lord Kåñëa remained silent and unprovoked. Kåñëa did not reply to even a single accusation made by Çiçupäla, but all the members present in the meeting, except a few who agreed with Çiçupäla, became very agitated because it is the duty of any respectable person not to tolerate blasphemy against God or His devotee. Some of them, who thought that they could not properly take action against Çiçupäla, left the assembly in protest, covering their ears with their hands in order not to hear further accusations. Thus they left the meeting condemning the action of Çiçupäla. It is the Vedic injunction that whenever there is blasphemy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, one must immediately leave. If he does not do so, he becomes bereft of his pious activities and is degraded to the lower condition of life.
All the kings present, belonging to the Kuru dynasty, Matsya dynasty, Kekaya dynasty and Såïjaya dynasty, became very angry and immediately took up their swords and shields to kill Çiçupäla. Çiçupäla was so foolish that he did not become even slightly agitated, although all the kings present were ready to kill him. He did not care to think of the pros and cons of his foolish talking, and when he saw that all the kings were ready to kill him, instead of stopping, he stood to fight with them and took up his sword and shield. When Lord Kåñëa saw that they were going to engage in fighting in the arena of the auspicious Räjasüya yajïa, He personally pacified them. Out of His causeless mercy He Himself decided to kill Çiçupäla. When Çiçupäla was abusing the kings who were about to attack him, Lord Kåñëa took up His disc, which was as sharp as the blade of a razor, and immediately separated the head of Çiçupäla from his body.
When Çiçupäla was thus killed, a great roar and howl went up from the crowd of that assembly. Taking advantage of that disturbance, the few kings who were supporters of Çiçupäla quickly left the assembly out of fear for their lives. But despite all this, the fortunate Çiçupäla's spirit soul immediately merged into the body of Lord Kåñëa in the presence of all members, exactly as a burning meteor falls to the surface of the globe. Çiçupäla's soul's merging into the transcendental body of Kåñëa reminds us of the story of Jaya and Vijaya, who fell to the material world from the Vaikuëöha planets upon being cursed by the four Kumäras. For their return to the Vaikuëöha world, it was arranged that both Jaya and Vijaya, for three consecutive births would act as deadly enemies of the Lord, and at the end of these lives they would again return to the Vaikuëöha world and serve the Lord as His associates.
Although Çiçupäla acted as the enemy of Kåñëa, he was not for a single moment out of Kåñëa consciousness. He was always absorbed in thought of Kåñëa, and thus he got first the salvation of säyujya-mukti, merging into the existence of the Supreme, and finally became reinstated in his original position of personal service. The Bhagavad-gétä corroborates the fact that if one is absorbed in the thought of the Supreme Lord at the time of death, he immediately enters the kingdom of God after quitting his material body. After the salvation of Çiçupäla, King Yudhiñöhira rewarded all the members present in the sacrificial assembly. He sufficiently remunerated the priests and the learned sages for their engagement in the execution of the sacrifice, and after performing all this routine work, he took his bath. This bath at the end of the sacrifice is also technical. It is called the avabhåtha bath.
Lord Kåñëa thus enabled the performance of the Räjasüya yajïa arranged by King Yudhiñöhira to be successfully completed, and, being requested by His cousins and relatives, He remained in Hastinäpura for a few months more. Although King Yudhiñöhira and his brothers were not willing to have Lord Kåñëa leave Hastinäpura, Kåñëa arranged to take permission from the King to return to Dvärakä, and thus He returned home along with His queens and ministers.
The story of the fall of Jaya and Vijaya from the Vaikuëöha planets to the material world is described in the Seventh Canto of Çrémad-Bhägavatam. The killing of Çiçupäla has a direct link with that narration of Jaya and Vijaya, but the most important instruction that we get from this incident is that the Supreme Personality of Godhead, being absolute, can give salvation to everyone, whether one acts as His enemy or as His friend. It is therefore a misconception that the Lord acts with someone in relationship of a friend and with someone else in the relationship of an enemy. His being an enemy or friend is always on the absolute platform. There is no material distinction.
After King Yudhiñöhira took his bath after the sacrifice and stood in the midst of all the learned sages and brähmaëas, he seemed exactly like the King of heaven and thus looked very beautiful. King Yudhiñöhira sufficiently rewarded all the demigods who participated in the yajïa, and being greatly satisfied, all of them left praising the King's activities and glorifying Lord Kåñëa.
When Çukadeva Gosvämé was narrating these incidents of Kåñëa's killing Çiçupäla and describing the successful execution of the Räjasüya yajïa by Mahäräja Yudhiñöhira, he pointed out also that after the successful termination of the yajïa there was only one person who was not happy. He was Duryodhana. Duryodhana by nature was very envious because of his sinful life, and he appeared in the dynasty of the Kurus as a chronic disease personified in order to destroy the whole family.
Çukadeva Gosvämé assured Mahäräja Parékñit that the pastimes of Lord Kåñëa--the killing of Çiçupäla and Jaräsandha and the releasing of the imprisoned kings--are all transcendental vibrations, and anyone who hears these narrations from the authorized persons will be immediately freed from all the reactions of the sinful activities of his life.
Thus ends the Bhaktivedanta purport of the Second Volume, Ninteenth Chapter of Kåñëa, "The Deliverance of Çiçupäla."