Chapter 22: Prithu Mahârâja's Meeting with the Four Kumâras :
Slokam-1 to 63.
(1) Maitreya said: 'As the citizens were thus praying to the high and mighty King Prithu, four sages arrived there as bright as the sun. (2) The king and his associates could recognize the masters of yogic perfection that descended from the ethereal realm by the glaring effulgence of their all-embracing sinlessness [: they were the four Kumâras]. (3) Seeing the so very desired life of peaceful conduct before them, King Prithu with his followers jumped to their feet as if they were souls whose senses are ruled by the modes of nature. (4) After they accepting that [reverence] had taken their seats he, humble with the high civilization of their full glory, bowed before them and was of worship the way it is prescribed with all that belongs to it. (5) The water of washing their feet he sprinkled on the tuft of his hair and thus he behaved like men of respect are supposed to behave. (6) Seated on the golden throne the brothers who were older than S'iva [see 3.12: 4-7] were like fire on the altar and pleased with them, the king respectfully and with restraint addressed them. (7) Prithu said: 'To what do I owe the grace of your audience, of you who are fortune in person? It is an encounter that even for the greatest yogis is difficult to achieve. (8) He with whom the ones of learning [the brahmins and the Vaishnavas] are pleased, can achieve whatever that is difficult to achieve in this world or the hereafter, including the all-auspicious Lord S'iva and Lord Vishnu who accompany them. (9) Although you are traveling all the worlds, the people cannot see you, just as the ones causal to the creation [S'iva and Brahmâ, compare 1.1: 1] cannot see the All-knowing witness residing within everyone. (10) Despite of being not that rich, those householders [may enjoy] the glory of most respectable saints [like you], who with their home can offer water, a place to sit, servants, land and the master of the house himself. (11) But a tree with venomous serpents are no doubt those houses that, abundant with all wealth, are not [blessed] with the water that washed from the feet of the great saints. (12) I welcome you, oh best of the twice-born, you who move around like children and controlled by vows with a great faith are motivated for liberation. (13) Oh masters, can persons who, having fallen into this material existence, are stricken with the illness of living to the command of their senses, all by themselves find any good fortune? (14) There is no need to ask you about your well-being for you supreme souls have no mind concerned with matters of good or bad fortune. (15) I therefore am certain that you for us who suffer the pains of a material existence, are the friend to ask how one soon in this world may find salvation. (16) Manifesting as the supreme goal in life of the transcendentalists the Supreme Lord, the Unborn One in the form of the perfected ones moves about on this earth in order to show His devotees His mercy.'
(17) Maitreya said: 'Hearing that very substantial, appropriate, concise and sweet conclusion of Prithu, the Kumâra satisfied with a smile replied as follows. (18) Sanat-kumâra said: 'What a good question for you to ask my dear King, oh you who desires the good of all living beings. Learned as you are, you nevertheless pose this question. [This speaks for you] as someone whose intelligence roots in the mind of the saintly ones. (19) An association of devotees in which there is discussion, questioning and answering is appreciated by both the parties [of the saintly ones and their pious followers], and real happiness for all will expand from it. (20) Oh King, you are evidently attached to the organized appreciation for the qualities of the Lord His lotus feet. Difficult as it is, that will free the indwelling soul, given a steady practice, from the dirt of the emotions of lust. (21) In the scriptures is defended that only the absence of attachment to other matters than the soul in combination with an intense attachment for that True Self which is transcendental to the modes of nature, constitutes the perfect conviction for the salvation of man. (22) That [is realized] when one as a dutiful devotee with faith and devotion, by means of discussion and inquiry is spiritually united in one's determination and with respect for the Lord of Yoga regularly attends and listens to the stories of the God-fearing ones. (23) Reluctant to associate with the rich and the ones who are after sense gratification and not after the acquiring of goods as approved by them, one gets rid of the bad taste of the happiness that goes without drinking the nectar of the qualities of the Self of the Supreme Personality. (24) With nonviolence [as a vegetarian], following in the footsteps of the teachers of example, by remembering the Lord of Liberation, by testifying of His activities, by the nectar of following according to the yoga principles without a material motive [yama] and by practicing in line with the precepts [of niyama] one thus being without offenses, will be living a simple life with tolerance for the worldly dualities. (25) With in one's ear constantly the discussions in relation to the transcendental qualities of the Lord it may be so that one, increasing in one's devotion and consciousness, is of an uncontaminated existence in the material world that is opposed to spiritual understanding, for when one has realized that kind of listening, it is easy to be attached to the Spirit of Transcendence. (26) When the person in respect of the teacher of example is fixed in attachment to the Spiritual Supreme, the impotence of the heart [as characterized by the five kles'as or hindrances: ignorance, egoism, attachment, dislike and death-fear] that is situated within the covering of the individual soul that consists of the five elements, will be burned by the force of detachment and spiritual knowledge like fuel being burned by fire. (27) With that immolation of the inner weakness being freed from all the [associated] material qualities, there is no difference as there was in the past between the inner action with the Supersoul and the outer action of the self. For such a one that difference has ended just like a dream ends when one wakes up. (28) The person sees of himself both the objects of his senses and his transcendence [as the witness]. In that position he knows desires and designations, but without the two [not being innerly divided] that is not the case. (29) The only reason that one sees differences between oneself and something [or someone] else is that there are different causes [for each position] everywhere, just like one has with a reflection that is different in water and another medium [like a mirror]. (30) Because the mind is agitated by the senses that are drawn towards the sense-objects, [the pure] consciousness [of one's intelligence] is easily lost, just like a lake that is overgrown with plants. (31) Scholars of the soul state that in the destructive choking of one's remembrance the constant mindfulness of one's consciousness is destroyed and that the soul bereft of real knowledge thus degrades [see B.G. 2: 62-63]. (32) In this world there is nothing as bad as the obstruction of that self-interest, in which other matters seem to be so much more interesting than the realization of one's own self that one hinders. (33) When one constantly thinks for the sake of riches and sensual pleasures all the [four] virtues of human society are destroyed [the purushârthas]. Therefrom bereft of knowledge and devotional service, one lapses into the inertia of matter. (34) They who want to cross over that ocean quickly, should never cling to the slowness of matter, for that is the great stumbling block for the virtues of religiousness, economic development, regulation of pleasures and salvation [dharma, artha, kâma, moksha]. (35) In this respect liberation is likely to be there as the most important one, because engaged in the interest of the other three paths one regularly finds oneself caught in the finality of things and in fear. (36) For all those notions of a higher or lower form of life there will never be any peace, for they depending upon the interaction of the material modes are by the ordinance of the Lord [in the form of Time] all destroyed. (37) Oh best of kings, be therefore just as I am persuaded of Him the Supreme Lord who from within the heart everywhere manifests by dominating as the Master of the Field radiating into every hair follicle and who for all the moving or nonmoving living beings covered by a body endowed with senses and a life-breath, is there for the consideration of self-realization. (38) Surrender yourself unto Him the root cause manifesting as the truth within the untruth. By this deliberate consideration one is freed from the illusions of an intelligence that wonders whether one deals with a rope or a snake. Thus one is situated in the eternal liberation of the uncontaminated, pure truth of the original nature transcendental to all the impurities of one's karmic [fruitive] activities. (39) Be unto Him, Vâsudeva, of devotion like the devotees who find Him, whose lotus toes bring them joy, worthy to take shelter of. By devotional service the hard knot of karmic desire is uprooted, but that is never so with people missing that respect, however hard they try to stop the waves of sense enjoyment. (40) In this material ocean the hardship of the non-devotees is great with the sharks of the six senses. They cannot cross the ocean without much difficulties and therefore you should make the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead your boat for passing that unconquerable expanse.'
(41) Maitreya said: 'The king thus by the son of Brahmâ, the Kumâra who was so well versed in spiritual knowledge, in full being informed about the ins and outs of spiritual advancement, praised him and then spoke. (42) The king said: 'In order to confirm what the Lord has promised [in 4.20: 15], He who from His causeless mercy is so compassionate with the ones in distress, you have all oh brahmins, oh powerful ones, arrived here. (43) With you also doing what could be expected from the most compassionate representatives of the Lord, is all that I have to offer, the remnants of the offerings to the saints! What should I give from my side? (44) My life, wife and children, oh brahmins, my home with everything belonging to it, my kingdom, power, land and treasury, I thus all offer to you. (45) The post as the commander in chief and ruler over the kingdom, the scepter of authority and the complete dominion over the planet are no doubt only reserved for those who know the purport of the Vedas. (46) The kshatriyas [the rulers] and the other departments of society all eat by the mercy of the brahmins who enjoy their own clothing, their own food and their own donations in charity. (47) You from your kind of spiritual understanding of progressing with the Fortunate One, have in your compassion explained to us the Vedic evidence as discussed. May you ever be pleased with your own actions of mercy! Who could ever repay you with anything but offering water to you with cupped hands?'
(48) Maitreya said: 'After the masters of self-realization had been worshiped by the original king they praised his character and, before the eyes of all the people, rose to the sky. (49) The son of Vena, the first among the great personalities, who according to the teachings fixed in the self had arrived at self-realization, considered himself as someone who had achieved what he desired. (50) In his actions for the sake of the Absolute Truth engaging as good as possible according to the time, the circumstances and his capacity, he did whatever he could as far as his means would allow. (51) Fully dedicated to the Supreme Spirit he free from attachments being of renunciation always thought of the superintendent of all actions, the Supersoul transcendental to material nature. (52) Even though he lived at home he never felt attracted to all the opulence of his mighty kingdom nor did he indulge in sensual pleasures, as much as the sun [never responds to what is lit]. (53) Thus always practicing yoga he by his self-realization begot five sons in his wife Arci who were the way he wanted them. (54) Their names were Vijitâs'va, Dhûmrakes'a, Haryaksha, Dravina and Vrika. With them Prithu [by his authority] alone succeeded in incorporating all the qualities of all local deities. (55) In his personal surrender to the Infallible One he, for the protection of the created universe, pleased the citizens during his time with the qualities of his kind-hearted words and actions. (56) The king thus was known as the King of the Moon, while he on the other hand was like the Sun god in his distributing, exacting and ruling over the wealth of the world. (57) In his exercise of power he was as unconquerable as fire, he was as insuperable as the King of Heaven, as tolerant as the earth itself and alike heaven in fulfilling all desires of human society. (58) He used to please as bountiful as the rain that pours as much as one likes, he was as unfathomable as the sea and occupied his position alike the King of the Hills [mount Meru]. (59) He was like the King of Righteousness [Yamarâja] in his education, he was alike the Himalayas in his opulence [because of the minerals and jewels], he was like Kuvera in keeping the wealth and alike Varuna [the ruler of the waters] in his secrecy. (60) He was as all-pervading as the air [the wind] and of a likewise physical strength, courage and power, and he was as unforbidding as the most powerful demigod Rudra [the Lord of the Ghosts, S'iva]. (61) He was as beautiful as Cupid, as thoughtful as the Lion, the King of the Animals, in his affection he was alike Svâyambhuva Manu and in matters of controlling the people he resembled the Unborn Lord, Brahmâ. (62) He understood spiritual matters alike Brihaspati, in his personal self-control he was alike the Supreme Personality, in his devotion to the cows, the spiritual master and the brahmins he was as the Vaishnavas, the followers of Vishnu, in his shyness he was the most gentle one and in matters of philanthropy he was [as caring] as he was for himself. (63) All over the three worlds the general public loudly declared - and surely all the lovers of truth and the women from everywhere came to hear about it - that his name and fame was as great as of Râmacandra [the Vishnu-avatâra].'