Srimad Bhagavatham : 5.4&5. 19 & 01.


Chapter-4 & 5

Slokam- 19 & 1.

Once while touring the world, Lord Ṛṣabhadeva, the Supreme Lord, reached a place known as Brahmavarta. There was a great conference of learned brahmanas at that place, and all the King’s sons attentively heard the instructions of the brahmanas there. At that assembly, within the hearing of the citizens, Rshabhadeva instructed His sons, although they were already very well behaved, devoted and qualified. He instructed them so that in the future they could rule the world very perfectly. Thus he spoke as follows :

The instructions of Lord Rshabhadeva to His sons are very valuable if one wants to live peacefully within this world, which is full of miseries. In the next chapter, Lord Rshabhadeva gives His sons these valuable instructions.

Chapter-5. ( Lord Rshabhadeva’s Teachings to His Sons ) :-

Introduction :-

Lord Rshabhadeva’s Teachings to His Sons

In this chapter there is a description of bhagavata-dharma, religious principles in devotional service that transcend religious principles for liberation and the mitigation of material misery. It is stated in this chapter that a human being should not work hard like dogs and hogs for sense gratification. The human life is especially meant for the revival of our relationship with the Supreme Lord, and to this end all kinds of austerities and penances should be accepted. By austere activities, one’s heart can be cleansed of material contamination, and as a result one can be situated on the spiritual platform. To attain this perfection, one has to take shelter of a devotee and serve him. 

Then the door of liberation will be open. Those who are materially attached to women and sense gratification gradually become entangled in material consciousness and suffer the miseries of birth, old age, disease and death. Those who are engaged in the general welfare of all and who are not attached to children and family are called mahatmas. Those who are engaged in sense gratification. who act piously or impiously, cannot understand the purpose of the soul. 

Therefore they should approach a highly elevated devotee and accept him as a spiritual master. By his association, one will be able to understand the purpose of life. Under the instructions of such a spiritual master, one can attain devotional service to the Lord, detachment from material things, and tolerance of material misery and distress. One can then see all living entities equally, and one becomes very eager to know about transcendental subject matters. Endeavoring persistently for the satisfaction of Krishna, one becomes detached from wife, children and home. He is not interested in wasting time. 

In this way one becomes self-realized. A person advanced in spiritual knowledge does not engage anyone in material activity. And one who cannot deliver another person by instructing him in devotional service should not become a spiritual master, father, mother, demigod or husband. Instructing His one hundred sons, Lord Ṛṣabhadeva advised them to accept their eldest brother, Bharata, as their guide and lord, and thereby serve him. Of all living entities, the brāhmaṇas are the best, and above the brāhmaṇas the Vaiṣṇavas are situated in an even better position. Serving a Vaiṣṇava means serving the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Thus Suka Maharishi  describes the characteristics of Bharata Maharaja and the sacrificial performance executed by Lord Rshabhadeva for the instruction of the general populace.


Lord Rshabhadeva told His sons: 

My dear boys, of all the living entities who have accepted material bodies in this world, one who has been awarded this human form should not work hard day and night simply for sense gratification, which is available even for dogs and hogs that eat stool. One should engage in penance and austerity to attain the divine position of devotional service. By such activity, one’s heart is purified, and when one attains this position, he attains eternal, blissful life, which is transcendental to material happiness and which continues forever.

In this slokam Lord Rshabhadeva tells His sons about the importance of human life. The word deha-bhak refers to anyone who accepts a material body, but the living entity who is awarded the human form must act differently from animals. Animals like dogs and hogs enjoy sense gratification by eating stool. After undergoing severe hardships all day, human beings are trying to enjoy themselves at night by eating, drinking, having sex and sleeping. At the same time, they have to properly defend themselves. However, this is not human civilization. Human life means voluntarily practicing suffering for the advancement of spiritual life. There is, of course, suffering in the lives of animals and plants, which are suffering due to their past misdeeds. However, human beings should voluntarily accept suffering in the form of austerities and penances in order to attain the divine life. After attaining the divine life, one can enjoy happiness eternally. After all, every living entity is trying to enjoy happiness, but as long as one is encaged in the material body, he has to suffer different kinds of misery. A higher sense is present in the human form. We should act according to superior advice in order to attain eternal happiness and go back to Godhead.

It is significant in this verse that the government and the natural guardian, the father, should educate subordinates and raise them to Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Devoid of Krishna consciousness, every living being suffers in this cycle of birth and death perpetually. To relieve them from this bondage and enable them to become blissful and happy, bhakti-yoga should be taught. A foolish civilization neglects to teach people how to rise to the platform of bhakti-yoga. Without  consciousness a person is no better than a hog or dog. The instructions of Rshabhadeva are very essential at the present moment. People are being educated and trained to work very hard for sense gratification, and there is no sublime aim in life. A man travels to earn his livelihood, leaving home early in the morning, catching a local train and being packed in a compartment. He has to stand for an hour or two in order to reach his place of business. Then again he takes a bus to get to the office. At the office he works hard from nine to five; then he takes two or three hours to return home. After eating, he has sex and goes to sleep. For all this hardship, his only happiness is a little sex. Yan maithunadi-grhamedhi-sukham hi tuccham [SB 7.9.45]. Rshabhadeva clearly states that human life is not meant for this kind of existence, which is enjoyed even by dogs and hogs. Indeed, dogs and hogs do not have to work so hard for sex. A human being should try to live in a different way and should not try to imitate dogs and hogs. The alternative is mentioned. Human life is meant for tapasya, austerity and penance. By tapasya, one can get out of the material clutches. When one is situated in  consciousness, devotional service, his happiness is guaranteed eternally. By taking to bhakti-yoga, devotional service, one’s existence is purified. The living entity is seeking happiness life after life, but he can make a solution to all his problems simply by practicing bhakti-yoga. Then he immediately becomes eligible to return home, back to Godhead. As confirmed in Bhagavad-gita (4.9):

“One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world, but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna.”