Srimad Bhagavatham-6.1.10 & 11.



Slokam-s-10 & 11.


kvacin nivartatebhadrat   kvacic carati tat punah,

prayascittam    athopartham    manye     kunjara-saucavat



abhadrat=from sinful activity; 



tat=that (sinful activity); 


prayascittam=the process of atonement; 



manye=I consider; 

kunjara-saucavat=exactly like the bathing of an elephant.

Sometimes one who is very alert so as not to commit sinful acts is victimized by sinful life again. I therefore consider this process of repeated sinning and atoning to be useless. It is like the bathing of an elephant, for an elephant cleanses itself by taking a full bath, but then throws dust over its head and body as soon as it returns to the land.

When Parikshit Maharaja inquired how a human being could free himself from sinful activities so as not to be forced to go to hellish planetary systems after death, Sri Suka Mahrishi answered that the process of counteracting sinful life is atonement. In this way Sri Suka Mahrishi tested the intelligence of Maharaja Parikshit, who passed the examination by refusing to accept this process as genuine. Now Parikshit Maharaja is expecting another answer from his spiritual master, Sri Suka Mahrishi.


sri-badarayanir uvaca :

karmana    karma-nirharo   na   hy    atyantika    isyate,

avidvad-adhikaritvat   prayascittam     vimarsanam.

sri-badarayanih uvaca=Sri Suka mahrishi, the son of Vyasadeva, replied; 

karmana=by fruitive activities; 

karma-nirharah=counteraction of fruitive activities; 




isyate=becomes possible; 

avidvat-adhikaritvat=from being without knowledge; 

prayascittam=real atonement; 

vimarsanam=full knowledge of Vedanta.

Sri Suka mahrishi the son of Vedavyasa, answered: My dear King, since acts meant to neutralize impious actions are also fruitive, they will not release one from the tendency to act fruitively. Persons who subject themselves to the rules and regulations of atonement are not at all intelligent. Indeed, they are in the mode of darkness. Unless one is freed from the mode of ignorance, trying to counteract one action through another is useless because this will not uproot one’s desires. Thus even though one may superficially seem pious, he will undoubtedly be prone to act impiously. Therefore real atonement is enlightenment in perfect knowledge, Vedanta, by which one understands the Supreme Absolute Truth.

The guru,Sri Suka mahrishi, has examined Parikshit Maharaja, and it appears that the King has passed one phase of the examination by rejecting the process of atonement because it involves fruitive activities. Nowthe mahrishi is suggesting the platform of speculative knowledge. Progressing from karma-kandam to jnana-kandam, he is proposing, prayascittam vimarsanam: “Real atonement is full knowledge.” Vimarsana refers to the cultivation of speculative knowledge. In Bhagavad-gita, karmis, who are lacking in knowledge, are compared to asses. Krishna says in Bhagavad-gita (7.15):

“Those miscreants who are grossly foolish, lowest among mankind, whose knowledge is stolen by illusion, and who partake of the atheistic nature of demons, do not surrender unto Me.” Thus karmis who engage in sinful acts and who do not know the true objective of life are called mudhas, asses. Vimarsana, however, is also explained in Bhagavad-gita (15.15), where Krishna says,  : the purpose of Vedic study is to understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If one studies Vedanta but merely advances somewhat in speculative knowledge and does not understand the Supreme Lord, one remains the same mūḍha. As stated in Bhagavad-gita (7.19), one attains real knowledge when he understands Krishna and surrenders unto Him . To become learned and free from material contamination, therefore, one should try to understand Krishna, for thus one is immediately liberated from all pious and impious activities and their reactions.

To be continued ....