From: Srimad Bhagavatam, Canto 3.
The pregnancy of Diti
Jaya and Vijaya cursed by the four Kumaras
The appearance of Lord Varaha
The victory of Hiranyaksha and his death at the hands of Lord Varaha.v
After describing the appearance of the white Boar Incarnation that had appeared during the Svayambhuva devastation, Maitreya next described the red Boar Incarnation that had appeared during the Chakshusha devastation. Maitreya related these pastimes to Vidura in the same manner in which he had heard them long ago when Lord Brahma had narrated them to the demigods.
Once upon a time, at sunset, Kashyapa, the son of Marichi, was offering oblations to Lord Vishnu into the sacrificial fire. At this time, his wife, Diti, approached him due to being greatly afflicted by sex desire. Without trying to attract him gradually by her bodily expressions, the beautiful Diti frankly begged her husband, “O learned one, Cupid is forcibly distressing me with his arrows, just as an elephant troubles a banana tree. I want to have sons like my co-wives and so you should be merciful to me.” “My father, Daksha, had separately asked each of his daughters, whom we preferred to marry. Then, after understanding our intentions, he handed over thirteen of his daughters to you, and we have been faithful to you ever since that time. O lotus-eyed one, when someone in distress approaches a great person, his pleas should never go in vain.”
The hen-pecked Kashyapa could have strongly refused his wife, but because he was also sexually inclined, he tried to pacify Diti, who had become very poor-hearted and talkative, due to the contamination of lust. Kashyapa said, “O afflicted one, I shall soon gratify your desire. It is only due to having a good wife that a man like me can cross over the great ocean of material existence. Indeed, a wife is so helpful that she is called the better half of a man’s body. Just as a military commander can easily conquer invaders while remaining protected within a fort, so a man can conquer his senses by taking shelter of a good wife. For this reason, a man could never repay his wife for all the benefit that he derives from her, even if he were to try to do so during his entire lifetime, or even after death.”
“My dear Diti, although I cannot sufficiently repay you, I will satisfy your sex desire for the purpose of begetting children. I only request you to wait for a few minutes so that I may not become subject to criticism. The present moment is most inauspicious because at this time Lord Shiva rides upon his bull carrier, accompanied by his horrible ghostly companions. He gives such ghosts the chance of getting a gross material body by placing them into the wombs of women that indulge in sexual intercourse during this forbidden period. Lord Shiva is your sister’s husband, and with his three eyes, he will see your forbidden act.”
In spite of receiving such good instructions from her husband, Diti was so oppressed by sex desire that she caught hold of Kashyapa’s clothes just like a shameless prostitute, and thus she practically forced him to gratify her lusty urge. After offering obeisances unto worshipful fate, Kashyapa lay down with Diti in a secluded place. After finishing the forbidden act, Kashyapa purified himself by bathing and once again sat down to chant the Gayatri mantra, while meditating upon the impersonal aspect of the Absolute. Meanwhile, after having gratified her lust, Diti came to her senses. With her head lowered in shame, she approached her husband and said, “My dear brahmana, please insure that my embryo is not killed by Lord Shiva, because of the great offense that I have committed against him.”
Diti then prayed for Lord Shiva’s mercy in a very clever manner: “Let me offer my obeisance unto the angry Lord Shiva. He is so great that he can immediately destroy my embryo, but at the same time he is so merciful and forgiving. Lord Shiva is known as the lord of all women, who are excused even by uncivilized hunters, and therefore I beg him to spare me from his wrath.”
As Diti stood before him, trembling due to fear of his anger, Kashyapa said, “Because of your polluted mind, the improper time, your disobedience, and your neglect of the demigods, your conception will produce two abominable sons who will create havoc within the world by killing innocent persons, torturing women, and enraging the great souls. As a result, the Supreme Lord will incarnate to kill them, just as Indra smashes mountains with his thunderbolt.”
Diti replied, “O my husband, it is a great relief for me to know that my sons will be killed by the all-merciful Supreme Lord, rather than the wrath of the brahmanas. One who offends the brahmanas or causes fear to others is so condemned that even those who are already in hell, or who are of the degraded species in which he will later on appear, feel no compassion toward him.”
Kashyapa then informed Diti, “Due to your repentance and firm faith in the Supreme Lord, as well as your adoration for Lord Shiva and myself, one of your grandsons will be a greatly exalted devotee whose fame will rival that of the Lord Himself. Because of his great devotion for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, others will follow in his footsteps, and because of his having satisfied the Supreme Lord, everyone will become pleased with him. As a first-class devotee, your grandson will be able to see the Supreme Lord, within and without; he will be a reservoir of all good qualities; and he will feel very pained to see the suffering of the conditioned souls in this material world.”
After hearing about the glories of Prahlada, Diti became very pleased. But, because she could understand that her sons would cause great disturbances to the demigods, she continued to bear the powerful embryos for one hundred years without giving birth. Still, the force of Diti’s pregnancy disturbed the entire universe, and the light of sun and moon became impaired.
After observing this fearful condition, the demigods approached Lord Brahma and submitted, “O lord, just see this darkness that is expanding in all directions. O sustainer of the universe, who knows the intentions of all living entities, Diti’s pregnancy has caused this great disturbance, and thus our work has become suspended. Please be merciful unto us, for we have fallen into a very miserable condition.”
In response, Lord Brahma informed the demigods of what had happened long ago. After having travelled all over the material creation, the four sages Sanaka, Sanatana, Sanandana and Sanat-kumara, entered the spiritual sky, wherein the Vaikuntha planets are situated. They were able to do this due to being freed from all material contamination. In the abode of Lord Narayana, the residents have forms similar to that of the Supreme Lord, and everyone is engaged in His unalloyed devotional service. There are many forests full of desire-trees, and throughout all seasons they are filled with fruit and flowers.
While flying in their airplanes, along with their consorts, the inhabitants of Vaikuntha eternally sing of the character and pastimes of the Supreme Lord. Although the consorts that crowd the airplanes have large hips and beautifully smiling faces, they cannot stimulate the passion of the residents of Vaikuntha. This means that in Vaikuntha there is the enjoyment of the association with the opposite sex, but there is no sexual relationship, because everyone is fully absorbed in Krishna consciousness. When the king of bees hums in a high pitch, singing the glories of the Lord, the cuckoos, cranes, chakravakas, swans, parrots and peacocks temporarily stop their singing to listen. Although flowers, such as the champaka, bakula, parijata and lotus are transcendentally fragrant, they are still conscious of tulasi’s austerities, and of how the Lord prefers to garland Himself with her leaves. The ladies of Vaikuntha are as beautiful as the goddess of fortune, and yet they are sometimes seen cleaning the marble walls, just to receive the grace of the Supreme Lord, even though there is practically no dust.
Upon reaching the outskirts of Vaikuntha, the four Kumaras felt an unprecedented transcendental happiness. Then, after easily passing through six gates, the sages saw two doormen at the seventh gate that had similar bodily features and carried strong maces. They were four-armed and of bluish complexion, and due to their arched eyebrows, discontented nostrils and reddish eyes, they appeared somewhat agitated. The four Kumaras had opened doors everywhere without any conception of “ours” and “theirs”, and so they innocently began to pass through the seventh gate. The sages, who had nothing to cover their bodies but the atmosphere, looked just like five-year-old boys, although they were the oldest created beings, next to Brahma.
Due to possessing a disposition quite unpalatable to the Lord, the two gatekeepers rudely blocked the Kumaras’ entrance with their staffs. The Lord is always anxious to serve great sages, and thus the Kumaras were never to be prohibited from entering Vaikuntha. The boy-sages had been very eager to see the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and so upon being checked by the Lord’s two chief doorkeepers, they immediately became agitated. Their eyes red with rage, the Kumaras exclaimed, “Who are these persons who are engaging in the Lord’s service and yet have developed a discordant mentality? They must be imposters, and so they suspect others to be just like themselves. In Vaikuntha there is perfect harmony between the Supreme Lord and the other inhabitants. These two persons are dressed like the residents of Vaikuntha, but where has this seed of disharmony come from? Because of seeing duality, they have become contaminated. Therefore, they should be put into the material world, where everyone is conceived of as being either a friend or an enemy.”
When the gatekeepers realized that they were being cursed by the brahmanas, they at once became very afraid. After falling down at the Kumaras’ feet, they begged, “You are correct in punishing us for having neglected such great souls as yourselves. Still, in consideration of our repentance, we pray that you mercifully insure that the illusion of forgetting the Supreme Personality of Godhead will not overwhelm us as we fall down.”
Just at that moment, the Supreme Lord, having learned of this incident, came there on foot accompanied by the goddess of fortune. Thus, the four Kumaras saw Lord Vishnu before them, Whom they had formerly seen only within their hearts while being absorbed in the ecstatic trance of meditation.
The Lord’s beautiful blackish body was dressed in bright yellow cloth, and around His neck hung a garland of fresh flowers that was encircled by humming bees. While resting one of His hands upon Garuda’s shoulder, the Lord twirled a lotus flower in another. Indeed, His beauty was so excellent that it defeated the pride of the goddess of fortune, and thus the Kumaras looked at Him with unsated eyes.
As the Kumaras joyfully bowed their heads, the breeze that carried the aroma of tulasi leaves from the toes of the Lord’s lotus feet entered their nostrils, causing a spiritual transformation in their body and mind, even though they had been fully attached to the impersonal Brahman. In other words, the Kumaras became converted from impersonalists that had desired to merge into the Lord’s brahmajyoti, to devotees who desire to render service to the Lord.
After seeing the Lord’s transcendental body, the Kumaras advanced to the stage of constant meditation upon His personal feature. Their anger having subsided, the four sages prayed, “Our dear Lord, whatever we had heard about You from our father, Lord Brahma, has now been confirmed by Your kind appearance before us. We now understand that the most elevated transcendentalists are those that constantly engage in hearing about Your pastimes, without caring for any other benediction, including liberation.” “O Lord, we don’t mind being born in any hellish condition, as long as our hearts and minds are always engaged in Your devotional service.”
By dint of the Lord’s presence, the Kumaras realized that it had been improper for them to curse the doorkeepers, in spite of the offense that had been committed.
The Supreme Lord then said, “These attendants of Mine, Jaya and Vijaya, have committed a great offense against you by ignoring My desire. I approve of the punishment that you have awarded to My servants. Indeed, since these doormen are My servants, I consider Myself to be the one that has offended you, and for this reason, I seek your forgiveness. Whatever wrong a servant commits causes people in general to blame the master, just as a single spot of white leprosy is considered to pollute the whole skin.”
“For Me, the brahmanas are the most worshipable personalities, and so I am prepared to cut off My arm if its conduct proves to be hostile toward you. Because I am the servant of My devotees, My lotus feet have become so sacred that they immediately purify one of all sins. I do not enjoy the offerings that are made into the sacrificial fire with as much relish as I enjoy the delicacies cooked in ghee that are offered to the mouths of the brahmanas who have dedicated their lives unto Me.” “The Ganga is the remnants of water left after washing My feet, and it sanctifies the three worlds. If I can take the dust of the Vaishnavas’ feet upon My head, then who would refuse to do the same? These servants of Mine have offended you due to not knowing My mind. Still, I will consider it a great favor if you allow them to return to My presence soon, after reaping the consequences of their transgression.”
After hearing with wide-open ears, the Lord’s extremely humble and beautiful speech, which was difficult to comprehend due to its profound import, the Kumaras pondered over its meaning for some time. Although the sages could not understand the Lord’s actual intention, a thrill passed through their bodies due to the delight of simply beholding Him. Understanding their fault in cursing the Lord’s faultless servants, the Kumaras said, “O Lord, we cannot understand Your plans, for You have spoken as if we had done something good for You. Your adoration of the brahmanas is meant to teach others, for it is You who are the supreme worshipable Deity.” “O Lord, whatever punishment You wish to award to these two innocent persons, or to us, we shall accept without duplicity.”
The Lord replied, “O brahmanas, I have already ordained the punishment that you inflicted upon Jaya and Vijay, and thus they will have to accept birth in a demoniac family. But, by concentration of their minds upon Me in anger, they will always remain connected with Me, and soon thereafter, they will return to My abode.”
It is to be understood that the Lord Himself engineered the cursing of Jaya and Vijaya. Ordinarily, there is no possibility that the Kumaras could become so angry, that the Lord could neglect His gatekeepers, or that anyone could return to the material world after reaching Vaikuntha. Sometimes, the Lord desires to fight, and because there are no enemies in Vaikuntha, He incarnates into the material world for this purpose. The Lord only likes to perform His pastimes along with His associates, however, and so He chooses a devotee to play the part of His enemy. Then, after making a temporary show of fighting, the Lord recalls His devotee to the spiritual world.
Thereafter, the four Kumaras circumambulated the Lord, offered their obeisances, and departed from the gates of Vaikuntha. The Lord then ordered Jaya and Vijaya, “Depart from here, but do not be afraid. I could have nullified the brahmanas’ curse, but I chose not to do so. Lakshmi, whom you had once stopped at the gate while I was sleeping, already predicted your fall. Although seven births in the material world are your designated punishment, I want you to accept three demoniac births instead. By practicing mystic yoga in anger, you will become quickly cleansed of your sinful reactions, and thus be able to return to Me in a very short time.”
After saying this, the Lord departed, and Jaya and Vijaya, who had become morose and pale because of the brahmanas’ curse, fell down from Vaikuntha. As they were falling, the Kumaras reassured them that after three demoniac births, they would once again return to Vaikuntha. The demigods, who were observing all of this from their celestial airplanes, let out a great roar of disappointment, and thereafter, Jaya and Vijaya entered Diti’s womb, after being covered by Kashyapa’s powerful semen.
Lord Brahma then concluded by informing the demigods, “It is the prowess of these twin demons that has disturbed you, by minimizing your own potency. I have no remedy for this situation, however, for all of this is taking place by the desire of the Lord. Rest assured that the Supreme Lord will come to our rescue, and so do not bother to speculate any longer about the dense darkness that is covering all directions.”
After hearing this, the demigods became relieved from their fear and returned to their respective abodes. Meanwhile, after bearing her embryos for one hundred years, Diti gave birth to twin sons who were great demons. At this time, there were many fearful natural disturbances, such as earthquakes, and raging fires were seen burning everywhere. The inauspicious planets, such as Saturn and Mars, outshone the auspicious ones like Venus and Jupiter; and comets, meteors and thunderbolts appeared in the sky. Fierce winds made a displeasing hissing noise and uprooted great trees; and due to the covering of clouds, all became shrouded in darkness. The ocean became highly agitated, and all of the lotuses that grew within the rivers and lakes withered.
Solar and lunar eclipses occurred repeatedly, and from the mountain caves came sounds like the rattling of chariots. She-jackals vomited fire while crying out ominously, and asses ran here and there in herds, striking the earth with their hard hooves and braying loudly. Being frightened by the braying asses, birds flew shrieking from their nests, and cows passed stool and urine due to fear. Indeed, the terrified cows yielded blood instead of milk, and the clouds rained puss instead of water. The deities in the temples shed tears, and trees fell down even though there were no gusts of wind.
Upon seeing all of these evil omens, everyone except the four Kumaras became seized by fear. Not knowing about the fall of Jaya and Vijaya and their subsequent birth as demons, everyone thought that the dissolution of the universe was at hand.
Kashyapa named the first-born, who was formerly Jaya, Hiranyaksha and the one who was conceived first, who was formerly Vijaya, was named Hiranyakashipu. Soon after their birth, the demoniac twins exhibited uncommon bodily features, and their steel-like frames became so tall that they seemed to touch the sky. Indeed, they blocked the view in all directions, and as they walked, the earth shook with every step.
After performing great austerities, Hiranyakashipu received benedictions from Lord Brahma, and as a result, he became unafraid of death and very proud. Being most powerful, Hiranyakashipu was able to bring the entire three worlds under his control. His brother, Hiranyaksha, had also received Brahma’s benediction of near-immortality, and so he became similarly powerful and conceited.
To satisfy his elder brother, Hiranyaksha took his club and began to travel all over the universe, with a fighting spirit. Because no one was able to kill him due to Brahma’s benediction, even the demigods fearfully hid upon seeing Hiranyaksha, just as snakes hide out of fear of Garuda.
When Hiranyaksha thus saw Indraloka vacant, he roared loudly, understanding that the demigods had admitted defeat without even fighting. After returning from heaven, Hiranyaksha sportingly dove deep into the ocean, and upon seeing him, all of the great aquatics panicked and fled. Finally, after moving about in the ocean for many years, Hiranyaksha reached Vibhavari, Varuna’s capital. Just to make fun of the lord of the waters, Hiranyaksha fell at his feet and smilingly begged, “Give me battle, O supreme lord!”
Upon seeing Hiranyaksha’s arrogance, Varuna became enraged. Still, he curbed his anger by means of intelligence and replied, “O dear one, I have given up fighting because I am too old. You are so skilled in battle that I can see no one else but the most ancient person, Lord Vishnu, who can satisfy you.”
“O chief of the Daityas, I suggest that you approach Him, and thus become rid of your pride by lying down dead upon the battlefield, surrounded by carnivorous animals.”
Without paying any more heed to Varuna, Hiranyaksha departed. Then, when he happened to meet the great sage Narada, the demon learned the whereabouts of the Supreme Lord. After once again entering the depths of the ocean, Hiranyaksha saw the all-powerful Supreme Lord in His boar incarnation bearing the earth upwards, while keeping her on the ends of His tusks. Upon seeing the Lord, the demon laughingly exclaimed, “An amphibious beast! O best of the demigods, dressed in the form of a boar, the earth belongs to us, the inhabitants of the lower regions, and so I cannot allow You to take it away from my presence. You rascal! Today I shall enliven my kinsmen by killing You. When You fall down dead with Your skull smashed by my mace, the demigods and rishis who offer You oblations in sacrifice will also cease to be, just like a tree that can no longer live without roots.”
Although the Lord was certainly pained to hear such abusive language, He tolerated it so that He could continue carrying the earth, which had become very frightened.
As Lord Varaha rose out of the water, Hiranyaksha chased Him and roared, “Are You not ashamed of Yourself for running away after being challenged by an adversary? There is nothing that is reproachable for shameless creatures like You!”
Despite these harsh words, Lord Varaha calmly placed the earth upon the surface of the water and then empowered her with the capacity to float. At this time, Lord Brahma and the other demigods praised the Lord for His wonderful act of lifting up the earth, and they showered flowers upon Him. Then, to express His terrible anger, the Lord replied, “Indeed, We are creatures of the jungle and are searching for hunting dogs like you. One who is freed from the entanglement of death has no fear from the loose talk in which you are indulging, for you are bound up by the laws of death. Now, give up your foolish talk and attempt to kill Me. One may be very proud, but he does not deserve a seat in an assembly if he fails to fulfill his promise.”
Being thus challenged, Hiranyaksha became very angry and agitated, and his whole body began to tremble. While hissing indignantly, the demon sprang at the Lord and tried to strike Him with his powerful mace. By moving aside, however, the Lord dodged the blow, and then with His own mace, He attempted to smash Hiranyaksha’s forehead. Being an expert fighter, the demon blocked the blow with his own mace, however, and thereafter, a fierce encounter took place.
As both combatants struck one another repeatedly with their strong clubs, the smell of blood that flowed from their wounds made them more and more furious. Being very eager for victory, both the Lord and the demon exhibited wonderful maneuvers, so that the battle looked like a contest between two powerful bulls for the sake of a cow.
Lord Brahma had been staying in the sky, along with all of the demigods and celestial rishis, so that he could witness the terrible fight that was being waged for the sake of the earth. Becoming somewhat anxious, he addressed Lord Varaha, “My dear Lord, Hiranyaksha has always oppressed the demigods, brahmanas, cows and other innocent creatures. There is no need for You to play with this serpentine demon any longer, for he is very skilled in utilizing mystic powers, and he is most arrogant and wicked.” “My dear infallible Lord, please kill him before the demoniac hour of twilight arrives and thus increases his strength. The auspicious period called abhijit began at noon and has almost passed. Therefore, please dispose of Your formidable enemy quickly and thus establish peace within the world.”
In response, the Lord heartily laughed, while at the same time He accepted Brahma’s prayers with a glance that was laden with love. Then, as Hiranyaksha fearlessly stood nearby, Lord Varaha suddenly sprang at him while aiming His mace at the demon’s chin.
Hiranyaksha blocked the blow with his own mace, however, and as a result, the Lord’s club slipped from His hand. That blazing mace looked splendid while whirling around and around as it fell, and a great cry of alarm arose from the onlooking demigods and rishis. Still, even though he had an excellent opportunity to strike his unarmed foe, Hiranyaksha respected the etiquette for single-combat by refraining from doing so. This kindled the Lord’s fury even more, however, and He invoked His Sudarshana chakra. As this wonderful disc revolved in the Lord’s hand, while He was at close quarters with His enemy, the demigods and rishis exclaimed, “May victory be Yours!” “Dispatch him at once!” “Don’t play with the demon any longer!”
Seeing Lord Varaha before him with the Sudarshana chakra in His hand, Hiranyaksha resentfully bit his lip and began to hiss like a serpent. Then, that great demon with fearful tusks suddenly sprang into the air while wielding his club, and while doing so, he shouted, “You are slain!”
As Hiranyaksha tried to strike Him, Lord Varaha playfully kicked the mace from his hand with His left foot and then said, “Pick up your weapon, since you are so eager to conquer Me.”
Being so challenged, Hiranyaksha picked up his mace and then hurled it impetuously while roaring loudly. Without even flinching, however, Lord Varaha easily caught the mace in His hand, and so the demon felt greatly humiliated. Being reluctant to take back his weapon when the Lord offered it to him, Hiranyaksha instead picked up a flaming trident and violently hurled it. As the trident blazed brightly while soaring through the sky, Lord Varaha tore it to pieces by releasing His Sudarshana chakra. At this, the demon became more enraged, and while letting out a loud roar, he rushed at Lord Varaha impetuously. After striking the Lord on the chest with his hard fist, Hiranyaksha immediately disappeared.
The Lord was not disturbed in the least by the blow, however, any more than an elephant would feel hurt being struck by a flower garland. Thereafter, Hiranyaksha employed many conjuring tricks against the Lord, Who is Yogeshvara, and all who saw the magical display thought that the dissolution of the universe was at hand.
Fierce winds began blowing and the dust that was raised created darkness in all directions. Torrents of stones fell from the sky, along with showers of puss, hair, blood, stool, urine and bones- accompanied by lightning and thunder. Mountains discharged various weapons, and naked demonesses with their hair hanging loose suddenly appeared, carrying tridents. Hosts of Yakshas and Rakshasas were heard uttering cruel and savage slogans as they marched on foot or rode upon horses, elephants and chariots.
By releasing His Sudarshana chakra, however, the Lord was able to dispel all of these illusions, and at that moment, a shudder of terror passed through Diti’s heart. While recalling the words of her husband, blood began to flow from her breasts.
When Hiranyaksha saw that his magical creations had been dispelled, he once again made himself visible. In a fit of rage, he tried to crush the Lord within his arms as a last resort. But, to his great surprise, after trying to grab the Lord, the demon found that He was still outside the circle of his arms. Then, as Hiranyaksha angrily struck Him with his fists, Lord Varaha slapped him indifferently at the root of the ear, making him stagger backwards. With his eyeballs bulging out of their sockets, his hair scattered, and his limbs broken, the great demon fell down dead, like an uprooted tree.
Lord Brahma and the other demigods quickly arrived at that spot, to see the slain body of the demon close up. Still biting his lip, Hiranyaksha’s bodily luster had not faded, in spite of the absence of the soul, because the Lord’s lotus foot remained touching it. Lord Brahma admiringly said, “Oh, who could meet with such a blessed death? This fortunate demon was struck by the lotus foot of the Lord, upon Whom yogis meditate in mystic trance in the hopes of gaining liberation from their unreal, material bodies.”