(SB 9.4.24)

svargo na prārthito yasya

manujair amara-priyaḥ

śṛṇvadbhir upagāyadbhir



Translation :

The citizens of the state of Maharaja Ambarīṣa were accustomed to chanting and hearing about the glorious activities of the Personality of Godhead. Thus they never aspired to be elevated to the heavenly planets, which are extremely dear even to the demigods.


Purport by Srila Prabhupada

A pure devotee who has been trained in the practice of chanting and hearing the holy name of the Lord and His fame, qualities, form, paraphernalia and so on is never interested in elevation to the heavenly planets, even though such places are extremely dear even to the demigods.

nārāyaṇa-parāḥ sarve

na kutaścana bibhyati


api tulyārtha-darśinaḥ

“Devotees solely engaged in the devotional service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Narayaṇa, never fear any condition of life. The heavenly planets, liberation and the hellish planets are all the same to a devotee.” (Bhag. 6.17.28) A devotee is always situated in the spiritual world. Therefore he does not desire anything. He is known as akama or desire less, because he has nothing to desire except to render transcendental loving service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Because Maharaja Ambariṣa was a most exalted devotee of the Lord, he trained his subjects in such a way that the citizens in his state were not interested in anything material, including even the happiness of the heavenly planets.


Ambarisa Maharaj perfect devotee and a perfect king:

In the 3rd chapter of the Gita, it is explained that what great men do common men follow in their footsteps and here is a most important example of this particular case.  Because Ambarisa Maharaj was a pure devotee of the Lord and his only concern was the devotional service of the Lord and he was a humble servant of each and every citizen within his kingdom.  He was unmotivated, therefore, all the citizens of his kingdom followed in his footsteps.  None of them were interested in fulfilling any of their selfish desires but they were all considering themselves the humble servants of one another.  That is why it is said in the shastra that unless one has this consciousness one should not take any position of leadership because human life is meant specifically for this purpose.  (S.B.1.2.6)

sa vai puḿsāḿ paro dharmo

yato bhaktir adhokṣaje

ahaituky apratihatā

yayātmā suprasīdati

‘The Supreme occupation for all humanity is that which is unmotivated uninterrupted loving service to the Supreme Lord’.  So whatever our particular responsibilities may be within the society, the Supreme occupation is readily available to everyone, whether they be the sweeper of the street or whether they be a Brahman or a Guru.  The Supreme occupation is for anyone who performs their duties with unmotivated, uninterrupted loving service to the Lord.  So therefore, one should not take the role of a parent, one should not take the role of a teacher or a king or a demigod unless one can teach his subjects how to aspire for the Supreme occupation of life and of course, if we accept such a position of leadership and we mislead our followers then there will be a very, very unfortunate reaction upon us as well as upon them because when the blind lead the blind they both fall into the ditch, the ditch of the bondage of repetition of birth and death.  Therefore, Ambarisa Maharaj was truly responsible because he was seeing how each and every subject within his kingdom was his Prabhu or his Master.  This is the quality of the great kings of the past.


Arjuna takes a vow to find the Brahman’s son a symbol of true leader:

There is a beautiful narration in the Bhagvatam, Arjuna was a powerful military leader, he was side by side with the king Yudishtira and it is described that at one time a Brahman his son died for no apparent cause.  Now these things were unheard of in a God consciousness kingdom because where everyone is following the principles of Dharma there is practically no sinful reaction to be found anywhere.  Everything happens in harmony with God’s will and therefore, for a son to die before his father was never ever to be seen because it was not natural.  When people live on unnaturally then what happens is they are overwhelmed and overcome by many, many unnatural disastrous conditions of life.  When people live naturally the response of nature is that everything is in order for prosperity and for the pleasure of all the citizens.  So this Brahman came to Maharaj Ugrasena who was the king and he said that “This is not correct there is a defect in you”.  If the king is behaving properly himself and ruling the citizens properly then such an event cannot take place as a son dying before his father.  So Arjuna he saw that Maharaj Ugrasena he had nothing to say, he had to agree that ‘I must be doing something wrong’. So Arjuna made a vow, that I will walk on fire, I will destroy my life if I cannot find your son for you, because it is my duty, even if it means giving my life.  It’s better to give my life then not accept this responsibility that I have to be the humble servant of each and every citizen.  So Arjuna with Krishna as his charioteer began to travel to the abode of Yamaraj.  Yamaraj did not know where this Brahman’s son was, he went to various planets none of them knew where he was.  Krishna understood that Arjuna would have to die if he did not find him.  He was such a humble servant for every citizen within his kingdom he was there to give, not to take.  At last, Krishna took Arjuna beyond the entire stratum of this cosmic manifestation and they entered into the Supreme realm of the Karanodak ocean which is born of the perspiration of Karanodaksayi  Viñhëu, Maha Vishnu and Maha Vishnu when he saw Krishna and Arjuna coming he offered his respectful obeisance’s and

He said “Yes I have take the Brahman’s son, just because I wanted to have personal darshan with Krishna and I knew that he would find his son somewhere by some means and I knew that he would never allow his Arjuna to be vanquished and I knew Arjuna would take this vow because of his great, great responsible service to the people of Dwarka”.  And he said “Now that I have seen the beauty of Lord Krishna all my desires are perfectly satisfied now you please take the son back to his father”.

Of course, Krishna arranged this wonderful pastime, in order to show the glory of king Ugrasena and Arjuna.  How responsible they were in a mood of unmotivated, uninterrupted devotional service to each and every person who is part and parcel of Krishna.


Maharaj Glorifies devotees of Radhagopinath for their service:

Last night we had the good fortune of (0:11:3:7) to one of the very, very poverty stricken neighborhoods of Bombay and what do these devotees have to gain by going to these places?  When most of these devotees Shyamananda Prabhu, Tattva Prabhu, Abhimanyu, Vishvarup, they have high college graduation, most of them have Masters Degrees in very professional subject matters.  They could be living in very, very comfortable some aristocratic circumstances but they simply put their minds in that direction.  But here they are where there is no sanitation, there is sewage right on the streets, flies carrying all sorts of infectious diseases, people who have no standard of cleanliness whatsoever, who are just completely downtrodden, rejected and forgotten by all other classes of society, they are living in premises in America a person wouldn’t even put their dog in such houses.  And they are not getting paid, they are not getting any prestige but they are there 3-4 hours practically every day or as much as possible, giving them Prasad, giving them the holy name of God – the medicine for the soul and giving them loving encouraging words, a smile you know, one smile from a person outside their community means to them they’ve never seen in their life.  It gives them sense of integrity that they have something to live for, that they are somebody in this world, what to speak of personally taking a concern for their physical their mental and especially their spiritual health.  What will be the motivation for such service?  All leaders of society should be like this.


King or a leader of the society should be a father not a ruler:

Maharaj Ambarisa, he was the humble menial service for everyone and therefore, everyone was so inspired by him that they all wanted to follow exactly in his foot prints.  Just like the son when he is young always likes to imitate the father, whatever the father is the son wants to be that.  Just like Mahaprabhu’s son, I said “What you want to be when you grow up”?

He said “I want to be an advocate”.

What does he know about being an advocate?  He doesn’t know anything about what it means but because what his father is that’s what he wants to be. Even when I was a little boy, people would say what do you want to be? I would say “I want to be a businessman”.  Businessman, but then as soon as I saw once what it really meant I decided I don’t want to be a businessman.  Everyone wants to be what their father is because father is hero, he is taking care of them he is protecting them.  So the king is meant to take the position not of the ruler and the exploiter of the citizens but he is meant to actually be in the role of a father and because he loves each citizen however significant or insignificant as his own son or his daughter, therefore, every citizen wants to be just like him.  They want to do everything for God just like him they want to serve one another just like he is serving them.  This unmotivated uninterrupted loving disposition toward God and all God’s children is also explained here by Srila Prabhupada to be the quality that even the greatest of all the demigods Lord Shiva was so much impressed enlightened to see in the character of the great king Chitraketu.

Importance of the blessings of the great souls in one’s life:

(SB 6.17.28)

näräyaëa-paräù sarve

na kutaçcana bibhyati


api tulyärtha-darçinaù

This verse is from the 6th Canto of Bhagvatam and the story that precedes this verse is most wonderful, most fascinating and most illuminating.  Maharaj Chitraketu, like Maharaj Ambarisa was the king of the Earth and he was always very, very charitable and humble before the great sages, he always made every decision with the blessings of the great souls.  This is very important for all classes of men.  We should never do anything independently.  Whatever we embark upon within our lives should always be preceeded by the blessings of the great souls, then success or failure whatever our mission may appear to be with our physical eyes it is all auspicious, it is pleasing to God if we sincerely try to perform our service, to fulfill the desires of the great souls with their heartfelt blessings.  Different ways to get blessings, full blessings is when you really, really approach a Mahatma or a sadhu with the desire to please him and therefore, when that person sees your humility and your submission and your unmotivated desire to render service to the Lord then his full blessings are upon you, then your activity is all auspicious.  There is no need to even concern yourself what the result will be you simply sincerely endeavor to act in harmony with the blessings of the great souls. Of course, if we approach with the motivation that we want to do what we want to do but we want to do it for Krishna then we may also possible get blessings but that is not the full blessings that blessings is “Yes, yes I hope by giving you this blessing that you become a little purified by this motivated, interrupted service and you will come back again with the desire to please the Lord rather than to please your own senses”.


Maharaj Chitraketu if cursed by Mother Parvati:

So Maharaj Chitraketu whatever he did was with the blessings of the great souls, therefore, he was a perfect devotee and a perfect king.  So one time it is explained, he was travelling and he came upon a most extraordinary scene.  Lord Shankar – Shiva was sitting in an association of Sanyasis and Brahmacaries in the renounced order of life who had taken the strictest vows of renunciation and he was specifically giving them a lecture on renunciation and while he was sitting his beautiful, beautiful wife Parvati was very pleasingly sitting upon his lap with her arms around him and when Chitraketu Maharaj saw this he did not in any way doubt Lord Shiva, he understood that Lord Shiva a vaisnava Shambhu that he is completely transcendental to all of these things but it was such a humorous situation to see that he began to laugh.  Now it is the nature of a chaste and faithful wife that she cannot tolerate anyone insulting her husband.  Therefore, Parvati showed her own glory as the faithful, loyal wife of Shiva and she became so angry with this Chitraketu that

She said “How dare, how dare you laugh and criticize Bhagwan Shankar who is the Lord of the 3 worlds, for this offense I curse you to become a demon and go to hell”.

Now this is quite a change for living in a beautiful palace as the king of the Earth to being cursed to be a demon and go to hell.  When Chitraketu Maharaj heard this curse of Parvati his heart was very grateful, he came down from his vehicle and he bowed his head at the feet of Parvati Devi and Lord Shankar and

He said to Parvati “Actually, I honestly did not mean any offense to Lord Shiva I do not believe that I have done anything wrong because I love and honor Lord Shiva I was joking but nothing happens by chance, this is obviously the will of the Supreme Lord Narayana upon me that I become a demon and go to hell, therefore, Parvati Devi I could understand that you are my Lord’s most loving messenger to give me this curse so I want to thank you very, very much and now with your blessings and with your permission I would like to proceed toward hell”.

Lord Shiva glorifies the devotees of Lord Narayana:

And when Lord Shiva saw this, his heart was filled with great joy and he looked toward Parvati and he spoke this verse (SB 6.17.28)


näräyaëa-paräù sarve

na kutaçcana bibhyati


narakeñu api tulyärtha-darçinaù

‘Devotees solely engage in the devotional service of the Supreme Personality of Godhead Narayana, never fear any condition of life, the heavenly planets, liberation and the hellish planets are all the same to a devotee’.

Why are they all the same?  Because the devotee is not looking for the pleasures of heaven, he is not running from the pains of hell, he is not aspiring for the bliss of liberation he only has one motive how can I please you my Lord, how can I serve you and there is no situation where a devotee is bereft of the opportunity to render service.  This state of consciousness is the consciousness of real love and the Lord reciprocates with this love.


A devotee’s only motive is to please the Lord:

Just like in Caitanya Caritamrita Vasudev Dutta he prayed to Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu that “My Lord please, if I have done anything to satisfy you ever in my life fulfill my one most burning desire.  This desire permeates my whole life I will never be content until you satisfy this desire”.  And Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and he asked “Of course, because you are such a sincere soul Krishna must fulfill whatever desire you want.  What is your desire?

He said “Seeing the suffering of various classes of men, brings such pain to my heart that my great longing is this, let every living being within this universe go back to the spiritual world to enjoy an eternal life in your loving service and whatever sinful reactions they deserve, let every living beings sinful reactions come on my head alone and let me go to hell forever for them”.

When Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu heard this, tears of love flowed his eyes because you know Vasudev Dutta was a very wealthy man, he was very prosperous and very well known and well liked by all.  From the material point of view he had absolutely everything to lose and nothing to gain but from the spiritual point of view this was his only desire in life.  So Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu explained “Because of your desire everyone in this universe will be liberated but you will not have to go to hell.  Do you think Krishna will tolerate letting you go to hell”?

But in this case of Maharaj Chitraketu because it was his desire to serve the Lord under any circumstances without being particular, just like some devotees we want to do service but we don’t want to cook, we like to be in sankirtan but we don’t want to cook, we like worshiping the Deities but we don’t like cleaning the bathrooms or we like giving Bhagvad Gita class to intelligent scholars and students but we don’t like taking care of little orphans we are very particular.  But Maharaj Chitraketu, he was not particular at all, whatever the Lord wanted, whatever way I can serve you, whatever way I can please you that is my only aspiration in life heaven, hell anything it doesn’t matter.   I am grateful for any service I have the opportunity to render.


King Chitraketu pleases the Lord by accepting a demons body:

This is Krishna consciousness in its essence and sure enough he went to hell and became a demon, a ferocious horrible demon who was the enemy of the demigods and the saints and he had to perform his duty as the king of the demons name of Vritrasura.  But because of his pure devotion in his previous life he was allowed to have the same consciousness that he had before, so he understood exactly why he was a demon and he was just playing this role because he knew God wanted him to play this role, not a very creditable role at all.  Most people they like to be adored and they liked to be praised for their good work and for their charitable activities in God’s service.  But here the Lord had a plan and in his plan he needed a big ferocious demon to just cause chaos.  The plan is a very wonderful plan ultimately everything works for the good according to God’s will.  So this person Vritrasura was being cursed, he was hated by everybody but he didn’t mind because God wanted him to do this, “My Lord Narayan he wants everyone to hate my guts, he wants everyone to simply be talking about how to kill me and how to destroy me, what a low class horrible blood sucking monster I am.  If taking that position and getting this sort of infamy, this is what my service is to Lord, my Lord I am very grateful, let them throw their trident at me, let them spit their scornful condemnations upon me, I am your servant”.


Demon Vritrasura preaches to Indra the king of heaven: 

This is the quality of the great Chitraketu.  And then he was fighting with Indra the king of heaven, he was so powerful that he was defeating Indra.  Indra threw his vajrah his thunderbolt which is so powerful that it can break open even the largest mountains and Vritrasura simply took the thunderbolt and effortlessly caught it with his hand and threw it back at Indra.   Indra threw his club, he caught the club and threw it and hit Indra’s elephant and fell to the ground coughing blood and Indra said “I can’t fight this person look at how big he is his whole body fills the sky”.  Too frightened to even look at him and all my greatest weapon don’t work, he just lost all hope and he was ready to just run away.  And Vritrasura started preaching to him

He said “Why are you so afraid?  You are afraid because you think you are this body, you are in the bodily concept of life Indra.  Don’t you know, you are not this body you are the eternal soul and you are not supposed to fighting this war for your own bodily comforts, you are fighting this war to protect dharma.  I am the personification of adharma, I am against God, you are fighting for Krishna, don’t you know if you are fight for Krishna you cannot lose, he will protect you from all circumstances, give up your faint heartedness, give up your false pride that is your problem because your weapons don’t work you are so proud that you are giving up.  Just depend on Krishna, surrender to him, he is the Supreme goal of life, you may be afraid but I am not afraid of death, in fact I am meant to die by you so please, kill me and I will tell you exactly how to kill me.  If you get off the bodily concept of life, if you just take shelter of Krishna, surrender to his lotus feet then you will be able to kill me and after you kill me I will go back to Godhead.  You think I like this body of a demon”?

And Indra was enlightened.  This demon became like his Guru then Indra followed his instructions and killed him.  Vritrasura was just smiling very happily being killed and his soul went back to Krishna.


One should take the position of a leader by words and actions:

So if you simply accept Krishna’s plan in your life you never lose, you have to have that faith.  That is the quality of the great souls, to have that unflinching faith.  Rupa Goswami explained “Whatever you give in the service of Krishna do not think you are the loser.  If you have the blessing the Guru and the vaisnavas whatever you do is all auspicious.  These wonderful narrations in the Srimad Bhagvatam and such pure devotees such as Chitraketu Maharaj, Ambarisa Maharaj they really and truly give us a proper understanding and inspiration of what we should aspire for in our life.  Srila Prabhupada would always tell us that this Krishna consciousness movement is meant to train sincere souls to be leaders within the society because what the leaders do the common men will follow.  So therefore, we must take very seriously whatever our particular service is by performing the service in proper devotional consciousness we become a leader of society.  Each devotee is responsible on behalf of Spiritual Master to very carefully learn the philosophy of Krishna consciousness, Bhagvad Gita, Srimad Bhagvatam, Caitanya Caritamrita and every devotee is very responsible for living according to these principles by submissively serving Sri Guru and in this way we become empowered to be leaders amongst men and women and in this way it is not our benediction to society, we are insignificant, we have no real value to offer but we can be the messengers of our Guru Maharaj, we can give the precious divine gift – the matchless gift of pure devotional service to humanity.  That is the greatest, greatest need within this world and that is our greatest responsibility to take the position of being a leader by our words by our actions, a leader to guide all segments of society back home back to Godhead.  Thank you very much.


Written by

Radhanath Swami

H.H Radhanath Swami is one of today’s most beloved and respected spiritual teachers. A Bhakti Yoga practitioner for 40 years, he is a guide, community builder, philanthropist, and acclaimed author.Born and raised in Chicago,at the age of 19 he discovered India's Mystical devotional tradition and now spread his message of compassion and love around the world.

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About Me

Radhanath Swami

H.H Radhanath Swami is one of today’s most beloved and respected spiritual teachers. A Bhakti Yoga practitioner for 40 years, he is a guide, community builder, philanthropist, and acclaimed author.Born and raised in Chicago,at the age of 19 he discovered India's Mystical devotional tradition and now spread his message of compassion and love around the world.