Text 55

pratyäkhyäto virincena


durväsäh shranam yätah

sarvam kailäsa-väsinam


When Durväsä, who was greatly afflicted by the blazing fire of the Sudarsana cakra, was thus refused by Lord Brahmä, he tried to take shelter of Lord Shiva, who always resides on his planet, known as Kailäsa.

Text 56

sri-sankara uväca

vayam na täta prabhaväma bhümni

yasmin pare ‘nye ‘py aja-jiva-kosäh

bhavanti käle na bhavanti hidrsäh

sahasraso yatra vayam bhramämah


Lord Shiva said: My dear son, I, Lord Brahmä and the other demigods, who rotate within this universe under the misconception of our greatness, cannot exhibit any power to compete with the Supreme Personality of Godhead, for innumerable universes and their inhabitants come into existence and are annihilated by the simple direction of the Lord.


There are innumerable universes in the material world, and there are innumerable Lord Brahmäs, Lord Shivas and other demigods. All of them rotate within this material world under the supreme direction of the Personality of Godhead. Therefore no one is able to compete with the strength of the Lord. Lord Shiva also refused to protect Durväsä, for Lord Shiva also was under the rays of the Sudarçana cakra sent by the Supreme Personality of Godhead.


Text 57- 59

aham sanat-kumäras ca

närado bhagavän ajah

kapilo ‘päntaratamo

devalo dharma äsurih

marici-pramukhäsh cänye

siddheshäh pära-darshanäh

vidäma na vayam sarve

yan-mäyäm mäyayävritäh

tasya vishveshvarasyedam

shastram durvishaham hi nah

tam evam sharanam yähi

haris te sham vidhäsyati


Past, present and future are known to me [Lord shiva], Sanat-kumära, Närada, the most revered Lord Brahmä, Kapila [the son of Devahüti], Apäntaratama [Lord Vyäsadeva], Devala, Yamaräja, Äsuri, Marici and many saintly persons headed by him, as well as many others who have achieved perfection. Nonetheless, because we are covered by the illusory energy of the Lord, we cannot understand how expansive that illusory energy is. You should simply approach that Supreme Personality of Godhead to get relief, for this Sudarsana cakra is intolerable even to us. Go to Lord Vishnu. He will certainly be kind enough to bestow all good fortune upon you.


Sudarshan Chakra in the form of time

Durvasa muni’s search for shelter from his imminent destruction which is coming in the form of the Lord’s sudarshan chakra is here being explained.  Durvasa muni with all of his great mystic power, with all of his influence over others lives is finding himself in a helpless condition; the same helpless condition ultimately all of us find ourselves in before the supreme power of God. Here we see that the sudarshan chakra, the formidable weapon of Lord Narayan, is causing great fear into his life. In Bhagavad-Gita Krishna explains that in the form of time, in the same way he is constantly chasing behind everyone. In the form of time, Krsna is right behind us at every stage of our life. Slowly but surely He is bringing our bodily condition to destruction. So in the same way Durvasa muni in the form of the sudarshan chakra is being chased, is being constantly sought after by the Supreme Personality of Godhead. And just as Durvasa muni, although the greatest of all mystics and jnanis in all the world, before the supreme power of God he is helpless; just as we, however influential and however powerful we may become in this world, the chakra of time is always right behind us and we are similarly in a completely helpless position.


Importance of Krsna and His devotees

So Durvasa muni is trying to take shelter of the greatest of all personalities in all the world. And they are all explaining the same thing, that if you want to get the shelter of Lord Narayan you must approach Him. But Lord Narayan, as we are about to see, He explains that if you want to get My shelter you must get the shelter of My devotee. You must fall at the feet of My devotee.

Yasya prasädäd bhagavat-prasädo

yasyäprasädän na gatiù kuto ‘pi

‘If you please My devotee then you will have all My pleasure, but as you can see Durvasa, if you displease My devotee, all you have in your life is My wrath and there is no escape from My wrath. And even the most powerful living beings in all the universe cannot protect you from My wrath. Even I cannot protect you from My wrath until you again get the blessings and give pleasure to My devotee.’

So the glory of all of these great personalities whom Durvasa is seeking shelter is that they are all directing him to Krsna. Because they understand that their existence is never separate from Krsna.

Who is the real Spiritual Master?

A bona fide spiritual master is never one who claims that I am God, surrender to me. But a bona fide spiritual master is one who claims that the Supreme Personality of Godhead Krsna is God, surrender to Him. One who requests or orders us to surrender to him cannot truly give us shelter from the all powerful, devouring force of time, which perpetuates the repetition of birth and death. But the bona fide guru, the bona fide sadhu, the true saintly person simply directs us to Krsna or to God, the Supreme Lord. Srila Prabhupada would often tell us that ‘His Divine Grace, we are not speaking of this Divine grace of the spiritual master. We are speaking of His Divine Grace, which means Krsna’s Divine grace.’ His Divine Grace means the Divine Grace of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the spiritual master is simply being an instrument, a purified instrument. Through him the Divine Grace of God is coming through. Similarly Srila Prabhupada in that famous poem and lecture that he gave on the anniversary of the appearance of Srila Bhakti Siddhanta Sarasvati Thakur, he explains that ‘Guru is one, although he has a multitude of manifestation within this world. Because Guru is God and anyone who is purely repeating the word of God, anyone who is directing us toward God, towards surrender to God, he is bona fide Guru.’ In fact sometimes the great acaryas, they answer the question who is a bona fide Guru. He says ‘one who repeats the message of Krsna.’ Krsna says:

sarva-dharmän parityajya

mäm ekaà çaraëaà vraja

“Abandon all varieties of religion. Just surrender to Me” The bonafide Guru is one who tells you to abandon all varieties of religion and surrender to the Supreme Lord or Krsna. But one who wants to take a high position, one who does not direct your consciousness to Krsna, such a person is not qualified to save you from the great burning fire of material existence. After all, what does the bonafide spiritual master teach us, to chant the name of God. We chant his names but when we chant his name we do that to please Krsna, yes. But we must also follow the first and foremost instruction of the spiritual master which is to chant Krsna’s name. Just like one time a devotee asked Prabhupada, ‘since pleasing Krsna is best by pleasing the spiritual master, why do we chant Hare Krsna? Why don’t we just chant Prabhupada, Prabhupada, Prabhupada on our japa beads?’ He said ‘this is mental concoction. Because you must understand that the spiritual master’s only business is to teach you how to glorify Krsna and how to love Krsna.’ So they must both go simultaneously. This is how the authorized acaryas are teaching us that we must offer all respect and glory to our Guru, but we must glorify him most by following his instruction which is to always chant the name of Krsna.

So here we find Lord Shiva, he is being approached by Durvasa muni. It is said about Lord Shiva ‘vaisnavanam yatha shambhu’.  He is the greatest, the supreme of all vaisnavas. Lord Shiva is sometimes addressed as bhagavan which means he has super excellent powers which cannot be conceived by the human brain. He has practically all the powers of God himself. But it is explained that he is in the role of God’s devotee and therefore with all his power, with all his strength, with all his grandeur, he is very honestly and truthfully, truly taking the position of the Guru of Durvasa muni in the sense that he is telling him that ‘you must take shelter of Krsna.’ This is Guru, who teaches you how to take shelter of Krsna. And therefore we accept Lord Shiva as the param vaishnava because through his mercy, through his grace, through his blessings we can attain the shelter of the lotus feet of Sri Krsna.


Lord Shiva’s Supreme Humility

There is a beautiful story, of the supreme humility of Lord Shiva.  At one time, this is explained in the Srimad Bhagavatam 8th canto, that one time when the demigods and the demons where churning the ocean of milk there was an elixir like nectar that came out of the ocean. It was a nectar which would give great strength and great longevity to whoever drank it and somehow or other the demons caught hold of this nectar. Then the Supreme Personality of Godhead incarnated as Mohini Murti and she was the most beautiful, beautiful woman that has ever being seen. The Supreme Lord Himself took the form of the most incredibly beautiful woman just to intoxicate the minds of those who are attached to sense gratification. And she went to the demons and they all wanted her as their wife and she said ‘O!’ and they were willing to do anything for her. So she said ‘Well, give me the nectar.’ So although they all were fighting over it like anything, they gave it to her and then she just went over and poured it in the mouth of all of the devotees, the demigods. And the asuras, they were so afraid that she might think something bad of them, that they just did not speak up or say anything. And then right in front of everybody she transformed into her Vishnu form and went back to Vaikuntha. Then the demons knew that they were cheated. So Lord Shiva, it is explained, he approached in the presence of his wife Parvati, he approached Lord Narayan and said ‘This wonderful form of Mohini Murti. I have heard about her but I have not been able to, I did not get to see her. I would like to see such a beautiful form that you have incarnated in.’ And Lord Narayan said ‘Are you sure you want to see this form?’ He said ‘Yes. I am very sure. I really want to see this form.’ So then Lord Narayan, he said ‘All right’ and then Lord Narayan left and a few moments later from the corner of Lord Shiva’s eyes he saw this beautiful, beautiful, beautiful lady playing with a ball in the forest. And although he was standing just next to his own wife Parvati, he completely lost all control of his senses and mind and started leaving his own wife. He left his own disciples and started chasing after her and she started running away very nicely and he was chasing. And the more he was looking and thinking of her, the more he was very much intoxicated by her appearance. And what she did is just to make everything as extreme as possible. She ran right through the ashram, a hermitage of his own great sages and saints in the renounced order of life who were his disciples. They were all performing tapasya, performing sacrifices, chanting his names and then all of a sudden this beautiful young lady comes running through and they are thinking ‘My God! We are not supposed to be in such an atmosphere as this.’ And then they saw their worshipable Guru and God chasing after her. There were saying ‘What are you doing? Stop.’ But he did not hear their words. He was too absorbed in the process of running for her. So it was complete embarrassment by all material calculations. And of course it is a beautiful story, but ultimately when he finally touched her, he became so intoxicated by that, that he lost his energy and then he became a little sober again. And then she disappeared and then Lord Narayan appeared again and he said ‘So Lord Shiva, how did you like seeing my form as Mohini Murti?’

Now try to understand that he had just in front of his own wife, just left her to run after a young woman. Parvati is most chaste, most faithful, and supreme wife. Right in front of all of the sadhus, yogis and his own disciples, they were all pleading with him ‘Stop doing this. Why are you doing? You are going to hurt our faith.’ He didn’t care. After all this, you would think after he finally came to his senses and he realized that Krsna did this to him, you would think that he would be embarrassed. You would think he would be ashamed. But no. He wasn’t the slightest bit ashamed, not the slightest bit embarrassed. He was proud, he was proud that ‘Just see how great Krsna is, He can do this to me. This is the greatness and glory of Krsna. If Krsna wants to put me in total illusion, then that is Krsna’s divine power. I am proud of Him for that; He is the greatest. So, his understanding of his subordination to the supreme position of Krsna made him very happy. He was not embarrassed, he was not ashamed. He was ecstatic, he was enlivened that Krsna is so great that look what He can do even to the greatest of personalities such as myself. One of the controllers of the whole universe, look at what He can do to make me like a little dancing puppet. How great is my Krsna. How much, how much I love my Krsna. So you see Lord Shiva, we can understand through this pastime, that he takes no credit for himself. He is simply the pure, unalloyed servant of the Supreme Absolute Truth.

In fact, it is explained in the Brahma Samhita that Lord Shiva is none other than Vishnu himself. They are one and the same. But for the sake of guiding those who are in tamo guna and accepting the Lordship over the tamo guna, Lord Vishnu Himself accepts a tinge of tamo guna in His own personality and thus becomes Lord Shiva. Just like milk, when it is given a culture, it turns into yogurt or dahi. And milk and dahi is nothing but the same thing; but still they are different. So therefore Lord Vishnu is eternally different in the form of Lord Shiva although He is in essence the same. But in this role as Lord Shiva, he is always in the role of a demigod who is a servant, the agent of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He is in the role of vaisnava, ‘vaisnavanam yatha Shambhu’. And of course we read in the scriptures, how important it is for devotees to gain the mercy of Lord Shiva because of his dearmost position to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Narayan. And therefore in the sampradaya of Lord Ramchandra, before approaching the Supreme Personality of Godhead Vishnu, one must first get the blessings of Hanumanji. Hanuman is incarnation or expansion; he is the son of Lord Shankara or Shiva. So this is a very, very exalted position and here he is exhibiting how exalted his position is by taking the position of a real Guru, by giving the highest purest knowledge to Durvasa muni. What is that? Surrender to Krsna, surrender to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is the only hope to gain refuge from the all devouring miseries of this material world.

Solution to material world klesha’s

You see

daivé hy eñä guëa-mayé

mama mäyä duratyayä

mäm eva ye prapadyante

mäyäm etäà taranti te


It is explained that ‘This Divine energy of mine is very difficult to overcome. But one who takes shelter of Me can easily cross beyond it.’ So we are all constantly being harassed by the divine energy of the Lord in the form of so many difficulties in this world – adi atmika, adi bhautika, adi daivika – in the same way that Durvasa muni was being harassed by the sudarshan chakra. And therefore here we find that the great, great Gurus, great, great acaryas and the greatest of all the demigods Lord Shiva, they are always teaching us the way; the way to become free from this very, very difficult to overcome energy of the Lord. Krsna says ‘But those who take shelter of Me can easily cross beyond it.’ So the spiritual master repeats that those who take shelter of Krsna can easily overcome it. And Lord Shiva as great Guru, he is also saying ‘Durvasa, take shelter of Krsna, you can easily overcome.’


Special blessings of Guru (Srila Madhavendra Puri to Ishwara Puri)

And how to approach the spiritual master? Yesterday was the disappearance day of Srila Ishwara Puri, who was the very spiritual master of Lord Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu. And one may ask what was the qualification of Ishwara Puri to take the position of the Guru of God Himself. And in the Caitanya Caritamrita it is explained what his qualification was. It was not based on any sort of great mystic power that he had or any vast form of learning that he had; although he was most learned that was not his qualification. But his spiritual master, Madhavendra Puri, that great, great devotee of Lord Krsna, Ishwara Puri accepted the most humble, menial position of his servant. He carried out his order in all respects throughout his life to the extent that it is explained that Srila Ishwara Puri, when his spiritual master was very old and in invalidate condition, he could not walk, he could hardly move. Because after all, whether you are a great saint or whether you are a great sinner, you have a material body and the material must grow old; material body must grow old, must get diseased, must die. That is why Srila Rupa Goswami explains in the Upadeshamrita that you should never, never judge a sadhu by his physical condition of life. Even if he is most sickly, even if he is diseased, even if he is deformed. You should never ever consider that this has anything to do with his spiritual advancement. You must see the quality of his consciousness, the quality of his devotion. And that is all that is concerned.

So Madhavendra Puri was greatest spiritual master, he was in such an invalidate condition that he was simply laying in his bed. He could not move and Ishwara Puri was bathing him with his own hands day and night giving up his sleep, practically giving up his eating, simply to tend to whatever need his spiritual master had. And when his spiritual master would pass stool and urine, Ishwara Puri with great, great attention and most loving care, he would clean it with his own hands, day after day after day, never thinking anything negative in his mind but only thinking that my Guru Maharaj and Krsna are so kind that they are allowing me this most menial and most humble service. He was always grateful. In this way, his steadiness, his devotion and his willing to accept the menial, the most menial, the most insignificant position of cleaning the stool and urine of his Guru, it won the heart of his spiritual master. Even in that position, the spiritual master’s blessings are no less powerful. The supreme blessing of God was still coming through him. And meanwhile Ishwara Puri was constantly chanting the holy names Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare; Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare’. And his Guru Maharaj in this condition of great physical pain and difficulty, he was simply in the ecstasy of love of God crying out for Krsna and Ishwara Puri was satisfying his heart, to the extreme extent by constantly discussing  the pastimes of Krsna and constantly chanting His holy names.

Just like when Srila Prabhupada went to Vrindavan to leave his body, the devotees asked ‘What is the greatest service that we can offer you?’ Of course he said ‘You can show your love for me by how you cooperate to fulfill my instructions of assisting me in my Guru’s mission, to alleviate the suffering of humanity by spreading the mercy of God everywhere, by spreading the holy name.’ But then they asked ‘But what about your own self? How can we best help you?’ He said ‘Just chant Hare Krsna. The best way is just chant Hare Krsna. Just let me hear the name of Krsna.’ So day and night there was 24 hours, devotees were having kirtans and bhajans and sometimes when devotees would go into too many fancy tunes and too many fancy… Prabhupada would say ‘just chant Hare Krsna’. And in this way Prabhupada, when he was about to leave he said ‘Call all the devotees together. Give them a chance to simply cry out the name of Krsna. Let me hear that vibration.’

So in the same way as Madhavendra Puri. He was so pleased by Ishwara Puri because he was simply moment after moment, day and night, giving up all sleeping and eating just to constantly allow his Guru to hear the holy name of Krsna. Of course, his spiritual master, such a great soul as Madhavendra Puri, he is always thinking of Krsna. The sound of His name is constantly vibrating from within his heart in all conditions of life. But the pleasure that he derived from Ishwara Puri’s  service was just, was really for the benefit  of his disciple. He was pleased to see how his disciple was so anxious to chant the holy name of Krsna for the pleasure of the Guru. So in this way Madhavendra Puri, seeing the completely humble selfless desire of his disciple, the totally prideless approach to serving Guru, he gave his most intimate supreme blessings to Ishwara Puri. And through those blessings alone, the Supreme Personality of Godhead Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu decided to accept Ishwara Puri as his own beloved spiritual master. Although Madhavendra Puri had many, many very stalwart, powerful and great disciples, such as Brahmananda Bharati, Paramananda Puri, Advaita Acarya, Nityananda Prabhu and many, many others, Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu especially chose Ishwara Puri because he received this special benediction and blessing from his Guru Maharaj, which is based on his utter humility and prideless service to his spiritual master. So it is through developing this approach to our spiritual master that we can truly gain his blessings and by the blessings of the spiritual master one attains the Supreme blessings of God Himself

 yasya prasädäd bhagavat-prasädo

yasyäprasädän na gatiù kuto ‘pi

By pleasing guru and receiving his blessings, we purchase the heart of Krsna. But without the blessings of great souls we cannot attain the blessings of Krsna.


Moral of the Lecture

So here Durvasa Muni is approaching Lord Shiva and he is getting Lord Shiva’s blessings .My blessings are ‘Go to Krsna. Remember Krsna. Chant Hare Krsna .Take shelter of Krsna.’ And by the blessings of these great souls, he attained Krsna. By the mercy of Krsna one gets Guru. And Krsna is going to direct Durvasa Muni back to Ambarish Maharaj. You should always remember that this story gives us many messages. But one of the clearest and most important messages is this: That we should be very, very careful never to offend the great devotees of the Lord. We should never, never ever even dream of offending a devotee of the Lord, because in the offense to the Lord’s devotee the Lord withdraws his mercy and therefore we must be very, very careful. One who offends the devotee of the Lord, he may have a superficial position in this world but the seed of love of God cannot grow in that person’s heart until he is forgiven. Of course a devotee is willing to forgive at any moment but the Lord must be willing to see that that devotee is willing to be forgiven.

Ambarish never took offense but God did. And until Durvasa Muni was begging for forgiveness, the Lord was not satisfied with his life or his service. So, these are some of the great lessons of this beautiful story and it is very auspicious that on the day of Maha Shivaratri we happen to, not by accident, by the supreme arrangement of Godhead, we just happen to be on the verse where Durvasa Muni is approaching the great Lord Shiva and we are allowed to see Lord Shankar’s divine quality, of always directing all living beings to the feet of Narayan.

Is there any questions?

Question and answer session

Question. (not clear)

Maharaj : Very important. Because Lord Shiva is the greatest devotee, the Lord worships the feet of His devotee just to show us how worshipable the feet of his devotee is. In Krsna Lila also, Krsna was worshiping Sudama Vipra and washing his feet. He put this devotee on His own throne. Rukmini was fanning him with a chamara fan and Krsna Himself was not only washing his feet but offering him eatables and offering prayers to him. Because the love of the devotee is so great that the Lord is always the worshiper of His devotee and Lord Shiva is greatest of all devotees. Because of his pure love, he is worshipable even by God Himself. Rameshwar is the name of Shiva, which means he is Lord of Ram, but it also means that Ram is his Lord. Similarly Lord Shiva in Vrindavan is known as Gopeshwar. Which means, what does Gopeshwar mean literally? That’s Lord Shiva. So you see the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Ramchandra, was exhibiting one of the most beautiful priceless messages by showing that He Himself is so purchased by the love of his devotee that he humbly worships the feet of His devotee.

Is there any other questions? Yes…

Question : Shiva is one of the greatest devotees. (not clear)

Maharaj : This is not his instruction. This is the instruction of those who like to take bhang. It is said that Lord Shiva, for the sake of elevating those in tamo guna, he allows them to engage in activities in tamo guna just to gradually elevate themselves by keeping him in the center. Because anyone who thinks of him in any way will become purified. So he has taken the thankless task of being the worshipable God for those who are in the modes of ignorance like the ghosts and the hobgoblins. He is always surrounded by such beings, if you read in the sastras. Because what is the hope of such persons’ salvation unless someone is willing to come down to their level and just gradually uplift them. So by putting faith in this great Supreme Personality of Godhead, because in one sense he is like the Supreme Personality of Godhead in the form of a servant, in this way they are gradually elevated. But in order to gain the faith of such souls, he has to behave more in the mode of ignorance than them because a person respects… Just like it is said in Bhagavatam that men who are like dogs, hogs, camels and asses respect those people who are like bigger dogs, hogs, camels and asses. One who is in the mode of ignorance will respect someone who is even more in the mode of ignorance? So Lord Shiva, he has snakes around him. He covers himself with crematorium ashes. He behaves like one in the mode of ignorance externally but internally he is simply doing this for the sake of uplifting these fallen souls. He is actually the purest, highest devotee of the Lord. But in the sastra it says that Lord Shiva drank poison. If you can drink poison then you can imitate him. But if you are not able to imitate him in every respect, you should simply follow his instructions. So Lord Shiva is not telling his devotees to smoke the bhang. But because he does it, they try to imitate him. Krsna also danced with gopis. But that does not mean that we should start looking for gopis to dance with. Then we should follow his instruction. So great souls, we should never imitate. We should follow in their footsteps by following their instructions. We see there are those shaivites who do like this but there also vaisnavas who have rasa lila. Are there not? They are both misguided in the sense that they are trying to imitate the great souls but not follow in their footsteps.

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.