Text 22

piìgalä näma veçyäséd

videha-nagare purä

tasyä me çikñitaà kiïcin

nibodha nåpa-nandana


O son of kings, previously in the city of Videha  there dwelled a prostitute named Pingala .Now please hear what I have learned from that lady.

Text 23

sä svairiëy ekadä käntaà

saìketa upaneñyaté

abhüt käle bahir dväre

bibhraté rüpam uttamam


Once that prostitute, desiring to bring a lover into her house, stood outside in the doorway at night showing her beautiful form.


Text 24

märga ägacchato vékñya

puruñän puruñarñabha

tän çulka-dän vittavataù

käntän mene ‘rtha-kämuké



O best among men, this prostitute was very anxious to get money and as she stood on the street at night she studied all the men who were passing by, thinking, “Oh, this one surely has money. I know he can pay the price, and I am sure he would enjoy my company very much.” Thus she thought about all the men on the street.


Text 25

ägateñv apayäteñu
sä saìketopajéviné
apy anyo vittavän ko ‘pi
mäm upaiñyati bhüri-daù

Text 26

evaà duräçayä dhvasta-
nidrä dväry avalambaté
nirgacchanté praviçaté
niçéthaà samapadyata

Text 27

tasyä vittäçayä çuñyad-
vakträyä déna-cetasaù
nirvedaù paramo jajïe
cintä-hetuù sukhävahaù

Text 28

tasyä nirviëëa-cittäyä
gétaà çåëu yathä mama
nirveda äçä-päçänäà
puruñasya yathä hy asiù


As the prostitute Pingala stood in the doorway, many men came and went, walking by her house. Her only means of sustenance was prostitution, and therefore she anxiously thought, “May be this one who is coming now is very rich…..Oh. he is not stopping, but I am sure someone else will come. Surely this man who is coming now will want to pay me for my love, and he will probably give lots of money.” Thus, with vain hope, she remained leaning against the doorway, unable to finish her business and go to sleep. Out of anxiety she would sometimes walk out toward the street, and sometimes she went back into her house. In this way, midnight hour gradually arrived.


Text 29

na hy aìgäjäta-nirvedo

deha-bandhaà jihäsati

yathä vijïäna-rahito

manujo mamatäà nåpa



O king, just as a human being who is bereft of spiritual knowledge never desires to give up his false sense of proprietorships over many material things, similarly  a  person who has not developed detachment never desires to give up the bondage of the material body.


Text 30 


aho me moha-vitatià


yä käntäd asataù kämaà

kämaye yena bäliçä



The prostitute Pingala said: Just see how greatly illusioned I am! Because I cannot control my mind, just like a fool desire lusty pleasure from an insignificant man.


Text 31

santaà samépe ramaëaà rati-pradaà

vitta-pradaà nityam imaà vihäya

akäma-daà duùkha-bhayädhi-çoka-

moha-pradaà tuccham ahaà bhaje ‘jïä




I am such a fool that I have given up the service of that person who, being eternally situated within my heart is actually most dear to me. That ‘most dear is the Lord of the universe, who is the bestower of real love and happiness and the source of all prosperity. Although He is in my own heart, I have completely neglected Him. Instead I have ignorantly served insignificant men who can never satisfy my real desires and who have simply brought me unhappiness, fear, anxiety, lamentation and illusion.


Text 32:

aho mayätmä paritäpito våthä


straiëän naräd yärtha-tåño ‘nuçocyät

krétena vittaà ratim ätmanecchaté


Oh, how I have uselessly tortured my own soul! I have sold my body to lusty, greedy men who are themselves object of pity. Thus practicing the most abominable profession of a prostitute, I hoped to get money and sex pleasures.


Text 33:

yad asthibhir nirmita-vaàça-vaàsya-

sthüëaà tvacä roma-nakhaiù pinaddham

kñaran-nava-dväram agäram etad

vië-mütra-pürëaà mad upaiti känyä


This material body is like a house in which I, the soul, am living. The bones forming my spine, ribs, arms and legs are like the beams, crossbeams and pillars of the house, and the whole structure, which is full of stool and urine, is covered by skin, hair and nails. The nine doors leading into this body are constantly excreting foul substances. Besides me, what woman could be so foolish as to devote herself to this material body, thinking that she might find pleasure and love in this contraception?


Text 34:

videhänäà pure hy asminn

aham ekaiva müòha-dhéù

yänyam icchanty asaty asmäd

ätma-dät kämam acyutät


Certainly in this city of Videha I alone am completely foolish. I neglected the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who awards us everything, even our original spiritual form, and instead I desired to enjoy sense gratification with many men.


Text 35:

suhåt preñöhatamo nätha

ätmä cäyaà çarériëäm

taà vikréyätmanaivähaà

rame ‘nena yathä ramä



The Supreme Personality of Godhead is absolutely the most dear for all living beings because He is everyone’s well-wisher and Lord. He is the Supreme Soul situated in everyone’s heart. Therefore I will now pay the price of complete surrender, and thus purchasing the Lord I will enjoy with Him just like Lakshmidevi.


Text 36:

kiyat priyaà te vyabhajan

kämä ye käma-dä naräù

ädy-antavanto bhäryäyä

devä vä käla-vidrutäù


Men provide sense gratification from women, but all these men, and even the demigods in heaven, have a beginning and an end. They are all temporary creations who will be dragged away by time. Therefore how much actual pleasure or happiness could any of them ever to their wives.


Text 37:

kiyat priyaà te vyabhajan

kämä ye käma-dä naräù

ädy-antavanto bhäryäyä

devä vä käla-vidrutäù


Although I most stubbornly hoped to enjoy the material world, somehow or other detachment has arisen in my heart, and it is making me very happy. Therefore the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vishnu, must be pleased with me. Without even knowing it, I must have performed some activity satisfying to Him.


Text 39:

tenopakåtam ädäya

çirasä grämya-saìgatäù

tyaktvä duräçäù çaraëaà

vrajämi tam adhéçvaram


Without devotion I accept the great benefit that the Lord has bestowed upon me. Having given up my sinful desires for the ordinary sense gratification, I now take shelter of Him, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.


Text 40: 

santuñöä çraddadhaty etad

yathä-läbhena jévaté

viharämy amunaiväham

ätmanä ramaëena vai



I am now completely satisfied, and I have full faith in the Lord’s mercy. Therefore I will maintain myself with whatever comes with its own accord. I shall enjoy life with only the Lord, because He is the real source of love and happiness.

Lecture :

In the Vedic literature we find many references to prostitutes. This particular reference the story of Pingala, the prostitute of the city of the Videha is being spoken by Lord Sri Krishna to his friend Udhhava. He is describing how at one time, Prahlad Maharaj when he was the king he took a tour to the holy places, he wanted to meet saintly persons. All great personalities are always seeking out the shelter of the Lotus feet of other great personalities. Although Prahlad Maharaj is a Maha Bhagvat, he never considered that I am so great that I don’t need to associate with sadhu’s. The most cripple hearted people, they think that I know God. I am living a pious life. What do I need to seek out the association of sadhu’s for? But then more advanced you are the more you will naturally feel a great great yearning and longing for the company of those who love the God.


Faith On God :

So as Prahlad Maharaj was traveling he met one Avadhoot Brahman, he was laying practically naked, on the pathway in a jungle. Prahlad asked who are you? And he told him I am just meditating on Krishna, whatever Krishna puts in my mouth I eat, whatever he doesn’t put in my mouth, than what do I need? Krishna is in control, why should I endeavor for anything separate than remembering him. Prahlad noticed that he was quiet heavy set.

Krishna provides to his devotees and it is said in the Bible also when Jesus asked his follower to follow me, They said how will we eat? How will we maintain ourselves? Then he said DO you not see the birds in the sky? Is not God providing them all the food that they need? DO you not see the lilies, the flowers, in the field how they are dressed in a cloth more eloquently than King Solemon. If God provides for insignificant creatures, Do you think that he will not provide the needs of one who have surrendered his live to him.

So this Brahman, he had everything he wanted and more, simply because he had faith and trust in Krishna. You see, if you do not have faith and trust in Krishna you are on your own my friend. You have to make it in this world a hard knocks and somehow or other survive. But Krishna says Ananyas cintayu mam…. That if you have faith and trust in Krishna, then he provides protection for whatever you have and carry whatever you lack .


Mudhas :

This doesn’t mean we are irresponsible, but it means we live a simple life and we make Krishna consciousness, we make our spiritual life our priority. Krishna says namam dushkrita nar mudha …. That the mudhas think that they are in control of their destiny, therefore they work in toil like an ass somehow or other to make ends meet. They have no time to chant the holy names of the lord, they have no time to associate with saintly persons, they have no time to go to temple to worship the beautiful form of the Lord. Krishna considers such people dushkritinah, they are miscreants, they are most unfortunate, they think that they are the doer’s of their activities. But if one simply hears submissively with aural reception one develops faith, one can understand the more I give my life to Krishna the more Krishna will provide all the necessities to my responsible occupation in this world. Simple living high thinking means we create a good balance in our life. We do the necessary but we are not so greedy and we are not so illusioned to think that by our efforts we will give happiness to ourselves and others. We do the needful to make ends meet to prosper but the first and foremost consideration is spiritual prosperity of ourselves and ones who we love. If we don’t consider that according to Krishna we are mudhas, we are foolish unfortunate donkeys, with foam at the mouth working hard all day just for a little grass.

So this Brahman he was showing Prahlad that you are the king doing your duty to God.You are maintaining the whole kingdom, providing the necessities for all the citizens, protecting the country with big big armies, that is your service to the Lord and my service is to just to lay here and think about Krishna. Krishna is providing both of us just what we need. As there is various classes of men, Krishna wants various way to be served. But If we surrender? We are happy, We are joyful, We are protected in every stage. And Prahlad Maharaj said Oh! You re very learned and who is your Guru? And Brahman said I had many many Gurus and He started to explain how he had many gurus for instance the earth was his Guru , the sky was his Guru, this sun was his Guru , the rivers , the oceans , the mountains and also a Prostitute of the name Pingala . Srila Prabhupad use to say you can take gold even from the filthy place because gold is always gold and it is always precious. So whoever speaks the truth you should accept it, with a grateful heart. And this beautiful story which is being narrated through this Brahman by Lord Krishna himself is very very important to understand.


Who Is A Prostitute :

We are reading how Pingala was just an ordinary materialistic woman trying to somehow or other feed herself and feed her family and so forth and she knew no other way to make money than prostitution. Now according to any civilized society prostitution is the most lowest and most abominable way to earn one’s livelihood. And Krishna wants to point out that however abominable you may be he doesn’t even consider it once you take shelter of his lotus feet. This prostitute was so much anxious for two things  money and sex that sounds familiar. Practically this whole world is revolving around this two principles money and sex, greed and lust and she was very successful. Krishna described that she was very beautiful and she knew all the arts of charming men. But one night she had no customers she was waiting, waiting, and waiting and every man that passes by her how was she looking at them, How I can exploit them? To give me money and sex. Of course Krishna is using most extreme example of Pingala a Prostitute but factually every materialistic person, I hate to say this is nothing less than a prostitute literally, why? You all have heard a saying that there is only one male in Vrindavan that is Krishna, else all are females. We are all his property. We are all meant for his enjoyment and when we are looking to be enjoyed by someone else or to enjoy someone else. What does that make us literally, who knows? Prostitute. When we see a prostitute on the street we think what a abominable, terrible person that must be selling herself for others just to make some money, just for some pleasure. BUT little do we know that it is indirectly talking about ourselves. We don’t like to admit it but why not, its true. We are Krishna’s property . We are meant to be enjoyed by Krishna, the husband of all living beings. And yet we are looking toward others and how do we look at people? Pingala was looking in a extremely degraded state but the same principle is there for everybody in material life.


Me And Mine :

We are looking at everybody what we can get from them, how we can find some pleasure by exploiting them by one way or other. Even in family life, we love our children, why? Because they are mine and by being mine, looking like me, talking like me, following my path in life, they are giving me pleasure. Why do I not love child next door to us as much as mine?  He is getting better grades, he is more well behaved, because this one is mine and that one is someone else’s. If someone else’s child dies, we say I am sorry but when our child dies it’s the end of the world because this is mine and I cannot any longer enjoy him. This is my house, this is my bankroll, this is my body. We love someone who is a friend because they give us sense gratification, they help us somehow or other in sense gratification. And our enemies are those who interfere with our sense gratification. We are making the friends and the enemies all on the basis of our own desire to exploit the resources of God’s energy. This is material life and Pingala was symbolizing everyone’s consciousness.


Enlightened By Frustration :

Every man that went by she was thinking, what can I get from him? But no one was giving anything And therefore she was becoming too disgraced too much frustrated, it was beyond her power. And hour after hour after hour went by, until at last midnight and beyond. And in her frustration she began to internalize her perceptions of life. Until that time she was simply looking outside through her senses by her mind for some pleasure, in this world for some position but now Pingala was starting to think, what is this all about? She became sober. As long as the person is too much intoxicated thinking I am enjoying they cannot understand the absolute truth until one becomes little sober by realizing the true nature of this material existence. One’s ears and heart cannot open to hear the truth . If a person is too much intoxicated, Can you preach to him? He thinks he is enjoying even though he is in the most lamentable condition. You have to wait till he sobers up till the intoxication wears off and he realizes that he has a hangover, he is suffering, he is degraded, then he is anxious to hear. Pingala became enlightened by the grace of God, through the frustrations of her material endeavors. And these are the beautiful prayers. Else where in the eleventh canto of the Srimad Bhagvatam there was another beautiful story about one Brahman from Avanta Desh. This Brahman is very wealthy, he worked very hard, so much money and he had a large family and because he was so proud he was so much in the mode of passion, Rajoguna just earning ,earning , earning thinking that I am the controller, I am the Lord , I am the Doer, See how good I am. He would misuse his friends, his wife , his children by harsh words, by being intolerant if they remain disobedient to him.


Materialistic Relationship :

The more you control, the more you want to be the controller. That is the nature of this material world. The more you think i am controlling,the more you feel that i should be the supreme controller, the ultimate controller. And therefore it is very dangerous to have a position of controller in this world. Because through that power Maya totally intoxicates the Ego. And this man , he became so much intoxicated by his money and power, that he couldn’t treat people nicely any more. He simply wanted everyone to be obedient to him. And in this way, his family they didn’t even care for him anymore. They only liked him because of what he was providing.

But ,by the arrangement of the almighty, power of providence, a change came into his life. All at once many things took place. His property was burnt by fire, his agricultural fields were taken away by government, because he wasn’t paying his taxes, thieves came, when they saw his vulnerable position and stole practically every thing else. And his family when they saw, that this is a sinking ship, nobody likes the sinking ship, and if the captain is on a sinking ship, Get Out. So what they did, his family members , is they took everything they could,what ever little was left,and they were gone. And the Avanti brahman was laying on the ground, he has no property, no money, no food.

His family members rejected him and left. His friends were from high society, so what they have to do with a Failure.  People in high society want to associate with people who are successful. Why? Not because they like the person , but it is good for there image. Every one is just “you scratch my back, i scratch your back”, it’s mutual exploitation. The world of the cheaters and the cheated, Srila Bhakti Siddhant Saraswati used to say. So,in this  way ,he had no friends , they abandoned him. His family members , because his mistreated them and he was no longer good for their sense  gratification, they left him.

He went, you heard the saying” from Rags To Riches”, he went from “Riches to Rags” quickly. And you can imagine the pain of his heart. He was in utter frustration, he was suffering. He was crying, He didn’t know where to go, where not to go. Who to go to, who to not go to. He was alone. The arrows of insult, degradation of his ego, were so piercing in his heart, that he could not bear it, could not stand it. He never in millions and billions of years could have even dreamed, that such a thing could happen to him. But the fact is, whatever your material situation is ,it can happen to you tomorrow. Because providence is very powerful.


Seeing Krsna In Every Situation :

So this poor Avavnti brahman, he was just laying in the ground weeping, crying, suffering. And in that condition, a transformation came into his life. The same transformation that took place in the frustration experienced by Pingala, on this auspicious night, in the city of Vidheha. Pingala understood , the ultimate wealth of Krsna in her heart. Why? Because she realized that no other wealth was there. And the Avanti brahman as long as he was intoxicated by all his wealth, he never understood the wealth in his heart. But in this condition of total lamentation, due to loneliness, he turned to Krsna in his heart. And upon doing that, he experienced a ultimate joy, the ultimate happiness.

And he began to pray ,what kind of greedy , nonsense, fool i have been. And how this whole world is in such a illusion, chasing after the dreams of material enjoyment. And every one in this dream, in the name of love, simply exploiting each other. But only real object of love is Krsna, the lord in our heart. When we love him, we understand the true love, and his presence in everyones heart. Every living being is his part  and parcel. Every other love outside of Krsna consciousness, is simply a intoxicated illusion. And he began to thank Krsna, for what he has done to him. He became in one of the renounced order of life. He began to travel here and there, like a Sannyasi.

And when people saw him, they could not tolerate it, because the people of society knew that he was famous, that he used to be a rich man. And now everyone thought this man is a Bump, he  is a parasite, he is a failure. No one showed him any respect. He had a little begging bowl. Sometimes he would sit on the bank of the river, and people would come up to him and they would throw rocks,stones at him, and tell him most horrible harsh words to him, to insult him. When he had a little food in his begging bowl , people would come, they were so disgraceful ,they will pass urine and stool in his begging bowl. Sometimes just to harass him and have fun , they would tie him in chains. It is explained in the Bhagavatam by Sri Krsna, that sometimes they would just come up, pass foul air right at his face and slap him and insult him with horrible words. And for one who is honored, dishonor is worst than death. And this man was a highly honored person. And this is what life have come to. And while he was experiencing all this terrible terrible persecution , ridicule and harassment, he was experiencing the ultimate pleasure of krsna’s love.

And he  was gratefully thanking Krsna, that you are so kind. Due to my past misdeed i deserved much more worst than this, but you are so kind ,that you have allowed me to taste the sweet nectar of your love within my heart. And therefore whatever  happens in this world , i am grateful. I am Proud to be your servant. LCM, when he took sannayas , the renounced order of life, he chose , the first thing after taking sannyas, to remember and sing this Beautiful Prayers of this Avanti brahman, “That my lord , whatever my condition, i am taking shelter of you,who are seated in my heart. And i am following the path of great authorities of krsna consciousness, the previous Acaryas”. In this way there is no supreme joy over this.

So, both of this beautiful stories are told by Krsna, the supreme personality of godhead, with the aim of making us a little sober. Here we find, a brahman , highest person in society, and we also find Pingala , who is a prostitute, untouchable , the lowest in society. Do you think Krsna cares if you are high or low according to society. Krsna is only concerned with one thing, are you becoming humble and are you taking shelter of his lotus feet. That’s all he sees , that’s all he is concerned with. As long as you are proud of what you have and what you can do,whether you are the highest or the lowest, you have no entrance into Krsna’s heart. But, when you become humble, you take shelter, when you turn to Krsna, when you call out his name,HK HK KK HH HR HR RR HH, then you are given full entrance into the lord’s heart.


Real Humility :

So, how does that pertain to me, you may be thinking, does that mean i have to loose everything, and people passing urine on me , before i become i nice devotee. What does that mean , that i have to become a prostitute? NO! This was the natural condition of these people’s lives, the symbol of what is being spoken has to be put into the context that Krsna is speaking to Uddhava. Uddhava was a prince, he didn’t want Uddhava to give every thing away,he didn’t want Uddhava to be a failure in the world. But he wanted  to impress upon him the importance of giving up false Pride. Giving up this manipulated attitude, of trying to exploit Krsna’s  resources. By learning how to be humble. And what does it mean to be humble.

People have a very very external misunderstanding of humility. They think being humble means touching someones lotus feet, or offering Pranams, or saying all sort of words , that i am nothing , i am lowest. Anybody can say that, Real humility is to truly from ones heart  accept that i am a servant, how can i serve you. And Mean it, not just say it but mean it. Back your words with action, and be the servant. What does it mean to be servant? To Not be the Enjoyer. To live for the pleasure of Krsna.

Maharaj Yudhistir , he was a great king, but he was more humble than a blade of grass. Arjuna was fighting on the  battle field of Kurushetra, killing hundred and thousands of soldiers with his mighty Gandiva Bow. But while he was doing it , he as more humble than blade of a grass. Because he was not doing this for his own exploitation, he was doing this as a humble service to Krsna. Sometimes, if someone is misleading other people, we must become angry, and defeat that person philosophically. That’s humility. If you don’t do it, that’s not  humility, that’s weak heartedness. Humility means that i am the servant. Hanuman was tearing the Raksasas apart with his claws, Sugriva bit off the nose of Ravana.

This is humility. Because they were serving the mission of the lord according to the need of the time. They were not doing it for their own, personal enjoyment, or prestige. So, the intoxication of the illusion that i am the controller and i am the enjoyer, is what’s keeps us away from this humble state of service to the Lord and service to his devotees. And therefore it is he most vital, important thing that we must cultivate, this type of detachment. And this pertains to Everyone, in there current state of affairs.


Don’t Externals :

We should not judge a person by the externals of how they appear. In english there is a saying”you can not judge a book by looking at  it’s cover”. An intelligent person looks to the content of a mans heart, the content of mans action, the content of a mans words. Krsna’s explains that this is  what determines whether one is a brahman, ksatriya, vaisya, sudra. Not ones birth, not ones external positioning. Pingala the prostitute became a perfectly enlightened, self realized pure devotee of the Lord, in one night. Therefore , we should all worship her. When she was a prostitute we shouldn’t worship her, but she is no longer a prostitute. She was a Mahattama ,because she took shelter of Krsna. And similarly the Avanti brahman. He was a brahman , but before who cares that he was a brahman, he was a greedy miser. But when he took shelter of the lord, in core of his heart, he became more than a brahman, he became a Vaishnava, a devotee. So, this is the goal of life, to have faith and trust, Krsna is the Provider, the Protector,he is the goal of life. with this faith we must learn how to take shelter of krsna. And how to take shelter of krsna? we learn by associating with those persons who are desperately striving to take shelter of Krsna. And they show us the way, by hearing his message, and by relating to it.


Turn Inward To Krsna :

These stories that Krsna is narrating in the 11th canto of Bhagavatam are not simply meant for entertainment. Thy are meant to change our lives. And any one of the stories,if you listen attentively, it will change your entire life. Anyone of the stories if you hear it carefully,with a truly sincere heart, you will attain self realization, simply by hearing that one Lila. Each of this wonderful narration of Srimad Bhagavatam, is meant to transform our heart and teach us how to turn inward to Krsna. And that same  Krsna who  has appeared within our heart , who is unknown to us, because of our intoxicated state, has so mercifully appeared through the sound of his name. Therefore this Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu has taught, is the means to taking shelter of the Lord in this age of kali, by learning to take shelter of his name .


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.