Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Mukunda-mālā-stotra 47
śrīman-nāma procya nārāyaṇākhyaḿ
ke na prāpur vāñchitaḿ pāpino 'pi
hā naḥ pūrvaḿ vāk pravṛttā na tasmiḿs
tena prāptaḿ garbha-vāsādi-duḥkham
śrīmat — blessed; nāma — the name; procya — having said out loud; nārāyaṇa-ākhyam — called "Nārāyaṇa"; ke — who; na prāpuḥ — did not obtain; vāñchitam — what they desired; pāpinaḥ — sinful persons; api — even; hā — alas; naḥ — our; pūrvam — previously; vāk — speech; pravṛttā — engaged; na — not; tasmin — in that; tena — therefore; prāptam — achieved; garbha — in a womb; vāsa — residence; ādi — beginning with; duḥkham — misery.
What person, even if most sinful, has ever said aloud the blessed name Nārāyaṇa and failed to fulfill his desires? But we, alas, never used our power of speech in that way, and so we had to suffer such miseries as living in a womb.
This verse brings to mind the story of Ajāmila from the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Ajāmila was sinful, but by chanting the name Nārāyaṇa when on the verge of death, he fulfilled his ultimate desires. In the following quotation from the Bhāgavatam (6.2.13), Lord Viṣṇu's servants explain to the servants of Yamarāja, the lord of death, why Ajāmila is not a fit candidate for punishment:
"At the time of his death this Ajāmila helplessly and very loudly chanted the holy name of the Lord, Nārāyaṇa. That chanting alone has already freed him from the reactions of all sinful life. Therefore, O servants of Yamarāja, do not try to take him to your master for punishment in hellish conditions."
Ajāmila had chanted indirectly, calling out the name of his son, but because he uttered the holy name Nārāyaṇa he was saved from hell. He then went on to perfect his Kṛṣṇa consciousness and return home, back to Godhead. His "accidental" chanting of the holy name, therefore, awakened his original desire to serve the Lord. If even an extremely sinful person like Ajāmila could be saved by chanting the name Nārāyaṇa indirectly, then no one else should fail to achieve his utmost desires by chanting the blessed name Nārāyaṇa.
King Kulaśekhara speaks on behalf of all those who forget to chant the holy names. These verses are meant for all of us who are missing the opportunity of achieving perfection through chanting. If we do not call on the Supreme Lord, then we will have to face all kinds of miseries. Kulaśekhara mentions the pain of living in the womb. Lord Kapila provides graphic details of that ordeal in His teachings to His mother, Devahūti:
Bitten again and again all over the body by the hungry worms in the abdomen itself, the child suffers terrible agony. Because of his tenderness he thus becomes unconscious moment after moment because of the terrible condition.
Then owing to the mother's eating bitter, pungent foods, or food which is too salty or too sour, the body of the child incessantly suffers pains which are almost intolerable. [Bhāg. 3.31.7-8]
People refuse to recognize these facts, and that is one reason they do not take shelter of the holy name. Even if they are reminded of the pains they suffered in the past, they claim that it doesn't matter now because they are free from the pain. But a person who dis-regards natural and scriptural law guarantees that he will suffer the same torments he claims to have forgotten. Śrīla Prabhupāda writes, "One who does not take heed of these indications of suffering in human existence is said to be undoubtedly committing suicide" (Bhāg. 7.31.9, purport).
Vaiṣṇava poetry is filled with Vedic truths and can bring the utmost benefit, as well as pleasure to the ear and heart. In this single śloka King Kulaśekhara has given us a poignant description of our unfortunate predicament, with a hint of hope for ultimate salvation. If we can grasp the message of even this one verse — and also feel it and act upon it — then we can save ourselves unlimited grief.
Copyright © The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, Inc.
His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness
Satsvarupa dasa Goswami
Gopiparanadhana dasa Adhikari