Canto 10: The Summum BonumChapter 74: The Deliverance of Śiśupāla at the Rājasūya Sacrifice

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 10.74.33-34



paramaṛṣīn brahma-niṣṭhān

loka-pālaiś ca pūjitān

sadas-patīn atikramya

gopālaḥ kula-pāḿsanaḥ

yathā kākaḥ puroḍāśaḿ

saparyāḿ katham arhati


tapaḥ — austerity; vidyā — Vedic knowledge; vrata — severe vows; dharān — who maintain; jñāna — by spiritual understanding; vidhvasta — eradicated; kalmaṣān — whose impurities; parama — topmost; ṛṣīn — sages; brahmato the Absolute Truth; niṣṭhān — dedicated; loka-pālaiḥ — by the rulers of the planetary systems; ca — and; pūjitān — worshiped; sadaḥ-patīn — leaders of the assembly; atikramya — passing over; gopālaḥa cowherd; kula — of His family; pāḿsanaḥ — the disgrace; yathāas; kākaḥa crow; puroḍāśam — the sacred rice cake (offered to the demigods); saparyām — worship; katham — how; arhati — deserves.


How can you pass over the most exalted members of this assembly — topmost sages dedicated to the Absolute Truth endowed with powers of austerity, divine insight and strict adherence to severe vows, sanctified by knowledge and worshiped even by the rulers of the universe? How does this cowherd boy, the disgrace of His family, deserve your worship, any more than a crow deserves to eat the sacred puroḍāśa rice cake?


The great commentator Śrīdhara Svāmī has analyzed Śiśupāla's words as follows. The term go-pāla means not only "cowherd" but also "protector of the Vedas and the earth." Similarly, kula-pāḿsana has a double meaning. Śiśupāla intended it to mean "the disgrace of His family," which is its meaning when divided as above. But the word may also be analyzed as ku-lapām aḿsana, giving a totally different meaning. Kulapām indicates those who prattle with crooked words contrary to the Vedas, and aḿsana, derived from the verb aḿsayati, means "destroyer." In other words, he was praising Lord Kṛṣṇa as "He who vanquishes all misguided and frivolous speculations about the nature of truth." Similarly, although Śiśupāla wanted to compare Lord Kṛṣṇa to a crow with the words yathā kākaḥ, these words may also be divided yathā a-kākaḥ. In that case, according to Śrīla Śrīdhara Svāmī, the word kāka is a combination of ka and āka, which indicate material happiness and misery. Thus Lord Kṛṣṇa is akāka in the sense that He is beyond all material misery and happiness, being on the pure, transcendental platform. Finally, Śiśupāla was right in saying the Lord Kṛṣṇa does not deserve merely the puroḍāśa rice cake, offered to the lesser demigods as a substitute for the heavenly beverage soma. In fact, Lord Kṛṣṇa deserves to receive everything that we possess, since He is the ultimate proprietor of everything, including ourselves. Thus we should give Lord Kṛṣṇa our life and soul, not merely a ritualistic offering of rice cakes.

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