Canto 4: Creation of the Fourth OrderChapter 29: Talks Between Nārada and King Prācīnabarhi

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 4.29.53

kṣudraḿ caraḿ sumanasāḿ śaraṇe mithitvā

raktaḿ ṣaḍańghri-gaṇa-sāmasu lubdha-karṇam

agre vṛkān asu-tṛpo 'vigaṇayya yāntaḿ

pṛṣṭhe mṛgaḿ mṛgaya lubdhaka-bāṇa-bhinnam


kṣudram — on grass; caram — grazing; sumanasām — of a beautiful flower garden; śaraṇe — under the protection; mithitvā — being united with a woman; raktam — attached; ṣaṭ-ańghri — of bumblebees; gaṇa — of groups; sāmasuto the singing; lubdha-karṇam — whose ear is attracted; agrein front; vṛkān — tigers; asu-tṛpaḥ — who live at the cost of another's life; avigaṇayya — neglecting; yāntam — moving; pṛṣṭhe — behind; mṛgam — the deer; mṛgaya — search out; lubdhaka — of a hunter; bāṇa — by the arrows; bhinnam — liable to be pierced.


My dear King, please search out that deer who is engaged in eating grass in a very nice flower garden along with his wife. That deer is very much attached to his business, and he is enjoying the sweet singing of the bumblebees in his garden. Just try to understand his position. He is unaware that before him is a tiger, which is accustomed to living at the cost of another's flesh. Behind the deer is a hunter, who is threatening to pierce him with sharp arrows. Thus the deer's death is imminent.


Here is an allegory in which the King is advised to find a deer that is always in a dangerous position. Although threatened from all sides, the deer simply eats grass in a nice flower garden, unaware of the danger all around him. All living entities, especially human beings, think themselves very happy in the midst of families. As if living in a flower garden and hearing the sweet humming of bumblebees, everyone is centered around his wife, who is the beauty of family life. The bumblebees' humming may be compared to the talk of children. The human being, just like the deer, enjoys his family without knowing that before him is the factor of time, which is represented by the tiger. The fruitive activities of a living entity simply create another dangerous position and oblige him to accept different types of bodies. For a deer to run after a mirage of water in the desert is not unusual. The deer is also very fond of sex. The conclusion is that one who lives like a deer will be killed in due course of time. Vedic literatures therefore advise that we should understand our constitutional position and take to devotional service before death comes. According to the Bhāgavatam (11.9.29):

labdhvā sudurlabham idaḿ bahu-sambhavānte

mānuṣyam arthadam anityam apīha dhīraḥ

tūrṇaḿ yateta na pated anumṛtyu yāvan

niḥśreyasāya viṣayaḥ khalu sarvataḥ syāt

After many births we have attained this human form; therefore before death comes, we should engage ourselves in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. That is the fulfillment of human life.

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His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness