Canto 6: Prescribed Duties for MankindChapter 13: King Indra Afflicted by Sinful Reaction

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 6.13.8-9

brahma- pitṛ- go-ghno

mātṛ-hācārya-hāghavān

śvādaḥ pulkasako vāpi

śuddhyeran yasya kīrtanāt

tam aśvamedhena mahā-makhena

śraddhānvito 'smābhir anuṣṭhitena

hatvāpi sabrahma-carācaraḿ tvaḿ

na lipyase kiḿ khala-nigraheṇa

SYNONYMS

brahma-a person who has killed a brāhmaṇa; pitṛ-a person who has killed his father; go-ghnaḥa person who has killed a cow; mātṛ-a person who has killed his mother; ācārya-a person who has killed his spiritual master; agha-vān — such a sinful person; śva-adaḥa dog-eater; pulkasakaḥa caṇḍāla, one who is less than a śūdra; — or; api — even; śuddhyeran — may be purified; yasya — of whom (Lord Nārāyaṇa); kīrtanāt — from chanting the holy name; tam — Him; aśvamedhena — by the aśvamedha sacrifice; mahā-makhena — the topmost of all sacrifices; śraddhā-anvitaḥ — endowed with faith; asmābhiḥ — by us; anuṣṭhitena — conducted or managed; hatvā — killing; api — even; sa-brahma-cara-acaram — all the living entities, including the brāhmaṇas; tvam — you; na — not; lipyaseare contaminated; kim — what then; khala-nigraheṇa — by killing one disturbing demon.

TRANSLATION

One who has killed a brāhmaṇa, one who has killed a cow or one who has killed his father, mother or spiritual master can be immediately freed from all sinful reactions simply by chanting the holy name of Lord Nārāyaṇa. Other sinful persons, such as dog-eaters and caṇḍālas, who are less than śūdras, can also be freed in this way. But you are a devotee, and we shall help you by performing the great horse sacrifice. If you please Lord Nārāyaṇa in that way, why should you be afraid? You will be freed even if you kill the entire universe, including the brāhmaṇas, not to speak of killing a disturbing demon like Vṛtrāsura.

PURPORT

It is said in the Bṛhad-viṣṇu Purāṇa:

nāmno hi yāvatī śaktiḥ

pāpa-nirharaṇe hareḥ

tāvat kartuḿ na śaknoti

pātakaḿ pātakī naraḥ

Also, in the Prema-vivarta by Jagadānanda Paṇḍita it is said:

eka kṛṣṇa-nāme pāpīra yata pāpa-kṣaya

bahu janme sei pāpī karite nāraya

This means that by once chanting the holy name of the Lord, one can be freed from the reactions of more sins that he can even imagine performing. The holy name is so spiritually potent that simply by chanting the holy name one can be freed from the reactions to all sinful activities. What, then, is to be said of those who chant the holy name regularly or worship the Deity regularly? For such purified devotees, freedom from sinful reaction is certainly assured. This does not mean, however, that one should intentionally commit sinful acts and think himself free from the reactions because he is chanting the holy name. Such a mentality is a most abominable offense at the lotus feet of the holy name. Nāmno balād yasya hi pāpa-buddhiḥ: the Lord's holy name certainly has the potency to neutralize all sinful activities, but if one repeatedly and intentionally commits sins while chanting the holy name, he is most condemned.

These verses name the performers of various sinful deeds. In the Manu-saḿhitā the following names are given. A son begotten by a brāhmaṇa and born from the womb of a śūdra mother is called a pāraśava or niṣāda, a hunter accustomed to stealing. A son begotten by a niṣāda in the womb of a śūdra woman is called a pukkasa. A child begotten by a kṣatriya in the womb of the daughter of a śūdra is called an ugra. A child begotten by a śūdra in the womb of the daughter of a kṣatriya is called a kṣattā. A child begotten by a kṣatriya in the womb of a lower-class woman is called a śvāda, or dog-eater. All such offspring are considered extremely sinful, but the holy name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is so strong that all of them can be purified simply by chanting the Hare Kṛṣṇa mantra.

The Hare Kṛṣṇa movement offers everyone a chance to be purified, regardless of birth or family. As confirmed in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (2.4.18):

kirāta-hūṇāndhra-pulinda-pulkaśā

ābhīra-śumbhā yavanāḥ khasādayaḥ

ye 'nye ca pāpā yad-apāśrayāśrayāḥ

śudhyanti tasmai prabhaviṣṇave namaḥ

"Kirātas, Hūṇas, Āndhras, Pulindas, Pulkaśas, Ābhīras, Śumbhas, Yavanas, members of the Khasa races, and even others addicted to sinful acts can be purified by taking shelter of devotees of the Lord, for He is the supreme power. I beg to offer my respectful obeisances unto Him." Even such sinful persons can certainly all be purified if they chant the holy name of the Lord under the direction of a pure devotee.

Herein the sages encourage King Indra to kill Vṛtrāsura even at the risk of brahma-hatyā, the killing of a brāhmaṇa, and they guarantee to release him from sinful reactions by performing an aśvamedha-yajña. Such purposefully devised atonement, however, cannot relieve the performer of sinful acts. This will be seen from the following verse.

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