Canto 6: Prescribed Duties for MankindChapter 5: Nārada Muni Cursed by Prajāpati Dakṣa

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 6.5.37

ṛṇais tribhir amuktānām


vighātaḥ śreyasaḥ pāpa

lokayor ubhayoḥ kṛtaḥ


ṛṇaiḥ — from the debts; tribhiḥ — three; amuktānām — of persons not freed; amīmāḿsita — not considering; karmaṇām — the path of duty; vighātaḥ — ruin; śreyasaḥ — of the path of good fortune; pāpaO most sinful (Nārada Muni); lokayoḥ — of the worlds; ubhayoḥ — both; kṛtaḥ — done.


Prajāpati Dakṣa said: My sons were not at all freed from their three debts. Indeed, they did not properly consider their obligations. O Nārada Muni, O personality of sinful action, you have obstructed their progress toward good fortune in this world and the next because they are still indebted to the saintly persons, the demigods and their father.


As soon as a brāhmaṇa takes birth, he assumes three kinds of debts — debts to great saints, debts to the demigods and debts to his father. The son of a brāhmaṇa must undergo celibacy (brahmacarya) to clear his debts to the saintly persons, he must perform ritualistic ceremonies to clear his debts to the demigods, and he must beget children to become free from his debts to his father. Prajāpati Dakṣa argued that although the renounced order is recommended for liberation, one cannot attain liberation unless one fulfills his obligations to the demigods, the saints and his father. Since Dakṣa's sons had not liberated themselves from these three debts, how could Nārada Muni have led them to the renounced order of life? Apparently, Prajāpati Dakṣa did not know the final decision of the śāstras. As stated in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.5.41):

devarṣi-bhūtāpta-nṛṇāḿ pitṝṇāḿ

na kińkaro nāyam ṛṇī ca rājan

sarvātmanā yaḥ śaraṇaḿ śaraṇyaḿ

gato mukundaḿ parihṛtya kartam

Everyone is indebted to the demigods, to living entities in general, to his family, to the pitās and so on, but if one fully surrenders to Kṛṣṇa, Mukunda, who can give one liberation, even if one performs no yajñas, one is freed from all debts. Even if one does not repay his debts, he is freed from all debts if he renounces the material world for the sake of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whose lotus feet are the shelter of everyone. This is the verdict of the śāstra. Therefore Nārada Muni was completely right in instructing the sons of Prajāpati Dakṣa to renounce this material world immediately and take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Unfortunately, Prajāpati Dakṣa, the father of the Haryaśvas and Savalāśvas, did not understand the great service rendered by Nārada Muni. Dakṣa therefore addressed him as pāpa (the personality of sinful activities) and asādhu (a nonsaintly person). Since Nārada Muni was a great saint and Vaiṣṇava, he tolerated all such accusations from Prajāpati Dakṣa. He merely performed his duty as a Vaiṣṇava by delivering all the sons of Prajāpati Dakṣa, enabling them to return home, back to Godhead.

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