Chapter 5: Lord Kapila Takes Charge of His Mother, Devahūti

Bhaktivedanta VedaBase: Teachings of Lord Kapila, the Son of Devahūti 5

maitreya uvāca

pitari prasthite 'raṇyaḿ

mātuḥ priya-cikīrṣayā

tasmin bindusare 'vātsīd

bhagavān kapilaḥ kila


Maitreya said: When Kardama left for the forest, Lord Kapila stayed on the strand of the Bindu-sarovara to please His mother, Devahūti.


In the absence of the father it is the duty of the grown son to take charge of his mother and serve her to the best of his ability so that she will not feel separation from her husband. It is also the duty of the husband to leave home as soon as there is a grown son to take charge of his wife and family affairs. That is the Vedic system of household life. One should not remain continually implicated in household affairs up to the time of death. He must leave. Family affairs and the wife may be taken charge of by a grown son.

Being a great yogī, Kardama Muni was not very interested in family life. Nonetheless, he decided to marry, and Svāyambhuva Manu brought his daughter Devahūti to him to serve as a wife. Kardama Muni was a yogī living in a cottage, and Devahūti was a princess, a king's daughter. Not being used to work, she became very skinny, and Kardama Muni took compassion upon her, thinking, "This girl has come to me, but now she is not in a very comfortable position." Therefore by his yogic powers, Kardama Muni created a large palace with many servants, gardens and other opulences. Not only that, but he also created a great spaceship as large as a small city. Modern airlines have prepared a 747, and although these are very big, Kardama Muni, by his yogic powers, was able to create a spaceship wherein there were lakes, palaces and gardens. This spaceship could also travel all over the universe. Modern scientists labor very hard to make a small spaceship to go to the moon, but Kardama Muni could create a great spaceship that could travel to all planets. This is possible by yogic powers.

There are different siddhis, or yogic perfections—aṇimā, laghimā, prāpti, and so on—and whatever yogīs choose to do, they can do. That is the real yoga system. It is not that one becomes a yogi simply by pressing his nose and performing some gymnastics. One must actually attain the yogic siddhis. By these siddhis, the yogī can become very small or very large, very heavy or very light. Whatever he wants, he can immediately produce in his hand, and he can travel wherever he desires. Kardama Muni was such a perfected siddhi-yogi. By his wife, Devahūti, he had nine daughters, who were distributed to the prajāpatis like Dakṣa Mahārāja and many others. The only son of Kardama Muni was Kapiladeva, an incarnation of Kṛṣṇa. This Kapiladeva was one of the mahājanas. The word mahājana means "authority," and according to the Vedic śāstras there are twelve authorities. These are Svayambhū, Nārada, Śambhu, Kumāra, Kapila, Manu, prahlāda, Janaka, Bhīṣma, Bali, Śukadeva Gosvāmī and Yamarāja. Svayambhū is Brahmā, and Śambhu is Lord Śiva. These authorities should be followed if we want to approach the Supreme Personality of Godhead and understand the purpose of religious life. Mahājano yena gataḥ sa panthāḥ. These mahājanas follow the principles set forth by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, in Bhagavad-gītā.

We cannot very easily understand the actual truth of religious systems, but if we follow these mahājanas, we can understand. Kapila Muni explained the glories of devotional service to His mother, Devahūti. If we follow Him, we may learn the truth of devotional service. According to the system of varṇāśrama-dharma, one who is over fifty years of age must leave home, go to the forest and completely devote his life to spiritual realization. This is the actual varṇāśrama-dharma system. It is not a Hindu system, for the word "Hindu" is a name given by the Muslims and does not occur in any Vedic literature. However, the varṇāśrama-dharma is mentioned. Civilized human beings should strictly follow the varṇāśrama institution. If one is born a brāhmaṇa, he is trained nicely as a brahmacārī, and then he becomes a gṛhastha, a householder. When he gives up his home, he is called a vānaprastha, and after that he may take sannyāsa. Being a yogī, Kardama Muni strictly followed these principles; therefore as soon as Kapiladeva was grown, Devahūti was placed in His charge. Kardama Muni then left home. As stated in this verse: pitari prasthite 'raṇyaḿ mātuḥ priya-cikīrṣayā.

According to the Manu-saḿhitā, a woman should never be given freedom. When she is not under the protection of her husband, she must be under the protection of her sons. Women cannot properly utilize freedom, and it is better for them to remain dependent. A woman cannot be happy if she is independent. That is a fact. In Western countries we have seen many women very unhappy simply for the sake of independence. That independence is not recommended by the Vedic civilization or by the varṇāśrama-dharma. Consequently Devahūti was given to her grown son, Kapiladeva, and Kapiladeva was fully aware that He had to take care of His mother. It is the duty of the father to protect his daughter until she attains puberty and is married to a suitable young man. The husband then takes care of the wife. Generally a man should marry at around twenty-five years of age, and a girl should marry no later than sixteen. If this is the case, when the man is fifty years old, his eldest son should be around twenty-five, old enough to take charge of the mother. According to this calculation, Kapiladeva was about twenty-five years old and was quite able to take charge of His mother, Devahūti. He knew that because His father left His mother in His charge, He should take care of her and always please her. Mātuḥ priya-cikīrṣayā. Kapiladeva was not irresponsible, but was always ready to please His mother. Kapiladeva was a brahmacārī, and His mother took lessons from Him. That is the prerogative of the male. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (9.32):

māḿ hi pārtha vyapāśritya

ye 'pi syuḥ pāpa-yonayaḥ

striyo vaiśyās tathā śūdrās

te 'pi yānti parāḿ gatim

"O son of Pṛthā, those who take shelter in Me, though they be of lower birth—women, vaiśyas [merchants] as well as śūdras [workers]—can approach the supreme destination." Women are considered on the same platform with śūdras, and although a woman may be married to a brāhmaṇa, she is not given the sacred thread. It is also said that the Mahābhārata was compiled by Vyāsadeva because the direct Vedic knowledge could not be understood by women, śūdras and dvija-bandhus, those who are born in brāhmaṇa families but are not qualified brāhmaṇas. Strī-śūdra-dvijabandhūnāḿ trayī na śruti-gocarā (Bhāg. 1.4.25). Consequently Mahābhārata is called the fifth Veda. The four preceding Vedas are the Sāma, Yajur, Ṛg and Atharva. The essence of Vedic knowledge, Bhagavad-gītā, is given within the Mahābhārata. Women are inferior to men, and Vedic civilization is so perfect that men are given full charge of the women. It is therefore said: mātuḥ priya-cikīrṣayā. The son is always ready to see that the mother is not unhappy. Kapiladeva was anxious that His mother not feel the absence of His father, and He was ready to take the best care of her and give her knowledge. Because women are supposed to be less intelligent, they should be given knowledge, and they should also follow this knowledge. They should follow their father's instructions, their husband's instructions and the instructions of their grown, scholarly sons like Kapiladeva. In this way, their lives can be perfect. In all cases, women should always remain dependent.

Tasmin bindusare 'vātsīd bhagavān kapilaḥ kila. It is noteworthy that in this verse Kapiladeva is referred to as Bhagavān, which indicates that He possesses all wealth, fame, knowledge, beauty, strength and renunciation. These six opulences are fully represented in Kṛṣṇa; therefore Kṛṣṇa is accepted as the Supreme Personality of Godhead (kṛṣṇas tu bhagavān svayam), and others are accepted as His expansions, or incarnations (viṣṇu-tattva). In Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu, Rūpa Gosvāmī has analyzed the characteristics of Bhagavān. The first Bhagavān is Śrī Kṛṣṇa Himself, but some of His opulences are also bestowed upon Lord Brahmā. Lord Brahmā is a jīva-tattva, a living being like us. If we become spiritually powerful, we can also have the post of Lord Brahmā. Superior to Lord Brahmā is Lord Śiva, and superior to Lord Śiva is Viṣṇu, or Lord Nārāyaṇa, and superior to all is Kṛṣṇa. That is the analysis of the Vedic śāstras and Brahma-saḿhitā. Even Śańkarācārya, the Māyāvādī impersonalist philosopher, accepts Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Personality of Godhead (sa bhagavān svayaḿ kṛṣṇaḥ). All the ācāryas— Rāmānujācārya, Madhvācārya, Viṣṇusvāmī, Nimbārka and Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu—also accept Kṛṣṇa as the Supreme Lord.

Kapiladeva is an incarnation of Kṛṣṇa, and He gave instructions to His mother, Devahūti. We must distinguish between the two Kapilas. One Kapila is this Bhagavān Kapila, and the other Kapila is the atheist Kapila. Bhagavān Kapila is also known as Devahūti-putra Kapila. Both Kapilas expounded Sāńkhya philosophy, but the atheist Kapila expounded it without understanding, perception or realization of God. On the bank of the Bindu-sarovara Lake, Kapiladeva personally expounded Sāńkhya philosophy to His mother, Devahūti, just as Kṛṣṇa personally expounded the knowledge of Bhagavad-gītā to His friend Arjuna. Like Arjuna, Devahūti was aware that she was before her spiritual master, as indicated in the following verse. Indeed, Lord Brahmā had informed her that her son was a powerful incarnation.

<<< >>>

Buy Online Copyright © The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, Inc.
His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, Founder Ācārya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness