TEXT 5 TEXT etan nanavataranam nidhanam bijam avyayam yasyamsamsena srjyante deva-tiryan-naradayah SYNONYMS etat--this (form); nana--multifarious; avataranam--of the incarnations; nidhanam--source; bijam--seed; avyayam--indestructible; yasya--whose; amsa--plenary portion; amsena--part of the plenary portion; srjyante--create; deva--demigods; tiryak--animals; nara-adayah--human beings and others.
TRANSLATION This form [the second manifestation of the purusa] is the source and indestructible seed of multifarious incarnations within the universe.
From the particles and portions of this form, different living entities, like demigods, men and others, are created.
PURPORT The purusa, after creating innumerable universes in the mahat-tattva, entered in each of them as the second purusa, Garbhodakasayi Visnu. When He saw that within the universe there was only darkness and space, without a resting place, He filled half of the universe with water from His own perspiration and laid Himself down on the same water. This water is called Garbhodaka. Then from His navel the stem of the lotus flower sprouted, and on the flower petals the birth of Brahma, or the master engineer of the universal plan, took place. Brahma became the engineer of the universe, and the Lord Himself took charge of the maintenance of the universe as Visnu. Brahma was generated from rajo-guna of prakrti, or the mode of passion in nature, and Visnu became the Lord of the mode of goodness. Visnu, being transcendental to all the modes, is always aloof from materialistic affection. This has already been explained. From Brahma there is Rudra (Siva), who is in charge of the mode of ignorance or darkness. He destroys the whole creation by the will of the Lord.
Therefore all three, namely Brahma, Visnu and Siva, are incarnations of the Garbhodakasayi Visnu. From Brahma the other demigods like Daksa, Marici, Manu and many others become incarnated to generate living entities within the universe. This Garbhodakasayi Visnu is glorified in the Vedas in the hymns of Garbha-stuti, which begin with the description of the Lord as having thousands of heads, etc. The Garbhodakasayi Visnu is the Lord of the universe, and although He appears to be lying within the universe, He is always transcendental. This also has already been explained. The Visnu who is the plenary portion of the Garbhodakasayi Visnu is the Supersoul of the universal life, and He is known as the maintainer of the universe or Ksirodakasayi Visnu. So the three features of the original purusa are thus understood. And all the incarnations within the universe are emanations from this Ksirodakasayi Visnu.
In different millennia there are different incarnations, and they are innumerable, although some of them are very prominent, such as Matsya, Kurma, Varaha, Rama, Nrsimha, Vamana and many others. These incarnations are called lila incarnations. Then there are qualitative incarnations such as Brahma, Visnu, and Siva (or Rudra) who take charge of the different modes of material nature.
Lord Visnu is nondifferent from the Personality of Godhead. Lord Siva is in the marginal position between the Personality of Godhead and the living entities, or jivas. Brahma is always a jiva-tattva. The highest pious living being, or the greatest devotee of the Lord, is empowered with the potency of the Lord for creation, and he is called Brahma. His power is like the power of the sun reflected in valuable stones and jewels. When there is no such living being to take charge of the post of Brahma, the Lord Himself becomes a Brahma and takes charge of the post.
Lord Siva is not an ordinary living being. He is the plenary portion of the Lord, but because Lord Siva is in direct touch with material nature, he is not exactly in the same transcendental position as Lord Visnu. The difference is like that between milk and curd. Curd is nothing but milk, and yet it cannot be used in place of milk.
The next incarnations are the Manus. Within one day's duration of the life of Brahma (which is calculated by our solar year as 4,300,000 x 1,000 years) there are fourteen Manus. Therefore there are 420 Manus in one month of Brahma and 5,040 Manus in one year of Brahma. Brahma lives for one hundred years of his age, and therefore there are 5,040 x 100 or 504,000 Manus in the duration of Brahma's life. There are innumerable universes, with one Brahma in each of them, and all of them are created and annihilated during the breathing time of the purusa. Therefore one can simply imagine how many millions of Manus there are during one breath of the purusa.
The Manus who are prominent within this universe are as follows: Yajna as Svayambhuva Manu, Vibhu as Svarocisa Manu, Satyasena as Uttama Manu, Hari as Tamasa Manu, Vaikuntha as Raivata Manu, Ajita as Caksusa Manu, Vamana as Vaivasvata Manu (the present age is under the Vaivasvata Manu), Sarvabhauma as Savarni Manu, Rsabha as Daksasavarni Manu, Visvaksena as Brahma-savarni Manu, Dharmasetu as Dharma-savarni Manu, Sudhama as Rudrasavarni Manu, Yogesvara as Deva-savarni Manu, and Brhadbhanu as Indrasavarni Manu. These are the names of one set of fourteen Manus covering 4,300,000,000 solar years as described above.
Then there are the yugavataras, or the incarnations of the millennia.
The incarnations of each yuga are of different color. The colors are white, red, black and yellow. In the Dvapara-yuga, Lord Krsna in black color appeared, and in the Kali-yuga Lord Caitanya in yellow color appeared.
So all the incarnations of the Lord are mentioned in the revealed scriptures. There is no scope for an imposter to become an incarnation, for an incarnation must be mentioned in the sastras. An incarnation does not declare Himself to be an incarnation of the Lord, but great sages agree by the symptoms mentioned in the revealed scriptures. The features of the incarnation and the particular type of mission which He has to execute are mentioned in the revealed scriptures.
Apart from the direct incarnations, there are innumerable empowered incarnations. They are also mentioned in the revealed scriptures. Such incarnations are directly as well as indirectly empowered. When they are directly empowered they are called incarnations, but when they are indirectly empowered they are called vibhutis. Directly empowered incarnations are the Kumaras, Narada, Prthu, Sesa, Ananta, etc. As far as vibhutis are concerned, they are very explicitly described in the Bhagavad-gita in the Vibhuti-yoga chapter. And for all these different types of incarnations, the fountainhead is the Garbhodakasayi Visnu.
TEXT 6 TEXT sa eva prathamam devah kaumaram sargam asritah cacara duscaram brahma brahmacaryam akhanditam SYNONYMS sah--that; eva--certainly; prathamam--first; devah--Supreme Lord; kaumaram--named the Kumaras (unmarried); sargam--creation; asritah-- under; cacara--performed; duscaram--very difficult to do; brahma--in the order of Brahman; brahmacaryam--under discipline to realize the Absolute (Brahman); akhanditam--unbroken.
TRANSLATION First of all, in the beginning of creation, there were the four unmarried sons of Brahma [the Kumaras], who, being situated in a vow of celibacy, underwent severe austerities for realization of the Absolute Truth.
PURPORT The creation of the material world is effected, maintained and then again annihilated at certain intervals. So there are different names of the creations in terms of the particular types of Brahma, the father of the living beings in the creation. The Kumaras, as above mentioned, appeared in the Kaumara creation of the material world, and to teach us the process of Brahman realization, they underwent a severe type of disciplinary action as bachelors. These Kumaras are empowered incarnations. And before executing the severe type of disciplinary actions, all of them became qualified brahmanas. This example suggests that one must first acquire the qualifications of a brahmana, not simply by birth but also by quality, and then one can undergo the process of Brahman realization.
TEXT 7 TEXT dvitiyam tu bhavayasya rasatala-gatam mahim uddharisyann upadatta yajnesah saukaram vapuh SYNONYMS dvitiyam--the second; tu--but; bhavaya--for the welfare; asya--of this earth; rasatala--of the lowest region; gatam--having gone; mahim--the earth; uddharisyan--lifting; upadatta--established; yajnesah--the proprietor or the supreme enjoyer; saukaram--hoggish; vapuh--incarnation.
TRANSLATION The supreme enjoyer of all sacrifices accepted the incarnation of a boar [the second incarnation], and for the welfare of the earth He lifted the earth from the nether regions of the universe.
PURPORT The indication is that for each and every incarnation of the Personality of Godhead, the particular function executed is also mentioned. There cannot be any incarnation without a particular function, and such functions are always extraordinary. They are impossible for any living being to perform. The incarnation of the boar was to take the earth out of Pluto's region of filthy matter. Picking up something from a filthy place is done by a boar, and the all-powerful Personality of Godhead displayed this wonder to the asuras, who had hidden the earth in such a filthy place. There is nothing impossible for the Personality of Godhead, and although He played the part of a boar, by the devotees He is worshiped, staying always in transcendence.
TEXT 8 TEXT trtiyam rsi-sargam vai devarsitvam upetya sah tantram satvatam acasta naiskarmyam karmanam yatah SYNONYMS trtiyam--the third one; rsi-sargam--the millennium of the rsis; vai-- certainly; devarsitvam--incarnation of the rsi amongst the demigods; upetya--having accepted; sah--he; tantram--exposition of the Vedas; satvatam--which is especially meant for devotional service; acasta-- collected; naiskarmyam--nonfruitive; karmanam--of work; yatah--from which.
TRANSLATION In the millennium of the rsis, the Personality of Godhead accepted the third empowered incarnation in the form of Devarsi Narada, who is a great sage among the demigods. He collected expositions of the Vedas which deal with devotional service and which inspire nonfruitive action.
PURPORT The great Rsi Narada, who is an empowered incarnation of the Personality of Godhead, propagates devotional service all over the universe. All great devotees of the Lord all over the universe and in different planets and species of life are his disciples. Srila Vyasadeva, the compiler of the Srimad-Bhagavatam, is also one of his disciples.
Narada is the author of Narada-pancaratra, which is the exposition of the Vedas particularly for the devotional service of the Lord. This Naradapancaratra trains the karmis, or the fruitive workers, to achieve liberation from the bondage of fruitive work. The conditioned souls are mostly attracted by fruitive work because they want to enjoy life by the sweat of their own brows. The whole universe is full of fruitive workers in all species of life. The fruitive works include all kinds of economic development plans. But the law of nature provides that every action has its resultant reaction, and the performer of the work is bound up by such reactions, good or bad. The reaction of good work is comparative material prosperity, whereas the reaction of bad work is comparative material distress. But material conditions, either in so-called happiness or in so-called distress, are all meant ultimately for distress only. Foolish materialists have no information of how to obtain eternal happiness in the unconditional state. Sri Narada informs these foolish fruitive workers how to realize the reality of happiness. He gives direction to the diseased men of the world how one's present engagement can lead one to the path of spiritual emancipation. The physician directs the patient to take treated milk in the form of curd for his sufferings from indigestion due to his taking another milk preparation. So the cause of the disease and the remedy of the disease may be the same, but it must be treated by an expert physician like Narada. The Bhagavad-gita also gives the same solution of serving the Lord by the fruits of one's labor. That will lead one to the path of naiskarmya, or liberation.
TEXT 9 TEXT turye dharma-kala-sarge nara-narayanav rsi bhutvatmopasamopetam akarod duscaram tapah SYNONYMS turye--in the fourth of the line; dharma-kala--wife of Dharmaraja; sarge--being born of; nara-narayanau--named Nara and Narayana; rsi-- sages; bhutva--becoming; atma-upasama--controlling the senses; upetam-- for achievement of; akarot--undertook; duscaram--very strenuous; tapah-- penance.
TRANSLATION In the fourth incarnation, the Lord became Nara and Narayana, the twin sons of the wife of King Dharma. Thus He undertook severe and exemplary penances to control the senses.
PURPORT As King Rsabha advised His sons, tapasya, or voluntary acceptance of penance for realization of the Transcendence, is the only duty of the human being; it was so done by the Lord Himself in an exemplary manner to teach us. The Lord is very kind to the forgetful souls. He therefore comes Himself and leaves behind necessary instructions and also sends His good sons as representatives to call all the conditioned souls back to Godhead. Recently, within the memory of everyone, Lord Caitanya also appeared for the same purpose: to show special favor to fallen souls of this age of iron industry. The incarnation of Narayana is worshiped still at Badari-narayana, on the range of the Himalayas.
TEXT 10 TEXT pancamah kapilo nama siddhesah kala-viplutam provacasuraye sankhyam tattva-grama-vinirnayam SYNONYMS pancamah--the fifth one; kapilah--Kapila; nama--of the name; siddhesah--the foremost amongst the perfect; kala--time; viplutam--lost; provaca--said; asuraye--unto the brahmana named Asuri; sankhyam-- metaphysics; tattva-grama--the sum total of the creative elements; vinirnayam--exposition.
TRANSLATION The fifth incarnation, named Lord Kapila, is foremost among perfected beings. He gave an exposition of the creative elements and metaphysics to Asuri Brahmana, for in course of time this knowledge had been lost.
PURPORT The sum total of the creative elements is twenty-four in all. Each and every one of them is explicitly explained in the system of Sankhya philosophy. Sankhya philosophy is generally called metaphysics by the European scholars. The etymological meaning of sankhya is "that which explains very lucidly by analysis of the material elements." This was done for the first time by Lord Kapila, who is said herein to be the fifth in the line of incarnations.
TEXT 11 TEXT sastham atrer apatyatvam vrtah prapto 'nasuyaya anviksikim alarkaya prahladadibhya ucivan SYNONYMS sastham--the sixth one; atreh--of Atri; apatyatvam--sonship; vrtah-- being prayed for; praptah--obtained; anasuyaya--by Anasuya; anviksikim-- on the subject of transcendence; alarkaya--unto Alarka; prahladaadibhyah-- unto Prahlada and others; ucivan--spoke.
TRANSLATION The sixth incarnation of the purusa was the son of the sage Atri. He was born from the womb of Anasuya, who prayed for an incarnation. He spoke on the subject of transcendence to Alarka, Prahlada and others [Yadu, Haihaya, etc.].
PURPORT The Lord incarnated Himself as Dattatreya, the son of Rsi Atri and Anasuya. The history of the birth of Dattatreya as an incarnation of the Lord is mentioned in the Brahmanda Purana in connection with the story of the devoted wife. It is said there that Anasuya, the wife of Rsi Atri, prayed before the Lords Brahma, Visnu and Siva as follows: "My lords, if you are pleased with me, and if you desire me to ask from you some sort of blessings, then I pray that you combine together to become my son." This was accepted by the lords, and as Dattatreya the Lord expounded the philosophy of the spirit soul and especially instructed Alarka, Prahlada, Yadu, Haihaya, etc.
TEXT 12 TEXT tatah saptama akutyam rucer yajno 'bhyajayata sa yamadyaih sura-ganair apat svayambhuvantaram SYNONYMS tatah--after that; saptame--the seventh in the line; akutyam--in the womb of Akuti; ruceh--by Prajapati Ruci; yajnah--the Lord's incarnation as Yajna; abhyajayata--advented; sah--He; yama-adyaih--with Yama and others; sura-ganaih--with demigods; apat--ruled; svayambhuva-antaram--the change of the period of Svayambhuva Manu.
TRANSLATION The seventh incarnation was Yajna, the son of Prajapati Ruci and his wife Akuti. He controlled the period during the change of the Svayambhuva Manu and was assisted by demigods such as His son Yama.
PURPORT The administrative posts occupied by the demigods for maintaining the regulations of the material world are offered to the highly elevated pious living beings. When there is a scarcity of such pious living beings, the Lord incarnates Himself as Brahma, Prajapati, Indra, etc., and takes up the charge. During the period of Svayambhuva Manu (the present period is of Vaivasvata Manu) there was no suitable living being who could occupy the post of Indra, the King of the Indraloka (heaven) planet. The Lord Himself at that time became Indra. Assisted by His own sons like Yama and other demigods, Lord Yajna ruled the administration of the universal affairs.
TEXT 13 TEXT astame merudevyam tu nabher jata urukramah darsayan vartma dhiranam sarvasrama-namaskrtam SYNONYMS astame--the eighth of the incarnations; merudevyam tu--in the womb of Merudevi, the wife of; nabheh--King Nabhi; jatah--took birth; urukramah-- the all-powerful Lord; darsayan--by showing; vartma--the way; dhiranam-- of the perfect beings; sarva--all; asrama--orders of life; namaskrtam-- honored by.
TRANSLATION The eighth incarnation was King Rsabha, son of King Nabhi and his wife Merudevi. In this incarnation the Lord showed the path of perfection, which is followed by those who have fully controlled their senses and who are honored by all orders of life.
PURPORT The society of human being is naturally divided into eight by orders and statuses of life--the four divisions of occupation and four divisions of cultural advancement. The intelligent class, the administrative class, the productive class and the laborer class are the four divisions of occupation. And the student life, the householder's life, retired life and renounced life are the four statuses of cultural advancement towards the path of spiritual realization. Out of these, the renounced order of life, or the order of sannyasa, is considered the highest of all, and a sannyasi is constitutionally the spiritual master for all the orders and divisions. In the sannyasa order also there are four stages of upliftment toward perfection. These stages are called kuticaka, bahudaka, parivrajakacarya, and paramahamsa. The paramahamsa stage of life is the highest stage of perfection. This order of life is respected by all others. Maharaja Rsabha, the son of King Nabhi and Merudevi, was an incarnation of the Lord, and He instructed His sons to follow the path of perfection by tapasya, which sanctifies one's existence and enables one to attain the stage of spiritual happiness which is eternal and ever increasing. Every living being is searching after happiness, but no one knows where eternal and unlimited happiness is obtainable. Foolish men seek after material sense pleasure as a substitute for real happiness, but such foolish men forget that temporary so-called happiness derived from sense pleasures is also enjoyed by the dogs and hogs. No animal, bird or beast is bereft of this sense pleasure. In every species of life, including the human form of life, such happiness is immensely obtainable.
The human form of life, however, is not meant for such cheap happiness.
The human life is meant for attaining eternal and unlimited happiness by spiritual realization. This spiritual realization is obtained by tapasya, or undergoing voluntarily the path of penance and abstinence from material pleasure. Those who have been trained for abstinence in material pleasures are called dhira, or men undisturbed by the senses. Only these dhiras can accept the orders of sannyasa, and they can gradually rise to the status of the paramahamsa, which is adored by all members of society.
King Rsabha propagated this mission, and at the last stage He became completely aloof from the material bodily needs, which is a rare stage not to be imitated by foolish men, but to be worshiped by all.
TEXT 14 TEXT rsibhir yacito bheje navamam parthivam vapuh dugdhemam osadhir vipras tenayam sa usattamah SYNONYMS rsibhih--by the sages; yacitah--being prayed for; bheje--accepted; navamam--the ninth one; parthivam--the ruler of the earth; vapuh--body; dugdha--milking; imam--all these; osadhih--products of the earth; viprah- -O brahmanas; tena--by; ayam--this; sah--he; usattamah--beautifully attractive.
TRANSLATION O brahmanas, in the ninth incarnation, the Lord, prayed for by sages, accepted the body of a king [Prthu] who cultivated the land to yield various produces, and for that reason the earth was beautiful and attractive.
PURPORT Before the advent of King Prthu, there was great havoc of maladministration due to the vicious life of the previous king, the father of Maharaja Prthu. The intelligent class of men (namely the sages and the brahmanas) not only prayed for the Lord to come down, but also dethroned the previous king. It is the duty of the king to be pious and thus look after the all-around welfare of the citizens. Whenever there is some negligence on the part of the king in discharging his duty, the intelligent class of men must dethrone him. The intelligent class of men, however, do not occupy the royal throne, because they have much more important duties for the welfare of the public. Instead of occupying the royal throne, they prayed for the incarnation of the Lord, and the Lord came as Maharaja Prthu. Real intelligent men, or qualified brahmanas, never aspire for political posts. Maharaja Prthu excavated many produces from the earth, and thus not only did the citizens become happy to have such a good king, but the complete sight of the earth also became beautiful and attractive.
TEXT 15 TEXT rupam sa jagrhe matsyam caksusodadhi-samplave navy aropya mahi-mayyam apad vaivasvatam manum SYNONYMS rupam--form; sah--He; jagrhe--accepted; matsyam--of a fish; caksusa-- Caksusa; udadhi--water; samplave--inundation; navi--on the boat; aropya-- keeping on; mahi--the earth; mayyam--drowned in; apat--protected; vaivasvatam--Vaivasvata; manum--Manu, the father of man.
TRANSLATION When there was a complete inundation after the period of the Caksusa Manu and the whole world was deep within water, the Lord accepted the form of a fish and protected Vaivasvata Manu, keeping him up on a boat.
PURPORT According to Sripada Sridhara Svami, the original commentator on the Bhagavatam, there is not always a devastation after the change of every Manu. And yet this inundation after the period of Caksusa Manu took place in order to show some wonders to Satyavrata. But Sri Jiva Gosvami has given definite proofs from authoritative scriptures (like Visnudharmottara, Markandeya Purana, Harivamsa, etc.) that there is always a devastation after the end of each and every Manu. Srila Visvanatha Cakravarti has also supported Srila Jiva Gosvami, and he (Sri Cakravarti) has also quoted from Bhagavatamrta about this inundation after each Manu.
Apart from this, the Lord, in order to show special favor to Satyavrata, a devotee of the Lord, in this particular period, incarnated Himself.
TEXT 16 TEXT surasuranam udadhim mathnatam mandaracalam dadhre kamatha-rupena prstha ekadase vibhuh SYNONYMS sura--the theists; asuranam--of the atheists; udadhim--in the ocean; mathnatam--churning; mandaracalam--the Mandaracala Hill; dadhre-- sustained; kamatha--tortoise; rupena--in the form of; prsthe--shell; ekadase--the eleventh in the line; vibhuh--the great.
TRANSLATION The eleventh incarnation of the Lord took the form of a tortoise whose shell served as a pivot for the Mandaracala Hill, which was being used as a churning rod by the theists and atheists of the universe.
PURPORT Once both the atheists and the theists were engaged in producing nectar from the sea so that all of them could become deathless by drinking it. At that time the Mandaracala Hill was used as the churning rod, and the shell of Lord Tortoise, the incarnation of Godhead, became the resting place (pivot) of the hill in the seawater.