Chapter 28: Purañjana Becomes a Woman in his Next Life
(1) Nârada said: 'Oh King Prâcînabarhi, all the forces of Bhaya, the representatives of death [who are alike the troubles of old age] roamed this earth together with Prajvâra and Kâlakanyâ. (2) But when they one day full of wrath laid siege to the city of Purañjana which was so full of sensual pleasure oh King, they discovered it was protected by the old serpent. (3) The daughter of Kâla then also participated in the violence to take hold of Purañjana's city. Overwhelmed by her someone immediately realizes how insignificant he is. (4) With her attack the Yavanas from all sides entered the gates and created severe trouble all over the city. (5) Purañjana, who as an all too eager householder was overly attached to his family, was in the troubled city thereupon plagued by all kinds of distress. (6) Embraced by the Daughter of Time he lost his beauty and because he in being addicted to sensual pleasures was a miser lacking in intelligence, he was by the Gandharvas and Yavanas [the meat-eaters] by force bereft of his opulence. (7) He saw his town fall apart in opposing fractions, that his sons and grandsons, servants and ministers were disrespectful and that his wife had become indifferent. (8) With Pañcâla being infested with insurmountable enemies he grew very anxious, but because he himself was seized by Kâlakanyâ he couldn't take any counteraction. (9) In his emotional preference for his sons and wife he had lost the real purpose of life and because of Kâlakanyâ everything the poor man had lusted for in his life had become stale. (10) The town that was overrun by the Gandharvas and Yavanas and was smashed by the Daughter of Time, the king against his will had to abandon. (11) For the sole purpose of pleasing his elder brother Bhaya [called 'the fear'], Prajvâra [being 'the fever'] present at the spot, set fire to the city. (12) When the city with all the citizens, servants and followers was ablaze Purañjana, the head of the big family, along with his wife and descendants had to suffer the heat.
(13) With the city being attacked by the Yavanas and seized by Kâlakanyâ and the problems caused by Prajvâra, also the guardian of the city [the snake] got very aggrieved. (14) He couldn't protect the city [against the fire] and had great difficulty trying to get out of there. It was as if he had to escape from a hollow tree that was thrown into the flames. (15) With his physical strength defeated by the Gandharvas and the hostile Yavanas oh King, he frustrated had to cry aloud. (16) What fate now befell the daughters, sons, grandsons, daughters- and sons-in-law and associates, what would become of the kingdom and the palace with all its wealth and goods?
(17) At his separation the householder turned his attention to the 'I' and 'mine' of his home and it thus happened that he with a mind full of obnoxious thoughts had a hard time concerning his wife. (18) 'When I have left for another life, how must this woman exist being bereft of a husband and lamenting with all the children of the family around her? (19) I never ate when she didn't eat, I never missed a bath when she would bathe. She was always devoted to me and fearfully kept silent when I was angry, however afraid she was when I reprimanded her. (20) She gave me good counsel when I was foolish and she was saddened and put off when I was away. Will she, despite of being the mother of such great heroes, be able to hold on to the path of her household duties? (21) How will my poor sons and daughters who have no one else to depend on, live when I like a broken boat in the ocean have disappeared from this world?'
(22) Thus out of his wretched intelligence lamenting what should not be lamented, the one determined to bring him down called Fear approached to arrest him. (23) Purañjana was restrained like an animal by the Yavanas taken to their abode, followed by the stream of his attendants who deeply aggrieved were lost in tears. (24) As soon as the serpent who had to give up the city was arrested and following him had left, the city turned into dust. (25) Forcibly dragged by the mighty Yavana, Purañjana, covered by the darkness of his ignorance, couldn't remember his friend and well-wisher [the Supersoul within] who had been there from the beginning. (26) All the animals of sacrifice by him most unkind killed with axes and cut to pieces, very angrily remembered that sinful activity of his. (27) For an endless number of years he in the beyond was absorbed in darkness and, bereft of all intelligence, practically endless had to experience the misery of an impure life of being focussed on women. (28) Because he [till the very end] had kept her in mind he after his death became a well situated woman [a daughter] in the house of the most powerful King Vidarbha [see also B.G. 8: 5]. (29) As the daughter of Vidarbha she [he] was given in marriage as a prize of valor to Malayadhvaja ['as firm as the Malaya hill'] who as the best of the learned [a Pândya ruler] in the fight had defeated many princes and was the conqueror of all other cities. (30) He begot a daughter in her with dark eyes as also seven younger mighty sons* who became the kings of the seven provinces of the south of India [Dravida]. (31) From each of them oh King, millions and millions of descendants were born who ruled the world for the time of a manvantara and longer [see 3.11: 24]. (32) Âgastya [the sage; 'he who was born from a pot'] married the first daughter sworn to the Lord and from her was born a son called Dridhacyuta ['the infallible fortress'] who on his turn had the great sage Idhmavâha ['he who carries the wood'] for his son.
(33) Having divided the entire world among his sons, the pious king called Malayadhvaja went to Kulâcala in a desire to worship Lord Krishna. (34) Giving up her home, children and material happiness, the daughter of Vidarbha with her enchanting eyes followed her lord of wisdom like the moonshine accompanying the moon. (35-36) There he cleansed himself daily both inside and outside with the holy waters of the rivers named the Candravasâ, the Tâmraparnî and the Vathodakâ. Subsisting on bulbs, seeds, roots and fruits, flowers, leaves, grasses and water, his body undergoing the austerity gradually grew thin. (37) Equipoised he thus conquered the dualities of cold and heat, wind and rain, hunger and thirst, the pleasant and the unpleasant and happiness and distress. (38) With vows [yama] and by regulation [niyama] fixing himself in his spiritual [yoga] realization he subdued his senses, life and consciousness and thus by means of the science of his austerities were all his impurities burned [in the fire of his devotion, compare 4.22: 24, 3.29: 17]. (39) Sitting as immovable at the same place as if a hundred years of the demigods [see 3.11: 12] passed, he, steady in relation to Vâsudeva, the Supreme Lord, knew nothing but that attraction. (40) Like in a dream he by the all-pervasive Supersoul could distinguish himself in perfect awareness: as the self-aware witness certain in his [divine] indifference ['the glad hero']. (41) Under the direct prompting of the Supreme Lord, of the spiritual master Hari [the so-called caitya guru or the guru from within] oh King, he found the pure light of the spiritual knowledge that enlightens all perspectives [see also the six darshanas]. (42) He who thus saw himself in the transcendental Absolute and the Absolute Self within himself, with this before his mind's eye gave up his considerations and withdrew himself [from life].
(43) Vaidarbhî, the daughter of Vidarbha, who served her husband Malayadhvaja with love and devotion, accepted her husband as her godhead, as the supreme knower of the principles, and gave up on her sense enjoyment. (44) In old rags, lean because of her vows and with her hair matted, she radiated next to her husband as peaceful as the flame of a fire. (45) As she was used to, the woman continued serving him who sat there fixed in his sitting posture, until she after he had passed away couldn't detect any sign of life anymore from her beloved husband. (46) When she serving him no longer felt the warmth of his feet, she became as anxious at heart as a doe separated from her partner. (47) Lamenting for herself how wretched it was to be without a friend, she broken-hearted began to cry loudly, wetting her breasts with her tears. (48) 'Get up, please, get up!, oh wise King. This world situated in the middle of the ocean is so very afraid of rogues and rulers full of attachment, you ought to protect her!' (49) Thus lamenting the innocent woman in that lonely place fell down at the feet of her husband with tears running down her cheeks. (50) For her husband's body she built a funeral pyre of wood and placing him on top of it she after igniting it, lamenting, focussed her mind to die [saha-marana] together with him.
(51) Just before that took place a friend of hers, a brahmin, a very learned scholar, pacified her very nicely with mitigating words, speaking to her about her master as she was crying. (52) The brahmin said: 'Who are you? To whom do you belong and who is this man lying there over whom you are lamenting? Don't you recognize Me as the friend whom you in the past have consulted? (53) Oh friend, do you still remember how you, not familiar with the Supersoul, gave Me up as your friend? You were at the time in a position of being attached to desires for material pleasure. (54) You and I oh great soul, are two swans, two friends who for thousands of years in succession walked the same path of the spirit [of devotion] and then got separated from their safe haven [that Mânasa lake of the pure spirit]. (55) You who as that swan had left me oh friend, thereupon traveled the earth as someone with a material consciousness. You then saw a city that was the love of some woman. (56) [In that abode you had] five gardens, nine gates, one protector, three store rooms, six [mercantile] families, five market places and five material elements with one woman running the place. (57) The gardens are the five objects of the senses, the gates My friend are the nine apertures of the senses, the three store rooms stand for fire, water and food and the families are the five senses. (58) The five market places represent the power of action [the five working senses] and the five elements are the fundamental elements of the material world. Man is an eternal controller of the forces, but having entered that city he is out of touch with the [original] intelligence. (59) In that situation being in contact with the outer splendor of the world you, in her company enjoying it, then had to live without the remembrance of the inexhaustible source [of your spiritual existence]. And thus you attained a state that was full of sin, My best one. (60) In fact you are not Vidarbha's daughter, nor is this hero of yours [Malayadhvaja] your well-wishing husband. Neither were you the husband of Purañjanî by whom you were captured in the body with its nine gates. (61) In reality it is so that you, by this deluding energy that I created, considered yourself a man, a woman or a nonsexual being, but you forgot about the two of us as [being united in the pure spirit of the] swans. (62) You and I are not different [in quality]. Look at yourself, you are just like Me, My friend. The imaginary distinction between the two of us is by the advanced scholars not even in the smallest degree ever acknowledged. (63) The two of us do not differ more from each other than the body that one sees of oneself in a mirror or in the eyes of someone else differs from one's own [compare 3.28: 40]. (64) An individual soul who thus like a swan lives together in the heart is, being instructed by the other swan, situated in self-realization, because he then regained the memory that was lost in that [materialistic] separateness.'
(65) 'Oh Prâcînabarhi, I have imparted this spiritual instruction in figures of speech, because the Supreme Lord our God, the Cause of All Causes, loves to be mysterious.'