Śrīmad Devi Bhāgavatam | Book 9 Chapter 28



Chapter XXVIII

On the story of Sāvitrī

1-4. Nārāyaṇa said:

O Nārada! Hearing the words of Yama, the chaste intelligent Sāvitrī, replied with great devotion:

“O Dharmarāja! What is Karma? Why and how is its origin? What is the cause of Karma? Who is the embodied soul (bound by Karma)? What is this body? And who is it that does Karma?

What is Jñāna? What is Buddhi? What is this Prāṇa of this embodied Jīva? What are the Iṅdriyas? And what are their characteristics? And what are the Devatās thereof?

Who is it that enjoys and who is it that makes one enjoy? What is this enjoyment (Bhoga)? And what is the means of escape from it? And what is the nature of that State when one escapes from enjoyment? What is the nature of Jivātmā? And what of Paramātmā?

O Deva! Speak all these in detail to me.”

5-21. Dharma said:

Karma is of two kinds: good and bad. The Karma that is stated in the Vedas as leading to Dharma is good; all other actions are bad.

The God’s service, without any selfish ends (Sankalpa) and without the hope of any fruits thereof (ahaitukī), is of such a nature as to root out all the Karmas and gives rise to the highest devotion to God.

A man who is such a Bhakta of Brahmā becomes liberated, so the Śrutis say. Who then does the Karma and who is it that enjoys? (i.e., no such body). To such a Bhakta to Brahmā, there is no birth, death, old age, disease, sorrow or any fear.

O Chaste One! Bhakti is two-fold. This is stated by all in the Śrutis. The one leads to Nirvana and the other leads to the nature of Hari.

The Vaiṣṇavas want the Bhakti to Hari, i.e., the Saguṇā Bhakti. The other Yogis and the best knowers of Brahmā want the Nirguṇā Bhakti.

He who is the Seed of Karma, and the Bestower forever the fruits of Karma, Who is the Karma Incarnate and the Mūlā Prakriti, is the Bhagavān; He is the Highest Self. He is the Material Cause of Karma.

Know this body to be by nature liable to dissolve and die. Earth, air, Ākāśa, water, and fire; these are the threads, as it were, of the work of creation of Brahmā, Who is of the nature of Being.

“Dehī” or The Embodied Soul is the Doer of Karma, the Kartā; he is the enjoyer; and Ātmā (self) is the prompter, the stimulator within to do the Karma and enjoy the fruits thereof.

The experiencing of pleasures and pains and the varieties thereof is known as Bhoga (enjoyment). Liberation, Mukti is the escape therefrom.

The knowledge by which Ātmā (sat) and Māyā (Asat) are discriminated is called Jñānam (Brahmā Jñānam).

The knowledge is considered as the root discriminator of various objects of enjoyments (i.e., by which the various objects are at once recognised as different from Ātman).

By Buddhi is meant the right seeing of things, (as certain) and is considered as the seed of Jñānam. By Prāṇa is known as the different Vāyus in the body. And this Prāṇa is the strength of the embodied.

Mind is the chief, the best, of the senses, it is a part of Īśvara; its characteristic is its doubtful uncertain state. It impels to all actions, irresistible. It is unascertainable, invisible; it obstructs the Jñāna.

The senses are seeing, hearing, smelling, touching and tasting. These are the several limbs, as it were, of the embodied and the impellers to all actions.

They are both enemies and friends as they give pain (when attached to worldly objects) and happiness (when attached to virtuous objects) both.

The Sun, Vāyu, Earth, Brahmā and others are their Devatās. The Jīva is the holder, the sustainer of Prāṇa, body, etc.

The Paramātmā, the Highest Self, is the Best of all, Omnipresent, transcending the Guṇas, and beyond Prakriti. He is the Cause of all causes and He is the Brahmā Himself.

O Chaste One! I have replied, according to the Śāstras to all your questions. These are Jñānas of the Jñānins. O Child! Now go back to your house at pleasure.

22-30. Sāvitrī said:

Whither shall I go, leaving my Husband and Thee, the Ocean of Knowledge? Please oughtest to answer the queries that I now put to Thee:

What wombs do the Jīvas get in response to which Karmas? What Karmas lead to the Heavens? And what Karmas lead to various hells? Which Karmas lead to Mukti? And which Karmas give Bhakti?

What Karmas make one Yogi and what Karmas inflict diseases? Which Karmas make one’s life long? or short? Which Karmas again make one happy? And what Karmas make one miserable?

Which Karmas make one deformed in one’s limbs, one-eyed, blind, deaf, lame or idiotic? Which Karmas again make one mad? Make one very much avaricious or of a stealing habit?

What Karmas make one possess Siddhis? Or make one earn the four Lokas Sālokya, etc.? What Karmas make one a Brāhmin or an ascetic? Or make one go to Heaven or Vaikuṇṭha?

What Karmas enable one to go to Goloka, the par excellence and free from all diseases? How many are the hells? What are their names and how do they appear? How long will one have to remain in each hell? and what Karmas lead to what diseases?

O Deva, now tell me about these that I have asked to you and oblige.

Here ends the Twenty-Eighth Chapter of the Ninth Book on the story of Sāvitrī in Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam of 18,000 verses by Mahāṛṣi Veda Vyāsa.