Marici Rishi, Part Two


Meditating Rishi

Aug 30, 2014 — CANADA (SUN) — A study of the famous Rishis and Munis of Vedic literature.

There are many references to Marici Rishi in the Vedas, and throughout Srila Prabhupada's purports. Many of these relate to Marici's role as a progenitor under the direction of Lord Brahma. In his Purport to Srimad Bhagavatam 4.24.72, Srila Prabhupada writes:

    "Lord Brahma was created by Lord Visnu; then Lord Brahma created Lord Siva and other great sages, headed by Bhrgu Muni. These great sages included Bhrgu, Marici, Atreya, Vasistha and others. All these great sages were in charge of creating population. Since there were not very many living entities in the beginning, Visnu entrusted Brahma with the business of creation, and Brahma in his turn created many hundreds and thousands of demigods and great sages to continue with the creation. At the same time, Lord Brahma cautioned all his sons and disciples by reciting the prayers now recited by Lord Siva. The material creation means material engagement, but material engagements can be counteracted if we always remember our relationship with the Lord as that relationship is described in these prayers recited by Lord Siva."

In Srimad Bhagavatam 4.29.42-44 there is another mention of Marici and his associate progenitors, as described by Sage Narada. In the purport to these verses, Srila Prabhupada compares theories of the Darwinists to the inconceivable history of the living entities as set down in the Vedas:

    "The most powerful Lord Brahma, the father of all progenitors; Lord Siva; Manu, Daksa and the other rulers of humankind; the four saintly first-class brahmacaris headed by Sanaka and Sanatana; the great sages Marici, Atri, Angira, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Bhrgu and Vasistha; and my humble self [Narada] are all stalwart brahmanas who can speak authoritatively on Vedic literature. We are very powerful because of austerities, meditation and education. Nonetheless, even after inquiring about the Supreme Personality of Godhead, whom we always see, we do not know perfectly about Him.


    According to the foolish Darwinian theory of the anthropologists, it is said that forty thousand years ago Homo sapiens had not appeared on this planet because the process of evolution had not reached that point. However, the Vedic histories--the puranas and Mahabharata--relate human histories that extend millions and millions of years into the past. In the beginning of creation there was a very intelligent personality, Lord Brahma, and from him emanated all the Manus, and the brahmacaris like Sanaka and Sanatana, as well as Lord Siva, the great sages and Narada. All these personalities underwent great austerities and penances and thus became authorities in Vedic knowledge. Perfect knowledge for human beings, as well as all living entities, is contained in the Vedas. All the above-mentioned great personalities are not only powerful--being cognizant of past, present and future--but are also devotees. Still, in spite of their great education in knowledge, and despite their meeting the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Visnu, they cannot actually understand the perfection of the living entity's relationship with Lord Visnu. This means that these personalities are still limited as far as their knowledge of the unlimited is concerned. The conclusion is that simply by advancing one's knowledge, one cannot be accepted as an expert in understanding the Supreme Personality of Godhead. The Supreme Personality of Godhead can be understood not by advanced knowledge, but by pure devotional service, as confirmed in Bhagavad-gita (18.55)."

In the verse above (SB 4.29.42-44), Narada is explaining the limitations of perfect knowledge of the Supreme Personality as shared by even the greatest of demigods. The nature of the presence of Rishis like Marici in the material world is further explained by Srila Prabhupada in chapter 87 of Krsna Book:

    "As for the material creation, Brahma is the first created person. Before Brahma there was no living creature within this material world; it was void and dark until Brahma was born on the lotus flower sprouted from the abdomen of Garbhodakasayi Visnu. Garbhodakasayi Visnu is an expansion of Karanodakasayi Visnu, Karanodakasayi Visnu is an expansion of Sankarsana, and Sankarsana is an expansion of Balarama. Balarama is an immediate expansion of Lord Krsna. After the creation of Brahma, the two kinds of demigods were born: demigods like the four brothers Sanaka, Sanatana, Sanandana and Sanat-kumara, who are representatives of renunciation of the world, and demigods like Marici and their descendants, who are meant to enjoy this material world. From these two kinds of demigods were gradually manifest all other living entities, including the human beings. Thus any living creature within this material world, including Brahma, all the demigods and all the Raksasas, are to be considered modern. This means that they were all recently born. Therefore, just as a person recently born in a family cannot understand the situation of his distant forefather, so anyone within this material world can not understand the position of the Supreme Lord in the spiritual world because the material world has only recently been created. Although they have a long duration of existence, all the manifestations of the material world, namely, the time element, the living entities, the Vedas, and the gross and subtle elements, are all created at some point. Anything manufactured within this created situation or accepted as a means to understanding the original source of creation is to be considered modern."

This point is further elaborated in Srimad Bhagavatam 6.3.14-15:

    aham mahendro nirrtih pracetah
    somo 'gnir isah pavano virincih
    aditya-visve vasavo 'tha sadhya
    marud-gana rudra-ganah sasiddhah

    anye ca ye visva-srjo 'maresa
    bhrgv-adayo 'sprsta-rajas-tamaskah
    yasyehitam na viduh sprsta-mayah
    sattva-pradhana api kim tato 'nye

    "I, Yamaraja; Indra, the King of heaven; Nirrti; Varuna; Candra, the moon-god; Agni; Lord Siva; Pavana; Lord Brahma; Surya, the sun-god; Visvasu; the eight Vasus; the Sadhyas; the Maruts; the Rudras; the Siddhas; and Marici and the other great rsis engaged in maintaining the departmental affairs of the universe, as well as the best of the demigods headed by Brhaspati, and the great sages headed by Bhrgu are all certainly freed from the influence of the two base material modes of nature, namely passion and ignorance. Nevertheless, although we are in the mode of goodness, we cannot understand the activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. What, then, is to be said of others, who, under illusion, merely speculate to know God?


    The men and other living entities within this cosmic manifestation are controlled by the three modes of nature. For the living entities controlled by the base qualities of nature, passion and ignorance, there is no possibility of understanding God. Even those in the mode of goodness, like the many demigods and great rsis described in these verses, cannot understand the activities of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. As stated in Bhagavad-gita, one who is situated in the devotional service of the Lord is transcendental to all the material qualities."

Bhaktivedanta Book Trust


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