Book 3: Chapter 15
Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana: Book 3: Chapter 15: Verses 17-25
Seated in aerial cars with their consorts, the Gandharvas (of that realm) sing the stories of their Master (Lord Visnu), that are capable of wiping out the sins of the whole world. Even though their mind is distracted by the fragrance of Madhavi flowers (spring-flowers) laden with honey and blossoming in water, they (refuse to be led away by it and) censure the breeze (carrying the fragrance). When the king of bees hums in a high pitch, singing the story of Sri Hari as it were, there is a temporary lull in the noise of the pigeon, the cuckoo, the crane, the Cakravaka, the Cataka, the swan, the parrot, the partridge and the peacock (who are all ears as it were to drink in the bee's song). Seeing that the Lord adorns His person with wreaths etc., made of the leaves of Tulasi (the basil plant, which is so sacred and dear to Him) and also holds its fragrance in great esteem, the flowers of the Mandara, Kunda and Kurabaka, the lily, the Campaka, Arna (Karavira), Punnaga, Nagakesara and Bakula, the lotus and the Parijata in that realm, though all fragrant, recognize that Tulasi did greater penance (in her previous existence) than any of them.That realm (of Lord Visnu) is crowded with aerial cars made of lapis lazuli, emerald and gold, which are secured there as a result of mere obeisance at the feet of Sri Hari (and not through Karmayoga, Jnanayoga, Vairagya or penance etc.). The mind of those who occupy these cars are so full of Sri Krsna (Lord Visnu) that their spouses with large hips and smiling faces are unable to stimulate their passion by their mirth and other charms. Sri (the Spouse of Lord Visnu and the goddess of fortune), who is possessed of a most lovely form and whose favour is sought after by others (including the greatest gods like Brahma and so on), lives in the abode of Sri Hari free from the fault of capriciousnesstMoving about in that palace with the anklets on Her feet making a tinkling sound, and with a lotus-flower held in Her hand as a plaything, She is seen (reflected) in the crystal walls (of that palace), inlaid with gold here and there, as if engaged in dusting the house (although, really speaking, the abode of the Lord is ever free from dust). While engaged in worshipping the Lord with Tulasi leaves in Her own pleasure-garden in the midst of Her attendants, Sri (Laksmi) happens to see Her face with beautiful tresses and a prominent nose (reflected) in ponds containing limpid waters and provided with stairs of corals, and deems it fortunate in having been kissed by the Lord, 0 beloved gods. They can never attain to that Realm, who hear undesirable talks, that pervert Reason, centring round topics other than the exploits of the Lord who shatters the sin of His devotees-talks which, when heard by those unfortunate men rob them of their merit and throw them alas ! into the dark regions of hell, where they find no shelter. Alas ! they who do not offer worship to the Lord even after attaining human birth, which is solicited even by us (gods) and where one can acquire the knowledge of truth as well as religious merit, are deluded by His Maya, which is projected everywhere. On the other hand, they alone attain to that realm-which is located even higher than our abode (the Satyaloka)-who have reached beyond the jurisdiction of Yama (the god of retribution) by virtue of their devotion to Lord Visnu (the foremost of the gods), who are possessed of an enviable character, and whose eyes stream with tears and whose body is thrilled all over when they are beside themselves with love while talking to one another about the glories of their lord.
- Even though everything in that realm is divine in essence and the fragrance of the Madhavi flowers, which is akin to the fragrance of the Lord's own person, only reminds them of the latter instead of diverting their mind towards anything foreign, the Gandharvas are so deeply attached to the Lord's stories that they are reluctant to exchange the joy of singing them for any other joy, even though it may be equally divine.
-  B. M. 10-
- This shows that, to say nothing of living beings such as birds, bees and soon, even inanimate beings in that realm, such as plants and trees, are not only endowed with consciousness but are ever engaged in conscious service of the Lord, and are constituted of the same essence as the Lord. In this way everything in that realm is divinely blisslul in essence.
- The goddess of fortune has been charged with fickleness only in Her material form. In Her divine form She is an embodiment of all feminine virtues and the most constant and devoted of all wives. Although the most beloved of the lord's consorts, and the undisputed queen of His divine household, She is a model of modesty and, like an ideal wife, ever looks upon Herself as an humble servant-maid of the Lord. That is why She has been represented here by poetic imagination as engaged in a menial service of the Lord's household.